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A COMMENTARY ON THE LAW OF
MINES AND MINING RIGHTS
COMMON LAW AND STATUTORY
THE FEDERAL STATUTE AND THE STATUTES
FORMS FOR USE IN APPLICATION FOR PATENT
AND ADVERSE SUITS
WILSON I. SNYDER
OF THE UTAH BAR
IN Two VOLUMES
WILSON L SNYDER
STATE JOURNAL PRINTING COMPANY,
When this work was begun in 1894 no apology was neoessary for attempting to collect and systematize, and, if possible, harmonize the decisions on the subject of mining law. At that time the text-books of mining law, and special reports on the subject, consisted of the work of Mr. Morrison, wbich had appeared through successive editions, some six or seven in number, covering twice as many years, styled “ Morrison's Mining Rights,” more valuable as a guide for the prospector than as an assistant to the lawyer; the work of Mr. Weeks; that of Mr. Wade, who apologized for the imperfection of his work because the law was in its formative state, and hence could not be accurately written; and of Mr. Gregory Yale, written at a time when such an observation as that made by Mr. Wade would have been indisputable; the discordant grouping of several leading English and American cases and a collection of digest paragraphs by Messrs. Blanchard & Weeks, under the head of " Blanchard & Weeks' Leading Cases on Mines;” and the reports of Mr. Morrison, under the style of “Morrison's Mining Roports," sixteen volumes in all, containing many, but not all, of the mining cases in England and this country.
With the foregoing exceptions no attempt had been made to gather up the threads of the law running through the reports of no less than fourteen states and territories on the coast, as applied to the western law, and those of almost every other state in the Union as applied to the general subject of mining law, as the same existed in England under the common law and came down to us from that source, and to weave them into a fabric having the semblance and form of a text-book on that subject.
More than fifteen years of practice, with only the works above mentioned and the discordant decisions of the courts as a guide, impressed the writer with the belief that the entire mass of mining law ought to be collected, digested, sifted, and, if possible, harmonized; and that any conscientious attempt made in this direction ought to result in the production of a tool which would be useful, if not instructive, to the busy lawyer.
This work was at once begun, and resulted four years later in the production of enough matter to make a volume of about eight bundred pages, besides a geological preface and the state statutes. This work was destroyed by a great conflagration in Park City, Utah, a mining town where the author lived, on June 19, 1898. Fortunately, however, about two-thirds of it was to be found in the notes of his stenographer, Mr. Bismarck Snyder, then on his way to the Philippines as a member of the Utah Artillery.
A reproduction of the destroyed work was at once begun, mainly for the purpose of writing an article on the same subject for the Encyclopædia of Law.
In the meantime others had appreciated the necessity of such a work, resulting in the almost simultaneous appearance of the works of Mr. Lindley and Messrs. Barringer and Adams, and the digest by Messrs. Clark, Heltman and Consaul.
As the construction of the Encyclopædia article advanced it became quite apparent that within the scope assigned to such an article in that work anything like an exhaustive treatment of many of the questions would be utterly impossible, and an arrangement of the matter for publication in book form was carried on contemporaneously, the right to publish the book having been reserved in the contract with the Edward Thompson Company under which the article was written. The article itself was prepared as compactly as the proper treatment of it seemed to the writer to require, but even then it was materially diminished in volume by the publishers. This emasculation could not fail to result in some inaccuracies of statement, notably that relating to mining customs, thereby emphasizing the necessity of publication in book form.
Five years have passed since the appearance of the works of Messrs. Lindley et al., above mentioned; the law has undergone considerable change and readjustment at the hands of the court of last resort — the Supreme Court of the United States -- to the extent that a second edition of Mr. Lindley's work is deemed justified if not essential. Besides, there are many subjects in this work not touched, and others only superficially touched (if the writer may assume to riticise), by the otherwise excellent work of Mr. Lindley.
These circumstances seemed to the writer to warrant the roduction of this work, and at the same time he indulged and now expresses the hope that it may be found useful to his brethren.
The legitimate field of a work on this subject, the writer ventures to assume, covers the entire field of mineral extraction from the earth's crust, whether by mining, as that phrase is ordinarily understood,- that is, digging and excavating the earth's crust by means of shafts, tunnels, drifts, adits, or any other form of sub-surface mining, or by washing and sluicing the alluvial gravel, or the boring for gas or oil. Accordingly, this work has been spread out to cover and treat all these questions, including inter alia the subjects of gas and oil leases, and the various rights of the parties, also other rights of miners inter sese, such as mining partnership and tenants in common operating mines.
A complete collection of state statutes on the entire subject germane to mining has been made and included in
Appendix B,” preceding which is a prefatory note,' which explains the arrangement more fully.
A complete examination of all decisions in England and this country has been made, and every case in both countries and in Canada which reflected any light upon the subject
1 See page 1279.