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New Mexico was acquired from the republic of Mexico, it having been for ages occupied with the institutions of Spanish civilization. The average length from north to south is 352 miles, and average breadth 332, with an area of 121,201 square miles, or 77,568,640 acres..
East of the Sierra Madre the general aspect of the country is mountainous, with the exception of the longitudinal valley of the Rio Grande, about twenty miles wide. The mountain ranges vary from 6,000 to 12,000 feet in altitude, and are composed of igneous rocks. The interior forms a varied country, well wooded and of generally good agricultural character. The soil of the valley of New Mexico, though to superficial observation not promising, is rich in elements of fertility which a judicious irrigation easily develops. The most fertile part of this valley is below Santa Fé, and is called' Rio Abajo, or country down the river. It is not uncommon here to raise two crops a year. The table lands are admirable for grazing, producing a sort of grass which is naturally cured by the operation of the climate. The latter is, on the whole, very equable and salubrious. The mutton raised in New Mexico is renowned for its excellence. The production of cereals, potatoes, and other articles of food for man and beast is very large for the amount employed in agriculture. The harder kinds of wood are very scarce. Cottonwood, however, is found in considerable quantities on the banks of the streams.
The scenery of New Mexico presents many sublime and picturesque landscape views. The mountains abound in high precipices and cataracts. A cañon is described as extendiug up the Virgen river for 300 miles, the lofty, precipitous sides of which suggest the idea that the river has cleft its way through the mountain. The waters wash clear up to the sides, leaving no intervening beach.
The population in 1860 was 93,516. A decided improvement is shown by the agricultural statistics of that year. A large trade has been carried on hitherto with the western States in caravans, which will soon be superseded by modern improvements in transportation. The quantity of lands yet to be disposed of in New Mexico is equal to about seventy-three millions of acres.
The progress of surveys in New Mexico during the last fiscal year consisted of the extension south of the second correction line, starting from San Andre's mountain, thirty miles east of the Rio Grande del Norte, passing a few miles south of Fort Stanton, the valleys of Ruidoso, Bonito, and Rio Hondo rivers to the intersection of the Pecos; also in the establishment of the third correction line south, and in running township lines embracing Tulerosa town.
Surveys have likewise been executed on the upper waters of Rio Mimbres, in the region surrounded by Fort Thorn, Fort Cummings, Fort West, and Fort Bayard, embracing Pinos Altos, Santa Rita copper mines, and Mowry City, this locality having been reached by extending the fourth correction line south, west of Rio del Norte; subdivisional surveys having been prevented by Indian incursions.
Returns have been made of the survey of San Pedro and Cañon del Aqua, Mexican grants, embracing over thirty-nine thousand four hundred acres.
The surveyor general recommends the segregation of the Apache and Navajo Indian reservation of forty miles square on Pecos river, including Bosque Redondo and Fort Sumner, in order to prevent conflict between the white settlers on the Pecos and the Indians concentrated on the reservation, and under military supervision.
As the reservation is upon unsurveyed territory and no appropriation available, it remains unsegregated.
The surveying department further suggests, which is recommended, that the tract selected by the agent of the Gila Apaches on the Gila as a home reservation be opened to settlement, the Indians evincing no desire to settle there, and having for the last six years been at war with the whites. The Pueblo civilized Indians of Santa Aña desire their grant confirmed, the boundaries surveyed and established, to prevent controversies—a measure of justice requiring the sanction of law.
By the 8th section of the act of 22d July, 1854, Statutes, vol. 10, page 309, authority is given for submitting to the surveyor general for report to the department and submission to Congress all Spanish and Mexican titles claimed as valid under the treaty of 1848 at Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico, but there is no provision under which official cognizance is required to be taken of any foreign titles falling within the limits of what is known as the Gadsden purchase by treaty of 1853, concluded at the city of Mexico. It is of the first importance that all such titles in New Mexico and Arizona shall be speedily and definitely adjudicated. To this end it is recommended that authority of law be given for initiating processes to obtain confirmation by petition to the courts, that the time for filing and prosecuting to final decree shall be specified.
If, however, it should be preferred to settle such claims otherwise, it is recommended that the provisions of the act of 22d July, 1854, shall be so enlarged as to include titles under treaty of 1853; that a period shall be fixed within which the evidence of all such shall be filed in the office of the surveyor general at Santa Fé, barring in law and equity all not filed within the period of limitation, making it the duty of the surveyor general to render his decisions not only as to the validity of claims, but the limits and area thereof; requiring those decisions to be immediately reported to the General Land Office; and investing a board, consisting of the Secretary of the Interior, Attorney General, and Commissioner of the General Land Office, with power to enter final decree of confirmation or rejection, yet restricting the extent as to area in which decrees of confirmation shall be rendered by the board, and requiring all in excess of that extent to be referred for final action to Congress.
Numerous discoveries of gold and silver lodes have been made since last report, intermingled with copper, almost a universal accompaniment of the precious metals. Lead, iron, and coal are common throughout the Territory, and zinc, antimony, kaolin, and other minerals are found, but no applications for survey have yet been made to the surveyor general for the survey of mineral claims in New Mexico, under the act approved July 26, 1866, and the instructions therewith connected.
Since the organization of the surveying district in 1854 for New Mexico two million three hundred and thirty-two thousand five hundred and fifty-five acres of public lands have been surveyed and prepared for market, but never offered for sale, owing to the unsettled condition of the country, while confirmed private claims have been surveyed equal to over two million two hundred and ninety thousand acres.
Arizona TERRITORY, one of the extreme southwestern political divisions of the United States, forms part of the basin of the Colorado. Its surface consists of elevated table lands, broken by mountain ranges and interspersed with fertile valleys and sandy wastes. Its northern and northeastern portions are comparatively unexplored and mostly in the occupancy of Indians. South of the Gila and west of the 112th meridian the country is sandy, supposed not generally arable, except along that river. In other portions there are many beautiful valleys, containing millions of acres of extraordinary fertility, producing wheat, barley, oats, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables. In the south cotton and sugar crops are remunerative, and on the hills and mountain sides is found a rich and abundant pasturage. Indeed, here are some of the finest grazing lands in the Union.
The river system of Arizona presents points of great interest. The Colorado, with its affluents, the Gila, Bill Williams fork, and Flat river, or Colorado Chiquito, drains an extensive region south of the Great Salt Lake basin and west
of the Sierra Madre. These various streams with their affluents head up among mountains covered with valuable timber. At the head of Bill Williams fork is the “ Black Forest,” but little, if at all, inferior to the "Schwarzwald” of Baden, separating the basins of the Rhine and the Neckar. Pine and cedar forests of indefinite extent cover the Mogollon and Pinaleno mountains, and valuable timber is found at the heads of the Rio Verde, Salado, and Gila. The mesquite furnishes good fuel in all parts of the Territory. In the valleys the larch, ash, elm, walnut, oak, and sycamore are found in copious supply, and exceedingly valuable for farming purposes.
The Colorado on the American continent will probably serve the historic purpose of the Nile in Egypt. It is subject to annual overflow from the melting of the snows on the mountain ranges flanking its valley to the height of several thousand feet above the ordinary level of the country. Thus the valleys of this river and its affluents are thoroughly fertilized. A system of artificial irrigation may be made to utilize these surplus waters, thus rescuing millions of acres from hopeless barrenness, and making them the scene of productive agricultural industry. By a system of irrigating canals the water may easily be conducted to immense tracts unvisited by its annual overflow.
The celebrated Colorado desert, bordering this river on both sides for one hundred and fifty miles, is below its bed, and possesses a soil composed of allyvial earths, marl, and shells, needing only the stimulation of moisture to awaken its fertility. Other tracts along the course of the river are susceptible of the same improvement. The system of irrigation, which once transformed the barren valley of the Nile into the granary of the east, supporting a population of twenty millions besides exporting corn to all the surrounding nations, applied to the Colorado will fertilize a wider expanse of country than that reached by the waters of the Nile, with a finer climate and a soil of equal productiveness.
