Page images
PDF
EPUB

32D CONG.....2d Sess.

Every effort has been made to protect our frontier, and that of the adjoining Mexican States, from the incursions of the Indian tribes. Of about eleven thousand men of which the Army is composed, nearly eight thousand are employed in the defense of the newly-acquired territory, (including Texas,) and of emigrants proceeding thereto. I am gratified to say that these efforts have been unusually successful. With the exception of some partial outbreaks in California and Oregon, and occasional depredations on a portion of the Rio Grande, owing, it is believed, to the disturbed state of that border region, the inroads of the Indians have been effectually restrained.

Experience has shown, however, that whenever the two races are brought into contact, collisions will inevitably occur. To prevent these collisions the United States have generally set apart portions of their territory for the exclusive occupation of the Indian tribes. A difficulty occurs, however, in the application of this policy to Texas. By the terms of the compact by which that State was admitted into the Union, she retained the ownership of all the vacant lands within her limits. The government of that State, it is understood, has assigned no portion of her territory to the Indians; but as fast as her settlements advance lays it off into counties, and proceeds to survey and sell it. This policy manifestly tends, not only to alarm and irritate the Indians, but to compel them to resort to plunder for subsistence. It also deprives this Government of that influence and control over them without which no durable peace can ever exist between them and the whites. I trust, therefore, that a due regard for her own interests, apart from considerations of humanity and justice, will induce that State to assign a small portion of her vast domain for the provisional occupancy of the small remnants of tribes within her borders, subject of course to her ownership and eventual jurisdiction. If she should fail to do this, the fulfillment of our treaty stipulations with Mexico, and our duty to the Indians themselves, will, it is feared, become a subject of serious embarrassment to the Government. It is hoped, however, that a timely and just provision by Texas may avert this evil.

No appropriations for fortifications were made at the last two sessions of Congress. The cause of this omission is, probably, to be found in a growing belief that the system of fortifications adopted in 1816, and heretofore acted on, requires revision.

The subject certainly deserves full and careful investigation; but it should not be delayed longer than can be avoided. In the mean time there are certain works which have been commenced-some of them nearly completed-designed to protect our principal sea-ports, from Boston to New Orleans, and a few other important points. In regard to the necessity for these works, it is believed that little difference of opinion exists among military men. I therefore recommend that the appropriations necessary to prosecute them be made.

I invite your attention to the remarks on this subject, and on others connected with his Department, contained in the accompanying report of the Secretary of War.

Measures have been taken to carry into effect the law of the last session making provision for the improvement of certain rivers and harbors, and it is believed that the arrangements made for that purpose will combine efficiency with economy. Owing chiefly to the advanced season when the act was passed, little has yet been done in regard to many of the works beyond making the necessary preparations. With respect to a few of the improvements, the sums already appropriated will suffice to complete them, but most of them will require additional appropriations. I trust that these appropriations will be made, and that this wise and beneficent policy, so auspiciously resumed, will be continued. Great care should be taken, however, to commence no work which is not of sufficient importance to the commerce of the country to be viewed as national in its character. But works which have been commenced should not be discontinued until completed, as otherwise the sums expended will, in most cases, be lost. The report from the Navy Department will inform you of the prosperous condition of the branch of the public service committed to its charge. It presents to your consideration many topics and

Message of the President.

suggestions of which I ask your approval. It exhibits an unusual degree of activity in the operations of the Department during the past year. The preparations for the Japan expedition, to which have already alluded; the arrangements made for the exploration and survey of the China Seas, the Northern Pacific, and Behring's Straits; the incipient measures taken towards a reconnoissance of the Continent of Africa eastward of Liberia; the preparation for an early examination of the tributaries of the river La Plata, which a recent decree of the Provisional Chief of the Argentine Confederation has opened to navigation; all these enterprises, and the means by which they are proposed to be accomplished, have commanded my full approbation, and I have no doubt will be productive of most useful results.

Two officers of the Navy were heretofore instructed to explore the whole extent of the Amazon river, from the confines of Peru to its mouth. The return of one of them has placed in the possession of the Government an interesting and valuable account of the character and resources of a country abounding in the materials of commerce, and which, if opened to the industry of the world, will prove an inexhaustible fund of wealth. The report of this exploration will be communicated to you as soon as it is completed.

Among other subjects offered to your notice by the Secretary of the Navy, I select for special commendation, in view of its connection with the interests of the Navy, the plan submitted by him for the establishment of a permanent corps of seamen, and the suggestions he has presented for the reorganization of the Naval Academy.

In reference to the first of these, I take occasion to say that I think it will greatly improve the efficiency of the service, and that I regard it as still more entitled to favor for the salutary influence it must exert upon the naval discipline, now greatly disturbed by the increasing spirit of insubordination, resulting from our present system. The plan proposed for the organization of the seamen furnishes a judicious substitute for the law of September, 1850, abolishing corporal punishment, and satisfactorily sustains the policy of that act, under conditions well adapted to maintain the authority of command and the order and security of our ships. It is believed that any change which proposes permanently to dispense with this mode of punishment, should be preceded by a system of enlistment which shall supply the Navy with seamen of the most meritorious class, whose good deportment and pride of character may preclude all occasion for a resort to penalties of a harsh or degrading nature. The safety of a ship and her crew is often dependent upon immediate obedience to a command, and the authority to enforce it must be equally ready. The arrest of a refractory seaman, in such moments, not only deprives the ship of indispensable aid, but imposes a necessity for double service on others whose fidelity to their duties may be relied upon in such an emergency. The exposure to this increased and arduous labor, since the passage of the act of 1850, has already had, to a most observable and injurious extent, the effect of preventing the enlistment of the best seamen in the Navy. The plan now suggested is designed to promote a condition of service in which this objection will no longer exist. The details of this plan may be established in great part, if not altogether, by the Executive, under the authority of existing laws; but I have thought it proper, in accordance with the suggestion of the Secretary of the Navy, to submit it to your approval.

