U.S. Supreme Court
Roberts v. United States, 92 U.S. 41 (1875)
Roberts v. United States
92 U.S. 41
Contractors for the transportation of the mails between New York and New Orleans, touching at Havana, and between Havana and Chagres, having subsequently established a direct line between New York and Chagres, which made the passage between the latter points in a shorter time, by two days, than the mail ships running under the contract by way of Havana, consented to take the Chagres and California mails outward and homeward by the direct steamers, without requiring from the Post Office Department a prior stipulation to pay for the extra service, but without precluding themselves from applying to Congress for such compensation as it might deem just and reasonable. To this arrangement the Postmaster General assented, with the understanding that his department did not thereby become responsible for any additional expense. Application was made to Congress for equitable relief and an act passed referring the claim to the Court of Claims, with directions to examine the same, and determine and adjudge what, if any, amount was due for extra service. Held that the Court of Claims is authorized to adjudge such an allowance as is required ex aequo et bono by all the circumstances of the case.