United States v. Osio
THIS was an appeal from the District Court of the United States for the northern district of California.
The case is stated in the opinion of the court.
It was argued by Mr. Stanton for the United States, and by Mr. Gillet for the appellee.
Mr. Gillet made the following points:
1. No form of grant is required by the order of the Supreme Government, authorizing the grant of the islands, nor required by the colonization law or regulations.
2. Meritorious, useful, and patriotic services, were good considerations for a grant.
3. Confirmation by the Departmental Assembly is not necessary in order to confirm a California grant made by a Governor. That it was the duty of the Government, and not of the grantee, to present it for confirmation.
4. When an equitable right has once vested under a California grant by the Governor, it cannot be divested, except by the denouncement of a third person legally made.
5. The question of the bona fides of this grant cannot now be raised, as it was not raised below.
6. Conditions subsequent, if not complied with, do not render the grant void, nor authorize the Government to forfeit the grantee's rights to its own use.
7. When an officer of the Mexican Government, who had the legal power to make grants of land, exercises that power in a manner to create a reasonable belief, in the mind of an applicant for a grant, that the instrument given is a grant, and he takes possession, occupies the same, and makes improvements thereon in good faith, such grant, if not in strict legal form, creates an equitable right, which entitles the grantee to a confirmation thereof.
8. By the laws, usages, and customs of Mexico, this claim would have been confirmed, and therefore this court must confirm it.
9. It is a well-settled rule, that equity cannot be resorted to for the purpose of enforcing forfeitures, but only to avoid them.
Mr. Justice CLIFFORD delivered the opinion of the court.
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