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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/402

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Second Paper.



Oregon's Public Domain.

As with the other Western States, excepting Texas, the title to the lands lying within the borders of Oregon was originally vested in the national government. The early American settlers in Oregon had, however, become entitled to more than an average measure of liberality on the part of Congress in its disposition of these lands. These Oregon pioneers by their long, hazardous and wearisome journey across the plains and occupation of this remote region, had largely won the Pacific slope to the Union. The Donation Act of 1850, securing to each man and wife a tract of 640 acres, was but a fair acknowledgment of this national service of the early Oregon pioneer.

But these liberal grants to individuals affected the finances of the territory and state only in that they brought large tracts privately owned under taxation. More directly do the grants to the state collectively, for education and internal improvements, and to corporations for providing transportation facilities within its borders, figure in the public finances.

From the Oregon lands received from the national government the state treasury secured income of two quite distinct kinds. The proceeds of some of these grants, the educational, went into irreducible funds, only the interest incomes from which could be used for public educational purposes. Of the