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Opinion of the Court.
"SEC. 1. That the value of foreign coin, as expressed in the money of account of the United States, shall be that of the pure metal of such coin of standard value; and the values of the standard coins in circulation of the various nations of the world shall be estimated annually by the director of the mint, and proclaimed on the first day of January by the Secretary of the Treasury.
"SEC. 2. That in all payments by or to the treasury, whether made here or in foreign countries, when it becomes necessary to compute the value of the sovereign or pound sterling, it shall be deemed equal to four dollars eighty-six cents and six and one half mills, and the same rule shall be applied in appraising merchandise imported, when the value is, by the invoice, in sovereigns or pounds sterling, and in the construction of contracts payable in sovereigns or pounds sterling; and this valuation shall be the par of exchange between Great Britain and the United States; and all contracts made after the first day of January, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, based on assumed par of exchange with Great Britain, of fifty-four pence to the dollar, or four dollars forty-four and four ninths cents to the sovereign or pound sterling, shall be null and void.
"SEC. 3. That all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with these provisions be, and the same are hereby, repealed."
In pursuance of this statute the director of the mint estimated the value of the Russian rouble for the year 1874 at 77.17 cents in United States money of account, and the Secretary of the Treasury thereafter, on the 20th of December, 1873, proclaimed by a circular addressed to the collectors of customs, that, "from and after January 1st, 1874, the following table of standard values of foreign moneys, reduced to the moneys of account of the United States, will, until otherwise provided for by law or regulation, be taken at customhouses in computing the invoice value of all imported merchandise expressed in such currency, to wit, Russian roubles of 100 copecks, silver, 77.17."
The foregoing facts appearing at the trial of the case before the court and a jury, the plaintiffs contended that the wool was purchased before the act of March 3, 1873, took
Opinion of the Court.
effect, and that the value in United States money should have been computed as of the time of exportation. These positions were overruled by the court, and it directed the jury to find a verdict for the defendant, which was done under the objection and exception of the plaintiffs. To review a judg ment for the defendant the plaintiffs have brought this writ of error.
The decision of this court in The Collector v. Richards, 23 Wall. 246, establishes that the effect of the act of 1873 was to fix the value of the Russian silver rouble, in the money of account of the United States, for the purpose of computing, at the custom-house, the amount of an invoice of imported goods, and, consequently, to repeal the act of 1843. See, also, Cramer v. Arthur, 102 U. S. 612; Hadden v. Merritt, 115 U. S. 25.
Evidence that the merchandise cost, exclusive of charges, less than twelve cents per pound, at the time and place of exportation, could not affect the question, because, although the duty was imposed according to the value of the goods "at the last port or place whence exported to the United States," yet, when that value was stated, in the invoice, in the foreign silver currency, its equivalent in the money of account of the United States could not be computed, for the purpose of the entry of the goods at the custom-house, for duty, at any sum less than the invoice or entered value. Section 7 of the act of March 3, 1865, c. 80, 13 Stat. 493, in force at the time of this importation, provided that, in all cases where the duty imposed by law should be based upon the value of any specified quantity of merchandise, the value upon which the duty should be assessed should be its actual market value or wholesale price at the period of exportation, in the principal markets of the country of exportation, but that the duty should not be assessed "upon an amount less than the invoice or entered value, any act of Congress to the contrary notwithstanding." This made it imperative on the collector to compute the value of the silver rouble, at the time of the entry, according to that value as determined in accordance with the act of 1873, which was 77.17 cents. The duty was imposed by the statute ac
Opinion of the Court.
cording to the "value" of the goods at the time and place of exportation. The importer stated that "value," in the foreign coin, in his invoice and entry. The statute as to computation applied as of the date of entry, to such entered value. Hence it could not affect the question to show that the "cost" of the goods abroad, computing the rouble at a lower rate, as of the date of exportation, was twelve cents or less per pound.
ROBERTS v. PHOENIX LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY.
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY.
Argued January 12, 13, 1887. - Decided Janury 24, 1887.
