The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 1: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session Page: 69
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Stipulated reward* But, to satisfy the Senator from
New York that the Government had no right to a
claim of surplus in this case, he would inform that
.Senator that, although in the first quarter of the
year 1829, Mr. Ilsley received $1,108 72 (less
the incidental expenses of his office,) his successor
in the remaining three quarters received only 01,863
11; the whole being less than the maxium sum of
$3>000, to which the collectorship for the year was
The act of Congress of 7th May, 1822, provides
that, when the fees and emoluments of the collectors
of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Charleston, and New Orleans, shall exceed $4,000
in any one year, and those of other collectors
$3,000 each, deducting the incidental expenses of of-
fice, the surplus over those sums respectively shall
be paid into the United States treasury. But until
a collector received the maximum sum individually,
the act of 1822 did not reach him. And this was
the view taken by the circuit and district courts
of the United States. He referred to an analo-
fous case, exactly in point. It was that of the
Tinted States in the first circuit vs. Pearce et al.
Mr. PHELPS also referred to analogous cases, as
to receivers of public moneys in the land offices,
■where the compensation grew out of the allowance
of one per cent, on the receipts, till it reached a fixed
sum. The decisions of the courts in such cases
had always been in conformity with the principle of
Mr. WRIGHT said he would be very glad to
know, from the honorable chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, [Mr. Berrien,] and from his friend
from Vermont, [Mr. Phelps,] what they under-
stood to be the practical operation of this judicial
rule, or whether his own understanding of it was
correct. His understanding was, that the courts
which they referred to had settled permanently that,
in computing the emoluments of the offices and the
rights of the officers, the year shall commence on
the day on which the incumbent (akes office, and
shall be calculated year by year during his official
life, until he resigns; but, if there be a fraction of
a year, and during that fraction he receives the
whole compensation allowed him by law, it is his own
good luck, and he is entitled to it. The compensa-
tion or emolument which the officer derives from his
office at this port is $3,000.
Mr. BERRIEN observed, No, sir.
Mr. WRIGHT. Shall not exceed—
Mr. BERRIEN again: No, sir. The words of
the act are, that after deducting the expenses inci-
dental to the office, the emoluments of the officer
shall not in any one year exceed $3,000.
Mr. WRIGHT replied that the statement of the
honorable chairman was correct. He would now
apply this judicial rule, and would beg the gentle-
man to let him know if he was correct. He (Mr.
B.) is collector for a certain port on the 1st of Janu-
ary, 1843, and for the first three months of that year
he receives $3,000, which he has a right, under this
rule, to retain. The office is then conferred upon
himself, (Mr. W.,) who holds it for the next three
months, and receives emoluments amounting to
$3,000, then resigns; and the office is conferred uron
his friend from Vermont, [Mr. Phelps,] who re-
ceives a like sum; and upon a fourth person, who
holds it for the remaining three months. Now, at
the end of the calendar year, each has received
and retained $3,000—consequently the Govern-
ment is at an expense of $12,000, when the
law is that the annual emoluments shall not
exceed $3,000. He (Mr. W.) did not advance
this argument for the mere purpose of oppo-
sing the claim, but to show the abuses to which such
a rule would be subject, if suffered to prevail. The
" port of New York furnished a parallel rule, which
might be taken as an example. The emoluments of
the collector of this port are $4,000 a year, which
is all he can retain; but the whole emoluments of
the office are more than $4,000 in any one quarter
of the year. All he could then say was, that the
amount should be settled on a different principle.
The subject, he had no doubt, would receive due
consideration. The purpose for which he had ris-
se was answered. If he had correctly applied the
operation of the rule, it was a matter of very great
surprise to him that Congress should have so much
mistaken its purpose as to have passed such a law.
Mr. BERRIEN, after a few remarks as to what
he considered an extreme case put by the Senator
from New York, contended that the interpretation
put upon the existing law by the United States
courts, was the only pne on the point of which that
law was susceptible. This was a principle which
had hitherto governed the courts of the United
States in the decisions on such cases; and it would be
peculiarly hard to deny it to this individual, who was
as well entitled to its favorable interpretation as
others who had already received its benefits. The
question now before the Senate was, not whether
the judicial law may or may not, in its practical
operations, lead to such results as the Senator from
New York supposes; but whether the principle of
the bill is a correct interpretation of the law of the
land. Now, he (Mr. B.) contended that no one who
looked into the law itself, and the decisions of the
courts in respect to it, could doubt the propriety of
the interpretation which had been given to it by
those courts. He desired the attention of the Sena-
tor from New York to the point, that the law had
not fixed the compensation at $3,000, nor could Such
an interpretation be given to it. What the law did
fix was, that if the collector's fees did not exceed
$3,000, he should have the whole as compenastion
for his services; but if the fees exceeded that sum,
after deducting the incidental expenses of his office,
he should pay tire surplus over $3,000 into the
treasury. As the fees were received for services
rendered, whatever the individual in office received
within the sum of $3,000; belonged to him, and the
Government could nave no claim for surplus out ofit.
No further observations being made, and no amend-
ment proposed, the bill was reported back to the
Senate; and the question was then stated by the
Chair to be on ordering it to be engrossed for a
third reading. On this question—
Mr. TAPPAN called for the yeas and nays; which
Mr. WOODBURY observed that the yeas and
nays being called, he would inquire of the chairman
of the Judiciary Committee, whether the correspond-
ence between the Treasury Department; and the
claimant was among the papers attached to the com-
Mr. BERRIEN said it was.
Mr. WOODBURY remarked that he would like
to hear it read.