The establishment of a corps of apprentices for the Navy, or boys to be enlisted until they become of age, and to be employed under such regulations as the Navy Department may devise, as proposed in the report, I cordially approve and commend to your consideration; and I also concur in the suggestion that this system for the early training of seamen may be most usefully ingrafted upon the service of our merchant-marine,

The other proposition of the report to which I have referred the reorganization of the Naval Academy-I recommend to your attention as a project worthy of your encouragement and support. The valuable services already rendered by this institution entitle it to the continuance of your fostering care.

SENATE & HO. OF REPS.

Your attention is respectfully called to the report of the Postmaster General for the detailed operation of his Department during the last fiscal year, from which it will be seen that the receipts from postages for that time were less by $1,431,696 than for the preceding fiscal year, being a decrease of about 23 per cent.

This diminution is attributable to the reduction in the rates of postage made by the act of March 3, 1851, which reduction took effect at the commencement of the last fiscal year.

Although in its operation during the last year the act referred to has not fulfilled the predictions of its friends by increasing the correspondence of the country in proportion to the reduction of postage, I should nevertheless question the policy of returning to higher rates. Experience warrants the expectation that as the community becomes accustomed to cheap postage, correspondence will increase. It is believed that from this cause, and from the rapid growth of the country in population and business, the receipts of the Department must ultimately exceed its expenses, and that the country may safely rely upon the continuance of the present cheap rate of postage.

In former messages I have, among other things, respectfully recommended to the consideration of Congress the propriety and necessity of further legislation for the protection and punishment of foreign consuls residing in the United States; to revive with certain modifications the act of 10th March, 1838, to restrain unlawful military expeditions against the inhabitants of conterminous States or Territories; for the preservation and protection from mutilation or theft of the papers, records, and archives of the nation; for authorizing the surplus revenue to be applied to the payment of the public debt in advance of the time when it will become due; for the establishment of land offices for the sale of the public lands in California and the Territory of Oregon; for the construction of a road from the Mississippi valley to the Pacific ocean; for the establishment of a Bureau of Agriculture for the promotion of that interest, perhaps the most important in the country; for the prevention of frauds upon the Government in applications for pensions and bounty lands; for the establishment of a uniform fee bill, prescribing a specific compensation for every service required of clerks, district attorneys, and marshals; for authorizing an additional regiment of mounted men, for the defense of our frontiers against the Indians, and for fulfilling our treaty stipulations with Mexico to defend her citizens against the Indians "with equal diligence and energy as our own;" for determining the relative rank between the naval and civil officers in our public ships, and between the officers of the Army and Navy in the various grades of each; for reorganizing the naval establishment by fixing the number of officers in each grade, and providing for a retired list upon reduced pay of those unfit for active duty; for prescribing and regulating punishments in the Navy; for the appointment of a commission to revise the public statutes of the United States, by arranging them in order, supplying deficiencies, correcting incongruities, simplifying their language, and reporting them to Congress for its final action; and for the establishment of a commission to adjudicate and settle private claims against the United States. I am not aware, how

ever,

that any of these subjects have been finally acted upon by Congress. Without repeating the reasons for legislation on these subjects which have been assigned in former messages, I respectfully recommend them again to your favorable consideration.

I think it due to the several Executive Departments of this Government, to bear testimony to the efficiency and integrity with which they are conducted. With all the careful superintendence which it is possible for the heads of those Departments to exercise, still the due administration and guardianship of the public money must very much depend on the vigilance, intelligence, and fidelity of the subordinate officers and clerks, and especially on those intrusted with the settlement and adjustment of claims and accounts. I am gratified to believe that they have generally performed their duties faithfully and well. They are appointed to guard the approaches to the public Treasury, and they occupy positions that expose them to all the temptations and seductions which the cupidity of

32D CONG.....2D SESS.

peculators and fraudulent claimants can prompt them to employ. It will be but a wise precaution to protect the Governinent against that source of mischief and corruption, as far as it can be done, by the enactment of all proper legal penalties. The laws, in this respect, are supposed to be defective, and I therefore deem it my duty to call your attention to the subject, and to recommend that provision be made by law for the punishment not only of those who shall accept bribes, but also of those who shall either promise, give, or offer to give to any of those officers or clerks a bribe or reward touching or relating to any matter of their official action or duty.

[ocr errors]

Report of the Secretary of War.

nent safety and interest of the country. They knew that the world is governed less by sympathy than by reason and force; that it was not possible for this nation to become a 66 propagandist" of free principles without arraying against it the combined Powers of Europe; and that the result was more likely to be the overthrow of republican lib- || erty here than its establishment there. History has been written in vain for those who can doubt this. France had no sooner established a republican form of government than she manifested a desire to force its blessings on all the world. Her own historian informs us that, hearing of some petty acts of tyranny in a neighboring principalIt has been the uniform policy of this Govern-ity, "The National Convention declared that she ment, from its foundation to the present day, to 'would afford succor and fraternity to all nations abstain from all interference in the domestic affairs 'who wished to recover their liberty; and she of other nations. The consequence has been, that 'gave it in charge of the executive power to give while the nations of Europe have been engaged in 'orders to the generals of the French armies to aid desolating wars, our country has pursued its peace- all citizens who might have been or should be ful course to unexampled prosperity and happi- 'oppressed in the cause of liberty." Here was ness. The wars in which we have been com- the false step which led to her subsequent misforpelled to engage, in defense of the rights and honor tunes. She soon found herself involved in war with of the country, have been fortunately of short du- all the rest of Europe. In less than ten years her ration. During the terrific contest of nation against government was changed from a Republic to an nation, which succeeded the French Revolution, Empire; and finally, after shedding rivers of blood, we were enabled, by the wisdom and firmness of foreign Powers restored her exiled dynasty, and President Washington, to maintain our neutrality. exhausted Europe sought peace and repose in While other nations were drawn into this wide the unquestioned ascendency of monarchial prinsweeping whirlpool, we sat quiet and unmoved ciples. Let us learn wisdom from her example. upon our own shores. While the flower of their Let us remember that revolutions do not always numerous armies was wasted by disease, or perestablish freedom. Our own free institutions were ished by hundreds of thousands upon the battle- not the offspring of our Revolution. They exfield, the youth of this favored land were permitted isted before. They were planted in the free charto enjoy the blessings of peace beneath the pa- ters of self-government under which the English ternal roof. While the States of Europe incurred colonies grew up, and our Revolution only freed enormous debts, under the burden of which their us from the dominion of a foreign Power, whose subjects still groan, and which must absorb no government was at variance with those institusmall part of the product of the honest industry tions. But European nations have had no such of those countries for generations to come, the training for self-government, and every effort to United States have once been enabled to exhibit establish it by bloody revolutions has been, and the proud spectacle of a nation free from public must, without that preparation, continue to be a debt; and, if permitted to pursue our prosperous failure. Liberty, unregulated by law, degenerates way for a few years longer in peace, we may do into anarchy, which soon becomes the most horrid the same again. of all despotisms. Our policy is wisely to govern ourselves, and thereby to set such an example of national justice, prosperity, and true glory, as shall teach to all nations the blessings of self-government, and the unparalleled enterprise and success of a free people.

