Page images
PDF
EPUB

prise has led them to this frontier position. Within the last ten years, the development of mineral wealth on Lake Superior, at the entrance of which the place is situated, has presented new attractions to settlers, and has induced the expectation that a town of considerable importance may eventually grow up at this point.

Much of the land about the falls is covered by the French claims above mentioned. Portions of it are held as a reservation for military purposes, and all of it has been and still is withheld by the government from entry and sale. No lands are held, therefore, by perfect and undisputed title. Possession is the highest title known to the claimants; and by conveyances, some formal and regular, others informal and without the usual solemnities belonging to such transactions, some of the lands have repeatedly been transferred for valuable considerations, and under such titles they are occupied and improved.

The liberal policy heretofore adopted by the government towards both the French and the American inhabitants, who are the pioneers in the settlement of the public lands, has induced the petitioners to expect to obtain their titles on favorable terms; and, in the opinion of the committee, the case of these inhabitants is one which commends itself to the liberal action of the government in their behalf.

The committee herewith report a bill, authorizing the survey of the lands into town lots, and providing for the examination of the several claims, and the granting of titles, on liberal terms, to such as shall be allowed by commissioners. The bill also makes provision for the sale of such lots as are not granted to prior occupants, and for a liberal distribution of the proceeds for the common benefit of the town and its inhabitants. Many instances of similar liberality might, if necessary, be cited. Among them will be found an act relative to the city of Detroit, passed more than forty years ago. The towns of Fort Madison, Burlington, Bellevue, Dubuque, Peru, and Mineral Point, in Wisconsin, were the subjects of similar liberal legislation in 1836 and 1837.

Extract from the annual report of the Commissioner of the General Land

Office, December, 1848. It is deemed proper to invite attention to the in-lots and out-lots of the present village of Sault Ste. Marie, situated in the northern frontier of the Union, on the waters between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, and to suggest that legislative action be had with a view to the alienation on liberal terms to actual settlers, of the title of the United States to such lots as may not be required for military or other public purposes; the lines of the public surveys having been extended up to that region, and a United States land office there opened for the sale of the public lands in that part of the country.

To effect this object it is proposed that authority of law be conferred on the department to have an actual survey made of the village of Sault Ste. Marie, or if there be an existing accurate survey of it, to have the same retraced, in connexion with the lines of the public surveys, and upon a map of the same to have first exhibited such lots or tracts as may be required by the War Department for military or other public purposes; then to direct an examination and report by the register and receiver, of the claims of all actual bona fida settlers who have built upon

and improved any of the said lots, or parts of the same, discriminating between those holding under the old claims which were acted upon by the board of commissioners, under the act of February 21, 1823, and entered in “book No. 7' of the proceedings of the commissioners on claims at the Sault Ste. Marie (State Papers, D. Green, volume four, pages 830 to 842) and such actual settlers as are of a more recent date. Then to have an assessment of the value of such lots at the time of settlement, and of the price that should be paid for the same; and upon the approval by the department of such survey and report, each settler who may pay to the receiver within a limited time the amount of assessment, to be entitled to receive a patent for his lot. All the vacant lots to be exposed to the highest bidder, and those not sold to be disposed of at a reasonable minimum at private entry. The money accruing from the sale of improved lots to be applied to defray the expense of such survey, and the balance paid over to the trustees of the village for the erection of public buildings, &c. A measure like this would quiet titles, quicken the growth and improvement of the place, which may and probably will become, before many years, an important commercial point, inviting emigration to that section of country, and leading to an actual and speedy sale and settlement of the public lands in that region, and to the development of the agricultural and rich mineral resources already known to exist in that interesting portion of our country.

1st Session.

No. 6.

IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JANUARY 15, 1850.
Submitted, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. BALDWIN made the following

REPORT:

The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred the memorial of the permanent clerks in the office of the Adjutant General, soliciting compensation for extra services during the war with Mexico, having had the same under consideration, report :

That the facts stated by the memorialists, though doubtless true, do not, in the opinion of the committee, authorize a claim for additional compensation.

The 12th section of the act of Congress, approved August 26, 1842, chapter 202, enacts “that no allowance or compensation shall be made for any extra services whatever which any clerk or other officer may be required to perform.” It was, of course, foreseen, when this act was passed, that exigencies would probably arise, in which extra services would be required. In view of all such contingencies, the salaries of the memorialists must be deemed to have been established at their present rates; and the performance of the duties pertaining to their offices, whether crdinary or extraordinary, forms the consideration for which these salaries are paid. If they are insufficient to furnish a suitable remuneration for the services required, they ought to be raised by Congress. Until then, they should, in the opinion of the committee, constitute, in all cases, the chly rule of compensation.

The committee, therefore, recommend that the prayer of the memorialists be not granted.

[ocr errors]

1st Session.

No. 7.

IN SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JANUARY 15, 1850.
Submitted, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. BALDWIN made the following

REPORT:

The Committee of Claims, to whom was referred the petition of Jeremiah

Downs, praying an allowance, to the amount of $2,106, for forage and transportation for a company of mounted volunteers recruited by hin for the war with the Creek Indians, in 1813 and 1814, having had the same under consideration, report:

That the grounds on which this claim was originally disallowed, as stated by the Third Auditor of the Treasury, in the accompanying document, addressed to the chairman of the Committee of Claims of the House of Representatives, in the year 1823, appear to be satisfactory; and, no new evidence having been furnished by the memorialist, the committee recommend that the prayer of his petition be not granted, and ask to be discharged from the further consideration thereof.

The United States

To Captain J. Downs and Company, Dr. 1813 and 1814. To 95,000 weight fodder or hay, at $2 per hundred

$1,900 To transportation, as the law allows

206

2,106

Personally appeared J. Downs, who deposes and says, that he commanded a company of mounted ritlemen, in 1813–1814, under Colonel Russell the greater part of the time; and that there is, according to law, 95,000 weight of fodder or hay due himself and company, during the six months they were in the service of the United States; that he had duplicate returns made out, while in the Creek nation, and that he got several of them signed by Colonel Russell, and the assistant deputy quartermaster could not lift the returns for want of funds; and that the returns were lost during the campaign at New Orleans, in 1815, together with his account for transportation during the campaign in the Creek nation, which was $206. Has never received any consideration.

J. DOWNS. Sworn to, January 3, 1823, before

TH. C. SCOTT, Par. Judge.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »