21st Congress.] 

No. 406. 

[1st Session.



Navy Department, January 26, 1830.

Sir: In compliance with the requisitions contained in your letter of the 22d ultimo, calling for the views of this Department, in detail, on all subjects embraced in the documents accompanying the President's message in relation to the navy, I have the honor herewith to submit a bill for an organization of the surgical department of the navy, containing the necessary provisions to carry the same into effect.

The object of the proposed organization is to secure a more uniform and systematic attention to the preservation of the health of the persons employed in the naval service of the United States, than has heretofore been bestowed on that subject.

This is intended to be effected by the selection of some one of the surgeons of the navy, (not otherwise engaged in its service,) whose duty it shall be to direct and supervise the execution of all matters having reference to the surgical and medical department thereof; to direct the employment, by the surgeons of the navy, of certain prescribed methods of guarding against the attacks of epidemical or infectious diseases; to prevent their extension when they may make their appearance on board vessels, or at stations under their care; to the use of the most approved means of correcting foul air of vessels-of-war, or hospitals; to their proper ventilation, and such methods as may have been ascertained to be useful for the purification of the water and preservation of the provisions; medicine and hospital stores provided for the navy afloat and on shore; to require of the surgeons in actual service, to report at stated periods the results of the employment of the means above mentioned, in conformity to their instructions; to require reports of all the epidemical, or other diseases deemed infectious which may make their appearance among the persons under their care, with a history of their phenomena, their probable cause, mode of treatment, and the effect thereof; also, of all the casualties occurring in the service, under their observation, the treatment of the same, and the results; to require reports exhibiting the views of the surgeons of the navy upon the influence of the discipline of the navy on the health of seamen; the effect of diet or drinks, and suggestions as to the consequences of change therein; to require reports of all improvements in the surgical and medical department, which they may be able to obtain by an examination of the treatment of the sick or wounded in the hospitals or service of other nations, and reports on any other points having reference to the accomplishment of the great object in view; the more perfect preservation of the health of persons employed, in the naval service of the United States. To make it also the duty of the surgeon so selected to have all such reports recorded and preserved in his office, and, if it should be deemed necessary, to have the most important subjects selected, published and distributed to the surgeons of the navy, thereby giving them all the advantages of the practice and experience of their predecessors in service, of which it is believed the surgeons of the present day have not the opportunity to avail themselves.

At present, the surgeons of the navy may be said to be under no guidance whatever in the discharge of their professional duties, except their own discretion or pleasure.

Upon the importance of the objects contemplated to be effected by the proposed bill, it is not deemed necessary to dwell. It is confidently believed that the plan proposed will effect the end desired.

All which is respectfully submitted.


The Hon. Robert T. Hayne, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, in the Senate of the U. S.


A BILL to establish the office of surgeon general of the navy.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint a surgeon general of the navy of the United States, the said officer to be selected from among the surgeons now in the navy, and to perform the duties hereinafter set forth.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, &c., That it shall be the duty of the surgeon, so as above appointed, to supervise all matters connected with the health of the crews of vessels-of-war, and of seamen attached to naval stations and hospitals; to require from the different surgeons and assistant surgeons reports of the casualties in the service, the treatment thereof, and the results; also of diseases occurring in the navy at sea, in foreign ports, and at home stations; the probable causes, treatment, and results, and to have the same recorded; and to report to the Secretary of the Navy, from time to time, the services rendered by the different surgeons and assistant surgeons of the navy, and the manner in which they have been performed; to supervise the selection, purchase, and putting up of all drugs, medicines, surgical instruments, hospital stores and furniture, required for the naval service of the United States; to furnish an estimate of the quantity and kind necessary for any ship or service, and to attend to the preservation of all articles deposited by surgeons and assistant surgeons of ships returned from a cruise, and about to be dismantled, with such other duties as the Secretary of the Navy may assign to him, with a view to the promotion of the interest of the service, and the advancement of the medical corps in their professional knowledge.

Sec 3. And be it further enacted, &c., That the Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized to attach to the Medical Bureau, hereby established, one clerk, who shall receive as a compensation for his services the sum of ----- dollars per annum.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, &c., That the surgeon general of the navy shall be entitled to receive, in full compensation for his services, three thousand dollars per annum, in lieu of pay, rations, and emoluments.