120 Mass. 383 (Mass. 1876), Commonwealth v. Hamilton Mfg. Co.
|Citation:||120 Mass. 383|
|Opinion Judge:||Lord, J.|
|Party Name:||Commonwealth v. Hamilton Manufacturing Company|
|Attorney:||C. B. Goodrich & F. T. Greenhalge, for the defendant. C. R. Train, Attorney General, & W. C. Loring, Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth.|
|Judge Panel:||Lord, J. Colt & Endicott, JJ., absent.|
|Case Date:||May 06, 1876|
|Court:||Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts|
Middlesex. Complaint under the St. of 1874, c. 221, to the Police Court of Lowell against a cotton and woollen manufacturing company, for employing an unmarried woman named Mary Shirley, who was over twenty-one years of age, to work in the defendant's manufacturing establishment in the manufacture of cotton goods for sixty-four hours per week. The defendant demurred to the complaint upon the following grounds: "1. That the St. of 1874, c. 221, is unconstitutional and void. 2. That the defendant, having been incorporated under a charter prior to the passage of the statute under which the complaint was made, the statute was, as applied to the defendant, in violation of the obligation of the Commonwealth to the defendant assumed in the charter, and was therefore void and of no force and effect against the defendant." The demurrer was overruled; the defendant was found guilty; and appealed to the Superior Court, where the demurrer was overruled and the judgment of the Police Court affirmed; and the defendant appealed to this court.
The defendant contends that the St. of 1874, c. 221, under which the complaint in this case is made, is unconstitutional and void. The provision, which it is alleged is without authority under the Constitution, is, that "no minor under
the age of eighteen years, and no woman over that age, shall be employed in laboring by any person, firm or corporation in any manufacturing establishment in this Commonwealth more than ten hours in any one day," except in certain cases, and that "in no case shall the hours of labor exceed sixty per week."
The learned counsel for the defendant in his argument did not refer to any particular clause of the Constitution to which this provision is repugnant. His general proposition was, that the defendant's act of incorporation, St. 1824, c. 44, is a contract with the Commonwealth, and that this act impairs that contact. The contract, it is claimed, is an implied one; that is, an act of incorporation to manufacture...
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