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that they bound the military administration. The fact that difficulties arise in the administration of the rules established by these orders does not make them any the less binding to such extent as they are binding laws.
It is suggested in the letter of the Treasurer, a copy of which accompanies Governor Allen's communication, that the action of the Governor-General in giving his approval to each specific remission was a legislative act, and that the present Governor, being merely an administrative officer, could only perform such legislative act in conjunction with the executive council and legislative assembly. This is an erroneous assumption. The action of the Governor in approving each specific remission is purely executive and administrative, and in no wise legislative. Of course, in order to repeal the orders of the Governor-General, it would be necessary to have the action of the legislative body of the island, but the approval by the Governor, or the disapproval by him, of specific reports as to the amount of taxes to be remitted in any case is, as I have said before, nothing but an executive act.
It is within the power of the Governor to establish rules and regulations governing the submission to him of claims for remission for which his approval is sought. I think he might lawfully declare that he would approve no applications unless they were presented within a specific time, to be stated in the regulations, or unless the report established certain facts, such as he might designate in advance, relative to the merits of the application. It is impossible to suggest all the provisions that might be made by such rules and regulations tending to facilitate the consideration of this subject and to abbreviate the number of applications and the amount of reductions, but with careful consideration I think the difficulty that confronts the administration in Porto Rico can be very greatly diminished, and I recommend, therefore, that the Governor have prepared a system of rules and regulations of the kind I have indicated. Very respectfully,
JOHN W. GRIGGS. The SECRETARY OF STATE.
PORTO RICO-NATIONAL BANKS.
By virtue of section 14 of the act of April 12, 1900 (31 Stat., 77), the
laws of the United States relative to the organization and powers of national banks were extended to Porto Rico.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
June 2, 1900. Sir: By letter of May 24, you advised me that the Comptroller of the Currency is receiving applications for the granting of national bank charters in the island of Porto Rico, and you request my opinion as to whether or not the national banking laws of the United States are now applicable to that island.
By the Paris treaty between the United States and Spain, Porto Rico was ceded to the United States and became subject to the jurisdiction of this Government. Before the ratitication of the treaty of Paris, the Island had been in the occupation of the military forces of the United States, and the
government of the same was carried on under the law of helligerent right by means of the military forces, under the direction of the President of the United States. This condition continued after the ratification of the treaty of peace, until Congress, exercising the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory belonging to the United States, passed the act entitled "An act temporarily to provide revenues and a civil government for Porto Rico, and for other purposes," approved April 12, 1900. This act took effect on the 1st day of May, 1900.
Section 14 of said act is as follows:
“That the statutory laws of the United States not locally inapplicable, except as hereinbefore or hereinafter otherwise provided, shall have the same force and effect in Porto Rico as in the United States, except the internal-revenue laws, which, in view of the provisions of section three, shall not have force and effect in Porto Rico."
By virtue of this provision a broad extension of all the statutory laws of the United States, not locally inapplicable, is made to the island of Porto Rico, the only exception
being the internal-revenue laws, which are excepted by name, and such other laws as are in the said act otherwise provided. This language is broad enough to extend to Porto Rico the laws relating to the organization and powers of national banks, unless there be in such laws something indicating that they are locally inapplicable to Porto Rico, or that they are so locally applicable to some other place or places of specific character as to make them practically inapplicable locally to Porto Rico. An examination of the various sections of the Revised Statutes and subsequent acts of Congress relative to national banks discloses no provisions which are locally inapplicable to Porto Rico. There seems to be in the structure of the national banking laws no general provisions which can not be carried into force and effect in Porto Rico equally with all of the various States and Territories to which the laws were originally applied. I can find no reason to hold that the statutes relative to the organization and powers of national banks have not, by section 14 of the Porto Rican act above referred to, been extended to that Island. The language of that section is broad enough, and in my opinion does, authorize the organization and carrying on of national banks in Porto Rico. Very respectfully,
JOHN W. GRIGGS. The SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
WAR REVENUE ACT-TAX ON FERMENTED LIQUORS.
Under section 1 of the act of June 13, 1598 (30 Stat., 48), the whole tax
upon a barrel of not more than 31 gallons of beer, lager beer, ale, porter, or other similar fermented liquors is $1.85, to be paid by stamps attached to the barrel, though the stamps attached to such
barrel indicate a tax of $2. In all cases where more than 85 cents per barrel has been collected in
addition to the $1 tax which had theretofore been paid, such collection was erroneous.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
June 2, 1900. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of yours of March 12, 1900, in which you resubmit the following question (which was set out in yours of March 13, 1899) and ask my opinion:
“Is the tax upon fermented liquors, bearing the old $1 stamp, which were removed from the brewery on June 14 without the new $2 stamp, owing to the failure of the Government to furnish same, a tax of $2 per barrel, or of $1.85, or of $0.85?"
The law (section 3339, R. S.), as it existed before the act of June 13, 1898, known as the war-revenue act, went into effect, levied upon every barrel of lager beer containing 31 gallons or less a tax of $1, which was paid by stamp. The first section of the war-revenue act is as follows:
"That there shall be paid, in lieu of the tax of one dollar now imposed by law, a tax of two dollars on all beer, lager beer, ale, porter, and other similar fermented liquors, brewed or manufactured and sold, or stored in warehouse, or removed for consumption or sale, within the United States, by whatever name such liquors may be called, for every barrel containing not more than thirty-one gallons; and at a like rate for any other quantity or for the fractional parts of a barrel authorized and defined by law. And section thirty-three hundred and thirty-nine of the Revised Statutes is hereby amended accordingly: Provided, That a discount of seven and one-half per centum shall be allowed upon all sales by collectors to brewers of the stamps provided for the payment of said tax; Provided further, That the additional tax imposed in this section on all fermented liquors stored in warehouse to which a stamp had been affixed shall be assessed and collected in the manner now provided by law for the collection of taxes not paid by stamps."
In the outset, by the provisions of this section a tax of $2, in lieu of the then existing tax of $1 per barrel, is levied upon each barrel of lager beer and other fermented liquors brewed or manufactured and sold, or stored in warehouse, or removed for consumption or sale within the United States. If the lawmakers had stopped here, there could be no doubt that the tax had been increased from $1 to $2 per barrel.
But they go further and provide “That a discount of seven and one-half per centum shall be allowed upon all sales by collectors to brewers of the stamps provided for the payment of said tax.” In other words, the collectors are required by the law to sell to the brewer the $2 worth of stamps necessary to pay the tax upon a 31-gallon barrel of beer for $1.85; and, although the stamps, when affixed to the barrel of beer, indicate a tax of $2, yet, in fact, the taxpayer has only paid and the Government has only received $1.85 therefor. And it can not be otherwise, for the tax has to be paid by stamps provided by the Government, and the law says that upon such stamps when sold by the authorized agents of the Government, there must be allowed to the taxpayer who purchases them a discount of 74 per centum.
Under section 3339, as before stated, the tax was $1 per barrel, and this was without discount to the taxpayer. Therefore, to purchase the stamps required upon a barrel under the new law requires 85 cents in addition to the amount which was required to purchase the stamps before the latter law went into effect.
It appears that at the time the war-revenue act became operative some of the brewers or manufacturers bad in their warehouses barrels of beer upon which they had already paid the tax of $1 and had affixed the stamps necessary to denote such payment; and now the question arises as to what should be the amount of assessment for additional tax upon barrels of beer found in this situation.
It will be observed that the last proviso of section one, above quoted, directs that the additional tax imposed on all fermented liquors stored in warehouse to which a stamp had been affixed shall be assessed and collected in the manner now provided by law for the collection of taxes not paid by stamps. When the method of collecting the additional tax upon beer for which the existing tax of $1 had already been paid was prescribed by Congress in the above provision, it was no doubt in contemplation of the fact that the increase in the tax was 85 cents per barrel, and to require the purchase of stamps for the payment of such additional tax would have levied a greater rate upon beer of this class than upon beer which was to be wholly tax-paid under the new law. The brewer had already paid a tax of $1 per barrel;