General land office


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GENERAL LAND OFFICE. One of the departments of government of the United States.
     2. It was established by the Act of April 25,1812, 2 Story's Laws U. S. 1238; another act was passed March 24, 1824, 3 Story, 1938, which authorized the employment of additional officers. And it was reorganized by the following act, entitled "An act to reorganize the General Land Office," approved July 4, 1836.
     3. - 1. Be it enacted, &c. That from and after the passage of this act, the executive duties now prescribed, or which may hereafter be prescribed by law, appertaining to the surveying and sale of the public lands of the United States, or in anywise respecting such public lands, and, also, such as relate to private claims of land, and the issuing of patents for all grants of land under the authority of the government of the United States, shall be subject to the supervision and control of the commissioner of the general land office, under the direction of the president of the United States.
     4. - 2. That there shall be appointed in said office, by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, two subordinate officers, one of whom shall be called principal clerk of the public lands, and the other principal clerk on private land claims, who shall perform such duties as may be assigned to them by the commissioners of the general land office; and in case of vacancy in the office of the commissioner of the general land office, or of the absence or sickness of the commissioner, the duties of said office shall devolve upon. and be performed, ad interim, by the principal clerk of the public lands.
     5. - 3. That there shall be appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, an officer to be styled the principal clerk of the surveys, whose duty it shall be to direct and superintend the making of surveys, the returns thereof, and all matters relating thereto, which are done through the officers of the surveyor general; and he shall perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the commissioner of the general land office.
     6. - 4. That there shall be appointed by the president, by and with the consent of the senate, a recorder of the general land office, whose duty it shall be, in pursuance of instructions from the commissioner, to certify and affix the seal of the general land office to all patents for public lands, and he shall attend to the correct engrossing and recording and transmission of such patents. He shall prepare alphabetical indexes of the names of patentees, and of persons entitled to patents and he shall. prepare such copies and exemplifications of matters on file, or recorded in the general land office, as the commissioner may from time to time direct.
     7. - 5. That there shall be appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, an officer to be called the solicitor of the general land office, with an annual salary of two thousand dollars, whose duty it shall be to examine and present a report to the commissioner, of the state of facts in all cases referred by the commissioner to his attention which shall involve questions of law, or where the facts are in controversy between the agents of government and, individuals, or there are conflicting claims of parties before the department, with his opinion thereon; and, also, to advise the commissioner, when required thereto, on all questions growing out of the management of the public lands, or the title thereto, private land claims, Virginia military scrip, bounty lands, and preemption claims and to render such farther professional services in the business of the department as may be required, and shall be connected with the discharge of the duties thereof.
     8. - 6. That it shall be lawful for the president of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to appoint a secretary, with a salary of fifteen hundred dollars per annum, whose duty it shall be, under the direction of the president, to sign in his name, and for him, all patents for land sold or granted under the authority of the United States.
     9. - 7. That it shall be the duty of the commissioner, to cause to be prepared, and to certify, under the seal of the general land office, such copies of records, books, and papers on file in his office, as may be applied for, to be used in evidence in courts of justice.
    10. - 8. That whenever the office of recorder shall become vacant, or in case of the sickness or absence of the recorder, the duties of his office shill be performed, ad interim, by the principal clerk on private land claims.
    11. - 9. That the receivers of the land offices shall make to the secretary of the treasury monthly returns of the moneys received in their several offices, and pay over such money, pursuant to his instructions. And they shall also make to the commissioner of the general land office, like monthly returns, and transmit to him quarterly accounts current of the debits and credits of their several offices with the United States.
    12. - 10. That the commissioner of the general land office shall be entitled to receive an annual salary of three thousand dollars; the recorder of the general land office an annual salary of fifteen hundred dollars; the principal clerk of the surveys, an annual salary of eighteen hundred dollars; and each of the said principal clerks an annual salary of eighteen hundred dollars from and: after the date of their respective commissions; and that the said commissioner be authorized to employ, for the service of the general land office, one clerk, whose annual salary shall not exceed fifteen hundred dollars; four clerks, whose annual salary Shall not exceed fourteen hundred dollars each; sixteen clerks, whose annual salary shall not exceed thirteen hundred dollars each; twenty clerks, whose annual salary shall not exceed twelve hundred dollars each; five clerks, whose annual salary shall not exceed eleven hundred dollars each; thirty-five clerks, whose annual salary shall not exceed one thousand dollars each; one principal draughtsman, whose annual salary shall not exceed fifteen hundred dollars;, one assistant draughtsman, whose annual salary shall not exceed twelve hundred dollars; two messengers, whose annual salary shall not exceed seven hundred dollars each; three assistant messengers, whose annual salary shall not exceed three hundred and fifty dollars each and two packers, to make up packages of patents, blank forms, and other things necessary to be transmitted to the district land offices, at a salary of four hundred and fifty dollars each.
    13. - 11. That such provisions of the Act of the 25th of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twelve, entitled An act for the establishment of a general land office in the department of the treasury, and of all acts amendatory thereof, as are inconsistent with the provisions of this act, be, and the same are hereby repealed.
    14. - 12. That from the first day of the month of October, until the first day of the month of April, in each and every ear, the general land office and all the bureaus and offices therein, as well as those in the departments of the treasury, war, navy, state, and general post-office, shall be open for the transaction of the public business at least eight hours in each and every day, except Sundays and the twenty-fifth day of December; and from the first day of April until the first day of October, in each year, Ill the aforesaid offices and bureaus shall be kept open for the transaction of the public business at least ten hours, in each and every day, except Sundays and the fourth day of July.
    15. - 13. That if any person shall apply to any register of any land office to enter any land whatever, and the said register shall knowingly and falsely inform the person so applying that the same has already been entered, and refuse to permit the person so applying to enter the same, such register shall be liable therefor, to the person so applying, for five dollars for each acre of land which the person so applying offered to enter, to be recovered by action of debt, in any court of record having jurisdiction of the amount.
    16. - 14. That all and every of the officers whose salaries are hereinbefore provided for, are hereby prohibited from directly or indirectly purchasing, or in any way becoming interested in the purchase, of, any of the public land; and in case of a violation of this section by such officer, and on proof thereof being made to the president of the United States, such officer, so offending, shall be, forthwith, removed from office.

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