Report on the Petition of H. M. Barney, 9 March 18481
The Committee on Post offices, and Post roads, to whom was refered the Petition of H. M. Barney, Post master at Brimfield, Peoria county, Illinois, report–2
That they have been satisfied by evidence, that on the 15th of December 1847– said petitioner had his store, with some fifteen hundred dollars worth of goods, together with all the papers of the post-office, entirely destroyed by fire; and that the specie funds of the office, were melted down, partially lost, and partially destroyed; that his large individual loss, ^entirely^ precludes the idea of embezzlement; that the ballances due the department of former quarters has been only about twentyfive dollars; and that owing to the destruction of the papers, the exact amount due for the quarter ending December 31st 1847, can not be ascertained– They therefor report a joint resolution, releasing said petitioner from paying any thing for the quarter last mentioned–3
1Abraham Lincoln wrote this report, including the word “Report” on page two. The remainder of the docket on page two is in another hand. Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, searched for this document, but was unable to locate it.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:456-57.
2On January 18, 1848, Hiram M. Barney wrote William A. Richardson a letter requesting the latter’s assistance in getting relief for the losses of money owed the Post Office Department due to the fire on December 15, 1847. Richardson presented Barney’s petition in the House of Representatives on February 2. The House referred the petition to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, of which Lincoln was a member.
U.S. House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 346.
3The House ordered the joint resolution printed and referred it to the Committee of the Whole for consideration as an order of the day for March 10. The House passed the joint resolution on April 7. On April 10, the Senate referred the resolution to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads. The committee reported back the resolution on April 13 without amendment, but the Senate took no further action during the first session. The Senate passed the joint resolution on February 15, 1849. President James K. Polk approved the joint resolution on February 22, and the joint resolution became law.
U.S. House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 527, 662; U.S. Senate Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st sess., 266, 276; U.S. House Journal. 1849. 30th Cong., 2nd sess., 466, 481, 519; U.S. Senate Journal. 1849. 30th Cong., 2nd sess., 219, 234, 257.
Handwritten Document, 2 page(s), tray 12, folder 2, RG 233, Entry 364: Records of the United States House of Representatives, Thirtieth Congress, 1847-1849, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Committee Reports and Papers, 1847-1849, NAB