Mr. BERRIEN, in reply, observed that as the bill
had unexpectedly come up while there was only a
thin attendance of Senators, and there was no press-
ing necessity for proceeding with it to-day, hi
order to give time to the Senator from New Hamp-
shire to read the coirespondence and report, and to
afford the Senator from New York an opportunity
of further investigating the matter, it would, per-
haps, be as well to postpone the further consider-
ation of the bill to some day at the beginning of next
Mr. WOODBURY assented, and called the atten-
tion of the chairman of the Judiciary Committee,
in the mean time, to another act of Congress [the
title not distinctly heard] of a restrictive nature.
Mr BERRIEN suggested that the bill might be
postponed till this day week.
It was accordingly postponed, and made the order
of the day for Tuesday next.
Mr. KING presented a memorial, signed by cer-
tain individuals as the president and directors of the
Bank of Potomac, and the Farmers' Bank of Alex-
andria, representing that the charters of those insti-
tutions will soon expire; and that, if they are per-
mitted to do so, it would have a ruinous effect upon
the citizens of that place, who had invested all their
means to aid in the construction of the canal; and
praying that those charters may be extended to such
time as may be pleasing to Congress:, referred to the
Committee on the District of Columbia.
On motion by Mr. KING, it was
Resolved, That the Committee ou the Judiciary be in-
structed to inquire into the expediency of making appro-
priation for the construction of a building in the city of Mo-
bile for the accommodation of the district court, or for the
repair of the room connected wilh the custom house, here-
tofore used for that purpose,
Mr. BREESE submitted the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be instruct-
ed to inform the Senate how many suits have been instituted
by the United States against citizens of Illinois and Wiscon-
sin since the 4th day of March 1841, for alleged trespasses
upon the public lands; the final decision in each case, the
amount of recovery and damages, if any, against the defend-
ants, with the costs taxed against them severally, and the
kind of trespasses for which they were prosecuted; and, if
any such cases have been determined against the United
States, the amount of costs in each case so determined, and
how many such suits are now pending in said court.
Mr. ALLEN submitted the following resolution;
which lies one day on the table, under the rule:
Resolved, That the fortieth rule for conducting business
ia the Senate, and which requires the Senate to close its
doors when transacting executive businCW, 6e rescinded,
and the Senate shall hereafter sit with open 4©e*8 where
transacting all business, except .when acting uppB treaties,
and then the Senate shall sit with closed doors, as
under the fortieth rule.
On motion by Mr. HUNTINGTON, the Senate
then proceeded to the consideration of executive
business; and after some time spent therein,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Tdesday, December 26, 1843.
The journal of Friday was read and approved.
Mr. WILKINS offered a resolution, but, being
out of order at that time, its reception was objected
Mr. W. then moved a suspension of the
rules, in order that his resolution might be received.
Mr. C. J. 1NGERSOLL desired to know whether
the business before the House, at the time of the ad-
journment on Friday, was not the reception of peti-
tions; and whether that would not, consequently, b£
the first business in order.
The SPEAKER replied, that at the time of the
adjournment on Friday, the House was engaged inf
the reception of petitions; and had arrived, in the
course of the call upon States and Territories, at
the Territory of Florida. The Chair understood,
however, the practice of the House to have been,
whenever a question had been offered upon which
debate arose, the subject was passed over until the
next day, when it was taken up as the first business
in order. Consequently, in the opinion of the
Chair, the petition offered by the gentleman from
New York, on the subject of postages, upon which
a debate had arisen, was now the first business be-
fore the House.
The Speaker being about to put the question on
the motion to suspend the rules—
Mr. WILKINS modified his proposition for sus-
pending the rules, so that the States might be called
upon for resolutions.
Mr. HAMLIN observed that, in a very few mo-
ments, they would arrive at what the gentleman de-
sired, in the regular order of business.
Mr. ADAMS said he desired to ask a question
before voting on the proposition to suspend the rules.
Some days ago, the House went into Committee of
the Whole, for the purpose of distributing the Pres-
ident's message in several parcels to differedt stand-
ing committees. The Committee of the Whole had
not made a final report, but had left the business in-
complete. He desired to know whether, that por-
tion of the business being incomplete, the whole pro-
ceedings of the committee were not entirely sus-
Mr. HAMLIN inquired whether it was in order
for the gentleman from Massachusetts to pursue a
course which was not permitted to others—that of
discussing questions not debatable.
The SPEAKER observed that the gentleman
was not discussing the question.
Mr. ADAMS. Certainly not. I was merely ask-
ing a question, which was, when the business I
had referred to was to be taken up; because if the
present motion was to interfere with that, I would
be opposed to it.
The SPEAKER remarked that the references to
which the gentleman had alluded had not been
made, inasmuch as the Committee of the Whole had
not reported to the House at all.
Mr. ADAMS said, he should then vote against
suspending the rules.
Mr. CAVE JOHNSON said, before the question
was put, he desired to read the twenty-third rule of
the House, which is as follows:
"All the States and Territories shall be called for
resolutions on each alternate Monday during each
session of -Congress; and if necessary to secure this
object on said days, all resolutions which shall give
rise to debate, shall lie over for discussion, under the
rules of the House already established; and the
whole of said days shall be appropriated to resolu-
tions, until all the States and Territories are called'
The States not having yet been called for resolu-
tions at all, it appeared to him that would now be
the business first in order.
The question was then put upon the motion for a
suspension of the rules, and negatived.
Mr. ADAMS inquired if it was in order now to
move to go into Committee of the Whole on the state
of the Union.
Th« SPEAKER replied that it would not be in
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 1: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, book, 1844; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2367/m1/93/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.