De Lima v. Bidwell , 182 U.S. 1 ( 1901 )


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  • 182 U.S. 1 (1901)

    DE LIMA
    v.
    BIDWELL.

    No. 456.

    Supreme Court of United States.

    Argued January 8, 9, 10, 11, 1901.
    Decided May 27, 1901.
    ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

    *3 Mr. Frederick R. Coudert, Jr., for plaintiff in error. Mr. Charles Frederick Adams and Mr. Paul Fuller were on his brief.

    Cross v. Harrison is authority against the position of appellants on this point.

    Mr. Solicitor General for the United States.

    *124 *125 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. Does that apply to revenue cases?

    THE SOLICITOR GENERAL. This is not a revenue case, so opposing counsel insist. They don't concede it is a revenue case; they insist it is a common-law action to recover back money unlawfully exacted by an officer outside his authority and without authority.

    In the Dooley cases and in the Armstrong case, suits have been brought against the Government of the United States. In the Armstrong case the suit was brought in the Court of Claims; in the Dooley cases under the concurrent jurisdiction act, in the United States Circuit Court. Now, if these cases are revenue cases, the suits do not lie. Suits cannot be brought against the United States either in the Court of Claims or in the Circuit Court to recover back revenue collected by officers *126 of the United States. That jurisdiction has not been given to those courts, nor such a privilege accorded to those who pay money into the Treasury of the United States. And the reason is obvious. If such suits lie, there is no statute of limitations, and the Government could never know the amount of claims outstanding against it resulting from the collection of revenue through its agents. The Government has, therefore, provided exclusive methods of determining whether revenue was rightfully collected or not. When those methods are pursued, the officers of the Government are able to tell right along what claims exist against it, and Congress can provide for them. On the other hand, if these cases are not revenue cases, then they sound in tort, and neither court, as I understand, takes jurisdiction of cases of that sort. And so for these reasons, which are supported, as we think, by the authorities, we claim that the courts below had no jurisdiction of any of these cases.

    Now I come to a consideration of the very serious questions raised in these cases. And in order that the court may understand how the questions arise, and the order in which I shall discuss them, I desire to state categorically the specific duties which were collected, the validity of which is contested.

    In the first place, there were duties collected on goods imported into Porto Rico from the United States, during the military occupation of the island, after the signing of the protocol and before the ratification of the treaty of Paris. Such were some of the duties collected in the Armstrong case. I had supposed that similar duties were exacted in the first Dooley case, but I find I am mistaken.

    In the second place, there were duties collected on goods imported into Porto Rico from the United States during the military occupation, but after the cession of Porto Rico by the ratification of the treaty and before the passage of the Porto Rican act. Such duties were collected in the Armstrong case and in the first Dooley case.

    In the third place, there were duties collected on goods imported from Porto Rico into the United States after the ratification of the treaty of Paris and before the taking effect of the *127 Porto Rican act. Such were the duties exacted in the De Lima case.

    In the fourth place, there were duties collected on goods coming into the United States from Porto Rico after the Porto Rican act took effect. The validity of these exactions is brought in question in the Downes case.

    Finally, there were duties collected on goods coming into Porto Rico from the United States after the taking effect of the Porto Rican act. Such were the duties exacted in the second Dooley case.

    I shall first consider the validity of the duties exacted in Porto Rico by the President prior to the treaty.

    These duties, we claim, were imposed in Porto Rico by Executive order during the military occupation of the island prior to the ratification of the treaty of peace, and were rightfully levied by the President, as commander in chief, acting under belligerent right, at a time when hostilities between the United States and Spain had only been suspended, not terminated, and when Porto Rico had not been ceded to the United States, and when the right and obligation of conducting a civil government by the military authority was imposed upon the President. I am at a loss to perceive any reasonable grounds for opposing the validity of these exactions. It appears from the brief in the Armstrong case that the authority of the President in promulgating those executive orders and providing a civil government for the island is attacked as being an exercise of a legislative power in a time of peace, and also — they say — when Porto Rico had been ceded to the United States and had become a part of the United States. Apparently, from a reading of their brief, the position of counsel in the Armstrong case is logically this:

    First. By the protocol Porto Rico was ceded to and became a part of the United States.

    Second. That the suspension of hostilities which followed the signing of the protocol ended the war and brought about peace.

    Third. That consequently an end was put to the authority of the President to govern Porto Rico under the war power.

    *128 Now, these propositions seem to me so absurd that to state them is to refute them. I really feel as if I ought to beg the pardon of the court for calling attention to the provisions of the protocol. The protocol says, in the second article, "Spain will cede to the United States the island of Porto Rico." That is not a cession; that is a promise to cede in the event a treaty of peace should be concluded and ratified. The protocol also provides in the sixth article, "Upon the conclusion and signing of this protocol hostilities between the two countries shall be suspended," not terminated. And it further provides in the fifth article, that the United States and Spain "will each appoint not more than five commissioners to treat of peace." There was no peace then. There was a suspension of hostilities and a promise to cede, and a provision that commissioners should be appointed to treat of peace; but there was no peace, and no termination of hostilities, and no cession of Porto Rico; and if the two countries had failed to conclude a treaty of peace, or that treaty had failed of ratification, the suspension of hostilities would have terminated and the war would have been resumed. So our claim is that during this entire period, until peace had been concluded, the President was in the legitimate exercise of the war power; and that brings me to another suggestion.

    Counsel talk about peace, about there being no war in Porto Rico, about the protocol placing a limitation upon the power of the President acting under belligerent right. They assume that under the war power all the President can do is to fight. It is true the President makes war in order to win a peace, and to that end he fights, as commander in chief, and he invades the enemy's territory and subjugates it if he can, and he holds and occupies it. After he has conquered the enemy's territory, he stops fighting there because there is no one there to fight, but his power does not therefore cease under belligerent right. It then becomes his duty to occupy and hold this subjugated territory until disposed of by the treaty of peace, and in exercising that duty he should put in operation a government there that will cover the entire filed of civil life, that will preserve order and protect life and property, and collect revenues sufficient to *129 pay the expenses of the provisional government he thus institutes. He has a right to provide courts; he has a right to provide courts, not to pass upon purely military questions, but on all questions that arise between man and man, within the occupied territory. These propositions are so elementary it seems to me hardly necessary to refer to the authorities. I may do so later.

    Now, I desire for but a moment to refer to the necessity in this case of the President providing a new system of customs regulations in Porto Rico. At the time the war began the commerce of Porto Rico was largely with Spain and with Cuba. Necessarily, the customs regulations were framed so as to meet that condition. When the war came and we occupied Porto Rico, naturally this trade was cut off. It was an impossibility then, having proper regard for the interests of the people of Porto Rico, to continue in force, unmodified, the Spanish customs laws. The President therefore put in force new customs regulations, and he changed them as developing circumstances showed they ought to be changed in the interests of Porto Rico and of the United States. He placed on the free list many articles brought into Porto Rico from the United States. For instance, all food supplies, implements of industry, machinery, etc., and in every way he endeavored to put in operation there a system of customs laws, enforced by the military authority, which might, if necessary, be continued in force after the conclusion and ratification of a treaty of peace, and until Congress should legislate for the island.

    I refer in my brief to the cases of Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164, Leitensdorfer v. Webb, 20 How. 176, The Grapeshot, 9 Wall. 129, the Mechanics' Bank v. The Union Bank, 22 Wall. 276, and the United States v. Rice, 4 Wheat. 246, in support of what the President did in Porto Rico with reference to customs and revenues, both before and after the treaty of Paris was made. In the case of Cross v. Harrison, the customs laws and regulations for the conquered territory of California were first put in operation by the President through the military commander. It was a war tariff, and that war tariff continued to be enforced in California after the ratification of the treaty of *130 peace which, according to the contention of opposing counsel, made California part of the United States. The war tariff, which was not the tariff then in force under the laws of the United States in the ports of the United States, was enforced until, I think, in August, 1848, when word was brought to California of the ratification of the treaty. Then there was substituted for that war tariff, by the order of the military commander, a tariff that was based upon and I suppose faithfully reproduced the provisions of the customs law then in force throughout the United States, and duties continued to be collected under that tariff until the arrival of agents of the Government authorized to put in force there the laws of the United States with reference to customs. But the court sustained the validity of the duties collected under all of these circumstances, even after the ratification of the treaty of peace. It held that the government which was rightfully instituted by the President under the law of belligerent right, continued in force necessarily and properly until another government should be substituted by Congress, and all the things done by the provisional government under authority of the President were sustained by the court in that case. The court said (p. 193): "The territory had been ceded as a conquest, and was to be preserved and governed as such until the sovereignty to which it had passed had legislated for it. That sovereignty was the United States, under the Constitution, by which power had been given to Congress to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States, with the power also to admit new States into this Union, with only such limitations as are expressed in the section in which this power is given. The government, of which Colonel Mason was the executive, had its origin in the lawful exercise of a belligerent right over a conquered territory. It had been instituted during the war by the command of the President of the United States. It was the government when the territory was ceded as a conquest, and it did not cease as a matter of course or as a necessary consequence of the restoration of peace. The President might have dissolved it by withdrawing the army and navy officers who administered it, but *131 he did not do so. Congress could have put an end to it, but that was not done. The right inference from the inactivity of both is, that it was meant to be continued until it had been legislatively changed. No presumption of a contrary intention can be made. Whatever may have been the causes of delay, it must be presumed that the delay was consistent with the true policy of the Government. And the more so as it was continued until the people of the Territory met in convention to form a state government, which was subsequently recognized by Congress under its power to admit new States into the Union."

    And here is the conclusion of the case: "Our conclusion, from what has been said, is, that the civil government of California, organized as it was from a right of conquest, did not cease or become defunct in consequence of the signature of the treaty or from its ratification. We think it was continued over a ceded conquest, without any violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that until Congress legislated for it, the duties upon foreign goods imported into San Francisco were legally demanded and lawfully received by Mr. Harrison, the collector of the port, who received his appointment, according to instructions from Washington, from Governor Mason."

    In the argument so far I have briefly treated of the questions that arise from the importation into Porto Rico of goods from the United States, both before and after the treaty of peace, and before the taking effect of the Porto Rican act. Now, of course, there may be said to be involved in the collection of duties in Porto Rico on goods brought from the United States under the treaty of Paris, and before the Porto Rican act went into effect, a question similar to that which arises with regard to the exaction of duties on goods shipped into Porto Rico from the United States under the Porto Rican act. But I do not care to consider or discuss that question at this time. I prefer to take up and discuss the question which has been raised, and which in some respects is the vital question, as to the effect of the ratification of the treaty upon the relation of Porto Rico — and of course the Philippines — to the United States, because that is the primary question in these cases.

    Counsel contend that upon the ratification of the treaty, and *132 upon the cession of Porto Rico to the United States, that territory became a part of the United States within the meaning of the general grant of taxing power to the Federal Government, subject to the limitation contained in that provision which requires "all duties, imposts, and excises to be uniform throughout the United States." In discussing the effect of the treaty, I shall not repeat the historical argument so fully and elaborately presented by the Government in the discussion of the Goetze case. I shall rather attempt, after going over the terms of the treaty, to analyze the pertinent provisions of the Constitution of the United States, with a view of determining what was the real meaning intended by the framers of the Constitution to be given to the words "the United States" used in that connection.

    Reduced to a legal proposition, the denial of the power which has been exercised and is being exercised by the President and by Congress in the new possessions, amounts to this: Ceded territory becomes, by the act of cession, an integral part of the United States, to which the Constitution of its own force at once applies, placing its people, its products, and its ports on an immediate equality with ours, and conferring upon them all the rights, privileges, and immunities enjoyed under the Constitution by the people, the products, and the ports of the several States. Moreover, the limitations of the Constitution apply there as here, requiring the same taxes, duties, imposts, and excises to be collected, and the same Anglo-Saxon system of trial by jury to be used. Their people become at once our people, citizens of the United States, our ports become their ports, and our markets their markets. They are free to come here or to sell their products here, while our taxes and our laws, however unsuitable, must go there.

    There is nothing obscure about this doctrine. It is plain and unmistakable. The act of cession is all powerful; its effect immutable. As soon as the title passes, the territory is incorporated within the United States, and the Constitution ex proprio vigore does the rest. The proposition is true as stated, or not true at all. Either the mere act of cession, irrespective of the terms of the treaty (which I shall consider later) and regardless *133 of the action of Congress, makes acquired territory a part of the United States in the constitutional sense, or it does not. If it does, the treaty-making power, in acquiring territory, so far as the status of that territory is concerned, is necessarily limited to providing for the mere act of cession. It can make no terms. It cannot take temporarily or provisionally, or for this purpose or that. It can give no pledges; it can grant no privileges; it can reserve no questions for future disposition; in short, although called the treaty-making power, and granted without limitation, it is stripped of its proper functions; it cannot treat; it is lame, impotent, impossible, ridiculous.

    On the other hand, if the territory does not, by the mere act of cession, become immediately an integral part of the United States in the constitutional sense, of necessity the provisions of the treaty and the action of Congress must determine whether it shall or shall not become or be deemed a part of the United States, and, if ever, when. In other words, the acquired territory becomes not a part but a possession of the United States — territory, to use the language of the Constitution, belonging to the United States — and its disposition and government rest, under the Constitution, with the treaty-making power and with Congress.

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. If it be territory belonging to the United States, then does it fall within the provisions of the Dingley act, which requires duties to be assessed upon goods from foreign countries, or does it not cease to be a foreign country?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I think not; not within the meaning of the customs law. The Dingley law treated as foreign all territory outside of the limits of the United States, meaning the States and Territories then treated for customs purposes as the United States, and that condition remained until Congress saw fit to change it.

    In the noted case of Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 614, Mr. Justice Taney says that "the United States may demand the cession of territory as the condition of peace, in order to indemnify its citizens for the injuries they have suffered or to reimburse the Government for the expenses of the war." And in this connection I might also refer to the language of Chief Justice *134 Marshall in the famous Canter Case, 1 Peters, 541, in which he says that acquired territory "becomes a part of the nation to which it is annexed either on the terms stipulated in the treaty of cession, or on such as the new master shall impose." And in the case of Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164, Mr. Justice Wayne uses this language (p. 197): "By the ratification of the treaty California became a part of the United States." So it did, in the international sense — in the legislative sense — subject to the dominion of the United States, to be ruled and regulated by Congress, under the power granted to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory belonging to the United States. And he continues: "And as there is nothing differently stipulated in the treaty with respect to commerce, it became instantly bound and privileged by the laws Congress had passed to raise a revenue from duties on imports and tonnage."

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. That case did not involve the question involved here of an importation from California to New York.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. That is true.

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. It involved quite a different question. That involved a case of importation from an admittedly foreign country into the United States.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Yes, although the court did say, if I remember correctly, that if these goods had been allowed by the military authorities to enter California free of duty, then duty would have been exacted on them in the ports of the United States if taken there. Here is what the court says on page 192: "The best test of the correctness of what has just been said is this: That if such goods had been landed there duty free, they could not have been shipped to any other port in the United States without being liable to pay duty." Of course, California was contiguous territory, and it was very much better, as a matter of policy, to bring it as soon as possible within the operation of the customs laws of the United States, and that was what was done. But that does not apply to Porto Rico or the Philippines.

    Now if territory may be acquired for the purposes, or any of the purposes, mentioned by Chief Justice Taney, it certainly *135 may be taken and held upon such conditions as may be proper and necessary to carry the purpose into effect. Territory acquired to indemnify and reimburse may be taken and held as a pledge, or as a possession, provisionally, temporarily, or indefinitely, with the reserved power of disposition and control suitable to accomplish the desired end. To incorporate such territory into the Union and make it a part of the United States would defeat the very object of the acquisition. Once there it would have to stay, for no power exists within the Union to dismember it.

    If Chief Justice Taney was wrong, and we cannot take territory sub modo to indemnify or reimburse us, but only to make it a part of the United States, then, before the President carries a war into the enemy's country, he should send ahead his advance agents — a commission to ascertain and report whether the territory he proposes to invade and subjugate is fit to be made a part of the United States. For observe, neither the treaty-making power nor Congress can, according to the contention of the other side, prevent that result if a cession follows conquest. Before the President sent Dewey to Manila he should have satisfied himself that the Philippines were suitable for incorporation into the Union, for we could destroy the Spanish power there only at the risk of having to assume the burdens of sovereignty ourselves.

    The Constitution, while vesting in the President and Senate the treaty-making power, provides that: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." The treaty of Paris was made under the authority of the United States, and contains the terms upon which we acquired these territories. It is unique in this, that while former treaties of cession all provided that the civilized inhabitants of the ceded territories should ultimately — not immediately, but ultimately — become citizens of the United States, and be incorporated in the United States, this treaty left the determination of their civil rights and political status to Congress.

    *136 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. State that proposition again.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I say that the treaty of Paris is unique in this, that while former treaties, such as the Florida treaty, the Louisiana treaty, and others, provided that the civilized inhabitants of the ceded territories should ultimately — not immediately, but ultimately, in the course of time — become citizens of the United States, this treaty, the treaty of Paris, left the determination of their civil rights and political status to Congress.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. What treaty has used the word "civilized"?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I do not assume to quote the precise language of the particular treaties, but simply state the effect of them.

    MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS. The treaty with Russia used that term.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Yes, the Alaskan treaty does use it. It distinguishes the uncivilized tribes there.

    Let me refer to some of the provisions of the treaty of Paris. Spain ceded to the United States the island of Porto Rico, the island of Guam, and the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands. Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in such territories, were given one year from the exchange of the ratifications — that is, until April 11, 1900 — to preserve their allegiance to Spain by making a declaration in a court of record. In default of this they were to be held to have renounced it and to have adopted the nationality of the territory in which they may reside — not to have adopted the nationality of the United States, to which the treaty ceded the islands, but to have adopted the nationality of the territory in which they may reside. Then directly after that comes this provision: "The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the Congress."

    Spaniards residing in the territories were to be subject, under Article XI, to the jurisdiction of the courts of the country — not the courts of the United States — pursuant to the ordinary laws governing the same — presumably the Spanish or civil law — and were to have the right to appear and pursue the same course *137 therein "as citizens of the country to which the courts belong" — not as citizens of the United States. Article IV reads as follows: "The United States will, for the term of ten years from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, admit Spanish ships and merchandise to the ports of the Philippine Islands on the same terms as ships and merchandise of the United States."

    With regard to this, it is obvious that, unless a separate system of customs regulations is adopted for the Philippines, which applies to goods shipped into the Philippines from the United States, then the treaty, if observed, throws open the ports of the Philippines absolutely to Spanish ships and Spanish importations, and provides an open door into the Philippines, and thence into this country, for whatever goods Spain sees fit to send there. I do not intend to pursue an argument of policy based upon this provision, but simply call attention to the fact that the treaty itself negatives the view that these islands were to become a part of the United States within the meaning of our customs laws.

    Again, for ten years Spanish scientific, literary, and artistic works were to be admitted free of duty into all the ceded territories, and that provision, as counsel has stated, has been incorporated into the Porto Rican act, for the purpose of carrying out the pledge of the treaty. In short, neither of these provisions can be carried out if the Constitution requires our customs regulations to apply in those islands as here in the United States.

