Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

was made by the city of Brooklyn upon said land, for building a street, to the amount of thirty thousand dollars. That this assessment was not in contemplation at the time of said contract, and was wholly for the benefit of the purchaser. That the Secretary of the Navy declined to receive a conveyance of said land, and pay the stipulated consideration, unless your petitioner would pay said assessment.

That having purchased said land solely for the use of the government, and personally bound himself for the payment therefor, and being held to convey the same to the government, provided said appropriation should be made, your petitioner had made no arrangement for the disposal of said land, or to meet his contracts of payment therefor to the owners; and so was compelled to convey said land to the government without full payment, and to receive only two hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars—the Navy Department retaining thirty thousand dollars, wherewith to pay said assessment; your petitioner then, and always, protesting that he was, on every principle of law and equity, entitled to receive the full consideration of said purchase, upon conveyance to the government of a perfect title, as of the date of said contract with said department; and that assessments subsequently made on said land for its improvement, were not incumbrances which he was bound to remove. That in his contracts for said land he paid interest to the owners from the date of his contracts, bearing date in December, 1847, and in justice should receive the same. ·

That he is informed that no further appropriation having been made for said purchase, it is not in the power of said department to pay said balance—wherefore he prays that such relief may be granted him as may seem just and proper; and, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

FREDERICK GRIFFING.

2d Session. S

No. 33.

ROBERT HARRISON AND OTHERS.

[To accompany J. R. No. 47.]

JANUARY 26, 1855.

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

following

REPORT

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

Charles E. Sherman, attorney in fact of Robert Harrison and others, claimants under the 9th article of the Florida treaty, having had the same under consideration, beg leave to report:

The claims in question originate under the treaty of 1819, between the United States and Spain, of which the 9th article in the English version is as follows:

- The United States will cause satisfaction to be made for the injuries, if any, which, by process of law, shall be established to have been suffered by the Spanish officers and individual Spanish inhabitants by the late operations of the American army in Florida.”

The Spanish version of this article does not contain the word "late,'" but reads simply, by the operations of the American army in Florida.""

In pursuance of this article of the treaty, Congress, on the 3d of March, 1823, passed the following law :

SAN ACT to carry into effect the ninth article of the treaty concluded between the United

States and Spain the twenty-second day of February, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen.

"Sec, 1. That the judges of the superior courts established at St. Augustine and Pensacola, in the Territory of Florida, respectively, shall be, and they are hereby, authorized and directed to receive and adjust all claims arising within their respective jurisdictions, of the inhabitants of said Territory, or their representatives, agreeably to the provisions of the ninth article of the treaty with Spain, by which the said Territory was ceded to the United States.

“Sec. 2. That in all cases in which said judge shall decide in favor of the claimants, the decisions, with the evidence on which they are founded, shall be, by the said judges, reported to the Secretary of the Treasury, who, on being satisfied that the same is just and equitable, within the provisions of the said treaty, shall pay the amount thereof to the person or persons in whose favor the same is adjudged, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.” Approved March 3, 1823.

Under this act, Secretary Crawford held that the losses occasioned by General Jackson's entrance into West Florida, in 1814, to expel the British and Indians, being justified by the law of nations, were not within the treaty of 1819; and Secretary Rush, having applied this decision to the losses of 1812 and 1813 in East Florida, Congress, after full deliberation, on the 26th June, 1834, passed the following explanatory act:

“AN ACT for the relief of certain inhabitants of East Florida. Be it enacted, &c., That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he hereby is, authorized and directed to pay, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the amount awarded by the judge of the superior court at St. Augustine, in the Territory of Florida, under the authority of the 161st chapter of the acts of the 17th Congress, approved March 3, 1823, for losses occasioned in East Florida by the troops in the service of the United States, in the years 1812 and 1813, in all cases where the decision of the said judge shall be deemed by the Secretary of the Treasury to be just: Provided, That no award be paid except in the case of those who, at the time of suffering the loss, were actual subjects of the Spanish government: And provided also, That no award be paid for depredations committed in East Florida previous to the entrance into that province of the agent or troops of the United States."

"SECTION 2. And be it further enacted, That the judge of the superior court of St. Augustine be, and he hereby is, authorized to receive, examine, and adjudge all cases of claims for losses occasioned by the troops aforesaid, in 1812 and 1813, not heretofore presented to the said judge, or in which the evidence was withheld, in consequence of the decision of the Secretary of the Treasury, that such claims were not provided for by the treaty of February 22d, 1819, between the governments of the United States and Spain: Provided, That such claims be presented to the said judge in the space of one year from the passage of this act: And provided, also, That the authority herein given shall be subject to the restrictions created by the provisos to the preceding section.”

It was under this latter act of Congress that the claims now presented were adjudicated by the judge of the Florida court; and among the many cases standing in the same predicament, the committee deem it proper to present one of the awards or decrees as a type of the whole. The following was certified to the Secretary of the Treasury on the 28th November, 1848, by the judge of the court of the United States for the northern district of Florida:

"I do therefore award and adjudge, that the United States pay to the administrator of Reddin Blunt, deceased, the sum of $1,670, together with interest thercon, at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum, from the 10th of May, 1813, to the 26th of June, 1835, in satisfaction of the losses and injuries suffered by the said Reddin Blunt in his lifetime, and in the years 1812 and 1813, by means of the operations of the American troops in those years in East Florida.”

It will be seen, by this example, that in all the cases of injury suffered in 1812 and 1813, the judges deemed it their duty to allow in

« AnteriorContinua »