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echo returned on striking with a crow or bar, as if from a hollow place. This is the description given of the mines of Chiguagua, by Don Mathias de la Mota,* and we have received information to the same effect, from several persons of great experience in that district, particularly with regard to a work called San Agustin, in the mine of Aranzazu, belonging to the family of Trasvina, which is an extremely firm and most beautiful vault, capable of containing the largest church in Madrid or Mexico. Such also is the case with regard to the mines of Zimapan where, according to the account of persons who have had much experience in working them, similar vaults are found. The9e caverns being formed by Nature, do not require pillars of support, and it would indeed, be a difficult matter to set about forming them. But when the hills are artificially undermined and cut away, it is impossible that they should sustain their own weight, unless supported by strong and firm pillars.
17. As to the third point, with regard to the pits ; although the ordinance provides that they shall be ten varas distant from each other, and that each of them shall be fourteen estados in depth, it concludes by saying, that such course shall be pursued, as the nature of the ground will permit, under the authority of the justice, and according to the opinion of surveyors and miners. The usual plan is, to sink them three estados, and to make them six varas apart, the ladders being set up and secured firmly upon landing- places or rests, which serve to facilitate the descent, and to render the working more easy, and likewise tend, by their solidity, to ensure the permanence of the mine, which is the principal object of the ordinance. The word pit (pozo) is properly applied when working perpendicularly downwards, or in depth; but when the vein is inclined, or underlying, and the works gain in length and depth, they are said to be conducted a chiflon.
18. In like manner, the justices and mine owners should take care that there are formed, from time to time, cisterns or reservoirs, to collect the water from the infiltrations or springs in the upper works, so as to prevent its descending to the bottom, which would render it impossible to carry on the lower works. From these higher reservoirs, the water is to be conveyed in channels or conduits, as may be convenient, so as to be more readily carried off" by the general channel of drainage, or through the pit, which may be more easily accomplished by this precaution; but if the water be allowed to find its way to the bottom, the draining is rendered difficult, and the works become filled with water. It is therefore of the greatest importance that the reservoirs should be inspected; and as it is an imperative duty to leave piL lars of support at intervals, and not to cut them away or weaken them, even though they should consist of the richest ores of gold or silver, so likewise it is no less essential that proper reservoirs should be constructed, and that a
prohibition should be enforced against weakening or destroying them, merely to gratify an avaricious desire of possessing the ore.
19. And although it may seem hard, supposing the rein to become barren, to be disabled from cutting into the pilla s or reservoirs, however rich in gold or silver, yet it would be still harder that the whole mine should be ruined by falling in, and that human life, the most precious gift of Nature, should in consequence be put in jeopardy. Indeed, this is a point upon which no precaution should be dispensed with, and those who servilely give way to the eagerness of the miners, and authorise them to remove or weaken the pillars of support, act in opposition to the dictates of conscience, and to the true interests of the mine, and render themselves gravely responsible for their conduct. All which is shewn by Agricola in a very few words.*
20. On the other hand, tho greatest credit is due to chose justices who rigorously visit with punishment, the removal of the pillars, and impose fines upon those miners and proprietors, who, allowing the suggestions of avarice to prevail over the dictates of conscience, are guilty of weakening the supports of their mines. When a considerable amount of ore is raised from any mine, it is soon known, from common report, and from the disclosures of the workmen and purchasers of the ore, whether it has been procured in a fair and successful course of working, or whether it is derived from the destruction of the pillars; and it is therefore an easy matter for the justice to proceed to an actual investigation of the fact, if he choose to take the trouble. And their interference is more . urgently called for, when the proprietors, as they sometimes do, proceed to cut away the pillars of the deeper works, intending to conceal their offence, by allowing the water to rise, thus endeavouring to hide one offence, by committing a second. For must the justices be intimidated by the favour, wealth, interest or power of the mine owners; for if they perform their duty faithfully, they are sure to be justified by their superiors, who will be readily convinced that they have had no other object than to prevent the falling in of the mine, and the fatal accidents which might attend such an event, as well as the loss it would occasion both to the crown and to the public. If any party then, propose to relinquish a mine, he must not, upon doing so, act injuriously to the general interests of the crown and its subjects, none of whom will be found inclined to denounce a mine deprived of its pillars of support, and filled with water; as, even after drawing off the water, the person undertaking it would be exposed to the risk of still greater loss, by the falling in of the works; whilst, if the pillars of support be standing, any person denouncing the mine, will have the satisfaction of being assured of its firmness and security.