But it is now said by some that this policy must be changed. Europe is no longer separated from us by a voyage of months, but steam navigation has brought her within a few days' sail of our shores. We see more of her movements, and take a deeper interest in her controversies. Although no one proposes that we should join the fraternity of potentates who have for ages lavished the blood and treasure of their subjects in maintaining "the balance of power," yet it is said that we ought to interfere between contending sovereigns and their subjects, for the purpose of overthrowing the monarchies of Europe and establishing in their place republican institutions. It is alleged that we have heretofore pursued a different course from a sense of our weakness, but that now our conscious strength dictates a change of policy, and that it is consequently our duty to mingle in these contests and aid those who are struggling for liberty.

We live in an age of progress, and ours is emphatically a country of progress. Within the last half century the number of States in this Union has nearly doubled, the population has almost quadrupled, and our boundaries have been extended from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Our territory is chequered over with railroads, and furrowed with canals. The inventive talent of our country is excited to the highest pitch, and the numerous applications for patents for valuable improvements distinguish this age and this people from all others. The genius of one American has enabled our commerce to move against wind and tide, and that of another has annihilated disThis is a most seductive but dangerous appeal to tance in the transmission of intelligence. The the generous sympathies of freemen. Enjoying as whole country is full of enterprise. Our common we do the blessings of a free Government, there schools are diffusing intelligence among the people, is no man who has an American heart that would and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts not rejoice to see these blessings extended to all and luxuries of life. This is in part owing to our other nations. We cannot witness the struggle peculiar position, to our fertile soil, and comparabetween the oppressed and his oppressor anywhere tively sparse population; but much of it is also without the deepest sympathy for the former, and owing to the popular institutions under which we the most anxious desire for his triumph. Never-live, to the freedom which every man feels to theless, is it prudent or is it wise to involve ourselves in these foreign wars? Is it indeed true that we have heretofore refrained from doing so merely from the degrading motive of a conscious weakness? For the honor of the patriots who have gone before us, I cannot admit it. Men of the Revolution who drew the sword against the oppressions of the mother country, and pledged to Heaven "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" to maintain their freedom, could never have been actuated by so unworthy a motive. They knew no weakness or fear where right or duty pointed the way, and it is a libel upon their fair fame for us, while we enjoy the blessings for which they so nobly fought and bled, to insinuate it. The truth is, that the course which they pursued was dictated by a stern sense of international justice; by a statesmanlike prudence and a far-seeing wisdom, looking not merely to the present necessities, but to the perma

engage in any useful pursuit, according to his taste
or inclination, and to the entire confidence that
his person and property will be protected by the
laws. But whatever may be the cause of this
unparalleled growth in population, intelligence,
and wealth, one thing is clear, that the Govern-
ment must keep pace with the progress of the
people. It must participate in their spirit of en-
terprise, and while it exacts obedience to the laws,
and restrains all unauthorized invasions of the
rights of neighboring States, it should foster and
protect home industry, and lend its powerful
strength to the improvement of such means of
intercommunication as are necessary to promote
our internal commerce and strengthen the ties
which bind us together as a people.

It is not strange, however much it may be re-
gretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise
should cause some individuals to mistake change for

SENATE & HO. OF REPS.

progress, and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights. The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise, and without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own Government by seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of personal ambition or revenge, under the false and delusive_pretense of extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame. They should, therefore, receive the indignant frowns of every good citizen who sincerely loves his country and takes a pride in its prosperity and honor.

Our Constitution, though not perfect, is doubtless the best that ever was formed. Therefore, let every proposition to change it be well weighed, and if found beneficial, cautiously adopted. Every patriot will rejoice to see its authority so exerted as to advance the prosperity and honor of the nation, whilst he will watch with jealousy any attempt to mutilate this charter of our liberties, or pervert its powers to acts of aggression or injustice. Thus shall conservatism and progress blend their harmonious action in preserving the form and spirit of the Constitution, and at the same time carry forward the great improvements of the country with a rapidity and energy which freemen only can display.

In closing this, my last annual communication, permit me, fellow-citizens, to congratulate you on the prosperous condition of our beloved country. Abroad its relations with all foreign Powers are friendly; its rights are respected, and its high place in the family of nations cheerfully recog nized. At home we enjoy an amount of happiness, public and private, which has probably never fallen to the lot of any other people. Besides affording to our own citizens a degree of prosperity, of which on so large a scale I know of no other instance, our country is annually affording a refuge and a home to multitudes, altogether without example, from the Old World.

We owe these blessings, under Heaven, to the happy Constitution and Government which were bequeathed to us by our fathers, and which it is' our sacred duty to transmit in all their integrity to our children. We must all consider it a great distinction and privilege to have been chosen by the people to bear a part in the administration of such a Government. Called by an unexpected dispensation to its highest trust, at a season of embarrassment and alarm, I entered upon its arduous duties with extreme diffidence. I claim only to have discharged them to the best of an humble ability, with a single eye to the public good; and it is with devout gratitude, in retiring from office, that I leave the country in a state of peace and prosperity. MILLARD FILLMORE. WASHINGTON, December 6, 1852.

Report of the Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, December 4, 1852. SIR: I beg leave to submit a brief account of the operations of this Department during the year. The efforts of the Department have been principally directed to the defense of our frontiers and those of Mexico from the Indian tribes within our borders. For this purpose, out of about 11,000 officers and men borne on the rolls of the Army, about 8,000 are employed in the defense of Texas, New Mexico, California, and Oregon, or of emigrants destined to the last two.

It affords me great pleasure to say that the efforts of the Department for this purpose have been attended with more than usual success.

The benefits that were anticipated from the judicious arrangements made by the commanders of the 8th and 9th military departments (Texas and

32D CONG.....2D SESS.

New Mexico) have been fully realized. With the exception of a portion of the Rio Grande country, the former has been comparatively exempt from Indian depredations. A number of persons of desperate character and fortunes were attracted to that frontier by the lawless attempts of Carvajal, and after his defeat they dispersed through the country, and resorted to plunder for subsistence. On the other hand, many of the inhabitants of Mexico either sought to avenge themselves for the wrongs inflicted on them by that adventurer and his followers, or found in his lawless proceedings|| a justification for their own, and retaliated on the peaceable inhabitants.

The Indians in that vicinity availed themselves of the confusion and alarm consequent upon this state of things to renew their depredations. Thefts, robberies, and even assassinations were the consequence.

Although the prevention or punishment of disorders like these, when committed by others than Indians, belongs rather to the civil authorities of the State than to the military force of the United States, the commanding officer used every exertion to put a stop to them, and for that purpose ordered several additional companies of troops to the part of the State where they had occurred. It is believed that these measures have been, at least partially, successful. So long, however, as the species of border warfare which has lately been carried on in that region between the inhabitants of the two countries continues, it will be difficult, if not impossible, with any number of troops, and with the strictest vigilance on the part of their officers, to prevent, on so extensive a frontier, a repetition of these disorders.

In New Mexico, the depredations of the Indians have been entirely arrested. The Navajos and the Apaches, the two most formidable tribes in all that region, have been completely overawed, and manifest every desire to be at peace with the whites.

In consequence of frequent collisions between the Indians and the white inhabitants of California and Oregon, it was deemed advisable to send the fourth regiment of infantry to the Pacific, to replace the mounted riflemen that had been ordered thence to Texas.

Intelligence has been recently received that the Yuma Indians, a bold and hostile tribe, occupying a portion of country on the Gila and Colorado rivers, whose inroads and depredations have been the source of frequent annoyance and alarm to the inhabitants both of our own territory and of the Mexican State of Sonora, have agreed to a peace.

The troops stationed on the frontier may justly be considered as in active service-a service, too, in which they are exposed to all the hardships and dangers of war without its excitement to stimulate or its hopes of honorable distinction to sustain them.

Owing to the many officers who, from disability or other causes, are excused from duty, the cares and responsibilities of command frequently devolve on a small number; and the establishment, during the last season, of a number of new posts, has added very much to the labors both of the officers and men; nevertheless, it affords me great pleasure to bear testimony to the cheerfulness and alacrity with which all have discharged their duties. To Brevet Major General Smith and Brevet Colonel Sumner, in particular, much praise is due. The former, although in feeble health, has been unremitting in his exertions; and to his energy and judicious arrangements his department is greatly indebted for the comparative tranquillity It enjoys. The latter has not only succeeded in arresting the incursions of the Indians within his command, but has greatly reduced its expendi

tures.

Report of the Secretary of War.

at the many new posts that have recently been established. Hopes are entertained, however, that when a fair trial of the experiment can be made, it will, at least at such of the posts as are favorably situated for the purpose, be more successful.

In spite of this failure, of the unusual activity of the troops during the past season, and of the fact that so large a portion of them are stationed on the remote frontier, I have the satisfaction to announce that the expenditures have been considerably reduced, and this, too, in the Quartermaster's Department-that branch of the service of which the expenditures are most affected by these circumstances. The expenses of that department, ascertained and estimated, (exclusive of clothing, the amount of which is fixed by permanent regulations,) continue to exhibit an annual decrease, viz: for the current year, as compared with the last year, a reduction of $501,252, and for the next year, as compared with the current year, a further reduction of $500,000.

In spite, however, of every effort to reduce the expenses of the Army, they must continue to be very great in proportion to its numbers, so long as it is necessary to maintain so large a force in countries which supply so little of what is necessary to its support as those in which the greater part of it is now stationed. I beg leave, therefore, to repeat the suggestion contained in my last annual report, that sound policy, no less than humanity, requires that some other means than force should be tried to restrain the Indians and to prevent the frequent collisions that occur between them and the white inhabitants in their neighborhood. The whole history of our country shows that whenever the two races are brought frequently into contact, collisions (generally produced by aggressions of the stronger on the weaker party) are inevitable. I know of no other means by which those collisions can be prevented than a rigid adherence to the policy which has heretofore been successfully pursued, of setting apart a portion of territory for the exclusive occupancy of the Indians.

A difficulty occurs in the application of this policy to Texas. By the terms of the compact admitting that State into the Union she reserved to herself all the vacant territory within her limits. It is understood that she acknowledges no right of occupancy in the Indians within her borders, but proceeds to lay off her territory into counties, and as fast as it is needed, to sell it, without assigning any portion of it to them, or providing in any other mode for their support. Nothing could be more calculated to alarm and irritate the Indians and to produce collisions between them and the whites than the adoption of this policy. It, in fact, drives the Indians to desperation, by leaving them no alternative but to steal or to starve. It also de

SENATE & HO. OF REPS.

