The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Butterfield, C. W.
V.--Wisconsin as a state, pp. 52-109 PDF (28.8 MB)
WISCONSIN AS A STATE. "are so weak as to be without its protection, none are so strong as to be above its restraints. If provisions of the law be deemed oppressive, resistance to its mandates will not abate, but rather multiply the anticipated evils." "It is the right," he added, "of all to test its validity through the constituted channels, but with that right is coupled the duty of yielding a general obedience to its requirements until it has been pronounced invalid by competent authority." The railroad companies claimed not merely the unconstitutionality of the law, but that its enforcement would bankrupt the companies, and suspend the operation of their lines. The governor, in reply, pleaded the inviolability of his oath of office and his pledged faith to the people. The result was an appeal to the courts, in which the State, under the direction of its governor, was compelled to confront an array of the most formidable legal talent of the country. Upon the result in Wisconsin depended the vitality of much similar legislation in neighboring States, and Governor Taylor and his associate representatives of State authority were thus compelled to bear the brunt of a controversy of national extent and consequence. The contention extended both to State apnd United States courts, the main question involved being the constitutional power of the State over corporations of its own creation. In all respects, the State was fully sustained in its position, and, ultimately, judgments were rendered against the corporations in all the State and federal courts, including the supreme court of the United States, and estab- lishing finally the complete and absolute power of the people, through the legislature, to modify or altogether repeal the charters of corporations. Another act of the session of 1874 abolished the office of State. commissioner of immigra- tion, "on and after" the first Monday of January, 1876. The legislature adjourned on the twelfth of M arch, 1874, after a session of fifty-eight days. The office of state prison commissioner having, by operation of law, become vacant on the fifth day of January, 1874, the governor, on the twenty-third of that month, appointed for State prison directors, Joel Rich, for two years; William E. Smith, for four years; and Nelson Dewey, for six years: these to take the place of that officer. On the sixteenth of June, Chief Justice Dixon, whose term of office would have expired on the first Monday in January, 1876, resigned his seat upon the bench of the supreme court, Governor Taylor appointing Edward G. Ryan in his place until his successor should be elected and qualified. At the November election of this year, the members chosen to the forty-fourth congress were-Charles .G. Williams, from the first district; Lucian B. Caswell, from the second; Henry S. Magoon, from the third; William Pitt Lynde, from the fourth; Samuel D. Burchard, from the fifth; A. M. Kimball, from the sixth; Jeremiah M. Rusk, from the seventh, and George W. Cate, from the eighth district. Lynde, Burchard and Cate were "reform ;"the residue were repdblican. At the same election, an amendment to section 3 of article i r of the constitution of the State was duly ratified and adopted by the people. Under this section, as it now stands, it is the duty of the legislature, and they are by it empowered, to provide for the organization of cities and incorporated villages, and to restrict their power of taxation, -assessment, borrowing money, contracting debts, and loaning their credit, so as to prevent abuses in assessments and taxation, and in contracting debts, by such municipal corporations. No county, city, town, village, school district, or other municipal corporation, shall be allowed to become indebted in any manner, or for any purpose, to any amount, including existing indebtedness in the aggregate, exceeding five per centum on the value of the taxable property therein, to be ascertained by the last assessment for State and county taxes previous to the incurring of such indebtedness. Any county, city, town, village, school district, or other municipal corporation, incurring any indebt- edness as aforesaid, shall, before, or at the time of doing so, provide for the collection of a direct 101
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