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SECTION. XVIII. Whoever shall work mines in a different district to that in which he resides, and shall derive considerable advantage from such working, shall be obliged either to build a house in that village which is in the neighbourhood of his mine, or to construct some work of public utility to be estimated by the Deputies of Miners, and shall also be liable to all the charges which are or ought to be paid by the miners of the said district.
SECTION XIX. No dealer or miner shall, under any pretence, whatsoever, intercept on the roads, the sellers of fruit, grain, or other commodity, even though they pretend that they are buying for their own consumption, and not for the purpose of selling such articles again ; but I grant the mine-owners liberty to purchase such articles in other villages, and to conduct them, on their own account, to the mines, and I permit the sellers generally to carry them thither without obstruction.
OF THE MILLERS, (MAQUILEROS) PERSONS WHO REDUCE ORES FOR THE
- MINERS BY AGREEMENT, AND PURCHASERS OF THE METALS.
SECTION 1. CONSIDERING the measures which may best promote the advancement of the mines, as well the increase and support of the mining population, and observing the customs which have hitherto prevailed in New Spain, by which it is permitted to all persons to buy and sell ores, and also to erect establishments for reducing the same, although they may not themselves be the possessors of mines, I will and ordain that both these customs be kept up and encouraged, provided that in so doing, the strictest attention be paid to the enactments of the eleven following Sections.
SECTION II. All persons are prohibited from purchasing ores, otherwise than in the outer courts of the mines, or in some public place adjoining thereto, within the view, and by the permission of the owner, administrator, or accountant of the mine, from whom such purchaser must receive a ticket, expressing the day on which the metal is purchased, its weight, quality, and price, and whether it be the property of the master, or of any person working or serving in the mine.
SECTION III. If any miner shall lay information of any of his metal, which has been stolen, being in the possession of a purchaser, and such purchaser, on examination and comparison of the metal, cannot justify himself by the production of such a ticket as is mentioned in the preceding Section, the same shall be considered as baving been stolen, without the necessity of farther proof, and shall be restored to the miner; but if the latter by any other means shall clearly prove it to have been stolen, and there shall have been a repetition of the offence, the offending party shall not only restore the stolen property to the miner, but such penalties shall be inflicted on the offender, by the proper judge, as are directed by Section xxix. of Chapter III. of these Ordinances, with attention to the nature and all the circumstances of the offence.
SECTION IV. No one shall be allowed to purchase from persons working or serving in the mines quicksilver, either fused, or in a crude state, metallic grains, gunpowder, ashes, chalk, or lead, under a penalty to the buyer of paying double the amount thereof on conviction; and to the seller, of being severely punished, according to the nature of the offence, even though no one should come forward expressly to convict him.
SECTION V. In order that the owners of establishments for reducing the metals may not exorbitantly raise the price thereof, to the prejudice of the miners; and on the other hand, may not fail to realize a fair profit, I ordain and command that the judges of the respective mining districts shall every year, acting in concert with the Territorial Deputations, establish and fix the proper dues to be taken during that year for every quintal of ore, regulating the same according to the price of timber, of iron, and of labour, and of whatever else ought to be considered for the purpose ; and shall establish the same by a table of fees, which is to be prepared under the authority of the said judges, and to be affixed to and exhibited in public places, and to be kept in every establishment where metals are reduced in the manner here mentioned, and its provisions to be strictly complied with.
SECTION VI. The said reducers are on no account to charge the owners of the metals a higher price for quicksilver than is paid for it in the same district by those Mine-owners, who procure it on their own account, and for their own consumption.
SECTION VII. In the article of salt, magistral, chalk, powder of lead, charcoal, wood, and other ingredients, used in the reduction of metal by quicksilver, or by fire, the said reducers shall not be allowed to take more than twelve per cent. profit on the actual price at which they may be bought at first cost by those who purchase them on their own account, and for their own consumption.
SECTION VIII. The tickets which are usually given to owners of metal, containing an account of the expences and produce, are not only to express the same generally, but are to particularize the reducing expences, the price of each ingredient, the price of the labour, the consumption of quicksilver, and the produce of gold, etc. and must be signed by the owner ard administrator of the establishment, and by the amalgamator or smelter, and in the event of any of the preceding Sections being transgressed, proceedings shall be had by the production of such ticket against the owner or administrator of the establishment, so as to identify the owner of the metal ; and if intentional fraud shall be proved against them, they shall pay him three times the value.
SECTION IX. No reducer of metal shall compel the owner of metals to pay the costs of reduction with the silver or gold so reduced, but only in money; but if there shall have been an agreement to pay in bullion, the same is to be taken at its full value without any premium or reduction ; and the same thing is to be observed with respect to the amalgam, (silver and mercury combined), which it may be sometimes necessary to leave at the establishment as a pledge during the continuance of such agreement.
