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To Congress relative to confirming the titles, to 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 tho money that had been paid for said premises.
Since 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 decisior.s of the authorized agents of the United States are to be reversed and pre-emptions rejected, there is no safeiy 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 Assembly 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 making 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.
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 Territo. 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 ses 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 subject, 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 indi. viduals and the State of Illinois, and such reservations, as the Pre. sident shall deem necessary to 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 speculator, and would be forced into competition with capitalists, in the purchase of land which, after years of toil, expenditure and priva. gion, he has proved to be valuable. That this 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 portion 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 them to compete with the thiner and occupant, and to monopolize the most valuable lands of our Territory.
Your memorialists would further represent, that if a fair con. struction had been given to the pre-emption act of the 29th of May, 1830, and the instructions issued under that act, revived by the act of 191h June, 1834, by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, to the Registers and Receivers, defining what culti. vation was necessary to secure a pre-emption to the occupant, many persons residing in the lead mines could have entered their improvements, and thereby secured their mineral discoveries, but believing that justice would be done them, and that their claims would eventually be secured to them by Congress, these persons did not urge the advantage which the act of the 26th of June, 1834, conferred on them, which act clearly and fully authorizes the sale and entry of the mineral lands, in the Wisconsin land district.
Your memorialists would further represent, that the President of the United States, in his proclamation of July, 1834, and June, 1885, offering the lands in the Wisconsin land district for sale, made a reservation of “all-lands on which lead mines or diggings are indicated to exist by the official plats of survey, together with such other tracts as from satisfactory evidence to be adduced to the Register of the land office prior to the date of sale, shall be shown to contain lead mines;" consequently, lands of this de. scription were not offered at public sale or out-cry, according to law, and, therefore, were not subject to private entry.
Your memorialists would further represents that after the land sales in the Wisconsin land district in the years 1834 and 1835, the Register and Receiver adopted a regulation for their guidance, requiring negative proof that the lands reserved by the President, and which had not been offered at public sale or out-cry, did not contain lead ore.
Under the action of this regulation numerous tracts of mineral land were entered at private entry, and it is be. lieved an immense amount of fraud and false swearing have been perpetrated to the disgrace of the country and the injury of the