Parker v. Rule's Lessee - 13 U.S. 64 (1815)
U.S. Supreme Court
Parker v. Rule's Lessee, 13 U.S. 9 Cranch 64 64 (1815)
Parker v. Rule's Lessee
13 U.S. (9 Cranch) 64
Under the act of Congress to lay and collect a direct tax, July 14, 1798, before the collector could sell the land of as unknown proprietor for nonpayment of the tax, it was necessary that he should advertise the copy of the lists of lands, &c., and the statement of the amount due for the tax, and the notification to pay, for sixty days in four gazettes of the state, if there were so many.
The facts of the case were thus stated by THE CHIEF JUSTICE in delivering the opinion of the Court:
This was an ejectment brought by the defendant in error in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of West Tennessee. The plaintiff below claimed under a patent regularly issued by the proper authority. The defendant made title under a deed, from the collector of the district, reciting a sale of the said land as being forfeited by the nonpayment of taxes and conveying the same to the purchaser. On the validity of this conveyance the whole case depends. At the trial, the defendant produced his deed and also a general list of lands owned, possessed, and occupied on the first day of October, 1798, in Assessment District No. 12 in the State of Tennessee, corresponding with the Collection District No. 8, returned to the office of the late Supervisor of the Revenue for the District of Tennessee by Edward Douglass, surveyor of the revenue for said assessment district, among which is the following:
"Grant John, reputed owner in Sumner County on the middle fork of Bledsoe's Creek, 640 acres of land subject to and included in the valuation valued at $2,560, no possessor or occupant."
He also produced the tax list furnished by said surveyor to Thomas Martin Collector of the Collection District No. 8, in which list said land is described in the same manner as in the said general list, excepting that the said John Grant is described as possessor or occupant of said 640 acres of land and said land is included in the list of lands belonging to residents. He also produced the advertisements of the sale of the said lands, mentioned in the said deed to have been made in the Tennessee Gazette, in which said John Grant is mentioned only as reputed owner of said land, and proved, by a witness present at the sale, that the said Henry Bradford, for himself and Daniel Smith, became the purchaser of the said land, and that the said Daniel and Henry, before the execution of the said last mentioned deed, assigned their interest in the said land to the defendant Richard Parker. But it did not appear that the said collector had at any time caused a copy of the said list, with a statement of the amount of the tax and a notification to pay the same, to be published for sixty days in four gazettes of the state, if there were so
many pursuant to the last clause of the 11th section of the act of Congress entitled "An act to lay and collect a direct tax within the United States,'" vol. 4, p. 212. And thereupon the judge instructed the jury that the said sale made by said collector was unauthorized and void because the said collector had not previously made said last mentioned publication and because it appeared that the collector proceeded to collect the taxes due on the said land in the manner prescribed by law for collecting taxes due upon lands where the owner resides thereon, and not in the manner prescribed when the owners are nonresidents, and because there is a variance between the surveyor's books and the collector's list. The defendant below excepted to this opinion of the judge, and a verdict and judgment being rendered against him, he has brought the same by writ of error into this Court.