Slike strani
PDF
ePub

all midshipmen, whether passed or not, aster suitable relaxation under leaves of absence, to attend on ove of the naval schools for further instruc. lion in the studies, and proficiency in the duties, belonging to their profes. sion 1 is intended to employ them there tot only in appropriate reading, nautical observations and recitations, but in forming a more practical acquaintance with the several materials used in the construction and equipment of vessels, and with the manner of preserving ihem, and of applying theni in building and repairs. A due portion of their leisure will also be devoted to the performance of such servi es, connected with our most important naval stations where the schools are established, as will be useful to the public, and at the same time advance them in a more thorough knowledge of the active duties which may soou devolve on them in higher and more responsible situations. Excepting these variatious, the civil establishnients at the yards, and abroad, have not been inaterially altered during the year. It will be sern that the whole expenses of the persons connected with them have been considerably reduced, and are now annually about $130,000. This does not include the wages of ordi pary laborers, as these are more properly charged, according to their employment, under other heads, which will hereafter be considered such, for example, as repairs of vessels, improvements åt yards, or building o hospitals.

The only material change proposed in the civil list for the ensuing year, is a small addition to the very low compensation of some of the Irleris at a few of the yar is.

The remaining persons belonging to the naval establishment are the various officers and seamen of the navy. The general conduct of these, the past year, has been highly commendable. The very small number of courts martial, it is believed, have arisen from an improving spirit of harmony in the service, and from a mild but form and uniform system of discipline. Seldom has the health enjoyed on every station been better ; and ihe superior condition of the medical corps, as well as of the hospitals, exercises on this subject a very salutary influence.

The number of officers in the different classes hus generally been kept within the estimates. It is proposed to continue the number much as it now exists There are now quite as many captains aud surgeons as can be usefully employed; the former having been increased about one-third. and the latter one-fourth, durmg the list ten years. The e are somewhal more lieutenants and midshipmen than might be deemed indispensable, the foriner within that time having been incre,sed about one-half, and be alter one-fourth ; though, in making this comparison, it is proper to state final, previous to 1824, all these classes had occasionally been more numerous than they were at thut period But, in relation to the two list classes, no reduction from the estimates of last year is contemplated. It is considered that, on a pence establishment, they ought to possess ample

and valuable materials for any sudden or large increase of the higher classes, which ang national emergency may at any time require ; while nothing is found to prove more injurious to older officers, than to be

placed in a conditiou where un further incentives to improvement by an ticipated promotion exist, and where the classes they alreally fill contaja so laige a puinber as to permit many years to elapse without the possibility of putting them all on active duty, uule:s at the expeuse, incover

euce, and injury of more frequant changes of the superior officers in stations and squadrons, than the public interests appear to justily.

The whole number of naval officers ar this time, including those under warrants as well as commissions, are about 1,000 and oår whole annual expenses of every kind, for their maintenance, is about $850,000, or, on an average, about 9850 for each officer. These expenses have not been fiocreased during the last ten years, except what has been caused by the addition before mentioned to the numbers of some classes of officers, and the augmentation in pay in 1827 to passed midshipinen, in 1828 to surgeons and their assistants, and in 1839 tv lieutenants. In the mean time, fof late years, more useless officers have been placed on half pay, and some large allowances reduced. But no further essential reductions in these particulars cais, in my opinion, be effected, without injury either to individual officers or to the naval service. Whatever has been accom. plished by myse.f.on this subject, and on the requirement of a more equal portiou of laborious duty from all officers of similar rank and date, who were not invalids, has often caused to me' much pain; but it has been prompted by a strong sease of the equal justice due to tho officers themselves, and of the inanifest propriety in this department of seeing that all those under its administration perform services for the public, when prace ticable, in some degree proportionate to the compensation they receive.

It is hoped that I may not be deemed importunate in once more urging on your attention a topic far more grateful to my feelings. I have long| entertained a decided opinion that the coinpensation to some classes of officers ought to be increased. It is certaio that more equul justice would be a warded to all, that services at sea could more easily be obtained, that greater cheerfulness and alacrity in the performance of duty would be evinced, and a higher grade of qualifications in some subordinate slations could be commanded, if the whole subject of pay was revised, and the compensation graduated in a fairer proportion among different ranks in the navy, and to similar rauks in tne army; and if there was provision made for a larger and marked discrimination between duly afloat, aud leave of absence or waiting orders on shore. Such a discrimination formed a prominent feature in the act of Congress, passed April 21, 1806, and which regulated pay as now esta clished." But that discrimination, amounting to oue.half of the whole pay, was virtually abolished by a rule of this department in 1819. During the continuance of the small coinpensation to some classes of officers, aod after so long a practice under that rule, with the yearly sanction of Congress, by means of the esLinates and corresponding appropriations in conformity to the rule, 1 have not felt at liberty to alter it. Further details on this subject, at this time, are not deemed necessary, as they have fully and recently been laid before you in a special report from this department, ou a resolution of the Senate, passer at the last session of Congress.

The whole number of seamen in the navy, including all the different giades, does not vary inuch from 5,000; and the annual expenses ". their pay, rations, and enlistment, are not far from $1,130,000, or, o an average, about $226 for each seamap. These expenses are sınall. aud indicale great popularity in the service, when we advert not only t. nur facility in obtaining good seamen, but to the high rate of wages, the past year, in merchant vessels, and to the great cost of this class of per.

erminent.

sous in the navies of some countries, where labor is generally much lower

than in the United States. These expenses have not been increased the last ten yearé, escept by an augmentation of about one third in the whole number of seamen, arising chiefly from an increase of our force in con mission. The complement of men to each vessel might advantageously, in some respects, be lesseved, and the whole expenses, on account of thein, be thus reduced, were it not considered of vital importance, in so sınall a navy, to have all our ships afloat as perfect as possible in every particular conducive to their efficiency, and to the reputation of the Gov

It is expected that a laudable pride will they be telt and en. couraged by all connected with the service, on a comparison of the condition of our own ships with those of other nations; and that the moral torce of our navy, as a mdoel for a larger one when wantell, as likely to vindicate its country's rights and honor in war, and protect its commerce in peace, will always be much greater with a small qumber of vessels afloat, built of ine best materials and in the best manner, supplied with the most approved equipments, commanded by well educated and well disciplined officers, and navigated by full crews of hardy and contented seamen, with the whole ready on any emergency for immediate and efficient action, than with double the number of vessels half manned, and in olber respects defectively provided. Every improvement iu oui materials, whether timber, corduge, or cannon, in our yards, docks, or harbors, in our hospitals or asyluins, will add strevgth to this moral force,

and better prepare us for any future conflict in which the violence or injustice of other nations may involve us.

In connexion with this part of the service, it is deemed proper to present some remarks concerning the condition of the marine corps. The subject of its allowances, in addition to pay, was not specially noticed by Congress the last year'; though in that way it has of late been customary to regulate them. But under a belief that the omission probably arose from accident, I have not interferred to revise the difficulues which have so long existed under that head. It will, however, be considered my daty, the ensuing year, to investigate, and attempt to adjust them, if not otherwise provided for.

The communition of the whiskey part of the ration while the marines are at sea, has been extended to this corps; and the army regulation en. tirely abolishing that part has been applied to their rations while on shore. The whole expenses of the corps, independent of the erection of barracks and officer's quarters, are yearly about $190,000. The expen ditures for such erections, on an average for the last ten years, have been about $5,000 annually. The quarters, authorized at Philadelphia, have been completed; but the comfort and proper accommodation of the men require new barracks at New York. The estimates for this purpose, and for the support of this corps are herewitn submitted.

The examination of the state of the pensjoners upon the navy pension fund, as those enjoying its privileges, who have been, or are vow, in the service, or where connected with those once in it, inay also be deemed to come properly under the head of persons attached to the navy. Though the annual expenditures from that fund are about $33,000, yet the fund 11 self did not spring from the public treasury, except as derived from prizes captured by our public vessels. It was not till lately that its disbursements were classed with the navy expenititures : and now the only yearly expense this fund and its administration here impose on the Trea. sury, is the portion of time they occupy of the head of this department, aod of one clerk. Its annual incoine now excceds the annual expenses about $20,000; and, during the past year, rules have been prepared, and the benefits of this surplus extended, as originally contemplated by the act of Congress creating the fund, so as to embrare those officers and seamen wh!, without being wounded, have during long and faithtul ser. vices, been visited by infirmities entitling them to relief.

Five persons, coming under this description, have been added to the pension list, and are allowed suitable clothing, food, and medical attendance.

The num: ber of pensioniers, under this and the other provisions, is 298.

The condition of the privateer pensioners, placed uniter the exclusive administration of this department, has not essentially changed during the year. The fuod for their relief, like that for navy pensioners, does not come from the Public Treasury, and its management is no charge upon that treasury, except in the particulars before mentioned. As the whole of this fund was derived from captures by privateers, it has been deemned expedient to exhaust it in the support of those visabled, and of pro jer persons connected with those whose bravery and enterprise made the captures. It has, therefore, become gradually reduced to $44,667. The annual charge on it at this time is about $3,000, exceeding considerably the annual income, and thus, in due time, carrying into effect the original policy of the system. For further particulars about these two funds, reference can be had to the annexed statements.

