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The first rush of gold seekers to Colorado occurred in 1858 and 1859. In the

present volume are found the records of the earliest organizations in the state

and the legislation of the early mining. districts. In June, 1859, the Rocky

Mountain News reported "The first mass meeting ever held in the Rocky Mountains."

It was at the "Gregory Diggings", attended by "between two and three

thousand miners", and was addressed by Horace Greeley. A report on what

they found at Gregory Diggings was prepared by a committee of three distinguished

visitors, consisting of Horace Greeley, A. D. Richardson, and Henry

Villard. At the mass meeting then held the miners designated boundaries of the

district, prescribed rules as to the size and location of claims, and created a

miners' court. At later meetings these laws were amplified. In the volume

is found the legislation of some nineteen mining districts, enacted at similar

public meetings of the entire population. This legislation deals chiefly with

the mining industry, but criminal codes are also included. The Hawk Eye

District enacted that "Any person found guilty of wilful murder shall be hanged

by the neck till dead and then given to his friends if called for and if not to be

decently buried, and all other crimes not enumerated in these laws shall be

punished as the Court or jury of men may direct."

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