23d Congress.]

No. 531.

[1st Session.



Mr. Watmough, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the several memorials of Matthew C. Perry and E. R. Shubrick, masters commandant in the navy of the United States, reported: That Captain Perry sailed from the United States to join the Mediterranean squadron, in June, 1830. He first repaired to St. Petersburg, in compliance with the annexed order, marked A, and landed the minister accredited to that court. Prom thence, he sailed for his original destination. It is evident by the terms of his memorial and the documents annexed in proof thereof, that, in obedience to written orders, as well from the Department as from his immediate commanding officer, and in the furtherance of the public interests abroad, he has been subjected to the most serious personal expenditures, to the entire sacrifice of his own private means. Your committee pass over the many minor instances enumerated. It is sufficient to state they were all encountered by Captain Perry, in obedience to orders which placed them beyond his control, and could not be disregarded. The principal and most remarkable instance must not be overlooked. In the course of her cruise, the Concord touched at Alexandria, in Egypt. Shortly after his arrival, Captain Perry was honored with a visit from the Pacha of Egypt, Mehemet Ali, accompanied by a numerous suite. Of the nature of this visit, and the effect produced by it on the mind of the Pacha, ample testimony is afforded in the annexed document, marked B. It will readily be supposed that all the means in his power were put in requisition by Captain Perry, to receive this illustrious chieftain in a manner becoming the dignity of his own country, and with all the forms and ceremonies which the rank and character of his guest required. The occasion certainly was one of deep interest. A despotic prince, of haughty, arrogant and capricious temper, for the first time is brought in contact with the representatives of a remote nation; whose fame, beyond all doubt, had reached him, but of whose habits, customs and manners he had hitherto remained ignorant. The consequence of the least neglect on their part towards him, or of any supposed indifference, no matter how imaginary, may readily be appreciated. Upon either might depend, not only the security of an extensive and valuable commerce, but even the lives of such of our fellow-citizens as resided within his dominions. The occasion, too, involved the honor of his country, and of her flag, whose guardian he was. Regardless, therefore, of all personal considerations, Captain Perry only weighed the paramount obligations which every view of the matter imposed upon him, and acted accordingly. A large proportion of the amount now claimed by way of remuneration sprang from this event. In the performance of a high public duty, his private resources were liberally sacrificed, and a heavy debt incurred. He placed his reliance for remuneration on the justice and liberality of his country. To that justice, and to the same liberality which Congress has evinced in similar previous cases, he now appeals; and your committee are of opinion, the appeal should be duly met.

To place this appeal in its strongest possible light, your committee ask the attention of the House to the following statement. It shows the amount of pay received annually by the grade to which both the petitioners, whose cases are now under consideration, belong—that of the masters commandant—believed to be one of the most responsible in the service. It supposes, as is known to be the case in the present instances, and is probably so in almost every other, the fact of a family left at home to be maintained:

House rent annually

$300 00

One servant, at $5 per month

60 00

Four rations per day for wife and children, at 25 cents per ration

365 00


60 00

Clothing, at the low calculation of

100 00

Incidental expenses

50 00

$935 00

Master commandant's pay per month, at $60, is

$720 00

Five rations per day, at 25 cents each, is

456 25

$1,176 25

Deduct 20 cents per month for hospital fund

2 40

$1,173 85

Deduct home expenses

935 00

Leaving a balance of.

$238 85

for his own support at sea for one year. It is difficult to believe that such a state of things could have been allowed so long to exist. It is, nevertheless, true; such, or nearly so, is the condition of the present petitioners; and yet, under such circumstances, have they both been required to make disbursements of their private means—in the one case, to an amount of fifteen hundred dollars; in the other, to an amount of thirteen hundred dollars, in the course of a single cruise. Your committee will not permit themselves to think that the high sense of honor which actuates our naval officers will be allowed to operate so materially to the prejudice of their private resources, and compromit so deeply the welfare of their families. They therefore report the accompanying bill for the relief of Matthew C. Perry.

Your committee next proceed to examine the case of Captain E. R. Shubrick. It appears by his memorial that, in March, 1832, while in command of the United States sloop Vincennes, on the Pensacola station, Captain Shubrick received the annexed order, marked C, from the Secretary of the Navy, to receive on board his ship Robert M. Harrison, a public functionary, together with his family, and convey them to Kingston, in the island of Jamaica. Captain Shubrick accordingly complied, and the said Harrison and family were furnished with suitable maintenance during the voyage, which lasted a month, at the sole expense of said Shubrick. For this extra expense, incurred in the public service, and under an order from the Navy Department, Captain Shubrick now prays to be indemnified. Your committee are of opinion that he is justly entitled to remuneration. The amount claimed is the sum, nothing more nor less, charged by the purser of the ship to Captain Shubrick for the maintenance of the consul and his family. In the settlement of his accounts, this sum was disallowed him, and his monthly pay was docked until it was refunded.


