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port upon private land claims within the territory acquired from Mexico by the Gadsden treaty of 1853.

The eighth section of the act of July 22, 1854, (10 Statutes, page 309,) made it the duty of the surveyor general of New Mexico, under instructions from the Secretary of the Interior, to ascertain the origin, nature, character, and extent of all claims to land under the laws, usages, and customs of Spain and Mexico, and for that purpose gave him authority to issue notices, summon witnesses, administer oaths, and to do and perform all other necessary acts in the premises.

It required him to make a full report to the Secretary of the Interior of all such claims as originated before the cession of the territory to the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, with his decision as to the validity or invalidity of each of the same under the laws, usages, and customs of the country before its cession to the United States.

It required the Secretary of the Interior to lay such report before Congress, for its action, with a view to confirm bona fide grants, and give full effect to the treaty, and until the final action of Congress all lands covered by such claims were reserved from sale or other disposal by the Government.

On the 4th of August, 1854, Congress passed an act (10 Statutes, page 575,) which provided "that, until otherwise provided by law, the territory acquired under the late treaty with Mexico, commonly known as the Gadsden treaty, be, and the same is hereby, incorporated with the Territory of New Mexico, subject to all the laws of said last named Territory."

What laws are here referred to as "the laws of said last named Territory ?”

Are they the laws passed by the territorial legislature of New Mexico, or the laws passed by Congress for the Territory of New Mexico, or both?

By the Gadsden treaty we acquired a portion of Mexican territory.

It became necessary to provide for it a system of laws.

It adjoined the Territory of New Mexico, which had such a system. Congress saw fit to attach it to that Territory, and make it subject to all its laws.

I think the phrase, "all the laws of said last named Territory," should be construed to mean all the laws applicable to that Territory, no matter whether such laws were passed by the territorial legislature or by Congress.

In either case they are the laws of the Territory, the laws to which the Territory is subject.

This construction renders all the territory acquired by the Gadsden treaty subject to all the laws governing New Mexico, and of course to the eighth section of the act of July 22, 1854, unless since the passage of that act the whole or some portion thereof has been "otherwise provided by law."

A portion has been thus "otherwise provided for." It has been incorporated into the Territory of New Mexico, (12 Statutes, 664.)

A surveyor general has been given to it, (12 Statutes, 664; 16 do: 230,) and he has been clothed with all the powers given to the surveyor general of New Mexico, by the eighth section of the act of July 22, 1854, (16 Statutes, 304, sec. 1,) so that as to that portion of the Gadsden purchase now incorporated into the Territory of Arizona, it 18 very clear that the surveyor general of New Mexico has no jurisdiction and no power to examine into or report upon any private land claims.

As to the balance of the purchase, being that portion now remaining incorporated into the Territory of New Mexico, I am of opinion that he has such power under the eighth section of the act of July 22, 1854, and the act of August 4, 1854, and you will govern your action in accordance with this opinion.

Very respectfully,

Hon. WILLIS DRUMMOND,

Commissioner General Land Office.

C. DELANO.

Secretary.

By the first section of an act approved June 10, 1872, Congress extended for three years, from the date of the passage of said act, the provisions of an act approved June 22, 1860, (12 Statutes, 85,) entitled "An act for the final adjustment of private land claims in the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri, and for other purposes;" and by the second section it was enacted that all persons claiming lands as speci fied in the first section of the act of July 22, 1860, "may have their claims confirmed in accordance with the forms and in the manner prescribed in said act, in all cases where it shall be satisfactorily proved that the claimants, and those from whom they derive title, have held continuous possession of the land claimed from the date of the cession

to the United States of the territory out of which the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri were formed."

Under these acts this office has forwarded to the registers and receivers of Louisiana and Florida, and to the recorder of land titles at Saint Louis, Missouri, the following instructions:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, GENERAL LAND OFFICE,

Washington, D. C., July 18, 1872. GENTLEMEN: I inclose herewith a copy of an act of Congress, approved June 10, 1572, entitled "An act to extend the provisions of an act entitled 'An act for the final adjustment of private land claims in the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri, and for other purposes,'" by virtue of which you are authorized, as commissioners, to hear and decide, under instructions from this office, all matters respecting such claims to land within your district as come within the provisions of the act of June 22, 1860, as extended and amended by this act.

