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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/420

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F. G. Young

suggestions that promised traffic in lands and money in the treasury. Legislators with purposes pitched on such a low plane naturally became the victims of ingenious schemers who were on hand with plausible objects, in the shape of wagon road projects, to solicit appropriations anticipating the receipts from swamp land sales. With no adequate administrative supervision these wagon road appropriations became what they were planned to be—means for relieving the treasury of expected surplus funds. In this account of the selection of the swamp lands the sale of them and the disposition of the proceeds from them have been anticipated, as all these transactions were bound up together. In fact, binding contracts for the sale of these lands and appropriations of anticipated proceeds were practically all made before the selection of any had been completed. In it all there was not the least service by the state government to the people. Only syndicates of land-grabbers, on the one side, and, to all appearances, sets of treasury swindlers, on the other, profited.

In a state in which the extension of the government survey has been so gradual and not yet completed, the swamp land selection must go on apace. Oregon's geological formations do not include those giving rise to any considerable areas of swamp lands, except in its southeastern counties. The swampy areas of that section were exploited in the seventies and eighties. Even there large areas were, through the connivance of state and national agents, adjudged swamp lands simply because they were overflowed during brief periods at certain seasons.[1]

  1. Selections of lands under the robbers' act of 1870 have been made with the view of cutting off access to the water. All the lands bordering on lakes and streams are taken. Every acre where hay can be cut. As no one can find means to live away from the water, the surrounding country for some miles becomes a cattle range for the land grabber. Up to the highest high water mark and above it the land surrounding lakes or lying along streams is called swamp land, even in places where water could not be had by digging to the depth of 30 feet. . . . . . Agents of the general government and of the state paid to protect the public interests, have connived at the scheme of spoliation; or, even worse, have taken the money of the spoilers to aid them in consummation of the outrages upon the country."—Daily Oregonian, February 29, 1884.