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I enclose to you the requisite oath, which, when taken and subscribed, you will return to this department with your letter of acceptance. I am respectfully, yours,
J. K. PAULDING. JULIUS MEIERE, Esq.,
Professor of Mathematics, &c., Washington.
NOVEMBER 12, 1840. Mr. Meiere reported to me at the asylum this day.
WASIUNGTON, October 26, 1840. DEAR COMMODORE: There is a person here by the name of Meiere, a man of merit and an excellent scholar, in circumstances peculiarly un. fortunate, who has for a year past held a subordinate clerkship in the department. He has been a professor of languages in one of our minor colleges; has been accustomed to teach the French and German; and is a most respectable character.
His present situation, being that of a copying clerk merely, is both laborious and irksome; it neither gives employment nor hope to his accomplishments; and the salary is insufficient for the support of his family. Now, as you have intimated a wish to have a French teacher at the asylum, I have thought of sending him where he will be more acceptable, his employment more congenial to his habits, and his salary more congenial to his support, provided his family can be accommodated at the asylum. Wishing, however, to make no final arrangement without your concurrence, I wish first to know whether the one I have intimated will be agreeable to you. I am, dear Commodore, yours, very truly,
J. K. PAULDING. COMMODORE BIDDLE, &c., &c., Philadelphia.
NAVAL ASYLUM, October 28, 1840. DEAR SIR: I have received your letter of the 26th. I can accommodate Mr. Meiere and his family within the asylum, and the arrangement you propose is perfecıly agreeable to me. Very respectfully, your most obedient,
JAMES BIDDLE. Hon. J. K. PAULDING,
Secretary of ihe Nary, Washington.
IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
SEPTEMBER 26, 1850.
Mr. YULEE made the following
REPORT: The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of
the officers of the United States ship Boston, respectfully report : That it appears the United States ship of war Boston was wrecked on one of the Bahama islands, in the month of November, 1846, and the officers of that ship ask that two months' pay, which was advanced to enable them to lay in their stores, &c., may be remitted, in consequence of their loss; or, in other words, that their losses be reimbursed by the government to the extent of two months' pay.
In no instance yet, since this government has been in operation, has any allowance been made for the losses sustained by the officers or crew of war vessels lost by any of the contingencies of the service. The committee do not think it advisable to change the general practice of the government in this respect. Nor does the case of the Boston present any claims to special consideration.
The committee append to this report a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, dated March 14, 1850, with the documents accompanying it, and recommend that the prayer of the petitioners be not granted.
Navy DEPARTMENT, March 14, 1850. SIR : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22d ultimo, enclosing “a memorial of officers of the sloop-of-war Boston, asking remuneration for damages caused by the loss of that vessel," and asking “ to be informed of the facts elicited by any inquiry instituted by the department, respecting the loss of this vessel;” also requesting the department to furnish its views upon the principle involved in the application, and to inform you what has been the practice of the government in regard to the remuneration of such losses, so far as the files of your (this) department, or of the Fourth Auditor's office, may show, and what vessels of the United States navy have been lost by shipwreck, or other casualty, since the organization of that branch of the public defence.
In reply, I have the honor to state that the United States ship Boston was wrecked in the month of November, 1846, and that a court of inquiry was convened for the purpose of examining into the circumstances connected with the loss; the result of which inquiry will be found in the accompanying extract from the record of proceedings.
The third section of the “ Act for the better government of the navy,' approved April 23, 1800, is the only general law which refers to the condition and pay of the officers and crews of ships or vessels of the United States which may be wrecked, lost, or destroyed. The files of this department do not show any case in which officers or men belonging to the navy have been remunerated by the government for losses sustained by the destruction of a public vessel, and the Fourth Auditor reports to me as follows : “I have not been able to discover, upon the files or records of this office, any instance in which officers or men belonging to the mary have been remunerated by the government for the loss of their private property, sustained in consequence of the wreck or other destruction of a public vessel. I have never heard of such a case, nor do I believe that any has occurred."
In the merchant service, the same rule is observed that has prevailed hitherto in the naval service; no remuneration is allowed for private property lost, but the wages of the crew are continued when no improper conduct is alleged, which is all the remuneration allowed. I could not but regard a general provision in the law by which remuneration would be granted for the private stores and property in case of shipwreck, or other destruction of a public vessel at sea, of very doubtful propriety, and no legislation, in my judgment, ought to impair, in the slightest degree, the motives, with all on board, to the preservation and safety of a ship of war.
