taking claims on spurs within a few feet of the main lode. The latter evil is
common ; the former is almost unknown ; the general sentiment among the miners
favors the recognition of a surface claim at least two hundred feet wide across
5. WORK REQUIRED TO HOLD CLAIMS.
One of the greatest evils that besets lode mining at present is that a vast
number of claims are held without being worked, and without any expectation
on the part of the claimants of working them. Most claims are taken up merely
as a matter of speculation, and not for. the purpose of mining ; and many of the
claimants are persons who have never done any regular work at quartz mining.
When a rich vein is found, a multitude of persons rush to the place, and each
one gets a claim, if possible, in every vein in the district. He puts down the
names of enough associates ,to make up a claim a thousand or two thousand feet
long, and thus all the lodes of the district are soon appropriated. Two or three
of the associates may be present with him or perhaps not one,of them has ever
been near the place. He has taken his claims and he now waits for others to
develop the district and prove that they are valuable. If by the opening of the
adjacent mines, his claims are proved to be rich, he sells out at a handsome
profit ; if not, he has lost little. Then if a miner goes into one of the quartz
mining districts and wishes to prospect a vein thoroughly, he will find that most
of these lodes which he would prefer to work are held as claims, though no
substantial work has been done in them. He cannot afford to buy, because he
might have to buy dozens before finding one that would yield anything before
being examined ; and he cannot afford to prospect before buying, because any
discovery that he might make would enhance the price, and be to the profit of
the claimant. The system that recognizes the validity of unworked claims is a
great check to mining industry and to the development of mineral wealth. The
individuals who profit by it are usually of a class who thrive at the expense of
the industrious and enterprising. The miner desiring to get a claim with the
intention of working it has everything to lose and nothing to gain by the sys-
tem. It is true that the local regulations require the claim-holder to do a cer-
tain amount of work every year to secure his title, but this requirement is in
most districts a mere form,* and it is evaded by shamf work, or the require-
*The San Francisco Mining and Scientific Press, a recognized authority among miners,
says in its issue of the 14th of July, 1866 :
" With regard to the performance of labor to perfect a title, every miner knows that the
ru]e, as at present established, is a mere farce."
tGovernor McCormick of Arizona, in his message delivered to the territorial legislature on
the 8th of October, 1866, says :
WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 233
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. A 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 dis-
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 titje
under the mining regulations, though not five miles of the eighty to-day are
worked, and the OAvners of the remaining seventy -five have no intention of work-
ing 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 import-
ance 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 un worked, the owners, having done work enough to bold 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 excava-
tion 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
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
n i i ft J
lor lack ot 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, especi-
ally in the counties on the Colorado river, where hundreds of lodes, taken up in years past by
parties now absent from the Territory, are nnworked ; 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."
234 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
In the Copperopolis district seven days' work holds a company's claim for
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,
whicji 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 coin
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 iintil their great value is proved by others, so
that he 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 Ije 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 Mexi-
can 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.
7. LAW NEEDED FOR CENTURIES OF MINING.
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
Pacific States, that our gold and silver mining industry will last for centuries,
and will grow to be far more important 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.
WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 235
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 uni-
form 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 legis-
lation, 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.
8. CONGRESS ALONE CAN ESTABLISH UNIFORMITY.
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, arid immediate interests have far more influ-
ence 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
9. MINERS' REGULATIONS. QUARTZ REGULATIONS OF NEVADA COUNTY,
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 undis-
puted possession of said claim for the term of one vear ; and a like sum of
money or amount of labor expended or performed wifnin twenty days of each
succeeding year, duly acknowledged as herein named, shall entitle the claimant
236 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
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, guaran-
teeing to the claimant or company, their successors and assigns, undisputed pos-
session 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, ex-
pended 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^o
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.
10. QUARTZ REGULATIONS OF SIERRA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA.
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 conspicu-
ous place on the claims located, setting forth the number of feet claimed, and
from what point, upon which 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 eacft 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.
WEST OF THE KOCKY MOUNTAINS. 237
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 by-
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.
11. QUARTZ REGULATIONS OF TUOLUMNE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA.
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 eiiher 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) feet 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 Ins vein through said ground.
ART. 3. The original dicoverer of a vein shall be entitled to hold three hun-
dred (300) feet in length 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 dm 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
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 be-
longing to said individual, company, or companies.
ART. 8. These laws shall be in full force and effect from and after the first
day of September, A. D. 1858.
11|. QUARTZ REGULATIONS OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY.
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 'oif 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, ami num-
ber 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.
238 RESOURCES OF STATES AND TERRITORIES
ART. 4. Work to the extent of sixty dollars in value or twenty days' faithful
labor shall be performed by each company holding claims, within thirty days
from the date of recording the same, as provided in article six 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 recorder guaranteeing undisputed possession of such claims
for the term of one year ; and a like sum of money or amount of labor ex-
pended or performed within twenty days of each succeeding year, duly acknowl-
edged as herein named, shall entitle the claimants or company, from year to year,
to certificates of undisputed proprietorship and possession ; and a company hav-
ing a.mill contracted for in good faith to the amount of five thousand dollars for
the working of its claim or claims, the proper representative of the company
making oath of the same, shall be entitled to receive from said county recorder
a title-deed of said claim or claims, guaranteeing to the claimants or company,
their successors or assigns, undisputed possession and proprietorship forever
* under these laws ; provided that nothing in this article shall be at any time
inconsistent with the, laws of the United States.
ART. 5. Whenever the requisite amount of money or labor, as provided for in
article four, has not been expended within sixty days from the adoption of these
laws, the claim or claims thus neglected shall be considered abandoned, and
subject to be located 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 second, and as many
.more as may be purchased in good faith for a valuable consideration, for which
a certificate of proprietorship shall be issued by the recorder.
ART. 7. The discoverer of a new ledge or vein of quartz shall be entitled to
two hundred feet for his discovery, and one claim additional, even though he is
already in the possession of another claim taken up by himself, and the same
benefit may be claimed for each and every discovery, although many discoveries
may be made by .one person.
(The above regulations were adopted by a meeting of the quartz miners of
Sacramento county, held at Ashland, January 22, 1857, and are still in force.
There are, however, very few quartz claims of any value in the county.)
12. PLACER REGULATIONS OF COLUMBIA DISTRICT, CALIFORNIA.