MVB and Simeon De Witt, Report on the petition of Benjamin Sanford, 2 April 1818
The Attorney General and Comptroller, on the petition of Benjamin Sanford, refered to them by the honorable the Assembly, reported:
That on the 20th December, 1814, it appears the petitioner obtained a loan from Hugh Boyd, James La Grange and Gilbert Stewart, the commissioners for improving the navigation of the Hudson river, below the city of Albany, out of certain public monies granted by the act, entitled "an act for the further improvement of the navigation of the Hudson river, between the village of Troy and Coeyman's overslaugh," passed June 15, 1812, amounting to $7628. That to secure this sum, the petitioner gave his bond to the commissioners in the sum of $15,256, conditioned as follows: "The condition of this obligation is such, that if the above bounden Benjamin Sanford, his heirs, executors and assigns, shall and do well and truly pay, or cause to be paid, unto the above named Hugh Boyd, James La Grange and Gilbert Stewart, commissioners, &c. or to their attorney, executors, administrators and assigns the just and full sum of seven thousand six hundred and twenty eight dollars, in manner as follows, viz.: one thousand dollars on the 20th December, 1815; also, one thousand dollars on the 20th December, 1816; also five thousand six hundred and twenty eight dollars December 20, 1817, provided the improvement of the Hudson river between Albany and Coeyman's needs it, without fraud or delay, then this obligation to be void, or else to remain in full force and virtue," and executed a mortgage at the same time on two parcels of land in the county of Onondaga, containing, together, 94 1/2 acres. That the said bond and mortgage, by an assignment endorsed on the mortgage, were assigned to the people of this state, on the 16th October, 1815, pursuant to the act, entitled "an act relative to the improvement of the navigation of Hudson's river" passed the 18th April, 1815: That as by the condition of the said bond, the obligee was not bound to pay interest, and inasmuch as there was no specific time fixed for the payment of the last instalment; but as the payment thereof was made to depend upon a contingency necessary to have happened, and to be shewn by the government before the payment thereof could be enforced the comptroller required another bond to be executed, of even date with the other, conditioned for the payment of the said sum, by instalments as follows: $1000 on 20th December, 1815; $1000 on 20th December, 1816; and the residue ($5628) on the 20th December 1817, with interest annually on the sum that should remain due: that the bond thus conditioned corresponded precisely with the description given of the bond in the mortgage. Both bonds have been retained, and now accompany the mortgage.
The Comptroller has not the most remote recollection of what the petitioner asserts about offering additional security. It is true that no additional security was demanded; for assurances were given by Mr. Stewart, that the securities taken were ample. Mr. Sandford readily assented to the giving of the new bond; and to make the business in that respect satisfactory, but nothing more that the Comptroller has any recollection of.
There has been but one year's interest paid on the said bond, and the mortgaged premises were sold by the Attorney General, on the 30th August last, and bid in by him, on behalf of the state, for $278 50, the sum at which they were appraised by persons by him appointed to survey and ascertain their value.
The petitioner prays that the Attorney General and Comptroller be directed to accept of a conveyance of real estate other than that mortgaged, in satisfaction of said debt, and to release to him the said mortgaged premises, and that the suit against the said commissioners be discontinued. Whether, under existing circumstances, it may not be expedient to grant the prayer of the petitioner, is for the honorable the Legislature to decide.
All which is respectfully submitted.
M. VAN BUREN, Attorney General.
ARCHd. M'INTYRE, Compt'r.
Albany, April 2, 1818.