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purchase where he could purchase cheapest, for the reason that it was necessary to concentrate the supplies at the points named, and proximity to those points was often an element in determining the purchase.

I will state to the gentleman that the amendment proposed by my colleague from Nebraska (Mr. Laird) is intended to take the place of provisions in former bills. It provides that the purchase of these supplies shall be made where they can be bought cheapest; but one of the most important elements of cheapness may be the cost of transportation. I do not see how there can be any objection to such an amendment as that, and from the fact that the distributing point in former bills has been stricken from this bill. So that it is simply right and proper that a provision should be put in this bill compelling the Department to purchase where they can purchase cheapest on the conditions named.

Two important objects were to be obtained by the amendment proposed, the one to purchase in the cheapest market and the other to prevent favoritism.

Western men could see no objection to supplies being purchased at Leavenworth, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska, if thereby money could be saved to the Government.

But the red tape processes and veneration for the old and familiar held almost absolute sway among army officers and old members of Congress, to the utter disgust of "pioneers" who formed precedents and created destinies.

LAND SYSTEM.

The land system was also an object of very special interest, indeed, paramount to all others, on account of the agricultural interests of the State, and the fact that a majority of the settlers were yet awaiting the maturity of their titles. The administration of President Cleveland had found the land laws evaded and violated by all the adroitness of land shark syndicates and individual frauds. Large cattle ranges had been fenced and guarded, pre-emption claims fraudulently located and sold. To restore these claims to market required the services of soldiers and special agents. That mistakes were sometimes made by the special detectives cannot be doubted, but as their acts were not

final, there was always a chance for the interposition of experienced officials and the correction of errors.

On this subject Mr. McShane uttered his sentiments as follows:

SPECIAL AGENTS.

In offering the amendment to this paragraph and in any remarks I made in support of the amendment I do not recall that in any manner I cast any reflection upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office or the management of the General Land Office so far as the administration of that office is concerned. That was far from my mind, but the action and procedure of the special agents in the field is what I object to. In providing the necessary funds to enable the General Land Office to detect frauds and prosecute fraudulent entries I will go as far as any gentleman on this floor.

But I say here that the special agents of the General Land Office in the field do not confine themselves to the fraudulent entries on the public lands, but rather, in my section especially, to the prevention of honest homesteaders from securing titles to their claims. This is what I object to. I believe $50,000 is amply sufficient to provide the necessary special agents for the detection of fraudulent entries by cattle syndicates, or any other syndicates, either foreign or domestic, in their fraudulent land entries. Hence, it is not necessary that we should appropriate $50,000 additional for the purpose, as I have named, of persecuting honest homesteaders in the agricultural states of Nebraska and Kansas.

I say that this money has been to a certain degree squandered, and I say further that this fraud has not been perpetrated by Democratic officials or special agents, but in most cases by Republican special agents who have held over from preceding administrations.

MR. LAIRD: Put them out.

MR. MCSHANE: Some of them have been put out.
MR. LAIRD: Put the rest out.

MR. MCSHANE: I say that those special agents have car-
ried on this process of the persecution of honest home-
steaders to an extent working great hardship and incon-
venience to those poor people who have undergone the
hardships and sacrifices of frontier life to the end that
they might secure homes for themselves and their children.
I have knowledge of cases where the special agents have
expended $1,800 in an endeavor to procure testimony that
would defeat the claim of a settler. After expending this

amount of money they found the title of the settler complete as it was possible to make it; that he had in every particular complied with the law. Even after expending this amount of money the special agent made request of the General Land Office for $1,200 more to continue the prosecution and the gathering of testimony against this settler. That would make $3,000 expended in prosecuting

one case.

After spending the $1,800 and finding nothing, he suspended the case until he could get $1,200 more.

This is a matter I am opposed to. Those are the proceedings to which I am opposed to appropriate money to continue. But so far as the honest prosecution of fraudulent land entries, whether they are made by individuals, cattle syndicates, or any other syndicates is concerned, I will go as far as any gentleman in appropriating the necessary funds.

EXORBITANT CHARGES.

Understanding that clerks and notaries public were in the habit of charging exorbitant prices for the taking of testimony in certain proof cases, he advocated an amendment, not to exceed $3 per case.

