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[SEE JOURNAL page 156.]
OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO WHOM WAS REFERRED THE REPORT
OF THE COMMISSIONERS, AND OTHER PAPERS RELATIVE TO SURVEY AND SALE OF LOTS IN POTOSI.
The select committee to whom were referred the report of the commissioners and receiver appointed under the act of the Legislative Assembly, approved February 18th, 1845, 10 provide for carrying into effect an act of Congress granting a section of land for the improvement of Grant river, at the town of Potosi, in Wisconsin Territory, approved June 5, 1844; together with the report and estimate of the Engineer employed to survey and estimate the contemplated improvement; and also the memorial to Congress on the same subject, which has passed the Council, submit the following
It appears from the report of the commissioners, that they hare caused the section of land granted by the said act of Congress to be surveyed and laid out into lots and sold according to the provisions of the said act of the Legislative Assembly.
It also appears from the said report, that Robert Templeton, who was appointed by the act of the Legislative Assembly, receiver of the money arising from the sale of said lots, declined to qualify as such according to the provisions of the act, and that the said commissioners, by virtue of the power vested in them, appointed Joel Allen Barber as receiver in his place, who gave the bond and took the oath required by law.
The aggregate amount of the sales of the said lots as shown from the documents referred to the committee, is four thouse and one hundred and thirty dollars and sixty-four cents. The receiver's report gives a detailed statement of the expenses incurred in the survey and sale of the said section, and in the survey and estimate of the improvement contemplated by the act of Congress. The aggregate of all these expenses amounts to the sum of one thousand three hundred and fifty dollars and forty cents, and the receiver's commission on receipts and disbursements as fixed by law amounts to the sum of fifty-four dollars and eighty-one cents; which leaves a nett sum now in the hands of the receiver, of two thousand seven hundred and thirty-five dollars and forty-three cents, to be applied to the improvement contemplated by the act of Congress.
For the purpose of ascertaining the best and most practicable mode of making the improvement for which the section of land was granted by the general government, and the probable cost of the work, the commissioners employed the Engineer superintending the improvement of the harbor at Dubuque, to make the necessary survey and estimates of the proposed work, whose report accompanies the report of the commissioners. The Engineer after an examination of the Mississippi and Grant rivers, and the different channels connecting them together, and the obstructions which impede the navigation to the harbor at Potosi, is of opinion, that the only practicable and certain mode of permanently improving the Grant river and harbor at Potosi, is to cut a canal from Grant river across the island to the main channel of the Mississippi. In this opinion of the Engineer the committee concur. If the proposed canal shall be opened, the fall of water from the main channel of the Mississippi to Grant river at the Potosi landing, will create a current sufficient to keep a canal open, and will also greatly tend to the improvement of the navigation below the landing.
Although the cost of the proposed canal greatly exceeds the fund now available for its construction, and may seem to some to be a large sum to apply to such a work, yet the committee are of opinion, that the importance of the improvement to the western part of the Territory, is of such magnitude that the work ought to be undertaken, and a commencement made with the funds now applicable to that purpose. This sum will be very nearly or quite susicient, according to the estimate that has been made, to pay for the clearing and grubbing the ground and making the first course of excavation. This much of the work can be completed during the present year, and it may reasonably be expected, that Congress will appropriate a sufficient sum to finish the improvement after it shall have been once begun. If commenced, it will be the first river improvement undertaken in the western part of our Territory, and its consequence to the community generally, will, in the opinion of the committee, recommend it to the favorable consideration of the general government. By expending the means on hand in a judicious manner, for the purpose provided by the act of Congress, it will be shown to that body that the Terri. tory is acting in good faith in the use of the appropriation; and the question will be presented for consideration, whether the sum applied to the commencement of the work shall be sufferred to be lost entirely for the want of means to complete it, or whether an additional appropriation shall be made sufficient to effect the object of the original grant? Believing, that when the case is properly presented, Congress will not withhold the means necessary to accomplish that object, the committee are of opinion that the work should be commenced without delay, and herewith report a bill for that purpose, and recommend its passage. The committee also recommend the passage of the memorial passed by the Council and report the same back to the House without amendment.
For the purpose of laying the whole subject before Congress in the most intelligible and comprehensive manner, the committee also recommend that the several reports of the commissioners, receiver and engineer, referred to them and herewith reported back to the House, be printed. All of which is respectfully submitted.
T. P. BURNETT, Chairman,
( Document A.)
To the Council and House of Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin :
The undersigned commissioners, appointed by an act of the Legislative Assembly of the said Territory, approved Feb. 18th, 1845, entitled "an act to provide for carrying into effect an act of Congress entitled ' an act granting a section of land for the improvement of Grant river, at the town of Potosi, in Wisconsin Territory,' approved June 15th, 1814," submit the following report, in pursuance of the provisions of the said act of the said Assembly:
That we, having first taken the oath prescribed by the said act of the said Assembly, caused the section of land mentioned in the act of Congress referred to, to be surveyed into town or village lots, styled “in lots,” and into out lots, as provided by the said act of the said Assembly, and for making such survey, we employed Henry A. Wiltse as a surveyor, who was duly sworn to the faithful and impartial performance of his duties as such surveyor.
That we caused four accurate and correct plats of the survey of the said section of land, as provided by the said act of the said Assembly, to be made, certified by ourselves and the said surveyor ; one of which plats we filed in the office of the Register of Deeds of the county of. Grant--one we forwarded to the Governor of the Territory-one we forwarded to the Surveyor General of Wisconsin and lowa, and the fourth we filed in our own office.
That we gave the notice required to be given by us by the fourth section of the act of the said Assembly, of the time and place that we would commence the examination of claims to pre-emption rights to lots upon the said section
of land. We examined and determined all claims to preemption rights, whether contested or not contested, to lots upon said section, presented to us for adjudication, and made out duplicate certificates of each pre-emption right allowed by us—one of which we delivered to the pre-empior, and the other we forwarded to the Governor of the Territory.
That as soon as we had decided upon all claims to pre-empa tion rights to lots upon said section, we gave immediate notice thereof to the Surveyor General of Wisconsin and Iowa, who thereupon appointed John Wharton, Augustus L. Gregoire and Henry A. Wiltse, Commissioners, to view and examine the lots actually improved and occupied, and to assess the value thereof according to the provisions of the said act of Congress; and the Commissioners appointed by the said Surveyor General did thereupon assess the value upon all such lots to waich a pre-emption right had been granted by us, and they also made out a certified copy of such valuation, which they filed in our office.
Your Commissioners would here remark, that the Commissioners appointed by the Surveyor General of Wisconsin and Iowa, in assessing the value of lots upon said section actually occupied and improved, did not regard the limitation provided by the 6th section of the said act of the said Assembly, have ing in many cases fixed the value of such occupied and improved lots below the minimum valuation provided by the 6th section of said act.
Your Commissioners would further report, that Robert Templeton, appointed by the said act of the said Assembly, Receiver of the funds arising from the sale of lots upon said section, declined in writing to act and qualify as such Receiver. Your Commissioners thereupon appointed Joel Allen Barber such Receiver, who qualified as provided by the said act of the said Assembly, whose official bond and his sureties were approved by us and forwarded to the Governor of the Territory.
That after such valuation was completed, and return thereof made to us, we gave notice in the manner provided in the seventh section of the said act of the said Assembly,