Two Hundred Chests of TeaAnnotate this Case
22 U.S. 430
U.S. Supreme Court
Two Hundred Chests of Tea, 22 U.S. 430 (1822)
Two Hundred Chests of Tea
22 U.S. 430
In a libel of information under the sixty-seventh section of the Collection Act of 1796, c. 128, against goods on account of their differing in description from the contents of the entry, it is not necessary that it should allege an intention to defraud the revenue.
A question of fact as to the rate of duties payable upon certain teas, imported as bohea. That term is used in the duty act in its known commercial sense, and the bohea tea of commerce is not usually a distinct and simple substance, but is a compound, made up in China of various kinds of the lowest priced black teas. But by the duty acts it is liable to the same specific duty, without regard to the difference of quality and price.
This was a libel of information filed in the Circuit Court of Massachusetts against two hundred chests of tea alleging that on 8 September, 1819, the collector of the customs for the port of Boston seized at that port the said chests of
tea as forfeited for having been unlawfully imported at the port of New York in the ship Ontario on 29 June, 1819, from Canton, in China, as being that kind and denomination of teas commonly called bohea teas, and afterwards transported coastwise to Boston in the original chests and packages, and there entered as bohea, and that on such seizure and examination, according to law, the chests and packages were found to differ in their contents from the entries, and the teas contained in them to be of a different kind and quality of black teas, and not bohea teas, as represented in the entries. The claim interposed by T. H. Smith stated that the teas in question
were imported and entered by him at the port of New York as bohea teas and that they are of the kind and denomination called bohea teas, and not of a different kind or quality of teas. The district court pronounced a decree of condemnation upon the testimony taken in the cause, which was affirmed pro forma in the circuit court upon appeal, and the cause was thereupon brought to this Court.