« ForrigeFortsett »
ed with particular care in the visits of the Territorial Deputation, the proper penalties being imposed, as enjoined in the preceding Section.
If any owner of mines requiring drains does not choose to keep them up, contenting himself with working in the upper parts of the mine, which the inundation does not reach; and any person shall denounce the said mine or mines, ofFering to drain and clear the lower works, immediate information thereof shall be given to the owner, in order that if he be either unwilling or unable to drain them effectually, within the period of four months, they may be adjudged to the denouncer, he giving security for the expences of the drain, according to the taxation of the proper Surveyors, and the satisfaction of the Deputies of the District.
If the owner of any mine, of which the works are lower than those of the mines belonging to his neighbours, whether from its situation, or from the circumstance of greater progress having been made in the works thereof, should be put to extraordinary expence, by his neighbours not draining such higher mines, or draining them insufficiently, in such manner that the waters from the higher works shall descend upon the lower, I ordain and command, that the owners of the higher mines shall keep up all the draining which they require; or, on failure thereof, shall pay respectively to the owners of the lower mines, in silver or good money, the value of all the damage they .may have sustained, estimated by Surveyors, who shall first of all enquire and make all possible experiments to ascertain the real truth and circumstances of the case.
To all persons who will take upon themselves the expence of draining and cleaning several mines, by making shafts (tiros) in common, or other works, and of constructing and maintaining costly machines (where an adit is not practicable), I grant the ownership of all the desert mines and portions which they shall effectually clear; even though they may be contiguous, and upon one of the same vein; and I command that the Viceroy, at the representation of the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico, shall dispense to them all the customary privileges, exemptions, and aids: but I declare that the owners of occupied mines, deriving benefit in any manner from such works, shall be obliged to contribute to the expenses of the same, only in proportion to the advantage their mines may have received, according to the valuation of Surveyors, with the approbation of the Deputies of the District.
OF MINES WORKED BY COMPANIES.
Inasmuch as mines are often worked by Miners joined in companies, from the time of the denouncement of such mine, or according to contracts entered into subsequently in various ways, to the great advantage and improvement of the operations in mines, since it is much easier to engage therein when many persons concur, each subscribing a part of his capital, and as where the wealth of one alone is not sufficient for great undertakings, that of an united company may be ample; in such cases, I desire and command that such companies, whether public or private, may be encouraged, promoted, and protected by all convenient measures, my Viceroy granting to those who may form themselves into such companies, every favour, aid, and exemption which can be granted them, according to the judgment and discretion of the Royal Tribunal of Miners, and without detriment to the public or my Royal Treasury.
Although by these Ordinances I prohibit any individual Mine-Owners working within the ordinary limits, from denouncing two adjoining mines on the same vein, yet notwithstanding, to those who work in companies, although they be not the discoverers, and without prejudice to the right which they might derive from becoming discoverers, I grant the right of denouncing four new portions, or four deserted mines, even though they should be contiguous, and on the same vein, (rumbo).
The accustomed usage in New Spain of dividing a mine into twenty-four imaginary equal parts, commonly called barras, subdividing also each of these into suitable smaller parts, shall continue to be observed, as heretofore, without any altaration.
By consequence, no one of the partners may claim, or have a right to work the part A, or any determinate part of the mine, or any other to work the part B, or place therein fixed number of workmen; but they must work in common, as far as it is possible, and make a division of the expences, by sharing the amount of the same in equal proportions among all the partners, and there shall be the like division of the produce in metals of all kinds and qualities, whether in a rough state, or after they have been wrought, as may hare been agreed upon by the parties.
In order to avoid the disputes and differences which usually occur in Mining Companies about the direction of the works, aj plications for supplies, the administration, and other points connected with the operations, I ordain and command that all the measures necessary to be taken shall be determined by plurality of votes, with the intervention of one of tho Deputies of the District, who shall always endeavour to preserve harmony among the parties.
The votes shall be valued and counted according to the shares (barrets) which each partner shall possess in the mine; so that if one or more shall be owners of one and the same share, they shall have only one vote, and he who holds two shares shall have two votes, and so on for the rest; but if one partner alone possesses twelve or more shares, the owner of such a number of shares shall have a number of votes less by one than half the number of such shares.
In all cases where any dispute may arise, either from an equality in the number of votes, or from any other cause, the Mining Deputy who shall preside at the Junta, or Meeting, shall decide the same as above declared, and I charge the said Deputy to attend always to justice, and the common interest of all the partners.
If, in the course of operations, a mine should be worked which produces no profit, or which does not repay, either entirely, or in part, the expences which have been bestowed upon it, and any one of the partners does not chuse to contribute his share of the expense, in this case the others shall give notice to the respective Deputation, in order that the day may be noted down, on •which he ceased to contribute; and if he persists in this conduct during the continuance of four months, I declare, thereby he forfeits, reckoning from the day on which he ceased to contribute, all his share in the mine, which ehall go to increase the portions of those who have contributed their contributions, without any obligation on their part to denounce the same: but if, before the expiration of the four months, he shall contribute his share of the expences, he shall be still a partner, provided he pays all arrears that shall have accrued from the time when he ceased to contribute, to the satisfaction of the parties concerned.
If, -while any mine is in a course of profitable working, any-partner should refuse to concur in the expenses of the dead works (faenas muertai) (establlshed according to the forms before prescribed), upon the ground that such dead works would consume a part or the whole of the produce of the mine, the rest of the partners may retain and devote to this purpose a part or the whole of the produce which falls to his share.
If one or more minet are worked by two partners, and they desire to break up the partnership, on account of disagreement, or other cause, they shall not be reciprocally obliged to sell or buy their shares to or from one another, but each of them has the right of selling his share to a third person, giving his partner, however, the first offer thereof.
The company is not to be considered as broken up by the death of one of the partners; but the obligation devolves on his heirs, who have, however, the privilege of selling their share, according to the terms prescribed in the preceding section.
If any share in a mine, or any entire mine, should be sold, after having been appraised and valued by Surveyors, according to its condition at the time of the sale, and it should afterwards become of great value; I declare that the sale shall not on that account be rescinded, on allegation of the great loss sustained, nor on demand of being restored to his former situation, (i. e. on the part of the seller) nor of any similar privilege.
OF THE LABOURERS IN MINES, AND IN THE WORKS OR ESTABLISHMENTS FOR THE REDUCTION OF THE METALS.
Forasmuch as it is a notorious and well established fact, that the working Miners are a very poor class of people, and very useful to the state, and that they ought to be adequately remunerated for the severe toil they undergo, I ordain and command that no Mine-owner shall presume, on any ground or pretext whatsoever, to alter the rate of wages established by long usage, and adopted in all the mining districts, but that the same shall be observed, as well in regard to persons employed in the works and machinery, as to the labourers in the mines, under the penalty, if at any time any Mine-owner shall diminish the established wages, of paying tne said labourers the double thereof; and the labourers shall be obliged to work according to the said established rate of wages.
The workmen in the mines must be registered by their own proper names and must mark with plain and distinguishable stroke?, each occasion of their leaving their work; so that they themselves may know and recognise the same, even when they are not able to read; according to the forms hitherto adopted in New Spain.
The amount of the wages are to be paid every week to each workman, according to his tallies, (rasas'), and with the greatest punctuality delivered in ready money and into their own hands, in current coin or in silver or gold * bullion of good quality, if there be not ready money, or by part of the metal which may have been extracted, if it shall have been so agreed between the parties. And I strictly prohibit their being compelled to receive such payments in merchandize, effects, fruits, or provisions.
At the time when thoir wages are paid, they (the workmen), shall not be forced to satisfy the debt and charges for which they may be liable, even though they be such as are usually termed privileged, without a judicial order for so compelling them, except as to those which they may have contracted with the Mine-owner, with an understanding that the sami should be paid out of their labour, and even in these cases, not more than a fourth part of their wages shall be so retained.
I prohibit the making demands upon the workmen for alms, charity, collections for brotherhoods, (cornadillos de cofradias), or any similar purposes, until they have received thoir dues, and these being settled, such donations shall be left entirely to their free will and disposition.
Where the workmen are paid by weekly rations and monthly salaries, the rations supplied must be of good wholesome meat, wheat, maize, Indian corn, pinole, (a fruit of the country), salt, red pepper, (capsicum), and such other articles as may be usual, according to fixed and exact measures and weight, to all which particular attention must be paid in the visits, (of the Territorial Deputations).
* Literally, the strokes or tallies which represent the wages due to them. In future, wage* will be used in the translation, as being a more familiar expression.