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Sale of Public Lands


SALE OF PUBLIC LANDS. The public lands are divided into land districts and in each of these a public land office is established. The offi cers of the land office are a Register and Receiver. The lands must first be offered at public sale, and sold to the highest bidder, provided the bid is equal to the minimum price fixed by the government. The original price was $1.25 per acre, except where land border ing on railroads was offered for sale. On the pur chase of one of these parcels of land the price is paid to the Receiver of the local land office who issues a certificate of purchase. This certificate entitles the purchaser to a deed or patent to the land from the government, but it is first sent on to the general office at Washington, where the records are examined to ascertain if any mistake has been made. If no errors are detected a deed or patent is issued signed by the President and the Register of the Land Office, and is recorded at Washington and is then sent to the local land office to be there placed on file. This deed from the Government is called a patent, this being the term used by the English government for grants of land made by the crown to private individuals.

The title to the land purchased does not vest in the purchaser until the patent has been recorded. In this a patent differs from a deed, as delivery is essential to passing title by deed, but recording of the patent is sufficient to pass title by patent.

GRANTS FOR EDUCATIONAL The United States Government has made various grants to the various states of public lands for educational and other purposes. Thus, in the North West Territory the sixteenth section in every township was given for educational purposes. Grants have likewise been made for the benefit of Universities and Colleges. And sometimes the states have been given large tracts of swamp land in order to have them drained and made usable.

So, in the various purchases made by the United States, as Florida from Spain, Louisiana from France, and the recent acquisition of Porto Rico and the Phil ippine Islands, the treaties made, provided that the rights of the private owners of the property in the territory acquired should be respected and confirmed by the United States.

land, patent and office