Supreme Court of the United States



Authenticated copy of opinion record strictly followed, except as to such reference words and figures as are inclosed in brackets.]




GEORGE E. PAUL, Piff. in Err.,



J. OTIS PAUL, Plff. in Err.,



1. Oleomargarine, having been recognized by
the act of Congress of 1886 as a proper sub-
ject of taxation and of traffic and exportation
and importation, and being a well-known arti-
cle of food, is a proper subject of commerce
among the states and with foreign nations.
2. The fact that inspection or analysis of the
article imported is somewhat difficult and
burdensome will not justify a state in totally
excluding a pure and healthy food product.
8. A state cannot absolutely prohibit the in-
troduction within its borders of an article of
commerce which is not adulterated, and
which in its pure state is healthful, simply
because such article in the course of its manu-

facture may be adulterated by dishonest
manufacturers, for the purpose of fraud or 11-
legal gains.

4. As Congress taxes oleomargarine and recog nizes it as a proper subject of commerce, it cannot be totally excluded from a state simply because the state decides that, for the purpose of preventing the importation of an impure or adulterated article, it will not permit the introduction within its borders of the pure and unadulterated article.

NOTE.-A8 to implied warranty on sale of food,- -see note to McQuaid v. Ross (Wis.) 22 L. R. A. 195.

5. A sale of a 10-pound package of oleomargarine manufactured, imported, and sold by the importer under the circumstances found in the special verdict in this case, was a valid sale, although to a person who was a con


6. An importer may sell original packages of oleomargarine by an agent as well as person

(See S. C. Reporter's ed. 1-30.)

Oleomargarine a subject of commerce-inspection-power of state-cannot be excluded from state-ten-pound packagessale by agent-sale to consumers-Penn- | 8. The Pennsylvania statute of 1885, to the exsylvania statute invalid.

tent that it prohibits the introduction of oleomargarine from another state, and its sale in the original package as described in the special verdict in this case, is invalid.



An importer has the right to sell oleomargarine in original packages to consumers as well as to wholesale dealers, and the exercise of this right will not be prevented by the fact that the packages are suitable for retail trade.

[Nos. 86-88.]

Argued March 23, 24, 1898. Decided May 23, 1898.

IN ERROR to the Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania to review a judgment of that court reversing the judgment of the trial court for the defendant in each of these cases and in favor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania convicting in pursuance of the special verdict said defendants severally of a violation of a statute of said state prohibiting the sale of oleomargarine, and remanding the

visions sold to a consumer,-see note to Craft v. Parker (Mico.) 21 L. R. A. 139.

As to power of Congress to regulate commerce, see note to State, Corwin, v. Indiana As to prohibition of sale of oleomargarine,— see note to Com. v. Miller (Pa.) 6 L. R. A. 633. & O. Oil, Gas & Min. Co. (Ind.) 6 L. R. A. 579. As to state tax or license as affecting comAs to liability of vendor in cases of tort for sale of unwholesome food or drug; personal merce, see note to Rothermel v. Meyerle (Pa.) damages from negligent sale of drug; pro-9 L. R. A. 366. 4 171 U. S.

U. S., Book 43.


cases for sentence. The cases were similar | July, 1893, paid to the collector of internal
and the three cases were argued together. revenue of the first district of Pennsylvania
Judgments of the Supreme Court reversed, the sum of four hundred and eighty dollars as
and the cases remanded for further proceed- and for a special tax upon the business, as
agent for the Oakdale Manufacturing Com-
pany, in oleomargarine, and obtained from
said collector a writing in the words follow-

See same case below, Com. v. Paul, 170 Pa. 284 [30 L. R. A. 396].

Statement by Mr. Justice Peckham: [2] *The questions in these three cases are the same, and they arise out of the selling of certain packages of oleomargarine.

