The Hamptons Union, March 3, 1921

Hampton News

Several couples have joined a fortnightly dancing class in Exeter which meets alternate Monday evenings, called the Benedict Club.

The U.W. Club was pleasantly entertained by Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Nudd on Wednesday evening. Refreshments of Raspberry Sherbet, assorted cake, coffee and candy were served. Prizes were awarded to Mr. and Mrs. A.O. Stillings, consolation prizes to Mr. and Mrs. John Brooks and Mrs. William Cash. The next meeting will be held with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Raymond.

The Mothers Circle will observe Fathers' Night at the Congregational chapel on Wednesday, March 9. Members please notice change of place.

The Monday Club will be entertained by Mrs. Edward Batchelder next Monday.

Do not forget the drama, Deacon Dubbs, which is to be given Friday evening, March 4 in the town hall at 8:00 P.M. This is a fine play and one that you want to see. There will be some good musical selections by an orchestra during the evening and homemade candy will be on sale.

Miss Meta Ireland has decided to remain in Hampton for the present, and those wishing to make dressmaking appointments for the spring and summer, can reach her at Rev. F. M. Buker's.

The Parish Supper and social at the M.E. church, given by the organized classes of young people assisted ably by the Ladies' Aid Society deserves a column, and just must have a line. Bounteous eats, novel and spicy program of entertainment, and games of unusual interest filled the jolliest sort of an evening. Messrs. Harold and Harlan Teague kindly assisted in the orchestra. Over a hundred enjoyed the good time. The committee in charge of the supper was made up as follows: Mrs. Margaret Murray, Mrs. Elizabeth Philbrick, Mrs. Annie Perkins, Mrs. Jessie Moore, Mrs. Ethel Walker, Mrs. Hattie Tarleton, Mrs. Grace Ware, Mrs. Helen Perkins. Principle Teague served as judge in the lively spelling contest.

The Monday club was pleasantly entertained this week by Mrs. Tobey in the home of Mrs. Lane. The subject was William Cullen Bryant and his works. A paper was read by Mrs. Tobey, a poem by Mrs. Munsey and quotations given by members. Music was furnished by Miss Leonore Lane and delicious refreshments served by the hostess.

Mrs. Ellen J. Blake has returned to her home on Hemp Plain Hill and will later go to Boston for a visit.

The Congregational Chapel is being thoroughly renovated and will be very attractive. The chapel was dedicated in Jan. 1904 and as little in the way of repairs has been done to it since it really needed renovating. The work is being done by Mr. Walter Palmer and is the gift of the Ladies' Aid. It is quite wonderful what this society has done and is doing and is attributable to the hard work of the ladies able directed by the efficient and resourceful president.

Mrs. John L. Byrant attended a Rebekah meeting in Manchester Wednesday.

Mrs. C. S. Toppan, Wilma and Phillip spent last week as guests of Mrs. Toppan's father at North Woodstock.

An evening whist has been formed by the young married people in town.

The Congregational Missionary Auxiliary met in the vestry on Wednesday with a good number present. The program was in charge of Mrs. Perkins and the hostesses were Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hobbs, who served a delicious supper. This society was organized fifty years ago and has one living charter member, Mrs. Elizabeth Hobbs, who joined when a young girl with nine older ladies.

Mr. Charles M. Batchelder, treasurer of the Cemetery Association, wishes to inform the voters of the town that there is a slight error in his account as furnished the printer which makes his balance on hand appear as $28.07 when it should be $18.07.

Miss Eloise Lane who has been suffering from a severe cold is much improved. She plans to see a specialist in Haverhill on Saturday and will return to Oberlin next week.

The Jolly Five was very pleasantly entertained on Tuesday evening by one of its members Miss Lorraine Lindsey. It was guest night and three young people, special friends of our club were invited. Time quickly passed with games, stories and music and the evening was gone before we could realize it. The drums particularly caused lots of excitement. Before bidding our hostess good night our merry party was invited to gather around a little table and were served the most delicious refreshments. One night last week by very pleasant evening with Mr. and Mrs. Bragg.

Mrs. Joseph Lambert of Waterville, Me., is a guest in the home of her sister, Mrs. William Gilpatrick.

