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CONVENTION WITH THE
September 16.—The Commissioners proceeded, in compliance with the first Article of the Convention, to the selection of an arbitrator " or umpire, to act in any case or cases on which the Commissioners might differ in opinion.” The names of several gentlemen were mentioned on either side, and the subject was deferred for farther consideration.
The mode of notifying claimants of the meeting of the Commissioners, and of the time within which their claims should be presented, was considered; and it was determined that the Commissioners should severally notify their respective Governments of the time and place of meeting of the Commission, and request that such notice should be given by them to claimants of the pendency of the Commission, as they should deem proper, which resolution was duly communicated to the two Governments. The Commissioners then adjourned to meet on Saturday, the seventeenth instant, at half-past twelve.
September 17.—The Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment, and, after further conference in reference to the appointment of an umpire, adjourned until the morrow.
September 18.—The Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment, and, having held a long conference on the subject of the umpire to be appointed, adjourned until Monday, the 20th instant, at half-past twelve.
September 20.--The Commissioners agreed that they would communicate to each other, in writing, their opinions relative to the proper qualifications of an umpire, and the nominations they proposed to make, and further adjourned to meet on Thursday, the 22nd instant.
September 22.-The Commissioners met, pursuant to adjournment.
The subject of the future meetings of the Commissioners was taken into consideration, and it was determined that, from and after this date, meetings be holden at the office of the Commissioners, daily, from twelve to three o'clock, until otherwise ordered.
September 25.—The Commissioners attended at the office of the Commission, and again discussed the question of the appointment of an umpire; several names were mentioned on either side, but no decision was arrived at.
September 27.—The Commissioners met to-day, when the subject of the appointment of an umpire was further considered.
Mr. Upham proposed that a secretary or clerk should be appointed to assist the Commissioners.
Mr. Hornby declined to join in the appointment until an umpire had been agreed upon.
September 28.-The subject of the appointment of an umpire was further considered, without, however, any satisfactory result.
September 29.—The Commissioners were occupied all day in discussing the subject of their previous consultations.
September 30.—The Commissioners met again to-day, and, after a long conference, Mr. Hornby proposed that some other gentlemen should be named, on either side, more likely to prove agreeable to both parties; and, in the mean time, Mr. Upham was to write to Mr. Hornby in answer to the last note written to him by that gentleman.
October 1.-The Commissioners were occupied to-day in receiving claimants, and in answering inquiries relative to the time and mode in which claims were to be preferred.
October 3.—The Commissioners received, according to appointment, Mr. Lavie, the Solicitor to the Committee of Florida Bondholders, and engaged in a long discussion with him as to the mode in which the claims of the bondholders should be brought forward.
October 4.—The Commissioners were occupied all day in discussing the subject of the appointment of an umpire.
October 6 and 10.– The Commissioners attended daily at the office, between these dates, for the purpose of discussing the rules which should be observed by the claimants; and, generally, the arrangements for carrying on the business of the Commission.
October 11.-The Commissioners attended at the office to answer numerous inquiries on the part of claimants.
October 12.–Various letters having passed between the Commissioners relative to the choice of an umpire, which letters are placed on file, they this day agreed on the appointment of his Excellency, Martin Van Buren, late President of The United States, now in Florence, to act as umpire in case of disagreement between them.
October 13.-A joint letter was drawn up and forwarded to Mr. Van Buren, communicating to him his appointment, by the Commissioners, as umpire under the Convention between Great Britain and The United States, of February 8, 1853.
The Commissioners then proceeded to the selection of a secretary, or clerk, in accordance with the sixth Article of the Convention, and Nathaniel L. Upham was appointed, and entered upon the duties of his office.
The clerk was directed to make up the records of the Commission to the present time, from minutes furnished by the Commissioners.
October 14.—The Commissioners decided, to-day, the mode in which the record of the proceedings should be kept, the docket, and other matters in connection with the business of the Commission.
October 15.— The following rules and regulations relative to the transaction of business before the Commissioners were adopted :
1.- The secretary or clerk shall keep a docket, and enter thereon a list of all claims as soon as they shall be filed, specifying briefly the grounds and nature of such claim.
He shall also keep duplicate records of the proceedings had before the Commissioners, and of the docket of claims filed with them, so that one copy of each shall be supplied to each Government.
II.—Cases shall be considered in order for the action of the Commissioners, whenever they shall be presented to them for their decision, or, if parties or agents for the Governments appear, whenever they shall agree that the same shall be taken up for hearing.
III.-All claims must be presented within six months from the fifteenth of November last, unless reasons be assigned for the delay satisfactory to the Commissioners, and where cases, by leave of the Commissioners, are presented after such time, they will be required to be in order for hearing as soon after presenting the same as may be.
IV.-Cases presented within the first six months where agents for the claimants appear, and which have not been previously disposed of, will be required to be in order for hearing and decision at any time after the said six months the Commissioners may direct.
V.–Claims presented to the Commissioners by the Agents of either Government, will be regarded as presented by their respective Governments, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
October 17.—The Commissioners attended at the office, and made arrangements respecting the entry of claims and their custody, and also considered the question of how the documents presented to them as evidence should be authenticated.
October 18.—The Commissioners having met as usual, John Addison Thomas, Esq., Agent of Claims on the part of the Government of The United States, was introduced, and presented to them his Commission from the Department of State, a copy of which was ordered to be placed on record, which, on being read, is as follows:
COMMISSION OF THE AGENT ON THE PART OF THE
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United States of America, to all who shall see these presents, greeting :
Know ye, that, reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity and ability of John A. Thomas, of New York, I do appoint him, under the Convention with Her Britannic Majesty, of the 8th of February, 1853, on the subject of claims to be Agent of The United States; and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfil the duties of that office according to law.
And to have and to hold the said office, with all the powers, privileges, and emoluments thereunto of right appertaining unto him, the said John A. Thomas, during the pleasure of the President of The United States.
In testimony whereof I have caused these letters to be made patent, and the seal of The United States to be hereunto affixed.
Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the nineteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the seventy-seventh.
By the President,
FRANKLIN PIERCE. W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of State.
October 20.-- The Commissioners and General Thomas attended at the office of the Commission to-day, when the course which the Commissioners proposed adopting with reference to the presentation and advocacy of the claims was explained to the Agent of The United States' Government.