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