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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 331   View pdf image (33K)
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    The 12th section gives to the register of the eastern shore
land office a power, not possessed by the register on the
western shore, of issuing subpoenas to summon parties to appear
(before the judge of the said office) to maintain or answer
caveats, or to require the attendance of witnesses, and also to
issue attachments for contempt against witnesses not attending.
It will be recollected that general regulations upon this
subject, although I have not yet given them in detail, were
prescribed by the act of 1782, ch. 38. According to these, all
process necessary for bringing disputes in the land office to
hearing and decision was to issue from the chancery, or from
the general court of either shore. When, by the provisions
of the law under consideration, disputes of this kind arising
on the eastern shore were to be there heard and decided, it
became necessary to furnish the judge with the means of
compelling the attendance of parties and witnesses:this
might have been effected by a provision authorising the issue
of subpoenas from the general court of the eastern shore on
the requisition of the judge or the register of the land office;
but as the judge of the western shore office, being the
chancellor, has in his own person, though in another character, the
power of summoning, of enforcing attendance, and of
punishing contempts, without the necessity of recourse to a
foreign jurisdiction, it was perhaps thought more equal that the
judge of the land office on the eastern shore, or the register in
his name, should have the same power. in the consideration
however of a (c) question which might arise whether the
land office is or is not a court of record, the offices of the
two shores would certainly stand on different ground in
consequence of this regulation.

 By an act of 1796, ch. 6, remedies were provided for some
inconveniences arising to the inhabitants of the eastern shore
from the regulations of the preceding acts.
Certificates it

    (c) Such a question has actually been raised, and opposite opinions have
been pronounced on it by the two persons in their time the most
competent to judge of the nature of the establishment. When engaged in
the management of internal revenues of the United States, I had
occasion to know that exemplifications under seal were given from the western
shore land office on paper not stamped, and I signified to Mr. Callehan
that I held the exemplifications to be liable to the stamp duty. The
return which he made to this intimation, was a written statement and
argument, tending to shew that the land office was not a court, and I
acquiesced in his construction. The late chancellor on the contrary seems in
his evidence given before the general court, in the case of Hammond vs.
Norris, relative to the practice of the land office, to consider the said
office as a court, though wanting the power of fine and imprisonment,
which he apparently views as not essential to that character. The eastern
shore office has powers approaching very nearly to what are
comprehended in those terms, and would in all likelihood have been confidently
pronounced a court if its organization had been in view when the
chancellor was giving the evidence in question.

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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, Page 331   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

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