To protect this small population we are compelled to maintain a large military force, at an annaal expense nearly equal to half the value of the whole real estate of the Territory. Would it not be better to induce the inhabitants to abandon a country which seems hardly fit for the habitation of civilized man, by remunerating them for their property in money or in lands situated in more favored regions? Even if the Government paid for the property quintuple its value, it would still, merely on the score of economy, be largely the gainer by the transaction, and the troops now stationed in New Mexico would be available for the protection of other portions of our own and of the Mexican territory. Unless the means I have indicated, or some other, be adopted to relieve the Indians from the necessity of plundering to procure the means of subsistence, their depredations must not only continue but increase. This would require a corresponding increase in the means of protection. In that view I concur in the recommendation of the General-in-Chief, that an additional regiment of mounted men be authorized.

Allow me to call your attention to the state of our defenses on the sea-coast.

Shortly after the termination of the last war with Great Britain a Board of Engineers was organized to prepare a system of coast defense.

This Board recommended that fortifications be constructed at a number of points on the sea-coast and on the northern lakes. Their recommendation was adopted, and its execution was commenced, first, by repairing and enlarging such of the old works as were deemed worthy of preservation; secondly, by the construction of new works, beginning, of course, with those that were considered the most important.

Although doubts have been occasionally expressed whether some of the works proposed by the Board might not be dispensed with, and whether others were not on a scale unnecessarily large, the works recommended by it slowly but steadily advanced, and until the year 1850 Congress never failed, except in a single instance, to provide the necessary means for prosecuting them. In the last-mentioned year, no appropriations for fortifications were made, but the House of Representafives adopted a resolution directing the Secretary of War to submit, at their next session, a report on this subject. That report was submitted, but no action was taken on it, and no appropriation was made.

It is believed that this omission was caused by an opinion which seems to prevail that the system adopted by the Board of 1816, if not originally too extensive, has become so in consequence of events that have since occurred, and ought to be revised and restricted.

In that opinion I concur; and in the report above-mentioned I expressed the opinion that many of the works embraced in the original plan might and ought to be dispensed with.

The subject is undoubtedly worthy of all the consideration that Congress can bestow upon it; and it is to be hoped that they will, at an early

prives the Government of the United States of that control over them and of the territory they occupy which is necessary for their own preservation as well as for the safety of the white settlements in their vicinity. If the United States are bound to protect Texas against the Indians, it is mani-period, adopt some mode of revising the plan, fest that the Government of that State should do nothing to thwart, but, on the contrary, all in its power to promote, the fulfillment of this duty. I therefore respectfully suggest the expediency of endeavoring to make some arrangement with that State whereby a portion of her vast unoccupied domain may be temporarily allotted to the exclusive occupancy of the Indians within her borders.

What policy, however, it may be deemed proper to adopt in reference to the Indian tribes in Texas, California, and Oregon, is a question only of humanity or of temporary policy, as the period cannot be very remote when they will be swept before the resistless tide of emigration which continually flows towards these countries.

Brevet Brigadier General Hitchcock has also displayed great energy and prudence, and done all The case is different with regard to New Mexico. that it was possible to do with a very inadequate That Territory is so remote and inaccessible, and force, and amid many difficulties and embarrass-holds out such little inducement to emigration, that ments, to protect his extensive command.

I regret to say that the attempt to cultivate farms by the troops has, but in few instances, during the past season, been attended with beneficial results. This failure is owing in part to the constant activity in which it has been found necessary to keep the troops, and to the necessity of employing them in the construction of barracks and in other works

the struggle between the two races is destined, in all probability, to continue there long after it shall have ceased in every other portion of the conti

cent.

By the last census the total population of New Mexico, exclusive of wild Indians, is (in round numbers) 61,000 souls, and its whole real estate is estimated at (in round numbers) $2,700,000.

and making any changes in it which the present circumstances of the country may seem to them to require.

In the mean time, however, there are a number of works which have been commenced, and are in various stages of advancement, but the prosecution of which is suspended for the want of the necessary appropriations. Most of these works are highly important, being intended for the protection of our principal sea-ports and naval stations, viz: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans, or other points of scarcely less importance.

Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the extent to which the system of fortifications should be carried, all must admit that no expense should be spared to render points like those abovementioned absolutely impregnable by any force that may reasonably be expected to be brought against them.

I hereto append a statement of these unfinished works, showing the amounts required to complete them respectively, and the sums that could be advantageously expended on each of them during the next fiscal year, and earnestly recommend that

32D CONG.....2D SESS.

Congress be urged to make the necessary appropriations with a view to the completion, if not of all, at least of the most important among them at as early a period as practicable. If this be not done, the large sums already expended on them will in many cases be lost.

Among the works recommended by the Board which have not yet been commenced, there are several which appear to me of obvious necessity. I refer particularly to those designed for the protection of New Bedford and of San Francisco, both of which are now entirely defenseless.

It is also the opinion of the engineers that a work at Sandy Hook, for the protection of the outer harbor of New York, is necessary to complete the defenses of that city.

Congress also omitted the last two sessions to make the usual appropriations for the purchase of the heavy ordnance used in coast defense. As this description of ordnance is generally intended for fortifications, it has been the practice to estimate for it under the head of " Armament of For

tifications." It is hardly necessary to observe, however, that it is an indispensable part of any system of defense that may be adopted, and that the fewer the fortifications the greater the quantity that will be required.

On this subject I beg leave to subjoin a few remarks contained in the report on fortifications above referred to:

"Whatever policy may be adopted with reference to fortifications, it will still be necessary to provide a much larger supply of ordnance than we now have on hand. By reference to the report from the head of the Ordnance Bureau, hereto annexed, (marked C,) it will be seen that the whole number of guns, of all calibers, now on hand, whether in the forts or in the arsenals, amounts only to 3,535; and that of gun-carriages is still smaller. The entire number of guns that can be mounted in the forts already completed (Classes A and B) amounts to 4,572 guns; and if the works now in progress of construction should be completed, the total number of guns that would then be required for all the forts would be 6,093. It appears, therefore, that the supply of ordnance now on hand is very inadequate, even to the present wants of the service. I will observe, too, that even if Congress should determine to restrict the system of forti

fications, this would not obviate the necessity for a large

increase in the supply of heavy ordnance. Some means of defense must be employed, and cannon is an indispensable part of any system that may be adopted.

