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legislature, then the grammatical sense of the words. may be modified, to obviate such absurdity or cure such repugnance. (d)

63. Where a railway act, as is usually the case, concludes with the legislative declaration that it is to be taken as a public act, and judicially taken notice of as such by all judges, &c., it cannot be treated as a mere private assurance, more especially considering its general public nature, manifested in every section. (e)

64. A party interested in the subject-matter of a private act of parliament, is liable to have his rights affected by its provisions, though it may have been introduced and past without due notice being given to him. (f)

65. II. Of the rules of construction, applicable to some of the more important provisions usually found in railway acts, and herein. 1st, of the power of taking land. A power of this nature, calculated to operate in a manner so highly derogatory to private property, must, it seems, receive a strict interpretation. If, in the supposed exercise of such a power, the company enter upon or take any man's land, they must clearly establish their authority to do so; and if the words of the statute on which they rely are ambiguous, every presumption is to be

(d) Rex v. Pease, 4 B. & Ad. 41; Turner v. The Sheffield and Rotherham Railway Company, 10 M. & W. 425; S. C. 3 Railway Cas. 230.

(e) Per Shadwell, Vice-Ch., Hargreaves v. Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway Company, 1 Railw. Cas. 430.

(f) Edinburgh, &c. Railway Company v. Wauchope, 8 Cl. & Fin. 711; S. C. 3 R. Cas. 232.

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made against the company, and in favour of private property. (g)

66. So likewise the provisions for the taking of toll by the company must be couched in clear and unambiguous language; or, if the words fairly admit of different meanings, then that meaning must be adopted which is most favourable to the interests of the public, and most against that of the company, because the company, in bargaining with the public, ought to take care to define distinctly what payments they are to receive, and because the public ought not to be charged, unless it be clear that it was so intended by the legislature. (h)

67. On the other hand, clauses providing compensation for parties whose property is injured by the railway, ought, it seems, to be liberally, and not strictly construed, so as to advance the remedy intended by the legislature in making such provisions. (i)

68. Some forms prescribed for the internal government of a railway company, may be imperative, and others only directory. (k)

(g) Scales v. Pickering, 4 Bing. 448; Webb v. The Manchester and Leeds Railway Company, 4 My. & Cr. 120; S. C. 1 Railway Cas. 599, per Lord Cottenham, Ld. Ch.

(h) See Gildart v. Gludstone, 11 East, 675; Barrett v. The Stockton and Darlington Railway Company, 2 Railw. Cas. 465; S. C. 2 M. & Gr. 134; in error, 3 M. & G. 956.

(i) Reg. v. The Eastern Counties Railway Company, 2 A. & E. N. S. 347; S. C. 2 Railway Cas. 752; Bell v. Hull and Selby Railway Company, 6 M. & W. 699; S. C. 2 Railway Cas. 286.

(k) Judgment of Wigram, Vice Ch. in Foss v. Harbottle, 2 Hare, 495. See further as to this distinction between directory and imperative clauses in railway acts, post, cap. 3 and cap. 7.

69. III. Of the rules of construction applicable to several acts relative to the same company. It must often happen, that, from some change in the purposes of the company, the lapse of time, &c., a further act or acts becomes requisite, in order to vary or extend the powers given by the original act. In this case, the subsequent and prior acts, being framed upon one system, having one object in view, and being in pari materia, may be construed together as if they were one law.

The subsequent act, instead of particularizing the powers and capacities that it intends to confer, ordinarily embodies the provisions of the prior act by a general clause of reference. The fair construction to be put upon such a clause is, that all the general powers and provisions given and made in the former act shall be virtually incorporated in the latter, but not such as are of a special nature, and have a peculiar application to the subject-matter of the prior act. (1)

70. A subsequent act, where it is so intended, may have the effect of reviving proceedings taken under a prior act, or even of ratifying and healing what is irregular in the same. (m) To have this latter effect, however, the later act must contain a clear, direct, and particular ratification of such proceedings. A railway act enacted that no calls

(1) Sirhowy Tramroad Company v. Jones, and Homfray v. Jones, 3 A. & E. 640, n. (a); Att. Gen. v. Eastern Counties and North Eastern Railway Company, 2 Railw. Cas. 832; S. C. 10 M. & W. 263.

(m) The Stratford and Moreton Railway Company v. Stratton, 2 B. & Ad. 518; see also Smith v. Goldsworthy, 4 A. & E. N. S. 430.

should be made at an interval of less than two months from each other, and that none of the powers of the act should be put in force till the sum of £33,500 was subscribed. The committee began the works before the above sum was subscribed, and made a single order for the payment of various calls at intervals of two months. A subsequent act noticed in a recital, that the capital of £33,500 had not been subscribed, but that the company had proceeded in their works, had incurred debts, &c., and that a certain sum was due from defaulters in payment of calls; it at the same time provided for the carrying on the works, and making further calls, and enacted that the powers of the former act (except where expressly altered) should remain vested in the company, though the £33,500 had not been subscribed. It was held to ratify what had been done in breach of the latter enactment, but not to recognize the calls as valid. (n)

(n) The Stratford and Moreton Railway Company v. Stratton, 2 B. & Ad. 518; see also Smith v. Goldsworthy, 4 A. & E. N. S. 430.

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