15th Congress.]

No. 158.

[1st Session.



Navy Department, February 28, 1818.


I have the honor to transmit, herewith, in compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 26th instant, a copy of the proceedings of the court martial ordered by Commodore Isaac Chauncey, at the instance of Midshipman Marston, for the trial of Captain John Orde Creighton; and also of the memorials of the midshipmen and other officers in the Mediterranean squadron, emanating from the proceedings of the said court martial. I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, sir, your most obedient servant,


The Hon. the Speaker of the. Souse of Representatives.

Minutes of the proceedings of a court martial assembled on board the frigate Constellation, in the bay of Naples, upon the 26th of August, 1816, and held every day afterwards till ----

Present: Captain John Shaw, President; Captains Charles Gordon, O. H. Perry, W. M. Crane, John Downes, Members; Doctor Robert S. Kearney, Judge Advocate.

Captain Creighton appeared in court, and all persons admitted. The order of Isaac Chauncey, Esquire, commodore and commander-in-chief of the United States' naval forces in the Mediterranean sea, dated the 26th day of August, 1816, directed to Captain John Shaw, for the trial of Captain John Orde Creighton, of the United States' ship Washington, was read. The several members of the court were duly sworn, and the judge advocate also sworn. Captain Creighton, being asked, declared he had no objections to the members of the court.

The court adjourned till to-morrow at ten o'clock.


Tuesday morning, August 27, 1816.

The court met, pursuant to adjournment. Present: the president, members, and judge advocate.

The following charges and specifications addressed to the president, were publicly read in court, and in the presence of Captain Creighton:

Charge 1st.—Oppression.

Specification.—In that on the 8th day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, in contempt and in direct violation of the laws for the better government of the navy of the United States, John Orde Creighton, a captain in the navy of the United States, and in command of the United States' ship Washington, did, on the quarter-deck of the said United States' ship Washington, while under way in the harbor of Gibraltar, then and there, without cause or provocation, violently strike me, John Marston, Junior, while in the execution of my duty, being a midshipman on board the United States' ship aforesaid, much to my discomfiture and disgrace.

Change 2d.—Ungentlemanly and unofficerlike conduct.

Specification.—In that on the 9th day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, John Orde Creighton, a captain in the navy of the United States, and in command of the United States' ship Washington, did provokingly and falsely accuse me, John Marston, Junior, being a midshipman on board the United States' ship aforesaid, of telling a mischievous falsehood; and in that the above mentioned John Orde Creighton did, then and there, on my denying the truth of the accusation, most vehemently threaten to heave me overboard, assuming thereby an authority not guarantied by the laws of the United States, nor by the sacred principles of justice.


Captain Creighton being desired to plead to the foregoing charges, pleaded "not guilty;" whereupon the court proceeded to trial, as follows:

Joseph Odion, seaman, belonging to the United States' ship Washington, duly sworn on the part of the prosecution, says: I saw Captain Creighton strike Mr. Marston, who was standing by the capstan, while the ship was working out of the bay of Gibraltar.

Question by the court. What did Captain Creighton strike Mr. Marston with?

Answer. His hand—with his fist.

Question. Did it appear to you that Captain Creighton struck Mr, Marston by accident or design?

Answer. Design.

Question. What time of day was it?

Answer. Dusk.

Question. What part of his body did he strike?

Answer. The back.

Question. Where was Mr. Marston standing?

Answer. By the capstan, on the quarter deck.

Question. When Captain Creighton struck him, where were you standing?

Answer. At the breast-backstay-falls; I was stationed there.

Question. Did Captain Creighton appear to know who Mr. Marston was?

Answer. I cannot say.

Question. How was Mr. Marston standing when Captain Creighton struck him? Answer. I do not know how he was standing.

Question. Was there much noise at the time, in consequence of working ship?

Answer. There was some noise in consequence of working ship.

Question. Did Captain Creighton speak to Mr. Marston before or after striking him?

Answer. I cannot say, I did not hear him.

Question. Was Mr. Marston standing alone, or in a crowd?

Answer. I do not recollect.

Question. What effect had the blow upon Mr. Marston?

Answer. I did not notice the effect.

Question. Did Mr. Marston speak to Captain Creighton after receiving the blow?

Answer. No. I did not hear him.

Question. What induced you to believe that Captain Creighton struck Mr. Marston intentionally?

Answer. He appeared to be very angry; that induced me.

Question. Did he appear to be very angry with Mr. Marston only?

Answer. He was very angry with the men working ship.

Question. Was Mr. Marston in uniform, or easily distinguished in his dress from the men?

Answer. In his uniform, and easily distinguished from the men.

Question. Was it dark, or broad daylight?

Answer. It was dark; it was dusk.

Question. Was you so situated that you only could see Captain Creighton strike Mr. Marston?

Answer. There were others there who might have seen it.

Question. Which side of the capstan did this occur?

Answer. The starboard side.

Question. Were not the men working ship, and at their stations?

Answer. Yes.

Witness questioned by Captain Creighton.

Question. Did you not say I had a trumpet in the hand I struck Mr. Marston with?

Answer. You had a trumpet in your hand, but not in the one you struck him with.

Question. Was not Mr. Marston standing with his back to me?

Answer. I cannot say how Mr. Marston was standing.

Question. Did you not suppose it was to call his attention, and not meant as a blow?

Answer. It was intended as a blow.

Witness questioned by the court.

Question. Was Mr. Marston standing, leaning, or walking the deck?

Answer. I do not know.

The witness declares he knows nothing in relation to the second charge. Directed to withdraw.

The prosecutor being asked, declined questioning the witness, and being also asked if he had any other witnesses to produce, named a Mr. Middleton, and, on inquiry being made for him, it appears he is not in reach of the court. Mr. Marston then stated that the beforementioned Mr. Middleton was a material witness to make good his charges against Captain Creighton.

All parties were ordered to withdraw, and the court took the above statement into consideration. They observe thereon, that as it has been ascertained that Mr. Middleton is not within reach of the court, and also that, as he is not amenable to any process issuing from this court, and as there is no reasonable expectation that his attendance can be procured hereafter, they cannot put off the trial to a more distant day; it also appearing that Mr. Middleton is a witness both for and against the prosecution.

Midshipman Talmadge and Midshipman Derby duly sworn on the part of the prosecution.

Midshipman Talmadge examined, states as follows:

I heard Captain Creighton make use of this expression to Midshipman Marston, that he was guilty of a malicious falsehood, but have since been induced to believe that he said a mischievous one.


Question by the court. Did you hear Captain Creighton tell Midshipman Marston he would throw him overboard?

Answer. I did not.

Question. Where was Captain Creighton and Midshipman Marston standing at the time Captain Creighton said he told a mischievous falsehood?

Answer. On the gun-deck, on the larboard side.

Question. What part of the ship were you in when you observed the parties?

Answer. I was passing the hatch on the quarter-deck, and stopped there. I could not see all their bodies, I only saw the lower part of them.

Question. How did you know that Captain Creighton was speaking to Mr. Marston?

Answer. I heard their voices; and have no doubt on the subject.

The prosecutor being asked, declined putting any questions to the witness.

Witness was then questioned by Captain Creighton.

Question. Are you positive it was on the gun-deck this expression was used?

Answer. Yes.

Question. On what part of the gun-deck?

Answer. Just forward of the cabin bulk-head, near the ladder.

The witness was directed to withdraw.

Midshipman Derby examined, states, that he knows nothing in relation to the second charge and specification.

Witness questioned by prosecutor.

Question. Did not Mr. Tallmadge call on you to witness certain expressions of Captain Creighton?

Answer. He did call on me, but I heard nothing.

Witness questioned by Captain Creighton.

Question. When Mr. Tallmadge called you, did you see me, and what part of the ship was I in?

Answer. When Mr. Tallmadge called me you was under the half deck; I was on the spar-deck at the after hatch.

The witness was directed to withdraw.

Midshipman Marston desired that his testimony might be heard by the court; he was sworn accordingly, and stated as follows: On the 8th of July, when we were standing out of Gibraltar bay, I was attending as usual on the quarter-deck to the commodore. I received a blow on the back. I turned round. Captain Creighton said damn my blood, why don't you attend to have the fore brace hauled in: I saw the order executed. The next day I wrote a letter to the commodore, stating that Captain Creighton had struck, me. Captain Creighton tailed me on the main deck, and said, my report to the commodore was a mischievous falsehood. A short time afterwards he called me to the starboard gangway, and made use of the same expression. On denying his assertion, he told me he would throw me overboard. He then said, go and tell the commodore that he told me to be out of his sight; which order I obeyed.

Witness questioned by the court.

Question. What did be strike you with?

Answer. With his fist as far as I could judge; he might have had the trumpet clenched in his hand.

Question. Was the blow severe or slight?

Answer. Pretty severe.

Question. Where was the commodore, and how near standing to you?

Answer. A little forward of me.

Question. Did you inquire the reason of the blow at the moment it was given you: and did you say any thing to Captain Creighton on the subject?

Answer. I did not.

Question. Were there any persons near you at the time, either officers or men?

Answer. There were a great many men. I did not observe any officers; there was considerable bustle.

Question. Was the blow given to call your attention to the duty going on, or was it from any other motive?

Answer. From the severity of the blow, I must think it was given maliciously.

Question. Was your manner and, language perfectly respectful to Captain Creighton, when he charged you with having asserted a mischievous falsehood?

Answer. It was not.

Question. Did Captain Creighton by his manner show any disposition to repeat the blow after you turned towards him?

Answer. I did not observe that he manifested a disposition to repeat the blow; I hurried off to execute the order.

Question. Did Captain Creighton speak to you in a loud tone of voice when he said damn my blood? &c.

Answer. Not very; he spoke in his common tone.

Question. Was the trumpet in the hand he struck you with?

Answer. From the feeling of the blow, I think it was with the plain fist.

Question. Did you make any complaint or remonstrance to Captain Creighton, he being your captain, previous to your report to the commodore?

Answer. I did not.

Question. Were you alone or in a crowd?

Answer. There were scattering men around me; they were going on with their duty: there was no great crowd.

Question. Was the ship in a situation to excite much anxiety in Captain Creighton, he being the captain of the ship?

Answer. At the time referred to, the ship was not in such a situation as to cause anxiety.

Question. Did Captain Creighton strike many of the men on this occasion?

Answer. He broke one, or, I believe, two trumpets over the men's heads.

Question, Were not the officers generally at their station's on the deck?

Answer. I saw no officer on the deck at the time I went to execute the order.

Question. How did Captain Creighton compel you to retreat after you turned towards him?

Answer. He did not compel me, but from the manner in which he spoke and looked, it was my wish to be away from him as quick as possible.

Question. Have you ever had any conversations or private interviews with the seaman, (your witness,) on the subject of his evidence, and how did you know that he noticed the blow you complain of?

Answer. I have had no private interview with the sailor. I first heard from an officer that the sailor had observed the blow which I received from Captain Creighton. 1 afterwards took an opportunity of speaking to the sailor in the gangway on the subject; the opportunity was a mere chance; he was going on with duty with some other men. I asked him if he could swear in court to this assertion; he said he could, I added, that I presumed a court martial would sit in a few days, and I should call upon him.

Question. Did any other conversation take, place between him and you on this subject?

Answer. No.

Question. Do you know that the first witness has ever been punished by Captain Creighton?

Answer. He was formerly captain of the main-top, but broke. I do not know that he was flogged.

Question. What officer told you that this seaman noticed the occurrence; and how long after?

Answer. I understood from several officers that Midshipman Crowninshield had said this man saw the blow given.

Question. Did Captain Creighton say that your report was a malicious or a mischievous falsehood?


Answer. A mischievous.

Question. Which side of the capstan were you when you received the blow?

Answer. The starboard side.

The witness questioned by Captain Creighton.

Question. Which hand had I the trumpet in?

Answer. I do not recollect

Question. How far from the capstan was you standing?

Answer. About two feet.

The evidence on the part of the prosecution here closed.

Commodore Isaac Chauncey, Lieutenant Shubrick, and Lieutenant Dudley, were duly sworn on the part of Captain Creighton.

Commodore Chauncey examined as follows:

Question by the court. Did you see Captain Creighton strike Mr. Marston?

Answer. No.

Question. Do you know any thing in relation to the second charge?