By a reference to the letter marked D, it will be seen that Captain Shubrick used all proper precaution before he committed himself so much in the advances he was called upon to make. It is fairly to be inferred, from the correspondence annexed, that the consul was unable to provide himself and family with the means of sustenance, and it was fairly to be presumed by Captain Shubrick that the government was in some measure aware of this when they issued their order, at his own application, for him to be received on board the Vincennes. A reference to the letter marked E, makes it evident that the order of the 13th February, 1832, was sent to Captain Shubrick at the request of Harrison. It would seem, therefore, to be a gross violation of every principle of justice, to permit the heavy expenditure consequent upon said order, to fall upon a third party who had had nothing whatever to do with the arrangement. Believing therefore, that, on every principle of justice, Captain Shubrick is fairly entitled to the remuneration claimed, and applying to his case every principle laid down in that of Captain Perry, your committee ask leave to report the accompanying bill for his relief.


Navy Department, June 14, 1830.


When the Concord is in every respect manned and equipped, and the Hon. John Randolph, of Roanoke, minister from the United States to the court of St. Petersburg, and suite, shall have embarked, you will immediately proceed to sea. Should Mr. Randolph desire to touch at any of the English or other ports on the way, you will accede to his wishes, and, after gratifying him in this respect, proceed with and land himself and suite at Cronstadt, or any other suitable port that he may designate.

The Department has entire confidence in your discretion and ability, and feel satisfied that, to the extent of the means in your power, you will, by courtesy and attention, render his time comfortable and agreeable on the passage.

If it be acceptable to Mr. Middleton, and he can be prepared within a reasonable time, you will tender to himself and suite a passage to any convenient port of the Baltic, or of France or England, that he may point out.

After fulfilling the preceding part of your instructions, you will immediately make sail for the Mediterranean, and report to Commodore Biddle for duty in the squadron under his command.

I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant, 


Master Com. M. C. Perry, Commander of the United States Sloop-of-war Concord, Norfolk, Va. I certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the original.

HENRY J. WILLETT, Chief Clerk to Commandant, Navy Yard, N. Y.


Extract from a letter of Boghas Joussouff, chief interpreter and minister of foreign affairs to Mehemet Mi, Pacha of Egypt, to John Gliddon, Esq., United States consular agent for Egypt.

Honored Sir: His highness the Viceroy, my illustrious sovereign, charges me to express to you the peculiar satisfaction which he experienced in his visit to the corvette Concord, belonging to the great nation so worthily represented by your honored self, and for which his highness has always cherished sentiments of sincere esteem and admiration.

The attentions there received from the honored commander, Captain Perry, from the officers, and from the whole ship's company, have been deeply felt by his highness, and, in his name, I pray you, honored sir, to express his thanks for the same.

I take this opportunity, honored sir, to renew the assurance of the marked esteem and consideration with which

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,


To the honored J. Gliddon, Consular Agent of the United States of America, in Egypt.

A true copy.


I certify that the foregoing is a true copy of a translation made by Mr. John Gliddon.

HENRY J. WILLETT, Chief Clerk to Commandant, Navy Yard, N. Y.

Note—By Captain M. C Perry: The Pacha or Viceroy of Egypt visited the Concord in state, with a numerous retinue, as also did all the pachas at the head of the several departments of government.


Navy Department, February 13, 1832.


You are hereby authorized to convey R. M. Harrison, Esq., and family, to Jamaica, in the Vincennes, if it does not conflict with other urgent duties already commenced.

I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,


Master Commandant Edward R. Shubrick, Commanding U. S. Ship Vincennes, Pensacola, Florida.


United States Ship Fairfield, Pensacola Bay, May 4, 1832.

Sir: I have received your letter of this date, requesting me to state whether, from my knowledge of the situation of Mr. Richard M. Harrison, "he had, or had not, the means of providing stores for his family," on their passage from this port to Jamaica, in the United States ship Vincennes, under your command. In answer to which, I have to state that, just before I sailed from this place, in August, 1831, Mr. Harrison informed me that his funds amounted to not more that $250, which sum, I presume, must have been exhausted in the support of himself and family, during their stay in Pensacola.

I am, therefore, of opinion, that if there be any case in which the Department would feel authorized to compensate an officer for expenses incurred in the transportation of passengers, the one in question presents strong claims for consideration.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Master Commandant Edward R. Shubrick, United States Ship Vincennes.



Navy Department, February 13, 1832.


Your letter of the 29th ultimo has been received.

An order of this date is forwarded to Captain Shubrick, to convey yourself and family to Jamaica, if it does not conflict with other urgent duties already commenced.

A copy of the order to Commodore Elliott, upon this subject, of the 3d of November last, was sent to you on the 21st ultimo.

I am, respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant,


Robert M. Harrison, Esq., Pensacola, Florida.