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FORTY-FIRST CONGRESS, THIRD SESSION.
January 19, 1871.
[Senate Report No. 296.]
Mr. Sumner made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations having had under consideration certain papers referred to them by the Secretary of State, concerning the application of George Sydney Clement, a British subject, for indemnity on account of a United States bond destroyed by fire, beg leave to report:
On the 6th of May, 1870, the Department of State transmitted to the Committee on Foreign Relations a communication covering a note from the British minister at Washington, who stated that application had been made to him by Mr. George Sydney Clement, a British subject residing in London, with regard to a certain 5-20 6 per cent coupon bond of the United States, for $1,000, numbered 2221, and of the fourth series, under the act of February 25, 1862, alleged to have been destroyed by fire.
The minister requested the Secretary of State to recommend to Congress such measures as would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to issue a new bond in the place of that so destroyed.
By direction of the committee, the chairman wrote to the minister stating the necessity of evidence sufficient to prove the alleged loss by fire.
On the 5th of July the Secretary of State communicated to the committee certain affidavits, properly attested, which had been obtained in accordance with the above suggestion, and which are in substance as follows:
Abraham Morse, of Bristol, England, deposes that on the 12th January, 1809, he was the sole and bona fide owner of a United States 6 per cent 5-20 bond of the loan of February 24, 1862, for $1,000, numbered 2221, and he believes of the fourth series, with coupons for the interest to become due on and from the 1st of May, 1869. That on the above 12th January, he handed the bond to Henry Stevenson, of Bristol, to be by him forwarded to George Sydney Clements, esq., 38 Throgmorton street, London, a stockbroker, to be held by him as security for certain transactions.
Henry Stevenson, of Bristol, a stockbroker, deposes that he received the above bond, carefully inclosed it in a letter and adressed it to “G. S. Clement, esq., 38 Throgmorton street, London, E. C.” He caused the letter to be registered and posted the same day in Bristol.
The original post-office receipt, stamped “North St., Bristol, Ja. 12, 70," and signed by the postmaster, for the letter directed as above, is presented with the affidavit.
Mr. Stevenson testifies further that Mr. Clement purchased a 5-20 bond of the same value as the above-mentioned bond, near the 17th January, 1870, for the above Mr. Morse, in lieu, as Mr. Clement told him, of the bond Mr. Stevenson had mailed, and which had been burned.
Concerning the destruction of the bond, Louisa Standen, assistant housekeeper of Mr. Clement, deposes as follows:
On the 13th January, 1870, she received, at 38 Throgmorton street, London, from a postman, il registered letter addressed io Mr. Clement. and bearing the Bristol postmark. It was not convenient for her at
the moment to put the letter into Mr. Clement's office, and she placed it on a dustpan and went up stairs to clean an office; when she came down, totally forgetting that she had placed the letter on the dustpan, she threw the contents of the pan into the fire, by which the letter was consumed.
Finally, Mr. Clement deposes that he has never received the above letter or the bond contained therein, and that he believes the letter contained the bond described above, and that both letter and bond were burned, as Louisa Standen deposes.
He says, also, that on or about the 17th day of January, 1870, he purchased, on behalf of Mr. Vorse, another 5-20 bond of the same value, and in lieu of the one destroyed, and was thereby subrogated to Mr. Morse's right to a new bond.
Under these circumstances the committee report a bill for Mr. Clement's relief.
January 19, 1871.
[Senate Roport No. 297.)
Mr. Sumner made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, having had under consideration certain papers referred to them by the Secretary of State concerning the application of Christine Mahler, a Prussian subject, for indemnity on account of United States bonds destroyed by fire, beg leave to report:
On the 10th December, 1870, the Department of State transmitted a communication to the Committee on Foreign Relations, covering a note and accompanying papers from Baron Gerolt, the minister of North Germany at Washington, concerning the reissue of three one-hundred dollar United States coupon bonds to one Christine Mahler, a resident at Brätz, and a subject of Prussia, in lieu of three bonds of equal value alleged to have been destroyed by fire.
