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MOORE V. ROBBINS, 96 U. S. 530 (1877)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Moore v. Robbins, 96 U.S. 530 (1877)

Moore v. Robbins

96 U.S. 530


1. A patent for public land, when issued by the Land Department, acting within the scope of its authority, and delivered to and accepted by the grantee, passes the legal title to the land. All control of the Executive Department of the government over the title thereafter ceases.

2. If there be any lawful reason why the patent should be cancelled or rescinded, the appropriate remedy is by a bill in chancery, brought by the United States, but no executive officer is authorized to reconsider the facts on which it was issued and to recall or rescind it or to issue one to another party for the same tract.

3. But when fraud or mistake or misconstruction of the law of the case exists, the United States, or any contesting claimant for the land, may have relief in a court of equity.

4. Under sec. l4 of the Act of 1841, 5 Stat. 457, and the Act of March 3, 1853, 10 id. 244, no preemption claim was of any avail against a purchaser of the land at the public sales ordered by the proclamation of the President unless, before they commenced, the claimant had proved up his settlement and paid for the land.

5. The decision of the Secretary of the Interior against a purchaser at the public sales in favor of a preemption claimant who had failed to make the required proof and payment was erroneous as a misconception of the law, and the equitable title should be decreed to belong to the purchaser

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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