UNITED STATES V. MARVIN, 44 U. S. 620 (1845)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Marvin, 44 U.S. 3 How. 620 620 (1845)

United States v. Marvin

44 U.S. (3 How.) 620


The Act of 26 May, 1830, providing for the final settlement of land claims in Florida, must be construed to contain the same limitation of time within which claims were to be presented as that provided by the Act of 23 May, 1828.

That limitation was one year. The courts of Florida therefore had no right to receive a petition for the confirmation of an incomplete concession after 26 May, 1831.

The case in 40 U. S. 15 Pet. 329, examined and distinguished from the present.

This was a land claim, and as the opinion of the court turned entirely upon the question whether or not the claim was filed in time in the court below, it is only necessary to state the circumstances which bear upon that point.

On 23 May, 1828, 1 Land Laws 439, Congress passed an act the 12th section of which was as follows:

"That any claims to lands, tenements, and hereditaments, within the purview of this act, which shall not be brought by petition before said court within one year from the passage of this act or which, being brought before said court, shall, on account of the neglect or delay of the claimant, not be prosecuted to a final decision within two years, shall be forever barred both at law and in equity, and no other action at common law, or proceeding in equity, shall ever thereafter be sustained in any court whatever."

On 26 May, 1830, another act was passed, 1 Land

Page 44 U. S. 621

Laws 466, providing for the final settlement of land claims in Florida. It confirmed certain claims under a league square, which had been recommended for confirmation by the register and receiver of the land office, acting as commissioners in the District of East Florida, and then proceeded to enact by the 4th section, as follows:

"That all the remaining claims which have been presented according to law and not finally acted upon shall be adjudicated and finally settled upon the same conditions, restrictions, and limitations in every respect as are prescribed by the Act of Congress approved 23 May, 1828, entitled 'An act supplementary to the several acts providing for the settlement and confirmation of private land claims in Florida.'"

On 17 June, 1843, Marvin filed in the Clerk's Office of the Superior Court for the District of East Florida a petition claiming title to seven thousand acres of land which had been granted to Bernardo Segui in the year 1815 by Estrada, then the Governor of East Florida. He further stated that the claim had been presented to the commissioners, recommended by them to Congress for confirmation, and confirmed by Congress to the extent of one league square by the Act of May 23, 1828.

An answer being filed on behalf of the United States and sundry matters being given in evidence by the petitioner, the cause came on for trial, when the court decided that, by the Act of Congress of May 26, 1830, the claimant was not bound to file his petition within one year from the passage of said act, and then proceeded to decree in favor of the claim.

From this decree the United States appealed to this Court.

Page 44 U. S. 622

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