Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 3.djvu/281

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

retained by the State for railroad purposes. The lands have been sold to actual settlers, who have paid their money for them. They are now occupied and there are three or four towns built upon them. There are, to my certain knowledge, lands among them worth from $50 to $60 per acre. The settlers want their titles confirmed. The State sold and patented these lands to the present occupants; and all that this resolution asks is that their titles be confirmed.”

With this explanation, which was undoubtedly honest and made in good faith, the House passed the resolution without opposition, never for a moment supposing that it was to inure to the benefit of the members of the old Des Moines Navigation Company who had purchased of that corporation and who were not settlers, but eastern speculators, thus attempting to secure a good title to lands be-longing to the Government and to actual settlers who held titles direct from the Government. When the resolution went to the Senate, Mr. Harlan of Iowa, in explanation of its purpose said:

“They propose nothing more than a relinquishment of the title held by the United States in the lands which have been certified by the Secretary of the Interior under the Des Moines River grant, and afterwards sold bona fide purchasers.”

Senator Grimes made a similar statement and added: “My own individual opinion is that the grant did not extend above the Raccoon Fork.”

Mr. Polk proposed to amend the resolution so that it should release the lands only sold to actual settlers and should exclude speculators from the benefit. He said: “There is no claim in the law or equity against the United States for granting this land; but I am willing that the United States shall relinquish the title where an actual settler has bought the land and gone on it; but I am not willing to do that favor to persons who have bought as speculators.”

During the course of the debate, Senator Johnson, who was chairman of the Senate committee on public lands, said that this resolution never could have obtained the