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WELLS V. NICKLES, 104 U. S. 444 (1881)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wells v. Nickles, 104 U.S. 444 (1881)

Wells v. Nickles

104 U.S. 444


1. While no act of Congress expressly authorizes the Secretary of the Interior or other officer of the Land Department to appoint timber agents, the appropriation of money by Congress to pay them is a recognition of the validity of their appointment.

2. Where the instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office directed the agents to seize and sell timber cut on the public lands, and also authorized them to compromise with the trespasser on his paying a reasonable compensation for the timber cut and taken away, held that a compromise so made by which he pays all the costs and expenses of the seizure and gives bond to pay for the timber when its value shall be ascertained, pursuant to the agreement, is binding on the United States.

3. This compromise, should, in violation of its terms, the property be seized and sold by such agents, is evidence of his title and right of possession in his action against their vendee for the recovery of the property.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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