Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/296

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

Entertaining the conviction, therefore, that this act in its present form, while entailing heavy expense, will fail in the beneficial effects contemplated by Congress, I deem it my duty to return it, without my approval, but with the hope that some additional legislation may be devised to accomplish the purpose contemplated by its passage.

Jefferson Davis.

To the House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

I return herewith, unsigned, an act for the building of a vessel of war, which originated in your body.

This act authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to build, arm, and equip, with the least possible delay, if practicable, by contract with the inventor, otherwise directly by the Government, one vessel of war, on the plan of Robert Cruizebearr, for ocean and river service, drawings of which, with suitable explanations, are deposited in said Department.

On a fair construction of the terms of this act, no discretion is allowed the Secretary to decline building the vessel described, and it will be his duty, if the act becomes a law, to proceed in the construction. The plan proposed by the inventor has been three times examined by different officers of the Navy Department, deemed fully competent to decide on such subjects, none of whom have recommended the construction, but have reported "that it is inexpedient to build such vessels at the present time, when the whole available force and materials at the command of the Department should be applied to the construction of vessels of acknowledged efficiency."

In a report by a number of eminent naval officers, it is further stated "that nothing has been done to prove the alleged claim to the speed, invulnerability, and efficiency of the vessel, in either or all of which we have no confidence."

As it is not probable that Congress was aware of the facts above stated, I deem it my duty to return the bill, in order that you may take such further action on the subject as is deemed by you advisable, and with a full knowledge that the plan proposed is not approved by the Executive Department, charged with the supervision of such subjects.

Jefferson Davis.

[Received October 13, 1862.]