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against the city in any action brought to set aside a tax assessment, or to
prevent the collection of taxes. HM, unconstitutional, being an attempt

• to exempt a - particular corporation from the operation of general laws.

1871. DwrkM v. The OUy of JanewiUe (28 Wis. 464), IX, 500.

2. Laws impairing dbldgoHons of eorUraets.
26. Statute exempting from taxation. The legislature passed an act
exempting from taxation all property used for the purpose of manufacturing

• sidt, and offering a bounty of ten cents a bushel for salt manufactured in the
State. Two years later the said act was amended, by liifliting the exemption
from taxation to five years. The five years having elapsed, the complainant,
a corporation for the manufacture of salt, organized after the passage of the
original act, filed a bill to restrain the collection of a tax upon their property,
on the ground that the exemption from taxation was in the nature of a con-
tract between the State and the parties acting under it, and therefore pro>
tected by the United States constitution. HM, that the act was not in the
nature of a contract, and could be amended or repealed at any time. 1869.
East Saginaw Manufacturing Company v. Oity of East Saginaio (19 Mich. 259),
II, 82.

27. An act declaring that all estates granted for any religious, educa-
tional or charitable uses shall forever remain to such uses, and shall also be
exempt from the payment of rates,'is not a contract between the State and
the grantor or grantees ; and a subsequent act, taxing such of those estates as
have been leased or conveyed in such a manner as to yield no longer an annual
income for such use, is valid. 1869. Lord v. Town of Litchfield (86 Conn.
116), IV, 41.

28. A tax duly assessed, is not a debt within the clause of the constitution,
prohibiting the passage of a law impairing the obligations of a contract. 1869.
Oity qf Augusta v. N<yrih (67 Me. 892), II, 55.

29. Homestead exemption. The constitution and laws of a State exempted
homesteads from executions for debts " heretofore or hereafter contracted."
HM, void, in so far as they apply to contracts entered into, or debt contracted,
before their passage, as in violation of the constitution of the United States.

1872. Homestead Cases (22 Gratt. [Va.] 266), XII, 507.

30. The homestead laws of North Carolina, being restrictions on former

exemptions, do not impair the obligation of contracts, and are not unconstitu-
tional as to prior contracted debts. 1878. Garrett ▼. Cheshire (69 N. 0. 896),
XII, 647.

31. Charter to conduot lotteries. A corporation was created by the legisla-
ture, with a franchise to conduct lottery schemes, upon condition that the cor-
porators should pay into the State treasury a sum certain, and enter into certain
bonds. An offer to pay the money into the treasury was made ; but, at that
time no bonds were presented for approval, and the offer was not accepted.

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Lottery schemes were, subseqaently, prohibited hy the revised constitution of
the State and bj the legislature. Held, that the corporators, upon the presen-
tation of the bonds aifd retender of the moneyvwere not entitled to the enjoy-
ment of their francBise. 1870. MMssippi Society of Arts and Sdenees ▼•
Muigrove (44 Miss. 820), VII, 728.

32. A statute incorporated a company to carry on the lottery business

in the State for twenty-five years, the company paying the State a certain sum
for the privil^e. The amended constij^ution of the State, afterward adopted,
prohibited lotteries. Seld, that this was not impairing the obligations of a
contract within the provision of the constitution of the United States. 1878.
Moore v. State (48 Miss. 147), XII, 867.

33. Railroad. A statute requiring a railroad corporation, whose charter is
subject to amendment, alteration or repeal at the pleasure of the legislature,
to establish a flag-station at a certain point on its line, and to erect there a
station house, at which at least two trains each way shall stop each day, is not
in violation of the constitution of the United States as impairing the obliga-
tions of a contract. 1869. ConmonweaUh v. Eastern R B. Co. (108 Masa.
254), IV, 555.

3^ Fishwa3ni In private dams. By a general law of Massachusetts, it was
declared that every act of incorporation thereafter passed should, " at all times,
be subject to amendment, alteration or repeal, at the pleasure of the legisla-
ture." Subsequently, a water-power company obtidned a charter, with the
privilege of erecting a dam across the Connecticut river, upon payment of
damages to fish owners. The dam was accordingly erected, and several years
afterward the legislature passed an act compelling the owners of the dam to
make and maintain a suitable fishway. HM^ that this act was constitutional,
there being no express provision in the charter allowing the company to main-
tain a dam without a fishway. 1870. CommimonerB on Inland Fuheriee v.
Holyoke Water-power Co. (104 Mass. 446), VI, 247. (Affirmed, U. S. Sup. Gt,
15 WalL 500.)