MR. MCSHANE: Under the existing law notaries public and clerks of the district courts in the different counties have the power to take the testimony of the final proof and forward the same to the district land office. In the majority of cases the final proof is taken before the clerk of the district court in the county in which the homestead is located. The existing law does not fix the amount of fees to be charged in such cases; but where the proof is taken before the district land office the fees are limited. The charges usually in such cases before the clerk of the district court and county clerk are from two to five dollars, and are in excess of the amount allowed where the proofs are taken before the register or receiver. An imposition is being practiced all through the West on homesteaders making their final proofs from the fact that even at the exorbitant price charged by those officers it is cheaper than to pay railroad fare in many cases 75 or 100 miles to the district office. I hope the committee will accept this amendment. It is only to guard against the imposition of the officers in the different counties.

LAND MONOPOLY.

His hostility to the swindling system by which syndicates got

possession of 450,000 acres of land under the "desert-land act," while each citizen was limited to an entry of only 640 acres, was manifest on a bill to prevent monopoly in the public lands.

MR. MCSHANE: I am going to state just how it occurred. I find syndicates who procure men who make their declarations and take up the lands under the desert-land act, and after they have paid the amount necessary to procure the possession of the lands these syndicates perform the necessary work required under the law to make the final proof. That I will say, the first declaration of the first settler, and, by the way, he is not required to live on the land, but to make certain improvements; he is not even required to go to the land district to make his filing under the law, but his filing is placed upon record, and the syndicates perform the necessary requirements from that time on during the period of three years to effect and complete the improvements and secure the title. They have an assignment of the claims from the original party and when the proofs are completed we find the claims being transferred and the patents issued to the syndicate performing the improvements of the land.

On an occasion when the question was upon fees received from homestead proofs covered into the treasury, and not thereafter expended, in full, for clerical services, in cases where land officers had to bear part of the outlay from their own salaries, Mr. McShane, as usual, remembered the toiling settler.

HOMESTEAD RELIEF.

MR. MCSHANE: I am speaking of the fees collected from homesteads. The last report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office shows that the revenue from homesteads alone for 1887 was nearly $1,700,000; $1,700,000 collected from the settlers on the public domain, who are supposed to have little, in many cases nothing at all, not even enough to pay necessary legal fees in proving up their claims.

Is it pretended that this Government is to collect from this class of people a revenue of $1,700,000 in every year when we must admit that the intention of the law was that the minimum amount should be collected from settlers on the public domain-only enough to meet the expense of maintaining the clerical force? In 1884 there was $145,000 appropriated for clerk-hire and contingent expenses in one hundred and six offices. In addition to this the registers

and receivers received all of the fees collected for reducing testimony to writing, and also for the furnishing of abstracts and plats, but in the present bill, with one hundred and eleven land offices, the committee appropriate only $150,000 and cover into the treasury, the fees collected. Of the $120,000 that was appropriated for contingent expenses last year $86,000 was covered into the treasury, leaving a balance of only $34,000 in that fund. Now, I desire to say that the money appropriated by this bill is not money taken out of the treasury at all. The salaries of the registers and receivers, and also of the clerical force in the local land offices are based upon the amount of fees collected in those offices, and if there is not $3,000 collected in fees the officer does not get that amount.

This money is appropriated merely as a guaranty fund; it is collected back from settlers proving up on their claims; so that in the appropriation of this money there is not a dollar of real expenditure on the part of the Government. The settlers pay the money into the local land offices, and from there it is covered into the treasury and appropriated back by Congress for the payment of the expenses of the service.

FREE IRON AND STEEL.

When a tariff bill was under discussion, with a provision that "Iron and steel hoops for cotton ties and baling purposes" should come in free, and a clamor was raised that such legisla tion would be a special favor to the South, Mr. McShane offered an amendment, and said:

MR. MCSHANE: I am in favor of admitting hoop-iron of the class mentioned in this paragraph free of duty, provided that when admitted it may be used for any purpose whatThe amendment that I offer will accomplish that object and admit iron and steel hoops not thinner than No. 20 wire gauge free of duty and will allow the same to be used for whatever purpose parties may choose to use them.

ever.

MR. BAYNE: I suggest to the gentleman that he will not fully accomplish his purpose by his amendment, because they use more wire than hoop-iron for baling.

MR. MCSHANE: I want them to have the privilege of using hoop-iron if they see fit, and I merely want to say now, because I do not wish to take up the time of the House, that upon a failure to allow this hoop-iron to be used for any purpose for which people desire to use it, I shall vote to

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