    The purpose of these provisions is plain. Although under the power and protection of the United States, the territories are to have their own laws, their own courts, their own ports, their own commerce, their own citizenship, their own system of revenue. A separate and distinct existence under, but without, the United States, in the purely constitutional sense, as used in the general grant of taxing power, is contemplated. The parties to the treaty both knew that the location and condition of these islands would not permit their incorporation into the United States and the application to them of those laws of commerce, of revenue, and of civil and criminal procedure which *138 the Constitution, according to the contention of opposing counsel, requires to be uniform throughout the United States. They provided, therefore, for a system of government which should be adapted to local conditions and needs.

    Now, are we free to disregard the plain provisions of the treaty, which the Constitution says shall be the supreme law of the land? If so, what becomes of the consent of the treaty-making power to the acquisition? Would the President and the Senate have consented to take the territories upon any other terms? Would Spain have consented to cede them? Certainly the treaty never intended to make these tropical islands, with their savage and half-civilized and civilized people, a part of the United States in the constitutional sense, and just as certainly did make them a part of the United States in the international sense.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. What do you mean by the international sense?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I am just going to explain. The term "the United States" may mean the territory which governs, or the territory over which the Government extends. The former is the constitutional, the latter the international, or, it may be, the legislative sense. In the latter sense, in the international or legislative sense, States and Territories, all places subject to the jurisdiction of the national power, combine to constitute what Chief Justice Marshall in Loughborough v. Blake, 5 Wheaton, 319, termed "The American Empire," "Our Great Republic." "Does this term," said he, referring to "the United States," "designate the whole or any particular portion of the American empire? It is the name given to our great republic, which is composed of States and Territories." The great Chief Justice was clearly correct in holding that the taxing power extends throughout the United States in the international or legislative sense, although the limitation of the Constitution on the taxing power for Federal purposes applies, as we contend, only throughout the United States in the constitutional sense. What we are concerned with is, of course, the constitutional sense. For the vital question is whether the constitutional limitation upon the Federal taxing power which applies *139 "throughout the United States" operates in the new territories. As stated in the preamble —

    MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM. Do you find any case where any such distinction has been drawn as you make now — between the United States in the constitutional sense and the United States in the international sense?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I think I could if it were desirable. I am going on to show what these words "the United States" mean in the constitutional sense. I think it perfectly apparent that the phrase "the United States" in the international sense comprehends all territory which is subject to our dominion.

    MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM. Yes; I understand what you state, but my question was whether you have in mind, or had come across in your research, any case in which such a distinction was drawn, between the United States in the constitutional sense and the United States in the international sense.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. The distinction has been clearly drawn in a decision of this court between the word "State" as used in the Constitution and the word "State" as used in a treaty, in the international sense. Thus, it was held in Geofrey v. Riggs, 133 U.S. 258, that the District of Columbia is a "State" in the international sense, but certainly it is not a State within the meaning of the Constitution. That has been expressly held in Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Cranch, 445.

    As stated in its preamble, the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by "the people of the United States" "for the United States of America." There is no ambiguity about the meaning of the words "United States of America," as here used. They mean the States united under the Constitution, and are named individually in the second section of the first article, relating to the apportionment of representatives among the then existing United States.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. The existing United States — those constituting the existing United States?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. No, I did not say that. I said that the United States which framed and adopted the Constitution are named specifically in the Constitution at the place stated. They were the thirteen colonies which had first become the *140 United States in the Declaration and under the Confederation, and which, through their people, framed the present Constitution, in order, among other things, "to form a more perfect Union." There never was any doubt in those days as to what that term meant. This conclusively appears from the sixth article, which provides that all debts contracted before the adoption of the Constitution "shall be as valid against the United States under the Constitution as under the Confederation."

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. And that would include the States, of course, which afterwards came into the Union before the debts were paid?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. You could hardly say that they were "under the Confederation." They were not "United States under the Confederation." Undoubtedly the debts would be valid against the United States, including the States which were subsequently admitted.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE. Do you make a distinction in you mind or is there any distinction, from the consideration which you have given to this case, between the States and the Territories of the United States, and the States and the territory of the United States? Does not "the territories" in these cases which you have quoted from refer to territories in which Congress has organized a government, thus making them impliedly a part of the United States? Does not the article of the Constitution giving power to dispose of the "territory" suggest a distinction between the Territories which have been organized, and "territory" belonging to the United States as such?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Does your honor mean to ask me whether territories subsequently acquired came within the power thus granted to Congress to make all needful rules and regulations for the government of the territory of the United States, or is it confined simply to the territory which existed at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, outside of the thirteen States?

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE. You quoted the language of Chief Justice Marshall in Loughborough v. Blake, and then you speak of the United States in the constitutional and the international sense of the words "United States." But that language of *141 Chief Justice Marshall, in which he spoke of "Our Great Republic," "The American Empire," was used with reference to the exercise of the taxing power.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I know it was. He was correct, as I take it, in his conclusion that the taxing power of the United States extends over all the territory belonging to the United States; that it extends over all the States and Territories if Congress sees fit to exercise it. But I think what he says — which is the basis of the claim that the limitation that duties, excises, and imposts shall be uniform throughout the United States, applies to the Territories as well as the States — was not requisite to the decision of the case before him, and I am endeavoring to argue was incorrect.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE. That is my question. My question was to ascertain whether you were challenging the statement of Chief Justice Marshall in that case or whether you were concurring in it.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I have to challenge it.

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. The general expression, you mean?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I say looked at from the point of view of the decision he was correct, because in a geographical sense "the United States," throughout which Congress may exercise the taxing power for Federal purposes, includes necessarily all territory subject to the dominion of the United States. Now, that is the international or legislative sense. But I submit the constitutional sense covers only the States, and was so intended by the framers of the Constitution.

    The primary source of the sovereign power was the people of the thirteen original States. These men believed they were forming a government which would endure for ages, and would dominate a continent, and probably territory outside — islands beyond the seas. In the treaty of alliance which Benjamin Franklin concluded with France, in 1778, there was this provision in the fifth section:

    "If the United States should think fit to attempt the reduction of the British power remaining in the northern parts of America, or the islands of Bermudas, those countries or islands in case of success, shall be confederated with, or dependent upon the said United States."

    *142 So from that we can see how far-reaching was the vision of the stalwart men of the early days. Now, notwithstanding this expansive outlook, it does not appear that the fathers of the Constitution worried themselves about "the consent of the governed" outside of the States they lived in, which alone were to participate in political power. They formed a government in which the people of the States were alone represented and adopted a Constitution which, in its distribution and limitation of powers, applied almost wholly to the States, united or several.

    In the early case of Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Cranch, 445, the question came before the Supreme Court whether a citizen of the District of Columbia could maintain an action against a citizen of Virginia. In support of the jurisdiction Mr. Lee insisted that to give the term "State" a limited construction would deprive the citizens of the District of the general rights of citizens of the United States and put them in a worse condition than aliens; and he put the pertinent question whether, in the face of the provision that "no tax or duty shall be laid on any articles imported from any State," Congress could levy a tax or duty on articles exported from the District of Columbia. But the court properly held that a citizen of the District is not a citizen of a State and cannot use the United States courts as such, Chief Justice Marshall saying: "The members of the American confederacy only are the States contemplated in the Constitution."

    Yesterday, in connection with a quotation which I made from the case of Loughborough v. Blake, Mr. Justice White put to me a question in which he desired my opinion as to whether I recognized any difference between the words "the Territories" as used by Chief Justice Marshall and "the territory" which the Constitution places under the disposition of Congress. I did not hear the question distinctly nor comprehend the full purport of it. I do not recognize that the power of Congress over territory belonging to the United States ceases when such territory is organized and brought under the operation of the laws of the United States; but I do recognize a distinction between unorganized territory and the territories to which Chief *143 Justice Marshall may possibly have referred. If I gave the court the impression that I intended to say that, in using those words, Chief Justice Marshall referred to the States and Territories, meaning thereby to cover all territory under the dominion of the United States, which I had defined, whether correctly or incorrectly, as the international meaning, I think I was wrong. I am inclined to think that what Chief Justice Marshall had in mind was "the United States" in the legislative sense, meaning thereby the States of the Union, the District of Columbia, and the organized Territories, to which Congress had applied the revenue laws of the United States, thus including all that territory within the phrase "the United States," as designating the territory to which Congress had applied the revenue laws of the United States. So, really, there are four meanings which may be conveyed by the phrase "the United States."

    In the first place, it may mean the sovereignty itself, what Chief Justice Marshall called "that grand corporation."

    In the second place, it may mean, geographically, what Chief Justice Marshall calls "the American Confederacy," composed of the members of the Union, the States inhabited by the people who participate in the Government of the United States; and this is what I have termed the constitutional sense.

    In the third place, in a geographical and legislative sense, it may mean the States and the District of Columbia and the Territories, which Congress has been fit to treat as the United States for legislative purposes; over which Congress has extended, and to which it has applied, the laws of the United States which are applicable.

    And in the fourth place, it may mean something broader, which is the international sense, as I take it; that is, all territory, wherever situated, under the dominion of the United States, whether organized or not, and whether ever brought within the operation of the specific laws of the United States. And our claim is that newly acquired territory does not become a part of the United States in the legislative sense until Congress shall so determine.

    In the case of Hepburn v. Ellzey, 2 Cranch, 452, in which Marshall, C.J., defined the "American Confederacy," he said: *144 "The members of the American Confederacy only are the States contemplated in the Constitution. The House of Representatives is to be composed of members chosen by the people of the several States; and each State shall have at least one Representative. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State. Each State shall appoint, for the election of the Executive, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives. These clauses show that the word `State' is used in the Constitution as designating a member of the Union."

    The States alone are the members of the American Confederacy. They constitute the Union, and the Union and the United States are equivalent terms in the Constitution. Thus the Constitution and "the laws of the United States" are made the supreme law of the land; yet Congress is to provide for calling forth the militia to execute "the laws of the Union." All legislative powers granted are vested in the Congress "of the United States," but the President is required from time to time to give to the Congress information of the state "of the Union."

    In the first article, defining the legislative powers, it is provided that Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned "among the several States which may be included within this Union." This does not include the Territories, but does operate, evidently, throughout the United States.

    Duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform "throughout the United States." This, as we claim, is a geographical limitation, requiring indirect taxes to operate generally throughout the United States — that is, among the several States composing the Union. The history of the adoption of this provision will be found in interesting form in the learned opinion of Mr. Justice White in the case of Knowlton v. Moore, 178 U.S. 41, sustaining the constitutionality of the Federal tax on legacies. In the original draft the provision prohibiting any preference to the ports of one State over those of another, and that conferring and limiting the taxing power, were placed together. They really mean the same thing, that the States of the Union shall be treated alike in the regulation of commerce and the imposition *145 of taxes. The uniformity required in each case was a uniformity among the several States of the Union, and this is shown by the decision in the Cherokee Tobacco Case, 11 Wallace, 616, affirming the constitutionality of the act of 1868 extending the excise tax on liquors and tobacco alone to the Indian Territory. A minority of the court held that, in view of the treaty provisions, it was not the intention of Congress to extend even the tax on liquor and tobacco to the Indian Territory. Obviously, the court was unanimous in the opinion that, although the Indian Territory was within the exterior boundaries of the United States, the provision of the Constitution requiring excises to be uniform throughout the United States did not apply within the Indian Territory.

    The Constitution gives Congress power to regulate commerce "among the several States," and to establish a uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy "throughout the United States." Now, we submit that this latter was to remedy the mischief resulting from the diverse and conflicting legislation of the several States upon these subjects by securing uniform provisions throughout the States of the Union. I refer to No. 41 of the Federalist, written by Mr. Madison, upon that point, in which he says such was the object of that provision. The early laws of this character applied only within the States. The recent acts have properly been extended to the Territories, which Congress in its discretion has seen fit to include within the limits of the United States, legislatively treated.

    It is provided that "no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State;" but nothing is said about any Territory. And that "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;" but nothing is said about the ports of any Territory.

    The prohibitions of the tenth section of the first article apply only to the States. "No State shall pass any bill of attainder or ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility. No State shall, *146 without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports," etc. All these limitations apply only to the States of the Union.

    In the second article, which grants and defines the Executive power, it is provided that Congress may determine the date on which the electors shall give their votes, which day shall be the same "throughout the United States." Necessarily, the United States here means the States of the Union which alone take part in electing the President. Later, it is provided, that during his term of office the President shall not receive, in addition to his stated compensation, any other emolument from "the United States or any of them," showing that the States united were alone in mind.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. Do you think in that connection that the various Territories can add to the President's salary; in view of that, can the various Territories add to the emoluments of the President?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. No, I think the spirit of this would prevent that. I think there is no direct application to the Territories, but I dare say the spirit of it would forbid what you suggest. Territorial action might, in a certain sense, be treated as the action of the United States, seeing that a Territory could not act outside of the authority of the United States, being under the complete control of Congress. It might, in a certain sense, be treated as the action of the United States, if a Territory attempted to do that. However, I prefer to say that the general spirit of this provision applies and would prevent what is suggested by your honor.

    The third article applies to the judicial power of the United States. It has been repeatedly held that the territorial courts are not organized under this article, and are, therefore, not courts of the United States. The article constantly keeps in mind the relation of the United States to the several States, and of those States and their citizens to one another. No mention is made of the Territories or their citizens.

    The fourth article guards the rights of each State and its citizens with respect to every other State. The public acts of each shall have full faith and credit in all others. The citizens *147 of each shall be entitled to the privileges and immunities of the citizens in the several States. Fugitives from justice shall be surrendered; new States may be admitted into "this Union;" and a republican form of government to every State in the Union is guaranteed. But there is no safeguard or guarantee whatever in the case of a Territory and its citizens. No republican form of government for the Territories is guaranteed. On the contrary, just preceding the guarantee to the States, and following the provision for the admission of new States, the following grant of plenary power is made:

    "Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States."

    Notice the phraseology. Territory is treated as property, as something distinct from the United States — something belonging to the United States, a subject to be ruled and disposed of by Congress in its discretion as conditions may require, without being hampered by the restrictions which were framed for the States.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. Right there, do you understand that Congress has absolute power over territory acquired, to do as it pleases with it?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. No; I deny that utterly, as I shall show to your honor.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. What limitations?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I shall point out specifically the limitations later. I say that Congress is subject to all applicable limitations, and I shall point out later what I mean by applicable limitations, in view of the decisions of this court.

    In the case of McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheaton, 442, in which the supremacy of the United States within the sphere of its action was sustained, Chief Justice Marshall, emphasizing the authority conferred on Congress to select the means for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution, said: "The power to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States is not more comprehensive than the power to *148 make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers of the Government."

    Apparently, he took the territorial grant as the test and standard of plenary power, as the maximum of comprehensiveness.

    The Thirteenth Amendment contains an explicit recognition of the fact that a place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States is not necessarily a part of the United States, for it provides: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

    In this connection, in addition to the many instances cited by the Attorney General where Congress has drawn a distinction between the United States and the Territories, let me refer to the act of March 2, 1807, 2 Stat. 426, prohibiting the importation of slaves into this country. That act provided that it should be unlawful for any person to import or bring from any foreign country any slaves — now, I am quoting — "into the United States or the Territories thereof." And in the subsequent act of 1818, 3 Stat. 450, which supplemented this act, the same phraseology was used, the first section providing that it should be unlawful to import any negroes "into the United States or Territories thereof."

    And as illustrating the fact that this court has drawn a distinction between the rights before this court of Territories and territorial legislation, as distinguished from States and state legislation, I wish to refer the court to the case of Miner's Bank v. Iowa, 12 Howard, 1, in which the court held that the validity of a territorial act repealing the charter of a bank granted by a Territory, could not be brought before the Supreme Court, under the twenty-fifth section of the judiciary act, either on the ground that there was drawn in question the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under, any State, or on the ground that there was drawn in question the validity of a statute or authority exercised under the authority of the United States. In holding that there was not drawn in question the validity of an act passed by a State, Mr. Justice Daniel, speaking *149 for the court, said (p. 7): "In order to give this court jurisdiction, the statute, the validity of which is drawn in question, must be passed by a State, a member of the Union, and a public body owing obedience and conformity to its Constitution and laws. That if public bodies, not duly admitted into the Union, undertake as States, to pass laws which might encroach on the Union or its granted powers, such conduct would have to be reached either by the power of the Government to put down insurrection or by the ordinary penal laws of the States and Territories within which these bodies are situated and acting; but their measures are not examinable by this court upon a writ of error. They are not States, and cannot pass statutes within the meaning of the judiciary acts.

    "Other cases cited by the court, in the opinion just quoted [referring to the case of Scott v. Jones, in the 5th Howard], might be adduced to show the difference ever taken by the court in reference to its relation to the States as States, and as contra-distinguished from the Territories of the United States. It seems to us, that the control of these territorial governments properly appertains to that branch of the Government which creates and can change or modify them to meet its views of public policy, viz., the Congress of the United States. That control certainly has not been vested in this court, either in mode or substance, by the twenty-fifth section of the judiciary act."

    In holding that the territorial charter could not be regarded as an act of Congress, the court said: "The charter of the Bank of Dubuque enacted in all its details and powers ever possessed by it (and according to which it was in fact organized) by the legislature of Wisconsin, must be looked upon as the creature of that legislature. To regard it as we are urged to do by the argument of the plaintiff in error, would constitute it rather a bank of the United States, situated without the United States, and operating within the Territory of Wisconsin."

    And I think in the opinion the court will find the word "without" italicized — "Without the United States."

    I believe that a careful examination of the Constitution leads but to one conclusion, that the power of Congress over the Territories is plenary and absolute. Whether it follows from the *150 power to acquire and hold territory, or is conferred by the clause of the Constitution which declares that "Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States," it is full and complete, and is unhampered by those limitations and restrictions which were intended to apply only within the States of the Union.

    There is a line of decisions of the Supreme Court running back to the early days which sustains this view. Some years after the decision in Loughborough v. Blake, the case of Insurance Company v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511, came before the Supreme Court, over which Chief Justice Marshall still presided. A court of the Territory of Florida, composed of a notary and five jurors, had sold a wrecked cargo of cotton on a salvage claim and transferred the title to Canter, the purchaser. It was insisted that upon the acquisition of Florida it became a part of the United States over which the Constitution extended, and that under the Constitution admiralty jurisdiction could be exercised only by the courts of the United States. It had to be conceded that the territorial court was not organized in accordance with the Constitution, which requires judges to be appointed for service during good behavior. The opinion of Chief Justice Marshall is worthy of careful study. Its logic is unanswerable. While the power of Congress to govern ceded territory was declared to be inevitable and absolute, the limitations of the Constitution upon the exercise of the judicial power of the United States was expressly held to be confined to the States, the Chief Justice saying (p. 545): "Although admiralty jurisdiction can be exercised in the States in those courts, only, which are established in pursuance of the third article of the Constitution, the same restriction does not extend to the Territories. In legislating for them, Congress exercises the combined powers of the General and of a state Government."

    The doctrine thus enunciated by the great Chief Justice has been approved and followed by his successors in a long line of cases, I think all of which were cited by the Attorney General. Note the language used. Chief Justice Waite speaks of the Territories as "the outlying dominion of the United States" *151 101 U.S. 129, 133 — an apt phrase. "The outlying dominion!" Lying outside of what? Outside of the governing body — the United States. The "outlying dominion of the United States," not a part of the United States. He says that Congress "may do for the Territories what the people, under the Constitution of the United States may do for the States," the fullest and clearest expression of Constitutional power without limitation.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. Please read that again.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. That Congress "may do for the Territories what the people, under the Constitution of the United States, may do for the States." Can there be any fuller expression of plenary power than that? Mr. Justice Matthews says that "the people of the United States, as sovereign owners of the National Territories, have supreme power over them and their inhabitants." "It rests with Congress to say whether, in a given case, any of the people, resident of the Territory, shall participate in the election of its officers, or the making of its laws." 114 U.S. 15, 44. In other words, Congress can at any time repeal an act giving local government to a Territory, and take the authority to itself. Mr. Justice Bradley says that "It would be absurd to hold that the United States has power to acquire territory and no power to govern it when acquired." 136 U.S. 1, 42. And Mr. Justice Harlan says that "The whole subject of the organization of the territorial courts, etc., was left by the Constitution with Congress, under this plenary power over the Territories of the United States." 141 U.S. 174, 188. And then he inquires, "Has Congress, under `the general right of sovereignty' existing in the Government of the United States as to all matters submitted to its exclusive control, including the making of needful rules and regulations respecting the Territories of the United States, any less power over the judges of the Territories than a State, if unrestrained by its organic law, might exercise over the judges of its own creation?" 141 U.S. 174, 1890. And Mr. Justice Gray says that, "By the Constitution, as is now well settled, the United States, having rightfully acquired the Territories, and being the only Government which can impose laws upon them, has the entire dominion and sovereignty, *152 national and municipal, Federal and state, over all the Territories, so long as they remain in a territorial condition."

    And now I come to the subject of limitations. Are there no limitations on this plenary power of Congress to govern the Territories? I believe there are. If there are any who believe that the President or Congress can govern the new possessions outside of the Constitution, and wholly irrespective of all its limitations, I am not of them. Neither the executive, nor the legislative, nor the judicial branches of the Federal Government can act except through a power conferred by the Constitution. Wherever a particular power is exercised the limitation placed upon it by the Constitution must be observed. The Constitution was formed by the people of the thirteen original States. They provided the Government, conferred upon it certain powers, and subjected it in the exercise of some of these powers to certain limitations. It expressly prohibited the exercise of certain powers under any circumstances, and wholly irrespective of the place where exercised. Moreover, since certain powers were reserved to the States composing the Union, certain limitations and prohibitions were laid upon the States. In any case involving the exercise of a power claimed under the Constitution, the first question is, Was the power granted? and the next is, What are the limitations?

    The difficulty of a clear conception of the important question in these cases has been increased by the use of campaign catchwords, of political phrases. "The Constitution follows the flag" is one of these. It is made use of to induce people to believe that the Government is contending that the President and Congress, in dealing with the new possessions, avowedly act outside of the Constitution; that the Government claims that the Constitution stays here, within the United States, leaving the President and Congress power unlimited and despotic with respect to the new possessions. This claim is designed and calculated to put both the President and Congress in a position obnoxious to a liberty-loving people. The position is one they have never taken and do not now occupy. Both the President and Congress concede, as I understand it, that they have no power except under the Constitution, and *153 that they are subject in the exercise of their powers to every limitation properly applicable. The Constitution and the flag go together. Wherever the flag flies as the symbol of the sovereignty of this country it is raised by an authority created and existing under the Constitution. The flag now floats in the Philippines by virtue of the war and treaty-making power through which we have acquired that territory. It was raised in Porto Rico under the same authority. It waves there now as the symbol of the sovereignty of the Republic over rightfully acquired territory, which the Constitution expressly intrusts the regulation and disposition of to Congress. The Constitution is in force in the Philippines and is in force in Porto Rico, but not all of its provisions. Only those provisions operate there, or operate on Congress in legislating for the new possessions, which the framers of the Constitution intended should apply. Opposing counsel speak of the Constitution as if all of its provisions apply everywhere throughout the scope of the authority of the government it creates. This is not true. The United States, in the broadest sense, is composed of States and Territories, organized and unorganized. There are certain prohibitions and limitations which clearly apply only to the States as bodies politic. They were not intended to and do not apply to the Federal Government at all. There are other limitations which apply to the General Government when acting within the States united under the Constitution. There are other limitations which apply both throughout the States and the Territories, organized and unorganized. There are other limitations which apply everywhere, both within and without the United States in the broadest sense. So, after all, it is a question of the scope and application of specific limitations. Because an inapplicable limitation is not in force in the new possessions, it does not follow that applicable prohibitions and limitations can or would be ignored.

    To repeat, the United States of America — which Chief Justice Marshall, in Dixon v. The United States, said is "the true name of that grand corporation which the American people have formed, and the charter will, I trust, long remain in full force and vigor" — is a body politic, of which the States alone *154 are integral constituent parts, they only, as the same Chief Justice said in Hepburn v. Ellzey, being "the members of the American Confederacy," and this governing entity exercises sovereignty over "the American Empire," "our Great Republic," which is composed of States and Territories — and, in the broadest sense, if he does not mean by this, territory unorganized, then over that too. The Territories are not integral parts but possessions of this "grand corporation." The governing unit, composed of the States, possesses and exercises dominion over the Territories, subject only to the applicable restrictions and limitations of the Constitution. All the provisions of the Constitution do not and cannot have uniform operation both within the States and Territories whose political status and relation to the governing body are so widely different. It is true that every part of the national domain is within the jurisdiction of the Constitution, but it does not follow that every part is subject to all of its provisions. Each part is subject to some one or more of them, but all parts are not subject to all of them.

    The Territories, not being parts, but possessions, of the governing body, are not within the scope or purpose of those limitations and restrictions which were designed to preserve and protect the rights of the States composing the Union. In legislating for the Territories Congress is not limited to jealously guarded national powers, but exercises the combined powers of the General and of a state Government.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. Where is the Dixon case you referred to?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. In 1 Brockenbrough, 177. It was a case decided on the circuit.

    The safeguard when Congress thus acts outside of those limitations to which I am going now to refer, and which I regard as applicable, is what Chief Justice Marshall refers to in Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheaton, 1, where, meeting the objection that, according to the position taken by counsel for the Government, despotic power was given by the clause authorizing Congress to regulate commerce among the several States, he said (p. 197): "The wisdom and the discretion of Congress, their identity with the people, and the influence which their constituents possess *155 at elections are, in this, as in many other instances — as that, for example, of declaring war — the sole restraints on which they have relied to secure them from its abuse. They are the restraints on which the people must often rely solely in all representative governments.

    But there are limitations which apply to Congress in exercising the territorial grant. Obviously those limitations which are laid upon the exercise by Congress of a special power, irrespective of the place where exercised, do apply, such as those forbidding Congress to pass any bill of attainder, or any ex post facto law, or confer any title of nobility. These, as Madison said in No. 43 of the Federalist, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact. The prohibition of slavery operates by express provision everywhere. But these are not the only limitations. It is always to be borne in mind that this is a Government framed by the people, among other things, to establish justice and to secure the blessings of liberty. A Government thus dedicated to liberty and justice is based on fundamental principles, and at all times must show respect for fundamental rights. This, I take it, is what Mr. Justice Bradley meant when he said in the Mormon Church Case, 136 U.S. 44 — "Doubtless Congress, in legislating for the Territories, would be subject to those fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights which are formulated in the Constitution and its amendments; but these limitations would exist rather by inference and the general spirit of the Constitution from which Congress derives all its powers, than by any express and direct application of its provisions."

    And obviously it was to this that Mr. Justice Harlan, speaking for the court, referred in McAllister v. United States, 141 U.S. 188, when he said:

    "How far the exercise of that power [the power to govern the Territories] is restrained by the essential principles upon which our system of government rests, and which are embodied in the Constitution, we need not stop to inquire."

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. Can Congress take private property for public use without compensation in the Territories?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Well, I suppose the court will have to *156 define the fundamental limitations. I do not think I can. The court has not categorically stated them as yet. The court has contented itself with saying there are fundamental principles embodied in the Constitution.

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN. You prefer the court should define the limitations and do not care to state them yourself? [Laughter.]

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I prefer to have the court define the limitations rather than try to do so myself. I think it would be presumptuous in me to act as pioneer in this matter. I am content to follow the court.

    The Government has never asserted, and does not believe, that Congress has the power of a despot in Porto Rico. The fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights which are formulated in the Constitution and its amendments, referred to by Mr. Justice Bradley, stand in the way of everything suggested which shocks the moral sense. Congress could not pass any ex post facto law, or declare an attainder, or grant any title of nobility, or provide for the trial or punishment of treason in any other way than that marked out in the Constitution, all these things being prohibited by direct and applicable provisions. If the first ten Amendments do not limit by direct application Congress in legislating for our new possessions — I put this as a possible case — neither do they operate within the States which compose the Union. As this court, speaking by Mr. Justice Waite, said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 552: "The first Amendment to the Constitution prohibits Congress from abridging "the right of the people to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This, like the other Amendments proposed and adopted at the same time, was not intended to limit the powers of the state governments in respect to their own citizens, but to operate upon the National Government alone."

    "Protection to life, liberty, and property rests primarily with the States," as Chief Justice Fuller said in In re Kemmler, 136 U.S. 448. "The Constitution makes no provision for protecting the citizens of the different States in their religious liberties; this is left to the state constitutions and laws," said Mr. Justice Catron, speaking for the court in Permoli v. First Municipality, 3 How. 609.

    *157 The Constitution forbids the States to pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or to grant any title of nobility, and the Fourteenth Amendment provides that "no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;" but outside the range of these limitations the people of the State, through its constitution and laws, are supreme. They can define treason against the State as they see fit; they can limit the freedom of speech and of the press; they can restrict the bearing of arms; they can provide for the quartering of troops.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. Could a State have an established religion?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I have already read what the court said in regard to that in connection with the First Amendment. That question came before this court in the Permoli case, and the court said that the Constitution makes no provision for protecting the citizens of the respective States in their religious liberties.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. What does the word "liberty" in the Fourteenth Amendment mean?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. That is a broad question which the court has not yet fully answered. I stand by the decision of the court upon a specific point, and if that is overruled by a general expression, I must yield.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. What would you say as to an act of Congress which absolutely forbade all trade between Porto Rico and the States? If Congress could not do that, what is the provision of the Federal Constitution that would stand in the way?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I think Congress could, if it saw fit, prohibit all trade.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. And could prohibit the people in that country from coming here at all, to the States?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I am disposed to think that goes along with the other. I will, however, discuss that phase of the question later. But let me say here, with respect to these extreme *158 illustrations of what might be done under a claimed power, that I understand this court has repeatedly taken the position that although a certain thing is not expressly prohibited, still if it is arbitrary and tyrannical, destructive of fundamental rights, and, therefore, opposed to fundamental principles, the court will find a way to protect the people against it. In the opinions of this court, where power in Congress has been upheld, carefully guarded language has been used, so as to leave the court free to protect the people, in case Congress should exercise such power in a way destructive of fundamental rights. Thus, in the case of Knowlton v. Moore, in which the court upheld the graded feature of the legacy tax, the following language is used, (178 U.S. 109): "The grave consequences which it is asserted must arise in the future if the right to levy a progressive tax be recognized, involves in its ultimate aspect the mere assertion that free and representative government is a failure, and that the grossest abuses of power are foreshadowed unless the courts usurp a purely legislative function. If a case should ever arise where an arbitrary and confiscatory exaction is imposed, bearing the guise of a progressive or any other form of tax, it will be time enough to consider whether the judicial power can afford a remedy by applying inherent and fundamental principles for the protection of the individual, even though there be no express authority in the Constitution to do so."

    The people of the State, through its constitution and laws, can provide for the trial of capital or otherwise infamous crimes, upon information and without indictment, and without a jury, and they have done so; and they can do away with the trial by jury in civil cases, and they have done so; and they can do many other things which I need not enumerate.

    In other words, the right of the people of the States to change their laws and system of procedure so as to conform them to changed views of administration, or the developing exigencies of their social life, has been sustained. And now, I ask the question, if the Constitutional guarantees relating to indictment by a grand jury and trial by a petit jury do not tie the hands of the inhabitants of a Territory when organizing a State, why *159 should they be held to tie the hands of the President and Congress in preserving order and protecting life and property in our new possessions?

    It is a strange contention that as soon as the treaty went into effect the power of the President and Congress to preserve order in the new possessions ceased. There were no grand juries, no petit juries, no machinery for punishing crime by the processes of the Anglo-Saxon law; and yet, according to the contention of the other side, if all the limitations of the Constitution apply everywhere throughout the scope of its authority, crime could be punished in no other way. The Constitution which gave the United States power to acquire territory by treaty and imposed upon Congress the duty of disposing of and governing it, did not leave the National Government helpless by demanding impossibilities. Until the progress of the people of the newly acquired territory will permit of the organization of courts and juries after our system, these guarantees must be held inoperative, or the preservation of peace and order, and the protection of life and property under the civil government be abandoned. The situation resembles that discussed in the case of In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453, which I commend to opposing counsel, who contend that everywhere throughout the scope of authority of the United States under the Constitution, all limitations apply. In that case, a conviction of murder by a consular court in Japan, acting under an act of Congress, and therefore under authority of the Constitution, without a jury, and upon information, was sustained. Mr. Justice Field said, respecting these guarantees of an indictment and trial by jury in criminal cases (p. 464): "And, besides, their enforcement abroad in numerous places, where it would be highly important to have consuls invested with judicial authority, would be impracticable from the impossibility of obtaining a competent grand or petit jury. The requirement of such a body to accuse and to try an offender would, in a majority of cases, cause an abandonment of all prosecution."

    Having discussed the general question, I pass to the consideration of the Porto Rican act. This act provides that on and after a certain date the duties imposed by the Dingley law on goods brought into the United States shall be levied and collected *160 on all articles imported into Porto Rico from ports other than those of the United States, with three exceptions:

    A duty of 5 cents a pound is levied on coffee. This is in order to protect the coffee industries there against the cheap coffee to South America.

    Spanish scientific, literary, and artistic works are to be admitted free of duty for ten years. This is to carry out the provision of the treaty.

    American publications are placed upon the same footing with Spanish.

    Now, of course, these duties are not involved in this case, but as a temporary measure to provide revenue for Porto Rico until a system of local taxation could be framed by a provisional government — a local government created by the act — it was provided that, upon all goods coming into Porto Rico from the United States and coming into the United States from Porto Rico, a duty equivalent to 15 per cent of the duties levied by the Dingley law should be imposed. In addition, on goods brought into the United States from Porto Rico which had been manufactured in Porto Rico, the internal revenue tax imposed by the laws of the United States on similar articles manufactured here should be imposed; and on articles manufactured in the United States and taken into Porto Rico, the internal revenue tax which might be imposed there upon similar goods should be collected. This internal revenue tax is to be levied and collected by the imposition of stamps under regulations to be promulgated by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The revenues collected from this tax are to be applied for the use and benefit of Porto Rico. It was also provided, as I have indicated, that just as soon as the legislative assembly of Porto Rico, created by this act, should put in operation a system of taxation sufficient to meet the local needs, and the President should make proclamation of that fact, all tariff duties on goods coming into Porto Rico from the United States and coming into the United States from Porto Rico should cease. And it further provided that in no event shall any duties be collected after the 1st day of March, 1902, on merchandise *161 and articles going into Porto Rico from the United States or coming into the United States from Porto Rico.

    I have in my brief, on page 74 and the succeeding pages, quoted from a speech of Senator Foraker, who had charge of the bill in the Senate, in which he stated with clearness the situation in Porto Rico which led to the enactment of the measure, and epitomizes its provisions. In this he says: "The committee found upon investigation that a civil government should be at once established in Porto Rico, and found that this government would require for its support not less than about $3,000,000 annually. They also found that an additional million dollars would be required to support the municipal governments of the island, making an aggregate of not less than $4,000,000."

    They found that the total valuation of property of all kinds situated in the island would not exceed for taxation purposes $100,000,000. They found that this property was already burdened with a private debt, evidenced by mortgages on record, to the amount of about $26,000,000 of principal, with an accumulation of several years' interest, at extravagant rates, which swelled the sum to probably $30,000,000.

    The committee further found that no system of property taxation was in force in the island, or ever had been, and that it would require at least a year, and probably two years, to inaugurate one and secure returns from it, and that, inasmuch as the people had no familiarity with such a system, it would be difficult, probably, to enforce it, at least for a time.

    The committee also found that the public revenues of the island, except only such as were raised by a burdensome excise tax on incomes and business vocations, had always been chiefly received from duties on imports and exports — a system with which the people were therefore familiar.

    The committee further found that this system was already in operation, and that revenues were then constantly being collected, upon which, so far as they went, the Government could at once depend.

    The committee further found that our internal revenue law, *162 if applied in that island, would prove oppressive and ruinous to many people and interests.

    To collect our heavy internal revenue taxes — far heavier than Spain ever imposed — on these products and vocations would be to invite violations of law so innumerable as to make prosecutions impossible, and to almost certainly alienate and destroy the friendship and good will of that people for the United States.

    Now, it was in view of those considerations, and in order to find some way to exempt the people of Porto Rico both from the direct taxation of their property — such taxation as is imposed in every State and organized Territory of the United States — and also from the onerous burdens of an immediate application of our internal revenue laws, that this temporary system of taxing the exports from the island and the imports into the island was framed and put in operation. Manifestly, by the passage of the Porto Rican act, not only because of these temporary fiscal provisions, but also because of other provisions to which I call attention in my brief, Congress did not intend to recognize or treat the island as a part of the United States, but as a possession thereof, with a political existence under the sovereignty, but outside of the limits, of the United States, legislatively treated. The inhabitants are made citizens of Porto Rico, and as such entitled to the protection of the United States. A temporary civil government is provided, with a revenue system quite separate and distinct from that of the United States. The duties provided by the act, both on goods coming into the United States from Porto Rico and coming into Porto Rico from the United States, "shall be used for the government and benefit of Porto Rico." The taxation, therefore, is of a purely local nature. It cannot be said that the revenues derived from these duties were to be used "to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and welfare of the United States."

    These duties are not laid by Congress under the general grant of the taxing power contained in the first clause of section 8 of article I, but under the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States. The fact that the limitation *163 in the first clause of section 8 of article I, and indeed the provisions of that clause generally, only apply to taxes which are levied to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, is supported by what Mr. Justice Miller says in his work on the Constitution, page 230, and what Chief Justice Marshall says in Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheaton, 199. In that case, with reference to the taxing power, Chief Justice Marshall says: "Congress is authorized to lay and collect taxes, etc., to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. This does not interfere with the power of the States to tax for the support of their own governments; nor is the exercise of that power by the States an exercise of any portion of the power granted to the United States."

    But if the contention of the other side is correct, and because the duties on exports from Porto Rico into the United States are collected in this country, although the proceeds are applied for the benefit of the Porto Rican governments, if because of the collection here this clause applies, and these duties must be uniform throughout the United States, then my answer is that they are uniform throughout the United States, being uniformly collected in the ports of every State into which goods may be brought from Porto Rico.

