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DOUGLASS v. LEWIS.

decided: May 13, 1889.

DOUGLASS
v.
LEWIS.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO.

Author: Fuller

[ 131 U.S. Page 80]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

Assuming that defendants in error failed to sustain their plea that they "were lawfully seized of an indefeasible estate, and in possession of a title in fee simple in and to the said real property, and then had good right and full power to convey the same," counsel for plaintiff in error state their position "in the following propositions: 1. The covenant of warranty which is found written in the deed does not exclude the statutory covenants; these latter must be considered as express

[ 131 U.S. Page 81]

     covenants, having the same effect as though written out in full in the instrument of conveyance. 2. The statutory covenant of seisin is a general covenant, unlimited by any restrictive words found in the second statutory covenant. 3. The covenant of seisin is broken, if at all, as soon as it is made. 4. The plaintiff is only required to declare its breach, and need neither aver eviction or damages. 5. The burden of proof is on defendant. 6. The measure of damages is the purchase money and interest."

The defendants in error by their deed entered into a general covenant of warranty, but it is claimed that in virtue of the statute they are to be held in addition to a general covenant of seisin, a limited covenant as to encumbrances, and a general covenant of further assurance.

The statute relied on is as follows:

"The words 'bargained and sold,' or words to the same effect, in all conveyances of hereditary real estate, unless restricted in express terms on the part of the person conveying the same, himself and his heirs, to the person to whom the property is conveyed, his heirs and assignees, shall be limited to the following effect: First. That the grantor, at the time of the execution of said conveyance, is possessed of an irrevocable possession in fee simple to the property so conveyed. Second. That the said real estate, at the time of the execution of said conveyance, is free from all incumbrance made or suffered to be made by the grantor, or by any person claiming the same under him. Third. For the greater security of the person, his heirs and assignees, to whom said real estate is conveyed by the grantor and his heirs, suits may be instituted the same as if the conditions were stipulated in the said conveyance." Compiled Laws, New Mexico, 1884, ยง 2750, p. 1306.

The language used is somewhat ambiguous, arising, as the Supreme Court of the Territory informs us, from the section having been originally enacted in Spanish from English and then retranslated; but we are content with the view of that court that "hereditary real estate" means real estate of inheritance, and "possessed of an irrevocable possession in fee simple" means seized of an indefeasible estate in fee simple.

[ 131 U.S. Page 82]

     At common law, in the transfer of estates of freehold by deed, a warranty was implied from the word of feoffment, dedi, and from no other word, and from words of bargain and sale merely no covenant was implied in any case.

In 1707, the statute of 6 Anne, c. 35 was enacted, of which the 30th section is as follows:

"In all deeds of bargain and sale hereafter enrolled in pursuance of this act, whereby any estate of inheritance in fee simple is limited to the bargainee and his heirs, the words grant, bargain and sell shall amount to, and be construed and adjudged in all courts of judicature, to be express covenants to the barganiee and his heirs and assigns, from the bargainor for himself, his heirs, executors and administrators, that the bargainor, notwithstanding any act done by him, was at the time of the execution of such deed seized of the hereditaments and premises thereby granted, bargained and sold, of an indefeasible estate in fee simple, free from all encumbrances, (rents and services due to the lord of the fee only excepted,) and for quiet enjoyment thereof against the bargainor, his heirs and assigns, and all claiming under him, and also for further assurance thereof to be made by the bargainor, his heirs and assigns, and all claiming under him, unless the same shall be restrained and limited by express particular words contained in such ...


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