Imagens das páginas

United States they are signed by the President and sealed with the great seal. Without such commission, thus signed and sealed, any capture made by the commander of a private vessel would be piracy. If a capture is made, it must be made according to the laws of war, as recognized by civilized nations, and according to the instructions given by the President. Any conduct on the part of a privateer, contrary to these rules, would vitiate his proceedings, and he would not be entitled to the property he had captured.

3. The captured vessel is called a prize, and must be taken into some port of the United States, or into some port of a country in amity with the United States, where legal proceedings are taken before some court of competent jurisdiction;. and the capture and all the circumstances of it inquired into; and if all is found to have been done according to the laws of civilized nations, the captured vessel and cargo is condemned: as a prize. But if not condemned, the captors lose her. When. adjudged to be a lawful prize, the ship and cargo are sold, and the money is divided between the officers and men, according to rank, and according to the laws of Congress on this subject. These laws give the whole to the captors, when the ship taken is of equal or superior force to the ship making the capture;. but if of inferior force, then the United States takes one-half. 4. Privateering, as this business is called, was once considered a lawful and honorable mode of warfare. It was generally practiced between belligerent nations; but in later days its propriety and morality have been questioned. It is beginning to be looked upon as a kind of robbery not very distantly related to piracy. That it is robbery no one can deny, and,. query, "Can it be justified on the ground that the robber and the robbed are the subjects of nations at war with each other?” 5. In Europe an effort has been made to do away with this. species of warfare. We hope it will yet succeed, and that all nations will agree to abolish this system of plunder. Innocent parties are generally the sufferers, while but small injury is. done to the power of the hostile nation.



1. These institutions are still more important for sailors than for soldiers; as the sailor is more likely to have lost his adaptation to any kind of business on land, and to lose sight of family relations by reason of his long absences to foreign regions. The government very early took this subject in hand and made ample, and extremely comfortable, provision for disabled seamen belonging to its navy.

2. In 1811 an act was passed to establish navy hospitals, for the exclusive use of such seamen as belonged to the navy. This new institution was at first placed under the management of a board of commissioners known as the commissioners of navy hospitals. This commission consisted of the Secretaries of the Navy, Treasury, and War. But in 1832 this was changed, and the Secretary of the Navy was made sole trustee of the navy hospital fund, which was made up of $50,000 appropriated by Congress for that purpose, together with twenty cents per month collected from seamen belonging to the navy, and the fines imposed on navy officers, seamen, and marines.

The commissioners were authorized to purchase or erect suitable buildings for navy hospitals.


3. These are located near important seaports. At these places seamen depart for, and arrive from their voyages, and are found in the greatest numbers; and here the funds for the support of the marine hospitals are collected, as is the tonnage on ships, viz.: by the collectors of the ports. For this purpose the law authorizes the collectors of customs to demand and receive the sum of twenty cents per month from the wages of every sailor; and every master of a vessel is obliged to render to the collector an accurate account of the number of seamen

on board his vessel, and of the time they have been employed by him, since his last entry into any port of the United States. These twenty cents the captain must pay the collector, but he is allowed to deduct it from each seaman's wages. In this manner the funds for the building, furnishing, and support of the marine hospitals are raised. The collectors of the ports pay them into the United States Treasury, and the Treasurer disburses them to the directors of the hospitals as they are needed. The directors are appointed by the President. They appropriate the funds, and have the general direction and management of the institutions.

4. These provisions are contained in an act entitled, “An act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen," passed in 1798. Seamen, whether in the merchant service or in the naval service of the United States, were indiscriminately taxed for the support of these hospitals; and both have the same rights, privileges and benefits in them. The money thus collected from seamen is called "hospital money," and the fund is denominated "the marine hospital fund." In 1864 there were 24 marine hospitals in the United States.



1. At the first general census, in 1790, there were but little over three millions and a half of inhabitants in the United States. and these mostly settled along the Atlantic seaboard; the country was oppressed with debt, and not recovered from the effects of a desolating war. Its public business, therefore, was comparatively small in amount, and was readily managed by the three Departments, of State, of the Treasury, and of War. The energy of the people, and the great resources at their command, enabled them to surmount all their difficulties

in a short time, and the country entered on a career of remark. able prosperity. Its public business kept pace with the general expansion, and new departments were from time to time created, to improve the efficiency of the public service.

2. In 1849 Congress passed a law creating the Department of the Interior, and a Secretary of the Interior, having a seat in the Cabinet, appointed in the same manner, and possessing the same rank, as the other members of the Cabinet, was installed in office.

3. The bureau of the Commissioner of Patents was transferred from the Department of State, and the General Land Office from that of the Treasury.

The supervisory power beofore exercised by the Secretary of the Treasury over the accounts of the marshals, clerks, and other officers of all the courts of the United States, was placed in the hands of the new Secretary. The office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, heretofore attached to the War Department, was also transferred to this; and the powers and duties of the Secretary of War, in relation to Indian affairs, were devolved on the Secretary of the Interior.

4. The Secretaries of War and of the Navy were by the same act relieved of their duties in regard to the Commissioner of Pensions, and those duties were thereafter to be performed by the Secretary of the new department.

The Census Bureau, heretofore attached to the State Department, and the duties of the Secretary of State in relation thereto, were also transferred to this department.

To the Secretary was also given the supervisory power over the lead and other mines belonging to the United States, heretofore executed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The powers of the President over the Commissioners of Public Buildings were also transferred to him.

5. He was also charged with the control over the Board of Inspectors and Warden of the Penitentiary of the District of Columbia.

The Secretary of the Interior has the sante power in appoint

ing and removing clerks and other subordinates in his department, that the Secretaries of the other departments had over these several bureaus before they were transferred to this department.

This office has a seal, which must be affixed to the commissions of all its subordinate officers.

The President and Senate appoint the Assistant Secretaries. From the foregoing it is easy to understand what branches of the public service are conducted in this office, and what are the duties of its Secretary.

6. The following is a list of all who have filled the office of Secretary of the Interior since the establishment of the department:


Ewing, Ohio, March 7, 1849.

T. M. T. McKennan, Pa., 1850.

Alexander H. H. Stuart, Va., Sept. 12, 1850.

Robert McClelland, Mich., March 5, 1853.

Jacob Thompson, Miss., March 6, 1857.

Caleb B. Smith, Ind., March 5, 1861.

John P. Usher, Ind., Jan. 7, 1863.

James Harlan, Iowa, 1865.

Orville H. Browning, Ill., 1866.

Jacob D. Cox, Ohio, March 5, 1869.

Columbus Delano, Ohio, Nov. 1, 1870.
reappointed March 17, 1878.



Z. Chandler, Mich., Sept. 30, 1875.

Carl Schurz, Mo., March 10, 1877.


« AnteriorContinuar »