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Ohio, through its legislature, protested against such grants, but before the Ohio protest or the resolutions of a number of the States had time to reach Congress, the following adverse report was made to the United States Senate, and no further action seems to have been taken.

6. Proposition to grant Land to the Old States for the Purpose of


(American State Papers, Public Lands, III, 496]

Communicated to the Senate, February 9, 1821 Mr. Thomas, from the Committee on Public Lands, being instructed to inquire into the justice and expediency of granting land for the purposes of education within the limits of the old States, corresponding with the appropriations which have been made for the same object within the limits of the new States, reported :

That, under the laws of the United States, lands have been granted for the purposes of education in the States of Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, and Alabama, in the proportion of one-thirty-sixth part of all the public lands within the State, with the addition of two townships, of forty-six thousand and eighty acres in each State, and to Louisiana an additional township, or twenty-three thousand and forty acres. The quantity which is already vested in each of the above States by the operation of this system, and which will vest in them, when the Indian title shall have been extinguished, and the whole of the lands are surveyed, will be exhibited sufficiently for all practical purposes by the annexed estimate of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and which is a part of this report. The committee also remark that, by an act of the 18th of April, 1806, a donation of two hundred thousand acres of land were made to the State of Tennessee for the use of two colleges, and academies in each county of the State, to be established by the legislature thereof; and six hundred and forty acres in each six miies square, where it was practicable, for the use of schools; and that a township, or twenty-three thousand and forty acres was, on the 3rd of March, 1819, granted by the United States to the Connecticut Asylum for the education of deaf and dumb persons.

The lands thus granted to the States for the above purposes are not subject to taxation by the State Government, and can only be settled in the manner pointed out by the States in which they lie. If, therefore, corresponding quantities for the purposes of education are to be granted to all the old States, (under which term the committee believe all States will be included which have not received donations of land for that purpose), it would seem that the States and Territories which now contain public land would have an excessive proportion of their superfices taken up with such donations, leaving but a small part of the land lying in each subject to taxation, or to settlement, except at the will of other sovereign States. In receiving donations of land for the purposes of promoting education in the States in which they have been granted, in the opinion of the committee, a consideration has been rendered therefor, on the part of those States, by the increased value which the population and improvement of the State gave to the unsold public lands, and by the compact not to tax the lands of the United States at any time before they were sold, nor until the lapse of five years thereafter.

The lands, therefore, granted to some of the new States for the purposes of education, though distinguished in common parliance as donations, were in fact sales bottomed upon valuable considerations, in which the new States surrendered their right of sovereignty over the remaining public lands, and gave up the whole amount which might have been received in taxes before such lands were sold, and for five years thereafter.

The committee are, therefore, of the opinion that it is inexpedient to grant lands to the extent contemplated in the resolution ; but that it is just and expedient to grant a per centum, to a reasonable extent, on the amount of sales of public lands for the purposes of promoting education in such States as have not received the aid of the General Government, distributing the amount among the several States according to the population of each ; and that justice would require an equivalent from the United States to the States and Territories which contain public lands, if it should be deemed advisable to make the donation to the old States recommended in this report; and they are of the opinion that, in that event, it would be entirely just to subject to taxation, by such State or Territory, all lands sold by the United States therein, from and after the day on which they may be sold.

Another Report from the Committee on Public Lands was made in 1826 on the same subject, in answer to a resolution of the House on the matter. The report recommended a distribution of a portion of the proceeds from the sales of national lands, but no action seems to have been taken. The discussion of the subject now turned to the question of distributing the surplus revenue (see further on in this chapter) and then died out until after the Civil War.

After the close of the Civil War the prostrate condition of the South, and the great percentage of illiteracy among the freedmen, again drew attention to the question of extending some form of national aid for education, virtually for the relief of the South. The matter was considered for many years, and attracted much attention, but no bill was ever able to secure the approval of both houses of Congress. Two main lines of aid were proposed, one the establishment of a national educational fund from the proceeds of the land sales, and the other a temporary measure for the immediate relief of the situation. These proposals are considered further under subdivision V of this chapter.


1. Saline Grants

In the Enabling Act for the admission of Ohio Congress also made a grant of Saline lands (see Enabling Act, Sec. 2) which also served as a precedent, and in which nearly all of the Mississippi Valley states later shared. Indiana was subsequently given thirty-six sections with the salt springs, and Illinois was given all of the salt springs in the state together with the land reserved for the same, but the grant was soon changed to limit it to a total of two townships. The following section from the Enabling Act of Wisconsin is typical :

[Poore, B. F., Federal and State Constitutions, II, 2025.] SECT. 5. Fourth. That all salt-springs within said State, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining, or as contiguous as may be to each, shall be granted to the State for its use; the same to be selected by the legislature thereof within one year after the admission of said State; and, when so selected, to be used or disposed of on such terms, conditions, and regulations as the legislature shall direct : Provided, That no salt-spring or land, the right whereof is now vested in any individual or individuals, or which may hereafter be confirmed or adjudged to any individual or individuals, shall, by this section, be granted to said State.

The following states have received grants from this source, and as follows:

(Compiled from various scattered sources.]







1802 Ohio


$41,024 1816 Indiana 22,830


85,000 1818 Illinois 121,029 1819 Ala ma 23,040 1821 Missouri 46,080

Schools 1836 Arkansas 46,080

Schools 1837 Michigan 46,080 16,000 A. for Normal

School, 30,080 A. for

Agricultural College 1846 Iowa

46,080 Schools and Agricultural

College 1848 Wisconsin 46,080 University of Wisconsin c. 150,000 1858 Minnesota 46,080 1859 Oregon 46,080 1861 Kansas 46,080 30,380 A. for Normal

School, 4608 A. to

State University 1867 Nebraska 46,080 30,380 A. for Normal

School 1876 Colorado 46,080

Total 649,9151
Received Grants, but never qualified for them:

1812 Louisiana 46,0801
1817 Mississippi 46,080
1850 California 46,080
1864 Nevada 46,080

Total grants 834,235 Devoted to education, c. 370,000 Acres

2. The Five per Centum Fund This was begun with Ohio in 1802 (see Enabling Act, Sec. 3) and continued with each state having public land ever since. In the admission of Illinois in 1818, three fifths of the five per cent was set aside for schools, for the first time. After about 1845 states began to request the permission of Congress to so appropriate it, and since about 1860 it has been uniformly specified as for schools. (See Oklahoma Enabling Act, pages 67–71.)

The following Table shows the income from this Fund up to June 30, 1913.








JUNE 30, 1913

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New Mexico
North Dakota .
South Dakota


$1,077,305.32 $ 599.40 $1,077,904.72

1,652.99 1,652.99 323,897.84 1,013.16 324,911.00 1,062,698.44 17,354.82 1,080,053.26

445,393.06 15,355.24 460,748.30 133,159.79 4,176.27 137,336.06

231,342.01 10,541.35 241,833.36 1,187,908.89

1,187,908.89 1,040,255.26

1,040,255.26 633,638.10

633,638.10 1,122,353.55 3,115.86 1,125,469.41

467,862.06 325.83 468,187.89 586,783.64 284.88 587,068.52

586,036.69 2,246.39 588,283.08 1,069,843.91 82.71 1,069,926.62 1,059,760.74 669.87 1,060,430.61

366,647.00 37,598.88 404,245.88 551,388.13 8,006.32 559,394.45

29,518.81 2,605.77 32,124.58 110,453.47 10,587.31 121,040.78 505,262.75 23,764.36 529,027.11 999,353.01

999.353.01 55,956.06 3,161.83 59,117.89 701,687.81 15,328.30 717,016.11 263,485.30 44,582.90 308,068.20

75,860.78 5,834.00 81,694.78 390,903.57 6,026.78 396,930.35 586,304.10 104.48 586,408.58

189,517.57 23,870.07 213,387.64 $15,854,577.66 $238,889.77 $16,093,417.43

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