SIR: In accordance with the resolution of the 28th of February, 1855, of the Senate of the United States, the following is submitted as an abstract of the annual report from this office for 1861. The report shows-
1. Quantity of land surveyed for the year ending 30th June, 1861; the quarter ending 30th September, 1861; the quantity surveyed prior thereto, and yet unoffered, with the aggregate quantity surveyed and unoffered on 30th September, 1861.
2. The aggregate, at that date, subject to private entry; with,
3. Aggregate of surveyed lands offered and unoffered on 30th September, 1861.
4. Cash sales of bounty lands, swamps, and railroads.
5. Comment on result.
6. Surveys in new Territories of Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, and Florida.
7. Foreign titles.
8. Pre-emptions, communicating the principle that would govern where preemptors enter the military of the United States.
9. Graduation with the ruling in regard to this class of purchasers who engage in the war for the Union.
10. Military bounty land claims-revolutionary, war of 1812 with Great Britain, war of 1847 with Mexico, and general bounty land claims under laws of 1850, 1852, 1855.
11. Swamp grants.
12. Railroad approvals.
13. Mineral interests of the United States in the public domain.
14. Eastern boundary of California.
15. Boundary between the State of Oregon and Territory of Washington.
16. Boundary between the Territories of the United States and Texas.
17. Reference to general administrative details.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. CALEB B. SMITH,
Secretary of the Interior.
THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.
SIR: During the year ending 30th June, 1861, there have been returned to this office as surveyed 7,972,576.70 acres, and for the quarter ending September 30, 1861, an additional area of 919,548.55 acres making an aggregate of acres returned surveyed since June 30, 1860, and not yet offered of 8,892,125.25 acres. To this may be added lands surveyed prior to July 1, 1860, and not yet offered, the quantity of 46,663,470.00 acres making an aggregate area of surveyed but unoffered of 55,555,595.25 acres on hand on September 30, 1861, liable to proclamation, and subject to pre-emption prior to the actual offering thereof at public sale.
To this may be added surveyed lands, heretofore offered in different land States and Territories, which were liable to "private sale" and also to pre-emption on September 30, 1861, being in the aggregate 78,662,735.64 acres making a total surveyed, unsold, offered, and unoffered, on September 30, 1861, of 134,218,330.89 acres.
Since last annual report no new proclamation has been issued for the sale of public lands. There was, however, an offering in June, 1861, in California, under the proclamation of October 22, 1860, for the sale of 3,685,287 acres; the law of 1853 requiring six months' public notice to be given in the State of the time and place of sale. Besides this, there has been a restoration to private sale in January last of 53,000 acres in Wisconsin, being public lands on the line of the Fox and Wisconsin, Iowa improvement grant of 1846.
In the year ending June 30, 1861, there were disposed of, for cash, 1,465,603.57 acres for $884,887.03.
Located with bounty land warrants: 2,017,440 acres;
Certified under railroad grants to Minnesota, Michigan, and Louisiana: 1,021,493 acres;
Approved and certified in same year as swamp lands: 599,125.10 acres;
Making an aggregate disposed of during the year ending June 30, 1861, of 5,103,662.44 acres.
For the quarter ending September 30, 1861, there were sold (part estimate) for cash: 42,400.50 acres for $40,412.39.
Located by bounty land warrants, (part estimate): 136,500 acres;
Approved in same quarter to States as swamp lands: 6,969.37 acres;
Making a total quantity disposed of for the five quarters ending September 30, 1861, of 5,289,532.31 acres.
The aggregate cash receipts during that period were $925,299.42
The operations of the land system in the disposal of the public lands have been checked and depressed by the political difficulties of the country, growing out of the hostile attitude assumed towards the United States by the authorities controlling in the States in revolt against the federal authority. Notwithstanding these causes, and the necessary withdrawal for military service of a large number of our citizens from agricultural employment, the general disturbance of trade, and the exciting causes affecting the social system, the energy of our people and vigor of our institutions appear in this connection in the fact that, unaided by public sales of fresh lands, actual settlements have increased the greater portion, it is believed, of over three millions and a half of acres, which have been sold for cash, or located by warrants, being for actual settlement; adding, by estimate, forty thousand new farms of eighty acres to the wealth of the republic.
NEW TERRITORIES - SURVEYS.
By three several acts passed in 1861, during the second session of the 36th Congress, provision was made for the organization of three new Territories, and the extension to them of the United. States surveying system, these Territories being designated as Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada.
The first-named (Dakota) was organized under the provisions of the act of Congress approved 2d March, 1861. It embraces part of the northern portion of Nebraska and what was known as the Territory of Minnesota, or Dakota, west of the Minnesota State line.
The present Territory of Dakota, the largest of all the organized Territories, is bounded on the north by the 49° of north latitude, the international line; on the east by the States of Minnesota and Iowa; on the south by the Missouri, Neobrara, or Running Waters, and Keha, Paha, or Turtle Hill rivers; thence up the latter river to the intersection of the 43° of north latitude; thence due west to the Rocky mountains, and on the west by those mountains.
It contains 326,902 square miles, or 209,217,280 acres, and includes 52,454,400 acres, or the whole extent of the former Territory of Minnesota, also 156,762,880 acres of the northern part of Nebraska.
Within the limits of Dakota there has been organized the Yancton land district.
The area of Dakota, to which the Indian title has been extinguished, is 14,000,000 acres, exclusive of 399,800 of the Yancton "home reservation," under the provisions of the treaty of April, 1858, and about 80,000 acres of the Ponca reservation, treaty of March 12, 1858.
"Yancton," in Dakota, has been designated as the location for the office of the surveyor general of the Territory, and, by order of the President, "Ver million," on the Missouri river, has been selected as the location for the Yancton land district.
The office of the surveyor general was opened at Yancton on the 1st July, 1861, and the surveying system has there gone into complete operation, pursuant to instructions to the surveyor general.
The surveying service in Dakota, during the present fiscal year, is limited by direct appropriation and apportionment of funds for that purpose. There has been allotted the sum of $8,000 for subdivisional surveys, out of $50,000 appropriated by act of Congress of March 2, 1861, for surveying the public lands; for rent of office and incidental expenses, per act July 27, 1861, $2,000; and $4,100 apportioned on account of the necessary clerk hire out of unexpended balance of former appropriation.
During the year ending September 30, 1861, the surveyor general of Wisconsin and Iowa, who held jurisdiction over lands now in Dakota, has returned; has executed these surveys, embracing 60,639 acres, at the cost of $5,053.15. Besides this, the surveyor general for Dakota has entered into contracts for the subdivision of about twenty townships in the fork of the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers, extending partly over the valleys of Vermillion and Dakota rivers. The lands of the Territory are reported as being of the most fertile character, the climate healthy.
The returns of the deputy surveyors indicate singular richness and uniformity of soil; the bottom lands of the Missouri and other rivers furnishing splendid natural meadows; the prairie, which is high and rolling, being covered with rich pasturage. The surveyor general reports that the capacity of the Territory for stock raising cannot be overestimated; submits an estimate for surveys for next fiscal year of $25,322, recommending an appropriation of $4,000 additional "for the purpose of initiating a geological survey, in connection with the linear survey, during the next fiscal year."
For reasons connected with the present financial relations of the country, and upon other grounds elsewhere appearing in this report, the estimate submitted by this office for Dakota for next fiscal year is $5,000.
The register and receiver for the Yancton land district were first appointed April 10, 1861, but failing to qualify before the expiration of the late special session of Congress, their duties, for the time being, were devolved on the surveyor general of Dakota, under the provisions of the twelfth section of the act of Congress approved July 22, 1854; the duties, by the 17th section of the organic act of the Territory of Dakota, approved March 2, 1861, being the same as those of the surveyor general of Kansas and Nebraska.
The additional duties thus made incumbent, ad interim, on the surveyor general of Dakota chiefly consisted in receiving notices of pre-emption declaratory statements, within his district, upon unsurveyed lands to which the Indian title is extinguished; in attending to the selection of sundry grants of land, under the seventh article of the treaty of April 19, 1858, with the Yancton Sioux tribe of Indians, and to locations of certificates of 80-acre tracts of land issued by the Indian office to the mixed bloods of the Chippewas of Lake Superior, under the seventh section of the second article of the treaty concluded September, 1854, with the Chippewas of Lake Superior, which certificates, by the decision of the department of the 26th February, 1856, are locatable upon unoccupied public lands anywhere open to pre-emption or subject to private entry, in conformity to circular letter of instructions to registers and receivers of November 24, 1857. These temporary additional duties of the surveyor general, however, will soon cease by transfer to the new appointees, who were commissioned to fill the places of register and receiver on the 28th September, 1861.
The new Territory of Colorado was organized by the act of Congress approved February 28, 1861. It is situate between the 37th and 41st degrees of north latitude, and 25th and 32d degrees of longitude west of the Washington meridian, embracing an area of 104,500 square miles, or 66,880,000 acres, of which 8,960,000 acres were formerly included within the Territory of New Mexico.
The portion of Colorado formerly included in the Territories of Utah and Kansas being 47,657,600 acres; in that of Nebraska 10,262,400 acres.
No treaty for the cession of Indian lands in Colorado has yet been ratified. By the treaty concluded on the 18th February, 1861, but not yet ratified, between the United States and the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, about One-third of the area of Colorado, situated north of Arkansas river, east of the Rocky mountains and south of the south fork of the Platte river, was ceded to the United States. In view of numerous settlements along the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, in the valley of the, south fork of the Platte river and the valleys of its tributaries, instructions, on the 9th of May last, were dispatched to the surveyor general of Colorado, ordering the location of his office at Denver City, and directing him to establish standard lines over the strip of land em braced between the meridional line of Fort St. Vrain and Colorado City on the east, and the Rocky mountains on the west, an average width of 40 by 138 miles. In thus extending the lines of the public surveys over the lands em braced by the aforesaid treaty, concluded but not yet ratified, it is proper to state that the action of this office was based upon the highest judicial authority, by which it is held that, as between the contracting parties, a treaty takes effect and is binding on said parties from the date of its signing, the ratification relating back to the date of signing, but on third parties it takes effect from the date of ratification. (United States vs. Arredondo, 6th Peters's Reports, page 748; also United States vs. Sibbald, 10th Peters, page 323.)
In order, however, to obviate any difficulty in the extension of the standard lines along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains over the lands thus circumstanced, the aid of the Indian agent has been invited, with the view of explaining to the Indians the intentions of the government in relation to the entrance of the surveyors upon a limited extent of the already settled country, for the accommodation of the agricultural portion of the settlers therein, and that the United States surveyors are not to disturb them prior to the final ratification of the treaty of February 18, 1861.
