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U.S. Supreme Court

Frederickson v. Louisiana, 64 U.S. 23 How. 445 445 (1859)

Frederickson v. Louisiana

64 U.S. (23 How.) 445


The following is an article of a treaty concluded between the King of Wurtemberg and the United States in 1844, 8 Stat. 588

"The citizens or subjects of each of the contracting parties shall have power to dispose of their personal property within the states of the other by testament, donation, or otherwise, and their heirs, legatees, and donees, being citizens or subjects of the other contracting party, shall succeed to their said personal property and may take possession thereof, either by themselves, or by others acting for them, and dispose of the same at their pleasure, paying such duties only as the inhabitants of the country where said property lies shall be liable to pay in like cases."

This article does not include the case of a citizen of the United States dying at home and disposing of property within the state of which he was a citizen and in which he died.

Consequently, where the State of Louisiana claimed, under a statute, a tax of ten percent on the amount of certain legacies left by one of her citizens to certain subjects of the King of Wurtemberg, the statute was not in conflict with the treaty and the claim must be allowed.

This case involved the construction of an article of a treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Wurtemberg, concluded

Page 64 U. S. 446

on the 10th of April, 1844, 8 Stat. 588. The article is quoted in the syllabus, and need not be repeated. It was admitted upon the record that Fink was a naturalized citizen of the United States at the time of his death and residing in the City of New Orleans; also that the legatees reside in the Kingdom of Wurtemberg, and are subjects of the King of Wurtemberg.

The Supreme Court of Louisiana decided in favor of the validity of the tax, and the legatees brought the case up to this Court.

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