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United States Supreme Court

88 U.S. 648

Vigo's Case

SUR petition for mandamus.

On the 8th of June, 1872, Congress passed the following act:

'An act referring the claim of the heirs and legal representatives of Colonel Francis Vigo, deceased, to the Court of Claims for adjustment.

'Be it enacted, &c., That the claim of the heirs and legal representatives of Colonel Francis Vigo, deceased, late of Terre Haute, Indiana, for money and supplies furnished the troops under command of General George Rogers Clarke, in the year 1778, during the Revolutionary war, be, and the same is hereby, referred, along with all the papers and official documents belonging thereto, to the Court of Claims, with full jurisdiction to adjust and settle the same; and, in making such adjustment and settlement, the said court shall be governed by the rules and regulations heretofore adopted by the United States in the settlement of like cases, giving consideration to official acts, if any have heretofore been had in connection with this claim, and without regard to the statutes of limitations.'

On the 31st October, 1873, the heirs of Colonel Vigo filed in the Court of Claims their petition against the United States, under the authority of this act, and with their petition filed 'the papers and official documents belonging' to the claim. Judgment was rendered in the action on the 18th January, 1875, against the United States for $49,898. From this judgment the United States asked the Court of Claims for the allowance of an appeal to this court, which was refused. The present application was for a mandamus from this court directing the judges of that to allow the appeal.

Mr. J. S. Blair, for the United States (with whom were Mr. G. H. Williams, Attorney-General, and Mr. John Goforth, Assistant Attorney-General), cited Meade v. United States, [1] to show that if, as the other side of necessity assumed, the Court of Claims was authorized to enter a judgment which was to be paid out of the appropriations for the judgments of the said court, then the United States was entitled to an appeal and re-examination of the whole case.

Mr. William Penn Clarke, contra, relied on Ex parte Atocha, [2] which case, as he contended, showed that where jurisdiction was given to the Court of Claims by special act-as here-the authority of this court to review its action was limited and controlled by the provisions of the act; arguing, in addition, that the provisions of the present act did not provide for an appeal.

The CHIEF JUSTICE delivered the opinion of the court.


^1  9 Wallace, 691.

^2  17 Id. 439.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).