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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Heirs of Arredondo, 38 U.S. 13 Pet. 133 133 (1839)

United States v. Heirs of Arredondo

38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 133


A concession of thirty-eight thousand acres of land was made in 1817 by the Governor of East Florida to F. M. Arredondo in consideration of services to the Crown of Spain. The petition to the governor asking for the grant described the situation of the land and asks, as the survey could not be made for want of surveyors, and the surveyor appointed by the government having other occupations, could not attend, that the issuing of the title should be suspended until the plot of the land could be obtained, but that in the meantime the decree of the governor on the petition should serve the petitioner as the title. To this application the assent of the governor was given by a decree ordering a concession in conformity with the petition. No survey was made under the concession while Florida remained under the dominion of Spain or at any time after the cession of the territory to the United States. The Court held that want of a survey does not interfere with the title of a grantee. The land granted must be taken, as near as may be, to place described in the petition, and cannot be taken elsewhere, and if it cannot be found there, the grantee has no claim to an equivalent, and if it shall be found to interfere with previous grants to third persons, the concession will be lessened in quantity according to the extent of the rights of third persons, and an equivalent for such diminution cannot be surveyed elsewhere.

The acts of Congress for ascertaining claims and titles to lands in Florida, whilst they recognize patents, grants, concessions, or orders of survey as evidence of title when lawfully made, do not permit, in case of a deficiency in the quantity from any cause whatever, the survey to be extended on other land.

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