Indiana v. United States
Annotate this Case
148 U.S. 148 (1893)
U.S. Supreme Court
Indiana v. United States, 148 U.S. 148 (1893)
Indiana v. United States
Argued January 13, 1893
Decided March 13, 1893
148 U.S. 148
The State of Indiana is not entitled, under the act of April 19, 1816, c. 57, and the Act of March 3, 1857, c. 104, to be paid by the United States the two per cent of the net proceeds of sales by Congress of lands within the state, which the United States agreed by the former act to apply "to the making of a road or roads leading to the said State," and have actually applied to the making of the Cumberland Road.
This was a petition filed in the Court of Claims on October 23, 1889, by the State of Indiana against the United States to recover the sum of $412,184.97, alleged to be due to the State of Indiana out of moneys received by the United States from sales of public lands in that state. The Court of Claims dismissed the petition. 28 Ct.Cl. ___. The petitioner appealed to this Court. The facts found by the Court of Claims, and the material provisions of the statutes bearing upon the claim of the petitioner, were as follows:
In the Act of April 30, 1802, c. 40, for the admission of the State of Ohio into the Union, one of the propositions offered by Congress and accepted by the state was that one twentieth part of the net proceeds of lands within the state afterwards sold by Congress should
"be applied to the laying out and making public roads leading from the navigable waters emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio, to the said state, and through the same, such roads to be laid out under the authority of Congress, with the consent of the several states through which the road shall pass,"
and it was provided that the propositions so offered were on condition that the state
should provide, by ordinance irrevocable without the consent of Congress, that all lands sold by Congress should be exempt from taxation under authority of the state for five years after sale. 2 Stat. 175. By the Act of March 3, 1803, c. 21, § 2, it was enacted that three percent of these proceeds should be paid from time to time to the state, to be applied to the laying out, opening, and making roads within it. 2 Stat. 226.
By the Act of March 29, 1806, c.19, for building a road from Cumberland in Maryland to the State of Ohio -- since known as the "Cumberland" or "National" road -- and by subsequent acts passed before the admission of the State of Indiana into the Union, Congress appropriated for the building of that road various sums amounting to $710,000, to be reimbursed out of the two percent fund. 2 Stat. 357, 555, 661, 730, 829; 3 Stat. 206, 282. The expenses upon the road during that period largely exceeded the moneys credited to that fund.
The Act of April 19, 1816, c. 57, for the admission of the State of Indiana into the Union likewise provided that five percent of the net proceeds of the sale by Congress of lands in the state should be reserved for the making of public roads and canals, of which three-fifths should be applied to those objects by the state and two-fifths "to the making of a road or roads leading to the said state, under the direction of Congress." 3 Stat. 290. And by the Act of April 11, 1818, c. 49, the Secretary of the Treasury was directed to pay the three percent from time to time to the State of Indiana. 3 Stat. 424.
Similar provisions were contained in the acts for the admission into the Union of Mississippi in 1817; of Illinois in 1818; of Alabama in 1819, and of Missouri in 1820. 3 Stat. 348, 428, 489, 545.
By the Act of May 15, 1820, c. 123, Congress directed the road to be continued from Cumberland to Wheeling, in the State of Virginia, provided however
"that nothing in this act contained or that shall be done in pursuance thereof shall be deemed or construed to imply any obligation on the part of the United States to make or to defray the expense of
making, the road hereby authorized to be laid out or of any part thereof."
3 Stat. 604.
In 1822, the road had been finished from Cumberland to Wheeling. In the same year, an act ordering the erecting of tollgates and the imposition of tolls on the road was passed by both houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Monroe.
A continuance of the road was laid out, graded, bridged, and made a highway from the Ohio River, opposite Wheeling, to the seat of government of the State of Missouri, and upon it was transported the government mail, and it was opened and used by the public. But this was not accomplished until after tollgates had been erected and tolls imposed upon it by the States of Ohio and Virginia, as authorized by the Acts of Congress of March 2, 1831, c. 97, and March 2, 1833, c. 79. 4 Stat. 483, 655. By successive acts, passed from 1829 to 1856 inclusive, and collected in the opinion of the Court of Claims, Congress surrendered the road, as fast as completed, to the states through which it ran.
By the Act of September 4, 1841, c. 16, § 16, the two percent of the net proceeds of lands sold by the United States in the State of Mississippi, and reserved by former acts for the making of a road or roads leading to that state, was relinquished to the State of Mississippi, to be applied to the making of a railroad from Brandon in that state to the boundary line of Alabama, and by § 17 the like fund was relinquished to the State of Alabama, to be applied to the construction of certain lines of internal improvements in that state. 2 Stat. 457, 458.
By the Act of March 2, 1855, c. 139, entitled "An act to settle certain accounts between the United States and the State of Alabama," it was enacted
"that the Commissioner of the General Land Office be, and he is hereby, required to state an account between the United States and the State of Alabama for the purpose of ascertaining what sum or sums of money are due to said state, heretofore unsettled, under the sixth section of the Act of March 2, 1819, for the admission of Alabama into the union, and that he be required to include in said account the several reservations under the various
treaties with the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek Indians within the limits of Alabama, and allow and pay to the said state five percentum thereon, as in case of other sales."
10 Stat. 630.
The Act of March 3, 1857, c. 104, entitled "An act to settle certain accounts between the United States and the State of Mississippi and other states," required the Commissioner of the General Land Office, by § 1,
"to state an account between the United States and the State of Mississippi for the purpose of ascertaining what sum or sums of money are due to said state, heretofore unsettled, on account of the public lands in said state, and upon the same principles of allowance and settlement as prescribed in the"
Act of March 2, 1855, c. 139, and to include in like manner the reservations under Indian treaties, and further provided in § 2 that
"the said commissioner shall also state an account between the United States and each of the other states upon the same principles, and shall allow and pay to each state such amount as shall thus be found due, estimating all lands and permanent reservations at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre."
11 Stat. 200.
On December 4, 1872, the Commissioner of the General Land Office stated an account between the United States and the State of Indiana in which he found that, by accounts referred to, there appeared to be due to the state the following sums:
Balance due December 31, 1856,
on account of three percent fund . . . . $ 47.12
Amount of two percent on net proceeds
of sales of public lands from
December 1, 1816, to December
31, 1856, (the expenses incident
to sales since that date being in
excess of the gross receipts). . . . . . 413,568.61
Amount of five percent on the cash
value at $1.25 per acre, of lands
within permanent Indian reservations . . 6,333.73
The commissioner also referred to a table of the acts of Congress making appropriations for the construction of the Cumberland Road, which showed that the sums appropriated from 1818 to 1837, under acts requiring them to be reimbursed out of the two percent reserved for the laying out and making roads in the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, amounted to $2,502,900.45, and that the additional sums appropriated from 1825 to 1836, under acts requiring them to be reimbursed out of the two percent reserved for laying out and making roads in those three states and Missouri, amounted to $1,555,000. The commissioner then stated that it would thereby be seen that the proportion of the sums from time to time appropriated for the construction of the Cumberland Road, which, by law, were to be replaced in the Treasury out of the five percent accruing in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, would more than absorb the entire amount of the two percent which had accrued upon the sales of lands in Indiana, and that therefore in the absence of special legislation upon the subject, nothing would appear to be at present payable to the State of Indiana, except the sums of $47.12 on the three percent account, and $6,333.73 for Indian reservations.
On January 25, 1873, the Comptroller of the Treasury certified the balance, consisting of those two sums, and amounting to $6,380.85, to be due to the State of Indiana. On February 10, 1873, the Secretary of the Treasury, under the authority given him by the Act of March 30, 1868, c. 36, 15 Stat. 54, referred the account to the Comptroller for reexamination, and he thereupon vacated the former certificate. On February 5, 1874, the Comptroller reaffirmed the former decision and certificate, as to the sum of $6,380.85, but reserved for future consideration the question as to the further claim made by the state. This amount of $6,380.85 was paid to the state, but was not accepted by it as a final settlement of its demands.
It did not appear either from that account or from the evidence in the case what part of the expenditures upon the National Road was properly chargeable to "making a road
to the said state," or what proportion of such expenditures for making a road to the State of Indiana was properly chargeable to the States of Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.
On October 17, 1889, the State of Indiana made a formal demand upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office to state an account between the United States and the State of Indiana in accordance with the Act of March 3, 1857. But no further account than that above mentioned has been stated by the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
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