To the House of Representatives:
For the reasons set forth in the accompanying communication addressed to the Secretary of the Interior by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, I have the honor to return herewith without my signature the bill (H. R. 2041) entitled "An act to amend section 2291 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in relation to proof required in homestead entries."
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, D.C., January 12, 1877 .
SIR: I have the honor to return herewith enrolled bill H. R. No. 2041, entitled "An act to amend section 2291 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in relation to proof required in homestead entries," which accompanied your letter of the 10th instant, requesting to be informed whether any objection was known to this Department why the same should not become a law.
The matter was referred to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and I transmit herewith a copy of a letter from him suggesting certain amendments to the second section of said act.
I concur in the recommendations made by the Commissioner.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D.C., January 11, 1877.
The Honorable SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
SIR: I am in receipt, by your reference of yesterday's date, of "An act to amend section 2291 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in relation to proof required in homestead entries," which has passed both Houses of Congress and now awaits the signature of the President.
The purpose of the act is to enable parties seeking title under the homestead law to make final proof before a judge or clerk of court in the county or district where the lands are situated.
Its provisions are in conformity with the views and recommendations of this office, and I see no objection to them in so far as relates to the taking of the testimony.
I observe, however, that the second section provides that the proofs, affidavits, and oaths shall be filed in the office of the register, and no provision is made for the transmission of either the original papers or duplicates to this office, in order that patents may properly issue thereon, the provisions relating to certification for the purposes of evidence seeming to require that they shall remain on file in the district office. There is, therefore, no opportunity for the supervisory control of the Commissioner over entries so made to be exercised under the statutes, and thus the express requirements of existing law, as well as the essential harmony of the land system, are interfered with by its provisions. To remedy this defect in the proposed law I recommend that the act be returned to the legislative body with the request for an enactment in lieu of second section whch shall provide for the regular transmission of the papers to this office, as in other cases, or the simple striking out of the section altogether, as the provisions of existing law would then cover the case, and require the same disposal of this class of entries as obtains under present regulations so far as relates to the transmission of papers and proof to this office and the certification of the same by the Commissioner, under seal, for purposes of evidence.
I observe in section 3, line 4, the omission of the word "he" after the word "corrupt," which destroys the grammatical construction of the language and was probably a clerical error.
I return herewith the act referred to.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. WILLIAMSON, Commissioner.
Ulysses S. Grant, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/203782