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MCKEE v. UNITED STATES.

decided: November 30, 1896.

MCKEE
v.
UNITED STATES.



APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.

Author: PECKHAM

[ 164 U.S. Page 287]

 MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

The appellants herein have brought this appeal for the purpose of obtaining a review of a judgment of the Court of Claims dismissing their petition. No opinion was delivered by that court in this case, but it was decided upon the authority of the case of Sams v. United States, 27 C. Cl. 266, which involved the construction of the same statute that is before us in this case.

It appears by the finding of the court that one Henry McKee was the owner of certain lands, which are therein described, in the town of Beaufort, in the parish of St. Helena, South Carolina, and that while he was such owner the land was sold for the payment of the direct tax provided for in section 9, and the following sections of the act approved

[ 164 U.S. Page 288]

     August 5, 1861, c. 45, entitled "An act to provide increased revenue from imports, to pay the interest on the public debt, and for other purposes." 12 Stat. 292. The property was did in by the United States and was thereafter resold by the government. The direct tax on the property so sold amounted in all to $91.52, and upon the resale of such property there was received into the Treasury of the United States, in excess of the direct tax, the sum of $5003.41. Henry McKee, the legal owner of the property at the time of its sale, died some time thereafter, leaving a will, and the claimants are the beneficiaries thereunder, being his widow and children. These same claimants have heretofore obtained judgment in the Court of Claims against the government for the sum of $5680.60 on account of the same real estate above described. That judgment was obtained, and the claim in this case is founded upon the act approved March 2, 1891, 26 Stat. 822, entitled "An act to credit and pay to the several States and Territories and the District of Columbia all moneys collected under the direct tax levied by the act of Congress approved August 5, 1861." The act is set forth in full in the margin.*fn1

[ 164 U.S. Page 289]

     The judgment which the claimants have already obtained in the Court of Claims was rendered under the first clause in section 4 of the act. The claim now before the court rests upon the last clause of section 4, which reads as follows: "And provided further, That any sum or sums of money received into the Treasury of the United States from the sale of lands bid in for taxes in any State under the laws described

[ 164 U.S. Page 290]

     in the first section of this act in excess of the tax assessed thereon shall be paid to the owners of the land so bid in and resold, or to their legal heirs or representatives." We think this proviso does not apply to the owners of lands described in the first clause of the section.

A perusal of the entire act shows that its purpose was to pay back to the States or to individual citizens of States

[ 164 U.S. Page 291]

     the amounts of money received from them in the course of the execution of the direct tax act of 1861 and the acts amendatory thereof. The first section of the act provides for the crediting by the Secretary of the Treasury to each State, etc; a sum equal to all collections by set off or otherwise made from said States or from any of the citizens or inhabitants thereof or other persons, under the act of ...


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