Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/388

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collecting a tax upon that species of property in the State. When the property is out of the State, there can be no tax upon it for which interest can be retained. The tax laws of Pennsylvania can have no extra-territorial operation."

The decision of the United States Supreme Court, of which an analysis has been above given, ought therefore to be regarded as constituting a real chapter of progress in American local taxation; because, by contributing powerfully to break down the present popular system, which, founded on an erroneous and impracticable principle, never has been and never can be executed with justice and efficiency, the time is thereby hastened when a better system shall be accepted and inaugurated. The logic of this decision, moreover, will not only pervade courts—State and Federal—but will be felt in legislative halls, and be impressed upon the conscience of the people. The court itself, in referring to the tax under consideration, says with great point and truth: "It is only one of many cases where, under the name of taxation, an oppressive exaction is made, without constitutional warrant, amounting to little less than an arbitrary seizure of private property. It is, in fact, a forced contribution levied upon property held in other States, where it is subjected or may be subjected, to taxation upon an estimate of its full value."

But this new decision teaches us that all personal property, if taxed at all, must be taxed in the city or town where found, and not elsewhere. The injustice and oppression are also the same as in the case of State exterritorial taxation when the tax is levied upon a person for property not within the district where the property is actually located and protected. It is only a degree of oppression, and this authoritative opinion of the United States Supreme Court can not fail to give a new impulse to the feeling that taxation without protection is merely legalized brigandage.

"Why do we study animals at all?" asks Prof. L. C. Miall, in his British Association address. "Some of us merely want to gain practical skill before attempting to master the structure of the human body; others hope to qualify themselves to answer the questions of geologists and farmers; a very few wish to satisfy their natural curiosity about the creatures which they find in the wood, the field, or the sea. But surely our chief reason for studying animals ought to be that we would know more of life, of the modes of growth of individuals and races, of the causes of decay and extinction, of the adaptation of living organisms to their surroundings. Some of us aspire to know in outline the course of life upon the earth, and to learn or, failing that, to conjecture, how life originated. Our own life is the thing of all others which interests us most deeply, but everything interests us which throws even a faint and reflected light upon human life."