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Weekly national intelligencer. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1841-1869, January 08, 1848, Image 6

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE >'AYY.
Nivt Depahtmeht, December 6, 1847.
Si* : By the act of Congress of June 17, 1844, it |?eace
establishment was adopted authorizing (he employment in the
navy of seven thousand live hundred petty officers, seamen,
landsmen, and boyi. Uy the act of August 10, 1S46, it was
increased to ten thousand, with a direction that, on the conclu
sion of the existing war with Mexico, the number bhould be
reduced to seven thouaaud live hundred. During the past
year it is not believed that more than eight thousand men have
ueen at anv one time in service. The honor of the Hug, the
safety and efficiency of ships of war, require that they shall
not go to a. a without the crews allowed by well-digested regu
lations fixing their resjiective complements.
The difficulty of enlistment* lor the naval service, caufcd
mainly by the extraordinary activity in the mercantile marine,
the high rate of freights, anil the consequent increase of sea
men's wage*, has delayed the consummation of contemplated
arrangements for the employment of cruisers on several sta
tions, and the increase of our naval forces in the Uulf and on
the Pacific.
In the month of April last orders were sent to Commodore
Read to detach a sle.ip from the African squadron and send
her to the .Mediterranean. In obedience to this order, the
Marion, Commander iSiinonds, reached Gibraltar in July : the
steamer Princeton, Commander Engle, sailed tr.nn Philadel
phia in June for that seas in August, the revenue cutter.
Taney, Lieutenant Commanding C. O. Hunter, temporarily
Uanslerred by the Treasury Detriment, sailed from IN'ew
York with the same destination ; and there is no doubt that
Commodore Read, in the frigate United States, has, in obe
dience to his orders, assumed the command of the naval force
in the Mediterranean.
The measures for the collection in the Mediterranean sea of
this force, for the protection of our commerce, were hastened
by intelligence received early in June that an American ves- i
eel, called the Carmelita, had been seized on the high <eas
and carried into barcelona by a vessel called the I'nico, claim- !
ing to cruise under Mexican authority. The alleged prize
was promptly released by the Spani.-h authorities, and the
captors imprisoned for trial.
The attempt of the Mexican Government bv issue ot let
ters of marque to persons not bona fide citizens, with authori
ty to cruise in vessels the property of foreigner against our
commerce, and thus to legalize piracy, has not found favor or
commanded success in any quarter. I am happy to state that,
with the single eicepiion of the Carinelita, I have received
the most satisfactory reports from our naval commanders in
every quarter of the globe that our commerce has not lieen
raolt'sted, and there is no reason to apprehend any interrup
tion of its successful prosecution by the attempted measures
of Mexico?measure? inconsistent with ihc spirit of the age,
resorted to as a means of revenue, with a certain result of un
told atrocities, if favored, and which deserve, as they have re
ceived, the reprobation of the civil.zed world. The activity
of the vessels sent to the Mediterrane in has rem >ved all ap
prehension,'<ven in that sea ; and the most complete success
has attended the measures of precaution which were adopted.
It gives me great satisfaction to state that the honorable fideli
ty with which Spain has executed her tieaty stipulations with
us has signally disappointed the lawless persons within her
dominions who may have been disposed to accept the tempt
ing oilers of Mexico.
During the past year the squadron on the coast of Africa,
undtr command of Commodore Read, has been actively and
successfully employed in the humane duty of suppressing the
slave trade. It is not known that a vessel with American pa- i
pers has escaped seizure where there was just reason to sus
pect that she was.engaged or intended for employment in the
violation of our laws or the dishonor of our tlag.
In the month of September, Commodore Bolton sailed from
Norfolk in the sloop Jamestown, to relieve Commodore Head !
in the command of the squadron on that station. The neces
sity of sending the Marion and the United States to the Me
diterranean, and the return of tl?e brig Dolphin, Commander
Pope, to the Lnited States, has reduced the squadron below j
the lorce which the Lnited States engaged by the treaty of
W ashington to maintain on that station. But preparations
are in progress, and near completion, to supply the deficiency.
It is contemplated by the Department, as a permanent ar- j
rangement, to maintain a squadron in the Mediterranean sea,
principally with the ships which shall have served a portion of
the usaal period of a cruise on the African station. By this
tran?ler it is hoped that our officers and men will not be re
quired to remain in the inhospitable climate of the coast longer
than one year in a ctuise.
No selection of a permanent depot has been made in the
Mediterranean since w:e were required to withdraw our stores
from Mahon- For the present the squadrons will be sup
plied by means of store-ships sent from the United States.
In the month of June, the ship Ohio, Cupt. Stringham
?ailed from New York for Kio de Janeiro. She carried as
passengers Mr. Tod, the Minister to Brazil, and his Secretary
of Legation, with their families, and arrived there in August.
The Ohio, on her way to form a part of the Pacific squad
ron, had orders to remain at Rio uutil the 15th of November,
when she was directed to proceed to her station. 'On her ar
rival at Rio, Cora. Rousseau transferred, temporarily, the
command of the station to Capt. Stringham, and returned to
the United States in the frigate Columbia, with Mr. Wise,
his family, and Secretary of Legation, as passengers. Com.
Storer sailed in the frigate Brandy wine in the month of Sep
tember for Rio, to relieve Capt. Stringham, and assume the
duties of the command which Com. Rousseaufhad honorably
discharged, and of which he was relieved st bis own request.
The brig Biinbridg*, Lieut. Com. Williamson, has return
ed home, and is undergoing repairs for immediate service.
The squadron on the coast of Brazil consists of the frigate
Brandy wine and brig Perry. The steamer Alleghany, Lieut.
Comd g W. W. Hunter, will proceed to that station so soon
as she can be fitted for sea. The pre?cncc of a steamer on
that station is peculiarly important, under existing circfum
stances. American whale-ships on their homeward voyage
have long been in the habit of entering certain ports of Brazil,
and exchanging portions of their cargoes for necessary sup
plies. By the laws of Brazil, these ports are not open for
the entry of our vessels, and notice has recently been given
that these laws will be rigidly enforced. Such a course will
be seriously injurious to our commerce, unless timely warning
can be given to those who may not otherwise be informed of
the existence of the law until Jbey have incurred its penal
ties. The Alleghany will be sent out to peiform this service.
At the dafe of my last annual report, the squadron on the
coast of China consisted of the Columbus, Captain Wyman,
and the Yincennes, Captain Paulding, under the command of
Commodore Diddle. Inlfie month of July, 1846, he visited
Jeddo hay with both ships, and invited a favorable considera
tion on the part of the Japanese Government of our desire for
friendly commercial intercourse. Notwithstanding the pru
dence and discretion with which be made the overture, he
could not prevail on the Government to trlax the svsteia by
which Japan is clowd to the trade of the christian world, with
the exception of the limited privilege acceded to the Dutch to
send tone or two sn^all vessels annually from Batavia to Na
gaisaiki. Our squadron was treated with kindness and its
wants supplied, but do one was permitted to land, and to the
offer of friendly intercourse, the unchangeable answer wa?,
"Gu away, and do not come back anymore." Although
Japan has not yet opened her porta to our enterprising coun
trymen, the rapid extension of trade with China, with its mani
fest advantages, can hardly fail to exert a favorab'e influence
with the Japanese, and yet add hers to the ports of distant na
tions in which American shipping may safely enter, and Ame
rican enterprise find a liberal and profitable traffic.
