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against them; the people secured in their rights against the unlawful acts of bad officers, but a great desideratum would be attained in having some one to superintend the removal of district offices, the opening of new offices, and the giving of instructions to officers when, without previous experience, they are appointed to those positions-matters which have, from the foundation of the Government to the present time, been productive of great hinderance to the smooth and correct working of the land system.
In changes of the officers referred to, which are frequent, the new appointees in a majority of cases bring to the discharge of their duties no experience or previous knowledge of such duties. From the very first day of their official life, business is forced upon them, and they are com pelled to decide cases or construe statutes, and in their inexperience commit errors which may invalidate the title to hundreds of homesteads and prejudice the rights of hundreds of citizens. The details of business, so necessary to dispatch and correctness, can be learned only by long experience; and, before that is acquired, numerous complications arise. The result is seen in the mass of cases that burden our files and consume the time of the office-a result that could be avoided if this office possessed the facilities for sending competent persons to the spot to instruct the officers and start them aright.
In the correction of the evils alluded to by the appointment of special agents as herein asked, the Government would save directly a very large amount over the appropriation necessary to meet the expenses, while the saving, both of money and trouble, to the public would be probably still greater.
The Hon. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE, Washington, D. C., October 26, 1872.
SIR: During the last fiscal year, ending June 30, 1872, surveys have been extended over an area of 29,450,939 acres of public lands which, added to the amount surveyed prior to that time, makes a total of 583,364,780 acres surveyed since the commencement of operations under the present system, leaving an estimated area of 1,251,633,620 acres unsurveyed.
These surveys, except in the Indian Territory and some of the older States where the Commissioner of the General Land Office is ex officio surveyor general, were prosecuted under the immediate supervision of the United States surveyors general for the following States and Terri
District of Kansas.-Lawrence, Kansas, C. H. Babcock.
District of Colorado.-Denver City, Colorado Territory, W. II. Lessig.
District of California.—San Francisco, California, J. R. Hardenbergh. District of Nevada.--Carson City, Nevada, E. S. Davis.
District of New Mexico.-Santa Fé, New Mexico, J. K. Proudfit.
District of Oregon.-Eugene City, Oregon, Wm. H. Odell.
District of Nebraska.-Plattsmouth, Nebraska, E. E. Cunningham.
Ten additional land districts have been established during the past year, making in all ninety-two offices for the accommodation of parties desiring to obtain title to public lands.
The following is a correct list of
The following table exhibits the progress of surveys and the disposal of public lands since the fiscal year ending June 30, 1861:
The surveys made during the year were confined to the southern portion of the peninsula, and according to returns made to this office embraced an area of 354,389 acres, making the aggregate of lands surveyed to June 30, 1872, 28,092,409 acres, and leaving unsurveyed at that date an area of 9,839,111 acres.
For continuing the public surveys in this district during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874, an estimate of $12,000 is submitted.
Oregon. There were appropriated for surveys in this State for the fiscal year ending 30th June last the following sums, viz: for súrveying the public lands $50,000, and for surveying Indian reservations $24,000. Contracts were entered into by the surveyor general to the extent of the apropriations, and the surveys of the public lands were so distributed as to afford the greatest possible accommodation to the settlers, and to the various corporations, to which grants of land had been made by Congress. According to the returns made to this office there were surveyed in this district, during the past year 1,541,314 acres, making an aggregate of 12,220,795 acres surveyed to June 30, 1872, and leaving unsurveyed at that date 48,754,565 acres.
The surveyor general, in his annual report herewith submitted, earnestly recommends the extension of the public surveys in advance of settlements, particularly along the routes of the several military roads and railroads, as the want of these surveys retards settlement along these lines. Settlers cannot afford to expend the labor of years in improving lands which, when surveyed, may be found to be the property of some corporation; and, aside from the interest of settlers, the Government should urge forward to completion the surveys of lands within the several grants, in order that the companies may be enabled to select the lands inuring to them under the grants. This office fully concurs in the recommendation of the surveyor general, and, for the purpose of carrying the same into effect, an estimate of $70,000 is respectfully submitted.
