United States v. The Commissioner
THIS was a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
The case in that court arose on a petition by McConnell for a mandamus to command the Commissioner of the General Land Office to cause to be prepared, signed, countersigned, recorded, and issued, a patent to him for the north part of the south half of section No. 10, T. No. 39 W., range 14 E., situate in the city of Chicago. There was a rule to show cause, and a return thereto by the Commissioner of the Land Office.
The right to the patent was founded upon a certificate of purchase by private entry at the register's office in Chicago, on the 15th June, 1836. The relator complained that he had been denied the patent, since the issuing of the certificate down to the present time, some twenty-eight years, though repeated applications had been made by him for the same.
The return set up that one Robert Kenzie entered this same land, under a pre-emption right, as early as the 7th May, 1831, five years before the relator's entry, and, that the letter's certificate of purchase on the 1st June, 1834, was cancelled on the 20th August thereafter, by the commissioner on account of this previous entry.
Several objections were taken to the legality of the entry by Kenzie, such as, that it was made in the wrong district, and, if in the right one, that the entry on this part of the south half of section No. 10 was in violation of law; which objections were answered by allegations that an act of Congress was passed confirmatory of the defective entry; and also, that the parcel entered and contested belonged to the north and not to the south part of the section.
It further appeard that a patent was issued to Kenzie 4th March, 1837, in pursuance of an act of Congress passed 2d July, 1836; but to this it was objected that the rights of the relator had become vested by the previous entry of 1st June, 1836.
The court below refused to grant the mandamus, and the case was now here for review.
Mr. McDougal, for the relator.
Mr. Justice NELSON delivered the opinion of the court.