St LouisSt Louis, Oct. 16. 1848.
Judge CarrCarr .
I have examined the patent issued on the 9th
of June last to "MerriwetherLewisLewis under Antoine BaccaneAntoine Baccane " or " to
the legal representatives of said BaccaneBaccane alias RiviereRiviere ".
This patent recites two confirmations, one by the first board of
Commissioners in favor of Merriwether LewisLewis assignee and the
other by act of Congress of the 29th April 1816, in favor of AntoineAntoine
Riviere's representatives, and professes to convey the land in the
alternative, either to Merriwether LewisLewis or to Riviere's legal rep
resentatives. In my Judgemnt the patent has been issued er
roneously, and I will proceed to give you very briefly the reasons
upon which that conclusion is founded.
If it be true, that both the confirmations are for the benefit
of the same person (Merriwether LewisLewis ), then the person claiming
under LewisLewis , ought to be permitted to have his final document
of title, divested of all ambiquity, and not drawn in the alternative,
so that he will always be obliged to go into evidence behind the
patent for the purpose of showing, that the patent really conveys
the land to him, and that it is not void for uncertainty in desig
nating the grantee. He is entitled to have it issued under te first
and only legal confirmation - that to Merriwether LewisLewis .
If it be true that the two confirmations operate for the
benefit of different persons, then LewisLewis and those claiming under
his confirmation, are entitled by express act of CongressCongress to a patent
according to the confirmation made by the first Board of Commissioners.
confirmation being made by the Commissioners, a Cretificate
shall be delivered to the party, Stating that he is entitled to a
patent & c, and that upon the transmission of the certificate
to the Secretary of the Treasury, the party shall be entitled
to a patent." Sec Sec. 5.
It is true, that the act of the 29th april
1816, also provides
that patents shall issue for lands confirmed by that act. But
I think, it Cannot be doubted, that as Merriwether LewisLewis was
entitled to a patent before the act of 1816 was pasted, the right
to claim the patent, could not be affected by that act, non
ought its form to be changed because of Confirmation by
that act. Upon the supposition, that the two Confirmations
enure to the benefit of different persons, there is an express
direction by acts of CongressCongress for the issuing of two patents,
and it is not the fault of the land Department that there are
two such Confirmations, or that by the direction of the
Statutes two patents are to be issued. The difficulty is not
to be avoided by now issuing one patent in the alternative,
either to one confirmee or the other, which, as a grant,
is void, because the grantee is uncertain.
Whenever this patent is produced in evidence it will be
held to be void on its own face, unless the party goes back into
the original title and shows that Merriwether LewisLewis the one confirmee
is the same person designated as Riviere's Representative the
other confirmee. The presumption upon the document itself
as isued in the alternative, is that the confirmees are differ
ent persons, and that the patent is void because it professes
to grant to either one of two persons.