U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Hanson, 41 U.S. 16 Pet. 196 196 (1842)
United States v. Hanson
41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 196
APPEAL FROM THE SUPERIOR
COURT OF EAST FLORIDA
A Florida land claim. A grant of five miles square, or sixteen thousand acres of land, was made by the Spanish governor of East Florida at the mouth of the River Santa Lucia. The petition for the grant stated various merits and losses of the petitioner, and asked the grant of five miles square, for the construction of a water saw mill. The grant was given for the purposes mentioned, and "also paying attention to the services and other matters set forth in the petition." No survey under the grant was made by the Surveyor General of Florida, but a survey was made by a private surveyor. The survey did not follow the calls of the grant, and no proof was given that it was made at the place mentioned in the grant. The survey and plat were not made according to the established rules relative to surveys to be made by the Surveyor General under such grants. Nor was the plat made with the proportion of land on the river, required by the regulations. The Superior Court of Florida held that the grant having been made in consideration of services rendered by the grantee, as well as for a water saw mill, it was valid without the erection of the mill, but the survey was altogether void, and of no effect. The decree of the Superior Court of Florida, by which the grant and survey were confirmed, was remanded to the Superior Court of Florida, that court to order the sixteen thousand acres granted, to be surveyed according to the principles stated in the opinion of the Supreme Court.
It has often been held that the authorities of Spain had the power to grant the public domain in accordance with their own ideas of the merits and considerations presented by the grantee, and that the powers of the Supreme Court of the United States extend only to the inquiry whether in fact the grant had been made and its legal effect when made in cases where the law by implication introduced a condition or it was peculiar in its provisions. No special ordinance of Spain introduces conditions into mill grants.