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a wew course of legislation by some foreigo Powers concerning an unfortu. oate portion of their population, and against which perils, as well as against the ordinary aggressions and piracies in peace, and much of the depredations which may threaten us in war, the navy, from the insular situation of our country as to most of the world, must always bo regarded as our great safeguard.

The facilities for the examination and repair of our vessels have been inurh increased the past year by the completion, in most respects, of the two dry docks, and the expenses in refitting the classes of larger vessels will thereby become sensibly reduced.

The present policy of this department is to launch no more vessels of the same size with those in ordinary, until the latter are worn out. But it is proposed to build from time to tine, and protect on the stocks till vanted, such new vessels as Congress may authorize to be constructed, because in that condition their timber will improve rather than decay, and the expense of taking care of them will be trifling compared with that of vessels in ordinary. This course has been adopted the past year with the Macedonian, now building. It is recommended as sound policy that authority should be given to procure the frame for another sloop to be called the Levant, after the consort so'gallantly captured with the Cyane ; and the frame for another frigate to be called the Paul Jones, in grateful memory of one of the earliest, bravest, and most distinguished commanders in our naval service during the revolution The estimates for the purchase of these are submitted, ($50,000 )

Framès could not be bought for vessels of these nainos, under any existing laws; and the timber, if procured and seasoned, whether soon set up or not, would become more valuable, being sheltered under either our present excellent sheds or ship houses, and live oak probably becoming scarcer and dearer as our southern frontier is cleared for cultivation.

The vessels in ordinary, and on the stocks as well as the frames for others in depot, have all been examined, and found 10 be in a god state of preservation, except a few of those in ordinary. Some of these are defective, by their long continuence afloat before being covered, soune by their great age, snd some by their origmal imperfection of their timer. Those unworthy of being refitted, are used at times for receiving ships, and the rest, as wanted, are placed in a proper state to go into commission for the relief of other vessels returning from long cruises, and needing extensive repairs. As vessels afloat grow older, their repairs must f necessity become more expensive. The cost of all repairs of all our vessels the past year has been about $580,000 During the last ten years, the repairs have been on an average about $500,000 annually.

A table showing the vessels in commission, with their commanders and stations, is submitted. The names and condition of those in ordinary aud the stocks may be seen in the documents annexed.

Proceeding from the vessels to the materials used in their construction and equipment, not much has occurred the passed year deserving notice. Some additions of valuable and durable articles have been made to our various stores on hand at the time of my last annual report. All these stores, and especially the timber in the docks and under sheds, are in good condition, and means have been taken to ascertain and supply any deficiency in any article not perishable which may be wanted for the

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building and perfect equipment of every vessel on the stocks, and every frame in depot As more timber may be needed, or thought proper to be purchased in advance, our means for the supply of live oak, it being the most important species, have been fully investigated and discussed in a special report to Congress from this department during the last session.

Referring to that for detailed information on this point, I would only add that subsequent examinations in some of the then unfinished districts have fully confirmed the impressions entertained concerning the great quantity of live oak timber on portions of the public lands in those districts. In respect to the other kinds of timber needed in shipbuilding, the Government has made little public provision, and doubts exist whether it willbe necessary to make any further puplic provision for its growth or preservation while the prices continue so moderate, and the resources of the country in such timber are likely for many years to remain so very abundant.

The election of two new magazines where none before existed, is proposed the next season, and an estimate for that purpose is submitted, ($24,000 ) Connected with this, a thorough inspection has been made, not only of our present ordnance stores, but, as previously mentioned, of all our arms on hand, with a view to the sale of such as is defective or unsuitable, and to the procurement of what may be found necessary to produce uniformity and the greatest power in our future armaments. The usual sum of about $10,000 has been expended for the purchase of such ordnance and ordnance stores as the current wants of the service required. The buying and manufacture of iron tanks for all our vessels

in commission are in rapid progress under the late appropriation for that purpose ; and should Congress sanction the making of our own cordage, as heretofore asked, and as now again proposed in the general estimates, the equipment of our vessels would soon become, throughout, all which the friends of the service could desire, for health, safety, efficiency, and national reputation.