The first section extends the provisions of the act of 22d June, 1860, for three years from and after the passage of this act.

The second section provides that "all persons claiming lands as specified in the first section" of the act of June 22, 1860, “may have their claims confirmed in accordance with the forms and in the manner prescribed in said act in all cases where it shall be satisfactonly proved that the claimants, and those from whom they derive title, have held continuous possession of the land claimed from the date of the cession to the United States of the territory out of which the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri were formed."

As the only lands specified by the first section of the act of 1860 are private land claims, lying within the States named, and claimed "by virtue of grant, concession, order of survey, permission to settle, or other written evidence of title," it is evident that Congress, by said section, did not intend to enlarge the classes of claims mentioned in the act of 1860, but simply to vary the proof required, so as to afford relief to claimants whose written evidence of title, properly acquired from the former government, had been lost or destroyed. You will, therefore, require, in all cases presented under this section, satisfactory proof

1. That the land for which confirmation is sought was acquired by virtue of grant, concession, order of survey, permission to settle, or other written evidence of title emanating from the French, Spanish, or British governments. This fact must be established, in all cases, by the production of the original title papers, unless it shall be proven that said title papers have been lost or destroyed, in which case parol evidence of their contents may be admitted.

2. That the claimants, or those from whom they derive title, have held continuous possession of the land claimed from the date of the cession to the United States of the territory out of which the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri were formed, which date, for the States of Louisiana and Missouri, is the 30th day of April, 1803, and for the State of Florida, the 22d day of February, 1819. (See United States vs. Lynd's Heirs, 11 Wallace, page 632.)

The proof of possession in claims presented under this section should be full and explicit, showing not only the date when such possession was taken, but also the character of such possession, and any other facts by which the good faith of the claimant may be shown.

Where not modified by the second section of this act and this letter, the act of June 22, 160, and our instructions (copy herewith) of October 25, 1860, relative to claims under said act, will guide your investigations of claims presented under this act. WILLIS DRUMMOND,

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GENTLEMEN: By act of Congress approved June 22, 1860, entitled "An act for the al adjustment of private land claims in the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri, and for other purposes," you are appointed commissioners to hear and decide, der instructions from this office, all matters respecting such claims to land within 29ur district as come within the provisions of said act.

You will observe that this act confers power upon you to receive such claims only as are founded on written title, and hence you have no authority to receive, or act upon,

any claim founded on ancient settlement merely, where the same is unaccompanied by such written title from the authorities of the former government.

You are authorized to receive and act upon such claims for tracts within your district as have emanated from any foreign government bearing date prior to the cession to the United States of the territory out of which said States were formed, or during the period when any such government claimed sovereignty, or had the actual possession of the district or territory in which the lands so claimed are situated.

This warrants you in receiving and acting upon claims which originated under the former governments, where they exercised the granting power de jure, and before such government had ceded the country, and those made by the Spanish authorities while in actual occupancy of territory held by them as the government de facto. Thus, for example: Spain parted with her legal authority over the province of Louisiana by the secret treaty of 1300, at San Ildefonso; Spain ceded Louisiana to France, and during the period that elapsed from that time to the cession to the United States in 1803, by Napoleon, the Spanish authorities exercised the granting power, and so, several years subsequent to 1803, Spain, while in occupancy of the portion of the ancient province of Louisiana between the Iberville, or Manchac, and the Perdido, exercised the granting power, and during this period her grants were those of the government de facto.

Your attention is particularly directed to the first, second, third, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth sections of this act.

