Field v. Seabury - 60 U.S. 323 (1856)
U.S. Supreme Court
Field v. Seabury, 60 U.S. 19 How. 323 323 (1856)
Field v. Seabury
60 U.S. (19 How.) 323
When a grant or patent for land, or legislative confirmation of titles to land, has been given by the sovereignty or legislative authority only having the right to make it, without any provision having been made, in the patent or by the law,
to inquire into its fairness between the grantor and grantee, or between third parties and the grantee, a third party cannot raise, in ejectment, the question of fraud as between the grantor and grantee.
A bill in equity lies to set aside letters patent obtained by fraud, but only between the sovereignty making the grant and the grantee.
Such a patent or grant cannot be collaterally avoided at law for fraud.
The Act of March 26, 1851 (California laws 764), makes a grant of all lands of the kind within the limits mentioned in it which had been sold or granted by any alcalde of the City of San Francisco, and confirmed by the ayuntamiento or town or city council thereof, and also registered or recorded in some book of record which was at the date of the act in the office or custody or control of the recorder of the County of San Francisco on or before the third day of April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty.
The registry of an alcalde grant in the manner and within the time mentioned in the act is essential to its confirmation under the act. In that particular, the grant under which the plaintiff in this suit claimed is deficient. The defendants brought themselves by their documentary evidence within the confirming Act of March 26, 1852.
The case is fully stated in the opinion of the Court.