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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Drummond, 38 U.S. 13 Pet. 84 84 (1839)

United States v. Drummond

38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 84


A concession was made by the Governor of Florida before Florida was ceded to the United States on condition that the grantee should erect a water saw mill, "and with the precise condition that until he executes the said machinery, the grant to be considered void, and without effect until that event takes place." The mill was never erected, and no sufficient reason shown for its nonerection. The court held that the concession gave no title to the land.

Mr. Grundy, Attorney General of the United States, submitted this case to the Court, alleging that the claimant relies on a concession made by Governor Coppinger for 16,000 acres of land, dated September 12, 1816. The grant is upon a condition -- namely the erection of a water saw mill,

"and with the precise condition that until he executes said machinery, this grant will be considered as null and void and without effect or value until that event takes place,"


The mill was never erected. No sufficient reason is shown for its nonerection.

It is insisted that the erection of the mill is a condition precedent; and consequently that until the claimant shows a performance of that condition or some reason for nonperformance which will satisfy the terms of the eighth article of the treaty ceding Florida to the United States, he has no title in law or equity.

This case is believed to be fully decided against the claimants by the decisions of this Court at its last term in the cases of United States v. Mills' Heirs, 12 Pet. 215, and United States v. Kingsley, 12 Pet. 476.

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