Hadden v. The Collector

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

72 U.S. 107

Hadden  v.  The Collector

On the 14th of July, 1862, Congress passed 'an act increasing temporarily the duties on imports and for other purposes.' The 14th section was as follows:

'And be it further enacted, That from and after the day and year aforesaid [August 1st, 1862], there shall be levied, collected, and paid on all goods, wares, and merchandise of the growth or produce of countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope, when imported from places this side of the Cape of Good Hope, a duty of ten per cent. ad valorem, and in addition to the duties imposed on any such articles when imported directly from the place or places of their growth or production.'

With this act in force the plaintiffs imported into New York from Liverpool several packages of raw silk, the growth or produce of Persia and China, upon which the ten per cent. duty was exacted. This duty was paid under protest, and a case being agreed on, the present action was brought in the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York against the collector to recover back the amount.

The matter was the proper interpretation of the above section of the act of Congress, previously to the date of which it is admitted that the goods described were free of duty.

The following section of the act of 3d of March, 1863, was introduced into the argument as throwing light, perhaps, on the former:

'SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That section fourteen of an act entitled 'An act increasing temporarily the duties on imports, and for other purposes,' approved July fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, be, and the same hereby is modified, so as to allow cotton, and raw silk as reeled from the cocoon, of the growth or produce of countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope, to be exempt from any additional duty when imported from places this side of the Cape of Good Hope, for two years from and after the passage of this act.' [1]

The questions were:

1. Whether the 14th section of the act of July, 1862, was applicable to goods hitherto free of duty; and

2. Whether this statute is reconcilable with the Constitution of the United States, which requires that 'all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.'

The court gave judgment for the defendant, and the plaintiffs thereupon brought the case here on error.

Messrs. Slosson and Hutchins, for the plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Stanbery, A. G., and Mr. Ashton, Assistant A. G., contra.

Mr. Justice FIELD delivered the opinion of the court.

Notes[edit]

^1  12 Stat. at Large, 557.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).