Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/324

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Mr. Taylor on the Economy

The disbursements or costs are added up at the end of certain periods, seldom exceeding three months, but more generally at the end of every two months, at which times the adventurers meet and examine the accounts; each contributes his quota of money in time for the pay-day, which takes place regularly soon after.

When the mine becomes productive, the accounts are closed at the same periods, and the profit divided to the adventurers in the same manner. A balance to answer the advances made to the men, and other contingencies, is usually left in the hands of the purser or principal agent.

The general detail of management is often delegated to one person, who controls and superintends the whole affairs of the mine; most commonly this person is one of the parties concerned in the undertaking, and one who from having made the professions his regular pursuit, and having, as is often the case, the care of several mines, is well fitted for so important a task. Some mines have the conduct of their affairs more divided, by the financial part being entrusted to a purser, and the management of the works to the principal captain acting under the direction of the meetings of the adventurers.

The agents who attend regularly to the operations, and who govern the executive part, are called captains, and are practical miners, selected for their skill and character, and who frequently pass from situations of subordinate trust and importance to those of great responsibility. Their general character is well known to those who have had occasion to visit the mining districts now under consideration; and it would be unjust not to notice here, how much of the perfection of the system of management in the mines has been owing to the zeal and intelligence of this respectable class of men, and how much its useful application constantly depends on their knowledge and activity.