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paid. The claim was liquidated, and the amount was due against Virginia. A judgment, either in law or equity, does not draw interest, any more than any other liquidated claim. In the law of 1848, the Secretary of the Treasury was required to examine and adjust the claim of George Galphin, and pay the amount. In both instances, the Secretary is required to pay the amount. In one instance it was a claim liquidated by a certificate of indebtedness; in the other, by a judgment; and it is perfectly clear, that if interest was allowed in one instance, it should he in the other. It was allowed under the law of 1832; and that act is referred to in the report of the committee. That report, it is proven, is a key to the

meaning and construction of the law. It is, there- |

fore, demonstrated, that the allowance of interest was in accordance both with law and precedent. The learned committee of the Senate of course

knew the manner in which the Virginia commuta

tion law was executed. They intended that interest should be paid, or they would not have likened the Gajnhin claim to, and asserted that it came under, the principles of the Virginia commutation act. And, indeed, can it be supposed that Congress proposed to chaffer and higgle, when it was about to do justice long deferred 2 The history of the Virginia commutation act is briefly this: In May, 1779, Virginia passed an act promising to pav the officers or their representatives, of Colonel George Gibson’s regiment; also, the officers of the regiment commanded at times by Colonels Brent and Dabney; also, of the

regiments of Colonels Clark and Crockett; also of s * * - Congress assumed this debt, say that the princi

Captain Rogers's troop of cavalry; also, of Colonel Marshall’s regiment of State artillery; also, of Colonel Martin’s State garrison regiment, who served as State cavalry under Major Nelson; also, the officers and their legal representatives who served in the navy of Virginia during the revolutionary war. Virginia, not having maid these officers pursuant to her promise in the statute of 1779 aforesaid, permitted herself to be sued, as an honest young maiden should, for breach of promise, and judgments were obtained against her to a large amount. These judgments remaining unpaid, Congress, by an act of the 5th July, 1832, commonly called the “commutation act,” directed “the Secretary of the Treasury to settle and adjust and pay the amount” of those judgments. Not one word is said about “interest” thereon. The Secretary of the

Treasury paid those judgments and the interest thereon.

There were, besides, some of those officers who had not prosecuted their claims to judgment.

These claims the Secretary of the Treasury was (in the same commutation act) directed and required to adjust and settle and pay, (not one word was said about interest), These unliquidated claims were adjusted and settled and paid, principal and interest from the time they fell due, under the promise of Virginia of May, 1779, to pay. This is the famous commutation act, and the action of this Government under it. To this act, the committee of the Senate of the United States, in their report on the Galphin claim, refer, and say that “the principles of that “act are applicable to the Galphin claim, and ac‘cordingly report a bill for relief.” Can anything be clearer? Is there an apology, except in that vision which sees through a political “glass darkly,” for granting interest on the unliquidated claims of the Virginia officers, due from Virginia, which by solemn act she had engaged to pay, (not with interest as Georgia did,) claims which were due from Virginia beyond dispute; claims which she had acknowledged to be due from her, many of which her own courts had decided

were due, and rendered judgment against her. These claims the United States assumed so late as 1832, and directed the Secretary of the Treasury to adjust and settle and pay, saying nothing about interest; and the Secretary of the Treasury does adjust, settle, and pay interest on all of them from the time they fell due from Virginia. One year thereafter, to wit: in 1780, Georgia, another State in this Union, becomes indebted to

| George Galphin, acknowledges the debt, and by

solemn act agrees to pay it and interest; in 1848,

ples of the Virginia commutation act are applicable to it, and pass an act, that Galphin's claim shall be “earamined, adjusted, and the amount paid;” and the Secretaries do examine, and adjust, and do pay the amount, principal and interest. Is it not clear, palpable, that the Galphin claim was better entitled to interest than the Virginia claims, for the reason that Virginia did not promise to pay interest, and Georgia did; and for the further reason that the claim of Galphin was liquidated, and many of the Virginia claims were not? The term amount in many instances of arithmetical calculation implies interest. It means the aggregate of two or more sums. Is it to be supposed that Congress would cite the example of Great Britain, with high commendation, and propose to follow that example, and not pay interest to her Whigs, as Great Britain did to her Tories 2 The act of Congress of the 18th of April, 1814, made it the duty of the Secretary of State “to “liquidate according to the principles of justice ‘and equity all the claims of the inhabitants of * West Florida, now included within the State of * Louisiana, or of the Mississippi Territory, for ‘advances by them made for the use and benefit of ‘the United States, prior to and since the taking ‘possession of the said portion of the said late ‘Province of West Florida by the United States.”

