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G.-Statement showing the description of lands and area of same,
AT WICHITA, KANSAS-Continued.
H.-Statement showing description of lands and area of same of the "Cherokee national strip," for which approved plats and transcript of field notes have been forwarded to the Department, and approved plats have been transmitted to the local land office.
AT INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS.
9, 948.65 9.828.90 9, 607.08 9,399. 08 9, 293, 59 9, 135.42 8,966, 70 8,730.69
May 8, 1872.
No of con
H.-Statement showing description of lands of the "Cherokee national strip," &c.—Continued.
I.-Statement showing the estimated expense, number of miles, and character of work for whi-a contracts have been entered into for surveying in Kansas, and chargeable to appropriation for such surveys, approved June 10, 1872.
Nae of deputy.
J. Poortva of Axa ax regard for the extension of surrers in the State of Kansas for th „Esvati posar ending June 30, 1974.
Suwis est mated
The 4th at 1 gual wed ans between the Ith and ftb starward paral lew awith
K.-Estimate of sums required for office expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874.
G.-Report of the surveyor general of New Mexico.
SURVEYOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 7, 1872.
SIR: In compliance with the instructions of your letter of the 5th of April last, to the surveyor general, I have the honor to transmit the annual report of the operations of this office for the year ending June 30, 1872.
On account of the very short time I have been in the practical discharge of my official duties at this city, having reached my post here and entered upon them but a few days ago, and being as yet but very imperfectly advised of the character and requirements of the surveying service in this district, my report will be confined mainly to a statement of the operations of the office during the year, as shown by its records. It will embrace, however, such recommendations as, notwithstanding my short official residence here, and as yet limited observations, I shall feel called upon to urge; leaving to the future and a more extended acquaintance with the country, its capabilities and needs, and to occasion as it may suggest or require, the amplification of my views and reflections upon the various matters properly the subject of the surveyor general's annual report.
When the late surveyor general died, in the month of June last, the appropriation made by Congress for public surveys for the last fiscal year, had been all applied in contracts made by him with deputy surveyors, and the work in the field, under the contracts, had all been completed and returned, as had also been the field work, contracted for by him, of certain public lands and confirmed private claims, to be paid for out of special deposits of funds made for the purpose. Of the work provided for in these deposits, both the field and office work of only the Silver City town site remain to be executed, no contract for the survey of the site having then or yet been made; and only the office work of the subdivision of townships two and three north, of range twenty-six east, and of the survey of exterior lines connected therewith, remains to be finished and reported to the General Land Office, all of which will appear from the tabular statements accompanying this report.
Congress, hitherto, has not deemed urgent the rapid prosecution of the public land survey's in New Mexico, as there has never been any great demand for land by settlers. Unlike most of the land States and Territories, except, perhaps, California, and, to a small extent, Arizona and Colorado, there existed here inside the settled sections large private grants of land, derived from the former governments of the country, and settlers could usually obtain by purchase, inside these tracts, the land they needed for cultivation, or, as sometimes allowed by the terms of community grants, acquire it by simply settling upon and cultivating it. From time immemorial, the extension of the settled frontier, in any direction, was impeded by the proximity and hosility of powerful tribes and bands of savage Indians. But now the old grants are being occupied to their capacity, or in consequence of the prospective large immigration, attracted by the advent of railroads, and the probable discovery and development of mines and placers, have enhanced in value to such an extent as often to prevent the settler from acquiring a homestead within them by purchase, and as to prompt him to avail himself of the pre-emption or homestead laws of the United States, by settling at once upon the public domain; and the chief impediment to immigration and settlement outside the frontier (depredations upon life and property by the savages) has now been nearly stopped, or is in course of a speedy and entire removal under the present Indian policy of the Government, so that now settlers and settlements may spread out over the Territory, and in peace and security mark the march of empire across the continent.
