The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 4 Dec. 1870

Full Text

WHAT ARE THE NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES! - A case is now before the United States Supreme Court which involves the determination of the question of what are the navigable waters of the United States. The steamer Daniel Ball, which had plied on the Grand River, Michigan, was libeled in the Circuit Court for the western district of Michigan for not having been inspected and licensed under the navigation laws, and the judgement was against her. The case was brought before this court, where it is contended by the government in support of the decision below, that the common law doctrine as to the navigability of waters has its application in this country, and that the navigableness in no respect depends on the ebb and flow of the tide, but solely upon the navigable capacity of the stream. It is also insisted that the statute requiring license applier, if the voyage, though commenced and ended in the State, is a continuation of freight from one state to another. It thus forms a link in commerce among the States, and the subject so engaged is subject to navigation law, under which the proceeding was commenced.

Media Type:
Item Type:
In effect, this meant that small inland freighters and passenger vessels had to be licensed, registered and inspected if they were used on any waters connected with the lakes by navigation routes, since they were potentially part of interstate commerce. Only vessels operating on isolated inland waters (i.e. inland lakes) and vessels not carrying a commodity (such as boom tugs) were exempt. The 123-ton DANIEL BALL (US#6199) was a flat-bottomed riverine packet, built at Grand Rapids in 1861 and burned on the Saginaw River in 1876.
Date of Original:
4 Dec. 1870
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 4 Dec. 1870