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doubtless from our motherland. There it had its ori- 1ract of an ordinary indorsement of negotiable paper, gin in just apprehension of executive power. The as between such indorser and the payee or subsequent Parliament was annual, because it was the assembly of holders of such paper. the people coming to assert their rights, and unwilling This settles by statute a point long mooted in the to trust the crown with more than yearly supplies. courts, and does away with much dangerous parol eviThrough the Parliament the people spoke: to rulers dence. pot of their making, and .whose interests were or There is a valuable act in relation to the registration might be in opposition to their own. In this country, of births, marriages and deaths, a subject much negcertainly in our State governments, there is not the lected, yet of very great public and private importslightest danger of executive oppression. The execu- ance in the detection and prevention of crime, as also tive is as much or more the creation of the people civilly. than any other officers. Annual Legislatures are both Another act authorizes official court stenographers, unnecessary and a nuisance. Perhaps it may be said and regulates their duties. It may be observed, that that because plainly unnecessary they must be a nuis- while advisable as far as it goes, this act omits some ance. For an inferior law, thoroughly understood, is things in which the system it adopts might be imoften better than a better one which has to be learned, proved. Court stenographers should give testimony, construed and applied.
if possible, not by question and answer, but in narraBeginning with the most north-eastern of the States tive form; except where the report of the question is of the Union, I repeat that an adjourned, not a regu- desired at the moment by either party. As at present lar, session of the Legislature of Maine was held last generally adopted,stenographic testimony is prolix and August for the purpose of acting upon the report of a fatiguing. And then it should be the rule everywhere, commissioner for the revision of the entire body of the as it is now in some States, that an advocate, wben exState statutes. The revised statutes were enacted to amining a witness, should stand. Elsewise the system “take effect and become law on the first day of January, abbreviates the proceedings very little. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four." "This One provision of this act, that “durivg the trial of a revision," I use the language of a member of the associa- case witnesses shall not be interrupted except for the tion in a volunteer report made at the suggestion of our purpose of having notes of their testimony taken by esteemed and watchful secretary, and for which both the stenographer," if enforced, will be apt to burden have my thanks," was made under a resolution of the case with immaterial or unlawful testimony, for March 8, 1881, making it the duty of the commissioner, no one's benefit that I can see except the stenographHon. Charles B. Goddard, to revise, collate, arrange er's. and consolidate all the general and public laws now in With the notice of one other act, we leave the good force, and such as shall be enacted at the present ses- State of Connecticut. It relates to the subject of persion of the Legislature, preserving unchanged the or- petuities, and prorides that “no estate in fee simple, der and arrangement of the present Revised Code, and fee tail, or any life estate shall be given by deed or retaining the phraseology thereof, except so far as it will to any person but such as are at the time of the may be necessary to vary it by incorporating existing delivery of such deed, or the death of the testator, in laws therewith."
being, or to their immediate issue or descendants; and This revision, it will be seen, absolutely negatives every estate given in fee tail shall be an absolute estate the existence thereby of any poteworthy changes in in fee simple to the issue of the first donee in tail." the statute law of Maine, and any mention of it might The protection by the State of unprotected children therefore have rightly been omitted from this address. seems an established doctrine in Connecticut as well But in such revision every lawyer takes the greatest as in other States in New England. An act of interest. Of Codes the practitioner is apt to be afraid. April, 1884, provides that children under sixteen shall Even such a revision, which authorizes verbal altera- not be retained in almshouses if temporary homes tion, however guarded, gives him a slight shiver in have been obtained for them, and no child under sixview of possibilities. It is a comfort to learn that the teen shall be committed as vicious, truant or incorrigwork has apparently been performed carefully and ible to any jail, almshouse or work house. skillfully, and it is confidently hoped that it will not either to industrial schools or to temporary homes be found to give occasion for doubt or uncertainty in
justitutions supported by public tax in each county. its practical application.
It is impossible not to admire the object of this leg. In New Hampshire and Vermont, as already stated, islation. Its practical merits require more informathere has been no legislative session since 1882.
tion than we have been able to attain. In Connecticut I find the following noticeable
The laws of Connecticut cover 469 printed pages. acts:
The session lasted about three months. The result The 75th meridian of Greenwich is made the stand- would seem to be hardiy an economical achievement, ard of time for this State.
and certainly does not afford an argument against bi. The late regulation by railroad companies fixing a
ennial sessions. There is a constitutional amendment standard of time through their routes is one which
before the people, not for biennial sessions, but only ought to be followed by Legislatures so as to be made
for biennial elections. general as nearly as possible throughout the Union.
Rhode Island has bad two sessions of her LegislaThe location of public reservoirs of water and ceme
ture during the present year-one in January and the teries within half a mile of each other is forbidden un
other in May. We note the following acts: less by permission of the Superior Court of the county.
Oue, an amendment to the law for the suppression Forsaken cemeteries may, by another law, be put un
of intemperance, forbidding any action for the value der the charge of the selectmen of the town.
of liquor drunk upon the seller's premises; another In the trial of any capital case, or case involving im- forbidding license to any person within 400 feet of any prisonment for life, the court may, in its discretion,
public school. These are feeble efforts indeed, but in keep the jury together during trial. This, we believe, a right direction. Another act makes it the duty of is a return in Convecticut to the rule of the common
school committees to make provisions for the instruclaw.
tion of the pupils in all public schools “in physiology The blank indorsement of a promissory note,
and hygiene, with special reference to the effect of alwhether or not negotiable, by a person neither its
coholic stimulants and narcotics on the human system.” maker nor payee, before or after the indorsement of
The protection of abandoned or ill-treated children, or such note by the payee, shall hereafter import the con
children trained to evil conduct, is a topic favored in
this bill. The courts of probate are given jurisdiction to ists upon this globe. It may be tinctured, as some
operation of the contract system for the employment
travention of a trust expressed in the instrument creAnother good act associates medical examiners with atiug the estate, it shall be void; but the Supreme coroners, and regulates the conduct of both. Another Court are given authority to coufer power to mortenables town councils to prohibit burials in thickly-gage when necessary to preserve or improve the espopulated districts.
tate. I think I have mentioned every act of importauce An amendment of the Penal Code declares that a passed at these two sessions. Is not such legislation, child of seven aud under twelve years is presumed ingood as it may be, very costly? I mean not merely pe- capable of crime, but the presumptivn may be removed cuniarily, but in view of the iusecurity and excite. by proof. It also severely defines and punishes abment with which legislative sessions accom- duction; makes keepers of concert saloons and the panied
like guilty of misdemeanor if they admit in, or permit A careful search through the 300 pages of the Laws in them “any child actually or apparently under sixand Resolves passed by the Legislature of Massachu- teen, unless accompanied by its parent or guardian;" setts during its session of 1884 discovers scarcely any declares children under sixteen who beg, or gather or statutes of a public nature worthy being stated to this pick rags, or collect cigar stumps, bones or refuse association. There is an act which seeks to introduce from markets; or who have no home, or are in a state civil service reform in relation to the appointment of of want or suffering, or who are destitute of the means State and municipal officers. There are likewise two of support, being an orphav, or living or having lived acts in relation to children: that is, minors under with a parent or guardian who has been sentenced for eighteen; one forbidding the exaction from them of crime; or who frequent or are in the company of remore than 60 hours of labor per week in any mercai- puted thieves or prostitutes, or in houses of such ill tile establishment; another punishing fathers for un- cbaracter, or where liquor, wine or ale is sold; or are reasonable neglect in providing for them. Aud atten- found playing any game of chance or skill in or near tion may well be given to the act, almost the first of such places, to be vagrants, and authorizes their comthe sessiou,making appropriations for sundry charitable mitment to charitable or reformatory institutions. It expenses, showing that the State contributes nearly likewise makes criminal the employment of children half a million per amnum for such purposes as the de- actually or apparently under sixteev (or the putting mands of a State Board of Health, Lunacy and Char- out to such employment) as rope or wire walker, gym ity, including the needs of in-door poor and out-door mast or acrobat, or in begging, peddling or singing or poor, for State paupers in the lunatic hospitals and playing instruments, or iu any indecent or immoral asylumns of the Commonwealth, for State paupers in exhibition or practice, or any thing dangerous to a the State almshouse, indigent and neglected children, child's life, limb, health or morals. It also prohibits infant asylums for the support of infants having po as criminal the making, selling or giving away the known settlement in the Commonwealth, outside
weapons kuown as sliug-shot, billy, sand.club or metal foundlings, Indian State paupers, and special pupils in kuuekles, or, without consent of a magistrate, giviug the Massachusetts School for the Feeble, and for the in- or selling any pistol or firearm to any person under spection of milk, food and drugs.
eighteen. It also makes attempting, or having with I accept this absence of all noteworthy changes in intent, to use the enumerated weapons, or a dagger, her statute law as evidence of its general perfection in dirk or daugerous knife, a crime. that aucient and honorable Commonwealth of Massa- An amendment of the criminal proceedings allows chusetts; a Commonwealth in which the civilization the compromise of any misdemeanor for which the of New Englaud is intensified; a civilization as nearly persons injured have a civil action, except it was comapproaching theoretical perfection, let me add, as ex- mitted by or upou an officer of justice while iu execu
tion of his office, or riotously, or with intent to com- having a population of 500,000 or over shall hereafter mit a felony. An act, let me say, which seems very be placed under the surface of the streets, lanes and dangerous.
avenues of said city; thai every corporatiou or person The practice in reviewing,criminal matters has been | owning or controlling such wires and cables, including changed by this Legislature. Writs of error and cer- what is known as telegraph poles, and other appurtiorari in criminal actions and proceedings of a crimi tenances thereto, shall, before November 1, 1885, have val nature, as they have heretofore existed, are abol- the same removed from the surface of such city; and ished; and hereafter the only mode of reviewing a if they do not the local gorernments are bidden to do judgment or order in such cases is by appeal.
it for them. It further forbids any city to grant any The scope of forgery is greatly enlarged by another exclusive privilege or franchise under the act. amendment to the Penal Code. It declares that a Verily, this is a step in advance. The forest of ugly person who either being an employee falsifies, or un- poles and the network of innumerable wires which lawfully and corruptly alters, erases, obliterates or de- meet us at every turn are to disappear. Well done, stroys any accounts, book of accounts, record or other New York! Now go a little further. Make the law writing belonging to or in the business of his employer, applicable everywhere, and not only to cities having whether corporate or individual, or who with intent 500,000 people. Let it be the law of the whole State; to defraud shall falsely make, or aid in the making or let it be followed throughout the Union. And by-andcounterfeiting any letter, telegram, report, or other by let us hope to see another law also everywhere opewritten communication, paper or instrument by which rative, which shall forbid any railroad crossing a street any other person shall be in any manner injured in his or ordinary travel-road upon the level, and so rid us of good name, standing, position or general reputation, that great nuisance under which the whole land groans. or who shall alter or connive at altering any such | The broken limbs and the lives anuually sacrificed false writing or telegram, by the altering of which the through this cause are dreadfully numerous. Why has sentiments, opinions, conduct, character, prospects, not the time come for this blood to cry from the ground interests or rights of another person shall be misrepre- and persuade us to adopt what all Europe bas from the sented or otherwise injuriously affected, is guilty of beginning established as the rule? forgery in the third degree.
The New Jersey Legislature began its session JanuAnother amendment makes trading in obscene liter- ary 8, and it ended, to the gratification of all concerned, ature or pictures, or making or exhibiting them a mis- about April 15. It is hard to say whether any of its demeanor.
acts are " noteworthy” beyond the limits of the State An act in relation to the rights and liabilities of itself. I mention such as seem most 80. married women provides that a married woman may An act was passed providing that the receipt in writcontract to the same extent, with like effect, and in ing for money paid by any executor, administrator, the same forın as if unmarried, and she and her sepa- with the bill annexed, or trustee in the exercise of a rate estate shall be liable thereon, whether such con. trust or power, shall be a full discharge, and that the tract relates to her separate business or estate or other receiver shall not need to see to the application of paywise, and in no case shall a charge upon her separate ments made. estate be necessary; but the act shall not affect or ap- Another abolished and made penal the contracting ply to any contract that shall be made between hus for the labor of inmates of the State prison. band and wife.
