Opinion on the Claim of Oliver Pollock1
[Philadelphia, February 27, 1796]
At the request of Mr. Pollock I certify that I have a distinct recollection that in the course of conversations with him, respecting his pecuniary claims on the United States, he expressed the idea of his having further claims on the United States beyond those admitted and liquidated; and that I have also some recollection, but indistinct and imperfect, that when a warrant came to be issued for the balance due to him, he objected to the wording of it, as amounting to a declaration that the sum to be paid was to be in full of all demands; and that in consequence of his representation, either words were added to the first warrant, or a new one was made out, altered in conformity to the within copy, that is to say, so as to import in the warrant a full satisfaction for claims liquidated and credited only.2
Augustus B. Woodward, A Representation of the Case of Oliver Pollock (Washington, D.C.: Printed by Samuel Harrison Smith, 1803), 54.
In June, 1777, the secret committee of Congress appointed Pollock commercial agent of the United States at New Orleans, a position which he held until 1781. During this period he also served as commercial agent for Virginia. In May, 1783, he became an agent of the United States at Havana, Cuba, where he remained for eighteen months. In both posts he advanced large sums of of money. In 1791, “An Act making Appropriations for the Support of Government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two” provided for “payment of the principal and interest on a liquidated claim of Oliver Pollock … for supplies of clothing, arms, and military stores, during the late war, one hundred and eight thousand, six hundred and five dollars, and two cents” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 227 [December 23, 1791]). Pollock, however, was not satisfied with this settlement and continued to press his claim. Pollock’s petition was one of ninety-nine which H returned to the House of Representatives shortly before he resigned as Secretary of the Treasury. See H to Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg, January 5, 1795. For the final settlement of Pollock’s claim, see “An Act for the relief of Oliver Pollock (6 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America [Private Statutes] (Boston, 1846). description ends 65 [March 3, 1807]). For Pollock’s life, see James Alton James, Oliver Pollock: The Life and Times of an Unknown Patriot (New York, 1937). For the history of Pollock’s claim along with many of the appropriate documents, see Woodward, A Representation of the Case of Oliver Pollock.
2. H’s “recollection” of this warrant was correct. See “Warrant number 1684,” which is printed in full in Woodward, A Representation of the Case of Oliver Pollock, 53. This warrant is dated April 13, 1792, and is signed by H.