HOLLENDER V. MAGONE, 149 U. S. 586 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hollender v. Magone, 149 U.S. 586 (1893)

Hollender v. Magone

No. 172

Argued April 10, 1893

Decided May 10, 1893

149 U.S. 586


The word "liquors" is frequently, if not generally, used to define spirits or distilled beverages, in contradistinction to those that are fermented. It is so used in Schedule H of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, 22 Stat. 505, c. 121.

The word "liquors," as used in that section, is obviously the result of misspelling, "liqueurs" being intended.

The multitude of articles upon which duty was imposed by the Tariff Act of 1883 are grouped in that act under fourteen schedules, each with a different title, and all that was intended by those titles was a general suggestion as to the character of the articles within the particular schedule, and not any technically accurate definition of them.

Generally speaking, a "sound price" implies a sound article. It appearing that the cost of the beer in question at the place of export was equivalent to 17 70/100 cents per gallon, and that upon being examined in New York, much of it was thrown into the streets as worthless, that but little of it was sold, and that, for three cents per gallon, it may be assumed that it was a sound article when shipped at the place of export.

The facts in this case are these: on October 19, 1886, the plaintiffs imported and entered at New York 226 casks, aggregating 2,861 gallons, of beer, on which the defendant, as collector of the port, exacted duty at twenty cents a gallon. This was paid by the plaintiffs under protest, they insisting that the beer had become sour and worthless on the voyage of importation. They applied, on October 26, for a rebate on account and to the extent of this damage, under Rev.Stat. § 2927, which is as follows:

"SEC. 2927. In respect to articles that have been damaged during the voyage, whether subject to a duty ad

Page 149 U. S. 587

valorem or chargeable with a specific duty, either by number, weight, or measure, the appraisers shall ascertain and certify to what rate or percentage the merchandise is damaged, and the rate of percentage of damage, so ascertained and certified, shall be deducted from the original amount, subject to a duty ad valorem, or from the actual or original number, weight, or measure, on which specific duties would have been computed."

But this application was refused on the ground that such an allowance was prohibited by a proviso in Schedule H, Act of March 3, 1883, 22 Stat. 505, c. 121, which says: "There shall be no allowance for breakage, leakage, or damage on wines, liquors, cordials, or distilled spirits." Thereafter this suit was brought, and on the trial thereof the court instructed the jury to find for the defendant. 38 F.9d 2. Judgment having been entered on such verdict, plaintiffs sued out a writ of error from this Court.

Page 149 U. S. 588

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