The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session Page: 13
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APPENDIX TO THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.
28th Cong 1st Sess.
Report of the Secretary of the JS'avy.
Senate and H. of Regs.
I think ihc present system of paying peasions is
not the best whirls could be devised. The act of 3d
March, 1^37, piouded that no compensation or al-
lowance shall be made to any persons or corpora-
tions for mo king such payments, without authority
of Saw. This provision has compelled the depart-
ment to employ either banks or officers of banks, in
most instances, as. the agents. The actual expenses
incurred by them in transacting the business are
paid, and it has, m many instances, Leon necessary
to compensate them indirectly, in order to get the
business transacted. Tin-- could only be done by
keeping considerable balances on deposite in the
bank with which the tigent is connected; and thus,
when deposites are an object,gituttingamueh larger
compensation than would be required to pay a per-
son specially for transacting the business. 1 re-
spectfully suggest an alteration of the law m this
It will be observed that the estimates for the Pen-
sion Office are larger for the coming fiscal yeui than
they were for the present. This has been rendered
necessary by the act of 3d March last, extending
the act granting pensions to widows, &c.
Since the last annual report, there has been a con-
siderable reduction in the number of unsettled ac-
counts in the offices of the Second and Third Auditors.
In the former office, there are two hundred and eighty-
two accounts remaining unsetted, all presented with-
in the present year, making a reduction of five
hundred and ninety. In the latter, there are nine
hundred and forty-five accounts remaining unsettled;
of which one hundred and j-ixty-eight were present-
ed in 1841, three hundred and seventy-five m 1842,
and four hundred and two in 1843; the reduction
being five hundred and thirty-four. Justice to per-
sons having claims against the Government, or ac-
counts to settle with it, requires that means should
be provided for the rnoie prompt settlement of their
accounts. The officers named are using all the
means which they now possess, with a praiseworthy
diligence; but they are insufficient to accomplish the
Considering the relations in which the offices of the
Second and Third Audi'ors stand to the War Depart-
ment, their position iz anomalous. They transact the
business of this dopai uncut, and,in all matters depend-
ing upon equitable discretion, lefer to, and are gov-
erned by the decision of, the Secretary of War.
From his position, he must be best capable of judg-
ing of the manner in which they should be organ-
ized, and the business conducted in them. Yet, as
to these, they are entirely uudei the control of an-
other department of the Government. It would be
. more systematic, to make them branches of this de-
partment, leaving the Second Comptroller, an officer
of the Treasury, to decide, ultimately, as he now
does, upon the business transacted by them.
The building at present occupied as the Deport-
ment of War is insufficient for the purpose, and
does not possess the security of being fire-proof. It
only accommodates the War Department proper,
the Commanding Gcneiai, Adjutant General, Quar-
termaster General, Commissioner ot Indian Affairs,
and Second Auditor. The business of seven im-
portant bureaus of the department—to wit: of the
Paymaster Geneial, Surgeon General, Engineers,
Topocraphical linginccrs, Ordnance, Commissary
General of Subsistence, and Commissioner of Pen-
sions—is transacted.and their records kc.pt in rented
buildings, separated fiorn the public edifice, and still
more insecure than it. The safety ot the public,
recoids, and convenience in the transaction ot busi-
ness, require that a secure build nig should be erected,
sufficiently large to accommodate the, entiie busi-
ness of the department. This subject lias been re-
peatedly brought to notice, hut, thus fa r, v. itliout eftect.
It is again brought to view, under the hope that the
remedy of these evils may not be further postponed.
1 take tins opportunity"to state that X have been
.greatly aided in performim: the labors of the uiike
I hold, by the Commanding Ueneial and the heads
of the si'Vciat liiucaus of the depaitinent, whose as-
siduity and promote* m then* attention to busi-
ness tic sen c ait pr.n.-e. J. M. PORTkU,
Secretary of War.
To tiik fni>ni!:s r.
Ril'Oirr OF THE til". ttl-J'UlV OI-' THE NAVY
N w v DKrAcrwAi, ~v-Y. 25, 1S43.
Rlt: I have ihc honor to pr< ^'ent to you the an-
nual apart of tin- condition and operations ot this-
dfpanmtnt ui' tia: public ■scuke.
