United States v. 112 Cases of Sugar - 33 U.S. 277 (1834)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. 112 Cases of Sugar, 33 U.S. 8 Pet. 277 277 (1834)
United States v. 112 Cases of Sugar
33 U.S. (8 Pet.) 277
A seizure was made in the port of New Orleans, under the sixty-seventh section of the Act of 1799 for the collection of duties, 43 Vol. L.U.S., which authorizes the collector, where he shall suspects false and fraudulent entry to have been made of any goods, wares, or merchandises, to cause an examination to be made, and if found to differ from the entry, the merchandise is declared to be forfeited unless it shall be made to appear to the collector, or to the court in which a prosecution for the forfeiture shall be had, that such difference proceeded from accident or mistake, and not from an intention to defraud the revenue. After hearing the testimony offered in the cause, the court decreed and ordered that the property seized be restored to the claimant upon the payment of a duty of fifteen percent ad valorem; that the libel be dismissed, and that probable cause of seizure be certified of record. The United States appealed from this decree.
The court, not being able to decide from the evidence sent up with the record that the article, in point of fact, differs from the entry at the custom house, affirmed the decree of the court below.
The denomination of merchandise, subject to the payment of duties, is to be understood in a commercial sense, although it may not be scientifically correct. All laws regulating the payment of duties are for practical application to commercial operations, and are to be understood in a commercial sense. And it is to be presumed that Congress so used and intended them to be understood.