"It appears, too, from the reports hereto appended, that the great naval Powers of Europe have, within a few years past, greatly increased the caliber of the guns mounted on their vessels-of-war., This renders it obviously necessary that the power of the batteries intended to resist them should also be proportionably increased. I believe it is the opinion of all officers, both of the Army and Navy, who have devoted much attention to this subject, that many of the guns now in our most important forts ought to be removed, and others of longer range substituted. A glance at the report of the Ordnance Bureau will show how very deficient we are in the heavy descriptions of ordnance, particularly in eight and ten-inch columbiads, the most effective weapons against vessels-of-war.

"To manufacture cannon of good quality is a work that demands considerable time; and as they are imperishable when properly taken care of, there is no good reason why the Government should not at once provide the requisite supply.

"In connection with this subject, I would venture to suggest that provision be made for a distribution of artillery among the militia of the States and Territories. Our people are more deficient in the knowledge of this arm than of any other, and yet it is the one that would be most required in a war with any European Power. If a standing appropriation were made applicable to the distribution of artillery, and of the book on artillery practice among the States and Territories, it would tend very much to promote the knowledge of this essential branch of the military art among the citizens of the country."

One of the most important and responsible duties which have devolved on the Department during the present year is the execution of the works known as the river and harbor improvements.

Report of the Secretary of the Navy.

and economical application of the large sums of money that have been and may be appropriated for these works to the important purpose for which they were intended.

Experience has shown that for works of this description, in which large sums are disbursed, and which require for their execution a combination of science and practical skill, it is, as a general rule, safer to rely on officers of the Army (aided when necessary by civil assistants) than on civil agents of whose character and qualifications the Department must often be ignorant. I determined, therefore, to avail myself of all the aid which the Army could afford, and to confide the superintendence of the works to the two corps, of Engineers and Topographical Engineers, both of which are eminently qualified for this duty.

This arrangement not only enabled me to dispense with a number of civil agents whose assistance would otherwise have been necessary, but (a consideration of hardly less importance) to secure the invaluable aid of the distinguished head of the Corps of Engineers.

I at first intended to establish a joint board, composed of the heads and another officer of each of the corps, aided, when circumstances would require it, by an officer of the Navy, to superintend the execution of all the works; but some difficulties having arisen in arranging the details of this plan, I finally determined to divide the works between the two corps, and to establish two boards, one for each corps, composed of its own officers, to aid its head in preparing, supervising, and correcting plans and estimates, &c., the members to act separately as inspectors of the works when in process of construction.

This plan has been carried into effect; and in pursuance of it the works on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico have been assigned to the Corps of Engineers, and those on the northern lakes and western rivers to the Corps of Topographical Engineers.

It is believed that this arrangement will eminently conduce to the speedy and economical

execution of the works.

Owing principally to the advanced season when the appropriations were made, little has been done, in regard to many of the works, beyond making the necessary arrangements to commence them as early as practicable in the spring.

For more detailed information on this subject, and on others connected with their duties, I respectfully refer to the reports of the Colonels of Engineers and of the Topographical Engineers appended to this report.

The estimates for such of the works as require additional appropriations will be submitted as soon as they can be prepared.

The expedition which I mentioned in my last annual report, as having been sent, under the command of Brevet Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, to explore the Zuni and Colorado rivers, from the source of the former to the Pacific, has completed the exploration and returned, but the report has not yet been submitted.

Early last spring Captain Marcy was sent with a party to explore the head waters of the Red River. He accomplished the object and has returned, but the report of the expedition has not yet been prepared.

It affords me pleasure to repeat my commendations of the good order and discipline which prevail at the Military Academy, and to express my conviction of the benefits which result to the service from that institution.

The reports of the Chief of the Ordnance Bureau and of the Quartermaster's Department will show the operations of these important branches of the service. Several of the suggestions contained in them are deserving of attention.

The number of works for which appropriations were made by the act recently passed is about one hundred, and the sum appropriated about two millions and a quarter. The appropriations, however, will only in a few instances be sufficient to complete the works for which they were made. By The first of these two reports exhibits a very far the greater number will require additional, and satisfactory view of the operations of the national some of them very large additional, appropria-armories at Springfield and Harper's Ferry; and tions to complete them. It is to be presumed, that even if Congress should not see fit to continue the system and to provide for other works of a similar character, not included in the present act, they will at least finish the works that have been begun. I deemed it, therefore, of the utmost importance to make, at the outset, such permanent arrangements for the execution of these works as would, as far as practicable, insure the faithful, judicious,

I concur in the opinion that no benefit would be likely to result from a return to the former mode of governing these establishments.

In my last annual report I called your attention to several points in regard to which legislation appeared to me to be necessary. I will simply renew these suggestions, without repeating the reasons on which they were founded. They

were

SENATE & HO. OF REPS.

First: That the Department be authorized to abolish such arsenals as are no longer needed and are a source of useless expense.

Second: That an additional number of commissaries be authorized.

Third: That a retired list of the Army be established, as a measure of justice both to the officers that are disabled and to those that are not.

Fourth: That the distribution of arms among the militia of the States and Territories, under the act of 1808, be made hereafter on the basis of the free white male inhabitants of age to bear arms, as shown by the latest census, instead of the official returns of the militia, which are frequently not furnished, and when furnished, are often in

accurate.

To these recommendations I beg leave to add a few more that further experience has suggested.

By the fifth section of the act of September 28th, 1850, it is made the duty of the Secretary of War to discharge any soldier who, at the time of his enlistment, was under the age of twenty-one years, unless such enlistment had been made with the consent of the parent or guardian of the soldier.

Young men are frequently enlisted who represent themselves to be of age, but whose discharge is afterwards applied for on the ground of minority. The consequence is, that they are frequently discharged after they have been clothed and fed for months, without rendering any service, or after they have been sent, at great expense, to some remote station. There is reason to believe that in some instances parties have enlisted with a view to defraud the Government.

