descriptions and nomenclature and in popular discussions and legally the term coast “ includes the natural appendages of the territory which rise out of the water.”
In physiography and in general geography the term “ coast ” includes likewise certain types of bars which separate undoubted ocean bays or lagoons (L, Fig. 2) from the mainland, as well as the margin of the mainland bordering the inner sides of such bays or lagoons.
On both types of coasts it is customary to distinguish between an “ outer coast-line ” discontinuous and contouring the seaward sides of the outer islands or the seaward sides of the bars ; and an “ inner coast-line ” or “ mainland coast-line ” continuous and contouring the edge of the main-land (see Fig. 2). The outer coast-line does not enter the mouths of deep bays (B, Fig. 2), but it does follow the great or major windings of the coast as shown in Fig. 2. The inner or mainland coast-line is sometimes called the “ physical coast-line.” This was the line claimed by the United States as the base from which the ten marine leagues were to be measured inland in the Alaskan Boundary dispute.
Besides the inner and outer coast-line known to physiographers, political geography recognizes a third line, the “ political coast-line ” or “ legal coast-line.” This differs from the outer coast-line in being continuous, and in entering bays broadly open to the sea (B, Fig. 2), although it cuts across the mouths of bays where such mouths are not more than six miles wide (sometimes a greater width is permissible). It is the political coast-line which is adopted in international law as the base from which to measure the belt of high sea contiguous to the territory of a given nation formally recognized as under the jurisdiction of that nation. In the Alaskan Boundary dispute, the “ political coast-line ” is apparently confused with “ outer coast-line ” in the Printed Argument of the United States, perhaps because they are often coincident for long distances. It is understood that in the present controversy there is no dispute as to the possession of coastal islands or bars, nor any claim to use the political coast-line as a base of measurement. Attention, therefore, centres on the inner or mainland coast-line, the precise position of which is a subject of dispute in the vicinity of Hamilton Inlet.
THE COAST-LINE DOES NOT ENTER RIVERS AND LAKES.
Few geographical concepts are more firmly established or more widely accepted than that coast, and hence the coast-line which contour them, are restricted to lands bordering on the sea. It would not be correct to say that a contrary conception has never found its way into geographical literature, for in a subject to which men without technical physiographic training have contributed largely, and in which popular geographic terms are loosely used, it would be strange indeed if occasional authority could not be found for the application of the term “ coast-line ” to lands bordering rivers and lakes. The definition of “ coast ” in Ash's Dictionary, London, 1775 and 1795, cited on page 8 of the Counter Case of the Colony of Newfoundland, and
which extends the term to cover “ the bank of any large river or water,” is a case in point. This exceptional definition of the term “ coast ” only serves to set out in bold relief the overwhelming mass of authority specifically restricting the term to lands bordering the sea. The surprising and significant thing is that despite the confusion (noted above) of the terms shore-line and coast-line as applied to the sea margin, and the further fact that rivers and hays as well as seas have shores, all classes of writers-physiographic, geographic, legal and popular—should be so near to perfect agreement in restricting “ coast ” and “ coast-line ” to lands washed by the ocean waters.
By scientists the terms “ coast ” and “ coast-line ” are defined in texts on physical geography or treatises on shore-lines (sometimes without distinguishing them from the shore or shore-line of the sea) as “the line along which the ocean waters wash the edge of the land ” (Gilbert and Brigham), “ the contact of land and sea ” (Tarr and Martin), “ the margin of the sea ” and “ the line formed by the meeting of the land and the sea ” (Chamberlain), “ the region immediately to the landward of the shore-line formed by the intersection of the plane of the sea with the land ” (Gulliver), “ the narrow intricate belt where the sea and land meet ” (Russel), and in the terms of the physiographic text already quoted in an earlier paragraph, “ the shore is the margin of the land next to any large body of water, whereas the coast is the margin of the land next to the sea ” (Arey, Bryant and Clendenin). Physiographers and geographers are unanimous in restricting the coast-line to the border of the sea.
The law fully recognizes the geographic fact that “ coast ” and “ coast-line ” refer to the margins of lands washed by oceanic waters. Thus we find “ coast ” defined in the law dictionaries as “ the margin of a country bounded by the sea ” (Bouvier), “ the edge or margin of a country bounding on the sea ” (Black), “ the land on the edge of a country bordering on the sea ” (English), “ the land which bounds the sea ” (Stroud). The meaning of coast has repeatedly been clearly set forth in the course of judicial decisions involving the interpretation of such terms as coast, coast-line and coast-wise, etc. These tell us that the coast is “ the seaboard of a country ” (Ravesies v. United States, 35 Fed. Rep. 919), “the contact of the mainland with the main sea, where no bay intervenes, and with the latter wherever it exists ” (Hamilton v. Menifee, 11 Tex. 751), “ the land bordering on and washed by the sea ” (Soult v. Corvette l'Africaine, Bee's Adm. Rep. 1810, 208), “ the land which bounds the sea ” (King v. Forty-nine Casks of Brandy, 3 Hagg, Adm 275). These definitions of coast are accepted and promulgated in various legal works (see citations in Joint Appendix, Second Proof, Vol III, p. 1744, Final Print, Vol. V, pp. 2076-2078) Sometimes “ coast ” is made synonymous with “ shore ” but in such cases the context makes it clear that “ seashore ” is meant (Ravesies v. U.S., 35 Fed. Rep. 919).
Since sea-water and tides flow from the ocean into the lower parts of rivers, and the transition from bays to rivers is frequently a gradual one, and since, furthermore, ocean vessels enter freely the mouths of many rivers, we must not be surprised to find an occasional judicial decision apparently
out of harmony with the overwhelming mass of legal opinion concerning the significance of “ coast.” Two instances are cited in footnote 5 on page 1743, Volume III, of the second proof of the Joint Appendix (vide Final Print, Vol. V, p. 2077). In one case the words “ seashore ” and “ coast ” in a certain act were held to be broad enough to include tide and overflowed lands along a river emptying into the ocean, and in another case an act regulating pilotage on vessels on the coast of England was held to extend to the River Thames. But these decisions, whether or not to be explained as so justified by the special matters to which they relate as to constitute apparent rather than real exceptions to the usual rule of law, stand out in relief against the generality of legal usage, and are offset by decisions that vessels on rivers, even if carrying merchandise between different states of the United States, are not engaged in “ coastwise trade,” since “ coast-wise trade means trade or intercourse carried on by sea ” (see Ravesies v. U.S., 35 Fed. Rep. 919). Even more specific are certain of the contrary opinions : “ coast (is) a word very strangely applied to a river, but the proper word applied to the sea ” (The Twee Gebroeders, 3 C. Rob. Adm. 343) ; “ the term coast, in its popular sense is, we believe, applied to the land fronting on the open sea, or inlets off the sea, or bays, but is never applied to that fronting on rivers ” (Regina v. Cox, 1859, 1 P. E., I. Rep. 173) ; “ I do not apprehend that the banks of a river, although subject to tidal influence, come within that description,” i.e., “ coasts of Scotland ” (Bowie v. Marquis of Ailsa, 14 Court of Sessions Cases, 4th Ser. 666).
Following the lead of scientific and legal usage, popular custom almost universally restricts the terms “ coast ” and “ coast-line ” to the margin of the sea. This is reflected in the definitions given by standard dictionaries, where we find “ coast ” (often made synonymous with shore of the sea, as already noted) defined as “ the margin of land next to the sea, the sea-shore ” (Funk and Wagnalls), “ the sea-shore or land near it ; the seaboard or sea marge, that is, land immediately abutting the sea ” (Webster), “ the side edge, or margin of the land next to the sea ; the sea-shore ; the boundary line formed by the sea ; the coast-line (Century), the edge or margin of the land next the sea, the sea-shore ” (Murray's New English) and “ coast-line ” usually in some such terms as “ the outline or contour of a coast ” (See preceding section). Looking backward to past usage, one finds in the older dictionaries almost as great uniformity as in these of to-day. With the exception of Ash's broad definition (1775, 1795) already cited, and one by Richardson (1867) defining coast merely as “ the side, the edge, or margin ; border, limit, or boundary, a district,” we find remarkable agreement that the coast is “ the sea-shore and the adjoining country, in fact, the sea front of the land ” (Smyth 1867), “ the edge, border, or margin of a country bounded by the sea ; the shore ” (Webster 1857 and 1865), “ the edge or margin of the land next the sea ; the shore ” (Johnson 1895, 1818, 1831), “ the edge or margin of the land next the sea, the shore ” (Sheridan 1780), “ the edge of the land next the sea, the sea-shore ” (Bailey 1764), “ a shore or land, which lies near and is washed by the sea ” (Barclay 1744). Some of these authorities admit as other meanings “ side of
anything,” “ frontier border,” “ exterior line or limit,” but such meanings are marked “ obsolete,” “ archaic,” or “ dialect ” by Webster (1857 and 1865) and later authorities. We will recur to this point in discussing the significance of “ coast ” as used in early days, but it is irrelevant to the question as to whether a “ coast-line ” as restricted to the sea margin, or enters tidal rivers and lakes. Among all the authorities Ash (1775 and 1795) alone allows “ coast ” to be applied to the bank of any large river or water, and he gives the first meaning as “ the edge of the land next the sea, the sea-shore,” Bailey (1764) and Johnson (1818 and 1831) specifically state that the term coast “ is not used for the banks of less waters,” Webster (1857), after giving the definition cited above, “ the edge or margin of the land next to the sea, the sea-shore,” says : “ This is the more common application of the word ; and it seems to be used for sea-coast, the border of the sea. Hence it is never used for the bank of a river.”
From the preceding discussion it is clear that we have to deal here, not with a term which is so loosely used as to give equal right to employ the term in any one of several meanings, but with a term which according to the overwhelming mass of authority-scientific, legal, and popular-has one perfectly definite, well recognized significance. If a somewhat figurative use of “ coast ” is justified by some authorities and found in certain Biblical passages, the literal application of the term presents no difficulties. Only by rejecting the overwhelming mass of scientific, legal, and popular authority can one apply the term “ coast ” to the banks of rivers or lakes. The line which contours the coast, the coast-line, is therefore of necessity restricted to lands bordering the sea. It follows around the heads of ocean bays, ocean inlets, and other true arms of the sea ; but it does not enter rivers or lakes.
It appears to be argued in paragraph 16 and 17 of the Newfoundland Counter Case that authority is found in the Alaska Boundary Dispute, and in the King v. Forty-nine Casks of Brandy (3 Hagg. Adm. 257) for drawing the coast-line (from which the belt of territory belonging to Newfoundland is to be measured inland) about the heads of bays, inlets and creeks, and at the head of the tide in rivers and streams ; and that Hamilton v. Menifee (11 Tex. Rep 718) and Regina v. Cox (1859 1 P.E. I. Rep. 170) show that the sinuosities of bays and inlets must be followed. Further, the reference to the Alaskan Boundary Dispute is so worded as to imply that the decision in that case justifies the drawing of a coast-line along “the banks of, e.g., rivers or lakes.”
It is true that the coast-line follows the sinuosities of bays and inlets of the ocean, as understood in the cases of Hamilton v. Menifee and Regina v. Cox, for the bays and inlets there cited are physiographically parts of the sea. This does not mean that the coast-line follows anything which on a given map may happen to be named bay or inlet, for it is common knowledge that such terms are sometimes loosely used, and that a true river may be named an “ inlet,” just as true inlet or bay of the ocean is frequently named a “ river ” But in the cases cited it will be observed that the Court in the one instance contrasts “ bay ” with “ the main sea ” in such a manner as clearly
to indicate its opinion, which I believe is physiographically correct, that the bay in question was a branch of the sea ; and in the other the Court specifies “ inlets off the sea, or bays,” contrasts them with “ the open sea,” and specifically excludes tidal rivers. These two cases therefore support Newfoundland's contention that the coast-line (from which the belt of coast belonging to her is to be measured) should follow the margins of bays and inlets which are physiographically parts of the sea ; but they offer no support for drawing the coast-line into rivers or lakes, being indeed specifically opposed to such an extension of the coast and its bounding line.
Neither the Alaskan Boundary case nor the case of the King v. Forty-Hine Casks of Brandy constitutes any authority for drawing the coast-line into such creeks as are to be classed with tidal streams, or into lakes, or at the head of the tide in rivers or streams. The latter case seems irrelevant to to the present issue, while the Alaskan case, like the other two eases cited above, merely supports the contention that the Coast-line should follow true bays and inlets of the sea, including those salt-water bays which, although unquestionably arms of the sea, are called “ creeks ” in certain coastal regions.
The use of the word “ creeks ” for true arms of the sea is common in diplomatic documents, and appears, for example, in the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 between Great Britain and the United States, where it is agreed that fisherman of both countries shall have the liberty to take fish “ on the coasts and shores, and in the bays, harbours and creeks ” of certain territories, it being specifically stated that such liberty “ applies solely to the sea fishery.” while “ all fisheries in rivers and the mouths of rivers ” are definitely excluded. The Honourable John Hamilton Gray, in his Award as Umpire under the Reciprocity Treaty, points out that Webster and Maunders both define “ creek ” to be, according to English usage and etymology, “ a small inlet, bay or cove, a recess in the shore of the sea or of a river,” although it is recognized that American usage also applies the term to small rivers.*
Geographically the case of The King v. Forty-nine Casks of Brandy does not seem to be related to the present issue. The question there decided was not whether the coast or coast-line extended inland along tidal rivers. Such a question is not even indirectly touched upon. The decision related to Admiralty jurisdiction “ on the coast ” or on the high sea as affected by the rise and fall of the tide, and the court held that “ below the low-water mark the Admiral hath sole and absolute jurisdiction, but between high-water and low-water mark the common law and the Admiral have jusridiction by turns,” provided always that the area in question is on the coast. “ If the water is within a county the common law claims jurisdiction.” It is true that the Court cites authority for the view that “ a port, haven or creek is divisum imperium, except when in the body of a county ” ; but the geographic features of the locality involved in this case, and the full text of the
* One American geographer has stated that he can tell what part of the country a man comes from if he will answer three questions. Of these questions one is : “ What is a creek ?” selected because in one region a creek is a small fresh water stream, at another an arm or bay of the sea.