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Vessels of War. growth of the country, good vessels may be built mation I possess: though it would unquestionably in every part of our country.

be a great public advantage to have a dock near The islands on the coast of Georgia, on which the entrance into the Chesapeake bay, and another the live oak is found, are supposed to be more still further South, if circumstances will admit. healthy than the main land near the coast-they Docks for repairing ships ought to be convenient are also thought to be very important for the pro- to the sea, and yet not easily accessible to any duction of cotton; hence this valuable timber is enemy. Yards for building the ships, where large becoming scarce everywhere convenient to water quantities of materials would be deposited, (the transportation. Two methods suggest themselves destruction of which would always be an object for obtaining supplies, beyond the immediate de- with an enemy,) should be, according to the opinmand: To buy one or two of the most valuable ion of Mr. Humphreys, a gentleman of considerislands, and cause the timber to be preserved for able science, and experience in naval architecture, the future uses of the Navy: or to purchase the " in the vicinity of a commercial city, for the contimber as the islands are cleared by the owners, venience of procuring able workmen-within the and have it transported to the places fixed on for reach of good white oak timber-in fresh water, building our ships, and docked until it will be where timber may be deposited without danger wanted. With respect to a purchase, the lands from the worm; on a river running east and west, are held at prices greatly beyond what was the or nearly so, with a high bank, and where the harsupposed value of them, a few years ago; and it is bor is secure from freshets, and stormy weather ; believed they have become less valuable for pub- out of the reach of an enemy; and near a good lic purposes, in consequence of the efforts which stream of water, 18 or 20 feet higher than the surhave been made, and are daily making, to clear face of the river, for the convenience of making them for cultivation.

lock docks, sawing timber, and for many other valOn the subject of other kinds of timber, possibly uable uses." when it is seen by the citizens that it is worth pre- Perhaps the most expeditious mode of building serving; it may be sufficient to trust in a great ships immediately wanted, will be to set them up degree to their attention to private interest, for the in several different places, and by such means avail preservation of a quantity equal to the public de ourselves of the resources of different parts of the mand. It would, however, be but provident to ex-country. I am by no means certain that this mepend one hundred thousand dollars, in a way to thod will not also be most economical under pressecure enough of the white oak and yellow pine, ent circumstances, and with little seasoned timboth of which are indispensable in the construction ber in the country: and it will certainly distribute of good vessels, to last the public, in aid of supplies more equally among all the States, the advantages from individuals, for ages-$100,000 could be so which may arise from supplying the materials and laid out; and I believe the expenditure would be the labor. But the subject being new, I am not judicious.

possessed of sufficient information to state, with preNo extraordinary means are necessary to be used cision, where these ought to be. At a future time, for procuring naval and military stores, except the when the pressure may be less, and our experience articles of hemp, canvass, and copper. Cannon can greater, two or three places, uniting the greatest be made in many of the States equal to any that number of advantages, may be fixed on for buildcould be obtained from foreign countries, also musing all the large ships of the United States. kets and bayonets, pistols, swords, boarding pikes, The mode heretofore pursued for obtaining and indeed every other article necessary for ships naval stores, for the ships in public service, has been of war.

to get such supplies on the spot, as could be proAlthough copper mines are found in many parts cured on moderate terms by the agent for building of the country, yet the certain means of procuring or equipping the ship-sending from Philadelphia, present supplies will be by importation. The en- or elsewhere, such articles only, as could not be so terprising spirit of the merchants has heretofore supplied, Until it can be ascertained, what places furnished enough for the public demand, and may should be selected for permanent building yards, be trusted for future supplies, so far as may be no great inconvenience will result from pursuing necessary for the ships now contemplated to be the mode already adopted, for supplying the naval added to ou navy. It is to be presumed that be stores. Deposites of masts, to supply quickly vesfore more ships are wanted, and possibly before sels which may come in dismasted, will be made any that may now be authorized, are in a state to at Boston, and Norfolk-measures indeed have require the copper, ineans may be devised for ob- already been taken for this purpose—and like de taining it in the United States.

posites must be made at New York or Rhode IslDocks will be highly necessary in repairing our and ; other articles required by vessels in distress, ships, to avoid the tedious, expensive, and some- can generally be had in those places, and in our times dangerous operation of heaving down. They other commercial cities. can undoubtedly be made in the Eastern States, The business of naval armaments being new in where the tides rise very considerably: probably this country, and complicated, it is impossible, in in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or Rhode Isl- this early stage, to devise a perfect system on the and. Whether they can be made with equal ad- subject. Every day's experience will add to the vantage, or to answer valuable purposes, to the stock of knowledge possessed by the country; and southward of Rhode Island or New York, I can- it may be best for the public interest that the Connot form any accurate judgment, from any infor-Igress, at their present session, should rely a little Vessels of War.

per day.



more on Executive discretion than may her after Sheathing, copper, nails, &c.

17,440 be necessary: At the present session, it may be Woollens for sheathing

1,215 expedient and sufficient that the President be au- Contingencies

31,600 thorized to procure, by purchase or otherwise, 12 ships of 74 guns, and six brigs or schooners to

$342,700 mount not exceeding 18 guns; to take measures for procuring and depositing in docks of fresh water Estimate of pay and rations of the officers and crew and in places of safety such quantity of live-oak timber, proper for ships of 74 guns and frigates,

of a ship of war of seventy-four guns-complement

650 men, for twelve months. not exceeding in the whole such parts of the frames of twelve 74-gun ships, and as many frig.

Per month.

Per annum. Rations ates, as may be deemed essential to be of this species of timber; to cause to be laid out in

Commander, at $75

$900 6 ing other kinds of timber for the future uses of the Five lieutenants, at $40

2,400 15

720 4 Navy, a sum pot exceeding 100,000 dollars: and Two lieutenants of marines, at $30


16 to cause not exceeding three docks to be erected Sixteen midshipmen, at $19 for the convenience of repairing ships. For so

Three master's mates, at $20

720 6

600 One surgeon, at $50 .

2 much of these objects as can be accomplished before the next session of Congress, an appropriation One clerk, at $25

Three surgeon's mates, at $30

1,080 6 of 1,200.000 dollars, with a promise of further ap- One carpenter, at $20

300 1

240 2 propriations, may be sufficient.

1,824 Eight carpenter's mates, at $10

8 I have suggested no plan for the encouragement One boatswain, at $20

240 2 of the manufacture of sail cloth. This subject will Four boatswain's mates, at $19

912 4 be better understood in Congress. A certainty of Two yeomen of gun-room, at $18

432 2 sale, as already observed, will be encouragement One gunner, at $20


2 enough for the growers of hemp.

Eighteen quarter-gunners, at $18 3,888

18 I shall take the liberty to lay before you in a few One chaplain, at $40

480 days, such alterations in the rules for the govern- Ten quartermasters, at $18


10 ment of the Navy, as have been suggested by some Two gunner's mates, at $19


2 of the most experienced captains, with my own One armorer, at $18


1 observations.

One steward, at $18

216 1 I have the honor to be with great respect and One cooper, at $18

216 1 esteem, sir, your obedient servant.

One sailmaker, at $20

240 BENJAMIN STODDERT. One cockswain, at $18

216 1 Two masters-at-arms, at $18

216 1 One cook, at $18

216 1 Cost of building and equipping a seventy-four gun ship. of 1,620 tons, exclusive of military stores, $342,700.

22,776 Annual expense of a seventy-four gun ship, per estimate, Two hundred and eighty able seamen, is $216,941.

at $17

57,120 The following estimates accompanied the above letter

One hundred and twenty ordinary seaof the Secretary of the Navy.

men, at $12

24,480 Sixty three boys, at $8

6,048 Amount of cost of building and equipping a seventy- Fifty marines

3,720 four gun ship, of 1,620 tons, exclusive of military

$114,144 00 Live-oak timber

$40,000 One hundred and sixteen rations per White oak and pine, &c.

30,000 day, amounts to 42,340 for twelve Labor


11,885 20 Cables, rigging, cordage, &c.

32,400 Smith's work 30,400

$126,029 20 Anchors

3,200 Marling

5,500 Sail-maker's bill, two suits, including can

Estimate of provisions for six hundred and fifty men, 16,200



Total pay

for twelve months. Joiner's bill, including stuff 7,800 503 barrels beef, at $13

$6,539 00 Carver's bill 1,620 503 barrels pork, at $17

8,551 00 Rigger's bill 2,240 1,982 gallons molasses, at 75 cents

1,486 50 Tanner's bill 700 234 cwt. rice, at $4

936 00 Painter's bill 3,240 3,136 lbs. butter, at 15 cents

470 40 Cooper's bill 4,860 24,375 lbs. cheese, at 12 cents

2,925 00 Blockmaker's bill 3,240 1,082 lbs. candles, at 20 cents

396 40 Boatbuilder's bill 1,620 2,811 gallons vinegar, at 30 cents

843 30 Plumber's bill 2,430 390 bushels beans, at 80 cents

312 00 Ship chandlery 9,720 14,056 gallons rum, at $1

14,056 00 Turner's bill 1,215 2,346 lbs. soap, at 13 cents

304 98 Copper bolts 10,960 86 barrels Acur, at $8

688 00


Evidence in cases of Contested Elections.


