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any mine or mines, notice shall be given to his creditor or creditors, to undertake the working thereof on their own account, and not to suffer them to be suspended ; and in default of their compliance before the expiration of the time to be fixed by these Ordinances, such mines shall be considered as deserted and abandoned, and shall belong to the first person who may denounce the same, to the exclusion of all former claims.
The wages of the labourers of any mine or reducing establishment taken in execution, and the salary of the Interventor, shall by no means be placed on the same footing with the other debts, but shall be paid immediately out of the first proceeds, although the whole of such proceeds should not amount to more.
SECTION XXVI. In case of the suspension of the working, any one of the creditors shall offer to undertake the same with his own capital, the others having refused to contribute their proportions, such creditor shall have preference, not only in the satisfaction of his new demand, but also with respect to his former claims, even where the same may not have arisen from the supply of such mine or establishment.
SECTION XXVII. Whenever in causes before other courts, whether relating to judgments concerning inventories, hereditary succession, general partnerships, contests of creditors, or cession of property, any mines and the establishments, or other dependencies belonging to the same, are comprised amongst the other property depending in the cause, I ordain that the Judge of such court shall transmit an official letter, with notice thereof to the respective Court of Miners, whose duty it shall be to take care that the working of such mine or establishment be kept without prejudice to the rights or claims of the party or parties concerned ; and the said Court of Miners shall reserve the proceeds thereof for the disposal of the principal Judge in such cause, and shall also, in case of any widows, minors, or absent persons being interested therein, effectually protect and support their claims, and thus maintain that firm and reciprocal union, which contribute to the preservation, welfare, and prosperity of the whole body.
SECTION XXVIII. In causes and suits relating to mines, an extension of the whole term, may be granted, but be it understood, that this utmost term allowed by the law, shall not take place in behalf of certain privileged persons in which cases half of the original term may be granted.
SECTION XXIX. In all criminal causes, such as the purloining of ore, gold or silver, lead, tools, and implements, or any other articles belonging to the mines or the reducing establishments, offences committed in the same, whether by one workman against another, or in consequence of any breach of subordination on their part towards the officers or captains set over them; or by the misconduct of either of these classes towards their masters, the Proprietors of the mines ; and finally, in cases of insult, contumelious language, or want of respect towards any of the Courts of Miners, the Royal Tribunal General in Mexico, or the Territorial Deputations, shall take cognizance, each in their respective districts, proceeding in and deciding such causes as are of minor importance, in the most summary manner according to law, and the nature of such offences, with a strict regard to good faith, and in the order already established for civil causes ; but in those, which on account of their magnitude and aggravation, require by law the infliction of severe penalties, mutilation, other corporal punishments, the said Courts of Miners shall only exercise the limited jurisdiction of apprehending the criminals, drawing up the processes, and transmitting the same to the Royal Judge of the respective provinces, in order that the latter may, in due time lay them before the criminal chamber of the Real Audiencia of the district for their final decision.
SECTION XXX. If, in such criminal causes of minor importance as are treated of in the preceding Section, and the jurisdiction of which has been granted to the Courts of Miners, for their cognizance and determination, provided they proceed in and decide the same in the manner directed, any parties shall appeal, they are to be entitled to all the legal remedies to be determined by the Courts of Appeal, in the Manner and form already prescribed with regard to civilc auses, observing the order required in cases of this nature.
SECTION XXXI. Whenever any contentions shall arise between the Tribunal General of Miners, the territorial jurisdictions, and any other courts or tribunals, concerning the extent of their several jurisdictions, I ordain and command, that the Viceroy of New Spain shall decide the same, and that his determination shall be observed and complied with, without any other appeal ; and that the Viceroy shall, in such cases, take the opinion of learned and able lawyers not connected with either of the courts between whom such question may have arisen.
SECTION XXXII. I expressly prohibit the arbitrary application of the pecuniary fines to be imposed by any of the Courts of Miners, in the exercise either of the criminal or civil jurisdiction, granted to them; and I ordain that they shall be applied in equal third parts to my Royal Exchequer, the expences of justice, and to such further objects, as by law directed.
SECTION XXXIII. The Administrator and the Deputies General, shall assemble in court every day (except on holy days, and those on which it is necessary to hear Mass,) from the hour of eight to that of eleven; and also on extraordinary occasions in the evening, and on any day whatever when the urgency and importance of any affair may require it.
SECTION XXXIV. The Director General shall have a vote in all matters relating to the direction, administration, and management, the jurisdiction of which has been granted to the Royal Tribunal General in Mexico, and due and special notice shall be sent to him on all such occasions to attend; but I declare that he shall have no vote in the substantiation and determination of any pleadings or suits, except only in causes before the Court of Appeal in Mexico, of which he has been appointed a member.
SECTION Xxxv. All matters relating to public works or supplies (Abastos), to those of the roads or highways, and other objects of the same nature, are to be under the peculiar cognizance and jurisdiction of the Royal Judges and Magistrates of each District, but the Royal Tribunal General in Mexico, and the Territorial Deputations shall give such instructions as they may deem expedient, to the said Judges and Magistrates, in order that all such works and supplies may be regulated and proportioned in the most fair and equitable manDer, proceeding therein with a mutual understanding, and acting in concert together.
SECTION XXXVI. All taxes, and duties, or imposts, as well public as private, between individuals of the mining body, which immediately affect the advancement and working of the mines and reducing establishments, the remuneration or salaries of those who compose the territorial jurisdictions of Miners, and of persons appointed to any of the new offices or situations treated of in these Ordinances, are to be proposed and regulated by the Royal Tribunal General in Mexico, and by the Territorial Deputations, each in their respective districts, but the latter shall be obliged to lay them, together with the requisite proofs or attestations, before the Royal Court (Justicia Real) of the district, for their sanction, but such taxes, duties, and imposts, shall not be established or carried into efiect, without having been previously submitted to the Viceroy of New Spain, in order that, after the necessary enquiries respecting them by his superior power, they may be laid before me for my sovereign determination, for which purpose a report thereof shall be transmitted to me by the Viceroy.
SECTION XXXVII. The Royal Tribunal General in Mexico shall also immediately lay before the Viceroy, an exact estimate of the salaries to be allowed to the principal individuals filling offices in the Tribunal, and of the inferior officers appointed, or to be appointed, in pursuance of these Ordinances ; in order that the same may be referred to me by the Viceroy, with his remarks thereon, for my Royal Approbation, which is necessary to the secure establishment of the said Tribunal.
OF THE ORDER OF PROCEEDING IN THE SUBSTANTIATION AND DETERMINATION
OF LAW-SUITS, IN CASES OF A VACANCY OR NECESSARY ABSENCE OF ANY OF THE JUDGES OF THE MINERS, OR OF THEIR REFUSALS (RECUSACIO. NES) IN THE 1st, 2ND, AND 3RD INSTANCES.
SECTION 1. The Royal Tribunal General of the mines shall not enter upon any business which is in litigation, without the assembling of three of its Members; and if at any time on account of illness, necessary absence, or any other just and lawful impediment whatsoever, as by the judge being interested in the question, or by his being related to any of the litigating parties, that number of Judges cannot be assembled, such of the Advisers residing in the capital of Mexico as are properly eligible to the same office, by the rules already laid down; and the proper number shall be thus completed; and the same thing shall be done with regard to the number of the Judges of Appeal, which is never to be less than three, according to what has already been laid down in these Ordinances; and whenever in consequence of any of the before-mentioned impediments, any one of the Territorial Deputies cannot, or ought not, to be Judge in any such litigated cause, his place shall be supplied by the proper substitute accordingly.
SECTION II. I prohibit the absolute refusal (recusacion), of all the Judges of the Royal Tribunal General, and of those of Appeals; but one or two particular members may refuse, assigning reasons, and giving security; it being understood that those refusing shall not be heard, or any refusal admitted, after a determination has been made concerning them.
SECTION III. In the same manner the two Territorial Deputies, acting as Judges of the mines, shall not refuse, though either of them may.
SECTION IV. In cases where the refusal shall be lawful and admitted, whether in causes in the first instance, or in those before the courts of appeal, the vacancy shall be filled up in the first instance according to the first Section of this present Chapter, and in the latter, by the appointment of the respective Judges of Appeal, according to Section xvii. of Chapter III. of these Ordinances.
OF THE ORIGINAL OWNERSHIP OF MINES; OF THE GRANTS TO INDIVIDU.
ALS, AND THE DUTIES TO BE PAID BY THEM FOR THE SAME.
SECTION 1. The mines are the property of my Royal Crown, as well by their nature and origin, as by their re-union, declared by the fourth law of the thirteenth Title of the sixth Book of the new compilation (of Laws and Statutes.)
Without separating them from my Royal patrimony, I grant them to my subjects in property, and possession, in such manner that they may sell, exchange, (pass by will, either in the way of inheritance or legacy), or in any other manner, dispose of all their property in them, upon the terms on which they themselves possess it, and to persons legally capable of acquiring
SECTION III. Be it understood that this grant is made upon two conditions : First, that they (my subjects) shall pay to my Royal Treasury the proportion of metal reserved thereto; and secondly, that they shall carry on their operations in the mines subject to the provisions of these Ordinances, on failure of which, at any time, the mines of persons so making default shall be considered as forfeited, and may be granted to any person who shall denounce them accordingly.
OF THE MANNER OF ACQUIRING MINES; OF NEW DISCOVERIES; REGIS
TERS OF VEINS, AND DENOUNCEMENTS OF MINES ABANDONED AND LOST.
SECTION 1. As it is most just and proper to reward with particularity and distinction