Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER LXI.

REVENUE CASES.

The second article of the treaty of comImportation of Cot- merce of July 3, 1815, between the United tons: Question un- States and Great Britain, provides that "no der Law and Treaty. higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into the United States of any articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of His Britannick Majesty's territories in Europe, than are or shall be payable on the like articles being the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country." By the tariff act of August 30, 1842, the duties on cotton goods imported into the United States were nearly doubled; but it was provided that the act should not apply to goods shipped in vessels, bound to any port of the United States, which actually left their last port of lading "eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, or beyond Cape Horn, prior to the 1st of September 1842."

Between August 1842, and May 13, 1843, Messrs. Godfrey, Pattison & Co., merchants of Glasgow, imported at New York and Boston a quantity of cotton goods, on which duties were paid under the act of August 30, 1842. These duties were, however, paid under protest on the ground that as shipments made from Liverpool and other British ports were, by the treaty of 1815, entitled to be imported into the United States on the payment of "no higher or other duties" than were exacted on articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other foreign country, the cottons in question were entitled to be imported under the old law until May 13, 1842, up to which time it was alleged that vessels with cottons continued to arrive from ports eastward of the Cape of Good Hope.

Claims against the United States for the refund of the alleged excess of duties, together with interest, were submitted to the commission under the convention between the United

States and Great Britain of February 8, 1853. It was argued before the commission that an "importation" of goods should be considered as covering the whole period of transit, commencing with the time of leaving the foreign country. This argument the commission refused to admit, holding that goods could not be said to be imported until the transit was complete and the goods had actually arrived at their destination. On the other hand, the commissioners said:

"We are of opinion that as long as goods were received from the East Indies at the reduced rate of duty prescribed in the prior statute, they were entitled to be received from Great Britain charged at the same rate of duty. This is the only interpretation which it seems to us conforms to the just intent of the treaty.

"A construction, at least as favorable as that adopted by us, was given to this clause of the treaty by the British Government on a claim in behalf of American citizens for repayment of the duty charged on rough rice. That claim was for a long time under consideration, and was settled by directing the excess of duties exacted to be repaid, as long as African rough rice had been allowed by law to be imported into England at a lower duty than was charged on American rice.

"The commissioners are of opinion that the precedent established in that case was based on sound principle, and they direct that the excess of duties exacted on cotton goods imported by the claimants prior to May 13, 1843, shall be refunded.

"A question of payment of interest has also been raised. It appears that at the time the duties were demanded the claimants formally protested to the collectors of New York and Boston against the rate of duty assessed, as contrary to treaty stipu lations. They also claimed protection from Mr. Fox, Her Majesty's minister at Washington. The United States Government was, therefore, from the first, informed that the payment of the duty would be resisted.

"The act itself, also, of the 30th of August 1842 should have placed them on their guard, as it expressly provides 'that nothing contained in it shall be construed or permitted to operate so as to interfere with subsisting treaties with foreign countries.'

"Under these circumstances, we are of opinion interest should be allowed on the claim from the time of payment."

Upham, commissioner, delivering the opinion of the commission, convention between the United States and Great Britain of February 8, 1853. (S. Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 301.)

The same provision of the treaty of 1815 as was involved in the preceding case was invoked by claimants in another class of cases. By the act of Congress of May 22, 1824, in relation

to duties on imports, an increase of 5 cents a square yard on cottons was made to take effect from June 30, 1824, with the proviso "that it should not apply to or be enforced against importations of goods from ports or places eastward of the Cape of Good Hope or beyond Cape Horn, before the 1st of January next ensuing."

The commissioners said:

"The violation of the provisions of the convention of 1815 by that act is much more explicit and direct than that of the act of 1842 with regard to which we have already expressed our opinion. The act then provided merely that all goods which were shipped from ports beyond the Cape of Good Hope prior to the act taking effect should not be subject to the operation of the statute. In this case it is provided that the act itself should not take effect on goods coming from beyond the cape for the term of six months after it had been in operation as to goods imported from other countries.

"The commissioners regard this as a clear and palpable discrimination in favor of those countries in violation of the treaty of 1815, and allow claims for the return of any excess of duties beyond those paid by those countries during the period within which the exception operated.

"On the question of interest which has been presented to our consideration, it appears that the duties were originally paid without complaint, and that the claim has been permitted to slumber, until very recently, without being brought to the notice of the United States; and we are of opinion that no interest should be allowed."

