176 U.S. 126
LINDSAY & PHELPS COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,
JOHN H. MULLEN and the State of Minnesota.
Argued April 6, 7, 1899.
Decided January 15, 1900.
[176 U.S. 126, 127] On August 1, 1893, the plaintiff in error commenced its action of replevin against one of the defendants in error, John H. Mullen, to recover possession of a quantity of logs said to be of the value of $15, 000. Mullen answered, alleging that he was the surveyor general of logs and lumber for the fourth district of Minnesota; that as such surveyor general he had scaled and surveyed a large number of logs in a boom belonging to the Minnesota Boom Company, for which service he was entitled to fees amounting to the sum of $11,088.92, and had seized these logs under the statute giving him a lien, to enforce payment thereof, and praying for a return of the property, or, if that could not be had, for judgment for the sum of $11,088.92, together with 10 per cent, $1,108.89, costs of collection as provided by law, and interest. To this answer the plaintiff filed a reply, challenging on several grounds the validity of the claim for fees and lien. Thereafter the state of Minnesota was, on its application, made a party defendant, and answered setting forth in substance that since the filing of the pleadings the defendant Mullen had received from the state of Minnesota the full amount of his fees, and had transferred his claim to the state, and adopting the answer of Mullen, so far as it was applicable. On these pleadings the case went to trial before the court without a jury. No special findings of fact were made, but only a general finding for defendants. A bill of exceptions was preserved, reciting the testimony, showing that at the close the plaintiff requested of the court the following declarations:
Upon the general finding the court entered a judgment for the defendants for a return of the property or the payment of the fees, costs, and interest. Thereupon the plaintiff [176 U.S. 126, 129] brought the case directly to this court by writ of error on the ground that the laws of Minnesota, under which these fees and lien were claimed, were in contravention of the Constitution of the United States.
The facts developed on the trial, and upon which the questions of law arise, are these: The state of Minnesota was by law divided into five districts for the inspection of logs and lumber. The fourth district was defined as follows: 'The Mississippi river and its tributaries below the outlet of Lake Pepin to the southern line of Wabasha county.' The defendant Mullen was the duly appointed and qualified surveyor general of logs and lumber for this district, and as such performed the services for which the fees and lien were claimed. The Minnesota Boom Company was a corporation organized under the general laws of the state of Minnesota in April, 1889. The purposes for which the corporation was organized are stated in article 1 of its charter:
It constructed a boom on West Newton Slough, within the limits of the fourth inspection district, above defined. This slough is an arm or minor channel of the Mississippi river, bounded on its southwestern side by the main land, constituting the state of Minnesota, and on the other side by an island, extending up and down the river about 3 miles, and dividing this slough from the main channel of the river. The works of the boom were in this slough, but at the upper end or the island, extending diagonally across the river to the Wisconsin shore, was a structure called a shear boom, so arranged that when closed it turned all the logs coming down the river into the upper end of the boom. When one end of it was released it floated down the stream and thus allowed free passage up and down the main channel. Above the head of this boom the Chippewa river empties into the Mississippi. The Chippewa river is wholly within the limits of the state of Wisconsin, and the logs, which this boom was constructed to secure, and which in fact it did secure, were mainly logs coming out of that river and which had been cut within the limits of the state of Wisconsin.
The statutes of Minnesota, so far as they are pertinent to this inquiry, in reference to booms, scaling, and surveying, are the following:
In addition to these statutes must be noticed chap. 401, Laws of Minnesota, 1895, which is entitled 'An Act for the Relief of John H. Mullen, and to Appropriate Money therefor,' the first two sections of which are as follows:
Under the authority of this statute the defendant Mullen received payment of the amount charged for fees, etc., and assigned his claim to the state, and under and by virtue of this assignment the state became a party to this litigation, as heretofore stated.
Newel H. Clapp and Moses E. Clapp for plaintiff in error.
Messrs. Wallace B. Douglas and H. W. Childs for defendants in error.
Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court:
Upon the foregoing facts the plaintiff contends: First. That the boom at the West Newton Slough, through which the logs scaled by the defendant Mullen passed, was not 'any boom . . . chartered by law' within the scope of 2400 of the Statutes of 1894. This contention cannot be sustained. The words 'chartered by law' are not to be understood as referring simply to corporations incorporated under special acts. A corporation which is organized under a general law is as much 'chartered by law' as one whose organization is provided for by special act. So that on the face of this [176 U.S. 126, 137] statute, and giving to its words their natural meaning, it includes every corporation, whether incorporated under general or special law, with authority to maintain a boom. The mere fact that in early times four special charters were granted to boom companies cannot work any limitation upon the meaning of the words used in this statute. If the legislature of Minnesota had purposed any such distinction, its language would have been more apt. It would not have used words broad enough to have included any corporation of the kind described.
As a matter of fact, this corporation was organized some eighteen days before chapter 221 of the Laws of 1889 was passed. Prior to that time there was an act (General Statute Minnesota, 1866, chap. 34, 1, as amended by chap. 13, Laws Minnesota, 1873) which authorized the formation of corporations for various purposes named, and also 'other lawful business.' Under that statute this corporation was formed. That the business of booming logs on the waters of streams running through the forests of the west is a lawful business cannot be doubted.
In The City of Erie v. Canfield, 27 Mich. 479, 482, the supreme court of Michigan said:
And in Pound v. Turck, 95 U.S. 459 , 24 L. ed. 525, is a clear recognition of the lawfulness of this booming industry, as appears from the following quotation from page 464, L. ed. 527:
Indeed, it would strike a serious blow at the legislation of many of the northwestern states, and an immense volume of business that has been carried on under the authority of that legislation, to hold that the booming of logs was not a lawful business.
That those words, 'other lawful business,' as found in the statute, are not to be narrowly construed, but are broad enough to inlude an incorporation for this purpose, is made clear by the decision of the supreme court of Minnesota in Brown v. Corbin, 40 Minn. 508, 509, 42 N. W. 481, in which the court said:
The corporation then having a legal existence at the time the act of 1889 was passed, 3 of the act expressly provided that it should apply to corporations previously organized for the purposes specified in 2. In other words, all the rights, privileges, and powers conferred by the act of 1889 were by this section given to existing corporations. So that we have the case of a corporation, organized under the general law of the state, given by subsequent statute full power in reference to the maintenance of a boom, and in fact maintaining a boom; and the case therefore comes within the specific description in 2400 of a boom chartered by law.
Further than that, the legislature of Minnesota accepted the claim of the surveyor Mullen as valid under its laws, and thus impliedly recognized the boom company, involved in this controversy, as one chartered by law within the scope of the statutes providing for inspection, scaling, and charges therefor.
The second contention is that the statutes of Minnesota were not intended to and do not in fact give the surveyor seneral any lien upon the logs of private parties for inspecting and scaling logs run through chartered booms. Reference is made by counsel to several statutes in which there is provision for the action of the surveyor general in surveying and scaling lumber at the instance of parties interested. We deem it [176 U.S. 126, 140] unnecessary to investigate those statutes, for the sections quoted plainly indicate that the survey and scaling in case of a chartered boom is not solely at the instance of the owner or owners of the logs, but is compulsory. Section 2400 declares that 'the surveyor general, by himself or deputy, shall survey all logs and timber running out of any boom now chartered or which may hereafter be chartered by law in his district.' To those unfamiliar with the logging business as carried on in the timber regions of the north and northwest this compulsory surveying and scaling may seem unnecessary, but all legislation may rightfully be adjusted to the actual operations of business, being intended to facilitate those operations and protect all who are engaged therein. Many are engaged in the cutting of logs in these lumber districts. That business is facilitated by any system which permits those parties to turn their logs into an adjacent stream and let them float down to some place where they can be collected and brailed. In that way each individual cutter is saved the necessity of brailing his logs at every place where he may bring them to the water. The several states in which these lumber districts are situated have assumed the power of taking charge of these logs thus put singly into a stream, collecting them at one place, separating them to their respective owners, and thus facilitating the forwarding in raft to market. Of course, such work entails expense, and the expense is rightfully charged upon the property thus separated and marked. The thought in this respect is well expressed by the supreme court of Minnesota in Osborne v. Knife Falls Boom Corp. 32 Minn. 412, 419, 50 Am. Rep. 590, 595, 21 N. W. 704, 707.
In furtherance of the thought thus expressed the legislature of Minnesota has given the right to boom companies duly incorporated to take possession of the great mass of floating logs coming down a stream, and requires that those logs thus taken possession of shall be inspected and scaled under the supervision of some state official. In that way each individual owner and cutter has a guaranty of safety in respect to his logs, and the general interests are so manifestly subserved that there can be no reasonable doubt of the legislative power [176 U.S. 126, 142] of supervision, inspection, and scaling. And the language of the statute being mandatory, we are of the opinion that such was the intent of the legislature, and that such legislation is within its power.
A third proposition is, that it is not shown that the defendant, Mullen, complied with the statutes of the state of Minnesota which give a lien on logs so as to be entitled to any lien on these logs, or any right of possession thereof, and it is with reference to this matter that the second declaration of law was asked by the plaintiff. The contentions of the plaintiff in this respect seem to be, first, that the scale bills were not of themselves competent evidence, and that without them there was no clear and satisfactory evidence of the number of feet surveyed and scaled; second, that because they were not recorded in the books of the surveyor general the right to a lien had not arisen; and, third, that the testimony shows that the logs in fact surveyed and scaled and for which these fees and lien were claimed were not all the property of this plaintiff.
With reference to the general proposition that the defendant, Mullen, by himself and deputies, was busy in scaling logs in that boom during the months named, there is abundant testimony, and when the question is only as to the sufficiency of testimony to establish a given fact, it is enough to say that this court does not inquire into the mere matter of sufficiency. Matters of fact are settled by the verdict of a jury or the general finding of a court, and if there be testimony fairly tending to support the finding, it is conclusive in this court.
But we are not disposed to question the competency of the scale bills as evidence. Section 2403 provides that the books of the surveyor general's office 'are hereby declared to be public records, and of as high degree of evidence as the original instrument therein recorded, and shall, in all courts and places in this state, be taken and held to be prima facie evidence of the matters therein stated.' In other words, the records, like the original instrument, are prima facie evidence of the matters stated in them. Clark v. C. N. Nelson Lumber Co. 34 Minn. 289, 25 N. W. 628; Glaspie v. Keator, 12 U. S. App. 281, 290, 56 Fed. Rep. 203, 5 C. C. A. 474. In both of those cases scale bills somewhat [176 U.S. 126, 143] defective in form were declared under the statute competent evidence. Attached to the scale bills herein was a certificate of the surveyor general stating, as required by 2402, the amount due him thereon, and that he scaled the logs, timber, or lumber relying upon the lien, and that he claimed a lien thereon for the amount thereof and costs of collection. The scale bills, thus certified, were delivered to the managing agent of the boom company. Now, whatever suggestions may be made as to the incompleteness of these scale bills, they were, as thus certified, competent evidence, and, when taken in connection with the other evidence of work actually done by the surveyor general and his deputies, was testimony fairly tending to support the general finding of the court, and we are not at liberty to ignore the effect of that finding.
With regard to the second contention, we do not understand that a record in the books of the surveyor general is preliminary to a right to any lien. By 2402 he is given a lien for certain services; and while it is true that by 2400 he is required to record the scale bills in the books of his office, and upon being paid his fees therefor to deliver the original bill to the owner or managing agent of the boom, yet for any services other than the mere making of the record we are of the opinion that under the two sections referred to he establishes his lien by the rendering of the services and affixing to the scale bill the prescribed certificate.
