Imagens das páginas

May 12, 1836.]



or could ever sit down before them on the land side, and besiege them regularly, according to the European custom. The principles of this report would not only reduce the number of our fortifications, but their size, and consequently the expense of their construction. This, with him, was an important object, as he should never be willing to involve the country in unnecessary expenditures, merely because we had a large surplus in the Treasury. What, then, did the present bill, as it had been amended, propose? Simply to appropriate money for the erection of those fortifications which had been specially recommended by the Secretary of War as necessary for the defence of our commercial cities. Was there a single Senator who did not admit that it was necessary to erect fortifications at the proposed points? He believed we were unanimous upon this subject. Then what was the question? It was one merely of time. Shall we appropriate the money this year, or wait until the next? For his part, he was ready and willing to concur in what he understood to have been distinctly recommended by the Secretary, and make the appropriations at once. It was true that he had also suggested the propriety of establishing a board of engineers for the purpose of making further surveys and examinations before any of the works should be commenced, and had asked an appropriation for this purpose. But why should we delay making the appropriations for the construction of the works until this was done? Several of these fortifications had been already surveyed; and, in regard to these, all that was necessary, before commencing their construction, was to reduce their dimensions to the standard of the report. As soon as this was done, they might be commenced immediately. At an early period of the session, we had resolved unanimously in favor of making all necessary appropriations for the defence of the country. The Treasury was now full; and he could perceive no good reason for postponing until the next year what we might as well, and better, do at the present session. Let us place the money at the disposition of the Department, and let the fortifications be commenced as soon as the Preliminary surveys could be completed. Mr. EWING concurred with the Senator from Pennsylvania as to the general import of the report of the Secretary of War; and also concurred with him in the opinion that it was a very able state paper. He further agreed with the Senator from Pennsylvania, that the question as to the construction of these fortifications was the proper time for commencing them. Now, from all he could gather from the report of the secretary, it appeared that there would be no advantage to be obtained by commencing these works at this time; and that it would be a departure from the well-established policy of this Government to go on with them before making the necessary surveys and estimates. It would appear from the Secretary’s report that there were certain works which did not need examination; but, on turning to another page, it would be seen that the secretary says that a re-examination should be made in every case, “in order to apply these principles.” The secretary told them that the whole plan was originally deficient, though well adapted to the situation of the country at the time; but that it was now inefficient, and ought to be changed. Mr. E. continued his objections to making appropriations for new works before the necessary sur. veys and estimates were made, and contended that they ought to wait for the result of the examinations of this board of officers to be appointed on the recommendation of the Secretary of War. If this bill should now be passed, it would take some time to get it through the other House. The bill to increase the corps of engineers must also be passed by that body; and it would take some time to get them together and instruct them;

and, therefore, under all these unavoidable delays, no use could be made of the appropriations this season. It appeared to him that these appropriations at this time would only have the effect of changing the deposites of the public moneys in the deposite banks from the name

