Arthur v. Lahey
96 U.S. 112 (1877)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Arthur v. Lahey, 96 U.S. 112 (1877)

Arthur v. Lahey

96 U.S. 112

Syllabus

1. The rules that for the purpose of the tariff laws the commercial designation of an article among traders and importers, when clearly established, fixes its character, and that when Congress has designated an article by a specific name and imposed a duty upon it, general terms in a subsequent act or a later part of the same act, although sufficiently broad to comprehend such article, are not applicable to it, are not deprived of their ordinary application by the expression "not otherwise provided for," in the eighth section of the Act of June 30, 1864, 13 Stat. 210.

2. The distinctions made by importers and traders between "silk laces" and "thread laces" have been plainly recognized by Congress, and have run through its acts for more than thirty years.

3. Under the nineteenth section of the Act of March 2, 1861, 12 Stat. 190, as amended by the sixth section of the Act of July 14, 1862, id. 550, thread laces are eo nomine subject to a duty of thirty percent ad valorem.

4. Smythe v. Fiske, 23 Wall. 374, was not intended to overrule Homer v. The Collector, 1 Wall. 486, Reiche v. Smythe, 13 Wall. 162, or the cases referred to in them, nor was Movius v. Arthur,95 U. S. 144, understood to be in conflict with it.

5. Those cases commented upon and explained.

In the years 1872 and 1873, Lahey & Co. imported from France certain articles of silk manufacture on which Arthur, the collector of the port of New York, imposed and collected a duty of sixty percent under the eighth section of the Act of June 30, 1864, 13 Stat. 210. Among the articles so imported was a quantity of laces which the importers insisted were commercially

Page 96 U. S. 113

known as "thread laces," and liable to a duty of only thirty percent ad valorem, under the nineteenth section of the Act of March 2, 1861, 12 id. 190, as amended by the sixth section of the Act of July 14, 1862, id. 550. Having paid under protest the duty exacted, the importers brought this action for the excess beyond thirty percent. The judge at the trial submitted to the jury the question whether the articles were commercially known as "thread laces," and the jury having found that they were, there was a verdict for the plaintiffs. Judgment was rendered thereon, and the collector sued out a writ of error.

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