80 borrels Indian meal, at $4

320 00 EVIDENCE IN CASES OF CONTESTED 1,660 cwt. of bread, at $3 33

5,533 33

ELECTIONS. 235 gallons lamp oil, at $1

235 00 1,186 bushels of potatoes, at 50 cents

593 00

(Communicated to the House of Representatives, De287 cwt. salt fish, at $6

1,722 00

cember 15, 1797.] $45,911 91 | The committee to whom were recommitted certain re

solutions respecting the mode of taking evidence in RECAPITULATION.

cases of contested elections, with instructions to take Pay and subsistence

$126,029 20

the matter of those resolutions generally into their Provisions

45,911 91

consideration, and report their opinion thereon to the Medicines and hospital stores

5,000 00

House, having carefully examined the subject, made

the following report : Contingencies

40,000 00

The subject contemplated by these resolutions $216,941 11 naturally presents itself under i wo points of view:

the inconveniences resulting from the want of Amount of cost for building and equipping a ship of permanent regulations, and the difficulties which war of eighteen guns.

stand in the way of their establishment.

These inconveniences have been felt and comTradesmen's bills.

Per ton. 300 tons. plained of from the commencement of the Gov. Shipwright's bills

$44 00 $13,200 00 ernment till the present day; and they must conCables, rigging, and cordage

18 00

5,430 00 tinually augment with the natural increase of Smith's bill

12 00 3,600 00 those causes which give rise to contests in elecAnchors

2 00 600 00 tions, while their pressure will become more and Masting

3 00 900 00 more heavy as the progress of population on the Sailmakers and canvass,

frontiers shall add new and more remote districts suits

8 25 2,475 50 to the Union. They have been so frequently exJoiner's bill, including stuff 2 25 675 00 perienced, and are so universally admitted, that a Carver's bill

1 00 300 00 particular enumeration of them does not appear Rigger's bill

2 00 600 00 necessary: Tanner's bill

0 33 100 00 These inconveniences, the committee suppose, Painter's bill

1 00 300 00 may, in a very considerable degree, be avoided by Cooper's bill

1 75 525 00 the establishment of some permanent regulations Blockmaker's bill

1 50

450 00 respecting evidence in cases of contested elections. Boatbuilder's bill

0 67 200 00 As to the difficulties which oppose themselves to Plumber's bill

1 00

300 00 the adoption of such regulations, they have been Ship chandlery

4 50 1,350 00 considered by the commiitee under a two-fold point Turner's bill


120 00 of view: first, as respects the powers of one House Sheathing copper, nails, and

of Representatives to establish rules binding upon rudder braces

12 00 3,600 00

future Houses; and, secondly, as respects the proWoollen for sheathing

0 75 225 00 Contingencies, such as ballast,

priety of permitting the other branches of the Le

gislature to interfere, even in the most indirect stores, camboose, rum, wharf

manner, in the trial of contested elections for age, porterage, superintending, &c.

26 00

the House of Representatives, to which the sole

7,800 00 Military stores

20 00 6,000 00 decision, in such cases, is referred by the Con

Total amount
$162 40 $48,720 50

It is said that if resolutions merely are adopted, they can last no longer than the House which

made them, and, consequently, cannot be permaEstimate of the proposed addition to the Navy. nent. It is said that such resolutions, even could The annual expense of a 74 gun-ship,

they be permanent, could confer no power to com. per estimate, is $216,941 11-12

pel the attendance of witnesses before the persons will therefore amount to

$2,603,293 32 authorized to take examinations, without which The annual expense of a brigantine of

the whole process would be imperfect and ineffec18 guns, per estimate, is $51,989

tual; and that this object cannot be accomplished 10–6 will therefore amount to 211,934 60 without a law. It is said that to pass a law, by Extra annual expense attending con.

the consequences of which the decision of converting three ships of 24 guns into

tested elections might be effected, would be to 32-gun frigates

34,051 04 give the other branches of the Legislature a con

trol over objects which the principles of the ConAmount of proposed addition - $2,949,278 96 stitution, no less than its express directions, reAnnual expense of the existing estab

quire to be confined exclusively to the House itlishment

2,434,261 10 self. It is said, in fine, that such a law, even if

permitted by the Constitution, would be ineffec$5,383,540 06

iual, because it could enact po sanctions under which the admission of testimony, taken pursuant

Debtors of the United States. to its directions, could be enforced on any future moreover, preclude those inconveniences which House of Representatives.

result from the discussion of general principles in Upon a careful review of these various objec- connexion with particular cases. tions, it has appeared to the committee that the Conformably io these ideas, the committee remost proper and most effectual method of estab- commend that a law be passed prescribing the lishing permanent regulations on this subject, if mode in which, and the persons before whom, tesnot the only practical method, would be to pass a timony in cases of contested elections for this law for that purpose; nor do they consider as well House shall be taken, and giving power to comfounded the objections which are urged againt pel the attendance of witnesses for that purpose. that measure.

