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FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. FAULKNER, from the Committee on Military Affairs, made the
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred Senate bill
No. 141, for the relief of Richard Fitzpatrick, with accompanying papers, report:
That Colonel Richard Fitzpatrick, a citizen of Florida, was compelled by the Seminole Indians, upon the breaking out of hostilities in that State, in 1836, to abandon his plantation at the mouth of the Miami river; whereupon the Indians destroyed a large amount of his property, consisting of houses, crops, stock, &c. The military and naval forces of the United States took possession soon after its abandonment, and established upon it a military post, known as Fort Dallas, and they continued to occupy it until some time in the year 1842.
During the time it was thus occupied by the United States for military purposes, a large quantity of wood, which had been cut and collected by the claimant for sale to steamboats, was used by the goverament steamboats, by order of the officers in command, and large quantities of wood used from time to time, also cut from the lands of claimant, for the same purpose and under the same authority.
The testimony of persons familiar with the facts, living near the plantation at the time, and whose respectability is sufficiently sustained, was regularly taken before the county court of the adjoining county, in 1842, and sustains the estimate which the claimant gives of his losses, sixty thousand dollars.
Your committee, however, are not prepared to admit the liability of the federal government for losses occasioned by Indian depredations in Florida; and the major part of the claimant's losses were of this character. But, for the use and occupation of his land, and for the timber, &c., taken from it for public service, and by order of United States officers, he is clearly and justly entitled to remuneration.
Colonel Harney, U. S. A., certifies as follows, viz: “I certify that I was in command of the troops of the United States in the south of Florida for a considerable time during the Seminole war, and had my headquarters at Fort Dallas, which is located upon the property of Richard Fitzpatrick, who is a citizen of Florida, and that whatever
was found useful on the lands of Mr. Fitzpatrick was freely used for the benefit of the United States. I do further certify that there was a considerable quantity of wood cut off the land of Fitzpatrick, and used on board of the steamboats in the service of the United States, it being more convenient to take wood at that place than any other on that part of the coast of Florida.”
General Jesup, in a letter addressed to the Secretary of War, dated January 13, 1841, says: “Fort Lauderdale, on New river, and Fort Dallas, on Miami river, were established by my orders some time in February or March, 1838. Both forts are said to be on the lands of Colonel Fitzpatrick. They are occupied at this time.
“Timber for building and for fuel, for the use of the troops and for the steamboats in the public service, has been cut at both forts. Colonel Fitzpatrick is justly entitled to a reasonable rent for his land, and compensation for the timber cut for the use of the public; but it would be difficult, without a careful examination of the premises, to determine what would be a fair compensation
“As he could make no use of the land himself, and as the fuel was cut and hauled by the troops, from two to three thousand dollars a year would, I should think, be ample compensation for both.'
General Jesup adds, that “the buildings and other property charged in the account were destroyed by the Indians before the lands were occupied by the troops.'
The testimony varies as to the quantity and value of the wood thus removed, and it is difficult to determine them with accuracy. And your committee have therefore deemed it proper to report back the Senate bill, and recommend its passage with the following amendment; Add, at the end of the bill, the words following:
" And provided the amount so paid shall not exceed ten thousand dollars."
2d Session 3
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 for 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.
2d Session. S
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. MAXWELL, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, made the fol
REPORT 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 hy 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, that 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 sufficient 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.