Strong v. United States
73 U.S. 788 (1867)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Strong v. United States, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 788 788 (1867)

Strong v. United States

73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 788

Syllabus

1. The sureties of a purser stationed at a navy yard are liable for the defaults of their principal in failing to disburse or account for moneys remitted to him as purser notwithstanding the principal disbursed moneys during the period of the defalcation which would have been disbursed by a navy agent if there had been such an officer at that navy yard. Such disbursement does not constitute the purser making them a navy agent, as distinguished from a purser.

2. The legal effect of the provisions of the Act of August 26, 1842, 5 Stat. at Large 535 -- requiring purchases of supplies for the use of the navy to be made with the public moneys appropriated for the purpose, under such directions and regulations as the executive may prescribe -- was to repeal former regulations in respect to pursers and to require new "directions and regulations" in their place. And since the enactment just mentioned (even if the case was not so before), pursers in the navy may be directed to make such purchases on public account and to disburse any moneys for the use of the navy as appropriated by law.

3. Unofficial letters of a subordinate officer of the Treasury are not admissible evidence in a suit for defalcation against a disbursing agent to contradict nor even to explain the adjustment of his accounts as shown in the certified transcripts.

4. Disbursing agents, being required by law to settle their receipts and disbursements with the accounting officers of the Treasury, cannot introduce their private books in a suit for defalcation to contradict the official adjustment of their accounts.

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