Upham, commissioner, cases as to duties on cotton goods, commission under convention between the United States and Great Britain of February 8, 1853. (S. Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 312.)

ens: Question under Law and Treaty.

The two preceding decisions relate to the Exportation of Wool- importation of goods, as affected by the second article of the treaty of 1815. By the same article it is also provided that no "higher or other duties" shall be imposed on the "exportation of any articles" from the one country to the territory of the other "than such as are payable on the exportation of the like articles to any other foreign country." The first case that attracted attention, as an alleged violation of this stipulation, was the assessment by Great Britain from the date of the treaty down to May 6, 1830, of an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent on manufactured woolens when they were exported to the United States and certain other countries, while during a large part of the time they were exported free of duty to China, Java, 5627-VOL. 4-9

Manila, Lima, Valparaiso, California, etc. On December 27, 1825, some American ships, which had been taking in cargo for some of the latter places, finding that woolens, of which their cargoes principally consisted, were allowed to be shipped free of duty, applied to the board of customs for permission to ship woolens to the United States with the same exemption. This application the board refused. On the 20th of January 1826, however, it was ordered that woolens might be shipped to the United States on deposit of the duties, pending the decision of the British Government.

About this time exception was taken by British merchants to the inequality of the export duties on goods exported to Rio de la Plata and Colombia, with which Great Britain had treaties containing clauses similar to that now in question. The exception of the British merchants was based on these clauses, and it was allowed, the Treasury in April and May 1826 ordering the excess of duties to be refunded. No decision, however, was made on the American claim, and the attention of the privy council of trade was again called to the subject. On the 20th of August 1826 the committee of the council issued an order on the American memorials, declaring "that, as the duty in question was not payable upon woolens exported to foreign places within the limits of the East India Company's charter, the parties were entitled, under the terms of the treaty with the United States, to a like exemption," and requesting the commissioners of His Majesty's customs "to discontinue levying that duty on woolens exported to the United States and to other countries with which treaties containing a similar right of exemption had been concluded;" and it was directed that "on due application from the parties by whom such export duties had been paid, the same should be returned to them."

Notwithstanding this order, the board of customs refused to refund the duties, and procured an act of limitation, which was passed after the memorials of the American claimants were filed, to the effect that duties thus assessed should not be refunded for a period extending back more than three years. No step was taken, however, to pay any of the claims until December 3, 1845, when, after representations on the subject by the United States, an order was issued under which the duties were refunded back to January 26, 1823, at which time the practice began of paying the duties under pro

test, or conditionally. The claims for the refund of duties collected from January 3, 1815, to January 26, 1823, remained unadjusted, and were referred to the commission under the convention between the United States and Great Britain of February 8, 1853.

The commissioners said that the treaty of 1815 seemed to have been violated insome instances through inadvertence, by careless and hasty legislation, and in others seemingly through ignorance of its provisions. But it was conceded that, as a matter of fact, the inequality of duties complained of in the present case violated the provisions of the treaty; and it was decided that the duties should be refunded. The commissioners, however, did not render any awards in these cases in favor of particular claimants. Owing to the practice of the British shippers in entering in their own names and in gross, for payment of duty, the goods shipped by a particular vessel, evidence of the precise amounts of duty paid by the American importers could not be obtained from the custom-house records; and owing to the lapse of time and the changes in firms by death or otherwise, it was difficult to obtain satisfactory evidence of any kind in many cases. To obviate this difficulty, the agent of the claimants entered into an arrangement with the British Government by which the shippers' accounts, the claimants agreeing to waive interest on them, were accepted as a basis of settlement, and time was allowed for making the requisite apportionment among the several importers. This arrangement having been effected, the commission allowed the claims to be withdrawn.

Commission under the convention between the United States and Great Britain of February 8, 1853. (S. Ex. Doc. 103, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 305–310.)

Drawback of Duties on Coal.

By the United States customs act of March 2, 1799, a drawback of duties was allowed on articles entered for exportation, the owner giving bond not to reland them within the limits of the United States. By the same act the ordinary evidence of exportation was the duly verified certificate of the consignee of the landing of the articles in a foreign country; but in case of loss at sea, or other unavoidable accident, or where from "the nature of the trade" such proof could not be produced, the exporter was allowed to furnish such other proofs as he might possess and as the nature of the case would admit of.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »