Arthur v. Unkart

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

96 U.S. 118

Arthur  v.  Unkart

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

In May, 1873, Unkart & Co. imported into New York certain merchandise, upon which the plaintiff in error, the collector of the port, assessed and collected a duty of sixty per cent, under the eighth section of the act of June 30, 1864 (13 Stat. 210), which imposed a duty of sixty per cent on various articles of clothing made of silk; naming hats, gloves, &c. The concluding clause of the section is as follows: 'On all manufactures of silk, or of which silk is the component of chief value, not otherwise provided for, fifty per cent ad valorem.'

Against the imposition of that rate of duty the importers protested in due form, upon the ground that such merchandise, being gloves and similar articles made on frames, not otherwise provided for, is only liable to duty under the twenty-second section of the act of March 2, 1861, and the thirteenth section of the act of July 14, 1862, at the rate of thirty-five per cent ad valorem, less ten per cent; under the second section of the act of June 6, 1872, as a manufacture of cotton, or of which cotton is the component part of chief value.

Upon the trial of this action, which was to recover the excess so paid, it was conceded that the articles in question were gloves; that they were commercially known as 'silk-plaited gloves,' or 'patent gloves;' that they were manufactured in part of silk and in part of cotton, and were made on frames.

The court charged the jury, that, while the burden of proof was upon the plaintiffs to show that they had fulfilled all the formal, ordinary prerequisites to bringing their action, it was upon the defendant to justify his exaction of the duty imposed, so that it was for them to be satisfied that the evidence fairly preponderated in favor of the defendant, that the materials which were the component of chief value in the gloves in question were silk; otherwise, the plaintiffs were entitled to a verdict, there being no question on the evidence but that the prerequisites in regard to which the burden rested upon the plaintiffs had been complied with. The jury found that cotton was the chief component of value in the gloves, and that the value of the silk therein was less than that of the cotton, and gave their verdict for the plaintiffs.

Mr. Assistant-Attorney-General Smith for the plaintiff in error.

Mr. Stephen G. Clarke, contra.

MR. JUSTICE HUNT delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).