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MOVIUS v. ARTHUR.

October 1, 1877

MOVIUS
v.
ARTHUR.



ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York. This is an action by Joseph Movius, surviving partner of the firm of F. Wigand & Co., to recover $172.39 being the amount of certain import duties alleged to have been unlawfully demanded and collected from them by the defendant in error, as the collector of the port of New York. Between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 1872, Wigand & Co. imported from foreign countries into the port of New York, and duly entered at that custom-house, several invoices of 'varnished calf-skins,' and a further invoice of goods, designated therein as 'varnished cow-skins.' The collector of customs, under the classification of 'patent, japanned, or enamelled leather or skins of all kinds,' in the acts of March 2, 1861, sect. 22, and July 14, 1862, sect. 13, imposed and collected on all the said goods a duty at thirty-five per cent, granting thereon the reduction of ten per cent, provided by sect. 2 of the act of June 6, 1872, for 'leather not otherwise herein provided for.' Wigand & Co., claiming that the goods were dutiable at twenty per cent only under the provisions of sect. 1 of the act of June 6, 1872, for 'upper leather of all other kinds, and dressed and furnished skins of all kinds not herein otherwise provided for,' duly protested, and appealed to the Secretary of the Treasury, who sustained the decision of the collector. This action was then brought. The court below found for the collector, whereupon the case was removed here.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mr. Justice Hunt delivered the opinion of the court.

Mr. Edward Hartley for the plaintiff in error.

The Solicitor-General, contra.

The question in this case arises upon the construction of the revenue acts of the United States, there being no disputed questions of fact.

By the twentieth section of the act of March 2, 1861, 12 Stat. 189, it is enacted as follows:–

'From and after the day and year aforesaid there shall be levied, collected, and paid a duty of twenty per cent on the importation of the articles hereinafter mentioned and embraced in this section; that is to say, . . . leather tanned, bend or sole, leather upper, of all kinds except tanned calf-skins, which shall pay twenty-five per cent ad valorem, . . . skins tanned and dressed of all kinds.'

'SECT. 22. From and after the day and year aforesaid there shall be levied, collected, and paid a duty of thirty per cent on the importation of the articles hereinafter mentioned and embraced in this section; that is to say, japanned, patent, or enamelled leather or skins of all kinds, . . . manufactures and articles of leather, or of which leather shall be a component part, not otherwise provided for.'

By the act of Aug. 5, 1861, sect. 2, id. 293, it is enacted:

'From and after the day and year aforesaid there shall be levied, collected, and paid on the importation of the articles hereinafter mentioned the following duties; that is to say, . . . on sole and bend leather, thirty per cent ad valorem.'

By the thirteenth section of the act of July 14, 1862, id. 555-557, it is enacted:––

'From and after the day and year aforesaid, in addition to the duties heretofore imposed by law on the articles hereinafter mentioned, there shall be levied, collected, and paid on the goods, wares, and merchandise enumerated and provided for in this section, imported from foreign countries, a duty of five per cent ad valorem.

'Japanned, patent, or enamelled leather or skins of all kinds.

'Leather tanned of all descriptions.

'Manufactures and articles of leather, or of which leather shall be a component part, not otherwise provided for.

'Morocco skins.' By the act of June 6, 1872, 17 id. 230, it is provided as follows:––

'SECT. 1. On and after the first day of August, 1872, in lieu of the duties heretofore imposed by law on the articles hereinafter enumerated or provided for, imported from foreign countries, there shall be levied, collected, and paid the ...


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