James Madison Papers

Petition of Anna de Neufville, [7 February] 1797

Petition of Anna de Neufville

[7 February 1797]

On 3 February 1797 Anna de Neufville had presented a petition to the House on behalf of herself and her infant daughter, “praying compensation for services rendered” by her late husband during the Revolution. It was referred to a committee of five headed by JM (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (9 vols.; Washington, 1826). description ends , 2:678).

Mr. Madison, from the committee to whom was referred the petition of Hannah de Neufville, reported, that the services and sacrifices of the deceased John de Neufville,1 during our revolutionary war, as stated in the memorial, constituted a reasonable claim in behalf of his distressed widow and children, on the justice of the United States, but it would be impossible to ascertain and liquidate the same in a precise sum; but the committee proposed as equal and right that 3000 dollars should be allowed to be equally divided amongst them.

Claypoole’s Am. Daily Advertiser, 11 Feb. 1797 (reprinted in Philadelphia Gazette, 13 Feb. 1797, Gales’s Independent Gazetteer, 14 Feb. 1797, and American Senator, 3:383; briefly reported in New World, 8 Feb. 1797). The report was read twice and referred to a Committee of the Whole on 10 Feb.

1Jean de Neufville (1729–1796) had headed an Amsterdam firm that acted as agents for the Continental Congress in refitting John Paul Jones’s squadron in 1779 and had also assisted John Adams in his efforts to negotiate loans in 1780. His son, Leonard de Neufville, had become insane, and in 1797 his widow came to Philadelphia to seek assistance from several prominent men, including Alexander Hamilton, Robert Goodloe Harper, and George Washington (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , 20:466–69, 476–77).

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