U.S. Supreme Court Preston v. Tremble, 11 U.S. 7 Cranch 354 354 (1813)
Preston v. Tremble
11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 354
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR
THE DISTRICT OF EAST TENNESSEE
Decided: that if an equitable title be merged in a grant, the party has no relief in equity, although the grant be void as being contrary to law.
Error to the Circuit Court for the District of East Tennessee, which had dismissed the plaintiffs bill in chancery upon demurrer for want of equity.
The bill stated that Preston, the complainant, had title to a tract of land in the State of Tennessee, but the defendant, Tremble, fraudulently and deceitfully entered into it and holds him out.
In setting forth the title, it is stated that the land formerly lay within the State of North Carolina, during which time, one Ephraim Dunlop made an entry for the land in regular form, paid the purchase money to the state, and performed every other requisite to complete the contract, but before a patent was obtained, the Legislature of North Carolina passed a law defining the limits of the Indian boundary, declaring all entries and surveys already made within those limits to be null and void and directing the entry-takers to refund all monies received therefor. That Dunlop never received back the purchase money, nor consented to annul the contract. That the law of North Carolina rescinding the contract was void. That Dunlop afterwards obtained a warrant to survey the land and obtained a patent therefor from the State of North Carolina, and afterwards conveyed the land to John Rhea, who conveyed to Preston, the plaintiff.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL.
If your title is good at law, you have no case in equity. If you have any title, it is at law. If you have no title at law, you can have none in equity. The equitable estate is merged in the grant.
This is an attempt to substitue a bill in equity for an action of trespass.