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that it apparently contains no valuable deposits of gold, silver, cinnabar, copper, or coal, and upon payment to the proper officer of the purchase-money of said land, together with the fees of the register and receiver, as provided for in case of mining claims in the twelfth section of the act approved' May tenth, eighteen hundred and seventy-two, the applicant may be permitted to enter said tract, and, on the transmission to the General Land Office of the papers and testimony in the case, a patent shall issue thereon: Provided, That any person having a valid claim to any portion of the land may object, in writing, to the issuance of a patent to lands so held by him, stating the nature of his claim thereto; and evidence shall be taken, and the merits of said objection shall be determined by the officers of the land office, subject to appeal, as in other land cases. Effect shall be given to the foregoing provisions of this act by regulations to be prescribed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
SEC. 4. That after the passage of this act 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; and 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 şum not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars: Provided, That 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; and the penalties herein provided shall not take effect until ninety days after the passage of this act.
SEC. 5. 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 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: And further provided, That all moneys collected under this act shall be covered into the Treasury of the United States. And section four thousand seven hundred and fifty-one of the Revised Statutes is hereby repealed, so far as it relates to the States and Territory herein named.
SEC. 6. That all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of this act are bereby repealed.
Approved June 3, 1878.
AX ACT authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and remove timber on
the public domain for mining and domestic purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all citizens of the United States and other persons, bona-fide residents of the State of Colorado or Nevada, or either of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Dakota, Idaho, or Montana, and all other mineral districts of the United States, shall be, and are hereby, authorized and permitted to fell and remove, for building, agricultural, mining, or other domestic purposes, any timber or other trees growing or being on the public lands, said lands being mineral, and not subject to entry under existing laws of the United States, except for mineral entry, in either of said States, Territories, or districts of which such citizens or persons may be at the time bona-fide residents, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe for the protection of the timber and of the undergrowth growing upon such lands, and for other purposes: Provided, The provisions of this act shall not extend to railroad corporations.
SEC. 2. That it shall be the duty of the register and the 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 such lands, except for the purposes authorized by this act, within their respective land districts; and, if so, they shall immediately notify the Commissioner of the General Land Office of that fact; and all necessary expenses incurred in making such proper examinations shall be paid and allowed such register and receiver in making up their next quarterly accoun 8.
SEC. 3. 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 stim not exceeding five hundred dollars, and to which may be added imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months.
Approved June 3, 1878.
During the past fiscal year the efforts were continued for the suppression of depredations upon public timber under the plan approved by the Department, and indicated in my last annual report, by appointing or detailing special agents to investigate and collect testimony.
Early in the past fiscal year it became necessary, owing to the exhaustion of funds, to discontinue the services of several of these special agents. Among these were the agents engaged in Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Montana, and Arizona. The appropriations of April 30 and June 20, 1878, above referred to, have enabled the renewal of the service of some and the appointment of additional agents to be made. There are agents in the field at present, as follows:
In Alabama, one ; Arkansas, one; California, one; Florida, two; Michigan, one; Minnesota, two; Mississippi, one; Nebraska, one, and in Wisconsin, one.
In Alabama, proceedings have been commenced before a United States commissioner, and the parties held for trial, against the owners of a mill in Butler County, who have offered to make payment for the trespass on condition of the dismissal of the suit. In Arkansas no suits have yet been instituted, but reports from the agent represent extensive trespasses.
In California, eight indictments are pending against trespassers. A survey has been made of the lands involved, indicating trespass to the extent of 54,070 trees, amounting in value to $84,899.61.
In Colorado, a special agent was engaged in collecting testimony to sustain the suits pending there, four in number. He reports the trespass in that State as being co-extensive with the public timber that is accessible.
In Florida, the efforts of the agents have been mainly to procure testimony to sustain the indictments pending in the United States court for that State, sixteen in number, involving 6,400 logs, 1,400,000 feet of lumber, 26,000 barrels rosin, and 100 barrels of turpentine, amounting to $111,800. One of these indictments is for forgery, and four for perjury committed in making fraudulent homestead entries to shield trespass. They have also reported some new cases. In two cases, one embracing 100 and the other 800 logs, the logs were delivered to the agents on their demand. In these cases as well as a similar one in Wisconsin, where the logs were surrendered to the agent, in pursuance of instructions from the Department, the receiver of the United States land office within whose district the logs are situated has been directed to take possession, and after giving public notice, to make sale of the same at public auction or at private sale, as in his judgment may be best to subserve the interests of the United States. No sale of logs to be made, however, except at the highest price obtainable therefor, and for cash. The moneys received therefor, less the expense of advertising and of the sale, to be covered into the Treasury of the United States the same as other public moneys.
In Louisiana, the total amount of seizures that had been made under civil process issued by the United States court were 3,006,234 feet of lumber and 122,504 logs. There were nine actions pending in the United States court in regard to these seizures. The defendants in all but one case have confessed judgment. Surveys have been made to identify the lands and establish the cutting and removal to sustain these cases. There has been much difficulty attending the disposition and sale of the logs and lumber seized. Combinations were formed to prevent competi. tion at the sales by the marshal. The special agents of the government were threatened with violence, and were embarrassed by being arrested
upon various charges preferred against them for acts done strictly in the performance of their duty, and required to give bail for their appearance before the court of the parish. The result of the efforts for sale have been to realize $30,281 for a part of the logs and lumber seized.
In Minnesota, action has been continued in the United States court against trespassers, resulting in the confession of judgment and payment by the parties for the timber cut in nine cases, for 708,430 feet, the sum of $2,961.55 prior to the June term of the court, and in obtaining judgment in five cases at said term amounting to $2,224.41. Previous to my last annual report, the special agents in Minnesota had reported 56,957,808 feet (board measure) of white pine logs cut and removed from the vacant public lands in that State, for which no payment appears to have been made. In addition to this, cases of a similar character in Wisconsin have been reported, embracing 765,000 feet. Cases were also reported where purchasers of logs cut from the public lands had retained money to be paid to the government as “stumpage.”
In compliance with directions from the Department, the special agents have been instructed to make demand at once upon all such trespassers to make settlements in said cases as far as possible on the basis of the price fixed by this Department at the time the trespasses were committed, the settlements to be made in the presence of the receiver of the United States land office in whose district the trespass was committed, and the moneys paid to that officer. And in all cases where the parties refuse to settle and pay for the timber thus unlawfully taken, the agents are directed to report such refusals at once to the United States district attorney, in order that proceedings may at once be taken to compel a settlement of such cases. The agents have also, in compliance with instructions from the Department, been directed, if there are persons who are now holding moneys retained from trespassers upon the public lands upon the purchase of logs cut by trespassers to settle with the government, to demand of such persons that they forth with pay such moneys to a receiver of some United States land office, making a full statement of the time and circumstances under which they received the logs for which the moneys were detained, where they were cut, by whom, and when. The receivers of the United States land office in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been advised of these instructions, and directed, upon receipt of any moneys as above mentioned, to cover the same into the Treasury as other moneys received from the sales of public lands, making report of the same in their next monthly return, specifying in such return the amount so received and covered into the Treasury, and from whom received
A careful investigation of the cases pending in the United States circuit court for the southern district of Mississippi was made, and such as seemed to be attended with difficulty in obtaining testimony to sustain, or where the amount involved was very limited, were dismissed, leaving fifteen cases, involving seizures of 48,000 logs and 3,805,620 feet of lumber. The defendants in three of these have confessed judgment and relinquished all claims to the logs and lumber involved, amounting to 12,500 logs. Energetic efforts have been put forth to obtain testimony to sustain the remaining suits; surveying parties have been employed in running the boundary lines to establish the identity of the lands trespassed upon, and it is thought complete evidence to sustain all the pending suits will be ready at the November term of the court, if it should be held, which, owing to the extensive ravages of yellow fever, is at present doubtful. One of the agents of this office, M. A. Carter, esq., who was engaged in procuring this testimony, fell a victim
of this disease at Mississippi City, October 1. He was a most faithful and efficient officer, possessed of great courage and energy, and had rendered service of the highest value. His loss is seriously felt and deplored.
The reports from Wisconsin indicate trespassing to a very large extent. Many cases have been reported. Surveys of the land and scaling of timber have been made to enable legal proceedings in the United States court to be entered upon.
The special agent reports considerable trespassing in Nebraska, and the cutting and removal from the public lands of a large number of railroad ties in Wyoming and Utah ; 450,000 are reported as lying piled along the railroad track in Wyoming, and 130,000 in Utah. Surveys have been made in Wyoming to identify the public lands from which a portion of these were cut.
