Page images
PDF
EPUB

Commerce.

(C) The design and object of this power was to establish a perfect equality among the several States, as to commercial rights, and to prevent unjust and invidious distinctions which local jealousies or local and partial interests might be disposed to introduce and maintain. These were the views pressed upon the public attention by the advocates for the adoption of the Constitution, and the decisions have been in accordance therewith. Veazie v. Moor, 14 How 568 ; s. C. 32 Me. 343.

Although the power to regulate is given in the same words in relation to commerce with foreign nations, among the States and with the Indian tribes, yet, as the subject to be regulated is different in each case; and as the relation in which Congress stands to the parties is also different, there is good reason for giving different effect to the same granting words in the several cases. Surely it can not be that Congress may exercise the same powers in regulating commerce among the States as it exercises in regulating commerce with the Indian tribes. If this be admitted, it must also be admitted that the identity of the language in which the power is given to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, does not prove that the power itself is as to its extent, and the modes of its legitimate exercise identical in both cases. Comm. v. Griffin, 3 B. Mon. 208.

The power is a power to regulate, that is, to prescribe the rule by which commerce is to be governed. This power, like all others vested in Congress, is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations other than are prescribed in the Constitution. The power over commerce with foreign nations and among the several States is vested in Congress as absolutely as it would be in a single government having in its Constitution the same restrictions on the exercise of the power as are found in the Constitution of the United States. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. I; S. C. 17 Johns. 488 ; 4 Johns. Ch. 150.

Commerce undoubtedly is traffic, but it is something more : it is intercourse. It describes commercial intercourse between nations and parts of nations in all its branches, and is regulated by prescribing rules for carrying on that intercourse. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. I ; S. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 150; Steamboat Co. v. Livingston, 3 Cow. 713; S. C. 1 Hopk. 150; Brown v. State, 12 Wheat. 419; Groves v. Slaughter, 15 Pet. 449; Mitchell v. Steelman, 8 Cal. 363.

Navigation is only one of the elements of commerce. It is an element of commerce because it affords the means of transporting passengers and nierchandise, the interchange of which commerce. Any other mode of effecting this is as much an element of commerce as navigation. Clinton Bridge, 1 Wool. 150 ; S. C. 10 Wall. 454.

The word “commerce comprehends navigation within its meaning, and a power to regulate navigation is as expressly granted as if that term had been added to the word "commerce.” Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1 ; s. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 150; Steamboat Co. v. Livingston, 3 Cow. 713; S. C. i Hopk. 150; Brig Wilson v. U. S. i Brock. 423; Chapman v. Miller, 2 Spears, 769; Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283; S. C. 45 Mass. 282; Cooley v. Philadelphia, 12 How. 299.

The word commerce refers to trade. U. S. v. Bailey, 1 McLean, 234.

The term "intercourse” includes the transportation of passengers. People v. Raymond, 34 Cal. 492.

Commerce is a unit, its several parts so united and bound together as to be inseparable, and as intercourse is a component part of commerce, the power to regulate commerce includes the power to regulate intercourse. The power comes from the grant, and is co-extensive with the subject to which it relates. Lin Sing v. Washburn, 20 Cal. 534. Commerce comprehends intercourse for the purposes of trade in any

and all its forms, including the transportation, purchase, sale and exchange of commodities between the citizens of the United States and the citizens or subjects of other countries, and between the citizens of the different States. Welton v.

State, 91 U. S. 275; S. C. 55 Mo. 288. The word commerce, as here used, is not limited to the mere buying and selling of merchandise and other commodities, but comprehends the entire commercial intercourse with foreign nations and among the several States. It includes navigation as well as traffic in its ordinary signification, and embraces ships and vessels as the instruments of intercourse and trade, as well as the officers and seamen who control and navigate them. People v. Brooks, 4 Denio, 469.

4 The words of this clause comprehend every species of commercial intercourse between the United States and foreign nations. No sort of trade can be carried on between this country and any other to which this power does not extend. Commerce, as the word is used in the Constitution, is a unit, every part of which is indicated by the term. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1 ; S. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 150.

It makes no difference whether the interchange of commodities is by land or by water. In either case the bringing of the goods from the seller to the buyer is commerce. State Freight Tax, 15 Wall. 232; Clinton Bridge, 1 Wool. 150; S. C. 10 Wall. 454.

By the term commerce is meant not traffic only, but every species of commercial intercourse, every communication by land or by water, foreign and domestic, external and internal. State v. Del. L. & W. R. R. Co. 30 N. J. 473; S. C. 31 N. J. 531.

C

The power to regulate commerce extends to persons as well as things. Lin Sing v. Washburn, 20 Cal. 534.

Communication by telegraph is a part of commerce. West. U, Tel. 9 Co. v. Atlantic & Pac. Tel. Co. 5 Nev. 102; Penn. Tel. Co. v. W. U. Tel. Co. 2 Woods, 643.

The transportation of freight or of the subjects of commerce for the purpose of exchange or sale is a constituent of commerce. State Freight Tax, 15 Wall. 232.

The power to regulate commerce embraces all the instruments by 기

which it may be carried on. Welton v. State, 91 U. S. 275; S. C. 55 Mo. 288.

The power includes commerce carried on by corporations as well as commerce carried on by individuals. Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall, 168.

The language of the grant makes no reference to the instrumentalities by which commerce may be carried on. It includes alike commerce by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations. Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall. 168.

Congress has the power to regulate the vessels as well as the articles 9

they bring. Brig Wilson v. U. S. 1 Brock. 423.

