ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.
MR. JUSTICE FIELD delivered the opinion of the court.
The plaintiff below, the defendants in error here, in March, 1882, imported into the United States at the port of New York 5179 packages of steel rods from Mulheim, in Germany. They were shipped at the port of Antwerp, in Belgium, to which place they were brought by rail from Mulheim, where they were made. Antwerp is distant from the frontier of Germany between forty and fifty miles, and from Mulheim two hundred miles. The appraisers added to the invoice price of the articles at Mulheim eleven marks per ton to make the dutiable value of the articles, and four marks per ton for the charges incurred in their transportation to Antwerp. Upon their appraised value, including these charges, the defendant, who was at the time collector of the port of New York, on the 5th of May, 1882, ascertained and liquidated the duties. Subsequently, a reliquidation was made, by which two and one-half
per cent was deducted from the eleven marks. This reliquidation was completed on the 24th of May, 1882. Two days afterwards the plaintiffs made a formal protest against including in the dutiable value of the goods any sum for charges or otherwise in addition to the value stated in the invoice; but adding that they should pay the amount exacted, in order to get the goods, and then claim to have it refunded.
On the trial the plaintiffs put in evidence letters from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, against the objection of the government, to show that an appeal was taken to the Secretary from the decision of the collector, and that it was affirmed. The counsel of the government excepted to their admission. The following are the letters:
"TREASURY DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, Washington, D.C., August 14th, 1882.
"Collector of Customs, New York,
"Sir: The department is in receipt of your letter of the 27th ultimo, submitting the appeal (1996, 2050 H) of Messrs. Downing, Sheldon & Co., from your assessment of duty on additions made by the appraiser to the invoice and entered value of certain steel wire rods imported by them per Hermann, March 9th, 1882.
"The appraiser reports that an addition was made by him for charges under the Department's decision of July 20th, 1880, (S.S.H 4617,) for the reason that the invoice did not state that the price of the merchandise was 'free on board,' and that an addition for value was also made by him to make the usual market value of the merchandise.
"Your assessment of duty thereon is hereby affirmed.
"Very respectfully, H. F. FRENCH, Acting ...