Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the Vessels employed in active service. The frigate Brandywine and Sloop of War Erie have returned from the Mediterranean: the former to relieve the frigate United States ; the latter is in ordinary, and her place will in a few days be supplied by the new sloop of War Warren, Master Commandant L. Kearney.

The West India Squadron has been diminished : 1st, By the sale of the Brig Spark, she being so far decayed, that it was not for the interest of The United States to repair her.2d. By placing the Schooner' Fox at Baltimore, as a receiving Vessel. She was in such a state that she could not any longer be profitably employed as a cruising Vessel. And 3dly. The Store Ship Decoy has been sold, such arrangements having been made as rendered her no longer useful.

The Brazilian Squadron remains the same as at the close of the last Session of Congress, consisting of the Macedonian, Cyane and Boston.

The Pacifick Squadron has not in any respect been changed, but the Brandywine and Vincennes are on their passage to relieve the Frigate United States and Sloop of War Peacock. It was the purpose of the Department to add, to the relief Squadron, the Sloop of War Lexington, but other employment became necessary for her, under the Resolutions of Congress. That Vessel has been employed in a Cruize among the fisheries, and in the melancholy, yet grateful duty, of removing the remains of Commodore Perry, and will now be sent for a time to the West Indies.

In obedience to the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the 18th of May last, directing “ that the Secretary of the Navy be instructed to cause the remains of Commodore 0. H. Perry to be removed from the Island of Trinidad, in a publick Vessel of The United States, and to have the same conveyed to Newport, State of Rhode Island,” the Secretary of the Navy, as soon as a Vessel could be commissioned for that purpose, and at as early a day as the safety of those employed would permit, despatched the Sloop of War Lexington, under the command of Master Commandant William B. Shubriek, with such instructions as were supposed proper on an occasion so interesting to the national feeling, and with a Letter from Mr. Vaughan, the British Minister in this Country, to the Governor of Trinidad, to both of whom the thanks of the Department are due for the facilities afforded in accomplishing the object. Master Commandant Turner, who was with Commodore Perry at the moment of his death, and attended his funeral, was directed to accompany Master Commandant Shubrick. Information was also given to the relatives and friends of Commodore Perry, in Rhode Island, that they might be enabled to make suitable preparations for receiving and paying funeral honours to his remains. The Lexington sailed from New York on the 12th October, and I am this moment apprised that she reached Newport on the 27th November.

The Instructions and Correspondence of the Department on this subject, with the Report of M. C. Shubrick, are annexed, marked N.

The Squadron in the Mediterranean has remained under the command of Commodore Rodgers, and been actively and usefully employed in cultivating the friendship of the powers bordering on that Sea, and in affording protection to our Commerce and Interests. Some extracts from his Correspondence, marked 0, will explain the nature of the Services of the Squadron, and the manner in which they have been performed.

The presence of a respectable Naval Force in that quarter is demanded by our growing Commerce, and by the continued and perhaps increasing dangers to which it is subjected by the present state of the contest between Greece and Turkey. Several of the Vessels will return home in the course of the Year, but their places will be supplied by others. Private Letters, just received, prove that Piracies of the worst kiud are daily increasing, and that our Force cannot safely be diminished.

The Squadron in the Pacifick has continued to be useful to the interests of the Nation. The termination of active War between Spain and the South American Governments bordering on that Ocean, has relieved our Commerce from some of the evils under which it suffered; but the unsettled state of the Governments and People, with the mass of Individuals who have been thrown out of employment on the land and the water, exposes it to others which require the presence and active exertions of a competent Naval Force on the whole Coast, from California to Cape Horn.

Commodore Jones, one of our most experienced and prudent Officers, has been ordered to succeed Commodore Hull in the command of the Squadron, and should the force already sent not be sufficient to protect our interests, an addition to it will be made if practicable.

Our extensive interests in every part of the Pacifick, and the difficulties which not unfrequently occur in the neighbourhood of many of the Islands, render the occasional presence of a publick force among them very important. It was the intention of the Department that Commodore Hull should, previous to his return, visit the Society and Sandwich Islands; look to the interests of our Commerce there, acquire a better knowledge than is now possessed both of its extent and necessities, and of the best means and mode of defending aud promoting it. But his duties on the Coast have forbidden him to be absent; he has, however, under the orders of the Department despatched, at different times, the Dolphin and Peacock, to accomplish those objects as far as practicable. The Report of their Cruizes has not yet reached the Department. See Paper marked P.

Information was received of the War between Brazil and Buenos Ayres soon after the Cyane sailed in December last, which rendered an additional number of Vessels there necessary. These were provided

under the Act of appropriation of 5th April, 1826; and the new Sloop of War Boston, Master Commandant B. V. Hoffman, sailed on the Ilth April ; the Frigate Macedonia:1, Commodore Biddle, on the 13th June. The presence of this Force in that quarter has been essentially useful, by the relief which it has afforded to our Vessels and fellow Citizens, in many cases, and by the impression which it has produced, that, if assailed, protection was at hand.

The Emperor of Brazil established a Blockade of an extensive Coast, resting solely upon principles which have been uniformly resisted by our Government; its operation has, to a great degree, been counteracted by the interposition of our Officers, as will be seen by the accompanying Correspondence, marked Q and R.

The view of our interests in the West Indies, so far as they are connected with the services of the Navy, is more gratifying than at any time during the last 4 Years. The zeal, enterprise and skill of our Officers which received commendation in the last Annual Report, have continued to merit it; and it is satisfactory to add, that not one case of Piracy, within the range of the Cruising ground of our Squadron, has been brought to the knowledge of the Department. The health of the Officers and Men has also received strict attention, and has been preserved to as great an extent as on any other Station. See Paper S. Commodore Warrington has been invited to the Navy Board, and Captain Ridgely appointed to succeed him.

The benefits resulting from the Cruize of the Schooner Porpoise over the fishing grounds at the northward, during the last Year, confirmed the propriety of sending a Vessel, daring the late fishing season, to perform a like service. Master Commandant Shubrick sailed in the Lexington, for that purpose, from New York, on the 12th June, and returned on the 4th September, having, in the mean time, examined the greater part of the Coasts aud Shores frequented by our Fishermen. His Reports, a Copy of some of which accompany this communication, show that much good has resulted from the attention of Government to this important interest of the Nation, and that it will be well not to relax on this subject. More diversified and extensive benefits are not produced by the employment of any one of our Publick Vessels. See Paper T.

A Law of 3d March, 1825, appropriated 100,000 dollars for the establishment of a Navy Yard and Depôt on the coast of Florida. By the Report from this Department of the 2d December, 1825, Congress was informed of the measures which had been taken to execute the Law, and of the selection which had been made. Since that time the Yard has been laid out, the Wharves, Buildings, &c. located, and the whole are satisfactorily progressing under the superintendence of the Commissioners of the Navy. There still remain unexpended about 60,000 dollars, which will be insufficient to complete the whole

as the erection of works in that portion of the Union is very expensive.

On the 10th of May last, a Letter was directed by the Chairman of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives, to the Secretary of the Navy, inquiring, “ whether the arrangements made by the Department for executing the Act of the 29th April, 1816, for the gradual increase of the Navy, would be injuriously interfered with, if the building of oue of the Frigates authorised by that Act should be suspended for the present, and the timber for her frame secured, and the Goveruinent be authorised to purchase, in lieu of such Frigate, for the Naval Service a Ship of equal, or rather superior force, if the same can be procured for the United States on advantageous terms." This Letter was received and answered on the 12th of that month. On the 17th May, a Law was passed, authorizing the President “to cause the building of one of the Ships to be suspended, and to cause to be purchased a Ship of not less than the smallest class authorized to be built."

In the execution of this Law, the Secretary of the Navy, on the 29th May, appointed Commodores Bainbridge, Chauncey, and Jones, to examine two Vessels then lying at New York, with as little delay as practicable, and furnish a full Report of their state and qualities, with an estimate of their value. On the 21st June they reported, that they had examined the two Ships, and thought the one called the Liberator, the best adapted for the publick service of The United States; that from her form and dimensions, they should judge favourably of her qualities, and estimating her value at 230,570 97 dollars.

Controversies baving arisen between the Persons interested in the Vessel, which were submitted to arbitration, some delay took place in making the purchase: but instructions were eventually given to the Navy Agent at New York, to lay the Papers before the District Attorney, and obtain from him an opinion, as to the right and power of the Arbitrators to transfer the title to The United States. In obedience to instructions, and with the approbation of all Persons concerned and interested in it, he made the purchase for the sum estimated as the value, and the Vessel is now at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. She is a valuable Ship, calculated to perform much service, and will be fitted for sea in a short time.

The Papers relating to the execution of this Law, will be found annexed, and marked U.

In compliance with the joint Resolution of the 22d of May, requesting the President to cause an Examination and accurate Survey to be made by a skilful Engineer, of a site for a dry dock at the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Charlestown, Mass. Brooklyn, New York, and Gosport, Va. Loami Baldwin, Esq. was employed to make the necessary Surveys and Examinations.

He has been diligently engaged in the work, and it is hoped that he will be able to make his Report in a few days. As soon as it is received, it will be communicated, together with the Instructions under which he acted, and the views of the Department on the subject.

In the Act making appropriations for the support of the Navy for the Year 1826, there is an item of 10,000 dollars for a Survey of the Harbours of Savannah and Brunswick, in Georgia ; Beaufort, in Şouth Carolina ; and Baltimore, in Maryland; “with a view to ascertain the practical facilities of those places for naval purposes." In the execution of this Law, a Survey was commenced under the Superintendence of Captain R. T. Spence, and, after his unexpected and lamented death, was committed to Master Commandant Claxton, then upon the Baltimore Station, with the aid of Lieutenant Sherburne and other Officers. A Report upon the subject, accompanied by a chart, has been made to the Department, but is not now communicated, because the Surveys of the other places mentioned in the Law have not been completed ; and it is believed to be more correct to present the whole at one view.

The remaining Surveys are progressing under the Superintendence of Lieutenant R. F. Stockton, and will be finished with the least practicable delay, when they will be presented, with that of Baltimore.

The Correspondence marked W. will show the situation of the African Agency and Slave Trade. It was anticipated at the commencement of the Year, that a large number of Africans would be sent to the Agency, but which a delay in the decision of the claim to a part of them has hitherto prevented. This delay has occasioned great expense to The United States ; but no remedy is perceived. Brought to this Country by no act of their own, there is no principle of justice on which they can either be made Slaves by the Government, or turned loose among our fellow-citizens to suffer. They must be carried somewhere out of the limits of The United States, and a more economical mode does not seem practicable.

On the 1st of January, 1826, a balance of 32,401 63 dollars remained of the appropriation of 100,000 dollars made in 1823, which was carried to the Surplus Fund; but a re-appropriation of 32,000 dollars was made during the last Session; of this sum, 22,220 81 dollars have been expended, leaving a balance at this time, of only 9,779 19 dollars, which it is believed will not be sufficient to meet the existing and necessary claims upon the Fund during the ensuing Year. Another appropriation will therefore be required. It is probable that in a few weeks the question respecting the Africans in Georgia will be determined, in which event, there will be from 100 to 160 in that State, and about 15 from Louisiana, to be sent to the Agency, for whose re ception provision has been made.

No Vessel has been despatched to the Coast of Africa for several

re

« PreviousContinue »