I recommend that any person being above the age of eighteen years who shall practice such an imposition may be compelled to serve out his term

of enlistment.

If further appropriations for fortifications and for river and harbor improvements should be made, the number of officers in the corps of Engineers and Topographical Engineers will be insufficient to supply the necessary details for these works and for the coast and lake surveys added to the other duties they are called upon to perform. I recommend, therefore, that in that event the officers of these corps be increased by an annual addition to each for six years of not more than three second lieutenants, to be taken as heretofore from the graduates of the Military Academy.

In consequence of the great number of remote military posts at which troops are stationed, the number of medical officers has been for some years past entirely inadequate to the wants of the service; the consequence of which is, that a number of private physicians are necessarily employed. I am satisfied that it would be a measure of economy to authorize an increase of the medical corps.

Besides the above recommendations, there are several contained in the report of the General-inChief, hereto appended, which appear to me to deserve attention. I will mention particularly his suggestions that the third section of the act of June 17, 1850, entitled "An act to increase the rank and file of the Army, and to encourage enlistments," be repealed; that measures be taken to distribute, for the use of the militia of the States and Territories, the books of tactical instruction used in the regular service; and that the pension laws be so amended as to place the widows and orphans of officers of the Army on an equal footing with those of naval officers.

Respectfully submitted.

C. M. CONRAD, Secretary of War. TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Report of the Secretary of the Navy.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, December 4, 1852. To the President of the United States:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the annual report of this Department, which will make you acquainted with the present condition of the naval service, and bring to your notice the several subjects which I have thought worthy of your consideration and the attention of Congress. I would beg leave also to say, that the many valuable suggestions for the improvement of the service, made by my predecessors in previous reports, which

[ocr errors]

32D CONG.....2D SESS.

yet remain open to the deliberation and disposal of Congress, have, in my opinion, lost nothing of their interest, and that I refer to them now as most appropriate subjects for commendation to the favor of the National Legislature. If I have presented other views on the same topics, or proposed a different method for improving the organization of any branch of the service, I hope these will be received as contributions to the common effort which this Department has ever felt it a duty to make towards the perfection of our naval system; and that they may be weighed in the deliberations of Congress with a full appreciation of what is deservedly due to the experience of those who have heretofore conducted the affairs of this Depart

ment.

DISTRIBUTION OF SQUADRONS. During the year now about to close the vessels of the Navy in commission have been assigned to the various employment deemed necessary for the protection of our commerce, according to the system of distribution heretofore adopted, and found most convenient to the exigencies of the service.

This distribution has been made in a provision for six squadrons, each of which is required to serve on a cruise of three years, with the exception of that allotted to the coast of Africa, where, from a consideration of the peculiar character of the service, it is limited to two years.

The duration of the cruise is subject only to an occasional prolongation, when the public interest may render it necessary. Suitable provision is made in the enlistments for this incident whenever it may occur.

The six squadrons are assigned to the East Indies, the Pacific ocean, the coast of Africa, the coast of Brazil, the Miditerranean, and the coast of the United States. In addition to these, a steamship is appropriated to the lakes upon our northern border, and a few vessels are kept for detached service.

The East India squadron has continued during the past year under the command of Commodore John H. Aulick, and has consisted of the steam frigate Susquehanna, being the flag-ship of the squadron, the sloops-of-war Portsmouth, Commander Kelly; Saratoga, Commander Walker; and Marion, Commander Glendy. This vessel (the Marion) has recently returned to the United States, and is now assigned to the African squadron, and, being ready for sea, will very soon proceed to her destination.

The squadron has been lately reorganized and placed under the command of Commodore M. C. Perry, and Commodore Aulick only waits the arrival in the East Indies of an officer to command the Susquehanna, to return to the United States, which he will do in advance of his ship. Commodore Perry's command will consist of the line-of-battle ship Vermont, which is now in a course of rapid preparation for service, and it is expected will be ready to sail about the first of March. The Commodore himself has just sailed from the port of Norfolk in his flag-ship, the steam-frigate Mississippi. He will be followed in a few days by|| the steam-frigate Powhattan, Captain McCluney, which vessel has been recently added to the squadron in place of the steamer Princeton, originally detailed for it, but which, from some imperfection discovered in her machinery, after she had undergone a thorough repair, has been compelled to remain in port. This imperfection, I have reason to hope, will prove to be less serious than was at first apprehended, and that she may soon be in condition for service, when she will be assigned to other employment.

Report of the Secretary of the Navy.

The Pacific squadron, under the command of Commodore Charles S. McCauley, has been composed of the frigate Raritan, commanded by Commander McKean, as flag-ship of the squadron; the frigate St. Lawrence, Captain Dulany; the sloopsof-war St. Mary's, Commander Magruder; Portsmouth, Captain Dornin; Falmouth, Commander Petigru; Vandalia, Commander Gardner; and Vincennes, Commander Hudson. The Falmouth, Vandalia, and Vincennes, and the two store-ships Lexington and Southampton, also attached to the squadron, have returned home within the last two or three months. The Raritan, with Commodore McCauley on board, is now also on her homeward voyage, and may be looked for in the course of the month of January.

This squadron has been actively employed in cruising near the Sandwich Islands, from the Straits of Fuca and Puget's Sound, in Oregon, to Panama, on the North American coast, and along the whole line of South America on the Pacific. It has also visited the Gallipagos Islands and the adjacent seas, whilst one or more of its vessels have been kept in constant intercourse with every port familiar to our commerce, from California to Valparaiso.

In the new arrrangement of this squadron it will be put under the command of Captain Dulany; and the razee Independence, the sloops-of-war Falmouth and St. Mary's, will be dispatched with no more delay than may be necessary for their equipment. The store-ship Fredonia, having performed her service in this squadron, has lately been sent on a voyage to California as a transport of troops, and will, when released from that duty, be established at Valparaiso in charge of the public stores at that port.

