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Portsmouth Navy Yard Transcript

1830 Report on Portsmouth Shipyard

The Com’ to whom was referred an order to enquire into the expediency of instructing our Reps in Congress on the proposition for withdrawing the Navy Yard from this State, have had that subject under consideration & now ask leave to report, that they may have had with deep regret the proposition of the Board of Navy Commissioners to abandon the Navy Yard in this state, 1st, because such a measure would be injurious to the best interest of the nation at large, Secondly because it would be injurious to the interest of this state individually.

The Commissioners propose a concentration of Navy Yards near the Chesapeake bay & the waters near Rhode Island & although they acknowledge that “ our past sufferings admonish us that these are our most vulnerable points; yet they conclude in the same paragraph that “ these would in every view be the most judicious locations for our chief naval depots.” & recommend them “as places of general rendezvous in peace & in war.”

Their principal reasons for abandoning the Navy Yard in this state are “ its snow storms in Winter & its Fogs in Spring & Fall--- its remote position & Boston intervening which deprive it of any advantages it might otherwise possess as an auxiliary establishment."

By what process of reasoning the Coms have arrived at the result that a concentration of Navy Yards & Depots will be safe in time of War or beneficial in times of Peace we are unable to say. Surly the more they are separated on be as places of rendezvous in time of War for such vessels as must appear on the coast at places remote from the Chesapeake bay. And in times of Peace an equitable distribution of such public property & public benefits as are peculiarly adapted to the principal commercial states is but an act of justice due from the general government.

With regard to our Snowstorms in Winter & our Fogs in Spring + Fall, if they are really so formidable to our own vessels in time of War, with the distinguished nautical skill of our Naval commanders,+ their familiarity with their own coast & their native shores, surely they must be still more formidable to the blockading squadron of a foreign foe, whose officers could have but little acquaintance with a coast which they must approach as our Commissioners suppose, through frightful” Fogs & Snowstorms”. But a more formidable defense of the Seacoast of Maine will be found in that daring + chivalrous spirit of its hardy inhabitants, which is chiefly the offspring of strong national attatchment + this attachment is increased by the that while we are defending a Navy yard the work of our own hands located on the Soil of our own State, we are at the same time defending, the habitations of our forefathers, our children, and our domestic altars themselves, Remove therefore one single link in the grand chain that thus connects our own with the public interest; & you cut asunder our connection between the national and sectional defense which in its nature is indispensable.

We would suggest the enquiry, whether on the score of national economy it would be sound policy to abandon the work that has cost the country nearly half a million, and leave it to moulder in ruins, a monument of that monopoly of power and wealth which proved the downfall of the Republics of Antiquity?

And we would respectfully ask what Maine has done, that she should be the thus deprived of her scanty pittance of public bounty? Need we refer to the vessels she furnished during the Revolution among which are the celebrated Ranger, the Raleigh Frigate& the America of 74 guns with many others the numerous armed vessels since that period? Or the gallant officers, and the brave tars who sprang from her soil, & whose blood was shed in defense of the common country, or in the cause of liberty & Independence?

To prove that the abandonment of this Yard, for the purpose of concentrating such works at the South would be highly injurious to the best interest of Maine. We need only refer to our long line of Seacoast indented with more harbors than are contained in all the other States together- to our extensive coasting & Foreign trade & above all, to the great & growing importance of our Fisheries, a source of inexhaustible wealth appropriately termed the nursery of our Navy.

These are but a few, among the many reasons, that influenced the Comt to report the Resolve which is herein submitted.

Mr. Shaw per order

State of Maine

House of Reps. March l830

Resolve respecting the proposition to withdraw the Navy yard from ther

Resolved as the sense of this House that the Senators and Congress from this State be requested to use all lawful & honorable means to prevent the abandonment of the Navy Yard in this State. Resolved that the Govr. Be requested to forward a copy of this Resolve with the accompanying Report to each of the Senators & Reps of Congress from this State.

House of Representatives March l8 1830

Read and passed to be engrossed, & with the accompanying report ordered to be printed in the State paper. Sent up for concur.

Signed Daniel Goodenow Speaker


In Senate 18 March 1830

This Report was read and laid on the table but not considered before the Senate adjourned without day.

Attest: Signed Edward Kavanenaugh