« AnteriorContinuar »
[Mar 24, 1836.
tors; if I should fail to urge such general considera erty at particular points be so well defended and so tions, which ought to, and which I trust will, induce the securely preserved. It is, then, the voice of wisdom Senate to retain this appropriation in the bill; and that, and of prudence, the dictate of sound policy and econshould any appropriation be made for the following omy, to continue the system of fortifications-of proyear, the particular amendment presented by the Sena. tecting our maritime frontier, by the erection, at imtor from Missouri, proposing a like appropriation for portant and vulnerable points upon the coast, of perma1837, will be adopted. I must, therefore, ask the in nent and enduring fortresses. I believe this to be the dulgence of the Senate for a few minutes, with the view prevailing sentiment of our country, and in this day of to show the fitness, the propriety, the urgent necessity, our prosperity, in the abundance of our means, we ought of erecting a fortification at the mouth of the Piscataqua, to make liberal appropriations for objects of general de near the harbor of Portsmouth.
fence and permanent protection In the first place, Mr. President, we are relieved from It cannot be controverted that some of our most imall constitutional difficulties in making appropriations portant barbors, some of our principal towns and cities, for objects of this character. They are objects so in. some of our most valuable navy yards and nayal depots timately connected with the general defence and per upon our maritime frontier, are at this moment entirely manent security of the country, so essentially necessary | defenceless; so exposed to attack that, in the event of a to the security of public property, that there is no doubt war, they would have to rely for their security upon the of the constitutional authority of Congress over the sub forbearance of the enemy. This is literally true with ject.
reference to the whole extent of our maritime frontier It is not only within our power, but I hold it to be our within the limits of New England. It is not my purpose bounden duty, "to provide for the common defence and to speak of any other point except the harbor of Portsgeneral welfare of the United States.” So strong and mouth, which requires at the hands of the Government so general was this sentiment, that in 1790, immediately better protection, security, and defence. I leave other after the adoption of the present form of government, places to the care of other Senators better able than myGeneral Washington, in his message to Congress, re. self to look after their interests. I am free to admit marked that "among the many interesting objects which that the opposition to this particular bill, as now modiwill engage your attention, that of providing for the fied, bas greatly surprised me, after the expression of common defence will merit particular regard. To be the unanimous opinion of the Senate upon the subject prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of of public defence, and of the duty of Congress to make preserving peace.” In 1791 the same distinguished | appropriations with reference to that subject. patriot again called the attention of Congress to the sub "After the adoption of the resolution of the Senator ject, by remarking "that the fortification of such places from Missouri, in the early part of the session, proposing as are peculiarly important and vulnerable naturally pre to make appropriations for the permanent security of sent themselves to your consideration."
the country, I could not but regard it, in some degree, "The safety of the United States, under Divine pro as a pledge on the part of the Senate to give "their tection, ought to rest on the basis of systematic and solid support to such legislative measures as shall have for arrangement, exposed as little as possible to the hazard their object the accomplishment of these great purof fortuitous circumstances." In 1794 Washington com poses." I could not have anticipated such an opposimunicated that, “as auxiliary to the state of our de tion as is made to this bill. It has not been urged, from fence, to which Congress can never too frequently recur, the commencement of the debate to the present time, they will not omit to inquire whether the fortifications and he believed that it was not even pretended by any which have been already licensed by law be commensu one, that fortifications were not necessary, and were not rate with our exigencies." And, in his farewell address, required by every consideration of public policy, at the he urged upon the people to bear in mind that timely various points named in the bill. It seemed to be disdisbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent tinctly admitted, that a proper regard to public and to much greater disbursements to repel it.” Such were private security called upon Congress to erect adequate the sentiments of the Father of his Country, and such fortifications at the several places designated in the bill have been the sentiments of the most distinguished pa | before the Senate. And yet the bill was opposed--strentriots of our republic. Such bas been the favorite docuously and resolutely opposed. He would, therefore, trine of every administration, with perhaps a single ex. attempt to show that the opposition to the appropriation ception, from the formation of the Government to the for a work of defence near Portsmouth was altogether present period. As a means of defence, fortifications unreasonable; and that the facts which he would prewill continue to be regarded as of primary importance; sent to the consideration of the Senate would, he be. and in the language of the Secretary of War, as used in lieved, demonstrate the propriety, the peculiar fitness, his able and acceptable report, “ It is the duty of the the absolute necessity, of fortifying this particular point Government to afford adequate protection to the sea- upon our maritime frontier. coast-a subject of paramount obligation; and that we The bill proposes to