No separate appropriations for the surveying service in Colorado having been made for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1862, at the time of the organization of the Territory, the sum of $9,000 for the surveys therein was apportioned under the decision of the department out of the appropriations made for that year for the surveying districts from which was constituted the Territory of Colorado, and which funds would have been applied for the survey of those portions thereof; had they not been incorporated into Colorado.
The surveyor general promptly repaired to the post of his duty, reported his arrival at Denver City on 17th June last, where he opened the office and entered upon the discharge of his duties.
Pursuant to instructions the surveyor general has made contracts for the establishment of the 8th guide meridian, 138 miles from the corner to townships one north and south of the base line of ranges sixty-four and sixty-five west of the sixth priacipnl meridian, governing the surveys in Kansas and Nebraska, which base line had been surveyed and marked in the field on the fortieth degree of north latitude from the intersection thereof with the Missouri river, west to the summit of the Rocky mountains, prior to the organization of the Territory of Colorado. He has also contracted for the survey of 192 miles of standard parallels, from which township lines, to the extent of the means allotted to this surveying district, will be surveyed during the present fiscal year, leaving sub-divisional work of the agricultural portion of the Territory to be accomplished under future direct appropriations, for which an estimate of $5,000 is herewith submitted.
The surveyor general reports that the valleys of the Platte and Arkansas, with their mountains, are being cultivated with success. The plains situated in the eastern portion of the Territory are not so suitable for tillage as for grazing purposes.
The Territory of Nevada, organized March 2, 1861. -Its geographical limits are 39° west longitude of Washington meridian on the east; 370 of north latitude on the south; 42° of north latitude on the north, and the dividing ridge separating the waters of Carson valley from those that flow into the Pacific ocean, from the 37th to the 41st degree of north latitude, and thence due north to the southern boundary of Oregon, embracing 64,550 square miles, or 41,312,000 acres, formerly constituting the western portion of the Territory of Utah, and embracing a strip from the eastern side of California; but the latter only upon the condition of that State's assent.
The surveyor general of this Territory having been appointed under the pro visions of the organic act above mentioned, after receiving his instructions from this office for the government of the surveying operations, left New York on the 21st May last, and reached Carson city, in Nevada, via San Francisco, on the 22d June, 1861. Some of the standard lines governing the surveys of the public lines in California, and counting from the Mount Diablo meridian, having been extended east across the Snowy mountains in California, and now partly forming the eastern boundary thereof, the surveyor general of Nevada was instructed to extend the same further east to the valley of Carson river, in Nevada, and establish therein Carson river guide meridian, with standard parallel, so as to reach the localities of actual settlers. To this end the sum of $10,000 was set apart, with the Secretary's concurrence, from unexpended balances of former appropriations for surveys in Utah.
Surveys in Carson's valley, Nevada, had been made by Mormon county surveyors, under color of authority from the Utah legislature, when the region of country formed a part of Utah. The surveyor general of the latter Territory, under orders from this office, had given public notice of the illegality of such surveys, and of the invalidity of any claims resting upon the same, with a warning of the penalty prescribed for violation of the laws of the United States in that respect.
Such was the state of matters existing at the passage of the act organizing the Territory of Nevada when the extension of the lines of the public surveys was determined upon. The surveyor general of Nevada was consequently instructed to carry on his surveying in the valleys of Carson, Walker, and Truckee, or Salmon Trout rivers, and embrace actual settlements, together with those of one hundred and ninety petitioners, who, on the 3d December, 1860, had applied to the surveyor general of Utah to have the lands in Carson county surveyed, and which would have been surveyed under his superintendence during the present year and paid for out of the surveying fund of Utah, had the lands not been included in the surveying district of Nevada.
Upon opening his office at Carson city, the surveyor general of Nevada, after making reconnoissance of Carson valley and the valleys of Washoe lake and Bigler lake, also the settlements of China Town, Silver City, Gold Hill and Virginia City, into contract for the survey of Carson river guide meridian, corresponding very nearly with the 42° 30' of west longitude of Washington meridian, and standard parallels at thirty miles apart from each other, amounting in all to one hundred and forty-eight lineal miles of surveying, which will form sufficient bases for the sub-divisional surveys during this year and next fiscal year, for which an estimate of $5,000 has been submitted by this office.
The surveyor general reports depredations committed by parties claiming to hold the lands under the territorial laws of Utah, suggesting early surveys, with a view to speedy sale by the United States.
It is also stated that the lands in Carson valley are claimed by persons waiting the extension of surveying lines, so that they may conform their boundaries to the government surveys.
The Washoe valley, being on the west side of the lake of that name, is fifteen by five miles; contains numerous settlers, represented as holding large ranches under illegal grants.
The Walker valley, above Water lake Indian reservation, is represented as containing about 300,000 acres suitable for settlement.
The Truckee River valley, eighty miles above Pyramid lake Indian reservation, contains a large amount of the best lands in the Territory, fit for agricultural and grazing purposes, occupied by settlers holding extensive claims of from one to three thousand acres, under color of Utah territorial legislation.
The surveyor general reports that the population of Nevada Territory is 17,000, mostly found in towns and mining districts; the latter possessing unlimited mineral resources, which are being largely developed.
In 1855 the existing system of timber agencies was instituted by this office, under the provisions of the penal act of 2d March, 1831, "for the punishment of offences committed in cutting, destroying, or removing live oaks and other timber or trees preserved for naval purposes," and in view of the decision in the case of the United States vs. Ephraim Briggs, (9th Howard, p. 351,) in which the Supreme Court decided that the said act authorized the prosecution and punishment of all trespassers on public lands by cutting timber, whether such timber was fit for naval purposes or not.
The present system was embodied in a circular letter, dated December 24, 1855, addressed to the registers and receivers, devolving the duties connected therewith upon the officers of the local land districts. There being as yet no such officers in Nevada, the duties of the register and receiver in this particular were assigned by this office to the surveyor general on the 9th September, 1861, requiring him to act in carrying out the system as developed in that circular, when necessary to protect the public timber from spoliation in Nevada.
During the past year there have been surveyed 742 lineal miles, embracing 212,475 acres.
The greater portion of the appropriation for this district has been allotted to private land claims, of which fifty-eight have been surveyed during the past year.
Four deputy surveyors have been in the field, under different contracts, since last annual report, and the surveys comprise-
1. Those private land claims in regard to which final judicial decrees have been filed in the surveyor general's office.
2. Resurveys of private claims, ordered by the United States district courts.
3. Subdivisional work, bordering on private land claims, in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
4. Subdivisional work of three fractional townships in the Humboldt district.
5. The subdivisions bordering on or near Nome Cult Indian reservation.
The surveyor general recommends the subdivision of certain townships situated east and west of the bay of San Francisco, the valley of Sacramento river, in Big valley, west of Clear lake, in Anderson's valley, and along the rivers Noya, Big Albion, Navarro, and Garcia, in Mendocino county, and also a number of townships in the northeastern portion of the State; in the Pitt river valley, heretofore occupied, by roving, warlike Indians, who have been removed.
That region is represented as being rapidly filled up with settlers, the lands as devoid of minerals, and well adapted for agricultural and grazing purposes. It is also represented that in some of the townships already subdivided discoveries of minerals are almost daily being made, the following instances being reported, all east of the Monte Diablo meridian, viz.:
That the late discoveries of silver known as "caso" are in township 18 south, range 40 east, situated east of Owen lake.
The Esmeralda silver mines are in the northeast of township 3 north, range 28 east, being northeast of Mono lake.
That rich quicksilver mines in the Berreyesa valley are in township 10 north, of ranges 4 to 7 east, being northeast of Sacramento City.
That the Monte Diablo coal mines are in township 2 north, of ranges 1 and 2 east.
That the Coral Hollow coal mines are in township 3 south, ranges 3 an4 4 east.
That rich copper veins have been struck in townships 2 and 3 north, of ranges 12 and 13 east, between Calaveras and Stanislaus rivers; and that west of the San Bernardino meridian tin mines have been discovered in the Temescal range of mountains, in townships 2, 3, 4, 5, south, of ranges 4, 5, and 6, west, between San Jacinto and Santa Ana rivers.
The surveyor general reports a large portion of the mineral regions as the best portion of the State for agricultural purposes, and recommends that town ship lines be extended over the whole mineral region; expressing his opinion that as nearly all the mining interest is controlled by capital, the time has arrived when, without injustice to the miner, the government can subdivide the land and obtain a fair compensation therefor.
That officer submits an estimate of $50,000 for the survey of private land claims, and $100,000 for the survey of public lands, indicating a number of townships to be subdivided, bordering on private claims, which have been finally settled.
From the organization of this surveying district to the 30th June last there have been surveyed in California 99,482 lineal miles, embracing 18,553,988 acres, at a cost of about $1,763,633.48.
In view of such immense field operations, at so heavy an outlay, and with most inconsiderable results to the treasury, this office proposes but a small appropriation, for the present, to be applied to the survey of private land claims.
In considering the subject in this point of view attention is drawn to the heavy expenditures incident to the public land administration in that State, in comparison with the inconsiderable receipts and general results in regard to the disposal of the public lands.
There are now six local land districts in the State, having in the aggregate twelve officers, (registers and receivers,) with a salary of $3,000 each, besides allowance for office rent and incidentals, making the expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1861, of about $42,600.00
Besides this, there is a United States surveyor general, with a salary of $4,500 per annum, with clerks, translator, and incidentals, including $2,100 per annum for office rent, at the cost for last fiscal year of $26,297.86 making a total of $68,897.86.
The whole cash receipts for the same period from the sale of public lands in California were $101,357.37. And the total disposed of by the location of land warrants during the same period was 106,440 acres.
Since the commencement of land operations in the State to the 30th September, 1861, there have been proclaimed and offered the aggregate quantity of 11,282,541 acres.
The total cash receipts for the same period were $296,697.02.
Total area covered by land warrant locations were 302,562.80 acres.
These results suggest legislation authorizing a material diminution of the number of districts by consolidation, and the arrangement of compensation by assimilating salaries in some just proportion to those paid in the elder land districts of the Union. This suggestion as to compensation applies also to Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico-the existing rates having been fixed when those regions were newly organized, and the cost of transportation and supplies enormous.
There is another matter in this connection requiring consideration, and that is the expense to the United States in the survey of confirmed private land claims. The cost of these in California, to 30th September, has reached $157,095.63.
This has been materially increased by judicial intervention, under act of Congress approved June 14, 1860, defining and regulating the jurisdiction of the district courts in California, "in regard to the survey and location of confirmed private land claims," pursuant to which the power to determine questions of location and to alter or modify boundaries is conferred on the courts. Returns have recently reached here, whereby the cost of the survey to the United States of a single rancho is shown to be $2,674.00; another at the cost of $1,611.35; and one from New Mexico at the cost of $1,966.26.
It is recommended that an act be passed requiring surveys of such confirmed Claims to be made at the expense of claimants, as required in earlier legislation.
