Magwire v. Tyler - 66 U.S. 195 (1861)


U.S. Supreme Court

Magwire v. Tyler, 66 U.S. 1 Black 195 195 (1861)

Magwire v. Tyler

66 U.S. (1 Black) 195

Syllabus

1. Surveys under confirmations of Spanish titles in the Upper Louisiana country are, in regard to their correctness, within the jurisdiction of the commissioner of the General Land Office, and that officer has power to adjudge the question of accuracy preliminary to the issuing of a patent.

2. The Secretary of the Interior has the power of supervision and appeal in all matters relating to the General Land Office, and that power is coextensive with the authority of the commissioner to adjudge.

3. The Secretary, in the exercise of his supervisory powers, may lawfully set aside a survey made under a confirmed Spanish grant, order another to be made, and issue a patent upon it.

4. Where the construction of the acts of Congress defining the powers of the Secretary of the Interior is drawn in question in a state court and the decision is against the title set up by maintaining the validity of the Secretary's decision, this Court has jurisdiction to revise the case on writ of error.

This case came up on writ of error to the Supreme court of the State of Missouri. It was commenced in the St. Louis Land Court, equity side, by petition and summons, agreeably to the Code of Missouri. The plaintiff, John Magwire, claimed four arpents by four of land lying in the County of St. Louis, of which the defendants, Mary L. Tyler and others, were wrongfully in possession. The petition prayed a decree for title in them -- for possession -- for an account of profits and an injunction against waste. The defendants answered at length,

Page 66 U. S. 196

denying the material facts set forth in the petition and asserting that they were rightfully in possession. The land court heard the cause, found the facts specially, and made a decree in favor of the defendants dismissing the petition, which was affirmed afterwards by the supreme court of the state, and the plaintiff took this writ of error. What the facts in dispute were and how they were found by the court of original jurisdiction will appear by reference to the opinion of MR. JUSTICE CATRON. The defendants in error moved to dismiss the writ for want of jurisdiction, and the Court heard the argument on that motion, and upon the errors assigned by the plaintiff in the judgment of the state court at the same time.

Page 66 U. S. 198



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