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This book is prepared more particularly for the use of importers, but it is believed that it will also be an indispensable supplement to the various text books for lawyers and customs officers upon the subject of the tariff.
The Acts of Congress relating to imports, even if readily accessible, are difficult of application to particular cases. The chief aim of this book is to show, in a compact form, how the Tariff Acts have been applied to actual cases by a long series of decisions by the Secretary of the Treasury; these decisions of the Secretary have been made in appeals taken by importers as disputed cases have arisen, and are conclusive in their effect upon the officers of the customs and upon importers, until passed upon by the courts; they embrace all the more important paragraphs of the schedules and sections of the Tariff Acts, and are supported in many instances by opinions of the Attorney-General.
These decisions of the Secretaries of the Treasury appear officially in annual volumes issued by the Department since 1868; including 1889, they amount to 9,791 separate decisions or rulings, of which 612 appeared in 1889; they apply, as has been said, to almost every article covered by a general or particular designation in the schedules and the free list; they affect and determine classification, rate of duty, drawback, the warehouse system, entry, appraisement, the procedure in disputed cases, and all questions that may arise respecting the general subject.
This book, therefore, places in the hands of the importer, as well as the customs officer, every one of these published decisions of the Treasury, in the form of abstracts or notes, arranged under the section of the statute, or the paragraph of the schedule, to which each applies ; and with them in the same manner are abstracts of all cases decided by the courts and the Attorneys-General, since the adoption of the Revised Statutes of the United States, as are deemed to be of advantage, or illustrative of the subject. Thus almost every paragraph of the laws relating to imports is conveniently interpreted and illustrated, and the rules of interpretation set forth, with reference to all the actual decisions of the Treasury Department or the courts upon the particular matter in question. Although many of the decisions directly apply to the tariff acts prior to 1883, they have been referred to here, as the principles underlying such decisions have some application to all the tariff acts of the United States. The laws governing duties on imports prior to the United States Revised Statutes of 1874 were contained in separate statutes passed from time to time; by the Revised Statutes these were consolidated, and became Title XXXIII, Revised Statutes, comprising, for the most part, the Schedules and Free List, and Title XXXIV, which, more particularly, relates to the administrative part of the tariff laws, including the bond and warehouse system and laws relating to drawback.
Title XXXIII was completely revised by the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, which, with some amendments of minor importance, is the law of rates and classifications of importations to-day. This Act of 1883 (now forming Title XXXIII) is printed here in full; the “sections," as they appear here in Title XXXIII, as well as elsewhere in this book, are those of the Revised Statutes; the paragraphs, as numbered in the Schedules and in the Free List, do not appear in the Revised Statutes or the Acts of Congress, but they are here numbered the same as the “ Indexed Tariff” issued by the Treasury Department, “Document No. 937."
The Treasury decisions are referred to by their usual designation as the Synoptical Series of the Treasury, by the year and the number of the decision, thus, “1889, s. s. 9790;" the decisions of the courts are referred to in the usual way, by the name of the case and the volume of the reports.
In the preparation of this entire work, I have had the valuable cooperation of Archibald L. Sessions, Esq., of New York, and in the earlier notes I have been much assisted by John Vernon Bouvier, Jr., Esq., to both of whom I wish to make my acknowledgments.
GEORGE H. ADAMS. APRIL, 1890.