APPEAL from the Court of Claims, the object of the suit having been to recover damages against the United States for an alleged breach of contract, made by George Lane with one Risley, who was at the time the treasury agent at Norfolk, Virginia, for the purchase of the products of insurrectionary States.
The case, which depended in part on statutes, regulations of the treasury, and a proclamation of the President, was thus:
By act of July 13th, 1861, section 5, 'all commercial intercourse' by and between States declared in insurrection and the citizens thereof, and the citizens of the rest of the United States, was declared unlawful, except such as should be licensed by the President, and conducted under the regulations made by the Treasury Department.
An act of March 12th, 1863, authorized agents of the Treasury Department to collect 'all abandoned and captured property,' &c., and enacted that 'all property coming' into any of the United States not declared in insurrection 'from within any of the United States declared in insurrection, through or by any person other than a treasury agent, or under a lawful clearance by the proper treasury officer, shall be confiscated.'
TREASURY REGULATIONS OF MARCH 31ST, 1863.
The treasury regulations issued March 31st, 1863, by their section 7, ordered thus: 'No permit shall be granted to transport to or from, or to sell or purchase in any place or section whatever, not within the military lines of the United States army.'
Regulation 8, as revised and published September 12th, 1863, declared: 'Commercial intercourse with localities beyond the lines of military occupation by the United States forces is strictly prohibited, and no permit will be granted for the transportation of any property to any place under the control of insurgents against the United States.'
By the 4th section of an act of July 2d, 1864, the prohibitions of the act of July 13th, 1861, were extended to 'commercial intercourse by and between persons residing or being within the lines of National military occupation, in such districts declared in insurrection, whether with each other or with persons being within such insurrectionary districts, but not within our military lines.'
Section 8 of this act provided that the Secretary of the Treasury might authorize agents 'to purchase for the United States any products of States declared in insurrection at such places therein as shall be designated by him, at such price as shall be agreed on with the seller, not exceeding the market price thereof at the place of delivery, nor exceeding three-fourths of the market value thereof in the city of New York, at the latest quotations known to the agent purchasing.'
Section 9 of this act repealed so much of section 5 of the act of July 13th, 1861, as made it lawful for the President to license or permit such trade by private citizens and traders except to supply necessaries to loyal persons within the Federal lines, and to authorize persons within the Federal lines to bring or send to market in loyal States products of their own labor or of the labor of freedmen or others in their employment.
TREASURY REGULATIONS OF JULY 29TH, 1864.
On the 29th of July, 1864, rules were promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury, and by one of which 'commercial intercourse with localities beyond the lines of actual military occupation by the United States forces is absolutely prohibited; and no permit will be granted for the transportation of any property to any place under the control of insurgents against the United States.'
TREASURY REGULATIONS OF SEPTEMBER 24TH, 1864.
On the 24th of September, 1864, general regulations for the purchase, on government account, of products of insurrectionary States, were made by the Secretary of the Treasury, approved by the President, by which Norfolk was made a purchasing point, and the special agent was required (by Regulation 7), to the extent of the funds at his command, to purchase all products offered to him (of the character which by his instructions he was authorized to buy); 'but no liability of any character shall be authorized or assumed by any agent, for or on account of the government, previous to the actual delivery of the products, other than a stipulation to purchase products owned or controlled by applicants, at a price to be agreed upon at the place and date of delivery.' The form of this stipulation is given, and consists of a certificate by the treasury agent, that he has 'agreed to purchase' from C. D. property, &c., 'which he stipulates shall be delivered to me, unless prevented from so doing by the authority of the United States,' with a 'request' for 'safe conduct.'
By Rule 8, 'whenever any person shall make application to the purchasing agent in writing, setting forth that he 'owns or controls' products, stating the kind, quantity, and location thereof, or the date at which they will be delivered at some specified location accessible to transportation,' the purchasing agent was directed to give a certificate that such application had been made, and request safe conduct for such party and his necessary transportation to the location specified, and for himself and products from the location specified to the purchasing agent. (The form of this certificate is given.) Rule 9 provided that parties, having sold and delivered products, shall, upon their request, be furnished by the purchasing agent with a certificate stating the character and quantity of articles purchased, the price paid, the aggregate amount of payment, the place whence, and the route by which the property was transported.
PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION, SEPTEMBER 24TH, 1864.
On September 24th, 1864, the President issued his proclamation, reciting that Congress had authorized the purchase for the United States of products of States declared in insurrection, and that the Secretary of the Treasury had designated Norfolk and other places named therein as places of purchase, and had made regulations for such purchases, and he therefore proclaimed that all persons, except those in the service of the government, 'having in their possession' such products (and which said agents were authorized to purchase), 'and all persons owning or controlling such products,' are authorized to convey them to either of said places of purchase, and 'such products, so destined, shall not be liable to detention, seizure, or forfeiture, while in transitu or awaiting transportation.' And that 'any person having the certificate of a purchasing agent, as prescribed by Treasury Regulation 8, is authorized to pass with means of transportation to the points named in said certificate, and to return therefrom with the products required for the fulfilment of its stipulations.' And that 'any person having sold, and delivered to a purchasing agent products of an insurrectionary State,' 'and having in his possession a certificate of the fact, stating the character and quantity of products, and the aggregate amount paid therefor, as prescribed by Regulation 9, shall be permitted' 'to purchase from any authorized dealer,' at the place of sale, or any other place in a loyal State, any 'articles not contraband of war, nor prohibited by the War Department,' 'to an amount not exceeding in value one-third of the aggregate value' of products sold by him as certified by the agent; and 'such articles may be transported by the same route and to the same place, from and by which the said products sold and delivered, reached the purchasing agent,' and such goods 'shall have safe conduct, and shall not be subject to detention, seizure, or forfeiture, while being transported to the places and by the route set forth in said certificate.'
Generals and military officers commanding districts, posts, or detachments, and officers commanding fleets, flotillas, and gunboats, 'will give safe conduct to persons and products, merchandise, and other articles duly authorized as aforesaid and not contraband of war, or prohibited by order of the War Department, or the orders of such generals ...