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Title 13,chap.17. SEC. 882. Copies of any books, records, papers, or doc

Copies of De-uments in any of the Executive Departments, authenticated partment records and papers.

under the seals of such Departments, respectively, shall be Sept. 15, 1789, 8. admitted in evidence equally with the originals thereof. 5, v. 1, p. 69; Feb. 22, 1849, s. 3, v. 9, p. 347; May 31, 1854, 8. 2, v. 10,

p. 297.

See note 1.

Copies of records, etc., in of.

Feb. 22. 1819, s.

SEC. 883. Copies of any documents, records, books, or fice of Solicitor of papers in the office of the Solicitor of the Treasury, certithe Treasury:

fied by him under the seal of his office, or, when his office 2, v. 9, p. 347. is vacant, by the officer acting as Solicitor for the time,

shall be evidence equally with the originals. Transcripts SEC. 886. When suit is brought in any case of delinfrom books, etc., of the Treasury: quency of a revenue officer, or other person accountable in, suits against for public money, a transcript from the books and proceed

Mar. 3, 1797, sings of the Treasury Department, certified by the Register 1 v. 1; P: 512; and authenticated under the Seal of the Department, or, Mar. 3, 1817, s. 11, v.3, p. 367. when the suit involves the accounts of the War or Navy

Departments, certified by the Auditors respectively charged with the examination of those accounts, and authenticated under the seal of the Treasury Department, shall be admit

See note 2.

Note 1.–The heads of the Departments are not bound to produce papers or dis. close information communicated to them where, in their judgment, the lisclosures would, on public considerations, be inexpedient. (Op., XI, 137, Speed.)

In general, only such communications as are made in the course of their official duties by the persons making them come within the rule of privileged communications, and are confidential under all circumstances. Other cases may occur (stated in this opinion) in which a Department would be justitied in representing to a court that pon public considerations it declined to furnish such cominunications, (Op., XV, 415, Devens, Dec. 17, 1877. See also XT, 378.)

In furnishing copies a distinction will properly be marle between documents in the nature of permanent records, such as general or special orders, muster rolls, discharges of soldiers, commissions of officers, dic., and the reports and communi. cations of officers addressed to military superiors or to the Secretary of War in the line of their official duty. The latter are generally regarded as privileged communications which even the courts, on grounds of public policy, will in general hold to bo incompetent testimony, and of which they will refuse to require the production in evidence. (Winthrop's Digest, p. 350.)

An official memorandum indorsed on an account as a direction to his subordinates by the head of a Department is not a matter of record of which the public or persons dealing with the Department must take notice. (C.C., XIII, 72.)

All collections of natural history and the like, and all field notes and other like local information, taken or obtained by any public officer, civil or military, in the line of his duty, belong to the Government. They may lawfully make collections and take notes for their own use, provided the same be done without neglect of public duty or expense to the Government, and provided also that it be done without violation of superior order in their respective Departments. (Op., VI, 599, Cushing, 24 June, 1854.)

The records of an Executive Department need not be produced in evidence in court, but their contents may be shown by authenticated copies. (C. C., II, 451. Nock's

But see ()p.) A party can not, by replevin, take papers from the public archives on the allegation of their being private property, by a writ against the head of a Department or other public officer. The archives are in the possession of the United States. (Op., VI, 8, Cushing, March 25, 1853.)

Recommendations for office are not papers or documents required to be kept br the Departments in which they are deposited-filed for the convenience of applicants who are allowed to withdraw them whenever they desire to do so. Such applicants can properly be permitted to see objections that may have been filed against themselves (subject to the limitation, however, that the permission should only be given where the communication is not in its nature privileged) in order that they may, if possible, answer or remove them. The files of the Departments ought not to be sub. mitted to a search, upon the application of a newspaper, with a view to ascertain what persons have been recommended for office by a certain Senator and Representative in Congress. Copies of such papers should not be furnished unless the applicant appears himself to have been directly affected by the writing of a letter of which he demands a copy. (Op., 342, Devens, July 28, 1877.). · Note 2.—The account of a delinquent officer, as finally adjusted by the accounting officers, is not admissible as evidence under sec. 886, Ř. S., unless it be certified and authenticated to be a transcript from the books and proceedings of that Department. A certificate that the transeript annexed is a copy of the original on file is the form useri in reference to mere copies of bonds, contracts, or other papers connected with the final alljustment. (Otto, 102, 518.)




