her deck, should be permitted to block up our rivers, couldot be otherwise than galling to the public sensibilities. The honorable Secretary yielded ready assent to the views above expressed, and reiterated the assurance that the chief, of not the only, impediment which could exist would be in the procuring steam engines, and expressed the hope that that might be removed at an early period.
The assurances and explanations thus given by the Secretary of the Navy have happily relieved the committee from the necessity of recommending to the convention and the convention from adopting any measures of the character proposed on the responsibility of the State. It could have in no event accomplished anything desirable without the cordial co-operation of the Confederate Government in the furnishing of officers and guns, and most probably seamen and marines, and it is a source of high gratification to the committee that the necessities of the case have ben so decidedly and promptly responded to by the Secretary in charge of the Navy Department. The committee, therefore, fulfills its whole duty by recommending to the Confederate Government the plan recommended by Captain Maury, who has proven his devotion to the interests of his native State in more ways than one, and woven a proud chaplet around her brow by havin won a name all over the world which reflects new luster on the name of Virginia. The committee would be highly gratified, as it has no doubt would be this convention, if Captain Maury should be assigned to the duty, with such assistants as might be approved by the Government, of superintending the construction and equipment and finally of commanding the flotilla when prepared for service.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
FREDERICKSBURG, October 22, 1861.
WILLIAM BALLARD PRESTON,
Near Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Va.:
MY DEAR SIR: It is evidently no part of the plan of the Administration to have a navy at present or even to encourage one. I do not intend to challenge the wisdom of this policy on the part of the Confederate authorities, neither do I wish to pass upon it one way or the other; but I do wish to urge upon you and to impress upon you the importance-nay, the vital necessity-to our State of a navy upon our own waters sufficient to make her the mistress of them. To build up such a navy is perfectly within her power, and she has the ability to do it in a little while. If I can show that she can do this with a sum not greatly exceeding, if equaling, the cost of one of the fist-class steamers of the enemy; if I can show that the force thus created will be sufficient to clear him out of the Chesapeake and its waters, to cut off his communications with Fort Monroe, to liberate the people of Maryland and give that Stae a voice, will you not go for it in convention and assist me there with might and main? I know you will. Then give me, I pray you, your attention while I develop the plan. Let it be agreed that if you discover any defect in it, or any want of sequence in the chain of facts, priniples, and arguments which I am about to invoke in support of it, then you shall not give it further thought; but, on the other hand, let it be alseo understood that if you can neither gainsay facts nor try conclusions, then and in that case you will in