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Opinion of the Court.

water for public purposes, free of charge. But that obligation remained only so long as the exemption continued in force. The act of 1882 is to be regarded as an entirety, and meant nothing more than that the company should furnish water for fire protection, free of charge, so long as the immunity from taxation continued. This view is in harmony with the act of 1856, which expressly declares that whilst privileges and franchises granted to corporations, after its passage, could be changed or repealed, no amendment or repeal should impair other rights previously vested. The effect of the withdrawal of the immunity from taxation was, therefore, to leave the water company in the position it was before the passage of the act of 1882 in respect to its right to charge for water furnished for public fire cisterns, fire plugs or hydrants.

Much reliance was placed by the plaintiff upon Commissioners Sinking Fund v. Green and Barren River Navigation Co., 79 Kentucky, 73, 75, 83. But there is nothing in that case inconsistent with the views we have expressed. It was there decided that the legislature could not consistently with the constitution, or with the above statute of 1856, take from the Green and Barren River Navigation Company, without making compensation therefor, the right it acquired under a contract with the State, concluded in 1868, to take, for a term of years, tolls from vessels navigating Green and Barren Rivers, in consideration of its agreement, which had been fully performed, to maintain and keep in repair, at its own expense, such line of navigation. The case before us presents no such features. As already indicated, in losing an exemption from taxation the water company regained its rights to make such charges for water, furnished for fire protection, as it could rightfully have done before the act of 1882 was passed, and whilst its property was subject to taxation.

We have thus far considered the case as one between the State and the water company as a private corporation. It is not perceived that the result should be different if we regarded the case as one necessarily involving proprietary rights of the city of Louisville, or the rights of creditors whose debts were or are charged upon the sinking fund of that municipality.

Opinion of the Court.

The various acts referred to were passed, as was the act of 1882, in view of the general statute of 1856, and, as none of them contained a provision expressly waiving the right of amendment or repeal, it must be held, for the reasons already stated, that the acquisition by the sinking fund of the stock of the water company, whether before or after the passage of the act of 1882, was subject to the reserved power of the legislature, at its will, by amending or repealing that act, to withdraw the exemption from taxation. Such withdrawal did not impair the obligation of any contract rights of creditors whose debts were charged upon the sinking fund, because such rights, whenever acquired, were subject to the power to amend or repeal the statute granting to the water company immunity from taxation. The withdrawal of that immunity, it is suggested, impaired the value of such rights, but, in view of the reservation contained in the act of 1856, that result must have been regarded as possible when those rights were acquired. No right of

any creditor has been impaired even in value, except as that result has followed from the reserved power to amend or repeal the statute in question. The act of 1886 has simply restored the water company and all persons interested in it, directly or indirectly, to the situation in which they were when the act of 1882 was passed, and the power to effect that result was reserved by the general statute of 1856, because not expressly waived by the act of 1882.

We, therefore, hold that it was competent for the legislature to withdraw the exemption from taxation granted by the act of 1882. The authority reserved in the act of 1856 to amend or repeal constituted a part of whatever contract was made by the act of 1882, and its exercise, in the present instance, cannot be said to have impaired the obligation of such contract, or, in any just sense, to have impaired rights previously vested.

Decree affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE GRAY concurs in the result.

VOL. CXLII-2

E

Statement of the Case.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HUTTON.

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

No. 1338. Argued January 12, 1892. - Decided February 1, 1892.

Section 354 of Rev. Stat. Dist. Columb., providing that “no person shall

be appointed to office, or hold office in the police force [of the District of Columbia] who cannot read and write the English language, or who is not a citizen of the United States, or who shall ever have been indicted and convicted of crime; and no person shall be appointed as policeman or watchman who has not served in the army or navy of the United States and received an honorable discharge” was repealed by the act of June 11, 1878, “ providing a permanent form of government for the District

of Columbia.” 20 Stat. 102, c. 180. Eckloff v. District of Columbia, 135 U. S. 240, affirmed as to the point that

the act of June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, c. 180, supplied to the District of Columbia for the first time a permanent form of government in the na

ture of a constitution. United States v. Tynen, 11 Wall. 88, quoted and applied to the points : (1)

that when there are two acts on the same subject effect is to be given to both, if possible; (2) that when two acts on the same subject are repugnant, the later operates to repeal the earlier to the extent of the repugnancy; and (3) that a later act, covering the whole subject of an earlier one, and embracing new provisions, showing that it was intended as a

substitute for the earlier act, operates as a repeal of that act. When a later act operates as a repeal of an earlier act of Congress, a subse

quent recognition of it by Congress as a subsisting act will not operate to prevent the repeal.

The court stated the case as follows:

This was an action by IIarry S. IIutton against the District of Columbia to recover the sum of $182.50, with interest, alleged to be due him for salary as a member of the metropolitan police force of the District, from June 6, 1890, to August 20, of the same year.

The defendant filed a special plea in bar admitting plaintiff's appointment on the police force at the salary specified in the declaration, and also his faithful performance of the duties required of him, in that position, for the time for which he

Statement of the Case.

a

claimed pay; but setting up, by way of avoidance, that he ought not to recover, because, at the time of his appointment, he had never served in the army or navy of the United States, which service, it was alleged, was, and is, a condition precedent to legal appointment on the police force.

To this plea the plaintiff filed a demurrer which set up (1) that the statute relied upon in the plea had been repealed, and that there was no such statute in force in the District of Columbia; and (2) that the appointment of the plaintiff on the police force, and the acceptance of his services, as such officer, by the defendant, entitled him to recover for such services.

The demurrer was certified to the Supreme Court of the District in general term, to be heard there in the first instance, and, having been overruled, judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiff for the full amount sued for. The opinion of the court below, in advance of the official reports, will be found in vol. 19, Washington Law Reporter, 386. The District has prosecuted a writ of error.

The single question in the case is, whether $ 354 of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia, prescribing the qualifications of persons eligible for appointment on the police force, was repealed by the act of June 11, 1878, 20 Stat. 102, c. 180.

To understand fully the nature of this question a brief summary of the legislation of Congress respecting the government of the District of Columbia, and especially with regard to the District police, since 1861, will be found useful, if not indispensable. By the act of August 6, 1861, 12 Stat. 320, c. 62, the District of Columbia was constituted a “Metropolitan Police District," and the police affairs thereof were put under the control and management of a board of police, consisting of the mayors of Washington and Georgetown and five commissioners of police, to be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. This board was invested with plenary powers respecting the police affairs of the District, in all particulars, and the act established a complete system of police. The eighth section,

66

Statement of the Case.

among other things, prescribed qualifications for holding any office on the police force by providing therein as follows: “No person shall be so appointed to office, or hold office in the police force aforesaid, who cannot read and write the English language, or who is not a citizen of the United States, or who shall ever have been indicted and convicted of crime.”

Shortly after the close of the war, an additional qualification for the benefit of the honorably discharged soldiers and sailors of the United States who had participated in that great struggle, was prescribed for those holding office on the force. The general appropriation act of March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. c. 166, 440, 457, in its first section provided that “hereafter no person shall be appointed as policeman or watchman [in the metropolitan police for the District of Columbia] who has not served in the army or navy of the United States, and received an honorable discharge."

These provisions respecting the qualifications of an officer on the police force were carried into the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia, enacted at the first session of the 43d Congress, and are there embodied in $ 354. That section provides as follows: “No person shall be appointed to office, or hold office in the police force, who cannot read and write the English language, or who is not a citizen of the United States, or who shall ever have been indicted and convicted of crime ; and no person shall be appointed as policeman or watchman who has not served in the Army or Navy of the United States and received an honorable discharge.”

During all this period, and up till 1878, the police affairs of the District remained under the control of the metropolitan police board established by the act of 1861. In the meantime, however, the other governmental affairs of the District had undergone several changes. By the act of February 21, 1871, 16 Stat. 419, c. 62, a territorial government was established for the District, the general administration of affairs being committed to a governor and a legislative assembly. This territorial system of government, however, did not last long. The act establishing it was repealed in 1874, and the repealing

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