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pointed in each town, and it is to be inferred that in this designation, that the judges have regard not only to the extent of territory, population and business of the inhabitants of the respective towns, in their apportionment of these officers, but that the probability of such vacancies occurring, is also a question which enters into their consideration, and from their knowledge of their own wants, are able to make a more judicious apportionment than any other power could do.
Your committee do not think the facts set forth by the petitioners, presents such a striking case of hardship as to call for a special act of legislation, to change, in this instance, the appointing power of these officers ; an act, which, in the opinion of your committee, would stand not only as a precedent to 7 or 800 other towns for like applications, but would sanction and invite into the legislature, applications and petitions of the most trivial nature, sufficient to occupy the attention of the House from the beginning to the end of the year, to the exclusion of those great questions of general interest, upon which we are more particularly called to act; and as a question of pecuniary policy, your committee believe that if all the inconveniences of which the petitioners complain, were weighed against the time of this House, and the expense to the state in passing the act called for by the petitioners, it would add comparatively nothing in the opposite scale.
Your committee, therefore, have unanimously concluded to offer the following resolution :
Resolved, That the prayer of the petitioners ought not to be granted.
of the committee on the petitions of aliens, on th
petition of Joseph Wilfred Parkins.
Mr. Cargill, from the committee on the petitions of aliens, on the petition of Joseph Wilfred Parkins, an alien,
That the petitioner states that he has large sums of money now on hand, unavailable in point of profit, and which he is desirous of investing in the purchase of real estate in this State, and he asks for a law permitting him to hold real estate, without manifesting any intention of becoming an American citizen, or abjuring his allegiance to the government of Great Britain.
In the opinion of the committee this is asking the Legislature to depart from a principle which the policy of our State requires should be held inviolable, and which, in the British government and others is never departed from. It is inconsistent and improper that an American citizen should hold as a tenant under an alien, and a man owing no allegiance to this State nor to the United States. This principle bas, in one or two signal instances been departed from, in the early settlement of this State ; and lands are now held under large alien landholders, residing in England and Holland, and which has been greatly regretted, and has been a source of great and extensive complaints to the Legislature.
The petitioner says he is desirous of investing his monies in lands rather than remit them to England. However disposed the committee may be to accommodate the petitioner, yet this consideration [A. No. 169.)
would bave no weight with the committee, when set in opposition to the preservation and integrity of this principle; but they are inclined to believe that the petitioner will find no difficulty in investing his money in very productive stocks in this State, but on the contrary, will find such profitable sources of investment, that he will have no inducement to send his money to England.
For these reasons your committee are of opinion that the prayer of the petitioner ought not to be granted, and therefore offer the following resolution:
Resolved, That the petitioner have leave to withdraw his petition.
February 7, 1831.
Of the committee on claims, on the petition of
Mr. J. C. Spencer, from the comittee on claims, to which was referred the petition of John Shiland,
The petitioner represents that he was the owner of lots 84 and 88 in John Williams' north tract, in the town of Putnam, in the county of Washington; that from 1808 to 1823, he was personally assessed for them, although he was a non-resident; that lot 88 was occupied and possessed by a family from 1809 to 1821; that notwithstanding, the collector returned lot 88 as non-resident, and that the taxes were unpaid for the years 1808, 1809, 1810, 1811 and 1812, for the non-payment of which they were sold by the Comptroller in 1815, and that the petitioner remained ignorant of the sale for eight years afterwards. He asks for reimbursement of the value of the land sold.
After a diligent and thorough examination, your committee are entirely satisfied that the petitioner has no claim for relief against this State. They are of opinion that the sale was unauthorised by law and vested no title in the purchaser. But if it was authorised, and the petitioner has suffered from the official misconduct of the assessors or of the collector, his remedy against them is ample, and the State is no more bound to indemnify him for their misconduct, than it would be for that of any other officers. In making the sale, the Comptroller acted ministerially; he had no discretion, and it is not, nor can it be pretended that he did not strictly perform the duty en(A. No. 170.]
joined on him by law. The liability of the State for the misconduct of officers, not appointed by its authority, and over whom it can exercise no control, can not be admitted. Nor can your committee perceive the justice of charging the town which elected those officers, with the loss sustained by the petitioner from their misconduct. If the principle be once admitted that the town is liable for the errors and faults of assessors and collectors, it is not perceived why it should not be equally liable for the delinquencies of constables and all other officers.
In the view of your committee, this ground is sufficient to justify the rejection of this petition. But as it has for several years been agitated in the Legislature, and similar applications may be expect ed, your committee have thought proper to state briefly the reasons which induce the opinion already expressed, that the sale was unauthorised, and that the title of the petitioner was not affected by it. It is somewhat doubtful whether the petitioner paid the tax on lot 88 specifically; he says he paid the tax on two lots. But be alleges that lot 88 was actually occupied at the time it was returned as non-resident land. If so, the assessors had no authority to return it, and so far as the principle is involved, they might as well have returned a horse or any other chattel. It was not within their jurisdiction, and the act authorising the sale of non-resident lands for taxes, therefore, never operated upon the lot in question. A series of decisions in the supreme court of the United States and of this State, has established beyond all question, that a party claiming under a sale for taxes, must show that every pre-requisite has been complied with ; that the execution of the power to sell, must be in strict compliance with the law, and that no sale can be made of a citizen's property, unless authorised by express law. (See 6 Wheaton, 119; 5 Wheaton, 116; 4 Wheaton, 77; 9 Cranch, 64; 4 Cranch, 403.) In 8 Wheaton, 861, a sale was held invalid because the land had not been assessed to the true owner, and for other irregularities in the assessment. In 18 John. Rep. 441, a sale was declared inoperative where the tax had been paid to the collector, who returned it notwithstanding as unpaid. In 7 Cowen, 88, the principle is again recognized, and a sale of land was declared invalid for want of evidence that the tax had been demanded, as required by the law then under consideration.
In opposition to this view, it is intimated in the petition that the act under wbich the sale in question was made, declares that the