SENATE & HO. OF REPS.

town, Captain Downing, with the store-ship Relief, Lieutenant Hitchcock. It has rendered useful service to the public interests in that quarter, and been found adequate to all the demands of our varied and extensive commercial intercourse there.

Commodore McKeever will return in the spring with his ship, and his place will be supplied by Captain Salter, who has received preparatory orders to the frigate Savannah, to be commanded by Commander Mercer.

Commodore Silas H. Stringham has command of the Mediterranean squadron in the frigate Cumberland, Commander Turner. His force consists of the steamer San Jacinto, Captain Crabb, and the sloops-of-war St. Louis, Commander Ingraham, and Levant, Commander Goldsborough. This squadron will probably be reinforced hereafter by the steamer Princeton or the Saranac, if either of these vessels may be spared from the service at home, and the San Jacinto, which is now undergoing repairs at Trieste, in that event may be ordered back to the United States.

This squadron has been conspicuously engaged in various service connected with our important commercial and political relations to the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, and has performed its duties with a commendable zeal and the best results. We have been able, through the exertions of Commodore Stringham, to obtain a permanent arrangement for the accommodation of our ships at Spezzia by the good will of the King of Sardinia, and all that the public interest and convenience require in a safe and commodious naval depôt we may now regard as secured.

The squadron on the coast of the United States, or the Home squadron, under the command of The African squadron is under the command of Commodore J. T. Newton, consists at this time Commodore Lavalette, whose flag-ship is the sloop- of the frigate Columbia, the flag-ship of the comof-war Germantown, Commander Nicholas. Be-modore, and commanded by Commander Pendersides this vessel, it is composed of the sloops-of-grast, the steamer Saranac, Captain Long, the war John Adams, Commander Barron, and Dale, Commander Lardner, and the brigs Bainbridge, Lieutenant Manning, and Perry, Lieutenant Page. Commodore Lavalette, having nearly completed the period of his cruise, will return to the United States in the Germantown as soon as he can be relieved by Commodore Mayo, who will sail in the month of December in the frigate Constitution, with Commander Rudd in command. The Dale will be replaced by the Marion, Commander Howard, which is now ready to sail.

The steamer Vixen will be added to this command for such rapid communication with the coast and the trading points on the rivers as the duties assigned to the squadron constantly require.

The

The service on this station is arduous, and attended with many incidents to render it far from being acceptable to those employed upon it. Constant vigilance and frequent intercourse with a barbarous people on the coast are the least of its discomforts. To these are added exposure to disease and the irksome seclusion of a long voyage, which finds but small relief in visits to a shore without attraction and always dangerous to the stranger. health of our ships on that station, I am happy to report, has in general been well guarded by the useful sanitary discipline which the experience of the service has of late years been able to suggest and enforce, and we have now no longer to complain of such ravage by the maladies of the climate as overtook those who were in times past consigned to this service.

The time has come, perhaps, when it may be properly commended to the notice of Congress to inquire into the necessity of further continuing the regular employment of a squadron on this coast. The slave trade may be said to be now driven into a comparatively narrow space on the southern portion of the coast, and confined to North and South Guinea. Whilst the measures recently adopted in Brazil encourage the hope that this infamous traffic will soon be abandoned altogether, a few small vessels added to the Brazilian squadron, and directed to cruise in the track of the slave

In addition to these two ships, the corvette Macedonian, Captain Abbot; the sloop-of-war Vandalia, Commander Pope; and the steamer Alleghany, Commander Sands, constitute the remaining force assigned to Commodore Perry. The first two of these, the Macedonian and the Vandalia, are now nearly ready for sea, and may be expected to take their departure during the month of December. The Alleghany is waiting only for the completionships, may be found effectual to suppress the last of her engine, and will be dispatched as soon as it is finished.

The store-ships Supply, Lieutenant Sinclair, and Southampton, Lieutenant Boyle, are also attached to the squadron, and are already on their way to their appointed stations.

efforts of that forbidden commerce, against which the abhorrence of all Christian nations is awakened.

The squadron on the coast of Brazil is commanded by Commodore McKeever, and is composed only of his flag-ship, the frigate Congress, Commander Pearson, and the sloop-of-war James

sloops-of-war Albany, Commander Gerry, and Cyane, Commander Hollins, and the steamer Fulton, Commander Jackson. The steam-frigate Powhattan, Captain Mervine, was a short time ago attached to this squadron, and immediately dispatched, with the Commodore on board, on special service, to the ports of Havana and Vera Cruz. Upon his return from this voyage it was found necessary, in consequence of the disability of the Princeton, to change her station, and place her in the East India squadron.

The steamer Saranac, detailed for duty in the Home squadron, sailed on the 4th of October last for Rio de Janeiro, under the command of Captain Long, giving conveyance to the late Brazilian Chargé d'Affaires, the Chevalier de Sodre, to the seat of his own Government. Captain Long will be back, it is supposed, in a few weeks to reassume his position in the squadron from which he was detached, or for such other service as may await him.

The Cyane has been recently ordered to cruise in the neighborhood of the Island of Cuba, and to visit the port of Havana. The Albany is ordered to the same quarter, and will, for the present, remain at Pensacola.

The steamer Mississippi, having been in condition for her cruise to the East Indies, some time in advance of the rest of the squadron, was employed in the month of August last on a visit to the coast of the British Provinces upon our northern border, in a service connected with the question of the Fisheries. She returned early in the month of September to resume her allotted station, and to await the period of the departure upon the long voyage in which she is now engaged.

EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS.

During the past year the attention of this Department, in conjunction with the Department of State, has been directed to the employment of the East India squadron in an enterprise of great moment to the commercial interests of the countrythe endeavor to establish relations of amity and commerce with the Empire of Japan.

The long interdict which has denied to strangers access to the ports or territory of that country, and the singularly inhospitable laws which its Government has adopted to secure this exclusion, having been productive, of late years, of gross oppression and cruelty to citizens of the United States, it has been thought expedient to

« PreviousContinue »