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and deducted ont of subsequent payments accruing to the debtor'; to be computed as is directed by Chancellor Taylor. 4 Henning and Mumford's Reports, p. 431.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, October 29, 1851. SIR: I herewith return the papers in the case of Prudence Clarke, from your decision on which an appeal was taken by Mr. S. A. Peugh. I fully concur with you as to the propriety as well as justice of exacting interest on the money erroneously received by Mrs. C., but I cannot sanction the mode adopted by you, of computing interest in the statement rendered by you of the present condition of the account between the United States and Mrs. Clarke. And I find also upon an examination of the case,
that material error is committed in the allowance to a claimant of a credit for two years pension from the 4th March, 1841, to 4th March, 1843, when in fact during this period there was no law in existence granting such pension. The act of July 7th, 1838, having expired on the 4th March, 1841, and not having been revived to take effect until 4th March, 1843. I herewith transmit a statement of the account based upon the decisions of the courts in Virginia and several other States, respecting the legal and proper mode of computing interest by which you will be guided in adjudicating the claim of Mrs. C.; and for your future guidance in similar or other cases where interest is properly chargeable, you will adopt the rule laid down by Chancellor Taylor, of Virginia, in the case of Lightfoot vs. Price. 4 Hen. & Mumf. Rep. 431. "The proper mode of calculating interest where partial payments have been made is as follows: So much of any payment as is equal to the interest is to be applied to the discharge thereof, and the residue towards discharging the principal, unless the debtor at the time of the payment, or before, directed otherwise; that is to say, from the sum of principal and interest computed at the time of payment, the sum paid is to be deducted, and the balance to form a new capital, bearing interest; but with this caution, that the new capital be not more than the former; so that if the payment be less than the interest due at the time, the surplus of interest must not augment the remaining capital, because that would give interest on interest, which would be uulawful.”
You will place Mrs. Clarke's name on the pension roll under the act of July 7, 1838, and issue the certificate in her favor for whatever amount of arrears of pension which may appear due her upon a settlement of the account when stated in accordance with the above. I would further remark, in reference to the amount of pension which she received as accruing from the 4th March, 1836, to the 4th March, 1839, ($550,) that although it was paid to her under a mistake, or even through fraud and misrepresentation, still she was clearly entitled to it, had she made a proper application; and the manner in which she obtained it cannot so affect her rights as to render it liable to the charge of interest; hence, in the enclosed statement, I have not taken it into consideration in my computation of interest.
A. H. H. STUART.
[126.] Papers filed with applications for pensions or bounty lands cannot be withdrawn, but
certified copies may be had in their stead.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, November 1, 1851. Sir: In reply to your letter of the 11th ult., in relation to the discharge of Jeremiah Keeler, I have to inform you that if the discharge has been filed with the papers asserting a claim, it cannot be withdrawn. A certified copy, however, will be furnished on your application to the Commissioner of Pensions. O. T. KEELER, Esq.
A. H. H. STUART.
[127. ] Bounty land warrants regularly issued by the Department, however fraudulently obtained, are valid against the Government when they have passed into the hands of innocent purchasers without notice of the fraud which has been practised.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, November 10, 1851. SIR: I have considered the question submitted in your letter of the 18th July last, upon the cases presented by Messrs. Chubb & Schenck, and am of the opinion that the cancellation of the warrants referred to, should be removed upon satisfactory evidence that they are in the hands of innocent purchasers, without notice of the fraud which has been practised.
They are genuine warrants, issued from your office in due form of law, and any irregularity in the evidence upon which your office acted, or any fraud practised in procuring them, should not affect holders innocent of the irregularity or fraud.
The faith of the Government is pledged to the extent declared on the face of the warrants; and the carelessness or mistakes of public officers should work injury only to the Government which employs them, and not upon persons who act and invest their means upon the proper presumption that the business of the Gorernment is accurately transacted. Such warrants, therefore, as are regularly issued from your office, and are shown to have passed into the hands of innocent parties, must be located and dealt with in every way as if the evidence upon which they issued was perfect. The papers accompanying your letter are herewith returned.
A. H. H. STUART. COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS.
[128.] Claimants or agents may examine files and records connected with their claims, under
the immediate superintendence of the chief clerk.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, November 11, 1851. SIR: As the appeals from your office are very numerous, and it is alleged that the cause of the same is the prohibition of agents examining the papers, you will be pleased in all cases, when an agent shall produce satisfactory evidence that he is authorized to act for the claimants, to direct your chief clerk to permit their examination under his immediate inspection. I consider a letter or a power of attorney from the party claiming to be sufficient authority to authorize such examination. JAMES E. HEATH, Esq.
A. H. H. STUART.
[129.] The descent of arrears of pensions, under the acts of March 3, 1817, and June 19, 1840, is confined to the children of the deceased widow, which includes illegitimate children as well as legitimate.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, December 1, 1851. SIR: I have considered the case of Urcilla Leath, late widow of William Leath, presented for my decision in your letter of the 18th August last.
The only questions now arising in the case are: 1st. Can the illegitimate children of the deceased, born after the death of her husband, take the arrears due to said widow at the date of her death ? and 2d, In case they are not entitled, should said arrears be paid to her nephew and heir-at-law, Louis Dechart?
With regard to the second question, it is clear it must be answered in the negative. Both the law of March 3, 1817, under which the claim is made, and that of June 19, 1840, regulating the descent of arrears of pension, generally restrict the payment of such arrears to the widow or children of the person for whose services the pension was granted.
The first question is of more difficult solution. If Urcilla Leath had married and had children her pension would have ceased at the date of her marriage, and neither she nor they would have been able to set up this claim, and it would seem to be a strange anomaly in the law to show more favor to illegitimate children than those born in wedlock; and yet, whatever may have been the intention of its framers, such is its legal import.
If, instead of the words “child or children,” the word “heirs” had been used, the claimants could of course be excluded, under the law of descents in this district, but the words "child or children” have no such restricted sense.
They occur in the law not as descriptive of any legal relation, but as merely descriptio personce, and must as necessarily apply. to all offspring or issue of the body of her, under whom these persons claim, as if those had been the terms used.
I think, therefore, that the claim of Julia Ann Forrest, Francis Luckett, John Luckett, and Ellen Clements, must be allowed.
The administrator having waived the claim heretofore made by him, no decision is necessary as between him and the other parties. The papers relating to this case are herewith returned. JAMES E. HEATH, Esq.
ALEX. H. H. STUART.
[ 130.] A bounty land warrant, issued after the death of the soldier, must be cancelled, and the widow or minor children entitled to make a new application; but, if there be none, the grant lapses to the country.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, December 27, 1851. SIR: In reply to your letter of the 26th instant, “in relation to the location of a land warrant of a deceased soldier, issued under the act of September 28, 1850," I have to inform you that the 3d section of the act provides that the warrant may be located by the “heirs-at-law.” When the warrant is issued subsequent to the death of the soldier, under my construction of the law, the warrant becomes void and should be cancelled and the widow or minor children, if there be any, would be then entitled to make a new application; and if there be no widow or minor children the grant lapses under the limitation of the beneficiaries to the bounty.
A. H. H. STUART. Hon. D. T. JONES.
[131.] According to a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, sanctioned by the 3d section of the act of Congress of July 5th, 1832, as valid against the United States, any officer in the Virginia State line of the revolution, is entitled, for life, not only to baif pay as an officer, but to the half of the pay he may have been legally entitled to by reason of any additional duty performed, or position occupied; and any arrear thereof to go to his legal representative.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, January 27, 1852. . Sir: I herewith return the papers relating to the claim of William Reynolds for half pay under the act of July 5th, 1832, having examined the question last presented, whether or not he is entitled under the act to half the pay which he received as Director of the State Laboratory, or only to half of that which his linear rank as Lieutenant of Artillery gave him ?
By the act of 5th July, 1832, the Secretary of the Treasury, and by subsequent laws the Commissioner of Pensions and this Department, are required to adjust and settle claims of this character“ on the principles of the half pay cases already decided in the Supreme Court of Appeals" of the State of Virginia. That court
has decided, in the case of staff officers, that the “half pay" contemplated by the Virginia act of 1779 and the act of Congress of July 5th, 1832, is to be taken as half, not merely of the amount received by such officer monthly, as an officer of the line, but of whatever other amount he was legally entitled to, at the termination of his services, by reason of any additional duty performed, or position occupied. By the application of this "principle” to the present case, I have arrived at the conclusion that Reynolds' claim must be settled in the same manner, and that his representative is now entitled to one-half of the pay which he received at the close of the war, he holding, in addition to his linear rank of Lieutenant of the State Artillery, the position of Director of the State Laboratory, and receiving additional pay as such. COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS.
A. H. H. STUART.
[ 132.] A soldier on furlough is considered to be “in the service, "* and his title to bounty land shall not be diminished by deducting the term of his furlough.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, January 27, 1852. I have examined all the original papers in the Pension Office in regard to the claim of Jonathan Rogers for bounty land, and am at a loss to conceive any reasonable ground for an objection to the allowance of his claim. The papers, independently of your statement, show that he was enrolled 25th May, 1847, and mustered and received into service at Jeffersonville, for the war, on the 14th June, 1847, and received his clothing. By the rules of this Department, and also, as I believe, by those of the War Department, a soldier who has a furlough, or leave of absence, is still regarded as in the service; and therefore the statement made by you, in your certificate in favor of Mr. Rogers' claim, was strictly in accordance with the facts of the case. Hon. W. A. GORMAN.
A. H. H. STUART.
[ 133.] This grants the period of five years, as established by courts of equity, at the expiration of which no appeal can be taken against the adjudication of any claim in the Pension Office: occasion by an appeal to the Secretary of the Interior after the lapse of eighteen years, by the heirs of Thomas Murray, deceased; from the review of which, by the Secretary, the following is an extract, showing by the documents on file that the deceased was not a quartermaster, as alleged by the heirs or their agent, and could not at any time have established the claim set up.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, March 11, 1852. Upon an examination of the case of Thomas Murray, I find * To be “in the service," seems to be very much of a parallel with the vexed question of being “in the line of duty;" and, to our apprehension, we should say, they are conTertible terms. Consequently, a wound, disease or other disability occurring to a solo