FINANCIAL HISTORY OF OREGON 95 constitution and the law prescribing that no disbursement of public funds should take place except in pursuance of ap- propriations made by law. The situation with respect to the receipt of the land sale funds that was probably most discreditable of all existed down in the later nineties and earlier years of the present century. We see half the money of intending purchasers regularly turned into the pockets of the private broker right in the state's own office. This was the payment for the service of finding "base" for lieu land selections, a function that should have been performed by the state which alone possessed the necessary data. And again an embezzlement of funds occurs, this time by a subordinate official in charge. Another fails so completely in keeping records that no statement is possible of the state's claims against tenants on farms reverted to it, nor is the ac- count of the official with the state ascertainable. Evidence seems overwhelming that the happenings to these land-sale moneys on their way to the state treasury were the natural and inevitable result of the same vitiating spirit that characterized the general land policy of the state at its worst. No comprehension of the public good represented in these re- sources existed, no imagination sufficed to see and set forth the realities for the public welfare that were being sacrificed. Turning now to another source of treasury receipts, those coming from the national treasury, we are greeted with the revolting spectacle of the same Secretary of State, S. E. May, laying his hands on remittances of the five per cent proceeds of sales by the United States within the borders of Oregon. Five thousand four hundred and twenty-four dollars and twen- ty-five cents of these funds were appropriated by Mr. May to his own use in the later sixties. 1 The only other noteworthy circumstance relating to the inflow of funds from the national government is the failure so far of the state to secure reim- bursement for expenditures by it during Civil War times to ward off depredations by the Indians. i Report of the Investigating Commission, 1872, pp. 115-7.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/103
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