[4]   The decision in this case is recorded in John Wilson's letter to the Register and Receiver at Springfield, May 2, 1854 (ibid., Register and Receiver Letter Record, Vol. 42), which reads in part as follows: ``That on the interval between the first and second offerings, Mr. Stuart applied to purchase at private entry, a portion of the lands for which application had been received on the 25th July, the bid forfeited, and which, according to notices given, were again to be offered on the 5th August. The Attorney General in an opinion given on the 14th July, 1837, says that `one of the most important points to be observed in the execution of the law is the securing to all persons a fair and equal opportunity to become purchasers of the public lands.' To carry out the principle, the necessity and propriety of the instructions given by this Office to the District Land Officers for bringing these lands into market, cannot be questioned. If Mr. Stuart's application had been entertained, this important principle would have been wholly violated, hence his application is void in itself, independent of the action of the officers in relation to the other applications. The only errors of the land officers were first, in permitting a party to bid who had forfeited his bid. Second, in permitting others to bid than those who had applied. Under the peculiar circumstances of the case, perhaps the only mode to carry out the opinion of the Attorney General was that adopted by them; at all events, the only persons who had a right to complain of this course were those who had applied, and for whom the circle of competition was thus enlarged. There is no evidence to show that there was any combination to prevent fair competition of the sale of 5th August. Hence the land officers were correct in refusing Mr. Stuart's application, and in permitting the entries as made.''

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