• Agrieoln, do re metall. lib. 4 p. 69. i'Vcrum fiber lignarius sit oportent, ul possit puteos extrucre, columnas collocnre, et facere substructiones, qua: montem sabfossum susstineant, ne saxa tecti venarum nun fulta, a toto corpora montis resolvantur, rainisque opprimant operarios: fabricari, et in cunieulos ponere canales, in quos aqun ex venis, fibris, commissuris saxorum, collects derivetur, at efflnere possit."
OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE MINERS, WHICH ARE EMPTY AND APPARENT ONLY, AND CONTRIBUTE NOTHING TO THEIR RELIEF—OF SEQUESTRATIONS OF MINES AND REDUCTION WORKS FOR CROWN DEBTS, AND OF THE SUPPLIER'S PRIVILEGE.—CONSIDERATIONS ON THE MINER'S THREE GREAT ENEMIES; THAT IS TO SAY, THE MINER HIMSELF, THE SUPPLIER, AND CERTAIN OTHER PARTIES WHO DEAL WITH HIM.—COMMENDATION OF THE PRUDENT MANAGEMENT AND NOBLE UNDERTAKINGS OF TWO MINERS OP NEW SPAIN.
ORDINANCES XLVU. XLIX. L. LI. LH. LXXVIII. LXXXIII.
XLVII. Also, we ordain and command, that the washing places, which may be necessary for washing the ores of the aforesaid mines, shall be taken wherever most convenient to the miners, provided that if they would be injurious to any town, or to the cattle,, and cannot be made without producing injury, the water shall be taken from the river, brook or pool, where such ores may be washed, and shall be turned off, so as not to return to such river or brook; and if this cannot be done, enclosures or courts shall be formed, at the expense of those who shall make such washing places; and for better performing the above, the mining justice, within whose district such washing places shall be made, shall cause the same to be complied with; so that the injury may be prevented. And in taking such washing places, they shall be staked out in the same manner as the mines aforesaid, and the dimensions of each washing place shall be 60 feet in length (each foot the third of a vara) and 12 feet in width; but if the washing places shall be supplied with the water drawn off from mines, and not from any river or brook, there shall be no obligation to perform any of the matters aforesaid, but they may be made wherever it shall seem best, near the mine, or the establishment where the ores may be smelted.
XLIX. Also, we ordain and command, that for the purpose of working, timbering and preserving the said mines, and constructing machines, buildings and huts, and for all other matters required for working and maintaining them, the owners of the aforesaid mines, and the persons employed about them, shall be at liberty to make use, and may make use, of all the forests, common ground, ground belonging to municipal bodies, and waste ground nearest to the said mines; and of the wood, timber and trunks thereof, and to cut down such as may be dry, to the root, without paying anything for it. And that they shall likewise be at liberty, for the purposes aforesaid, to make use of the wood, timber and trunks, and to cut down such as may be dry, to the root, in the pasture grounds of private persons and of municipal bodies, which shall be nearest to the aforesaid mines, paying for what they shall so cut down in such pasture grounds, the just value thereof to be estimated by the mining judge of the department; the person or body to whom such pasture ground shall belong, being summoned. And with respect to green timber and wood they shall also be at liberty to cut, in such public forests, and forests belonging to municipal bodies, as aforesaid, so much of the same as shall be necessary for the buildings and machines, and for timbering and supporting such mines, without paying anything for it, first obtaining a license for that purpose from the mining administrator of the department, but not otherwise. And if there shall not be, in such public forests, or forests belonging to municipal bodies, such green timber as shall be necessary for the purposes aforesaid, they shall be at liberty to cut the same in such pasture grounds belonging to individuals and municipal bodies, as aforesaid: first obtaining a licence for that purpose, as is aforesaid, from the administrator, and, before all things, summoning the body or person to whom such pasture grounds may belong or under whose care they may be, that they may be advised what may be so ordered to be cut. And the aforesaid administrator shall take particular care not to give such licences, except only for so much as may be necessary for working and keeping up the said mines, and no more, and that as little injury and damage as possible, shall be done to such forests and pasture grounds. And although we have commanded that the parties shall be summoned, previous to cutting such green timber, the aforesaid administrator may enforce the cutting of what he shall think * ought to be cut, notwithstanding any opposition thereto; in consideration of tho great loss which might ensue to the works and buildings of the aforesaid mines, from any delay being occasioned.
L. Also, we ordain and command, that all such owners of mines, and persons concerned in working them, as aforesaid, shall be at liberty to drive into such pasture grounds, meadows and threshing grounds, common grounds or forests, belonging to the public or to municipal bodies, as aforesaid, which shall bo near-such mines, or the establishments thereof, all their oxen and beasts, and those of their servants, being necessary for working the aforesaid mines, either for the machinery, or for draught, burden or riding, and likewise the oxen used in the waggons for bringing provisions, timber or other things to the aforesaid mines, establishments and buildings; provided that if the pasture grounds belong to municipal bodies or individuals, they shall pay for the herbage and pasture as the same are paid for in respect of other cattle. And those who shall be engaged in searching or trying for mines, or who shall be on their way to search for them, shall be at liberty to take with them one beast each, without paying anything for the grass which shall be eaten by such beasts.
LI. Also, we ordain and command, that all the proprietors of such mines, and their servants, and the persons who shall be concerned in working such mines and their ores, shall be at liberty to hunt and fish, freely, within three leagues around the place where the mining establishments aforesaid, in which they may reside, shall be situated, in the same manner as they might do, if they were inhabitants of the places situate within such spaco of three leagues, observing the laws and edicts of these our kingdoms upon that subject.
LII. Also, we ordain and command, that in any parts or places whatsoever, wherein mines have been discovered, or may henceforth be discovered, the owners thereof shall be at liberty to set up such establishments, houses, smelting houses, furnaces gliomas, Ihdtrones, fuslines), and other works what' soever, as may be necessary for working the mines, or smelting and refining the ores, when, how and in such manner and form, as they shall think proper, and even at a different spot from that where the mines are situated; provided that if all the proprietors of a mine shall be willing and able to set up such buildings togetheer, in one place, the administrator-general, or administrator of the department shall take especial care that it shall be so done and performed, if it can be done without damage or injury to the owners of such mines and ores. And if, for the more convenient smelting and refining of the ores, the owners of the mines, or any of them, should wish to set up their establishments, and smelting and refining furnaces, in a place where there is a river or brook, for the purpose of working the bellows, they shall be at liberty to do so ; and may, for such purpose, freely make use of such river or brook, in such part, or at such place, as may be most convenient and least expensive to them, so that other persons be not injured, and that they pay for the space they may occupy, to be estimated and valued by two persons appointed by the mining judge of the department. And, that there may be no fraud in regard to the lead produced from such smelting works, we command, that each of the aforesaid mine owners shall keep an iron stamp, with which he shall stamp and mark the ingots of silver-lead, and all other ingots whatsoever produced from his mine or ore, and that it shall not be lawful to take them to be refined and that they shall not be refined, without such mark.
LXXVIII. Also we ordain and command, that all persons whatsoever, who shall be willing to carry provisions, maintenance and other things, to such mines, for the support of those who may abide or work in them, shall be at liberty to carry out, and may take and carry out the same freely, from all the cities, towns and places, of these our kingdoms and lordships. And that the justices thereof shall not prevent them, nor lay any embargo upon them, nor put any impediment in their way, nor enhance the price; but that, on the contrary, they shall assist and favour them, that the aforesaid mines, and the persons who may be concerned in them, may be always provided and supplied therewith.
LXXXIII. Also, by way of benefit and favour to those who shall hold and work such mines, and to the administrators, assayers, smelters, refiners, accountants and paymasters thereof,—We ordain and command, that in the parts and places where they shall reside, at such mines, they shall be free and exempt from having guests or beasts of burden quartered upon them, and