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the requirements of the act of Congress approved August 3, 1854, entitled “ an act to vest in the several States and Territories the title, in fee, of the lands which have been or may be certified to them,” and delivered to the proper agents of the State.
In order to carry out the purpose of your reference, however, as far as practicable, I have, by letter of this date, requested the return of said certified copies for retention here until the charges preferred by the Hon. George W. Jones, per his letter aforesaid, can be investigated under your direction, and I have also caused all further action to be suspended with reference to the quantity of land still due and not yet approved to the State as aforesaid. With much respect, your obedient servant,
THOMAS A. HENDRICKS,
Commissioner. Hon. R. MCCLELLAND,
Secretary of the Interior.
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
December 26, 1855. Sir: The Secretary of the Interior, under date the 24th instant, has referred to this office a letter, which had been brought to his attention by the President, from the Hon. George W. Jones, (a copy of which I herewith enclose,) alleging that the Illinois Central Railroad Company have practised certain impositions upon the travelling public and upon the government, in connexion with the transportation of the United States mails, and otherwise, in violation of the intention of the act of Congress approved September 20, 1850, making a grant of land to the States of Illinois, Mississippi, and Alabama, in aid of the construction of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile, and requesting that the patents for the lands granted be withheld until such arrangements are made as will secure to the general government and the public the rights and benefits which it was intended should accrue to them from the passage of said act.
Before the reference above mentioned, certified copies of the approved lists of lands granted to said State of Illinois by the act aforesaid, under the seal of this office, were prepared in pursuance of the provisions of the act of Congress approved August 3, 1854, entitled to an act to vest in the several States and Territories the title, in fee, of the lands which have been or may be certified to them,” and delivered to John Wilson, esq., the agent of the company.
With a view to carry out the purpose of the reference aforesaid, have to request that you will return the said lists to this office, to be retained here until the matter can be investigated under the Secretary's direction. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS A. HENDRICKS,
Commissioner. W. H. OSBORN, Esq.,
Vice-President of the Illinois Central Railroad Company.
OFFICE OF THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY,
No. 48 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, December 31, 1855. SIR: The Commissioner of the General Land Office has transmitted to me the copy of a letter from the Hon. G. W. Jones, under date of the 14th instant, requesting the interposition of the government in regard to certain - impositions” alledged to have been practised by this company. The wrongs enumerated are, a neglect to construct a bridge over the Mississippi, at Dubuque; an inconvenient arrangement of the mail trains at that place, and “the recent impositions practised upon the sub-treasurer at Dubuque,” in the transportation of coin to St. Louis.
Waiving all discussion of the question, whether Congress intended to impose the duty, or had power to confer the right upon the State of Illinois, as its assignee, to construct a bridge, partly within the territorial limits of Iowa, it is sufficient for present purposes to suggest that, if the bridge over the river at Dubuque be a part of the railroad, the time limited for the completion of the railroad has not expired, and that all attempts to enforce an earlier construction than the act of Congress requires is premature.
This company admits its obligations to transport the mails on its railroad under the directions of the Postmaster General. It has accordingly entered into a contract for such transportation, and it has faithfully performed its duty, and has received no directions on this behalf, except those to which it has conformed strictly, and to the satisfaction of the department.
Some misunderstanding as to the transportation of coin did occur at Dubuque, between the receiver and one of the subordinates of this company. The affair was regretted by the officers; explanations were immediately made to the Secretary of the Treasury, and steps taken to prevent its recurrence hereafter.
In these cases it is respectfully submitted, whether any other investigation is demanded, except at the instance of the respective departments. And it is believed that the only effectual remedy, “ for the many impositions practised upon the people of Dubuque, in the transportation of freight and passengers,” (if any such exist,) will be found in the proper courts.
I ought not to conclude this letter without adverting to the magnitude of this company's operations, and the various interests which it is compelled to encounter, and the impossibility of conducting its business without incurring suspicion and censure; and to assure all the officers of the general government that it will endeavor, not only to fulfil towards them such obligations as the law imposes, but to manage its affairs in such manner as will be most satisfactory to them, and that at all times, now and hereafter, further explanations will be made, or the opportunity of investigation cheerfully afforded, if anything further be deemed necessary. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. H. OSBORN, President Illinois Central Railroad Company. Hon. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
OFFICE OF THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY,
No. 48 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, December 31, 1855. Sir: I am in receipt of yours of the 26th, asking a return of the approved lists of lands granted to the State of Illinois for railroad purposes, &c., "for the purpose of investigating certain impositions practised upon the travelling public and upon the government,” &c.
I have to express to you, on behalf of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, an anxious desire not only to fulfill faithfully and fully all the duties imposed upon it by the act of Congress and the organic law of the general assembly of the State of Illinois, but likewise every just claim which the public may have upon it, and an entire willingness to suppress all impositions from every quarter ; but the right of the government to withhold, and especially to reclaim concessions is not perceived.
The grant of land takes effect by act of Congress, by its own proper power; the application of the grant to specific land (beyond the alternate sections) is made by the selection under the approval provided by law. That selection having been made and approved, it would seem that the title of the railroad company, as the assignee of the State of Illinois, is complete, and that no return of the selected lists would impair or affect it, especially as sales have been made and rights to a large extent have been acquired by others. Since then, the approved lists have become one of the muniments of title of this corporation, it is believed that a return of this important document ought not to be made, except by order of the stockholders. I have the bonor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
W. H. OSBORN, President Illinois Central Railroad Company. COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
THE SECRETARY OF WAR,
IN COMPLIANCE WITH
A resolution of the 26th ultimo, calling for information relative to the
appropriations for the improvement of the harbors of Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Racine, Milwaukie and Kenosha, in Wisconsin.
March 6, 1856.—Referred to the Committee on Commerce and ordered to be printed.
Washington, March 4, 1856. Sir: In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 26th ultimo, requesting the Secretary of War "to inform the Senate what amount of the appropriations made by the act of August 20, 1852, for the improvement of the harbors of Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Racine, Milwaukie and Kenosha, in the State of Wisconsin, has been expended in the improvement of each of said harbors, and also the amount of those appropriations remaining unexpended and applicable to said improvements,” I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Chief Topographical Engineer, furnishing the information called for. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, ,
Secretary of War. Hon. J. D. BRIGHT,
President pro tem. of the Senate.
BUREAU OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS,
Washington, February 29, 1856. SIR: The resolution of the Senate of the 26th instant, desires to know what amount of the appropriations of the law of 30th August, 1852, for the harbors of Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Racine, Milwaukie, and Kenosha, (formerly Southport,) have been expended in improving said harbors. Also, the amount of those appropriations remaining unexpended and applicable to said improvements.