SEN. AND H. of Reps.]

Documents accompanying the President's Message.

[21st CoNG. 1st SEss.

April, 1818, is, “there shall be a Surgeon General, with a salary of two thousand five hundred dollars per annum;” evidently intending to render this a salary officer, with a fixed and certain compensation. The act of the 80th of March, 1814, provides, “that the Physician and Surgeon General of the army, be entitled to two rations per day, and forage for two horses.” At this time the compensation given, was also twenty-five hundred dollars a year, The subsequent act, however, of 1818, fixing and re. gulating the peace establishment, says nothing of perquisites or emoluments; and is hence to be considered as a revocation of previous enactments upon the same subject. There is nothing which, by a fair construction of the law, would give the Surgeon General an allowance for fuel and quarters, which it is believed would not equally apply to the Paymaster General, to whom it has been refused. The words of the law are, as to both, the same. The compensation to the Paymaster General, as fix. ed by the act of the 24th of April, 1816, is as follows: *The Pay Department shall consist of one Paymaster General of the army, with the annual salary of two thousand five hundred dollars.” The allowance ought to be extended to both, or else withheld from both. It is difficult to conceive how, upon any proper ground, a difference or distinction in those cases can be made; inasmuch as the laws couferring their pay are, in substance, and almost in expression, identical. Another course, which, for a time past, has been pursued, arises under a regulation declaring certain bureaus connected with the War Department to be military posts; the effect of which has been to increase the nnmber of admitted rations, and, of consequence, the amount of pay. By the regulation of 1825, it is provided “that double ra. tions shall be allowed to the commanders of departments, and of such posts and arsenals as the War Department shall authorize.” o It is not presumable, that places where mere civil duties are required to be performed, merit to be denominated military posts; or were so intended by the law. A different opinion and construction, however, have prevail. ed, and the definition “post” has been extended to the several bureau officers connected with the War Department, and double - rations attached and commuted for. The construction thus given has not been altered: it is still retained; not from a belief that it was strictly correct, but that, having been heretofore acted upon and sanctioned, it was preferred to be left for the determination of Congress, that, by some further act of legislation, it might better be defined, what, for the future, should be considered a proper definition of the term; or by being J. over in silence, to suffer the present understanding to prevail. The regulation adopted is not conceived to be in conformity with the acts of Congress upon this subject. These speak of an increased admission of rations to officers when “commanding;” evidently intending such allowance, when they should be in the exercise of a military, not a civil trust. If then, the law does not authorize it, the regulation of the Department certainly ought not: for, although authority is coneeded to the Secretary of War, with the President's approbation, to adopt for the Army, rules and regulations, it should not be intended as a privilege to exercise legislative power. Such adopted regulations must be in conformity, not in opposition, to existing laws. To guard against all unforeseen contingencies as to the pay of officers, I would suggest, if it would not be preferable to regulate the compensation of the Army on some fixed and certain basis, so that all should be. come salary officers. The facilities which such a course would afford to the accounting officers of the Treasury would be great, while an essential benefit would result to the officers themselves. To them it would prove

ing items of account disallowed or suspended, as by different disbursing officers different opinions and conclusions, as to existing laws, are entertained, has not failed to introduce difficulties to the Government, and oftentimes embarrassment to the officers. By attaching to each grade, from the Major General, a salary certain and specific, dependent upon no contingency, happier results would be attained, and greater satisfaction produced to those who are interested. The only contingencies of payment authorized might be for stationery and postage; and for transportation, when proceeding under special orders from one post to another, with the authority which already pertains to the Department, of assigning, at particular osts, an allowance of increased rations, thereby to equalize, in some degree, the expenses of living; it being an item greater at some places than at others, and which, on principles of justice, should be placed upon some ground of equality. A tabular statement from the Paymaster General, is annexed, showing the amount of o: brevet pay, and emoluments, that are annually received by officers in their respective grades, as information and data by which to regulate the allowance of salary, should it be considered expedient. From the report of the head of the Engineer Corps, it will be perceived that some amendments and changes are proposed. I beg leave to say, that, as regards the objects of national defence, the suggestions offered are worthy of high consideration. In improving the navigation of our rivers, bays, and harbors, constructing roads, and, above all, erecting those important fortifications which are to constitute the future defences of the country, this corps forms an essential reliance. Intelligent and skilful, these branches of service have been confided to them, and the fidelity of execution every where displayed is a manifestation of their worth and value to the country; added to which every, thing of safety and strict accountability for funds placed in their hands, is constantly regarded to the entire satisfaction of the Department. The same remark, however, and in equal justice, is applicable to all the disbursing officers connected with the War Department. If it be the pleasure of Congress that the important internal improvements of the country shall continue, and a desire correspondently is possessed that those authorized works shall progress creditably to the spirit that projects them, there is no plan to be suggested preferable to an enlargement of this corps, to the extent that the entire reliance of the Government for all such objects may be on their exertions. At present, the number authorized is altogether insufficient to the objects requiring attention, to say nothing of the numerous and frequent applications from the States to be afforded the benefit of . their services, and which the Department, owing to the paucity of their numbers, in repeated instances, have been constrained to refuse, when every disposition was felt to accord to their request. ** This report minutely presents the state, condition, and progress, of the different fortifications which have been projected in Congress. By some error of estimate and fact, the appropriation of last year, for the completion of Fort Jackson, on the Mississippi River, has fallen short of the object; and inconveniences will be felt unless an early appropriation can be proeured. Discovering that the funds would prove insufficient, it was, suggested to the Department, and brought to your consideration, if a portion of the utiexpended amount set apart “for the repairs and contingencies of fortifications,” might not be transferred to the head of “fortifications" generally. This, however, was refused, on the ground of authority wanted. It is now submitted for the purpose of receiving an early appropriation, that, before the sickly season on the Mississippi commences, the work may be in progress; otherwise, it must stand deferred, and be greatly retarded

more satisfactory. The practice, so prevalent, of hav

for another year. ** o

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

jealousies, and disagreements, and contests, are to be expected to come upon us. Prudence to avoid, and preparation to meet, such a state of things, when rendered unavoidable, are demanded by a proper regard to our safe. ty and our institutions. , Men can no more become soldiers intuitively and by instinct than they can attain to a knowledge of any other profession in life. Insormation must prepare, and experience qualify, in all situations. At this Institution, the genius of the young men of the country will dawn and ripen, and the value of their services be found in moments of greatest peril. But, besides this high and estimable consideration, it may be looked to as one of the strong bonds of our union. Two hundred and sixty young men associated for a time, with all those attachments created which early friendships inspire, cannot fail to secure, for the future, increased strength and durability to the Government. Here education, and good con.duct, and military discipline, are regarded; and while the mind is led forward and trained to useful thought, all those high feelings which constitute an honorable sense of propriety, are cherished and regarded. At no period has the institution been in a more flourishing condition. Col. Thayer, the efficient Superintendent, aided by professors of liberal endowments, zealous in the performance of the high trusts, confided to them, are pressing it forward to a state of advancement, of which presently the country will ..have cause to be proud. Some additional improvements, suggested as necessary by the Superintendent, and which will involve but a slight increase of expense, are desirable, aud will prove beneficial. The necessary explanations as to what is proposed, will be found to accompany the ap plication.” A reference to the report of the chief of the Ordnance will show the particular details of operation in that branch 9f the service: it merits attention, It has been frequently observed that the best way to avoid war is to be in preparation. In this point of view it is desirable that the loop. to be made for clothing our fortifications should correspond with the probable periods of their completion. It would, indeed, be a mortifying result, if, after the labor and cost which have been encountered for their completion, it should rest in the power of an enemy, at the onset of war, to seize or destroy them, because the means had not been placed in readiness for their defence. From the report it will be perceived, that, at the present annual rate of appropriation, to wit, $100,000, sixteen or twenty years will have passed before a proper supply of arms for those fortifications now in progress can be obtained for their defence. As regards this subject, the course most advisable to be pursued would be, that the armament preparation should progress correspondently with the works themselves; not that they should be mounted, and, by exposure to the weather, become decayed and useless, but that the guns, being at their positions, and the carriages in readiness, on the apprehension of war, suitable preparation for resistance might, at all defensible “points," appear, meeting the objects for which those fortifications were designed, and yielding protection to the assailable parts of the Union. If, in the slow and gradual preparation for a necessary and adequate armainent, at present pursued, sixteen years o be

