SCHMIEDER V. BARNEY, 113 U. S. 645 (1885)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Schmieder v. Barney, 113 U.S. 645 (1885)

Schmieder v. Barney

Submitted November 26, 1884

Decided March 2, 1885

113 U.S. 645


The Act of July 14, 1862, § 9, 12 Stat. 553, imposes, as a duty, "On all delaines . . . and on all goods of similar description, not exceeding in value forty cents per square yard, two cents per square yard." Held that the similarity required is a similarity in product, in adaptation to uses, and in uses, even though in commerce they may be classed as different articles; affirming Greenleaf v. Goodrich, 101 U. S. 278.

It is competent to inquire of a witness in a suit to recover back duties paid under this clause of the act of 1862 whether the words "of similar description" is a commercial term, and if so what is its commercial meaning; but it is not competent to inquire whether the particular goods, alleged to have been improperly subjected to duty, were of similar description to delaines.

The language of tariff acts is construed as having the same meaning in commerce that it has in the community at large, unless the contrary is shown. Swan v. Arthur, 103 U. S. 598, to this point affirmed.

The facts which make the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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