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From this decree the present appeal has right of competition; and it was further been prosecuted.
Messrs. Hannis Taylor and George Anderson for appellant.
Messrs. J. Hirsh and Murray F. Smith for appellee.
Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of
It is contended on behalf of the appellee that the original decree of May 18, 1904, finally disposed of all the issues between the parties, including the right of the city to make rates for water consumption to pri- | vate consumers under the authority of the act of March 19, 1904, and that the present controversy is foreclosed by the decree in the former case.
While it is true that the decree is very broad, we cannot agree to the contention of the appellee that it finally disposed of the matter now in controversy. When the case was first here, reported in 185 U. S. 65, 46 L. ed. 808, 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 585, while there are expressions in the opinion affirming the validity of the contract and the authority of the city to make it, the issue really decided was as to the jurisdiction of the court as a Federal court, which was sustained, and the cause remanded for further proceedings. Upon the second hearing of the case, and the appeal here, the opinion shows that the adjudication was regarded as settling the right of the Vicksburg Waterworks Company, under the contract, to carry on its business without the competition of works to be built by the city itself, as the city had lawfully excluded itself from the from enforcing the ordinances passed by them fixing the water rates and prescribing rules and regulations of the Vicksburg Waterworks Company, and that the Vicksburg Waterworks Company shall not be permitted to cut off patrons' water, providing patrons pay the rates fixed in said ordinances. Second. That said defendant be, and is hereby, enjoined from enforcing the said three ordinances described in said bill, to wit: An ordinance entitled "An Ordinance to Fix and Prescribe Maximum Rates and Charges for Water Supplied to the Inhabitants of the City of Vicksburg, Whether Measured by Meters, and for Other Purposes," approved the 20th of April, 1904, an ordinance entitled "An Ordinance to Fix and Prescribe the Maximum Flat Rates and Charges for the Supply of Water to Consumers in the City of Vicksburg, and for Other Purposes," approved the 20th day of April, 1904; and an ordinance entitled "An Ordinance to Require Waterworks, Gas, and Electric Companies to Present Bills before Charging Damages for a Failure to Pay Them When Due," approved the 8th day of December, 1903, so far as the latter relates to complainant.
held, as incidental to that controversy, in passing upon an issue made in the suit, that the Vicksburg Waterworks Company had succeeded to all the right, title, and interest of the original contracting party, and that the contract, having been made prior to the Constitution of 1890, was not controlled by its provisions. The right to recover for rentals was also directly involved, as the city had denied its liability therefor, and an accounting was prayed in the original bill, and the decree specifically disposed of that issue. It is true that in the answer it was averred that the alleged contract imposed upon the inhabitants of Vicksburg an onerous and extortionate burden; "that no such contract would now be made with the Vicksburg Waterworks Company or any other company; that the rates authorized in said ordinance far exceeded the rates charged in other cities under like circumstances, and, in general terms," the city denied that it was bound to the complainant by contract; "that, for the many reasons therein set forth, no liability existed on the part of the city by reason of the contract."
An examination of the record in the former case shows that the only testimony taken in the case, as to the reasonableness of the rates charged to private consumers, was on behalf of the company, and tended to show that the rates charged were reasonable, and if it could be said that the pleadings put in issue the reasonableness of the rates then charged, was the right of the city to regulate rates under a subsequent law of the state necessarily involved and con
Third. That the restraining order heretofore granted in this cause on the 11th day of January, 1905, be and the same is hereby made permanent.
Fourth. That the said defendant be, and is hereby, enjoined from in any manner interfering with the complainant's contract rights under its said contract with the city of Vicksburg, entered into between Samuel R. Bullock & Company and said city, under the ordinance of November 19th, 1886.
Fifth. That the defendant be, and is hereby, enjoined from interfering with the rules and regulations of complainant, the Vicksburg Waterworks Company, and the water rates for the inhabitants of the city of Vicksburg, now in force, established by the Vicksburg Waterworks Company.
Sixth. That said defendant be, and is hereby, enjoined from interfering with the water rates known as the flat rates, now in force, established by the Vicksburg Waterworks Company.
