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Thus, it appears, that Mr. Clarke, through the appointment of the minister resident, and by the sanction of the Secretary of State, remained solely in charge of the United States legation in Belgium from the 18th September, 1856, the day on which the seals were transferred to his custody, to the 27th September, 1858, the date of his substitution by another minister, making in all a period of two years and nine days. During this period he not only gave his time and services, corresponded with the Department, fulfilled the instructions received from it, but continued to hire the residence which had, during two missions, been occupied by the legation, and defrayed from his private means the many expenses incident to representation and to diplomatic life; so that to grant the claim he now offers is perhaps little more than to reimburse him for his extraordinary outlays, considering the time which has elapsed, and the interest which has accrued on the sums thus expended in the service of the Government.
It should not be overlooked that Mr. Clarke demands no compensation for the nine months during which the minister continued to hold his commission and to receive his salary; that he requests Congress to remunerate him only from the date of Mr. Siebels's resignation to that of the arrival in Belgium of a new minister, a lapse of fifteen months. And should Congress refuse to Mr. Clarke the compensation and reimbursement for which he prays, it would be to place the Government in the position of allowing the services and the expenses of the legation in Belgium to be incurred, for the period in question, by a private citizen.
The pay of a chargé d'affaires, fixed by act of Congress, is at the rate of $5,000 a year. The following letter from the Secretary of State furnishes the estimates for the amount due Mr. Clarke:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 28, 1865. Sir: Pursuant to your oral request, I have the honor to inclose a precise statement of the sum necessary to be appropriated for payment of the claim of Mr. James G. Clarke, for services as acting chargé d'affaires at Brussels. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Hon. CHARLES SUMNER,
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate. June 11 to June 30, 1857
$274.72 July 1, 1857, to June 30, 1858.
5,000.00 July 1, 1858, to September 27, 1858.
1, 209, 24 Total....
6,483.96 The committee report a bill for the relief of Mr. Clarke, founded on these estimates from the Department of State.
FORTIETH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
July 21, 1868.
[Senate Report No. 182.] Mr. Sumner, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the memorial of James C. Pickett, with the accompanying papers, have had the same under consideration, and ask leave to submit the following report:
The facts in this case, as stated by Mr. Pickett in his memorial, are
briefly these: In 1838 he was appointed chargé d'affaires to the PeruBolivian confederation, with a mission to Ecuador. With the latter he negotiated a treaty, and then proceeded to his post at Lima, where he arrived in August, 1839, and continued in the discharge of the duties of his office till May, 1845. He drew, for his salary and the contingent expenses of the legation, bills of exchange on Baring Brothers, in London; and on these bills he alleges that he sustained a loss through the difference of exchange, a loss which he did not charge in the settlement of his accounts, and for which he was allowed nothing. He now petitions that his accounts may be reopened and he may be paid for this alleged loss.
On examination it appears that it has been the practice of the Government since 1846 to allow for losses arising from the difference of exchange, and this practice is founded upon an opinion of the AttorneyGeneral, Mr. Mason, dated July 20, 1816, in the case of Henry A. Wise, our minister to Rio.
Mr. Pickett's accounts were adjusted before this practice seems to have begun, and no claim was made by him at that time.
He gives as a reason for this that he was “not aware that any precedent to restore such losses had been established.” He now relies on the precedent established in the case of his successor (John Randolph Clay), whose accounts were opened and adjusted in order that he might be allowed for a similar loss, in conformity with a joint resolution bearing date the 20th of February, 1861.
Mr. Clay was appointed in 1847, and continued to discharge the duties of minister to Peru till the date of the resolution mentioned above. When he presented his claim the Department declined to consider it on the ground that his case fell within a long-established rule, “that settlements of accounts of individuals against the United States are not to be opened for readjustment at the instance of such individuals unless new and distinct facts are shown, by legal and sufficient evidence, to justify such opening and settlement." The committee to whom his case was referred considered, however, that the neglect of Mr. Clay to charge the losses claimed ought not to be construed as an abandonment of the claim, and that he could not be fairly charged with knowledge of the fact that his claim would be regarded by the Department as coming within the rule above laid down.
