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the right to confirm, by its action, bona fide grants, and to give full effect to the stipulations of that treaty. Until such action, the lands covered by those claims are reserved from sale or other disposal by the government. The act does not apply to that valuable region of country acquired by the treaty concluded at Mexico, December 30, 1853. Good faith and sound policy require the separation from the public domain of private property held by an incipient and unperfected right, or by a complete title, under a grant of the government which preceded us in the exercise of jurisdiction and sovereignty over the soil. The confirmation of a private claim secures to the party a valid title. The location of his land, when ascertained by authentic surveys and noted upon our records, identifies the property of the United States, and facilitates the disposal of it. The authority of the surveyor general should extend to the lands ceded by the later treaty; and by a special tribunal created for the purpose, or through the action of the courts, all grants of this character could be definitely and finally disposed of.

The boundary between New Mexico and Colorado, as well as that between California and Nevada, should be permanently established, and the limits between Florida and Georgia finally adjusted.

It has been the cherished policy of the government to assure upon the most liberal conditions to the actual settler a title to his home and improvements. His preference right of purchase is not confined to lands which were surveyed at the time of his settlement; nor is he required to pay for them, or for those surveyed but unoffered, until the day designated by the President's proclamation for the public sale. Differences of opinion exist as to the applicability to particular localities of some of the acts of Congress prescribing the period within which the declaratory statement for unsurveyed lands must be filed. No distinction ought to be made in regard to the time allowed for the payment for unoffered lands, and those which have been offered. I concur in opinion with the Commissioner of the General Land Office as to the changes that might be advantageously made in existing pre-emption laws. They also should be greatly simplified and rendered more uniform in their operation. In this way controversies such as have been occasioned by incongruous and conflicting provisions will be avoided, and the benefits of this wise and just policy effectually secured.

The right of the pre-emptor attaches from the date of his actual personal settlement; that of the homestead settler from the date of his entry at the local land office. The latter is confined to surveyed lands. In either case the title may be consummated by a full compliance with the terms and conditions imposed by the law under which it was initiated. A party who has settled, with a view to pre-emption, upon a particular tract, and thus excluded all others from acquiring a right thereto, should not be permitted to abandon his original claim and enter the land under the homestead law. Such a privilege would, in many instances, inevitably lead to great abuse. The modes prescribed for acquiring title to land by these enactments essentially differ; and if the claimant under a pre-emption law fails to perform the condition which it enjoins, he should incur the consequences

of such failure.

Authority should be given to the head of the department to close up the local office, and transfer its archives, where the lands in a State are nearly all disposed of. The powers vested in the local officers might be conferred upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office, to enable him to give title on the sale of the remaining tracts.

A few tracts have been entered in California at the minimum price of twenty dollars per acre, under the supplemental act of March 3, 1865, for the disposal of coal lands. The propriety of reducing this minimum, where the coal is of inferior quality and cannot be obtained without difficulty, is submitted for consideration. The area of the coal lands of the United States is estimated at two hundred thousand

square

miles. Land offices have been reopened in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. By the act approved June 21, 1866, public lands in these States are reserved exclusively for homestead entries; and for the period of two years from the date of its passage, only eighty acres can be entered by one person. The opinion of the Attorney General that patents for lands sold under the revenue laws must issue from the General Land Office, will govern the action of this department.

The law forbids any incumbent in the General Land Office to purchase public lands. I suggest the propriety of extending it so as to include every officer in any way connected with the administration of the laws relating to them.

The grant to Iowa for the improvement of the Des Moines river has been fully satisfied. It embraced eight hundred and thirty-three thousand and seventynine and ninety hundredths acres.

There still remain unsold seventy-seven lots, situate within the Fort Howard reserve, in Wisconsin. They will be disposed of in accordance with the act of July 4, 1866.

Up to June 30, 1866, forty-three million two hundred and four thousand seven hundred and seventy-four acres of swamp lands had been patented to the several States, and the aggregate indemnity to them on account of such lands sold or otherwise disposed of by the United States was, in cash, five hundred and ninetyseven thousand two hundred and one dollars and thirty-seven cents, and, in other lands, four hundred and seventy-eight thousand and thirty-six and ninety-three hundredths acres. It is recommended that the time for making selections of such lands be limited to two years after the official plat is received at the local office, and that the purpose of Congress in relation to this subject be explicitly declared.

