Hayburn's Case from Hayburn's Perspective: The Failure of the First United States Law Addressing Compensation for Service Connected Disability
42 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 26, 2017
The first United States law addressing compensation for service connected disability, the act of March 23, 1792, failed to be acceptable to part of the federal judiciary and was replaced within a year.
Most accounts of Hayburn’s Case convey only in passing an understanding that William Hayburn was a Revolutionary War veteran seeking compensation for disability incurred during his military service and that the problem from which he sought relief arose because the first United States law addressing compensation for service connected disability was a legislative failure. Attempting to look at the case from Hayburn’s perspective, I thought it a legislative failure worthy of notice and study.
This paper is divided into three parts. The first summarizes Hayburn’s case. The second considers the role that Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, had in framing the issues addressed in the failed March 23, 1792 act. This is done by examining a number of reports Knox made to Congress about the petitions of veterans and survivors. The third section reviews the legislative circumstances that resulted in the act.
I. HAYBURN’S CASE 3
The Judiciary Act of 1789 4 Congress Enacts the New Nation’s First Law Addressing Invalid Pension 4 Hayburn Properly Files His Claim under the New Law with a Federal Circuit Court, but the Court Refuses To Hear It 5 Hayburn Unsuccessfully Petitions Congress for Relief 5 William Randolph, the Attorney General, Asks the Supreme Court to Compel the Circuit Court to Process Hayburn’s Claim 6 The Supreme Court Delays Consideration of Hayburn’s Case, and the Matter is Resolved Legislatively without a Court Decision 7 The Rest of the Story 8
II. THE REPORTS OF HENRY KNOX TO CONGRESS 10
The February 25, 1791 Report Titled “Invalid Pensions” 12 The Report on the Petition of Ruth Roberts 13 The Report on the Petition of Ezra Smith 14 The Report on the Petition of John Ely 15 The Report on the Petition of Jeremiah Ryan 16 The Report on the Petition of Alexander Powers 16 The Report on the Petition of Thomas Simpson 17 The Report on the Petition of Henry E. Lutterloh 17 The Report on the Petitions of the Survivors of Four Officers 17 Reports Titled “Seven Years Half-Pay to Widows and Children of Officers Who Died In Service” 18 The Report on the Petition of John Rogers 19 The Report on the Petition of Caleb Brewster 19 Report Titled “Claims of Officers in Captivity Not Barred by the Statute of Limitation” 20 Report Titled “Claims of Officers and Seamen in the Navy Barred by the Statute of Limitation” 20 The Report on Invalid Pension Applications Approved by the Eastern Circuit Court 20 The Report on the Petition of Peter Covenhoven 21 The Report on the Petition of William McHatton 22 Evaluating Knox’s Influence 23
III. THE LEGISLATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT LED TO THE MARCH 23, 1792 INVALID PENSION ACT 24
The Maelstrom 26 A Timeline of Congressional Consideration of Public and Private Veterans Legislation from October 24, 1791, to March 23, 1792 27 The Second Session of the Second United States Congress 29 The Wadsworth Committee 30 The Petitions Continue 30 Jeremiah Wadsworth Presents a Private Bill for the Relief of Certain Widows, Orphans, and Invalids, and a Second Private Bill for the Relief of Former Army Captain David Cook 32 The Appointment of the Laurance Committee 33 The Senate Gives Concurrence to the House’s Private Cook/Campbell Bill 34 In the Senate the Burr Committee is charged with Revising the Pension Laws 35 A Diversion in the House of Representatives 36 The Laurance Committee Bill As Written 37 The Senate Sends the House Laurance Committee Bill to a Committee Led By Benjamin Hawkins 39 The Senate Returns an Amended Laurance Committee Bill to the House 41 An Unsatisfied William Hayburn Petitions the House of Representatives for Relief 41 Concluding Remarks 42
Keywords: Veterans, Veterans Law, American History
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