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UNITED STATES V. GRAHAM, 110 U. S. 219 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Graham, 110 U.S. 219 (1884)

United States v. Graham

Submitted January 4, 1884

Decided January 21, 1884

110 U.S. 219


1. The Act of 1835, 4 Stat. 755, which provided that ten cents a mile should be allowed to naval officers for traveling expenses while traveling under orders, made no distinction between traveling in and traveling out of the country. It was not repealed by the Act of April 17, 1868, 14 Stat. 38, nor by the Act of July 15, 1870, 16 Stat. 332, and was in force during the whole time that the travel was performed which is sued for, and its plain provisions are not affected by a contrary construction long put upon it by the Navy Department. United states v. Temple, 105 U. S. 97, approved and followed.

2. When there is ambiguity or doubt in a statute, a long continued construction of it in practice in a department would be in the highest degree persuasive, if not absolutely controlling in its effect. But when the language is clear and precise and the meaning evident, there is no room for construction.

Suit in the Court of Claims for mileage at the rate of ten cents a mile under the Act of March 3, 1835, 4 Stat. 755. Judgment below for the claimant, from which the United States appealed. The issues and contentions are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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