Tea Pot Dome - Money in Politics - 1926


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Sunday, September 21, 2014


I am always surprised by people who despise politics, because that is like despising vaccination needles; try living without them. And the way in which James Reavis-Peralta responded to Royal Johnson's report is a perfect example. Of course he sued the United States, claiming the government was stealing a million and a half acres from his “Arizona Development Corporation”, and demanded compensation of $11 million ($2.5 billion today). That got a lot of headlines. But more practically, he called on his allies in Washington. The railroad's man in the President's Cabinet (and therefore Collis Huntington's man), Secretary of the Interior John W. Noble, put pressure on the Commissioner for the Land Office, Lewis Groff,  who was technically Johnson's boss. On February 20, 1890, Commissioner Groff fired off a critical letter to the Arizona Surveyor General -  Royal Johnson. The letter said Johnson's report was biased and instructed Johnson to “strike the case from your docket and notify Mr. Reavis of the action, allowing the usual time for an appeal to the Hon. Secretary of the Interior.” In other words, John W. Noble. Problem solved – except for the lawsuit.
Lawyers for Reavis-Peralta and the Development Corporation were Harvey Brown, Robert Ingersall and James Broadhead, who had already publicly endorsed the Peralta claim. All three men were also attorneys for Huntington's Southern Pacific Railroad. Mr. Huntington must have been a little annoyed he'd been forced out of the shadows on this point. Never-the-less the lawyers began a delaying action while Senator Roscoe Conkling (another Huntington ally) came to the rescue, pushing for the creation in March of 1891, of the U.S. Court of Private Land Claims, which was given jurisdiction over old Mexican and Spanish land claims, i.e. the Peralta grant.
While all of this was going in Washington, D.C.,  back in California James Reavis-Peralta's personal attorneys managed to find just the right people who were willing to swear under oath they had known the little orphan girl Sophia Peralta at various stages in her life. One man even claimed to have been a employee of John Treadway, who had supposedly provided for the child after her father left California for Spain. And in February 1893, an express wagon pulled up in front of the Land Office in Sante Fe, New Mexico and unloaded “an array of boxes and packages, all...marked 'Peralta Grant.' This was the evidence attacking the Surveyor General's report. Along with this mass of documents, old and newly discovered, was a large oil portrait of the Marquis de Peralta, to put a face on the fraud. James Reavis-Peralta and Sophia , Baron and Baroness of Arizona, now moved back into their desert fortress of Arizola, where, on March 8, 1893 , Sophia argued her own case by giving birth to twin boys, thus proving, said James, that she had been born a twin herself. Also that spring, another group of investors were lined up to supply another $2,500 (today's equivalent of $60,000) a month,  for operating expenses for Development Corporation, and the Revis-Peralta household.
At the same time the prosecution was also getting ready. The newly formed Court of Private Land Claims had hired Mathew Reynolds to defend the government, “"a lawyer of splendid ability”, and he fought to hire William Tipton an expert on document analysis, Sevaro Mallet-Prevost, a Mexican-American who was an expert in Mexican and American land laws, and Henry Flipper, an expert surveyor. All these men and their staffs were a major investment by the government. But with his lawsuit Reavis had changed the economics of the case, making it reasonable to invest the time and money needed to prove Reavis was a fraud. It was James Reavis' first really big mistake. He had overplayed his hand.
In January of 1894 Mallet-Prevost and Tipton went to Tucson to examine the original claim files. Once that task was completed, Mallet-Provist went on to Mexico City and Guadalajara. There he found that the Royal Cedula naming Don Miguel Peralta as the Baron of Arizona was real, but it had been altered. Originally it had been a Credula advising the City of Guadalajara that the Count of Fuenclara was the new Viceroy of New Spain. In June Mallet-Prevost moved on to old Spain. While in Seville he discovered that the Spanish authorities had actually caught Reavis trying to slip a doctored document into a library, and had issued a warrant for his arrest. But Reavis had used his connections with Spanish royalty to discourage the police from pursuing their case.
Meanwhile, Mathew Reynolds had gone to California, where he was contacted by the lawyer for Mrs Elena Campbell de Nore, who had a signed contract between her husband and James Reavis, in which Miguel Nore (the husband) had been promised $50,000.00 if he lied for Reavis. Hell, it seems, hath no fury like a wife cut out of a payoff.  Also, Reynolds had made a side trip to the grave of John Treadway, the friend of Don Peralta who had supposedly cared for the infant Sophia. According to the dates on his tombstone, Treadway had died six months before Sophia was supposedly born.  As details of the evidence being collected in Mexico, Spain and California began to leak out, Reavis' investors began to quietly drop away. As the money dried up, Reavis' lawyers quit, one after the other. By the time his case came to trial, James Reavis-Peralta was flat broke, and representing himself in court..
The trial was supposed to begin in Santa Fe, at 10:00 Monday morning, June 2, 1895, but nobody from the Reavis-side showed up. The court adjourned until 1:00 that afternoon, when the only business was a motion from  J.T. Kenney,  a lawyer representing 106 Peralta family members from Arizona. They had filed a companion suit, hoping to catch some dribbles from Reavis' bounty, but after reviewing the government's evidence, Kenney told the court, “from a cursory examination... it (the Peralta Grant) is a fabrication...We wash our hands from all of it.” First thing Tuesday morning the court began taking testimony from government witnesses, even though Baron James Reavis-Peralta was still no where to be seen.
The Government case was laid out in full. There never was any one named Don Miguel Nemecio Silva de Peralta de la Corboda. There had never been a grant of land issued to the nonexistent Baron. The nonexistent grant had not been approved by the Inquisition, and had not been confirmed by the Viceroy, who had died a few days after he did not sign the nonexistent grant. The nonexistent Don Miguel Peralta had never married, and he and his imaginary wife had never had children, who, of course had not had children, who had not had children, who, needless to say, had not delivered sickly twins in an isolated California mission, where the nonexistent mother had not died along with her nonexistent male child, and there had been no Sophia Peralta who survived, because her mother had not existed. The supposed friend of the nonresistant Baron Parlata had existed - John A. Treadway was real. But he had died six months before the nonexistent Sophia Peralta had not been born.
Documents supporting the Peralta claim had been forged, usually badly, and inserted into existing files and books. Legitimate entries in diaries and record books had been erased to make room for forged names and titles. The entire Peralta case was a tale of lies, cheats and broken promises, and had survived in the courts as long as it did only because of the support by rich and powerful men like Collis Huntington and Charles. Crocker, who had become rich and powerful because they had no scruples about lying and cheating to make money.
Finally, on June 10, 1895, the Baron of Arizona, James Reavis-Peralta showed up in court in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the flesh, to answer the Government's charges. He should have stayed in bed.
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Friday, September 19, 2014


I wonder how many of you know, dear readers, that the word “Gobbledgook”, being a nonsensical word designed to imply importance but in fact meaning nothing,  has an actual birthday? The word was born on Sunday, May 21st, 1944, in the pages of “The New York Times Magazine”. And it is just one of the many American words born out of American politics.
In 1812 the Massachusetts’s legislature contrived, with the help of Governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced "Jerry"), to redraw the lines for the Essex County Congressional District, to insure who won the elections there. According to legend it was famed painter Gilbert Stuart who first examined the bends and curves of the new district and observed that, to him at least, a map if it resembled a salamander. But whoever said it first, it was Benjamin Russell, editor of the Boston Sentinel, who renamed the proposed district a Gerrymander, after the Governor. That name now applies, as a verb, to the redrawing of congressional district boundaries (Gerrymandering) to insure the election of one particular candidate or party. And allowing politicians to control the drawing of districts has Gerrymandered all negotiations out of American politics. Almost as old as Gerrymanding is the word “Bunko”, meaning a fraud or a fraudulent spiel used by salesmen of bad or fake products. Police departments around the nation still have squads of officers assigned to uncovering fraud and cheating scams, named “Bunko Squads”. Some linguists say this word originated with a Mexican card game, a version of three-card monty, but that is just so much "bunk". Thirty years before the invention of the Mexican card game the word was used to describe a speech by Felix Walker, a congressman from North Carolina.Walker had been born in 1753 in the mountains of western Virginia. He worked as a store clerk in Charleston, South Carolina, and tried homesteading with Daniel Boone in Boonsboro, Kentucky. He fought in the American Revolution, and served in the North Carolina House of Commons, the state legislature. In 1816 he was appointed to Congress, to represent the Blue Ridge ‘hollars’ and the French River valley of Buncombe Country.The county was named after American Revolutionary War hero Colonel Edward Buncombe, who had been wounded and captured at the battle of Germantown, in 1777. Recovering from his wounds in occupied Philadelphia, one night in May, Colonel Buncombe was sleepwalking. He fell and bled to death when his wounds were reopened. The new county named in his honor was so large it was locally referred to as “The State of Buncombe.”Facing contentious re-election in 1818 and again in 1820, Felix Walker quickly learned the value of a well publicized and well received speech. And on February 25, 1820, while the House of Representatives was debating the crucial issue of the “Missouri Compromise”, deciding whether or not to take the first step that would lead to the Civil War, Congressman Walker arose and began to pontificate about the wonders of Buncombe County.The leadership were ready to put the matter of the Compromise to a vote, and after listening to Walker’s rambling speech for several minutes, they urged Walker to stop wasting the Congresses’ time and sit down. But Walker explained that his speech was not intended for the benefit of the congress, but for the "simple folk of Buncombe County back home". And then Walker returned to his endless platitudes.Almost overnight Walker’s speech was transformed from being about Buncombe to being “pure Buncombe” itself. And, with a little modification in spelling, it changed from "Buncombe", to "bunkum", and then to "bunk", as in a useless, pompous and empty speech, or "bunko" a false promise intended to further a fraud.Gobbledygook has a much simpler history than bunko, and more recent. It was the purposeful invention of the one term Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and later Congressman, the Honorable Fontaine Muaury Maverick. The mayor served only one term because a communist had rented a meeting room in the cities' Civic Auditorium. By law, Mayor Maverick could not refuse to rent the room to anyone. But because he failed to "lock out" the commie his opponents were able to rabble rouse a riot, complete with tear gas shells being lobbed about in front of the auditorium. This typical "Texas-Hysteria”, was in response to Maury’s defense of "Freedom of Speech", and almost got him lynched. And it allowed his opponents to brand Maury himself as a communist, which led to his defeat for re-election as Mayor. But that is beside the point.Maury Maverick later won election to Congress, where, during WWII, his honesty, intellect and energy convinced others to make him chairman of the "Small War Plants Committee", overseeing and coordinating the work of thousands of small factories contributing to the American war effort, seeking to avoid duplication of effort, shortages of raw materials and general waste. Being a man interested in results Maury quickly grew frustrated with the growing complexity of official language which prolonged the already almost endless committee meetings he had to attend. In his article for the New York Times magazine, Maury defined his new word as a type of talk which is long, vague, pompous, and uses mostly Latinised words "…when concrete nouns are replaced by abstractions and simple terms by pseudo-technical jargon…" all of which made him think of the mating call of the wild turkey’s back home, as in "gobble, gobble, gobble, gook".In a later memorandum Maury ordered, in pure Texas style, "Anyone using the words “activation” or “implementation” will be shot”. Of course no one was executed, and those two forms of gobbledygook wormed their way into the language. But perhaps because no one was, the continued human attraction to verbosity has since produced nonsense such as "Pentagonese", "Journalese", "circumlocution", and other such gobbledygook words used to describe Maury’s gobbledegook.
In an interesting (I think) side note, gobbledegook was the Maverick family’s second addition to the American lexicon. The first was their family name. There was a Maverick aboard the Mayflower. And a 17-year old apprentice, Samuel Maverick, had been struck down by 'lobster backs' at the Boston Massacre. But the most famous Maverick of all was another Samuel, this one born in Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1803.This Maverick, Samuel Augustus, graduated from Yale in 1825 and was admitted to the bar in 1829. A year later, he ran for the South Carolina Legislature, but his anti-secession opinions contributed to his defeat. In 1835 Samuel Maverick moved to Texas. He was one of two men from the Alamo elected to the Texas Independence Convention. Thus his career in politics saved him from being butchered by Mexican soldiers. Because of his political obligations he also missed the victory at San Jacinto. Never the less, he was elected Mayor and then Treasurer of the city of San Antonio, and later served in the seventh and eighth Texas Congresses. He also dabbled in East Texas land speculation, and sometime in 1843 or 1844, as payment for a bad debt, Samuel Augustus took possession of a ranch around Matagorda Bay, Texas.The only problem was that Maverick had no experience in ranching and no interest in learning. When he saw that every other rancher had branded their cattle, Augustus decided there was no need for him to bother with the expense of branding his. In 1847, when Samuel moved back to San Antonio, he left his cattle under the care of his ranch hands, who saw no reason to pay more attention to their jobs than their absentee boss. They let their animals wander the open range, unbranded.Cowboys who found unbranded cattle thus identified them all as the property of "Mr. Maverick", and mavericks thus became any unbranded cow or horse. Samuel Augustus Maverick favored Texas being annexed by the U.S., and after it was, he fought its secession from the Union in 1861 until he realized there was no stopping it. After the Civil War he opposed Reconstruction. When he died in 1870 he left holdings of over 300,000 acres and a reputation for independence - not being branded by any special interests. His son, Samuel Maverick jr., fought with distinction in the Civil War (for the south) and was promoted to second lieutenant.After the Civil War Maverick jr. became a lawyer, helped preserve the Alamo, donated "Maverick Park" to San Antonio, and as a judge, lived to swear in his own son, inventor of the term gobbledegook, as Mayor of San Antonio. Maverick junior died in 1936 at the age of 98. And so he never had to deal with the gobbledygook his son did.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


"I can always tell which is the front end of a horse, but beyond that, my art is not above the ordinary."
Mark Twain
I retain a few doubts about Hans. I agree that he was clever, but how clever was he, really? Hans willingly cooperated with the man who proved he was as dumb as a horse. That was not very smart. And if Hans could actually preform basic math, why don't we see more horses working in banks? Sure, Hans might have been an equine genius, even capable of reading human minds, but what are the odds the only genius human- mind-reading horse would be bought by a retired gym teacher who just happened to be anxious to prove that horses could memorize the multiplication tables? Perhaps I should rein myself in here, and start at the beginning.
"Horses do think. Not very deeply, perhaps, but enough to get you into a lot of trouble."
Patricia Jacobson and Marcia Hayes - "A Horse Around the House"
Right out of the gate, Hans just looked smart (above). He was handsome, sleek, athletic and big, almost a thousand pounds and five and a half feet high at the shoulders. His breed had been founded by Count Orlov who crossed Russian mares with Arabian stallions, to produce spirited trotters. And then Count Rostophin threw in three oriental stallions to breed gentle, empathetic riding horses. So popular was the breed that by 1866 nearly half of all horses on Russian stud farms were Orlovs. And by the end of the 19th century, they were even being sold in Europe.
"Small children are convinced that ponies deserve to see the inside of the house."
Maya Patel
The popularity of the Orlov is explained by the web site, ( ; “Possessed of amazing intelligence, they learn quickly and remember easily with few repetitions. There is often an uncanny understanding of what is wanted and needed of them....They can become extremely sensitive to the moods and emotions of their riders/owners, even reflecting them in self-carriage. Under saddle this makes for a partner of such willingness and awareness that traditional (dressage) exercises become poetry.”
"Horses are uncomfortable in the middle and dangerous at both ends."
Ian Fleming - Sunday Times of London, October 9, 1966
Which brings us to Wilhelm von Osten (above), a retired, grouchy, grumpy Berlin prep school mathematics teacher who believed that animal intelligence was sorely underrated. Beginning in the 1880's he attempted to teach simple math to a cat. The feline did not care scratch for his efforts, so von Osten switched his subject to a bear. The Ursula proved a bear market for von Osten's educational techniques. So in 1888 he bought a pony, whom he named Hans. Von Osten was giddy when, after a few weeks effort, when he wrote the number three on a blackboard, Hans tapped his right hoof three times. It seemed clear, to him at least, that he had harnessed the genius in the young stallion.
"It's always been and always will be the same in the world: The horse does the work and the coachman is tipped"
Old proverb
Von Osten now had the bit between his teeth. He asked Hans for the sum of three plus two, and the black beauty tapped his hoof five times. Eventually Hans was even figuring square roots and working with fractions. Hans even read a calendar, answering “, "If the eighth day of the month comes on a Tuesday, what is the date of the following Friday?” - something I would have trouble with. But there was more. Asked to identify a member of the crowd , Hans was able to tap out a name, using a complicated code chart, even though no one had told the horse the name. But after years of giving such public demonstrations before enthusiastic crowds, von Osten grew frustrated by official indifference. So, in the summer of 1902, he advertised for sale his “beautiful, gentle 7 year old stallion”, in a military newspaper. In fact Hans was not seven, and he was not really for sale, but the ad did mention, “He distinguishes ten colors, reads, knows the four arithmetic operations, etc.” That elicited the sought after response from cavalry officers, who stampeded to von Osten's house. They came prepared to mock but left impressed. Because of this growing support by such a respected segment of German society, within two years even the Minister for Education was singing Han's (and of course, von Osten's) praises.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him participate in synchronized diving.”
Cuthbert Soup - “Another Whole 'Nother Story”
The mockery poured upon the Minister for those statements finally achieved Von Osten's goal. A panel of 13 “experts” was herded together; a veterinarian, a circus manager, a Cavalry officer, the Director of the Berlin Zoo, some school teachers and the psychologist Carl Stumpf, The panel ran Hans through his paces, and when faced with Han's 89.9% accuracy, came to the unanimous conclusion there were no tricks involved. That declaration even made the New York Times chuckle (“Berlin’s Wonderful Horse. He Can Do Almost Everything but Talk.”) The German government was now facing a night-mare of public humiliation. So before declaring himself mentally un-stable, Stumpf decided to go one step further. He asked his assistant, Oskar Pfungst, to put Hans through his paces.
I'd rather have a goddamn horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
J.D. Salinger - “The Catcher in the Rye”
Pfungst designed experiments for Dr. Stumpf, and he now laid down four restrictions to begin a series of tests for Hans, to be conducted in the courtyard of the Psychological Institute of the University of Berlin. First Pfungst cut von Osten right out the herd. Then he put blinders on Hans, so he could only see the human asking the question. And then he varied whether the questioner knew the answer or not. The key turned out to this last bit. When the human was ignorant of the correct answer, Han's winning percentage dropped to just 6%. So Hans was only as smart as the human asking the question. That lead to testing the questioner. By closely watching the humans and not the horse, Pfungst found they were subtly and unconsciously tensing their muscles as Han's approached the correct answer, and showed a similar relaxation immediately afterward. Pfungst's theory was that Hans was watching for the same muscle clues he expected when a human was riding on his back. In his December 1904 report – "Clever Hans (the horse of Mr. von Osten) A Contribution To Experimental Animal And Human Psychology" - Plungst revealed, he could now “call forth at will all the various reactions of the horse by making the proper kind of voluntary movements, without asking the relevant question.” .
"Horse sense is the thing a horse has, which keeps it from betting on people."
W.C. Fields
But for me, von Osten's mane arguments were finally reduced to horse d'oeuvres when Pfungst used von Osten's techniques to train his own dog, Nora, to duplicate all of Hans' feats. Of course, having hitched his reputation to his halter-ego Hans, Von Osten bridled at the suggestion he was not a genius horse – Hans, that is. So he bolted for the exit - von Osten did, that is. He told a newspaper “one can hardly see in these experiments more than a kind of scholarly jest....” He retreated to his families' estate in Prussia. And there the bitter old man died, on July 3, 1909. He was buried at the Church of Zion (Zionskirchhof) back in Berlin
"If the world was truly a rational place, men would ride sidesaddle."
Rita Mae Brown
Hans, still as clever as ever, was adopted by Karl Krall, a wealthy jeweler in the west German town of Elberfeld. Krall was determined to prove Hans a genius, and the stallion continued to spend hours each day, now with two stall mates,  standing through interminable instruction and testing sessions. The horse genius was last heard of in 1916 when he was drafted, and probably died pulling wagons in World War One. Meanwhile, the "Clever Hans (in German “Kluge Hans”) Effect", still plagues researchers by producing false positive results by search, drug and bomb sniffing dogs, dolphins and primates used in language research and even human sufferers of autism. And I suspect it also occurs in contestants on American Idol.
"There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience."
John Lyons
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Sunday, September 14, 2014


I doubt James Reavis-Peralta (above), the self styled Baron of Aridzona, could have imagined a worse person to review his new filing for the Peralta grant than Royal A. Johnson. He was a lawyer, the son of a New York lawyer, and had never expressed an interest in politics. He had come west out of curiosity, and stayed because he found a good job as a clerk in the Arizona Territory Surveyor General's office. He'd been one of the clerks who had received the original voluminous Perlata Grant filing in 1883. And from that morning he'd been suspicious of Reevis. Royal had risen to second in command of the office when his boss, Joseph W. Robbins, had died, and was universally approved as Robbins's replacement.
Then in 1884 Democrat Grover Cleveland won the White House, and in the wholesale shifting of political favors, Royal was replaced as Surveyor General the Democrat John Hise. Thus, when Reavis-Peralta filed his new claim, it was John Hise who was to pass judgment on the it. However, Hise was also suspicious of Reavis, and delayed making his decision. Reavis appealed to Hises' boss, looking to shake things up, but that failed. And then 1888 the Republican Benjamin Harrison was elected President, and in July of 1889 Royal Johnson, the one man who knew almost as much about the Peralta Grant as James Reavis-Peralta,  was back in as Surveyor General.
Even during the four years he was out of office, Royal had continued to investigate the grant. So in September, when the acting United States Commissioner of Land sent Royal a letter asking, “"please report to me the exact condition of said grant...and all the information you can obtain in regard to it.", Royal was loaded and ready to fire. His broadside was fired on October 12th (Columbus day), 1889 and the title said it all; “Adverse Report of the Surveyor General of Arizona, Royal A. Johnson, upon the alleged Peralta Grant”. The word “alleged” must have particularly stung the Baron.
First, Johnson noted that the Royal Cedula, the document which had supposedly started the entire enterprise, was written in a form different than every other Royal Cedula every issued, and in such bad Spanish that Royal suggested it must have been written by an American using “bad California Spanish”. In addition the seal on the Royal Cedula had been printed on the page, and not impressed into it, as it was in every other Credula. Finally, the signatures had been made with a steel pen, not invented until a century after the 1748 date on the page.
Considering the report of the "Mexican Holy Inquisition", Royal observed that the seal was legitimate, but it had been glued on the page and not impressed, and it was cracked and had a brown tinge, suggesting it had been heated and removed from another document. And when discussing the Viceroy's decree directly awarding the grant, Royal wrote, “No certificate of a modern date nor any other reliable certification appears on the copies which would point to the originals being at present in the custody of some custodian of archives where they could be readily located and enable me to ascertain the whereabouts of originals or to prove their existence, and if they were to be obtained it is the duty of the claimants to produce them or to obtain and submit undoubted proof of their existence in their proper archives ... .”
In fact, at times the Surveyor General seemed to be scolding Reavis. “ seems in poor taste that the old books of the San Xavier Mission, wherein were recorded the births, marriages and deaths of persons under the cognizance of the Church, should be selected to have inserted, and rudely inserted, among its withered leaves a copy of the grant of Peralta by the viceroy, and a copy of Peralta’s will." Royal went on to point out the obvious signs of a forgery committed under time constraints and in difficult places. "In the first place, the (forgery) is pasted in at right angles to the other sheets and is one-third larger than the regular sheets. The upper end of the pasted-in sheet is inserted in that part of the binding that holds the back of the large book together, instead of being in regular order...”
Royal further noted that under the laws existing the 16th century, the King would not have communicated to the Viceroy of New Spain, but rather through the bureaucracy, to the Council of the Indies, who would have then contacted the Viceroy. And there was no copy of the Peralta Grant in the Council's archives. And, asked Johnson, why was there no record or even mention of the noble deeds achieved by Maguel Peralta anywhere in any other records? Given that this was the largest individual land grant made in the Americas by the Spanish crown, should not the achievement equal its reward? And, noted Johnson, Spanish law at the time said, “No memorial from any person whatever shall be received for services which shall not be supported by certificates from viceroys, Generals, or other chiefs under whom such services shall have been performed, except those persons who shall have served in the councils.” And, again, the Council of the Indies had no record of the Peralta grant.
Royal also noted that although the Inquisition was extremely powerful in Mexico, no obsessive Spanish bureaucrat – and any good bureaucrat is obsessive - would have asked that body to investigate the Peralta Grant. It should have been reviewed by the Audiencia Guadalajara Nuev Galidia. And in those records there was no mention of the Peralta Grant. Then, Royal Johnson dealt with the conflicts between the 1883 and 1887 claims. Noted the Surveyor General, if the 1864 Willing bill of sale was legitimate, then that superseded Sophia's inheritance. And as to the photograph of Sophia standing next to the “Inicial Monument” (above), Johnson showed that the Peralta family crest carved into the rock was, in reality, Indian holography.
The report went on to detail the vagueness of the boundaries of the claim, pointing out that under long established property law in America and in Mexico, you cannot claim what you cannot locate. “Speedy and final action should be had on this base claim in order that the people of this territory may enjoy their homes with peace of mind. And parties guilty of forgery or the fabrication of papers that have caused so much trouble should be vigorously prosecuted by the government and that without delay. I recommend that the alleged grant should not be confirmed as it is prayed for, it being to my mind without the slightest foundation in fact and utterly void.”
The Baron of Arizona, James Reavis-Peralta,  responded as any good con man would respond when he was caught red handed. He sued the United States government for $11 million.
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