Imatges de pàgina

banks designated by the Treasury Department as depositories of public money, unless otherwise permitted by the Paymaster General. Such per. mission is given when there is no bank in the vicinity of the paymaster, and when the inconvenience of resorting to one would be prejudicial to the service.

The committee do not consider a paymaster in the army of the United States a general agent, who can bind the Government by every draught to which he affixes his official signature. Before this claim is sustained, it should be shown that Evans was the depositary, duly constituted, of the public money entrusted to Paymaster Buck; and that, in consequence of being such depositary, this bill was drawn on him. It is peculiarly necessary, after the lapse of time between the drawing this bill and its exhibition as a claim against the United States, that the transaction should appear to be of a public character; that the drawer acted within the scope of his authority; that Evans was properly constituted a depositary of the public money; and that the Government has sustained no loss by the long delay in presenting the claim. But it further appears that this draught, on presentation, was paid by Evans to the clerk and agent of the petitioner, and afterwards, at the instance of Evans, the clerk of the petitioner paid back the money to Evans, and received the draught from him. Admitting the transaction to have been originally of a public character, the committee are of opinion, that, on the payment of the money, and taking up the bill, its public character ceased, and any subsequent arrangement between the agent of the petitioner and Evans, cannot affect the United States.

The petitioner also claims to ve reimbursed the amount which he alleges he paid on a judgment recovered against him in New Orleans, under the following circumstances. In May, 1808, Lieut. James Reed, Assistant Military Agent for the post of Fort Adams, drew on Henry Dearborn, Secretary of War, in favor of the petitioner, for $1,163, to supply a failure of the contractor, James Morrison. This draught was endorsed by Colonel Sparks, the commanding officer, who ordered the purchase, and by the petitioner. It was negotiated by the petitioner, and, as he states, having been protested for non-payment, a suit was instituted against the petitioner as endorsee at New Orleans, and judgment recovered against them for $1,899 13, including 15 per cent damages and interest, and exclusive of costs of suit. It appears that, on the 19th April, 1813, the claim was so far allowed that a draught was drawn by the Treasurer of the United States of the Bank of Louisiana, for 81500 in favor of Col. Sparks, on account of the purchase of vinegar for the troops at Fort Adams in 1808, to supply the failure of the contractor Morrison. · Owing to accident, this draught was not paid until 29th March, 1816. The petitioner claims to be paid the amount of the judgment with interest, deducting the sum of $150. There is no evidence to shew a judgn.ent rendered against the petitioner, on the draught drawn by Lieut. Reed, or the payment of such draught by the petitioner as endorsee. This evidence the committee deem indispensable to sustain the claim. The petitioner also claims the sum of $170 46 for money advanced by him to the late Paymaster Bucs. There is no evidence in support of this claim but an account stated and sworn to by the petitioner. It has been rejected by the Third Auditor as a private transaction. Before it can be allowed, the committee think its public character should be shown, and thai the evidence adduced is insufficient for that purpose. The committee submit the following resolution: That it is inexpedient to grant the prayer ol the petitioner.

The Committee of Claims, to whom was again referred the petition of

William Tharp, report:

That it appears the petitioner has paid and advanced a considerable sum for letters of administration on the estates of certain deceased non-commissioned officers and soldiers, under the act of 22d May, 1826. The debts due him from such deceased soldiers were paid, and also the expenses of administration as far as there were assets; but his claim for interest on money advanced for the letters of administration were rejected in cases where there was no deficiency of assets. The committee think that interest is equally due to an administrator for money which he is compelled to advance for the estate, as on a debt due to him or any other creditor of the deceased; and they also think the petitioner is entitled to per centage, according to the laws of Maryland, on the several sums settled by him as administrator. The letters of administration were taken out in the City of Washington. A bill, amendatory of the act of 22d May, 1826, is accordingly reported.

title whatever, and, consequently, the petitioner has been deprived of nothing by the United States, and, therefore, is not entitled to call upon them for indemnity for his pretended loss. The State of North Carolina appears to have been actuated by an honorable and watchful desire to preserve to the Indian tribes within her chartered limits, the undisturbed possession of their lands. Among her earliest acts of legislation, after the Declaration of Independence, was a law of her Legislature, passed in 1778, (Laws of N. Carolina, 1 vol. 355,) “ declaring all entries and surveys of lands theretofore made, or which might be made within the Indian boundary, utterly null, and of no force or effect." In 1783, (Laws of N. Carolina, 1 vol. 436, that State passed another act, defining the Indian boundary, and declared all entries and grants made within the bounds set apart by that act to the Cherokee Indians, utterly void, and imposed a fine of fifty pounds upon every person who should enter and survey any land within their territory. At that time, the present State of Tennessee was a part of the State of North Carolina, and the grant in question was made in contravention to those laws. The earliest adjudicated case which your committee has been able to find, is the case of Avery vs. Strother, reported in Cameron and Norwood's Reports, 435, decided by the Supreme Court of North Carolina. That case, in all its leading facts, was precisely analogous to the one now under consideration. It was there adjudged that the entry and grant were prohibited by the above mentioned laws, and, on that account, void. The doctrine of the Supreme Court of North Carolina has been repeatedly reviewed and affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the cases of Preston vs. Browder, 1 Wheaton, 115; Danforth vs. Thomas, 1 Wheaton, 155; and Danforth vs. Wear, 9 Wheaton, 677; grants made under similar circumstances, are declared to be invalid, and the inviolability of the Indian territory, under those laws, is fully recognised. The decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee, in the present instance, must have been made in obedience to, and in conformity with, the previously established law on this subject. Your committee are, therefore, clearly of opinion, that the United States has deprived the petitioner of no right, and he is, therefore, entitled to no relief. If the petitioner did, in fact, acquire a title under the grant of the State of North Carolina, they are, by no means, prepared to say that it was in the power of the United States to divest him of that title; but, being of opinion he never had a title, it is unnecessary to investigate that question.

