decided: April 10, 1892.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA.
[ 148 U.S. Page 652]
MR. JUSTICE GRAY, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
Had there been any question in this case necessary for the consideration and decision of a jury, the plaintiff would have no just ground of exception to the admission of the testimony of an habitual cigarette smoker, accustomed to roll his own cigarettes, that other cigarette paper, sold in similar packages but without covers, could be used by smokers in that condition, and that the pieces of paper now in question could be so used without being pasted together or into a cover; or to the instructions under which the case was submitted to the jury.
But the several exceptions taken become immaterial, because upon the plaintiff's own case the jury might well have been instructed, as matter of law, that the defendant was entitled to a verdict.
The facts which were either admitted by both parties, or which the evidence introduced in behalf of the plaintiff tended to prove, were in substance as follows: The importation of cigarette paper consisted of packages of separate pieces of a paper made of a peculiar material and by a special process, suitable to be used as wrappers for cigarettes, cut into the proper size, and separated into divisions of about 250 pieces by the interposition of pieces of paper of the same size and of different color. The other importation consisted of pasteboard covers of corresponding size, to be used with the paper in making cigarette books, by brushing one edge of each subdivision of a he paper with paste or other adhesive substance, and then cen enting the paper into the covers, from which the leaves are torn by the smoker as desired, and then the cover (which is useful only to protect the papers) is thrown away.
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The plaintiff, by arrangement with the foreign manufacturers of this paper, was the sole importer thereof into the United States; his intention and motive in importing it were to make it up into cigarette books; and that was the only form in which such paper had been sold at retail. A large part of this importation was so made up into books by the plaintiff, at an expense of about $400 for the hire of workmen; but a part of it, as imported, was sold directly to manufacturers of cigarettes.
The question is, whether upon these facts the cigarette paper and the pasteboard covers for it were "manufactures of paper," within schedule M, or were "smokers' articles," within schedule N, of the Tariff Act of 1883.
Each of the two clauses containing the words "not specially enumerated or provided for in this act," and the clause concerning smokers' articles being the more specific and definite, this clause must of course prevail over the other in the case of a subject falling within both descriptions.
It is manifestly not requisite, in order to bring an article under this clause, that it should, of and by itself, be capable of being used for smoking; for the clause includes not only "pipes," which are ready to be filled and smoked, but "pipe bowls," which cannot be smoked without putting stems to them, "and all smokers' articles whatever."
In the case at bar, the cigarette papers, as well as the covers to hold them, were made, adapted and intended to be used by smokers in rolling and smoking cigarettes. The plaintiff himself imported both the papers and the covers, and entered and paid the duties upon the two simultaneously; and his intention at the time of importing them, as well as his motive in importing them in the form that he did, was to combine them into cigarette books for the use of smokers. The leaves of paper were fit for nothing else but to be made into cigarettes, and smoked with the tobacco wrapped in them; and they were used in the same way, whether never put into a cover at all, or first pasted into a cover and afterwards torn out one by one. The covers were fit for nothing, except to hold and protect the papers until made by the smoker into cigarettes. The mere pasting together of
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the papers and the covers was in no proper sense a process of manufacture, and did not change the use or the character of the articles.
To decide that these cigarette papers and their covers, or either of the two, are not "smokers' articles," would contravene the plain language, as well as the manifest intent and purpose of the Tariff Act.
The cases of Robertson v. Gerdan, 132 U.S. 454, and United States v. Schoverling, 146 U.S. 76, cited for the plaintiff, went no further than to hold other provisions of the Tariff Act, describing a complete instrument, to be inapplicable to the importer of a part thereof only. In Robertson v. Gerdan, the point decided was that ivory keys, sold to manufacturers of pianos and organs, to be scraped and glued to the wood, were not themselves musical instruments.In United States v. Schoverling, the point decided was that gunstocks, although intended to be put with barrels to form complete guns, yet no question of the importation of gun barrels being involved, were not guns; and there was no intimation that if the stocks and barrels had both been imported by the same person and entered at the same time, with the intention of himself putting them together as guns, they would not have been dutiable as such; or that gunstocks should not be considered as gunners' or sportsmen's articles.
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