Instructions have been issued to the surveyor general and the local officers in California to give full and summary effect to the provisions of the act of July 23, 1866, “ to quiet land titles in California."

The registers and receivers act as agents of government to prevent trespassers on the public lands from removing timber therefrom. By imposing fines, and compelling the offenders to enter the tracts trespassed on, the government has been, to a considerable extent, protected in its rights. A bona fide settler is al. lowed to appropriate the timber on his claim only so far as may be necessary for indispensable uses. The Commissioner presents the importance of promoting by legal enactments the planting and growth of trees on the public domain, and he suggests the mode by which that object may be accomplished.

Under the donation laws, patents for one million two hundred and eightytwo thousand four hundred and twenty-three and ninety-three hundredths acres of land in Oregon have been issued. Additional legislation is recommended to enforce the survey of donation claims on which settlement was made prior to the public surveys.

Twelve hundred Indian patents were issued during the last fiscal year, for two hundred and ninety-eight thousand two hundred and fifty-six acres of land.

Attention has been repeatedly invited by this department to the immense value of the deposits of precious metals within our territorial limits. The mineral lands on the Pacific slope belong to the government, but it has not provided for the disposal of them, or for the development of the treasure which they contain. In the absence of legislation by Congress, and with its tacit consent, these mines have been worked by individuals, vast expenditures made, and a species of possessory right acquired which has been recognized by State laws, and maintained and vindicated by State tribunals. The act of February 27, 1865, declares that no action in the courts of the United States for the recovery of any mining title, or for damages thereto, shall be affected by the fact that the paramount title to the land on which such mines are is in the United States, and the Supreme Court has held that mining interests, apart from the fee-simple rights in the soil by patent, existed before that act, with the implied sanction of the federal government. The exploration and working of these mines have largely contributed to the national wealth, and our legislation should, I submit, be controlled to some extent by existing rights and interests, which are the legitimate results of our policy of inaction. The wisdom of Congress can devise measures which, by placing this vast interest under the control of positive law, will render it tributary in a greater degree to the public prosperity.

Copious details are furnished and many topics connected with the public lands ably discussed in the interesting and elaborate report of the Commissioner.

By reason of the increased rates of pension, more than thirty-three millions of dollars will be required for this branch of the service during the next fiscal year.

Samuel Downing, of Edinburg, Saratoga county, New York, is the only surviving soldier of the Revolution. His name was inadvertently omitted in the iast annual report of the Pension Bureau to this department.

The names of nine hundred and thirty-one widows of revolutionary soldiers appear on the pension rolls at the close of the last fiscal

year. The invalid pensioners disabled in the wars prior to that of 1861 do not ex. ceed three thousand. The widows and minor children who receive a pension by reason of the services and death of those who served in such wars number one thousand two hundred and twenty-seven.

During the last fiscal year twenty-two thousand six hundred and forty-five original applications for invalid pensions were granted, at an aggregate annual rate of one million seven hundred and fifty-six thousand eight hundred and twelve dollars and twenty cents. The number of such pensions that were increased was one thousand two hundred and sixty-three, at an annual amount of increase of forty-three thousand nine hundred and forty-six dollars and twentyfive cents. The total amount awarded to army invalids during the year thus appears to be one million eight hundred thousand seven hundred and sixty-four dollars and forty-five cents.

During the same period twenty-seven thousand and seventy-six original applications of widows and dependent relatives of officers and soldiers of the army were allowed, at an aggregate rate of two million seven hundred and forty-three thousand seven hundred and eleven dollars and seventeen cents per annum. The increased allowance to such persons was two hundred and ninety-nine dollars and ten cents; so that the sum required to meet pension claims of this de. scription allowed during the past year is two million seven hundred and fortyfour thousand and ten dollars and twenty-seven cents.

The whole number of new army pensioners of all classes added to the rolls during the year ending June 30, 1866, was, accordingly, forty-nine thousand seven hundred and twenty-one, and requiring for their payment four million five hundred thousand five hundred and twenty-three dollars and thirty-seven cents per annum.

