18th Congress.]

No. 234.




Mr. Crowninshield made the following report:

The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was committed the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th of December, directing an inquiry into the expediency of authorizing the construction of ten additional stoops of war, respectfully report:

That, by a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, dated January 7, 1824, to your committee, it appears there are, at this time, in the Navy of the United States, but four sloops of war, and no more are authorized to be built, while the laws provide for twelve ships of the line, twelve frigates of the largest class, and three of the second. The disproportion, therefore, between the number of sloops and the number of larger vessels is very great, and must be productive of inconvenience when all are to be employed in active service; and when, too, that class, of vessels must become very useful when employed singly or in fleets.

Your committee are further of opinion that sloops of war can, in time of peace, be employed for all the ordinary purposes for which vessels of war are wanted, with more expedition in fitting them for sea, at a much less expense, and would often supersede the necessity of the employment of the larger vessels of war; so that, on the score of economy, they seem to be required.

They are useful, as your committee do believe, in another respect; some such vessels are required and the want thereof much felt, as they seem to be the proper command for masters commandant, and the command of which will give them that skill and knowledge which are absolutely necessary they should have before they can be fully competent to command ships of the largest class, and the want of which, at some future day, may be sensibly felt by the nation.

Your committee also find, by estimates from the Navy Commissioners to the Secretary of the, Navy, dated 23d of December, 1823, that the expense of constructing, together with the cost of all the materials of all descriptions, for a sloop of war of the largest class, will amount to eighty-five thousand dollars; and the expense of officering, manning, and victualling the same, for employment, will amount to sixty-one thousand two hundred dollars per annum.

Your committee, therefore, seeing the importance of these sloops of war, do most respectfully and earnestly recommend the building of ten additional sloops of war, to be forthwith commenced; and they beg leave to report a bill accordingly.