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With each a lighted candle, so held by the thumb and fore-finger of the left hand, as to leave the other three fingers at liberty to grasp the rounds of the ladder, and with the right hand devoted wholly to the same service, we commenced our descent.
It was laborious and hazardous, but we did not stop till we had descended four hundred feet. The rounds of the ladders are constantly wet and muddy, and therefore very slippery; many of them, through length of time, are decayed and worn so very small, that they seem on the point of giving way; in de scending perpendicularly with these disadvantages, the utmost caution is therefore requisite, on the part of a novice, lest he should quit his foothold before he has a firm grasp with his fingers, or lêst, in the dim twilight shed by his candle, he should make a false aim with his foot or hand, or, take an imperfect and untenable hold with either; not to mention the danger of the giving way of the rounds of the ladder, any of which accidents would send him to a place whence he would not return; for, the resting places at the feet of the ladders, as they fill only a small part of the shaft, would dininish very little, the chance of going quite to the bottom.
Having arrived at the depth of four hundred feet, we came to what the miners call, an adit, or level, that 'is, a passage running horizontally, or, at right angles with the shaft. This passage had been made through the solid rock, and it was high enough to allow us to pass along stooping, which we did for a considerable distance, when the sound of human voices from below, indicated our approach to the populous regions of midnight; while the rattling of mechanical instruments, employed in breaking off the ore, and the report from the explosion of gun-powder, echoed and reverberated along these narrow caverns with the sulphureous and suffocating smoke, presented a combination of circumstances which might well have give one the impression that he had arrived in a worse place than the mine of Dolgoath.
Proceeding along the adit, we came to another shaft, down which we descended two hundred feet more, and were then full six hundred feet from the surface. This was the principal scene of labour ; at about this depth, there were great numbers of mimers engaged in their respective employments. Some were boring the rocks, others charging with gunpowder, the holes already made ; others knocking off the ore with hammers, or prying it with pick-axes; others loading the buckets with ore to be drawn
to the surface ; others working the windlasses, to raise the rubbish from one level to another, and ultimately to the top; in short, all were busy : and, although to us their enployment seems only another name for wretchedness they appeared quite a contented and cheerful class of people. In their manhers they are gentle and uncommonly civil, and most bf them paid me some mark of respect as a stranger.tk
We occupied three hours in exploring the mine, hnd, in this time, travelled a mile under ground, in various directions. The employment was extremely aborious. We could rarely walk erect : often we were obliged to crawl on our hands and knees, over sharp, rugged stones, and frequently it was necessa. ry to lie down flat, and to work our way along by the points of the elbows, and extremities of the toes, like seals on a beach. At one time we descenkled, and at another, ascended through a narrow aperture, where we could only with difficulty squeeze ourselves through, and we then continued our progresa by stepping on the projections of the rocks, as men do in going up or down a well. My perspiration hvas so violent, that streams literally run from my nose, locks, and chin, and in this state we came to the channel where the water of the mine flows off, through which we were obliged to wade along, half leg deep, for thirty rods.
I was upon the whole much gratified and instructed. I saw the ore in its natural state, imbedded in solid rocks, principally quartz and schistus ; the mine produces also some tin, cobalt, pyrites, blue vitriol, and even silver. Very little progress is made without blasting, and this destroys more lives than all the other casualties of the business put together. They exploded one blast while we were there ; we of course, retired a proper distance, out of danger.
Having seen all the interesting things of the place, we began to ascend. We were drawn up a small part of the way in a bucket, worked by a windlass, but we went up principally by ladders, in a shaft quite remote from that in which we descended. It was that in which the rod of the steam-engine plays to draw up the water.
This engine is one of the greatest magnitude. The rod, which is made of pieces of timber, and, at the top, cannot be less than five or six feet in diameter, descends perpendicularly one hundred and eighty fathoms, or, one thousand and eighty feet, and motion is propagated through this whole distance, so as to raise a weight of thirty thousand pounds at every stroke, for this is the power of the engine.
The steam engine is now extensively employed in mining, not only to raise the water, but the ore ; indeed, without it, the mine of Dolgoath could not be wrought; the strength of horses and ot men is a useful auxiliary, but would effect, comparatively, very little alone.
At length, after a most laborious and painful ascent, less hazardous it is true, but incomparably more fatiguing than the desceni, we reached the surface in safety, at a great distance from the place where we first descended. With joy, with gratitude, I beheld the returning light of heaven, and, although I could not think, that, in my case, the enterprise was rash, I should certainly dissuade any friend from gratifying mere curiosity at so much hazard. The danger is serious, even to the miners, for, by ex. plovions, by falls, by mephitic gasses, and other cau. ses connected with the nature of the employments, bers of the people are carried off every year and, his account, Redruth and its vicinity has an unnon proportion of widows and orphans. imediately after coming again into day-light, we : all possible haste to shelter ourselves from the wind, as we were afraid of the
of king too suddenly a very profuse perspiration ; nearest house was our wardrobe, to which we ediately resorted, and performed a general ablufrom head to foot. I then resumed my proper i, and prepared. to return again into more comble life. Before taking leave of my conductors,
with the greatest patience, good-nature, and igence, had done every thing both for my safed gratification, I offered them a small recom: ; but, with sentiments of delicacy,' not often 1 in any country, among people of that grade in they đeclined taking any, alledging that it was ecent to receive money a stranger for a mere f civility: and it was not, till after repeated solions, that I could induce them to yield the point.
magnanimity, among people who are buried of their lives, and who seem to have a kind of to tax all those who live on the surface, was as pected as it was gratifying. It is not true, how. that the Cornish miners live permanently below id; they go up regularly every night, and down
in the morning, so that they perform every f their lives, the tour which seemed so formi
whereof sits in gloomy state, on a large rough stone, clad in rags, shivering with cold, pining with hunger, and environed with a set of dismal figures, looking at her and one another with amazement. Some of their names are Dejection, Lamentation, Meanspiritedness, Suspicion, Greediness, Dishonesty, Despair. Not far from thence, you may perceive a strong prison, which is styled the House of Discipline. It is kept by two fierce and frightful fellows called Punishment and Terror, who are furnished with varivus instruments of toil, of pain, and of disgrace, for the chastiseinent of such malefactors as are delivered into their hands.
" But now," proceeded he, “cast your eyes again over the country which I showed you. It is divided into sundry districts, lying in a circle round the Palace of Pleasure. In their respective centres stand the seats of her principal ministers, who are always subject to her will, subservient to her interests, and ready to attend her court. On one side,” to which he point ed the glass," you see,” said he, “the mansion of Luxury, exceedingly magnificent and splendid, raised with a profusion of expence, and adorned on every hand with all the extravagance of art.” And here he desired me to mark with particular care an outlet from the gardens leading directly to the cave of Poverty.
Then turning the telescope to another side, “ Yonder,” said he, " is the abode of Intemperance. It resembles, you see, a great inn, the gate thereof stands always open, and into which passengers are continually crowding. You may observe, that haraly any come out with the same countenance or shape with which they went in, but are transformed into the likeness of different beasts. A little way off is a large Hospital or Lazar-house, into which the poor wretch es are flung from time to time, loaded with all marner of diseases, and condemned to sickness, pain and putrefaction."
Directing the glass another way, he next showed me the lower of Ambition, built on the top of a very