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JOSEPH KERR, OF IOWA.
[To accompany bill H. R. No. 726.]
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. W. P. HARRIS, from the Committee on the Post Office and Post
Roads, made the following
The Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, to whom was referred the
petition of Joseph Kerr, ask leave to report: That they have examined the petition and papers in the case, and find the facts to be as follows: In accordance with the advertisement of the Postmaster General, dated January 9, 1854, for proposals for carrying the United States mail in the State of Iowa, Joseph Kerr, of said State, bid for the following routes:
No. 9404. Fort Des Moines to Knoxville, a distance of 44 miles, at $190
per annum. No. 9411. Knoxville to Eddyville, a distance of 30 miles, at $165 per annum.
No. 9414. Bloomfield to Knoxville, a distance of 66 miles, at $150 per annum.
That the bid for route No. 9414 was written out and forwarded by Andrew C. Cunningham, the postmaster at Knoxville, at the request and by the direction of said Kerr ; but the amount which said Kerr directed the said Cunningham to put in said bid, and which said Cunningham supposed he had written in the same, was $350 instead of $150. Several other bids were made for said route besides that made by Mr. Kerr, the lowest of which was for $335. The department accepted Kerr's bid at $150 on the 29th of April, 1854, and notified Kerr of the acceptance. On the receipt of the notification, Kerr discovered the error, and, on the 31st of May, 1854, he returned the notice tor correction, and stated to the department that his bid was at the rate of $350 per annum, and not $150, as the notice read. The error, however, having been made in the bid, the department had no power to correct it, but, under the law, is compelled to charge said Kerr with the difference between the $150 and $335, the amount of the lowest proposal by the other bidders; and from this liability the petitioner asks to be relieved.
The testimony of the postmaster at Knoxville is, that he was directed by Kerr to bid $350; and that he does not know how the mistake
occurred. This, together with the difference between the bids on said route and the great difference in the rate per mile between Mr. Kerr's bid on this route and routes 9404 and 9411, clearly shows that the bid of $150 must have been made by mistake, and that it should have been $350. The committee are, therefore, of the opinion that the petitioner ought to have relief, and report the accompanying bill and rec ommend its passage.
33d CONGRESS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. REPORT 2d Session.
[To accompany Senate bill No. 437.]
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. MaxwELL, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, made the fol
The Committee on Indian Affairs, lo whom was referred Senate bill No.
437, for the relief of John Shaw, report : That at a special term of the circuit court of the United States, ordered by the War Department, at Prairie-du-Chien, in 1828, to try certain Winnebago Indians for the murder of citizens of the United States, John Shaw was employed as interpreter. His services were required by the government. He had to travel at least five hundred miles to attend said court, and was in attendance from the 25th of August to the 8th of September. The service was a difficult one, and no other person present was competent to perform it. He did it well and faithfully, and to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. The presiding judge (James Duane Doty) attests the difficulty and value of that service, and leaves no doubt upon the mind of your committee but that Mr. Shaw is entitled to some compensation therefor. In considering the amount to be allowed, thal proposed by the Senate is not deemed unreasonable. To travel the distance he did, from near St. Louis to Prairie-du-Chien, was at that time a tedious, difficult, and expensive undertaking; and, when to this the important service performed is added, your committee think it but right and fair that he should have the thousand dollars estimated by Judge Doty to be a reasonable compensation.
Mr. Shaw has never been paid for this service, as is shown by the testimony from the department; and, though there has been long delay in presenting the application for payment, this is not deemed a sufticient reason for denying now a fair compensation, when the evidence is so clearly in his favor.
Your committee therefore recommend the passage of the Senate bill.
GEORGE R. HERRICK.
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. Orr, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, made the following
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred Senate bill No. 461, for the relief of the Office of Indian Affairs, have had the same under consideration, and report:
That the title does truly describe the object of the bill. Its purpose is to allow to George R. Herrick arrearages for clerk-hire in the Indian Bureau. The Senate report is adopted by your committee. The facts are therein correctly set forth. The report is as follows:
“That upon a full examination of the authority of law for the employment of two clerks on said business, and the facts connected with the employment of the memorialist on the same, they are of opinion that he has an equitable, if not a strictly legal right to the amount of difference between the sums he received while so employed and those appropriated therefor, but otherwise disbursed under executive authority, and that the same should be paid to him.
“By a clause of the act of 9th May, 1836, entitled 'An act providing for the salaries of certain officers therein named, and for other purposes, it was provided that the Secretary of War should employ one clerk at sixteen hundred dollars, and one clerk at fourteen hundred dollars, to be employed in the business of reservations and grants under Indian treaties.'' This provision was limited as to time, but subsequent legislation by joint resolution of the two houses of Congress removed the limitation, extending the authority indefinitely. As late as the 17th of July
, 1842, a separate item of appropriation was made for the payment of this service; and that it was designed as a special service, the language employed in authorizing it seems to admit ot' no doubt. But it appears that in the changes of administration the appointments of these clerks in 1845–46, were made simply for the Office of Indian Affairs, instead of for the business named, and by that means their identity as employed for a special service was lost sight of.
"It is also shown by a regulation of the department, dated 19th November, 1846, arranging the compensation and duties of the several clerks in the Office of Indian Affairs, that two of the clerks in said bureau were assigned to the performance of the duties referred to; one at the annual salary of $1,600, and the memorialist at a compensation