ing to the circumstances : but I declare that although the free discovery and denouncement of the quicksilver mines is permitted, it must be on the express condition of giving an account of them to the Viceroy, and to the subdelegate of the quicksilver mines of Mexico, in order that it may be considered and determined whether the said mine or mines shall be worked at the expence, and for the advantage, of that individual who discovered and denounced them, on his punctually delivering all the quicksilver extracted from them into the Royal storehouses, under the terms and prices stipulated; or whether it shall be done on the account of my Royal Treasury, indemnifying the party by some equitable award, having regard to the circumstances of the said discovery and denouncement, the whole of this important subject being regulated according to my sovereign intentions recently declared upon this subject.




SECTION 1. To all the subjects of my dominions, both in Spain and the Indies, of what. ever rank or condition they may be, I grant the mines of every species of metal under the conditions already stated, or that shall be expressed hereafter but I prohibit foreigners from acquiring or working mines, as their own property, in these, my dominions, unless they be naturalized or tolerated therein by my express Royal license.

SECTION II. I also prohibit regulars of religious orders, of both sexes, from denouncing, or in any manner acquiring, for themselves, their convents, or communities, any mines whatever ; it being understood that the working of the mines shall not devolve upon the secular ecclesiastics, as being contrary to the laws, to the orders of the Mexican Council, and to the sanctity and exercise of their profession; and therefore, in consequence of this prohibition, all such secular ecclesiastics shall be expressly obliged to sell or place in the hands of lay subjects, the mines or establishments for smelting ore, and reducing establishments, which have devolved on them by inheritance or other cause, the same being completed within the term of six months, or within such time as may be considered necessary to ensure a useful result, which is to be fixed by the Viceroy, with a previous intimation to the Royal Tribunal General of the mines, provided that if it is ascertained that, by artifice or fraud, the effects of this article are attempted to be eluded, to the prejudice of the working of such mines and establishments, in wbich the state is so much interested, they shall be denounced, and disposed of in the same manner as mines in general.

SECTION III. Neither shall mines be held by Governors, Intendants Mayors, ("sief Judges, nor any other public officers whatever, of the Mine-towns and districts, nor their clerks ; but I permit such persons to hold mines, in any territory out of their own jurisdiction.

SECTION IV. Neither shall Administrators, Stewards, Overseers, Keepers of Tallies,* Workers or Watchers of mines, nor in general any person in the service of Mine-owners, whether of superior or subordinate class, be permitted to register, denounce, or in any other manner, acquire mines within a space of a thousand yards round those of their masters, but I allow them to denounce any mine for their said master, even though not authorised by them to do so, provided the aforesaid masters make good the denouncement in the terms prescribed by Section viii. of Chapter VI. of these Ordinances.

SECTION V. No one shall denounce a mine under any circumstances of concealment or fraud for another, nor even publicly, unless he has his power or letter of attorney for that purpose, according to established usage.

SECTION VI. Neither shall any one denounce a mine for himself alone, if he has previously had partners in the transaction ; and I ordain that the denouncer shall declare his partners in his written statement, under penalty, if he fail so to do, of losing his share thereof.




SECTION I. • EXPERIENCE having shown that the equality of the mine-measures esta

blished on the surface cannot be maintained under ground, where in fact the mines are chiefly valuable, it being certain that the greater or less inclination of the vein upon the plain of the horizon, must render the respective properties in the mines greater or smaller, so that the true and effective impar

* See this word explained in Chapter XII. Sect. VII. post.

tiality, which it has been desired to show towards all subjects, of equal merit, has not been preserved ; but on the contrary, it has often happened that when a Miner after much expence and labour, begins at last to reach an abundant and rich ore, he is obliged to turn back, as having entered on the pro. perty of another, which latter may have denounced the neighbouring mine, and thus stationed himself with more art than industry. This being one of the greatest and most frequent causes of litigation and dissension among the Miners, and considering that the limits establishsd in the mines of these kingdoms, and by which those of New Spain have been hitherto regulated, are very confined in proportion to the abundance, multitude and richness of the metallic veins which it has pleased the Creator of his great bounty to bestow on those regions, I order and command that in the mines where new veins, or veins unconnected with each other, shall be discovered, the following measures shall in future be observed.

SECTION II. On the course and direction of the vein whether of gold, silver, or other metal, I grant to every Miner, without any distinction in favour of the discoverer, whose reward has been already specified, two hundred yards (varas,) called measuring yards (varas de medir) taken on a level, as hitherto understood.

