6 May 1812 c. 77 2 Stat. 728

CHAP. LXXVII.- An Act to provide for designating, surveying and granting the Military Bounty Lands.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to cause to be surveyed a quantity of the public lands of the United States, fit for cultivation, not otherwise appropriated, and to which the Indian title is extinguished, not exceeding in the whole six millions of acres, two millions to be surveyed in the territory of Michigan, two millions in the Illinois territory, north of the Illinois river, and two millions in the territory of Louisiana, between the river St. Francis and the river Arkansas; the said lands to be divided into townships, and subdivided into sections and quarter sections, (each quarter section to contain, as near as possible, one hundred and sixty acres,) in the manner prescribed by law for surveying and subdividing the other public lands of the United States; the same price to be allowed for surveying as is fixed for surveying the other public lands in the same territory. And the lands thus surveyed, with the exception of the salt springs and lead mines therein, and of the quantities of land adjacent thereto, as may be reserved for the use of the same by the President of the United States, and the section number sixteen in every township to be granted to the inhabitants of such township for the use of public schools, shall be set apart and reserved for the purpose of satisfying the bounties of one hundred and sixty acres, promised to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the United States, their heirs and legal representatives, by the act, entituled “An act for completing the existing military establishment,” approved the twenty-fourth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and eleven, and by the act, entituled “An act to raise an additional military force,” approved the eleventh day of January, one thousand eight hundred and twelve.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary for the department of War, for the time being, shall, from time to time, issue warrants for the military land bounties to the persons entitled thereto by the two last mentioned acts, or either of them: Provided always, that such warrants shall be issued only in the names of the persons thus entitled, and be by them or their representatives applied for within five years after the said persons shall have become entitled thereto; and the said warrants shall not be assignable or transferable in any manner whatever.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That every person in whose favour such warrants shall have been issued, shall, on delivery of the same at the office of the Secretary of the Treasury, or of such other officer as may at the time have, by law, the superintendence of the general land-office of the United States at the seat of government, be entitled to draw by lot in such manner as the officer, at the head of the land-office, under the direction of the President of the United States, may prescribe, one of the quarter sections surveyed by virtue of the first section of this act, in either of the said territories which the person in whose favour such warrant has issued may designate. And a patent shall thereupon be granted to such person, for such quarter section, without requiring any fee therefor.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no claim for the military land bounties aforesaid shall be assignable or transferable in any manner whatever, until after a patent shall have been granted in the manner aforesaid. All sales, mortgages, contracts, or agreements, of any nature whatever, made prior thereto, for the purpose, or with intent of alienating, pledging or mortgaging any such claim, are hereby declared and shall be held null and void; nor shall any tract of land, granted as aforesaid, be liable to be taken in execution or sold on account of any such sale, mortgage, contract or agreement, or on account of any debt contracted prior to the date of the patent, either by the person originally entitled to the land or by his heirs or legal representatives, or by virtue of any process, or suit at law, or judgment of court against a person entitled to receive his patent as aforesaid.

APPROVED, May 6, 1812.

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