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Brantly's annotated Bland's Reports, Chancery Court 1809-1832
Volume 198, Page 608   View pdf image (33K)
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Act could constitutionally expire; since there is no law to be
found, by which it has ever been continued, either generally or
specially. Therefore, this Act might have been, very safely and
prudently, passed over by the delegates, without at all enfeebling
the force of any argument they could possibly have urged in sup-
port of the right they had assumed to reduce the Chancellor's
salary. But, since the Act of 1797, ch. 71, has been thus invoked
into this controversy, an explanation may be deemed necessary.

The Court of Chancery of this State is, in all respects, substan-
tially analogous to that of England; but, in Maryland, the Chan-
cellor has long been invested with certain powers, and a jurisdic-
tion, which are exercised in a name and character, altogether
peculiar to this State; and that is, "as Judge of the land office."
Before the Revolution the Lord Proprietary was the owner, in his
individual and private capacity, of all the land and territory in
Maryland; which he sold or gave away at pleasure. Not long
after the settlement of the Province was commenced, a land office
was established, through which any person might obtain a title for
any vacant land, on complying with the established conditions and
regulations. As the settlements extended, and the sales of land
were multiplied, numerous controversies arose as to the formality
and correctness of the incipient and original titles, thus obtained
from the Proprietary. For the purpose of determining these con-
troversies, a Judge of the land office was appointed, about the
year 1680; and the Chancellor of the Province was charged with
the * determination of those matters, either as Judge, or as
649 assistant of the Judge of the land office. Cunningham v.
Browning, ante, 299.

On the Revolution, although all the powers, rights, and prop-
erty of the Proprietary devolved upon the State, or were abolished
and confiscated, there was no express provision in the Constitu-
tion for a Judge of the land office. But, as it would seem, it was
clearly understood, that the Chancellor of the State, of course,
succeeded to, and might rightfully exercise all the power and
authority of Judge of the land office, which had, at any time, be-
longed to the Chancellor of the Proprietary Government. And
this additional capacity and character, of the Chancellor of this
State, was distinctly recognized and confirmed by the Act of
November, 1781, ch. 20, s. 6. The Chancellor of Maryland is then,
by virtue of his office, Judge of the land office; and, as such, he is
invested with jurisdiction to hear and determine all cases, as to
the equitable right, or incipient title acquired under warrants and
certificates of survey, which may become the subject of contest in
the land office. This jurisdiction of the Chancellor, at first, ex-
tended over the whole State; but, by the Act of 1795, ch. 61, s. 5,
a Judge of the land office, for the Eastern Shore, was directed to
be appointed; who was clothed with all the original jurisdiction


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Brantly's annotated Bland's Reports, Chancery Court 1809-1832
Volume 198, Page 608   View pdf image (33K)
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