The plaintiff's in error were indicted for and convicted of a violation of a statute of Pennsylvania prohibiting such sale. The act was passed on the 21st of May, 1885, and is to be found in the volume of the laws of Pennsylvania for that year, page 22. It provides as follows:


The jury found a special verdict in each case. The only difference between the facts stated in the verdict in number 86 and those contained in the other cases is that in the latter the package sold was 10 pounds instead of 40 pounds and was sold by the plaintiffs in error in those cases as agents of a different principal, carrying on the same kind of business in the state of Illinois, and the package was sold to a different person and upon a different date.

per year.
No. A 434.
Received from George Schollenberger,
agent for the Oakdale Manufacturing Com-
pany, the sum of four hundred and eighty
dollars for special tax on the business of
wholesale dealer in oleomargarine, to be car-
ried on at 219 Callowhill street, Philadelphia,
"That no person, firm, or corporate body state of Pennsylvania, for the period repre-
shall manufacture out of any oleaginous sub-sented by the coupon or coupons hereto at-
stance or any compound of the same, other
than that produced from unadulterated milk,
or of cream from the same, any article de-
signed to take the place of butter or cheese
produced from pure unadulterated milk, or
cream from the same, or of any imitation or
adulterated butter or cheese, nor shall sell or
offer for sale, or have in his, her, or their pos-
session with intent to sell the same as an ar-
ticle of food."

margin of the above:
"The following clauses appear on the [4]

due the government, and does not exempt the
"This stamp is simply a receipt for a tax
holder from any penalty or punishment pro-

A violation of the act is made a misde-vided for by the law of any state for carrying meanor and punishable by fine and imprison

on the said business within such state, and
does not authorize the commencement nor
the continuance of such business contrary to
the laws of such state or in places prohibited
by a municipal law. See § 3243, Revised
Statutes, U. S.

"(3) The said defendant, as agent aforesaid, is engaged in business at 219 Callowhill street, in the city of Philadelphia, as wholesale dealer in oleomargarine, and was so engaged on the 2d day of October, 1893, and is not engaged in any other business, either for himself or The said defendant, on the 1st day of

Stamp for



United States internal revenue.


Special tax,

per year.
No. A 434.

or refusal to place and keep this stamp con-
"Severe penalties are imposed for neglect
spicuously in your establishment or place of
business. Act of August 2, 1886.'
"Attached to this were coupons for each
month of the year in form as follows:


[3] *The following facts were set out in the
special verdict in number 86:

dealer in oleomargarine for October, 1893.'
"Coupon for special tax on wholesale
"(5) On or before the said second day of
October, 1893, the said Oakdale Manufactur-



(2) The said Oakdale Manufacturing Company is engaged in the manufacture of oleomargarine in the said city of Providence and state of Rhode Island, and as such manufacturer has complied with all the provisions of the act of Congress of August 2, 1886, entitled 'An Act Defining Butter; also Imposing a Tax upon and Regulating the Manufacture, Sale, Importation, and Exportation of Oleomargarine.'

(1) The defendant, George Schollenberger, is a resident and citizen of the commonwealth ing Company shipped to the said defendant, of ennsylvania, and is the duly authorized their agent aforesaid, at their place of busiagent in the city of Philadelphia of the Oak-ness in Philadelphia, a package of oleomardale Manufacturing Company of Providence, garine separate and apart from all other packKnode Island. pounas, packed, sealed, marked, stamped, and ages, being a tub thereof containing forty branded in accordance with the requirements of the said act of Congress of August second, 1886. The said package was package, as required by said act, and was of an original such form, size, and weight as is used by producers or shippers for the purpose of securing both convenience in handling and security in transportation of merchandise between dealers in the ordinary course of actual commerce, and the said form, size, and weight were adopted in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the laws of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said package being one of a number of similar packages forming one consignment shipped by the said company to the said defendant. Said packages forming said consignment were unloaded from the


Dated at Philadelphia, Pa., July first, 1893.
William H. Doyle,
$480. Collector, First District of Penna.

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cars and placed in defendant's store and then its citizens the question whether it is wholeoffered for sale as an article of food.

some and nondeceptive, and neither the Con"(6) On the said second day of October, gress of the United States nor the legislatures 1893, in the said city of Philadelphia, at the of other states can deprive it of this right, place of business aforesaid, the said defend- and that being such newly discovered article ant, as wholesale dealer aforesaid, sold to it does not belong to the class universally James Anderson the said tub or package men- recognized as articles of commerce, and hence tioned in the foregoing paragraph, the oleo- the legislation of Pennsylvania does not regu. margarine therein contained remaining in the late or affect commerce; that nondiscrimin. original package, being the same package, ative legislation enacted in good faith for the with seals, marks, stamps, and brands un protection of health and the prevention of broken, in which it was packed by the said deception, not hampering the actual transpormanufacturer in the said city of Providence, tation of merchandise, is not presumptively Rhode Island, and thenre transported into void but is conclusively valid. the city of Philadelphia and delivered by the (2) That if the right of citizens of another earrier to the defendant; and the said tub state to send oleomargarine into the common. was not broken or opened on the said premises wealth of Pennsylvania be admitted, it can

of the said defendant, and as soon as it was only be introduced in original packages suit. [5]purchased by the said James *Anderson it able for wholesale trade, and where the article was removed from the said premises. imported is intended and used for the supply

