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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
less than the $1,400 authorized by law to be paid for his services. And it further appears that the duties growing out of those reservations and grants were of the most difficult and responsible character;' and the statements of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the chief clerk of that office, conclusively prove that said memorialist was one of the most faithful, competent, and efficient clerks in the employ of the government.
“As, therefore, he is shown to bave well and faithfully performed the services for which he claims arrearages of pay, and the appropriation made for the payment of that particular service was not applied strictly to the purpose for which it was appropriated, the committee beg leave to report a bill for the relief of the Office of Indian Affairs.”
The committee recommend that the bill do pass, and that the title be amended by striking out the present title, and inserting “An act for the relief of George R. Herrick."
2d Session. S
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. CORWIN, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made the
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the petition
of the administrator of Charles Fierer, asking commutation pay for the services of said Charles Fierer, as a captain of cavalry during the war of the Revolution, report:
That the proof shows that the said Charles Fierer was an officer in the Hessian army; that he resigned his commission in that army, and was appointed a captain in the Virginia State line, prior to January 1, 1782, and served in that capacity until the end of ihe war. That his services, as a captain in the Virginia State line, until the end of the war, are shown by the depositions of Dudley Digges, Vincent King, and Jane Haney; by a certificate of the register of the land office of the State of Virginia, dated December 9, 1793. It was also decided by the governor and council of that State, that Charles Fierer was entitled to the proportion of land allowed a captain of the State line " for the war;" and that, on the 16th of December, 1793, a warrant was issued in pursuance thereof, for 2,000 acres, to Charles Fierer, of the State line, "for the war ;” and by the decision of J. L. Edwards, late Commissioner of Pensions, made November 25, 1836, that it was found to the satisfaction of the department that Captain Charles Fierer had served to the end of the war. All which depositions, certificates, and decisions, or copies of them, accompany the petition.
In Henning's Statutes at Large, (new series,) vol. 1, page 282, an act of the legislature of Virginia will be found, passed December 11 1793, entitled “ An act for the relief of Charles Fierer,” which recites “that Charles Fierer, late a subject of the reigning prince of Hesse Cassel, by the resignation of a commission which he held in the forces of that prince during the late war, and his acceptance of a command in the troops of the Commonwealth and State establishment, sustained a personal injury by a fall from his horse, in the exercise of his military duty, and has incurred a denunciation of treason, and a confiscation of his estate in his native country;" and said act therefore provides for settlement of the balance of pay and depreciation due him for his services, as a captain of cavalry in the State legion. This evidence shows clearly that Captain Charles Fierer was entitled to the commutation of
five years' full pay, provided by the act of the Virginia legislature passed December 16, 1790, (13 Henning's Statutes at Large, page 131,) as decided by the Attorney General; and that it was not pretended that it has ever been paid to him, or his heirs, or his representatives.
It appears that his legal representatives received his half-pay for life, but the receipt of half-pay has never been held a satisfaction of a claim for commutaticn; but when commutation has been allowed, the half-pay previously allowed has been deducted, and this has been done in numberless instances.
It is clear, in the opinion of your committee, from the evidence, that Fierer did not resign his commission in the Virginia line; because the act of 1793, for his relief, refers to his services in the State legion, (which was Dabney's legion,) which was not raised until after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. The question on this point was no doubt raised in reference to his resignation of his commission in the Hessian service, which, through misapprehension, has been erroneously referred to his commission in the Virginia State line. The committee are therefore of opinion, and report, that the commutation recovered as aforesaid, against the State of Virginia, is legally and justly due to the estate of the said Charles Fierer, and properly chargeable to, and should be paid by the United States, in accordance with the decisions of the Attorney General in the case of John M. Galt.
Claims of this character have, in other cases, been adjusted and paid by the Department of the Interior, under authority of existing laws, interpreted by acts of Congress, and the opinion of the law officer of the government, as above referred to; and they therefore report the accompanying bill.