Front cover image for Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge. Records, 1828

Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge. Records, 1828

Contains the records of the trial between the proprietors of the Charles River Bridge and the Warren Bridge, including letters, motions, depostions, and other evidence. In this famous case, the plaintiff, a state-chartered bridge company, claimed that the contract created by its charter implied an agreement not to authorize competing bridges. It sued the Warren Bridge which competed with its claimed monopoly. The case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court who reiterated its Dartmouth College holding that a charter or grant is a contract binding the state, but that it would construe such grants narrowly, to provide whenever possible for reasonable regulation under the police power. It also emphasized as "well settled" the principle that "a state law may be retrospective in its character, and made to divest vested rights" unless it also impaired "the obligation of a contract."
Archival Material, English, 1828