    Now, Congress has determined that this temporary local revenue measure is for the welfare of Porto Rico, and I submit that that determination is conclusive, unless there is some other limitation or prohibition which prevents. The only other provision suggested as applicable is that which provides "that no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State." The only goods which could possibly be regarded as articles exported from any State are the goods which are imported into Porto Rico from the United States. But these goods are not exports from any State. They are imports into Porto Rico. A duty laid on exports is a duty laid upon the goods at the time they are shipped abroad, and because of that fact. When goods are received at the port of destination, they cease to be exports and become imports, and a tax then laid upon them because of their importation is not a tax upon exports, but a duty upon imports.

    *164 Whether the tax shall be considered as a tax upon exports or as a duty upon imports may depend upon the application of the revenue collected. In this case the revenue is all to be applied for the benefit of Porto Rico. The revenue collected in Porto Rico on what the other side claim are exports from the United States, is applied to the use of Porto Rico, and I say that fact is sufficient, in testing these two views, to determine that the goods are to be regarded as imports into Porto Rico.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. As far as the question of power is concerned, it would be the same, would it or not, if the duties collected upon Porto Rican products were paid into the Treasury of the United States and remained here?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I think it makes a material difference as to whether the revenue is to be paid to the United States or Porto Rico.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. As to the question of power?

    Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL. As to the authority to levy this particular duty.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. I do not say it does not. I want to get your views.

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I contend that this is, in a sense, a local revenue measure. It is not a case where Congress exercises the Federal power of taxation to raise revenue to pay the debts and to provide for the general welfare and the common defence, under that section of the Constitution, but it is a measure providing local revenue for Porto Rico, under the provision which authorizes Congress to pass all needful rules and regulations for Porto Rico. And what I am inquiring now is whether there is any other provision of the Constitution, any other limitation, which prevents.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. Under that power, would it be competent for Congress to pass an act requiring a duty to be paid on all goods shipped from the other States into New Mexico, for the support of New Mexico?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. New Mexico might be placed, as I take it, by Congress, if Congress saw fit, in the exact position of Porto Rico. I think logically I would have to so contend. Alaska might, if circumstances demanded, be placed in the exact *165 position of Porto Rico. I believe Congress has full power over them, subject, however, I should say, to certain provisions which protect citizens of the United States in the enjoyment of certain rights. Now, whether the vested rights and privileges which follow citizenship would prevent what you suggest, I confess I am not able at once to state. I believe that Congress could sell Alaska if it saw fit. I think that so long as territory remains under the plenary power marked out in the Constitution, it is for Congress to say whether that territory shall be taken into the Union as a State, and so indissolubly become a part of the United States, or whether the general welfare would be better subserved by parting with the territory, making, at the same time, due provision for safeguarding all rights of citizenship, and all rights of property belonging to citizens of the United States residing there.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. Does not the effect of that argument come to this, that the uniformity clause of the Constitution in respect of duties, etc., applies solely to the States?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. The uniformity clause does, I insist, apply solely to the States, unless Congress has seen fit to provide otherwise.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. Unless Congress has extended the power?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Yes, unless Congress has enlarged the boundaries of the United States — I mean within the meaning of the taxing laws.

    MR. JUSTICE BREWER. If it enlarges, it can restrict?

    MR. SOLICITOR GEMERAL. Certainly, unless vested rights intervene to prevent.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE. You say Congress would have the right in your judgment to dispose of Arizona and New Mexico, provided it made provision in the treaty to protect the rights of citizenship, and so on?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Yes.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE. But how would those rights of citizenship come into being and require protection, unless Arizona, for instance, has become a part of the United States and citizenship has resulted?

    *166 MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Congress has entire authority over the matter of naturalization, and it may naturalize not only by a law applying uniformly, but collectively, by special acts, and it has done so. It has naturalized Indians who lived in the Indian Territory, although the Indian Territory has not been regarded as a part of the United States in the imposition of our excise taxes. Many instances of collective naturalization might be given. And so I say, that if we have conferred citizenship, why, then, in disposing of territory that belongs to the United States, but has not become an inseparable part of the Union, doubtless the treaty-making power or Congress would provide for the safeguarding and protection of all personal and property rights flowing from citizenship in such territory.

    I believe that the Government can dispose of the Philippines if it deems best to do so. The power that can acquire, can sell or exchange. I do not occupy the position from which the other side cannot escape, that the cession made the Philippines an integral part of the United States, inseparably incorporated under the Constitution, and with rights unalterably fixed by the Constitution. I believe they are but a possession — territory belonging to the United States — which we can part with whenever it becomes apparent that their interests or our welfare demands a separation.

    It may be further suggested that within the decision of Woodruff v. Parham, 8 Wallace, 123, the goods shipped into Porto Rico from the United States are not exports from the States, because not shipped to a foreign country. The commerce, I take it, between Porto Rico and the United States since the passage of the Porto Rican act is not foreign commerce, but domestic commerce. It is commerce passing between countries under the sovereignty of the United States, commerce which is regulated by Congress, possibly under the power to regulate commerce either among the several States or with foreign nations — I say possibly, having in mind the opinion in the case of Stoutenburgh v. Hennick, 129 U.S. 141, in which the court held that the action of the local authorities of the District of Columbia in taxing a commercial traveler was in violation of the commerce clause — or under the power, as I have said, to make all needful *167 rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.

    I submit that the authority to regulate these insular possessions includes authority to regulate their commerce, both with foreign countries and with the United States. Commerce is always a rightful subject of regulation by a governing body. It is true that the Constitution places certain limitations upon the power of Congress to regulate the commerce of the States. While Congress is given express power to regulate commerce with the foreign nations, and among the several States and with the Indian tribes, it is provided that no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another. But obviously this Porto Rican act gives no preference to the ports of one State over those of another. All States are treated alike. Goods going into Porto Rico pay a certain duty there, no matter from what State or port shipped; and goods coming into the United States from Porto Rico pay a certain duty here, no matter to what port or State shipped. It is true that the Constitution declares that the citizens of each State are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States. That is what I referred to a moment ago in answering the question of Mr. Justice Brewer with reference to Arizona; but I fail to see in what way the rights of a citizen of any State can be infringed by the Porto Rican act. All citizens are treated alike.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. Suppose they are not treated alike. Suppose this act had given a preference to the commerce coming to this country to the ports of one State over the ports of another. Under your view, what clause of the Constitution would forbid Congress from doing that?

    MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. The very clause I have read.

    MR. JUSTICE HARLAN. You call that a regulation of commerce, do you?

    Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL. I do, most emphatically. But the clause applies also to any "regulation of revenue." Moreover, no privilege or immunity granted to the people of Porto Rico by the treaty of Paris is infringed by this legislation, for the treaty itself expressly provided that their civil rights and political *168 status should be determined by Congress; and Congress has declined to make them citizens of the United States, restricting their status to citizens of Porto Rico, entitled to the protection of the United States. As such, Congress has framed a measure peculiarly adapted to raise the insular revenues in the easiest way, thus avoiding the imposition upon them of burdens which would become intolerable if our internal revenue taxes were extended to them.

    Before the adoption of the Constitution — and I will now direct myself, possibly, to something that is in the mind of Mr. Justice Harlan — the States had severally the power to lay duties and imposts on imports and exports, and they exercised it. The Constitution forbade the further exercise of this power without the consent of Congress and unless the net proceeds of all duties and imposts so laid should be applied for the use of the Treasury of the United States, the clause reading as follows:

    "No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by any State on imports or exports shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress."

    "Now, this seeming prohibition — I should not say seeming — this prohibition, is equivalent to an implied grant of authority to a State, or a recognition of authority existing in a State, to lay imposts or duties on imports or exports, providing Congress shall consent, and upon the condition that the net produce of such duties shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States. And it is a recognition of the fact that the needs of both a State and of the United States might be promoted by special duties on the imports or exports of a State. The condition thus recognized and provided for in the case of a State has, in this particular instance, been legislated for by Congress, which possesses both state and Federal jurisdiction in the case of Porto Rico. I might say in this connection, respecting the levying of duties by a State on imports with the consent of *169 Congress, that the same limitation and grant applies in the case of tonnage duties, and that the legislative history of the country shows that Congress has given its consent to a great many measures where a State levied duties, either on tonnage or on imports. With reference to tonnage duties, Chief Justice Marshall said (9 Wheaton, 202): "A duty on tonnage is as much a tax, as a duty on imports or exports; and the reason which induced the prohibition of those taxes extends to this also. This tax may be imposed by a State, with the consent of Congress."

    I have here a list of thirty acts, passed from 1790 to 1847, in which the assent of Congress was given to the acts of States levying duties on imports or tonnage for harbor improvements or other local purposes.

    It may be insisted that the constitutional provision which requires all duties, imposts, and excises to be uniform throughout the United States lays down a fundamental rule of taxation applicable everywhere; that no special mode of taxation, to meet the needs of a particular territory, can be framed by Congress, but that all duties and excises must be laid uniformly throughout all the territory over which the sovereignty of the United States extends. With respect to this, I beg to say that there was a good reason for requiring duties and excises to be uniform throughout the States of the Union, and that reason is stated clearly in the opinion of the court in Knowlton v. Moore. But there is neither reason nor justice in requiring the same taxes to be imposed wherever the flag flies. The collection of our internal revenue taxes is impossible and impracticable in Porto Rico and the Philippines. They were framed to meet conditions here; they would be ruinous there. We are not engaged at present in collecting taxes in Porto Rico for the benefit of the United States. The only taxes collected are used for the benefit of Porto Rico. Of course Porto Rico receives the benefit of the general revenues to a certain degree, for the General Government is there with its agencies supported at the general expense, and it would be only fair, if Porto Rico could stand it, to make her bear her fair share of the national burdens in return for the benefits she receives. But, after all, the entire *170 matter is left with Congress, and the uniform imposition in Porto Rico of the national system of taxation would not relieve the island from the necessity of responding to further exactions, should Congress deem them necessary in order to meet the local expenses of the government of the island. Congress possesses over Porto Rico, to use the language of Mr. Justice Gray in Shively v. Bowlby, "the entire dominion and sovereignty, national and municipal, Federal and state." What good purpose could be served, then, by attempting to apply in Porto Rico the provision that Federal taxes shall be uniform throughout the States. It is all right to require Federal taxes to be uniform throughout the States. This secures a uniform contribution from the States for a uniform benefit. Only the national taxes are raised in the States by the Federal authority. The States raise their own state, county, and municipal taxes. They regulate these to suit themselves. Congress has no say about them. But in Porto Rico Congress has power to raise not merely national but all insular revenues, everything needed to carry on the local government. It is not necessary, as I understand it, that in raising taxes for a Territory Congress should distinguish between the purposes to which the taxes are to be applied and levy specific taxes for national purposes and other taxes for other purposes. Especially is this true before a territorial government has been organized and has established and put in operation a system of local taxation. Congress may and must necessarily combine the sources of revenue and apply the proceeds as the circumstances require. The power and the necessity of doing this prevents any just comparison between the revenue system established by Congress in a Territory and that in force for purely Federal purposes in the States.

    Respecting the territorial governments, with their courts and laws, Mr. Justice Nelson, speaking for the court, said in Benner v. Porter, 9 How. 242: "They are legislative governments, and their courts legislative courts, Congress, in the exercise of its powers in the organization and government of the Territories, combining the powers of both the Federal and state authorities. There is but one system of government, or of laws *171 operating within their limits, as neither is subject to the constitutional provisions in respect to state and Federal jurisdiction."

    With regard to the matter of taxation in Porto Rico, it is quite pertinent to put the question which Mr. Justice Harlan, speaking for the court, put in the case of McAllister v. United States, 141 U.S. 190, respecting the power of Congress over the courts of a Territory:

    "Has Congress, under `the general right of sovereignty' existing in the Government of the United States as to all matters committed to its exclusive control, including the making of needful rules and regulations respecting the Territories of the United States, any less power over the judges of the Territories than a State, if unrestricted by its own organic law, might exercise over judges of its own creation?"

    In other words, to paraphrase this, has Congress, under "the general right of sovereignty" existing in the Government of the United States as to all matters committed to its exclusive control, including the making of needful rules and regulations respecting the Territories of the United States, any less power in raising territorial revenue than a State, if unrestrained by its own organic law, might exercise in raising revenue within its borders?

    In the argument of counsel on the other side, reference was made to the ordinance of 1787, as showing that the term "the United States" includes the territory belonging to the United States. Counsel called attention to the fact that in the treaty between this country and Great Britain the description of the United States included the vast expanse outside of the limits of the thirteen Colonies, but claimed by them as the successors of the royal power, stretching into the great West, and insisted that that constituted the United States. I think a careful reading of the ordinance of 1787 and the history of the release by the Colonies, which composed the United States under the Confederation, of their claims to the territory covered by the ordinance of 1787 shows conclusively that a distinction was drawn between the United States under the Confederation and the territory belonging to them which lay northwest of the Ohio. The ordinance itself says that it is an ordinance "for the government *172 of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio River." This territory had been ceded by certain of the Colonies — Virginia, New York and others — who claimed it, to the United States, because the Colonies properly claimed that unless they succeeded in the war with Great Britain the title would amount to nothing. It was being won by the blood and treasure of all, and therefore should belong to all, and the Colonies conceded this to be a fact, and therefore turned over their title and claim to the United States. And then this ordinance for the government of the territory was passed, and it says it is an ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio River.

    With respect to members of the general assembly it provides that no person shall be eligible unless he shall have been "a citizen of one of the United States three years." Did that mean a citizen of the Northwest Territory? Evidently not, because it goes on to provide, "and be a resident in the district, or unless he shall have resided in the district three years." In other words, a citizen of one of the United States was eligible if he resided in the district, while a person not a citizen of one of the United States must have resided in the district three years to be eligible.

    "For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions, are erected," it was provided and declared that certain articles should be considered "as articles of compact" between the original States (that is, the United States under the Confederation) "and the people and States in the said territory, and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent." Here is a distinct recognition that the Northwest Territory was not a part of the United States. The ordinance forms a compact between the United States under the Confederation and the people and States to be formed in the Northwest Territory.

    In the fourth article it is provided that the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, etc., shall be common highways, and forever free, "as well to the inhabitants of the said Territory as to the citizens of the United States, and *173 those of any other States that may be admitted into the Confederacy."

    As I have sat and listened to these elaborate arguments, whereby counsel, ignoring the plain and simple provisions of the Constitution, seek, by a refinement of reasoning, to induce this court to take away from the President and Congress the power to govern newly acquired territory according to its nature and needs — a power which has been exercised, from the days of the founders of the Republic, by the nation which then, to use the words of the Declaration, assumed, "among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitled it," I cannot but recall the impressive language of the great Chief Justice Marshall, at the close of the remarkable opinion which he delivered in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden:

    "Powerful and ingenious minds, taking, as postulates, that the powers expressly granted to the Government of the Union, are to be contracted by construction, into the narrowest possible compass, . . . may, by a course of well-digested but refined and metaphysical reasoning, founded on these premises, explain away the Constitution of our country, and leave it, a magnificent structure, indeed, to look at, but totally unfit for use. They may so entangle and perplex the understanding, as to obscure principles, which were before thought quite plain, and induce doubts where, if the mind were to pursue its own course, none would be perceived."

    We have the new territories. We are responsible for them, responsible to their people, to ourselves, to the world. We must provide them a government. May we not give them a government adopted to their needs? May we not in governing them carry out the solemn stipulations of the treaty through which we acquired sovereignty over them? The path of duty is plain. May we not walk in it? Does the Constitution prevent? Is the Constitution a stumbling block, or a trap, caught in which we shall excite the pity of our friends and the derision of our foes? I refuse to believe so. The Constitution is no mere declaration of denials. It created a nation to which was intrusted the full power asserted in the Declaration of Independence — *174 "to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do." When it conferred power, it took care not to cripple action. It still remains the most perfect instrument ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man, under which we are armed for every emergency, and able to cope with every condition.

    MR. JUSTICE BROWN delivered the opinion of the court.

    This case raises the single question whether territory acquired by the United States by cession from a foreign power remains a "foreign country" within the meaning of the tariff laws.

    1. Did the question of jurisdiction raised by the demurrer involve only the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court as a Federal court, we should be obliged to say that the defendant was not in a position to make this claim, since the case was removed to the Federal court upon his own petition. It is no infringment upon the ancient maxim of the law that consent cannot confer jurisdiction, to hold that, where a party has procured the removal of a cause from a state court upon the ground that he is lawfully entitled to a trial in a Federal court, he is estopped to deny that such removal was lawful, if the Federal court could take jurisdiction of the case or that the Federal court did not have the same right to pass upon the questions at issue that the state court would have had, if the cause had remained there. Defendant neither gains nor loses by the removal, and the case proceeds as if no such removal had taken place. Cowley v. Northern Pacific Railroad Co., 159 U.S. 569, 583; Mansfield Railway Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379; Mexican Nat. Railroad v. Davidson, 157 U.S. 201.

    This, however, is more a matter of words than of substance, as the defendant unquestionably has the right to show that the state court had no jurisdiction, or that the complaint did not set forth facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. This we understand to be the substance of the defence in this connection.

    By Rev. Stat. sec. 2931, it was enacted that the decision of *175 the collector "as to the rate and amount of duties" to be paid upon imported merchandise should be final and conclusive, unless the owner or agent entered a protest, and within thirty days appealed therefrom to the Secretary of the Treasury; and, further, that the decision of the Secretary should be final and conclusive, unless suit were brought within ninety days after the decision of the Secretary. By Rev. Stat. sec. 3011, any person having made payment under such protest was given the right to bring an action at law and recover back any excess of duties so paid.

    The law stood in this condition until June 10, 1890, when an act known as the Customs Administrative Act was passed, 26 Stat. 131, c. 407, by which the above sections Rev. Stat. secs. 2931, 3011, were repealed and new regulations established, by which an appeal was given from the decision of the collector "as to the rate and amount of the duties chargeable upon imported merchandise," if such duties were paid under protest, to a Board of General Appraisers, whose decision should be final and conclusive (sec. 14) "as to the construction of the law and the facts respecting the classification of such merchandise and the rate of duties imposed thereon under such classification," unless within thirty days one of the parties applied to the Circuit Court of the United States for a review of the questions of law and fact involved in such decision. Sec. 15. It was further provided that the decision of such court should be final, unless the court were of opinion that the question involved was of such importance as to require a review by this court, which was given power to affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Circuit Court.

    The effect of the Customs Administrative Act was considered by this court in In re Fassett, Petitioner, 142 U.S. 479, in which we held that the decision of the collector that a yacht was an imported article might be reviewed upon a libel for possession filed by the owner, notwithstanding the Customs Administrative Act. It was held that the review of the decision of the Board of General Appraisers, provided for by section fifteen of that act, was limited to decisions of the board "as to the construction of the law and the facts respecting the classification" *176 of imported merchandise "and the rate of duties imposed thereon under such classification," and that it did not bring up for review the question whether an article be imported merchandise or not, nor, under section fifteen, is the ascertainment of that fact such a decision as is provided for. Said Mr. Justice Blatchford: "Nor can the court of review pass upon any question which the collector had not original authority to determine. The collector has no authority to make any determination regarding any article which is not imported merchandise; and if the vessel in question here is not imported merchandise, the court of review would have no jurisdiction to determine any matter regarding that question, and could not determine the very fact which is in issue under the libel in the District Court, on which the rights of the libellant depend."

