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made at least two years before application for citizenship (U. S. Statutes, vol. ii. page 153, and vol. iv. page 69.)
At the expiration of two years after the declaration, and at any time after five years' residence, the party desiring naturalization, if then not a citzen, denizen, or subject of any country at war with the United States, should appear in a court of record, and there be sworn to support the Constitution of the United States and renounce foreign allegiance. If he possessed any hereditary title or order of nobility, such also must be renounced, and satisfactory proof produced to the court by the testimony of witnesses, citizens of the United States, of the five-year residence in the country, one year of which must be within the state or territory where the court is held, and that during the five-year period he was a man of good moral character and attached to the principles of the Constitution; whereupon he will be admitted to citizenship, and thereby his children, under twenty-one years of age, if dwelling in the United States, will also be regarded as citizens. (U. S. Statutes, vol. ii. page 155.)
Where the alien has made his declaration and dies before being actually naturalized, the widow and children become citizens of the United States and entitled to all rights and privileges as such, upon taking the prescribed oaths. (U. S. Statutes, vol. ii. page 292.)
Any free white alien, being a minor, and under the age of twenty-one years at the time of arrival, who has resided in the country three years next preceding his majority of twenty-one years, may, after reaching such period and on five years' residence, including the three years of his minority, be admitted to citizenship without a preliminary declaration of intentions, provided he then makes the same, averring also on oath and proving to the court that for the past three years it had been his intention to become a citizen; also showing the fact of his residence and good character. (U. S. Statutes, vol. iv. page 69.)
Children of citizens of the United States born out of the country are deemed citizens, the right not descending, however, to persons whose fathers never resided in the country; and any woman who might legally be naturalized, married, or who shall be married to a citizen of the United States, is held to possess citizenship. (U. S. Statutes, vol. x. page 604.)
An alien twenty-one years of age and over, who has enlisted, or shall enlist, in the regular or volunteer armies of the United States, and be honorably discharged, may be admitted to citizenship upon his simple petition and satisfactory proof of one year's residence prior to his application, accompanying the same with proof of good moral character and honorable discharge. (U. S. Statutes, vol. xii. page 597.)
FOREIGN TITLES WHICH ORIGINATED UNDER THE FRENCH, SPANISH, BRITISH AND MEXICAN GOVERNMENTS.
In acquiring territory the United States have stipulated in different treaties for the recognition and protection of private property. This has been done not only as a measure of justice, but in coincidence with the public law.
CALIFORNIA.-Under the several acts of Congress for the settlement of Spanish and Mexican claims in that state, surveys have been reported in three hundred and sixty-seven cases, covering five million six hundred and ninety thousand five hundred acres; and of these patents have been issued for two hundred and seventy-five claims, embracing four million three hundred. and sixty-three thousand three hundred acres.
FLORIDA, LOUISIANA, AND MISSOURI.-The act of Congress approved March 2d, 1867, continues in force for three years the provisions of the statute of June 22d, 1860, “for the final adjustment of private land claims in the states of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri, and for other purposes.' "That act constituted the registers and receivers of the several land offices in Florida, Louisiana, and the recorder of land titles at St. Louis for the state of Missouri, commissioners to hear and decide, under instructions from the General Land Office, all matters respecting claims to land within their several districts. The law confers power upon them to receive only such claims as are founded on written grants, and hence interdicts action upon any interest founded merely on ancient settlement, when the same is unaccompanied by paper title from the authorities of the former gov
These statutes authorize the reception and action upon such claims for tracts within the several districts as have emanated from any foreign government, bearing date prior to the cession to the United States of the territory out of which the states were formed, or during the period when any such government claimed sovereignty or had the actual possession of the district or territory in which the lands so claimed are situated. This warrants them in receiving and acting not only upon claims which originated under the former governments while the authorities exercised the granting power de jure, before the cession of the country, but also allowed claims to be received which were made by the Spanish authorities while they were in actual occupancy of territory as the government de facto. Thus, for example, Spain parted with authority over the province of Louisiana by the secret treaty of 1800 at San Ildefonso, when that power ceded Louisiana to France. During the period that elapsed from that time to the
cession to the United States in 1803, by Napoleon, the Spanish authorities exercised the granting power; and so, several years subsequent to 1803, Spain, while in occupancy of the ancient province of Louisiana between the Iberville or Manchac and the Perdido, continued to make land concessions; and during this period the grants were, of course, those of the government de facto. Titles of this class stood excluded by the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Foster and Elam vs. Neilson (2 Peters's Supreme Court of the United States), in which an elaborate decision was rendered by the Chief Justice against their validity under the then existing laws and treaties. Now, by the force and effects of the said acts of 1860 and 1867, a status is given to claims founded on titles from de facto governments after the authority de jure had passed from them, a principle being thus legislatively recognized which had not previously been done nor admitted in the judicial rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Numerous claims that had their origin from governments which preceded the United States in sovereignty on this continent, have been finally confirmed by boards of commissioners, and by judicial decrees; but the greater number have been affirmed by direct legislative acts operating upon official reports submitted from time to time to Congress, from an early period.
