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the State of Michigan, under the laws of which tolls were charged on vessels passing through the canal and locks. Appropriations were from time to time male by Congress for the improvement of the river and canal in the general interests of commerce; and the construction of an additional and larger lock, which is not yet completed for use, was begun by the United States. Over this construction the State exercised no control. It is adjoining those of the State, and constituted a part of the same general improvement.*

The expenses for building the original canal and locks were paid out of funds obtained from the sale of land granted for that purpose by the General Government to the State; and the latter was authorized to control and operate the canal and locks on condition that no more tolls should be charged than should be necessary to operate and keep them in repair. The transfer to the United States authorized by the act of June 14, 1880, has not yet been proffered by the State, aud therefore not accepted by the Secretary of War.

Hon. Omar D. Conger, Ilon. Jay A. Hubbell, and other Representatives in ('ongress, applied, February 14, 1881, to the First Comptroller for an opinion on the question as to whether the provision above cited makes a permanent appropriation “to pay the actual expenses of operating and keeping said canal (and the public works thereon) in repair.”


The question presented is substantially decided in principle in cases heretofore reported. (Canal case, 1 Lawrence, Compt. Dec., 141; Bundy's case, Id., 181; see remarks of Hon. Albert S. Willis, House Reps., Feb. 15, 1881; Ex. Doc. No. 17, 3d Sess. 46th Cong:) It is not necessary to repeat the reasoning of those cases.

In reference to the rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, referred to in Bundy's case, supru, it may be proper to say that, as applied to the act of May 18, 1830, referred to in the Canal case, they aided in its construction.

They would not, perhaps, apply in the construction of a "rirer and harbor" appropriation act, because the bill for making such appropriations, alone, is probably not "a general appropriation bill," within the meaning of those rules. (See proceedings House Reps., February 15, 1881, decision of Chairman Carlisle.)

* The Annual Report of the State Superintendent and Collector of December 1, 1-80, says: “In consideration of the fact that the State was not going to use the material ou hand this winter in the construction of the gnard-gates, we have allowed the engineer in charge of the Government worh, Mr. Noble, to use such of the material as he needed in the prosecution of his work, the consideration being that the interests of the State regarding the same should be recoguized in the pending negotiations of transter, or a return of the material in case it was desired. And see the Annual Report of G. Weitzel, Major of Engineers, October 19, 1878, being Appendix D of the Anual Report of the Chief of Engineers.

This is the interpretation generally given to them. They would not, therefore, necessarily affect the interpretation of the act of June 14, 1880.

It is quite manifest that no appropriation is made for the St. Mary's river or canal beyond the one annual appropriation of $250,000 contained in the act of June 14, 1880.

a. This act does not, in respect of the "expenses of operating and keeping said canal in repair," mentioned in the last proviso of the act quoted in the statement of the case, employ the usual words for making an appropriation.

b. The time had not arrived when an appropriation for such expenses was needed, and it was not certain that it ever would come, since the State might not agree to a cession to the United States. In any event it was not probable that a cession would be made before Congress would again assemble.

c. No permanent specific appropriation had ever been made for the St. Mary's river or caval; and no other or greater reason appears for such appropriation since than prior to this act.

d. It has never been usual to make permanent specific appropriations for rivers or canals of similar character.

e. The provisions relating to the river and canal show that Congress did not intend to make a permanent appropriation.

The appropriation made of $250,000 is annual, not permanent specific. If the provision following this appropriation clause could be construed as permanent, then, by its express terms, it only applies, at most, to the “canal and the public works thereon” previously owned and controlled by the State.

A portion of the locks was constructed by the authority of Congress, and never was under the control of the State. The locks constructed by the State, and that under the authority of Congress, are contig. nons. They constitute a part of one system: one set for large, and one for small, vessels. It is by no means probable that Congress intended to provide a permanent appropriation for the former State locks and canal, while leaving a portion of the canal and larger locks without such appropriation. Yet this would be the result if the law should be construed as making a permanent appropriation.

If there be a permanent appropriation, it grows out of the authority given to the Secretary of War - to draw from time to time his warrant on the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the actual expenses of operating and keeping said canal in repair.” What canal? Evidently the canal which was to be transferred by the State to the United States. If there be a permanent appropriation, it is made only by implication.

But an appropriation by implication should, by every principle of reason, be strictly construed. Such construction would limit it to the “canal," since neither "the public works thereon " nor the river are named in the clause authorizing the Secretary of War to draw his warrant on the Secretary of the Treasury, &c.

If, however, this provision was designed, as it clearly was, to give the Secretary of War authority to accept a cession from the State, and to declare that he is the officer who shall have charge of the work of “operating and keeping" the canal and works "in repair," then it is entitled to a more liberal construction; and, by the aid of this, the Secretary of War can be held to be the officer charged with the duty of “operating and keeping said canal” in repair, because this duty is named, and by implication he is also charged with the duty of keeping in repair the public works thereon," which, though not named in this clause, are necessarily within the policy and reason of the act, the necessities of the case, and hence the purpose of Congress.

It directs how the money, when thereafter appropriated, shall be procured. This, possibly, may not be necessary, in view of other laws; but it was deemed proper for greater certainty. (Rev. Stats., 231, 3673, 3717; act June 14, 1880, 21 Stats., 180.)

The appropriations for rivers and harbors are generally made in acts which declare that they shall be “expended under the direction of the Secretary of War.” In the light of the care shown in the act of June 14, 1880, to make specific provision for the issuing of a warrant to remove all doubt as to the effect of the word “ warrant” in section 3673 of the Revised Statutes, it cannot be supposed that Congress, thus cautious, made a permanent specific appropriation by inference. Whatever was intended to be authorized was expressed in no equivocal words.

The four purposes clearly named-(1) authority to receive a cession, (2) anthority to operate and keep in repair, (3) authority to draw money, (1) freedom from tolls—are sufficient to justify the law and satisfy its words and objects, without adding a fifth, implied purpose to make, by forced construction, a generally very objectionable form of appropriation, with no language employed to justify it. The first clause of this act uses the proper words of appropriation. (21 Stats., 180; Rer. Stats., 11.)

This clause shows that Congress was not dealing with appropriations by inference.

The act contains other inherent evidence that no permanent appropriation was intended to be made by the provision above cited.

One section or part of an act may be interpreted by reference to another. (Sedgwick, Stat. and Const. L., 199, 226; District vs. Dubuque, 7 Clarke, [la.,) 262; 6 Cal., 47; 31 Cal., 210; 28 Vt., 354; 10 Rich. Law, 376; Com. vs. Duane, 1 Binn., 601; 66 Pa. St., 99; Scott is. State, 22 Ark., 369 ; Davy vs. Burlington, 31 Iowa, 553; 2 Daly, 66.)

This is only an enlargement of the maxim, noscitur à sociis.

Interpretation declares the meaning of an act from what is found in it; construction, from matters outside of it. These terms, though often used interchangeably as applied to statutes, are different in signification. In and con are different. Inter-pretari and con-structio express different shades of thought. (Sedgwick, Stat. and Const. L., 199, 201; Curwen's Introd. to 1 Curwen's Ohio Stat.)

The general usage of employing proper words of appropriation is, as a part of the history of legislation, one of the proper elements of construction.

In reference to this statute, the internal evidences of its purpose are so conclusive as to render the means for construction unnecessary, if not improper.

Where the language of a statute and the appropriate elements of interpretation clearly show its ineaning, the aids to construction cannot properly be resorted to. (Scott vs. Reed, 10 Pet., 524; Brewer rs. Blougher, 14 Pet., 178; Potter's Dwarris, 183, 197; Sedgwick, Stat. and Const. L., 191 ; L. L. and G. R. Co. vs. U. S., 92 U. S., 751.)

It is a maxim that “it is not allowable to interpret what has no need of interpretation."

Lord Coke has declared that the rule which ascertains the meaning of a statute from its language is benedicta expositio. (2 Inst., 11, 136, 181; case of Leases, 5 Rep., 6.) Optima statuti interpretratrix est (omnibus particulis ejusdem inspectis) ipsum statutum. Quando verba et mens congruunt, non est interpretationi.

As a means of interpretation, the last section of the act, as follows, becomes material:

"SEC. 4. Whenever hereafter the navigation of any river, lake, harbor, or bay, or other navigable water of the United States, shall be obstructed or endangered by any sunken vessel or water-craft, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War, upon satisfactory information thereof, to cause reasonable notice, of not less than thirty days, to be given, personally or by publication, * to all persons interested of the purpose of said Secretary,

to cause the same

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to be removed. If such sunken vessel or craft and cargo shall not be removed by the parties interested therein as soon as practicable

the Secretary of War shall proceed to remove the same. Such sunken vessel or craft and cargo


be sold for cash, and the proceeds of such sales shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of a fund for the removal of such obstructions to navigation, under the direction of the Secretary of War, and to be paid out for that purpose on his requisition therefor. The provisions of this act shall apply to all such wrecks whether removed under this act or under any other act of Congress. Such sum of money as may be necessary to execute this section of this act is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, to be paid out on the requi. sition of the Secretary of War.”

Here is a permanent specific appropriation. This shows that Congress, in passing the act, did not intend to create such appropriations by implication. It shows that an authority given to the Secretary of War to draw requisitions for a specified purpose was not regarded as an appro. priation.

In this connection it may be proper to state that the word “ warrant," used in the second proriso to the item for the Saint Mary's River and Saint Mary's Falls Canal, means “requisition." (Bender's case, 1 Lawrence, Compt. Dec., 338.) TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

First Comptroller's Office, February 18, 1881.


1. The "regulation" of the Post Office Department is valid whicb authorizes a

surety of a deceased postmaster, when there is no assistant, to perform the du

ties of postmaster until a successor is appointed and takes possession. 2. The legal representative of a deceased postmaster is not entitled to the salary of

the office during the time a surety may perform the duties. 3. The act of March 3, 1879, (20 Stats., 362, sec. 31,) gives such surety, while so

performing the duties “by authority of the President," a right to the salary. 4. When a surety so performs the duties, it is presumed that he acts “by authority

of the President," since he acts in pursuance of a "regulation" presmed to

have the sanction of the President. 5. The “regulation is a sufficient appointment. 6. The surety in such case is virtually an officer. His character is deterinined by

the authority under which he acts and the nature of his duties, and not by the terms by which he is described in the law or regulations.

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