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Special Message

February 11, 1829

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

By the act of Congress of the 23d of May last, "supplementary to the several acts providing for the settlement and confirmation of private land claims in Florida," provision was made for the final adjudication of such claims by the judges of the superior courts of the districts wherein the lands claimed respectively lie, and by appeal from them to the Supreme Court of the United States; and the attorneys of the United States in the several districts were charged with the duty, in every case where the decision should be against the United States by the judge of the superior court of the district, to make out and transmit to the Attorney-General of the United States a statement containing the facts of the case and the points of law on which the same was decided, and it was made the duty of the Attorney-General in most of those cases to direct an appeal to be made to the Supreme Court of the United States and to appear for the United States and prosecute such appeals. By the same act the President of the United States was authorized to appoint a law agent to superintend the interests of the United States in the premises, and to employ assistant counsel if in his opinion the public interest should require the same.

In the process of carrying into execution this law it was the opinion of the Attorney-General of the United States that a translated complete collection of all the Spanish and French ordinances, etc., affecting the land titles in Florida and the other territories heretofore belonging to France and Spain, would be indispensable to a just decision of those claims by the Supreme Court. At his suggestion the task of preparing this compilation was undertaken by Joseph M. White, of Florida, who was employed as assistant counsel in behalf of the United States. The collection has accordingly been made and is deposited in manuscript at the Department of State, subject to such order as Congress may see fit to take concerning it. The letter from Mr. White to the Secretary of State, with a descriptive list of the documents collected and thus deposited, is herewith transmitted to Congress.


John Quincy Adams, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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