In the present case the committee do not think that any sound reason exists for a departure from this rule. Mr. Pickett was satisfied with the settlement of his accounts when it was made, and was not aware of any ground for a claim on his part. Some parts of his claim are more than thirty years old. The matter has been settled for almost twenty-five years, and whatever may have been the original merits of Mr. Pickett's claim, the committee do not think that they are such as to warrant the opening of accounts which have been settled for a quarter of a century. To do so now would be to establish a precedent of which every diplomatic agent of the Government since its foundation, or his legal representatives, might justly claim to take advantage. Under these circumstances and to avoid establishing this precedent, the committee recommend that the petition be rejected, and append to their report a letter from Mr. Tayler, the Comptroller of the Treasury, which relates to the case: TREASURY DEPARTMENT, COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE,
July 11, 1868. Sir: I return herewith the letter and papers from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs relative to the claim of J. C. Pickett for alleged loss in the sale of his drafts drawn by him for salary while acting as chargé d'affaires and minister to some of the South American republics some twenty years since.
The committee ask your opinion as to the merits of Mr. Pickett's application, and what would be the effect of opening his accounts as a precedent for other similar cases.
Mr. Pickett's accounts have been long since adjusted, but I do not find that he claimed to have sustained any loss in the sale of his drafts, and none was allowed or paid him; from which the presumption is that none was sustained.
Whether there is or is not merit in the claim can not be stated in the absence of evidence upon the fact of loss or of no loss.
The opening of Mr. Pickett's accounts will, of course, be a precedent for similar action in other like cases, if any exist. Whether they do exist I am unable to state; but their existence is quite probable. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. W. TAYLER, Comptroller. Hon. H. MCCULLOCH,
Secretary of the Treasury.
FORTIETH CONGRESS, THIRD SESSION.
March 1, 1869.
[Senate Report No. 270.] Mr. Sumner, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred "the petition of Jonathan Elliot, late commercial agent of the United States at San Domingo and Porto Plata, praying compensation for services rendered and reimbursements for money expended in negotiating a treaty with the Dominican Republic in 1856,” have had the same under consideration and beg leave to submit the following report:
The facts in this case appear to be these: The petitioner was appointed commercial agent of the United States for San Domingo and Porto Plata on the 5th of November, 1847, and continued to hold this office till about the 1st of January, 1863. During this time, on the 5th of October, 1855, he was appointed to negotiate a special treaty with the Dominican Republic, and was employed in this business about two months. In carrying on this negotiation he employed two secretaries, one for himself and one for the commissioners on the part of the Dominican Republic, to act as translators, both of whom he paid out of his own purse to the amount of $616 in gold. He asks to be repaid this sum, and also prays compensation for his services. It appears from the records of the State Department that he received $500 for his expenses, and Mr. Marcy, the Secretary of State at the time, refused to pay the salaries of the secretaries, on the ground that he had not been authorized to employ such assistance, and because the compensation paid him was understood to cover all expenses.
Mr. Seward says that his “impression is that the claim has no just foundation.” It would seem, then, that he had received $500 as compensation for two months' services; that this was intended to cover all expenses, although the expenses alone appear to have been greater than the amount received. At this late day, after the considerable time which has elapsed, and in view of the refusal of the State Department to recognize the validity of the claim when all the circumstances were fresh, and the impression of the present Secretary of State that “the claim has no just foundation,” the committee do not think it ought to be recognized now. Accordingly they report against it.
JOHN SOMERS SMITH.
FORTY-FIRST CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
January 31, 1870.
[Senate Report No. 17.]
Mr. Sumner made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom is referred the petition, with accompanying papers, of John Somers Smith, late commercial agent at the city of St. Domingo, beg leave to report:
From the papers before the committee, it appears that the petitioner, John Somers Smith, in 1867, A. D., while commercial agent of the United States at the city of St. Domingo, was employed in a diplomatic capacity, and that he negotiated a general convention of amity, commerce, and navigation, and for the surrendering fugitive criminals between the United States of America and the Dominican Republic, which convention was signed at the city of St. Domingo February 8, 1867, after advice and consent of the Senate, ratified by the President of the United States July 31, 1867, and after exchange of ratitications at St. Domingo October 5, 1867, proclaimed by the President of the United States October 24, 1867. The petitioner also sets forth other services rendered under power from the President of the United States to purchase or obtain a lease of the peninsula and bay of Samana, under which he maintained a diplomatic correspondence with the Secretary of State, consisting of 32 confidential letters, irrespective of his regular correspondence, all of which are on file in the Department of State.
