Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

!

ample. She has not only razeed her old 74s and | Being for temporary use, they should be built cheap, made heavy double-banked frigates of them, but and with a view to that special purpose. she has taken a step beyond us in building vessels Under the law for the gradual increase of the of every class, particularly her new flush double- Navy,' there are on the stocks, four live-oak linebanked frigates, which having more beam, and car-of-battle-ships, and six or seven frigates, which rying the sills of their ports higher, would, in a probably will never be launched, except in case of sea-way have the advantage of one of our ships. war. They are all under cover, and, being well And in this way it has happened that we, with our protected from the weather, the white-oak and cemen-of-war, are lagging behind other nations with dar and locust in them, will probably endure as long theirs.

in that situation, as the live-oak itself; or as long, I do not wish you to infer, from what I have said at any raie, as articles of furniture made of such above, that I advocate the building of 'first rates' materials, would endure in a house. Besides these and Frigates of white-oak, and selling them; in- ships, contracts have been made, and mostly comstead of building them of live-oak, and repairing pleted, for the delivery of the live-oak for fifteen them. When such large vessels are concerned, ships-of-the-line; eighteen frigates; fifteen sloops-ofthe statistics furnished by the Report, do not con- war; nine steamers, and nine brigs.* stitute a basis, on which any opinion may properly For illustration : Let us suppose the present be founded as to the relative merits of the two state of affairs between this country and Eng. plans. The dimensions of such ships, render land, to result in a declaration of war; all these them too unwieldly for traders; and if, when worn, ships would be completed, launched and equipthey were put up at anction, they would only sell ped for sea immediately. If any of them should for what could be made out of their timber and be captured, the enemy gains a good and subfastenings, by breaking them up; and, judging from stantial live-oak ship, to be turned against us their great first cost, it would certainly be the in war–or to be exhibited to the world as : cheaper plan to build of live-oak, and to repair ; trophy, in peace. When hostilities cease, the particularly those intended for constant service. services of the remaining part of this live-cak But economy, sound policy, and national interests, fleet, will no longer be required; and it will be all require, in my humble opinion, that those of our laid up to rot; or so far to decay, that when war ships which are held in reserve for war, and all comes again, more money will be required to equip those which may be built and launched only in case it for sea, than it would take to build and equip of war, should be built of white, and not of live, oak. a new, and a better, and a stronger force, from

A white-oak frigate or 74, would last for six or our white-oak forests. How much more wise, eight years at least; which is quite as long as any judicious and economical then, would be the powar that we shall have, will probably continue. If licy of collecting white, instead of live-oak timshe should fall into the enemy's hands, she could ber, for our reserve ships! Those frigates and not last long enough to be turned against us with ships-of-the-line that are intended for constant ser: much effect; and, at the end of the war, when we vice in peace, should be constructed of the best and come to dismantle and lay up in ordinary those most lasting materials; but those which are interships, which should not be required for service in ded only for the temporary purposes of war, should peace, a live-oak ship would be as valueless as be constructed with a view to those purposes alone. one of white-oak-for both would probably rot be- On the Lakes, the ships which were found on the fore they were wanted for another war. And if when stocks at the cessation of hostilities with England, they were wanted, the live-oak ship should not be were being built of timber green from the forests, entirely rotten, the chances are, that the expense They were put under cover, and when last heard of taking care of her, together with the probable of, they were as sound and as good, (in fact better

, cost of repairs, would more than suffice for build- for their timber bad become seasoned,) as they ing a new one of white-oak. The new one, too, were when first put together. would have in her favor the advantages of any im- The Report states, that the steam-ship Fulton provements that should have taken place since the was building in 1838–39, at New-York, Boston and commencement of the first war. This Report Washington! The Navy Register for each of the shows that it cost nearly as much to fit the live-years 1838–39240 and 41,-distinctly states, that oak-built Ohio for sea, after she had been in the this vessel was built at New-York, in 1837. I water 16 years, as it ought to have taken to build merely wish to point out the discrepancy two such ships—both of live-oak. And the cost, these official statements, that those who can, mar, let it be recollected, of white-oak, is about 30 cents reconcile them.

Nor shall I say a word about the per cubic foot, and of live-oak, about $1 40. Hence curious process by which she was built at three many reasons, palpable, obvious and amply suffi- different places ; except that it appears to be a very cient, will appear, why ships that are required to expensive way of building ships, and therefore, it last only through the average duration of a war, should be built of white-oak, instead of live-oak. '5th Dec. 1840.

* Paper F. accompanying Annual Report of Sec. Nary,

between

[ocr errors]

is hoped, will be discontinued under the new ad- mates to Congress,of the cost of two steam-batteries ministration. Though this vessel is but twenty to mount twelve forty-two pounders each. If not a tons larger than a sloop-of-war, that ought, in the steamboat such as the Fulton is, (for in official comopinion of the Commissioners of the Navy-Board, munications from the Navy Department she is someto have cost but $85,000, completely rigged and times termed a steam-battery), I cannot say what equipped-her cost is stated in the Report, at these steam-batteries were to be like. At any rate, $333,770 77—which, it is said in a note, is the their whole cost, including the 12 guns, was then esti* Total for building and altering to the close of mated at $55,897 each. * In answer to a resolu1839.” This note would seem to imply, that there tion of the Senate, concerning the probable cost of is a further account in reserve, for “building and steam or floating batteries, the Commissioners of altering," after “ the close of 1839.” If there be, the Navy-Board, replied, March 2nd, 1836, that I leave the amount of it for you to conjecture; for the whole cost of twenty-five steamers, would be the · Bag' contains nothing that can throw any light $5,625,000,+ or $225,000 each. on the subject. It is true, that a steamer, on ac- On the 27th November, 1839, the Commissioners count of engines, boilers, machinery and smoke- reported to Congress, “ The Board are of opinion stacks, ought to cost more than a sail vessel of equal “ that forty steamers will be required in the course size. Because this one is three per cent. larger in “ of a few years; although these will probably her hull than a sloop-of-war; let it be allowed that vary in size and cost, it will not be safe to estithis part of her, cost twice as much as the hull of a “mate their average cost, when prepared for sersloop-of-war ought to cost. This calculation would " vice, at less than $335,000 each, which would make the very liberal allowance of $92,000 for the require the gross sum of thirteen millions four hull of the Fulton. Her engines, boilers, smoke- "hundred thousand dollars, for the forty steamers stacks, and machinery of all kinds, cost $137,000 ; " proposed.”I and her outfits $9,000 = $146,000.* This leaves, Thus in the course of nine years, the estimated as the cost of her hull and spindle-masts, the enor-cost of like vessels, has risen from $55,000 to mous sum of $187,000; instead of the very liberal $335,000. And in this, you may perceive how allowance of $92,000!

rapidly the abuses of the present system have To 1838, the immense cost of this vessel attract- grown, and how alarmingly they are spreading ed the attention of Congress; and there was a themselves over the service. Even the Commisrumor that this cost would be greatly increased by sioners cannot keep pace with them. In these certain alterations then proposed for her. Con- last estimates, they took the actual cost of the gress demanded to know what sum she had cost, Fulton, as what would be the average cost of each and what would be the cost of the contemplated of forty others; but you have seen that their estialterations. In June of that year, the Commission- mates have invariably fallen short of actual costs. ers reported, through the Secretary of the Navy, Referring to the past, and judging by actual rethat the “alterations and additions proposed for the sults, if these forty steamers were authorized to be steamer Fulton will not exceed $4,500.”+ And built under the present system, their actual cost, that her aggregate cost was $295,598,59. if things continue to go on as they have done,

This Report, however, shows the total cost“ for would not be short of twenty millions of dollars. building and altering, to the close of 1839,” to be Is the country prepared to stand such rates ? $333,770 77. Wherefore it appears, that the “alter- In 1825, the Commissioners estimated that ter ations and additions proposed for the steamer Ful- sloops-of-war of the first class, would cost $850,000. ton," instead of not exceeding $4,500, as the Com- The appropriation was made, but they cost nearly missioners reported, went beyond $38,000—more a million and a quarter. With these actual results, than 800 per cent. over the estimates! Can any thing as a basis for another calculation, the Commissioners illustrate more clearly than this, the complete irre-estimated in 1836, that $100,000, with the materials sponsibility, aye, the total unaccountability, of the on hand, would be enough to build six sloops-ofNavy-Board ? It is the nature of abuses in public war of the third class,-in 1839, they reportg that affairs, unless checked, to increase from year to all the money was gone, and but five of the vessels year ; and these in the Navy have been upward, and built. In 1836, they submit estimates to Cononward, and true to their nature—as you have al- gress, in which they propose that there shall be ready seen, and as I shall endeavor further to show “kept afloat six ships of the line, eleven frigates, fifteen ** The proper armament of the Fulton is four " sloops-of-war, four steamers, and ten smaller vessels (a

“ force of nearly 1400 guns). The annual amount necesor six long sixty-four pounders.”ý

to keep this force in a state of repair, and to supply In 1831–32, the Commissioners submitted esti* Report from Navy Commissioners, to 25th Congress, * Paper L of Doc, No. 2, 1st Session, 22nd Congress. 2nd Session, H. R. Doc. 423.

+ Doc. 243, H. R. Ist Session, 24th Congress. + Doc. 423, H. R. 2nd Session, 25th Congress.

| Senate Doc. 120, 1st Session, 26th Congress. I Doc. 424, H. R. 2nd Session, 25th Congress.

0 Annual Report of Secretary Navy, and accompanying 0 Doc. 423, H. R. 2nd Session, 25th Congress.

Documents, 1839.

sary

"*

and ingress

6

" the wear and tear of stores of (thirty-nine) cruising ves-, ble forests of the best timber; and it waters a region "sels [upwards of 900 guns) is estimated at $950,000.”. that abounds in all the materials that can be reNow again for the growth of abuses :

quired for such purposes. The New-Orleans bar, In their estimates of 1839, the Commissioner pro- ' at all times, affords a draft sufficient, and more than posed, that in 1840, there should be thirty-four cruis-barely sufficient, for the ready egress ing vessels of all kinds, carrying a force of seven for these steamers. And the Dock-Yard being hundred and fifty-two guns, kept in service : for the situated some distance up from the mouth, would at • Repairs' of which, $1,000,000 was asked and gran- all times, be secure from an enemy. But more of ted—only twenty-six of them, however, carrying but this presently, for it is an important subject. five hundred and forty-four guns, were kept in ser

Some of the most intelligent officers of the vice, and the amount drawn out of the Treasury Navy, are of opinion that public economy, true for Repairs, &c. that year, was $1,316,170 44.0

policy and our real national interests require, that In 1840, it is proposed to keep in service for 1841, all our men-of-war steamers, should not only be built a force of 752 guns. And the estimates under the of white-oak, for the present, but even of cheaper head of “repairs,' &c. call for $1,425,000.$ Con- materials, if cheaper materials of sufficient strength gress grants $2,000,000, of which about half a mil

may anywhere be found. As yet, the application lion is for “ increase.” And there you have evi- of steam-power to ships-of-war, is new; all our dence of the growing nature of the abuses with steamers are but the first trials of an experiment. If which the Navy is afflicted. The yearly 'Re

any prove failures, as many probably will, and as the pairs' for cruising vessels, having increased within Fulton has, it is certainly an object no less worthy the last four or five years, from the rate of about of the consideration of political economists, than $1000 to $3000 per gun. What but a breaking up of officers of the Navy, to make the cost of these of the present system can stay those evils, or pre- failures, fall as lightly as possible, upon the publie vent their further growth?

Treasury. This ship affords a dearly purchased, Again I am indebted to private builders, of well but a most apt and pointed commentary on the folly established reputation, for valuable information on of the one plan, and the wisdom of the other. the subject of ship-building.

