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according to the laws of the State of New York, the place of the con-
tract being expressly agreed to be the principal office of the said com-
pany in the city of New York." New York Life Insurance Co. v. Cra-
14. The power of a State over foreign corporations is not less than the power
of a State over domestic corporations. Ib.
5. The business of insurance is not commerce, and the making of a con-
tract of insurance is a mere incident of commercial intercourse in which
there is no difference whatever between insurance against fire, insur-
ance against the perils of the sea, or insurance of life. Ib.
See CONTRACT, 14.
1. Under the Court of Appeals Act of March 3, 1891, a conviction for mur-
der is a “conviction of a capital crime," though the jury qualify their
verdict of guilty by adding the words “without capital punishment."
The test of a capital crime is not the punishment which is imposed,
but that which may be imposed under the statute. Fitzpatrick v.
United States, 304.
2. Under the statute of Oregon requiring the offence to be stated "in ordi-
nary and concise language and in such manner as to enable a person of
common understanding to know what was intended,” an indictment
for murder charging that the defendant feloniously, purposely, and of
deliberate and premeditated malice inflicted upon the deceased a mortal
wound of which he instantly died is a sufficient allegation of premedi-
tated and deliberate malice in killing him. 16.
3. Evidence that one jointly indicted with the defendant was found to have
been wounded in the shoulder, and his accompanying statement that he
had been shot, were held to be competent upon the trial of the defend-
4. Any fact which had a bearing upon the question of defendant's guilt im-
mediate or remote and occurring at any time before the incident was
closed, was held proper for the consideration of the jury, although
statements made by other defendants in his absence implicating him
with the murder would not be competent. Ib.
5. The prisoner taking the stand in his own behalf and swearing to an alibi
was held to have been properly cross-examined as to the clothing worn
by him on the night of the murder, his acquaintance with the others
jointly indicted with him, and other facts showing his connection with
6. Where an accused party waives bis constitutional privilege of silence and
takes the stand in his own behalf and makes his own statement, the
prosecution has a right to cross-examine him upon such statement
with the same latitude as would be exercised in the case of an ordi-
nary witness as to the circumstances connecting him with the alleged
7. Evidence in rebuttal with respect to the effect of light from the flash of
a revolver was held to be competent where the defence put in a cal-
endar, apparently for the purpose of showing the time the moon rose
that night. Ib.
See CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, 10.
May & Co., merchants at New Orleans, were engaged in the business of
importing goods from abroad, and selling them. In each box, or case
in which they were brought into this country, there would be many
packages, each of which was separately marked and wrapped. The
importer sold each package separately. The city of New Orleans
taxed the goods after they reached the hands of the importer (the
duties having been paid) and were ready for sale. Held: (1) That
the box, case or bale in which the separate parcels or bundles were
placed by the foreign seller, manufacturer or packer was to be re-
garded as the original package, and when it reached its destination
for trade or sale an was opened for the purpose of using or exposing
to sale the separate parcels or bundles, the goods lost their distinctive
character as imports and each parcel or bundle became a part of the
general mass of property in the State and subject to local taxation;
(2) that Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat. 419, established these propo-
sitions : 1. That the payment of duties to the United States gives the
right to sell the things imported, and that such right to sell cannot be
forbidden or impaired by a State. 2. That while the things imported
retain their character as imports, and remain the property of the im-
porter, " in his warehouse, in the original form or package in which it
was imported," a tax upon it is a duty on imports within the meaning
of the Constitution. 3. A State cannot, in the form of a license or
otherwise, tax the right of the importer to sell, but when the importer
has so acted upon the goods imported that they have been incorporated
or mixed with the general mass of property in the State, such goods
have then lost their distinctive character as imports, and have become
from that time subject to state taxation, not because they are the prod-
ucts of other countries, but because they are property within the
State in like condition with other property that should contribute, in
the way of taxation, to the support of the government which protects
the owner in his person and estate. May v. New Orleans, 496.
