Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/626

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contain silver. Over two hundred mines have been worked here, and more than fifty of these have shafts not less than six hundred Feet in depth. Several of them are so extensive, that it takes a day to pass through a single one. When these mines were at the height of their prosperity, a tax of a real was levied upon each marco—half-pound—of silver produced, for the building of the cathedral of Chihuahua and the church of Santa Eulalia. The first cost $600,000 (one writer says $800,000); the last, $150,000; and a surplus of $150,000 remained to the building fund when both were completed. Between 1703 and 1833 silver was taken from these mines amounting to 43,000,000 marcos, or about $344,000,000." This author then adds: "For these mines and the town of Chihuahua, there is every prospect of a renewed and lasting period of wealth, since, sooner or later, there can be no doubt that capital and enterprise will be found to develop the natural resources of this locality."

This statement, made over thirty years ago, was in a measure prophetic, as a company of Eastern capitalists has commenced work at Santa Eulalia, with all the machinery necessary for pumping out the abandoned mines, and exposing the veins that produced so many successive bonanzas. One of their tunnels alone is seven hundred and fifty feet in length, eight feet high, by seven wide, and is intended to tap several mines.

In the banking-house of McManus & Co. I was shown a mass of silver as large as a coco-nut, containing that peculiar formation called clavos (or nails), like wires or nails of silver melted together. It had just been received from the Batopilas mines, now owned by a company, the "Batopilas Consolidated," represented by Ex-Governor Shepherd. At the same time the conducta came in from Batopilas with $60,000 in pure silver, as the returns for the month's work. In the list of mines of Northern Mexico, the Batopilas occupy the first place, as they have yielded many bonanzas and have produced some of the largest and most beautiful masses of native silver that have ever been exhibited to the world. They lie on the western declivity of the Sierra Madre, southwest of the city of Chihuahua, and distant five days by coach or muleback. The distance from