Page images
PDF
EPUB

Opinion of the Court.

tangible property as well as, generally, upon their franchise; and steamboat companies likewise pay a tax upon their tangible property. This tax is not necessarily an ad valorem tax at the same rate as is paid on other private property in the State belonging to individuals. Generally, indeed, it is not, but is often determined by other means and at different rates, according to the will of the state legislature. Kentucky Railroad Tax Cases, 115 U. S. 321, 337. On the other hand, express companies, such as are defined by this act, have no tangible property, of any consequence, subject to taxation under the general laws. There is, therefore, no way by which they can be taxed at all unless by a tax upon their receipts for business transacted. This distinction clearly places express companies defined by this act in a separate class from companies owning their own means of transportation. They do not do business under the same conditions, or under similar circumstances. In the nature of things, and irrespective of the definitive legislation in question, they belong to different classes. There can be no objection, therefore, to the discrimination made as between express companies defined by this act and other companies or persons incidentally doing a similar business by different means and methods, in the manner in which they are taxed. Their different nature, character and means of doing business justify the discrimination in this respect which the legislature has seen fit to impose. The legislation in question does not discriminate between companies brought within the class defined in the first section; and such companies being so entirely dissimilar, in vital respects, as regards the purposes and policy of taxation, from railroad companies and the like owning a large amount of tangible and other property subject to taxation under other and different laws, and upon other and different principles, we do not see how, under the principles of the many decisions of this court upon the subject, it can be held violative either of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, or of the provision in the constitution of Missouri, relating to equality and uniformity of taxation. See Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U. S. 27; Soon Hing v. Crowley, 113 U. S. 703; Dent v. West Virginia, 129 U. S.

Citations for Plaintiff's in Error.

114; Missouri Pacific Railway v. Humes, 115 U. S. 512; St. Louis v. Weber, 44 Missouri, 547; Germania Life Ins. Co. v. Commonwealth, 85 Penn. St. 513; Missouri v. Welton, 55 Missouri, 288.

The opinion of the court below on this branch of the case is elaborately argued, and is conclusive. We concur in the reasoning of it as well as in the language employed, and refer to it as a correct expression of the law upon the subject.

Decree affirmed.

CHAFFEE COUNTY v. POTTER.

[blocks in formation]

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED

DISTRICT OF COLORADO.

No. 103. Submitted November 24, 1891.

Decided January 4, 1892.

A statement, in the bond of a municipal corporation, that it is issued under

the provisions of the act of the general assembly of Colorado of February 21, 1881, and in conformity with its provisions; that all the requirements of law have been fully complied with; that the total amount of the issue does not exceed the limits prescribed by the constitution of that State; and that the issue of the bonds had been authorized by a vote of a majority of the duly qualified electors of the county, voting on the question at a general election duly held, estops the county, in an action by an innocent holder for value, to recover on coupons of such bonds,

from denying the truth of these recitals. When there is an express recital upon the face of a municipal bond that the

limit of issue prescribed by the state constitution has not been passed, and the bonds themselves do not show that it had, the holder is not

bound to look further. Lake County v. Graham, 130 U. S. 674, and Dixon County v. Field, 111 U. S.

83, affirmed and distinguished from this case.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Thomas Macon, for plaintiffs in error, cited: McClure v. Township of Oxford, 94 U. S. 429 ; Town of Coloma v.

Opinion of the Court.

Eaves, 92 U. S. 484; Buchanan v. Litchfield, 102 U. S. 278; Northern Bank v. Porter Township, 110 U. S. 608; Dixon County v. Field, 111 U. S. 83; Lake County v. Graham, 130 U. S. 674.

