The Act of Congress passed on 26 May, 1824, enabling claimants
to land in Missouri and Arkansas to try their titles, was revived
by the Act of 17 June, 1844, and extended to Louisiana.
By the fifth section of the act of 1824, the claimants were
required to present their claims within two years from the passage
of the law.
This section being revived by the act of 1844, claimants were
required by the latter act to present their claims before 17 June,
Acts supplementary to that of 1824 were not revived by the act
of 1844. Nothing was revived except the original act.
The District Court of Louisiana had no jurisdiction, therefore,
over a case where the petition was not presented until 8 March,
The ninth section of the act of 1824 does not prevent the United
States from appealing, where a claim is for less than one thousand
Page 53 U. S. 427
This was a land case arising under the act of 1824 as revived by
the act of 1844.
On 8 March, 1848, Porche filed his petition in the district
court claiming a confirmation of an order of survey made by
Governor Miro in 1788. It is not necessary to state the title, as
the case went off on a question of jurisdiction.
The district Attorney put in a plea that the two years within
which, by the act of 1824, petitions were to be presented, had
elapsed at the filing of the petition, and that no suit could be
brought against the United States after 17 June, 1846.
The court overruled the plea, and the district attorney then
answered, repeating his plea of limitations and also denying the
allegations of the petition generally.
After sundry proceedings which it is not necessary to state, the
district court, on 6 June, 1849, passed a decree confirming the
From this decree the United States appealed to this Court.
Page 53 U. S. 432
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TANEY delivered the opinion of the Court.
It is evident that the district court had no jurisdiction in
this case, and the petition ought to have been dismissed.
The Act of June 17, 1844, under which the petition was filed,
extended to Louisiana the act of 1824 and revived such parts of it
as had expired. Under this provision, the fifth section of the act
of 1824 was revived and became a part of the law of 1844. And by
this section the time for filing a petition by a claimant under a
French or Spanish grant is in express terms limited to two years
from the passage of the law. The time limited, therefore, for
filing a petition in Louisiana expired on 17 June, 1846, and this
petition was not filed until March 8, 1848, long after the time
fixed by the law. 8 How. 119 [argument of counsel -- omitted].
The acts of 1826 and 1828, referred to in the argument, can have
no bearing on the question. They are not mentioned nor in any
manner referred to by the act of 1844. They were special laws
enlarging the time given by the act of 1824 to claimants in
Missouri and Arkansas to file their petitions. But they are not
extended to Louisiana by the act of 1844. Nothing but the act of
1824 is extended. As to the supposed waiver by the district
Attorney of his objection as to the time of filing the petition by
answering after his plea was overruled, it must be made, we
suppose, upon a mistake as to the fact. For in his answer he
insists upon the same defense. And he had a right to avail himself
of it by way of answer, as well as by plea. But if he had, in
express terms, waived it and entered his waiver on the record, it
would not have given jurisdiction to the court when the act of
Congress had not conferred it.
The objection to the regularity with which the appeal was
brought up must also, we presume, have arisen from some oversight
in the counsel. The record shows that it has been brought up
regularly according to the provisions of the act of Congress. The
objection that an appeal will not lie on behalf of the United
States where the claim is less than one thousand acres is too
clearly untenable to require discussion.
And as the petition was not filed within the time limited by
law, it is not necessary to examine into the merits or want of
merits of the claim. The decree of the district court must be
Page 53 U. S. 433
Reversed and a mandate issued directing the petition to be
This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record
from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern
District of Louisiana and was argued by counsel. On consideration
whereof it is now here ordered, adjudged, and decreed by this Court
that the decree of the said district court in this cause be and the
same is hereby reversed and annulled, and that this cause be and
the same is hereby remanded to the said district court with
directions to dismiss the petition of the claimant.