Exhibit No. 6.
These decisions do but recapitulate the principles laid down in all the books which discuss the subject of right to property by dedication. They are, however, more especially valuable here because they both declare the principle and make the application of it to cases of dedication arising, like that now under consideration, under Spanish and Mexican law. They show that there as well as here under our law, although the mere naked title were in the Government, the usufruct of the property might be in the church, and that the dedication of such usufruct constituted a right to the estate which would never have been violated by the former sovereign, and which neither conquest nor revolution nor cession can destroy.
Ecclesiastical property was here, as under the civil law, known as a class of property standing by itself in legal nomenclature and governed by rules not applicable to other estates, intended to protect and perpetuate its use to the benefit of the church. By the laws of Spain as well as by the canon law which was recognized throughout the Spanish dominions, ecclesiastical property was regarded as comprised in two classes: The first embraced property usually denominated sacred, and which was in a formal manner consecrated tp God and destined to the purposes of divine worship as its instruments. Such are the church edifices, the cemeteries, the sacred vessels of the altar, the vestments, etc. The second class comprised property of whatever kind which was held by the church or the ministers who officiated at the altar, by any temporal title, and which was appropriated to the maintenance of divine worship or to the support of the officiating ministry. These are not, like the first class, consecrated directly to divine purposes, but since they yield a support to the clergy and the service of the temples they are considered indirectly set apart for the worship of God, and therefore of divine right. Under this class were included lands occu pied for the residence of the priest and other buildings necessary for his convenience, the gardens and grounds used for the supply of his table or of any of the sacramental purposes of the church and that [Page 421] from which revenue was derived for its support. Property falling within the class of ecclesiastical can be alienated only when certain, necessities arise, and then under the proceedings provided by the canon law. Such property was regarded as withdrawn from the dominion and traffic of man; in the expressive language of the civil law, it was “out of commerce.” Every church was required to have upon its organization an endowihent for its support, and property which it had long held for such uses was presumed, where no other title was shown, to have been acquired by donation or by gift for its endowment, and property produced by the labor of persons devoted to the service of religion became ecclesiastical property. (Ferraris Biblio, verb, alienare, ISala Mexicano, 226. 1 Febrero, Mex., 297, Escriche verb. Bienes Ecclesiasticos.)
These concurrent proofs bring us irresistibly to the conclusion that before the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo these possessions were solemnly dedicated to the use of the church and the property withdrawn from commerce. Such an interest is protected by the provision of the treaty and must be held inviolable under our laws.
Exhibit No. 6 to the deposition of John T. Doyle.