« ForrigeFortsett »
death of the surviving parent, and in accordance with the laws of the State in which such children for the time being have their domicil, sell said land for the benefit of said infants, but for no other purpose ; and the purchaser shall acquire the absolute title by the purchase, and be entitled to a patent from the United States, on payment of the office fees and sum of money herein specified.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the Register of the Land-office shall note all such applications on the tract books and plats of his office, and keep a register of all such entries, and make return thereof to the General Land-office, together with the proof upon which they have been founded.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no lands acquired under the provisions of this act shall in any event become liable to the satisfaction of any debt or debts contracted prior to the issuing of the patent therefor.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That if, at any time after the filing of the affidavit, as required in the second section of this act, and before the expiration of the five years aforesaid, it shall be proven, after due notice to the settler, to the satisfaction of the Register of the Land office, that the person having filed such affidavit shall have actually changed his or her residence, or abandoned the said land, or shall have ceased to occupy said land for more than six months at any time, then and in that event the land so entered shall revert to the government.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That no individual shall be permitted to acquire title to more than one quarter section under the provisions of this act; and that the Commissioner of the General Land-office is hereby required to prepare and issue such rules and regulations, consistent with this act, as shall be necessary and proper to carry its provisions into effect; and that the Registers and Receivers
of the several land-offices shall be entitled to receive the same compensation for any lands entered under the provisions of this act that they are now entitled to receive when the same quality of land is entered with money, onehalf to be paid by the person making the application at the time of so doing, and the other half on the issue of the certificate by the person to whom it may be issued; but this shall not be construed to enlarge the maximum of compensation now prescribed by law for any Register or Receiver: Provided, That nothing contained in this act shall be so construed as to impair or interfere in any manner whatever with existing pre-emption rights : And provided, further, That all persons who may have filed their applications for a pre-emption right prior to the passage of this act shall be entitled to all privileges of this act. Provided further, That no person who has served, or may hereafter serve, for a period of not less than 14 days in the army or navy of the United States, either regular or volunteer, under the laws thereof, during the existence of an actual war, domestic or foreign, shall be deprived of the benefits of this act on account of not having attained the age of 21 years.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the fifth section of the act entitled "An act in addition to an act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes," approved the 3d of March, in the year 1857, shall extend to all oaths, affirmations, and affidavits, required or authorized by this act.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to prevent any person who has availed him or herself of the benefit of the first section of this act, from paying the minimum price, or the price to which the same may have graduated, for the quantity of
land so entered at any time before the expiration of the five years, and obtaining a patent therefor from the Government, as in other cases provided by law, on making proof of settlement and cultivation as provided by existing laws granting pre-emption rights.
Here is land for almost nothing. A quarter section is a hundred and sixty acres. The whole cost of obtaining such a farm is the ten dollars to be paid to the Receiver of the Land-office in which the farm may be located. On payment of this sum he enters into immediate possession, and after remaining five years upon it, he receives a patent from the government, which is equivalent to a deed in fee.
It may be supposed that this cheap way of getting a farm would occasion an instantaneous rush from East to West, to secure locations on the public domain, as well as an enormous influx of European immigrants. The act did not go into effect until January 1, 1863; yet, within four months from that date, notwithstanding the troubled state of the country, more than a million of acres were taken up under its provisions, and, by the close of September, this amount was increased to nearly a million and a half. But the great bulk of enterprising and adventurous Americans have either been drawn into the army or been too much occupied at home by the pressure of business forced upon them by the brisk demand for manufactures, occasioned by the war, to undertake the founding of a new home in the West. Neither of these classes has been at full liberty to embrace the provisions of this beneficent act. Neither, until very recently, have Europeans been well enough informed of our actual condition during the rebellion, to feel themselves safe in venturing among us, even for the purpose of securing the magnificent gift which Government holds out for their acceptance.
They have been led by rebel emissaries to believe our whole Northern and Western country to be the scene of battle, with desolation everywhere, and safety nowhere. The same dishonest agencies have been employed in leading them to believe that foreigners were conscripted at the moment of their landing among us. As men avoid rather than seek tumult, so, from these causes, the foreigner has been content to remain at home. But when the country shall have become entirely at peace, and when the provisions of the Homestead Law shall be thoroughly known in Europe, we may look with confidence for a revival of the vast stream of immigration which, a few years since, was seen pouring into our country.
What this influx has already done for us may be learned by looking at the single State of Wisconsin. The Legislature of that State found it necessary, in 1864, to order the Governor's message to be printed in eight different languages—English, German, Norwegian, Irish, Welsh, Holland, French, and Bohemian. “The North American” remarks, on this singular spectacle, that, in Wisconsin, “the old vigorous Teutonic stock is thus largely represented. The sons of the Jarls and Vikings; the descendants of Eric and Hengist; the riders of the sea, and for
many generations its rulers—a brave, thrifty, intelligent, and economical people—are building up the Northwest with a rapidity which is most wonderful, and with a strength of basis which cannot be toppled over. They have contributed nobly to the nation in putting down the rebellion. They will contribute even more largely to its future welfare. They draw to them, by the irresistible magnetism of prosperity and happiness, hundreds of thousands who enjoy little of either at home; they assimilate readily with our interests and institutions. Let them continue to
No long period will elapse, nor many generations pass to the great majority, before they will be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh-wedded into our great unity: an element of new strength, a means of more lasting national coherence and vigor. They are of the pillars which support the power of the present and give promise to the future."
It was the cheap Government lands which drew to us all this mixed population of Wisconsin, as well as the overshadowing immigration from Germany. The still cheaper lands that can now be secured, will bring them hither in even greater numbers. The census of 1860 shows how powerful has been the attraction of cheap farms. The percentage of native Germans in this country at that period was as follows: