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5.11. Of mettals to be had in our land. Chap. 11.

Of mettals to be had in our land. Chap. 11.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _ALl mettals receiue their be|ginning of quicksiluer and sulphur, which are as mother and father to them. And such is the purpose of nature in their generations: that she tendeth alwaies to the pro|creation of gold, neuerthe|lesse she sildome reacheth vnto that hir end, bicause of the vnequall mixture and proportion of these two in the substance ingendered, whereby impediment and corruption [...] induced, which as it is more or lesse, dooth shew it selfe in the mettall that is producted. First of all therefore the substance of sulphur and quicksiluer being mixed in [...] proportion, after long and temperate decoction in the [...]els of the earth, orderlie ingrossed and fixed, becommeth gold, which Encelius dooth call the sunne and right heire of na|ture but if it swarue but a little (saith he) in [...]he com|mixtion and other circumstances, then doo [...]t, it pro|duct siluer the daughter, not so noble a child as g [...]ld hir brother, which among mettall is worthilie called the cheefe. Contrariwise, the substances of the aforesaid parents mixed without proportion, and lesse digested and fixed in the entrailes of the earth, where|by the radicall moisture becommeth combustible and not of force to indure heat and hammer, dooth either turne into tin, lead, copper, or iron, which were the first mettals knowne in time past vnto antiqui|tie, although that in these daies there are diuerse o|ther, whereof neither they nor our alchumists had euer anie knowledge. Of these therfore which are re|puted among the third sort, we here in England haue our parts, and as I call them to mind, so will I in|treat of them, and with such breuitie as may serue the turne, and yet not altogither omit to saie some|what of gold and siluer also, bicause I find by good ex|perience how it was not said of old time without great reason,Gold Siluer. that all countries haue need of Bri|taine, and Britaine it selfe of none. For truelie if a man regard such necessities as nature onelie requi|reth, there is no nation vnder the sunne, that can saie so much as ours: sith we doo want none that are con|uenient for vs. Wherefore if it be a benefit to haue anie gold at all, we are not void of some, neither like|wise of siluer: whatsoeuer Cicero affirmeth to the contrarie, Lib. 4. ad Atticum epi. 16. in whose time they were not found, Britannici belli exitus (saith he) expecta|tur, constat enim aditus insulae esse munitos mirificis molibus: etiam illud iam cognitum est, neque argenti scrupulum esse vllum in illa insula, neque vllam spem praedae nisiex mancipijs, ex quibus nullos puto te litteris aut musicis eruditos expectare. And albeit that we haue no such abundance of these (as some other countries doo yéeld) yet haue my rich countrimen store inough of both in their pursses, where in time past they were woont to haue least, bi|cause the garnishing of our churches, tabernacles, images, shrines and apparell of the preests consumed the greatest part, as experience hath confirmed.

Of late my countriemen haue found out I wot not what voiage into the west Indies, from whence they haue brought some gold, whereby our countrie is inriched: but of all that euer aduentured into those parts, none haue sped better than sir Francis Drake whose successe 1582 hath far passed euen his owne expectation. One Iohn Frobisher in like maner at|tempting to séeke out a shorter cut by the northerlie regions into the peaceable sea and kingdome of Ca|thaie, happened 1577 vpon certeine Ilands by the waie, wherein great plentie of much gold appeared, and so much that some letted not to giue out for cer|teintie, that Salomon had his gold from thence, wherewith he builded the temple. This golden shew made him so desirous also of like successe, that he left off his former voiage, & returned home to bring news of such things as he had seene. But when after another voiage it was found to be but drosse, he gaue ouer both the enterprises, and now keepeth home without anie desire at all to séeke into farre coun|tries. In truth, such was the plentie of ore there séene and to be had, that if it had holden perfect, might haue furnished all the world with abundance of that met|tall; the iorneie also was short and performed in foure or fiue moneths, which was a notable incourage|ment. But to proceed.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Tin and lead, mettals which Strabo noteth in his time to be carried vnto Marsilis from hence,Tin. Lead. as Dio|dorus also confirmeth, are verie plentifull with vs, the one in Cornewall, Deuonshire (& else-where in in the north) the other in Darbishire, Weredale, and sundrie places of this Iland; whereby my countrie|men doo reape no small commoditie, but especiallie our pewterers, who in time past imploied the vse of pewter onelie vpon dishes, pots, and a few other tri|fles for seruice here at home, whereas now they are growne vnto such exquisit cunning, that they can in maner imitate by infusion anie forme or fashion of cup, dish, salt, bowle, or goblet, which is made by goldsmiths craft, though they he neuer so curious, exquisite, and artificiallie forged. Such furniture of houshold of this mettall, as we commonlie call by the name of vessell, is sold vsuallie by the garnish, which dooth co [...]eine twelue plaiters, twelue dishes, twelue saucers, and those are either of siluer fashion, or else with brode or narrow brims, and bought by the pound, which is now valued at six or seuen pence, or peraduenture at eight pence. Of poringers, pots, and other like I speake not albeit that in the making of all these things there is such exquisite diligence vsed, I meane for the mixture of the mettall and true making of this commoditie (by reason of sharpe laws prouided in that behalfe) as the like is not to be found in any other trade. I haue béene also informed that it consisteth of a composition, which hath thirtie pounds of kettle brasse to a thousand pounds of tin, whervnto they ad thrée or foure pounds of tinglasse: but as too much of this dooth make the stuffe brickle, so the more the brasse be, the better is the pewter, and more profitable vnto him that dooth buie and purchase the same. But to proceed.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In some places beyond the sea a garnish of good flat English pewter of an ordinarie making (I saie flat, bicause dishes and platters in my time begin to be made déepe like basons, and are indéed more con|uenient both for sawce, broth, and kéeping the meat warme) is estéemed almost so pretious, as the like number of vessels that are made of fine siluer, and in maner no lesse desired amongst the great estates, whose workmen are nothing so skilfull in that trade as ours, neither their mettall so good, nor plentie so great, as we haue here in England. The Romans made excellent looking glasses of our English tin, howbeit our workemen were not then so equisite in that feat as the Brundusiens: wherefore the wrought mettall was carried ouer vnto them by waie of merchandize, and verie highlie were those glasses EEBO page image 238 estéemed of till siluer came generallie in place, which in the end brought the tin into such contempt, that in manner euerie dishwasher refused to looke in other than siluer glasses for the attiring of hir head. How|beit the making of siluer glasses had béene in vse be|fore Britaine was knowne vnto the Romans, for I read that one Praxiteles deuised them in the yoong time of Pompeie, which was before the comming of Caesar into this Iland.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 There were mines of lead sometimes also in Wales, which indured so long till the people had con|sumed all their wood by melting of the same (as they did also at Comeristwith six miles from Stradfluer) and I suppose that in Plinies time the abundance of lead (whereof he speaketh) was to be found in those parts, in the seauentéenth of his thirtie fourth booke: also he affirmeth that it laie in the verie swart of the earth, and dailie gotten in such plentie, that the Ro|mans made a restraint of the cariage thereof to Rome, limiting how much should yearelie be wrought and transported ouer the sea. And here by the waie it is worthie to be noted, of a crow which a miner of tin, dwelling néere Comeristwith (as Le|land saith) had made so tame, that it would dailie flie and follow him to his worke and other places where soeuer he happened to trauell. This labourer wor|king on a time in the bottome or vallie, where the first mine was knowne to be, did laie his pursse and girdle by him, as men commonlie doo that addresse themselues to applie their businesse earnestlie, and he himselfe also had vsed from time to time before. The crow likewise was verie busie flittering about him, and so much molested him, that he waxed angrie with the bird, & in his furie threatened to wring off his necke, if be might once get him into his hands; to be short, in the end the crow hastilie caught vp his girdle and pursse, and made awaie withall so far as hir wings could carrie hir. Héerevpon the pore man falling into great agonie (for he feared to vse perad|uenture all his monie) threw downe his mattocke at aduenture and ran after the bird, curssing and me|nacing that he should lose his life if euer he got him againe: but as it fell out, the crow was the means whereby his life was saued, for he had not béene long out of the mine, yer it fell downe and killed all his fellowes. If I should take vpon me to discourse and search out the cause of the thus dealing of this bird at large, I should