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appropriate classification. In many cases where errors have prevailed, we have been enabled to correct them by the aid of recent geological investigations. Still, modern science has not yet penetrated every where. There remains, at numerous, but rarely visited points, vast fields of so-called coal, whose true geological age we have yet to learn. For the present, therefore, we are unable to class these combustibles either with the true coals as the older series, or with the tertiary lignites as the newer, or with any intermediate deposits. This being the case, it was obviously inexpedient to exclude the LIGNITES from our pages, independently of their intrinsic value as combustibles. Brown coal is a valuable substitute for the older coal where there is a scarcity of the superior variety, as we shall have many opportunities of showing
In like manner, while describing the lignites, Peat seemed to demand a proportionate share of our attention, and to claim a place in our columns. The transition from one condition of these combustibles to another is oftentime so imperceptible that they seem to have almost equal claims on our notice. In its remarkable diffusion over the northern hemisphere where artificial heat is so indispensable, and where timber and other descriptions of fuel are so little abundant, turf or peat forms a substitute of inestimable worth. In its adaptation to numberless useful purposes, such as the manufacture of iron, the production of gas, &c., modern science has shown that it possesses qualities which heretofore were but little suspected. Thus, it will be seen, our list comprehends a large series of valuable products; extending upwards from carbonized peat at one extremity to hard coals and compact anthracites at the other.
So closely do some bituminized coals approach to the mineral bitumens, some of which have even been denominated coal, as those in the West Indies and South America, that we have found it advisable to include the BITUMINOUS AND RESINOUS MINERALS. We were unwilling to reject this numerous class, which comprises the solid bitumens of the tropics ; the asphalts of France, of Italy, of Syria and numberless other countries; the petroleum of Arabia, of Persia, of Birmah and Ava ; the Naphtha of Rangoon, and Tartary and Georgia; the amber of Pomerania, of Saxony and Siberia; the mellite or honeystone of Thuringia, and the retinites of Moravia and England. A number of these substances accompany the carboniferous formations ; others arise from the midst of primary and metamorphic and igneous rocks, while still more accompany, or are embedded in the lignite beds and tertiary coals of every part of the world.
We have even added, to complete our series of combustibles, official returns of the annual amount and value of the wood and timber furnished by the forests of France, Austria, the Tyrol, Styria, Illyria, Galicia, Bohemia, &c.
We did not contemplate, in preparing this work, to enter extensively into
the important topic of the statistics of IRON, but we have found it so interwoven with matters essential to our main subject, that a considerable mass of information has been necessarily incorporated in our pages, where will be found the latest estimates and returns of the amount of manufactured iron in all the principal producing countries, illustrated by a diagram of their respective proportions.
Explanatory tables of the current monies, weights and measures of all the leading nations; a variety of statements of commercial facts; details of the respective tariffs, customs and international regulations, in relation to coal ; the
progress of railroads and canals ; of steam power and navigation, and a vast series of analytical tables, besides the maps and diagrams, also occupy portions of the present volume. Among other duties, that of bringing to uniform denominations and a common standard the weights, measures and currency of so many nations, is by no means the lightest. The principal results in our tables have been calculated in the three standards of France, England and the United States.
Where the range of inquiry is so wide, the number of documents which we have had to investigate is correspondingly large. We have endeavoured to designate our authority for every material fact which we have adopted. This recognition, we conceive, is not only in strict justice due to those authorities, but it bestows the sanction of their names, and the weight of their testimony to every page and paragraph of this volume.
Let us add further, that the practice is attended with a convenience which every inquirer can appreciate,—the enumeration of standard authors and the direct reference to their pages. The whole series thus forms, in the aggregate, a copious catalogue of statistical and scientific authorities. The Index, we cannot but think, will be found to concentrale a vast mass of information which has heretofore been dispersed through hundreds of volumes in different languages, and constitutes of itself an epitome or condensation of the entire work.
Of course some embarrassments have, from time to time, been experienced in the arrangement of our statistics. Discrepancies, for instance, frequently appear in the commercial returns of different countries. Thus the returns of the coal exported to France from Great Britain do not strictly correspond with the French tables of imports from the latter country. In like manner, similar variations appear in the official reports of Belgium, Prussia and France. Under the different circumstances of commercial classification, or of local registration, and probably of occasional changes of destination, it would be unreasonable to expect exact conformity.
