Keene v. Whitaker
39 U.S. 170 (1840)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Keene v. Whitaker, 39 U.S. 14 Pet. 170 170 (1840)

Keene v. Whitaker

39 U.S. (14 Pet.) 170




The case of Foster and Elam v. Neilson, 2 Pet. 254, and Garcia v. Lee, 12 Pet. 511, which cases decide against the validity of the grants made by the Spanish government in the territory lying west of the Perdido River, and east of the Mississippi River, after the Louisiana treaty of 1803, cited and affirmed.

On 26 November, 1833, the appellant filed a petition in the Circuit Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana claiming under conveyances to him from Daniel Clarke, deceased, a tract of land of nine hundred and forty-seven acres, part of thirty thousand arpents, which in 1804 had been granted by the Spanish intendant, Don Juan Ventura Morales, in the name of the Spanish government, to Don Gilberty Andry, who was the vendor of part of the tract to Daniel Clarke. This tract was situated in that part of what was alleged to be a part of Louisiana by the United States between the River Perdido and the River Mississippi, they claiming the same under the cession of France to the United States of Louisiana. The United States had asserted that this country had been transferred to France by Spain by the Treaty of St. Ildefonso of 1800, and under the treaty with France belonged to the United States. Under this claim, the United States had caused sales of the land to be made and the defendants in error had become the purchasers under the United States of the tract which the petitioner asserted to belong to him under the grant to Don Gilberty Andry.

The petition prays proceedings against those who had purchased from the United States and all just and legal aid in the premises.

The defendants, in their answer to the petition, allege that subsequently to the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, of 1800, the Spanish government never had any right or title to the property claimed. By that treaty, the whole of the territory lying between Mississippi and the Perdido, including the land claimed by the plaintiff, belonged, under the treaty with France, to the United States. The property of the defendants is held under titles from the United States.

The circuit court made a decree against the plaintiff, who, thereupon, prosecuted this writ of error.

Page 39 U. S. 171

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TANEY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case has been submitted by the counsel for the plaintiff in error without argument, and upon looking at the case as agreed on and stated by the parties in the court below it is evident that the principles laid down in the case of Foster and Elam v. Neilson, 2 Pet. 254, and Garcia v. Lee, 12 Pet. 511, must decide this case against the plaintiff. The judgment of the circuit court must therefore be


This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof it is now here ordered and adjudged by this Court that the judgment of the said circuit court in this cause be and the same is hereby affirmed, with costs.

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