It is further ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the defendant pay all costs of this cause.
Finally ordered, adjudged, and decreed this, the 3d day of Jan. A. D. 1906.
Sup. Ct. Rep. 273; Freeport Water Co. v. Freeport, 180 U. S. 587-593, 45 L. ed. 679686, 21 Sup. Ct. Rep. 493.
cluded? The determination of issues as to | Ct. Rep. 77; New Orleans Waterworks Co. the right of injunction against the city v. Rivers, 115 U. S. 674, 29 L. ed. 525, 6 building its own works, or denying liability or refusing to pay the rentals contracted for, and a finding that existing rates were reasonable, did not necessarily conclude a controversy which might thereafter arise, as to the right of the city to fix rates when the legislature of Mississippi should pass a law for that purpose, giving the city the right to regulate the same. It is to be remembered that when the bill was filed in the original case no such law had been passed; that when the act of March, 1904, went into effect the case was nearly ready for final decree, and the city passed its ordinances long after the beginning of the suit, and shortly before that decree. No supplemental bill was filed, but after the decree, in January, 1905, the present independent suit was brought, with a view to enjoining the proposed action of the city in enforcing ordinances regulating the rates by charges other than those contained in the contract.
Upon the appeal, the question seems to have been argued by the city as though made in the case, though the brief on behalf of the appellee contends that the act of 1904 was not involved. But a decree must be read in the light of the issues involved in the pleadings and the relief sought, and we are of opinion that the matters now litigated were not involved in or disposed of in the former case, and that, when properly construed, the decree does not finally dispose of the right of the city to regulate rates under a law passed after the contract went into effect, and long after the bill was filed in the case.
Holding, then, that the plea of res judicata must be denied, had the city authority, under the charter of Vicksburg, passed in 1886, to make a binding contract, fixing maximum rates for water supply to private consumers for a definite period, thirty years in the present case? The grant of legislative power upon its face is unrestricted, and authorizes the city "to provide for the erection and maintenance of a system of waterworks to supply said city with water, and to that end to contract with a party or parties who shall build and operate waterworks."
In the latter case this court, following the construction of the supreme court of Illinois, held that where a city council was authorized to contract with any person or corporation to construct and maintain waterworks at such a rate as may be fixed by ordinance for a period not exceeding thirty years, the words "fixed by ordinance" being capable of application so as to make one ordinance endure for the period of thirty years, for which the contract was made, or to give the right to pass ordinances from time to time regulating rates, the latter construction was adopted.
In the cases generally in this court it will be found that, in determining the matter of contract, the local decisions have been given much weight and, ordinarily, followed. As this is a Mississippi contract, and the power was exercised under the authority of an act of the legislature of that state, we naturally look to the decisions of the courts of that state, particularly to such as had given construction to similar charters at the time the contract was made, with a view to determining the extent of the power conferred.
While the case now before us was pending, Griffith and others, citizens of Vicksburg, filed a bill, setting forth the city ordinances of 1903 and 1904, and asking to have them established and maintained and an injunction granted against enforcing charges for higher rates, and, upon appeal, the case went to the supreme court of Mississippi, and is reported in 40 So. 1011. In that case the supreme court of Mississippi held that the municipal corporation represented the citizens and taxpayers of the city, and that, where a right had been adjudged as between the company and the city, it would conclude private citizens; and while the court declined to pass directly upon the question here involved, because of its pendency in the Federal courts, it used this pertinent and suggestive language:
"We decline to follow the decision in Griffin v. Goldsboro Water Co. 122 N. C. 206, 41 L.R.A. 240, 30 S. E. 319, in holding that while a water company which accepts an ordinance by which a maximum rate is fixed is bound, and cannot exceed the same because of its contract, yet such rates are not binding upon consumers, who have a right to Los to litigate against unreasonable charges. This holding, it seems to us, practically denies the power of a company, under a contract embodied in its charter giving the power, so to fix a rate as to bind a private
That a state may, in matters of proprietary rights, exclude itself from the right to make regulations of this kind, or authorize municipal corporations to do so, when the power is clearly conferred, has been too frequently declared to admit of doubt. Los Angeles v. Los Angeles City Water Co. 177 U. S. 558, 44 L. ed. 886, 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 736; Walla Walla v. Walla Walla Water Co. 172 U. S. 1-7, 43 L. ed. 341-344, 19 Sup.
