22nd May 1835
I spent half of the ensuing day in examining the mines. — The Mineral extends over a few miles of hilly country, & abounds with Silver mines, the ore of which always occurs with white Sulp of Barytes. — The Mineral was only discovered a few years since by a wood-cutter, although the veins project beyond the surface & are very abundant. The mines are now in a bad state; they formerly yielded about 2000 pounds weight of Silver a year. It has been said "a person with a Copper mine will gain, with Silver he may gain, but with Gold is sure to lose". This is not true, all the large Chilian fortunes have been made by mines of the richer metals. — The other day Dr Seward returned to England from Copiapò taking with him the profits of a share of a Silver mine & this amounted to 120000 dollars. — No doubt a Copper mine with care is a sure game, whereas the other is gambling, or rather taking a ticket in a lottery. The owners lose great quantities of rich ores, no care can prevent robbery. I heard of a man laying a bet with another that one of his men should rob him before his face. The ore when brought out of the mine is broken into pieces by men who sit down & separate the pieces of useless stone, which are rolled over the side of the mountain. Two of the men as if by accident pitched two pieces of stone away at the same moment & then cried out for a joke, let us see which rolls furthest. — The owner who was standing by bet a cigar with his friend on the race. The Miner by this means watched the very point amongst the rubbish, where the stone lay; in the evening he picked it up & carried it to his master, showing a rich mass of Silver ore & saying "This was the stone you won a cigar by its rolling so far". — Some of the Mine owners say to their men, “We know you manage to steal, but why not sell us the ore, that we may receive the usual large profits?", and this contract has sometimes been made. — In the afternoon, we left Arqueros & descended into the valley (the region of fleas) and slept at the first Rancho we came to.
Posted by Arborfield at 08:01