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ized suggestions to appeal to Congress for relief often involve claimants in expense and disappointment.

The following pages are perhaps the first attempt by a report in Congress to discuss at considerable length some of the subjects therein considered, and they are submitted in the hope that they may be of some value.



2d Session.


No. 134.


FEBRUARY 10, 1875.-Ordered to be printed and recommitted to the Committee on War


Mr. LAWRENCE, from the Committee on War-Claims, submitted the fol



[To accompany bill H. R. 3916.]

The Committee on War-Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 3916)

to provide for the adjudication of the claims of aliens, have considered the same, and report :

The bill, in the form in which the committee have agreed upon the same, is as follows:

A BILL to provide for the adjudication of the claims of aliens.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the claims of subjects or citizens of a foreign state against the United States may be referred to the Court of Claims by the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the foreign government presenting them; and the Court of Claims shall then have jurisdiction to hear and determine the same in accordance with the principles of international law, or in pursuance of any treaty stipulation or agreement between the United States and such foreign state. Claims may be prosecuted in the name of the claimant by petition, in the nature of a petition of right. All cases shall proceed according to the rules and practice of the Court of Claims. Either party shall have the right of appeal from the final judgment of said court. Judgments, if against the United States for damages in money, shall be satisfied in like manner ab other judgments of said court, unless otherwise provided by treaty or other stipulation between the United States and the government presenting the claim.

The committee have agreed to recommend the passage of this bill in this form. There are many reasons which might be urged in support of the bill.

The President, in his annual message.of December, 1873, said to Congress :

I recommend legislation to create a special court, to consist of three judges, who shall be empowered to hear and determine all claims of aliens upon the United States arising out of acts committed against their persons or property during the insurrection. The recent reference under the treaty of Washington was confined to claims of British subjects arising during the period named in the treaty; but it is understood that there are other Briti h claims of a similar nature arising after the 9th of April, 1865, and it is known that other claims of a like nature are advanced by citizens or subjects of other powers. It is desirable to have these claims also examined and disposed of.

There are many reasons why some court should have jurisdiction of alien claims. Almost from the foundation of the Government mixed commissions have been created, by diplomatic arrangements, to make awards on the claims of our citizens against other nations, and those of subjects of other powers against this nation. The result shows a necessity for a permanent court.

The rapidly increasing population and commerce of the United States, and the multiplied means of and necessity for intercourse with foreign nations, mast necessarily add to the number and magnitude of claims and questions arising on international law.

While the awards of these commissions have been valuable in many respects, they have not resulted in giving to the world a well defined and authoritative system or uniforın rules of international law. Their decisions have sometimes been contradictory in principle.

A court regularly clothed with jurisdiction to pass upon questions of international law and of all claims of aliens would secure a degree of learning and uniformity scarcely attainable by temporary commissions composed of different persons selected for an occasion.

Heretofore the awards of these commissions have been final.

If a court shall be given jurisdiction, from whose decision an appeal may be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, the great learning and ability of that court will aid in securing a settled system of international law which will not reach it in any other mode. A court will also be more economical than the plan of a mixed commission.

1 TREASURY DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., February 14, 1874. Sir: Referring to your letter of the 19th ultimo, I transmit herewith an amended statement of the expenses of the several commissions held during the last ten years, showing the total expenditures to the close of the last fiscal year, the detailed items of expenditure, the annual expenditure, and the salaries of the principal officers. I an, very respectfully,

F. A. SAWYER, Assistant Secretary, Hon. WM. LAWRENCE, House of Representatives.


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salaries and expenses of the United

States and Spanish Ciaims Cormission from July 1, 1871, to June

30, 1873. Salary of advocate.

52, 780 55

June 30, 1872 $12, 647 35 Advocate. *$5,000 Salary of secretary, ($5 per diem) 3, 860 00

June 30, 1873 16, 451 19 Secretary

+5 Salary of counsel 3, 043 50


*5,000 Salary of arbitrator.. 10, 810 44

Arbitrator .. *5,000 Salaries of messenger and porters.. 1,300 00


*300 Copying and translating

715 25 Contingent

expenses, including freight, postage, stationery, &c .. 6, 588 80

$29, 098 54

29, 098 54 Commission for the settlement of

claims of the United States against the United States of Colombia, from September 18, 1865, to October 10,

1866. Salary of Thomas Biddle, commissioner.

2, 500 00

June 30, 1865 12, 953 42 Commiss'ner. 2, 500 Salary of Charles W. Davis, sec'y..10, 453 42

June 30, 1867 1, 000 00 Secretary

12,000 Salary of G. Dean, counsel.

1, 000 00
13, 952 42

13, 953 42

Expenses of carrying into effect the

convention with the republic of Venezuela, from October 26, 1867,

to October 6, 1868. Salary of J. W. Macado, umpire... Salary of D. M. Talmage, commis.

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Umpire..... $1,500


2, 693 42

4, 193 42

4, 193 42

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