The orders' from this Department of the 6tb of January,
IN 16, did not reach Commodore Diddle until be arrivVd at
Lima on the 31st of December. He had met the Independ
ence, bearing the pennant of Commodore Mhubrick. at Valpa
raiso) who proceedf 1 to Monterey, arriving on the 22d of Janu
ary. 1847.
Commodore Diddle arrived in the Columbn* on the 2d day
of March, 1847, and assumed the chief command. The squad
ron there conaisted ?f the C duinbus, 74 ; Independence, ra7.ee ;
frigate# Congress and Savannah ; sloops Portsmouth, Lcvani,
Cyane, Warren, and Preble ; #tore?htp? Erie, Lexington, and
Southampton, and the armed schooner MaW-k Adhel, whic h
hail been captured from the enemy. The Savannah and Le
vant have returned home, each having been absent nearly four
yearn; and Captain (teismger left the. I 'nited State# early in
November, with order# to take command of tb? frigate Con
gress and proceed to China, and give protection to our com
merce in that quarter. Commodore Middle ia supposed to
have wailed from Monterey, <?n hi# return to the United Nute?,
oft the 2r>th of July laat, and irfay lie exacted at home earl*
in the spring. Commodore Hhubrick, on whom the command
devolved on Commodore Diddle * leaving the station, ha*, at
hia request, received permission to return home on the arrival
of Commodore T. Ap Cjteeby Jones, who left the United
State* early in November to join the Ohio "<4 at Valparaiso,
and will probably relieve Commodore NhuWick in the month
of March or April next. Commodore i-itorkton, on hia being
relieved by Commodore 8bubrick, availed himnelf of the per
mission given by the Department, and ha# returned to the
United Mtatee by the overland route.
In my la?t rej-ort, I had the honor to inform you that, "on
the 22d of Auguat, 1H46, the force# of the United Mi#tee,
under Commodore Htockton, had entered the Ciudad de loe
Angelea ; that our flag was flying at every commanding pari
tion ; and (hat California was in the undisputed military p<>*.
session of the United Htatea." Supposing that the war in
California waa ended, Com. Stockton waa actively concerting
measures for the prosecution of the war on other parW of the
?nemy'e coast ami territory, when, in violation of their pa
role, the Mexican leader* in California, an the 23d of Hep
tember, renewed hostilities, and in consequence of the small
number which could be detailed to garrison the place# occupi
?d by pur forces, gained aome partial advantages. But, on
the 2Mb of December, the Commodore, with about ail hun
dred officers and men from the ship* Congress, Savannah,
Fortamooth, and Cjane, in co-operation with Brig. Uenetal
~ -- - ? ^ ? ~
? itul ot the Culifornias Alter a march of one hundred and
foity iniioo, ihey iuet the enemy at the Itio San Gabriel, on
I the Sib of January, and drove him in a mo?t gallant manner
from a stiong aud advantageous position ; and after another
encounter on the 9lh, with a similar result, the enemy was
driven from the field, and our force* entered the Ciudad de
los Angeles without further resistance. By these energetic
measures the insurrection was quelled ; and l>y a subsequent
capitulation all ho>tilities in California ceased, aud have not
been since renewed. In this unprecedented march of the
sailors, ot more than one hundred aud lilty miles,.inland, and
in their severe encounters with the enemy, they itie repotted
to have vied with their brethren of the army in steudy disci
pline and daring courage. They have, in the emergencies
in which the country was placed before the arrival of troops,
served in the mj*t creditable manner as iutanlry, artillery, aud
dragoons.
f roin the latest despatches received from the squadron, I
am happy to state that every tiling was tranquil in Upper and
Lower California, the military poMessiou complete and un
disturbed, tiade carried on without interruption, and the civil
government in successful operation. I feel authorized to ex
press the confident belief that Mazatlun, Sun Bias, and Aca
pulco have before this lime been captured by Com. Shubrick,
and are held by the squadron under his command open to the
trade of neutrals, under the same conditions as other Mexican
ports in the military occupation of the Uuited Stale*. These
measures, with the blockade of Guaymas, will effectually ex
clude from ihe west coast of Mexico all contraband trade.
\\ ith a view to mask the contemplated combined attack on
\ era Cruz and the castle, orders were given in October,
1846, to Commodore Conner, commanding our naval forces
in the liulf of Mexico, to capture and occupy Tanipico.
These ordeis were gallantly executed in November following,
and preparations were made with the greatest activity to ena
ble the navy to have its proper part in this interesting military
ojieration. Bomb-ketches and steamers were purchased,
armed, and sent forward ; the ship of-the line Ohio, destined for
the Pacific, was ordered to the Gulf; the sloops Gcnnautown,
Sarutoga, aud Decatur were filled and sent down ; and all the
necessary means at the command of the Department were put
in requisition to make the co-operation of the naval forces as
efficient as possible. I cannot exaggerate my admiration of
the conduct of the officers of every grade, who, waiving
?II privileges of rank and considerations of personal comfort
eagerly sought service in the expedition, and of the gallantry
with which their duly waa performed by those who were so
fortunate as lo receive orders for the service. The combined
of*rations were conducted with the highest skill and courage,
and the city of Vera Cruz, with its formidable defences, gar
risoned with, more than five thousand men, and armed with
more than four hundred cannon, after a resistance of barely
live days, capitulated with a total loss to thu assailants of
twelve killed, ot whom six belonged to the navy and six to
the anny. The entire opeiations, from tbe landing of the
troops, which was effected from the ships of war, to the sur
render of the place, brought the army aud navy into the closest
contact, aud the courage and skill displayed were not more
honorable to both than the jierfect harmony which prevailed.
The conduct of the officers and men of the squadron, wheth
er on shipboard or jn the battery on shore, received from the
army the highest commendation, while the former enthusias
tically applauded the gallantry and skill of their moro fortunate
brethren ot the army. On the 2l*tday of March, Commo
dore Conner, who had been in command of the home squad
ron for more than three years, aud whose health had greatly
suffered from the long and honorable service which be had per
formed in an unfavorable climate, after the landing of ihe
troop*, and pending the attack on Vera Cruz, transferred the
command to Commodore Perry. This gallant officer has con
ducted the o|>crations of this command with distinguished
judgment wid success. Alvarado, Tuspan, Laguna, Fron
tera, the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos, and the city of Tabasco,
eighty miles in the interior, the capital of one of the richest
and most fertile of the Mexican States, were successively cap
tured and occupied by our naval foices. In many of the nit
rations which led to these results, the service was arduous, the
exposure to unhealthy influences great, and the localities gave
to the enemy decidedjadvantage* of successful resistance; yet,
with an indomitable courage and fortitude, the officers and
men met and overcame all difficulties, and still hold these im
portant points, except the city of Tabasco, which was volun
tarily evacuated because of its extreme insalubrity. Blessed
with vigorous health and a robust constitution, the Commo
dore has in person encountered the hanlships aud exposure to
which those under his command have been subjected : and
those high qualities have been exhibited by Ihe squadrons,
both in the Pacific and in the Gulf, which give a^suranrc that
the navy would have covered itself with the same laurels with
which a grateful country will crown our armies, if the same
opportunity of distinguished service had been afforded.