The effect of this “change" will not soon be seen, as This law would seem to demolish the last vestige of existing contracts have yet some time to run. But the old common law respecting husband and wife. whether it be financially or otherwise expedient is a Baron and feme, feme sole and feme couvert pass off matter of some doubt. Prison discipline requires lainto the land of quaint and obsolete tradition. bor. Sentences impose bard labor, which is the legal Whether the institution called home" is not to go synonym for incarceration in the State prison. How too, there being no longer any “baron,'' and the well the State itself can manage as a manufacturing "feme” being so much of a business partner, is per- and mercantile corporation remains to be seen. baps one of the questions of the future. But, “ Verily A later act directs how the inmates of State prisons we are the people, and wisdom will die with us." are to be employed. They are to be employed, as far
There is an admirable act (ch. 439) "for the better as practicable in the judgment of managers, at work protection of life and property upon the railroads," upon goods used in such institutions as are under entitled “An act to promote the safer and better man- Ştate control, and all prisoners or persons not emagement of steam railroads,'' requiring safety switches, ployed for said purpose shall be employed on what is warning signals at every bridge crossing tracks, so as known as the “ piece-price plan," as the managiog auto protect employees; flagmen or gates wherever di- | thorities of such prison may be able to arrange for rected by the Supreme or County Court; automatio with parties desiring such labor; or they shall be emcouplers; the stoppage of locomotives whose tracks ployed under what is kucwn as the “public account cross each other before proceeding; automatic air
How “arranging with parties desiring such brakes or other form of safety power brakes; and that labor” is to be distinguished from contracting for all passenger cars shall carry an axe, sludge-bammer, labor, will be for some learned judge some day to find crowbar and bandsaw. And there is an additional out. section requiring baggage-masters, or other persons Another act regulates lettings in cases where no dewhose duty it is to handle and remove baggage, to do finite term is fixed, and the rent is payable montbly. so carefully, providing that if he willfully or recklessly I hardly think it can be thought to have been skillinjure or destroy any trunk, valise, box, bag, package, fully drawn. It provides that "in any letting where or parcel, while loading, unloading, transporting, de- no term is agreed upon, and the rent is payable livering or storing the same, or if any railroad com- montbly, so long as the tenant pays the reut as agreed, pany shall knowingly keep in its employment auy it shall be unlawful for the landlord to dispossess the such willful or reckless fellow there shall be a penalty tenant before the first day of April succeeding the of $50, one-half to be paid to the complainant. Bless- commencement of such letting, without giving the ings on the projector of this law! There is hope for tenant three months notice in writing to quit; prothe traveller yet.
vided however, that in case such tenant shall be so One more act deserves especial uotice. It provides disorderly as to destroy the peace and quiet of the that all telegraph, telephonio and electric light wires other tenants living in said house, or the neighborand cables used in any incorporated city in the State hood, or shall willfully destroy, damage, or injure the
premises, or shall constantly violate the landlord's pany purchased this change by giving to the State one rules and regulations governing said premises, in any thousand shares of the capital stock, equal, at par, to such case the said landlord may pursue any of the fifty thousand dollars. Subsequently, but early in the remedies now provided by law for the removal or year 1832, another thousand shares of stock were giren punishment of said tenant, this law to the contrary to the State, who in consideration thereof, covenanted notwithstanding."
that it should not be lawful, during the charter, to This statute has not yet come before the courts. construct any railroad for transportation between When it does, the meaning of the proviso may be a New York and Philadelphia without the consent of question. When is a tenant so disorderly as to destroy this company. This act however reserved a right to the peace and quiet of his co-tenants or the neighbor-charter a road between the Hudson and the river hood? And what is the neighborhood? And when Raritan, and this the New Jersy Railroad Company does a tenant constantly violate the landlord's rules was chartered to build, paying one-half of one per cent and regulations? But we suppose the answer to all on its capital stock, originally $750,000, in lieu of all that will be the same so delightfully frequent: “All taxes and assessments. But it was provided that if that is for the jury.”
any railroad was thereafter built intersecting this, so The rights of woman were enlarged by another of as to make a continuous line to Philadelphia, the comNew Jersey's laws at the last session. She was mado pany carrying through passengers by it should pay by it eligible to be a commissioner of deeds for New eight cents each passenger and twelve cents each ton of Jersey resident in another State. And is has been freight. Such a road was afterward built under the stated that at least one woman has since been ap- auspices of the Camden and Amboy. So one route pointed.
paid ten cents each through passenger and fifteen cents The rook wears away under successive waves. But each ton of freight, the other ten cents and twelve why cannot woman and the self-asserting friends of cents respectively. By a subsequent act these transit her rights see that to her nature has given an influence duties were equalized. through which she wields a power far greater than any In 1869 these transit duties, as they were called, were which can grow out of legal authority ?-an influence abolished, and the companies thereafter paid one-balf which diminishes just in proportion as the sex acquires of one per cent upon the cost of all their works and legal power. And as to this particular case, what was property not otherwise taxed. This provision netted the necessity for extending to her the sublime duty of to the State a very considerable income. But the taking the acknowledgment of a deed ?
municipalities through which the railroad passed Perhaps a more praiseworthy effort to ameliorate complained bitterly, because nothing was paid to the condition of the sex is apother enactment to wit: them, apparently forgetful or careless of the fact that That female employees in any manufacturing, me- the payment, by increasing the revenue of the State chanical or mercantile establishment in the State shall diminished to them as well as to all the State, the be provided with suitable seats and permitted to use quota due for State support; I stop here to say that them, when possible; this under a penalty of twenty- the transit duties of ten cents a passenger, and twelre five dollars for any violation of the rule. There was or fifteen cents a ton for freight cover all that was rather a large proportion of unmarried gentlemen of levied. It was a simple income tax, the fairest sort of the bar in New Jersey's last Legislature. But this is tax ever imposed. It has been popularly believed that not a bad law. I wish though that somehow it might the State derived one dollar from each passenger, and be unnecessary. It has always seemed to me deplor- I believe a proportional amount upon freight. But able that women should be employed in factories. this is incorrect. No more was ever levied than is Yot it is perhaps among the necessities of advanced stated. This immunity from other taxation was escivilization.
