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Statement of the Case.

196 U. S.

River, and almost parallel with the course of the stream, so as to leave between the line and the river a narrow strip of land, varying in breadth from fifteen to thirty miles. This small strip of land was acquired by the United States from the Kansas Indians, by the treaty of the third of June, eighteen hundred and twenty-five, and is now unappropriated and at the free disposal of the General Government.

. These
considerations seem to us sufficiently obvious to impress upon
the public mind the necessity of interposing, whenever it is
possible, some visible boundary and natural barrier between
the Indians and the whites. The Missouri River, bending as
it does, beyond our northern line, will afford the barrier against
all the Indians on the southwest side of that river, by ex-
tending the north boundary of this State in a straight line
westward, until it strikes the Missouri, so as to include within
this State the small district of country between that line and the
river, which we suppose is not more than sufficient to make
two, or at most three, respectable counties.
In every

view, then, we consider it expedient that the district of country
in question should be annexed to and incorporated with the
State of Missouri; and to that end we respectfully ask the
consent of Congress.
With these views of the present
condition and future importance of that little section of coun-
try, and seeing the impossibility of conveniently attaching it
now or hereafter to any other State, your memorialists con-
sider it highly desirable, and indeed necessary, that it should
be annexed to and form a part of the State of Missouri. And
to the accomplishment of that desirable end we respectfully
request the assent of Congress."

A subsequent act, entitled "An act to extend the western boundary of the State of Missouri to the Missouri River," approved June 7, 1836, provided: "That when the Indian title to all the lands lying between the State of Missouri and the Missouri River shall be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands shall be hereby ceded to the State of Missouri, and the western boundary of said State shall be then extended to the

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Missouri River, reserving to the United States the original right of soil in said lands, and of disposing of the same: Provided, That this act shall not take effect until the President shall by proclamation, declare that the Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall it take effect until the State of Missouri shall have assented to the provisions of this act." 5 Stat. 34.

It is alleged in the bill that Congress intended by the act of 1836 to meet the wishes of Missouri as expressed in its memorial; that after the passage of that act the President, by proclamation, declared that the Indian title to the lands. covered by that act had been extinguished; and that Missouri duly assented to its provisions.

By an act of Congress approved February 9, 1867, Nebraska was admitted into the Union, with the following boundary: "Commencing at a point formed by the intersection of the western boundary of the State of Missouri with the fortieth degree north latitude; extending thence due west along said fortieth degree north latitude to a point formed by its intersection with the twenty-fifth degree of longitude west from Washington; thence north along said twenty-fifth degree of longitude to a point formed by its intersection with the fortyfirst degree of north latitude; thence west along said forty-first degree of north latitude to a point formed by its intersection. with the twenty-seventh degree of longitude west from Washington; thence north along said twenty-seventh degree of west longitude to a point formed by its intersection with the fortythird degree north latitude; thence east along said forty-third degree of north latitude to the Reya Paha River; thence down the middle of the channel of said river, with its meanderings, to its junction with the Niobrara River; thence down the middle of the channel of said Niobrara River, and following the meanderings thereof, to its junction with the Missouri River; thence down the middle of the channel of said Missouri River, and following the meanderings thereof, to the place of beginning." 14 Stat. 391; 13 Stat. 47.

Argument for State of Missouri.

196 U. S.

Mr. Edward C. Crow, Attorney General of the State of Missouri, and Mr. Sam B. Jefferies, for the State of Missouri:

The only question here involved-that the central channel of Missouri River wherever it may at any time run is the boundary line between Missouri and Nebraska-is one of law. The contention of Missouri is that the central thread of the middle channel of the Missouri River is the dividing line between the States in question, and that this central thread constitutes at all times the proper line of division regardless of where it may run or be located.

The act of Congress, annexing Platte's Purchase to the jurisdiction of Missouri, construed in a practical way and in conformity with the legislative memorial of Missouri, approved June 15, 1831, unquestionably fixes the Missouri River as the boundary and brands it as the perpetual and natural monument without further description or further evidence.

There can be no question but that the Missouri River was designated as a natural monument by both the act of annexation and the memorial requesting the same. Being a natural monument, it must stand as ordained, for natural monuments are objects permanent in character, if they are found upon land as they were placed by nature, such as streams, lakes and ponds. 3 Washburn's Real Property, 5th ed., 435; Tiedeman on Real Property, 2d ed., § 831.

