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AKTICLES 144 to 147,
The respectable body of miners has at all times deserved the greatest indulgence and attention, and having reduced for them to a tenth, the royal duty of a fifth which they have heretofore paid on silver and to three per cent, the duty on gold and other privileges in relation to the price of quicksilver, powder and provisions having been granted to them, and having been finally erected into a formal body like that of the tribunal of commerce under the ordinances for New Spain, approved on the 22d May, 1783, and which by royal order of the 8th December, 1785, were applied to Peru : and desirous that these provisions should produce the favourable effect designed by them, it is my wish that the intendant coerce exact compliance with them and apply themselves as their chief care, to encourage and protect the body aforesaid in like manner, causing the sub-delegates and ministers of the royal treasury to execute the same, who shall be severely punished if in the sale of quicksilver or of powder, they shall charge to or receive from tho miners more than the just price, which shall be fixed for it, and although it be under the name of a gratification or of official and clerical fees it shall be immediately restored ;—the same being understood in relation to the ministers of the royal branch at Potosi, to whose charge pertains and should continue, the disposition of this material.
The Intendants shall be judges in appeal causes in their respective provinces without varying in other respects the provisions of Art. 13. title 3. of the ordinance " de mineria" above cited, and where the distance from tho Capitol where they reside to tho mine shall be so great as not to permit tho prosecution there of the appeal without great delay and expense, they shall commission the sub-delegate to exercise said jurisdiction on adopting the most rapid dispatch consistent with justice, affording the preference to which the causes and judicial proceedings connected with this subject are entitled.
Nothing is more important to the mining interest than the providing of laborers and facilitating the abundant supply of quicksilver for the precious metals, and although at first there was in some places the practice of assigning Indians, who under the name of "Mcta" (allotment.) took turns in such work, it will be very proper from the zeal of the intendents to consider the appropriate means by which it may be possible to relieve them from these labors, and to stimulate others to perform them voluntarily; therefore, it is their duty to provide that in relation to all, and especially the Indians, that they bo kindly treated, and that they pay them their day wages punctually and in good money, without imposing upon them excessive labours or causing them other vexations which have been the means of withdrawing them from this service; and with regard to the abundance and price of quicksilver, they shall represent what they consider proper as well to the superintendent as to my royal person, through the officer of the Secretary of the Treasury ; being advised not to incur my royal displeasure by any omission or neglect of duty which may be marked against them.
There shall continue in Mexico henceforth the office of Comptroller of quicksilver which is already established there, the superintendent conforming to the instructions of the lath January, 1709. by which he is to bo governed according to existing circumstances; and in the other kingdoms where there is no such office established, the respective superintendents shall establish the appropriate regulations in order to furnish deposits of quicksilver for the supply of the towns near the mines, so that they may not experience the least failure, and with the concurrence of the Supremo Council of the government shall issue such orders as shall be general and conduce to the protection and increase of the mining interest, transferring to each intendent the special charge of adopting the same course in relation to the minerals in his province; and inasmuch as it is proper in all places to free the miners from the necessity under which they are of giving their silver and gold to the merchants whs pay for them less than their true value, and by this means also facilitating the concealment and fraudulent extraction of the metal; superintendents shall appropriate in the treasuries where the corresponding foundry is established, sufficient money for the prompt and full payment of those who offer to sell, and that said superintendent should keep a strict watch that the offices of foundry-man and assayer should be filled by faithful subjects instructed and examined according to law, and the superintendent on consultation with the tribunal of the miners shall promote if practicable the establishment of banks of exchange, where in imitation of that of the city of Potosi, in Peru, shall be purchased silver in mass, paying for it promptly and at a fair price, and granting to the miners other aid and supplies which at the time shall not be difficult safely to furnish.
Of (he Cortes of Spain, and of Ferdinand Til.
From the Printed Votumes, pubtished by Authority.
The general and extraordinary Cortes desiring that the important industry of mining in all the dominions of the Indies and Philipine Islands may receive all possible increase, and considering that the monopoly of quicksilver established by law 1, tit. 23, book 8, of the Recopilacion of the Indies, and the right that the crown reserved to itself according to article 22, tit. 7, of the ordinances of New Spain, of appropriating and working on its own account mines of this kind, whenever it might bo thought proper, on making a previous arrangement with the discoverer or denouncer of said mines; inasmuch as it thereby renders uncertain the interest of the owner, and checks the trade withholding people from the useful and expensive enterprise of discovering and working quicksilver mines, and likewise further employing themselves in the search for quicksilver, in its transport, and in creating a competition, all which would probably happen if this article were to be declared an article of free trade perpetually exempt from all taxes including the (cuinto) fifth or that part which the miner is bound to pay; bearing in mind what was proposed and presented for consideration to the Cortes by the Council of regency on the 26th of December last in favor of the freedom of trade in so necessary an auxiliary for the working of gold and silver mines; and bearing also in mind what has been presented and petitioned for on the subject by the deputies of the Indies in this Cortes, who have demonstrated with intelligence and zeal, the expediency of repealing the above mentioned provisions and any other in whole or in part of the same character, interfering with the freedom of trade in said article, and with the security of the perpetual and absolute ownership of the mines, provided that in their discovery and working of said mines they shall observe the general regulations existing in the matter. After a mature consideration, the Cortes have been pleased to decree and do decree the aforesaid repeal and grant of exemption from impediments as aforesaid, and at the same time do ordain that if in accordance with the former monopoly or otherwise, the Royal Treasury may have sent or shall send on its own account any quantity of quicksilver to be distributed at cost and charges as it has been the practice heretofore for the benefit of the miners, the distribution shall be precisely and exclusively made by the respective mining tribunals, as they are the best judges of the wants of the mines, and of every thing relating to the propriety and success of the object of those remittances, and consequently it shall be the duty of such tribunals, to cause the reimbursement to be duly made to the royal Treasury—the Cortes trusting to the honor, integrity and zeal of the above mentioned tribunals that they will correspond to the high confidence placed in them in a commission so interesting and worthy of the paternal views of the Cortes.
Of the 12th of March, 1811.
Various Measures for the encouragement of Agriculture and Industry in
One of the principal cares, which occupies the attention of the general and extraordinary Cortes, being to furnish the inhabitants of the extensive provinces in America all the means necessary to promote and secure their real happiness, and being persuaded of the justice and utility of those proposed by the council of the regency upon the representations made by the Right Rev. Bishop of Valladoiid de Michoacan, of the 30th May, 1810, with the interesting object of encouraging in those countries, the advancement and improvement of agriculture and industry, and to diminish, as far as practicable, the impediments and obstructions which at present retard their progress to the great injury of the state; they therefore decree:
1. That the tax upon stores known by the name of pulperias be abolished. 2. That it is permitted freely to make and to sell spirits of mezcal (aguardiente mezcal) in the viceroyalty of Mexico. 3. That six dollars in specie are to be paid on each barrel of said mezcal spirits, and that a reduction of two specie dollars be allowed on the tax imposed on each barrel of rum. 4. That the increase of two reals lately imposed on each pound of tobacco remains in force, as well as that of two per cent. over and above the six per cent. collected as excise duty, as well as the application of these duties to the payment of principal and interest of the loan of twenty millions of dollars opened in New Spain. 5. That in order to fill up this loan the more rapidly, it is permitted, out of the common funds belonging to the Indians, to invest so much in this loan at interest as the communities have the control of and may be willing voluntarily to contribute in the different towns, villages, and communities of that kingdom. 6. That the viceroy of New Spain, after consulting the fiscals and a (junta) board composed of the archbishop, regent, intendant, the contador mayor, the contador of tributes, a royal officer, the senior regidor, the procurator syndic, and a good man elected by the (ayuntamiento) common council of Mexico, will examine and reduce to its just value the duty to be in future paid on pulque, and cause the same to bo carried into effect, rendering however account to his Majesty, through the council of the regency, for his sovereign sanction.
Of the 14th of July, 1811.
The obligation of the Authorities to comply with the orders of their Superiors.
In view of the obligation to establish among all classes in the Monarchy absolute subordination to the government as the only mode of giving a uniform movement and direction to the machinery of State, and to direct to one end the exertions of all the general and extraordinary Cortes decree, as follows:
1. Every general, junta, audiency or other superior officer whose duty it is to secure compliance with the orders of their superiors, shall be responsible for their execution and deprived of their respective employments if by culpable omission, negligence or forbearance or by failure to impose immediate punishment on the disobedient, the same shall not be complied with..
2. Justices and inferior authorities to whom it immediately belongs to secure compliance with any law or order, shall, on failure to administer instantly the punishment prescribed by any law, be subjected to the same punishment as the offender.
3. The Council of the regency shall carefully enforce the observance of all laws, ordinances and decrees, exacting strict responsibility of the anthorities charged with their execution and imposing the appropriate punishment which shall not be remitted; and it is the will of the Cortes that the Council of the Regency upon no consideration whatever shall repeat orders once given without having first imposed the appropriate punishment upon whomsoever shall in any culpable manner have impeded their fulfillment.
The Council of the Regency shall cause the foregoing to be made known and adopt the necessary measures for its observance, having first printed, published and circulated it. Dated at Cadiz, July 14,1811.
The Mexican Secretary of the Treasury in a circular of the 5th June, 1839, refers to the foregoing decree of the Cortes of Spain as still in force. —See Diario del Gobierno of 10th June, 1839.
Of Ferdinand VII.
Manifesto of the King declaring the Constitution of the so called General and Extraordinary Cortes of the nation void and without force or effect