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•John Smith T." of whose singularities rumour had already apprized me. Here was a novel scene. Carts passing with loads of ore—smelting fur naoes, and fixtures, and the half-hunter, half-farmer costumes of the group of men who were congregated about the principal store, told me very plainly, that I was now in the mining region. Lead digging and discovering, and the singular hap-hazards of men who had suddenly got rich by finding rich beds of ore, and suddenly got poor by some folly or extravagance, gave a strong colouring to the whole tone of conversation at their spot, which was carried on neither in the mildest or most unobtrusive way. quite a vocabulary of new technical words burst upon me, of which it was necessary to get the correct import. I had before heard of the pretty term, "mineral blossom," as the local name for radiated quartz, but here were tiff (sulphate of barytes), glass-tiff (calcareous spar), "mineral sign," and a dozen other words, to be found in no books. At the head of these new terms stood the popular word "mineral," which invariably meant galena, and nothing else. To hunt mineral, to dig mineral, and to smelt mineral, were so many operations connected with the reduction of the ores of galena.
I soon found the group of men about the village store, was a company of militia, and that I was in the midst of what New Yorkers call a "training," which explained the hunter aspect I had noticed. They were armed with rifles, and dressed in their every day leather or cotton hunting shirts. The officers were not distinguished from the men, either because swords were not easily procured, or more probably, because they did not wish to appear with so inefficient and useless an arm. "Food for powder," was the first term that occurred to me on first surveying this group of men, but nothing could have been more inapposite; for although like "lean Jack's" men, they had but little skill in standing in a right line, never were men better skilled for personal combat,—from the specimens given, I believe there was hardly a man present, who could not drive a bullet into the size of a dollar at a hundred yards. No man was better skilled in this art, either with rifle or pistol, than the Don of the village, the said John Smith T, or his brother, called "the Major," neither of whom travelled, or eat, or slept, as I afterwards witnessed, without their arms. During my subsequent rambles in the mine country, I have sat at the same table, slept in the same room, and enjoyed the conversation of one or the other, and can say, that their extraordinary habit of going fully armed, was united in both with courteous manners, honourable sentiments, and high chivalric notions of personal independence ; and I had occasion to notice, that it was none but their personal enemies, or opponents in business, that dealt in vituperation against them. John Smith T. was doubtless a man of singular and capricious humours, and a most fiery spirit, when aroused; of which scores of anecdotes are afloat. He was at variance with several
of his most conspicuous neighbours, and, if he be likened to the lion of the forest, it will be perfectly just to add, that most of the lesse\ animals stood in fear of him.
My stop here had consumed some time, but thinking I could still reach Mine a Burton, I pushed on, but had only proceeded a couple of miles when I was hastily compelled to seek shelter from an impending shower. As it was late, and the storm continued, I remained at a farm house, at Old Mines during the night. They gave me a supper of rich fresh milk and fine corn bread. In the morning, a walk of three miles brought me to Potosi, where I took lodgings at Mr. Fickliu's, proprietor of the principal inn of the place. Mr. F. was a native of Kentucky, a man of open frank manners, and most kind benevolent feelings, who had seen much of frontier life, had lived a number of years in Missouri, and now at a rather advanced period of life, possessed a fund of local knowledge and experience, the communication of which rendered the time I spent at his house both profitable and pleasing.
I reached Potosi on the second of August. The next day was the day of the county election', which brought together the principal miners and agricultural gentlemen of the region, and gave me a favourable opportunity of forming acquaintance, and making known the object of my visit, I was particularly indebted to the civilities of Stephen F. Austin, Esq. for these introductions. During my stay in the country he interested himself in my success, omitted no opportunity of furthering my views, and extending my acquaintance with the geological features and resources of the country. He offered me an apartment in the old family mansion of Durham Hall, for the reception and accumulation of my collections. Mr. Bates and sons, Mr. Jones and sons, Mr. Perry and brothers, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Brickey, Mr. Honey and others, seconded these civilities. Indeed the friendly and obliging disposition I uniformly met with, from the inhabitants of the mines, and the mine country generally, is indelibly impressed on my memory
I was now at the capital of the mines, and in a position most favourable for obtaining true information of their character and value. Three months devoted to this object left scarcely a nook of the country which I had not either personally explored, or obtained authentic information of. I found forty-five principal mines, or mineral diggings as some of them are called, within a circumference of less than forty miles. Potosi, and its vicinity yielded annually about three millions of pounds of lead, and furnished employment to the estimated number, of eleven to twelve hundred hands. The business was however depressed, like almost every other branch of domestic arts or industry, after the peace of 1814, owing to the great influx and low prices of
• About 70 votes were polled in the town of Potosi. Mr. Austin, the younger, was returned by the county to the Territorial Legislature.
foreign products, and the general derangement ot currency and credit Prepared ore, delivered at the furnaces, was worth two dollars per cwt, paid chiefly in merchandize. Pig lead sold at four dollars, at the mines; and but half a dollar higher on the banks of the Mississippi, and was quoted at seven dollars in the Atlantic cities. Judged from these data, there appeared no adequate cause for the alleged depression; for in addition to the ordinary merchant's profit, in the disposition of his stock to the operative miner or digger of ore, a profit of one cent and a half per pound was left, over and above the cost of transportation to an eastern market; besides, the difference in exchange, between the south western and eastern cities. And it was evident, from a view of the whole subject, that the business could not only be profitably pursued, with economical arrangements, but that the public domain, upon which most of the mines are seated, might be made to yield a revenue to the treasury, at least equal to the amount of this article required for the national consumption, over the expenses, the superintendence and management. Besides which, there was great room for improved and economical modes of mining; and there was hardly one of the manipulations, from the making of a common drill or pick, to the erection of a smelting furnace, which did not admit of salutary changes for the better. The recovery of the mere waste lead, in its sublimated form, around the open log furnaces of the country, promised to add a valuable item to the profit of the business. The most wasteful, hurried, and slovenly of all systems is pursued in exploring and raising the ore, by which the surface of the country is riddled with pit holes, in the most random manner; the loose and scattered deposits in the soil hastily gathered up, and the real lead and veins of metal left, in very many cases, untouched. Thousands of square acres of land were thus partially rifled of their riches, and spoiled, and condemned, without being exhausted. By having no scientific knowledge of mineral veins and geological structure, as practically adopted in Europe, all rule in the process of mining and raising the ore had degenerated into mere guess work, and thousands of dollars had been wasted, in some places, where the application of some of the plainest mining principles, would not have warranted the removal of s shovel full of earth. In short, there was here observed, a blending of the miner and farmer character. Almost every farmer was a miner. Planters who had slaves, employed them part of the year in mining; and every miner, to some extent was a farmer. Because the ore found in the clay beds did not occur in east and west, or north and south lines, or it* rules of deposition had not been determined by careful observation, all success in the exploration was supposed to be the result of chance. And whoever surveys the mineral counties of Missouri, wiA be ready to conclude, that more labour has been thrown away in the helter-skelter system of digging, than was ever applied to well directed or profitable