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7.09.2010

6 Check in the Mail: 148 Years Late

The 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act entitled the most populous state of New York 30,000 acres for each member in Congress – or 990,000 in total. Because the acreage – actually scrip (paper) to buy land in other states – was dolled out in 160-acre increments, the 6,187 lots totaled a mere 989,920. We was robbed of 80 acres!

Back then New York (and other similarly deprived states) didn't make a big deal out of this rounding error (though the shortfall is 160 times larger than my Ohio homestead), but now I'm curious whether Cornell (New York State) has a chance of "recovering" these missing acres. As CU/NYS/USA approach the 150th of the Morrill Act (2012) and 150th of Cornell (2015), wouldn't be a nice gesture for the Congress to come clean?

New York State deserves its fair allocation including the 80 acres (scrip par value $1.25 per acre in 1862, or $1,885 per acre today, for a total due of, say, $150,000). I can think of a few noble causes (in NY or WI) that would benefit from such a gift (think public school, museum, community center, park, forest). So...
Step forward Cornellians with legal mojo,
Embrace the case; take it on pro bono.
We’re passionate takers
Of eighty acres.
To the Albany door of AG A. Cuomo.

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