William Jones and the role of the Secretary of the Navy in the War of 1812


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William Jones and the role of the Secretary of the Navy in the War of 1812
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vii, 232 leaves : illus. ; 28 cm.
Eckert, Edward K., 1943-
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Subjects / Keywords:
History -- United States -- War of 1812   ( lcsh )
History thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- History -- UF   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis - University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 216-232.
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Manuscript copy.
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University of Florida
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Copyright by
Edward Kyle Eckert

For Linda


I wish to express my appreciation to Dr. John K. Mahon

under whose supervision this dissertation was conducted.

Dr. Mahon gave generously of his time, advice, and personal

research. He has been an inspiration as a teacher and a


I am indebted to Messrs. Jesse R. Jones and Sherman

Butler of the University of Florida Libraries who vastly

facilitated my research through their interest in seeing

that my materials arrived via inter-library loan. I also

wish to thank Dr. Paul H. Smith and Mr. W. Wilson Corroum

for reading my draft and suggesting many valuable corrections.

My fondest acknowledgment is reserved for my wife,

Linda Corroum Eckert, who not only read and corrected the

first draft of this work, but who has also constantly pro-

vided me with understanding and encouragement throughout

the years of my graduate study.













VII. SHIPS . . . .

CONCLUSION . . . . .



. . . . . iv

. . . . vi

. . . . .. vii


. . . . . 6

. . . . 37

. . . . 64

. . . . 97

. . . 114

. . . . 152

. . . . 178





WILLIAM JONES . . . . . . . .. 38


RATTLESNAKE . . . . . . .. 183


In citing manuscript materials the following abbrevia-

tions have been employed for the collections:

A/C . Annals of the Congress of the United States

ASP . American State Papers

JMP . James Madison Papers

lrc . Letters Received by the Secretary of the
Navy from Captains

Ircm . Letters Received by the Secretary of the
Navy from Commanders

irm . Miscellaneous Letters Received by the
Secretary of the Navy

iro . Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy
from Officers below the Rank of Commander

Isc . Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to
Commandants and Navy Agents

ism . Miscellaneous Letters Sent by the Secretary of
the Navy

Iso . Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to

UCSC . Uselma Clark Smith Collection of the Papers
of William Jones



By 1812 the European world had been at war for almost

two decades. England and France and their allies battled

with a desperation unknown since the bloody religious wars

of the seventeenth century. Each side regarded as enemies

all who were not actively engaged on their side. It almost

has become trite to refer to this as a struggle between a

mammoth and a whale or the tiger and the shark. Yet this

was the manner in which the world was divided. France

seemed supreme on land while England appeared invincible

on the seas.

The very existence of the United States insured its

involvement in this war. To be sure, non-intercourse acts,

an embargo, and the naive Macon bills were attempts to steer

the United States away from the precipice. Neither France

nor England seemed anxious to concede to the young nation

the rights of a neutral. Both insisted that any partici-

pation in the commerce of the world would have to be on

their own terms, not those insisted upon by the United States.

America replied that, as a neutral, she had the right to carry

her non-contraband trade wherever the market was good.

Tensions grew, the national honor was threatened, old
grievances were remembered, and America fell into the

rushing eddies which would draw it over the falls.

The United States was an agricultural country of
7,700,000 people in 1812. It chose to challenge a highly

industrialized, commercial nation with a population of

more than 18,367,000* people. To say the least, the

United States was not prepared to fight. A dissident

population in many of the states challenged the country's

right to go to war. The total number of men in the army

was less than 10,000. Its navy was rotting because a

pacific President and a frugal Secretary of the Navy had

refused to spend money on maintaining or improving it.

1. The Anglo-American diplomacy of this period has
been well studied by Bradford Perkins in Prologue to War;
England and the United States, 1805-1812 (Berkeley, Calif.,
1961). One also cannot afford to overlook A. L. Burt,
The United States, Great Britain, and British North America
from the Revolution to the Establishment of Peace after the
War of 1812 (New Haven, Conn., 1940). Unfortunately, no
equally competent handling of Franco-American relations
during this period exists.

2. United States Bureau of the Census, Historical
Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1957
(Washington, 1960), p. 7.

3. B. R. Mitchell and Phyllis Deane, Abstract of
British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1962), p.8.
*Includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

When war did come, the United States' greatest advan-

tage was its natural defensive position. Because the nation

was still primarily agricultural, it could support its popu-

lation without external commerce and without expensive

luxuries. Furthermore, the distance separating it from

Great Britain made it difficult for the English to keep

armies in America. The most important advantage America

had was its very primitiveness. British armies could seize

the national capital, capture forts on the Great Lakes

frontier, and blockade its ports without seriously hamper-

ing America's ability to fight. There were no vital

arteries in the United States, and even the more important

veins could be severed without seriously affecting the

nation's ability to wage the war. Another important

advantage was England's lack of a bellicose spirit toward

the United States. Almost twenty years of warfare had

inured the people of Great Britain to sacrifices as long

as the scourge of the western world, Napoleon, still ruled

in France. The Emperor's collapse in 1814 made the English

anxious to regain the elusive peacetime prosperity.

Furthermore, His Majesty's government was having a difficult

time trying to parcel out the Continent from Vienna. An

American war failed to interest British statesmen. These

advantages developed during the struggle so that,after two

and a half years, the supreme power of Europe was willing

to sign a treaty of peace with her former colonies who had

dared to challenge her for the second time.

When all things are considered, the United States did

not perform badly in the war. Most of the military glory

was won by the navy. Unlike its land partner, the United

States Navy was never disgraced by any humiliating fiascos.

To be sure, vessels were lost, but they went down with all

their guns blazing, and the navy was so proud of the spirit

of one of her defeated commanders that it turned his dying

words into its motto. Single frigates defeated English

vessels in detail on the ocean, while on the northern fron-

tier, it was the navy which saved the nation from the British

army in Canada. Naval officers and men seemed to be every-

where and when their ships were locked in port by the block-

ade, they served as soldiers, artillerists, and artificers

on land. Through such actions, the nation's small navy

provided most of the martial glory and none of the shame.

Historians of this period have almost entirely ignored

the organization and the administration of the navy. And

no serious studies have been published on the Secretary of

the Navy, a Cabinet-level officer, and his influence over

the department in a time of national emergency. Therefore,

the present study examines the navy from an administrative

viewpoint in order to shed light on how the naval successes

of the United States were coordinated and organized at the

Cabinet level. Special emphasis is placed on the man who

headed the department, William Jones. The study essentially

deals with how he affected the nation's naval policies

through his handling of the men, ships, and strategy from

his Washington office. It will be possible to determine

if the bureaucratic organization on the national level was

important in assuring the navy's continuing victories

throughout the war.



The department which William Jones received in 1813

as the fourth Secretary of the Navy was the result of no

organized planning, research, or design. In the decade

and a half since the young nation had established the bureau,

the navy had been ignored except during acute maritime

crises, and then easily forgotten when these moments had

passed. A cabinet officer commanded the department, but

the extent of his control had not yet been determined.

He was to be the administration's spokesman on naval

affairs, but, at the same time, the chief advocate for

the naval officers. Although the navy of this era was

small, the Secretary's work was enormous since he was the

only direct link between the officers and any other official--

executive or legislative. He was responsible for main-

taining an efficient organization, but was not given

either the professional or secretarial help needed to

do a good job.

In 1789 the United States had no more than the poten-

tial for a navy. Forced to create everything anew, the

Federalist administrations would establish traditions and

precedents that would bear upon all future decisions.

This had to be done in the case of the navy. Those vessels

employed by the nation during the war for Independence had

either succumbed to age or had been returned to the states

which had owned them. The infant country had more pressing

problems than the establishment of a navy. Congress delayed

consideration of the naval force until an economic base had

been established to support it, and an army had been

created to suppress the more immediate Indian threat on

the frontiers. Only after these problems had been met

would the nation be able to carry the additional financial

burden of a navy.

The initial cause for serious consideration of a navy

was renewed excursions by the Algerine pirates in the Medi-

terranean. The depredations upon the United States began

when word reached the pirate nation that the United States

was no longer an English colony. This was followed by a

peace treaty between Portugal and Algiers, and the latter

was free to send its corsairs into the Atlantic. Although

support for the naval bill was strong in 1791, Congress was

not able to pass the measure for three years. Anti-

Federalist Republicans in Congress opposed the creation

of a navy as dangerous to the liberties of the people.

In 1791, Senator William Maclay of Pennsylvania resisted

the measure because he felt that ransoming the captive

American sailors would be cheaper than a fleet and the

cost of the latter would be an obnoxious burden upon the
citizens of the United States. For similar reasons,

William B. Giles of Virginia called the founding of a navy

"a dangerous matter." Representative Giles saw the im-

personal power of taxation as capable of producing a

feudal tyranny.

The Third Congress, anxious to protect American

rights in the Mediterranean, was so concerned with America's

defense that it produced a plethora of military measures,

passed it is true by narrow margins. The debate over the

naval bill of 1794, which would create the United States'

first navy, centered on five areas: economy, politics,

1. William Maclay, The Journal of William Maclay
(New York, 1927), pp. 371-372.

2. Quoted in Marshall Smelser, "Passage of the
Naval Act of 1794," Military Affairs, XXII (Spring, 1958),

strategy, diplomacy, and humanitarianism. An act passed

only when a rider clause was attached stating that naval

construction would be halted if peace were concluded be-

tween Algiers and the United States. Sectional alignments

were important, and the bill was only approved because of
the near unanimity of New England for the measure.

Fortunately, the United States had decided that the

six ships which would comprise its small navy would be the

most powerful frigates of their class. Joshua Humphreys,

a Philadelphia shipwright, is credited with designing them.

On December 29, 1794, Henry Knox, who as Secretary of War

was also in charge of naval matters, communicated to the

House of Representatives the administration's requirements

for the new vessels. He said,

That the passing of the said act created
an anxious solicitude that this second commencement
of a navy for the United States should be worthy of
their national character. That the vessels should
combine such qualities of strength, durability,
swiftness of sailing, and force, as to render them
equal, if not superior, to any frigates belonging
to any of the European Powers. Researches, there-
fore, have been made for the best principles of
construction, and such proportions adopted have
appeared best, upon the most mature advice and

3. See Smelser, "Passage," pp. 1-12, and Smelser,
The Congress Founds the Navy, 1787-1798 (Notre Dame,
Ind., 1959), pp. 48-63.

The largest ships of forty-four guns,
will be constructed upon a scale to contain
thirty cannons of the caliber of four pounds
upon the gun deck. The others, of thirty-six,
twenty-eight cannons, of the same caliber, upon
the gun deck. The remaining force will be made
up of twelve pounders and brass howitzers.
The frigates will be built of live oak
and red cedar, in all parts where they can be
used to the best advantage. These valuable woods
afford the United States the highest advantages in
building ships, the durability being estimated at
five times that of common white oak. Besides
these woods, the best white oak, pitch pine, and
locust, are directed to be used in the construc-

Under the 1794 statute, the six frigates included the

three forty-four gun vessels: the United States to be

built by Joshua Humphreys at Philadelphia, the Constitu-

tion by George Claghorn at Boston, and the President by

Forman Cheesman in New York. The thirty-six gun frigates

were the Constellation to be constructed at Baltimore by

David Stodert, the Chesapeake by John Morgan at Norfolk,

and the Congress by James Hackett at Portsmouth, New

Hampshire. The ships were built at several places,pri-

marily to spread naval enthusiasm among as large a segment

of the population as possible. In 1794, as in the twentieth

century, defense contracts were let out primarily for

4. United States Congress, American State Papers,
Class VI, Naval Affairs (Washington, 1834), I, 6. Here-
after abbreviated as ASP.

political reasons.

Unfortunately, for the naval enthusiasts of the period,

within two years of the passage of the naval act the Dey

of Algiers and the United States agreed upon peace terms.

By law all construction on the vessels was to cease.

Washington opposed complete cessation and convinced the

Congress that the President, the Constitution, and the

Constellation should be completed. In his last annual

message to Congress on December 7, 1796, Washington told

the assembly that the United States ought to agree to "the

gradual creation of a Navy." The President continued,

To an active external commerce, the pro-
tection of a naval force is indispensable. This is
manifest with regard to wars in which a State is
itself a party. But besides this, it is in our own
experience that the most sincere neutrality is not
a sufficient guard against the depredations of na-
tions at war. To secure respect for a neutral flag
requires a naval force organized and ready to vin-
dicate it from insult or aggression.

John Adams, the second President of the United States,

had been a naval enthusiast since the Revolutionary War.

5. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 37-38.

6. James D. Richardson (ed.), A Compilation of the
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1905 (Wash-
ington, 1903-1907), I, 201.

