McLaughlin v. United States
107 U.S. 526 (1883)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McLaughlin v. United States, 107 U.S. 526 (1883)

McLaughlin v. United States

Decided March 5, 1883

107 U.S. 526

Syllabus

1. Where a bill was filed in the circuit court by the district attorney in the name of the United States to vacate a patent for lands, but no objection touching his authority to bring the suit was made and a duly certified copy of a letter whereby he was directed by the Attorney General to institute the requisite proceedings was filed here, held that the decree for the complainant will not be reversed on such an objection raised here for the first time.

2. The patent in question, bearing date May 31, 1870, and issued to a railroad company in professed compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant made by the acts commonly known as the Pacific Railroad Acts covers lands which, the bill alleges, contain valuable quicksilver and cinnabar deposits, and were known to be "mineral lands" when the grant was made and the patent issued. This Court, being satisfied that the material allegations of the bill are true, that as early as 1868 and since cinnabar was mined upon the lands, and that at the time of the application for a patent their character was known to the defendant, the agent of the company, who now claims them under it, affirms the decree canceling the patent and declaring his title to be null and void.

Page 107 U. S. 527

3. Quaere what extent of mineral, other than coal and iron, found in lands will exclude them from the said grant, and can the United States maintain a suit to set aside a patent if, before it was issued, the lands therein mentioned were not known to be mineral, and if so, what are the rights of innocent purchasers from the patentee?

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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