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OF MINES WORKED BY COMPANIES.
SECTION 1. INASMUCH as mines are often worked by Miners joined in companies, from the time of the denouncement of such mine, or according to contracts entered into subsequently in various ways, to the great advantage and improvement of the operations in mines, siace it is much easier to engage therein when many persons concur, each subscribing a part of his capital, and as where the wealth of one alone is not sufficient for great undertakings, that of an united company may be ample ; in such cases, I desire and command that such companies, whether public or private, may be encouraged, promoted, and protected by all convenient measures, my Viceroy granting to those who may form themselves into such companies, every favour, aid, and exemption which can be granted them, according to the judgment and discretion of the Royal Tribunal of Miners, and without detriment to the public or my Royal Treasury.
SECTION II. Although by these Ordinances I prohibit any individual Mine-Owners working within the ordinary limits, from denouncing two adjoining mines on the same vein, yet notwithstanding, to those who work in companies, although they be not the discoverers, and without prejudice to the right which they might derive from becoming discoverers, I grant the right of denouncing four new portions, or four deserted mines, even though they should be contiguous, and on the same vein, (rumbo).
SECTION III. The accustomed usage in New Spain of dividing a mine into twenty-four imaginary equal parts, commonly called barras, subdividing also each of these into suitable smaller parts, shall continue to be observed, as heretofore, without any altəration.
SECTION IV. By consequence, no one of the partners may claim, or have a right to work the part A, or any determinate part of the mine, or any other to work the part B, or place therein fixed number of workmen; but they must work in common, as far as it is possible, and make a division of the expences, by sharing the amount of the same in equal proportions among all the partners, and there shall be the like division of the produce in metals of all kinds and qualities, whether in a rough state, or after they have been wrought, as may have been agreed upon by the parties.
SECTION V. In order to avoid the disputes and differences which usually occur in Mining Companies about the direction of the works, applications for supplies, the administration, and other points connected with the operations, I ordain and command that all the measures necessary to be taken shall be determined by plurality of votes, with the intervention of one of the Deputies of the District, who shall always endeavour to preserve harmony among the parties.
· SECTION VI. The votes shall be valued and counted according to the shares (barras) which each partner shall possess in the mine ; so that if one or more shall be owners of one and the same share, they shall have only one vote, and he who holds two shares shall have two votes, and so on for the rest; but if one partner alone possesses twelve or more shares, the owner of such a number of shares shall have a number of votes less by one than half the number of such shares.
SECTION VII. In all cases where any dispute may arise, either from an equality in the number of votes, or from any other cause, the Mining Deputy who shall preside at the Junta, or Meeting, shall decide the same as above declared, and I charge the said Deputy to attend always to justice, and the common inte. rest of all the partners.
SECTION VIII. If, in the course of operations, a mine should be worked which produces . no profit, or which does not repay, either entirely, or in part, the expences which have been bestowed upon it, and any one of the partners does not chuse to contribute his share of the expense, in this case the others shall give notice to the respective Deputation, in order that the day may be noted down, on which he ceased to contribute ; and if he persists in this conduct during the continuance of four months, I declare, thereby he forfeits, reckoning from the day on which he ceased to contribute, all his share in the mine, which shall go to increase the portions of those who have contributed their contributions, without any obligation on their part to denounce the same: but if, before the expiration of the four months, he shall contribute his share of the expences, he shall be still a partner, provided he pays all arrears that shall have accrued from the time when he ceased to contribute, to the satisfaction of the parties concerned.
SECTION IX. If, while any mine is in a course of profitable working, any partner should refuse to concur in the expenses of the dead works (faenas muertas) (established according to the forms before prescribed), upon the ground that such dead works would consume a part or the whole of the produce of the mine, the rest of the partners may retain and devote to this purpose a part or the whole of the produce which falls to his share.
SECTION X. If one or more mines are worked by two partners, and they desire to break up the partnership, on account of disagreement, or other cause, they shall not be reciprocally obliged to sell or buy their shares to or from one another, but each of them has the right of selling his share to a third person, giving his partner, however, the first offer thereof.
SECTION XI. The company is not to be considered as broken up by the death of one of the partners; but the obligation devolves on his heirs, who have, however, the privilege of selling their share, according to the terms prescribed in the preceding section.
SECTION XII. If any share in a mine, or any entire mine, should be sold, after having been appraised and valued by Surveyors, according to its condition at the time of the sale, and it should afterwards become of great value ; I declare that the sale shall not on that account be rescinded, on allegation of the great loss sustained, nor on demand of being restored to his former situation, (i. e. on the part of the seller) nor of any similar privilege.
