Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 52
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APP KNIVIX—To Gales & Beaton's Register.
18th Congress, )
2d Session. s
Report from the Navy Department.
KEPORT FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT.
, January 1st, 1825.
To the President of the Senate of the V. S.
Sib; In obedience to the resolution of the Senate, of
the 25th of May last, I have the honor to present the
The paper marked A, is a report made by the Fourth
Auditor of the Treasury, which shews "the amount of
travelling expenses, and other allowances received by
the officers of the Navy, and of the Marine Corps, over
the monthly pay and rations to which they are by law en-
titled, in each year, for the last three years."
This amount embraces all the payments except month-
ly pay and rations, made to officers within the time men-
tioned, Whether the services for which the payments
were made, were rendered within that period, or pre-
vious to it. Our naval officers are frequently out of the
country two Or three ye'irs at a time; and, when in it, are
sometimes so situated as to prevent them, without ne-
glect of duty, from presenting their claims for adjustment
with punctuality, and at definite periods.
Each settlement of their accounts, therefore, embrac-
es not only their claims for the preceding year, but for
the whole period since their last settlement; and, in giving
an answer to this part of the resolution, it was found im-
possible to separate the one from the other, without an ex-
amination of every voucher, and restatement of every item
of the accounts: a labor which could not be performed
since the resolution was passed; and which was suppos-
ed not to be called for by it. This amount, therefore,
will be understood to embrace all the claims and ac-
counts, settled and allowed within the last three years,
preceding the first day of January last.
For the sum3 paid to each officer, and the objects for
which they were paid, a general reference may be had
to the reports annually made on the contingent expens-
es of the Navy. There are about fifty officers in the
Marine Corps, and nearly nine hundred in the Navy.
The amount stated, contains the accounts of, and allow-
ances to, almost all of this number.
None of the allowances are designed, nor do they
operate, as additional pay to the officer, for his time and
services in his station : for these, the monthly pay and
rations are the compensation prescribed by law; but
they are intended to meet the expenses to which he is
exposed, and the liabilities to which he is subjected, in,
discharging the duties assigned him, and without which
it would often be impossible to obey the orders he re-
ceives. This will be hereafter illustrated by some of the
items in the accounts.
The average amount of travelling expenses in each of
the three years, paid to all the officers in the Navy, ap-
pears to be 119,541, and to all the officers of the Marine
Corps, appears to be $6,639. The principle by which
this allowance is made, is settled and uniform.
When any officer travels under the orders of the De-
partment, or of his superior, on the business of the pub-
lic, and not for his own convenience, he is allowed 15
cents per mile.
This is never paid when engaged in private transac-
tions, or changing his duties at his own request, and not
for the benefit of the public. The sum allowed is the
same for officers of all grades, is supposed to be about
the average expense of travelling in this country, and is
absolutely necessary to enable our officers to obey the
orders given to them. They are appointed from all
parts of the Union, and often obliged to travel great dis-
tances to join stations or vessels.
Such must always be the case with those from the
Western states. The duties to be performed also, fre-
quently requite them to be transferred from one place to
another. The expense of their journeys often equals
the greater part, in some instances, the whole, of their
pay. And if they must themselves bear it, only those
upon our seaboard, and the rich who are able and wil-
ling to labor, without compensation, can belong to the
It is both just to the individual, and beneficial to the
public, that the allowance be made. For its safe and
faithful expenditure, reliance, must, in this case, as in
others, be had, in the first instance, on the intelligence
and "integrity of those who give the orders, and in the
second, of these who settle the accounts; both of whom
must pass upon them. The amount of $272,633 93, em- >
braces all the sums paid to officers, exclusive of month-
ly pay and rations, travelling expenses, and. expenses in-
cident to courts martial. It inclades a great variety of
items, and among others, the following: Premiums and
expenses for recruiting; chamber money and house rent;
fuel and candles; commissions and clerk hire; store and
office rent of navy agent, and storekeeper; postage upon
letters on public businesss; toll; sick quarters; purveying
and care of medical stores; extra service in surveying,
&c. Etc. In every system of well organized public force,
in all countries, most of these items form a part of the
fundamental law creating it; and do not assume the
character of allowances by Executive regulation, but en-
ter into the estimates for its support. It is the misfor-
tune of the Navy of the United States, never to have re-
ceived any organization by law, nor to have been favored
by the Legislature with a system into which they could
be engrafted. They have, therefore, been left to tem-
porary expedient and regulation, created from time to
time as a necessity for them was felt. Under such cir-
cumstances, regularity and economy have been sought,
and, as far as possible, effected. A few remarks on two
or three of the items, will explain their character and ne-
Expense of llecruiting.
A considerable portion of the amount is formed by this
item. Rendezvous for recruiting must, from the nature
of that business, be opened in those thickly settled parts
of our cities, to which sailors are in the habit of resort- ;
ing, and accommodations must be procured for the pur-
pose ; officers of prudence and skill must be appointed
to superintend them, and made responsible for the man-
ner in which they discharge the duty and expend the
money ; and if they are imposed on as to the health, or
capacity of the recruit, or negligently permit him to
desert, they must be subjected to loss. The annexed
paper 13, is a copy of Reg-ulations, lately prepared, to
be added to, and explain, those previously existing on
the subject, and will exhibit a part of the duty and lia-
bility of the recruiting officer; and as the public afford
him no accommodations, of any description, his actual
expenses are also great. Under these circumstances,
and to urge on the enlistments, the Commanding Officer
of the Rendezvous has heretofore been allowed $4 for
each recruit, and the inferior officer $ 1 50 per day, to
pay his board and expenses. The bill reported at the
last session proposes to reduce the allowance from $ 4
to Jo. Chamber money and house rent are allowed
when an officer is ordered to perform a duty confining
him to a particular place, and there is no vessel or build-
ing where he can eat or lodge, as when attached to, and
performing duty in a Navy Yard, or preparing his vessel
for sea, and it is not in a situation for him to live on
board; nor is there any other vessel or house, belonging
to the public, for his accommodation. Compelled to
obtain lodging and board, and often at very extravagant
prices, his pay would be consumed by them, and there-
fore he is allowed, either chamber money at §2 per
week, if his duty be temporary ; or house rent, at its
usual rate at the place, if the duty be permanent. Tliis
expense, which is not small) will be In a great degree,
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/428/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.