Imatges de pÓgina

1st Session


MARCH 17, 1830.

Mr. WHITE, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, to which was referred the case of Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, Jr. made the following


The Committee on Naval Affairs, to which was referred the petition of

Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, Jr. of the United States' Navy, beg leave respectfully to report;

That it appears from the proceedings of this House, that a resolution was adopted on the 21st of May, 1828, authorizing the President of the United States to send one of the small public ships into the Pacific Ocean and South Sea, to examine the coasts, islands, harbors, shoals, and reefs, in those seas, provided it could be effected without prejudice to the general interest of the naval service; and, provided, it could be done without further appropriations during that year.

And your committee find, from a report made by the Secretary of the Navy, on the 27th of November, 1828, to the President, that the sloop of war Peacock was selected for this service, and placed under the command of Master Commandant Thomas Ap Catesby Jones; and Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, Jr. was selected as astronomer to the expedition.

Lieutenant Wilkes was instructed, in order to carry into effect the contemplated object, to purchase a number of astronomical and mathematical instruments; a list of which, with the lettter of the Secretary of the Navy, is hereunto annexed.

Your committee have annexed a statement of the articles paid for by the Navy Department, and also those paid for by the Nayy Agent at New York. The sum of about $ 3,309 remains unpaid to sundry individuals, for instruments purchased by the said Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, Jr. as will appear from the statement annexed.

As this officer acted in good faith, under the orders of the Navy Department, your committee are of opinion that relief should be afforded to him for the liability he has incurred; and, therefore, report a bill authorizing the proper accounting officer to adjust the accounts of the parties interested.

SCHEDULE of the Astronomical and Mathematical Instruments pur

chased for the Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Sea.

ARTICLES PAID FOR BY NAVY DEPARTMENT. To Lieutenant Wilkes, for Reflecting Circle,

$ 125 00 E, Maury, for Sextant,

85 00

$ 210 00

ARTICLES PAID FOR BY NAVY AGENT AȚ New YORK, To F. R. Hassler, for Reflecting and Repeating Circle,

$ 500 00 F. Robert, for Celestial Atlas,

14 00 R. Patten, for Artificial Horizons, &c.

145 00 P. Burtsell, for Books, &c.

127 00 G. Chilton, for Barometer and Hygrometer,

43 50 C. Woakley, for Sympresometer,

88 00 R. Patten, for Sextants,

300 00

$1,167 50

THE FOLLOWING BILLS REMAIN UNPAID: To Lieutenant Wilkes, for Barometer, Hygrometer, &c. im, ported by Professor Renwick,

$ 90 00 To Richard Patten, for Repeating


$ 560 00 Variation Transit,

550 00 Frame for Pendulum,

20 00 Azimuth Compass,

60 00 Dipping Needle, &c.

60 00 Telescope,

20 oa Spirit Levels,

30 00

1,300 00 To B. & S. Demjlt, for Astronomical Clock and Case, $180 00

Three Eight Day Cronometers, 1,260 00
One Pocket


260 00

1,700 00 To Lieut. Wilkes, for instruments ordered from England, $ 150 00

from France,

8 09

158 00

$3,248 00


20TH CONGRESS-1st Session

In the House of Representatives, May 21, 1828. Resolved, That it is expedient that one of our small public vessels be sent to the Pacific Ocean and South Sea, to examine the coasts, islands, harbors, shoals, and reefs, in those seas, and to ascertain their true situation and description.

Resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to send one of our small public ships into those seas for that purpose; and that he be requested to afford such facilities as may be within the reach of the Navy Department, to attain the object proposed; provided, it can be effected with out prejudice to the general interest of the Naval service; and provided it may be done without further appropriation during the present year. Attest:

M. ST. CLAIR CLARKE, Clerk of the House of Representatives.


November 18, 1828. Sir: It is important that the instruments necessary for the Exploring Expedition be prepared without annecessary delay. You will, therefore, proceed to New York, and exercise your best industry, skill, and judgment, in procuring and preparing them. The enclosed list will be your guide for the

present. You will communicate to the Department the purchases you make, and the prices you agree to pay, that the necessary orders on the subject may be given. The utmost regard to economy is expected in all you do. I will endeavor to procure the astronomical clock which is at West Point.

I am, respectfully, &c.


U.S. Navy, Washington.

List of Instruments for the Expedition to the South Sea.

ASTRONOMICAL. i Repeating Circle, one foot in diameter-bought! 1 Repeating Reflecting Circle-bought. 2 Repeating Theodolites, six inches verticle circle, 2 Sextants. 1 Variation Transit. 3 Artificial Horizon. 1 Astronomical Clock. 1 Clock with invariable Pendulum. 1 Experimental Pendulum and Frame. 2 Stands for the Clocks. 3 Chronometers of the very best quality, one to be set to Sideral time. 1 Pocket Chronometer for transporting.

MAGNETIC INSTRUMENTS. 1 Diurnal Variation Apparatus. 1 Azimuth Compass, Counterpoise moveable. 2 Compasses, with Barlow's computation. 1 Dipping Needle. I Needle for the intensity of Magnetism.

METEOROLOGICAL INSTRUMENTS. 2 Marine Barometers. 1 Of Daniells' Standard Barometers, 2 Mountain Barometers. I Sympresometer. 2 Daniells' Hygrometers. 2 Electrometers. 1 Hydrometer. 1 Self-registering Thermometer. i For Solar Radiation. 1 For Terrestrial Radiation. 12 Of various sizes, common ones.

6 Spare Barometer Tubes and purified mercury. A portable Observatory with Instruments, to be used for sheltering the Instruments and Observers.

A number of small parts of the different instruments, such as will be required in case of meeting with accidents, that the instruments may not become useless.

Most of these instruments are for the especial use of the Astronomer, and therefore only one set will be required; and the other vessel may be supplied with ones less costly.

A complete set of Drawing Instruments for the construction of charts, &c.

Extract from the report of the Secretary of the Navy, made to the Pre

sident of the United States, 27th November, 1828. On the 21st May, 1828, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, requesting the President of the United States " to send one of our small vessels to the Pacific Ocean and South Sea, to examine the coasts, Islands, harbors, shoals, and reefs, in those seas, and to ascertain their true situation and description;" and authorizing the use of such facilities as could be afforded by the Department, without further appropriation during the year. To this resolution it was your earnest wish that carly and full attention should be paid.

There was no vessel belonging to our Navy, which, in its then condition, was proper to be sent upon this expedition. The Peacock was therefore selected, and placed at the Navy Yard at New York, to be repaired, and supplied with conveniences suited to the object. Her repairs and preparations are now nearly completed, and she will be ready to sail in a few weeks.

In looking to the great purpose for which this resolution was passed, and the difficulties and dangers which must necessarily be encountered, it seemed

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