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Report on the Petition of William Stearns, [27 February 1794]

Report on the Petition of William Stearns1

[Philadelphia, February 27, 1794
Communicated on March 3, 1794]2

[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 William Stearns3 thereupon respectfully reports as follows—

The Petitioner in Capacity of Administrator of the Estate of Peleg Stearns deceased, claims compensation for certain property stated to have been taken by and applied to the use of the Continental Army at Charlestown in the State of Massachusetts in the year 1775.

It appears by the petitioner’s own Shewing that the Claim was brought before the Commissioner of the United States appointed pursuant to a resolution of Congress of the 3d. of June 17844 and was adjusted by him on such principles as he deemed right, according to which Compensation was made. Reasons of conclusive force dissuade from unsettling the proceedings of the Commissioners who acted under that resolution. There would be no end to the applications for revision, and in most Cases no Satisfactory criterion by which to distinguish those intitled to relief from those of a Contrary Character.

A Report of the Secretary of the 19th. of November 1792 on the Petition of Joseph Beale and others,5 suggests several cogent Considerations which are applicable to the Case and operate against the prayer of the Petitioner.

All which is humbly submitted.

Alexander Hamilton
Secy. of the Treasury.

Copy, RG 233, Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1784–1795, Vol. IV, National Archives.

1This report was one of twenty-nine reports on petitions enclosed in H to Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg, February 27, 1794.

2Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I, II. description ends , II, 77–78.

3On January 11, 1793, “A petition of William Stearns, administrator of the estate of Peleg Stearns, deceased, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for the use of the buildings, and damages done to the property of the deceased, by the Army of the United States, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five.

Ordered, That the said petition do lie on the table.” (Journal of the House description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I, II. description ends , I, 668.)

No record of the date on which this petition was referred to H has been found.

4For this resolution, See “Report on Several Petitions Seeking Compensation for Property Damaged or Destroyed During the Late War,” November 19, 1792.

Both William Imlay of Connecticut and Royal Flint of New York served as commissioners in Massachusetts.

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