The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 53
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The Mineral Land Question in California, 1848-1866 53
This great act of July 26, 1866, legalized the miners' rules and
regulations, which were not in conflict with the laws of the
United States, and made it possible to acquire a title in fee simple
to the precious-metal bearing lands. The first section reads:
The mineral lands of the public domain, both surveyed and
unsurveyed, are hereby declared to be free and open to explora-
tion and occupation by all citizens of the United States, and those
who have declared their intention to become citizens, subject to
such regulations as may be prescribed by law, and subject also
to the local customs or rules of miners in the several mining dis-
tricts, so far as the same may not be in conflict with the laws of
the United States.
It also provided to allow miners who had or who would here-
after occupy and improve a mine, according to the local regula-
tions, to receive a patent at the cost of five dollars per acre. As
a preventive against monopolies it was provided that "no location
hereafter made shall exceed two hundred feet in length along the
vein for each locator, with an additional claim for discovery to
the discoverer of the lode," and no person was to make more than
one location on the same lode. The maximum for an association
,of persons was three thousand feet.0
The new policy was generally well received in California.
The passage of the bill [said the San Francisco Bulletin] what-
ever defects it may develop when more critically developed and
enforced, marks a change in the public land policy equal in im-
portance to the adoption of the pre-emption and homestead system.
. Eastern and European capital will flow to California and
Nevada in large sums under the new system. . . . The new
law will furthermore secure equality of taxation. . . . Cali-
fornia may well rejoice at its passage.6*
The Placer Herald, a mining paper, hailed the new policy as the
dawn of a new era for California. "It is the fairest and most
practicable proposition that has yet been considered in Congress,"
said the Sacramento Union. "It is a great stride toward the final
adjustment of a dangerous question, and a vast improvement upon
the measures broached at Washington at various periods during
hensible bill," he says, "thus became a law, and by legislative methods as
indefensible as the measure itself."
"United States Statutes at Large, XVI, 251-252.
"Bulletin, July 31, 1866.
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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/m1/61/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.