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manner in which these claims have been prosecuted, may be found by referring to the full proceedings of the committee, together with the report of Samuel L. Harris, Esq., and the accompanying papers, all of which are appended to this report.

The committee have to remark generally that Mr. Harris has discharged the important trust reposed in him, of prosecuting the large claims of Maine against the United States government, growing out of the Aroostook expedition and the Treaty of Washington, with much industry and ability. His intimate acquaintance with the history of these claims before entering upon the duties of his agency, added to his correct business habits, pointed him out as peculiarly fitted for the place assigned to him, and it is but echoing the opinion of all who have any knowledge of the subject, to say that he has discharged the duties imposed upon him, with a zeal and fidelity which are honorable to himself and the State which he has represented.

The only class of claims to the manner of prosecuting which their seems to be any objection, as may be seen by a reference to the proceedings of the committee, grew out of the detention of timber belonging to individuals, by the authorities of this State in 1839, in the Aroostook boom. These claims were finally audited by the Governor and Council, June 29th, 1844, and the sum of $19,805.56 allowed, in pursuance of a resolve of the Legislature passed March 24, 1843, of which the following is a copy:

"Resolve relating to certain claims under the Treaty of Washington.

"Resolved, That the Governor and Council be authorized to audit all claims of individuals, for injuries and

losses growing out of the operations of the State, rendered necessary for the protection of the disputed territory; and for the reimbursement of which the United States are holden to Maine, by the terms of the fifth article of the Treaty of Washington; to forward to the proper authorities of the United States the proofs and vouchers of the claims so audited; and to pay over to the claimants, the amounts due them respectively, when received by this State from the United States."

It will be seen by a reference to the testimony of Mr. Harris which is embraced in the proceedings of the committee, that after the original accounts were audited by the Governor and Council, and before they were presented to the Treasury Department at Washington, the receipts of the individual claimants were endorsed thereon, showing an apparent payment by this State of the amount audited. These claims or accounts, receipted as before stated, are filed in the office of the proper accounting officers at Washington, copies of which, as found upon said files, have been furnished to the committee by Mr. Perkins of Augusta, and are appended to this report, marked Nos. 1 to 8 inclusive. The committee do not disagree in the opinion that there was manifest impropriety in placing upon these audited accounts the receipts of the claimants and filing them in the Treasury Department at Washington, unaccompanied by an explanation of their real nature, and the circumstances which gave to them a character totally different from the receipts which had been used in the adjustment of other clains. There seems to be no evidence however before the committee, that Mr. Harris proposed to use these receipts for any other purpose than as "forms," which he deemed might be necessary before the claims were finally allowed and paid; and when it is considered that all the papers upon

the subject of these claims filed in the Auditor's office at Washington, considered with reference to each other, would have proved conclusively that Maine had not paid to the individual claimants, the sums purporting to have been paid by the receipts referred to, it would seem to require a forced construction of the facts, in connection with the testimony of Mr. Harris, to justify the conclusion that he has attempted to impose a fraud upon the Treasury Department of the United States.

The resolve of the Legislature copied above at length, and which furnishes the sole basis of all subsequent action upon these claims, expressly negatives the idea that they could actually have been paid by Maine, until after payment had been made by the United States government. This resolve was filed by Mr. Harris in the Auditor's office at Washington, as early as September, 1843. He would therefore have found it necessary to satisfy the accounting officers at Washington that the authorities of the State of Maine had transcended the power given them by the resolve under which they pretended to act, and had without any authority paid over to the claimants the amount of the several claims which had been audited, before he could have passed off the receipts alluded to as evidence of actual payment by Maine of the several sums specified therein, or have used them for any other apparent object than such as is stated and explained by him in his testimony which makes a part of this report.

It is also due to Mr. Harris to remark that his construction of the order of Council of June 29, 1844, as will be seen by a reference to his testimony before the committee, fully authorized him to obtain and use the receipts in question; and although it is not true that the Governor and Council could ever have intended that such a con

struction should be given to it, still by referring to the order itself which is appended, marked J, it may be seen how easily and honestly he may have been led into an error as to the extent of his authority under it.

It appears evident from the report of Mr. Harris appended, and the accompanying papers, that he has in no instance urged these claims at Washington upon the ground that Maine had actually paid them; and this would seem to afford additional strength to his own explanation, if any were needed, that he considered the receipts as matters of "form," and not otherwise to be used. But whatever view may be taken of the matter, it is certain that no practical injustice has resulted from the use of these receipts, as the claims were disallowed by the auditor for reasons upon which no vouchers could have had the most remote bearing. An appeal has been taken by Mr. Harris, as appears by his report, from the decision of the Auditor and the question of allowance or disallowance of all unsettled claims of Maine against the United States government under the Treaty of Washington, is now pending before the Comptroller.

The committee have thus in a few words presented such conclusions as they believe may be justly drawn from the facts which have appeared before them. These facts are fully reported, and the Legislature will be able to judge of the correctness of the conclusions and adopt any measures which the circumstances may require. It is not understood by the committee that the Legislature either directed or expected them to recommend any definite action relating to the claims in question, and if it were otherwise, in their opinion the only action which is called for, is merely a notice to the Treasury Department at Washington, explaining the true nature of the receipts

herein referred to. If the accounting officers of that department are laboring under any misapprehension upon the subject, it is due to the honor of the State, to adopt some means to correct the error without delay. If on the other hand the view which those officers have taken of the subject is the same which Mr. Harris has taken, and no erroneous impressions have been made upon them in consequence of the receipts, still such notice could not operate injuriously.

It appears from a communication from the Governor to the committee, made by their request, and embodied in the record of their proceedings, that he had no knowledge of the existence of these receipts till the subject was alluded to in the House of Representatives the present session. It is to be presumed that as soon as the facts shall have been brought to his knowledge, measures will be taken, if any are necessary, to place the whole matter at Washington in a light which cannot be misunderstood. M. SHERBURNE, WM. FRYE, WM. C. ALLEN, HIRAM CHAPMAN, JOHN G. CANNELL, ADDISON PRENTISS.

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