The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917 Page: 10
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Farland, sent out notices that fencing public land was trespass.
He added that until settlement was made, no objection was made
to grazing or cutting hay on public lands, providing they were
left open to all.28 No attention was paid to his statement and
he issued the following: "This department will interpose no ob-
jections to the destruction of these fences by persons who desire
to make bona fide settlements on the enclosed tracts, but are pre-
vented by fences or by threats of violence from doing so."2"
The department had no judicial authority, and no attention
was paid to these statements. The settlers and their allies, the
small owners, petitioned the government for redress. In one
complaint it was alleged that the Justice of the Peace was an
Englishman and favored the land-grabbers. Another complaint
was that the companies let grass grow during the summer on
their tracts, turning their cattle out to graze on unfenced land.
In winter they were well provided with feed but the outside
man's cattle had to bear the storms in hunger. This complaint
was made by many persons. Another man had taken up the well
watered land and fenced the adjacent public domain but refused
to pay taxes on his fences enclosing public land. Probably he
considered the fence a public benefaction.30 Mir. Fairchild who
knew the conditions urged legislation or action by the president.
He said that by a statute of 1807 the president had the right to
remove obstructions or trespasses upon public land by military
force, but that such power had only been used to remove a few
ignorant settlers from disputed regions of Indian Territory. He
stated strongly that the government was straining at a gnat and
swallowing a camel.31
Congress was slow to take up the question, but it prohibited
by an act, approved February 25, 1885, any and all enclosures
of public land except under claim of title made in good faith.82
By proclamation of the same date, President Cleveland ordered
that every officer upon whom the legal duty justly fell should
2"8House Ex. Does., 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 119, p. 3.
Solbid, p. 3.
"'House Reports, 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 1325, p. 7.
82House Ex. Does., 49 Cong., 2 sess., no. 166, p. 1 (Serial no. 2483).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917, periodical, 1917; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/m1/16/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.