Machine Company v. Gage

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSWAYNE
Citation100 U.S. 676,25 L.Ed. 754
PartiesMACHINE COMPANY v. GAGE
Decision Date01 October 1879

100 U.S. 676
100 U.S. 676
25 L.Ed. 754
MACHINE COMPANY
v.
GAGE.
October Term, 1879

ERROR to the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

Mr. R. McPhail Smith for the plaintiff in error.

No counsel appeared for the defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE SWAYNE delivered the opinion of the court.

The Howe Machine Company is a corporation of the State of Connecticut. It manufactured sewing-machines at Bridgeport, in that State, and had an agency at Nashville, in the State of Tennessee. From the latter place, an agent was sent into Sumner County to sell machines there. A tax was demanded from him for a pedler's license to make such sales. He denied the validity of the law under which the tax was claimed, but, according to a law of the State, paid the amount demanded by the defendant, as clerk of the county court. The company, who brought this suit to recover it back, was defeated in the lower court, and the judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State.

The Constitution of Tennessee (art. 11, sect. 30) declares that 'no article manufactured of the produce of this State shall be taxed otherwise than to pay inspection fees.'

'Sales by pedlers of articles manufactured or made up in this State, and scientific or religious books, are exempt from taxation.' Code of Tennessee, sect. 546.

'All articles manufactured of the produce of the State' are exempt from assessment or taxation. Acts of 1875, c. 98, sect. 10.

'All pedlers of sewing-machines and selling by sample' shall pay a tax of ten dollars. Code, sect. 553 a, subsect. 43.

By a subsequent act of the legislature, this tax was increased to fifteen dollars.

Page 677

The sewing-machines here in question were made in Connecticut. The Supreme Court of the State held, in this case, 'that the law taxing the pedlers of such machines, levied the tax upon all pedlers of sewing-machines, without regard to the place of growth or produce of material or of manufacture.'

We are bound to regard this construction as correct, and to give it the same effect as if it were a part of the statute. Leffingwell v. Warren, 2 Black, 599.

The question presented for our consideration is not difficult of solution. A brief reference, however, to some of the adjudications of this court, bearing with more or less directness upon the subject, may not be without interest.

A State cannot require a license to be taken out to sell foreign goods while remaining in the packages in which they were imported. Such a law is contrary to the provision of the Constitution of the United States touching the laying of imposts by a State, and to the commerce clause of that instrument. Brown v. The State of Maryland, 12 Wheat. 419.

A State cannot give to the master and wardens of a port, in addition to other fees, the sum of five dollars, whether they are called on to perform any service or not, for every vessel arriving in the port. This would be a regulation of commerce and a tonnage duty, both involving the exercise of a power which is withheld from the States. Steamship Company v. The Portwardens, 6 Wall. 31.

A purchaser of goods coming from abroad, the goods to be at his risk until delivered to him, is not an importer, and the goods may be taxed while in the original packages. Waring v. The Mayor, 8 id. 110.

The provision in the Constitution of the United States that 'no State shall levy imposts or duties on imports or exports,' does not refer to articles brought from one State into another, but exclusively to articles...

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92 practice notes
  • Goldrick v. Coal Mining Co, BERWIND-WHITE
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 29 Enero 1940
    ...seller for the privilege of selling merchandise brought into the taxing state for the purpose of sale. Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U.S. 676, 25 L.Ed. 754; Emert v. Missouri, 156 U.S. 296, 15 S.Ct. 367, 39 L.Ed. 430; Kehrer v. Stewart, 197 U.S. 60, 25 S.Ct. 403, 49 L.Ed. 663; Baccus v. Lou......
  • Leisy v. Hardin
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 28 Abril 1890
    ...were the growth or manufacture of the state, was unconstitutional and void, by reason of the discrimination; and in Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U. S. 676, a state statute imposing a like tax, without discriminating as to the place of growth or produce of material or manufacture, was adjudged t......
  • Colgate v. Harvey
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 14 Noviembre 1934
    ...Fletcher, 69 Vt 69, 75, 37 A. 239, 37 L. R, A. 840; State v. Caplan, 100 Vt. 140, 154, 135 A. 705; Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 175 A. 355 100 U. S. 676, 25 L. Ed. 754. But this proposition by no means impinges upon the power of a state to make reasonable classifications for taxing purposes. I......
  • Dorsett v. Overstreet
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Mayo 1944
    ...seller for the privilege of selling merchandise brought into the taxing state for the purpose of sale. Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U.S. 676, 25 L.Ed. 754; Emert v. Missouri, 156 U.S. 296, 15 S.Ct. 367, 39 L.Ed. 430; Kehrer v. Stewart, 197 U.S. 60, 25 S.Ct. 403, 49 L.Ed. 663; Baccus v. Lou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
92 cases
  • Goldrick v. Coal Mining Co, BERWIND-WHITE
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 29 Enero 1940
    ...seller for the privilege of selling merchandise brought into the taxing state for the purpose of sale. Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U.S. 676, 25 L.Ed. 754; Emert v. Missouri, 156 U.S. 296, 15 S.Ct. 367, 39 L.Ed. 430; Kehrer v. Stewart, 197 U.S. 60, 25 S.Ct. 403, 49 L.Ed. 663; Baccus v. Lou......
  • Leisy v. Hardin
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 28 Abril 1890
    ...were the growth or manufacture of the state, was unconstitutional and void, by reason of the discrimination; and in Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U. S. 676, a state statute imposing a like tax, without discriminating as to the place of growth or produce of material or manufacture, was adjudged t......
  • Colgate v. Harvey
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 14 Noviembre 1934
    ...Fletcher, 69 Vt 69, 75, 37 A. 239, 37 L. R, A. 840; State v. Caplan, 100 Vt. 140, 154, 135 A. 705; Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 175 A. 355 100 U. S. 676, 25 L. Ed. 754. But this proposition by no means impinges upon the power of a state to make reasonable classifications for taxing purposes. I......
  • Dorsett v. Overstreet
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 19 Mayo 1944
    ...seller for the privilege of selling merchandise brought into the taxing state for the purpose of sale. Howe Machine Co. v. Gage, 100 U.S. 676, 25 L.Ed. 754; Emert v. Missouri, 156 U.S. 296, 15 S.Ct. 367, 39 L.Ed. 430; Kehrer v. Stewart, 197 U.S. 60, 25 S.Ct. 403, 49 L.Ed. 663; Baccus v. Lou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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