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IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
JANUARY 31, 1850.
Mr. Felch made the following
[To accompany bill S. No. 40.)
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the petition of Joseph P. Williams, praying the confirmation of his claim to certain lands, and also a bill for his relief in respect to the same, respectfully report:
a statement obtained by the committee from the General Land (nice, it appears that the petitioner was the owner of Choctaw certificate 1o. 13, for three hundred and twenty acres of land, and on the 30th day 6 November, 1848, he was permitted to locate under it, at the Helena and office, in Arkansas, the south half of section No. 25, township 13 Drh, range 10 east, containing three hundred and twenty acres. To ins land the petitioner claimed a pre-emption right, and the Choctaw certiBrate above mentioned was used by him in payment therefor. His pretaption right, as to the east half of said premises, was founded on his own Cam as a settler under the act of 1841, and was proved and allowed. As do the west half of the premises, he claimed such right under Cherokee pe-emption certificate No. 88, of which he held an assignment from the aminstrator of James Costley, deceased.
But this last mentioned certificate, at the time of the location of the land, Tas not valid. It originally belonged to Costley, but had been assigned
him in his lifetime, and the assignee had located lands under it. ume three years after the assignment by Costley, it had been again sold td assigned by Costley's administrator, and by several subsequent asanments came into the hands of the petitioner. Having been once satis
by a location of land to the full quantity mentioned in it, it was at the de of the assignment by the administrator, and the second location by
petitioner, totally void and inoperative. from this statement it is evident that, although the petitioner entered land in question, and applied to its purchase the Choctaw certificate 13, he had no right under it (the Cherokee certificate of pre-emption 8s not being in force) so to enter the west half of said half section. I appearing, however, at the land office, that there is no adverse claim
ght which would interfere with the confirmation of the land to the econer, and there being no evidence of a want of good faith on his PT or of any knowledge of the invalidity of the Cherokee certificate, the committee see no objection to allowing him to retain the land. This should be done, however, only on the surrender of the two certificates, or otherwise providing for indemnity against them.
The committee herewith report the bill which was referred to them, with an amendment, embracing the views above expressed.
The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred the memorial of John Dawson, late a pension agent in the State of Illinois, submit the following report:
The memorialist represents that, under the administration of Mr. Tyler, he was a pension agent in said State, and performed the duties of the office for more than three years, and that he received and disbursed about $100,000—paid clerk hire and office rent ; for all which he has received nothing. He asks compensation, and thinks, in equity, he ought to receive it.
But the committee know of no case in which direct compensation has been paid to pension agents by the government, nor of any law authorizing such payment; nor of any special act allowing compensation to any individual pension agent for the ordinary services or expenses incident to the office. It does not appear that the memorialist performed any services not usually performed by other officers of the kind in other places. Such being the fact, the committee can see no good reason why he should be entitled to be made an exception to the general rule.
If direct compensation ought to be allowed pension agents, let a general law be passed, under which all may receive compensation. Establish the precedent by legislating specially, as asked in this case, and it is to be apprehended that Congress will be beset with numerous applications of the same kind, importuning special legislation in each particular case. The committee think such would be the result. And they are of the opinion that if any legislation is needed-of which they are not aware—it should be by a general law, alike applicable to all pension agents for similar services and expenses performed and incurred.
The committee ask to be discharged from the further consideration of the memorial.