100 BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY, November 23, 1899.  

S IR :-We append to this letter copies of the Acts of Congress approved March 10, 1896, and March 3, 1899, marked "A" and "B", authorizing you to contract for two submarine boats similar to the submarine boat Holland. We also append copy of your letter to the Chairman of the Committee on naval Affairs of the United States Senate, dated February 28, 1899, marked "C", recommending the passage of the Act approved March 3, 1899, and would state that this letter was read in the Senate and the Act passed in accordance with your recommendation.

We now submit for your consideration the following proposition:

1st. We will sell to the Department, under the authority conferred upon you by the Act approved March 3, 1899, the submarine boat Holland as she stands, for the sum of One hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars ($165,000). Your Board of Inspection and Survey has inspected and reported favorably upon this boat, after the last official trial made before said board by your order. We append a copy of the Boardís report, marked "I". Specifications of this boat were filed with the Board of Inspection and Survey. We append copy of the same to this proposal, marked "N". We are prepared to change the dynamite tube in the "Holland" to a torpedo tube, in accordance with the plans submitted herewith, marked "O". This was deemed advantageous by several members of the Board of Inspection and Survey, as it gives the "Holland" two torpedo tubes for immediate use in action instead of one. If the change is desired by the Department the price of the ĎHolland" will be increased to One hundred and seventy thousand dollars ($170,000).

2nd. We propose to build the second boat, authorized by the Act of March 3, 1899, in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted herewith, marked "P". These plans and specifications give, as the Department will perceive, a larger boat than the "Holland", with a number of other improvements that have been made upon the "Hollandís" designs. The price of this boat, built according to plans and specifications herewith, will be One hundred and seventy thousand dollars ($170,000).

The reasons for offering the "Holland" for sale as one of the two boats authorized by the Act of March 3, 1889, is fully set forth in the report of Captain Lowe, Chief Engineer, U.S.N., made you under date of November 7, 1899, copy appended marked "K". Your orders to him are enclosed, marked "J". We also append copy of report of Chief Engineer John Lowe, dated November 14, 1898, marked "M", made in accordance with your letter to him, dated June 25, 1898, marked "L". Should the Department for any reason deem it not expedient to purchase the "Holland" as one of the two boats authorized by the Acts of June 10, 1896, and March 3, 1899, then we offer to the Department to build two boats instead of one, under the plans and specifications submitted herewith, in accordance with the second proposal submitted in this letter, for the sum of One hundred and seventy thousand dollars ($170,000) each, to be delivered in four months from the date of the signing of the contract by this company, as the law requires.

Upon careful investigation we have decided that, taking all the various phases of the problem into consideration, the maximum amount of power that can be utilized when submerged will be 50, and when running light 150 horsepower. We have, therefore, provided these respective powers and are prepared to guarantee them. Our estimates as to the speeds which will be obtained under these conditions is 7 knots submerged and 8 knots light. After a careful balancing of the advantages to be obtained, it is our opinion that it is not wise to attempt to put more power into a boat of these dimensions with the present types of motor available.

Your attention is called to the letters of the Department of May 3, marked "D", and of June 15, 1898. marked "E", and also to that of November 4, 1898, marked "F", all enclosed herewith, directing the Board of Inspection aand Survey to inspect and report upon the trial of the "Holland".

Your attention is called especially to the report of the Board of Inspection and Survey, marked "G", upon the "Hollandís" performance in connection with the recommendation of the Board of Construction, contained in Departmentís letter of June 15th, marked "E", enclosed herewith, by which it will be seen that on that trial a large number of requirements of the Department were successfully fulfilled. Your attention is also earnestly called to the report of the Board of Inspection and Survey, dated November 9, 1899, marked "I", in which the Board unanimously report that all the requirements of the Board of Construction, set forth in its letter of June 15th, have been fulfilled and that "A thorough inspection of the plans and of the vessel was made, and the Board was impressed with the excellent condition of the boat and of all its appliances."

We take this opportunity to state to the Department why it was that we, at such enormous expense of money and time, decided to build the "Holland."

Our plans of the "Plunger" were sent to the competition opened by the Navy Department in 1893 for designs for a submarine boat, and they were accepted. A delay of a few years having occurred, and in the meantime a closer study of the designs having been made it became apparent that those plans were not the best. At the request of Secretary Herbert, the matter was submitted to him, but we substituted a new design, which was not accepted by the Department. We were, therefore, compelled to construct the vessel under the original plans. During the progress of the work on her designs in the drafting room a great many very objectionable features were encountered. It was very clear to us that even though the "Plunger" could fulfill the guarantee she did not represent the highest development of a submarine boat. Our Company, therefore, determined to construct at its own expense what appeared to it to be a perfect design and to exhibit it later to the Government. The result is the "Holland."

In order to comply with the requirements of the Department, as laid down by the Board of Construction and endorsed by yourself, we have been experimenting, altering, changing, and improving the "Holland" for the past two years, paying our engineers and the trained crew, and in other ways endeavoring to meet the Departmentís requirements, at enormous expense to the Company. We are gratified, therefore, to show the Department that we have been able to fulfill all of its requirements, which, up to this time have not been accomplished by any other submarine boat in the world.

With reference to the completion of the "Plunger," we are awaiting your authorization to remove the present motive machinery from her, and substitute other power, that we know from experience will be far more suitable and make of the "Plunger" the efficient vessel she was originally intended to be. The changes in the "Plunger" are to be made without any expense to the government.

Very Respectfully,


Elihu B Frost signature



Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.