The petitioner also sets forth expenses on account of political refugees at the consulate.
The question of additional compensation to Mr. Smith, beyond his pay as commercial agent, has been referred to the Department of State by the committee, in order to have some competent opinion with regard to the reasonableness of his claim. By a letter dated December 21, 1868, Mr. Seward thus expresses himself:
There is believed to have been no other instance where business of such importance has been intrusted to and successfully accomplished by a more commercial agent. We were moved to employ Mr. Smith for the purpose referred to from a knowledge of his capacity for and experience in business, and of his familiarity with the Spanish language, shown during many years when he held an important consulate in Spain. Perhaps a sufficient precedent for such an appropriation may be found in the act of Congress approved March 3, 1855 (Stats., Vol. X, p. 659), by which $20,000 were awarded to Commodore M. C. Perry for concluding the treaty with Japan.
The same question has been submitted again to the Secretary of State, the successor of Mr. Seward, who was asked by the committee to express his opinion on the value of these services, and the proper allowance, if any, to be made. Mr. Fish, in reply, under date of January 18, 1870, says:
It can not be doubted that Mr. Smith's services were valuable, and that he has an equitable claim to compensation for them.
In another letter of January 26, Mr. Fish says: That the sum of $3,750, deducting therefrom $1,500, a year's salary as commercial agent, would be an adequate compensation.
The committee have accepted the estimate of Mr. Fish, which appears to be sufficiently moderate, and report a bill accordingly.
April 26, 1870.
[Senate Report No. 124.) Mr. Sumner made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was recommitted Senate bill No. 692, for the relief of J. Ross Browne, late minister of the United States to China, have had the same under consideration and beg leave to report:
J. Ross Browne, late minister of the United States to China, in petition claims compensation for the period between April 11 and August 4, 1868, both inclusive, during which time he held his commission and performed actual services for the Government, and a further sum for certain extra expenses incurred by him in the discharge of his duties as minister.
On reference to the Department of State a reply, under date of 12th of March, 1870, was received, recommending allowance of compensation to Mr. Browne at the rate of his salary for the period from the 11th of April, 1868, to the 3d of June, 1868, both inclusive, being $1,775.30, and for the following items presented in his petition, viz: Office rent, nine months, at $50 per month
$450 Clerk hire for same period, at $100 per month.
900 Gate keeper for same period, $5 per month..
45 Keeping express horse for same period, $5 per month
45 Expenses incurred in visiting treaty ports....
1, 940 An item of $1,000 for “cost of passage to and from Pekin in excess of expense incurred by ministers to any other power” was disallowed by the committee.
In accordance with the recommendation of the Department of State a bill was reported providing for the payment to Mr. Browne of the sum of $1,775.30, salary as above, and the further sum of $1,940 for the other items specified being in all the amount of $3,715.30.
The Department recognized Mr. Browne's title to salary from June 4 to August 4, 1868, both inclusive, under the existing law. The Comptroller of the Treasury, in a communication to the Secretary of State, under date of April 23, 1870, stated that he did not think himself authorized, under the existing law, to allow for this period, but adding that he thought the allowance equitable.
The Department of State, under date of April 23, 1870, in a communication to the committee, has recommended that, in addition to the provision for Mr. Browne suggested by the Department in its letter of April 12, 1870, allowance be made for transit expenses at the rate of his salary from June 4, 1868, to August 4, 1863, both inclusive, being the sum of $1,998.81; thus covering the period for which, according to the Comptroller, an allowance would be equitable.
The committee accordingly report an amendment to the abovementioned bill, allowing Mr. Browne $3,774.11, as salary from April 11 to August 4, 1868, and $1,940, for the extra expenses set forth above, with the addition of 10 per cent, or $194, for exchange.
May 19, 1870.
[Senate Report No. 173.) Mr. Sumner submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the petition of Charles Town Smith, praying compensation for services ren