When Florida was acquired by the United States from Spain through the treaty of cession concluded and signed in 1819 and ratified in 1821, one of the foremost questions arising was that of the confirmation of land titles. For a decade there was a strange uncertainty with regard to property, titles and judicial decrees, which, according to a contemporary writer in the Florida Herald, were “scattered about as floating objects in the wide ocean of Law.” He goes on to say, “This confusion cannot be supposed to arise from any intention or design in the high contracting parties [the governments of the United States and Spain] of perplexing the terms or expression of that important instrument [Treaty of Cession], so as to afflict the inhabitants with exatious law suits, or loss of property from its not being clearly and unequivocally expressed; it is more rational to suppose that this humiliating and vexatious evil originates from the intentional misconstruction of those whose interest is radically at variance with the public good, for this subject has hardly ever been agitated, or introduced into our higher Councils of State, without some wary substitution of terms by which it was to be explained, entirely foreign to the plain meaning of the document [Treaty of Cession], and there it has been left to shift for itself, like a motherless lamb among a pack of wolves.
Davis, T. Frederick
"Pioneer Florida: An Interpretation of Spanish Laws and Land Titles,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 24
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol24/iss2/5