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The seventh and last session of the board did not actually begin till the 4th of March 1833. On the 1st
of March only one commissioner was present, and on the 2d there were only two. They did not all appear until the 4th.
It has heretofore been stated that the commissioners Rules of Decision, on the 2d of February 1832, at the close of their fourth
session, published certain rules of decision. These rules were as follows:
“THURSDAY, February 2, 1832. “The board, having been for some time engaged in considering the validity of the claims which have been filed and docketed, and the proofs in support thereof, deem it proper to lay down certain rules, to be adhered to in all cases which shall not present a peculiar claim to exception from their operation:
“Regarding the fund provided by the convention with Denmark as designed to indemnify claimants for the actual losses, and not for profits, which might or might not have been realized-it is Ordered, That in cases of condemnation, remuneration shall be made according to the actual value of vessel and cargo respectively, at the commencement of the voyage.
“Considering the absence of proof in some cases, and its imperfection in others, in relation to freight, insurance, demurrage, and damage owing to detention; and consequently, that exact justice cannot be done in each particular case; comparing, besides, the several claims for freight, insurance, demurrage, and damage, with each other, and finding no standard therein-it is
“2nd. Ordered, That in all cases of condemnation or detention there shall be allowed two-thirds of a fair freight for the passage in which the loss occurred, [and] a premium of insurance at the rate of
per cent upon the value of the vessel and cargo respectively at the commencement of the voyage
“3. That in all cases of detontion of vessels, there shall be allowed, besides, for demurragedollars per day on vessel under 150 tons burthen.
between 150 and 200, inclusive.
above 200. 4. That in cases of detention of cargo, there shall be allowed for damages at the rate of .
per cent per year. “That in cases in which special damage shall be proved, as where the cargo was in whole or in part of a perishable nature, or was wasted or destroyed, an additional allowance should be made according to the facts.
“ This allowance to be in full for all injuries resulting from capture and detention, including cases in which voyages were broken up, and all other speculative damages.
“5. That in all cases, the expenses incurred in defending vessel and cargo shall be allowed in full.
"As the board cannot anticipate whether the fund distributable under the convention with Denmark will, or will not, be adequate to the payment of all the sums which shall be awarded by this commission; it is
“ Ordered, that in each case such sum shall be awarded and stated as the board shall believe would be justly payable, were the fund adequate; and that if the fund shall not be adeqnate to pay the aggregate amounts allowed to all the claimants, a 'pro rata’ distribution shall be made in conformity with the provisions of the convention. It is further
“ Ordered, that an entry be now inade on the record of all the decisions made by the board at its present session." In applying these rules the board discovered that they “would not oper
equally upon various classes and descriptions of claims presented.” The board therefore at its sixth session changed the rules and, setting aside all decisions that had been made in conformity with them, proceeded to make awards in accordance with a series of amended
rules. These rules the board on the 22d of March 1833 ordered to be entered on the minutes. They were as follows:
“That in all cases of condemnation there shall be allowed,
“For Eastern vessels-$40.00 per ton.
“For Northern vessels-$60.00 per ton. “2nd. The value of the cargo at the cost of the same in the port from whence she sailed, agreeably to the invoice, without any addition to the invoice for freight or insurance.
** 3rd. A premium of insurance, at the rate of eight per cent upon the value of the vessel and cargo.
"4th. Freight, for the voyage in which the loss occurred, at the rate of twelve dollars per ton. “5th. Demurrage, on the following scale:
"$15.00 per day for vessels under 150 tons.
“$30.00 per day for vessels over 300 tons. “That, in all cases of detention of vessel and cargo, there shall be allowed as follows:
“1st. Freight, at the rate of six dollars per ton.
“2nd. Premium of insurance, at the rate of eight per cent upon the value of vessel and cargo, respectively, at the commencement of the voyage. "3rd. For the detention of the vessel, for demurrage :
"$20.00 per day on vessels under 150 tons.
"$40.00 per day on vessels over 300 tons. “That for detention of cargo there shall be allowed for damages, at the rate of twelve per cent per annum; and in cases of detention where special damages shall be proved, as where the cargo was in whole or part of a perishable nature or was wasted or destroyed, an additional allowance shall be made according to facts.
“This allowance to be in full for all injuries resulting from capture and detention, including cases in which voyages were broken up, and all other speculative or consequential damages.
“In all cases the expenses incurred in defending the vessel and cargo in the course of judicial investigation shall be allowed in full, but no other claim for expenses shall be allowed.
"In all cases where the claim is presented by an underwriter, he shall receive no other or greater allowance for the loss or detention of vesselcargo-or freight, thian would have been allowed to the owner agreeably to the foregoing rules."
