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Circular Instructions for Naval Constructors

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionMystic Seaport Museum, Inc.: Silas Talbot Papers view image
Document Information
Date September 15, 1794
Author Name Henry Knox (primary)
Recipient Name Naval Agents, Constructors, Superintendents, Clerks of Ship Yard (primary)
Summary Circular letter sent to the naval contractors working on the six frigates under construction. The document provides general guidelines for the contractors to all follow.
Document Format Draft Document
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; contractors; navy; agents; Treasury; workmen; workers; laborers; clerk of the yard; artificers; captain;
Related Places [not available]
Keywords ships; labor; salary; frigate; rolls; voucher; certificate; superintendent; foundation; construction; constructors;
Key Phrases [not available]

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War Department.
September 15.1794
You having been appointed Constructor, or Master builder of a Frigate to be built at the Port of are to consider these as the general principles whereby you are to govern yourself.
Particular directions will be given to you relatively to the Proportions of the Ships, a draft and mould for the same to which you are undeviatingly to adhere.
As you are established upon a salary, not a public Officer, you will in all respects observe the highest degree of economy in all the objects which shall come under your direction, whether of materials, or Labor of the Workmen, and others, of which you will have the principal direction.
Your constant attendance will be ne= =cessary in order to direct the application of the respective Workman, and Labourers.
The Rolls of the Workmen and Laborers, are to be called at the commencement and termination of the Labor of the day, and upon their return from Dinner, for which they will be allowed [space] hour the labor to commence at [space] and terminate at [space].
You and the Clerk of the yard will attend always at these Roll calls, making Suitable de= deductions from every absentee. Your certificates will therefore by required by the Agent as a voucher for their payment.
Besides yourself the following Persons will be concerned in building the Said Ship
An Agent will be appointed to procure upon the best terms, all the materials which shall not otherwise be provided by the Treasury of the United States, And he will also procure and pay all the Workmen, who shall be employed in the construction or equipment of the said Ship.
The Captain will be the Superintendant, to observe that there be a due application of all the
the means employed to the end intended.
A Clerk of the yard will be appointed to receive, distribute, and account for all Public property.
The materials for building the Ship, not procured by the Treasury, will be purchased by the Agent in pursuance of your Estimate to him, coun= =tersigned by the Captain or Superintendant.
All the Artificers of the several bran= ches, and Laborers, necessary for the Construction of the Frigates, are also to be procured upon your estimates and countersigned by the Captain.
You particularly will be responsible to the Public; That no Materials of any sort enter into the construction of the said Ship, but of the best Quality.
That a substantial foundation be laid for the sip, so that there shall be no danger of settling when the frost comes out of the ground.
That all Parts of the great Fabric are mechanically, and perfectly executed.
The view of te Government, besides dis= =tributing the advantages of building of the six
six Frigates in different places, is to ascertain where similar work may in future be done to most advantage
The present attempt therefore is to be considered as an experiment, and the place, where the business shall under all Circumstances be best performed may derive permanent & great benefits
It will be expected that the utmost harmony shall prevail among the different Characters, concerned in building, so that their united Efforts may produce a satisfactory result.
I am Sir,
Your Obedt. Servt.

[along the side:] No. 2 construction instructions