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patriotic citizens, who do not desire to see the old soldier consigned to ihe common asylum of the poor.
The committee think this is a case strongly appealing to the justice and sympathy of the government, and with that view report a bill granting a pension to the said Joseph McCormack.
JANUARY 24, 1855.
Mr. ETHERIDGE, from the Committee on Military Affairs, made the
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of James Hughes, a citizen of Madison county, Tennessee, praying compensation for clothing furnished by him to a company of volunteers in the serrice of the United States, in 1836, (commanded at the time by Captain Alexander B. Bradford,) have had the sume under consideration, and submit the following report :
That about June, 1836, a company of volunteers commanded by Captain Alexander B. Bradford, was raised at Jackson, Tennessee, for the Seminole war ; that said company did serve during the period of enlistment in the suppression of Indian hostilities in Florida, and were discharged at the expiration of that period. It appears that after said company was organized, the memorialist, at the request of the officers, furnished clothing for said company, which clothing was worn by those to whom it was furnished while in the service of the government in the Seminole war. It also appears that the memorialist has not been paid. The above facts are very fully established by the testimony of the officers of said company, from which, in the judgment of the committee, without submitting anything additional, in the way of argument, the claim of the petitioner to compensation very fully appears.
The committee therefore report a joint resolution, directing the proper officers of the treasury to ascertain the value of the clothing furnished said company, and to pay the memorialist such amount as the clothing may be found to have been worth at the time it was delivered to said company of volunteers.
JANUARY 26, 1855.
Vr. F. P. STANTON, from the Committee on the Judiciary, made the
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the memorial of
Frederick Griffing, having had the same under consideration, submit the following report :
The facts in this case are fully and correctly stated in the papers appended, being the statement of the memorialist and the explanations of the Navy Department. The only question for the consideration of the committee, is, whether upon the agreement made by the Secretary of the Navy with Mr. Griffing before the passage of the act of 3d August, 1847, the charges levied by the city of Brooklyn upon the property agreed to be sold, ought to fall upon the government or upon the memorialist.
It is true, the Secretary of the Navy had no power to contract for the purchase of the property in question, and his agreement was conditional, depending upon the appropriation subsequently made by Congress. But, at the same time, it must be admitted that the property was important to the government, and the conditional arrangement pru ent and proper on the part of the Secretary. It is conceded, also, that the ground purchased is fully worth the amount which will be paid, even if the charges levied by the city of Brooklyn should be assumed by the United States.
If this contract had been made between two individuals for the unconditional sale of real estate to be perfected at a future day, there woull be no difficulty in determining which party would be bound to sustain the burden imposed in this case. The authorities are clear and uniform, to the effect that the purchaser is considered the owner in equity, and must bear any loss which accrues subsequently to the agreement, if such loss be not in consequence of any act of the vendor.
* Equity looks upon that as done which is agreed to be done.” Craig 28. Leslie, 3 Wheaton 577-8; 1 Story Eq. sec. 649.
1 "A purchaser before conveyance is in equity owner of the estate almost to every purpose. If before conveyance a house should be burnt down, the loss would be his. If any acquisitions, as by lives dropping, should accrue, the profit would be his.”—Rawlins vs. Burgis, 2 Ves, and Reames 386.
“A vendee being equitable owner of the estate from the time of the contract for sale, must pay the consideration for it, although the estate itself should be destroyed between the agreement and the conveyance," &c., &c.-Engden on Vendors, p. 205-6; Paine vs. Meller, 6 Vesey 349, and notes ; 2 Story's Equity, sec. 790; 2 Story's Equity, sec. 740; Carmel vs. Buchlee, 2 P. Wms. 243; 3 Kent's Com. 466.
One of two innocent parties mast lose the amount of thirty thousand dollars, levied upon this property by the city of Brooklyn, after the agreement had been made between the memorialist and the Secretary. It it had been a valid and unconditional contract, it is clear from the authorities quoted, the government would be bound for the assessment. The Secretary was not authorized by any existing law to make any such agreement, and it may therefore be said there was no legal contract in existence. This position cannot be denied. But on the other hand, inasmuch as the Secretary asked of Congress the necessary appropriation, and Congress granted it, for the purpose of carrying out this very agreement, it would appear to be fair and equitable to consider the agreement as ratified and approved from the beginning. In this view of the subject good conscience would require the government to assume the payment of the amount of the Brooklyn assessment.
This conclusion is strengthened in its equitable aspect, by the consideration, that the charges in question are levied for the benefit of the property itself. It is true, the avenues ordered to be opened through the land, were rather an inconvenience to the United States; but, in principle and in general effect, they would have operated to the benefit of the owner of the property. If Mr. Griffing should be forced to pay the assessment, he would be deprived of the advantage which he would undoubtedly lave enjoyed from this expenditure if he had continued to hold the land. It is therefore plain, that, although the United States may not be in a position to profit by the improvement resulting from this change, it would be a great hardship and manifestly inequitable to force the payment from the memorialist. The committee, therefore, report a bill for his relief.
January 25, 1854. Sir: In reply to the inquiries contained in your letter of the 20th instant, touching the memorial of Frederick Griffing enclosed therewith, I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the chief of the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks, setting forth, as the department thinks, the facts in the case.
The memorial of Frederick Griffing is returned, and accompanies this letter and the report referred to. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. DOBBIN. Hon. FRED. P. STANTON,
Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, Ho. of Reps.