Arthur v. Morgan
112 U.S. 495 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Arthur v. Morgan, 112 U.S. 495 (1884)

Arthur v. Morgan, 112 U.S. 495 (1884)

Submitted November 26, 1884

Decided December 22, 1884

112 U.S. 495

Syllabus

A carriage in use abroad for a year by its owner, who brings it to this country for his own use here, and not for another person nor for sale, is "household effects" under § 2505 Rev.Stat. (p. 484, 2d ed.), and free from duty.

A protest against paying 35 percent duty on the carriage, which states that the carriage is "personal effects" and had been used over a year (as shown

Page 112 U. S. 496

by affidavit), and that, under § 2505 of the Revised Statutes, "personal effects in actual use" are free from duty, is a sufficient protest on which the amount paid for duty can be recovered back on the ground that the carriage was free from duty as "household effects" under the same section.

Julia Morgan imported into the port of New York from Europe in May, 1876, a carriage on which at the appraised value of $667, the collector exacted a duty of 35 percent, amounting to $233.45, under the following provision of Schedule M of § 2504 of the Revised Statutes, p. 474 (2d ed.): "Carriages and parts of carriages: thirty-five percent ad valorem." She protested in writing to the collector against paying the 35 percent duty on the ground that the carriage was "personal effects," and had been used by her "over a year," and that she had shown that fact by affidavit, and that, under § 2505 of the Revised Statutes, "personal effects in actual use" were free from duty. She appealed from the decision of the collector to the Secretary of the Treasury, and he affirmed it, and then she brought this suit. At the trial, the above facts were shown and the plaintiff proved that the affidavit referred to was to the effect that the carriage was old, and had been in use by her abroad for more than one year before its importation; that the affidavit was deposited with the defendant, and transmitted by him to the Secretary with the appeal; that she was a native citizen of the United States, and had lived abroad some three years as a temporary resident prior to the importation, and had returned to this country about two weeks before the importation; that the carriage had been purchased by her in France, and had been used by her as a family carriage abroad for more than one year before its importation, and that it was imported by her for her own use in this country, and was not intended for any other person or persons or for sale. The defendant offered no testimony, but moved the court to direct a verdict for the defendant on the following grounds:

"First, that no evidence was offered to support the claim made in the plaintiff's protest, that the carriage was a personal effect in actual use, within the meaning of that term as used in § 2505 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. "

Page 112 U. S. 497

"Second, that the said protest was insufficient to raise the point that the carriage was included within the meaning of the term 'household effects,' as that term is used in § 2505 of the Revised Statutes of the United States; third, that, even if the protest be considered sufficient to raise the last point, the carriage in question cannot properly be held to be included within the true sense and meaning of the term 'household effects,' as that term is used in section 2505 of the Revised Statutes of the United States."

The court denied the motion on each ground, and the defendant excepted to each ruling. A verdict was rendered for the plaintiff, the court having directed it on the ground that on the testimony and within the meaning of section 2505, the carriage was "a household effect," and the exaction of duties was illegal. The defendant excepted to the direction, and, after a judgment against him, brought this writ of error.

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