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STATE OF CALIFORNIA, OFFICE OF SURVEYOR-GENERAL,
SACRAMENTO, August 1, 1882. To his Excellency GEORGE C. PERKINS, Governor of California:
DEAR SIR: In accordance with the requirements of the law relating to the duties of the Surveyor-General, I have the honor to submit the following report of the transactions of this office from August 1, 1880, to August 1, 1882.
JAMES W. SHANKLIN, Surveyor-General and ex officio Register of the State Land Office.
As surveys of the public land enuring to the State under the several grants made by Acts of Congress are not under the control or direction of this office, and are legal only when made under the direction of the United States Surveyor-General for California, I have to rely on said officer for the following data, which he has kindly furnished, in order that I may be enabled to meet the requirements of the State law.
AREA OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.
The area of the State of California is estimated at 100,500,000 acres, apportioned as follows:
Agricultural and mineral lands surveyed to June 30, 1880.
61,887,392 26,211,501 8,383,375
318,631 1,531,700 1,635,227
GENERAL OFFICE BUSINESS.
From August 1, 1880, to August 1, 1892, applications to purchase school lands have been filed as follows:
In the Los Angeles district
9,900.00 14,023.17 40,137.15 4,563.88 6,398.18 11,843.54 15,676.83 3,763.30 4,736.29 28,138.80
Approvals of: applications have been made as follows: For School Lands, coveritg 75,503;36 acres, and for Swamp and Overflowed Lands, covering 21;016,39 acres.
From the office of the Surveyor-General, fifty-four orders of reference to the Superior Courts have been issued, and from the office of the Register, forty-seven have been issued.
LAND OFFICE GENERAL OFFICIAL BUSINESS.
From August 1, 1881, to July 31, 1882, inclusive, three hundred and four Certificates of Purchase have been issued, embracing the following number of acres under the different grants:
During the same time, five hundred and forty-eight Patents have been issued, embracing the following number of acres under the different grants :
SWAMP LAND DISTRICTS ORGANIZED. During the same time, twenty-five Swamp Land Reclamation Districts have been created, reported to this office, and numbered as follows:
During the same time there has been received from County Boards of Supervisors evidence of completion of reclamation, or of the expenditure of two dollars per acre upon the works of reclamation of lands embraced in the following named districts, and the statements relating thereto have been sent to the County Treasurers:
Amount collected as Surveyor-General, from August 1, 1880, to August 1, 1882, $4,554 25.
Amount collected as Register of State Land Office, from August 1, 1880, to August 1, 1882, $4,742 05.
GENERAL OFFICE WORK.
The office of the Surveyor-General has been furnished with an entire new set of working maps, neatly backed with muslin, and well bound; and copies of United States township maps have been procured.
All the cases, both in the office of the State Surveyor-General and Register, used for filing applications, and other papers relating to titles issued, have been furnished with tin cases, and are plainly labeled, so as to show their contents.
Indexes of the names of all applicants for School Lands, or for lands under the 500,000 acres, and for Seminary and Public Buildings grants, have been made, leaving only indexes of lands applied for under the Swamp and Overflowed Land grant to be made, to have a complete reference to all applicants for State lands. Nothing of this kind has ever before been attempted in the office.
The correspondence of the Surveyor-General's office, in answering inquiries as to the condition of State lands, and in giving information called for concerning the existence of conflicting applications, has been unusually great, taking nearly all the time of two men.
LANDS GRANTED TO THE STATE.
When I came into the office, I found such disagreement between the State and United States Land Offices in relation to the condition of the various grants, that the Secretary of the Interior had, in consequence thereof, declined to list any more land to the State. I then prepared a complete ledger statement of all the Indemnity School sands received from the United States, and took it to Washington, and made a careful comparison of this work with the maps and the records of the General Land Office. The Commissioner furnished a clerk for each department of the examination on the part of the United States, and I personally acted on the part of the State. That comparison showed, notwithstanding the fact that many corrections had been made, that the State still had received an excess by listing of about 70,000 acres more than was justly due.
Examinations were also made as to the condition of the other grants, and it was found, that while the State had applied for more land under each of the other grants, no excess had been received. This work at Washington occupied over ten weeks, and, on my return, I had duplicate copies of the comparisons made and returned to Washington to aid in future adjustments.
In addition to this work, I made maps, showing the exact lines established as the boundaries of the various railroad reservations in this State. This became necessary, not as a matter of general information, but because the Commissioner of the General Land Office has decided that when the State selects indemnity lands within such reserved limits, the land must be regarded as double minimum in price, and the State cannot select within the reserved limits, unless it has lost other lands equivalent in price, without agreeing to surrender two acres for one. This was done in some cases before I came into office, but without authority, for the Surveyor-General is not allowed to charge more than $1 25 per acre for State land, while to
Trender two acres for one would occasion a loss to the School Fund
of $1 25 per acre in all such cases, unless applicants would voluntarily pay $2 50 per acre.
Since the completion of the Washington work, the Commissioner of the General Land Office has revoked the order prohibiting further listing to the State, and lists have been received at this office as follows:
Other lists will follow, and it is likely that inside of a year all listing, except of the Lieu Land grant, will be completed and the accounts closed.
As to the Lieu Land grant, the work under that will increase if the bill now before Congress becomes a law, which proposes the granting of indemnity to the State for school purposes on account of the loss of the 16th or 36th Sections, or parts thereof, reserved by the United States as mineral land.
In my opinion the grant should also be increased for school purposes by the allowance of indemnity for 16th or 36th Sections, or parts thereof, granted to the State as Swamp and Overflowed lands; because this reservation of swamp and overflowed land is as much a "public use" as the reservation of the mineral lands. The School Fund should be indemnified for the loss of one as much as for the loss of the other, since the grant was of the 16th and 36th Sections of public lands in each township for the use of schools. I think that a fair construction of the granting clause, taken in connection with the section granting indemnity for loss of Sections 16 and 36 contemplated the granting of said sections in place or an equivalent therefor when interfered with from any cause; and the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Keystone case, admits that this is the natural import of the granting words, but held that it was contrary to public policy and custom to grant away mineral lands. At the same time the Court intimated that indemnity for the loss was contemplated by the 7th Section of the granting Act of March 3, 1853. On this account the bill referred to was prepared so that the opposition of the General Land Office to allowing indemnity might be removed by Act of Congress. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits the action of the House, where it should be amended to include indemnity for loss to the schools, occasioned by the Swamp Land grant. The attention of our Representatives in Congress should be called to this matter, in order that California may be put on an equal footing with other States whose school grant is similarly interfered with, but indemnity allowed by law.