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FEBRUARY, 1807.
National Defence.

H.of R. and so unobjectionable, that I cannot but persuade whether we shall vest the President with the myself the House will ibink fit to adopt it. power

of

augmenting the navy. I would not do Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said he was extremely this, if I could help it. I regret the necessity of surprised at the observations of the gentleman the measure. But consistently with the economfrom Connecticut. He would have supposed that ical politics of the day, which, like the subtile a regard to decency would have prevented the re- principle of chemistry, caloric, pervades the whole marks made by him in the abence of the gentle- systern, without animating it, we must, consistently man from Maryland. (Mr. Nelson,) particularly with our principles, vote for it. The Legislature op a point to which those remarks had no rele- of the Union will not agree to do anything. Supvancy. The only question before the House was posing that it is true policy to do something io whether they should vest the President of the provide against the occurrence of danger, is it not, United States with the power of increasing the on the belief that danger will arise during the renaval establishment at pleasure. On examining cess, indispensably necessary to vest this power ? the documents before the House, gentlemen would The system of the gentleman from Maryland is find there was this year a much larger sum ap- worse than the ancient system recommended by plicable to fortifications than bad been expended Hudibras, who says, that ihe last year. Of the hundred and fifty thousand

He that fights and runs away, dollars then appropriated only about forty-eight thousand had been expended. Consequently $102,

May live to fight another day.” 000 remained. In addition to this sum would be Whereas, according to the plan of the gentleman found an item of $75,000 in the estimates, to which from Maryland, we are to run away without it was now proposed to add $20,000, making alto-fighting at all. I hope that such a doctrine will gether near $200,000. If the Government could ever be reprobated, and I trust, that whenever the not expend the last year more than $48,000, would subject comes before this House, there will be no dot 200,000 be amply sufficient for the present voice heard but that of political reprobation. year?

Mr. LLOYD said it was not his intention to have Mr. W. said he was decidedly hostile to vesting opened his mouth on this subject. But he had the President with a power to increase the naval always understood that it was indecorous to call establishment at will. Wherefore the necessity up a report in the absence of the Chairman. He of the Naval Peace Establishment, if it was to be would not say that this was improper in the presthus increased in this side way?' Mr. W. con- ent instance. But he professed he saw no necescluded by observing that there 'never had, undersity for it, as the Chairman was expected to rethe former Administration, been proposed a greater turn in a fortnight. But as the subject had been outrage on principle than this.

brought forward, would it not have been decorous Mr. Mosely.- I never before understood that to avoid commenting on the remarks of his colit could be considered indecorous or improper to league, who bad po opportunity to reply?. If, reply to arguments which had been stated upon however, he recollected what had been said by the floor of this House, in the absence of the gen- bis colleague, he did not take the ground ascribed tleman who had advanced them. Had my opin- to him. He had only said, that, rather than incur ion corresponded with that of the gentleman from the expense of completely fortifying the coast, he South Carolina upon this subject, I might per- would give it up, retire into the interier, and'dehaps have spared the remarks which seem to him pend for defence on the militia, who were unso exceptionable; had 1, indeed, noticed or recol-doubtedly the strong defence of the nation. lected the absence of the honorable gentleman Doubtless meaning that he would in the first infrom Maryland, which, if necessary, I could assure stance defend the seacoast as well as he could, the gentleman from South Carolina that I did not and, if necessary, retire into the interior. This until mentioned by him. But, sir, as I entertain was conformable to the babits of his colleague. a different opinion upon the point of order and He had never been in the habit of running from decorum from the gentleman from South Carolina, any man, At the period to which gentlemen had I should consider myself justifiable in making the alluded, he had been among the foremost to defend same remarks in the absence of the gentleman his country, and his gallantry, and the services he from Maryland, as I should suppose myself author- had rendered, ought to have convinced every one ized in making were le present. Nor would the that he would have been the last man to skulk presence of that gentleman, bowever formidable from danger. ihe opposition I might in that case expect to meet

Mr. Lloyd said he was not only decidedly opwith, deter me from submitting such observations posed to the amendment, but likewise to both of as I should consider pertinent to the subject, and the resolutions. He was opposed to appropriating compatible with the rules of decorum in debate. $20,000, because he believed it would do no good. Whether my remarks were relevant to the sub- He was also opposed to the appropriation for ject under consideration the House must decide. gunboals, as they related to an experiment not

Mr. Elliot said he did not think the remarks yet tried. There were already sixiy, for which of the gentleman from Connecticut indecorous. an appropriation had been made. These are a But he thought the remarks of the gentleman from sufficient number with which to try the experiMaryland (Mr. Nelson) could not be reprobated ment. Let us first determine their utility before in too strong terms.

we appropriate large sums of money; until we The question before the House, said Mr. E., is are satisfied of their utility, let us cease any fur

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H. OF R.

National Defence.

FEBRUARY, 1807.

ther appropriation. Mr. L. said it was not his ment in a side way. There can be no doubt but habit to profess confidence in any man. In saying that it will entirely supersede the Navy Peace so, he was not to be understood as saying he had Establishment. It appears to have been thought less confidence in the members of the existing at the last session that the number of vessels and Administration than many of those who talked so seamen now in service, would be sufficient in time much about it.

of peace. If a different opinion is now enter. Mr. Elliot said there was nothing further from tained, let the bill fixing the Peace Establishment his intention than the making a political or per- be revised and altered; but, let us not in this side sonal attack on the colleague of the gentleman. way give a power to the President at his discrefrom Maryland, whom he respected as a man, as tion to call into service our whole naval force. an officer, and as a member of the House.

Mr. Lyon declared himself also in favor of the Mr. Lloyd said he was convinced that the ob postponement. He believed they were in danger ject of the resolutions would be as well answered of a war, and ought to pursue far more energetic iwo weeks hence as at present. For the purpose, measures than those contemplated by the resolutherefore, of affording his colleague an opportu- tions under consideration. nity of defending his remarks, and under a con- D- Mr. Smilie said if he really thought they were viction that he was, perhaps, better informed on to have war, he should think seriously of defendthe subject, than any other member in the House, ing the country. But he did not think that any he moved the postponement of their further con- of the gentlemen who had spoken had given any sideration till Monday fortnight.

reasons for this apprehension. For his part, Mr. Mr. Thomas hoped the resolutions would not S. said, he did not see the least prospect of war be postponed. He could not conceive there was with either of the nations alluded to. If, then, any indecorum in calling up the resolutions in the there was no danger of war, the only thing to be absence of the Chairman; and if his colleague considered was what was required in a state of had not called them up, he should. The period peace. Suppose our fleet was before the harbor of the session was late, and no time could be lost. of New York, and such an occurrence should

Mr. Gregg said he should vote for the postpone- take place as recently happened, was there not the ment, not because he thought it indecorous to greatest probability ihat a war would be the conproceed in this business in the absence of the sequence; that our vessels would have attacked Chairman; but for other reasons. One gentleman the Cambrian frigate, when war would have been has addressed us as though we were on the eve inevitable? On this ground he was averse to arm. of a war.

ing the Navy. He was not, however, at the same Mr. Elliot observed that he had said no such time averse io putting our ports and barbors in a thing.

respectable state of defence. He believed, conMr. GREGG.–The proper authority has advised sidering all circumstances, it would be best to us that our affairs with one of the European Gov- postpone this subject to Monday week. He was ernments with whom we have differences are in averse to so distani a postponement as that named. a favorable train for accommodation. There can Mr. Lloyd acquiesced in this modification of consequently be no such apprehension from this his motion. quarter. With the other country it appears that Mr. MUMFORD.-In the course of debate on this all differences are at present waived." I believe subject in Committee of the Whole, my friend there is no information that the negotiation is from Maryland, whom I respect as much as any going on, but there is no statement that that na- gentleman, and who fought your battles with tion is preparing to attack us. What reason, then, honor to himself, and bears honorable scars in de is there for apprehending a greater danger at this fending his country's rights. I am sure cannot be period than existed several years ago ? It was serious when he advised the inhabitants of our ihen said that we were to have a war with anoth- sea port towns at the moment of danger to fly to er nation, and we began to raise an army, and to the mountains, and leave all to be despoiled by repair our fortifications. Bui the alarm subsided. the invader. I have too good an opinion of that We are now again told that it is necessary to re- gentleman to think he will persist in such sentipair our fortifications. But I believe they have ments. He would, I am persuaded, be among been suffered to go out of repair, because they the first defenders to fly to our assistance; and will not answer the purposes for which they were what would he exclaim if he were told on the intended. For my part, said Mr. G., if we are to road the inhabitanis bad fled to the mountains, be engaged in a war, I am willing to go all the without making the least effort to keep the enemy length of our means. Some years ago when it at bay until their friends in the country could was represented that danger existed, although I come to their assistance! Gentlemen are very entertained a different opinion, I voted, out of def- much mistaken if they think we want expensive erence to the opinions of others, for raising the establishments like a Gaeta or a Gibraltar; we Army and fortifications; and if I thought danger only ask such protection as will secure our exreally existed at the present time, I would vote posed seaports from the sudden surprise of an for the highest sum that has been named, if gen- enemy. tlemen could persuade me that it would answer The gentleman from Pennsylvania, on my right, the end contemplated.

