Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/152

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Mr. William Phillips on the Veins of Cornwall.

metal has been thrown away on the neglected heaps of that mine. Even now, whatever is not manifestly tin or copper, or is not suspected of yielding those metals, is paid little attention to; and the practical miner sees no value in the inquiry into the run of veins, the nature of the country they traverse, their contents, or uniformity, further than relates in his own estimation to the immediate benefit of his occupation; and he smiles at the nice discriminations of the mineralogist. If an inquiry into the phenomena of veins be made of him, he refers, by one short cut, to the universal deluge.

The total ignorance of almost every thing relating to the sciences of geology and mineralogy, and above all of chemistry, in the conductors of mines, and their agents, is not only matter of regret, but it can scarcely be doubted, is also the cause of much loss to the adventurers in mines, to the lords of the soil, and to the buyers of the ore. If a spirit of inquiry had existed, which some knowledge of these sciences could not have failed to produce, much cobalt would not have been thrown away on the heaps of Dolcoath and some other mines, nor would bismuth in Huel Sparnon have been mistaken for cobalt, nor would the roads have been mended with copper ore, nor would the ponderous ore, which contained silver in Herland mine, have been left to the chance that discovered its value, nor would many miners, in opposition to all the known principles and properties of mineral bodies believe, even to this day, in the regeneration of metals.[1] While in France, and in Germany, there

  1. “Whether tin doth grow again, and fill up places which have been formerly wrought away, or whether it only separateth itself from the consumed offal, hath been much controverted, and is not to this day decided.” And “whether-dead lodes—that have not one grain of tin in them—may not hereafter be impregnated, matured, and prove a future supply to the country, when the present lodes are exhausted, I think well deserves our highest consideration.” Notes to Carew's Survey of Cornwall, edit. 1811, by Tonkin, edited by Lord de Dunstanville. It must be confessed that these inquiries still prevail amongst practical miners.