State v. Great Western Coffee & Tea Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtFox
Citation71 S.W. 1011,171 Mo. 634
Decision Date03 February 1903
PartiesSTATE v. GREAT WESTERN COFFEE & TEA CO.
71 S.W. 1011
171 Mo. 634
STATE
v.
GREAT WESTERN COFFEE & TEA CO.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 2.
February 3, 1903.

TITLE OF ACT—CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS —ADULTERATION OF FOOD.

1. The act approved May 11, 1899, entitled "An act to prevent the use of unhealthy chemicals or substances in the preparation or manufacture of any article used or to be used in the preparation of food," and providing "that it shall be unlawful for any person or corporation to manufacture, sell or offer to sell any compound or preparation intended to be used in the preparation of food, in which preparation there is any * * * alum," in so far as it applies to sellers who are not manufacturers, is in violation of Const. art. 4, § 28, providing that "no bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title," and void.

Appeal from St. Louis court of criminal correction; Willis H. Clark, Judge.

The Great Western Coffee & Tea Company, a corporation, was convicted of selling a can of baking powder containing alum, and appeals. Reversed.

Thos. B. Harvey, for appellant. The Attorney General and Judson & Green, for the State.

FOX, J.


This prosecution was begun under an act approved May 11, 1899, and found on page 170 of the Laws of 1899; and the information, omitting the caption and oath, reads as follows: "H. A. Clover, Jr., prosecuting attorney of the St. Louis court of criminal correction, now here in court, on behalf of the state of Missouri, information makes as follows: That Great Western Coffee and Tea Company, a corporation existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Missouri, duly organized and doing business in this state, did, in the city of St. Louis, on the 6th day of July, 1901, unlawfully sell and offer to sell a certain compound and preparation, to wit, one can of Great Western brand baking powder, and said compound and preparation was so sold and offered for sale for the purpose of being used, and was intended to be used, in the preparation of food, and in which said compound, preparation, and baking powder so sold as aforesaid there was then and there alum,

71 S.W. 1012

contrary to the form of the state in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the state." This information was challenged by appellant in a motion to quash on the following grounds: (1) Because it does not allege facts sufficient to show any violation of law; (2) because all the facts are insufficiently alleged; (3) because there is no allegation that the defendant knew the article sold contained alum, and it is not alleged that it was intended to be used in food for human beings; (4) because the act of 1899 creating the alleged offense is violative of section 28 of article 4 of the constitution of the state of Missouri, in this: that the title of the act is leveled against manufacturers only, while the body of the act attempts also to punish not only the manufacturers, but the seller of the inhibited article. Upon the aforesaid motion being overruled, and exceptions saved, a plea of not guilty was entered, and the case was tried before the court, sitting as a jury. This prosecution resulted from a purchase of a can of baking powder by W. N. Miller at the store of the appellant, a corporation doing business in the city of St. Louis, on the 23d day of May, 1901. The evidence in this cause on the part of the state, according to the experts testifying in her behalf, tended to show that the baking powder contained alum; and it is contended by the state that the alum, as described by her experts, is the character of alum against which the statute in controversy is directed. On the part of the appellant the evidence tends to show that the baking powder contained no alum such as was contemplated by the legislative mind at the time of the enactment of the law which is charged to have been violated. Defendant further introduced its manager, A. H. Freeman, who testified that the defendant had bought the can of baking powder in question from a most reputable wholesale grocery firm of St. Louis, with their assurance that it was a pure phosphate powder, containing no alum whatever. This cause was submitted to the court without a jury, and defendant was convicted and fined $100. Motions for new trial and in arrest of judgment were filed in proper time, both of which were overruled by the court, whereupon the defendant brings the cause here by appeal.

The criminal charge in this cause is a misdemeanor, and this court only has jurisdiction to dispose of it by reason of the constitutional question involved; hence the all-important question submitted to us for determination is the alleged unconstitutionality of the act upon which this prosecution is predicated, in so far as it applies to sellers who are not manufacturers. The counsel for appellant challenged the validity of this act upon which this information is based upon the sole ground that it is violative of section 28, art. 4, of the constitution of this state, in this: that the title of the act is directed against manufacturers only, while the body of the act attempts also to punish not only the manufacturers, but the sellers, of the inhibited article. This act was approved May 11, 1899, and the title as well as the body of the act is as follows:

"An act to prevent the use of unhealthy chemicals or substances in the preparation or manufacture of any article used or to be used in the preparation of food.

"Be it enacted by the general assembly of the state of Missouri as follows:

"Section 1. That it shall be unlawful for any person or corporation doing business in this state to manufacture, sell or offer to sell, any article, compound or preparation, for the purpose of being used, or which is intended to be used, in the preparation of food, in which article, compound or preparation, there is any arsenic, calomel, bismuth, ammonia or alum.

