United States v. Alger,
151 U.S. 362 (1894)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Alger, 151 U.S. 362 (1894)

United States v. Alger

No. 885

Submitted January 8, 1894

Decided January 22, 1894

151 U.S. 362


Under the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 97, 22 Stat. 473, an officer in the Navy, who resigns one office the day before his appointment to a higher one, is only entitled to longevity pay as of the lowest grade, having graduated pay, held by him since he originally entered the service.

This was a claim by a professor of mathematics in the Navy for $32.87, alleged to be due him for longevity pay from November 11, 1890, to November 30, inclusive. The petition alleged that during that period he had been allowed and paid at the rate of $2,400 per annum, being the shore pay of a professor of mathematics in the first five years after the date of appointment, whereas, as he contended, he should have been paid at the rate of $3,000 per annum, being the pay of a professor of mathematics in the third five years from the date of appointment, by reason of his prior service in the Navy from September 22, 1876, to November 10, 1890, by virtue of the provision of the naval appropriation Act of March 3, 1883, c. 97, which is as follows:

"And all officers of the Navy shall be credited with the actual time they may have served as officers or enlisted men in the regular or volunteer army or Navy, or both, and shall receive all the benefits of such actual service in all respects in the same manner as if all said service had been continuous and in the regular Navy in the lowest grade, having graduated pay, held by such officer since last entering the service, provided that nothing in this clause shall be so construed as to authorize any change in the dates of commission or in the relative rank of such officers, provided further that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to give any additional pay to any such officer during the time of his service in the volunteer army or Navy."

22 Stat. 473.

The petition also alleged, and the Court of Claims found,

Page 151 U. S. 363

following facts:

"Claimant was appointed cadet midshipman September 22, 1876. Graduated June 22, 1882, and promoted to midshipman the same day. Commissioned ensign June 26, 1884. Resigned November 10, 1890, and resignation accepted, to take effect the same day. November 11, 1890, appointed professor of mathematics, to rank from November 1, 1890. Accepted the appointment and took the required oath of office the same day. He was given credit, upon his commission as ensign, for his services as cadet midshipman and as a midshipman, and was paid the pay of an ensign after five years of service, from June 26, 1884, to the date of his resignation. He has not been allowed credit under the Act of March 3, 1883, in the lowest grade having graduated pay, since he entered the Navy as professor of mathematics by appointment as aforesaid."

Upon these facts, the Court of Claims decided as a conclusion of law that the claimant was entitled to recover the sum claimed, and gave judgment accordingly. T he United States appealed to this Court.

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