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bracing the old presidio and old castle, for many years abandoned, was deeded and granted on the 25th day of June, 1846, to said Diaz by Pio Pico, at that time governor of California ; and on the nineteenth day of September, same year, sold and conveyed to me by said Diaz, for a valuable consideration; and by the alcalde of the jurisdiction of San Francisco I was put into possession of the same; aud at this present time a part of the land is occupied by my agent.
All the deeds, transfers, and papers of possession relative to said land, are in my hands, subject to your inspection.
In the month of May last, while at San Francisco, I went over this land with Jasper O. Farrel, surveyor, and found that some of the troops of the government of the United States were in possession of the abovementioned presidio; that they were living there; that they had torn down some of the buildings to repair others, and in some cases were putting new roofs the houses
I therefore take this opportunity to inform you of the state of affairs respecting my said land, and personally protest against my said property being used by person or persons privately, or for the government, without a due consideration being paid to me; and further protest against any of the same in case of damages that may be sustained by me now or here. after.
Your attention as governor of California to this subject is respectfully solicited by your most obedient servant,
THOMAS O. LARKIN. Col, R. B. MASON,
Governor of the Territory of California.
NOTE:--The following documents, numbered 1, 2, 3, and 1, are copies of the papers presented by Mr. Larkin in proof of the legality of his claim:
Whereas D. Benito Diaz has solicited for his personal benefit, and that of his family, the land known by the name of Punta de Lobos, situated in the port of San Francisco, the necessary investigations having been previously made, I have, in virtue of the faculties conferred upon me, granted to him, in the name of the Mexican nation, by a decree of this day, the said land, declaring to him the ownership thereof by these presents, in conformity with the law of 18th August, 1824, and the regula. tion of 21st November, 1828, subject to the approval of the most excellent departmental assembly, and to the following conditions :
1st. He may fence it in, without prejudice to the highways, roads, and privileges, destining it to the use or cultivation which may best suit him.
2d. He shall ask for the judicial possession from the respective magis. trate in virtue of this despatch, and the boundary shall be marked by this authority with the respective landmarks.
3d. The land of which donation is made to him consists of two square leagues, (dos sitios de ganado mayor,) a little more or less, comprehending
from the lagoon of the high hill to the Punta de Lobos, and the same which is shown by the map which accompanies the documents. The magistrate who gives possession shall have it measured according to law. I consequently command that, holding the present title as firm and valid, a record be kept thereof in the correspouding book, aud it be delivered to the party interested, for his security and other ends.
Given in the city of Los Angeles on the twenty-fifth day of June, eighteen hundred and forty-six, ou this common paper, for want of sealed paper.
PIO PICO. [L. s.] MATIAS MORENO,
Secretary ad interim,
This title has been recorded in the corresponding book.
In the port of Monterey, Upper California, on the nineteerth day of September, eighicen hundred and forty-six, before me, Walter Colion, justice of the peace of this district, and before the undersigned witnesses, appeared Don Benito Diaz, and said, that, in his own pame and in that of his wife, Doña Luisa Soto de Diaz, and other heirs and successors, and whoever, through them, may have any kind of title, voice, or fame, he sells and gives in public sale and perpetual alienation, in right of inheritance, and forever and ever, to Mr. Thomas O. Larkin, resident of this place, a land of which he is owner, in virtue of a grant made to him by his Excellency the governor of the department, Don Pio Pico, accord. ing to the title which accompanies the present writing, dated the twenty. fifth of June of the present year, which land is composed of two square leagues, a little more or less, situated in the entrance and port of San Francisco, with the boundaries mentioned in said title, which are from the lagoon of the high hill to the Punta de Lobos. The seller declares that he has neither alienated nor niortgaged il, and that it is free from all public burdens; and, as such, he sells it for the price of one thousand dollars in common silver coin, which he has received to his entire satis. faction; that, from this time, he renounces, and separates himself from the dominion, ownership, and every other right which he may have to said land, renouncing and transferring it to the buyer, that he may dispose of it as of a thing which belongs to him, the seller binding himself that this sale shall be to the purchaser certain, sure, and effective, and that no lawsuit shall molest or move him.
In testimony whereof, he signed it with me and the two subscribing wilnesses.
Chiel Magistate, Monterey.
JOSE JOAQUIN GOMEZ.
In said day, month, and year, likewise appeared before me, and the wit. nesses already mentioned, Doña Luisa Soto de Diaz, and said, that in her own name, and in that of the children which she at present has, and of those which she may have in future, she consents in the sale of the be. forementioned place, and that she spontaneously and voluntarily renounces whatever right she or her said children may have thereto.
Chief Magistrate, Monterey.
JOSE JOAQUIN GOMEZ.
This instrument of writing was sealed, signed, and delivered in this office, and in my presence, this nineteenth day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty six.
Alcalde of Monterey. William R. GARNER, Secretary. (L. S.]