During the last year surveys in this State have been returned to the extent of fifteen townships and fractional townships, located principally in the valleys of the Des Chutes and Umatilla rivers, east of the Cascade Mountains, in the vicinity of the Columbia River. The lands under contract during the present year are near the same locality, and are equal to twenty whole and fractional townships.
There have been surveyed 979 miles under contracts closed since August 30, 1860, and 1,226 miles contracted for since the same period. 50 plats of exterior subdivisional guide meridian and standard parallel lines have been prepared; also, 40 plats have been completed of townships embracing the surveys of donation claims. These townships are situated in the valleys of Willamette, Umpqua, Coquille, and Rogue rivers, and their tributaries lying west of the Cascades, and contain 798 donation claims, covering 260,085 acres. The quantity of acres of the public land remaining in these townships liable to be disposed of under the pre-emption laws and otherwise is 410,924 acres.
The surveyor general recommends the extension of public surveys as follows:
The guide meridian south, between ranges 17 and 18 east of Willamette meridian, passing through the valley of the tributaries of Fall River.
The guide meridian south, between ranges 30 and 31 east, through townships 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 south; first standard parallel south of the base line east, to guide meridian, between ranges 30 and 31.
The exterior and subdivisional lines of townships north of base line, between ranges 17 and 33, bordering on Columbia river, between John Day's river and Umatilla river, and a few townships in the southwest portion of the State near the Pacific ocean.
The extension of the base line is also recommended by the surveyor general, from the vicinity of Walla-Walla meridian to the present termination thereof, east to Snake river, or the eastern boundary of Oregon. For these proposed surveys the surveyor general estimates $42,240.
Looking, however, to the advances heretofore made in extending the lines of public surveys in Oregon, to the extent of surveyed lands in that State not disposed of, and to the present exigencies of the country in respect to means, this office does not regard, such extensive operations of indispensable necessity during the ensuing year, and has, consequently, concluded to reduce the estimate to $5,000.
The late surveyor general, on the 29th of January last, reported certain surveys as executed by Lafayette Cartee, deputy surveyor, in excess of his contract of October 14, 1860, consisting of township lines and subdivisions of four town ships, situated in the Des Chutes River valley, amounting to $3,033.50.
The work was approved by the late surveyor general, but, being in excess of the appropriation for the last fiscal year, and without authority of law or instructions, has been laid aside and payment refused, unless Congress shall deem it proper to give the department authority to receive the work and pay for the same.
When the last annual report was made from this surveying district there were eight unfinished outstanding surveying contracts, of which six have since been closed, and the time for completing the other two has been extended to the 25th of December, 1861. Since that report, the surveyor general has entered into five contracts, to the extent of 1,820 lineal miles.
Estimated cost, $21,840, for surveys on both sides of Hood's canal at its southern extremity, and in the valleys of Dwamish and Cedar rivers, near their confluence with Admiralty Inlet, west of the cascades, and also east of those mountains in the valley of Klikitat river, near the portage at the Dalles, a4nd in the valleys of Walla-Walla and Touchet rivers.
The survey of the residue of the lands in the vicinity of Vancouver, including the site of the town, has been completed, as also that of nearly all donation claims.
During the same period there were prepared sixty-five township plats, of which twenty-two were protracted from the field notes of surveys, and forty-three copies made of the same, showing 700 miles of surveying.
The surveyor general submits estimate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, for the extension of meridian and standard parallel lines to the extent of 276 miles, and for 5,105 miles of township and subdivisional surveys, at the aggregate cost of $66,792, which estimate has been reduced by this office to $5,000, in consideration of our existing financial relations and the little demand for surveyed lands in Washington Territory.
The claims of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, under the 4th article of the treaty of 1846 with Great Britain, remain unadjusted, definitive action in that respect being deferred for the directions of Congress in regard to the manner of adjustment and final disposal of this business, a mode of proceeding to this end having been recommended in the last annual report from the department.
In the meantime the surveyor general is interdicted from entering upon the survey of those lands, although it is understood that actual settlements therein have been made by hundreds of our own citizens, nor is that officer yet authorized to survey the islands between the straits of Rosario and Haro, upon some of which settlements by our people have also been made, particularly upon the island of San Juan, the survey of those islands being deferred until the inter national lines shall have been fully determined.
During the past year eleven deputies have been employed in extending the lines of public surveys and ten engaged on surveys of donations, nearly all of which have been completed, the closing of the lines of the surveys having tested in a gratifying manner the correctness of former surveys.
It is reported that recent discovery has been made of very rich gold placers in the Nez Percé country, along the valley of Clear Water river, an affluent of Snake river, and that nearly ten thousand people are there, who it is supposed will occupy all the farming lands. The region for the principal future surveys in the Territory, the surveyor general reports, will be upon the upper Columbia, and the rivers and bays of the Pacific Ocean.
NEW MEXICO SURVEYING SERVICE.
The surveys in this Territory during the last year have been extended over the following confirmed private land claims and pueblos, viz:
Claim of Preston Beck, Jr., town of Anton Chico, town of Las Vegas; claim of Donaciano Vigil, "Los Trigos," and claim of E. W. Eaton, together with public lands, in all 680 miles, embracing an aggregate area of 1,338,000 acres, at the cost of $9,369.65.
From this surveying district has also been furnished the appended statement showing the names of all the Indian pueblos in New Mexico, with their localities, population, wealth, and the time their land claims were confirmed by Congress, when surveyed, and the areas thereof.
This statement comprises forty-eight pueblos, containing in the aggregate, according to census of 1860, a population of 16,922.
Personal estate owned in pueblos, $772,766.
Area of land in the same, 517,427.48 acres.
We have also from the surveyor general a communication addressed to him by Captain Baker, a resident of the valley of the San Juan, one of the tributaries of the Colorado of the West, descriptive of that part of the Territory, and urging that the public surveys be extended over that valley and the valleys of the numerous affluents of San Juan-among others the valleys of Rio de las Animas and de in Plata, reported as being "among the finest agricultural valleys of the continent," and abounding in bituminous coal.
It is also represented that the valleys of thc Rio de las Animas and San Juan are strewn with the ruins of cities, many of them of solid masonry. Stone buildings, three stories high, are yet standing of Aztec architecture.
It is further reported that near the confluence of the La Plata and San Juan three seams of coal were observed, the first, or the upper one, four feet thick, within twenty feet of the surface; the second, six feet thick, nearly within same distance; the third, ten feet thick, within about fifty feet of the surface.
It is also reported that complaints are made by the pueblo Indians of the encroachments upon their lands by the Mexican people, owing to the pueblos not having been surveyed and their limits defined, for want of sufficient appropriations.
The estimate submitted by this office is mainly designed for that purpose.
The survey of the boundary between Colorado and New Mexico is urged by the surveyor general in order that it may be ascertained whether the adjudication of claims, under treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, situated in the vicinity of the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude, belongs to the surveyor general of New Mexico or of Colorado.
That officer has submitted an estimate of $40,000 for the surveys in the field for the next fiscal year. The reported continual depredations of the Indians on life and property in New Mexico, the dangers to deputies without escorts, are reasons for restricted operations, in addition to monetary embarrassments; and hence the sum of only $5,000 is submitted by this office for the next fiscal year.
Of the private grants which have been filed in the office of the surveyor general since last annual report but four have been adjudicated by him. That officer reports that there are in existence hundreds of claims, which should be filed, but holders of these land grants refuse to present them for investigation.
To remedy this evil the propriety of limiting the time by law within which the muniments of title should be filed is suggested.
This policy seems to be called for by public interests connected with donation claims and the surveys of the public lands; the latter, in many instances, having been postponed from year to year in apprehension of the localities being covered by treaty grants.
The appropriation of $10,000, per act of March 2, 1861, for the surveys of New Mexico, being reduced to $8,000 by apportioning the difference to the newly organized Territory of Colorado, under decision of the 5th April last, the surveyor general entered into surveying contracts, payable out of that amount, $8,000.
The contract embraces the surveys of private land claims and their connections with the lines of public surveys, viz:
1. Town of Tajique.
2. Casa Colorado.
6. San Ysidro.
7. Cañon de San Diego y Moro.
8. Grant of John Lamy.
9. Grant of Ortiz Mine.
10. Grant of José Serafin Ramirez.
11. Grant of Antonio Sandoval.
12. Grant of Ramon Vigil.
13. Grant of Francisco Martinez.
14. Grant of Sebastian Martinez.
15. Also, the two selected locations for the heirs of Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca.
The surveyor general suggests that, in order to do justice to the surveys, both to the government and the confirmees of private claims in New Mexico, a law should be passed applying the provisions of the act of Congress, approved June 14, 1860, for the determination by the courts of the correctness of locations and surveys in California to those of New Mexico, in disputed cases, growing out of indefinite boundaries described in the grants.
The extent of the surveys of public lands and confirmed private grants since the organization of the surveying district of New Mexico, in 1854, is illustrated on the map accompanying the annual report of the surveyor general of the 29th August last. It consists of the following:
92 townships and fractional townships, situated in the Rio Grande valley from 32° to 36° of north latitude, or from Fort Fillmore up to Santa Fe, and 20 townships lying in the valleys of Canadian river and Utah creek, Rio Concho and Moro tributaries of the Canadian, situated south and east of Fort Union, embracing 2,331,114.48 acres.
25 private and pueblo claims, covering the area of 2,070,094.98 acres, situated mostly in the valley of the Rio Grande and the northern affluents of Rio Pecos, lying east and southeast of Santa Fe.
A list received from the surveyor general is appended to this report of the captains general, civil and military governors, &c., in authority in New Mexico under the crown of Spain and the government of Mexico, as collected from the Spanish archives in the office of the surveyor general of New Mexico, embracing a period of time extending from the year 1698 down to 1846, when Santa Fe was taken possession of by the United States government.
TERRITORY OF UTAH.
By the original act establishing the territorial government, approved September 9, 1850, Utah contained 140,925,440 acres, which has been reduced to 84,044,880 acres, by the provisions of sections 1st and 21st of the act of Congress organizing the Territories of Nevada and Dakota, approved March 2, 1861.
No public lands have been surveyed in Utah since the year 1857, there being no land district organized for the disposal of 2,500,000 acres already surveyed, and no demand for purchase from the United States.
The surveyor general, with his limited clerical force, has been occupied in the examination of former surveys, executed under the late surveyor general, David H. Burr, against which sworn allegations of fraud had been preferred.
Mr. Burr's immediate successor has been engaged in the examination of surveys made by Charles Mogo, deputy surveyor, under his contract with Surveyor General Burr, dated March 6, 1857.
The late surveyor general, Mr. Stambaugh, after organizing an examining party, started for the field in the early part of the last fiscal year, and his report of the examinations made, dated September 10, 1860, disclosed disregard, on the part of the late surveyor general, of the laws governing the surveys, and, on that of his deputies, great delinquency in perpetuating the corner boundaries of their surveys in the field, and in the failure to plant corner posts of the requisite dimensions.