OF THE LABOURERS IN MINES, AND IN THE WORKS OR ESTABLISH
MENTS FOR THE REDUCTION OF THE METALS.
SECTION I. Forasmuch as it is a notorious and well established fact, that the working Miners are a very poor class of people, and very useful to the state, and that they ought to be adequately remunerated for the severe toil they undergo, I ordain and command that no Mine-owner shall presume, on any ground or pretext whatsoever, to alter the rate of wages established by long usage, and adopted in all the mining districts, but that the same shall be observed, as well in regard to persons employed in the works and machinery, as to the labourers in the mines, under the penalty, if at any time any Mine-owner shall diminish the established wages, of paying the said labourers the double thereof; and the labourers shall be obliged to work according to the said established rate of wages.
SECTION II. The workmen in the mines must be registered by their own proper names and must mark with plain and distinguishable strokes, each, occasion of their leaving their work; so that they themselves may know and recognise the same, even when they are not able to read; according to the forms hitherto adopted in New Spain.
SECTION III. The amount of the wages are to be paid every week to each workman, according to his tallies, (rayas*), and with the greatest punctuality delivered in ready money and into their own hands, in current coin or in silver or gold bullion of good quality, if there be not ready money, or by part of the metal which may have been extracted, if it shall have been so agreed between the parties. And I strictly prohibit their being compelled to receive such payments in merchandize, effects, fruits, or provisions.
SECTION IV. At the time when their wages are paid, they (the workmen), shall not be forced to satisfy the debt and charges for which they may be liable, even though they be such as are usually termed privileged, without a judicial order for so compelling them, except as to those which they may have contracted with the Mine-owner, with an understanding that the same should be paid out of their labour, and even in these cases, not more than a fourth part of their wages shall be so retained.
SECTION V. I prohibit the making demands upon the workmen for alms, charity, collections for brotherhoods, (cornadillos de cofradias), or any similar purposes, until they have received their dues, and these being settled, such donations shall be left entirely to their free will and disposition.
SECTION VI. Where the workmen are paid by weekly rations and monthly salaries, the rations supplied must be of good wholesome meat, wheat, maize, Indian corn, pinole, (a fruit of the country), salt, red pepper, (capsicum), and such other articles as may be usual, according to fixed and exact measures and weight, to all which particular attention must be paid in the visits, (of the Territorial Deputations).
* Literally, the strokes or tallies which represent the wages due to them. In future, wages will be used in the translation, as being a more familiar expression.
SECTION VII: Each workman or servant of the mines, referred to in the preceding Seetion, must keep in his possession a paper, in which shall be marked the parts of his monthly salary which shall have become due, as well as every thing which he may have received on account, all written by the accountant, (Rayador*), or paymaster of the mine and establishment and the dollars and reals distinguished by circles, lines and half-lines ; so that each workman may adjust and understand his own account, and have a proper statement thereof in his possession.
SECTION VIII. The duties or tasks (tequios o tareas) of the workmen shall be assigned by the captain of the Barrast, who must attend to the hardness or softness of substance, the abundance, scarcity and other circumstances of the work, proceeding with the greatest justice and equity in moderating the said tasks, in allowing good pay to those employed in such tasks, and in encreasing the same, under any change of circumstances; and in case any party should complain of any particular grievance the respective Mining Deputation shall proceed to redress all injuries by a verbal decree, or by judicial process, if the parties cannot otherwise be brought to an agreement, all which shall be done in the form prescribed by Chapter III. of these Ordinances.
SECTION IX. It is also my Royal will that no supplies shall be afforded to the Indians of allotment}, (repartimiento), in order that immediately on concluding their tasks they may return to their villages and habitations, and others be employed in their stead as the law requires. And that the free Indians alone may receive supplies, as far as five dollars to each, conformably to an act granted by my Royal Audiency of Mexico; although in cases of any peculiar urgency, such as the celebration of their marriages, or the funerals of their wives or children I permit that on the same being proved to the satisfaction of the Mine-owner. Administrator, or Overseer, (Mandon), by a certificate from the curate (of the parish of an Indian so circumstanced), he may be furnished with what is necessary for such purpose.
* Rayador, literally, the inspector or sertler of the rayas or tallies, alluded to and explained in Section III. of this Chapter ; as it evidently means accountant, in future that expression will be used for Rayador. † These Barras are the shares, twenty-four in number, into which every mine is divided.
Indios de repartimiento, the Indians who are lotted in division from time to time, and sent to work in the mines; in opposition to free Indians.