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Report on the Spanish and Mexican government land grants and resulting land title in California


An 1850 report prepared by William Carey Jones at the request of the Secretaries of State and Interior. In the first half of the report, Jones described the method by which land titles were created from the first inception to the perfect title as practiced by Mexico within the Province of California, as well as the history of the issuance of land grants subsequent to the independence of Mexico from Spain and the process by which that was accomplished. Jones provides a list of records and memoranda of grants found in the government archives of Monterey. The report addressed the issue of whether large grants, as the missions, whether they title to them be in the assignees, or whether they had reverted, and vested in the sovereign. Jones also discussed the establishment of missions in remote provinces as part of the colonial system of Spain, status and condition of the missions at the time of the report. Jones addressed the issue raised concerning “large grants,” other than the ecclesiastical grants; grants of islands, keys and promontories; grants of lands covering a portion of the gold, quicksilver and other mineral mines; whether they were surveyed and occupied under the government of Spain or Mexico; and when publicity was first given to such grants. The second half of the report details the various ways land grants had been issued under the Spanish and Mexican laws. The last portion of the report provides an English translation of some of the principal Spanish and Mexican laws and orders relating to land grants.


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1850 – Report on the Subject of Land Titles in California made in Pursuance of Instructions from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Interior, by William Carey Jones:  Together with a Translation of the Principal Laws on that Subject, and Some Other Papers Relating Thereto