Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GAMBOA, Francisco Javier (gam-bo'-ah), Mexican lawyer, born in Guadalajara, 17 December 1717 ; died in the City of Mexico, 4 June, 1794. He came of a rich family, but was left an orphan in his early youth, and his fortune was squandered by the executors. He began his studies at the College of San Juan, in his native City, continued at that of San Ildefonso, Mexico, and finished them in the University of that City in 1739. He then entered the practice of law, and soon became famous by his successful defense of a complicated suit. In May, 1755, he was sent by the tribunal of commerce on a commission to Madrid, to arrange some intricate questions at court, and there studied mining engineering, afterward writing a treatise on subterranean geometry, which appeared as part of his work on law. He was treated with distinction by Charles III., and commissioned president of the Supreme Court of Santo Domingo, where he arranged the ordinances of the court, and composed the famous "Black Code" for the government of the slaves. On being promoted to the presidency of the Supreme Court of Mexico, he reformed the forensic practice, introduced a clear style of pleading, and was the founder of a new school of jurists. To simplify the proceedings still further, he labored for many years on a codification of the mining laws, which appeared under the title of "Comentarios a las ordenanzas de minas, dedicadas al Rey Don Carlos III." (Madrid, 1761), accompanied by an alphabetical list of mines, their distance from the capital, and of the most common mining terms of the province, that differ from those used in Spain. The arguments in two of the most famous lawsuits that he defended were printed(Mexico, 1753 and 1754), and he left many manuscripts, which are preserved in the National library.
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