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The Government, among other things, cites the following definitions of the word "sheet":

Century Dictionary:

In general, a broad, usually flat, and relatively thin piece of anything, (Sheet is often used in composition to denote that the substance to the name of which it is prefixed is in the form of sheets or thin plates; as, sheet-iron, sheet-glass, sheet-tin).

Standard Dictionary:

* *. A piece of metal or other

A very thin and broad piece of any substance; substance, hammered, rolled, fused or cut very thin; as a sheet of tin, a sheet of glass, a sheet of veneer.

And it avers that the merchandise involved here "corresponds exactly with the above definitions," while the importer, with equal positiveness, asserts to the contrary, and says, among other things, that it is more appropriately designated as strips than sheets, as these terms are commonly understood.

The high authority of the lexicographers above cited gives force to the meaning of words as stated by them, but we are unable to go so far as the Government contends and say that the official exhibits here "correspond exactly" with the above-quoted definitions. Moreover, we have much doubt if in the common acceptation of the term these pieces of gelatin would be generally referred to as sheets of that substance, although we realize that this may be a close question. The size of the pieces, we think, is hardly that which would be required to constitute a sheet when composed of this substance. The Standard Dictionary, in connection with the definition above quoted, further defines a sheet as

Anything having considerable expanse with very little thickness.

We also notice that Webster defines "sheet" generally as

A large, broad piece of anything comparatively thin, as paper, cloth, etc.; a broad, thin portion of any substance.

We think these definitions suggest to the ordinary mind a breadth of sheet greater than that of the alleged sheets here.

Our conception of the meaning of the word "sheet" of anything, as generally understood, would be, in the first instance, somewhat varied according to the nature, value, and use of the material of which the alleged sheets were composed. For instance, it is very likely that an article might properly be referred to as a sheet of gold which was of less size than a sheet of tin or iron or a sheet of cloth or paper, and we do not undertake to fix the size above which an article, if it otherwise conforms to the definition of a sheet, is such, and below which it is not.

It is doubtful if, generally speaking of most commodities, pieces of the size shown here, assumed in other respects to possess the characteristics of sheets, really rise to that dignity, although, as suggested, it is manifest that when length and breadth only are considered, other requisites being assumed, it may not be easy to fix with certainty any dividing line between what are and are not sheets. Each case must stand upon its own particular facts.

We think, too, that the irregular edges and uneven surfaces of these pieces of gelatin make against rather than in favor of their being described in common speech by the word "sheets."

The means by which sheets of anything are produced, so far as relates to metal at least, as given in the Standard Dictionary, namely, hammering, rolling, fusing, or cutting very thin, would suggest that the edges and more especially the surfaces of the sheets so produced would be more regular and uniform than are the pieces of gelatin here involved, and we think, as commonly understood, a sheet of anything ordinarily presupposes a smoother and more even surface than the official exhibits here possess.

There is another view of this case which makes in favor of the importer's contention. It appears that under the prior tariff act this particular kind of merchandise was passed as gelatin under the applicable paragraph corresponding to the one under which the importer now claims, and there was at that time no specific provision for gelatin in sheets.

In T. D. 25236, decided in 1904, the Board of General Appraisers had before them what was claimed to be gelatin in sheets, which were very much larger than the official exhibits here and apparently considerably thinner, that were made from ordinary gelatin combined with formaldehyde and other substances. The importers there contended that the merchandise was not gelatin, but was dutiable as a manufacture of gelatin under paragraph 450 of the tariff act of 1897, which specifically referred to manufactures of that substance.

In a carefully considered opinion the board found that those gelatin sheets were as claimed by the importers and not gelatin, as it had theretofore several times held. This resulted in overruling their previous decisions and in subjecting a manufacture composed very largely of gelatin to the lower duty of paragraph 450. The effect of this decision was called to the attention of Congress in Notes on Tariff Revision, prior to the enactment of the act of 1909, and it was there suggested that provision be made to correct the apparent inequitable results which followed upon the board's decision of assessing a rate of duty on manufactured articles of gelatin lower than the rate on the chief material of which they were made.

In paragraph 23 of the act of 1909 no change is made affecting the corresponding paragraph (23) of the act of 1897, so far as concerns the case here, except the addition thereto of the last two clauses.

A sample of this sheet gelatin or gelatin in sheets, whichever it may be called, is made an exhibit in this case and, from the record here and the opinion in T. D. 25236, we conclude it is very like if not identical with the merchandise passed upon by the board in that case. This sample is about 17 by 24 inches in size; it is thin and flat, but of uniform thickness; its sides are regular and even and the surfaces are smooth and uniform. It is produced by treating clear gelatin chemically with formaldehyde and other substances, manipulating the product, and, in the finished article, the chief value thereof is gelatin. It is and has been for many years a subject of commerce, can not be used for food purposes, and seems to satisfy the meaning of the term "gelatin in sheets" as used in the paragraph.

Although the legislative history, while the act of 1909 was under consideration, as it appears in the various reports of committees and in the different forms of the tariff bills in the House and Senate, affords some ground to believe, as claimed by the Government, that such history makes against the importer's contention, yet, on the whole, we think, considering the history of the entire subject matter, there is more reason to believe that Congress by the use of the term "gelatin in sheets" in paragraph 23 was endeavoring to cure inequalities in the assessment of duties following upon said decision of the board, rather than to make an edible gelatin like the merchandise here subject to the higher rate of duty.

We have intimated this question is not altogether free of doubt, but we think the doubt is of such a character that it clearly comes within that class of cases where the doubt ought to be resolved in favor of the importer.

It is strenuously urged by the Government that, because the Board of General Appraisers has found as a fact that the merchandise is gelatin in sheets within the meaning of the paragraph, this finding should not be reversed as within the rule that a finding of fact will not be disturbed here unless clearly contrary to or unsupported by the weight of evidence. But this claimed finding rests upon the assumption that this merchandise answers to the call "in sheets" as that expression is used in the paragraph. We disagree with the board as to the ordinary meaning of the term "in sheets" as used therein, and hence it follows that this finding of the board, being based upon what we hold to be an erroneous conception of the law, is not within the rule.

The judgment of the Board of General Appraisers is reversed.

(T. D. 33122.)

Timeliness of protest.



When the ten-day limit fixed by the customs administrative act for filing a protest expires on Sunday, it is not a seasonable compliance with the requirement when the protest is filed on the Monday ensuing.-Shefer v. Magone (47 Fed., 872). Monroe Cattle Co. v. Becker (147 U. S., 47) distinguished.


Nor is it a compliance with the requirement if the protest should be mailed at 4.30 p. m. on Saturday preceding the Sunday of expiration. The office of the collector was closed to public business at that hour, and the protest, having reached the collector's office at a later hour, came too late.

United States Court of Customs Appeals, January 20, 1913. APPEAL from Board of United States General Appraisers. Abstract 28892 (T. D. 32645). [Affirmed.]

Hatch & Clute (Walter F. Welch of counsel) for appellants.

William L. Wemple, Assistant Attorney General (Charles E. McNabb, assistant attorney, of counsel), for the United States.

Before MONTGOMERY, SMITH, BARBER, DE VRIES, and MARTIN, Judges. BARBER, Judge, delivered the opinion of the court:

The entry in this case was liquidated on the 16th day of January, 1908. The tenth day thereafter fell upon Sunday. An envelope inclosing the protest and a letter on behalf of protestants, in which letter it was stated that "we find the protest desk at the customhouse closed at this time on Saturday afternoon, and are accordingly mailing the protest to you," was addressed to the collector and sent to him by special delivery, and was deposited in the mail at 4.30 p. m. of Saturday. It was received at the customhouse by a watchman then on duty at 6.48 p. m. Saturday and found its way into the correspondence room of the customhouse, where it was opened by the proper officer and stamped "Received, January 27, 10.17 a. m., 1908, correspondence room, N. Y. customhouse." In receiving this letter the watchman followed a long-established custom of receiving letters after the customhouse closed. When so received the custom was to leave the letters on a window sill or desk and the following morning to turn them over to some one else, whose custom or duty presumably was to deliver the same to the persons to whom they were addressed or their representatives. While the record is silent in this respect, we assume such was the procedure in this case, and in this manner the letter came to the proper desk Monday morning and was then stamped as above stated.

Section 14 of the customs administrative act of June 10, 1890, then in force, provides in relation to protests that the protestant

"shall within ten days * * give notice in writing to the collector" of the material and essential facts necessary to constitute a legal protest, and the question in this case is, Was this notice seasonably given?

The facts stated readily suggest that the determination of the issue involves two considerations:

(1) When the tenth day provided for giving such notice falls upon Sunday may the notice be given on the next secular day?

(2) If not, was the protest in this case filed with the collector in contemplation of law on Saturday, for it is tacitly agreed that such notice could not be effective if given to or lodged with him on Sunday.

As to the first point, a reargument of this case was ordered by the court sua sponte.

Upon the question of whether, when the last of a certain number of days allowed by statute for the doing of some act falls upon Sunday, the act may nevertheless be performed on the following secular day, there is a great wealth of authorities and much difficulty in reconciling the same. We have not undertaken to do this so far as the decisions of State courts are concerned.

One of the earliest applicable cases to which our attention has been called in the Federal courts is Shefer v. Magone (47 Fed., 872), decided in the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York in 1891. Judge Lacombe in his oral opinion, as reported in that case, said in substance that inasmuch as there was no statute extending the time within which the protest might be filed, provided the last day of the statutory period for the filing fell upon Sunday, it was settled by the weight of authority that the protest could not be served on the following Monday, and it appears that the authorities were somewhat reviewed by the learned judge in giving his opinion. The Shefer case, supra, seems to have been followed in Hermann v. United States (66 Fed., 721), decided in the same Circuit Court in 1895, in which case Judge Coxe gave an oral opinion, although the question involved was not that of protest, but related to the giving of an order to the importer by the collector for the return of goods to the public stores. It was held that when the last of 10 days within which such order might be given expired on Sunday the order could not be given on the next secular day, and it was said that the precise point was determined in the Shefer case.

The Board of General Appraisers appear to have uniformly followed and adhered to this view of the law. See In re Pollman (T. D. 16723), decided in 1895; Mowat's case (T. D. 21628), decided in 1899; and Bolognesi's case (T. D. 26414), decided in 1905.

These authorities afford convincing evidence that the precise question before us, whenever it has been before the courts or other tribunals, has been uniformly decided contrary to the appellants'

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