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‘ [420] of Boston.’ Within gunshot of the State House, he said there was a population of five hundred thousand people, and an amount of private property of an assessed value of five hundred millions of dollars; besides which, there were the Custom House, the Sub-Treasury, the Navy Yard, and the Arsenal at Watertown, belonging to the Federal Government. In the fortifications, built by the Government at immense outlay, there was less than one-fifth of proper armament. In Fort Warren and at Castle Island there was not a single gun of more than eight-inch calibre, and those poorly mounted, and of old and abandoned patterns. Not a single Federal war-vessel was on our coast. The officer in command at Fort Warren had no authority to detain or examine suspicious vessels. In the Vineyard Sound, where ninety thousand sail of vessels annually pass Gay-Head Light, there was no protection whatever. A swift war-steamer, like the ‘Alabama,’ might run into Boston Harbor or the Vineyard Sound, and do incalculable mischief, almost without molestation. New-York Harbor was five times as well protected as Boston. For these and other reasons, the Governor asked the President to comply with his request. He thought that he had a right to demand the protection asked for, which would have before this been furnished by the State itself, but for the protests made by the Government. A copy of this letter was sent to the Secretary of the Navy, Postmaster-General Blair, Mr. Sumner, and others.

On the second day of May, the Secretary of the Navy acknowledged the receipt of the letter, and said he had not at his disposal a vessel of the description asked for that could be spared from present service. He thought that a vessel best adapted to the coast defences of Massachusetts and New England would be a fast cruiser stationed at Boston, and always prepared for service. Such a vessel, besides affording security to Boston, could proceed to any scene of danger on the coast at short notice. An iron-clad vessel might be of more real service in the harbor of Boston; but, as they moved slowly, would not do well to cruise in the bay or on the coast. He approved of the Governor's suggestions, made through Senator Sumner, and promised it should have his immediate attention. It appears from a

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Charles Sumner (2)
Montgomery Blair (1)
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