« AnteriorContinuar »
M.-DIVISION OF ACCOUNTS.
The division of accounts has the adjustment and auditing of all ac counts pertaining to public lands, the examination and docketing of allreturns from the local land offices, and the preparation of tabular statements showing the disposal of the public lands, the latter involving a vast amount of labor which cannot be closely estimated.
The following is a summary of the work performed in this division during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1883:
Duplicate certificates of deposit on account of surveys received and recorded.....
Triplicate certificates of deposit received, examined, and certified as to genuineness and value (estimated)...
3,670 accounts adjusted and audited, covering..
401 quarterly accounts of receivers of public moneys.
27 accounts of moneys collected on account of depredations on the public timber.
1 account for moneys received for transcripts, &c., from records of General Land Office......
$6, 215, 91286
24, 273 60
7,534 75 6,247,721 21
519 quarterly accounts of receivers acting as disbursing agents.... 183 quarterly accounts of surveyors general acting as disbursing agents, payable from appropriations..
63 quarterly accounts of surveyors general acting as disbursing agents, payable from deposits by individuals
13 State fund accounts
566 repayment accounts for lands erroneously sold.
39 State swamp-land indemnity accounts ....
27 changes of entry.
190 accounts of deputy surveyors, payable from appropriations..
68 return of deposit accounts
1,222 miscellaneous accounts, including inspectors', special agents', contingent, transportation, express, and other accounts...
The record of letters written, certificates of deposit, and reports abov cited, together with other miscellaneous matter, covered 23,000 pages of letter post.
In addition to the current work, this division was called upon during the past fiscal year to prepare a statement covering the disposals o Choctaw Indian lands in the States of Alabama and Mississippi, and
expenses connected therewith, from October 1, 1833, to December 31, 1858, for use as evidence in a suit pending in the Court of Claims between the Choctaw tribe of Indians and the United States. The preparation of this statement required the services of six clerks (four from this division and two from other divisions) for the entire period of six months. This necessarily threw the current work materially behind, the adjustment of receivers' accounts being now about nine months in arrears. Another accountant is required upon the accounts of inspectors and special agents and miscellaneous accounts, owing to the large increase in the number of agents provided for under the act of March 3, 1883, making appropriation for "protecting public lands." With the above exceptions, and that of a large number of repayment accounts for lands erroneously sold, the adjustment of which is suspended pending decisions by the Department upon questions submitted to it, the accounts are adjusted to date.
Attention is again called to the necessity of bringing up the statistics of the disposals of public lands from the beginning. The office is frequently called upon by committees of Congress and individual members thereof, as well as State and county officials and private individuals, for information as to the area of public lands remaining undisposed of. As a complete and reliable calculation of the areas embraced in canceled entries has never been made, it is impossible at the present time to give the information desired, the reports of the area annually disposed of being based upon the entries made, without deducting therefrom the areas in entries that may have been canceled. To arrive at the actual area remaining undisposed of, it will be necessary to examine the records of the office from the beginning, and compile, year by year, the area sold and the area to be deducted because of cancellations, compiling at the same time the sales under all laws providing for the disposal of the public lands, including separate and distinct statements covering every class of entry. This division also prepares all estimates of appropriations required for the land service, with the exception of those relating to the survey of the public lands.
The following statements are submitted, including a recapitulation of the land business done in the several States and Territories during the fiscal year, hereto appended:
1. Statement of the amount deposited for field and office work on account of the survey of public lands in the several surveying districts. 2. Estimate of appropriations required for salaries and other expenses of the General Land Office for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885.
3. Estimate of appropriations required for collecting the revenue from the public lands for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885, with appendix. 4. One hundred and seven statements of the disposals of public and Indian lands and abandoned military reservations in the several local land offices, and States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
5. Recapitulation by States and Territories of the entire disposals. By a comparison of the latter with that for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1882, it will be seen that there were during the last fiscal year 226,088 entries of public and Indian lands, covering an area of 19,430,032.80 acres, exclusive of filings and of areas previously reported, with receipts of $11,705,765.65, as against 161,396 entries, area of 14,309,166.40 acres, and receipts of $8,387,927.29 for the previous fiscal year, being an increase of about 41, 36, and 394 per centum, respectively, or an average of 39 per centum of the whole, and an increase of 82 per centum over that of the fiscal year ended June 30, 1881.
Estimates of appropriations required for salaries, expenses of inspectors, &c., law books and maps, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885, by the General Land Office.
Commissioner of the General Land Office (increase of $1,000 sub-
Assistant Commissioner (submitted)
NOTE. This estimate is submitted in view of the magnitude of the business devolved upon this office and the complicated character of the duties of the Commissioner under the various laws now constituting the public-land system. The office should be created with a view of dividing the labors and responsibilities of the office of the Commissioner as it now stands.
Chief clerk (increase of $250 submitted), March 3, 1883 (Rev.
NOTE. The chief clerk is required by law to act as Commissioner in case of vacancy, or of the absence or sickness of that officer, and must be fully competent to take charge and control of the bureau at all times. It may be added that the duties of this office are unusually intricate, complex, and arduous, and fully deserve the salary herein estimated.
Law clerk (increase of $500 submitted), appropriated March 3, 1883 (22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)
NOTE. The law clerk must be thoroughly conversant with land law and practice, as well as with the usages and practice of the Department, and be able to grasp and summarize at once the various questions involved in land contests, and the construction of the statutes, and to present the same in proper form for the consideration and action of the head of the bureau and the chiefs of divisions. The compensation estimated for is moderate considering the nature of the work and the qualifications required.
Assistant law clerk (submitted).............
NOTE. The duties of the assistant law clerk are the same as those of the law clerk, and equal qualifications are required. The work devolved upon the law clerks is greater than one person can dispose of.
Three inspectors of surveyors general and district land offices, at an annual compensation of $2,500 each (increase of $1,500 submitted, $500 each), appropriated March 3, 1883 (22 Stat., p. 556, 8. 1).
NOTE. The compensation ($2,000 each) provided for the above officers by the act of August 5, 1882, is inadequate to the character of the work required, as the inspectors must be well versed in the laws governing the land system, as well as possessing an intimate knowledge of the practice and routine of the Department, this office, and the subordinate offices.
Recorder, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 76, s. 447; 22 Stat., p. 556,
Three principal clerks as chiefs of divisions of "public lands,"
NOTE.-The chiefs of division have, respectively, exclusive charge of a particular class of work, and of the clerical force employed upon it. They must know the rules of the whole office
2, 500 00
2, 100 00
2, 000 00
6, 000 00
Estimates of appropriations required for the General Land Office, &c.—Continued.
and the laws governing the whole land system, the relations of
Two examiners, at salaries of $2,000 each (submitted) ........
NOTE.-The examiners above estimated for are occupied in reading carefully and critically the decisions and letters prepared in the office before receiving the signature of the Commissioner. They must of necessity be familiar with general legal principles, the numerous laws governing the disposal of public Inds, the decisions of State and Federal courts, and rulings and decisions of this office and the Department. It becomes their duty not to pass any letter or decision for signature unless they are satisfied that the letter or decision is correct in principle and in conformity to decisions theretofore made and the laws govern ing that class of cases. Should the letter or decision not meet with their approval it is their duty to submit it with a brief of their views thereon. These duties are now performed by two fourth-class clerks.
Thirty-eight clerks of class four, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27, & 167: 22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)
Sixty-six clerks of class three, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27, s. 167; 22 Stat., p. 566, s. 1).
Seventy-seven clerks of class two, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27,
105, 600 00
Sixty-nine copyists, at $900 each, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27, 8. 167; 22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1).
s. 167; 22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)
Seventy-eight clerks of class one, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27,
8167; 22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)..