The term “advances,” in this act, was construed by Mr. Rush, then acting Secretary of State, to include provisions, stores, and all other articles for the subsistence, clothing and necessary accommodation for the troops employed by the provisional government or convention of West Florida, besides money advanced for arms, ammunition, express-hire, and the incidental charges attending the business of the convention. Claims for vessels purchased and for salaries were also al

lowed under this act, with the sanction of Presi

dent Monroe. Not a word was said in the act about allowing interest; yet it was allowed on all the claims paid under it—one hundred and nine in number. In this instance the claims were unliquidated, and were for provisions, clothing, express-hire, &c. The claim of Galphin was liquidated. In this instance the Secretary was required to liquidate according to the principles of equity and justice. In the Galphin case he was required to examine and adjust, and pay the amount found due. Will it be pretended that the Secretary must examine and adjust George Galphin's claim by any other principles than those of equity and justice Gentlemen will hardly say that Congress directed the claim of George Galphin to be examined and adjusted, inequitably and unjustly. If it he just and equitable to pay interest on the unsettled and unliquidated claims of Florida, for horse-hire, house-rent, provisions, clothing, arms, ammunition, &c., is it not equally, nay, far more just and equitable, and far more in conformity to law, to pay interest on the liquidated claim of Georg Galphin If the whole anyount awarded had gone to the representatives of George Galphin, without cost or diminution, he would have had, at most, but tardy justice. Again: By an act of Congress, approved April 19, 1816, the accounting officers of the Treasury were required “to settle the account of Elizabeth “Hamilton, widow and representative of Alexan‘der Hamilton, and to allow her five years' full ‘pay for the services of her deceased husband,” &c. Upon the opinion of the then Attorney General, Mr. Rush, to whom the question was submitted, Mrs. Hamilton was allowed interest. What is full pay ? Not interest, certainly; but

the Secretary thought that it was the intention of Congress, because he was ordered to settle the account. Is not the term “examine and adjust, and pay the amount found due,” as potential as the term “settle and allow *** Again: By an act approved March 2, 1832, the proper accounting officers of the Treasury were “authorized and required to settle and adjust upon ‘principles of equity and justice, the account of * Daniel Goodwin, deceased, for the use of and ‘ occupation of a wharf, house, and other property ‘ of the said Daniel Goodwin, used and occupied ‘ during the revolutionary war, by the agent of the “ United States, from one thousand seven hundred ‘ and eighty-one, up to which time his account was paid, to one thousand seven hundred and eightyfour, for the purpose of building a seventy-four ‘ gun ship; and that the amount ascertained to be due ‘ be paid to said executor,” &c. Under this act interest was allowed from 1784, Mr. Woodbury being at that time Secretary of the Treasury. Suppose this law had been worded as the law of 1848—the Secretary of the Treasury is required to examine and adjust the claim of Daniel Goodwin, and pay the amount found due—would this phraseology have varied in the slightest degree the intention of the law Again: By an act of 2d July, 1836, for the settlement of the claim of Mary O'Sullivan, the Secretary of the Treasury was directed to cause her, claim, as widow of John O’Sullivan, to be examined, and that there be paid to her, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, “the amount of actual loss which may be ‘shown to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the “Treasury.” Under these words interest was allowed as part of the “actual loss.” [See Mr. Attorney General Butler’s opinion, 20th May, 1837.] It occurs to me, that here are cases exactly in point; precedents that fully justify the Attorney General for the opinion he has given. Cases so clearly and exactly fitted, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, could hardly err in their application. The gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. FEATHERs to N] attempts to draw a distinction between the Galphin and the Virginia claims. He says “there is not the slightest resemblance.” (Dangerous words, these.) Virginia agreed to pay certain officers of the Revolution half-pay for life; and afterwards commuted, and agreed, in lieu of that, to give five years’ full pay. Some of these claims were liquidated by judgment; some were not liquidated at

ali. Georgia appropriated the lands on which George Galphin had an equitable lien for a certain specific and liquidated amount—lands for which he had paid exactly of 9,791 15s. 5d.—and agreed to pay him what he had paid for the lands, with interest, provided he was a Whig; and of that there is no dispute. Thus far the cases are exactly parallel, except that Virginia agreed to pay her officers for their services, Georgia agreed to pay Galphin for his land. Virginia did not agree to pay interest; Georgia did agree to pay interest. But the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. FEATHERston] says “the debt had been acknowledged by Virginia. The class of cases identified.”

Georgia also acknowledged her indebtedness for

those lands to the Indian traders, provided they were Whigs. The class of cases was identified in the case of Georgia, the moment it was proved that one or more of the Indian traders was a Whig, and her liability was fixed and complete. But, says the gentleman from Mississippi, [Mr. FEATHERST on, Georgia has refused, for nearly sixty years, to pay this claim. So did Virginia re

fuse to pay her officers for fifty-three years. Vir- |

ginia failed to pay, and so did Georgia. It was mere non-action with both. The gentleman admits it was a just claim against Georgia; that she ought to have paid it; that she bound herself, by a solemn act, to pay, in 1780, with interest; but now because, since the passage of that act, and since Georgia has appropriated to her own use, Galphin's land, Georgia has failed to pay— has repudiated this just debt—that is a reason, in the gentleman's estimation, why neither principal nor interest should be paid. That may be a reason in the State which the gentleman in part represents. Past events would seem to indicate that it was. It is hoped, it is believed, that such opinions prevail nowhere else. The gentleman says Georgia did not admit this to be a just debt; that the act of 1780 was conditional. It ceased to be conditional the moment it was proved that Galphin was a Whig. Georgia did admit, that if any of these Indian traders were Whigs, she owed them the amount of their claims, and interest thereon; because she had taken their property. In the case of Virginia, the officers had to prove that they were officers. In the case of Galphin, he had to prove that he was a Whig. But the gentleman, while he denies that this claim was ascertained or liquidated, and hence insists that interest should not have been paid thereon, admits that the principal of the claim was

justly paid by Mr. Secretary Walker, under the

law of 1848, when all the liquidation of the claim, and all the ascertainment of it, consisted in the

same old certificate of the commissioners—given in 1773. This was all the liquidation, all the ascertainment; and this is abundant liquidation for Mr. Secretary Walker to pay the principal. If it was liquidated, so as to be paid, what question or dispute as to its true sum ? Methinks it was liquidated so as to have interest calculated on it, if want of liquidation was the only trouble. Was it not as much liquidated, nay far more so, than the unsettled account for wages of the militia officer of Virginia? The real difference consists in this: Galphin’s certificate was a good liquidation, and certain amount for a Democratic Secretary of the Treasury to pay ! It was entirely too uncertain and unliquidated for a Whig Secretary of the Treasury to calculate interest on. The gentleman insists, that is was the duty of the Attorney General to ascertain to whom this great claim was going, who was to be benefited by this allowance of interest. It is difficult to see what influence it could or should have on the law of the case, who the parties in interest were. It may be useful, expedient, in a sovereign State, when deliberating on the propriety of paying or repudiating its debts, its scrip, its stocks, to ascertain whether those stocks belong to her own citizens or the citizens of other States. Such an inquiry might be useful to determine whether it was politic to repudiate, as votes might “depend on the decision,” but could not have much influence on the justice or law of the case. If the claim of George Galphin was just, if the interest thereon was due, methinks any lawyer of “well-earned reputalion” would not be swerved in his opinion as to its justice, whether that interest was going to friend or foe. It would remain for him who had no reputation—for the merest pettifogger—for him who had studied only the knaveries of the law, and knew nothing of its philosophy, to say, that the law of the case was varied in the slightest degree by the mames or station of the parties. There is still another principle which rendered it obligatory on the Secretary of the Treasury to On the 3d of June, 1784, Congress adopted the following resolution: “That an interest of six per cent. should be al‘lowed to all creditors of the United States for sup‘plies furnished, or services done, from the time

allow interest on this claim.

“ the payment became due.” (Journals of Old Congress, vol. 4, page 443.) The Judiciary Committee of the Senate, in their report, state that the United States were justly liable to pay this claim. That the State of Georgia appropriated the lands (on which Galphin had an equitable lien) to the public defence, and that the bounty warrants of the officers and soldiers of the

