Solomon Meredith and the Initial Point of Montana (5 of 13)

7th The compensation of the Chief Clerk Surveyor General's office will be $1800 and that of Draughtsman $1500. These allowances must under no circumstances be exceeded, and are to be made for the time and during the period the services of the parties maybe needed, and they actually engaged. You will of course not employ clerical force to the full extent of the $4000, until the service shall absolutely demand it.

Pursuant to the 3rd section of the said Act of March 2, 1867, the Secretary of the Interior on the 20th day of March 1867 directed the location of the Surveyor General's office at Helena in Montana. Hence upon your arrival there you will select a proper site for the office looking to the security, convenience of the public business and freedom from fire or other casualties, keeping in view the requirements as to economy in office rent and furniture. A building should not be engaged larger than what maybe absolutely necessary for the transaction of the public business, and in its selection you will take care to have it isolated from other houses.

The present and future prosperity of our people in regard to landed property in Montana will materially depend upon the certainty of title, at the basis of which are the lines of the public surveys the system of which is to be inaugurated under your administration of the surveying Department in that Territory. As an indispensable pre-requisite to the successful management of the grave and responsible duties confided to you under statutory enactments to much care cannot be exercised in selecting the Deputy Surveyors whom you may employ. They should be men of high professional skill, experience and of established reputation for fidelity- selecting from surveyors of that class.

8th You will proceed within the means placed under your control by entering into contract for the survey of the Base, Meridian, Standard Parallels, and also for the township and sectional lines. Your deputies must be familiar with the use and practice of Burt's improved Solar Compass, and in order to insure uniformity in the establishment of the Principal Base, Meridian, and Standard Parallels in accordance with the principles laid down in the printed Manual of surveying instructions. You will see that those lines are surveyed with the greatest care and chained with strictest accuracy, as upon these lines depend the whole structure and correctness of the public surveys. As the value of the public surveys will rest entirely upon the permanency of boundary corners, you will enjoin upon the Deputies the necessity of the faithful construction of the same according to the method prescribed in the aforesaid Manual "B" of instructions the law making the requirements of the manual obligatory.

9th Lands deemed unfit for cultivation are not to be subdivided into sections except in the mineral regions when required by claimants under the aforesaid Act of Congress approved July 26, 1866, nor shall a Deputy charge for any lines but such as maybe actually run and marked in the field, nor for any lines not actually necessary to be run under existing laws.

10th The organic act providing a temporary government for the Territory of Montana prescribes no surveying rates per lineal mile. The Commissioner of the General Land Office, however, in virtue of the 3rd section of the Act of Congress approved 30th May 1862 to "reduce the expenses of the survey and sale of the public lands in the United States" has fixed the price for the surveys in Montana as provided for in the appropriation Act of July 28, 1866, mentioned under the 6th head of these instructions and which must not be exceeded under any circumstances.

11th In this connection I refer you to the provision of "An Act for the disposal of coal lands and of Town property in the public domain" approved July 1, 1864, and to our circular herewith of August 20, 1864 marked "E" to the supplemental Act of March 3d, 1865, and circular of April 26, 1865, and to the recent town site act approved 2nd March 1867, copy herewith and in reference to which a circular will hereafter be sent you. In extending surveys over towns or cities already existing on the public lands you will cause your deputies to designate in their field notes the intersections of the public lines with the boundaries thereof, so as to determine their precise localities with reference to the particular township, range and section looking to an ultimate adjustment of the outboundaries of such towns and cities so as to conform to legal subdivisions of public lands as required by the 3rd section of the law.

12th All payments chargeable against the foregoing appropriations will be made directly from the Treasury.

Therefore when you purchase any articles for your office or make out accounts for the surveying service in the field or office you will take duplicate accounts, certify as to their correctness, transmit one to this office and retaining the other for your own files. Upon the receipt of such accounts if found correct, drafts for the amounts due the parties will be sent by the U. S. Treasurer in accordance with directions which must be expressed in the accounts.

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The Best Kept Secrets in Montana Surveying Law
Curtis M. Brown, Land Surveyor and Author
How to Live in the Woods
Land Boundary Monuments, Past and Present
Solomon Meredith and the Initial Point of Montana