SECTION 8. In order to prevent the frauds and impositions which frequently arise from the uncertainty of the reduction by quicksilver and by fire, sometimes to the injury of the owners of the metal, by taking away part of the silver or gold produced; sometimes to the injury of the reducers, when the metal is not sufficient to pay the costs of its reduction, I order and command, that, until the establishment of a Public Office in the Mining Districts, which ought to be done as soon as possible, for the reduction by way of assay of one or more quintals of metal, for the purpose of ascertaining its intrinsic richness, either the owner of the metal, or of the reducing establishment, when he shall entertain any doubts concerning the results of the reduction, may choose out and have deposited one or more quintals of the metal, to be reduced afterwards for his satisfaction, by surveyors appointed in the usual manner, one on each side, and a third in case of their disagreement.
SECTION XI. With the same view that directed the preceding Section, no owner of metal, who sends it to be reduced by such an establishment, belonging to another person, shall be prevented from attending either personally, or by a confidential agent, all the operations of the reduction, from making trials, from assaying any part of the mass in various ways, and doing every thing else that he may think conducive towards the better reduction of the metal, or the satisfying himself of the manner in which it is done.
SECTION XII. The amount of carriage to be paid to the mule drivers, upon metals taken from the mines to the establishments, whenever any excessive charge is made, shall be settled by the judge of the district, acting in concert with the Territorial Deputations, having a due regard to justice and equity, and making a difference between the dry and rainy seasons.
SECTION XIII. And if any of the said mule drivers shall be proved to have stolen or sold any of the metal on the roads, replacing the same by other materials, they shall be proceeded against accordingly, by the proper judges, and Section xxix. of Chapter III. of these Ordinances, shall be observed in the infliction of penalties on such persons; and also, in case of the offence being repeated, always with due regard to the nature and character of the offence, deciding the same according to law, and in the form prescribed in said Chapter III. and be it understood, that if any of the cases comprised in Section XIII. of this Chapter, the imposition of penalties, or the loss of property, beasts of burthen, or other thing whatever, come under consideration, proceedings shall be had according to Section XXXIį. of Chapter III.
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OF THE CONTRACTORS FOR SUPPLYING MINES, (WITH MONEY AND
OTHER ARTICLES) AND OF THE DEALERS IN (GOLD AND) SILVER.
• SECTION I. It often happens that Mine-owners carry on the works in their mines with the capital of other persons, either because they have not at first sufficient funds of their own, or from having exhausted their own funds in various opo erations, before the extraction of sufficient metal to make them a return, and in such cases they are in the habit of agreeing with contractors for supplies, (Aviadores), in one of two methods ; either by letting them have the gold and silver which they may extract, at a price somewhat below the real value, leaving the said contractors the benefit of the difference, which method is called allowing a premium upon the metals, (aviar â premios de platas), or by giving the contractor a share in the mine, making him a perpetual proprietor thereof, or of the metals for a certain time, by a species of partnersbip; and whereas, the necessities of the Miners, and the facility of some of the contractors often lead to contracts, which, being unjust or usurious, or ill understood from the beginning, or appealed against by one or other of the parties, give rise to litigation, which suspends the supplies, and occasions injury to the mines, and the loss of the capital laid out upon them; it is my sovereign will and pleasure, that no Mine-owner shall conclude any agreement for supplies without a regular signed contract, leaving it at his option to complete the same, or not, before a notary or witnesses ; and no agreements that may be entered into without such signed contract shall be capable of being enforced, but such cases to be determined according to the general rules.
SECTION II. In all agreements of the first mentioned kind, (á premios de plata), attention and consideration must be given to the number of marks* in each delivery, and how often such deliveries take place, so that if, through any accidental circumstances in the mine, the number of deliveries should increase or diminish considerably, either of the contracting parties may be allowed to increase or diminish the premium upon the metals, without violating the original contracts in other respects; for wbich purpose in the instrument as originally drawn up, the number of annual deliveries shall be specified, and the number of marks in each delivery ; or the parties, if they please, may renounce altogether any right to avail themselves of such accidents as are above men. tioned, in which cases the original contracts shall remain in force for all purposes.
SECTION III. If the Mine-owner shall secure to the Mine-contractor, a certain sum for the supplies, either by deposit, or security, to the satisfaction of the contractor, the latter shall not receive in the way of premium more than would amount to five per cent. per annum on the capital advanced.
SECTION IV. The contractors shall furnish the supplies in ready money, or in bills pay. able without discount or loss, or, if the Mine-owners should prefer having goods and effects such shall be delivered to him of a good quality, and in a good condition; and at the price at which they could be bought for ready
* Eight ounces to a mark.