Curtis v. Martin - 44 U.S. 106 (1845)
U.S. Supreme Court
Curtis v. Martin, 44 U.S. 3 How. 106 106 (1845)
Curtis v. Martin
4 U.S. (3 How.) 106
An act of Congress imposing a duty upon imports must be construed to describe the article upon which the duty is imposed, according to the commercial understanding of the terms used in the law in our own markets at the time when the law was passed.
The duty, therefore, imposed by the act of 1832 upon cotton bagging cannot properly be levied upon an article which was not known in the market as cotton bagging in 1832, although it may subsequently be called so.
This was an action brought in the court below by Martin and Coe against Curtis the collector, for return of duties upon certain importations of gunny cloth, from Dundee, in Scotland, from April to September, 1841.