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But from 1810 to 1829, the average annual production was only
£4,036,000 From thence to the present time the produce is certainly under
$24,000,000 £5,000,000 Exports of gold and silver from Mexico in 1842,* $18,500,000 £3,850,000 An estimate has been recently made with re
gard to the production of the precious metals
£4,700,000 Sir H. T. De la Beche estimates the value of the coal at the pit's mouth in Great Britain,
£9,000,000 Others estimate it at
£9,450,000 Another estimate extends the value tot
£10,000,000 The produce of the British coal mines is va
riously calculated at from 314 millions to 34 millions of tons. At the respective places of consumption, in manufactures, in domestic use and that exported,
$96,800,000 The value is probably from £174 millions to
£20,000,000 The capital employed in the coal trade is computed at 8 or 10 millions more, I
$10,000,000 The value of the iron produced through the
agency of this coal in Great Britain at the furnace,
£8,000,000 Value of the iron when manufactured, in its
various branches, which of itself greatly exceeds the value of all the gold and silver of
the new world, in the most productive times, $82,280,000 £17,000,000 Or nearly five times that of the gold and silver
of Mexico, in 1842. The yearly value of the coal in five principal
coal countries of the world, viz : Great Britain, Belgium, France, Prussia and Pennsylvania at their respective places of consumption, we have computed to be,
$145,200,000 £30,000,000 Which is nearly nine times the annual value of
the gold and silver exported from Mexico, or six times that of the gross produce of the precious metals in North and South America
and Russia. In 1847, a statement has obtained extensive cir
culation, which rates the value of the gold and silver produced in the world at 339,334,000 francs,
$65,489,000 £13,710,407 The value of the coal produced in the same year, upwards of
* Commerce and Resources of Mexico.-Hunt's Mag., vol. X., 1844, p. 121.
| Mr. Buddle, in 1829.
EMPLOYMENT OF MINERAL COMBUSTIBLES. In Great Britain, coal, according to some authorities, was mentioned as occurring in England as early as the ninth century, A. D., 853. It was certainly known and applied to various economical purposes in the middle of the twelfth century. In 1239, King Henry III. granted the privilege of digging coals to the good men of Newcastle. But it is little more than two hundred and fifty years since coal came to be in general use, as fuel, in London. Upon its first introduction there, one or two ships were sufficient for the whole trade.* At the present day there are several thousand ships constantly engaged in the transportation of that combustible.
It appears, from a charter of Edward the Second, A. D. 1315, that the coal of Derbyshire was at that time known and in use. The introduction of coal for domestic purposes was retarded by the difficulty of employing it conveniently, and by the natural prejudice against such a description of fuel, as a substitute for wood, in cities.
By a proclamation of Edward the First, and again in the reign of Queen Elizabeih, we find that stone coal was prohibited in London during the sitting of Parliament, lest the health of the Knights of the Shire should suffer during their residence in the metropolis.
Blythe, an old agricultural author, writing in 1619, has the following passage :-" It was not many years since the famous city of London peiitioned the Parliament of England against two anusances or offensive commodities, which were likely to come into great use and esteem: and that was, Newcastle coals, in regard of their stench, &c., and hops, in regard they would spoyle the taste of drinck, and endanger the people."
İn France, the precise period of its adoption as a substitute for wood, is not ascertained : its introduction was probably very gradual. The commencement of its use in the city of Paris was in 1520, the coal being drawn not from the mines of France, but from the collieries of Newcastle. It would seem, however, that at the outset it met with little favour in Paris, as for some time was the case in London, doubtless owing to the difficul. ties attending its application. It was submitted to the decision of the faculty of medicine, in the former city, how far this new description of fuel was prejudicial to the public health. It was not probably before the middle of the sixteenth century that coal mining in France had commenced to be of any importance.
In Scotland mineral coal was known, probably, much earlier than in France. The privilege of digging coal is mentioned in a grant to a religious house, A. D. 1291.1
In Belgium, the earliest reference to mineral coal was in 1198 or 1200, in the country of Liege, where tradition gives the credit of the application, as a fuel, to a blacksmith. From this time there seems to be evidence of its being in ordinary use, and that the business of its extraction had, from a remote period, prior to the fifteenth century, been subject to the supervision of an especial court or jury.$
In these and some other countries, we have already shown the extraordinary accelerated demand for coal since the application of steam power; more especially within the last quarter of a century. We have also pointed
• Williams' Mineral Kingdom.
