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The constitution provides that the General Assembly shall have power to abolish or reorganize the Board of Education at any time after the year 1863, and as another session of the General Assembly will transpire before that time, any legislation on the subject at present would certainly be unwise and premature, and would probably render our whole educational system still more complicated than before.

FIVE PER CENT FUND.-Our admission into the Federal Union transpired in the fall of 1846. At this time there were very few outstanding military land warrants. A part of the compact of admission was, that in consideration the government lands should not be taxed by us, the State should receive 5 per cent upon the net sales of the lands within her chartered limits. Upon the cash sales we are and have been receiving this fund; but upon all en

. tries made with military land warrants, the 5 per cent is denied us upon the ground that such entries are mere bounties, and not sales. In February, 1847, three or four months after our admission into the Union, Congress passed an act offering one quarter section of land to every private, musician, and non-commissioned officer who would enter and serve a given period in the Mexican war. This war closed about the time that our best lands were being brought into market; vast numbers of these warrants were issued and were located in this State, absorbing a large proportion of our best lands. As they formed a part of the contract of en. listment, they could not have been withheld by the government without an act of bad faith, not so however if they were in fact only bounties. But they were issued in discharge of a consideration that had been given in the form of military services, and their subsequent redemption in land, constituted a sale in the sense of the law as well as the compact. Such is the opinion of the best jurists in the country. I have appealed in vain to the Secretary of the Interior for the payment of the 5 per cent upon these warrants, that now approximates to a million of dollars. On going to Washington to institute a suit in the court of claims, as I was directed to do by a joint resolntion adopted at your last General Assembly, I was strongly dissuaded from doing so, for the reason that it would be a useless expenditure of money--that the decisions of that court settled nothing-that they were only equivalent to a report made by a committee of either House of Congress, and were as frequently overruled that the relief after all must come through Congress. Eminently unjust as is the non-payment of this fund for the reasons assigned, Iowa is not the only party complaining. Other western States stand in the same category, but not so largely implicated. They propose to abide their time till after the next federal census and apportionment, which will give the west some 18 or 20 additional representatives. My opinion is that we had better do the same thing.

The payment of this fund is not a mere favor which we are asking of the General Government, but a subsisting legal right which could be enforced in a cúirt of justice, was there a tribunal of this kind clothed with the requisite jurisdiction.

School FUND AND LANDS.—The agents employed to investigate the affairs of the different School Fund Commissioners in the State, found many irregularities and abuses in the official discharge of their dụties, and in the counties of Alamakee, Chickasaw, Clarke, Decatur, Fayette, Jones, Madison, Mitchell, Story and Wapello, they discovered defalcations to an amount exceeding $20,000. Their reports, however, in some instances, were not entirely clear and satisfactory, and probably may have done some of the officers injustice. The law makes it the duty of the County Judges in all such cases to bring the matter to the notice of the District Attorney for the purpose of instituting legal proceedings. I am of the opinion that the interest of the State School Fund would be better subserved by authorizing the Auditor of State or the Secretary of the Board of Education (Col. Benton,) to re-investigate the accounts of the School Fund Commissioners in the counties mentioned, with a view of ascertaining with greater certainty the real facts in each case; this being done to clothe such officer with full power to arrange amicably with the defaulting Commissioner the amount found to be due, by allowing time and good security. If he should fail in this, then to supply the District Attorney with such a statement of facts, that he may proceed with safety, and with less liability to involve the State in cost. Indeed it would be well to invest some officer with full dis.. cretionary power to settle all such cases in the method that will with the least expense, protect the State against loss.

I had the honor, at your last regular session, to communicate to your respective bodies, the frauds and abuses alleged to have been practiced in Tama County in the sale of the 16th section. The law required that the land should be offered at public sales

three different times, six months or more apart, before they shall be subject to private entry. In January, 1857, 3200 acres were offered at public sale in said county, (being the first and only time they were so offered) and run up to a high figure by fictitious bidders, as the charge was made, to prevent actual settlers from becoming purchasers. After the sale these bidders privately forfeited their bids-after which the parties for whom they acted, purchased the same at private entry at the appraised value thereof. If this was true, the sale was a fraud upon as well as a clear violation of the law, and cunsequently void, and I so directed the County Judge to declare them, which he accordingly did. I have since learned that some of these pretended purchasers were unwilling to have their lands so treated, and would contest their titles with the State, while others would give them up if their money could be refunded with interest. As the executive officer of the State, it was my duty to insist upon a strict observance of the law. It is quite competent for you to do otherwise, and in view of the altered condition of things in the State, the fall of property, &c., I would now recommend the passage of a law that should legalize these sales, and vest in the several purchasers the legal title to the lands in question, with the privilege, however, to such as desire it, to surrender back the land to the County Judge, npon being reimbursed the money paid, with interest. This option should be given, for the reason that the sale had been declared void by me, and some of the parties may have made other arrangements. Such a disposition of this difficulty would obviate the expense and vexation of law suits, and at the same time, under all the circumstances, further the interest of the School Fund.

500,000 ACRE GRANT.—In the selection of these lands the agents employed returned an excess of 22,660.03 acres, which by some mistake was approved and entered upon the tract books both in the General Land Office at Washington and upon our own books in the Register's office.

I was urged, and learned my, decessors had been, to return back to the General Government, ist of lands to be taken from the original selections, properly desci, ed, that should be equal to this excess. Upon very full enquiry, I found that this could not be done without interfering with the rights of innocent purchasers, that the entire grant, including a part of this excess, had already been sold, leaving about 13,918.25 acres undisposed of. Perceiv


ing no good reason why this last amount should not be given back, a list containing a proper description of the same was duly returned, and an arrangement was made with the Commissioner of the General Land Office, to the effect that the residue of this excess (8,745 acres) should be confirmed to the State, and that from her five per cent fund an amount should be retained sufficient to pay for the same, at $1.25 per acre, being $10,931. This adjustment is a favorable one for the State, and it is to be hoped that you will ratify it by the passing of an act that so much of the five per cent fund may be retained by the General Government, as shall be necessary to carry out the settlement so made, and that the title of the 8,745 acres may vest in the State; it will also be necessary for Congress to pass an act confirming this settlement for the consideration named, to which the attention of our Representatives should be immediately called.

DES MOINES RIVER GRANT AND IMPROVEMENT.---For years this grant has been held to extend to the source of the river. Recently the Government authorities have decided that it is limited in its extent to the Raccoon Forks, and refuses to certify any more lands to the State north of this point. The Hon. Charles Mason was appointed a Commissioner by the last General Assembly to procure, if possible, the residue of this grant to be certified to the State. For this purpose he immediately repaired to Washington, and not obtaining a satisfactory decision from the Secretary of the Interior, appealed to the President, who referred the subject to the Attorney General, whose opinion was adverse to the State, and thereupon recourse was had to the Judiciary. A suit, in the name

, of E. C. Littlefield, Esq., against the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad Company, was instituted in the District Court of the United States, and judgment obtained in favor of the plaintiff for a tract of land embraced in this grant near Fort Dodge, derived from the State. An appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States was immediately taken, has already been submitted to that tribunal upon printed arguments, with assurances from the Court of an early decision, which the State confidently expects will be a favorable one, as it is impossible to conceive how the Government is to avoid the legal effect of her repeated admissions, that our title extended to the source of the river. Too much praise cannot be awarded to Judge Mason for the able and indefatigable manner in which he has addressed himself to the object of his commission. The settlement made at its last session by the Legislature with the Des Moines Navigation & Railroad Company, has been duly carried out according to the terms expressed, a part of the details of which will be found in the Report of the Commissioner, E. Manning, Esq. It will be remembered that the River Improvement was abandoned, except the completion of four dams, the state and condition of which will be found in the Reports of the present Commissioner, Wm. C. Drake, and the Chiet Engineer, S. Dwight Eaton, Esq., to which your attention is respectfully called.

It these four dams should be completed, they will still be the source of constant annoyance and expense to the State, and it is clear to my mind that it would be the part of wisdom to do at once what in the end will have to be done, and that is, to transfer these dams, with all their privileges, to any responsible party or parties (if such can be found) who would undertake to complete and keep the same in repair. The dams, completed, might be disposed of to the highest responsible bidder, &c.

Justice to a large number of individuals, demands that I should bring to your attention another subject connected with this grant. The agents employed by the State to select the 500,000 acre grant, among others, selected 12,913.51 acres of land, chiefly in Webster county, belonging to the river grant, which selection, with others, was approved Feb. 20th, 1851.

Col. Benton, at that time the State Superintendent, with his usual caution and prudence, before ordering these lands into market, addressed a letter of enquiry to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, whether any of the selections in question conflicted with the Des Moines River grant. This was in March, 1853. Receiving a negative answer on the 6th of June, of the same year, he ordered the lands into market. In January thereafter, he received another letter from the Commissioner, to the effect that the approval of the selections of these 12,813 acres had been revoked, and confirmed to the State under the Des Moines River grant.

In the meantime, the School Fund Commissioner of Webster Co., under the order of sale, disposed of some 4,859 acres of this land, by sale to actual settlers, who have improved and still occupy the same. Since then the State, under her contract for the improvement of the Des Moines River, has conveyed by deed these same lands to the Des Moines River Company who now hold the legal title. In this condition of things what is to become of these


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