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TITLE XV.

Rehearing

No. 681.
Rule in relation to Rehearings of decided cases.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

May 23, 1855. The rule of the Department founded on the practice of the courts, requires that the new evidence on which a review is asked, shall be shown not to have existed at the time of such former decision, or that its existence was not then known to the parties, or if so, that it was beyond their reach.

R. M‘CLELLAND, Secretary. Commissioner of the General Land Office.

No. 682.

Re-opening of a case will only be granted under a specified state of facts.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

December 8, 1855. Sir :-After a case has been fully examined at the local Land Office, all parties having due notice, and the case is decided and comes before the Department on appeal, I should not undertake to re-open it, and remand it for examination, unless upon affidavits furnished by one of the parties, tending to show that the testimony submitted on the appeal, was not the same as that originally presented, either from a suppression of a portion material to the issue, or an alteration of that submitted.

Very, &c.,

R. M‘CLELLAND, Secretary. Hon. H. M. Rice.

No. 683.

A re-investigation will not be granted upon an allegation that a better case

might be made.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

March 29, 1856. " As the matter has been twice examined by the district officers, and with the same results, and the parties went to trial on the existing testi

New Trial.

On motions for new trials on newly discovered evidence, it is a well settled rule not to grant them, if the evidence is merely cumulative, or in corroboration of testimony to a point presented at a former trial.-(Commissioner's Report to the Secretary of the Interior, of August 27, 1859.)

mony, and the defeated party bases his appeal to the Department, on the proof filed, it would be trifling with the rights and interests of one party, to re-open the case under such circumstances, because of the allegation of the attorney of the other, that a better case might be made for his client if such course were pursued."

R. M‘CLELLAND, Secretary. Commissioner of the General Land Office.

No. 684.
The Rules of the Courts in regard to Rehearings of Decided Cases should

be adopted.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

February 17, 1857. The case should be treated as a similar one would be in court, and not re-opened, unless it was clearly shown, that with ordinary diligence the testimony, (material,) could not have been procured, or that some point that could not have been anticipated was raised, which took the party by surprise.

R. M‘CLELLAND, Secretary. Commissioner of the General Land Office.

No. 685.

A Rehearing will not be granted, unless upon the production of new and

material testimony.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

March 16, 1858. Your letter of the 28th ultimo, directed to the President, requesting a re-opening of the contested pre-emption case between yourself and W. W. Koons, having been referred to this Department, I have to advise you, that the case has been decided by me, and the same cannot be re-opened, unless upon the production by you of new and material testimony, which could not have been obtained, or was not known at the time of the former hearing. The action in the case will otherwise be final, so far as the Executive Departments are concerned, and you must resort to the courts for such relief as you may be entitled to.

Very, &c.,

J. THOMPSON, Secretary. S. G. Stevens, Fort Dodge, Iowa.

No. 686.

A new trial granted in a case where one party proves an earlier date of

settlement than the one erroneously fixed in his Declaratory Statement.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

February 3, 1859. Herewith I return the papers received with your letter of 8th December last, appertaining to the pre-emption contest between Jonathan Davis and James Friley, each claiming the right of pre-emption to a certain tract of land in the Kickapoo, Kansas Territory, Land District. In view of the fact that the said Davis proved, at the time the case was heard by the Register and Receiver, an earlier date of settlement than that fixed in his declaratory statement, and inasmuch as said Friley appears to have been surprised thereby, a reinvestigation of the case will be ordered. You are therefore requested to remand said case to the land office for a rehearing.

J. THOMPSON, Secretary. Commissioner of the General Land Office.

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No. 687.

A reconsideration is not granted, unless material evidence has been dis

covered. The purchase of a Pre-emption Right, by a party innocent of any know

ledge of fraud, will create no equity in such purchaser.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, May 21, 1859. Sir:-I have to acknowledge the recept of your letter of the 25th April last, in regard to the rejection of Jacob L. Huggins' pre-emption entry of the north half of the northeast quarter, and the north half of the northwest quarter of section 24, township 120, range 31, Forest City District, Minnesota, by my decision of the 27th December, 1858.

Passing by the question, whether the rejection, under the Act of 26th June, 1856, is not as conclusive in a case reported by the Commissioner as a confirmation would be, I remark : First, That a reconsideration of a case is not granted, generally, unless it is shown that material evidence is discovered which could not have been produced before the decision was made. Secondly, The affidavit of Dudley Taylor, endorsed by you, does not, in my opinion, establish the bona fide character of the claim of Huggins.

The law of Congress having made void all assignments of pre-emption rights before the issuance of a patent, the purchase from Huggins, by a party innocent of any knowledge of his fraud, will not create any equity in such assignee, which this Department can recognize in any way.

Very, &c., J. THOMPSON, Secretary. C. C. Andrews, Esq.

