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I herewith enclose for your information and guidance a synopsis of sundry decisions rendered by this Department during the month of May last, together with the accompanying Circulars.
I. Circular on regulations for enforcement of liens for freight on imported merchandise.
II. Circular relating to the transit of American lumber, &c., through New Brunswick to Atlantic ports of the United States.
III. Circular relating to trade between Alaska and other ports of the United States through Sitka.
IV. Instructions to all Revenue Agents and others relative to collection of public moneys.
Secretary of the Treasury.
DISTILLED SPIRITS-EXPORTATION IN BOND NOT ALLOWED.
The act of Congress, Jan. 11, 1868, absolutely prohibits the exportation, in bond, of distilled spirits of domestic origin. Prepayment of the tax is required by that act, and the general Internal Revenue law prohibits the payment of drawback on distilled spirits.—(Letter to Hon. Rufus P. Spaulding, H. R., May 1, 1868.)
MEASUREMENT OF MERCHANDISE (MARBLE AND LUMBER) TO BE ACTUAL AND ACCURATE.
The practice existing at some ports of assuming that an invoice of lumber or marble is correct is not permissible; such articles, as well as others of a similar nature, must be actually and carefully measured, so as to ascertain the exact quantities landed whenever duties are to be assessed thereon.(Letter to Collector, Philadelphia, May 4, 1868.
BOX SHOOKS AND PICKETS.
Box shooks, if tongned and grooved, although the tonguing and grooving are done by sawing, are dutiable "
as mannfactured wood," at 35 per cent. ad. val., according to decision of July 1, 1864. If made by the saw alone, and are not tongued or grooved, they are, if covered by the Department's decision of Sept. 11, 1866, in regard to pickets, dutiable at 20 per cent. as unmanufactured wood, under 20 sec., act March 2, 1861.-(letter to Collector, Portland, Me., May 5, 1868.)
CIGARS AND LIQUORS IN BOND. As the object of the 1st section of the Act of July 28, 1866, restricting the quantity of spirituous liqnors and cigars that may be imported in one package, was merely to prevent the smuggling of those articles in quantities that could be easily concealed, and as the transportation bond fully protects the government against petty frauds, the Department is of the opinion that the said law should not be construed as applying to goods brought into the country destined for transportation and immediate export to foreign adjacent territory. See Regnlations-Letter to Collector, Brownsville, Texas, May 5, 1868.)
BUCKWHEAT DUTIABLE ÁT 20 CTS. PER BUSHEL. Buckwheat is liable to duty at 20 cents per bushel, according to Department's decision, May 31, 1866, and the Department sees no reason to change or modify the same.—(Letter to L. Beemer ce Co., Buffalo, N. Y., May 6, 1868.)
REFINED PETROLEUM A DANGEROUS ARTICLE.
Refined petroleum is classified by the Department among the articles coming within the restrictions imposed by the provisions of the steamboat inspection laws regulating the manner in which dangerous articles shall be transported on board steamboats subject to the jurisdiction of the general government.(Letter to H. C. Winslow, Esq., Buffalo, N. Y., May 7, 1868.)
DUPLICATE ENTRIES-STAMPS ON, NOT REQUIRED. The effect of the recent decision of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, that stamps are not requisite upon duplicates of entries is simply to discontinue the use of stamps upon such papers and not to make any other change in them, or dispense with any other formalities heretofore necessary in their preparation.—(Letter to Naval Officer, Charleston, S. C., May 7, 1868.)
STEEL BLOOMS-DUTY 45 PER CENT. AD VALOREM.
“ Steel Blooins” are liable to 45 per cent. duty, by virtue of section 3, Aet July 30, 1864, and Department's decision of July 27, 1857, as "manufactures of steel or of which steel shall be a compo-. nent part not otherwise provided for.”—(Letter to Collector; Now York, on appeal 5481, May 8, 1868.).
APPRAISEMENT:-SEIZED GOODS TO BE APPRAISED AT HOME VALUE.
The Department regards it as too plain and well settled to admit of doubt that the word "value;"' when applied to merchandise, by the laws, means in every case the market value of the same under ordinary circumstances at the time and place of appraisal: unless, as in the case of dutiable value, a different rule is expressed or necessarily implied. In the case of seized goods the appraisement must be of the home value in the United States, and it is the duty of the United States appraisers, at ports where there are such officers, to ascertain such value in those as in other cases when required by the Collector.---(Letters to Collector, New York, May 8 and 9, 1868.)
COLLECTOR'S CUSTODY OF CUSTOM-HOUSE BONDS.
Original Custom-house bonds should be retained in the custody of the Collector and only strictly accurate copies of such as may be requested for prosecution should be furnished to District Attorneys; whenever it becomes actually necessary for the originals to be produced in Court the Collector should take the receipts of the District Attorney for the same.
Reports to this Department on any designated bond should state in whose custody it then is.(Letter to Coll., New York, May 9, 1868.)
