Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/155

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Mr. William Phillips on the Veins of Cornwall.

clothes, and with his tools slung over his shoulder, descends by ladders a depth of 1000 or 1200 feet, assisted by the light of a small candle, and works in the bottom of the mine six or eight hours, amidst the noise of the working of the pumps in drawing the water, with as much alacrity, and with as little sense of danger, as he would feel amidst his ordinary occupations above ground. We should be inclined to feel pity for the wretch who, as an atonement for his crimes, should be compelled to undergo what the Cornish miner voluntarily undertakes for a small pittance, and that even of an uncertain amount. ‘The mine of Huel Cock, in the parish of St. Just, is wrought eighty fathoms in length under the sea, below low water mark; and the sea in some places is but three fathoms over the back of the workings, insomuch that the tinners underneath hear the break, flux, ebb, and reflux of every wave, which, upon the beach overhead, may be said to have had the run of the Atlantic ocean for many hundred leagues; and consequently are amazingly powerful and boisterous. They also hear the rumbling noise of every nodule and fragment of rock, which are continually rolling upon the submarine stratum; which altogether make a kind of thundering roar that would surprise and fearfully engage the attention of the curious stranger. Add to this, that several parts of the load which were richer than others, have been very indiscreetly hulked and worked within four feet of the sea; whereby in violent stormy weather the noise overhead has been so tremendous that the workmen have many times deserted their labour, under the greatest fear lest the sea might break in upon them.’

The account of Huel Cock above cited, is extracted from the Mineralogia Cornubiensis of Pryce, page 21. I have made some use of the mining information contained in that work, which, though it is often confused, and sometimes scarcely intelligible, is,

Vol. II.T