Slike strani

ment is a nullity because no provision is made for ascertaining whether the work has been done, and the title is held to be good until, when some adverse claim is made, the first claim is pronounced invalid by a court, after a trial in which the result does not necessarily go with justice. The presumption is, always with the first claimant in such cases. À considerable portion of the community being interested in similar sham claims, it is difficult to get a jury to give a verdict against them, even if the testimony were against them; but the law is so framed that usually if one witness swears that a certain amount of work has been done to hold a claim, the adverse party cannot disprove it. Now let us see what amount of work is necessary to hold a lode claim in various districts.

In the course of the year 1866, eighty miles of quartz claims were taken up in Nevada county, and most of these claims are held to day by a good title under the mining regulations, though not five miles of the eighty to-day are worked, and the owners of the remaining seventy-five have no intention of working their claims soon.

The Nevada Transcript, (Nevada county, California,) in a number published in October, 1866, said :

“ It is safe to estimate the mining locations of the past two years in this county, including water privileges, gravel and quartz claims, at about 373 miles. The locations of the present year amount to over 177 miles. Of these fully one-half are quartz claims. This estimate will suffice to show the great importance to which quartz mining has grown within a very short period. Very few of the many ledges located have yet become yielding mines, and a large number are now unworked, the owners, having done work enough to hold them, are waiting for more enterprising men to develop the neighboring claims."

Under the statute of Nevada a claim may be held for one year by the excavation of fifty cubic feet of rock for each two hundred feet, or by the

payment of two cents per foot.

Under the statute of Oregon a claim may be held for a year by work to the amount of fifty. dollars for each three hundred feet, or for the share of each original locator.

In Idaho, under the territorial statute, work to the amount of one hundred dollars for the claim of each original locator gives a perpetual title.

According to the territorial statute of Arizona the claimant or claimants must sink a shaft thirty feet deep, or cut a tunnel fifty feet long, within the first ten days, to establish a claim, which may then be held for two years without further work by filing an annual affidavit of intention to work the claim; and after two years the claim, no matter how many feet it contains, may be held by thirty days' work annually.

Under the local regulations of the Virginia district, three days' labor would secure the title to two hundred feet for one month, or work to the amount of forty dollars for six months.

The local regulations for Reese River district do not provide for any forfeiture for lack of work.

The local regulations of Nevada county, California, require twenty days' work or labor to the amount of one hundred dollars to secure a claim for one year.

“ It is also important that, excepting in districts where active hostility on the part of the Indians absolutely prevents, the actual occupation and improvement of claims shall be made requisite to their possession, unless pre-empted under the congressional law. The lack of such a requirement hitherto has seriously retarded the development of our mineral resources and the general prosperity of the Territory, and proved discouraging to new comers, especially in the counties on the Colorado river, where hundreds of lodes, taken up in years past by parties now absent from the Territory, are unworked ; and yet, under the existing law, no one has a right to lay claim to them, be he ever so able or anxious to open them.”

In the Copperopolis district seven days' work holds a company's claim for

a year.

Under the local regulations of Tuolumne county, California, one day's work will hold a claim for a month, or labor to the value of one hundred dollars will hold it for six months.

6.-PROPOSED CHANGE AS TO WORK REQUIRED. There is no uniformity here, nor is the same amount of labor required by any two codes. Diversity implies injustice to individuals and injury to the State. If it were wise to give a perpetual title in Idaho, after labor to the value of one hundred dollars had been done, it cannot be wise to require labor worth fifty dollars annually in Oregon, or one hundred dollars in Nevada county, California. All the statutes and regulations require some work, except the State of Nevada, which enables the claimant by paying two cents per lineal foot annually, to hold his claim forever. The two cents are to go into the State treasury, and the com mutation, if maintained, will have a very prejudicial effect on the mining interest. It will enable men to hold claims without working them, and that is precisely the result which the laws should prevent. One of the evils with which lode mining has now to contend is that the miners who are willing and anxious to work lodes lying idle on public land cannot get possession of them. The law should be strict against those who hold claims without working them. Every presumption should be against titles that are not founded on continued occupation and work. The statutes should be so framed that the miner who desires to work, and who does work in good faith, shall have every advantage over the drone who takes claims and tries to hold them until their great value is proved by others, so that be can sell them out, after having incurred little expense or risk.

In Mexico it is expected that the miner will keep at least four men employed continually at his mine, and if he omits to have so many as four for a period of four months, except in time of war, famine, or pestilence, he forfeits his title. The constant labor of one, two, or three men, or the employment of a dozen during the year, is not enough. The Mexican law, however, is too strict on this point for the present wants of the American mining districts. Wages are so high that many companies, which really intend to open the mines, and are at work in good faith with one or two men, would abandon their claims rather than undertake to pay four men continuously. Nevertheless, severe as Mexican law is on individuals, it is admirably fitted to develop the mining interest. The Spanish maxim is that the man who does the most, work in the mine has the most right to it.


It is evident to all who have made themselves familiar with the history of mining in other countries, and who have examined the mineral resources of the Pac fic States, that our gold and silver mining industry will last for centuries, and will grow to be far more iinportant and to employ many more laborers than at present. It is evident, too, after the consideration of the various statutes and local regulations that some further legislation is necessary to protect and foster the development of this great industry. If further legislation be necessary, wisdom

suggests that action should not be postponed for a time. The mining industry is too important to the interests of individuals and to the wealth and growth of the State to be neglected. It is now, while the business is still in its infancy, that the proper principles should be laid down, so as to secure the miner in the safe enjoyment of the treasures which he brings to light. The land on which the mining industry is based belongs to the Union, and Congress has the exclusive jurisdiction over the tenure of claims until the time when they become private property.

The act of the last session is an excellent foundation on which to build up gradually a code suited to our wants, and the local mining regulations suggest many important provisions. The interests involved, both public and private, are so great that much caution is necessary; and yet the necessity of some uniform and comprehensive system is undeniable. It is better to legislate too little than too much, and the first statutes should be confined to a few general and fundamental principles, to which additions can be made as experience is gained and the wants of the miners are better understood. The main purpose of legislation, in mining, should be to protect the working miner, and encourage him in the development of the mineral resources of the country. His interest in this matter is intimately associated with the prosperity of the nation.


[ocr errors]

Congress alone can establish uniform rules, applicable equally to all the mining districts. Experience has shown that if the matter be left to the several States and Territories in which the mineral deposits are found, each will have its own system. Local, personal, and immediate interests have far more influence in local legislatures than in Congress; which last, from the manner in which it is constituted, must pay more regard to general, permanent, and public interests. It is therefore in every respect to be desired that Congress should exercise its power and fix by a comprehensive act the terms upon which claims to mines on the public land may be held. A wise and generous basis for such legislation was laid by the act of last session. The equity of the miner's title was acknowledged; the courts were directed to protect him in his possession ; and the validity of the local rules was for the time recognized. The subject was too extensive to dispose of it all at once. It is better to do the work slowly than to do it ill. Step by step we shall advance to have a superior law, worthy of the superior energy, intelligence, and industry of our miners, and the superior richness and extent of our mineral deposits.

The following are the miners' regulations in some of the principal mining districts :



ARTICLE 1. The jurisdiction of the following laws shall extend over all quartz mines and quartz mining property within the county of Nevada.

ART. 2. Each prospector of a quartz claim shall hereafter be entitled to one hundred feet on a quartz ledge or vein, and the discoverer shall be allowed one hundred feet additional. Each claim shall include all the dips, angles, and va riatious of the vein.

ART. 3. On the discovery of a vein of quartz, three days shall be allowed to mark and stake off the same in such manner, by name of the owner and number of the claim, or otherwise, as shall properly and fully identify such claims. Parties having claims may cause a map or plan to be made and a copy filed with the recorder, if deemed requisite to more particularly fix the locality.

ART. 4. Work to the extent of one hundred dollars in value, or twenty days' faithful labor, shall be performed by each company holding claims, within thirty days of the date of recording the same, as provided for in article sixth of these laws; and the duly authorized representative of a company making oath that such money has been expended, or that such labor has been performed, shall be entitled to a certificate from a county recorder or deputy, guaranteeing undisputed possession of said claim for the term of one year; and a like sum of money or amount of labor expended or performed within twenty days of each succeeding year, duly acknowledged as herein named, shall entitle the claimant

or company, from year to year, to further certificates of undisputed proprietorship and possession ; and a company having a mill contracted for in good faith, to the amount of five thousand dollars, for the working of its claim or claims, the proper representatives of the company making oath of the same, shall be entitled to receive from said county recorder a title-deed to said claim or claims, guaranteeing to the claimant or company, their successors and assigns, undisputed possession and proprietorship forever under these laws; provided that nothing in this article shall at any time be inconsistent with the laws of the United States.

ART. 5. Whenever the requisite amount of money or labor has not been expended within thirty days from the adoption of these laws, the claim or claims Thus neglected shall be considered abandoned and subject to be relocated by any other party or parties.

ART. 6. Any person a citizen of the United States, or any person having taken the necessary steps to become a citizen of the United States, shall be entitled to hold one quartz claim as provided for in article first, and as many more as may be purchased in good faith for a valuable consideration, for which certificates of proprietorship shall be issued by the county recorder.

ART.7. The regularly elected county recorder of Nevada county shall serve as recorder of this county in quartz claims, authenticating his acts by the county seal. He shall appoint as his deputy such person for Grass valley as may be elected by the district of Grass valley, and he shall pass his records to his


ART. 8. The fees of the recorder and deputy shall be the same as the statute fees for recording per folio.

ART. 9. No title to a claim hereafter taken up or purchased shall be valid unless recorded in the books of the aforesaid county recorder or deputy within ten days of its location or purchase.

Adopted December 20, 1852, and still in force.


ARTICLE 1. A claim on any quartz ledge in this county may have a length of two hundred feet along the same, and a width of two hundred and fifty feet at right angles with the ledge, on each side of the same, to include all quartz found within the above-mentioned limits.

ART. 2. Any person discovering a gold-bearing ledge, not previously located, shall be entitled to two claims, being one claim for discovery.

ART. 3. No person but a discoverer shall be entitled to hold more than one claim by location, in a company:

Art. 4. No one but an American citizen, or a foreigner who has and exhibits his foreign miner's tax receipt, shall be allowed to hold a claim by location on any quartz ledge in this county.

ART. 5. It shall be necessary for claimants to post a notice on some conspicuous place on the claims located, setting forth the number of feet claimed, and from what point, upon wliich the real names of the locators shall appear in full. Said notice shall hold good for ten days, at the expiration of which time a copy of said notice shall be placed upon the records of this county. The notice and record as above shall hold said claims, without further improvements, from and after the first day of November until the first day of May following, if recorded after said first day of November. But upon all claims located between the first day of May and the first day of November following, labor to the amount of eight dollars per claim shall be expended toward the prospecting or developing the same in each thirty days after such location.

ART. 6 To hold quartz claims for the first twelve months after location, it shall be required of each claimant to expend at least one hundred dollars upon each claim of two hundred feet in such improvements as may be required in the development of the same.

ART. 7. Quartz claims, which have been duly located in accordance with the foregoing rules and regulations, persons are entitled to hold without limit as to number, by afterwards conforming to the requirements set forth in these bylaws.

Art. 8. All quartz claims in this county heretofore located, upon which no permanent improvements have been made, will be declared forfeited within thirty days after the publication of these by-laws, unless the notice of location is renewed and recorded, if not already upon the records of the county, and labor expended upon the same in accordance with the foregoing regulations for holding quartz claims.


The following are the quartz regulations of Tuolumne county :

ARTICLE 1. The jurisdiction of the following laws shall extend over and govern all quartz mining property within Tuolumne county:

ART. 2 Each proprietor or locator of a quartz claim shall be entitled to one hundred and fifty (150) feet in length of the vein, including all its dips and angles; also one hundred and fifty (150) feet on each side of said vein, together with the right of way on either side of said vein, to run tunnels and drifts any distance that may be necessary in order to work said vein; provided that the right to one hundred and fifty (150) fect herein granted on each side of the vein shall not be deemed to conflict with or detract from the right of any subsequent locator who may discover a vein outside of said one hundred and fifty (150) feet, to follow his vein through said ground.

ART. 3. The original dicoverer of a vein shall be entitled to hold three hundred (300) feet in lengih on said vein, by virtue of discovery.

ART. 4. No man shall, by virtue of pre-emption, be entitled to hold more than one cl .im on the same vein, except as provided in article third.

ART. 5. All quartz claims hereafter taken up or located shall be plainly marked by notices posted, containing the claimants' names and the number of feet claimed

ART. 6. The parties locating a quartz claim shall put at least one full day's work on said vein in every thirty days, in order to hold the same. A day's work shall be eight hours' labor; provided, however, that the sum of one hundred dollars ($100) expended on said claim shall hold the same for six months from the date of its expenditure.

ART. 7. Any individual, company, or companies erecting machinery for working quartz shall, by virtue of said machinery, hold the vein or veins belonging to said individual, company, or companies.

ART. S. These laws shall be in full force and effect from and after the first day of September, A. D. 1858.


ARTICLE 1. The jurisdiction of the following laws shall extend over all quartz mines and quartz mining property within the county of Sacramento.

ART. 2. Each proprietor of a quartz claim shall hereafter be entitled to two hundred feet of a quartz ledge or vein, and the discoverer shall be allowed two hundred feet additional. Each claim shall include all the dips, angles, and variations of the vein.

ART. 3. On the discovery of a vein of quartz, three days shall be allowed to mark and stake off the same, in such manner, by name of the owner, and number of the claim, or otherwise, as shall properly and fully identify such claims. Parties having claims may have a map or plan made and a copy filed with the recorder, if deemed requisite to 'more particularly fix the locality.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »