Mexican Mining Magnates Protest to the Viceroy about Taxes

Bound in Contemporary Gold Wallpaper Wrappers

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450. [MEXICAN MINING]. MEXICO. REAL TRIBUNAL DE MINERÍA. Representaciones del Real Tribunal de Mineria a favor du su importante cuerpo, y declaracion del Exmô. Señor Virrey de estos Reynos sobre los utensilios, peltrechos, y demás efectos que inmediata, ó indirectamente conducen a laborio de las Minas no causen Alcabala. Con permisio de S.E. Mexico: Impresas en México por D. Felipe de Zúñiga y Ontiveros, calle de la Palma, año de 1781. [2], 1-57 [1, blank] pp., floral woodcut device on title, decorative headpiece and initial letter on first page, 2 other initial letters in text. Folio (29 x 20.5 cm), contemporary gold embossed patterned wallpaper wrappers. Very fine with wide margins and wonderful wrappers. Rare in commerce.

     First edition. Andrade 2:3649. Beristáin de Souza, Biblioteca Hispano Americana Setentrional (1883), Vol. III, p 258. Bibliografía geológica y minera de la República Mexicana 1877. Bibliotheca Mejicana 1141. Blake 6:2898. Medina, México 7201.  Sabin 69992. This work is divided into three sections, the first two of which are from the Tribunal to Viceroy Martin de Mayorga and although undated are from 13 October 1778 and 3 November 1780, respectively; the third is the government’s answer of 30 April 1781. In general, the Tribunal complains vigorously but politely about the fact that its operations and equipment are being overly taxed, to the detriment of mining operations. The government’s answer, however, is noncommittal. But this matter was soon followed by the introduction in 1783 of a completely revised mining code that did much to settle such controversies and lighten the tax burden on the mining industry and its entrepreneurs. The discussion and ensuing reforms had particular importance at the time when Mexico was approaching its peak output of precious metals, especially silver.

     The two memoranda are signed in type variously by Juan Lucas de Lassage, Joaquín Velásquez [Cárdenas] de León, Julián Antonio Hierro, Ramón Luis de Lizeaga [i.e., Liceaga], Tomas de Lizeaga, and Marcelo de Anza. The first two were definitely heavy hitters in the eighteenth-century Mexican mining industry. Lassage (d. 1786) owned mines in Zacatecas and undertook helping with the defense of his country after the English conquered Havana in 1762. Afterwards he helped establish both the Cuerpo de Minería de Nueva España and the Real Tribuna General de Minería in 1777. He also was a proponent of a school of mines. His first written foray into mining policy was his Representación de la minería de Nueva España (Mexico, 1774). Velásquez (1732-1786) left the priesthood to study astronomy, even building some of his own instruments. He went to California with Gálvez in 1786 to observe the transit of Venus. He, too, favored the establishment of a mining school, and when it was founded became its director. He was also a member of the Real Tribunal. Those two men were the principal authors of the proposal to Carlos III to found a mining school in Mexico. Hierro was one of the signatories to the purchase of the building that eventually housed it. Ramón Liceago was at one time director of the mining school. Anza was one of the signatories to a 1779 proposal to the Conde de Floridablanca that he provide a stipend to the school through Gálvez and was named as one of its founding members. Tomás de Liceago was a Creole who has mining interest in Guanajuato and was a founding general deputy of the mining school.

     Humboldt refers to this imprint in his own mining work and researches in New Spain.


Sold. Hammer: $800.00; Price Realized: $980.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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