Cliquot's Champagne , 70 U.S. 114 ( 1866 )

  • 70 U.S. 114 (1865)
    3 Wall. 114


    Supreme Court of United States.

    *127 Mr. D.B. Eaton, for the claimant, Cliquot.

    Mr. Speed, A.G., and Mr. Lake, D.A. for California, contra.

    *139 Mr. Justice SWAYNE delivered the opinion of the court.

    The exceptions presented by the record will be considered in the order in which they have been argued.

    I. The defendant's counsel objected to the witness testifying what Jean Petit & Son stated to him — when he visited their place of business, No. 7 Rue de la Mecorcher — in regard to the prices of champagne. The testimony is objected to as inadmissible and incompetent, on the ground that it *140 was hearsay, and that there was no evidence that Petit & Son were the agents of the claimant.

    The bill of exceptions does not purport to set out all the evidence given in the case. Whether there was sufficient proof of the agency to warrant the admission of the acts and declarations of the agent in evidence, was a preliminary question for the court to determine. If the proof was insufficient, an exception should have been taken upon that ground, and the evidence upon the subject embodied in the bill. This was not done. It appears, however, that the proof was sufficient. Besides other evidence, the fact was proved by the deposition of Eugene Cliquot, the claimant.

    Whatever is done by an agent, in reference to the business in which he is at the time employed, and within the scope of his authority, is said or done by the principal, and may be proved as well in a criminal as in a civil case, in all respects, as if the principal were the actor or the speaker.[*]

    II. The second exception was to the admission, in evidence, of the Price-Current furnished by the agent to the witness. Coming from that source, it was clearly admissible. It was not so remote in its bearing upon the issue as to be irrelevant. Its weight and application depended upon the other evidence in the case, which is not shown. We cannot presume error. It must be made manifest. The presumption is the other way.

    III. The witness further testified, that almost all the leading champagne manufacturers have agencies in Paris; that he inquired of several agencies for champagne at wholesale for exportation, and the agents uniformly stated to him their prices; that he could find no agents for Eugene Cliquot at Paris, other than the house of Petit & Son. That among other wine-dealers in Paris was the house No. 6 Provence Street, on the outside of which was a sign, "Delenge Ragot, of the firm of Minet, Jr., & Co., Rheims." That he called at this establishment, and was shown by the proprietor *141 samples of various wines, who stated their wholesale prices; that he was also at the same time handed a printed Price-Current, which he produced on the trial.

    The claimant's counsel objected to the reading of the Price-Current in evidence, on the ground that it would be hearsay, irrelevant, &c.; that it gave the prices but by single bottle; that no actual transaction was based on it; that the paper was no way connected with Cliquot; and that the wines did not appear to be the same in quality with those libelled.

    Was the objection well founded?

    In Lush v. Druse,[*] the proof upon the trial, in the court below, was as follows: "A witness proved the value of wheat in Albany, in 1822, '23, '24, and '25, derived by him from the books of large dealers in wheat, at that place, he knowing nothing of the price of his own knowledge." The court said: "The proof was by a witness who had inquired of merchants dealing in the article, and examined their books. This, uncontradicted, was sufficient." With this ruling we are satisfied. While courts, in the administration of the law of evidence, should be careful not to open the door to falsehood, they should be equally careful not to shut out truth. They should not encumber the law with rules which will involve labor and expense to the parties, and delay the progress of the remedy — itself a serious evil — without giving any additional safeguard to the interests of justice. We think the Price-Current is not liable to the objection that it was hearsay. It was prepared and used by the party who furnished it in the ordinary course of his business. It is as little liable to that objection as the entries in the books of the dealer, or his answers to the inquiries of a witness, both of which were admissible upon the authority of the case referred to in Wendell. It was clearly relevant. What effect it should have, in connection with the other evidence adduced by the parties, was a question for the jury.

    IV. The counsel for plaintiff asked Mr. Farwell, at the trial, whether, upon inquiry at Paris, he had ascertained the *142 difference in price between Rheims and Paris, as to Mumm's champagne, and as to Moet & Chandon's champagne?

    The question was objected to, "as calling for irrelevant and immaterial testimony; also, as calling for hearsay testimony; also, because it referred to champagne wines different in kind, price, and quality from those wines proceeded against in this action."

    Whether the wines named were the same with those in question of the claimant, except in name, or not, and if they differed in quality and price, to what extent they differed, is not disclosed in the bill of exceptions. If there were such differences as was assumed by the counsel for the defendant, it should have been made to appear, by setting out either the evidence which proved it, or an admission by the judge to that effect. Either would have been sufficient. Their place cannot be supplied by the allegations of counsel. The silence of the judge does not amount to an admission. The other grounds of the objection are sufficiently answered by what has been said in considering the preceding exception.

