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SIR: 1858, d in tabul scription been cap herewith far as it the depa With prizes rec from the chant ve motives restored cation to herewith The de other arm into the e courts, or made.'
Informa and other present re State Pap
THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
IN ANSWER TO
A resolution of the Senate calling for a statement showing the names and appropriate description of all vessels of the navy of the United States which have been captured, lost, or destroyed, &c.
MARCH 1, 1859.-Read; motion to print referred to the Committee on Printing. MARCH 2, 1859.-Report in favor of printing the usual number submitted, considered, .d
February 26, 1859.
SIR: In reply to the resolution of the Senate adopted February 25, 1858, directing the Secretary of the Navy to "furnish to the Senate in tabular form a statement showing the names and appropriate description of all vessels of the navy of the United States which have been captured, lost, or destroyed," &c., I have the honor to submit herewith a tabular statement containing the information called for, so far as it has been practicable to obtain it from the files and records of the department.
With respect to so much of the resolution as inquires whether any prizes recaptured by the enemy in a neutral port "have been reclaimed from the enemy or from any neutral power," and whether any merchant vessel justly captured by the United States navy "has, from motives dictated by state policy, been taken from the captors and restored to previous owners," the department addressed a communication to the Secretary of State, a copy of which and of the reply is herewith transmitted.
The department has no official knowledge of any "ships-of-war or other armed vessels captured by our navy and subsequently taken into the service of the United States, failing a condemnation by our courts, or without a just and regular valuation of them having been made."
Information heretofore laid before Congress from this department and other sources, which appears to come within the scope of the present resolution, may be found in a printed form in the "American State Papers" volume of "Naval Affairs," pages 405, 415, 416. In
the case of the prize Levant, which was retaken by the enemy in a neutral port, the report of the committee of the House of Representatives was followed by an act of Congress, approved April 26, 1816, appropriating the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars for distribution among the commander, officers and crew of the frigate Constitution. During the war with Mexico several prizes of inconsiderable value were taken into the public service, but it is believed that in every case there was a condemnation, an appraisement, and payment of the appraised value.
In any case where a prize has been taken into the public service and paid for, whether under the special authority of Congress or otherwise, it would be difficult for the department now to determine from any information in its possession that the compensation to the captors was other than "fair or equitable.'
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
Hon. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,
President of the Senate.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, March 11, 1858.
SIR By resolutions of the Senate agreed to on the 25th ult., the Secretary of the Navy is directed to furnish a statement of "the names, character, and force of all prizes of enemy's vessels-of-war captured by the United State's navy which were taken by said enemy in reutral ports, by which the captors were deprived of a right to property therein, which right was conferred upon them by the law regulating the apportionment and distribution of prize money arising from captures made by equal or inferior forces; whether prizes so taken have been reclaimed from the enemy or from any neutral power which has thus, in violation of international law, permitted prizes so situated to be carried from its port or ports by an enemy. And further, how or whether the series captors have been compensated or sustained in their right to property thus acquired; and so far as the records of this department may not supply the information, that he cause the same to be compiled from other sources (if such there be) worthy, in his judgment, of reliance, designating in such case the one from the other.'
And he is further directed to state "whether any merchant vessel has been justly captured by the United State's navy which has not been sent home for judicial examination or condemnation, but which has, from motives dictated by state policy, been taken from the captors and restored to previous owners; whether any, and if any, a fair and equitable remuneration has been made to the captors for restorations thus made."
As the records of this department do not show in what cases reclamations have been made on foreign governments, founded on the re-capture in neutral ports of enemy's vessels-of-war captured by the United States navy; nor whether any merchant vessel captured by the United States navy has, from motives dictated by state policy, been