U.S. Supreme Court
Hartranft v. Sheppard, 125 U.S. 337 (1888)
Hartranft v. Sheppard
Argued and submitted February 17, 1888
Decided April 2, 1888
125 U.S. 337
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Quilts composed of cotton and eider down, or silk and eider down, eider down being in each case the component material of chief value, are subject to a duty, on importation into the United States, of twenty percent ad valorem as manufactured articles not enumerated.
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.
The following opinion, prepared by MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE, was delivered by the Court as its opinion.
The single question in this case is whether quilts composed of cotton and eider down, or silk and eider down, the eider down in each case being the component material of chief value, are dutiable, on importation into the United States, as manufactures of cotton or of silk not enumerated at thirty-five percentum ad valorem if of cotton, and at fifty percentum ad valorem if of silk, or at twenty percentum ad valorem as manufactured articles not enumerated, the latter being the amount admitted to be due by the importer in his protest. The collector demanded the highest rates, which were paid, and this suit was brought to recover back the difference between these amounts and a duty of twenty percent
The case depends upon the effect to be given the following provisions of the Act of March 3, 1883, c. 121, 22 Stat. 488, amending the Revised Statutes:
"Cotton cords, braids, gimps, galloons, webbing, goring, suspenders, braces, and all manufactures of cotton not specially enumerated or provided
for in this act, and corsets, of whatever material composed, thirty-five percentum ad valorem."
Ib., schedule I, p. 506. The quilts made of cotton and eider down were assessed under that provision.
"All goods, wares, and merchandise, not specially enumerated or provided for in this act, made of silk, or of which silk is the component material of chief value, fifty percentum ad valorem."
Schedule L, ib, p. 510. Those of silk and eider down were assessed under that provision.
"There shall be levied, collected, and paid on the importation of all raw or unmanufactured articles not herein enumerated or provided for, a duty of ten percentum ad valorem, and all articles manufactured, in whole or in part, not herein enumerated or provided for, a duty of twenty percentum ad valorem."
Ib., § 2513, p. 523. The claim of the importer was that the articles should be assessed at twenty percentum under that section.
By § 2499, ib. p. 491, it was provided as follows:
"And on all articles manufactured from two or more materials the duty shall be assessed at the highest rates at which the component material of chief value may be chargeable. If two or more rates of duty should be applicable to any imported article, it shall be classified for duty under the highest of such rates, provided that nonenumerated articles similar in material and quality and texture, and the use to which they may be applied, to articles on the free list, and in the manufacture of which no dutiable materials are used, shall be free."
Quilts are nonenumerated manufactured articles composed of two or more materials. Eider down is on the free list. Ib., § 2503, p. 518. As eider down is the component material of chief value in the quilts involved in this suit, and that is free, it follows that they are manufactured articles not provided for, and therefore chargeable with the duty of twenty percentum ad valorem under § 2513, rather than thirty-five percentum as a manufacture of cotton or fifty percentum as a manufacture of which silk is the component material of chief value.
As such was the opinion of the court below, its judgment to that effect is