Brown v. United States,
50 U.S. 487 (1850)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. United States, 50 U.S. 9 How. 487 487 (1850)

Brown v. United States

50 U.S. (9 How.) 487


An Act of Congress passed on 2 July, 1836, 5 Stat. 83, directs that where any money has been paid out of the funds of the Post Office Department to any person in consequence of fraudulent representations or by mistake, collusion, or misconduct of any officer or clerk of the department, the Postmaster General shall institute a suit to recover it back.

Where the person who was the Chief Clerk and Treasurer of the Post Office Department transferred to the department a deposit which he had made, in his own name, in a bank which had become broken, and in consequence of such transfer received the full value of the deposit from the department, it was a case which fell within the statute, and the adjudication of the Postmaster General, ordering the person to be credited upon the books and to receive the money, cannot be considered a final adjudication, closing the transaction from judicial scrutiny.

The rules and regulations of the Post Office Department placed the whole subject of finance under the charge of the chief clerk. It was within the range of his official duties, therefore, to superintend all matters relating to finance, and he was not entitled to charge a commission for negotiating loans for the use of the department.

This suit was instituted by the United States against Obadiah B. Brown upon an account, two items only of which were disputed. Upon one of these items the instruction of the court to the jury was unfavorable to Brown, and he took a bill of exceptions to it. This constituted the first case. Upon the second item, the instruction was unfavorable to the United States, and it excepted.

The account upon which the suit was brought was as follows, viz.:

Page 50 U. S. 488


The two items in dispute were the charges of $2,500 and $2,088.61. The first of these, viz., that of $2,500, is not the first taken up in the bill of exceptions or in the opinion of the Court. In both, the latter item of $2,088.61 is treated and disposed of in the first instance.

The whole of the facts in the case are set forth in the two bills of exceptions, which are recited in the opinion of the Court. It is therefore unnecessary to repeat them here.

Page 50 U. S. 489

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