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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
(1880)

Butterfield, C. W.
V.--Wisconsin as a state,   pp. 52-109 PDF (28.8 MB)


Page 101


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
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