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LOUIS LABEAUME'S HEIRS. .

FEBRUARY 23, 1855.- Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. NICHOLS, from the Committee on Private Land Claims, made the

following

REPORT

The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was referred the

petition of the legal representatives of Louis Labeaume, deceased, beg leave to report :

That they have had the same under consideration, and that, after a full investigation of the case, they are of the opinion that the same is without merit. The same committee of the 32d Congress made an adverse report, upon the facts then stated, which your committee adopt as a fair statement of the case, and ask that the same be printed.

The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was referred the

petition of the heirs and legal representat es of Louis Labeaume, deceased, have had the same under consideration, and report:

That it appears that the petitioners, as the legal representatives of said Louis Labeaume, deceased, are the claimants of twenty-one tracts of land, of eight hundred arpens each, under as many concessions by Carlos Dehault Delassus, lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana, the several petitioners, under whom the heirs of Labeaume claim. That it appears that each of said concessions by Delassus was regularly surveyed by a deputy surveyor, in the year 1804.

It further appears that the several claims mentioned in the petition were presented to the first board of commissioners appointed for the adjustment of land claims in Upper Louisiana, now the State of Missouri, in the year 1811; and that board reported that said claims ought not to be confirmed.

It also appears that in the year 1835 all of said claims were again presented to the board of commissioners appointed under the act of Congress of the 9th July, 1832, “ for the final adjustment of land claims in Missouri.”. From the report of that board to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, in the case of Louis Lamalice, one of the persons to whom a concession was made by Delassus, and under whom the heirs of Labeaume claim, it appears that this claim was very carefully examined; and they say in their report: “After a careful examination of the testimony, and the various deeds of transfer

ing in toto his lands, and his rights under the deed of cession. It would greatly have aided the committee in the investigation of the case, had those who were acting for the memorialist been kind enough to furnish a statement as to the party to which Dr. Dreiner allied himself in the war ; but this is not altogether left to conjecture, for Doctor Dreiner, it appears, did not resign his position in the British army at the commencement of the war; and as he could not have well or safely joined the American forces without an act of this kind, it is presumed he fought under the British standard.

The Doctor became a citizen of the United States in 1789, so years after the close of the war, and never, as it appears to the cor mittee, made any efforts to reclaim his lands, or to perfect his tit thereto. He has been dead some years, and in his will left the tas of prosecuting the claim to his children.

From all that has been stated, it will appear that the petitioner, as the heir or legatee of Doctor Dreiner, can have no equitable claim for relief. Her ancestor perfected no right as against the British government, and the land in question came into the possession of the United States as vacant, and is a part of the public domain, if it has not already been disposed of—a fact into which your committee have not deemed it material to inquire. Your committee have not been able to ascertain the sanction of law to any such claim, but, on the contrary, find that Congress has proceeded upon an entirely different principle. It has been invariably required that all such grants, to entitle them to favorable consideration, should be sanctioned by long and continued occupancy and cultivation, both of which requisites are wanting in this case. With the fact that this claim is of eighty years' standing, and with the fact that no effort at reclamation has been heretofore made ; that the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the country has passed by treaty three several times since the year 1775, the committee are of the opinion that the staleness of the claim has barred its claim to favorable consideration.

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on the claim, numbered from —- to inclusive, the board have decided to place them in the second class, believing them to have been founded in an extensive scheme of speculation by the assignees, unknown to the governor, and that the ostensible object, the population of the country, was not intended to be complied with at the time of procuring the grant.

The board are unanimously of opinion that this claim ought not to be confirmed."

By the act of the 9th July, 1832, under which this board was organized, they were required to class the claims “so as to show: first, what claims, in their opinion, would in fact have been confirmed, according to the laws, usages, and customs, of the Spanish government;' «and, secondly, what claims in their opinion are destitute of merit in law or equity, under such laws, usages, customs, and practice, of the Spanish authorities.” The committee refer to these provisions, for the purpose of explaining the action of the board, in placing these claims in the second class.

In virtue of the 3d section of this act, all claims placed in the second class, (being those rejected,) fell back into the mass of the public domain, and were subject to sale as other public lands.

The committee further report, that by the act of May 26, 1824, any person, or their legal representatives, claiming land within the State of Missouri, “by virtue of any Spanish grant, concession, warrant, or order of survey legally made, granted, or issused, before the 10th March, 1804, by the proper authorities, to any person or persons resident in the province of Louisiana at the date thereof, or on or before the 10th day of March, 1804,” were authorized to present their petition to the district court of the State of Missouri, setting forth, fully and plainly, the nature fthe claim, and praying that the validity of the title might be inquired into, and decided by said court; the court, by virtue of that act, having full power to adjudicate and determine all such claims, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court.

By the 5th section of that act, any claim within the purview of the act, which should not be brought within two years from the passage of the act, was forever barred.

By the act of 17th June, 1844, for the adjustment of land claims within the States of Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the provisions of the act of 26th May, 1824, so far as related to the State of Missouri, were revived and continued in force for the term of five years, and no longer.

It does not appear that the heirs of Labeaume ever availed themselves, or attempted to avail themselves, of the benefits of the acts of 26th May, 1824, or 17th June, 1844, nor do they show any reason why they did not. As these claims have been twice rejected by the boards of commissioners appointed at different periods for the adjustment of such claims, and as the rejection was made “ after a careful examination of the testimony” by the second board, and as the petitioners have not, so far as appears to the committee, attempted to avail themselves of the benefits of the two acts before mentioned, the committee are of opinion that the claims ought not now to be confirmed, and that the prayer of the petitioners should not be granted.

20 Session.

No. 132.

COLT PATENT CASE.

FEBRUARY 23, 1855.-Laid upon the table and ordered to be printed.

Mr. LETCHER, from the Select Committee, made the following

REPORT:

The committee appointed on the 10th day of July last "to inquire whether

money has been offered to members or other illegal or improper means used to induce members to aid in securing the passage or defeat of a bill to extend Coli's patent for seven years; and also whether money has been offered to members or other illegal or improper means used, either directly or indirectly, to secure the passage or defeat of any bill before Congress, and which was continued by the resolution of the House of December 5, 1854, beg leave to report :

That the committee assembled very soon afier the adoption of the last mentioned resolution, and directed two witnesses to be summoned, one of whom appeared and was examined, and the other declined to appear in answer to the summons. Finding that they could not proceed with the business committed to them, unless they could compel the attendance of witnesses, the committee reported the facts to the House, and asked for some action on the part of that body. The House declined to take action on the subject, and laid the resolution on the table.

Subsequently, the committee directed another witness to be summoned, and it was done, but said witness also declined to appear.

Under these circumstances the committee find it impossible to proceed, and, after full consultation, have directed me to report the following resolution:

Resolved, That the chairman be instructed to ask the House that the said committee be discharged. The journal and papers of the committee accompany this report.

Proceedings of the Committee in the Colt Patent Case, fc., 8c.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, December 5, 1854.

On motion of Mr. LETCHER,
Resolved, That the committee raised by the resolution adopted by the
House of Representatives, on the 10th day of July last, be continued,
and charged with the same powers and duties as at the last session of
Congress.
Attest:

J. W. FORNEY, Clerk House of Representatives U. S.

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