Mr. Willard Teller, for defendant in error, cited: Know County v. Aspinwall, 21 How. 539; Bissell v. Jeffersonville, 24 How. 287; Mercer County v. Hacket, 1 Wall. 83; Gelpcke v. Dubuque, 1 Wall. 175; Meyer v. Muscatine, 1 Wall. 384; Van Hostrup v. Madison City, 1 Wall. 291; Supervisors v. Schenck, 5 Wall. 772; Grand Chute v. Winegar, 15 Wall. 355; St. Joseph Township v. Rogers, 16 Wall. 644; Coloma v. Eaves, 92 U. S. 484; Venice v. Murdock, 92 U. S. 494; Moultrie County v. Rockingham Bank, 22 U. S. 631; Marcy v. Oswego, 92 U. S. 637; County of Henry v. Nicolay, 95 U. S. 619; Township of Rock Creek v. Strong, 96 U. S. 271; San Antonio v. Mehaffy, 96 U. S. 312; Cromwell v. County of Sac, 96 U. S. 51; Wilson v. Salamanca, 99 U. S. 499; County of Macon v. Shores, 97 U. S. 272; County of Daviess v. Huidekoper, 98 U. S. 98; Hackett v. Ottawa, 99 U. S. 86; Orleans v. Platt, 99 U. S. 676; Lyons v. Munson, 99 U. S. 684; Block v. Commissioners, 99 U. S. 687; Buchanan v. Litchfield, 102 U. S. 278; Walnut v. Wade, 103 U. S. 683; Harter v. Kernochan, 103 U. S. 562; Pana v. Bowler, 107 U. S. 529; Kirkbride v. La Fayette, 108 U. S. 208; Dallas County v. McKenzie, 110 U. S. 686; Dixon v. Field, 111 U. S. 83; Northern Bank v. Porter Township, 110 U. S. 608; Oregon v. Jennings, 119 U. S. 74; Comanche County v. Lewis, 133 U. S. 198; Lake County v. Graham, 130 U. S. 674.

MR. JUSTICE Lamar delivered the opinion of the court.

This was an action by Andrew Potter, a citizen of Massachusetts, against the board of county commissioners of Chaffee County, Colorado, on a large number of interest-bearing coupons attached to certain bonds issued by that county, in 1882, for the purpose of funding its floating indebtedness.

The following is a copy of one of the bonds and coupons:

Opinion of the Court.

« No.

or

$1000. “United States of America, County of Chaffee, State of Colorado.

Funding Bond.

(Series A.) “The County of Chaffee, in the State of Colorado, acknowledges itself indebted, and promises to pay to bearer, one thousand dollars, lawful money of the United States, for value received, redeemable at the pleasure of said county after ten years, and absolutely due and payable twenty years from the date hereof, at the office of the treasurer of said county, in the town of Buena Vista, with interest thereon at the rate of eight per cent per annum, payable semi-annually on the first day of March, and the first day of September in each year, at the office of the county treasurer aforesaid, or at the banking-house of Kountze Brothers, in the city of New York, at the option of the holder, upon the presentation and surrender of the annexed coupons as they severally become due.

“This bond is issued by the board of county commissioners of said Chaffee county, in exchange at par for valid floating indebtedness of the said county, outstanding prior to August 31, 1882, under and by virtue of, and in full conformity with, the provisions of an act of the general assembly of the State of Colorado, entitled. An act to enable the several counties of the state to fund their floating indebtedness,' approved February 21, 1881, and it is hereby certified that all the requirements of law have been fully complied with by the proper officers in the issuing of this bond. It is further certified that the total amount of this issue does not exceed the limit prescribed by the constitution of the State of Colorado, and that this issue of bonds has been authorized by a vote of a majority of the duly qualified electors of the said county of Chaffee, voting on the question at a general election duly held in said county, on the seventh day of November, A.D. 1882.

“The bonds of this issue are comprised in three series designated ‘A,’ ‘B,' and 'C, respectively; the bonds of series 'A'

Opinion of the Court.

being for the sum of one thousand dollars each, those of series B' for the sum of five hundred dollars each, and those of series 'C' for the sum of one hundred dollars each. This bond is one of series 'A.'

“The faith and credit of the county of Chaffee are hereby pledged for the punctual payment of the principal and interest of this bond.

“In testimony whereof, the board of county commissioners of the said county of Chaffee have caused this bond to be signed by their chairman, countersigned by the county treasurer and attested by the county clerk under the seal of the county, this first day of December, A.D. 1882. Chairman Board of County Commissioners.

ioners. “Attest:

County Clerk. “[COUNTY SEAL.] “Countersigned:

County Treasurer.”

(Coupon.) “The County of Chaffee, in the State of Colorado, will pay the bearer — dollars at the office of the county treasurer, in the town of Buena Vista, or at the banking-house of Kountz Brothers, in the city of New York, on the first day of being six months' interest on funding bond

“No.- Series — E. B. Jones, County Treasurer.

The plaintiff, as the holder of a large number of the coupons of each series, alleged in his declaration that all the proceedings required by the statutes of the State to be taken in the matter of the issue and registration of the bonds had been taken before the bonds were put on the market, that the bonds were therefore legal in all respects as valid obligations of the county, and that, as the bona fide holder for value of the interest coupons, he had presented them for payment at the place required and payment had been refused. Wherefore he prayed judgment for the amount of said coupons, with interest, in all,

« PreviousContinue »