On a review of the entire personal branch of our naval establishment, it will be seen that its annual cost, not including the marine corps, is about $2,000,000, and of that sum about $1,964,000 is an annual charge on the pub.ic treasury. Considering the size and usefulness of the whole naval establishment, it is believed that this part of it, at the present time, bears a judicious and economical proportion to the whole, except in the particulars heretofore enumerated. Should improvenients be made in these particulars, I am satisfied that the number and compensation of the persous employed both ou the civil list and in the navy, will be found to be such a's to ensure the due care avd preservation of the public proper. iy, to furnish officers and men sufficient for the present protection of our commerce and rights abroad, and to niaintain ainong all classes a state of discipline and activity indispensable to efficiency in the discharge of ordinary duties, and to a supply of suitable candidates for promotion in the extraordinary exigencies of the future.

The deaths, dismissions, and resignations in the service, since my last report, may be seen in the tables annexed.

When we advert to the other subjects connected with :he navy, anu more especially to what may be considered as belonging to its materials, it is deemed proper to notice first the employment and condition of our public vessels. Those in commission have consisted of one ship of the line, four frigates, eleven sloops, and seven schooners. They have been distributed as usual on four foreign stations, keeping up a grealer inter

course than formerly with the western coasts of Portugal and Africa, and with the adjacent Islands, extending our cruises into various parts of the Indian Ocean, and making the West India squadron act somewhat more as a home squadron, by requiring a portion of it to visit twice annually some of our Allantic ports. By properly regulating these visiis, much exposure in the two most dangerous months in a tropical climate is avoided, and great facilities are obtained to furnish necessary supplies, to relieve parts of their crews, and exchange officers, as well as to have wearer at hand, during those visits. vessels in commission, which if any emergency should occui, may be despatched at once on any distant or importanıt service. Efforts have bern made to relieve seasonably all our vessels which hare been more than two years abroad. The Fairfield and Vincennes have been sent to the Pacific to succeed the Potomac and Falmouth ; the Natchez and Ontario to the Brazilian station, in place of the Lexington a d Warren ; the Experiment to the West Indies, in place of the Shark ; and the Shark and Delaware to the Mediteranean, io place of the Concord, Boston, John Adams ,a pd Brandy wine. lu making these changes so early as to prevent the expiration abroad of the service of our searen, much discontent has been avoided, though this system has becessarily subjected the departnient to sone additional expense, by hav. ing occasionally, for short periods, double sets of vessels afloat attached to the same station. But it has enabled us to perform our engagements faithfully with their crews, and to keep up u more regular and constant force on each station for protection At the same time caution has been taken to guard against an increase of our whole expenditure for the current year beyond the appropriations connected with this subject.

All these squadrons have beeu actively and efficientiy employed, and it gives me great satisfaction to state that our commerce in all quarters of the globe wild probably never known to be more free from menaces, danger, or actual violence

'The estimates for the ensuing year are for the same aniount of force as was authorized the past year, consisting of about 530 guns, and distributed in such a proportion among vessels of every class belonging to our service, as to combine the greatest efficiency, for naval purposes during peace, with the soundest economy. Few will deem that force either too large or extravagant, when it is considered that our foreign commerce, exposed on the ocean, exceeds $100,000,000 in imports, and almost an equal amount of exports, with vessels exposed in their transportation of over Jalf a million in conpage, and probably twenty millions in value, and when it is remembered how much the security, not only of those vessels and their cargoes, but of their numerous crews, and of other classes of our citizens resident in some countries abroad, depends upon our navy being actively and widely distributed. On this point it may be well to reflect further how safely that navy enables us, not only to send to new and the most distant markets, and thus to give increased value to the sur. plus proceeds of our agriculture, manufactories, and fisheries, and to obizin in returo whatever may conduce to comfort, improvement, or wealth; but what protection and enhanced worth it confers on most of our inn. mense coasting trade, how much our national reputation abroad is every where known and appreciated by it, the respect it inspires, the security lit yields, and the weight it affords in all our claims of justice, and vegofuations with semj barbarous nations, and how justly it may be apprehended that ie w pecils will ere long a wait a portion of our trade, and the tranquillity of a part of our maritime frontier, from the operations of

a

« PrejšnjaNaprej »