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REPAIR OF TREASURY BUILDING.
JANUARY 30, 1907.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. CONNER, from the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds,
submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 25048.]
The Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 25048) for the restoration, reconstruction, and repair of the east front of the Treasury building, Washington, D. C., having had the same under consideration, submit the following explanation thereof:
The east front of the United States Treasury building was originally constructed of soft stone more than eighty-five years ago, and is now rapidly deteriorating, with the result that it is becoming not only unsightly, but because of liability of stones falling, is a menace to pedestrians. Not long ago a portion of the cornice fell and struck the pavement in close proximity to a person who happened to be standing at that point.
Attempts have been made to repair by piecemeal the parts of the building giving way, but it is found that this does not relieve the situation. Extensive repairs are necessary to remedy apparent defects, but it is impossible to detect all places where stones are liable to become detached and fall, and the necessary repairs increase the unsightliness of this portion of the building.
The only permanent remedy appears to be to substitute for the defective soft stone, granite to match the remainder of the building, and to satisfactorily do this will require approximately $360,000.
There is now on the books of the Treasury Department an unexpended balance remaining from appropriation for “ Treasury building, Washington, D. C., ventilation," and it is recommended that Congress act favorably in the matter of making the substitution of stone above referred to of the unexpended balance.
It is the purpose to have this unexpended balance, $155,147.42, be made available for the work, and the further sum of $201,852.58 should be appropriated, making a total of $360,000 for the work in question.
PATENTS, ETC., ON LANDS FORMERLY IN FORT
BERTHOLD RESERVATION, N. DAK.
JANUARY 30, 1907.—Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. GRONNA, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 24473.)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred House bill 24473, respectfully submit the following report:
The committee have carefully considered the letters from the Hon. E. A. Hitchcock, Secretary of the Interior, and the Hon. W. A. Richards, Commissioner of the General Land Office, upon the subject of this bill, and recommend that the bill do pass. The following are the letters referred to:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January 26, 1907. SIB: In a letter of the 19th instant to the Department you inclosed H. R. 24473, entitled “A bill to define the status of certain patents and pending entries, selections, and filings on lands formerly within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota,” for any information or suggestions I may desire to offer to aid the committee in its further consideration.
The bill was referred to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and on the 24th instant be submitted a report thereon, a copy of which, with its inclosure, I transmit herewith.
The inclosure in the letter of the Commissioner is a copy of a letter of December 19, 1906, to the Department from the Acting Commissioner relative to the subject-matter involved in the bill, which is substantially a copy of a draft of a bill prepared in the General Land Office and submitted with that report. A copy of that report was transmitted to the chairman of the Committee on Public Lands (Senate) in departmental letter of December 28, 1906, favorable to the passage of the bill.
I concur in the recommendation of the Commissioner that the bill be enacted into law. Very respectfully,
E. A. HITCHCOCK, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE PUBLIC LANDS,
House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., January 24, 1907. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by departmental reference of January 21, 1907, for early report, in duplicate, with recommendation and return of papers, of a bill (H. R. 24473) entitled “A bill to define the status of certain patents and pending entries, selections, and filings on lands for merly within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota,” with a communication from the Hon. John F. Lacey, chairman Committee on the Public Lands, calling your attention to the inclosed bill by Mr. Marshall, and for any information or suggestions that you may desire to offer said committee to aid them in its further consideration.
On December 19, 1906, this Office made a full and complete report, in duplicate to you in relation to the subject-matter involved in said bill, which is substantially a copy of the draft of a bill prepared by this Office and submitted with said report, and, as I know of no further information or suggestions that you may be able to offer in connection therewith, the bill being a meritorious one, I would recommend its enactment into law.
I return the papers referred with the report, in duplicate, and inclose a copy of Office report of date above given. Very respectfully,
W. A. RICHARDS, Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., December 19, 1906. SIR: I am in receipt by departmental reference of the 6th instant, for report and recommendation in duplicate and return, of a communication dated November 28 ultimo, addressed to the Secretary of the Interior from Hon. H. C. Hansbrough, United States Senate, wherein attention is called to the fact that a large number of various kinds of entries have been allowed upon the lands in the western part of North Dakota, formerly comprised in the Fort Berthold Reservation; that contests have been filed against a number of these entries, and that much confusion will arise and gross injustice be done to the entrymen if the contest be allowed to stand ; that Congressional legislation seems to be required in order to remedy the situation, and you are requested to furnish him with all available information and data upon the subject in the possession of your Department, and if in your judgment legislation is necessary, it is re quested that you submit a draft of a proposed bill which will cover the question.
The lands in question were originally set apart for the Arickaree Gros Ventre and Mandan Indians and form a part of what was known as the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. They were opened to settlement and entry under the homestead laws by the President's proclamation issued May 20, 1891 (27 Stat. L., 979), pursuant to the provisions of the twenty-fifth section of the act approved March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. L., 1032), which provides :
“ That whenever any of the lands acquired by this agreement hereby ratified and confirmed shall, by operation of law or proclamation of the President of the United States, be open to settlement, they shall be disposed of to actual settlers only under the provisions of the homestead laws, except section twentythree hundred and one of the Revised Statutes of the United States, which shall not apply: Provided, however, That each settler on said lands shall, he fore making final proof and receiving a certificate of entry, pay to the United States for the land so taken by him, in addition to the fees provided by law,
and within five years from the date of the first original entry the sum of one dollar and fifty cents for each acre thereof, one-half of which shall be paid within two years; but the rights of honorably discharged Union soldiers and sailors, as defined and described in sections twenty-three hundred and four and twenty-three hundred and five of the Revised Statutes, shall not be abridged except as to the sum to be paid as aforesaid.”
Section 38 of said act applicable to the restored lands in a number of reservations, including the one in question, granted sections 16 and 36 to the States and reserved said sections for the benefit of the Territories wherein situated for the support of public schools, etc.
The act approved May 17, 1900 (31 Stat. L., 179), known as the free homes act provides :
* That all 'settlers under the homestead laws of the United States upon the agricultural public lands, which have already been opened to settlement, acquired prior to the passage of this act by treaty or agreement from the various Indian tribes, who have resided or shall hereafter reside upon the tract, entered in good faith for the period required by existing law, shall be entitled to a patent for the land so entered upon the payment to the local land officers of the usual and customary fees, and no other or further charge of any kind whatsoever shall be required from such settler to entitle him to a patent for the land covered by his entry: Provided,
The act approved January 26, 1901 (31 Stat. L., 740), prescribed :
"That the provisions of section twenty-three hundred and one of the Revised Statutes of the United States, as amended, allowing homestead settlers to commute their homestead entries, be, and the same hereby are, extended to all homestead settlers affected by or entitled to the benefits of the provisions of the act entitled 'An act providing for free homesteads on public lands for that purpose,' approved the seventeenth day of May, anno Domini nineteen hundred : Prorided, however, That in commuting such entires the entryman shall pay the price provided in the law under which original entry was made."
It will be observed that the lands in question were, under the provisions of tløe act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. L., 1032), open to settlement and entry under the provisions of the homestead laws only, section 2301 Revised Statutes excepted, and upon the payment of $1.50 per acre for the land before the issuance of patent; that the act of May 17, 1900 (31 Stat. L., 179), known as the “ freehomes act," relieved the homestead settlers who made the ordinary five years' homestead proof from the payment of the $1.50 per acre, and that the act of January 26, 1901 (31 Stat. L., 740), extended the right of commutation to such settlers under the homestead law upon the payment, however, for the full price of the land fixed upon the original entries.
It would appear, therefore, that such lands are now subject to disposition under the general provisions of the homestead law only with the exception that commuted entries must be paid for at the rate of $1.50 per acre, and that no other entry, filing, or selection, save mineral entries, which seem to be provided for under the provisions of the act opening such lands to settlement, may be allowed therefor.
It would appear that when the proclamation of President Harrison was issued restoring these lands to settlement pursuant to provisions of the twenty-sixth section of the act approved March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. L., 1032), no instructions were issued by the Department or this office relative to the disposition of such lands, and it would further appear that a large portion if not all of the lands at the date of the restoration to settlement was unsurveyed; that when the surveys subsequently made were approved, and tract books opened for recording entries, etc., in this office, no notations were made indicating the restrictions under which such lands were restored to settlement.
The local officers not having been instructed not to allow entries other than homestead entries made upon actual settlement, and not having been advised that commuted entries should be paid for at the rate of $1.50 per acre instead of the rate provided by section 2301, Revised Statutes, which allowed homestead entries to be commuted at the rate of $1.25 per acre, have allowed a large number of homestead commutations at $1.25 per acre, and also permitted entries, selections, and filings other than those made under the homestead laws to go of record, and owing to the absence of proper notations on the records of this office, suck entries and selections, with the exception of forest lieu selections under the act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat. L., 36), have been allowed to remain of record and in many instances have been passed to patent.