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Here, although the lands sold were fifteen miles or more from the route of the road, the increase has been very great; and I have no doubt, when the alternate sections within six miles, and those between the six and fifteen mile limits, are brought into market, that the increase will be equal to that of Illinois. .
In Mississippi the sales have been very limited for several years. On the 20th September, 1850, the lands in Augusta and Columa bus districts, along the proposed route of the Central railroad from Chicago, in Illinois, to Mobile, in Alabama, were withdrawn from market, and were not again thrown open to entry until the 26th September, 1853, for the Augusta district, and 19th September, 1853, for the Columbus district. in the former district there were but five days left in that month for sales to be made, and in the latter twelve days. The September return being the last received from those districts, I have caused a comparison to be made between sales for that month in 1853, and for the same month in the four preceding years, and the result is as follows, to wit: Augusta, September, 1849........
424.95 acres. Augusta, September, 1850.
...... 311.47 " Augusta, September, 1851.
...... 40.65 66 Augusta, September, 1852....................
2.48 66 Augusta, September, 1853....................19,530.47 " These 19,530 acres, at $1.25 per acre, would amount to $24,413.09; but the actual amount received was $34,056.78, making an increase over the ordinary minimum of $9,643 69. In the Columbus district this comparison is as follows, to wit :
Cash sales./Warrants loc’dTotal acres.
September, 1849 .......... $1,722.58 636.65 2,359.23 September, 1850... 1,907.69 359.31 2,267.00 September, 1851...... 611.90 632.60 1,244.50 September, 1852........... 834.74 2.316.51 1 3,151.25 September, 1853........... 16,664.04 5,840.69 / 22,504.73
In the Sault Ste. Marie district, in Michigan, the entries for the second and third quarters of 1852 amount to 40,689.65 acres; and, for the second and third quarters of 1853, to 89,073.81 acres.
This great and extraordinary increase in the amount of lands disposed of in these several sections of the country, remote from each other, can only be accounted for by the improvements referred to: in fact, so great is the increase in the value of lands, that land warrants and land scrip are nearly up to the par or face value. If, then, no other reason existed for such grants, this one, on the score of sound economy, would be sufficient. Many of these lands, however, have been in market long enough for the interest to amount to much more than the principal; and during all this period the States were deprived of the right and benefit of taxation. The lands donated for the construction of these improvements, and those thus entered, must of necessity be cultivated, to enable the holders to pay the taxes, and from this legitimate source of revenue great pecuniary benefit will be derived by the States. This cultivation, as a matter of course, will increase the amount of grain and stock in the country; and with these increased facilities for sending those products to market, will reduce the price of living, and thus henefit the whole community. They will also reduce the price of transportation for the manufactures and imports of the seaboard, and so reduce the price of those articles to the Bettler, and proportionally increase the quantity used, and of course the profit to the manufacturer and importer. The mail facilities furnished by these lines of intercommunication will be of great ad. vantage to the government and the entire community; and in case of war, if hostilities were brought to our own borders, the advantages furnished by them for transporting men and military stores are almost inappreciable. Another and very great benefit derived from these improvements, is the amount of capital and labor carried into the hearts of the several States by their construction. Hundreds of thousands of laborers can find constant employment on them, and each, by a very small amount of labor, can secure the blessings of a “homestead,” without feeling degraded by having it conferred on him as a gratuity, even if it were constitutional thus to benefit a few at the expense of the many, or compatible with the pledges heretofore given in relation to the public lands.
It is not my purpose at this time to diseuss the principles of the “homestead” measure, my views on that subject having been fully presented in a communication of the 18th June, 1852, to the chairman of the Committee on Public Lands of the Senate, in answer to a call from him; but it must be obvious that the friends of that measure can in this way accomplish all that is desired by it, without any of its objectionable features.
To grants of this character for railroads, canals, &c., not one tangible or substantial objection can be presented. The increased value given to the lands enables the government to get double price, and a ready sale for those retained, and hence the grant costs them nothing. The same reason removes all difficulty in re. lation to the pledge given by the United States, at the cession of these lands, that they should be considered a common fund, for the use and benefit of all the States, and renders them more available towards meeting the obligation imposed on them by the act of 28th January, 1817, that the proceeds should be set apart for the payment of the public debt created by that act. Let these railroads and canals be completed, and the husbandman will no longer have reason to complain that his grain remains ungarnered from year to year because there is no mode of sending it to market; it will all be eagerly sought after, and with his surplus stock will be sent abroad over the land, to feed thousands of his less fortunate fellow-beings, while he will thus be made to rejoice in the prosperity secured by his honest toil and industry, saying nothing of the advantages to the business and finance of the country.