See CRIMINAL LAW, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
1. The plaintiffs in error were the executors of the will of Edwin F. Knowl.
ton, of Brooklyn, New York. The defendant in error was the United
States Collector of Internal Revenue for the First Collection District
for the State of New York. Mr. Knowlton died at Brooklyn in Octo-
ber, 1898, and his will was duly proved. Under the portion of the Act of
Congress of June 13, 1898, which is printed at length in a note to the
opinion of the court in this case, the United States Collector of Inter-
nal Revenue demanded of the executors a return, showing the amount
of the personal estate of the deceased, and the legatees and distribu-
tees thereof. This return the executors made under protest, asserting
that the act of June 13 was unconstitutional. This return showed that
the personal estate amounted to over two and a half millions of dol-
lars, and that there were several legacies, ranging from under $10,000
each to over $1,500,000. The collector levied the tax on the legacies
and distributive shares, but for the purpose of fixing the rate of the
tax considered the whole of the personal estate of the deceased as fix-
ing the rate for each, and not the amount coming to each individual
legatee under the will. As the rates under the statute were progres-
sive from a low rate on legacies amounting to $10,000, to a high rate
on those exceeding $1,000,000, this decision greatly increased the aggre-
gate amount of the taxation. The executors protested on the grounds,
(1) that the provisions of the act were unconstitutional; (2) that
legacies amounting to less than $10,000, were not subject to any tax
or duty; (3) that a legacy of $100,000, taxed at the rate of $2.25 per
$100, was only subject to the rate of $1.12). Demand having been
made by the collector for payment, payment was made under protest;
and, after the Commissioner of Internal Revenue had refused to refund
any of it, the executors commenced suit to recover the amount so
paid. The Circuit Court sustained a demurrer upon the ground that no
cause of action was alleged, and dismissed the suit, which was then
brought here by writ of error. Held: (1) That the statute clearly im-
poses the duty on the particular legacies or distributive shares, and
not on the whole personal estate ; (2) that it makes the rate of
the tax depend upon the character of the links connecting those
taking with the deceased, being primarily determined by the
classifications, and progressively increased according to the amount of
the legacies or shares ; (3) that the court below erred in denying all
relief, and that it should have held the plaintiffs entitled to recover so
much of the tax as resulted from taxing legacies not exceeding ten
thousand dollars, and from increasing the tax rate with reference to
the whole amount of the personal estate of the deceased from which
the legacies or distributive shares were derived. Knowlton v. Moore,
2. Death duties were established by the Roman and ancient law, and by
the modern laws of France, Germany and other continental countries,
England and her colonies, and an examination of all shows that tax
laws of this nature rest in their essence upon the principle that death
is the generating source from which the particular taxing power takes
its being, and that it is the power to transmit or the transmission from
the dead to the living on which such taxes are more iminediately
3. When a particular construction of a statute will occasion great incon-
venience, or produce inequality and injustice, that view is not to be
favored if another and more reasonable interpretation is present in the
4. The provision in section 8 of article I of the Constitution that " all
duties, imports and excises shall be uniform throughout the United
States,” refers purely to a geographical uniformity, and is synonymous
with the expression “to operate generally throughout the United
5. The statute considered in this case embraces the District of Columbia.
6. The assignments of error in this case raised only the constitutionality of
the taxes sought to be recovered, which has just been decided adversely
to the plaintiffs in error in Knowlton v. Moore, ante, 41, and there is
nothing in the record to enable the court to see that the statute was
mistakingly construed by the collector; but as the interpretation of the
statute which was adopted and enforced by the officers administering
the law was the one held to be unsound in Knowlton v. Moore, the ends
of justice require that the right to resist so much of the tax as may
have arisen from the wrong interpretation of the statute should not be
foreclosed by the decree of this court. High v. Coyne, 111.
7. The right to take property by will or descent is derived from and regu-
lated by municipal law; and, in assessing a tax upon such right or privi-
lege, the State may lawfully measure or fix the amount of the tax by
referring to the value of the property passing; and the incidental fact
that such property is composed, in whole or in part, of Federal securi-
ties, does not invalidate the state tax, or the law under which it is im.
posed. Plummer v. Coler, 115.
8. The relation of the individual citizen and resident to the State in which
he resides is such that his right, as the owner of property, to direct its
desce by will or permit its descent to be regulated by statute, and
his right as legatee, devisee or heir to receive the property of his tes-
tator or ancestor, are rights derived from and regulated by the State;
and no sound distinction can be drawn between the power of the State,
in imposing taxes upon franchises of corporations, composed of indi-
vidual persons, and in imposing taxes upon the right or privilege of
individuals to avail themselves of the right to grant and to receive
property under the statutes regulating the descent of the property of
General creditors attaching the goods of an insolvent debtor upon the
ground that they had been purchased under fraudulent representations,
when sued by chattel mortgagees of said debtor, may attack the mort-
gage by showing that the mortgagees knew that the goods had been
fraudulently purchased. Browning v. De Ford, 196.
See CONTRACT, 1.
1. A neglected right, if neglected too long, must be treated as an abandoned
right, which no court will enforce. Moran v. Horsky, 205.
B. JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT.
1. The defence of laches, put in in this case, is the assertion of an indepen-
dent defence, proceeding upon the concession that there was, under the
laws of the United States a prior right, and conceding that, says that
the delay in respect to its assertion prevents its present recognition;
and the court is of opinion that the decision of the Supreme Court of
Montana in this case was based upon an independent non-Federal ques-
tion, broad enough to sustain its judgment. Moran v. Horsky, 205.
2. For the reasons set forth in the opinion of the court, the case was dis-
missed for want of jurisdiction. Pittsburgh & Lake Angeline Iron Co.
v. Cleveland Iron Mining Co., 270.
3. The appellant herein filed its original petition in the Court of Claims
against the United States and the Apache Indians on September 6, 1892.
Subsequently and by leave of court an amended petition was filed
March 2, 1894, from which it appears that the petitioner is a corpora-
tion chartered under the laws of the State of New York and doing busi-
ness in the state of Chihuahua, county of Guleana, Republic of Mexico,
and that property to the value of nearly seventy-five thousand dollars,
belonging to the petitioner, and situated at the time in the Republic
of Mexico, was taken therefrom in 1881 and 1882, and stolen and carried
off by the Apache Indians, then in amity with the United States, and
brought from the Republic of Mexico into the United States. By vir-
tue of the act of Congress entitled “An act to provide for the adjudi-
cation and payment of claims arising from Indian depredations," ap-
proved March 3, 1891, judgment for the value of the property thus taken
by the Indians was demanded. The United States filed a plea in bar,
alleging that the claimant ought not to have and maintain its suit, “be-
cause the depredation complained of is alleged to have occurred in the
Republic of Mexico, beyond the jurisdiction of the United States and
the courts thereof, and that the court, therefore, had no jurisdiction
to entertain this suit.” The plaintiff demurred to the plea in bar as
bad in substance. The Court of Claims overruled the demurrer, sus-
tained the plea in bar, and dismissed the petition. Held, that the judg-
ment of the Court of Claims was right, and it must be affirmed. Cor-
ralitos Company v. United States, 280.
4. This case is dismissed for want of jurisdiction, as the Supreme Court of
Minnesota did not deny the validity of the New York statute with re-
gard to insurance, but only construed it, and even granting that its
construction was erroneous, faith and credit were not denied to the.
statute. Banholzer v. New York Life Insurance Company, 402.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, 3, 4,
C. JURISDICTION OF CIRCUIT COURTS OF APPEAL.
1. Upon the showing made by the Court of Appeals it is clear that that
court had jurisdiction, and should have proceeded to dispose of this
case on its merits, instead of dismissing it for want of jurisdiction,
Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Phinney, 327.