A scarce account of the Perry Expedition to Japan, by a clerk on board the ship.
About the Perry Expedition (from Wikipedia):
The Perry Expedition was a diplomatic expedition to Bakumatsu period Japan, involving two separate trips, by warships of the United States Navy, which took place during 1853–54. The goals of this expedition included exploration, surveying, and the establishment of diplomatic relations and negotiation of trade agreements with various nations of the region; opening contact with the government of Japan was considered a top priority of the expedition, and was one of the key reasons for its inception. The expedition was commanded by Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, under orders from American President Millard Fillmore. Perry’s primary goal was to force an end to Japan’s 220-year-old policy of isolation and to open Japanese ports to American trade, through the use of gunboat diplomacy if necessary. The Perry Expedition led directly to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the western “Great Powers”, and eventually to collapse of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate.
Perry chose the black-hulled paddle-wheeled Mississippi as his flagship, and cleared Hampton Roads, Virginia on 24 November 1852. Perry made port calls at Madeira (December 11–15), St Helena (January 10–11), Cape Town (January 24 – February 3), Mauritius (February 18–28), Ceylon (March 10–15), Singapore (March 25–29) and Macao and Hong Kong (April 7–28), where he met with American-born Sinologist Samuel Wells Williams (who had been to Japan with the Morrison in 1837), who provided Chinese language translations of his official letters, and where he rendezvoused with Plymouth and Saratoga. He continued to Shanghai (May 4–17), where met with the Dutch-born American diplomat, Anton L. C. Portman, who translated his official letters into the Dutch language, and where he rendezvoused with Susquehanna.