Inhabitants of the Township of Bernards v. Stebbins
Alvah A. Clark and Thos. N. McCarter, for Inhabitants of Township of bernards.
H. C. Pitney, for Stebbins, Ex'r, etc.
Cortland Parker, for Morrison and Hutchinson.
These are appeals by a township in New Jersey from decrees of the circuit court of the United States for the district of New Jersey, upon bills in equity by the appellees for relief against the accidental omission of seals on its bonds. The facts appearing by the record, are as follows:
By the General Laws of New Jersey, the inhabitants of each township in the state are a body politic and corporate, by the name of 'The Inhabitants of the township of _____, in the county of _____.' Rev. St. N. J. 1877, p. 1191. On the ninth of April, 1868, the legislature of New Jersey passed a statute entitled 'An act to authorize certain towns in the counties of Somerset, Morris, Essex, and Union to issue bonds and take stock in the Passaic Valley & Peapack Railroad Company,' the first section of which directed the circuit court of either of those counties, on the application of 12 or more freeholders and residents of any township therein, situated along the route of the railroad, to appoint three 'commissioners for such township to carry into effect the purposes and provisions of this act.' The next two sections are as follows:
'Sec. 2. It shall be lawful for said commissioners to borrow, on the faith and credit of their respective townships, such sum of money, not exceeding ten per centum of the valuation of the real estate and landed property of such township, to be ascertained by the assessment rolls thereof respectively for the year eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, for a term not exceeding twenty-five years, at a rate of interest not exceeding seven per centum per annum, payable semi-annually, and to execute bonds therefor, under their hands and seals respectively. The bonds so to be executed may be in such sums, and payable at such times and places as the said commissioners and their successors may deem expendient; but no such debt shall be contracted or bonds issued by said commissioners of or for either of said townships until the written consent shall have been obtained of the majority of the tax-payers of such township, or their legal representatives, appearing upon the last assessment roll, as shall represent a majority of the landed property of such township (including lands owned by non-residents) appearing upon the last assessment roll of such township. Such consent shall state the amount of money authorized to be raised in such township, and that the same is to be invested in the stock of the said railroad company, and the signatures shall be proved by one or more of the commissioners. The fact that the persons signing such consent are a majority of the tax-payers of such township, and represent a majority of the real property of such township, shall be proved by the affidavit of the assessor of such township, indorsed upon or annexed to such written consent, and the assessor of such township is hereby required to perform such service. Such consent and affidavit shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which such township is situated, and a certified copy thereof in the town clerk's office of such township, and the same, or a certified copy thereof, shall be evidence of the facts therein contained, and received as evidence in any court in this state, and before any judge or justice thereof.