appropriate for this year one are called upon by every consideration of policy to push hundred and filty thousand dollars to this object; and the necessary arrangements as rapidly as the circum- the amendment now offered by the Senator from Misstances of the country and the proper execution of the souri continues the same amount of appropriation for the work will allow." "Every town large enough to tempt year 1837. The immediate questions presented to the the cupidity of an enemy should be defended by works Senate arefixed or floating, suited to its local position, and suffi- 1st. Would a fortification at the mouth of the Piscataciently extensive to resist such attempt as would proba- | qua river, under existing circumstances, be necessary? bly be made against it.” This, sir, is my text, and this 1 2d. Would it be practicable? my doctrine. Whatever may be our reliance upon the 3d. Would the cost of its erection be extravagant? efficiency of our army in time of war; whatever may be 4th. Would its importance justify its probable exour confidence in the energies of our navy in the day of pense! . danger; yet it will not be denied that fortifications, well Certain the fact is, that, at this time, there are at manned and well armed, are indispensably necessary for that place no fortifications, worthy of the name. Fort affording adequate and proper protection to our princi Constitution, on New Castle island, and Fort McCleary, pal harbors and towns upon our maritime frontier. In on the opposite side of the river, are both in a ruinous no other mode or manner can the population and prop. condition. The other works of defence which were MAY 24, 1856.)
built during the last war, near the harbor of Portsmouth, Such pure and patriotic sentiments are worthy of the and for its protection, were designed as merely tempo- head and of the heart from which they emanated. And rary in their character, and at the close of that contest what is their sum? That, in the time of peace, in the were suffered to go to ruin. It may then be stated, as a day of our prosperity, and in the midst of our abundance, truth, that the only seaport town within the limits of New ! we should be prepared for war. The quoted remarks Hampshire is, at this time, utterly defenceless; that, in of the Secretary have literally and faithfully described the event of a war, if our difficulties had not been ar. the present state and condition of Portsmouth and of ranged, if actual hostilities had resulted from recent that section of our maritime frontier. A fortification is collisions with our ancient ally, there is no work of pro all-important for the due protection and security of the tection, either on the Maine or the New Hampshire side barbor of Portsmouth. In a document communicated of the Piscataqua, which could have prevented the fleet from General Bernard, Commodore Elliot, and Captain of the enemy from entering the harbor of Portsmouth, Totten, it is stated that the only good roadstead or and laying waste the private property of her citizens and good harbor between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Apn is the public property of our Government. If the enemy Portsmouth harbor, within the mouth of Piscataqua had cried "havoc, and let slip the dogs of war;" if they river. Line-of-battle ships can ascend this river seven had dared to invade our territory, to plant themselves miles above the town of Portsmouth." And I hazard upon our soil, they would have met a body of yeomanry nothing in saying that a safer or a better harbor cannot too patriotic to be subdued, too strong to be conquered; be found upon the whole extent of our maritime frontier. and yet this fact furnishes no argument against the erec The honorable Senator from Massachusetts must be tion of a sufficient fortification at the mouth of that much better acquainted with these facts than I am myharbor. So far from it, it strongly exhibits the necessity | self. Although we are both natives of New Hampshire, and of the measure. As all such works are intended to give have both resided for a time in Portsmouth; yet my own security against any sudden attack from the enemy, to residence was merely temporary, while I engaged in the afford protection to private and to public property, and prosecution of my professional studies. At a much later to inspire a confidence of safety in the surrounding period the Senator was numbered among the inbabitants population, the first inquiry then, is, does the harbor of of that place. He must, therefore, be much more conPortsmouth deserve protection and defence at the charge versant with its particular history than I can be; and, of the Government? On this point the Secretary of Mr. President, I hope, in the course of the debate, he War, in his report which has been so often and so de. will lend his aid in doing an act of justice to that ancient servedly commended, wben speaking of the contempla. town, and to that section of country. I am, Mr. Presited works at particular places, (among others, at Ports. dent, in the possession of a memorial, presented to Conmouth,) remarks: “ These proposed works all command gress in 1827 by the citizens of Portsmouth, respectiog the approach to places sufficiently important to justify the construction of a dry dock at the navy yard at that their construction under any circumstances that will place, which contains much valuable information upon probably exist. I think, therefore, that the public this subject, and from which I must be excused for mainterest would be promoted by the passage of the neces king liberal extracts. The memorial represents that sary appropriations for them." "If these appropriations at every period of the bistory of this country, the harare early made, most, if not all these works can be put bor of Portsmouth has been considered of great imporin operation this season, and the money usefully applied tance for naval purposes; that, under the colonial system, as fast as their progress will justify." And he adds, “I and long before the Revolution, the British Government, think the measure would be expedient.”
aware of the advantages of the place, were induced to There is certainly no ambiguity in this language used / make it a resort for their vessels of war, and to establish by the Secretary of War in his report. There is no a yard where ships of a large class were built for the room for doubt as to what are the sentiments of that public service. That, during the war of independence, officer in relation to this matter. And in this same the Continental Congress ordered the construction at document he further remarks, that "all the harbors and this port of a number of ships of the United States; one inlets upon the coast, where there are cities or towns of which was the America, of seventy-four guns, the first whose situation and importance create just apprehension ship of the line ever built in this country. The barbor of attack, and particularly where we have public naval of Portsmouth is formed by a cluster of islands, on one establishments, should be defended by works propor- of which the navy yard is situated, and through which tioned to any exigency that may probably arise. The the river Piscataqua, dividing Maine from New Hamppolitical considerations which urge forward this great shire, disembogues into the ocean. Several of these object are entitled to much more weight. When once islands on each side of the channel afford effective racompleted, we should feel secure.
king positions, where such fortifications might be erected, “There is probably not a man in the country who at a comparatively trilling expense, as would renderit did not look with some solicitude during the past season completely impregnable to the attacks of any naval force at our comparatively defenceless condition, and who did that could be brought against it. There is no bar or not regret that our preparations, during the long inter- obstruction at the mouth of this harbor; on the contrary, val of peace we had enjoyed, had not kept pace with at the lowest tides, there are ten fathoms of water at the our growth and importance. We have now this lesson entrance through the main channel to the navy yard, to add to our other experience. Adequate security is and at the navy yard wharf, where ships of the largest not only due from the Government to the country, and class may lie, and from whence they may proceed to the conviction of it is not only satisfactory, but the sea at dead low water. It is easy of access; and ships, knowledge of its existence cannot fail to produce an in when in, are safe from all storms; the loss of a vessel fluence upon other nations, as well in the advent of war here, by stress of weather, being a circumstance wholly itself as in the mode of conducting it.
unknown. It is never, in the most intense cold of win"If we are prepared to attack and resist, the chances ter, obstructed by ice: while other naval ports are occa. of being compelled to embark in hostilities will be di sionally closed, this is as free and open as at midsumminished much in proportion to our preparations. An mer.” Such is the harbor of Portsmouth; and the prounprotected commerce, a defenceless coast, and a mili- | posed fortifications at the mouth of the Piscata qua are tary marine wholly inadequate to the wants of our for the defence and protection of this harbor. service, would indeed hold out strong inducements to The position of Fort Constitution, on the New Hamp. other nations to convert trifling pretexts into serious shire side, must certainly, and that of Fort McCleary, on causes of quarrel."
MAY 24, 1836.