In a suit in equity by a wife against a life insurance company and her husband, in the Circuit Court of the United States in Kentucky, to recover, as assignce of her husband by a written assignment, the amount insured by a policy issued by the company in favor of the husband and his assigns, on the life of a debtor of his, for $20,000, the husband having, after the date of such assignment and before the death of the debtor, delivered the policy to the company, with a written assignment by him to it, indorsed on the policy of "all right and title to the within policy," and expressing a consideration of $4000, and received the $4000, the Circuit Court having dismissed the bill, this court, on appeal, affirmed the decree, on the ground that the assignment to the wife was not satisfactorily proved to have been made or delivered before the transaction between the husband and the company.
Mr. Marc. Mundy and Mr. Samuel Shellabarger for appel
Mr. Augustus E. Willson for appellee.
MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.
On the 27th of August, 1872, the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, a Connecticut
Opinion of the Court.
corporation, issued a policy, No. 66,488, whereby, in consideration of the representations made to them in the application for the policy, and the sum of $1024 to it duly paid "by A. B. Cook, creditor," and of the annual payment of a like amount on or before the 27th day of August in every year during the continuance of the policy, it assured the life of William G. Harvison, of Louisville, Kentucky, in the amount of $20,000, for the term of his natural life, the amount of the insurance to be paid, after the death of Harvison, "to the said A. B. Cook, creditor, and his executors, administrators, or assigns," "any indebtedness to the company on account of this policy being first deducted therefrom." The policy was in force at the death of Harvison, which occurred August 25, 1880. Fannie M. Cook, the wife of said A. B. Cook, both of whom resided at Louisville, Kentucky, commenced a suit in March, 1881, in a state court of Kentucky, against the company, to recover on the policy $17,340, with interest, being the amount of the policy, less certain premium notes. She based her claim to recover on a written assignment, which she alleged had been executed by her husband, A. B. Cook, and delivered to her, on the 19th of September, 1872, twenty-three days after the date of the policy, and which was in these words:
"This instrument of writing certifies that the policy No. 66,488 I have taken out on the life of Wm. G. Harvison, for twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars in the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Hartford, Connecticut, was taken out by me for the sole benefit of my wife, Fannie M. Cook; and I hereby declare that the above-mentioned life policy of $20,000, and the money secured thereby, is given and assigned to my said wife as separate estate, and shall continue to be the separate estate of my said wife; and whether the said Harvison dies before or after me, my said wife shall have and receive and hold said money as her separate estate and for her separate and sole benefit, to dispose of as she may think proper. "Witness my hand this 19th day of September, 1872, at Louisville, Ky. A. B. Cook."
Opinion of the Court.
The suit was removed into the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky, where the plaintiff filed a bill in equity making the company and A. B. Cook defendants, and praying judgment against the company for the $17,340 and interest. The company answered, setting up various defences, on which issue was joined. A. B. Cook also answered. On a hearing on proofs, the court dismissed the bill, without delivering any opinion, oral or written. The plaintiff appealed to this court. She has since died, and her executrix has been substituted as plaintiff.
It appears, by the proofs, that A. B. Cook, on the 14th of June, 1880, and before Harvison's death, received from the company $4000, and delivered to it the policy and the following instrument, signed by him, indorsed on the policy:
"LOUISVILLE, KY., June 14, 1880.
"I hereby sell, transfer, and assign to the Phoenix Mut. Life Ins. Co. of Hartford, Conn., all right and title to the within policy on the life of W. G. Harvison, in consideration of the sum of four thousand dollars in hand paid, by draft on the said Co., and a return of the premium notes.
A. B. COOK."
Among the defences set up and urged by the defendant were: (1) that A. B. Cook, who was a witness for his wife, was not a competent witness for her under the statutes of Kentucky; (2) that no assignment of the policy by A. B. Cook to his wife was ever in fact executed and delivered; (3) that Fannie A. Cook had no insurable interest in the life of Harvison, and, therefore, could not become assignee of the policy; (4) that the statement in the application for the policy, that Harvison was not addicted to the habitual use of spirituous liquors was untrue; (5) that after the policy was issued the habits of Harvison became, as to the use of spirituous liquors, so far different from his habits as to such use represented in the application, as to make the risk more than ordinarily hazardous.
Without considering any of the other questions raised, we