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the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, showing a total of 2,785,784. To that exhibit can now be added those issued for the last fiscal year, as follows: Agricultural.......
16,970 Mineral ........... Donations ...... Private claims.... Indian claims Swamp grants Railroads. Scrip locations. Old Virginia ..... Total
17,724 There is at this time 7,325 cases in the division, approved, and ready for patents to issue whenever a force can be obtained for the work. As a correct and exact record is kept in the office of every patent issued, there is an aggregate of work to be done double the amount indicated by the mumber of cases here stated in order to issue patents therefor. Add to this the ordinary increase from the monthly returns, and it will take many months, with a large force employed, to finish the work. There should be employed in this division not less than forty experienced clerks; whereas there is at this time only half that number, a force sufficient only to perform the daily current work, leaving the accumulated and fast-increasing work of patent writing untouched, except where special reasons and wants are presented in isolated cases.
When patents are ready for delivery they are transmitted to the local office where entry was made, to be surrendered to the proper party upon return of the duplicate certificate, or receipt as the case may be, or, in case of its loss, then upon filing an affidavit made by the present bona fide owner of the land alleging such ownership and accounting for the loss of the duplicate.
Formerly, when a local office was discontinued, or merged with another office, the patents remaining on hand undelivered were returned to this office, and in this way there have accumulated about 300,000 in round numbers, at the present time, notwithstanding every effort made to place them in the hands of the owners, either the original patentees or those holding under them by regular chain of conveyance.
I would again urge the importance of such an appropriation from Congress as will enable this office to continue the work, already well advanced, of preparing lists of such patents and furnishing them to the proper officer of each county in the older States, hoping thereby to relieve the files of this office of a great burden, and at the same time place the patents in the hands of the owners.
The patent records now in this division of the office aggregate about seven thousand volumes properly numbered and arranged in cases prepared for the purpose; and the certificates and other papers upon which patents are founded, to the number of about eleven millions, are also arranged in the files by numbers, land offices, and States, so that any desired paper can be found at a moment's notice.
The call from outside parties for papers from the files in order to verify title in cases where the patents have been lost or destroyed has increased to such an extent that it now adds greatly to the work of the office. Another cause for an examination of the original certificates and proofs in a case arises from the fact that in the early days of the land system the surveys were more or less incomplete and imperfect, often being changed by a resurvey or replatting and giving to a tract of land a description different from the original. It is also found that at an early day and before this office was properly systematized, many patents were erroneously engrossed..
The call for certified copies from the records of patents has also very largely increased, and is now bringing to the office, from this division alone, as stated elsewhere, nearly $8,000 every year; and it must continue to increase as time passes, obvious causes tending to obliterate and destroy the original deed in its passage from hand to hand, as the land changes ownership.
I would respectfully urge the passage of a law that will permit the office to retain this fund, to be devoted to the purpose of employing a clerical force to perform such work, and not turn it into the United States Treasury as is now required. The effect of the law as it now stands is to reduce the regular appropriation and force of this office to the extent of the work required to earn this fund for the general Treasury.
TIMBER LANDS—TIMBER DEPREDATIONS.
In my annual report to you of last year, the subject of depredations upon the timber on the public lands of the United States was presented, a history was given of the action that had been taken toward their suppression, and a statement was made of the efforts to this end then in operation. The condition of the timbered lands was reviewed, and measures for the protection and preservation of the timber, and the survey and sale of the timbered lands were suggested.
Legislation was enacted by Congress at the last session upon these subjects as follows:
1. By act of April 30, 1878, an appropriation was made of $7,500 for the actual expenses of clerks detailed to investigate fraudulent land entries, trespasses on the public lands, and cases of official misconduct, with the provisos
That all moneys heretofore, and that shall hereafter be, collected for depredations upon the public lands, shall be covered into the Treasury of the United States as other moneys received from the sale of public lands: And provided further, That where wood and timbered lands in the Territories of the United States are not surveyed and offered for sale in proper subdivisions, convenient of access, no money appropriated shall be used to collect any charge for wood or timber cut on the public lands in the Territories of the United States, for the use of actual settlers in the Territories, and not for export from the Territories of the United States where the timber grew : And provided further, That if any timber cut on the public lands shall be exported from the Territories of the United States, it shall be liable to seizure by United States authority wherever found. -(Statutes, second session Forty-fifth Congress, p. 46.)
2. In act of June 20, 1878, “To meet expenses of suppressing depredations upon timber on the public lands, twenty-five thousand dollars.”— (Statutes, second session Forty-fifth Congress, p. 229.)
3. Act of June 3, 1878, entitled “An act authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and remove timber upon the public domain for mining and domestic purposes."—(Statutes, second session Forty-fifth Congress, p. 88.)
4. Act of June 3, 1878, entitled "An act for the sale of timber lands in the States of California, Oregon, Nevada, and in Washington Terri. tory.”—(Statutes, second session Forty-fifth Congress, p. 89.)
Cireulars reviewing the provisions of these acts and presenting rules and regulations thereunder, have been issued as follows: One of August 13, 1878, issued under the last-mentioned act of June 3, 1878, and which
is given in another part of this report, and one of the 15th of the same month, which is here given:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., August 15, 1878. To REGISTERS AND RECEIVERS
of United States Land Offices : GENTLEMEN: The following is a review of the provisions of the act entitled “An act for the sale of timber lands in the States of California, Oregon, Nevada, and in Washington Territory," approved June 3, 1878, and of the act approved same date, entitled “ An act authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and remove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes," so far as they relate to the privilege of cutting and removing timber from the public lands of the United States, the punishment therefor, or to the protection of "timber and of the undergrowth” growing upon the public lands. Copies of these acts are annexed.
The fourth section of the first-mentioned act provides that "it shall be unlawful to cut, or cause or procure to be cut, or wantonly destroy, any timber growing on any lands of the United States, in said States and Territory, or remove, or cause to be removed, any timber from said public lands, with intent to export or dispose of the same; and no owner, master, or consignee of any vessel, or owner, director, or agent of any railroad, shall knowingly transport the same, or any lumber manufactured therefrom; any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be fined for every such offense a sum not less than one hundred 'nor more than one thousand dollars.” Provision is also embraced in said section that “the penalties herein provided shall not take effect until ninety days after the passage of this act." This section also contains a proviso as follows: “And nothing herein contained shall prevent any miner or agriculturist from clearing his land in the ordinary working of his mining claim, or preparing his farm for tillage, or from taking the timber necessary to support his improvements, or the taking of timber for the use of the United States." The penalty provided for in this section takes effect after the first day of September, 1878, and applies to cutting for any purpose other than that mentioned in this proviso, such as the wanton destruction of timber, or its removal for export or disposal.
In the States and Territory mentioned the effort of the executive will in the future be directed to the proper punishment of parties who may cut for purposes not authorized by the statute under consideration, and to the prevention, so far as practicable, of further trespass against the general law,
The fifth section of the act provides that any person prosecuted in said States and Territory for violating section two thousand four hundred and sixty-one of the Revised Statutes of the United States who is not prosecuted for cutting timber for export from the United States may be relieved from further prosecution and liability therefor upon payment into the court wherein said action is pending of the sum of two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per acre for all lands on which he shall have cut or caused to be cut timber, or removed or caused to be removed the same: Provided, That nothing contained in this section shall be construed as granting to the person hereby relieved the title to said lands for said payment; but he shall have the right to purchase the same upon the same terms and conditions as other persons, as provided hereinbefore in this act.” This provision is applicable alike to cases pending at the time of the passage of the act, and to such cases as have been since or may hereafter be commenced.
Section 5 also contains provision that all moneys collected under this act shall be covered into the Treasury of the United States, and section 4751 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, which authorizes the penalties and forfeitures incurred under sections 2461 and 2462 of the Revised Statutes, to be sued for, recovered and accounted for, under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, is repealed, so far as it relates to these States and Territory.
