Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

long series of years have pre-emption rights under certain restric. tions been granted to settlers on the public lands. The policy of the government, in this matter, has seemed to have been well settled. By this very policy have people been invited and en. couraged to settle on the public lands; on the lands since reserv. ed to government, by ihe act above referred 10, as much as upon any other portion of the public domain. Nor liave those who re. lied on the continuance of this policy in general been disappointed. But for reasons unknown 10 your memorialists those settling on the even sections reserved to the United States, by the act afore. said, were, by the express terms of that act, shut out from a right which, if a right at all, as justly belonged to them as to those who had settled on any other of the public lands.

Your memorialists further represent that they believe it would be but an ac: of justice to fix the minimum price of the reserved sections, at one collar and twenty-five cents per acre, to actual settlers. This is the minimum price of all other public lands whe. ther valuable on account of their proximity to a markct and the great water courses of the country or worthless by reason of their distance therefrom. However beneficial a canal may eventually be, it cannot be of any advantage to those now living near its route, and to those near market it will be rather an injury; yet are they deprived of pre-emption, granted to others out of the reserve, and obliged to pay at least double the usual price per acre, for lands which they settied on previously to the grant of Congress. It would appear to your memorialists that those who have settled on the great lakes, or navigable rivers, would more justly be required to pay double the usual price per acre, than those who have by mere chance settled within five miles of a contemplated canal.

In view of these considerations, your memorialists would pray your honorable body to grant a pre-emption right at one dollar and twenty-fure cents per acre, to all those who had settled on the alternate sections herein referred to previously to the passage of the law by which those lands were reserved to the United States. ..And, as-in duty bound, your memorialists will ever pray.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

No. 2.


To Congress relative to confirming the titles, 10 lots, one, two and three, section thirty-two, town, seven, range, twenty-two. east.

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled :

The memorial of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin respectfully represents, That in the summer of 1835, Ebenezer Childs, Linus Thompson and Francis Laventure being possessed of three floating rights under the pre-emption law of 19th of June, 1834, located the same agreeably to the provisions of said act upon lots one, two and three, of section thirty-two, township seven of range twenty-two, in the county of Milwaukee, and took the Receiver's receipt for the same.

That in the same year the late President of the United States, by proclamation, ordered the sale of certain lands in the Green Bay land district, to be held at Green Bay, in the month of Sep. tember. Among the lands so ordered for sale was the said town. ship seven, (it being then embraced within the limits of said land district,) at which sale the whole of said township was sold, with the exception of such parts, as had previously been obtained by pre-emption or floating rights. In the month of May, 1838, these floating rights were rejected by the Commissioners of the General Land Office, and the officers of the land office at Green Bay were directed to refund to the original purchasers the money that had been paid for said premises.

Șince the sale of said premises the original purchasers or thoso who held under them have had possession, and until some time in the winter of 1838, undisputed possession of the same, and

have erected buildings and made other valuable improvements thereon, and until a short time previous to the aforesaid decision of the Commissioners of the General Land Office no doubt was entertained of the validity of the title to said premises, and numer. ous sales were made at prices varying from two hundred and fifty to five thousand dollars per acre. If the government does not in. terfere and protect the purchasers of said lands consequences will follow, ruinous to many individuals, and will involve hundreds in expensive and almost interminable litigation. If after the lapse of years the decisiors of the authorized agents of the United States are to be reversed and pre-emplions rejected, there is no safely in purchasing lands similarly obtained ; all confidence would be destroyed in titles, whether obtained from the United States or from individuals ; the transfer of property would be prevented, and the settlement and improvement of the country retarded. A similar memorial to the foregoing was sent to your honorable body from this Assembiy at its last session, but since that time, having learned that a number of individuals, consisting in part of those who have purchased of said lands and have paid but a small part of the consideration thereof, and who wish to take advantage of a default in the titles, to get a release from their obligations, and on part of individuals who wish to take advantage of any thing where. by they hope to benefit themselves, have taken possession by mak. ing claims upon said premises, and have forwarded petitions to your honorable body, praying to have the said lands sold, we deem it our duty to again lay the matter before you. This Assembly are further urged to do this in consequence of the difficulties and disturbances that have since arisen between the purchasers and claimants, and which, if not checked by some immediate action upon the subject, may lead to consequences disgraceful to indi. viduals and to community. Viewing, therefore, the circumstances of the case, the amount of property involved, the great number of hands through which the same has passed, the time that has elaps. ed since the sale, and the difficulties that have arisen, and may continue to arise, we would ask of the Congress of the United States a confirmation of the titles to said lands ; believing that in

this way only can strict justice bo rendered to the present occupants, and the peace and good order of society maintained.

No. 3.


To Congress concerning pre-emption rights to Miners. To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives, in

Congress assembled :

The memorial of the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wisconsin, would respectfully represent, That the Legislative Assembly of this Territory, have annually, since its organization, in the year 1836, addressed Congress, calling their attention to the justice and propriety of granting to those persons in this Territory engaged in mining for lead ore, pre-emptions to their lots of ten acres each, held and occupied under a lease from the government, and in accordance with the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1807.

The Legislative Assembly have heretofore set forth in those memorials, and in the most respectful manner, the hardships, pri.. vations and dangers, which an industrious and meritorious portion of our fellow.citizens have endured in extending civilization to the far west, in developing the vast mineral resources of our Terrio. ry, and in defending themselves against the aggressions of hordes of hostile Indians in their vicinity. These facts your memorialists have heretofore, conceived gave to that portion of our fellow.citia zens engaged in mining, a strong claim on the justice and liberali. ty of Congress ; but, your memorialists have sesn with regret,

that these appeals to the justice and liberality of Congress have been received with coldness and neglect. They would again most respectfully urge upon Congress the consideration of this Bubject, conceiving that their instantaneous action is required, so that the false swearing and fraud that have already taken place, and the speculation which may hereafter take place in the sale or entry of the mineral lands may not militate against the just rights of the miner, who claims a pre-emption to his lot and discovery of lead ore on principles of equity and justice.

Your memorialists would further represent, that under the 4th section of the act entitled “ An act to creaie additional land dis. tricts in the States of Illinois and Missouri, and in the Territory north of the State of Illinois," approved June 26th, 1834, it is pro. vided that all lands thereia situated are subject to sale and entry, except section sixteen in each township, the tract reserved for the village of Galena, such other traets as have been granted to indie viduals and the State of Illinois, and such reservations, as the Pre. sident shall deem necessary 10 retain for military purposes, any law of Congress heretofore existing to the contrary potwithstand. ing. By this act of Congress the President may at any time offer theso valuable mineral lands for sale ; and, should he do so, that portion of our fellow.citizens engaged in mining, who have been invited, under the sanction of the laws to settle on the public lands, and who can in no wise be considered as squatters or tres. passers on the public domain, would be at the mercy of the specu. lator, and would be forced into competition with capitalists, in the purchase of land which, after years of toil, expenditure and priva. tion, he has proved to be valuable. That ihis may be the case, is tho deliberate opinion of your memorialists, unless Congress inter. pose for the protection of the miner. We are constrained to this belief, from the fact that a distinguished geologist' has very lately, under the authority of the government, made a survey of that por. tion of this Territory, in which lead ore is found noting each town. ship, range, section, and quarter section, wherein lead ore has been discovered, and who will, by his report to Congress, furnish the speculator and capitalist with the most correct data, to enable





« AnteriorContinuar »