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Report on the Petition of Ludwig Kuhn, 19 December 1792

Report on the Petition of Ludwig Kuhn

[Philadelphia, December 19, 1792
Communicated on December 20, 1792]1

[To the Speaker of the House of Representatives]

The Secretary of the Treasury, to whom was referred the petition of Ludwig Kuhn, by an Order of the House of Representatives, of the 28th of November last,2 thereupon respectfully makes the following Report:

The case is one of those included in a former report to the House, dated the 16th of April 1792,3 as barred by the Acts of limitation.

To remove the objection, which has been made on that ground to the claim of the petitioner, he has attempt[ed] to prove by his own deposition, that, in the month of March 1786, he exhibited his account and vouchers to Benjamin Stelle, late Commissioner for settling accounts in the State of Pennsylvania.

A Certificate is also produced from William Mumford,4 late a Clerk in the said Commissioner’s Office, intended to prove that the claim had been lodged in the said Office, within the time limited by law; but had not been settled, for want of a certificate from Colonel Magaw:5 And that at the time, when the Office was closed, the unsettled accounts and certificates were left in the hands of Reading Howell, and the books and papers of the office had been deposited in the treasury of the United States.

It appears, that the Commissioner before mentioned transmitted to the treasury a number of claims upon the United States, which had been preferred at his Office, and which remained unsettled. The papers have been examined in the Auditor’s Office, and no Account in the name of the petitioner can be found.

The evidence with regard to the exhibition of the claim, within the time limited by law, is therefore deficient. The admission of collateral testimony, of the nature of that which is here produced, after so great a lapse of time, it is conceived, would, for obvious reasons, be extremely dangerous; And in this view, nothing of weight occurs to the Secretary, that could lead to a deviation from the opinion expressed in a former report.

Which is humbly submitted

Alexander Hamilton,
Secretary of the Treasury.

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 , 651. The communicating letter, dated December 19, 1792, may be found in RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.

2On November 28, 1792, the House received “A petition of Ludwig Kuhn, praying the liquidation and settlement of a claim against the United States, for supplies furnished the Army, 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 , 628.)

3“Report on Sundry Petitions,” April 16, 1792. In this report H discussed various acts of limitation concerning Revolutionary War claims, including the general acts passed in 1785 and 1787 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXIX, 866; XXXIII, 392).

4William Mumford had served as Stelle’s clerk from the summer of 1783 until the office closed on April 1, 1787 (“Memorial of William Mumford,” May 9, 1790, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).

5Robert Magaw, who was appointed a colonel in the Fifth Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion on January 3, 1776, was responsible for purchasing arms for the men under his command (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , IV, 24, 215). Ordered to New York on June 16, 1776, he was captured at Fort Washington on November 17, 1776 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , V, 431).

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