Answer. Nothing. The commodore proceeded to state, that he remembers the ship was working out of Gibraltar bay, on the evening of the 8th July. He heard Captain Creighton speak to a person who stood near him, and judged that he spoke to Mr. Marston, as he heard Mr. Marston reply, "he was attending on the commodore." The next day he received a letter from Mr. Marston, stating that Captain Creighton had struck him. This letter I handed to Captain Creighton. The following day I received another letter from Mr. Marston, containing the charges and specifications. I had a conversation with Mr. Marston, and made some overtures to him by way of reconciling the subject of his complaint, stating to him my belief that Captain Creighton was incapable of offering such violence to an officer, and that I doubted not but Captain Creighton would readily satisfy him on this subjects these he declined, and stated his reasons for doing so. I repeated these overtures to Mr. Marston some days after, and they were still rejected. I then acquainted him that as the frigate United States had now arrived, and as soon as she should be released from quarantine, I should order a court martial for the trial of Captain Creighton.

Question by Captain Creighton. Did I not tell you when you showed me both of Midshipman Marston's letters that I was entirely ignorant of the circumstances he complained of, and have I not repeatedly told you so since?

Answer. When I showed Captain Creighton the first letter, he denied having any knowledge of the circumstance. Captain Creighton has denied ever having any intention to strike Mr. Marston.

Question. Did not Mr. Marston say to you that he was urged by some officer to write you again on the subject?

Answer. Yes.

Question. Have you ever known me to show a disposition to tyrannise or oppress the officers of the Washington?

Answer. No. I should conceive it my duty to check it, if I made such discovery.

Question. Do you not think that I wished to call Mr. Marston's attention, and not to strike him?

Answer. I never believed for a moment that you struck Mr. Marston maliciously. When I received Mr. Marston's first letter, I supposed that you probably had pushed him with your trumpet to call his attention; it was quite dark at the time.

Question. Do you not think the officers of the Washington have every kindness and indulgence shown them that the service will admit of?

Answer. I know nothing to the contrary.

Question. If it had been a severe blow, are you not of opinion, standing where you did, that you should have heard something of it?

Answer. I think I should.

The commodore further states to the court that the ship, at the time she was working out of the bay of Gibraltar, was in such a situation as to excite very great anxiety both in himself and Captain Creighton, and required the exertions of all the officers and crew.

The witness withdrew.

The court adjourned till to-morrow, ten o'clock.

Wednesday morning, August 28, 1816.

The court met pursuant to adjournment. Present: the members and judge advocate.

Lieutenant Shubrick examined as follows:

Question by Captain Creighton. Did I not request of you to see Mr. Marston, and assure him that I disavowed having given him, intentionally, any thing like a blow, and that, if he chose to withdraw the charges, I would satisfy him fully on what he complained of?

Answer. I told Mr. Marston that Captain Creighton disavowed any knowledge of having struck him, and that if he would withdraw the charges, he would satisfy him fully as to the language he complained of.

Question. Did he not at first show an indication to accept the proposal?

Answer. I had two conversations with Mr. Marston—one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. In the morning I thought he manifested some disposition to withdraw them; in the evening he did not.

Question. Did he not say that Commodore Rodgers was broke for striking a midshipman, and that it was only necessary to swear to the fact to have me punished in the same way?

Answer. He observed to me that one of the first officers in the service was broke on a similar charge, and he supposed it only necessary to swear to the fact. I told him I thought differently. I presumed a court would inquire particularly into the intention of the person charged with the offence.

The prosecutor declined putting any questions to the witness.

Lieutenant Shubrick withdrew.

Captain Creighton declined troubling the court with the examination of Lieutenant Dudley. The prosecutor claimed the privilege of questioning Lieutenant Dudley, and the court took the same under consideration. All parties withdrew.

The court came to the resolution to address the prosecutor as follows:

Sir: You having been highly favored in consequence of your youth, being allowed to appear as an evidence yourself, and to produce to the court two additional witnesses in support of your charges, the court decide that they will not receive the testimony of Lieutenant Dudley, believing that it cannot possibly be of any importance towards the support of your charges. The court have, noticed in you a want of due respect to them, which their forbearance alone has heretofore prevented from noticing. The court warn you in future to bear in mind that similar conduct will call from them a more strong expression of their disapprobation.

There being no other witnesses to examine for or against the prosecution, Captain Creighton presented to the court the annexed defence which was read by the judge advocate.