The following resolution is submitted to the consideration of the House: Resolved, That the petitioner is not entitled to relief.

[ocr errors]

1st Session.


APRIL 20, 1830.
Read, and referred to the Committee on Internal Improvements.

Mr. TALIAFERRO, from the Committee for the District of Columbia, to which

had been referred, in part, the letter from Mr. Skinner, upon the subject of a central canal basin in the city of Washington, made the following


Mr. Taliaferro made the following report:

The Committee for the District of Columbia, to whom was referred, in part, the letter of Mr. Skinner, addressed to the House of Representatives, upon the subject of a central canal basin in the city of Washington, and the supply of water for the public buildings, &c. &c. have had the same under consideration, and concur in three general propositions. The first is, that the proposed central basin would be a superb and highly ornamental finish to the arrangement of the public grounds on the West of the Capitol, as well as the most appropriate and useful harbor and mart of trade in the centre of the city, on a convenient line between its heavy and distributory commerce, which in its present condition are too widely separated. The second is, that this reservoir, fed by a suitable conductor from the Georgetown basin, would give, by the application of suitable means, an abundant supply of water for the security of the public buildings against fire, &c. &c. The third is, that the whole plan taken together would bring into the market a large amount of building lots, which, added to the tolls and wharfage of the basin, might probably produce a fund more in amount than the cost of the work. The committee, however, not having the time or the means to make the necessary estimates, are of opinion that the subject deserves examination; and, believing that the object falls more properly within the range of the functions of another committee, ask to be discharged from its further consideration, and beg leave to recommend to the House the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Committee on Internal Improvements be instructed to take the subject under their consideration, and to decide on the propriety of requesting the President of the United States to cause an examination to be made into the practicability, utility, and cost, of the contemplated work; and order a report of the result of such examination to be made to the present or to the next session of Congress,

The foregoing resolution being read, was, on the question put thereon, agreed to by the House.

position of the master was not procured, and that the size of the boat was not sufficiently described, so that he might be enabled, if he had the power, to say what the said boat was worth.

The case was presented to Congress on the 24th of January, 1820, and, on the 28th, an unfavorable report was made, predicated principally on the opinion of the Third Auditor. The committee, however, entertained the opinion, that, inasmuch as the United States did not take possession of the boat, and officer her, that the petitioner was not entitled to relief. At the time this report was made, it appears to have been the prevailing opinion, that, unless boats were impressed into the service, the owners were not entitled to any compensation for their losses in the case of capture. As an abstract question between the owner and freighter, this opinion was, undoubtedly, well founded, but it has long since been settled by Congress, under the act of April 9, 1816, that, unless the risque was incurred by the owner, when the contract was made, the loss by capture should be sustained by the United States, The claim has not been revived since Janu. ary. 1820, until the present session. The Hon. Mr. Hawkins, a member of this House, states, that he was well acquainted with the boat, and with the contract made by Mr. Bliss, and that he should have been on board of her as her master, but from being at that particular time out of health. He estimates the boat to have been worth $ 750, and says, she would have sold for that sum. Jie says further, that Mr. Scott, the master, was on board of her, but temporarily, owing to his own indisposition; and that the said Scott's residence was not in that section of the country, and that he has not resided there since the war, and that his residence is not known. This statement removes all the objections but one, which is, that a particular description of the boat is not given. It is stated, by several of the witnesses, that the boat was of the burden of about 12 tons, and was fitted for sailing or rowing. Mr. Hawkins says, that such was the scarcity of boats on Lake Ontario, owing to the number that Gen. Wilkinson had taken the preceding year, to transport his troops down the St. Lawrence, and the demand for freight, died that this boat, to his knowledge, had made a clear profit of $ 40 per day.

He mentions that the character of the witness Gardner is good. If any fact can be established by human testimony, the value of this boat is, by the air testimony of three credible witnesses. The committee, with the additional testimony, has come to the conclusion, that the case is brought within the bus provisions of the law of April 9, 1816, and herewith report a bill.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


cat, som risic

[ocr errors]


the cor

the con ver 'hat nar


« AnteriorContinua »