Page images
PDF
EPUB

part of this report. The Commissioner recommended the amendment to the bill above referred to, as well as other minor amendments, and as these amendments change the phraseology of the bill somewhat the Commissioner recommended a substitute for the original bill. The substitute contains all the essential provisions of the original bill and the changes suggested seem to make the bill more guarded and satisfactory. The committee therefore recommends that the bill be amended by crossing out all after the enacting clause, and inserting the following as recommended by the Secretary of the Interior.

Sec. 2294. That hereafter all affidavits, proofs, and oaths of any kind whatsoever required to be made by applicants and entrymen under the homestead, preemption, timber-culture, desert-land, and timber and stone acts, may, in addition to those now authorized to take such affidavits, proofs, and oaths, be made before any United States commissioner or before the judge or clerk of any court of record in the land district in which the lands are situated: Provided, That in case the affidavits, proofs and oaths herein before mentioned be taken out of the county in which the land is located the applicant must show by affidavit satisfactory to the Commissioner of the General Land Office that it was taken before the nearest or most accessible officer qualified to take said affidavits, proofs, and oaths in the land district in which the lands applied for are located, but such showing by affidavit need not be made in making final proof if the proof be taken in the town or city where the newspaper is published in which the final proof notice is printed. The proof, affidavit, and oath, when so made and duly subscribed, shall have the same force and effect as if made before the register and receiver, when transmitted to them with the fees and commissions allowed and required by law. That if any witness making such proof or any applicant making such affidavit or oath, shall knowingly, willfully, or corruptly swear falsely to any material matter contained in said proofs, affidavits, or oaths, he shall be deemed guilty of perjury, and shall be liable to the same pains and penalties as if he had sworn falsely before the register. That the fees for entries and for final proofs, when made before any other officer than the register and receiver, shall be as follows:

For each affidavit, twenty-five cents.

For each deposition of claimant or witness, when not prepared by the officer, twenty-five cents.

For each deposition of claimant or witness, prepared by the officer, one dollar.

Any officer demanding or receiving a greater sum for such service shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished for each offense by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars.

The committee respectfully recommend that the bill as amended

do pass.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, February 3, 1900. Sır: Referring to your letter of the 10th ultimo, and the inclosed H. R. 5483, entitled “A bill to amend section 2294, Revised Statutes, United States," with the request that I offer such suggestions or furnish such information thereon as I might deem proper to aid your committee in the consideration of such bill, I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of the report from the Commissioner of the General Land Office on said bill, dated the 18th ultimo.

This bill is very similar, and relates to the same subject as Senate bill No. 390, entitled “A bill to regulate the taking of proof and filings in certain land cases," on which I submitted a report to the chairman of the Committee on Public Lands of the Senate on the 4th ultimo, copy of which report I inclose herewith.

As to the bill under consideration, the Commissioner suggests certain amendments, and in order that said bill may correspond with the provisions of Senate bill 390 the Commissioner recommends a bill, copy of which he submits, as a substitute for the bill under consideration.

I concur in the Commissioner's recommendation that the bill, copy of which he incloses, be substituted for H. R. No. 5483. Very respectfully,

E. A. HITCHCOCK, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON THE Public LANDS,

House of Representatives.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, GENERAL LAND OFFICE,

Washington, D. C., January 18, 1900. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by your reference, of the 11th instant, for early report in duplicate, and return of papers, of H. R. No. 5183, entitled "A bill to amend section twenty-two hundred and ninety-four of the Revised Statutes of the United States."

The bill provides, among other things, that all affidavits, proofs and oaths of any kind whatsoever required to be made by applicants and entrymen under the homestead, preemption, timber-culture, desert land, and timber and stone acts, may be made before any commissioner of the United States circuit court, or before the judge or clerk of any court of record in the land district in which the lands are situated.

Under existing law preliminary affidavits in the classes of entries mentioned can be made before qualified officers other than registers and receivers only when the applicant is prevented by reason of distance, bodily infirmity, or other good cause, from personal attendance at the district land office, except that the sworn statement as well as proof in timber and stone claims can be made before the register and receiver only.

The bill seems to authorize the making of affidavits and taking of proofs before any qualified officer within the land district, without gard to the county limits. At present where parties do not appear at the local office they must appear before an officer in the county in which the land is located.

While it is undoubtedly true that a change would be beneficial to those entrymen who reside at places remote from the district land offices, and also from qualified officers in the counties in which the lands for which the proofs are to be made are situated, and who at the same time reside near properly qualified officers of adjoining counties, it also seems that the unrestricted allowarice of the taking of proof anywhere in the land district might be susceptible to abuse.

