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They also attacked the seventh article of the treaty, discriminating in favor of French and Spanish ships, as a distinct violation of the Constitution against preference being given to the ports of one State over those of another. The administration party, through Mr. Elliott of Vermont, replied to this that “the States, as such, were equal and intended to preserve that equality; and the provision of the Constitution alluded to was calculated to prevent Congress from making any odious discrimination or distinctions between particular States. It was not contemplated that this provision would have application to colonial or territorial acquisitions." Said Mr. Nicholson of Maryland, speaking for the administration: “It (Louisiana] is in the nature of a colony whose commerce may be regulated without any reference to the Constitution. Had it been the Island of Cuba which was ceded to us, under a similar condition of admitting French and Spanish vessels for a limited time into Havana, could it possibly have been contended that this would be giving a preference to the ports of one State over those of another, or that the uniformity of duties, imposts and excises throughout the United States would have been destroyed? And because Louisiana lies adjacent to our own territory is it to be viewed in a different light?”
As a sequence to this debate two bills were passed, one October 31, 1803, (2 Stat. 245,) authorizing the President to take possession of the territory, and to continue the existing government, and the other November 10, 1803, (2 Stat. 245,) making provision for the payment of the purchase price. These acts continued in force until March 26, 1804, when a new act was passed providing for a temporary government, (2 Stat. 283,) and vesting all legislative powers in a governor and legislative council, to be appointed by the President. These statutes may be taken as expressing the views of Congress, first, that territory may be lawfully acquired by treaty, with a provision for its ultimate incorporation into the Union; and, second, that a discrimination in favor of certain foreign vessels trading with the ports of a newly acquired territory is no violation of that clause of the Constitution, (Art. 1, sec. 9,) that declares that no preference shall be given to the ports of one State over those of another. It is evident that the constitutionality of this discrimination can only be supported upon the theory that ports of territories are not ports of States within the meaning of the Constitution.
The same construction was adhered to in the treaty with Spain for the purchase of Florida, (8 Stat. 252,) the sixth article of which provided that the inhabitants should “be incorporated into the Union of the United States, as soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Federal Constitution;" and the fifteenth article of which agreed that Spanish vessels coming directly from Spanish ports and laden with productions of Spanish growth or manufacture, should be admitted, for the term of twelve years, to the ports of Pensacola and St. Augustine, “without paying other or higher duties on their cargoes,
or of tonnage, than will be paid by the vessels of the United States," and that “during the said term no other nation shall enjoy the same privileges within the ceded territories.”
So, too, in the act annexing the Republic of Hawaii, there was a provision continuing in effect the customs relations of the Hawaiian Islands with the United States and other countries, the effect of which was to compel the collection in those islands of a duty upon certain articles, whether coming from the United States or other countries, much greater than the duty provided by the general tariff law then in force. This was a discrimination against the Hawaiian ports wholly inconsistent with the revenue clauses of the Constitution, if such clauses were there operative.
The very treaty with Spain under discussion in this case contains similar discriminative provisions, which are apparently irreconcilable with the Constitution, if that instrument be held to extend to these islands immediately upon their cession to the United States. By Art. IV the United States agree “for the term of ten years from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, to admit Spanish ships and merchandise to the ports of the Philippine Islands on the same terms as ships and merchandise of the United States ” — a privilege not extending to any other ports. It was a clear breach of the uniformity clause in question, and a manifest excess of authority on the part of the commissioners, if ports of the Philippine Islands be ports of the United States.
So, too, by Art. XIII, “Spanish scientific, literary and artistic works ... shall be continued to be admitted free of duty in such territories, for the period of ten years, to be reckoned from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty." This is also a clear discrimination in favor of Spanish literary productions into particular ports. · Notwithstanding these provisions for the incorporation of territories into the Union, Congress, not only in organizing the territory of Louisi ana by act of March 26, 1804, but all other territories carved out of this vast inheritance, has assumed that the Constitution did not extend to them of its own force, and has in each case made special provision, either that their legislatures shall pass no law inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, or that the Constitution or laws of the United States shall be the supreme law of such territories. Finally, in Rev. Stat. sec. 1891, a general provision was enacted that “the Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within all the. organized territories, and in every territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere within the United States.”
So, too, on March 6, 1820, (3 Stat. 545,) in an act authorizing the people of Missouri to form a State government, after a heated debate, Congress declared that in the territory of Louisiana north of 36° 30' slavery should be forever prohibited. It is true that, for reasons which have become historical, this act was declared to be unconstitutional in Scott v. Sandford, (19 How. 393,) but it is none the less a distinct annunciation by Congress of power over property in the territories which it obviously did not possess in the several States.
The researches of counsel have collated a large number of other instances, in which Congress has in its enactments recognized the fact that provisions intended for the States did not embrace the territories, unless specially mentioned. These are found in the laws prohibiting the slave trade with “the United States or territories thereof;" or equipping ships “in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States;” in the internal revenue laws, in the early ones of which no provision was made for the collection of taxes in the territory not included within the boundaries of the existing States, and others of which extended them expressly to the territories, or “within the exterior boundaries of the United States;” and in the acts extending the internal revenue laws to the territories of Alaska and Oklahoma. It would prolong this opinion unnecessarily to set forth the provisions of these acts in detail. It is sufficient to say that Congress has or has not applied the revenue laws to the territories, as the circumstances of each case seemed to require, and has specifically legislated for the territories whenever it was its intention to execute laws beyond the limits of the States. Indeed, whatever may have been the fluctuations of opinion in other bodies, and even this court has not been exempt from them,) Congress has been consistent in recognizing the difference between the States and territories under the Constitution.
The decisions of this court upon this subject have not been altogether harmonious. Some of them are based upon the theory that the Constitution does not apply to the territories without legislation. Other cases, arising from territories where such legislation has been had, contain language which would justify the inference that such legislation was unnecessary, and that the Constitution took effect immediately upon the cession of the territory to the United States. It may be remarked, upon the threshold of an analysis of these cases, that too much weight must not be given to general expressions found in several opinions that the power of Congress over territories is complete and supreme, because these words may be interpreted as meaning only supreme under the Constitution; nor upon the other hand, to general statements that the Constitution covers the territories as well as the States, since in such cases it will be found that acts of Congress had already extended the Constitution to such territories, and that thereby it subordinated not only its own acts, but those of the territorial legislatures, to what had become the supreme law of the land. “It is a maxim not to be disregarded that general expressions, in every opinion, are to be taken in connection with the case in
which those expressions are used. If they go beyond the case, they may be respected, but ought not to control the judgment in a subsequent suit when the very point is presented for decision. The reason of this maxim is obvious. The question actually before the court is investigated with care, and considered in its full extent. Other principles which may serve to illustrate it are considered in their relation to the case decided, but their possible bearing on all other cases is seldom completely investigated.” (Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 399.)
The earliest case is that of Hepburn v. Ellzey, (2 Cranch, 445,) in which this court held that, under that clause of the Constitution limiting the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States to controversies between citizens of different States, a citizen of the District of Columbia could not maintain an action in the Circuit Court of the United States. It was argued that the word “State,” in that connection, was used simply to denote a distinct political society. “But," said the Chief Justice, “as the act of Congress obviously used the word ‘State' in reference to that term as used in the Constitution, it becomes necessary to inquire whether Columbia is a State in the sense of that instrument. The result of that examination is a conviction that the members of the American confederacy only are the States contemplated in the Constitution, ... and excludes from the term the signification attached to it by writers on the law of nations." This case was followed in Barney v. Baltimore City, (6 Wall. 280,) and quite recently in Hooe v. Jamieson, (166 U. S. 395.) The same rule was applied to citizens of territories in New Orleans v. Winter, (1 Wheat. 91,) in which an attempt was made to distinguish a territory from the District of Columbia. But it was said that “neither of them is a State in the sense in which that term is used in the Constitution.” In Scott v. Jones, (5 How. 343,) and in Miners' Bank v. Iowa, (12 How. 1,) it was held that under the Judiciary Act, permitting writs of error to the Supreme Court of a State, in cases where the validity of a State statute is drawn in question, an act of a territorial legislature was not within the contemplation of Congress.
Loughborough v. Blake, (5 Wheat. 317,) was an action of trespass (or, as appears by the original record, replevin) brought in the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia to try the right of Congress to impose a direct tax for general purposes on that District. (3 Stat. 216.) It was insisted that Congress could act in a double capacity: in one as legislating for the States; in the other as a local legislature for the District of Columbia. In the latter character, it was admitted that the power of levying direct taxes might be exercised, but for District purposes only, as a State legislature might tax for State purposes; but that it could not legislate for the District under Art. I, sec. 8, giving to Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, imposts and excises,” which “shall be uniform throughout the United States,” inasmuch as the District was no part of the United States. It was held that the grant of this power was a general one without limitation as to place, and consequently extended to all places over which the government extends; and that it extended to the District of Columbia as a constituent part of the United States. The fact that Art. I, sec. 20, declares that “representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective numbers,” furnished a standard by which taxes were apportioned; but not to exempt any part of the country from their operation. - The words used do not mean, that direct taxes shall be imposed on States only which are represented, or shall be apportioned to representatives; but that direct taxation, in its application to States, shall be apportioned to numbers.” That Art. I, sec. 9, T 4, declaring that direct taxes shall be laid in proportion to the census, was applicable to the District of Columbia, “and will enable Congress to apportion on it its just and equal share of the burden, with the same accuracy as on the respective States. If the tax be laid in this proportion, it is within the very words of the restriction. It is a tax in proportion to the census or enumeration referred to.” It was further held that the words of the ninth section did not “in terms require that the system of direct taxation, when resorted to, shall be extended to the territories, as the words of the second section require that it shall be extended to all the States. They therefore may, without violence, be understood to give a rule when the territories shall be taxed without imposing the necessity of taxing them.”
There could be no doubt as to the correctness of this conclusion, so far, at least, as it applied to the District of Columbia. This District had been a part of the States of Maryland and Virginia. It had been subject to the Constitution, and was a part of the United States. The Constitution had attached to it irrevocably. There are steps which can never be taken backward. The tie that bound the States of Maryland and Virginia to the Constitution could not be dissolved, without at least the consent of the Federal and State governments to a formal separation. The mere cession of the District of Columbia to the Federal government relinquished the authority of the States, but it did not take it out of the United States or from under the ægis of the Constitution. Neither party had ever consented to that construction of the cession. If, before the District was set off, Congress had passed an unconstitutional act affecting its inhabitants, it would have been void. If done after the District was created, it would have been equally void; in other words, Congress could not do indirectly by carving out the District what it could not do directly. The District still remained a part of the United States, protected by the Constitution. Indeed, it would have been a fanciful construction to hold that territory which had been once a part of the United States ceased to be. such by being ceded directly to the Federal government.