THIS was an appeal from a decree of the circuit court for the district of Virginia, dismissing the bill of the complainant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: The case was stated by Washington, J. in delivering the opinion of this court, as follows:
'The object of the bill was to rescind a contract made between the appellant and Robert Gordon, the appellee, for the sale of a tract of land by the latter to the former, upon the ground of a defect of title. The facts in the case, which are not disputed, appear to be as follows. The land which forms the subject of dispute belonged to James Currie, a citizen of Virginia, who died seised thereof in fee, on the 23d of April, 1807, intestate, and without issue. James Currie had one brother of the whole blood, named William, who, prior to the 14th day of October, in the year 1795, was a subject of the King of Great Britain, but who emigrated to the United States, and on the day last mentioned, at a district court held at Suffolk, in Virginia, took the oath prescribed by the act of congress, for entitling himself to the rights and privileges of a citizen. At the time when this oath was taken, William Currie had one daughter, Janetta, the wife of the appellee, who was born in Scotland. She came to the United States in October, 1797, whilst an infant, during the life of her father, and hath ever since continued to reside in the state of Virginia. William Currie died prior to the 23d of April, 1807.'
C. Lee and F. S. Key, for the appellant, contended,
1. That William Currie was not duly naturalized.
2. That if he was, yet his daughter Janetta, being in Scotland at the time of her father's naturalization, was not thereby naturalized.
1. William Currie was not duly naturalized.
The certificate of his naturalization was as follows, viz.
'At a district court held at Suffolk, October the 14th, 1795, William Currie, late of Scotland, merchant, who hath migrated into this commonwealth, this day in open court, in order to entitle himself to the rights and privileges of a citizen, made oath that for two years last past he hath resided in and under the jurisdiction of the United States, and for one year within this commonwealth, and also that he will support the constitution of the United States, and absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, or other state whatsoever, particularly to the King of Great Britain.
'John C. Littlepage.'The original memorandum made upon the minutes of the court, was as follows:
'At a district court held at Suffolk, October the 14th, 1795, William Currie, native of Scotland, migrated into the commonwealth, took the oath,' &c.
There was also a deposition of a deputy clerk, who states that he acted as deputy to Mr. Littlepage, at, before, and after the date of the entry respecting Mr. Currie's naturalization. That upon examining the order-books of the said court, he finds the entries made in all cases where persons were admitted to become citizens under the act of congress, at and prior to October term, 1795, to be agreeably to the form used in the case of Mr. Currie. That however informal these entires may have been in not stating that it appeared to the court that the persons who took the oaths were of good moral character, and were admitted citizens; he is sensible every requisite of the law in this, as well as in all other similar instances, was complied with to the satisfaction of the court, and that the omission has been a clerical one.
He also finds, from the order-book, that at May term, 1796, the form of the entry was altered so as to express the applicant to ...