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that the county is justly indebted to the holders thereof in the amounts stated therein. They are not conclusive evidence of the indebtedness they admit. The county may defeat them by proof that they were without consideration, that they were fraudulently issued to the damage of the county, or that the incurrence of the debts and the allowance of the claims they evidence were beyond the jurisdiction of the board. But the presumption is that the action of the board was right and just, and the burden of establishing these defenses is upon the county. Until one of them is established, the warrants are prima facie evidence of just debts of the county, upon which the holder is entitled to judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. Wall v. County of Monroe, 103 Ŭ. S. 74, 77; Thompson v. Searcy Co., 12 U. S. App. 618, 627, 6 C. C. A. 674, 679, and 57 Fed. 1030, 1036; Board of Com’rs v. Sherwood, 27 U. S. App. 458, 464, 11 C. C. A. 507, 511, and 64 Fed. 103, 107; Commissioners v. Keller, 6 Kan. 511, 523. The answer to the question whether one of these defenses had been established at the close of the evidence in this case, after the resolution of employment, the evidence that this warrant was issued on account of the retainer of Webb, and the prima facie proof of indebtedness which the warrant made, was too doubtful to justify the court below in substituting its finding for that of the jury. A careful consideration of all the evidence relative to each of the other warrants in issue has led us to the same conclusion. The question of the fraudulent issue and the want of consideration of each of these warrants was a question for the jury, and not for the court.
Some of these warrants were issued for supplies for the poor, and it is insisted that it was beyond the power of the board to incur or allow any obligation of this kind. But the statutes of Kansas provide that every county shall relieve and support all poor and indigent persons lawfully settled therein whenever they stand in need (Gen. St. 1889, par. 4030), and that the board of county commissioners may levy taxes for their support (Id. pars. 4030, 4061; Railroad Co. V. Albright, 33 Kan. 211, 213, 6 Pac. 276; Fields v. Russell, 38 Kan. 720, 722, 17 Pac. 476). The suggestions that no levy of taxes for the support of the poor had been made when these warrants were issued, and that the mayor and council of every incorporated city and the township trustee of each civil township are made overseers of the poor in their respective townships (Gen. St. 1889, pars. 4027, 4028), and are given the oversight and care of all poor persons so long as they remain a county charge (Id. pars. 4033, 4036), are without merit. It was just because no levy had been made and collected, and because none could be made and collected, when the debts evidenced by these warrants were in. curred, that the power was vested in the board to issue warrants in anticipation of the revenue, in order to provide for the current expenses of the county. It is not material here whether or not there were any township trustees or city licers who were overseers of the poor in this county when these debts were contracted. If there were none, it was the duty, and therefore it was within the power, of this board of commissioners, to relieve and support all poor and indigent persons within their county; and, if there were such, this board was required by statute to pay any lawful obligations which they incurred for the support of the suffering poor. Paragraphs 4048 and 4046. In either event the board had plenary power to incur obligations and to issue warrants for the support of the poor of its county, and it was the very body upon which the statutes had imposed that duty.
Another position of counsel for the county is that there could be no recovery upon some of ese warrants, because the claims upon which they rested were not allowed at regular, but were allowed at adjourned or special, sessions of the board. This contention rests upon the following provisions of the General Statutes of Kansas of 1889:
"(1659) Unlawful to Allow Claims. $ 39a. It shall be unlawful for any board of county commissioners to allow any claim or account against the county at any special or adjourned meeting of the board, except for election expenses and jury fees; and all other claims or accounts against the county shall be allowed only at the regular meetings of the board in January, April, July and October of each year.”
"(1661) Penalty. g 39c. Any county commissioner violating any of the provisions of this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on con. viction thereof, be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for the term not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment."