the Maine side of the river, may possibly, be occupied The America, the first ship of the line built in our by the contemplated defences. i am entirely aware that country, under the agency of that true patriot, the honever since the famous report of General Bernard, Feb orable John Langdon, was in 1782 presented by Conruary 7, 1821, Portsmouth has been regarded with no gress to our distinguished ally, the King of France. special favor. Although possessing advantages superior The Ranger, another vessel built at that navy yard, is to any other barbor upon our wbole coast; although the identified, with its intrepid commander, with some of the harbors of Boston and tbose further south are frequent- glorious achievements of our Revolution. This naval ly obstructed by the ice; although some of them are in station is approachable by vessels of any size; it is situaapproachable, by reason of sand-bars and of low water; ted on an island of less than sixty acres, and is easily although Portsmouth is entirely exempt from all such defended by works erected for that purpose upon any like embarrassments; and although this same board of of the commanding heights by which it is surrounded. engineers, in 1821, placed the harbor of Portsmouth This navy yard is now so connected with the main shore, in the very first class of those requiring works for de- by bridges, that in case of fire it may be readily defendfence and protection, and ranked it as the seventh in led by the citizens of Portsmouth and the adjacent coun. point of importance in that class; yet, from that period try; and it is believed that insurance of the public proto the present, hardly a dollar bas been expended for perty on that island, by reason of the facilities of comthe accomplishment of the objects recommended by the munication, is reduced at least one per cent., and is less board. While works far less important, in his estima than at any other naval depot upon our coast. Another tion, have been erected at other points, not a single step advantage which this yard possesses over other yards, has been taken, not a movement has been made, for the is, that it is located in the midst of ship carpenters defence of Portsmouth, since the report of the board was and builders, at a point where all the materials for shipcommunicated, although the importance of the station building can be procured at a less rate than elsewhere; has been time and again urged upon the consideration of where every description of labor costs less than it does Congress. The fact is, we have had to contend with at the yard at Charlestown, Massachusetts, at Gosport, deep-rooted prejudices, with principalities and powers; or at any other yard in our country. “Here ship carpenand, in behalf of the good citizens of that section, I ters, in any number usually wanted, can be readily obtender my thanks to the Committee on Military Affairs tained upon an emergency for repairing or building, for having brought the interest, the claim of Ports- At Gosport, nearly one-third of all the expenditures in mouth, to the notice of the Senate; and I cannot but be the United States is made for the repairs of our public lieve that, after a lapse of fifteen years, Congress will vessels; and at certain seasons of the year, it is not apnow proceed to do that which was asked to be done in proachable. During this very last winter, if I am not 1821, viz: fortify that point upon our seacoast. It is mistaken, it has not been possible at all times to apimportant to have a fortification erected there for the proach the yard. A heavy loaded seventy-four would security of the public property. Portsmouth is about find it difficult, without lessening her cargo, to reach three miles from the ocean, from the mouth of the Piso that point in twenty-five feet of water, the usual depth cataqua. Almost directly opposite to the town, upon in full tide; while at Portsmouth, at the lowest ebb, near Dennet's island, is the navy yard. This is the most an- the yard, you have always a depth of at least forty-five cient yard in our country. I have already shown that feet." at any season, in any wind, from any point, you can ap- Again: "the deterioration in the hull of ships is far proach this yard; and, when there, you have a sufficient less at this, than at the stations further south. A differdepth of water to ride in perfect safety in low as well as ence of twenty-five per cent. in this respect may be in full tide. There is no yard upon our coast which calculated on; an important and serious consideration, can compare with it, and will not suffer by that com- when vessels of war are for a long time laid up in ordinaparison. ' Ships and vessels have been built at that yard ry.” This single fact shows the all-importance of for nearly one hundred and fifty years, as the subjoined having a dry dock established at this naval station; and, extract from a paper printed in 1828 clearly shows; and with reference to this very subject, Congress passed an from the same exiract, as well as from other records, it act on the 3d of March, 1827, authorizing the Presiappears that more public vessels have been built at that dent to cause the navy yards of the United States to be yard than at any other in our country:
thoroughly examined, and plans to be prepared and From the Portsmouth Advertiser, of September 25, 1828. sanctioned by the President, for the improvement of the LAUNCH.-Yesterday at noon was launched, at the
same, and the preservation of the public property there
in. And by the same act the President is authorized to navy yard in this harbor, the United States sloop of war
have constructed two dry docks on the most approved Concord. She is pronounced by judges to be one of the finest ships of her class in the navy. She is six hundred
plan, for the use of the navy of the United States; the
one of the said docks to be erected at some point to the tons burden, and is pierced for eighteen guns.
south, and the other to the north of the Potomac river. The following vessels of war have been built at this
"Commodores Chauncey, Bainbridge, and Morris harbor:
were appointed commissioners by the President, to car. Ships.