Where a river is made the boundary between jurisdictions, the middle of the river is considered the point or line of demarkation, or, in other words, the term "river" when used to designate a boundary between two jurisdictions, means, in law, the middle of the river. Stanford v. Manin, 30 Georgia, 355; Hicks v. Coleman, 85 Am. Dec. 103; Lowell v. Robinson, 33 Am. Dec. 673; Hardin v. Jordan, 140 U. S. 380.

It is not the meander line formed by what may be termed the water's margin, but the waters themselves which constitute the real boundary. Railroad Co. v. Schurmer, 7 Wall. 272; Jeffries v. East Omaha Land Co., 134 U. S. 178; Houck v. Yates, 82 Illinois, 179; Fuller v. Dauphin, 124 Illinois, 542; St. Louis

196 U. S.

Argument for State of Missouri.

Bridge Co. v. People ex rel., 125 Illinois, 228; Butterworth v. St. Louis Bridge Co., 123 Illinois, 535.

It has been said that a river is composed of the bed, banks and stream. Eastman v. Water Company, 43 Minnesota, 60. This, however, is not an exact statement of the true meaning of the term. A more apt way of putting it is that a river is composed of a stream of constantly and continuously flowing water, through a natural drainage basin, with the bed and banks as essential incidents to it. It is not the bed and banks. which constitute the river, but the natural stream of water. When observed from the standpoint of the reason upon which the legislature of Missouri memorialized Congress to annex Platte's Purchase to Missouri and the act of Congress annexing the same, no other conclusion can be reached but that it was intended to make the stream the boundary line wherever that stream might at any time run.

The channel is the passageway between the banks through which the water of the stream flows. Benjamin v. River Improvement Company, 42 Michigan, 628.

The term "natural channel" includes not only all channels through which in the existing conditions of the country water naturally flows, but new channels through which it might afterwards flow. Larrabe v. Cloverdale, 131 California, 96.

The rule is settled that meander lines are not intended as boundaries, but that the body of the water will be regarded as the true boundary. Jeffries v. East Omaha Land Co., 134 U. S. 178; Mitchell v. Smith, 140 U. S. 406; Hardin v. Jordan, 140 U. S. 371; Clute v. Fisher, 65 Michigan, 48; Norwood v. Smith, 59 Wisconsin, 344. This notwithstanding that in certain instances if a boundary river leaves its old channel and forms a new one, within the limits of either of the States which border on it, the old channel will remain the boundary. Indiana v. Kentucky, 136 U. S. 479; Missouri v. Kentucky, 11 Wall. 395; Nebraska v. Iowa, 143 U. S. 359, however, do not control as different principles and facts are involved. In this case

Argument for State of Missouri.

196 U.S.

that territory known as Platte's Purchase, was annexed to Missouri by reason of a memorial coming from its legislative department in 1831, wherein certain important and substantial reasons were set out why the Missouri River, north of the mouth of the Kaw, should be fixed forever as an absolute boundary of Missouri. Soon afterwards this territory was annexed to the jurisdiction of the State. Congress had undoubted authority to annex the territory in the manner herein described. There can be no question but that it was the intention of the legislature of Missouri to make the request in the manner herein presented, because it was so shown clearly from the resolution.

As the annexation statute construed in the light of the memorial, shows the plain intention of Congress was to make the Missouri River wherever it might run the absolute boundary of the State, it matters not whether those conditions still exist which were considered in the memorial, and which authorized, warranted and induced Congress to so ordain. The conditions which moved Congress to enact the statute may have passed away. That, however, does not deprive the State of Missouri of the right to demand a strict compliance with the original grant as it was intended when made.

Missouri was admitted into the Union in 1820, long prior to the admission of Nebraska and during a time when all the territory immediately west of the Missouri River belonged to the Federal Government. At the time of its admission there was no practical assurance that the territory now known as Nebraska would ever be admitted into the Union. It belonged to the Federal Government to be disposed of at will, to be held as a territory or afterwards subdivided and admitted into the Union as a State.

By accepting the terms of the memorial annexing Platte's Purchase to the State of Missouri, the Federal Government made an absolute guarantee to the people of Missouri that the stream of water flowing from the Rockies, known as the Missouri River, should forever be its absolute boundary line.

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