It is conceded that a purchaser of these warrants does not secure the immunity from defenses accorded to the purchaser of commercial paper under the law merchant. He takes them subject to the defenses that the allowance of the debts and the issue of the warrants were not within the scope of the authority of the board, that they were without consideration, and that they were fraudulently created. short, he takes them subject to all defenses which challenge the merits of the claims. Nevertheless, the warrants themselves are prima facie evidence that the debts are just, and that such defenses do not exist. It was within the power of this board, and it was its duty, to determine the validity of the claims on which these warrants rested, to al. low or disallow them, and, if allowed, to issue warrants for their pay. ment. The statute prescribed the time and the manner in which the board should exercise this power and discharge this duty. It did exercise the power and issue the warrants, which were regular on their face, and were apparently prima facie proof of the validity of the debts which they admitted. The statute does not require that these warrants shall be issued or dated on the same day upon which the claims which they evidence are allowed, and they contain no notice or warning, by date or otherwise, that the board which issued them, and which was authorized to issue them, exercised its power at any other time or in any other manner than those prescribed by the law. The plaintiff, a citizen of the state of Illinois, is a holder of the warrants. The presumption is that he found them in the open market, and bought and paid for them in reliance upon the legal presumption, which certainly accompanied them, that the county board had exercised its power at a lawful time and in a legal manner. Can the county defeat the warrants now, or deprive them of their force as prima facie evidence of its debts, in the hands of this bona fide purchaser, by proof of the bare fact that its board of commissioners carelessly or willfully exercised this power on the wrong day, without any evidence of the fact that the claims which they represent were in fact unfounded or unjust? The right answer to this question does not appear to be doubtful. The statute which fixes the times when the board may allow claims visits the penalty for its violation upon its violators, the members of the board, and not upon the purchasers of their warrants; and it is not the province of the court to extend the punishment to the innocent. End. Interp. St. § 458. It concains no provision that the allowances made in violation of it or that the warrants issued upon them shall be void. Moreover, in their business transactions, municipal and quasi municipal corporations are governed by the same rules that govern private individuals and corporations. Illinois Trust & Sav. Bank v. City of Arkansas City, 40 U. S. App. 257, 277, 294, 22 C. C. A. 171, 182, 193, and 76 Fed. 271, 282, 293. But neither individuals nor corporations can be permitted to deny, to the damage of others, the truth of statements and representations by which they have purposely or carelessly induced such others to change their situation. There were lawful times and a legal way in which this board of county commissioners could have allowed these claims, and could have issued the warrants upon them. The warrants were representations of the county that they had been issued, and that the claims which they represented had been allowed at those times and in that manner. The plaintiff had the right to put his faith in these representations, and, now that he has invested his money in reliance upon them, it is too late for the county to deny them to his prejudice. A corporation which, by the regularity of the execution of evidences of its debts, which is apparent upon their face, induces lenders or borrowers to loan money upon or to buy them, is thereby estopped from denying their validity or effect on the ground that, in their execution or in the preliminary proceedings which warranted their execution, its officers failed to comply with some law or rule of action relative to the mere time or manner of their procedure with which they might have complied, but which they carelessly or negli gently disregarded. Union Pac. Ry. Co. v. Chicago, R. I. & P. Ry. Co., 10 U. S. App. 98, 188, 191, 2 C. C. A. 174, 239, 241, 51 Fed. 309, 326, 328; Sioux City Terminal Railroad & Warehouse Co. v. Trust Co. of North America, 27 C. C. A. 73, 86, 82 Fed. 124, 137; Board of Com'rs v. Sherwood, 27 U. S. App. 458, 466, 11 C. C. A. 507, 510, and 64 Fed. 103, 108; City of Huron v. Second Ward Sav. Bank, 30 C. C. A. 38, 86 Fed. 272. The county cannot defeat these warrants because they were issued at adjourned or special sessions of the board.
One of the warrants in suit was issued on account of Kearney town. ship scrip, and it is contended that the board of county commissioners had no power to issue warrants for this scrip, because the law under which Kearney township was organized was unconstitutional. Sections 1 and 2 of article 9 of the constitution of Kansas contain these provisions:
"The legislature shall provide for organizing new countles, locating county seats, and changing county lines.”
“The legislature shall provide for such county and township oficers as may be necessary."
In State v. Board of Com’rs of Pawnee Co., 12 Kan. 426, 438, the supreme court of that state said:
“The whole power of organizing new counties belongs in this state to the legislature. It may provide for their organization by general law, and through the intervention of the governor, or of any other officer, agent, commissioner, or person it may choose; or it may directly organize a new county itself by special act."
The legislature of Kansas provided by general laws for the organization of municipal townships within the counties of that state, and authorized the election or appointment of township officers who were vested with the power to have the care and management of all the property of their township, to superintend the various interests thereof, to care for the poor, to maintain roads, to levy taxes, to incur debts, to allow and disallow claims against the township, and to issue and pay warrants for necessary township purposes. Gen. St. 1889, c. 110.
