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lands, together with their opinion thereon, before Con. gress, for their decision thereon, as soon as may be.
Sec. 1. Any person or persons, and the legal re. VII. 80. presentatives of any person or persons, who were re. 3d March, sident in the Mississippi territory on the twenty-se. Residents in venth day of October, in the year one thousand seven the Mississiphundred and ninety-five, and who had prior to that pi territory day obtained, either from the British government of at a certain West Florida, or from the Spanish government, any formed in warrant or order of survey for lands lying within the their claims. said territory, to which the Indian title had been extin. guished, and which were on that day actually inhabited and cultivated by such person or persons, or for his or their use, shall be confirmed in their claims to such lands in the same manner as if their titles had been completed ; Provided however, That no such incom- Proviso. plete title shall be confirmed, unless the person in whose name such warrant or order of survey had been granted, was at tive time of its date, either the head of a family, or above the age of twenty-one years.
Sec. 2. To every person or to the legal represen- Grant to nertative or representatives of every person who, being sons actually either the head of a family, or of twenty-one years
1797. age, did on that day of the year seventeen hundred and ninety-seven, when the Mississippi territory was finally evacuated by the Spanish troops, actually inhabit and cultivate* a tract of land in the said terri. tory, not claimed by virtue either of the preceding section, or of any British grant, or of the articles of agreement and cession between the United States and the state of Georgia, the said tract of land thus inhabited and cultivated, shall be granted : Provided Provisions. however, That not more than one tract shall be thus granted to any one person, and the same shall not contain more than six hundred and forty acres : And provided also, That this donation shall not be made to any person who claims any other tract of land in
The time of residence which entitled to a donation, extended to thirtieth March, 1798, for the district east of Pearl river, by act of 21st April, 1806.
the said territory, by virtue of any British or Spanish grant, or order of survey.
Sec. 3. Every person, and the legal representaResidents entitled to a pre- tives of every person, who being the head of a family, ference as or above the age of twenty-one years, doth at the time purchasers of
of passing this act, inhabit and cultivate a tract of land any tract settled by them. in the said territory, not claimed by virtue of the
preceding sections of this act, or of any British grant, or of the articles of agreement and cession abovementioned, shall be entitled to a preference in becoming the purchaser from the United States, * of such tract of land, at the price at which the other lands of the United States, in the said territory, are by this act directed to be sold ; and payment may be made therefor in the same manner, and under the same con
ditions as directed by this act for such other lands : Without in- Provided however, That no interest shall be charged terest, upon any of the instalments until they respectively
become payable. Claimants to Sec. 5. Every person claiming lands by virtue of state their
any British grant, or of the three first sections of this claims, before
act, or of the articles of agreement and cession bethe 31st March, 1804. tween the United States and the state of Georgia,
shall before the last day of March,t in the year one thousand eight hundred and four, deliver to the register of the land office, within whose district the land may be, a notice in writing, stating the nature and extent of his claims, together with a plot of the tract or tracts claimed, and shall also; on or before that day, deliver to the said register, for the purpose of being recorded, every grant, order of survey, deed, conveyance or other written evidence of his claim, and the same shall be recorded by the said register, in books to be kept for that purpose, on receiving from the parties, at the rate of twelve and a half cents, for every hundred words, contained in such written evidence of their claim ; and if such person shall neglect to deliver such notice, in writing, of his claim, Neglect together with a plot as aforesaid, or cause to be re- thereof to bar corded, such written evidence of the same, all his
* The right of pre-emption extended by acts of 19th January and 31st March, 1808, to actual settlers on the third March, 1807, who may apply for permission to remain on the land, prior to 1st October, 1808.
† The time for filing claims, generally or partially extended by acts of 27th March, 1804, of 2d March, 1805, and of 31st March, 1808.
their claims. right, so far as the same is derived from the above mentioned articles of agreement, or from the three first sections of this act, shall become void, and forever thereafter be barred; nor shall any grant, order of survey, deed, conveyance or other written evidence, which shall not be recorded as above directed, ever after be considered or admitted as evidence in any court in the United States, against any grant de. rived from the United States.
