MVB, Report on the petition of Zadock Rider et al., 2 February 1818
The Attorney General, to whom was refered the petition of Zadock Rider and others, possessors of Lot No. 28, Free mason's patent, reported—
That by the evidence submitted to him by the petitioners, the following facts have been satisfactorily established, viz,
1st. That the premises in question were originally granted to Allen M'Dougle, who probably was a nominal patentee for the benefit of John Weatherhead. That the same were released by M'Dougle to Weatherhead, in pursuance of the trust upon which they were originally granted, and were forfeited to this state by the attainder of the said Weatherhead, for adhering to the enemy during the revolutionary war.
2d. That the said premises, together with several other tracts, were mortgaged by Weatherhead to Thomas Wormald and others in England, before his attainder, which mortgage was by them assigned to John Thurman, and after long litigation was ultimately discharged by the state, by the allowance of a part thereof against quit-rents due from the estate of the said John Thurman, and the payments of the residue. This was pursuant to an act of the legislature of the 15th of April, 1814.
3d. That as early as the year 1776, a deed was given, or pretended to have been given, by one Allen M'Dougle to Henry Platner, of the county of Columbia, for the premises, which deed was acknowledged but not recorded.
4th. That in 1794, Nathan and Isaac Bumpus, for the consideration of £755 purchased the said lot of the said Henry Platner, and entered into the immediate possession thereof. That the petitioners have succeeded, by sundry mesne conveyances, to the interest of the said Nathan and Isaac Bumpus in the lot.
5th. That in 1799, a new mortgage was given by the said Nathan and Isaac Bumpus to John Bay, Esq. for $1519 87, who was assignee of the original mortgage given to Platner, being for the residue of the consideration money which had not been paid to Platner. The Attorney General is satisfied, that the said last mentioned mortgage was given under a belief that the mortgagers would be able to protect themselves under the title of Platner, but no evidence has been submitted to him to shew that any fraudulent representation was made by Mr. Bay to obtain said mortgage, or that there was on his part any want of good faith or fairness towards the petitioners.
6th. That shortly after the mortgage was thus given to Mr. Bay, a number of ejectments were brought against the petitioners and those whose interest they have, in behalf of John Thurman, on the mortgage of Weatherhead aforesaid, which after a protracted litigation was settled by each defendant paying him fifty dollars besides the payment of their own costs and expenses.
7th. That the petitioners becoming apprehensive as to the title of Platner, filed a bill in chancery against Platner & Bay, to be relieved from the payment of their mortgage; but after long and very expensive litigation their bill was dismissed with costs, and they compelled to pay the amount of the said mortgage.
8th. That as early as the year 1803, proceedings were instituted in behalf of the state against the premises, as confiscated property, and a certificate of title from the then Attorney General obtained, but that owing to his apprehensions that the title of Thurman would prevail, no further proceedings were had on the part of the state, nor any claim set up to the premises, until after the year 1814, when the state had provided for the extinguishment of the mortgage to Wormald and others as aforesaid.
9th. That by the act of the 31st of March, 1802, entitled "an act to facilitate the discovery and sale of the estates of attained persons," the petitioners and those whose estate they have, were entitled to have the said lands appraised and sold to them by the state for their value, exclusive of improvements made since the forfeiture; provided one sixth of the appraised value was paid in nine months from the time of the appraisement. The appraisement was made, but the money not paid, in consequence of the disposition manifested on the part of the state to abandon their claim. In April, 1817, a law was passed for the relief of the petitioners, securing to them the benefit of the act of 1802, if they paid the instalment within nine months from the passing of the act of 1817.
10th. The petitioners state, that they have presented several petitions to the legislature in the year 1798, and in 1805, praying the state to assert their title to the land, if they had any, and to protect them from the claims of Thurman and Platner, and it does appear by the Journals, that in 1805, a petition was presented by them and refered to the Attorney and Surveyor Generals, but it does not appear that any report was made thereon. They have not complied with the privileges of the act of 1817, in the hope of getting from the legislature further relief, to obtain which is the object of the present position. The expenses, trouble and sacrifices of the petitioners have undoubtedly been great, and the assertion and maintenance of the title of the state, has not been as prompt and efficacious as it ought perhaps to have been.
How far these considerations entitle them to the interference prayed for, is for the legislature to decide.
M. VAN BUREN, Attorney General.
Albany, Feb 2d, 1818.