Imatges de pÓgina

As regards the longitudinal dikes, where the views of the board of engineers, as laid down in the 49th section, (see pages 18, 19 of this memoir,) have been carried into effect, the results have been beneficial, but whenever these longitudinal dikes have created a scouring, corroding, or abrading power upon the bottom or shores, they must be classed with the causes of obstruction, their tendency being to remove the adjacent shoal to deposit the matter below, and as a general rule, to the injury of the lower section of the river. To them, Castleton difficulties must be attributed, notwithstanding the benefit they have secured at their immediate localities." "Such would seem," it says, - to be the various causes that, collectively, render this navigation exceedingly embarrassing to the commercial community. The Erie and Champlain canals enter the Hudson river at the upper end of the section of the Hudson under consideration, and all the property coming from or going to these canals must pass over more or less of this portion of the river. This trade or commerce renders the Hudson a national thoroughfare of that importance to the welfare and prosperity of the many as can only be compared to the trade and commerce of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, whose navigation requires the fostering care of the national government. During the year 1850 there arrived at tide-water on the Hudson, through the canals, no less than 2,010, 700 tons of property, valued at $54,452, 430, mostly from the northern and western States and Canada. During the same year the property that passed up the canals, or from tidewater, amounted to 1,042.751 tons, valued at $100,923,292-making the sum of $155,475, 722 as the value of the property that passed over this portion of the river, independent of an immense amount freighted by steamers, &c., that was received by railroads, the tolls upon which amounted in 1850 to $130,424 92, paid to the State. was the production and handling of this immense amount of property, nearly all of which passed through the section of the Hudson under consideration, that promoted the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial industry and prosperity of the multitude. Of the single articles of wheat and flour alone that passed over this section of the Hudson in 1850, it is known from official records that 363, 186 tons, valued at $16, 130,357, came from other States of the Union than New York; and for that item alone they must have received a corresponding value as a remuneration for industry. If we add these to the supply for the same year from the State of New York, (the wheatgrowing district of which cannot be considered a local interest,) it swells the tonnage to 461,781 tons, and the value to $20,218,188. The receipts at tide-water in 1852, up to the 22d of November, have been 3, 162,375 barrels of flour, 6,052, 312 bushels of wheat, 5, 176, 419 bushels of corn, and 2,044,106 bushels of barley. So far, the facts in support of this improvement being national and not local have been derived from the statistical records of the State of New York. If, now, we compare the inland trade passing through this intricate and difficult navigation with the national statistics of commerce, the fact will be even more conclusively established that the improvement of the navigation of the Hudson river is a truly national enterprise, and

It worthy of as much of the fostering care and preservation of the government as any navigation in the country.

The total value of the exports of the growth, produce, and manufacture of the United States for the year ending 30th of September, 1851, was $196,689, 718; and, as heretofore stated, the value of the tonnage up and down the New York canals in 1850 was $155,475, 722, being equal to 79.04 per cent. of the entire annual exports of the supplies of national industry; and stating the value of property that passed down the river only, (omitting its return or remunerating value, to wit: $54, 452,430,) it is equal to 27.68 per cent. of the entire annual exports of the surplus of national industry. It appears that this river's improvement is not only directly beneficial in promoting the interests of our people, but also indirectly, by laying Canadians under contributions annually for the payment of so much of our labors as suffices to transport over this route property imported through our ports to the value of $2,890, 306. These facts, drawn from official records, leave no room to doubt the national character of this improvement.

The delay of the government to provide for this service arose out of the provision of the bill requiring notice to be given for proposals to do the service. Nearly an entire navigation season passed before the government authorized any one to do this duty. In the meantime the citizens of Troy induced Mr. Smalley to do the service, encouraging him in the belief that the United States would pay therefor. The committee are of the opinion that Mr. Smalley should be paid by the United States for said services after a reasonable time for making a contract had expired. They therefore report the accompanying bill, and recommend its passage.


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REPORT No. 124.


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 534.]

JUNE 20, 1862.--Ordered to be printed.

