« PreviousContinue »
without the drilling of a single muster. Assume, if you please, the necessity of armed preparation, and the expediency of an organized militia, I still say that the drills are superfluous, and that a simple enrolment, as for the jury-box, would be amply sufficient. The best officers in the militia confess, that such exercises are almost useless as a preparation for actual warfare; and so ineffectual did they prove in our last war, the only fair test to which they have ever been put, that raw recruits were generally preferred to the best drilled militia. If ever so serviceable, however, ought we to waste so much money, time and moral character in preparing for a danger that will not occur once in thirty years, and might even then be met quite as well by other means?
• But would you have no means of defence against war?'-I must own I can see little need of such means; there has been no occasion for them the last thirty years; nor is there any in immediate or remote prospect. Why then squander so much in preparations to avert an evil so unlikely to occur? Why drill nearly two millions of men half a dozen times every year, just to fight against the merest bugbear? There is not the slightest probability, that any nation will either dare or wish to invade us; and why take such infinite pains to guard against an emergency that will never occur? Should it occur, it might be met just as well without drills, by a simple enrolment of the men liable to military service; and thus should we secure all the alleged advantages of our miliita system, without the evils incident to its periodical trainings.
If you insist on the necessity of having the militia as an armed police, I reply, that, as peace-men, we have nothing to do with this question. Aiming solely to abolish international war, we do not interfere with the internal operations of government, but leave it to restrain or punish its own subjects in whatever way it pleases. It may err; but the peace movement was not started to correct such errors. If the militia were necessary as a police force, it does by no means follow, that we must have its expensive, ridiculous, demoralizing drills. We can uphold government, enforce law, and suppress riots, mobs and insurrections quite as well without as with them. In such emergencies, could we rely on the militia ? When Boston in 1837 was threatened with a mob, some one proposed to call out the militia ; but who and where were they? He looked around him, and saw them in the very mob they were wanted to suppress. So the government of Rhode Island, when assailed in 1812, was obliged in some cases to disband the existing militia, and form new companies of men rightly disposed, because some of the old companies had gone over in a body to the insurgents; and, should a mobocratic or rebellious spirit seize the mass of our people, our militia system would just furnish them with the means of accomplishing their purpose, and thus leave our rulers entirely at their mercy.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.“
UNITED STATES NAVY.
WHAT IS ITS USE?
BY SAMUEL E. COUES.
I ASK of judicious and practical men the following questions What is the advantage of a Navy? What is its function in peace ? What does it accomplish in war? In plain words, what is the use of the Navy ?
A few years since, it was taken for granted, that a navy was absolutely necessary. This was the established public opinion; no one questioned the utility of our ships of war. Fighting vessels were deemed as important as colleges or schools. But the times have changed; and the question is now boldly and openly asked, all over New England, more or less through the land, what is the use of the navy ? It is asked, not only by ultra peace-men who set themselves against all wars, offensive and defensive, but by those who still hold to the opinion, that at times war is unavoidable. There are very many who can see no benefit from the navy in time of peace, and who regard fighting ships as the means of useless slaughter in times of war.
A very common apology for the expenditure upon our navy, by those who take a limited
view of the subject, is, that the money is not wasted, because it supports mechanics, artisans, seamen and officers, giving to them their means of living. It is true, that it thus affords to many their support. The navy is popular among those towards whom the money flows out in golden streams. For instance, the navy pays annually to about sixty men, as captains, a quarter of a million of dollars. The building, and repairing, and sailing of one ship of the line, disburse one million of dollars. There are many who desire thus to live out of the public. Since the accession of Mr. Polk, in the short space of three or four months, there have been several thousand applicants for midshipmen's warrants. For one vacant office, that of second lieutenant of marines, we were told there were over twelve hundred applicants ! But we ask, who pays the money for the navy? It comes from the pockets of those who have earned it, to go to those who spend it. It is a mere transfer from hand to hand. The nation does not gain. The nation, in fact, loses when it supports men who do nothing for the common good.
The next answer to our question,-and it is the answer most relied upon,-ís, a navy is needed for the protection of commerce,
mining of merchandize, the circulation
mrenenrer and luxuries of life. It
er surplus goods of our own.
The annual expenditure for our navy for the last few years has been, 1838,
$6,131,580 53 1839,
6,182,294 25 1840,
6,113,896 89 1841,
6,001,076 97 1842,
8,397,242 95 First 6 months of 1843,
3,727,711 53 From 1st July, 1843, to 30th June, 1844,
43,052,002 23 Add the expense of the Navy Department,
350,000 00 And we have
$43,402,002 23 A sum much larger than the profits of our navigation for the same period of time, as every ship owner will readily admit.
From official reports, we learn that the expenditures, including the first cost, repairs and armament, for the ship of the line Delaware, is $1,051,000; for the Columbus, $674,000 ; for the Pennsylvania, $781,000 ; for the Ohio, $843,000 ; for the N. Carolina, $812,000. The average cost of a line of battle ship is
$830,000 One year in service, wages, provisions, &c.,
220,000 Ship's proportion of navy yard, &c.,
$1,100,000 The expenditure has been, for the frigate Potomac, $527,000 ; for the Macedonian, $269,000 ; for the Brandywine, $699,000; for the Columbia, $398,000. Average expenditure for a frigate,
$475,000 One year in use,
110,000 Navy yards, &c.
$610,00C For the sloop of war Warren, $267,000; Vincennes, $300,000 Falmouth, $335,000 ; Adams, $275,000. Average expenditure for a sloop of war,
$315,000 One year in service,
50,000 Navy yards, &c.,
$375,000 The average expense of each gun thus carried, as we say, uselessly over the ocean, for one year, amounts to about $15,000. Now, admitting the profit of an American ship to be four thousand dollars per annum,-and this rate of profit would cover the ocean with ships,-it will take the year's earnings of one hundred ships to pay the expenditure necessary to have a sloop of war, and to use her for one year; one hundred and fifty ships for a frigate; and nearly three hundred ships for a line of battle ship; i.e. a little fleet of a seventy-four, a frigate and sloop, requires five hundred and fifty ships to do a profitable business, to earn enough in a year
Commerce is the interchange of merchandize, the circulation throughout the world of the conveniences and luxuries of life. It supplies the United States with the productions of other countries, and furnishes other countries with the surplus goods of our own. We do not underrate the value of commerce. It builds up our cities. It supplies many wants. It accumulates capital, and stimulates the productive industry of our citizens.
But our country could have all this profitable commerce, without owning a single ton of shipping, without one sail on the ocean bearing the stars and stripes. Foreign vessels would carry on our freighting as well, as cheaply, as our own, and do their own fighting, if fighting were necessary to protect them. The carrying trade is a distinct branch of business. The owning of ships has no necessary connection with commerce, more than carting or wagoning has with the merchant's purchases and sales.
Already nearly half of the merchandize imported into, and exported from, the United States, is carried by foreign vessels. In 1843, the proportion of foreign tonnage employed by our commerce to American tonnage, was as 500,000 to 1,200,000 tons. In 1845, in four of our cotton ports, there were, at one time, 150 foreign ships to 300 American; the tonnage of the foreign ships, being larger vessels, almost equalled the tonnage of the American. Of all the foreign arrivals at Boston in the year 1844, half (though small vessels generally) were British vessels; and at other eastern ports existed the same state of things. The ships of northern Europe have the bulk of the exports from New York to that part of Europe. The tobacco of Virginia, the coffee of Cuba, the oil of our whale ships, go usually on board of these vessels; and foreign vessels have been chartered or employed by our own merchants for their East India voyages.
If we had not a single ship, we could receive or send away all the goods which, in the prosecution of commercial business, are required to be received or to be sent away. This, too, at fair prices of freight; for so rapid can be made the increase of ships, that goods will always be freighted at the lowest possible price, and, as experience thus far has manifested, at lower prices in foreign vessels than in the vessels of the United States. From this cause, we are now rapidly losing the employment of our ships; they are not able to encounter the foreign competition. We certainly, therefore, need no navy for the protection of commerce.*
It will, however, be said, that if the navy is not needed, for the protection of our commerce, it is for the protection of our navigation; that having merchant ships afloat, they require the navy. Let us compare the cost of the navy with the profits of the navigation interest which it is said to protect.
* We are informed that a foreign ship brought goods from China to New York at $7 per ion freight, the average price in American ships being over $20 per ton.