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Statement of the Case.

ST. LOUIS CONSOLIDATED COAL COMPANY v.

ILLINOIS.

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.

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It is within the power of a state legislature to provide for the appoint

ment of inspectors of mines and the payment of their fees by the owners

of the mines. A law providing for the inspection of coal mines is not unconstitutional by

reason of its limitation to mines where more than five men are employed

at any one time. Where the law provided for an inspection of coal mines at least four times

a year, it was held not to be objectionable by reason of the fact that a discretion was invested in the inspectors to cause the mines to be inspected more than four times a year, and as often as they might deem it

necessary and proper. A law providing that the fees for each inspection shall not be less than six

nor more than ten dollars is not rendered unconstitutional by the fact that, within these limits, the fees for each inspection are fixed by the inspector.

This was an action of assumpsit originally brought in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County by the people of the State of Illinois against the Consolidated Coal Company of St. Louis, a corporation of Illinois, to recover the sum of $1818 for the fees of state mine inspectors for the inspection of certain coal mines located in Illinois, owned and operated by the defendant under “ An act providing for the health and safety of persons employed in coal mines," originally enacted May 28, 1879, and the amendments thereto.

The case was submitted to the court without a jury upon a stipulation of facts, in which it was agreed that the mines of the defendant, thirty-one in number, had been inspected between November 2, 1895, and June 26, 1899, by a state inspector, whole aggregate fees were $1818; that the Secretary of the Bureau of Labor Statistics presented the defendant with the inspection bills and demanded payment therefor, which defendant refused to pay.

Opinion of the Court.

It was further stipulated that the charge for the recovery of which this action was brought was made in pursuance of the act of May 28, 1879, and that the question to be raised and disposed of was the validity and constitutionality of so much of said above entitled act and the amendments thereto, as related to the inspection fees of the said mine inspectors, and the imposing upon the mine operator and owner the duty of paying such fees, and also whether there was any remedy at law to recover such fees.

A judgment having been entered for the payment of these fees the case was carried by writ of error to the Supreme Court, where the judgment of the Circuit Court of St. Clair County was affirmed.

Mr. Charles W. Thomas for plaintiff in error.

Mr. Howland J. Hamlin for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE BRown delivered the opinion of the court.

The act of the general assembly of the State of Illinois, entitled an act to provide for the health and safety of persons employed in coal mines, originally passed May 28, 1879, subsequently incorporated in the Revised Statutes of 1895, and amended in 1897, Hurd's Statutes, 1897, p. 1088, c. 93, provides as printed in the margin.'

1“Sec. 11 a. This State shall be divided into seven inspection districts, as follows:" etc.

“Sec. 11 6. The Governor shall, upon the recommendation of a board of examiners selected for that purpose, composed of two practical coal miners, two coal operators, and one mining engineer, to be appointed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of this State, all of whom shall be sworn to a faithful discharge of their duties, appoint seven properly qualified persons to fill the offices of inspectors of coal mines of this State (being one inspector for each district, provided for in this act), whose commissions shall be for the term of two years, but they shall at all times be subject to removal from office, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in the discharge of duty, as hereinafter provided for.

“SEC. 11 c. The inspectors so appointed shall have attained the age of thirty years, be citizens of this state, and have a knowledge of mining en

Opinion of the Court.

The Supreme Court found that all the state questions involved in this case had been disposed of in Chicago, Wilmington

gineering sufficient to conduct the development of coal mines, and a practical knowledge of the methods of conducting mining for coal in the presence of explosive gases, and of the proper ventilation of coal mines. They shall have had a practical mining experience of ten years, and shall not be interested as owner, operator, stockholder, superintendent or mining engineer of any coal mine during their term of office, and shall be of good moral character and temperate habits, and shall not be guilty of any act tending to the injury of miners or operators of mines during their term of office, They shall provide themselves with the most approved modern instruments for carrying out the intention of this act," etc.

