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Opinion of the Court.
Circuit Court. But that court refused to remand the case, solely because in its opinion there was a separable controversy between the petitioning defendant and the original plaintiff.
In this the Circuit Court erred. The object of the suit was to condemn and appropriate to the public use a single lot of land, and not (as in Union Pacific Railway v. Kansas, 115 U. S. 2, 22, cited by the defendant) several lots of land, each owned by a different person. The cause of action alleged, and consequently the subject matter of the controversy, was whether the whole lot should be condemned; and that controversy was not the less a single and entire one, because the two defendants owned distinct interests in the land, and might be entitled to separate awards of damages. Kohl v. United States, 91 U. S. 367, 377, 378. The ascertaining of those interests, and the assessment of those damages, were but incidents to the principal controversy, and did not make that controversy divisible, so that the right of either defendant could be fully determined by itself, apart from the right of the other defendant, and from the main issue between both defendants on the one side and the plaintiff on the other. Fidelity Ins. Co. v. Huntington, 117 U. S. 280; Graves v. Corbin, 132 U. S. 571, 588; Torrence v. Shedd, 144 U. S. 527, and other cases there cited.
The judgment of the Circuit Court, therefore, must be reversed for want of jurisdiction, with costs against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, and with directions to award costs against it in that court, and to remand the case to the state court.
Judgment reversed accordingly.
SAN PEDRO AND CAÑON DEL AGUA COMPANY
v. UNITED STATES.
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF THE TERRITORY OF NEW
No. 7. Argued October 17, 24, 1892. - Decided November 14, 1892.
Idaho & Oregon Land Co. v. Bradbury, 132 U. S. 509, affirmed to the point
that “the authority of this court, on appeal from a Territorial court, is limited to determining whether the court's findings of fact support its judgment or decree, and whether there is any error in rulings, duly excepted to, on the admission or rejection of evidence, and does not extend to a consideration of the weight of evidence or its sufficiency to
support the conclusions of the court." A bill in equity on the part of the United States to set aside a patent of
public lands issued by mistake or obtained by fraud will lie either when there are parties to whom the government is under obligation in respect to the relief invoked, or when that government has a direct pecuniary interest in such relief each of which facts appears to exist in this case, and one of which is not denied in the letter of Attorney General Brew
ster, which is set forth in the opinion of the court. When the government has a direct pecuniary interest in the subject-matter
of the litigation the defences of stale claim and laches cannot be set up as a bar. United States v. Dalles Military Road Co., 140 U. S. 599,
affirmed to this point. T. was a special agent and examiner of surveys for the Land Department.
After this suit had been commenced, he was directed by the Land Department to proceed to the disputed territory and make an examination as to the survey. He did so, and besides making surveys and taking photographic views, he also obtained thirteen affidavits of witnesses, selected by himself, as to boundaries, etc. When called as a witness he produced these affidavits as part of his testimony, and gave his conclusions as to the proper boundaries of the grant, based partly at least upon the information obtained from them. After his deposi. tion containing these matters had been filed in the case, and before the hearing in the District Court, two motions were made by the defendant - one to strike out the entire deposition, and the other to suppress parts of it. Both were overruled and no exception taken. The District Court found for the defendant, and entered a decree dismissing the bill. An appeal having been taken to the Supreme Court of the Territory, the entire record was transferred to that court. There, no new motion to strike out this deposition, or any part of it, was presented, nor were the two motions made in the District Court renewed in the Supreme Court,
Statement of the Case.
or action asked of that court thereon. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the District Court, and set aside the patent. A motion for a rehearing was made, which was denied. Held, (1) That no motion to exclude the deposition, or any part of it, having
been made in the Supreme Court before decision, and it not appearing in the record that the Supreme Court in giving its decision passed upon the question of its admissibility, there was nothing in
that decision to review in that regard; (2) That the action of the court on the motion for a rehearing pre
sented no question for review by this court; (3) That this court could not review the action of the District Court. On the facts it appearing that a fraud was committed in making the survey
for the patent, and that the defendant was not a bona fide purchaser, it is immaterial that the surveyor was not a party to the fraud.
