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In justice to Receivers, whose duty it is made to account for all fees received by the Registers as well as those received by themselves, and to avoid embarrassments hereafter, you are directed to be governed by the following regulations :
1st. Whenever application is made to locate a Land Warrant, the Register's and Receiver's fees are to be paid into the hands of the Receiver, who will give the applicant a receipt for the amount paid, which receipt, as evidence that the fees have been duly paid, will be shown by him to the Register, who will then issue a certificate of location, and make an entry of the location in the books of his office.
2d. It is required of the Receiver to prepare, and forward to this Office at the end of each month with his monthly account current, a “ fee statement,” showing the quantity of lands located with warrants issued under the several acts of Congress, and the amount of Register's and Receiver's fees he has received for the same, (see form herewith ;) and, at the end of each quarter, he will credit the United States in his account to be rendered as “ Disbursing Agent"'* to this Office, with the full amount of fees received on account of the Register and Receiver during the quarter—distinctly stating the quantity located with the warrants issued under each act, and the amount of fees he has received thereon.
3d. Whenever the amount of fees received by the Receiver, added to the commissions to which the Register and Receiver are entitled on account of 6 land sold," shall reach the maximum of $2500 allowed by law, it is the duty of the Receiver promptly to report the fact to this Office ; and the excess of fees received by him over and above an amount sufficient to make the Register's and Receiver's maximum for their official year, respectively, he will safely keep in his possession until he is instructed in regard to the same.
I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Showing the quantity of lands located with Military Bounty Land Warrants, issued under the following acts of Congress, at the Land Office at
~, during the month of — , 185–; also the amount of Register's and Receiver's fees received for locating the same :
RECEIVER'S OFFICE at — , 185 . I certify that the foregoing is a correct statement of the quantity of lands located with Military Bounty Land Warrants at this office, and of the amount of Register's and Receiver's fees received by me during the month.
REGISTER'S OFFICE at — , 185 . I certify that I have carefully examined the foregoing Fee Statement of the Receiver, and find the same to be correct.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington City, January 23, 1856. A practice seems to be rapidly obtaining amongst the officers of the Federal Government of absenting themselves from their respective posts of duty, which threatens to become a serious evil. Its impropriety, and incompatibility with the various interests entrusted to or devolved upon them, is manifest, and its discontinuance imperatively demanded.
The officers of this Department are, therefore, hereby informed, that their constant attention to their respective duties is expected and required; and that, hereafter, any unauthorized absence from their posts will be deemed sufficient cause of removal.
When leave of absence is desired for any purpose, timely application therefor should be transmitted to the Department, and it will be granted or withheld, as may seem just and proper; but in the mean time, and until the answer of the Department is received, the officer making the application will remain in the proper discharge of his official duties.
As those applications, however, are frequently made by officers on the ground that the public interests committed to them require their presence at the seat of government, the Department takes this occasion to say, that, in its opinion, such necessity can rarely if ever exist: the mail facilities of the United States being sufficient for all practical purposes of official intercourse.
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
June 7, 1857. Gentlemen :-In order to secure a regular system and facilitate the business of the Department, you are hereby instructed to observe the following regulations respecting all your monthly and quarterly returns :
1. The monthly returns, fee statements, &c., of both officers, and the quarterly accounts of the Receiver and Disbursing Agent, must be mailed within three days succeeding the close of each month and quarter.
2. Instead of the first day of the last month in each quarter, as heretofore directed by Circular of 13th June, 1849, Receivers will, in the course of the first month of each quarter, and as soon as possible, forward the required estimate of expenses for the quarter, that a draft for the amount may be remitted in time to enable a prompt and strict compliance with the above requirements.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Thos. A. HENDRICKS, Commissioner. Register and Receiver, Land Office at
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Gentlemen :-The First Comptroller of the Treasury, who by law is charged with the revision of the accounts of Receivers and Disbursing Agents, and is the controlling officer, has rendered a decision that the fees for the location of land warrants shall be accounted for by the Receiver in his accounts rendered as “ Receiver,” and not as “ Disbursing Agent.”
Therefore you are hereby directed to consider the Circular of April 21, 1856, (No. 383,) modified in this respect accordingly; and the following course of proceeding is ordered :
1. All fees to which the Register and Receiver are entitled for locating land warrants, must be received by the Receiver as required by the said circular; and, at the end of each month and quarter, the Receiver, as such, will credit the United States with the amount fees received during these periods in his monthly and quarterly accounts respectively, as follows:
And with his monthly account he will forward also the fee statement as now required.
2. The amount of commissions to which the Register and Receiver may be entitled on the value of lands located with warrants, will be debited by the Receiver in his Disbursing Agent's account as directed in the third clause of the Circular of April 21, 1856 ; taking care that the amount of commissions on land warrant locations, when added to commissions on 6 lands sold," do not exceed, in the aggregate, the maximum of $2500 for any one official year, from the date of their respective commissions.
3. The Receiver is directed in all cases to forward to this Office, with the “ Disbursing Agent's account” for each quarter, separate and distinct vouchers for the amount of commissions paid to the Register on purchasemoney for lands sold, and on the value of lands located with warrants.
I am, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
March 12, 1859. Sir :-Being informed from the General Land Office that some of the Receivers have claimed the right of making, at the close of every quarter, deposits to the credit of the Treasurer, of whatever balances then in their hands, however small in amount, and charging mileage for making such deposits, I have now to instrust the Receivers of Public Money, that such evidently is not the intention of the Circular of 18th July, 1854, (No. 377,) and that whenever the balance at the close of any quarter, does not exceed $2000 in the hands of any Receiver, he will at once report such balance to the Commissioner of the General Land Office and to this Department, for specific directions. Whenever the balance exceeds $2000 at the close of any quarter, the whole should be deposited to the credit of the Treasurer.
I am very respectfully,
Secretary of the Treasury.
May 10, 1859. Sir:-By a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, it appears to have occasionally occurred that requisitions from that Department upon the Treasury in favor of a Receiver of Public Money as disbursing agent, having been complied with by the Treasurer's draft on some depository, in consequence of that officer not finding sufficient money to pay the same reported to him by such Receiver, when the draft has reached the Receiver, he has collected the amount from the depository; though, at the time, he held sufficient money to pay the amount of such draft.
Obvious inconveniences arise from this course, and to prevent them, any Receiver having, as disbursing agent, the draft of the Treasurer on any other officer, at any time when such Receiver holds sufficient money of the United States to pay the same, he will at once pay such draft out of such money and endorse the fact that he has so paid it, as Receiver, to himself as disbursing agent, upon the draft, and to transmit it without delay to the Treasurer of the United States, as pointed out in his Circular of the 31st August, 1854. Upon the receipt of the draft so paid and endorsed, the Treasurer will at once cause the proper credit to be given to such Receiver for the payment of the draft; the fact that it was originally drawn upon another officer not being material in regard to such credit.
By the reports from the Department of the Interior, it may be inferred that, in some instances, the inconveniences referred to have arisen from the neglect of Receivers in strictly complying with their standing instructions, which require from every Receiver of public money, at the close of each month, triplicate returns of the money received on account of the Treasury of the United States, including all fees received for locating military bounty land warrants, as well as of the moneys paid, either on the Treasurer's drafts or by deposits made to the credit of the Treasurer under
instructions, without any deduction on account of balances which may be claimed by such Receiver, as disbursing agent, which by law, are to be otherwise provided for. One of these returns is required to be sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, another to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the other to the Treasurer of the United States ; with the latter, are to be enclosed all the drafts of the Treasurer paid during such month.
These returns must clearly exhibit the actual balance, subject to draft or deposit, in the hands of the Receiver, and if punctually mailed to these several officers, will in most cases, enable drafts to be so placed as to obviate the questions which have occasionally arisen in regard to charges made for collecting the Treasurer's drafts on depositories.
The rule of this Department respecting such charges has always been, that when any disbursing officer of this Department shall receive a draft from the Treasurer which he cannot convert into specie, at par, without expense, he must at once return the draft to the Treasurer with an official report of the facts; upon which, either the draft will be made payable at some more available point, or authority given to incur the necessary expense of its collection, as circumstances may justify. In no case whatever does the Secretary of the Treasury recognize any charges for the expense of collecting the 'I'reasurer's drafts, unless such expense has been previously authorized upon an official report showing its necessity; it being presumed by this Department, unless the contrary is clearly shown beforehand, that the Treasurer's drafts are at least equal to specie in every part of the United States.
Secretary of the Treasury. To the Receiver of Public Money at
OPINION OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
No. 389. Purchase of, public lands by Registers or Receivers ; Registers by express
terms of statute, and Receivers by legal construction, may purchase public lands at private entry. But neither Registers nor Receivers can purchase such lands by pre-emption within their respective districts.
March 7, 1856. Sir:-Your communication of the 25th of October presents two questions, namely :
1. Has thé Receiver in any of the local land offices the right to purchase, at his own office, land which has been offered at public sale, and thus become subject to private entry at a statute price?
2. Has such receiver the right to purchase by pre-emption within his district ?
It is admitted that the Register may purchase lands subject to private entry in virtue of the provisions of the Act of May 10th, 1800, through the intervention of the Surveyor-General; (2 Statutes at Large, p. 77. Sce No. 2,) as to general purchase by Receivers, that question, upon existing statutes, seems to require to be considered as res judicata. The opinion