Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 127
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GALES'& SEATON'S REGISTER
H. of R.]
Naval School—Amendments to the Constitution.
[Jan. 4, 1825.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES—same day.
The resolution of Mr. LIV1S GbTON, proposing a p!an
for the education of Officers of the Navy, being under
consideration, some conversation took place between
the mover and Mr. FULLER, who offered an amend-
ment to strike out the whole of the resolution after the
word Resolved, and to insert a provision instructing the
Committee on Naval Affairs to inquire into the propriety
of establishing a, school for the instruction of Midship-
men, and other warrant officers of the Navy, when not
Mr. LIVINGSTON objected to the substitute, as not
going so far as the system lie wished to see adopted.—
The substitute restricted the instruction to midshipmen,
but he wished a preparatory school, which should take
up young men before they entered the service. Mr.
L. said, it was owing to the want of an establishment of
this kind, that the Navy was going down. Yes, sir, said
he, the Navy, 1 repeat it, is going down in point of the
attainments of those who are entering it. There is, in
this respect, a marked distinction between those who
are entering' the two branches of our military service.
Those who enter the Army are decidedly superior in
previous attainments. The want of a good system of ele-
mentary instruction for the naval service, begins to be
felt already. It may be felt when it is too late. The
future commanders of our maritime force should he pre-
pared now, while we have opportunity and time for it.
But, without a school, this can never be done. The ac-
tual service may make seamen, but it alone will never
Mr. FULLER gave the gentleman from Louisiana
much credit for his enlarged and statesmanlike views on
this subject. He commended his desire to place the
education of our naval commanders on a broad and per-
manent basis; and he knew of no objection, at present,
which would prevent his voting for the gentleman's re-
solution. But he must apprize the gentleman, that, be-
fore lie was a member of Congress, this same subject
had been before them i and the Committee on Naval
Affairs had made great efforts for its accomplishment.
They had confined even their hopes to the education of
warrant officers in service, and had used much exertion
to reconcile the minds of gentlemen who were opposed
to the measure, but had not been able to do it; and he
would leave it to the candor of the gentleman from Lou-
isiana to say, if those who refused to grant even the half
of the plan he proposed, were likely to accede to the
whole of it. Mr. F. disclaimed being swayed by any
feelings of pride, as a member of the Naval Committee,
which might be supposed to render him jealous of a si-
milar attempt by the gentleman from Louisiana; His on-
ly objection was, the difficulty of finding means. He
would, however, withdraw his amendment.
Mr. MERCER then observed, that, as he heard it
whispered by some gentlemen who sat near him, that,
under the resolution of the gentleman from Louisiana,
there was concealed a system of burdensome expense,
of great extent, he thought it his duty to state that he
was warranted by the gentleman who presided over the
Navy Department, in saying that the object might be
accomplished at a very small expense. It had been
even proposed to place such an institution, without any
farther grant from Congress, in the barracks erecting at
the fortification at the mouth of the Chesapeake. As
the buildings were there already provided, ali that would
have to be granted, would be an appropriation for the
salaries of two or three professors, which was a trifling
expense in comparison with the good to be attained.
Midshipmen are now taken on board our vessels on trial
only—they go one voyage to sea—and if, from that ex-
periment, they appear to discover talents for public use-
fulness, they receive a warrant, and regularly enter the
service—just as young men are received as cadets at
West Point. The House was aware that the Govern-
ment could assemble the Midshipmen at any point it
might judge proper, and thus afford to the Navy some
of those benefits which the Army derives from the Aca-
demy at West Point.
Mr. REYNOLDS, of Tennessee, rose, not to oppose
the measure proposed by the gentleman from Louisiana,
but only to assure that gentleman that this was not the
plan which would keep the Navy from "going down."
The difficulty lay at a previous point—there was almost
no such thing as apprentices in our merchant service.
Merchants found the applications so numerous, to take
out young lads on trial, and the measure was in general
attended with so much trouble and so little profit, that
they generally refused to do it. Hence there was no
such thing as a proper nursery for our young seamen—
and, unless some law was passed compelling ship owners
to take a certain quota of apprentices, in proportion to
the tonnage they owned, we should soon have no seamen
of our own raising. The proper measure was to go at
once to the foundation, and, by some such law as he had
suggested, provide an effectual nursery for both services.
The question was then put on Mr. Livingston's reso-
lution, and lost—58 members only rising in its favor.
Mr. SAUNDERS, of N. C., offered, with a brief ex-
planation, the following proposition;
"Resolved, &?c. That the following amendment to the
Constitution of the United States be proposed to the
Legislatures of the several states; which, when ratified
by three-fourths thereof, shall be a part of the said Con-
" 1'hat, for the purpose of choosing a President and;
Vice President of the United States, each state shall be
divided by the Legislature thereof into a number of d«-
tricls, equal to the whole number of Senators and Re-
presentatives to which such state may be entitled in the
Congress of the United States. Each district sh .11 be
composed, as nearly as may be, of contiguous territory*
and shall contain a number of persons entitled to vote,
as nearly equal as circumstances will permit.
" And on sucli day as Congress shall determine, which
day shall be the same throughout the United States, the
citizens of each state, who may be qualified to vote for
a Representative in Congress, shall meet at such places,
within their respective districts, as the Legislature of
each state shall af .oint, and in such manner as such Le-
gislature shall di ect, shall vote for one person as Elec-
tor of President and Vice President; but no Senator or
Representative, or person holding an office of trust or
profit under the United States, shall be appointed aa
"The electors appointed shall meet at such place in
their respective states as the Legislature thereof may
direct, and on such day as may be appointed by Con-
gress, which day shall be the same throughout the Unit-
ed States; and incase of the non-attendance of any one
of the electors, from death, sickness, inability, or other
cause, the vacancy of such elector shall be filled in such
manner as the Legislatures of the respective states may
direct. The whole number of electors shall then vote
for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least,
shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with them-
selves; they shall name in their ballots the persons voted
for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted
for as Vice President; and they shall make distinct lists
of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons
voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes
for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and trans-
mit sealed to the government of the United States, di-
rected to the President of the Senate ; the President of
the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and
House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and
the vote*shall then be counted: the person having the
greatest number of votes for President, shall be Presi-
dent, if such number be one-third of the whole number
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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/m1/68/: accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.