makes a greater part of the price of tin at the 
must fertile tin mines than it does of silver at 
the most fertile silver mines in the world. 
After replacing the stock employed in working 
those different mines, together with its ordinary 
profits, the residue which remains to 
the proprietor is greater, it seems, in the 
coarse, than in the precious metal
Neither are the profits of the undertakers 
of silver mines commonly very great in Peru
The same most respectable and well-informed 
authors acquaint us, that when any person undertakes 
to work a new mine in Peru, he is 
universally looked upon as a man destined to 
bankruptcy and ruin, and is upon that account 
shunned and avoided by every body.¬óMining, 
it seems, is considered there in the 
same light as here, as a lottery, in which the 
prizes do not compensate the blanks, though 
the greatness of some tempts many adventurers 
to throw away their fortunes in such unprosperous 
As the sovereign, however, derives a considerable 
part of his revenue from the produce 
of silver mines, the law in Peru gives every 
possible encouragement to the discovery and 
working of new ones. Whoever discovers
new mine, is entitled to measure off two 
hundred and forty-six feet in length, according 
to what he supposes to be the direction of 
the vein, and half as much in breadth. He 
becomes proprietor of this portion of the mine
and can work it without paying any acknowledgment 
to the landlord. The interest of 
the duke of Cornwall has given occasion to a 
regulation nearly of the same kind in that ancient 
dutchy. In waste and uninclosed lands, 
any person who discovers a tin mine may 
mark out its limits to a certain extent, which 
is called bounding a mine. The bounder becomes 
the real proprietor of the mine, and 
may either work it himself, or give it in lease 
to another, without the consent of the owner 
of the land, to whom, however, a very small 
acknowledgment must be paid upon working 
it. In both regulations, the sacred rights of 
private property are sacrificed to the supposed 
interests of public revenue. 
The same encouragement is given in Peru 
to the discovery and working of new gold 
mines; and in gold the king's tax amounts 
only to a twentieth part of the standard rental
It was once a fifth, and afterwards a tenth, as 
in silver; but it was found that the work 
could not bear even the lowest of these two 
taxes. If it is rare, however, say the same 
authors, Frezier and Ulloa, to find a person 
who has made his fortune by a silver, it is 
still much rarer to find one who has done so 
by a gold mine. This twentieth part seems 
to be the whole rent which is paid by the 
greater part of the gold mines of Chili and 
Peru. Gold, too, is much more liable to be 
smuggled than even silver; not only on account 
of the superior value of the metal in 
proportion to its bulk, but on account of the 
peculiar way in which nature produces it. 
Silver is very seldom found virgin, but, like 
most other metals, is generally mineralized 
with some other body, from which it is impossible 
to separate it in such quantities as 
will pay for the expense, but by a very laborious 
and tedious operation, which cannot well 
be carried on but in work-houses erected for 
the purpose, and, therefore, exposed to the inspection 
of the king's officers. Gold, on the 
contrary, is almost always found virgin. It 
is sometimes found in pieces of some bulk
and, even when mixed, in small and almost 
insensible particles, with sand, earth, and 
other extraneous bodies, it can be separated 
from them by a very short and simple operation
which can be carried on in any private 
house by any body who is possessed of a small 
quantity of mercury. If the king's tax, therefore, 
is but ill paid upon silver, it is likely to 
be much worse paid upon gold; and rent 
must make a much smaller part of the price 
of gold than that of silver
The lowest price at which the precious 
metals can be sold, or the smallest quantity of 
other goods for which they can be exchanged, 
during any considerable time, is regulated by 
the same principles which fix the lowest 
ordinary price of all other goods. The stock 
which must commonly be employed, the food
clothes, and lodging, which must commonly 
be consumed in bringing them from the mine 
to the market, determine it. It must at least 
be sufficient to replace that stock, with the 
ordinary profits
Their highest price, however, seems not to 
be necessarily determined by any thing but 
the actual scarcity or plenty of these metals 
themselves. It is not determined by that of 
any other commodity, in the same manner as 
the price of coals is by that of wood, beyond 
which no scarcity can ever raise it. Increase 
the scarcity of gold to a certain degree, and 
the smallest bit of it may become more precious 
than a diamond, and exchange for a 
greater quantity of other goods
The demand for those metals arises partly 
from their utility, and partly from their beauty
If you except iron, they are more useful 
than, perhaps, any other metal. As they are 
less liable to rust and impurity, they can 
more easily be kept clean; and the utensils
either of the table or the kitchen, are often, 
upon that account, more agreeable when made 
of them. A silver boiler is more cleanly than 
a lead, copper, or tin one; and the same quality 
would render a gold boiler still better than 
a silver one. Their principal merit, however, 
arises from their beauty, which renders them 
peculiarly fit for the ornaments of dress and 
furniture. No paint or dye can give so splendid 
a colour as gilding. The merit of their 
beauty is greatly enhanced by their scarcity
With the greater part of rich people, the