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Faw v. Marsteller. 2 C.
a departure from that rule ; it is contended that such circumstances have not been shown in the cause under consideration.
It is said that the case ought to be an extraordinary one; that the circumstances ought to be uncommon which would warrant a departure from the general principle established for the government of contracts generally.
* This is true, and the court would certainly not feel itself at liberty to exercise on a common occasion a discretionary [ * 31 ] power, limited only by the opinion entertained of the naked justice of the case.
But this appears to the court to be an extraordinary case. The evidence goes a great way in proving that the parties to the contract believed that the sums becoming due under it, would at no distant period be payable in specie only. This testimony is the more to be credited, because it is not easy to conceive any other motive for disposing of the property on the terms on which it was parted with; and still more, because such was the operation of the existing law on the contract when it was entered into. Under this impression, an impression warranted by the law of the land, a very valuable property has been conveyed away for what would have been, under the then existing law, a full consideration, but which a subsequent act of the legislature has reduced certainly to a tenth, perhaps to a twentieth, of the real value of the estate disposed of.
Such a case is, in the opinion of the court, an extraordinary case, which is completely entitled to the extraordinary relief furnished by the act, which has occasioned the mischief.
In inquiring to what extent this relief ought to be afforded, or, in the words of the law, what “judgment will be just and equitable,” the court can perceive no other guide by which its opinion ought in this case to be regulated, but the real value of the property at the time it was sold. The record does not furnish satisfactory evidence of this value. It is proved that a lot not superior to that which occasioned the present contest, rented in the year 1774 for 131. 5s. per annum, and that other lots, perhaps not equal to it, rented in 1784, for 25l. per annum. It is even proved that a small part of the very lots, about the value of which the inquiry is now to be made, rented in the year 1784, on a ground-rent forever, for 251. 16s. per annum. These are very strong circumstances in support of the decree of the circuit court, fixing the rent at 261. per annum, * the nominal sum mentioned in the lease. But a majority [ * 32 ] of the judges are of opinion that the value must be ascertained by a less erring standard.
Faw v. Marsteller. 2 C.
Neither the value in 1774 nor in 1784 ought to regulate the rent. The value at the date of the contract must be the sum which in equity and justice the lessee ought to pay, and as this value is not ascertained by the testimony in the record, it ought to be found by a jury. In finding this value, however, the jury ought not to be governed by the particular difficulty of obtaining gold and silver coin at the time, but their conduct ought to be regulated by the real value of the property, if a solid equivalent for specie had been made receivable in lieu thereof. On these principles the court has directed the following decree:
This cause, which was abated by the death of the appellee, and revived in the name of his administrator, came on to be heard on the transcript of the record, and was fully argued by counsel. On consideration whereof the court is of opinion, that there is error in the decree of the circuit court in this; that the rents reserved in the lease in the proceedings mentioned, bearing date the fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine, and which were in arrear and unpaid, were decreed to be paid at their value according to the scale of depreciation when the same became due; and that those rents which accrued after the 1st of January, 1782, are decreed to be paid according to the nominal sum mentioned in the lease; whereas the annual rent reserved in the said lease ought to be reduced to such a sum in specie, as the property conveyed was, at the date of the contract, actually worth ; to ascertain which the evidence of the cause not being sufficient for that purpose, an issue ought to have been directed, according to the verdict on which, if satisfactory to the court, the final decree ought to have been rendered.
This court is, therefore, of opinion that the decree ren[*33 ] dered in this cause in the circuit court for the county of
Alexandria ought to be reversed, and it is hereby reversed and annulled; and the court, proceeding to give such decree as the circuit court ought to have given, doth decree and order that an issue be directed between the parties to be tried at the bar of the said circuit court, in order to ascertain what was the actual annual value in specie, or in any other money equivalent thereto, of the half-acre lot of ground which was conveyed, by the executors of John Alexander, deceased, to Abraham Faw, on the fifth day of August, 1779, and that in the account between the parties, in order to a final decree, the representatives of said Philip Marsteller be allowed a credit for the rent which has accrued, and which remains unpaid, estimate ing the said annual rent at such sum as the verdict of a jury, to be approved of by the said circuit court, shall ascertain the half-acre lot
Pennington v. Coxe. 2 C.
of ground before-mentioned to have been fairly worth at the date of the contract under which the same is claimed by the said Abraham Faw.
OGLE v. LEE.
2 C. 33.
This cause came up to this court upon a question on which the opinions of the judges of the circuit court were opposed.
It was made a question, whether this court would consider the whole case, or only the question upon which the court below divided.
The Court were unanimously of opinion, that they could only consider the single question upon which the judges below divided in opinion, but that the parties will not be precluded from bringing a writ of error upon the final judgment below; and the whole cause will then be before the court. A court may at any time reverse an interlocutory decree.
The case was afterwards settled by the parties.
PENNINGTON V. Coxe.
