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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,
· 6,498,199 11
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, $784,000 ; 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., .
$610,000 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 batıle 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
to build, repair and sail this fleet. Thus seventeen hundred merchant ships, even if every one clears $4000 per annum, must be employed every year to earn the annual expenses of our navy!
We have about 1,000,000 tons of shipping engaged in the foreign trade, which is two thousand ships, averaging five hundred tons each. The cost of this shipping is $60 per ton. The actual value of our mercantile marine is about $40 per ton, taking them together, new and old. This would make the value of our shipping to be forty millions of dollars, about five times the annual cost of our navy. Our navigation, therefore, must earn every year, or benefit the couutry, 20 per cent. of its value, to pay for its protection by our navy. The ship owner does not, upon an average, one year with another, earn five per cent, beside the interest on the capital employed. This estimate-5 per cent.—would give two millions as the profit to the owners. The captains, officers and American seamen engaged in foreign trade, do not receive over three millions in wages. The increased value of American ship building materials, (principally timber, for the iron, copper, hemp and canvass are mostly imported,) on account of the construction of ships, does not exceed one and a half millions. The labor paid in ship building, is about one million dollars. Altogether seven and a half millions are the national profit of our navigation, or about the cost of the navy. But, if you please, double this estimate of the profit of our navigation; prove, if you can, that I undervalue the benefit of our commercial marine, and that I overvalue the cost of the fighting ships, still it settles nothing in favor of the navy, for the navy is not of the least practical advantage to the navigation. There are nations now enjoying a profitable navigation, who have not a single vessel of war; and who are sailing their ships so cheaply, as to interfere most seriously with the employment of our ships by our
In time of peace, all the protection for merchant ships, which will be claimed as necessary, is protection against pirates. Now, seventy-fours and frigates never catch pirates, certainly not as many as they educate to the business; for it is universally admitted, that pirates are made by men living among death-dealing instruments, by their being trained to the use of the weapons of war. If we must have a defence against pirates, it should be small vessels always in commission, not ships of the line, or frigates, swinging idly at their moorings, or making their passages across the ocean. Who, in his senses, would employ our large ships to catch pirates ?
In peace, the huge, clumsy floating batteries carry abroad in state some minister plenipotentiary, or sail to exercise the crew, or to try their comparative speed; a most idle, wanton expenditure of money. In war there is no navigation to be protected; vessels of neutral nations then make the profit, they do the business; the vessels of belligerents rot quietly at the wharves. It is not, then, either for our commerce or our navigation that we need the navy.
The use of the armed force in war is for two purposes--to pro
tect our own country, and to annoy and distress the enemy:
Let us see which function our navy discharges, if it discharge either.
The navy is no protection to our hoines, to our firesides, to our country, in war. For this we rely on the army, the militia, the forts and military posts. Anchored in our harbors, our seventyfours, compared with the land battery, are very inefficient; and, surely, sailing over the ocean, they do not defend the country. The whole navy of Great Britain could not defend us, or prevent an enemy from landing on some part of our extended coast. What could our fifty ships do in this service ? Military men themselves never depend on ships of war for the defence of the country which employs them. On the other hand, the navy cannot seriously annoy the enemy on the ocean. Privateers, who pay then selves by their plunder, are the most efficient means of annoyance. In this kind of glory, our navy would not share to any extent; theirs is the glory, not of stealing, but of slaughter without any profit or advantage whatever from the slaughter.
In war, our ships are but slaughter-houses for American seamen. Those not blockaded, would sail on the ocean singly,—that is said to be the best arrangement,-flying from the stronger, and chasing the weaker enemy. Now and then, some of them would catch a fight—a hard fight-gun for gun-man for man—and the issue about as many killed on their decks as on the decks of the enemy. In the name of God, our common Father, I ask, why drag out our seamen thus to be killed, in killing others ? Grant a successful termination to the fight, aye, to the whole naval war; let every ship of our navy capture or sink an enemy's ship; let each seventyfour kill five hundred men, and every frigate, two hundred men, and every sloop, one hundred men, would this loss so humble Great Britain, as to make her down upon her knees, and beg for peace? Great Britain could lose more ships than we could possibly fight with in a five years' war, and very calmly go about building others. Queen Victoria's throne would not be overturned. If we were to lose the same comparative number of our fighting ships, as we could in a most successful ocean wâr conquer of hers, it would not severely distress us; we could bear this; she could bear this. It would not alarm either, or tend to bring about a peace.
The fighting on the ocean is aimless and objectless; we can in no event seriously injure the enemy, and most probably the extent of the injury done, would be about the amount of the injury that we suffered in doing it.
It may be said, that we have forgotten the glory of this warfare, the wreath of laurels that would entwine the brows of more than a dozen captains. It is most true that we have overlooked it; and generosity should compel us to allow this glory, for this is all that our fighting ships ever possibly achieve. Let us then admit GLORY frankly and freely. How to estimate it, is the difficulty. A captain has battered and sunk an enemy's frigate, and his own frigate is only half torn to pieces. He has killed one hundred and ten Englishmen, and has wounded fifty-eight more, while only fifty
five of his own crew have been slaughtered outright, and only twenty-nine more are in the cock-pit, maimed and mutilated, some slowly dying of their wounds, some writhing in agony under the surgeon's knife. The ocean is reddened a little more by the lifeblood of Englishmen than by the life-blood of Americans. Most glorious! for this, gallant sir! for this you sail on the ocean—for glory—your proudest achievement is the killing of more of the enemy than you cause to be slaughtered of your own crew, upon your own decks!
Imagine that between this country and some other country, lay a broad tract of land, a sandy desert, uninhabited, useful only as the passage ground between the nations. A war is declared. We send out some fifty wagons, armed with swivels and muskets. The enemy sends out his wagons too. These wagons meet occasionally, and fight, and attempt to destroy each other; a species of guerilla warfare is kept up. About as many are killed in the wagons of one country as in those of the other. What matter who succeeds, who has the little victory? Tears of the bereaved fall, the wail of orphans goes up to God, and there is sorrow in both the countries at every encounter; but, however sanguinary this guerilla warfare, whatever be the number killed on either side, or how many wagons destroyed, it has no effect whatever seriously to injure or benefit either nation, or induce either to sue for peace. Such is naval warfare, most glorious and chivalric!
There is one apology for a navy, which can hardly fail to create a smile. It was once said, that a navy was necessary, if our nation were in this predicament—if it had declared war, and a nation against whom it issued the proclamation of war, did not choose to attack us, how could we fight without a navy to go in quest of a foe!
Reader, are you a Christian, and can you support an establishment, the only function of which is useless carnage, offensive war? We do not now say to you, that you should not call out the army, or build forts for your protection. You may not be prepared to carry out in full the principle of “overcoming evil with good ;" but, if you claim the name of Christian, how can you support a navy useless in peace, and which in war carries on the work of death without the poor apology or excuse that the bloodshed is useful to you? In the name of common sense, give up useless murder. “Do not make unnecessary slaughter. Defend your country, if you will; but remember that your trade and commerce with other countries are not worth fighting for; that even were they worth fighting for, you annihilate trade and commerce by the very declaration of war.
Unpopular as this view may appear to some, depend upon it, the time is rapidly approaching when fighting will be deemed disgraceful to a civilized people. In saying this, we cast no reflection upon the officers of the navy, or upon its friends. Their education and habits of life cause them to look upon this service in a false light. When the true light comes to their minds, they will be ready to abandon the navy at once. “ Onward,” is the watchword of every heroic soul.
A SEA-Fight.-Can the friends of the navy, as Christians, or as men possessing the usual kindly feelings of our nature, read the following description by an eye-witness, and not pray for our success in overthrowing a navy, the only function of which is useless carnage? The veteran officers, they who have seen service of this kind, will bid us God speed in our efforts to make an end of such unnecessary slaughter.
“ As the approaching ship,” says Leech, then a boy on board a British man-of-war, "showed American colors, we all felt we must fight her, and made every possible arrangement for success. The firing commenced. The roaring of cannon could now be heard from all parts of our trembling ship, and mingling with that of our foes, it made a most hideous noise. By-and-by I heard the shot strike the sides of our ship; the whole scene grew indescribably confused and'horrible; it was like some awfully tremendous thunder-storm, carrying death in every flash, and strewing the ground with its victims; only in our case the scene was rendered more horrible by the torrents of blood on our decks.
The cries of the wounded now rang through all parts of the ship. These were carried to the cockpit as fast as they fell, while those more fortunate men who were killed outright, were immediately thrown overboard. A man had one of his hands cut off by a shot, and almost at the same moment he received another shot, which tore open his bowels in a terrible manner. As he fell, two or three men took him, and, as he could not live, threw him overboard. The battle went on. Our men kept cheering with all their might. I cheered with them, though I confess I scarcely knew for what. Certainly, there was nothing very inspiriting in the aspect of things where I was stationed. So terrible had been the work of destruction round us, it was termed the slaughter-house. Not only had we had several boys and men killed and wounded, but several of the guns were disabled. The schoolmaster received a death wound. The brave boatswain, who came from the sick bed to the din of battle, was fastening a stopper on a back-stay which had been shot away, when his head was smashed to pieces by a cannon-ball; another man, going to complete the unfinished task, was also struck down. The ward-room steward was killed. A fellow named John, was carried past me, wounded; and I distinctly heard the large blood-drops fall pat, pat, on the deck; his wounds were mortal. Such was the terrible scene, amid which we kept on shouting and firing. Our men fought like tigers. Some of them pulled off their jackets, others their jackets and vests; while some, with nothing but a handkerchief tied round the waistbands of their trowsers, fought like heroes.
We all appeared cheerful; but I know that many a serious thought ran through my mind. I thought a great deal of the other world; every groan, every falling man, told me that the next instant I might be before the Judge of all the earth. For this I felt unprepared; but being without any particular knowledge of religious truth, I satisfied myself by repeating again and again the Lord's