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cessity of immediately establishing said road.
President of the Council. APPROVED, January 21, 1847.
To the President of the United States relative
to the sale of certain lands.
To His Excellency, James K. Polk, President of the United States :
The memorial of the Council and House of Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin respectfully represents:
That by the late proclamation issued for the sale of lands in the Mineral Point land district, in the territory of Wisconsin, to be held at Mineral Point, in this territory, on the 24th day of May next, a large number of tracts of land are proclaimed for sale which were entered at the Mineral Point land office several years since, some of them as early as 1834, in accordance with the laws of the United States regulating the sales of the public lands. Some of these lands too, which are so again proclaimed for sale, were entered by pre-emption, and some were purchased at public sale, at prices ranging from one dollar and twenty-five cents to sixty dollars and upwards per acre; and whaterer value may attach to them has been created by the labor and improvements of the pioneer settlers of the country, who, coming into our territory at an early day, and exposed to peculiar hardships and privations, have by their own hands subdued the forests, cultivated the prairies, opened the mines, constructed the roads, erected the school houses, and prepared the way for the advancement and diffusion of civilization, science, and the arts.
As the most injurious and distressing consequences would result to a large number of the citizens of this territory, if the lands so entered and paid for should be again disposed of at public sale, the legislative assembly of the territory of Wisconsin deem it an act of duty to the people residing in the said land district to address Your Excellency in their behalf.
Your memorialists regard the welfare of any one portion of the territory as intimately connected with the growth and prosperity of the whole, and therefore that whatever concerns the people of the western portion affects more or less the people of all other portions of the territory.
Of the highest importance to the settlers of the country is the tenure by which they hold their lands. If the tenure be fixed, certain and stable, industry is encouraged, permanent improvements are made, and a settled and thrifty population occupy the soil. But where lands are held by an uncertain, capricious tenure, industry languishes, improvements are retarded, and the population is changing and unsettled. These evils, which, to no inconsiderable extent, have for many years existed in a portion of this territory, are now threatened to be increased and aggravated by the proposed sale of lands which years ago were entered at the Mineral Point land office.
If there have been occasional instances of fraud in the entry of lands, it is respectfully suggested that the judicial tribunals are alone the proper sources to investigate the evil and apply the remedy; and that to expose again to sale the lands embraced in the said proclamation which have been once entered, without such entries having been set aside by a decree of a competent judicial tribunal, would be making the innocent purchaser suffer from the acts of the fraudulent, and would be fraught with injustice and ruin to a large number who have violated no law, and who are not obnoxious to the slightest charge of having wronged or defrauded the government.
Your memorialists are persuaded that the effect of another public sale of lands which have once been entered, would be but still further to unsettle the titles of land in the western portion of Wisconsin, create vexatious litigation, promote distrust and disaffection, and disturb the public peace. It could not fail also to have a tendency to diminish materially the sales of land never before offered, as a general feeling of insecurity would pervade the minds of the settlers of that portion of the country as to the tenure by which they hold their lands purchased of the government, and a constant apprehension be felt that on some change in the administration of the affairs of the general land office, or of the general government, their purchases of land might be again regarded as invalid, and after years of labor and large sums of money expended upon them, might be again exposed to public sale, and themselves and their families reduced to penury
and ruin. The disastrous effects of such a state of things upon the prosperity of our territory, now about emerging from territorial dependence to the position of a sovereign state, camnot fail to be obvious to Your Excellency.
These lands, so entered, and which are now for a second time proclaimed for sale, comprise the homesteads of a large number of actual settlers in our territory, who purchased their lands of the government in good faith, for the purpose of actual settlement, who have been living upon them for years, have long paid taxes upon them, have opened and cultivated farms, erected permanent and substantial buildings, and exhausted upon them, in many instances, all their means in making improvements, and in providing a home for themselves and their families.
To expose these lands again to sale would be to strip a large number of the settlers in our territory of their dear. bought homes, to invite cupidity and avarice to take advantage of the poor and the necessitous, to open the door to oppression and injustice, and to hazard the peace and welfare of an important portion of our territory.
In view of all these facts, and urged by the most important considerations of public policy and public justice, and as the
only effectual means of protecting and securing the rights of
President of the Council. APPROVED, January 29, 1847.
To congress for the indemnification of Elbert
Dickenson. To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatires of the United States in Congress assembled :
The memorial of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin, respectfully sheweth:
That some time in the month of December, A. D. 1839, a band of Winnebago Indians, consisting of about seventy persons, and coming from the west side of the Wisconsin river, a region to which the Indian title had not been extinguished, forcibly entered and took possession of the buildings and farm of Elbert Dickenson, of Columbus, in Portage county, in the territory of Wisconsin, on the east side of the Wisconsin riva
er : that such possession was retained by the said Indians until some time in March following, during which time they subsisted upon the provisions of the said Elbert Dickenson until the whole was exhausted.
Your memorialists further shew that the damage sustained by the said Elbert Dickenson, by reason of such forcible occupation of his farm, and consumption of his provisions was very great. The wheat alone consumed by them amounted to twelve hundred bushels, of the value as estimated by six sworn appraisers, of nine hundred and seventy dollars.
Believing that under the act of June 30th, 1834, commonly called the Indian intercourse act, his losses would be refunded, he applied to the war department for redress and compensation.
His application to that department was rejected on the ground that his case did not come within the provisions of that act, and that therefore the department could not issue an order for the payment of the claim out of the Indian annuity.
Your memorialists therefore recommend the case of this claimant to the favorable consideration of your honorable body, and trust the guaranty of the United States, given in the aforementioned act, for the eventual indemnification of persons whose property has in such manner been taken, stolen or destroyed, will be made available for the benefit of this claimant.
President of the Council APPROVED, February 5, 1847.