« PreviousContinue »
From this time on the number of cadets was increased at intervals, and the educational facilities were constantly improved until the school attained its present high rank. The Federal Government has by appropriate legislation attended punctually to the maintenance and direction of the school. The small amount expended for the support of the school has been repaid by manifold service to our common country.
In 1867 the school was made a department of the army, and so continued until 1882, when the Commander of the Army had visitorial and advisory powers given him, while the school was placed in charge of the Chief of Engineers, as formerly.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY ACADEMY.
The amount expended by the Government from 1802 to 1843, inclusive, for the support of the school, given in yearly appropriations, was $4,002,901. The grand total from 1802 to 1886 was $13,789,194. This makes an average annual appropriation of $164,157.13. The maximum appropriation was in 1866, when it amounted to $354,740, while the annual appropriation of 1885-86 was $309,921. These figures include all expenses and the pay of cadets, which was fixed in 1878 at five hundred and forty dollars per annum.
THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY.
The doubt might be entertained by some whether or not the United States Naval Academy comes properly within the class of those institutions established for the inculcation of higher education among the people. No doubt the first and prime object of the founding of this institution was to afford a more efficient national defense; but since this was to be brought about-in fact, has been brought about-through the means of instruction of the higher order, it seems only proper that at least a short treatment of the Naval Academy and its work should be given here, if only for the purpose of comparison.
ORIGIN OF THE NAVAL ACADEMY.
The Navy Department was established by an act of Congress in 1798.2 Previous to this time the Navy could hardly be said to have had an independent existence, and, for a number of years after, its organization was of the most imperfect kind. Under the act of organization, the President was empowered to appoint eight midshipmen for each ship. They, as a rule, were appointed from civil life, without proper regard to age, education, or fitness.
At first no provision was made for the instruction of these midshipThey were dependent upon their own efforts for what they
1 Logan: Volunteer Soldiers of America, 240.
2 For a number of facts contained in this sketch I am greatly indebted to Soley's History of the Naval Academy.
learned of the art of navigation. Experience and observation were their tutors. In 1802 the Naval Regulations provided "school-masters" who should diligently and faithfully instruct the midshipmen in those sciences appertaining to their department. This provision proved of little consequence, however, since no new officers were created, but the duties of the "school-master" were simply laid upon the chaplain, who of the whole ship's crew probably knew the least about navigation. This defective system continued in force with but slight alteration for many years.
Different Secretaries of the Navy during the period down till 1845 urged upon Congress the necessity of establishing a naval academy for the systematic instruction of midshipmen upon land; but nothing came of these appeals more than the establishment of the office of schoolmaster as distinct from that of chaplain, and some slight changes in the qualifications and duties of midshipmen and instructors. During this period, however, different Secretaries of the Navy, with the tacit approval of Congress, had established several small naval schools at suitable ports for the instruction of midshipmen off regular duty, and had yearly turned over part of the regular Navy appropriation to their support.
FOUNDATION AND GROWTH.
The United States Naval Academy was opened October 10, 1845.1 The credit of its foundation is attributed to Hon. George Bancroft, who was then Secretary of the Navy. When Mr. Bancroft entered his office as Secretary there were in existence four small naval schools, one at New York, one at Philadelphia, one at Boston, and one at Norfolk. These schools were designed for the instruction of midshipmen when not engaged in other duties. At this time there were in the service for the instruction of midshipmen twenty professors and teachers, fourteen of whom were at sea and the others stationed at the naval school. The yearly cost of maintaining this force was $28,200. This sum was not, however, directly appropriated by Congress for this purpose, but it was the custom to take this amount from the regular appropriations to the Navy.
The weakness of this system is evident. Its force was not concentrated, but was spread out in fragments at navy-yards and in cruisingships. This was seen by Secretary Bancroft, and he at once set about to remedy it. He found the means already at hand for accomplishing his purpose. By placing a number of the professors on waiting orders, and by concentrating a few of the best professors in one place, a naval academy was established, and a large amount of the sum which was previously expended in instruction, necessarily inefficient, in small and unorganized schools, was centered upon one independent organization.
1 Annual Register of United States Naval Academy, 1884.
Soley: History of the Naval Academy, 39.
The place chosen as that most suitable for the Naval Academy was Fort Severn, an old army post, the site of which had been bought by the Government in 1808, at a time when Annapolis was considered a point of military importance. Upon application by the Secretary of the Navy this post was transferred from the War to the Navy Department. Commander Franklin Buchanan, of the United States Navy, was appointed Superintendent of the Academy, and at once drew up rules and regulations for its government.
The course of instruction embraced six departments, viz, naval tactics and practical seamanship, mathematics, natural and experi. mental philosophy, gunnery and infantry tactics, ethics, and modern languages.1
The number of students enrolled during the first year was one hundred and one, ninety-one of whom were seniors.
In July, 1850, new regulations for the government of the Academy were prepared. The main features of the change were the extension of the course of study, and in the requirements for admission. Up to 1850 the course of instruction occupied five years, of which three were passed at sea. In 1850 it was made seven years, four in 1851, and six, the last two of which were to be spent at sea, in 1873, where it now remains.2
On account of the Civil War then in progress the Naval Academy was removed to Newport, R. I., in May, 1861, but re-established at Annapolis in 1865, at the close of the strife.
The number of naval cadets allowed to enter the Naval Academy is one for each Member or Delegate of the House of Representatives, appointed at his recommendation, one from the District of Columbia, and ten appointed at large by the President. The number of appointments that can be made is limited to twenty-five each year, named by the Secretary of the Navy after competitive examinations, the cadets being fourteen to eighteen years old. The pay of the naval cadet is five hundred dollars a year. The course of instruction, as remodelled and improved, is thorough, involving a close pursuit of mathematics, steam-engineering, physics, mechanics, seamanship, ordnance, history, law, etc.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUPPORT.
It seems from an examination of the records of that time that, during the first three years after the establishment of the Academy, no extra appropriations were made for its support by Congress other than the sum of twenty-eight thousand two hundred dollars regularly set aside for the salaries of professors and teachers under the old system. In 1848, however, Congress appropriated nineteen thousand three hundred and eighty dollars for repairs and improvements, in addition to 1 Soley, 91. 2 Annual Register, 1884, Introduction.
the regular sum; and from this time on regular yearly sums were granted for support and improvements.
The following year, 1849, the generous appropriation of $218,200 was made for the support of the Academy. The largest appropriation made by Congress was $358,400, in 1866. This was for the purpose of purchasing additional grounds and erecting new buildings at the close of the War. The appropriation from that year on was gradually lessened until 1869-70, when it was $182,500. The appropriation for the sixteen years following this date averaged $175,000 a year. The total general appropriation made by Congress for the support of the Naval Academy, down to the year 1886, inclusive, amounted to over five million dollars.
Soon after the establishment of this school in 1845, the Navy Department transferred to it a number of books which had been in use in the navy-yards and men-of-war. This formed the nucleus of the present library. Since 1852 additions have been constantly made by allowing a yearly sum out of the congressional appropriations for contingent expenses of the Naval Academy.
The increase in the library by decades has been as follows: December 31, 1855, 4,751 volumes; December 31, 1865, 9,593 volumes; December 31, 1875, 17,678 volumes.1
The total amount expended upon the library is estimated at $35,180.2
THE UNITED STATES NAVAL OBSERVATORY.
The United States Naval Observatory, though not situated at Annapolis, will be considered under this head, on account of its close cooperation with the Naval Academy. The object of its establishment was to encourage scientific pursuits in lines that would especially benefit commerce and navigation. As early as 1810 Congress was memorialized to establish a national observatory, the object urged at the time being the location of a first meridian in the United States. This petition was followed by numerous others; but nothing tangible was secured until 1830, when a bureau for the care of instruments and charts of the Navy was established through the influence of Lieut. L. M. Goldsborough. In 1833 Lieutenant Goldsborough was succeeded by Lieutenant Meeks, of the United States Navy, who erected at his own expense an observatory sixteen feet square.
A bill was passed by Congress, approved August 31, 1842, authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to contract for the building of a house for the charts and instruments of the Navy on a plan not exceeding in cost twenty-five thousand dollars. In June, 1871, Congress authorized 2 Ibid., 136.
1 Soley: History of the Naval Academy, 135,
the superintendent of the observatory to contract for a large refractor at a cost not exceeding fifty thousand dollars. In the following year Congress appropriated fifty thousand dollars for this purpose, and one hundred thousand dollars more for the erection of a tower and dome for this instrument.
Regular sums were set apart out of the Navy appropriation from time to time for the support of the Naval Observatory. In 1860, $59,3601 were granted for its support; $65,9002 in 1871 (these estimates include the expenses in getting out the Nautical Almanac for these years); and in 1880, $22,5003 (for observatory alone).
Along with the observatory has grown up a special library, partly through gifts and donations and partly through appropriations. In 1881 the observatory library numbered eighty-five thousand volumes.
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
EARLY HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY.
The National Library, or Library of Congress, was established in 1800, a short time before the seat of government was changed to Washington. It had its origin in the needs and demand of Congress for books and information. Previous to 1800, when the National Legislature assembled at Philadelphia, it had no library of its own, but was dependent upon private libraries of the different members and the gratuitous use of books tendered by the Library Company of Philadelphia.
The first appropriation made by Congress for the purchase of books was on the 24th of April, 1800. Under "An act to make further provisions for the removal and accommodation of the Government of the United States" the sum of five thousand dollars was appropriated for the purchase of such books as might be necessary for the use of Congress at the city of Washington, and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them and placing them therein. The books, pamphlets, maps, etc., purchased in pursuance of this act form the nucleus of the Congressional Library.
A report submitted to the House December 21, 1801, by John Randolph, of Virginia, chairman of the committee appointed to take into consideration the care of books, formed the basis of the first systematic statute organizing the Library of Congress. This act located the Library of Congress, created the office of librarian, and vested his appointment in the President of the United States, placed the regulation of the library under the supervision of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, and further, regulated the taking of books
See Ex. Doc. for 1860.
2 Ibid., 3 Ibid., 1881.
4 Laws of United States, V, 376.
5 American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 253. 65 Ibid.