The surveyor general reports that the Oregon and California Railroad, to extend from Portland to the southern boundary of the State, is now in operation as far as Oakland, a distance of one hundred and eighty-one miles, and it will probably be completed to Roseburgh, eighteen miles farther, by the middle of November. The Oregon Central Railroad, at the date of the surveyor general's report, September 9, 1872, was nearly completed to Saint Joseph, on the Yamhill, and it was expected that it would be in running order by the first of October. The extension of the latter road up the west side of the Willamette River, to connect with the Oregon and California Road at Junction City, is contemplated; also, a branch road from Hillsborough to Astoria. Upon the completion of these lines, and one making connection with the Northern Pacific Railroad, and a line connecting the Columbia River with the Union Pacific Railroad, near the junction with the Central Pacific, Oregon will be rendered easy of access, and her fertile valleys and moderate climate will doubtless attract a great number of settlers. Placer gold mines are being profitably worked on the waters of the John Day, Powder, and Burnt Rivers, and in Union County a valuable lode of copper ore has recently been discovered.
Coal has been discovered in the Calapooia Mountains, and at the head-waters of the Nehalim River, but the deposits have not yet been explored sufficiently to determine their extent and value.
The manufacturing interests of the State are in a flourishing condition, and are being extended as rapidly as the necessities of the country require.
Minnesota.-Under the appropriation of $40,000 made by Congress
March 3, 1871, for surveying the public lands in Minnesota, the surveyor general reports that all the contracts entered into have been completed. The progress of surveys under the appropriation of $75,000, per act approved June 10, 1872, is satisfactory, considering the unfavorable season for field operations in the Red River Valley, where the great amount of rain-fall inundated the country.
From the returns of partial surveys made by deputies, it appears that the northwestern portion of the State abounds in timber, and the surveyor general, referring to the trespasses committed on the timber in the pine region, recommends an early survey of said lands and the sale of the same by the Government as the best means of preventing the spoliation of the timber by lumbermen.
An estimate of $50,000 is submitted for the survey of public lands in the State of Minnesota for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874.
California. By the act of March 3, 1871, there was appropriated for surveys in this State during the past fiscal year the sum of $70,000. Under this appropriation, the surveyor general entered into thirteen. surveying contracts, which in the aggregate absorbed the entire appropriation.
According to the returns made to this office, the subdivisional surveys were extended over an area of 1,724,675 acres, making 36,152,323 acres surveyed to June 30, 1872, and leaving at that date an estimated area of 84,795,517 acres unsurveyed.
For extending the lines of public surveys in this district during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874, the sum of $70,000 is submitted.
New Mexico. The sum of $10,000 was appropriated by act of Congress approved March 3, 1871, for continuing the public surveys in this Territory during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1872.
Two surveying contracts were entered into, creating an estimated liability of $9,720. According to returns made to this office, the subdivisional surveys were extended over an area of but 2,990 acres, the greater part of the appropriation having been expended in extending the standard and township lines. The total area of land surveyed in this Territory at the close of the fiscal year was 4,422,975 acres, leaving unsurveyed at that date an area of 73,145,665 acres.
An estimate of $30,000 for surveying the public lands in this district. during the ensuing fiscal year is submitted.
Utah. The surveyor general of this Territory reports that the appropriation of $15,000 (act of March 3, 1871) was expended in a manner to meet the wants of settlers.
The lines of public surveys were extended over an area of 616,865.33 acres, which, with the previous surveys of 3,935,239 acres, makes a total of 4,582,104.33 acres surveyed prior to June 30, 1872, and leaves yet to be surveyed 49,482,970,67 acres. The report recites at length the improvements made in Utah. Within the past year a horse railway has been constructed at Salt Lake City, and cars are now running. Extensive gas works have been erected, also a brass and iron foundery, with accessories capable of supplying all kinds of castings for smelting works, &c. The year was very propitious to the farmer. The mining law of May 10, 1872, meets with general favor throughout the Territory, and the development of new mines has been greatly accelerated. The success of the Utah Central Railway has caused capital to seek investment in connecting lines, and the construction of the Utah Southern Railroad, destined to connect with the 35th parallel at the most feasible point in Arizona, has been prosecuted with energy.
To meet the requirements of a continuous increase of population, and