    The evidence being closed, the learned judge who presided at the trial delivered a full and able charge to the jury. It embraced all the points arising in the case. We concur with him upon all of them, except one, presently to be considered, and upon that the charge was more favorable to the party defending than he was entitled to claim. The counsel for the claimant submitted ten prayers for instructions; all of which were refused, and he excepted. As the charge of the judge covered the entire case, and is satisfactory to this court, we might, consistently with the rule of law upon the subject, forbear to enter upon their examination in this opinion.[*] But as some of them involve new and important questions, and all of them have been pressed upon our attention with zeal and ability, and we have considered them with care, we deem it proper briefly to state our conclusions.

    The term "place," as used in the first section of the act *143 of 1863, does not mean any locality more limited than the country where the goods are bought or manufactured. The standard to be applied is their value in the principal markets of that country. The commerce into which they enter is international, and the language of the statute must be construed in a large and liberal spirit. Proof of the value of the wines at Paris, if there was no other evidence upon the subject, was sufficient to enable the jury to arrive at the proper conclusion. Upon this point our opinion differs from that of the learned judge who tried the cause.

    It is argued that the rule relating to probable cause, and the onus probandi, prescribed in the seventy-first section of the act of 1799, is confined to prosecutions under that act, and has no application to those under the act of 1863, which is silent upon the subject.

    It would be a singular result if, in a prosecution upon an information containing counts upon this and later statutes in pari materiâ, the rule should apply to a part of the counts and not to others. The seventieth and seventy-first sections must be construed together. They both look to future and further legislation. In all the changes which the revenue laws have undergone neither has been repealed. The authority to seize out of the district of the seizing officer, and this rule of onus probandi have always been regarded as permanent features of the revenue system of the country. This act is the only one ever passed containing this rule. All the later laws are silent upon the subject. In Wood v. United States,[*] the court below instructed the jury that the rule applied in a trial upon an information founded upon the acts of 1799 and the act of July 14, 1832. No discrimination was made between the counts. This court sustained the instruction. In Taylor v. United States,[†] in Clifton v. United States,[‡] and in Buckley v. United States,[§] the informations were founded upon certain sections of the acts of 1799, 1830, and 1832. The court below applied the rule alike to all the counts. *144 The same result followed in this court as in the case of Wood v. United States. In none of these cases was the point here under consideration expressly made. The applicability of the rule alike in cases arising under all the revenue laws was assumed by the eminent counsel concerned and by the court. Other questions relating to the subject were fully discussed. This tacit recognition is equivalent to an express declaration.

    The term knowingly, in the act of 1863, in the connection here under consideration, refers to the guilty knowledge of the owner, consignee, or agent, by whom the entry is made, or attempted to be made. The offence to be punished consists of three particulars: (1.) The making, or attempting to make, an entry by the owner, consignee, or agent. (2.) The use by such owner, consignee, or agent, of the forbidden means. (3.) Guilty knowledge on the part of such owner, consignee, or agent. This, we think, is the proper construction.

    It is asserted, as a consequence, that if the owner is guilty, and the entry is made by an innocent consignee or agent, the case is not embraced by this statute. We cannot yield our assent to this view of the subject. In that case the act of the agent or consignee is to be regarded as the act of the guilty principal, and the same penal consequences follow as if the entry had been made by the owner in his own person.

    The court below was pressed to instruct the jury that "knowingly" is used in the statute as the synonyme of fraudulently. The instruction given was eminently just, and we have nothing to add to it.

    The provision that the act should not apply to invoices of goods imported into any port of the United States from beyond Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope, until the 1st of January, 1864, does not affect this case. Its meaning is that the requisites prescribed by this act for foreign invoices, in order to secure the entry of the goods at a port of the United States, need not be complied with in the cases mentioned until the time specified. It does not apply to cases of fraud, and gives no impunity to guilt. If the guilty means *145 named in the statute were used after it took effect, no matter when they were prepared, the offence was complete. Revenue laws are not penal laws in the sense that requires them to be construed with great strictness in favor of the defendant. They are rather to be regarded as remedial in their character, and intended to prevent fraud, suppress public wrong, and promote the public good. They should be so construed as to carry out the intention of the legislature in passing them and most effectually accomplish these objects.[*]



    [*] American Fur Co. v. United States, 2 Peters, 364.

    [*] 4 Wendell, 315.

    [*] Law v. Cross, 1 Black, 533.

    [*] 16 Peters, 342, 360.

    [†] 3 Howard, 197, 203.

    [‡] 4 Howard, 242.

    [§] 4 Id. 252, 257, 260.

    [*] Taylor v. United States, 3 Howard, 210.