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There have been many applications to purchase settling lots in the townships recently lotted, but the returns by the surveyors, of their field notes, have not been made in season to enable me to fix prices and make sales. The facilities of getting to these lands, afforded by the extensive line of roads, opened the past season, will ensure an extensive sale, at an early day.
I have sold to settlers, six thousand, six hundred and forty-two acres of settling land, for four thousand, nine hundred and three dollars and eighty-eight cents, three fourths of which, to be expended on the roads, where the lands lie, and the other fourth payable in four years.
The Resolve of January 28th, 1839, making appropriation of land for officers and soldiers of the Revolution and their widows, directs the Land Agent to cause to be surveyed into lots of two hundred acres each, township letter D, in the first range bordering on the East line of the State, to satisfy holders of certificates of land under the several Resolves on that subject, and provides the manner of numbering the lots, for putting the numbers into a box and drawing by the holders of certificates. The duty of surveying was left to the Surveyor General to perform. It is believed that the Legislature was not aware of the situation of that Township when the Resolve passed. There were then thirteen settlers in that township on the Aroostook river passing through the northern part of it, eleven of whom had families, and some have been settled there ten or twelve years, with good farms. It could not have been intended to give away the possessions of these people in a lottery. The boom and Fort Fairfield are also on this township, and so long as it is necessary to guard the timber and river with any considerable number of men, the land where the blockhouses
and quarters are, will be needed for public use. I therefore found it impracticable to carry this Resolve into effect, without an extensive injury to many individuals, which I would not believe the Legislature would knowingly inflict. Could this Resolve be modified su that claimants should receive a sum of money fully equivalent to what these grants have been worth in the market, or some other township, differently situated, substituted in its place, the difficulty with these settlers would be removed without injury to any individual. Land granted to the aged soldier or his widow, without provision for roads or mills, and there being no large proprietors sufficiently interested to build mills and bring forward other improvements, and without prospect of early settlement by reason of the age and circumstances of many of the proprietors, cannot be worth more than the money part of the payment for settling land under the present settling laws. The position of this township renders it important it should be settled forthwith. Grants of land in this manner greatly retard settlement. The effect of appropriations of this character is illustrated by the fact that of the seven townships heretofore granted by Maine and Massachusetts to Revolutionary soldiers, only one has a settlement within its borders. They are still a wilderness, and bid fair be so for a quarter of a century to come, and until a title is acquired to them by taxation. It is believed a sum of money would have been more beneficial to the recipients, and more for the interest of the State. To save the interest of the settlers on letter D, the Surveyor General run off a mile on the north and best part of the township, sufficient to save their farms and the public works, and then run the exterior lines and made the corners of the lots, but had not time to trace the lines through, the last fall, but will do that as early next season as possible. There will not probably in this way be lots enough made to satisfy all the warrants, and the southeast part of the township contains many lots of worthless land. Under these circumstances, and without a return of the survey by the Surveyor General, I have not formed, and could not, the lottery of lots, and shall now defer it till the Legislature express their pleasure on the subject. If freed from this embarrassment, the land in the township fit for settlement, and there is a large proportion of excellent land in it, would under the settling laws soon be under cultivation.
Under the Resolve of March 20th, 1838, in favor of commissioned officers and their widows, eight applications have been filed during the year, seven of which have been admitted and certificates issued, and the remaining case continued for evidence, making the whole number of certificates issued under said Resolve, twenty-seven. Under the Resolve of March 24, 1836, providing for the payment of money in certain cases, twelve new applications have been made, five of which have been admitted and certificates issued, six rejected and one continued for evidence. Certificates have also issued in former applications, I found pending, in four cases, making the whole number issued under this Resolve, three hundred and ninety-one.
Under the Resolves of March 17, 1835, and March 23, 1838, twenty-one new applications have been received, eight of which have been admitted and certificates issued, six rejected, and seven continued for evidence. Certificates have also issued in nine cases of former applications, making the whole number of certificates issued under said Resolves and Resolve of March 16, 1836, six hundred and eighty-six.
There remains sixty-eight outstanding unsatisfied certificates, for two hundred acres each, and nine certificates unsatisfied, the holders of which, are entitled to six hundred acres each-all requiring nineteen thousand acres of land to satisfy them. Of the former townships appropriated for this object, there remains in No. 4, Indian Township, thirty-nine lots of two hundred acres each, and in Indian purchase No. 2, nineteen lots of same number of acres each; and three lots of six hundred acres each, in Letter E, Range two, from the east line of the State, undrawn and are said to be land of poor quality.
The pay for lumber cut under permits, did not become due till September, for that taken from the undivided lands, and not till November, for that taken from lands belonging to Maine. The extraordinary embarrassments in business, since September, have prevented the anticipated receipts from this source of revenue, but it is believed, no losses will arise from this failure. The lien on the lumber now piled up for that object, and the bonds and acceptances taken, are thought to be sufficient to secure, ultimately, all that is due.
The whole amount of revenue accrued under permits, is twenty-four thousand one hundred and seventy-seven dollars and seventy cents, of which the sum of seven thousand and seventy-three dollars and twenty-seven cents has been paid.
The same embarrassments have caused much disappointment, in the small amount of receipts from the old debts due to the State for land and timber. Early in the season notice was given to all persons indebted to the State, both public and by letter, to make payments. Many indebted for land conveyed by conditional deed, and held by mortgage to the State, claimed indulgence till March next, because the Legislature by Act of March 23d, 1838, saved the forfeiture to the purchaser, if paid within two years from that date. Suits have been brought in some cases, where there was a prospect of securing debts, that would otherwise be lost. Possession has been taken to foreclose mortgages, in one hundred and four cases, in the towns of Enfield, Chester, Passadumkeag, Bradley, Springfield, Lowell, Burlington, Greenbush, Lincoln, Orient and Topsfield, and in a few other cases, in other places. The prospect is, most of the debts due on these mortgages, will ultimately be paid, and where not, the land will sell again without much loss, except the interest on the notes. Notes to the amount of twenty-two thousand and thirtyfour dollars and forty-four cents, have been placed in the hands of Attorneys for collection.
In many cases where lands have been conveyed by conditional deeds, if these deeds should be legally adjudged to be constitutional, technically so called, they would have reverted to the State ere this, but for the legislative indulgence before alluded to, which expires on the 23d day of March next. Should these conveyances, with condition in the decd, be decided to enure as mortgages only, payment will not be so prompt. Still if mortgages, it is not perceived how they can be so, beyond the payment of the consideration in money. If the settling duties have been neglected, they cannot now be performed, as the time of doing so, seems to be the essential part of it.
In a great many cases, the purchasers are dead or have left the country, and nothing has been done on the land, but to strip off every thing worth taking off, and in other cases the purchasers have done little or nothing, and are unable to pay. When these lands revert, they can be again sold, and without much loss, except the interest on