Confirmation of a Spanish grant of land in Florida, to Philip P.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the
This was a petition presented in pursuance of the Act of
Congress of 23 May, 1828, providing for the adjudication of private
land claims in Florida. The petitioners state that their claim is
founded upon a grant for 10,000 acres of land made by the governor
of the province, then under the dominion of the King of Great
Britain, to their ancestor Philip P. Fatio, deceased, and that by
the stipulations of the treaty between their Britannic and catholic
majesties, dated 3 September, 1783, provision was made in the fifth
article that the British proprietors should be allowed a specified
period to sell their lands in the Provinces of East and West
Florida, which were by that treaty ceded to Spain.
It was further provided that where the value of the possessions
was such, that "they should not be able to dispose of them within
the said term, then His Catholic Majesty shall grant them a
prolongation proportioned to that end."
Provision was also made by Spain in favor of such of the British
proprietors as remained in the province and became Spanish
subjects. The ancestor of the petitioners remained and took the
oath of allegiance, and the lands were surveyed and confirmed to
him by the Spanish authorities.
The title was presented to the commissioners, and a report made
in favor of the grant, and by the third section of the act of
Congress, approved May 26, 1830, it was provided
"That all claims derived from the former British government,
Page 33 U. S. 493
contained in the reports of the Commissioners of East Florida,
who did not avail themselves of the treaty between Spain and
England, signed at Versailles on 20 January, 1783, by leaving said
province, but who remained in the same and became Spanish subjects,
and whose titles were approved by the Spanish authorities, and have
been recommended by the commissioners, or the register and receiver
acting as such, be and the same are hereby confirmed."
The treaty referred to in the above recited act was evidently
intended to be that of 3 September, 1783, and the article is the
fifth of that treaty, and not the third, as alleged in the
In addition to the above laws and treaties, the petitioners have
proved a possession, which constitutes a title by prescription, by
the laws of Spain.
It is therefore considered, adjudged and decreed that the decree
of the Superior Court of East Florida be
This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record
from the Superior Court for the Eastern District of Florida, and
was argued by counsel, on consideration whereof it is ordered,
adjudged and decreed by this Court that the decree of the said
superior court in this cause be and the same is hereby affirmed in