The number dropped from the rolls during the same period, on account of death or other causes, was nine thousand three hundred and fortytwo, whose annual allowance amounted to eight hundred and eighty thousand one hundred and seventy-three dollars and sixty-two cents.

On the 30th of June last there were on the pension rolls fifty-four thousand six hundred and twenty invalids, whose yearly rate of pensions was four million one hundred and twenty-eight thousand seven hundred and eighteen dollars and fifteen cents; and sixty-nine thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine widows and dependent relatives, at a yearly rate of seven million two hundred and eighty-four thousand four hundred and four dollars and eleven cents—making a total of one hundred and twenty-four thousand five hundred and nine army pensioners, at an annual aggregate of eleven million four hundred and thirteen thousand one hundred and twenty-two dollars and twenty-six cents.

Including payments to pension agents, the amount paid during the year to revolutionary pensioners was two hundred and fifty-two thousand two hundred and four dollars and thirty-eight cents; to army invalid pensioners, three million eight hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and five dollars and four cents; and to widows and dependent relatives, (not revolutionary,) nine million one hundred and nine thousand four hundred and thirty-six dollars and seventy cents-giving the total sum of thirteen million one hundred and seventy-seven thousand four hundred and forty-six dollars and twelve cents.

During the year, two hundred and thirty-eight original applications for navy invalid pensions were allowed, at an aggregate amount of eighteen thousand nine hundred and two dollars and fifty cents per annum. Twenty-five such pensions heretofore allowed were increased at an aggregate annual rate of nine hundred and seventeen dollars. Two hundred and eighteen original applications of widows and dependent relatives of officers and seamen were allowed, at an aggregate of thirty-two thousand nine hundred and seventy-six dollars per annum. The total number of navy invalid pensioners on the rolls at the close of the fiscal year was one thousand and thirty-two, at an aggregate annual rate of seventy-two thousand six bundred and ten dollars and five cents. The number of widows and dependent relatives was one thousand one hundred and eighty-one, at an aggregate annual rate of one hundred and eighty-eight thousand seven hundred and forty-two dollars—making the whole number of naval pensioners, of all classes, two thousand two hundred and thirteen, requiring for their annual payment two hundred and sixty-one thousand three hundred and fifty-two dollars and five cents.

The total number of pensioners of all classes, army and navy, on the rolls June 30, 1866, was one hundred and twenty-six thousand seven hundred and twenty-two, and the amount paid pensioners, including expenses of disbursements during the last fiscal year, was thirteen million four hundred and fifty-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-six dollars and forty-three cents. This amount includes ninety-nine thousand two hundred and thirty-seven dollars and fifteen cents paid to one thousand and forty-three pensioners residing in the States whose inhabitants were lately in rebellion.

From the date of the executive proclamation declaring the inhabitants of any State to be in a state of insurrection against the United States, the names of all pensioners residing in such State were stricken from the rolls. Intercourse with them was, by the laws of war, the legislation of Congress, and the President's proclamation in pursuance thereof, suspended so long as such condition of hostility continued, but the right of such pensioners as remained loyal to the United States was saved by the act of February 4, 1862. Their names, on making the required proof of continued loyalty, are accordingly restored to the rolls. Mr. Attorney General Speed, whose opinion on the subject was taken by my predecessor, held that the restored pensioner was entitled to the arrears of the pension which had accrued since the last payment to him prior to the rebellion, and the practice of the government has been in conformity to that opinion.

The navy pension fund, accruing from the condemnation and the sale of prizes, and invested in bonds of the United States, amounts to eleven million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The interest of this investment is more than double the amount necessary to pay the navy pensions. There is also an uninvested surplus of two hundred and five thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight dollars and thirty-five cents.

During the past year four hundred and six bounty-land warrants were issued for sixty-three thousand eight hundred and sixty acres of land.

The Commissioner of Pensions represents that a considerable number of additional clerks is indispensable to the prompt and efficient transaction of the business of his office. The bill to reorganize the clerical force of this department, recommended by my predecessor, and passed by the Senate at the last session, would have afforded a partial remedy; but the changes made in the pension laws subsequent to its introduction render its provisions inadequate to the present and increasing wants of the service. The cases during the last year exceeded by twenty-five per cent. those disposed of during that which preceded

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