The details of this law, they apprehend, will apThe Constitution does, indeed, provide that pear best in a bill; but, not being authorized to " each House shall be the judge of elections, re- report in that form, they forbear at present to enturns, and qualifications of its own members." ter into those details, and confine themselves to But the committee conceive that to pass a law for the following resolutions, which they present for the object in question, far from admitting the the consideration of the House, to wit: other branches of the Legislature to a participa- Resolved, That it is expedient to make provition in the peculiar powers of the House, would sion, by law, for taking evidence in contested be, in effect, to call in the aid of the whole Le- elections for the House of Representatives, and gislature for enabling the House to exercise for compelling the attendance of witnesses in such ihose powers in a manner more complete and cases. effectual.

Resolved, That the committee have leave to As to the objection that such a law could enact bring in a bill pursuant to the foregoing resolution. no sanctions by which the admission of testimony, taken in pursuance of its provisions, could be enforced on any future House of Representatives, the committee do not consider it as of sufficient DEBTORS OF THE UNITED STATES. weight to prevent the adoption of the measure, even the utility of which they do not suppose [Communicated to the House of Representatives, Janwould be in any considerable degree diminished by this objection.

uary 4, 1798.] The proper and the only necessary functions of The Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, to such a law would be to prescribe the mode in

whom was referred the petition of William Bell, which testimony should be taken, and to grant

made the following report: powers for compelling the attendance of witnesses. That he is confined in the jail of the city and Whether testimony thus obtained should be ad-county of Philadelphia, at the suit of the United mitted in any particular case, or whether further States, on a custom-house bond executed by him testimony should be required, must depend on the for duties on goods imported by one Joseph Ritdecision of that House before which such case tenhouse, who, as he says, induced him to become should come for discussion ; and it would be in principal'in the bound, contrary to his intentions. the power of each House, at the commencement This circumstance, (on which, together with his of its first session, to adopt a rule declaring that, poverty and good character, the petitioner relies in all cases of contested elections to come before for relief,) is not a sufficient ground for the interit, testimony taken pursuant to such law should position of legislative aid; for the committee bebe received. This, it is presumable, would be lieve that, whether principal or surety only, he is done, and would gradually grow into a constant bound to pay the debt. and well known regulation, to which all persons But having been well informed that the petiengaged in contested elections might with safety tioner was extremely poor, they directed their inconform. It would still be in the power of each quiries to the operation of the act for the relief of House to refrain from passing such a resolution, persons imprisoned for debt. passed the 28th May, and to reject the testimony; but it ought not to 1796, supposing the provisions of that law were be presumed that, when the mode should have competent to the petitioner's relief. On inquiry, been perfected by experience, and become gene- however, they found that various opinions were rally known, testimony fairly taken in conformity entertained, by different judicial officers of the to it would be rejected. On the contrary, there United States, on the subject; some of them conwould be a strong and well-founded presumption struing the law to extend to debtors of the United that such testimony would be received ; and this States, others confining it solely to the case of presumption, joined to the aid which the law individuals. In order to obtain the most precise would afford in compelling witnesses to attend, information on this point, the committee directed would enable persons concerned in contested elec- a letter to be written to the Attorney General of tions to come at first duly prepared for the trial, the United States, which, with his answer, are while the Constitutional rights of each House annexed to this report. would be saved by its power to adopt or reject Upon consideration of all the circumstances the rule for the admission of the testimony: stated in this report, your committee thi it

To adopt this rule at the beginning of each would not be advisable to pass any law exCongress, before it should be known to what par- planatory of the act before cited, until a judicial ticular cases it was intended to apply, would, I decision of the Supreme Court shall make it ne

Debtors of the United States.

cessary; nor can they recommend any special in- is nothing to be paid. Thus, if this reasoning be terference in a law of individual insolvency. just, an act of Parliament, similar to the act of

They are therefore of opinion that the petitioner May 28, 1796, would bind the King, though not cannot obtain the relief he desires, and that he expressly named. It is true the bankrupt laws of have leave to withdraw his petition.