found requisito, and war within that period take f. a consequence would be, that some of our forts, built up at great expense, would be destroyed, because incapable of self-defence; or else, by being retained and armed, be used by the enemy as annoyance and injury to ourselves. A measure involving such important considerations should not be protracted in its execution: it carries with it, in foreboding anticipation, too much of probable evil consequence. This subject derives additional interest from the cousideration that guns and carriages require time in preparation.” they are things that cannot be hastily arranged, and which to defer might prove prejudicial. At the different arsenals and magazines an abundant supply of powder is in store. . Considering its liability to injury, rather than keep up the supply, it would be preferable to procure the materials of which it is composed, ready to be manufactured when circumstances shall make it necessary. These articles are now remarkably cheap, and are easily preserved from deterioration. Recollection retains the fact, that, during the last war, the average price of saltpetre was about forty cents, and brimstone eight. Involved in another contest, the same state of things might be: presented, while, at present, those ar. ticles can be procured at one-eighth the prices which, of necessity, had then to be given. Being susceptible of ready preservation, it would prove a matter of economy to forbear any further purchase of powder, contenting ourselves merely with obtaining an adequate supply of ingredients, whenever it could be procured at fair prices. The materials thus preserved and in readiness could, at short notice, be manufactured whenever occasion should make it necessary, The Quartermaster General's report to me will be found to explain fully the business under his supervision. For reasons sufficiently explained, the disbursements by him have exceeded the appropriation made for the service of the year. The causes which occasioned this condition of things, were, that a portion of the funds intended for 1829, had, necessarily, to be applied to arrearages of expenditure incurred in the preceding year of 1828, for which no estimate had been submitted and no provision made. It became necessary, therefore, to provide means from some other legal source; accordingly, a transfer of fifty thousand dollars from the Subsistence to the Quartermaster was made, agreeably to the provisions of the act of May, 1820. By the act of March, 1809, it is required that a special account of moneys transferred, and of their application, shall be laid before Congress in the first week otheir session. To do this, from the recent date of the transaction, will be impracticable. All that at present can be communicated is, that a portion of the transferred fuud has been placed in the hands, of the Assistant Quartermasters; though to what particular objects its application may be made can only be known when a settlement of expenditures in the present quarter shall take place. The deficiency thus incurred admonishes that an enlarged appropriation for this branch of the public service will be required for the year 1880. Indeed, such is the character of this service, dependeut-on so many circumstances, and on such various coutingencies, that estimates in anticipation of the year cannot be rendered with precise accuracy. The present condition of the Breakwater at the mouth of the Delaware, the Quartermaster General's report will explain. A desire was entertained, and a confidence reposed, that, ere the close of the season, this important and valuable work, so essential and so necessary to the com: merce of the country, would have been in a more rapid state of advancement. The contractors, however, have fall. en considerably short even of their own expectations. Dif. ficulties at the onset, which they had not foreseen and which it was not in their power, as they allege, to remedy,

have retarded their progress so considerably, that not more SEN. AND H. of REPs.]

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Documents accompanying the President's Message.

[21st CoNG. 1st SEss.

than a fifth of the quantity of stone contracted for has been delivered in the present year. The difficulty of presenting accurate and certain estimates, is alike applicable to a proper execution of the duties of the Commissary General of Subsistence. For that service they are to be made in reference to contracts previously entered into. These, however, fail occasionally to be executed, and then it devolves upon him to purchase, whereby increased prices and enlarged expendi. tures are iucurred. In this service there are peculiar hardships, frequently resulting to citizens, which are without any adequate remedy, because no sufficient discretion to o relief is ally where given. The proposals made, and contracts entered into, are always in reference to the probable prices of provisions in the market; and, the better to understand this, they are usually made early in autumn. Nevertheless, provisions, and especially flour, are often subject to sudden and considerable appreciation, thereby inducing pecuniary losses, and not unfrequently ruin the contractor. The Government should not so severely exact upon an unfortunate contract made with a citizen, as to compel him to ruin, when accidental cause, and not misconduct, has occasioned the failure, but should repose a discret on somewhere, by which relief night be afforded in cases of such peculiar and serious hardship. • A suggestion from the Surgeon General of the army is, that the medical staff does not contain a sufficient number of surgeous and assistants to perform properly the neces. sary and required trusts; and an enlargement of the corps is suggested. Although there are fifty-two, yet, from occasional furloughs, sickness, and other causes, it often hap. pens that, for the supply of a post, a citizen surgeon has to be employed, producing an aunual charge upon the Government of 8 or $10,000. The proposed enlargement would not entirely, yet would in some degree, prevent this. Recruiting rendezvous, and sickness to officers, when not in reach of an army surgeon, will, under any state of things, occasion some expenditure of this description. Alo: posts are numerous, and, possibly others may require to be established for protection to the frontiers al) security of the revenue. The custom-house receipts at Key West, and the inability of the inhabitants to protect it from some piratical assault, may suggest to Congress the propriety of placing a military defence there. On the Calcasu river, too, near the Sabine, another post recently has been directed, to prevent, in this wilderness region, illegal importations, which, in that direction, are anticipated and feared. Other causes may arise to make it uecessary for more posts to be created, and hence to afford employment to a greater number of assistants and surgeous. Connected with the army there is a subject which merits some consideration, Our officers on distant service, particularly those on our Indian frontiers, are often called upon to execute trusts, arising under general acts of Congress, and sometimes by especial orders directed to them. For supposed infractions of the laws, suits and exemplary damages are oftentimes the consequence. It is generally understood that the damages to be assessed, are not to be paid by the officer, but by the Government. As a suitable remedy for the evil, might it not be advise: able to extend the authority of judicial interference in all cases where the interest of the United States may appear to be involved, that, under proper restrictions, they may be brought for consideration before the Supreme Court, without regard to the amount in controversy The effect would be to prevent those frequent suits with which our officers are annoyed. If an intrusion is made upon Indian territory, a supposed trespass committed, or the United States found in possession of lands adversely claimed, no matter how, damages seldom fail to attend the prosecu

tion. Instances of the kind have recently occurred, and,

to prevent them for the future, legislative authority should be extended, that, under an exercise of proper discretion, such cases may, in disregard of the amount in contest, be submitted to the Attorney General, to be brought before the Supreme Court for decision, if he shall conceive that there is error in the decision and proceedings, * There is another subject, heretofore stated to you, which it may be proper to suggest for the information of Congress, that such measures as shall be considered adviseable, may be adopted. A long time ago, at an early period of our history, the Seneca tribe of Indians, situated in the State of New York, placed in the hands of the President of the United States, in trust $100,000, That, trust, through the several Chief Magistrates of this country, has been executed for the benefit of the tribe, by being from time to time vested in stocks. In 1826, it was invested in the three per cent funds, amounting to $112,853 78, which yields an aunual interest of $3,885 60 cents. On applying, as your Attorney in fact, for the dividend, I learned that the proceeds of the stock had heretofore passed to the credit of the Indian appropriation fund; and that, from the same fund, the sum of six thousand dollars had been paid anuually to the Senecas. Not feeling myself at liberty thus to act, or to do more than receive and pay over the actual dividend arising on the stock, I forbore to do so until you were consulted. Your opinion being ascertained, I received and forwarded to the agent the actual amount of the dividend, with instructions to make to the Indians the necessary explanations on account of this diminution. It is difficult to impress them with a correct conception of this matter. They cannot bring themselves to understand wherefore they should now receive less for their money than has formerly been the case. Of dividends and Government stocks, they know nothing. It is for Congress, then, to determine if, as heretofore, the six thousand dollars shall continue to be paid, or that amount only which is the dividend resulting from the principal vested in trust for their benefit. If the former course be concluded upon, the sum of $2,614 40 will be necessary to be appropriated for the next year, and a like sum on account of the deficieucy of the last. - * The communication from the Pension Office presents the number of Revolutionary and Invalid Pensioners, and the deaths which have occurred with each during the year. Of the former the number is 12201, of which four hundred and one have died; and 3,794 of the latter, of which forty-one have died; being one out of thirty of the former, and one out of ninety of the latter. The amount appropriated for revolutionary purposes, in the present year, has fallen considerably short of the demands upon the Government. For the present it is estimated at $50,000, though, most likely, it will exceed that amount. A deficiency appearing at the so in September last, the President of the United States' Bank, Mr. Biddle, voluntarily came forward and tendered any advance. necessary to meet the deficiency, and thereby enabled the Government to fulfil their engagements to those claimants of the Revolution. Soon as the precise amount thus voluntarily advanced from the Bank can be ascertained, through a report of the particular deficit at different agencies, a statement will be submitted, that it may be repaid through an early appropriation. It will be necessary, the fund being completely exhausted, to appropriate generally, for this object, at some early period of the session, that remittances may be made to distant parts before March next, and disappointments to the pensioner on the Government thereby guarded against. A regulation was found to have been o in the War Department, which conceded the right of being entered as a revolutionary pensioner, in all cases where the applicant should show that he was worth less than $960. his promised greatly to swell the list. Having been, 21st Cong. 1st Sess.]

adopted late in December, 1828, information of it was obtaining circulation and currency through the States, and applications were fast presenting themselves. In March, that regulation was revoked, upon two grounds: first, that the appropriation for the payment of pensioners would be insufficient for those who, previously to that or der, had been admitted; and, secondly, that the regulation appeared to be of a character which none but Con. gress had a right to make. # The laws respecting, invalid pensions require revision. As they now stand, and under the constructions given to them, he who at any time has been in the army, and can obtain a certificate that his ill health, or state of infirmity, is consequent upon some sickness or accident, happening to him while in service, or on duty, no matter of how remote a date, is entitled to a pension. Men, at distant [...". from the expiration of their service, become ind, and it is reported that, in consequence of being stationed at some particular place injurious to vision, the ill effect has been produced; they sink into consumption, and it is traced to a cold caught while in service; in such cases, the recognized precedents go to establish the right of the party to be o on the list of pensioners. If this shall continue to the interpretation given to the laws upon this subject, the list of invalid pensioners must continue greatly to increase. Whenever a soldier is dis. abled by wounds received in battle, or through an acci. dental injury occurring while actually in the discharge of his duty, a just claim arises that his country will support him; but those consequent disabilities, which are carried back to probable, and uncertain, and remote causes, should not be considered within the provision and authority of the law, nor are believed to have been so intended. During the summer, two Western Military Posts, which had previously been established, were abandoned. The troops at Cantonment Towson were instructed to retire upon Fort Jesup. The reasons which induced this mea. sure were, that being above the Raft on Red River, and not convenieutly to be approached by water communica. ...tion, in the supplies to be delivered, considerable expense was created to the Government. This, certainly, was not a matter of consideration, when the safety of the frontiers was to be affected. Upon this head, however, nothing of apprehension was entertained, and the result, since its reduction, has fortified the truth of the anticipation. The established posts, at Cantonments Jesup and Gibson, it is believed, will afford an ample guarantee for the pacific deportment of the Indians in that direction. Cantonment Leavenworth, situated at the mouth of Little La Platte, was also reduced. The experience of several years had taught, that health to the garrison could not be maintained. It was accordingly removed to Jef. ferson barracks, and some of the healthy companies of the 6th regiment ordered thence to the Santa Fe road, to give protection to our Western traders, with directions to retire in the Autumn, and take up their Winter's residence at this post, where, in the Spring, they will again be in readiness to proceed upon their western line of march, to afford protection to the traders with Mexico. Thus acting, there will be a greater security for health, while a better effect will be produced upon the Indians, than from their remaining stationary at any point. This

overland trade, carrying with it many articles the product ||

Documents accompanying the President's Message.

of our country, and bringing back in exchange the gold and silver of Mexico, promises to be valuable, and merits some attention on the part of the Government. The confidence inspired by the furnished escort, induces a be. lief that the trade will prove beneficial. It is shown, by recent information received, that the return of those traders to the United States will bring in exchange, in the present year, for what was taken out, at least $200,000

in specie.

many instances, - uce considera

(SEN. and H. of REPs.