In Montana a number of seizures of wood and lumber cut from the public lands were made in November and December of last year. Where the parties were willing to make settlement, they were permitted to do so on the payment for the wood at the rate of $1 per cord and for the lumber at the rate of $2 per thousand. In regard to the general effect of the effort to suppress timber depredations in that Territory, the special agent of this office reported December 20, 1877:
The majority of the people of this Territory recognize the justness of the Department's efforts in stopping depredations committed upon the public lands by cutting and removing timber therefrom, and will promptly pay the tax imposed without contesting it.
Also: Notwithstanding the telegrams and letters sent to the Department by interested persons, the price of cordwood in Helena is lower by one and two dollars per cord than before the seizures.
Previous to the seizures the special agent had reported large quantities of cordwood in the possession of parties held for sale at $8 per cord. Under date of August 24, 1878, he says:
The imposition of the $1 per cord tax on fuel broke the combination formed here by speculators, and enabled consumers to purchase at less rates than ever before, as it let in small dealers, who, having no other means of obtaining a livelihood, were glad to bring in fire-wood; it also caused people to use dry and fallen timber, which had not heretofore been used. The dealers still continue to sell cord-wood at low rates, viz, four to five dollars per cord, but they are slowly working back into green timber of all sizes (since the removal of the tax), it being more salable. The tax upon lumber of $2 per thousand had this effect: The large dealers, considering that the price of lumber was too low, made a combination, and having bought out or run off small saw-mills, advanced the price of lumber $10 per thousand; therefore, when the tax was imposed shortly after, they could not well make the consumer pay the additional $2 per thousand; hence they felt aggrieved and made many misrepresentations. The lumber dealers now inform me that they considered the tax fair and equitable, and were willing to pay it, believing that the government should protect the public lands from depredations, and receive something for the timber cut therefrom.
PRIVATE LAND CLAIMS.
In addition to the survey, sale, or other disposal of the public lands, the business of this office includes the work of segregating therefrom by the proper surveys numerous private claims arising under grants of various kinds from foreign powers which exercised sovereignty over portions of the country before they came under the jurisdiction of the United States, and of transferring the title to the claimants, pursuant to laws providing therefor. All matters of this kind, with others partaking in some measure of the same character, are placed under the super
vision of a distinct division of this office. During the fiscal year ending
and supplemental legislation.......
.......... 231 The above statement has reference only to such cases as have been finally settled.
Preliminary examinations have been made in a large number of cases, some of which have been passed for patent, while others have been suspended on account of imperfections, and are now the subject of correspondence. A number of cases have been decided and are now on appeal or awaiting the expiration of the time within which appeal may be taken, or, having been decided on appeal, are now waiting the execution of the decision by the proper officers.
In addition to the foregoing, there have also been examined, approved, and recorded the assignments of 778 certificates of location under act of June 22, 1860, and supplemental legislation.
The total number of letters received in this division of the office during the fiscal year was 1,431, and the total number of letters written was 1,162, covering 1.544 record pages.
The following statement is submitted with regard to the condition of the work in the same division at the beginning of the current fiscal year: Number of California claims docketed and not finally adjudicated.......... Number of confirmed New Mexico and Colorado private land claims reported
and not finally adjudicated ........ Number of New Mexico and Arizona donations reported and not finally adjudi
cated ............................................ Number of Oregon and Washington Territory donations reported but not finally
settled ............................ Number of scrip cases reported under act June 2, 1858, and awaiting action .... Number of scrip cases under act June 22, 1860, and supplemental legislation on
hand and a waiting action .......... Number of claims reported under act June 22, 1860, and supplemental legislation
to be reported to Congress by this office ... Number of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, and Indiana cases on hand
awaiting action ..............
Total ................................................................. 734 It would be impossible, without a long and tedious examination of the files, containing many thousand cases both patented and unpatented, to approximate with any degree of certainty the number of claims not patented, and for which patent certificates and special plats of survey are on file here, in the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
These claims are disposed of as called up by the parties in interest or their duly authorized attorneys, e. g.: An application being made for a patent in a specific case, an examination is first made of the files, of which there are alphabetical indexes showing the name of the confirmee, and if the necessary papers are found constituting the basis of patent, they are examined to ascertain that the confirmation is properly