Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/12

This page needs to be proofread.

Itharnar Conkey Sloan the law that he wanted to find, was un sulted usual. ... him upon If I had a matter at anywhich time^conwas for the time being dropped, and I again consulted him upon the same matter months afterwards, he would instantly begin with the matter where we had left it and recall all of the conversation that we had previously had upon the subject. He had little patience with technicali ties. His mind was too broad for them and too profound. He was resourceful and faithful to his client, but was above the desire to win for the mere sake of winning." It is interesting to note some of the observations of the members of the Rock County Bar Association. It is interest ing because it is believed to be a fairly just estimate of the lawyer by those who knew him long and intimately. "The more important and difficult the ques tion, the more manifest his great mental strength and self-command. In dis cussing questions of fact, he was logi cal, thorough and convincing, but his strength was better manifested in the discussion of legal questions, affording opportunity to deal with principles of law and reasons underlying them and gov erning their application. His handling of decisions was most masterly, but to his great praise be it said, he was not a case lawyer. His penetrating and analytical mind inclined him to seek for and rely upon foundation principles as the best guide to correct conclusions. The records of the cases in which he has taken part will be an enduring memorial to his ability and virtues as a lawyer." Mr. Sloan was engaged in much of the far-reaching litigation in the state. One of the cases of commanding impor tance is that of Whiting against the She boygan and Fond du Lac Railroad Com pany and others, and is reported in the 25 Wis. 167. This was an action brought


by a taxpayer to prevent a county from aiding a railroad company to build a railroad through the county from one certain point to another by voting a tax upon the taxable property of the county for that purpose. A private law had passed the Legislature authorizing the assistance. Mr. Sloan's contention was that the proposed tax was for a private purpose and therefore invalid. The Supreme Court of the state held with his view in an exceedingly able and ex haustive opinion. And the case has be come one of the leading cases upon the subject in this country. It has settled the doctrine that municipalities, county, city or village, cannot raise money by tax to donate to railroads. Some of the arguments presented to the Supreme Court are interesting and will bear reproduction. Among them Mr. Sloan said, "that the only solid ground upon which the distinction be tween a public and a private purpose, in the use of money raised by taxation, can rest is, that in the one case the title to the thing constructed or acquired with the money vests in the public, and in the other it vests in an individual or a private corporation. We admit that money may be raised by taxation by a municipal corporation, if author ized by the legislature, to build a rail road, and we do not see why it might not also be so raised to operate a horse railroad, a line of stages, a bank, a store, a hotel, a mill, or a merchant's shop, to be owned by the municipal corporation. But we deny that money can be so raised to build or operate any of these things for an individual or a private corpora tion. Yet the incidental benefit to the public would be the same whether any of these enterprises were owned and conducted by the municipal corporation or by a private corporation. The only difference would be, that in the one case