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UNITED STATES. "In the United States there are at least two independent systems of sovereignty which may be exercised in respect of mines and mineral lands, namely: that of the original thirteen states, and of the other states in respect to state lands, and that of the United States or federal government over the portion of the United States acquired by purchase other than as embraced in the first thirteen states and the states carved out of territory belonging to them. The state lands proper are again divided into at least two systems—those which belong to the original thirteen states, over which the federal government never had any natural or original jurisdiction as owner of the soil, and those embracing territory of the United States as acquired afterwards. In the former, there are traces of rights dependent upon colonial grants, which were mentioned in the last preceding section, and which will be referred to specifically wherever necessary herein.

"The sovereign power and authority which every nation has over the lands and property belonging to it are expressly recognized in the federal constitution, and conferred upon the Congress of the United States. Having this power conferred upon it by the constitution, it necessarily follows that Congress also has the power to fix the rules and laws by which it will dispose of the mineral lands of the United States, and whether it will segregate the minerals or dispose of land and minerals together, or adopt the system of royal claim, or withhold them altogether. With few exceptions, which will be noticed in the part of this work treating of patents, the United States parts with the fee absolutely, and of course, in such case, its grantee gets the minerals, subject to the easement or estate, in certain cases elsewhere shown, of the right of an adjoining proprietor to penetrate his ground in following vein on its downward course.

Fodinae Regales; Collier Mines, p. 1; Queen vs. Northumberland, Plowd., 336; Plowd., 31, 310.' "The reason assigned by writers who place this right upon the 'excellence of the thing', is the puerile apology of the sycophant, and would scarcely be made by an English judge or writer of the twentieth century. But since the royal prerogative

in England under the early common law, was an arbitrary power to do good and not evil, and since it was a fiction of the law that the King could do no wrong, it would seem that the act of seeking the further excuse for the exercise of this function than that of prerogative is one of supererogation.”

"Manifestly, in the United States, the same doctrine must apply as to all lands occupied as public streets, which obtains in England. And in such case, where the title has never passed from the United States or the state, as the case may be, the minerals under the street must belong to the state or United States in virtue of its sovereignty. Where, however, the ultimate fee of the street or road-bed, as the case may be, is in a proprietor other than the occupant, it would follow that the owner of the fee in all cases would own the underlying mines. And as to mines beneath navigable river beds, there is undisputed authority from very early times that they belong to the sovereign. There are cases authorized by law, which are fully considered elsewhere in this work where minerals are reserved out of a patent granted by the United States. But the United States parts with the title to mineral lands as such in only one way. There are no regalian rights in the United States." 14 1 Snyder on Mining Law, Vol. I, Sec. 15.




STATES. The existing mining laws in force in the United States, are drawn from several sources, as follows: (1) United States Statutes; (2) State Statutes; (3) Rules of Mining Districts; (4) Customs. These four sources will be considered in the above order in the four following sections.


The mining rules of the highest authority are those found in the United States Statutes. The present system of Federal laws governing mines and mining are contained in the Act of July 4, 1866, with the acts supplementary and amendatory thereto. The Federal Statutes on the subject do not, and do not pretend to cover the whole field of mining law. The adoption of mining rules by the miners of each mining district is expressly authorized, and the passage of mining laws by State and Territorial governments is impliedly recognized by the following provision in the Federal Statutes: "The miners of each mining district may make regulations not in conflict with the laws of the United States, or with the laws of the State or Territory in which the district is situated, governing the location, manner of recording, amount of work necessary to hold possession of a mining-claim, subject to the following requirements: The location must be distinctly marked 1 U.S. Rev. Stat., Sec. 2318, et seq.

on the ground so that its boundaries can be readily traced. All records of mining-claims hereafter made shall contain the name or names of the locators, the date of the location, and such a description of the claim or claims located by reference to some natural object or permanent monument as will identify the claim. On each claim located after the tenth day of May, eighteen hundred and seventy-two, and until a patent has been issued therefor, not less than one hundred dollars' worth of labor shall be performed or improvements made during each year. On all claims located prior to the tenth day of May, eighteen hundred and seventy-two, ten dollars' worth of labor shall be performed or improvements made by the tenth day of June, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, and each year thereafter, for each one hundred feet in length along the vein until a patent has been issued therefor; but where such claims are held in common, such expenditure may be made upon any one claim; and upon a failure to comply with these conditions the claim or mine, upon which such failure occurred, shall be open to re-location in the same manner as if no location of the same had ever been made, provided that the original locators, their heirs, assigns or legal representatives, have not resumed work upon the claim after failure and before such location. Upon the failure of any one of several co-owners to contribute his proportion of the expenditures required hereby, the co-owners who have performed the labor or made the improvements may, at the expiration of the year, give such delinquent coowner personal notice in writing or notice by publication in the newspaper published nearest his claim, for at least once a week for ninety days, and if at the expiration of ninety days after such notice in writing, or by pub

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lication, such delinquent should fail or refuse to contribute his proportion of the expenditure required by this section, his interest in the claim shall become the property of his co-owners who have made the required expenditures. Provided, That the period within which the work required to be done annually on all unpatented mineral claims shall commence on the first day of January succeeding the date of location of such claim, and this section shall apply to all claims located since the tenth day of May, anno Domini, eighteen hundred and seventy-two."

The various provisions of the Federal Statutes relative to mining law will be discussed in their appropriate places, in the remaining chapters of this subject.

SECTION 8. STATE STATUTES. The states and territories are authorized to legislate respecting the location, manner of recording, and amount of work necessary to hold possession of a mining claim, and nearly all the mining states and territories have passed statutes more or less elaborate on this subject.


“The origin of mining districts and of their rules was in the mining camps of California, in 1849, before any territorial form of government had been established and the same system was followed and prevailed wherever valuable discoveries in other sections induced an influx of prospectors.

"Practically all the Pacific slope and the land east of the mountains to the Missouri River was then public • Amer. & Eng. Ency. of Law, Vol.

vs. District Ct., 11 Colo., 147; XX, p. 685; Johnson vs. Me

In re Monk, 16 Utah, 100. Laughlin, 1 Ariz., 493; People

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