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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 318   View pdf image (33K)
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to have an acquaintance with the subject, are in so many
particulars either impracticable, misconstrued, or disregarded,
that the surveyors can hardly be said to act under
instructions more than the registers, who follow former rules and
precedents, where they find them applicable, without their
being expressly sanctioned by the executive.

    The officers, then, concerned in the land office
establishment, except the surveyors, and with a slight exception also,
which will presently be noticed, in the case of the registers,
act without direct instruction other than what is
contained in the laws, and as these do not provide for all the
operations, and the modes and forms of proceeding, incident to
the establishment, it is proper to enquire in reference at once
to law and usage by what rules the officers are governed in
the performance of their several functions. In regard to the
treasurers this question presents no difficulties. Their duties
are in a considerable degree original, and are all directed by
acts of assembly. The substance, therefore, of those
duties rests upon their own construction of the laws, and for the
form they are presumed to adopt such precedents from the
practice of the proprietary agents as they find convenient, and
in other cases to devise rules of their own; which could not
with the same propriety be done in offices of record, even
where the ancient forms were evidently liable to objection.
In regard to the issuing of titlings or orders for warrants, it is
a proceeding derived from the former government, and used
in all cases in which the payment of money was required
previous to issuing of warrants, namely those of original
warrants, common or special, for vacant land. The chief agent
was the person who formerly received the caution money, and
issued those orders, agreeably to which the register of the
land office granted warrants, reciting the payment and filing
the order: the course and form are at present the same, the
treasurer standing in place of the agent. He keeps a separate
account of the money received in this and other ways for
vacant or escheat land and the improvements thereon, distinguishing

applications which an officer less expert might have occasionally made to
the board, and which would, of course, have led to a disclosure of the
rules and usages of the office. It is not meant by all this to say that any
great inconvenience has been sustained by the want of those instructions
to the registers of the land office, which the governor and council were
authorised to give; for the laws prescribe the substance, and the ancient
and well considered usages govern the forms, of proceedings in that office;
besides which, the power of the chancellor, (and on the Eastern Shore, of
the judge of the land office,) may very well reach to every case that can
require a special direction. In regard to surveyors I do not scruple to
affirm that instructions absolutely new, and adapted to the new state of
things under the present government, were and are extremely requisite,
and that the omission of them has been owing to that general want of

information concerning land affairs which it is the aim of the present
undertaking to remove.

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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 318   View pdf image (33K)
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