Imágenes de páginas


MILES. La Pointe......

80 884 Pointe au Barques..... 85 285 City of Superior .......... 80 964

Thunder Bay....

70 355, Presque Island


430 The Lady Elgin, on this line, is Sault St. Marie......... 100 530 of 1037 tons burthen, and cannot be


170 700 surpassed by any steamer floating Cope Harbor.............. 80 780 the Western waters, in point of Eagle Harbor............ 16 796 speed, comfort, &c.

Eagle River......... 9 805

65 870 Cleveland, Detroit, and Lake Supe

La Pointe..................

80 950 rior Line.


80 1030 From Cleveland to

The Iron City and Dacotah propelDetroit............. 130 130 lers are new, and among the best Fort Gratiot................. 70 200 boats on the Lake.




In the preceding pages we described the various resources of this, the Empire State of the Northwest; and will now give some account of the public lands within its limits, and an abstract of the pre-emption law, for the benefit of those desirous of availing themselves of its privileges. This law has, since the date of its passage, been one continuous source of benefit to the West. It is the best protection ever devised for the poor and industrious man against the speculator and the capitalist.

The public lands of the United States are that immense body of unappropriated and unsettled lands, commonly called Government lands, which have been acquired at various periods, both by treaty and purchase; and, in all action upon them, both by individuals and by public bodies, legislative or judicial, are treated as the property of the Government. President Buchanan, in bis Inaugural Address, truly says: “No nation, in the tide of time, has ever been blessed with so rich and noble an inheritance as we enjoy in the public lands. In administering this important trust, whilst it may be wise to grant portions of them for the improvement of the remainder, yet we should never forget that it is our cardinal policy to reserve these lands, as much as may be, for actual settlers, and this at moderate prices We shall thus not only best promote the prosperity of the new States, by furnishing them a hardy and independent race of honest and industrious citizens, but shall secure homes for our children, and our children's children, as well as for those exiled from foreign shores, who may seek in this country to improve their condition, and to enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty. Such emigrants have done much to promote the growth and prosperity of the country. They have proved faithful, both in peace and in war. After becoming citizens, they are entitled, under the Constitution and laws, to be placed on a perfect equality with the native-born citizens, and in this character they should ever be kindly recognised."

The present system of public surveys is a complete admeasurement and marking of the whole body of public lands, and is very easy of comprehension. The land is first measured and marked in township lines, which are divisions of six miles square. Afterwards the township is divided into sections of one mile square, each section being marked by “blazing” a tree, as the technical phrase is for barking it with an axe; or, if the corner to be marked is in the prairie, by driving a stake, and throwing up a sod, noting at the same time, on the tree or the stake, the number of the township and section. The townships are numbered from south to north on a base line, and the north and south ranges are numbered on both sides of an arbitrary meridian, east and west. The meridian lines are established and surveyed from some important point, generally from the junction of some water-course. The “fourth” principal meridian commences on the Illinois River, at a point seventy-two miles due north from its mouth; (here also commences its base line, which runs due west to the Mississippi River). This meridian continues north through the State of Wisconsin. The sections are numbered, beginning at the northeast section of the township for number one, running west, and alternately east, terminating with number thirty-six in the southeast corner. Section numbered sixteen in each township is appropriated to schools, and transferred to the States for that purpose. The following diagram will serve to illustrate :

[blocks in formation]

Those lands not entered under the pre-emption law are offered at sale, previous to which, no person, except having a pre-emptive right, can purchase. After they have been offered at public sale, they are open to every purchaser at private sale. The price of all the lands is fixed at a uniform minimum of one dollar and a quarter per acre, except those specified in the late land-grants.


The following abstract of the pre-emption law will prove of interest to such as design to avail themselves of its provisions :

1. The settler must never before have had the benefit of pre-empting under the act.

2. He must not, at the time of making the pre-emption, be the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land in any State or Territory in the United States.

3. He must settle upon and improve the land in good faith, for his own exclusive use or benefit, and not with the intention of selling it on speculation ; and must not make, directly or indirectly, any contract or agreement, in any way or manner, with any person or persons, by which the title which he may acquire from the United States should enure, in whole or part, to the benefit of any person except himself.

4. He must be twenty-one years of age, and a citizen of the United States; or, if a foreigner, must have declared his intention to become a citizen before the proper authority, and received a certificate to that effect.

5. He must build a house on the land, live in it, and make it his exclusive home, and must be an inhabitant of the same at the time of making application for pre-emption. [Until lately, a single man might board with his nearest neighbor; but the same is now required of single as married men, except that, if married, the family of the settler must also live in the house.]

6. The law requires that more or less improvements be made on the land, such as breaking, fencing, &c., but pre-emptions are granted where a half-acre is broken and enclosed.

7. It is necessary that no other person, entitled to the right of pre-emption, shall reside on the land at the same time.

8. No person is permitted to remove from his own land, and make a pre-emption in the same State or Territory.

9. The settler is required to bring with him to the land-office a written or printed application, setting forth the facts in his case as to the 1st, 2d, and 3d requirements

« AnteriorContinuar »