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IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
JANUARY 30, 1850.
Mr. UPHAM made the following
[To accompany bill S. No. 89.) The Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, to whom was referred
the petition of Ira Day, of Vermont, beg leave to report: That they have had the subject under consideration, and find that two bills have heretofore been reported for the relief of the petitioner; one in 1839 and the other in 1840. The facts in the case are fully set forth in Senate report No.
86, 3d session of the 25th Congress, in the words fol. lowing: James Barker and others were contractors for transporting a daily mail for four years from Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, to Royalton, Montpelier, and Burlington, (the great depot of navigation on Lake Champlain,) being the great mail route from Boston to Montreal, for the sum of $12,250 per annum, commencing on the 1st day of January, 1833, and ending in January, 1837. In the month of October, 1834, the Postmaster General ordered the mail to be discontinued one day in a week on that part of the route from Royalton to Burlington; which part of the route, for the transportation of the mail, was assigned by the contractors to the petitioner. Under the order aforesaid of the Postmaster General, the mail from Boston arrived at Royalton on Saturday evening, and remained over until the Monday morning following.
"The inconvenience to the public by this order appears to have been so great, that the postmasters on the route and other citizens solicited and urged the petitioner to continue the transportation of the mail every day, notwithstanding said order of the Postmaster General. He did so; and by so doing, the line was continued unbroken, and the mail was transported regularly from Boston to the capital of Vermont, and thence to Burlington, and vice versa, every day in the week. The petitioner, therefore, claims the sum of $1,008 90, being the sum withheld from him by the Postmaster General on account of the order for discontinuing the transportation of the mail aforesaid.”
The committee are well satisfied, from the proof filed in the case, that the order of the Postmaster General, if it had been carried out, would have occasioned great inconvenience to the public. It would have delayed the mail thirty-six hours on one of the most important and productive routes in that section of the country. The order, though peremptory on its face, was, no doubt, designed as a temporary measure for the relief of the department in its then embarrassed condition. This is apparent from the fact, that after the expiration of the petitioner's contract, the department ordered a daily mail upon the route. The service, then, having been performed at the request of the postmasters and other citizens on the route, and to the great convenience of the public, should in justice and equity be paid for. The committee, therefore, report a bill for the relief of the petitioner.
It also appears that the mail was carried by the petitioner, at the request of the Postmaster General, after the contract had expired, to wit: on the 1st of January, 1837, to the 1st of July of the same year. The one-seventh part of the amount of the original contract for performing that service was also retained by the Postmaster General, and is included in the bill.
IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
JANUARY 31, 1850.
Mr. Felch made the following
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the petition of
Charles Byrne, respectfully report :
The petitioner alleges, that in March, 1840, he entered, at private sale, in the land office at St. Augustine, a tract of land containing eight hundred acres; that he soon after applied for his patent, which was delayed, and he was subsequently informed that the land was claimed by General Clinch as a private grant; that this grant was eventually found to cover the land entered by him; that, in October, 1848, the money paid by him for the land was restored to him, but without interest. The petitioner now prays that interest
be allowed on the money. By the act of January 12, 1825, a repayment of the purchase money is authorized to be made to the purchaser of land the title to which fails by reason of a prior sale thereof, or the confirmation of a prior grant, or from any other cause whatsoever. (Land Laws, part 1, 402.) Under this act, no interest on the money is allowed; and the committee can see no reason for applying any other than the general rule to the case of the petitioner.
The annexed correspondence with the Commissioner of the General Land Office on the subject will exhibit more clearly the facts in the case.
The committee recommend the adoption of the following resolution: Resolved, That the prayer of the petitioner be not granted.
GENERAL LAND OFFICE, January 22, 1850. Sir: I have the honor to return the enclosed memorial of Charles Byrne, of East Florida, praying that he inay be allowed interest on the amount paid by him to the receiver of public money at St. Augustine, in March, 1840, for certain tracts of land entered by him in that district, which was referred by you to this office on the 19th instant.
I find, on examination of the case, that Charles Byrne entered at the land office at St. Augustine, Florida, on the 21st day of March, 1840, the following described tracts of land in township 13 south, of range 21 east of the 5th principal meridian: Southeast quarter and east half of northeast quarter of section 34, containing
- 235.47 acres. East half of southeast quarter of section 27, containing - 80.04
East half of southwest quarter of section 34, containing
These entries were found to conflict with a private claim confirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States at the January term of 1842, the plat of the survey of which was received at this office, in a letter from the surveyor general, dated June 15, 1845.
Mr. Byrne's application for the refunding of the purchase money paid by him on the above named entries was submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, with a letter from this office, dated June 28, 1848; and on the 20th day of July, 1848, the register and receiver at Newnansville, Florida, were directed to refund to him the purchase money paid on said entries,
I herewith enclose a copy of a letter from this office to C. Byrne, dated October 12, 1843, from which it appears that Mr. Byrne was aware, at the time he made these entries, that the land was claimed by General D. Clinch, and that the tracts were noted on the township plat on file in the register's office as having been reserved to satisfy that claim. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BUTTERFIELD, Commissioner. Hon. A. FELCH,
Chairman Committee on Public Lands, U.S. Scnate.
OCTOBER 12, 1843. Sir: Your letter of the 22d July last to the Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to the issuing of patents for the entries made by you in township 13 south, range 21 east, formerly St. Augustine, now Alachua district, Florida, has been referred to this office. In answer to that letter, and also to yours of the 10th April last and 220 December, 1842, to this office, I have to inform you that instructions were this day transmitted to the surveyor general of Florida to have the survey of those claims of General Clinch located, which were confirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States at the January term, 1842—the locations to conform to the surveys of Geo. F. Clark, surveyor general, as confirmed. The surveyor general was also instructed to advise you and Mr. Lee of the time when his deputy would be ready to commence locating these claims, that you might be present if you desired it. The patents for your entries cannot be issued until these locations are completed; and then those which interfere with General Clinch's land will be cancelled, and the purchase money refunded; and for those which do not thus interfere, provided there is no other difficulty, the patents will be issued. Your complaint in this matter, because your patents were not issued immediately, I consider groundless. You were, from your own statement, aware that this land was claimed by General Clinch, under a Spanish grant; that the supposed boundaries of that grant had been marked on the township plat, at his instance, and that he had requested that the lands might be suspended
You state in your letter of the 23d December, 1842, that the result of a thorough investigation of General Clinch's title by you was,
the complete conviction that, although a grant of 2,000 acres was confirmed by the Supreme Court, the claim must fail, because it was never actually surveyed before the cession, and was too vaguely defined to be ever located in any particular place.”. Under these circumstances, you were willing, apparently, to incur any risk that might exist, for the sake of the advantages you hoped to derive from the transaction; and one portion of that risk must of necessity be delay in the issuing of the patents. Without calling in question the result of your convictions in this case, you must be aware that this office cannot adopt that result, but must thoroughly examine the whole matter, and consequently that the patents must remain suspended until that examination is had. Should the patents be issued now, it would be a prejudgment of the case, as it would compel General Clinch to appeal to the judicial tribunals for redress, if his claims can be located. Nothing, however, shall be wanting on the part of this office to bring this matter to an early close. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THO. H. BLAKE, Commissioner. CHARLES BYRNE, Esq.,
St. Augustine, Florida.
MANDARIN, East FLORIDA, November 10, 1847. Sir: I have received a notice from the office of the surveyor general of Florida, stating that the surveyor of private land claims, who had been sent to locate the claim of General Clinch, according to your instructions, dated the 28th of last August, had performed that duty, and had located the claim of Clinch agreeably to the decree of the Supreme Court, by which location the land which I purchased from the United States in March, 1840, is covered. I have, therefore, to claim from the government the only redress I can now get for my losses and disappointments; and that is, to be refunded the principal which I invested, and interest from the date of my entry to the time the money shall be refunded. The legal interest in this State is eight per cent. Respectfully, yours,
CHARLES BYRNE. Hon. RICHARD YOUNG,
Commissioner General Land Office, Washington.
JACKSONVILLE,'December 31, 1849. MY DEAR SIR: I hope you will excuse me for troubling you with my claim, as set forth in the accompanying memorial. It is just, and ought to be paid. It is very different from other claims for interest. Here there was no excuse whatever for the government not refunding the money as soon as they found out that Clinch claimed the land. It was constantly urged upon them, and they put it off for eight and a half years!
My power of attorney from Thomas G. Lee is in possession of the Land Office; and I must beg you to demand it, so that my right to Lee's share may be manifest. With great respect, yours,
CH. BYRNE. Hon. D. L. YULEE.