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Report on the Petition of Elizabeth Rockwell, [21 November 1792]

Report on the Petition of Elizabeth Rockwell

[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 Elizabeth Rockwell, Administratrix of William Rockwell,2 respectfully makes the following Report thereupon.

The said petition seeks compensation for Scow hire, freight and some small articles of supply, amounting together to £38.13. lawful money of Connecticut, alleged to have been contracted and furnished in the year 1778 and 1779, for the use of the Frigate, the Confederacy, belonging to the United States.

The copy of a Certificate of Joshua Huntington, who had been the Agent for the Confederacy, dated Norwich, March 16th 1790, which accompanies the account annexed to the petition (and which is presumed to be a true copy of an original document) states, that the services, mentioned in the account, were performed for the Continental Ship, Confederacy, and that the account for them would have been settled, and the balance paid, had it been exhibited, before he had made a settlement with the United States.

Upon the examination of the account of the said Agent, on the files of the Treasury, it has not been discovered, that any monies have been paid, or are charged, for the services or supplies in question.

But there is no evidence of any claim having been made in season, according to the requisitions of the Acts of limitation.3 The claim is, consequently, barred.

And as the only proof of it rests on the Certificate of the public Agent, after the expiration of his Office, (however considerations of public character, and the face of the demand may induce a disposition to suppose it may be well founded) yet the admission of it would be within the danger pointed out by the Secretary, in his report of the 16th of April last.

Nor do there appear to him, otherwise, circumstances sufficiently special, to render a legislative exception to the operation of the Acts of limitation, in this instance, advisable.

All of which is humbly submitted

Alexander Hamilton
Secry. of the Treasry.

Copy, RG 233, Report 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 April 7, 1790, “A petition of Elizabeth Rockwell, widow of William Rockwell, late of Norwich, in Connecticut, was presented to the House and read, praying that her claim, as administratrix of the said William Rockwell, for his services in the late Navy of the United States, may be liquidated and satisfied.

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 , 190.)

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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