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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 496   View pdf image (33K)
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or the equitable title becomes a legal one, by relation back to
its origin. It has been stated heretofore that the title under a
patent, when obtained, refers or relates back to the date of the
certificate on which it is founded. This doctrine I
understand to have been established by decisions in the late general
court, and it appears to have been the ancient doctrine of the
land office. It is true that, as a question, the land office has
little to do with this matter; for it judges only of warrants
and certificates; it grants patents, but does not annul or
expound them, when granted. And therefore this is not
mentioned as a rule of the office, but as a supposed principle of law
applicable to questions of eldership, which may come into
view in the land office, and sometimes influence its
proceedings, but are not there decided. To return to the general
effect of a patent, it is a title, so far as it enables a party to
contend at law for the land which it conveys, and this is all that I
shall venture to say upon the subject.

    In adverting heretofore to resolutions of the general
assembly, I promised to notice, in a future chapter, such of them as
might relate to matters of general concern: but, several
circumstances have concurred to prevent the full execution of
what had been designed in this particular. I found the
resolutions, on examination, so numerous, and relating to so
great a variety of matters, that the space which I could have
allotted for the purpose would have been insufficient for any
considerable selection of them; and, another point was the
difficulty of making any application of those authorities to
my general subject of enquiry, namely, the established rules
of the land office. It is needless for me to say that the rules
of that office must bend to the authority of the legislature
whenever, in cases of apparent hardship, or on any special
ground of expediency, that authority is interposed. And, if
it is also needless to state the fact, so universally known, that
the legislature has granted particular relief in the greatest
variety of instances, where the office itself was, under its
prescribed limits of action, incompetent to afford any, it must be
equally unnecessary to illustrate that fact by examples. There
is, in short, no kind of relief, dispensation, or privilege, which
the general assembly may not, in its discretion, rightfully
extend, and few which it has not extended, to particular persons,
on grounds appearing to merit its interference; and there
can be no limit, even in reason and justice, to the exercise of
this power, except that particular indulgences shall not
destroy or affect any rights previously acquired under the laws,
and the acknowledged rules of the office; which principle
has I believe always been observed on those occasions. If,
therefore, the legislature, for instance, by a resolution, directs
a certificate to be received into the land office after the time

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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 496   View pdf image (33K)
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