England, though the words are general, do not

bind the King, and for this reason-that the debtSir: I am directed by the Committee of Com- or's estates, after assignment, are to be applied to merce and Manufactures to request your opinion fere with the King's prerogative right of priority;

all creditors alike, which distribution would interon the construction of the act of Congress " for the relief of persons imprisoned for debt," passed and his prerogatives, as I have before remarked

, , the 28th of May, 1796. The point they wish to

cannot be abridged but by express words. This have determined is, whether ihe relief contem

is not like our insolvent law, which can operate plated by this act can be extended to persons im- in no case where the debtor has any property of prisoned in civil causes, at the suit of the United greater value than thirty dollars, or sufficient to States

. You will much oblige the committee by pay the debt for which he is imprisoned. giving your opinion of the true construction of

Again, it may be observed that a statute in the law, and also by mentioning such decisions some cases binds the King, though not named.thereon as have come to your knowledge; it hav- 2 Inst. 142, 169. And, if in any case, surely the ing been intimated to the committee ihat differ- general words of a statute in favor of personal ent determinations have taken place on this sub- liberty ought to bind the King, though not pained. ject by the judges of different districts.

The statute 32 Hen. VIII. chap. 28, binds the I am, sir, with great respect, your


King, though not named, because its object is to vant,

suppress wrong, and give a speedier remedy.—2 EDWARD LIVINGSTON.

Inst. 681. A fortiori, a statute in favor of releasThe ATTORNEY GENERAL

ing from perpetual imprisonment an insolvent of the United States.

citizen, ought to hind, by its general words, the sovereign as well as the subject.

These arguments, if used on a question of this PhiladeLPHIA, December 21, 1797. sort in Great Britain, would, in my judgment, be Sir: I have considered the question proposed decisive there; and they seem to me to have even in the letter which I had the honor to receive from more weight when applied in this country, wbere you as chairman of the Committee of Commerce a priority of paymeni has been established by law, and Manufactures, bearing date the 29th of No- and not considered as a right belonging to the vember.

United States as a sovereign prerogative. If the It is my opinion that the act for the relief of sovereign power of the United States possess cerpersons imprisoned for debt, passed on the 28th tain rights different from the rights of individual day of May, 1796, extends as well to persons im- citizens, they must be of a nature essential to the prisoned in civil causes, at the suit of the United care or promotion of the public good. Surely it States, as to other prisoners in civil causes. will not be contended thai the right to imprison

In Great Britain, the King in some instances is forever an insolvent debtor is of this kind. Our not bound by the general words of a statute, un-law gives to the United States a priority of pay. less he be expressly named. These instances are ment before other creditors; but, construing the where his prerogative would be impaired or di- act of the 28th May, 1796, to include the United vested by the general words; and the correct rule States as well as individuals within its general is that general words, in an act of Parliament, words, does not interfere with their right of pribind the King, though not expressly named, upless ority, as has been already shown; nor does it inhis prerogative is touched, and all his other rights terfere with any right of sovereignty vested in the are to be no more favored than the rights of his United States, or any right essential or contribusubjects. For this let me refer you to 8 Mod. 8, tory to the pational good, which they should King vs. Bishop of Armagh; Dyer, 250; Cro. possess. Eliz. 500; 2 Inst. 191.

I have been the more full upon this subject beEvery statute for the advancement of justice, cause I have heard of one instance where an ad&c., shall bind the ordinary right of the King, by judication contrary to this opinion has been given. general words, as well as the right of the subject. I have been told that Judge Peters, in the case of -2 Inst. 681 ; 5 Rep. 14; 11 Rep. 66. The right one Rittenhouse, who was a prisoner in a civil of the King to arrest the body of his debtor, till cause at the suit of the United States, refused to his debt is paid, is of the ordinary kind; the like administer the oath of an insolvent to him, on the right is possessed by the subject also. The same ground that the act did not bind the United States reason exists, in both cases, for this proceeding. They not being expressly named in it. It is probBut the King is entitled to priority of payment, able the subject was not investigated at that time. which is a part of his prerogative, and founded However that may be, for the reasons before staon the preference due to the public treasury be-ted, I cannot concur in opinion with the learned fore any private interest; yet to discharge a debt- judge. or from jail, who has no sort of property, cannot I beg leave to refer the committee to a report of interfere with this prerogative. In such a case the Aitorney General on Mackey's petition to there can be no priority in payment, because there I Congress, in the Winter of 1796, which suggested

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