Copies of translations of depositions taken before the royal district court of Neustadt and IIanover were submitted to the committee, and their tenor is as follows:
Conrad Stünkel, resident in Obermahle, district of Burgwedel, a cousin of Mrs. Mahler, deposes that in 1866 he bought for the latter from one Blumenthal, a banker in Hanover, three United States bonds of Series III, payable in 1882, of $100 value each, numbered 20745, 26740, and 30331, respectively.
Jacob Gans, bankerat Ilanover, and successor to the firm of Blumenthal, deceased, deposes that he has examined the account books of his predecessor and found therefrom that on the 4th December, 1866, Blumenthal sold to Conrad Stünkel three 6 per cent bonds dated Washington, May 1, 1862, of the issue and numbers above stated.
Friedrich Ridder, resident in Brätz, testifies that on June 23, 1868, his sister-in-law, Christine Mahler, a seamstress, rented part of his house, and that on this day, while she was absent, the house was struck by lightning, and being thatched with straw, took fire and burned to the ground. Ile says further, that he knew certainly that Mrs. Mahler possessed bonds of the United States, and believes them to have been burned with the building.
Ridder's testimony is supported by Mr. Voigts, of Brätz, who was present at the destruction of the house, and was told by Mrs. Mahler, both long before and after the burning, that she possessed certain United States bonds.
Diedrich Wolkenhauer, resident at Brätz, deposes that Stünkel handed three United States bonds to Mrs. Mahler in his presence, and the latter remarked that they cost 300 thalers. He testifies to the destruction of the house, as above stated, while Mrs. Mahler was absent.
Finally, Christine Mahler herself testifies that none of her property was saved from the fire which consumed Ridder's house; that in a clothespress in her room she kept three United States coupon bonds (as before described), and that she firmly believes these bonds were burned together with the press; and that the coupons due May 1, 1868, had been paid, the remainder being destroyed with the bonds.
Under the circumstances the committee report a bill for her relief.
FORTY-THIRD CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
May 28, 1874.
(Senate report No. 390.) Mr. Hamlin submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the bill (S. 535) for the relief of Robert Murray, jr., have had the same under consideration, and report:
That there was levied and collected at the port of New York, in the years 1867-68, as tonnage dues upon the Haitian brig Margaretta, a vessel belonging to and owned by citizens of the Republic of Haiti, the sum of $1,378.25. By treaty between the Haitian and United States Governments, proclaimed July 6, 1865, said vessel was exempt from such dues, and they ought not to have been collected. It appears, in a communication from the collector of the port of New York, that at the time when said tonnage duties were exacted and collected the collector had no knowledge of the existence of said treaty with Haiti. The said duties were collected under regulations of the Department of 1857, and the collector was not informed of the existence of said treaty until he received the regulations of the Department of 1869, exempting said vessel from tonnage duties; nor was the master or owner of the said brig aware of the existence of said treaty at the time said tonnage duty was exacted and paid, and no protest, therefore, against the payment of the same was made. The tonnage duties were exacted and paid from the fact that neither party knew of the existence of the treaty.
An appeal was made to the Secretary of the Treasury for a remission of the duties thus improperly and unlawfully exacted. The Secretary of the Treasury determined “that it had no power to refund the amount claimed, inasmuch, so far as now appears, no protest, as required by section 14, act of June 13, 1864, was made against the payment of these dues at any time during the long period in which They were exacted.” The owners of the said brig having failed to make their protest the Secretary could not grant the relief asked for, but your committee believe that it was the duty of the Government not to have exacted or collected said tonnage dues, as such was the law; they therefore recommend the passage of the bill, with an amendment.
[See p. 517.]
FORTY-SIXTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
February 18, 1880.
[Senate Report No. 285.]
Mr. Morgan, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the bill (S. 850) to provide a commission for the adjudication of damages to the Norwegian bark Atlantic by collision with the United States steam sloop of war Vandalia, and for payment of any award made by said commission, have had the same under consideration, and report:
That the owners of the Norwegian bark Atlantic claim of the United States compensation for injuries to their vessel, and for losses by her detention in the port of Lisbon for repairs, under the following alleged state of facts:
That the bark Atlantic was upon the high seas pursuing her voyage from the port of Ozan, in Algeria, to the port of Leith, in Scotland, on the 31st of October, 1876, when she was hailed by the United States steam war sloop Vandalia, who sent out a boat to the Atlantic with a request for newspapers.
That some delay occurred because the officer from the Vandalia and the captain of the bark could not converse in the same language.
During this delay the vessels collided, and it is claimed by the captain of the bark, in a public protest that he made on his arrival at Lisbon, that his vessel was wholly without fault.
The Norwegian bark was so damaged by the collision that the Vandalia found it necessary to tow her into Lisbon, Portugal, where she could be repaired.
The officer in command of the Vandalia claims that his ship was without fault, and so reported to the Secretary of the Navy.
The claim for compensation appears to be made in good faith, and is so far supported by evidence that it requires impartial examination.
The King of Sweden and Norway has caused his minister to the United States to bring this subject to the attention of this Government, and to ask that some action be had by Congress by which a mode of adjusting this dispute may be provided.
There is no provision of law by which the United States can be sued in courts of admiralty, and ships of war are not subject to any proceeding in rem by persons who may sustain damages by their negligent or improper navigation.
The Norwegian minister suggests in his correspondence with the Secretary of State that his Government has provided by law so that suits may be brought against it in its own courts in such cases by persons who have unjustly sustained damages. He presents this as an additional ground for his request that Congress shall provide for a settlement of the claim of his countryman by impartial arbitration.
Your committee agree that this request is reasonable and proper, and report back the bill referred to them with a substitute therefor, and recommend its adoption.
[See p. 516.)
February 9, 1881.
[Senate Report No. 855.] Mr. Kirkwood, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1834) to pay the creditors of the late Henry 0. Wagoner, late consular clerk at Lyons, France, have examined the same, and report:
The merits of the bill are fully explained in the following letter from the Department of State:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 26, 1880.
United States Senate:
Mr. Wagoner was appointed a consular clerk in 1873, and held a commission from the President in that capacity. The salary appropriated for that office is at the rate of $1,000 a year. Mr. Wagoner was assigned to duty first at Paris, and subsequently at Lyons. So far as is known to the Department, he was an efficient and trustworthy officer. He died at Lyons on the 4th of March, 1878, after a lingering illness of consumption. The salary of a consular clerk, which was not more than was required for an economical living while in health, was quite inadequate to meet the necessities of a long and expensive sickness, and on his death it was found that he had accumulated debts to the amount of $542.50. Of this sum a considerable part was advanced to him by the vice-consul then in charge at Lyons, and the remainder was incurred for maintenance and medical attendance. Upon application to Mr. Wagoner's father it was found that he was upable to meet these expenses, and they yet remain unpaid. The Department had no fund in its control from which they could be defrayed.
The case of Mr. Wagoner is believed to be somewhat exceptional in its character, and deserving the consideration of Congress. It is represented by the viceconsul that credit was given to Mr. Wagoner for necessaries during his illness, in the belief that, under such circumstances, they would be paid for by the Government of which he was a representative, and application has repeatedly been made at the consulate for their payment, under this belief. The debts were incurred in the pressing necessities of a long illness, and not from Mr. Wagoner's carelessness or extravagance, and under circumstances which could not be met by the limited salary of his office. The deficiency was, as has been stated, made up in considerable part by the charity his superior officer.
It is understood that Mr. Wagoner was not indebted to the United States at the time of his death. I have the honor to be sir, your obedient servant,
Assistant Secretary. The committee are of opinion that in view of the exceptional nature of this case, the peculiar circumstances under which the indebtedness of the deceased to French citizens was incurred, and the inability of his father to pay the same, the good name of our Government requires its payment from the public Treasury, and therefore recommend the passage of the accompanying substitute for the original bill.
[See p. 522.] March 1, 1881.
[Senate Report No. 922.] Mr. Morgan, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report: The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the
S. Doc. 231, pt 333