“ Sec. 11d. Any person, company or corporation operating any coal mine in this State shall be required to pay an inspection fee of not less than six dollars nor more than ten dollars for each visit of inspection or investigation of a coal mine by a state mine inspector, such fee to be regulated by the class of the mine, which shall be fixed by the inspector and depend upon the length of time consumed, and the expense necessarily incurred in the inspection of such mine, and such fees shall be paid quarterly by the person, company or corporation operating the mine inspected to the Secretary of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and by him co red into the state treasury to be held as a fund for the payment of salaries of state Mine Inspectors, as herein provided. It shall be the duty of each inspector, as often as he may deem it nec. exsary and proper, and at least four times a year, to inspect each and every mine in his inspection district. Each inspection shall be certified to by the pit committee and mine manager of said mine. It shall be the duty of each inspector to keep a detailed record of all inspections and of all fees for such inspections, and he shall file a copy of the same with the Secretary of the state Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly, between the first and fifteenth days of the following months: October, January, April and July, which reports shall be published annually as a part of the regular report of the state Bureau of Labor Statistics. The inspectors provided for in this act shall receive as full compensation for their services the sum of eighteen hundred dollars each per annum, to be paid quarterly out of such funds in the state treasury as may be received for inspection fees: Provided, however, That in the event of such fees being inadequate to compensate the inspectors in the amount provided herein, the deficiency in the salaries shall be paid out of any moneys in the state treasury not otherwise appropriated. The mine inspector shall be required to post up in some conspicuous place at the top of each mine visited and inspected by him, a plain statement of the condition of said mine, showing what in his judgment is necessary for the better protection of the lives and health of persons employed in said mine; such statement shall give the date of inspection and the number of hours spent in the inspection, also the date of the latest previous inspection, and shall be signed by the inspector and the

Opinion of the Court.

& Vermilion &c. Coal Co. v. The People, 181 Ill. 270. It only remains for us to determine whether the validity of the state statute above cited was drawn in question on the ground of its repugnancy to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the decision was in favor of its validity, when it should have been held invalid. While the constitutionality of the law was not specially set up and claimed before the trial in the Circuit Court, there was a motion made in arrest of judgment, in which the invalidity of the statute was specially set up upon the ground of its repugnancy to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The motion was denied, although the Su

check weighman, and, if there be no check weighman, employed by the miners, then said statement shall be signed by the weighman at the mine.

“Sec. 11e. It shall be unlawful for any person, company or corporation to operate any coal mine in this State without first having complied with all the conditions and sanitary regulations required under existing laws and paying all inspection fees provided for in this section; and in case of the refusal of any person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator to pay said inspection fees, after assuming to operate a coal mine, it shall be the duty of the mine inspector in said district, through the State's attorney of the county, or any other attorney, in case of his refusal promptly to act, to proceed on behalf of the State against said person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator of said mine, by injunction, without bond, to restrain said person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator from continuing or attempting to continue to operate said mine or carry on a mining business."

In 1897 section 11e was amended so as to read as follows, the words in italics being inserted into the paragraph as it was originally enacted (Session Laws, 1897, p. 269):

“SEC. 11e. It shall be unlawful for any person, company or corporation to operate any coal mine in this State, where more than five men are employed at any one time, without first having complied with all the condi. tions and sanitary regulations required under existing laws, and paying all inspection fees provided for in this section, and in case of the refusal of any person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator to pay said inspection fees, after assuming to operate a coal mine, it shall be the duty of the mine inspector in said district, through the State's attorney of the county, or any other attorney, in case of his refusal to promptly act, to proceed on behalf of the State against said person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator of said mine by injunction, without bond, to restrain said person, company, corporation, owner, agent or operator from continuing or attempting to continue, to operate said mine or carry on a mining business."

Opinion of the Court.

preme Court did not in terms pass upon the Federal constitutionality of the law. But this was a sufficient presentation of the Federal question.

The regulation of mines and miners, their hours of labor, and the precautions that shall be taken to ensure their safety, health and comfort, are so obviously within the police power of the several States, that no citation of authorities is necessary to vindicate the general principle. Many of these cases are reviewed in Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366, in which it was held to be competent for a state legislature to limit the hours of labor, in mines and smelting works, to eight per day.

1. We do not understand the general principle to be questioned that the State may appoint mining inspectors, and provide for their payment by the owners of mines, Packet Co. v. St. Louis, 100 U. S. 423; Morgan v. Louisiana, 118 U. S. 455; Nashville &c. Railway v. Alabama, 128 U. S. 96, 121; County of Mobile v. Kimball, 102 U. S. 691; Charlotte &c. R. R. v. Gibbes, 142 U.S. 386; Chicago &c. Coal Company v. People, 181 Ill. 270; but it is insisted that the acts here involved, in so far as they give to district mining inspectors, a discretion as to the number of times they shall inspect such mines, and a further discrimination as to what fees they shall charge, within the limit fixed by these acts, is in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment, forbidding a State from depriving any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

2. Another question is whether the act, as amended in 1897, in so far as it discriminates as to penalties imposed upon some persons engaged in the mining business, and not upon others, is a proper exercise of the police power. It is true that the act of 1897 amended the former law of 1895, by limiting its application to coal mines “where more than five men are employed at any one time.” This is a species of classification which the legislature is at liberty to adopt, provided it be not wholly arbitrary or unreasonable, as it was in Cotting v. Kansas City Stock Yards Company, 183 U. S. 79, in which an act defining what should constitute public stock yards and regulat

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