Gideon Welles added: "In time of peace our naval force should be actively employed visiting every commercial port where American capital is employed, and there are few available points on the globe which American enterprise has not penetrated and reached. But commerce needs protection, and our squadrons and public vessels in commission must not be inactive.
"One or more of our naval vessels ought annually to display the flag of the Union in every port where our ships may trade. The commerce and navy of a people have a common identity and are inseparable companions.
"Wherever our merchant ships may be employed, there should be within convenient proximity a naval force to protect them and make known our national power."
The Secretary concluded his report: "As peace is being restored among us, the country now puts off the formidable naval armor which it had assumed to vindicate upon a mighty scale that supremacy of the national law which is the very life of our Union."