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United States Statutes at Large/Volume 3/17th Congress/1st Session/Chapter 90

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May 7, 1822.
Chap. XC.—An Act further to amend the several acts relative to the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments.[1]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the second section of the The second section of act of May 8, 1792, ch. 37.
Second section of act of July 16, 1798, ch. 85:
And seventh section of act of March 3, 1817, ch. 45, repealed after June 30, 1822.
act, entitled “An act making alterations in the Treasury and War Departments,” passed the eighth day of May, seventeen hundred and ninety-two; the second section of the act, entitled “An act to alter and amend the several acts for the establishment and regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy, Departments,” passed the sixteenth day of July, seventeen hundred and ninety-eight; and the seventh section of the act, entitled “An act to provide for the prompt settlement of public accounts,” passed the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventeen, be, and the same hereby are, repealed, from and after the thirtieth day of June, eighteen hundred and twenty-two.

All moneys remaining in the hands of the treasurer as agent of the War and Navy Departments, to be repaid into the treasury.
All moneys for the use of the War and Navy Departments, to be drawn by warrant of the Secretary of the Treasury, &c.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That on the day and year last aforesaid, all moneys which may remain in the hands of the treasurer of the United States, as agent of the War and Navy Departments, shall, under the direction of the secretaries of those departments, respectively, be repaid into the treasury, and carried to the credit of the proper department upon the books of the treasury.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all moneys appropriated for the use of the War and Navy Departments, shall, from and after the day and year last aforesaid, be drawn from the treasury, by warrants of the Secretary of the Treasury, upon the requisitions of the secretaries of those departments, respectively, countersigned by the second comptroller of the treasury, and registered by the proper auditor.

So much of the act of March 3, 1817, ch. 45, as is repugnant, &c., repealed.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That so much of the said act of the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventeen, as is repugnant to the foregoing provisions, be, and is hereby, repealed, from and after the thirtieth day of June, eighteen hundred and twenty-two.

Approved, May 7, 1822.


  1. In general, the official duties of one of the executive departments, whether imposed by acts of Congress, or by resolutions, are not merely ministerial duties. The head of an executive department of the government, in the administration of the various and important concerns of his office, is continually required to exercise judgment and discretion. He must exercise his judgment in expounding the laws and resolutions of congress, under which he is required, from time to time, to act. If he doubts, he has a right to call on the attorney general to assist him with his counsel; and it would be difficult to imagine why a legal adviser was provided by law for the heads of the departments, as well as for President, unless their duties were regarded as executive, in which judgment and discretion were to be exercised. Decatur v. Paulding, Secretary of the Navy, 14 Peters, 497.

    If a suit should come before the Supreme Court of the United States, which involved the construction of any of the laws imposing duties on the heads of the executive departments, the court would not certainly be bound to adopt the construction given by the head of a department; and if they supposed the decision to be wrong, they would, of course, so pronounce their judgment. But the judgment of the court upon the construction of a law, must be given in a case in which they have jurisdiction, and in which it is their duty to interpret the act of Congress, in order to ascertain the rights of the parties in the cause before them. The court could not entertain an appeal from the decision of one of the secretaries, nor revise his judgment in any case where the law authorized him to exercise his discretion or judgment. Nor can it, by mandamus, act directly upon the officer, or guide and control his judgment or discretion in the matters committed to his care, in the ordinary discharge of his official duties. The interference of the court with the performance of the ordinary duties of the executive departments of the government, would be productive of nothing but mischief; and this power was never intended to be given to them. Ibid.