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surveying and the efficient method of registration prevails, no good reason exists why a complete abstract, showing the inception of title, should not be produced. Where a preliminary sketch is given as the root of title the examiner should carefully specify all his sources of information, and if consisting only of hearsay or tradition, should expressly disavow all responsibility for the truth of the matters therein recited. The reader is thus apprised at the outset of the value to be placed on the statement.


Not a few titles have their foundation in Congressional or legislative grants, or are grounded on legislative confirmations of previously existing inchoate or equitable rights. A recurrence to these is necessary, even though a patent may appear, as in many cases a patent is only confirmatory evidence of prior claims and is conclusive only between the sovereign and the patentee or those in privity with him.

A grant of land by statute is the highest and strongest form of title known to our law, and does of itself, proprio vigore, pass to the grantee all of the estate of the government except what is expressly withheld. As a primary conveyance, however, it is not in general use, for, as a rule, the government parts with its title only by a patent. But when an act of Congress purports to convey land in words of present grant it is equally as effective as a patent and vests a perfect and irrevocable title. 27

Legislative grants and confirmations are usually followed by a patent, the issuance of which is specially 12 Strother vs. Lucas, 12 Pet. (U.

Cranch (U S.), 50; Swann vs. S.), 454; Ferrett vs. Taylor, 9

Lindsey, 70 Ala., 507.

provided for in the granting act, yet the patent in most cases adds nothing to the force of the grant, but is merely confirmatory of what has preceded. If a claim be made to land with defined boundaries the legislative confirmation perfects the title to the particular tract, and a subsequent patent is only documentary evidence of that title. If the claim be to quantity, and not to a specific tract capable of identification, a segregation by survey will be required and the confirmation will then immediately attach the title to the land segre


SECTION 15. PATENTS. A patent of the United States is the form of conveyance by which the nation passes its title to the public domain, and is the highest evidence of derivative title known to the law. It is conclusive as against the government, and all persons claiming under junior patents or titles, until set aside or annulled by some competent tribunal. When delivered to and accepted by the grantee it passes the full legal title to the land, and carries with it the presumption that all the prerequisites of law have been complied with. When issued to a confirmee of a prior foreign grant, a patent operates like the deed of any other grantor and passes only such interest as the government possessed. A patent issued on a confirmed foreign grant, is, therefore, in the nature of a conveyance by way of quitclaim.

A purchaser from one holding under a patent is not bound to look beyond the patent to learn if it was properly issued, for the instrument is in itself presumptive evidence that all prior proceedings are legal,20 but every purchaser is presumed to have notice of any 28 Langdeau vs. Hanes, 21 Wall. * Barry vs. Gamble, 8 Mo., 88; (U. S.), 521: Dean vs. Bittner,

Crommelin, 18 77 Mo., 101.

How. (U, S.), 87.



Vol. VI.-12.

defect of title apparent upon its face, and is chargeable with notice of whatever the patent recites.

It will often happen that a patent has been duly issued and delivered to the patentee, but through neglect has not been placed on record in the registry of deeds of the county where the land is situate. To remedy the defect of title thus produced, where the original document cannot be found, it is customary to procure an exemplification of the General Land Office record, and this, when recorded, practically takes the place of the original patent.

SECTION 16. DEEDS OF CONVEYANCE. In the United States the ancient technical principles relating to common law conveyances seem to be in a great measure inapplicable. The tendency of modern legislation as well as the current of later decisions, has been to simplify the forms of conveyances and to reduce the number of methods. The deeds commonly in use, and by which the great bulk of real estate transactions between individuals is effected, are, the deed of bargain and sale, popularly known as “Warranty Deed,” and the deed of release and quitclaim, known as "Quitclaim Deed.” To these may be added a third, a deed adapted from the old deed of non-claim, combining qualities peculiar to each of the other two classes, and called “Special Warranty Deed." They are all effectual to convey the fee, or whatever interest the grantor may possess, and will always do so unless a contrary intention is expressly manifest or clearly deducible by implication.

In preparing an abridgment of an ordinary deed of bargain and sale, when drawn in the usual manner, and unincumbered by unusual conditions or stipulations, only the salient features are necessary, it being understood that the deed is in form and that all the essential requisites have been complied with. Were this otherwise the abstract would become unnecessarily bulky and cumbersome, and defects, when shown, would be less readily detected. This is the universal custom of abstract makers, and the method seems to have met the approbation of the legal profession. Defects of form or substance, occurring in any part of the deed should be suitably noticed.

As in the case of simple warranty deeds, only the main features of quitclaim deeds need be shown in preparing a synopsis of same. Should the deed contain the statutory words which raise covenants, as is the case in some states, they then become material, for the instrument, in effect, becomes a warranty deed, though in form a quitclaim.30

There is in common use in the United States, a deed of conveyance usually known as a ''Special Warranty.” The covenant, as generally framed, is a limited personal covenant, not as against paramount title, but only so far as concerns the acts of the grantor. It is a covenant of warranty to the extent of its import and differs from a general warranty only, in that one is a warranty against any and all paramount titles, while the other is against the acts of the grantor himself, and all persons claiming under him. The deed is shown in the abstract the same as a warranty deed except that it is called a “Special Warranty,” and the express covenants are set forth. The legal effect of the deed is, of course, the same as a deed of bargain and sale in any other form.

In addition to the deed of bargain and sale, which * De Wolf vs. Hayden, 34 II., 525.


in its three-fold form of "warranty," "quitclain” and "non-claim,” has been made a statutory conveyance in many of the States, there are a number of technical forms of conveyance derived from the land and conveyancing system of Great Britain and which are popularly known as "common law deeds.” They consist primarily of the deeds of Release, Confirmation, Surrender and Assignment. In the United States they have lost considerable of their old redundancy while the differences in our land system, and estates thereunder, has robbed them of much of their former significance. There now exist but few estates that cannot be adequately conveyed by deed of bargain and sale, yet for some purposes they must still be resorted to. For the form and general legal effect of these conveyances the reader must consult the chapter on conveyancing. In all cases of the conveyance of special interests and qualified estates the material and operative parts of the instruments should be set forth. This will always be the case in conveyances of equitable interests, contingent and vested remainders, all conveyances not of present interests, as well as of incorporeal hereditaments such as easements, and the like. Great particularity is generally required in the treatment of these classes of conveyances, as their validity and effect do not depend so much on general principles, as in case of warranties and quitclaims, as upon the application of special provisions of law to particular facts. The operative words of conveyance, and frequently those of limitation, become material in determining the nature and extent of the estate granted, while the habendum, or some portion thereof, must also be resorted to for the purpose of explaining or further defining the grant made in the premises. The condi

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