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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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           I HAVE undertaken, in the ensuing enquiries, the developement
of a system of great and general interest, but which many circumstances
have combined to render intricate and obscure. This examination consists
in several detached sketches of those parts of the early political history
of Maryland which have relation with the establishment and the progressive
operations of the LAND-OFFICE; in the exhibition of original
documents relative to the same subject, and in a selection of examples of
the various modes and forms of proceeding in land affairs; accompanied
by such recitals, illustrations, and remarks, as have appeared the best
calcualted to convey a kind of knowledge very rare among the citizens of
Maryland. That I have executed this task in the best manner that my
talents and opportunities would permit will, I presume, be readily believed;
for, in a production admitting so little of embellishment, I must necessarily
have depended for any degree of approbation and success upon its
real utility. I have known, as well from the nature of this work as from
the countenance which they have given to it by anticipation, that it is to
undergo the scrutiny of professional gentlemen, capable of detecting errors
in statement or in reasoning. I have also been persuaded that it
would attract the notice of an enlightened legislature, or, at least, of
individuals of that legislature, and other public functionaries, more or less
acquainted with the subject of which I have been treating; and I have
believed that it would not fail to engage the perusal of that respectable
description of citizens for whose use it is professedly designed. From the
testimony and suffrage of such readers, and not from any pretensions of
my own, I have been aware that the book must take its character, and
stand or fall in the public estimation. Although, therefore, the kindness
of a large and respectable list of subscribers may have secured me from
absolute loss, it is certain that my prospect of recompense for the time
and labour devoted to this arduous enquiry must depend on the degree of
sanction and approbation that my work may receive from those who are
the best qualified to determine on its merit. In regard to applause,
independent of its effect in the point of interest, my expectations are limited
to the credit of having applied myself with diligence to the study of those
matters which appertain to the office I was called to administer; a pursuit
which certainly tends to the advantage and reputation of the government
in which that office holds its place: but this hope, though humble,
has had its effect, in prompting me to the utmost exertion of my capacity
to shew that I had not merely skimmed the surface of the land-office
system, but had dived to its origin and elements, in order to rescue from
oblivion a species of knowledge which has hitherto, so far as it was not
already buried in records out of use, and not likely to tempt inspection,
been dependent on the lives and memories of two or three individuals. I
have, then, in a word, done my best to render this compilation worthy of
the public expectation, and patronage; and, if I have failed, it is not for
want of effort, but of ability.

       But, that I may not seem to rest too confidently upon the merit of
this performance, without admitting its imperfections and claiming allowance
for the novelty and difficulty of the undertaking, I must be indulged
in a more particular account of the inducements that led to it, and of the
impediments which have been experienced in bringing the work to its
present form: and, here, I must repeat, what was stated in my prospectus

Source: John Kilty. Land Holder's Assistant and Land Office Guide.
Baltimore: G. Dobbin & Murphy, 1808. MSA SC 5165-1-1.

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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Preface 3   View pdf image (33K)
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