Petitioner James Ker purchased a commission for the office of Deputy Clerk to the Bills. The commission did not mention that the deputy clerk would be required to handle plack bills, but Respondent Thomas Smith, one of the principal clerks, requested a letter from Mr. Ker stating that he would perform that duty. After signing the letter, Mr. Ker learned that he would not be paid an additional fee for handling the plack bills. He therefore petitioned the court to relieve him of the commission, with return of his purchase money, or otherwise ensure that he would not be required to handle the plack bills without receiving fees. The Respondents, who were the court's principal clerks, responded that they had not participated in the transaction whereby Mr. Ker purchased his commission from his late predecessor; moreover, Mr. Ker's predecessor clerks had, "time out of mind," performed the duty of which he complained.


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