No. 688. Appeals to the President from Decisions of the Departments. As applications are frequently made to the President of the United States

by claimants who consider themselves aggrieved by the decisions of the Heads of the Executive Departments, and who, therefore, appeal to him for a reversal of those decisions, it is deemed proper to publish the following letter, addressed by the President to a highly respectable banking firm, which sets forth his reasons for declining to entertain such appeals.

Washington, December 12, 1859. Gentlemen :-I have received your letter of the 9th inst., containing a formal appeal to me from a decision of the Secretary of the Treasury against you on two points : Ist, his refusal to permit you to deposit at San Francisco any portion of the Government loan taken by you under the proposals

of the Secretary, of the 17th of December, 1858; and 2d, his refusal to refer the question to the Attorney-General.

In answer, I have to inform you that an appeal does not lie to the President from the decisions of the heads of the different Executive Departments. This has been settled both by judicial decisions and by the practice of the Government, including that of the present Administration. Their acts and decisions are the acts and decisions of the President, for which he is held responsible; and they are his in fact, in all cases of difficulty and importance. It is for this, besides other reasons, that cabinet consultations are held twice in each week, where questions of public interest, as they arise, are canvassed and decided. If the President were bound to hear appeals from the heads of the different Departments in all cases where claimants consider themselves aggrieved, it would be impossible for him to undergo the labor. In that case, every claimant dissatisfied with the deci. sion of any Department might appeal to him for redress; and he would be obliged to re-examine the documents and papers and re-hear the arguments which had been submitted to such Department, and either affirm, reverse, or modify its decision. This would entirely change his intimate relations with his confidential advisers, converting them into inferior courts, and himself into a superior court of errors and appeals. Besides, there would be no equality between private parties and the Government. When the decision of the head of a Department was in favor of the claimant, it would be final; but, if it were against the claimant, he would be entitled to an appeal to the President. The truth is, such an appellate jurisdiction would render it impossible for the President to discharge his high duties to the country, and would resolve his office into a tribunal to hear and determine private claims in the last resort.

Nor is there the least necessity for any such jurisdiction. Congress, by the Act of February 24, 1855, established a Court of Claims for precisely such cases as you have presented. To that court, or to Congress, I beg leave respectfully to refer you.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

TITLE XVI.

Miscellaneous, including Virginia Military Bounty

Land Claims.*

No. 689. Circular to Registers, in relation to the location of Revolutionary Bounty Land Scrip, under Act of August 31, 1852.”

GENERAL LAND OFFICE,

August 17, 1853. Sir :-Enclosed herewith you will find a copy of the “Rules and Regulations” of this Office under the Act of Congress, approved August 31, 1852, entitled "An act making further provision for the satisfaction of Virginia Land Warrants.”

By referring to this Act, and section 10, Rules, &c., you will perceive that the scrip issued in satisfaction of this class of warrants " is receivable in payment of any lands owned by the United States, subject to sale at

* Virginia scrip cannot be applied by pre-emptors. It can be applied as so much gold and silver in the purchase of any land subject to sale at private entry, and may be used in payment for lands held at graduated prices, and also for railroad lands.

Virginia land scrip is so far the representative of money as to be subject to the same equitable deductions, in case of indebtedness to, or frauds committed upon, the government, as may be made in the case of a sum of money from the government to one of its debtors.-(Opinion of Attorney-General, February 9, 1836, vol. 3, p. 35.)

The Treasury (Interior) Department may suspend the issuing of all or any portion of the scrip claimed on a warrant issued for a greater number of acres than may appear to be due, until the true amount can be ascertained.-(Opinion, April 28, 1836, vol. 3, p. 103.)

Land scrip issued in satisfaction of military bounty land warrants, must be regarded as real estate, and go, upon the death of the holder, to the heirs-at-law, and not to the executors and administrators.—(Opinion, November 9, 1838, vol. 3, p. 382.)

Land scrip issued upon the surrender of warrants issued for bounty lands, granted by the United States and by the State of Virginia, for services in the Revolution, should issue to the parties nominatim, and to heirs on due proof of heirship. (Opinion, October 1, 1830, vol. 2, p. 385.)

When issued according to the terms of the warrant, in certain cases, they must be assigned by all the heirs by name, and accompanied with proof of identity, heirship, and proof of assignment. Ib.

It must issue to the heirs or assignees, and not to executors or administrators ; for it is to be considered as belonging to the realty.- 1b.

The United States have assumed all unsatisfied outstanding military land warrants of the State of Virginia, issued by the proper authorities thereof, for revolutionary services of its officers, soldiers, seamen, and marines, such warrants having been fairly and justly issued in pursuance of the laws of the State.—(Opinion, January 7, 1854, vol. 6, p. 243.)

Land scrip of the United States, issued in exchange for bounty land scrip of the

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