of the United States to the names of the disbursing offi

cers. It would be nothing more; for the money must remain in these banks without a possibility of using it. Mr. PRESTON said that laborers had by this time probably made their arrangements for employment during the season, and no doubt great inconvenience would arise in procuring them; and if procured, it would be at an increased expense. There were two fortification bills: one emanating from the Military Committee, desig. nating the points of location; and the other from the Committee on Finance, making the necessary appropriations. Heretofore the practice had been for the other House to originate these bills; and the fault of the delay was not properly the fault of the Senate, but of the House of Representatives. The Senate now went into the consideration of one branch of this subject, while they were left in the dark in regard to the other. The Military Committee, at the commencement of the session, found us under peculiar circumstances. We were then threatened with a war, and, fearing the House might not get a bill up in time to meet the emergency, had brought this bill forward; but now matters were changed. The temper and judgment which characterized the report of the Secretary of War was such, that he was much disposed to acquiesce in its recommendations, and he very much distrusted his own judgment when differing from him in this matter. He differed from the Senator from Ohio [Mr. Ewing] in regard to the construction he had put upon the report; and the President concurred in opinion with the Secretary of War against the opinion of the engineers. There were certain fortifications which had been excepted by the Secretary of War in his report, who had suggested the prosecution of them under the peculiar circumstances with which they were identified, and had therefore acquiesced in the prosecution of some of the fortifications, while he rejected others. He could not tell how far the principles laid down by the Secretary would be retained in the provisions of this bill; but he inferred that the general purpose of the Secretary was, that Congress should examine this matter with full deliberation; and the general conclusion was, that the principles laid down by him should be deliberately applied to all these works. He had come to the conclusion that the Secretary believed those works which he had designated might be carried on under the direction of the Government on certain contingencies, and that future changes might be made which would require a corresponding change of plans to meet them. In regard to many of these works, plans of them had been frequently approved, and the estimates of the necessary labor stood a matter of record for the last twelve or fifteen years. Most of those of the first class had been completed; and the present bill proposed to carry into completion those of the second class, and part of those of the third class. Penobscot and Kennebec were of the third class, and also the fortification at Provincetown, at Cape Cod. He believed Provincetown ought to have been of the first class, as it was of primary importance; but the Secretary of War had differed from this classification; and the President, looking directly to the question, had decided with the Department, and differed from the bureau. The idea of defending the coast by steam was not new, but was as old as 1816, although a new and more powerful application of it had been invented. The springing up of new towns and cities, the development of new energies, and the rapid improvement of the country, had already produced a change in SENATE.]


[MAY 12, 1836:

the state of things different from what existed when the original plan of fortifications was adopted. Mr. P. went into an inquiry as to the length of time that would be required to put up these buildings. The Secretary of War, he said, had recommended that a general appropriation be made, so that as soon as works were found to be necessary at any given point, they should be commenced, with a view to a gradual completion; and the chairman of the Military Committee [Mr. Benton] had moved, in pursuance of those recommendations, to change the appropriations to Penobscot from $101,000, to be expended in one year, to $150,000, to be expended in two years, and the appropriation to be divided into $75,000, to be expended in each year. It was proposed to commence from the stump, and finish that work in eighteen months. Heretofore, it had been the practice of Congress, in undertaking a series of works, to adopt the mode of appropriating a yearly amount at every session, by which the subject annually passed the ordeal of examination by a committee. This pledge to make these appropriations for a series of years was different from an appropriation for the fiscal year; and he would prefer that so much for 1836, and so much for 1837, should be particularly specified; and when they had acted on this amendment, he would offer some suggestions in relation to the proposed fortifications at Kennebec. Mr. NAUDAIN moved to amend the amendment by striking out the $75,000 for the year 1837, leaving the $75,000 for the year 1836. Mr. N. then observed that the reasons which induced him to make this motion were drawn from the report of the Secretary of War, which recommended that surveys should be made before commencing any new works. He believed, also, that one half of the appropriation would be sufficient to keep the workmen in employment for the remainder of this year, and until the middle of the next. For one, he was opposed to making appropriations for so long a time in advance. Mr. SHEPLEY showed that different reports and examinations had been made in regard to the fortifications at Penobscot bay. That the Department could never make contracts beyond the appropriation, was a regulation well understood. It was judged this fortification would cost $150,000, and had been increased to that sum from $101,000. He went into a calculation of the cost, whether it should be constructed of brick or stone, to show the disadvantage and want of economy in making limited or partial contracts, which would be unavoidable, in case the appropriation for the second year should be cut off. Mr. NILES said it was not his intention to have taken any part in the debate on this bill previous to the discussion of yesterday; and so little attention had he given to the subject, that he was scarcely aware of the fact that one of the forts authorized to be constructed was to be in the State he had the honor in part to represent. That fact, with some other considerations not necessary to be disclosed, had induced him to present his views on this subject. The objection we had just heard from the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. CALhou N,) that the appropriations for the new forts were in a separate bill, and that the entire appropriations for fortifications ought to be embraced in one bill, and originate in the House of Representatives, he thought had no force in it; for it appeared to him more proper that the new fortifications should be presented in a separate bill, and be subject to a distinct consideration. The bill in the House is the ordinary appropriation bill for fortifications, and only provides for continuing the works now under construction; it can involve no new principle, and no question of general interest. The ordinary annual appropriations will of course be made, and he supposed the sums

would be enlarged this year in consequence of the failure of the fortification bill last session, and there having been no appropriations for completing the fortifications last year. The bill now before the Senate, providing for the erection of new forts, presents a different question, which ought not to be blended with that of the ordinary annual appropriations for fortifications. The question is, whether Congress will enlarge and extend the system of fortifications. As to the precise extent and comprehensiveness of the plan which it may be advisable to adopt, or which the security of the country requires, that is not now to be decided, except so far as the present bill may involve that inquiry. This bill authorizes the erection of twelve new forts, and appropriates one million three hundred thousand dollars for the purchase of sites and the construction of works the present year. For one of these forts there is an appropriation of only twelve thousand dollars; and as that is so small a work, it may be thrown out of the question, and the number of works reduced to eleven. These are all at important points, for the security of towns and harbors, which will afford safe shelters in time of war for our public and private vessels. The entire expenditures for these forts, he believed, would be something like three millions. The general question of the defence of our maritime frontier, and the extent and comprehensiveness of a plan of fortifications, is, in many points of view, one which only scientific and professional men can be supposed to be competent to decide. Perhaps there are few, if any members in this body, who will feel themselves very competent to decide a question so intimately connected with the art and science of war. We must, to some extent, follow some other guide than our own judgments; we must look to those whom we believe to be competent to direct our legislation—to the engineer department and to the executive officers, acting under the high responsibilities of their stations. But as to the objects to be attained by fortifications, and how far it is safe and wise to rely on them for the security of the country, these are questions of which we may feel qualified to form opinions, and to act from our own judgments. We are not now called upon to determine these questions, unless it shall be thought that the fortifications provided for in this bill will commit the Government to a more extensive system than it is advisable to adopt. Few, he apprehended, would be of this opinion, who are in favor of any enlargement of the fortifications on the seaboard. The main question presented by the present bill, as he had already stated, was, whether there should be any extension of the system of fortifications on the Atlantic

border, and whether it shall be commenced at the pres

ent time? The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Bucha NAN] has remarked that the only question was one as to time; but this can only be correct by regarding the preliminary question, whether we shall enlarge the present system of fortifications, as conceded; which, I take it, is not the fact. The Senator from Ohio [Mr. Ewing] seems to suppose that this bill is a mere humbug; and says it can have no other operation than to transfer the money appropriated from one account to another, because no part of it can be expended the present year. But the gentleman is mistaken in his conclusion, even if his premises were admitted. Whether the money can or will be actually expended the present year, is not very important. The main question is, whether we shall enlarge the system of fortifications, and whether we shall settle the question at this time? If there is to be any extension of the plan of fortifications, now is the time to do it. Now is the time to settle the principle, and to decide upon the new works, so far at least as depends May 12, 1836.]

on our legislation. If the principle is once established by law that further defences are to be provided for the security of the seaboard, it is of little consequence whether the works which may be authorized are constructed in one year or in several years. The principle being settled, the necessary appropriations must be made as there is occasion for them. It has been contended by the Senator from Missouri, [Mr. BENTox,] that the plan for fortifications is antagomistical to the bill which has now passed the Senate for the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands among the States, and all other schemes of distribution. This, I apprehend, is correct, so far as the principle of this measure is concerned, as it is incompatible with any scheme of distribution of the public funds which shall withdraw them from the control of this Government; for although it may be true, as is contended, that very little can be expended on new works this year, yet, if the measure is sanctioned by law, and its execution will require an expenditure equal to the surplus there may be in the Treasury, after providing for the ordinary and other objects of extraordinary ex. penditure, it ought to be regarded as a different objection to any other disposition of this surplus. If it is decided to extend this system of fortifications, we must view the measure in connexion with the present condition of the finances, and what they will be likely to be for some years to come. The finances of the United States, for several years at least, will depend on laws and circumstances which Congress cannot control. The swelling flood flowing into your Treasury the past year and first quarter of the present, has arisen from causes which cannot be permanent: these causes are speculations in the public lands. Of the present sum in the Treasury, more than twenty millions have been received from the sales of the lands the last year and a quarter. I am aware that some gentlemen seem to suppose that this source of revenue is inexhaustible, and is to continue at the same rate for all time to come. This is a great delusion. Should the present rage of speculation continue, in a few years the most valuable portions of the public lands will be in the hands of speculators. This source of revenue, instead of being inexhaustible, as the imaginations of some gentlemen represent it to be, is wasting rapidly. But, were the fact otherwise;

