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prosperity of these ultramarine establishments depends. The causes of this phenomenon cannot escape those, who after visiting Spain, France, and the western parts of Germany, have seen that mountainous countries still exist in the centre of civilized Europe, in which the mining operations partake of all the barbarity of the middle ages. The art of mining cannot make great progress, where the mines are dispersed over a great extent of ground, where the government allows to the proprietors the full liberty of directing the operations without controul, and of tearing the minerals from the bowels of the earth, without any consideration of the future. Since the brilliant period of the reign of Charles the 5th, Spanish America has been separated from Europe, with respect to the communication of discoveries useful to society. The imperfect knowledge · which was possessed in the 16th century relative to mining and smelting, in Germany, Biscay, and the Belgic provinces, rapidly pass, ed into Mexico and Peru, on the first colonization of these countries; but since that pe. riod, to the reign of Charles the third, the American miners have learned hardly any thing from the Europeans, but the blowing up with powder*, those rocks which resist the
* This art was only introduced into the mines of Europe towards the year 1613 (Daubuisson, t. i, p. 95.)
pointrole. This King and his successor haye shewn a praiseworthy desire of imparting to the colonies all the advantages derived by Europe from the improvement in machinery, the progress of chemical science, and their application to metallurgy. German miners have been sent at the expence of the court to Mexico, Peru, and the kingdom of new Grenada; but their knowledge has been of no utility, because the mines of Mexico - are considered as the property of the individuals who direct the operations, without the government being allowed to exercise the smallest influence.
We shall not here undertake to detail the defects which we believe we have observed in the administration of the mines of New Spain, but shall confine ourselves to general considerations, remarking whatever appears to us worthy of fixing the attention of the European traveller. In the greatest number of the Mexican mines the operations with the pointrole, which requires the greatest address on the part of the workman, are very well exe. cuted. It is to be wished that the mallet was somewhat less heavy; it is the same instrument which the German miners used in the time of Charles the 5th. Small moveable, forges are placed in the interior of the mines, to reforge the point of the pointroles, when they are unfit for working. I reckoned 16 of these forges in the mine of Valenciana ; and in the district of Guanaxuato, the smallest mines have at least one or two. This arrangement is very useful, particularly in mines which employ even 1500 workmen, and in which there is consequently an immense consumption of steel. I could not praise the method of blowing with powder. The holes for the reception of the cartridges, are generally too deep, and the miners are not sufficiently careful in stripping the part of the rock intended to yield to the explosion. A great waste of powder is consequently occasioned by these defects. The mine of Valenciana consumed* from 1794 to 1802, powder to the amount of 673,676 piastrest, and the mines of New Spain annually require from 12 to 14,000 quintals. It is probable that two thirds of this quantity is uselessly em
* In 1799_63,375 piastres; in 1800--08,493 piastres : in 1801-78,243 piastres ; in 1802–79,903 piastres. The miner is paid at Guanaxuato, for a hole of lm. 5 in depth ( 4 feet 11 inches. Trans.) 12 francs (ten shillings); for a hole of im. 9 (75.8 inches) in depth, 9 francs (78. 6d.) without including powder and tools, which are furnished to him. In the mine of Valenciana, nearly 600 holes by two men each are made every 24 hours.
+ $147,377 Sterling.
ployed. At Chapoltepec, near Mexico, and in the mine of Rayas near Guanaxuato, some experiments have been made of the method of blowing, proposed by M. Baden; a method by which a certain volume of air must be left between the powder and the wadd. Although these experiments have proved the great advantage of the new method, the old has still continued to prevail, on account of the small degree of interest taken by the master miners in reforming the abuses, and perfecting the art of mining.
The lining with wood is very carelessly performed, though it ought the more to engage the consideration of the proprietors, as wood is becoming year after year more scarce on the table land of Mexico. The mason work employed in the pits and galleries*, and especially the walling with lime, deserves a great deal of praise. The arches are formed with great care, and in this respect the mines of Guanaxuato may stand a comparison with whatever is most perfect at Freiberg and Schemnitz. The pits and still more the galleries of New Spain, have generally the defect of being dug in too great dimensions, (artstosshöhe) and of occasioning, by that means, very exorbitant ex
* Especially in the mines of Valenciana, Guanaxuato, and the Real del Monte.
pences. We find galleries at Valenciana*, executed with the view of investigating a sterile vein, of a height of eight or nine metrest. They have taken it into their heads, that this great height facilitates, the renovation of the air; but the ventilation solely depends on the equilibrium and difference of temperature between two neighbouring columns of air. They believe also, equally, without any foundation, that, in order to discover the nature of a very powerful vein, very large galleries of investigation are requisite, as if in mineral depositories of from twelve to fifteen metres I in extent, it were not better to cut from time to time small cross galleries towards the wall and the roof, fop the purpose of discovering whether the mass of the vein begins to grow richer. The absurd custom of cutting every gallery in such enormous dimensions, prevents the proprietors from multiplying the labours of investigation, so indispensible for the preservation of a miñe, and the length of duration of the works. At Guanaxuato, the breadth of the oblique pits dug stairwise, is from tèn to 12 metres g; and the perpendicular pits are generally six, eight, or ten metres || broad. The enormous quantity of