An Act to Prevent Settlements being made on Lands Ceded to the United
States, until Authorized by Law.
March 3, 1807.
Links to Paragraphs
Lands of the U. States, by whatsoever title acquired, not to be occupied,
possessed or settled, but with the consent of the U. States. Titles of intruders forfeited.
NINTH CONGRESS. SESS.II. Ch. 46. 1807.
President authorized to have them removed. The mode of
Forfeitures to enure to the benefit of the U. States.
Saving of claims before board of commissioners under the act of March 2, 1805, ch. 26.
Actual settlers may hold under the U. States as tenants at will, under bargains with the officers
of the land-offices.
1808, ch. 10.
Applications to be entered on books.
Marshals, &c. authorized, under instructions from the President, to oust intruders.
Penalties for keeping possession after notice to give it up.
CHAP. XLVI. -- An Act to prevent settlements being made on lands ceded to the United States, until authorized by
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, That if any person or persons shall, after the passing of this act, take -possession of,
or make a settlement on any lands ceded or secured to the United States, by any treaty made with a foreign nation,
or by a cession from any state to the United States, which lands shall not have, been previously sold, ceded, or
leased by the United States, or the claim to which lands, by such person or persons, shall not have been previously
recognized and confirmed by the United States: or if any person or persons shall cause such lands to be thus occupied,
taken possession of, or settled: or shall survey, or attempt to survey, or cause to be surveyed, any such lands; or
designate any boundaries thereon, by marking trees, or otherwise, until thereto duly authorized by law; such offender
or offenders, shall forfeit all his or their right, title, and claim, if any he hath, or they have, of whatsoever
nature or kind the same shall or may be, to the lands aforesaid, which he or they shall have taken possession of,
or settled, or cause to be occupied, taken possession of, or settled, or which he or they shall have surveyed, or
attempt to survey, or cause to be surveyed, or the boundaries thereof he or they shall have designated, or cause to
be designated, by marking trees or otherwise. And it shall moreover be lawful for the President of the United States,
to direct the marshal, or officer acting as marshal, in the manner herein after directed, and also to take such other
measures, and to employ such military force as he may judge necessary and proper, to remove from lands ceded, or
secured to the United States, by treaty, or cession as aforesaid, any person or persons who shall hereafter take
possession of the same, or make, or attempt to make a settlement thereon, until thereunto authorized by law.
right, title, or claim, forfeited under this act, shall be taken and deemed to be vested in the United States, without
any other or further proceedings: Provided, that nothing herein contained, shall be construed to affect the
right, title, or claim, of any person to lands in the territories of Orleans or Louisiana, before the boards of
commissioners established by the act, intituled An act for ascertaining and adjusting the titles and claims
to land within the territory of Orleans and the district of Louisiana, shall have made their reports and the
decision of Congress been had thereon.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That any person or persons who, before the passing
of this act, bad taken possession of, occupied, or made a settlement on any lands ceded or secured to the United States,
by any treaty made with a foreign nation, or by a cession from any state to the United States, which lands had not been
previously sold, ceded or leased by the United States, or the claim to which lands had not been previously recognized
and confirmed by the United States; and who at the time of passing this act does or do actually inhabit and reside on
such lands, may at any time prior to the first day of January next, apply to the proper register or recorder, as the
case may be, of the land-office established for the disposal, registering, or recording of such lands, or to such person
or persons as may by such registers or recorders respectively, be appointed for the purpose of receiving such applications,
stating the tract or tracts of land thus occupied, settled, and inhabited by such applicant or applicants, and requesting
permission to continue thereon; and it shall thereupon be lawful for such register or recorder respectively to permit,
in conformity with such instructions as may be given by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approbation of the
President of the United States, for that purpose, such applicant or applicants to remain on such tract or tracts of
land not exceeding three hundred and twenty acres for each applicant, as tenants at will, on such terms and conditions
as shall prevent any waste or damages on such lands, and on the express condition that such applicant or applicants shall,
whenever such tract or tracts of land may be sold, or ceded by the United States, or whenever for any other cause, he or
they may be required under the authority of the United States, so to do, give quiet possession of such tract or tracts of
land, to the purchaser or purchasers, or remove altogether from the land, as the case may be: Provided however,
that such permission shall not be granted to any such applicant, unless he shall previously sign a declaration
stating that be does not lay any claim to such tract or tracts of land, and that he does not occupy the same,
by virtue of any claim or pretended claim derived, or pretended to be derived from any other person or persons: And
provided also, that in all cases where the tract of land applied for, includes either a lead mine or salt spring,
no permission to work the same shall be granted without the approbation of the President of the United States, who is
hereby authorized to cause such mines or springs to be leased for a term not exceeding three years, and on such
conditions as he shall think proper.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all the applications made, and provisions granted by
virtue of the last [preceding] section, shall be duly entered on books to be kept for that purpose, by the registers and
recorders aforesaid respectively ; and they shall be entitled to receive from the party for each application, fifty cents,
and for each permission, one dollar.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful after the first day of January
next, for the proper marshal, or officer acting as marshal, under such instructions as may for that purpose be given by
the President of the United States, to remove from the lands aforesaid, any and every person or persons, who shall be
found on the same, and who shall not have obtained permission to remain thereon as aforesaid: -Provided, that three
months previous notice shall be given to all such person or persons, as aforesaid, who were settled on such lands prior
to the passing of this act. And every such person, who shall at any time after the expiration of three months after such
notice shall have been given, be found on any part of the lands aforesaid, shall moreover incur a penalty of one hundred
dollars, to be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of the same, and be moreover liable, on conviction, to
imprisonment, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding six months ; and the certificate of the proper register,
or recorder, shall be a sufficient evidence that the tract of land which was occupied by the offender had not been
previously sold, leased, or ceded by the United States, that the claim to such tract had not been recognized and
confirmed by the United States, and that the person occupying the same, and removed, or to be removed, by the marshal,
had not obtained permission to remain thereon in conformity with the provisions of this act: Provided always, and it is
further enacted, that nothing in this section contained shall be construed to apply to any persons claiming lands in the
territories of Orleans or Louisiana, whose claim shall have been filed with the proper commissioners before the first day
of January next.
APPROVED, March 3, 1807.
Source : United States Statutes at Large. Ninth Congress. Sess. II. Ch. 47, pp. 445-446.
Library of Congress, American Memory, A Century of Lawmaking, U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1873
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