ted as evidence, and the court trying the cause shall be authorized to grant judgment and award execution accordingly. And all copies of bonds, contracts, or other papers relating to, or connected with, the settlement of any account between the United States and an individual, when certified by the Register, or by such Auditor, as the case may be, to be true copies of the originals on file, and authenticated under the seal of the Department, may be annexed to such transcripts, and shall have equal validity, and be entitled to the same degree of credit which would be due to the original papers if produced and authenticated in court: Provided, That where suit is brought upon a bond or other sealed instrument, and the defendant pleads “non est factum," or makes his motion to the court, verifying such plea or motion by his oath, the court may take the same into consideration, and, if it appears to be necessary for the attainment of justice, may require the production of the original bond, contract, or other paper specified in such affidavit.

SEC. 887. Upon the trial of any indictment against any Transcripts in person for embezzling public moneys, it shall be sufficient embezzlement of evidence, for the purpose of showing a balance against such public moneys. person, to produce a transcript from the books and pro-16, v. 9, p. 63; ceedings of the Treasury Department, as provided by the Mar.2,1791

, s. 1, preceding section.

See sec. 5494, dis.

bursing officers. SEC. 888. A copy of any return of a contract returned copies of re. and filed in the returns-office of the Department of the office . Interior, as provided by law, when certified by the clerk of June 2, 1862, 8. the said office to be full and complete, and when authenti. Seo sec. 3744, cated by the seal of the Department, shall be evidence in any prosecution against any officer for falsely and corruptly swearing to the affidavit required by law to be made by such officer in making his return of any contract, as required by law, to said returns office.

SEC. 896. Copies of all official documents and papers in or Copies of rec: the office of any consul, vice-consul, or commercial agent of tice of United

States conguls, the United States, and of all official entries in the books or records of any such office, certified under the hand and seal Jan. 8, 1869, v. of such officer, shall be adınitted in evidence in the courts of the United States.

Diplomatic and

cers, Division IV. SEC. 908. The edition of the laws and treaties of the Little United States, published by Little & Brown, shall be com- of the statutes petent evidence of the several public and private acts of to be evidence. Congress, and of the several treaties therein contained, in 2, v. 9, p. 76. all the courts of law and equity and of maritime jurisdiction, and in all the tribunals and public offices of the United States, and of the several States, without any further proof or authentication thereof.

SEC. 1778. In all cases in which, under the laws of the United States, oaths or acknowledgments may now be taken Taking oaths, or made before any justice of the peace of any State or acknowledge Territory, or in the District of Columbia, they may here. Sept. 16, 1850,v. after be also taken or made by before any notary public duly 31: 4587. July.20. appointed in any State, district, or Territory, or any of the 315.



15, p. 266.

See sec. 1707,



Brown's edition

Title 19.






commissioners of the circuit courts, and when certified under the hand and official seal of such notary or commis. sioner, shall have the same force and effect as if taken or

made by or before such justice of the peace. Title 11, chap. 8. SEC. 512. The Secretary of the Interior shall from time

Returns office to time provide a proper apartment, to be called the Returns June 2, 1862, s. Office, in which he shall cause to be filed the returns of conSee secs. 3744-tracts made by the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the 3747, Contracts. Navy, and the Secretary of the Interior, and shall appoint

a clerk of the first class to attend to the same. Clerk to file re. SEC. 513. The clerk of the Returns Office shall file all

returns made to the office, so that the same may be of easy access, keeping all returns made by the same officer in the same place, and numbering them in the order in which they are made.

