Belcher v. Lawrason,
62 U.S. 251 (1858)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Belcher v. Lawrason, 62 U.S. 21 How. 251 251 (1858)

Belcher v. Lawrason

62 U.S. (21 How.) 251


The eighth section of the Act of Congress, passed in 1846, 9 Stat. 42, exacting a penal duty of twenty percent when the appraised value of goods imported exceeds the invoiced value by ten percent, does not include the case of an entry by a manufacturer who has produced the article imported.

Page 62 U. S. 252

Nor did previous laws prior to the Act of March 3, 1857, Session laws, page 1991 justify this penalty. The last-mentioned law puts goods manufactured and goods purchased upon the same footing in this respect.

But by the act of 1842, an addition of fifty percent to the duty is laid upon goods imported by a manufacturer, where the appraised value exceeded the invoiced value by ten percent

The appraisal of the goods at the customs was properly made under the 17th section of the act of 1842, although imported and entered by the manufacturer.

This was an action brought by Belcher & Co. to recover back from the collector $6,159.20, which they alleged to have been exacted as illegal duties, and which they had paid under protest.

The following was the statement of facts in the court below:

1. That the plaintiffs imported into New Orleans from the Island of Cuba the several cargoes of reboiled molasses, concentrated molasses, sugar house molasses, cistern bottoms, and cistern sugars, fully set forth in the petition.

2. That said importations were made on entries, from which it appears that the importers were the manufacturers of the goods imported, and not purchasers thereof in the market.

3. That upon the appraisement of the merchandise so imported as aforesaid, the value thereof was fixed by the appraisers at a sum exceeding the invoice value by more than ten percent, and that no appeal from this appraisement was made by the importers to merchant appraisers.

4. That the defendant thereupon exacted from the plaintiff a penal duty of twenty percentum on the appraised value of the merchandise imported, and that said penal duty, so levied as aforesaid, amounted to the sum of $6,159.20.

5. That said penal duty was paid under protest, as shown by the protests filed, which are made part of this statement of facts.

Upon this statement of facts, the circuit court decided that the said merchandise was not legally subject to a penal duty of twenty percent on the appraised value aforesaid, but was legally subject to a penal duty of fifty percent on the amount of

Page 62 U. S. 253

duties which would have been properly chargeable if the invoice had expressed the true value of the merchandise imported, and the excess of penal duty so charged as aforesaid being ascertained to amount to $1,539.80, which ought to be returned to plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs brought the case up to this Court.

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