Imatges de pàgina



land for that purpose, the interest on the sum or sums so paid or refunded shall cease, and not be considered as chargeable to the United States any longer than up to the time of the repayment as aforesaid.” The effect of this clause is conceived to be, not that it shall be paid up to that time, but that it shall not be paid afierwards. It fixes a limit beyond which the payment shall not go—not one to which it must extend. It should be construed in connexion with the previous requirement, that “interest shall not be paid on any sum on which the State has not paid interest.” This provision was properly considered to terminate the interest on the day when the State paid her debt.

The committee are confirmed in the conclusions before expressed, by the fact that this whole matter has been already adjudicated, both by the executive and legislative authorities; that the principal debt has been allowed and paid, in a mode ever since acquiesced in; that the claim for interest was afterwards preferred, investigated, and determined, by a rule, consistent, as the committee think, not only with the law enacted for the adjustment of this particular case, but with the established usage of the government; that the sum adjudged due was paid and received; that Congress, when applied to immediately thereafier, upon full examination, with an understanding of all the facts, more than once declined to enlarge the allowance; and that a period of almost thirty years has since elapsed. Adjudications thus ancient, deliberate, and repeated, ought, ordinarily, in our judgment, in the absence of fraud or mistake shown, to be of themselves final and conclusive.

The committee are, therefore, of opinion that the bill ought not to become a law.

2d Session. )

No. 42.


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 696.]

JANUARY 30, 1855.

Mr. J. C. ALLEN, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made

the following


The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the pe

tition of the heirs of Philip R. Rice, deceased, formerly of King William county, Virginia, and late of Bracken county, Kentucky, praying compensation for a vessel lost in the service of the United States in the war of the Revolution, have had the same under consideration, and beg leave to report:

That Philip R. Rice, in his petition, filed before his decease, states: that he, while a resident of King William county, Virginia, in the year 1781, was the owner of a small trading vessel, the cost of which was $2,200 ; that shortly before Lord Cornwallis took possession of Yorktown, (otherwise called Little York,) he, with two of his servants, who composed the crew of the vessel, was trading in the York, Potomac, and James rivers, and that while thus engaged, he, together with his two servants and vessel, was pressed into the service of the United States by the press-masters, Robert Radford and Micajah Crews, for the purpose of transporting munitions of war, military and quartermaster's stores, from the town of Cumberland to Taylor's ferry, which duty was performed under the direction of said pressmasters, they being with him, and superintending the loading and unloading of the cargo; that he was then directed by them to go to Newcastle and load with four from Colonel Simms's mill, and with cannon and shells, and pork, and transport the same to York; that, in accordance with their direction, he repaired to Newcastle and loaded, and on his return, before he reached Goodman's island, he was attacked by the British, who, since he had left Taylor's ferry, had taken possession of Yorktown; that. the enemy's force was so well provided with field artillery, that to effect his own escape, and that of his crew, he was compelled to scuttle the vessel to prevent the cargo from falling into the hands of the enemy, and escape (himself and crew) in a skiff; that the vessel went down shortly after they left her, and was afterwards destroyed by the British, but that they (the British) got no part of the cargo, as he believes.

He further states, that the vessel was worth the sum of $2,200 ;;

that the vessel, himself, and hands, were in the employ of the United States after the impressment, and until she was thus taken by the enemy, from three to four months; that he has never, directly or indirectly, received any compensation whatever for the loss of his vessel or the services of himself and crew; and that in his old age and decrepitude he appeals to his government for a remuneration for his loss and his services during the period above stated.

This petition is verified by his affidavit on the 7th October, 1837.

Subsequently, the heirs of said Philip R. Rice filed their petition, stating that their ancestor died on the 25th April, 1841, and praying that the relief sought by their ancestor near the close of his life might be extended to them ; which petition they also verify by their oath.

The statements in the petition of Philip R. Rice are verified by the depositions of John Butler, Samuel S. Rice, John Young, and Major Hudson, a brief synopsis of which is herein set forth :

John Butler, a resident of King William county, Virginia, states, that he became acquainted with Philip R. Rice when they were boys; that they were both raised in the same neighborhood, and knew him well until 1797, when he moved out of King William county; that he was the owner of a trading vessel, and “traded on the Pomunkey, York, and James rivers ;' that “about nine months before Cornwallis took possession of York, he, deponent, left the county of King William and went up the country to guard military stores, as he belonged to the army at that time; that when he left the county Philip R. Rice commanded his own vessel, and had hands of his own on board: he recollects particularly the name of one negro man, "Jim Top,' whom he well knew; that when he left the county on this trip Rice's vessel was in the Pomunkey river, and when he returned the vessel was gone, and never returned again;" and that said Rice was a young, enterprising, active whig.

Samuel S. Rice, a resident of King William county, Virginia, states, that he was acquainted with Philip R. Rice from his earliest recollection; that he knew his vessel very well; that she was built for Richard S. Taylor, of good timber and material; that he knows she was in the service of the United States; that he, witness, was on board of her, and steered her part of the way from Cumberland to Taylor's ferry when she had cannon on board; that she was in the service of the United States some two or three months before she was taken or scuttled by the British in 1781; that she was commanded by P. R. Rice, and the hands were his own, to wit: Jim Top and Abraham, two negro men; that the vessel was named Madam or Alice Taylor, after the mother of Taylor above named.

John Young, a resident of Bracken county, Kentucky, states, that he became acquainted with Philip R. Rice about the year 1776, and knew him well until after the close of the revolutionary war; that he knew the vessel owned and commanded by Philip R. Rice; that she was pressed into the service shortly before the taking possession of Yorktown by Cornwallis, and continued in the service until she was sunk by the British near Newcastle; that said vessel was worth $2,500; that the vessel and crew were worth at that time $500 per month.

Major Hudson, of Pendleton county, Kentucky, in his deposition, fully corroborates the statements in the petition as far as the impressment of a vessel and the service to which she was put, as well as the circumstances attending her destruction, but does not recollect the name of the vessel, her owner, or commander.

In addition to this positive evidence of the impressment and subsequent loss of the vessel, there is corroborative traditional evidence, which, though wanting the force of such testimony as that of Butler, Rice, Young, and Hudson, yet, in proving a transaction which occurred as early as the one now under consideration, is entitled, in the estimation of the committee, to some weight. In view, then, of all the testimony before them, direct and traditionary, your committee have no hesitancy in saying that they are satisfied that the said Philip R. Rice, his vessel and crew, were impressed into the service, and they continued in the service for the term of from two to three months, and that said vessel was lost by the act of the enemy.

The delay in making this application to Congress for relief seems to the committee to be well accounted for by the removal of the petitioner to Kentucky shortly after the close of the war; his poverty, change of habits, the death of many who had knowledge of the transactions, and the difficulty of obtaining the testimony of others, &c.

Your committee, therefore, report a bill for the relief of the heirs of the said Philip R. Rice, and recommend its passage.

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