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JANUARY 30, 1855.
Mr. Nichols, from the Committee on Private Land Claims, made the
f The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was referred the peti
tion of Dr. Elijah White, of Washington Territory, having had the same under consideration, report:
That the petitioner was, on the 15th day of November, 1849, a settler on that portion of the public domain known as the Pacific City land claim, in Pacific county, in the then Oregon but now Washington Territory, and continued as a settler and occupant of said lands until the month of October, anno Domini 1851. During the time he so occupied said lands, in the full confidence that his title by occupancy would be completed, he sold off portions of the said lands to various persons, who have made many and valuable improvements upon said claim. The petitioner himself has expended large sums in improving his claim, and in facilitating the settlement of that portion of the Territory. In October, 1851, the petitioner went to California on temporary business, and being detained by his business for a longer period than he anticipated, he learned that in his absence the whole of his claim had been taken up as a military reservation by the government, which information caused him to discontinue temporarily his residence upon said claim.
By the act of February 14, 1853, military reservations, except for forts, are limited to twenty acres; and the petitioner, after the passage of the said act, applied for a confirmation of his claim to the lands which had been occupied by him, but was met with the objection that his absence from said claim barred his right to a title for the same under the law.
The committee, apprehending that a decision of this kind will work injustice, and cause to many who have expended their means in improving said claim, the total loss of the amounts so expended, besides the labor of years while occupying said lands, deem it proper that an act should be passed giving to the petitioner the benefits of the said law, as though his possession had never been interrupted, reserving to the government such rights and privileges as may be expedient for the public benefit hereafter.
The committee, therefore, submit a bill for the relief of the petitioner.
I law, should be cars while tal 1088 of are exp expecting to the though"hised giving ting said Mandants so expemeans
2d Session. S
JOHN R. BOWES.
JANUARY 30, 1855.
Mr. AARON HARLAN, from the Committee on Commerce, made the fol
The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred House bill No.
570, for the relief of John R. Bowes, now report : That John R. Bowes, as an agent of the government, was in charge of the public works and property of the United States at Michigan City, in the State of Indiana, from 1st September, 1846, to the 28th March, 1849, and again from the 26th April, 1851, to the 26th September, 1852, at the compensation of ten dollars per month. This account was approved by the chief of the Topographical Bureau, and transmitted to the office of the Third Auditor, for payment out of the appropriation made by the act of August 30, 1852, for repairs and contingencies of harbors and rivers. This account, on being submitted to the Comptroller, and by him to the Secretary of War, was rejected, for the reason that the services were rendered before the passage of the act, and was not properly payable out of that appropriation.
Your committee see no sufficient reason why this claim should not be paid, and therefore report the bill back to the House, with a recommendation that it pass.