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(FROM THE HOX. J. THOMPSON, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
December 14th, 1859. W. W. LESTER, Esq.:—Dear Sir:-[ am informed that you have completed, and have now ready for the press, your compilation of the Land Laws of the United States, embracing the regulations of this department, and the decisions of cases arising in the execution of them. Such a book as you propose is much needed, not only by the officers of the Government, but by all the judges, lawyers, and civil officers residing in the land States.
The arrangement of the proposed work meets my approval, and I feel satisfied from your ability and known accuracy, and your familiarity with the subject, that your work will be a complete success.
Yours, very truly,
[FROM THE HON. Jos. S. WILSON, COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.]
October 1st, 1859. My Dear Sir:-You apprised me some months ago of an enterprise you had under way, with a view to a complete digest and summary of the Acts of Congress, the opinions of the Attorneys-General, decisions of the Department and of the Supreme Court of the United States, all affecting our public land system, and reaching back to the year 1838, to which period there is a publication in existence. In the progress of the work, and at the present stage of its development, you have unfolded to me your plan of arrangement of divisions and sub-divisions of subjects.
First.—The disposal of the public lands by sale, internal improvements, swamp donations, &c.; the separation of foreign titles, originating under the governments of Great Britain, France, Spain and Mexico, when they held sovereignty of portions of the continent, now the territory of the Republic. Then you propose to treat of preemptions, swamp grants, railroads—dividing and subdividing this extensive subject in such a manner as will indicate at a glance each of them, their connection and dependence, with such references, as will bring to the mind's eye at a glance, the laws, general instructions, and the decisions, executive and judicial.
A work of this kind will be a manual of great value, not only to the land lawyer, but to our people, spread over the public domain. It will be a cheap and valuable guide to them, in presenting and asserting their rights. From your experience, judgment and general knowledge of the subject, I have no doubt you will furnish a work of great interest and value.
With my best wishes for your success, and assurance of my regard, I remain, very truly, your friend, W. W. Lester, Esq.
Jos. S. Wilson.
[FROM MOSES KELLY, ESQ., CHIEF CLERK OF DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.]
October 4th, 1859. My Dear Sir:-It gives me much pleasure to commend the manual upon which you have been so long engaged, to public favor. I do this the more cheerfully from an earnest conviction of its great value; and because I feel that you deserve to be liberally rewarded for the labor and care its preparation has cost you.
The want of this work has long been experienced. More than twenty years have elapsed since one of the kind was published, and during this long interval, the legislation disposing of the public lands, has been such as to render former publications of little practical use.
The plan you have adopted in the classification of subjects, affording a ready means of referring from the law to the leading decisions under it, will prove particularly convenient to all. By this arrangement, the officers of the Land Department will be afforded facilities for the discharge of their varied duties not before enjoyed, and those employed in the prosecution of land claims, be enabled to proceed with more certainty and directness in the preparation and presentation of their cases, to those having jurisdiction of them. At the same time, you have succeeded in producing such a work, that those who have acquired lands from the Government, by pre-emption or otherwise, may for themselves ascertain the nature and extent of their legal rights, and those who wish to do so, go forward with confidence to the accomplishment of their purpose, by consulting its pages and conforming to its directions.
In the hope that the demand for this valuable production will justify these high expectations,
I am, very truly, your friend, W. W. Lester, Esq.
[FROM THE HON. S. A. SMITH, EX-COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.]
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
December 22d, 1859. W. W. LESTER, Esq. :-Dear Sir :-Your proposed compilation of the Land Laws of the United States, embracing the Regulations of the Department and the Decisions made of Cases arising in the execution of them, meets my hearty approval. Such a work is greatly needed, and will be alike advantageous to this office, and the legal profession in general. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. SMITH
[FROM HON. Thos. A. HENDRICKS, EX-COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.]
March 15th, 1860. Dear Sir:-I am pleased to observe that you have prepared, and are about to publish a work on the land system of the United States, embracing the laws, regulations and decisions. The arrangement, as presented in the circular of your publishers, is judicious, and indicates a very complete view of the subject. Your position in the Department of the Interior, has been favorable to you in the preparation of the work, and I cannot doubt it will satisfy the expectations of your friends, and the wants of the public. Hoping that you will meet with success in your laudable enterprise,
I am, very truly yours, &c., W. W. Lester, Esq., Washington City.
Thos. A. HENDRICKS.
(FROM THE HON. JOHN WILSON, EX-COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.]
August 27th, 1859. Dear Sir : -I have considered with much care, the plan and arrangement of the volume you propose to publish on the public lands; and consider it the very best
that can be devised. By publishing the laws passed since 1838, in chronological order, you complete Part I., Laws, Opinions, and Instructions, to date : and by a similar publication of the decisions of the Supreme, Federal, and State Courts, the opinions of the Attorneys-General, and the decisions of the Department and General Land Office, you will, in like manner, complete the second part of the work above mentioned. But by the system of references and cross-references you propose, you will combine with the foregoing, a most complete digest or syllabus of the whole land system, and supply a hiatus, which has long been felt by all legal and land
The value of this work, prepared on the basis you propose, can hardly be appreciated, not only to the legal profession, but to every settler or land holder in the land States. Your facilities for preparing this work, are great; and your ability is fully equal to the task. With my best wishes for your success in it,
I am, truly, your friend, W. W. Lester, Esq., Washington.
[FROM HON. RICHARD M. YOUNG, EX-COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.]
December 3d, 1859. Dear Sir:-I am gratified to learn that your new work entitled “ Decisions in Public Land Cases, Land Laws and Regulations," will soon be ready for the press. I very much approve of the plan, and systematic arrangement of your compilation, and from your well-known capacity and experience, am satisfied it will prove to be very useful to the profession generally, but especially to attorneys and land agents in the new States and Territories, in which the public lands are situated, to whom it will be invaluable.
I take great pleasure in recommending it as a compilation which has been greatly needed, and sincerely hope that it will meet with the patronage it so well deserves.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
RICHARD M. Young,
Former Commissioner of the General Land Office. W. W. Lester, Esq., Washington.
[FROM S. S. BAXTER, ESQ.]
October 15th, 1859. Mr. WM. W. LESTER :--Dear Sir :-I am much pleased to hear you are about to publish a book on the Land Laws of the United States, as administered by the Department of the Interior.
Such a book is much needed, as a guide to Registers and Receivers; and to counsel, practising before the various land offices of the United States.
But its benefits will not be confined to them. The land system of the United States is the most extensive and perfect ever known in the world. Such an amount of valuable land has never, elsewhere, been disposed of with so much regularity and accuracy. .
But as this system is confined to the procurement of titles, from the first step in the titles to the grant of the patent, it has necessarily become a peculiar one, resting on Acts of Congress, interpreted and executed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, acting under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.
The consequence is, a general want of knowledge of the system, among persons interested in its operation.
Nearly all of our people, residing in the States and Territories in which the public lands are situated, and many residing in other States, purchase inchoate titles (viz., titles before the patent issues,) to land. To all intelligent persons interested in the public lands, such a book is necessary to enable them to understand their rights.
From specimens of your book, which I have seen, I am satisfied it will fully meet the wants of those interested in the public lands. With great respect, yours, &c.,
S. S. BAXTER.