Report on the Petition of Simon Nathan
[Philadelphia, April 12, 1792
Communicated on April 17, 1792]1
The Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to an Order of the House of Representatives of the 30th July, 1790, referring to him the memorial of Simon Nathan, of the City of New York,2 respectfully reports;
That the subject of the Memorialist’s application, from his own statement, appears to relate wholly to the State of Virginia, and not to the United States.
The Secretary is, therefore, of opinion, that if, in justice, the case of the said Memorialist should require relief, it cannot, on this ground, be reasonably expected to be afforded by the United States.3
All which is humbly submitted,
Secry. of the Treasy.
April 12th 1792.
Copy, RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.
1. Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826), I. description ends , 580. The communicating letter, dated April 16, 1792, may be found in RG 233, Reports of the Treasury Department, 1792–1793, Vol. III, National Archives.
2. On July 30, 1790, a petition of Simon Nathan was “presented to the House and read … praying the liquidation and settlement of a claim against the United States.
“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 , 285.)
3. During the American Revolution Nathan had advanced the state of Virginia fifty-two thousand dollars in specie at Havanna for Colonel George Rogers Clarke’s drafts. In addition, during 1780 he loaned Virginia three hundred thousand Continental dollars without interest for clothing for the soldiers at Fort Pitt. During the seventeen-eighties Nathan drew bills on the state of Virginia for these and other advances he had made to the state. Virginia, however, refused to honor these bills. Nathan brought suit twice against the state, and in the second suit, which concerned goods he had imported from France for Virginia during the Revolution, Nathan attached some of Virginia’s property in Pennsylvania. The courts, however, decided that property of a sovereign state was exempt from judicial procedure in another state (David De Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone [New York, 1952], 414–18).