His greatest contribution to the establishment of a navy

was his insistence that the country had to have a navy

for "the protection of the commerce of the nation, the

disruption of enemy commerce in the time of war, and the
defense of the coast against seaborne attack." He had

always advocated American neutrality, but he clearly saw

that the United States would, by necessity, be involved

in any major European confrontation. The young nation's

only hope in such an instance would be to command a force

large enough to tip the balance of power. A United States

Navy capable of controlling both the North Atlantic and the

West Indies, Adams felt, would insure respectful recogni-

tion of this country by all the European powers. No nation

at war with another would dare to challenge the United

States' neutrality so long as her naval force could upset

the balance against her.8

Adams' first chance to build a navy did not come until

the United States had been attacked by France on the high

7. Frederick H. Hayes, "John Adams and American Sea
Power," American Neptune, XXV (January, 1965), 38.

8. Hayes, "John Adams," p. 38.

seas. In a rapid series of laws enacted in the summer of

1798, the Congress authorized the Executive to finish the

outfitting of the six vessels begun by Washington's admin-

istration (March 17), to build, purchase or hire twelve

additional twenty-two gun ships (April 27), to purchase

or build ten galleys (May 4), to accept as gifts or loans

twelve vessels from American communities (June 20), to

build at least three more thirty-two gun frigates (July 16).

Finally, on February 25, 1799, six seventy-four gun ships-

of-the-line, six sloops-of-war, two drydocks, and $200,000
for timber were allotted to the administration. This mass

of legislation was the result of the war fever and panic

which seized an unprepared nation. Once again, the war

was to end before a navy began to be built, and most of

the proposed ships remained on the drawing board.

As early as May 16, 1797, President Adams had said

that "A naval power, next to the militia, is the natural

defense of the United States . Our seacoasts, from

their great extent, are more easily annoyed and more

easily defended by a naval force than any other. With

9. K. Jack Bauer, "Naval Shipbuilding Programs,
1794-1860," Military Affairs, XXIX (Spring, 1965), 29-30.

all the materials our Country abounds; in skill our naval

architects and navigators are equal to any, and commanders

and seamen will not be wanting," 0 One of the most impor-

tant measures encouraged by the President was a bill to

establish a navy department. By the slim majority of

47 to 41, the Senate passed "An Act to establish an Execu-

tive Department, to be denominated the Department of the

Navy." This act was signed into law on April 20, 1798.

The statute had five sections; it "(1) Established the

Department with the Secretary at its head, and stated the

naval duties. (2) Provided for the principal Clerk and

other clerks. (3) Authorized the removal of the naval

records from the Department of War. (4) Fixed the salary

of the Secretary at three thousand dollars a year, and the

salaries of the clerks at the same rate as those paid in

the Treasury Department. (5) Divested the War Department

of its hitherto existing naval powers."11

Adams' choice for Secretary of the new department was

a fortunate one. Rather than choosing a professional naval

10. Richardson, Compilation, I, 237.

11. Smelser, Congress, p. 156.

officer or a shipbuilder, the President picked a wealthy

merchant from Maryland, Benjamin Stoddert. Through his

private business, the Secretary had experience in person-

nel management, ship design, naval ordnance, supplying

vessels, and the many other duties connected with running

a fleet. Stoddert worked hard in his government position.

One author credits him as being the man who was able to

carry the department through the "Jefferson recession"

and "on to greater days ahead." By the end of his years

with the Navy Department, Stoddert had established the

precedent that the Secretary of the Navy was to be "in

firm possession of a recognized authority over the whole

naval establishment. . Power rested entirely with the

Secretary, not only in the technical field of naval con-

struction and equipment but also in the strategic and tac-

tical control of naval operations."13 Stoddert was a credit

to the new nation, an administrator whose integrity and

12. Robert G. Albion, "First Days of the Navy
Department," Military Affairs, XII (Spring, 1948), 11.

13. Howard I. Chapelle, The History of the American
Sailing Navy, the Ships and their Development (New York,
1949),p. 177.

judgment were never questioned by his contemporaries.

The naval war with France, usually called the "Quasi-

war," was the first European challenge faced by the United

States after independence. It was more due to a compli-

cated series of misunderstandings than to any single, overt

action. The United States, as one of the largest neutrals

of the western world, predictably came into conflict with

the two giants, England and France. Conceivably, the United

States could have fought either nation, but the treaty with

England in 1794 and the rupture of our diplomatic relations

with France made the latter the administration's designated


The 45-ship American Navy captured the extraordinary

number of 87 French merchantment and 21 naval vessels

during the war. Captain Thomas Truxtun's account of the

battle between the United States frigate Constellation and

the French ship, L'Insurgence, is an example of the uncom-

mon valor which the United States naval officers displayed

during the war.15 An early authority on the Quasi-war

14. Robert W. Neeser (ed.), Statistical and Chronologi-
cal History of the United States Navy: 1775-1907 (New York,
1909), II, 32-35, & 290-293.

15. See ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 72-73.

judged that "six millions[ of dollars] may be taken as a

fair estimate of the actual expense of protecting American

commerce against French depredation." This can be compared

to the "more than twenty-two million dollars" of revenue

received from imposts during the period. "Unquestionably

a very large portion of this profitable trade would have

been discouraged through fear or lost by spoliation, had

it not been for naval protection."16

The privateer fleet with 365 vessels was much larger

than the navy. Since most of these vessels were merchant-

men armed for defense, their captures were few. Typical

of the private aid which the nation received was that which

came from Salem, Massachusetts. Salem had found both the

English and French commerce so profitable that it was

willing to take any risks to deal with these nations.

Even after active hostilities had begun, it continued its

overseas trade, but convoyed its small fleets with armed

privateers. Salem's merchants subscribed over $50,000 to

build a thirty-two gun frigate (the Essex) which was given

16. Gardner W. Allen, Our Naval War with France
(Boston, 1909), pp. 222-223.

to the United States. The French restrictions on American

trade to the West Indies seemed to be the principal factor

which convinced Salem that a war would be necessary to
reopen this profitable commerce.

President Adams sent William Vans Murray to France in

the spring of 1799, and the two nations were able to agree

to end the hostilities. The end of the French war caused

a cutback in naval expenditures. On November 27, 1800,

President Adams reminded the House of Representatives that,

"a navy, well organized, must constitute the natural and

efficient defense of this country against all foreign
hostility."18 Adams' naval program, which he hoped to

will to the nation, included programs along three lines:

"ships, personnel, and a supporting organization of yards

and docks." On January 12, 1801, Secretary of the Navy

Benjamin Stoddert suggested that Congress appropriate enough

17. See James D. Phillips, "Salem's Part in the Naval
War with France," New England Quarterly, XVI (December, 1943),

18. Richardson, Compilation, I, 312.

19. Harold and Margaret Sprout, The Rise of American
Naval Power, 1776-1918 (Princeton, N. J., 1939), p. 50.

money to keep thirteen United States frigates in a state of

action or, at least, in ready reserve. The Secretary said,

Thus then it appears that, for the small
sum of six hundred and fifty-one thousand nine hundred
and eighty-seven dollars thirty-four cents, the United
States may keep in constant service six frigates;
seven others in port, but always ready for service;
the corps of marines, consisting of more than eleven
hundred officers and men, and may remunerate the past,
and secure the future, services of a meritorious class
of men, who, in general, either sacrificed more
profitable and less hazardous private employment,
to donate themselves to their country, in a season
of peril; or who, being qualified by education for
any pursuits, have entered the navy, as a profession,
at that time of life when professions are usually

The Secretary said that six seventy-four gun ships-of-the-

line should be built, with more added annually. Further-

more, the nation ought to buy timber stands and drydocks

or shipyards to store naval supplies and to repair vessels.

In conclusion, Stoddert provided a succinct summary of

Adams' naval policy.

In a pecuniary point of view, there can be
no comparison between the expense of creating a suffi-
cient navy and the loss of commerce, so great as ours,
will too certainly sustain for the want of such
protection. But the loss of property is but a
paltry consideration, compared with all the

20. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 75.

humiliating and destructive consequences which must
flow from that debasement of mind which a system of
eternal submission to injury and injustice cannot
fail to produce.21

Thomas Jefferson's election to the Presidency was seen

as a blow to the American naval establishment. The new

President's republican sympathies were well known and few

believed that he would undertake a war with England or

France. Jefferson, however, was not anti-navy by principle

for, as early as 1781 in his Notes on Virginia, he had


To aim at such a navy as the greater nations of
Europe possess, would be a foolish and wicked waste
of the energies of our countrymen. ... They can attack
us by detachment only; and it will suffice to make
ourselves equal to what they may detach. Even a
smaller force than they may detach will be rendered
equal or superior by the quickness with which any
check may be repaired with us, while losses with them
will be irreparable till too late. A small naval
force then is sufficient for us, and a small one
is necessary.22

President Jefferson appointed Robert Smith, a Maryland

commercial fleet owner, as his Secretary of the Navy.

Smith, a member of the pro-navy branch of the Republican

Party, was a fortunate choice. He "rendered himself justly

21. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 75.

22. Quoted in Sprout, Rise of American Naval Power,
p. 14.

popular with the service," and "continued for the long

space of nine years to serve its interests with zeal and

intelligence, and who has left behind him, in the hearts

of all who then composed the navy, a feeling that while

their interests were in his care, they were intrusted to

one well disposed to serve the country and themselves.'"23

Smith's administration, however, was tarnished by scandal.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, revealed

that "Robert Smith had allowed his brother's firm to use

government money in amounts up to $200,000, reimbursement
to be made at the pleasure of the firm." Although the

money was quickly repaid, Gallatin had made himself two

inveterate enemies--the influential Smith brothers of


Unfortunately for Jefferson, the United States was

confronted with a determined force of pirates from the

North African maritime nations of Algiers, Tripoli, and

Morocco. Ever since the United States had negotiated a

23. James Fenimore Cooper, The History of the Navy
of the United States of America (Philadelphia, 1839), I,

24. Peter R. Nielson, "Financial History of the
United States, 1811-1816," Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation
(Catholic University of America, 1926), p. 25.


treaty with Algiers in 1795, the Barbary states had been

very unhappy. The pirate princes realized that their main

source of income came from capturing ships. The tribute

monies from the large European powers had to be accepted

since these nations had such powerful navies. The United

States, however, had no blue water navy of consequence,

and its commerce was large. The treaty with Algiers in-

cluded two sloops which became the envy of Morocco and

Tripoli. While Algiers remained at peace, the other two

powers chopped down the flagpoles in front of the American

consulates as the traditional Berber declaration of war.

The United States quickly subdued Morocco, but the war

with Tripoli was to be a long, costly affair.

President Jefferson was never a man to truck with

pirates. As early as 1786, while he was United States

minister to France, the future President wrote, "If it be

admitted, however, that war, on the fairest prospects, is

still exposed to uncertainties, I weigh against this, the

greater uncertainty of the duration of a peace bought with

money, from such a people ... and by a nation, who, on the

hypothesis of buying peace, is to have no power on the sea,

to enforce an observance of it." Jefferson had not

changed his mind by 1801 and decided to end the payment of

American tribute to the pirate powers. On February 6,

1802, the Congress gave Jefferson power to use the navy

"as he saw fit to protect American commerce and seamen and

to commission privateers." 26 By this virtual declaration

of war, the United States became involved in an embroglio

that did not end until 1815 when a peace without price was

forced upon Tripoli and Algiers. Even Jefferson had not

been successful in enforcing a favorable peace on the

Barbary states, and,in 1805, was willing to pay a small

amount of tribute to Tripoli for peace with that nation.

The Barbary War was not without its glory. Few American

wars have seen a greater military march than the one led

by William Eaton and eleven marines across the North African

desert from Alexandria to Derna. Few American sailors

showed more bravery than those who sailed two small (50-

75 feet) gunboats across the Atlantic. Few men have taken

the risks which Stephen Decatur, Jr., assumed in blowing up

the Philadelphia, under the enemy's guns. And few had

25. Quoted in Glenn Tucker, Dawn Like Thunder: the
Barbary Wars and the Birth of the United States Navy (New
York, 1963), p. 58.

26. Tucker, Dawn Like Thunder, p. 146.

sacrificed themselves in the way Daniel Fraser had by

placing his head between a scimiter and Captain Decatur.

Typical of this uncommon valor was the action of August 3,

1804, which was communicated to Secretary Smith by Commodore

Edward Preble. During the heavy action of this afternoon,

Lieutenant Trippe of the Vixen, in[gunboat] no. 6,
ran along side of one of the enemy's large boats,
which he boarded with only Midshipman John Henley
and nine men, his boat falling off before any more
could get on board; thus was he left, compelled to
conquer or perish, with the odds of thirty-six to
eleven. The Turks [ i.e. the Tripolitans] could not
withstand the ardor of this brave officer and his
assistants; in a few minutes the decks were cleared,
and her colors hauled down. On board of this boat
fourteen of the enemy were killed, and twenty-two
made prisoners, seven of which were badly wounded.
The rest of their boats retreated within the rocks.
Lieutenant Trippe received eleven sabre wounds,
some of which are very severe: he speaks in the
highest terms of Mr. Henley, and those who followed

One of the most fascinating aspects of United States

naval history is Jefferson's gunboat navy. The idea of a

completely defensive navy was not new with Jefferson. Gun-

boats were common among European nations for harbor defense.

Jefferson, however, hoped to be able to get along with a

large number of gunboats (eventually 177 of these craft

27. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 134.

were built) in place of a blue water navy which was to be

kept in storage until it had rotted. Although none of the

American gunboats had arrived in the Mediterranean in time

for active service, the American naval force had used

European gunboats in the shallow coastal waters off

North Africa. With the temporary cessation of the Barbary

conflict, Jefferson was able to bring home the frigates

and prepare for a peacetime naval establishment. In his

message to Congress on February 10, 1807, the President

presented his four-part naval program. It was to include:

1. Land batteries, furnished with heavy cannon
and mortars, and established on all points around
the place favorable from preventing vessels from
lying before it. 2. Moveable Artillery which may
be carried, as occasion may require, to points un-
provided with fixed batteries. 3. Floating batter-
ies; and, 4. gunboats, which may oppose an enemy
at his entrance, and co-operate with the batteries
for his expulsion.28

The President felt he should present corroborating evidence

on the feasibility and effectiveness of the gunboats, and,

therefore, communicated the favorable opinions of General

James Wilkinson, Captain Samuel Barron, and Captain Thomas

Tingey, the Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard.

28. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 163.

Captain Tingey best summarized the dubious advantages.

The efficiency of gunboats in the defense
of coasts, ports, and harbors, must be obvious to
every person capable of reflection, when it is con-
sidered with what celerity they can generally change
their position and mode of attack, extending it
widely to as many different directions as their
number consists of, or concentrating nearly to one
line of direction. It hardly need be observed that
the very small object which a gunboat presents to
the attacking enemy, causes it always [to be]
problematical whether it may be hit by the most expert
and experienced marksmen, while, on the other hand,
the enemy attacking is generally with large ships,
mostly of the line of battle, and which, from their
magnitude, may be struck by almost every shot. The
advantages of gunboats, for the defence contemplated,
are numerous. They cannot easily be surrounded, be
the force of the enemy what it may; consequently,
very few, if any, are likely to fall into the enemy's
hands. Their capability of retiring into shoal waters,
thereby keeping the adversary at long gun-shot
distance, where naught but a charge of single round
shot will. reach, in which they will almost always
have the advantage, or taking their station behind
shoals, where they cannot be pursued by the smallest
class of frigates, or even of sloops of war; and in
many cases they have the opportunity of annoying an
enemy when sheltered themselves by low points of land,
where nothing but their masts can be seen, of course
in a situation comparatively safe when that of the
enemy is considered.29

Virtually every inlet and harbor was to have one of the

gunboats for defense, as were many of the river and lake-

side cities. Eventually 177 of these defensive vessels

29. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 163.

were built. Because they were constructed in many ports

by different contractors, they varied greatly in size.

They were between 50 and 70 feet long and carried a single

carronade in the bow. Sails or oars were used for pro-

pulsion, and,although in rough weather, the gun had to

be stored below deck, they were good, sea-worthy vessels.30

Jefferson's naval policy was nowhere as disastrous

as many authors have claimed. The President was, at least,

willing to fight for principles which he considered necessary

to the nation's integrity. Furthermore, Jefferson pushed

an active naval policy even though it depended primarily

upon the undersized gunboat fleet. As Jefferson himself

observed, the naval measures proposed by his administration

could hardly ever "become an excitement [ sic] to engage in

offensive maritime war, towards which it would furnish no
means." Even with all his efforts to maintain only a

defensive force, the United States on November 30, 1807,

could count four frigates in service or ready to serve,

and seven more needing repairs; to this could be added ten

sloops in service and 68 gunboats.

30. Chapelle, American Sailing Navy, pp. 189-241.

31. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 163.

James Madison was elected the fourth President in

1808. He sought a man for his Secretary of the Navy who

would be equally as capable as Robert Smith had been.

The position went to Paul Hamilton, a South Carolina

planter and politician who had been comptroller (1800-1804)

and governor (1804-1806) of his state. He had no back-

ground for his new appointment, and it is a mystery why he

was ever chosen. Hamilton's first three years were notice-

ably uneventful. The new Secretary "insisted upon economy

in naval expenditures, a scrupulous regard for the letter

of the law, a conscientious attention to duty on the part

of the higher naval officers, and correct habits for the

As America's relations deteriorated with the British,

it became obvious that a man more knowledgeable in naval

affairs would be necessary for the post. With the declara-

tion of war on June 18, 1812, "there was demanded of the

32. John G. VanDeusen, "Paul Hamilton," Dictionary
of American Biography (New York, 1928), VIII, 189-190.

33. Charles 0. Paullin, "Naval Administration Under
Secretaries of the Navy Smith, Hamilton and Jones, 1801-
1814," United States Naval Institute Proceedings, XXXII
(December, 1906), 1306.

naval secretary decision, initiative, activity, expert

knowledge, and skill in the handling of details, [and]
Hamilton fell short of the requirements of his position."34

Hamilton was aware of his shortcomings and wrote to the

naval captains in the spring of 1812 to gather their opin-

ions on what strategy the United States should follow in

the event of war with England. Almost with unanimity, the

captains replied that single ship cruises would be the best

way to harass the enemy's commerce, attack his naval vessels,

and protect the United States.

The United States Navy had deteriorated since the

Barbary War. In addition to the 177 gunboats built by

Jefferson and Madison (102 of these were being repaired in

1812), the nation had but eighteen vessels. Three of these

had been built before 1801 and were in need of repair. Of

the remaining fifteen, seven were frigates with a total of

254 guns, originally built under the Washington or Adams

34. Paullin, "Naval," pp. 1307-1308. The histori-
ography on the cause of the war is a long one. See Reginald
Horsman, The Causes of the War of 1812 (Philadelphia, 1962);
Bradford Perkins (ed.), The Causes of the War of 1812:
National Honor or National Interest?, American Problem
Studies series (New York, 1962); and George R. Taylor (ed.),
The War of 1812: Past Justifications and Present Inter-
pretations, Problems in American Civilization series
(Englewood, N.J., 1963).

administration. There were also eight brigs carrying 122

guns which had been built or purchased by Jefferson or
Madison. Compared to this small force, the English

Navy on December 7, 1812, had 97 vessels on the American

station of which six were line ships and 33 were frigates.36

In all, England had over one thousand vessels of war which

amounted to "three fighting ships for every American qgun."37

The United States had commenced a war with the major

sea power in the world. Secretary Hamilton agreed with the

chief clerk of the department, Charles W. Goldsborough,

that the navy should be laid up during the war rather than

be permitted to fight. The naval captains, however, argued

for permission to wage open sea warfare, and it was only

when the President agreed with the officers that the possi-

bility of a non-naval war was abandoned.38

35. Paullin, "Naval," p. 1318.

36. Theodore Roosevelt, "The War with the United States,"
Chapter XLI of William Clowes, et al., The Royal Navy: A
History from Earliest Times to the Present (London, 1901),
VII, 25.

37. Irving Brant, James Madison: Commander in Chief,
1812-1836 (Indianapolis, 1961), p. 39. Vol. VI of James Madison.

38. Brant, James Madison: Commander in Chief, p. 39.

War came and the American navy went to sea. Most

captains chose to sail on single-ship cruises looking for

enemy warships to fight or merchantmen to plunder.

Commodore John Rodgers commanded a five-vessel squadron

which made a seventy-day cruise on which not a single

English warship was sighted. He took only seven merchantmen

as prizes and his lack of success seemed to confirm the

opinion of the other captains that single-ship cruises

were more effective than squadron sailings. Rodgers'

actions, however, brought large benefits to the nation.

The British had learned of the squadron and combined their

Atlantic vessels to search for him. This permitted many

American merchantmen to slip into their home ports. Other

officers were luckier than Rodgers during the first six

months of the war. During the same time they won a number

of important single-ship actions. Among these were the

Constitution's capture of the Guerriere (August 19), the

capture of the Macedonian by the United States (October 25),

the loss of the Java to the Constitution (December 29), the

Essex's victory over the Alert (August 3), and the capture

of the Frolic by the Wasp (October 18). In all, nine

engagements were fought in 1812, five of them American

. 39

Even though the navy was doing exceptionally well,

the cares of office weighed heavily upon the Secretary.

So long as there was peace, Hamilton's ineptness went

unnoticed. War, however, made his shortcomings public

knowledge, and as the press began to criticize naval policies

in 1812, Hamilton sought comfort in the bottle. While there

were indications that he drank heavily before the war, the

added burdens of the conflict made the Secretary an

alcoholic. "He was publically intoxicated at the naval

ball on the Constellation and again at the 'Macedonian

celebration.' ... For two years Hamilton had been incapable

of working in the second half of the day." 40

On December 29, 1812, the third Secretary of the Navy

presented his letter of resignation. It was immediately

accepted. War was more than the man was able to bear and

39. The naval history of the War of 1812 has been
told many times. The best scholarly account is still
Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812, 2 volumes (New
York, 1906). The implications of the war on naval strategy
are in Alfred T. Mahan, Sea Power in its Relation to the
War of 1812, 2 volumes (London, 1905). A most exciting,
well-written account, based on good historical sources, is
Cecil S. Forester, The Age of Fighting Sail: The Story of
the Naval War of 1812 (Garden City, N.Y., 1956).

40. Brant, James Madison: Commander in Chief, pp.

his record leaves much to be desired. As the man chiefly

responsible for naval organization, he did nothing to pre-

pare the nation for war. True, his resources were small,

but he made no attempt to increase them, and what little

was done was mainly due to Congressional impetus. Upon

leaving office, he asked Madison for a letter stating the

President's opinion of him, and the generous chief execu-

tive replied, "I cannot satisfy my own feelings, or the

tribute due to your patriotic merits and private virtues,

without bearing testimony to the fervent zeal, the uniform

exertions, and the unimpeachable integrity with which you

have discharged that important trust, and without express-

ing the value I have always placed on that personal inter-

course, the pleasure of which I am now to lose."41

President Madison had also received the resignation of

the Secretary of War, William Eustis, at this time. Thus

he now had to seek two military secretaries in the midst

of a war. As Madison looked around for an experienced man--

for he had learned a lesson from Paul Hamilton--he settled

upon William Jones, a Philadelphia merchant, Congressman,

41. (Philadelphia) General Aurora Advertiser, February
17, 1813.

sea captain, and loyal Republican. Jones had been offered

the Navy Department by Jefferson in 1801 and had refused;

now it was up to Madison to persuade him to accept the post.

Jones himself had received word from Pennsylvania Congress-

man Jonathon Roberts that he would be offered the position

as early as December 28, 1812. "The Nation and the Navy,"

Roberts said, "point to you as the fittest man we have and

what is to become of us if the fittest man will not come
forward in a moment of public danger." Jones gave Madison's

official offer, made on January 3, 1813, several days'

thought before he accepted the department "with humility."

His acceptance was conditioned by his request to be allowed

a few days to settle private affairs before setting out for

the seat of government.

Those who knew Jones looked upon his appointment with

approbation. Jacob J. Otto, a Philadelphia friend, wrote

that, "I have long since thought that you ought to direct

the Department, you would occupy, and your country should

42. J. Roberts to W. Jones, December 28, 1812. Uselma
Clark Smith Collection of the Papers of William Jones,
Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia. Hereafter
abbreviated as UCSC.

43. W. Jones to J. Madison, January 14, 1813, UCSC.

rejoice that you have accepted the appointment." Navy

personnel also applauded. Here at last was a man who

understood ships and the men who sailed them. Lieutenant

George C. Reed, on board the frigate United States, ex-

claimed, "I see by the papers you are to be our secretary

& permit me to say it is the best news not only to me but

to all my profession, we have heard for some time."

The most impressive congratulations came from Jones' old

friend, Captain William Bainbridge, who forwarded not only

his compliments, but a warning as well.

I could scarcely believe you would have been drawn
into Public life knowing how little ambitious you
are in that pursuit. Yet it was what I most wished
believing that if you got at the high responsible
station of head of the Navy Department it would be
of infinite advantage to the naval establishment of
our Country the increase of which in my opinion is
essential to the welfare of our country. You mention
the unorganized state of your department--we all
know it--and without reflecting on the former head
of it--(the last individual sincerely esteemed in
the goodness of his heart) I can say there never was
any system in it and for the want of which great abuses
have crept in. And you will find my dear Sir that
even with your capability and exertions, it will take
some time before you can fully correct them.46

44. J. Otto to W. Jones, January 28, 1813, UCSC.

45. G. Reed to W. Jones, January 10, 1813, UCSC.

46. W. Bainbridge to W. Jones, March 1, 1813, UCSC.


Because William Jones received the Navy Department in

the midst of a war, he would be forced to keep the haphazard

organization which had grown since the bureau's establishment.

It was President Madison's hope, however, that a man as

knowledgeable as Jones would be able to bring efficient

administration to the unwieldy bureau. This confidence

did not go unrewarded.



Little is known of the very early life of William

Jones. He was born in Philadelphia either in 1760 or 1761.

As a youth he was an apprentice at a boat building yard

on the Lehigh River in the Moravian community of Bethlehem,
about 60 miles north of Philadelphia. During the American

Revolution the lad served in a company of volunteers and

fought in the battles of Trenton (December 26, 1776) and

Princeton (January 3, 1777). Tiring of the land war, he

went to sea on the private Pennsylvania vessel, St. James,

captained by Thomas Truxtun. He was wounded and taken

prisoner while serving in the Continental Navy, and, in

1781, was promoted to first lieutenant for gallantry.

From 1790 to 1793 Jones resided in the southern port

of Charleston where he was a merchant and active in the

city's militia artillery battery. He was elected captain

1. Joseph M. Levering, A History of Bethlehem, Penn-
sylvania, 1741-1892 (Bethlehem, 1903), p. 653.

2. John H. Frederick, "William Jones," Dictionary of
American Biography (New York, 1928), X, 205.

.. -. "5 ,
':"" ",. ; ,. 4,,,'

* '-q ,' '.- '' -
: 'A *
..' . .- i,'. ,. -7
1,- -*

--i:71 0-

j "- < : '~ I. ** *- .
: ,W'TLLIAM' JONES :., 4

Source: Charles 0. .Pau-llin, "Naval Adrhinistration Under
Secretaries of. the Navy'Smith, 'Hamilton, and Jones,
1801-1814," United States Naval Institute Proceedings,
XXXII (December, 1906).

and wrote a manual for artillery drill. Returning to

Philadelphia in 1793, he became active in the Republican

Party while prospering as a merchant in that city. He

was elected to the Seventh Congress (March 4, 1801 March

3, 1803). Shortly after leaving office, Jones wrote to

his colleague, John Randolph, of his affection for the nation.

"I am sick," he said, "of city (and I may say Lancaster)

Republicanism but I do not despair of the Republic. There

is solidarity in it, and the good sense of the real repub-

licans will ultimately prevail." On January 18, 1805, he

was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society

and later read many papers before that body, including one

on a lead casing for cannon shells. From 1805 to 1807

Jones sailed around the world on his ship, the Ploughboy.

For a short time he was involved in the Chinese opium trade.

After returning home, he was chosen by a Philadelphia town

meeting in 1809 to present a letter of support to President

Jefferson, assuring the chief executive of backing for the
embargo and other restrictive laws.

3. Copy of this manual is located with his papers.
November 1, 1794, UCSC.

4. W. Jones to J. Randolph, March 19, 1803; W. Jones to
President, American Philosophical Society, March 22, 1811; W.
Jones to J. Nicholson, September 3, 1805; W. Jones to T.
Jefferson, February 3, 1809; UCSC.

In 1810 Jones was asked by the Secretary of State,

Robert Smith, if he would assume the services of a charge

d'affaires to Denmark. He replied that he did not have

time to serve because of the press of his own private

business. After consulting with President Madison, the

Secretary of State told Jones that the position "at the

Danish Court, does not require you to relinquish your

present commercial establishment. The appointment is in

substance that of a special Agent, and will necessarily be

a temporary one." No letter remains on Jones' final answer,

but all indications seem to be that he never filled the


The Madison administration, however, appeared deter-

mined to get Jones into an office of some type. On March

29, 1812, Richard Rush wrote him "that the President,

anxious to avail the country of your services, has it in

contemplation to nominate you to the senate as commissary

general of purchases ... I am informed also to say, it is

most anxiously hoped that nothing may oblige you to withhold

5. R. Smith to W. Jones, November 2, 1810; W. Jones
to R. Smith, November 9, 1810; R. Smith to W. Jones, November
13, 1810; UCSC.

the benefit of your valuable aid in a line so important."

Jones tentatively accepted the position on April 1, 1812,

but asked to see a copy of the new law which established

this post. Rush sent another letter to Jones on April 4

with the information that the President had made the

nomination and that it had been approved by the Senate.

On April 6 Jones wrote to the Secretary of War, William

Eustis, that he still had not received a copy of the law,

but that he would start out for Washington as soon as

possible. Before beginning his journey, however, the

statute arrived, and Jones did not like what he saw. He

wrote to Eustis on April 20, 1812, informing him that he

would not accept the position and criticizing the law

for creating a figurehead post, loaded with responsibility,

but bereft of power. Jones wrote,

The officer certainly has nothing of the
Commissary Genl. but the name. It is even more sub-
ordinate than the Purveyor, though the duty and labor
is greatly enlarged. It is without rank, respect-
ability or adequate emolument, though certainly very
important and requiring high integrity, useful talent
and extensive knowledge. Indeed there is something
extremely forbidding in the restrictions ... penalties
all which presuppose a degree of moral turpitude and
insensibility to fair fame at which a generous and
honourable mind must revolt.

The administration, however, was not able to locate any

other first-rate man to take the position, and on May 3,

Eustis again asked Jones to accept the post and confessed

that otherwise the department would have to "solicit others

whose standing and characters are of inferior grade."

When Jones again refused, Richard Rush asked him to name

two men who might be interested since, for unnamed political

reasons, the administration wanted the job to go to a

Jones was aware of the international difficulties of

the Madison administration. As a merchant, he had felt the

sting of British impressment. While he was in China in

1805, a British man-of-war had boarded the American mer-

chantman, New Jersey, and removed several sailors. Edward

Carrington, the United States Commercial Agent in China,

asked Captain Jones what should be done. Jones suggested

initial negotiations and consultation, but, recognizing that

these means were foredoomed to failure, he urged that, "In

6. R. Rush to W. Jones, March 29, 1812; April 3,
1812; April 4, 1812; W. Jones to W. Eustis, April 20,
1812; W. Eustis to W. Jones, May 3, 1812; R. Rush to W.
Jones, June 30, 1812; UCSC.

the interim it ought to be the unanimous and absolute

determination of the American Captains first to resist by

firm & cool remonstrance and ultimately to repel by force
of Arms, any attempts of the kind in the future." By

the summer of 1812,Jones believed that the administration

had no choice but to go to war--with England for certain

and, perhaps, with France as well. In a letter to Penn-

sylvania Congressman Jonathon Roberts, Jones told of his

reasons for urging the beginning of hostilities immediately.

I hear every day even in the atmosphere
of the coffee house attended by honest Federalists--
"now or never there is no honourable alternate but
War." As for our political friends they commune
with each other with painful and reluctant doubts,
succeeded by willing confidence and cheering hope.
One common sentiment pervades us all--every hour of
delay is dangerous--the hopes, the activity, confi-
dence and intrigues of the opposition receives new
life and vigor by the prospect of division.
Pronounce the national Fiat and they will be as gentle
as lambs--hesitate and they will combine the ..t with
the exterior of the Lion.
Those who are for war with both powers
instrantos [sic] cannot consistently refuse to go
to war with Britain single, if they cannot carry their
... to both. These powers have no claim upon our
impartiality which in the want of our declaring
against both at once, would I think be displayed

7. Marion V. Brewington (ed.), "The Press Gang in
China," American Neptune, XVII (January, 1957), 72-73.

... Sometimes refers to illegible words in manuscript.

at the expense of wisdom and sound policy. By in-
cluding France we greatly impair our means of annoy-
ing Britain by excluding our flag [and] our freezing
[of] commerce from the continent of Europe from
whence we could more effectively annoy her [England's]
commerce and coasting trade than all the maritime
forces of combined Europe.8

Finally, in January, 1813, President Madison was able

to persuade Captain Jones to accept a position in his

administration. The new Secretary of the Navy quit Phila-

delphia for Washington and left behind his family. He had

no great expectations and was neither impressed by his own

office nor by the people he met in Washington. He knew his

new position would be a difficult one, and had no doubts

as to the demands it would make on him. As can be seen

in the following letter, which alludes to his new position,

Jones' private letters are quite obtuse and full of

intricate similes. Fortunately, his official correspondence

was usually laconic as it was often composed by a department

clerk from his notes. Yet his private correspondence re-

mains as a key to the man's personality and mind, and an

interesting commentary on an earlier age.

8. W. Jones to J. Roberts, June 10, 1812, UCSC.

Most of my friends whom I have casually met greet me
with pleasure and express great confidence, but com-
misserate me on the Herculean task I have to encounter.
Be it so, but I am sure it will give me
pleasure that though the report of its difficulties
increase and I answer my hope and confidence is strenth-
ened and the terrors appear to lessen with the serious
contemplation I have given to the subject. Having
accepted the trust with reluctance, but with the
purest motives and most ardent zeal, I ... cause of
our country why should I despair? My pursuits and
studies has [sic] been intimately connected with the
objects of the department and I have not been an in-
attentive observer of political causes and effects.
The truth is that the differences I have to encounter
are artificial, but they are not the less difficult
on that account. They arise from the corruption of
self-interested men who have taken root in the estab-
lishment and like the voracious poplar nothing can
thrive in their shade. But (as we did in our yard)
we can cut it down replace the fair pavement and let
in the cheering beams of the sun of truth and honesty.
I shall take care however not to cut rashly and in-
discriminately. If I cut off the noxious plants, I
shall cherish the useful trees.
But of what avail you will say is honest
attention and faithful services if assailed by the
breath of calumny and faction. I answer, if I am
incompetent & grossly negligent it will not be calumny--
If I am faithful and reasonably competent the con-
sciousness of virtue and fidelity I hope will sustain
me. To expect to pass without lashing would be idle.
I have only to request you not to mind it when it
does occur.

Soon after his arrival in Washington, the republican Jones

wrote to his wife, Eleanor, expressing his disapproval of

the society which he had found. He never was at home or

9. W. Jones to E. Jones, January 23, 1813, UCSC.

happy in the capital's social life and, in the following

letter, he reveals his contempt for the masquerade in which

he is forced to participate.

'Ere I go to the drawing room to play the
farce of etiquette, let me snatch a moment to com-
mune with the wife of my bosom whose hourly converse
has so long been the solace of my leisure hours.
This is Wednesday evening and all the world
in Washington assemble weekly to pay their respects
at head quarters and I shall return early and go to
writing again. As yet I have not been able to return
the visits of ceremony to minister ... and I perceive
that my domestic habit, have utterly unfitted me for
a courtier for all this gives me pain instead of
pleasure, I have seen Tingey's wife [Thomas Tingey,
agent of the Navy Department and commandant of the
Washington Navy Yard] and she is really a comely
genteel and youthful woman while he is a withered
tremulous old man.
In my lodgings I am as comfortable as I can
be with a steady attentive good servant, and agreeable
messmates, but none of the affectionate faces which I
have been accustomed to see around me.10

Eleanor Jones eventually moved to the capital to be

with her husband, but she often returned to Philadelphia

for prolonged visits. While she was away in the late summer

of 1813, Jones described his bachelor life to her.

My spirits naturally good and disposition cheerful
(for Heaven and you well know that had they not my
heart must have long since bowed down) has really had
but little to preserve their natural tone. In my
lodgings I am a hermit or slave. In my office like

10. W. Jones to E. Jones, February 10, 1813, UCSC.

a public pump kept constantly wagging by any one
who thirsts after honors or emoluments which they run
off with whilst I am left dry, The little recreation
I get is a ride to the navy yard where I mount my
old hobby horse and feast my eye upon the noble ships
that are building and their little children the beauti-
ful Barges which I have constructed after my own fancy.
Those little excursions have in a great degree sus-i
tained my spirit and my health which is excellent.

To make himself more at home, the Secretary asked his wife

to bring him a few items from Philadelphia. Among these

were "two barrels of Snowden & Fishers pale ale," a "keg

of nice pickled tripe," "a barrel of nice fat mackeral,"

"three or four pots of french mustard," "a box of currants

some soft shelled almonds a jar of olives," plus some table

The summer of 1813 was a particularly busy and trying

time for the Secretary of the Navy. Madison was at his

home, Montpelier, in Virginia where he was so ill that at

times it seemed he would not survive. Secretary of State,

James Monroe, was vacationing in Virginia while the Secretary

of War, John Armstrong, was on the northern frontier ineptly

conducting the land forces, and Albert Gallatin, the Secre-

tary of the Treasury, was in Russia trying to arrange a

11. W. Jones to E. Jones, September 17, 1813, UCSC.

12. W. Jones to E. Jones, August 22, 1813, UCSC.

meeting with the British. Jones was the only person with

cabinet rank in the capital, and was, in effect, the

entire executive arm of the national government.

