A contract with the United States for the delivery of postage
stamps to it construed.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellant by its several contracts sued on was bound to
furnish the Post Office Department all the adhesive postage stamps
that might be required during a period ending on the 30th day of
April, 1877. As part of the several contracts, also, it bound
itself to keep on hand at all times a stock of the several
denominations of stamps sufficient to meet all the orders of the
Department, and to provide against any and all contingencies likely
to occur, so that each and every order might be promptly filled.
For this the United States agreed to pay at the stipulated prices
for all stamps delivered, and by express stipulation this was to be
"full compensation for everything required to be done or furnished
under" the contracts. Deliveries were to be made at the post office
in New York or the Department in Washington. From this it is
apparent there was no liability on the part of the United
Page 154 U. S. 672
States to pay until - 1, there had been a requisition by the
Department, and 2, a delivery in conformity with what was required.
The contracts were limited to a fixed period. The United States
were neither bound to order nor the appellant to deliver after the
end of the term. Although the stock on hand was manufactured and
stored under the supervision of an agent of the Department, it
remained the property of the appellant until delivered under the
contracts. The inspection and supervision of the agent during the
manufacture and storage were to guard against losses and frauds and
to insure promptness in delivery. The ownership was not changed
until the delivery which the contracts provided for was complete.
If loss occurred by reason of the failure of the United States to
call for the whole stock on hand before the end of the term, it was
compensated for in the payment for what was delivered. Such was the
express agreement of the parties.
The judgment is affirmed.