United States v. Bryan & Woodcock - 13 U.S. 374 (1815)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Bryan & Woodcock, 13 U.S. 9 Cranch 374 374 (1815)
United States v. Bryan & Woodcock
13 U.S. (9 Cranch) 374
The fifth section of the Act of 3 March, 1797, giving a priority of payment to the United States out of the acts of their debtors, did not apply to a debt due before the passing of that act, although the balance was not adjusted at the Treasury until after the act was passed.
This was an attachment of the effects of Hendrickson, a bankrupt, in the hands of his assignees, Bryan & Woodcock.
Hendrickson was surety for George Bush, late collector of the customs at Wilmington, in an official bond dated in 1791. Bush died on 2 February, 1797. By an adjustment of his accounts at the Treasury in 1801, it appeared that the balance against him was $3,453.06.
In the court below it was agreed that the case should depend on the question
"Whether, under the 5th section of the Act of Congress of March 3, 1797, the United States is entitled to satisfaction of its demand
out of the effects of the bankrupt Hendrickson in the hands of the garnishees, as assignees of the bankrupt, prior to the claims, or any part of them, of other creditors of the said bankrupt being satisfied?"
The judgment in the court below was against the United States, and it brought their writ of error.