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an act relative to the harbor and public waters of the town of Providence, by the first section of which it was enacted, that the said town should be authorized and empowered to prevent encroachments or obstructions in the harbor, in the cove above the bridge, and in the other public waters of said town; and to make such laws, rules and regulations, for the preservation of the harbor, cove and waters, from encroachments and obstructions, as the town from time to time should think proper. By section second, the proceedings of the town in defining the bounds of the harbor are ratified as follows: "That the proceedings of said town on the 13th and 24th days of July, and on the 29th day of August, 1815, relative to the defining and ascertaining the bounds of said harbor, be approved and established, and the boundaries and lines mentioned and described in the report of the committee be, and the same are hereby established; except only that the course from a stake at Simmons' wharf to the bluff near the southeast corner of John Corlis' farm, stated to be in said report, south, fifteen and an half degrees east, be corrected according to the plat made by the said committee, to the course of south, nine and an half degrees east." By the third section, "If any person or persons shall encroach upon any part of the said harbor, as defined, ascertained and established in and by the next preceding section of this act, by erecting or placing therein any wharf, building, or other
fixed obstruction, or neglecting to keep in good repair any wharf or lot adjoining the harbor, for the preservation of the channel, he, she, or they so offending, shall forfeit and pay a sum not less than fifty, nor more than five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action of debt, before any court proper to try the same; one half thereof to and for the use of the said town of Providence, and the other half thereof, to and for the use of the person or persons who shall sue for the same: and it shall moreover be lawful for the town council of said town, to cause such obstruction to be removed at the cost and charge of him, her or them, who shall have so erected or placed the same, or caused the same to be erected, or placed as aforesaid." By the fourth section, -"If any person or persons shall violate any of the laws, rules or regulations, that may be at any time made by said town of Providence, for the preservation of the channel, and for the prevention of any encroachments or obstructions in the harbor of said town, or the cove above the bridge, or in the other public waters thereof, other than of the kind mentioned and described in the next preceding section of this act, he, she or they, shall forfeit and pay a sum not less than two, nor more than twenty dollars for each offence, to be recovered by action of debt, before any justice or justices of the peace of the said town, one half thereof, to and for the use of the said town, and the other half thereof, to and
for the use of the person or persons, who shall sue for the same."1
The city of New York includes the whole of the rivers and harbors adjacent to the city to actual lowwater mark on the opposite shores, as the same may be found, from time to time, by docks, wharves and other permanent erections; yet King's county, of which the city of Brooklyn is part, includes all the wharves, docks, and other artificial erections on the East river opposite to New York, though west of the natural low-water mark, on the Nassau or Long Island shore. But although the jurisdiction of the city of New York does not extend so as to include such wharves, &c. on the Long Island side, yet it does extend over the ships and vessels floating on the water, though they may be fastened to such wharves, &c. In other words, although permanent erections, such as wharves, &c. may from time to time vary the jurisdiction of New York, yet it is not allowed, that the jurisdiction of Brooklyn is to be extended by means of a floating vessel in the river, although she may fastened to the dock. This shows an admitted right of riparian proprietors to "wharf out" (as the common expression is) opposite their lands, and that the wharves so made become part and parcel of the upland to which they are united.
1 Laws of R. I. (Ed. of 1822) p. 484.
2 Udall v. Trustees of Brooklyn, 19 Johus. (N. Y.) R. 175; Striker v. Mayor, &c. of New York, Ib. 179.
The corporation of the city of New York hold, under their charter, on Manhattan Island, the lands, within the limits of the city, extending from highwater mark to four hundred feet below low-water mark into the East river. To this ownership is annexed "the right, benefit and advantage of all docks, wharves, cranes, and slips (or small docks,) within the city, with the wharfage, cranage and dockage, and all issues, rents, profits and advantages, arising, or to arise or accrue, by, or from, all, or any of them." By an act of the legislature, passed on the 7th of March, 1793, it is declared, that "all the right, title, interest, claim and demand, of the people of this state, of, in, and to all lands, at any time heretofore left for streets or highways, in the city of New York, by any person or persons whomsoever, shall be, and hereby is vested in the mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city of New York, and their successors, for the use of streets and highways."
In the various grants by the corporation, of their water-lots on the northeasterly side of the coffeehouse slip, they had given in fee, the right of wharfage in front, and in consideration of erecting certain piers, given to their grantees for twenty years, the wharfage, &c. of the southwesterly sides of such piers, provided they should not grant away the waterlots on that side, which they reserved to themselves a right to do, in which case, the wharfage on the southwesterly side was to cease.
The corporation having granted away the whole of the land to which they were entitled, under their charter, applied in April, 1798, to the legislature, for an act to authorize them to run streets or wharves, of seventy feet width, in front of the water-lots already granted. This, by a law of that month and year, (re-enacted on the 3d of April, 1801,) the legislature was pleased to grant; and by the same act, the proprietors of lots, on the front of which, the streets or wharves might run, were to fill them up, and make piers, according to the directions of the corporation. On non-compliance, the corporation were to be at liberty so to do, and receive the wharfage to their own use. It was also further provided, that the corporation might grant to such proprietors in fee, a common interest in such piers, in proportion to the breadth of their respective lots, under such restrictions, and within such limits as the mayor, &c. might deem just and proper.1
Two years after the above act of 1801, the legislature passed an amendatory law which granted additional powers and rights to the corporation, by which the corporation were authorized, at their own expense, to cause public basins to be formed, and had power to take to their own use the wharfage and slippage, provided it did not deprive persons, who might have made piers by direction of the cor
Mayor, &c. of New York v. Scott, 1 Caines (N. Y.) R. 543.