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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.
JUDITH WORTHEN-HEIRS OF.
[To accompany S. bill No. 131.]
FEBRUARY 2, 1855.
Mr. I. WASHBURN, jr., from the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions,
made the following
The Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, to whom was referred Senate bill No. 131, for the relief of the heirs of Judith Worthen, deceased, respectfully report :
That upon examination of the papers in the case, they find the facts to be correctly stated in the Senate report accompanying said bill; and agreeing in the deductions of the Senate committee, they adopt the said report as their own, and which is as follows:
JANUARY 16, 1854.-Mr. WILLIAMS made the following report:
The Committee on Pensions, to whom was referred the memorial of Nathan
Worthen, praying for the payment to the heirs of Judith Worthen, deceased, of a pension, to which she was entitled as the widow of Isaac Worthen, deceased, respectfully report:
That it appears from the papers presented, that Judith Worthen, the widow of Isaac Worthen, à revolutionary pensioner, applied at the Pension Office for a pension, under the act of July 7, 1838. This act gave to the widows of certain revolutionary soldiers for the term of five years from the 4th of March, 1836, the annuity or pension which might have been allowed to the husband, in virtue of a previous act, if living at the time it was passed. Her husband received his pension, under the previous act referred to, until his death, which occurred on the 1st day of March, 1841. On the 3d day of March, 1843, the widow made her declaration, under the act of 7th July, 1838, and the next month filed her papers with the Commissioner of Pensions. These papers were not finally acted on at the Pension Office until after the 30th April, 1844. On that day an act was passed providing that no pension should thereafter be granted to a widow for the same time for which her husband had received one. The five years for which the pension was granted to widows, by the act of July 7, 1838, extended from 4th of March, 1836, to March 4, 1841. The husband died on the 1st March, 1841, and, in consequence
of the law last mentioned, the Commissioner granted her a pension for only three days, from his death, on the 1st, until the 4th March, 1841. If the case had been decided at the time the papers were presented, she would have received, as she was entitled under the law, the whole five years' pension, at $48 per annum. It is claimed by her heirs, that the delay in deciding the case at the office, upon proofs found amply sufficient, should not prejudice her rights, and that the money withheld should be paid to her legal representatives.
It is not the policy of the pension laws to grant pensions, or the arrearages of pensions, to the heirs of the pensioners. When, however, money has actually become due, and payable to a pensioner, and all the papers to obtain its payment are filed with the proper officer, and the payment delayed on account of a press of business which prevents the examination at an early day, the committee see much reason in regarding the money due as the property of the pensioner, to which his heirs may be justly entitled. In this case, nothing but the delay in examining the papers filed, until after the act of April 30, 1844, prevented her receiving the money. Her right to it was perfect under the law of 1838, until long after she had done all that was required of her to obtain it.
To avoid the injustice of the restrictive act of April 30, 1844, in cases like that here presented, a joint resolution was passed on the 230 January, 1845, providing that the restriction should not be construed to affect the claims of those widows whose applications for a pension, or an arrear of pension, at the passage of the resolution, shall have been made and filed in the Pension Office, awaiting the decision of the Commisioner of Pensions thereon. The restriction was re-enacted in February, 1845; but cases in which (like that under consideration) the declaration was made on or before April 30, 1844, and filed in the Pension Office on or before the 230 January, 1845, were expressly excepted from its operation.
Under these provisions, the widow, if living, would be entitled to receive the pension for five years, ending March 4, 1841, and that, too, on the same papers which were filed by her in the Pension Office in 1843. Her death has prevented the drawing of the money.
Under the facts of this case, and the legislation on the subject above cited, the committee are of opinion that the amount of the five years' pension ought to be regarded, as belonging to the widow, and, after her application was made in due form to obtain it, should be considered as money in the treasury for her use, to which her heirs are justly entitled. They therefore report a bill to that effect.
To which they would add, that the Commissioner of Pensions, in a letter dated December 13, 1851, says, in reference to a report similar to the one referred to: “The facts in the case are correctly set forth in the report of the committee of the Senate; * * * * and, after a careful consideration of which, I respectfully recommend your committee to adopt it.” The committee recommend the passage of the bill.