MF1323.1197 Reel 35_0285

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California H95 G95 (1856) Thos. J. Henley Washn. March 28. '56

Reply to that portion of office letter of 18th August last, relating to the Mexican titles to the lands on which the Sebastian Military reservation is located

Recd. March 31. '56 File Lands

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Washington City, March 28th, 1856.

Charles E. Mix, Actg Comr. Ind. Affrs. Washington D.C.

Sir: In answer to so much of the communication of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of the 18th of August last as relates to the Mexican title to the lands on which the Sebastian Military reservation is located. I have to state: 1st In regard to title, I would suggest that the most authentic information you can obtain on that subject would be from the Atty. General of the U.S. who is, I believe in possession of the report of the California Board of Land Commissioners, by whom the title to the grant was confirmed which will contain all the particulars in relation to the validity of the title. This claim was not tested before the land Commission except by the [illegible] law agent whose action was confined entirely to the case as it appeared in court. The examination therefore was exposte, exhibiting nothing except what appeared on the face of

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of the papers as presented by the claimants.

The examination therefore of the question of title by the peoples law officer of the Government, is, it seems to me, the first step to be taken with @ view to a decision as to the property of contesting the claim before the Supreme Court of the U. States. There is one other question in this connection the examination of which I would suggest. It is in reference to @ provision which I understood to exist in the laws of Mexico recessing to the Govt. in granting land to individuals so much as may be required for military purposes. This grant includes the old Tejon Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and is now and has, I believe, always been regardes as a military position being the only pass through those mountains from Mexico to upper California known at the time and for many years after the making of this grant.

2d. In regard to what the relinquishment of the title to the U. States will cost.

I have already furnished the Dept. with a copy of a letter from J. S. Brent, Esq., Attorney for the claimants or owners as they

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profess to be, stating that the quantity of the land owned by those parties at the Tejon is 22 leagues - that they will not sell any quantity less than the whole - and that the price will be the minimum at which the public lands of the US are sold. In reference to the quantity of land claimed in the grant, it is proper to observe that the Reservations are by law limited to 25.000 acres - and not the 22 leagues proposed to be sold, [such?] amount to [our?] 100.000 acres. Within the limits of this grant there are perhaps less than 25.000 acres fit for cultivation or indeed for any purpose, except grazing, and that only during the Winter & Spring seasons. The drought of the seasons being so severe as to render the grazing value less during the fall season. That portion of the [illegible] however, which includes the Tejon Cannon, and a considerable portion of that which is included within the limits of the present reserve is valuable and arrable land, either for private use, or for purposes of an Indian reservation. The lands now in cultivation on the reserve (about 2000 acres) are very fertile & easily culti-

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-vated. The only drawback which is to be apprehended in the cultivation of this land, is that in seasons of excessive draught, which often occur at that place, irrigation becomes necessary for almost every description of crops, and a doubt may be entertained as to the amount of water furnished by the mountain streams passing through the Reserve and losing themselves in the sandy plain when its creation [Saturday?], for the purpose of irrigating so large a quantity of the land as would become necessary should a greater number of Indians be collected at that point.

The Cannion of the Tejon which is said to be embraced within the limits of this grant, is almost ten miles in length, with an average width of about 3/4 of a mile-it is well timbered and watered by a beautiful river [fording?] stream of cool healthy water, and abounds in a most luxurious growth of [-tractions?-imitation?] grasses such as herd, [illegible] and blue grass-and wild clover, making it per-

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