Naval Board called together at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury performed no other duty than estimating the value, but did not (nor could they under the joint resolution) act as a tribunal for the examination of the other questions involved in the claim.
My objections to the present joint resolution are:
1st. That there is error of fact in its recital that a board of naval officers had reported that the "Cairo" was destroyed "by means of a torpedo invented and used by the memorialists." Not only is it a mistake that such report was made, but it is believed to be very questionable whether the torpedo was an original invention of the memorialists.
2d. The claimants failed to give the Government the consideration which the law requires as a condition of the right to the reward — namely, such a description of the alleged invention as would enable the Government to enjoy freely its reserved rights of using the invention in its own service.
3d. The most serious objection is this, that the service on which this claim is founded was rendered by officers of the Navy specially appointed and paid for this service. They did not make known to the Department when they were appointed that they proposed to use a special torpedo of their own invention, for the use of which they expected a reward. So far as is known to the Government, ail the means, the materials, the expenditures of the torpedo service in the Yazoo River, including the pay and allowances of these claimants, were at the charge of the Government, and the service was performed under the control of a Navy officer of superior rank; nor was the sanction of any officer of the Government asked or given that these claimants should conduct torpedo experiments at public expense, without risk of time, labor, or capital of their own, and with the right to large reward in the event of success.
No public officer charged with a special duty for which he is paid, and the means of performing which are also paid for by the Government, can be allowed to claim a reward for the performance of his duty without evils of the greatest character to the public service.
Large numbers of Army and Navy officers have been employed