United States v. Marigold
50 U.S. 560 (1850)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Marigold, 50 U.S. 9 How. 560 560 (1850)

United States v. Marigold

50 U.S. (9 How.) 560

Syllabus

On 3 March, 1825, Congress passed an Act, 4 Stat. 121, providing for the punishment of persons who shall bring into the United States, with intent to pass, any false, forged, or counterfeited coin, and also for the punishment of persons who shall pass, utter, publish, or sell any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin.

Congress had the constitutional power to pass this law. Under the power to regulate commerce, Congress can exclude, either partially or wholly, any subject falling within the legitimate sphere of commercial regulation, and under the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof Congress can protect the creature and object of that power.

The doctrines asserted by this Court in the case of Fox v. State of Ohio, 5 How. 433 are not inconsistent with that now maintained.

The record in the case is so very short that the whole of it may be inserted.

"UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"

"Northern District of New York, ss."

"At a circuit court of the United States begun and held at Albany for the Northern District of New York, in the Second circuit, on the third Tuesday of October, in the year of our Lord 1848, and in the seventy-third year of American Independence."

"Present, the Honorable Samuel Nelson and Alfred Conking, Esquires."

"THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. PETER MARIGOLD"

"State of the Pleadings"

"This is an indictment against the defendant, charging him, under the twentieth section of the act of Congress entitled 'An act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes,' approved March 3, 1825 --"

"1st. With having brought into the United States, from a foreign place, with intent to pass, utter, publish, and sell as true, certain false, forged, and counterfeit coins, made, forged, and counterfeited in the resemblance and similitude of certain gold and silver coins of the United States, coined at the mint, he knowing the same to be false, forged, and counterfeit, and intending thereby to defraud divers persons unknown."

"2d. With having uttered, published, and passed such counterfeit coins, with intent to defraud &c. "

Page 50 U. S. 561

"To this indictment the defendant demurs, and George W. Clinton, attorney of the United States for the said district, who prosecutes in this behalf, joins in demurrer."

"This cause coming on to be argued at this term, the following questions occurred:"

"1st. Whether Congress, under and by the Constitution, had power and authority to enact so much of the said twentieth section of the said act as relates to bringing into the United States counterfeit coins."

"2d. Whether Congress, under and by virtue of the Constitution, had power to enact so much of the said twentieth section as relates to uttering, publishing, passing, and selling of the counterfeit coins therein specified."

"On which said several questions the opinions of the judges were opposed."

"Whereupon, on motion of the said attorney, prosecuting for the United States in this behalf, that the points on which the disagreement has happened may, during the term, be stated under the direction of the judges, and certified under the seal of the court to the supreme court, to be finally decided -- it is ordered that the foregoing state of the pleadings and statement of the points upon which the disagreement has happened, which is made under the direction of the judges, be certified, according to the request of the attorney, prosecuting as aforesaid, and the law in that case made and provided."

The case came up to this Court upon this certificate.

The clauses in the Constitution of the United States and the act of Congress were the following.

By the fifth and sixth clauses of the eighth section of the first Article of the Constitution, it is declared that Congress shall have power, among other things, "to coin money, regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures"; "to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States." 1 Stat. 14.

By the twentieth section of the Crimes act of 3 March, 1825 4 Stat. 121, it is enacted

"That if any person or persons shall falsely make, forge, or counterfeit, or cause or procure to be falsely made, forged, or counterfeited, or willingly aid or assist in falsely making, forging, or counterfeiting, any coin in the resemblance or similitude of the gold or silver coin which has been, or hereafter may be, coined at the mint of the United States, or in the resemblance or similitude of any foreign gold or silver coin which by the law now is or hereafter

Page 50 U. S. 562

may be made, current in the United States, or shall pass, utter, publish, or sell, or attempt to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or bring into the United States from any foreign place with intent to pass, utter, publish, or sell, as true, any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin, knowing the same to be false, forged, or counterfeited, with intent to defraud any body politic or corporate, or any other person or persons whatsoever; every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall on conviction thereof be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment and confinement to hard labor not exceeding ten years, according to the aggravation of the offense. "

Page 50 U. S. 565

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