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thus held four hundred and thirty-eight votes were cast for and twenty-four against said donation. In the spring, summer, and fall of the year 1873, the supervisor and town clerk of said township, in pursuance of said election and without any other authority of law than said election and the charters and amendments above referred to, issued to the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Railway Company one hundred bonds of the township of Pana, of $1,000 each, payable and bearing interest according to the rate aforesaid. All the bonds were of like tenor and effect except as to their number. The following is a copy of one of them :
“ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
STATE OF ILLINOIS, COUNTY OF CHRISTIAN. u No. 6.] Pana Township.
($1,000. "Eight per cent. railroad bond. Registered by auditor of public
accounts. Principal and interest collected and paid by the treasurer of State of Illinois.
“ Know all men by these presents that the township of Pana, in the county of Christian, and State of Illinois, acknowledges itself indebted to the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Railway Company, or bearer, in the sum of one thousand dollars, with interest from the date hereof, at the rate of eight per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually on the first days of January and July of each year, at the agency of the State treasurer of the State of Illinois, in New York City, on the presentation and surrender of the respective interest coupons hereto attached. The principal of this bond shall be due and payable after five years and within twenty years of the date hereof, at the option of said township, at said agency in the city of New York.
“ This bond is one of a series amounting to one hundred thousand dollars, issued by said township in compliance with the vote of the legal voters thereof at an election held on the thirtieth day of April, A. D. 1870, under and by virtue of the authority conferred by an act of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, entitled • An Act to incorporate the Illinois Southeastern Railwry Company,' approved February 25th, 1867, and an act amendatory thereof, approved February 24th, 1869, and in accordance with the provisions of an act of said General Assembly, entitled "An Act to fund and provide for paying the railroad debts of counties,
cities, townships, and towns,' in force April 16th, 1869. And for the payment of said sum of money and accruing interest thereon, in the manner aforesaid, the faith of the said township of Pana is hereby irrevocably pledged, as is also its property, revenue, and resources.
“ In testimony whereof the said township of Pana has caused these presents to be signed by its supervisor and countersigned by its clerk, this twenty-eighth day of June, A. D. 1873.
“ Grove P. LAWRENCE, Supervisor. “EDWIN SANDERS, Clerk."
At the time the bonds and coupons were issued Grove P. Lawrence was the supervisor of said township of Pana, and Edwin Sanders was its clerk, and their signatures to the bonds and coupons are genuine.
The coupons attached to said bonds were all of the same tenor and effect, except in respect of their numbers. The following is a copy of the coupon attached to the above re cited bond:
“$40. The township of Pana, Christian County, Illinois, will pay the bearer forty dollars on the 1st of January, 1882, at the agency of her State treasurer in the city of New York, it being six month's interest on bond No. 6.
“ GROVE P. LAWRENCE, Supervisor of said Toronship."
On the back of every bond was the following indorsement:
« AUDITOR'S OFFICE, ILLINOIS,
“ SPRINGFIELD, June 28th, 1873. “I, Charles E. Lippincott, auditor of public accounts of the State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the within bond has been registered in this office this day, pursuant to the p.: ovisions of an act entitled · An Act to fund and provide for paying the railroad debts of counties, townships, cities, and towns,' in force April 16, 1869.
"In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the seal of my office the day and year aforesaid. (SEAL.]
"C. E. LIPPINCOTT, Auditor, P. A." The act referred to in this certificate provided that certain taxes, therein specified, should be applied to the payment of the principal and interest of bonds registered in the office of
the auditor of public accounts, and that no bonds should be so registered until the railroad, in aid of which the bonds had been issued, should have been completed near to or in the township issuing the bonds, and unless the subscription or donation creating the debt to pay which the bonds were issued had been first submitted to an election of the legal voters of said township under the provision of the laws of the State, and a majority of the legal voters living in such township had been in favor of such aid, subscription, or donation. And it was made the duty of the supervisor of the township, upon the completion of the railroad near to or through the township by which the bonds were issued, to certify under oath to the State auditor that all the preliminary conditions required by the act to be done to authorize the registration of the bonds and to entitle them to the benefits of the act had been complied with. See Hurd's Revised Statutes, 1880, p. 807, sect. 17.