In a recent bulletin of the central statistical commission of the kingdom of Belgium, something is said on the difficulty which exists in comparing documents drawn up at different sources. Great Britain, it is remarked, has no Corps of state engineers, notwithstanding that a desire has been expressed at
different times, even by persons versed in the art of mining operations. In Belgium and in France, those who are engaged in this branch of industry occupy themselves with energy in its details, but submit to the control of the administration, by whose agents every important particular is ascertained and carefully registered. In England, the information of necessity is less precise. The produce of her coal mines is estimated by the number of tons transported by sea to foreign or domestic ports, and on the canals and railroads inland, chiefly to the port of London. A rough estimate remains to be made of the amount conveyed in the interior or consumed upon the spot. It is impossible therefore, to be precise as to the quantity really produced annually
in that country.
One European government in the public mining returns, confines itself only to statements of total production, as in Prussia.
of total production, as in Prussia. In this country they calculate the value of the combustibles at the places of extraction: in that, at the centres of consumption ; and in a third, at the places of embarkation. Here, the tables furnish the estimated value of the crude minerals; there, their value after they have undergone different preparations. The elements of comparison are often wanting.
It can scarcely be expected that in so new and extensive a country as the United States of America, any organized system is in effective operation for determining the amount of coal yearly raised there. In regard to anthracite, the great avenues from the mines to tide water admit of exact returns of the quantity annually transported, and means exist, in fact, of ascertaining, through the returns of the mining establishments, the true yearly production.
Not so with the production of bituminous coal in the interior. Or this we are wholly uninformed, and the area of the coal-fields is so large, that it seems futile to hazard even the roughest calculation. In 1840, an official attempt was made to acquire that information through the instrumentality of the Census Act, but it proved, as might be expected, a decided and acknowledged failure. In 1845, the Secretary of the Treasury, in conformity with the direction of the Senate, made a report of 419 pages, 6th January, in relation to the statistics of the United States. From no county or state in the Union was a single return obtained as to the coal mines. During the same year, the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuing the inquiry, with reference to the settlement of the proposed tariff, issued circulars throughout all the states, asking information, among other statistics, as to the mines, their produce and prices. His report thereon of 957 pages, dated 3d December 1845, elicited no useful result on this head, nor a single return relative to coal.
The wide distribution of property in America is unfavourable to the collection of such statistics. The process must, at all times, be unpopular, and the results extremely uncertain. This species of investigation savours too much of scrutiny into the private concerns of men, and is unsuited to the spirit of republican institutions.
We take for granted that every one who may chance to peruse the summary of statistics of mineral fuel which we have embodied in the present section, will be impressed with the immense importance of those substances, particularly as developed of late years; how vastly enlarged the area and bulk of their production in all countries; how essential they now are to the comfort of the human family; how much they have done towards the extension of the useful arts; how gloriously they have aided the progress of invention and improvement; how mighty are the results which have followed their increased application! For ourselves, we may remark, that during the investigation into the geographical distribution of coal and the subordinate combustibles, nothing has struck us more forcibly than the abundant supply with which Providence has furnished the inhabitants of our globe, particularly in its northern hemisphere. We were astonished at the almost numberless positions where mineral fuel is attainable; especially in North America and Europe. With very inadequate guides at the outset, we have brought together an enormous mass of geological and statistical details, which exhibit an amount and variety of fossil combustibles which far exceeded our original expectations. We have seen how recent is the knowledge of the existence of immense regions occupied by coal, and that every year new positions, new deposits, become known to the traveller, or are demonstrated by the geologist. Through them, and the enterprise of the miner, a rich store of intelligence has been acquired, yet much reinains behind. We are yet in the infancy of our knowledge as regards vast areas of country. Busy as the geologist has been during the last half century, how much is yet to be investigated; how wide the space yet untrodden; how ample the fields yet open to the scientific explorer !
The last quarter of a century has, more especially, been prolific in the discovery of the sites of useful 'mineral combustibles, and in the extended application of their products to the service of the community. Man has not only been taught increased facilities in adapting them to the useful arts, but practical science has apprised him of the great value of substances heretofore accounted of little worth, yet inexhaustibly abundant, and almost every where within his reach. He has acquired, for example, many new facts relative to the value of peat, hitherto among the humblest of the combustibles, yet the almost universal production of cold or temperate climates, and of regions which are entirely incapable of producing a growth of timber or of the larger plants. Independent of its applicability to the usual domestic and agricultural purposes, he has seen that it can be successfully applied for