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It is also believed ibat stationers will be induced to provide themselves with varieties of stamped envelopes suited to the wants of their custom, rs, making such envelopes, equally with the ordinary unstamped article, a reg. ular portion of stock in trade.
It is deemed expedient, however, as a precaution against fraud, that no one be permitted to enter into such trade without baving first obtained from the l'o-tmaster General a regular license for that purpose, and that all private parties desiring to bave their own envelopes stamped must be satisfactorily shown to be of good standing, and be required to have their names printed on the envelopes. They will then, on payment of the po-tage, obtain a permit to have the work done by the government contractor for stamped envelopes, at New York.
The Postmaster General considers the use of the stamped envelope more advantagious to the department than that of separate stamps, as the address of the former prevents them from being used a second time, while the latter may be so used if postmasters neglect the duty of canceling them. To the public also they afford advantages in addition to those arising from cheapness, because they are more convenient, saving the trouble and delay of attaching separate stamps, which are liable to be re. moved, causing letters to be detained for postage.
The objection to stamped envelopes that the postage is lost in case of misdirection, may be removed by allowing postmasters, under certain rules prescribed by the Postmaster General, to redeem damaged envelopes.
COUNTERFEITING ON A LARGE SCALE. The greatest haul of counterfeiting apparatus recorded for years, was marie within the past month. The Deputy U. S. Marshal of Philadelphia, with the Chief of the Detective Police of Philadelphia, succeeded in arresting a man damed George White, fifty years of age, whose place of residence is 233 Atlantic avenue, Brooklyn, and whose place of business is 88 Cedar street, New York, under the assumed name of T. H. BENTLEY & Co. Wuite was formerly employed by the American Bank Note Company. All the paraphernalia of the counterfeiting business was secured. The finished “ plates” and “ vignettes," as also those undergoing the process of completion, betray a master-workman.
The following finished plates of the following banks are secured :-
Both of White's establishments were broken up. The prisoner was handed over to Deputy Superintendent Folk, of Brooklyn.
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAKING MONEY IN A NEW WAY.
We have heard of minors making contracts and subsequently pleading the baby act, we have also known men to set up the statute of limitations to an honest debt, and sometimes have seen the defence of usury put in and the defendant allowed to creep through that small hole and avoid paying what he owes, but we never imagined that a free, enlightened, liberal government could be caught trying to evade its debts by any such small tricks. The following decision, however, looks as if our statesmen were engaged in the same style of business and bad assumed the character of very sharp, illiberal, unprofessional lawyers, determined to take advantage of every legal quibble-getting all they can and keeping all they get. We are pleased to see that our courts do not consider such transactions honest yet. The decision we refer to was the one in the United States Court of Wilson G. Hunt & Co. vs. AUGUSTUS SCHELL.
The plaintiff's imported merchandise into this port on which they paid, July 7, 1857, the duties exacted by the Collector, amounting to $352 08. The merchandise was not forth with withdrawn, and, on the 30th day of the same month, the plaintiffs, by error of one of their clerks, paid the same amount of duty a second time on the same merchandise. The warehouse books exhibited, on the date of the last payment (July 30, 1857), the fact that full duties bad already been paid on the goods but by carelessness of officers it was not observed. It was not till August 9th, 1858, that the plaintiffs detected the double payment. They made immediate application to the Collector to refund the amount paid in excess, and were met with the reply that more than a year having elapsed since overpayment was made, it could not be refunded. Thereupon the plaintiff's addressed the following letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, which was read in the case :
New York, Aug. 14th, 1858. Hon HOWELL COBB, Secretary of the Treasury, Washington :
Sır: We beg leave to call your attention to the enclosed affidavit, setting forth an error on our part, by paying duty twice on an invoice per the " Jeremiah Thompson," in July, 1857.
We did not discover the error till a few days since, when we made immediate application to the Auditor of our custom-house for redress. He informed us that the fiscal year being closed, it was necessary for us to make our application to the Secretary of the Treasury to have this error corrected.
We solicit from you such instructions as will place this matter right between ourselves and the government. Your Ob't Serv’ts,
Wilson G. Hunt & Co. In reply to a second letter of the same tenor, the following was received:
Treasury Departmeut, October 4th, 1858. Sir: In reply to your letter of 27th ultimo, in relation to return of duty alleged to have been twice paid, you are informed that the regula
tions, requiring applications of this class to be made within a specific time, not having been complied with, no relief can be granted.
I am, respectfully,
HOWELL COBB, Secretary of the Treasury. Wilson G. Hunt, Esq., New York.
Subsequently, under date of July 19, 1861, the plaintiffs made the same application to Secretary Chase as they had to Secretary Cobb, and, after the long delay of nearly two months, received a reply similar to the one made by Secretary Cobb. Finding that it was useless to appeal to the Treasury Department, the plaintiffs (more to see if such decision of the Department would be sustained in a court of justice than to recover the amount paid in excess,) brought suit in the Circuit Court against Collector Schell, for money illegally exacted under color of his office.
On the trial there was no denial of the facts proved by the plaintiffs. The District Attorney, in defence, read article No. 976 of General Treasury Regulations, which provides that errors in computation of duties settled can only be corrected with sanction of the Department, and which also provides that “when the correction of such error is claimed without proof of protest, as required in all other claims for return of excess of duty paid, such claim cannot be entertained and considered by the Department unless it appear by the certified statement of the Collector that it has been presented to the Collector within one year from the time of payınent of the duties alleged to bave been exacted in error.” He claimed ihat the presentation of the claim in this case was not within the year. He also called attention of the Court to the fact that no protest was filed by the plaintiffs, and suggested that, under existing acts of Congress, no suit could be maintained in this Court against a Collector to enforce recovery of money illegally exacted and paid as and for duty, unless a protest in writing was fixed by the importer at time of payment. He read and commented on the statute, which he said, however harsh it might be, was nevertheless a bar to any legal proceedings to recover back money paid as this was.
Judge Nelson thereupon charged the jury, in substance, that the facts in the case were not in dispute, and that upon the law he thought the plaintiffs ought to recover. There was strange carelessness at the Custom-house in exacting the duty a second time, and the plaintiffs had paid the
money in ignorance that they had paid the amount before. The money last paid did not belong to the collector or to the government, but to the plaintiffs. It was unaccountable to him how the government could seriously put up the one year regulation as a bar to payment. It was not honest. It was dishonest. If a mun in ordinary transactions of business were thus to withhold money, he would be dishonest, and called so, und be brought into Court und compelled to pay it back. In his opinion, the statute should not be construed to prevent collectors being brought in the same way, and compelled to pay back money exacted under circumstances like those proven in this case.
The jury thereupon found a verdict for the plaintiffs for amount of claim and interest.
CONTENTS OF No. VI., VOL. X LVII.
COMMERCIAL CHRONICLE AND REVIEW.
Signs of Recovery— Paper Money-Arrears—Cash Business-Demand for Money
- Imports—Increased Cost-Countermanded— Table of Imports—Rate of
JOURNAL OF BANKING, CURRENCY, AND FINANCE.
STATISTICS OF AGRICULTURE.
JOURNAL OF MINING, MANUFACTURES, AND ART.