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Opinion of the Court.
made under the order of the Secretary of War. And it is averred, as already stated, in the information that all the lots were sold and conveyed by the United States to divers persons" by and according to the said plat and with reference to the same."
It was the intention of the government to have a plat made conformably to the provisions of the statute, and it is plain, from its inspection, that all the essential requisites were followed. Nor is any reason suggested why a different effect should be given to the plat and its record in this case from that of similar plats made and recorded by other land proprietors. And if, as we have already said, the government, charged with the duty of disposing of a tract of public land within a State, chooses to proceed under the provisions of a particular statute of that State, it is clear that the same legal effect should be given to its proceeding as in case of an individual proprietor. The effect of the recording of the plat in this case was therefore to vest in the city of Chicago the legal title to the streets, alleys, and public ground in Fort Dearborn addition, and after its execution and record and sale of the abutting property the United States retained no interest in them, legal or equitable. That interest was as completely extinguished as if made by an unconditional conveyance in the ordinary form. ·
Again, the sale of the lots was, in law, an effectual dedication of the streets and public grounds for municipal uses, and, as observed by counsel, the purchasers of the lots acquired a special interest in the streets and public grounds on which their lots abutted, and the United States could make no disposition of them after the sale inconsistent with the use to which they had been dedicated.
The only parties interested in the public use for which the ground was dedicated are the owners of lots abutting on the ground dedicated, and the public in general. The owners of abutting lots may be presumed to have purchased in part consideration of the enhanced value of the property from the dedication, and it may be conceded they have a right to invoke, through the proper public authorities, the protection
Opinion of the Court.
of the property in the use for which it was dedicated. The only party interested, outside of abutting owners, is the general public, and the enforcement of any rights which such public may have is vested only in the parties clothed with the execution of such trust, who are in this case the corporate authorities of the city, as a subordinate agency of the State, and not the United States.
The United States possess no jurisdiction to control or regulate, within a State, the execution of trusts or uses created for the benefit of the public, or of particular communities or bodies therein. The jurisdiction in such cases is with the State or its subordinate agencies. The case of New Orleans v. The United States, 10 Pet. 662, furnishes an illustration of this doctrine. In that case the United States filed a bill in the District Court for an injunction to restrain the city of New Orleans from selling a portion of the public quay, or levee, lying on the bank of the Mississippi River in front of the city, or of doing any other act which would invade the rightful dominion of the United States over the land or their possession of it. The United States acquired title to the land by the French treaty of 1803. By it Louisiana was ceded to the United States, and it was shown that the land had been appropriated to public uses ever since the occupation of the province by France. It was contended that the title to the land, as well as the domain over it during the French and Spanish governments, were vested in the sovereign, and that the United States by the treaty of cession of the province of Louisiana had succeeded to the previous rights of France and Spain. The land and buildings thereon had been used by both governments for various public purposes. The United States had erected a building on it for a custom-house, in which, also, their courts were held.
It was argued on behalf of the city that the sovereignty of France and Spain over the property, before the cession, existed solely for the purpose of enforcing the uses to which it was appropriated, and that this right and obligation vested in the State of Louisiana, and did not continue in the United States after the State was formed. It was therefore contended that
Opinion of the Court.
the United States could neither take the property, nor dispose of it or enforce the public use to which it had been appropriated. A decree was rendered in the District Court in favor of the United States, and an injunction granted as prayed, but on appeal to the Supreme Court it was reversed, and it was held that the bill could not be maintained by the United States because they had no interest in the property. Upon the question whether any interest in the property passed to the United States under the treaty of cession, the court said, speaking through Mr. Justice McLean:
"In the second article of the treaty, 'all public lots and squares, vacant lands, and all public buildings, fortifications, barracks, and other edifices, which are not private property,' were ceded. And it is contended, as the language of this article clearly includes the ground in controversy, whether it be considered a public square or vacant land, the entire right of the sovereign of Spain passed to the United States.
