THE COMPACT BETWEEN MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA RELATING TO THE JURISDICTION AND NAVIGATION OF THE POTOMAC AND POKOMOKE RIVERS
At a meeting of the Commissioners appointed by the General Assemblies of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland, for forming a compact between the two States to regulate and settle the Jurisdiction and Navigation of Potomack and Pokomoke Rivers and that part of Chesapeake Bay which lieth within the Territory of Virginia to wit George Mason and Alexander Henderson Esquires on the part of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Daniel of Saint Thomas Jenifer, Thomas Stone and Samuel Chase Equires on the part of the State of Maryland, at Mount Vernon in Virginia on the twenty eighth day of March in the Year one thousand seven hundred and eighty five, the following compact was mutually agreed to by the said Commissioners.
The Commonwealth of Virginia disclaims all Rights to impose any Toll Duty or Charge, prohibition or Restraint on any Vessel whatever sailing through the Capes of Chesapeake Bay to the State of Maryland, or from the said State through the said Capes outward bound, and agrees that the Waters of Chesapeake Bay and the River Pokomoke within the limits of Virginia be forever considered as a common High Way free for the Use and Navigation of any Vessel belonging to the said State of Maryland or any of its Citizens, or carrying on Commerce to or from the said State or with any of its Citizens and that any such Vessel inward or outward bound may freely enter any of the Rivers within the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Harbour, or for safety against an Enemy without the payment of any Port Duty or any other Charge and also that the beforementioned Ports of Chesapeake Bay and Pokomoke River be free for the Navigation of Vessels from one part of the State of Maryland to another.
The State of Maryland agrees that any Vessel belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia or any of its Citizens, or carrying on Commerce to or from the said Commonwealth or with any of its Citizens may freely enter any of the Rivers of the State of Maryland as a Harbour or for safety against an Enemy without the payment of Port Dutys or any other Charge.
Vessels of War the property of either State shall not be subject to the payment of any Port-Duty or other charge.
Vessels not exceeding forty feet Keel nor fifty Tons burthen the property of any Citizen of Virginia or Maryland, or of Citizens of both States trading from one State to the other only, and having on board only the produce of the said States, may enter and trade in any port of either State with a Permit from the naval officer of the District from which such Vessel departs with her Cargo and shall be subject to no Port Charges.
All Merchant Vessels (except such as are described in the fourth Article) navigating the River Potomack shall enter and clear at some Naval office on the said River in one or both States according to the Laws of the State in which the Entry shall be made, and when any Vessel shall make an Entry in both States such Vessel shall be subject to Tonnage in each State only in proportion to the Commodities carried to or taken from such State.
The River Potomack shall be considered as a common High Way, for the purpose of Navigation and Commerce to the Citizens of Virginia and Maryland and of the United States and to all other Persons in amity with the said States trading to or from Virginia or Maryland.
The Citizens of each State respectively shall have full property in the Shores of Potomack River adjoining their Lands with all Emoluments and advantages thereunto belonging and the privilege of making and carrying out Wharfs and other Improvements so as not to obstruct or injure the Navigation of the River; But the Rights of fishing the River shall be common to and equally enjoyed by the Citizens of both States, provided that such common Rights be not exercised by the Citizens of the one State to the Hinderance or Disturbance of the Fisheries on the Shores of the other State, and that the Citizens of neither State shall have a Right to fish with Nets or Seines on the Shores of the other.
All Laws and Regulations which may be necessary for the preservation of Fish or for the performance of Quarentine in the River Potomack, or for preserving and keeping open the Channel and Navigation thereof, or of the River Pokomoke within the Limits of Virginia, by preventing the throwing out Ballast, or giving any other obstruction thereto, shall be made with the mutual Consent and Approbation of both States.
Light Houses, Beacons, Bouys, or other necessary Signals shall be erected fixed and maintained, upon Chesapeake Bay, between the Sea and the mouths of the Rivers Potomack and Pokomoke and upon the River Potomack, at the Expence of both States—if upon Potomack River at the joint and equal Charge of both States and if upon the beforementioned part of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia shall defray five Parts, and Maryland three Parts of such Expence, and if this proportion shall in future times be found unequal, the same shall be corrected. And for ascertaining the proper places, mode and Plans for erecting and fixing Light Houses, Bouys, Beacons and other signals as aforesaid, both States shall upon the application of either to the other appoint an equal number of Commissioners, not less than three or more than five from each State to meet at such times and places as the said Commissioners or a major part of them shall judge fit, to fix upon the proper places, mode and Plans for erecting and fixing such Light Houses, Beacons, or other Signals and report the same with an Estimate of the Expence thereof to the Legislatures of both States for their approbation.
All Piracies, Crimes or Offenses commited on that part of Chesapeake Bay which lies within the limits of Virginia or that part of the said Bay where the Line of Division from the South Point of Potomack River (now called Smiths Point) to Watkins's Point near the mouth of Pokomoke River may be doubtful and on that part of Pokomoke River within the limits of Virginia, or where the line of Division between the two States upon the said River is doubtful, by any Persons not Citizens of the Common wealth of Virginia against the Citizens of Maryland shall be tried in the Courts of the State of Maryland which hath legal Cognizance of such offences. And all Piracies, Crimes and Offences commited on the before mentioned Parts of Chesapeake Bay and Pokomoke River by any Persons not Citizens of Maryland against any Citizen of Virginia shall be tried in the Courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia which hath legal Cognizance of such offences. All Piracies, Crimes and Offences commited on the said Parts of Chesapeake Bay and Pokomoke River by Persons not Citizens of either State against Persons not Citizens of either State shall be tried in the Court of the Commonwealth of Virginia having legal cognizance of such offences. And all Piracies, Crimes, and Offences commited on the said Parts of Chesapeake Bay and Pokomoke River by any Citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia or of the State of Maryland, either against the other, shall be tried in the Court of that State of which the offender is a Citizen. The Jurisdiction of each State over the River Potomack shall be exercised in the same manner as is prescribed for the beforementioned Parts of Chesapeake Bay and Pokomoke River in every respect except in the case of Piracies, Crimes and Offences commited by Persons not Citizens of either State upon Persons not Citizens of either State. In which Case the offenders shall be tried by the Court of the State to which they shall first be brought. And if the Inhabitants of either State shall commit any Violence Injury or Trespass to or upon the Property or Lands of the other, adjacent to the said Bay and Rivers, or to any Person upon such Lands, upon proof of due Notice to the Offender to appear and answer, any Court of Record or Civil Magistrate of the State where the Offence shall have been commited having jurisdiction thereof, may enter the appearance of such Persons and proceed to trial and Judgement in the same manner as if legal Process had been served on such offender, and such Judgement shall be valid and effectual against the Person and Property of such Offender both in the State where the offence shall have been commited and also in the State where the said offender may reside, and execution may be issued by the Court or Magistrate giving such Judgement, in the same manner as upon Judgements given in other Cases or upon a transcript of such Judgement, properly authenticated being produced to any Court or Magistrate of the State where such offender may reside having Jurisdiction within the State or County where the Offender may reside in Cases of a similar Nature. Such Court or Magistrate shall order execution to issue upon such authenticated Judgement in the same manner and to the same extent as if the Judgement had been given by the Court or Magistrate to which such transcript shall be exhibited.
Any Vessel entering in any Port on the River Potomack may be libelled or attached for Debt by Process from the state in which such Vessel entered, and if the commercial regulations of either State shall be violated by any Person carrying on Commerce in Potomack or Pokomoke Rivers, the Vessel owned or commanded by the Person so offending, and the property on board may be seized by Process from the State whose Laws are offended, in order for trial, and if any Person shall fly from Justice in a civil or criminal Case or shall attempt to defraud Creditors by removing his Property, such Persons or any Property so removed may be taken on any Part of Chesapeake Bay or the Rivers aforesaid by Process of the State from which such Person shall fly or Property be removed. And Process from the State of Virginia may be served on any Part of the said Rivers upon any Person, or Property of any Person, not a Citizen of Maryland indebted to any Citizen of Virginia or charged with Injury having been by him commited; and Process from the State of Maryland may be served on any Part of the said Rivers upon any Person, or Property of any Person, not a Citizen of Virginia indebted to any Citizen of Maryland or charged with Injury having been by him commited; and in all Cases of trial in pursuance of the Jurisdiction settled by this Compact Citizens of either State shall attend as Witnesses in the other upon a Summons from any Court or Magistrate having Jurisdiction, being served by a proper officer of the County where such Citizens shall reside.
The Citizens of either State having Lands in the other shall have full liberty to transport to their own State the produce of such Lands, or to remove their Effects free from any Duty Tax or charge whatsoever for the liberty to remove such Produce or Effects.
These Articles shall be laid before the Legislatures of Virginia and Maryland, and their approbation being obtained, shall be confirmed and ratified by a Law of each State never to be repealed or altered by either without the Consent of the other.
Commrs. for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
DAN. OF ST. THOS. JENIFER
Commissioners for the State of Maryland