San Francisco Stories
Alta California, May 22, 1852
Extension of Davis Street.
EDITORS ALTA CALIFORNIA: -- The article in the Herald of yesterday morning written by "one of the lessees" of Pacific street wharf, makes so sorry an opposition to the opening of Davis street, that it would seem almost useless to make reply, yet as the writer by authority claims to forge forward for the purpose of defining the position of those opposed, we propose briefly to notice a few points.
This correspondent makes his bow before the public by quoting the act of the Common Council making the space between Pacific and Vallejo street, outside of Front street a public slip "so long as the Common Council deem it advisable." The Common Council by his own testimony have once "deemed it advisable" to allow Broadway wharf to be extended through the space thus appropriated, and we trust the same body will now "deem it advisable" to extend Davis street, and where any "vested rights" in said slip can be shown, without doubt those rights will be respected. It is to be regretted that in speaking of this subject, it has not been thought proper to enlighten the public by showing how the confirmation of a contract void ab initio can be made valid by subsequent confirmation.
His strictures on the "line of East street" are rather calculated to provoke a smile. If "the line of East street" does not mean, what East street would forge, if extended, will this astute gentleman inform us what it does mean. Why not have said East street, not "the line of East street?" East street terminates at Jackson street, and according to his construction of the intent of the Legislature in this proposition, will the lessee tell us, how far Pacific and Broadway streets would necessarily be extended to meet East street? How far would it be necessary to extend Montgomery street in a direct line to reach the Presidio! According to the views of this lessee, how badly he must have felt, when he found himself so wonderfully restricted by clause of the act of confirmation, and what a wise Legislature to make it/
This correspondent quite forgot, that if by the first water lot act, the Leavenworth grant on one side of Pacific street was confirmed, "any estate held by virtue of any lease or leases executed or confirmed by any officer of the United States on behalf of the same shall be and the same are hereby granted and confirmed to the lessees thereof," and if his position proves anything for the one side of Pacific street, it proves too much for the other.
With the assertion put forth by this correspondent, that "the largest clipper ship which now floats" can lay alongside of Davis street, we merely leave the fact that the Trade Wind did ground at the extremity of Pacific Wharf, nearly or quite three hundred feet beyond this point.
The true patriotism which fires up the bosom of this correspondent for the interests of the city of San Francisco, was premised. I doubt not, by the readers of his article as soon as he gave voluntary information that he was "one of the original lessees of Pacific Wharf," and that the extension of Davis street would materially conflict with his "vested rights," but, as to what rights these wharf monopolies possess to buy tolls and taxes upon the citizens, a point of vital interest to every citizen, his philanthropy has not broken his silence.
But in order that the citizens of San Francisco shall be apprised of the measures to "despoil them of their property," we propose at no distant day to show how for fifty dollars, Mr. Clark acquired possession of the valuable lot between Front, Davis and Pacific streets, (which lot is now leased to some or one of the members of the Pacific Wharf Company), and we think we shall prove something that at least looks very much like fraud.