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FEBRUARY 23, 1855.–Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. FLAGLER, from the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, made
The Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of Mary Bensell, asking for a pension in consideration of the revolutionary services of her late husband, George Bensell, report :
That the petitioner sets forth that her late husband served in the revolutionary war—first, as adjutant in the Pennsylvania militia, and afterwards as aid-de-camp in the staff of General Lacy, of the regular army. The evidence, however, as to the length of his service in the regular army, (which can alone be computed) is very vague and unsatisfactory, as appears by a letter of the Commissioner of Pensions, and does not show the requisite service to entitle claimant under existing law; neither does the case, in the judgment of the committee, warrant the passage of a law for the relief of the petitioner, which, in fact, would be a special favor granted her, but denied to many others similarly circumstanced and equally meritorious.
The committee, therefore, ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the petition, and that it lie upon the table.
[To accompany bill H. R. No.791.]
FEBRUARY 26, 1856.
Mr. CHANDLER, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the petition
of Francis Dainese, late consul at Constantinople, have had the same under consideration and report:
That the petitioner sets forth, in his petition, that, while acting as United States consul at Constantinople, owing to the absence, from May 16, 1849, to August 6, 1851, from Pera, the place of business for all foreign representatives, of any other United States office than that of his consulate, or of any other United States officer than himself, he had to attend to, and to contribute largely for the relief of, refugees possessed with American passports, and, having sustained a loss of $851 19 over and above the amount of expenditure received from government, he prays that he may be allowed that amount.
That while acting as above stated, and paying, during a period of three years, seven months, and four days, the contingent expenses of the consulate under his charge—for which contingent expenses an appropriation of $500 is annually made by Congress-he has received only one portion of the same, viz: $1,225; the remaining $635 having, through mistake, been paid to one George A. Porter, who had not the least right to it; and he prays that he may be allowed these $635.
That on the 20th of December, 1852, he drew on the Secretary of State a draft for $3,594 40, for his compensation for judicial services during the time of his incumbency of the consulate at Constantinople, viz: from May 16, 1849, to December 20, 1852, which compensation is due him under the act of Congress approved the 11th of August, 1848-chap. 150, sec. 18, 22, 23; and that payment thereof was declined “only for the want of the necessary appropriation;" and he prays that the necessary appropriation be made for payment of that draft.
That while he was discharging quietly, and under the authority of the Department of State, the duties of consul, the temporary managers of the affairs of the United States legation at Constantinople, using its powers, violated his consular office, forcibly
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.
APPROPRIATIONS-SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE
FEBRUARY 28, 1855.
Mr. Houston, 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 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
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 existing 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.