The Colorado valley was an early seat of Spanish civilization and missionary enterprise. The Santa Cruz and its tributaries teemed with an agricultural and mining population early in the eighteenth century, and flourishing settlements existed in the valleys of the Gila, the Rio Verde, and the Salinas. The relics of this busy industry are still seen in the ruins of cities, cathedrals, and farms, scattered up and down the Colorado and its branches. The remains of irrigating canals show the extensive and elaborate scale on which Spanish agriculture was then prosecuted. But priest and layman alike fell beneath the tomahawk of the Apaches or were expelled by the jealousy of the revolutionary government of Mexico. The Yuma and Mohave Indians, taking advantage of the annual overflows of the river, secure with little labor and a very rude husbandry crops sufficient for their sustenance. The river has been navigated as high up as Dallville by light-draught boats, and is believed to be navigable at least six hundred miles above that point. The San Pedro and Santa Cruz flow from the southeastern part of the Territory into the Gila, the former through a rich valley one hundred miles in length, expanding in places to a width of many miles. Its tributary valleys are of nearly equal extent. A beautiful, fertile, and well-wooded region lies at its junction with the Arrowapa, extending to the Gila. Ruins of baciendas and ranches show an abortive attempt to introduce the institutions of civilization into these wilds. One of the finest portions of the Territory is the country bordering on the Santa Cruz. Its valley, wider than the San Pedro, is equally rich and well timbered. Both these valleys are supplied with running waters, nutritious gama and mesquite grasses, green and growing at all seasons. The Santa Cruz region was occupied by Jesuit missionaries as early as the year 1600, the ruins of whose establishments are still seen. The ever present remains of irrigating canals show scientific and systematic agriculture once flourishing in these valleys, but subsequently perishing, either by savage invasion or revolutionary violence. Such churches as that of San Xavier del Bąc attest, even in their dilapidation, the wealth, refinement, and
religious public spirit of the generation which has passed away. The Spanish settlements are either deserted or reduced in numbers and wealth.'
American settlements are being formed introducing a higher and more energetic tone of social life, and overpowering the feeble efforts of the Mexicans to occupy these inviting regions.
The depredations of the Apaches have restrained the settlement of large portions of this Territory and of New Mexico, regions possessing a delightful climate and containing large tracts of the finest arable and grazing land. The climate of the entire Territory, excepting the lower Gila and Colorado, is represen ed as delightful, exempt from extreme heat, with nights of refreshing coolness. Snow rarely falls; fruit trees bloom in February and March ; cotton, corn, wheat, tobacco, melons, with a great variety of temperate and semi-tropical fruits, are raised in abundance.
The settlements in the southern part and along the Colorado are numerous. On account of Indian hostilities it is found safe to occupy the country only in colonies for mutual protection. The mineral resources of the Territory and the small part occupied for agricultural purposes must render farming a very profitable pursuit, with an increasing home demand.
The lands are yet unsurveyed; but where settlements in good faith are made upon those belonging to the government, accompanied by residence and cultivation, the settlers will be protected in their rights and permitted, after survey, to complete their pre-emption and homestead entries.
The surveyor general estimates the quantity of irrigable land at one million acres. An extension of the system of irrigation by the formation of reservoirs in the mountains will doubtless very much enlarge this aggregate. It is thought that five million acres is a very moderate estimate.
The grazing lands are about three-fourths of the entire area, or fifty-five millions of acres.
A large quantity of land in the Territory may be made productive without irrigation, especially the lands occupied by the Pimos Indians, who being instructed in agriculture by the Jesuit fathers, have continued ever since to gather two crops per annum. The rainy season generally lasts from June to December. Rain also falls in January.
Irrigated lands in Arizona may be safely estimated as of double the productiveness of the unirrigated in the Atlantic States.
The timber, though not so abundant as in-Oregon or California, is nevertheless adequate to home demand. In some places forests of heavy timber cover extensive areas. The United States have in this Territory 72,906,304 acres of public land.