The navy, at the present time, consists of the fol-
lowing number and description of vessels: One ship
of 120 guns; nine ships of the line, of 90 guns each;
one razee, of 62 guns; twelve 52-gun frigates; one
50-gun frigate; two 48-gun frigates; eleven first-class
sloops of war, of 24 guns each; three 22-gun sloops;
five 16-gun sloops; two sloops for store-ships, 6 guns
each. There are also four first-class sloops on the
stocks, nearly ready for launching; eleven 10-gun
brigs and schooners; three ditto used as store-ships,
and one for a receiving-vessel at Charleston; the
steamship Mississippi, of 12 guns; the Fulton, of
8 guns; the Princeton, (Ericsson's propeller,) of 12
guns; the Union, of 4 guns, (with Hunter's sub-
merged wheels;) the Poinsett, of 2 guns: and an iron
steamer, the Michigan, of 6 guns, nearly ready to
launch on Lake Erie. There are likewise four
small schooners employed as packets, or receiving-
vessels. In all, seventy-six vessels, of the various
The Washington, 90-gun ship, has been broken
up, the last year; and the frigate Hudson is unfit to
repair. The sloop Concord, 24 guns, was lost, in
the Mozambique charfnel, on the eastern coast of
Africa, on the 2d of October, 1842. The command-
er, William Boerum, the purser, B. F. Hart, and
James Davis, an ordinary seaman, were drowned,
while crossing the bar at the mouth of Lorango riv-
er, in the captain's gig. The surviving officers and
crew were conveyed, in a vessel chartered for the
purpose, to Rio Janeiro, and thence to the United
I regret to repoit that the schooner Grampus has
not been heard from since the 14th of March last—
when she was off Charleston, S. C.—and is sup-
posed to have been lost, with all hands, in some of
the severe gales which occurred about that time.
I have also the unpleasant duty of reporting the
loss of the steamship Missouri. This frigate de-
parted early in August, for the purpose of convey-
ing the Commissioner for China (the Hon. Caleb
Gushing) to Alexandria, in Egypt, en route to the
court of Pekm. While she was lying in the har-
bor of Gibraltar, (mto which port she had put for
the purpose of replenishing her fuel,) she took fire
on the evening of the 26th of August, ond the utmost
exertions of her officers and men. during the trying
and perilous e\ era, were unavailing in extinguishing
the flames: ond this costly ship—an ornament to the
navy—was entirely destroyed. The larger part of
her officers and men have reached the United States
in a ship chartered to bring them home. Her com-
mander (Captain Newton) remains, with a portion
of her force, to secure what can be recovered from
the wreck. All the accounts of this disaster con-
cur in representing the officers and crew as having
made the utmost exertions to extinguish the flames;
and that their conduct, during this perilous period,
when ail explosion of the magazine was momenta-
rily expected, was marked by great coolness and in-
trepidity. Captain Newton's official report, a copy
of which is hereto appended, having been laid before
you, further investigations into the causes of this
loss are postponed until after his return.
The ship Franklin, requiring heavy repairs, lios
been laid up at the Cliarlestown yard, awaiting a
more favorable season for prosecuting such woik.
The razee Independence has been ordered to the
same yard tor a like purpose. The Constitution
frigate, at Norfolk, and the sloop-of-wtxr Yorktown.
ai Xcw York, aie undergoing lepoh's. pioparuioiy
to sea service. The brig Dolphin, at Norfolk, is
Inquiries were instituted, early in the summer, as
to the cost of budding an iron steamer of about 1.0U0
tons, at Pittsburg, with Hunter's submerged wheels;
and, in the execution of this plan, a contract was
entered into, eaily in October, wall Messrs. Tom-
lir.son & Co., for building it at a definite price per
nonnd. and the whole cost not to exceed, in any
event, sUO.UOO, with a guaranty of speed ;u th-
rate of nine miles per hour, from her steam power,
in smooth water.
Some months since, an order was truen to build a
small iron sk amcr at the Washington navy yard,
oil Hunter's plan, to be panlv of irab aoized iroiu
but, owing to the heavy drafts upon the appropria-
tion, for othsr purpests, that work is now sus-
Instructions were also ghen in Apr.UoSt for the
binhhng of six sloops of war of the largest class;
two of whit h have been launched, and the others
are on the. stocks nearly ready for launching. The
work on two of these has been suspended for the
present. In atltluioa to slews cn the stocks.
there are, of the vessels previously named as con-
stituting a part of the naval force, the following on
the stocks, viz: the Vermont and Virginia, 90 gun*
each, at Boston; the Alabama, 90 guns, at Ports-
mouth, New Hampshire; the New York, 90 guns,
at Norfolk; the Santee frigate, 52 guns, at Ports-
mouth , New Hampshire; and the frigate Sabine,
52 guns, at New York.