On February 12, 1844, José Serafin Ramirez, a citizen of the republic of Mexico and a resident of Sante Fé, in the department of New Mexico, petitioned the governor of that department for a grant of a tract of land known as the “Cañon del Agua,” together with the confirmation of the title to a mine claimed as an inheritance from his grandfather. The material part of the petition is as follows:
“I apply to your excellency in the name of the donation laws of the 4th of January, 1813, and 18th of August, 1824, and in the name of the Mexican nation, asking for a tract of vacant land known as the Cañon del Agua, near the placer of San Francisco, called Placer del Tuerto, and distant from that town about one league, more or less.
“ The land I ask for is vacant and without owner and I solicit it because I have no possession or property by which I can support my family. The boundaries solicited are: On the north, the road leading from the placer to the Palo Amarillo; on the south, the northern boundary of the grant of San Pedro; on the east, the spring of the Cañon del Agua; on the west, the summit of the mountain of the mine known as My Own, as will appear by the accompanying document No. 1, for which I ask your ratification and that of the departmental assembly, in the manner that I received it, as an inheritance from my grandfather Don Francisco Dias de Moradillos; and I ask that this title be ratified according to the mining ordinances dated
Statement of the Case.
in the year 1813, title 5, article 1; in view of all of which I pray and request your excellency to grant me possession of the mine, to work it, and the land which it embraces, which is about one league, for cultivation and pasturing my animals, and for grinding ore and smelting metal.
“JOSÉ SERAFIN RAMIREZ. “Sante Fé, February 12, 1844.”
To which petition the departmental assembly and the governor thus responded :
“Departmental assembly of New Mexico. “In session of to-day the departmental assembly decrees that Don Serafin Ramirez, auditor of the departmental treasury, and the other heirs of Don Francisco Dias de Moradillos, deceased, have a right as grandchildren to the mine referred to in the petition, and title of possession and property, as expressed in the mining laws, and further decrees that his excellency the governor of the department, in conformity with the colonization laws, shall grant the tract of land prayed for.
“ THOMAS Ozriz, Secretary. “Santa Fé, February 13, 1844.
“And in answer to your petition I grant you the tract asked for and revalidation of the title to the mine, which are enclosed herewith. “God and liberty.
MARIANO MARTINEZ. “To Don Serafin Ramirez, auditor of the departmental treasury, Santa Fé.”
The same year juridical possession of the tract was given, the description in the certificate thereof being: “On the north, the road of the Palo Amarillo; on the south, the boundary of the Rancho San Pedro; on the east, the spring of the Cañon del Agua; on the west, the highest summit of the little mountain of El Tuerto, adjoining the boundary of the mine known
Statement of the Case.
as Inherited Property, from this date, according to the colonization laws of the republic."
By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848 (9 Stat. 922), the Territory of New Mexico was transferred to the United States. In 1859, Ramirez filed with the surveyor general of New Mexico his petition, asking official recognition by this government of bis grant. The description in this petition was: " The quantity of land claimed is five thousand varas square, making one Castilian league, and bounded on the north by the placer road that goes down to the yellow timber; on the south, the northern boundary of the San Pedro grant; on the east, the spring of the Cañon del Agua; on the west, the summit of the mountain of the mine known as the property of your petitioner, as appears by the original title deeds accompanying the notice, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” A hearing was had on this application on the 10th day of January, 1860. The surveyor general reported in favor of the grant, and on June 12, 1866, Congress passed the following act of confirmation (14 Stat. 588, c. 118):
“An act to confirm the title of José Serafin Ramirez to
certain lands in New Mexico. “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in America in Congress assembled, That the grant to José Serafin Ramirez of the Cañon del Agua, as approved by the surveyor general of New Mexico January twenty, eighteen hundred and sixty, and designated as number seventy in the transcript of private land claims in New Mexico, transmitted to Congress by the Secretary of the Interior January eleven, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, is hereby confirmed: Provided, however, That this confirmation shall only be construed as a relinquishment on the part of the United States, and shall not affect the adverse rights of any person whomsoever.
“Approved June 12, 1866.”
On August 9, 1866, a survey was made by a deputy surveyor, under the direction of the surveyor general of New