entitle them to these privileges, their Mines or Reducing Establishments be situated in the same district as such Mine-town.

Section x.

The excessive profusion of Miners in the employment of their capital, and their extreme imprudence, and irregularity, whereby themselves and their families are speedily reduced to distress, and their capital is diverted from the operations of mining into other channels, being as notorious as they are destructive; I will, and ordain, that the Judges and Deputies of the Minetowns and Districts shall advise thereupon, and in cases of necessity, expostulate with the Miners, particularly with those who arc in prosperous circumstances, cautioning them against extravagant expense or idle profusion; and if this should be found insufficient, then that they shall make a report to the Royal Tribunal General of Miners, in order that tho latter, after satisfying themselves of the reprehensible conduct of the Miner, concerning whom such report is made, may appoint a person to watch over his interests (curador), or in some other manner, provide for the preservation of his property, as in the case of an incorrigible spendthrift.


In order to avoid the evil and injury, spiritual as well as temporal, occasioned by games of stake (envite), and hazard, and even by those which are permitted, when carried to excess, and also by other public diversions and festivities; I prohibit most rigorously, in all Mine-towns and Districts, among masters as well as workmen, all those games at cards which have been before prohibited by Royal Edicts and Decrees, and also all playing at those games which are permitted, for a larger stake than is compatible with fair and moderate relaxation and amusement. And with equal rigour, I prohibit all playing at dice or tabas, and also cock righting, and all other shameful diversions; since they not only occasion the loss of time which might otherwise be devoted to labour, but lead to vast loss of property, and sometimes even to outrages and murders. Wherefore, I strictly enjoin the Judges and Deputies of all Mine-towns and Districts, to enforce with the utmost vigilance, the provisions of this present Section, on pain of being themselves wholly responsible for the neglect of the same, and of being liable to the penalties imposed by the said Royal Edicts and Decrees against all transgressors.


The Royal Tribunal General of Miners, shall observe, and carry into effect, whatsoever is contained in the present Ordinance, and shall cause them to be observed and fulfilled by all the subalterns, dependents, and inferior persons of all their body, each in his particular department, without any injurious evasions which might alter and corrupt their true spirit and intent, maintaining them always in their full vigour, and causing others to do the like. And tho Territorial Deputations of Miners shall also observe, and carry into effect, whatsoever relates to them in these Ordinances, and shall cause them to be observed and executed with the utmost punctuality and correctness; and they shall not, any more than tho Royal Tribunal General, act, or permit others to act, in contravention of their real tenour and meaning, in any manner whatsoever; and I only allow, in cass of any point arising, which is not comprehended herein, or provided for in the Royal Orders which I have issued upon this subject, that both the one and the other (the Royal Tribunal General and the Deputations) should regulate themselves, in the decisions thereof, according to the form and practice of the Consulates of Commerce of my European and Spanish Dominions, as far as the same shall be practicable in such cases; but all doubts which may at any time arise, as to the true meaning of any one or more of the Sections of these Ordinances, shall be proposed by the Royal Tribunal General to the Viceroy, in order, that he, after obtaining the necessary information thereupon, may transmit them to me for my Royal determination.


Finally,—I order and command, the Governor and persons composing my supreme Council and Chamber of the Indies, the Royal Audiencies and Tribunals of New Spain, the Viceroy thereof, the Captains and Commandants General, the Governors, Intendants, Ministers, Judges, and all other persons whatsoever whom these enactments may in any degree concern, to conform themselves precisely to these Ordinances, observing and fulfilling them, each in his respective department, with the most rigid exactness; regarding their contents, as positive and perpetual Laws and Statutes, and maintaining them, and causing them to be maintained inviolably, notwithstanding any other laws, ordinances, observances, customs, or practices, which might militate against them; since, if any such there be, I revoke them expressly, and declare, that they shall be of no effect, prohibiting, as I hereby prohibit, that they (the present Ordinances) should be explained or interpreted in any manner whatever, since it is my will, that they shall be understood literally, as they are written. And, in like manner, I most strictly enjoin all Tribunals, Magistrates, and Courts, comprehended in this and the preceding Section, to give their most effectual aid and assistance to the provisions and enactments of these my Royal Ordinances; preventing, as far as it is possible, all kinds of disputes and contentions, which will always incur my Royal displeasure, as being prejudicial to the administration of justice, and to the good government, tranquillity, and happiness of the important body of Miners of those my Dominions; for which purpose, I have commanded the dispatch of this present Decree (cedula), signed by my Royal hand, sealed with my private seal, and countersigned by my underwritten Secretary of State, and of the general Department of the Indies, and which shall be entered in the General Office for the dispatch of the affairs of the Indies, and in the several offices in New Spain, which it may concern. Done at Aranjeuz, the twenty-second day of May, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.



Entered in the General Office of the Indies, Madrid, the twenty-fifth day of Slay, in the year one thoussnd seven hundred and eighty-three. D. Francisco Machxdo, A true Copy.




19th Title of the "Novisima Kccopilacion"

With Transtations from the "Commentaries on the Mining Ordinances of Spain."



Laws 47 and 48, tit. 32 of the ordinamiento de alcala.


The right of the King in mines of gold, silver, and other metals, salt springs and wells, and the prohibition to work them without royal licence. All minerals of gold, silver, lead and every other metal whatsoever in our realms belong to us; therefore no one shall presume to work them without our especial licence and command; and in like manner salt fountains, reservoirs and springs, which are for the manufacture of salt, belong to us; wherefore we command that the rents derived therefrom be paid to us and that no one presume to intermeddle with them, except those to whom former kings our predecessors, or we ourselves shall have granted the privilege or who shall have acquired them by immemorial possession. (Law 3, tit. 13, book 6, R.*)


Don John I. at Birbisca in the year 1387.

Concerning the right of searching for mines by a person in his own lands and those of other persons, and to work them, with the premium which is assigned.

Inasmuch as we are informed that these our kingdoms abound and are rich in minerals; therefore as an act of grace and favor to our said kingdoms and the inhabitants and residents of the cities and incorporate villages and

* This reference and subsequent similar ones are to a previons compilation of Spanish law entitled " Nueva Recopilocion" also called the "Collection of Castile," (T.)

other places and to persona connected with the church, notwithstanding that by ourselves and our royal ancestors in those privileges which have been granted as a matter of favour there has been reserved by us minerals of gold, silver, and other similar metals; it is our pleasure that henceforth all said persons and all others whomsoever, of these our said kingdoms, may search for, examine, and may excavate their said lands and estates and remove from them said minerals of gold, silver, quicksilver and tin, stone and other metals; and that they may search and excavate for minerals in all other places whatsoever, not prejudicing in their searches and excavations, the rights of other persons, and acting with the permission of the owner; and ail the minerals which shall be thus found and extracted shall be divided as follows: First, there shall be delivered and paid therefrom to the person who extracted the mineral all expenses of excavating and extracting, and of the remainder, the said expences having been deducted, the third part shall belong to the person extracting the mineral, and the other two parts to ourselves.—(Law 3, tit. 13, Book 6, R.)


Don Philip II. and daring bis absence, the Princess Donna Joanna at Valladolid, January 10,


Concerning the incorporation of mines of gold, silver, and quicksilver in the Crown, as Royal Patrimony, and the mode of working them.

It being very well known and understood, that great benefit and advantage as well to ourselves and our royal patrimony as to our subjects and native citizens, and the public good of our kingdom has followed the discovery, opening and working the mines of gold, silver and quicksilver and other metals in which these our kingdoms, as we learn from very ancient periods, are very rich and abundant; and although by the law which was enacted by king John First (see previous law) the right was granted to all persons to seek for, excavate and work the said minerals and metals, and by the same law is designated the mode of apportionment, yet experience has shown and we now perceive that there are very few mines which have been or will be discovered and worked ; and yet it is said that there are some persons who have knowledge of rich mines, and for gain keep them concealed and will not make known their discovery, which, as we are informed, has arisen, among other causes, from the fact that the greater part of said mines have been and are sold to noblemen and other persons in the kingdoms, and from the grants by bishoprics and archbishoprics and provinces, so that in relation to said mines almost the whole kingdom has been thus distributed and divided up. And considering that the mines were granted to particular persons, and that no others should interfere with or embarrass them in the discovery or working of them, and especially that in many of the said grants it is expressly and par

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