I would suggest the propriety of granting a discretion to this Department, to supply a portion of the troops, stationed along our Western borders with horses, that, being well equipped, they might act with more efficiency. so men would afford a securer protection, and give rise to a more salutary effect upon marauding parties of Indians, and towards 3. tribes themselves. Garrisons can produce little else than a moral effect: for, being stationary, they cannot easily restrain lawless parties from mischievous acts. Familiarly acquainted through the forest, and active in retreat, they find little difficulty in practising, when disposed, their outrages, and avoiding pursuit af. terwards. A knowledge from circumstances before them, that they could be overtaken, would stay them from aggression more effectually, and at the same time create but a slight addition to the expenditure of the Army—a matter scarcely worthy to be considered, in reference to the benefits most likely to be produced to our frontier and its inhabitants. -

As regards the Indian tribes within our limits, it is important to them and ourselves that some definitive plan should be adopted to maintain them as a People, wit all those principles of courtesy and justice suitable to their condition, and which may be in our power to extend. Experience proves, that within the States they cannot remain. Serious difficulties have threatened to arise out of this subject, and greater ones may in future be anticipated. . The States will not consent for their limits to be occupied by a People possessed of savage habits, and who claim to exer: cise the rights of government, independent of any control but their own.

A country beyond the Mississippi, better adapted to their habits and pursuits, and where they will be entirely free from all State interference, is the place they should retire to; not through any compulsion to be exercised, but by a course which shall satisfy them clearly that it is for their interest they should do so, and that their happiness requires it.

T. better plan can be thought of than that the United States shall put in operation such a system of Indian protection and government, West of the *: as that a confidence may be reposed, that they are indeed our fostered children, and the Government not only so ...' to consider, but practically to evince their good fee ings towards them. Åt present an objection arises with the weaker tribes. They are indisposed to emigrate, from an apprehension that powerful and stronger neighbors may op: press them, and that no surer protection can be obtained from the United States, in the W. than is possessed already where they reside. To remove such apprehensions will {. of importance.

I beg leave to suggest for your consideration, if an Indian Territory, without the range of the Western States and Territories, might not be advantageously created; and to give efficiency, and to inspire confidence, military posts, under some able and discreet officer of the Army, to be designated at some central and convenient point. Intrusions from the whites might thus be restrain. ed, and the Indians maintained in quiet with each other. Laws for their general government, and to preserve"peace amongst the tribes, to be the act of the United States, with a right to the Indians, in Council, to make their own municipal regulations.

The displeasure of Individual chiefs, and the exciting their young men to maraud on neighboring tribes, to be provided against by prohibiting any war to be commenced unless it should be 3. in general council, and with the knowledge, and in the presence of the Governor, or his authorized agent,

Those Indian differences usually find their origin in light and trifling matters, which timely remedies could, in

revent, but which, if neglected, often

o difficulty, and to us, expense in re

[ocr errors][merged small]

SEN, AND H. of REPs.]

Documents accompanying the President's Message.

[21st CoNG, 1st SEss.

storing tranquillity. Accident or design may bring about a conceived or real wrong; retaliation is the consequence, which, being again imitated by an adverse party, present: ly ripens into matters of serious consequence. As moral influences can be productive of little benefit to minds not cultivated, it will be prudent and necessary to arrange to the best advantage the physical force of the country. Justice to the inhabitants of our frontiers, and humanity to the Indians, will be more certainly attained, by creating a sure impression that every outrage will promptly receive a proper requital. That interference, and that assertion of authority, which this, as an independent country, has a right to exercise over dependent tribes within her limits, maintained steadily, and with strict regard to justice, may effect for this unfortunate race of people all that philanthropy can suggest, or good men desire.

Nothing promises security to these people so effectually as their emigration. Within the States to the South, computing the four tribes—Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws—their numbers will fall little short of seventy-five thousand. Removing them in small detached parties, as heretofore has been the case, renders the operation a matter of greater expense than is seemingly necessary. If the expediency of inducing them to a change of homes, and to place them without the range of the States, shall be determined on, a large appropriation will be wanted for the object, to be placed at the disposition of the Executive; and then a hope may be cherished that this desirable object may be attained. But, with partial appropriations, and partial ends accomplished, it must re. quire a tedious time to bring about the final result, and will involve an increased expenditure to the public.

For the details of operations connected with the Indian Department, during the present year, I beg leave to refer to the report from the officer of Indian Affairs, which ac companies this commutfication.

Very respectfully,


December, 1, 1829.

To the President of the United States:

The Secretary of the Navy respectfully presents the fol

wing report: lo o: §. force of the United States, which has been kept in active service during the present year, has been composed of the different squadrons employed in cruising on the stations heretofore assigned them.

The squadron in the Mediterranean has been continued in that service, with the exception of the Delaware 74 gun ship, and the schooner Porpoise, which have been withdrawn, the latter having been represented by the commanding officer to require extensive repairs. The return of the Delaware was decided on under a belief that the present state of our political and commercial relations in the Mediterranean did not require the employment of a ship of this class in that sea; that all the necessary pro: tection could be given to our commerce by frigates and smaller vessels; that these promised to be more efficient in the pursuit and capture of such vessels as might be expected to assail it, and were less liable to suffer from the dangers of the Mediterranean navigation. The Constellation frigate and the sloop Ontario were accordingly ordered to join the squadron; the former conveying to England and France the newly appointed Ministers to those countries. Information has been received of the fa. vorable execution of these duties. Our Ministers have been landed at their respective points of destination, and these vessels, it is presumed, have, before this, assumed their stations in the Mediterranean squadron.


It is to be regretted that instances of insubordination have been manifested among the officers of this squadron. Courts Martial have been necessarily resorted to, and some of the refractory have been sentenced to temporary, and others to permanent dismissal from the service. It is gratifying, on the other hand, to know, from authority entitled to confidence, that the general conduct of the of. ficers of this squadron has been such as to preserve, among the States and Sovereignties on the Barbary coast, the favorable opinion of the American character, which had been earned by the gallantry and honorable deportment of their predecessors. The Naval force under the eommand of Commodore Ridgely, and ordered to cruise on the West India station, consisted, in the early part of the year, of the sloops Fal. mouth, Hornet, Erie, and Natchez, and the schooners Grampus and Shark. Several acts of piracy having been reported to have been committed in A. month of February last, the Natchez, which had returned to the United States for repairs, was ordered to rejoin the squadron. After cruising a few weeks, and there being no reason to apprehend a recur. rence of these depredations, she again returned to the United States, and has since sailed to Colombia, taking out Mr. Moore, the United States' Minister to that Govern. ment, whence she was ordered to proceed to Rio Janeiro, to convey to the United States Commodore Creighton, whose command had been transferred to Commodoré Cassin. This vessel was also required to afford a passage to Mr. Harrison, the late Minister to Colombia, on his return to the United States. The recent invasion of the maritime frontier of the Mexican States, by the forces of Spain, having led to apprehensions that our commerce, in that quarter, might suf. fer by the encroachments which belligerents are so ready to make on neutral unprotected rights, the Peacock was equipped, and, taking out Commodore Elliott, to relieve Commodore Ridgely, was ordered to repair to the scene of these renewed hostilities. The Erie, which had also returned for repairs, sailed soon after to rejoin this squadron. It is due to the late Commander, Commodore Ridgely, to say, that, as far as the means had been afforded him, he has kept his little squadron employed with vigilance and activity; and, on a late occasion, this has been gallantly demonstrated at Tampico, in the firm and prompt course pursued by Master Commandant Norris, in the rescue of the property of one of our countrymen from the grasp of unjust power. For the last few months, except in the case just referred to, no information has been given to this Department, of any new act of piracy or aggression on the commercial rights of the nation; but there can be no doubt, that a relaxation in the policy lately pursued, would be followed by an immediate repetition of these depredations. The squadron on the coast of Brazil and Buenos Ayres has been maintained to its usual extent, and has been varied only by the interchange of relief ships for those which had performed the ordinary routine of duty. The presence of this squadron, small as it has been, has probably obtained, for the commercial interests of our country, a security which would not have been granted to defenceless merchantmen. Peace having taken place between these two nations, nothing is to be dreaded by our merchant ships from an interference with belligerent privileges. Yet many reasons forbid the diminution of our naval force on these coasts. The annually increasing commercial intercourse between the United States and these countries, calls upon the Government to be prepared to multiply the means of its protection. Many complaints have been made by certain officers of this squadron against each other, of oppression on the one side, and of insubordination and neglect of duty on the other. The parties charg.

« 上一頁繼續 »