San Francisco: Monson, Whitton & Co., 1852. 43pp. Modern half calf and plain paper boards. Text lightly age- toned. Extensive early pencil notes (see below). Very good. Item #WRCAM46585
The Thomas W. Streeter copy, with his bookplate on the front pastedown and his pencil notes on the front free endpaper. A very significant publication, indicating that from the earliest days the United States government would contest the validity of claims to land in California that had been granted before statehood. California came under American control during the Mexican-American War and attained statehood in 1850. One of the most vexing legal questions in the 19th-century history of the state was the status of lands that had been granted by the former Spanish and Mexican governors. These "ranchos" at times amounted to thousands of acres, and questions of their ownership were quite contentious, despite the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to respect all Mexican land titles. In 1851 the U.S. Congress created a three-person commission to consider the validity of land claims, each of which would ultimately be challenged by the U.S. government. The list of land title cases at the end of this volume, the first to have been printed, shows that 247 cases were presented to the courts in the year after the Commission was created. "This pamphlet states the first official acts of the land commissioners. The list of land claims at the end gives the names of the attorneys, on which a former owner has penciled in many instances the final action of the commissioners" - Streeter. Of the three original commissioners Harry I. Thornton was a frequent upholder of the validity of the claims against the interests of the U.S. government, and was removed from the Commission in 1853. Not in Cohen or Sabin. This copy was bought at the Streeter sale in 1968 by Warren Howell, who asked $1000 for it shortly thereafter. We are unable to locate any other copies on the market since. STREETER SALE 2725 (this copy). COWAN, p.374. GREENWOOD 364.