After much deliberation, the department has become convinced that the building or purchase of two store ships for the Pacific station, to be used in the transportation and the preservation there of supplies of all kinds, would promote sound economy, and increase the comforts of our

An estinate for the procurement of one the ensuing year is sub. mitted, ($40,000) We are obliged to pay freight for these supplies, heavy duries either on their being landed or reshipped, and large rent for storehouses. The duties are a burden from which we are almost entirely exoneraled under similar circunstances in other quarters of the world. The proposed measure would relieve us from them as well as the other charges, and the store ships, by going out and returoing separately and alternately, would afford great facilities to exchange or bring home invalid officers and seamen, without incurring the expense of their passages in merchant vessels from so distant a station.

The construction of two or three small steain batteries, for reasons heretofore recommended, is still deemed highly important to our future interests ; and too long delay in making further experiments, and in ac. quiring further science on this subject, in our naval service, may on the sudden occurrence of hostilities, place us in a position not a little mortiPrying to our pride, and hazardous to our welfare.

seamen.

The different navy yards are essential portins of our naval establishment, connected with its materials. The condition of most of them has been improved the past year, either by new buildings for officers' quarters, or new store bouses and timber sheds, or new wharpes and other conveniences.

The two dry docks at the yards near Norfolk and and Boston having been successfully completed in all essential ticulars, the details on that subject will be found in the report annexed. This report shows tho whole expenditure the last year, not only on that subject, but on all others under the head of gradual improvement. From the great advantages already realized in the ease and rapidity of repairs in vessels at the yards where these dry docks are situated, I am satisfied that others would be found very beneficial. Surveys were formerly had for two more, one at New York, and one at Portsmouth; and a report in favor of those two was once made and approved in the House of Representatives. Much can be urged in favor of the former place, ou account of its central position, and great resources for repairs, stores, seamen, and workmen; and of the latter place, on account of the low price of labor, small cost of constructing a dock, and the easy access to it by vessels of all classes at all seasons of the year. But whether one, or both, or neither, shall be selected at this time, is submitted to the proper authority, on a review of the whole subject It must be obvious that the relative importance of different stations must undergo changes as the capacities of different quarters of the country become more fully developed ; and that some places now employed as naval depots can be of very little use on the occurrence of war, while the positions of others, when that event may hep pen, will greatly increase their usefulness. Among the new places

which, on such an occasion, if not earlier, the interests of the country may require the Government to occupy for naval purposes, will undoubtedly be Newport harbor on the north, and one or more positions on the long range of coast to the south, between Norfolk and Pensacola. Whether last selection should be made pear Charleston or avanuah, at Kpy West or the Dry Tortugas, each of which possesses advantages for such pur. poses, can be better decided when the time and circumstances occur rendering immediate action necessary. The continuance of Pensacola, as a naval station seems to me judicious. This opinion arises not only from its convenient position as to the whole Gulf of Mexico, but its proximity to the mouths of the Mississippi and Mobile rivers, whose great and grow

ing commerce is so amply entitled to the best protection. In the depth and size of its bay, in the excellent defences at its mouth, in its healthy situation, in its easy access to all our vessels except of the two highest classes, Pensacola bas no prominent rival in that neighbourhood. The correspondence and documents annexed are submitted, to aid yourself and Congress to judge of the practicability and propriety of deepening! the entrance to the bay, so as to adinit vessels of the largest class. This it is supposed, can be effected at a small expense compared with the im portance of such a measure to the full operations of our navy on thad coast, and to the greater security and strength of our southern maritime defences.

The exchange of lands at the yard near New York, authorized at the last session of Congress, has been carried into effect. The controverted

claim of the heirs of Mr. Harris to a part of the navy yard near Boston, bas once been laid before Congress, and a new action having been insticuted by then against the commander of that stations, as will be seen by the letter annexed, such course will be pursued in its defence as Congress may be pleased to direct.

Some new pretensions have been set up to different parcels of land included in our possession and purchases at Norfolk, but their justice can. not be recognised on the facts known to the department ; and those mak. ing them have been inforned that no steps can be taken for their adjust. ment, unless the parties previously obtained the sanction of Congress, or a judgment in their favor by the courts of law.