It provided by general laws: “That so long as any one of the unorganized counties of the state shall be attached to an organized county for judicial purposes, it shall constitute and form one of the municipal townships thereof, and as such shall be entitled to township officers, and all things pertaining to the rights and privileges of a township, and be subject to the same regulations and liabilities as other townships of such county, and its electors shall be deemed legal electors of the county to which it is attached, and the officers of the county to which it is attached shall have the same powers and perform the same duties, in reference to such attached county, as they have over the municipal townships of their own county; . * that all such school districts within such unorganized county shall be separately described and numbered by the commissioners of such organized county, who shall appoint a deputy school superintendent for this purpose, and also a deputy county surveyor" (paragraph 1610); and “that whenever any unorganized county is attached for judicial purposes to any organized county, it shall be the duty of the county commissioners of the county to which it is attached to order a special election in said unorganized county for the election of township officers; *
. until such election is beld, and township officers are elected and qualified, it shall be the duty of the board of county commissioners of such organized county to appoint all necessary township officers for such unorganized county, who shall hold their office until the officers elected at such special election shall have qualified, and the officers elected at such special election shall hold their office till the regular township election" (paragraph 1607).
Under the system of government in Kansas, the essential character. istics of unorganized counties were names and territorial boundaries only, while organized counties had population, courts, and county officers, in addition to their names and territory. By an act approved March 5, 1887, the legislature of Kansas created Kearney county, and defined its boundaries (chapter 81, Laws 1887), and by another act approved on the same day it provided that "the counties of Stanton and Kearney are hereby attached to the county of Hamilton" (chapter 132, Id.). But the latter act was entitled "An act to attach the counties of Haskell and Kearney to Finney county," and was obnoxious to section 16, art. 2, of the constitution of Kansas, which provides that "no bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.” Nevertheless, the legislative department of the state of Kansas by the enactment of this law, and the executive department by its approval, treated it as valid. It was published and spread upon the statute books of the state. The board of county commissioners of Hamilton county acknowledged its validity, and under it organized Kearney county as Kearney township, on April 25, 1887, pursuant to the provisions of the general laws of the state found in paragraphs 1607 and 1610, supra; and from that time until the organization of Kearney county, on April 3, 1888, the township organization existed and acted. During this period of township government, the trustee of the township issued orders on its treasurer for claims against the township allowed by its acting board, pursuant to paragraphs 7085 and 7093, Gen. St. 1889; and after the organization of Kearney county the board of county commissioners allowed these township orders as just claims against the county, and issued for them the warrant in question, which was subsequently purchased by the plaintiff. He brought this action upon it. This case was tried on March 17, 1897. After all these things had been done, and on April 10, 1897, the supreme court of Kansas decided, in an action brought by another party against this county, upon a similar warrant, that the act attaching Kearney county to Hamilton county was unconstitutional and void, and that no recovery could be had on such a warrant, because neither Kearney township nor its officers ever had any existence either de facto, or de jure. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. v. Board of Com’rs of Kearney Co., 48 Pac. 583.
In this state of the case, counsel for the county appeal to the rule, so often announced and enforced in this court, that “the national courts uniformly follow the construction of the constitution and stat. utes of a state given by its highest judicial tribunal, in all cases that involve no question of general or commercial law, and no question of right under the constitution and laws of the nation." Madden v. County of Lancaster, 27 U. S. App. 528, 536, 12 C. C. A. 566, 570, and 65 Fed. 188, 192. There are, however, two reasons why the decision of the supreme court of Kansas to which we have adverted is not controlling in the case at bar. The first is that it was not rendered until after the rights of the plaintiff were vested under a law which stood unchallenged and without adverse judicial construction when he purchased his warrant. The plaintiff was a citizen of Illinois. He bought this warrant, and thereby entered into a contract relation with the defendant, a citizen of the state of Kansas, before the statute in question had been declared to be void. By this action he acquired the right, under the constitution and laws of the United States, to have his contract interpreted and his rights enforced in a court of the United States, and a fortiori the right to the independent judgment of that court upon the legal questions his case presents. This case falls within one of the recognized exceptions to the general rule which the defendant invokes. That exception is that decisions of the state courts which affect the validity of contracts between citizens of different states which were made, or under which rights were acquired, before there was judicial construction of the constitution or statute which seemed to authorize the contracts, are not obligatory upon the courts of the United States. Burgess v. Seligman, 107 U. 8. 20, 27, 2 Sup. Ct. 10; Pleasant Tp. v. Ætna Life Ins. Co., 138 U. 8. 67-72, 11 Sup. Ct. 215; Louisville Trust Co. v. City of Cincinnati, 47 U. S. App. 36-47, 22 C. C. A. 334, 339, and 76 Fed. 296, 301; Jones v. Hotel Co., 30 O. C. A. 108, 86 Fed. 370, 373. In Burgess v. Seligman, the supreme court declined to follow a decision of the highest judicial tri