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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Burgevin, 38 U.S. 13 Pet. 85 85 (1839)

United States v. Burgevin

8 U.S. (13 Pet.) 85


A grant of land in East Florida by the Spanish governor on the condition that a water saw mill should be erected on the land declared void, the condition of the grant not having been performed according to the terms of the grant.

Andrew Burgevin, on 21 May, 1829, presented a petition to the judge of the Superior Court for the District of East Florida claiming a tract of land of five miles square, or sixteen thousand acres, situated in the District of East Florida under a title derived from a grant made to him by the Spanish government on 13 January, 1818.

The petitioner addressed by Andrew Burgevin to Governor Coppinger, asked for the grant for the purpose of erecting a water saw mill on the same with a view not only to remedy the notable want of lumber which is felt at that place, but also to supply the export trade of that article so much recommended to the government of Florida by the superior authority of Havana.

The grant was made to Andrew Burgevin, in consideration of the advantages and benefit which the province would receive from the proposed establishment,

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

The answer of the district Attorney of the United States, among other objections to the allowance of the claim, states that the condition of the grant has not been complied with by the grantee --

"that the said Andrew Burgevin has not built, constructed, or erected the said water saw mill on the said tract of land, but that he has always hitherto wholly failed and neglected to construct or erect the same or to comply with and perform the said conditions in any way or manner whatever. The answer denies that the said Andrew Burgevin has been prevented from constructing and erecting said mill and proceeding in the objects of said grant, owing to the general disturbed and unsettled state of the country, and farther, if any such disturbed and unsettled state of the country at any time existed, it was merely temporary and of very short continuance, whereas more than eleven years have elapsed (as appears by the showing of the said Andrew Burgevin himself) since the date of the said supposed grant, during any part of which period he might, with due and reasonable diligence, have proceeded to erect and construct the said water saw mill on the said tract of land, in accordance with the objects of said supposed grant."

The Superior court of East Florida gave a decree in favor of the petitioner, and the United States prosecuted this appeal.

Page 38 U. S. 86

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