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Sarah Wallace Perry's Amazing Naval War of 1812 Era Manuscript Poem "THE AMERICAN EAGLE"
SARAH W. PERRY (1792-1851). Daughter of Commodore Christopher Raymond Perry (1761-1818) of Newport, R.I. and member of a famous American Naval Family including; Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819), Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858).

c. 1815 War of 1812 Era, Handwritten Autograph Poem Signed, "Sarah W. Perry" of Newport, Rhode Island, 1 page, undated, measuring 10" x 8," Fine. Boldly penned in brown ink upon period laid paper and easily legible, having some scattered tone where the paper was folded at upper left. Poem titled, "To the American Eagle."

This historic theme Manuscript Poem "THE AMERICAN EAGLE" Signed, "Sarah W. Perry" is from a most prestigious and historic Colonial American Naval related family with lineage back to the Mayflower. Her parents were Christopher Raymond Perry (1761-1818) who was an officer in the United States Navy. He was the father of Oliver Hazard Perry and Matthew Calbraith Perry. He was the great-grandson of Edward Perry from the county of Devon, England who settled in Sandwich, Massachusetts around 1650 and his wife Mary Freeman.

On his mother's side he was a seventh-generation descendant of Captain Richard Raymond, (1602"1692), and his wife, Julia (or Judith). He was born probably in Essex County, England in 1602 and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts about 1629, possibly with a contingent led by the Rev. Francis Higginson. The first actual date given for Richard is on August 6, 1629 when he is on the list of the 30 founding members of the First Church (Congregational) of Salem. He was about 27 years old. He was later a founder of Norwich, Connecticut, and an "honored forefather of Saybrook". His mother was also a descendant of Gov. Thomas Prence (1599 - March 29, 1673), a cofounder of Eastham, Massachusetts, a political leader in both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, and Governor of Plymouth; and a descendant of Mayflower passengers, both of whom were Signers of the Mayflower Compact, Elder William Brewster, (c. 1567-1644), the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony, and George Soule (1593"1679), through his grandmother Susannah Barber Perry (1697"1755).

Perry married Sarah Wallace Alexander on August 2, 1784 in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She was born about 1768 in County Down, Ireland and died December 4, 1830 in New London, Connecticut. She was a descendant of William Wallace, the Scottish knight and landowner who is known for leading a resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and is today remembered as a patriot and national hero. Their five sons were all naval officers. A noble family line for the mother and father of the author of this poem, Sarah Wallace Perry.

WILLIAM BAINBRIDGE, (1774-1833) noted American Naval Commodore, who sunk the British Frigate H.M.S. Java as Commander of U.S.S. Constitution, during the War of 1812. c. 1815 War of 1812 Era, Handwritten Autograph Poem Signed, "Sarah W. Perry" of Newport, Rhode Island, 1 page, undated, measuring 10" x 8," Fine. Boldly penned in brown ink upon period laid paper and easily legible. Some scattered tone where the paper was exposed after having been folded. Entitled "To the American Eagle." This unique manuscript item is of great historical significance and reads, in part:

"Fly back to thine eyry, and gaze on the sky, From the shame on thy flag, in scorn turn thine eye - Fly back to thine eyry, and dwell with the sun, For dastards would tarnish what valour hath won. Go! forget when thy country, in danger's dread night, First saw thee emerging to glory and light - When high o'er the wild rage of battle and Sea, Thou waved thy bold pinion unblenching and free..."

On May 21, 1803, American Naval Commodore Bainbridge was given command of the ship "Philadelphia" and given orders to join the Mediterranean squadron of Commodore Preble, operating against Tripoli.

On October 31, while chasing a Moorish craft into the harbor at Tripoli, the "Philadelphia" ran aground on an uncharted reef, resulting in the capture and detention of Bainbridge and his crew of 315 until a peace was negotiated in June 1805.

A naval court of inquiry exonerated Bainbridge from all blame in connection with the loss of the "Philadelphia." We believe that this highly complimentary poem was written after the announcement of the court of inquiry was made and before Commodore Bainbridge was exonerated.
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