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the end of the war, instead of five years, in which case they were to have the same bounties both in money and land.
6. Twenty additional regiments were also authorized to be raised for one year, the recruits to receive a bounty of sixteen dollars in money, but no land; the recruiting officers a premium of two dollars for each enlistment. No person under 21 was to be enlisted without the consent of his parents or guardians in writing. By a subsequent act the president was authorized to raise 10 additional companies of rangers for the defence of the Indian frontier, in lieu of one of the regiments for one year.
§ 7. An act was also passed for the better organization of the general staff. The appointment of six additional major-generals was authorized, each of whom was to be allowed two aids-de-camp, to be taken from the officers of the line; and six brigadier-generals, to be allowed each a brigade-major and one aid-de-camp, to be taken also from the officers of the line. An additional sergeant and third-lieutenant to each company, and an additional major to each regiment in the army, was likewise au
8. Provision was also made for the better supplying of the army, and for the accountability of persons entrusted with furnishing the supplies.
9. As connected with the military establishment, we may here mention, that an act was passed this session, authorizing the president, during this or any other war, to direct the postmaster-general to send a mail between the head-quarters of any army of the United States, and such post-office as he may think
10. A bill was introduced into the house of representatives making a further appropriation of $400,000 annually, in addition to the sums already appropriated, for arming the whole body of the militia, and providing for classifying the militia in three classes: the minor to consist of those between 18 and 21 years of age; the junior of se between 21 and 31; and the senior of those between 31 and 45. This bill passed the house, 67 to 48, but was lost in the senate.
§ 11. A law was passed enacting that the non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates of the volunteer and militia corps should be entitled to the same increase of pay as the regulars. It likewise provided that the fines imposed by courts martial on militia or volunteers in the service of the United States, should be certified to the comptroller of the treasury, and paid into the treasury by the marshals, within two months after collection.
§ 12. On the 27th of November, the committee on the naval
establishment, made a report to the house, asking leave to report a bill to increase the navy. The report was accompanied by a letter from the secretary of the navy, enclosing one from captain Stewart of the United States' frigate Constellation, and sundry estimates of the expense of building, &c. ships of different force. By these documents it appears, that the weight of metal discharged at one round of a ship rating 74 guns, is 3224 lbs., and of a frigate only 1360 lbs., being nearly three to one. That the expense of building and equipping a 74 would not exceed $300,000, while a frigate would cost upwards of 200,000. That the number of men required for a 74 is 650, in a frigate 450. From which it appears that by the addition of one half in expense and number of men, the force is increased nearly three fold. Ships of the line, too, being much stronger in scantling, thicker in the sides and bottom, and less penetrable to shot, are consequently less liable to be torn or battered to pieces, or sunk, From these data captain Stewart delivers his opinion, which was concurred in by capts. Hull and Morris, that three frigates would not be able to stand before a 74, notwithstanding the advantages they would derive from their divided force. "Suppose," he says, "three frigates of 50 guns were to undertake to batter a 74 gun ship, and that two of them were to occupy the quarter and stern of the 74 (this is placing them in the most favourable position), the other frigate engaged abreast, every thing would then depend on the time the frigate abreast could maintain that position to enable the other two to act with effect on her stern and quarter. But it must appear evident, to all acquainted with the two classes of ships, that the frigate abreast could not withstand the fire of so heavy and compact a battery many minutes; and in all probability would be dismasted or sunk the first or second broadside. This would decide the fate of the other two." For the prosecution of the present war with the most effect, a mixed naval force of the following description is, in captain Stewart's opinion, the best calculated: ships of the line, to rate, in honour of the year of our independence, seventysixers, to mount 88 guns; frigates to rate 40 guns, to mount 50; frigates to rate 32, to mount 42; and corvette ships to rate 16, to mount 20 guns. "By having a proportion of these classes of ships of war, the inner squadron, or guarda costa, may be composed of the ships of the line, and a few of the 32 gun ships, for repeaters and look out ships. Hence it would produce one of two results, either that the enemy would be obliged to abandon our coast, or bring on it a much greater force, at least double our number, out of which they would be obliged to keep on our coast a superiority at all hazards of the
sea; and at great additional expense and risk of transports, to provision and water them. But should they, from other cir cumstances, be unable to keep up this superiority on our coast, the door will be kept open for the ingress and egress of our cruizers and their prizes, while our other classes of ships may be sent in pursuit of their smaller cruizers and commerce. These observations will apply to all future wars in which we may be engaged with the maritime powers; but as we might more frequently be engaged with the Barbary powers, the frigates and 16 gun ships would be better adapted to that species of warfare.They have no ships of the line. The ships of the line could then be laid up in ordinary, dismantled, and preserved at a small expense." A dry dock is highly recommended, as the most efficacious and least expensive mode of repairing ships of war, and as expediting the out-fits in one tenth of the time. It is stated, indeed, to be indispensably necessary. The captain concludes by strongly urging on the committee "the necessity of having what they propose for the increase of the navy, of the best seasoned materials, which will be by far the cheapest, and be longer in a state for active service. I trust their past experience will prove to their satisfaction this position, that the best materials are always the cheapest, and that a slow increase is better than a hasty and temporary one."
