Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/326

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Mr. Taylor on the Economy

man who looks to the receipt and due delivery of articles used in working the mine, and a principal carpenter and blacksmith, though the two latter are often employed by contract.

3. The Mode of employing and paying the Miners and Workmen in Use among the Agents of the principal Mines.

We now come to that part of the economy of the Cornish mines, which is most deserving of consideration from the effects it has produced, not only by procuring regularly a great deal of effective labour in proportion to the money paid for it, but also by turning that labour into such a direction as to make it the interest of the workmen to increase the discoveries of ore, and to work it and make it saleable in the most economical manner. Thus the owners of the mine have the advantage of all the intellect and skill that the men collectively possess, and have only to guard against the chances of fraud which such a system may be supposed to be subject to, but which are in fact under intelligent and faithful agents of too trifling a nature to be accounted of any importance.

The work of the mines, on the surface as well as underground, is universally performed by contract, and in this particular the practice of this district is probably similar to that of other mining establishments in different parts of the kingdom. Day work is in general disrepute in the stannaries, and is seldom resorted to, but where jobs are to be performed which either hardly admit of a previous estimate, or are too trifling to be worth contracting for; so that the charges under this head, among all the various operations of a large and well-managed mine, usually amount to but a very small proportion of the whole.

The plan of making the contracts with the miners, which it is