BAY RUM, 54 DEGREES STRENGTH, DUTIABLE AT $27% PER GALLON. Bay Ram, 54 degrees strength, is liable to a duty of $2.70 per gallon under section 1, Act July 28, 1866, which provides on all compounds or preparations of which distilled spirits is a component part of chief valne there shall be levied a duty of not less than that imposed upon distilled spirits.”—(Letter to Collector, New Orleans, on appeal 5464, May 9, 1868.)
SECRETARY'S POWER TO REMIT FINES, &c.
Under Act of March 3, 1797, authority is vested in the Secretary of the Treasury to remit only those fines and penalties accruing under the laws concerning the levying and collecting of duties and taxes, and those relative to navigation.
This Department has no power to remit a fine incurred for violations of the copyright laws.(Letter to Wm. D. Murray, Esq., Detroit, Mich., May 13, 1868.)
ROUTES OF TRANSPORTATION OF BONDED MERCHANDISE FROM NEW YORK AND TO MEXICO.
Merchandise duly entered and bonded at New York can be withdrawn for immediate exportation in bond to San Fernando, Paso del Norte, and Chihuahua, and be transported by water to the port of Laraca, Texas, and translipped thence, inland, to San Antonio, and from the latter place to the beforementioned destinations in Mexico, viu either Eagle Pass, the Presidio del Norte, or San Elizario, all on the Rio Grande; or, by water to the port of Galveston, and thence via Alleytown and Gonzales, to San Antonio, and thence via the places on the Rio Grande above mentioned, to the place of its destination in Mexico. Shipments from New York must be made direct either to Lavaca or Galveston, and are not allowed via New Orleans.—(Letter to C. C. Roumage, New York, May 14, 1868.)
BILL OF SALE OF VESSELS.
Thé Act of 1792, sec. 14, is not precise as to what sort of paper a Bill of Sale of a Vessel shall he; but it must be in the nature of a Bill of Sale. This paper, by Act of 29th of July, 1850, must be l'ecorder in the Collector's office; and in order to be recorded, it is required by the proviso of the 22d paragraph, Act 3d March, 1865, (Heyl's Digest, 323–467 pp.) that it be duly acknowledged before a Notary Public or other officer authorized to take acknowledgment of deeds.—(Letter to Collector, Crisfield, Md., May 15, 1868.)
A GAUGING FEE NOT TO BE EXACTED ON CHAMPAGNE WINE INVOICED IN THE CUSTOMARY QUART OR
The Department is of the opinion that Champagne wine invoiced in the well-known and coinmercially recognizer bottles of quart or pint capacity, docs contain the quantity within the meaning of the Act July 30, 1846, and article 593 of the General Regulations, and consequently a fee of 44 cents per basket, for gauging, dues not attach.--(Letters to Collectors, New Orleans, appeal 5184, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Boston, and Baltimore, May 15 and 16, 1868.)
(123.) DAMAGED MERCHANDISE, EXAMINATION OF, BY LOCAL AND GENERAL APPRAISERS, AT PLACES OTHER
THAN THE APPRAISER'S STORE.
The large allowances for damage made at the principal ports of the U. S., especially on fruits and articles of a perishable nature--often examined at the wharf or in the store of the importere—havo created an apprehension on the part of this Department that such examinations are not always conducted with proper vigilance and care. The examination should be made in such a manner as to preclude the possibility of granting excessive allowances, and whenever made at places other than at the Appraiser's stores it should not be conducted solely by one Examiner.
Article 411 of the General Regulations makes it the duty of the General Appraiser to revise the returns of damage made by the Local Appraisers, and they are thus, to a great extent, responsible for the correctness of such returns; said article does not specifically authorize the General Appraiser to examine merchandise damaged'; yet, such authority is clearly within its purview, as it wonld be to little purpose that a revision of the return of the Local Appraiser slıould be maile by him after the goods had passed out of the possession of the Government, or had by time become changed in their condition.
The General Regulations, No. 62, under 52 sec., Act of 1799, are regarded by the Department as superseded by the Regulations subsequently issued in 1857.-(Letter to General Appraiser, New Orleans, La., May 16, 1868; Letter to General Appraiser, Philadelphia, May 18, 1868.)
The Department has no authority to grant relief in the case of the checks of Disbursing Officers lost in the mail.
The only exception to the above rule is in case of lost checks issued in payment of Soldier's bounties under the Act of Congress approved March 19, 1868, instructions regarding which are embraced in Treasury Circular of May 15, 1868.—(Letter to Asst. Tr. Platt, Esq., Lexington, Ga., May 18, 1868.)
FINES, &c., PAID UNDER PROTEST, SHOULD BE REFUNDED AND SUIT INSTITUTED.
It is donbtful whether fines, penalties, and forfeitures incurred under Act July 7, 1838, paid under protest can be lawfully held, inasmuch as, under the 2d section of the said act, it is contemplated that the fine shall be collected only after judgment of a Court, which Court is to determine the informer's share. This Department cannot award the informer's share except in pursuance of such a judgment. The proper course is to proceed by seizure and libel of the vessel, (steamer,) unless the fine be paid without protest.-(Letter to Collector, New Orleans, May 18, 1868.)