The court was then cleared, and the minutes read over by the judge advocate, and the following sentence pronounced.


The court having maturely and deliberately weighed and considered the whole matter, agree that the charges and specifications are not proved, and do therefore adjudge Captain Creighton to be acquitted; and he is hereby most fully and honorably acquitted accordingly. The court further agree in opinion that the overture made by Captain Creighton to Midshipman Marston, through Commodore Chauncey, even if the charges could have been proven, ought to have been amply sufficient to an officer of Mr. Marston's grade, more especially when coming through the commander-in-chief, the public guardian of all our rights, who advised it. It has appeared, moreover, that a similar overture was made through the first lieutenant


of the Washington, and rejected; the court do believe therefrom that the prosecution was persisted in from malignant motives, and they feel it a duty they owe the service to express their decided disapprobation of such malicious, frivolous, and vexatious accusations.

The court adjourned sine die.

JOHN SHAW, President.

Approved: I. CHAUNCEY, Commander.

Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Court:

I will trespass as little on your patience as possible, and only make such observations on the subject before you as appear necessary, in justice to my own character and reputation.

I had hoped that it would not be found necessary to trouble you at all with this affair; but, finding all my exertions to satisfy the young gentleman were ineffectual, I was at last driven to the necessity of asking the decision of a court martial—the only way I saw left me of checking exaggerated reports, and of removing unjust imputations against myself: and it is with the greatest cheerfulness that I place my honor in the hands of such characters as form this court. They can only judge what is right; and although they will tenaciously guard a young officer from oppression and wrong, yet I feel fully sensible that they will never encourage him in presuming beyond his age and station.

I am charged with having struck a midshipman upon the quarter-deck, and of having violated the fifteenth article of the "rules and regulations for the better government of the navy." I will state to the court how these charges originated; and I trust I have already proved to its satisfaction that it is not the high sense of honor, nor the fine feelings, nor yet the high sense of injury, that has induced this young man thus obstinately to reject every proper and honorable proposal to satisfy his feelings, but that he has been worked upon, and his mind poisoned, by some unworthy member of our corps, who, unable to make himself conspicuous as an officer or a seaman, takes delight in sowing the seeds of discontent; and, instead of doing his utmost to convince young officers that it is impossible for their commanders to harbor a hostile feeling towards them, he appears to exercise the feeble talent he possesses towards disorganizing the ship and creating insubordination. For himself, it is well he keeps concealed; but for the service it is truly unfortunate.

On the 7th day of July last, while at anchor in the bay of Gibraltar, I received an order to get the ship under way, which I attempted, and hove up the anchor. Finding I had not wind enough to take me clear of the vessels in the harbor, and that the current had set in towards the rock, I was under the necessity of anchoring again, until the boats of the squadron could come to our assistance; they having assembled round the ship, she was again got under way. It was then about sunset; and, in consequence of the light and baffling state of the wind, we were compelled to pass through our own and the Dutch squadron, and it required the greatest attention to the Washington to prevent her from falling on board one or more ships then at anchor. This made me extremely anxious, first, that no accident might happen; secondly, that the ship should be so managed as to sustain the character the navy had already acquired; and thirdly, I was anxious for my own reputation as an officer and a seaman. The situation of the ship, therefore, kept me constantly in motion, sometimes in one gangway, then in the other; sometimes on one side of the quarter-deck, then on the other; and it is not unlikely, in passing thus quickly about the deck, that if a midshipman, or any other person, stood in my way, I might have shoved him out of it, or pushed him, to call his attention. Beyond this, I declare, in the presence of my God, was never my meaning or intention, (admitting the fact;) and when such trifles are magnified, and made the basis of a serious charge, it can only be considered frivolous and vexatious conduct. If he received any thing like a blow, I solemnly aver it to be an accident; it never was intentional; for it would be as impossible for me to raise my hand in anger to an inferior officer, as it would be to move Mount Vesuvius. But, gentlemen, I am as ignorant of the whole of this transaction as you are, who did not see it; nor did I hear of it until the next day at noon. After reflecting upon the matter frequently, I have some slight recollection of speaking sharply to a midshipman then standing idle on the quarter-deck, and of his replying that he was attending on the commodore; but at what time it happened, or on what part of the deck, I have racked my brain to think, and am yet in perfect darkness respecting it. I am particularly anxious to remove the impression this charge would convey; and I trust, after the solemn asseveration I have made, that no member of this court, or any other person present, can believe me to have been capable of such an outrage. Gentlemen, I am anxious to remove it on another ground. Can it be supposed for a moment that I would strike a midshipman by the side of the commander-in-chief, and one, too, that I had particularly ordered to attend him? Could I be so disrespectful? It is impossible; and I trust you are all convinced it is so. Had this officer turned to me at the time, and said, "Sir, you have struck me," I should immediately have made him ample apology on the spot for the accident, (for it could only be accidental, if it occurred at all,) and the matter there would have rested; but, on the contrary, he suffers the affair to slumber until noon the next day, and then addresses a letter to the commodore, through whom I received my information. Offended at the indignity shown me, I sent for the midshipman in the starboard gangway, and inquired respecting the subject of his letter; and, believing myself as innocent as the child unborn, I did say it was a "mischievous falsehood." This I did religiously believe, and therefore pronounced it so. But, admitting that I did utter some hasty expressions, they were forced from me in consequence of the very provoking manner that he contradicted me, which the very law that he complains I violated forbids him to do; and is there nothing to set off against a little warmth of temper? Does the midshipman receive nothing from his captain? To whom does he look tor comforts, for privileges, and indulgences, nay, for protection? Mr. President and gentlemen of the court, I conceive this rod was never intended to be held over the head of a captain; for if he is to be tried for every imaginary wrong that an officer may think proper to set forth, there is at once an end to all authority and subordination.

I beg you, gentlemen, to bear in mind that it must have been dusk when the alleged offence was committed, and that the complainant had his back to me; and that I have made every effort to soothe his feelings, and remove any impression that I meant to do him an injury; and I do assure the court that I have taken more pains, and gone further to effect this, than I should have done to an equal or superior. The court, I am sure, will also recollect that the principal evidence they have, as to the blow, is the prosecutor himself; and I rest satisfied that they will consider well what he has said before they suffer his testimony to make an impression. As to the respectable witness he brought in support of the charge, I have no hesitation in saying, as my opinion, that he neither saw nor knew any thing of the matter at the time; and I think I have proved by Lieutenant Shubrick that the complainant thought it only necessary to come before this court, and make oath to the fact, to deprive me of my sword. But whether he will succeed or not rests with this honorable body. Therefore, gentlemen, if it has been proved to the court that what is complained of was accidental and unintentional, (admitting that it took place,) and that it was zeal for the service and anxiety for the ship that made me notice him at all, why then I trust your acquittal will be full and honorable; and if, on the other hand, you are satisfied that I struck him designedly, and in. contempt of the law, let your punishment be as exemplary.


To His Excellency James Monroe, Esq. President of the United States of America.

This memorial respectfully showeth:

Whereas we, as officers of that Government whose scheme of national welfare and virtuous policy has no equal in the history of the world, conceive it our high privilege and duty, both to ourselves and country, when any


grievance of a serious and general, as well as individual nature, prevails, to appeal in a respectful manner to that authority which officially created us, praying suitable redress for the same. In the present view of things, the power of granting this the President and Congress alone possess.

It is not intended or desired that denunciation, or any thing of an inflammatory or indecorous nature, shall take any part or have any place in this measure; nor is there any individual person upon whom we wish to vent a splenetic spirit; nor yet, as we conceive, does the moving cause alone concern any individual of us; but that all, particularly junior officers in the service, are equally interested, though probably some on home stations may not as yet be equally aware of the same.

However painful to your memorialists, they are compelled to declare that the laws of our service do not, in effect, secure us against personal injury from (we would fain hope, and do believe) the few commanders, and other officers, who may be disposed to infringe upon our feelings, or do violence to our persons, by striking with the fist, sword, or any other weapon.

We are free to assert, as the facts have been unequivocally substantiated, indeed acknowledged, that upon this station American officers have not only been cursed, abused, insulted, and spurned, but traduced, and actually struck, by certain commanders, and for which no adequate penalty, redress, or correction has been adjudged by Commodore Chauncey, nor by legally organized courts martial. Measures of this kind may be productive of a menial and servile fear, such as characterize the oppressed and degraded mariners of fallen monarchies, but can never inspire or ensure that spontaneous and dignified respect with which officers should deport themselves towards each other and their superiors. Your memorialists beg leave to draw your special attention, besides other instances, to the causes which have led to, and the subsequent proceedings and issue of, certain recent courts martial upon this remote and important station, the documents of which, we presume, have been forwarded to, and received at, the proper department. They deem it unnecessary at this time to cite specifically and in detail the numerous cases in view, as it would swell this instrument to an improper length; but when an investigation of the most important of them shall have been instituted by the President, or any other competent authority, it has only to signify or require it, when we stand prepared to substantiate facts and circumstances which no American can acquiesce in, and which, we trust, that authority to which we appeal will not suffer to pass by with impunity.

Should it be found necessary, as your memorialists apprehend will be the case, they hope that your wisdom may suitably suggest and urge to Congress the propriety of enacting a law, holding sacred our feelings from abuse, and persons from injury, until duly convicted of offences, for which suitable punishment shall have been awarded by a competent tribunal. That authority which officially created us, we are confident, will not subject us to injury and injustice.

On a home station your memorialists would not be under the painful necessity of presenting this address to your notice, believing, as they most firmly do, that it would not have for its foundation similar causes with those which have originated in extraordinary and unwarrantable practices here. In regard to their superior officers, they feel assured that the Government will not decide in favor of a presumptuous declaration made by an officer of elevated rank, that "the laws were not created to be held as a rod of chastisement over the heads of post captains." Can any American commander, we would ask, be allowed to utter such a monarchical and tyrannical sentiment, particularly in the presence of so many young officers, who should ever look up to that grade of officers for examples of virtue, patriotism, and principles of correct discipline? If we are a free people, as is represented by the laws of our country, we pray that they may not be more rigidly enforced on inferiors than those set over them, where violations and crimes are the same; though laws, we are truly aware, extend to all alike, and an abuse of them cannot be imputed to their defect, but abused authority.

Your memorialists are not sensible of any article of the rules and regulations for the better government of the navy of the United States that is in anywise too rigid,as it is certain that a system of strict discipline is the basis and soul of every well regulated and efficient military establishment.

Your memorialists forbear to enlarge further upon this subject, upon the numerous and baneful consequences which are certain to arise from a state of things where all discipline is disregarded. They are too obvious to require elucidation. With alacrity and a laudable zeal do we endeavor to execute, with promptitude, the orders of our superior officers; but if, unfortunately, we casually err, as is often innocently the case, we desire to be corrected, as the Government has ever contemplated, by the salutary mode prescribed by itself.

With every confidence in the justice of the Chief Executive of our beloved country, we beg leave to subscribe ourselves, with the most unfeigned respect, sir, your obedient humble servants,

James Goodrum,

F. W. C. Story,

William C. Wetmore.

Henry D. Scott,

Charles Lowndes,

Charles Boarman, Jr.

Daniel L. Desaussure,

Patrick H. Overton,

Solomon Rutter, Jr.

Charles Ellery,

William W. Ramsay,

Matthew C. Stout,

William Jamesson,

William H. Campbell,

Robert B. Cunningham,

Otho Stallings,

Richard S. Hunter,

James G. Bougham,

Cornelius K. Stribling,

George N. Hollins,

Archibald R. Bogardus,

Frederick Wolbert, Jr.

John S. Nicholas,

Edward A. Lansing,

French Forrest,

James T. Gerry,

William M. Armstrong.

Walter F. Jones,

William J. Belt,

Joseph Moorhead,

Thomas A. Conover,

Jacob Crowninshield,

Thomas Patten,

John B. Montgomery,

Francis Sanderson,

George F. Pearson,

John A. Cook,

Benjamin Tallmadge,

Russell Baldwin,

Abraham Hosack,

John M. Channing,

John P. Tuttle,

Charles Gaunt,

Robert Armistead,

Joshua W. Cochran,

Richard M. Potter,

Irvine Shubrick,

Green Lynch,

Joseph Mattison,

David R. Stewart,

William F. Shields,

George A. Weaver,

Thomas R. Gerry,

John L. Cumming,