United States v. Le Baron,
60 U.S. 73 (1856)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Le Baron, 60 U.S. 73 (1856)

United States v. Le Baron

60 U.S. 73


A deed speaks from the time of its delivery, not from its date.

The bond of a deputy postmaster takes effect and speaks from the time that it reaches the Postmaster General and is accepted by him, and not from the day of its date, or from the time when it is deposited in the post office to be sent forward.

The difference explained between a bond of this description and a bond given by a collector of the customs.

Page 60 U. S. 74

The nomination to an office by the President, confirmation by the Senate, signature of the commission, and affixing to it the seal of the United States, are all the acts necessary to render the appointment complete.

Hence the appointment is not rendered invalid by the subsequent death of the President before the transmission of the commission to the appointee, even where it is necessary that the person appointed should perform certain acts before he can legally enter upon the duties of the office.

This was an action of debt upon the bond of a deputy postmaster at Mobile, signed Oliver S. Beers, the officer, and Charles Le Baron and George N. Stewart, his sureties.

The statement of the case contained in the opinion of the Court renders it unnecessary to recite the demurrers to the declaration and pleas, or the replications and rejoinders which were in the record. The point in controversy was found in the following charge given to the jury:

"Upon this evidence the court charged the jury that the recital in the condition of the bond sued on, 'whereas Oliver S. Beers is deputy postmaster at Mobile,' relates to the office he held when the bond was signed, and could not refer to a term of office not yet commenced."

"The court further charged and said that according to the strict propriety of language, the said recital relates to the precise period of time when the recital was written, speaking as it does of the present time, and not to the time when it was executed by its delivery, which the admitted proof shows took place on a subsequent day."

"That at the time said bond was signed, the said Beers was not in office under his appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and therefore they, the jury, ought to find for the defendant."

"To which charge of the court the plaintiffs, by their attorneys, then and there excepted and asked the court to charge the jury that the bond related to, and was intended to provide a security for the faithful discharge by Beers of the duties of the office of deputy postmaster at Mobile under the appointment by and with the consent of the Senate, which charges the court refused to give, and plaintiffs then and there excepted, and asked the court to charge the jury that it was for them to determine to which term of said office the said bond related, and that the recital in it that 'Beers is deputy postmaster at Mobile' must be considered as made at the time when the bond was delivered and executed, which charge the court also refused to give, and the plaintiffs then and there

Page 60 U. S. 75

excepted to such refusal, and prayed the court to sign and seal this their bill of exceptions, which is done accordingly, in term time."


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