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S. BILL No. 3.—SIMEON C. WHITTIER.
DECEMBER 30, 1830. Read, and, with the bill, committed to a Committee of the Whole House to-motrow.
Mr. VERPLANCK, from the Committee of Ways and Means, to which was
referred the bill from the Senate (No. 3) for the relief of Simeon C. Whittier, made the following
The Committee of Ways and Means, to whom was referred the bill from
the Senate for the relief of Simeon C. Whittier, report: That they agree with the committee of the Senate in their statement of facts, and as to the justice of refunding to the petitioner the moneys paid by him to the United States; but as this payment was made by him under a mistake as to facts, as is alleged in the petition, or (as, from its similarity to former cases, your committee are led to believe) from mistake of the law, the committee are of opinion that this error or negligence of the party can give him no claim to interest upon the money thus erroneously paid; that justice in this case will be fully satisfied by the payment of the principal alone; and that, from the manner in which the business of Government must of necessity be commonly managed by its agents, the allowance of interest here would form a precedent injurious in its policy. They, therefore, recommend that so much of the bill as grants interest on the amount paid be stricken out.
DECEMBER 27, 1830.-Read, and laid upon the table.
Mr. DE WITT, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made the
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the memorial of Mrs. Frances Moore, executrit of John Elias Moore, deceased, report:
It appears by a certificate under the hand and seal of the treasurer of the “Lower Division" of the State of South Carolina, dated at Charleston, on the 15th day of November last, that the books of his department exhibit the following entries to the credit of John Moore, of St. Thomas' parish, deceased: 1778. February 17th, by cash
• £2,536 00 O July 21st ditto, on loan
- 3,630 00 0 Sept 11th ditto, on loan
- 6,656 05 0 1779. Jan. 21st ditto, on loan
- 1,263 17 6
It further appears, that, for the sum first named, no certificate or indent was issued; that, for the second, indent No. 144; for the third, indent No. 230; and for the fourth, indent No. 390, were issued; and that, on examining the packages of indents in his office, lae finds these numbers missing.
John Moore died in 1778, possessed of a large estate in South Carolina, which he bequeathed to his wife and children, appointing his son, John Elias Moore, one of the executors of his last will and testament, who alone qualified on the 30th of June, 1788
John Elias Moore died in 1911. A letter from him to William L. Smith, Esq., dated 18th Nov. 1811, purporting to be his last will and testament, was proved before the ordinary of Charleston district on the 28th of February, 1812. He appointed his wife, Frances, the memorialist, executrix, and his brother-in-law, Ephraim Bowen, jr., and his son-in-law, Robert Hume, Esqs., executors thereof. Mrs. Moore alone qualified; and now, 25 the legal representative of her husband, she claims from the Government of the United States the above sum of £14,086 02 6, with interest.
Not having it in her power to produce the certificates or indents of these loans, the only ground upon which the claim can be sustained, if sustained at all, the committee conceive to be this: that it falls within the spirit of the act of April 21, 1794, making provision for the settlement of certificates destroyed. The second section of that act is in these words:
6. That no claim shall be allowed for the renewal of loan office certificates, destroyed before the fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, unless the destruction of the same was advertised, according to the resolution of Congress of the tenth of May, one thousand seven hundred and eighty,* or, before that time, was notified to the office from which the same was issued; nor shall claims be allowed for the renewal of loan office certificates, destroyed on or after the said fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine; nor of final settlement certificates destroyed at any time, unless the destruction of the same was so far made public, as to be known to, at least, two credible witnesses, soon after it happened, and shall have been, before the presentation of the claim, as hereinafter provided, advertised, for, at least, six weeks successively, in some one of the newspapers of the State in which the destruction happened; and, also, in some one of the newspapers of the State in which the certificate issued, if that was another State; the advertisement or advertisements, in such case, expressing, with as much precision as possible, the number, date, and amount, of the certificate alleged to have been destroyed, and the name of the person to whom the same was issued, together with the time when, the place where, and the means by which, the same was destroyed.”
• Resolution of May 10, 1780.
“ Resolved, That loan office certificates, destroyed through accident, be renewed at the offices where they first issued, and delivered to the persons who shall appear to have been the holders of them at the time they were destroyed, on the following terms, viz:
" 1st. That all certificates so destroyed be advertised iminediately in the newspapers of the State where the accident happened, and, if they have been taken out of the loan office of a different State, in the newspapers of such State also; and in every case where no news. papers are printed in a State, then in one or more of those which circulate most generally therein; which advertisement shall be continued six weeks, and shall contain the numbers, dates, sums, names in wbich the certificates were taken out, and the time when, the place where, and the means by which, they were destroyed.
