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CONSIDERATIONS

ON AN

EFFICIENT NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT.

THE late gallant exploits of the American seamen have brought the subject of an efficient naval establish. ment, for the defence of the sea-coast and commerce of the United States, before the public, in a very interesting point of view. They have demonstrated that the genius of the nation, in cases of warfare, inclines particularly to maritime operations, and that, should the country remain long at war, an efficient naval establishment will be formed, notwithstanding all the efforts of England to crush it in its infancy, or the erroneous prejudices, and false economy, which have set a portion of the people of the United States in opposition to such institutions.

On turning our attention to the subject of the United States' Navy, these questions naturally arise in our minds Is an efficient naval establishment necessary for the United States ?-Does it possess the means of forming and supporting one ?- What naval system would answer best for the United States ?

It will first be necessary to fix a determinate idea to the words, efficient naval force. If this force be merely destined for the defence of the sea-coast of the United States, it should be equal to any force the enemy could permanently keep on the coast. Let us examine the strength of the force England can, under various cir.' cumstances, send to our coasts. The British navy consists of nearly 1000 vessels of every description. Previous to the present war with the United States, she had at sea 115 sail of the line ; in port and fitting out, 32;

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4 guard ships of the line; hospital ships, &c. 31; in ordinary and repairing, 70; building, 31;-making together, 283 of the line.

By this statement we perceive, that notwithstanding the English were at war with a nation that was making every exertion to form a naval establishment equal to her own, she had not one half of her ships of the line at sea.

Let us now examine the probable amount of force the English government could, while at war with France, keep on the coast of the United States. At the commencement of the year 1813, six months after the declaration of war, there were only 8 sail of the line on the whole American station, including Halifax, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Western Islands, and West Indies. Subsequently it was resolved to send 20 additional sail of the line to the American station. We may, therefore, reasonably conclude, that, while the English government is at war with France, she could not keep more than 30 ships of the line on the American station ; nor could she, possibly, keep more than the two-thirds of these, on the coasts of the United States.

Now, as a ship of the line is in itself a force superior to any frigate, or perhaps any number of fiigates that could attack it, we must conclude, that a nation with a naval establishment, however large, consisting only of frigates, would not be efficient against one having ships of the line ; and that the latter, in proportion to her strength in vessels of this description, could blockade the ports of the former. The English government, therefore, with this force on our coast, could, while our naval establishment consists only of frigates, permanently blockade from ten to twenty ports, harbours, or bays. If the American governmeut possessed four sail of the line, then prudence would require all the English blockading squadrons to consist of at least an equal number, and not more than four or five places could be blockaded. If the United States possessed eight vessels of the line, not more than two places could be blockaded; if they possessed twelve, not more than one; and if they possessed from twenty to thirty sail of the line, they could effectually protect the coast against any naval force the English government, while at war with France, could keep on it. Therefore, from twenty to thirty sail of the line would be a sufficient naval establishiment under existing circumstances.

Supposing England were at peace with every other government but the United States, she could not well keep more than 100 ships of the line on the American station; and of these she could not permanently maintain more than 60 on the coasts of the United States. So that then, if the United States possessed no vessel of the line, she could blockade from 30 to 60 places. If the United States were in possession of 4 ships of the line, she could not prudently blockade more than 15 plaçes; if they possessed between 20 and 30, she could not blockade more than 2 or 3 places ; if they possessed from 60 to 100, they could effectually protect the coast against any naval force England could keep on it. Therefore, from 60 to 100 sait of the line might be considered as an efficient naval establishment, fully to protect the coasts of the United States against every exertion of the British navy, provided England were at peace with every

other nation but the United States. Is an efficient naval establishment necessary for the United States ? That is, is it necessary to protect 100,000 seamen from insult, impressment into foreign service, and oppression of every kind? Is it necessary to protect property to the amount of $200,000,000, annually imported and exported, from seizure by foreign powers, under arbitrary rules, orders, &c.? Is it necessary to protect shipping to the amount of 1:350,281 tons? Is it necessary to protect the sea-coast of the United States, and the numerous commercial towns scattered along it?

Do the United States possess the means of forming and supporting a navy? The requisites for a navy are ships. seamen, and money. The United States certainly possess every material requisite for the construction of vessels of war. In no country are there more extensive forests, producing every sort of timber proper for shipbuilding: nor is there any, where every other material, used in constructing and equipping vessels, is produced in such abundance. A great number of the most skilful shipwrights and mechanics connected with them, fully adequate for all naval purposes, are dispersed along the sea-coast.

There are 100,000 registered seamen in the United States. As the great object of the United States gove ernment is defence, and not conquest, any naval force it may possess, will, in all probability, never exceed 25 sail of the line, 25 frigates, and 25 sloops of war. The number of men required to man these vessels, will be 31,500, allowing very full complements for each vessel. The able seamen required for these vessels, and included in the above number of men, could not exceed 13,000, or about one-sixth of the able seamen belonging to the United States. These, by proper management, might be readily obtained.

The expense of building and equipping 25 sail of the line, 25 frigates, and 25 sloops of war, would amount to 15 millions of dollars. Their annual expense in service would amount to about 9 millions. The duties un im. ported merchandize alone amount to from 10 to 20 millions of dollars. And even in time of war, provided our coasts were properly protected, a revenue of about 20 millions of dollars might be raised in this way. Now the interest of $15,000,000 would be $900,000; this, added to the annual expense of an efficient navy, under present circumstances, would be $9,900,000 which is about half the revenue that might be raised from commerce alone.

What naval system would answer best for the United States? The naval establishment of the United States should consist of the navy, several large corps of marines, and a naval school or schools. It ought to be the policy of the United States government, to increase her navy in á gradual and permanent manner.

For this purpose, one-third of the revenue arising from commerce, might be appropriated. Two-thirds of this sum to be permanently employed in building, equipping and repairing an equal number of vessels of the line, frigates, and sloops of war, and in defraying the contingent expences of the navy yards, &c. The other third to be permanently appropriated to maintain a regular establishment of naval officers and seamen.

Supposing the revenue arising from commerce to amount to 18 millions of dollars to which, even in the present state of affairs, it might be made to amounts provided government were possessed of an efficient force

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