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62D CONGRESS,

1st Session.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. {

REPORT
No. 122

WASHINGTON IMPROVEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CO.

August 5, 1911.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ROBINSON, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted

the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. J. Res. 142.]

The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred House joint resolution 142, to declare and make certain the authority of the Attorney General to begin and maintain and of the circuit court to entertain and decide a suit or suits for the purpose of having judicially declared a forfeiture of the rights granted by the act entitled "An act granting to the Washington Improvement and Development Company a right of way through the Colville Indian Reservation in the State of Washington," approved June 4, 1898, having had the same under consideration, beg leave to report the same with the recommendation that it do pass.

The circumstances which make the passage of the resolution necessary are clearly disclosed by the following memorandum and letter from the Department of Justice:

MEMORANDUM.

The act entitled "An act granting to the Washington Improvement and Development Company a right of way through the Colville Indian Reservation in the State of Washington," approved June 4, 1898, provides:

"Sec. 5. That the right herein granted shall be forfeited by said company unless at least twenty-five miles of said railway sball be constructed through such reservation within two years after the passage of this act.”

Section 3 provides for the filing with the Secretary of the Interior of maps of defipite location, subject to his approval, and requires the company to commence grading its located line within six months after filing the map, declaring that, upon its failure to do so within that tiine,"such location shall be void.”

The grantee filed a number of maps of location, which were approved hy the Secretary of the Interior June 23 to November 27, 1899, but it never undertook any construction work whatsoever. Sometime in 1906 it appears to have assigned its rights to the Washington & Great Northern Railway Co., which latter concern later assigned to the Great Northern Railway Co.

At the request of the Secretary of the Interior this department caused a suit to be filed against the three corporations in the circuit court for the eastern district of Washington to forfeit the grant. The bill was filed April 18, 1911. Up to that time no work had been done, and the grant, so far from being a public benefit, was a public detriment. July 18, 1911, Judge Rudkin, sitting in the circuit court, sustained defendants' demurrer on the ground that, notwithstanding the complete breach of the conditions subsequent to the grant, there was no authority in the Executive branch or in the courts to maintain proceedings to declare a forfeiture. He did not, of course, question the power of Congress to pass an enactment which would, in and of itself, declare a forfeiture, or to authorize the Attorney General and the courts to bring about the same result judicially. He does, however, question, in spite of the specific language of section 5, whether Congress intended to authorize judicial proceedings in this case.

Shortly before the decision was announced, the Great Northern Railway Co., notwithstanding the pendency of the suit, entered upon the locus in quo and began its railway construction work, in the course of which damage was inflicted upon the divers Indian allotments, which had been laid out and improved long subsequent to the orig. inal and now void locations.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

Washington, August 1, 1911. Hon. JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Chairman Committee on the Public Lands,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. ROBINSON: I take the liberty of sending you herewith a memorandum concerning the status of litigation against the Great Northern Railway Co. et al., growing out of the grant of a right of way to its predecessor, the Washington Improve ment & Development Co., across the Colville Indian Reservation, in the eastern district of Washington. I also submit as a working basis a joint resolution declaring the authority of the Attorney General to maintain proceedings to forfeit the grant.

In the opinion of this department and the Department of the Interior, the language of the granting statute as it stands (sec. 5) should be regarded as sufficient for this purpose. There is identical language in the general railway right of way act of March 3, 1875 (18 Stat., 483, sec. 1), and other similar acts, including the general act which grants rights of way through public lands for reservoirs, irrigation canals, etc. ( 26 Stat., 1102, sec. 20). Such acts, particularly the one last mentioned, have always been regarded as conferring upon the Attorney General the right to ask a judicial forfeiture in each case of a breach of conditions subsequent, and suits have been repeatedly begun and maintained for that purpose.

In the present case it is believed that Congress would be amply justified in passing a resolution declaring an absolute forfeiture of the grant. The grantee and its assigns have been guilty of flagrant neglect, and the high-handed conduct of the present claimant certainly does not commend it to special consideration.

I am sending a duplicate of this letter and inclosure to Hon. Knute Nelson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Lands. Senator Jones of Washington, is cognizant of all the facto. Respectfully,

ERNEST KNAEBEL,
Assistant Attorney General.

(For the Attorney General.)

