Hon. George S. Boutwell, I beg leave to say, that, after you showed it me this morning, I found that the only really suitable vessel in port for the purpose indicated was on the point of being sold for $75,000. Just before the war, her owners asked $70,000 for her, which I thought a little too high. Under the circumstances, however, she seemed to me cheap; and I took the responsibility of buying her, intending to offer her to you or to the General Government. I have since applied to the underwriters and merchants to take and own half of the ship, if the State will take the other half, with the understanding that she is to be managed as an armed transport, used to convey troops and stores, at the prices current for other transports; and, when not so used, to act as coast-guard or despatch vessel, under the management of a Government agent or agents. It is hoped, upon this basis, to make her pay her way, with little or no loss, besides doing good service, and keeping up the confidence of our citizens and the fears of our enemies. If you approve the plan, I should like to have you own such part of her as I cannot get readily taken by the underwriters; also, proportion of her outfit, which I estimate at under $10,000. She can at once load coal and the stores ordered, get on board the guns, which the Navy Yard will lend us temporarily, and be ready for troops or other service. I have inquired also about other vessels. The only suitable propeller is a small vessel of about three hundred tons, nearly new, due here to-night, which can be bought for a trifle under $30,000. She would make a good temporary gunboat; could carry her crew, a good load of stores upon a pinch, and a few troops, not many. If you are disposed to have another vessel, she is the most available, and is not dear. I think, if you wish it, the merchants and underwriters would take part of her,—probably half. She would be well adapted to the coast-guard now being raised. In addition to these, I have found a side-wheel ship of about one thousand tons, older than the others, and having the single advantage of light draught of water,—a good serviceable ship. She can be bought on reasonable terms to-day,—not cheap, not very dear,—but, in my
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