as to the amount of labour which can be afforded to all the different varieties, and it has become therefore the common practice to regulate these processes by a constant reference to the assay, which prevents a waste of metal on the one hand, or a useless expence on the other.
This part of the economy of the mines of Cornwall has been censured, inasmuch as the concerns are often supplied by a part of the adventurers who are dealers in the articles required, and who therefore have a concurring interest in allowing exorbitant prices and an unlimited consumption.
Where the majority of the property of a mine is in the hands of those who look to their contracts for the supply of materials as a source of profit, no check can well be devised to guard the interest of the other adventurers, and it might become a question with any person about to engage in a mine under such circumstances. But where the mercantile part of the adventurers hold a smaller part of the property, contracts of this sort, and the appointment of agents being under the controul of the majority, they may easily take measures to secure the purchase of all articles at a fair price, without depriving their fellow adventurers of that preference which their interest in the mine fairly entitles them to.
Tin ores are smelted in Cornwall at smelting-houses belonging to different persons who are likewise generally adventurers in tin mines.
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