Transactions of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association/Volume 2/2
SKETCH OF THE MEDICAL TOPOGRAPHY
HUNDRED OF PENWITH,
DISTRICT OF THE LANDSEND,
BY JOHN FORBES, M.D., F.R.S.
THE great object of Medical Topography being to trace the causes of diseases, with a view to their prevention, the aim of the Medical Topographer ought to be to detail all the circumstances, physical and moral, which can in any way exert an influence over the health of the inhabitants of the place which he undertakes to describe; and to investigate the nature of this influence, and the manner of its operation, until it terminates in the production of formal bodily disorder. A complete Treatise of Medical Topography would, therefore, comprehend a most varied and extensive range of information respecting the locality treated of. The principal heads under which the various subjects in such a treatise might be ranged, would appear to be the following:─Part I. Historical. I. The Natural History, comprehending all the external physical influences inherent in the particular locality, and existing independently of the human inhabitants. 2. The Civil or Economical History, comprehending all the influences, physical and moral. rising out of, or having reference to, the social condition of the inhabitants.─Part II. Statistical. I. The Statistical Results of these influences as exhibited in the Physical History of the inhabitants, the state of their health, and the laws which regulate procreation and mortality. 2. The Medical Results of these influences, or the diseases incident to the inhabitants, and their consequences.
In drawing up the following Sketch, I have endeavoured
to keep this arrangement in view; but
no one can be more fully aware than myself; how
very inadequately and imperfectly the details have
been executed. I have wished to express this imperfection
by the title which I have given to my
paper; but I could not feel satisfied without a more
formal declaration of it in this place. In addition
to my want of capacity to do the subject justice,
under any circumstances, I have laboured under an
accidental disadvantage in treating it, which has
rendered my memoir much more defective than I
had hoped it would be when I began collecting
materials for its composition: I allude to the circumstance
of my having left Cornwall before I had
collected much of the information which I considered
necessary for the completion of my plan.
With all its imperfections, however, I by no means consider the following Essay as useless; and even if it possessed less value than I myself attach to it, I would much rather risk my credit by publishing it, than deprive my fellow-members of the benefit which they may reap from my example. My plan I believe to be good; and I cannot deny myself the justice of having prosecuted my inquiries with zeal, so long as I remained amid the subjects of them.
In order to account for the distant date of most of the statistical details contained in the Memoir, I wish further to state that it is twelve years since I left Cornwall, and that almost all the materials of which it is composed, were collected during my residence there. Some few particulars, indeed, I owe to a more recent communication with my Cornish friends, a circumstance which will explain the seeming incongruity of the dates in some parts of the paper.
OF THE DISTRICT.
Geographical Position.─The counties of Devon and Cornwall constitute a large promontory or imperfect peninsula, washed by the British and Bristol Channels, which projects westward into the Atlantic considerably beyond the main body of the Island of Great Britain. As the western border of Devonshire is nearly in the same parellel with the shores of Wales, nearly the whole of Cornwall, consequently, is to the westward of the rest of England. The greater part of the county is also to the southward of all the other parts of England, except part of Devonshire; and the district of the Landsend is in a considerably lower latitude than the most southern part of Devon.
The extreme length of Cornwall is about seventy eight miles. Its breadth, at its junction with Devon, is somewhat more than forty, and it gradually decreases in extent to its western extremity. At the distance of, one-third of its length from Devon, it is eighteen miles; at two-thirds, it is only thirteen; and on the shores of the Mounts-Bay, within twelve miles of the Landsend, it is in one place only five miles broad. The mean breadth of the county is about twenty miles. The Hundred of Penwith, or District of the Landsend, comprises the western extremity of the county from sea to sea. It extends about fifteen miles from the Landsend on the southern, and nearly double that distance on the northern shore, its mean length being about twenty five, and its mean breadth about seven miles. It contains 90,957 statute acres, or about 142 square English miles. The promontory of the Landsend lies in north latitude 50° 4′, and west longitude 5° 41′. It is exactly 300 miles from London by the mail roads.
The whole of Cornwall constitutes a low mountainous chain, considerably elevated, even on its coasts, above the surrounding sea. In stretching westward, this chain gradually decreases in altitude as well as breadth; yet, even at its extremity, it still preserves its hilly character, and overlooks the ocean with lofty and precipitous shores. The mean height of the Hundred of Penwith above the level of the sea, is probably between 400 and 500 feet, and its highest hills certainly do not exceed 1000 feet.
Thus situated and characterised, the Hundred of Penwith certainly possesses many striking natural peculiarities, as compared with most other districts in Great Britain. Its bold and narrow Promontory projected, as it were, into the Atlantic Ocean, midway between the coasts of France and Ireland, more than a hundred miles from the main body of England, and a still greater distance from the two former Kingdoms,─it is, at the same time, removed from the influence of many causes common to the rest of the island, and subjected to others peculiar to itself. In addition to its natural peculiarities of climate, &c. this district is remarkable for containing a large number of miners, a class of men whose whole habits and mode of life are extremely unlike those of a mere agricultural or manufacturing population. These two circumstances, together with the facility of isolating the district so as to compare the results of our investigations with those afforded by other situations, seem to render its Medical Topography a subject of more than usual interest.
Physiognomy.─As has been already observed, the whole of this district possesses a hilly character, and, with the exception of a few very small strips of low coast, is considerably elevated above the sea. Generally speaking the surface is throughout very uneven, being broken in many places by a succession of hills and vallies, yet, upon the whole, perhaps, rather possessing the character of a ridge of low hills, sloping on all sides to the sea, than of a continuous intermixture of hills and vallies. The whole line of coast, with two small exceptions, is uniformly and remarkably precipitous, exhibiting, in many places, some of the finest cliff-scenery in the Island. This character of the coast is particularly favourable to the pursuits of the geologist, laying open to him, in every direction, by the most splendid natural sections, the structure and relations of the rocks of which the country is composed. Nor is the physiognomy of the rocks in the interior less remarkable. On every hill the granite is seen protruding in the most fantastic forms from the scanty and imperfect covering of soil. These rocks, under the names of Tors and Carns, have been alternately the objects of the antiquary and geologist, and must ever continue to attract the notice of the traveller.
With the exception of the beautiful shores of the Mounts-Bay, in the immediate vicinity of Penzance, and of some rich corn land in the parishes of Buryan, Sennen, and St. Levan, near the Landsend, the general aspect of this district is rugged and cheerless, destitute alike of the composed beauty of a level country, or of the grandeur of a mountainous one. Perhaps one-third part of the district consists of uncultivated moor land, of a particularly wild and sterile character, while the remainder, even where most cultivated, possesses little of the appearance of a rich and fertile country. Many circumstances combine to produce this effect, but more especially the almost total absence of trees and hedge-rows throughout the district. To this must be added the general prevalence of stone fences in place of the hedge-rows of other parts of England, the huge blocks of granite strewn over many of the cultivated fields; the low, round-backed naked hills, always near and always in view; the rude and mean aspect of the cottages; and, above all, the devastation occasioned by the operations of mining. This art, more than any other, tends to destroy the natural beauties of a country, inasmuch as it at once annihilates the whole of the vegetable productions near its operations; and, by covering large tracts with heaps of stones and rubbish from the bowels of the earth, superadds features which are not only ugly and disagreeable in themselves, but which become still more destructive of the charm of scenery, by suggesting ideas of vulgar ruin and desolation. As partly compensating for this cheerless aspect of the general surface, it is but justice to this interesting district to state, that some parts of it─indeed of small extent─more especially the vicinity of its capital, Penzance, are extremely beautiful, rich, and well-wooded, while almost the whole of its sea-views and cliff-scenery are unrivalled in magnificence and picturesqueness.
Alluvial soil and surface.─On the hills and higher grounds in this district, the alluvial deposits, as might be expected, are extremely scanty or altogether wanting; but in the low-grounds and vallies, the deposition is often very abundant.
The nature of this covering varies, generally speaking, with the subjacent rock; being on the killas or slate districts, of a soft clayey character, with a trifling intermixture of small rolled fragments of the strata beneath; and in the granite districts, of a looser and more sandy character, with a large intermixture of rolled masses of granite, often of immense size. As it does not enter into the purpose of this memoir to treat of these deposits in any other view than as they are allied to Medical Statistics, I shall content myself with observing that, in many parts of the district, they are uncommonly fertile in the ordinary agricultural productions; that as well from the loose and friable nature of these, as from the uneven surface of the country, the general character of the soil is light and dry; and (with one or two very trifling exceptions) that marsh or bog land is entirely unknown. The only exception to this is furnished by a marsh between Penzance and Marazion, adjoining the sea, and partially saline, running parallel with the shore. It was formerly a mile in length and about a furlong in breadth, filled with reeds; but at the present time (1833) it is much lessened by draining and the beneficial encroachments of agriculture. On the northern shores, also, along the banks of the Estuary of Hayle and in the parish of Gwithian, there are some small strips of marshy land, but of very inconsiderable extent, and produced rather by the irruption of the sea water than the stagnation of the land springs. In the parishes of Lelant, Phillack, and Gwithian, there is a ridge of low hills of calcareous or shell sand, extending a couple of miles along the shore, and reaching inland from half a mile to a mile in different places. This accumulation of sand is evidently of comparatively recent formation, and must have been derived from the sea. It covers the native soil of the district, and is itself now covered and confined by a crop of the common sand weed or bent. Dividing these sand hills is the Estuary of Hayle, running nearly two miles inland, and leaving, at low water, an extensive plain of line sand.
Waters.─There is nothing approaching to the nature of a lake, nor even a natural pond, in this district; and, owing to its small extent and peninsular character, its streams are hardly of sufficient size to be entitled to the name of rivers. They make up in number, however, for what they want in size. Originating in the central ridges, they flow towards the sea on all sides, but chiefly to the north and south, and exhibit, in the rapidity of their course and purity of their waters, the life and beauty peculiar to the streams of a mountainous country. This profusion of running water is of the utmost benefit to a district wherein the operations of mining require the employment of so much machinery; and the great utility of the Cornish stream lets becomes the cause of the destruction of all their beauty and purity. The processes of pounding the ores at the mill, (stamping) and of washing the gravelly soils in search of alluvial tin, (streaming,) very frequently divert them from their natural course, and convert them into dirty puddles of a red or white colour.
This district is equally rich in numerous and copious springs of excellent and very pure water. They are found in every village, and are seen at the foot of every hill. Several of these, of unusual extent and purity, have, in former times, obtained so much renown for their healing virtues, as to be dedicated to saints; and two still are surrounded by the ruins of the chapels built for the accommodation of their visitors. These sacred springs contain no mineral impregnation, yet they still retain, in some degree, the confidence of the neighbouring peasantry as specifics in certain diseases, more especially of the eyes. Several natural springs are slight chalybeates, and many which are connected with mines are impregnated artificially with the salts of iron and copper. With these trifling exceptions, the whole waters of the district are remarkably free from mineral impregnation, and are, consequently, perfectly soft and delicious. So plentiful are the natural springs, that pump-water is more rarely used than in most other places.
Geology and Mineralogy.─The geological structure of a district being, in general, but remotely connected with the health of the inhabitants, I shall, in this place, content myself with a very brief outline of that of the Landsend.
The physical structure of Cornwall is very simple as far as regards the number and relation of its component rocks: it is rendered both complicated and curious, in many parts, by the vast number of its metalliferous veins.
There is every reason to believe that the central or main rock of Cornwall consists of granite, and that the interrupted chain of hills composed of this rock, which extends from Dartmoor, in Devonshire, to the Landsend, is merely the protuberant shoulders of one continuous mass.
Reposing upon this central ridge, and in general dipping from it on all sides, there is, in the language of geologists, a formation, consisting principally of varieties of clay slate, but containing subordinate strata of very different rocks. These are different in different districts, but consist principally of hornblende and felspar rocks, and sparingly of limestone and serpentine.
In the Hundred of Penwith, the especial object of this memoir, the proportion of the granite and slate formations, (which alone exist there) at the surface, is nearly equal, the former, perhaps, being rather the greatest. In the more immediate district of the Landsend, bounded on the eastward by a line drawn from Saint Michael's Mount to the Estuary of Hayle, the whole substratum is granite, with the exception of a narrow and interrupted border of slaty rocks on some part of the shores. In the remaining part of the Hundred, there is some granite, also, but the greater part consists of slate formation. This formation, in this district, exhibits two varieties; the one consisting exclusively of clay slate, and the other principally of a series of rocks composed of hornblende and felspar. The latter variety appears to exist in the more immediate vicinity of the granite; the former at some distance from it. The clay slate exhibits a considerable variety of structure, as do the several rocks composing the other variety of the formation. These latter appear in the form of alternating strata of hornblende rock, hornblende slate, greenstone, slaty felspar and clay slate. These rocks invariably incline from the main body of the granite under a varying angle of from 20° to 40°. At the immediate junction of this with the superincumbent slaty and hornblende rocks, there is often a close inter texture of parts, but never any thing like an intermixture on the great scale, much less any alternation of strata. They are essentially and invariably distinct. Where covered by the soil, the granite is generally found decayed or pulverulent on the surface, and in many places exhibits, under these circumstances, a stratified appearance. But this is only a superficial, and, I believe, an adventitious feature. The whole of this district, both in the granite and slaty parts, is traversed by an infinity of metalliferous veins. These, in general, run east and west. They vary extremely in their size and length, and also in the character of their contents. The principal metallic ores contained in them are tin and copper; but they contain many other metals, besides a great variety of other simple minerals. In some parts of the district these veins are much more plentiful and productive than in others, and are, consequently, much more worked.
The quantity of tin and copper annually raised in
this district is immense. In 1822, the amount of
tin exported from the hundred was calculated, by a
most intelligent friend, there resident, at about 1,200
tons, valued at about £120,000. In the same year,
the amount of copper exported from the district, was
estimated at 40,000 tons of ore, containing about
3,000 tons of copper, and producing about £215,000.
This district is extremely rich in simple minerals,
a list of which will be found in the Appendix to this
paper.─(See Appendix, No. 1)
It has been already observed, in speaking of the soil, that the nature of the alluvial covering varies, generally, with that of the subjacent rock. It is, nevertheless, true, that at the points of junction of two rocks of different nature, as, for example, of granite and killas, the rolled stones and soil derived from one rock, are generally spread to some distance over the other. All over the country where these junctions exist, there is a belt of soil of equivocal character, to which the farmers, in some places, give the name of flux country; but it is generally found that it is the granitic or growany soil that encroaches on the killas territory, and not the killas on the granite. This is easily accounted for by the fact of the granite almost always lying higher than the killas, a circumstance which will necessarily give the direction I have noticed to any bodies moving on its surface. The extent of these encroachments is, however, remarkably small; for whenever we see a large boulder or block of granite or of greenstone, we may be pretty sure that, if not beneath our feet, rocks of this kind are near at hand.
From this brief sketch of the geological structure of this district, considered conjointly with its physiognomical character, the great dryness of the soil may be readily inferred. All the rain that falls on it, or the springs resulting from the partial accumulation and infiltration of this, are either absorbed by the friable soil, by the slaty strata, or are conveyed speedily down the declivities of the solid granite; while the short and declivous vallies, and the almost total absence of plain, afford little or no shelter for them after their descent. The exceptions already mentioned are much too insignificant to demand any consideration in a hygienic point of view.
Climate.─After describing the physical characters of the district, it might seem more in order to give an account in the next place, of the organized beings of which it is the habitat; but, as vegetables as well as animals are equally dependant on the atmosphere, I shall, previously, give an account of the climate of this district, comprehending, under this term, all those atmospherical phenomena which are supposed, in any way, to influence health. And, as the various phenomena included under this division of our subject, possess an incomparably greater influence on the health and functions of the human body, than any or all those already mentioned, I shall bestow on their consideration a proportion able degree of attention.
The general character and peculiarities of the climate of this district depend, as in other cases, on its geographical position and physical configuration. Placed in the lowest latitude of our Island, its seasons ought, on this account, to possess a more genial character than those of the more northern parts. And this effect of geographical position is greatly heightened by other circumstances. The whole district possesses, as far as regards climate, all the advantages and disadvantages of a small Island; and, accordingly, any one acquainted with the principles that regulate the phenomena of climate, will have no difficulty in estimating, a priori, the character of that of the Landsend, if he only regards it as a small Island moderately elevated above the level of the sea, and placed at a distance of forty or fifty miles to the westward of the most southerly point of the main land.
It may be proper here to state, that the documents on which the meteorological results which follow are founded, are the following:─1. An admirable register kept at Penzance, by my friend Mr. Edward Giddy, late secretary of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. This document comprehends a period of twelve complete years, from 1821 to 1832 inclusive; and gives a daily account of the temperature by the register thermometer, the state of the wind and weather, the fall of rain, &c. 2. A register of a similar kind, but without a rain-gauge, and with the common thermometer, kept at Penzance from 1807 to 1820, by Thomas Giddy, Esq. father of Mr. E. Giddy. 3. A register kept by myself during a residence at Penzance from 1817 to 1822. Several of the statements about to be made, have already appeared in a small pamphlet on the Climate of Penzance, published by me in 1821; and in the second edition of my friend Dr. Clark's admirable work on the Influence of Climate, published in 1830. When not otherwise stated, the results of Mr. Edward Giddy's tables are those adopted in the text.
