The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 48
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the size of the claims, and defining the condition of holding them,
was to guard the mines from being monopolized. Here we notice
the common aversion of the frontier democracy to monopoly. The
promulgation of the rules and the settlement of disputes were
also handled in a typical frontier democratic fashion. The rules
were generally framed and amended at a public mass meeting,
conducted in an informal manner. The disputes were settled by
an arbitrary board of miners, selected by the disputants from the
neighboring mining camps, or by a miners' jury previously ap-
pointed at a miners' meeting.
The state legislature, after some consideration, declared by
statute that in "actions respecting 'Mining Claims' proof shall
be admitted of the customs, usages, or regulations established and
in force at the bar, or diggings, embracing such claim; and such
customs, usages, or regulations, when not in conflict with the
constitution and laws of this state, shall govern the decision of
the action.""4 Thus the legislature declared the miners' law to
be binding in matters relating to mining claims. The "let alone"
policy of the Federal government was interpreted by the miners
as a tacit approval by the Federal government of their mining code.
III. Renewed Agitation and Final Settlement of the Mineral
Awakening of the Mining Question in Washington. Ever since
Fillmore's recommendation of 1851, the mining question slept in
Congress. In his annual report of 1858 Secretary of the Interior
Thompson revived it, pointing out the need of adopting some defi-
nite policy with regard to the mineral lands.47 California imme-
diately protested against "Congressional tinkering" with the
mines. Congressman Scott asserted that the government had no
right to dispose of the California gold fields, and that it could
never enforce such a policy, for California would "resist to the
last any such encroachment on the part of the Federal govern-
ment." The Alta and the Bulletin warned the government not
to attempt to prescribe mining regulations, or expect to realize any
revenue from the mines. "A revolution and nothing short of
it," they threatened, "would in all probability be the result of
"OCa. Statutes, 1851, 149.
14H. Ex. Doc., 2, 35 Cong., 2 Sess., 77 (997).
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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/m1/56/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.