De Lima v. Bidwell
This was an action originally instituted in the supreme court of the state of New York by the firm of D. A. De Lima & Co. against the collector of the port of New York, to recover back duties alleged to have been illegally exacted and paid under protest upon certain importations of sugar from San Juan, in the island of Porto Rico, during the autumn of 1899, and subsequent to the cession of the island to the United States.
Upon the petition of the collector, and pursuant to Rev. Stat. § 643, the case was removed by certiorari to the circuit court of the United States, in which the defendant appeared and demurred to the complaint upon the ground that it did not state a cause of action, and also that the court had no jurisdiction of the case. The demurrer was sustained upon both grounds, and the action dismissed. Hence this writ of error.
In this and the following cases, which may be collectively designated as the 'Insular Tariff Cases,' the dates here given become material:
In July, 1898, Porto Rico was invaded by the military forces of the United States under General Miles.
On August 12, 1898, during the progress of the campaign, a protocol was entered into between the Secretary of State and the French Ambassador on the part of Spain, providing for a suspension of hostilities, the cession of the island, and the conclusion of a treaty of peace. 30 Stat. at L. 1742.
On October 18 Porto Rico was evacuated by the Spanish forces.
On December 10, 1898, such treaty was signed at Paris (under which Spain ceded to the United States the island of Porto Rico), was ratified by the President and Senate February 6, 1899, and by the Queen Regent of Spain March 19, 1899. 30 Stat. at L. 1754.
On March 2, 1899, an act was passed making an appropriation to carry out the obligations of the treaty.
On April 11, 1899, the ratifications were exchanged, and the treaty proclaimed at Washington.
On April 12, 1900, an act was passed, commonly called the Foraker act, to provide temporary revenues and a civil government for Porto Rico, which took effect May 1, 1900.
Messrs. Frederic R. Coudert, Jr., Charles F. Adams, and Paul Fuller for plaintiffs in error.
Solicitor General Richards and Attorney General Griggs for defendant in error.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 3-174 intentionally omitted]
Mr. Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the court: