James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Philip Sisson, 3 January 1813 (Abstract)

§ From Philip Sisson

3 January 1813, Tiverton. Has read in the newspapers that JM is “to cause to Be Bult an addition to our Navy four Ships fit for Battle Ships and Six forty gun frigits.”1 Offers to “have one of them Bult within the State of Rhode-island or the town of troy State of masachusetts.”

RC (DNA: RG 45, Misc. Letters Received). 1 p.

1Sisson had read the act to increase the navy, which was approved on 2 Jan. 1813. The naval buildup grew out of a recommendation in JM’s annual message of 4 Nov. and a Senate resolution on 9 Nov. 1812 to create a select committee under the leadership of Samuel Smith “to report thereon by bill or otherwise.” On 30 Nov., Smith introduced the bill in the Senate, where it was debated from 12 Dec. until it passed on 15 Dec. Burwell Bassett, who had chaired the naval committee in the House of Representatives and introduced the bill there on 27 Nov., had consulted with Paul Hamilton to obtain estimates of the expenses of building and equipping ships of war as well as of the force needed to protect U.S. commerce. The bill to increase the navy authorized the president “to cause to be built, equipped and employed, four ships to rate not less than seventy-four guns, and six ships to rate forty-four guns each” and appropriated $2.5 million for this purpose. It was further debated in the House from 16 Dec. to 23 Dec. On 24 Dec. the Senate concurred in an amendment to the bill adopted by the House (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 2d sess., 18, 25, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 142, 201, 404–28, 429–30, 436–37, 440–41, 443–50; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Naval Affairs, 1:275–80; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:789).

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