Moreover, these means of intercommunication, like iron bands, will unite the whole country together by a community of interest and feeling, and, like the arteries of the human system, will disseminate to every part the benefits of home production, and of the Eastern, Pacific, and Atlantic trade, when the great California railroad shall have been completed.
The recommendation heretofore made is therefore renewed, that liberal grants for all such objects be made, under suitable restrictions.
From the annexed statement E, which exhibits the present condition of the public lands, it will be seen that many millions of acres are now subject to entry, presenting to the settler every variety of soil and climate, rich in inexhaustible fertility and the valuable timber it bears, and in many sections containing mines of the precious metals, and of copper, iron, and coal.
The following circular received by D. C. Tuttle, Esq., Register of the United States Land Office, in St. Louis, is carrying out a suggestion in the preceding report, and will be a source of satisfaction to the pioneers. Would that the cause of Geological Education and of the Mississippi Valley Railroad, were promoted, by grants of land by Congress, in accordance with the spirit of the suggestions of the liberal and enlightened Commissioner of the General Land Office.
GENERAL LAND OFFICE, April 5, 1854. Whereas, By an act of Congress approved March 27, 1854, entitled "an act for the relief of settlers on lands reserved for railroad purposes,” every settler on public lands swhich have been or may be withdrawn from market in consequence of proposed railroads, and who had settled thereon prior to such withdrawal, shall be entitled to pre-emption at the ordinary minimum, to the lands settled on and cultivated by them: Provided, they shall prove up their rights according to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, and pay for the same before the day that may be fixed by the President's proclamation for the restoration of said lands to market;" public notice is hereby given, by direction of the Secretary of the Interior, that all such settlers will be entitled to the right of pre-emption given by the said act, upon furnishing PROOF, (satisfactory to the district office,) that the settlement on which the claim is predicated, is of a character to entitle the settler to a right of pre-emption, under the provisions of the act of 4th September, 1841, and was made by such settler prior to the “withdrawal” of the land for the purpose stated, no “declaration,” of course, being necessary under the circumstances : Provided, Payment be made for the same, wobefore the day that may be fixed by the President's proclamation for the restoration of said lands to market.”
Join Wilson, Commissioner.
SWAMP LANDS OF ILLINOIS AND MISSOURI.
Statement showing, in each land district in the States of Illinois
and Missouri, the number of acres of land returned by the surveyor general for Illinois and Missouri, to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, under the act of Congress of September 28, 1850, donating swamp and overflowed lands, &c. MISSOURI.—District. Acres. | ILLINOIS—District. Acres.
34,974.46 | Shawneetown 508,769.46 St. Louis 11,063.14 Danville
1,848,237.80 Kaskaskia 113,639.15 Palmyra 63,241.94 Vandalia
215,490.73 Fayette 67,996.66 Palestine
153,558.89 Plattsburg 312,145.46 Chicago
197,413.04 Edwardsville 104,477.02 Clinton 230,899.07 | Dixon
157,263.26 Total 2,765,971.75
JNO. LOUGHBOROUGH, SURVEYOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE STATISTICS.
E.-Statement showing the areas of the several land States and
and the amount unsold and undisposed of
States and Territories.
Acres of land States and Surveyed ip Unsurveved
Territories, exclusive to June 30, June 30, of water.
Ohio............. Indiana ...... Ulinois....... Missouri.......... Alabama.......... Mississippi .......... Louisiana .......... Michigan.......... Arkansas. .......... Florida ............ lowa............... Wisconsin. ........... California ................ Minnesota Territory....... Oregon Territory.......... New Mexico Territory .... Utah Territory............ Northwest Territory ...... Nebraska Territory........ Indian Territory..........
Acres. Acres. *25,576,9601 16,770,934 *21,637,760 21,487,760 ..... 35,462,389 35,462,389 41,623,680 41,450,589 173,091 $32,027.490 31,993,813 33,677 $23,895,680 23,895.080 26,461,440 22,791,338 3,670,102 35,995,5201 31,861,075 1,134, 145 33,406,720 33,276,171 130,549 37,931,520 23,036, 162 14,895,058 32,584.9601 25,670,839 6,914,101
34,511,360 22,337,102 12,173,958 120.9 17.810 ........... 120,917.810
90,776,960 1,222,288 89,554,672 218,536,320 1,945,777 216,590,513 134,876,160 ........... 131,876,160 120,270,7201..
141,839 341,463 210,744 187,923 528,725 136,700 187,171
Total............... 2,519,039 1,612,184,919336,202,587 (1,267,026,356
• Includes reserves under deeds of cession. † Exclusive of Chickasaw cession.
# Includes the estimated quantity of 560,000 acres of the Des Moines river grant, situated in this State, between the Raccoon fork and source of said river,