peraduenture set my selfe further into the briers than well find which waie to come out againe: yet am I persuaded, that the crow was Gods instrument herein, whereby the life of this poore labourer was preserued. It was doone also in an o|ther order than that which I read of another tame crow, kept vp by a shoomaker of Dutch land in his shop or stoue: who séeing the same to sit vpon the pearch among his shoone, verie heauilie and drousie, said vnto the bird: What aileth my iacke, whie art thou sad and pensiue? The crow hearing his maister speake after this sort vnto him, answered (or else the diuell within him) out of the psalter: Cogitaui dies an|tiquos & aeternos in mente habui. But whither am I di|gressed, from lead vnto crowes, & from crowes vnto diuels? Certes it is now high time to returne vnto our mettals, and resume the tractation of such things as I had earst in hand.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Iron is found in manie places,Iron. as in Sussex, Kent, Weredale, Mendip, Walshall, as also in Shropshire, but chéeflie in the woods betwixt Beluos and Willocke or Wicberie néere Manchester, and elsewhere in Wales. Of which mines diuerse doo bring foorth so fine and good stuffe, as anie that com|meth from beyond the sea, beside the infinit gaines to the owners, if we would so accept it, or bestow a little more cost in the refining of it. It is also of such toughnesse, that it yéeldeth to the making of cla|ricord wire in some places of the realme. Neuerthe|lesse, it was better cheape with vs when strangers onelie brought it hither: for it is our qualitie when we get anie commoditie, to vse it with extremitie to|wards our owne nation, after we haue once found the meanes to shut out forreners from the bringing in of the like. It breedeth in like manner great ex|pense and waste of wood, as dooth the making of our pots and table vessell of glasse, wherein is much losse sith it is so quicklie broken; and yet (as I thinke) easie to be made tougher, if our alchumists could once find the true birth or production of the red man, whose mixture would induce a metallicall tough|nesse vnto it, whereby it should abide the hammer.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Copper is latelie not found,Copper. but rather restored a|gaine to light. For I haue read of copper to haue béene heretofore gotten in our Iland; howbeit as strangers haue most commonly the gouernance of our mines, so they hither to make small gains of this in hand in the north parts: for (as I am informed) the profit dooth verie hardlie counteruaile the charges, whereat wise men doo not a litle maruel, consider|ing the abundance which that mine dooth séeme to of|fer, and as it were at hand Leland our countrie|man noteth sundrie great likelihoods of naturall copper mines to be eastwards, as betwéene Dud|man and Trewa [...]thher places, wherea [...] in sundrie pla [...]es of this booke alreadie, and therefore it shall b [...] but in vaine to repeat them here againe: as for [...]hat which is gotten out of the marchasite, I speake not of it, sith it is not incident to my purpose. In Dorsetshire also a copper mine latelie found is brought to good perfection.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 As for our stéele,Stéele. it is not so good for edge-tooles as that of Colaine, and yet the one is often sold for the other, and like tale vsed in both, that is to saie, thirtie gads to the sheffe, and twelue sheffes to the burden. Our alchumie is artificiall, and thereof our spoones and some salts are commonlie made, and preferred before our pewter with some, albeit in truth it be much subiect to corruption, putrifaction, more heauie and foule to handle than our pewter; yet some ignorant persons affirme it to be a mettall more na|turall, and the verie same which Encelius calleth Plumbum cinereum, the Germans, wisemute, mithan, & counterfeie, adding, that where it groweth, siluer can not be farre off. Neuerthelesse it is knowne to be a mixture of brasse, lead, and tin (of which this latter occupieth the one halfe) but after another proportion than is vsed in pewter. But alas I am persuaded that neither the old Arabians, nor new alchumists of our time did euer heare of it, albeit that the name thereof doo séeme to come out of their forge. For the common sort indeed doo call it alchumie, an vnwhol|some mettall (God wot) and woorthie to be banished and driuen out of the land. And thus I conclude with this discourse, as hauing no more to saie of the mettals of my countrie, except I should talke of brasse, bell mettall, and such as are brought ouer for merchandize from other countries: and yet I can not but saie that there is some brasse found also in England, but so small is the quantitie, that it is not greatlie to be estéemed or accounted of.

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