§ 13. On the 30th of November the committee of the senate on naval affairs reported a bill authorizing the president to build forthwith four seventy-fours, and six forty-four gun frigates.A motion was made, on its second reading, to strike out the seventy-fours, which was negatived 23 to 7. Considerable opposition was made to the seventy-fours in the house of representatives, and a motion was actually carried, 56 to 53, for striking out that part of the bill. The motion for striking out, however, was on a subsequent day reconsidered, and finally negatived, 52 to 58. The bill became a law, after being amended, by substituting "as soon as suitable materials can be procured therefor," in place of "forthwith."
An act was afterwards passed for building six sloops of war, and also authorizing the president to build, or procure, such a number of sloops of war or other armed vessels as the public service might require on the lakes.
An appropriation of $100,000 was also made for establishing a dock-yard for repairing vessels of war, in such central and convenient place on the seaboard as the president should desig
He was likewise authorized to sell such of the gun-boats as
should have become unfit for service, or as in his judgment might be no longer necessary to be retained by government.
14. Early in the session a number of petitions were presented to congress from the owners of privateers in Boston, New York, Norfolk, and Portsmouth (Virg.), praying a reduction of the duties on prize goods, on the ground of the heavy duties and other enormous charges consuming nearly the whole proceeds of the captured property, and thus destroying a species of naval armament, the most destructive to the commerce of the enemy. They urge upon congress, that no naval force of any efficacy could be supported by government but at an expense far greater than the amount of the duties of which they pray the remission; and that the employment of a great number of experienced masters of vessels and seamen necessarily engaged in them, whose services could not probably be obtained in any other way, and whose skill and intrepidity produce so much honour to the country, forms another important consideration. These petitions were referred by the house of representatives to the committee of ways and means, who, on the 21st of December, reported, that it was inexpedient to grant the prayer of the petitioners. This report was accompanied by a letter from the agents of the petitioners from New York, and a letter from the secretary of the treasury, which the committee state to contain all the facts and views which will probably be found material in the examination and consideration of this subject. The secretary of the treasury, in his letter to the committee, is decidedly opposed to the prayer of the petitioners. "No part of the duties on prize goods," says he, "ultimately falls on the captors. The duties on importations are paid by the consumers, whether the merchandise be captured by privateers, or regularly imported by merchants. There may be accidental exceptions arising from such a superabundance of a particular article as will sink its price below the prime cost and charges. It is not believed that this is now the case, and it is very improbable that during the war this should be the case, with respect to any species eign merchandise whatever. Coffee, which is the most abunddant article, pays a duty of ten cents a pound. The price for exportation, in which case no duty is paid, is about six cents; and the price for home consumption is at least sixteen cents. Indeed it is evident that a reduction of duties will be of no use to the privateers, unless the merchandise continues to be sold at the same price, as if the duties had not been reduced. In order to render the reduction beneficial to the captors of prize goods, the consumers must still pay the same price as heretofore; the only difference being, that the duty still thus levied upon them would
VOL. I. PART. I.
be paid to the captors, instead of being paid into the treasury.” "All common regular occupations," continues the secretary, in another part of his letter, "will generally find their own level; and, if left to themselves, the capital and labour employed on each will regulate themselves so as to leave a moderate but adequate profit to the persons respectively engaged in each branch. Some occupations, important to the community at large, may be so unprofitable as not to be pursued to the extent required by the public interest. These form an exception, and may require an extraordinary encouragement from government. But experience shows, that the occupation where profit depends wholly or in a great degree on hazard, are generally overstocked and attract a considerable capital, although there be a certain loss in the aggregate. This is daily exemplified in the case of lotteries, which are filled, although there is a certain and acknowledged loss of fifteen per cent. on the whole amount of capital thus laid out by the adventurers. The hope of a prize, the uncertain and improbable chance of an easy, prompt, and great profit, are sufficient inducements to produce that effect. The occupation of privateers is precisely of the same species with repect to hazard and to the chance of rich prizes, and is, at this moment, still more encouraged by the want of employment for the capital and seamen, heretofore engaged in ordinary commercial pursuits. If this view of the subject be correct, it necessarily follows, that a bounty may indeed still more increase the number of privateers, but without increasing in any proportionate degree the number of captures; that of existing privateers being already more than sufficient for the quantity of food afforded by the enemy's trade. The only probable effect will therefore be, a diminution of revenue, which must be supplied by another tax, and an unprofitable application of the national capital and labour, without inflicting any additional sensible injury on the enemy. Should however the opinion thus formed be considered as erroneous, there is another forcible objection to the mode now proposed of giving an encouragement or bounty. I allude to the temptation or facility, which the vicinity of the British colonies affords, of making collusive or pretended captures of British prohibited merchandise. It has been suggested from a source in which confidence may be placed, that arrangements were already made, or at least contemplated for that object. A reduction of the duties, by encreasing the profit, would operate as an insurance on the risk, and assist in defraying the expenses attending the transaction. It seems, that even supposing some additional encouragement to be necessary, it would be preferable to give it in some other shape, which should not be calculated to promote those fraudulent operations."