SWAN & FINCH CO v. U S(1903)
Section 22 of the act of August 27, 1894 (28 Stat. at L. 551, chap. 349), re-enacted as 30 of the act of July 24, 1897 (30 Stat. at L. 211, chap. 11, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 1991), is as follows:
During the years 1895, 1896, 1897, the appellant, a corporation engaged in business as importer, manufacturer, and exporter of oils at New York city and elsewhere in the United States, having used in the manufacture of certain kinds of lubricating oils imported rape seed oil on which duties had been paid, placed on board of vessels bound for foreign ports, lubricating oils so manufactured, and claimed a drawback of the duties paid on the imported rape seed oil used therein. The Treasury Department allowed and paid the drawback on such manufactured oils as were shipped to foreign countries and there relanded, but refused to pay any on such as were placed on board for use and consumed in use on the vessels. The appellant brought this suit in the court of claims to recover the drawbacks on the last-named oils. That court decided against it (37 Ct. Cl. 101),
Messrs. William B. King and George A. King for appellant.
Assistant Attorney General Pradt for appellee.
Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court:
The statute allows the drawback 'on the exportation,' and the question is whether goods placed on board a vessel bound for a foreign port, to be used and consumed on board the vessel during its voyage, and in fact so used and consumed, are exported.
The careful opinion of the court of claims, which, in general, we approve and to which we refer, relieves us from the necessity of an extended discussion. Whatever primary meaning [190 U.S. 143, 145] be indicated by its derivation, the word 'export,' as used in the Constitution and laws of the United States, generally means the transportation of goods from this to a foreign country. 'As the legal notion of emigration is a going abroad with an intention of not returning, so that of exportation is a severance of goods from the mass of things belonging to this country with an intention of uniting them to the mass of things belonging to some foreign country or other.' 17 Ops. Atty. Gen. 583.
True, the context may sometimes give to the word a narrower meaning, and in the execution of the administrative affairs of government it may have been applied to cases in which there was not in the full sense of the term an exportation, yet these are exceptions and do not destroy its general signification. It cannot mean simply a carrying out of the country, for no one would speak of goods shipped by water from San Francisco to San Diego as 'exported,' although in the voyage they are carried out of the country. Nor would the mere fact that there was no purpose of return justify the use of the word 'export.' Coal placed on a steamer in San Francisco to be consumed in propelling that steamer to San Diego would never be so designated. Another country or state as the intended destination of the goods is essential to the idea of exportation.
Counsel for appellant, after quoting from several dictionaries, say:
To this we are unable to yield our assent: [190 U.S. 143, 146] First. The fact that the words 'export' and 'exportation' are, as we have indicated, generally used in the sense of transportation from this to a foreign country, makes against the contention that it is here used in a different sense.
Second. The purpose with which the drawback statute was enacted is against it. In Campbell v. United States, 107 U.S. 407, 413 , 27 S. L. ed. 592, 595, 2 Sup. Ct. Rep. 759, 765, we said:
So, also, in Tide Water Oil Co. v. United States, 171 U.S. 210, 216 , 43 S. L. ed. 139, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. 837, 839:
Third. The uniform construction placed by the department charged with the execution of the statute has been against it.
Fourth. Being a governmental grant of a privilege or benefit it is to be construed in favor of the government and against the party claiming the grant. Where the burden is placed upon a citizen, if there be a doubt as to the extent of the burden it is resolved in favor of the citizen, but where a privilege is granted any doubt is resolved in favor of the government. In Hartranft v. Wiegmann, 121 U.S. 609, 616 , 30 S. L. ed. 1012, 1015, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1240, 1244, the one rule was thus stated:
For these reasons we think the judgment of the Court of Claims was correct, and it is affirmed.
Mr. Justice Brown and Mr. Justice Peckham dissented.