Of the events which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico during
the past year, none have excitrd a higher degree of sympathy
and admiration than the loss of th^irave officers and men
who perished with the brig S.jmers?the heroic and romantic
generosity evinced by many of them, when in the most im
minent peril, and the noble eflorts made to ?ave thetn by the
officers and crews of the British, French, and Spanish ships
of-war anchored in view of the wreck. It has afforded me
the highest satisfaction to take, under^our direction, the ne
cessary measures to carry into effect the joint resolution of
Congress of the 3d of March last, which made it the duty of
the President to cause suitable gold and silver medals to be
prepared and presented to the officers and men attached to the
?oreijn s'mpt-of-war " who so gallantly, and at the imminent
peril of their lives, aided in rescuing from a watery grave
many of the officers an 1 crew of the United States brig Hom
ers. 1 have instructed Commodore Perry to pr-Kure the
names of the brave and generous men who aic entitled to this
distinguished mark of a nation's gratitude. He has promptly
undertaken llie grateful duty ; and, so soon as he shall have
obtained arid communicated the necessary information, the
medals will be prepared and presented.
, During the past season, I regut to slate, siokness has
prevailed with much virulence in tho Gulf squadron, and at
the places occupied by our naval forces along the coast. Many
valuable officer* and men have fallen under ihe ravages of
fever. But it is a source ol great satisfaction thai the num
ber of deaths has been very small in proportion to the number
of cases of yellow fever, and of fever of other malignant
type. No class of officers has suffered greater proportionate
loss than the medical corpa of the navy. Their heroic devo
tion to their professional duties has received, as it deserved,
th? warm and grateful commendation of their commanding
officer; and, while their skill and attention rescued front death
?n unprecedentedly large proportion of their patients, their
anxiety and exposure incident to their arduous dftiies left them
without the strength to resist the disease when themselves at
tacked. Some of the most accomplished of their highly me
ritorious corps have fallen victims to the disease of the season.
I respectfully urge that the increase of the numlwr of sur
geons, arid of assistant surgeons, recommended in the accom
panying report of the Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and
Surgery, Ik? authorized by law. The unusually large number
of vesarls in commission makes this increase a matter of ur
gent necessity.
Immediately after the capture and occupation of Tampico
and \ era Cruz on the Gulf, and of Monterey, San Francis
co, and San Die;>o on the Pacific, the commanding officers of
tti? army and navy, respectively, established and collected du
ties on commerce. I'nder your direction, the instructions
from this Department have enjoined on the commanders of
our squadrons the most considerate regard for the commerce
ot American citizens and of neutrals, and the smallest possi
? e iiiterf, rence wiih lawful trade compatible w ith the success
ful maintenance of our belligerent rights. Tbis liberal course
ft p -Hey hns been ' uried out by our officers, and justlv ap
preciated by fmural nations. In all its ib-tails, the scale of
? Ulie* preserii -,1 anj enfor^d the officers as a right of
military occupation was far Mow the onerous duties levied by
tie Mexicans. Ujt there was a want of uniformity ; and,
;y -v"ar , |r,ctiori) it, the month of March last, a system was
I igested, and instructions given to conform to it at the several
ports or plates held !.y our jarK| or naval force* Iry military
conquest. ' "
Hucb modifications hare been adopted as experience of the
practical ot the system sugge*ted. The right is de
rive! rom t e !>?,* of nations, as the result of successful bel
igerent operation ; aTtl| if,e duty collection at places held
?y he navy has been |?if?rmed by naval ofKcera without any
allowance for the service. , ? ?[iC,,fu,ly ?,,t
... " *? ar ,e'4*ed as to allow to officers performing
I iH t y -VComrn,M",n I** rent, on tbe amount c..|
c< <, wit i a proviso that in no ca?e such commission shall
excec. a sum w iic would afl,#rd A reasonable coni|>ensation
for the risk and trouble ,ne,d,t<> ?IB 1
1 he money* collected have appl./d, under the direc.
lion of .he commanding ..fileer, theWs of the squadron.
So.returns h.vebren from the Pacific. Tho* re
ce ved from the Gulf of M, ?how ?n smour)t ?
ii y am or y t ousand dollar* collected, but they do not
contain collections slr,re ea ly j? Beptcmbor.
I , ?'* "'?? principal ports, and the
d0l.es at those places are ?ot collrcted by naval officers. No
doubUs entertained that ? considerable* revenue will be col
LTrel lh\r V?'U " M"?co in our possession, which
will reduce the expenses of ,lt, tt?r on tJ Tr . Uul
he great ?Ivsntage resulting U, .hat the admission of trade
under moderate duties w,|| remove the temptation to smug
glin^ and the import trade leing compelled to pass under the
nsf^etion of our officers, the enemy will be Jeprieed of aid
by ths introduction of.r.icles eontrabsnd, sndst the same
time an active and profit a ?
navigsting interest. * given to our own
l*r,VKres^r??sn^',X ' I ' ,r ^a" caP'*,rw?' ? num
lier of steamers and gunlKiats of light draught, suitable for
entering the risers along the coa?i .1,1,1, ? . .
t>li?n iL k. .1- ? h,rh wpr? ??lued and
5VM r^rJTn?? th i,h every
wh?. i" vicimtudes S
not feel >t litUriv in m I'*1"' their shares, I did
not feel at liberty to make payment without adjudication and
either for. that U tog^toadtW^A gflyilUlWlPt OIU)JWM
^*2* of a'court of admiralty. It ha. bc-en arranged that
the qu~tk? shall be submitted by libel to the district court of
the United Stales iu Louisiana, and It ? suppo*,d that the
,1. ".ii exorcise jurisdiction without sending in ihe vessels,
to avoid, a. they are usefully employed
in the squadron. The valuation was made by disinterested
\merican shipmasters. is lielieved to be reasonable, and will
be i.a.d according to the provlaion. of the prize act, whenever
the vessels shall have been legally condemned.
Iu the Pacific a uumber of vessels have also been captured.
It would not liave been compatible with the efficiency of the
?????*<?* I-*-?"" "??
Siai-M liv the long voyage around the cape \ and it was indis
pensable that the legality of the capture should be submitted
L judicial investigation. At the request of the commanding
naval officer a prize court waa organized by the military offi
cer exercising the functions of civil government in California.
Instruction!) have been given that in no case will the prize
money he distributed until the proceedings of the court, ahow
iiii the condemnation and sale, shall havebeen transmitted and
?.?i in review hv the Department.
The ? (tension of our laws over the Oregon Territory and
the establishment of courts with admiralty jurisdiction would
seem to be highly important for the settlement ol the delicate
and difficult questions which often occur in such cases.
I deem the subject of sufficient importance to transmit, wi ll
this report, extracts of despatches from this Department to the
commanding officers ot the squadron in the Pacific on the
subiect of the law of blockade.
