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JOSEPH C. G. KENNEDY.
[To accompany bill H. R. No. 728.]
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. EDMUNDSON, from the Committee on Expenditures on the Public
Buildings, made the following
The Committee on Expenditures on the Public Buildings, to whom were
referred the petition and papers of Joseph C. G. Kennedy, claiming damage done to two buildings, the property of said Kennedy, while the same were used by the government for conducting the business of the taking of the seventh census, have had the same under consideration, and beg leave to submit the following report:
It appears that Joseph C. G. Kennedy purchased these two principal buildings rented for the use of the Census Office, of William Selden, and that the said Selden retained his lien upon the property as security for the payment of the purchase money.
It also appears that at the time the two buildings were rented to the government, Joseph C. G. Kennedy was superintendent of the census.
In reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 9th of August, modified by that of the 17th of August, 1852, the Secretary of the Interior says: “ In reference to the principal building rented for the use of the Census Office, it will be seen that there was a departure from the ordinary course of proceeding in making contracts of lease. It is usual, where houses are rented for the use of the government, to enter into agreements with the proprietors, without the intervention of third persons to ascertain the amount of rent to be paid. The reason of the departure in this case was, that Mr. Kennedy, the superintendent of the census, was interested in the property, and therefore, from motives of delicacy, declined entering into any negotiation in refer-ence to the amount of the rent. As the house was a very large and commodious one, and the only one that could be obtained offering the same amount of accommodation and so conveniently situated, it was agreed between us that I should designate two gentlemen of undoubted respectability, and well acquainted with the value of property, to fix the rent. In accordance with this agreement, I named Mr. John W. Maury, the present mayor, and "Mr. William A. Bradley, the postmaster of the city, both of whom have resided for many years in the city, and are well acquainted with the value of property. They
examined the house and made the assessment at $1,750 per annum, which is at the rate of $75 for each room.
“A copy of the agreement between Mr. Selden, the holder of the legal title to the house, and Mr. Kennedy, for the department, submitting the question of the amount of the rent to the arbitrament of Messrs. Maury and Bradley, and a copy of their award under that submission, accompany the report of the superintendent."
The documents above referred to are the following, and were appended to the above report of the Secretary of the Interior :
It is agreed by and between William Selden, esq., of Washington, D. C., and Joseph C. G. Kennedy, on behalf of the Department of the Interior, for the Census Office, that the terms of rent for the premises now in occupancy by the Census Office shall be established by two disinterested citizens of Washington, to be nominated by the Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior: their decision shall be final and conclusive in the matter, and binding upon both parties. In case of non-agreement by the two persons named, they may select a third person to aid them in determining the matter.
JOS. C. G. KENNEDY. WASHINGTON, January 1, 1851.
I hereby request Messrs. John W. Maury and Wm. A. Bradley to examine the premises referred to, and to fix a just and equitable amount of rent to be paid therefor, for the uses designated.
ALEX. H. H. STUART,
Secretary of the Interior.
In accordance with the foregoing agreement, and in consideration of the request of the Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior, the undersigned establish the rent to be paid for the above-described premises at seventeen hundred and fifty dollars per annum
JOHN W. MAURY.
The above agreement fixing the amount of the rent to be paid is all the written agreement that was ever executed between the parties, Mr. Kennedy claiming that the property was, by agreement of the Secretary of the Interior, to be left in a good, tenantable condition, according to the usual custom of the government in such cases ; and that he had reason to expect that these buildings would be so left, he shows by the statement of J. P. Pepper, esq., in answer to Mr. Kennedy on that subject, to wit:
WASHINGTON, January 2, 1855. Sir: I will be much obliged if you will inform me respecting the custom of the government in the repairs of private property rented for public use by the government departments. Any information on
this subject will be most thankfully received and highly appreciated,
Very respectfully, yours truly,
JÓS. C. KENNEDY. John P. PEPPER, Esq., Alderman of the city,
and late Superintendent of Department Buildings.
JANUARY 4, 1855. SIR : In answer to the above inquiry, I may say that during sixteen years' superintendency of the treasury department, it always was the custom of the government to have all buildings rented by the same, upon leaving, repaired and put in complete tenantable order.
JOHN P. PEPPER. Mr. Jos. C. G. KENNEDY.
Mr. Kennedy declares, that after the government had occupied these buildings for the space of three years, they were abandoned by the government without giving him the proper legal notice of their intention to do so; and that the interior of the buildings, and the premises generally, were left in an abused, damaged, and filthy condition, not fit for occupancy, and that, consequently, he sustained great damage and loss. In support of this declaration he presents the testimony of Mr. John S. Hollingshead, who was chief clerk part of the time under Mr. Kennedy, and for a while chief clerk under Mr. De Bow, which is as follows, viz:
WASHINGTON, January 19, 1855. Having been requested by J. C. G. Kennedy, esq., former superintendent of census, to state my opinion as to what amount of money it would require to place the house rented by the United States of him, or of Mr. Selden, in as good condition as it was when the United States rented the same, I would state, that I do not believe that less than two thousand dollars would place the building in as good condition as when government took possession of it. I was chief clerk part of the timeunder Mr. Kennedy, and for a while chief clerk under Mr. DeBow. In all alterations and fixtures for the accommodation of the immense quantity of matter in the shape of returns, &c., the preservation of the property was not considered, but the walls were perforated with nails for shelving, &c., the paper of the most costly character destroyed, and this once beautiful house (for the interior was very finely finished) was left, so far as the interior was concerned, a perfect wreck. With at times 75 clerks, holding situations of a very temporary character, it could not be expected they would be particular in preserving clean and in good order, property they did not expect to occupy long; and at times some of them displayed the organ of destructiveness. I have no interest in this matter, and all I say I honestly believe.
JOHN S. HÖLLINGSHEAD.
Sworn and subscribed before me,
B. K. MORSELL, J. P.
And also by the testimony of Mr. John W. Forney, who became the proprietor of the buildings while in the state in which they were left by the government, which reads as follows :
Personally appeared before me, John W. Forney, esq., who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith: That he became proprietor of the buildings on 8th street, Washington, previously occupied by the Census Office; that the same were, when taken by him, in an untenantable and damaged condition, the walls being much cracked, the papering destroyed, and the wood-work much injured—the whole requiring a thorough renovation ; that to render the premises tenantable and place them in a condition such as he deemed necessary for the comfort of his family, he expended over three thousand dollars.
J. W. FORNEY.
Sworn and subscribed this 19th day of January, 1855.
SAMUEL GRUBB, J. P.
The chairman of your committee addressed a letter of inquiry to the Hon. Alex. H. H. Stuart, late Secretary of the Interior, requesting him to state how he understood the contract, as it related to the buildings being left in as good, tenantable condition as they were in when taken possession of by the government. To this inquiry your committee received the following reply, to wit:
STAUNTON, VIRGINIA, January 21, 1855. DEAR SIR: My recollection of the contract for the lease of Mr. Kennedy's house is, that the rent was to be ascertained by John W. Maury and William A. Bradley, and that for any injury done to the house, beyond the ordinary wear and tear, compensation should be made, by restoring it to the condition in which it was at the commencement of the lease. At the time the contract was made, it was not supposed that we would need the house very long, and but little injury was anticipated. I regarded the government as standing on the footing of any other tenant. Very respectfully, your friend and obedient servant,
ALEX, H. H. STUART. Hon. H. A. EDMUNDSON.
Your committee, in view of the foregoing facts, are of opinion that the government is, in justice to this claimant, bound to put these premises in as good, tenantable condition as they were in when taken possession of. Your committee are of opinion that two thousand dollars will no more than make good the damages sustained by this claimant, and would therefore recommend the passage of the accompanying bill.
2d Session. S
F. A. HEISLEY.
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.–Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. HENDRICKS, from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, made the
The Committee on Invalid Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of Frederick A. Heisley, have had the same under consideration, and report:
That the facts stated by the petitioner present no case whatever for special legislation in his favor. He is now receiving, and for ten years past has received, a full pension for total disability, provided by law for persons of his grade in the service. It does not even appear in his petition what was the nature, extent, or location of his wound; nor that it has prevented his contributing towards his support by labor or attention to business. He does not claim for himself extraordinary gallantry, or that he was disabled in some hazardous enterprise in the service of the country. He states that he was wounded in the battle of Bladensburg; but the committee cannot receive that alone as conclusive evidence of extraordinary gallantry. If the laws should be so amended as to increase the pensions of those of his rank, he would be benefited thereby; but as a case for special relief, the committee think this wholly without merit, and that it should not be further pressed upon Congress, and therefore recommend that the petition do lie upon the table.