In stating the various meteorological results, I shall, in most cases, place in opposition the corresponding results of the climate of London, to enable the reader to estimate, with greater readiness. the peculiarities of the Landsend climate; and I select the climate of London in preference to that of other places, as being best known, and as affording a fair mean of the climate of the interior of the southern half of England.
|1.─Annual Mean Temperature.|
|2.─Mean Temperature of the Seasons.|
|3.─Mean Temperature of the Months.|
|4.─Differences of the Mean Temperature of Winter and Summer.|
|5.─Difference of the Mean Temperature of the warmest and coldest months.|
|6.─Difference of the Mean Temperature of successive Seasons.|
|Of Winter & Spring.||Of Spr. & Sum.||Of Sum. & Aut.||Of Aut. & Wint.|
|7.─Difference of the Mean Temperature of successive Months.|
|Jan. & Feb.||Feb. & Mar.||Mar. & Avr.||Avr. & May.||May. & June.||June. & July.||July & Aug.||Aug. & Sept.||Sept. & Oct.||Oct. & Nov.||Nov. & Dec.|
|8.─Absolute Range of the Thermometer.|
|Highest Extreme.||Lowest Extreme.||Greatest Range.|
|Landsend, (12 years,)||84°||19°||65°|
|London, (80 years,)||96°||5°||91°|
|9.─Mean Range of the Thermometer.|
|Annual Range.||Monthly Range.||Daily Range.|
|10.─Variation of Temperature of sucessive Days for the whole Year.|
|Mean Variation.||Extreme Variation.|
The preceding results place, in a striking point of view, the great peculiarity of the climate of this district, as to temperature: possesses, as has been already remarked, all the habitues of a small island remote from any large continent: it exhibits, in a great measure, the qualities of what may be called the ocean climate. This is characterised essentially by a remarkable degree of equability of temperature or small extent of range above or below the mean. In this respect the district of the Landsend is superior to any other part of England, and, indeed, to any place in Europe of which we possess meteorological accounts. Madeira is the only climate which Dr. Clark considers as superior in regard to equability of temperature.
As necessary consequences of the greater equability, it will be seen by the preceding statements that, although there is a difference of only 1½° between the mean annual temperature of this district and that of London, there is a remarkable discrepancy between the different seasons at the two places. Thus it is seen that while the summer temperature of the district is rather more than 2° lower than that of London, the winter temperature is very nearly 5° higher. The spring temperature of both places differs less than one degree, and that of autumn is 2° in favour of the Landsend. It thus appears that while the winter is much warmer than that of London, the summer is considerably cooler; the autumn is as much warmer as the summer is cooler, while the spring is nearly equal at both places. The temperature of the whole spring at Penzance, as taken by the thermometer, is, indeed, rather higher than that of London; still it will be observed, on referring to the tables, that this superiority is derived almost entirely from the month of March, the temperature of April being very nearly the same in both places, while that of May is more than a degree and a half lower at the Landsend.
The singularly small range of the thermometer in this district, gives rise to a remarkable difference in the relation of the temperature of the day and night, here and in some inland places; in summer the nights being as much warmer as the days are cooler, and in the winter both the nights and days being warmer. This will appear in a striking manner by comparing together the mean of the extremes, i.e. of the highest and lowest degrees of temperature, as shown by the register thermometer during the two seasons, at London and Penzance.
The geographical and topographical relations of the Landsend district, already commemorated, sufficiently account for the singular equability of its temperature. In this respect there is certainly no place in the British Dominions that equals it, except it be the neighbouring islands of Scilly. These, indeed, from possessing in greater perfection the qualities that promote equability of temperature, exhibit this peculiarity of climate in a still more eminent degree than the Landsend district. And as an interesting illustration of the influence of the qualities referred to, I will extract from my pamphlet on the Climate of Penzance, a comparative view of the temperature of this place and of one of the Scilly Islands, (Tresco) during 46 days of the months of September, October, and November, in the year 1819, from which it will be seen that the temperature of the Island (which is low, and only about two miles long and a mile and a half broad) is considerably more equable than that of the neighbouring peninsula of the Landsend.
|Mean Temperature during 40 days,||56.5°||56.5°|
|Extreme Range for the whole time,||32°||24°|
|Greatest diurnal Range,||13°||6°|
In reviewing the foregoing account of the comparative
temperature of the Landsend district, I think
I cannot more correctly sum up the general results
than in the words of old Carew, whose early work
on Cornwall is the only one among the many that
have been published, that possesses the raciness of
“ The spring visiteth not these quarters so timely as the eastern parts. Summer imparteth a very temperate heat, recompensing its slow fostering of the fruits with their kindly ripening. Autumn bringeth a somewhat late harvest, especially to the middle of the shire, where they seldom inn their corn before Michaelmas. Winter, by reason of the south's near neighbourhood, and sea's warm breath, favoureth it with a milder cold than elsewhere, so as upon both coasts the frost and snow come very seldom, and make a speedy departure.”
Atmospheric Pressure.─From considering the topographical and other relations of this district, and more particularly (as will hereafter appear) its great humidity and the great force and variability of its winds, some peculiarity might be expected in the barometrical results. As far as my observations have gone, however, I have ascertained nothing further than that the general altitude of the barometer is less, and its range smaller, than in other parts of the Kingdom with which I have compared it.
The following table gives a comparative view of the barometrical results, for three years, at London and Penzance:─
|Mean of the greatest heights of each month,||80.26||30.09|
|Absolute Maximum in three years,||80.62||80.42|
|Extreme range in the period,||2.40||2.14|
|Mean annual range,||1.95||1.68|
|Mean monthly range,||1.07||1.00|
|Mean of the greatest range for each month,||1.24||1.22|
As possibly bearing on the subject of health, I shall only further notice the marked effect of the easterly winds in raising the mercury, and of the westerly winds in depressing it. This will appear from the following statement, which gives the proportional prevalence of the two winds during the times that the barometer stood at its highest and lowest points during three years.
|Wind Easterly.||Wind Westerly.|
|Barometer at its highest,||21||12|
|Barometer at its lowest,||90||22|
Humidity.─Cornwall has ever been obnoxious to the charge of great humidity, and I can vouch for the accuracy of the charge as far as its western extremity is concerned. There falls at Penzance nearly twice as much rain as at London, the annual average at the former place being 44.7, and at the latter only 25 inches. The following table will show its distribution through the different periods of the year at both these places:─
|Fall of Rain in Inches and parts of Inches in each Month and Season.|
|London, (20 yrs.)||1.9||1.4||1.2||1.6||1.8||1.9||2.6||2.1||1.9||2.5||2.9||2.4|
|Number of Days on which Rain falls in each Month and Season.|
|PENZANCE, (12 Years.)|
|LONDON, (10 Years.)|
The number of days on which rain falls, as is observed by Dr. Clark, does not seem in proportion to the quantity of fluid precipitated. In Mr. Edward Giddy's Register, the average number of rainy days at Penzance during the twelve years, is 1792, and he particularly remarks that, under this head, he comprehends “ rainy, showery, and misty days; in short, all days on which there is any fall whatever, even a slight shower.” In the tables of Mr. Giddy, sen. inserted in my pamphlet on the climate of Penzance, and comprehending a period of fourteen years, viz. from 1807 to 1830, the average number of days on which there was any fall, is 165. In the year 1821, according to my own Register, the number of wet days was 179, and the total fall of rain was 44 inches. In Mr. Moyle's account, kept at Helston, about 14 miles from Penzance, for eight years (1821-1828) the number of wet days is stated to be 165, which accords exactly with the results of Mr. Giddy, sen.'s observations at Penzance. From these statements it must be admitted, that the great fall of rain in the Landsend district, is the consequence rather of more severe rains than of greater frequency of rainy days. It will be remarked as curious, that the average number of rainy days at Penzance, according to Mr. E. Giddy's Register, (the most exact) is very nearly the same as that of London.
The foregoing conclusion respecting the comparative frequency of rain at the Landsend, is certainly at variance with what I myself had been led to deduce from common observation during my residence there, and I believe it is different from the impression on the minds of the inhabitants generally. The greater frequency there than in other parts of England, of showers, at least, if not of rainy days, seemed universally admitted. I had said in my pamphlet published in 1821, "we have heavy showers on many of our finest days; and this is so well known and expected, that the circumstance is hardly looked upon as an inconvenience;" and Dr. Borlase, the accurate historian of Cornwall, who resided in this district, gave a similar opinion sixty years before. "Our rains in Cornwall, he says, are rather frequent than heavy or excessive; and we have very seldom a day so thoroughly wet, but that there is some intermission, nor so cloudy but the sun will find a time to shine."
I am unacquainted with any hygrometrical observations that have been made in this part of the country; I cannot, therefore, give any precise statement either of the comparative or actual humidity of its atmosphere. There can be no doubt, however, that this is much greater than in the interior counties. Its situation alone may be deemed sufficient to prove this; but the fact is further demonstrated by many well-known peculiarities. There is much greater difficulty, for instance, of guarding against the oxidation of iron at Penzance than at London: and of preserving articles of dress, &c. from the effects of damp, a fact well known and admitted by every one there resident. The great prevalence of westerly winds in this district will be more particularly noticed hereafter: now, this wind, if it does not always bring rain, certainly has always qualities of great humidity, sufficiently cognizable by the senses. The warm west winds often bring with them a sort of drizzly rain, sufficient to wet thoroughly, grass and other vegetables, or the clothes of a person exposed to it; while neither the rain gauge, nor the roads or streets, show any indication of its presence, unless long continued.
Frost and Snow.─A consequence of the mildness of the winters, is the comparative infrequency of frost and snow in this district. It results from Mr. Giddy, sen.'s tables, that the average number of days on which snow has fallen in any one year, is very little more than two and a half; and, including the days on which hail showers are noted, it scarcely amounts to nine. It appears, also, that of the fourteen years included in the tables, there have been four on which no snow fell. Of course, the existence of causes to prevent the fall of snow will prevent its continuance on the ground; and the fact is, that snow never remains on the soil in the vicinity of Penzance more than a day or two, seldom, indeed, more than a few hours; and even on the highest grounds, in the centre of the narrow peninsula, it seldom has been known to continue more than a week or ten days.
The occurrence of frost is almost as rare; at least it is a very uncommon circumstance for the ponds to be frozen sufficiently to bear the weight of a man. The consequence is, that skating is entirely unknown among those who have never left the district. I was informed by some old residents that, during a period of thirty years, a piece of water in the vicinity of Penzance was in a fit condition for skating only four times, viz. in 1788, 1794, 1814, and 1819. And this will not appear surprising when we reflect that during the thirteen years from 1807 to 1820, the thermometer was only 37 times below the freezing point.
Thunder.─Thunder appears to be of rarer occurrence in this district than in most others in the Kingdom. The historians of Cornwall, it is true, like all topographical writers, have occasion to record some severe thunder-storms which committed considerable damage; but these seem recorded rather from their calamitous events, memorable in a confined neighbourhood, than from any thing uncommon in their severity. From Mr. Giddy, sen.'s tables, it appears that the mean number of days on which thunder has been heard, annually, is only two and a half, and the greatest number of days in any one year is only seven. It also appears that the three winter months, January, February and March, are those in which thunder is most frequent; a circumstance, I apprehend, which is contrary to the state of the fact in most temperate countries, summer being the season when it most frequently occurs.
Winds.─"Touching the temperature of Cornwall," says Carew, "the air thereof is cleansed as with bellows, by the billows and flowing and ebbing of the sea, and there through becometh pure and subtle, and by consequence healthful." "This, notwithstanding," (he says in another place,) "the county is much subject to storms, which fetching a large course in the open sea, do from thence violently assault the dwellers at land, and leave them uncovered houses, pared hedges and dwarf trees, as witnesses of their force and fury." Dr. Borlase gives the same account of the frequency and violence of the storms and squalls in Cornwall, and my own experience leads me to the same conclusion. Indeed, I think the climate of the west of Cornwall is fully as remarkable for its great variability in respect of wind and rain, as it is for the singular unchangeableness of its temperature. The following statements will shew the relative frequency of winds from different quarters; they are the mean results of eleven years:─
|No. of Days.|
|Winds from the intermediate points of||N. and E.||38|
|S. and E.||36|
|N. and W.||76|
|S. and W.||58|
It results from this table, that winds from all the southern points are, to those from all the northern, in the proportion of three to two; and that those from all the western points bear a nearly similar proportion to those from the eastern.
In regard of the relative prevalence of the different winds in the different seasons, it appears that easterly winds prevail nearly in an equal degree in summer and autumn; somewhat more in winter, and most of all in spring. Of course the westerly winds are precisely the reverse. Easterly winds prevail most in April, and least in August, reckoning the months singly; of any two consecutive months they prevail most in March and April, and least in July and August; of any three consecutive months they prevail most in March, April and May, and least in the three following months, June, July and August. The following statement, deduced from Mr. Giddy's tables, shews that easterly winds prevail by far most in spring, least in summer, and more in autumn than in winter:─
|Easterly Winds, No. of Days||34||44||32||38|
The relation of different winds to the temperature and humidity of a climate, is an important matter of consideration. In this district it is, generally speaking, true, that in the seasons in which westerly winds prevail most, there are most wet days; thus, in the months of March, April and May, there are only two days more of westerly than easterly winds, while in December, January and February, there are 21; accordingly we find the number of wet days in the former month is only 34, while in the latter it is 46. It is true, that in the three following summer months, the proportion of westerly winds is still greater than in the winter months, while the number of wet days is considerably less; but it must be remembered, that there is in the latter case the counteracting influence of the fine season.
The effect of the two different winds is so well known, that it is common to believe, when the wind is easterly, that there will be no rain; while, when it is in the opposite direction, however promising in other respects the sky may be, precautions against the probable irruption of western showers, are seldom forgotten.
It may be stated, as a general fact, that the south and west winds are uniformly warm and soft, and the north and east winds uniformly cold and sharp. These unvarying effects on sensation are, as certainly, although in a lesser degree, indicated by the thermometer. In the winter and spring months, the north and east winds may be considered as having a temperature 6° or 8° lower than the south and west winds; and this is so constant a circumstance, that the change of the temperature is as regular as the change of the wind; that is, if the wind continues in its new direction for one or more days. The change of temperature is most remarkable when the wind is high, and, in this case, if the wind shifts suddenly, and continues still high, the change of temperature is very considerable in a short time. As this subject is curious and interesting, and has been too little attended to by writers on meteorology, I shall here give a short account of the more remarkable instances of these changes that occurred during the winter and spring months of two successive years, during my residence at Penzance.
1818. In January, at the beginning of a gale from the east, the thermometer was 45°, the following day it was 40°, and on the third, when the gale was at its height, it was 39°. In the same month, with a moderate wind from the west, the thermometer stood at 46°; on the following day this shifted a little to the southward of west, and increased to a pretty strong gale which lasted four days; during this gale the thermometer stood at the average of 52°; on the fifth day the wind moderated and shifted to the N. W. when the thermometer fell to 43°
In February, in a brisk wind from the south-east, the thermometer stood at 45°. The wind continued high for four days, but gradually veered round by the S. to the S. W., and then to the N. W.; following the changes of the wind, the mercury rose to 53°, and finally fell to 40°.
In December, the wind being N. E. and very gentle, the thermometer stood at 37°; next day it changed to the S. W. and blew a moderate gale, when the thermometer rose to 47°; this continuing. with increased violence, the thermometer next day rose to 50°; on the following day, the wind getting moderate and changing to the eastward, the thermometer began to fall, and on the next day, the wind being then N. E, it stood at 41°. In the same month a change from a slight breeze from the west, to a gale from the S. W. raised the thermometer from 47° to 53° in the course of one day; and it fell to 41° on the wind moderating and coming round to its original point.
1819. In January, in a moderate breeze from the East, the thermometer stood at 43°; in the course of the two following days, the wind shifting to the S. E. it rose to 47°; in the two following, the wind becoming quite southerly, and blowing strong, the thermometer rose to 53°.
In February, in a gentle breeze from the N. the thermometer was 45°; next day the wind shifted to the S. W. and blew a good breeze, when the mercury rose to 50°; on the following day, the wind being high from the same quarter, it rose to 54°; the wind (still high) then shifted round to the N. W. and the mercury fell to 49°.
In March, for the first thirteen days, the wind was moderate from the E. and N. E., and the average of the thermometer was 43°; on the next three days there was a brisk breeze from the N. W. during which the average of the thermometer was 46°; during the remainder of the month (15 days) the wind was either S., S. W., or W., and blew a brisk breeze, and the average height of the thermometer was 51°.
In October, from the 1st to the 15th, the wind was in general brisk. On two days it blew a strong gale, and during the whole time continued either S. or S. W.; the average of the thermometer was 59°. The wind then shifted to the N. and E., at which points it continued for the remaining sixteen days of the month, (with the exception of two days to the N. W.) and the thermometer fell to the average of 48°.
In November, for eleven days, the wind was northerly and easterly, sometimes blowing very strong from the N. W. and S. E.; at this time, the average height of the thermometer was 43°; it then shifted to the S. W. for two days, and then to the S., during which three days it blew a strong gale, and the mercury rose to 52°.