Uv a i >int resolution of Congress, approved on the 3d ol
March last, authority was given to the Secretary of the Navy
" to place at the disposal of Capt. George 0. De Kay, ol
New Jersev, tho United Stales ship Macedonian, for the pur
pose of transporting to the famishing poor of Ireland and
Scotland such contributions as may be made for their*elicf;
and to place at the disposal of Copt. Robert B. Forbes, ol
Boston the United States sloop-of-war Jamestown for the
same purpose." There was superadded an alternative authority
"to dispatch said vessels on the serv.ee aforesaid a. pub he
ships if in the opinion of the Secretary of the Navy, the
public interests would be better subserved."
The two ships were placed at the disposal of the experi
enced navigators nainod in the joint resolution, respectively ;
and each having perloimed its mission of charity, has been re
turned in satisfactory condition. 1 he sublime spectacle ha?
been presented to the world, of our people, in a spirit of Chris
tian benevolence, relieving the sufferings of subjects of a
mighty foreign Power, which the vast resources of that grea
empire could not avert; and of our country -while engaged
in a foreign war, furnishing, from its surplus products, the
means of feeding foreign nations abroad.
I was not of opinion that the public interest would be bet
ter subserved by sending the Macedonian "d the James own
on the service required as public ships- The Department
could not procure the crews necessary for the public service in
giving protection to our commerce, and in the prosecution of
the4war; and I may be permitted to add, that while the vol
untary offering of the people of the United States.was received
with^ratitude by the sufferers, and with heartfelt acknowl
edgments of thanks by high functionaries of the British Gov
ernment ; wliile tho relief so gracefully offered and received
has contributed to promote affectionate feeling, and strength
the bonds of friendship which bind the people of the two great
countries together, without leaving any painful recollection,
such results could not have been expected, if the Government
of the United 8tatcs had undertaken thus tc minister to
wants of the subjects of Great Britain.
Under the direction of the 7th section O the navy appro
priation act of the 3d of March last, ten thousand dollars have
Ken paid, on his requisites, to Uriah Bro?n. On the 14th
day of October Mr. Brown informed the Department tha he
was prepared to submit to inspection an experiment ot tbe li
quid lire of his invention. A board of offic-rs was o^iedto
witness the experiment, and I have the h.nor to a
copy of their report, with a communication rom Mr. Brown
No preparation has been made, of which I am aware, to test
the practical utility of the shot-proof steam-ship of his inven
tion. The appropriation is exhausted in the experiment of ,
the liquid lire ; and I have no such information as to the prin
ciple on which he proposes to make a shot-prool steam-ship
as to justify my forming an opinion, or directing an experi
ment It is not my opinion that the latere* of the United
States will be promoted by adopting the invention of liquid tire
as a means of national defence.
I have the honor to present herewith the reports from the
several Bureaus of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs; ot |
Ordnance and Hydrography ; of Yards and Docks ; ol fu -
sions and Clothing ; and of Medicine and Surgery, with esti
mates iu detail for the severakbranches of the naval seiviee lor
the next fiscal year. They are based on the empoymenU
pending the war, of ten thousand men as allowed by law, and |
a number of vessels in commission requiring their s"ucrs.
IW mpor., !>???? ? H'rffjiw ?h""' 1
the public work. of Hi. public properly .ubjecI to lb* e n
trol and direction of the Navy department; and the estimates
have been prepared and revised with a careful desire to ask for
nothing which is not necessary to the public interest. I re
spect fully ask the favorab e consideraUon of the suggestions
made by the experienced, able, and faithful officers at the head
?f The1 gross amount estimated for is ten million three hundred
and sixty-five thousand eight hundred and
bits. The amount appropriated for the current fiscal v w
*10 0!i!i,636 10 The estimates now presented include an
item of $1,200,(H)0 to complete the four war stealers autbo- ,
lived by the act .f 3d of March last, an increase of the appro- |
priation under ttie head of "contingent enumerated, and
three bundled snl fifty thousand dollars for the prosecution of
the work on tbe dry-dock at New York. The realms for ,
these appropriations are given in the reports, and, I presume,
will be satisfactory. There are other objects estimated for re- j
quiring an inc n. deraWe expenditure, which seem to me to
be necessary for the efficient discharge of the public duties de
volved on the Department. Of the appropriations made for
the current year, the unexpended balances will, without doubt,
prove adequate to a!I the wants of the service. j
I deem it not inappropriate to the oe?asion, as illustrating
the expenditures ot the Navy Department since the commence
ment of the Mexican war, to present a comparative statement
of appropriation* and exjienditures for the last three years un
der the heads of appropriation of " pay," "contingent, in- (
crease and repair," "provisions and clothing, 'and surgeons ?
neeessaries and appliances." These may lie denominated the
variable appropristions, and will show the increase of expen
diture during the war over that of a corresponding period in
time of peace.
This comparison exhibits the following result:
June 3(1, 1845... $5,058,815 71 $6,194,453 28 $5,818,388 79
" ISifi... 5,0*5,8'J 2 (0 w>,564,4^6 5'2, #,371,544 5t)
** I>47... 6.434,34* (to 7,9fil,73.1 48 6,435,4l6 56
And of the expenditure for increase and repair during tbe
past year, three hundred and forty-five thousand one hundred
and seventy-five dollars have been paid for fifteen vessels, store
ships, steamers, and schooners, of suitable draught of water,
purchased an I sent to the Gull' of Mexico.
By the direction of the act of the 3d March, 1847, measures
were taken for building four war steamers of the first class,
and tbey are in i course of rapid construction.
The models, tonnage, and machinery were adopted on the
report of a mixed board of naval officers, constructors, snd en
gineers, snd I have no doubt the vessels will constitute a most
valuable accession to the navy.
By tho same net contracts were authorized for the transpor
tation of the mail in steamers between New York snd Liver
pool, between New York and New Orleans, and from Havana
to Chagres.
The contractors on these two routes were named in the law ;
and the basis of the contracts was adopted by Congress by re
ference to proposals heretofore submitted to the Postmaster
General liy Messrs. Collins and Sloo, respectively. The con
tracts with these gentlemen have been entered into, as directed
by law, embracing conditions by which the steamers are to hr
constructed, under proper inspection, so as to be convertible
into war Manners, and subject to be taken for public use, at a
fair valuation, at the pleasure of the Department. The 3th
section of the act makes it the duty of ihe Secretsry of the ,
Navy to contract, on the part of the Government of tho Unibd
States, " for the transportation of the mail from Panama to such ,
port as hf may select in the Territoiy of Oregon, oner a month j
tiirJt u oi/, so as to connect with the mail from Havana to
Chagri m tcroa the Isthmus, said mail to be transported in either
steam or sailing vessels, as shall lie deemed most practicable
and expedient."
The Department did not find any specific direction in re
gard to tins contract as to persons to lie employed, prices to br
paid, or the duration of the contract Proposals were there
lore invn.il by advertisement, reserving to the Department tho
right to take the hid deemed most favorable, and leaving tothi
bidders to propose their own terma as to the duration of the
contract, tbe rate of compensation, and Ihe deecription of ves-1
sels in which the service was to.be rendered.
Astoria, in the Oregon Territory, was determined on as the
northern terminus of the route, with a right of changing it re i
served to the Department; and the law waa construed to re
quire a mail to be transported from one point to the other with
in thiity days. The distance is more than three thousand
miles, and the winds and currents known to lie such as torcn
der it impracticable to perform the required service in sail ves. 1
aels. It was, therefore, determined to employ steamers. The
great dis'ance at which the service is to be performed, the
besvy expenses which must be incurred by the contractors in
providing on the Pacific ooasts the necessary shops and mate
rials for repair, the indispensable fuel, ami depots for coal, in
duced me to adopt the term of ten years as the duration of this
contract, which has been adoptee! by the Poet Office Depart
ment for its foreign mail contracts. But, to guard myself |
against the reproach of exceeding the authority which it was
the intention of Congreas to confer, a clauae is inserted in the
contract, reserving to Congress the right to annul the contract
The contracts require the vessels to be ria'dy for aaa in Oc
tober and November of the year 1818, and the light of pay
will commence with the commencement of the performance of
the mail aervice stipulated. The annual compensation, under
these agreements, will be?
To E. K. Collins $385,000 00
To A. O. Sloo 290,000 00
To Arnold Harris.... ^ 199,000 00
An appropriation for payments under the contracts with
Collins and Sloo, during the fiscal year commencing the 1st
of July, 1848, (if the contractors comply with their under
taking^ of nearly three-fouiths of the annual compensation
will be required, and about one-fourth for that with Harris;
and, as an act of justice to the contractors, I respectfully sug
gest that, in making the appropriation, Congress will declare
its approval of the term which has been adopted, and whether
the reserved power of annulling the contract thall be exer
cised.
1 regard them as favorable contracts, and the establishment
of a regular and speedy intercourse, by mail, between the At
lantic cities and Oregon, as of the highest national importance.
I have cordially co-operated in the establishment of the sev
eral lilies of steamers stipulated by those contracts. Thirteen
new vessels will be constructed in the most skilful manner,
which may tie used as war-steamers, and will be available for
national purposes on any emergency. The contracts stipulate
that a mail agent, to be appointed by the Postnlaster General,
shall be placed and maintained on board ; but, as the contract
ia made with this Department, and the payments will be made
from the Treasury on bills approved here, unless otherwise
directed, it may be a question whether tbe law sufficiently
provides for the regulation and collecting of postages by the
Post Office Department, and how far such receipts would be
applicable to the payment of these contractors. 1 respectfully
submit that the necessary legal enactments on the subject may
be made by Congress.
The Observatory is in successful operation, and its useful
noes to the naval service U confirmed by experience. I re
spectfully renew the recommendation contained in my last
report, that an appropriation of a sum, not exceeding .ix thou
sand dollars, be made for the collection of materials to compile
a nautical almanac for the use of the navy and merchant
" ""submit herewith a communication from the superintendent,
on the subject of duties paid into the Treasury on instruments
imported for use at the Observatory. When the estimate*
were submitted, and appropriations were made, it was not
foreseen that these duties, amounting to two thousand two
hundred and seventy-nine dollars and twenty cents, would be
chargeable. I recommend that Congress direct that they be
^A/the last session of Congress, a clause was inserted in the
navy approbation bill, that the superintendent ol the Obser
vatory should bo a captain, commander, or lieutenant in the
navy ; and while performing duty as such his annual pay
should he three thousand dollars. .
In the form in which the act passed, this provision is so word
ed that the accounting officers of the Treasury deemed , . un
certain to whom it applied, and recommended that Congress
should pass an explanatory law. No payment >?s l>ecn made
under the law ; but the superintendent has received only his
duty pay as a lieutenant in the navy, I respectfully recom
mend that the clerical error be corrected, and that the salary
be allowed as was intended, commencing with the present
**There are in attendance at the naval school al>out ninety
midshipmen, prosecuting their studies under great advantages,
preparatory to their examination with a view to P'O'noUon.
The school is well conducted, and will unquestionably be of
very great advantage to the naval service. The examinations
which are there made before an applicant can enter the ser
vice, and those which determine his qualification for promo
tion, after five or six years of service, exert the most benelicia|
influence in retaining in the service only those who are free
from physical defect, and have the mental endowments essen
tial to a skilful and accomplished naval officer.
The operation of the act of March 3d, 1815, icqumng ap
pointments of midshipmen to be made from the
Territories, according to reprcsentaUon in has*ej
highly favorable in enlarging the interest felt by the whole
couot-y in the na* It will be yet aome time before the in
equalities amongst the States will be removed. The maxr
mum number of midshipmen allowed by law is four iumdmj
and lifty-one. The divisor fixed by the act of 1845 is at
this time 230. It will change as the number of members of
the House of Ilepresentalivcs vanei. I recommend that he
restriction imposed by the act of August, 184,, by which tht
number of midshipmen is limited to 451, be so far
as to authorize an increase of the number to 460 and at all
times hereafter that each State and Territory ehal have two
midshipmen for each Representative in Congress
m?v be entitled. This small increase will contribute to hasten
the establishment of equali'y, and will simplify the distribution
of midshipmen amongst the State, and lerntor.es Case
have been p.esented to the Department, of sons of. those who
have fallen in battle, which have confirmed the opinion that
it would be wise and just to give the authority asked for in my
last report?to appoint one midshipman out of eight or ten at
large, irrespective of actual icsidence.
I have the honor to present the estimates for the maintenanc
of the marine corps. u . , . ,
Under the provisions of the act of March last, the dd
tional officers authorized wer appointed, and -the
service has been actively performed. I he full number of
privates authorized by law have not been enl.sted. I is .e
fiectfully suggested whether, as this additional force is to be
(1-ch.irged at the end of the war, and the services of the
or,*, or large portion, of it, will be required on Und .n
V* xico, the privilege, of bounty land or scrip, givento
diers enlisting in the army, ought not to l>e extended to the
In the month of Msy last, when it ??. very de.irable to I
itrenethen the column of the army under Major General
s, ,tt it gave me pleasure to tender for that purpose a portion
?f the marine corpf. A battalion of marines, under LUut
Col Watson, was promptly sent forward and joined the main
army at Puebla on the 6ih of August. They have Performed
h.-.r duties with the highest honor, and displayed the quail
of veteran troops. In the brilliant operation. m he j.lley
of the city of Mexico they bore a^conspicuous ,?rt, andinthebet
ile of Chapultepec, IMOgM the gloiaous dead who Mil n gal
Writly defending their country ? honor, was Major
xroid in command of the battalion. Lieut. Col. W a son
dtei nn arduous and dut.ngui.hed career of ' l
I iMil of his deuchment, left his command, after the cap tula
? ,n i? ,he city of Mexico, on his way to ihe I nited Stales to
Meruit his impaired health, when he was prostrated by sick
J" . Vera Cruz, and breathed bis last at that city on the
.nth of November. The marine corp. h.s renJered most
important service with the squadions in the Gulf and in the j
i Pacific, and seems to me to be entitled to the most favorable
consideration of Congress. f _
The system now established for disbursement- of money
aid supplies in the navy is satisfactory in Its read* The
mn liases are made on fair competition ; ,
tabu tine on ahip boaid, and of accounting to the Departments
bl the Jorirs i. performed with great regularity and accuracy.
The limited number of purser* in the navy has
di<tensable to require of the commanding officer, of the smaller
ZTZ performance of the duty of pursers i and it he* ]
! hitipened, from unavoidable cau^ wmct.meN .n the pro^
cuiion of active operations against the ^emy that tfn W
n unler was separated from hie vessel and her stores. W bile
ItCrC has not been a case in which any suspicion of misapply
cttion of public property could attach to ?n u,r,cer d,.n? duty
..purser, there is no doubt that officers thu. situated have!
had to meet lo^ by being held to accoun for a!
received, to the delivery of which hey could not J J? ,
out neglect of their paramount duty ...onitn.nderof Oie
vffsel. I am entirely aati.fied that it is injur.ou. to. the <?r
vrc, and unjust to the officer., to impose un them the jlut.ee j
of turner The api-nintment of twelve assistant poreera,
iriJ- one thoiMtml ?l,r. which
l v law to a commodore', aecretary, will supersede the necee
1 o7 w emZtng the officers. From these appointment. I
promotions^ght lie made to the grade of purser ? and the
experience acquired and qualifications exhibited in the inferior |
gride would add greatly to the usefulness of theofficer when
. r.irnoted and require.! to perf.rm
am satisfied that it ia injurious to the d.eci|d.iie ?he "
ihat ihe commanding officer of a vessel should "tandm the
relation, Uiward. her crew, of purser. If any supposed er
r,,r exists in his account?about which a sailor is ?l?'*y?
Mtite?the captain .hould be an impartial umpire between
him and (h? purser. If the captain be the puwer, and the
nuthor of the supposed mistake, the man Income, di.cor.tcnt
ed, under a sense of wrong which there is no one to red.ess^
I therefore respectfully recommend that authority be givi n to
mmoint, bv warrant, twelve assistant pursers in the navy.
The measures taken by the Department, in execution of
the set of Congress authorizing the construct^ of floating
drv-docks, with append.ges, at Philadelphia, hittery, and
Pen^acoU, will be made the .ubject of a special report.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yw bbriiwl
servant,
To the PaKsmxKT.
On the 21st of la*t March an island, covered with luxuriant ,
vegetation, is represented to have been discovered eighty
miles north and about one thousand miles east of the Bermu- j
das. The skeleton of a man nnd u boat partly built were found
on the beech. So say. Capt. PauUon in the Charleston
Courier. ?
TaMi**""* Wiwiw.?A gentleman of Cincinnati
and a lady of Phila<lelphia were married in the tatter city, on
Thursday night of laat week, ami the fact being communica
ted by telegraph, the wedding fea.t was held simultaneously
in Cincinnati and PhiladeloL. The "joy greeting and
LV lelT-Ch"'. 'h. Cincinn...
.ml, th.frforf, Ihmnh Sr.l>?.?U
ding celebration had participanle in persons operated by near |
|y a thousand miles ! What will science do next I
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Ttksuat, January 4, 1848.
The Houae having resolved itaelf into Committee of the
Whole on the stale of the Union (Mr. Joukph K. Ingkiisoli.
in the chair) and proceeded to the consideration of the resolu
tion* offered by Mr. Vinton, referiing the annual meaujge of
the President of the United States to appropriate standing
committees?
Mr. DRODHEAD said that he had had the honor some
days since to o!fer a resolution for the appropriate reference of
the several topics in the President's message, which he desired
to have referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state
of the Union as a substitute for those which had been offered
some days since by the honoruble gentleman Irom Ohio, (Mr.
Vinton.) He now asked that those ottered by the gentleman
from Ohio be now read ; when this was done he should move
his own as a substitute. He then submitted the following ;
Jie?olx<<nI, That so much of the message of the President of
the United States to the two Houses ot Congress, at the pre
sent session, us relates to the existing war with Mexico, to the
condition of our citizens iu China, aud the propriety of making
payment to the Spanish Government in the " Amistad case,"
together with the accompanying correspondence in relation
thereto, be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Resolved, That so much of the said message us relates to the
condition and operations of the army, the propriety of increas
ing the same, and levying contributions upon the enemy, toge
ther with the report of the Secretary of War, be referred to the
Committee on Military Affairs.
lieaolved, That so much of the said message as relates to the
establishment of Territorial Governments in Oregon, New
Mexico, and the Californias be referred to the Committee on
the Territories.
Uetalved, That so much of the said message at relates to the
condition of the Treasury, to the means of obtaining money to
prosecute the war with Mexico, the operations of the tariff of
IS4ti, the propriety of imposing a duty upon tea aud coffee, the
warehousing system, the constitutional treasury, aud the pro
priety ol establishing a branch mint ut New York, be referred
lo the Committee ot Ways and Means.
Resolved, That so much of the said message ?s relates to the
graduation and reduction of the price of the public lauds, the
amendment and modification of the laws granting pre-emption
right to settlers, to thi establishment of a Surveyor General's
Offi ce in Oregon, and the grant of lair's thereinto actual set
tlers, he referred to the Committee on* Public Lands.
Jietolveil, That so much of the said message as relates to our
relations with the various Indian tribes, and the appointment
of Indian Agents west of the Rocky Mountains, be referred to
the Committee on Indian Affairs.
TiesoIved, That so much of the said message as relates to
the condition and operation^ of the Navy, to the increase of
sea steamers, together with the report of the Secretary of the
Navy, he referred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
lienolvetl, That so much of the said message as relates to
the progress and couditicn of the mail service, the operations of
the Post Office Department, and the postal arrangements with
foreign Governments, together with the report of the Postmas
ter General, be referred to the Committee on the Post Office
and Post Koads.
Mr. BRODHEAD desire! to state a few reasons why he
had offered the substitute which had just been read.' He had
two objections 'o the resolutions submitted by the gentleman
from Ohio. The one wan to the reference of that portion of the
President's message which re lit us to the finances of the coun
try, and the other to the disposition which that resolution pro
posed to make of that portion of the President's mofsagc which
lias reference to our relation* with Mexico. He objected to
the gentleman's resolutions because he proposed a reference of
that portion of the message which related to the Subtreasury
and the tariff of 1846 to the Committee on Commerce. Such
a reference was contrury to the precedents in this House.
Heretofore this subject bad always been referred, so far as his
knowledge of the practice of the House extended, to the Com
mittee of Way sand Means. Ho knew very well that the tariff
act of 1846 was reported by the Committee of Ways and
Means, and also in at the Subtreasury law came from that com
mittee. He thought it was now right that all questions relat
ing to the finances of the country should in like manner be re
ferred to the Committee on Finance, which was styled in this
House the Committee of Ways and Moans. All questions
relating to the revenues of tlie country properly belonged to
the consideration of that committee. It was certainly a more
proper committee, than the Committee on Commerce for such
a reference. The principal purpose of tariff laws was to raise
revenue for the purpose of carrying on the operations of the
Government. He did pot know what purpose the gentleman
from Ohio hnd in thus prop wing a departure from the prac
tice which had heretofore prevailed here. It might have been
from motives of delicacy, because the gentleman was chairman
of the Committee of Ways and Means, and did n.t dtsire
himself to propose to give that committee the charge of this
subject.
He objected, furthermore, to the manner in winch the gen
tleman from Ohio proposed to dispose of that portion of the mes
sage having reference to our relations with Mexico. He thought
this part should be referred to the Committee ou Foreign Af
fairs and to the Committee on Military Affairs. Wherever a
subject could lie referred to a (landing committee, it was pre
feiable to referring it to a select committee. The gentleman
proposed to raise, independently of the standing committees, i
independently of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and of the
Cointnit'ee on Military Affairs, three select committees on this
portion of the message. Mr. I), thought three select commit
tees, in addition to those heretofore established, were altoge
ther unnecessary. H>; compared tho first resolution of Mr.
Viwtoh, referring to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and
that which refers to a select committee the manner and policy
of the war, and said it seemed to him that the jurisdiction of
these two committees would in some measure conflict; that they
would be considering the same subjects, and mak'ng reports
covering the same grounds here. For these reasons he hoped
that his substitute would lie adopted.
THE AMI8TAD SLAVES.
Mr. GIDDINGS moved so to amend the resolutions as to
refer so much of the message as relates to the case of the
Amistad to a select committee.
Mr? GmniMts said, although it was something like speak
ing to empty benches to rise to address the committee at this '
time, yet he felt dis|>osod to embrace the present opportunity
to call the attention of those few who should have the kind
ness to listen to him to the circumstances of the case which
was now presented by the President of the United States for
our consideration He did so the more readily because there
were many members who had not heretofore l?een participants
in the consideration of this subject; the older memliers would i
at once recognise an old acquaintance in the claim now pre
sented, and moat of the gentlemen now present would recollect
very distinctly the nature of the claim which they were now
railed upon lo meet upon the part of the Spanish Government
In 1839, perhaps as early as April, certain persons who were
Spaniah subjects, tradeis in slaves, took from the coast of Afri
ca fifty-two or fifty-three negroes and brought them to Cuba.
They were landed in the month of May, or porhaps in the last
of the mouth of June, and placed in the baracoons of Havana.
They remained there some twelve or fourteen days, when they
were transferred by bill of sale from the original importers to
Montez and Ruiz, who shipped them on board the Amistad,
and sailed for Principe, on the southern end of the island.
Wben five days out from Havana they rose upon those who
held them in subjection, and slew the captain and cook, aent the
two sailors on shore in a boat, and ordered their owners, Mon
tez And Ruiz, to guide the ship to Africa. Montez and Ruiz
guided the vessel so far north as lo come to anchor near ihe east |
end of Long Islsnd, where the ship and negroes were taken
possession of by Lieut. Grdney, in the employ of the United
States. They were taken to New Haven, in the Slate of
Connecticut, and Lieut. Gedney filed his claim iri the District
Court of that State for salvage on both ship and negroea.
Montez and Ruiz there filed their claims to these negroes,
whom they claimed aa their property. Claims were also put
in by the owners of Ihe Amistad t and sevetal other claim
ants filed their claiina before the aaid coutt. The vessel was
awarded, upon due consideration, to the claimants?saving to
those who had taken possession of it their salvage, which
amounted to one-quarter, or perhaps to one-third its value.
The negroes, who were the |nrincipa! subject-matter of litiga
tion, were adjudged to be free person', hoi ling the right to
their libeity, possessed of the natural rights with which they
were created. They were therefore released by the decree
of said court, from which an appeal was taken to ihe Supreme
Court of tho United States; and there, upon the unanimous
judgment of that court, without a dissenting voice?more ihrtn
half of whom were slave owners?the judgment of the district
court, was ratified and confirmed, and these persona were de
clared to b* in the fdU possession of their inalienable rights,
and those who held them in bondage flagrant violators of the
law of nationa. The negroes were thus set at lilwrty. This
took place in 1840?perha;?s in January?when the final
judgment was rendered in the Supreme Court of the United
States. Subsequently to that, viz. in 1844, the elaimmU of
these negroea came into this body, and through the Spsnfrh
Minister presented their claims against the United States for
the vslue of the Hood, the sinews, and the bones of these
negroes who were thus eet at liberty.
Mr. G. regretted most sincerely thwt the former chairman
?f the Committee on foreign Aflnrs (Mr. C. J. IwnMaoti)
ras not present at this time. If h? were, he should feel com
pelled to treat the subject in a different manner \ yet, though
alisent, duty compelled him to say that in that re|>ort he had
falsified the solemn record of the Supreme Court of the United
States, and, founding his report upon tho falsehood, had come
into this House and declared that Congress was bound to pay
otir #70,000 to the c'aimanta of thrse slaves. He did not
charge the Committee on Foreign Affaire, or the chairman
who drew up this report, with any intention ol falsification. ,
The gentleman's report commenced with a flogrnnt violation
ol truth. He said, "on the 2flth August, 1840, a vessel of
the United States took poeeession, Ac. of the Spanish schooner
on the coast of Connecticut," Ac.
Now, sir, the records of the court show that the vessel was
taken possession of on the 2flth August, 1839, instead of
1840. And on this false assumption declares, page 10th of
the report, that "the proof is thst they (the negroes) were at
least fourteen months in Cuba." "The owner of these
alleged barbarians, adjudged by the court to be Africans just (
? ?, JHll IOMI WW IHH, if Pbt on the record for
them, stales they were kidnapped from Africa on the 15th
I April, 1839, and then transported to Cuba on the 12th June,
1839."
By thus stating the arrival of the Africans at Havana in
1839, as was really the case, and then saying they were
taken on the coast of Connecticut in August, 1840, which is
| untrue, the committee lepresented the negroes to have keen
fourteen months in Cuba in?tead of fourteen days. This
false statement is in contradiction to the alleged facts that
they were bomdei, or negr> eg newly imported, instead of
" ludinox," or negroes long resident in Cuba. This fact
wai important, as it is understood by all that the treaty be
tween Spain and the United Slates, and the laws of that
kingdom interdict the slave trade.
He regretted that the gentleman who penned this report
was not present; but, present or absent, it beiumc his (Mr.
G's) duty to stamp it with the character which belonged to it*
Again, at a subsequent period, at the first session ol the last
Congress, this rurne report was again put forth and re-adopted
by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the chairman of the
present Committee on Foreign AJbirs (Mr. Smith, of Con
| nrcticut) put his hand to it that it was true.
[The committee ut this time being quite thin?Mr. Smith,
with many others, being absent?Mr. L?. said he wished some
of the boys would iun and tell his friend ho was talking about
him. He wanted to drive every man out from behind the
bush on this subject.]
He did not believe that the gentleman who was at present
at the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs would inten
tionally endorse aucb a mis-statement. The fact was, he sup.
posed the gentleman did not know whether it was true or false ;
because it was a question in which slaves were involved, he
did not examine it. It was the habit of Northern men to
shrink from the investigation of any subject in which the pe
culiar institution was involved ; they did not like to approach
it. And now what was the consequence ? Why, his friend
from Connecticut having admitted the truth of that repoit, and
confirmed it, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Broji
bkad) now moved to refer the subject again to the veiy men
who had made this report.
[Mr. Smith now entering (he Hall, Mr. G. repeated the
declaration that the gentleman had endorsed and adopted this
report, and it bore his impress.]
Mr. 8MITH, (interposing.) How bears my impress ?
