ON MODE OF RELIEVING VESSELS-OF-WAR ON FOREIGN STATIONS, AND RETURN OF SEAMEN TO THE UNITED STATES WHOSE TERMS OF SERVICE HAVE EXPIRED.
COMMUNICATED TO THE SENATE DECEMBER 29, 1830.
Navy Department, December 28, 1830.
The Secretary of the Navy, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the United States, of the 22d instant, requiring him "to inform the Senate whether provision has been made to relieve our national ships on foreign stations before the expiration of the term of enlistment of the seamen, and what measures have been taken to ensure the return of seamen to the United States whose terms of service have expired, or are about to expire," has the honor to report:
That provision has been made for the relief of such of our vessels-of-war as have been absent for a period of nearly three years' duration; and it is the policy and practice of the Department to have sent home, in vessels-of-war returning from foreign stations, all seamen in the public service whose terms have expired or are about to expire.
That when a public armed vessel is about to leave the United States, seamen to form her crew are enlisted under the provisions of the act of the 15th of May, 1820, to serve for a period of three years, being the usual term of a cruise at sea; but, as all the crew cannot be entered on the same day, and many are often left behind from temporary disease, contracted after entering the service, and other causes, who are subsequently placed on board of other vessels-of-war, and seamen are occasionally enlisted in foreign ports, it often happens that their terms of service expire at different dates. In such cases, when public vessels are not returning to the United States, and the seamen are unwilling to re-enter for the usual or shorter periods of a cruise, it is the standing order of the Department that they shall be provided, by the earliest opportunity, with their passage home at the public expense.
The following enumeration of our national ships-of-war, in commission on foreign stations, is also presented, viz:
Squadron in the Mediterranean.
Frigate Java; sailed 7th June, 1827; relieved.
Frigate Brandywine; sailed 22d October, 1830.
Sloop-of-war Ontario; sailed 21st August, 1829.
Sloop-of-war Boston; sailed 29th June, 1830.
Sloop-of-war Concord; sailed 28th June, 1830.
Sloop-of-war Fairfield; sailed 20th August, 1828; to be relieved.
Squadron in the West Indies.
Sloop-of-war Erie; sailed 2d November, 1829.
Sloop-of-war Peacock; sailed 26th September, 1829.
Sloop-of-war Natchez; sailed 10th May, 1830.
Schooner Grampus; sailed 24th May, 1828.
Schooner Shark; sailed 5th November, 1828.
Schooner Porpoise; sailed 19th October, 1830.
Squadron on the coast of Brazil.
Frigate Hudson; sailed 27th September, 1828.
Sloop-of-war Vandalia; sailed 16th December, 1828.
Squadron in the Pacific ocean.
Frigate Guerriere; sailed 14th February, 1829.
Sloop-of-war St. Louis; sailed 14th February, 1829.
Schooner Dolphin; sailed in the year 1821.
From this it will be perceived that all have been less than three years at sea, with the exception of the frigate Java, in the Mediterranean, whose condition was sound, and the schooner Dolphin, in the Pacific ocean, which has been kept in repair. The crew of the former, as their times expired, were relieved, and the Brandywine having been ordered to the Mediterranean to take her place, the Java is now returning to the United States with such seamen of the squadron as had served out their times, or whose periods of service were about expiring. The crews of the Dolphin have been relieved from time to time, as their periods of service expired; and considering it more safe, convenient, and economical to keep her on that distant station than to send a small vessel of her own class from the United States, she has been permitted to remain in that ocean.
All which is respectfully submitted. JOHN BRANCH, Secretary of the Navy.
To the Hon Samuel Smith, President, pro tempore, of the Senate of the United States.