has observed, that we ha no plan, and that it But my greatest objection to the amendment is, was impracticable to fortify New York. Anoththat it is an attempt io alter our naval establish- er gentleman, from North Carolina, trusts he can

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FEBRUARY, 1807.

National Defence.

H. OF R.

a

fiod better methods of disposing of the surplus as the nature of our Government is opposed to a standrevenue than fortifying our ports and harbors. ing army, so much ought we to preserve and make His reasons are indeed curious. He will not pro- perfect the means of raising, organizing, and effectutect his crop, nor even buy a key to lock his strong ally directing the operations of a temporary one.” box, because it will cost him a few dollars and

Before I proceed further with the extracts from cents. I will endeavor to show the gentleman this valuable work, it will be necessary to make from Pennsylvania that it can be defended against

few preparatory remarks. ships at least, if it cannot be from an army. Why we have not bad a more ample plan offered by the celebrated Vauban, as well as Cohorn, are

The system of fortifications recommended by the War Department, in order that we might yote translated into all languages, and show they are understandingly on this subject, I am unable to applicable only to land batteries, citadels, &c., say. The reasons are best known to themselves. against the attacks of an army.' I believe the

I think it my bounden duty to lay before the honor of improvement in marine batteries has House such imperfect information as I have been been reserved for the Marquis of Montalembert, able to collect, and must therefore beg their indul, and it is presumed justly so, as they combine sogence while I communicate the information I lidity with durabiliiy, together with economy of have received from Lieutenant Colonel Williams,

men and money. of the corps of artillerists and engineers, and

From high authority I am informed it has been President of the Military Philosophical Society in contemplation with the French Government of the United States, established under the aus

to demolish all their old marine batteries, in order pices of the Government at West Point, State of to erect new ones after the plan of those recom: New York; a man of solid learning, sound judg- mended by Montalembert. 'In the seven years' ment, possessing a practical knowledge in the war, a British fleet was repulsed off the Isle de military art; and I feel a great satisfaction, after Aix, at the mouth of the river Charonte, on which four and twenty years' acquaintance, to have it is and was erected fortifications partly after the in my power to add my testimony, with numberless others, that he is worthy of having descend- Extract from La Fortification_Perpendiculaire of the

manner of Montalembert. ed from the same stock of the late venerable sage

Marquis of Montalembert: Translated by Jonathan and patriot, Dr. Franklin. He is a practical mar

Williams, Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers. can execute the business he recommends, and whose plans we can safely rely on; there is nothing visionary about him.' I will now beg leave In many instances we have experienced the ineffito read such extracts from the transactions of that ciency of batteries placed along a coast. Hence has society, as appear applicable to the subject before arisen a contempt for this kind of defence among milus, and which, I think, in some measure, may be itary and naval officers; from the imperfection of such considered as an official document:

OF MARINE BATTERIES.

batteries as have been erected, a prejudice has been

established that the fire of ships of war will always “West Point, December 20, 1806. silence that of any batteries they can lie against, and “SIR: In conformity to the enclosed resolutions of that no seaport can be so defended as to prevent ships the United States Military Philosophical Society, I of war from entering it. have the honor of laying before you a summary view It does not, however, follow that this must always of their transactions during the year 1806.

