Lapas attēli

to be allowed this sum of $17,631.28 as the salary of a secretary of legation, and such was the decision of President Monroe on the 13th of June, 1821, in his letter of that date to the Secretary of State. After this decision the question immediately arose, which was suggested in this letter of the President. The memorialist contended, and still contends, that the Government at first by allowing him a secretary and afterwards by sending that secretary a commission as secretary of legation under the act of 1810 had recognized the necessity of such an officer, and that, in point of fact, from the various and pressing business of the legation he was obliged to incur expenses in having his duties performed equal in amount to his salary. Mr. Monroe certainly regarded this claim with favor, at least to the extent of $1,350 per annum, as is evident from his letter to the Secretary of State, dated on the 29th June, 1821, a copy of which follows:

Oak HILL, June 29, 1821. DEAR SIR: As I propose to set out for the city to-morrow, I shall notice in this that part of yours of yesterday only which relates to Mr. Sumter. In my former letter I objected to the payment to him of the salary of a secretary, not thinking it justifiable; but admisted, as well as I recollect, that he might have a just claim for advances which he might have made to those who rendered him the services of that kind. Since it is believed that he will have a well-founded claim for the sum which would have been paid to a secretary, I can see no objection to an allowance for the present of the sum which you mention; that is, for $6,263.50. It will give me great pleasure to afford him every accommodation which the law and precedent will justify. With sincere regard, yours,

JAMES MONROE. General Sumter received from the Department of State the following notification of Mr. Monroe's decision:


Washington, June 30, 1821. SIR: I have great pleasure in stating to you, by direction of the Secretary of State, that the President consents to the advance requested by you of $6,263 50. The claim on which it is grounded remains, at the same time, suspended for future decision. With great respect, I am, sir, your very humble and obedient servant,


On the 3d July, 1821, General Sumter receipted for this sum, as follows:

WASHINGTON, July 3, 1821. $6,263,50.

Received of Fontaine Maury, agent, the sum of $6,263.50 on account and as late minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Rio de Janeiro, being the amount directed to be paid to me by the President of the United States, to be accounted for in the final adjustment and settlement of my accounts with the Treasury of the United States.

THOMAS SUMTER, Jr. It will be observed that this sum of $6,263.50 advanced by order of Mr. Monroe to the memorialist, added to the balance found due against him on the former settlement of his account of $5,629.69 amount, together to the very sum, or within a dollar or two of it, of the salary of a secretary at the rate of $1,350 per annum, the sum to which Mr. Sumter's secretary was entitled at the time he left the United States. Mr. Monroe states in his letter:

Since it is believed that he (Mr. Sumter) will have a well-founded claim for the sum which would have been paid to a secretary, I can see no objection to an allowance for the present of the sum which you mention; that is, for $6,263.50.

The committee entertain no doubt but that considerable expenses were incurred by General Sumpter in procuring the services of a secretary, but to what amount it is impossible for them to say, because no vouchers have been produced from which it can be ascertained. In 1821, when all the facts of the case were fresh, it appears that Mr. Monroe thought these expenses, from the 1st of January, 1811, until the 24th October, 1819, would amount at least to the sum of $6,263.50, more than the balance of $5,629.69, which had been found against the accountant on the settlement of his account; otherwise he would not have ordered the payment to him of the former sum.

In fixing a proper estimate of the expenses which the memorialist must have incurred for the want of a secretary the committee have taken into consideration that when he departed from the United States upon his mission, the act of May 10, 1800, ascertaining the compensation of public ministers, was still in force, under which the salary of his secretary was $1,350 per annum. Under this law the secretary was the secretary of the minister and not of the legation. General Sumpter has been perhaps the only minister plenipotentiary of the United States, since the act of 1810, who never had a secretary of legation; and from the great variety of consular and other business to which he was obliged to attend, independently of that which properly belonged to the mission, the committee believe that it would be reasonable to allow him at the rate of $1,350 per annum, as an equivalent for the expenses which he incurred in procuring the services which would have been rendered by a secretary of legation, especially as this seems to have been the opinion of Mr. Monroe. They can not allow him his claim on this account for $2,000 per annum because they deem it extravagant; notwithstanding it does appear, as he states, that he had authority to draw for $11,000 per annum, which is equal to the salary of a minister and secretary of legation, although no secretary of legation had ever been appointed. He ought to have been governed in his expenses by the law and not by the amount for which he had authority to draw; and if he has incurred greater expenses on that account, he alone ought to be the sufferer.

But General Sumpter has brought forward other large claims for services rendered in performing consular duties at Rio, for a period of about seven years, for performing the duties of an agent for prisoners during the late war, and for other services, which need not be enumerated. The committee can not allow any portion of these. They have recommended the allowance of $1,350 per annum for the very reason that he had many arduous duties to perform, requiring the aid of a secretary. To give him this sum, and in addition to it to pay him for performing the very services which this allowance was intended to cover, would be unreasonable. They therefore have considered it a matter of just and prudent precaution in making this allowance to stipulate that it shall be done on condition that he will execute a release to the Government of all claims and demands which he may have against the United States on any account whatever. This is required for the express purpose of preventing these old and intricate claims from again occupying the time and attention of Congress. They therefore report the following bill.

(Ler. Jour., p. 162.)


April 29, 1840.

[Senate Report No. 443. ]

Mr. Allen made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, charged with the memorial of William D. Jones, have considered the matter of that memorial, and now report:

That in February, 1836, Mr. Jones was appointed from the United States as consul at the City of Mexico, repaired there, and entered upon his duties accordingly. About the 28th of December of the same year Mr. Ellis, the American chargé d'affaires at Mexico, left that court in obedience to the orders of the President of the United States, who deemed the conduct of the Mexican Government such as to make it his duty thus to suspend diplomatic intercourse between the two Governments. Prior to the departure of Mr. Ellis, the many acts of injustice committed upon the persons and the numerous confiscations of the property of American citizens in Mexico by the authorities, or by persons assuming to act under the authority of that Government, had been the subjects of unavailing negotiation. When it was known to them that Mr. Ellis was about to return to the United States, it was but natural that our citizens should feel an increased solicitude, not only about injuries left unredressed, but in apprehension of others to which they were now to be exposed in the absence of all present protection from their own Government. They therefore, it appears, made an appeal to Mr. Jones, who was also about to return to the United States, and by their importunities prevailed upon him to remain in Mexico in his character as consul. In this character Mr. Jones seems, from his very elaborate and voluminous correspondence with his own Government and with that of Mexico (the originals of which have been, by the Secretary of State, submitted to the committee), to have discharged all the duties which, had our chargé d'affaires remained, would have belonged to him; and to have discharged them, too, in a manner which, it would appear to the committee, must have been in the highest degree beneficial to our citizens there and satisfactory to our Government. He continued to discharge these duties from the departure of Mr. Ellis from Mexico, about the 28th of December, 1836, until Mr. Ellis returned there and was accredited as minister, about the 7th of July, 1839, being a period of two years six months and ten days.

The committee are therefore unanimously of opinion that Mr. Jones should be allowed the salary of a chargé d'affaires for the time he was so engaged. Such, it is believed, has been the uniform practice of the Government in like cases; and the committee therefore submit the following resolution:

Resolved, That this report be referred to the Committee on Finance.

WASHINGTON, March 4, 1840. Sir: I take the liberty of requesting that you will be pleased to lay before the Committee on Foreign Affairs the subject of my claim upon our Government for diplomatic services at Mexico while consul of the United States at that place, from the time that Powhatan Ellis, esq., left that capital, say on the 28th of December, 1836, until his return and being accredited as the minister of the United States by that Government, on the 7th of July, 1839.

[ocr errors]

The duties devolving upon me during that period-over two years and a halfas sole agent of our Government were arduous and highly responsible, involving the interests and rights of our countrymen for spoliations and outrages committed against them in that country, requiring my unremitted labors and correspondence with that Government and the assistance of a person in the office as a translator and clerk to enable me to discharge its duties, the extent and nature of which the archives in the Department of State will, I am persuaded, satisfy the cominittee, as also of the merits of my pretensions.

I beg leave, sir, to remark that, in addition to my unremitted efforts in behalf of my countrymen residing in that Republic, I lost no opportunity to make a favorable impression on the minds of the Mexican authorities and people in favor of our country and its institutions and of the great importance to both countries to have the differences unhappily existing between them amicably adjusted, and the most friendly relations cultivated between them.

These efforts, sir, I flatter myself, were not without their influence in bringing about the conventional treaty for the friendly adjustment of our differences with Mexico by coinmissioners.

Without trespassing further in this communication upon your time, I most respectfully beg leave to refer the Committee on Foreign Affairs to the files of the Department of State, hoping that on a full examination of the merits of my claim the Committee on Foreign Affairs will feel fully authorized to report favorably on the same, and make me the usual allowance and pay of a diplomatic agent under such circumstances. I ought to add, in justice to myself, that my stay at Mexico has been attended with heavy expense, my perquisites as consil being of scarcely more than a nominal amount. From this consideration I should have returned much sooner to the United States had it not been for the absence of any regular diplomatic agent of our Government near that power whose interposition could be invoked for the protection of our resident countrymen in their persons and property, and who earnestly solicited my continuance until the diplomatic relations of the two Governments could be resumed. As an evidence of their sense of the value of these services and of their personal regard, I beg leave to accompany this communication with a copy of a letter from a portion of them addressed to me on the eve of my leaving that capital for the United States. A copy of the same, it is believed, will be found in the Department of State. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


United States Senate.

June 3, 1840.

[Senate Report No.-.]

Mr. Buchanan made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the bill from the House of Representatives entitled “An act for the relief of Alexander H. Everett," report:

That this bill allows to Mr. Everett the sum of $958.32 for office rent at Madrid from the 1st October, 1825, till 31st July, 1829, while he was the minister of the United States at Spain. The office was rented for the use of the legation at the rate of $250 per annum, and the rent was charged in Mr. Everett's accounts against the Government, but it was disallowed by the Department of State.

Mr. Everett alleges that he rented the office under the belief that the Government would pay the rent, founded on a knowledge of the fact that similar allowances had been made to our ministers in London and Paris, and the committee entertain no doubt of the truth of this allegation. The committee, notwithstanding, do not feel themselves authorized to recommend the passage of the bill.

It is true that since 1817 the ministers of the United States at London, and since 1822 our ministers at Paris, have been allowed office rent, though it may be well doubted whether this allowance is sanc

[ocr errors]

tioned by the act of May 1, 1810. That act is clear and explicit in its terms. It expressly provides “that the President of the l'nited States shall not allow to any minister plenipotentiary a greater sum than at the rate of $9,000 per annum as a compensation for all his personal services and expenses,” and Mr. Everett was bound to know its provisions. The committee believe that it is a necessary expense of the minister to provide himself an office where the business of his legation may be transacted, and that under no fair rule of construction can office rent be considered a contingent expense of the mission. These contingent expenses are intended to embrace only the postage on dispatches, letters, etc., and other incidental and uncertain expenditures. The allowance for office rent in London and Paris has doubtless been made on account of the great expense of living in these cities and the large amount of business to be transacted there. It has never been extended to any of the other ministers of the United States, and the question now is whether Congress shall for the first time establish such a precedent.

All our ministers and chargés have undoubtedly paid office rent in the different countries to which they have been accredited, some under the general denomination of house rent and others for offices separate from their houses. Indeed, similar claims have already been advanced by other ministers to Madrid. If this allowance should be made to Mr. Everett it would be difficult to conceive upon what principle the money expended for the same purpose by all others in a similar situation could be withheld by the United States. His mistake, arising from a very questionable practice under the law at London and Paris, could afford no just ground of discrimination. The committee would much rather limit than extend this practice, and therefore they recommend the indefinite postponement of the bill.

[See pp. 644, 649.)

March 3, 1846.

(Senate Report No. 186.) Mr. Sevier made the following report:

The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the memorial of the heir and legal representative of the late William A. Slacum, deceased, report:

That it appears by the documents filed in this case that the late William A. Slacum was commissioned by President Van Buren, through his late Secretary of State, Mr. Forsyth, by his letter dated 11th November, 1835, “to obtain some specific and authentic information in regard to the inhabitants of the country in the neighborhood of the Oregon or Columbia River, and generally all such information in that region-political, physical, statistical, and geographical-as might prove useful or interesting to this Government.”

That in pursuance of this commission Mr. Slacum did, in the year 1836, proceed to the Oregon Territory, and there fulfilled his instructions, and in the year 1837 reported the results of his labors in his narrative, addressed to Secretary Forsyth, filed among the papers, marked B.

The claim for repayment of expenses incurred and paid for the use and benefit of the Government is founded upon the following facts:

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »