provement in the several important objects of the said College, and in the manner most useful to the mines ; I ordain and command that, the Mineowners and Mine-suppliers who bring their silver to Mexico, shall be obliged to deliver to the said College, specimens of their ores, in sufficient quantities to admit of their quality and properties being examined, and of the most advantageous method of reduction thereof being ascertained, in order that, the Royal Tribunal, judging by the result of these experiments, may determine what will be most conducive to the improvements which are the object of the present arrangements.

SECTION XVI. Considering that industry and ingenuity will make the most common productions of nature useful to man, and that, on the other hand, without them, the great advantages and profits expected from productions naturally rich and abundant, are often altogether defeated; I ordain and command that industry and ingenuity in the mining business, which is of such vast importance therein, be excited, encouraged and supported, with all possible activity, intelligence, and discretion; and that, particular care and attention be bestowed in observing the use and effects of the machinery, and the operations and methods at present employed in the application of it; in order, that whatsoever is really useful and complete in its kind, may be preserved in full perfection, without being gradually lost or depreciated, as often happens in such cases; and that, whatsoever, by comparison with better or more complete methods, shall appear capable of reform, may be brought into practice with the greatest degree of perfection and efficacy, without either suffering ancient prejudices founded on ignorance and caprice, to obstruct the progress of ingenuity, or ill-founded innovations, to disturb what is good and perfect in its present state.

SECTION XVII. All persons who shall invent or propose any kind of machines, engines, expedients, operations, or methods, for facilitating the working of the mines, which shall produce any advantage, however small the same may at first appear, shall have a fair hearing and attention; and if, on account of their poverty, they are unable to make the experiments requisite for exhibiting their invention, the expense thereof, as well as the construction of the necessary machines, shall be defrayed out of the general fund of the Miners, provided that they shall demonstrate and calculate the effects of such projects ; and that, the Director General of Miners, and the Professor of the College, shall approve the same, and consider them capable of being carried into effect: but ill-founded projects, arising out of erroneous principles, or want of practical knowledge, and from which the deluded authors are easily led to expect vast and imaginary profits, shall be rejected as useless and contemptible; and if, the authors of such projects shall renew their applications, they shall receive no attention, unless they make the experiments at their own expense, and establish themselves the utility of their inventions; and in all cases, the papers relating to such inventions shall remain in the archives of the Royal Tribunal, in order to be referred to, if necessary.

SECTION XVIII. All useful and approved inventions, which, after being established and put in practice generally for the space of more than one year, shall be found to succeed, are to be rewarded with a patent (privilegio exclusivo), to continue for the life of the author, in order, that no one may make use of his invention, without his consent, and without allowing him a reasonable share of the profits, actually derived from the use of such invention.

: SECTION XIX. Whoever from his experience, study, and observation, or from having trav. eled in other countries, shall offer for adoption any machine, expedient, or mode, employed in other countries, or in former times; and the same on examination and experience be approved of in the manner laid down by Section XVII. of this Chapter, he shall be considered and rewarded in the same manner as if he had been the actual inventor ; since, although his ingenuity may be less, his merit and trouble may perhaps have been greater, and the public advantage will be exactly the same, whether such mode result from an invention absolutely new, or from the introduction and application of a practice never before adopted in the place where it may be proposed.



SECTION I. - Although the regulations laid down in these Ordinances for the discipline, economy, and method of working, which are to be adopted in the mines of New Spain, are calculated to diminish considerably the dangers and difficulties which have hitherto occurred in carrying on this most important business, rendering by their powerful co-operation the richest of the mines more accessible, and the lawful modes of acquiring them less hazardous ; nevertheless, considering the difficulties and uncertainties which usually attend operations of this kind, and that their precious produce is the especial grant and favour of Providence to my dominions in Spanish America, and is the chief source of the prosperity of my subjects, the support of my Treasury, and the spring and moving power of the commerce of all my dominions, and to a great degree of that of the whole world ; I have therefore granted and do grant to those persons who apply themselves to the working of the mines of New Spain, all the favours and privileges which have been granted to the Miners of Castille and Peru, in all respects in which they are capable of being adopted to the local circumstances of Spanish America ; and are not at vari. ance with any thing established by these Ordinances.

SECTION II. Moreover, I award to the scientific profession of mining, the privilege of nobility, to the end that all persons who devote themselves to that important study and occupation, may be esteemed and treated with all the distinctions which are due to so honourable an employment.

SECTION III. Mine-owners shall not be liable to be arrested for debts, neither shall the administrators, superintendants (veladores), keepers of tallies, (rayadores), nor other persons, serving in the mines or establishments be so liable, provided that each of these persons in every such case remain in confinement within the mine or establishment to which he belongs, with an obligation upon his master to apply the third part of his salary or dues to the payment of his debts, as long as he remains in the service of such mine or establishment, and if he quits the same without engaging bimself in any other mine or establishment, then he may be imprisoned.

