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376
F. G. Young

force at the time of the admission of Oregon. The dilatoriness that characterized the state's action in making selections of university and agricultural college lands did not obtain with this grant. It was rather a form of precipitancy in the legislation affecting these lands that caused considerable of a tangle and some loss. By an act of the Legislature of October 19, 1860, it was intended to secure to individuals the right to pre-empt lands that should later be selected as part of this grant.[1] The transaction arranged for under this statute clearly constituted a case of contracting to sell property to which the state as yet had no claim. The lands thus pre-empted under state law were still national property and were liable to be sold or taken as homesteads without regard to the interests of those who had made payments to the state treasury as pre-emptors. The state had no control over any public lands until these had under some grant been selected and approved.[2] By an act of October 15, 1862, the act of the preceding session essaying to provide "possessory and pre-emptory rights" was formally repealed and the claims taken under it, and held, whether amounting to 320 acres or not, were so accounted by the state to the national government in order to make their selection valid.[3]

The Governor by this act of 1862 was authorized to employ temporarily an agent acquainted with the locality where it was proposed to select lands. By 1868 some 300,000 acres of this 500,000-acre grant had been selected, the greater portion being in Union, Baker and Umatilla Counties.[4] By 1870 the amount approved to the state had reached 431,516 acres.[5] Nearly 457,000 acres had been approved by 1872, the selection of the remainder was certain to be ratified in a short time.[6] So this


  1. General Laws, 1860, pp. 55-57.
  2. Governor's Message—Appendix to House Journal, 1862, pp. 26-27.
  3. General Laws, 1862, pp. 105-7.
  4. Report of the Commissioners for the Sale of School and University Lands, 1868, pp. 44-46.
  5. Report of the Commissioners for the Sale of School and University Lands, 1870, p. 18.
  6. Governor's Message, 1872, p. 14.