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vies; and, that with the experience of the rest of the world before our eyes, we should have gone on, for so many years, incurring the delay, risk, and expense, of heaving down our ships, when we possessed so many admirable positions for docks, and when the saving, in a single year, would have almost paid the expense of constructing them. It is estimated that the expense of heaving down a 74-gun ship, coming into port from a cruise, and putting even small repairs upon her, would not fall short of twenty thousand dollars. She would have to be unloaded, her guns taken out, her spars and sails remo
moved, a large number of men must be employed in the operation, and, when the work was done, she must be reloaded and equipped. Grent delay would also necessarily take place from such an operation. For ordinary repairs, such a ship would be detained a month; and, at certain seasons of the year, it would not be considered safe to subject a vessel to the dangerous operation of heaving out. At all times, and under all circumstances, the vessel is greatly strained. Nor is this all-in the present condition of your navy yards, your vessels of war must be hove out, not only for repairs, but even for examination. It is not deemed safe to send vessels to sea wbich have been lying some time in port, nor after long cruises, without examination ; and to do this, all the delay, expense, and risk, of heaving out must be encountered. In time of war, this would greatly impair the efficiency of the navy. Time, in all military operations, is of great importance to success; and promptness in preparation, and celerity in movement, bave often gained battles that must otherwise have been lost. Now, with suitable dry docks, ships can be examined and discharged immediately, and repairs, when necessary, effected with the least possible delay and expense. I have the highest authority for stating the fact, that, not long since, a British frigate, with her provisions and entire armament on board, was run into a dry dock for examination, and sailed on her destination, during the same tide—thus saving all the expense, delay and risk, of an examination, according to our clumsy method of heaving out. The advantages derived from dry docks are so fully understood in Europe, that there is no naval power without a number of them. In England there are now sixteen, and three more building, and in France there are twelve, all of the most durable materials.
“ The Marine Railway.-From the best information the committee have been able to obtain, they are satisfied that railways are cheaper than docks, and that they may be used for the repair of sloops of war and other smaller vessels, but that there would be great risk in using them for frigates and ships of the line. This is the received opinion in Europe, and our most experienced officers concur in its correctness. In no point of view, however, can railways supersede dry docks. It is only now proposed to erect a railway at a point (Pensacola) where it will certainly be useful, and where we will be able to test its practical value.
“I come now to the interesting question of the Naval Academy.
“There is one other consideration, Mr. President, which presents the necessity of a Naval Academy, in this country, in such a point of
view that I am at a loss to conceive how it can be resisted. No nation can keep in actual service in time of peace, one-fourth of the vessels necessary to be employed in war. In time of peace, therefore, by far the greater part of our navy must be laid up in ordinary. But it is not only necessary to have the ships, but, what is of equal importance, you must have skilful and experienced officers to command them. Now how is this to be accomplished ? The whole number of officers now in the navy would not be sufficient to command one half of the vessels we now possess.
Of this fact we have official information in the Report of the Secretary of the Navy, made to Congress two years ago, shewing the number of officers necessary for the command of our vessels on a war establishment. In Europe, provision is made for the requisite number of officers in war by employing a much larger number in peace than would be consistent with the settled policy and economical habits of the United States. What then are we to do? Without experienced and skilful naval officers ships are useless, and we cannot afford to employ in peace more than half the number that will be necessary in war. I insist, sir, that a Naval Academy will afford us the means of surmounting this difficulty in an easy, safe and economical way. If nearly the whole number of your midshipmen were thoroughly educated men, and fit to be lieutenants, (which is notoriously not the case at present,) you could, in the event of a war, fill up the post captains from your master commandants, complete the list of masters from your lieutenants, and make as many of your midshipmen lieutenants as the service might require. You could then have remaining, perhaps, about one-half of the requisite number of well-instructed midshipmen, and no doubt can exist, that with this number, the deficiency might be safely supplied from the promising young men of the country. The present organization of the officers would admit of no such arrangement. The number of well-instructed men, among either the lieutenants or the midshipmen, are not, and never can be, sufficient to afford the means of filling up the higher grades. I have made a calculation on the subject, from which it appears that a moderate addition to the present number of midshipmen, with the aid of a naval school, would enable us to maintain in peace, and at a very reasonable expense, a number of officers sufficient to command all our vessels in time of war; and I do not perceive how this can be accomplished in any other way."
It is understood, that under the bill “for the gradual improvement of the navy," contracts have been made for the delivery of ship timber, chiefly live oak, to the value of near two millions of dollars, (including the frames of five ships of the line, five frigates, and five sloops of war)—that the foundation of two dry docks and a marine rail-way have been laid, (the former at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and Gosport, Virginia, and the latter at Pensacola,) and that plans have been adopted for extensive and permanent improvements at our several navy yards.
From the annual report of the Secretary of the Navy made to Congress at their last session, it appears, that the present condition of the navy is as follows :
In commission. In ordinary.
Built or building,
not launched. Ships of the Line, 1
17 Sloops of War, 10
0 Exclusive of one steam-frigate built, and the materials for two others. The number of officers now in the navy is as follows: Captains,
35 Masters Commandant, 34 Lieutenants, 262 Midshipmen,
392 The whole number of men employed is 5,864, and the annual expense about three millions of dollars.
By the Report recommending “a plan for a Naval Peace Establishment,” it is proposed to create admirals and to make provision for a considerable increase in the number of our officers, and by a subsequent report, plans are suggested for securing the services of a sufficient number of seamen, &c.
These reports present several questions of vital interest, which we had proposed to discuss—such as the ability of the United States to maintain a navy adequate to the complete command of our coasts in time of war, and to the protection of our commerce in time of peace. We had intended to examine this subject in reference to our resources in ship-timber, our ability to command (and by what means) the number of seamen necessary to man our ships; and, lastly, to enter into an examination of our naval resources generally, in comparison with those of the nations of Europe, and especially of the new States which have sprung up in this hemisphere, -in order to shew the part which the
navy of this country will probably be required to act in the future wars which may break out during the present century The subject, however, has so expanded under our pen, that we must defer to "a more convenient season,” what we may have to say on these interesting subjects. And we confess we do this with less reluctance, since it really appears to us to be almost superfluous to enter into speculations as to the value of a navy for the protection of our commerce, at a time when it is still a matter of doubt whether that commerce is not destined to become a victim to the prohibitory policy now “in the full tide of experiment.” It seems to be labour lost ; indeed we have hardly the heart to indulge ourselves in anticipations of the brilliant
career of a navy, which certainly cannot long continue to exist, much less to flourish, when our merchant ships shall be withdrawn from every sea-when the capital of our merchants shall be invested in woollen and cotton factories, and the hardy sons of the ocean shall find themselves transformed into the managers of looms and of spinning jennies.
Art. III.— The Life of John Ledyard, the American Traveller ;
comprising selections from his Journal and Correspondence. By JARED SPARKS. Cambridge. 1828.
ALTHOUGH this book would have been read with much deeper interest thirty years ago, yet we feel greatly obliged to Mr. Sparks for rendering even this tardy justice to the meinory of one of the most adventurous of his enterprizing countrymen-one, of whom all have heard enough to excite curiosity, but none enough to gratify it. Every body has read his beautiful Eulogy on Women, which has the merit of being founded on actual observation, not of a few individuals, or even of a nation, but on a survey of all the varieties of the human race; and which must be as just as it is beautiful, by the unexampled currency it has obtained. But little else was known of its singular author by the American public, except what floated in loose tradition, for his own journal of his early voyage to the South-Sea Islands, under Captain Cook, has had a very limited circulation among us. We trust that the desire to know something more of his character and adventures, though greatly abated, is not extinguished, and that the work we are about to consider, will give it new life.
John Ledyard was born in the State of Connecticut, in the year 1751. He was the son of a sea-captain, of the same name, who, dying at the age of thirty-five, left him the eldest of four orphans, under the charge of a mother, whose many estimable qualities are supposed to have had great influence in forining the best and most remarkable traits in his character.
After a few years, his mother having married again, Ledyard was committed to the care of his paternal grandfather in Hart
ford; and having received such an education as a grammat school then afforded, he entered a lawyer's office, as a student of law. But finding this pursuit not suited to his taste, he abandoned it, and on the invitation of one of his grandfather's friends, entered Dartmouth College, in New-Hampshire, with the intention of preparing himself to become a missionary to the Indians.
“His mother's wishes and advice, [says Mr. Sparks) had, probably, much influence in guiding him to this resolution. In accordance with the religious spirit of that day, she felt a strong compassion for the deplorable state of the Indians, and it was among her earliest and fondest hopes of this, her favourite son, that he would be educated as a missionary, and become an approved instrument in the hands of Providence, to bring these degraded and suffering heathens to a knowledge of a pure religion, and the blessings of civilized life. When she saw this door opened for the realizing of her hopes, and her son placed under the charge of the most eminent labourer of his day in the cause of the Indians, her joy was complete.” p. 7.
He continued a student of this institution for one year, but ere he had been there four months," he suddenly disappeared, without previous notice to his comrades, apparently, without permission from the President," and continued absent for three months and a half, having wandered, as is understood, among the Six Nations, on the borders of Canada. In this ramble, he seems to have abandoned his purpose of becoming a missionary, but by it he acquired a knowledge of Indian manners and language, and, probably, laid the foundation of that taste for adventure, by which he was afterwards characterised. After his return to college, he seems to have profited little by his exercises or studies; and, on being lectured by the President for idleness and irregularity, his character for active enterprise yet more fully developed itself.
“ On the margin of the Connecticut river, [says his biographer) which runs near the college, stood many majestic forest trees, nourished by a rich soil. One of these Ledyard contrived to cut down. He then set himself at work to fashion its trunk into a canoe, and in his labour he was assisted by some of his fellow-students. As the canoe was fifty feet long, and three wide, and was to be dug out and constructed by thesę unskilful workmen, the task was not a trifling one, nor such as could be speedily executed. Operations were carried on with spirit, however, till Ledyard wounded himself with an axe, and was disabled for several days. When recovered, he applied himself anew to his work; the canoe was finished, launched into the stream, and, by the further aid of his companions, equipped and prepared for a voyage. His wishes were now at their consummation, and bidding adieu to these