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which the small States might feel, of being merged into adjoining States, or of being united so as to compose larger States. No new States have as yet been formed by the junction of the whole, or of parts, of other States; but States have been admitted into the Union since the adoption of the Constitution, which have been formed from the territory of other States.
[Clause 2.] "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State."
§ 557. This clause gives to Congress the right to dispose of, and to regulate, the territory or other public property belonging to the United States. The care of the public property which belongs to all the people of the Union, is entrusted to Congress, because it represents all the people.
558. The title of the United States to the public land may be said to be derived from three sources:—
(1.) Treaties with foreign nations, as far as they relate to the acquisition of territory or to the boundaries of the United States.
By the treaty with Great Britain in 1783, certain boundaries of the United States were defined, within which the title of the United States was recognised. By the treaty with France, April 30, 1803, the Territories of Orleans and Louisiana were acquired by the United States, which included the portion of the States of Alabama and Mississippi, south of the thirty-first degree of latitude; be whole of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and
that portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi river, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oregon. The territory forming the State of Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States, by treaty of February 22d, 1819. California, Utah, and New Mexico, are formed out of territory ceded to the United States by Mexico, by a treaty concluded at Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2d, 1848.
§ 559. (2.) Cessions of territory to the United States by the individual States.
The States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi river, have been formed out of the North-western Territory, which was ceded and relinquished to the United States, under certain restrictions, by New York, March 1, 1781; by Virginia, March 1, 1784; by Massachusetts, April 19, 1785, and by Connecticut, September 14, 1786.
§ 560. While the Articles of Confederation were pending for adoption, several of the States refused to ratify them, unless those States which had claims to the extensive tract of country lying westward of the frontiers of the United States, and extending to, and beyond the Mississippi river, would abandon their claims in favour of the United States. That region, it was contended, being unsettled at the commencement of the Revolutionary war, was won from England, and from the native Indians, by the blood and treasure of all the States, and should therefore be a common property, to be granted out on terms beneficial to the United States.
§ 561. This subject created the most serious hindrance to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. Congress on the 6th of September, 1780, earnestly recommended to those States who had claims to the western country, to pass such laws, and give their delegates in Congress
such power, as would effectually remove this, the only obsta cle to a final ratification of the Articles of Confederation.
§ 562. On the 10th of October, 1780, Congress resolved that the unappropriated lands that may be ceded or relin quished to the United States by any particular State, should be disposed of for the common benefit of the United States, and be settled and formed into distinct republican States, to become members of the Federal Union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence, as other States; also that the expenses incurred by any State since the commencement of the war, in subduing any British posts, or in maintaining forts or garrisons, for the defence or acquisition of any part of the territory thus ceded or relinquished to the United States, should be reimbursed.
§ 563. It was in pursuance of this resolution that the cessions above mentioned were made by the States. Other cessions of territory were also made by South Carolina in 1787, North Carolina in 1790, and Georgia in 1802, forming parts of the States of Mississippi and Alabama.
(3.) Treaties with the Indians, so far as they relate to the extinguishment of the Indian title to the public lands. Although the United States, in consequence of the treaties and cessions above referred to, own the soil of, and exercise jurisdiction over, the lands inhabited by the Indians, yet it has been conceded that the Indians have a right of occupancy, or a possessory right, as natives. This right of occupancy, or of possession, has been, from time to time, extinguished or purchased by the United States, by treaties made with the Indian tribes.
$564. It is under this clause of the Constitution that Congress exercises the power to dispose of the public lands by sale or grant. All public lands, before being offered for
sale, are accurately surveyed by practical surveyors, in ranges of townships, each six miles square, containing therefore 23,040 acres. Townships are subdivided by lines crossing each other at right angles, and running to the cardinal points of the compass, into thirty-six sections, cach of one mile square, or 640 acres.
§ 565. The sections are numbered from one to thirtysix, beginning at the northeast corner of the township and counting alternately from east to west and west to east. The sections are again divided into quarters, each containing 160 acres. Prior to 1820, no person could purchase less than a quarter section; but in that year legal authority was given for the division of the sections into eighths, containing eighty acres; and in 1832, as a further accommodation to settlers, they were divided into sixteenths, or forty-acre lots. Certain sections or townships of land in each territory, are reserved for schools or for the establishment of a university.
§ 566. The corners of townships, sections, and quarter sections, are designated by marks established by the surveyors on the ground.
After the lands have been thus surveyed, they are proclaimed by the President for sale, and offered at public auction, at not less than a dollar and twenty-five cents per acre; and such as remain unsold at the close of such public sale, are subject to be purchased at private sale at that rate.
§ 567. By an act passed August 4, 1854, the price of the public lands was graduated and reduced in favour of those who should actually settle upon and cultivate them. Lands (with a few exceptions) which shall have been in the market for ten years or upward prior to the application to purchase, are made subject to sale to actual settlers and
cultivators at the price of one dollar per acre; those which have been in the market for fifteen years or upward, may be sold at seventy-five cents per acre; for twenty years or upward, fifty cents per acre; for twenty-five years or upward, twenty-five cents per acre; for thirty years or upward, twelve and a half cents per acre. But no settler is allowed to acquire more than three hundred and twenty acres in pursuance of these provisions.
§ 568. Land offices are established in the different States and territories, under the supervision of the General Land Office, for the sale of the public lands. Each office is under the direction of two officers: a register, who receives the applications and sells the lands; and a receiver, who receives the purchase-money. These two officers act as a check upon each other. The grant for the land, issued by the United States, is termed a patent.
§ 569. The patents issue from the General Land Office, under its seal, in the name of the United States, signed by the President of the United States, (or by a secretary who is authorized by law to sign for him,) and countersigned by the Commissioner of Public Lands; they are then recorded in the land office in books kept for that purpose.
§ 570. Under this clause in the Constitution, Congress from time to time erects governments in portions of the territories of the United States. These are regularly organized territorial governments. They include a governor, judges, and other officers, appointed by the President, and a legislature elected by the people of the territory, and are allowed one delegate in the House of Representatives, who may participate in the debates, but cannot vote.
§ 571. The organized territories, after their population has sufficiently increased to entitle them to a representative in Congress according to the ratio of representation,