were the public domain as inexhaustible as the fountains

of the great deep, are the resources of the people also without limit? Is it supposed that twenty millions a year can continue to be drawn from individuals, to be invested in uncultivated lands? It is impossible. Gentlemen, in giving scope to their vivid imaginations, seem to overlook this difficulty. As well might it be supposed that an unnatural excitement could be kept up in the human system by successive and continued doses of opium. In every department of business, a reaction must follow overaction. This is not only a law in trade, but is a more general law in all human affairs. If this course of speculation in public lands could continue, it would absorb the entire capital of the country, and would paralyze all its great interests. But it cannot continue, and the sales must soon come back to the amount required for the progress of settlements. And, so far as the Government is concerned, they will soon fall below this sum, as the individual landholders who have purchased on speculation will become competitors with the Government in supplying the demand required for actual settlement. This must already be the case to a considerable extent, as large portions of the most valuable lands are in the hands of capitalists, and are thrown into market by them. It is but a few year sago that the sales of the public lands were but from one to two millions per annum; and they will soon be reduced to the same amount. A spirit of monopoly appears to be the besetting sin of the day; it

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has taken a strong hold of our population, and its selfish influence is everywhere seen and felt: it pervades every department of business, and every branch of industry. And, instead of being checked, it is encouraged by legislation; as it has found its way into the legislative assemblies, and exerts its pernicious influence there. In the graspings of this spirit, there is, perhaps, no worse direction that can be given to it than in its monopolizing the public lands. In regard to the revenues from customs, they depend on law that Congress cannot, for some years at least, control. By the operation of the compromise act of 1833, the revenue from this source is diminishing, and will fall down to its minimum in 1842. At that period it has been estimated by the Senator from New York [Mr. Wright] that it will not exceed ten millions. This estimate is based on the amount of importations of the last year, with an allowance for that gradual augmentation which the increase of population and consumption of the dutiable articles may require. This estimate, I think, will be found not to vary far from the truth; and this sum, together with the revenue from the public lands, which at that period can hardly be supposed to exceed two or three millions, and may fall short of that amount, will be several millions less than the ordinary expenditures of the Government. The time is not far distant when, instead of being troubled with a surplus, there will be a deficit in the public revenue, which will have to be supplied by increasing the taxes in some form. The surplus the present year, and a small one of a few millions the two following years, must be regarded as the entire resources of the Government, to be applied to any extraordinary objects, either to complete the defences of the country, or of any other description. The surplus the present year will not probably much exceed fifteen millions, after meeting the usual demands on the Treasury for Indian treaties, the Florida war, and de. fence of the western frontier. Whatever it may be advisable to do in extension of the permanent defences of the country, now is the time to do it, or at least to settle the principle. If it is not determined upon now, the present resources of the Government will no doubt be disposed of in some other way. Some of the numerous schemes for the distribution of the present surplus will be likely to prevail, unless some measure shall receive the sanction of Congress, which will be inconsistent with any plan of withdrawing the present revenue from the control of this Government. Mr. N. said he desired not to be misunderstood: he would not advocate the adoption of this bill, or any plan of the extension of our fortifications, merely because we now have an excess in the Treasury; and for the purpose of disposing of such surplus, he would not be influenced in any degree whatever in deciding the question, whether it is the duty of the Government to enlarge the defensive means of the country, either as to fortifications or an increase of the navy, in consequence of the present condition of the Treasury. That question should be decided upon its own merits, and independent of all considerations of a temporary nature; and the present ability of the Treasury having arisen from temporary causes, can be no argument in favor of any general and permanent system of expenditure, not demanded for the security of the country. All that he would contend was, that if the present fortifications have been regarded as only a part of a general plan for the protection of the seaboard, or if, from the extension of our commerce, and the growth of towns, further defensive means are necessary to afford equal security to all parts of the country, now is the time to commence the additional works which are to form a part of the general system. On the mere question of time, the state of our finances now, and their probable condi