TERRITORY OF CALIFORNIA, DISTRICT OF SAN FRANCISCO,
Chief Magistrate's Office, Yerba Buena, October 6, 1846. This is to certify, that Thomas 0. Larkin, esq., for himself, and as the representative of Don Benito Diaz, has presented at this office the title to: the farm called “ Punta de Lobos," on San Francisco bay, as described in said title or grant to the said Don Benito Diaz, and transfer from said Diaz to the said Thomas 0. Larkin, esq. He, the said Thomas O. Larkin, claims ownership of said farm, and asks possession thereof, with per. mission to survey and occupy the land (as described in the title) at the earliest practicable moment. This is, therefore, to order that, in accord. ance with the aforesaid titles, the aforesaid Thomas (). Larkin can enter upon said premises, and be held to be and considered in legal possessioni thereof, according to the terms and conditions of the original grant, the boundaries whereof to be fixed as soon as a competent surveyor can be obtained to survey the same.
WASHINGTON A. BARTLETT,
Chief Magistrale. Note.—The following endorsement was placed on the foregoing documents, marked Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4:
“ The United States troops are in possession of the presidio and old fort at the entrance of the bay of San Francisco, which are claimed by Mr. Thomas 0. Larkin as his property.
“Without making any decision for or against the soundness of Mr. Lar. kin's title, as exhibited by this paper, the possession held by the United
States will not operate to the prejudice of any just claim to said property held by Mr. Larkin. “ MONTEREY, September 3, 1847.
"R. B. MASON, “ Colonel 1st Dragoons, Governor of California.”
APPENDIX No. 30.
ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE,
San Francisco, California, June 6, 1847. Sır: In compliance with your instructions, the following report is submitted in relation to Mr. T. O. Larkin's land, in the vicinity of San Francisco. I am forced to believe that Mr. Larkin's title is not good, for the following reasons:
Ist. The old fort, at the narrows, was built and has had guns mounted upon it for the last seventy or eighty years, it being the only work commanding the entrance to this bay.
The presidio or barracks hard by were built thirty five years since, by the Mexican soldiery, and have been occupied by a Mexican garrison for upwards of thirty years, they being the only quarters for troops on this side of the bay. It is but four or five years since the military commandant resided there; and, even at this moment, one or more old Mexican soldiers continue to reside there. Both these works are on the land claimed by Mr. Larkin.
20. I am assured by General Vallejo and Colonel Prudhomme, (the latter a Mexican lawyer,) that it is contrary to the organic laws of Mexico to sell or convey away any lands which might be wanted for “forts, barracks, field works, and public purposes for defence;” and also that grants of land for farms, according to the Mexican colonization laws, are not to be made to come nearer than ten leagues of the seacoast. Mr. Larkin's land is all within one league of the coast; consequently, under both these laws, his claim is illegal.
Again, no land title is good in California until it has been approved by the departmental assembly, and Mr. Larkin's has no such approval.
It is also required that the alcalde of the town or district shall certify that each particular grant can be made without any prejudice to the public interests, or to private claims, before the grant can be made.
No such certificate was or could have been made with reference to the grant in question.
30. Repeated instructions, I am assured on the best authority, have been given from Mexico not to sell or grant any of the lands in or about this bay which might be required for public purposes. Several attempts have been made by Senor Pina and Madam Briones, of this town, in the years 1843, 1844, and 1845, to obtain a grant of this same land, but they were all without success. When Angel island was granted to Senor Osio, such portions as might be required for public purposes were expressly reserved in the grant.
4th. Mr. Larkin's claim has signs of irregularity about it which mili tate strongly against its validity:
Ist. It is dated at the Pueblo de los Angeles, June 25, 1846, and is
If the gover
signed by Pio Pico, as governor. Governor Pico left the pueblo on the 17th or 18th of June, and did not return until the 15th or 20th of July. On the 25th of June, Governor Pico was at Santa Barbara or further north.
2d. It is upon unstamped, and therefore illegal, paper. nor's signature has the effect of making it legal, I am still informed that it is a strong indication of informality, if not fraud.
3d. There is but little more than half the land within its boundaries which his claim entitles him to.
4th. His claim comes within one mile of the custom house or public buildings of the town of San Francisco; and this, I am told, is irregular and hitherto unknown, if not positively illegal.
Had my time permitted, this report would have been made at an earlier date, and would have been more complete. I am, sir, respectfully, your most obedient servant,
J. L. FOLSOM,
Caplain, and Assistant Quarter master. Major Thos. SWORDS, Quartermaster U. S. Army,
Sutter's Fort, Sacramento, California.
APPENDIX No. 31.
HEADQUARTERS S. M. DISTRICT, CALIFORNIA,
Ciudad de los Angeles, September 7, 1847. SIR: The enclosed is all the information I can give in answer to the inquiries contained in your letter of the 230 August last, except that it is perfectly well understood, and can be proved, I am informed, that Governor Pico left here not later than the 17th of June, and did not return for at least four weeks; and that the deeds alluded to in the within were all signed the night before Pico left the pueblo, and when the United States were in possession of California, and Comniodore Stockton's forces between here and San Pedro, and were all antedated, which, of course, renders them void; besides, the proper forms were never complied with, and no departmental assembly las ever sat since to confirm ihe grants. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. STEVENSON,
Colonel commanding S. M. District. H. W. HALLECK, Lieut. of Engineers, and Secretary of State
for the Teri ilory of Culifornia.
[Memorandum accompanying the foregoing letter.) Query 1. Cannot answer, but from the best oral information think there is no such prohibition.
Query 2 An exceptional decree said to exist respecting California ; date probably 1830, more or less.
Queries 3 and 4. Vide “La ley de Colonizacion,” 18th August, 1824,