Northern Bank of Toledo v. Porter Township Trustees
110 U.S. 608 (1884)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Northern Bank of Toledo v. Porter Township Trustees, 110 U.S. 608 (1884)

Northern Bank of Toledo v. Porter Township Trustees

Argued January 21, 1884

Decided March 3, 1884

110 U.S. 608

Syllabus

The act of the Legislature of Ohio of March 21, 1859, as amended March 25, 1851, authorized county commissioners to submit to the people at special elections the question whether the county would subscribe to the stock of a railroad company and issue bonds in payment thereof, and if the subscription should not be authorized by the county, then that the question of subscriptions by township trustees might be submitted to the people of the respective townships. Held that until refusal by the counties to subscribe, either by direct vote or by failure within a reasonable time to call an election for the purpose, the townships were without legislative authority to subscribe or to issue township bonds in payment of subscriptions.

A municipal corporation which issues a bond reciting on its face that it is issued in part payment of a subscription to the capital stock of a railroad made by the corporation in pursuance of the several acts of the general assembly of the state and of a vote of the qualified electors of the corporation taken in pursuance thereof is estopped thereby from denying that an election was held or that it was called and conducted in the mode required by law; but it is not estopped from showing that the corporation was without legislative authority to issue the bonds.

The facts which a municipal corporation, issuing bonds in aid of a railroad, is not permitted, against a bona fide holder, to question, in face of a recital in the bonds of their existence, are those connected with or growing out of the discharge of the ordinary duties of such of its officers as were invested with authority to execute them, and which the statute conferring the power made it their duty to ascertain and determine before the bonds were issued. The cases relating to this point examined and reviewed.

This was an action to recover principal and interest of bonds

Page 110 U. S. 609

issued by the defendant in error (also defendant below), in payment of a subscription to a railroad. The defense of want of legislative authority is set forth in the opinion of the Court. Verdict for the defendants. The plaintiffs excepted to the charge and brought the case here by writ of error.

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