The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 45
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The Mineral Land Question in California, 1848-1866 45
But the great stumbling block in the way of equalization of
taxes and the investment of capital in quartz mining was the
ownership of the mineral lands by the Federal government. Vari-
ous plans were proposed. The committee on mines and mining
interests in the assembly advocated to continue the policy of non-
interference in the placer mines, until the time when capital would
have to be applied. But it favored granting to the owners of
quartz mines a title for a certain period during which time the
grantee could "transfer or work her claim at pleasure." Mean-
while the state should be authorized to levy and collect taxes on
the assessed value of the property of the quartz miners. It was
also proposed to induce the Federal government to grant the mines
to the state."8
A committee composed of one member from each of the mining
counties within the state was appointed in the assembly to report
as to the expediency of calling a miners' state convention to con-
sider a policy with reference to the mines. The majority report
of the committee, presented March 19, 1853, was opposed to a
miners' state convention, fearing that it might result in a recom-
mendation to Congress "for the adoption of some system of which
miners would be required to procure a fee simple title to their
claims, that they may be subject to additional taxation." The
miners contended that the mining occupation was full of hard-
ships, and it would be difficult to assess mining claims fairly;
that a fee simple title would not keep the miner a single day longer
when he found it impracticable to work his claim.3" The miner
of California, said the Sacramento Union, should be as free as
the air, and any project of legislating for the mineral lands by
the state or Federal government would be impracticable and im-
possible to enforce the law. A fee simple title, said the State
Journal, would produce confusion and hardship. The policy of
the state and nation should be "hands off," said the Placerville
Herald.40 Thus an attempt of the agricultural and commercial
"sCal. Assembly Jour., 1852, 829-835. Also see report of the Senate
special committee. (Cal. Sen. Jour., 1852, 584-588.)
"9Cal. Assembly Jour., 1853, App. Doc. 35.
40For a discussion of the mineral question during this period see Alta,
March 16, May 20, 1853; Sacramento State Journal, February 17, 1853;
Sacramento Union, January 28, 1856, December 12, 1857, January 22,
1858, February 12, 18, 22, 25, 1859. In the opinion of the Alta the
state's taxable property would be increased by $200,000.00 if the mines
were granted to the miners.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117142/m1/53/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.