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SECTION VIII. Although the Mine-owner may not have observed at any time that his silver contains a mixture of gold, the separation of which from the silver would be expensive ; or that there be silver amongst the gold of a baser quality, and the contractor should have discovered the same, either by assaying or other method ; be it understood that the profit thereof shall not go to the said contractor, but shall be placed to the credit of the Mine-owner, or proprietor of the metal, in the account kept between him and such contractor.
SECTION IX. When the contract of supply is made in the way of partnership in the property of the mine, be it understood that the capital invested, until the time when there shall be a surplus profit over and above the expences, is not to be immediately deducted from the profits, with preference to the contractor, but the profits are to be divided,* the capital remaining so invested during the continuance of the partnership, (mientras no se separe la compaña).
SECTION 8. The Merchants or Dealers in silver who receive it without having advanced any thing to the owners, or encountered any risk, shall pay for it at the full value, and if they give in exchange for it any goods, the latter shall be charged at the regular price, and shall be of good quality; and I strictly ordain and command that the said Merchants or Dealers in silver shall receive it from the Mine Owners, being assayed, and the fifth part deducted therefrom (as Royal duty) conformably to law, and as repeatedly enacted by Royal Decrees, in order to prevent its being illegally disposed of in any of the different ways in which my Royal rights are infringed : And I further declare that in those districts where such assaying or deducting of the fifth part cannot conveniently be managed, on account of their distance from the Royal treasuries or marking offices, the Merchants or Dealers shall bind themselves before the Royal Court and Territorial Deputation, to take the metal forthwith to the office (caxa) of the district, in order to fulfil the said obligation of paying any Royal dues, and to verify the preformance of the like as regards quicksilver, according to the establised custom in New Spain, the said court and Deputation, allowing them a certain time for carrying all this into effect, and giving notice of the said obligation to the Royal officers whom it may concern, so that if the said persons should fail to fulfil the same, such silver sball be deemed to be confiscated, and the said officers shall take steps to obtain possession of it, and to inflict the other penalties imposed by the laws upon the defrauders of my Royal rights.
* It must be understood, I presume, that the profits are to be divided in proportion to the number of barras or shares so held in partnership by the supplier.
SECTION XI. All the Merchants of the mining districts shall keep a correct and light balance and scales, in which only all the silver and gold shall be weighed; and they shall never use for this purpose steel-yards, however large the masses or quantities of the metal may be; and they must also keep weights marked and properly adjusted according to those which they have received from the proper Royal authorities; and I permit the respective Deputies to inspect the same from time to time, (without prejudice to the regular inspection by the Royal Court and public Magistrate), and to take care that the weighing be always justly and correctly performed, to the end that, in case any fraud should be discovered, and also in case of the repetition of such fraud, proceedings may be had before the competent Royal Court for the imposition of penalties proportioned to the nature and character of the offence, the said Court hearing and receiving information on the subject from the Deputies of the District.
SECTION XII. All the working Miners must keep their tools and utensils marked, and if any one shall purchase them from any workmen, or receive them in pledge, he shall pay for them double the value.
SECTION XIII. The aforesaid merchants and contractors may, for their satisfaction, and that of the owner, heat the blocks or ingots of silver (mixed with quicksilver) over a charcoal fire, but not over a flame, or in any manner by which it might be reduced to a state of fusion, except in crucibles ; and they may also be allowed to separate them so as to examine them within, but this must be done as well as trying its quality, by heating it upon a counter, or in such manner that the owner may be able to collect and carry away all the waste and refuse fragments of his silver.
SECTION XIV. Every contractor has the right of appointing at any time an inspector (in. terventor) to any Mine-owner whom he contracted to supply, although it be not so expressed in the contract; but be it understood, that such interventor is only to attend to the correctness of the accounts, and to have power over the money and effects ; but not to interfere with or obstruct the working of the mine, which belongs entirely to the mine owner; he may, however defer the carrying on of the operations, by presenting an account to the Deputies, requesting the Appointment of surveyors, but this only in cases which will admit of such delay.
SECTION XV. Whereas the operations of mines in a course of working, particularly where they relate to the draining thereof, cannot be impeded without great in jury, I command that if the contractor for furnishing supplies from time to time shall neglect to provide them in such manner that at the proper time of paying the wages (rayas), there shall not be sufficient to pay them, and the Mine-owner foreseeing this event, shall have called upon the contractor accordingly, and given notice thereof to the Deputation, then not only the wages shall be paid with the best furnished part of the mine, and even with the very implements and utensils, but the Mine-owner shall be entitled to demand immediate execution against the contractor for what is due to him, and to apply for money to any other person, or treat with a new contractor, whose claim shall be preferred to that of the preceding one, whenever the mine begins to yield a profit.
SECTION XVI. Those who under pretence of obtaining supplies of mining operations, shall in any way misapply the capital and effects furnished to them for that purpose, shall not only be bound in their persons, and all their property, for the repayment of the same, and for all damage done, or interest due to the party, without being allowed the privilege of miners, or any other whatsoever, but shall be punished in manner suitable to the nature, heinousness, and circumstances of the offence; more particularly so, if they shall have received the advances in confidence or trust, all this being regulated by the dispositions of Section xxix. of Chapter III.
SECTION XVII. The searchers, (cateadores) workers who are paid by receiving part of the metal, (buscones) and labourers in general, and other persons who shall offer stones and specimens, falsely pretending that the same are the produce of a mine, thereby soliciting supplies for such supposed mine, with intent to defraud and deceive the unwary, shall be punished with all the rigour of the law, according to the circumstances, heinousness, and maliciousness of the offence, to be proved before the proper court, according to the provisions of Section xxix. of Chapter III. of these Ordinances.
SECTION 1. WHEREAS by my above-quoted Royal Decree, of the 1st of July, 1776, I was pleased to relieve the body of miners of New Spain from the double duty of one real in each mark of silver, formerly paid to my Royal Treasury,
under the name of Seigniorage, granting them, at the same time, the right of imposing upon their silver the half, or two third parts, of the said contribution, for the purpose of aiding and promoting the new and respectable establishment to which these Ordinances have reference; and considering at the same time that the destination of the same, most conformable to my beneficent intentions in this respect, would be the formation of a fund for advancing supplies to the mines, the present insecure and fluctuating state of the mines in general being, for the most part, occasioned by the want of capital, with the aid of which there is no doubt they would be put in a more secure and flourishing condition, to the great advantage of my Royal Treasury and of the public. For these purposes, and keeping in view the proposition laid before me by the Royal Tribunal of the important body of the said miners, I have thought proper to decree and command, that all the silver entered in my Royal Mint in Mexico, or in any other that may be established in the Kingdom of New Spain, and all silver that shall be remitted to those in Spain on account of individuals, (and which must at all times have been at first assayed, and the fifth part deducted) shall henceforward pay two thirds of a real (probably per nark) towards the formation, preservation, and increase of a fund for the mines, and that no Mine-owner whatever, shall be exempted from such contribution, not even those to whom for any just cause I may have granted, or may in future grant, a remission or diminution of the duties on metal, which appertain to my Royal Treasury.
SECTION II. The management, collection, and custody of the monies to be raised in this manner, shall be always at the disposal, and under the controul, of the said important body of miners, to whom they belong, by means of their Royal Tribunal General in Mexico, which represents them: after deducting from these monies whatever may be necessary for the support of the said Royal Tribunal, and of the college, and for the instruction of young persons intended for the mining business, of which mention will be made hereafter; and all extraordinary and particular expences which may be incurred for the common interest and advantage of the said body of Miners, all the rest, and the successive augmentations thereof, shall be entirely devoted to furnishing supplies for the working of the mines throughout the kingdoms and provinces of New Spain, a bank being established for that purpose, according to the regulations laid down in the following Sections.
SECTION III. For the management and business of the said bank, there shall be one principal factor, or more if necessary, a person of intelligence and experience in the method of supplying mines by contract, who shall be subject to and dependent upon the Royal Tribunal General of the Miners, and be appointed by them in the election, by a majority of votes; they also having the power to remove him at pleasure, and without being obliged to assign any reason for such removal.
SECTION IV. Such factor either may be paid by a per centage on the property of the bank, or by a fixed salary, or in both these ways, as may be deemed expedient by the Royal Tribunal, according to circumstances ; but he must give bail and such securities for his conduct, as shall be satisfactory in the opinion of the chiefs of that Tribunal.
SECTION V. The gross amount of the capital of the bank, which shall be in money, or in gold and silver bullion, shall be preserved in chests, of which there shall be four keys, which shall be in the possession and keeping of four of the principal persons belonging at the time to the Royal Tribunal ; but the goods and merchandize for the supplies of the mines, and such part of the capital as shall be necessary for the current business and operations, shall be in the possession and at the disposal of the said factor, he and the said persons above-mentioned, being respectively responsible for what may be entrusted to his and their care.
SECTION VI. The Royal Tribunal General of Miners shall cause to be made out in the factory every year, in the month of December, an account of the contents of the warehouses and stores, and a cash account and balance; two of the said principal persons of the fribunal assisting at such operations; and moreover, they shall take the accounts of the factor without prejudice to their right of inspectisg the said accounts at other times, whenever they shall think it proper and prudent to do so.
SECTION VII. The Royal Tribunal shall keep an account and correspondence with the Mine-owners, who have their supplies by contract from the bank, and shall receive and reply to their letters, and give the necessary orders to the factor for these purposes.
SECTION VIII. For carrying on the business of the factory there shall be such writing clerks engaged as the factor shall think proper, he having the power of proposing them ; but they are to be appointed, and their salaries are to be fixed, by the Royal Tribunal, and they are to be paid by the bank; and the factor is to have the power of diminishing them, on giving verbal notice thereof to the Royal Tribunal.