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copper and tin. In all these mines steam engines are employed to a great extent, and the operations performed by them are considered equal to the labour of 40,000 men. The Copper Mines far exceed those of Tin in value, although the oldest in this county have not been worked' more than a century; in 1822 the produce of the former was 106,723 tons of ore, valued at £676,285, while the tin mines yielded only 20.000 tons.
The Tin and Copper Mines form so important a portion of this county, that a brief account of them seems to be requisite. When the presence of a vein of metal is suspected, the leave of the proprietor of the soil is obtained, and the first operation to be performed is called Costeening, which consists in sinking pits to the solid rock, and then forming a trench" north and south, so as to meet with every vein: this is done at the expense of a number of subscribers who are called Adventurers, and the share allotted to the Lord of the soil is usually onesixth or one-eighth of the profits. An Adit, or subterranean passage, is then formed, leading to the vein, for the purpose of draining off the water, which is met with in very large quantities *, and is brought to the adit-level by a chain of pumps. When the Shaft, or original opening, is sunk to a considerable depth, a machine called a Whim is erected, by which the deads (or waste) and ore are brought to the surface.
Galleries, called Levels, about two feet wide and six high, are cut one above another, horizontally on the vein; and, for the sake of ventilation, a second Shaft is made, which traverses them all, and a variety of other passages and Cuts are formed, according to the direction of the lode. A Mine is thus composed of a series of horizontal galleries, usually above each other, but sometimes parallel, traversed at irregular intervals by vertical shafts, and all
, directly or indirectly, communicating. In excavating, the earth and lighter matters are removed by the pickaxe, and the solid rock is blasted with gunpowder, of which a quantity estimated to cost £30,000, is annually consumed in the Mines.
* In a mine called Huel Abraham, 2,092,320 gallons are discharged every twenty-four hours.
The business of the Mine is managed by a foreman, or Captain, assisted by various minor officers, called Under-ground Captains, who have the immediate inspection of the works, while their chief keeps the accounts, and pays and regulates the workmen, who do not, as is commonly supposed, sleep, or even eat, under ground, but are relieved at intervals of about six hours *: notwithstanding this, they have generally a sickly and emaciated appearance, and their lives seldom extend to the usual limit of mortality.
When the Tin ore is brought to the surface, it has to undergo several processes, and is finally cast into blocks or ingots of about 3cwt. each, which are assayed, and coined, or stamped with the arms of the Duchy, by proper officers appointed for that purpose. The Copper ore is subjected to nearly the same process as the tin, but being found in larger masses, does not require so much dressing: it is cast in moulds, each containing about 150lbs.
* A motive of curiosity frequently leads the traveller to descend into a Mine, but, according to Dr. Forbes (in an excellent paper on the subject in the Transactions of the Geological Society of Cornwall) the fatigue and trouble will be but ill compensated by the result. “ A person unacquainted with the details of mining, on being informed of many bundreds of men being employed in a single mine, might naturally imagine that a visit to their deep recesses would afford a picturesque and imposing spectacle of gregarious labour and bustle, tremendous noise, and much artificial brilliancy to cheer the gloom. Nothing, however, is further from the truth, as far as regards the mines of Cornwall; for, like their fellow la'bourers the moles, the miners are solitary in their operations. Seldom do we find more than three or four men in one level, or gallery, at a time, where they are seen pursuing the common operations of digging or boring the rock, by the feeble glimmering of a small candle, stuck close by them, with very little noise or much latitude for bodily movement; besides whom there are generally one or two boys employed in wheeling the broken ore, &c. to the shaft. Each of these boys has also a candle affixed to his wheelbarrow, by the universal subterranean candlestick, a piece of clay. A certain band of men, who, however numerous, are always called "a Pair,” generally undertake the working of a particular Level. These subdivide themselves into smaller bodies, which, by relieving each other at the end of every six or eight hours, keep up the work uninterruptedly, except on Sunday. By means of this subdivision of the Pairs, there is in geueral not more than one-third of the underground labourers below at any one time. Very seldom are the miners within the sound of each other's operations, except occasionally when they hear the dull report of the ex: plosions. In the vicinity of the main shaft, indeed, the incessant action of the huge chain of pumps, produces a constant, but not very loud noise, while the occasional rattling of the metalic buckets against the walls of the shaft, as they ascend and descend, relieves the monotony both of the silence and the sound. Still every thing is dreary, dull, and cheerless; and you can be with difficulty persuaded, even when in the richest and most populous mines, that you are in the centre of such extensive and inportant operations."
Of all investments of property, perhaps Mining speculations are the most hazardous; and although there are instances of extraordinary profit, yet these are more than balanced by the numerous cases in which heavy losses have been sustained: notwithstanding this, new adventurers are constantly starting up, and land-owners and merchants are induced to join in the enterprise, the latter by the profits they derive from supplying various articles of consump· tion, and the former from the hope of improving their estates.
