21 L.Ed. 146
15 Wall. 232
CASE OF THE STATE FREIGHT TAX.
READING RAILROAD COMPANY
ERROR to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; the case being thus:
On the 25th of August, 1864, the Legislature of Pennsylvania passed an act entitled 'An act to provide additional revenue for the use of the Commonwealth.' It enacted——
'SECTION 1. That the president, treasurer, cashier, or other financial officer, of every railroad company, steamboat company, canal company, and slackwater navigation company, and all other companies now or hereafter doing business within this State, and upon whose works freight may be transported, whether by such company or by individuals, and whether such company shall receive compensation for transportation, for transportation and toll, or shall receive tolls only, except turnpike companies, plank-road companies, and bridge companies, shall, within thirty days after the first days of January, April, July, and October of every year, make return in writing to the auditor-general, under oath or affirmation, stating fully and particularly the number of tons of freight carried over through, or upon the works of said company, for the three months immediately preceding each of the above-mentioned days; and each of the companies, except as aforesaid, shall, at the time of making such return, pay to the State treasurer, for the use of the Commonwealth, on each two thousand pounds of freight so carried, tax at the following rates, viz.:
'First, on the product of mines, quarries, and clay-beds, in the condition in which said products may be taken therefrom, 2 cents.
'Second, on hewn timber, animal food, including live stock; also, on the products of the forest, vegetable, and other agricultural products, the value of which has not been increased by labor, 3 cents.
'Third, on all other articles, 5 cents.
'Where the same freight shall be carried over and upon different but continuous lines, said freight shall be chargeable with tax as if it had been carried but upon one line, and the whole tax shall be paid by such one of said companies as the State treasurer may select and notify thereof. Corporations whose lines of improvements are used by others for the transportation of freight, and whose only earnings arise from tolls charged for such use, are authorized to add the tax hereby imposed to said tolls and collect the same therewith, but in no case shall tax be twice charged on the same freight carried on or over the same line of improvements: Provided, That every company now or hereafter incorporated by this Commonwealth, whose line extends into any other State, and every corporation, company, or individual of any other State, holding and enjoying any franchises, property, or privileges whatever in this State, by virtue of the laws thereof, shall make returns of freight and pay for the freight carried over, through, and upon that portion of their lines within this State, as if the whole of their respective lines were in this State.'
[It is a fact that is referred to in the argument, and which may, therefore, well enough be here noted, that the roads of some railroad companies in Pennsylvania traverse the whole of that great State. That is the case with the railroad of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (the great 'Pennsylvania Central'); also of the Philadelphia and Erie. Other roads are very short; hardly Pennsylvania roads at all. This is the case with the Lake Shore Road in what is known in Pennsylvania as 'the Triangle;' the small part of the State which borders on Lake Erie. The east terminus of the road receives converging roads from the whole State of New York, from New Jersey, and from all New England, and from its western end roads diverge again over the whole West. So the New York and Erie Railroad, whose line for its main great extent runs along the south line of New York, but which, from a necessity of the soil in New York, had to make a small curvature which brings it for a few miles into Pennsylvania. So the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore, in its chief length in Maryland and Delaware, its northern terminus only in Pennsylvania. So other roads.]
On the 25th of October, 1866, the accounting officers of Pennsylvania stated an account under the statute already quoted between the Commonwealth and the Reading Railroad Company, 'for tax on tonnage for the quarters ending December 31st, 1865, and March 31st, and June 30th, 1866.' The company named is a corporation created under the laws of Pennsylvania, and is engaged in the sole business of transporting freights for hire, and carrying no commodities of its own. An important part of its business is carrying coal from the mountains of Pennsylvania to a place called Port Richmond, near Philadelphia, a distance of about one hundred miles; the whole road being in Pennsylvania. A portion of the coal transported to Port Richmond is sold there to consumers, but by far the larger portion is intended for exportation to points beyond the limits of Pennsylvania, and is transferred at Port Richmond into vessels destined for such points. A considerable quantity of coal is also transported by the railroad company to a point on the Schuylkill Canal, where it is loaded in barges and exported beyond the State. The company was charged by the State:
For freight transported to points within the State of
For that exported to points without the State,. 46,520