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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, New Preface 4  
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New Preface

Beginning with chapter fifteen, Kilty concerned himself with practices in the last period of proprietary rule, from the restoration of proprietary authority in 1715 to the assumption of responsibility for the office by the state government during the Revolutionary War. Chapter fifteen documents revised conditions of plantation and other proprietary instructions issued during this period, while the following chapter consists of extracts from laws and other proceedings of the Assembly relative to land affairs. Recognizing the importance to the proprietor of the revenues derived from his Maryland landholdings (as Kilty phrased it, "the province was originally nothing but a great land market"), Kilty devoted chapter seventeen to an examination of "rents and revenue affairs," including the administrative bureaucracy, associated with patented and leased land. In the final chapter, Kilty briefly traced the evolution of the land office after 1689; considered the operations of the surveyor general and his associates; classified the five types of warrants that could be issued; and described the termination of proprietary control with confiscation of by the state in 1780 and 1781.

In the second book, Kilty turned to the operation of the land office under the state government established in 1776. The first chapter outlines the organization of the land office, no longer "the peculiar establishment of a paramount ruler," but rather an office "sanctioned by positive laws." The following chapter details the general regulations enacted by the legislature that guided the operations of the land office. The third chapter describes the powers various state officials can exercise over officials of the land office as well as the duties of those officials. The following two chapters concern property issues that arose with independence: the disposition of land confiscated from British subjects (chapter four) and western land reserved for grants in recognition of military service during the Revolutionary War (chapter five). The following chapter contains a brief account of land set aside for native Americans from initial settlement until the time of writing. Although neither the treatment of vacant land nor the handling of resurveys changed sufficiently to require further attention from Kilty, he commented briefly in chapter seven on the change in usage of proclamation warrants and considered in chapter eight the retention of the feudal practice of escheat to dispose of land when there was a "want of heirs." Recognizing that laws and regulations did not prevent disputes and disagreements, Kilty devoted chapter nine to the work of the judges of the land office, with extensive examples of decisions rendered in a variety of cases. Chapter ten discusses the instructions under which surveyors operated. In the following chapter, Kilty included testimony provided in courts of law that bore upon the practices of the land office, as further evidence of the practices of the office that formed the subject of his treatise. Kilty's concluding chapter is a general one, designed "to state the principles, rules, usages, and interpretations, by which the office is at present governed." His remarks represent the distillation into a series of succinct summaries of the extensive research into the operations of the office that formed the basis of the preceding chapters.

A concluding appendix contains transcripts of the principle legislative acts that governed the operation of the land office. An index follows and a page of errata. It should be noted here that obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected; idiosyncratic spellings, however, have not been touched.



 
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Kilty's Land-Holder's Assistant, and Land-Office Guide
Volume 73, New Preface 4  
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