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The Committee, however, without expressing any opinion upon the merits of the claim, would barely observe that the appointment of the petitioner and the fund for his compensation were under the entire control of the Executive, and from a view of all the facts and circumstances, which must be much better known to the Executive than to Congress, if justice has not already been done to the petitioner, that department has full power to render it. They therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign Relations be discharged from the further consideration of the petition of Alexander Scott, and that the petitioner have leave to withdraw his petition and paper.
The resolution recommended by this committee was adopted by the Senate on the 17th day of February last.
This committee now entirely concur in the views and opinions expressed by the committee at the last session, and that they accordingly recommend that the following resolution be adopted:
Resolved, That the prayer of petitioner be rejected.
[See pp. 627, 628.]
TWENTY-FIRST CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
February 17, 1830.
[Senate Report No. 57.] Mr. Tazewell made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to which was referred a bill that passed the House of Representatives on the 6th of January, 1830, for the relief of Alexander Scott, have, according to order, had the said bill, together with all the documents which accompanied the same, under their consideration, and beg leave to submit to the Senate the following report:
Most of the material facts which exist in this case are stated in a report made to the House of Representatives by a committee of that body on the 10th day of February, 1829, to which report (hereto annexed) this coinmittee beg leave to refer. But while this committee concur with that of the House of Representatives in all the inferences of fact which the latter have deduced from the evidence and documents submitted to them, this committee do not concur in the opinion that these facts justify a recommendation of the passage of this bill, which was reported to and has recently passed the House of Representatives as aforesaid. On the contrary, this committee are of opinion that the facts shown in this case require that the said bill should be rejected.
Alexander Scott, for whose relief this bill is intended, was appointed an agent of the United States at Caracas on the 21st day of March, 1812. After being detained some time in Baltimore by an embargo on all vessels in the ports of the United States, he at length, in the month of May, 1812, departed from thence to perform the objects of his appointment. He arrived at Caracas, where he remained until the month of March, 1813, acquitting himself while there to the entire satisfaction of his Government; but in March, 1813, he was compelled by the Spanish authorities suddenly to leave the country, of which they had then acquired the possession, and he returned to the United States in the month of May, 1813. Upon his return here he applied at the Treasury Department to have the account for his compensation as agent aforesaid there settled. This settlement was effected by the proper officers of that Department on the 14th of December, 1813, when he was allowed for his services aforesaid, between the 21st of March, 1812, and the 31st of May, 1813, the sum of $2,394.52, being at the rate of $2,000 per annum, and the further sum of $700 on account of his expenses incurred in Baltimore while he was detained there by the embargo aforesaid, and his account was thereupon closed.
In the year 1825 Mr. Scott again applied to the Treasury Department, claiming such an additional compensation to that which had formerly been allowed him as would make his compensation equal to that allowed Mr. Poinsett for a similar period. The foundation of this new claim was an allegation on the part of Mr. Scott that, prior to his departure from the United States, Mr. Monroe, the then Secretary of State, had informed him that his compensation should be at the same rate as that of Mr. Poinsett, who had been previously sent to some other parts of South America on a similar service. That Mr. Poinsett's compensation had not been settled by the Treasury Department in December, 1813, when Mr. Scott's account was closed; but that upon the settlement of Mr. Poinsett's account afterwards he had been allowed a sum equal to $3,000 per annum, which allowance Mr. Scott then also claimed. This application of Mr. Scott was rejected by the proper officers of the United States, to whom it had been submitted.
Failing to obtain from the Executive the additional compensation which he then claimed, Mr. Scott presented a petition to the Senate, praying that Congress would pass a special act granting him the relief he had so asked and been refused. This petition was referred by the Senate to their Committee on Foreign Relations, which committee, on the 25th of January, 1826, made a report to the Senate, asking to be discharged from the further consideration of this subject, and that the petitioner should have leave to withdraw his petition and papers. The Senate considered this report on the 17th of February, 1826, and concurred therein. At the next session of the Senate a similar petition was presented to that body by Mr. Scott, which was again referred to a similar committee. This committee, on the 29th of January, 1827, made a report to the Senate, concluding with a resolution that the prayer of the petitioner ought to be rejected. The Senate considered this report on the next day and then confirmed the resolution so reported.
At the next session of Congress Mr. Scott presented a similar petition to the llouse of Representatives, where it was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, who, on the 7th of March, 1828, made a report to the llouse, concluding with a resolution that the prayer of the petitioner ought not to be granted. The House of Representatives, on the same day, considered the said report and ordered it to be laid on the table. The same application was renewed at the next session, when a more favorable report was made, and a bill for the relief of Mr. Scott was reported on the 10th day of February, 1829. Upon this bill no further action was had at that session; the same application was therefore repeated at the present session of Congress, when the bill now referred to the committee has been passed by the House of Representatives, as has been stated.
No evidence tending to establish any material fact in this case has been now exhibited, which evidence was not exhibited to the proper
executive officers of the Government in 1825, and to the Senate in 1826 and 1827, and to the House of Representatives in 1828, when this subject was under their consideration. This committee therefore deem this a fit occasion to express their opinion that it should be a very strong case indeed which ought to induce the Senate, upon the same facts, to pronounce a decision different from the deliberate decisions previously given by the proper executive officers of the Government, by the Senate itself, and by the House of Representatives, in relation to any private claims. A departure from this general rule must necessarily produce much confusion in the action of the Government upon all subjects and invite the perpetual repetition of the samo applications (however improper these may be) until they are granted. Nor, in the opinion of this committee, is there anything in the present case that entitles it to be considered as a proper exception out of such a general rule.
The claim of Mr. Scott was one the nature of which was perfectly understood by the executive officers of the Government when it was preferred to and settled by them in 1813. All the circumstances attending it were then of very recent occurrence and must have been fresh in the recollection of Mr. Monroe, the then Secretary of State, by whom the alleged promise is said to have been made, and who had full discretion and power to have increased the allowance made to Mr. Scott if he had judged it proper so to do. But yet no such allowance was then made. The compensation allowed to Mr. Poinsett was fixed and settled so far back as 1817, when, if there had been any similitude between his and the present case (which in the opinion of this committee there is not), Mr. Scott might then have preferred his application for an increased allowance on the ground upon which he now rests it. But he forebore to do so until the year 1825, when the President, from whom he had received his appointment, and the Secretary of State, with whom the alleged contract is said to have been made, had both retired from office. Being answered by Mr. Clay, the then Secretary of State, that “he did not think it proper to disturban account so long settled," he prefers his application first to the Senate, where, meeting with an unfavorable reception, it is then presented to the House of Representatives, and again and again repeated to that body, until the present will has passed. Unless, then, it shall be the opinion of the Senate that it is proper to disturb such accounts as this, after they have been so long settled, this committee are of opinion that the bill in question should be rejected.
April 27, 1830.
Report on memorial of Anne M. Pinkney, widow of the late William Pinkney:
That the memorialist represents that her late husband was sent on a special mission to London, in the month of May, 1806, to be associated with Mr. Monroe, the resident minister there, and carried with him a commission to succeed that gentleman as the resident minister at that court, in case he chose to retire. That Mr. Monroe did retire in about eighteen months after the arrival of Mr. Pinkney in London, and was then succeeded by the latter in the place of resident minister so becoming vacant. That for the special mission Mr. Pinkney was allowed the usual outfit, but for the appointment of resident minister, as incident to which he claimed another outfit of $9,000 (the usual sum allowed to all such ministers), the President of the United States allowed him one-half that sum only, permitting the claim to the other half to be retained for consideration. The memorialist therefore prays that Congress will allow her, as administratrix aforesaid, the sum of $4,500, being a moiety of the customary outfit as aforesaid, together with interest thereon to be computed from the time the said decedent was entitled to receive the same.
The committee have not considered it necessary to examine into the facts which may constitute this case, or to decide upon any of the questions that may arise thereupon, inasmuch as it is represented in the said memorial itself that the claim now preferred by the memorialist to this body hath already been preferred to the President of the United States, by whom it was properly cognizable, and has not as yet been decided upon by him, but is merely retained for further consideration. The committee therefore recommend to the Senate the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Relations be discharged from the further consideration of the memorial of Mrs. Anne M. Pinkney, widow and administratrix of William Pinkney, deceased, and that the same be referred to the President of the United States.
(Leg. Jour., p. 271.)
[See p. 696.]
TWENTY-FOURTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
June 13, 1836.
On petition of Charles Ridgely, Mr. Clay reported as follows:
It appears that during the years 1820 and 1821, while Captain Ridgeley was in command of the American squadron on the Pacific Ocean, and when war was raging in Peru and Chile, the Spanish viceroy having been deposed sought a temporary refuge with his suite and attendants on board the U. S. frigate Constellation, under the command of Captain Ridgely.
That he incurred considerable expense in entertaining these guests; that, on other occasions, he received distinguished Spaniards on board his squadron, owing to the prevailing unsettled state of things, and whilst he was affording them a protection, dictated by humanity, and warranted by the amicable relations existing between the United States and Spain, incurred extraordinary expenses in entertaining them; and that Captain Ridgely performed other services, during his cruise, not falling within the strict line of duty.
While the committee believe that there may be occasions when, without a neglect of the duties of humanity (and some such occurred as above stated), the commanders of our squadron on distant service can not avoid incurring unnecessary expense, for which they ought to be remunerated, the committee think that these occasions ought to be always strictly examined, and that they should not be unnecessarily multiplied nor, at any time, made for useless parade, nor for laying the foundation of a subsequent claim for extra allowance. The committee does not intend to say that this was done by Captain Ridgely; on the contrary it has no reason to believe that he has done anything which was not suitable to the case, the character of his country, and of his vocation.
The committee are of the opinion that Captain Ridgely ought to be remunerated for all expenses which he incurred in the instances referred to not arising out of the regular line of his official duty; but the committee possesses no adequate data upon which it could recommend to the Senate to make him the specific allowance to which he is entitled. This is the less necessary, as, in the opinion of the committee, it is competent to the Secretary of State or the Navy, out of the appropriations annually made for contingencies, to make him a just and proper allowance. The committee therefore propose the following resolution:
Resolved, That Captain Ridgely is entitled to a just remuneration for the extraordinary expenses incurred by him on the occasions herein alluded to, after they are ascertained by the proper accounting officers, and that as such remuneration may be made out of appropriations annually made, the Committee on Foreign Affairs be discharged from further considering the said petition.
TWENTY-FIFTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
January 22, 1838.
(Senate Report No. 123.]
Mr. Buchanan submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom were referred the memorial and accompanying documents of Gen. Thomas Sumter, of South Carolina, report:
That although the documents are very voluminous, from the view which they have taken of the subject, there is is but one important point for consideration, which they will endeavor to present in a distinct form to the Senate.
General Sumter was the minister plenipotentiary of the United States to Brazil from ths 9th of July, 1809, until the 24th of July, 1819. Upon a settlement of his accounts on the 20th of June, 1821, after his return home, a balance was found against him of $5,629.69.
Two claims made by him were rejected upon this settlement—the one for the sum of $1,350, the amount of the salary of Mr. Lewis Pintard for the year 1810, under the act of May 10, 1800, and the other for the sum of $17,631.28 for the salary of a secretary of legation under the act of May 1, 1810, at the rate of $2,000 per annum, from the 1st of January, 1811, until the 24th of October, 1819. It is manifest that if these two sums had been allowed, the United States would have been largely indebted to General Sumter.
Your committee are clearly of opinion that the first sum of $1,350 was correctly disallowed, and this claim is now abandoned by the memorialist.
From the 1st of January, 1811, until the close of General Sumter's mission there was no secretary of legation to Brazil. After the passage of the act of 1810 a commission was sent to Lewis Pintard, but he refused to accept it. General Sumter made several efforts to have the vacancy filled, but the President of the United States never complied with his request. It is manifest, then, that he had no legal right