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Review of "Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan"
Published in "Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review", Volume 37, July - December, 1857, pp.139.
6. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan; Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854, Under the Command of Commodore M. C. Perry, U. S. Navy, by Order of the Government of the United States. Compiled from the Original Notes and Journals of Commodore Perry and his Officers, at his request and under his supervision. By Francis L. Hawks, D.D., LL.D). With numerous illustrations. Royal 8vo.. Pp. 624. New York : D. Appleton & Co.
This highly interesting and valuable volume is, in every way, a most satisfactory account of the United States Expedition to Japan. The task of preparing the narrative was undertaken by Dr. Hawks at the earnest request of Commodore Perry, who desired that the work should be executed by other hands than his own since the facts here embodied were to be gathered not merely from the pages of his own journal, but from those also of several of his officers, as well as from their official reports to him; and he thought it best that a connected narrative of all the important events should be prepared from the various materials. These were abundant, consisting of the manuscript journal of the commodore, in three large folios, and his official correspondence; the journals of his secretary and other officers, the diaries of the fleet captain and flag-lieutenants, the official reports of gentlemen detailed for special duties, and the public documents connected with the expedition. Dr. Hawks' labors appear to have been most judiciously and ably performed, and thus we have the skillful relation of one mind founded on the information gathered by many observers. In those portions of the narrative where the commodore's journal could best be used, this was done, as being the course most likely to avoid error, and thus in many instances the language of the volume is a verbatim copy from his journal. The preliminary labor of arranging chronologically the incidents collected from all sources, and of presenting them in a connected form, was performed by Mr. Robert Tomes, M.D., who also sketched some portions of the narrative. In this way the whole story was written out in less than a year from the time its publication was ordered by Congress a result which would otherwise have been unattainable. The narrative is preceded by an introduction of a hundred pages, which is a systematic account of the extent and geography of Japan, origin of its people, its government and religion, its past relations with the Western civilized nations, its progress in industrial arts and the extent of its civilization, its literature and fine arts, and its natural productions; and this sketch also includes a history of certain events which have transpired since the expedition and during its progress.