U.S. Supreme Court
Stuart v. Maxwell, 57 U.S. 16 How. 150 150 (1853)
Stuart v. Maxwell
57 U.S. (16 How.) 150
The twentieth section of the Tariff Act of 1842 provides that on all articles manufactured from two or more materials, the duty shall be assessed at the highest rates at which any of its component parts may be chargeable. 5 Stat. 566.
This section was not repealed by the general clause in the Tariff Act of 1846, by which all acts and parts of acts repugnant to the provisions of that act, 1846, were repealed.
Consequently, where goods were entered as being manufactures of linen and cotton, it was proper to impose upon them a duty of twenty-five percent ad valorem, such being the duty imposed upon cotton articles in Schedule D by the Tariff Act of 1846. 9 Stat. 46.
The plaintiffs in error, who were plaintiffs below, sued the collector to recover moneys for duties, paid under protest, alleged to have been overcharged at the port of New York in July, 1849. Verdict and judgment for defendant.
The plaintiffs made entry at the custom house of goods as being "manufactures of linen and cotton." The appraisers reported them to be manufactures of cotton and flax.
Upon such goods, collector Maxwell charged duties at the rate of 25 percent ad valorem, according to the 20th section of the Act of 30 August, 1842, which enacted,
". . . And on all articles manufactured from two or more materials, the duty shall be assessed at the highest rates at which any of its component parts may be chargeable."
5 Stat., by Little & Brown 566, chap. 270.
The collector applied this 20th section to Schedule D of the Act of 30 July, 1846; 9 Stat. by Little & Brown 46, chap. 74, by which a duty of twenty-five percent ad valorem was imposed on
"cotton laces, cotton insertings, cotton trimming laces, cotton laces and braids, . . . ; manufactures composed wholly of cotton, not otherwise provided for,"
being so instructed by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury by circular of May 8, 1848. chanrobles.com-red
The plaintiffs, in their protest, contended
"that under existing laws, said goods are liable to a duty of twenty percent as a nonenumerated article, . . . under the 30th section of the tariff of 30 July, 1846,"
dated 25 July, 1849, and 8 January, 1850.
The plaintiffs proved by witnesses that the goods entered at the customs in schedule A, were reported by the appraisers as manufactures of cotton and flax; that he paid the duties thereon at the rate of twenty-five percent ad valorem; that they were manufactures composed of cotton and flax;
"that the proportion of flax in the goods varies considerably, being in some about a half, in others about a third or a fourth; but that the flax is the material of chief value in the goods; that the appraisers' report of the goods as 'manufactures of flax and cotton' means that the fabrics were composed of linen and cotton combined. None of them were manufactures of cotton or flax alone."
The plaintiffs' counsel prayed the court to instruct
"That if the jury shall find from the evidence that the goods in question were manufactures of 'linen and cotton combined,' and not 'manufactures composed wholly of cotton,' then that duty was exacted at the rate of twenty-five percent ad valorem, when the goods were subject only to twenty percent ad valorem, as a nonenumerated article, under the 3d section of the tariff of 1846."
That instruction the court refused, and charged the jury that if they believe the goods in question are manufactures of flax and cotton combined, then, inasmuch as the 20th section of the tariff of 1842 directs that
"On all articles from two or more materials the duty shall be assessed at the highest rate at which any of its component parts may be chargeable, the goods in question are subject to the same charge as articles enumerated under schedule D as if manufactures composed wholly of cotton not otherwise provided for, and that they are therefore not articles subject to the duty of twenty percent only under 3d section of the tariff of 1846."
To the refusal to charge as moved by plaintiffs, and to the charge as given to the jury, the plaintiffs excepted.
Upon this exception the case came up to this Court. chanrobles.com-red