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localities. Good quartz r; veins exist in many .of them, but the want of capital has retarded their development. Unskilled labor can mate no further progress, and.new ifields of enterprise have beeri sought by.those who formerly depended uppn the placers. Borne have pushed their way over the mountains into Idaho, Montana, and other n$w Territories; others have given up mining and devoted tlieni^elves to farming,, trade, or commerce., *
, .„ Similar changes have, been experienced in Idaho, Montana, and other Territories in which surface, mining attracted a population. At first the yield was large and easily obtained ,v as the surface deposits were worked up to their sources quartz, veins were discovered, and machinery, and skill became requisite; the difficulty of access to the more remote mineral regions increased the expense of transportation, .and the uncertainty of remunerative results impaired confidence. Ijigtory shows that these changes occur in all mining countries and are inseparable from this branch of industry, ^ - - ,
No uneasiness need be felt as to a decrease in the source of supply. After many:years of travel over thq mining regions, I feel justified in asserting that our mineral resources are practically without limit. Explorations made by competent parties during the past year in many parts of the mineral region hitherto unknown demonstrate the fact that the area of the mineral deposit is much larger than was ever before supposed. It is safe to assume that of the claims already recorded in the settled parts of the country, and known to be valuable, not more than one in a hundred is being worked; and of those worked perhaps not more than one in fifty pays anything over expenses, owing to mismanagement, inem> cient systems of reducing the ores, want of capital, cost of transportation, and other causes susceptible of remedy. In many districts of Nevada silver ores of less value than $100 a ton cannot be worked by mill process so as to pay expenses,; and there are districts in Idaho &nd Montana where gold-bearing ores will not justify working unless they yield from $40 to $50 per ton. *
With such wealth <5f treasure lying dormant, it cannot be doubted that, by the increased facilities for transportation ;and access to the mines soon to be furnished by the Pacific railroad and its proposed branches, and the experience in the treatment of ores, and the scientific knowledge to be acquired in a national school of mines adequate to the necessities of the mining population, the yield must eventually increase.
The adventurous Americans who take the lead in the development of these frontier regions are generally energetic and intelligent, but prone to extravagance and reckless speculations.
No country in the world can show such wasteful systems of mining as prevail in ours. At a moderate calculation, there has been an unnecessary loss of precious, metals since the discovery,of our mines of more than $300,000,000, scarcely a fraction of which can ever be recovered. This is a serious consideration. The question arises whether it is not the duty of government to prevent, as far as may be consistent with individual rights, this waste of a common heritage, in which not only ourselves but our posterity are interested.
The miner has a right to the product of his labor, but has he a right to deprive others of the benefits to be derived from the. treasures of the earth, placed there for the common good! The precious metals are of an imperishable nature, evidently designed to pass beyond the reach of the discoverer and to subserve purposes of human convenience for generations. Our children have an interest in them.which we cannot with propriety disregard.
The bill to establish a national school of mines, introduced in the Senate, at the'beginning of the present session of Congress, by Mr. Stewart of Nevada, is designed to remedy this evil. Similar schools have been established in various parts,,,of. Europe, and the best evidence of their utility is the fact that we are indebted, to them for nearly all the knowledge we possess on the subject of mining and metallurgy. Our mines and mills are practically managed by foreign experts; we famish-the labor and mechanical ingenuity, but they furnish the scientiric skill. Without the aid of foreign institutions we could have made but little progress in mining; and 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 bo a great advantage, not only in the saying 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, iesult 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 undoubtedly 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 Minings 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 due 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 he 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. II. Rolfe, his assistant, and the brief reports on some of the northern and southern counties by Dr. Henry Degroot, with a sketch of the Morriss Ravine mines by Dr. A. Blatchley, nearly all the goldbearing regions of California are described by Mr. Hittell. 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 miscellaneous mineral productions of the Pacific 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. Henry Degroot, a statistician and writer,twhom I deputed to travel through Nevada, has furnished a series of interesting papers on the miscellaneous resources of that vState,
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 enabled to collect the information which is embodied in his reports.
Mr. Elwood Evans, of Olympia, formerly territorial secretary of Washington, has kindly furnished detailed reports on the resources of that Territory.
. To Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Hill, Mr. kadd, and others, I am indebted for information relative to the trade, alid^esourees of Oregon,
The report on Arizona is from the pen of Governor B. C. McCormick. It will be found extremely interesting,. (
Mr. W. M. Gabb, of the State geological survey of California, whose recent expedition through .Lower-CaMornia.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 theyMexidan 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 earnest- 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 inimical to the welfare of the people. No branch of industry.requiring mechanical skill and the acquisition 'of scientific knowledge can justly be said to contain in itself elements injurious toj 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 are most rapidly opened up to settlement and civilization. Providence so ordains
- it that the superficial treasures of the earth designed to attract this enterprising elass 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 eighteen year§. 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 rcan predict the high condition ^of prosperity likely to be attained by these new States and Territories eighteen years hence?—with trans-continental railroads and telegraph lines binding the Atlantic to the Pacific; with branch roads and lines traversing the country north and south; with the commerce of Asia powing its treasures into our seaport's; with an export trade commanding the whole eastern world; with a probable coast line stretching from Behring 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 see, but few can now realize the magnificent future that lies before us. In this favored land the laborer,'the artisan, the mechanic, the man of science, can each find profitable employment and a congenial home. As we want 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 herewith submitted will not be without practical utility wherever it may be circulated.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BOSS BEOWNE. Hon. H. Mcculloch,
Secretary of the Treasury.
GENERAL CONDITION OF THE MINING INTEREST.
- The information and statistics relative to the gold mines of California were , 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 made 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 Ashbumer wrote a report on the Mariposa estate, and in it he made the following general remarks:
In 1858 there were upwards of 280 quartz mills in California, each one of which was supplied with quartz from one or more veins. The number of stamps in these mills was 2,610, 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 both 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 large 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 might 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 high value of a mine, whereas among experienced quartz miners it excites their suspicions and distrust. Nine-tenths of the lodes" which yield rich specimens Mo 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 the x same quality. In some cases the pay chimney was near the end of a claim, into
which*!! dipped not far from the' surface, -leaving the mill without rock. In otheica&es the miner had his 'pay chimney in his own claim, but he did not know enough-to follow it, and he worked straight down into barren rock, while there was ah abundant supply of good quartz higher up.
Another error was that of sinking when nothing was found at the surface; a ppJicy 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 out, the only way to examine it may be by a shaft. Much rock has been crushed without examination and without any proper selection.
Jin 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 one large hydraulic claim sudi as abound north of El Dorado. Placer, Yuba, Nevada, Sierra, and Plumas are more prosperous than the counties further sdnth, mainly because-of their extensive beds of auriferous gravel more than a hundred feet deep.
The Act Oj? July 26,1866.—Few applications have been made for the purchase of quartz mines or of agricultural lands in the mineral districts, under the . act of July 26,1866, "granting the right of wray 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 has decreased considerably of late, and many of them do not feel able 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 $400. If several unite, the cost is less to each; 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 have 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 sp expensive as those of agricultural claims, because it is not necessary to survey the whole township for a mine claim, but, only to connect it with the public surveys by some one line, so that it can be laid down accurately upon the map. The expense "depends upon circumstances, but it will seldom exceed $100 for every step from the beginning until tjie 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