    "Under the Customs Administrative Act, the libellant, in order to have the benefit of the proceedings thereunder, must concede that the vessel is imported merchandise, which is the very question put in contention under the libel, and must make entry of her as imported merchandise, with an invoice and consular certificate to that effect." It was held that the libel was properly filed.

    The question involved in this case is not whether the sugars were importable articles under the tariff laws, but whether, coming as they did from a port alleged to be domestic, they were imported from a foreign country — in other words, whether they were imported at all as that word is defined in Woodruff v. Parham, 8 Wall. 123, 132. We think the decision in the Fassett case is conclusive to the effect that, if the question be whether the sugars were imported or not, such question could not be raised before the Board of General Appraisers; and that whether they were imported merchandise for the reasons given in the Fassett case that a vessel is not an importable article, or because the merchandise was not brought from a foreign country, is immaterial. In either case the article is not imported.

    Conceding then that section 3011 has been repealed, and that no remedy exists under the Customs Administrative Act, does it follow that no action whatever will lie? If there be an admitted *177 wrong, the courts will look far to supply an adequate remedy. If an action lay at common law the repeal of sections 2931 and 3011, regulating proceedings in customs cases, (that is, turning upon the classification of merchandise,) to make way for another proceeding before the Board of General Appraisers in the same class of cases, did not destroy any right of action that might have existed as to other than customs cases; and the fact that by section 25 no collector shall be liable "for or on account of any rulings or decisions as to the classification of such merchandise or the duties charged thereon, or the collection of any dues, charges or duties on or on account of any such merchandise," or any other matter which the importer might have brought before the Board of General Appraisers, does not restrict the right which the owner of the merchandise might have against the collector in cases not falling within the Customs Administrative Act. If the position of the Government be correct, the plaintiff would be remediless; and if a collector should seize and hold for duties goods brought from New Orleans, or any other concededly domestic port, to New York, there would be no method of testing his right to make such seizure. It is hardly possible that the owner could be placed in this position. But we are not without authority upon this point.

    The case of Elliott v. Swartwout, 10 Pet. 137, 154, was an action of assumpsit against the collector of the port of New York to recover certain duties upon goods alleged to have been improperly classified. It was held that as the payment was purely voluntary, by a mutual mistake of law, no action would lie to recover them back, although it would have been different if they had been paid under protest. Said Mr. Justice Thompson: "Here, then, is the true distinction: when the money is paid voluntarily and by mistake to the agent, and he has paid it over to his principal, he cannot be made personally responsible; but if, before paying it over, he is apprised of the mistake, and required not to pay it over, he is personally liable." If the payment of the money be accompanied by a notice to the collector that the duties charged are too high, and that the person paying intends to sue to recover back the amount erroneously *178 paid, it was held that such action must lie "unless the broad proposition can be maintained, that no action will lie against a collector to recover back an excess of duties paid him, but that recourse must be had to the Government for redress." The case recognized the fact that, with respect to money paid under a mistake of law, the collector stood in the position of an ordinary agent and could be made personally liable in case the money were paid under protest.

    This decision was made in 1836. Apparently in consequence of it an act was passed in 1839 requiring moneys collected for duties to be deposited to the credit of the Treasurer of the United States; and it was made the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to draw his warrant upon the Treasurer in case he found more money had been paid to the collector than the law required. It was held by a majority of this court in Cary v. Curtis, 3 How. 236, that this act precluded an action of assumpsit for money had and received against the collector for duties received by him, and that the act of 1839 furnished the sole remedy. It was said of that case in Arnson v. Murphy, 109 U.S. 238, 240: "Congress, being in session at the time that the decision was announced, passed the explanatory act of February 26, 1845, which, by legislative construction of the act of 1839, restored to the claimant his right of action against the collector, but required the protest to be made in writing at the time of payment of the duties alleged to have been illegally exacted, and took from the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to refund conferred by the act of 1839. 5 Stat. 349, 727. This act of 1845 was in force, as was decided in Barney v. Watson, 92 U.S. 449, until repealed by implication by the act of June 30, 1864," c. 171, 13 Stat. 202, 214, carried into the Revised Statutes as sections 2931 and 3011. In the same case of Arnson v. Murphy, 109 U.S. 238, it was decided that the common-law right of action against the collector to recover back duties illegally collected was taken away by statute, and a remedy given, based upon these sections, which was exclusive. The decision in Elliott v. Swartwout was recognized, but so far as respected customs cases (i.e., classification cases) was held to be superseded by the statutes. So in Schoenfeld v. Hendricks, 152 *179 U.U.S. 691, it was held that an action could not be maintained against the collector, either at common law or under the statutes, to recover duties alleged to have been exacted, in 1892, upon an importation of merchandise, the remedy given through the Board of General Appraisers being exclusive.

    The criticism to be made upon the applicability of these cases is, that they dealt only with imported merchandise and with the duties collected thereon, and have no reference whatever to exactions made by a collector, under color of the revenue laws, upon goods which have never been imported at all. With respect to these the collector stands as if, under color of his office, he had seized a ship or its equipment, or any other article not comprehended within the scope of the tariff laws. Had the sugars involved in this case been admittedly imported, that is, brought into New York from a confessedly foreign country, and the question had arisen whether they were dutiable, or belonged to the free list, the case would have fallen within the Customs Administrative Act, since it would have turned upon a question of classification.

    The fact that the collector may have deposited the money in the Treasury is no bar to a judgment against him, since Rev. Stat. sec. 989 provides that, in case of a recovery of any money exacted by him and paid into the Treasury, if the court certifies that there was probable cause for the act done, no execution shall issue against him, but the amount of the judgment shall be paid out of the proper appropriation from the Treasury.

    We are not impressed by the argument that, if the plaintiffs insisted that these sugars were not imported merchandise, they should have stood upon their rights, refused to enter the goods, and brought an action of replevin to recover their possession. It is true that, to prevent the seizure of the sugars, plaintiffs did enter them as imported merchandise; but any admission derivable from that fact is explained by their protest against the exaction of duties upon them as such. They waived nothing by taking this course. The collector lost nothing, since he was apprised of the course they would probably take. It is true that in the Fassett Case, 142 U.S. 479, the proceeding was *180 by libel for possession of the vessel, which is analogous to an action of replevin at common law; but it would appear that Rev. Stat. sec. 934 would stand in the way of such a remedy here, since by that section "all property taken or detained by any officer or other person under authority of any revenue law of the United States shall be irrepleviable, and shall be deemed to be in the custody of the law and subject only to the orders and decrees of the courts of the United States having jurisdiction thereof." If the words "under authority of any revenue law" are to be construed as if they read "under color of any revenue law," it would seem that these sugars could not be made the subject of a replevin; but even conceding that replevin would lie, we consider it merely a choice of remedies, and that the plaintiffs were at liberty to waive the tort and proceed in assumpsit.

    We are all of opinion that this action was properly brought.

    2. Whether these cargoes of sugar were subject to duty depends solely upon the question whether Porto Rico was a "foreign country" at the time the sugars were shipped, since the tariff act of July 24, 1897, c. 11, 30 Stat. 151, commonly known as the Dingley act, declares that "there shall be levied, collected and paid upon all articles imported from foreign countries" certain duties therein specified. A foreign country was defined by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall and Mr. Justice Story to be one exclusively within the sovereignty of a foreign nation, and without the sovereignty of the United States. The Boat Eliza, 2 Gall. 4; Taber v. United States, 1 Story, 1; The Ship Adventure, 1 Brock. 235, 241.

    The status of Porto Rico was this: The island had been for some months under military occupation by the United States as a conquered country, when, by the second article of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain, signed December 10, 1898, and ratified April 11, 1899, Spain ceded to the United States the island of Porto Rico, which has ever since remained in our possession, and has been governed and administered by us. If the case depended solely upon these facts, and the question were broadly presented whether a country which had been ceded to us, the cession accepted, possession delivered, *181 and the island occupied and administered without interference by Spain or any other power, was a foreign country or domestic territory, it would seem that there could be as little hesitation in answering this question as there would be in determining the ownership of a house deeded in fee simple to a purchaser, who had accepted the deed, gone into possession, paid taxes and made improvements without let or hindrance from his vendor. But it is earnestly insisted by the Government that it never could have been the intention of Congress to admit Porto Rico into a customs union with the United States, and that, while the island may be to a certain extent domestic territory, it still remains a "foreign country" under the tariff laws, until Congress has embraced it within the general revenue system.

    We shall consider this subject more at length hereafter, but for the present call attention to certain cases in this court and certain regulations of the executive departments which are supposed to favor this contention.

    In United States v. Rice, 4 Wheat. 246, which was an action of debt brought by the United States upon a bond for duties upon goods imported into Castine, in the district (now State) of Maine, during its temporary occupation by the British troops in the war of 1812, it was held the action would not lie, though Castine was subsequently evacuated by the enemy and restored to the United States. The court said that, by the military occupation of Castine, the enemy acquired a possession which enabled him to exercise the fullest rights of sovereignty; that the sovereignty of the United States was suspended, and our laws could be no longer rightfully enforced there, or be obligatory upon the inhabitants; that by the surrender the inhabitants passed under a temporary allegiance to the British government, and were only bound by the laws of that government, and that Castine was during this period to be deemed a foreign port; that goods brought there were subject to duties which the British government chose to impose, and were in no correct sense imported into the United States; and that the subsequent evacuation by the enemy did not change the character of the transaction, since the goods were not liable to American duties when imported. In that case the character of the port, as foreign or *182 domestic, was held to depend upon the question of actual occupation, and the right of the defendant determinable by the facts then existing, and further, that the subsequent reoccupation of the port by the United States was ineffectual to change the right of the defendant or to vest a new right in the United States.

    A case, somewhat to the converse of this, was that of Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 603, which was an action against the collector at Philadelphia, to recover back duties upon merchandise imported from Tampico, in Mexico, during a temporary military occupation of that place by the United States. It was held that, although Tampico was within the military occupation of the United States, it had not ceased to be a foreign country, in the sense in which these words are used in the acts of Congress. In delivering the opinion of the court, Mr. Chief Justice Taney observed: "The United States, it is true, may extend its boundaries by conquest or treaty, and may demand the cession of territory as the condition of peace, in order to indemnify its citizens for the injuries they have suffered, or to reimburse the government for the expenses of the war. But this can be done only by the treaty-making power or the legislative authority, and is not a part of the power conferred upon the President by the declaration of war. . . . While it was occupied by our troops, they were in an enemy's country, and not in their own; the inhabitants were still foreigners and enemies, and owed to the United States nothing more than a submission and obedience, sometimes called temporary allegiance, which is due from a conquered enemy, when he surrenders to a force which he is unable to resist."

    This was clearly a sufficient reason for disposing of the case adversely to the importer, but the learned Chief Justice proceeded to put the case upon another ground, that "there was no act of Congress establishing a custom house at Tampico, nor authorizing the appointment of a collector; and consequently there was no officer of the United States authorized by law to grant the clearance and authenticate the coasting manifest of the cargo in the manner directed by law, where the voyage is from one port of the United States to another;" that the only *183 collector was one appointed by the military commander, and that a coasting manifest granted by him could not be recognized in the United States as the document required by law, when the vessel is engaged in the coasting trade, nor exempt the cargo from the payment of duties. He states that this construction of the tariff laws had been uniformly given by the administrative department of the Government, and cited the case of Florida, after it had been ceded to the United States and the military forces had taken possession of Pensacola: "That is, that, although Florida had, by cession, actually become a part of the United States, and was in our possession, yet, under our revenue laws, its ports must be regarded as foreign until they were established as domestic, by acts of Congress. And it appears that this decision was sanctioned at the time by the Attorney General of the United States, the law officer of the Government. And, although not so directly applicable to the case before us, yet the decisions of the Treasury Department in relation to Amelia Island, and certain ports in Louisiana, after that province had been ceded to the United States, were both made upon the same grounds. And in the later case, after a custom house had been established by law, (2 Stat. 418,) at New Orleans, the collector at that place was instructed to regard as foreign ports Baton Rouge and other settlements still in the possession of Spain, whether on the Mississippi, Iberville, or the seacoast. The department, in no instance that we are aware of, since the establishment of the Government, has ever recognized a place in a newly acquired country as a domestic port, from which the coasting trade might be carried on, unless it had been previously made so by act of Congress."

    While we see no reason to doubt the conclusion of the court that the port of Tampico was still a foreign port, it is not perceived why the fact that there was no act of Congress establishing a custom house there or authorizing the appointment of a collector, should have prevented the collector appointed by the military commander from granting the usual documents required to be issued to a vessel engaged in the coasting trade. A collector, though appointed by a military commander, may be presumed to have the ordinary power of a collector under an *184 act of Congress, with authority to grant clearances to ports within the United States, though, of course, he would have no power to make a domestic port of what was in reality a foreign port.

    It is not intended to intimate that the cases of United States v. Rice and Fleming v. Page are not harmonious. In fact, they are perfectly consistent with each other. In the first case it was merely held that duties could not be collected upon goods brought into a domestic port during a temporary occupation by the enemy, though the enemy subsequently evacuated it; in the latter case, that the temporary military occupation by the United States of a foreign port did not make it a domestic port, and that goods imported into the United States from that port were still subject to duty. It would have been obviously unjust in the Rice case to impose a duty upon goods which might already have paid a duty to the British commander. It would have been equally unjust in the Fleming case to exempt the goods from duty by reason of our temporary occupation of the port without a formal cession of such port to the United States.

    The next case is that of Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164. This was an action of assumpsit to recover back moneys paid to Harrison while acting as collector at the port of San Francisco for tonnage and duties upon merchandise imported from foreign countries into California between February 2, 1848, — the date of the treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico — and November 13, 1849, when the collector appointed by the President (according to an act of Congress passed March 3, 1849,) entered upon his duties. Plaintiffs insisted that, until such collector had been appointed, California was and continued to be after the date of the treaty a foreign territory, and hence that no duties were payable as upon an importation into the United States. The plaintiffs proceeded upon the theory, stated in the dictum in Fleming v. Page, that duties had never been held to accrue to the United States in her newly acquired territories until provision was made by act of Congress for their collection, and that the revenue laws had always been held to speak only as to the United States and its territories existing at the time when the several acts were passed. The collector had *185 been appointed by the military governor of California, and duties were assessed, after the treaty, according to the United States tariff act of 1846. In holding that these duties were properly assessed, Mr. Justice Wayne cited with apparent approval a despatch written by Mr. Buchanan, then Secretary of State, and a circular letter issued by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Robert J. Walker, holding that from the necessities of the case the military government established in California did not cease to exist with the treaty of peace, but continued as a government de facto until Congress should provide a territorial government. "The great law of necessity," says Mr. Buchanan, "justifies this conclusion. The consent of the people is irresistibly inferred from the fact that no civilized community could possibly desire to abrogate an existing government, when the alternative presented would be to place themselves in a state of anarchy, beyond the protection of all laws, and reduce them to the unhappy necessity of submitting to the dominion of the strongest." These letters will be alluded to hereafter in treating of the action of the executive departments.

    The court further held in this case that "after the ratification of the treaty, California became a part of the United States, or a ceded, conquered, territory;" that, "as there is nothing differently stipulated in the treaty with respect to commerce, it became instantly bound and privileged by the laws which Congress had passed to raise a revenue from duties on imports and tonnage;" that (p. 193) "the territory had been ceded as a conquest, and was to be preserved and governed as such until the sovereignty to which it had passed had legislated for it. That sovereignty was the United States, under the Constitution, by which power had been given to Congress to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States. . . . That the civil government of California, organized as it was from a right of conquest, did not cease or become defunct in consequence of the signature of the treaty, or from its ratification, . . . and that until Congress legislated for it, the duty upon foreign goods imported into San Francisco were legally demanded and lawfully received by Mr. Harrison."

    *186 To the objection that no collection districts had been established in California, and in apparent dissent from the views of the Chief Justice in Fleming v. Page, he added (p. 196): "It was urged that our revenue laws covered only so much of the territory of the United States as had been divided into collection districts, and that out of them no authority had been given to prevent the landing of foreign goods or to charge duties upon them, though such landing had been made within the territorial limits of the United States. To this it may be successfully replied, that collection districts and ports of entry are no more than designated localities within and at which Congress had extended a liberty of commerce in the United States, and that so much of its territory as was not within any collection district must be considered as having been withheld from that liberty. It is very well understood to be a part of the law of nations that each nation may designate, upon its own terms, the ports and places within its territory for foreign commerce, and that any attempt to introduce foreign goods elsewhere, within its jurisdiction, is a violation of its sovereignty. It is not necessary that such should be declared in terms, or by any decree or enactment, the expressed allowance being the limit of the liberty given to foreigners to trade with such nation."

    The court also cited the cases of Louisiana and Florida, and seemed to take an entirely different view of the facts connected with the admission of those territories from what had been taken in Fleming v. Page. The opinion, which is quite a long one, establishes the three following propositions: (1) That under the war power the military governor of California was authorized to prescribe a scale of duties upon importations from foreign countries to San Francisco, and to collect the same through a collector appointed by himself, until the ratification of the treaty of peace. (2) That after such ratification duties were legally exacted under the tariff laws of the United States, which took effect immediately. (3) That the civil government established in California continued from the necessities of the case until Congress provided a territorial government.

    It will be seen that the three propositions involve a recognition of the fact that California became domestic territory immediately *187 upon the ratification of the treaty, or, to speak more accurately, as soon as this was officially known in California. The doctrine that a port ceded to and occupied by us does not lose its foreign character until Congress has acted, and a collector is appointed, was distinctly repudiated with the apparent acquiescence of Chief Justice Taney, who wrote the opinion in Fleming v. Page, and still remained the Chief Justice of the court. The opinion does not involve directly the question at issue in this case: whether goods carried from a port in a ceded territory directly to New York are subject to duties, since the duties in Cross v. Harrison were exacted upon foreign goods imported into San Francisco as an American port; but it is impossible to escape the logical inference from that case that goods carried from San Francisco to New York after the ratification of the treaty would not be considered as imported from a foreign country.

    The practice and rulings of the executive departments with respect to the status of newly acquired territories, prior to such status being settled by acts of Congress, is, with a single exception, strictly in line with the decision of this court in Cross v. Harrison, supra. The only possessions in connection with which the question has arisen are Louisiana, Florida, Texas, California and Alaska. We take these up in their order.

    LOUISIANA: By treaty between France and Spain, October 1, 1800, 8 Stat. 202, His Catholic Majesty promised to cede to the French Republic the colony or province of Louisiana; and by treaty between the United States and the French Republic of April 30, 1803, France ceded to the United States, "forever and in full sovereignty, the said territory with all its rights and appurtenances," with a provision, (Art. 3,) "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." This treaty was ratified October 21, 1803. Possession of the territory was not delivered by Spain to France until November 30, 1803, and by France to the United States, December 20, 1803. In the meantime, and on October 31, 1803, Congress authorized the President to take possession of the territory, and to administer it *188 until Congress had further acted upon the subject. 2 Stat. 245. On February 24, 1804, Congress passed another act, 2 Stat. 251, taking Louisiana within the Customs Union, and repealing certain special laws laying duties upon goods imported from that territory into the United States. This act was to take effect March 25, 1804. We are then concerned only with the interval between December 20, 1803, when possession was delivered to the United States, and March 25, 1804, when the act of February 24 took effect.

