페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

[revenue] law, or on account of any right, title or authority claimed by such officer or other person under any such law.” Both these sections are taken from the act of March 2, 1833, (4 Stat. 632,) commonly known as the Force Bill, and are evidently intended to include all actions against customs officers acting under color of their office. While, as we have held in De Lima v. Bidwell, actions against the collector to recover back duties assessed upon non-importable property are not “customs cases” in the sense of the Administrative Act, they are, nevertheless, actions arising under an act to provide for a revenue from imports, in the sense of section 629, since they are for acts done by a collector under color of his office. This subdivision of sec. 629 was not repealed by the Jurisdictional Act of 1875, or the subsequent act of August 13, 1888, since these acts were “not intended to interfere with the prior statutes conferring jurisdiction upon the Circuit or District Courts in special cases, and over particular subjects.” (United States v. Mooney, 116 U. S. 104, 107. See also Ins. Co. v. Ritchie, 5 Wall. 541; Philadelphia v. The Collector, 5 Wall. 720; Hornthall v. The Collector, 9 Wall. 560.) As the case “involves the construction or application of the Constitution” as well as the constitutionality of a law of the United States, the writ of error was properly sued out from this court.

2. In the case of De Lima v. Bidwell, just decided, we held that upon the ratification of the treaty of peace with Spain, Porto Rico ceased to be a foreign country, and became a territory of the United States, and that duties were no longer collectible upon merchandise brought from that island. We are now asked to hold that it became a part of the United States within that provision of the Constitution which declares that “all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." (Art. I, sec. 8.) If Porto Rico be a part of the United States, the Foraker act imposing duties upon its products is unconstitutional, not only by reason of a violation of the uniformity clause, but because by sec. 9 “vessels bound to or from one State” cannot “be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another."

The case also involves the broader question whether the revenue clauses of the Constitution extend of their own force to our newly acquired territories. The Constitution itself does not answer the question. Its solution must be found in the nature of the government created by that instrument, in the opinion of its contemporaries, in the practical construction put upon it by Congress and in the decisions of this court.

The Federal government was created in 1777 by the union of thirteen colonies of Great Britain in “certain articles of confederation and perpetual union,” the first one of which declared that “the stile of this confederacy shall be the United States of America.” Each member of the confederacy was denominated a State. Provision was made for the representation of each State by not less than two nor more than seven delegates; but no mention was made of territories or other lands, except in Art. XI, which authorized the admission of Canada, upon its “acceding to this confederation,” and of other colonies if such admission were agreed to by nine States. At this time several States made claims to large tracts of land in the unsettled West, which they were at first indisposed to relinquish. Disputes over these lands became so acrid as nearly to defeat the confederacy, before it was fairly put in operation. Several of the States refused to ratify the articles, because the convention had taken no steps to settle the titles to these lands upon principles of equity and sound policy; but all of them, through fear of being accused of disloyalty, finally yielded their claims, though Maryland held out until 1781. Most of these States in the meantime having ceded their interests in these lands, the confederate Congress, in 1787, created the first territorial government northwest of the Ohio River, provided for local self-government, a bill of rights, a representation in Congress by a delegate, who should have a seat “ with a right of debating, but not of voting,” and for the ultimate formation of States therefrom, and their admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.

The confederacy, owing to well-known historical reasons, having proven a failure, a new Constitution was formed in 1787 by “the people of the United States” “for the United States of America,” as its preamble declares. All legislative powers were vested in a Congress consisting of representatives from the several States, but no provision was made for the admission of delegates from the territories, and no mention was made of territories as separate portions of the Union, except that Congress was empowered “to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” At this time all of the States had ceded their unappropriated lands except North Carolina and Georgia. It was thought by Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott case, (19 How. 393, 436,) that the sole object of the territorial clause was “to transfer to the new government the property then held in common by the States, and to give to that government power to apply it to the objects for which it had been destined by mutual agreement among the States before their league was dissolved; ” that the power 6 to make needful rules and regulations” was not intended to give the powers of sovereignty, or to authorize the establishment of territorial governments—in short, that these words were used in a proprietary and not in a political sense. But, as we observed in De Lima v. Bidwell, the power to establish territorial governments has been too long exercised by Congress and acquiesced in by this court to be deemed an unsettled question. Indeed, in the Dred Scott case it was admitted to be the inevitable consequence of the right to acquire territory.

It is sufficient to observe in relation to these three fundamental instruments that it can nowhere be inferred that the territories were considered a part of the United States. The Constitution was created by the people of the United States, as a union of States, to be governed solely by representatives of the States; and even the provision relied upon here, that all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform “throughout the United States," is explained by subsequent provisions of the Constitution, that “no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State,” and “no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.” In short, the Constitution deals with States, their people and their representatives.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude “within the United States, or in any place subject to their jurisdiction,” is also significant as showing that there may be places within the jurisdiction of the United States that are no part of the Union. To say that the phraseology of this amendment was due to the fact that it was intended to prohibit slavery in the seceded States, under a possible interpretation that those States were no longer a part of the Union, is to confess the very point in issue, since it involves an admission that, if these States were not a part of the Union, they were still subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Upon the other hand, the Fourteenth Amendment, upon the subject of citizenship, declares only that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside.” Here there is a limitation to persons born or naturalized in the United States which is not extended to persons born in any place “subject to their jurisdiction.”

The question of the legal relations between the States and the newly acquired territories first became the subject of public discussion in connection with the purchase of Louisiana in 1803. This purchase arose primarily from the fixed policy of Spain to exclude all foreign commerce from the Mississippi. This restriction became intolerable to the large number of immigrants who were leaving the Eastern States to settle in the fertile valley of that river and its tributaries. After several futile attempts to secure the free navigation of that river by treaty, advantage was taken of the exhaustion of Spain in her war with France, and a provision inserted in the treaty of October 27, 1795, by which the Mississippi River was opened to the commerce of the United States. (8 Stat. 138, 140, Art. IV.) In October, 1800, by the secret treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain retroceded to France the territory of Louisiana. This treaty created such a ferment in this country that James Monroe was sent as minister extraordinary with discretionary powers to co-operate with Livingston, then minister to France, in the purchase of New Orleans, for which Congress appropriated $2,000,000. To the surprise of the negotiators, Bonaparte invited them to make an offer for the whole of Louisiana at a price finally fixed at $15,000,000. It is well known that Mr. Jefferson entertained grave doubts as to his power to make the purchase, or, rather, as to his right to annex the territory and make it part of the United States, and had instructed Mr. Livingston to make no agreement to that effectin the treaty, as he believed it could not be legally done. Owing to a new war between England and France being upon the point of breaking out, there was need for haste in the negotiations, and Mr. Livingston took the responsibility of disobeying his instructions, and, probably owing to the insistence of Bonaparte, consented to the third article of the treaty, which provided that “the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion which they profess.” This evidently committed the government to the ultimate, but not to the immediate, admission of Louisiana as a State, and postponed its incorporation into the Union to the pleasure of Congress. In regard to this, Mr. Jefferson, in a letter to Senator Breckinridge of Kentucky, of August 12, 1803, used the following language: “This treaty must, of course, be laid before both houses, because both have important functions to exercise respecting it. They, I presume, will see their duty to their country in ratifying and paying for it, so as to secure a good which would otherwise probably be never again in their power. But I suppose they must then appeal to the nation for an additional article to the Constitution approving and confirming an act which the nation had not previously authorized. The Constitution has made no provision for holding foreign territory, still less for incorporating foreign nations into our Union. The Executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the Constitution.”

To cover the questions raised by this purchase Mr. Jefferson prepared two amendments to the Constitution, the first of which declared that “the province of Louisiana is incorporated with the United States and made part thereof;” and the second of which was couched in a little different language, viz: “ Louisiana, as ceded by France to the United States, is made a part of the United States. Its white inhabitants shall be citizens, and stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing as other citizens in analogous situations.” But by the time Congress assembled, October 17, 1803, either the argument of his friends or the pressing necessity of the situation seems to have dispelled his doubts regarding his power under the Constitution, since in his message to Congress he referred the whole matter to that body, saying that “with the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take those ulterior measures which may be necessary for the immediate occupation and temporary government of the country; for its incorporation into the Union.” (Jefferson's Writings, vol. 8, p. 269.)

The raising of money to provide for the purchase of this territory and the act providing a civil government gave rise to an animated debate in Congress, in which two questions were prominently presented: First, whether the provision for the ultimate incorporation of Louisiana into the Union was constitutional; and, second, whether the seventh article of the treaty admitting the ships of Spain and France for the next twelve years “into the ports of New Orleans, and in all other legal ports of entry within the ceded territory, in the same manner as the ships of the United States coming directly from France or Spain, or any of their colonies, without being subject to any other or greater duty on merchandise or other or greater tonnage than that paid by the citizens of the United States,” was an unlawful discrimination in favor of those ports and an infringement upon Art. I, sec. 9, of the Constitution, that “no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another.” This article of the treaty contained the further stipulation that “during the space of time above mentioned no other nation shall have a right to the same privileges in the ports of the ceded territory; ... and it is well understood that the object of the above article is to favor the manufactures, commerce, freight and navigation of France and Spain.”

It is unnecessary to enter into the details of this debate. The arguments of individual legislators are no proper subject for judicial comment. They are so often influenced by personal or political considerations, or by the assumed necessities of the situation, that they can hardly be considered even as the deliberate views of the persons who make them, much less as dictating the construction to be put upon the Constitution by the courts. (United States v. Union Pac. R. R., 91 U. S. 72, 79.) Suffice it to say that the administration party took the ground that, under the constitutional power to make treaties, there was ample power to acquire territory, and to hold and govern it under laws to be passed by Congress; and that as Louisiana was incorporated into the Union as a territory, and not as a State, a stipulation for citizenship became necessary; that as a State they would not have needed a stipulation for the safety of their liberty, property and religion, but as territory this stipulation would govern and restrain the undefined powers of Congress to “make rules and regulations” for territories. The Federalists admitted the power of Congress to acquire and hold territory, but denied its power to incorporate it into the Union under the Constitution as it then stood.

« 이전계속 »