Dates. ry this act into effect. The high opinion they entertainFalkland,
ed of this yard, is plainly made manifest by the improveBedford,
ments they recommended, and the dimensions of the America,
ground, plans of which are here subjoined. Raleigh,
"One dry dock: commandant's house, 50 feet square, Ranger,
with out-buildings extending 80 feet in length; houses America,
for five officers; one, 32 feet in front, the other four 30 Crescent,
1797 feet, including out-buildings extending 85 feet to the Scammell,
1797 reay: porter's house, 30 feet by 25; two ship-houses, each Portsmouth,
1798 240 feet by 120, to be located one cach side of the Congress,
1799 | bridge: smithery, 150 feet by 60: one timber shed, 300 Washington,
1814 feet by 65: two ditto, 200 feet by 65: one do. 175 feet Porpoise,
1821 by 65: one saw shed, 70 feet by 25: one ditto, 70 feet Concord,
1828 by 20: one timber dock, 440 feet by 200: one storehouse, Alabama,
44 Not launched. Santee,
I 125 feet by 50: one mast and boat shed, 250 feet by 70:
MAY 24, 1836. }
one rigging and sail loft, 175 feet by 70: pile wharf, 150 hands of the Government. It is due, then, to New feet by 60: armory, tinman's and coppersmith's shop, Hampshire, that her commercial capital--the only 65 feet by 25: quay walls, additional wharves, building seaport town of her State--should be well fortified, and slip, road, anchor and gun wharf, and coal-house. rendered impregnable to the attacks of her and ber
"When these improvements are carried into effect, country's enemies. A fortification is necessary for the the yard will probably by levelled, the wooden build proper protection and security of private property. ings all taken down, except the two ship-houses, and As I have before remarked, Portsmouth is situated the new buildings be constructed of brick and stone." about three miles from the mouth of the Piscataqua. It
It would be difficult to present any piece of evidence has a population of nearly ten thousand inhabitants; it of higher authority than this report of the commission has a large shipping interest, employed principally in ers-which goes most clearly to establish the extent and the carrying trade; an interest, to a very considerable importance of this navy yard; and which also recom- extent, in the South Sea whale fishery. She has also a mends the establishment of a "dry dock" to be connect large interest in the West India trade, and a very extened with this station. I would state, Mr. President, as sive coasting trade. It is not my purpose, Mr. Presifurther evidence of the extent of the public property at dent, to enter into any comparison between the tonnage this naval depot, that there was, in 1829, ship timber depos- of Portsmouth and the tonnage of other ports, or be. ited for use in the timber dock, and in sheds, to the value tween the exports and imports of New Hampsbire with of three hundred and eighty-two thousand dollars; and the exports and impor's of other States. I hold such that the material for ship-building has more than doubled calculations and comparisons wholly unnecessary and susince at that yard.
perfluous. It is on the ground of affording a just protecAgain: it is a fact, and worthy of consideration, that tion to the population, and adequate security to public any given vessel of any size can be built, and is ordinarily and private property, that I rest our claim in favor of the built, at Portsmouth, from 13 to 20 per cent, less than measure. It is on these grounds that I place my reliance at any other yard in the country; it results from this fact, for the vote of the Senate for this particular appropriathat materials can there be procured at a cheaper rate tion. than they can at other yards. Labor is cheaper also, The Piscataqua divides into five branches above and can, and does, accomplish more. Commodore Bain Portsmouth. The most easterly branch is called Salmon bridge, in his report to the Secretary of the Navy in Falls river. The tide flows up this river to South Ber1827, shows the sum total of the whole cost of building wick, a flourishing and populous town in Maine. Upon each vessel at each yard, when any other vessel of a like this branch is also situated Somerset, in New Hampshire, size has been built at any other yard, and exhibits the a large manufacturing village, with a population exceed. whole cost of building the sloops Lexington and Boston, ing three thousand inhabitants, and giving employment (vessels of the same size,) and the schooners Porpoise to a capital in manufactures of nearly two millions of and Alligator. It will distinctly appear that a vesseldollars. The next westerly branch of the Piscataqua is built at New York costs 15 per cent. more than one of the Cocheco river; the tide extending up this river to the same size built at Boston; and a vessel built at Bog- Dover, a distance of thirteen miles at least from the ton costs 10 per cent. more than one of the same size | mouth of the Piscataqua. This town now contains nearbuilt at Portsmouth, The Lexington, a sloop, was built ly seven thousand inhabitants, and has an extensive trade. in New York, and cost $112,080 89. The Boston, a Dover is second to no town in New England, save sloop, built in Boston, cost $96,938 40; making a dif- Lowell, in the excellence and extent of its manufacturing ference of more than 15 per cent in the cost of build- establishments, employing a capital of three millions of ing between New York and Boston, and in favor of the dollars. This place has also a large shipping interest. latter. The Porpoise, a schooner, was built at Ports. There are annually built, both at Dover and at South Bermouth, and cost $20,408 75. The Alligator, a schoo wick, many private vessels. Still further west, you ner, was built at Boston, and cost $22,745 65; making a strike the Durham river; at the head of tide waters difference of more than 10 per cent. in the cost of build stands Durham, a flourishing ship-building town. Anoing between Portsmouth and Boston, and in favor of the ther branch of the Piscataqua is Lamprey river; at the former; and hence it follows, that the difference in the head of the tide waters of which is situated Newmarket, cost of building between New York and Portsmouth, is also an extensive manufacturing town, having not less more than 25 per cent., and in favor of Portsmouth. than a million of dollars entirely employed in that busi