Parties desiring to perpetrate a fraud or to prevent a protestant from appearing to protest against the proof and to cross-examine the witnesses might submit their proof before an officer remote from the land, causing the protestant unnecessary hardship and expense. It is desirable that the witnesses reside near the land.

The bill is also objectionable in that it makes a commissioner of the United States circuit courtone of the officers before whom affidavits, proofs, and oaths may be made, whereas by act of May 28, 1896 (29 Stat., 184), the office of United States circuit court commissioner was abolished and that of United States commissioner created, with the same powers and duties as the commissioners of the circuit courts, whose office was abolished. Therefore the bill should be amended so as to substitute in place of the words “commissioner of the United States circuit court,” in line 10, first page, the words “ United States commissioner.”

There should also have been inserted the words “ or witnesses" in line 14, page 2, after the word “claimant."

Under date of December 29, 1899, this office made a report on Senate bill No. 390, entitled “A bill to regulate the taking of proof and filings in certain land cases. It provided for the making of the affidavits and proof in homestead, preemption, desert-land, timber-culture, and timber-land entriesbefore

any officer qualified to take proof in homestead cases at any place in the land district in which the land applied for is situated, whether in the same county in which the lands are located or not: Provided, That in case the affidavits, filings, or proofs hereinbefore mentioned be taken out of the county in which the land lies, the applicant must show by affidavit that it was taken before the nearest or most accessible officer qualified to take said affidavits, filings, or proofs in the land district in which the lands applied for are located: And provided further, That the showing by affidavit last mentioned need not be made in making final proof on land, if the final proof therefor be taken in the town or city where the newspaper is published in which the final proof notice is printed.

With the addition of the words “satisfac 'ory to the Commissioner of the General Land Office" inserted after the words "the applicant must show by affidavit,” the passage of said bill was recommended.

H. Rep. 6

1

To cover these various suggestions the following is proposed as a substitute for said original bill 5483:

A Bill to amend section twenty-two hundred and ninety-four of the Revised Statutes of the United

States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatires of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section twenty-two lrundred and ninety-four of the Revised Statutes of the United States be, and the same is hereby, amended so that it will read as follows:

“SEC. 2294. That hereafter all affidavits, proofs, and oaths of any kind whatsoever required to be made by applicants and entrymen under the homestead, preemption, timber-culture, desert-land, and timber and stone acts, may, in addition to those now authorized to take such affidavits, proofs, and oaths, be made before any United States commissioner, or before the judge or clerk of any court of record in the land district in which the lands are situated: Provided, That in case the affidavits, proofs, and oaths hereinbefore mentioned be taken out of the county in which the land is located, the applicant must show by atlidavit satisfactory to the Commissioner of the General Land Olice that it was taken before the nearest or most accessible officer qualified to take said affidavits, proofs, and oaths, in the land district in which the lands applied for are located, but such showing by affidavit need not be made in making final proof if the proof be taken in the town or city where the newspaper is published in which the final proof notice is printed. The proof, atlidavit, and oath, when so made and duly subscribed, shall have the same force and effect as if made before the register and receiver, when transmitted to them with the fees and commissions allowed and required by law. That if any witness making such proof, or any applicant making such affidavit or oath, shall knowingly, willfully, or corruptly swear falsely to any material matter contained in said proofs

, affidavits, or oaths, he shall be deemed guilty of perjury, and shall be liable to the same pains and penalties as if he had sworn falsely before the register. That the fees for entries and for final proofs, when made before any other oflicer than the register and receiver, shall be as follows:

“For each affidavit, twenty-five cents.

“For each deposition of claimant or witness, when not prepared by the officer, twenty-five cents.

“For each deposition of claimant or witness, prepared by the officer, one dollar.
“Any officer demanding or receiving a greater sum for such service shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished for each offense by a fine
not exceeding one hundred dollars.”

Its passage is recommended
The bill and accompanying letter are herewith returned.
Very respectfully,

BINGER HERMANN, Commissioner.
The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

[ocr errors]

CONGRESS

JULIA MACN. HENRY.

May 11, 1900.-Ordered to be printed.

Mr. LOUDENSLAGER, from the Committee on Pensions, submitted the

following

REPORT.

[To accompany S. 1781.]

The Committee on Pensions, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1781) granting an increase of pension to Julia MacN. Henry, beg leave to submit the following report and recommend that said bill do pass with an amendment.

House bill No. 3985, granting an increase of pension to this beneficiary, has already been considered and favorably reported to the House with an amendment fixing the rating at $50 per month. (See House Report No. 1162, Calendar No. 743.) The report on the House bill, fully setting forth the facts and views of your committee, is adopted as the report on this Senate bill, and the bill is returned with the recommendation that it be substituted for the House bill, amended so as to fix the rating at $50, and passed.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »