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Opinion of the Court.

of receipts or bills of lading, was unconstitutional, null and void; that the express company, its officers and agents be restrained from voluntarily complying with the order of the Commission of August 2, 1898, and paying such tax; that the Attorney General of the State be restrained from instituting any suit against the express company for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the above order of the Railroad Commission; that a perpetual injunction, of the same purport, tenor and effect be granted to complainants; and that the plaintiffs have such other and further relief in the premises as the nature of the case required and to a court of equity might seem meet.

The Railroad Commissioners and the Attorney General of the State severally demurred to the bill. The case having been argued upon the demurrers, Judge Speer delivered an opinion which is reported in 92 Fed. Rep. 714.

That opinion was accompanied by the following order, entered March 7, 1899: “It is now upon consideration ordered, adjudged and decreed that the prayer that the Southern Express Company be enjoined from voluntarily paying the war-stamp tax in question be, and the same is hereby, denied; ordered, adjudged and decreed further that the defendants, the Railroad Commission of Georgia, and each member thereof, to wit, the individual defendants, Leander N. Trammell, Thomas C. Crenshaw, Jr., and Spencer R. Atkinson, be, and the same are hereby, enjoined from any and all order, direction, action or legal steps instituting or tending to institute, and from any and all pro ceedings for the recovery of the penalties named in the statute of Georgia in that behalf to enforce compliance with its said order against the Southern Express Company, its officers or agents, as threatened in the order of said commission, dated August 2, 1898, for the reason that said order is null and void, and said commission bas no jurisdiction to adjudge and designate the party who shall pay said tax." The court in its opinion said: “It is not deemed necessary to enjoin the Attorney General, for it is presumed that the eminent la vyer, who is the official head of the bar of the State, will, without such injunction, accord all appropriate respect to the decision of the court.”

Opinion of the Court.

Upon appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals the decree of the Circuit Court was reversed, June 7, 1900, with directions to dismiss the case, Judge McCormick delivering the opinion of the court, Judge Shelby dissenting. 102 Fed Rep. 794.

The case was thereupon brought to this court upon writ of certiorari, and was submitted for decision at the last term.

After the submission of the case in this court the above part of the War Revenue Act of 1898 relating to stamps to be attached to bills of lading, manifests, etc., was amended in important particulars by an act of Congress approved March 2, 1901, c. 806. One amendment, which took effect on and after July 1, 1901, provided that the above part of the act of 1898 should be amended to read as follows:

“FREIGHT: It shall be the duty of every railroad or steamboat company, carrier or corporation, or person whose occupation is to act as such, except persons, companies or corporations engaged in carrying on a local or other express ousiness, to issue to the shipper or consignor, or his agent, or person from whom any goods are accepted for transportation, a bill of lading, manifest or other evidence of receipt and forwarding for each sbipment received for carriage and transportation, whether in bulk or in boxes, bales, packages, bundles, or not so inclosed or included; and there shall be duly attached and cancelled, as is in this act provided, to each of said bills of lading, manifest or other memorandum, and to each duplicate thereof, a stamp of the value of one cent: Provided, That- but one bill of lading shall be required on bundles or packages of newspapers when inclosed in one general bundle at the time of shipment. Any failure to issue such a bill of lading, manifest or other memorandum, as herein provided, shall subject such railroad or steamboat company, carrier or corporation, or person to a penalty of fifty dollars for each offence, and no such bill of lading, manifest or other memorandum shall be used in evidence unless it shall be duly stamped as aforesaid.” 31 Stat. 938, 945.

This change in the law renders it unnecessary to consider any of the important questions determined in the Circuit Court and Circuit Court of Appeals under the act of 1898. The object of this suit was to prevent the enforcement of the order of

Opinion of the Court.

the Railroad Commission based upon its construction of that act. But whatever might be now held as to the meaning and scope of the act of 1898 as applied to express companies, the amendatory statute of 1901, in declaring what companies, corporations and persons shall attach the required stamp to bills of lading, manifests and receipts for goods or other property to be transported, distinctly excludes express companies. So that no actual controversy now remains or can arise between the parties. The plaintiffs do not need any relief, because the act of 1901 accomplishes the result they wished.