SECTION III To make it what they call a square, that is, making a right angle with the preceding measure, supposing the descent or inclination of the vein to be sufficiently shewn by the opening or shaft of ten yards, the portion shall be measured by the following rule.

SECTION IV. Where the vein is perpendicular to the horizon (a case which seldom occurs,) a hundred level yards shall be measured on either side of the vein or divided on both sides, as the Miner may prefer.

SECTION V. But where the vein is in an inclined direction, which is the most usual case, its greater or less degree of inclination shall be attended to in the following manner.

SECTION VI. If to one yard perpendicular the inclination be from three fingers (dedos) to two palms, (palmos), the same hundred yards shall be allowed for the square (as in the case of the vein being perpendicular.)

If to the said perpendicular yard there be an inclination of

He co co cs CO NON

2 palms and 3 fingers, the square shall be of 112 yards

. . 125

. . 137;
. . . . . . . 150
. 3 . . . . . 1624

. 175

187) 200

So that if to one perpendicular yard there correspond an inclination of four palms, which are equal to a yard, the miner shall be allowed two hundred yards on the square on the declivity of the vein, and so on with the rest.

SECTION VIII. And supposing that in the prescribed manner any Miner should reach the perpendicular depth of two hundred yards, without exceeding the limits of his portion, by which he may commonly have much exhausted the vein, and that those veins which have greater inclination than yard for yard, that is to say, of 45 degrees, are either barren or of little extent, it is my sovereign will that although the declivity may be greater than the above mentioned measures, no one shall exceed the square of two hundred level yards ; so that the same shall be always the breadth of the said veins extended over the length of the other two hundreds, as declared above.

SECTION IX. However, if any Mine-owner suspecting a vein to run in a contrary direction to his own, (which rarely happens), should choose to have some part of his square in a direction opposite to that of his principal vein, it may be granted to him, provided there shall be no injury or prejudice to a third person thereby.

SECTION x. With regard to the banks (placeres) beds, (rebosaderos), or any other accidental depositories of silver or gold, I ordain that the portions and measures shall be regulated by the respective Territorial Deputations of Miners, attention being paid to the extent and richness of the place, and to the number of applicants for the same, with distinction and preference only to the discoverers ; but the said Deputations must render an exact account thereof to the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico, who will resolve on the measures which they, in their judgment, may consider the most efficacious, in order to avoid all unfair dealing in these matters.

SECTION XI. The portions being regulated in the manner described above, the Denouncer shall have his share measured at the time of taking possession of the mine, and he shall erect round his boundaries, stakes or landmarks, such as shall be secure, and easy to be distinguished, and enter into an obligation to keep and observe them forever without being able to change them; though he may allege that his vein varied in course or direction, (which is an unlikely circumstance); but he must content himself with the lot which Providence has decreed him, and enjoy it without disturbing his neighbours: if, however, he should have no neighbours, or if he can, without injury to his neighbours, make an improvement, by altering the stakes and boundaries, it may be permitted him in such case, with the previous intervention, cognizance, and authority, of the Deputation of the District, who shall cite and hear the parties, and determine whether the causes for such encroachment are legitimate.

SECTION XII. In the mines already opened and worked, the old measures of the portion shall be retained; but they may be extended to the limits prescribed in these Ordinances, whenever such change can take place without prejudice to third persons.

SECTION XIII. The immutability of the stakes or boundaries already defined in Section XI. of this Chapter, shall also be observed henceforward, in those mines which are in a course of working, or which shall be denounced as deserted or lost, the limits being ascertained in those cases where there are none at present, and each being attended to in their order, beginning with the oldest ; and as to any intermediate spaces, (demasias), they shall be regulated according to the provisions of Section XIII. of Chapter VI.


As it has been found that the licence or permission of following a vein by working lower down and within the vein, and having enjoyment thereof, until the owner himself has bored it, has been, and is the most fruitful cause of bitter dissensions, litigations, and disturbances among the mine-owners, and further considering that such intrusion is more generally the result of fraud or chance than of the merit and industry of the person so intruding, and that the consequences thereof occasion, for the most part, nothing but serious detriment to, or the total ruin of, the two mines and the two neighbouring Miners, to the great prejudice of the public, and of my Royal treasury, I order and command that no Mine-owner shall enter the property of another, even though merely by continuing his own vein at a greater depth, but that every one shall keep and observe his own boundaries, unless he makes an agreement and stipulation with his neighbour, to be permitted to work in his property.

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