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was offered for the ostensible purpose of explaining that part of the return of William Gray, the deputy surveyor, and the assessment for taxes received in evidence on the part of the plaintiff below, and in order to show that the taxes alleged to have been paid by Dr. Thomas Ruston might have been paid upon other tracts than the Lewis Walker tract in controversy. It seems to us, however, very clear that the offer was rightly rejected; that the part of the return offered related to other lands than the tract in question, was wholly irrelevant to the issue in the case, and did not tend to prove any material fact.
Neither was there any error in the other rulings of the court excepted to, in reference to other offers of evidence by the defendants below, made with the view of showing that Thomas Ruston paid taxes and made claims to other surveys in the name of Lewis Walker than that of the tract in dispute. None of them tended to show that Ruston was not the owner of the Lewis Walker tract in controversy, whatever they may have shown with reference to his claims to other tracts for which warrants and surveys had been made in the same name.
This disposes of all the questions raised by the assignments of error.
We find no error in the record, and the judgment is accordingly
UNITED STATES v. ARJONA.
CERTIFICATE OF DIVISION FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.
Submitted January 3, 1887. Decided March 7, 1887.
It is within the constitutional power of Congress to enact laws to provide for the punishment of the offences of counterfeiting notes of a foreign bank or corporation, or of having in possession a plate from which may be printed counterfeits of the notes of a foreign bank or corporation; and it is not necessary to allege in an indictment for such an offence, or to show, that the notes of such a bank or corporation are notes of money or issue of a foreign Government, sovereign, or
Opinion of the Court.
power; nor is it necessary to allege that the offence is "an offence against the Law of Nations."
The counterfeiting of foreign securities, whether national or corporate, which have been put out under sanction of public authority at home especially the counterfeiting of bank notes and bank bills — is an offence against the Law of Nations.
The United States being bound to protect a right secured by the Law of Nations to another nation or its people, Congress has the constitutional power to enact laws for that purpose; but this does not prevent a State from enacting laws to punish the same act when it may be an offence against the authority of the state as well as that of the United States.
INDICTMENT under the act of May 16, 1884, 23 Stat. 22, to prevent and punish the counterfeiting within the United States of notes, bonds, and other securities of foreign governments. The court below certified a Division in Opinion on several points. The case is stated in the opinion of the court.
Mr. Attorney General for plaintiff.
Mr. George W. Wingate and Mr. Augustus A. Levey for defendant.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the
This is an indictment containing three counts against Ramon Arjona, for violations of § 3 and 6, of the act of May 16, 1884, c. 52, 23 Stat. 22, "to prevent and punish the counterfeiting within the United States of notes, bonds, and other securities of foreign Governments." The first and second counts were found under § 6 of the statute, and the third under § 3.
The statute makes the following things criminal:
1. SEC. 1. Forging or counterfeiting within the United States, with intent to defraud, "any bond, certificate, obligation, or other security of any foreign Government, issued or put forth under the authority of such foreign Government, or any treasury note, bill, or promise to pay issued by such foreign Government, and intended to circulate as money either by law, order, or decree of such foreign Government."
2. SEC. 2. Knowingly, and with intent to defraud, uttering,
Opinion of the Court.
passing or putting off in payment or negotiation, within the United States, any forged or counterfeit bonds, &c., such as are described in § 1.
3. SEC. 3. Falsely making, forging or counterfeiting within the United States, with intent to defraud, or knowingly assisting therein, "any bank note or bill issued by a bank or other corporation of any foreign country, and intended by the law or usage of such foreign country to circulate as money, such bank or corporation being authorized by the laws of such country."
4. SEC. 4. Knowingly uttering, passing, putting off or tendering in payment, within the United States, with intent to defraud, any such false or counterfeited bank note or bill as is mentioned in § 3, whether forged or counterfeited in the United States or not.
5. SEC. 5. Having in possession any forged or counterfeit instruments mentioned in the preceding sections, with intent to utter, pass, or put them off, or to deliver them to others, with the intent that they may be uttered or passed.
