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192

Arizona Territory ...... For cash sales....

For agricultural college scrip ...........
Dakota Territory ...... For cash sales ........

For homestead entries ..............
For agricultural college scrip.........
For Sioux half-breed....
For Chippewa half-breed........

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Idaho Territory ......

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New Mexico Territory.. For cash sales .......

For hoinestead eutries...........
For agricultural college scrip.......

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Washington Territory.. For cash sales .........................

For homestead entries ..................
For agricultural college scrip ..........

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Wyoming Territory ....

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Cadd sales .........................

For cash sales ..........
For homestead entries .................
For agricultural collège scrip-o.........

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There have also been issued, for lands throughout the different States and Territories, patents on military bounty.land warrants under the

Act of 1846..
Act of 1850..
Act of 1852...
Act of 1855..

.......... ................................. ............ ..................................... .... ......................... ...................

00. 24.5 88, 243 189, 120

11,982 261, 276

A

CL OI 1835..............................................................

Total.........

550, 621

Also under the old military acts of 1790, 1791, 1801, and 1812 estimated ....

50,000

On surveyors generals' certificates and special acts.....
On Choctaw scrip under treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of March 3, 1830..

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Making a total of.....

........ 2,785,784

Exclusive of patents issued under mineral, swamp, railroad, canal, and wagon road, school, and private grants.

All the patents as thus given are recorded in books of about five hun. dred pages each, prepared for the purpose, and now aggregate nearly seven thousapil volumes, kept in cases in the halls of the building, for want of rooms in which to place them..

The muniments of title on which these patents are founded and records made aggregate at this time no less than ten million eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand five hundred and forty-five papers, and should any single one of all that number be lost or destroyed, the title to some man's realty would be clouded or lost, according to the character of the missing document.

The certificates, receipts, proofs, and other papers are systematically arranged by States, land districts, and numerical numbers, so that any paper named can at once be referred to by the clerks in charge of the files. Until recently, these papers and records were filed in open cases in the public halls of the building and in rooms lighted only by gas, where any person, from curiosity or other motive, could handle and inspect at his leisure. With a view to greater security, however, I have caused locks to be placed upon the doors of all cases in the hall, and, as far as practicable, in the rooms. But, in view of the recent disaster to the building by fire and water, I would suggest that further and more

ample provision be urged for the safety of papers of such value to all who hold title to lands parchased from the United States.

There still remain in the files of this office pot less than three hundred thousand undelivered patents, and fully as many more at the various local offices which the owners neglect to procure, notwithstanding all the efforts put forth to accomplish that object; and I would further suggest that the attention of Congress be called to this subject, that proper legislation be bad, and an appropriation made sufficient to continue the work of preparing lists of such patents, looking to their delivery, now stopped for want of force, and relieve this office of such a burden, before the patents are entirely ruined by time and for want of care.

I would also state that many of the older records of these patents, through time and by reason of having been filled in with poor and perisbable inks, are already nearly, and in some cases entirely, illegible, and will need to be renewed at no distant day.

This is tbe case to such an extent at this time that in preparing certified copies from such records the copy is not allowed to leave the office until it has been carefully compared with the original papers upon wbich the patent was founded.

C.-PUBLIC LANDS DIVISION.

The number of letters referred to this division during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, was

23, 733 Number of letters written ...........

19, 250 Pages of record occupied thereby ...

13, 726 Number of cases sent to recorder.....

26, 885 Number of postings........

102, 512 Number of circulars transmitted ......

2, 318 The number of acres sold for cash during the fiscal year

ending June 30, 1877, was .......................... 740, 086.57 Being an increase of 99,974.70 acres over the previous

fiscal year. Number of acres entered under the homestead laws for

the fiscal year ..................................... 2, 178, 098. 17 Being a decrease of 697,811.50 acres, as compared with the

previous fiscal year. Number of acres entered under the timber-culture laws for the fiscal year ...................

520, 673. 39 Being a decrease of 87,311.48 acres, as compared with the

previous fiscal year. Number of acres located with agricultural college scrip during the fiscal year....

1,280.00 Being a decrease of 1,040 acres, as compared with the previous year. Land grant approvals.

Acres. Indemuity school selections approved........

27, 973. 92 Selections for agricultural colleges.......

63, 443. 04 Internal improvement selections.......

50, 984. 91 Selections for universities ...

3, 235, 83 Total .

155, 637.70 Being a decrease of 73,309.38 acres, as compared with the previous fiscal year.

Indian scrip locations.

Acres. Sioux half breed scrip locations ...,

............. 2, 655. 29 Chippewa half breed scrip locations....................... 5, 422. 94

THE HOMESTEAD LAWS.

As shown above, the entries of public land under the homestead laws during the fiscal year ending the 30th June, 1877, call for an aggregate area of 2,178,098.19 acres, showing a falling off of 699,811.80 acres, as compared with the previous fiscal year; a result probably of the prevailing financial depression, which has operated to check every description of enterprise.

DESERT LANDS.