See many historical notes in the “ History of Fossil fuel.”
out the vast capital which this substance keeps in motion; the numerous population which it employs and sustains.
Great as has been the rate of advance in England, that of France and of Prussia, within the same time, has somewhat exceeded hers, while that of Pennsylvania, in the United States, has far surpassed them all.
The Tyne and Wear districts, in Northumberland, are the most remarkable instances of coal production in the world. They supply above six millions of tons annually; employ about 23,000 miners ; support 140,000 persons in manual labour; and, with their families and dependents, sustain 700,000 individuals.
From South Wales we have received no recent returns of the annual quantity of bituminous coal and anthracite, or of the number of persons engaged in their production. The bulk of the former has always been consumed in iron making in the interior, besides a vast amount exported coastwise. Since the uses of anthracite have been made apparent, the consumption of that mineral has greatly increased. As far back as 1835, the making of bar iron in that region employed 28,000 persons.
The total number employed in England on this branch of manufactory was, at that time, near 70,000 persons; while the aggregate of persons dependent on these was upwards of 250,000. Proceeding to a more advanced stage in iron manufactures, it was announced that the value of the hardware and cutlery annually made, was above $82,280,000, giving employment to 325,000 persons. Hence, it appears, that the number of persons directly or indirectly drawing support from the production and employment of the two substances, iron and coal, amount, on a rough estimate, to a million and half of persons.
“It is hardly possible,” says Mr. McCulloch, "to exaggerate the advantages England derives from her vast beds of coal. In this climate, fuel ranks among the necessaries of life ; and it is to our coal mines that we owe abundant and cheap supplies of so indispensable an article. Our coal mines are the principal source and foundation of our manufacturing and commercial prosperity. Since the invention of the steam engine, coal has become of the highest importance as a moving power; and no nation, however favorably situated in other respects, not plentifully supplied with this mineral, need hope to rival those that are, in most branches of manufacturing industry. To what is the astonishing increase of Glasgow, Man. chester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, &c., and the comparatively sta. tionary, or declining state of Canterbury, Winchester, Salisbury, and other towns in the south of England, to be ascribed? The abundance of coal in the north, and its scarcity and consequent high price in the south, is the real cause of this striking discrepancy.
" Our coal mines have conferred a thousand times more real advantage on us than we have derived from the conquest of the Mogul Empire, or than we should have reaped from the dominions of Mexico and Peru. They have supplied our manufacturers and artisans with a power of unbounded energy, and easy control ; and they have enabled them to overcome difficulties insurmountable by those to whom nature has been less liberal of her choicest gifts."
Mineral Coal applied to Iron Making.–The earliest employment of this fuel in England, in the manufacture of iron, was in 1713, at Colebrookdale. In Scotland it was introduced about the middle of the eighteenth
* Statistics of the British Empire, vol. ii. p. 2.
century, and in France in 1782 ; in the coal field of Creusot. Numberless notes will be found in the pages of this volume, in illustration of this interesting subject.
GEOLOGICAL POSITION OF COAL BEDS. “ Coal is found in beds, and its presence characterizes, in an especial manner, the carboniferous formation. We have to seek it then, above the transition series and below the secondary deposits ;-above the schistose beds, the insoluble clays and trilobite limestones ; below the arenaceous deposits which contain the debris of porphyries, the limestones with ammonites, gryphites, belemnites, &c.
The coal formation is remarkable for the peculiar appearance (facies,) of its micaceous sandstones and its argillaceous shales. In the coal sandstones, the elements of feldspar and quartz, in very nearly equal proportions, spangled with mica in little scales, passing in the lower portions, into breccias and conglomerates with large fragments, are evidently the result of the action of the waters upon pre-existing transition rocks. The granites and gneiss have furnished the principal amount of these elements; and we can often determine the points from whence they have been drified. The argillaceous schists, rarely soluble, but always falling to pieces in the air, form the passage of the transition argillaceous schists into the true clays of the posterior strata. They are evidently decomposed parts of the rocks which constitute the sandstones. An impure melange of kaolin, of silex and of mica, of which the elements, fine enough to have been held in suspension, were only deposited when the stagnation of the waters permitted. These beds alternate with a great predominance of the sandstones; all are frequently colored by the disseminated carbon, which gives to the ensemble a grey tint and a characteristic duskiness. The presence of the carbon manifests itself also by that of the carbonate of iron-fer carbonate lithoïde—which is found, either in subordinate beds, or in disseminated nodules~rognons-in certain beds of clay. Finally, it manifests itself by numerous vegetable impressions, and by the frequent, but not essential, presence of seams of coal, sometimes fat and sometimes dry.
The influences which have determined the characters of the rocks that are associated with the coal beds, have been so constant, that not only are they identical all over the globe, but in the cases where coal beds are found in other formations than the coal formation, the rocks of those formations abandon their special characters to borrow those which we have described.
Thus, in the anthraxiserous formation, which immediately precedes the coal period, the lean coals which are worked in the west of France, are accompanied by feldspathic, micaceous sandstones, and carbonaceous schists, with impressions of calamites, ferns, and sigillariæ. Black argillaceous schists, with nodules of carbonate of iron, accompany equally the beds of secondary coal which are found in certain points of the lias near Milhau, (Aveyron) and in Yorkshire.
To sum up the various geognostic positions of coal: they are met with, ist, In the anthraxiferous formation; that is to say, in the upper part of the transition series, even above the silurian beds. 2d. In the coal formation, properly speaking. 3d. In the marnes irisées, where are found the coals of Noroy and Gemonval. 4th. In the lias formation. [Environs of Milhau.]
Above this last position, the vegetable debris is found most generally in the state of lignites. We find, but rarely, in the lignites of the cretaceous
and tertiary formations, portions from which the ligneous texture has disappeared, and which present the appearance of coal; but this case is exceptional. Thus certain lignites in the environs of Marseilles, and others which exist in the tertiary beds of Italy, present the tissue and the characters of coal, but these accidental facts, which establish between the coals and the lignites mineralogical transitions that exist even between rocks the most distinct, strikes no blow at the rules of position, established undeniably by geological observations. It is the same with that other geognostic law which assigns peat solely to the alluvial epoch, or the actual existing epoch.
The meagre coals and anthracite appear, in general, to be of a more ancient age than the fat or flaming coals. This classification is sufficiently indicated by the general dry nature of the combustibles mined in the anthraxiferous formation of the west. In the north, the lean coals of Fresne, Vieux-Condé, Vicoigne, are evidently inferior to the fat beds of Anzin and Denain. The beds found in the carboniferous limestone at Château-l'Abbaye are true anthracites. The anthracites of the environs of Roanne, and those of the United States,* belong to the upper formation of the transition series. But it is necessary again, more than in the preceding cases, to abstain from taking this rule in an absolute manner; for the anthracite state is very often the metamorphic state of the coal, and even of the lignites. The interesting researches of M. Elie de Beaumont upon the anthracites of the Alpine regions have demonstrated this fact, otherwise easy to conceive."
Froin each of the four classes or epochs of combustibles, M. Régnault has selected the most characteristic, and after having submitted them to analysis, he has acknowledged that this general succession of characters in the fossil combustibles is in accordance with a successive approach towards the composition of the vegetation ; in such manner that, from the anthracites of the transition series, even to the lignites and to the peat of the existing epoch, the fossil combustibles form a series of which almost pure carbon forms the base, and which is gradually charged with four, five and six per cent. of bydrogen, and with four, eight, twelve, sixteen, and thirty per cent.
We may lay down this principle, abstraction being made for the anomalies of metamorphism, that the more of gas that a combustible contains, and the higher the amount of oxygen and hydrogen, so much the more modern is the combustible.
LOCAL POSITION AND ARRANGEMENT OF BEDS OF COAL. Coal, whatever may be the formation in which it is found, affects the form of beds, of very variable thickness and continuity, but whose constant character is that of conforming to all the courses (allures] of the beds of schist and carboniferous sandstones between which they are included. This stratification is not only indicated by the limits of the roof and the wall or floor, but also by natural variations in purity, the positions of which generally pursue or occupy lines parallel to those of the roof and floor; by the bands of
* Respecting the geological age of the anthracite of the United States, we think that there is good ground for dissenting from the views of M. Burat, in placing this carboniferous formation in the superior part of the transition series. It is true, the present writer formerly held and advocated precisely the same opinions, but subsequent investigations have clearly established the geological fact, that the Peonsylvania anthracites are simply in the metamorphic state; that they are based upon the old red sandstone, and that the numerous basins in which they are deposited are but isolated or out-lying portions of the great bituminous coal. field of the Alleghany Mountains.