tion a few years hence, are entitled to great weight, if
not wholly decisive of the point. There are, however,
other considerations, that cannot be overlooked. The
country has been brought into imminent danger of war
with a powerful nation, and the public sensibility has
been awakened to the exposed situation of our commerce
and our seaboard; whilst the danger was supposed to
exist, a general sentiment prevailed of our total defi-
ciency in preparations to meet such a contingency. It is
only occasions of danger which arrest the mercenary
spirit of the age, and awaken attention to the securities
of the country from foreign aggression. The history of
all countries proves this, and none more than our own.
It has only been in times of danger, that the national
feeling has been sufficiently aroused to give an impetus
to measures for the security of the country. The de-
fenceless condition of the seaports, during the revolu-
tionary war, may be regarded as the cause which indu-
ced President Washington to urge on Congress the im-
portance of providing for their protection, and of the
early measures adopted by Congress authorizing the
erection of fortifications. The difficulties with France,
during the administration of Mr. Adams, gave an addi-
tional impulse to these measures of defence; and the
evils which the country suffered during the last war,
from the defenceless condition of the seaboard, led to
the energetic measures, and the system of fortifications,
which were adopted immediately after the peace.
That this system was in some respects unwise, that
many of the fortifications were on a scale too large and
expensive, and requiring too large garrisons, seems
now to be the opinion of the Secretary of War; and
the reasons given for this opinion appear to be
strong, if not conclusive. But whether that was a
proper time to commence a system of sortifications
for the defence of the coast, is altogether a distinct
question from that whether the system adopted was a
wise one, and well adapted to our situation. Was it a
wise policy to have undertaken a plan of fortisying the
coast at that time? If this policy was justifiable at that
period, if the measures of the Government were not
then altogether founded in error, it must be a wise and
correct policy at this time to enter upon the completion
of the necessary fortifications for the security of the
seaboard. What were the reasons for resuming the
system of fortifications in 1817? We were then at peace
with all foreign Powers, and had as little reason to ex-
pect war as we have now! The lessons of experience,
which the war then just terminated had afforded of the
dangers and evils of an exposed and unprotected sea-
board, led to the measures then adopted. We have now
been exposed to a war, and the public mind awakened
to the consequences which would have resulted from an
unprotected maritime frontier.
Then the country was oppressed and struggling under
the weight of an enormous debt of one hundred and
twenty-three millions of dollars; the interest of which
alone amounted to between six and seven millions. The
revenue for those first two years after the war was
large, but, as might have been foreseen, rapidly fell off,
and the Government was obliged to have recourse to
loans to meet the current expenditures and pay the
interest of the public debt. Yet so strong was the pub-
lic sentiment as to the necessity and importance of put-
ting the country in a state of security, that, with such a
load pressing upon it, Congress made large appropria-
tions for a regular system of fortifications. In 1793 and
1796, when the system was first commenced, the public
debt was from seventy-five to eighty millions, and four
millions of interest annually to be paid, when the popula-
tion and resources of the country were not one fourth
part what they are at this time.
Now we are out of debt, and have an overflowing