The examination of the surveys made under the administration of Surveyor General Burr has resulted in showing great remissness on the part of that officer in not providing proper checks upon his deputies, as required by law and instructions, to prevent the survey of lands unfit for cultivation.
The surveying account of Charles Mogo, United States deputy surveyor, growing out of his contract of March 6, 1857, with the late surveyor general of Utah, which, by the decision, dated the 27th of August, 1861, of the Secretary of the Interior, was directed to be adjusted upon the principles therein laid down, was reported for payment to the amount of $4,173.63, instead of $13,285.23. The amount which has been allowed and paid consists only of the per mileage due Mr. Mogo for standard and township lines, $4,008.89, which work by law he had authority to survey, and $144.74 for the subdivisional lines covering the extent of 5,000 acres of land, the surveyor general's report of the examination of Mr. Mogo's work in the field showing this extent to be fit for agricultural purposes, and consequently surveyable under the law and instructions.
Under said decision there was disallowed the sum of $9,111.60, being charges of per mileage under his contract for the subdivisional survey of desert land, the survey of it being interdicted by law, which declares that "none other than township lines shall be run where the land is deemed unfit for cultivation."- (Statutes at Large, vol. 9, p. 497, made applicable to the surveys in Utah by the provision of the 1st section of the organic act establishing the office of the surveyor general of Utah, approved February 21, 1855.)
The late surveyor general of Utah reported against the continuation of the public surveys in Utah until a different policy may be devised by Congress to induce other than Mormon emigration to the Territory.
The region in the valley of Uintah river, a tributary of Green or Colorado river in Utah, situated about sixty miles south of Fort Bridger, is represented as the best agricultural lands, abounding in pine and other timber, watered by several streams affording valuable water power, and presenting great inducements to settlers.
It is reported that all the settlements heretofore made in Utah were established under the special direction of the Mormon church; that about the 1st of September, 1861, an exploring party left Salt Lake City, headed by the territorial surveyor general, preparatory to the settlement of this and other valleys, by one hundred and fifty families, who proposed removal for the organization of settlements. No public surveys have extended over the Uintah valley, owing to its isolation and hitherto uninhabited condition, except by the Indians. Explorations made during the last summer, by a surveying party, for a more direct overland route from Denver City, Colorado, to California, having passed through the valley of Uintah, and reported it well adapted for large settlements, and favorable for the location of the overland route, seem to have given incentive to the appropriation of the valley by Mormons.
The President, however, by order dated October 3, 1861, upon the application of the Indian office, has directed the reservation of the valley for Indian purposes, and the surveyor general has accordingly been instructed to lay down upon the map of Utah Territory the reservation, containing upwards of 2,000,000 acres, to be respected accordingly in future surveying operations.
As no land district has yet been organized for Utah for the sale or disposal of the public lands already surveyed, and no information has reached this office showing any general desire on the part of the people to acquire titles to the public lands from the government, no further surveys are now recommended- it being proposed, merely, to keep up the organization of the district through the surveyor general, now in custody of the surveying archives, until either the department shall deem it proper to close for a time the district, placing the archives in charge of some United States functionary, or until the policy of Congress in the premises shall be marked out by further legislation.
Turning from the surveying departments in the great inland region, and on the Pacific, and advancing from these eastward, we first reach in geographical position, KANSAS, NEBRASKA, and pursuing the subject, will now briefly consider the surveying relations of the elder surveying land districts east and west of the Mississippi, in the northwest and southwest, and in the southern portion of the republic, the first in order being
KANSAS AND NEBRASKA.
The returns of the field work show that there have been surveyed during the year ending September 30, 1861, in Kansas, 5,006 miles of township and subdivisional work, principally diminished reserves and trust lands of the Kansas, Delaware, Sac and Fox Indians, and 1,420 miles in Nebraska, in the South Platte and Nemaha land districts.
Besides this, the surveyor general has entered into four contracts for surveys in Kansas and Nebraska, equal to 2,196 lineal miles, at a cost of $11,772.
In this surveying department one hundred and twenty-five township plats for Kansas have been prepared and sent to the proper district offices, for an area of 2,159,688.69 acres.
The plats previously reported embracing 12,086,316.00 acres making plats duly returned for a total area in Kansas of 14,246,004.69 acres.
Twenty-three township plats for Nebraska have been prepared during the past year, and transmitted for an area of 449,621.53 acres.
Plats previously reported for, acres -------- 9,415,675.64
Making plats returned for, acres --------------------- 9,865,297.17
Total surveyed and platted lands in Kansas and Nebraska, acres -- 24,111,301.86
The surveyed lands in Kansas start from about 37°26', extending north a distance of about 154 miles, reaching to the 40th degree of north latitude, and from the western boundary of Missouri, westward, a distance of 160 miles, including the "home reservations of the Pottawatomies, Kansas, Kickapoos, Ottoes, Kaws, Sacs and Foxes of Missouri, Ioways, Ottowas, and Chippewas.
The lands surveyed in Kansas are watered by the Missouri river and its tributaries, Kansas and Osage, Kansas and its tributaries, viz: Stranger creek, Grasshopper, Big and Little Blue rivers, Republican, Solomon, Saline, and Smoky Hill forks, the Arkansas river and its affluents, Neosho, Verdigris, and Little Arkansas. The surveyed lands in Nebraska embrace that part of the Territory extending from the Missouri river on the north, southward to the 40th parallel of latitude by an average width, west of Missouri river of eighty miles, exclusive of the home reservations for Omahas, Ottoes, and Pawnees. The surveyed lands are in the valleys of Platte and Missouri rivers and their tributaries, viz: Loup Fork, Elk Horn, Niobrarah, Great and Little Nemaha, and also Republican Fork, Big and Little Blue-the affluents of Kansas River.
The northern portion of the Cherokee neutral land is reported to be densely settled, under the impression that the northern boundary of these lands was twelve miles south of the 5th standard parallel.
One settlement ("Drywood") alone is represented as containing three or four hundred settlers, who have made valuable improvements. As it is under stood that the Cherokee Indians are inclined to dispose of these neutral lands, the surveyor general recommends that the Indian title be extinguished as early as compatible with the public interest. Settlements also are reported on the Osage Indian lands embraced within a strip along the northern boundary eight miles wide. This tribe also, it is understood, are willing to dispose of the eastern portion of their lands.
In urging the extension of surveys, the surveyor general represents it as but justice to the settlers to state that many of them have left their families and are enrolled under the flag of the Union, and may be confidently looking to the government to secure homes to their wives and children.
As a reason for asking for large appropriations during the next year, the surveyor general urges the probability of the issue of a great number of bounty land warrants to the soldiers engaged in putting down rebellion, and with this view submits estimates for the extension of surveys:
In Kansas ------------------------------------------------------------ $74,694
In Nebraska ---------------------------------------------------------- 75,292
Making a total of ---------------------------------------------------- 149,986
sufficient to pay for additional surveys to the extent of 390 townships, or nearly 9,000,000 acres.
In consideration of the large quantity of surveyed, indisposed of lands in Kansas and Nebraska, and for reasons elsewhere suggested in this report, connected with the financial concerns of the country, and of the settlers themselves at this conjuncture of public affairs, this office has submitted a diminished estimate of $10,000.
The best lands in Kansas are reported to be situated south of those already surveyed, which adjoin Cherokee and Osage lands, a belt of twenty-six miles, to which Indian title has not yet been extinguished, and therefore, even if enlarged appropriations were made by Congress for the surveys of the public lands in Kansas, the funds could only be applied for those lying west of the present surveyed lands, estimated at thirty millions acres, the inducements to settlers being lessened in regard to these on account of their distances from public highways. Like remarks may be applied to Nebraska, as diminished by the creation of the new Territories of Dakota and Colorado.
The surveying machinery in Kansas has been applied towards the sub division of the home reservations of the Delawares under treaty of 1854, Sacs and Foxes of Mississippi, treaty 1842, and of Kansas, treaty 1846, amounting in the aggregate to 1,012,242.67 acres, the surveys to be paid for out of the proceeds of the sales of their trust lands, under the control of the Indian office.
These lands, by the provisions of recent treaties, have been surveyed in accordance with the public land system into diminished home reservations, to be allotted in severalty to the respective tribes. The ceded lands have in like manner been surveyed to be sold in trust for the benefit of the Indians. The surveyed reservations are described as follows:
The Sac and Fox diminished reservation, containing ------- 153,997.42 acres.
Sac and Fox trust land, containing ----------------------- 278.199.89 acres.
The Delaware diminished reservation, containing ---------- 100,092.41 acres.
Delaware trust lands, containing ------------------------- 223,890.94 acres.
Kansas diminished reservation, containing ---------------- 80,409.06 acres.
Kansas trust lands, containing --------------------------- 175,652.95 acres.
Making the aggregate above stated of ---------------------1,012,242.67
WISCONSIN-IOWA SURVEYING SERVICE.
Wisconsin.-The subdivisional lines of fifteen townships in this State have been run since the last annual report, being equal to 1,000 miles, and embracing an area of 264,000 acres. Three of those townships are located near the St. Louis River, three in the vicinity of Bad river, in Lapointe county, and nine north of the 3d correction parallel, situated part in Oconto county and a portion in Marathon.
The exterior lines of forty-eight townships and fractional townships lying in Marathon County, between the headwaters of the Wisconsin river and the Michigan boundary, have been surveyed since the last annual report, equal to a distance of 371 miles and 15 chains.
There remain in this State, east of the 4th principal meridian, about 480 miles of township lines to be surveyed and 150 townships of subdivisions. All west of that meridian are completed or under contract. The surveyor general submits an estimate $15,000 for the survey of township and subdivisional lines, situated between the 3d and 4th correction parallels east of the 4th principal meridian.
Upon the completion of the Iowa surveying archives, the attention of the force in this surveying district will be directed to the prosecution of the field and office work in the State of Wisconsin.
IOWA SURVEYING SERVICE.
The survey of the two townships situated on the northern boundary of the State, and embracing Spirit Lake, which remained unsurveyed at the date of the last annual report, has been completed, thus closing the surveys of the public lands in Iowa.
The surveyor general has been directed to bring up the records of his office so far as they relate to this State, within the present fiscal year, preparatory to their delivery to the State authorities whenever an act authorizing their reception shall have been passed.
With this in view, there has been apportioned the sum of $3,000 to the office of the surveyor general at Dubuque, Iowa, to enable him to accomplish the work by the 30th June next, which work is reported as rapidly progressing.
