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But in the claims of British subjects against the United States, involving about 90 per cent. in amount of the entire claims before the commission, the sole control and responsibility rested upon me.
These claims involved about $96,000,000, ranging through an almost infinite variety of facts and circumstances involved in the support of or defence against the claims. The claim as presented by the claimant in his memorial and proofs often gave the first and only information to the Government of the existence even of the claim, and involved an inquiry into the facts of the case through very circuitous and difficult channels. In such cases the Government always stands at a great disadvantage as against private claimants, who have full knowledge of all the circumstances of their own claims, when actual and bona fide, and of the proofs by which they may be established, and who, in the case of fraudulent, simulated, or excessive claims, have facilities in the manufacture of evidence often very difficult to be exposed or rebutted by the agents charged with the defence of the Government, and acting through secondary agents often at remote and almost inaccessible points.
In view of the number and amount of the claims presented, and the importance of the questions to be determined, the time limited by the treaty for their examination and decision was very short. Two years for the complete examination, trial, and decision of all these cases, nine months of which time was allowed (six absolutely, and three under limitation) for the presentation of the claims by the claimant, constituted a shorter time than should have been taken for the thorough and satisfactory examination of all the cases.
The fact that in this scanty time the Government was enabled to make the examination and trial of the cases as thorough as it was made, and to arrive at results so satisfactory, is certainly a subject of congrat ulation, the awards made by the commission against the United States amounting to only about two per cent. of the claims presented to the commission against them.
The entire expense of the commission incurred by the United States, including compensation of commissioners and officers of the commission, of the agent and counsel before the commission and his assistants and clerks, of counsel, agents, commissioners, witnesses, &c., in taking testimony, and also printing and incidental expenses, has been about $300,000, of which amount about $50,000 will be re-imbursed by the deduction from the amount of the awards, pursuant to article XVI of the treaty. All the memorials, evidence, and arguments were printed for the use of the commission, the expense of printing being borne jointly and equally by the two governments. The entire printed matter thus submitted, and now collated and bound, makes up seventy-four octavo volumes, averaging about 800 pages each.
In an early case before the commission, involving the question of the effect of domicile within the United States upon subjects of Great Britain, by paramount allegiance, domiciled within the United States,
Hon. Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, of Massachusetts, was retained by the Government at my request as associate counsel, and filed a very learned and valuable argument. In a few other cases, not exceeding fifty in all, I was assisted in the preparation of arguments by Gen. Benjamin S. Roberts and by Messrs. Edwin L. Stanton and A. S. Worthington, of Washington, whose services were faithfully rendered and were very valuable. With these exceptions the arguments in all the British cases were prepared solely by myself.
In the taking of testimony a large number of counsel and agents were employed, under my supervision, in the localities where testimony. was taken as above related. Among those who have rendered faithful and efficient service in this way, I deem it not invidious to mention Messrs. Kortrecht, Craft & Scales, of Memphis, Tenn.; Messrs. M. A. Dooley and William G. Hale, of New Orleans, La.; Franklin H. Churchill, esq., of New York City; Hon. D. H. Chamberlain, of Columbia, S. C.; Marcus Doherty, esq., of Montreal, P. Q., Canada; Hon. Andrew Sloan, of Savannah, Ga.; Horatio D. Wood, esq., of Saint Louis, Mo.; Frederick C. Hale, esq., of Chicago, Ill.; Messrs. Speed & Buckner, of Louisville, Ky.; Messrs. Bradley & Peabody, of Nashville, Tenn.; and General H. B. Titus, of Washington, D. C.
Thomas H. Dudley, esq., late consul of the United States, at Liverpool, and Joseph Nunn, esq., United States vice consul-general at London, also contributed largely, by their knowledge of the different cases, and their diligence and assiduity in inquiry and report upon the claims, to the successful defense of the United States against many of the prize
In this connection, too, I should not fail to make mention of the diiigence, skill, and assiduity of Mr. Edward Hayes, my stenographic clerk, during the whole period of my agency.
In conclusion, I cannot forbear the expression of my great satisfaction with the working of the commission, its performance of its arduous duties, and the result of its labors. The thanks of both governments will undoubtedly be fully expressed to the individual commissioners.
My personal acknowledgments are especially due to his excellency Count Corti, the presiding commissioner, for the marked and unfailing courtesy, kindness, and consideration which I, in common with every other person connected with the commission, received from him throughout the whole period of our official intercourse. The wide knowledge of public law, the sterling good sense and judgment in its application to the facts of individual cases, the untiring labor bestowed in the investigation alike of facts and principles, and the able, diligent, and conscientious application of his powers, attainments, and labors to the examination and decision of the cases before the commission, merit recognition and acknowledgment from the governments so largely indebted to him for the satisfactory disposition of the numerous vexed questions between
them submitted to the arbitrament of himself and his colleagues, to an extent to which these expressions of mine do scant and feeble justice.
Mr. Justice Frazer, the commissioner named by the President of the United States, by his ability, impartiality, urbanity, and diligence, fully justified the wisdom of the President's selection and the expectations of those previously acquainted with his judicial abilities and career.
I beg, also, to express my profound appreciation of the diligence, faithfulness, and ability exhibited by Mr. Howard, Her Majesty's agent, and by Mr. Carlisle, Her Majesty's counsel, in the management of the cases before the commission on behalf of the British government, and to acknowledge my personal obligations to each of those gentlemen for their unfailing courtesy and fairness.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of the United States, &c.
Hon. HAMILTON FISH,
Secretary of State.
To the Honorable Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State:
The undersigned, agent of the United States before the commission upon the claims of subjects of Her Britannic Majesty against the United States, and of citizens of the United States against Great Britain, established by the twelfth article of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain of 8th May, 1871, respectfully submits the following report of the proceedings and results of that commission:
Articles 12 to 17, inclusive, of the treaty above referred to, contain the provisions establishing the commission and regulating its jurisdiction, powers, and methods of proceeding. Those articles are found in the appendix to this report, A.
The Honorable James Somerville Frazer, of the State of Indiana, formerly a justice of the supreme court of that State, was named as commissioner by the President of the United States.
The Right Honorable Russell Gurney, member of Parliament, member of Her Majesty's privy council, and recorder of London, was named as commissioner by Her Britannic Majesty.
Count Louis Corti, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the United States of His Majesty the King of Italy, was named as the third commissioner by the President of the United States and Her Britannic Majesty conjointly.
Robert Safford Hale, esq., of the State of New York, was named by the President of the United States agent of the United States to attend the commissioners, to present and support claims presented on behalf of his Government, to answer claims made upon it, and to represent it generally in all matters connected with the investigation and decision of such claims, pursuant to the provisions of the thirteenth article of the treaty. Mr. Hale acted also as counsel for the United States under the same article.
Henry Howard, esq.,one of Her Britannic Majesty's secretaries of legation at Washington, was named by Her Majesty's government as the agent of that government for the like purposes, pursuant to the same article.
James Mandeville Carlisle, esq., of the city of Washington, U. S. A., was employed as the counsel of Her Britannic Majesty's government before the commission.
The commissioners and agents and counsel above named continued in the execution of their respective duties to the close of the commission.
The commission first met and organized at Washington on the 26th day of September, 1871, each of the commissioners making and subscribing the "solemn declaration" provided by the twelfth article of the treaty.
Count Corti was requested, by vote of the commission, to preside during its deliberations, and continued to act as presiding commissioner during the entire existence of the commission.
Thomas Campbell Cox, esq., of the District of Columbia, U. S. A., was duly appointed by the commission as its secretary, and continued to act as such to the close of the commission.
The commission, at an early session, adopted rules for the course of proceedings before it, including the manner of presentation, prosecution, and defense of claims, the taking of testimony, and the printing and presentation of the evidence and arguments, a copy of which rules, with such slight modifications as were from time to time afterward adopted, is found in the appendix, B.
Within the time limited by the treaty, ninete en claims were presented on the part of citizens of the United States against Great Britain, aggregating, exclusive of interest, a little less than $1,000,000. These claims, as will be seen by the detailed report hereinafter given, were all disallowed by the commission.
Within the same time were presented four hundred and seventy-eight claims of subjects of Her Britannic Majesty against the United States, aggregating, exclusive of interest, about $60,000,000, and, including interest for the average time allowed by the commission, about $96,000,000. Of these claims, one was dismissed by the commission on account of indecorous and improper language used in the memorial, without prejudice to the filing of a new memorial, which was subsequently filed; thirty were dismissed as not within the jurisdiction of the commission; two hundred and fifty-eight were disallowed on the merits; eight were withdrawn by Her Britannic Majesty's agent, by leave of the commission; and in one hundred and eighty-one, awards were made in favor of the claimants respectively against the United States, such awards aggregating $1,929,819.
The entire amount of the awards against the United States, including interest, allowed by the commission was, therefore, as will be seen, a trifle over two per cent. of the entire claims presented to the commission, on behalf of British subjects, against the United States, including interest.
Of the claims of citizens of the United States against Great Britain, twelve grew out of the Saint Albans raid, so called, and were for acts of plunder alleged to have been committed by confederate soldiers in the town of Saint Albans, Vt., in October, 1864; one was for a like raid of confederate soldiers alleged to have been committed upon Lake Erie in September, 1864, and for injuries to the American steamers Philo Parsons and Island Queen, and the property of American citizens on board said steamers; four were for damages by reason of the al