"Sec. 2. Any person or corporation violating the provisions of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than one hundred dollars, which shall be paid into and become a part of the road fund of the county in which such fine is collected.

"Approved May 11th, 1899. Takes effect August 22d, 1899."

The provision of the constitution involved in this controversy is that as contained in section 28, art. 4: "No bill [then follows the exceptions, which are not applicable to this act] shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title."

We fully agree with the learned counsel for appellant that the phase of this question presented now is presented for the first time to this court for determination. An examination of the innumerable adjudicated cases with similar constitutional provisions fails to disclose an interpretation and application of this constitutional provision to the same situation or facts as are presented in this cause. We fully concur in the very appropriate expression of Burgess, J., in the case of Witzmann v. S. Ry....

To continue reading

Request your trial
23 practice notes
  • McGrew v. Missouri Pac. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 28, 1910
    ...are supported by the following cases from this court: State ex rel. v. Lafayette County, 41 Mo. 39; State v. Great Western Coffee Co., 171 Mo. 634, 71 S. W. 1011, 94 Am. St. Rep. 802; City of Kansas v. Payne, 71 Mo. 159 ; State ex rel. v. Baker, 129 Mo. 482, 31 S. W. 924; Witzmann v. Railwa......
  • State v. Hedrick, No. 23106.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 3, 1922
    ...a law leveled against a wholly different class of persons not mentioned in such title; and in State v. Great Western Coffee & Tea Co., 171 Mo. 634, it was held that a title leveled only against manufacturers of certain baking powders would not support a statute prohibiting persons from ......
  • State ex rel. Transport Mfg. Co. v. Bates, No. 41456.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 14, 1949
    ...36 Cyc., p. 1029, n. 27; Witzman v. So. Ry. Co., 131 Mo. 612, 33 S.W. 181; State v. Borden, 164 Mo. 221, 64 S.W. 172; State v. Coffee Co., 171 Mo. 634, 71 S.W. 1011; State ex rel. v. Wiethaup, 231 Mo. 449, 133 S.W. 329; State v. Rawlings, 232 Mo. 544, 134 S.W. 530; State v. Gordon, 233 Mo. ......
  • State ex Inf. Attorney-General v. Curtis, No. 28264.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 17, 1928
    ...State ex rel. v. Hackmann, 292 Mo. 27; State ex rel. v. Roach, 258 Mo. 541; State v. Rawlings, 232 Mo. 544; State v. Great Western Co., 171 Mo. 634; St. Louis v. Wortman, 213 Mo. 131; State v. Fulks, 207 Mo. 26; State v. McEniry, 269 Mo. 228; State ex inf. v. Borden, 164 Mo. 221; State ex r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • McGrew v. Missouri Pac. Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 28, 1910
    ...are supported by the following cases from this court: State ex rel. v. Lafayette County, 41 Mo. 39; State v. Great Western Coffee Co., 171 Mo. 634, 71 S. W. 1011, 94 Am. St. Rep. 802; City of Kansas v. Payne, 71 Mo. 159 ; State ex rel. v. Baker, 129 Mo. 482, 31 S. W. 924; Witzmann v. Railwa......
  • State v. Hedrick, No. 23106.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 3, 1922
    ...a law leveled against a wholly different class of persons not mentioned in such title; and in State v. Great Western Coffee & Tea Co., 171 Mo. 634, it was held that a title leveled only against manufacturers of certain baking powders would not support a statute prohibiting persons from ......
  • State ex rel. Transport Mfg. Co. v. Bates, No. 41456.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 14, 1949
    ...36 Cyc., p. 1029, n. 27; Witzman v. So. Ry. Co., 131 Mo. 612, 33 S.W. 181; State v. Borden, 164 Mo. 221, 64 S.W. 172; State v. Coffee Co., 171 Mo. 634, 71 S.W. 1011; State ex rel. v. Wiethaup, 231 Mo. 449, 133 S.W. 329; State v. Rawlings, 232 Mo. 544, 134 S.W. 530; State v. Gordon, 233 Mo. ......
  • State ex Inf. Attorney-General v. Curtis, No. 28264.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 17, 1928
    ...State ex rel. v. Hackmann, 292 Mo. 27; State ex rel. v. Roach, 258 Mo. 541; State v. Rawlings, 232 Mo. 544; State v. Great Western Co., 171 Mo. 634; St. Louis v. Wortman, 213 Mo. 131; State v. Fulks, 207 Mo. 26; State v. McEniry, 269 Mo. 228; State ex inf. v. Borden, 164 Mo. 221; State ex r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT