question is drained or Forted; for this is a right which belongs to the alt of greatest depth; and if the second dit be she deeper, it is sacent net title it to the preference, provided the mines derire more knees from is, which is also the rale under the ordinances of Peru.t The same rales we apply to pits by which the draining of a joining mines is facilitated


It is also our will and pleasure, and we command that the incorporada in our royal patrimony of the mines of gold, silver and quicksilver which we ordered to be made by sail roral edict of the year '59 be construed with ut prejudice to the contract and agreement which we onter to be made with a Diego de Cordoba our Master of Horse, in relation to the mines which he has purchased, subscribed on the 15th day of the month of August in the war 1568.

By which said laws and ordinances, and br each one of them, we cum mand that the said mines and all matters touching the same, and annexed to and concerning them shall be directed and governed ; and that all judgets, justices and audiences in their several districts and jurisdiction, shall observe them and cause them to be observed, wholly and absolutely as to the prurisions of all and each of them, that they shall be guilty of no act or omission, nor consent to any act or omission in violation of the tenor and form of the same, under the penalties contained in our said laws and ordinances, and under pain of our displeasure, and of a fine of ten thousand maravedis for each violation of the same ; and we command our principal auditors of accounts, that they record a copy of them in the books of our principal office of accounts, and cause them to be printed for the information of all.

And moreover, we command our said principal auditors of accounts, that the said books shall contain a statement and account of all proceedings by ourselves in relations to said mines, and of the reports and transcripts which the said administrators may have rendered of the condition of said mines, and of the cost and expense attending them.-(Law 9, title 13, book 6, R.) (3).

* Agricol. de re metall. lib. 4, pag. 61. "Quod si plures cuniculi in unan aream metallis fæcundam aguntar ; de metallo, quod quidem supra solum cujusque cuniculi effoditur, ejus domino datur nona."

Ord. 11, apud Escalon. ubi proxime. (3) (Note to the original text.)-By the resolutions of the General Council of Commerce, Money and Mines, of the 25th October, 1783, and 5th May, 1787, a citizen of Valencia having twice solicited a licence for the discovery of mines, it was denied him, and in view of it, it was ordered that in similar instances it should be borne in mind, that it is not expedient to grant individual permits for the discovery of mines, on account of the abuses which had attended the experiment, and because the power which they had under regalations and ordinances, of denounc


Don Ferdinand VI. at Buen Retiro on the 19th of December, 1754. Private jurisdiction of the Superintendent of the Mines of Almaden with

in the circuit of ten leagues. It being of so great importance to preserve the mines of Almaden, and deširing that the arrangements which have been made to render them more productive might have due effect without those embarrassments occasioned by continued controversies, which have occurred on different occasions, between the Superintendent General of the Mines, the persons having charge of the royal herds, the waggoners, the justices of the villages included in the pasture grounds appropriated to the use of the towns and the “ Comendadores" and owners of them, I have resolved on the subject and as a general rule, that within his circuit of ten leagues, computed from the four which are regarded as the mouth of the mine-enclosures and heaps of earth, the superintendent shall have private jurisdiction with regard to the pastures for cattle employed in their works, also for the cutting of timber and wood necessary for working the mines; and that in regard to the jurisdiction above referred to it, shall not be competent for the sub-delegates aforesaid or the other subjects above mentioned to claim authority.


Don Carlos IV. by resolution of October 19th, 1790. Jurisdiction of the Superintendent of the Quicksilver Mine of Collado de

la Plata.

The Commissioner or the deputy Commissioner of the quicksilver mine of Collado de la Plata in his stead—and the Superintendent of the mine according to the various articles of the royal ordinances concerning quicksilver mines, respectively have civil and criminal jurisdiction in the cognizance of causes and matters as well civil as criminal concerning the persons employed and the operations attached to the mine with appropriate judicial authority concerning them to the exclusion of other tribunals, except that of the gen

ing the mines before the Judge in the several territories, and rendering an account of their admission, with proof to the council and with specimens of the minerals, was sufficient for all who were sincere in their intentions. And by another resolution of full council, of the 18th of August 1796, under the advice and approbation of his Majesty, another similar application from various citizens of Mexico, on account of the inconveniences experienced by the grant of a similar license, was denied.

eral superintendency ;, it being their appropriate duty with care and watchfulness to see that every one performs the obligation imposed, and punishing severely every one who fails to fulfil it ; that the aforesaid commissioner and his substitute, or the person who shall be hereafter superintendent of said mine, shall in all respects be subject to the general superintendency, giving an account of whatever may occur and be worthy of being brought to their notice ; not hereby conferring more jurisdiction in relation to the government of the mines and the controversies connected with the management and business of the same and its work-shops, and all matters which may incidentally arise, than belongs to the general superintendency aforesaid : in such manner that only their orders and not any others which may be issued by other tribunals not sanctioned by the general superintendency aforesaid shall be complied with : being however, obliged to observe punctually the orders which are communicated by my royal person ; that the jurisdiction of the superintendent of the mine in virtue of the royal letter issued in the year 1685, includes waggoners, carts and oxen, reduced to service and which are usefully employed in the mine, having first, in relation to the security and licence, complied with the formalities prescribed by the royal orders : that consequently they are the sole judges for the cognizance of the excesses which the waggoners bound in the manner aforesaid commit in the pasturing of their cattle and in the cutting of timber for farming utensils and every thing relating to it, and to the service of the mine, as well in relation to civil as to criminal matters. That it is also their duty as judges, to preserve and defend the aforesaid waggoners from every grievance, injury or violence which is in opposition to their privilege of pasturage, and of cutting timber for their waggons or other privilege pertaining to their jurisdiction, to which they may be subjected ; that the said superintendent of the mine is and shall hereafter be the judge and conservator exclusively of the forests and commons appropriated, and which shall be appropriated for the service and benefit of the aforesaid mine and its works, and shall have exclusive cognizance of all causes and denouncements in relation to the destruction of trees, cutting of timber, acts of incendiaries and all other acts and things besides, which may be prejudicial to the mine: that no other tribunal except that of the general superintendency shall hold cognizance in the way of appeal or any other legal proceeding from the determination of the superintendent aforesaid as in relation to them all in this particular, I expressly prohibit it; that the orders which the superintendent in the exercise of his jurisdiction, which is territorial and extensive within the prescribed limits, for the execution of sentences, for the exaction of penalties and the imprisonment of culprits being committed to the sub-delegate, guarda major, or other person other than the justices, shall be observed by them; and they are bound to render corresponding aid to the sub-delegate or special commissioner to carry them into effect, without interposing any embarrassment, under the responsibility for all the damage and injury arising from their default, in the fining and punishing of the of fenders : that those employed with a fixed salary, or who constantly labor in said mine are and shall be free in their persons and cavalry horses from lia. bility to military service and other assessments, and are not bound to contri: bute to them, nor are they subject to be drafted or enlisted in time of war, nor to pay money to supply others as their substitutes, nor are they liable to be coerced by the justices but are exempt from assessment for personal tax and services, from tribute, (moneda forera) (a), to the king, and money collected by the bull of the pope, nor are they bound against their will to accept and discharge the duties of those offices and other similar servile offices, being also exempt from the liability of giving quarters to soldiers, men at arms, or other military persons; and finally, that in the above named superintendent or commissioner is reposed the authority of correcting and restraining any of our vassals whatsoever who disturb or in any manner impede the proper working of the mine, as it is also their duty watchfully to secure the observance of the privileges and exemption; and if one or more wish or intend to innovate in this matter, and occasion vexation to any supplier engaged in the service of the said mines and works, or shall collect from him under the form of personal tax or other duty a few maravedis paid on account of the annoyance and expense of resisting, the superintendent shall proceed against them, and in case of resistance shall require restitution to be made, fixing the amount: which declarations as now arranged, and which first appeared in the royal ordinances of the year 1735, issued for the government and direction of the royal mines of Almaden, and communicated to all the tribunals of the kingdom, for their punctual observance. I will, shall form the rule and guide in that of Collado de la Plata, in order that those doubts and difficulties may come to an end, which only occasion disagreements between different jurisdictions: and in order that in relation to the exemption from town charges granted to the persons under salary and the regular labourers, frauds may not be committed, the sub-delegates for the time being shall make out a register, and shall transmit to the alcaldes of the rural towns, a statement of the inhabitants in each who are embraced in the list of labourers : and it is also my royal will that as well the Corrigidor as the deputy superintendent continue within their appropriate limits, and that with entire harmony they may mutually aid in the highest degree in all matters which belong to their respective jurisdictions the royal service and the faithful administration of justice, for otherwise I shall adopt such serious measures as each may deserve.

(a) A tribute payable to the king every seven years.


From the “Recopilacion de Leyes de Los Reynos de las Indias."


Concerning the discovery and working of Mines.

Law 1st.-Permitting all Spaniards and Indians, vassals of the Crown, to dis

cover and work mines.

The Emperor Don Charles I. Grenada, December 9, 1526.-Don Philip II. Madrid, 19th June,

1568. It is our will and pleasure, that all persons, of whatever state, condition, rank or dignity, Spaniards or Indians, who are our vassals, may search for gold, silver, quicksilver, or other metals, either personally or by their servants or slaves, in all mines which they may discover or wherever they may choose, and peaceably hold and take possession, and work them freely, without any obstacle of any kind whatever, giving an account to the Governor and the fiscal officers in accordance with the provisions of the following law, so that the mines of gold, silver, and other metals may be common to all persons, and in all places and districts; provided, that no injury results to the Indians nor any third person, and that this permission is not to extend to the ministers, Governors, Corregidors, Alcaldes Mayores, and their substitutes, attornies, alcaldes and mining notaries, nor to those who have been specially prohibited; and concerning the selection and occupation of the mines, and the marking out the same, they shall conform to the laws and ordinances which have been adopted in each province, and which have been confirmed by us.

Law 2d. That the discoverers of mines make oath to render an account of the

gold, and first obtain a licence to discover such mines, and the beds of

pearl oysters. We order that miners and all others who may have found gold in mines, streams or ravines, or in any other place, whatever shall appear before the Governor and royal officers, and swear that that they will account for the same and make a personal declaration thereof at the foundry, and the discoverers of mines and pearl beds shall obtain a license from the Governor who shall hold a special consultation on the subject with the royal officers, and they shall then agree upon what may be advisable for the proper collection of the duty.

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