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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Ferreira, 54 U.S. 13 How. 40 40 (1851)

United States v. Ferreira

54 U.S. (13 How.) 40


The treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain contains the following stipulation, viz.:

"The United States shall cause satisfaction to be made for the injuries, if any, which by process of law shall be established to have been suffered by the Spanish officers and individual Spanish inhabitants by the late operations of the American army in Florida."

Congress, by two acts passed in 1823 and 1834, 3 Stat. 768, and 6 Stat. 569, directed the judge of the territorial court of Florida to receive, examine, and adjudge all cases of claims for losses, and report his decisions, if in favor of the claimants, together with the evidence upon which they were founded, to the Secretary of the Treasury, who, on being satisfied that the same was just and equitable within the provisions of the treaty, should pay the amount thereof, and by an Act of 1849, 9 Stat. 788, Congress directed the judge of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida to receive and adjudicate certain claims in the manner directed by the preceding acts.

From the award of the district judge an appeal does not lie to this Court.

As the treaty itself designated no tribunal to assess the damages, it remained for Congress to do so by referring the claims to a commissioner according to the established practice of the government in such cases. His decision was not the judgment of a court, but a mere award, with a power to review it conferred upon the Secretary of the Treasury.

(MR. JUSTICE WAYNE did not sit in this cause.)

The facts of the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 54 U. S. 44

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