Calkin v. Cocke
Annotate this Case
55 U.S. 227 (1852)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Calkin v. Cocke, 55 U.S. 14 How. 227 227 (1852)
Calkin v. Cocke
55 U.S. (14 How.) 227
The State of Texas was admitted into the Union on the 29th of December, 1845, 9 Stat. 108, and from that day the laws of the United States were extended over it.
Consequently, on the 30th of January, 1846, the revenue laws of Texas were not in force there, and goods seized for a noncompliance with those laws were illegally seized.
Calkin & Company were merchants of the County of Galveston, Texas, and Cocke was Collector of Galveston under the Republic of Texas.
By a joint resolution of Congress, approved on 1 March, 1845, the President of the United States was authorized to submit one of two alternative propositions to the Republic of Texas as an overture for her admission as a state into the Union. One of these contemplated the completion of this measure and the adjustment of its terms by legislation, and the other by negotiation. The President selected the former, and presented to Texas the proposals contained in the first and second sections of the said resolutions. The first section declared
"That Congress doth consent that the Territory of Texas may be erected into a state, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of government, to be adopted by the people of said Republic, by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing government, in order that the same may be admitted as one of the states of this Union."
And the second section declares that this consent on the part of the United States was given upon several conditions, one of which required the constitution, which was to be framed by the convention, to be transmitted, with the proper evidences of its adoption by the people of the said Republic of Texas, to the President of the United States, to be laid before the Congress
of the Union for its final action, on or before the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty-six. This consent, with the conditions on which it was given, was communicated to the Republic of Texas, and in the course of the following summer and autumn the people of Texas, by deputies in Convention assembled, with the consent of the then existing government, erected it into a new state, with a republican form of government, as shown by the constitution then adopted by them for its government, and declared and ordained that they accepted the proposal contained in the resolutions just spoken of, and assented to the conditions on which it was made. The constitution adopted by the people of Texas, with the evidence of its adoption, and of their acceptance of the proposal made by Congress, and their assent to the conditions with which it was accompanied, was laid before Congress at the opening of the session of 1845-1846, and on the 29th of December, 1845, the Congress of the United States, after taking cognizance of the acceptance of the proposal and of the conditions annexed to it by the people of Texas, and of the constitution adopted by them, declared that the State of Texas "shall be one and is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America," &c.
This Constitution of Texas, thus adopted by that state and laid before Congress, contained, amongst others, the following provisions. By the first section of the twelfth article of the said constitution, it was declared that
"All process which shall be issued in the name of the Republic of Texas, prior to the organization of the state government under this constitution, shall be as valid as if issued in the name of the State of Texas."
In the second section of the same article it was provided that
"All criminal prosecutions or penal actions which shall have arisen prior to the organization of the state government under this Constitution, in any of the courts of the Republic of Texas, shall be prosecuted to judgment and execution in the name of the state,"
&c. The sixth section contained a provision that if it should appear, on the second Monday of November, 1845, from the returns, that a majority of the votes polled of the people of Texas were given for the adoption of the constitution, the President should make proclamation of that fact, and thenceforth the constitution was ordained and established as the constitution of the state, to go into operation, and be of force and effect, from and after the organization of the state government under the said constitution. By section ten, it was declared
"That the laws of this Republic relative to the duties of officers, both civil and military, of the same, shall remain in full force, and the duties of their several offices shall be performed in conformity with the existing laws, until the organization of the
government of the state under this constitution, or until the first day of the meeting of the legislature,"
On the same day that Congress declared that Texas shall be and is hereby declared to be one of the United States, viz., on the 29th of December, 1845, 9 Stat. 108, Congress passed an act extending the laws of the United States over Texas and declaring them to have full force and effect within the state. It provided also for the establishment of a court of the United States, with its necessary officers. And on the 31st of December, 1845, another law was passed constituting Texas a collection district, and making Galveston a port of entry.
The Legislature of Texas did not meet, nor was the state government completely organized under its new constitution, until the 16th of February, 1846.
On the 30th of January, 1846, Calkin & Company imported into Galveston from New Orleans a large amount of merchandise, principally the growth and manufacture of the United States.
These goods were seized by Cocke, claiming one thousand dollars as duty, under the revenue laws of Texas. Calkin & Company protested against this, and demanded that the goods should be delivered to them in accordance with an Act of Congress of the United States of the 31st December, 1845, and of a circular of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of 9th January, 1846, declaring that
"Vessels and their cargoes arriving in any port of the State of Texas either from a foreign port or a port in any other state or territory of the United States, are to be placed on a similar footing with vessels and their cargoes arriving at ports in any of the states of the Union."
On the trial of the case in the District Court of the State of Texas, on the 5th of January, 1847, a judgment was rendered therein in favor of plaintiffs, restraining the defendant from claiming any duties on the merchandise, and condemning him to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, the damages assessed by the jury, as damages for the unlawful detention of the merchandise, and the costs of the suit. From this judgment a writ of error was prosecuted to the Supreme Court of Texas, and by that tribunal the judgment was reversed and one given in favor of the defendant for the sum of nine hundred and sixteen dollars, the amount of duties unpaid, and the amount of costs expended in and about the suit.
A writ of error brought this judgment up to this Court.