Burgess v. Gray - 57 U.S. 48 (1853)
U.S. Supreme Court
Burgess v. Gray, 57 U.S. 16 How. 48 48 (1853)
Burgess v. Gray
57 U.S. (16 How.) 48
No equitable and inchoate title to land in Missouri, arising under the treaty with France, can be tried in the state court.
The Act of Congress passed on the 2d of March, 1807, 2 Stat. 440, did not proprio vigore vest the legal title in any claimants, for it required the favorable decision of the commissioner and then a patent before the title was complete.
The Act of 12 April, 1814, 3 Stat. 121, confirmed those claims only which had been rejected by the recorder upon the ground that the land was not inhabited by the claimant on the 20th of December, 1803.
Where it did not appear by the report of the recorder that a claim was rejected upon this specific ground, this act did not confirm it.
The question whether or not the recorder committed an error in point of fact was not open in the state court of Missouri upon a trial of the legal title.
The mere possession of the public land, without title, for any time, however long, will not enable a party to maintain a suit against anyone who enters upon it, and more especially against a person who derives his title from the United States.
The facts of the case are stated in the opinion of the Court.