whom not only performed what was required of them, but voluntarily contributed much of their time, after office hours, to the service of the Government.

I beg leave to repeat the suggestions made in my last annual report in relation to the reorganization of the clerical force and appointment of special agents.

When the vast extent of the public domain is taken into consideration, and when it is remembered that the validity of title to each and every tract, on which a home may be made, depends upon the accuracy with which the first details of transfer from the Government to its grantees are executed, the importance of exercising critical care in the adjustment of all matters pertaining to the disposal of public lands will be apparent.

There is not an owner of a home in many of the States in the prosperous valley of the Mississippi, nor in the rapidly growing regions beyond that river, who does not depend upon the records of this Bureau for evidence to complete the chain of title by which his home is held. Even from those regions of the West which have been peopled for the greatest length of time, this office is in constant receipt of applications for certified transcripts of records affecting the validity of title to lands, which for ten, twenty, and even fifty years, have been under cultivation. Were every acre of land now owned by the Government sold or otherwise disposed of, there would still be ample necessity for the perpetuation of this Bureau, with a clerical force by no means small. to afford information and furnish papers respecting the original transfer of title from the Government. In many instances the necessity for these transscripts of records arises from errors and inadvertences, either in construing laws or in the execution of the details of transfer, both of which inevitably lead to expensive and protracted litigation.

With a view to prevent, as far as may be possible, the further occurrence of such cases, I am impelled to call your attention, with the hope that proper legislation to meet the case may be invoked, to the great importance of placing within the reach of this Bureau the means of securing such clerical aid as may be equal to a proper adjustment of the important questions constantly arising before it.

The work of the Bureau should not only be done, but it should be done well. When performed imperfectly it requires double labor to make corrections, and parties are subjected to vexatious delays and unnecessary expense in matters which it is the duty of the Government to render as speedy, simple, and inexpensive as possible. A knowledge of the laws and rulings of the land system cannot be acquired in a day, but it takes as long and careful study as to acquire a knowledge of any of the professions, and also much experience, before the necessary degree of proficiency is attained. When clerks have once gained this knowledge and experience their services are invaluable to the Government; but it is difficult to retain them, for the reason that the utterly inadequate salaries now paid too often fail to induce the more competent clerks to remain in the Bureau after becoming fully conversant with the laws and departmental rulings relating to our land system, there being always more advantageous opportunities to exercise that knowledge in legitimate pursuits outside of the office at rates of compensation with which the Government, under existing laws, cannot compete. The statutes relating to publie lands are numerous and complicated. In construing them and in the adjustment of adverse claims arising under them, the questions this office is required to decide are sufficiently intricate to demand the best legal ability. The interests at stake are almost

invariably of great moment, in most cases involving the lawful and peaceable possession and enjoyment of the lands of men struggling through poverty to secure, by hard industry, for themselves and families a home. To dispose of these questions in a proper manner, competent clerks should be employed and retained. This cannot be done for the compensation now allowed by law.

The heads of the various divisions of the Bureau are charged with a responsibility second only to the head of the Bureau, and should, in my opinion, receive a salary of not less than $2,400 per annum. The number of clerks of the higher grades should be increased; a proportionate number could be taken from the clerks of the first class. Under a reorganization like this the work will be done better, and there will be an actual saving of time and money by the avoidance of errors in its execution.

In the offices subordinate to the General Land Office-the offices of surveyors general, registers of district land offices, and receivers of public moneys-a growing necessity exists for some new system by which a more direct control can be had of the details of business pertain ing to those offices, and by which irregularities may be corrected. It is a matter due alike to the public at large and the officers concerned. A constant source of annoyance is found in the frequent complaints alleging official malfeasance on the part of land officers, which come from every part of the country where the land system extends. It is but just to say that in many instances these complaints emanate from designing men or disappointed speculators, and are often utterly groundless when subjected to investigation. They nevertheless come in such shape as to require the time, trouble, and expense of a formal recognition and investigation. On the other hand, the charges are often well founded, and the protection of this office is invoked to prevent practices oppressive to the people. In either case the facilities of this Bureau should be sufficient to enable it to acquit its subordinates of charges when wrongfully made, or to fasten upon them the evidence of their malfeasance where they have been rightfully accused. Under present statutory provisions there is no adequate method by which satisfactory investigations can be made. It is true that a register can be called upon to report as to the alleged misconduct of a receiver, or vice versa ; but the official relations of those officers are generally such as to render these investigations unreliable. Even when a special agent is delegated to examine into alleged misconduct, which can only be done at great inconvenience and expense, he finds himself embarrassed by his want of anthority to compel the attendance of witnesses. What is needed, and for which I respectfully ask, is the authority to appoint two special agents, to be constantly in the employ of this Bureau, who may become familiar with the land laws and regulations, and who shall, subject to orders from this office, visit the different land districts with a view to examine into and report upon the manner in which the business is conducted. A salary of $2,500 per annum should, in my opinion, be affixed to such office, and, in addition, the actual expenses of the agent while on duty should be borne. It is a system not new to other Departments of the Government, and it is believed to have been productive of a salutary effect in its workings.

That such a system, if adopted in connection with the administration of affairs of the Land Bureau, would result in subserving a good purpose, I have no doubt. Not only would the General Land Office be kept in closer rapport with the district officers; the officers be afforded an opportunity of explaining any false charges which might be brought

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 compelled 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.

Respectfully submitted.





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 Territories:

District of Kansas.-Lawrence, Kansas, C. H. Babcock.
District of Minnesota.-Saint Paul, Minnesota, C. T. Brown.
District of Dakota.-Yankton, Dakota, W. H. H. Beadle.

District of Colorado.-Denver City, Colorado Territory, W. H. Lessig.
District of Idaho.-Boise City, Idaho, L. F. Cartée.

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 Washington Territory.-Olympia, Washington Territory, L. P. Beach.

District of Nebraska.-Plattsmouth, Nebraska, E. E. Cunningham.
District of Montana.-Helena, Montana, John E. Blaine.
District of Utah.-Salt Lake City, Utah, C. C. Clements.
District of Arizona.-Tucson, Arizona, John Wasson.
District of Florida.-Tallahassee, Florida, M. L. Stearns.
District of Louisiana.-New Orleans, Louisiana, E. W. Foster.
District of Wyoming.-Cheyenne, Wyoming, Silas Reed.

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.

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The following table exhibits the progress of surveys and the disposal of public lands since the fiscal year ending June 30, 1861:

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This shows an increase of the number of surveyors general from nine to seventeen, and of land offices from fifty-eight to ninety-two, and an increase in the annual survey from 2,673,132 acres to 29,450,939 acres, and an increase in the number of acres disposed of from 1,337,932 to 11,864,975.64, for the year ending June 30, 1872.

The appropriation for the present fiscal year was $772,000, and there has been a corresponding increase in the amount of work executed in the field, but full returns have not yet been received.


Louisiana. The act of March 3, 1871, appropriated the sum of $12,240 for continuing the public surveys in this State during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1872. Under this appropriation the surveyor general entered into eleven surveying contracts. A portion of the work contracted for has been completed and returns made to this office; but three of the contractors are still prosecuting their work in the field. According to returns made to this office the subdivisional surveys were extended over an area of 224,928 acres, making the aggregate of lands surveyed in this State prior to June 30, 1872, 23,690,877 acres, and leaving unsurveyed at that date an area of 2,770,563 acres.

The surveyor general reports that the survey of the townships embracing the city of New Orleans has been completed. The location of a large city, with its straight streets and rectangular squares intersecting the boundaries of old private land claims at every possible angle, the irregular form of these claims, the conflict of boundaries, and the great value of lands, created a necessity for the greatest possible precision and accuracy in the execution of the work, and rendered it one of the most intricate and difficult surveys ever made under the present system. The satisfactory manner in which the work was accomplished entitles the surveyor-general to the highest commendation. I would respectfully invite attention to that part of his report herewith submitted referring to the act of Congress approved June 2, 1858, which provides for the issue of certificates of location for those private land claims which have been confirmed but not yet located or satisfied.

An estimate of $26,100 is submitted for continuing the public surveys in Louisiana during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874.

Florida.-By the act of March 3, 1871, there was appropriated for surveys in this State during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1872, the sum of $12,500. The surveyor general entered into three surveying contracts which in the aggregate absorbed the entire appropriation.

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