    In a letter to President Jefferson of July 9, 1803, Mr. Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, expressed the opinion that all the duties on exports, now payable at New Orleans by Spanish laws, should cease, and all articles the growth of Louisiana, which, when imported into the United States, now pay duty, should continue to pay the same, or at least such rates as would on the whole not affect the revenue. Writings of Gallatin, vol. 1, p. 127.

    The instructions of the Treasury Department with respect to this interval are contained in a letter by Mr. Gallatin to Governor Claiborne, who was about to start for his post as governor of the new province, under date of October 3, 1803, in which he says: "It is understood that the existing duties on imports and exports, which by the Spanish law are now levied within the province, will continue until Congress shall have otherwise provided." On November 14, 1803, Mr. Gallatin issued an order directed to Mr. Trist, who had been designated as collector of the port of New Orleans, as follows: "You will also be pleased to observe, first, that the taxes and the duties to be collected under your direction are precisely the same which by the existing laws and regulations of Louisiana were demandable under the Spanish government at the time of taking possession. . . . 10. That until otherwise provided for, the same duties are to be collected on the importation of goods in the Mississippi district, from New Orleans and vice versa, as heretofore."

    On February 28, 1804, Mr. Gallatin issued a circular letter notifying the collectors of the passage of the act of February 24, and that the same would go into effect March 25, and "that by the third section of said act so much of any law or laws imposing *189 duties on the importations into the United States of goods, wares and merchandise from New Orleans, which is the only port of entry in said territories, has been repealed."

    These instructions undoubtedly show that Mr. Gallatin treated New Orleans as a foreign port until Congress, by the act of February 24, 1804, admitted it within the Customs Union, and, so far, is an authority in favor of the position taken by the collector in this case. But it should be borne in mind in this connection, that his instructions to collect duties levied by the Spanish law upon foreign importations into New Orleans, is manifestly inconsistent with the position subsequently taken by this court in Cross v. Harrison, supra, wherein it is said (p. 189) of the action of Mr. Harrison in California: "That war tariff, however, was abandoned as soon as the military governor had received from Washington information of the exchange and ratification of the treaty with Mexico, and duties were afterwards levied in conformity with such as Congress had imposed upon foreign merchandise imported into other ports of the United States, Upper California having been ceded by the treaty to the United States." After saying that this action had been recognized by the President, Mr. Justice Wayne adds: "We think it was a rightful and correct recognition under all the circumstances, and when we say rightful we mean that it was constitutional, although Congress had not passed an act to extend the collection of tonnage and import duties to the ports of California." Indeed, it is quite evident from this case that the court took an entirely different view of the relations of California to the Union from that which had been taken by Mr. Gallatin as to Louisiana in his instructions to the collector of New Orleans.

    FLORIDA: Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States by treaty signed February 22, 1819, but not ratified until October 29, 1820. 8 Stat. 252. By act of March 3, 1821, 3 Stat. 637, Congress authorized the President to take possession of the Floridas and extend thereto the revenue laws of the United States. Possession of East Florida was not delivered until July 10, 1821; nor of West Florida until July 17. It is true that certain ports of Florida were in the military occupation of the United States prior to the actual delivery of possession by *190 Spain, but the cession did not take effect until there had been a voluntary and complete delivery under the treaty. As the act extending the revenue laws to the Floridas was passed before the surrender of the province to the United States, there was no interval of time upon which the Treasury Department could act, the provinces, immediately upon the surrender, becoming subject to the act of March 3, 1821.

    An opinion of Mr. Wirt, then Attorney General, of August 20, 1821, in the case of The Olive Branch, 1 Ops. Atty. Gen. 314, 483, is instructive in this connection as illustrating the views of the administration. After stating that possession of East Florida was not delivered until July 17, (a mistake for July 10,) he held that the cargo of the Olive Branch, which had cleared from the port of St. Augustine, July 14, was imported into Philadelphia from a foreign port or place, and consequently subject to duty, because possession had not been delivered, citing the case of The Fama, 5 Ch. Rob. 97, and adding: "On the other hand, I apprehend that goods imported into a port of Florida before the delivery, remaining in port on shipboard until after the delivery, and then brought into the United States in the same vessel, or by transshipment into others, having never been entered in the Spanish customs houses, nor landed, nor the duties thereon paid or secured, but having continued all the while water-borne, would be subject to our revenue laws. . . . Our laws impose duties only on goods imported into the United States from some foreign port or place. If, therefore, in the case put, the importation be, in contemplation of law, an importation from the Floridas, the case is not within our laws; because at the time of the importation the Floridas were not foreign ports or places." The learned Attorney General evidently took the view that the Floridas ceased to be a foreign country upon a delivery of possession under the treaty. In a subsequent letter of January 24, 1823, 5 Ops. Atty. Gen. 748, Mr. Wirt admits that he had been misled by the newspapers in the belief that East Florida had been surrendered prior to July 14, on which day the Olive Branch left St. Augustine, and recommended that the case be sent to the President, as it seemed to involve a dispute with Great Britain.

    *191 TEXAS: On March 1, 1845, Congress adopted a joint resolution consenting to the annexation of Texas upon certain conditions, 5 Stat. 797, but it was not until December 25, 1845, that it was formally admitted as a State. 9 Stat. 108. In this interval, and on July 29, 1845, the Secretary of the Treasury issued a circular letter directing the collectors to collect duties upon all imports from Texas into the United States until Congress had further acted. Of course, there could be no question that Texas remained a foreign state until December 25, when she was formally admitted. The circular, therefore, is of no pertinence to the question here involved.

    CALIFORNIA: California was ceded by Mexico to the United States by treaty signed February 2, 1848, ratifications of which were exchanged May 30, 1848, and proclamation made July 4. 9 Stat. 922. On March 3, 1849, an act was passed, 9 Stat. 400, including San Francisco within one of the collection districts, and on November 13 the collector appointed by the President entered upon his duties. California had been in our military possession since August, 1847. There was therefore an interval of one year and nine months between the date of the treaty, February 3, 1848, and November 13, 1849, when the collector entered upon his duties.

    On October 7, 1848, Mr. Buchanan, then Secretary of State, addressed a letter to Mr. Vorhies, already referred to, in which he states that, although the military government ceased to exist with the conclusion of the treaty of peace, it would continue with the presumed consent of the people until Congress should provide for them a territorial government, and then adds: "This government de facto will, of course, exercise no power inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme law of the land. For this reason no import duties can be levied in California on articles of growth, produce or manufacture of the United States, as no such duties can be imposed in any other port of our Union on the productions of California. Nor can new duties be charged in California upon such foreign productions as have already paid duties in any of our ports of entry, for the obvious reason that California is within the territory of the United *192 States. I shall not enlarge upon this subject, however, as the Secretary of the Treasury will perform that duty." Ex. Docs. 2d Sess. 30th Cong. vol. 1, p. 47.

    Mr. Walker, then Secretary of the Treasury, did perform that duty in a circular letter of the same date to the collectors, in which he instructed the collectors as follows: "First, All articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of California, shipped therefrom at any time since the 30th day of May last," (the date when the ratifications were exchanged), "are entitled to admission free of duty into all the ports of the United States; and, second, all articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of the United States are entitled to admission free of duty into California, as are also all foreign goods which are exempt from duty by the laws of Congress, or on which goods the duties prescribed by those laws have been paid to any collector of the United States previous to their introduction into California." Ibid. p. 45. He adds that foreign goods imported into California, not paying duties there, will be subject to duty if shipped thence to any port or place in the United States. In a letter from Mr. Marcy, Secretary of War, to Colonel Mason, the military commander, of October 9, 1848, he uses the same language.

    These letters are cited with approval by this court in Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 184, and although the question there related only to duties on goods imported from foreign countries, the tenor of the opinion, as already stated, is a virtual indorsement of the position taken by the executive departments. It is evident that the administration took an entirely different view of the law from what had been taken by Mr. Gallatin in his instructions regarding Louisiana, and established a practice which has never since been departed from, of treating territory ceded to the United States and occupied by its troops as being domestic and not foreign territory.

    This correspondence with reference to California took place in 1848. The decision in Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 603, was pronounced in 1850, yet as appears from the list of documents submitted by Mr. Johnson upon the argument of that case, (p. 611,) the attention of the court was not called to these instructions, though other letters and circulars were introduced *193 bearing date of 1846 and 1847, as well as the treaty of peace of February 2, 1848. Had the correspondence above cited been laid before the court it is incredible that the Chief Justice should have said "that the department in no instance that we are aware of, since the establishment of the government, has ever recognized a place in a newly acquired country as a domestic port, from which the coasting trade might be carried on, unless it had been previously made so by act of Congress."

    ALASKA: This territory was ceded to us by Russia by treaty ratified June 20, 1867, 15 Stat. 539, and possession was delivered to us at the same time. No act of Congress extending the revenue laws to Alaska and erecting a collection district was passed until July 27, 1868. 15 Stat. 240, c. 273. A period of thirteen months then elapsed before Alaska was formally recognized by Congress as within the Customs Union, yet during that period goods from Alaska were, under a decision of the Secretary of the Treasury, admitted free of duty. By letter of Mr. McCullough, then Secretary of the Treasury, to the collector of the port of New York, dated April 6, 1868, he acknowledges receipt of a request from the Russian Minister for the free entry of certain oil shipped from Sitka to San Francisco and reshipped to New York. He states: "The request for the free entry of said oil was made on the ground that the oil was shipped from Sitka after the ratification of the treaty, by which the territory of Alaska became the property of the United States. The treaty in question was ratified on the 20th of June, 1867, and the collector at San Francisco has reported that the manifest of the vessel shows the oil to have been shipped from Alaska on the 6th day of July, 1867, and that the shipment consisted of fifty-two packages. Under these circumstances you are hereby authorized to admit the said fifty-two packages of oil free of duty."

    This position was indorsed by the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, in a letter dated January 30, 1869, in which he said: "I understand the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Harrison v. Cross, 16 How. 164, to declare its opinion that, upon the addition to the United States of new territory by conquest and cession, the acts regulating foreign commerce attach *194 to and take effect within such territory ipso facto, and without any fresh act of legislation expressly giving such extension to the preexisting laws. I can see no reason for a discrimination in this effect between acts regulating foreign commerce and the laws regulating intercourse with the Indian tribes."

    As showing the construction put upon this question by the legislative department, we need only to add that sec. 2 of the Foraker act makes a distinction between foreign countries and Porto Rico, by enacting that the same duties shall be paid upon "all articles imported into Porto Rico from ports other than those of the United States, which are required by law to be collected upon articles imported into the United States from foreign countries."

    From this resume of the decisions of this court, the instructions of the executive departments, and the above act of Congress, it is evident that, from 1803, the date of Mr. Gallatin's letter, to the present time, there is not a shred of authority, except the dictum in Fleming v. Page, (practically overruled in Cross v. Harrison,) for holding that a district ceded to and in the possession of the United States remains for any purpose a foreign country. Both these conditions must exist to produce a change of nationality for revenue purposes. Possession is not alone sufficient, as was held in Fleming v. Page; nor is a treaty ceding such territory sufficient without a surrender of possession. Keene v. McDonough, 8 Pet. 308; Pollard's Heirs v. Kibbe, 14 Pet. 353, 406; Hallett v. Hunt, 7 Ala. 882, 899; The Fama, 5 Ch. Rob. 97. The practice of the executive departments, thus continued for more than half a century, is entitled to great weight, and should not be disregarded nor overturned except for cogent reasons, and unless it be clear that such construction be erroneous. United States v. Johnston, 124 U.S. 236, and other cases cited.

    But were this presented as an original question we should be impelled irresistibly to the same conclusion.

    By Article II, section 2, of the Constitution, the President is given power, "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided that two-thirds of the senators present concur;" and by Art. VI, "this Constitution and the laws *195 of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land." It will be observed that no distinction is made as to the question of supremacy between laws and treaties, except that both are controlled by the Constitution. A law requires the assent of both houses of Congress, and, except in certain specified cases, the signature of the President. A treaty is negotiated and made by the President, with the concurrence of two thirds of the Senators present, but each of them is the supreme law of the land.

    As was said by Chief Justice Marshall in The Peggy, 1 Cranch, 103, 110: "Where a treaty is the law of the land, and as such affects the rights of parties litigating in court, that treaty as much binds those rights, and is as much to be regarded by the court as an act of Congress." And in Foster v. Neilson, 2 Pet. 253, 314, he repeated this in substance: "Our Constitution declares a treaty to be the law of the land. It is, consequently, to be regarded in courts of justice as equivalent to an act of the legislature, whenever it operates of itself without the aid of any legislative provision." So in Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190: "By the Constitution a treaty is placed on the same footing, and made of like obligation, with an act of legislation. Both are declared by that instrument to be the supreme law of the land, and no superior efficacy is given to either over the other. When the two relate to the same subject, the courts will always endeavor to construe them so as to give effect to both, if that can be done without violating the language of either; but if the two are inconsistent, the one last in date will control the other, provided always that the stipulation of the treaty on the subject is self-executing." To the same effect are the Cherokee Tobacco, 11 Wall. 616, and the Head Money Cases, 112 U.S. 580.

    One of the ordinary incidents of a treaty is the cession of territory. It is not too much to say it is the rule, rather than the exception, that a treaty of peace, following upon a war, provides for a cession of territory to the victorious party. It was said by Chief Justice Marshall in American Ins. Co. v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511, 542: "The Constitution confers absolutely upon the Government *196 of the Union the powers of making war and of making treaties; consequently that Government possesses the power of acquiring territory, either by conquest or by treaty." The territory thus acquired is acquired as absolutely as if the annexation were made, as in the case of Texas and Hawaii, by an act of Congress.

    It follows from this that by the ratification of the treaty of Paris the island became territory of the United States — although not an organized territory in the technical sense of the word.

    It is true Mr. Chief Justice Taney held in Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, that the territorial clause of the Constitution was confined, and intended to be confined, to the territory which at that time belonged to or was claimed by the United States, and was within their boundaries, as settled by the treaty with Great Britain; and was not intended to apply to territory subsequently acquired. He seemed to differ in this construction from Chief Justice Marshall in the American &c. Ins. Co. v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511, 542, who, in speaking of Florida before it became a State, remarked that it continued to be a Territory of the United States, governed by the territorial clause of the Constitution.

    But whatever be the source of this power, its uninterrupted exercise by Congress for a century, and the repeated declarations of this court, have settled the law that the right to acquire territory involves the right to govern and dispose of it. That was stated by Chief Justice Taney in the Dred Scott case. In the more recent case of National Bank v. County of Yankton, 101 U.S. 129, it was said by Mr. Chief Justice Waite that Congress "has full and complete legislative authority over the people of the Territories and all the departments of the territorial governments. It may do for the Territories what the people, under the Constitution of the United States, may do for the States." Indeed, it is scarcely too much to say that there has not been a session of Congress since the Territory of Louisiana was purchased, that that body has not enacted legislation based upon the assumed authority to govern and control the Territories. It is an authority which arises, not necessarily from the territorial clause of the Constitution, but from the necessities of the case, and from the inability of the States to act upon the *197 subject. Under this power Congress may deal with territory acquired by treaty; may administer its government as it does that of the District of Columbia; it may organize a local territorial government; it may admit it as a State upon an equality with other States; it may sell its public lands to individual citizens or may donate them as homesteads to actual settlers. In short, when once acquired by treaty, it belongs to the United States, and is subject to the disposition of Congress.

    Territory thus acquired can remain a foreign country under the tariff laws only upon one of two theories: either that the word "foreign" applies to such countries as were foreign at the time the statute was enacted, notwithstanding any subsequent change in their condition, or that they remain foreign under the tariff laws until Congress has formally embraced them within the customs union of the States. The first theory is obviously untenable. While a statute is presumed to speak from the time of its enactment, it embraces all such persons or things as subsequently fall within its scope, and ceases to apply to such as thereafter fall without its scope. Thus, a statute forbidding the sale of liquors to minors applies not only to minors in existence at the time the statute was enacted, but to all who are subsequently born; and ceases to apply to such as thereafter reach their majority. So, when the Constitution of the United States declares in Art. I, sec. 10, that the States shall not do certain things, this declaration operates not only upon the thirteen original States, but upon all who subsequently become such; and when Congress places certain restrictions upon the powers of a territorial legislature, such restrictions cease to operate the moment such Territory is admitted as a State. By parity of reasoning a country ceases to be foreign the instant it becomes domestic. So, too, if Congress saw fit to cede one of its newly acquired territories (even assuming that it had the right to do so) to a foreign power, there could be no doubt that from the day of such cession and the delivery of possession, such territory would become a foreign country, and be reinstated as such under the tariff laws. Certainly no act of Congress would be necessary in such case to declare that the laws of the United States had ceased to apply to it.

    *198 The theory that a country remains foreign with respect to the tariff laws until Congress has acted by embracing it within the Customs Union, presupposes that a country may be domestic for one purpose and foreign for another. It may undoubtedly become necessary for the adequate administration of a domestic territory to pass a special act providing the proper machinery and officers, as the President would have no authority, except under the war power, to administer it himself; but no act is necessary to make it domestic territory if once it has been ceded to the United States. We express no opinion as to whether Congress is bound to appropriate the money to pay for it. This has been much discussed by writers upon constitutional law, but it is not necessary to consider it in this case, as Congress made prompt appropriation of the money stipulated in the treaty. This theory also presupposes that territory may be held indefinitely by the United States; that it may be treated in every particular, except for tariff purposes, as domestic territory; that laws may be enacted and enforced by officers of the United States sent there for that purpose; that insurrections may be suppressed, wars carried on, revenues collected, taxes imposed; in short, that everything may be done which a government can do within its own boundaries, and yet that the territory may still remain a foreign country. That this state of things may continue for years, for a century even, but that until Congress enacts otherwise, it still remains a foreign country. To hold that this can be done as matter of law we deem to be pure judicial legislation. We find no warrant for it in the Constitution or in the powers conferred upon this court. It is true the nonaction of Congress may occasion a temporary inconvenience; but it does not follow that courts of justice are authorized to remedy it by inverting the ordinary meaning of words.

    If an act of Congress be necessary to convert a foreign country into domestic territory, the question at once suggests itself, what is the character of the legislation demanded for this purpose? Will an act appropriating money for its purchase be sufficient? Apparently not. Will an act appropriating the duties collected upon imports to and from such country for the benefit of its government be sufficient? Apparently not. Will *199 acts making appropriations for its postal service, for the establishment of lighthouses, for the maintenance of quarantine stations, for erecting public buildings, have that effect? Will an act establishing a complete local government, but with the reservation of a right to collect duties upon commerce, be adequate for that purpose? None of these, nor all together, will be sufficient, if the contention of the Government be sound, since acts embracing all these provisions have been passed in connection with Porto Rico, and it is insisted that it is still a foreign country within the meaning of the tariff laws. We are unable to acquiesce in this assumption that a territory may be at the same time both foreign and domestic.