Eugene F. Moraratty has purchased one of Ring's new houses on High street, and has moved his family there.

Republican Caucus

To the Republicans of the Town of Hampton: You are requested to meet at the Town Hall on Monday, the seventh of March, 1921, at 7:30 o'clock in the evening, to nominate candidates to be supported at the polls the following day. To transact any other business that may legally be brought before said meeting. Per order of the Town Committee.

Candidates for Selectmen

Mr. Edwin L. Batchelder, the chairman of the present board of selectmen, has consented to be a candidate for reelection, Mr. Batchelder was loath to continue on the board, but the demand for him came from so large a following and was so thoroughly representative of the property tax payers and citizens who place the town's interests first, and has been expressed with so much enthusiasm and genuineness, that there was nothing Mr. Batchelder could do but accept, and all present indications are that there is an overwhelming majority in favor of the upright and sensible course of the chairman in his official duties during the year now ending.

Associated with Mr. Batchelder on the ticket will be Mr. F. E. James and Mr. J. Beecher Yeaton - both men of highest integrity and ability and each popular with his townsmen. In addition Mr. James will give to the board an experience of several years of uncriticised service on the board of selectmen.

To The Citizens of Hampton:

There are several matters which in justice to myself and to the citizens of the town of Hampton I feel should be place before them at this time. After the action of the special town meeting of December 20, 1920, voting to purchase the properties of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway, realizing the importance of this matter to the tax payers of this town, I retained counsel to examine the vote and the proceeding leading up to this vote, a copy of which is as follows:

735 Exchange Building
Boston, Mass.

Dear Sir:

We have considered your question whether the selectmen of the town of Hampton, N.H., should execute and deliver $80,000 bonds referred to in a vote of the town adopted 20th December, 1920, in payment for the properties of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway Company.

There are two votes passed at that meeting which bear upon the question. The first vote referred to the report of a certain committee and then provided "that the properties of Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway as described in the report, or the securities representing the same, for a price not to exceed $80,000. The second vote provided that the town issue its bonds and that the town officers execute them "and cause the same to be delivered in payment for such properties or the securities representing the same."

We understand that it is proposed to deliver the bonds in payment for a part only of the property of the Street Railway Company, excluding the beach line so-called, and the first question is whether under the vote of the town the bonds may be delivered in payment for anything short of the entire property of the Street Railway Company, including the beach line. This depends on the meaning of the phrase "the properties of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway as described in the report." The copy of the report shown us winds up as follows:-

"To sum the situation up briefly the majority of the committee are of the opinion that $80,000 is the outside price the town should pay for the street railway property, including the beach line." Then follow the following recommendation:

1. That the town purchase the properties of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway, as described in the report or the securities representing the same, for a price not exceeding $80,000. It seems to us that this recommendation referred to the properties, including the beach line, and the vote of the town followed substantially the language of the recommendation and must be taken to refer to all the properties, including the beach line.

Accordingly, we think that the selectmen cannot safely deliver the proposed bonds in payment for the properties if the real estate or part of it line is excluded.

If this difficulty could be overcome and it could be established that the town has voted to purchase a part only of the properties of the street railway company, a question would then arise under s.6 of the act of 1919, c. 270, which provides that the authority to borrow "shall not be exercised by any of said towns if or when any person, firm, or corporation, (except said towns) holds or owns any interest in the stock in said corporation, or in its property and assets ***." If the town does not buy all of the property and assets, then some other person, firm or corporation will hold an interest in some of the property and assets of the street railway company, thus creating the condition under which the town is forbidden to borrow.

Another reason why the selectmen should not, in our judgment, deliver the proposed bonds arises from the doubt as to whether the bonds are the kind authorized by the statutes in that they are made payable 25 years after the date and not in annual payments. The provision for issuing the bonds contained in the Law of 1919, c. 270 provided that they shall be issued "in the manner now required by law in the case or notes and bonds issued by towns for purchase and construction of waterworks."

Towns were authorized by the Laws of 1907, c. 126, to issue bonds for water works payable at such times as might be thought proper and, if there had been no subsequent legislation, the proposed bonds might well run for 25 years, but, by the Laws of 1917, c. 129, the legislature provided that "municipalities and counties shall hereafter provide for the payment of all debts, except temporary loans in anticipation of taxes made as provided by law, in annual payment," so that when the legislature in 1919 authorizes the proposed bonds to be issued in the manner then required in the case of bonds for waterworks the law at that time required that even waterworks bonds should be payable in annual payments. We, therefore, think that the bonds as voted by the town were not the kind of bonds authorized by the statute and that the selectmen could not properly issue then on behalf of the town.

The foregoing considerations make it unnecessary to consider whether the action of the town was defective in not specifying what the bonds were to be issued for, whether for the physical property or for the securities of the street railway company. The vote reads in the alternative, and it occurs to us that there might be some doubt on this account also.

We have not examined the question whether the Laws of 1919, c. 270, purporting to authorize the proposed purchase and the issue of the proposed bonds is constitutional.

Yours faithfully,

Acting upon the above opinion of counsel, and there is no one can say that better counsel could be obtained, I felt justified in refusing to sign any bond that might be presented to me for signature for the purpose of purchasing the Street Railway.

I then learned that a bill had been introduced by the gentlemen representing the Town of Hampton in the Legislature to legalize the action of the special town meeting, to authorize the issue of bonds to purchase the Street Railway, and further, to increase the debt limit of the town permitted by law from five percent to ten percent of the total valuation of the town. A matter of this importance seemed to justify an appearance before the Legislature and, accompanied by counsel, I appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the House in opposition to this measure which seemed to me open wide the doors to an indiscriminate and unwise expenditure of the tax payers' money. We found a hearing had already been had and proponents of the bill and particularly Mr. Hollis, president of the Street Railway, had had an opportunity to present their views on the subject. We were therefore, under the obvious disadvantage of having to agree without the opportunity of knowing what the proponents of the bill had advanced in its favor. As a result the bill was reported favorably by the committee and on February 3rd at the end of the week's session of the Legislature and while no more than a quorum of members were present, the bill was railroaded through the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor, all in one short afternoon without notice to anyone who might wish to be heard on the matter, thereby strangling in a summary manner all opposition and forcing upon the people of the Town of Hampton a measure which I am safe in saying does not meet with the approval of a majority of those who chiefly bear the burden of financing the town's affairs.

Having been advised last fall that there is a grave doubt as to the constitutionality of the statue enabling the town to purchase the Street Railway and still feeling that the whole matter was being forced down the throats of the people without let or hindrance and without an opportunity of mature consideration on their part, through counsel and with the assent and approbation of many of the prominent citizens of the town, a petition for an injunction was filed pending the decision by the Supreme Court of the question as to whether the Legislature has a right to impose upon the people of a town the burden of taxation for the benefit of citizens of other towns. Counsel informed me that an agreement was entered into before the court whereby nothing further should be done by the town or railroad committee until the legal question was decided by the Supreme Court, but lately I have been advised that counsel for the railway and for the town desire to withdraw this agreement and have asked for a substantial bond from the persons filing the petition, alleging that such bond was necessary to protect the town in case the Street Railway sued it for damages, also saying that the contract for the purchase by the town of the Street Railway had been signed and delivered some day before our petition for and injunction was filed. This obviously is a step to drive out the petitioners, not through any desire to protect to town in case of a law suit, but to put the petitioners in the position to advertise their liability to the Street Railway for any damage which may result by the town refusing to take the same over for the next few months. This is a question of great importance for the tax payers of the Town of Hampton.

If the act referred to above is constitutional and the people of the town still wish to purchase this Street Railway, the question will then be in a shape that no one can be heard to complain. If the act is unconstitutional, of course the town has no power to purchase the Railway. If no injunction issues because of the failure of the petitioners to lay themselves personally liable to damage suits, the committee and the town can take their chances and go ahead and take over the Railway and run it. Any action so risky and ill-advised would result, if the act is unconstitutional, in not only complicating matters of the return of bonds, interest and principal out of placing the Street Railway in a position as near as possible the same as when the town took it over.

I feel that all of the citizens who have any interest in this matter in any shape or manner should give grave consideration to the subject matter of this letter before expressing their opinion in any way with the full knowledge of the facts and with a like knowledge of possibilities as to the future. I am content to leave this matter in their hands.

Yours truly,