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CONGRESS

REBECCA WINN.

(To accompany bill H. R. No. 703.]

JANUARY 30, 1855.

Mr. Bocock, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, made the following

REPORT.

The Committee on Naval Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of Rebecca Winn, widow of Timothy Winn, deceased, late a purser in the United States navy, have had the same under consideration, and ask leave to report :

The merits of this case are clearly and distinctly set forth in a report made from the Naval Committee of this House in May, 1850.

The present committee ask leave to adopt said report as their own, as well as the conclusion at which it arrives. It is as follows:

“That the late purser Winn was stationed at the navy yard in this city from March, 1815, till April, 1829, during which time he discharged the duties of purser of the yard. In addition to those duties properly appertaining to his office, he also acted as navy agent, a separate and distinct office, having different duties and responsibilities; duties and responsibilities which belonged to the captain of the yard, who, by the act of the 27th March, 1804, supplementary to the act entitled 'An act providing for a naval peace establishment, and for other purposes,' was required to discharge the duties of navy agent to the yard, and compensation provided therefor. From some cause or other, and perhaps without a formal order—for it appears there is none such found on the books of the Navy Department-purser Winn was required to perform the duties of navy agent at the station. Accordingly, he made the necessary requisitions for funds upon the Secretary of the Navy, disbursed the same, and regularly accounted therefor.

"It'appears he was allowed by law the aid of a steward, at a pay of three hundred and sixty dollars a year, to aid him in the rougher duties of his purser's office, and that he employed and paid a clerk out of his own funds, to aid in the duties of agent; this additional assistance being rendered necessary by the amount of service and responsibility which was devolved thereby upon him.

"The amount, six hundred dollars a year, thus paid by purser Winn, was charged in his accounts, and allowed from the 1st of January, 1824, to the 31st of March, 1828. The charge for a similar

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sum from the 31st March, 1828, to the 30th September, 1829, was disallowed by the accounting officers; upon which purser Winn retained the amount (nine hundred dollars) in his hands, and requested suit might be brought against him to test the question of right before the courts of law. This was done, and resulted in favor of Mr. Winn, and that amount was thereupon passed to his credit. Notwithstanding that decision, the accounting officers still declining to allow him the clerk-hire which had been previously refused, application was made to Congress for relief in 1840. The claim has been from time to time brought up for action, and has been delayed, by the various causes which so frequently produce such results, till the present time.

“During the time purser Winn was performing the extra services mentioned in the memorial, similar services were performed at the same yard, in part, by Commodore Tingey, for which he was allowed a compensation of one per cent. upon the amount disbursed by him ; and a clerk at the Fourth Auditor's office, who made various disbursements on small claims for the same yard, received a similar pay.

“It is also alleged that a clerk was, during that period, allowed to pursers who were similarly situated, to aid them in their duties; and upon Commodore Hull's appointment to the Washington yard in 1829, when purser Winn ceased to act as navy agent, and Commodore Hull performed that service, according to the provisions of the act of 1804, he was allowed a clerk to assist in its performance, at a salary of eight hundred dollars per annum. All of these transactions took place before Congress had made the change in the law and practice of the government, by the act of 1842, which fixes salaries and forbids extra pay in every form.

"Your committee are unable to discover any good reason for refusing purser Winn that allowance which was made contemporaneously to Commodore Tingey and the clerk at the Fourth Auditor's office, of a direct compensation in the form of a per centum on disbursements, or an allowance of clerk-hire, which was allowed to other pursers, was partially allowed to himself, and was subsequently allowed to Commodore Hull, at even a higher rate of salary; an allowance which, in his own case, was tested by a decision of a court of the United States, and decided to be correct. It appears that he actually paid this clerk-hire out of his own pocket, to aid him in the performance of duties which, no doubt, the department had the power to require of him, but which certainly, in all equity, and especially liberality, ought not to be made a burden upon the officer beyond his own personal labor.

“ That purser Winn discharged his duties faithfully, is shown by a fact which your committee wish was universally applicable to disbursing officers. He settled his accounts, amounting to nearly two millions of dollars in the aggregate, without the loss of a cent to the government, while he received the mo..erate salary of less than twelve hundred dollars per annum.

“ Your committee are of opinion the claim for clerk-hire should be allowed, and report a bill accordingly.”

2d Session. 3

No. 50.

WILLIAM PHILLIPS AND SARAH CONNOR.

[To accompany bill H. R. No. 705.]

JANUARY 30, 1855.

Mr. HENDRICKS, from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, made the fol

lowing

REPORT. The Committee on Invalid Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of

Joseph Hamilton, have had the same under consideration, and report:

That bounty land warrant No. 27849, for 160 acres, issued to Sarah Connor and Robert Phillips on the 20th day of April, 1853; that the same was issued under the law of June 26, 1848, and that, by the provisions of said act, the time for locating said warrant expired on the 26th day of June in the same year. The warrant is now in the hands of the assignee of the parties, but without authority of law for its location. The committee report a bill extending the time for the location of said warrant, and recommend its passage.

2d Session.

No. 51.

ANTHONY W. BAYARD.
[To accompany bill H. R. No. 706.]

JANUARY 30, 1855.

Mr. HENDRICKS, from the Committee on Invalid Pensions, made the fol.

lowing

REPORT. The Committee on Invalid Pensions, to whom was referred the petition of

Anthony Walter Bayard, have had the same under consideration, and Teport :

That the petitioner was a private in the war of 1812, and served in the wars with the Indians in the northwest, and that he was severely wounded upon three occasions, by which he is wholly disabled, and for which he was placed on the pension roll, in 1844, at the rate of eight dollars per month. He is now poor, very helpless and decrepit. He was a very daring and valuable soldier. At the siege of Fort Harrison the Indians succeeded in setting fire to one of the block-houses, which communicated to the roof of the soldiers' barracks. The commanding officer called for volunteers to go upon the roof, in point-blank shot of the enemy's rifles, and extinguish the fire. The petitioner and another soldier volunteered, and mounted the burning roof. His companion was instantly shot dead, and the petitioner badly wounded. He succeeded in extinguishing the fire. This service was, at the time, regarded by the officers as most hazardous and of great value to the American forces. The petitioner claims that his disability is total, rendering him dependent; that it results from wounds received whilst rendering most gallant, hazardous, and valuable services; and that, in such a case, a pension of eight dollars per month is not sufficient. If, for gallant services and entire disability, it were justifiable, by special enactment, to grant relief beyond the provisions of the general pension law, in any case, the committee know of no case more meritorious than that of the petitioner. The committee will not so recommend, but report a bill for such action as the judgment of the House may approve.

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