United States v. Klumpp

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

169 U.S. 209

United States  v.  Klumpp

On the 30th day of August, A. D. 1894, John F. Klumpp and others, doing business as a partnership under the name of Alexander Murphy & Co., imported into New York certain merchandise, consisting of women's and children's dress goods composed of worsted. The collector classified this merchandise, and assessed it for duty under paragraph 395 of the tariff act of October 1, 1890 (26 Stat. 567, c. 1244), at 12 cents per square yard, and 50 per cent. ad valorem. The importers protested, claiming the goods to be dutiable under paragraph 283 of the tariff act of August 27, 1894 (28 Stat. 509, c. 349), at 40 per cent., or 50 per cent. ad valorem, according to the value per pound.

The board of general appraisers overruled the protest (G. A. 2769), and the importers carried the matter to the circuit court, which reversed the decision of the board of general appraisers. 68 Fed. 908. On an appeal to the circuit court of appeals for the Second circuit, the decision of the circuit court was affirmed. 38 U.S. App. 467, 19 C. C. A. 343, and 72 Fed. 1008. The case was then brought here on certiorari.

It was admitted below 'that the classification of the merchandise by the collector was worsted dress goods, at twelve cents per square yard, and fifty per cent. ad valorem, under Schedule K, par. 395, of the tariff act of October 1, 1890.'

And 'that the merchandise in controversy is worsted dress goods, made from the fleece of the sheep, which has been combed and spun into worsted yarn, and is not composed of the hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, or other animal than sheep.'

Paragraph 395 of Schedule K of the act of October 1, 1890, entitled 'Wool and Manufactures of Wool,' reads: 'On women's and children's dress goods, coat linings, Italian cloth, bunting, and goods of similar description or character composed wholly or in part of wool, worsted, the hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, or other animals, and not specially provided for in this act, the duty shall be twelve cents per square yard, and in addition thereto fifty per centum ad valorem: provided, that on all such goods weighing over four ounces per square yard the duty per pound shall be four times the duty imposed by this act on a pound of unwashed wool of the first class, and in addition thereto fifty per centum ad valorem.'

Paragraph 283 of Schedule K of the act of August 27, 1894, entitled 'Wool and Manufactures of Wool,' provided: 'On women's and children's dress goods, coat linings, Italian cloth, bunting, or goods of similar description or character, and on all manufactures, composed wholly or in part of wool, worsted, the hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, or other animals, including such as have India rubber as a component material, and not specially provided for in this act, valued at not over fifty cents per pound, forty per centum ad valorem; valued at more than fifty cents per pound, fifty per centum ad valorem.'

Paragraphs 280 to 286, inclusive, under this schedule, provided for duties on articles made or composed 'wholly or in part of wool, worsted, or the hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, or other animals,' except that paragraph 282, which referred to blankets, etc., omitted the word 'worsted.'

Paragraphs 287 to 296, inclusive, related to carpets, mats, etc., and the concluding paragraph of the schedule read: '(297) The reduction of the rates of duty herein provided for manufactures of wool shall take effect January first, eighteen hundred and ninety-five.'

Paragraph 685, one of the paragraphs of the free list, was as follows: '(685) All wool of the sheep, hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, and other like animals, and all wool and hair on the skin, noils, yarn waste, card waste, bur waste, slubbing waste, roving waste, ring waste, and all waste, or rags compo ed wholly or in part of wool, all the foregoing not otherwise herein provided for.'

Sol. Gen. Richards, for the United States.

W. Wickham Smith, for appellees.

Mr. Chief Justice FULLER (after stating the facts). Women's and children's dress goods, 'composed wholly or in part of wool, worsted, the hair of the camel, goat, alpaca, or other animals,' were dutiable under paragraph 395 of the act of October 1, 1890, at 12 cents per square yard, and 50 per cent. ad valorem; under paragraph 283 of the act of August 27, 1894, at 40 or 50 per cent. ad valorem, according to value. But by paragraph 297, the reduction of the rates of duty on 'manufactures of wool' was not to take effect until January 1, 1895. And, if that paragraph applied to worsted dress goods for women and children, then the collector was right, and the judgment must be reversed.

Was it intended that the words 'manufactures of wool,' as used in this paragraph, should include or exclude worsted goods?

Worsted goods are made out of wool, and are necessarily a manufacture of wool. The Century Dictionary defines 'worsted' as a noun: 'A variety of woolen yarn or thread, spun from long-staple wool which has been combed, and in the spinning is twisted harder than is usual;' and as an adjective: 'Consisting of worsted; made of worsted yarn; as worsted stockings.'

'Worsted is but wool spun and twisted in a particular manner,' said Mr. Justice Story in Whiting v. Bancroft, 1 Story, 560, Fed. Cas. No. 17,575. And in Cohn v. Seeberger, 30 Fed. 425, it was found by Judge Blodgett that 'worsted is made by combing long-fibered wools so that the fibers usually lie or are arranged alongside each other, while wool is treated by carding it so as to interlock the fibers with each other.'

As between worsted yarns and woolen yarns, the Encyclopaedia Britannica says that the fundamental distinction 'rests in the crossing and interlacing of the fibers in preparing woolen yarn, an operation confined to this alone, among all textiles,-while for worsted yarn the fibers are treated, as in the case of all other textile materials, by processes designed to bring them into a smooth, parallel relationship with each other.' Volume 24, p. 658.

Although, through the introduction of improved processes of manufacture, it gradually became possible to comb shorter and finer varieties of wool, and thus to manufacture worsted goods of higher grade and better quality, approximating worsted to woolen goods, and removing the reason for any distinction between them in the matter of duties, the tariff laws, prior to May 9, 1890, made a distinction in that respect between woolen and worsted goods, resting on the difference in the process of manufacture; but the raw material was, of course, always the same, namely, wool.

By the tariff acts of April 27, 1816 (3 Stat. 310, c. 107), of May 22, 1824 (4 Stat. 25, c. 123), May 19, 1828 (4 Stat. 270, c. 55), July 14, 1832 (4 Stat. 583, c. 227), August 30, 1842 (5 Stat. 548, c. 270), worsted stuff goods were recognized as manufactures of wool.

By the acts of July 30, 1846 (9 Stat. 92, c. 74). March 2, 1861 (12 Stat. 252, Res. 15), July 14, 1862 (12 Stat. 543, c. 163), June 30, 1864 (13 Stat. 202, c. 171), March 2, 1867 (14 Stat. 559, c. 197), March 3, 1883 (22 Stat. 488, c. 121), 'manufactures of wool not otherwise provided for' were separated from 'manufactures of worsteds not otherwise provided for,' and distinct duties levied on each, while from 1861 distinct duties were levied on articles specifically described, whether manufactured of wool or worsted.

In Seeberger v. Cahn, 137 U.S. 95, 11 Sup. Ct. 28, it was held that cloths popularly known as 'diagonals,' and in trade as 'worsteds,' were subject to duty under the act of March 3, 1883, as manufactures of worsted, and not as manufactures of wool; the ground of decision being thus stated by Mr. Justice Gray delivering the opinion of the court:

Notes[edit]

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).