By the provisions of the last-mentioned act “all citizens of the United States and other persons bona fide residents of the States of Colorado, Nevada, or either of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Dakota, Idaho, and Montana, and all other mineral districts of the United States, are authorized and permitted to fell and remove for building, agricultural, mining, or other domestic purposes, any timber or other trees growing, or being upon the public lands, said lands being mineral and not subject to entry under the existing laws of the United States, except for mineral entry in either of said States, Territories, or districts of which such citizens may be at the time bona fide residents, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe for protection of the timber, and of the undergrowth growing npon such lands, and for other purposes."
The first section contains a provision that this act shall not extend to railroad corporations. A copy of the rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the
Interior for the protection of the timber and of the undergrowth growing upon the mineral lands of the United States, in compliance with this provision, is printed herewith. The second section of this act makes it the duty of the register and receiver of any local land office in whose district any mineral land may be situated to ascertain from time to time whether any timber is being cut or used upon any of the mineral lands, except for the purposes authorized by this act, within their respective land districts; and, if so, they are required to notify the Commissioner of the General Land Office of that fact.
These reports will be made by the registers and receivers separately from those relating to any other subject, and will give the details of any violation of the provisions of this act.
The registers and receivers are allowed all necessary expenses incurred in making such proper examinations in regard to violations of the provisions of this act, which will be paid and allowed them in making up their next quarterly accounts.
The third section provides that “any person or persons who shall violate the provisions of this act, or any rules and regulations in pursuance thereof made by the Secretary of the Interior, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, and to which may be added imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months."
When violations of the provisions of this act are brought to the attention of this office, either by report from the registers and receivers or by other persons who, as good citizens, may feel an interest in the protection of the public timber, if the facts are deemed sufficient to warrant prosecutions they will be brought to the attention of the Department of Justice, that instructions may be given to the proper district attorney to institute legal proceedings. RULES AND REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE
PROTECTION OF TIMBER, ETC. Rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior for the protection of the timber and of the undergrowth growing upon mineral lands of the United States, not subject to entry under existing laws of the United States, except for mineral entry in the States of Colorado and Nevada, or in the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Dakota, Idaho, or Montana, and in all other mineral districts of the United States, in compliance with the provisions of an act approved June 3, 1878, entitled “An act authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and reinove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes."
With the view to and the intention of preserving the young timber and undergrowth upon the mineral lands of the United States, and to the end that the mountain sides may not be left denuded and barren of the timber and undergrowth necessary to prevent the precipitation of the rainfall and melting snows in floods upon the fertile arable lands in the valleys below, thus destroying the agricultural and pasturage interests of the mineral and mountainous portions of the country, I do hereby make and cause to be promulgated, by virtue of the power vested in me by the act entitled “ An aet anthorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories (excepting Washington Territory) to fell and remove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes," the following rules and regulations:
1. Section 2461 Revised Statutes is still in force in all of the States and Territories named in the bill, and its provisions may be enforced, as heretofore, against persons trespassing upon any other than lands which are in fact mineral, or have been withdrawn as such; and in all cases where trespasses are committed upon the timber upon public lands which are not mineral, the trespassers will be prosecuted under said section.
2. It shall be unlawful for any person to cut or remove, or cause to be cut or removed, from any of the mineral lands of the United States any timber or undergrowth of any kind whatsoever less than 8 inches in diameter, and any person so offending shall be liable to be fined, in compliance with the provisions of the third section of said act, in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, and to which may be added imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months.
3. It shall be the duty of the register and receiver of each and every local land office in whose district any mineral land may be situated, to ascertain by personal observation, or by sending persons to examine the same from time to time, whether any timber is being cut or used upon any such lands except for the purpose of building, or for agricultural, mining, or other domestic purposes, or whether any timber is cut in violation of these rules and regulations within their respective land districts; and if they shall ascertain that there is any such violation they shall immediately report the same to this office, giving in detail the facts, designating the location of the land, and if surveyed giving description by legal subdivisions, giving the names and residences of persons who have violated the provisions of the act above referred to, or the rules and regulations preseribed thereunder, and also the names and residences of witnesses by whom the facts of such violation can be proven.
4. All necessary expenses incurred by registers and receivers for traveling and other necessary expenses in making personal examination, or for the payment of the services and expenses of persons employed to make such examinations, will be paid and allowed to such registers and receivers in making up their next quarterly accounts after such expenses shall have been incurred. Very respectfully,
J. A. WILLIAMSON,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
August 16, 1878.
The foregoing is hereby approved.
C. SCHURZ, Secretary.
AN ACT for the sale of timber lands in the States of California, Oregon, Nevada, and in Washington
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That surveyed public lands of the United States within the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada, and in Washington Territory, not included within military, Indian, or other reservations of the United States, valuable chiefly for timber, but unfit for cultivation, and which have not been offered at public sale according to law, may be sold to citizens of the United States, or persons who have declared their intention to become such, in quantities not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one person or association of persons, at the minimum price of two dollars and fifty cents per acre; and lands valuable chiefly for stone may be sold on the same terms as timber lands: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall defeat or impair any bona fide claim under any law of the United States, or authorize the sale of any mining claim, or the improvements of any bona fide settler, or lands containing gold, silver, cinnabar, copper, or coal, or lands selected by the said States under any law of the United States donating lands for internal improvements, education, or other purposes : And provided further, That none of the rights conferred by the act approved July twenty-sixth, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, entitled “An act granting the right of way to ditch and canal owners over the public lands, and for other purposes," shall be abrogated by this act; and all patents granted shall be subject to any vested and accrued water rights, or rights to ditches and reservoirs used in connection with such water rights, as may have been acquired under and by the provisions of said act; and such rights shall be expressly reserved in any patent issued under this act.
SEC. 2. That any person desiring to avail himself of the provisions of this act shall file with the register of the proper district a written statement in duplicate, one of which is to be transmitted to the General Land Office, designating by legal subdivisions the particular tract of land he desires to purchase, setting forth that the same is unfit for cultivation, and valuable chiefly for its timber or stone; that it is uninhabited ; contains no mining or other improvements, except for ditch or canal purposes, where any such do exist, save such as were made by or belong to the applicant, nor, as deponent verily believes, any valuable deposit of gold, silver, cinnabar, copper, or coal; that deponent has made no other application under this act; that he does not apply to purchase the same on speculation, but in good faith to appropriate it to his own exclusive use and benefit; and that he has not, directly or indirectly, made any agreement or contract, in any way or manner, with any person or persons whomsoever, by which the title which he might acquire from the Government of the United States should inure, in whole or in part, to the benefit of any person except himself; which statement must be verified by the oath of the applicant before the register or the receiver of the land office within the district where the land is situated; and if any person taking such oath shall swear falsely in the premises, he shall be subject to all the pains and penalties of perjury, and shall forfeit the money which he may have paid for said lands, and all right and title to the same; and any grant or conveyance which he may have made, except in the hands of bona-fide purchasers, shall be null and void.
SEC. 3. That upon the filing of said statement, as provided in the second section of this act, the register of the land office shall post a notice of such application, embracing a description of the land by legal subdivisions, in his office, for a period of sixty days, and shall furnish the applicant a copy of the same for publication, at the expense of such applicant, in a newspaper published nearest the location of the premises, for a like period of time; and after the expiration of said sixty days, if no adverse claim shall have been filed, the person desiring to purchase shall furnish to the register of the land office satisfactory evidence, first, that said notice of the application prepared by the register as aforesaid was duly published in a newspaper as herein required; secondly, that the land is of the character contemplated in this act, unoccupied and without improvements, other than those excepted, either mining or agricultural, and