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62D CONGRESS,

1st Session.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

{ No. 123

REPORT No. 123.

BRIDGE ACROSS PETIT JEAN RIVER, ARK.

August 5, 1911.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. RICHARDSON, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign

Commerce, submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 10652.]

The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 10652) to authorize the counties of Yell and Conway to construct a bridge across the Petit Jean River, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that

The bill has the approval of the War Department, as will appear by the indorsements attached and which is made a part of this report.

it pass.

(Second Indorsement.)

War DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, June 3, 1911. 1. Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War.

2. The accompanying bill (H. R. 10652, 62d Cong., 1st sess.), to authorize the construction of a bridge across Petit Jean River, in the State of Arkansas, is in the usual form and makes ample provision for the protection of navigation interests.

3. So far as those interests are concerned, I know of no objection to its favorable consideration by Congress.

4. It is deemed proper to say, however, that the necessity for the passage of the bill by Congress is not apparent, as the stream lies wholly within the State of Arkansas, and Congress has provided by section 9 of the river and harbor act of March 3, 1899, that such streams may be bridged under authority of State laws, if the plans for the structures are presented to and approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War.

W. H. BIXBY, Chief of Engineers, United States Army. [Third Indorsement.)

WAR DEPARTMENT, June 5, 1911. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, inviting attention to the foregoing report of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

ROBERT SHAW OLIVER,

Assistant Secretary of War. O

62D CONGRESS, | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.S

1st Session.

REPORT No. 124

DRAINAGE OF SWAMP LANDS IN MINNESOTA AND

ARKANSAS.

August 5, 1911.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of

the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. ROBINSON from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted

the following

REPORT.

(To accompany S. 3069.)

The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred S. 3069 to amend section one of an act entitled, “An act to authorize the drainage of certain lands in Minnesota,” approved May 20, 1908, having had the same under consideration, recommends that the same be passed.

The situation in the State of Arkansas is somewhat analogous to that existing in the State of Minnesota in reference to the subject matter of this legislation. In some portions of the State exist considerable areas of swamp lands belonging to the United States interspersed with lands in private ownership of the same general character. The laws of Arkansas provide for the formation of drainage districts and the construction of drains, the costs being assessed in proportion to benefits against the property drained. Objections may be filed, and appeals are authorized, and the rights of landowners are carefully safeguarded. While there are material differences in the drainage laws of Arkansas and Minnesota, it is thought that no difference exists which makes objectionable the extension of the act of May 20, 1908, which made the Government lands in Minnesota subject to the drainage laws of that State, to the State of Arkansas. In the latter State great progress is being made under local laws in the reclamation of swamp lands and it is often impossible to drain private lands without also greatly benefiting public lands. Lands which are of merely nominal value before being reclaimed are multiplied in value from ten to forty times when drained and placed in cultivation. Much of the lands have been located under the public-land laws. It seems fair that the provisions of the laws of the State of Minnesota should be extended to Arkansas.

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62D CONGRESS, | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

18t Session.

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PER CAPITA PAYMENT TO ENROLLMENT MEMBERS OF

FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES.

AUGUST 5, 1911.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of

the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. CARTER, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the

following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. J. Res. 141.]

The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred House joint resolution No. 141, having had the same under consideration, recommend that it be amended and as amended do pass.

Amend as follows:

The title, in line 2, after the words "members of the,” insert "Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians of the".

The text of the resolution on page 1, line 5, after the words ''members of the,” insert “Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians of tho".

On page 2, line 1, strike out "incompetent or incapable of managing their own affairs" and insert “Indians whose restrictions have not been removed.”

On page 2, line 2, after the word “may,'' insert'in his discretion.”

The resolution as amended to read as follows: Joint resolution to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make a per capita payment to the enrolled members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes entitled to share in the funds of said tribes.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized, in his discretion, to make a per capita payment to the enrolled members of the Choctaw, ChickasIw, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes entitled under existing law to share in the funds of said tribes, or to their lawful heirs, out of any moneys belonging to said tribes in the United States Treasury, or deposited in any bank, or held by any official under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior, said payment not to exceed fifty dollars per capita and to be made under such regulations as he may prescribe: Provided, That in cases where such members are Indians whose restrictions have not been removed, the Secretary of the Interior may, in his discretion, withhold such payment and use the same for their benefit.

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