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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 miners 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 ; other's 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 manners they are gentle and uncommonly civil, and most of them paid me some mark of respect as a stranger,
We occupied three hours in exploring the mine, and, in this time, travelled a mile under ground, in various directions. The employment was extremely laborious. 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 descended, and at another, ascended through a narrow aperture, where we could only with difficulty squeeze ourselves through, and we then continued our progress by stepping on the projections of the rocks, as men do in going up or down a well. My perspiration was 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 of 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 descent, 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 scrious, even to the miners, for, by ex. well have
wwbv falls, by mephitic gasses, and other cau
Corted with the nature of the employments, in a worse
numbers of the people are carried off every year and, on this account, Redruth and its vicinity has an uncommon proportion of widows and orphans. · Immediately after coming again into day-light, we made all possible haste to shelter ourselves from the *cold wind, as we were afraid of the consequences of .checking too suddenly a very profuse perspiration ; the nearest house was our wardrobe, to which we immediately resorted, and performed a general ablution from head to foot. I then resumed my proper dress, and prepared to return again into more comfortable life. Before taking leave of my conductors, whn, with the greatest patience, good nature, and intelligence, had done every thing both for my safety and gratification, I offered them a small recompense ; but, with sentiments of delicacy, not osten found in any country, among people of that grade in life, they declined taking any, alledging that it was not decent to receive money of a stranger for a mere act of civility : and it was not, till after repeated solicitations, that I could induce them to yield the point. Such magnanimity, among people who are buried most of their lives, and who seem to have a kind of right to tax all those who live on the surface, was as unexpected as it was gratifying. It is not true, however, that the Cornish miners live permanently below ground; they go up regularly every night, and down again in the morning, so that they perform every day of their lives, the tour which seemed so formi. dable to me.
I HAVE been, my dear S- , on an excursion through the counties which lie along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge. A general description of that country and its inhabitants, may form the subject of a future letter. For the present, I must entertain' you with an account of a most singular and interesting adventure, which I inet with in the course of the tour.
It was one Sunday, as I travelled through the county of Orange, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the road-side. Having frequently seen such objects before, in travelling through these states, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship. Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation ; but I must confess, that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness, was not the least of my motives.
On entering the house, I was struck with his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man.... his head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shrivelled hands, and his voice, were all shaken under the influence of a palsy, and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind, The first emotions which touched my breast, were those of mingled pity and veneration. But ah ! Great God! How soon were all my feelings changed! It was a day of the administration of the sa
crament, and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Saviour. I had heard the subject handled a thousand times : I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose, that in the wild woods of America, I was to meet with a man whose eloquence would give to this topic, a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed.
As he descended from the pulpit, to distribute the mystic symbol, there was a peculiar, a more than human solemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame to shiver. He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Saviour-his trial before Pilate-his ascent up Calvary
-his crucifixion--and his death. I knew the whole history ; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so coloured ! It was all new ; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deli. berate, that his voice trembled on every syllable ; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison.
His peculiar phrases, had that force of description, that the original scene appeared to be, at that moment, acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews--the staring, frightful istortions of malice and rage. We saw the buffet-my soul ki dled with a flame of indignation, and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clenched. But when he came to touch the patience, the forgiving meek. ness of our Saviour-when he drew, to the life, his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven--his voice breathing to God, a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on his enemies, “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”--the voice of the preacher which had all along faultered, grew fainter and fainter, until his utterance being entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, he raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and burst into a loud and irrepressible flood of grief. The effect is inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, and sobs, and shrieks of the congregation.