While this country was under the jurisdiction of the surveyor general at Santa Fé, measures were adopted for the survey of the base, meridian, and standard parallels, but while in progress the work was interrupted by the hostility of the Indians. The surveyors, however, succeeded in establishing the Gila and Salt river principal meridian, which was extended north from the intersection, with the principal base at the mouth of Salt river for a distance of twenty-four miles ; from that termination the first standard parallel north was extended forty-two miles east, and a like distance west, the base having been run and marked to the extent of thirty-six miles east of the intersection. The initial point of surveys in Arizona is a conical hill one hundred and fifty feet in height, upon the pinnacle of which the Mexican boundary commission in 1851 established a corner to mark the mouth of Salt river, it being on the 33° 22' 57" of north latitude, and 112° 15' 46'' of west longitude from Greenwich.
By the 4th section of the act of March 2, 1867, Arizona, which had formed part of the New Mexico surveying district, was attached to that of California, all the original archives relating to the Arizona service having been transferred by the surveyor general at Santa Fé to the surveyor general of California at San Francisco. The Indian difficulties in Arizona prevailing to considerable
extent, rendered it hazardous for surveyors to continue in the field; consequently neither township nor subdivisional surveys have been executed. The distance of the Arizona field of operations from San Francisco rendering it difficult to obtain experienced and trustworthy deputies to enter into contracts for surveys in this Territory at the maximum rates allowed by law, it is not expected that public lands will be surveyed there during the present season.
CALIFORNIA extends along the Pacific coast seven hundred and fifty miles, with an average breadth of two hundred and thirty. Its area is 188,981 square miles, or 120,947,840 acres, of which not less than eighty-nine millions, including swamp and tule lands capable of reclamation, are suited to some kinds of profitable husbandry. Of these over forty millions are fit for the plough, and the remainder present excellent facilities for stock-raising, fruit-growing, and all the other branches of agriculture. This agricultural area exceeds that of Great Britain and Ireland, or the entire peninsula of Italy. The State also contains about forty millions of acres of mineral land, unsurpassed for productiveness.
About thirty millions of acres have been surveyed, leaving a residue unsurveyed of ninety millions. Nearly nine millions have been granted to the State by the general government, under various acts of Congress, for common schools, agricultural colleges, public buildings, and internal improvements.
Of the forty million acres of arable land, fourteen millions are found in the basin of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, sixteen millions in the coast valleys, and the residue in the region called the “Colorado desert,” in Owen's River valley and the Klamath basin. When irrigation is practiced on an extensive scale, as it must be within a few years, and the valley of the Colorado is brought under its influence, much of what is now characterized as "desert" will become productive and valuable. The land not fit for the plough, but valuable for grazing and in a measure for horticultural purposes, especially the grape culture, is to be found on the foot-hills and slopes of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Range mountains.
The soil and climate of California are eminently adapted to the growth of wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, hops, tobacco, hay, and sorghum ; in certain localities to corn, cotton, the southern sugar cane; to almost every variety of garden vegetables cultivated east of the Rocky mountains ; to the apple, peach, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, nectarine, quince, fig, and grape, and along the southern coast to the orange, lemon, citron, olive, pomegranate, aloe, filbert, walnut, hard and soft-shell almond, currants, prunes, pineapples, and the plantain, banana, cocoanut, and indigo. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, figs, grapes, and the hardier fruits, as the apple, peach, and pear, succeed well in every portion of the State. There are very few parts of the world where fruit trees grow so rapidly, bear so early, so regularly, so abundantly, and produce fruit of such size, and where so great a variety can be produced, and of such superior quality, as on the southern coast of California.
Fruit trees in that State are generally as large after two years' growth as on the Atlantic coast in three and four. At Petaluma a cherry tree two years old after being grafted, and three from the seed, had a trunk seven inches and three quarters round; a plum tree three years from the seed was eleven feet high, with a circumference of seven inches; a peach tree one year from the bud was eight feet high, with a circumference of eight and a half inches ; and an almond tree planted in January, 1855, being cut down.to within a few inches of the earth, in three years had grown to be a tree twenty feet high, with branches starting from the surface of the earth, and a trunk twenty-four inches in circumference. The pear is more specially the fruit tree of California. It thrives in all parts of the State; neither tree nor fruit is subject to any form of disease, the fruit being everywhere of delicious flavor and of large size. There are trees now standing each of which produces annually forty bushels of pears.
The varied climate on the Pacific, its freedom from frosts, severe cold, and