Bogle v. Magone,
Annotate this Case
152 U.S. 623 (1894)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Bogle v. Magone, 152 U.S. 623 (1894)
Bogle v. Magone
Argued March 15, 1894
Decided April 9, 1894
152 U.S. 623
Anchovy paste and bloater paste, made of anchovies or bloaters ground up fine and spiced, used as food or as an appetizer, in sandwiches or with a cracker, and not used as a condiment nor known in trade and commerce as sauces may be found by a jury to come within the description of "fish prepared or preserved," and not within the description of "sauces of all kinds" in the Tariff Act of 1883.
This was an action brought May 23, 1888, against the collector of the port of New York, after due protest and appeal, to recover back an excess of duties exacted and paid upon goods imported and invoiced by the plaintiffs in 1886 and 1887 as "fish pastes," and which they contended should have been assessed as "fish, prepared or preserved," twenty-five percent ad valorem, but which the defendant assessed as "sauces," thirty-five percent ad valorem, under the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, c. 121, Schedule G of which imposes the following rates of duty: "Anchovies and sardines, packed in oil or otherwise," in small tin boxes, certain rates, varying from ten to two and a half cents per box, according to its size; "when imported in any other form, forty percentum ad valorem.
"Fish preserved in oil, except anchovies and sardines, thirty percentum ad valorem. "
"Salmon and all other fish, prepared or preserved, and prepared meats of all kinds, not specially enumerated or provided for in this act, twenty-five percentum ad valorem."
"Pickles and sauces of all kinds not otherwise specially enumerated or provided for in this act, thirty-five percentum ad valorem."
22 Stat. 503, 504.
At the trial, one of the plaintiffs, who were importers of fancy groceries at New York, testified that the goods in question (samples of which were produced in court) were imported as "anchovy paste" and "bloater paste." The definition in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, of "sauce" as
"a mixture or composition to be eaten with food, for improving its relish; a relishing condiment; appetizing addition to the principal material of a dish,"
being read to him, he testified that the word had a significance in the wholesale commerce of this country in 1883 and theretofore differing from the definition read; that the commercial meaning of a "sauce" was a liquid, and that was the only particular in which it varied from the definition read, and that anchovy paste or bloater paste, such as represented by the samples, was not recognized in trade and commerce in 1883, and prior thereto, as a sauce. On cross-examination, he testified that he understood the sense of the dictionary definition of "sauce" to be "anything used as a relish, either liquid or solid, as an addition to the food;" that these articles were used as food, principally in sandwiches, or like potted meats or deviled meats; that "anchovy paste" was manufactured out of anchovies, and "bloater paste" out of bloaters; that these were the only names by which they were known in trade and commerce in and before 1883 as well as since; that they had a fish taste, and that no part of each fish could be distinguished, but all was ground up fine, and spiced.
Three other importers and sellers of fancy groceries at New York, called as witnesses for the plaintiffs, testified that the term "sauces," as used in trade in and before 1883, had reference to liquids, only, and did not include solids, and that the goods in question were not commonly known as "sauces." One of them testified that each of these pastes was used as a direct
article of food, and not as an addition to anything, to give zest to it, and was used only in a distinct form, as in a sandwich or the like, and on cross-examination testified that
"he had often eaten the same articles as those in suit with a cracker or cake, eating the paste alone first and the cracker afterwards -- probably within thirty seconds after -- as soon as he was able to swallow."
The two other witnesses testified that it had a spicy flavor, and would induce hunger and thirst, and was used as an appetizer before a meal. The witnesses also testified that they dealt in the article known as "anchovy sauce" or "essence of anchovies," which was a liquid, and altogether different from these pastes, and never eaten alone, or as an addition to bread, but as a condiment.
At the close of the plaintiffs' evidence, the court, upon motion of the defendant, directed a verdict for him upon the grounds that "the plaintiffs had not proved facts sufficient to entitle them to recover;" that "the term "sauces of all kinds" in the tariff act was a descriptive term of ordinary use, to be taken in its ordinary meaning, and not in any restrictive or trade meaning," and that "the ordinary use of the term sauces included the articles in suit.
40 F. 226.
A verdict was returned accordingly, and judgment entered thereon, and the plaintiffs tendered a bill of exceptions, and sued out this writ of error.