6. SEC. 6. Having in possession" any plate, or any part thereof, from which has been printed or may be printed any counterfeit note, bond, obligation, or other security, in whole or in part, of any foreign Government, bank, or corporation, except by lawful authority;" or using such plate, or knowingly permitting or suffering "the same to be used, in counterfeiting such foreign obligations, or any part thereof; or engraving, or causing or procuring to be engraved, or assisting "in engraving, any plate in the likeness or similitude of any plate designed for the printing of the genuine issues of the obligations of any foreign Government, bank, or corporation;" or printing, photographing, or in any other manner making, executing, or selling, or causing "to be printed, photographed, made, executed, or sold,” or aiding "in printing, photographing, making, executing, or selling any engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any genuine note, bond, obligation, or other security, or any part thereof, of any foreign Government, bank, or corporation;" or bringing "into the United States any counterfeit plate, engraving, pho
Opinion of the Court.
tograph, print, or other impressions of the notes, bonds, obligations, or other securities of any foreign Government, bank, or corporation."
The first count of the indictment charges Arjona with having "in his control and custody a certain metallic plate from which there might then and there be printed in part a counterfeit note in the likeness and similitude in part of the notes theretofore issued by a foreign bank, to wit, the bank known as El Banco del Estado de Bolivar, which said bank was then and there a bank authorized by the laws of a foreign state, to wit, the state of Bolivar, said state being then and there one of the states of the United States of Columbia.”
In the second count, he is charged with having caused and procured "to be engraved a certain metallic plate in the likeness and similitude of a plate designated for the printing of the genuine issues of the obligations of a foreign bank, that is to say, of the bank notes of the bank known as El Banco del Estado de Bolivar, the same being then and there a bank authorized by the laws of a foreign state, to wit, the state of Bolivar, said state being then and there one of the states of the United States of Columbia."
In the third count, the charge is that he, "unlawfully and with intent to defraud, did cause and procure to be falsely made a certain note in the similitude and resemblance of the notes theretofore issued by a bank of a foreign country, to wit, the bank known as El Banco del Estado de Bolivar, the same being then and there a bank authorized by the laws of one of the states of the United States of Columbia, that is to say, the state of Bolivar, and the notes issued by the said bank being then and by the usage of the said state of Bolivar intended to circulate as money."
To this indictment a demurrer was filed, and the judges holding the court have certified that at the hearing the following questions arose, upon which their opinions were opposed :
1. Whether the third section of the statute is constitutional. 2. Whether the sixth section is constitutional so far as it relates to "foreign banks and corporations."
3. Whether the counterfeiting within the United States of
Opinion of the Court.
the notes of a foreign bank or corporation can be constitutionally made by Congress an offence against the law of nations.
4. Whether the obligations of the law of nations, as referred to in the Constitution of the United States, include the punishment of counterfeiting the notes of a foreign bank or corporation, or of having in possession a plate from which may be printed counterfeits of the notes of foreign banks or corporations, as mentioned in the third and sixth sections, "unless it appear or is alleged in the indictment that the notes of said foreign bank or corporation are the notes or money of issue of a foreign Government, prince, potentate, state, or power."
5. Whether, if there is power to "so define the law of nations" as to include the offences mentioned in the third and sixth sections, it is not necessary, in order "to define" the offence, that it be declared in the statute itself "to be an offence against the law of nations."
6. Whether the indictment is sufficient in law.
The fourth of the questions thus stated embraces the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th of those certified, and the fifth embraces the 9th and 10th.
Congress has power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to carry into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, Art. I, sec. 8, clause 18; and the Government of the United States has been vested exclusively with the power of representing the nation in all its intercourse with foreign countries. It alone. can "regulate commerce with foreign nations," Art. I, sec. 8, clause 3; make treaties and appoint ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls. Art. II, sec. 2, clause 2. A state is expressly prohibited from entering into any “treaty, alliance, or confederation." Art. I, sec. 10, clause 1. Thus all official intercourse between a state and foreign nations is prevented, and exclusive authority for that purpose given to the United States. The national government is in this way made responsible to foreign nations for all violations by the United States of their international obligations, and because of this, Congress is expressly authorized "to define and punish offences against the law of nations." Art. I, sec. 8, clause 10.