Dawson's Lessee v. Godfrey,
Annotate this Case
8 U.S. 321 (1808)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Dawson's Lessee v. Godfrey, 8 U.S. 4 Cranch 321 321 (1808)
Dawson's Lessee v. Godfrey
8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 321
A person born in England before the year 1775, and who always resided there, and never was in the United States, is an alien; and could not in the year 1793 take lands in Maryland by descent from a citizen of the United States.
Russel Lee, a citizen of the United States, in the year 1793 died seized in fee of a tract of land called Argyle, Cowall, and Lorn, situated in that part of the District of Columbia which was ceded to the United States by the State of Maryland. Mrs. Dawson, the lessor of the plaintiff, would be entitled to the land by descent unless prevented by the application of the principle of alienage. She was born in England before the year 1775, always remained a British subject, and was never in the United States.
The court below instructed the jury that she was an alien, and could not take the land by descent from Russel Lee in the year 1793.