Mr. GIDDINGS. Why, a* a member of the Committee
on Foreign A flu ins, by assenting to it.
Mr. SMITH. As a member of the Committreon Foreign
Affairs ! Welt; I hope I am not to be held responsible for
I all the Committee on Foreign Aflairs did during the last
Congress. *
Mr. GIDDINGS. There is nothing on the record which
! shows thut my friend from Connecticut dissented from it. As
; I^aid before, I do not believe he examined the question. But
where is his counter-report? Where is his solemn protest f
Where does he contradict this declaration?this flagrant false
hood ? How has he raised his voice ugainst this doctrine,
which is so unjust in itself, and which is tending to overthrow
our Government and our liberties ?
Mr. SMITH. If the gen'lenian from Ohio will permit me
i to refer him to the yeas and nays, I think he will findlhat this
i question came up in the House, and that my name is there
recorded.
Mr. GIDDINGS. I beg pardon; there is no such thing
on the record. This report never came before the House.
[A laugh ]
Mr. SMITH. If there i* no such thing it is because thiV
question could not raise strength enough to get the yeas and
' nays.
Mr. GIDDINGS. I know that 5 and therefore it was im
portant that my friend should have had strength enough in his
| own breast to speak the truth, to declare the facts.
He* repeated, he wanted every man to take open, bold
ground, as freemen and the representatives of freemen.
This was not the whole. When the general appropriation
bill was under consideration in the Senate at the last session,
1 an amendment was attached to it giving J50,000 us a com
pensation for thc.-e slaves to the claimants. This amendment
i came down here ; and, after hearing the expose of his venera
ble friend who sat before him (Mr. Aiiams) of some fifteen min
utes, there were only twenty-three persons willing to vote for it
in committee, aud in the House only forty. It was hurled
unceremoniously from this body, and stamped with the ex
press disapproba'ion of the House; and, having Iain over
? only from that time?the close of the last session?they wero
i recommended by the President to make this appropriation, to
lax their constituents, to pay over this money to these dealers
I in human flesh.
The object of his motion was not to send this subject to the
Committee on Foreign A Hairs; and, in naming a select com
mittee, he said he had no desire or wish to be placed upon
that committee. But it wa? hit* desire that the venerable gen
tleman from Masrachufctts, (Mr. Adams,) who had stood in
the relation of counM to this cuse from its commencement,
shcu'd be placed upon it; and then ho should like to see placed
upon it some of the ablest statesmen and lawyers on the other
side ol the cafe ; so that both side* of the question might be
fully presented, and that we should not hereafter have the
records of the country falsified.
It was his object, therefore, to send this subject to a select
committee, that a report might be drawn up and sent to the
people, that they might be thoroughly informed in relation to
it. He did not know but that it was his duty to speak more
at length on this matter ; but would only say that the Presi
dent had urged them?to do what ? To sustain the Spanish
slave trade. He asks us to tax the people, to take that which
they earn by the sweat of their brows, to pay men engaged in
the slive trade for the failure of their speculations. This was
a subject not agitated by him ; it was urged upon them by the
President, and it had been again and attain urged upon them
by the Committee on Foreign AfTairs. He wished to disabuse
the mind* of any who thought he had agitated this question.
Ho would take this occasion to say that he haiLnever agitated
the question of sis very here but to redeem the North from all
participation in it?from all unconstitntionsl participation
in it. He held in his hand a resolution which had been
passed by the legislature of South Carolina, and he rejoiced
that he had one occasion to speak with approbation of the
action of Mouth Carolina on the subject of slavery.
The honorable gentleman here read the resolutions to which
he referred, which were understood to deny sny right to tho
free States to interfere with slsvery in the South, and also to
Congress under the constitution to exercise any control over
it. These, he ssid, were sentiments which were concurred
in by the North. For himself he responded most hesrtily to
the resolutions. They had no power to cause the abolition of
slavery in the South, nor had Congress the right to require
the North to give the institution of slavery any support. He
desired emphatically to repeat that they had here no power
whatever in connexion with the institution of slavery. This
|>osition was so clearly sustained by the constitution that he
who runs may read.- The doctrine then of the South Caroli
na resolutions was true. We have no right to interfere with
it; we never had any right to interfere with it. Every move
ment heretofore by which this House hat taken jurisdiction of
it was a violation of the constitution. And yet the President
now asked them to interfere with that around which the con ?
stitution bad thrown a barrier. He asked them to do that
which the people had no right to meddle with, to establish,
uphold, or put it down, and he hoped this House would refuse
to gratify the President in Uiis particular. Would the Repre
sentatives of the North make such a concession ' Would the
Whig party yield their assent to such dogmas of the President?
If the chairman of the Committee of the District of Columbis
were present he f ould ssk him if there wa? any proUbility of
their repealing the laws of Congress by which they had exer
cised jurisdiction over this subject in this District ? He directed
attention to the slsve pen in view of this Capitol, in which there
wss more sighing, and weeping, and groaning, and more human
suffering than imagination could paint. From all connexion
with such cruelties lie wished the people that he represented
to be sbsolved. He hoped, therefore, that Congress would
refuse to entertain the subject, and not, as invited by the Pre
sident, tax the people to perpetuate and encourage the inflic
tion of pain and misery. He desired to wssh bis hands of it.
He called the attention of the House t > the effect of such
interference. It was to encourage the slave trmleon the coast
of Africa ; it wss ?o involve us in the crime of piracy. This
interference with slavery had involved us in a war, in which
now si much American blood wss being poured out, and the
treasures ef the nation were squandered with an extravagance
heretofore unknown to this nation. Were, then, the gentle
men of the N orth prepared to respond to the call of the Pres
ident to sustain the Hjmnish slave trade > Their action on this
important subject at thi< session of Congress would make an in
teresting chspter in the biography of many American states
men. He called upon Representatives of the people from
eveiy section of the Union to come forward and meet this
question without excitement. The position which he had laid
down, and which he should now ausfain, was that this House
had no right to interfere with the subject. They had no right
to sustain it in any 8tate of thia Union. They ha4 no right
to impose on any freo 8tate the duly of middling with it. Hfc
hoped, then, that this position would be sustained, for to do
otherwise would involve a violation of tho constitution. Thry
of the North had neither the power nor the constitut onnl right
to interfere with it. If that institution wero a blessing, let the
Mouth take sll its blessedness to themselves. If it were a
curse, let the North bo saved from ita malign influences.
That the North might be redeemed from that curse, he called
upon the Northern Representatives to come firward and say
to Slavery, "thus far shalt thou go and no farther."
As to the right of the negroes of the Amistad to do whet
they did, he hsd no donbt. They were kidnapped from
Africa, and had a right to defend thtmselves l>y nil the laws
of God snd man : they bad the right, too, to rise on their
captors and hurl them into the deep to achieve their own
liberty, iust ss would the citizens of the North if they should
be seised and carried to the Havana for a like purpoee. The
position of the parties (the Spaniards and negroe*) was one
of war 1 hot when the negroes came on our shores they were
entitled to all the rights of hoapiulity from our people. We
had no right to interfere between them and their csptors.
They were free men, and they had the rights of freemen.
But we took from them their ship, and fire it to the Spanish

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