The public surveys had been extended under the superintendence of the surveyor general of Wisconsin and Iowa on that part of this Territory included in Dakota Territory, previous to the organization of the latter under act of March 2, 1861, viz: The base line has been surveyed between townships No. 94 and 95 of ranges 48 to 61 inclusive, extending from the Big Sioux river to the eastern boundary of the Yancton Indian reservation, a distance of 81 miles. Township lines have been surveyed between ranges 48 and 62 immediately north of Missouri river, a distance of 345.5 miles; subdivisions of these townships amounting to 231 miles, embracing an area of 60,639 acres. Most of these townships are already covered with claims of actual settlers, and embrace several towns and villages. The soil is reported to be of unsurpassed fertility.
On the 13th July last all matters pertaining to surveys in this portion of the Territory were turned over to the surveyor general of Dakota.
In this State during the last year there have been surveyed 501 miles of standard parallel and guide meridian lines; 1,144 miles of section lines, together with 334 miles of meandered lakes and streams. The subdivisional surveys comprise 441,000 acres of the public lands. They are situated in the vicinity of Otter Tail Lake, northeast and southwest thereof. The lands surveyed are described as first and second rate, well adapted for agricultural purposes. Scarcity of timber, however, exists to a considerable extent, with the exception of the region of country north of Otter Tail City, over which township lines have been run, and five townships were subdivided with the view of ascertaining the value of those lands for lumbering purposes.
That locality has been found to abound in good pine timber, but is represented as not adapted to farming purposes.
The estimated area of the State of Minnesota is 52,454,400 acres.
There has been surveyed very nearly one-half of the lands in Minnesota, to which the Indian title had been extinguished, leaving about ten millions of acres to which Indian title has not been extinguished.
This portion where the usufruct title has not been relinquished consists of two separate bodies of lands. One situated in the northwestern corner of the State, bounded on the west by the Red River of the North, extending from the mouth of Wild Rice river to the international boundary; on the south by a line drawn northeastwardly from the mouth of Wild Rice river to Turtle lake, about twenty miles southeasterly of the Red lake; and on the east by a line connecting the source of the Black river, affluent of the Rainy Lake river, with Turtle lake.
The other tract of country to which Indian title has not as yet been extinguished lies south of the Rainy lake, west of the most western bend of Vermillion river, east of Big York river, the tributary of the Rainy Lake river, and north of the line connecting the western bends of the Vermilion and Big Fork rivers.
The lines of the public surveys, progressing northward along the Red River of the North, have reached down to the mouth of the Wild Rice river, the latitude of Itasca lake, or the source of the Mississippi river, and along the northwest shore of Lake Superior; the surveys have been already extended to the mouth of the Pigeon river, in latitude of 48°, while those along the western shore of the Mississippi river and west thereof have advanced to about twenty miles north of the confluence of Crow Wing river with the Mississippi, or about 46°30' of north latitude, from which begins the great lumbering regions of the Mississippi, interspersed with innumerable small lakes.
The surveyor general recommends the extension of the public surveys over the pine lands of the upper Mississippi river, north of the Mule Lacs, situated
on both sides of the river, on account of the depredations of lumbermen, who, he reports, would probably buy the lands if brought into market.
That officer also suggests the subdivision of about fifteen townships in the northwestern land district, to meet the wants of settlements continually formed on the important line of communication now opened with the northwest, lying in the fork of Sioux Wood river and Red River of the North; also some twenty-five townships in the southwestern corner of the State, where township lines have just been surveyed. With this in view, he submits an estimate of $58,246. Owing to the large quantity of surveyed lands in the State not yet disposed of, and the probable heavy pressure upon the government finances during the next year, the department estimate is reduced to $8,000, to keep in operation the surveying machinery on an economical scale during the next fiscal year, and to afford an opportunity to bring the office work of that surveying district up, and hereafter keep it up with the progress of surveys in the field.
The surveyor general reports that surveys under the appropriation of $50,000, per act of March 2, 1861, of which there has been assigned by this office to his surveying district the sum of $13,000, have been contracted for to the full extent of the means provided, and that the deputy surveyors are in the field actively engaged in their duties.
MISSOURI, LOUISIANA, FLORIDA.
The surveying operations in Missouri, Louisiana., and Florida, represented in the last annual report as nearly completed, have since been brought to a close in the State of Missouri; and such would have been the case in the States of Louisiana and Florida had it not been for the interruption of the surveying service there caused by the disturbed condition of those States.
The surveyor general of Louisiana left his office on the 6th February, 1861, announcing his intention to deliver over the archives of the office to the State authorities.
The surveyor general of Florida reported on the 10th January, 1861, that his connection with the government had ceased on that day, and the surveying archives in his office were placed by him under the control of the State authorities.
The surveys of the public lands and confirmed private claims in the States of Missouri, Louisiana, and Florida may be considered as virtually completed, and no longer requiring the continuance there of the offices of the surveyors general.
Any fragmentary surveys which, at a future day, may be required, can be accomplished under the direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, conformably to the provisions of the laws of Congress of January 12, 1840, and January 22, 1853.
The surveying archives for the State of Missouri, as well as Illinois, now in the office of the surveyor general at St. Louis, Missouri, will be ready before the expiration of the present fiscal year, to be delivered over to the authorities of those States; should, however, no provision of law be enacted by the respective legislatures for their reception, it is proposed by this office, on the discontinuance of the surveyor general's office, on the 30th of June, 1862, or earlier, to place those archive8 in the custody of the recorder of land titles at St. Louis, Missouri, for ultimate delivery to the State authorities.
The surveying estimates presented by the surveyors general of the different surveying districts are exhibited in the accompanying transcripts of their reports, in connection with the estimates submitted by this office, the former being largely in excess of those determined upon by the department, which it will be seen are quite limited.
The reasons for the submission of such reduced estimates are these:
First. The pressing accumulated and increasing demands at this time upon the public treasury, growing out of the war for the defense of the Union, taxing the resources of the government to an extraordinary extent.
Second. That there are large quantities of public lands now surveyed and open to sale and settlement, yet the diminished receipts from the same show that the supply is greatly in excess of the demand.
Third. In this period of disquietude and excitement in public affairs, the treasury may expect but little from the investment of capital in the public lands, and equally inconsiderable results from emigration, kept back as it is by like causes from the wide fields of the public domain.
Then, in regard to actual settlers, the frontier men, those in the military service of the republic, and those tilling the earth, there can be no good reason for hastening surveys, because, by doing so, they are first forced to file their pre-emption declarations within a limited and brief period from the date of survey, or run the risk of forfeiture; then by survey, the lands covered by their settlements are rendered liable to proclamation of public sale under existing laws, the effect of which would be to shorten their credit, by forcing payment, with penalty of forfeiture, before the day of public sale. In the present conjuncture of public affairs, it would be no benefit, but a prejudice, to any just interests, public or private, to enlarge the surveying appropriations; but, on the contrary, sound policy and justice to all interested, suggest that surveys shall advance according to the requirements of actual settlers, seeking to perfect their titles by purchase and patent, the supply of fresh land to bear some reasonable ratio to the probable demands.
Private land claims, embracing titles derived from former governments, and donations under the laws of the United States.
From the mass of the public lands titles of this class are segregated, not only to secure and protect owners confirmed in such claims, but also to enable the government to dispose of such lands as unencumbered public property.
The labors in this branch of the service have been lessened by the suspension of business with the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, and the closing of the land offices in those States, by which proceedings that had been commenced for indemnity to claimants in cases of unsatisfied confirmed private claims, under the act of June 2, 1858, were arrested, as well as those for carrying out the liberal provisions for the adjustment of similar claims under the act of June 22, 1860.
The business connected with donation claims in Oregon and Washington Territory, under the acts of 1850, 1853, and 1854, is progressing in a satisfactory manner; cases, however, frequently occur of conflict of rights and boundaries, leading to much litigation among claimants, and demanding care and labor in their investigation. This is more especially the case with claims which were located in advance of the United States surveys, and where but little care was exercised by settlers in distinctly marking their corners, or limits, or in giving proper descriptions of their lands.
The act of June 14, 1860, to define and regulate the jurisdiction of the courts in regard to private land claims in California, has relieved this office of the difficulties consequent upon the adjustment of questions of survey and location of those claims; such questions being, under that act, brought within the jurisdiction of the United States district courts for that State.
Upon approved surveys of confirmed Spanish and Mexican claims in California, patents have been issued to the extent of 1,746,574 acres.
Surveys of confirmed private claims and pueblos in New Mexico are now coming in, and such are the arrangements of this office that patents for all such claims found regular can speedily issue.
The pre-emption principle recognized in the early legislation of our country, has ripened into a permanent system, having its broad foundations laid in the act of Congress approved 4th of September, 1841.
In the expansion of the system and its application to unsurveyed lands in the new States and Territories, some irregularities have arisen, suggesting legislative intervention. For instance, in Kansas and Nebraska, where unsurveyed lands are claimed by pre-emptors, notice of the specific tract claimed is required to be filed within three months "after the survey has been made in the field." (12th section act July 22, 1854.)
In the 7th section of the same law, extending the pre-emption act of 1841 to New Mexico, it is required that in all cases where the settlement was made before the survey, the settler shall file his declaration within three months "after the survey is wade and returned," which practice holds to be the date of the approval and return of the survey. A like requirement to this exists by the act of August 4, 1854, in regard to Minnesota.
The 3d section of the act of 17th July, 1854, extending the pre-emption act of 1841 to the then Oregon and Washington Territories, directs that all settlers there, on unsurveyed lands, shall give, notice to the surveyor general, or other duly authorized officer, of the particular tract claimed under that section "within six months after the survey of such lands is made and returned."
It is recommended that the rule in regard to the period of filing on such lands should be made uniform; the period, say three months, to take date in all cases from the approval of the township plats.
In the 6th section of the act of Congress approved 3d March, 1853, extending the pre-emption rights to California, there is a proviso that nothing in, that act shall "be construed to authorize any settlement to be made on any public lands not surveyed, unless the same be made within one year from the passage" of that "act, nor shall any right of such settlers be recognized by virtue of any settlement or improvement made of such unsurveyed lands subsequent to that day." The act of 1st March, 1854, extends the period to "settlements made prior to and within two years after that date." So that settlements upon unsurveyed lands in California are restricted, by limitation in the statute to 1st March, 1856, which restriction it is recommended be repealed.
It is proper here to state, however, that it has been held that where persons are found residing upon any of the unappropriated public lands in California subject to pre-emption settlement, "after the survey, where settlements were made since 1st March, 1856, and before the survey, such persons will be regarded as legal settlers from and after the survey of the settled lands has been made in the field, and not before that time; such settlers being required to file their declaratory statements within three months after the reception of the township plats at the district land office.
It having been decided that all lands falling within the incorporated limits of a town are excluded from agricultural pre-emption, it is recommended that a law be passed defining the extent thus excluded as an urban claim, say 320 acres, the maximum allowed to town site pre-emptions by act of 23d May, 1844, and that all subdivisions within each corporate limits, in excess of the town site proper, as thus restricted, shall be laid open to ordinary pre-emption; provided there are no town improvements on such excess sub4ivisions; and that where there are such improvements in an excess subdivision, the tract shall be disposed of only by public auction.
To guard the beneficent provisions of the pre-emption laws from abuse, and restrict them to the great object of protecting only the bona fide actual settlers of the country, it is recommended that no one shall be allowed to prove up until after at least three months settlement, cultivation, and actual residence upon the tract claimed.
The attention of this office has been drawn to the condition of persons claiming pre-emptions, wishing to enlist in the military service of the United States during the war, and who were desirous of ascertaining whether such pre-emptions will be protected during the absence of the claimants.
Entertaining no doubt of the justice of the principle which would protect the interests of claimants under such circumstances, it has received the sanction of this office, with this qualification: that the pre-emptor is an actual resident upon and cultivator of the tract claimed; has filed his declaratory statement, and in all things shall have fully met the requirements of the pre-emption law up to the period of his entrance into the military service of the country, for its, de fence and the maintenance of the government. In that case we hold that the time of actual service will not run against him, so as to result in forfeiture, provided notice of the time of entry into and termination of service is promptly filed with the register and receiver, and such steps are taken as will show a bona fide intention to return to the tract by leaving his family on the land, where he has one, and where no family, that the premises shall be placed in proper charge for the pre-emptor; so that residence and cultivation shall be continued when the military service is at an end; and then, where the pre-emption law in all other respects shall have been fully complied with, the grounds of exemption should be established when the proving up takes place as preliminary to payment and actual purchase.
In the event of the death of a pre-emption claimant, the 2d section of the act of 3d March, 1843, has already made provision, by declaring that "where a party entitled to claim the benefits of any of the pre-emption laws should have died before consummating his claim, by filing, in due time, all the papers essential to the establishment of the same, it shall be competent for the executor or administrator of the estate of such party, or one of the heirs, to file the necessary papers to complete the same: Provided, That the entry in such cases shall be made in favor of 'the heirs' of the deceased pre-emptor, and a patent thereon shall cause the title to enure to said heirs, as if their names had been specially mentioned."
GRADUATION ACT OF 4TH AUGUST, 1854.
This law cheapens, with certain limitations, the price of public lands which have been in market for specified periods to the actual settlers, who are required, before making the entry, to file their affidavits that the purchase is made for actual settlement and cultivation.
The ruling of the department further requires, that before the delivery of the patents proof shall be flied that such actual settlement and cultivation have been made. This ruling now applies to all such entries made since the 3d March, 1857- Congress, by a law of that date, having legalized all entries, prior to its passage, in which the purchaser had made the affidavit and paid the purchase money, as required by the said act of 1854 and official, instructions; except where such entries were ascertained to have been fraudulently or evasively made. Therefore, all claiming under the graduation act of 1854, who have made entries subsequent to the said act of 3d March, 1857, are required to make proof before their patents are delivered, that they have made actual settlement and cultivation on the tract thus entered.
Information having been called for, also, in regard to the course to be pursued, in reference to settlers under this law, who were desirous of enlisting as volunteers in the war, this office has prescribed the following regulation:
In all cases where such affidavits have been duly filed, the entries actually made, and the parties have done no subsequent act to show that such entries are not bona fide under the law, the time of their actual continuance in the military service will not be counted to their prejudice, provided an affidavit is filed with the register by the purchaser, stating the date of the entry of the party into the United States service, with the particulars. Thereafter the matter will stand in abeyance. Such entries will not be declared forfeited, until an opportunity is afforded to the purchasers, who may return to their settlements, to show they have done so, and complied with the spirit and intent of said act, by actual settlement and cultivation, which are now prerequisite to the delivery of the patents.
In case the purchaser should be killed, or die in actual service, upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of the fact, and of some act tending to show the bona fide intention of the decedent to fulfil the requirements of the law, his claim will be confirmed to his heirs or legal representatives.
Legislation, however, is recommended, providing that hereafter, before parties shall be allowed to enter under the graduation act of 1854, proof of actual settlement and cultivation shall be made to the satisfaction; of the register and receiver.
The effect of this will be to prevent abuses and limit the benefits of the law, and disposal of lands at low rates, to bona fide settlers.
Military bounty land claims for services during the American revolution, under the war of 1812 with Great Britain, under act of 1847, for services in the Mexican war, and under the other bounty land laws of 1850, 1852, 1855.
The history of our country shows the liberality of Congress in dealing with the officers and soldiers of every war in which we have been engaged.
The United States assumed the military land obligations of Virginia and, according to the terms of cession, what is known as the Virginia military district in Ohio was set apart and appropriated for the satisfaction of warrants issued by that State for services in the continental line. This district comprises an area of 3,709,848 acres, situate northwest of the river Ohio, between the Little Miami and Scioto rivers. It embraces in whole or in part the counties of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Highland, Madison, Union, Marion, Delaware, Franklin, Pickaway, Ross, Pike, Scioto, Hamilton, Warren, Green, Clark, Champaign, Logan and Hardin, and Virginia military land war rants to the extent of some 3,670,000 acres have been located therein; leaving a residuum of some 40,000 acres, which is the property of the United States, having been granted to the general government by the State of Virginia, December 9, 1852, as one of the considerations and conditions of and for the passage of the scrip act of August 31, 1852, by which all warrants fairly and justly issued and allowed by the authorities of the State of Virginia, prior to March 1, 1852, can be commuted into scrip, and the latter satisfied by location upon any of the public lands of the United States subject to sale at private entry.
No disposition has been made of the vacant, unappropriated lands in this district, being small irregular fractional pieces, and of comparatively little value.
Perhaps the best mode of disposal of these fragmentary parcels would be to allow them to be located with outstanding warrants by conterminous proprietors, in lieu of scrip, or that adjacent proprietors may have the right to purchase at a low minimum, or if not, it has been recommended to turn over the residuum to the State for educational or benevolent purposes.
The act of 3d March, 1855, in regard to Virginia continental line warrants, which had been entered in the Virginia military district, Ohio, allowed until 3d March, 1857, within which the claimants were permitted to "make and return their surveys and warrants, or certified copies of warrants, to the General Laud Office," such returns being the basis indispensably prerequisite to the issue of patents.
Now, as there are a number of entries or locations of such warrants actually made before the aforesaid 1st January, 1852, which have not yet been surveyed, it is but just and proper that further time be given for that purpose, otherwise their acknowledged inceptive rights cannot be consummated by a title in form.
Under the scrip laws of 1852, embraced in the foregoing, scrip has been issued for the year ending 30th September, 1861, in virtue of said act, for 80,628 acres; making, with the quantity heretofore issued; a total sum of 938,054 acres. There are now pending before this office claims equal to 153,356 acres incomplete as to proof, and yet to be perfected before scrip can issue.
From a careful examination it is estimated that all outstanding Virginia warrants, liable to commutation into scrip, will not exceed 100,000 acres. This estimate comprises warrants in the Virginia register's office, uncalled for, undrawn; warrants located in Kentucky and Ohio, and lost by interference with senior claims; duplicate warrants, and the balance of l0 percent. Yet due upon warrants commuted into scrip under act 3d March, 1835, which had been satisfied only to the extent of 90 percent, by reason of the limitation in the land appropriation by that act.
The insurrectionary attitude assumed by the controlling authorities, of Virginia, will not, of course, prejudice the claims of loyal citizens, anywhere, lawfully entitled to scrip in satisfaction of their warrants.
In dealing liberally with the earlier obligations contracted by Virginia and assumed by the federal government, the United States were not unmindful of the claims of the officers and soldiers who entered her own service during the American revolution.
We find, therefore, that, by the act of September 16, 1776, Congress promised certain gratuities, in land to the officers and soldiers serving upon their establishment in the revolutionary war, and by the act of June 1, 1796, appropriated a tract of land known as the "United States Military District, Ohio," of about 4,000 square miles, or 2,560,000 acres, embracing within its limits, in whole or in part, the counties of Tuscarawas, Guernsey, Muskingum, Monroe, Coshocton, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Franklin and Delaware.
The land warrants granted by the United States, under the act above mentioned, were located exclusively in this military district, until after the passage of the scrip act of May 30, 1830, by which the revolutionary warrants, issued either by the general government or by the commonwealth of Virginia, could be exchanged for scrip, and the same located either in Ohio, Indiana or Illinois.
The United States military warrants could also be located in the said district up to July 3, 1832, when it was provided by an act of Congress that all the vacant lands therein should be made subject to private sale, and the same were disposed of accordingly.
Since that time these United States warrants could either be converted into scrip, under the said act of May 30, 1830, or the same could be located upon any of the public lands subject to sale at private entry, as the parties in interest might prefer. The right to locate, under act 22d June, 1860, however, expires by limitation of law, June 22, 1863, and no warrant of this class has been issued since June 25, 1858, the further issue thereof being then interdicted. There are now on file warrants of this description equal to about 600 acres, incomplete in proof, and but very few outstanding.
WAR OF 1812 WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
By the provisions of the act of May 6, 1812, a quantity of land, not exceeding 6,000,000 of acres, was directed to be surveyed, reserved and set apart for the purpose of satisfying the land bounties promised by the acts of December 24, 1811, and January 11, 1812-2,000,000 acres to be surveyed in the then Territory of Michigan, 2,000,000 in the Illinois Territory, and 2,000,000 in the Territory of Louisiana, between the river St. Francis and the river Arkansas.
By the subsequent act of Congress approved April 29, 1816, it was declared that so much of the act of May 6, 1812, as directed that 2,000,000 acres should be surveyed, &c., in the Territory of Michigan, should be repealed, and that in lieu thereof 1,500,000 acres should be laid off in the Illinois Territory, and 500,000 acres in the Missouri Territory, north of the river Missouri. The great mass of warrants issued for that service has been satisfied under a lottery system, by locations in Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri. The issue of such warrants, however, ceased 25th June, 1858, by limitation, in the act of 8th February, 1854, and even the right to locate them expires 22d June, 1863, that being the limitation fixed by the aforesaid act of 22d June, 1860, which limitation should be repealed.
The aggregate bounty land liabilities already satisfied by the United States, from the commencement of operations to 30th September, 1861, are as follows:
For revolutionary services, located tracts and scrip ---------- 8,200,612 acres.
War with Great Britain ---------------------------------------- 4,850,120 acres.
Canadian volunteers ------------------------------------------- 72,750 acres.
Actually located prior and up to 30th September, 1861, under Mexican bounty land act of 1847, and the other acts of
1850, 1852, 1855 --------------------------------------- 51,138,970 acres.
Total -------------------------------------------------- 64,262,452 acres.
SWAMP AND OVERFLOWED LANDS.
