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said office. He shall keep a seal of office; and copies a records, books, and papers under the seal of said office, shall be evidence in all cases in which the originals would be evidence. He shall, when required, make plots of any land surveyed under the authority of the United States, and give other information in relation to the public lands and the business of his office. turns relative to the public lands shall be made to the commissioner, who shall audit and settle all acoounts relative to the public lands; and it is his duty, upon the settlement of the accounts, to certify the balances, and transmit them, with vouchers and certificates, to the Comptroller of the Treasury, for his examination and decision.
$ 595. Lands granted for military services shall be granted by warrants from the Secretary at War, recorded in the Land Office, and for which Patents shall be afterward issued. All Patents issued from the Land Office, are in the name of the United States, signed by the President, countersigned by the Commissioner, and under the seal of his office. Neither the Commissioner, nor any one in his office, are permitted to purchase any public lands for himself, or for any other person, or in trust for any one.
SURVEY AND DISPOSITION OF THE PUBLIC LANDS.
§ 596. Under the general head of the Land Office comes the mode of surveying, selling, and otherwise disposing of the public domain. We have already seen, that at the adoption of the Constitution, much difficulty arose in respect to the public lands,—that they were finally ceded to the general government,—that the government established a separate department for their better regulation, and that a system has been enacted by Congress for their disposition. What that system is we shall now enquire. It relates, 1st. To the mode of survey; and 2d. To the disposition of the lands, whether by sale or gist; 3d. To the title of the occupants.
§ 597. 1. As to the mode of survey. Previous to the year 1796, large tracts of land bad been purchased by individuals of the government, grants had been made to Virginia and other states, for military bounty lands, and these lands had been surveyed by the respective parties claiming title. The surveys were of course different, having no relation to each other, and some of them, particularly those made under the authority of Virginia, extremely defective. In disposing of military lands, for example, no particular tract was sold, but a warrant was issued, and that warrant located by the holder on any ground not otherwise disposed of. These warrants likewise had different priorities, both as to date and location, which frequently had to be determined by litigation. The locations also were often made to lap upon one another. Hence, it became obvious, that some system of survey and sale, having for its basis safety, regularity, and permanency, must be adopted. By the acts of May, 1796, April, 1816, March, 1804, February, 1806, and of March, 1817, a complete system of surveying, upon scientific principles, was established under the authority of Congress.
$ 598. The surveying of the public lands is divided into six divisions, each of which is controlled by an officer, called a Surveyor-general, who has under him a sufficient number of deputies and clerks, and is charged with surveying all the public lands to which the Indian title is extinguished within his district.
§ 599. The surveying districts, as now established, are, 1. The Surveyor-general, north-west of the Ohio, for the states of Ohio, Indiana, and the territory of Michigan. 2. The Surveyor of public lands south of Tennessee, for the state of Mississippi. 3. Surveyor for the states of Illinois and Missouri, and territory of Arkansas. 4. Surveyor of public lauds in Alabama. 5. Surveyorgeneral for Louisiana. 6. Surveyor of public lands in Florida,
$ 600. The duty of the Surveyor-general north-west of the Ohio, as prescribed by the act of May, 1796, was the basis of those for all the others. By that act, the Surveyor-general was directed to engage a sufficient number of skilful surveyors as deputies, and to survey and mark the unascertained outlines of lands lying within his district, to which the Indian title was extin-, guished, and to divide it in the manner hereafter described; it was also his duty to frame regulations for the government of his deputies, administer the necessary oaths, and remove them for negligence or misconduct.
$ 601. The mode in which he was directed to survey the land was this:-The whole country to be surveyed is first divided by parallel north and south lines, or meridians, exactly six miles apart, and these again are crossed by other lines precisely at right angles, or east and west, to the first, and also six miles apart; so that the whole country is divided into squares of six miles on a side, or thirty-six square miles: these squares are called townships, and are distinguished by numbers. These again are divided by lines parallel to the former, and exactly one mile apart, into other squares, containing one square mile. These last squares are called sections, and as there are exactly thirty-six square miles in a township, so there are precisely as many sections, numbered from one to thirty-six. The corners of the sections are all marked upon some tree near, and the number of the section is also marked. · Each column of townships, or spaces between two of the north and south parallels, is called a Range, east or west of certain meridians. To describe a section accurately, then, you say thus,-Section number 5, in township number 4, in Range 3d, west of the Meridian, drawn through the mouth of the Great Miami River. Such a description fixes the situation of the ground with absolute certainty: The purchaser has only first to go to the 3d column of townships west of the given meridian, which he cres
by the map must be in the eastern part of Indiana, then to look for township No. 4, and lastly for section 5, of that township, which will be marked by cornerposts, and limited by lines blazed on the trees. Since the first law directing the mode of survey, others have been passed, authorizing their survey into half and quarter sections, which has been done; and of late they have been subdivided into eighths. Each section, or square mile, contains exactly 640: acres; of course, a half section has 320,-a quarter 160,- and an eighth 80. A township, being 36 sections, contains precisely 23040 acres. To make these surveys accurately, it was first necessary to establish the meridian lines, or lines running due north and south; and this, to be done well, must be done astronomically. At the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency, he, for this purpose, and for that of establishing the geography of the country, appointed a 'gentleman of science and abilities to the office of Surveyor-general, under whose direction, and by whose astronomical observations, the principal meridians of Ohio and Indiana were established. The same system of survey has been continued ever since, and no country can exhibit greater accuracy in its internal geography, or greater security to its land titles, than that portion of the United States which has grown out of the public domain.
$ 602. 2d. The next subject in relation to United States lands is their disposition, whether by sale or grant.
1. Disposition by gift. The United States have been in the highest degree liberal, both to states and individuals, for the purposes either of charity or general utility. The principle and the mode of making these grants may be known for the whole, by examining those for the state of Ohio, the oldest of the states carved out of the public domain.
1 The person appointed was the late Col. Jared Mansfield, who lok the office of Surveyor-general from 1802 till 1812.
$ 603. 1. In the Ohio Company's purchase, there were reserved two townships for the use of a university
2. An entire township in Symmes' purchase was granted for the purpose of an academy, or university.
3. In the Ohio Company's and Symmes' purchase, an entire section in each township is granted for the purposes of Religion.
4. One section in each township, or one thirty-sixth part of the whole public land in that state, is reserved for schools. In the Military District and the Connecticut Western Reserve, a large number of quarter sections were also given, as an equivalent for the thirty
5. Three per cent. of the funds arising from the sale of public lands is reserved for roads.
6. The reservations of the salt springs on the Scioto and the Muskingum.
7. Congress have lately made large grants to aid in the construction of the Ohio and Miami Canals,—about 500,000 acres.
§ 604. The total amount of grants made to the state of Ohio for school, mipisterial, canal, and other purposes, does not fall much short of 2,000,000 of acres, or one-13th. part of the entire surface of the state.
The grants in the other states have scarcely been less. Those for school and academic purposes have been the same; and nearly all of them have received large grants for the purposes of public improvement.
$ 605. 2. Disposition by Sale. As fast as the lands are surveyed in the manner described, and as in the discretion of the President, it may seem necessary, they are offered at public sale, at the several land offi
These offices are created by act of Congress, in every large district of surveyed lands, for the purpose of convenience to the purchaser. Attached to each is a