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Opinion of the Court.

it must be done in a certain way. The bank has no right separate and apart from the depositor to increase its stock, and the depositor's right is based upon his depositing the money in the bank as a stock depositor and calling for an issue of stock when it amounts to $50, or over, for the amount of such deposit. We think that the legislature might prohibit the further issue of capital stock in this corporation under this section. By the enactment of the charter there was no contract therein to forever continue this power to deposit and make such deposits a claim for stock therefor. There is no such language in terms, and none should be implied. It amounted to nothing more than a legislative license, which might be availed of by any depositor, but which the legislature might at any time revoke by thereafter prohibiting the issuing of stock in return for deposits. If the legislature could thus absolutely prohibit the further issuing of stock, could it not also provide that no stock should be thereafter issued unless subject to taxation as other property in the State? We see no reason to doubt the legislative capacity in that respect. Of course, the adoption of a constitutional provision of the same nature would be subject to the same rule. We do not see that by the adoption of the constitution of Tennessee in 1870, which provided for the taxation of all property, any contract obligation was impaired so far as regards the rights of the bank or the owners of the shares of stock issued subsequent to the adoption of the constitution. The constitution impaired no obligation of an existing contract. It prevented the subsequent making of one. No depositor could claim a contract or any vested right to make a deposit under the provision of section 4 of the act, and then claim an exemption from taxation of such stook where the deposit was made and the stock issued after the adoption of the constitution of 1870.

In Pearsall v. Great Northern Railway Co., 161 U. 8. 646, we held that a clause in a charter of a railroad corporation granting it certain powers to consolidate with or become the owner of other railroads was not such a vested right that it

Opinion of the Court. ·

could not be rendered inoperative by a subsequent statute passed before the company had availed itself of this power granted it by a former statute. We held that the power so conferred, so long as it was unexecuted, was within the control of the legislature and might be treated as a license, and be revoked by the legislature if it so chose. Much of the reasoning of that case is applicable here. We think the power of the legislature to alter the terms upon which stock might be subscribed is more clear than was its power in the case of Pearsall, supra. We assume in this case the legislative power to grant an unlimited right to increase the capital stock of the bank. That is a question of the power of the legislature of the State, and the decision of the state court in regard to the power of the legislature in such a case is one which we follow. Admitting the right to grant such power, it does not follow that it may not be taken away by a subsequent legislature, and if when the stock is issued there is a prorision in force in the State for the taxation of all property, we do not think the clause providing for the exemption of the stock applies to such stock thus issued.

It is urged that this right to issue stock in exchange for deposits is a valuable franchise of the bank given to it by this charter, accepted by it, and held as a contract secure from any assault by state legislation. We do not think that it is thus secured, because we are of opinion that it is not of that contractual nature which the Federal Constitution prevents any impairment of by state legislation. As has been seen by reference to the above case of Pearsall v. Railway Co., all provisions in a charter granting rights or powers to a corporation do not partake of the nature of a contract, which cannot for that reason be in any respect altered or the power recalled by subsequent legislation. Where no act is done under the provision and no rested right is acquired prior to the time when it was repealed, the provision may be validly recalled, without thereby impairing the obligation of a contract. The power to issue stock in return for deposits is of that kind which we think is subject to legislative power of repeal or of regulation so long as the action of the legisla

Opinion of the Court

ture interferes with no rights which have become vested before the passage of the act. Many cases bearing upon this subject are to be found cited in the arguments of counsel and in the opinion of this court in the Pearsall case, and it is unnecessary for us to further elaborate the question. Having the power to repeal altogether the grant to issue stock upon the making of stock deposits, as above stated, we think the power to permit it to be issued subject to taxation would be within the power of the legislature. This is in substance the effect of the constitution of 1870 providing for the taxation of all property. The clause of exemption no longer applies to shares of stock thereafter issued.

We think, therefore, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Tennessee adjudging a recovery against the shareholders of the new stock issued since 1870 was, to that extent, correct, and our former decision, which reversed the whole judgment of the state court as against the shareholders, must be amended. The mandate will be recalled; 80 much of the judgment of

the state court as permits a recovery against the holders of the old shares of stock in the bank is reversed; the judgment 80 far as it permits a recovery for taxes assessed against the holders of the new shares in the bank is af. firmed, and the cases remanded to the state court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion; and it is so ordered.

Opinion of the Court.





Nos. 870, 869. Argaed April 22, 23, 24, 1896. — Decided May 28, 1896.

The appropriations of money by the act of March 2, 1895, c. 189,:28 Stat. 910,

938, to be paid to certain manufacturers and producers of sugar who had complied with the provisions of the act of October 1, 1890, c. 1244, 26 Stat. 667, were within the power of Congress to make, and were constitu

tional and valid. It is within the constitutional power of Congress to determine whether

claims upon the public treasury are founded upon moral and honorable obligations, and upon principles of right and justice; and having decided such questions in the affirmative, and having appropriated public money for the payment of such claims, its decision can rarely, if ever, be the subject of review by the Judicial branch of the Government.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Whitney and Mr. Solicitor General for plaintiffs in error. Mr. Assistant Attorney Gon eral Dodge was on their brief.

Mr. Charles F. Manderson, Mr. Thomas J. Semmes and Mr. Joseph H. Choate for defendants in error. Mr. Edward Ham was on Mr. Manderson's brief.

Mr. James D. Hill filed a brief for defendants in error.

MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

These are writs of error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The actions were brought in that court under the second section of the act approved March 3, 1887, c. 359, 24 Stat. 505, commonly known as the Tucker act. Both actions were brought to

Opinion of the Court.

obtain payment of moneys by reason of the legislation of Congress in regard to sugar bounties. The court below in each case gave judgment for the plaintiffs therein, and the Govern. ment by writ of error brings the cases here for review.

The legislation out of which the question arises is as follows: By the act approved October 1, 1890, c. 1244, known as the tariff act of 1890, 26 Stat. 567, which act is entitled "An act to reduce the revenue and equalize duties on imports, and for other purposes,” Congress legislated upon the subject of the tariff, and in that act paragraphs 231, 232, 233 and 235, “Schedule E, Sugar," (on p. 583,) read as follows:

“231. That on and after July first, eighteen hundred and ninety-one, and until July first, nineteen hundred and five, there shall be paid, from any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, under the provisions of section three thousand six hundred and eighty-nine of the Revised Statutes, to the producer of sugar, testing not less than ninety degrees by the polariscope, from beets, sorghum or sugar cane grown within the United States, or from maple sap produced within the United States, a bounty of two cents per pound; and upon such sugar testing less than ninety degrees by the polariscope, and not less than eighty degrees, a bounty of one and three fourths cents per pound, under such rules and regulations as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall prescribe.

“232. The producer of said sugar to be entitled to said bounty shall have first filed prior to July first of each year with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue a notice of the place of production, with a general description of the machinery and methods to be employed by him, with an estimate of the amount of sugar proposed to be produced in the current or next ensuing year, including the number of maple trees to be tapped, and an application for a license to so produce, to be accompanied by a bond in a penalty, and with sureties to be approved by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, conditioned that he will faithfully observe all reles and regulations that shall be prescribed for such manufacture and production of sugar.

“233. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, upon receiv- .

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