Reiche v. Smythe
Annotate this Case
80 U.S. 162 (1871)
U.S. Supreme Court
Reiche v. Smythe, 80 U.S. 13 Wall. 162 162 (1871)
Reiche v. Smythe
80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 162
Where an act of 1861 exempted from duty "animals of all kinds; birds, singing and other, and land and water fowls," and a later act levied a duty of 20 percent "on all horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs, and other live animals," held that birds were not included in the terms "other live animals." The second statute must be read by the light of the first.
The 23d section of the act of March 2, 1861, chap. 68, [Footnote 1] provides, that
"The importation of the articles hereinafter mentioned and embraced in this section shall be exempt from duty:"
" Animals, living, of all kinds; birds, singing and other, and land and water fowls."
This provision being in force, an act of May 16, 1866, [Footnote 2] was passed, which provided:
"That on and after the passage of this act there shall be
levied, collected, and paid, on all horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs, and other live animals imported from foreign countries, a duty of 20 percentum ad valorem."
In this state of legislation, and after the passage of the second of the above-mentioned acts, one Reiche imported into New York a lot of canary and other birds, on which the collector exacted a duty of 20 percentum ad valorem, which was paid under protest. Reiche brought this suit in the court below to recover the money. The only inquiry was whether living birds at the date of this importation were dutiable.
The court below decided that they were, and judgment being given accordingly the importer brought the case here.