Perry, John

, captain, a celebrated engineer, the secondson of Samuel Perry, of Rodborough in Gloucestershire, gent, and Sarah his wife, daughter of sir Thomas Nott, knt. was, in or before 1693, lieutenant of the Montague; which about that year coming into Portsmouth dock to he refitted, he exerted his skill in the improvement of an engine for throwing out a large quantity of water from deep sluices in a short space of time. In 1695, he published “A Regulation for Seamen; wherein a method is humbly proposed, whereby their Majesties fleet may at all times be speedily and effectually manned, and the Merchants be more readily and cheaper served, without having their men at any time pressed or taken away; setting forth the great advantages that will accrue thereby to the king, merchant, and subject in general, whereby these islands will be more secure and happy, the king’s revenue considerably be eased, trade in general be quickened and encouraged, and every individual subject receive benefit thereby, in lessening the price of all naval commodities; wherein is also proposed, a method or nursery for training up of Seamen to supply the loss and decay of them in time of War: as also, the giving hereby equal liberty and advantage to all seamen, removing many hardships that they now suffer under, and giving them many encouragements that they do not now enjoy. By John Perry, late Captain of the Signet Fire-ship, now a prisoner in the Marshalsea, according to sentence of a late CourtMartial. To. which is added, a short Narrative of his Case relating to his loss of the said ship in company' of the Diamond Frigate, in September 1693,” 4to. By this pamphlet it appears that he had been sentenced to a fine of 1000l. and to ten years’ imprisonment. In 1698, when the Czar Peter was in this country, being desirous of engaging some eminent artists, Mr. Perry was introduced to his | notice by the marquis of Carmarthen, and by Mr. Dummeiy surveyor of the Navy, as a person capable of serving him on several occasions, relating to his new design of establishing a fleet, making his rivers navigable, &c.; and he was taken into the service of the Czar as comptroller of the marine works, at a salary of 300l. per annum, with travelling charges, and subsistence-money, on whatever service he should be employed; besides a further reward to his satisfaction, at the conclusion of any work he should finish. After some conversation with the Czar himself, particularly respecting a communication between the rivers Volga and Don, he was employed on this work three successive summers; but not being properly supplied with men, partly on account of the ill-success of the Czar against the Swedes at the battle of Narva, and partly by the discouragement of the governor of Astracan, he was ordered at the end of 1707 to stop, and next year employed in refitting the ships at Veronise, and in 1709 in making the river of that name navigable. After repeated disappointments, and fruitless applications for his salary, he at last quitted the kingdom, under the protection of Mr. Whitworth, the English ambassador, in 1712.

After his return he published < c Ttfe State of Russia under the present Czar; in relation to the several great and remarkable things he has done, as to his naval preparations, the regulating his army, the reforming his people, and improvement of his country; particularly those works on which the author was employed; with the reasons of his quitting the Czar’s service, after having been fourteen years in that country. Also, an Account of those Tartars, and other people, who border on the Eastern and extreme Northern parts of the Czar’s dominions; their religion and manner of life. With many other observations. To which is annexed a more accurate Map of the Czar’s dominions than has hitherto been extant," 1716, 8vo.

In 1721 he was employed in stopping the breach at Dagenham, made in the bank of the river Thames, near the village of that name in Essex, and about three miles below Woolwich, in which he happily succeeded, after several other persons had failed in that undertaking. He was also employed, the same year, about the harbour at Dublin, and published at that time an answer to the objections raised against it. A publication by Capt. Perry on these subjects is thus entitled, “An Account of the | Stopping of Dagenham Breach; with the accidents that have attended the same from the first undertaking: containing also proper Rules for performing any the like work, and Proposals for rendering the ports of Dover and Dublin (which the author has been employed to survey) commodious for entertaining large ships. To which is prefixed a plan of the levels which were overflowed by the Breach,” 1721, 8vo. Upon this project 1600l. had been spent by the author of “An impartial Account of the frauds and abuses at Dagenham Breach, and of the hardships sustained by Mr. William Boswell, late undertaker of the works there: in a Letter to a Member of Parliament,London, 1717, 8vo.

Capt. Perry was elected a Member of the Gentlemen’s Society at Spalding, April 16, 1730, to which Society was communicated his original Map or Chart of the Sea Coasts. He died Feb. 1 I, 1733, and was buried in Spalding church, where an inscription on a slab erected by his kinsman and heir William Perry, of Penshurst in Kent, preserves his memory. 1


Nichols’s Bowyer. —Hutton’s Dictionary. Preface to his State of Russia,