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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Cervantes, 59 U.S. 18 How. 553 553 (1855)

United States v. Cervantes

59 U.S. (18 How.) 553


The court again decides, as in United States v. Reading, page 1 that it was the duty of the Governor of California, and not that of the grantee, to submit a grant of land to the departmental assembly.

And, moreover, when the case was submitted, and a committee reported in favor of the grant, but no final action appeared to have been had upon the matter, the grantee should have the benefit of the presumption of a decision in his favor.

It again decides, as in the preceding case of Arguello v. United States, that the ten littoral leagues spoken of in the regulations of 1824 and 1828 do not mean prohibition of grants of land to native citizens for their own use.

The title to lands held by the missions of California was never vested in the church, which had only an usufruct in them, and in the present case the mission assented to the grant in question.

The 17th section of the regulations of 1828 has no application to the present case. Also, in 1833 and 1834, the government of Mexico passed laws to secularize the missions.

The nature of the claim is stated in the opinion of the Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 59 U. S. 554

The decree of the district court was as follows:

"This cause came on to be heard at the above-stated court on the transcript and evidence and the arguments of counsel for the United States, and for the claimant Cruz Cervantes being. It is hereby ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the decision and decree of the board of commissioners, for the ascertainment and settlement of private land claims in claim of the appellant, Cruz Cervantes, be and the same is hereby confirmed to the extent of two square leagues or sitios de ganado mayor, and for no more, being the same land described in the grant and expediente referred to therein, and of which judicial possession was given to him, as appears by the evidence, provided that the said quantity to him granted and now to him confirmed be contained within the boundaries called for in said grant and map to which the grant refers, and, if there be less than two square leagues, or sitios de ganado mayor, within the said bounds, then there is confirmed to him the said less quantity."

"M. H. M'ALLISTER, Circuit Judge"

"OGDEN HOFFMAN, JR., District Judge"

From this decree the United States appealed to this Court.

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