Georgia line in the revolutionary army were loca. ted on them. These lands then were, when appropriated to this use, in the nature of an advance to the United States, or supplies furnished, according to t e decision of Mr. Secretary Rush in the Florida claims, before cited, on which interest was allowed. This report, it is already proved, is the legal key to the meaning and intent of Congress. It is, so far as the accounting officers are concerned, a conclusive statement of facts and principles which they are bound to obey. It, therefore, seems irresistibly to follow, that under this resolution of Congress, of 1784, it was the bounden duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to allow interest on this claim. It is a revolutionary claim—it is likened by the committee to the Virginia claims

on which interest was allowed. So that it would

seem that interest was due upon the principles of

justice and equity, pursuant to the terms of the law itself, and pursuant to the resolution of Congress of 1784, and also pursuant to the almost uniform practice of the Government for more than half a century. The gentleman from New York, [Mr. BRooks, who has read seventy-five big volumes, touching the facts and the law of this case, should have seen and read, and explained away, if he could, these cases. It would have saved him that towering flight of eloquence, unequalled, except in Burke's impeachment of Warren Hastings, where the gentleman exclaims, “When from my studies (of these seventy-five big volumes) there burst on my astonished vision,” &c., &c. Nothing but the exceeding rapidity, the comet-like speed of the gentleman, in the perusal of his seventy-five big volumes in thirty-two days attendance upon the House, and Sundays included, would have explained why these plain, obvious, principles and practices should have escaped his eagle eye. One would almost be induced to guess that this reading, of which the gentleman brags, was done by provy, and that, in making up the gentleman’s brief, everything was left out that made against his foregone conclusion. The gentleman from New York, in the mean time, has himself laid down a rule, which is a perfect justification to the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Meredith. In page 11 of his speech, he says, in substance, that where the sittorney General decides it as a question of law, that interest should be paid, then interest is to be allowed. Now, this is the exact case under consideration. The Attorney General did, in this instance, decide it as a matter of law, that the claim under consideration

should draw interest; and decided it, as I think, wisely, justly, fearlessly, and in exact conformity with law and precedent; and in exact conformity with the terms of the law, and the report of the Judiciary Committee, who framed the law, and recommended its passage. The following paragraphs in the gentleman’s speech are so extraordinary, that I quote them entire:

“Their only error has been the error common to all mankind, of a misjudgment. Their only fault is, that they did not read all the papers; that they did not go back to 1761, and study out the whole history of them. And, sir, no man who has anything else to do could ever find time to study out the long ante and post-revolutionary history of the claim, and read all the papers. Accustomed to hard work at home, and stiffering for want of something to do here, with no occupation except that of listening here day after day, I have given this claim a thorough study. I have gone back to the colonial history of Georgia. I have pursued the claim under Great Britain, and under the colonial authorities. I have read and reread all the Creek and Cherokee treaties

with Great Britain, with Georgia, and with the United States. I have studied the history of the compact with Georgia in 1802. I have looked into most of the land claims that have arisen under that compact; and they are enough to keep any man busy. I have studied well the effort of Georgia to make the United States pay interest in like cases, under the treaty of the Indian Springs, in 1821; and its denial by | Messrs. Monroe, Adams, and Wirt, I have, in a long and laborious investigation, gone through the contests that Georgia has had with the Cherokees for their lands; the Ridge and Ross controversies; the Troup agitation prior to that; the famous New Echota treaty history, with its amazing developments; the Schley correspondence; and then the history of the statutes of the United States allowing or disallowing interest, and the principles of the decisions of the accounting officers thereupon. I have had occasion, in my pursuit of the facts of the case, to study out the bounty land business, the funding system, and all the State legislative records of Georgia that I could lay my hands upon— records often without an index, or, if indexed, so badly that the labor was imposed upon me of searching them for “Galphin,” from beginning to end. I have read or looked into full seventy-five volumes; been, therefore, a bibliomanist com amore, and I can thus have great charity for the in attention or negligence of high officers of the Government, who, if they had done all this work, must have abandomed all the other duties of the Administration. If others had given the case half the study I have, I do not believe, except wnder the statute, there would ever have been allowed principal or interest.”

What a parade of learning is here. Some of it useful, also, to determine whether the law of July 14, 1848, ought to have passed, but aiding very little in determining the meaning of that law, The only error of the sittorney General, and the Secretary of the Treasury, was, says the gentleman from New York, a misjudgment. Their only fault that they did not read all the papers; and that, the gentleman says, they could not have done without neglecting all their other duties. This shows the reason of the rule which requires these officers to refer to the report of the committee to enable them to give a proper construction to a law, and not to the elements out of which that report was made. The one is possible, and the other, it is admitted, is not.

