On the 18th of May 1829, Charles Dehault Delassus, legal representative of Pedro Dehault Delassus, under the authority of the act of congress, entitled 'an act enabling the claimants to lands with the limits of the state of Missouri, and the territory of the Arkansas, to institute proceedings to try the validity of their claims,' filed in the office of the clerk of the district court of the United States for the district of Missouri, the following petition.
'To the honourable the judge of the district court of the United States for the state of Missouri.
'Respectfully showeth Charles Dehault Delassus, of the county of St Louis, state of Missouri, that on the 3d day of March 1795, Don Pedro Dehault Delassus De Luzieres, the father of your petitioner, addressed his petition to Don Zenon Trudeau, lieutenant governor of the province of Upper Louisiana, praying that a concession or grant should be made to him and his heirs of a tract of land containing seven thousand and fifty-six arpents, French measure, being a league square. That said lieutenant governor, in compliance with said petition, and in obedience to an official instruction addressed to him by the governor-general of the province of Louisiana, the baron of Carondelet, did, by decree bearing date the 1st day of April 1795, aforesaid, grant to said De Luzieres, and his heirs for ever, a tract of a square league situated on a branch of the river St Francis, called Gaboury, and by said decree ordered Francois Vall e, the captain commandant of the port of St Genevieve, to put the De Luzieres forthwith into possession of said tract, and also directed that said tract should be surveyed in due form by the surveyor, then about to be appointed for the province of Upper Louisiana. That on the 15th day of April, in the year aforesaid, the said De Luzieres was formally put into possession of said square league by said Francois Valle, in pursuance of said decree. That some time elapsed from the said delivery of possession until the appointment of a surveyor for said province of Upper Louisiana, and by which delay, and other unavoidable difficulties, the said De Luzieres was prevented from obtaining a survey of the said tract until the 14th day of December 1799, on which day the surveyor-general of Upper Louisiana, Don Antoine Soulard, in pursuance of an order to him specially directed by the lieutenant governor of said province, surveyed said tract and located the same according to the terms of the above mentioned decree of concession, and the possession delivered as aforesaid to said De Luzieres, all which will more fully appear by said original decree of the lieutenant governor, said official instruction of said governor-general, the certificate of delivery of possession by said Francois Vall e, the said order of survey by the lieutenant governor; and, lastly, by the official return and certificate of survey by the surveyor-general, which certificate bears date the 5th day of March 1800, and which original documents are here brought into court, and ready to be produced and proved, and to which your petitioner begs leave to refer. That said De Luzieres, at the date of said decree of concession, and until his decease, was a resident of the province of Upper Louisiana. Your petitioner further showeth, that said concession and claim thereunder having been submitted to the board of commissioners for the adjustment of Spanish and French land claims, was rejected on the ground that the land intended in the said concession contained a lead mine, and on no other. That said tract of a league square has been reserved from sale in the public land office until a decision shall be had thereon by the proper tribunal, and that said tract, as laid down on the general plat in the office of the register, is situated and bounded as follows, viz. beginning in the southeast quarter of section number twenty-five, township number thirty-five, north, of range number five, east, at a post, a corner of John Capehart's survey, and runs thence south eight west, with Capehart's line, five chains eighty-three links to Capehart's and D. Murphey's corner; sixty-four chains sixteen links to D. and S. Murphey's corner; one hundred and seven chains ninety-one links to St Murphey and Coen's. corner; one hundred and thirty-seven chains and forty-one links to Coen and W. Murphey's corner; two hundred and five chains and thirty-two links to the south-west corner of W. Murphey's survey; two hundred and forty-five chains to a point in the northwest quarter of section number thirteen, in township number thirty-five, north, of range number five, east; thence north eighty-two west two hundred and forty-five chains to a point in the southwest quarter of section number nine, in township number thirty-five, north, of range number five, east; thence north eight east two hundred and forty-five chains, to a point in the south-east quarter of section number twenty-eight, in township number thirty-six, north, of range number five, east; thence south eighty-two east one hundred and sixty-three chains ninety-eight links to the south-west corner of Joseph Murphey's; seventy-two hundred and thirteen chains and forty-five links to Joseph Murphey's southeast corner, on the west boundary of John Capehart's survey; thence thirty-eight west, with Capehart's survey, one chain and thirty-two links to his southwest corner; thence south eighty-two east, with Capehart's line, thirty-one chains and fifty links, to the place of beginning. Your petitioner further showeth, that said league square, and all claim and title thereto since the decease of said De Luzieres, who departed this life some years since, has been legally vested in your petitioner, and that no part of said tract is occupied or claimed by any person or persons adverse to the claim or title of your petitioner. Wherefore your petitioner prays that the validity of said concession and claim to confirmation of said tract may be inquired into, and decided upon by this honourable court, and that inasmuch as said concession and survey might have been perfected into a complete title under and in conformity to the laws, usages and customs of the government under which the same orignated, had not the sovereignty of the country been changed or transferred to the United States, your petitioner prays that his title and claim be confirmed to said league square, located and bounded as aforesaid. And your petitioner prays that a citation be directed to the district attorney of the United States, requiring him to appear and show cause, if any he can, why the confirmation prayed for by your petitioner should not be decreed to him. And your petitioner will ever pray, &c.
'CHARLES DEHAULT DELASSUS.'
The answer of the attorney of the United States was filed at the June session 1829 of the district court, denies the allegations of the petitioner, and requires proof of the same.
At the January session of the court in 1830, the district judge made a decree against the claim set forth in the petition; and this appeal was prosecuted by the petitioner.
The documents annexed to the petition were the following.
'To Don Zenon Trudeau, lieutenant governor of the western part of Illinois, & c.
'Pierre Charles Dehault, knight, lord of Delassus Luzieres, and knight of the great cross of the royal of St Michael, residing in New Bourbon, dependency of the post of St Genevieve, has the honour to represent, that when he was at the city of New Orleans, in May 1793, he resolved to come up in the Illinois country, on the positive assurance given him by his lordship, the baron De Carondelet, governor-general of Louisiana, that he would order and authorize you to grant him a tract of land for the exclusive exploration of lead mines, and of a sufficient and convenient extent for said exploration, provided it should not be formerly granted to another; which warranty and assurances of the government are to be found formally expressed in a letter here subjoined, and directed to your petitioner by the said baron, under the date of May 8th 1793, and which you have been pleased to assure me was exactly conformable to the official letter you received on that subject from the governor-general. The long and cruel disease which your petitioner experienced on his arrival in Illinois in August 1793, the hostile threats of an invasion on the part of the French against the country some short time after, the orders you gave to the inhabitants not to go to any distance from their post, and the care and trouble which, to your knowledge, I have taken in that time to countenance the wise and efficacious means you have taken so successfully in putting the posts of Illinois in a state of defence, in case of an attack, of which care, endeavour and zeal on my part, his lordship, Luis de la Casas, captain-general of Havana, being informed, I received from him a letter, bearing date May 20th 1794, by which he gives me the most honourable evidence of his satisfaction, as appears by copy of said letter here subjoined. That the occurrence of several circumstances hindered your petitioner to make a search of a tract of land containing lead mineral; he now, with the assistance of his children and son-in-law, and persons acquainted with the country, visited a place situated on one of the branches of the river St Francois, called Gaboury, in the district of St Genevieve, and about twelve leagues from this post, which has not been yet granted, makes part of the king's domain, and where it is ascertained some mineral had been anciently dug, besides the external and internal appearance, according to the mineralogical principles, indicates that the spot contains lead mineral; therefore your petitioner has resolved to try in that place a general exploration of lead mine: he is so much induced to prosecute such an undertaking that he expects the arrival of his eldest son, now emigrated to Germany, who is well learned in mineralogy, having studied it particularly, and having been engaged in a similar branch in Europe with your petitioner, and will be very useful in exploring and conducting the one now solicited. Your petitioner flatters himself that you will not refuse to give this concession the extent of a league square, in order to secure the necessary fuel for the melting of the mineral, and other necessaries; under these considerations your petitioner humbly prays you, sir, that in conformity to the intentions of the government manifested in the subjoined letters, of which you have been notified by the governor-general himself, you have been pleased to grant for himself, his heirs and assigns in full property, the concession of a league square of land situated on said branch of river St Francois, called Gaboury, in the district of St Genevieve, with the exclusive right to explore the lead mines in the same, to cultivate and raise cattle on the said land if necessary; in so doing your petitioner will ever pray, &c.
'New Bourbon, March 3d 1795.
'St Genevieve, Illinois, March 10th 1795.
'We, the commandant of said post, do inform the lieutenant governor, that the concession demanded in the within petition, is part of the king's domain, and has not been granted to any body, and that its extent fixed to a league square, is indispensable and necessary to secure the timber for melting of mineral and other necessary supply.
'The knight Don Pierre Dehault Delassus, has entered into contract with this intendancy, to deliver yearly, during the term of five years, thirty thousand pounds of lead in balls or bars. In order that he may comply with his contract, your worship will put him in possession of the land he may solicit, for the exploration, benefit and enjoyment of the mines; for which purpose he is to present a memorial directed to me, and which your worship will transmit, that I may give him the corresponding decree of concession, being understood, in the mean time, your worship will put him in possession. God preserve your worship many years.
'New Orleans, May 7th 1793.
'I send you back the primitive titles of the concession granted Mr Francois Valle, of St Genevieve, who transferred to Mr Dodge one moiety of which; this last ceded to Mr Tardiveau, who made a gift of it to your brother, with the approbation and advice you desired. By this opportunity I write to Mr Zenon Trudeau to grant you the land where you will have made a discovery of lead mines, with adjacent lands of sufficient extent for their exploration: provided, nevertheless, that it should not be conceded to another.
'Your son-in-law and your sons, shall have also, as you desire, a plantation in any place they will select in Illinois, of an extent proportionate to the establishment and improvement they propose to make.
'This is my answer to your letter No. 3. God have you in his holy keeping.
'New Orleans, May 8th 1793.
'Sir Don Peter Dehault Delassus de Luzieres.
'The Baron de Carondelet, governor-general of this province, has manifested to me, in his letter of the 27th of February last, the zeal and activity with which your worship (although labouring under a weak state of health) has manifested in exciting the inhabitants and Indians to join in the common defence of those settlements, and more particularly the post under your command. I do hope that your worship will continue with the same efficaciousness ...