The following is tbe text of an act of Congress approved March 3, 1877, and entitled "An act to provide for the sale of desert lands in certain States and Territories :"

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for any citizen of the United States, or any person of requisite age " who may be entitled to become a citizen, and who has filed his declaration to become such," and upon payment of twenty-five cents per acre, to file a declaration, under oath, with the register and the receiver of the land district in which any desert land is situated, that he intends to reclaim a tract of desert land, not exceeding one section, by conducting water upon the same within the period of three years thereafter: Provided, however, That the right to the use of water by the person so conducting the same on or to any tract of desert land of six hundred and forty acres shall depend upon bona fide prior appropriation; and such right shall not exceed the amount of water actually appropriated and necessarily used for the purpose of irrigation and reclamation; and all surplus water over and above such actual appropriation and use, together with the water of all lakes, rivers, and other sources of water supply upon the public lands and not pavigable, shall remain and be held free for the appropriation and use of the public for irrigation, mining, and manufacturing purposes subject to existing rights. Said declaration sball describe particularly said section of land if surveyed, and if unsurveyed shall describe the same as nearly as possible without a survey. At any time within the period of three years after filing said declaration, npon making satisfactory proof to the register and receiver of the reclamation of said tract of land in the manner aforesaid, and upon the payment to the receiver of the additional sum of one dollar per acre for a tract of land not exceeding six bondred and forty acres to any one person, a patent for the same shall be issued to him: Prorided, That no person shall be permitted to enter more than one tract of land and not to exceed six hundred and forty acres, which shall be in compact form.

Sec. 2. That all lands, exclusive of timber lands and mineral lands, which will not, without irrigation, produce some agricultural crop, shall be deemed desert lands within the meaning of this act, which fact shall be ascertained by proof of two or more credible witnesses under oath, whose affidavits shall be filed in the land office in which said tract of land may be situated.

SEC. 3. That this act shall only apply to and take effect in the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada, and the Territories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and Dakota, and the determination of what may be considered desert land shall be subject to the decision and regulation of the Commissioner of the General Land Office.

Instructions under this act were issued to the registers and receivers of the district land offices in the several States and Territories to which its provisions apply. Returns of operations thereunder have been received from the district land officers, showing entries to have been allowed up to the close of the fiscal year as follows, viz: In California, 467 entries, calling for 166,665.57 acres; in Oregon, 3 entries, calling for 1,744.25 acres; Nevada, 44 entries, calling for 19,149.93 acres; Montana, 3 entries, calling for 361.65 acres ; Utah, 139 entries, calling for 42,652.94 acres ; Arizona, 68 entries, calling for 38,653.35 acres; New Mexico, 1 entry, calling for 80 acres. Total number of entries, 731; ot

acres, 269,307.69. The extent of the business done for the small period from the passage of the act to the close of the fiscal year, or little more than three months, seems to indicate an active demand for the class of lands requiring irrigation to render them productive, on the terms prescribed in the act.

DETROIT ARSENAL GROUNDS.

The act of Congress of March 3, 1875, (Statutes at Large, vol. 18, page 510,) provides as follows, viz:

That the Secretary of War be and is hereby authorized and directed to transfer to the custody and control of the Secretary of the Interior, for sale for cash, according to the existing laws of the United States relating to the public lands, after appraisement, to the highest bidder, after giving not less than ninety days' notice of the time and place of such sale in three of the most prominent newspapers publisbed in said State, and at not less than the appraised value, the buildings and grounds known as the Detroit arsenal, in the State of Michigan: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior shall cause the said property to be subdivided into tracts of not more than forty acres each, or into town lots, with proper streets to render the same accessible: And provided further, That each subdivision, together with any buildings, building materials, or other property thereon, shall be appraised and offered separately, at public outcry, to the bighest bidder, and in case any subdivision or subdivisions shall remain unsold the sale shall be postponed from time to time until the entire tract shall be disposed of as hereinbefore provided.

In pursuance of the provisions of said act, the grounds referred to were subdivided into town lots, 153 in number, with proper streets to render the same accessible.

The lots and buildings thereon were appraised by the commissioners, acting under authority of the Secretary of the Interior, by whom the appraisement they made was approved. The lots were appraised at $41,275 in the aggregate; the buildings at $18,900; making a total of $60,175. After due notice given, the lots, together with the buildings thereon, were offered at public sale on the 12th of June, 1877. Sixteen of the lots, on two of which there were buildings, were then sold. The sale was postponed from that day to the 21st of the same month. On the 21st the sale was resumed, the lots remaining unsold were again offered, and four of them sold. The sale was further postponed to the 17th of July following, was then resumed, and two additional lots were sold, making twenty-two disposed of in all. The twenty-two lots sold were appraised at $7.185, and the improvements thereon at $950 ; total, $8,135. They sold for $8,542, being more by $407 than the appraised value of the same.

The lots which remain unsold are 131 in number, appraised at $34,090, and the buildings on them appraised at $17,950, making the total appraised value $52,040. The act provides that in case any subdivision or subdivisions shall remain unsold, the sale shall be postponed from time to time until the entire tract shall be disposed of, as thereinbefore provided. In view of the repeated offerings, and the failure to sell, it would seem that there is no competition for the remaining lots and build. ings at the appraised price. In the absence of any demand, it is vain to continue the offering. I see no reason, therefore, why they should not be disposed of to any one who may desire to purchase at that price at private entry. I recommend that the law be so amended as to admit of this.

USELESS MILITARY RESERVATIONS.

By the sixth section of the act of Congress of June 12, 1858, (Stat. L., vol. 11, page 336,) lands embraced in abandoned military reservations, except reservations in Florida, are not subject to the operation of

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