Mr. Noell, from the Committee of Claims, made the following


The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred the petition of

William Sawyer and others, citizens of the State of Ohio, have had the same under consideration, and report:

That it appears from competent legal evidence that in October, 1818, a treaty was made between the United States and the Miami Indians at St. Mary, Ohio, by which their title to a certain body of land was extinguished. That, as part of the consideration of this general relinquishment of title, certain specified tracts of land were granted to individuals of the nation or tribe in fee simple. Amongst the number to whom such specific grants were made, were Joseph Richardville and his son, Joseph Richardville, jr., two sections, one on each side of St. Mary's river, and below the reservation made on said river by the treaty of Greenville, in 1795.

From the proof it appears that Joseph Richardville, jr., was, at that time, a small child. In 1826, Joseph Richardville, jr., still being an infant under age, another treaty was concluded with the same tribe of Indians, in which treaty it was stipulated that the government should purchase of the persons to whom these individual grants had been made in 1818 the tracts of land so granted, and should pay the prices in money agreed upon, as per a schedule which was incorporated in the treaty. A legal difficulty seems to have interposed at this point, and the parties managing the transaction fell upon a novel plan of solving it. Joseph Richardville, jr., being under age, of course could not convey, and thereupon the following paragraph was inserted in the schedule and treaty : "The two sections on the St. Mary's, granted to Joseph Richardville and to Joseph Richardville, jr., to be conveyed by Joseph Richardville, there being no such person as Joseph Richardville, jr. For these two last sections three thousand dollars are to be paid to Joseph Richardville.”

The proof shows beyond all question that Joseph Richardville, jr., was living at the time, and at last account was living up to this time, and is identified by like clear proof as the same person provided for in the treaty of 1818. Joseph Richardville, senior, undertook to convey the whole of the lands to the government, but the instrument by which he undertook to convey turned out to be legally insufficient to convey any title, either his own or his son's. The government, however, took charge of the land, and sold it to the petitioners, and received the purchase-money. They went into possession upon the faith of the government, and upon the idea that the government really owned the lands it was selling to her citizens. These parties made lasting and valuable improvements upon it, increasing its value to per acre, at the lowest estimate; part of the lands passed to the present owners through the State of Ohio, under grants from the general government. Joseph Richardville, senior, died, leaving Joseph Richardville, jr., his only child and heir-at-law, to whom his legal title in the two sections descended.

Madison Sweetzer, a citizen of Ohio, to whom Joseph Richard ville, jr., was largely indebted, brought suit against him and recovered judgment for over six thousand dollars and costs. Execution was issued on this judgment regularly levied on all the right and title of Joseph Richardville, jr., in the two sections, and the same was sold and purchased by said Sweetzer, and he received his deed therefor in due form of law. Upon this title Sweetzer brought his action of ejectment against some of the parties in the United States circuit court for the Ohio circuit, Judge McLean presiding. The suit was brought in 1855, the issues were regularly made up, and the case tried by the court the next year, and judgment rendered for the plaintiff. The issue in the case involved the validity of the title of Joseph Richardville, jr., and the same was fully sustained by the court. Sweetzer being entitled to his writ of possession, was induced to withhold it in order to give the parties an opportunity to appeal to the justice of Congress to quiet the title they had purchased of the government in good faith. They pray that Congress may do this by passing a special act to pay to Sweetzer such reasonable sum as may satisfy and compensate him for his legal title upon his executing proper deeds of relinquishment. This seems to be a case in which the government, in order to effect an important treaty, bringing to the treasury millions of dollars, has found it necessary to deal with and dispose of private property it could not legally reach. Innocent persons have suffered by a deception which, though not designed by the government, was none the less a fatal deception, involving to these humble settlers all or nearly all they had in the way of property. If no remedy is provided they must give up their homes, abandon the labor of years, and start the world anew under circumstances of great disadvantage and distress.

It is incompatible with the genius of a just and liberal government to reap great public advantages by the ruin of individuals and a refusal of reparation where such reparation is practicable. Such would be the consequence of a refusal on the part of the government to quiet the titles of these citizens in this case. It is due to the House that it should be stated here that none of the records or other evidence in the case disclose the slightest fraud or any indication of

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