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Special Message

April 28, 1824

To the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives having referred back the accounts and claims of Daniel D. Tompkins, late governor of New York, to be settled on the principles established by the report of the committee and the law founded on it in the last session I have reconsidered the subject, and now communicate the result.

By the report of the committee, which it was understood was adopted by the House, it was decided that his accounts and claims should be settled on the four following principles:

First. That interest should be allowed him on all moneys advanced by him for the public from the time of the advance to that of his being reimbursed.

Second. That a reasonable commission should be allowed him on all moneys disbursed by him during the late war.

Third. That an indemnity should be allowed for all losses which he had sustained by the failure of the Government to fulfill its engagements to send him money or Treasury notes within the time specified to be deposited in certain banks as collateral security for loans procured by him at the request and on account of the Government.

Fourth. That he should not be held responsible for losses incurred by the frauds and failures of subagents to whom moneys were advanced through his hands.

On the first, that of interest on his advances for the public, I have allowed him $14,438.68. This allowance is made on advances admitted by the accounting department, and on the declaration of Mr. Tompkins that the remittances made to him, after his advances and previous to the 24th of December, 1814, when a very large sum was remitted to him, were applied to public purposes and not to the reimbursement of his advances.

On the second head, that of a reasonable commission for his disbursements during the late war, I have allowed him 5 per cent on the whole sum disbursed by him, amounting to $92,213. 13. I have made him this extra allowance in consideration of the aid which he afforded to the Government at that important epoch in obtaining the loan of a considerable part of the sums thus disbursed.

On the third head, that of an indemnity for losses sustained by him in consequence of the failure of the Government to fulfill its engagements to send him money or Treasury notes within the time specified, I have allowed him $4,411.25, being the amount of the loss sustained on the sale of Treasury notes, for which he was responsible.

On the fourth head, that of losses sustained by him by any frauds or failures of subagents, none such having been shewn no allowance whatever has been made to him.

From the amount thus allowed to Mr. Tompkins after deducting the sum paid him under the act of the present session and the moneys charged to his account there will remain a balance due him of $60,238.46, as appears by the sketch herewith communicated.

In making a final decision on Mr. Tompkins's claims a question arises, Shall interest be allowed him on the amount of the commission on his disbursements? The law of the last session grants to the President a power to allow interest on moneys advanced by him to the public, but does not authorize it on the commission to be allowed on his disbursements. To make such allowance belongs exclusively to Congress. Had his claims been settled at the end of the last war on the principles established by the law of the last session a commission on disbursements would then have been allowed him. This consideration operates with great force in favor of the allowance of interest on that commission at this time, which I recommend to Congress.

I think proper to add that the official relation which I bore to Governor Tompkins at that very interesting epoch, under the highly distinguished and meritorious citizen under whom we both served, enabling me to feel very sensibly the value of his services, excites a strong interest in his favor, which I deem it not improper to express.

JAMES MONROE.

James Monroe, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207122

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