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Treasury, and a large surplus, which we know not what
use to make of, which is already giving occasion to
numerous extravagant and dangerous projects for dis-
posing of it; and the danger of a rupture with France,
from which we have just escaped, has called public
attention to the necessity of placing the country in an
adequate state of defence.
If there ever was a time peculiarly auspicious, and
when Congress was by the highest considerations called
upon to commence a system for the more perfect and
complete defence of the entire country, that time is the
present. To suffer the surplus we now have to be dis-
posed of by any of the schemes of distribution, and
neglect the defence of the country, would be an un-
warrantable dereliction of duty.
In regard to the extensiveness of the plan of fortifica-
tions, the views of the Secretary of War, contained in
his late report, appear to be generally opposed; and the
only diversity of opinion seems to be, what his views
are. They appear to me, however, to be sufficiently
explicit, and I cannot think that there are any grounds
for a difference of opinion concerning them; and I will
read a single paragraph from the report, which contains
a summary of the Secretary’s plan: “I consider the duty
of the Government to afford adequate protection to the
seacoast, a subject of paramount obligation; and I be-
lieve we are called upon by every consideration of policy
to push the necessary arrangements as rapidly as the
circumstances of the country and the proper execution
of the work will allow. I think every town large
enough to tempt the cupidity of an enemy should be
defended by works fixed or floating, suited to its local
position, and sufficiently extensive to resist such attempts
as would probably be made against it. There will, of
course, after laying down such general rule, be much
latitude in its application. Upon this branch of the sub-
ject, I would give to the opinion of the engineer officers
great and almost controlling weight, after the proper
limitations are established. These relate principally to
the magnitude of the works; and, if I am correct in the
views I have taken of this branch of the subject, a change
in the system proposed is necessary. Works should not
be projected upon the presumption that they are to be
exposed to, and must be capable of, resisting the attacks
of a European army, with its battering train and all its
preparation for a regular siege. Neither our relative
circumstances, nor those of any nation with which we
shall probably be brought into conflict, can justify us in
such an anticipation. All the defences should be pro-
jected on a scale proportioned to the importance of the
place, and should be calculated to resist any naval attack
and any sudden assault that a body of land troops might
make upon them. But further than this, it appears to
me, we ought not to go. The results at Stonington, at
Mobile point, at Fort Jackson, and at Baltimore, dur-
ing the late war, show that formidable armaments may
be successfully resisted with apparently inferior means,
These, indeed, do not furnish examples to be followed
as to the scale of our preparations; but they show what
stationary batteries have done in our country against
ships of war.” -
The system of the Secretary of War is simply this: to
rely on fortifications only for the defence of towns or
seaports, and not of the seacoast; he does not regard
them as a means of security to the whole maritime frontier,
and of excluding an enemy from the country. And at
the points to be defended, he does not deem large and
strong fortifications as being necessary; he only recom:
mends such works as may be sufficient to resist a naval
battery, and to withstand a sudden assault by land; but
not of such magnitude and strength as to be capable of
standing a siege of an invading army with the usual
battering train. Except for the defence of some of our

MAY 12, 1836.]



large cities, small and cheap works only are contemplated. Such are the forts provided for in the present bill. The great error of the system adopted in 1817, was, that the fortifications were on a large and expensive scale. Another error was, that they were designed to defend roadsteads and exclude an enemy from advantageous ositions in our waters. The plan of the Secretary is ess comprehensive and more economical. All the forts in this bill will probably cost but little more than Fortress Monroe, which covers 63 acres of ground; and its full armament would consist of 412 pieces of cannon, and, according to the estimate of the engineer department, it would require in time of war a garrison of two thousand seven hundred men. The works at Newport cover 23 acres of ground, and will mount 468 guns, and require a garrison of two thousand four hundred men. Nothing could have been more unwise than works upon a scale and magnitude like these. If fortifications on such a scale were to be erected at all the exposed points on our seaboard, it would require an army to garrison them in time of peace. The Secretary of War, whose views are concurred in by the President, manifestly disapproves altogether of this system of fortifications, and recommended one having no other objects than the defence of seaports and navy yards, by works comparatively small and unimportant. I can go as far as the Secretary of War proposes; but am no advocate for an extensive system of fortifications, or large, expensive establishments, which will foster a perpetual, burdensome charge on the country. It is the true policy of this country to keep down the expenses of the Government, both in the civil and military departments. A people cheaply governed, and lightly taxed, can hardly fail to be prosperous. Even necessary works for defence ought not to be erected when they are to throw an unreasonable burden on the country; and I do not think that Mr. Jefferson acted unwisely in discontinuing the fortifications, as at that time the public debt was a heavy burden on the country, and had been increasing since the establishment of the Government; he acted wisely, therefore, to arrest this accumulation of debt, even at the sacrifice of some desirable interests, and to commence the great work of its extinction. In addition to the objections, on the ground of expense, to a large and comprehensive system of fortifications, it does not appear to be congenial with the spirit of our institutions, and in my mind is associated, in no small degree, with the idea of a standing army, or large military establishment. For the general defence and security of the country, we must rely mainly on the militia. But for the defence of commercial towns and harbors, fortifications are necessary; and the present bill goes no further. In reference to the bill before the Senate, the Secretary says: “It cannot be doubted but that fortifications at the following places, enumerated in this bill, will be necessary: At Penobscot bay, for the protection of Bangor, &c. At Kennebec river. At Portland. At Portsmouth. At Salem. At New Bedford. At New London. Upon Staten island. At Soller's flats. - A redoubt on Federal point. For the Barancas. For Fort St. Philip. “These proposed works all command the approach to places sufficiently important to justify their construction under any circumstances that will probably exist. I think, therefore, that the public interest would be pro

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moted by the passage of the necessary appropriations for them. As soon as these are made, such of the positions as may appear to require it can be examined, and the form and extent of the works adapted to the existing circumstances, if any change be desirable. The construction of those not needing examination can commence immediately, and that of the others as soon as the places are determined upon. By this proceeding, therefore, a season may be saved in the operations.” So far as the opinion of the Secretary is to be regarded as a guide for our action, we have there a specific recommendation to the extent of the forts embraced in the bill before the Senate. The objection which has been urged with so much earnestness, that there has been no survey of some of the proposed forts, was not overlooked by the Secretary in the specific recommendation to which I have called the attention of the Senate. In those cases in which a further examination may be required, he contemplates that it will be done before the works are commenced. That the survey and estimate should precede the appropriation, may be the more usual, and perhaps correct course; yet, to save the delay of one season, he proposes that the appropriations be made at once for the twelve forts embraced in this bill. I do not think there is much weight in this objection, as the main question for Congress to decide is, whether the places are of sufficient importance to render the fortifications necessary. Mr. President, in regard to the proposed fortification in the State I have in part the honor to represent, there cannot, I believe, be any doubt of the position being one of importance. This, although classed among the new forts, is an old site, where there is at present an ancient work called Fort Trumbull, which defends the cities of New London and Norwich, places of considerable population, and extensive commercial and manufacturing interests. The plan of the engineer department is to replace the present fort by new works more substantial and bet. ter adapted to the purpose. This is, in many respects, an important position, and of some celebrity in the history of the country. On the opposite side of the river is Fort Griswold, where occurred one of the most bloody tragedies of the revolutionary war; it having been stormed and taken by the infamous Arnold after a gallant defence, and the garrison, consisting of the patriotic inhabitants of the town and vicinity, with their brave commander, Colonel Ledyard, were, most of them, barbarously slaughtered. Had there been any adequate fortifications at this important position, the lives of these valuable men might have been spared for the service of their country, and the town of New London saved from the flames. The harbor of New London is one of the safest and best in the eastern section of the Union. It is easy of access, with great depth of water, and rarely obstructed by ice. It is a safe and convenient shelter for vessels navigating Long Island sound, or those bound out or home, that might have occasion to avoid a blockading squadron lying off Sandy Hook. It is also an excellent station for the navy; and during the last war an American squadron was shut up there, by Commodore Hardy, and protected by the small fort which defends the harbor. At the present time the commerce of New London is important, and rapidly increasing; the whale fishery is extensively prosecuted, and with much enterprise. . In Stonington and Mystic, ports which are in the neighborhood, there are a large number of vessels engaged in the whale fishery; and Norwich has considerable commerce, and extensive manufacturing interests. In the report of the engineer department it is said that “New London harbor is very important to the defence of Long Island sound; and, as a port of easy access, having great depth of water, very rarely freezing, and being easily

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