With the money which the live-oak Fulton has alQues. In a private Yard, what could a man-of-ready cost, at least three, if not four, white-oak war steamer, of the size of the Fulton, (United steamers of her size, could have been furnished, States steamer) say 720 tons, custom-house, be one after the other, to the Navy, for use and erbuilt for of white-oak, locust, &c. ?

periment. When the first had been in the service Ans. $190,000 for hull and spars, rigging, sails, till she wanted repairs, she, with or without her enhawsers, chain-cables, anchors, water-tanks, boats, gines, could have been exchanged for a new one, engines and boilers complete.

that would have brought with her all the improveQues. How long will a steamer (white-oak) last ments, which a trial with the first had pointed out

, in the New-York and Providence line?

The experience obtained in the course of several Ans. Ten years without repairs from decay.

year's service, and observation in her, would in like I have also the estimates of other builders who manner be conveyed for improvements to her seehave been engaged in building men-of-war steam- cessor—and when the maximum degree of perfeeers. They state that such a vessel as the Fulton tion had centered in one-her model, &c. could can be built of white-oak, in a private yard, for then be transferred to a live-oak frame, that would $150,000. Conpare these with the cost of the grace our waters, be an honor to the Nary, Fulton, and with the Commissioners' estimates; and and a matter of pride with the nation. Had tas then decide as to the relative advantages of the Fulton been of white-oak, she would have rotted white oak plan proposed, and of the live-oak plan, and been sold in the course of a few years more; as it is under the present system.

and then, we might have had her place supplied The cost of a Mississippi steamer of 300 tons, with a new and a better vessel—but as she is-she is stated by the newspapers to be $30,000. And is a blotch on the waters of our harbors, a burlesque I suppose men-of-war steamers may be built cheaper on ocean-steamers, and a disgrace to the Navy, there, than they can be on the Atlantic coast. That is the land of steamboats ; and Government should sea, for the purpose of giving this steamer a trial.

In January, 1838, Capt. Perry was ordered to establish a Dock-Yard on that river for building on the 15th of that month he wrote to the Compublic steamers. It is in the midst of inexhausti- missioners of the Navy* Navy Commissioners to Secretary Navy, March 2nd, “I have this day received orders from the Hon. Secretary

" of the Navy, to take my departure with this fessel (1 + Paper H. accompanying Annual Report of Secretary Fulton) under my command, from New-York, and proceed Navy, December 5th, 1840, Doc. 2, H. R. 2nd Session, to cruise upon the coast. In acknowledgment of fuese 26th Congress.

“instructions, I have stated my opinion that the Fulon sa | Doc. 88, H. R. 2nd Session, 26th Congress.

not adapted for service at sea, but should neverthelese 9 Paper D. accompanying Annual Report of Secretary " sail to-raorrow

to execute so far as it might be practicable Navy, December, 1840.

" the orders of the Department; and to do so, I beg leare

[ocr errors]

1836.

" to observe to the Commissioners that it will be necessary | all the world with our expensive live-oak failures, to establish deposites of fuel at such intermediate points within we should then be able to keep pace with, if not the range of my cruising ground, as will enable me to furnish to take the lead of, every other nation in steam" this vessel with the requisite supplies.”

ships. So you perceive, that to enable a squadron of

So long as the plan of steam-warfare is open to such vessels to cruise at sea, the ocean must first be made black with colliers to supply it with fuel. while it is yet in its infancy, the advantages of

any very considerable improvements, and certainly But this is not all. Capt. Perry continues,

making the Revenue service a part of the Navy are * Her wheel guards are within twenty inches of the water. " This, the Commissioners will perceive, is rather deep for manifold--the policy and propriety of it, doubly "a vessel open on deck, to withstand a gale on our coast. urgent and wise. The economy of the measure “ I shall, however, be careful, not to incur any unnecessary was pointed out, satisfactorily it was thought, in a * risks, until I have fairly tested her qualities : nor can 1, former 'Scrap' from the · Bag.' But some have “ untü deposites of fuel are established, proceed far from denied the economy of the arrangement there pro- New-York."

posed, on the grounds, that if the Revenue service After she had returned from this perilous trip, for

were transferred from the Treasury to the Navy cruise or voyage, it cannot be called, Capt. Perry Department, the cost to the Government would be wrote to the Commissioners

the same; for the expenses of that service, whether * Her cardinal defects are want of length and buoyancy.”+ chargeable to one department or another, would in

