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5. The selecting agent of the state should file in the office of the register an authenticated copy of his letter of appointment, or other satisfactory evidence of his authority; and it is important and necessary that he should make such careful and thorough preliminary examinations as will enable him to select lands to which there may exist no valid claim by pre-emption or otherwise.
6. If, notwithstanding such precaution, the state shall hereafter select lands which shall be found to be interfered with by any prior and better claim or claims, the selection to the whole extent of such claim or claims will of course be null and void; and if such valid claim or claims shall only extend to a part of the selection, by the rejection of which the remaining portion or portions shall be reduced to one or more detached bodies, below the quantity of three hundred and twenty acres, the part or parts not interfered with may nevertheless be confirmed, provided the state will accept each detached parcel, which may thus be reduced to less than three hundred and twenty, as equivalent to and in lieu of the full quantity of three hundred and twenty acres; otherwise, such parts or parcels will be rejected, on the ground of the land not forming the compact parcel required by law.
7. That the action of this office may be uniform, it is hereby determined, from the date of this circular, that when selections are reported to this office which are found to conflict with declaratory statements of pre-emptors, the approval of that part of the selection thus covered by such statement, together with such portion as may not be interfered with, but which would be less than three hundred and twenty acres, if the part covered by the declaration should be confirmed to the claimant, will be suspended to await the final result of the pre-emption claims, which if not established at the expiration of the period allowed by law, the selection of the state will then be approved.
8. Should a tract of land be selected by the state and rejected on the ground of not forming the compact parcel required by law, it is no bar to its being re-selected, provided other land, not interfered with, is selected in connection with it, so as to form the compact parcel of three hundred and twenty acres, or more, as the case may be. Should such re-selections be made, they are required to be embraced in an entire new list, bearing the number of the series at the time of such re-selection.
9. The date when these warrants are filed in your office, and the simultaneous application to enter, becomes the date of the selection by the state; it follows, therefore, that no one onehundred-and-sixty-acres can be located, as the law requires the selection to be made in parcels of not less than three hundred and twenty acres. Two or more one-hundred-and-sixtyacre warrants, however, though in different hands, may be located at the same time upon contiguous lands. By this I mean, at the same instant of time. Thus, two or more warrantees may make conjoint application to enter a body of land equal to the value of their warrants; but a holder of one one-hundred-and-sixty-acre warrant cannot, at a later period even of the same day, locate a tract, though it may be contiguous to land previously selected.
10. When these selections shall have been examined at this office, such of the same as are valid will be certified to the state. This office does not recognize the warrantees or their assigns in any other light than as the agents of the state, and no patents will be issued to them. Act of Sept. 28, 1850, to enable the State of Arkansas and other States to reclaim the Swamp Lands within
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That to enable the state of Arkansas to construct the necessary levees and drains to reclaim the swamp and overflowed lands therein, the whole of those swamp and overflowed lands, made unfit thereby for cultivation, which shall remain unsold at the passage of this act, shall be, and the same are hereby, granted to said state.
SEC. 2. That it shall be the duty of the secretary of the interior, as soon as may be practicable after the passage of this act, to make out an accurate list and plats of the lands described as aforesaid, and transmit the same to the governor of the state of Arkansas, and, at the request of said governor, cause a patent to be issued to the state therefor; and on that patent, the fee simple to said lands shall vest in the said state of Arkansas, subject to the disposal of the legislature thereof; provided, however, that the proceeds of said lands, whether from sale or by direct appropriation in kind, shall be applied exclusively, as far as necessary, to the purpose of reclaiming said lands by means of the levees and drains aforesaid.
SEC. 3. That in making out a list and plats of the land aforesaid, all legal subdivisions, the greater part of which is "wet and unfit for cultivation," shall be included in said list and plats; but when the greater part of a subdivision is not of that character, the whole of it shall be excluded therefrom.
SEC. 4. That the provisions of this act be extended to, and their benefits be conferred upon, each of the other states of the Union in which such swamp and overflowed lands, known as designated as aforesaid, may be situated.
Act of March 3, 1857, to confirm to the several States the Swamp and Overflowed Lands selected under the Act of Sept. 28, 1850, and the Act of March 2, 1849.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in
Congress assembled, That the selections of swamp and overflowed lands granted to the several states by the act of congress approved the twenty-eighth of September, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, entitled "An Act to enable the State of Arkansas and other States, to Reclaim the Swamp Lands within their limits," and the act of the second of March, one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine, entitled "An Act to aid the State of Louisiana in Draining the Swamp Lands therein," heretofore made and reported to the commissioner of the general land office, so far as the same shall remain vacant and unappropriated, and not interfered with by an actual settlement under any existing law of the United States, shall be and the same are hereby confirmed, and shall be approved and patented to the said several states, in conformity with the provisions of the act aforesaid, as soon as may be practicable after the passage of this law; provided, however, that nothing in this act contained shall interfere with the provisions of the act of congress entitled "An Act for the relief of Purchasers and Locators of Swamp and Overflowed Lands," approved the second of March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five, which shall be and is hereby continued in force, and extended to all entries and locations of lands claimed as swamp lands made since its passage.
Circular of General Land Office, March 8, 1854.
When the greater part of a forty-acre tract or other equivalent legal subdivision, is swampy or subject to such regular periodical overflow as to injure or destroy the crops, it will be considered as "swamp or overflowed land," within the meaning of the act of congress, approved September twenty-eighth, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, and therefore inure to the
SEC. 10. From and after the passage of this act, every person being the head of a family, or widow, or single man, over the age of twenty-one years, and being a citizen of the United States, or having filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen, as required by the nat uralization laws, who since the first day of June, A. D. eighteen hundred and forty, has made or shall hereafter make a settlement in person upon the public lands, to which the Indian title has been at the time of such settlement extinguished, and which has been or shall have been surveyed prior thereto, and who shall inhabit and improve the same, and who has or shall erect a dwelling-house thereon, shall be and is hereby authorized to enter with the register of the land office for the district in which such land may lie, by legal subdivisions, any number of acres not exceeding one hundred and sixty, or a quarter section of land, to include the residence of such claimant, upon paying to the United States the minimum price of such land, subject, however, to the following limitations and exceptions: No person shall be entitled to more than one pre-emption right by virtue of this act; no person who is the proprietor of three hundred and twenty acres of land in any state or territory of the United States, and no per son who shall quit or abandon his residence on his own land to reside on the public land in the same state or territory, shall acquire any right of pre-emption under this act; no lands included in any reservation, by any treaty, law, or proclamation of the president of the United States, or reserved for salines or for other purposes; no land reserved for the support of schools, nor the lands acquired by either of the two last treaties with the Miami tribe of Indians in the state of Indiana, or which may be acquired of the Wyandot tribe of Indians in the state of Ohio, or other Indian reservation to which the title has been or may be extinguished by the United States at any time during the operation of this act; no sections of land reserved to the United States alternate to other sections granted to any of the states for the construction of any canal, railroad or other public improvement; no sections or fractions of sections, included within the limits of any incorporated town; no portions of the public lands which have been selected as the site for a city or town; no parcel or lot of land actually settled and occupied for the purposes of trade and not agriculture; and no lands on which are situated any known salines or mines, shall be liable to entry under and by virtue of the provisions of this act And so much of the proviso of the act of twenty-second of June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, or any order of the president of the United States, as directs certain reservations to be made in favor of certain claims under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, be, and the same is hereby repealed; provided, that such repeal shall not affect any title to any tract of land secured in virtue of said treaty.
SEC. 11. When two or more persons shall have settled upon the same quarter section of land, the right of pre-emption shall be in him or her who made the first settlement, provided such persons shall conform to the other provisions of this act; and all questions as to the right of pre-emption arising between different settlers, shall be settled by the register and receiver of the district within which the land is situated, subject to an appeal to and a revision by the secretary of the treasury of the United States.
SEC. 12. Prior to any entries being made under and by virtue of the provisions of this act, proof of the settlement and improvement thereby required, shall be made to the satisfaction of the register and receiver of the land district in which such lands may lie, agreeably to such
rules as shall be prescribed by the secretary of the treasury, who shall each be entitled to receive fifty cents from each applicant for his services, to be rendered as aforesaid; and all assignments and transfers of the right hereby secured, prior to the issuing of the patent, shall be null and void.
SEC. 13. Before any person claiming the benefit of this act shall be allowed to enter such lands, he or she shall make oath before the receiver or register of the land district in which the land is situated, (who are hereby authorized to administer the same,) that he or she has never had the benefit of any right of pre-emption under this act; that he or she is not the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land in any state or territory of the United States, nor hath he or she settled upon and improved said land to sell the same on speculation, but in good faith, to appropriate it to his or her own exclusive use or benefit; and that he or she has not, directly or indirectly, made any agreement or contract, in any way or manner, with any person or persons whatsoever, by which the title which he or she might acquire from the government of the United States, should inure, in whole or in part, to the benefit of any person except himself or herself. And if any person taking such oath shall swear falsely in the premises, he or she shall be subject to all the pains and penalties of perjury, and shall forfeit the money which he or she may have paid for said land, and all right and title to the same; and any grant or conveyance which he or she may have made, except in the hands of bona fide purchasers, for a valuable consideration, shall be null and void. And it shall be the duty of the officer administering such oath to file a certificate thereof in the public land office of such district, and to transmit a duplicate copy to the general land office, either of which shall be good and sufficient evidence that such oath was administered according to law.
SEC. 14. This act shall not delay the sale of any of the public lands of the United States beyond the time which has been or may be appointed by the proclamation of the president; nor shall the provisions of this act be available to any person or persons who shall fail to make the proof and payment, and file the affidavit required before the day appointed for the commencement of the sales as aforesaid.
SEC. 15. Whenever any person has settled or shall settle and improve a tract of land, subject at the time of settlement to private entry, and shall intend to purchase the same under the provisions of this act, such person shall, in the first case, within three months after the passage of the same, and in the last, within thirty days next after the date of such settlement, file with the register of the proper district, a written statement, describing the land settled upon, and declaring the intention of such person to claim the same under the provisions of this act; and shall, where such settlement is already made, within twelve months after the passage of this act, and where it shall hereafter be made, within the same period after the date of such settlement, make the proof, affidavit and payment herein required; and if he or she shall fail to file such written statement as aforesaid, or shall fail to make such affidavit, proof and payment, within the twelve months aforesaid, the tract of land so settled and improved shall be subject to the entry of any other purchaser.
Act of August 4, 1854, to Graduate and Reduce the Price of the Public Lands to Actual Settlers and Cultivators. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That all of the public lands of the United States which shall have been in market for ten years or upwards prior to the time of application to enter the same under the provisions of this act, and still remaining unsold, shall be subject to sale at the price of one dollar per acre; and all of the land of the United States that shall have been in market for fifteen years or upwards, as aforesaid, and still remaining unsold, shall be subject to sale at seventy-five cents per acre; and all of the lands of the United States that shall have been in market for twenty years or upwards, as aforesaid, and still remaining unsold, shall be subject to sale at fifty cents per acre; and all of the lands of the United States that shall have been in market for twenty-five years and upwards, as aforesaid, and still remaining unsold, shall be subject to sale at twenty-five cents per acre; and all lands of the United States that shall have been in market for thirty years or more, shall be subject to sale at twelve-and-a-half cents per acre; provided, this section shall not be so construed as to extend to lands reserved to the United States in acts granting lands to states for railroad or other internal improvements, or to mineral lands held at over one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre.
SEC. 2. That upon every reduction in price under the provisions of this act, the occupant and settler upon the lands shall have the right of pre-emption at such graduated price, upon the same terms, conditions, restrictions and limitations, upon which the public lands of the United States are now subject to the right of pre-emption until within thirty days preceding the next graduation or reduction that shall take place; and if not so purchased, shall again be subject to the right of pre-emption for eleven months, as before, and so on, from time to time, as reductions take place; provided, that nothing in this act shall be so construed as to interfere with any right which has or may accrue by virtue of any act granting pre-emption to actual settlers upon public lands.
