« ZurückWeiter »
cu priating power. Whether, in a case like that presented for my opinion,
h such authority exists, depends entirely upon the provisions which Congress claim has made on the subject. If it has not been conferred by any act of Con. cu gress, it does not exist; and the application made by the Clerk of the House
of Representatives cannot be granted. That Congress has at all times reils taken this view of the constitution, will, I think, be manifest from the dif
ferent acts referred to in this opinion.
The 1st section of the act of 3d March, 1809, “ further to amend the seve eral acts for the establishment and regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments," which is relied on as authorizing this measure, contains the following provision:
"And the surns appropriated by law for each branch of expenditure in w the several departments shall be solely applied to the objects for which they
are respectively appropriated, and to no other : Provided, nevertheless, That, during the recess of Congress, the President of the United States may, and he is hereby authorized, on the application of the Secretary of the proper department, and not otherwise, to direct (it in his opinion necessary for the public service) that a portion of the moneys appropriated for a particular branch of expenditure in that department be applied to another branch of expenditure in the same departinent; in which case, a special account of the moneys thus transferred, and of their application, shall be laid before Congress during the first week of their next ensuing session."
This provision was confined to three executive departments of the Government, to wit: the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments; and even pub in them great caution is used, lest a misapplication of the money appropriEated might be made. There are very strong reasons why this power should
be given by Congress to the President, in regard to appropriations made for Bob these departments, which, no doubt, apply to the case under consideration.
In carrying into effect, in the recess of Congress, the objects of the different
appropriations, it wonld frequently happen that the estimates made would turn out, upon experiment, to be wholly erroneous, on account of a differri ence existing between the estimated and real prices of labor, provisions, and,
materials, &c., growing out of a change of circumstances in the affairs of
the country which could not be foreseen. This could not ordinarily hap. - pen, in any material degree, in regard to the expenditures of the House of
Representatives. Of them, a probable estimate could generally, if not always, be made, which would not vary far from the truth; the principal item being for printing, which is done under a contract fixing the price. I therefore cannot believe that this case comes within the reason of the act referred to; and, in my judgment, it is a clear case for the application of the maxim-expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
The act of March 3, 1917, supplementary to the act aforesaid, imposes a restriction upon the powers conferred upon the President by the preceding act, and declares that nothing contained in that act "shall be construed to authorize the President of the United States to direct any sum appropriated to fortifications, arsenals, armories, custom-houses, docks, navy yards, or buildings of any sort, or to munitions of war, or to the pay of the army or navy, to be applied to any other object of public expenditure.”
This last provision was modified, so far as relates to the support of the military establishment; and, in that particular, the act of the 3d of March, 1809, was restored by the act of 16th of February, 1818, as to appropriations made prior to the 1st of January, 1817.
The act of the 3d of May, 1820, so far annuls the act of the 3d of March, 1809, as to authorize the President to direct a portion of the moneys appropriated for any of the following branches of expenditure in the military department, to wit: for the subsistence of the army, for forage, for the medical and hospital departments, and for the quartermaster's department to be applied to any other of the abovementioned branches of expenditure in the same department. And the President is authorized by said act to direct a portion of the moneys appropriated for any of the following branches of expenditure in the naval department, to wit: for provisions, for medicine and has pital stores, for repairs of vessels, and for clothing, to be applied to any other of the abovementioned branches of expenditure in the same department; and that no transfers of appropriation from or to other branches of expenditure shall be thereafter made." And this act also repeals so much of the act of the 16th of February, 1818, as is above referred to. The act of the 6th of April
, 1838, making appropriations for the civil and diplomatic expenses of the Government for the year 1938, confers the same power on the President, in relation to the transfer of funds appropriated for the Post Office Department, under one head of service, to any other trauch of the public service in the said department, which he possessed under former laws, as to transfers in the other departments.
I have been thus particular in referring to the different acts of Congress upon this subject, not only for the purpose of showing the vigilance and eartion which have been exercised by that body in guarding this power, (which
, from necessity, in certain cases was conferred on the Executive,) from aby possible abuse, but also for the purpose of showing that, where Congress deemed this authority of transfer necessary and proper, it has been conserred on the President expressly. But even in these cases, it is never to be es: ercised, except upon the application of a responsible head of an executive department, to whom is confided the execution of that branch of the pablic service. In this case, the application is made by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, who has not been directed by any law to make it; and the object is, the disposition of the money designed and provided by Congress for the accommodation and convenience of the members of the House, by Executive interference, without any law anthorizing it.
