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extension of the right of pre-emption to the actual settlers located on the public lands in this Territory. I again recommend your early action on that important subject. This meritorious class of our citizens, who are occupants of the public lands, have emigrated to this Territory, under the belief that the same privileges would be granted to them that had been extended to others. The settlers on the public lands are the pioneers of the West, who are rapidly extending the settlements of this Territory; they are alike distinguished for their industry, enterprise, and attachment to the republican institutions of this country; and every consideration of justice and humanity calls upon the Congress of the United States to extend to the citizens of this territory, who are occupants of the public lands, their fostering protection. The lot of the settlers on the public lands has been one of hardship, privation, and toil, exposed alike to the dangers of savage warfare, and the diseases incis dent to the settlement of a new country. The early settlers have built towns, now the seats of civilization and refinement, where Indian wigwams stood smoking four years ago. The early settlers on the public lands in this Territory have explored and opened the most valuable lead mines that have been discovered in the United States, thereby greatly enhancing in value the national domain; by the sale of which large sums have been paid to the government. Land was the immediate gift of God to man, and from the earliest history of the world was designed for cultivation and improvement, and should cease to be an object of speculation. Speculators in the public lands have purchased large tracts east of the Mississippi in this Territory, which remain waste until they will sell for the highest prices; thereby retarding the growth and settlement of the Territory to the great injury of the actual settler. The just and proper policy of the government would be to reduce the price of the public lands, and sell them to the actual settler alone. The public domain would be sold in a short period of time; Indian wars would cease to exist; the frontiers would be settled by a brave and hardy race of men, who would be a barrier to Indian encroachments, and there would be no necessity of main
taining military posts for the protection of our frontiers. Should the Congress of the United States make no provision for the occupants of the public lands, and they should be deprived of their homes, either by the act of the government, or by speculators who might purchase them at a public sale, it will produce a state of things greatly to be regretted. The people of this Territory in the occupancy of the public lands, although firmly devoted to the republican institutions of the country, (and a large majority of them have the most entire confidence in the wisdom and policy of the present administration of the General Government,) will never submit to be driven from their homes by the iron grasp of the land speculator. Congress having for many years granted the right of pre-emption to the actual settler of the public lands, and that policy of the Government having continued to exist during the settlement of the Western States, should not now be changed.
I deem it my duty to call the attention of the Legislative assembly to the propriety of memorializing Congress, asking the extension of the right of pre-emption to all miners who have obtained the possession of mineral grounds, or lots under the authority of the Superintendent of the United States lead mines in this Territory, either by discovery or purchase; and that each miner should be permitted to purchase his mineral lot at the minimum price of the public lands.
I recommend to the Legislative Assembly the propriety of again memorializing Congress, asking them to increase the appropriation to the sum of two hundred thousand dollars for the removal of obstructions at the upper and lower rapids on the Upper Mississippi. It is understood the examinations of the obstructions at these rapids had been recently made under the direction of the War Department; and, from the favourable report made by the Government, it was expected preparations would have been made to have commenced this important work at the low stage of the river this season. The appropriations, heretofore made by Congress, have been entirely too small, considering the importance of the work. The trade of the Upper Mississippi has increased greatly in importance within the last three years, and from the best estimate that can be made at this time, exceeds in amount three millions of dollars annually; the whole of which passes these rapids. The delay in lightening steam-boats to enable them to pass the rapids at a low stage of the river, and the loss of property on them, is believed to be equal to ten per cent. on the whole amount shipped. It is not alone the citizens of this Territory who are interested in the completion of this important work: the people of the state of Illinois, residing on the borders of the Upper Mississippi, are equally interested. This interest pervades the whole country on the Mississippi from St. Peters to the Gulf of Mexico. Large appropriations have heretofore been made by Congress for the removal of obstructions in the navigation of the different rivers in the Western States, and surely the citizens of this Territory have equal claims on the justice and patronage of the Government.
By an act of the Congress of the United States, approved March 3d, 1837, the sum of five thousand dollars, each, was appropriated for the erection of light-houses at the mouths of each of the following rivers, tributaries of Lake Michigan: Milwaukee, Manitoowoc, Cheboygan, and Root river, and at the entrance of Fox River into Green Bay. Under the provisions of the act of Congress, referred to, it is made the duty of the Navy Commissioners to report to the Secretary of the Treasury, after they have caused an examination to be made for the purpose of ascertaining whether the safety of navigation requires any additional facilities, and what is most suitable for each place designated. Should the Board of Navy Commissioners be of the opinion that the improvements are not required to facilitate the navigation of Lake Michigan, or that it is inexpedient from any other cause, their opinion with the facts are to be reported to Congress. Engineers have heretofore been appointed under the direction of the war department, who have made surveys at the mouths of the rivers mentioned, for harbours, and these reports will show the practicability of their improvement, and their importance and utility to the public. It is a fact well known, that nearly the whole length of Lake
Michigan (the western shore of the lake) presents a bold bluff front, varying from fifty to one hundred feet in height, rendering it extremely dangerous in storms, owing to the scarcity of bays and natural harbours for the safety of vessels. Extensive settlements are forming on the borders of Lake Michigan; the shipping interest on the Lake has greatly increased within the last two years; and the consequent wreck of vessels and loss of lives and property may be expected, until the construction of harbours and the erection of light-houses at the mouths of the rivers mentioned. With the exception of the entrance of Fox River into Green Bay, this bay is the best natural harbour on the western borders of Lake Michigan. The construction of a pier, and the establishment of a beacon light, at Long Tail Point (at the head of the bay) as well as the erection of buoys to mark the ship channel, are deemed to be of the first importance to the safety of the navigation. From the increased commercial importance of the town of Milwaukee, and its location near the centre of the western shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of Milwaukee river, where nature has done much towards making a safe harbour, it would seem that a just regard for the rights of the citizens of this Territory, residing on the borders of Lake Michigan, would urge the Congress of the United States, as an act of justice, to make a liberal appropriation for the construction of a harbour at this important point, which is absolutely necessary for the protection of the lives and the security of the property of our citizens engaged in the Lake trade. Large appropriations were made at the last session of Congress, for the benefit of twenty of the states of this Union, for the building of light houses, light boats, beacon lights and buoys, and the sum of sixty-one thousand dollars was appropriated for the same purposes for the territory of Florida, and the small amount of twenty-five thousand dollars alone appropriated for this territory, for the above purpose; and that appropriation made contingent upon the report of the Navy Commissioners to the Secretary of the Treasury, and from him to the Congress of the United States. I recommend to the Legistive Assembly the propriety of again addressing a memorial to
Congress, asking an increased appropriation for the construction of harbours, and the erection of light-houses at the mouths of the different rivers designated in the act of Congress referred to, as well as the necessary improvement in the navigation of Green Bay.
A survey has recently been ordered by the War Department, of Fox and Rock rivers. The report of the Engineers charged with that duty has not been published; but, from the best information I have been able to obtain, their report will be favourable to the improvement of both those rivers. The improvement of the navigation of the Fox river, and the connexion of that river with the Wisconsin river, by a short canal of one and one-fourth miles, are subjects of vital importance to the citizens of this Territory, by opening a water communication between the Mississippi and Lake Michigan. A communication between the Rock river and the Four Lakes, and from thence to the Wisconsin river, by a canal of sixteen miles in length, is considered practicable with but little expense. Steam boats have navigated the Wisconsin river during this season to the portage of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, without obstruction.
The organizing and arming the militia I consider a subject of the first importance to the safety of the frontier citizens of this Territory. The militia of the territory have been formed into two brigades, composed of five regimental districts and one battalion district. Elections have been held for the field and company officers, and all the districts, with the exception of one regimental district, have been organized. Five companies of volunteer mounted riflemen, and one of dragoons, have been formed and officered. I earnestly recommend to the Legislative Assembly the propriety of addressing a memorial to the War Department of the Government, asking a supply of arms for the use of the volunteer companies now organized, and for the militia of the territory. I would suggest the propriety of asking for four thousand stand of arms, one-half rifles, and the remainder muskets; and, in addition, I would propose that two hundred pistols and swords should be furnished for the use of