The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 50
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Southwestern Hislorical Quarterly
Stanford criticized the plan to tax the mines. He believed that
it would be better to dispose of the land in small tracts, thus
enabling the state to tax the mines.5"
But Commissioner Edmunds and Secretary of the Interior
Usher urged the abandonment of the policy of "non-interference."
Commissioner Edmunds pointed out that the auriferous regions
in British Columbia had been made by proper control and man-
agement a source of revenue to the British government; while
the mines of the precious metals in the United States had been
left open to the people of all nations, without the payment of
any tax whatever. Thus during the sixteen years of free mining,
$100,000,000 had been extracted from the mines, "without a
dollar's revenue to the national exchequer." At a time when the
"nation is weighed down with financial obligations," he argued,
the mining industry should contribute its share to sustain the
government. His plan was to require the placer miner to secure
a license to his mine by the payment of a small sum. When found
profitable, the claimant could continue to work it by the payment
of a reasonable amount per foot, with a certain percentage upon
the produce secured.52
At the next year Secretary of the Interior Harland and Secre-
tary of the Treasury McCulloch urged again the discontinuance
of the policy of "non-interference." Secretary McCulloch de-
nounced any system of leasing the mines as impracticable, un-
American, and unconstitutional. His advice was to sell the min-
eral lands and "substitute an absolute title in fee for the indefinite
possessory rights or claims now asserted by the miners." Such a
system, he held, would give a character of permanency to the
mining districts.3 Commissioner Edmunds, however, maintained
that it would be inexpedient to sell the mineral lands. He pointed
out that without expensive investigation the government could
not fix the minimum price which should bear an equitable ratio
between the various locations. And if the explorations should be
left to individuals, then the lucky miner who should discover a
rich deposit would keep the fact secret until he became the pos-
sessor of it. In view of the many difficulties, and the system of
nCal. ,Sen. Jour., 1863, 41-42; Cal. Statutes, 1862, 601.
2H. Ex. Doc., 1, 38 Cong., 2 Sess., 5-6, 39-42 (1220).
"H. Ex. Doc., 1, 39 Cong., 1 Sess., pp. III-IV (1248); H. Ex. Doc., 1,
39 Cong., 1 Sess., 31-32 (1254).
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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/m1/58/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.