2 C 33.
Under the act of June 5th, 1794, (1 Stats. at Large, 384,) duties did not accrue on refined
sugar while it remained in the manufactory unsold, and consequently, when this act was repealed by the act of April 6th, 1802, (2 Stats. at Large, 148,) the saving of duties which had accrued, did not apply to such sugars.
This was a writ of error to the circuit court for the district of Pennsylvania. It was a feigned issue to try the question, whether duties were payable under the act of June 5th, 1794, (1 Stats. at Large. 384,) on refined sugar remaining in the manufactory unsold on the 1st of July, 1802. The facts sufficiently appear in the opinion of the court.
Pennington v. Coxe. 2 C. Ingersoll, Harper, and Martin, for the plaintiff, Lincoln, (attorneygeneral, U. S.) and Dallas, for the defendant.
[ * 51 ] * MARSHALL, C. J., delivered the opinion of the court.
In this case a single point is presented to the court. The plaintiff in error was a refiner of sugar, in the city of Philadelphia, and had a large quantity of refined sugars in his refinery on the 1st of July, 1802.
In April, 1802, congress passed an act to repeal the internal taxes. The 1st section of the repealing law enacts “ that from and after the 30th day of June next, the internal duties," &c.
To recover the duty on sugars refined before the 30th of June, and sent out afterwards, this action was brought. The single question is, whether the duty had then accrued, and was on that day outstanding? This is admitted on both sides; and the repealing law is to be construed, as if it had passed on the 30th of June, to take effect immediately, and the proviso had been expressed in words of the present tense thus : “provided, that for the recovery and receipt of such duties as have now accrued, and now remain outstanding, the provisions of the aforesaid act shall remain in full force and virtue.”
Had the duty accrued, and was it outstanding, in contemplation of the legislature, on sugars refined, but not sent out of the building in which the operation was performed ?
The solution of this question depends on the construction of the act by which the duty was imposed.
This act passed in June, 1794,2 and is entitled “ An act laying certain duties on snuff and refined sugars.” The 1st section imposes a duty on snuff, which shall be manufactured after the 30th of September then next ensuing, and the 2d section is in these words :
“And be it further enacted, that from and after the said 30th [ * 52 ] day of September next, there be levied, collected, * and paid,
upon all sugar which shall be refined within the United States, a duty of two cents per pound.”
The 4th section of the act contains provisions respecting the duty on snuff, and the 5th section, after making several regulations requiring the refiner of sugars to report the building and utensils to be employed in the manufacture, and to give bond with condition that he shall keep books in which he shall enter daily the sugars refined, as well as those sent out, proceeds to enact, “ that he shall, on the 1st day of January, April, July, and October, in each year, render a just and true account of all the refined sugar which he Pennington v. Coxe. 2 C. cr she shall have sent out, or caused, or procured to be sent out, from the first time of his or her entry and report aforesaid, until the day which shall first ensue, of the days above-mentioned, for the rendering of such account, and thenceforth successively, from the time when such account ought to have been, and up to which it shall have been, last rendered, until the day next thereafter, of the days above-mentioned, for the rendering of such account, producing and showing therewith the original book or paper, whereon the entries from day to day, to be made as aforesaid, have been made; and he or she shall, at the time of rendering each account, pay or secure the duties, which, by this act, ought to be paid upon the refined sugar in the said account mentioned.”
1 2 Stats. at Large, 148.
2 1 Ib. 384.
Other sections of this act have been relied on by the counsel on both sides, and the phraseology of the law, in other acts said to be in pari materia has been brought into view. They have not been unnoticed by the court in forming the opinion now to be delivered; but as the case depends principally on the just construction of the sections which have been quoted, those sections only are stated for the present.
That a law is the best expositor of itself; that every part of an act is to be taken into view for the purpose of discovering the mind of the legislature; and that the details of one part may contain regulations restricting the extent of general expressions used in another part of the same act, are among those plain rules laid down by common sense for the exposition of statutes * which have been [ * 53 ] uniformly acknowledged. If by the application of these rules it shall appear that the duty on refined sugars did « accrue, and was outstanding,” before the article was sent out of the building, then the refiner is unquestionably liable to pay it, notwithstanding the repeal of the law by which it was imposed.
To support the proposition that the duty did accrue, the words of the 2d section of the act for imposing it have been relied on.
These words are, “ that from and after the 30th day of September next, there be levied, collected, and paid, upon all sugar which shall be refined within the United States, a duty of two cents per pound.” These words, it is said, contain an express charge upon all the sugars to be refined within the United States.”
It is admitted by the counsel for the plaintiff in error, that such would be the operation of the section if unexplained, and not restrained by other parts of the law.
In order to determine the influence which other sections must necessarily have on this, it is proper to ascertain with precision the import of the words which have been stated.
66 There shall be levied, collected, and paid," &c. Each of these