Grover Cleveland

Special Message

March 20, 1888

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a communication of the 13th instant from the Secretary of the Interior, with accompanying papers, and submitting the draft of a proposed bill to forfeit lands granted to the State of Oregon for the construction of certain wagon roads, and for other purposes.

The presentation of facts by the Secretary of the Interior herewith transmitted is the result of an examination made under his direction, which has developed, as it seems to me, the most unblushing frauds upon the Government, which, if remaining unchallenged, will divert several hundred thousand acres of land from the public domain and from the reach of honest settlers to those who have attempted to prevent and prostitute the beneficent designs of the Government. The Government sought by the promise of generous donations of land to promote the building of wagon roads for public convenience and for the purpose of encouraging settlement upon the public lauds. The roads have not been built, and yet an attempt is made to claim the lands under a title which depends for its validity entirely upon the construction of these roads.

The evidence which has been collected by the Secretary of the Interior, plainly establishing this attempt to defraud the Government and exclude the settlers who are willing to avail themselves of the liberal policy adopted for the settlement of the public lands, is herewith submitted to the Congress, with the recommendation that the bill which has been prepared, and which is herewith transmitted, may become a law, and with the earnest hope that the opportunity thus presented to demonstrate a sincere desire to preserve the public domain for settlers and to frustrate unlawful attempts to appropriate the same may not be neglected.


Grover Cleveland, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives