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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/418

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382
F. G. Young

The nature of the influences that dominated the situation is revealed through the report for 1878 of this same state land board : "There has been selected and listed 237,864 acres [during the last two years] making in all 562,083.97 acres. There are on file in the office at the present time applications for a large lot of lands that have not been listed or selected; also there are applications on file for about one million acres that are yet unsurveyed. . . . Some lists have been approved by him [the surveyor-general] and forwarded to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and are awaiting his action. He has, however, approved to the state about 2,000 acres in all." This report, however, fails to divulge the fact which would have been a very pertinent one for it to have made known, namely, that this prodigious filing had nearly all been done by one party. As it was it made it quite evident that there was a wide disparity between the views of state officials and swamp land purchasers on the one hand and the national approving officials on the other as to what were swamp lands.

The mistaken notion, acted upon under the law of 1870, as to the summary power of the state in determining what belonged to it as swamp lands, arose in a measure from the fact that the courts, both national and state, had declared the grant as in praesenti, vesting the right to the swamp lands in the state whether it had title to specific tracts or not. In the eighties it receded from its presumption and proceeded in co- operation with the authorities of the national government to make selections.

In the early eighties the national government sent out "special agents" to investigate character of swamp lands listed. With these state agents conferred in making selections. The Legislature had in 1878 attempted to balk the wholesale grabbing of the swamp lands under the act of 1870 by raising the price to $2.50 an acre on all lands applied for under this act. Furthermore, the applicant under act of 1870 must now under the law of 1878 take all he applied for at $2.50 instead of $1 an acre, or be limited to 320 acres as were all