What are the conclusions to which all this amazing amount of reading has led The first is, that the only fault of the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury is, that they did not do what was impossible; the second conclusion is, that the principal and interest of this claim never would have been allowed, except under the statute of July 14, 1848. Just so everybody else thinks, without all this fuss of reading seventy-five volumes. Just so Congress thought; and that was, no doubt, one of the strong reasons for the passage of the law. It was under this statute, and the report of the committee on which it was predicated, that the claim was allowed. There is, however, one more book which the gentleman has evidently read, and that is the New England Primer, which no doubt suggested that beautiful and appropriate figure of burning John Rogers at the stake, found in the following extract from the gentleman's speech:

“When from my studies, Mr. Speaker, there burst upon my vision the flagrant wrong of taxing the people of the t]nited States to pay for this claim, I resolved, at all hazards to myself, “to cry ałoud and to spare not.” I know the responsibility I am assuming, arid f shrink not from under it. I dare to do right, and to speak the truth, come what may of dentificiation or threat. [ exhort gentlemen on this side of the House (the Whig side) to study well, and to fly from this claim, to fly from it, as from the fire that burnt John Rogers at the stake, I would rescue all my friends, I know fuís well that the other side of the House (the Democratic) wifi make the press ring with it, and the stump roar ahout it.”

What a host of personal pronouns is here— eight long I's in eight short lines. Verily, “ out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Good law arguments are usually terse, dry, and unadorned, convince because learned, logical, and lucid: They do not captivate like that of the gentleman from New York, because florid, figurative, and rhetorical. In return for the plea. sure which the gentleman's sublime flights of oratory have inspired, I would relate the advice which a Scotch judge gave to a young lawyer, more distinguished for rhetorical flourishes than profound learning: “Young mon,” said the old Scotch judge, “gin ye wad pluck some o' the plumes frae the wing o' your imagination, and stick them to the tail o' your judgment, ye wad be a muckle deal better lawyer than ye are.” “When from his studies” (of seventy-five big volumes all in thirty-two days, Sundays and a daily attendance upon this House included) “there burst on his vision this flagrant twrong of tacing the people of the United States to pay for this claim p' The gentleman loves the whole people—the voting people in general; his bowels of mercy and compassion yearn exchusively towards them; but he has no compassion—no mercy towards the rep

utation even of the dead, or the pecuniary rights of the living. He sneers at the occupation of George Galphin as an Indian trader—questions his patriotism against the most irrefragable testimony—and in the face of all justice and all law, denies that he had any claim at all; that he forfeited IT ALL For BEING A WHrg. “He resolved to cry aloud and spare not;” and he has lived up to his resolve. He has spared neither the living nor the dead. The profoundly learned, the fearless and intrepid Attorney General; the sagacious, learned, and virtuous Secretary of the Treasury, who are forced by law to act, and who do act in conformity to their wisdom, and with the best possible intentions, with

no motive to act against, but with every motive to act in favor of the United States, are denounced; and because the gentleman from New York thinks they have erred in judgment, they must be tied, like “John Rogers, to the stake,” while the gentleman from New York gathers round them the fagots, and calls upon his Whig friends to run for their lives, whilst he, with jesuitical hand, sets fire to the funeral pile ! | The gentleman advises his Whig friends to “study well and flee from this claim; ” in other words, to denounce and vilify the officers who have allowed it; and all this “to save the Whig party.” I, for one, have studied the claim; I see no reason to flee, and feel not the slightest disposition to be one of the officiating priests, when a human sacrifice is to be made, to quiet the clamors of ignorance and party spirit, or the vengeance of individual enemies. The gentleman would “rescue all his friends.” Ah hah the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury are not of the number, though his bitterness towards them would seem to indicate that he once was. But, says the gentleman, “the Democracy will make the press ring and stump roar.” I venture to predict that if the press rings, it sill ring the changes on the gentleman’s speech; if the stumn roar, it will be to encore the gentleman’s facts, principles, and inferences. The fallacy which lies at the root of all the reasoning upon the impropriety of paying this Galphin claim is this: the gentlemen from New York, [Mr. BRooks and Mr. Conger, and one of the committee, reason, and reason plausibly, perhaps truly, against the passage of the law of August 4, 1848, authorizing the examining, adjusting, and paying the amount of this claim. The gentlemen seemed to leave entirely out of view that the Congress of ’48, and not the present Administration, are alone responsible for this act; ! they seem to forget that the Secretary of the

| Treasury was bound to ea amine, adjust, and pay the

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