Sec. 6. The register of the land office in Adams Commissioncounty, and two other persons, who shall be appoint- ers appointed ed by the President of the United States alone, shall
to settle the
claims. for the lands lying west of Pearl river, and the register of the land office of Washington county, together with two other persons who shall be appointed by the President of the United States alone, shall for the lands lying east of Pearl river, respectively be commissioners, for the purpose of ascertaining the rights of persons claiming the benefit of the articles of agreement and cession between the United States and the state of Georgia, or of the three first sections of this act; and the said commissioners shall, previous to entering on the duties of their appointment, respectively take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, before some person qualified to administer the same : “I,
do solemnly swear (or Their oath affirm) that I will impartially exercise and discharge or affirmation the duties imposed upon me by an act of Congress, entitled “ An act regulating the grants of land and providing for the disposal of the lands of the United States, south of the state of Tennessee,'' to the best of my skill and judgment.” And it shall be the duty of Duties. the said commissioners to meet in the county of Adams, and in Washington county aforesaid, respectively, on or before the first day of December next, and they shall not adjourn to any other place, or for a longer time than three days, until the first day of April, one thousand eight hundred and four, and until they shall have completed the business of their appointment. And each board, or a majority of each Powery, board, shall, in their respective districts, have power
to hear and decide, in a summary manner, all matters respecting such claims, also to administer oaths and examine witnesses, and such other testimony as may be adduced, and to determine thereon according to justice and equity; which determination, so far as relates to any rights derived from the articles of agree.
ment abovementioned, or from the three first sections Appointment of this act, shall be final; and for the safe keeping of of clerks. the papers and evidence produced, and recording their
proceedings, the said boards, respectively, shall have Duties. power to appoint a clerk, whose duty it shall be to
enter in a book, to be kept for that purpose, perfect
and correct minutes of the proceedings, decisions, Papers, &c. meetings and adjournments of the boards, together on dissolution with the evidence on which such decisions are made; of the boards which books and papers, on the dissolution of the to be lodged in the secre
boards, shall be transmitted to, and lodged in the offi. tary of state's fice of the secretary of state; and on or before such office. clerk's entering on the duties of his office, he shall
take and subscribe the foHowing oath or affirmation, Oath or af. to wit: “I
do solemnly firmation of swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will truly the clerk. and faithfully enter and record all minutes, proceed.
ings and decisions of the board of commissioners for the county of
appointed under and by virtue of an act of the United States, entitled “ An act regulating the grants of land, and providing for the disposal of the lands of the United States; south of the state of Tennessee," and well and faithfully do and perform all other acts and things in the said act pointed out as the duty of a clerk of the said board,"
which oath shall be entered on the minutes of the Titles, when board; and when it shall appear to them that the claim. to be granted, ant is entitled to a tract of land under the articles of der the Geor. agreement and cession with Georgia aforesaid, in gia cession. virtue of a British or Spanish grant, legally and fully
executed, they shall give a certificate thereof, describing the tract of land and the grant, and stating that the claimant is confirmed in his title thereto by virtue of the said articles; which certificate, being recorded by the register of the land office, whose duty it shall be to record the same in a book to be kept by him for that purpose, shall amount to a relinquishment forever on the part of the United States, to any
claim whatever to such tract of land : and when it shall appear to the said commissioners that the claimant is entitled to a tract of land by virtue of a settlement under the Bourbon act of Georgia, recognized Under the in the said articles of agreement and cession, or of Bourbon act either of the two first sections of this act, they shall of Georgia, give a certificate thereof, stating the circumstances of first section the case, and that the claimant is entitled to receive a of this act, patent for such a tract of land by virtue of this act, which certificate being duly entered with the register of the land office, on or before the first day of January, cighteen hundred and five, shall entitle the party to a patent for the said tract, which shall issue in like manner as is provided by this act for the other lands of the United States, without the party paying any thing therefor, except the surveying expenses and the fees of office. And when it shall appear to the said commissioners or under that the claimant is entitled to a right of pre-emption by
right of pre
emption. virtue of the third section of this act, they shall give a certificate thereof, directed to the register of the land office, which certificate being duly entered with the register of the land office, on or before the first day of January, eighteen hundred and five, shall entitle the party to become a purchaser for such tract of land: Provided, That he shall, prior to the first day Proviso. of January, eighteen hundred and six, also produce* a receipt from the treasurer of the United States, or from the receiver of public monies, for at least one.' fourth part of the purchase money, and also for the payment of the surveying expenses ; and the party shall, upun payment in full of the purchase money, on which, if any of the three last payments shall be made in advance, he shall be allowed the same discount allowed in similar cases by this act, be entitled to receive a patent, which shall issue in like manner, and on payment of the same fees as are provided by this act for the other lands of the United States ; but if such person shall neglect to enter his certificate, on or before the first day of January, eighteen hundred and five, or to make such first payment as above provided, his right of pre-emption shall cease and
• The time to make the first payment extended to 1st January, 1808, by subsequent laws.