pecially distasteful to the municipalities whose terriAn act supplementary to that respecting idiots and tory comprised the termini of these roads. It was not lunatics seems to be taken from the Lunacy Regula- coufined to these corporations. Other great compaution Act. 16 and 17 Vict., ch. 70, $ 123 (which itself, I ies had their termini opposite New York. Some of suppose, was mainly declaratory), making continuing them paid the same or a similar tax to the State, in lunacy a ground for a dissolution of partnership by de- lieu of all other taxation. Such corporations as bad cree in chancery.
no such immunity soon complained that they suffered The chief achievement of the last legislature of New for the sin or the good fortune of their fellows, Jersey was the change of the law regulating the taxa- through unequal or undue taxation. The subject took tion of corporations, and especially of railroad corpora- strong hold of the popular mind. And in 1873 a law tions. It is not perhaps generally known, that among was passed, which it was intended should be embraced the earliest railroads in the country were some of by all railroad companies, by which it was provided those in New Jersey. They were experiments, and generally, that they should pay one-half of one per their promoters entered upon their construction with cent or any other tax already imposed on them by law fear and trembling. The citizens of the State were upon the cost of the roads, their equipments and approportionably anxious for their success, and were yet pendages, as a State tax, and one per cent upon the desirous that they should properly contribute to the value of all other property they owned, excluding their State support. The first of these corporations was the right of way and not to exceed ten acres for terminal Camdeu and Amboy Railroad, and for the reasons facilities, for the benefit of the township; this value given, its charter contained a provision that it should
not to be found by township officers, whose interest pay to the State an annual tax equal to ten cents upon leaned to higb valuations, and which were beyond each passenger, and fifteen cents upon each ton of
that adopted for property generally, but by a commisfreight which it carried, and that no other tax or im
sioner to be appointed by and responsible to the post should be levied upon the company. And the
State. This act was changed three years afterward charter further provided that if the State should au- (in 1876) by laying the tax not upon the cost, but upon thorize any competing road between the two cities of the true value of the roads, their equipments and apNew York and Philadelphia, beginning and terminat | pendages, meaning by that word all real estate used in ing within three miles of the termini authorized for
anywise as part of the plant; this true value to be this railroad then this tax upon its business should
found by commissioners, subject to an appeal to a cease. This ten cent impost was afterward restricted
judge of the Supreme Court; otherwise the act of 1873 to through passengers, instead of being payable for remained. every one carried upon the road anywhere. The com
Gradually the operation of this law renewed public
excitement. The taxes upon property in these muni- the ties, or the right of way in a particular taxing
couraging example of general confusion as regards an
'interested in any railroad and canal com- according to the number of miles within their bounpany;" we quote the rather loose words of the act, daries. Real estate, not part of the plant to be asduring his term of office. Three must unite in any sessed locally. Real estate, forming part of the plant valuation or other official action. How this scheme not. will work is a question for the future. I have thought A little act, apparently premonitory, perhaps experiit worth description because of the general interest in mental, provides that “whenever any wire or cable railroad taxation. It is of the last importance that used for any telegraph, telephone, electric light, or there should be an identity in the mode of such taxa- other wire or cable for electric purposes, is or shall be tion everywhere. For the plant of a railroad is a unit, attached to or does or shall extend upon or over any and yet some if not most of our great railroads pass building or land, no lapse of time whatsoever shall through several States. Valuation of the plant neces- raise a presumption or justify a prescription of any sarily includes a valuation of the franchise, and how perpetual right to such attachment or extension." are these States to apportion their rights in that? New Jersey has passed another act, richly worth Again the equipment of a railroad is always very notice, but of no great length. Improvident or unpaid costly and valuable. Shall all of it pay a tax in every workmen have been tempted to sell their claims for State through which the road runs? And what valu- wages, sometimes even ahead of their being earned, ation is to be put upon the right of way, the occupa- and sharpers have been greedy to buy them, almost tion for which ruins every strip of land taken, for all always at oppressive discount. This practice has beordinary purposes? Are the municipalities to assess, come very rife; especially among employees of railand worse, how are they to collect their taxes ? road companies, who are sometimes unhappily quite Shall they break up a railroad line by sale of the iron, irregular in their payments. To protect this highly