Cannon v. New Orleans
87 U.S. 577

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cannon v. New Orleans, 87 U.S. 20 Wall. 577 577 (1874)

Cannon v. New Orleans

87 U.S. (20 Wall.) 577




1. An ordinance of the City of New Orleans which demands of all steamboats which shall moor or land in any part of the port of New Orleans a sum measured by the tonnage of the vessel is a tonnage tax within the meaning of the federal Constitution, and therefore, void.

2. It is a tax for the privilege of stopping in the port of New Orleans, and cannot be justified under the plea that it is intended as a compensation for the use of wharves built by the city.

3. For the use of wharves, piers, and similar structures, whether owned by individuals or by the city or other corporation, a reasonable compensation may be charged to the vessel, to be regulated in the interest of the public by the state legislature or city council.

4. But in the exercise of this right, care must be taken that it is not made to cover a violation o

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