"(7) The oleomargarine contained in said of the retail trade or is sold by retail directly tub was manufactured out of an oleaginous to the consumer, the package in which it is substance not produced from unadulterated imported from another state is not an "origmilk or cream, and was an article designed to inal package” within the protection of the intake the place of butter, and sold by the de- terstate commerce provision of the Constitu. fendant to James Anderson as an article of tion of the United States. food; but the fact that the article was oleo- These are the main grounds upon which the margarine and not butter was made known conviction is sought to be sustained. The by the defendant to the purchaser, and there supreme court of the state upheld the statute was no attempt or purpose on the part of the upon the ground that it was a legitimate exdefendant to sell the article as butter, or any ercise of the police power of the state not inunderstanding on the part of the purchaser consistent with the right of the owner of the that he was buying anything but oleomar- product to bring it within the state in approgarine, and the said oleomargarine is recog. priate * packages suitable for sale to the whole-[7] nized by the said act of Congress of August sale dealer and not intended for sale at retail 2, 1886, as an article of commerce.

by the importer to the consumer, and that in “(8) The above transaction specifically the cases under consideration the packages found by the jury is one of many transactions were not wholesale original packages and of like character made by the defendant dur- their sale amounted to a mere retail trade. ing the last two years."

Upon the first ground for sustaining the Upon this special verdict the trial court conviction in these cases the argument upon directed judgment to be entered for the de- the part of the commonwealth runs somefendant. The case was taken by the com- what as follows: It may be admitted that monwealth to the supreme court of the state, actually pure oleomargarine is not dangerous where, after argument, the judgment was re- to the public health, but whether it be pure versed and judgment was entered in favor of depends upon the method of its manufacture, the commonwealth, and the record remanded and its purity cannot be ascertained by any that sentence might be imposed by the court superficial examination, and any certain and below. The plaintiffs in error have brought effective supervision of the method of its these judgments of conviction before this manufacture is impossible. It is manufaccourt for review by virtue of writs of error. tured to imitate in its appearance butter,

The opinion of the supreme court of the with a view to deceiving the ultimate constate is to be found reported under the name sumer as to its character, and this deception of Commonwealth v. Paul, in 170 Pa. 284 cannot be avoided by coverings, labels, or (30 L. R. A. 396).

marks upon the product; the legislature of

Pennsylvania was therefore so far justified in Messrs. William D. Guthrie, Richard C. protecting its citizens against oleomargarine Dale, llenry R. Edmunds, and Albert H. by prohibiting its sale; that the legislation Veeder for plaintiffs in error.

in question does not discriminate in favor of Mr. John G. Johnson for defendant in the citizens of Pennsylvania or in any man

ner against any particular state or any par

ticular manufacturer of the article, and, as Mr. Justice Peckham delivered the opin- there is nothing in the case tending to prove ion of the court:

the contrary, it must be assumed that the Counsel in behalf of the commonwealth legislation was enacted in good faith for the rests the validity of the statute in question protection of the health of the citizens and upon two principal grounds:

for the prevention of deception, and as such (1) That oleomargarine is a newly invent- legislation did not hamper the actual transed or discovered article, and that each state portation of merchandise, the statute must be has the right in the case of a newly invented held to be within the power of the legislature or discovered food product to determine for to enact, and is therefore valid; at all events,


the state has a right in cases of newly invent- sioner of Internal Revenue is to decide in ed food products to determine for its citizens such cases as to the taxation, and his decithe question whether they are wholesome and sion is to be final. The Commissioner is also nondeceptive, and that oleomargarine is one empowered to decide "whether any substance of that class of products and is necessarily made in imitation or semblance of butter, subject to the right of the state, either to and intended for human consumption, conregulate or absolutely to prohibit its sale. tains ingredients deleterious to the public

In the examination of this subject the first health; but in case of doubt or contest his question to be considered is whether oleomar- decisions in this class of cases may be apgarine is an article of commerce? No affirm- pealed from to a board hereby constituted for ative evidence from witnesses called to the the purpose, composed of the surgeon gen

stand and speaking directly to that subject eral of the army, the surgeon general of the (8) is found in the record. *We must determine navy and the commissioner of agriculture,

the question with reference to those facts and the decisions of this board shall be final which are so well and universally known that in the premises.” Provision is also made for courts will take notice of them without par- the removal of oleomargarine from the place ticular proof being adduced in regard to of its manufacture for export to a foreign them, and also by reference to those dealings country without payment of tax or affixing of the commercial world which are of like of stamps thereto, and there is a penalty denotoriety.