SEC. 3. That any person applying to enter any of the aforesaid lands shall be required to make affidavit before the register or receiver of the proper land office, that he or she enters
the same for his or her own use, and for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, or for the use of an adjoining farm or plantation owned or occupied by him or here and together with said entry, he or she has not acquired from the United States, under the provisions of this act, more than three hundred and twenty acres, according to the established surveys; and if any person or persons taking such oath or affidavit shall swear falsely in the premises, he or she shall be subject to all the pains and penalties of perjury.
SURVEY OF THE PUBLIC LANDS IN CALIFORNIA.
Act of March 3, 1853, to provide for the Survey of the Public Lands in California, the granting of Pre-azón Rights therein, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, a Congress assembled, That the surveyor-general for the district or state of California, who is now or may hereafter be appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall keep his office at such place as the president, in view of the public convenience, shall from time to time direct; and the surveyor-general, if he has not already done so, and his successors in office, before entering upon duty, shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation, before a judge of a United States court, or other competent officer, to support the constitution of the United States and faithfully discharge the duties of his office, and give bond in the same amount as other surveyors-general, the penalty thereof to be increased whenever the secretary of the interior shall deem proper. He shall be entitled to receive a salary at the rate of four thousand five hundred dollars per annum, payable quarter-yearly, to commence from the time of entering into bond.
SEC. 2. That there shall be allowed for clerk hire in the office of the surveyor-general the sum of eleven thousand dollars per annum, or so much thereof as may be necessary; provided, that the salary of no clerk shall exceed the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars per annum; and for office rent, fuel, and other incidental expenses of his office, such sums as shall be found necessary by the secretary of the interior, not exceeding the sum of ten thousand dol lars. And the secretary of the interior is hereby authorized to cause an official seal to be pre pared for the office of the said surveyor-general; and any copy of or extracts from the plats, field-notes, and other records and documents on file in his office, when attested as such by the said seal and the signature of the surveyor-general, shall, in all judicial matters, have the same force and effect as the originals.
SEC. 3. That the said surveyor-general shall have the same power and authority, and perform the same duties respecting the public lands and private claims in the state of Calia, as by law appertain to and are required of the surveyor-general in Louisiana, exext se as the same may be modified by this act. He shall engage a sufficient number of skill ser veyors as his deputies, whom he shall cause to survey, measure and mark, base and meridian lines through such points, and perpetuated by such monuments, and such other correction parallels and meridians as may be prescribed, and also to survey and establish the other lines of the public lands. He shall also cause all private claims to be surveyed after they have been confirmed, so far as may be necessary to complete the surveys of the public lands; and in the location and survey of them he shall have the same power and authority as are confer red on thel and officers of Louisiana by the sixth section of the act of March third, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, creating the office of the surveyor-general for that state; and for surveying the base and meridian lines, and private claims, and meandering navigable waters, the deputy surveyor shall be allowed not exceeding sixteen dollars per mile; and for surveying the other lines of the public lands there shall be paid not exceeding an average of twelve dollars per mile; provided, that none other than township lines shall be surveyed when the lands are mineral or are deemed unfit for cultivation; and no allowance shall be made for such lines as are not actually run and marked in the field, and were actually neces sary to be run.
SEC. 4. That, if in the opinion of the secretary of the interior it shall be advisable, he is hereby authorized to direct such surveys after what is known as the geodetic method. And whenever, in the opinion of the secretary of the interior, a departure from the rectangular mode of surveying and subdividing the public lands would promote the public interests, be may direct such change to be made in the mode of surveying and designating the said lands as he may deem proper, with reference to the existence of mountains, mineral deposits, and the advantages derived from timber and water privileges; provided, that such lands shall not be surveyed into less than one hundred and sixty acres, or subdivided into less than forty acres. SEC. 5. That there shall be appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, a register of the land office and receiver of public moneys for the state of California, at such time as, in his judgment, the public interest may demand, with a salary each of three thousand dollars per annum, payable quarter-yearly; and the land office shall be located at such place as the president, in view of the public convenience, shall from time to time direct; and, previously to entering on the duties of their offices, they each shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation, before one of the judges of the United States courts, or other competent officer, to support the constitution of the United States, and faithfully to discharge
the duties of their respective offices, and shall give bond in the same amount as other registers and receivers of the public land offices; and their general duties and responsibilities shall be the same as other officers of like character; provided, however, that at such time or times as in his judgment the public interests may so imperatively require, and in the absence of any further and special legislation of congress on the subject, it shall be lawful for the president of the United States to divide the state of California into two or three separate and distinct land districts, as circumstances shall determine to be necessary, embracing respectively the upper and lower, or the upper, middle and lower portions of the state; and he shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, or during the recess of congress when necessary, a register of the land office and receiver of public moneys for each of such land districts; and the land offices for the same respectively shall be located at, and be removed from time to time to such places as the president shall deem most suitable for public convenience.
SEC. 6. That all the public lands in the state of California, whether surveyed or unsurveyed, with the exception of sections sixteen and thirty-six, which shall be and are hereby granted to the state for the purposes of public schools in each township, and with the exception of lands appropriated under the authority of this act, or reserved by competent authority, and, excepting also the lands claimed under any foreign grant or title and the mineral lands, shall be subject to the pre-emption laws of the fourth of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, with all the exceptions, conditions and limitations therein, except as is herein otherwise provided; and shall, after the plats thereof are returned to the office of the register, be offered for sale, after six months' public notice in the state of the time and place of sale, under the laws, rules and regulations now governing such sales, or such as may be hereafter prescribed; provided, that where unsurveyed lands are claimed by pre-emption, the usual notice of such claim shall be filed within three months after the return of the plats of surveys to the land offices, and proof and payment shall be made prior to the day appointed by the president's proclamation for the commencement of the sale, including such lands; the entry of such claims to be made by legal subdivisions, according to the United States survey, and in the most compact form; and, provided further, that the fact of persons having heretofore had the benefit of said act of the fourth of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, shall interpose no bar to their obtaining the benefits of this act; and all of said lands that shall remain unsold after having been proclaimed and offered, shall be subject to entry at private sale as other public land, at the same minimum price per acre; and the register and receiver shall not be entitled to any per centage or fees, except for deciding pre-emption cases, when each of them shall be allowed the same fees as are paid to other like officers; but the receiver shall be entitled to his actual necessary expenses, going and returning, in making his deposits; provided, that nothing in this 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 this 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; and provided further, that this act shall not be construed to authorize any settlement to be made on any tract of land in the occupation or possession of any Indian tribe, or to grant any pre-emption right to the same. SEC. 7. That where any settlement, by the erection of a dwelling-house, or the cultivation of any portion of the land, shall be made upon the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections, before the same shall be surveyed, or where such sections may be reserved for public uses or taken by private claims, other land shall be selected by the proper authorities of the state in lieu thereof, agreeably to the provisions of the act of congress approved on the twentieth of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty six, entitled "An Act to appropriate Lands for the support of Schools in certain Townships and fractional Townships, not before provided for," and which shall be subject to approval by the secretary of the interior. And no person shall make a settlement or location upon any tract or parcel of land selected for a military post, or within one mile of such post, or on any other lands reserved by competent authority; nor shall any person obtain the benefits of this act by a settlement or location on mineral lands. SEC. 8. That the public lands, not being mineral lands, occupied as towns or villages, shall not be subdivided, or subject to sale or to be appropriated by settlers, under the provisions of this act; but the whole of such lands, whether settled upon before or after the survey of the same, shall be subject to the provisions of the act entitled "An Act for the Relief of the citizens of Towns upon the lands of the United States, under certain circumstances," approved May twenty-third, one thousand eight hundred and forty-four, except such towns as are located on or near mineral lands, the inhabitants of which shall have the right of occupation and cultivation only until such time as congress shall dispose of the same; nor shall any lands specially reserved for public uses be appropriated under the provisions of this act.
SEC. 9. That whenever the public surveys, or any portion of them authorized by this act, or by the act approved September twenty-seventh, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, entitled "An Act to create the Office of Surveyor-General of the Public Lands in Oregon, and to provide for the Survey and to make Donations to Settlers of the said Public Lands," are so required to be made, as to render it expedient to make compensation for the surveying thereof by the day instead of by the mile, it shall be lawful for the commissioner of the general land