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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 108   View pdf image (33K)
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108 LAND-HOLDER'S ASSISTANT.

CHAPTER VI.

 

OF THE FORMAL AND DISTINCT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
      LAND OFFICE.

 

    DURING the life of the original proprietary, which
embraced a space of forty-three years from the date of the
charter, land affairs were under the direction of his
lieutenant or governor, with an irregular kind of participation
in the secretary, the surveyor general and the council, to
say nothing, at present, of an occasional legislative
interference. Throughout this period it is not perceived that the
management of those affairs had been regulated by any
prescribed rules or instructions, further than may be gathered from the
conditions of plantation, proclamations and special
directions which have already been noticed. It cannot indeed be
positively asserted that no set of rules had ever been
prescribed, for there was in existence in the year 1680 a record
termed the " Book of instructions " which is not now to
be found; but the contents of that book may very well have
been those instructions which directed particular things to
be done, such as the making reserves, laying out manors,
&c. which are numerous, and some of them very lengthy.
Supposing, what I conceive most probable, that distinct
instructions for the proceedings of the land office, and for
that purpose only, had not been prescribed, it may be
accounted for by the circumstance of the government's
having been generally in the hands of the proprietary's near
relations, and for many years in those of his son and heir
Charles Calvert, in whom it is reasonable to suppose that a
discretion was vested that would not have been accorded to
a stranger; and it may be still more clearly accounted for by
the circumstance that there was no office and no tribunal
absolutely set apart for affairs of land, to which instructions
confined to that object, might have been addressed. About
ten years after the death of Cecilius lord Baltimore, which
took place in 1675, his successor, just mentioned, who had
since his accession made a visit to England, and was about
to go a second time, determined, previous to his departure,
to commit the sole management of land affairs to a select
council consisting of four members, and termed " the
land council" or more formally " his lordship's council
for lands specially appointed." Four years before this he
had for the first time erected a land office by that name, and
given the charge of it to John Llewellin, by the denomination





 
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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 108   View pdf image (33K)
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