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Report on the Petition of John Jones, [21 November 1792]

Report on the Petition of John Jones

[Philadelphia, November 21, 1792
Communicated on November 22, 1792]1

[To the Speaker of the House of Representatives]

The Secretary of the Treasury, to whom was referred by the House of Representatives, the petition of John Jones,2 respectfully makes the following Report thereupon.

The petition seeks a compensation for certain storehouses, which, it is alleged, were destroyed by the enemy, during the late war with Great Britain, upon the ground of a contract alleged to have been made with certain persons, on behalf of the State of Pennsylvania, stipulating an indemnification for the stores, if injured or destroyed by the enemy.

By the petitioner’s own shewing, the claim belonged exclusively to the cognizance and adjustment of the State of Pennsylvania. Any interference of the United States would be repugnant to the course of similar transactions, and, as a precedent, full of inconvenience.

The assumption of the State debts, on which the petitioner relies, has, for obvious reasons, been confined to liquidated claims. An extension of it to those of an opposite description, would be replete with embarrassment; placing the adjustment of them where there were not competent means of ascertaining their merit.

Had the claim originally been upon the United States, it is barred by the Acts of limitation.3

All which is respectfully submitted,

Alexander Hamilton,
Secry. of the Treasry.

Copy, RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.

1Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 625–26. The communicating letter, dated November 21, 1792, may be found in RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.

2On March 1, 1791, “A petition of John Jones, of Berks county, in the State of Pennsylvania, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for damages done to his property by the Army of the United States, during the late war.…

Ordered, That the said … [petition] be referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House.” (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 396.)

3JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXIX, 866; XXXIII, 392. See also “Report on Sundry Petitions,” April 16, 1792.

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