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"I also inclose herewith a letter from Mr. A. D. McRae, of the Union Bank of Halifax, also a letter from Mr. W. S. Messervy in verification of the fact that these coins have been and are to-day in circulation at the values fixed by the proclamation of 1853. What little of English money I receive here I have to take at $4.80 or 20 shillings to the pound and disburse it at the same value, while on the other hand most merchants here make it a business of profiting to the extent of 8 per cent on each $5 or 4 per cent on each $2.50 of fees they pay this office by sending the amount of their fees in United States gold which they receive at the rate of $2.46 for the $2.50 United States gold piece and $4.92 for the $5 United States gold piece, and then they send it up here and receive United States par value for it, thus gaining 4 or 8 per cent, as the case may be, and when I send it to the bank or go to spend it I lose what they made on it. I am at a loss to know how the Auditor expects me to make $0.0665 on each pound handled when I take it at $4.80 to the pound and disburse it at $4.80 to the pound, while on the other hand I lose 8 per cent on most every $5 handled. I have heretofore refrained from raising this issue, it being a matter of less than $35 or $40 per
"This office has, however, collected under me from December, 1897, to June 30, 1903, the following amounts by quarters:
"a total of $14,150.25, of which the greater part has been paid in United States gold. In view of the foregoing facts I now trust you will be able to credit me with the amounts charged as gain on English money by the Auditor and that you will also credit me with $226.40 as a loss incurred by having to accept United States gold at its par value in the United States while it is at a discount here."
The letters referred to read as follows:
"COLONIAL BANK, Trinidad, June 7, 1904. "ALVIN SMITH, Esq., U. S. Consul.
"DEAR SIR: In reply your letter of even date I would say that the sovereign is taken at $4.80, the $5 gold piece of the United States of America, $4.92, this latter value being fixed by the Government as the legal value as compared with the sovereign at $4.80.
I am, sir, yours faithfully,
"W. S. MERSERVE, A. Manr."
UNION BANK OF HALIFAX,
"Port of Spain, Trinidad, B. W. I., June 7, 1904. "Hon. ALVIN SMITH, United States Consul, Port of Spain. "DEAR SIR: In reply to your inquiry of even date, I beg to advise you that the par value of the pound sterling in this
colony is $4.80, and the legal tender value of gold coin of the United States in this colony is at the rate of $4.92 for the five-dollar gold piece.
"I am, dear sir, yours faithfully,
The proclamation mentioned does not, in terms, fix the value of English sterling, but provides that the gold coins of the United States shall be the equivalent of English sterling and legal tender at the following rates:
"The eagle at the rate of 41 shillings sterling; the half eagle at the rate of 20 shillings and 6 pence sterling; the quarter eagle at the rate of 10 shillings and 3 pence sterling; the gold dollar at the rate of 4 shillings and 1 penny sterling."
As compared with the "par of exchange," or exchange value as fixed by our statute ($4.8665 to the pound=$0.243325 to the shilling) this is a slight undervaluation of our gold coins; that of the eagle ($10) being $9.976325; the half eagle ($5) $4.9881625; the quarter eagle ($2.50) $2.4948125, and the dollar $0.993577+, while the valuation as stated by the consul is still less, being exactly 2 cents to the penny or 24 cents to the shilling.
It will be observed that the values fixed by the proclamation are difficult of computation, and I have no doubt that this difficulty was the prime cause of the fixing by commercial usage of the values, as stated by the consul and his correspondents, for convenience in exchanging the two moneys, the relative reduction of each being about the same. This, to my mind, is clearly indicated by the statement of Mr. Messervy that the value of the $5 gold piece was fixed at $4.92 "as the legal value, as compared with the sovereign at $4.80." So it would seem that these rates of exchange are merely for commercial convenience and do not in any way affect the real or intrinsic value of either the pound or our gold coins.
If these transactions had been had with reference to a debased or fluctuating currency, and if United States money had been exchanged for such currency, the consul would have been entitled to credit for the full amount received in exchange, or, in other words, the value of the currency received in exchange would have been its commercial value and not the value fixed by the United States (Clay v. United States, 8 Ct. Cl., 209); but where the exchange is made in
the standard currency of the government or place to which the consul is accredited, a different rule seems to prevail, and such exchange is not affected by local conditions.
Paragraph 585, Consular Regulations of 1896, supra, provides:
"The value of the English sovereign or pound sterling in the currency of the United States at which it shall be paid and received by the Treasury in foreign countries is fixed at $4.8665. This valuation must therefore be employed in making their reductions from English money to the currency of the United States by consular officers in all countries. (R. S., sec. 3565.)
"When the money which is in use in a foreign country is not the standard money of the country, or if it be depreciated from the standard currency, the reduction to the Federal money must be made at the rate of the commercial value of said money at the time and place of the transaction.'
The practice here indicated has been the rule of the Treasury Department for many years, and Mr. Smith must be presumed to have had full knowledge thereof when he was appointed to and accepted the consulship at Trinidad, but whether he had actual notice or not is immaterial; he is bound by the law and regulations made in pursuance of law.
Upon careful consideration I find no error in the Auditor's adjustment and settlement of the matter considered herein, but even if I thought otherwise I should hesitate before overruling the long-continued practice.
The action of the Auditor in computing the English pound sterling at $4.8665, as fixed by section 3565 of the Revised Statutes, is affirmed.
Referring to claimant's statement in relation to the loss of 8 cents upon each $5 of United States gold coin received by him and his request to be credited with $226.40, as the aggregate loss on $14,150.25 so received, it is sufficient to say that, so far as I am aware, no claim therefor has ever been presented by him to the Auditor for settlement, therefore I am without jurisdiction to consider it, and express no opinion relative thereto.
COMPUTING PAYMENTS OF ANNUAL OR MONTHLY SALARY FOR A FRACTIONAL PART OF A MONTH.
The employment of a substitute letter carrier on July 1, 16, and 31, respectively, to take the place of three different carriers for fifteen days on each occasion, constituted three distinct employments, and the substitute is entitled to one-thirtieth of a monthly instalment of pay for each day's service thereunder, including his service on July 31.
(Comptroller Tracewell to C. H. Barker, postmaster, August 22, 1904.)
In your communication of August 17, 1904, you request my decision of a question which you present therein as follows:
"I respectfully ask for a ruling in the case as stated herein. "A regular letter carrier commences his annual fifteen days' leave July 1, 1904, ending the 15th, inclusive, the substitute at the close of the 15th being entitled to fifteen-thirtieths of a month's pay.
The 16th of July another carrier commences his fifteen days' leave, ending the 30th, inclusive, the same substitute being entitled to fifteen-thirtieths of a month's pay.
"July 31, 1904, another carrier desires to commence his fifteen days' leave and the same substitute is called upon. Shall this office pay the substitute for the service performed July
The act of June 27, 1884 (23 Stat., 60), provides as follows:
"That all letter carriers at free-delivery offices shall be entitled to leave of absence, not to exceed fifteen days in each year, without loss of pay; and the Postmaster-General is hereby authorized to employ, when necessary, during the time such leave of absence is granted, such number of substitute letter carriers as may be deemed advisable, who shall be paid for services rendered at the rate of six hundred dollars per annum."
Substitutes employed under these provisions hold positions which are distinct from the positions of letter carriers, who continue to hold their positions and to receive the pay provided therefor. The employment of the substitute on July 1, July 16, and July 31, during the absence of three different carriers, for fifteen days on each occasion, therefore constituted three distinct employments in three distinct positions, each having its own compensation at the rate of $600 a year.
Under this state of facts the substitute is entitled to onethirtieth of a monthly installment of pay for each day's service, including July 31.
COMPUTING PAYMENTS OF SALARY FOR A FRACTIONAL PART OF A MONTH.
Where there was a break in the service of an employee of the Interior Department by reason of his failure to perform service from July 27 to August 15, inclusive, he will be entitled to one-thirtieth of the installment of pay for July and August, respectively, for each day's actual service during said months.
(Comptroller Tracewell to George W. Evans, disbursing clerk, August 23, 1904.)
In your communication of August 19, 1904, you request my decision of a question which you present therein as follows:
"I beg leave to invite your attention to the following question, which has been presented to me in connection with the preparation of the pay rolls of this Department, under the new salary tables, and to respectfully request an opinion from you thereon:
"I am directed to stop the pay of a second assistant examiner in the Patent Office from July 27 to August 15, inclusive, twenty days. The examiner renders service from July 1 to July 26, inclusive, and from August 16 to August 31, inclusive. Does the stoppage of pay constitute a break of service,' and should pay be allowed for the actual number of days employed?"
I think the facts stated must be regarded as indicating a break in the service, and that the examiner will be entitled to one-thirtieth of the installment of pay for July and August, respectively, for each day's service from July 1 to 26, inclusive, and from August 16 to 31, inclusive.
PAYMENTS OF ANNUAL COMPENSATION FOR FRACTIONAL
PART OF A MONTH.
Under the provision in section 4 of the act of April 28, 1904, for computing payments of annual or monthly compensation, where an employee serves the first day of a thirty-one day month and is absent on leave without pay during the remaining thirty days, and no other person is employed in his place during such absence, he is entitled to one day's pay.