With respect to the final contention under this head, that the logs of the plaintiff, seized by the surveyor general, were so seized under a claim of lien for services rendered in inspecting and scaling logs other than those of the plaintiff as well as its own, the fact is as claimed. An important question is thus presented whether the logs of one party can be subjected to a lien for surveying and scaling, not only his own logs, but also for surveying and scaling logs belonging to other parties. The statement naturally suggests a negative answer, and ordinarily it may be affirmed that no man's property can be subject to a lien for services rendered upon some other man's property. And yet, under the circumstances of the case, we [176 U.S. 126, 144] are constrained to hold that the lien was good, and must be enforced for the entire amount claimed. And this upon the proposition that for the purposes of a lien the boom company must be considered in a qualified sense the owner of all logs that it takes into its possession. The legislature in providing for a lien recognizes only the boom company. By 2 of chapter 221 it gives the company authority to establish a boom, construct all the works necessary for its successful operation; then empowers it to take possession of all logs floating down the stream (with certain exceptions not necessary to be noted in this connection), and in and by the conveniences of said boom to sort and brail all logs which it takes possession of; to 'charge and collect reasonable and uniform tolls,' and have a lien for the tolls, and all costs and expenses; hold a sufficient amount of the logs received to pay the same, and to make sale thereof in default of payment upon ten days' notice. Involved in the costs and expenses is the fee for inspection and scaling, as provided by the laws of the state, and the inspector is required to give at the end of each month to the owner or managing agent of the boom a true and correct scale bill for all the services he has rendered. So, while the owner of the logs may obtain from the surveyor general a certified copy of the inspection and scaling, yet the inspector deals in the first instance with the boom company. To it he gives his scale bill, properly certified, and by virtue thereof he is given a lien upon the logs in the custody of the boom company. The boom company, for its protection, is given a lien on the logs of each owner. Obviously there was seen to be a practical difficulty in limiting the lien of the surveyor general for his services in inspecting and scaling to the logs separately upon which the services were rendered. The logs are turned into the custody of the boom company. It arranges for their separation and brailing, and delivers them, when thus brailed, to the owner as demanded. The fees for the surveyor general's services were therefore made chargeable to the boom company, and under its charter it had authority to collect from each log owner all charges and expenses, including therein the fees due the surveyor [176 U.S. 126, 145] general. The log owner dealt with the boom company, and had a right to call from that company for a delivery of his logs duly brailed or rafted whenever he saw fit. To require the surveyor general to stand watch at the exit of the boom to demand of each log owner his fees, or in default of payment to seize the logs thus ready for their future transit down the river, would cast upon the surveyor general, not merely the duty of inspecting and scaling, but also, for his own protection, the duty of keeping an additional watch to secure the payment of his fees. It was not unreasonable on the part of the legislature, when it gave the boom company a lien upon all logs turned into the boom, to require that it should be responsible to the surveyor general for his fees, and that he, looking to the boom company for payment thereof, should have a right to enforce a lien upon any logs turned into the boom. It cannot be said that there is, in the nature of things, such an inseparable connection between services rendered and the thing upon which the services are rendered that a lien for the former can only be enforced upon the latter, or even that such lien must be limited to the owner of the latter, for it is within the discretion of the legislature to determine whether, considering all the circumstances, the use of a given instrumentality shall not subject the party seeking that use to a lien upon his property for all the services rendered by the state to the instrumentality. Take the ordinary case of a warehouse for the receipt and discharge of grain. Can it be that the lien for the services of a state inspector must necessarily attach separately, and only separately, to each bushel of grain delivered to and received therefrom? Is it not within the competency of the legislative power to declare that the owner of the elevator, like the owner of a boom, stands, as to all property received into it, as pro tanto an owner, and to give to any official charged with the duty of inspection a lien upon any and all of the property thus received for his services in the matter of inspection,- especially when it gives to the owner of the elevator or the boom a lien upon the property placed in his possession for all services, charges, and expenses? [176 U.S. 126, 146] We are of opinion that it was within the power of the legislature to so provide. It is not for the courts to inquire whether any other provision would have been wiser. The only question for us to consider is whether that which has been made was within the power of the legislature. It must be borne in mind that while the lien is given for the services rendered, the use of the facilities of the boom is not compulsory. We do not mean to say that a log cutter may throw his logs loosely and separately into the river and let them float down, trusting to luck that they will do no injury. Doubtless anyone may make his own raft and send it down the stream, provided he places in charge of it a sufficient number of men to suitably protect it from doing injury or interfering with others in their use of the stream. A main purpose of the boom is to stop and collect the floating logs, and the state having control over the river as a highway of navigation may make such provision for the use of that highway by the different parties seeking to use it as will prevent any injury by one upon the other. Just as the ordinary land highways are free to the use of the public, yet it is within the competency of the legislature to make such provisions as will prevent the use by one working injury to others; and if a party wishes to use a highway in a manner which may tend to work injury to others he cannot complain if the legislature interferes and provides some means for preventing such injury. In that way it may be said that any log owner may send his logs down the river without the use of the boom, and when he decides to avail himself of the boom it cannot be said that he is deprived of his property without due process of law if he is compelled to subject it to the conditions which the legislature prescribes for the use of such boom.
A final objection is that even if this boom was one chartered by law, within the meaning of 2400, and although the defendant, Mullen, had performed all that was required of him by the statute to secure a lien still the law as applied to this boom, and in so far as the logs in question are concerned, is a regulation of interstate commerce which the state of Minnesota has no authority to make. It appears that these [176 U.S. 126, 147] logs, and indeed the bulk of the logs passing into this boom, came out of the Chippewa river, a stream wholly within the limits of the state of Wisconsin. The boom company was chartered by the state of Minnesota, and its principal works were within the limits of that state. Counsel for plaintiff refer to many decisions of this court in which the general power of Congress over interstate commerce and the inability of the state to burden in any direct way such commerce have been affirmed. Passing by most we may notice these quotations, as illustrating the scope of our decisions. Thus in Mobile County v. Kimball, 102 U.S. 691 , 26 L. ed. 238, it is held that 'commerce with foreign countries and among the states, strictly considered, consists in intercourse and traffic, including in these terms navigation and the transportation and transit of persons and property;' and in Gloucester Ferry Co. v. Pennsylvania, 114 U.S. 196, 203 , 29 S. L. ed. 158, 161, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 382, 385, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 826, 828: 'Commerce among the states consists of intercourse and traffic between their citizens, and includes the transportation of persons and property, and the navigation of public waters for that purpose;' and from Wabash, St. L. & P. R. Co. v. Illinois, 118 U.S. 557, 571 , 30 S. L. ed. 244, 249, 1 Inters. Com. Rep. 31, 36, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 4, 10, 11, this paragraph is quoted: 'But we think it may safely be said that state legislation which seeks to impose a direct burden upon interstate commerce, or to interfere directly with its freedom, does encroach upon the exclusive power of Congress. The statute now under consideration, in our opinion, occupies that position; it does not act upon the business through the local instruments to be employed after coming within the state, but directly upon the business as it comes into the state from without, or goes out from within. While it purports only to control the carrier when engaged within the state, it must necessarily influence his conduct to some extent, in the management of his business throughout his entire voyage. . . . It was to meet just such a case that the commercial clause in the Constitution was adopted. The river Mississippi passes through or along the borders of ten different states, and its tributaries reach many more. The commerce upon these waters is immense, and its regulation clearly a matter of national concern. If each state was at liberty to [176 U.S. 126, 148] regulate the conduct of carriers while within its jurisdiction, the confusion likely to follow could not but be productive of great inconvenience and unnecessary hardship.'
Upon these authorities it is contended that the navigation of these logs from the place of cutting in Wisconsin along the navigable waters of Minnesota, to their market, wherever it may be in the lower waters of the Mississippi, must be free. If Minnesota can burden the transit with the expense of booming, inspection, or scaling, why may not Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and any other state along whose borders the logs may pass before reaching their destination? Even if a state may (as would seem to be indicated by the decisions heretofore referred to), for logs cut within its borders, provide booms, compel their use, and enforce payment for the expenses thereof, because for those logs no interstate commerce has commenced, yet here Minnesota is directly regulating the transit of logs cut in another state and passing through its borders on their way to market. This is undoubtedly the most significant, if not perhaps the only, distinctive Federal question presented in this record.
We are not disposed to limit in the slightest degree the scope and effect of the decisions referred to. But we are of opinion that these authorities are not pertinent, and that the matter is governed by another line of decisions equally clear and as frequently recognized. The state has a right to improve the waterways within its limits, and to make reasonable charges for the use of such improvements, at least until Congress interferes, and either itself assumes control of the improvements or compels their removal. This parallel line of decisions runs back to the early history of this court. In Willson v. Black-Bird Creek Marsh Co. 2 Pet. 245, 7 L. ed. 412, it was held that, inasmuch as Congress had passed no act bearing upon the case, the state of Delaware might authorize the building of a dam across the Black-Bird Marsh Creek, although thereby a navigable waterway was obstructed. In Pound v. Turck, 95 U.S. 459 , 24 L. ed. 525, the right of a state to make dams, booms, and other instrumentalities to be used in the navigation of logs and lumber was adjudged. Other decisions affirmed the power [176 U.S. 126, 149] of the state to build bridges, even toll bridges, over navigable streams, to construct wharves, and charge wharfage. In Huse v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543, 548 , 30 S. L. ed. 487, 490, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 313, 315, 316, the right of the state of Illinois to collect tolls for the passage of vessels through locks in the Illinois river was sustained, the court saying:
In Sands v. Manistee River Improv. Co. 123 U.S. 288, 295 , 31 S. L. ed. 149, 151, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 113, 116, a corporation had been authorized by the state of Michigan to improve the Manistee river, and to charge tolls for the use of the improvement. An action to collect tolls was resisted on the ground that the imposition was a taking of property without due process of law, which contention was overruled, and in the course of the opinion it was said:
Many other cases of similar import might be cited, but these are enough to disclose the principle which is clearly recognized.
The principal works of the boom company are wholly within the state of Minnesota. The center of the main channel of the Mississippi river is northeast of the island. The state of Minnesota had therefore the undoubted right to improve this portion of the Mississippi river lying southwest of the island for the purpose of facilitaing the navigation of logs. It could do the work itself, or could authorize a corporation to do the work, and it could prescribe any reasonable fees for the use of the improvement. The power of the state to authorize the construction of these works did not depend at all upon the question whence all or most of the logs likely to be run into the boom should come. It is enough that the state authorized this improvement and prescribed the conditions upon which it might be used by any owner of logs. These conditions are not shown to be unreasonable. It is a legitimate exercise of power on the part of a state to provide state supervision of what is done in works of such a character, and to require payment of reasonable charges for such supervision. It does not appear that the plaintiff was compelled to avail itself of this boom; that its logs were forcibly seized by the boom company, and against its will passed through the boom. On the contrary, it would seem not improbable from the testimony that the persons who organized and owned the boom company were engaged in the [176 U.S. 126, 151] business of cutting logs on the Chippewa river, and that this litigation sprang from their desire to get all the benefits of the boom without submission to the inspection laws of the state, which gave authority for the works. At any rate, if this plaintiff wanted to take advantage of the conveniences furnished by the boom, it is not in a position to avoid compliance with these provisions of the statutes of the state which authorized the construction of the works.
It is true that that which is called a 'shear boom' extended across the navigable channel of the Mississippi and to near the Wisconsin shore; but if neither the state of Wisconsin nor the United States complained of this as an obstruction of the navigation of the Mississippi, it does not lie in the mouth of the plaintiff to complain. Indeed, its complaint is not that the shear boom interfered with its rights of navigation in any way, but that after its logs had been passed into the works constructed under the authority and within the limits of the state of Minnesota it was not permitted to avail itself of the advantages furnished thereby and repudiate the charges prescribed by the state.
Before passing from a consideration of the right of this boom company under its charter to place the shear boom across the main channel of the Mississippi it may not be inappropriate to notice a decision of the supreme court of Wisconsin upon a like question. In J. S. Keator Lumber Co. v. St. Croix Boom Corp. 72 Wis. 62, 88, 38 N. W. 529, 539, it appeared that the St. Croix Boom Company was a corporation created by the state of Minnesota, and that it had constructed its boom on the St. Croix river at a place where the river was the boundary line between Minnesota and Wisconsin, and wholly occupied the river with its works. An action was brought to recover damages on account of the way in which the boom was constructed and operated. The opinion of the supreme court, by Mr. Justice Cassoday, is a very elaborate discussion of the rights of parties. In it it is said:
Without attempting fully to define the rights which either state might grant, it was held that a private party could not maintain an action for damages on the ground that Minnesota had exceeded its jurisdiction in granting rights upon waters within the limits of Wisconsin. Referring to Rundle v. Delaware & R. Canal Co. 14 How. 80, 14 L. ed. 335, the court stated the facts and the rulings in that case, and summed up its own views in these words (pages 98, 99, 38 N. W. 543, 544):
Without pursuing this subject further, we are of opinion that the improvement made in the Mississippi river by the construction of the boom and its works, and the exaction of reasonable charges for the use of such works, including fees of state officials for inspecting and scaling, if done under state authority, cannot be considered in any just sense a burden upon interstate commerce. It is nothing more than action upon the part of a state in furnishing additional facilities for the navigation of the waterway, and for such additional facilities reasonable charges may be exacted. The 'shear boom,' even though it extends across the main channel of the Mississippi river and into the territory of Wisconsin, was not complained of by that state, and the plaintiff cannot be heard to raise any question in that respect. Indeed, its only purpose was to enable the boom company the more easily to collect the logs of plaintiff and others floating down the stream. The work of separation and brailing was done wholly within the limits of the state of Minnesota in works constructed therein. For these reasons we are of opinion that the judgment of the court below was right, and it is affirmed.
Mr. Justice Peckham, dissenting:
I dissent from that portion of the opinion of the court which determines the validity of a lien upon the logs of one owner in order to secure payment of the fees for the inspection and scaling of logs owned by another.
The situation in which the log owner is placed practically compels him to make use of the boom for the purpose of having his logs inspected and scaled as required by the law, and under such circumstances he cannot be properly or fairly held, by the use of the boom, to consent that his property should be taken for the debt of another person. The mere inconvenience, however great or small, to the inspector, of having [176 U.S. 126, 155] someone watch at the exit of the boom to demand of each log owner the fees for inspecting and scaling his particular logs, furnishes no answer to the objection of the log owner to the taking of his property for the debt of another. This act accomplishes that result in its plainest and baldest form. It reduces to actual practice and in the form of a legislative enactment, sanctioned by judicial approval, the illustration that is generally made for the purpose of showing that there are some things so contrary to justice as to admit of no doubt of their utter illegality; such as the arbitrary taking, under the form of a legislative enactment, of the property of one man and bestowing it upon another.
If an owner is practically compelled, in order to conform to a statute, to use a warehouse for the receipt of his grain, I think it plain that it would be utterly illegal to permit a lien on the grain of such owner to attach, for the purpose of obtaining payment for the services of a state inspector in inspecting the grain of another. Whilst, as now decided by the court, a state regulation which substantially compels the sending of logs into the boom to be there inspected and scaled may not be a regulation of interstate commerce, I think a state regulation which confiscates the logs of one person to pay the debt of another clearly constitutes such a direct burden upon that commerce as to cause the statute making the regulation, at least to that extent, to be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.
Without enlarging upon what seems to me a very great inroad made upon the rights of individual property by the opinion of the court herein, I am content merely to record my dissent from the doctrine therein announced.
I am authorized to say that Mr. Justice Harlan, Mr. Justice Brown, and Mr. Justice White concur in this dissent.