be the case, for we presume that such batteries have “ It cannot be too often, nor too strongly reiterated, hitherto been badly constructed, and indifferently armed. that the best means of preserving peace is to preserve Every kind of warlike attack or defence ought to be undiminished the science of war, combining general completely possessed of the whole force it is capable principles with local circumstances, and modes of de- of: but if batteries are slightly constructed ; if they fence with strength of position. War, by modern im- are not furnished with a sufficient number of guns; if provement, has become a contest of skill rather than greater precaution is not taken with a battery that of force; for mere physical effort, whether produced may be approached by ships of war as near as one by the natural prowess of individuals, or that resulting hundred toises, than with one that cannot be apfrom number, would serve only to render the victory proached within five hundred, the object of such batgained by a small but compact band of scientific sol- teries has not been understood, or these circumstances diers so much the more brilliant.

of position and exposure have not been considered. “There undoubtedly exists, scattered throughout the The construction of a marine battery is not so simUnited States, a great proportion of military science, ple a thing as may have been imagined; a variety of which is fast sliding into oblivion, as the veterans of considerations should guide the engineer in forming our Revolution are themselves descending to the tomb, his plan; the nature of the soil, its elevation, the variand the instructive researches made by many of our ous depths of the water, the direction of the flats, the countrymen in their European travels probably lie courses of the channels, currents, &c., should be taken buried in their cabinets. To collect these treasures into consideration, and influence the position, the prointo one deposit, whence they can be occasionally portions, the form and composition of works of this drawn, as the exigencies of our country may require, kind; for it is not sufficient that they should be themis the great end for which the society was instituted. selves indestructible by a maritime force, they should The importance of this object should be strongly im- also possess the certain power of destroying any ships pressed on the minds of Americans by the considera- that come within their shot. tion that the Europeans, who might become their ene- Therefore the construction of marine batteries ought mies, have been instructed in the most effectual, though to be guided by the following principles, viz: the dearest of all schools-actual war; and as much First. Cannon ball begin to take effect at the distance

H.of R.

National Defence.

FEBRUARY, 1807.

of three hundred toises, eighteen hundred feet; there- angles of each embrasure are but nine feet distant from fore a ship would only waste her ammunition, if she each other, and the opening at the exterior subtends an were to attack a battery at a greater distance.

angle of fifty degrees, the lines of fire will cross at nine Second. It is established, in fortifications, that mus- feet six inches from the summit of the angle; deductketry cannot take effect at a greater distance than one ing from this six feet for the thickness of the wall, and hundred and fifty toises, nine hundred feet.

the distance from the centre of the cannon's motion, Third. Batteries on low ground, and near deep wa- there will remain but two feet eight inches for the dister, should not be en barbette, or without embrasures; tance from the exterior part of the wall to the point of barbette batteries being only proper in situations where intersection of the crossing fires. From the foregolarge ships cannot approach near to them or when ing it appears impossible that even a boat could esthere can be but few guns mounted, and of very heavy cape with impunity. metal, and when it is necessary to point in all direc- Tenth. If a ship were to keep out of the fire of such tions, by turning the carriages on their pivots ; but battery, her distance must be more than three hundred such batteries are much exposed when heavy ships can and thirty toises, as we have shown. Now, at this disapproach within musket shot.

tance no ship, not even a fleet could injure a battery of Fourth. In all cases where an enemy has an essen- this description to any important degree ; and in case tial object to accomplish, and batteries are designed to there were mortars in the battery, the advantage of oppose his progress, it is better to have none, unless such a cannonade would probably be on the side of the they are made stronger than the ships they are to repel; battery. and we think this kind should be made wholly of mason Eleventh. But if the channel were at one hundred work.

and fifty toises from the battery, it would be necessary Fifth. We would, however, establish certain degrees to remedy by its construction the disadvantage to which in this respect; for it must be considered that to defend it is exposed by its position. This is the great object the entrance of a port of any great importance, more of the art of fortification. In such a case the tangent powerful means must be used than to defend any small of the angle of twenty-five degrees would only be sev. harbor, since it is certain that the enemy's attack will enty, and its secant one hundred and sixty-five toises. be in proportion to the magnitude of the enterprise. A ship, then, by getting springs on its cables, in a po

Sixth. The embrasures of seacoast batteries should sition between two embrasures, might be out of the be sufficiently wide to allow the axis of the bore of the sight of either, and, without receiving one shot, might gun, (which we will call the axis of the embrasure,) to attack the post with its whole broadside. It might adform a horizontal angle of twenty-five degrees. Now vance close to the battery, and, by the musketry from the tangent of twenty-five degrees, to a radius of three its tops, might clear the ramparts of every man. This hundred toises in length, is one hundred and forty has been the case in all those instances where forts toises, which determines the space commanded by half have been so easily destroyed by ships of war, and it is the embrasure to this distance. In like manner when this which we flatter ourselves we have completely the ship shall be in a perpendicular line at one hundred remedied in the manner hereafter explained. and fifty toises distance, (the length of musket shot,) Twelfth. Every battery which is liable to be apthe half embrasure will discover a space of seventy proached by large ships at the distance of one hundred toises.

and fifty toises should be built entirely of mason work Seventh. Let us suppose a coast that is in a right and casemated. It should be casemated to be protectline, as well as the flats under water which determine ed from the fire of musketry from the ships' tops, and the edge of the channel in the distance of three hun- of mason work to resist the force of artillery, also to dred toises from the coast. In this case, supposing the permit a nearer position of the guns, and a greater anbow of the ship to be in the channel, at less than one gle to the embrasures. hundred and forty toises from the axis of the first em- Thirteenth. In general, marine batteries should be brasure, it will be seen at that instant along the side of terminated in circular form, so that there may be no the embrasure at three hundred and thirty-one toises point within the reach of cannon shot, where a ship distance, that being the secant of this angle, to a radius might ride without being exposed to their fire; this, of three hundred toises; then this would be the greatest however, is not necessary on the land side. distance at which the battery should fire.

Fourteenth. Such batteries should have several tier Eighth. It is clear from the foregoing, that when a of guns, like the ship against which they are to act, ship is sailing along a coast which, as well as its bat- and the guns should be as near to each other as they tery, is in a right line, it will be exposed from the first are in a ship of war; they should be plentifully supmoment it is within one hundred and forty toises of plied with covered musketry, in points where they can the axis of the first embrasure, until it shall be one be approached within musket shot, and then the ships hundred and forty toises from the last, in addition to and not the battery would have the most to fear from the length of the ship, in every point of that line; and, an attack. supposing the battery to have twenty-four pieces, and Fifteenth. In short, every battery should have a dethe ship to have thirty toises in length, she will have to fence peculiar to itself. It should not be susceptible of pass through three hundred and forty-six toises of con-being, as it were, seized by the throat ; its resistance stant fire, before she can be out of cannon shot. should be in every direction from which an attack is

Ninth. The width of the merlons leaves no space possible, and it should have an imposing artillery on that cannot be seen at the distance mentioned. The the land as well as on the sea side. lines of fire from embrasures that are three toises, or eighteen feet distant from each other, and with an

Note by the Translator. opening not twenty degrees, cross about eight toises These principles are displayed by an annexed plan, and three feet from the summit of their angle; deduct- elevation, and section. In the plan, two towers, with ing therefrom the thickness of the parapet, there will the regular bases, are connected by a curtain at a disbe left five toises from the exterior part, for the distance tance from centre to centre of sixty toises, with lines at which the fire crosses. When the summit of the of fire from the towers in every direction by sea and FEBRUARY, 1807.

National Defence.

H. OF R.

land, while on the latter side it is completely defended | which can be fired from the requisite space in by all the known rules of the art of fortification; the any fortification now existing in this country, towers are covered by a circular parapet, which is without extending that space, and, of course, withbomb proof, and, while it commands all around, it pro- out additional foundation, six guns may be fired. tects all below.

That is, the guns are twice as pear to each other, This plan is upon too small a scale to show the open- and instead of one there are three tiers, all bomb ings for the musketry in the elevation; the number of cannon in a given space may be counted, and it will proof, arched over each embrasure, or rather port be thereby seen that, in ordinary batteries of one line, hole, and capable of containing a complement of when the distance from each gun is eighteen feet, for

men all under cover. In going over a hasty transevery shot such a battery could fire, these towers and lation of part of this work, some inaccuracies curtain would fire six, occuping only the same space of may have occurred, but the observations are beground, and this without counting the cannon that lieved to be substantially correct. might be mounted on the top of the whole. Behind

This plan is presumed to be solid, durable, and every aperture for small arms is an apartment for two proportionate to the end desired; but it cannot be or more soldiers, so that this work is at once a fort and carried into effect without money; and as I have barracks; the section displays the interior, with the always understood money was the sinews of war, arches in profile, according to the lines of vision in per- and as I am not disposed to sit down quietly with spective, and the circular apertures above give free pas- folded arms, despise my enemy, and cry peace, sage to the smoke, which has ample room to spread peace, when there is no certainly how long it may itself among the arches. The representation of a bro- continue, I am for adopting a broad and liberal ken partition discovers the soldiers' apartment. A su- policy, by extending the arm of national defence perior figure describes a detached tower.

throughout the whole Union, and inspire our felThe works of the Marquis of Montalembert, (ten low-citizens with confidence in their Government volumes quarto,) it is believed, have not yet appeared and in themselves, by koowing when and where in English, and the copy from which the foregoing was their arms are to be found; and being prepared for translated, is probably the only one in American hands. war, will be the sure means of permanently securThey were imported for the use of the Military Acade- ing your peace. I do, therefore, hope this House my, and make a valuable portion of its library.

will exercise their own sober judgment, and then I now come to the grand question-What will I am persuaded they will be convinced that the be the cost of this plan of fortification ? Monta- sum of twenty thousand dollars, filled up in this lembert calculates the whole at 2,500 cubic tcises bill, for the fortifications of all our exposed ports solid masonry, which, reduced to our measure, and harbors is totally inadequate to the desired comes very near 25,000 perches--say, that about object-I mean all the ports, because some gentle$160,000 will be sufficient to build a fortification men seem to carry the idea that the appropriation capable of firing one hundred and twenty guns at is for the city of New York alone. I mention this each discharge upon ope and the same object. It circumstance, supposing it might be the idea of cannot be denied that marine batteries, constructo other gentlemen, I was advocating for that city ed on these principles, must unite the greatest ad exclusively. Sir, I disdain such a narrow policy. vantages. The four tier of the courtine, which I have come here to promote the best interests of upite ihe towers, contain 96 pieces of cannon; so this Union, by pursuing magnanimous and liberal that, by including the fire from the towers, a pass- views, and in defending our seacoasts, ports, and ing ship would receive 120 shot at every dis- / barbors, do conceive I am carrying that object charge throughout the whole space it would have into effect, together with such other general measto pass in a right line; the extent of the space, if ures as may appear proper to pursue, and which the ship were at 400 yards, would be 360 yards; if the exigencies of our common country may reat 600 yards distance, the ship would be exposed quire. to such a fire during the time of sailing 512 Shall it be said, and go abroad in our nation, yards. The passage, then, between two such bat- that the Congress of the United States approteries, one on each

side of the Narrows-that is, priated $20,000 to build a custom-house in New between the Reef and Signal hill, is but about Orleans, and only $30,000 in defence of fourteen 1,300 or 1,400 yards, so that, coming with bows in, hundred miles of seacoast, on which are situated and sailing through, a ship would be exposed at ber most populous cities, for the reception of the once to both batteries, of 240 shot at each dis- surplus productions of her soil ; and that the farmcharge-the men all the while covered. It must ers, the planters, and the cultivators of that soil also be considered that no more disciplined troops would not afford protection to their own property would be required than merely to take care of the deposited in those places for safe-keeping and a place and keep it in order, for the militia artillery market? To me it is incomprehensible, unless I companies could answer any supply of men want should indulge the idea that the enemies of your ed, when fighting became necessary. This work peace and tranquillity bave, by their slander sand will be better than any that has hitherto been ex- impositions upon the well-meaning citizens of the ecuted, and if it should prove to be such as we are interior of the nation, represented the inhabitants assured it will be, the grand desideratum of forti- of your cities as actuated by sinister views, and fying our ports with great efficacy combined with thai they only wanted jobs to make money; nothgreat economy will be gained.

ing can be more illiberal, they are friends from It is evident from the plan of such a work, choice, aod from one of the strongest of all mowhich I have seen in the original, that from a gun tives, the mutual interest they have in the pros

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