18 a bells was such that not more than two or three persons could be connected without seriously impairing the efficiency of the circuit for speech transmission.
Jeremiah Mason (1768-1848), a lawyer of the first rank, Jeremiah Smith and Webster appeared for the college, and argued that these acts were invalid because they were not within the general scope of the legislature's power, because they violated provisions of the state constitution and because they violated the clause of the Federal Constitution which prohibits a state from impairing the obligation of contracts but the court decided against them.
Saunders, heard in 1824 and reheard in 1827, in which the question was the validity or invalidity of the insolvent laws of the several states, Webster argued that the clause prohibiting a state from impairing the obligation of contracts applied to future as well as to past contracts, but the court decided against him.
The constitution prohibits special, local and retroactive legislation, legislation impairing the obligation of contracts, and legislation levying a poll tax for county or state purposes or a tax on state, municipal and public school bonds (amendment of 1905), and it limits the amount and specifies the character of public debts which the legislature may contract.
On the other hand, he was most indignant when in the House of Lords he was accused by Lord Cairns of impairing British interests and relinquishing the queen's suzerainty.
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