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OF THE JUDGES AND DEPUTIES OF THE MINING DISTRICTS.
SECTION 1. THE respective Royal Courts (Justicias Reales) shall be Judges of the Mines, conformably to the laws established for the Government of the Indies, in all cases which are not expressly referred by these Ordinances to the Deputations of the body of Miners.
SECTION II. All those who for more than one year, shall have worked one or more mines, applying, as owners thereof, in whole or in part, their capital, labour, or personal attention and care, shall be enrolled amongst the Miners of the district, and their names shall be noted in the book of enrolment to be kept by the Judge and Clerk of that mining district.
SECTION III. The Miners so enrolled, and the Mine-Suppliers (being Miners), the person who reduce by contract (Maquileros)," and the Proprietors of Works for stamping and smelting ores in each district, shall assemble in the beginning of January in each year, according to custom, at the house of the Judge, for the purpose of electing the persons who are to exercise the office of Dep. puty for such district, for the ensuing year ; which persons either must be, or must have been, Mine-Proprietors of superior practice and intelligence, men of good conduct, trust-worthy and possessed of all the qualifications requisite for such office.
SECTION IV. Every one of the Miners thus enrolled shall have one vote at such elections ; moreover, of the Mine-Suppliers, being Miners as aforesaid, the Reducers by Contract, and the Owners of such works as are mentioned in the preceding Section, each two persons shall have one vote between them, and they shall not themselves be eligible as Deputies, unless they be also Mine-Owners, and possess the necessary qualifications.
SECTION y. : Where there is a very great number of voters, as in Gaunajuato, the same practice which has hitherto prevailed, shall be continued in such district, namely, of choosing beforehand the Electors who are to proceed to the election of the Deputies.
* Literally Millers—the persons who reduce the ores into metal; they are so called from the mills used in their operations,
SECTION VI. The Administrators of Mines may vote instead of their principals, provided the latter do not reside in that neighbourhood (Territorio), and provided such Administrators be fully authorized by their principals for that purpose, and such Administrators shall be eligible as Deputies, if their occupations permit it, and they have the necessary qualifications.
SECTION VII. The Judge of Mines of each Mine-Town, or establishment, together with the Deputies of the preceding year, shall preside at and regulate the election, and shall have votes at the same, and in case of dispute, the vote of the Judge shall be decisive, and those persons who have the greater number of votes, qualified and computed as before determined, shall be considered as duly elected.
SECTION VIII. In each Mine-Town, or establishment, there shall be a deputation, consisting of two Deputies; and to the end that those employments may be for the duration of two years, and that one of such Deputies may be a person well qualified for the office, in the first year alone of carrying this Ordinance into effect, two Deputies shall be appointed, but in every succeeding year only one, who is to replace the Deputy then oldest in office, and as this provision cannot be complied with at the second Election (i. e. at the and of the first year), that Deputy of the two first elected shall remain in office during the second year, who at the first appointment was elected by the greatest number of votes, so that the other of the two first elected Deputies will be in office only for one year.
SECTION IX. There shall also be elected in the same manner, in each Mine Town, or establishment, four Substitutes (Substitutos), who are to supply the place of the Deputies, in the case of their refusal to serve, their death, illness, necessary absence, or other just impediment, and to assist at the several Courts of Appeal in such cases and circumstances as may occur, and which will be treated of in their proper place: but in districts where the electors themselves are to be nominated, according to the Fifth Section of this present Chapter, those four who shall have the greater number of votes are to be the Substitutes for the first year, and it is to be understood that these offices are to be also for the duration of two years, and in each successive year only two new Substitutes are to be chosen, observing, with regard to them, the same rule which has been laid down for the election of Deputies in the preceding Section; and for the sake of greater perspicuity, and to prevent all arbitrary acts in the succession, either to the said offices of Substitutes or to those of Advisers, as directed by several Sections of these Ordinances, those persons shall always be preferred, who shall have had the greater number of votes at their respective elections, when the elections have been on one and the same day; but in other cases those who have been longest in office shall be preferred.
SECTION X The said Substitutes shall also be Recorders (Procuradores Sindicos) of their respective districts; and shall observe and procure whatever may appear necessary for the common interests of the Miners in their neighbourhood, and by virtue of this office shall have a superior claim to be elected as Deputies, or to other offices connected with the Mines.
SECTION XI. The persons elected as Deputies must accept the cffice within three days of the time of their election, under a penalty of $1000, which penalty is to go to the fund of that district, and the person refusing to accept shall be obliged to serve the office, notwithstanding the payment of such penalty ; and even though there may appear a just cause for his refusal, he must accept the office notwithstanding, and serve it until such cause shall have been admitted by the Royal Tribunal General of the Miners, to which body it must be submitted.
SECTION XII. It is forbidden to re-elect any person to any one of the before-mentioned offices until the expiration of two years from his last serving in such office, and the person re-elected, after such interval, must accept the same office under a penalty of 500 dollars, which penalty is to be paid to the general fund of the district, and he shall be obliged to serve the office, notwithstanding the payment of such penalty ; without prejudice, however, to any sufficient cause of exemption which he may have ; but this must be submitted to the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico, and he must serve the office in the mean time as directed by the preceding Section.
SECTION XIII. All the Mine-Proprietors, Mine-Suppliers, persons reducing by contract, and Owners of reducing establishments of the respective districts, shall confer on the new Deputies power to promote their interests and pretensions, and for all the usual purposes, and shall swear to obey them in all that relates to the exercise of their offices; and the Deputies themselves shall take upon them their office according to law, and swear to observe these Ordinances (which are to be read at every election at the time of their entering into office), and to maintain secrecy in the causes which come under their cognizance.
SECTION XIV. As soon as the election is over, an account of it, and proper notice, shall be immediately transmitted to the Royal Tribunal General of the Miners, in order that if there shall appear to be no defect or irregularity in the conduct of it, it may be approved of by the Supreme Government of New Spain : and be it understood, that no charges whatever shall be made for the procuring of such approval, nor for any of the formalities which must precede it.
The Territorial Deputies (Disputados Territoriales), the Inspectors, and Surveyors of Mines, shall receive no pay from my Royal Treasury, but shall be supported from the profits of the respective mines, agreeably to the laws upon that subject ; for which purpose, the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico shall impose certain moderate duties, according to the conditions and circumstances of each mine district, in the manner and under the rules laid down by Section xxxvi. of Chapter III. of these Ordinances.
SECTION XVI. In the month of February in every year, the Territorial Deputations (Diputaciones territoriales) shall submit to the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico, a report upon the condition of the mines and Miners in their respective districts, and their dependencies, suggesting such measures as may appear to them conducive to the preservation and better advancement of the same, and also upon the quantity of silver produced, and of quicksilver consumed in the preceding year: upon the number of mines which are in course of actual working, as well as such as have been abandoned, and why they have been 80 abandoned ; and upon those which have been newly discovered, or re-established; requiring for this purpose, from the Provincial Courts and Treasuries, and other offices, all certificates, attestations and other documents which may be necessary: And it is hereby ordered, that the said reports and documents be laid before the Viceroy, in order that, after acquainting himself with their contents, he may submit them to me, with a suggestion of such measures as he may deem advisable, and likely to meet with my Royal Approbation.
OF THE JURISDICTION IN MINING CAUSES, AND THE MODE OF TAKING COGNI
ZANCE, OF PROCEEDING, AND PASSING JUDGMENT AND SENTENCE IN THE SAME IN THE 1st, 2ND, AND 3RD INSTANCES.
UDGMENT AND SENTENCE
SECTION I. I GRANT to the Royal Tribunal General of the Miners the power of hearing and deciding all concerns relating to the administration, direction, and management of the body of Miners, and I therefore declare that the territorial deputations of all the mining districts shall be fully and entirely subordinate to it in all such matters of administration.
SECTION II. The Royal Tribunal General shall, moreover, take cognizance of all causes, arising out of the discovery, denunciation, right of property, extent, draining, desertion, and (despilaramientos) destruction of the supports or pillars of the mines, and of all that may occur in the same to the prejudice of the operations therein, and in contravention of these Ordinances, and also of whatever relates to the supply of mines, the sale or exchange of ores, or silver and gold, of copper, lead, and other mineral substances, instruments for reducing, (Maquilas), and of other things of the same nature ; but I declare, that such power of deciding causes shall only be exercised by the said Royal Tribunal General within twenty-five leagues of the capital of Mexico.
SECTION III. Without detracting from the peculiar jurisdiction of administration granted to the Royal Tribunal by the First Article of this Section, the same power shall be exercised by the territorial deputations in their respective territories, in causes which may occur, but only by the two Deputies jointly, for the support and encouragement of the mining operations in their particular district, the interest and advantage of the Proprietors of mines, the preservation and increase of the population, the due administration of justice, the welfare of the inhabitants, and the relief of the poor : be it, however, understood, that the same shall be done in immediate subordination to the Royal Tribunal General, as directed in the said first article ; with this proviso, that they are not to exercise any formal acts of jurisdiction, except in such causes as are expressly referred to them by these Ordinances.
SECTION IV. The territorial deputations shall, in their respective districts, have the peculiar power, or jurisdiction, of deciding causes, which I have in the Second Article of this Section granted to the Royal Tribunal General in all such
* Denunciacion, Denunciar, Denunciante. These words deserve particular attention, as they denote the mode of acquiring mines, and are constantly occurring throughout the ordinances. De nunciar relates as well to original mines, i. e, mines which have never before been worked, as to mines which have once been worked, but have fallen into a ruinous state ; in the former case it means, " to give notice that a certain mine exists, and that the person so giving notice, intends to work it.” Whereupon, after complying with certain conditions required by the Ordinances the mine is allotted to such person. In the latter it means, “ to give notice that some mine owner has either neglected the working of his mine, so that it is reduced to a state of decay, or that he has acted in contravention of these Ordinances, which points being proved, the persos so giving notice himself acquires the mine.” The word has generally been rendered “ to inform of,” or “ to acquire by informing of,” but as it implies a great deal more than this, and as it has a peculiar technical signification in the Spanish, I have preferred translating it by the word “ der nounce."