Considering how well-established the doctrine has been for over eighty years that the charters of public service corporations are to be construed strictly in favor of the state when a dispute arises as to the extent of their powers, it may be a matter of surprise on first consideration that there should have been such a large body of litigation over the construction of these charters. Why were they not worded in unequivocal terms? Or have the courts, in the desire of protecting the state, done violence to the plain intent of words? Eliminating such charters as have been deliberately framed in obscure terms for the purpose of laying a foundation for a possible claim in later years, we find that within the past thirty years not a few cases have been decided against the claim of charter contracts on the principle of strict construction, when it would seem that the claim was well-founded if the intent of the parties at the time of making the contract had been the chief consideration.

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