Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GLYNN, James, naval officer, born about 1800; died 13 May, 1871. He entered the United States navy, 4 March, 1815, was made lieutenant, 13 January 1825, commander, 8 September, 1841, and served on the California coast during the Mexican war. In command of the sloop-of-war "Preble," 14 guns, he was sent to China. From the Dutch consul at Canton, Commander Geisinger learned of the imprisonment at Nagasaki of eighteen American sailors, wrecked in Yezo, 5 June, 1846. Despite imperfect charts and unknown seas, and the fact that Commander Biddle, with the United States ship of the line "Columbus" and the sloop " Vincennes." had been repelled but a few months before in the Bay of Yedo, Glynn faced the northeast monsoon, and arrived in Nagasaki harbor, 17 April. Dashing through the cordon of boats, he anchored under the batteries within a mile of the City, and, when boarded by interpreters, demanded the release within two days of the American seamen, and, in the face of military menace and preparations, pressed his claim. After parleys and excuses, the whole party of eighteen was delivered on the deck of the "Preble" on the 26th. The first result of this voyage was a detailed and formal proposition made by Glynn to the United States government to attempt the peaceful opening of Japan by diplomacy, backed by a show of force. The expedition, as finally organized, grew to the proportions of a fleet, the command of which was claimed by officers of highest rank--first by Aulick, and then by Perry. Other results of this episode were preparation of the Japanese mind for Perry, the training of the interpreter Morivama Yenosuke, who did good service in 1854, and of the hydrographer, Lieutenant Silas Bent, the only officer in Perry's fleet conversant with Japanese waters, who, in a paper read before the American geographical society in 1856, first clearly defined and described the Kuro Shiwo, "Dark Stream," or Gulf Stream of the Pacific ocean. Glynn was made a captain in 1855.
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