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An Explanation of the First Morrill Act


    Land
    Grants: First Morrill Act



    Act of July 2, 1862,
    ch.130, 12 Stat.503,7 U.S.C.301 et.seq.

    Chap. CXXX. — AN ACT
    Donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide
    Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

    Be it enacted by the
    Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
    assembled,(1) That there be granted to the several States,(2) for the purpose
    hereinafter mentioned, an amount of public land, to be apportioned to each
    State a quantity equal to thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative
    in Congress to which the States are respectively entitled by the apportionment
    under the census of eighteen hundred and sixty:(3) Provided, That no mineral
    lands shall be selected or purchased under the provisions of this Act.

    Sec. 2.(4) And be it
    further enacted, That the land aforesaid, after being surveyed, shall be apportioned
    to the several States in sections or subdivisions of sections, not less than
    one quarter of a section; and whenever there are public lands in a State subject
    to sale at private entry at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, the
    quantity to which said State shall be entitled shall be selected from such
    lands within the limits of such State, and the Secretary of the Interior is
    hereby directed to issue to each of the States in which there is not the quantity
    of public lands subject to sale at private entry at one dollar and twenty-five
    cents per acre, to which said State may be entitled under the provisions of
    this act, land scrip to the amount in acres for the deficiency of its distributive
    share: said scrip to be sold by said States and the proceeds thereof applied
    to the uses and purposes prescribed in this Act, and for no other purpose
    whatsoever: Provided, That in no case shall any State to which land scrip
    may thus be issued be allowed to locate the same within the limits of any
    other State, or of any Territory of the United States, but their assignees
    may thus locate said land scrip upon any of the unappropriated lands of the
    United States subject to the sale at private entry at one dollar and twenty-five
    cents, or less, per acre: And provided, further, That not more than one million
    acres shall be located by such assignees in any one of the States: And provided,
    further, That no such location shall be made before one year from the passage
    of this Act.

    Sec.3.(5) And be it
    further enacted, That all the expenses of management, superintendence, and
    taxes from date of selection of said lands, previous to their sales, and all
    expenses incurred in the management and disbursement of the moneys which may
    be received therefrom, shall be paid by the States to which they may belong,
    out of the treasury of said States, so that the entire proceeds of the sale
    of said lands shall be applied without any diminution whatever to the purposes
    hereinafter mentioned.

    Sec.4.(6) That all moneys
    derived from the sales of lands aforesaid by the States to which lands are
    apportioned and from the sales of land scrip hereinbefore provided for shall
    be invested in bonds of the United States or of the States or some other safe
    bonds;(7) or the same may be invested by the States having no State bonds
    in any manner after the legislatures of such States shall have assented thereto
    and engaged that such funds shall yield a fair and reasonable rate of return,
    to be fixed by the State legislatures, and that the principal thereof shall
    forever remain unimpaired: (8) Provided, That the moneys so invested or loaned
    shall constitute a perpetual fund, the capital of which shall remain forever
    undiminished (except so far as may be provided in section 5 of this Act),
    and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State
    which may take and claim the benefit of this Act, to the endowment, support,
    and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be,
    without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military
    tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture
    and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may
    respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education
    of the industrial classes on the several pursuits and professions in life.

    Sec.5.(9) And be it
    further enacted, That the grant of land and land scrip hereby authorized shall
    be made on the following conditions, to which, as well as to the provisions
    hereinbefore contained, the previous assent of the several States shall be
    signified by legislative acts:



      First. If any portion
      of the fund invested, as provided by the foregoing section, or any portion
      of the interest thereon,shall,by any action or contingency, be diminished
      or lost, it shall be replaced by the State to which it belongs, so that the
      capital of the fund shall remain forever undiminished; and the annual interest
      shall be regularly applied without diminution to the purposes mentioned in
      the fourth section of this act, except that a sum, not exceeding ten per centum
      upon the amount received by any State under the provisions of this act may
      be expended for the purchase of lands for sites or experimental farms, whenever
      authorized by the respective legislatures of said States.

      Second. No portion
      of said fund, nor the interest thereon, shall be applied, directly or indirectly,
      under any pretence whatever, to the purchase, erection, preservation, or
      repair of any building or buildings.

      Third. Any State which
      may take and claim the benefit of the provisions of this act shall provide,
      within five years from the time of its acceptance as provided in subdivision
      seven of this section,(10) at least not less than one college, as described
      in the fourth section of this act, or the grant to such State shall cease;
      and said State shall be bound to pay the United States the amount received
      of any lands previously sold; and that the title to purchasers under the
      State shall be valid.

      Fourth. An annual
      report shall be made regarding the progress of each college, recording any
      improvements and experiments made, with their cost and results, and such
      other matters, including State industrial and economical statistics, as
      may be supposed useful; one copy of which shall be transmitted by mail [free](11)
      by each, to all the other colleges which may be endowed under the provisions
      of this act, and also one copy to the Secretary of the Interior.

      Fifth. When lands
      shall be selected from those which have been raised to double the minimum
      price, in consequence of railroad grants, they shall be computed to the
      States at the maximum price, and the number of acres proportionally diminished.

      Sixth. No State while
      in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the government of the
      United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act.

      Seventh. No State
      shall be entitled to the benefits of this act unless it shall express its
      acceptance thereof by its legislature within three years from July 23, 1866:(12)
      Provided, That when any Territory shall become a State and be admitted to
      the Union, such a new State shall be entitled to the benefits of the said
      act of July two, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, by expressing the acceptance
      therein required within three years from the date of its admission into
      the Union, and providing the college or colleges within five years after
      such acceptance, as prescribed in this act.(13)



    Sec.6.(14) (Repealed)

    Sec.7.(15) And be it
    further enacted, That the land officers shall received the same fees for locating
    land scrip issued under the provisions of this act as is now allowed for the
    location of military bounty land warrants under existing laws: Provided, their
    maximum compensation shall not be thereby increased.

    Sec.8.(16) And be it
    further enacted, That the Governors of the several States to which scrip shall
    be issued under this act shall be required to report annually to Congress
    all sales made of such script until the whole shall be disposed of, the amount
    received for the same, and what appropriation has been made of the proceeds.



    Endnotes:

    (1) U.S.C. 301.

    (2) The College of the
    Virgin Islands and the University of Guam were included as land grant colleges
    by the Act of June 23, 1972, Public Law 92-318, sec. 506(a) and (b), 86 Stat.
    350, 7 U.S.C. 301, note, as follows:

    “LAND-GRANT STATUS FOR
    THE COLLEGE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF GUAM

    “Sec. 506(a) The College
    of the Virgin Islands and the University of Guam shall be considered land-grant
    colleges established for the benefit of agriculture and mechanic arts in accordance
    with the provisions of the Act of July 2, 1862, as amended (12 Stat. 503;
    7 U.S.C. 301-305, 307, 308).



      “(b) In lieu of extending
      to the Virgin Islands and Guam those provisions of the Act of July 2, 1862,
      as amended, relating to donations of public land or land scrip for the endowment
      and maintenance of colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic
      arts, there is authorized to be appropriated $3,000,000 to the Virgin Islands
      and $300,000.000 to Guam. Amount appropriated pursuant to this section shall
      be held and considered to have been granted to the Virgin Islands and Guam
      subject to the provisions of that Act applicable to the proceeds from the
      sale of land or land scrip.”


    Land grants under the Act
    of July 2, 1862, do not extend to the State of Alaska. Admission of Alaska into
    the union was accomplished January 3, 1959, upon issuance of Proc. No. 3269,
    January 3, 1959, 24 F.R. 81, 73 Stat. c.16, as required by sections 1 and 8
    (c) of Act of July 7, 1958, Public Law 85-508, 72 Stat. 339, 48 U.S.C. sec.
    21, note. For provisions making the land grant under Alaska Statehood provisions
    in lieu of grant of acreage under 7 U.S.C. see 301 et seq. (declared not to
    extend to Alaska), see sec. 6(1) of the Act of July 7, 1958, Public Law 85-
    508, 72 Stat. 339, 48 U.S.C., sec 21, note.

    (3) An exchange of land
    in the State of Missouri was authorized by the Act of September 4, 1957, Public
    Law 85-282, sections 1-3, 71 Stat. 607, 7 U.S.C. 301, note, as follows:



      “That, notwithstanding
      the provisions of the Act entitled ‘An Act donating public lands to the several
      States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture
      and the mechanic arts’, approved July 2, 1862, (7 U.S.C., secs. 301-308),
      the State of Missouri is authorized to convey to the United States all right,
      title, and interest of such State in and to any land granted to such State
      under authority of such Act of July 2, 1862, which is located within the exterior
      boundaries of the national forests situated within such State, and, in exchange
      therefor, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to convey to the State
      of Missouri all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to
      not to exceed an equal value of national forest lands (as determined by the
      Secretary)situated within such State.



    “Sec 2. Any exchange authorized
    by the first section of this Act shall be made in accordance with the applicable
    provisions of section 7 or the Act of March 1, 1911, commonly referred to as
    the Weeks Law (16 U.S.C., sec. 516), and the applicable provisions of the Act
    entitled ‘An Act to consolidate national forest lands’, approved March 20, 1922
    (16 U.S.C., sec. 485 and 486).

    “Sec.3. Any land conveyed
    to the State of Missouri under authority of this Act shall, upon acceptance
    of such conveyance by such State, be held and considered to be granted to
    such State subject to the provisions of the Act of July 2, 1862, referred
    to in the first section of this Act.”

    (4) 7 U.S.C. 302.

    (5) 7 U.S.C. 303.

    (6) 7 U.S.C. 304.

    (7) The Act of April
    13, 1926, ch. 130, 44 Stat. 247, substituted “bonds” for “stocks” and “a fair
    and reasonable rate of return, to be fixed by the State legislatures” for
    “not less than 5 per centum upon the amount so invested”, before proviso.

    (8) The Act of March
    3, 1883, ch. 102, 22 Stat. 484. added after the words “other safe stocks”
    the words “or the same may be invested by the States having no State stocks
    in any other manner after the legislatures of such States shall have assented
    thereto, and engaged that such funds shall” and substituted “yield” for “yielding”,
    “principal” for “capital” and “unimpaired” for “undiminished”.

    (9) 7 U.S.C. 305.

    (10) Added by the Act
    of July 23, 1866, ch. 209, 14 Stat. 208.

    (11) Authority for free
    mail was repealed by act March 3, 1873, which provided in part: “That all
    laws and parts of laws permitting the transmission by mail of any free matter
    whatever be, and the same are hereby, repealed from and after June thirtieth,
    eighteen hundred and seventy-three.”

    (12) The Act of July
    23, 1866, ch. 209, 14 Stat. 208, added “within three years from July 23, 1866:”
    in lieu of “within two years from the date of its approval by the President.”

    (13) Proviso added by
    the Act of July 23, 1866, ch. 209, 14 Stat. 208. This provision does not apply
    to Alaska. See note 2 above. Another proviso from the Act of July 23, 1866,
    which was formerly set out at the end of subdivision seventh and read: “Provided
    further, That any State which heretofore expressed its acceptance of the act
    herein referred to shall have the period of five years within which to provide
    aty least one college, as described in the fourth section of said act, after
    the time for providing said college according to the act of July second, eighteen
    hundred and sixty-two, shall have expired”, has been omitted.

    (14) 7 U.S.C. 306, Sec.
    6, which related to time of location of land scrip, was repealed by the Act
    of December 16, 1930, ch. 14, sec. 1, 46 Stat. 1028.

    (15) 7 U.S.C. 307.

    (16) 7 U.S.C. 308.

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