I have stated, Mr. President, all that I wish to state i ness, and possessing a population of upwards of two with reference to the navy yard at Portsmouth, and with thousand inhabitants. The fifth and last branch leads to reference to the public property ordinarily at that yard. Exeter, containing a population of three thousand inhabitI would, then, close this part of my argument, by adding ants; a town of great wealth, and possessing also an inthat fortifications at the mouth of the Piscataqua would terest in manufactures. If the Piscataqua consisted of afford ample protection and security to this naval station, but one branch from the head of tide water to the ocear, and to the public property there deposited. It is also ne- and upon it were concentrated, in one town), all the popcessary to fortify the barbor of Portsmouth, with a view ulation and all the business of the various towns on its to the better security and protection, in time of war, of the branches, the importance, the necessity of protecting population of Portsmouth and of the adjacent country. the entrance of this river, would be better understood. The amount of population which would derive an immedi But I cannot doubt, Mr. President, that enough has been ate benefit in time of war by the erection of a permanent, shown to prove the necessity of fortifying the harbor at fortification at the mouth of the Piscataqua, would fall but Portsmouth, little short of thirty thousand inbabitants, comprising as The project of erecting a fortification at the mouth of patriotic, as enterprising, and as industrious a portion of the Piscataqua has not a recent origin. This point has the community, as can be found within the limits of the been more or less protected and defended for nearly a republic. They have strong and unanswerable claims century. Before the period, and during the period, of upon the Government for protection and security. No the Revolution, the British Government had erected a State did more, in proportion to her means, for the | fort for its defence and protection; and, from the adop. achievement of American independence, than New tion of the constitution to this period, appropriations Hampshire; she was one of the pioneers of the Revolu- have been made (sparingly, I admit) for the repairs of tion.' No State has done more to maintain inviolate that this fortress. In speaking of Fort Constitution, Mr. independence; no State has received less favor at the 1 Jefferson says, that it is the remains of an ancient forSENATE.]
(Mar 24, 1836
tification, which has been repaired at different periods, difficult for them, having fixed its size and its number of with some improvements. From 1789 to 1830, less than guns, to have calculated, with a great degree of accuraone hundred thousand dollars in the aggregate bad been cy, what would be its cost? It is worthy of remark, that expended by the Government upon this work. But it this same board of engineers then estimated the cost of will be found, by referring to the tables, that there has the contemplated works at Penobscot at $100,000; and been in almost every year some small expenditure for it will be found, by looking into the survey and estimate the purpose of making repairs.
made since, with reference to the cost of the same work, As further evidence that the Government considered after a most minute, particular, and detailed computa. it an important point, and one requiring works for de- tion of the expense of the requisite materials, and of the fence, it will be found that, in 1794, a committee of expense of the labor, that the aggregate of the cost exCongress, to whom the subject was referred, reported as ceeds the estimate made by the board of engineers only their opinion that the port and harbor of Portsmouth one thousand dollars. And such will be the result of ought to be protected, and recommended an appropria- any detailed estimate of the cost of the contemplated tion; and an act was passed accordingly. And at an work at Portsmouth. The value of the material is not after period it was resolved, that the necessary works liable to great fluctuations; the cost of labor is very for fortifying the ports and harbors of the United States nearly the same, one season with another; and whoever ought to be constructed of the most durable materials, sees the work completed will find that the expenditure so as best to answer the purposes of defence and per has not exceeded the estimates. manency. And in 1796, Mr. Pickering, then Secretary / The sentiments of the Senator from South Carolina of War, reported in highly favorable terms of the pro- upon that point deserve much consideration. Every priety, utility, and necessity of the works erected at wise man, who is about to build for himself a house, first Portsmouth, which he represented then to consist of a computes the cost; and every wise Government, before fort, a citadel, an artillery store, and a reverberatory commencing any public work, should first compute the furnace, all completed. At no period of our history has cost. But, Mr. President, all this will be done. The it ever been hinted or pretended by any one, in office or Secretary of War will decide upon its forın, its location, out of office, that works for defence and security were and have an accurate estimate made of its cost, before a not required at Portsmouth.
single dollar shall be expended under this appropriation. There can be, Mr. President, no doubt of the practi He would do all this, in the faithful discharge of his cability of the measure: it is inferrible from the facts official duty. He would do this with reference to his which have already been stated; from the antiquity of own reputation. Another idea has been suggested, here the fortress, and the repairs that have from time to time and elsewhere, and by way of objection to this bill, and been made by the Government. There is as little doubt that is, it would prevent a distribution of the public moas to the location of the contemplated fortification. Ob neys among the States, to the amount of the appropriaservation, experience, common sentiment, have de- tions. I shall be slow to believe that any such considercided on its necessity, its practicability, as well as upon ation can influence the action of this body. What works its locality.
are necessary, I trust will be established; and what money Another point remains to be examined, and that is, can be judiciously expended, I trust will be appropriawould its erection be necessarily attended with a large ted. I am free, however, to say that the following ex. and unreasonable expenditure of the public money! or, tract from the speech of a member of Congress, has in in other words, can different works of defence be de- some measure weakened my faith that the bill now unvised costing less, which will accomplish the same gender consideration will be passed. eral object? This will not, and cannot be alleged. It "A new and strong motive for economy is now prewill not be pretended that the expense can be dispro- sented; a motive which would have its influence on him portionate to its importance; that it will cost more than in regard to every expenditure. He looked forward to it is worth. For one, I verily believe that the honorable tke passage of a bill now in progress for the distribution Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Calhoun) would give of the proceeds of the public lands, in effect, of the surme his vote if he were certain that its actual cost would plus revenue, among the States. He trusted the bill quadruple the estimate. On what ground, then, is it would pass the present session." opposed? Its importance will not be questioned-its The Senator from South Carolina says that he will practicability cannot be questioned; nor will it be pre. vote for every measure, for every appropriation, which, tended that its cost can be disproportionate to its impor in his judgment, is necessarily connected with the gentance. It is opposed for the single reason that we have eral defence and permanent protection of the country, not, accompanying the Secretary's report, a map and and that he will go no farther. Just so far will I go, and survey, giving all the localities, and an actual detailedno farther. What shall be necessary, what shall be juestimate giving the amount in the aggregate of the ex. dicious, whatever the exigency of the country shall dependiture which will be required, and the particulars | mand, with reference to general defence, I stand ready, which go to make up the general aggregate. The ob- | with the Senator from South Carolina, to appropriate; jection is not well taken; for we have a map giving all and I trust that no Senator in this body, whether the the localities, which has been in the possession of the friend or the foe of the administration, would wish to committee; and the facts already narrated go most do less, or could be induced to do more. Whatever clearly to show where this fortification must be erected; the state of our affairs, whatever the condition of our and we are not without book, we are not without author country requires in relation to public defence, to genity, upon the cost and necessary expense for this work. eral security, is matter of opinion. Men may differ, and
By the report of General Bernard, made in February, honestly differ, in sentiment, with reference to this ques. 1821, the cost of fortifying the harbor of Portsmouth tion; but whatever is required, whatever is clearly newas estimated at $500,000. That is now the estimate. cessary for the accomplishment of these great objects, This is not mere conjecture. This is not, as has been all profess, and I trust sincerely profess, a willingness to stated, “guess work." The estimate was not made in grant. This, then, should be the subject, the exclusive 1821, nor is it now made, without calculation. They subject, for our investigation. We should enter upon had certain principles-known data-upon which to base its consideration with minds free from local jealousy, their estimate. The size was determined; the number from sectional feeling; we should lay aside every politiof guns was fixed; the ground had been carefully in-cal and party excitement which may tend to mislead and spected by the board of engineers in 1821; and was it I misguide our better judgment. There is great danger