SEC. 514. The clerk of the Returns Office shall provide and keep an index-book, with the names of the contracting parties, and the number of each contract opposite to the names; and shall submit the index-book and returns

to any person desiring to inspect it. Copies of re

SEC. 515. The clerk of the Returns Office shall furnish copies of such returns to any person paying therefor at the rate of five cents for every one hundred words, to which copies certificates shall be appended in every case by the clerk making the same, attesting their correctness, and that each copy so certified is a full and complete copy

of the return. Title 70, chap. 4. SEC. 5403. Every person who willfully destroys or atDestroying, tempts to destroy, or, with intent to steal or destroy, takes etc., public rec and carries away any record, paper, or proceeding of a

Feb. 26, 1853, e. court of justice, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer 4, v. 10, p. 170.

of such court, or any paper, or document, or record filed or deposited in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer, shall, without reference to the value of the record, paper, document, or proceeding so taken, pay a fine of not inore than two thousand dollars, or suffer imprisonment, at hard labor, not more than three years, or

both. Destroying SEC. 5408. Every officer having the custody of any recrecords by officer ord, document, paper, or proceeding specified in section Idem, 8.5. fifty-four hundred and three, who fraudulently takes away,

or withdraws, or destroys any such record, document, paper, or proceeding filed in his office or deposited with him or in his custody, shall pay a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or suffer imprisonment at hard labor not more than three years, or both; and shall, moreover, forfeit his office and be forever afterward disqualified from holding any office under the Government of the United States.

Seo sec. 5408.



Title S.

Title 22.


Sec. 355. Title to be examined.

3734. Restriction on commencing build. 1838. Assent of legislature.

ings. 3733. Contract not to exceed appropria. 3736. No purchase without appropriation. tion.

5503. Contracting beyond appropriations, SEC. 355. No public money shall be expended upon any site or land purchased by the United States for the pur- Title to land to poses of erecting thereon any armory, arsenal, fort, fortiti be purchased by cation, navy-yard, custom-house, light-house, or other public States. building, of any kind whatever, until the written opinion resept: 21. 1841 of the Attorney-General shall be had in favor of the valid ity of the title, nor until the consent of the legislature of thie State in which the land or site may be, to such purchase, has been given. The district attorneys of the United States, upon the application of the Attorney-General, shall furnish any assistance or information in their power in relation to the titles of the public property lyiug within their respective districts. And the Secretaries of the Departments, upon the application of the Attorney-General, shall procure any additional evidence of title which he may deem necessary, and which may not be in the possession of the officers of the Government, and the expense of procuring it shall be paid out of the appropriations inade for the contingencies of the Departments respectively.

SEC. 1838. The President of the United States is authorized to procure the assent of the legislature of any State, Assent of within which any purchase of land has been made for the States 10 pur. erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and forts, etc. other needful buildings, without such consent having been 2. Apr 2961228, s. obtained.

SEC. 3733. No contract shall be entered into for the erection, repair, or furnishing, of any public building, or No contract to for any public improvement which shall bind the Govern

exceed appropri. ment to pay a larger sum of money than the amount in the July 25, 1868, 8. Treasury appropriated for the specific purpose.

3. v. 15, p. 177. SEC. 3734. Before any new buildings for the use of the Restrictions on United States are commenced, the plans and full estimates commencement

. therefor shall be prepared and approved by the Secretary July 15, 1870, v. of the Treasury, the Postmaster-General, and the Secre. Osimo sec. 3663. tary of the Interior; and the cost of each building shall not exceed the amount of such estimate.

SEC. 3736. No land shall be purchased on account of Land not to be the United States, except under a law authorizing such cept under a law. purchase.

May 1, 1820, 8.

7, v. 3, p. 568. That in every case in which the Secretary of the Treasury Aug. 1, 1888. or any other officer of the Government has been, or here

25 Stat. L., 357. after shall be, authorized to procure real estate for the erec 1 Supp., p. 601.

Land for public tion of a public building or for other public uses he shall be, uses may be con and hereby is, authorized to acquire the same for the United demned by judi.

Title 43.


See seo. 5503.

See note 1.

cial process.

Note 1.- No public officer, without express authority of Congress, has a right to C. C., v. 18, p. contract for the alienation of any property of the Government for any purpose.

352. Flore's case.

See note 2.



States by condemnation, under judicial process, whenever in his opinion it is necessary or advantageous to the Gov.

ernment to do so. Jurisdiction of And the United States circuit or district courts of the United

district wherein such real estate is located, shall have jurisdiction of proceedings for such condemnation, and it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General of the United States, upon every application of the Secretary of the Treasury, under this act, or such other officer, to cause proceedings to be commenced for condemnation, within thirty days from

the receipt of the application at the Department of Justice. Practice and SEC. 2. The practice, pleadings, forms and modes of proprocedure.

ceeding in causes arising under the provisions of this act shall conform, as near as may be, to the practice, pleadings, forms and proceedings existing at the time in like causes in the courts of record of the State within which such circuit or district courts are held, any rule of the court to the

contrary notwithstanding, Title 70, chap. 6 SEC. 5503. Every officer of the Government who know

Contracting ingly contracts for the erection, repair, or furnishing of any hegedoriai pecitor public building, or for any public improvement, to pay a building. larger amount than the specific sum appropriated for such July , 25, 1868, 8. purpose, shall be punished by imprisonment not less than

six months nor more than two years, and shall pay a fine of two thousand dollars.

See note 3.
See soc. 3733.

Note 2.-In addition to this act the following others appear to be in force authorizing or regulating the taking of private property for public use:

Revised Statuten, $94870-1872, authorizing the Secretary of War to purchase land for national cemeteries, or obtain the same by appraisement and payment, after application to the proper circuit or district court.

1875, March 3, ch. 130, par. 2, ante, p. 72, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to acquire, by donation or purchase, the right to occupy sites for life-saving stations, &c.

1883, March 3, ch. 143, par. 1, ante, p. 420, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to acquire land for public buildings and light-houses loy private purchase or condemnation, and to defray the expenses incident to the procuring of sites from the appropriations for the construction of the buildings. (sce 18 Opins., 174, 484.)

1888, A pril 24, ch. 194, ante, p. 584, authorizing the Secretary of War to canse proceedings to be instituted for the condemnation of any land, right of way, or material required for the improvement of rivers and barbors, or in his discretion to pur. chase the same or accept donations of lands or materials.

1889, March 2, ch. 370, par. 4, post, p. 677, prohibiting the Commissioners of the District of Columbia from employing agents in making purchases of school sites, &c., in certain cases.

1890, August 6, ch. 724, par. 4, post, p. 777, extending to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia the powers conferred on the ollicers of the United States by the act in the text, and regulating the preparation of plans, &c., for the buildings.

1890, August 18, ch.797, post, p. 780, authorizing the Secretary of War to cause proceedings to be instituted for the condemnation of any land or right pertaining Thereto, for fortifications and coast defenses, or to purchase the same or accept donations of such lands or rights. (Seo 45 Fed. Rep., 546.)

1890, August 30, ch. 837, 5$ 2, 3, post, p. 793, which, after providing for the acquisi. tion of land by purchase or condemnation for the purposes of the Government Printing Office, directs that hereafter the same provisions shall apply to all cases of the taking of property in the District of Columbia for public use.

Previous to the passage of the last-named act the proceedings in the District in taking private property for public use had not been uniform. In increasing the water supply, for instance, three appraisers were to be appointed, but the owner, if dissatistied with their valuation, might apply to the Court of Claims, (22 Stat. L., 168, 169); while on the other hand the proceedings in the acquisition of land for the Library of Congress were to be conducted (24 Stat. L., 12, 13,) ' in the manner provided with reference to the taking of land for highways in the District of Columbia, the provisions as to which are contained in R. S. of D.C.. 95 252-265. On the construction of the act in the text, see 45 Fed. Rep., 396, 19 Opins., 673.

As to how far these acts are only declaratory of powers already possessed by the officers named, see 91 U.S. 367; 16 Opins., 329; 17 Opins., 509; 18 Opins., 352. As to dam. ages recoverable in such cases, see 25 C. Cls., 87. 277, 329.

Note 3.-The Government can purchase land in a state without the consent of the legislature, but can not without that consent exercise exclusive jurisdiction. The joint resolutions of September 11, 1341 (Stat. L., v.5, p. 468), do not forbid the payment of the purchase money of any site for the purpose of erecting buildings before the consent of the legislature is obtained, but prohibit the expenditure of public money upon improvements before such consent. If the legislative act of the State amounts

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