Under the acts of Congress of 2d March, 1849, 28th September, 1850; the indemnity act of 2d March, 1855; the confirmatory and indemnity act of 3d March, 1857, and the act of 12th March, 1860, restricting swamp selections to lands not sold or located, and limiting the period within which selections are to be made.
The grant, by act of 1849, was limited to the State of Louisiana. Its purpose was to aid the State in "constructing the necessary levees and drains to reclaim the swamp and overflowed lands," by granting her lands of that class found unfit for cultivation. It contemplates a careful examination of such lands to determine their true character, and provides for the certification of those lands by lists approved by the Secretary. Such lists convey the title and become equivalent to a patent, in virtue of the provisions in the act of Congress, approved 3d August, 1854, vesting "in the several States and Territories the title in fee of the lands which have been or may be certified to them."
This act of 1849 was succeeded by the general law of 28th September, 1850, first extending the swamp grant to Arkansas by special designation, and then declaring its provisions and benefits should "be conferred upon each of the other States of the Union in which such swamp and overflowed lands" may be situated.
The said act of 1850 cumulated the swamp interest in favor of Louisiana, and by its general terms includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, California; the act of 1860 further extending the same to Minnesota and Oregon. From the date of these grants to the 30th September, 1861, the aggregate swamp claims of the said States cover 57,895,577.40 acres, of which 44,481,004.30 acres have been approved, and 32,134,825.01 acres have been duly patented.
The moneys already paid over to the States under the indemnity act of 2d March, 1855, on account of lands sold by the United States, which were claimed as swamps, amount to $276,126.50.
Besides this, the certificates which have been issued as land indemnity in new locations, on account of tracts covered by bounty land warrants, cover 145,595.92 acres.
Under the indemnity certificates of new locations issued to Wisconsin there have been patented to the State 34,910.75 acres.
To Indiana 4,839.20 acres.
There are now pending, and under examination, five claims for cash indemnity in Iowa and Illinois, amounting to $29,938, with a land indemnity for Illinois 17,629.99 acres.
In addition to these there are now on file for examination and decision eighty-two cases of applications for indemnity in cash, and other lands for Illinois and Iowa equal to about $112,500, ditto 283,800.00 acres.
On the 2d January, 1861, the conflicting claims for lands in the New Orleans and Opelousas districts, Louisiana, arising under the swamp grants, and the grant of 3d June, 1856, for railroad purposes, were taken up and determined in accordance with the principles laid down in the decision of the Secretary of the Interior of the 8th February, 1860. This action resulted in the rejection of the State's claim under the swamp law to 73,788.70 acres of land, to wit: 45,551.44 acres in the New Orleans district, and the balance, 28,237.26 acres in the Opelousas district.
The authorities of the State were immediately advised of this rejection, and since then the lands were certified to the State under the railroad law.
The interfering claims of the same nature within the limits of one line of the railroads in the State of Iowa, under the grant of May 15, 1856, are now in course of adjustment, "the field-notes of the surveys and other evidences of file and of record" being now under examination. There being four lines of rail road extending from the Mississippi to the Missouri, the work is very extensive, and great care is necessary properly to adjust and determine conflicting interests.
The preparation of the lists of this class of lands as the basis of similar action along the lines of the three other roads is progressing rapidly to completion.
The swamp land lists reported from the State of Alabama, in the St. Stephen's district, on the 6th January, 1861, were taken up as soon as received, and two lists prepared for approval, embracing in the aggregate 204,661.61 acres of land, but remain on the files, in view of the position assumed by the State in the secession ordinance. On the 20th April, 1861, a list, numbered 2, of lands in the Washington district, Arkansas, covering 81 pages, and embracing 229,928.71 was submitted for approval.
This list remains on the files of the department. There are also on our files 9 patents for swamp lands, viz: 2 for Florida, 2 for Mississippi, and 5 for Louisiana, embracing in the aggregate 351,410.33 acres, which have been retained because of the rebellion in those States.
The State of California has not yet presented lists of her lands. This is the case, also, with Oregon and Minnesota, the two last under the act of March 12, 1860.
During the past year there have also been prepared and approved 18 lists of lands, embracing 190 pages, and certified copies of the same have been furnished to the governors of the States in which the lands are situated, as well as to the local land officers of the proper districts.
There have been prepared for the same period 27 patents, each a volume, making of record 178 pages. And lists have been made out as basis for indemnity under act of March 2, 1855, covering 320 folio pages.
In the examination of the suspensions of the numerous cases of entries and locations conflicting with the State's claim, it is necessary to inspect critically the field notes of the surveys, and the topography delineated, on the plats. In this action, so far as the lands have been reported since the date, of the confirmatory act of March 3, 1857, and disposed of by the government since that date, we hold to the principle that the entry is prima facie evidence that the lands are not swamp within the meaning of the law; and unless the field notes and plats show that some contiguous or adjacent river may be the cause of the swampy and over flowed condition of the lands, and this not casual or temporary, the State's claim is rejected and the entry affirmed.
The main difficulty we encounter in our present action under swamp grants relates to the claims continually arising as antecedent to the indemnity acts of March 3, 1855, and March 3, 1857, in which large claims already have been presented in the aggregate, as hereinbefore shown, of $112,500, and 283,800 acres.
These claims have been preferred on ex parte affidavits, not infrequently in localities where there is no river or other natural cause appearing to produce inundation. In regard to any and all claims of this class, it is due alike to the claimants and to time interests of the United States that the matter should be very thoroughly investigated; and hence this office, with your sanction, subjects all claims of this class to such scrutiny as will remove doubt touching the character of the lands, and secure the ends of justice to all concerned.
RAILROAD GRANTS, ACTS 1856, 1857.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1861, there have been certified for railroad purposes, as follows:
To Minnesota ------------------------------------------------ 308,871.90
To Michigan ------------------------------------------------- 636,061.42
To Louisiana ------------------------------------------------ 76,560.45
Making in the aggregate ------------------------------------- 1,021,493.77
No approvals during the quarter ending September 30, 1861.
The following is an exhibit of the States and the quantities of land under the several grants actually approved to each, up to this date:
Iowa, same as last annual report ---------------------------- 2,431,541.00
Wisconsin, same as last annual report ----------------------- 211,063.00
Minnesota, (308,871.90 acres of this approved since last report) 890,775.90
Michigan, (462,650.15 acres of this approved since last report) 1,593,727.42
Florida, same as last report -------------------------------- 1,759,160.00
Alabama ----------------------------------------------------- 1,868,275.00
Mississippi ------------------------------------------------- 171,550.00
Louisiana, (76,560.45 acres of this approved since last report) 1,072,405.45 Making a total which has been approved and certified of 9,998,497.77
No country on the globe can compare with this in teeming mineral treasures, everywhere developed as the administration of the land system advances over the broad surface of the public domain. Besides the precious metals, with quicksilver found in such abundance in California, which alone has yielded since the first gold discoveries over $600,000,000, we have regions rich in those metals in New Mexico, Nevada, Washington Territory, and Colorado.
Then we have the useful metals of copper, tin, lead, iron, and that element of power, coal, profusely distributed over the great valley of the Mississippi, and westward to the Pacific.
Congress, in legislating upon the public lands, has dealt in some specialty with minerals, but yet has prescribed no general rule of administration in regard to them.
In the ordinance of 1785, for the disposal of lands in the "Western Territory," it is ordered that there shall be reserved "one-third part of all gold, silver, lead, and copper mines, to be sold, or otherwise disposed of as Congress shall hereafter direct." Some fifteen years afterwards, authority of law was given for leasing such lands. At a later period, in 1807, the power to lease was confined to lead mines. In the Canadian bounty land act of 1816 lead mines and salt springs were excluded from location, and by an act of the same year, "relating to settlers on the public lands of the United States," no permission to work a lead mine or salt spring could be given without the approbation of the President.
By the act of 3d March, 1829, however, Congress conferred authority on the President to expose to sale as other public lands "the reserved lead mines and contiguous lands in the State of Missouri"-with this qualification: that at least six months' public notice should be given "with a brief description of the mineral region in Missouri and the lands to be offered for sale, showing the number and the localities of the different mines," then "known, the probability of discovering others, the quality of the ore, the facilities for working it, the further facilities, if any, for manufactures of shot, sheet lead, and paints, and the means and expense of transporting the whole to the principal markets of the United States."
Thereafter, by an act approved 11th July, 1846, Congress ordered "the reserved lead mines and contiguous lands in the States of Illinois and Arkansas and" then "Territories of Wisconsin and Iowa" to be exposed to sale as other public lands, with this exception: that six months' notice be given, with brief description of the mineral region as required by the act of 1829, respecting Missouri; stipulating further that such lands should not he subject to pre-emption until after public offering, and subject to private entry; that upon proof to the register and receiver of any tract containing lead ore, and of being so worked, no bid should be received at less than $2.50 per acre, but if not sold at that price, nor entered at private sale within twelve months thereafter, to be subject to sale as other public lands.
By an act of 1st March, 1847, Congress ordered the organization of the Lake Superior district in the upper peninsula of Michigan, directed that a geographical examination and survey be made of those lands, and conferred authority on the President for the public sale after six months' notice of such land as contained "copper, lead, or other valuable ores," with description of locality of mines, &c., the minimum price at public sale to be $5 per acre, and where not thus disposed of at public action, to be subject to private sale at that price.
By the act of 3d March, 1847, the Chippewa land district in Wisconsin was organized, a geological examination and survey ordered, and the lands disposed of in like manner to those in the Lake Superior district, in Michigan.
Some three years subsequently, however, the act of 26th September, 1850, ordered the mineral lands in the Lake Superior district, in Michigan, and Chippewa district, in Wisconsin, to be offered at public sale in the same manner, at same minimum, and with same rights of pre-emption as other public lands, but not to interfere with leasing rights.
In pursuing the history of legislation in respect to this interest, it is found that Congress, in the act of 27th September, 1850, creating the office of surveyor general of Oregon, providing for surveys and making donations to settlers, directs that "no minerals lands, nor lands reserved for salines, shall be liable to any claim under and by virtue of the provisions" of that act. This embraces the present Washington Territory. Then, in the 14th article of the treaty with Peru, concluded on 26th July, 1851, it is agreed upon that "Peruvian citizens shall enjoy the same privileges in frequenting the mines, and in digging or working for gold upon the public lands situated in the State of California, as are or may hereafter be accorded by the United States of America to the citizens or subjects of the most friendly nations."
Subsequently Congress, in providing by the act of 3d March, 1853, "for the survey of public lands in California, the granting pre-emption rights therein, and for other purposes," directed that "none other than township lines shall be surveyed where the lands are mineral or are deemed unfit for cultivation;" excluding in express terms "mineral lands" from the pre-emption act of 4th September, 1841, and further interdicting "any person" from obtaining "the benefits of this act by a settlement or location on mineral lands."
By the 4th section of the act of 22d July, 1854, to establish "the offices of surveyor general of New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska, to grant donations to actual settlers therein, and for other purposes," it is directed that "none of the provisions of" that "act shall extend to mineral or school lands, salines, military, or other reservations, or lands settled on and occupied for purposes of trade and commerce and not agriculture."
In addition to the foregoing enactments, there is the great prospective pre emption act of September 4, 1841, the 10th section of which expressly declares that "no lands on which are situated any known salines or mines shall be liable to entry under and by virtue of the provisions of" that act. Such is a brief glance at antecedent legislation respecting lands containing mineral.
In regard to the precious metals in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington Territory, and Colorado, we have not such data as will enable this office to propose a properly guarded system by which the government understandingly can dispose of auriferous or of quicksilver lands in a manner that would be just to public and private interests. It is therefore not now proposed to withdraw them by legislation from the state of isolation from sale in which the law has placed them, or from being freely worked, as at present; yet in this trying conjuncture of public affairs, when multiplied demands upon the treasury weigh upon it with unprecedented pressure, it could not be deemed unreasonable, after the hundreds of millions of dollars allowed to be taken free of cost, if the government should hereafter subject the product of such mines to a moderate seigniorage, which it is believed would bear upon capital without prejudice to the individual miner.
In reference to lands embracing copper, tin, lead, iron, and coal, it is suggested that where either mineral is the predominant element in the smallest legal subdivision, such tract shall be subjected to public sale, according to the principles laid down in the acts of 1846 and 1847, with the qualification that the uniform minimum shall be $2.50 per acre at the public sale; that thereafter they shall be liable to private entry at same minimum, say for two years; after which they shall be liable to sale at the ordinary minimum, but not subject to the declining process of the graduation law.
In the geological reconnaissance of the late Dr. Evans in Oregon and Washington immense discoveries of coal fields in that region were made. This great industrial agent is also distributed by the liberal hand of nature throughout the gold region.
The recent discoveries of coal fields not far from San Francisco, and of that scarce and valuable metal, tin, but few mines of the latter having been discovered, although known in the early history of man, yet which is now found to exist in the southwestern part of California, within thirty miles of the sea, furnish powerful incentives to capital, promising rich rewards to the enterprising.
Instructions by further legal enactment would enable the department to deal with these large and delicate interests more satisfactorily than can be done under existing laws.
There are, however, now liable to sale at the ordinary minimum of $1 25 per acre, extensive bodies of lands in the Lake Superior region of the upper peninsula of Michigan, ribbed with iron, the depth and extent of which it would be difficult to estimate. Those lands are surveyed into the smallest legal subdivisions known to the law, and may now be purchased even in 40-acre parcels, holding out great inducements to capitalists; for it is known that this most useful of metals is employed to a greater extent for the ordinary purposes of life than all other metals put together. Indeed, it is estimated that a bar of iron worth five dollars, advancing for different valuations according to different forms of utility and cost of labor, finally may reach to the value of a quarter of a million of dollars when fashioned into watch hair-springs, as it then becomes of higher valuation, weight for weight, than even gold itself.
The Lake Superior iron, for ordinary utensils, for instruments, for machinery of less extent up to the stupendous engines used on land or water, or in the manufacture of small arms, or ordnance of any size, is, on the score of ductility in manufacturing, and in density, toughness, and native properties of steel, without its equal yet known in this or any other country, as the analysis and test of its quality have already demonstrated.
EASTERN BOUNDARY OF CALIFORNIA.
On the 9th July last the Secretary of the Interior devolved upon this office the supervision and direction of the further prosecution of the field and other operations connected with the running and marking of the boundary lines between the Territories of the United States and the State of California, as provided by the act of Congress approved May 26, 1860. The supervision of this work had previously been exercised by a "superintendent" in the department proper; and it appears by the papers transferred here that the further prosecution of the work in the field, as far as the United States are concerned, was temporarily suspended by the order of the Secretary of April 1, 1861, to the commissioner appointed to conduct that work, who, on the 15th May, was removed from office. Since that change no further steps have been taken for the prosecution of the work, and the action of this office has therefore been confined to the administrative examination of the accounts presented by the late boundary commissioner for the expenses of the service, which examination has been completed, and the accounts sent to the Fifth Auditor of the Treasury for settlement.
It appears that of the $55,000 originally appropriated for this work on the part of the United States the sum of $37,551.19 was placed in the hands of the late boundary commissioner, for the expenditure of which he has presented accounts and vouchers, as well as a statement of outstanding indebtedness, which will nearly or quite absorb the remainder of $17,448.81.
No returns have as yet been made to this office of any of the work connected with this service; but from the correspondence with the boundary commissioner, and the late astronomer, I learn that no progress was made under the commission further than the fixing of one of three initial points, viz: the intersection of the 35th parallel north latitude with the Colorado river. By a letter, however, from the astronomer, dated San Francisco, August 2, 1861, it appears that after the supervision of the commissioner ceased the former proceeded, by astronomical observations at San Francisco, and the, use of the telegraph, in connection with the commissioner appointed by the State of California, to fix the northern initial point in the Washoe region, and that he was about to proceed to Lake Bigler to fix the initial point there. On the 30th of August the astronomer acknowledged from Lake Bigler the reception of a letter from the Secretary of the Interior relieving him from duty, and reported that the field astronomical duty was completed, and that "it only remains, after the computations are made, to run the line, which any surveyor can readily accomplish."
The original project of this work, submitted by this office to the late Secretary, under date June 8, 1860, copy herewith, contemplated its execution and completion by contract, competent parties having offered so to complete it for the amount originally appropriated, $55,000. That sum would have been ample for the completion of the work in the most accurate and durable manner had it been honestly and prudently devoted to that purpose. Instead of which the whole sum placed at the disposal of the boundary commission, viz: $37,551.19, has not only been squandered, but liabilities to the additional amount of $34,416.21 have been incurred by the persons in charge of the survey, whilst the whole of the astronomical work done could have been easily accomplished for an amount inside of $10,000. Mr. Mowry himself, on the 4th of August, 1860, having estimated the cost of a more extended expenditure on account of the work at only $21,300; to accomplish which, he now claims to Shave expended, as shown above, as the amount advanced to him by the department of the Interior was $37,551.19, liabilities reported were $34,416.21, for a total $71,967.40
But, as before shown, $37,551.19 has for the present passed beyond the control of the treasury, and before the final adjustment of the accounts already presented, as well as of those now outstanding, it is impossible to say how much, if any, of the $17,448.81 remaining in the treasury may be applicable to the future prosecution of the work. Nor until the work already done shall have been submitted to this office for its examination can the amount necessary for the completion of the survey be stated with any degree of accuracy; but, in my opinion, the most certain, effective, and economical mode of reaching that completion will be by contract, as originally suggested by this office.
BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE STATE OF OREGON AND WASHINGTON TERRITORY.
By the act of Congress approved 25th June, 1860, "for the survey of the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude, so far as it constitutes a common boundary between Oregon and Washington Territory," the sum of $4,500 was appropriated.
This line is to start from the middle channel of the Columbia river, where it is intersected, in the vicinity of Walla-Walla, by the forty-sixth parallel of north latitude, thence due east to the main channel of Snake river; estimated distance ninety miles.
On the 15th December last this office submitted to the department a proposition for making the survey by contract for $4,000, including all expenses.
The matter was favorably entertained, but coupled with the suggestion that, should the survey be regarded as not of absolute present necessity, its execution, in view of financial embarrassments, might be deferred until an exigency should imperatively demand it, and it has accordingly for the present been deferred.
BOUNDARY LINES BETWEEN THE TERRITORIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND TEXAS.
By an order of 27th July, 1861, the Secretary of the Interior transferred to this office the supervision and control of the business connected with the United States and Texas boundary, and on the 3d August, 1861, I directed the transfer, which has been effected, of the archives and personnel, to the apartments of the General Land Office, in the west wing of the Patent Office building.
The act of Congress approved 5th June, 1858, conferred authority on the President to appoint a suitable person or persons, who, in conjunction with person or persons to be appointed by the State of Texas, were required to run and mark the boundary lines between the Territories of the United States and Texas, the following four lines to be established:
1. Beginning at the point where the 100th degree of longitude west from Greenwich crosses the river, thence north to the point where said 100th degree of longitude intersects the parallel of 36° 30' north latitude;
2. Thence west with said parallel of 36° 30' to the point where it intersects the 103d degree of longitude west from Greenwich;
3. Thence south with said 103d degree of longitude to the 32d parallel of north latitude;
4. And thence west with said 32d parallel to the Rio Grande.
The 2d section of the act requires such "landmarks" to be established at the point of beginning, and at the other corners, and on the several lines of the boundary, as may be agreed upon by the President and those acting under authority of Texas, and the 3d section of the law makes an appropriation of $80,000.00. The amount expended on the work from its commencement to 30th September, 1861, is $ 73,250.81. Leaving at that date an unexpended balance of $6,749.19.
I learn from a report of the 30th September, 1861, elicited by a call from this office on the boundary commissioner, that his field operations are terminated, and such advances made in office details as justify the expectation of the speedy closing up of the whole business.
In the internal administration of this office the system adopted in regard to the reception of official papers is complete and effective. The general register indicates, in brief, the contents of every document, as daily received, and with references so arranged as to secure promptitude of action.
The posting in our ledgers of sales, selections, military locations, with the adjustments of accounts of receivers, disbursing agents, surveyors, deputies, and others connected with the department, from Washington to the most distant points, has been advanced to recent dates; and although the very large details consequent upon the heavy land operations of ordinary times are diminished by causes of public notoriety, for which an adequate temporary reduction of force has been made, yet the labor incident to the examination and adjudication of contested cases, involving grave interests, is constant, and without material diminution. These are the necessary results of the diversity of land legislation connected with foreign titles, donations, sales, internal improvements, pre-emptions, rural and town site graduation, railroads, swamps, bounty land claims- questions reaching back even to claims of revolutionary times. The growth of our country, the increasing value of land estate, bring to the cognizance of the department for determination numerous causes dependent for adjustment upon a careful analysis of facts, and the application of the principles of land jurisprudence as established by statutes and the multitude of decisions which have been rendered from the earliest times to the present period. A recent classification of unadjusted and suspended cases has been made, and dockets prepared with a view to prompt reference, and to the end that every case may be placed in train of settlement, and be finally passed upon when its record shall have been completed.
The systematic arrangement of the details, and the consideration of the various questions connected with these vast and extended interests, require the employment of a large and very able clerical force, and thorough discipline, therefore, becomes essential to the accurate and prompt prosecution of the business. Experience has demonstrated that the highest degree of usefulness and efficiency can be attained with a force barely adequate to a prompt performance of the labor involved.
Statements illustrative of the foregoing, in detail, accompany this report, being designated in the schedule herewith.
Hon. CALEB B. SMITH,
Secretary of the Interior.
Transcribed by and courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.