The record in this case showed that the certificate above mentioned in reference to the issue of the bonds in question had been made by Grove P. Lawrence, the supervisor of Pana Township, and transmitted by him to the auditor of public accounts.
The interest on said issue of $100,000 of bonds was levied and collected and paid for three years by the State treasurer as provided by law.
It further appeared that in the year 1876 the town of Pana and three taxpayers filed, in behalf of themselves and all other taxpayers of the town, a bill in the Circuit Court of Christian County against the auditor of public accounts of the State of Illinois, the treasurer of the State of Illinois, the treasurer and the clerk of Christian County, Illinois, the town collector of the town of Pana, and H. N. Schuyler, William E. Hayward, Job Vedder, and William Houston, and “the unknown holders and owners of said bonds and coupons issued by the town of Pana,” as defendants, in which the complainants prayed that said public officers might be perpetually enjoined from levying a tax with which to pay said bonds and coupons, and that said bonds might be declared void, and that said holders and owners of said bonds might be perpetually enjoined from selling or negotiating or suing upon said bonds or the coupons attached
to them, or pretending or insisting in any court of law or equity or elsewhere, in any manner whatsoever, that said town was liable
said bonds or coupons. The parties made defendant by name were either served with process, or they voluntarily appeared in the case. It was assumed that “the unknown holders and owners of said bonds and coupons issued by the town of Pana” were brought in by publication of a notice to them under that designation in a newspaper, according to the laws of the State of Illinois. The Circuit Court of Christian County dismissed the bill, but the appellate court, upon appeal, reversed its decree and directed it to grant the prayer of the bill; and the decree of the appellate court was affirmed by the Supreme Court, to which the case was carried by the defendants. Afterwards, at its November Term, 1879, to wit, on December 17, the Circuit Court, upon receiving the mandate of the appellate court and of the Supreme Court, entered a decree in favor of the complainants, in accordance with the prayer of the bill.
The coupons offered in evidence being those upon which the suit was brought, were, at the time of the trial and before the commencement of the suit, held and owned by the plaintiffs, who were citizens of the State of Maine.
Such were the material facts of the case. The town of Pana, by its assignments of error, insists :
1. That there was no authority in the charter of the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Railway Company to hold an election and issue bonds to the amount of $100,000.
2. That the election held on April 30, 1870, was illegal and void, because it was presided over by a moderator and not by the supervisor, assessor, and collector, as required of general elections by the law of the State, and, therefore, conferred no authority upon the supervisor and town clerk to issue said bonds and coupons.
3. That it was incumbent on the plaintiffs below, the bonds having been illegally issued, to prove that they were bona fide holders of the coupons for value, which they failed to do.
4. That no judgment could be rendered for the plaintiffs on said coupons after they and the bonds to which they belonged
had been declared void by the decree of the Circuit Court of Christian County.
5. That in any event the judgment was too large by $572.22.
Mr. William J. Henry for the plaintiff in error.
MR. JUSTICE Woods delivered the opinion of the court, and, after making the foregoing statement, proceeded as follows:
The people of the township of Pana voted almost unanimously for the donation to pay which the bonds in this case were issued. There is no pretence of any fraud in their issue. It is not disputed that the railroad company complied on its part with all the conditions upon which they were to be issued, or that the township has received all for which it bargained in consideration of the issue of them. They were registered in the office of the auditor of public accounts, where they could not be lawfully registered unless the election authorizing the donation for which they were issued had been held in pursuance of the statute, and the sworn certificate of the supervisor of the township to that effect had been filed with the auditor. The township bas paid the interest on them for three years. Under these circun otances, if they and the coupons thereto attached are in the bands of bona fide holders for value, the defences through which the township can escape liability will be reduced to narrow limits.
The charter of the Illinois Southeastern Railway Company declared that any town in any county under township organization might donate to the company any amount not to exceed $30,000. The question is raised by the first assignment of error whether this limit was removed by the amendatory act of Feb. 24, 1869. We think that it was.
Section 10 of the act last named is an entire revision of sections 9 and 10 of the original charter of the company. The original charter authorized townships only to make donations to the railroad company, and it required that the railroad, or some part of it or its branches, should be completed before the donation was paid. It did not authorize the issue of bonds to pay the donations, but required the assessment and collection