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An Important Recision In Indiana

An Important Recision In Indiana image
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At the last session of tlio General Assembly au act wf.s passed authorizing conntics in their corporate cnpacity, nder certain restrietioiiB, to :i'd ín the construction of railroada. Tlie act provide9 that wheneVof a petition signed by one hundred freeholders of the oounty is presenteci to tlio board of County Coivliifssioncrs, aakiog for an appropriation lo a railroad coinpany, itsball be the duty of the Board to direct a voto of the legal voters of tho connty to be taken to tfeciéfo tvpon tho appropriation, aiul If the vote shall result in fuvor of tfie irppropriation, thon it shall ïe the dftty of the Board to direct the amount of tax set forth in tho petition, not ?xOfteding two per contum on the taxables of tho county, to be lovied, one-half the year thereafter, and Uic remaining porlloh of thf year following; and it is left with the Board to decide whethcr they will take stock io, or make a donation to, tho railroad coaipany to bo beuofitei. One year ago tho proliminary proceedings were gone through with and a voto of the pcople taken, which resulted in a majority for the appropriation ol tbreo liundred and seventy-three thousand dollars to aid in the construotion of the Lafayeüe, Muncie and Bloomington Jiailioad. At the late regular session of the Board the County Auditor was direeted to makc a special levy of 1SG,5OO, bo kg one-half of the amount voted in aid of'theroad. Certain nfluential citizens who desired to test the ooustttutionalitv oi tbe law, appearod beforo the Board and protested agninst the levy of the tax. Their objectious, however, were wholly disregarded, and they were driven to tha nece?sity of appealiüg Lrom the decisión to the courts. Il happened that tho oppeals were taken ai1 sucha time that tbcy could not properly come up fof abjudication until the November term of the court. In the mcantime, and for tho deolared purposa of obtuiuing an early decisión of the important ijuestion, Frederick (reiger, an avowod oo-adjutor of tho oompany, filed a petition in the C!ommon Pleas Court, then in session, demandiog an injunction porpetually enjpinicg: tlie levy of the tax. Tb9 Detition would have come up regularly for determination in November, but by special agreement of parties entcred of record tho matter was to be disposed of immediately. It was set for hearing on the 27 th day of July, beforo Ilon. John M. LaRusole, Judge of the Court of Uommon Pleas. Messrs. Wallace & Hiett and Hon. T. A. Ilendricks, ex-United States Senator, attorneys for those citizens who were really opposed to the tax levy, fearing that lbo matter raight, not, through connivancc, bo fairly and impartially presented to the c;urt, asked and obtained poruiission to take part in the. argument on behalf of tbe plaintifi tD sustain tho petition. The matter, pro and con, was preaentcd ably and exhaustively, but the attorneys for Geiger took no part whatever in the diacusston, and submitted tho case, so fat-as they were concoroöd, on the petition itsclf. The demurre? io the petitiön w ai ovsrruled, and the injunction gradted, much to tho cbagrin of the counsel for the defense, who had not entertained even a doubt of their success. The court held, on the authority ol the recent decisión in New York, Michigan, Wisconsin aad Iowa, that portion of the law providiDg for donation absolutely nuil and void. Aa to that portion of the act providiug for a 6ubscription of stock, the learned judgei held it to b in conflict with the sixth seetion of the ninth article of the State Gonstitution, which provides that "no eounty shall subscribe for stock in any incorporated company, uniess the same sball be paid for at the time of such sobsoription ; nor shall any county Joan lts credit to any incorporated company." The court, in its ablo opinión, proceeded on the ground that, after the ftliog of the petitiou of freoholders re quired by the act, if the act be law, tben the County Board have no diseïetion in the matter, but could be required by mandate to take each sucoessive step provided in tho act ; and that it would ajnouot to a conditional agreement, binding on the county to take stock to be paid for at a future day, when the tnoney could be raised. This is the point mentioned by Senator Hendricks, ia.his argument, as a strong one, and which. W. D. Wallace, Esq., senior couneel tlio citizens, elaborated more iully.


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Michigan Argus