The power of Congress to regulate commerce extends to all the immediate agents and vehicles of commerce, and as it extends to these vehicles for some purposes, it must for all. Mitchell v. Steelman, 8 Cal. 363

The power to regulate navigation is the power to prescribe rules in conformity with which navigation must be carried on. It extends to the persons who conduct it as well as to the instruments used. Cooley v. Philadelphia, 12 How. 299.

The power extends to the regulation of the navigation of vessels engaged in conveying passengers, whether steam vessels or of any other description, as well as to the navigation of vessels engaged in traffic merely. Murphy v. Northern Transportation Co. 15 Ohio St. 553; People v. Raymond, 34 Cal. 492; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. I; S. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 150; Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283; S. C. 45 Mass. 282.

A coasting vessel employed in the transportation of passengers is as much a portion of the American marine as one employed in the transportation of a cargo, and no reason is perceived why such vessel should be withdrawn from the regulating power of that government which has been thought best fitted for the purpose generally. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1; S. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 282.

The power authorizes all appropriate legislation for the protection or advancement of either interstate or foreign commerce, and for that purpose such legislation as will insure the convenient and safe navigation of all the navigable waters of the United States, whether that legislation consists in requiring the removal of obstructions to their use, or in subjecting the vessels to inspection and license, in order to insure their proper construction and equipment. The Daniel Ball, 10 Wall. 557 ; S. C. 1 Brown, 193.

The power to regulate, control or extinguish the liens given by the maritime law for material-men upon foreign vessels does not differ from the power to regulate the shipping of seamen or the navigation of foreign vessels. The Barque Chusan, 2 Story, 455.

The prescribing of rules for the shipping of seamen and the navigation of vessels engaged in the foreign trade, or trade between the States, is a regulation of commerce. The Barque Chusan, 2 Story, 455.

The passage of laws which concern the admission of citizens and subjects of foreign nations to our shores, belongs to Congress, and not to the States. It has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. The responsibility for the character of those regulations, and the manner of their execution, belongs solely to the national government. Chy Lung v. Freeman, 92 U. S. 275.

The power to regulate commerce includes the power to prohibit the migration or importation of any persons whatever into the States, except so far as this power may be restrained by other clauses of the Constitution. Brig Wilson v. U. S. 1 Brock. 423; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. I; S. C. 17 Johns. 488; 4 Johns. Ch. 150; Passenger Cases, 7 How. 283; s. C. 45 Mass. 282; People v. Downer, 7 Cal. 169.

Congress has the power to prohibit the importation of slaves into the United States. U. S. v. Gould, 8 A. L. Reg. 525; U. S. v. Haun, 8 A. L. Reg. 663

Congress has the power to punish any person who holds or sells a slave imported from a foreign country, although the slave has passed out of the hands of the importer. V. S. v. Haun, 8 A. L. Reg. 663; contra, U. S. v. Gould, 8 A. L. Reg. 525.

The power to regulate commerce confers no power on Congress to declare the status which any person shall sustain while in any State. It ceases in the case of passengers when they arrive in the State. Lemmon v. People, 26 Barb. 270; S. C. 20 N. Y. 562; 2 Sandf. 681.

The issuing of a policy of insurance is not a transaction of commerce. Such policies are like other personal contracts between parties, which are completed by their signature and the transfer of the consideration. They are not interstate transactions, though the parties may be domiciled in different States. Paul v. Virginia, 8 Wall. 168.

It was never intended that this power should be exercised so as to interfere with private contracts not designed, at the time they were made, to create impediments to commercial intercourse. Railroad Co. v. Richmond, 19 Wall. 584.

A law passed to induce immigration for the purpose of settlement is a regulation of commerce, and the Federal Government may pass such a law for immigration, either temporary or permanent, as an essential ingredient of intercourse and traffic. Lin Sing v. Washburn, 20 Cal. 534.

Congress may pass laws for the regulation of seamen to be employed in the merchant service, for otherwise commerce could not be carried on. Ex parte Wm. Pool, 2 Va. Cas. 276.

Congress, having created vessels of the United States, has the power to pass a recording act for the security and protection of all persons dealing therein. White's Bank v. Smith, 7 Wall. 646; Mitchell v. Steelman, 8 Cal. 363; Shaw v. McCandless, 36 Miss. 296; Blanchard v. The Martha Washington, i Cliff. 463; Foster v. Chamberlain, 41 Ala. 158.

The regulation of the qualification of pilots, of the modes and times of offering and rendering their services, of the responsibilities which shall rest upon them, of the powers they shall possess, of the compensation which they may demand, and of the penalties by which their rights and duties may be enforced, is a regulation of navigation. Cooley v. Philadelphia, 12 How. 299; Dryden v. Comm. 16 B. Mon. 598 ; Cisco v. Roberts, 6 Bosw. 494; Edwards v. Panama, i Oregon, 418.

The passage of an act of Congress relating to pilots does not release a party from a penalty incurred under a State law which is thereby superseded. Sturges v. Spofford, 45 N. Y. 446.

The power to regulate commerce is not to be confined to the adoption of measures exclusively beneficial to commerce itself, or tending to its advancement, but in the national system, as in all modern sovereignties, it is also to be considered as an instrument for other purposes of general policy and interest. The mode of its management is a consideration of great delicacy and importance, but the national right or power under the Constitution to adapt regulations of commerce to other purposes than the mere advancement of commerce is unquestionable. The capacity and power of managing and directing it for the advancement of great national purposes is an important ingredient of sovereignty. The degree and extent of the prohibitions can only be adjusted by the discretion of the national government to whom the subject is committed. U. S. v. The William, 2 Am. L.

J. 255.

Every subject falling within the legitimate sphere of commercial regulation may be partially or wholly excluded when either measure shall be demanded by the safety or by the important interests of the entire nation.

« PreviousContinue »