consumer at all. It opens a never-ending and limitless field of litigation. It is well settled that the courts cannot fix a rate; and if, proceeding duly under statutes enacted for that purpose, the municipality cannot do so, or authorize the company by contract to do so, and thereby bind the citizens, then there is no authority by which it can be done.
"The power to contract is an essential attribute of sovereignty and is of prime importance. Its exercise has been productive of incalculable benefits to society, however great may be the evils incident to its injudicious employment. It cannot be denied merely because of its liability to abuse. The power to contract implies the power to make a valid contract. The right to grant charters includes the right to grant such as will be upheld. Conferring power on the grantee of the franchise to fix rates of compensation at discretion, or within prescribed limits fixed by the charter, has been the common practice of the legislatures of the states of the United States from an early period of their history. The right of the corporators to exercise the powers conferred by the act of incorporation, whether to fix rates themselves or to take those fixed by their charter, and to rest securely on its provisions in this respect, has hitherto been generally regarded as indisputable.
"It is not a matter open to serious discussion in this state, since the decision by this court in the case of Stone v. Yazoo & M. Valley R. Co. 62 Miss. 607, 52 Am. Rep. 193, decided at the April term, 1885, and before the act of 1886 (Laws 1886, p. 694, chap. 358), amending the charter of Vicksburg, was enacted, that a quasi-public corporation may have a contract right to fix rates within a certain designated maximum, and that the rates so fixed are matter of contract, guaranteed by the contract clauses of the United States Constitution. In that decision the court was manifestly directing it observations to the binding character of the rates as between the company and the shippers; otherwise, the decision was practically meaningless and without point. The philosophy of the situation is simple. Grant-ly a purpose to confer power to exact coming that the company is lawfully invested with authority to fix its rate, then such rate being so fixed by it within the maximum limit allowed by the charter, or allowed by the duly authorized ordinance, is by the courts presumed to be reasonable; and it is not permissible for each individual citizen, in every controversy that may arise, to have that question, once passed upon by the law-plied conditions on the subject. It is an esfully constituted public authorities charged with power in the premises, reopened and litigated anew."
"A grant in general terms of authority to fix rates is not a renunciation of the right of legislative control so as to secure reasonable rates. Such a grant evinces mere
pensation which shall be just and reasonable.
"If the grant can be interpreted without ascribing to the legislature an intent to part with any power, it will be done. Only what is plainly parted with is gone. Fixing rates in a charter is a specification of what is reasonable,-an exclusion of tacit or im
sential part of the contract of incorporation, the most important condition of its existence, the inducing cause of its acceptance."
We are referred to other cases in Mississippi which deal directly with the extent, of the power conferred upon municipal corporations in charters in general terms, some of which we may notice.
In Light, Heat, & Water Co. v. Jackson, 73 Miss. 598, 19 So. 771, the city of Jackson had filed its bill, undertaking to annul a contract binding the city to pay for water for a period of twenty years at a price and rate fixed in a certain ordinance, on the ground that it was ultra vires and without authority from the legislature. In that case the authority conferred was in general terms, authorizing the city to contract with any reliable corporation, association, or individual for supplying the city of Jackson with water and electric or gas lights from year to year. Under authority of this gen
The case to which the court refers in the preceding extract, Stone v. Yazoo & M. Valley R. Co. supra, as having been decided prior to the enactment of the charter of Vicksburg under which the contract in question was made, did not directly involve the question of authorizing municipal corporations to make such contracts, but did maintain, after an exhaustive consideration of the subject, that a grant to a railroad company, in the charter, of a right to fix rates within maximum limits named, was a contract. within the meaning of the Federal and state Constitutions, which could not be violated by a subsequent attempt to prescribe different rates, and held that the railroad company's grant was not a renunciation of the legislative power to secure reasonable rates, but rather an exercise of that power, and, when rights were thus con-eral power the city undertook to make a ferred, to that extent there was a renunciation of the right of the state to control the subject. In the course of the discussion the learned judge, speaking for the court, said:
contract with the Light, Heat, & Power Company of Jackson, contracting for the furnishing of water to the public at certain annual rentals for a period of twenty years,
and fixing a certain rate for annual rentals | to private consumers. The supreme court The supreme court of Mississippi dealt directly with the question: Was the contract made between the city and company, and set forth in the bill, invalid for want of power in the city to contract for a series of years? And the court said:
"In view of the nature and character of the subject-matter of the contract which the board of mayor and aldermen of the city of Jackson was authorized to make by the 3d section of the act of February 29th, 1888, we think the contract entered into with the appellant was within the delegation of power, so far as the time of its duration is involved. We know that the machinery, mains, and appliances required for supplying the city with water are costly to begin with, and are relatively of little value if removed when once located. Permanency of the plant is essential to the realization of any profit in the enterprise, and in cities having no greater population than that of Jackson the use of water for municipal purposes would probably be a prerequisite to secure the investment of the capital necessary to the construction of the plant. The words from 'year to year' relied upon by the appellee as limiting the power of the officers of the city to the making of the annual contracts, derived much of their significance from the subject and nature of the thing contracted for, the character of the body on which the power is conferred, the end to the attainment of which the power is to be exercised, and the extent to which such powers for such purposes are usually conferred. .
"A few days after the act was passed, a commission was appointed by the legislature to contract for water for the state institutions, situated in and near the city, for the term of twenty-five years. In this act power was conferred upon all municipalities to enter into contracts for a term not exceeding twenty-five years, for supplies of water, on a two-thirds affirmative vote of the qualified electors, but the act provided that it should not apply to municipalities whose charters already conferred the power of making contracts for water."
ances, the profit of which was dependent upon the permanency of the enterprise, and the cotemporaneous legislation, from which the intent to authorize a contract of as great duration as twenty-five years is deducible."
Again, in the case of Reid v. Trowbridge, 78 Miss. 542, 29 So. 167, the mayor and aldermen of the city of Vicksburg had been authorized, in general terms, to provide for the lighting of said city by electric light or other method. Under this general power the city made a contract with the Vicksburg Railroad, Power, & Manufacturing Company for lighting the streets by electricity, at a given rental per annum, for 125 lights, for a period of ten years. The taxpayers of the city of Vicksburg filed a bill to enjoin the carrying out of the contract, alleging that the city had no authority to make such a contract without submitting it to a vote of the people, under the act of March, 1888, passed subsequent to the charter, requiring submission to a vote of the people, that the contract was unreasonable and oppressive, and that the council had acted arbitrarily and without exercising discretion in awarding it. The court held that the act of 1888 had no application to the case, and, speaking of the general terms of the charter authorizing a contract for lighting purposes, said:
"The intent of the legislature to confer the power without restriction appears to us to be too plain, from the collocation and order and sequence of the sections and article of the charter act, to admit of obscuration by learned argument about original power. The very last legislative action on the subject, that in the municipal charter of the Code of 1892, shows that the lawmakers thought the power to be one to be conferred or prohibited, because it expressly confers it on cities and towns and prohibits its exercise by villages.
"It is claimed now that the last clause of § 1 of the first quoted of the above acts (that approved March 10, 1888) applied to and modified the charter of the city of Vicksburg so as to make the contract here in controversy void because not submitted to vote. In order to this result it is claimed that, in the charter of Vicksburg, it is not 'otherwise provided,' provided,' . . . because the charter expressly confers the power, without restriction, on the municipal board at any 'regular or special meeting.' Besides, in con
"A contract made by the authorities of a municipality with a water company for supplying the city with water for a period of twenty years is within the power conferred on them by an act of the legislature authorizing them to contract with any re-struing the section of the act secondly above liable corporation for supplying the city with water from year to year, in view of the purpose of the delegation of power, the nature of the body on which it was conferred, the subject-matter of the contract, the large outlay for machinery and appli
quoted, this court expressly so held in the case of Light, Heat, & Water Co. v. Jackson, 73 Miss. 644, 19 So. 771. If the precise point was not made, the omission is quite significant of the opinion of the eminent counsel for appellee in that case that there was
view of the allegations of the answer, that the rates charged by the company exceeded those named in § 13 of the ordinance of 1886.
nothing in it. Aside from this, the question | pany to charge the rates fixed thereby, in was at the very root of the cause, and was considered and decided, and it is the exact question in the case at bar, except that this case is somewhat stronger in favor of the power than the case decided.
"By 3 of the act of February 29, 1888, the Jackson board was 'hereby authorized and empowered to contract,' etc., while, by the Vicksburg charter act, the board was authorized to so contract at any regular or special meeting.' We presume that no charter then existent 'otherwise provided' by an express prohibition of electric lighting without vote. The grant of the power without restriction is to 'otherwise provide.'"
The decree should be modified, so as to enjoin interference on the part of the city during the term of this contract, with the right of the company to charge rates not in excess of 50 cents a thousand gallons to private consumers, as set forth in the ordi
With this modification, the decree will be affirmed.
And the court held that, under this power, IOWA RAILROAD LAND COMPANY, Plsf. the municipal authorities had the right to make the contract for electric lights without advertising for bids, and without submitting the matter to a popular vote, and the power was not taken away by the act of March, 1888.
In this case the learned judge, speaking
for the court, further said:
"Within its charter powers, the board has a discretion independent of courts, and no exercise of it will be held void for unreasonableness, unless so gross as to strongly suggest fraud or corruption. The people elect their council, and the courts are not chosen members of it."
In the light of these decisions, and others might be cited, we reach the conclusion that, under a broad grant of power, conferring, without restriction or limitation, upon the city of Vicksburg, the right to make a contract for a supply of water, it was within the right of the city council, in the exercise of this power, to make a binding contract, fixing a maximum rate at which water maximum rate at which water should be supplied to the inhabitants of the city for a limited term of years; and, in the absence of a showing of unreasonableness "so gross," as the court of Mississippi has said, "as to strongly suggest fraud or corruption," this action of the council is binding, and for the time limited puts the right beyond legislative or municipal alteration to the prejudice of the other contracting party. While we, therefore, reach the conclusion that the former case did not adjudicate the matter, we think the contract in this respect was within the power of the council, and cannot be violated consistently with the contract rights of the company by the subsequent ordinances of the city.
In this case the circuit court rendered a final decree practically upon the bill and answer. No testimony was taken, and all that was before the court was the bill, answer, and exhibits. We think the decree goes too far in enjoining the city from interfering with the contract right of the com27 S. C.-49.
CLAUDE F. BLUMER.
Adverse possession-lands within congressional land grant.
plied with all the terms and conditions of 1. A railway company which has coma congressional land grant, as fixed by Congress and by the act of the state legislature after the acceptance of the grant by the state, has such a title to lands within the place limits of the grant that the statute of limitations will run against it in favor of one who occupies the premises by adverse possession under color of title, notwithstanding the want of final certification and issue of patent. Adverse possession-color of title-good
2. Knowledge of the rejection of his first timber culture entry of land within the place limits of a railway land grant does not require the imputation of bad faith to the entryman in going into possession on the advice of counsel under a second entry, afterwards summarily canceled without his knowledge, so as to prevent his open, notorious, and continuous possession from ripening into full title as against the railway company if the latter fails to assert its rights within the period prescribed by the statute of limitations.
Argued and submitted February 26, 27, 1907. Decided May 27, 1907. .
IN to Court of ent
N ERROR to the Supreme Court of the
which affirmed a decree of the District Court of Woodbury County, in that, state, quieting title as against a railroad company to land within the place limits of a congressional land grant. Affirmed.
See same case below, 129 Iowa, 32, 105 N. W. 342.
Statement by Mr. Justice Day:
This is a writ of error to the supreme