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of THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
The Public Right
o BEACH OF THEMISSISIPI, ADJACENT TO NEW-ORLEANS,
INTRUSION OF EDwARD LIVINGSTON:
PREPARED FOR THE USE OF COUNSEL,
Printed at New York in 1812, and now republished, with corrections and additional Notes, by the Author.
* The figures in this table refer to the pages of the original edition of
and placed in the margin.
Edward Livingston, of the territory of olean, having taken possession of the beach of the river Missisipi adjacent to the city of New-Orleans, in defiance of the general right of the nation to the property and use of the beaches and beds of their rivers, it became my duty, as charged with the preservation of the public property, to remove the intrusion, and to maintain the citizens of the United States in their right to a common use of that beach. Instead of viewing this as a public act, and having recourse to those proceedings which are regularly provided for conflicting claims between the public and an individual, he chose to consider it as a private trespass committed on his freehold, by myself personally, and instituted against me, after my retirement from office, an action of trespass, in the circuit court of the United States for the district of Virginia.
Being requested by my Counsel to furnish them with a statement of the facts of the case, as well as of my own ideas of the questions of right, I proceeded to make such a statement, fully as to facts, but briefly and generally as to the questions of right. In the progress of the work, however, I found myself drawn insensibly into details, and finally concluded to meet the questions generally which the case would present, and to expose the weakness of the plaintiff's pretensions, in addition to the strength of the public right. These questions were of course to arise under the laws of the territory of Orleans, composed of the Roman, the French, and the Spanish codes, and written in those languages. The books containing them are so rare in this country as scarcely to be found in the best furnished libraries. Having more time than my Counsel, consistently with their duties to others, could bestow on researches so much out of the ordinary line, I thought myself bound to facilitate their labours, and to furnish them with such materials as I could collect. I did it by full extracts from the several authorities, and in the languages in which