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Statement of the Case.
The State denied articulately nearly every material allegation of the bill and therefore the accuracy of the diagrams or maps attached thereto, and asserted the true boundary to be as set forth in her cross bill. And while she admitted “that the deep water channel out of the mouth of Pearl river through the upper course of Lake Borgne and on into the Gulf, as stated in the bill, has been marked by buoys by and under the direction of the United States Government for navigation and commercial purposes,” she denied “that said marking of the deep water channel was ever intended to fix in any manner whatsoever any part of the boundary line between said States," and further denied“ the correctness of complainant's statement that where contiguous States or countries are separated by water, the channel of the waters dividing said States constitutes a boundary line, and defendant specifically denies that such rule is applicable to this case.”
The cross bill averred that the southern boundary line of the State of Mississippi was fixed by the act of Congress, approved March 1, 1817, 3 Stat. 348, c. 23, $ 2.
That by that act Mississippi was given “all lands under the waters south of her well-defined shore line to the distance of six leagues from said shore at every point between the Alabama line and the most eastern junction of Pearl river with Lake Borgne, including all islands within said limit," and "all territory within said limits, not being a part of the mainland of the State of Louisiana, became, was and is a part of the territory of the State of Mississippi."
That the acts of 1812, creating the State of Louisiana, failed " to describe the water line from the most eastern mouth of Pearl river to the Gulf of Mexico," and hence Louisiana proposed, “without authority in law to follow the deep water channel from the mouth of Pearl river to the Gulf of Mexico, that is, as far south as that point in the sea where the waters of Chandeleur Sound merge into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”
That the act creating the State of Mississippi was the organi
202 U. S.
Statement of the Case.
zation of a state government in the western part of Mississippi Territory; that the southern part of the territory of Mississippi was added thereto by an act of Congress approved May 14, 1812, which provided: “That all that portion of territory lying east of Pearl river, west of the Perdido, and south of the thirtyfirst degree of latitude, be, and the same is, hereby annexed to the Mississippi Territory; to be governed by the laws now in force therein, or which may hereafter be enacted, and the laws and ordinances of the United States, relative thereto, in like manner as if the same had originally formed a part of said Territory; and until otherwise provided by law, the inhabitants of the said district hereby annexed to the Mississippi Territory, shall be entitled to one representative in the General Assembly thereof." 2 Stat. 734.
That this act and the act admitting the State of Mississippi “recognized the fact that the boundary line of the State of Louisiana embraced no island in the waters to the east of said State and to the south of the Mississippi mainland, or shore, and within six leagues of the Mississippi shore; that the said Louisiana acts are not in conflict with the aforesaid Mississippi acts, the boundaries of Louisiana only embracing such islands, as clearly shown by said acts creating and admitting her, as were within the Gulf of Mexico and also within three leagues of her Gulf coast, that is to say, within the Gulf of Mexico proper and to the south of said State of Louisiana as contemplated by Congress; that the said line from the mouth of Pearl river to the Gulf of Mexico dividing the Territory of Mississippi from the State of Louisiana was never defined until the
passage of the act creating the State of Mississippi, when, for the first time, the southern boundary of the Mississippi Territory, the western part of which was, by said act, made the State of Mississippi, was accurately defined and established as herein stated; that the line above described and defined by the said Mississippi acts, includes no islands which are within three leagues of the Louisiana mainland and also in the Gulf of Mexico as the limits
of the Gulf of Mexico are defined by the said State in her original bill herein."
That the State of Louisiana "claims title and sovereignty over some of the islands belonging to the State of Mississippi by virtue of certain alleged action of certain officers of the United States Government and local officers of the State of Louisiana," but the claim “is not well founded because of the matters herein set forth and because said islands and territory have not been susceptible to actual use and occupation and because said claim is in violation of sec. 3, art. IV, of the Constitution of the United States.
But if the court should adjudge said islands and territory approved by the aforesaid officials to the State of Louisiana to belong to said State, then cross-complainant prayed that the claim of title of Louisiana thereto “be restricted to the real lands or islands so lost to the State of Mississippi, and be in no case permitted to affect any lands under the waters, or any of the public oyster reefs thereunder.”
It was then alleged that Mississippi had “exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over said waters within eighteen miles of her shore aforesaid," and that by her statutes as codified in 1857 had asserted such jurisdiction.
And that by the legislation of Congress and the State, the “ 'Mississippi Sound' was recognized as a body of water, six leagues wide, wholly within the State of Mississippi, from Lake Borgne to the Alabama line, separate and distinct from the Gulf of Mexico.'”
The cross bill further averred that Congress "in the early history of the Republic, in dealing with the Gulf coast or shore,” was not perfectly familiar with the line, and by several acts creating the Gulf States, respectively, treated the said Gulf coast or shore as a line running generally from east to west,” and said States were, in the contemplation of Congress, “so formed and bounded as to give to each State jurisdiction over the waters adjacent to its shore or coast for a certain specified distance southward from its mainland line; that it was
Statement of the Case.
not intended to give to any State jurisdiction over waters adjacent to and immediately south and in front of any other State or Territory.” But that the deep water channel line contended for by Louisiana would take nearly all of the Hancock County water front, much of that of Harrison County, and possibly some of that of Jackson County, over all which Mississippi had exercised jurisdiction since her admission.
Reference was then made to the organization of Hancock and Jackson Counties in December, 1812, and of Harrison County in 1841; and to certain sections of the Revised Code of Mississippi of 1880 and a codification of 1892, making a general reference to islands within six leagues of the Mississippi shore; and it was charged that during all this time the government of the Mississippi Territory and that of the State of Mississippi had exercised full and complete jurisdiction and sovereignty over the waters in the “Mississippi Sound" as a part of the three counties aforesaid.
The prayer was that it be decreed “that the boundary line dividing the States of Mississippi and Louisiana is the line which, beginning at a point six leagues due south of that point on the shore where the Alabama and Mississippi line enters the Gulf of Mexico, runs westwardly with the meanderings of the shore six leagues always therefrom until said line reaches and touches the real mainland of Louisiana about two miles due west of the 'Indian mound' and 'Lake of the Mound,' and thence in an almost due northward direction along and on the high tide mark of the said Louisiana mainland to Mississippi Sound at or near Nine Mile Bayou, and thence further along said mainland at the high tide mark westwardly to that point due south of the middle of the most southern, or eastern junction of Pearl river with Lake Borgne, and thence from said point due north to the said Pearl river; that the said line be located and permanently buoyed at the joint expense of the two States; that the full title and sovereignty over all the islands and the land under the waters north and east of the said line so established be decreed and adjudged to be in the
Statement of the Case.
State of Mississippi, and that the State of Louisiana and her citizens be perpetually enjoined from disputing such title and sovereignty of the State of Mississippi therein," and for costs and general relief.
The following “Exhibit Map” was attached:
LIVE AUX BA
The State of Louisiana filed replication, and also an answer to the cross bill, the allegations of which were in substance denied.