Fifty-seven clerks, at $1,000 each, appropriated March 3, 1883 122 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)
62, 100 00
5, 760 00
$561, 940 00 $417, 650 00
One messenger, at $840 (Rev. Stat, p. 27, s. 167)
Eight assistant messengers, at $720 each, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27, s. 167; 22 Stat., p. 556, s. 1)
Six packers, at $720 each, appropriated March 3, 1883 (22 Stat., p. 356, &. 1)
Twelve laborers, at $660 each, March 3, 1883 (Rev. Stat., p. 27, s. 167; 22 Stat, p. 556, s. 1)..
NOTE.-The increase in the number of clerks recommended, of all grades, aggregate 100. The force included in the foregoing estimates will prove barely sufficient to keep up the current business and bring up the arrears of work in the office. The office is in daily receipt of numerous letters from parties having business before it complaining of the long delay in the adjustment of their matters, but with the present force it is impossible to do better. la some divisions the work is over twelve months in arrears. The disposal of public lands for the fiscal year ended June 30. 182, was 50 per cent. greater than that for the previous year, and for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1883, about 25 per cent. greater than that for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1882, making an inCrease of 75 per cent. within the past two fiscal years. The thirty additional clerks provided for by the act of March 3, 1881, were mostly assigned to the "special service" division, which has charge of the examination of the reports of all agents engaged in investigating trespasses upon the public timber and lands, and fraudulent land entries. Should the grades of assistant law clerk, seven chiefs of divisions, and two examiners be not provided for, the number of fourth-class clerks herein estimated for should be increased to 48.
Estimates of appropriations required for the General Land Office, &c.-Continued.
Expenses of the collection of revenue from the sales of public lands.
Salaries and commissions of registers and receivers: For compensation of registers and receivers of local land offices (see detailed statement herewith). (Rev. Stat., p. 392, secs. 2237 to 2240; act of March 3, 1883, 22 Stat., p. 622, sec. 1) NOTE.-The estimate submitted for compensation of registers and receivers is based upon the salaries earned and fees and commissions collected and covered into the Treasury by them during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1883, with the addition of the six offices opened at Gunnison, Colo., Creelsburg, Dak., Hailey, Idaho, Garden City, Kans., and McCook and Valentine, Nebr. For several years past it has been found necessary to appropriate annually large amounts to cover deficiences in the appropriations for this service. The disposals of the public lands have been yearly increasing. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1883, the disposals were 75 per cent. greater than they were during the year ended June 30, 1881, and 25 per cent. greater than during the fiscal year 1882. This causes an increase in the fees and commissions earned by those officers in sparsely settled districts where the earnings have not heretofore reached the maximum allowed by law. In making this appropriation it must be remembered that every cent paid to a register or receiver, with the exception of their annual salary of $500 each, aggregating $106,000 (there being 106 offices now in operation), and commissions allowed on all moneys received at each receiver's office in payment for lands is collected by them from the entrymen and paid into the Treasury.
Contingent expenses of land offices:
For incidental expenses of the several land offices (appropriated), |
NOTE.-The foregoing estimate includes the salaries of clerks, rent, and a variety of other incidental expenses, such as the binding of plats, rebinding old and dilapidated plat books, worn out by constant handling and use, of which there are a large number, as appears by the reports of the three inspectors, furni ture, &c. Since the passage of the act of March 3, 1883, appropriating $130,000 for this purpose, there has been an increase of six in the number of local offices, and it is estimated that they will be maximum offices, necessitating the employment of clerical force in each office. With the present appropriation it is impossible to provide the different offices with sufficient clerical force to promptly dispose of the public business, resulting in great delay in this office and loss to the settlers. In a great many instances the registers and receivers are now compelled to employ clerks and pay their salaries from their own funds, as well as the rent of their offices, fuel, lights, &c. All of these expenses (which are considered legitimate and necessary) should be borne by the United States. A number of receivers of public