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"The committee on public lands, to whom was referred so much of the Governor's annual message as relates to the public and mineral lands, have had the same under consideration, and as the attention of the legislature, was, by the said message particularly called to the subject of the mineral lands in the Upper Peninsula, the committee have deemed it advisable to give that portion of the subject referred to them a separate consideration.
The importance and mineral wealth of that portion of our state included in the Upper Peninsula, has for the past year occupied a large share of public attention, and sufficient examinations have been made to justify the belief that in copper and silver it is the richest and most extensive mineral region in the United States, is not excelling any known to the civilized world.
The working of these mines thus far, has been by individual enterprize, under the authority of leases granted by the War Department of the general government. • As these lands are situated within the acknowledged limits of Michigan, and as all questions relating to them may directly or remotely effect her interests, jurisdiction and sovereignty, the committee think the whole subject should now be presented for the consideration of our own state government.
The power of the federal government to treat with the Indian tribes and to purchase their lands, is a power granted by the constitution of the United States, but the disposition of those lands can only be regulated by law.
The various laws on the subject of the public lands, relating to their sale and disposition and the reservations of mines and minerals, are to be found in the proceedings and laws of Congress from the year 1785, down to the present time, the first of which was an ordinance passed by the old Congress on the 20th of May, 1785, to ascertain the manner of disposing of the lands in the then Western