In multitudes of cases parties in interest seem to have rested, as sufficient evidence of their right, upon the decrees or acts of confirmation, and actual possession, and hence the apathy in that respect which has existed in not applying for patents or complete titles as authorized by acts of Congress.
The General Land Office, however, is prepared to meet all lawful demands in the way of conferring such complete titles, where the terms of confirmation shall have been fully met by the rendition of authenticated plats of surveys, accompanied by the patent certificates, the statutory provisions generally making such instruments the necessary basis of patents from the United States.
LEGISLATION IN RELATION TO DISCONTINUANCE OF SURVEYING DISTRICTS.
An act for the discontinuance of the office of Surveyor-General in the several districts, so soon as the surveys therein shall be completed, was approved June 12th, 1840. (Section 1, Statutes, vol. v. p. 384.)
Another law was passed January 22d, 1853 (Statutes, vol. 10, p. 152, amendatory of that of June 12th, 1840), providing that
the field-notes, maps, records, and papers, may be turned over to the state authorities when a Surveyor-General's office is discontinued; the amendatory statute clothes the Commissioner of the General Land Office with authority to act ex-officio as Surveyor-General, the statute stipulating in behalf of the United States for free access to the archives after the same shall have been delivered to the state.
Pursuant to those enactments the archives were delivered, years ago, to the authorities of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, and more recently to Missouri and Wisconsin, the public surveys having been completed in those states. records for Arkansas and Illinois, where the field-work has been finished, are awaiting, as preliminary to delivery, the state legislative acceptance, according to the terms presented by acts of Congress. In Arkansas the completed archives, in 1859, were placed for safe-keeping with the register at Little Rock; other records connected with the surveys in that state are in charge of the General Land Office, while the surveying records for Illinois remain in the custody of the recorder of land titles at St. Louis. In Iowa, where the field-work is completed, the surveying records are at Dubuque, in anticipation of the requisite state legislative acceptance of the same.
The archives for Louisiana are in possession of the United States land office at New Orleans, and those for Florida are at Tallahassee.
LEGISLATION RESPECTING THE DISCONTINUANCE OF LAND OFFICES.
The law of June 12th, 1840 (second section Statutes, vol. v. p. 384), orders that whenever the quantity of land remaining unsold in any district shall be less than one hundred thousand acres, the district shall be discontinued, and the land unsold made subject to sale at the land office most convenient to the place in which the land office shall have been discontinued.
The 7th section of the act of September 4th, 1841 (Statutes, vol. v. p. 455), declares that land districts may be continued, if the quantity of land unsold does not equal one hundred thousand acres, should such continuance be required for public convenience, or in order to close the land system in a state.
The law of March 3d, 1853 (Statutes, vol. x. p. 194), provides that land offices may be annexed to adjacent districts by the President, whenever the cost of collecting revenue from sales of public lands in a district amounts to one-third of the whole revenue there received, if, in his opinion, the consolidation is not incompatible with the public interest.
By the act of March 3d, 1853 (Statutes, vol. x. p. 244), authority is conferred upon the chief executive to change the seats of land offices.
The first section of the act of February 18th, 1861, vol xii. p. 131, authorized the register and receiver of the consolidated office, at Boonville, Missouri, to receive fees for certain services. The second section of that law allows office rent and clerk hire, if sanctioned by the Secretary of the Interior. The third section extends the provisions of that statute to all consolidated offices.
In the fifth section of the law of 30th May, 1862, vol. xii. p. 409, it is declared that upon recommendation of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the President may direct the discontinuance of any district, and the transfer of its business and archives to any other land office within the same state or territory.
By the seventh section of the act of 26th July, 1866, Laws, p. 252, the President is authorized, in reference to mining interests, to establish additional land districts, and appoint officers under existing laws, whenever he may deem it necessary for the public convenience. In executing the provisions of the law, registers and receivers, under this act, are held by the General Land Office as possessing powers coextensive with all other interests connected with the disposal not only of mineral but agricultural
Under the above-mentioned act, additional land offices have been created and established as follows:
At Sacramento, California, district composed of the counties of Sierra Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, and Sacramento.
At Austin, Nevada, district composed of the county of Lander. At Belmont, Nevada, district composed of the counties of Nye, Esmeralda, and the unorganized county of Lincoln.
At Lewistown, Territory of Idaho, district embracing all that part of the territory lying north of the Salmon river range of mountains.
At Fair Play, Territory of Colorado, district composed of the counties of Lake, Park, and Summit.
Under the act of 27th of June, 1866, Laws, p. 77, a land office has been established at Boise City, Idaho Territory, the district embracing all that part of the territory lying south of the Salmon river chain of mountains.
Under authority of the act of March 2d, 1867, Laws, p. 542, a land office for the Territory of Montana has been established at Helena, and the site of a land office for the Territory of Arizona has been fixed at Prescott.
In accordance with the provisions of the act of 3d March,