Solomon Meredith and the Initial Point of Montana (7 of 13)

25th Official documents and papers issued or used by officers of the United Government Government, the duties of which if paid would be a charge upon the Treasury of the United States do not require any stamps, documents of that class being excepted by law from stamp duty.

26th By the 1st section of the Act of Congress approved 30th May 1862 entitled "An Act to reduce the expenses of the survey and sale of the public lands in the United States" the Commissioner's approval of surveying contracts is pre-requisite to their becoming binding "except in such cases as the Commissioner shall otherwise specially order."

In view of the remoteness of your field of operations from this place it is accordingly hereby ordered that the said exception shall apply to contracts for the surveys which may be made in Montana under the aforesaid appropriations of $25000 and in strict accordance with law and the Manual of Surveying Instructions.

To this end the Commissioners sanction in all such legally executed contracts is given in advance.

You will however promptly report by transmitting each contract you may make to which this approval in advance is designed to apply and on receipt of the same when found regular official sanction shall be promptly communicated.

27th The 10th section of the act approved May 30th 1862 authorizes the survey of the public lands not mineral or reserved by the Government at the cost of parties.

When an application may be made to you under the law for the survey of a Township you will estimate liberally its cost at the rates herein before authorized together with the expenses of the office work incidental thereto, such as examination of returns of the original field notes protraction of the original township plat making out duplicate and triplicate of the same transcription of the field notes for this office, and making out description lists of the quality of soil and corner boundaries for the Local Land Office. After ascertaining as nearly as possible the expenses to be borne by the applicants for surveys in such cases and on their filing in your office duplicate certificate of deposit with a proper U. S. depositary of the amount thus estimated to constitute specific appropriations for the purposes indicated which you will transmit to this office you will then cause the survey to be executed at not exceeding the amount reported for field work, retaining of course the residue of the deposit to cover office expenses. You will stipulate in the contract the price to be paid under the deposit for field work.

28th The next step to be taken by you will be to open in a separate book the accounts of such surveys debiting the United States with the amounts of certificates of deposits filed in your office by settlers of townships desired to be surveyed at their cost and crediting with the sums paid to Deputy Surveyors for the work executed by them under contracts, the office expenses incident to the survey should it so happen that after paying for the survey in such cases an excess remains of the deposit, you will send on a certified account for the same, so that payment may be made to the parties entitled to the reimbursement.

29th In surveying and marking the lines of public land containing coal beds and coal fields you will cause the Deputies to indicate in their field notes such lands not only on the line intersecting them but their further contour to such an extent as will afford the necessary data for delineating coal beds and coal fields upon official plats to affect the smallest legal subdivisions.

With this in view you are directed while entering into contracts with Deputies to provide for this additional service in special instructions to that effect and see that they comply with the requirements of law and instructions.

In protracting official plats you will direct your draughtsman to represent coal beds in dark purple dotted color, which will indicate conspicuously the land in question for the correct offering as the law directs

I am, Very Respectfully,
Your obtservt
Jos S Wilson
Commissioner

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