United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/5th Congress/2nd Session/Chapter 26

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April 7, 1798.
Chap. ⅩⅩⅥ.—An Act for the relief of the Refugees from the British provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia.[1]


Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Notice to be given by the Secretary of the Treasury to claimants.to satisfy the claims of certain persons claiming lands under the resolutions of Congress, of the twenty-third of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, and the thirteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, as refugees from the British provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia, the Secretary for the department of War be, and is hereby authorized and directed to give notice in one or more of the public papers, of each of the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, to all persons having claims under the said resolutions, to transmit to the war office, within two years after the passing of this act, a just and true account of their claims to the bounty of Congress.

Sec. 2. What description of persons shall be entitled to the benefit of this act.And be it further enacted, That no other persons shall be entitled to the benefit of the provisions of this act, than those of the following descriptions, or their widows and heirs, viz: First, those heads of families, and single persons, not members of any such families, who were residents in one of the provinces aforesaid, prior to the fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, and who abandoned their settlements, in consequences of having given aid to the United Colonies or States, in the revolutionary war against Great Britain, or with intention to give such aid, and continued in the United States, or in their service, during the said war, and did not return to reside in the dominions of the king of Great Britain, prior to the twenty-fifth of November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. Secondly, the widows and heirs of all such persons as were actual residents, as aforesaid, who abandoned their settlements as aforesaid, and died within the United States, or in their service, during the said war: And thirdly, all persons who were members of families at the time of their coming into the United States, and who, during the war, entered into their service.

Sec. 3. Before whom proof of facts may be taken.And be it further enacted, That the proof of the several circumstances necessary to entitle the applicants to the benefits of this act, may be taken before a judge of the supreme or district court of the United States, or a judge of the supreme or superior court, or the first justice or first judge of the court of common pleas or county court of any state.

Sec. 4. Secretary of War and Secretary and Comptroller of the Treasury to examine and report upon the claims.And be it further enacted, That at the expiration of fifteen months from and after the passing of this act, and from time to time thereafter, it shall be the duty of the Secretary for the department of War, to lay such evidence of claims as he may have received, before the secretary and comptroller of the treasury, and with them, proceed to examine the testimony, and give their judgment what quantity of land ought to be allowed to the individual claimants, in proportion to the degree of their respective services, sacrifices and sufferings, in consequence of their attachment to the cause of the United States; allowing to those of the first class, a quantity not exceeding one thousand acres; and to the last class, a quantity not exceeding one hundred, In what manner their judgment thereon is to be regulated.making such intermediate classes as the resolutions aforesaid, and distributive justice, may, in their judgment, require; and make report thereof to Congress. And in case any such claimant shall have sustained such losses and sufferings, or performed such services for the United States, that he cannot justly be classed in any one general class, a separate report shall be made of his circumstances, together with the quantity of land that ought to be allowed him, having reference to the foregoing ration: Provided, that in considering what compensation ought to be made by virtue of this act, all grants, except military grants, which may have been made by the United States, or individual states, shall be considered at the just value thereof, at the time the same were made, respectively, either in whole or in part, as the case may be, a satisfaction to those who may have received the same: Provided also, that no claim under this law Claims not assignable until grants are made.shall be assignable until after report made to Congress, as aforesaid, and until the said lands be granted to the persons intitled to the benefit of this act.

Sec. 5. Limitation of claims.Be it further enacted, That all claims, in virtue of said resolutions of Congress, which shall not be exhibited as aforesaid, within the time by this act limited, shall forever thereafter be barred.

Approved, April 7, 1798.