The last meeting of the board was held on the 28th Final Report. of March 1833, when the commission adjourned sine die.
Prior to their adjournment the commissioners signed a report to the Secretary of State giving an account of their proceedings, and directed it to be recorded in the journal. This report, to which is annexed the order of adjournment, is as follows:
THURSDAY, 28 March 1833. TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES :
"The undersigned Commissioners, Citizens of the United States, appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senato, having performed the duties with which they were charged, under the Convention between the United States and His Majesty the King of Denmark, bearing date the twenty-eighth day of March 1830, beg leave to submit an account of their proceedings in the following report.
“The Undersigned having received their appointmeuts from the President of the United States, in conformity to the third article of the Convention, assembled at the city of Washington on the 4th day of April 1831, and organized a Board pursuant to the provisions of the said Convention and the act of Congress appertaining thereto.
“On the succeeding day they received from the Department of State various papers and documents, and from time to time thereafter certified copies of sentences in the Tribunals of Denmark, transmitted agreeably to the stipulations of the said Convention.
“At this session of the Board various preliminary rules, or orders, and forms of proceeding were established, and, in the first place, an order was made, whereby all persons having claims under the said Convention were required to file a memorial of the same with the Secretary of this Board, to the end that they might be examined, and the validity and amounts thereof decided upon, according to the suitable and authentic testimony concerning the same, which order, as well as those subsequently made by the Board, was extensively circulated through the medium of the public newspapers.
“The Second Session of the Board was held, agreeably to notice for that purpose given, and which session commenced on the 11th day of July 1831; and notwithstanding the Convention had been ratified for more than a year, and a large majority of the claimants had long before filed their claims in the Department of State, the Board had before them but 257 memorials, many of which were not received by the Board, but some of them were at subsequent meetings again presented for consideration, and were finally received. Upon disposing of all the business before them at this session, the Board adjourned to meet again on the third day of of October 1831, at which time it was found that there were 187 new memorials presented, making in all 444 up to that period.
“After examining the new memorials, and recording those which had been presented at the previous meetings, the Board then determined to set down all the memorials for hearing and final decision, and gave notice to this effect in the usual manner, that the claimants might come prepared to sustain their claims.
"At the Fourth session, which commenced on the ninth day of January 1832, the Board ascertained that 105 new memorials had been filed since the last adjournment; after preliminary disposal of which the Board proceeded to consider and decide all the cases which were ready for hearing, in pursuance to the notice previously given.
**The Board finding but a few cases ready for hearing, and that there had been great procrastination on the part of the claimants in furnishing the necessary proofs, thereupon adjourned to meet again on the 23rd day of April following.
“The Board at the opening of their fifth session ascertained that 57 memorials had been filed during the last vacation. Those were all acted upon and preliminarily disposed of according to the rules which had been adopted. After having heard some of the principal questions pending before this Board discussed by eminent counsel, and acted upon all the cases ready for hearing, the Board adjourned to meet again on the first day of October following.
"In consequence, however, of the indisposition of a majority of the Board, and of the epidemic which then prevailed at the city of Washington and other parts of the United States, one of the members of the Board repaired to Washington and adjourned the sitting of the Board to the 26th day of November following.
“On that day the Board again assembled, and continued in session from time to time until they had disposed of all the cases that were ready for hearing. Even at this late date 20 new memorials were presented, received, and disposed of according to the rules of the Board.
“Notice of the final session, to be held on the 1st day of March 1833 was given in the following order, which was published in the usual manner for the information of the claimants :
" " Ordered, that the Board of Commissioners had hoped to close the adjustment of claims under the Convention with Denmark during the present session, but having received several applications for re-hearing, and being anxious to afford to claimants every possible means of establishing their claims in those cases, and in others where there was a deficiency of proof, have determined to adjourn to the first day of March 1833. And as there is but one month after that period allowed by law for the final settlement of the claims, and distribution of the funds, it has become necessary to order, and notice is hereby given, that no application for rehearing or for filing original or supplemental memorials, or the introduction of proof, will be received after the first day of March 1833.
"Notwithstanding the positive terms of this order, and the absolute necessity of its adoption, the Board, feeling great reluctance to shut out any claims which might be entitled to come under the Convention, waived the foregoing order, and received twenty-five new memorials, and all the testimony offered in all the cases, aud considered and acted upon the same.
