Where the preliminary proceedings to a grant of land in
California were not produced, and the grant and certificate of
approval came from the hands of the claimants, no record of them
being found among the Mexican archives or in any book, nor is there
any evidence of possession or occupation deserving notice or
consideration, the case will be remanded to the court below for
The state of Pico's title is mentioned in the opinion of the
Court, and need not be repeated.
Page 63 U. S. 415
MR. JUSTICE NELSON delivered the opinion of the Court.
The appellee presented to the board of commissioners a claim for
eleven square leagues of land, known by the name Moquelamos,
situate in the County of Calaveras, California. The board rejected
the claim, but, on appeal to the district court and the production
of some further proof, that court affirmed it.
The preliminary proceedings required by the regulations of 1828
before a grant of the public lands were not produced, if any
existed. The only evidence of the title is a grant of the tract by
a formal title to the claimant, dated Los Angeles, 6 June, 1846,
signed by the Governor, Pio Pico, and J. M. Moreno, the Secretary
of State, and two other papers relied on as furnishing proof that
the grant was approved by the departmental assembly. One of them is
a certificate to that effect of the governor and secretary bearing
date 15th June, 1846; the other purports to be a communication from
N. Botello, deputy secretary of the departmental assembly, of the
approval, to Moreno, secretary of state, for the information of the
governor. This approval, according to the deputy secretary of the
assembly, was in a session held on the 15th July, 1846. The paper
was found among the Mexican archives.
Page 63 U. S. 416
The other documents -- the grant and certificate of approval --
came from the hands of the claimant. No record of them was found
among the Mexican archives or in any book, nor is there any
evidence of possession or occupation deserving notice or
The case falls within the principles and is governed by the
views of the Court in the case of the United
States v. Teschmaker,
decided at this term. Besides
the suspicious character of the grant, it appears to be wholly
destitute of merit.
The decree below reversed, and the case remanded for further