Such is the character of this dear-bought thing, either case be defrayed by the Government, and in built at double charges, framed of live-oak, and the end amount to but the same thing. To such, therefore likely to be saddled upon the service for I beg leave to offer an illustration ; for illustration, many, many years. Had such an experiment been if correctly adduced, is at all times better than arundertaken by any individual on his own account, gument, especially in the mouth of one who is slow he would have procured for the first trial the cheap- of speech. est vessel which could be made to answer the pur- Government employs marines at $6 or $8 a pose, that in case of a failure, the loss might fall month. A part of their duties on shore used to be, lightly upon him. And why should a rule so obvi- to stand guard and keep watch at our Navy-Yards. ously wise and prudent, and so plain too, not ob- From some cause or other, but certainly without tain when the Government is concerned ? Had the any regard to usage or the law, watchmen at $18 Falton proved to be as perfect as the most perfect or $20 a month, perhaps more, were substituted for man-of-war steamer that is, still, it were unwise marines at some of the Yards; and the marines on to build her of live-oak; because, it is by no means shore were thus left without any thing at all to do, improbable, that the discoveries and improvements but to pipe-clay their belts, &c. They had guarded which are almost daily being made in the means of the public property as faithfully as it can be guarded; steam-warfare and navigation, would have rendered this duty they had performed ever since we had a such a vessel comparatively useless, long before Navy and marines to serve it; and they had disthe Fulton will be condemned as unfit for repairs.' charged well all the duties now required of the

Why such a plan has not been proposed and watchmen: and surely if they were allowed again adopted in England and France, is obvious enough. to return to their posts in the Yard, there would be Wood with them is scarce- -with us abundant and no longer any need of watchmen, whose wages of cheap. Indeed, England has felt the importance, $20 per month, would be thereby saved to the govand does practise the economy of materials to the ernment. Whether the marines stand guard or not, fullest extent. From the scarcity, and consequent- the government has to support them, -and if they ly the cost of ship-timber to her, she puts no more do not stand guard, they have nothing else on shore in ber ships than is sufficient to give the necessary to do. strength-her men-of-war are not arly so stoutly So too with the Navy and the Revenue Serbailt as ours. She uses timber sparingly, we vice. The law directs that there shall be maintained erowd it in. The beams and knees in an English a squadron of armed ships along our coast.

The man-of-war, are neither as stout nor as close togeth- Navy, to be in a condition for protecting the couner, as they are in an American vessel of the same try in war, is provided with more ships and a greater class. Our ships have 'carlings and ledges;' many of number of officers, than are barely requisite for the theirs none-our decks are laid of plank sixty feet duties required of the Navy in times of profound long, theirs of pieces fifteen or twenty feet only—our peace; and whether in actual service or not, this plank too, has an inch more thickness than theirs. surplus force, like the marines on shore, must be Another great advantage to be derived by building supported. The business of the Revenue Service, war steamers of white-oak, and exchanging them for is perfectly compatible with the duties of the home new ones instead of repairing them—is to be found squadron; and if, instead of being performed by a in the consideration that, instead of lagging behind separate corps, it were performed by this idle Naval

force that has to be maintained at any rate, clearly * See Doc. 423, H. R. 2nd Sess. 25th Congress. See Doc. 423, H. R, 2nd Sess. 25th Congress, there would be a saving to the Government of the

"sea.

whole present cost of the Revenue Service. That" der off on Caryssord reel; hung it for her, and sent her to service is supported out of the Revenue, without any more distinct or specific appropriation. And

“Found the wreck of the brig Alna, of Portland, Maine,

“in possession of a small party of Indians. Her crew had as there has been so much abuse where appropria

“ been murdered, with ihe exception of two. tions are special and fixed in amount, you may ima- “The brig Exit, from Baltimore, ashore on Sombrero gine, if you can, what has been the abuse here, “reef; assisted to get her off. where there are no limits except those of the Reve- “The steamer Wilmington, wrecked fifty miles Dorth of nue itself.*

Cape Florida. Saved the crew and passengers, thirty in

“number, and landed them at Key-West. But advantages more solid even than the one of

“Saved the orew and passengers, forty in number, of the saving, would inure from such an arrangement: the Spanish brig Triumfante; burnt the wreck, and landed Revenue would be more efficiently protected; and "them at Key-West." an admirable guarda-costa, sufficient to keep off any blockading squadron, would be stretched along The Jersey shore, and the stormy capes of the the sea-board, prepared for any emergency, and Old North State,' are as rife as the reefs of Floalways ready to act.

rida with wreck and disaster. A few steamers This coast-guard, consisting for the most part of to look after them, would be, not less fortunate than small class steamers, built of white-oak for the pre- the little Wave ;-and so to apply the charities of sent, would open a fine field for the Government the Government, would be perfectly consistent with to carry on, at a cheap rate, its experiments on the Revenue duties of those steamers. Our Reresteam and war-steamers. It would afford an ex- nue cutters may be now seen lying at their ancellent school for training marksmen and engi- chors for weeks at a time. Were they the steamneers, and for giving skill and practice to officers for ers proposed, they might at any time scour a the American Navy. And above all, it would af- hundred miles or two of coast, and be back before ford to officers and men the grateful employment they were missed. of assisting the shipwrecked mariner on our coast. From the time the shepherd-boy went forth with

I have some statistics relating to the losses by his sling against the giant of Gath, till " the villawreck, which annually occur on the Atlantic sea- nous saltpetre was digged out—,"it was not uncomboard. The number of wrecks and cast-aways, is mon for opposing armies to send forth each its astounding. It averages from four hundred to five champion, that the fortunes of the day might be hundred a year. In January, 1839, there were decided by single combat. On such occasions, the ninety-one American vessels, of all sizes, wrecked battle was to the strong: or if ever to the weak, to on the Atlantic coast,--making on an average, a the weak made strong by an holy ægis. And so it case of shipwreck once in every eight hours for a has ever been with men-of-war on the ocean; their month! In September, 1838, there were seven-strength has always been reckoned by their size, teen in the vicinity of Cape Henlopen alone. and in direct proportion to the number and calibre

While we employ our squadrons to afford relief of their guns. By the invention of fire-arms, a deadand protection to the citizen abroad, not so much as ly weapon, which required skill, not strength, in its a gun-boat from the Navy, has ever been regularly management, was placed in the hands of champion employed for that purpose at home. The tight- knights; the weak and the feeble were thus made as built steamers of the guarda-costa, sallying out strong as the strongest in battle; and in the single from their several stations, to scour the coast im- combat, the chances of victory or escape, were mediately after every gale, would rescue life and made inversely to the proportions of size-adran property to an amount that is not dreamed of. In tages all leaning on the side of the smaller in sta1838, the little di-dapper Wave, a small schooner, ture. If accounts be true, the invention of the employed on the coast of Florida by the War De- Paixhans gun and hollow-shot, will give to the partment, afforded relief, and rendered services to smaller ship, in the single-handed fight at sea, the the shipwrecked sailor in his straits, which same advantages over the larger one, which pistols

give a small and slender man, orer his stout and -are as rich with praise As is the ooze and bottom of the deep,

lusty antagonist, in a duel. With sunken wrecks and sunless treasures."

I have never had an opportunity of witnessing

the effect of a hollow-shot discharged into a ship Lieutenant M'Laughlin reporting his proceedings from one of these guns. But if the experiments in that schooner at that time, among other things, made with them in the harbor of Brest were said

fairly conducted, and if the results be correctly re" In connection with these duties, the discharge of others ported, (and there is no reason for supposing they “of a more pleasing character devolved upon us.

were not), victory must always perch upon the “ The brig Bogota, from New-Orleans, knocked her rud- banner of that ship, which shall fairly lodge the first * The law creating this service, says, it shall be sup

shot in the sides of her antagonist. ported out of the Revenue of the United States. No appro

I quote the effect of some of these shot, fired priation is ever made for it.

from a distance of eight hundred and fifty, to one

« НазадПродовжити »