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THE LAW OF CLAIMS ON FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS.
THE MODE OF ADJUSTING CLAIMS AGAINST FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, AND
THE PROCEDURE ADOPTED IN THEIR INVESTIGATION.
DOCUMENTS TRANSMITTED BY HON. HAMILTON FISH, SEC. RETARY OF STATE, TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON WAR-CLAIMS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE YEAR 1874.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, September 21, 1874. SIR: Referring to your letter of the 5th of June last, requesting that the diplomatic officers of the United States might be instructed to obtain certain information in regard to the adjustment of war-claims by the governments to which they are accredited, I have now the honor to inclose, herewith, for your information, a copy of a dispatch of the 21st ultimo, No. 281, and of its accompaniment, upon the subject, from Mr. Peirce, minister resident of the United States to the Hawaiian Islands. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
JOHN L. CADWAŻADER,
Acting Secretary. Hon. WILLIAM LAWRENCE,
Mr. Peirce to Mr. Fish, August 21, 1874, No. 281, with an accompaniment.
No. 281. LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Honolulu, August 21, 1874. SIR: In reply to the inquiries propounded by the honorable J. C. B. Davis, Acting Secretary of State, in his circular of date June 23, 1874, in regard to the course pursued by the Hawaiian government in relation to the adjustment of claims presented against it, whether held by its own subjects or by aliens, and as to the mode of procedure adopted in the investigation of such claims, I have to inform you that the subject-matter was fully presented by me in a note addressed to the minister of foreign affairs ad interim, of date July 29, and inclosing a copy of the schedule of inquiries referred to by Mr. Davis. The minister requested the Hawaiian attorney-general to reply to the schedule of inquiries. A copy of his answers the former has this moment sent to me, and I herewith inclose the same as received, the immediate departure of the mail for San Francisco not permitting a copy to be taken by the legation. With great respect, your obedient servant,
HENRY A. PEIRCE. Hon. HAMILTON FISH,
Secretary of State, Washington, D.O.
[Inclosure.] Copy of His Hawaiian Majesty's attorney-general's reply to Mr. Davis's schedule of inquiries,
dated August 20, 1874; signed R. H. Stanley.
HONOLULU, August 20, 1874. Sir: The schedule of inquiries which I have the honor to receive at your hands has received careful consideration, and I beg to submit my replies thereto.
First. Claims against the government may be investigated, determined, and, if allowed, their payment directed and provided for by the legislature. Heretofore such claims have been instituted in the courts of the kingdom by the consent of the gov
Second. No mode of procedure is pointed out by the rules of the legislative assembly; but should a claim against the government be presented to the legislature it would be referred to either the finance or judiciary committee, and evidence would be procured by the committee sending for persons, books and papers, as authorized by the rules of the assembly.
Third. No provision is made for the examination and determination of claims by the executive department. In the enforcement of claims by the executive department, suit is brought in the courts of the kingdom and evidence procured by subpæna, depositions, and letters rogatory. There is no mode of procedure established for the investigation of claims by or before executive officers.
Fourth. The government cannot be sued without its consent, and it is expressly provided that no suit can be instituted against the government unless by permission of the king in privy council.
The privilege of maintaining an action against the government, i. e., with its consent, extends to aliens.
Fifth. The status of aliens before the courts of this kingdom is the same as subjects, and all aliens can maintain an action in such courts against citizens or subjects.
Sixth. In the adjudication of claims, the same rule applies to the government as to individuals in regard to evidence, whether in law or equity side of the court; and the government has no privilege in relation to evidence in its behalf, and the same means are used in procuring evidence as noted in third reply.
Seventh. In common-law actions, the plaintiff or defendant of record, or the real plaintiff or defendant in interest, is not allowed to testify in his own behalf.
In bringing an action before the courts of this kingdom by non-resident aliens, it is necessary that full power be given the attorney, the same to be acknowledged of before an Hawaiian consul or a notary public; if before a notary, then to be authenticated by a consul for Hawaii. Very respectfully submitted by your excellency's obedient servant,
R. H. STANLEY,
Attorney-General. His Excellency WILLIAM L. GREEN,
His Hawaiian Majesty's Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, &c.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 12, 1874. SIR : Referring to your letter of the 5th of June last, requesting that the diplomatic representatives of the United States be instructed to procure information respecting the mode of adjustment, &c., of the claims of private persons against the governments to which they are accredited, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the instructions and schedule of inquiries addressed to the several ministers of the United States, and copies of all correspondence, together with the original printed papers and books which have been received from them by the Department in answer to those instructions, except a dispatch from Mr. Peirce, the minister of the United States at Honolulu, of the 21st of August, 1874, (No. 281,) a copy of which was sent to you with the letter of this Department of the 21st of September last. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
HAMILTON FISH. Hon. WILLIAM LAWRENCE,
Chairman of the Committee on Iar-Claims, House of Representatives. List of accompaniments.
1. Mr. Davis to United States ministers, June 23, 1874. 2. Mr. Jones to Mr. Fish, July 18, 1874, (two inclosures.) 3. Mr. Rublee to Mr. Fish, No. 177, August 1, 1874, (five inclosures.)
4. Mr. Delaplaine to Mr. Fish, No. 773, August 3, 1874, (six inclosures.
5. Mr. Boker to Mr. Fish, No. 210, August 11, 1874, (two inclosures.)
6. Mr. Hoffman to Mr. l'ish, No. 1018, August 13, 1874, (thirteen inclosures.)
7. Mr. Wing to Mr. Fish, No. 410, August 13, 1874, (three inclosures.) 8. Mr. Gorham to Mr. Fish, No. 149, August 20, 1874, (one inclosure.) 9. Mr. Scruggs to Mr. Fish, No.56, August 27,1874, (three inclosures.) 10. Mr. Turner to Mr. Fish, No. 147, September 11, 1874, (three inclosures.)
11. Mr. Williamson to Mr. Fish, No. 235, September 12, 1874, (one inclosure.)
12. Mr. Russell to Mr. Fishi, No. 18, September 21, 1874, (three inclosures.)
13. Mr. Andrews to Mr. Fish, No. 241, September 26, 1874, (four inclosures.)
14. Mr. Davis to Mr. Fish, No. 18, September 28, 1874, (two inclosures.} 15. Mr. Marsh to Mr. Fish, No. 521, October 7, 1874, (two inclosures.)
16. General Schenck to Mr. Fisb, No. 624, October 17, 1874, (four inclosures.)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 23, 1874. SIR: For the purpose of facilitating the adjustment and determination of claims presented against the Government of the United States, whether held by its own citizens or by the subjects or citizens of foreign governments, and with a view of establishing, as far as may be practicable, a general and uniform system and mode of procedure for the investigation and determination of these classes of claims, the Department is desirous of obtaining exact and trustworthy information in regard to the course pursued by the government of in relation to the adjustment of claims of a similar character against that government, and the mode of procedure adopted in the investigation and determination of such claims.
It is, therefore, desired that you will, at your earliest convenience, avail yourself of such opportunities as your position may afford to procure this information, and that you will also, with as little delay as the nature of the required service will allow, transmit the result of your inquires to the Department.
Accompanying this instruction is a list of inquiries, numbered from 1 to 7, inclusive, pointing more directly to the particular information sought and the specific points upon which it is most desired. While it is supposed these may aid you in your researches, it is not intended either to limit your inquiries to these particular questions nor to confine you to the manner thus indicated in obtaining the desired information.
It is especially desirable that the information be derived from the most trustworthy and authentic sources, and that when it is based upon