nounced against any person engaged in car. Any legislation of Congress upon the sub- rying on the business of oleomargarine who ject must, of course, be regarded by this court should defraud or attempt to defraud the as a fact of the first iniportance. If Congress United States of the tax. has affirmatively pronounced the article to This act shows that Congress at the time be a proper subject of commerce, we should of its passage in 1886 recognized the article rightly be influenced by that declaration. By as a proper subject of taxation and as one reference to the statutes we discover that which was the subject of traflic and of exCongress in 1880 passed "An Act Defining portation to foreign countries and of imButter, also Imposing a Tax upon and Regu- portation from such countries. Its manulating the Manufacture, Sale, Importation, facture was recognized as a lawful pursuit, and Ěxportation of Oleomargarine.' 24 Stat. and taxation was levied upon the manufacat L. 209, chap. 840. In that statute we find turer of the article, upon the wholesale and that Congress has given a definition of the retail dealers therein, and also upon the arti. meaning of oleomargarine and has imposed cle itself. a special tax on the manufacturers of the As to the extent of the manufacture and article, on wholesale dealers and upon retail its commercial nature, it is not improper to dealers therein, and the provisions of the Re- refer to the reports of the Secretary of the vised Statutes in relation to special taxes are, Treasury, which show that the tax receipts so far as applicable, made to extend to the from its manufacture and sale in the United special taxes imposed by the 3d section of States under the act above mentioned dur. the act, and to the persons upon whom they ing the nine years, beginning with 1887, are imposed. Manufacturers are required to amounted to over $10,000,000. file with the proper collector of internal reve- When we come to an inquiry as to the nue such notices, and to keep such books and properties of oleomargarine and of what the conduct their business under such supervision substance is composed, we find that answers as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to such inquiries are to be found in the vawith the approval of the Secretary of the rious *encyclopædias of the day, and in the 10) Treasury, may by regulation require. Pro- official reports of the commissioner of agrivision is made for the packing of oleomargar culture and in the legal reports of cases actine by the manufacturer in packages con ually decided in the courts of the country. taining not less than 10 pounds and marked In brief, every intelligent man knows its as prescribed in the act, and it provides that general nature, and that it is prepared as an all sales made by manufacturers of oleomar- article of food, and is dealt in as such to a garine and wholesale dealers in oleomargar- large extent throughout this country and in ine shall be in the original stamped pack. Europe. ages. A tax of 2 cents per pound is laid

Upon reference to the Encyclopædia Britupon oleomargarine to be paid by the manu. annica it is said that "pure oleomargarine facturer, and the tax levied is to be repre. butter is said to contain every element that sented by coupon stamps. Oleomargarine enters into cream butter, and to keep pure imported from foreign countries is taxed in much longer; but there is the defect of not addition to the import duty imposed on the knowing when it is pure or what injurious same an internal revenue tax of 15 cents per ingredients, or objectionable processes, may be pound. Provision is made for warehousing, used in its manufacture by irresponsible and a penalty imposed for selling the oleo parties." The article also says: “Weappend a

margarine thus imported if not properly comparative analysis of natural and artificial (9) stamped. Provision is *also made for the ap- butter, which shows that, when properly

pointment of an analytical chemist and mi- made, the latter is a wholesome and satiscroscopist by the Secretary of the Treasury, factory substitute for the former.” and such chemist or microscopist may exam- There is contained in the 17th volume of ine the different substances which may be sub- the Encyclopædia Britannica an extract from mitted in contested cases, and the Commis- la report by the secretary of the British em. 52

171 U. S.


bassy at Washington, in 1880, describing the nent French scientist who had been employed method of obtaining oleomargarine oil. by the French government to devise à subThis shows the article was then well known. stitute for butter.” This extract from the

In Er parte Scott and others, the circuit opinion in the New York case, speaking of court for the eastern district of Virginia the testimony given before the trial judge, is (66 Fed. Rep. 45), speaking by Hughes, dis- not quoted for the purpose of proving the tnet judge, said: "It is a fact of common facts therein stated, but for the purpose of knowledge that oleomargarine has been sub- showing that as * long ago as the time when [12] jected to the severest scientific scrutiny, and that case was decided—June, 1885—the arhas been adopted by every leading govern- ticle was then well known as an article of ment in Europe as well as America, for use by food, and manufactured as a substitute for their armies and navies. Though not origi- butter, and we may notice from some of the nally invented by us, it is a gift of American histories of the article the fact (which is enterprise and progressive invention to the stated in the opinion) that it was first deworld. It has become one of the conspicuous vised as long ago as 1872 or 1873 by a French articles of interstate commerce, and furnishes gentleman who had been employed by the a large income to the general government French government to devise a substitute for annually. .. It is entering rapidly into butter. The article is a subject of export, domestic use and the trade in oleomargarine and is largely used in foreign countries. has become large and important. The atten. Upon all these facts we think it apparent that tion of the national government has been at- oleomargarine has become a proper subject tracted to it as a source of revenue.

of commerce among the states and with forProvincial prejudice against this now staple eign nations. article of commerce is natural, but a city of The general rule to be deduced from the de. the size and prospects of Norfolk as a world's cisions of this court is that a lawful article entrepot ought not to be foremost in mani- of comrxerce cannot be wholly excluded from festing such a prejudice.”

importation into a state from another state (11] *in People v. Marx, 99 N. Y. 377 [52 Am. where it was manufactured or grown. A

Rep. 34), which was a prosecution under the state has power to regulate the introduction New York statute (chap. 202, Laws of 1884) of any article, including a food product, so as prohibiting the manufacture or sale of oleo- to insure purity of the article imported, but margarine, the court of appeals of New York such police power does not include the total held the act unconstitutional. It appears exclusion even of an article of food. from the opinion that on the trial of that ac- In Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313 tion on the part of the defendant “it was [34: 455, 3 Inters. Com. Rep. 185), it was proved by distinguished chemists that oleo- held that an inspection law relating to an armargarine was composed of the same elements ticle of food was not a rightful exercise of the as dairy butter. That the only difference be- police power of the state if the inspection pretween them was that it contained a smaller scribed were of such a character or if it were proportion of fatty substance known as but. burdened with such conditions as would terine. That this butterine exists in dairy wholly prevent the introduction of the sound butter only in a small proportion—from three article from other states. This was held in to six per cent. That it exists in no other relation to the slaughter of animals whose substance than butter made from milk and meat was to be sold as food in the state passit is introduced into oleomargarine butter by ing the so-called inspection law. The prinadding to oleomargarine stock some milk, ciple was affirmed in Brimmer v. Rebman, cream, or butter, and churning, and when 138 U. S. 78 [34: 862, 3 Inters. Com. Rep. this is done it has all the elements of natural | 485], and in Scott v. Donald, 165 U. S. 58, 97 butter, but there must always be a smaller [41: 632, 644]. percentage of butterine in the manufactured Is the rule altered in a case where the inproduct than in butter made from milk. The spection or analysis of the article to be imonly effect of the butterine is to give flavor to ported is somewhat difficult and burdensome? the butter, having nothing to do with its Can the pure and healthy food product be wholesomeness. That the oleaginous sub- totally excluded on that account? No case stances in the oleomargarine are substantially has gone to that extent in this court. The identical with those produced from milk or nearest approach to it was the case of Peirce cream. Professor Chandler testified that the v. New Hampshire, 46 U. S. 5 How. 504 only difference between the two articles was [12: 256], involving the importation of intoxthat dairy butter had more butterine. That icating liquors. But in Leisy v. Hardin, 135 oleomargarine contained not over 1 per cent U. S. 100° [34: 128, 3 Inters. Com. Rep. 36), of that substance, while dairy butter might the New Hampshire case was overruled, contain four or five per cent, and that if four and it was stated by the present Chief Jusor five per cent of butterine were added to the tice, in speaking for the court, that “what. [13] oleomargarine, there would be no difference; ever our individual views may be as to the it would be butter; irrespective of the deleterious or dangerous qualities of parsources, they would be the same substances. ticular articles, we cannot hold that any According to the testimony of Professor Mor- articles which Congress recognizes as subton, whose statement was not controverted orjects of interstate commerce are not such, or questioned, oleomargarine, so far from being that whatever are thus recognized can be con. an article devised for purposes of deception in trolled by state laws amounting to regulatrade, was devised in 1872 or 1873 by an emi-' tions, while they retain that character; al

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