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decided: November 21, 1887.



Author: Bradley

[ 123 U.S. Page 338]

 MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court.

The petition in this case was filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Florida for the confirmation of a Spanish grant, under the 11th section of the act of June 22d, 1860, entitled "An Act for the final Adjustment of Private Land Claims in the States of Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, and for other purposes," 12 Stat. 85; and the appeal was taken directly from the decree of the District Court to this court pursuant to the provisions of said section. The petition was filed November 22d, 1869, within the time prescribed by the act of March 2d, 1867, 14 Stat. 544. It is conceded by a stipulation filed of record in the cause that the petitioners are the legal representatives of Cerilo de Morant, Doqumeniel*fn1 de Morant, and Laurent*fn1 Millandon, who are deceased. The title of the petitioners is deduced from these deceased parties.

The petition states that on the 8th day of October, 1817, the King of Spain, by Don Jose Masot, governor of West Florida, granted to Cerilo de Morant, then a subject of Spain, a certain tract of land containing 1600 arpents, situated northwest of Pensacola, in West Florida, about twelve miles and a half, bounded northwardly by lands previously granted to Don Emanuel Gonzales, and by public lands, eastwardly and westwardly by public lands, and southwardly by lands granted to Desiderio Quina; that on the 1st of March, 1818, the said land was surveyed for the grantee by the deputy surveyor for West

[ 123 U.S. Page 339]

     Florida, and that on the 6th of March, 1818, the said deputy surveyor delivered to the proper authorities his certificate and plan of said survey, a copy of which is annexed to the petition. That thereupon the grantee proceeded to clear, occupy, settle and cultivate the land. A copy of the expedient is annexed to the petition.

It them proceeds to state that another grant was made in the same manner on the 20th day of January, 1818, to Desiderio Quina, of 800 arpents of land, situated about eleven miles northwest of Pensacola, and surveyed for the grantee by the same deputy surveyor. The plats annexed show that the two tracts adjoin each other. The petition further states that Quina, on the 29th of October, 1818 sold and conveyed his grant to Cerilo de Morant; and that the latter subsequently sold and conveyed three undivided fourth parts of both tracts to Laurent Millandon, Louis Doqumenil de Morant and John Chabaux, one undivided fourth to each; and that Laurent Millandon afterwards purchased the interest of Chabaux, and thus became owner of one undivided half of the land.

The petition further states that the heirs of Cerilo de Morant petition as well in behalf of the interests of the heirs of Louis Docmeniel de Morant, and those of Laurent Millandon, as for themselves.

On the trial the petitioners produced in evidence their documentary title in Spanish, with English translations accompanying the same. The title of each tract consists of a testimonio in the usual form in such cases. The testimonio of the tract granted to Cerilo de Morant consists of, first, Morant's petition to the governor, for 1600 arpents of land, indicating the locality, and dated September 22, 1817; secondly, the governor's reference to the surveyor general to ascertain if the lands were vacant, and to the fiscal, or attorney general of the royal treasury, for his advice as to the legality and merits of the application; thirdly, the favorable answers of these functionaries; fourthly, an order of the governor that the applicant take the oath required by the fiscal, and that the surveyor general proceed to the measurement and survey of the land, and to annex a figurative plan to his return; fifthly, a certificate

[ 123 U.S. Page 340]

     of the oath taken by the applicant; sixthly, the return of the surveyor, dated March 6, 1818, stating the survey of the tract in detail, with a plat annexed; seventhly, the governor's certificate to the testimonio, declaring that it conforms with the original, and that it is issued at the request of the party at Pensacola, on the 5th of April, 1818. This testimonio is very full and particular. The other, issued to Quina, omits a report from the fiscal, as the petitioner merely stated the quantity of land desired, and left it to the governor to designate its location, who referred it to the surveyor general. The latter located the land adjoining to the tract granted to Morant. A survey was made accordingly, and a testimonio issued to the grantee dated the first day of May, 1818.

Both of these testimonios (including the surveys) made complete titles ...

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