It would seem to be the wiser and better policy to permit cases of peculiar and extraordinary hardship to rest on their particular circumstances.
In such cases, the liberality and justice of Congress can afford such relief as is proper.
No connected record has been kept in this department of the vessels of the United States navy which have been lost by shipwreck or other casualty. It is, however, believed that the accompanying list embraces all of which there is any account.
I have the honor to return, herewith, the memorial of officers of the late ship Boston; and am, With very great respect, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. BALLARD PRESTON. Hon. D. L. YULEE, Chairman Committee Naval Affairs,
United States Senate.
List of vessels of the United States navy which have been lost by ureck,
or other casualty, since the establishment of the navy.
Frigate Insurgente; sailed in 1800; never heard of.
Sloop Wasp; sailed in 1814; never heard of.
Extract from the record of proceedings of a court of inquiry convened for the purpose of inquiring into the causes of the wreck of the United States ship Boston, of the island of Eleuthera, on the 15th day of November, 1846.
“The court of inquiry authorized and required by the precept issued by the Hon. J. Y. Mason, Secretary of the Navy of the United States, bearing date the 29th day of December, A. D. 1846, have, in conformity with the same, carefully and minutely examined into every circumstance connected with the loss of the late United States ship Boston, on the reef off the island of Eleuthera; and having taken all the testimony necessary to a clear and complete elucidation of facts, do, in obedience to the aforesaid precept, state as follows:
“First. It has been proved to the satisfaction of the court, that the wrecking of the late United States ship Boston, on the reef off the island of Eleuthera, is attributable to imprudence on the part of Commander George F. Pearson, in running the ship in for the land in squally weather, at night.
“Second. To negligence on the part of Commander Pearson, in not examining more minutely into the distance run by the ship; and in placing too much reliance on the vigilance of the officers of the
middle and morning watches, Lieutenant Haggerty and Acting Master Rolando.
“Third. To negligence on the part of Lieutenant Francis S. Haggerty, in not passing the order to call the commander when the ship had run thirty miles from 8 o'clock p. m.
"Fburth. To negligence on the part of Acting Master Henry Rolando,
in not ascertaining the distance run at 4h. 15m. a. m., when he relieved Lieutenant Haggerty, in charge of the deck.
“ Fifth. To negligence on the part of Acting Master Rolando, in not apprizing the commander of the approach of the squall before it had struck the ship.”
Extract from the minutes of the proceedings of a naval general court-merr. tial convened at Norfolk, Virginia, January 26, 1847, in the case of Commander George F. Pearson, of the United States navy.
“The judge advocate then read the following charge, and specification of a charge, preferred by the Hon. John Y. Mason, Secretary of the Nary, against Commander George F. Pearson, of the navy:
“ Charge.—Improper navigation of a vessel of the navy, under his command.
“ Specification. In this: that the said Commander George F. Pearson, while in command of the United States ship Boston, on or about the
fifteenth day of November, 1846, did, through imprudence and negligence, · suffer the said ship to run upon a rock or reef near the island of Eleuthera, one of the Bahama islands.
« J. Y. MASON. “ Navy DEPARTMENT, January 18, 1847.”
"And the court therefore, after full and mature deliberation, are of opinion that Commander George F. Pearson, of the United States navy, is guilty of the charge preferred against him; and they do adjudge and sentence him to be suspended from all command in the navy of the United States for the space of one year from the approval of this sentence; and to be admonished by the Hon. the Secretary of the Navy to be more prudent in future.'
“The sentence of the court in this case is approved.
“J. Y. MASOX. “ FEBRUARY 22, 1847."
Extract from the minutes of the proceedings of a naval general court-mar
tial convened at Norfolk, Virginia, January 26, 1847, in the case of Lieutenant Francis S. Haggerty, of the navy.
« Charge, and specification of a charge, preferred by the Secretary of the
navy against Lieutenant Francis S. Haggerty, of the navy. “Charge.--Neglect of duty.
“Specification. In this: that the said Lieutenant Francis S. Haggerty, while attached to the United States ship Boston, on or about the 14th day of November, 1846, did neglect, when officer of the watch, to pass an