“2d. That a copy of the advertiseme't be lodged in the loan office whence the certificates issued, together with such testimony as can be procured, ascertaining the time wben, the place where, and the means by which, the destruction happened; which copies and testimonies shall be duly certified by the loan officer, to be laid by the party claiming the renewal before the Board of Treasury, who shall finally decide on the sufficiency thereof.
"3d. That the party claiming the renewal enter into bond to such loan officer on behalf of the United States, with two or more sufficient freebolders, as securities, in double the amount of the value of the certificates claimed to be renewed, with condition to indemnify the United States against the holders of the certificates said to be destroyed, should any such afterwards appear.
" 4th. That no certificates be renewed before the expiration of three months after the publication of the advertisement above mentioned.
" 5th. That where a demand is made by virtue of a letter or warrant of attorney, such let. ter or warrant be first legally proved and recorded, and an authenticated copy lodged in the loan office where the demand is made.
“ 6th. That the renewed certificates be of the same tenor and date with those destroyed; and that the payments of interest, where any have been made, be regularly endorsed, as they appear on the loan office books; and that they bear a mark to distinguish them from the originals, which mark shall be entered in the loan office books."
The committee are of opinion that the claim of the memorialist does not fall within the spirit of this section of the act of April, 1794; because, independent of other reasons that might be urged, she has not succeeded in furnishing sufficient evidence of the fact, that the indents or certificates of the loans were destroyed. The only proof offered to establish this point, is the affidavit of Mrs. Rachel Flagg, aged 73 years, widow of Dr. Henry C. Flagg, of Charleston district, and survivor of the children of the aforesaid John Moore, deceased. She swears that
“She has a distinct recollection of the most important incidents of the war of the revolution in South Carolina, where she resided during that war. Her father, the said John Moore, was a friend of the American cause, and, at different times during the war, when the State was in great distress for pecuniary means, loaned them considerable sums of money; for which (as she has been informed, and believes) he received indents or certificates of loan. When the British troops were ravaging the country, and appropriate ing to themselves the property of individuals, her father packed up his most valuable effects, among which were his papers and money securities, and sent them by two of his confidential servants, (old Frank and old Ned, long since dead,) to be left at the parsonage in St. Thomas' parish, then oca cupied by the Rev. Alexander Gorden, an episcopal clergyman, for safe keeping; as that place was more out of the reach of the enemy than his plantation, which was near Charleston, and from a hope that respect for the character of a divine of the church of England would induce them to respect his rights as a peaceful citizen. On their way to the parsonage, the servants were surprised by a British party. They abandoned their charge, which was in an ox cart, and escaped into the woods. The cart and all it contained were taken. The trunks and boxes were rifled of their contents, and left empty in the road, where they were afterwards found. The oxen were also taken. Among the papers lost on that occasion, this deponent believes, (for the reasons and from the facts above stated.) were her father's indents or certificates of loan from the State. This was some time in the year 1780, but at what season of the year this deponent does not remember.”
“ This deponent further remembers, that, among the articles taken, was the family bible of her father, containing the register of the births of his children. The loss of his effects gave her father great anxiety. She was informed by him, that he afterwards attempted to recover some of his papers, and the bible, by a personal application to Lord Cornwallis, but without effect; his lordship stating that they must have been destroyed, as, upon inquiry, they could not be found.”
This testimony, explicit as it is, goes no farther than to prove that the indents or certificates of the loans might have been among the papers in the trunks or boxes, and might have been destroyed. The certainty of their destruction, however, required by the act of April, 1794, is not made out.
In connexion with the subject of this claim, the committee deem it their duty to add, that they have perused the letters accompanying the memorial; and, from an answer written by William Smith, Esq., (M.C.) to John Elias Moore, dated at Philadelphia, 13th December, 1790, it appears Mr. Moore had addressed to him a letter, containing a copy of his father's affidavit, and of the certificates lost. These documents are not now produced. Subsequently, other letters passed between him and the Secretary of the Treasury, (Alexander Hamilton,) P. Butler, and Mr. Smith; who, upon consultation in November, 1794, seem to have come to the conclusion that there was no