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cause the streets leading to the river were not parallel with the line of the lots. If any system of improvement, public and private, should be adopted, it would require an adjustment of these conflicts, and the subject became a matter of discussion in the municipal government and in the public press. On April 2, 1835, William Elliott, the surveyor of the city, made a report on the subject to the mayor and corporation. In this report he reviewed the history of the subject from the beginning, and concluded as follows:

"Therefore, from the foregoing authorities and arguments, the following facts are clearly deducible:

“(1) That the channels of navigable rivers of the United States cannot be obstructed; (2) that the openings for the east and west streets, lying on the Potomac river and Rock creek, must not be interrupted, but must be carried to the channel in straight lines; and the openings for the north and south streets, facing on the Anacostia river, must also be left free to the channel; (3) that the power to regulate the docks, wharves, etc., is vested in the corporation of Washington and the agents they may appoint; (4) that no water privilege was specified or sold with the squares or lots, and that Water street was laid down on the plans of the city exhibited at the sales, and would appear to be the bounds of the lots and squares fronting the rivers.

"Having clearly established these powers and rights in the corporation, the following system of wharves and docks is respectfully submitted for consideration: (1) Let Water street be laid down conformably to the plan of the city; (2) let openings of the streets be prolonged to the channel, *and in these openings, extending from Water street to the channel, let wharves be built upon piers; (3) let docks be formed in front of the squares.

“The result of this system would be that all the wharves and docks would belong to the city of Washington; that steam-boats and other vessels would have deep water and sufficient room to lie at the end of the wharves or piers, and small craft and boats in the docks, the current of the river would not be interrupted, and the water would flow freely under the wharves, and prevent the accumulation of filth, the source of disease; and the whole system would be perfectly conformable to the original plan of the city as laid down by the commissioners.

“Although I consider the above plan the best, and ought to have been adopted at the commencement of the city, yet, having understood that at the sale of the lots facing the rivers there was an implied water privilege sold at the same time, though neither expressell nor defined, this, therefore, would require that the spaces in front of the squares extending to the channel should be considered as water privileges; and that openings left for the streets to the channel should be considered as docks, and belonging to the public; also, that the spaces in front of the intersection of streets facing the rivers, or any other not facing private property, should be considered as belonging to the public, on which public wharves or docks may be built.

" A section of the last proposed plan may be seen at surveyor's office.”

Accordingly, the surveyor submitted a map showing his plan, upon the second hypothesis, that the lots facing Water street were entitled to be recognized as having wharfing privileges, in which he exhibited that street as 100 feet wide in the narrowest part.

On July 13, 1835, the following resolution was considered in the board of common council of the city of Washington:

"Resolved, that the corporation of Washington never has admitted, and cannot, without injury to the general interests of the city, admit, the existence of water rights of individuals ' between the Potomac bridge and the Anacostia, and therefore it is inexpedient to adopt any plan which can be construed into an*admission of such rights, or to consider any proposition which claims such admission."

This resolution was indefinitely postponed by a majority of one vote.

Peter Force, a member of the council, well known in the public history of this city and country, by permission, entered on the journal the reasons for his dissent. These reasons were, briefly, that Water street belonged to the United States; that in the original plar of the city, and division and sale of squares and lots, those only were recognized as water lots which were laid off running to the channels of Rock creek, the Potomac river, and the Eastern Branch, respect. ively, all of which, on that account, were sold by the front foot, while all the others were laid off, bounded by streets and avenues, without any water privileges, and were sold by the square foot; and, among others, that the motion for indefinite postponement of the resolutior, had been carried by the vote of a member who had a direct personal and pecuniary interest in the assertion of a private right involved in the resolution against that of the public. In the mean time the discussion was transferred to the newspapers,-Mr. Force representing one side of the controversy, and the mayor, Mr. Joseph H. Bradley, the other.

Nothing important seems to have been done by the city council until February 22, 1839, when the following resolutions were adopted, and were approved by the president of the United States: “ Resolutions in relation to the manner in which wharves shall be laid out and

constructed on the Potomac river. “Resolved, etc., that the plan No. 2, prepared by the late William Elliott, in eighteen hundred aud thirty-five, while surveyor of the city of Washington, regulating the manner in which wharves on the Potomac, from the bridge to T street south, and the plan of Water street, shall be laid out, be, and the same is, adopted as the plan to be hereafter followed in laying out the wharves and the streets on the said river, provided the approbation of the president of the United States be obtained thereto.

""Resolved, also, that the wharves hereafter to be constructed between the points specified in the said plan shall be so built as to allow the water to pass freely under them; that is to say, they shall be erected on piers or piles from a wall running the whole distance on the water line of Water street.”

But these resolutions decide nothing as to the right, even if the corporate authorities of Washington were competent to do so, which they were not. The resolutions are not, however, even a recognition of the existence of any private right of wharfing, attached to the ownership of lots fronting on the north side of Water street. At the most, they recognize that there may be such rights. In point of law, they merely regulate the mode in which the right shall be exercised, whether private or public, leaving the question of title in each case


to be judicially decided; for that was the extent of the jurisdiction which the corporation of Washington had over the subject.

To notice further the many items of evidence which are contained in the record and have been referred to by counsel, in learned and laborious arguments, would prolong this opinion to an unnecessary and inexcusable length. Enough has been said to show that the rights of the parties respectively stand upon the legal effect of the original documents of title. According to them, as we have shown and now decide, the riparian rights claimed by the appellants, which originally were appurtenant to the land of Notley Young by virtue of its adjoining the Potomac river, passed to the United States by the conveyance which vested in them the ownership of the land on which Water street was laid out and has been built.

The decree below, therefore, was right, and it is accordingly affirmed.

Mr. Justice BRADLEY did not sit in these cases.

(110 U. S. 63)

FRELINGHUYSEN, Secretary, etc., v. UNITED STATES ex rel. KEY.


SEN, Secretary, etc.

(January 7, 1884.)



The citizens of a country are not parties to its international treaties, and an award

in favor of a citizen of the United States, under a treaty, against another country gives him no right of property in the sum awarded him which congress is

not at liberty to control. Under the treaty of July 4, 1868, between the United States and Mexico, awards

against the Mexican republic were made, among others, in favor of Benjamin Weil and La Ahra Silver Mining Company, which were afterwards alleged by the Mexican government to have been secured by fraud. Congress authorized the secretary of state to receive all moneys paid by Mexico to the United States, and to disburse the same ratably, and requested the president to investigate the alleged frauds, withholding the moneys awarded to Weil and the mining company, if he thought it, until the cases should finally be decided in such a way as the two governments should agree or congress should direct. President Hayes, finding evidence of fraud, advised further investigation by congress, bui reported that in the absence of instructions from congress he should deem it his duty to order the claims paid. Congress took no action, and sev. eral installments of the claims were paid. President Arthur having further examined the cases, negotiated a new ireaty with Mexico for a rehearing upon the disputed awards, and ordered the secretary of state to withhold moneys coming to his hands on account of those claims, while the treaty was pending. Held, that the order was a proper one, and that the secretary of state could not be compelled to pay the money to the claimanis.

In Error to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
Sol. Gen. Phillips, for Frelinghuysen, Secretary, etc.

P. Phillips, W. H. Phillips, John Goode, and R. B. Warden, for Key.

F. P. Stanton, T. W. Bartley, S. Shellabarger, and J. M. Wilson, for Mining Company,

WAITE, C. J. The facts on which these cases depend are as fol. lows: *On the fourth of July, 1868, a convention between the United States and the republic of Mexico, providing for the adjustment of the claims of citizens of either country against the other, was concluded, and, on the first of February, 1869, proclaimed by the presiog dent of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the senate. By this convention (article 1) “all claims on the part of corporations, companies, or private individuals, citizens of the United States, upon the government of the Mexican republic, arising from injuries to their persons or property by authorities of the Mexican republic, and all claims on the part of corporations, companies, or private individuals, citizens of the Mexican republic, upon the government of the United States, arising from injuries to their persons or property by authorities of the United States, which may have been presented to either government for its interposition with the other since the signature of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and which remain unsettled, as well as any other such claims which may be presented within" a specified time, were to "be referred to two commissioners, one to be appointed by the president of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, and one by the president of the Mexican republic.” Provision was then mado for the appointment of an umpire. Articles 2, 4, and 5, are as fol. lows:

Art. 2. "The commissioners shall then conjointly proceed to the investigation and decision of the claims which shall be presented to their notice,

but upon such evidence or information only as shall be furnished by or on behalf of their respective governments. They shall be bound to receive and peruse all written documents or statements which may be presented to them by or on behalf of their respective governments in support of or in answer to any claim, and to hear, if required, one person on each side, on behalf of each government, on each and every separate claim. Should they fail to agree in opinion upon any individual claim, they shall call to their assistance the umpire;

and such umpire, after having examined the evidence adduced for and against the claim, and after having heard, if required, one person on each side as aforesaid, and consulted with the commissioners, shall decide thereupon finally, and without appeal.

It shall be competent for each government to name one person to attend the commissioners as agent on its behalf, to present and support claims on its behalf, and to answer claims made upon it, and to represent it generally in all matters con. * nected with the investigation and decisions thereof. The president of the United States

and the president of the Mexican republic hereby solemnly and sincerely engage to consider the decision of the commissioners conjointly, or of the umpire, as the case may be, as absolutely final and conclusive upon each claim decided upon by them or him respectively, and to


give full effect to such decision without any objection, evasion, or delay whatsoever.

Art. 4. “When decisions shall have been made by the commissioners and the arbiter in every case which shall have been laid before them, the total amount awarded in all the cases decided in favor of the citizens of the one party shall be deducted from the total amount awarded to the citizens of the other party, and the balance, to the amount of $300,000, shall be paid at the city of Mexico or at the city of Washington,

within twelve months from the close of the commission, to the government in favor of whose citizens the greater amount may have been awarded, without interest. * * The residue of the said balance shall be paid in annual installments to an amount not exceeding $300,000* in any one year until the whole shall have been paid.

Art. 5. “The high contracting parties agree to consider the result of the proceedings of this commission as a full, perfect, and final settlement of every claim upon either government arising out of any transaction of a date prior to the exchange of the ratifications of the present convention; and further engage that every such claim, whether or not the same may have been presented to the notice of, made, preferred, or laid before, the said commission, shall, from and after the conclusion of the proceedings of the said commission, be considered and treated as finally settled, barred, and thence forth inadmissible.” 15 St. 679.

Under this convention, commissioners were appointed, who entered on the performance of their duties. Benjamin Weil and the La Abra Silver Mining Company, citizens of the United States, presented to their government certain claims against Mexico. These claims were referred to the commissioners, and finally resulted in an award, on the first of October, 1875, in favor of Weil and against Mexico for $489,810.68, and on the twenty-seventh of December, 1875, in favor of La Abra Silver Mining Company for $683,041.32. On the adjustment of balances under the provisions of article 4 of the convention it was found that the awards against Mexico exceeded largely those against the United States, and the government of Mexico has promptly and in good faith met its annual payments, though it seems from the beginning to have desired a re-examination of the Weil and La Abra claims.

On the eighteenth of June, 1878, congress passed an act, (chapter 262, 20 St. p. 144,) sections 1 and 5 of which are as follows:

Section 1. “That the secretary of state be, and he is hereby, authorized and required to receive any and all moneys wbich may be paid by the Mexican republic under and in pursuance of the convention between the United States and the Mexican republic for the adjustment of claims; * * and, whenever and as often as any installments shall have been paid by the Mexican republic on account of said awards, to distribute the moneys so received in ratable proportions among the corporations, companies, or private individuals respectively in whose favor awards have been made by said commissioners, or by the umpire, or to their legal representatives or assigns, except as in this act otherwise limited or provided, according to the proportion which their respective awards shall bear to the whole amount of such moneys then held by him, and to pay the same, without other charge or deduction than as hereinafter provided, to the parties respectively entitled thereto.

Sec. 5. "And whereas the government of Mexico has called the attention

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