The expenditures on all the yards the last year, exclusive of the dry docks, but including houses, sheds, stores, wharves, enclosures, work. shops, marine barracks, and incidental la hor, have been about $360,000. The expenditures on the dry docks are chargeable to a distinct appropriation for gradual improvement, and were about $180 000. The other

expenditures under the last head were about $150,000. The estimates {for the usual objects at the yards, the ensuing year, are about the average amount for the last two years. Besides those objects, they. include an extra sum towards the erection of ropewalks, in conformity with the plan adopted by Congress in 1827, and yet the whole amount requested towards these and all other improvements at all the yards is only $354,000

Immediately connected with the subject of our yards, is that of our naval hospitals and the naval asylum. Under the appropriations lately made by Congress, new hospitals have been commenced near Pensacola, New York, and Boston, on retired and healthy sites, combining great convenience and beauty. The plans of these have been formed on a scale suited only to the present wants of the service, but capable of easy and appropriate enlargement hereafter, whenever our necessities may require it. An additional sum will be needed to finish them in the manuer proposed, and to make further progress in the hospital before built at Norfolk. Such expenditures have been made the past year on the latter from the general hospital fund, as coului well be spared, and as the comforts of its jomates seemed most urgently to demand. It is much larger than our present necessities require, and therefore it is not proposed to finish the whole interior of it; but the exterior of this hospital is now chiefly completed, and has becoine one of the most beautiful and useful public buildings belonging to the Goveroment. The naval asylum at Philo adelphia has been finished, and partly furnished. Buy it is much regretted that the department has not been able to obtain à cession of jurisdiction over it without reservatious that render the cussion wholly nugatory. Besides retaining the usual power in the State to execute criminal and civil process, the reservations subject it to, and it actually is burtened by, the assessment of large taxes, which are paid froin the hard earnings of our seamen , and an unlimited right is retained to cut up the properly by new streets. Furtner effo: ts are now making by the department to obtain relief from these onerous tases and liabilities, so disadvantageous, it not fatal to the success of this public and charitable institution. Should these efforts fail, all the correspondence and documents in the case will be submitted, in orier that such legislation may be had as the whole circumstances connected with the subject shall be bought in requires

The general condition of the hospital fund may be seen in the statement before referred to.

The ordinary purchases of medicines and surgical instruments for use in hospitals and yards, and in vessels afloat, are included under a specific appropriation, and are about $35,000 yearly The pay and subsistence of the surgeons and assistant surgeons attached to the hospitals, are provided for under the general appropriation for uavy officers. The other annual expenses of our hospital establishment, inuependent of buildings, furniture, and repairs, are about $1,000. These are defrayed wholly froin assessments on the sea men and officers. From the same quarter come all other resources for the establishinent, with the exception of such appropriations as Congress have made, from time to time, to aid in erecting and furnishing buildings. These last appropriations have been made but seldom, and have within ten years amounted to a sum which would be on an average about $22,150 annually: and for the same purposes during that period, the fuod has furnished, from its annual increase and former accuinulations, about $45,000 annually. Should Congress grant what is now asked, more will probabiy not be waited for many years. In immediate connexion with the yards, hospitals, and other real estate, belonging to our payal establishment, is the live oak plantation Being situated only seven miles from our most Southeru yard, it has the past year been placed under the same general superintendence. The purchase of the land, and the cutting and removal of the underwood and common timber from about 200 acres of the plantation, had been accomplished before the charge of this department was placed in my hands. It seemed to me judicious, in that state of things, to attempt to preserve any benefits aleady attained or fairly anticipated, by continuing to destroy, a few years longer, the annual growth of other wood injurious to the young live oak trees, to trim and train the thristiest new ones appearing, and to employ merely the leisure of the hands so engaged, in exleuding this process to more of the land, From 200 acres of land, and 22,000 live oak trees, in which, in 1829, the above system had been applied, it has siuce 1631 been so continually extebiled, that the nursery has become enlarged to 225 acres, and includes over 60,000 trees The expense at. tending this has been about $1,200 a year: but should any considerable

portion of the trees ever reach maturity, and attain a size suitable for ship building, the government will be amply repaid. As the trees grow larger, the annual expense concerning the same number will rapidly diminish. Doubts exist whether some of them, from the poverty of the soil, and their appareutly dwarfish character, will ever attain a valunble

size. But it is now too early for forming a decisive opinion on the extent to which the operations of these causes inay affect the whole plantation : and, under existing circumstances, sound policy appears to require thas the experiment, having gone so far, should be allowed a further and full trial The neurness of the plantation to the Pensacola yard, and to waier transportation, enhances inuch the palue of any timber it may produce. Lately, I have not only placed this land uoder the general Superintendence of the commander of that yard, but required his parricular acid constant vigilance over the live oak reservations in all that regioo of country. The whole agencies, heretofore connected with our live oak, have, as !

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