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Finances of Oregon

the policy most perserve later pursued in making indemnity school land selections. Instead of proceeding in a business-like way by inspecting the areas available from which selections could be made, and conserving the interests of the people as a whole by making a selection of the best, the state assumed a passive attitude that played into the hands of the speculative exploiter. Under such a policy the hard-working creator of wealth doing a real service to the community was placed at a great disadvantage, and the speculative schemer with parasitic inclinations was given every opportunity. The inevitable out- come was to make the state the harbor of a goodly number of notorious land thieves. Yet the national land legislation must share with that of the state the ignominy in the looting of the public domain in Oregon. The national land laws were not made with Oregon conditions in view and were not adapted to them, but lent themselves to practices that meant the sacrifice of the public good.

To take up the story of the Oregon grants in detail. The selection of the lieu or indemnity school lands was first to be undertaken and has been in constant progress, as the surveys have been extended, and always of major importance; yet since the complications and the abuses in connection with these selec- tions were quite recent, a decade or two ago, the account of them is best reserved until last.

University Lands. The selection of the areas of the undefined grants began with the university lands. It will be remembered that this two-township grant was made by Congress in 1850 in the Donation Act. The first selections of university lands were made in 1853. About $9000 worth of the selected lands were sold at public sales in 1855 and 1856. Selections sufficient to make up the two townships granted were located, but as will appear later the procedure necessary to perfect the title of the state to these lands was not carried out. A $4 per acre minimum price put on them brought activity in selling to a close. For some ten years nothing more appears on the records concerning these university lands except that they