Huse v. Glover,
119 U.S. 543 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Huse v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543 (1886)

Huse v. Glover

Argued December 10, 1886

Decided December 20, 1886

119 U.S. 543


The provision in the Ordinance of l787 that the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence shall be common highways, forever free, without tax, impost, or duty therefor, refers to rivers in their natural state, and does not prevent the State of Illinois from improving the navigation of such waters within its limits or from charging and collecting reasonable tolls from vessels using the artificial improvements as a compensation for the use of those facilities.

Escanaba Co. v. Chicago, 107 U. S. 678, restated and affirmed and applied to this case.

A river does not change its legal character as a highway if crossings by bridges or ferries are allowed under reasonable conditions, or if dams are erected under like conditions.

Cardwell v. American Bridge Co., 113 U. S. 205, and Hamilton v. Vicksburg &c. Railroad, ante, 119 U. S. 280, affirmed.

If, in the opinion of a state, its commerce will be more benefited by improving a navigable stream within its borders than by leaving the same in its natural state, it may authorize the improvements although increased inconvenience and expense may thereby attend the business of individuals.

A "duty of tonnage," within the meaning of the Constitution, is a charge upon a vessel according to its tonnage as an instrument of commerce for entering or leaving a port, or navigating the public waters of the country.

This was a bill in equity to prevent certain officers of the State of Illinois from exacting tolls upon the vessels of the complainants passing through the improved waters of the Illinois River. Respondents demurred, and the bill was dismissed on the demurrer. Complainants appealed. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 119 U. S. 544

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