SECTION 1. Under this section you will receive all applications of persons, or their legal representatives, having the right to claim under the provisions of the act; also, the evidence of claim, abstract of title, plat of survey, and the sworn statement required by the act. Should there be any conflict, your decision should carefully show the nature and extent of interference, whether by grant, sale, or location; and a complete record should be made of all the papers, in the order above mentioned, including your decision, in a substantial book kept for the purpose.

The cases will bear on the record a regular series of numbers, in the order in which they may be recorded, and after record the papers will be properly filed and retained in your office until otherwise directed.

SECTION 2. By this section you are authorized" to hear and decide, under such instructions as may be prescribed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, in conformity with this act, and according to justice and equity and the principles" thereinafter "established, in a summary manner, all matters respecting such claims within the districts aforesaid as come within the provisions of this act ;"" to administer oaths, compel the attendance of and examine witnesses," &c. The expense of procuring witnesses must be borne by the claimants, as the act makes no provision for their payment; and in case it may be found necessary to compel the attendance of witnesses, you will avail yourselves of the services of the United States marshal for that purpose. This section also provides for a final report to this office upon the claims presented, in which they shall be arranged in separate classes, as directed by the following section, viz:

SECTION 3. The classification will be in the following manner:

The classes will bear the following captions:

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Class No. 1. Twenty years' possession and cultivation claims, which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be confirmed."

"Class No. 2. Claims where there is no actual possession and cultivation for the period mentioned, but which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be confirmed."

"Class No. 3. Claims which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be rejected."

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Each class will be arranged, in tabular form, under the following heads: The first column will contain the Number of the claim," according to the record referred to under section 1; the second, the "Name of claimant ;" third, "Derivation of title;" fourth, "Possession and cultivation," showing beginning and end of same; fifth. "Date of filing," before you; sixth, "Description," which should be by legal divisions and subdivisions, where the lands have been surveyed by the United States, with column of "Remarks," distinctly designating interferences by sale or otherwise, with particulars as to dates, names of conflicting claimants, &c.

SECTION 7. Requires that the facts reported as proven by any former board of commissioners, acting under authority of Congress, "shall be taken as true prima facie, and the evidence offered before such former board, and remaining of record, shall be admitted on the examination of the claims made under the provisions of this act." In admitting such evidence you will be careful to state its substance, referring to the record where it may be found, if in the reports of former boards; and if in the State Papers, to the volume and page of same-Duff' Green's edition, in five volumes. SECTION 8. The effect of this section is to withdraw from sale or location all lands claimed under the provisions of this act, immediately upon a claim being properly and legally filed for the same, with a plat showing, in connection with the public surveys,

its precise locality and limits. It will, therefore, be your duty to examine carefully all applications for claims, and note the same, in order that the lands covered thereby may be protected from interference; and in any case where the lands so claimed have been hitherto deemed to be public lands, you will report the fact immediately to this office and furnish a copy of the plat, with the name of claimant and character of title. You will note on the face of such report, beginning with No. 1, as follows: "Report No., under 7th Sec: Act 22d June, 1860.”

SECTION 10. Contemplates an annual report to Congress, by this office, of the progress of the work under this act.

To enable us to make such report, an annual statement will be required of you, after the present year, on or about the 15th September, during the period the act remains in operation, which is limited to five years. With such statement you should send up a transcript of the record, contemplated in the first section of the act, which should be accompanied by an index.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

REGISTER and RECEIVER.

JOS. S. WILSON,

Commissioner.

It is believed that under the very liberal provisions of these acts all claimants having just private land claims within the territory above named will be afforded an opportunity to perfect their titles, and thus enable this office to so segregate invalid claims that they may be disposed of as public land without injury to parties equitably entitled to part thereof.

16. TREE CULTURE.

The necessity and propriety of the adoption of some measure by Congress to promote tree culture, and thereby remove the obstacles to the advance of settlements in prairie districts, will be admitted by all who have traveled over the treeless plains of the great West. This question has engaged the attention of citizens and legislators, and many plans for the encouragement of tree planting have been considered and discussed, but little of a practical character has been done, and that little of a local instead of a general nature. After a careful consideration of the question, I am convinced that practical and valuable results would be attained by an amendment of the homestead law, requiring rach settler, who may avail himself of its benefits, to plant and cultivate for a period of not less than three years a number of acres of trees proportioned to the quantity of land embraced in his entry, and to submit satisfactory proof of that as one of the conditions necessary to entitle him to a patent. Respectfully submitted.