December was a very windy month. For nine days the wind was northerly and easterly, the average height of the thermometer being only 36°; on the sixth day the wind shifted to the W. and the mercury rose to 43°; on the following day there came on a strong S. W. gale, which lasted six days, during which the average height of the mercury was54°; the gale still continuing, but the wind changingto the N. W. for two days, and then to the N. E. the mercury fell on the first day to 44°, on the second to 39°, and on the third to 37°.
During the prevalence of the south or south-west gales, there is very little difference of temperature between the day and night, as proved by the register thermometer. Sometimes there is no difference whatever; and very commonly the minimum of the night is not more than 3° or 4° below the maximum of the day. This shews how very completely the influence of the sun is excluded by the dense vapour with which the air is loaded; and during these moist siroccos, as they may be termed, the inhabitants may be said, without any metaphor, to be breathing the breezes of a climate milder than their own. When these south and south-west winds, so prevalent in winter, are very gentle, the sky is sometimes clear for many days together. On these occasions, the warmth and softness of the air are truly delightful; and when, taken in conjunction with the beautiful scenery around Penzance, the calm, blue sea, the gay, green meadows, the myrtles and other exotic plants common in the shrubberies, one is almost tempted to forget that it is a British, and a winter landscape that he is contemplating.
As confirming and illustrating some of the peculiarities of climate above detailed, I shall now briefly notice a few particulars respecting the vegetable products of the country; as, after all, there can be no doubt that the character of a climate is much more faithfully indicated by such natural tests, than by any instrumental, or artificial, means whatever.
1. The great mildness of the winter season in this district, is evinced by the growth, in the open air, of several plants which are either not natives, not cultivated, or are inmates of the green-house in most other parts of England. Among the rarer indigenous plants of this district, I may particularize the Sibthorpia Europœa as strikingly evincing the superiority of the winter temperature. This elegant little plant, when transplanted into the middle counties, is killed down in the winter, even in sheltered garden. Among the tender exotics which are common in the shrubberies, the botanist will find several growing here without shelter, which are green-house plants in most other parts of England. Among the most conspicuous of the exotics is the Myrtle, which, even in its extreme shoots, is rarely injured by the cold of winter. All its common varieties, broad and narrow leaved, single and double, thrive equally well and flower plentifully. In the open garden these plants attain the height of from 12 to 20 feet. Geraniums are also common in the borders, but many of these, in the severer winters, are killed down to the ground. The Hydrangea seems as hardy as a native, and attains an immense size, as does also the Verbena Triphylla.
The following list of some of the tenderer exotics growing in the open air, in the neighbourhood of Penzance, in the year 1820, sufficiently indicates the mildness of the winters. Many others equally delicate, or more so, would, I doubt not, thrive very well there; and it is probable the list of such is greatly increased since I left Cornwall.
|Agave Americana,||Hypericum Balearicum,|
|Amaryllis Vittata,||Hydrangea Docolor,|
|Arum Colocasia,||Haustonia Coccinea,|
|Azalea Indica,||Hemerocallis Alba,|
|Buddlœea Globosa,||Lavendula Viridis|
|Bocconia Cordata,||Lobelia Fulgens,|
|Coronilla Glauca, &c.||Myrtus Communis,|
|Calla Ethiopica,||Mesembryanthemum Deltoideum,|
|Cistus Salvifolius,||Melianthus Major,|
|Chrysanthemum Indicum,||Mimulus Glutinosus,|
|Camellia Japonica,||Magnolia Tripetala,|
|Cyclamen Persicum,||Metrosideros Lanceolata,|
|Canna Indica,||Olea Fragrans,|
|Cheiranthus Tristis,||Pittosporum Undulatum,|
|Dahlia (many varieties)||Phylica Ericoides,|
|Daphne Indica,||Protæa Argentea,|
|Dracocephalum Canariense,||Pemica Nana,|
|Eucomis Striata,||Solanum Pseudo-capsicum,|
|Fuchsia Coccinea,||Teucrium Frutescens,|
|Geranium (several species of the African G.)||──────── Marum,|
|Hypericum Coris,||Verbena Trypliylla,|
|───────── Crispum,||Westringia Rosmarinacea.|
2. The progress of vegetation is so little checked during the winter months, that the meadows always retain their verdure, and, in milder seasons, afford even a considerable supply of grass to cattle.
3. It is customary for the gardeners and small farmers, in the vicinity of Penzance, to raise two crops of potatoes in one year. The first crop is planted in November, and is gathered in April, May and June; the second crop is planted immediately on taking up the first, and as late as to the middle of July, and is gathered in time to allow the preparation of the ground for the succeeding crop. The first or spring crop has, in general, no defence from the cold of winter, but the stable dung used for manure; and it is a very rare thing for the potatoes to be injured by the frost. Some gentlemen in the vicinity of Penzance have constantly new potatoes at Christmas, and through the whole of January and part of February, raised in the open garden, with no other shelter than some matting during the coldest nights.
4. In consequence of the two circumstances just mentioned, the rent of land in the immediate vicinity of Penzance, is remarkably high, being very commonly (in 1818) from 10l. to 12l. and, occasionally, as much as 15l. per acre.
Cabbages and turnips for the table, are earlier in this district than elsewhere; the former being ready in the middle of February, and the latter in the end of March. Cabbages, indeed, as they are unaffected by the winter cold, may be so regulated as to be cut in any month in the year. The cabbage in general use (the early Cornish), is often killed by the severity of the winter in the midland counties. Brocoli is often ripe against Christmas; radishes against the first of April.
6. Owing to the comparative coldness of the late spring months and early summer months, vegetation is considerably less rapid, after it commences, than in other parts of the island. The trees in the vicinity of London, for example, are in full foliage long before they are so in this district, even in the most sheltered vallies. The same remark is applicable to many of the garden shrubs and flowers.
7. The very low temperature of the summers, and the want of sufficient sunshine, prevent many of the common fruits from attaining that richness of flavour, and security of full maturation, which they possess in the inland counties. The vine very rarely ripens its fruit in the open air; and the wall-fruits, in general, are inferior, in point of flavour, to those of other counties, particularly the peach.
8. The apricot rarely produces any fruit, except in a few places, and then very scantily. The greengage plum is nearly equally unproductive. The walnut and common hazel-nut very seldom bear any fruit, although the latter is sufficiently productive more to the eastward in the county.
9. A further consequence of the cool summers is the comparative lateness of the harvests in this district. This is, indeed, not very considerable, still it is sufficiently obvious. From an account now before me, of the date at which harvest commenced, on a farm in the immediate vicinity of Penzance, for a period of seventeen years, it appears that the average period of commencement is the 12th of August; the earliest is the 3rd, and the latest the 27th.
10. Cornwall, like Scotland, is proverbial for its want of trees; and it is more excusable than Scotland, for there they will grow if planted, here, in many cases, they will not. All the high grounds and exposed uplands, may be said to be nearly destitute of trees. In close and sheltered vallies they grow very well. Almost all sorts of shrubs grow very well every where, and also trees until they attain a certain height. Such as grow to a height beyond that of shrubs, in exposed situations, are all stunted, and this is the case with the common thorn used for fences. All trees have their branches directed towards the east, from the predominance of westerly winds. The only tree that seems to disregard the injurious effects of the climate, is the Pinaster Fir. The Scotch Fir suffers as much as other trees.
Botany.─In the preceding section I have taken notice of several important circumstances relating to the vegetable productions of the district. I shall only further notice this subject by giving in the appendix a list of some of the rarer indigenous plants.─(See Appendix, No. II.)
Zoology.─In so confined a district as this, it is not to be expected that there should be much of interest requiring notice under this head. The cattle are in general small, both horses, bullocks, sheep and pigs. The three latter species of stock are reared in great quantities for the markets of the district, as are also all kinds of poultry, and are sold at very low prices compared with most other places in England. Owing to the want of cover, and the comparatively small extent of corn land, the common birds, and also domestic game of all sorts, are less plentiful than in most parts of England. There are no pheasants: eagles are unknown, and hawks rare. Nightingales have never been seen in this district. The Corvus Graculus is common on the sea cliffs; but although bearing the name of the Cornish Chough, the bird is by no means peculiar to this county. Foxes are found in considerable plenty, but hares are comparatively rare. Owing to the peculiar mildness of its climate, this district, as in compensation for the paucity of its fixed inhabitants of the feathered kind, can boast of more than its proportional share of those of the migratory kind. In the winter months, snipes, and more especially woodcocks, are found in immense numbers. When the season is at all severe, the quantity of the latter brought to Penzance market in one day, is often very great. This may be judged from the fact of their being commonly sold (in 1819 and 1820,) on such occasions for six-pence each, and occasionally for four-pence. Snipes are equally plentiful and cheap, being frequently sold for three half-pence or two-pence a piece, and occasionally for one penny. In severe winters, most of the other kinds of wild fowl which are at all migratory, also appear in great abundance, being stopped, for a time, in their progress towards milder climates, by the termination of the land, and congregated at the Landsend by the gradual tapering of the county to that extreme point. The coasts of Cornwall are frequented by the common sea birds, but these offer nothing in their history or habits that bears relation to the subject of this essay.
I am not sufficiently conversant with the class of
insects, to be able to say whether this district affords
any thing remarkable in that department of natural
history; although it seems probable that the peculiarity
of the climate is productive of some peculiarity
in their habitudes. Bees are sufficiently plentiful,
and derive ample stores of excellent honey from the
numerous heaths of the district. The apple-bug is
common here, and marked by its wonted devastation.
The waters that so nearly surround this district, abound with fishes of all kinds, and afford occupation and food to a considerable number of its inhabitants. Into the natural history of these it is not my intention to enter, and I shall merely advert to such as are in any way related to the proper subject of this memoir. Among these the pilchard deserves particular notice. This fish, which is very like the herring, and so nearly allied to it in its structure and habits as to be considered by many as a variety of the same species, has been accustomed, from time immemorial, to frequent the shores of Cornwall in immense shoals. During the period of my residence in Cornwall, from 1817 to 1821, and for a few years previously, there was a most remarkable decrease in the quantity of this fish that visited the shores of the Landsend; and for several years few or none were taken. In consequence of this change, the whole body of fishermen in this district were thrown into great distress, and the absence of the usual supply both of fish and of the money derived from the sale of them, produced a very sensible effect on the comfort and welfare of the labouring class of people. Of late years, however, the shoals of pilchards have returned to their old haunts, and spread once more comparative wealth and prosperity among the starving population, The following is the amount of pilchards exported from the Landsend district during a period of seven years, the last of which, only, can be considered as affording an approach to the average quantity caught in former times.
The value of the fish, as sold for exportation, depends entirely on the quantity taken. In the year 1823, the average price was about £3 per hogshead, besides the government bounty of 8s. 6d.
A great number of persons, men, women and children, are, of course, employed in catching and preparing such a large quantity of fish; and it need hardly be remarked that the receipt of such a sum as £60,000 or £70,000 by these persons, or the total want of it, must render the good years or bad years of the fishery of vital importance in this community. The mode of catching and preserving the pilchards will be noticed hereafter.
Besides pilchards, there is an extensive annual fishery for mackarel and herring for exportation, besides the habitual supplies required for home consumption. These latter consist, principally, of cod, whiting, turbot, soles, plaice, surmullet, John Dory, gurnard, lobster, &c. &c. &c. all of which abound in the markets of the district, and are disposed of at uncommonly low prices. Besides these and other excellent fish, there is a great supply of conger eels, which are used in very considerable quantities by the common people. Lobsters and crabs are found in great plenty. It is evident that this class of fishes exists abundantly in the adjoining waters, both from the number and variety of shells thrown up on the shores in a perfect state, and from the vast accumulation of sand, in different parts of the coast, composed entirely of comminuted shells. Of this kind is the sand in the various bays near the Landsend, as well as the long range of sand hills, formerly noticed, in the parishes of Lelant, Phillack and Gwithian. For a list of some of the shells found on this coast, see the Appendix, No. III.
HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT.
Having given, in the preceding chapter, some account of the nature and character of the locality on which the inhabitants are placed, and of those natural influences to which they are inevitably subjected, it remains to consider some of the other circumstances incidental to their situation and mode of life, which, although for the most part neither inevitable nor of fixed and uniform character, like the preceding, have, probably, as great and certain powers in influencing and modifying health. Previously, however, to the consideration of these, it will be necessary to give some account of the inhabitants, as far, at least, as regards their number, the nature of their occupations, &c.
Classes of Inhabitants.─By the census in 1821, the number of inhabitants in this district was 60,642 The number of families is stated to be 11,849, (being somewhat more than five persons to each family) of which are
|Families chiefly employed in Agriculture,||3,081|
|Families chiefly employed in Trade, Manufactures, or Handicraft||3,237|
|All other Families not comprised in these two classes,||5,531|
It is impossible, from the Parliamentary returns alone, to ascertain, with any degree of correctness, the number of persons employed in any other occupation, except that of agriculture; as it will be found, on reference to these, that the other two columns are filled up differently in different places. To a person, however, who is acquainted with the nature of the trade carried on in any particular district, these tables will furnish materials from which he may form a more precise classification of the inhabitants. In the district of the Landsend there is carried on hardly any species of manufacture, and only such handicraft business as is requisite for the demands of the resident inhabitants. Yet we find, from the official returns, that very little more than one-fourth part of the population is employed in agriculture. This gives a much greater proportion of persons in the other classes than is found in any part of England, except in the manufacturing districts, as will appear evident from the following comparative statements, in round numbers, of the proportion of persons employed in agriculture to those in the other two classes, as taken from the parliamentary returns.
|Hundred of Penwith,||6||17|
This seeming anomaly is explained by the great number of miners in the district, a class of men who are arranged in some parishes under the second head of occupation (handicraft) and in others under the last. Besides miners and persons employed in handicraft and trade, the only other class of persons deserving separate classification, are those employed in fishing, a pretty numerous class, as will appear from what has been stated in a former part of this paper. Including, then, all the individuals residing in the towns and villages who live either by any handicraft trade, or by trade in any form, viz. shopkeepers of all sorts, under the title of handicraft and trade, I would propose the following extension and amendment of the returns of this Hundred as not very distant from the truth:─
|Families chiefly employed in||Agriculture,||2500|
|Handicraft and Trade,||2500|
|All others not comprised in these four classes,||1109|
Another means for forming an approximative estimate of the number of individuals employed in mining, &c. is afforded by the militia returns. In Cornwall there are two classes of militia; the one continued to the persons employed in mining, the other to all the remaining male population liable to serve, the former being called the Miners' Militia, the latter the Cornwall militia. These two corps include all the male population between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, except fishermen, and a few other individuals who are exempt by law. In 1822, the respective numbers of these two classes of individuals in the district, as shown by the militia returns, were as follows:─
|No. liable to
|Exempt.||Total Males from|
18 to 45.
This makes the proportion of miners to the other classes as four to five, much greater than I have allowed above; yet when we consider that the militia returns are made for each parish on oath, and that each class is strictly drawn from the individuals of that class, it cannot be doubted that this is a fair estimate of the number of miners in the district.
Occupations.─1. Peasantry. The general habits of the peasantry of this district are, of course, very similar, in most respects, to those of their brethren in other parts of the kingdom; and, consequently, being universally known, require no formal notice here.
2. Artisans.─The same remark applies to those employed in handicraft trades, and in all the other more common avocations of the labouring classes of society.
3. Fishermen.─The employment of the Cornish fishermen is of two kinds; the one, the daily, quiet one of catching fish for the home market; the other, the periodical and grand occasion of catching pilchards and mackerel for the foreign market. The home demand is not sufficient to require the active exertion of one-fourth part of the number of fishermen resident in the district; many of these, consequently, remain either very inactively employed, not employed at all, or employed in other kinds of labour, during the intervals of the pilchard and mackerel seasons. Indeed, all the various occupations formerly enumerated are, occasionally, blended in the practice of the same individual. Many of the miners are husbandmen, and not a few of them are both fishermen and sailors. "So true is this," says Pryce, "that in St. Ives and Lelant, during the fishing season, they are wholly employed upon the water, to the great hindrance of the adjacent mines; and when the fishing craft is laid up against the next season, the fishermen again become tinners, and dive for employment in the depths of the earth." In the ordinary proceedings of the domestic fishery there is nothing peculiar. Owing to the great mildness of the climate in the winter season, the Cornish fisherman is exposed to comparatively few hardships, and being well clothed and well fed, and exposing himself to no unnecessary risks, his health or his life but rarely suffers from the ordinary course of his employments.
In the pilchard season his exertions are often very great, but as this almost always happens in summer, there is even then seldom any risk of health. I have formerly adverted to the quantities of this kind of fish caught in this district; it is proper, in this place, to give a brief account of this extensive and important fishery, as it is a species of employment which, both immediately and in its consequences, must exert an important influence over the health of the natives of the district.
The precise region whence the shoals of pilchards that visit this coast, come from, is unknown, but the fact that the coast of Cornwall is the part of Great Britain where they first make their appearance, and that they subsequently are to be found on the western coasts of France and Spain, seems to prove that their course is from the west. They commonly reach Cornwall about the middle of July, and usually remain there until October. But both the period of their arrival and departure, and also the course they take, are uncertain, and have varied greatly in different years. Fifty or sixty years since, they remained on the coasts till Christmas, and the fishermen were engaged in their capture five or six months, but now the season does not last more than two or three months. Some years ago, indeed, as was formerly observed, they either did not appear at all on the Cornish coast, or only for a few weeks, or even days. In former years they always appeared first on the northern coasts of Cornwall, towards the east, from whence they proceeded westward, round the Landsend, and then eastward along the southern coasts. Lately, however, they have, on some occasions, scarcely touched on the northern coasts, but have made their first appearance on the eastern parts of the south coast.
When the shoals make their appearance, the fishermen are directed to them by persons stationed on the neighbouring heights, who are called huers, from their raising a hue, and who announce the approach of the prey by the cry of heva. In a moment every man is at his post, and all is activity and eager expectation. The proper place where the nets should be cast or shot being ascertained, the boat containing the great net, or stop sean, as it is called, and which is often 300 fathoms long and 17 fathoms in depth, is rowed round the shoal, the net being at the same time thrown into the sea by two men, a work which is performed with such dexterity, that in less than four minutes the whole enormous net is shot, and the fish enclosed; the ends of it being then fastened together it is moored, or, where the shore is sandy and shelving, drawn into shallow water, the bottom of the net being kept to the ground by leaden weights, while the top is buoyed up with corks.
The quantity of fish thus inclosed and captured is sometimes enormous; one net has been known to inclose, at one time, as many as 1200 hogsheads, amounting to about three millions of fish. The inclosed fish are removed at leisure from their fold into boats, by means of small nets, by which a portion of the fish is separated from the main body and drawn up to the surface; they are then conveyed on shore to be cured or salted in cellars, and after remaining there for five or six days, they are packed into hogsheads for exportation.
The broken or refuse fish are sold for manure, and when mixed with sand, soil, or sea weed, constitute a valuable and lasting compost. It is a common saying in the district, that a single pilchard will fertilize a foot square of land for several years.
4. Miners.─As the employment and general habits of this class of persons are very peculiar, and as they exert, as we shall afterwards find, a very marked influence over their health, it will be necessary to enter more fully into the history of their employment and mode of life. And in order to enable the reader to understand these more completely, I shall, in the first place, give some account of the nature of a mine and of the economy of working it. Perhaps the clearest idea we can have of the nature of a metalliferous vein or lode, is that of a narrow rent in the rocky crust of the earth, approaching more or less to a vertical direction, and filled with metallic ores. The object of mining is to break down, and transport to the surface, the contents of this supposed rent; in other words, to cut out from the containing rock this thin metallic plane. To effect this, galleries, called, in Cornwall, levels, are driven horizontally on the vein, one above the other, and the ore, &c. produced by their excavation, are transported to the surface by vertical openings, called shafts, cutting the former at right angles. The horizontal galleries are, in the first instance, about two feet wide and six feet high, but varying, of course, according to circumstances, and being frequently extended much beyond their original dimensions. They are driven, one above the other at intervals of from 10, to 20, or 30 fathoms. When extended to a certain distance from the original shaft, it is necessary for the sake of ventilation, as well as for other reasons, to form a second, which traverses, at right angles, all the galleries in the same manner as the first. The distance between shafts is very various, being from 20 to 100 fathoms. Frequently a communication is made between two galleries only, by a partial shaft (called a wins,) in the interval between two shafts. When there are more lodes than one worked in the same mine, as frequently happens, galleries often run parallel to each other at the same depth. In this case they often communicate by intermediate galleries, driven through the rock, (or country, as it is called in Cornwall) which are termed cross-cuts. A mine thus consists of a series of horizontal galleries generally one above the other, but sometimes running parallel, traversed at irregular intervals by vertical shafts, and all communicating together, either directly or indirectly.
A person unacquainted with the details of mining, on hearing of many hundreds of men employed in a single mine, might naturally imagine that a visit to its recesses would afford a picturesque and imposing spectacle of gregarious labour and bustle, tremendous noise, and much artificial brilliancy to cheer the gloom. Nothing, however, is farther from the truth, as far as regards the mines of Cornwall; for, like their fellow-labourers the moles, the miners are solitary in their operations. Seldom do we find more than three or four men in one gallery at a time, where they are seen pursuing the common operations of digging or boring the rock, in the inner extremity of the gallery, by the feeble glimmering of a small candle, with very little noise or bodily movement. Very seldom are they within the sound of each other's operations, except, occasionally, when they hear the dull report of the explosions.
In the vicinity of the main shaft of the mine, indeed, the incessant action of the huge chain of pumps, produces a constant but not very loud noise, while the occasional rattling of the metallic buckets for raising the ore, against the walls of the shaft, as they ascend and descend, relieves, in some degree, the monotony of the scene. Still every thing is dreary, dull, and cheerless; and one can be with difficulty persuaded, even when in the richest and most populous mines, that he is in the centre of such extensive and important operations. What adds greatly to the impression of tameness, is the extreme darkness and dirtiness of the galleries. There is no light whatever but that afforded by the candles of the workmen, and by those carried by yourself and guide: while the universal presence of water soaking through the crevices of the galleries and intermixing with the dust and rubbish, keeps up a constant succession of dirty puddles; through these the visitor must pass, besides being frequently obliged to crawl on all fours through passages too low to admit him in any other manner. The galleries are extended by breaking down the looser parts by the pickaxe, and by rending the more solid by gunpowder. Each miner has a candle, which is stuck close by him, against the wall of his gallery, by means of a piece of clay; and besides the men employed in extending the gallery, there are generally one or two boys employed in wheeling the broken ore, &c. to the shaft. Each of these boys has also a candle fixed to his wheelbarrow, by the universal subterranean candlestick, a piece of clay. A certain band of men (called, however numerous, a pair) generally undertake a certain portion of work in the galleries. These subdivide themselves into smaller bodies, and, by relieving each other at the end of every six or eight hours, keep up the work uninterruptedly, except on Sunday. By means of this subdivision of the pairs, there is, in general, not more than one-third of the underground labourers below at any one time. Notwithstanding this incessant labour, the progress of the miner in excavating his gallery is, in general, very small: one, two, or three feet in a week, or a few inches daily, is often the whole amount of the united operations of 20 or 30 men. In loose lodes, and in killas districts, they often cut much more than this, but often they do not cut so much. It is to be recollected that the lode is very rarely so wide as the gallery, so that it becomes necessary, in order to continue the latter of the proper size, to hew through the solid rock on each side, which is often very hard, even when the lode is soft. The Cornish miner rarely sleeps or eats under ground, but returns to grass (the technical name of the surface) and to his home, often many miles distant, at whatever depth he may be working, when relieved by his successor. The mode of ascent and descent is by means of vertical ladders fixed in the shafts.
Water of Mines.─Any person who calls to mind the manner, object, and results, of the common process of sinking wells, will be prepared to expect the presence of water in mines. The quantity of this varies very much in different mines at the same time, and in the same mines at different times. Some of the circumstances that occasion this difference are very obvious, for instance, the topographical relations of the surface, the nature of the rock and lode, the number and size of the lodes, cross-courses, &c. Many galleries, both on the lode and through the country, are quite dry, but in general the reverse is true. Commonly the water oozes almost imperceptibly from the lode and walls of the galleries, and gradually accumulates, so as to form puddles and pools, of considerable size, under the feet of the miners; and it is very common to find the bottom of long galleries covered, for some hundred feet, with dirty water of this kind, to the depth of several inches, and sometimes of a foot or more; sometimes, but very rarely, we meet with brisk stream lets or springs gushing from the lode. In most mines we meet with currents of water flowing towards the pumps from the upper galleries, or from parts of the mine that have been abandoned.
The quantity of water in mines is most abundant during the winter, of rather in the spring, some time after the termination of the rainy season. This fact is easily accounted for, especially in deep mines, by the length of time that the superficial water requires to percolate to a considerable depth. Inattention to this circumstance has given rise to an idea, still prevalent among miners, that a dry easterly wind raises the springs. The fact seems to be, as has been satisfactorily shown by Pryce, that the "dry easterly winds," of the spring generally set in, in this country, about the period at which the main body of the rain, fallen in the preceding months, has been able to attain, in its slow progress through the lodes and strata, the bottom of the mines. The variation, in the quantity of water is much more considerable in shallow mines; these soon experiencing the variations of humidity at the surface, according to the seasons. It is a curious fact that several mines worked under the sea, have been found less subject to the percolation of water from above than many others. This was formerly observable in Huel Cock, in the parish of Saint Just, and is at the present time, in two mines in the same parish, Botallack and Little Bounds.
For keeping the workings from being inundated, each mine is furnished with a chain of pumps, extending from the bottom to the adit level, worked by a single pump-rod, each pump receiving the water brought up by the one immediately below it. All the water of the lowest level finds its way into the bottom of the mine, or sump; the water from the upper levels is received into cisterns placed in different parts of the shaft, at the termination of each tier of pumps, from whence it is drawn to the adit, through which it flows outwards to the surface of the earth. The quantity of water discharged by the pumps, by many of the Cornish mines, is very considerable: thus, in 1819, Huel Abraham, 1440 feet in depth, discharged about 2,092,320 gallons every twenty-four hours; Dolcoath, of nearly the same depth, 535,173 gallons in the same time; and Huel Vor, 950 feet deep, 1,692,660 gallons.
Temperature.─It results from the experience of all those who have practically investigated the subject, that the temperature of the air, earth and water of mines, at a certain depth under the surface, is very considerably greater than that of the mean of the climate of the district. It has also been universally found that the temperature increases with the depth. Both these facts I have myself ascertained, by many trials, in the mines of Cornwall, beyond the possibility of doubt, and they must, therefore, be admitted as such, however inexplicable, or however at variance with our theories or preconceived opinions.
In the memoir from which some of the foregoing details are extracted, I have further proved that by far the greater part of the superior temperature of mines is derived from the rocky mass of the earth, and does not arise from any extraneous or artificial causes. This, however, is a matter of little consequence to the subject of our present enquiries, since the degree of temperature will act similarly on the animal bodies exposed to it, whether arising from natural or artificial causes. The degree of temperature varies considerably in different mines at the same depth; but this variation seems fairly attributable to the state of ventilation and other extraneous causes, and not to any difference of the natural heat. The increase of temperature does not begin immediately below the surface; a fact which is sufficiently proved by the copious permanent springs in every country, which remain invariably of the mean temperature of the climate. This fact holds equally true in Cornwall, not only in the vicinity of mines, but in the shallower levels of mines themselves. At what precise point below the surface the augmentation of temperature commences, I am unable to say with any degree of confidence; but from a consideration of the influence of extraneous causes in modifying the temperature of the superior galleries of mines, and from some particular observations made by myself, I am disposed to place this point at about 200 feet below the surface. From this point the temperature is found to increase about one degree of Farenheit for every 50 or 60 feet that we descend. The following table. constructed from my journals of many painful visits to some of the Cornish mines, gives, at one view, the temperature of the air and water of six mines of this district; and the mean of the whole, given in the last column, may be considered as a correct statement of the temperature of the subterranean climate of the miner, at the various depths at which he works.
|Mean Results of the Temperature of Six Mines.|
|Depth in Feet.||Huel Neptune.||Botul-lack||Little Bounds.||Ding Dong||Hul Vor.||Dolcoath.||Mean.|
Ventilation.─The existence of this temperature at the bottom of mines, (however produced) will, of itself, necessarily occasion a constant circulation of air upwards, through the shafts; and as what ascends must be replaced by the air above, there will, of course, be a constant current downwards through the same or other shafts. The extent of ventilation in mines will depend on many circumstances, more especially on their depth, the number of shafts, the degree of communication between the different galleries, and also on the state of the wind at the surface. The cooling effect of high winds is very perceptible even at the bottom of shallow mines, and it appears that the currents of air in the very deepest mines are considerably influenced by their force and direction.
Though these currents in the shafts and more open galleries are considerable, it is still true, that in the great majority of the galleries no current, or one that is very slight, is perceptible; and that in all such galleries as communicate only by one extremity with a shaft, or with other levels by a wins at some distance from their inner extremity, (both of which kinds constitute the greater number of the working galleries,) there is no current whatever, and, in fact, no possibility of there being one. Many of these galleries are several hundred feet in length, with no other outlet but their extremity at the shaft. A sufficient proof of the general stillness of the air in mines, is afforded by the fact of lanterns being unknown in them; and during all my visits to these gloomy regions, I never saw the candle extinguished by a current of air, more than once or twice.
State of the air in mines.─The preceding details sufficiently point out the high temperature and great humidity of the air in mines. Many causes combine to render it also very impure, but particularly the following:─1st, the mechanical admixture of particles of dust; 2nd, the admixture of irrespirable gases produced by the explosion of gunpowder; and 3rd, its deterioration by respiration and combustion.
All the various labours of the miner tend to impregnate the air with minute earthy particles, and this impregnation is rendered much greater than it could otherwise be, by the great stagnation of the air in the extremities of the galleries, where these labours are chiefly performed. The kind and quantity of dust varies according to the nature of the rock and vein, the degree of humidity, and also according to the process by which the rock and ore are broken up. The constant presence of dust is sufficiently obvious to any one who visits the interior of a mine in a state of activity. I cannot say, however, that I was ever sensible of its presence from any immediate effects on the organs of respiration. Its prevalence is abundantly obvious in the smutty ochry complexions and dresses of the miner, or of the visitor of mines, in the dusty floors of such galleries as are perfectly dry, and in the layers of soft mud and turbid puddles that cover the bottom of all those which contain much humidity. A still more striking proof of the prevalence of this dust, and an instance more important to the subject of this essay, is the fact, confirmed to me by the testimony of many labouring miners, of the sputa being tinged by it for many hours after the miner leaves the mine, and of this tinge being varied in colour according to the nature of the rock and vein worked.
Except in those mines which are situated in soft slaty rocks, and whose lodes are also of a soft kind, (a very small proportion,) the use of gunpowder for blasting the rock, is universal in the Cornish mines. Indeed in all the mines situated in granite, almost the whole excavation of the galleries and shafts is effected by this agent. The operation is precisely the same as in quarries at the surface.
When the hole is charged and the match lighted, the operator and his immediate neighbours retire to a little distance until the explosion takes place, when they return almost immediately to remove the fragments and to resume their former labours in the inner extremity of the gallery, still filled with smoke and the sulphury vapours of the exploded powder. This operation is repeated in the same gallery, generally many times daily, insomuch that the sight and smell of the smoke is rarely not to be perceived, in some degree or other, throughout the whole period of excavating a gallery in a hard country. The extent of this practice in mining will be understood from the quantity of gunpowder consumed. In the six mines, the temperature of which is given above, and the far greater part of which are situated in the comparatively soft rock killas, the expenditure of gunpowder per month, in 1820, was 8,810 lbs.; the number of men employed underground being 2323. Each charge consists of from ¼ to ½ lb. of gunpowder. No means are taken to expel the smoke and irrespirable gases produced, which are left to find their way slowly to the outer extremity of the galleries and the shaft. They are certainly very offensive to the lungs, especially soon after an explosion, as I can myself testify from experience. The coloration of the sputa, from these fumes, is still more general and certain than from the inhalation of dust, and is readily distinguished from the latter by its black colour. Besides the more sensible effects on the air of mines by the explosion of gunpowder, it must deteriorate it, in a still greater degree, by introducing so large a quantity of irrespirable gases into it. The gases generated by the explosion of gunpowder are carbonic acid gas, azote, sulphurous acid gas, and, perhaps, sulphureted hydrogen. These are all injurious to respiration, inasmuch as they are all either hurtful stimuli to the air passages, or are destitute of oxygen, or possess both these qualities combined.
Their amount is very considerable, estimated relatively with the spaces in which they are generated. It has been ascertained by experiment, that the gases occupy 244 times the volume of the powder from which they are extricated, supposing them to be, when evolved, of the same density as the atmospheric air. Allowing for the expansive effect of the heat generated at the time of explosion, it has been calculated that they will occupy 1000 times the space occupied by the original powder. Now, admitting a pint of gunpowder to weigh somewhat more than 14 oz. and allowing 60 pints to the cubic foot, we have thus 1000 cubic feet of gas for 50 lbs. of gunpowder, or 20 cubic feet for 1 lb. taking into account the effect of rarefaction. This will give 176,200 cubic feet of irrespirable gases generated per month, in the six mines above mentioned.
The air of mines is still further deteriorated by the consumption of oxygen, and the generation of carbonic acid gas, in the processes of respiration and combustion.
It results from the nature of the process of excavating the galleries, that almost all the contaminating influences exist in those very places where their powers must be greatest and most sensibly felt, viz. in the inner extremities of the galleries, where the air is stagnant, and where the miners pass nearly all the time they remain under-ground. This circumstance, it is obvious, will give an importance to this class of causes, which the mere amount of their deteriorating powers would by no means entitle them to, in any other situation. The effect of the respiration of the miners may be judged of, from considering the number of men employed.
The effect of combustion in contaminating the air, is equally well understood. The extent of this cause of deterioration of the air of the mines of the Landsend district, may be estimated by the quantities of candles consumed, the only species of combustion, besides gunpowder, used in mining. In the six mines formerly mentioned, the expenditure of candles in 182O, was 22,140 lbs. per month.
I know of no eudiometrical experiments that have
been made on the air of mines, and I regret that I
have myself none to record in this place; I think,
however, the foregoing observations render it certain
that this must be, in a considerable degree, impure,
as well from the abstraction of its oxygen, as by the
addition of substances, mechanical and gaseous,
which are not merely useless, but positively injurious
to the functions of animal life.
Owing to the absence of the generating materials in the mines of Cornwall, the hydrogenous gases of coal mines are entirely unknown. Accidents, however, occasionally, though very rarely, occur, from the accumulation of other of the irrespirable gases in long abandoned galleries; and it is very common in sinking deep shafts, or driving long galleries, to find the air so vitiated by respiration and combustion, and by the gases from exploded gunpowder, as to oblige the miner to fix his candle in almost a horizontal direction, to keep it from being extinguished. In cases of this kind artificial currents are, occasionally, produced by means of air pipes, &c.
In considering all the circumstances which can, in any way, affect the health of miners, we ought, perhaps, not altogether to overlook the fact of their subterranean labours being all performed in a very feeble light, a circumstance which forms a very striking contrast with the artificial glare of many of our manufactories, more particularly since the use of gas lights has become common.
Labours and habits of miners.─Setting aside the
unwholesome nature of the occupation, I do not
consider the labour of the miner as by any means
severe; it is certainly much less severe than that of
the stone-quarrier or mason. In respect, however,
of injurious influence on the integrity of the animal
frame, there are few kinds of bodily labour that can
be compared with it. The subterranean labours of
the miner commence at the early age of from eight
to ten. At first, and for several years, the young
miners are employed principally in conveying in
wheelbarrows the ore and broken rock from the inner extremity of the galleries to the nearest shaft. In
this employment they enjoy a much purer air, and
a much less constrained posture than will be their
portion when they are a few years older. The
occupation of the common miner, as formerly mentioned,
consists essentially in breaking down the
metalliferous vein or lode, and the surface of the
bounding rock on either side, by means of the pickaxe
and lever, and the more powerful arm of gunpowder.
Where the lode and rock are not very hard,
and can be excavated by the former, these only are
used. This, however, is rare even in the killas districts,
for any considerable extent; and the fact
certainly is that, whether from the hardness of a part,
or a whole rock or vein, or from the greater expedition
of the process, by much the greatest portion of
the galleries in the mines of Cornwall, is excavated
by means of blasting with gunpowder. The process
followed is the same as that adopted by the common
quarrier. Holes are driven, occasionally, on every
face of the gallery, above, below, and on either side,
but much less frequently in the first of these directions.
Generally, during the process of boring, the
operator is seated; occasionally he is obliged to
stand either completely or partially erect. When
the gunpowder is deposited in the bottom of the
hole, the upper portion of this is rammed full of
fragments of rock, ore, or clay, by means of a metallic
cylinder. This process of confining the powder
is called tamping, and the cylinder, a tamping-bar.
During its performance the gunpowder is occasionally
ignited, and the operator killed or severely
wounded by the explosion.
The cause of these premature explosions was clearly investigated and keenly discussed, some years since, by several members of the Cornwall Geological Society, and an ingenious paper on the subject was written by the then secretary, Dr. Paris. He considered the ignition as invariably taking place by the sparks produced by the collision of the tamping bars (which, at that time, were generally made of iron), and the stony materials in contact with the powder, and proposed, as an infallible preventive, an alloy bar of tin and copper, which is incapable, under ordinary circumstances, of striking fire with stone. In the same essay, an improved mode of conveying the powder to the bottom of the hole was proposed. Both of these suggestions have been only very partially adopted, and their value, as preventives, has been very differently estimated by different practical men. A greater improvement than either of these has been adopted, of late years, in many mines, namely, the employment of soft tamping-stuff, incapable of yielding sparks on percussion.
With these various alterations, and with an increased degree of care and attention on the part of the superintendents, awakened and confirmed by the discussions above alluded to, the fact assuredly is, that accidents, from this cause, are much rarer of late years in the mines in this district.
The ordinary period of under-ground labour is six hours in the twenty-four; at the end of this time the labour is assumed by a fresh band from the surface, (or from grass, as the miners term it), who are, in their turn, relieved at the end of a like period. The dress of a miner, under-ground, consists of a coarse flannel shirt and drawers, and a pair of coarse linen trowsers, a low round-crowned hat, and a pair of shoes. At the end of the period of labour, on the workman's return to the surface, some part of the dress is generally changed, the hands and face washed of their ochry covering, and a coat and waistcoat put on. Miners frequently live several miles distant from the mine in which they work, and invariably return home on leaving it. While at work, miners in general perspire very freely, owing to the very high temperature of the stagnant air in the inner ends of the galleries.
Sometimes the galleries wherein the men are working are quite dry and dusty; much more frequently the bottom is covered with a greater or less portion of water, produced by the imperceptible transpiration of the vein or condensation of the humid air; and, occasionally, in lodes of a very loose texture and in a watery country, the whole roof of the gallery is perceptibly dripping. In all the lower galleries of Huel Vor tin mine, which is situated in killas, I found the water pouring from the roofs like rain, and in some places rushing in streams through the loose and druzy lode. In all these galleries the average temperature of the water, at a depth of 800 feet, was about 67°.
The miners whom I saw at work here, had been drenched in this incessant shower six hours every day, for many preceding months.
Miners never carry any food with them into the mines, and I never observed any other kind of drink than water. They never sleep under-ground, nor did I ever, during my visits, find them resting from their labours.
The descent and ascent into and from mines, are through the shafts, by means of perpendicular ladders, and constitute a very important feature of the labours of this class of men. The labour of ascent is, to a stranger, very severe, producing, in a very short time, great breathlessness, palpitation, and exhaustion. It is accomplished by grasping the steps above you, with an alternate change of the hands, and, as it were, drawing up the lower parts of the body: it is going on all fours up a perpendicular plane. Habit makes the labour comparatively easy to the miner, and the younger ones often make trial of their respective activity in coming to grass. Several miners have accused this practice as the primary cause of their asthmatic sufferings in after life. When the mine is of any considerable depth, it hardly ever happens that the train of ladders is in one continuous chain from top to bottom; on the contrary, after ascending two or three, it is, commonly, necessary to traverse a greater or less extent of a horizontal gallery, in order to reach the next series of ladders. This gives time for breathing, although it adds to the length of the journey; for as almost all galleries are horizontal, every foot of positive ascent must be by ladders, which are almost always perpendicular. In very deep mines, this makes the labour of ascent a very serious matter, when taken daily for years. Unfortunately for the miner, most of the richest and populous mines are the deepest, and most worked in their lowest regions. When I visited Dolcoath copper mine in 1819, the lowest gallery was 1386 feet deep; and Huel Abraham, in 1822, was 1440; the former employed 800, and the latter 560 men in the under-ground labours. From the account formerly given of the ventilation in mines, it is evident that the miner, in returning from his work, must be frequently exposed to strong or partial currents of air.
Domestic Economy. A. Houses─There is, generally, an intimate connection between the construction of the houses and the physical structure of a district, or between its architecture and geology. And this connection is most perceptible in the habitations of the poor. Wealth can transport from a distance the materials of the castle or mansion, but poverty must be content to rear the cottage from the adjoining pit or quarry. The excellent granite and porphyry of this district afford the finest materials for building, and give to the churches and gentlemen's houses a most substantial and beautiful character. Many of the cottages are built of the same materials, but the greater proportion are constructed of clay and straw closely intermixed. This material is adopted by the poor in preference to stone, from the expence of quarrying the latter. The cottages so constructed are generally very warm and dry. They are commonly roofed with straw. Less neat in their exterior, they are also less clean and comfortable in their interior economy than the cottages of most other counties in England.
Like the Scotch and Irish cabins, they have hardly any flowers or shrubs about them, and very commonly the dunghill is near the door. They, however, almost invariably possess a small potatoe garden near them; the potatoe here, as in Ireland and Scotland, being cultivated as the staple article of the peasant's food. In the poorest cottages there are always two apartments; but it is customary for all the members of the same family to sleep in the same room. Bedsteads and bed-clothes are possessed by all. In Penzance, and the other small towns of the district, where space is precious, many individuals are often crowded into one house, and want, in all its forms, want of furniture, clothing, cleanliness and air, consequently becomes very conspicuous. This observation especially applies to Penzance and Newlyn. The cottages have always inclosed chimneys, and are not particularly smoky.
B. Fuel.─Fuel is rather a scarce commodity in this district. That commonly used by the labouring classes in the country, consists of coarse spongy turf, shaved from the scanty covering of the granite moors, together with heath and dried furze from the same places. The almost total absence of wood renders it, as an article of fuel, quite unknown, and coals are almost entirely confined to the towns and houses of the better classes. There is hardly any of the true peat of Scotland and Ireland to be found in the district.
C. Dress.─The dress of the common people is
not at all peculiar. Except when oppressed by
poverty, they are, in general, sufficiently well clothed.
Fishermen are here, as elsewhere, remarkable for
the warmth of their clothes. The miners, when
above ground, wear the common dress of the peasantry,
only tinged with the ochry livery of their
D. Diet.─The great importance of this, in an enquiry respecting the sources of health and disease in a community, will be generally admitted, and renders a somewhat closer examination of the subject necessary. In this district, as in most others, the kind of food in general among the common people, has been determined by the nature of their habits and pursuits, and by the species of aliment of which their locality is most productive. We find, accordingly, that the inhabitants of this district are as much indebted to the sea as to the land for sustenance. Fish, pork, potatoes, and barley bread, compose the general stock of provisions. In plentiful seasons, in summer, the pilchard, in its fresh state, with potatoes, is the main article of diet; in winter and spring, the same fish, salted, with potatoes, is still the staple and standing diet of the labouring classes of the district. In most cases, indeed, the salted pilchard may rather be considered as a sort of sauce (scottice kitchen) for the accompanying mess of potatoes, than as a substantial article of diet, as it bears but a very small proportion, both in size and actual nutriment, to the latter; still its presence is necessary, and is deemed most essential. The fish and potatoes are boiled together. This, together with barley bread, may be considered as the general dinner of the peasantry, miners, and fishermen, throughout the year, although, as has been already observed, the same fish in its fresh state, and, also, mackerel and other fishes, and, occasionally, salted pork, take the place of the salted pilchard, as accompaniments to the unfailing potatoe. The same dish, or some variety of the same, especially as to the proportion of the barley bread, composes the supper. The breakfast is, occasionally, similar also; but it now much more commonly consists of tea and bread and butter. The use of tea may now be considered as universal. As may be inferred from its high price, the infusion of it, in use among the poorer members of this community, is extremely weak, being, in fact, little better than warm water. The poorer individuals drink this often without either sugar, treacle, or milk.
In the towns the use of wheaten bread is becoming more general, even among the poorer classes; but in the country parishes, barley bread is the only kind in common use. This is also of a very bad quality. The coarse barley meal is baked in large loaves, which are seldom sufficiently cooked, so that the bread is generally extremely coarse, black and sour, and more like wet dough than bread. It is baked by being placed under an inverted brass pan, which is covered with burning furze, and in its characters bears ample proof of the rudeness and insufficiency of the process. Fresh animal food, under the form of butcher's meat, is rarely known to the labouring classes, except in towns, where an occasional meal of it is seen, as well as wheaten bread. Milk is also in use more or less, but is by no means an extensive article of diet. Scarcely any kinds of vegetables, but potatoes, are used by the common people, and are rarely to be seen in their little gardens. All species of green vegetables and fruits are entirely unknown to them as articles of food. Upon the whole, I should say that the principal articles of diet of the common people, are salted pilchards, potatoes, and barley bread, with tea; and of these I think that the breakfast of weak tea and ill-baked barley bread, is both disagreeable and unwholesome.
Among the greater half of the inhabitants of this district, i.e. the poorer class, beer can hardly be reckoned as an article of diet. Many families, even among the labouring classes, doubtless, use it as such; all indulge in it, occasionally, as a luxury, yet its daily and habitual use is entirely unknown to the greater part of this class of people in the district.
This naturally leads to the subject of drinking, more particularly so called, or the use and abuse of spirituous and other strong liquors. And I am happy to say that, in this respect, I can make a most favourable report of the inhabitants of the Landsend, although I am not sure that their temperance is not, in a considerable degree, constrained. At least the report made of them in this particular, only a few years back, by one of their native historians, is extremely different from the representation of their present temperance, which my experience enables me to give.
"There is another poison among us," says Polwhele, "more deleterious than all the lead that ever existed in the cider vessels of Devonshire and Cornwall. The ardent spirits to which the Cornish vulgar are habituated, 'young men and maidens,' old men and children,─pueri innuptœque puellæ, are unquestionably prejudicial to health, and are often attended with fatality." And in another place, "Among miners and others, spirituous liquors are equally in repute." (p. 107.) The same complaint is made by Dr. Borlase, in 1758, and the causes are said to be, the nature of the principal occupation, (mining), and the frequent and numerous elections in the boroughs for members of parliament.
The case is certainly very different at present, both among the mining and the agricultural population. Both of these classes of people must now be considered as habitually sober, although they, unquestionably, occasionally commit excesses in this particular. Two causes appear to have combined to produce this very desirable and beneficial change in the habits of the labouring classes in this district; the suppression of foreign smuggling, and the general prevalence of Methodism. For a good many years past, almost all the miners have been strict followers of the Wesleyan professors, and in place of spending their Sundays in the ale-house, have spent them in the laborious duties of the conventicle; while, during the same period, hardly any foreign spirits have found their way into the district.
E. Employments, Amusements, &c.─The principal peculiarities in the occupations of the miners, have been already mentioned; among the remaining classes of the people, there is little deserving notice under this head.
The fisher women are accustomed to carry on their
backs, very heavy loads of fish, in baskets called
cowals, the anterior strap of which is supported across
the forehead. The same class of people have also
an odd mode of carrying sand, in bags laid across
the loins, and which are retained in their place partly
by the hand stretched backwards, and partly by the
inclination of the body forwards.
As there is no species of domestic occupation, such as spinning, knitting, &c. to which the females of the class of peasantry can apply themselves, they are much employed in the labours of the field; and, indeed, these, and the cares of the dairy, constitute their whole employment. They are all excellent equestrians, a circumstance arising from the comparatively rare use of carts to convey the productions of the farm to the weekly markets. Hundreds of women may be seen, on a market day, riding, often at full speed, with their baskets, and supported only by their own skill of equipoise, on a pad, without stirrup, and only with a common halter.
There are a few peculiar customs still prevalent among the people, which it is proper to notice in this place, without, however, entering into any detail. Of this kind are the rustic festivals known by the name of saint, church, or parish feasts, which, like most of the ancient fetes, now exist in very degenerate splendour. "The saint's feast is kept," to use the words of Carew, "upon the dedication day, by every householder of the parish, within his own doors, each entertaining such foreign acquaintance as will not fail, when their like turn cometh about, to requite him with the like kindness."
The fete is kept up, for two or three days, with more or less spirit, and an adjournment is always made to the village ale-house, where dancing and drinking are more liberally enjoyed than at home. On these occasions the men are, as might be expected, often intoxicated. The ancient festivals called church ales, usually held on the whitsuntide holidays, are now entirely obsolete in this district. This is also true of the rude plays or mysteries called the guary miracle. A very singular custom prevails at Penzance, of raising bonfires in the streets on Saint Peter's eve, on which occasion the common people traverse the streets all the fore part of the night, swinging huge burning torches round their heads. This is one of those ancient customs still persevered in, after its object and intention, and even the meaning of it, have become quite obsolete. Among the amusements of the common people, wrestling deserves mention, as being still in frequent use.
Moral and intellectual condition.─In former times the miners of Cornwall were generally considered, and I apprehend not without reason, as remarkably rude, turbulent, and irreligious. The case is now, however, very different. It has been already mentioned that intemperance in drinking is very little known; and if we may judge from the almost universal prevalence of Methodism in the district, and the fidelity and zeal with which all its observances are followed by the common people, we must consider them as being very religious. Bastardy, however, seems to be, as yet, beyond the control of this agent, as I have reason to believe that, in many country parishes, the majority of women are in an advanced state of pregnancy when married. Indeed it is understood to be a common case among the lower orders, that cohabitation shall take place, without any other bond than an understanding that marriage shall ensue upon the supervention of the state above mentioned.
If we may judge from the great number of men of talent, natives of this district, who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, and the arts, we ought to rate the intellectual capacity of the inhabitants of the Landsend very high. The two last Presidents of the Royal Society, Sir Humphry Davy and Davies Gilbert, Esq. were born within five miles of each other, in this district; and many other individuals might be named, both of the past and present times, sprung from different classes of the community, whose talents have illustrated their native Penwith. It is a circumstance well worthy of remark, how much the intellectual capacity, or rather the intellectual development of the people, varies in the different classes. Generally speaking the common peasantry or agricultural labourers, are as heavy, dull, and unintellectual, as in any part of England, while the miners, the common labouring miners, are singularly acute and intelligent. The causes of this difference are sufficiently obvious, and lie in the nature of the avocations of the respective parties. The peasant, from youth to age, plods round the same dull circumscribed circle of occupation; and his business being fully learnt in early life, makes no great demand on the maturer powers of succeeding years; while the miner, with labours fraught with all the interest of variety, novelty and speculation, and requiring the constant exercise of his judgment to decide on doubtful points, lives in a constant state of intellectual training. The consequence is as above described.
Physical character of the People.─The Cornish, like the Welsh and Scotch, and I believe justly, lay claim to a more ancient and more unmixed descent than their neighbours of the interior of the island; yet I must be allowed to express my doubts whether they exhibit, in their persons and character, any thing obviously peculiar. They seem to me of middle size and strength. Polwhele says, "they exceed not, in general, the middle size. I should father, indeed, say that they are short and thick, with legs perhaps too slight for their bodies. But, after all, they have more strength and activity than their eastern neighbours. It was observed of the regiment of Cornish Militia, when at Chatham Camp, in the time of Colonel Molesworth, that they stood on more ground than any other militia of the same number of men. This was attributed to the breadth of their shoulders, which. in comparison with the eastern men, was uncommonly striking."
This latter circumstance, which is certainly very remarkable, Mr. Polwhele attributes to the constant use of the pickaxe, or bidaxe by the Cornish peasants. "Where a man of York or Kent," says he, "would employ a shovel or a spade, a Cornish man uses a bidaxe. And, doubtless, the action that accompanies the strokes of the bidaxe must, like the ringing of bells, open the chest;" p. 31. The strength and activity of the Cornish peasantry are still further evinced, and, perhaps, produced, by an adherence to several of the athletic exercises more general in former times. The principal of these is wrestling, which is still much followed in this district.
Population.─This district is extremely populous, more so, probably, than any district of the kingdom not containing larger or more numerous towns. The number of inhabitants by the census in 1821, was, as has been already mentioned, 60,642, while the number of statute acres constituting the district, is 90,957, or 142 square miles. Now, it appears from the parliamentary returns for 1821, that the proportion of inhabitants to the square mile in all England and Wales, was 210 in that year, while in all Cornwall it was only 194:, and in the agricultural county of Sussex. only 162; but the foregoing statement gives for the Hundred of Penwith 427 persons to each square mile. That this great superiority does not depend on the populousness of the towns, is very certain, as we find that it is still maintained in a very considerable degree, after deducting the whole of their inhabitants. Thus, if we deduct one-fifth of the whole population, (12,128) we have still a proportion of 341 inhabitants to every square mile. This very great populousness is occasioned principally by the great proportion of persons employed in the mines, which, in this point of view, may be considered as subterranean factories. Is it, also, partly owing to the smallness of the farms, and to the universal habit of very early marriages? The existence of small farms, which necessarily produce many masters, and a comparatively small number of servants, would seem almost necessarily to conduce to frequent marriages.
The number of inhabitants in this district, in the four decennial periods since the commencement of the present century, was as follows:─
This gives an increase of 41 per cent. in the whole 30 years, which is considerably above the average increase of the county of Cornwall, and of the whole of England, during the same period; the former exhibiting an increase of 37 per cent. and the latter of 34 per cent. only.
The rate of increase has differed considerably among the different classes of inhabitants, being a good deal more among the mining population than among the inhabitants of agricultural parishes and towns.
We are enabled to ascertain this fact from various sources, but with most accuracy, 1st, by comparing together the population of the chief mining parishes with that of the agricultural districts and towns, as in Table I.; and 2nd, by comparing the number of men liable to serve in the two classes of militia, (mentioned in the last chapter,) as in Table II.
From the first of these documents it results that the mining population has increased 40 per cent. while the agricultural has increased only 38 per per cent. during a period of thirty years.
From the second of these documents it results that the milling population has increased 33 per cent. while the agricultural has increased only 19 per cent. during a period of fifteen years. This gives the proportional increase of the mining population greatly higher than the former.
The difference of result in these two cases, as to the actual and relative increase in the two classes, flows naturally from the difference of the data on which they are founded. The former document includes the whole population, male and female, for a period of thirty years; the latter, only the actual miners of the male sex, from the age of eighteen to forty-five, and for a period of only fifteen years. It will be observed, however, that they both concur in proving the greater proportional increase of the mining population; and it cannot be doubted that the ratio of the increase exhibited by the militia, returns, comes much nearer the truth than that derived from the parliamentary returns.
TABLE I.─Population of the Hundred of Penwith during the present Century, showing the rate of Increase in each Parish, and in the Mining and Agricultural Districts respectively.
|Tow of Marazion||1009||1022||1253||1393|
|St. Michael's Mount||──||125||223||161|
|Town of Penzance||3382||4022||5224||6563|
|St. Paul, including fishing villages||2937||3371||3790||4191|
|Total Agricultural Parishes||21615||25132||29698||35215|
|Total Mining Parishes||21611||25131||30944||37187|
TABLE II.─Number of Men liable to serve in the Miners' and Cornwall Militia, with the Rate of Increase in different periods. Years.
|Years||Cornwall Militia||Miners' Militia|
TABLE III.─Total Marriages, Births and Deaths, in the Hundred of Penwith.
TABLE IV.─Proportion of the Sexes at all ages.
|In England and Wales.||In Penwith.|
TABLE V.—Proportion of Sexes Born.
|In England and Wales.||In Penwith.|
|From||1800 to 1811||100||96||100||93|
|1811 to 1821||100||95||100||95|
TABLE VI.─Proportion of Marriages to the Population.
|In England and Wales.||In Cornwall.||In Penwith.|
|1811||1 in 122||1 in 141||1 in 149|
|1821||1 in 134||1 in 151||1 in 133|
TABLE VII.─Proportions of Births (Baptisms) to the Population.
|In England and Wales.||In Cornwall.||In Penwith.|
|1811||1 in 34||1 in 32||1 in 30|
|1821||1 in 35||1 in 34||1 in 28|
|Mean||1 in 34.5||1 in 33||1 in 29|
The proportion of sexes born in this district, as shown by Table V. is, as might be expected, nearly the same as in the rest of England. The greater proportion of females to males, alive at all ages, in this district, is readily accounted for by the influence of mining in diminishing the male population, as will be more fully explained hereafter.
Table VII. shows, in a striking manner, the great proportion of births in this district; and when compared with Table VI. seems to demonstrate the great prevalence of bastardy.
"The Hundred of Penwith," says Dr. Borlase, "has always been celebrated beyond other parts of Cornwall, for the long lives of its natives." If this be the case, arguing from the data furnished by the different writers on the county generally, the longevity of the inhabitants of this district must, indeed, be very uncommon. It is, however, necessary to remark that, in estimating the general longevity of the population of any place, we are not to be contented by adducing, as has been too often done, instances of extreme old age at different and perhaps distant periods. There is, perhaps, no country in the world, even including the most unhealthy, whose annals do not contain examples of individuals living to an age much beyond the general mean of the duration of human life. And, indeed, did we trust to such records, we might be inclined to consider almost every country or district, which can boast its native topographers, as pre-eminent in this all-estimable character of longevity. On this account, although I do not mean to overlook the many particular instances of long life preserved in the writings of the Cornish authorities, I still lay much more stress on the results of those records which exhibit the general rate and law of mortality of a whole district during a certain period of time.
"For health," says Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, "80 and 90 years of age is ordinary in every place; and in most persons, accompanied with an able use of the body and his senses;" p. 177. And he proceeds to record the names of three individuals who died within his own knowledge, whose respective ages were 130, 112, and 106. "They live in this countrie verie long," says Norden, "80, 90, some 100 and more years." Dr. Borlase records an instance of a woman dying in the parish of Gwithian, in the year 1676, at the age of 164, and also two others of the ages of 120 and 107. Mr. Polwhele, in addition to these, gives us a great number of instances of extreme longevity in different parts of the country. Among these are found one of 150, of 144, of 117, and 116 respectively; three of 107, and fourteen between that age and a hundred. In the Hundred of Penwith he records many instances of longevity, and relates the history of a certain maiden by name Zenobia Baragwannith, who had not long before, appeared at her landlord's court, to deliver up a farm which she had held on the usual lease of 99 years, all of which had expired during her own possession Miss B. expressed herself anxious to have her audience over, giving, as a reason, that "she was riding a young beast," i.e. a colt not thoroughly broke in, and, therefore, probably not a very patient waiter at the great man's gate. Several other instances are recorded of ages above 100; and in the parish of Buryan, (where there are no mines, and of which the population, in 1800, was 1161,) he mentions that there were living, in the year 1785, three persons (men) upwards of 90 years old, and thirteen men upwards of 80, besides old women, "who," adds the reporter, "never die."
I shall now proceed to put the truth of these partial statements and general opinions to the test, by exhibiting, in documents, the authenticity of which cannot be questioned, the actual ages at which the inhabitants die. The only question that can be raised concerning any of these documents is, whether they comprehend data sufficiently extensive whereon to found general conclusions, as to the true law of mortality of the district. This I must leave to the determination of the reader. I can only vouch for their authenticity.
The data on which the following tables are
founded, are the parish registers and the parliamentary
returns. Abstracts of all the registers in the
Hundred were made by myself, with the utmost
attention to accuracy, and it is believed that the
tables constructed from these, also by myself, contain
no material errors.
They comprehend the whole number of burials in each parish, antecedently to the years 1819 and 1820, as far back as the respective ages of the individuals are recorded. In no case is the series of years less than five; in some parishes it is as much as thirty-one, the average being nearly nine years, (8.84.) I now regret much that, in making my abstracts, I neglected to take any account of the sexes under the age of 80. The tables constructed from the parliamentary returns, are chiefly confined to the results of the census of 1821, on account of the more exact coincidence of this period with that comprehended in the parish registers.
For the sake of clearness, I shall divide the following tables into three series; the first exhibiting the law of mortality of the whole district of the Landsend, comparatively with that of the kingdom generally, or of particular parts of it; the second exhibiting the same law as it obtains among the different classes of inhabitants in the district, more particularly in the two principal classes of agriculturists and miners; the third presenting a comparative view of the purely agricultural or more healthy parts of the district, with certain other parts of England somewhat similarly circumstanced. with the view of determining the natural law of mortality of the district, when uninfluenced by causes having a deleterious effect on health, and most particularly with the view of settling the relative longevity of the inhabitants.
TABLE VIII.─Abstract of the Parish Registers of the Hundred of Penwith, showing the actual Deaths, at all Ages, among the whole Inhabitants.
TABLE IX.─Relative Proportion of Deaths, at all Ages, in the Hundred of Penwith, and at Carlisle, the whole being assumed to be 10,000 in each Place.
TABLE X.─Law of Mortality of the whole Population of the Hundred of Penwith, relatively to that of the Carlisle Tables, calculated from the Abstracts of the Parish Registers, the total Births being assumed to be 10,000.
|Number of Persons that will be alive at each age,|
TABLE XI.─Actual Number of Persons alive, at each Age, in the Hundred of Penwith, in the year 1821.
TABLE XII.─Proportional Number of Persons alive, at each Age, in 1821, in the undermentioned Places, supposing the whole Population to be 10,000 each sex, at each place.
|Co. of Cornawall,||3045||2605||2256||2053||3131||2208||1751.1||1353.4||947.1||497.4||135.7||9.9||.28|
|Hun. of Penwith,||3321||2696||2337||2087||3194||1680.6||1232.8||305.5||430||123.2||11.3||.44|
TABLE XIII.─Proportion of Deaths to the living Inhabitants at the undermentioned Places.
|In England and Wales.||In Cornwall.||In Penwith.|
|In 1811||1 in 50||1 in 62||1 in 61|
|In 1821||1 in 58||1 in 71||1 in 67|
|Mean||1 in 54||1 in 66.5||1 in 64|
It results, from the foregoing series of Tables, that the claim to longevity set up by the Cornish Topographers for their native county, is by no means well founded in as far as regards the Landsend District, the whole population being comprehended in the estimate.
On the contrary, it appears to be established by these, more particularly by Tables VIII. X. and XII. that a considerably greater proportion of persons die in the early periods of life, that is under the 40th year, in the Hundred of Pen with, than in either the whole county of Cornwall, or at Carlisle; and that the mortality is even considerably above the average of the whole of England. As a necessary consequence of this, the numbers that attain to the higher periods of life, in this district, are proportionally smaller. This results from comparing with the other places the numbers that die at each age above the 40th year, as shewn by the parish registers, as also from comparing the numbers alive at each particular age, as shewn by the parliamentary returns. There is, indeed, a trifling exception to this in the extreme period of life, as will be seen by Table XII. from which it results that the proportion of persons that attain their 80th year, is greater in the Hundred of Penwith than the average of all England, although very considerably less in the whole county of Cornwall; while the proportion that reach their 90th and 100th years, is greater in Penwith than in all Cornwall and in all England.
In this respect, then, it is, indeed, true, that there is greater longevity in the Landsend District than elsewhere; but the general character of the district, as exhibited in these Tables, is directly the reverse of this, the inhabitants, taken as a body, dying at much earlier periods of life than in the remainder of the county of Cornwall, or at Carlisle, or even in the whole of England taken collectively.
It remains to be inquired whether the statement now made can be justly applied to the whole population of this district, or whether it has especial reference to certain classes of the people only, who are subject to peculiar influences having a tendency to shorten life.
It was stated in a former part of this memoir, that the inhabitants might be classed, according to their occupations, as agricultural labourers, fishermen, handicrafts men, or townspeople and miners, and that this last class bore a very large proportion to the others. The details formerly given of the habits and occupations of this class of persons, will prepare any one accustomed to hygienic inquiries, to expect that they should suffer greatly in their health and have their lives shortened, in consequence of their mode of living. If it should appear, on inquiry, that the abbreviation of life, from this cause, is very considerable, it may alone account for the results obtained by the last series of tables, and still leave the longevity of the inhabitants, when undisturbed by artificial influences, such as is claimed for them by their native topographers. That this is the state of the fact, will, I think, appear abundantly evident from the series of tables which I am now about to lay before the reader.
In constructing these Tables, I have not attempted any very minute classification of the inhabitants, from a conviction that such an attempt would defeat the object I had in view, of obtaining results on the great scale, which can alone be depended on in investigations of this nature. Instead of separating them into the different classes formerly enumerated, I have contented myself with such a general division as would enable me to contrast the parts of the district where miners chiefly reside, with those where all the other classes chiefly reside, terming the former mining parishes, and the latter agricultural parishes. It is admitted that these terms are only comparatively appropriate, owing to the limited extent of the whole district, and the intermixture, more or less, of the two classes in every parish (two, perhaps, excepted) of the Hundred.
The plan I have followed in making the division, has been to class together all the parishes in which the number of miners exceeded the remaining classes, as found by the militia returns, terming these mining parishes, and vice versa; without regarding whether the parishes so classed together were contiguous or not. This method was considered much preferable to any territorial division, as, while it correctly designated the employment of the inhabitants, (in other words, the artificial sources of disease,) it involved no risk of confounding the influence of natural causes, the small extent and character of the district rendering these the same over the whole Hundred. It so happens, nevertheless, that, with one principal exception in the parish of St. Just, all the parishes included under the head of mining, lie nearly contiguous, and in the eastern division of the Hundred, while, with two or three lesser exceptions, the reverse holds good respecting the agricultural parishes. Out of the twenty-four parishes of the Hundred, only nine have been included under the character of mining; but it has happened, by a curious coincidence, that the population of each of these divisions is precisely the same within one. In the following inquiry it is also to be borne in mind that, of the fifteen parishes included under the name of agricultural, many contain a great proportion of miners, and also the most crowded and dirty towns and villages of the whole district, these latter having a population amounting to one-third of the whole number of inhabitants. These circumstances, of course, will render the results much less strong in support of the proposition of the unhealthiness of mining, than would have been the case had the parishes been truly and purely agricultural.
The following table exhibits the division of the
parishes adopted, the total population, and the proportion
of miners in each, in the year 1811:─
|Names of parishes||Population in 1811||No of Men between the Age|
of 18 and 45 liable to serve
in the Militia.
|Miners' M.||Cornwall M.|
|Village of Marazion,||1022||20||82|
|Town of Pezance,||4022||4||549|
|Paul and Fishing Villages,||3496||37||352|
|Total Agricultural Parishes,||25132||604||2579|
The Tables which follow are strikingly illustrative of the influence of mining in shortening life in this district.
|TABLE XV.─Relative Proportion of Deaths to the living Inhabitants, among the Mining and Agricultural Population respectively.|
|Population in 1811.||Deaths in 1811.||Proportion of of Deaths.|
|In the nine Mining Parishes, in which the Mining Population is to the other classes as 100 to 47,||25,131||433||1 in 58|
|In the fifteen Agricultural Parishes, (including Towns and Fishing villages), in which the Mining Population is to the other classes as 100 to 426,||25,132||390||1 in 64|
TABLE XVI.─Actual Deaths, at different ages, among the Mining and Agricultural Population respectively, from the Parish Registers.
|Mining Parishes─Population 25,131||1627||268||323||279||307||353||447||447||241||31||1|
|Agricultural Parishes─Population 25,132,||1704||231||347||246||272||310||503||644||425||47||0|
TABLE XVII.─Relative proportion of Deaths at different Ages, the whole assumed to be 10,000.
|In the nine Mining Parishes,||3765||619||746||645||709||816||1035||1035||557||71||2|
|In the fifteen Agricultural Parishes,||3604||488||734||520||576||656||1063||1363||898||99||──|
TABLE XVIII.─Proportion of Deaths in the two Sexes above the 80th year.─Actual number of Deaths from the Parish Registers.
80 to 90.
90 to 100.
80 to 100.
|In the 9 Mining Parishes.||73||168||9||22||100||231|
|In the 15 Agricult. Par.||173||252||13||34||100||153|
|TABLE XIX.─Actual Ages and Sexes of all Persons dying above the 80th year, as far back as is recorded in the Parish Registers.|
|Fifteen Agricultural Parishes.|
|Ages at which the Persons die.||Total of each sex.||Total of both sex||Total deaths at all ages|
|Nine Mining parishes.|
|Ages at which they die.||Total of each sex.||Total of Both sex.||Total Deaths at all ages.|
TABLE XX.─Law of Mortality of the different classes of Inhabitants, the Births in each class being assumed to be 10,000, calculated from the Parochial Registers.
|Total numbers that will be alive at each age.|
|Fifteen Agriculture Parishes,||6396||5996||5174||4654||4078||3422||2559||996||99||0|
|Nine Mining Parishes,||6235||5616||4870||4225||3516||2700||1667||632||75||2|
TABLE XXI.─Proportional number of Persons alive, at each age, in 1821, among the different classes of the Hundred of Penwith, supposing the whole population to be 10,000 each sex.
|From||5 to 10||1305||1395||1194||1334||1249||1364|
|10 to 15||1268||1310||1022||1099||1145||1204|
|15 to 20||1092||1079||1048||1000||1070||1639|
|20 to 30||1412||1670||1625||1705||1518||1687|
|30 to 40||1086||1020||1160||1621||1122||1020|
|40 to 50||876||781||910||823||893||802|
|50 to 60||682||492||707||607||694||549|
|60 to 70||479||285||554||455||516||370|
|70 to 80||223||134||302||209||262||171|
|80 to 90||52||23||93||67||72||45|
|90 to 100||2||2||10||8||6||5|
|TABLE XXII.─Proportional number of Persons alive, at each age, in 1891, in the adjoining Hundreds of Penwith and Kerrier, (the Mining Population being, to the other classes, nearly double in Penwith to what it is in Kerrier,) supposing the whole Population to be 10,000 each sex.|
|N. B.─Actual Population of Penwith, 58,418|
|Proportion of Miners to the other classes in Penwith, 79 to 100|
|Kerrier, 48 to 100|
|From||Birth to 5||1742||1579||1579||1372||1660||1476|
|5 to 10||1356||1452||1270||1250||1313||1351|
|10 to 15,||1283||1279||1054||1044||1168||1161|
|15 to 20,||1084||1088||1003||1038||1043||1063|
|20 to 30,||1546||1348||1648||1661||1597||1504|
|30 to 40,||1057||973.6||1086||1105||1071||1039|
|40 to 50,||522.7||855.1||857.9||916.2||840.3||885.6|
|50 to 60,||579.6||649.||653.2||747.2||616.4||848.1|
|60 to 70,||305.||421.9||500.5||482.8||402.7||452.3|
|70 to 80,||176.24||221.55||253.89||277.01||215.6||444.35|
|80 to 90,||37.90||59.68||85.39||88.72||61.19||69.25|
|90 to 100,||2.53||3.94||8.86||7.39||6.24||5.11|
|100 and upwards,||0.32||0.56||.16||.28|
The above series of Tables place, in a strong point of view, the great inferiority of the mining parishes in respect of longevity, when compared with the agricultural parishes and towns; and, consequently, the very deleterious influence exercised by the occupation of the miner over his health and life. There seems hardly any possible source of fallacy in the inferences afforded by these Tables, as they all concur in exhibiting the same or similar results, although drawn from different sources. I will direct the reader's attention to some of the most striking of the results afforded by the Tables, in proof of the influence of mining in shortening life.
I. It is shown by Table XV. that, in the year 1811, the proportion of deaths to the living inhabitants, was one-tenth greater in the mining parishes, than in the agricultural parishes and towns.
2. It results from Table XVII. that out of the same proportion of births, (10,000) there is a regular annual superiority of deaths in the mining district, over the agricultural, from birth to the 60th year, amounting, in the whole of that period, to 722, or one-fourteenth of the whole births. This increased mortality is greatest in the prime of life, between the 30th and 60th year, the total being 2170 in the mining, and 1752 in the agricultural parishes, that is, considerably above one-fifth more in the former. This result is the more striking, as it appears from Table XXI. that the numbers of persons living, between the 30th and 60th year, is considerably less in the mining than in the agricultural districts. It appears from Table XX. that there is a much greater mortality in the mining parishes, even in very early life, than in the agricultural, a fact which can only be explained by the general law of increased mortality, at all ages, which seems to obtain in all manufacturing and crowded communities. Thus, at the 30th year, the proportion of the population is as follows:─Mining, 4870; agricultural, 5174. At the 60th year, the disproportion is still greater, and, of course, still against the mining population, the number in the mining parishes being 2700, while in the agricultural it is 3422.
3. It is seen by Tables XVI. and XVII. that, by the 60th year, the whole number of the mining population has become so reduced, that, from this age upwards, the annual number of deaths is greater in the agricultural class. Thus, from Table XX. it appears that at the 70th year, the proportional number of survivors, in the two classes, is as follows: in the agricultural, 2359; in the mining, 1667; and between this and the 90th year, (a period of 20 years,) there occur no less than 669 more deaths in the former than in the latter. This shows that previously to the 70th year, all the increased mortality that depended on mining, has disappeared for want of subjects, leaving the survivors to be influenced by the natural causes of decay only.
4. The powerful influence of the occupation of the miner in shortening his life, is further illustrated in a very satisfactory manner, by Table XVIII. which gives the proportion of the deaths, in the two sexes above their 80th year, in the two classes of persons. Every one is aware of the superior longevity of the female sex, in all countries, and under almost all circumstances. In countries where the male population are peculiarly exposed to causes destructive of health, it is to be expected that the proportional longevity of the females should be increased beyond the usual ratio; and this ought to hold good in the mining districts of Cornwall, where the deleterious effects of mining are almost exclusively confined to the male sex. Accordingly we find from the Table above mentioned, that the proportion of the sexes that attain their 80th year, is, in the agricultural districts, as 153 females to 100 males, while, in the mining districts, the proportion is as great as 231 to 100 males.
Precisely similar results are obtained from the comparison of the number of the two sexes alive, at an advanced age, among the two classes, as shown by Table XXI. from which it appears that while the proportion of males to females, above 60 years of age, is, in the agricultural parishes, as 5 to 6, it is, in the mining parishes, as 5 to 8, the totals being as follows:─
And this result is still more strikingly and more unequivocally confirmed, by comparing the two neighbouring Hundreds of Penwith and Kerrier, as is done in Table XXII. These differ in no particular respects that could influence health, except in their relation, to mining.
Whilst in the Hundred of Penwith, the proportion of miners to the other classes is as 79 to 100, it is, in Kerrier, only as 43 to 100. If, then, mining is peculiarly destructive to the male sex, we ought to find that the proportion of males to females is much less in the Hundred of Kerrier than in the Hundred of Penwith; and the inspection of the Table above mentioned, proves this to be the fact, there being, in the Hundred of Kerrier, 6 females to 5 males; while there is, in Penwith, 8 females to 5 males, the totals being as follows:─
|Hundred of Kerrier,||698||856|
In conclusion, it is abundantly proved by the foregoing calculations, that the natural longevity of the district of the Landsend, is lessened, in a very remarkable degree, by the artificial influence of mining.
It remains to be inquired whether, when this influence is removed, the longevity of the inhabitants, when developed under more favourable circumstances, equals or exceeds that of the other parts of the Kingdom similarly circumstanced.
The means we have of making this last-named inquiry, are to institute a comparison between the data supplied by the parish registers and parliamentary returns, from the parts of the district least subject to the influence of mining, and similar data from other parts of the Kingdom. In doing this, I shall make a somewhat minuter classification of the population than I have attempted in the preceding series of Tables, with the view of obtaining results which are not at all, or very little, liable to be influenced by the artificial causes of disease that exist in the district. I shall, therefore, compare with other parts of the Kingdom, 1st, the 19 agricultural parishes included in the preceding tables; 2nd, a certain number of the Landsend parishes which contain neither mines nor towns or villages.
|TABLE XXIII.─Law of Mortality of the Agricultural Population of Penwith, relatively with that of the Carlisle Tables. Total 10,000 each sex.|
|Total numbers that will be alive at each age.|
|Fifteen Agricultural Parishes of the Hundred of Penwith||6396||6906||5174||4654||4078||3422||2359||996||9||0|
|TABLE XXIV.─Relative proportion of Deaths, at different Ages, in the Agricultural Parishes of Penwith, and at Carlisle, calculated at 10,000 each place.|
|Total numbers that will be alive at each age.|
|Fifteen Agricultural Parishes of the Hundred of Penwith||3604||488||734||529||576||656||1063||1363||898||99||0|
|Three Landsend Parishes,||3003||296||733||477||623||623||1245||1572||1296||219|
|TABLE XXV.─Proportional Number of Persons alive at each age, in 1891, in the undermentioned places, calculating the whole Population, in each place, to be 10,000 each sex.|
|Coun. of Corwnall||3045||2605||2256||2963||3131||2207||1751.1||1353.4||947.1||497.4||135.7||9.9||.23|
|Agricul. Parish of Penwith,||2896||3499||2290||2140||3037||2246||1786||1389||1033||625||145||12||──|
|Hund. of Kerrier,||2951||2702||2323||2116||3009||2078||1771.3||1396.2||904.7||499.5||139.4||11.3||.56|
|3 Landsend Parishes,||2861||2435||2440||2137||3022||2244||1572||1331||1059||696||196||14||─|
|TABLE XXVI.─Proportional Number of Females alive at the undermentioned places, above the 60th year. Total 10,000.|
|In all England||458||228||64||5|
|In the County of Cornwall||509||268||81||6|
|In the Rape of Chichester, (Sussex,)||490||258||81||6|
|In fifteen Agricultural Parishes of Penwith,||554||302||93||10|
|In the three Landsend Parsihes,||536||428||114||14|
|TABLE XXVII.─Abstract of the Parish Registers of the three
Landsend Parishes, from 1813 to 1820 inclusive.
|TABLE XXVIII.─Actual Ages of Persons dying in the three Landsend Parishes, above the 80th year, during the eight years.|
In reviewing this last series of Tables, we find that they all concur in demonstrating the superior longevity of the inhabitants of this district, when unaffected by the influence of mining. They, at the same time, confirm the results of the two former series of Tables, as to the great mortality among the population of this district in the earlier and middle periods of life, except in the three Landsend parishes.
Before pointing out more particularly some of the strongest evidences supplied by these Tables, of the great longevity of the agricultural population of the Landsend, it may be proper to give some explanation of the data from which the column in the preceding Tables, entitled "three Landsend parishes, or purely agricultural," has been framed, lest I should be attaching more importance to this document than it is really entitled to.
The three parishes of Buryan, Sennen, and St. Leven, are the westernmost of the district, and, consequently, of England, and are, in the immediate neighbourhood of the promontory, termed the Landsend. They constitute a flat table-land overlooking the ocean, with lofty and precipitous shores. The soil is dry and fertile, and they contain a large proportion of corn-land. They are purely agricultural, and are the only parishes in the Hundred which contain no miners. Sennen and St. Levan, however, contain a few fishermen, and Buryan a few miners, principally streamers. They contain 10576 statute acres, and, in 1821, the number of inhabitants, by the census, was 2622, viz. 1223 males, and 1399 females. The documents from which the columns respecting the deaths, in these three parishes, in the Tables are constructed, are abstracts of the burial registers during a period of eight years, viz, from 1813 to 1820 inclusive, during which time the total deaths were 273.
Considering the extent and population of these three parishes, and the length of the period for which we have accurate records of the deaths in them, I see no reason why the statistical results supplied from them, in the Tables, may not be considered as affording a specimen of the true law of mortality and longevity of the district, when the health of the inhabitants is undisturbed by any other causes than those which attach to the simplest and purest condition of agricultural or rural life, that is, to as natural a state of life as the present form of society, in this country, will permit.
In these three parishes, the annual average number of deaths, for the eight years ending with 1820, was 34. This makes the proportion of deaths to the living, reckoning according to the census of 1821, only as 1 in 77; but, as the population of the three parishes was only 2117 in 1811, it will be more correct, in giving the proportion of deaths to the living, to take the mean of the population of the two periods of 1811 and 1821. This increases the annual proportion of deaths to I in 69. Even this, however, is very high, much higher than that of any place noticed in the tables.
It results from Table XXIV. that, in these parishes,
a much smaller proportion of the inhabitants
die in the first years of life, than in the other parts
of the district; and that they, alone, exhibit a lesser
degree of mortality than the Carlisle Tables, at this
period of life. From Tables XXVII. and XXVIII.
it results that one-half of the born attain the 50th
year, and that exactly one-seventh reach beyond their
80th year. It is, indeed, in the very advanced period
of life, in what is properly termed longevity, that
the inhabitants of these parishes stand pre-eminent.
It results from Tables XXIII. and XXIV. that in the whole fifteen agricultural parishes of the Landsend, the proportion of persons that reach the 70th and 80th year, is considerably greater than that recorded in the Carlisle Tables, although the number that reach the next highest decennial period is greater in Carlisle; and from Table XXV. it appears that the proportion of persons alive, in 1821, above their 70th year, was very considerably greater in the whole agricultural parishes, than in either the county of Cornwall or in all England.
In the three purely agricultural parishes of the Landsend, however, all the Tables exhibit a remarkable superiority of numbers after the 70th year, as will appear from the following abstract:─
|Proportion of Deaths above the 70th year.|
|In the fifteen agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||2360|
|In the three agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||2999|
Table XXV. presents analogous results, from the numbers living at the same advanced periods of life, as appears from the following abstract:─
|Proportion of Persons living above the 70th year.|
|In all England,||581|
|In the county of Cornwall,||648|
|In the fifteen agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||782|
|In the three agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||908|
I observed, on a former occasion, that female life not only was best calculated to show the relative, but absolute, longevity of different places. And it will appear from this test, as exhibited in Table XXVI. that the Landsend District still vindicates its superiority in a very striking manner. In this Table I have included the Rape of Chichester, in Sussex, (exclusive of the city of Chichester,) a purely agricultural district, containing 13,483 females, all of whom belong to country parishes, with the exception of 691 in the small town of Midhurst. The totals exhibited by this Table is as follows:─
|Proportion of Females above 10 years of age.|
|In all England||755|
|In the Rape of Chichester,||820|
|In the county of Cornwall,||B63|
|In the fifteen agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||949|
|In the three agricultural parishes of the Landsend,||1092|
In conclusion, I think, after the preceding investigation, we are forced to concede to the inhabitants of the Landsend District, when exempted -from extraordinary causes of disease, the privilege of uncommon longevity, claimed for them by their native topographers.
N.B.─Chap. II. containing the Medical History of the Inhabitants, will be published on a
List of Simple Minerals found in the Landsend District, with their particular Localities.
Quartz─Rock-crystal, in Huel Diamond (St. Just) Mellenoweth.
Ditto─crystallized in the primitive rhomboid─St. Just.
Ditto─pseudomorphous, viz. in cubes in Botallaclr and Huel Alfred; in rhomboids dodecahedron's and dog's-tooth crystals in Botallack; in octohedrons in North-downs.
Ditto─radiated, Huel Game, Huel Friendship.
Ditto─stalactitic, Botallack, Huel Edward, Huel Alfred.
Ditto─stellated, St. Just.
Ditto─amethystine, Botallack and Bosavern, in St. Just-Pednandrea.
Ditto─crysolite green, brown, black, irisated, all St. Just.
Ditto─ferruginous, (eisenkiesel) Huel Owls in St. Just, Mousehole.
Ditto─spongiform or cellular, swimming stone, Relistian, Tincroft, Pednandrea.
Ditto─enclosing oxide of iron, oxide of tin, chlorite, tourmaline, eiscakiesel, all St. Just.
Opal─Fire Opal, Higher Rosewarne.
Ditto─common and semi, Rosewame, Huel Cam, Botallack, Huel Spearn, Trewollard, Polgine.
Isopyre─so named by Mr. Heidinger, like black opal, but differing from it in composition (see Philos. Magazine) Huel Carn.
Chalcedony─Botallack, Huel Edward, Boscagell, Huel Alfred, Trevaskus, Pednandrea, West Huel Unity.
Jasper─common, Botallack, Dingdong, West Huel Unity, Tincroft.
Hornstone─Botallack, The Wberry, Huel Vor.
Garnet─common at Chycornisb Cam and Roscommon Cliff, in St. Just.
Prehnite─In the rocks between Botallack and Huel Cock.,
Epidote─Botallack. In the rocks in Mount's Bay.
Axinite─Botallack, Trewellard, Roscommon Cliff The Greebrock in Mount's Bay.
Clay Slate─Nearly all the rocks except the Granite and Greenstone.
Lithomarga─Cook's Kitchen and Tincroft Mines.
Augite─St. Just.-Hornblende, Huel Cock Cliff
Aclinolite─St. Just, the Greek-rock in Mount's Bay.
Pinile─in the Granite at Trewellard, Tol-Pedn-Penwith, St. Michael's Mount, and many parts near the Landsend.
Topaz─small white, at St. Michael's Mount.
Mica─in the granite in general, in hexagonal plates and prisms in St. Just, in veins at St. Michael's Mount.
Felspar─in the granite, in very large crystals at St. Buryan, in smaller crystals at St. Just, Penberthy Crofts, Trevaskus.
Tale─in Huel Cock.
Steutite─Botallack, Carnyorth, Tincroft.
Chlorile─in much of the granite; granular in the heaps of the Wherry Mine, near Penzance; laminated at Relistian; crystallized at Roskear. Earthy chlorite occurs in the tin veins of St. Just.
Schorl─in much of the granite; radiated near the Logan Rock; stellated at Huel Cock; crystallized at the Bunny; frequently with quartz forming shorl-rock.
Calcareous Spar─in veins and crystallized, St. Just.
Schiefer spar─St. Just.
Arragonite─in needle crystals, and also botryoidal, Huel Edward, and in hexagonal prisms and rhomboids, white and deep red, Levant-and brownish white in the rocks near Hayle.
Pearlspar─Huel Castle, Huel Owls, Huel Fortune.
Apatite─white and green, St. Just; green, beautifully crystallized, St. Michael's Mount.
Fluor─in many of the copper veins; compact and crystallized in
Botallack, in the tin veins of Dingdong, and other mines.
Carbonate of Strontian─Botallack.
Gypsum─selenite, Roscommon Cliff.
Arsenical Iron─(Mispickel,) St. Just, Relistian.
Iron Pyrites─in almost every mine in Cornwall.
Magnetic iron Pyrites─in Botallack.
Oxydulated Iron─magnetic, Botallack.
Specular Iron─Carnyorth, Parknoweth, Huel Owls, Botallack, and other mines, all in St. J ust. Massive, camellar, and crystallized, also in Tincroft.
Hydrous oxide of iron─in Botallack. Wood iron, or wood-like oxide of iron, St. Just.
Red Hematite─Huel Bellon, Botallack.
Compact and scaly red iron ore and red chalk─at Little Bounds, (St. Just.)
Brown Hematite─in Tincroft, and in several mines in St. Just. Compact brown iron ore-in Botallack.
Black Hematite─in Huel Bellon.
Ochery black iron ore─in Huel Edward.
Spathose Iron─massive and botryoidal in Huel Cock; in concretions in Levant; stalactitic in Botallack; crystallized in Huel Owls, Huel Ballon, Huel Cock, Boscagell, Tincroft, and Huel Fortuna; fibrous in Tincroft.
Phosphate of Iron─crystallized and earthy, in Parknoweth. Grey oxide of manganese-earthy, Pednandrea.
Oxide of tin─massive and crystallized, in all the tin mines and streams, and at St. Michael's Mount.
Wood tin─in the streams of St. Paul, St. Buryan, St. Just, and several other parishes; also granular tin.
Wood tin, Toad's eye tin, and concretions of tin─similar to what are usually found in' streams, in a vein in the Garth Mine, near Penzance.
Sulphuret of tin─in St. Just.
Wolfram─St. Just, St. Michael's Mount, Huel Fanny. Uran-ochre or Pitch-blende-Botallack, Huel Edward, Huel Trenwith, Tincroft and Tolcarne.
Uranite─Huel Edward, Tincroft, Tolcarne.
Native Bismuth─Botallack, Herland, Huel Spamon. Sulphuret of Bismuth-Botallack, Huel Cock.
Carbonate of Bismuth─Ditto.
Arsenical Cobalt─bright white, Botallack; Grey Cobalt, Botallack, Herland, Huel Sparnon, the Wherry, Dolcoath.
Earthy Cobalt─The Wherry.
Arseniate of Cobalt─Botallack, the Wherry, Dolcoath, l-lnel Sparnon.
Native silver─Capillary, Herland, Huel Ann, Levant, Huel Alfred and I-luel Basset; crystallized, Levant.
Sulphuret of silver─massive and crystallized in Harland, Dolcoath, and Huel Basset.
Red or ruby silver─crystallized, Dolcoath.
Native copper─massive and acicular, Levant, Huel Spearn; mosslike, Huel Rodney; crystallized in Huel Rodney, Levant, Condurrow, Huel Prosper, &c; capillary in Huel Prosper; massive in most of the copper mines.
Vitreous copper─massive and crystallized in Botallack, Levant, Tincroft, Cook's Kitchen, Dolcoath, Coenver, Huel Abraham, Camborne vean, &c.
Buntkupfererz─in Botallack, Tincroft, Cook's Kitchen, Camborne vean, and Dolcoath.
Copper Pyrites─massive in every copper mine in Cornwall; botryoidal and mamellated in Dolcoath, Tincroft, Huel Fanny, Relistian, Src.; stalactitic in Levant; cellular and swimming in Relistian; crystallized in Tincroft, North-downs, Botallack, Camborne vean, &c.
Tennantite─Dolcoath, Cook's Kitchen, Tincroft, North Roskear, &c.
Red oxide of copper─Polgine, Huel Prosper, Tincroft, Huel Spearn, Botallack.
Ferruginous oxide of copper and black copper─Huel Edward.
Malachite─Dolcoath, Huel cock, West Huel virgin.
Crysocolla─Huel Edward, Prince George.
Galena─massive in St. Just, and in several copper mines in other parts.
Carbonate of lead─Penberty Crafts.
Sulphate of lead─Mellenoweth.
Blende─in many of the copper and tin veins.
White oxide of zinc─Relistian.
A List of some the rarer indigenous Plants in the Landsend District, with the names of the places where they are found.
Pinguicula Lusitanica─Wet patches in different parts.
Utriculuria vulgaris─Between Rosemorran and Kenegie.
Salvio Verbenuca─St. Ives.
Iris fœtidissima─Madron, &c.
Scirpus flutians─In the marsh, Gulval.
Panicum dactylon─Beach between Penzance and Marazion.
Briza minor─Corn fields between Gulval and Ludgvan, plentifully.
Rubria peregrine─Hayle, Helston, &.
Exacum filiforme─Between Penzance and Marazion.
Anchusa oficimalis─St. Ives.
Convolvulus soldanella─Whitesand Bay, &c.
Campanula hederacea─Trevayler Bottom, Gear, Stamps, &c.
Chironia littoral is─Beach between Penzance and Marazion.
Samolus valerandi─Landsend, &c.
Illecebrum verlicillatum─Gear Stamps, Landsend, Gulval, &c.
Herniaria hirsuta─Between Mullyan and the Lizard.
Cuscuta epithymum─Downs, Whitesand Bay, Lizard, &c.
Eryngium maritimum─Sea Shore, common.
Daucus maritimus─Landsend, Logan Stone, Botallack Mine.
Tamarix gallica─St. Michael's Mount, Lizard, Scilly Islands.
Drosera longifolia─Marsh between Penzance and Marazion.
Ornithogalum umbellalum─Near Marazion.
Scilla nemo─St. Ives, plentiful; near Zennor, Morvah.
Alisma Damasonium─Between Penzance and Marazion.
Erica vagans─Near the Lizard, Soap Rock, Kinance Cove.
Saponaria officinalis─St. Levan.
Silene anglica─Very common in corn fields.
Arennria verna─Kinance Cove.
Sedum telephium─Logan Stone.
Spergula nodosa─Near Marazion.
Euphorbia portlandica─Brehar Island, Scilly.
——───── paralia─Scilly Islands.
Spirœ filipendula─Kinance Cove.
Glaucium Lutcum─Scilly Islands.
Aqsilegia vulgaris─St. Ives, Lelant, &c.
Helleborus ciridus─Between Rosemorran and Kenegie.
Mentha rotundifolia─Between Penzance and Newlyn, &c.
Sachys arvensis─Corn Fields, very common.
Scutellaria minor─Bogs Gulval.
Bartria viscosa─Bogs, common; Corn Fields near Hayle.
Antirrhinum orontium─Gulval, Landsend.
Scrophularia scorodonia─St. Ives, Gulval, and Chyandonr.
Sibthorpia europœa─Moist banks, common in this neighbourhood; Gulval, Maddern Well, Trereife Road Avenue.
Cochlearia officinalis─Cliffs near the Sea, common.
————— anglica─Gulval, Penzance.
Bunias cakile─Beach between Penzance and Newlyn.
Brassica oleracea─Cliffs, Penzance, (perhaps introduced.)
Erodium maritimum─Sea Shore, common.
────── cicatarium─Sea Shore, common.
Geranium sanguineum─Kinance Cove.
Genista pilosa─Kinance Cove.
Anthyllis vulneraria─Downs, Whitesand Bay.
Oenithopus perpusillus─Gulval Carne, &c.
Trifolium subterruneum─Near the Sea Shore.
─────── scabrum─Near the Sea Shore.
Hypericum androsœmum─Gulval, Trevayler Bottom, &c.
Solidago virgaurea─Penzance, &c.
Inula helenium─Gulval, the Mount, St. Ives.
Pyrethrum maritimum─Sea Shore.
Anthemis nobilis─Common in this neighbourhood.
Orchis pyramidalis─Near Hayle.
Neottia spiralis─Between Penzance and Marazion.
Ruscus aculeatus─Lemorna Cove.
Myrica gale─Marsh, Gulval and Ludgvan.
Osmunda regalis─Common in moist places.
Aspidium oriopteris─Gear Stamps and New Mill.
───── ditatatum variety─Moist Banks in this neighbourhood.
Asplenium marinum─Cliffs near the Sea, St. Michael's Mount, Lemorna Cove, Sze.
────── lanceolatam─Gulval, St. Michael's Mount, Lemorna Cove, &c.
Hymenophyllum Tunbridgeme─Among the loose stones at Castle an Dennis, on the east side.
───── crispum─St. Mary's, Scilly.
Trichostomum polyphyllum─Gulval about Kenegie, Landsend, &c.
Neckera heteromalla─Trevayler Bottom, Try, &c.
Hypuum scorpioides─Gulval, Zennor, Landsend.
──── alopecurum variety─Gulval.
Hookeria lucens─Trevayler Bottom. Between Rosemorran and Kenegie, &c.
Antirrhinum repens─Near Penryn.
Polygonum avicalare─Castle Treryn.
Euphorbia peplis─Between Penzance and Marazion.
Saxefraga stellar is─Logan-rock.
Linum angustifolium─St. Ives.
Lepas Anatifera, thrown up on the Beach amongst the Algæ.
Patella. Cærulea, in the roots of Algæ.
Pecten Fragilis, single Valves, Opercularis ditto, Varius ditto, Obsoletus ditto, Distortus ditto, Lineatus ditto.
Bulla Catena, Diaphana, Halyotoidea, Truncata.
Murex Tubercularis, Reticulatus, Adversus, Linearis, Septangularis.
Turbo Clathratulus, Reticulatus, Pullus.
Turbo Spiralis, Unidentatus, Striatus, Costatus, Cimex, Parvus, Vinctus, Interruptus, Cingillus, Punctura, Tenebrosus, Semicostatus, Striatulus, Clathrus, Jugosus.
Mya Suborbicularis, Distorta, single valves.
Patilla Apertura, Militaris, Pellucida, Fissura, Parva.
Mactra Triangularis, single valves.
Helix Depressa, Arcuata, Subulata, Auricula, Polita.
Nerita Glaucina, Rufa, Pallidula.
Area None or Fusca, single valves.
Donex Irus, single valves; Castanea ditto.
Mytilus Discors, Præcisus.
Balanus Balanoides, Striatus.
Tillina Donacina, single valves.
Voluta Denticulata, Bidentata.
Mactra Stultorum, Subtruneata, Solida.
Venus Chione and Verrucosa, valves.
Turbo Littoreus and Radis; Nerita Liltoralis; Trochus Cinerarius, Crassus, and Umbilicatus; Patella Vulgata; Mytilus Edulis and Incurvatus; Buccinum Lapillus and Reticulatum.
Murex Purpureus in tolerable quantities, Linearis in profusion,
variety of Ditto rather scarce; all hitherto considered very
Murex Reticulatus, Advenus, both very scarce; Erenaceus.
Chiton Marginatus, Lævis, Lævigatus, Fascicularia.
Balanus Crancii, Balanoides.
Turbo Pullus, Parvus, Quadrifasciatus.
Pecten Distortus, Varius, Opercularis, all small.
Patella Pellucida, and Cærulæa.
Turbo Tasciatus, Helix Virgata, on Marazion Green.
Helix Nautilea, Vortex, in the ditches between Penzance and Newlyn.
N.B.─All Live Shells except the single valves.
Donax Complanata, one valve.
Donex Irus, single valves; Castanea, ditto.
Turbo Clathrus, Clathratulus, Vinctus, Quadrifasciatus, Pullus, Parvus, Striatus, Costatus, lnterruptus, Unidentatus, Cimax Ulvæ, Punctura.
Patella Græca, Fissura, Parva, Pellucida, Cærulea.
Bulla Halyotoidea, New, Truncata, Catena.
Arca Noæ, single valves; Lactea, ditto.
Area Pilosa, single valves; Tusca, ditto.
Murex Tubercularis, New, Adversus, Reticulatus, Linearis.
Mytilus Incurvatus, Modiolus, young; Barbatns, Discors.
Venus Pullastra, single valves.
Solen Minutus, Vespertinus, single valves; Strigellatus, ditto.
Mya Suborbicularis, Pubescens, young.
Peeten Fragilis, single valves; Varius, ditto; Opercularis, ditto
Cypæa Voluta, Bullata.
Trachus Ziziphinus, Tumidus.
Mactra Triangularis, mostly single valves; Solida, single valves.
Tellina Donacina, ditto.
Narita Pallidula, Rufa.
Cardium Fasciatum, Rubrum.
Buccinum Macula, Minimum.
Helix Subulata, Depressa.
The Maxima, Minima and Media, of the Register Thermometer for twelve years, with the number of Inches of Rain, Prevailing Winds, with the Dry and Wet Days during that period; being an extract from the Meteorological Journal kept at Penzance, at the apartments of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. By E. C. Giddy, Esq. Secretary to the Society.
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
|Years.||Register Thermometer.||Rain in Inches.||Prevailing Winds.||Dry Days.||Wet Days.|
N.B.─The Rain-gauge is at the ground level. Dry days are those on which no fall whatever takes place.
- Euny Well, in the parish of Sancred, and Colurian Well, in the parish of Ludgvan. The resemblance between the name of the spring last mentioned, and the ancient term for an application to diseased eyes (Κολλνριον─Collyrium) has not escaped the notice of antiquaries.
- In the year 1831, the total amount of tin raised in Great Britain, was 4,176 tons, the whole of which, with the exception of about 80 tons, from Devon, was raised in Cornwall. In the same year, the total copper raised in Great Britain was 14,465 tons; of this, 12,099 were raised in Cornwall, and sold for £835,912 One-third part, at least, of the tin and copper raised in Cornwall, is produced in the Hundred of Penwith.─Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, Vol. iv. p. 491.
- Since this paper was sent to the press, Mr. Edward Giddy has paid the debt of nature, in the prime of life. He was an industrious and accurate meteorologist, a good practical mineralogist, and carried into science the rigid honesty that marked his private character.
- The more common divisions of the seasons is here adopted, winter comprehending Dec. Jan. Feb. and so on.
- Influence of Climate, p. 63.
- Carew's Survey of Cornwall, p. 15.
- Helston is to the eastward, more inland, and on somewhat higher ground than Penzance. The average fall of rain at this place, according to Mr. Moyle, is only 36.9.
- The Natural History of Cornwall, by William Borlase, LL. D. F. It S. Oxford, 1758, fol.
- Not growing at present.
- The Cornish Acre in one-sixth more than the Statute Acre.
- Mineralogia Cornubiansis, p. 35. Lond. 1778, fol.
- Guide to Mount's Bay. Penzance, 1818.
- On extraordinary occasions, a miner, working by contract, and more than usually industrious or avaricious, will remain under ground several days together, having his food and drink brought to him; but this is very uncommon.
- Memoir on the Temperature of Mines, in the second vol. of the Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. By John Forbes, M. D.
- Marked, respectively, in the Table, A. and W.
- Here there was a strong current of air.
- The following products, and the annexed proportions, I find stated by authors:─Air 1,000, carbonic acid 1,549, azote 969, sulphureted hydrogen 1,191, sulphurous acid gas 2,193.
- Speculi Britannia Pars. p. 28.
- The Carlisle Tables of Mortality, constructed from the Registers published by Dr. Heysham, are considered by many as furnishing a fair specimen of the law of mortality for England generally.─See Milne on Annuities.
- In again referring to the parliamentary returns for 1821, I find that I have given the population of the parish of Ludgvan, and, consequently, of the agricultural district, 60 below the truth; but it will be admitted that this small error, in a total of 25,000, can lead to no practical error of any moment, in an inquiry like the present.─Chichester, Sep. 1833.
- This disproportion of the sexes is owing, probably, to the emigration of the males to the mining parishes and sea-ports.
- For this list I am indebted to my friend, Joseph Carne, Esq.
- For this list I am principally indebted to the Rev. W. T. Bree.
- For this list I am indebted to General Bingham.