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WASHINGTON, March 20, 1872.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith my report on mines and mining in the States and Territories of California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, giving a general review of the history of this industry in each district during the year 1871, and of its condition and prospects, with such comments and suggestions as seemed likely to be of use to miners, metallurgists, capitalists, and legislators.
It is pleasant to know that the series of reports of which this constitutes the sixth, (two having been prepared by my predecessor and four by myself,) has been recognized at home and abroad as highly important and valuable, constituting not only a repository of much current information, but a display of the natural resources of the country, and a history of American progress which no other means could supply. Those portions of the reports which discuss the geological, metallurgical, and mechanical problems involved in American mining have been widely studied, quoted, and discussed, and have done much, if I may credit the testimony which has reached me from many quarters, to increase the economy and success of the extraction and reduction of ores. One evidence of this fact is found in the numerous inquiries upon practical points addressed to me by letter, or in personal visits from persons engaged in mining, milling, and smelting throughout the West. The additional labor of correspondence thus thrown upon me will be cheerfully discharged, so far as time and strength permit. While this part of my work has greatly increased, the ordinary duty of collecting, by personal inspection or correspondence, the statistical and technical information from the mining districts required for my annual reports, has also grown to double what it was four years ago. Large numbers of new districts have been opened and made productive since the completion of the Pacific railroads, and the difficulty of obtaining correct information from them is enhanced by the complexity of their communications and financial connections.
The means at my disposal have always been inadequate to the thorough performance of this work as I would like to do it. Ten thousand dollars is scarcely sufficient to provide for the salary of a single assistant, and the necessary traveling expenses. A careful estimate, made in detail, shows that twenty-five thousand dollars would be required to carry out a comprehensive plan, including the employment of resident agents in all the leading districts, and the payment to them of
small sums, sufficient to cover their actual expenses in visiting the mines and preparing their consolidated returns. No such agent would receive more than $250, and in most cases the sum would be from $100 to $150. This has always been my ideal; I cannot realize it with voluntary correspondents, because they are not open to direction or criticisni from
The amount of money I was able to spend last year, for work performed in the collection of statistics, aside from that of myself and one deputy, was only about $500. The result is, that Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, and parts of other States and Territories, are but slightly treated in this volume, and would have been necessarily ignored altogether, had not a few personal and professional friends very generously prepared notes upon such districts as came within their immediate observation.
The number of gentlemen in all parts of the country who have assisted freely in the collection of materials for this report, is very great. I trust that Congress, if an edition is ordered for general distribution, will put it in my power to acknowledge their kindness by sending them copies of the volume. It has been heretofore a serious annoyance and hindrance to me, that I could not furnish any copies of the mining reports to scientific men at home or abroad, or even to those who had shared in their preparation, except by the unwelcome and precarious means of soliciting such copies from the Department, or from members of Congress, who are overrun with other applications. The Commissioners of Agriculture and of the General Land Office are not crippled in this way in the distribution of their reports, and I respectfully urge that the industry I represent and the work I perform do not deserve to be thus slighted.
I beg leave to return thanks to the following gentlemen for their assistance, remarking, however, that this list does not include all who have rendered courteous service. The names of many others will be found in connection with the information they have furnished, in the course of this report.
The chapter on California was prepared almost entirely by Mr. W. A. Skidmore, my resident agent in that State, to whose industry and intelligence I am greatly indebted. Mr. Skidmore's acknowledgments (in which I cordially join) for services rendered to him by various citizens of California in the prosecution of his work, will be found in the chapter referred to.
For valuable statistical and scientific material from Nevada, I am under obligation to Messrs. O. H. Hahn, of Eureka; Alexis Janin, cf Meadow Valley; B. N. Lilienthal and A. J. Brown, of White Pine; J. W. Hussey, of Elko; the county assessors of the various counties; and the agents of Wells, Fargo & Company.
In Idaho, Messrs. J. M. Adams, of Silver City, and Richard Hurley, of Warren's Camp, have kindly furnished information.
In Oregon, I desire to mention with thanks Messrs. E. W. Reynolds
and W. H. Packwood, of Baker City, and Mr. W. V. Rinehart, of Cañon City.
In Montana, the list of those who extended hospitality and assistance to my deputy and myself is too long for recital. I can only mention generally the agents of the express and stage lines; the editors of newspapers; Hon. James Cavanaugh, late territorial Delegate; Hon. William Clagett, his successor; Governor Potts and his staff; Mr. W. M. Roberts, chief engineer of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and his assistants; the proprietors of mines, mills, and furnaces, and the miners and merchants of all the districts visited. The names of many of these gentlemen will be found in the chapter on Montana.
My acknowledgments to leading citizens of Utah must be equally general. I am indebted for special information with regard to this Territory to Professor W. P. Blake, who examined for me several districts, and a number of other gentlemen to whom credit is given in the appropriate chapter.
In other Territories, I would name particularly Messrs. John Wasson, surveyor general, and Hon. Richard McCormick, Delegate, of Arizona; Surveyor General Willison, and Messrs. Hilgert, Bloomfield, Goulding, and Morehead, of New Mexico; Messrs. Schirmer and Jones, of Denver, Messrs. G. W. Baker and A. von Schulz, of Central City, and Mr. A. Wolters, of Georgetown, Colorado; Messrs. Thomas Wardell, of Rock Springs, and Charles Deuel, of Evanston, Wyoming; and Mr. T. E. Sickels, superintendent of the Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha.
I have had occasion this year more than ever to realize the extraordinary ability and industry of Mr. A. Eilers, who has continued to act as my deputy, and whose thorough scientific training and wide experience of American as well as European mining and metallurgy have been of the greatest assistance in my work. We were both in the field during a part of the year, and traveled about twenty thousand miles in the dis charge of official duty.
The recognition expressed in former reports of the courtesies extended by transportation companies should be here renewed. I am under obligations to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, the Union Pacific, and the Central Pacific Railroad Companies, and to Gilmer and Salisbury, proprietors of the Montana stage line, for facilities of travel which considerably enlarged the area I was able to visit with the limited means at my disposal. Wells, Fargo & Company, and all their agents throughout the country were, as usual, most generous in their courtesy and active assistance.
The general condition and prospects of our western mining industry are set forth with so much fullness in the following pages that I will not prolong this letter by a discussion of them. The amount of the estimated bullion product will be found in the appendix. The nature of the increase it exhibits is still more gratifying than its amount, since it