In Gallatin's absence, Jones had been formally ap-

pointed the acting head of the Treasury Department while

Gallatin was away, a trust he held from May, 1813, to
February, 1814. The President wanted to keep Gallatin

as an adviser and he feared that if .he removed this wily

financier, he would never be able to convince him to return

to the cabinet. There was also the possibility that the

Senate would refuse to confirm the unpopular Gallatin as

a peace commissioner. After Gallatin had actually been

confirmed as a member of the official United States dele-

gation at Ghent, a successor was named for the Treasury
Department and he never returned to the administration.14

When Gallatin left for Europe, he provided Jones with

detailed instructions on what he was to do as Acting Secretary

13. Madison's authorization for this action was a
statute of May 8, 1792, which permitted the President to
appoint any person to a cabinet office when "death, absence
from the seat of government, or sickness" shall prevent the
Secretary from performing his duties "until a successor be
appointed, or until such absence or inability by sickness shall
cease." United States Congress, The Public Statutes at Large
of the United States of America (Washington, 1856), I, 281.
14. See Raymond Walters, Jr., Albert Gallatin: Jeffer-
sonian Financier and Diplomat (New York, 1957), chapter 20.

of the Treasury. This official memorandum restricted him

to procedural matters and severely curtailed any original

actions that he might undertake, especially in the remis-

sions cases wherein ship owners asked that vessels be
returned to them. Typical of these cases was the one

involving the brig Catherine trading between St. Bartholomew

and Halifax under a neutral Swedish flag. When the vessel

was searched on the high seas, an American officer noted

that her real destination was New Haven, Connecticut. The

Catherine was thus plying an illegal trade between the

United States and the British West Indies. The owner, J.

Martin, was an American merchant who claimed that the in-

sertion of New Haven was a mistake by the foreign captain.

The acting Secretary was asked to intercede in this case

and innumerable similar ones.

The most pressing problem which Jones faced as acting

Secretary of the Treasury was to find a means of financing

the war. The projected revenues would not cover the nation's

actual expenditures. In 1813, 1814, and 1815, the adminis-

tration would be forced to seek loans, issue treasury

15. A. Gallatin to W. Jones, April 20, 1813, UCSC.

16. J. Martin to W. Jones, June 22, 1813, UCSC.

certificates, and raise taxes. The Congress always acceded

to these measures just in time to avert a financial dis-

aster. In the summer of 1813 Jones was asked to suggest

the best way of raising money. He sent a well-researched

answer to Congress which advocated loans backed by an

internal tax which would "facilitate the obtaining of the

loan," and help to procure it on "favorable terms." The

Secretary then presented his reasoning.

It is ascertained that the terms of the
loan, for the present year, would have been more
favorable, if the taxes had been previously laid;
and it is obvious enough, that, by affording a
security for the regular payment of the interest,
and the eventual reimbursement of the principal,
more stable, and less liable to be weakened or cut
off by the natural effects of war, upon internal
commerce, capitalists will advance with the greater
readiness, and at a lower rate of interest, the
funds necessary for the prosecution of the war,
public confidence will be ensured, and the means
afforded of preserving the public credit unimpaired--
a measure of the utmost importance in a country like
ours, where, from the lightness of the demands made
upon the People, during the continuance of peace, the
extraordinary expenses of a state of wa can be sup-
plied only by a resort to that credit.

Jones estimated that it would take at least four months of

hard work to enable the Treasury Department to set up the

apparatus for collecting the internal tax that Congress

17. ASP, Class III, Finance, II, 624.

had passed. This measure included a direct tax estimated

at three million dollars upon land, dwelling-houses, and

slaves, plus internal duties on stills, refined sugars,

retailers' licenses, bank notes, auction sales, carriages,

and an additional levy of twenty cents on each bushel of

imported salt. There was, however, more difficulty in-

volved in collecting the unpopular tax than Jones had

envisioned. Indeed, of the 190 electoral districts in the

nation, there were "74 for which no application or recom-

mendation for Collector" had been received by September

20, 1813. The law was to go into effect on January 1,
1814. Yet the law was operative in time to bring in

the needed revenues, and actually raised $3,882,482.18

the first year and, with increased rates, $6,840,732.48

in 1815. By these methods the government managed to keep

a surplus which wavered between two and four million dollars

in the treasury at all times during the war.

Jones rapidly fell behind in his Treasury Department

duties. Clerk Edward Jones reminded Secretary Jones "that

18. W. Jones to J. Eppes, June 21, 1813; Memo of
W. Jones, September 20, 1813; UCSC.

19. See Nielson, "Financial History"; and John W.
Kearny, Sketch of American Finances, 1789-1835 (New York,

there are in this office ready for signature, a number of

Remission Warrants, which, ..., are now become matters of

record and by reason of their date cannot in any event be

executed by any person but yourself. It has always been

an established rule in this Department never to permit the

chain or series of our official transactions to be inter-

rupted, ..., and I have with great deference ventured to

make this statement with a view of drawing your attention

to the subject."20

Jones never really wanted the added burdens of the

Treasury Department and only undertook them with reluctance

to help the President. He complained to Eleanor about the

increased duties, but because Madison expressed "so much

repugnance" at his desire to be relieved of the office,

he decided to continue until Gallatin's return which was

expected at any time. By December it was obvious that

Gallatin would not be returning to the department. Jones

thereupon told the President that he could no longer per-

form the duties of two departments and asked to be relieved

of the treasury post as soon as a successor could be found.

20. E. Jones to W. Jones, February 3, 1814, UCSC.

With the appointment of George W. Campbell in February,

1814, he was relieved of the onerous burden of two jobs.

The President, however, continued to consult with him on

fiscal matters. A normal request made by Madison per-

tained to the financing of the war. Jones replied that the

nation must rely upon "taxes--a national Bank--loans and

Treasury Notes" to continue prosecuting the war. "The

product of the first," he continued, "will be remote--

the aid of the second cannot be commanded in time to meet

the immediate demands on the Treasury which must therefore
be derived from the third and fourth."

As the Secretary of the Navy, William Jones had the

power to control a great deal of patronage and he was not

afraid to use it. He made certain that his own friends and

relatives were given government business or positions.

His brother, Lloyd, was made captain of the cartel, the

Neptune, which took the American peace commissioners to

21. W. Jones to E. Jones, July 14, 1813; W. Jones to
J. Madison,December 21, 1813; UCSC. W. Jones to J. Madison,
October, 1814, James Madison Papers (Microfilm Copy by the
Library of Congress). Hereafter abbreviated as JMP.

Europe in 1814. Jones' wife's sister married William

Strong who died practically impoverished. Jones' sister-

in-law supported her family by operating an apothecary shop

in Philadelphia. The Secretary ordered the navy agent at

Philadelphia, George Harrison, to buy all the medical

supplies for the outfitting of the United States frigate

Guerriere from Mrs. Strong "because the public will at the

same time be as well served, and it will aid the efforts

of a respectable and worthy woman to support and educate a

large young family."22 Perhaps Jones' closest friend was

William Young, a Philadelphia merchant who was also his

financial confidant. Young found himself in tight straits

and in need of a job when the war closed international

commerce. Jones found a position for him and received

Young's thanks, "the place of Naval Store keeper which in

your last letter you said you thought you could get for me

would be very acceptable by that help I should be able to
pay off my Bank debt which is $2100." William Jones was

22. W. Jones to G. Harrison, September 30, 1814,
United States Department of the Navy, "Letters Sent by the
Secretary of the Navy to Commandants and Navy Agents, 1808-
1865" (File microcopy of records in the National Archives:
no. 441). Hereafter abbreviated as lsc.

23. W. Young to W. Jones, December 8, 1813, UCSC.

the legal guardian of his wife's nephew, William Strong,

Jr., and he attempted to secure a sinecure for him. In

a confidential letter to Eleanor, the Secretary wrote about

the position he had in mind.

I am laying a plan for William's future fortune but
until I ascertain whether I can bring it to bear you
will not suggest it to anyone. I think the President
would not refuse any reasonable thing that I should
ask. The consulate at Cadiz is one of the best is
[sic] the gift of the government. It has been hitherto
held by an old Spaniard who has done all the business
by a vice consul, who with the best opportunity has
by imprudent speculation failed and will be removed
and I think there is a disposition to appoint a new
Consul. This is what I mean to ask and I think I
shall succeed. If I do it insures to William a certain
and speedy fortune.24

Of course, there was no civil service at this time, and it

was perfectly right and reasonable for a high administrative

official to see that posts were filled with men he could


Jones himself, however, not only made no fortune from

his position, but he fell into bankruptcy because of it.

His financial problems went back to 1808 when he returned

from India, the owner of a ship with an account of $120,000,

three-quarters of which was in indigo cloth and meant for

European consumption. The embargo kept the material in the

24. W. Jones to E. Jones, August 22, 1813, UCSC.

United States until June, 1811, when he sent it with an

agent to Russia. He was able to sell it for an unprofitable

amount which due to extra charges and storage costs made

the entire deal a severe loss. Meanwhile, he had to sell

his ship to gain funds, and because of the unsure state of

American commerce, could only realize half of its original

cost of $47,000. He tried to continue in his commercial

business while Secretary. What credits he did have were

tied up in Europe and could not come home, while his creditors

at home pressed him for payment. In personal letters to

friends and in business letters, Jones indicated that his

accounts were going down, and he was compelled to ask his
creditors for additional sums. He described his financial

troubles to his friend, William Young.

25. W. Jones to J. Madison, April 25, 1814, JMP.
W. Jones to William & Francis, September 26, 1813, UCSC.

26. W. Young to W. Jones, January 24, 1813; January 28,
1813; March 1, 1813; March 7, 1813; June 29, 1813; July, 1813;
September 19, 1813; December 8, 1813; UCSC. W. Jones to
E. Jones, April 7, 1813; September 30, 1814; UCSC. W. Jones
to W. Young, July 6, 1813; August 17, 1814; UCSC. W. Jones
to J. Savage, September 26, 1813, UCSC. T. Darry & J.
Roberts to W. Jones, July 8, 1813, UCSC.

But after all my toil and trouble
and the immense sacrifice of feeling and
interest I have made I shall not at my ad-
vanced time of life have a shilling left,
for estimating my calculated debt interest
included at $14,000 and you know all that I
own and you will find that my debts will ab-
sorb all that I have land and house included.
My public situation is the only thing that
gives me pain under these circumstances. But
the moment peace return [sic], and I do not
believe it very remote I shall return to
private life and to business, in which with a
reputation free from blemish and some branch
of business in which I see great advantages
with little capital I still hope to spend the
residue of my days in that peaceful retire-
ment which I have ever sought with sincere

In an even more poignant letter near the end of his time

in office, Jones wrote to Eleanor, "After all I shall return

to your arms a beggar with the proceeds of our surplus

furniture carriage and horses and a few dollars scraped

from the late savings in all perhaps sufficient to

support us 12 or 18 months in retired economy. Well

never mind it, I shall return with a pure heart and peace

of mind as cheerful as a lark and with sufficient common

sense to keep out of the snares of public life."28

27. W. Jones to W. Young, April 11, 1813, UCSC.

28. W. Jones to E. Jones, November 6, 1814, UCSC.

By the end of his term Jones' credits amounted to $29,692

and his debts to $47,000 or a net debit of $17,308.29

In a little more than a year after taking office, Jones

was seriously thinking of resigning. On April 25, 1814, he

told Madison that he wanted to leave the Navy Department

for personal reasons, but would remain on until the next

session of Congress so Madison would have time to choose

a successor. By the late spring, his desire to retire had

become public knowledge. As his financial troubles worsened,

he wrote to Eleanor, "My unceasing efforts will be to get

out of office vhich will absolutely take place in all this

year--I think by the 1st of December." On September

11, 1814, he submitted both an official letter of resigna-

tion to the President and a private one which explained why

he had to give up his position. In the private letter,

Secretary Jones declared to Madison that,

It is now obligatory upon me to meet
and make some compromise with those who hold or
are bound for my obligations and by my personal
exertions to make the best disposition of the
property I hold, trusting to better times and
future industry for that relief of which my
labours and principles I trust have merited.
... Mere abstract poverty is nothing but

29. W. Jones to Savage & Dugan, April 13, 1815, UCSC.

sensibly alive to those principles of integrity
and punctuality which have guided my whole life,
the inability to meet my engagements and to
avert the inconvenience and possible loss which may
accrue to those who are immediately liable for
my obligations is painful in the extreme.

Secretary Jones told Madison that "I shall never regret

[my current financial state] if my services shall have been

useful to my country and satisfactory to you--a consumma-

tion which with very moderate talents and a heart ill

at ease, I can scarcely flatter myself." The end had come,

however, and he had no regrets. He had done his duty and

was glad to have been a part of the Madison administration.

Philosophically he commented to his wife upon the public

maliciousness all officials have to face.

Much joy to my successor--whoever he may be.
I hope he may acquire honor for himself and
fame for his country, but instead of a wreath
of laurels he has a much greater chance of
acquiring a crown of thorns. The truth is
that our Government is so constituted and
public sentiments (so called) so capricious
and arbitrary that the high public officers
are liable to be arraigned and tried & con-
demned by a species of revolutionary tribunal
which though it does not strike off the head
stabs the more noble and vital part the

30. W. Jones to J. Madison, April 25, 1814, JMP.
D. Coxe to W. Jones, May 26, 1814; W. Jones to E. Jones,
September 7, 1814; W. Jones to J. Madison, September 11,
1814; UCSC. W. Jones to J. Madison, April 25, 1814, JMP.
W. Jones to E. Jones, September 20, 1814, UCSC.

When Jones made it known to Madison that he wanted to

retire the President responded with regret. "Whatever may

happen," Madison wrote, "I cannot let the present occasion

pass without expressing the gratification I have experienced

in the entire fulfillment of my expectations, large as they

were, from your talents and exertions, and from all those

personal qualities which harmonize official and sweeten

social intercourse."31 After Jones resigned a public dinner

was held in his honor in Washington as a testimony of the

"high esteem" the citizens of that city had for him.32

The Baltimore Patriot bemoaned Jones' retirement saying

that he had "more essentially benefited the department,

than any of his predecessors" and that "he embarked in his

administerial labors with defined principles of duty, to

which he has resolutely adhered, regardless of party clamor
or political discontent." Many years after leaving the

Presidency, Madison was asked by Henry Lee to comment upon

Jones. By this time William Jones would have been

31. J. Madison to W. Jones, April 24, 1814, JMP.

32. C. Carroll, et al., December 10, 1814, UCSC.

33. Clipping from the Baltimore Patriot, no date, in
a letter from R. Spence to W. Jones, November, 1814, UCSC.

involved in a banking scandal which permanently tarnished

his reputation, but the ex-president unstintingly praised

the man.

I must be allowed to express my surprise
at the unfavorable view taken of the appointment
of Mr. Jones. I do not hesitate to pronounce him
the fittest Minister who had ever been charged
with the Navy Department. With a strong mind,
well stored with the requisite knowledge, he
possessed great energy of character and unde-
fatigable application to business. I cannot
doubt that the evidence of his real capacity,
his appropriate acquirements, and his effective
exertions in a most arduous service and the most
trying scenes, now to be found on the files of the
Department, as well as my own, would reverse the
opinion which seems to have been formed of him.
Nor in doing him justice ought it to be omitted
that he had on his hands the Treasury as well as the
Navy Department, and at a time when both called
for unusual attention, and that he did not shrink
from the former, for which he proved himself
qualified, till the double burden became
evidentally unsupportable.34

After leaving the Navy Department, Jones returned to

Philadelphia where he was able to recoup the fortune he

had lost while Secretary. Partially due to his friend-

ship with Alexander Dallas who became Secretary of the

Treasury in October, 1814, and due to his capable handling

34. J. Madison to H. Lee, February, 1827, JMP.

of the Treasury Department, Jones was elected the first

president of the second Bank of the United States in

July, 1816. But he was over his head in this capacity.

His knowledge of banking was minimal and the chief reasons

for his appointment political. He soon became involved

in the intra-bank squabble and was implicated in some shady
stock transfers. His degree of involvement was never

ascertained although it appeared to be more a crime of

ignorance than maliciousness. However, he was forced

to resign the presidency of the bank, in disgrace, in

January, 1819. He then joined with Joshua and Samuel

Humphreys in a company to build steamships. This en-

deavor enabled him to enhance his holdings. From 1827

until 1829 he held the sinecure of Collector of Customs

for the port of Philadelphia.36

35. "Memorial of William Jones, late President
of the Bank of the United States to the House of
Representatives," House Executive Document, No. 130,
15th Congress, 2d Session.

36. For the little biographical information which
exists on William Jones, see Frederick, "William Jones,"
Dictionary of American Biography, X, 205; "William Jones,"
The National Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York,
1907), V, 373; and Kenneth Brown, "The William Jones
Papers," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,
LXVI (October, 1942), 479-482.

In the summer of 1831, Jones left fever-ridden Phila-

delphia for the cool air of the Pocano mountains. On the

way there, he stopped at the pleasant community of Bethle-

hem where he had served his shipbuilding apprenticeship

as a boy. He, however, had carried the fever with him

and died at the Sun Inn in Bethlehem on September 6. In

accordance with his special request, the Moravian Church

permitted the Episcopalian from Philadelphia to be buried

in their church's beautiful cemetery, "God's Acre," where
i. -,* -, 37
he lies today.37

37. Levering, History of Bethlehem, p. 653. Some
controversy exists on his place of burial. Frederick in
the Dictionary of American Biography states that Jones
was buried in St. Peter's churchyard, Philadelphia. I
could find no gravestones indicating his body even though
his wife and family are buried there; see William W.
Bronson, The Inscriptions in St. Peter's Church Yard,
Philadelphia (Camden, N.J., 1879), p. 90. Bethlehem,
on the other hand, does have grave records for William
Jones, 1760-1831. Furthermore, it seems inconceivable
that the corpse of a man who had died from a contagious
fever during an epidemic would be shipped over 60 miles
in the summer for burial.



When William Jones took command of the Navy Depart-

ment, the organization was in chaos. The new Secretary

prepared himself for his responsibilities by asking his

old friend, Alexander Dallas, to compile a brief sketch

of all the laws pertaining to the navy, especially those

relative to the "powers of the department." There were

no naval advisers to the Secretary. It was an entirely

pre-professional operation. He was "the department;

whatever had to be authorized or done, he authorized and

did. To him reported the civilian superintendents or

naval commandants of the six navy yards, as well as a

fluctuating and widely scattered number of navy agents.

Each ship was usually an independent unit, its commander

receiving orders directly from the Secretary. ... The system

was as simple and embryonic as could have well been imagined.

1. A. Dallas to W. Jones, January 24, 1813, UCSC.

When faced with the emergency of war, it proved as ineffi-

cient as would have been expected."2

The enemy's naval administration was theoretically

superior, but, in actual use, often fell short of the

American system. One writer has said, "Venality and

neglect were so extensive ... that an administrative his-

torian, if he did not know in advance that the British

navy was by far the strongest and most consistently

victorious navy of the period, could easily end with a

catalogue of reasons for British naval collapse." At

the top of the administrative hierarchy stood "the

Commissioners constituted to execute the Office of Lord

High Admiral," or, more commonly, the Board of Admiralty.

Of a total of seven members, the First Lord and six sub-

ordinates, only one or two usually knew anything about naval

service although, occasionally, the First Lord himself was

a retired admiral. The Board of Admiralty had the overall

responsibility for the British navy: its personnel, ships,

and services. It was not responsible for naval strategy or

2. Leonard D. White, The Jeffersonians: A Study in
Administrative History, 1801-1829 (New York, 1951), p. 270.

3. Daniel A. Baugh, British Naval Administration in
the Age of Walpole (Princeton, N.J., 1965), p. 2.

tactics--these things were decided by the Cabinet of which

the First Lord was a member, usually not a very important

one. The Board of Admiralty did forward orders to its

commanders on station, and, unlike the United States Navy

Department, it did not maintain communications with sub-

ordinate officers.

In addition to the Board of Admiralty there were

numerous specialized boards which gave advice to the Cabinet.

Among these were the Sick and Wounded Office, the Victual-

ling Office, and the Navy Office. The first two were sub-

ordinate to the Navy Office and are self-explanatory. The

Navy Office was a very influential board of about twenty

members who had either risen through the civil service or

naval line duty to their position. The Navy Office was

the work horse of the Admiralty. It was responsible for

everything except strategy, tactics, and recruitment of

personnel. It was entrusted with the care of the fleet,

the control of naval finances, and the health and subsis-

tence of the sailors. Each member of the Navy Office was

a specialist with long experience who was in charge of a

particular area. It was such a board which the United

States would try to imitate in the years immediately follow-

ing the War of 1812.

While the Admiralty had a theoretical sovereignty

over the Navy Office, in practice, the permanent Navy Office

had more authority than the Board of Admiralty. The

Cabinet preferred to listen to specialists rather than to

political appointees who may or may not know anything

about the navy. There was often bitter in-fighting between

the two offices which naturally prevented any efficient

service. Yet this chaotic system was to be kept until

1832 when a more professional Board of Admiralty was


The United States Department of the Navy had two

offices, the Secretary and his staff and the accountant's

division; there were nine clerks in the former office and

eleven in the latter.5 The Chief Clerk of the department

when Jones arrived was Charles W. Goldsborough who has

been called the American Pepys. He was a member of a very

wealthy and influential Maryland family, and, except for

the two years of Jones' administration, he held the position

of Chief Clerk from 1807 to 1843. Jones' removal of this

4. See Baugh, British Naval Administration, chapter 2.

5. Paullin, "Naval," p. 1309.

seemingly indispensable man was simply a housecleaning

move. Jones never accused the man of peculation, but he

was convinced that Goldsborough was responsible for most

of the department's confusion. On February 27, 1813, he

fired Goldsborough and the following day made a memo to

himself about the incident. "On my part," the Secretary

wrote, "really wishing to render the manner of his retir-

ing as little irksome to him as possible and my determina-

tion to dispose with his services being founded upon the

excessively disordered and confused state in which I have

found every branch of the Department of which he has been

the principal director for twelve years, and at the same

time witnessing his capacity and facility of business am

compelled to attribute it to some other cause than the want

of the requisite qualifications, I am justified in selecting

another and this he readily admits."6

The firing of Goldsborough, however, was more than a

simple change caused by an administrative turn-over. It

was a sign of the internal squabbling and dissatisfaction

which would be inimical to the proper functioning of the

6. Memo of W. Jones, February 28, 1813, UCSC.

Navy Department. Surprisingly, Goldsborough was apologetic

to Jones and thanked the Secretary for being as considerate

as he had been--Jones even bought Goldsborough's Washington

home as a mutual convenience to both. The Secretary wrote

to his wife that, "I did not wish to afford a triumph I

gave him an opportunity of giving the change the appearance

of choice. ... I continued his service until it had the

public appearance of his own act & convenience this recon-

ciled him and he expressed gratitude for the delicacy with

which I had treated him." Furthermore, Jones knew that the

man had "made himself useful" to many of the naval officers,

and he feared that dissension might result if the break
appeared to be his doing.

By the summer of 1814, however, Goldsborough was tell-

ing Madison that Jones had been duped by Dr. Ewell, an

inventor who had tried unsuccessfully to sell the department

an inferior grade of gunpowder. The Ewell-Goldsborough

feud blossomed into a minor Navy Department scandal which

was put to verse in a poem called "The Switch" (see following

page). By June, 1814, Goldsborough was bold enough to present

7. W. Jones to E. Jones, March 22, 1813, UCSC.





SIll'n Rogure fall oat. llHuonest Vrn rome &V tAeir r. tA g'

t oritAitTorntis --Printed by Josn PitA&Last, at tie BeIady Muony Press, wlth ic epe. to all
parties. but afraidof uwus--l~th January, Anne J coui Psino quarto.

Two kntes have just quarrled-Good people, dont
Of their strife what has furnish'd the fuel.
farles Dobet ('----- kept all the plunder
F'remon his co partner, little Teom V L
Whirh rogue is ii. greaterr I can't ascertain,
N or which is the Ils of a fighter.
The rogue who from mudimne made* all his gain,
Or the rogue who defrauded In Nitro
Ti, turns accuser. Ckarus boldly impeaches;
The charges are now laid before you-
But. decide as*you will an those two .Vary leerhis,
They are equal a gul"t. I assure you.
Charles says runningg owundre" is nothing but "chaff,"
Such charge he with laughter ran meet, sir;
.ow if scoundrel be chaff, merely raising a laugh,
Pray, what shall we think of the whart. sir '
Of magnanimous Tom, we must ever admire
The pairtilum if not lth piety,
Who to cut (Charles' throat evinced a desire,
For the evident good of society

Yet tome enviou esols deny him the praise
(Oi public spirit, or sven of gumcoan,
And contend t>at a deal i one of his ways
iOf prumotiag has powder-consumption

Be that *s it may. it appears that hit foe
Would n9t be the dpe of h:is cunning.
In short, tht a pltfilieng he would not go,
Though he frequently goes out a gunjint,
('harle sayst, without him that our naval affairs
Wo ld be soon in a dr*eadful condition ,
If te saying be true. then Tom U' L appears
Very proper Ifor nTaval physician
But some people think if our naval sturre"
S would depend on this Charles double 1'.
(Ojr martime vlctoriet henceforth would be less.
A ad our vpltures ofngates more few

Tte war of thoee misrentsio is m party war.
liace 1t known by Ill sties and mademis,
That they beth *el slanech federalist., if you trace them
so far
As the reig f eld fed f l Joan Adoise

Source: Unidentified newsoaner

What they maybe at present, so mortal can toll,
Nor is it fig to the nation.
But that which they res to be. all know right well,
Fritsids of ery adssinistratfion
Charles says they'll be tried by a Jury of --Pasga:"
I-avet. without aim to be witty,
That twlve .s great rogue.. irl hearr not lo (cAtir cars,
Can't be fouJ in iall W ahnigton city
Our city, tis true his its portion of knamves ,
Of my miad to give every itta.
Of pick forkoes. windler. *and sycoplhanUt- I admit we possess our full quote
Each bell'igert seuew the other ef crimes,
Of swindlih, ofleial rapacity,
And, touh thgh ey will lie at l1 other times.
You may mow safelytrust their veracity.
But, only admiting that lin t half is trvin
Of what each hais said ul hi br.,tt.lr.
I submit totk*e inudsof th' unprejudi ed few
Whether one shuu!d not march after tolther.

If swindling be cherished, nd knavery t? nrive
bl y, ounnivane of this wealthy nation.
For my part, I tU see no guuood rrelun alive.
Why thes things should ut &; b) rotation
Though "in for a pmnny, and in for a pound,"
Seemi a favorite maum at court ,
Vet, in my apprehension, when four year$ come round.
New hands should partake of the sport

An arrangement. oj)ust. would five general jav,
And, besides. termiate those vtile quarrtns
Wi.ch greatly the peice of I..* uilv sioy.
BIy exposing our Washinaittun oue'rals

Of orffe the undisturbed tenure perplu,, I
by to mean romp....rts with mv wi.hre
A few nmn iawsc.dinK to my civil ri usll
S!Aould'ut catch ea the loavs said tihe "as,
Then. turn out tho*e fellow,. pray, good capt ,Ae,
Lt others retom in lor somea plunder .
The I.t Koaes will be Itlhd to get off with whjl btce,
L%.ea surh vile sccusstreas they're Uder

clinoinc. lare mbTn r. 1R13.


his position to the President. The ex-clerk wrote that

Dr. Ewell had proclaimed,

"that if Goldsborough was out of the
way, he could make his ten thousands out of the
Department--that he would leave no stone un-
turned--no means, fair or foul, unessayed, to
procure his dismissal."
True to his purpose, thus avowed, he set
out by ascribing to me improper connections with
contractors--this calumny refuted, the ground of
attack was shifted. From one charge refuted he
advanced to another, varying his methods and his
means, till at length he touched the chord that
vibrated to his purpose--with hired agents he
industriously circulated a report that I was a
"violent federalist--a loud disclaimer against
the administration--an apologist for British
aggressions &c." Every unprincipled contractor,
every expectant of office, united the hue & cry--
& the charge, tho false, was believed. One of
these Expectants, a man to me a stranger, par-
ticularly distinguished himself for his zeal--
altho but four month's previously he had written
a letter now existing, denouncing your whole ad-
ministration, he was loud against my "bitter
federalism;" & his honorable patriotic views have
been accomplished, for he was appointed my
successor 8

Goldsborough, however, was not reinstated to his position

until after Jones had left office; Dr. Ewell was never able

to sell his gunpowder to the department; and Benjamin

Holmans, Goldsborough's successor, soon was fighting with

another clerk, E. W. DuVal.

8. C. Goldsborough to J. Madison, June 18, 1814, JMP.

9. E. DuVal to W. Jones, September 27,1813; B. Holmans
to W. Jones, September 30, 1813; UCSC.

When Holmans took over Goldsborough's position as

Chief Clerk, he complained about the cramped space and

bureaucratic jealousies with which he had to contend.

Holmans concluded that, "I cannot and I ought not after

the experience I have had, doubt of my ability to give

satisfaction in the performance of any and all the duties

that may devolve upon me--I want only that confidence that

most men have enough of, and my disposition would lead to

render the duties easy and agreeable to all connected with

me--but as a perfect stranger, laboring under some dis-

advantages, and finding an office in such a state, that

time alone can enable me to become acquainted with the

routine of duties to remedy its defects."10 It would be

difficult to overemphasize the confusion existing in the

department or to exaggerate the enormous burden placed on

the back of the head of that bureau. "In qualitative terms

the navy itself was all that one could reasonably expect,

but the Navy Department was not."11

10. B. Holmans to W. Jones, no date, UCSC.

11. Harry L. Coles, The War of 1812 (Chicago, 1965),
p. 73.

Two of the most amorphous classes of subordinates

with whom Secretary Jones had to deal were the pursers

and the agents. The pursers were minor, but important,

officials whose duties were paying the crew of a vessel

and selling necessaries, or "slops," to the crew while at

sea. All pursers were required to place a ten thousand

dollar bond with the department before assuming office.

Soon after becoming Secretary of the Navy, Jones revoked

a large number of pursers' commissions and replaced them

with men whom he felt were more responsible. The pursers

received a salary of $480 per year, but were allowed to

make a profit of from ten to fifty per cent on the goods

sold to the crew. "Chaplain George Jones wrote that, the

purser's berth was 'the best in the ship' for 'in a short

time, it brings wealth enough to render the man independent.'

He had heard that often a three-year cruise on a frigate in

the Pacific a purser could make $30,000." Among the goods

sold by the pursers to the men for cash or credit, which

was deducted from their pay, were tea, soap, clothing, mus-

tard, sugar, and pepper. The practice of allowing pursers

to accept promissory notes from the sailors "could easily

result in a form of debt peonage where the sailor saw only

a fraction of his wages." The Navy Department tried to

regulate the amount of debt which a man could assume, but
the efforts had little effect on halting the practice.12

A much more important office was that of naval agent.

The men appointed to this office were civilians with some

sort of political connections. Thomas Tingey, the comman-

dant of the Washington Navy Yard, was also the navy agent

at Washington until November, 1813, when Richard Parott

was appointed to his place. Tingey was an exception. No

one else ever held the two jobs of agent and commandant

simultaneously. As of September, 1814, there were fourteen

other agents scattered throughout the country in ports or

inland towns where the Navy Department wished to conduct

business. The other agents were Samuel Storer of Portland,

Maine, Henry S. Langdon of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Amos

Binney of Boston, Massachusetts, Constant Taber of Newport,

Rhode Island, Joseph Hull of Middletown, Connecticut, John

Bullus of New York, New York, George Harrison of Philadelphia,

12. Harold D. Langley, Social Reform in the United
States Navy, 1798-1862 (Urbana, Ill., 1967), p. 82.

Pennsylvania, Jeames Beatty of Baltimore, Maryland, John

H. Fawn of Norfolk, Virginia, Joseph Potts of Wilmington,

North Carolina, John Robertson of Charleston, South

Carolina, A. S. Bullock of Savannah, Georgia, J. K. Sith

of New Orleans, Louisiana, and James Morrison of Lexington,
Kentucky. Some of these men were responsible for rather

large areas. Bullus in New York had to take care of all

the lake service as well as the port of New York.

Simply stated, the navy agents were responsible for

purchasing all the supplies needed by the department. They

were required to give the government a ten thousand dollar

bond before receiving their commission. Jones described

the duties of an agent thus: "all purchases contracts and

engagements for supplies of every description (except such

as this Department may specifically direct) will be made by

him. And all surplus or condemned articles in the Navy

Yard or delivered from Vessels of the United States Navy

at the Yard will be disposed of by him and under the direc-

tion of the Department as you may report from time to time."14

13. Circular, September 15, 1814, lsc.

14. W. Jones to T. Tingey, November 13, 1813, lsc.

A navy agent was expected to seek bids on an item needed

in his area. The agent was not to restrict bidding to

his own locale, but was to seek some items nationwide.

Often it was difficult to ascertain where the agents'

duties ended and those of a purser began. This was es-

pecially important to the men involved as they received a

commission on all goods passing through their hands. Hugh

Campbell, commandant of the Navy Yard at St. Mary's, Georgia,

asked the Secretary to define the respective duties of the

agents and the pursers when the latter were on shore.15

Jones clearly explained the duties of each official to

Captain Campbell.

I wish you to understand that all
supplies for the use of the Navy, are furn-
ished by the Navy Agent upon the requisition
of the commanding naval officer, or of the
Purser approved by the commanding officer.
All purchases and contracts are properly and
lawfully made only by the Agent, and such
requisitions for supplies should be made at
regular stated periods, in order to enable
the Agent to purchase or contract to advantage.
No money can be drawn from the Agent by the
Purser, unless approved by the commanding

15. H. Campbell to W. Jones, January 29, 1814.
United States Department of the Navy, "Letters Received by
the Secretary of the Navy from Captains" (File microcopy
of records in the National Archives: no. 125). Hereafter
abbreviated as lrc.

officer, and the particular object of ex-
penditure stated, so that the Agent may make
his requisitions under proper heads of
appropriation, briefly explaining the objects
to which such expenditure is to be applied.16

Most of the correspondence from Jones to the agents

is about their failure to keep proper accounts. Jones

was a stickler for exact records, and was able to un-

cover some questionable dealings by closely examining

the -agents' books. He felt a great responsibility for

keeping watch over the agents, for, after all, it was

through them that all of the expenses of the navy, except

for the salary of the Secretary and his staff, were paid.

Upon taking office he received a letter sent to his friend,

Chandler Price, by a Mr. Morgan who complained of the

corruption of the Navy Agent at New Orleans. The corres-

pondent noted that "I could tell him [Jones] things about

the navy here that would astonish him, but there is no time

for complaining and explaining. Send a man here who has

a warm heart for his country who will do his duty and not

devote his time to speculating upon the necessities of his

country."17 Jones felt this complaint was justified and

16. W. Jones to H. Campbell, February 11, 1814. United
States Department of the Navy, "Letters Sent by the Secretary
of the Navy to Officers, 1798-1868" (File microcopy of records
in the National Archive: no. 149). Hereafter abbreviated as lso.
17. B. Morgan to C. Price, January 11, 1813, UCSC.

removed not only the agent at New Orleans, but the one at

Charleston as well. Occasionally, he would discipline

an agent for improper practices but not dismiss him. A

case in point was that of the New York agent, John Bullus.

Secretary Jones told Bullus that he had "observed in your

general transactions, that the most prominent articles are

purchased or procured at rates apparently above the market

price and certainly considerably higher than at the other

neighboring agencies; and that your principal transactions

are generally confined to two or three particular firms."

One of these firms, Jones noted, was that of Bullus, Decatur

and Rucker, and the Secretary warned that only if Bullus

could prove that open bidding had taken place, would the

transactions be honored. He told Bullus, "These things

must be explained and corrected." He corresponded with

Bullus again on May 23, 1814, and told him not to contract

for anything without the express permission of the Depart-

ment. When Bullus sent in an order for a small number of

candles, Jones replied that he meant only major contracts.

18. W. Johnson to W. Jones, March 31, 1813, UCSC.

19. W. Jones to J. Bullus, April 25, 1814; May 23,
1814; June 4, 1814; lsc.

Word got back to Jones of another incident involving

a species of fraud by a navy agent,. This time Thomas

Tingey who had an ideal situation for practicing his

deception was the culprit. As commandant of the Washington

Navy Yard, he was able to purchase much equipment for his

own use. Some of the yard's tools or other items he was

loaning out to friends were not for official navy business.

Due to normal wear, the goods soon would no longer have

any value to the department, and, as the navy agent in

the area, Tingey could sell them at auction to the highest

bidder. He thus made a profit on the purchase and sale of

every item plus probably some sort of compensation from the

friends he had helped by lending them navy goods. Jones

told him that "the practice has been entirely irregular"

and ordered him to cease it.20 Shortly thereafter Tingey

was replaced as navy agent, but allowed to remain as the

commandant of the Washington Navy Yard.

There always seemed to be too great a demand for the

money which the department had on hand. The Secretary was

20. W. Jones to T. Tingey, August 5, 1814, lsc.

continually admonishing captains and commandants not to

waste public monies. In a typical letter of this sort,

he cautioned Captain Isaac Hull,

I rely upon your care and frugality so
to arrange every thing in your department as to
produce the greatest possible public benefit at
the least possible expense recollecting that every
cent applied to unnecessary or superfluous pur-
poses, is so much taken from the efficient force
of the Navy, which it is our sacred duty to
cherish and improve that our means are limited and
our expenditures hitherto such as greatly to dis-
courage and injure the establishment, and that by
proper arrangement and system those who have
been adversaries, may be converted into friends.

Jones had to prod the Congress into providing the

department with more funds. By February 7, 1813, the Navy

Department had a deficit of $1,043,501.45 which Congress

had to make up. Although the Secretary was hard-

pressed at other times, never again would the department

be so low in funds as this time when Jones first assumed

the office. The cost of war was far higher than anyone

had expected in the year before. The new head was able to

estimate future expenses more accurately while, at the same

21. W. Jones to I. Hull, April 28, 1813, lsc.

22. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 286.

time, he dispensed them more frugally. So competent had

Jones become in handling the finances of the Navy Depart-

ment that a year after he took office, Congressman Thomas

Gholson of Virginia commented on his economy. "It had

appeared," Mr. Gholson said, "on examination a year ago,

from the estimates of the expenditures of the British navy,

that the expense per man of the British navy was not more

than about one half of that of a man of our Navy. But it

appeared, since that day, much reform had taken place; so

much so that, ... the comparative expense was now greater

in the British service than in ours."23 There were times,

however, even with the most prudent management, when the

naval service ran low on funds. This was especially the

case toward the end of 1814, but Jones was determined to

make it through the year on the money the department had.

He ordered the agents to disperse their monies in the

following order of priority:

1st Recruiting Service and Transportation.
2nd Pay of the Navy, in part, if not the whole.
3d Provisions, in part, If the purchase is
considerable the seller ought not to expect
prompt payment.

23. United States Congress, Annals of the Congress
of the United States, 13th Congress, 2nd Session, XXVI,
1011. Hereafter abbreviated as A/C.

4th Other supplies of the most immediate
necessity, which from the nature of the
article and usage of the market, may
require prompt payment, apportioning
the payments as equitably as may be, and
withholding the largest proportion from
the largest claimants.24

Even before Secretary Jones had taken office, he recog-

nized that there were serious deficiencies in the structure

and functioning of his bureau. He was determined to see

that the department would operate efficiently and that the

public would get its money's worth. In an eight-page letter

addressed to Langdon Cheves, Chairman of the House Naval

Enquiry Committee, he made many recommendations for

improvement. In regard to the present system of purchase

through commissioned agents, the Secretary said that these

officials should "received fixed salaries, instead of com-

missions. That in all purchases they should advertise for

sealed proposals, and be bound to accept those most favorable

to the government, and that they shall regularly make oath

at the settlement of their quarterly accounts, that they

9 25
have compiled with the above regulations." 25 While he made

24. Circular to Navy Agents from W.Jones, September
13, 1814, lsc.

25. W. Jones to L. Cheves, January 9, 1813, UCSC.

it the rule of the department for agents to accept the

lowest bids on an item and to make a regular settlement of

their accounts, the commissioned agents were kept until

after Jones had left.

The government was losing money, he observed, from

contracts drawn too loosely, which allowed the contractors

to cheat the department. The lack of tables of organization

and equipment enabled captains to arm, arrange, or equip

their vessels as they saw fit. He sought a remedy for this

prodigious liberty by classifying "the different vessels,

to regulate the armament, complete equipment and allowances

of the various stores for each vessel." He said that depots

were also necessary at various places with good ports so

that ships could draw supplies, thus saving time and

expense. He also believed that the government could save

money by contracting jobs out to private firms, which had

previously been saved for artificers on salary at the navy

yards. Additional sources of waste occurred when captains

altered their vessels. Jones proposed, instituted, and

strictly enforced "A regulation forbidding any commander

to alter in any degree the vessels under his command, unless

by particular permission or order from the secretary of the

navy." Further wastage arose due to the lack of drydocks,

to the placing of navy yards in rivers difficult to navigate,

and to the lack of accountability of warrant officers.

Jones finally noted that the "gunboats are a waste of money."

They were, he said, really adjuncts to land batteries, and,

therefore, militia officers rather than naval captains should

command them. Furthermore, since the gunboats were "of

no use in fighting enemy ships and cannot venture into

sea fights," he did not see why the navy should be concerned

with their operation at all. In summation, Jones gave his

opinions on the chief causes of the inefficiency of the

Navy Department, and proposed that a board of naval officers

be established to advise the Secretary on all professional

matters. As he well knew, the British had used such a

board of advisers for years and found that it aided the

civilian administrators who had to make military decisions.

One of the great causes of the present mis-
management is in my opinion owing to the want of an
efficient and uniform system for the government of
all the different branches of the service. A system,
which should fully and clearly establish the duties
of every officer, and the mode in which these duties
should be performed; a system which should control

the expenditures of the public monies in all the
minute details, as well as in the more general
expenditures which should prescribe the armament
and equipment and the proper allowances of every
description for vessels of each class and which
should enable the department at all times to ascer-
tain with precision the actual state and condition
of the whole establishment and provide in season
for its probable wants.
Another and perhaps greater cause of the
present mismanagement is, the want of a board of
professional men, to advise the head of the depart-
ment on questions mainly professional, and to super-
intend the details of service; and particularly to
see that all established regulations shall be carried
into complete and full effect. To this board might
be applied also the duty of making all contracts, of
examining the accounts of all officers charged with
stores (pursers excepted) to examine midshipmen &
certify to their qualifications for promotion.
The proper persons to constitute such a
board at present, are conceived to be three naval
men, having under their direction a surgeon general
and contractor general.26

This document was unique in the history of the Navy

Department. The letter was meant to be one of private sug-

gestions to a concerned Congressman, and not to be an offi-

cial statement of the Secretary of the Navy. Yet this was

the first time in the nation's history that any naval Secre-

tary had tried to plot a rational organization for the

department and to suggest corrections for the deficiencies

which had grown since 1798.

26. W. Jones to L. Cheves, January 9, 1813, UCSC.

When Secretary Jones was pressed for more information

by the official Senate and House committees on the navy,

he refused to be hurried into any quick decisions. At

first he asked Congressman Burwell Bassett of Virginia to

sponsor legislation establishing a purveyor's office, but

later.changed his mind and only requested two additional
clerks. The Senate committee also pressed Jones for a

detailed plan of reorganization; and although he admitted

to the members that "no object can be more sensible" toward

reform "than myself," he asked to be allowed to have time

for reflection. "And, as it is better to labor with known

evils, than to hazard a premature and inadequate system, I

have thought it best to postpone the subject for the present,

respectfully submitting, however, to the wisdom of Congress
to revise the system, if it shall deem it now necessary."28

William Jones would not communicate any additional

ideas on reorganization until near the very end of his term,

but he carried out many of the departmental reforms he had

suggested to Cheves on his own. Agents and pursers were

told that they had to make monthly reports; warrant officers

27. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 285-286.

28. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 307.

were made responsible for articles in their care; many

artificers were fired, and some of the shipbuilding was

contracted out to private firms; full warehouses were set-

up in ports to enable ships to reload quickly and return to

sea; all contracts were to be let out on a competitive

basis; ships were classified, and a primitive table of

organization and equipment was devised to provision them;

and, finally, no naval commander was permitted to alter his

ship without the express permission of the Secretary of the


In November, 1814, Jones submitted a plan to the Senate

for the "Re-organization and Extension of the Navy, the

Establishment of a Board of Inspectors, and a Naval Academy."

This report reflected his views after two years in office

and confirmed his earlier opinions. He first noted in his

report that "the duties enjoined, or which necessarily

devolve upon the Secretary of the Navy, particularly during

a period of active and diversified hostility, are beyond the

powers of any individual to discharge to the best advantage,

cannot be doubted; though, by great labor and assiduity,

with adequate professional qualifications, he may possibly

execute the general and most essential branches of duty with

tolerable success." While Jones recommended reform, he did

not advocate a wholesale change in the department. It,

Jones said, must save those features to which "the exalted

reputation of our infant navy must be attributed." While

the navy itself was excellent, some components, Jones felt,

should have been dropped, especially the "local service" or

gunboat fleets which were "more expensive and wasteful than
that of the regular navy."29

He cautioned the Senate not to waste excessive amounts

of time in investigating the Department, since such pro-

cedures would only encourage petty bickering and would

hinder reform. He reminded the committee that the growth

of the economy of the United States would insure an increase

in the navy and naval expenses. More ships would require

more timber. The nation's reserve of trees, therefore,

must be carefully guarded to prevent wastage. Furthermore,

as the service grew, the more men it would require to man

the ships. Voluntary enlistments, he said, would not fill

the ranks and he suggested a "draught" to supply the necessary

29. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 320-321.


Secretary Jones went so far as to draw up a model

act for his Department. Herein he proposed that in order

to insure better officers for the navy, a naval academy

should be established. This school would have "suitable

professors, for the instruction of the officers of the navy

in those branches of the mathematics and experimental

philosophy, and in the science and practice of gunnery,

theory of naval architecture, and art of mechanical draw-

ing, which are necessary to the accomplishments of the

naval officer." In addition to the new school, Jones

proposed that two additional officials be created for the

department. The first of these would be that of Naval

Constructor who would supervise the construction of all

future naval vessels. He felt that a Paymaster of the Navy

was also needed to account, at a high level, for the large

amount of money paid by the navy to its personnel. The

most important proposal, in terms of immediate usefulness,

was the establishment of a board of five naval inspectors,

30. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 321-322.

31. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 323.

each a captain assigned specific duties, plus the obliga-

tion of advising the civilian Secretary on professional

matters. One member of the board would handle the general

correspondence of the board and be in charge of the flotilla

service on the New Orleans station. A second officer would

conduct the general military correspondence of the depart-

ment with all the officers of the navy; he would also direct

the flotilla on the southern station. The third member of

the board would supervise the ordnance of the department

and would be in charge of all logistical transportation

and assume care of the flotilla service in the Patapsco

and Delaware rivers and at New York. The fourth officer

would superintend the victualling of the service and

supplying the medical stores while, at the same time,

directing the flotilla service on all the naval stations

from New York eastward and on Lake Champlain. The fifth

captain would keep account of all the equipment needed for

the service, not precluded in the above, and would also be
in charge of the navy operating on the Great Lakes.

32. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 323.

The Secretary of the Navy also had in mind additional

duties for this board. Since one man could not do every-

thing, he desired to have a number of competent officers

advise future secretaries of the professional way in which

the Department's problems could be solved. Specifically,

he wanted to see the book of naval regulations upgraded.

He had the following ten points in mind for the new board

to consider:

1st. Uniform regulations, establishing the
several classes of ships and vessels in the navy of
the United States; with tables of the dimensions,
proportions, number, quantity, quality, nature, and
description, of masts, spars, rigging, anchors,
cables, armament, and equipment, of all kinds;
and of the quantity, quality, and description,
of provisions and stores, of every species, for
a given period for each class.

2d. Regulations for receiving, preserving,
issuing, and strictly accounting for the expendi-
ture of, materials and stores, of all kinds, and
of every department of the service, within the
United States.

3d. Regulations for surveying and authenti-
cating the actual state and condition of all the
ships and vessels of the navy, and of all materials
and stores, of every species, reported to be decayed,
damaged, or defective; and for directing the repair,
conversion, sale or other disposition of the same,
as the nature of the case may require.

4th. A more perfect system of general regula-
tions, for the naval service, at sea, and on the

5th. General regulations for the flotilla, or
force employed in harbor defence, adapted to the
peculiar nature of that service.

6th. Uniform regulations for the navy yards,
arsenals, and depots of stores and materials.

7th. Regulations for the cruising ships and
vessels of the navy, while in port; for the recruit-
ing service; and for the officers of the navy, while
on shore, on duty, or on furlough; in order to as-
certain the actual state and local situation of all
the officers.

8th. A system of detailed regulations for the
naval hospitals, and medical department of the navy,
within the United States.

9th. An entire and new system of regulations
for the conduct of pursers in the navy, accurately
defining their duties, securing a more strict account-
ability, limiting their amoluments by a fixed and
reasonable standard, and protecting the seamen of the
navy from the undue advantages which may be practised,
with impunity, under the present system.

10th. Regulations for ascertaining, by exam-
ination, the moral character and professional qualifi-
cations of all the officers of the navy, below the
grade of master commandant, classing them in the
scale of their several merits; and of the pretensions
of those who may be selected for promotion, as well
as of the candidates for warrant appointments in the

This paper was a major landmark. No man had ever before

drawn up such a statement on the Navy Department. William

33. ASP, Naval Affairs, I, 323.

Jones had used his years of experience in shipping, sail-

ing, and management to prepare a clear, detailed, and

specific set of recommendations for improving his department.

Nothing else in the first two decades of the Navy Department

approached the systematic organization which he hoped to

inculcate in the bureau. Shortly after he left office,

Congress would establish a Board of Naval Commissioners

based on Jones' recommendations. The leading authority on

administrative history during this period, Leonard D.

White, has said, "From the professional point of view this

report was an extraordinary document, certainly the most

significant that had come from the department since its
foundation." Because of this paper, Jones' influence

would be felt by the Navy Department for a long time for

the betterment of the service.

The book of regulations which the navy was still using

in 1815 was over fifteen years old and constituted little

more than thirty-six pages of admonitions. Stemming from

Jones' suggestions, a new 147-page manual was compiled by

34. White, The Jeffersonians, p. 273.