"The government of the United States, as was well observed in the argument, is one of limited powers. It can exercise authority over no subjects, except those which have been delegated to it. Congress cannot, by legislation, enlarge the Federal jurisdiction, nor can it be enlarged under the treaty-making power.
"If the common in contest, under the Spanish crown, formed a part of the public domain or the crown lands, and the king had power to alienate it, as other lands, there can be no doubt that it passed under the treaty to the United States, and they have a right to dispose of it the same as other public lands. But if the King of Spain held the land in trust for the use of the city, or only possessed a limited jurisdiction over it, principally, if not exclusively, for police purposes, was this right passed to the United States under the treaty?
"That this common, having been dedicated to the public use, was withdrawn from commerce, and from the power of the king rightfully to alien it has already been shown; and also, that he had a limited power over it for certain purposes. Can the Federal government exercise this power? If it can, this court has the power to interpose an injunction or interdict
Opinion of the Court.
to the sale of any part of the common by the city if they shall think that the facts authorize such an interposition.
"It is insisted that the Federal government may exercise this authority under the power to regulate commerce.
"It is very clear that, as the treaty cannot give this power to the Federal government, we must look for it in the Constitution, and that the same power must authorize a similar exercise of jurisdiction over every other quay in the United States. A statement of the case is a sufficient refutation of the argument.
"Special provision is made in the Constitution for the cession of jurisdiction from the States over places where the Federal government shall establish forts or other military works. And it is only in these places, or in the Territories of the United States, where it can exercise a general jurisdiction.
"The State of Louisiana was admitted into the Union on the same footing as the original States. Her rights of sovereignty are the same, and, by consequence, no jurisdiction of the Federal government, either for purposes of police or otherwise, can be exercised over this public ground, which is not common to the United States. It belongs to the local authority to enforce the trust and prevent what they shall deem a violation of it by the city authorities.
"All powers which properly appertain to sovereignty, which have not been delegated to the Federal government, belong to the States and the people."
The decree of the District Court was accordingly ordered to be reversed and annulled.
This doctrine of the Supreme Court in the New Orleans case is decisive of the question pending before us in the present case and must control the decision.
It was also held in Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois, that the ownership in fee of the streets, alleys, ways, commons, and other public ground on the east front of the city bordering upon Lake Michigan, in fractional section ten, was a good title, the reason assigned being that by the statute of Illinois the making, acknowledging, and recording
Dissenting Opinion: Brewer, Brown, JJ.
of plats operated to vest the title in the city in trust for the public uses to which the grounds were applicable. 146 U. S. 387, 462.
It follows from these views that the United States have no just claim to maintain their contention to control or interfere with any portion of the public ground designated in the plat of the Fort Dearborn reservation. The decree dismissing the information will therefore be
MR. JUSTICE BREWER, with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE BROWN, dissenting.
I am unable to concur in the views expressed by the court in this case. I agree that the United States have no governmental interest or control over the premises in question; that as a sovereign they have no right to maintain this suit; that by the act of dedication they parted with the title, and that, in accordance with the statute of the State in respect to dedication, the fee passed to the city of Chicago, to “be held in the corporate name thereof, in trust to and for the uses and purposes set forth and expressed or intended." I agree that the only rights which the United States have are those which any other owner of real estate would have under a like dedication; but I think the law is that he who grants property to a trustee, to be held in trust for a specific purpose, retains such an interest as gives him a right to invoke the interposition of a court of equity to prevent the use of that property for any other purpose. Can it be that, if the government, believing that the Congressional Library has become too large for convenient use in this city, donates half of it to the city of Chicago, to be kept and maintained as a public library, that city can, after accepting the donation for the purposes named, give away the books to the various lawyers for their private libraries, and the government be powerless to restrain such disposition? Do the donors of libraries or the grantors of real estate in trust for specific purposes, though parting with the title, lose all right to invoke the aid of a court of equity to