Black v. United States (91 U.S. 267)/Opinion of the Court
|Black v. United States (91 U.S. 267) by
Opinion of the Court
The transportation for which compensation is now asked was 'from one point to another within the route;' and full payment has been made therefor 'according to the distance the supplies were transported, and agreeably to the rates specified in the tabular statement.'
It is claimed, however, that as Fort Phil. Kearney, the point at which the supplies were received for transportation, 'was within the route,' the contractors are entitled to compensation for the distance their teams travelled unloaded to reach that place, as well as for the distance the supplies were carried. This claim is based, not upon any express provision in the contract requiring or even permitting such payment, but because, as is insisted, the service rendered was not included in the obligations of the contract. The argument is, that the places named in Art. I. are the only places at which the contractors were bound to receive the supplies to be transported. But this excludes from consideration Arts. II. and XIV., by which the contractors bound themselves not only to transport under the agreement from the posts, d ep ots, and stations named in Art. I., but also 'from and to any other posts, d ep ots, or stations that might be established within the district described in said article,' and 'from one point to another within the route.' For the purposes of construction, we must look to the whole instrument. The intention of the parties is to be ascertained by an examination of all they have said in their agreement, and not of a part only.
In Caldwell's Case, 19 Wall. 264, we decided that the terms 'posts, d ep ots, or stations,' as used in Arts. I. and II. of his contract, 'in the presence of actual war, and in reference to military stores,' included military posts and stations alone. Consequently, it was held that Caldwell could not claim the right of transporting supplies from railroad stations within the district which were not at the same time military posts, stations, or d ep ots. In the present case, the starting-point was Fort Phil. Kearney, a military 'post,' and, consequently, a 'point' within the district at which the contractor could, under the ruling in Caldwell's Case, be required to receive stores and supplies for transportation. It is a noticeable fact, though perhaps under the circumstances of this case unimportant, that the provision for transportation 'from one point to another within the route' in Art. XIV. of this contract, which was for 1868-69, is not in Caldwell's contract. The latter was for the year 1866. It is not impossible that the claim made by him may have suggested the necessity for this change in the terms of such agreements. In his contract, too, Art. I. provided that stores should be received for transportation 'at any points or places at which posts or d ep ots shall be established.' Here the same article provided that they should be received 'at such point as may be determined upon during the year, on the Omaha branch, &c.,' omitting the further provision that it should be a 'post' or 'depot.'
We are clearly of the opinion that the services rendered by these appellants were within the requirements of their contract, and that the only compensation they are entitled to is for the distance the articles were actually carried, and agreeably to the rates specified.
The Judgment is affirmed.
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