I am aware of the existence of but one precedent in favor of the power of the President to make the transfer asked for. In the year 1824 a similar tra
was made, upon a failure of the contingent fund of the House of Representatives. Upon full consideration, I am unable to discover any legal sanction for the act, and am constrained to say that I do not think the case was well considered. The conclusion to which I have arrived is, that the President does not possess the power to act in the case now before me; and my convictions are too strong to permit me to advise him to follow a single precedent, which, in my judgment, was not warranted by law.
I am, sir, &c., &c.,
FELIX GRUNDY To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE,
April 9, 1839.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the fich instant, accompanied by a communication from the Commissioner of Paters,
presenting the following question for my opinion : "Whether the legal representatives of an original patentee can obtain an extension of a patent in a case where the original patentee, if living, would be entitled to such extension upon his own application ?"
By the 5th section of the act of 4th of July, 1836, entitled “ An act to promote the progress of useful arts, and to repeal all acts and parts of acts heretofore made for that purpose,” it is provided that all patents issuing from the office of the Commissioner of Patents shall, in its terms, grant to the applicant or applicants, his or their heirs, executors, administrators, or as. signs, for a term not exceeding fourteen years, the full and exclusive right ind liberty of making, using, and vending to others to be used, the said invention or discovery.
In section 10 of the same act it is further provided, that when any peron hath made, or shall have made, any new invention, discovery, or improvement, on account of which a patent might, by virtue of this act, be franted, and such person shall die before any patent shall be granted thereor, the right of applying for and obtaining such patent shall devolve on he executor or administrator of such person, in trust for the heirs-at-law of he deceased, if he shall have died intestate; but, if otherwise, then in trust or his devisees, in as full and ample manner, and under the same conditions, imitations, and restrictions, as the same was held, or might have been laimed or enjoyed, by such person in his or her lifetime:
The 18th section of the same act declares, that whenever any patentee of n invention or discovery shall desire an extension of his patent beyond le term of its limitation, he may make application therefor, in writing, to le Commissioner of the Patent Office, setting forth the grounds thereof, &c. Upon a view of all these provisions, it is evident that Congress intended afford to the author of every useful invention or discovery an opportunity indemnify himself for his labor and expense in making such invention discovery, by giving to him its exclusive use for a period of time which ight answer that purpose ; and provision is expressly made, in case of s death before his first application, that his executor or administrator ay, upon application, obtain a patent for the benefit of his estate. Congress resaw that cases would occur in which this indemnity would not be obned within the fourteen years limited in the patent; therefore it is proled that an extension of the patent may be procured. Under such circumnces, I can see no reason why an executor or administrator should be rmitted to obtain a patent in the first instance, which will not apply with ial force to the extension of a patent, upon a case being properly made out. I am, therefore, of opinion that the board of commissioners created by
18th section of the act above referred to have jurisdiction, and may act on the application of Henry Nyman, administrator of Ezra Slifer, and :ide on the same, in the same manner as though the application had been de in the lifetime of the latter.
I am, sir, &c., &c.,
FELIX GRUNDY. l'o the SECRETARY OF STATE.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE,
April 10, 1839. IR: I have had the honor to receive your communication referring to for my opinion thereon, the conflicting claims of Daniel Whitney and
George McWilliams. The facts of the case appear to be these : On the 16th day of November, 1835, the sales of public lands commenced at Green Bay; and on that day the lot of land now in controversy was set up at auction, and struck off to Daniel Whitney. After the sale, and on the same day, Whitney paid for the land, and took the usual receipt. After this, but still on the same day, evidence was offered to the register and receiver to prove that James D. Doty had, during the sale, and before the lot in question was struck off to Whitney, nodded to the auctioneer; which nod was intended for a bid above that of Whitney, but was un perceived or disregarded by the auctioneer. Upon this evidence, the land officers determined again to offer the lot for sale at auction on the next day, notified Whitney of the fact, and offered to refund him his money. On the next day the land was accordingly offered again for sale, and struck off to George McWilliams, who assigned it to James D. Doty. In this state of the case, my opinion is asked as to which of these two sales should be avoided, and which confirmed.
This case does not require me to decide to what extent, and what kind of, errors or mistakes committed at the sales of public lands can be corrected elsewhere than at the General Land Office ; nor does it require me to decide how far, and under what circumstances, the act of nodding is to be considered as a bid ; nor am I required to say whether the act of striking the land off by an auctioneer, of itself conclusively settles the question of sale. I am clearly of opinion, however, that the bid of James D. Doty in this case (if, indeed, it can be considered as a bid at all) was not made known as soon as, under the circumstances of the case, it might and ought to have been made known. When he made his bid, and saw that it was unobserved or disregarded, and heard the land cried upon the preceding bid, and ultimately struck off to another, the fact should have been promptly and openly disclosed at the moment, if at all, and the aid of the land offcers been at once invoked to remedy the inobservance or neglect of the auctioneer. This does not appear to me to have been done with that proniptitude which the case required. I am therefore of opinion that jos tice and policy require that the patent for the lot in controversy should be issued to Whitney. I am, sir, &c., &c.,
FELIX GRUNDY. To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE,
April 11, 1839.
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your communication relative to the claim of Mr. Henshaw, late collector of the port of Boston, to certain fears and emoluments of office.
On the 2d of March, 1799, an act of Congress was approved, entitled “An act to establish the compensation of officers employed in the collection of duties on imports and tonnage." The 4th section of this act provides that whenever a collector shall die or resign, the commissions w which he would have been entitled on the receipt of all duties bonded by him, shall be equally divided between the collector resigning, or the legal representatives of such deceased collector, and his successor in office
duty it shall be to collect the same ; and for this purpose, all the official books, papers, and accounts of the collector resigning or deceased, shall be delivered over to such successor.”
On the 7th of May, 1822, another act of Congress relative to the same subject matter was approved, entitled “ An act further to establish the compensation of officers of the customs,” &c. The 7th section of this act establishes a new rate of compensation in relation to various collectors; among which, was the collector of the port of Boston. And the 9th section provides, " that whenever the emoluments of any collector of the customs of either of the ports of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, or New Orleans, shall exceed four thousand dollars in any one year, after deducting the necessary expenses incident to his office in the same year, the excess shall, in every such case, be paid into the Treasury, for the use of the United States."
The legal question presented for my consideration is, whether these provisions of the act of 1822 repeal the provision of the act of 1799, above referred to ? If this were a new question, unaffected by the practice of the Treasury Department, or by judicial interpretation, my opinion would be in the affirmative ; but the almost uniform usage of the department, under the law of 1822, is based upon an opposite construction of it. There are also some judicial decisions entitled to high respect, which seem to sanction the same view. Under these circumstances, my opinion is, that the depart. ment should continue its former practice until Congress shall act on the subject, and the law of 1822 be considered as not repealing the abovementioned provision of the act of 1799. I am, sir, &c., &c.,
FELIX GRUNDY. To the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE,
April 13, 1839. Sır: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communicaion of yesterday, asking my opinion relative to the proper construction of he act of Congress approved the 3d of March last, providing for the disribution of five thousand four hundred and sixty-five dollars ($5,465) of rize money among the officers and crew of two gun-boats therein speciied, as a reward for a gallant and praiseworthy act performed by said offi. ers and crews during the year 1816. It will be observed that the act apropriating this money directs that it "shall be distributed as prize-money," nd does not direct specifically what proportion of it each officer and each ne of the crews of said gun-boats shall receive. Under these circumances, my opinion is that Congress intended that it should be distributed
the proportions and to the persons pointed out by the general laws and gulations of the navý applicable to the subject. The act of Congress approved 23d of April, 1800, entitled " An act for e better government of the navy of the United States," contains the rules i this subject; and the first clause of the 6th section of that act provides at prize money shall be distributed as follows: "To the commanding ofers of fleets, squadrons, or single ships, three-twentieths-of which, the mmanding officer of the fleets or squadrons shall have one twentieth, if