ON THE PROPER MODE OF CORRECTING ANY ABUSES ON THE PART OF ANY OFFICER OF THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES.
COMMUNICATED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JANUARY 29, 1833.
Mr. Watmough, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the several resolutions presented on the 17th inst., by the Hon. Mr. Hogan, of this House, with the view to inquire into and prevent certain abuses alleged therein to exist in the naval service of the United States, reported:
That they have duly and maturely considered the same; and having referred the resolutions, with the documents appended thereto, to the Navy Department, and received from the Secretary the annexed letter, dated January 28, 1833, containing his views on the subject, they beg leave respectfully to submit the same to the House, as follows:
Navy Department, January 28, 1833.
Sir: I have received your letters of the 25th inst., in relation to the resolutions of the House of Representatives, passed the 11th inst., on the proper measures to be adopted to prevent certain supposed abuses among the officers of the navy.
My opinion is not asked on the existence of those abuses at this or at any former period, whether practiced by the officer designated in the specifications, or by any other officers in the service; but only whether any "further legislation is necessary, to correct the abuses supposed by said resolution to exist in the service."
In reply to this last inquiry, I can only say that if such abuses have ever occurred, or should occur hereafter, it appears to me no further legislation is necessary to correct them, but that the past and present authority of the Department, through courts of inquiry and courts-martial, is ample for the correction of them; and, it is presumed, no period has existed when that authority would not have been exercised, on due complaint being made for the purpose, supported by such probable evidence of guilt as would justify calling on the officer implicated for official explanation, and, if not given satisfactorily, ordering on him such judicial proceedings as the circumstances appeared to require. The papers enclosed are herewith returned.
I am, very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
The Hon. John Anderson, Chairman of the Naval Committee, Mouse of Representatives.
Your committee avail themselves of the occasion to express their hearty concurrence in these views, expressed by the Secretary of the Navy; and entering as they now do their protest against any such future proceeding, through the medium of this House, against either the naval or military officers of the government, they respectfully ask to be discharged from all further consideration of the subject.