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Opinion of the Court.

promissory notes for them or not. The ruling of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in Gray v. Williams, 9 Humphreys, 502, 505, is to the same effect. See also Atkins v. Scarborough, 9 Humphreys, 517.

This bill does not show when the debt to L. Tiff Risk became due, nor when suit for its recovery was commenced against Johnson, but it was of course prior to April 22, 1878, when judgment was recovered. The contract of E. F. Risk had therefore been broken prior to that time, and this action was commenced on the 28th of October, 1885, more than seven years and six months after the breach, and more than three years and four months after June 27, 1882, the date of the letters of administration to Thomas L. Risk.

Johnson was a resident of Tennessee, and should have exhibited his claim to the administrator and commenced his action within two and a half years after the letters were issued. Moreover, the cause of action on the agreement would have been barred as early as April 22, 1884, against E. F. Risk, if he had lived, and, so far as his death operated to give further time, that had also expired.

Inasmuch, therefore, as, if the Supreme Court of the State had sustained the defence of the statutes of limitation, we cannot perceive that such decision would have been erroneous, it does not appear that the judginent as rendered could not have been given without deciding the federal question, or that its decision was necessary to the determination of the cause and that it was actually decide The writ of error must therefore be


Statement of the Case.




No. 78. Argued November 14, 17, 1890. - Decided December 8, 1890.

On a reappraisement by a merchant appraiser and a general appraiser,

under § 2930 of the Revised Statutes, the valuation of goods entered in March, 1886, was raised, and the importer paid thereon additional duties, for which he sued the collector, after protest and appeal. At the trial, the plaintiff put in evidence chapter 3, part 3, articles 447 to 506, and chapter 5, part 8, articles 1399 to 1410, and 1415 to 1417, of the general regulations under the customs and navigation laws published by the Treasury Department in 1884; and extracts from the instructions issued for the guidance of officers of the customs and others concerned, by the Secretary of the Treasury, under date of July 1, 1885, being instructions of Jime 9, 1885, and June 10, 1885. The importer had asked for the reappraisement, and the collector selected the merchant appraiser. He took the prescribed oath in regard to the goods in question. The defendant had a verdict in respect of the additional duties, under the direction of the court, and the importer had a judgment in respect of another matter: On a writ of error: Held, (1) The instructions of the Treasury Department gave the importer all

the rights to which he was entitled, and were not repugnant to that provision of S$ 2902 and 2930 which required the use of “all reasonable ways and means,” in appraising, and the proper rights of the

importer were accorded to him in this case; (2) The question of the dutiable value of the merchandise was not to

be tried before the appraisers as if it were an issue in a suit in

a judicial tribunal; (3) In a suit to recover back duties paid under protest, the valuation of

merchandise made by the appraisers is, in the absence of fraud, conclusive on the importer, and the question as to the actual value

of the merchandise cannot be tried; (4) The merchant appraiser was not an officer, within the meaning of

article 2, section 2 of the Constitution, so as to require him to be appointed by the President, or a court of law, or the head of a

department; (5) Section 2930 of the Revised Statutes was not unconstitutional in

making the decision of the appraisers final.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Opinion of the Court.

Mr. Henry E. Tremain, (with whom were Mr. Mason. W. Tyler and Mr. Alexander P. Ketchum on the brief,) for plaintiffs in error..

Assistant Attorneys General Maury and Parker for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an action at law, brought by Clement A. Auffmordt, John F. Degener, William Degener and Adolph William von Kessler, composing the firm of C. A. Auffmordt & Co., against Edward L. Hedden, collector of the port of New York, in the Superior Court of the city of New York, and removed by the defendant into the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, to recover an alleged excess of duties, paid under protest, on goods imported into the port of New York from Bremen by the steamer Main and entered at the custom-house at New York on March 13, 1886. After issue joined, the case was, on the application of the plaintiffs, separated into two causes of action, the present one covering all questions of law and fact involved in the importation, except those which concerned the rates of duty affecting it; and the trial involved in the case now before us proceeded on that basis. It was had before Judge Wheeler and a jury, and resulted in a verdict for the plaintiffs for $10, for which amount, with interest and costs, judgment was entered in July, 1887. The plaintiffs brought a writ of error, claiming that the verdict should have been for a larger sum.

The valuation of the goods on entry was 7070 francs, on which a duty of 50 per cent was paid. Afterwards the appraisers raised the valuation by adding 440 francs 10 centimes to the 7070 francs, making a total valuation of 7510 francs 10 centimes. On a reappraisement by a merchant appraiser and a general appraiser, under section 2930 of the Revised Statutes, the same result was reached; and on this valuation of 440 francs 10 centimes a duty of 50 per cent was paid, amounting to $42. The controversy in the case relates to this $12.

There is no foundation for the suggestion made in the brief for the plaintiffs that they paid any duty upon non-dutiable charges.

· Opinion of the Court.

Various assignments of error' are made which are not especially referred to in the brief for the plaintiffs; and those which are discussed in that brief may be classified under distinct heads.

Section 2930 of the Revised Statutes, under which the principal question in the case arose, was as follows: “If the importer, owner, agent, or consignee of any merchandise shall be dissatisfied with the appraisement, and shall have complied with the foregoing requisitions, he may forthwith give notice to the collector, in writing, of such dissatisfaction; on the receipt of which the collector shall select one discreet and experienced merchant to be associated with one of the general appraisers wherever practicable, or two discreet and experienced merchants, citizens of the United States, familiar with the character and value of the goods in question, to examine and appraise the same, agreeably to the foregoing provisions; and if they shall disagree, the collector shall decide between them; and the appraisement thus determined shall be final and be deemed to be the true value, and the duties shall be levied thereon accordingly.”

At the trial, the plaintiffs put-in evidence the followingnamed parts of the general regulations under the customs and navigation laws, published by the Treasury Department in 1884, namely : Chapter 3, part 3, articles 447 to 506, both inclusive; chapter 5, part 8, articles 1399 to 1410, both inclusive, and articles 1415 to 1417, both inclusive; also, extracts from instructions issued for the guidance of officers of the customs and others concerned, by the Secretary of the Treasury, under date of July 1, 1885, known as Treasury Department Document No. 712, being instruction of June 9, 1885, p. 245, No. 6957; instruction of June 10, 1885, p. 249, No. 6959; and instruction of July 20, 1885, p. 305, No. 7029.

Of the general regulations of 1884, above referred to, those which are material in this case are set out in the margin.1

1 " Art. 459. It is lawful for the appraisers, or the collector and naval officer, as the case may be, to call before them and examine, upon oath or affirmation, any owner, importer, consignee, or other person, touching any matter or thing which they may deem material in ascertaining the true

Opinion of the Court.

In the present case, the plaintiffs filed protests and appeals to the Secretary of the Treasury on the 29th of April, 1886.

market value or wholesale price of merchandise imported, and to require the production, on oath or affirmation, to the collector or to any permanent appraiser, of any letters, accounts, or invoices in his possession relating to the same, for which purpose they are authorized to administer oaths and affirmations. Such persons are not entitled to compensation. S. 335. And all testimony in writing or depositions thus taken will be filled in the collector's office, preserved for future use or reference, and transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury whenever he may require the same.”

Article 462 provides for the giving of a written notice by the collector to the importer of any addition to value made and certified by the appraisers, and provides for the form of such notice.

"Art. 463. If the importer be dissatisfied with the appraisement he may, if he has complied with the legal requirements, give notice of such dissatisfaction in writing to the collector. This notice must be given in all cases within twenty-four hours, or before the end of the official day after the day on which the collector gave the notice prescribed in the foregoing article, and may be in the following form (R. S. 2930):

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“Form No. 102.
Importer's Notice to Collector Claiming Reappraisement.

18. “SIR: As I consider the appraisement made by the United States appraisers too high on imported by

in the

from I have to request that the same may be reappraised pursuant to law with as little delay as your convenience will permit.

collector cf the customs."

Articles 464 and 465 provide for a special report of the local appraisers to be made after such notice claiming a reappraisement is given.

Merchant Appraisers. “ Art. 466. On the receipt of this report the collector will select one discreet and experienced merchant, a citizen of the United States, familiar with the character and value of the goods in question, to be associated with an appraiser at large, if the attendance of such officer be practicable, to examine and appraise the same according to law. R. S. 2930. The selection of merchant appraisers should not be confined exclusively to those connected with foreign imports, but when the requisite knowledge exists should be extended so as to embrace domestic manufacturers and producers and other citizens acting as merchants, although not dealing in foreign merchandise. S. 6111. The merchant thus selected will be notified by the collector of his appointment and of the time and place of the reëxamination.

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