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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 687

Letters sent to Watson G. Haynes on the initiative to change regulations in the United States Navy


Letters sent to Watson B. Haynes in response to his initiative to change the regulations of the United States Navy concerning flogging and alcohol rations.


  • Creation: 1846-1852

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.


.5 linear feet (2 boxes)

These papers are letters, statements, and petitions that are responses to Haynes' initiative to change the regulations of the United States Navy that permited corporal punishment (especially flogging) and allowed alcohol as part of the men's rations. One letter calls him a "generous sailor" laboring to effect the abolition of flogging and spirit rations in the navy."

Includes correspondents Henry Ward Beecher, Richard Henry Dana, Edward Everett, Ezra Stiles Gannett, Moses Grant, Horace Greeley, John Parker Hale, and Charles Sumner, among others.

Biographical / Historical

Watson G. Haynes was a seaman who, according to Charles Sumner [see item (87) below], "started the movement against flogging in the Navy."

Between December 1849 and June 1850 the United States Senate received 271 petitions from the citizens of various states urging the end of flogging. In September 1850 Congress abolished flogging in the Navy and merchant marine. On 3 March 1851, the commutation of the liquor ration was restricted to "officers and their attendants" only. On 31 August 1853, Congress repealed the 1851 law and the liquor privilege was once again opened up to the rank and file. Source: Website of the U.S. Navy Department Library.


Organized into the following two series:

  1. I. Letters and statements from individuals
  2. II. Documents from groups

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor unknown. Possibly formerly owned by Charles Sumner?; date received unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Haynes, Watson G., recipient. Letters sent to Watson G. Haynes on the initiative to change regulations in the United States Navy, 1846-1852: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

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