Nicholas v. Anderson - 21 U.S. 365 (1823)
U.S. Supreme Court
Nicholas v. Anderson, 21 U.S. 8 Wheat. 365 365 (1823)
Nicholas v. Anderson
21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 365
Under the Act of Assembly of Virginia of October, 1783, for the better locating and surveying the lands given to the officers and soldiers on continental and state establishments, the State of Virginia has no right to call upon the person who was appointed one of the principal surveyors to account for the fees received by him of one dollar for every hundred acres on delivering the warrants, towards raising a fund for the purpose of supporting all contingent expenses, the bill filed by the attorney general of the state to compel an account, not sufficiently averring the want of any proper private parties in esse to claim it.
Quaere whether in such a case the assignees of the warrants, or a part of them, suing in behalf of the whole, could maintain a suit in equity for an account?
This was a bill in equity, filed by, and in the name of the Attorney General of Virginia, under the authority of a Special Act of the Legislature of that state passed on 15f February, 1813.
The bill charged that the Legislature of Virginia, by an act passed in October session, 1783, among other things provided that all persons holding officers' or soldiers' warrants by assignment should pay down to the principal surveyor, at the time of the delivery of such warrants, one dollar for every hundred acres thereof, exclusive of the legal surveyor's fees, towards raising a fund for the purpose of paying all contingent expenses, &c., as will appear by reference to the act. That the deputations of officers, in pursuance of the said act, appointed two principal surveyors, one of whom was the defendant, and who immediately took upon himself the duties of the office, and exacted, in virtue of the act of 1783, from all the holders of the military warrants, the one dollar per one hundred acres above provided for. That the defendant had received a large sum of money in this way, and had refused to account for the same to the complainant, and the agents and attorneys appointed for this purpose under the act of 1813. It further charged a misapplication of the money, and that the deputations of officers, under the act of 1783, did appoint superintendents, &c., but that most of them are long since dead, and the survivors have declined to act for many years. It proceeded to state the substance of the act of 1813, which authorized Colonel John Watts, the surviving superintendent, agent to settle with the defendant and to receive the moneys remaining unappropriated in his hands, and if not paid, to sue for and recover the same in the name of the Attorney General of Virginia, and then charged
that the defendant refused to account with Watts and concluded with a prayer for an account, discovery, and general relief. To this bill the defendant demurred, and the Circuit Court of Kentucky, upon argument of the demurrer, held it valid and dismissed the bill. The cause was then brought by appeal to this Court.