Roberts v. Bolles,
101 U.S. 119 (1879)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Roberts v. Bolles, 101 U.S. 119 (1879)

Roberts v. Bolles

101 U.S. 119


1. By the statutes of Illinois, municipal bonds payable to bearer are transferable by delivery, and the holder thereof can sue thereon in his own name.

2. The statute of that state of March 6, 1867, provides that the supervisor of a town, if a majority of the legal voters thereof voting at an election to be held for the purpose so authorized, shall subscribe for stock of a railroad company in the name of the town and issue its bonds in payment therefor, and the fifth section declares that

"No mistake in the giving of notice or in the canvass or return of votes or in the issuing of the bonds shall in any way invalidate the bonds so issued, provided that there is a majority of the votes at such election in favor of such subscription."

An application in due form for an election was signed by only twelve legal voters and taxpayers, instead of twenty, and ten days' notice of the election, instead of twenty, given. The election was held at the specified time, and a majority

Page 101 U. S. 120

of the electors of the town voting thereat favored the subscription. It was accordingly made. An act of the legislature legalized the subscription, and the bonds were issued. Held that, independently of that act, the bonds are not, in the hands of a bona fide purchaser, rendered invalid by reason of the departure from the statutory provisions touching the application for and the notice of the election.

3. Williams v. Town of Roberts, 88 Ill. 1, decided three years after the judgment now under review was rendered, is not accepted by this Court as conclusive against the validity of the bonds, for the Supreme Court of Illinois, while holding the election to be void, does not refer to said sec. 5 nor to the precise question upon which their validity is sustained here.

4. That decision would be an authority in point if it declared that said sec. 5 is in conflict with the constitution of the state, or that the defects in the application and notice are not mere mistakes within the meaning of the said statute of March 6, 1887. Sed quaere would it be conclusive here.

"5. Brooklyn v. Insurance Company, 99 U. S. 362, cited and approved."

This was an action brought by Bolles & Co. against the Town of Roberts on certain bonds and coupons issued in its name by the supervisor of the town in payment of its subscription to the capital stock of the Hamilton, Lacon, and Eastern Railroad Company. A judgment was rendered against the town, and the case was removed here on error. The facts are fully stated in the opinion of the Court.

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