Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/346

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XVI. A Description of the Oxyd of Tin, the production of Cornwall; of the Primitive Crystal and its modifications, including an attempt to ascertain with precision, the admeasurement of the angles, by means of the reflecting Goniometer of Dr. Wollaston: to which is added, a series of its crystalline forms and varieties.


By Mr. William Phillips, Member of the Geological Society.

THE oxyd of Tin, Étain oxydé of the French, Zinnstein of the Germans, has for many centuries given to Cornwall an important place in the economical history of nations. It is asserted by Pliny[1] that the Phœnicians visited its coasts, and carried on a lucrative commerce in tin with its inhabitants.

Cornwall is justly celebrated not only for its inexhaustible stores of this valuable substance, but for the superior quality of the substance itself; for, according to Klaproth, it is purer than that of Bohemia and Saxony, as it contains both less iron and less arsenic: and although the oxyd of tin is or has been found in almost every district of Cornwall, it is nevertheless one of those substances which are the least abundantly dispersed throughout the globe.[2] Many considerable countries are entirely without it; but it is found in Gallicia in Spain, in Bohemia, in Saxony, in Banca and Malacca in the East Indies, and in Chili in South America.

  1. Lib. iv. cap. 34.
  2. Brongniart, p. 192.