The vessels afloat have been employed during
the past year as follows: In the home squadron, the
razee Independence, commanded by Captain Striiig-
ham until May, and since that time by Captain Mo-
Keever; the sloop Falmouth, commanded by Com-
mander J. Mcintosh up to August, when he was re-
lieved by Commander J. R. Sands; the sloop Vin-
cennes, commanded by Commander F. Buchanan;
the sloop Vandalia, commanded by Commander W.
J. McCluney, who was relieved in consequence of
ill health in September, and succeeded by Comman-
der J. S. Chauncey; the brig Dolphin, commanded
by Commander J. D. Knight, who was relieved in
October by Commander H. Bruce; the brig Somers,
commanded by Lieut. J. W. West; the brig Boxer,
commanded by Lieut. O. Bullus; the brig Brain-
bridge, commanded by Lieut. Z. F. Johnson, who
was relieved in September, and succeeded by Com-
mander J. Mattison; and the schooner Grampus,
Lieut. A. E. Downes; the whole under the com-
mand of Commodore Charles Stewart. The cruis-
ing; ground of this squadron extends from the Banks
ofNewfoundland to the river Amazon, and includes
the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribbean sea.
In the Mediterranean squadron, conformably with
previous arrangements, an exchange of commands
has taken place between Commodores Morris and
Commodore Morris sailed from the coast of Brazil
in the Delaware, 74, Captain Charles S. McCau-
ley, on the 19th of February, and arrived in the
Mediterranean on the 9th of April, when the com-
mand of the Mediterranean squadron was trans-
ferred to him by Commodore Morgan, and the lat-
ter sailed in June with the Columbus, 74, Captain
Benjamin Cooper, for the coast of Brazil. The
frigate Congress, Captain P. F. Voorhees, has been
employed in the Mediterranean during the whole
year, and is expected to sail in January next for
Brazil, to interchange with the frigate Columbia,
Cantain E. R. Shubrick, now on that station. The
sloop Fairfield, commanded by Commander A.
Bigelow during a part of the year, and subsequent-
ly by Commander S. W. Downing, has also been
attached to the Mediterranean squadron. This ves-
sel will return to the United States upon the arrival
out of the new sloop-of-war Plymouth, now about
to sail under the command of Commander H. Hen-
ry. The sloop Preble, Commander S. B. Wilson,
having finished her cruise in the Mediterranean, ar-
rived at Boston the 31st of August, and is ready
again for sea. The sloop Lexington has been em-
ployed as a store-ship for this squadron. She has
made one voyage "with provisions and stores, and is
now on lier second trip.
The term oi Commodore Morris's command hav-
ing expired, Commodore Joseph Smith has been
selected to succeed him, and has sailed for the Med-
iterranean in the new frigate Cumberland, Captain
S. L. Breese; which vessel will be the flag-ship of
tin.- setuaJron. Upon the arrival out of the Cum-
berland, Commodore M orris will return to the Uni-
ted States in the Delaware, 74.
The cmising'-sround of this squadron embraces
the Mediterranean sea.
[n the Brazil squadron, in addition to the Dela-
ware, 74, there have been employed the frigate
Columbia, Captain Edward R. Shubrick; thfe sloop
John Adams. Commander Conover; the sioop De-
c:\tur. Commander Fatragut, (which vessel returned
to the United States on the 18th of Februaiy;) mid
the schooner Enterprise, now in command oi Lieu-
t.'n -nt J. M. Watson. Commodore Morgan ar-
rived at Rio de Janeiro in the Columbus, 74 on
the, 2d of August, where he was met by Commodore
Daniel Turner, who had been appointed to succeed
him ill the command of the squadron. This latter
ves-el is now the flag-ship of Commodore lamer,
but she will return to the United States upon the
arrival out oi the frigate Barium, now preparing for
sea under the command of Captain I'. H. Gregory.
The sloop Boston, Commander Pendergrast, nag
sailed from Boston to relieve the John Adams. -
The bug Pioneer, lately used as a receiving w.
sei at Baltimore, is now fitting out at JNorfoik as 9,
^iore.-hip for this suadrcn, LiCUt* Shaw hafe
ordered to ccuiraund he; •
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, book, 1844; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2368/m1/23/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.