« PrejšnjaNaprej »
NAVY DEPARTMENT, November 29, 1834. To the President of the United Slales :
Sir, Iolaying before you, at this time, a succinct view of the condition of our navy, and its operations durio, the past year, it afforos me great pleasure to state that its gradual increase and improvement are such as might hape been anticipated from the ample means for that purpose which have been afforded by the liberal policy of Congress.
All the services required of our naval force have been promptly performed; our commerce has been protected in the remote as well as the neighboring seas ; cur national character has been sustained at home and abroad, while a large portion of our naval officers, seamen, and marines, have been kept in active service, under a strict discipline, calculated to fit them for all the duties which may be required of them, whether in defending our property on the ocean from pirates or open enemies, our svores froin hostile aggression, or our flag from insult.
An inspection of our navy yards at Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Norfolk, made in August and September last, in company with the Commissioners of the Navy Board, has afforued me the most satisfactory evidence of our means, in a short time, of increasing our navy to any extent the exigencies of our country may require
The officers in charge of those stations perform their duties with great ability and zeal; the building and repairing of our ships are conducted with despatch and economy; and the ample materials on hand for naval purposes are preserved with the greatest care, and by all the means which science and experience can suggest to prevent decay
Our naval force consists of six ships of the line, and seven frigates now building, for the completion of which additional appropriations to the amount of $1,527,640 will be required-of five ships of the line, two frigates, and six sloops of war in ordinary, requiring repairs which will cost $1,362,000, in addition to the materials on hand for that purpose; and of one ship of the line, four frigates, eight sloops of war, and six schooners in commission; in all, iwelve ships of the line, thirteen frigates, fourteen sloops of war, and six schooners. Besides which, the frames of ships procured, or under contract, for the gradual increase of the pavý, and other materials on hand or under contract for that purpose, will afford the means of bringing into the service, as soon as it can probably be required, an additional force of five ships of the line, eleven frigates, sevea sloops of war, and iwo schooners, the building of which may be immediately commenced on launching our vessels now upon the stocks,
Our vessels in commission during the past year have been employed, as heretofore, in protecting our c..mmerce in the Mediterranean, in the West Indies, on the coast of Brazil, and in the Pacific Ocean.
The ship of the line Delaware, the frigates United States and Constellation, the sloop of war John Adams, and the schooner Shark, bave been thus employed in the Mediterranean; and the frigate Potomac, after her return from the Pacific and Indian Oceans, was repaireit, and sailed on the 20th of last month to join the Mediterranean squadron, from which the frigate Constellation had been ordered to return. This frigate arrived at Norfolk on the 20th instant, The sloop of war John Adams returned to the United States in February from the Mediterranean, aud sailed again for that station in August last, after receiving ne. cessary repairs.
On the West India station, the sloops of war Vandalia, St. Louis, and Falmouth, and the schooners Grampus and Experiment have been employed. The St. Louis returned to Norfolk in July last, where she has been repaired, and from whence she sailed on the 14th instant to resume her station in the West Indies. 'The Vandalia returned in August last to Norfolk, where she is undergoing considerable repairs, which, it is believer, will be completed early next month, when she will return to the West India squadron.
The sloops of war Natchez, Ontario, Erie, Lexington, and Peacock, and the schooners Enterprise and Boxer, composed our squadron on the coast of Brazil. The Erie did not sail for this station until August last. The Lexington returneil to the United States in April, and the Peacock in May last. The Enterprise returned in April, and sailed again for the Brazilian station in July last, in which month the Boxer returned to the United States, and, after being repaired, sailed for the Pacific. The Peacock is now undergoing considerable repairs, and is expected to be ready for sea early in February next.
For our station in the Pacific, the frigate Brandywine sailed on the 2d of June last, to co-operate with the sloops of war Fairfield and Vincennes, and the schooner Dolphin, and with the Boxer, now on her way to that station, from which the Falmouth returned on the 1st of February, and, after having been repaired, sailed for the West India station, in March last.
Our naval force, consisting of commission and warrant officers, pptly officers, seamen, ordinary seamen, landsnien, and boys, amounts tn 6,072; and our niarine corps, under its new organization, will consist of commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates, to the number of 1,283 ; making a total of 7,355.
The dry docks at Boston and Norfolk bave fully answered the most sanguine expectations that were formed of their usefulness. They are now deemed indispensable to a speedy and economical repair of our large vessels. But the two already finished are not sufficient for the purposes of our pavy.
An additional dry dock, at some interınediate point between Boston and Norfolk, would greatly promote the purposes for which our navy is established and maintained. As a site for such additional dry dock, the harbor of New York presents greater advantages than are to be found in any other situation ; among which may be enumerated the great commerce of the place, the facilities which the city of New York affords for recruiting sea men, and for procuring all materials, as well as for employing skilful mechanics and laborers necessary for repairing vessels.
The experience acquired in making the two dry docks already finished cannot fail to be of great advantage in the construction of a third.
I would respectfully repeat a recommendation of my predecessor, that authority be given to construct two or three steam batteries, as the means of testing the application of steam to the purposes of national defence.
It can hardly be doubled that the power of steam is soon to produce as great a revolution in the defence of rivers, bays, roasts, and harbors, as it has already done in the commerce, intercourse, and business of all classes of men in Europe as well as America. This subject has already attracted the attention of the maritime Powers of Europe ; and our honor as well as safety requires that rio nation, whose fleets may come in con. flict with ours, should be in advance of us in the science and a plication of this power, upon which the success of our future wars with them may depend.
Should the power of steam, as a means of defence, produce all the effects inat inay be justly anticipated, it will diminish, in some iustances, the necessity of permanent fortifications on our coasts, by substituting those which may be moved from place to place as they may be wavied, and in our own waters become the formidable engines of attack as well as defence. The beavy and cumbious steam vessels and barterie, with their necessary apparatus and supplies, which may be brought into action
with the most powerful effect by a nation near its own shores and harbors, cannot be transported over distant seas and oceans for the purpose of
Attacking its enemies. Should, therefore, the application of steam become a part of the system of maritime war, it is a consolation to reflect that it will greatly diminish ihe frequency as well as horrors of such war, inasmuch as it will hold out much greater advantages to the defending than to the attacking party, and take from the aggressor in a great degree his hope of surcess, and, of course, his mouve for action.
I can and nothing to what has been frequently urged in favor of a peace establi:hment for our navy ; but musi be permitted to state what has oftev before been stated, that the compensation of the commanders of our ships on foreign stations is altogether inadequate to an honorable discharg- of their duties. They are compelled to incur expenses beyond the amount of their pay and rations, or decline to receive and return civilities unitorinly offered to them on such stations, and upon which our friendly relations with forrigo nations may, in some degree, depend.
The course pursued by our officers, under such circumstances, has been such as national as well as professional pride has dictated ; and,
of course, they frequently return from their tours of service deeply in debt ; one evil const quence of wnich is, that it adds to the inducements of our officers to prefer service on our home stations to service at sea ; whereas the pecuniary consideration should always be in favor of the sea service.
Much inconvenience frequently arises from a want of power to make transfers of materials purchased for the navy, under certain a ppropria. tions, to the purposes of other appropriations, under which they are more imniediately wanted. A power to make such transfers, guarded by limitations similar to those imposed upon the power of making transfers of monev from certain appropriations to others, would save much time and expense in the building and repairing of our ships.
Under the act of the 30th of June last, for the better organization of the United States marine corps, the appointments of officers authorized by the same have been made ; and the arditional number of privates required will be recruited with all convenient despatch.
So much of the military regulations, for the discipline of the marine corps, as were in force at the passing of the act, and not inconsisteni with the same, will continue iv force until superseded by regulation
w bich shall be prescribed in conformity with the provisions of the eighin section of that act.
It is believed that the discipline and harmony of the officers and men of the wavy proper, and of the marine corps, will be promoted by placing the inarine barracks without the bounits of the different navy yards with which they may be connected, This arrangement would create but little additional expense to the government. The marine barn racks at Portsmouth, should it be thought proper to retain them as such. are at a sufficient distance, and might be easily separated from that part of the navy yard in which ships are built anıl repaired, and in which are placed the workshops and stores of that station.
The marine barracks at Boston are Within the bounds of the navy yard, but so decayed and dilapidated as not to be worth repairing, and they occupy a space designated for another purpose in the yard. A situ ation for barracks, sufficiently near the yard, it is said, can be procured upon reasonable terms.
The marine barracks at the navy yaid at New York were condemned in 1826, as unworthy of repair. The officers attached to this station bave been allowed bouse rent in lieu of quarters. An appropriation of $30,000 has been made for the erection of marine barricks at that station, and $6,000 for the purchase of a site for the same: but, as yet, the site has not been purchased, nor se le. ted.
Ai Philadelphia the barracks are within the navy yard, but unfit for use as such, It will be necessary to construct new barracks at thai station.
At Washington, the barracks are not within the bounds of the navy yard.
At Norfolk the barracks are within the bounds of the navy yard, but inadequate to the accommodation of the force required there. Besides, they are inuch out of repair ; and the commanding officer has been necessarily allowed house rent in lieu of quarters.
At Pensacola, no permanent marine barracks have been prepared. The officers have been allowed house rent, a ad lhe men have occupied temporary buildings. It is proper here to observe that the plans of the navy yards, prepared and approved under the act for the gradual iniprove. ment of the navy, make no provision for barracks within the navy yards, except at Portsmoutb.
Under the first section of the act concerning naval pensions and the navy pension fund, passed the 30th of June last, fourteen pensions to widows have been renewed, and thirty-seven original pensions have been granterl, in pursuance of the provisions of that act These constitute a heavy charge upon that fund, and require for their payment, annually, the sum of $16,062.
Under the second section of that act, the sum of $141,303 80 has been reimbursed to the fund for the cost of the stock of the Bank of Columbia, heretofore purchased by the coinmissioners of the fund, with interest thereon from the period at which said bank ceased to pay interest to the time of reimbursement One hundred and forty-one thousand three hundred dollars of the amount has been vested in the stock of the Bank of the United States, as authorized by the act of Congress of the 10th July, 1832 The state of this fund will appear by documents anvexed.
'The nun ber of invalid pensioners is two hundred aud eighty seven, Should all of them claini, which is improbable, the amount required for their annual payment will be $23,321.
The number of widou pensioners, including those under the act of the 30th of June last, is one hundred and vine ; and the amount required tor their annual payment is $24,023—making the avnual charge, according to the present pension roll, $ +7,254.
Fum tne acci unt of stocks, bereunto a vnexed, it will appear that the income of the fund arising from those stocks, and others to be purchased by excess of money on hand, will be about $70,000 per annuin.
It is believed, therefore, that the fund will be sufficient fir all the ascertained clajn s opin it, under existing laws; and the surplus of next year, which may be estimated at from fifteed to twenty thousand dollars, w:ll, it is presumeii, be enough to meet the ordinary increase of pensions for several years.
Of the privateer pension fund, the act of Congress of the 19th of June last, revived five years' pensions to widows of officers, seamen, and marines, slain or lost on board of private armed vessels.
In twenty-eight cases brought to the notice of this department under this act, more than five years had elopsed from the date when their former pensions expired They being sustained by satisfactory proof, were settled in the office of the Fourth Auditor, and the accounts certified by the Second Comptroller of the Treasury. The amount to pay these ac covuts was $15,480. Under the act, twenty sıx pensions were renewed; of which, ove espired on the 10th day of October last, and one on the 28th instant. One will expire on the 4th of March, four on the 1st of
Fibruary, and nineteen on the 1st of January, in the year 1935 The payments ou thege, to the ist of July last, amounted to $11,995 20; and the sum required, lo complete five years' pension to each, will be $1.320 80
lu ansition to the above, there are thirty-four invalid pensioners ou the roll, and the sum necessary to pay them will be $3,016 00 per annum.
It will be seen in the aunexed statement that the amount in the Treasury on the 1st instant, to the credit of the fund, was $ 1,261 46 Stock owned by the fund
$16,828 51 After paying the claims that have as yet been preferred under the act of the 19th June last, and it is believed that but few additional claims under the act can now be brought forward, it is estimated that the food will be sufficient to pay, for four or five years, all the invalid pensions now chargeable to it.
From the statement annexed, it will appear that the amount to the credit of the navy hospital fund, on the first instant, was $35,559 04. The increase of the fiind arising from deductions in the settlement of accounts in the Fourth Auditor's office will be nearly $16,000 per annum The expenditures for several years will probably not exceert $13,000 per aonum This will leave balances not wanted for current expenses. The