“The object of the Board being only to effect as just and equitable a distribution of the fund as possible, to this end the Board at its second sog. sion passed an order and caused it to be published, giving the right to any claimant to file objections, and to support the samo by argument or reference to proofs, against the admission of any other claims; and by this course the Board hoped to be aided in arriving at the truth and the application of just principles to each and all of the cases. The Board, however, did not reap as much benefit from this privilege as they had anticipated; nevertheless, the undersigned feel satisfied that the course adopted from time to time in granting indulgence to the claimants in the manner suggested was the only one dictated by the principles of justice. Indeed, it may with more propriety be said that the course pursued was one which had been dictated by the very nature of the cases arising under the Convention, rather than marked out by the Commissioners. If less time had been allowed the claimants, it is manifest to the Board that great injustice must have been done to many of them, who were guilty of no fault and to whom no negligence could be imputed.
“With this brief explanation of the course pursued by the Board, and their reasons for adopting it, they will now proceed to state the results of their whole operations.
The gross amount of claims brought before the Board was upwards of three millions of dollars, and the total amount allowed is $2,154,425. To pay these amounts the convention provided the sum of $650,000, and interest on the installments, which together, it appears by a statement furnished the Board by the Secretary of the Treasury, amount to the sum of $670,564.70, which by a computation it will be seen is 31 and $ per cent on the gross amount allowed.
"The Schedule A will show the amount awarded to each claimant, and the amount of the dividend thereon.
“These documents exhibit a full and distinct view of the disposition of the fund committed to the charge of the Board.
“The Commissioners have nothing further to add than that they herewith send to the Department of State a journal, or record, of the proceedings, which shows with a more detailed accuracy the proceedings of the Board, from the time of its organization to the day of its final adjourn. ment.' The undersigned would recommend that Schedule A be transferred to the Treasury Department as a guide for the payment of the respective awards, and they would also suggest its speedy publication for the information of all those whom it may concern, or that such other mode may be adopted by the proper officers of the Government of the United States as may be suggested for the more convenient attainment of the object to be accomplished. * All of which is respectfully submitted.
“GEO. WINCHESTER. "J, HOYT.
“W. J. DUANE. “Test:
“ROBERT FULTON, Secretary. « The Board having thus completed the duties which were assigned to them, hereby order, that the Records of their proceedings, together with all the vouchers and documents produced relative to the claims preferred to them, be deposited in the Department of State; and as the nndersigned are of opinion that no further business will be laid before them appertaining to their duties as Coinmissioners under the said convention, and that no good object is to be answered by their continuing in session, do hereby agree to adjourn without day, and they do hereby adjourn without day.
“ GEO. WINCHESTER, “J. HOYT.
“W. J. DUANE. " Test: “ROBERT FULTON, Secretary."
In connection with the settlement of the claims The Bergen Prizes. against Denmark for spoliations it is proper to refer to
the case of the three British vessels captured in 1779 by the Alliance, Captain Landais, of the squadron under John Paul Jones, and carried into Bergen, in Norway, where, on the demand of the British minister, they were seized by the Danish Government and restored to their owners on the ground that, as Denmark had not acknowledged the independence of the United States, the prizes could not be considered as lawful. In a note to M. Bernstorf, the Danish minister for foreign affairs, of December 22, 1779, Franklin asked that the order of restoration be repealed, or that if it had been executed the value of the prizes, which was estimated at £50,000, should be paid by Denmark to the United States. M. Bernstorf answered evasively, though in substance he pleaded duress as an excuse for the order, which had been carried into effect. In 1787 Congress instructed Jefferson, who was then minister of the United States at Paris, to make a representation on the subject to the King of Denmark; and Jefferson authorized Jones to pursue the claim at Copenhagen. Nothing, however, was accomplished, and in 1806 Cougress passed an act appropriating $4,000 to Landais as prize money on account of the captures.? In 1812 Mr. Monroe as Secretary of State addressed an inquiry in regard to the claim to Mr. Pedersen, then Danish chargé d'affaires at Washington, who replied that his government never had considered the claim as legal, and that it now regarded it as superannuated and abandoned. Subsequently the matter was several times brought to the attention of Congress. But after the present convention with Denmark was carried into effect a question arose as to whether the claim was not barred by its provisions. An examination of them led the United States to conclude that it was not. While the high contracting parties by Article V. declared it to be their intention to terminate “all the claims which have hitherto been preferred,” they also declared "that the present convention is only applicable to cases therein mentioned.” The claims against Denmark mentioned in the convention were described in Articles I. and IV. In Article 1. they were described, as we have seen, as "claims relating to the seizure, detention, condemnation, or confiscation of their (American citizens') vessels, cargoes, or property whatsoever, by the public and private armed ships, or by the tribunals of Denmark, or in the states subject to
Wharton's Dip. Cor. Am. Rev. III. 385, 433, 435, 528, 534, 540, 597, 678, 744; V. 462; VI. 261, 717.
Act of March 28, 1806, 6 Stats. at L. 61, 3H. Rep. 389, 25 Cong. 2 sess.