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enjoyment of comfortable, and thousands of them of luxurious homes, acquired from the government under the operation of this benign policy.
But the liberality in public gratuities has been even more munificent than that towards individuals. More than 7,000,000 acres have been given to the states to aid in educating the people, thereby giving strength and vigor to the elements of a free government.
Then Congress conceded to certain states the "swamp lands" within their limits, the aggregate selections thus far reaching 60,246,532 of acres. Upwards of sixty-five millions of acres have been granted for military services in the revolutionary war and the war with Great Britain, Mexico, etc. Five hundred thousand acres have been granted to each of the land states for internal improvements, grants to universities, and to aid in the building of railroads.
Finally, Congress, in 1863, granted 150,000,000 of acres to aid in building the Pacific Railroad, a scheme which is destined at no very distant day to consolidate the industrial and commercial interests of the country, open up and people the vast empire beyond the western limits of the present frequented paths of civilization, and bind together the Atlantic and Pacific States, with their intermediate links, in a bond of union which internal conspiracies or foreign cupidity and avarice shall never be able to break, but which the lapse of ages shall weld stronger and stronger while time lasts.
The policy of Congress with reference to the public domain, as indicated by their acts, appears to be not to look to the public lands as a source of direct revenue, but rather by encouraging bona fide settlements and aiding important works of internal improvement and institutions for the education of the people, to quicken the settlement of the country and the development of its resources, and, by increasing individual wealth and educa
tion, secure national riches, prosperity and happiness, thereby realizing the true end and aim of a democratic government, based upon the virtue, intelligence and freedom of its people.
THE PUBLIC LAND DEPARTMENT.
The Constitution of the United States delegates to Congress the power of disposing of the public domain. The General Land Office is the executive bureau, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, to carry into effect the laws of Congress relating to the public lands, and direct the various details of the public land system. The chief officer of the General Land Office is denominated the Commissioner, to whom all communications intended for this bureau should be addressed.
The states and territories in which there are unsurveyed public lands are divided by Congress into surveying districts. Some of these districts comprise one or more states or territories, but no more than one district is made out of a single state or territory. A SurveyorGeneral is appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for each surveying district, whose duties are to direct the surveying operations in his district, under the instructions of the General Land Office.
The following table shows the surveying districts as at present constituted, and the location of each SurveyorGeneral's office, together with the name and salary of each of said officers.
NOTE. The public surveys have been completed in the following states, excepting some small islands and fragmentary strips of land along the margins of rivers, bayous, etc., to wit: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. Nearly all the public land is also surveyed in Louisiana and Florida.
Each Surveyor-General is allowed a chief clerk, draughtsman, and such number of clerks as are necessary to carry on the business of his office, all of whom receive their appointments from said Surveyor-General. If the fact were generally understood that the letting of all contracts for surveying the public lands and all positions in said offices are under the immediate and sole control of the Surveyors-General, fewer communications soliciting employment in the public surveying service would be addressed to the General Land Office, and some perplexity and disappointment would be saved to such applicants.
RATES PAID FOR PUBLIC SURVEYING.
All surveying contracts are made at specified rates per lineal mile of line "actually run and marked in the field," offsets and random lines not included, the rate varying
according to the kind of line to be run and the locality in which the survey is to be made.
The following are the surveying rates authorized by law for the respective states and territories:
The prices in the foregoing table are the maximum rates allowed by law, but the full prices are not always paid. In some localities surveying can be done at less than these rates, and still afford a fair compensation to the surveyor for his labor. In the more remote districts, where the cost of provisions and labor is greater, the full rates are allowed, and in some instances higher rates than those named are paid where the appropriation is based upon estimates at greater prices.
When the field work is completed, the field notes are returned to the office of the Surveyor-General, where they are examined and tested, and plats* and transcripts are prepared and transmitted to the General Land Office,
*The plats are uniformly constructed on a scale of 40 chains to an inch.
approved by the Surveyor-General in his official capacity, together with the surveying account of the deputy; and no surveys are paid for until such plats and transcripts are examined at the General Land Office and found correct. The plats and transcripts are prepared without cost to the deputy surveyors.
* Russian America, acquired by purchase in 1867, is estimated to contain 369,529,600 acres.
The following is a comparative statement of the land measures of the United States and the French measures