    A single further point remains to be considered: It is insisted that an act of Congress, passed March 24, 1900, c. 339, 31 Stat. 151, applying for the benefit of Porto Rico the amount of the customs revenue received on importations by the United States from Porto Rico since the evacuation of Porto Rico by the Spanish forces, October 18, 1898, to January 1, 1900, together with any further customs revenues collected on importations from Porto Rico since January 1, 1900, or that shall hereafter be collected under existing law, is a recognition by Congress of the right to collect such duties as upon importations from a foreign country, and a recognition of the fact that Porto Rico continued to be a foreign country until Congress embraced it within the Customs Union. It may be seriously questioned whether this is anything more than a recognition of the fact that there were moneys in the Treasury not subject to existing appropriation laws. Perhaps we may go farther and say that, so far as these duties were paid voluntarily and without protest, the legality of the payment was intended to be recognized; but it can clearly have no retroactive effect as to moneys theretofore paid under protest, for which an action to recover back had already been brought. As the action in this case was brought March 13, 1900, eleven days before the act was passed, the right to recover the money sued for could not be taken away by a subsequent act of Congress. Plaintiffs sue in assumpsit for money which the collector has in his hands, justly and equitably belonging to them. To say that Congress could by a subsequent *200 act deprive them of the right to prosecute this action, would be beyond its power. In any event, it should not be interpreted so as to make it retroactive. Kennett's Petition, 24 N.H. 139; Alter's Appeal, 67 Penn. St. 341; Norman v. Heist, 5 W. & S. 171; Donavan v. Pitcher, 53 Ala. 411; Palairet's Appeal, 67 Penn. St. 479; State v. Warren, 28 Maryland, 338.

    We are therefore of opinion that at the time these duties were levied Porto Rico was not a foreign country within the meaning of the tariff laws but a territory of the United States, that the duties were illegally exacted and that the plaintiffs are entitled to recover them back.

    The judgment of the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York is therefore reversed and the case remanded to that court for further proceedings in consonance with this opinion.

    MR. JUSTICE McKENNA, (with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS and MR. JUSTICE WHITE,) dissenting.

    MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS, MR. JUSTICE WHITE and myself are unable to concur in the conclusion of the court, and the importance of the case justifies an expression of the grounds of our dissent.

    Settle whether Porto Rico is "foreign country" or "domestic territory," to use the antithesis of the opinion of the court, and, it is said, you settle the controversy in this litigation. But in what sense, foreign or domestic? Abstractly and unqualifiedly — to the full extent that those words imply — or limitedly, in the sense that the word foreign is used in the customs laws of the United States? If abstractly, the case turns upon a definition, and the issue becomes single and simple, presenting no difficulty, and yet the arguments at bar have ranged over all the powers of government, and this court divides in opinion. If at the time the duties, which are complained of, were levied, Porto Rico was as much a foreign country as it was before the war with Spain; if it was as much domestic territory as New York now is, there would be no serious controversy in the case. If the former, the terms and the intention of the Dingley act would apply. If the latter, whatever its words or *201 intention, it could not be applied. Between these extremes there are other relations, and that Porto Rico occupied one of them and its products hence were subject to duties under the Dingley Tariff act can be demonstrated. Indeed, we have the authority of a member of the majority of the court, and the organ of the court's opinion in this case, that even if Porto Rico were domestic territory, its products could be legally subjected to tariff duties. This principle is expressed by him in Downes v. Bidwell. The other members of the court, though agreeing with him in the case at bar, do not agree with him in Downes v. Bidwell. They assert that Porto Rico, being a territory of the United States, tariff duties on its products are inhibited by the Constitution of the United States. Their judgment and his only unite in the case at bar, and, we may assume, that the reasoning of the opinion just announced is the road which has brought them together, and, assuming further, that such reasoning is the best judicial support of the conclusion it is presented to establish, we address ourselves to the consideration of that reasoning.

    (1) The statement of the opinion is that whether the cargoes of sugar were subject to duty depends solely upon the question whether Porto Rico was a foreign country at the time they were shipped, and a foreign country is defined to be, following Chief Justice Marshall, "`one exclusively within the sovereignty of a foreign nation' and without the sovereignty of the United States." This makes sovereignty the test and gives a rule as sure and exact in its application as it is clear and simple in its expression. There is no difficulty in applying it. Difficulty comes with attempts to limit it. The difference between our country and one not ours would seem to be of substance, not needing words to explain the difference, but defying words to confound it, and having the consequence of carrying, not only one law, but all laws. The court does not go so far, and why? Is there weakness in the logic or do its consequences repel? The argument of the court certainly proceeds as if the test is universal — illustrations are used to make it unmistakable.

    Under the effect of the treaty of cession and our government of Porto Rico, it is said, if the question was broadly presented *202 whether it was "a foreign country or domestic territory," there would be as little hesitation in answering the question "as there would be in determining the ownership of a house deeded in fee simple to a purchaser, after he had gone into possession, paid taxes and made improvements, without let or hindrance, from his vendor." And we would have as little hesitation in applying all of the consequences and concomitants of ownership. But we do not care to join issue on an illustration, although it may suggest wrong principles. We submit that the administration of a government has more complexity — must consider more things — than the management of a piece of real estate. But even the conveyance of real estate may be conditional, all of the incidents of ownership not immediately applying. However, we need not dwell on insufficient analogies. There are better ones. The history of our country has examples of the acquisition of foreign territory — examples of what relation such territory bears to the United States — authorities, executive, legislative and judicial, as to what was wise in statesmanship, as well as what was legal and constitutional, in withholding or extending, our laws to such territory; and finding these examples and authorities in the way the opinion of the court attempts to answer or distinguish or overrule them.

    United States v. Rice, 4 Wheat. 246, is reviewed. In that case, Castine, a port of the United States, was in temporary occupation by the British during the war of 1812, and it was declared to be a foreign country within the meaning of our customs laws; as much, the court said by Mr. Justice Story, as if "Castine had been a foreign territory ceded by treaty to the United States, and the goods had been previously imported there." In other words, not a cession to another country, but the accidental occupation by the armed forces of another country made a port in the State of Maine foreign territory. The conclusion had the sanction of great names and the authority of this court. Temporary sovereignty, not permanent dominion, was seemingly made the test.

    Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 603, is also reviewed. The case involved the legality of duties levied in Philadelphia upon goods imported from Tampico. Tampico was a port of Mexico, temporarily *203 occupied by the United States forces — the exact condition which, in the Rice case, made a port in one of the States of our Union English territory. Tampico was nevertheless held to be a foreign country within the meaning of our revenue laws. In other words, the military occupation and the sovereignty which attended it, which determined in the Rice case, was rejected in the Fleming case. There is apparent antagonism between the cases, and the court in the case at bar observe it. And strangely enough, that which is "somewhat of the converse" (to quote the court in the case at bar) of the Rice case is held sufficient for the judgment in the Fleming case, and other grounds of decision are declared to be dicta.

    An attempt is made, however, to reconcile the cases, and we think they can be reconciled, but not upon the grounds stated by the court in the opinion in the case at bar. Harmony cannot be established between them by that which in the Fleming case is the converse of the Rice case, and by rejecting as dicta all other grounds as unnecessary to the judgment in the Fleming case. However, we will proceed to the consideration of the latter case.

    Delivering the opinion of the court, Chief Justice Taney substantially said that the boundaries of our country could not be enlarged or diminished by the advance or retreat of armies, and based his opinion besides and the judgment of the case on the absence of an act of Congress establishing a custom house at Tampico, and authorizing the appointment of a collector, "and, consequently, there was no officer of the United States authorized by law to grant the clearance and authenticate the coasting manifest of the cargo, in the manner directed by law, where the voyage is from one port of the United States to another," and the necessity of a legal permit and coasting manifest was expressly asserted. He further said:

    "This construction of the revenue laws has been uniformly given by the administrative department of the government in every case that has come before it. And it has, indeed, been given in cases where there appears to have been stronger ground for regarding the place of shipment as a domestic port. For after Florida had been ceded to the United States, and the forces *204 of the United States had taken possession of Pensacola, it was decided by the Treasury Department that goods imported from Pensacola before an act of Congress was passed erecting it into a collection district, and authorizing the appointment of a collector, were liable to duty. That is that although Florida had, by cession, actually become a part of the United States, and was in our possession, yet, under our revenue laws, its ports must be regarded as foreign until they were established as domestic, by act of Congress; and it appears that this decision was sanctioned at the time by the Attorney General of the United States, the law officer of the government. And although not so directly applicable to the case before us, yet the decisions of the Treasury Department in relation to Amelia Island, and certain ports in Louisiana, after that province had been ceded to the United States, were both made upon the same grounds. And in the latter case, after a custom house had been established by law at New Orleans, the collector at that place was instructed to regard as foreign ports Baton Rouge and other settlements still in the possession of Spain, whether on the Mississippi, Iberville, or the seacoast. The department in no instance that we are aware of since the establishment of the government, has ever recognized a place in a newly acquired country as a domestic port, from which the coasting trade might be carried on, unless it had been previously made so by act of Congress."

    The opinion in the case at bar disregards this reasoning and the conclusion from it, and says: "While we see no reason to doubt the conclusion of the court (in Fleming v. Page) that the port of Tampico was still a foreign port, it is not perceived why the fact that there was no act of Congress establishing a custom house there and authorizing the appointment of a collector should have prevented the collector appointed by the military commander from granting the usual documents required to be issued to the vessel engaged in the coasting trade." Such power, it was said, "a military commander may be presumed to have," but, "of course, he would have no power to make a domestic port of what was in reality a foreign port." But why did it remain a foreign port? Castine did not remain a domestic port. We, however, need not dwell any longer on this point *205 for, under the latest utterances of this court, the test of dominion breaks down. Cuba is under the dominion of the United States. We held in the Neely Case, 180 U.S. 109, that it is a foreign country.

    We think that Fleming v. Page is disposed of too summarily by the majority in the case at bar, and we have shown that it is not antagonistic to the Castine case. Both cases recognized inevitable conditions. At Castine the instrumentalities of the custom laws had been divested; at Tampico they had not been invested, and hence the language of the court: "The department, in no instance that we are aware of, since the establishment of the government, has ever recognized a place in a newly acquired country as a domestic port, from which the coasting trade might be carried on, unless it had been previously made so by act of Congress."

    We submit that the principle upon which Fleming v. Page was based is still a proper principle for judicial application. Does it not make government provident, not haphazard, ignoring circumstances and producing good or ill accidentally? Does it not leave to the executive and the legislative departments that which pertains to them? Did it not stand as a guide to the executive — a warrant of action, so far as action might affect private rights? Indeed, what is of greater concern — so far as action might affect great public interests? It should, we submit, be accepted as a precedent. It is wise in practice; considerate of what government must regard, and of the different functions of the executive, legislative and judicial departments and of their independence. Why should it then be discarded as dictum ? If constancy of judicial decision is necessary to regulate the relations and property rights of individuals, is not constancy of decision the more necessary when it may influence or has influenced the action of a nation? If the other departments of the government must look to the judicial for light, that light should burn steadily. It should not, like the exhalations of a marsh, shine to mislead.

    The case of Cross v. Harrison, 16 How. 164, is relied on especially. The curiosity of that case is that all parties cite it, and this court even finds it as convenient and as variously adaptive. *206 It therefore challenges the application of the wise maxim expressed by Chief Justice Marshall, "that general expressions in every opinion are to be taken in connection with the case in which those expressions are used." And certainly to ascertain the meaning of the court we must see what was before the court, and interpret its opinion by that, and, if there is confusion in its language, it may resolve itself into satisfactory meaning.

    It is cited to sustain the proposition that immediately upon the cession of territory it becomes a part of the United States, "instantly bound and privileged by the laws which Congress has passed to raise a revenue from duties on imports and tonnage." This is the strongest expression of the case. It is attempted to be made its controlling one — the point decided. It was neither the point decided nor was it the controlling expression. It was immediately accompanied by the qualification "as there is nothing differently stipulated in the treaty in respect to commerce." The effect of the qualification the opinion in the present case does not explicitly notice, and we shall attempt to show with what meaning the expression was used, and what was decided.

    The case involved the legality of duties on imports into California between the 3d of February, 1848, and the 13th of November, 1849. The time was divided by the plaintiffs in the case "into two portions," the court said, "to each of which they supposed that different rules of law attached;" and further, that "the claim covered various amounts of money which were paid at intervals between the 3d of February, 1848, and the 13th of November, 1849." The first of those dates was that of the treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico, and the latter when Mr. Collier, a person who had been regularly appointed collector at that port, entered upon the performance of the duties of his office. "During the whole of this period it was alleged by the plaintiffs that there existed no legal authority to receive or collect any duty whatever accruing upon goods imported from foreign countries."

    Meeting the contention and replying to it fully, the court held that the duties were legally levied and collected during the whole of the period — from the 3d of February, 1848, until some time *207 in the following fall under the war tariff instituted by Governor Mason; after that under the Walker tariff. In other words, before and after cession, under the war tariff. Speaking of that tariff, the court said: "They (duties) were paid until some time in the fall of 1848, at the rate of the war tariff, which had been established early in the year before, by the direction of the President of the United States." And speaking of the action of Governor Mason, and the law which sanctioned it, it was further said:

    "He may not have comprehended fully the principle applicable to what he might rightly do in such a case, but he felt rightly, and acted accordingly. He determined, in the absence of all instruction, to maintain the existing government. The territory had been ceded as a conquest, and was to be preserved and governed as such until the sovereignty to which it had passed had legislated for it. That sovereignty was the United States, under the Constitution, by which power had been given to Congress to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States, with the power also to admit new States into this Union, with only such limitations as are expressed in the section in which this power is given. The government, of which Colonel Mason was the executive, had its origin in the lawful exercise of a belligerent right over a conquered territory. It had been instituted during the war by the command of the President of the United States. It was the government when the territory was ceded as a conquest, and it did not cease, as a matter of course, or as a necessary consequence of the restoration of peace. The President might have dissolved it by withdrawing the army and navy officers who administered it, but he did not do so. Congress could have put an end to it, but that was not done. The right inference from the inaction of both is that it was meant to be continued until it had been legislatively changed. No presumption of a contrary intention can be made. Whatever may have been the causes of delay, it must be presumed that the delay was consistent with the true policy of the government. And the more so, as it was continued until the people of the territory met in *208 convention to form a state government, which was subsequently recognized by Congress under its power to admit new States into the Union."

    And further replying to the contention that there was neither treaty nor law permitting the collection of duties, "it having been shown that the ratification of the treaty made California a part of the United States, and that as soon as it became so the territory became subject to the acts which were in force to regulate foreign commerce with the United States, after those had ceased which had been instituted for its regulation as a belligerent right."

    An important inquiry is, when did the laws cease "which had been instituted for the regulation of the territory as a belligerent right," and how did they cease? The answer is instant — they ceased when the President withdrew them and because he withdrew them. The laws of Congress did not instantly apply upon the cession. There was an interval of time, during which they did not apply, and if there can be such interval, who is to judge of what duration it shall be? Who can but the political department of the government, and how impracticable any other ruling would be. It is not for the judiciary to question it. It involves circumstances which the judiciary can take no account of or estimate. It is essentially a political function.

    We have quoted largely from Cross v. Harrison because it is made the pivot of the opinion of the court in the present case, and we will recur to it again. But it should be said now that some of the expressions may be accounted for and understood by the state of precedent opinion.

    It is a matter of some surprise that the only explicit provision of the Constitution of the United States in regard to the territory not embraced within the jurisdiction of a State is expressed in the following provision: "The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States." What was meant by it, what its relation was to other provisions of the Constitution, was the subject of discussion. Gouveneur Morris, who wrote the provision, subsequently declared *209 that it was intended to confer power to govern acquisitions of territory as "provinces and allow them no voice in our councils." He admitted, however, that it was not expressed more pointedly in order to avert opposition. In his mind it certainly contemplated the government of after-acquired territory. In Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, however, the provision was declared to be confined, and was intended to be confined, to the territory which at that time belonged to the United States. "It was a special provision for a known and particular territory, and to meet a present emergency, and nothing more." This conclusion was claimed to be established by the history of the times, "as well as the careful terms in which the article is framed." We will not stop to reconcile this conflict between him who wrote the provision and the court who interpreted it. The conflict was but an incident in the evolution of opinion. And there were other conflicts, or rather diversities of view, caused or encouraged by the silence of the Constitution. That instrument contained no provision for acquiring new territory. The power was derived from the powers of making war and of making peace, and might be accomplished by conquest or by treaty. There was a question, however, of the effect of an acquisition. It is certain that Mr. Jefferson doubted the power of incorporating new territory into the Union without an amendment to the Constitution, and the debates in Congress exhibit the diverse views held by public men on the relation which such territory would bear to the United States, the application of the laws to and the power of Congress over the acquired territory under the Constitution. We shall not stop to quote the debates. That will be done in a subsequent case, and the conclusion which they demonstrate expressed. It is only necessary for us to observe that distinctions always existed between territory which might be acquired (whether by purchase or by conquest) and that which was within the acknowledged limits of the United States, and also that which might be acquired by the establishment of a disputed line. These distinctions were conspicuous in the opinion of Mr. Justice Johnson, at circuit, in the case of American Insurance Company v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511. In that case the relation of Florida to the United States *210 was necessary to be considered, and of that relation the learned Justice said:

    "It is obvious that there is a material distinction between the territory now under consideration and that which is acquired from the aborigines, (whether by purchase or conquest,) within the acknowledged limits of the United States, as also that which is acquired by the establishment of a disputed line. As to both these, there can be no question that the sovereignty of the State or territory within which it lies, and of the United States, immediately attach, producing a complete subjection to all the laws and institutions of the two governments, local and general, unless modified by treaty. The question now to be considered relates to territories previously subject to the acknowledged jurisdiction of another sovereign; such as was Florida to the crown of Spain. And on this subject we have the most explicit proof that the understanding of our public functionaries is, that the government and laws of the United States do not extend to such territory by the mere act of cession." The italics are ours.

    All the history and utterances of the past declare the same way.

    And how important those utterances and decisive of the present controversy! They were not the utterances of inattention and ignorance, and therefore to be discarded. They were the utterances of men whose actions illustrated them. They were the utterances of men (to borrow the thought of Benton) whose sacrifices made the Constitution possible, whose genius conceived and wrote it. Shall it be said that the farther time separates us from them the better we understand them — better than they understood themselves?

    American Insurance Co. v. Canter came to this court and was argued by Mr. Webster. We may quote what he said. His views were more than those of an advocate. He expressed them elsewhere when a different, if not higher, duty demanded reflection, consideration and sincerity. "What is Florida?" he asked. "It is no part of the United States. How can it be? How is it represented? Do the laws of the United States reach Florida? Not unless by particular provision." And, responding to the argument, the court decided through Chief Justice *211 Marshall that the judicial power of the United States, as declared by the Constitution, did not extend to Florida, and the title to one hundred and fifty-six bales of cotton was held to pass by a sale under the order of a court, which consisted of a notary and five jurors, established by an act of the governor and council of Florida.

    From the light of previous opinions the language of Mr. Justice Wayne, in Cross v. Harrison, receives explanation. The treaty with Mexico, following the war, defined the "boundaries of the United States," and made the reclaimed territory, which included California, a part of the United States. In other words, the acquisition (if it can be called such) of California was in recognition of boundaries, and hence the learned justice called it a part of the United States. But not uniformly. Mark this sentence: "But after the ratification of the treaty, California became a part of the United States or a ceded conquered territory." That his language marked a distinction there can be no doubt, but it was of no consequence to observe. The principle enforced did not need it. In either case the action of the president was the potent thing.

    2. The line of judicial precedents relied upon in the opinion of the court in the case at bar ends with Cross v. Harrison, and the practice and rulings of the executive departments of the government are considered. They are said to be in accordance with the ruling ascribed to Cross v. Harrison, with but a single exception. If there is one legal exception the rule is gone. It is not a case where an exception can prove the rule; it is one where the exception destroys the rule. The exception was Louisiana. Between December 20, 1803, when possession was delivered to the United States, and March 25, 1804, when the act of February 24 became effective, Louisiana was treated as a foreign country under the customs laws; but this the court in the opinion just announced says "it is manifestly inconsistent with the position subsequently taken by this court in Cross v. Harrison, wherein it is said of the action of Mr. Harrison in California: `That war tariff, however, was abandoned as soon as the military governor had received from Washington information of the exchange and ratification of the treaty with Mexico, *212 and duties were afterwards levied in conformity with such as Congress had imposed upon foreign merchandise imported into the other ports of the United States, Upper California having been ceded by the treaty to the United States. This last was done with the assent of the executive of the United States or without any interference to prevent it. Indeed, from the letter from the then Secretary of the Treasury, we cannot doubt that the action of the military governor of California was recognized as allowable and lawful by Mr. Polk and his cabinet.' After saying that, and this action having been recognized by the President, Mr. Justice Wayne adds: `We think it was rightful and correct recognition under all circumstances, and when we say rightful we mean that it was constitutional, although Congress had not passed an act to extend the collection of tonnage and import duties to the ports of California.'"

    If the laws of Congress instantly applied, why was the recognition of the President necessary? They could gain no legal efficacy from such recognition which they did not have without it, under the supposition that they applied on cession by their own force. Surely so obvious a consequence would have occurred to the court in Cross v. Harrison, and we cannot believe that the court used its language carelessly or uselessly. If the assent and recognition of the President were not necessary, why dwell upon them? Why so confuse the statement of a simple principle — simple in application and expression — and cast doubt upon it by unnecessary qualifications? The case, therefore, is not inconsistent with the ruling in regard to Louisiana. For a period of time, after the cession of Louisiana, President Jefferson treated it as foreign territory under the custom laws, and duties were levied upon its products, and no one disputed the legality of it. If the instance was not the same as in Cross v. Harrison, the principle was the same. There was not an immediate change upon the cession of either California or Louisiana. In California, duties were levied for a time under the war tariff, and afterwards under the act of Congress; and of the latter it was said: "This last was done either with the assent of the executive of the United States, or without any interference to prevent it." And this, it was further said, was "recognized as *213 allowable and lawful by Mr. Polk and his cabinet." We are disposed to ask again, was the language inadvertent? Did not the court use it with full consciousness of its meaning and its necessity? Was the court in confusion as to the principles which applied and jumbled them together without seeing or making a distinction between the force of the act of Congress of itself and the action of the President in giving it efficacy, the necessity of its being recognized as "allowable and lawful by Mr. Polk and his cabinet?" Surely not. Rights were involved which depended upon the legality of the war tariff both before and after cession, and that legality was intended to be and was passed upon and sustained. An automatic effect was not given to the act of Congress as it is given in the case at bar. The act was applied by the President — not in simple execution of it, but as giving it legal effect. And it was this that the court said "was a rightful and correct recognition under all the circumstances." "Rightful," because "it was constitutional, although Congress had not passed an act to extend the collection of tonnage and import duties to the ports of California." In other words, an act of Congress was not necessary to extend the collection of duties; the power of the President was sufficient, and of that power the court left no doubt. Speaking of the duties which were collected under the war tariff after the cession, it was observed, "but after the ratification of the treaty, California became a part of the United States, or a ceded, conquered territory. Our inquiry here is to be, whether or not the cession gave any right to the plaintiffs to have the duties restored to them, which they may have paid between the ratification, and exchange of the treaty and the notification of that fact by our government to the military governor of California. It was not received by him until two months after the ratification, and not then with any instructions or even remote intimation from the President that the civil and military government which had been instituted during the war was discontinued. Up to that time, whether such an intimation had or had not been given, duties had been collected under the war tariff, strictly in conformity with the instructions which had been received from Washington."

    *214 Comment would seem to be unnecessary to make this passage clear. If the act of Congress applied by cession, it applied immediately. It could not be delayed by taking time for notice. Besides, it would by its own force displace all other provisions, and would not need for operation upon rights or the creation of rights, that the President give instructions or intimations, near or remote, "that the civil and military government, which had been instituted during the war, was discontinued." But we need not comment further. We may use the language of the court in summarizing its conclusion:

    "Our conclusion from what has been said is that the civil government of California, organized as it was from a right of conquest, did not cease or become defunct in consequence of the signature of the treaty or from its ratification. We think it was continued over a ceded conquest, without any violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, and that until Congress legislated for it the duties upon foreign goods imported into San Francisco were legally demanded and lawfully received by Mr. Harrison, the collector of the port, who received his appointment, according to instructions from Washington, from Governor Mason."

    This explicit statement, as well as the analysis and review which have first been made, leaves no ground to sustain the conclusion that Cross v. Harrison held that the tariff laws of the United States were immediately operative in California without regard to the exercise of the President's discretion putting them in force. But purely for argument sake we may concede the contrary. The decision must have been, in any conception, based on the provisions of the treaty with Mexico. The court said so. But the treaty with Spain, instead of providing for incorporating the ceded territory into the United States, as did the treaty with Mexico, expressly declares that the status of the ceded territory is to be determined by Congress. This difference in the treaties removes Cross v. Harrison as a factor in the judgment of the case at bar, supposing its interpretation, in the opinion we are reviewing, be correct.

    3. The opinion of the court says: "On March 1, 1845, Congress adopted a joint resolution consenting to the annexation *215 of Texas upon certain conditions, 5 Stat. 797, but it was not until December 25, 1845, that it was formally admitted as a State. 9 Stat. 108. In this interval, and on July 29, 1845, the Secretary of the Treasury issued a circular letter directing the collectors to collect duties upon all imports from Texas into the United States until Congress had further acted. Of course, there could be no question that Texas remained a foreign state until December 25, when she was formally admitted. The circular, therefore, is of no pertinence to the question here involved." We think otherwise. Even after her admission as a State it was deemed necessary to extend the laws of the United States to her. 9 Stat. 1. She was an example, as Florida was, as to what Congress believed to be necessary, and Oregon and Alaska are like examples. The simple rule of the automatic action of the custom and revenue laws seemingly did not occur to anybody; not even as to incorporated territory nor to a new State formed from foreign territory. Nor, as we have seen, did such theory seem to be sustainable when Chief Justice Taney announced in Fleming v. Page a contrary conclusion.

    4. But independent of precedent the court says it is "irresistibly impelled to the same conclusion." The argument is mainly based upon the treaty-making power invested in the President and Senate. A treaty made by that power is said to be the supreme law of the land — as efficacious as an act of Congress; and if subsequent to and inconsistent with an act of Congress, repeals it. This must be granted, and also that "one of the ordinary incidents of a treaty is the cession of territory," and that "the territory thus acquired is acquired as absolutely as if the annexation were made, as in the case of Texas and Hawaii, by an act of Congress." But to tell us of the sources of the treaty-making power and to define the extent of that power helps us very little to the solution of the present problem.

    The question occurs, What has the treaty-making power done? Is the treaty with Spain inconsistent with the Dingley act, and was it intended to work the repeal of that act? That act when passed was undoubtedly intended to apply to products from Porto Rico, and, we suppose, it will not be contended in determining whether the treaty has rendered the act inoperative, the *216 terms of the treaty are not to be looked at? Assuredly the treaty cannot have an automatic force contrary to its terms. That is, it cannot be contended, that the automatic force of the treaty is greater than the force of the treaty itself.

    This court said, speaking by Mr. Justice Brown, in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366:

    "In the future growth of the nation, as heretofore, it is not impossible that Congress may see fit to annex territories whose jurisprudence is that of the civil law. One of the considerations moving to such annexation might be the very fact that the territory so annexed should enter the Union with its traditions, laws and systems of administration unchanged. It would be a narrow construction of the Constitution to require them to abandon these, or to substitute for a system, which represents the growth of generations of inhabitants, a jurisprudence with which they had had no previous acquaintance or sympathy."

    The statement being accepted, may not a fiscal system be as important as other matters of administration? May not a change of taxation, new burdens of taxation suddenly imposed, be worthy of consideration?

    The opinion of the case at bar has not discussed the treaty. It takes it for granted that the cession of Porto Rico was absolute, and the conclusion that it is not a foreign country, within the meaning of the revenue laws, is deduced from that. But necessarily that depends upon the treaty, and interpretation is called for. The power of Congress over ceded territory is asserted in the opinion in somewhat absolute terms — it "involves the right to govern and dispose of it." This being so, it would seem to be certain that the treaty-making power would not forestall Congress or accept with the cession of territory the destruction of the fiscal and industrial policies of the country. We should hesitate to so pronounce for reasons which must occur to every one, except upon the compulsion of the clearest expression.

    The opinion of the court further says "territory thus acquired (by treaty) can remain a foreign country under the tariff laws only on one of two theories: either that the word `foreign' applies to such countries as were foreign at the time the statute *217 was enacted, notwithstanding any change in their condition, or that they remain foreign under the tariff laws until Congress has formally embraced them within the customs union of the States." Both theories are rejected as untenable. The first because, "while a statute is presumed to speak from the time of its enactment, it embraces all such persons or things as subsequently fall within its scope." But what constitutes the scope of a statute — its letter inevitably, or may its spirit be regarded as interpreting and applying its letter? In other words, shall the purpose of its enactment be executed or defeated? There can be but one answer to these questions, nor can confidence in the answer be lessened by the analogies used by the court.

    The law against selling liquors to minors, it is said, contemplates all minors — those existing and those which may come into being afterwards. Very true, but the purpose of the law is that. The same with territories (to use another illustration of the opinion) being bound as States when they come into the Union. But these illustrations assume that the territory referred to was incorporated by the treaty into the United States, an ever-recurring and misleading fallacy, in our judgment.

    Let us, however, look at the argument under the wrong assumption of incorporation. The provisions of the Constitution for the admission of new States contemplate the consequences of statehood — contemplate territories ceasing to be bound as such and becoming bound as States. In other words, those provisions regard the future, and have their purpose fulfilled, not defeated, by territories becoming States. But a tariff law does not contemplate additions to or subtractions from itself. It may be said to be occasional. It regards certain conditions, and may be dependent upon them, whether it be enacted for revenue only or for protection and revenue. Its entire plan may be impaired or be destroyed by change in any part. The revenues of the government may be lessened, even taken away by change; the industrial policy of the country may be destroyed by change. We are repelled by the argument which leads to such consequences, whether regarding our own country or the foreign country made "domestic." If "domestic" as to what comes from it, it is "domestic" as to what goes to it, and its custom laws as well *218 as our custom laws may be cast into confusion, and its business and affairs deranged before there is possibility of action.

    As we have already said, to set the word foreign in antithesis to the word domestic proves nothing. Their opposition does not express the controversy. The controversy is narrower. It is whether a particular tariff law applies. That, indeed, may be the consequence of the principle that all laws apply. Or that customs laws apply by reason of the provision of the Constitution which requires duties, imposts and excises to be uniform throughout the United States, and the treaty-making power cannot prevent the application of that provision. That principle is asserted by counsel and is very simple, but applied, as counsel apply it, is fraught with grave consequences. It takes this great country out of the world and shuts it up within itself. It binds and cripples the power to make war and peace. It may take away the fruits of victory, and, if we may contemplate the possibility of disaster, it may take away the means of mitigating that. All those great and necessary powers, are, as a consequence of the argument, limited by the necessity to make some impost or excise "uniform throughout the United States."

    The treaty-making power is as much a constitutional power as the legislative or judicial powers. It is a supreme attribute of sovereignty, but often less determined in its exercise than others — more dependent on contingency, and may be less optional. It may precede war or follow war — command or be commanded by war. The kind or direction of its exercise cannot always be predicted or marked. There can be no verbal limitations upon it, and, wisely, none were attempted. Whatever restraints should be put upon it might have to yield to the greater restraints of life or death — not only material prosperity, but national existence. These, of course, are extreme contingencies, but they are not impossible, and are necessary to be regarded when limitations are urged which take no account of them. We do not mean to say that there are no limitations. They are certainly not those which counsel urge. Besides, the contention of counsel is answered by the Canter case. The difference between military occupation of a territory and its cession at the treaty of peace was noted. "If ceded by the treaty," *219 the court said, "the acquisition is confirmed, and the ceded territory becomes a part of the nation to which it is annexed, either on the terms stipulated in the treaty of cession or such as its new master may impose." What is the significance of this? It would seem like useless language; its purpose often defeated if the Constitution and laws of the conqueror, and, to drop from the abstract and supposing this country the conqueror, if our Constitution and laws immediately apply on cession of territory. The terms which may be granted or received would be, to a certain and important extent, predetermined. Neither we nor the conquered nation would have any choice in the new situation — could make no accommodation to exigency, would stand bound in a helpless fatality. Whatever might be the interests, temporary or permanent, whatever might be the condition or fitness of the ceded territory, the effect on it or on us, the territory would become a part of the United States with all that implies. It is only true to say that counsel shrink somewhat from the consequences of their contention, or if "shrink" be too strong an expression, deny that it can be carried to the nationalization of uncivilized tribes. Whether that limitation can be logically justified we are not called upon to say. There may be no ready test of the civilized and uncivilized, between those who are capable of self-government and those who are not, available to the judiciary, or could be applied or enforced by the judiciary. Upon what degree of civilization could civil and political rights under the Constitution be awarded by courts? The question suggests the difficulties, and how essentially the whole matter is legislative, not judicial. Nor can those difficulties be put out of contemplation, under the assumption that the principles which we may declare will have no other consequence than to affect duties upon a cargo of sugar. We need not, however, dwell on this part of the discussion. From our construction of the powers of the government and of the treaty with Spain the danger of the nationalization of savage tribes cannot arise.

    These views answer, in our judgment, the chief arguments of the opinion, but to make a complete reply and to justify a different conclusion we should consider and interpret the treaty *220 with Spain. We will, however, not do so now. It has been done in the concurring opinion in Downes v. Bidwell, and it is not necessary to anticipate the statements and reasoning of that opinion.

    We said at the outset that it could be demonstrated that Porto Rico occupied a relation to the United States between that of being a foreign country absolutely and of being domestic territory absolutely, and because of that relation its products were subject to the duties imposed by the Dingley act. And, concluding, we say, we believe that, in this opinion and the one referred to, we have made that demonstration; made it from the Constitution itself, the immediate and continued practice under the Constitution, judicial authority and the treaty with Spain. And that demonstration does more than declare the legality of the duties which were levied upon the sugars of the plaintiff in error. It vindicates the government from national and international weakness. It exhibits the Constitution as a charter of great and vital authorities, with limitations indeed, but with such limitations as serve and assist government, not destroy it; which, though fully enforced, yet enable the United States to have — what it was intended to have — "an equal station among the Powers of the earth," and to do all "Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do." And confidently do, able to secure the fullest fruits of their performance. All powers of government, placed in harmony under the Constitution; the rights and liberties of every citizen secured — put to no hazard of loss or impairment; the power of the nation also secured in its great station, enabled to move with strength and dignity and effect among the other nations of the earth to such purpose as it may undertake or to such destiny as it may be called.

    The judgment of the Circuit Court should be affirmed.

    MR. JUSTICE GRAY, dissenting.

    I am compelled to dissent from the judgment in this case. It appears to me irreconcilable with the unanimous opinion of this court in Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 603, and with the opinions of the majority of the Justices in the case, this day decided, of Downes v. Bidwell.

Document Info

DocketNumber: 456

Citation Numbers: 182 U.S. 1, 21 S. Ct. 743, 45 L. Ed. 1041, 1901 U.S. LEXIS 1225

Judges: Mr. Justice Harlan

Filed Date: 5/27/1901

Precedential Status: Precedential

Modified Date: 4/15/2017

Authorities (32)

American Ins. Co. v. 356 Bales of Cotton , 26 U.S. 511 ( 1828 )

Foster v. Neilson , 27 U.S. 253 ( 1829 )

Keene v. McDonough , 33 U.S. 308 ( 1834 )

Nelson J. Elliott v. Samuel Swartwout , 35 U.S. 137 ( 1836 )

Lessee of Pollard's Heirs v. Kibbe , 39 U.S. 353 ( 1840 )

Cary v. Curtis , 44 U.S. 236 ( 1845 )

FLEMING v. Page , 50 U.S. 603 ( 1850 )

CROSS v. Harrison , 57 U.S. 164 ( 1854 )

Dred Scott v. Sandford , 60 U.S. 393 ( 1857 )

Leitensdorfer v. Webb , 61 U.S. 176 ( 1858 )

Woodruff v. Parham , 75 U.S. 123 ( 1869 )

The Grapeshot , 76 U.S. 129 ( 1870 )

The Cherokee Tobacco , 78 U.S. 616 ( 1871 )

Barney Collector v. Watson , 92 U.S. 449 ( 1876 )

National Bank v. County of Yankton , 101 U.S. 129 ( 1880 )

Arnson v. Murphy , 109 U.S. 238 ( 1883 )

Mansfield, C. & LMR Co. v. Swan , 111 U.S. 379 ( 1884 )

Edye v. Robertson , 112 U.S. 580 ( 1884 )

Murphy v. Ramsey , 114 U.S. 15 ( 1885 )

Whitney v. Robertson , 124 U.S. 190 ( 1888 )

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Dooley v. United States , 183 U.S. 151 ( 1901 )

The Diamond Rings , 183 U.S. 176 ( 1901 )

Gonzales v. Williams , 192 U.S. 1 ( 1904 )

Dorr v. United States , 195 U.S. 138 ( 1904 )

Courtney v. Pradt , 196 U.S. 89 ( 1905 )

Lincoln v. United States , 197 U.S. 419 ( 1905 )

Lincoln v. United States , 202 U.S. 484 ( 1906 )

Merchants Heat & Light Co. v. JB Clow & Sons , 204 U.S. 286 ( 1907 )

Pearcy v. Stranahan , 205 U.S. 257 ( 1907 )

United States v. Heinszen & Co. , 206 U.S. 370 ( 1907 )

Faber v. United States , 221 U.S. 649 ( 1911 )

Ochoa v. Hernandez Y Morales , 230 U.S. 139 ( 1913 )

Hallowell v. Commons , 239 U.S. 506 ( 1916 )

General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore & Michigan Southern R. ... , 260 U.S. 261 ( 1922 )

Graham & Foster v. Goodcell , 282 U.S. 409 ( 1931 )

Burnet v. Chicago Portrait Co. , 285 U.S. 1 ( 1932 )

American Trading Co. v. HE Heacock Co. , 285 U.S. 247 ( 1932 )

Browder v. United States , 312 U.S. 335 ( 1941 )

Freeman v. Bee MacHine Co., Inc , 319 U.S. 448 ( 1943 )

Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt , 324 U.S. 652 ( 1945 )

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