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October, 5th, 1859. My Dear Sir:—The work which you propose to publish, is, in my judgment, much needed, and will be extensively useful.
The administration of the land laws of the United States, by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the Secretary of the Interior, is not a plain matter of form, nor is the disposition of business wherein public and private rights are involved, a matter of discretion. The decisions of these officers, when we consider the subject-matter of them, furnish an exposition of a large body of statutes that seldom, if ever, find interpretation in judicial tribunals. Made as those decisions have been, by men who have adorned the bar and the bench, and wto in the constant discharge of business involving all the body of the land laws, have become familiar with the objects and effects of all the multifarious enactments of Congress which relate to the public lands, the decisions, in point of authority cannot be ranked as inferior to any tribunal below the Supreme Court of the United States. The extent of ground they cover, the nice points of interpretation they involve, will quite surprise one not already familiar with the subject.
To intelligent rsons who bave purchased, or who contemplate entering public lands, or who are about to buy the titles or claims of others; to those who think of investing, or have invested, in swamp lands, railroad lands, or internal improvement or school lands, your book will afford a mass of information which could not be obtained in any attorney's office at present; and which, even on single points of advice, would cost tens, if not hundreds of dollars.
Many of the most important decisions that your book will contain, are based upon laws of recent date, and will therefore be fresh and instructive to the most learned and experienced lawyers. In view of this fact, all lawyers of extensive practice in the old States, will need to have a copy of the work : those in the new States will buy it as soon as they become aware of its publication, and contents. To land officers and their clerks, it will be an indispensable companion.
Having examined the manuscripts of your proposed publication, I can heartily commend the contents, as most valuable contributions to legal knowledge. Your opportunities for obtaining materials for the compilation, have been unequalled, and you have used them with ability, diligence and judgment. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Henry BEARD. W. W. Lester, Esq., Washington, D. C.
[From 8. P. YEOMANS, ESQ., REGISTER OF THE LAND OFFICE AT sioux city, 'Iowa.]
LAND Office, Sioux City,
March 5th, 1860. W. W. Lester, Esq. :-Sir:-I have received the prospectus of your work, now in press, upon the laws in relation to the public lands, with the regulations and decisions of the proper Departments with reference to their disposition, and beg to express my hearty approval of your plan, and my thanks to you for having availed yourself of the favorable opportunities which your position and experience afford for the preparation of a work which will tend so largely to lessen the responsibilities, diminish the labor, and render uniform the rulings of the local land officers throughout the country. During my experience of six years as Register, new questions have repeatedly arisen, growing out of railroad and swamp land grants, scrip and warrant locations, pre-emption claims, &c., the issue of which often involved heavy interests, and upon which opinions were required to be given without any aid from precedents or authority; these were rendered at the different offices, according to individual judgment, and were often erroneous and contradictory, thus leading to confusion, and a want of confidence upon the part of those interested, much to be deplored. These questions have from time to time come before the proper Departments, and upon them decisions have been made, which have the authority of law so far as the local officers are concerned ; and so extended have been the land operations within the last few years, that their publication at this time in the form you propose, will be of incalculable benefit to the officers, who will make your work their text book, as well as the public, who are largely interested in all questions affecting the title to real estate.
S. P. Yeomans, Register.
PUBLIC LAND CASES,
PASSED BY THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES ;
TOGETHER WITH THE
REGULATIONS OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.
W. W. LESTER,
NO. 21 SOUTH SIXTH STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860,
BY H. P. & B. H. SMALL, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
PILE & MʻELROY, PR's,
Honorable Jacob Thompson,
Sik:As this volume derives much of its value from your official expositions of the Land Laws, during your able administration of the Department of the Interior, I beg leave to inscribe it you.
This dedication is made specially appropriate, from the fact that the public will find in this book abundant evidence of the purity of your character, of your legal ability, and untiring labor; while it will ever remain an incontrovertible record, that sound principles of law and strict maxims of justice have invariably guided your judgment and controlled your action, as the arbiter of private rights, and the custodian of public interests.
It is peculiarly gratifying to me, in expressing my acknowledgments for the high sanction of your authority accorded this publication, to record the profound respect and esteem which I, in common with all who are connected with your Department, entertain for your great public labors, and for your official courtesy and kindness. With unfeigned gratitude and regard, I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
W. W. LESTER.