Inhabitants of Worcester County v. Mayor and Aldermen of Worcester

Decision Date28 October 1874
Citation116 Mass. 193
PartiesInhabitants of Worcester County v. Mayor and Aldermen of Worcester
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

Worcester.

Writ of certiorari to issue.

T. L Nelson, for the petitioners.

W. A Williams, for the respondents.

Devens J. Colt & Morton, JJ., absent.

OPINION

Devens J.

This is a petition for a writ of certiorari to quash the proceedings of the respondents in laying an assessment, under the St. of 1867, c. 106, upon the property of the inhabitants of the county of Worcester, consisting of the court-house estate used for holding the courts in said county, and the offices of the clerks thereof, the sheriff and other county officers, and of the jail estate, used for a jail and house of correction. These estates are situated upon the line of streets in which the city council of Worcester has caused to be constructed sewers, by virtue of the statute; and if they come within the class which can properly be subjected to assessments of this character, the assessment thereon is valid. The immunity of these estates from taxation depends, however, in our opinion, upon other grounds than that of a statute exemption, and extends to taxation not only for general public purposes, but for local improvements of a public nature. Without regard to the statute exemption, property appropriated to public uses, as by the railroads, has been repeatedly held not to be subject to taxation in this Commonwealth. Worcester v. Western Railroad, 4 Met. 564, 567. Boston & Maine Railroad v. Cambridge, 8 Cush. 237. Wayland v. County Commissioners, 4 Gray 500. Charlestown v. County Commissioners, 1 Allen 199.

Although taxation in the cases referred to was for general public purposes, and we find no case where the exemption has been extended to assessments like the present, yet the property treated in them as appropriated to public use was not so essentially public in its character, nor so strictly appropriated to public use, as the real estate of these petitioners. The works constructed by a railroad corporation, for instance, and held under its charter, are to a certain extent public works, intended for public use, and under the control of the public, but their management, subject to such control, is in the hands of a private corporation, the property is that of such corporation, and the private rights therein are of great importance. The property held by the petitioners is strictly public, paid for from the public funds, managed by the public authorities, devoted to public purposes, and no private person has any rights or authority therein.

The property of the Commonwealth is exempt from taxation because as the sovereign power, it receives the taxation through its officers or through the municipalities it creates, that it may from the means thus furnished, discharge the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
84 cases
  • Cabot v. Assessors of Boston
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • November 9, 1956
    ...quoting with approval Codman v. Crocker, 203 Mass. 146, 153, 89 N.E. 177, 25 L.R.A.,N.S., 980. See Inhabitants of Worcester County v. Mayor & Aldermen of Worcester, 116 Mass. 193, 194 (county property, not owned by the Commonwealth but held for its benefit). We think that the powers of the ......
  • Northern Pacific Railway Company, a Corp. v. Richland County, a Municipal Corporation
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • June 29, 1914
    ... ... 99 Mich. 351, 58 N.W. 358; Worcester County v ... Worcester, 116 Mass. 193, 17 Am. Rep. 159; ... ...
  • In re Improvement Under Special Assessment Statutes By Sanitary Sewer, 2186
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • June 11, 1941
    ... ... NO. 1, IN LARAMIE COUNTY, v. CITY OF CHEYENNE No. 2186 Supreme Court ... property in Massachusetts. Worcester County v ... Mayor, 116 Mass. 193. Many of the ... provide sewer facilities for their inhabitants. This law ... was enacted in 1917. Counsel for ... ...
  • City of Fargo v. Gearey
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • February 4, 1916
    ... ... county Pollock, J ...          Reversed ... St. Rep. 108, ... 19 S.W. 969; Worcester County v. Worcester, 116 ... Mass. 193, 17 Am ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT