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HENRY. Poverty is then a means of security. Had they been as poor as the Greenlanders, they might have still enjoyed their own territories unmolested. But Charles has not told us which are the other countries where gold is mostly found.
CHARLES. In many parts of Asia, especially in Sumatra, Pegu, China, Japan, the Philippine Islands, and Borneo, it is found in considerable quantities. The coast, as well as the interior parts of Africa, likewise produce a great deal of gold.
CECILIA. All gold is not found in mines. I think I have heard that it is frequently collected from the sand and mud of rivers and torrents.
MR. HARCOURT. This happens more frequently in Guinea than elsewhere. There are many European rivers also, which roll partiticles of gold among their sand. Those rivers yield the greatest plenty, whose course is slow and uninterrupted, and where the sand is of a reddish or blackish hue, which, being heavier than the white sand, carries the gold along with it to the bottom. Among the rivers in
Europe which produce gold, are the Rhine, the Rhone, the Garonne, the Danube, and the Elbe. The collecting of these scattered grains of this precious metal, affords a bare subsistence to some of the neighbouring inhabitants.
AUGUSTA. pick it from the sand.
MR. HARCOURT. Experience and ingenuity have invented a more expeditious method than that. The sand is received into a long, sloping trough, lined at the bottom with flannel, or coarse cloth. Upon stirring the water about with the hand, the sand is washed off, and the small particles of gold subside into the woolly matter of the flannel. They are afterwards carefully washed out. Gold is sometimes found in mines, in small pieces of different forms and sizes, though but seldom in masses so large as an ounce. At other times it is dug up in the stony glebes, or clods, which are called the mineral, or ore, of gold. These clods generally contain a mixture of other metallic matter, particularly silver. They are of various colours, and generally lie at least one hundred and fifty fathoms
It must be tedious work to
deep. In order to separate these glebes from the gold they contain, they are first broken into small pieces with iron mallets, and then carried to the mills to be ground to a very fire powder, which is infused in a solution of common salt, in wooden troughs. It is afterwards refined, from the mixture of foreign substances and dross, by quicksilver.
MRS. HARCOURT. Quicksilver possesses the quality of uniting with the other metals, in the form of a paste, which chemists call an amalgam. An amalgam of gold may be procured by heating it red hot, and then pouring heated quicksilver upon it; after which, the mixture is to be stirred with an iron rod, till it begins to rise into smoke. To finish the process, it is thrown into a vessel full of water, where it hardens, and becomes fit for use. Gilders and goldsmiths avail themselves of this means, to render gold more applicable to their purposes. Suppose they have occasion to gild a piece of copper, as the lid of a snuff-box, for example, or any other toy, they cover it with a layer of the amalgam, and then place it in a proper vessel over the fire. The quicksilver
evaporates by the heat, and the gold only is left upon the surface of the copper.
SOPHIA. Knowledge is not only agreeable, but of the greatest utility in the most common arts of life. How long a time it would have cost a person ignorant of this process, to have gilt a button or a thimble!
MRS. HARCOURT. The progress of knowledge is gradual: one discovery leads to another. Without the advantage of the experiments of others, it is likely that a man might spend his whole life, without hitting upon the means of effecting a process, which, when known, appears so simple and easy. This art enables goldsmiths to recover the filings and small particles of gold, which are accidentally scattered amongst the sweepings of their shops,
AUGUSTA. The various rich toys in a goldsmith's shop are very amusing. I think it is one of the most elegant of all retail trades.
MR. HARCOURT. To be properly qualified for this business, requires skill in several arts, The accomplished goldsmith should have a good taste for design and sculpture, that he may be able to form his own moulds; and VOL, II.
should understand metallurgy, or mixing of metals, sufficiently to give them the proper alloy.
CHARLES. was cast into the different forms.
MR. HARCOURT. The goldsmith's work is either performed in moulds, or by beating out with a hammer. Works that have raised figures, are cast in moulds, and afterwards polished. Plates or dishes, of silver or gold, are beat out from thin plates; and tankards, and other vessels of that kind, are formed of plates soldered together, and their mouldings are the work of the hammer. There is a great improvement in the goldsmith's art, for they were obliged formerly to hammer the metal from the ingot to the requisite thinness; but now flatting-mills are used, which reduce metal to the desired thinness at a very small expense.
CHARLES. Are there many different kinds of workmen employed by the goldsmith? MR. HARCOURT. Luxury and opulence occasion so great a demand for the productions of the goldsmith, in the metropolis of a
I did not know that the metal