No. 22.
Mr. Beale to Mr. Fish.

No. 31.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 27, I herewith forward through the United States consulate at Hamburg two publications this morning received from the foreign office, accompanying a note of which are herein inclosed a copy together with translation.

I have, &c.,


In continuation of the respectful note of 5th of last month, the minister of foreign affairs has now the honor to communicate to the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Mr. Edward F. Beale, the information desired by him, and derived from the imperial-royal ministry of agriculture, relative to the production of gold and silver from the mines in Austro-Hungary.

Especially it must be remarked, that the statistical particulars received relative to the production of gold and silver in the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy reach only to the year 1867 inclusive, but from the year 1867 to 1875 extend only to the provinces represented in the Reichsrath; further, the Austrian mining law prevails generally still in the countries of the Hungarian Crown, and therefore the statements delivered by the imperial-royal minister of agriculture fully suffice the commission appointed in Washington for the investigation of the coin, and currency relations.

As regards the question, how large the product of gold and silver mines during the present century may be, the ministry for foreign affairs begs to place at the disposal of the envoy the accompanying tabular statement, which contains the gold and silver production of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the years 1800 to 1867, and that in the provinces represented in the Reichsrath in the years 1868 to 1875.

The statements are derived up to the year 1854, from the “Review of the mining production of the Austrian Monarchy,” compiled from official sources by the ministerial counsellor in the ministry of agriculture, F. M. von Friese, (Vienna, 1852 and 1855, Depository of F. Manz,) and for the following years, from the annually appearing statistical publications, (the mining operations in Austria.)

[Page 23]

Proceeding to the second question, “under what conditions is the mining of the precious metals allowed, &c.,” the following observations are proper:

The conditions for the acquisition and exercise of mining licenses for the precious metals are the same as for the other minerals derived (rather reserved) from the disposal of the land proprietors, and are settled by the general mining laws of May 23, 1854. Hereby every lawful purchaser and proprietor of land is entitled to obtain mining licenses and to purchase and own mines. (S. F. a. B. G.)

Whoever will uncover, that is, seek reserved minerals in their depositories, and open those found so far that that transfer of the right of possession of the same can follow, requires for that purpose the consent of the mining authorities, (sec. 13, 14, of a. B. G,) through indication of the point at which the discoverer intends to begin an opening and to set the marks of uncovering the mine: the discoverer obtains the right within a horizontal circle whose radius amounted to 425 meters, (224 Wiener clafter,) and whose center point is the place where the shaft is sunk, (free opening circle,) to forbid the erection of a strange shaft-house, (sec. 32, 21, of a. B. G.). The original acquisition of the right of property in the reserved minerals within a specified limit and the authority to extract the same, are dependent upon the permission of the mining authorities.

This is only admissible when reserved minerals in their depository are so disclosed in the designated place that they can be regarded according to the local relations as worthy of paying the expense of working. One to four simple pits may be granted upon a single opening; a pit includes a horizontal rectangle of 45,116 square meters, (12,544 square clafter,) and extends usually in perpetual heights and depths, (illimitable.)

Should the minerals, however, appear in hollows and beds of rivers, in masses of stone or mountain deposits, then the concession of mining claims is allowed to a surface of 115 square meters, (32,000 Wiener clafter,) the depths of which extend only to the loose stones upon it. (Secs. 40, 42, 44, 46, 47, 76, and 77, a. B. G.)

These are the material ordinances for obtaining mining authorizations. Mining operations are subjected further to the enactments of mining laws in regard to mining police, and the working of mines. (VIII and XII of a. B. G.)

For more precise information upon this second question there is attached, in the second appendix, a copy of the general mining law, and of the ordinances issued in the matter.

Finally, as to taxation of mines of precious metals, they are treated the same as all other mines, and every free opening and every simple pit is subjected to an annual impost of 4 florins; further, an income-tax, calculated at 5 per cent, of the net income upon the products of mining, is to be paid, to which are to be added the various supplementary taxes, which vary in amount.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to the envoy the expression of his distinguished consideration.

For the minister for foreign affairs,