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experts; we furnish the labor and mechanical ingenuity, but they furnish the scientific skill. Without the aid of foreign institutions we conld have made but little progress in mining; anel yet we lose much by not having similar institutions in our own country. The local circumstances existing in Europe differ essentially from those which prevail in the United States. It would be a great advantage, not only in the saving of expense, but in the more direct availability of the experience gained, if our young men could learn at home what they are now compelled to learn abroad.
The plan proposed by Mr. Stewart's bill seems both feasible and economical. Such an institution would, if properly conducted, result in a large annual increase in our bullion product. It is not unreasonable to anticipate that, instead of declining within a few years to forty or fifty millions per annum, as will undoubtelly be the case if the present state of things continues, there would be an increase amounting to at least 100 per cent. on the yield of the mines for the past year. I venture the hope, therefore, that Congress will take this proposition into favorable consideration. The bill, as amended by the Committee on Mines and Mining, of the Senate, and the considerations upon which it is based will be found in the appendix, (A.)
It is proper that I should give duo credit to my assistants for the part which they have taken in this work. The duty of collecting statistics in California was intrusted to Mr. John S. Hittell, the able and experienced author of several valuable works on the industrial resources of that State. In the performance of the special service assigned to him ho visited the principal mining districts. His reports are based upon actual observation, and may be relied upon as accurate and impartial. With the exception of the report on Nevada county, by Mr. E. F. Bean, the county assessor, and Mr. H. Rolfe, his assistant, and the brief reports on some of the northern and southern counties by Dr. IIenry Degroot, with a sketch of the Morriss Ravino mines by Dr. A. Blatchley, nearly all the goldbearing regions of California are described by Mr. Ilittell. Important papers on the condition of the mining interest in Mexico, South America, Australia, &c., are also furnished by the same authority.
An elaborate and interesting report on the miscellaneous minerals of the Pacific States and Territories is furnished by Mr. Henry C. Bennet, a mining engineer familiar with the subject. No such complete and extended notice of the miscellancous mineral procluctions of the Pacitic coast has yet been published. This report will be found valuable to business men, and to all others seeking information respecting the resources of the States and Territories west of the Rocky mountains.
To Mr. R. H. Stretch, late State mineralogist of Nevada, the Comstock lode and regions adjacent were intrusted. His scientific and practical knowledge of the various departments of mining, his long experience in this particular region, and his known integrity, rendered the selection peculiarly fortunate, as will be conceded upon a perusal of his report.
Dr. IIenry Degroot, a statistician and writer, whom I deputed to travel through Nevada, las furnished a series of interesting papers on the miscellaneous resources of that State.
Mr. Myron Angel, of Austin, a gentleman well acquainted with eastern Nevada, contributes a report on that region, from which it will be seen that the mineral wealth of Nevada is by no means confined to the Comstock lode.
The services of Dr. A. Blatchley, a mineralogist and mining engineer, were secured for an exploration of Montana and Idaho. This gentleman travelled through those Territories during the months of June, July, and August, and was enables to collect the information which is embodied in liis reports.
Mr. Elwood Evans, of Olympia, formerly territorial secretary of Washington, lias kindly furnished detailed reports on the resources of that Territory.
To Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Hill, Mr. Ladd, and others, I am indebted for information relative to the trade and resources of Oregon.
The report on Arizona is from the pen of Governor R. C. McCormick. It will be found extremely interesting.
Mr. W. M. Gabb, of the State geological survey of California, whose recent expedition throngh Lower California has attracted considerable attention, contributes a detailed report on the mineral resources of that peninsula. It is the result of the first scientific exploration ever made of that region, and possesses a peculiar interest at this time, owing to the investment of American capital there and the purchase from the Mexican government of an extensive grant by private parties for colonization by Americans.
Many other prominent and experienced gentlemen have assisted me in the preparation of this report. I claim little more for myself than the direction and supervision of the work; it has occupied my entire time for upwards of a year, and, whatever may be its imperfections, few will be disposed to deny that it presents evidence of an carnest attempt to carry into effect the wishes of the department and the objects designed to be accomplished by Congress.
It is a common error to suppose that mining is iniinical to the welfare of the people. No branch of industry requiring mechanical skill and the acquisition of scientific knowlodge can justly be said to contain in itself elements injurious to public morals or to the prosperity of the state.
The tendency of this pursuit is, at first, to attract a reckless and adventurous population, whose disregard of conventional restraint leads to the assumption of risks and to bold and hazardous undertakings, by which new countries aro most rapidly opened up to settlement and civilization. Providence so ordains it that the superficial treasures of the earth designed to attract this enterprising class soon disappear, and a higher order of intelligence is required and a more permanent condition of things is established. It is only necessary to look back over the past cighteen years to find in the advancement of the vast region known as the Pacific slope, the strongest possible refutation of the assertion that mining is inimical to the welfare of the people. Looking forward to the future, who can predict the high condition of prosperity likely to be attained by these new States and Territories eighteen years henco ?-with trans-continental railroads and telegraph lines binding the Atlantic to the Pacific; with branch roads and lines traversing the country north and soutlı ; with the commerce of Asia pouring its treasures into our seaports; with an export trade commanding the whole astern world; with a probable coast line stretching from Beliring Straits to Cape St. Lucas; with innumerable flourishing cities and seaport towns; with an agricultural population numbering thousands where they now number hundreds ; with busy manufactories scattered over the land; with churches, schools, and colleges everywhere throughout the mountains and valleys-All these many of us may live to sec, but few can now realize the magnificent future that lies before is. In this favored land the laborer, the artisan, tho mechanic, the man of science, can cach find profitable employment and a congenial liome. As we Fant population to develop the dormant wealth of our new States and Territories, it is the interest of our government to disseminate a correct knowledge of their material resources.
Entertaining these views, I trust the report lierewith submitted will not bo without practical utility wherever it may be circulated. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. ROSS BROWNE. Hon. H. McCULLOCH,
Secretary of the Treasury.
GENERAL CONDITION OF THE MINING INTEREST.
The information and statistics relative to the gold mines of California wero collected between the 17th May and the 25th July, but some interesting changes have occurred since the tour of inquiry was made, and the facts, when ascertained, have been mentioned. Many of the figures and data could be obtained only from the mine owners, who may sometimes have misrepresented the character and yield of their claims in a favorable light for the purpose of selling, or in an unfavorable light for the purpose of misleading the assessor and tax-collector. It is believed, however, that the statements as mado are generally true, and it is hoped that, taken together, they will be found to be the fullest and most correct collection of important facts ever made relative to gold mining.
The general condition of gold mining in California is that of decline. The amount of production becomes smaller every year, but the decrease is confined chiefly to the placer yield. In quartz more work is being done; it is being done better than ever before, and there are more mines in successful operation. The business is flourishing and improving, with a fair prospect of continuous increase; and the success of many of the mines is most brilliant.
In 1864 Professor Ashburner wrote a report on the Mariposa estate, and in it he made the following general remarks:
In 1838 there were upwards of 280 quartz mills in California, cach one of which was supplied with quartz from one or more veins. The number of stamps in these mills was 2,60, and the total cost of the whole mill property of this nature in the State exceeded $3,000,000. In the summer of 1861, while I was attached to the geological survey, I made a careful and thorough examination of all the quartz mills and mines of the State, and could only find between 40 and 50 in successful operation, several of which were at that time leading a very precarious existence.
Many of those old enterprises have not yet become, and never will become, profitable; but of the quartz mills built within the last four or five years, the successful proportion is much larger than before 1860. No business offers greater facilities to ignorance and folly for losing money; and, unfortunately, most of those who engaged in it had no experience and were led by their presumption into gross blunders in botlı mining and milling.
The greatest common blunder in quartz mining, and the most common error in early times as well as in our own day, has been that of erecting a mill before the vein was well opened and its capacity to yield a largo supply of good rock established. The commission of this blunder is proof conclusive of the utter incompetency of its author to have charge of any important mining enterprise. If there were any possibility that it should in some cases lead to considerable profit, there miglit be an excuse for it, but there is none. It never pays. All the chances, including that of utter failure, are against it.
The next blunder was that the difference between a pocket vein and a charge vein was not understood, and the existence of rich specimens was considered proof of the ligh value of a mine, whereas among experienced quartz miners it excites their suspicions and distrust. Nine-tenths of the lodes which yield richi specimens do not pay for milling. West Point, in Calaveras, and Bald Mountain, in Tuolumne, the richest pocket districts of the State, are not to be compared for yield with Sutter creek or the Sierra Buttes, where there is scarcely a passable specimen in a thousand tons.
The next error was that nothing was known of pay chimneys, and if good quartz was found in one place, it was presumed that the whole mine was of this same quality. In some cases the pay chimney was near the end of a claim, into
which it dipped not far from the surface, leaving the mill withont rock. In other cases the miner had liis pay chimney in his own claim, but he did not know enongh to follow it, and he worked straight down into barren rock, while tliero was an abundant supply of good quartz higher up.
Another error was that of sinking when nothing was found at the surface; a poliey that may do in mining for other metals, but is very risky in gold. If the croppings are barren along a considerable distance, deep sinkings will rarely pay; but if the vein does not crop ont, the only way to examine it may be by a shaft.
Much rock has been crushed without examination and without any proper selection.
In the mortars it is a common mistake to use too much quicksilver and too much water.
It has not been customary to make assays regularly of the tailings, so as to know what was passing off.
The mine owners, in a large proportion of the cases, have not resided at the mines, and have not made a study of the business; and no occupation requires personal supervision and thorough knowledge on the part of the owner more than mining.
These blunders are gradually being corrected, and if they were not still quite common the quartz mines of California would yield nearly twice as much as they do. The business will never be established upon a proper basis until the superintendents as a class are well-educated chemists and mining and mechanical engineers, and the mine owners frequent visitors, if not regular residents, at the mines.
In placer mining there is not room for much improvement. All the processes are simpler, and the work has generally been done well.
The southern mines—that is, in the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa-have nearly exhausted their placers. They had few deep gravel deposits, and in all four there has not been ono large hydraulic claim such as abound north of El Doralo. Placer, Yuba, Nevada, Sierra, and Plumas are more prosperous than the counties further southi, mainly because of their extensive beds of auriferous gravel more than a hundred feet deep.
THE ACT OF JULY 26, 1966.-Few applications have been made for the purchase of quartz mines or of agricultural lands in the mineral districts, under tho act of July 26, 1866, "granting tlie right of way to ditch and canal owners over the public lands, and for other purposes."
The farmers of the mining districts have long been anxious to get titles, but the value of their possessions las decreased considerably of late, and many of them do not feel alle to pay for the expense of a survey. They are required to pay not the survey of their respective farms alone, but for the survey of all the agricultural land in the whole township in which they are situated, and in some cases this expense may be $100. If several unite, the cost is less to cach; but the whole expense comes upon the first application, whether made by one or many. After the survey has once been made, applicants have no expense save the price of the land and a few small incidentals. Previous to the first of June twenty-five farmers in Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties had expressed a desire to get patents, and all would undoubtedly havo taken them if the survey had not stood in the way. The public sentiment of the State is unanimously in favor of the sale of these agricultural lands.
The surveys of quartz mines are not so expensive as those of agricultural claims, because it is not necessary to survey the whole township for a mine claim, bnt only to connect it with the public surveys by some one line, so that it can be laid down accurately upon the map. The expenso depends upon circumstances, but it will seldom exceed $100 for every step from the beginning until the issue of the patent, exclusive of the time and travel of the surveyor in getting to the place where the mine is situated.
The owners of quartz mines generally desire to get patents, but the fact that
the claims on public lands are not tased, and that those which have been granter! by the government are taxed, is a strong objection. The tax in the mining counties varies from three to four and a half per cent. annually, and that is a serious consideration with many.
The revenue law of California says:
All property, of every kind and nature whatever, within this State shall be subject to tas·ation, except
mining claims. (Hittell's General Laws, article 6298.) A supplementary act says: All provisions of law exempting mining claims from taxation are hereby repealed so far as they apply to lands or mines in the condition of private property, and granted as such by the Spanish or Mexican government, or the government of the United States, or of this state. ( The same, article 6265. Instructions under the act of July 26, 1866.)
The instructions issued by the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the surveyor general of California, and by him to liis deputies, are worthy of being placed within their reach, and will be found in the appendix.
SURVEYS.- Up to the 10th of October, 1867, eleven surveys, made under applications for patents of lode mines, have been received at the United States surveyor general's office in San Francisco. These cleven are the Penon Blanco, Virginia, Jones, Potts, and Oakes & Reese, (these two last adjoin, and may be considered as parts of the same mine, though on different veins,) in Mariposa county; the Trio, McCann, Arbona, Ilitchcock, and Grey Eagle, in Tuolumne county; and the Kelsey, in Eldorado county. Applications for surveys for patents have been inade in many other cases, probably fifty, at least, and notices of the applications have been advertised in the newspapers in the mining counties, but the surveys have not yet reached the surveyor general.
The State has been divided into nine districts, with a deputy surveyor in cach. The following are the districts :
First district.-Del Norte, Klamath, and Humboldt counties.
THE MOTHER LODE.
The mother lode is in many respects the most remarkable metalliferous vein in the world. Others have produced and are producing more, but no other has been traced so far, has so many peculiar features, has exercised so much influence on the topography of the country about it, or has been worked with a profit in so many places. The great argentiferous lodes of Mexico and South America, the most productive of precious metal of all known in history, can be followed not more than six or ciglit miles; wliile this Californian vein is distinctly traceable on the surface from Mariposa to the town of Amador, a distance of more than 60 miles.
COURSE AND DIP.— The general course of the vein is very nearly northwest and southeast, but to be more precise it is north 40° west. If a straight line be drawn