Glenn v. United States
54 U.S. 250 (1851)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Glenn v. United States, 54 U.S. 13 How. 250 250 (1851)

Glenn v. United States

54 U.S. (13 How.) 250

Syllabus

In 1796, when Delassus was commandant of the port of New Madrid, he exercised the powers of subdelegate and had authority, under the instructions of the Governor General of Louisiana, to make conditional grants of land.

He made a grant to Clamorgan, who stipulated, upon his part, that he would introduce a colony from Canada for the purpose of cultivating hemp and making cordage.

This obligation he entirely failed to perform.

By the laws and ordinances of the Spanish colonial government, which this Court is bound under the act of 1844 to adopt as one of their rules of decision, this condition had to be performed before Clamorgan could become possessed of a perfect title.

The difference between this case and that of Arredondo explained.

If the Spanish governor would have refused to complete the title, this Court, acting under the laws of Congress, must also decline to confirm it.

After the cession of the Province of Louisiana to the United States, Clamorgan could not legally have taken any steps to fulfill his condition. He was forbidden by law. By the treaty of cession, no particular time was allowed for grantees to complete their imperfect grants. It was left to the political department of the government, and Congress accordingly acted upon the subject.

The 3d day of March, 1804, was the time fixed by Congress, and the grant must now be judged of, as it stood upon that day.

Glenn and Thruston, the appellants, filed a petition in the District Court of Arkansas, on 24 January, 1846, in virtue of the act of 1824, as revived by the act of 1844, claiming confirmation of a concession of a large tract of country which lies partly in Arkansas and partly in Missouri, consisting of nearly half a million of acres of land and known as the Clamorgan grant.

Page 54 U. S. 251

The circumstances of this grant are fully set forth in the opinion.

The district court decided against the claim, and the petitioners appealed to this Court.

Page 54 U. S. 252

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