United States v. Ranlett and Stone
172 U.S. 133 (1898)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Ranlett and Stone, 172 U.S. 133 (1898)

United States v. Ranlett and Stone

No. 20

Submitted October 11, 1898

Decided December 6, 1898

172 U.S. 133

Syllabus

Section 7 of the Act of February 8, 1876, c. 36, 18 Stat. 307, 308, was repealed by the tariff acts of 1883 and of 1890.

When a later statute is a complete revision of the subject to which the earlier statute related, and the new legislation was manifestly intended as a substitute for the former legislation, the prior act must be held to have been repealed.

When bags are imported, part of which are returned bags of American manufacture and part foreign, if the appraiser, after examination, decides that the goods are not as described, his judgment must stand unless reversed.

Section 2901, Rev.Stat., was intended for the benefit of the government, and is not mandatory.

Where merchandise liable in large part to duty is entered as exempt therefrom, the collector has the right to assume that the mingling was intentional, and with design to evade the revenue laws, and it devolves upon the importer to show what part of the whole he contends should not be taxed.

In the light of the rulings of the Treasury Department and the special circumstances

Page 172 U. S. 134

of the case, the Court is not disposed to hold that, if the proportion of dutiable bags sufficiently appeared or might reasonably have been ascertained, the circuit court could not have adjudged a recovery of. that proportion or directed a reliquidation.

In view of the testimony and considering that the statute was not strictly pursued in the examination (though the Court perceives no reason to doubt the faithfulness of the officials in the discharge of their duties), and the difficulties in the way of determining the make of the bags disclosed by the evidence, and bearing in mind that the taxation of so many of the bags as were of American manufacture operated as a penalty in spite of the concession that no fraud on the revenue was intended, the Court thinks it unnecessary to remand the cause for another hearing, and that the ends of justice will be best subserved by directing a decree for the refunding of one-fourth of the duties paid.

Ranlett and Stone imported at the port of New Orleans, from Liverpool, England, 2,925 bales of grain bags, known as "cental bags," each bale containing 1,000 bags, or 2,925,000 in all, by several vessels, the entries running from August 14, 1893, to January 15, 1894.

The bags were entered free of duty, under paragraph 493 of the Act of October 1, 1890, 26 Stat. 603, c. 1244, as bags of American manufacture returned to the United States.

That paragraph is as follows:

"Articles the growth, produce, and manufacture of the United States, when returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture of other means; casks, barrels, carboys, bags, and other vessels of American manufacture exported filled with American products, or exported empty and returned filled with foreign products, including shooks when returned as barrels or boxes; . . . but proof of the identity of such articles shall be made, under general regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, and if any such articles are subject to internal tax at the time of exportation, such tax shall be proved to have been paid before exportation and not refunded, provided, that this paragraph shall not apply to any article upon which an allowance of drawback has been made, the reimportation of which is hereby prohibited except upon payment of duties equal to the drawbacks allowed. . . . "

Page 172 U. S. 135

The general regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury under this paragraph contained the following provisions:

"Art. 331. Articles of the growth, produce, and manufacture of the United States, exported to a foreign country and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means, and upon which no drawback or bounty has been allowed, are entitled to entry free of duty, but this privilege does not extend to articles exported in bond from a manufacturing warehouse and afterward returned to this country. The exportation must be bona fide and not for the purpose of evading any revenue law."

"* * * *"

"If returned to the port of original exportation, the fact of regular clearance for a foreign destination must be shown by the records of the customs, . . . and by the declaration of the person making the entry. But when the reimportation is made into a port other than that of original exportation, there shall be required, in addition to the declaration, a certificate from the collector and the naval officer if any, of the port, where the exportation was made showing the fact of exportation from that port."

"* * * *"

"Art. 332. To guard against fraud and to insure identity, the collector shall require, in addition to proof of clearance, the production of a statement, certified by the proper officer of the customs at the foreign port from which the reimportation was made and authenticated by the consul of the United States, that such merchandise was imported from the United States in the condition in which it is returned and that it has not been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means."

"* * * *"

"Art. 335. Casks, barrels, carboys, bags, and vessels of American manufacture, exported filled with American products, or exported empty and returned filled with foreign products, including shooks when returned as barrels or boxes,

Page 172 U. S. 136

are free of duties, but in case drawback has been allowed upon the exportation of any such articles, they shall on importation be subject to a duty equal to the drawback. Proof of the identity of such articles must be made, and if any of them were subject to internal tax at the time of exportation, such tax shall be proved to have been paid before exportation and not refunded or duty will accrue."

"* * * *"

"Art. 336. Before entry, the following proof shall be required by the collector:"

"First. A certificate as follows from the shipper in triplicate, attested by a consul or other proper officer a authorized to take affidavits, as follows:"

"I hereby certify, under oath, that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the [Footnote 1] _____ hereinafter specified, are truly of the manufacture of the United States, [Footnote 2] _____ or were exported from the United States, filled with [Footnote 1] _____, and that it is intended to reship the same to the port of _____, in the United States, [Footnote 3] _____ on board the _____ now lying in the port of _____. I further certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the actual market value of the articles herein named at this time and in the form in which the same are to be exported to the United States, is as follows [Footnote 4] _____."

"_____ _____."

"Sworn to before me, this ___ day of _____, 18__."

"_____ _____."

"* * * *"

"Second. A declaration in the entry by the importer of the name of the exporting vessel, the date of the ship's manifest, and the marks and numbers on the articles for which free

Page 172 U. S. 137

entry is sought. If the exportation was made by railroad, the way bill may be substituted as evidence for the manifest. The marks and numbers should be such as to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the identity of the articles with those entered on the outward manifest. . . ."

"Third. An affidavit by the importer, attached to the entry, that the articles mentioned therein are to the best of his knowledge and belief truly and bona fide manufactures of the United States, or were bags exported therefrom filled with grain."

"* * * *"

"Fifth. Verification, after examination, by the appraiser, with an endorsement stating whether the articles are of domestic or of foreign manufacture."

"Such bags and other coverings exported to be returned should, when practicable, be marked or numbered, in order that they may be identified on their return, and the marks or numbers should appear on the shipper's manifest upon which they are exported."

When the respective shipments arrived in this country, free entry was made by the importer, and evidence furnished regarding the right to free entry, and the character of the goods. Samples of the respective invoices were then sent to the appraiser's office, and examined, as follows:

From one entry of 600 bales, 70 were ordered to the appraiser's store, and 18 of that number were opened by him.

Of another entry of 650 bales, 43 were ordered to the store, and 19 were opened.

Of a third entry of 325 bales, 38 were ordered to the store, and 13 were opened.

Of a fourth entry of 850 bales, 85 were ordered to the store, and 16 were opened.

Of a fifth entry of 300 bales, 21 were ordered to the store, and 14 were opened.

Of a sixth entry of 100 bales, 100 were ordered to the store, and 10 were opened.

And of a seventh entry of 100 bales, 100 were ordered to the store, and 10 were opened.

Page 172 U. S. 138

The examination of the bales was made by the appraiser, assisted by an examiner. The appraiser reported as to each importation that the bales contained bags of foreign manufacture, subject to duty, and thereupon the collector, by direction of the Treasury Department at the request of the importers, in order to obtain possession of the goods, made impost entries, assessing duties at the rate of two cents per pound on the entire consignment, under paragraph 365 of the act of 1890, 26 Stat. 593, as "bags for grain, made of burlaps." The importers protested against the "decision, liquidation, and rate and amount of duties assessed" on the grounds that the bags were entitled to free entry, under paragraph 493 of the free list, as bags of American manufacture, exported filled with American products; that, if not free under that paragraph, they were entitled to free entry under the provisions of section 7 of the Act of February 8, 1875, and the regulations for the free entry of bags other than of American manufacture, prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury thereunder, and that the goods were not fairly and faithfully examined by the appraisers; that the assessment of two cents per pound because the bales contained a mixture of foreign and American bags was incorrect, and that the goods, being all of one value, whether of foreign or American make, did not come under the provisions of section 2910 of the Revised Statutes.

The Board of General Appraisers sustained the action of the collector. General Appraisers' Decisions, No. 2,623.

The importers applied for a review of this decision to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Fifth Circuit, which, without taking any additional testimony, reversed the decision of the board, and entered a decree that the duties paid by Ranlett and Stone, namely, two cents per pound on the several consignments of bags, enumerating them, be refunded;

"that the examination heretofore made of said bales of bags is void, and not in conformity to law or the regulations of the Treasury Department, and any liquidation of duties based on said examination is illegal and void, and the liquidation of duties heretofore made be set aside, and the money

Page 172 U. S. 139

received from Ranlett and Stone as duties be refunded as aforesaid, and the court doth further order and decree that the collector direct a reexamination of said bales of bags to be made according to law, and on such reexamination to reliquidate the duties which may be lawfully due thereon."

The United States appealed from the decree to the circuit court of appeals which certified certain questions to this Court, whereupon a writ of certiorari was issued, and the entire record brought up.

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