Pennington v. Coxe
6 U.S. 33 (1804)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennington v. Coxe, 6 U.S. 2 Cranch 33 33 (1804)

Pennington v. Coxe

6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 33

Syllabus

Sugar refined but not sent out of the refinery for sale before 1 July, 1802, when the act of Congress respecting certain internal taxes came into operation, is not liable to duty.

That a law is the best expositor of itself, that every part of an act is to be taken into view for the purpose of discovering the mind of the legislature, and that the details of one part may contain regulations restricting the extent of general expressions used in another part of the same act are among those plain rules laid down by common sense for the exposition of statutes which have been uniformly acknowledged.

In the Circuit Court of the United States for the Pennsylvania District, an action was instituted and a feigned issue formed to try the question

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whether sugar which had been refined and was in the manufactory previous to 1 July, 1802, was, when sent out for sale, liable to duty under the provisions of the Act of Congress passed June 5, 1794, entitled an "Act laying certain duties upon snuff and refined sugars."

The judgment of the circuit court was in favor of the plaintiff below, and the defendant in that court brought this writ of error.

The second section enacts that

"From and after 39 September, 1794, there be levied, collected, and paid

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upon all sugar which shall be refined within the United States a duty of two cents per pound."

The third section directs "that the duties aforesaid shall be levied, collected and accounted for" by certain officers therein described.

The fifth section directs that every refiner of sugar shall make true and exact entry and report in writing at the office of inspection of every house or building where such business shall be carried on, and every pan or boiler, together with the capacity of each, and shall also give bond in the sum of five thousand dollars with condition that he will enter in a book or paper, to be kept for that purpose, all sugar which he shall refine, and the quantities from day to day sent out of the building where the same shall have been refined, and shall on 1 January, April, July, and October in each year render a just and true account of all the refined sugar which he shall have sent out from the time of the last account rendered, producing and showing therewith the original book or paper whereon the entries from day to day to be made as aforesaid have been made,

"and he shall, at the time of rendering each account, pay or secure the duties which by this act ought to be paid upon the refined sugar in the said account mentioned."

By the seventh section it is enacted that every refiner of sugar shall yearly, being thereunto required by an officer of inspection, make oath that the accounts which have been by him rendered of the quantities of refined sugar by him sent out of the building have been just and true.

By the tenth section it is enacted

"That all snuff and refined sugar which shall have been manufactured or made within the United States in manner aforesaid after 30 September next whereof the duties aforesaid have not been duly paid or secured according to the true intent and meaning of this act shall, upon default being made in the paying or securing of the said duties, be forfeited and shall and may be seized as forfeited by any officer of the inspection or of the customs."

By the eleventh section, the refiner has the option to pay upon rendering his account "the duties which shall

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thereby appear to be due and payable," with a deduction of six percent for prompt payment, or to give bond payable in nine months.

By the eleventh section, a drawback of the duties "hereby laid upon sugar refined within the United States" is allowed upon exportation to a foreign port.

But by the sixteenth section, such allowance is not to be made unless the exporter shall make oath that the duties have been paid or secured.

The twentieth section declares it shall be lawful to export refined sugar directly from the manufactory free from duty.

The first section of the repealing act of April 6, 1802, enacts

"That from and after 30 June next, the internal duties on stills and domestic distilled spirits, on refined sugars, licenses to retailers, sales at auction, carriages for the conveyance of persons, and stamped vellum, parchment and paper shall be discontinued, and all acts and parts of acts relative thereto shall, from and after the said 30 June next, be repealed, "

"Provided that for the recovery and receipt of such duties as shall have accrued, and on the day aforesaid remain outstanding, and for the payment of drawbacks or allowances on the exportation of any of the said spirits or sugars legally entitled thereto, and for the recovery and distribution of fines, penalties, and forfeitures and the remission thereof which shall have been incurred before and on the said day, the provisions of the aforesaid acts shall remain in full force and virtue. "

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