Osborne v. County of Adams in the State of Nebraska/Opinion of the Court

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Court Documents
Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

106 U.S. 181

Osborne  v.  County of Adams in the State of Nebraska

A steam grist-mill is not, in our opinion, a work of internal improvement within the meaning of the statute of Nebraska, approved February 15, 1869, which authorizes counties, cities, and precincts of organized counties 'to issue bonds to aid in the construction of any railroad or other work of internal improvement.'

The case of Township of Burlington v. Beasley, 94 U.S. 312, is not, as supposed by counsel, an authority for a different conclusion. That case arose under a statute of Kansas which empowered municipal townships in that state to issue bonds 'for the purpose of building bridges, free or otherwise, or to aid in the construction of railroads or water-power, by donation thereto, or the taking of stock therein, or for other works of internal improvement.' The bonds there in suit were issued to aid in the construction and completion of, and to furnish the motive power for, a steam custom grist-mill. It was held that the statute, reasonably interpreted, embraced a grist-mill operated by steam, as well as one run by water-power; that, since municipal aid was authorized for 'the construction of * * * waterpower,' the phrase 'other works of internal improvement,' in the Kansas statute, might be fairly construed as embracing works of the same class, and consequently as embracing a steam grist-mill. The court was somewhat influenced, as plainly appears from its opinion, by decisions of the supreme court of Kansas, particularly that of Com'rs of Leavenworth Co. v. Miller, 7 Kan. 479.

The present case is different. The only work of internal improvement specially described in the Nebraska statute is that of a railroad, and we are not justified by anything in Township of Burlington v. Beasley, or in the decisions of the courts of Nebraska, in holding that a steam or other kind of grist-mill is of the class of internal improvements which municipal townships in that state were empowered, by the statute in question, to aid by an issue of bonds.

For these reasons we adjudge that the bonds issued by the county commissioners in behalf of Juniata precinct, in Adams county, Nebraska, in aid of the construction of a steam grist-mill in that precinct, are unauthorized by the act of February 15, 1869; and as authority for their issue is not claimed to exist under any other statute, they must be held to be without binding force against the precinct.

The judgment is, consequently, affirmed.

This case affirms S.C.. 7 FED. REP. 441.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).