Imatges de pàgina

tinued pending before Congress two or three years without any action on it, when he finally became wearied and disheartened with delay, and withdrew it. He died some years afterwards-in 1805, as allegedleaving several children in their minority. When Thomas H. Baird, his eldest son, became of age, he was immediately appointed administrator of his estate, to wit, in 1818; and on the 13th of February of that year presented his petition to Congress praying for relief. It was pending from that time until the 3d of March, 1835, when the committee to which it had been referred reported that “ Dr. Absalom Baird was entitled to the benefit of the provision of the resolution of the 17th of January, 1781, extending the grant of half-pay for life to the officers of the hospital department and medical staff No further action was had at that session ; but on the 23d of June, 1836, an act was passed granting five years' full pay as commutation, under the resolution of 1783, but without interest.

On the 12th of December, 1837, his heirs again presented their petition to Congress praying for further relief. Under this petition, a bill for their relief was reported on the 6th of March, 1838, which was twice tead, and referred to the Committee of the Whole House, but was never afterwards considered.

Inasmuch as Congress, by the act of June 23, 1836, allowed five years' full pay as commutation, &c., disregarding the claim for half-pay which had accrued before the passage of the resolution of March 23, 1783, the committee will not now consider of the claim for half-pay. The question to which they have directed their attention is, as to whether interest should have been allowed on the five years' full pay, as computation, from the end of the war, the time when it was due.

The government had not the means to pay her officers their fiveyears' full pay at the end of the war; or, at all events, she did not pay them, but preferred to issue to those who applied, and whose claims were allowed, certificates bearing interest. It is, therefore, not to be questioned that to all such she did pay interest, as well as the principal, and this, in most instances, without the necessity of an application to Congress.

But there was a class of cases in reference to which application was made to Congress, the necessity for which, at least on claims for commutation, probably arose from the fact that the claimants had failed to apply in due time and obtain their certificates bearing interest. These applications were numerous from 1792 till 1834 ; and between those periods interest was uniformly allowed by Congress, or, at least, it was allowed in very many cases. The public records show, between those periods, as many as one thousand seven hundred and fifty-four cases in which interest was allowed, and quite a large number of them were for commutation pay.

The act of June 23, 1836, recognises the indebtedness of the gov. ernment to Doctor Baird in the sum of $2,400. When did this indebtedness occur, and when was it payable? Certainly at the end of the war, in April, 1783; and it was for a sum certain. If Doctor Baird had then received his certificate, he would unquestionably have been paid interest upon it. That he did not receive it was not his fault. He made early application to the proper accounting officers,

but was refused. He applied to Congress in 1794, and he, and his heirs since his death, have been, for almost the entire period since, urging Congress to provide for his payment.

It appears, then, there has been no laches on his part; and the payment of interest will be but in accordance with the uniform usage of the government, in similar cases, for a period of more than fifty years. It is also believed to be a well-established rule, that a creditor of the government for a gum certain is entitled to interest when laches is not imputable to him, and payment has been withheld.

The committee, therefore, believe interest on the $2,400, allowed and paid to the heirs of Doctor Baird, should have been paid from the end of the war till the passage of the act for their relief on the 23d of June, 1836, which amounts to $7,656, and which, added to the amount paid, makes the sum of $10,056. But $2,400 being then paid, left the $7,656 still due. Interest on this sum till the present time makes the sum of $16,230, which is believed to be the amount to which the heirs are now entitled, and for which sum the committee report a bill, and recommend its passage.



[To accompany bill H. R. No. 555.]

FEBRUARY 20, 1855.

Mr. HAVEN, from the Committee of Ways and Means, made the



The Committee of Ways and Means, to whom were referred the amend

ments of the Senate to bill (No. 555) “ Making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1856,” beg leave to report :

That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22, 23, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32, 33, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 420, 430, 44th, 47th, 49th, and 53d amendments of the Senate.

That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 41st amendment of the Senate, with an amendment. Page 39, on line 935, after the word “of,” strike out “twenty thousand,” and insert in lieu thereof, seventeen thousand two hundred.

That they recomiend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 45th amendment of the Senate, with an amendment. Page 42, after the word “lands” on 12th line, insert the following: or such parts thereof as he may deem proper. Page 42, after the word “aforesaid” on 19th line, insert the following: nor shall any land be sold at public sale at a less price than one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Page 42, after the word “ law” on 20th line, strike out the words, “ Provided that the President may order a new treaty to be made with the Delawares, Iowas, Weas, Peorias, Kaskaskias, and Piankeshaws, or such of them as he may deem necessary.

That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 46th amendment of the Senate, with an amendment. Page 42, after the word "Indians," on 8th line of section 6, strike out the words, "and also one other agent for the Kickapoos, at the same salary and upon the same tenure.

That they recommend that the House of Representatives do not concur in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 40th, 48th, 50th, 51st, and 52d amendments of the Senate.

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