It appears to me that considerable sums of money have been used for public surveys, and especially some years since, in an injudicious manner. For the want of proper informa tion, which is now much more easily obtainable, much land was surveyed which, not being so situated as to be easily irrigated, or not being located upon or near lines of travel and communication, was not likely to be sought for under the pre-emption er homestead laws, or for purchase by early settlers in this Territory. For these reasons, in addition to others already noted, the sales of land in this district, so far as offered, have been very small. I confidently believe that surveys can be prosecuted so that the lands will sell, and I intend to exert myself to remove many false impressions and injurious prejudices which exist throughout the country in regard to this district, its lands and latent resources. It is also a fact that the lauds which were offered for sale in 1870 were selected by a former Commissioner of the General Land Ofice, without consultation with or advice from my predecessor, who could, without doubt, have indicated lands to be offered which would have been much more salable. As it is, bit one offer of lands has been made in this district, and many of these were the most undesirable that had been surveyed.
In view and consideration of the approach of the land grant railroads, and of the prospective demand by settlers for surveyed lands, it seems to me that the true policy of the Government is to survey the whole Territory as rapidly as practicable, since sooner or later it must be done in pursuance of the public land system and policy of the United States, as has been done in the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, and others now completed. There are now projected five great railways pointing to New Mexico, soft e of them in actual course of construction, and others, it is confidently stated, soon to Icommenced, viz, the Texas Pacific; the Atlantic and Pacific, or Thirty-fifth Paralel; the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé; the Denver and Rio Grande; and the New Mex and Gulf. The two first named have each of them munificent land grants in New Mexico, and as they reach and traverse the regions embracing their immense proper tary landed rights they will require, and the settlers along the routes will demand, that all the valid prior grants be ascertained and surveyed, and the public lands be set ti abized, so that it may be known what portions belong to grant owners, what portia ta the corporations, and what portions are available for immediate settlement. The area of 121,201 square miles in New Mexico embraces
Toward the consummation in considerable measure of this large remaining work. I have estimated for an appropriation by Congress of $314,506 for the next fiscal year Although the estimate is larger, I believe, than any of my predecessors has suber 1 for the purpose, I think the amount is reasonable and proper, now that the oct 29 12 has arrived for an extensive and rapid prosecution of the survey of the national doma in New Mexico, for the reasons above given, and as the consummation of the work clearly contemplated, in its fifth and sixth sections, by the act of Congress of Jy : 1854, creating the office of surveyor general for this Territory.
PRIVATE LAND CLAIMS.
I find from the records that the surveyor general during the year ending the 2 June last, acted upon and decided the following private land claims, brongst him for adjudication, under the act of Congress of July 22, 1854:
No. 52. Roque Lovato, approved July 8, 1971.
No. 53. Lorenzo Marquez, approved July 12, 1-71.
No. 54. Bernardino de Sena et al., approved November 15, 1871.
No. 55. Juan Bautista Valdez, deceased, approved November 16, 1871.
No. 56. Juan de Dios Peira et al., approved November 25, 1871.
No. 57. Francisco Baca y Terrus et al., approved November 25, 1-71.
No. 58, José Mirabal et al., approved January 15, 1872.
No. 59. José M. de la Peña et al., approved January 31, 1-72.
No. 60, Town of Galisteo, rejected February 24, 1872.
No. 61. Juan Carlos Santistevan et al., approved March 23, 1-72.
No. 62. Town of Cieneguilla, approved June 13, 1872.
The transcript in each of these cases, except No. 62, has been forwarded to the tar eral Land Office for transmission to Congress. Sundry other claims are ready hearing, and as the parties interested are anxious to have the cases acted grey,
shall, as soon as practicable, hear, decide, and transmit as many of them as may be finally actionable before the surveyor general.
Congress having hitherto omitted to impose upon the holders of claims to lands in this Territory, originating under the former sovereigns of the soil, any obligation to present their titles for investigation and recognition, comparatively few claims have been filed in this office, and the majority of these were presented soon after the opening of the office for their reception, in 1855, under the organic law of 1854. This law leaves it entirely to the option of holders to file or decline to file their claims. It is believed that a law requiring claimants holding under alleged Spanish or Mexican grants to file their title-papers within a prescribed period, say before July 4, 1876, with the stipulation that all claims under such grants not so filed shall be deemed to have been abandoned and forfeited, would have the very important effect of inducing claimants to produce and file their muniments at once and of collecting on deposit here, as contemplated by the statutes, all these now unregistered claims against the public domain in this Territory. The Government in deciding upon the validity of these grants always appears to have been actuated by the most liberal principles, as evidenced both in the legislation of Congress and in the decisions of the Supreme Court concerning them. If the grants were incipient and inchoate at the date of the change of national sovereignty, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, or if acquired in good faith, though imperfect in form, or defective in requisites not absolutely essential, they are recognized and confirmed. The claimant, therefore, under one of these old grants, though he hold in good faith but the color of title, may rely with confidence apon the Government for an equitable and generous consideration of his claim. At the same time, however, due regard and care for the rights and interests of the Government must be observed by protecting it against invalid and fraudulent claims, so far as possible, and in regard to the manner of the adjudication of these cases before the surveyor general, the law appears to be very defective. It should provide, I think, that subpoenas may be issued for witnesses, served by the marshal, attendance of witnesses compelled, and such fees allowed for these services and making up the record as are allowed to officers of the Federal courts for similar services. It should also be made the duty of the district attorney to attend and protect the interests of the United States. All this should be done that justice may be arrived at. As the practice has been, the proceedings are ex parte. Mauifestly the surveyor general ought not to be required or expected to act as counsel for either side and then decide the issue.
From present prospects a great deal of this kind of investigation may be expected in the near future, and if the United States district attorney be required to appear for the Government, extra compensation should be provided for this service.
It is believed that nearly all those portions of this Territory which were settled when the United States came in possession, principally in the valleys of the larger streams, are covered by old Spanish and Mexican grants, as yet unascertained, and if they be not produced, and if the public surveys be prosecuted, nevertheless, with due activity, these, to a great extent, must necessarily run over large bodies of land held under unknown subsisting titles. The existence, at least, of these grants might be known to the surveyor general, were there a record of the grants made by the former governments accessible; but, unfortunately, no such register seems extant, and the only evidence to support or discredit any alleged grant, or any claim for land, is the evidence afforded by the muniment itself, by incidental proof found among the mass of old archives here, or by oral testimony. The search for papers in any way concerning landed interests in this Territory made in 1855, among the large quantity of old Spanish and Mexican archives then and yet at the territorial governor's office, was imperfectly made, and it is believed that there very probably still remain among them grants, or important papers relating to grants, for lands in this Territory. Another and more thorough search ought to be made, and such papers of that character as should be found transferred to this office, and added to those now here transferred in 1855. A competent and discreet person should also be dispatched to the cities of Mexico, Durango, Chihuahua, and El Paso, in Mexico, authorized and instructed to procure thence all documents and data which are important to our Government and people, under and concerning these grants, for as the provincial, territorial, and departmental governments of New Mexico were formerly, at different times, in official connection with each of these capitals, it is nearly certain that official reports, registers, or records of more or less importance in the premises are to be found there, particularly perhaps at the national capitol at the City of Mexico. It is important these grants be segregated from the public domain by survey, and the Government, as well as the grant proprietors, is interested in its being done at an early day. If it shall, as I feel it will be, the policy of the Government to prosecute vigorously the public surveys to completion, in this district, it is the main party interested in having the confirmed private grants ascertained and surveyed at once, or as soon as practicable, since, if the latter be left unascertained and unsurveyed while the former are extended over them, a very considerable surveying expense will have been incurred by the Government unnecessarily, as has been the case heretofore, in some instances, in this district.