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for each. In these estimates are separately laid the Report itself. Nor can I say which would be down the cost of 'warrant officers' stores for a the less excusable—the real existence of the er. cruise.' So astounding is the contrast here pre-travagance and abuse here indicated, or the presented, that lest your readers should think I make sence of error, and the misstatements of facts in a mistake of a figure, I extract for their satisfac- such a document as this. tion the estimates themselves :
“ Notwithstanding,” says the Report, “ the diffBoatswain's stores,
$250 00 culties (shortness of time allowed, and want of Carpenter's do.
200 00 clerks] of ascertaining facts with the precision Gunner's, do.
150 00 which is desirable, the present Reports are believed Master's, do.
250 00 to be substantially correct in all cases where the
cost of either building or repairing a vessel is $850 00*
given, when taken in connexion with the modificaHaving their armament, this then is a little over the tions or additions which are specially noticed in sum that should be charged under the head of “ord- the remarks which are immediately connected with nance and warrant officers' stores for a cruise,” to each of them." those vessels, whenever they come to be repaired.
There are no modifications or additions' noticed And the second time the Boxer is repaired, she is in connexion with this, or any of the statements charged $583 43—but when the Enterprise comes here reviewed, that have not been mentioned also. to be repaired her second time, she is charged
The subject is a dry one; and I have been to$6,716 66 for them; an advance of upwards of dious, Mr. Editor ; but for that fault I throw myself seven hundred and ninety per cent. on the proper on the kind indulgence of your readers—for I wished first cost !
to afford them a practical demonstration of that Under the head of Labor, in the Report, are two irresponsibility, which they have so often heard alcolumns, one showing the aggregate number of leged as an objection to the Navy-Board. I also “days' work” employed to build or repair a ship, wished to show its defective organization, by printthe other showing the aggregate amount that was ing out the want of all system and order in mach paid for labor. Thus, to build the Delaware, it of the business with which it is charged, and even took 143,980 ‘days' work,' at the aggregate cost of in its every-day operations. Since 1831 three mil$211,626. This is volunteer information, but very lions and a quarter of dollars have been expended valuable, because, dividing the cost of labor by the on Navy-Yard improvements, and by direction of number of • days' work,' we are enabled to determine the Board, but in what sums, upon what objects, the mean rates which the government pays for labor where, and in what proportions, this Report informs by the day, at different times, and at the different the Senate, that the Commissioners have not the yards. Thus the price of labor for repairing the means of knowing. All that these officers can say
, Delaware at Norfolk, was in 1828, $1 49 per day; is, that there has been so much appropriated for the in 1833, $1 38; and in 1838, $1 50. In 1833–35, Navy-Yards, there is now but so much in the Trea for repairing a sloop-of-war, it was, at Boston, sury—and therefore what is missing has been es$1 60 per day; at Portsmouth, New-Hampshire, pended—at any rate it's gone. Vessels are built $1 48; and at Philadelphia, $1 58. At New-at twice the sum they ought to cost-they are reYork, for repairing a sloop-of-war in 1834, the paired at twice as much as it takes to build the price paid for labor was $1 50; and for repairing labor to repair costs three times as much as the the Constitution at New-York and Norfolk in labor to construct—the same articles for one ship
, 1838–39, the price charged for labor is $18 98 cost four or five times as much as their duplicates a day! Here is the oficial statement, sir ; make for another-it costs twice as much to repair ontthe calculation for yourself: 1,561 days' work cost nance and stores for a ship, as it takes to buy $29,627 64. See page 5 of the Report. them--for the white man and the black, for the
This statement is put forth to the Senate of the common laborer and the mechanic, $18 98 is United States, backed and endorsed by three Com- charged as the average price that has been paid modores, and the Secretary of the Navy himself. Were it derived from authority less weighty and been made responsible; and as far as I know, the
per day, for hundreds of days' work, and no one has imposing, I should discredit it entirely. Not mean- official and authoritative question, “ why are these ing to reflect upon those officers, I should, had it things so ?" has never once been raised. Where appeared in any document of a less extraordinary then is the responsibility? character, still say, there must be some mistake in
The Navy-Board has been in existence for more the matter. But so redundant of wild and extrava- than twenty-five years. During that time nearly gant statements is the Report under examination, one hundred millions of dollars have been approthat if we reject from it, as false, every thing that is priated for the Navy. Vast sums of money hare irreconcilable with our ideas of good husbandry of been expended in building, equipping, repairing public moneys, but little indeed would remain of and fitting ships for sea-upon provisions and * See H. R. Doc. No. 14, 2d session, 21st Congress.
stores, upon implements and munitions of warпроп other objects and for other purposes; and all me, states the actual cost of the North-Carounder the direction, control and supervision of the lina 74, to be $537,773 45—of the Delaware Nary-Board. Plain business men would say, that $627,680—and $654,810 44, as what would have the accumulated experience of so many years ought been the original cost of the Ohio, had no repairs long ago to have been hung round the walls of that been necessary. office, in tablets, showing at a glance for all classes of The 'hull and spars complete for a frigate, are ships, the proper cost, and proper quantity of every put down in the estimates at $153,475. The whole article of every kind used, from the keel to the cost of the Potomac is not stated in the Repori truek in building, and from a great gun down to a she cost though, it tells us, $231,013 02—“prinseupper-nail in fitting out that when a ship was cipally for the hull; the returns for other parts built, or fitted for sea, the actual cost of every ar- incomplete.” tiele on board, would have been referred to its tabu- At page 900 of the same volume of papers before lated value on the wall; and that any considerable referred to, are more estimates. On the 20th Janvariation of prices, would at least have attracted uary, 1824, Mr. Crowninshield reported a bill for attention, if not investigation. But, sir, it is not building ten of the eleven sloops-of-war that are menmy purpose to show what the Navy-Board ought tioned in the Report under examination. The folto be; I aim to show that it ought not to be at all. lowing extract is from the Report which accompanied That in twenty-five years of continued and active Mr. C's bill, on that occasion : “Your Committee operation, no such useful effects or systemized re- also find, by estimates from the Navy Commmissilts have been derived from the Navy-Board, issioners to the Secretary of the Navy, dated 23rd bat too evident-it appears on the face of this Re- December, 1823, that the expense of constructing, port, and is borne in silent testimony on many an together with the cost of all materials of all deeloquent, though speechless tongue among the scriptions for a sloop-of-war of the largest class, vooden walls of the Navy.
will amount to $85,000.” That is, the ten would I have examined every document within my cost $850,000—and a bill was passed making an reach, and I have sought information on the sub- appropriation to that amount.* It appears now ject, at erery source from which I have the privi- from the Official Report on the subject, that their lege or the means of drawing, but in no one in- actual cost, as far as ascertained, (for the returns stance, when the opportunities of comparison oc- in several instances are incomplete) was upwards carred, have I ever found the estimated cost of any of one million two hundred and seventeen thousand work, sabmitted by the Navy-Board, to come with dollars ! in hail of its actual cost. If in any one instance, In 1829, estimates were submitted, and a special estimates from the Navy-Board—(I do not mean appropriation of $20,000 was made for repairing the the so-called estimates for the pay and subsistence Brandywine. This Report states that that ship was of a given number of officers and men for a stated repaired in 1829 and 1830, at New-York and Norperiod, at stated salaries—for that is a matter of folk, at a cost of upwards of $115,000. This specalculation and not of estimate)—if in any one in- cial appropriation was made to fit her for a cruise to stance, the estimates proper from that quarter, have the West-Indies, whither she went for a few months. given any just ideas of what turned out to be the When she returned, she was repaired again. The actual expense of the undertaking proposed, such cost of these two repairs is stated together. Had unstance has not come to my knowledge. The they been separately stated, as the Resolution of frst estimates in which the finger of the Navy- the Senate required they should be, we should then Board is to be traced, are to be found at page 399 have found out how far the $20,000 went in reet seq. of the volume of State Papers devoted to pairing her for the West-Indies. The manner in Maral affairs. They, or similar ones, are the es- which the repairs of ships at different times and umates by which Congress was guided, when it places, and the cost of articles entirely unlike, are authorized the building of the ships of the line jumbled together in the Report, prevents the disDelaware, North-Carolina, Ohio, the frigate Poto-covery of many abuses, that are thus smothered. mae, et al. Though submitted in the name of the The cost of a bolt of canvass, of a coil of rope, Secretary of the Navy, that officer points out their of the carpenter's tool-chest, of a roll of charts, paternity; for, says he, “In these estimates I have and of a gun, things that are never classed together, been aided by the practical knowledge and expe- are all here jumbled together, under the lumping rience of the Commissioners of the Navy-Board;" head of ordnance and warrant officers' stores;' so and “- so far as the calculations are conjectural, it that the cost neither of guns, nor of stores, can be 15 presumed that they may exceed the actual expen- ascertained. cilure from five to ten per cent." In these estimates, the cost of building and equipping a 74, in
* Act 3d March, 1825, appropriated
and proceeds from sale of vessels on the lakes. cluding ordnance and warrant officers' stores
Act 181h May, 1826, appropriated
350,000 every thing, except provisions and marines' stores, was put down at $384,862. The Report before
In 1830, the Navy Commissioners, in making , from the Navy-Board, appropriated $400,000 for out their estimates for the support of the Navy for building six sloops-of-war of the third class. And 1831, reported to the Secretary,* that to repair and in the documents which since accompanied one of fit for sea the Ohio, would cost $171,072 69. This the Annual Reports of the Secretary of the Nary, it Report says that it would have taken $360,000 to wasstated that this appropriation had been exhausfit her for sea, had no repairs been necessary. The ted, but all the vessels had not been built. And cost to repair the Constitution was then estimated as in every instance, the cry was, more, Congress, at $128,081 05. Two years afterwards [in 1833] give! give !! they commence, and continue to work upon her for The manner in which the general estimates are three years, at a cost, for repairs, of $192,930 72, ex- submitted, and the appropriations are made, for the clusive of stores. It would cost, said these estimates, annual support of the Naval service, opens still wider to repair the Falmouth, $29,401 81. They com- the door to complaints against the Navy-Board. mence with her forthwith, and her repairs are stated There are sixteen distinct heads of appropriation for in the Report at $54,999 08. Notwithstanding the annual support of the Naval service of England; the pretended accuracy of these estimates—their and only eight or nine for ours. The two services nice calculations of sixty nine-cents-five cents-embrace nearly the same objects; and why should our eighty one cents, they scarcely come within 100 per appropriations be less specific than theirs ? I extract cent, of the actual costs.
the fourth item from the Commissioners' estimates In December, 1832,t estimates were again made for the last year: “For the repairs of vessels in ordias to the repairs of ships, the actual costs of which nary, and the repairs, and wear and tear of vessels are given in this Report. It would cost $35,211, in commission, $1,000,000.” This, or one eren “exclusive of docking,” it was said, to repair the more general in its terms, is a standing head of esNorth-Carolina in 1833. Her repairs were com- timate and appropriation. Under it, the estinales menced in 1835, and they then cost $297,000. for the current year were for $1,425,000, and the “ The Fairfield,” it was said, “ is sound and good, appropriations $2,000,000. And then, as though and only requires her bottom to be examined.” (these sweeping generalities might alarm the sticklers The looking at that ship's bottom proved to be a for specific appropriations on the floors of Congress, costly sight, for the examination was had imme. comes the special enumeration of objects, as given diately, and the Report shows that it cost upwards in the margin ;* and against which Mr. Adains of $20,000, exclusive of stores.
once said he should vote, because, after enumeraIn November 1833, an appropriation of $10,000 ting every object under the sun, it then addedwas asked, I and made for a store-ship. This ves- " and for no other object or purpose whatever." sel, though simply a merchant-ship of only about Under this general head, and by one of those 400 tons, and which, if built in a private ship-yard, beautiful figments in law, of which philosophers would cost not more than $30,000 or $35,000, sometimes tell us-vessels are altered soon after cost, when built by the Navy-Board, upwards of $93,000.11
* For contingent expenses that may accrue for the follour.
ing purposes, viz: In January, 1836, estimates were submitted from
For the freight and transportation of materials and stores the Navy-Board for fitting outý all the vessels in 'or- of every description; for wharfage and dockage i store dinary. These estimates, you observe, included pro- and rent ; travelling expenses of oficers, for house-rent : visions and every thing. And the estimated cost of pursers, when duly authorised, and transportation of seafitting out the Ohio, was stated at $150,000. But men; for funeral expenses; for commissions, clerk kirc,
office-rent, stationary, and fuel, to Nary-Agents; for prethis Report shows that the actual cost of fitting her miums, and incidental expenses of recruiting ; fur « out, was-exclusive of provisions, &c.which are not prehending deserters; for compensation to judges-adroreported—upwards of $590,000. Had the whole cate; for per diem allowance to persons attending coartscost of provisions, &c. been included, they would, martial and courts of inquiry, or other services as attbo
rised by law; for printing and stationary of erery descop according to these rates, have swelled up the ac
tion, and for working the lithouraphic press ; for bees. tual cost of fitting out that ship, to near $700,000.
charts, mathematical and nautical instruments, chro At a later day, Congress, acting by estimates nometers, models and drawings; for the purchase and re
pair of fire-engines and machinery; for the repair of stese* Annual Report of Secretary Navy, dated 6th December, engines in Navy-Yards ; for the purchase and maintenance 1830, and marked Doc. 2. H. R. 2nd Session, 21st Congress. of oxen and horses, and for carts, timber-wheels, and work
+ Paper M. or the accompanying Documents of the Report men's tools of every description ; for postage of letters os of the Secretary of the Navy, December 3rd, 1832. public service; for pilotage and towing ships-of-war; for
| Paper M. of the Documents which accompanied the taxes and assessments on public property; for assistance Secretary of the Navy's Report of 30th November, 1833. rendered 10 vessels in distress; for incidental labor a
Ø Doc. 138—2nd Session, 241h Congress, H. R., and dated Navy-Yards, not applicable to any other appropriation; for Navy Commissioners' Oflice, 4th February, 1838.
coal and other fuel, and for candles and oil, for the use of !! To fit out a ship-to furnish her with proper masts, Navy-Yards and shore stations; and for wo other objar a sails, yards, ammunition, artillery, corrlage, anchors, and purpose whatever,
$450.000 other naval furniture, together with sufficient provisions for For contingent expenses, for objects not herein before the ship's company.-- Falconer's Marine Dictionary. enumerated,
they are built, as the Brandywine was in 1826, and! It is owing to this want of accountability, in our 23 others have been at a later day, and the altera- present Naval system, that the cost, from first to tions are charged as Repairs—by it, the building of last, of getting this one 74 ready to sheet home a vessel is called repairing ; and new vessels are her topsails for her first cruise, has been made to built* from this appropriation ;-by it, vessels, as the amount to a sum, which, taking the estimates of the Enterprise, are charged seven or eight prices for Commissioners for data, would be enough to cut warrant officers' stores, and they are called repairs--the live-oak from the evergreens of Florida, and (I once heard of a galley (kitchen) being furnished to build and launch* three double-banked frigates as clothing);-by this beautiful figment of the law, and ten sloops-of-war of the first class—upwards ressels are nearly rebuilt from this broad appropri- of 12,000 tons of shipping-a force which, if equipalion, and that too at double their original cost, as ped and pat in the place of the Ohio, would prove was the case with the Shark ;-and by it, vessels, nearly, if not quite, a match for all the vessels beas the Vincennes, which cost originally but 117,000 sides, of all our Naval squadrons put together, and dollars, are actually repaired at a cost of 133,000 as they were, according to the Commissioners' dollars ;-and by it, other wild works are carried on Report of vessels at sea, in 1840. under the sweeping name of repairs.
But these are not all the evils of such sweeping What is there to be said in excuse for repairing appropriations and such irresponsibility. In subthe schooner Shark at twice her original cost? or mitting the yearly estimates for the support of the of completing the ship-of-the-line Ohio at such an Navy, it has been customary of late to state what enormous expense? This ship had performed no force it was proposed to keep in active service. gallant deed-had accomplished no daring achieve- That force was made the basis of the estimates ment. Her decks had never, like our favorite which were submitted for the support of the Navy. Coited States and Constitution, been drenched with Congress, by making the required appropriations, the brave blood of the land. For their preserva- virtually acknowledged that the honor of the nation, tion, no amount that can be necessary would be too the welfare of its citizens, and the interests of their great in the eyes of the country. But there were commerce, required this force. Congress having no associations connected with this ship—there had voted the money, the Executive Department was, been nothing to consecrate her name to the recol- in duty, as in honor, bound, to maintain it, or to set lections of the people, nothing to endear her to the forth at the first opportunity, the reasons which innation-she was a mere unendowed mass of wood duced a departure from the first intention. But I and iron, that had never bowed to the sea nor bent have never in one instance known the estimated to the breeze. If Congress had been asked for a force to be put in service, or the reasons for not specific appropriation of $600,000 to get this ship keeping it in commission, made known-unless inready for sea, when in the opinion of the best deed some such remarks as these be considered as judges-the Commissioners of the Navy-Board — a statement of such reasons :—“All the services a new ship of her class could be built and equip- required of our Naval force have been promptly ped out and out, for but little more than half that performed”—“Commerce has been protected,” &c. sum;-if any one had had the hardihood to ask a Among the force, promised in the estimates, to be specific appropriation of $45,000 to repair the kept in service for 1836, were six frigates and fourShark in 1839, when at first, it cost but $23,000 teen sloops-of-war. The Navy Register shows to build her-what, think you, would have been that at the end of that year, there were in actual the action of Congress on the subject? If esti- service but five of the former and eight of the mates for any such appropriations had been ventur- latter. For the next year, the estimates were ed forth from the Navy-Board, you understand too for the same. The Navy Register reports, in well the genius of the American people, not to like manner, one frigate and four sloops-of-war know, that that Board would long ago have been short of the estimate. In the next year, approprioverturned. Can any thing more strikingly than ations were asked for six frigates and twelve sloopsthis, illustrate the irresponsibility of the Navy-of-war. The Navy Register shows that there was Board! Without the consent of Congress, which one more sloop-of-war than the estimate called for ; might have been ascertained by asking for a speci- but, to make up for this, the frigates were deficient fic appropriation, that Board undertakes to repair by three, one of which was “getting ready. In ships at twice their original cost, and no one is 1839, the estimates called for six frigates and seheld responsible for it. In the private affairs be- venteen sloops-of-war, and in 1840, for six frigates tween man and man, what would become of the sand nineteen sloops-of-war-but five frigates and agent who should thus manage for his principal ? thirteen sloops-of-war is the greatest active force I rigid accountability less important in public, shown on the Register for either of these years. than it is in private affairs ?
You have seen the various purposes to which *** All the other vessels were built, or have been rebuilt, the appropriation of “ Repairs, &c." is applied. onder special appropriations, or from the annual appropria- The aggregate number of frigates and sloops estitions for repairs of vessels,' &c." Letter from Navy Commissioners, December 14, 1810.
* Nol equip
mated for 1836, 1837 and 1838, exceeded the ac- swelling of the budget, is the difference between tual number kept in service for those years, by the active force of 1834 and 1840 ? Ninety-tuo thirteen. They were the years in which such guns. wild works were carried on in repairing the Ohio, This half a million ($590,000) of 1834 borrowed the Vincennes and John Adams—which three ships $100,000, from provisions, or some other head, and alone, were repaired at an aggregate cost of more kept 452 guns in active service; and the million of than $840,000. So, the appropriation for Repairs 1840 borrowed $300,000, and could keep but 514 had been exhausted before it reached the thirteen guns at sea! And we shall see how much the two other vessels ; and though money had been granted millions of 1841 will borrow, and what force to pay
their crews, the ships could not be equipped it will keep in repair. If $700,000 in 1834 for sea, because the money appropriated for that could keep a force of 452 guns in repair, why purpose, had been squandered in repairing others, should it take double that sum in 1840 to keep in at more than it would cost to build new ones. And repair a force of only 92 guns more? Must strongthis, I suspect, is the reason why all the ships from er proof be brought against the Navy-Board, beyear to year for which appropriations are regularly fore Legislators will perceive that it is at best a made, are not employed. Nor is this all. The tuft of marine misletoe, that is exhausting the appropriations for the pay and subsistence for the Treasury and killing the Navy? Under its mancrews of the unemployed vessels, form an unex- agement, two dollars are required in 1840, to do pended balance under this head, which the Presi- the work that was accomplished with one dollar in dent may transfer to some other appropriation ; and 1834. Even the Commissioners cannot keep pace even this balance sometimes passes off through with the reckless prodigalities that are practised this great leak of “Repairs" in the system-e. g. under this system. In 1832 their estimates for 'Re“$200,000 was by authority of the President of the pairs,' called for half a million for the next year; and United States, on 30th November, 1839, taken from $600,000 were expended. In 1834, they called for the appropriation for Provisions, and carried to the $600,000, and expended $700,000. In 1836, they appropriation of Repairs and wear and tear of ves- called for a million, and expended a million and a
quarter. In 1837, they called for a million and a By official statements to Congress from the 2nd quarter. and expended—I don't know how mucb, for Comptroller's office, it appears that in 1836, up- I could not find the 2d Comptroller's returns to Conwards of $200,000 ;t in 1838, $168,000 ;f in 1839, gress :—but their last estimates called for a million $399,000 ; in 1840, $316,000,9 more, than was and a half for 'Repairs,' and Congress gave them appropriated, were in those years drawn out of the two millions. Will no one ask to know the cause Treasury for · Repairs.' And notwithstanding that of this disproportionate increase of expenditures for upwards of $300,000 more than the appropriation repairs ? And shall there be no end to such a allowed, or the estimates called for, were thus add- growth ? Every year, with one exception, for the ed for Repairs in 1840, but thirteen of the nineteen past six or eight years, more money has been reg. sloops-of-war proposed and authorized, could be ularly spent than was voted to this appropriation. kept in commission.
It takes money from other heads, and this is called Abuses have grown out of this repairing system, a repayment. like evil weeds upon the Navy. By the facts It is said, “Repeal the law creating the Navy. quoted above, it appears that even the Commission. Board, substitute Bureaux for Commissioners, and ers have not been able to keep pace with their we shall be better off.” The change must be more growth. The expenditures have regularly gone thorough than this—though this is an important beyond the appropriations—the estimates have been step towards reform. Experience once taught us increased, and the appropriations enlarged from that Schoolmasters were of little or no use in a year to year—but they have invariably proved in-man-of-war, and their name was changed for Prosufficient for the required force. The Commis- fessors of Mathematics; but the plan of teaching sioners don't know what the annual cost of repairs remained the same in all other respects—and Prowill be ; and how should they, when it is shown by fessors now, are as useless in our men-of-war, as this Report, that in many cases they don't know Schoolmasters used to be. If the title of Comwhat the repairs for a ship do cost? In 1833, they missioner be exchanged for that of “Chief of Buasked for a half a million for repairs—in 1836, for reaux,” it will be but a change of name. It is not a million—in 1837, for a million and a quarter, the Commissioners of the Navy-Board, but the and in 1841, for a million and a half, and they got plan—the whole system, that is at fault. In the two millions. And what do you think, with this * I have not been able to ascertain how much was drawn
out of the Treasury in 1837, for Repairs. * Secretary of the Navy to the Speaker of the House of + For an example of this singular mode of keeping aeRepresentatives, 23d Dec. 1839.
counts, see an official statement of the amount of appropr. + H. of R. Doc. 126, 20 Sess. 24th Congress.
ations and expenditures for the Naral service for 1940 1 H. of R Doc. 135, 3d Sess. 25th Congress.
transmitted by the late Secretary of the Nary to the House ♡ H. of R. Doc. 88, 2d Sess. 26th Congress.
of Representatives.-Doc. 88—2nd Session, 26ck Congress.