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Petitions were likewise presented from Joshua Barney and Stephen Kingston, on behalf of certain owners of privateers, praying that certain property on board American ships bound here from England, and sent in by privateers, should be deliver. ed to the captors for their benefit. These petitions were refer. red to the committee of ways and means who reported, “that congress has already remitted the penalties and forfeitures, incurred by American citizens, and that, in the opinion of the committee, if enemy's property be forfeited to the government under the non-importation act, it would, for reasons of policy, be unwise for congress to interpose ; that if the petitioners can claim as informers," the claim is secured to them by existing laws, and if not secured to them by existing laws, the claim is vested in the collectors and others, from whom congress could not, with justice, transfer it.

"The committe therefore submit the following resolve :

Resolved, That it would be unwise and impolitic, to act upon the subject of the said petitions.”

This resolution was disagreed to by the house of representatives in committee of the whole, and the following was reported as a substitute thereto:

Resolved, That any right or claim of the United States to British property which may have been captured by American privateers, arising from forfeiture under any provision of the non-importation act, ought to be relinquished for the benefit of the captors. This resolution was referred to the committee of ways

and means, with directions to report a bill in pursuance thereof, which bill was passed by the house, but rejected by the senate. § 15. More favourable notice was taken by congress

of the petition of a number of owners of privateers in Baltimore, representing the embarrassments, difficulties, and delays attendant on the determination of prize causes in the different courts of the United States ; the great inconveniences experienced in consequence of that provision of the prize act, which renders it incumbent on the captors to proceed against the prize in the first district in which it is brought ; and the burthensome commissions paid to the marshals. A law was passed, enacting that all prizes made by privateers should be sold at auction by the marshal of the district in which it was condemned, within 60 days after condemnation, on such terms of credit, and in such lots or proportions as may be designated by the owners of the privateer, provided the term of credit do not exceed ninety days. Marshals are to be entitled to no more than one per cent. of the proceeds, after the duties, costs, and charges are deducted, such commissions, however, in no case to exceed 250 dollars. The

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marshals were also directed, after deducting the duties, costs, and charges, to pay over the proceeds or promissory notes to the owners and crew, according to the proportions established by law, or by mutual agreement. It was likewise enacted, that the owners of privateers, or their agents, may, at any time before filing the libel, remove the prize to any other port in the United States, provided that no attachment has been laid on the captured property before such removal, at the suit of any adverse claimant, or a claim against it have been interposed in behalf of the United States.

16. Towards the end of the session a bill was introduced into the senate, which subsequently passed into a law, to encourage the destruction of the armed vessels of war of the enemy, except cartels and flags of truce. This act offers a bounty of half the value of any British vessel of war, and also half the value of her guns, cargo, tackle, and apparel, which may be destroyed by torpedoes, or other destructive machines, or in any other manner, other than by the armed or commissioned vessels of the United States.

17. On the 12th of November, in the house of representatives, Mr. Wright moved that a committee be appointed to bring in a bill vesting the power of retaliation in the president in certain cases. On the 17th a bill was reported, but on its third reading it was negatived, on the ground that the president already possessed the power.

On the 9th of December the following resolution was offered for consideration by Mr. Bassett:

Whereas, It is represented that Great Britain has seized sundry persons fighting under the American flag, laying claims to them alike incompatible with justice and the rights of the United States as an independent nation:

Resolved, That the president be required to lay before this house the information he has received on that subject, and the measures taken to redress an evil which violates the rights and interests, and outrages the feelings, of a free and independent people.

Mr. Milnor having objected to the form of the call on account of its assuming as fact circumstances of which the house had no official or authentic information, Mr. Bassett withdrew his motion, which was substituted by the following, offered by Mr. Macon:

Resolved, That the president of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before this house any information which may be in his possession touching the conduct of British officers towards persons taken in American armed ships.


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This resolution was agreed to, after several attempts at amendment had been negatived by large majorities.

The president, in compliance with this resolution, communicated a report of the secretary of state, accompanied with several documents, from which it appears,

that several

persons, some of whom are said to be native, and others naturalized citizens of the United States, being parts of the crews of the United States armed vessels Nautilus and Wasp, and of the private armed vessel Sarah Ann, have been seized by British officers, under the pretext of their being British subjects, for the avowed purpose, as is understood, of having them brought to trial for their lives. The report is also accompanied by a letter from admiral Warren, and a correspondence between vice-admiral Sterling and William H. Savage, late agent for American seamen and commerce at Jamaica, from which it appears, that the British claim a right to retain on board their ships of war American citizens who may have married in England, or have been impressed from on board British merchant vessels; and that they consider an impressed American, when discharged from their ships, as a prisoner of war.

On the 18th of February a bill passed the senate, 17 to 4, impowering the president to retaliate on British prisoners, or in case of their being none, or not sufficient, on any other British subject, for any capital or other punishment inflicted on citizens of the United States, in the military or naval service, or on board privateers. This bill was amended in the house of representatives, and finally passed in substance as follows:

In every case, wherein, during the present war, any violations of the laws and usages of war among civilized nations shall be or have been perpetrated by those acting under the authority of the British government, on any of the citizens of the United States, or persons in the land or naval service of the United States, the president is authorized to cause full and ample retaliation to be made, according to the laws and usages of war among civilized nation, for every such violation; and in all cases where any outrage or act of cruelty shall be or has been practised by any Indians, in alliance with the British government, or in connexion with those acting under its authority, on citizens of the United States or those under its protection, the president is authorised to cause full and ample retaliation to be executed on such British subjects, soldiers, seamen, or marines, or Indians in alliance or connexion with Great Britain, being prisoners of war, as if the outrage had been done under the authority of the British government.

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§1. Treasury report. §2. Navy loan. § 3. Loan of sixteen millions. §4. Treasury notes. 5. Suspension of non-importation act. § 6. Extra session. 7. Duty on iron wire. §8. Public lands. §9. Yazoo claims. 10. Naturalization. 11. New state. § 12. Mail steam-boats. 15. Vaccination. §14. Reward of valour. § 15. Amendment to the Constitution. § 16. Medal to commodore Preble. § 17. Treasury mitigating power. 18. Presidential election. § 19. Presidential messages. 20. Rupture with Algiers. § 21. Treatment of American seamen. § 22. Resolutions of the legislature of Pennsylvania. 23. Naval exploits. §14. British licenses. § 25. Berlin and Milan decrees. § 26. Appropriations. § 27. Dissolution of congress.

§ 1. By the annual report of the secretary on the state of the finances, it appears, that the actual receipts into the treasury for the year ending September, 30, 1812, were as follows: Customs, and other branches of revenue On account of the loan of 11 millions

Total amount of receipts Balance in the treasury October 1st, 1811

The disbursements during the same year were:

Civil department

Army, navy, and Indian departments
Principal and interest of the public debt

Balance in the treasury September 30, 1812

10,934,946 90 5,847,212 50

Deduct estimated receipts

Balance to be provided for by loans

16,782,159 40 3,947,818 36

20,729,977 76

1,823,069 35

11,108,776 54 5,436,479 18

18,368,325 07 2,361,652 69

20,729,977 76

The receipts and expenditures for the last quarter of 1812 are estimated at nearly the same sum. The receipts for the year 1813 are estimated at 12 millions, and the expenditures as follows:

Civil department
Reimbursement of principal and interest of public


Military establishment
Naval establishment

$ 1,500,000

8,500,000 17,000,000 4,925,000

31,925,000 12,000,000


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Of this sum more than one million was already contracted for, and there remained on hand about a million and a half in treasury notes. An authority to issue two millions and a half more, being the amount reimbursable in 1813, would still keep the whole amount issued at five millions, and reduce the amount of the loan to about fifteen millions of dollars.

The estimates of the secretary of war were predicated on the employment of the whole force authorized by law, amounting to 36,700 men of every description, besides volunteers and militia. The estimates of the secretary of the navy embraced only the expences of the present naval force, consisting of nine frigates and nine smaller vessels, and 200 gun-boats and other vessels, the whole number of men and boys of every description being 13,360. Any increase of the navy, of course, would render it necessary to increase the amount of the loans.

The loans necessary in 1813, which were estimated at about twenty millions, would not make an increase of the debt to that amount, as the payments on account of the principal during the year would exceed five millions, making the actual increase of debt nearly fifteen millions.

The treasury report was read and referred as usual to the committee of ways and means, on the 5th of December.

On the 18th of January they reported a bill to authorize a loan of millions of dollars, and a bill authorizing the issuing of treasury notes for the

year 1813. 2. On the 26th Mr. Milnor moved the following resolution: Resolved, That the committee of ways and means be instructed to report a bill authorizing a loan of

dollars for building and equipment of all such ships and vessels of war as have been or may be directed to be built by any law of the present session.

After a short but animated debate, this resolution was negatived, 26 to 81.

3. The loan bill reported by the committee, after having the blank filled up with 16 millions, passed both houses, in the house of representatives 72 to 38. This law authorizes the president to borrow sixteen millions of dollars, reimbursable in 12 years from January 1, 1814. The sale of the certificates of stock is to be deemed a good execution of the power to borrow; an account of the monies obtained by such sale to be laid before congress, with a statement of the rate at which they were sold*. The appointment of agents for obtaining subscriptions, or

* The stock of this loan was sold for $88 in money for $100 in stock, the interest to be paid quarter yearly; the buyers of the stock to have the privilege of paying up their instalments, the interest in that case commencing on the whole immediately.



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