Although this cause was determined in the Circuit Court of Appeals and was submitted here prior to July 1, 1901, our judgment must have some reference to the act of 1901. In United States v. Schooner Peggy, 1 Cranch, 103, 109, the Chief Justice, delivering the opinion of the court, said: “It is in general true that the province of an appellate court is only to inquire whether a judgment when rendered was erroneous or not. But if, subsequent to the judgment, and before the decision of the appellate court, a law intervenes and positively changes the rule which governs, the law must be obeyed, or its obligation denied. If the law be constitutional, and of that no doubt in the present case has been expressed, I know of no court which can contest its obligation.” Mills v. Green, 159 U. S. 651, 653; New Orleans Flour Inspector v. Glover, 160 U. S. 170; Same v. Same, 161 U. S. 101.

If the cause bad not been submitted in the Circuit Court of Appeals until after the act of 1901 took effect, that court, we apprehend, would have dismissed the suit upon the ground that by the operation of that legislation the whole subject matter of litigation had disappeared and that the order of the Railroad Commission, even if orignally valid, ceased to have any effect. The question whether the express company or the shipper was required by the act of 1898 to furnish the required stamp, as well as the question whether the Railroad Commission had any power to make the order of which complaint is made, would thus have become immaterial, and the dismissal of the suit would have resulted without any reference to the merits of the case as affected by the act of 1898.

Opinion of the Court.

As the order of the Circuit Court of Appeals directing the dismissal of the suit accomplishes a result that is appropriate in view of the act of 1901, we need not consider the grounds upon which that court proceeded, or any of the questions determined by it or by the Circuit Court, and The judgment must be affirmed without costs in this court, and

it is 80 ordered.





No. 67. Argued October 29, 30, 1901. - Decided December 2, 1901.

An agreed statement of facts which is so defective as to present, in addition

to certain ultimate facts, other and evidential facts upon which a material ultimate fact might have been but which was not agreed upon or found, cannot be regarded as a substantial compliance with the requirements of Rev. Stat. $ 649 and of Rev. Stat. $ 700.

The statement of facts will be found in the opinion of the court.

Mr. W. E.

Mr. Delevan A. Holmes for plaintiff in error. Mason was on his brief.

Mr. John N. Jewett for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiff in error brings this case here to review a judgment of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 98 Fed. Rep. 688, affirming a judgment of the District Court of Illinois in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff in error is the receiver of the First National Bank of Helena,

Opinion of the Court.

Montana, and brought this action against the defendant to enforce an assessment of 100 per cent ordered by the Comptroller of the Currency on all owners of shares in that bank. In his declaration the plaintiff, after alleging the organization of the bank, bis appointment as receiver and the assessment by the Comptroller, averred that “the Merchants' Loan and Trust Company, a corporation, at some time between the first day of December, 1894, and first day of June, 1895, (the exact date being to plaintiff unknown,) purchased and became the owner of 120 shares of the capital stock of said First National Bank of Helena, Montana, of the par value of one hundred dollars each, and continued to be and was at the time said bank suspended and ceased to do business the real owner of the same; but in order to evade the responsibility imposed by law upon the shareholders in said bank caused said shares to be placed on the books of said bank in the name of P. C. Peterson, one of its employés, in whose name said shares appeared on the said books at the time of said failure. And the plaintiff avers that the said Peterson was at the time said stock was issued to him as aforesaid and at the time of the failure of said bank, a person of small means and not responsible financially."

The plaintiff demanded judgment for the sum of $12,000, being $100 on each share of the stock in the bank owned (as alleged) by the defendant.

As one of several defences to the action, the defendant pleaded that the plaintiff ought not to maintain his action“ because it says that it did not, at any time between the first day of December, 1894, and the first day of June, 1895, or at any other time, purchase or become the owner of one hundred and twenty shares of the capital stock of the said First National Bank of Helena, Montana, or any share or shares of the capital stock of said bank, and of this the said defendant puts itself upon the country,” etc.

Under these pleadings the plaintiff, of course, bad the burden of proving ownership of the stock by the defendant.

The parties waived a trial by jury and entered into the following stipulation :

“It is hereby stipulated and agreed between the parties

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