Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Custom Houses

Hi all,
After yesterday's post I thought about the Custom House and where the Mexican Tariffs were enforced, which reminded me that over the years I've heard various authors ask about other career choices for characters other than school teacher, cowboy, etc. Has anyone ever considered a Custom House employee? Wikipedia describes a Custom House as a place to process paper work for the import and export of goods. Custom Houses were vital to our economy during the 19th century. And personally, I think there are a lot of interesting situations that could come up in a Custom House.

Below is an excerpt from a math book, yes a math book. It lays out the various jobs and definitions in or surrounding a custom house.

712. A Custom-House is an office established by government for the transaction of business relating to the collection of customs or duties, and the entry and clearance of vessels.
713. A fort of Entry is a seaport town in which a custom-house is established.
714. The Collector of the Port is the officer appointed by government to attend to the collection of duties and to other custom-house business.
715. A Clearance is a certificate given by the Collector of the port, that a vessel has been entered and cleared according to law.
By the entry of a vessel is meant the lodgment of its papers in the custom-house, on its arrival at the port.
716. A Manifest is a detailed statement, or invoice, of a ship's cargo.
No goods, wares, or merchandise can be hrought into the United States by any vessel, unless the master has on board a full manifest, showing in detail the several items of the cargo, the place where it was shipped, the names of the consignees, etc.
717. Duties or Customs are taxes levied on imported goods.
The general object of such taxes is the support of government, but they are also designed sometimes to protect the manufacturing industry of a country against foreign competition.
718. A Tariff is a schedule showing the rates of duties fixed by law on all kinds of imported merchandise.
Duties are of two kinds, Specific and Ad Valorem.
719. A Specific Duty is a fixed sum imposed on articles according to then- weight or measure, but without regard to their value.
720. An Ad Valorem Duty is an import duty
assessed by a percentage of the value of the goods in the
country from which they are brought.
Before computing specific duties, certain deductions, or allowances, are made, called Tare, Leakage, Breakage, etc.
721. Tare is an allowance for the weight of the box, cask, bag, etc., that contains the merchandise.
722. Leakage is an allowance for waste of liquors imported in casks or barrels.
723. Breakage is an allowance for loss of liquors imported in bottles.
724. Gross Weight or Value is the weight or value of the goods before any allowance is made.
725. Net Weight or Value is the weight or value of the goods after all allowances have been deducted.

The source is "The Complete arithmetic, oral and written" by Daniel W. Fish ©1876

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