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The de facto doctrine in the law of officers has been a continual source of difficulty to the courts for more than a century. Many questions connected with the application of this doctrine to this branch of the law have been settled beyond controversy. Even the phase of this question which the writer proposes to discuss cannot be classed as new or novel. Recent years, however, have seen the development of certain tendencies on the part of some of the American courts in the application of this doctrine, which will furnish the subject for the major part of our consideration.