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DECISIONS On doubtful rates of duties, &c.

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SECTION 7.

Of Official Decisions respecting the rates of Impost Duties (or exemptions from Duty) on certain articles, not clearly ascertained, but left dubious by the laws, either from obscure phraseology or otherwise, &c., &c.

734. Official decisions, communicated from time to time by the Comptroller of the Treasury to Collectors of the Customs, on the classification of free and dutiable goods, and the rates of ad valorem and specific duties, and other questions connected therewith-as left dubious by the occasional obscure phraseology of the laws-were commenced at an early period in Comptroller Anderson's administration, but not before, from any evidence existing on the subject in this collection. His first circular on this subject is prefaced in the following terms, which will apply to that whole series of decisions here successively referred to, viz: "Many articles of merchandise are so indifferently expressed in the act establishing the "new Tariff, that doubts in relation to the rates of duty properly demandable on them "have arisen in the minds of many of the officers of the Customs; with respect to other ar"ticles, questions have been propounded to this Department, 'Whether they were em"braced under the denomination of all articles not free, and not subject to any other rate "of duty; and with regard to others, it has become matter of investigation whether they were comprehended among the articles exempted from duty or not.' It may, therefore, "have a beneficial effect to enumerate the articles alluded to, and to state the decisions in "relation to them which have been made by this Department." Then follows the alphabetical list, with the decisions on the several articles accordingly: C's cir. 23d January, 1818; V. 1, p. 359.

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735. Certain changes made under several Revenue laws passed in 1818, in relation to duties chargeable on certain articles, require corresponding alterations in the heading of the abstracts of goods imported-specifying the articles, their rates of duty, and the alterations to be made in the abstracts: C's cir. 19th May, 1818; V. 1, pp. 385, 389.

736. Decisions of the Department are transmitted, on questions miscellaneously stated, as arising under several acts: C's cir. 14th April, 1819; V. 2, pp. 17 to 20.

737. Decisions of the Department respecting duties legally demandable on certain articles are made: C's cir. 10th November, 1821; V. 2, p. 153.

738. Further decisions on the duties legally demandable on certain articles are transmitted: C's cir. 14th September, 1822; V. 2, p. 203.

739. Decisions are made on questions arising as to duties chargeable on blanketing and pastes, or imitation precious stones: C's cir. 25th August, 1823; V. 2, p. 275.

that of 1833, inclusive. According to said usage or rule, a Table of Duties under the Tariff act of 11th September, 1841, was promised by the Comptroller's circular of the 30th of the same month, but was never executed; nor has there been one executed, in pursuance of said rule or usage, for the Tariff of 1842. (The subject of this note is continued in a note at the end of Section 7, page 101.)

740. Decisions on various questions raised respecting the duties chargeable on certain articles, under the Tariff act of 22d May, 1824, made and transmitted: C's cir. 28th July, 1824; V. 2, p. 315.

741. Further decisions, under the same act of 1824, respecting duties chargeable on a great number of articles alphabetically arranged; and error in the preceding circular, as to looking glass plates, corrected, &c.: C's cir. 10th December, 1824; V. 2, pp. 395 to 412.

742. Further decisions respecting additional articles: C's cir. 3d June, 1825; V. 2, p. 417.

743. Decisions are communicated respecting a number of articles alphabetically enumerated: C's cir. 15th August, 1826; V. 2, p. 445.

744. In transmitting the Revenue laws passed at the last session of Congress, the Comptroller takes occasion to communicate decisions on certain articles: C's cir. 12th April, 1827; V. 2, p. 456.

745. In transmitting the Revenue laws passed at the last session, the Comptroller avails himself of the occasion to communicate certain decisions of the Department: C's cir. 1st September, 1827; V. 2, p. 467.

746. The Comptroller states, that, "In pursuance of a long established rule of the Department, to apprize the officers of the Customs of its decisions under the Revenue laws," a number of official decisions are communicated respecting certain dutiable and free articles, and other questions arising under the recent Tariff act of 1828: C's cir. 15th October, 1828; V. 2, p. 587.

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747. Decisions of the Department on questions arising since the circular of the 15th October (1828) last, are communicated: C's cir. 26th January, 1829; V. 3, pp. 4 to 6.

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748. Additional decisions made since the last circular of the 26th January are transmitted: C's cir. 20th June, 1829; V. 3, p. 24.

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749. In transmitting the acts of the last session of Congress, having any connexion with revenue subjects, the Comptroller avails himself of the occasion to communicate certain decisions of the Department: C's cir. 25th June, 1830; V. 3, pp. 61 to 64.

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750. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 15th November, 1830; V. 3, p. 98. 751. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 27th December, 1830; V.3, p. 113. 752. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 25th March, 1831; V. 3, p. 124.

753. In transmitting the laws passed at the last session of Congress, the Comptroller takes occasion to apprize Collectors of certain decisions made since the last circulation the same purport: C's cir. 9th May, 1831; V. 3, p. 153,

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754. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 4th October, 1831; V. 3, p. 177. 755. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 7th March, 1833; V. 3, p. 362.

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756. Decisions of the Department on a great variety of questions respecting the classification of, and the duties to be levied on, certain articles, under the Tariff act of the 14th July, 1832, are communicated: C's cir. 12th August, 1833; V. 3, p. 409.

757. Additional decisions transmitted: C's cir. 26th December, 1833; V. 3, p. 422.

758. Additional decisions transmitted on questions under the aforesaid act: C's cir. 24th April, 1834; V. 3, p. 467.

759. Additional decisions transmitted, respecting the classification of, and duties to be levied on, certain articles: C's cir. 8th July, 1834; V. 3, p. 477.

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760. Additional decisions transmitted: C's cir. 25th March, 1836; V. 3, p. 523.
761. Additional decisions transmitted: C's cir. 5th August, 1836; V. 3, p. 543.
762. Additional decisions transmitted: C's cir. 22d March, 1837; V. 3, p. 563.

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(JUDICIAL DECISIONS -called for by the Comptroller for future reference.)

763. A "diversity of opinions and conflicting decisions having been brought under the special notice of this office," says the Comptroller, respecting the classification of, and duties to be exacted on, certain articles, under the acts of 14th July, 1832, and 3d March, 1833, its decisions thereon are transmitted for the future government of Collectors: C's cir. 17th August, 1838; V. 3, p. 637.

764. The aforesaid decisions of 17th August, in relation to manufactures of silk, are further explained: C's cir. 16th October, 1838; V. 3, p. 645.

765. Errors in the aforesaid circular of the 16th October are corrected: O's cir. 20th October, 1838; V. 3, p. 649.

766. Additional decisions and explanations, in regard to the duties chargeable on certain articles embraced in the circulars of the 17th August last, and since that date, are transmitted: C's cir. 25th October, 1838; V. 3, p. 651.

767. (Of Judicial decisions, the Comptroller says to Collectors: "This office has frequent occasion to examine and refer to the decisions alleged to have been made on Revenue questions by the Circuit Courts of the United States, and in many instances they have not been accessible to it. It is believed, that if copies of the opinions expressed by the Judges, and of the testimony in the cases alluded to, had been furnished to this office, much embarrassment, since felt, could have been avoided. I have, therefore, earnestly to request, that, in future, when a litigated Revenue question is decided by the Circuit Court for your District, and no appeal is entered up, you will furnish a copy of the decision to this office. As it is intended that they shall be bound up together, you will be pleased to have them copied upon

common sized foolscap paper, in a bold and free handwriting. Your ready compliance will greatly assist this office," &c.: C's cir. 5th December, 1838; V. 3, p. 685.)

768. Collectors are informed, that, "in reference to the operation of some of the provisions of the Tariff act of the 11th September, 1841, and particularly in regard to those on which inquiries have been addressed to this Department, it is deemed expedient to issue the subjoined instructions, in anticipation of the Alphabetical Tariff Table now in preparation, (but which was never issued): C's cir. 30th September, 1841; V. 3, p. 889.

769. Further decisions in addition to those of the 30th September last, in relation to duties chargeable under the act of 11th September, are transmitted: C's cir. 15th October, 1841; V. 3, p. 895.

770. Additional decisions are transmitted: C's cir. 20th October, 1841; V. 3, p. 901.

771. Additional decisions are communicated: C's cir. 8th November, 1841; V.3, p. 909. 772. Additional decisions are communicated respecting the duties to be exacted on various articles, under the act of the 11th September, 1841; and on the appraisement of others, under the act of 14th July, 1832: C's cir. 8th March, 1842; V. 3, p. 935. (48.)

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(48.) For the "rates of duties," ad valorem and specific, together with the enumeration of free articles, clearly ascertained by the several Tariff laws, it is proper here to make a general reference to the "ALPHABETICAL TABULAR TARIFFS," as enumerated in the anteceding section, (6,) for those tables are complete indexes in relation to those details, of which it would be necessary to make a literal copy, in order to give an adequate account in this Synopsis; that is, of those tables issued from 1794 to 1832, inclusive, since which none have been issued, as already stated in the preceding note. And for the "OFFICIAL DECISIONS" as to the "rates of duties" NOT clearly ascertained, but left in obscurity by the laws in operation at the time of such decisions, reference must be made to the Alphabetical Index of said articles of merchandise which accompanies this "Synopsis" for the circular and page in which the decision is stated; as it would, in like manner, be necessary to make a literal copy of those circulars to give an adequate account of those decisions in this place; and it may also be remarked, that the above circular of the 8th March, 1842, is the last of those issues embodying the like decisions of the Department. How far the breaking up of the former rule has contributed to produce the irregularities which have generally prevailed in estimating the duties on the same articles in different Collection districts, complained of by the Secretary of the Treasury in his circular of the 5th August, 1844, vol. 3, p. 353, may be easily conjectured. Whether the execution (successful or otherwise) of the gradual reduction Tariff act of 3d March, 1833, tended to produce the impression that the Alphabetical Tables of Duties were a work of supererogation that might be dispensed with, is not certainly known. But it is certain that the rates of duties prescribed by the act of 14th July, 1832, to be gradually reduced by the act of 3d March, 1833, biennially thereafter, required a distinct and separate table to exhibit the rates established at the incipiency of the former act, and one for each subsequent biennial reduction thereof under the latter act, inasmuch as these varying amounts of periodical reductions necessarily established a new Tariff of rates for each period, as fully as if a new act were passed for each periodical reduction, and consequently called for a new Alphabetical Table of Rates for each reduction, in order to insure uniformity in the action of officers of the Customs in levying duties throughout the United States-the want of which is manifested by the repeated instructions and remonstrances of the Department to Collectors during said periods of reduction. And the want of such a table to aid the Collectors in administering the Tariff of 1842 has been attempted to be supplied by sundry tables prepared by Collectors at principal ports; but they conflict with each other in so many respects as to assure the mercantile public of the absence of that uniformity, in the levying of duties on their imported goods, which is explicitly ordained by the Constitution.

In regard to the breaking up of the other salutary usage-that of embodying in a circular, from time to time, the decisions of the Department on rates of duties on particular articles, as well as other matters left in obscurity by the laws-it must necessarily have called for reiterated instructions on individual cases to supply it, as may be seen in special letters to individual Collectors, and in numerous partial circulars since the date of that act.

10 per cent. discrimination or abatement,

on goods imported in

American bottoms.

SECTION 8.

Of Import Duties-embracing Instructions for the estimate of Duties, and abatements thereof for Tare, Leakage, Shrinkage, Waste, Damage-for the collection of Duties, and abatements thereof for cash payments (under acts before that of 1842)—and for making Returns of Accounts, weekly, monthly, and quarterly, to the Secretary for information, and quarterly to the First Auditor for settlement.

(a.) of the estimate of Duties and abatements thereof for tare, leakage, waste, damage, &c.

773. (The Secretary of the Treasury prescribes a method for estimating the ten per cent. abatement authorized by the 5th section of the act of September, 1789, "for laying du(See Discriminating ties on imports," to be deducted from the duties on goods imported in American vessels, as a discrimination against importations made in Foreign vessels: S's cir. 30th November, 1789; V. 1, p. 29.)

Duties, section 10.)

Duties to be entered

in Impost Book in due form; chief evidence of accruing revenue:

-to be corrected and entered by Naval Offi

cer:

-with all requisite facilities from Collectors.

Ballast not dutiable as such:

-if of fossil Salt, what proportion pure (dutiable):

-ballast may consist of dutiable articles.

774. The evidence mainly to be relied upon, of the duties accruing from imports, is to be found in the "Impost Book" required to be kept in each Collector's office (and by Naval Officers) according to forms prescribed: in which book (as the masters of vessels shall have made entry of their vessels, and delivered in their manifests) the Collectors shall enter the substance of the manifests, arranged in the proper columns: and then, as the consignees or importers appear and make their entries of their respective portions of the cargo, the Collector shall fill up the other columns with the contents of their packages, and the amounts of the respective duties, (ad valorem and specific,) estimated thereon: C's cir. 1st December, 1789; V. 1, pp. 1, 2.

775. The Collector's entries, and calculations of duties, are to be handed to the Naval Officer for examination and correction, according to law, and to be entered in his "Impost Book:" C's cir. 18th December, 1789; V. 1, p. 11.

776. (Every facility is required to be afforded to Naval Officers, by Collectors, while performing their duty of examining the books and accounts of Collectors: C's cir. 27th December, 1838; V. 3, p. 695.)

777. Whenever a vessel arrives in ballast, or without goods subject to duty, the fact must be noted in the Tonnage Abstract returned quarterly to the Treasury: C's cir. 16th February, 1790; V. 1, p. 15.

778. Of fossil Salt, imported as ballast, it is desired to know the proportion of pure [meaning dutiable] salt it yields to the crude: S's cir. 25th November, 1829; V. 2, p.

229.

779. The ballast of a vessel arriving in port, though generally consisting of otherwise worthless matter of weight, and therefore duty free, may nevertheless consist of dutiable goods, which of course deprives it of the privilege of ballast, as lead in pigs, &c: C's cir. 20th June, 1834; V. 3, pp. 433, 434.

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