SECTION IV. If a sequestration be laid on the Mines or Establishments of any proprietor, in the interval during which the silver extracted therefrom is being applied in satisfaction of the debt, he shall only receive out of the produce what is absolutely requisite for his support, according to the circumstances of his family and condition; but always with a view to this circumstance, that the situation of the creditor be not prejudiced, instead of amended, by the sequestration.

SECTION V. If an execution be levied upon the other property of a Mine-owner, there shall always be reserved to him, a horse, with bridle and saddle, a baggage mule, his arms, bed, and the clothes commonly used by himself, his wife and children, and absolutely necessary to their decent appearance; but all costly dresses, ornaments, jewels, or trinkets may be seized under the execution.

SECTION VI. The Royal Tribunal of Miners shall inform me, through the Viceroy, of all deserving persons belonging to the Mining profession, especially of such as may have quitted it on account of having consumed their capital therein, or being too old and infirm to pursue it ; pointing out also such of them as the Tribunal may consider to be the most deserving of my Royal favour, in order to their being appointed to the office of judges in the Vining Districts or Establishments, if that should appear expedient; as well for the purpose of rewarding them according to their merits, as of filling the said office with practical and intelligent persons, such as the law requires.

SECTION VII. Children and descendants (hijos y nietos) of Mine owners, and Minesuppliers, who have been extensively concerned in the Mines, deserve also particular consideration, and for that purpose the Royal Tribunal shall also inform me, through the Viceroy, of the merits of their ancestors ; in order that my Royal favor may appoint them to civil, military, and ecclesiastical appointments in America, if I shall think proper to do so.

SECTION VIII. I declare that Mine-owners and Administrators shall not be prevented, or in any way impeded by their said employments, from obtaining and serving the offices of magistrates and governors, (justitia y regidores), of the cities, towns, and places of the Mining Districts, or of any others ; but they are not compelled to accept such offices, nor to be fined for declining the same, during the time of their employment in the Mines, if they desire to excuse themselves on that account.

SECTION IX. In the allotment of ground for the purpose of building houses, in renting such as may be already built, and in providing themselves in the squares and marketplaces of the Mining villages, towns, and districts, not only with the articles necessary for the Mines and Establishments, but also with the supplies and provisions which may be wanted for their homes and families, the Viners are to be preferred to other persons, and to be treated with that respect which is due to their important profession: and I grant them the liberty of hunting and fishing in the mountains, forests, and rivers, of cutting wood, and making charcoal, and of pasturing their cattle in the grazing places and watering places, (exidos y aguages), in the same manner as any other inhabitant is permitted so to do, supposing such mountains, forests, rivers, grazing places and watering places, to be public property; for in all such as are private they must pay the proper dues, as before enacted : and, finally, they are to enjoy all the cus. toms and privileges enjoyed by the inhabitants of any Mine-town, although they (the Miners) may not reside therein; provided only that, in order to

entitle them to these privileges, their Mines or Reducing Establishments be situated in the same district as such Mine-town.

SECTION X. The excessive profusion of Miners in the employment of their capital, and their extreme imprudence, and irregularity, whereby themselves and their families are speedily reduced to distress, and their capital is diverted from the operations of mining into other channels, being as notorious as they are destructive ; I will, and ordain, that the Judges and Deputies of the Minetowns and Districts shall advise thereupon, and in cases of necessity, expostulate with the Miners, particularly with those who are in prosperous circumstances, cautioning them against extravagant expense or idle profusion; and if this should be found insufficient, then that they shall make a report to the Royal Tribunal General of Miners, in order that the latter, after satisfying themselves of the reprehensible conduct of the Miner, concerning whom such report is made, may appoint a person to watch over his interests (curador), or in some other manner, provide for the preservation of his property, as in the case of an incorrigible spendthrift.

SECTION XI. In order to avoid the evil and injury, spiritual as well as temporal, occasioned by games of stake (envite), and hazard, and even by those which are permitted, when carried to excess, and also by other public diversions and festivities; I prohibit most rigorously, in all Mine-towns and Districts, among masters as well as workmen, all those games at cards which have been before prohibited by Royal Edicts and Decrees, and also all playing at those games which are permitted, for a larger stake than is compatible with fair and moderate relaxation and amusement. And with equal rigour, I prohibit all playing at dice or tabas, and also cock fighting, and all other shameful diversions; since they not only occasion the loss of time which might otherwise be devoted to labour, but lead to vast loss of property, and sometimes even to outrages and murders. Wherefore, I strictly enjoin the Judges and Deputies of all Mine-towns and Districts, to enforce with the utmost vigilance, the provisions of this present Section, on pain of being themselves wholly responsible for the neglect of the same, and of being liable to the penalties imposed by the said Royal Edicts and Decrees against all transgressors.

SECTION XII. The Royal Tribunal General of Miners, shall observe, and carry into effect, whatsoever is contained in the present Ordinance, and shall cause them to be observed and fulfilled by all the subalterns, dependents, and inferior persons of all their body, each in his particular department, without any injurious evasions which might alter and corrupt their true spirit and intent, maintain

« ForrigeFortsett »