Clarion-Ledger clipping

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White, George W., active 1870-1876; Powers, Ridgley Ceylon, 1836-1912

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BRANDON, MISS., Sept. 14th, 1872.

To His Excellency, Gov. R. C. Powers.
Jackson, Mississippi.

DEAR SIR: I take the liberty, at the suggestion of friends living in the district where the land is situated, to call your attention to a law passed in 1871 entitled "an act to incorporate the Pearl River Navigation Company, pamphlet acts, pages 482, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. This act was not approved by the Governor, but remained in his hands without being returned, the requisite number of days, for the Secretary of State to make the usual certificate which you will observe bears date of 8th of April, 1871. You will remember that I called your attention to this act during the last session of the Legislature, and insisted that it amounted to plundering the State to the extent of about one hundred and five thousand acres of land. The land it is true is not valuable at present, but with the many projected railroads it probably will be in a few years.

I caused this matter to be brought before the Legislature last winter, and a committee consisting of Mr. French of Adams, Mr. White of Wilkinson and myself, were appointed to investigate the transaction and report to the House. About the close of the session, Mr. French and myself agreed to introduce a bill in substance about this: The patents in the hands of the Company were to be placed in the custody of the State Treasurer to be by him kept for twelve months, and if in the meantime the Company paid into the Treasury twenty-five cents per acre, amounting to something over $25,000, the patents were to be delivered to them and they discharged from making any improvement in the way of the navigation of Pearl river, as provided in the act before mentioned. This bill as drawn by myself was submitted to Senator Warner and Mr. French, two of the stockholders and sureties on the bonds, and met their concurrence, and passed, without opposition, both houses. A few days after the adjournment you remember that I called at your office to ascertain if you had approved the bill. You did not remember having seen the bill at all and after diligent search made by your Secretary and myself, it could not be found.

Subsequently I met with Col. Warner who informed me that the bill after passing the Senate was stolen. At the instance of friends living in the Pearl river district, I submit that your Excellency could with great propriety call on Senator Warner and Mr. French, and ask them to return the patents either to the Secretary of State, or to the State Treasurer; especially so, inasmuch as there is no pretence of the Company ever having expended a dollar in conformity with the third section of said act. I also call your Excellency's attention to the 8th and 9th sections of the act and will reiterate in relation thereto, what I said to you last winter, that the bond as filed is insufficient.

It is proper to say that the Secretary of State was notified by a committee of the House of Representatives not to issue to the company any more patents, but he nevertheless did so, to the extent of probably thirty-five (35) thousand acres. As the matter now stands the holders of the patents could sell the land, and if the conveyance was legal (which you can learn from the law officer of the State) the Commonwealth would lose one hundred and five thousand acres of her public domain, for which she would receive no benefit whatever.

If convenient I would be glad to hear from you on the subject, that I may inform those who are more interested than myself, as to what action, if any, you will take in the premises.

Very Respectfully,
ROBERT LOWRY.

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Clarion-Ledger, “Clarion-Ledger clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed May 21, 2024, https://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/1034.

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