The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 47
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The Mineral Land Question in California, 1848-1866 47
Hidalgo, by the act admitting California into the Union, passed
to the sovereignty of this state."43
The majority of the committee reported adversely to the passage
of the bill, maintaining that the mineral lands belonged to the
Federal government. The placer miners feared that the doctrine
of state ownership of the mines was fraught with great danger to
the mining interest, "that it would not be a great while until
those lands would be wrested from the miners and placed in the
hands of monopolists." All they asked was "lo be let alone."
They claimed that the Federal government, who was the rightful
owner of the mines, had "solemnly declared" that these lands
should not be surveyed and sold, but should be open to the free
use and enjoyment of all American citizens, under the mining
laws adopted by the miners themselves.44
Miners' Rules and Regulations. These miners' rules and regu-
lations,"J which seemed to suit the interest of the miners so well,
were the outgrowth of necessity and experience, built upon the
foundation of the European and Mexican mining laws, and ad-
justed to the needs of the new environment. By 1860 there grew
up a miners' code based on equitable principles, democratic in
character. The main object of these rules and regulations was
to fix the size, manner of recording, working, and holding the
claims. The size varied according to the richness of the placers,
ranging from ten to one hundred and fifty feet square. In gen-
eral a reasonable amount of work had to be done in order to estab-
lish and hold a claim to a placer mine. The purpose of limiting
4"Cal. Sen. Jour., 1857, 275-281. The same opinion was expressed by
J. W. Denver of California in his speech in Congress on the California
land claims. (Cong. Globe, 34 Cong., 1 Sess., 1842.) There was also con-
siderable controversy between the state and federal authorities with re-
gard to the question whether or not the mineral lands were included in
the township grant of 1853. The federal authorities contended that the
grant contemplated only such townships that could be legally surveyed
and divided into sections. But since the mineral lands were excluded from
survey by an act of Congress, there could be no such selections upon them.
The California authorities, on the other hand, maintained that the Act of
1853 contained no reservation with regard to the mineral lands, and the
mining districts were in need of educational facilities just as well as other
districts. See Cal. Sen. and Assembly Jours., 1863, 38-44.
"Cal. Sen. Jour., 1857, 274-275.
"Good accounts of the miners' rules and regulations are given in Yale,
Legal Titles to Mining Claims and Water Rights, Chaps. VII, VIII; Shinn,
Mining Camps, Chaps. II, X, X1II, XXI, XXIII. Ree also Browne's Report
in If. Ex. Doe., 29, 39 Cong., 2 Sess., 226-264 (1289).
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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/m1/55/: accessed February 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.