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United States v. Central Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 235 (1886)

United States v. Central Pacific Railroad Company

Argued April 29, 1886

Decided May 10, 1886

118 U.S. 235


The Act of July, 1, 1862, "to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean," 12 Stat. 489, and the Act of July 2, 1864, 13 Stat. 356, amending the same, and the Act of May 7, 1878, 20 Stat. 56, commonly called the Thurman Act, are in pari materia, and to be construed together, and so construed, the Act of May 7, 1868, restores provisions of the act of 1882 respecting retention of compensation for services performed by the railroads for the United States

Page 118 U. S. 236

which had been changed by the amendment of 1864, and requires the Treasury to withhold all payment for services performed on the roads constructed by the aid of government grants, but not on roads owned or operated by the same companies which were not constructed with such aid. When a contract is open to two constructions, the one lawful and the other unlawful, the former must be adopted. Hobbs v. McLean, 117 U. S. 567, affirmed.

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