Beside the tin obtained from the Mines, a large quantity is also procured by Streaming, which is done by directing a stream of water over the soil, the finer particles of which are thus washed away, and the ore remains. Gold, in minute particles, is often discovered in the course of this process. Silver has been found, in much larger quantities, in the copper and lead mines.
All matters connected with the Tin Mines are regulated by the Stannary Laws, the earliest of which appears to have been enacted in the reign of Henry III, when Richard Earl of Cornwall bestowed several privileges on the Tinners, which were confirmed and augmented at subsequent periods by successive Dukes," and various Acts of Parliament have also been passed for their regulation. They are under the jurisdiction of a Lord Warden, appointed by the Duke; the Vice Warden holds a Court monthly for the decision of disputes; and minor Courts are held by the Stewards of each precinct (of which there are four) assisted by Juries of six persons, from whose judgments an appeal lies progressively to the Vice Warden, Lord Warden, and Duke in Council. On extraordinary occasions a Parliament of Tinners is summoned, consisting of 24 persons, six from each of the districts, by whom laws and regulations are made, which have, in stannary affairs, the authority of an Act of the national legislature.
Not far from Redruth is Carn-breh Hill, which rises to the height of 697 feet, and derives its principal interest from the supposition of Dr. Borlase that this was the principal seat of Druidical worship; with the true tact of an antiquary, he recognised in the masses of stone with which the hill is profusely bestrewed, Circles, Cromlechs, Logan-stones, Cairns, and a variety of other monuments, which later and more unprejudiced investigators have decided, apparently with reason, to be no other than the productions of nature in one of her fantastic moods. On the summit of the hill are the remains of an ancient fortification, called the Castle, the greater part apparently of British construction.
About five miles from Redruth is St. Agnes, a town on the coast, which had formerly a considerable harbour, now choked up with sand, and a Quay, which has suffered much from the violence of the waves, but has since been put in tolerable repair. The immense rocks on this coast have a magnificent appearance; one of them, which stands alone, is of stupendous dimensions, and rises to the height of 664 feet above the level of the sea; it is called St. Agnes' Beacon, and is a very useful landmark to vessels navigating this dangerous course.
At St. Agnes was born John Opie, who was found here by Dr. Wolcot, (better known by his poetical appellation of Peter Pindar) in the employ of a carpenter. Some of his rude sketches in chalk being shown to the poet, he was struck by the evidences of genius which they afforded, and inviting the poor youth to his house at Truro, enabled him, by his instructions and liberality, to improve his natural abilities so far as to commence portrait painter, and many of his earliest productions are to be met with in the houses of the nobility and gentry of Cornwall and Devonshire. He afterwards went to the metropolis, where his talents soon recommended him to notice; he became a Member of the Royal Academy, and finally Professor of Painting to that Institution, but died at an early age in 1807*. His Lectures on Painting have been published, and are much admired; and the discovery and cultivation of this original genius confers the highest honour on Dr. Wolcot, whose character must not be estimated from the invectives of Gifford.
In the adjoining parish of Perranzabuloe is a circular amphitheatre called Perran Round, surrounded by a fosse and rampart of earth: the area is nearly 400 feet in circumference, and had seats or benches of turf for the spectators; it is supposed to have been intended for the representation of some of those Cornish plays or interludes, the manuscripts of which are still preserved in the Bodleian Library. Several other Rounds” are still seen in this part of the county; and, till a recent period, some of them were used for the exhibition of wrestling matches, &c.
* Mrs. Opie, so deservedly ranked as one of the first female writers of the age, is the widow of the painter.
Four miles north-west of Redruth is Tehidy Park, the seat of Lord de Dunstan ville, a handsome mansion of Cornish freestone, erected about a century ago, and containing a fine collection of paintings.
The Park comprises about 700 acres, and from its noble and extensive plantations, when contrasted with the wild and desolate aspect of the surrounding country, appears like a beautiful garden, raised by enchantment in the midst of a boundless desert. About two miles from hence is Portreath, where a Pier has been erected, and a bason formed, for the convenience of shipping the ore, &c. to Wales.
St. RockE is a village about six miles from Bodmin, remarkable for three immense piles of rocks, starting abruptly from the earth, and covering a large space with enormous fragments. On the brow of the central mass stand the ruins of a small Chapel or Hermitage, partly formed by stone walls, and partly by the natural rock: it appears to have consisted of two apartments, one above the other; and the height, from the plain to the top of the building, was about 120 feet.
SALTASH. This town is situated on the side of an eminence ascending from the Tamar, 220 miles from London. It consists chiefly of one street of ancient houses, rising abruptly above each other. The Chapel is a venerable structure, with a massive tower, standing on the summit of the hill; it has a fine altar-piece, and a very handsome monument in memory of three brothers, named Drew, who were all unfortunately drowned. The Market-house is near the Chapel, and is a modern building, supported on pillars; the Market, on Saturday, is held in the space beneath; and four apnual Fairs are also kept.