Imatges de pàgina

taking thence the public and private property secured in it, which circumstance compelled him to incur the expenditure of proceeding to the seat of government, for laying the case before, and asking redress from, the Executive. That the Executive, on examination of the case, approved of the course of the petitioner, reinstating him in his office, and repudiating the acts of his assailers; and that he was sent back with enlarged powers, and with orders from this gove ernment for the commander of the United States squadron in the Mediterranean to convey him to Constantinople in a national vessel, with full honors. That the commander of the squadron failed to convey the petitioner to his post, as ordered by this government, and that he thereby encountered extraordinary expenses, both in travelling at his own expense, and in awaiting at Syra the further instructions of the Secretary of State; and he prays that he may be allowed the amount of $2,852 60, for expenses incurred by reason of the circumstances above stated.

One letter from the present Secretary of State, in answer to the inquiries made by the committee, and dated July 25, 1854; three letters from the former Secretary of State; one letter from the Secretary of the Navy; one letter from the Fifth Auditor, in answer to the inquiries of the committee as to the petitioner's time of service; two letters from the disbursing agent of the Department of State; thirty-four letters from the several occupants of the legation at Constantinople; one official certificate from the late acting consul at Constantinople; and several other documents, produced by the petitioner, fully sustain the statements of the petition.

The committee believe that, in this case, the claimant is justly entitled to receive the amount of $851 19, for his losses on expenditure for the relief of refugees; and also the amount of $635, for contingent expenses of the consulate.

The committee believe, also, that the claimant's draft for compensation for judicial services from May 16, 1849, to December 20, 1852, suspended for the vant of the necessary appropriation,” should be paid; it being in accordance with the act of August 11, 1848_drafts for like services from the five consuls at China being heretofore paid, and the amount provided in the civil and diplomatic bills.

The committee think also that, although no allowance for travelling expensés is made to consuls, as the petitioner's travelling expenses were occasioned solely by the fact of his having been unauthorizedly (which inference naturally follows the decision and the subsequent action of Mr. Webster in that case) driven out of his office; and that he was therefore compelled, for want of competent authority abroad, to bring the case before, and ask redress from, the Executive, leaving on the spot Mr. Vigoureux as his agent during his absence; and as the Executive approved of his course, reinstated him, and promoted him to a higher office,-he, the said petitioner, is justly entitled to receive the payment of his expenses. An amendment, in accordance, has been offered in the civil and diplomatic appropriation bill, " for compensation under the act of the 17th August, 1818;" and they report a bill for the remainder, recommending its passage.

2d Session. B.

No. 139,


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 594.)

FEBRUARY 28, 1855.

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


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The Committee of Ways and Means, to whom were referred the amendments of the Senate to bill H. R. No. 594, "making appropriations for the service of the Post Office Department during the fiscal year ending the thirtieth of June, one thousand eight hundred and fiftysix,'' beg leave to report:

That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 1st, 2d, 8th, and 12th amendments of the Senate ; that they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 3d amendment of the Senate with an amendment: page 3, after word “the," on 41st line, strike out the words “ contract aforesaid,” and insert eighteenth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and fiftyfour, and continuing one year. That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 4th amendment of the Senate with an amendment: page 3, after word “the,” on 48th line, strike out the words “contract aforesaid," and insert eighteenth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, and continuing one year. That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 5th amendment of the Senate with an amendment: page 3, after word “fifty-five,” on 7th line, strike out all to end of the section. That they recommend that the House of Representatives do agree to the 6th amendment of the Senate with an amendment: page 4, after word “Provided," on 10th line, insert as follows : That the contract for said service be advertised by the Postmaster General, in pursuance of escisting laws, and let to the lowest bidder: And provided further, that. That they recommend that the House of Representatives do not concur in the 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 13th amendments of the Senate.



[To accompany bill H. R. No. 793. ]

FEBRUARY 28, 1855.

Mr. F. P. STANTON, from the Committee on the Judiciary, made the



The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the memorial of

R. R. Ward, F.G. Halleck, and Jacob Little, assignees of the estate of Jacob Barker, having had the same under consideration, submit the following report:

By the act of the 24th March, 1814, Congress authorized the President to borrow twenty-five millions of dollars. The Treasury Department advertised for ten millions of this loan, to be taken on the 2d of May following. On that day a contract was duly executed with Mr. Jacob Barker and sundry other persons for a portion of these ten millions, upon the following terms and conditions, to wit: “eighty-eight dollars in money for each hundred dollars in stock; and the United States engage, if any part of the sum of twenty-five millions of dollars authorized to be borrowed by the act of 24th March, 1814, is borrowed upon terms more favorable to the lenders, that the benefit of the same terms shall be extended to the persons who may then hold the stock, or any part of it, issued for the present loan of ten millions."

The necessity for resorting to this condition, in order to secure the negotiation of even a part of the loan, can be explained only by the extreme embarrassment of the treasury, and the uncertainty of its future resources, depending, as they did, upon the conclusion of the existing war. These extraordinary terms, however, were not unexampled, and did not originate with these contractors.

A similar condition, differing only as to the persons entitled to the benefit of it, had been allowed to Messrs. Girard & Parish, upon the negotiation of the loan of March, 1813; and there can be no doubt that the terms stipulated in 1814 were suggested by those of the preceding year.

It was known that the enemy was relying largely upon the embarrassments of our finances, and it was a matter of the first importance to obtain the necessary funds for carrying on the war at almost any sacrifice. The effect of success in obtaining this loan was expected to be favorable to the negotiation of peace. In that event, the government stock would have advanced so as to render the condition attached to the above loan of no consequence whatever. But, in the

opposite contingency, which actually did happen, it was apparent that there would be a tendency to decline in the government stocks, which would bring ruin upon the contractors, without such a condition as that which was actually adopted. It is well known that, upon such occasions, contractors for government loans, to be paid in instalments, usually rely upon the sale or pledge of the stocks received for one instalment, in order to meet the next. It is apparent, therefore, that in the present case the contractors who took the loan above its market price must, without the condition, have suffered immense losses from the continued depression of the market, owing to the prolongation of the war. The terms of the contract were perfectly legitimate, and afforded only a fair security to the parties who, in that dark period of our history, patriotically stepped forward and risked their fortunes for the support of the government.

In July following (1814) the government advertised for another sum of six millions, part of the twenty-five million loan, to be closed on the 22d August next thereafter. This loan entirely failed. The British forces entered the city of Washington on the 24th of that month. The banks of New York, and all south of that city, suspended specie payments. The banks of Baltimore and Washington sent off all their valuable effects upon the approach of the enemy, and the members of the government dispersed, and did not again reassemble in Washington until after the evacuation of the city by the British army, which took place on the night of the 26th. On the 30th the Secretary of the Treasury opened new negotiations for six of the twenty-five millions authorized to be borrowed as above stated. On the following day, the 31st August, 1814, a contract was made with the officers of the Baltimore and District banks, and sundry other persons, for something like two and a half millions of dollars, at eighty per cent., payable in the depreciated paper of the banks aforesaid.

Upon the negotiation of this second part of the twenty-five million loan, the holders of the stock in the first part of the loan claimed the performance of the condition incorporated in the original contract. Upon this demand various difficulties were started, of which the most important were these:

First. The Secretary of the Treasury insisted that the parties entitled to the benefit of the condition were not the parties holding the first stock at the time of the second loan, but the parties who held at the time of paying the difference due on account of the condition. It is apparent that this was a very material point, and the position of the Secretary was in direct conflict with the express terms of the contract. This point, however, becomes less important, as it is understood that the parties claiming the supplemental stock have settled this question among themselves. The committee, nevertheless, refer to the correspondence of the department, and especially to the opinion of Mr. Pinckney hereto appended, in which the full discussion of this question will be found.

Second. The Secretary of the Treasury insisted, that upon the negotiation of the second loan under the law of 1814, and upon the issuance of the supplemental stock for the difference, in conformity with the terms of the contract, the condition was exhausted, and the

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