Cheney v. Van Arsdale
Annotate this Case
82 U.S. 68 (1872)
U.S. Supreme Court
Cheney v. Van Arsdale, 82 U.S. 15 Wall. 68 68 (1872)
Cheney v. Van Arsdale
82 U.S. (15 Wall.) 68
Under the Act of Congress of July 13, 1866, iron castings, cast for thimbleskeins and pipe boxes, between the 1st of September, 1866, and the 1st of March, 1867, were subject to an internal revenue tax.
Error to the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in which court a certain Van Arsdale brought suit against Cheney, collector of internal revenue, to recover duties paid the said collector on certain iron castings, cast for thimble skeins and pipe boxes, matters used in the construction of the running gear of vehicles for the road. The case was thus:
An Act of June 30, 1864, [Footnote 1] to provide internal revenue to support the government, to pay interest on the public debt, and for other purposes, amended by an Act of March 3, 1865, [Footnote 2] laid duties on nearly every sort of manufacture, including pig iron, railroad iron, all iron advanced beyond blooms, slabs, or loops, on iron castings used for bridges or other permanent structures, on stoves and hollow ware, on steel in ingots, bars, sheet, or wire &c.
An Act of July 13, 1866, entitled "An act to reduce internal
taxation and to amend an act entitled "An act to provide internal revenue to support the government, to pay interest on the public debt, and for other purposes," approved June 30, 1864, and acts amendatory thereof," in its 9th section [Footnote 3] imposes:
"On all iron, not otherwise provided for, advanced beyond muckbar, blooms, slabs, or loops, and not advanced beyond bars, and band, hoop, and sheet iron &c., a tax of $3 per ton."
"On plate iron &c., and cut nails and spikes &c., a tax of $5 per ton."
"On steel made directly from muckbar, blooms, slabs, or loops, a tax of $3 per ton."
"On stoves and hollow castings in all conditions, whether rough, tinned, or enamelled, and on castings of iron not otherwise provided for, a tax of $3 per ton."
The act in that same section [Footnote 4] imposes:
"On all manufactures, not otherwise provided for, of cotton . . . wood . . . iron . . . steel, or of other materials, a tax of 5 percent ad valorem."
The same act in a subsequent, its 10th, section [Footnote 5] exempts:
"Castings for iron bridges, malleable iron castings unfinished, and castings of all descriptions made specially for locks, safes, looms, spinning machines, steam engines, hot air and hot water furnaces, and sewing machines, and not sold or used for any other purpose, and upon which a tax was assessed and paid on the article of which the casting was part."
"Steel made from iron advanced beyond muckbar, blooms, slabs, or loops in ingots, bars, rails made and fitted for railroads, sheet, plate, coil or wire, hoop skirt wire, covered or uncovered; car wheels, thimble skeins and pipe boxes, and springs, the and axles made of steel used exclusively for vehicles, cars, or locomotives; and clock springs, faces, and hands."
We have thus far last spoken of an Act of July 13, 1866.
By an Act of March 2, 1867, it was enacted: [Footnote 6]
"That on and after March 1, 1867, in addition to the articles
now exempt by law, the articles and products hereinafter enumerated shall be exempt from internal tax -- namely, thimble skeins and pipe boxes made of iron."
With these statutes on the statute book, Van Arsdale, a manufacturer of iron castings &c., brought the suit already referred to. The question presented by the suit was whether iron castings, cast for thimble skeins and pipe boxes between the first day of September, 1866, and the first day of March, 1867, were subject to an internal tax under the act of Congress of July 13, 1866.
Evidence having been given tending to show that up to July, 1866, thimble skeins and pipe boxes had not been made of steel, but only of iron, the court instructed the jury that the act in question "exempted from taxation thimble skeins and pipe boxes, whether made of steel or iron, cast or wrought."
Verdict and judgment having been given for the plaintiff, the collector, whose counsel had contended that the exemption applied only when the articles were made of steel, brought the case here.
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