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Name, by bis Decree of the 21st of June of the same year; permitting to the said Tribunal until my Sovereign Pleasure should be known concerning it, the exercise of all the powers of administration, direction, and management, as enjoyed according to law by the Consulates of the Monarchy in all respects in which the exercise of all the powers of administration, direction, and management, as enjoyed according to law by the Consulates of the Monarchy in all respects in which the exercise of such powers should be conformable to my Will, restraining them only from the exercise of judicial authority, which is permitted to the tribunals of the said Consulates of Commerce, and that restriction only to operate till the said new Ordinances should be framed and approved of by me. And the Viceroy having informed me of all this by letter of the 27th of the said year 1777, I thereupon thought fit to confirm the same by my Royal Order of the 29th of December then following, addressed to the said Viceroy, commanding him thereby, and again by another Royal Order of the 20th of January, 1778, that if the New Tribunal of Miners had not as yet formed their Ordinances, and laid them before him, he should cause the same to be done with the utmost despatch : this having been completed on the 21st of May of the said year, they were transmitted to me by the Viceroy, with a letter of the 26th of August, 1799, in order that, after considering them, and the representations made concerning them by the Fiscal of the Royal Audiency* (Real Audiencia), and by the Assessor-General of the Vice-Royalty, I might express my Royal Approbation thereof. Lastly, having consulted with Ministers of approved zeal and probity, and considered the best means of reconciling most justly the true interests of the State with the particular welfare of the said important body of Miners, I have, for the direction, regulation, and government of that body, and of their Tribunal, commanded the publication of the following ordinances.
OF THE TRIBUNAL GENERAL OF THE MINERS OF NEW SPAIN.
SECTION I. THE New Tribunal of Miners shall be styled " The Royal Tribunal General of the Important Body of the Miners of New Spain,” and shall be esteemed
* Royal Audiency. These were courts of justice, eleven in number, established by the Spaniards, and extending respectively over the eleven districts, into which their American dominions were divided.--See Robertson's America, Vol. IV. p. 16. and seq.
and considered by all other Tribunals with that respect which is conducive to the important purposes for which my Royal Pleasure has credited it.
SECTION II. The Tribuual shall be perpetual, conformably to the act of its creation approved by me, and shall at all times be composed of an AdministratorGeneral, who is to be its President ; a Director General; and three DeputiesGeneral ; which latter persons may, in case of necessity, be reduced to two, but never be increased.
SECTION III. The said offices are to be filled only by practical and intelligent Mine-Pro. prietors (Mineros), qualified for the office by an experience of more than ten years in the operations of mines; this qualification is to be strictly observed ; and these persons must be real American or European Spaniards, of unmixed descent, sons and descendants of ancient Christians, and born in lawful matrimony, with preference always, under these circumstances, to such persons as may have been Judges and Territorial Deputies of the mines, or may have been much experienced in them.
SECTION IV. The Administrator and Director General of this New and First Creation, in consideration of their extraordinary merit in having suggested and promoted the reform of the mines, and the establishment of the body of Miners, by having directed their attention for many years past to the means most conducive to that end; and in consideration also of their especial knowledge and experience in such concerns, of the length of time during which they have followed the mining profession, their families having pursued no other since their first settlement in New Spain; and lastly, in consideration of the time which is necessary to accomplish such a project, and that no persons can be more likely to succeed in its accomplishment than those with whom it has originated, shall hold their said offices for their lives; but the DeputiesGeneral, now first appointed shall only hold their offices for the time regularly allotted to them, according to the rule that shall be laid down for their alternative succession, over and above the time already elapsed since their appointment.
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SECTION V. For the elections of Administrator and Director General, after the death or failure of the present, and for those of Deputies-General at all times henceforward, there shall be held in Mexico, in the beginning of the month of December, once in every three years, commencing from the present time, a Meeting, consisting of one Deputy from each mining district, provided with sufficient powers from the Miners of such district; and if any such Proprie
tors shall not send a Deputy on account of their being too remote, or too poor to pay the expences of his journey to Mexico, and his residence therein, it shall be sufficient if they send full power and instruction to any person residing in that capital to act for them, provided the same be not a Deputy or Agent for any other mining district; but he must be a Mine-Owner or MineSupplier.* (Person who lends money to carry on mining operations.)
SECTION VI. To enable a Mine Town to have a vote at the Election, it must be proved to contain an inhabiting population, and a church and a Curate, or Deputy, a Judge and Deputies of the Miners, six mines in actual working, and four reducing Establishments (Works for the reduction of metal from ore).
SECTION VII. The city of Guanajuato shall have six votes in the said Election; that of Zacatecas four; that of San Luis Potosi three ; that of Pachuca and Real del Monte three ; and, generally speaking, the mining districts which bear the title of city shall have three votes each ; and those which bear the title of town, or in which there are Provincial Treasuries (Caxas Reales), two votes each.
SECTION VIII. Before proceeding to the Election, there shall be held three scrutinies on three several days, for the qualification of persons eligible to these offices, with this proviso, that the person to be elected Administrator General must have been one of the Deputies-General during one of the preceding triennial periods, except in the case of re-election, when it will be necessary to observe what is laid down in the 10th Section of this present Chapter; observing also, that, at the expiration of each triennial period, only one new Deputy-General shall be appointed to supply the place of the one about to resign, which person so resigning at the end of the first three years, is to be the one who, at the time of the original appointment, had the smallest number of votes. The same rule is to be observed at the end of the second triennial period, and again at the end of the third, with regard to the last of the three original deputies : Afterwards, at the end of each succeeding triennial period, the Senior-Deputy shall always resign in favor of the one newly elected. Conformably to these regulations, each Deputy will, in future hold his said office for nine years, excepting in the case of the death of any of them before the expiration of that time : in which case, at the next Triennial Meeting, besides the Deputy that is to supply the place of him who resigns, from having completed his nine years, there shall be another appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by such death, which latter, in point of seniority, shall stand in the place of his predecessor, in order to depart as little as possible from the established rule of succession.
* The Spanish word is Aviador, a word well worthy of attention, for it describes the class of persons to which the mining associations belong. Its largest sense seems to be, "to advance money for the working of mines, and to carry on the operations therein, either entirely or in part, on condition of sharing the profits with the proprietor."
SECTION IX. The Administrator, the Director, and Deputies-General, shall preside over the said meeting of electors, and shall have votes therein : -and the election shall take place on the 31st day of December, by secret lots (Cedulas Secretas), and those shall be considered duly elected who have the greatest number of votes; and in case of any dispute arising, the election shall fall upon that person for whom the Administrator-General shall give his vote.
SECTION X. To enable any person to be re-elected to any of the said offices of the Royal Tribunal, an interval of three years must have elapsed since his last service, and he must have more than one half of the whole number of votes.
SECTION XI. No person elected to any of the said offices can excuse himself from serving it; but every such person must accept the same on the day of his election before sun-set, under the penalty of 2000 dollars, and of being obliged to serve such office even after the payment of the penalty.
SECTION XII. In case of the death of the Administrator, the Director, or any one of the Deputies-general, or of their resignation (which can only be allowed upon just and indispensable cause), the other members of the Tribunal shall elect à temporary substitute, who shall hold the office till the expiration of the triennial period then subsisting, and till the next general meeting, when a proper person shall be elected, conformably to the 8th Section of this present Chapter.
SECTION XIII. Those who shall be elected Administrator General and Director-General, in succession to the persons now filling those offices, and others hereafter, shall hold the said offices, the first for six years, and the second for nine ; with a view to this consideration, that from the circumstances already explained, and which are applicable to all persons who compose the Tribunal, the Director ought to be a person well acquainted with the interests, concerns, and resources of the establishment, with the management and working of the mines, and with the theory and practice of the sciences relating there. to, all which is not to be acquired in a short time.
SECTION XIV. The Factor, the Assessor, and the Notary may be appointed and removed with or without cause at the free will and pleasure of the Royal Tribunal General.
SECTION XV. In the first General Meeting to be held in Mexico, for the purpose of carrying the present ordinances into effect, there shall be chosen 12 Advisers (Consultores), experienced Mine-Proprietors, or Mine Suppliers of distinguished reputation, four of whom shall be persons resident in Mexico, and the Royal Tribunal may consult all or any of them in difficult cases, whenever it shall be necessary; and in order that their employments may be temporary, and to avoid the inconvenience which might arise from their being all changed at the end of each triennial period, six others shall be appointed at the next General Meeting, to supply, for the second triennial period, the places of those six of the first elected twelve who shall have been chosen by the smallest number of votes ; and afterwards, at the end of each triennial period, the six newly elected shall replace the six who shall have then been the longest in office; so that the number of twelve will always remain complete ; and I hereby declare, that the re-election of such Advisers, in the aforesaid General Meetings, shall be permitted, without regard to those in. tervals of time and other formalities established in the tenth Section of this present Chapter for the regulation of the offices therein mentioned ; observ. ing only, that their seniority is to be reckoned from the period of their reelection; and I grant to the said Advisers a seat in the Public Sittings of the Royal Tribunals, next after the Deputies-General ; and when any Mine Proprietor, from any of the mine districts shall be in Mexico, I grant to him the honour, dignity, and office of Adviser of the Royal Tribunal as long as he shall remain there.
SECTION XVI. On the days of scrutiny, and before proceeding to the election, there shall be laid before the General Meeting a clear and correct statement of the funds with which the body of Miners have been endowed, what they have produced, and how they have been applied during the preceding triennial period, as well as of the Bank of Supplies, its gains and losses, shewing, at one view, the condition of the body of Miners at that time, their concerns and possessions in money and effects, their claims, debts, dues, and affairs of all kinds.
SECTION XVII. Before proceeding to the scrutinies, the permission of the Viceroy must be obtained ; and after they are concluded, an account thereof must be rendered to him similar to the practice of the Tribunal of Commerce of that capital (Mexico).