36. Providiiig that debts shall bear interest An act providingthat ** debts
due on open accounts and other demands not heretofore bearing interest by
law, shall bear interest," etc., is unconstitutional and void, so far as it related
to debts contracted before the passage of the act 1868. Goggane v. Turnip-
seed (1 S. C, N. S. 80), Vn, 28.

36. Aots done nnder military authority. A sheriff paid the surplus of
a sale on execution, to another than the person entitled thereto, by order of
the military authorities in Missouri. In an action on the sheriff's bond, held,
that the section of the State constitution, providing that no person should
be prosecuted for any act done in pursuance of military authority, was void,
as impairing the obligation of contracts, in so fkr as it applied to acts done in
violation of the sheriff's bond. 1871. State v. GateweOer (40 Mo. 17), Vin,

37. Oooslderatioii of oontraots — ordinaiioe avoidiiig oontraots. Section 1
of ordinance No. 88. adopted by the State convention of 1867, and declaring
ibst " all contracts for the sale of land which are incomplete by reason of

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the parchaae-monej being unpaid, or the title deeds and oonveyanoes being
nnexecutad, and which sale took place betweeif the 11th day of Janoaij, 1861,
and the 9th day of May, 1865, onless paid for, or contracted to be paid to«
in the legal currency of the United States or property other than aUyei,
are hereby declared null and yoid at the option of the parties, or either of
them," impairs the obligation of contracts, and is therefore unconstitutional
and Yoid. 1870. Boaeh y. GunUr (44 Ala. 309), IV, 183.

8. VesUd righU,

38. Statute of limitation. After a cause of action has become barred by
the statute of limitation, a defendant has a yested right to rely upon that
statute as a defense, and neither a constitutional conyention nor the legis-
lature has power to diyest the right, and reyiye the right to maintain the
action. 1870. Qirdn&r y. Stephwa (1 Heisk, 380), II, 700.

39. A statute of West Virginia declared that the period from April 17,
1861, to February 37, 1866, should not be counted in computing time under
any statute of limitation. HM, constitutional. 1870. CaperUm y. Mariih

40. Tax deed. An act of the legislature, declaring a tax deed condusiye
eyidence that all of the essential requirements of the law regulating the exer*
dse of the taxing power were complied with, is unoonstitutionaL 1870.
McOready y. Sexton (39 Iowa, 856), IV, 314.

41. Test oath. An act of the legislature of West Virginia prohibiting a
party against whom a judgment has been recoyered as an absent defendant
from appearing in court and opening the judgment unless he would take a
prescribed oath, in effect purging himself from all complicity with the rebel-
lion, is constitutional. 1870. Petrce y. Oarskad^m (4 W. Va. 384), VI, 381.
(Beyersed, U. S. Sup. Ct., 16 WalL 384.)

4. TaMng priwUe property far publio u$e.

42. Oompensation. A legislatiye authority to do an act which will naturally
result in damages to priyate property must be coupled with proyisions for
ascertaining and paying such damages, in order to protect persons acting
under such authority fit>m liability at conunon law. 1869. Lee y. JPembroke
ir<w a?. (67 Me. 481), n, 59.

43. ''TaUng of propsrty "— resottiiig ii^ury. Where a railroad company,
in constructing its road, cut through a ridge adjoining plaintiff's land, and
as a result thereof such land was flooded, held, that this was a ** taking of
property " within the meaning of the constitution, and that the legislature
could not authorise it without proyiding for compensation. 1871. JBatot^ y.
Boiton, etc,, M. B. Co. (51 N. H. 604), XII, 147.

44. Fishway in dam. A railway company, to which the absolute sale of •
State dam on a nayigable riyer was made, held a charter from the State, in
which there was no power of change or reyocation reseryed. Subsequently
the legislature passed an act requiring eyery indiyidual or corporation, haying
or maintaining any dam on the riyer, to construct and maintain a sluice, or

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other device, for the free passage of fish. The railroad oompany assigned its
interest in the dam to a canal company formed after the passage of the fish
act. On an indictment against the canal company for a failure to comply with
the act, held, that the power to cause the changes to he made in the dam was
within the right of eminent domain ; but. that the act was unconstitntional,
in so far as it imposed the burden of expenses of the clianges upon the canal
company, because it authorised the ** taking of private property for public use
without compensation." 1870. Comm(mw6(»Uh v. Pennsylvania Oanal Oo, (66
Penn. 41), V, 829.

46. TaUng inivate bcldgei An act of the legislature authorising county
commissioners to lay out a bridge, owned by private individuals, as a liighway,
and to apportion between the county and the towns benefited the damages
to be pidd therefor, is a constitutional exercise of the right of eminent domain.
1860. ffaverhiU Bridge Proprietors v. County Commissioners (108 Mass. 120),
IV, 518.

46. * The payment of such damages need not precede the seisure, but

the means for securing indemnity need be such that the owner will be put to
no risk or unreasonable delay, lb,

47. Telegraph lines. .An act of the legislature authorised telegraph com-
panies U> construct their lines upon the right of way of the railroad companies
of the State, and provided for an arbitration to assess damages therefor in case
of disagreement, but made no provision for enforcing the award. Held, uncon-
stitutional. 1872. Soutktoestem B, B. Co, v. SotUhem d Atkmtie, etc,. Tele-
graph Co. (46 Ga. 48), Xn, 585.

48. Qioimd rents. An act of the legislature providing for the extinction of
irredeemable ground rents by compelling the rent-owner, at the option of the
land-owner, to receive a gross sum and release the rents, is unconstitutionaL
1871. Palairers Appeal ((iTVfain.Qt.m),Y,4S0.

6. Bmin&nt domain.

49. For private enterprise. 'A grist-mill owned and operated by individuals
who are compelled, by law, to grind well all grain received by them for that
purpose, but are not compelled by law to receive grain for grinding, is not a
"public" benefit in the constitutional sense; and an act of the legislature
authorising the fiowage of lands (on payment of assessed damages), by main-
taining a dam of sufficient height to run such mill, is an unconstitutional exer-
cise of the right of eminent domain. 1872. Tyler v. Beaeher (44 Yt 648X

6a Zii^it^onsei The right of eminent domain in a State exists only for its
own purposes ; therefore an act of the legislature of a State authorising the
condemnation, by State commissioners, of lands to be turned over to the United
States for purposes of a light-house, is unconstitutional and void. 1871. People
T Ewnphrey (28 Mich. 471), IX, 94. and note, 108.

61 Site lor post-oOoo. A Stfte le^lature may delegate the right of emi-
nent domain to an agent of the United States for the purpose of obtaining

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land in each State as a site for a poat^ffioe. 1871. Burt ▼. M&ixhatM Imur
once Oo. (106 Mass. 856), VIU, 889.

62. B J an act of the legislatare of Maesachiuettd, an agent of the

United States was anthoriied to porchase land in the State for the site of a
post-office. The act provided that, when the agent and the owners of the land
coold not agree upon the price, there shoold be an appraisement made \xj a
jnry. Hdd, that in order to obtain the land and the appraisement, it was not
, necessarj that the owner should first coMotU to a sale. i&.

63. Prhrate roads. The legislature cannot anthorise the taking of private
propertj for a private road without the owner's consent, even if compensation
be made therefor. 1869. Oi&e^m v. J3ar< (24 Wis. 89), 1, 161.

6. TaoMtian.

64i For poi iw s as not municipal. An act of the legislature compelling the
taxation of a town, to pay for a bounty to a volunteer, and the expenses of
unsuccessful suits to recover the same, is not for a municipal, purpose, and
void. 1872. suae v. Tappcm (29 Wis. 664), IX, 622.

66. The legislature cannot constitutionally authorize a town to loan its

credit to persons who will, in consideration thereof, maintain a manufacturing
enterprise in the town for their own private emolument. 1872. AUenY,
Inhabitanti of Jay (60 Me. 124), XI, 186.

66. On gross earnings. Bj a convention ordinance of Missouri, it was pro
vided that an annual tax of ten and fifteen per cent of the gross earnings of
the North Missouri R. R. Co., should be paid to the State in lieu of other taxa-
tion, and applied in payment of the debt due from the State, on the bonds
issued to the company by the State. EM, not unconstitutional, either as in
violation of articles 6 and 7 of the amendments to the United States constitu-
tution (for these articles are only restriptive of federal power), or as impairing
the obligation of contracts. Such an ordinance is a valid exercise of the taxing
power. 1872. North Msiouri B, B. Oo. v. Maguire (49 Mo. 490), VIII, 141.

7. JfuTiioipal aid to rctUroads.

67. Power of legislature to authorise. A statute authorising municipal
oorporations to aid in the construction of railroads, and to levy a tax therefor,
held, unconstitutional and void. 1869. Hanson v. F^nkm (27 Iowa, 28X 1, 215.

68. But the same court in a subsequent cause, on a similar statute,

overruled Hanson v. Vsmon, and htUd, such a statute constitutionaL 1869.
Stewart v. Supervisors of Polk Go. (80 Iowa, 9), 1, 288.

69. Taxation in aid of railroads owned and operated by private indi-
viduals or corporations is unconstitutional, and an act of the legislature author*
ising county orders to be issued in aid of a railroad, and taxes to be levid for
the payment thereof, on condition that the consent of the majority of the
people should be manifested by ballot, and the railroad should be brought to a
specified state of completion, is void. 1869. WkUing v. The Sheboygan d
Fond du Lac B. B. Oo, (26 Wis. 167), m,80. '

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60. An act of the legislature aathorising municipal aid to railroads, by

taxation, is unoonstitntionaL 1870. People ▼. Town of Salem OdO Mich. 462),

6L A State legislature has the constitutional power to authorize coun-
ties and municipal corporations to subscribe for stock in railroad companies
and to issue bonds in payment therefor. 1871. Commieeionere of Leanentoorth
Y. MUlor (7 Eans. 479). XII, 425.

62. An act of the legislature authorizing a dtj to raise, bj taxation of

its citizens, the monej for constructing a railroad leading into such city, from
pomts within or without the State, when the railroad is deemed by a majority
of the dtizens to be essential to the interests of the city, is not unoonstitutionaL
1871. Walker y. City of OineinnaU (21 Ohio St. 14), YUI, 24

63. RMtriotlon on 8tat«. A State constitution provided that " the State
shall never be a party in carrying on any work of internal improvement."
ffeld^ not to be a restriction on municipal corporations. 1871. CknnmieHonere
of Lea^nworih v. Mmm- (7 Eans. 479), Xn, 425.

8. Jury trial and due proeeu of law.

64. Oommitmsnt to reform schooL A statute authorizing the grand jury,
where an infant under the age of sixteen years is charged with crime, and the
charge appears to be supported by evidence sufficient to put the accused upon
trial, instead of finding an indictment, to return to the court that the accused
1b a suitable person to be committed to the house of refuge, and directing the
court thereupon to order the commitment without trial by jury, is constitu-
tionaL 1869. Preeoott v. The Stale (19 Ohio St. 184), H, 888.

66. ^— An act of the legislature of Illinois authorized the commitment to
a " reform school " of children between six and sixteen years of age who
are *' vagrants or destitute of proper parental care, or are growing up in
mendicancy, idleness or vice," to remidn until reformed or until the age of
twenty-one. On the application of the father of a diild so committed, held,
that the child must be discharged, the act being unconstitutional, and the
commitment not being for any criminal oflfonse. 1870. People v. Turner (56


66. Doe pirooeis of law. A constitutional provision that no person shall
be held to answer for a criminal offense " unless upon presentment or indict-
ment of a grand jury," was amended by substituting the words " without
due process of law." Held, that the statute subsequently passed giving courts
jurisdiction to try prosecutions for felonies upon information, was not in
contravention either of the constitution as amended or of the fourteenth
amendment of the constitution of the United States. 1872. Bowan v. State
(80 Wis. 129), ZI, 559.

67. JTnry fee. A statute requiring the party demanding a jury to pay the
jury fee, and tax the same in his costs, if he prevail, is constitutionaL 1872.
BandaU v. Eehlor (00 Me. 87), XI, 109.

68. Act oompensatlng owners of sheep kOled by dogs. A statute pro-
vided that any person suffering loss by reason of the maiming, killing or

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wonying of his sheep bj dogs, maj present proof of the nature and extent
of his damages to the selectmen of the town, who shall draw an order for the
amount in his favor upon the treasurer of the town, and thereupon the town
may reooyer of the owner of the dog the full amount of such order. Held,
to be unconstitutional, in so far as i^ undertook to bind the owner of the dog
bj the decision of the selectmen fixing the amount of the damage with-
out giving him an opportunity to be heard on the question ; but tliat the
town could nevertheless recover, under the statute, from the owner of the dog,
the actual damages which the jury who try the cause find the owner of the
sheep to have sufibred, not exceeding the amount of the order drawn by the
selectmen. 1868. BaM Kingston v. TouiU (48 N. H. ff7), II, 174

9. Police power,

69. When necessary to insure the public safety, the legislature maj,

under the power vested in it, authorize municipal authorities to summarily
destroy property without legal process or previous notice to the owner. 1868.
Blair v. Forehand (100 Mass. 186), I, 94.

70. Thus the regulation of the keeping of dogs and the authorization of

their summary destruction when prescribed regulations are not complied with
are within the police power. Ih,

71. Fenoas along railroads, k railroad compai^y was not compelled by its
charter to make or rebuild fences along its track. By an act of the legis-
lature it was made the duty of the company to repair fences along its line,
" destroyed by fire caused by the running of trains or by the employees of the
road." Held, a valid exercise of the police power of the State. 1871. Penn
9yhama B. R Co, v. BiUet (66 Penn St. 164), Y, 860.

72. Oemeteries. A statute directing the removal of bodies from a cemetery
and the vacation and sale thereof is constittttional. 1871. Kineaid*e Appeal
(66 Penn. St. 411), V, 877.

73. A itatuto porohibitad the nsa, in cities and towns of a certain size, of
any building not then so in use, for carrying on the '* business of slaughter-
ing cattle, sheep, or other animals, or for melting or rendering establishments,
or for other noxious and offensive trades or occupations," without the per-
mission of the mayor, etc. Held, a constitutional exercise of the police power
of the legislature. 1872. InhabUante of Watertotm v. Mayo (109 Mass. 815),
XII, 694.

10. Qfflcee and power to vacate,

74. liegislattre powar as to oonstitntional offloes. The Pennsylvania leg-
islature established the twenty-ninth judicial district, by act of 28th February,
1868, under which act J. G. was elected and commissioned president judge
of the district. By an act passed March 16, 1869, the former act was repealed
and the district was abolished. Held, that the act of 1869 was invalid, as
being an attempt, substantially, to abolish the office of president judge of the
twenty-ninth district. (1), The term of the judidal office is fixed by the con-
stitution, and it is beyond the power of the legislature to diminish it. 1869.
(JommonweitUh v. OambU (63 Penn. St. 848), I, 422.

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76. The powers, anthoritj and jurisdiction of an office are inseparable

from it. The legislature may diminish the aggregate amount of duties of a
judge, hy the diyision of his district, or otherwise, hut must leave the authority
and jurisdiction pertaining to the office intact. Ib^

76. Transfevring duties. When one of the duties appertaining to the office
of sheriff was the collection of taxes, and during the plaintifTs term as such
sheriff the legislature passed an act for the appointment of tax-collector: hM,
that such act was unconstitutional. 1871. King v. Ennter(efi N. 0. 608), VI,

77. Where a State constitution provides for the election of sheriffs, fixes

the term of office, etc, but does not define what powers, rights and duties shall
attach or belong to the office, the legislature has no power to take' from a sher-
iff a part of the duties and functions usually appertaining to the office, and
transfer it to an officer appointed in a different manner and holding the office
by a different tenure. 1870. State ▼. Brurut (26 Wis. 412), Vn, 84, and
note, 87.

78. Where an office is created entirely by the act of the legislature, the
legislature may, in the absence of any constitutional restriction upon its power
in the special case, shorten the term or abolish the office altogether, as it may
think the public interests require. 1870. 8t<Ue ▼. Dougkm (26 Wis. 428),
VII, 87, and noU^ 90.

79. Bztendiiig term. The constitution of the State provided that certain
officers should be elected at such times and in such manner as the legislature
should direct. The legislature directed the times and manner of the election
and the defendant was elected thereunder. Subsequent to such election, an
act was passed extending the term of the incumbent three years. EM, that
such act was unconstitutionaL 1871. PeapU y. BuU (46 N. Y. 67), VII, 802.

80. Office created by Oonfoderate legislature. An inferior court was estab-
lished by an act of the legislature of an Insurgent State during the rebellion ;
after the suppression of the rebeUion a judge was elected for six years, and
his election was ratified by the legislature. The legislature afterward, and
before the expiration of the six years, abolished the court. HM, that the act
was never a valid law, that the legislature had the constitutional right to abol-
ish the court, and that thereafter the judge had no daim to the salary. 1871.
Pm^HfU ▼. Oofhin (46 Ala. 108), YI, 608.

81. Municipal officers. The legislature has no power to appoint permanent
officers for the fuU term whose dutiee are purely municipal. 1871. People v.
HuBM Od4 Mich. 44), IX, 108.

82. Removals by the gOTemor. By the constitution of Bfississippi, article
12, section 6, it was provided that " the term of office of all county, township
and precinct officers shall expire within thirty days after this constitution shall
have been ratified, and the governor shall, by and with the advice and consent

Online LibraryIrving Browne Isaac Grant ThompsonThe American reports: containing all decisions of general ..., Volumes 1-12 → online text (page 14 of 51)