WILLIS DRUMMOND,

The Hon. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

Commissioner.

A.-Report of the surveyor general of Louisiana.

OFFICE OF SURVEYOR GENERAL, DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA,
New Orleans, September 17, 1872.

SIR: In compliance with your instructions of April 5, 1872, I have the honor to submit the annual report of this office, in duplicate, with the usual tabular statements, (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I,) and a map of the State.

FIELD WORK.

The surveys contracted under the appropriation for the fiscal year of 1870–71, (Statement A,) were not undertaken until the commencement of the following year, one of the contracts having been extended to cover this period on account of the unfavorable character of that season, and the other not having been awarded until near the close of that year.

The field notes of one township and parts of others were returned by Mr. Hauké, but owing to his death, which occurred, as I am informed, immediately after the com pletion of his work, the returns of the remaining townships included in his contract have not been received.

The field work undertaken by Messrs. Ross and Sulakowski for the survey of the townships that embrace the cities of New Orleans and Carrollton has been completed, and too much praise cannot be bestowed upon these deputies for the faithful and successful accomplishment of that most intricate and difficult work. The extraordinary changes in the physical geography of the locality consequent upon the building of a large city with its straight streets and rectangular squares, intersecting at all possible angles the boundaries of the old private land claims of French and Spanish origin made in the past century, when the city was only a fortified town of a few hundred inhabitants, and the surrounding country plantations fronting on the bend of the Mississippi River and Bayous Metairie, Saint John, and Gentilly, and extending back into worthless swamps; this of itself would necessarily make the retracing of old lines and boundaries a work of great difficulty. But when consideration is given to the conflictions and interferences of grants, the irregularity in their form and extent, the vagueness of the terms used in describing concessions, as well as in the language of certificates of confirmation issued by the boards of commissioners, the difficulty of locating original fronts of the tracts adjoining the Mississippi, occasioned by the continuous accretion to its bank for a hundred years, whereby a large area of land has been added to the most valuable part of the city, the necessity for great precision and accuracy on account of the enhancement in value of real estate, and the magnitude and importance of the judicial issues affected by this survey, which have been and still are occupying the attention of our highest tribunals, and the destruction or abstraction from the files of this and the land office of many important records which formed the basis of action, and reports of land commissioners in confirming private land claims, necessitating the transcription and translation of original documents from the records of ancient French and Spanish archives, it is only then that a proper estimate can be made of the amount, nature, and importance of the work performed under this contract. I beg to report that these deputies are entitled to great credit for their perseverance, patience, and

energy.

The surveying contracts based upon the appropriation of March 3, 1871, have, as a general remark, progressed satisfactorily. On account of the difficulty of gaining access to the Sabine military reservation and the indisposition of the deputy, the contract for that survey was allowed to expire without accomplishing the work. The field work, under contracts numbered 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12, have been completed, and the condition of the others is fully explained in Statements B and C.

OFFICE WORK.

The labor devolving upon the office in this district is generally of a peculiar character. Scarcely a township is surveyed that does not contain many private land claims, some of them diminutive and others extensive in size, and it is frequently found necessary, in addition to furnishing deputies with transcripts of field notes and copies of maps, certificates of confirmation, &c., &c., to give special instructions regarding the location of certain claims requiring much research and attentive labor. The clerical and mathematical labor and the preparation of the maps of the recent survey of New Orleans townships required the employment of an experienced computer and a competent draughtsman for at least four months. Besides this strictly clerical labor, after a survey is completed and the field notes returned, a thorough comparison of the same with the several reports of land commissioners is necessary, not only to determine the correctness of the work, but to ascertain whether some valid claims are not left unlocated, which frequently happens.

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