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McCullough estimated the consumption of precious metals in Europe and America in 1830, in works of art, at $21,670,000 annually, while Jacob conputed the annual consumption at $27,767,000; which the Encyclopedia Britannica thinks too low an estimate even in 1830, and computes the consumption in 1858 at about $60,000,000 annually, in Europe, America and Australia. It estimates the loss from wear and tear, from consumption in gold lace, gold leaf, gilding, electrotyping, dentistry, shipwrecks, fires, from remelting and other casualties, as equal to $35,000,000 a year, and puts the increasing demand for coin, on account of increase of population, extension of commerce, increase of wealth and various industrial enterprises, at an annual amount of $50,000,000. If these computations were correct ten years ago, they may be increased some
unusual extent in most civilized countries within the last ten years.
Another cause creating a demand for gold at the present day is to be found in the disposition of mankind in times of civil commotion to convert a portion of their wealth into forms most convenient for concealment or boarding, and there is little doubt that the threatening aspect of political affairs in Europe for the last few years has led to large quantities of gold being disposed of in that way.
Many apprehensions have been indulged for some years lest the great increase in the supply of gold since the discovery of the new mines of California and Australia should so enhance the prices of other articles as to affect injuriously the interests and the welfare of large classes of people; but whoever will consider carefully the many circumstances tending to counteract such effects must become assured that there is but little cause for alarm.
So long as the mines of Europe and Ural mountains can be profitably worked there is certainly no cause to think that gold has experienced much of a decline in value. Most of these mines consist of ores of so low a grade that it would be impossible to work them at all, if the value of the product should undergo any change for the worse; but if all mines returning only ten per cent. profit upon capital invested were compelled to suspend by a decline in the value of gold to such a percentage, the effect would be to diminish the supply and prevent a further decline.
crease the demand for articles manufactured of gold, and would require much more than ten per cent. upon the quantity previously manufactured, to meet the demand. And should prices of other articles experience a rise; should the farmer, the manufacturer, the mechanic and the laborer, receive an apparenily increased compensation, the result would be increased production, traffic and wealth, and as a consequence increased consumption of the precious metals in articles of use and ornament.
It may readily be admitted that an increased supply of any article, whether of money or anything else, other things remaining the same, will be attended with a decline in its price or value, but it by no means follows that an increased supply will of itself lead to such a result. An abundant supply of the precious meta's, or what is nearly the same thing, an abundant supply of money, has a tendency to stimulate enterprise, to enlarge commerce, to open new routes of trade, and to foster and extend almost every branch of industry, all of which require larger quantities of money. The spirit of the age is vastly different now from what it was in 1550 or 1570, when the treasure from the New World caused a rise of prices throughout Europe. It required nearly a century for the nations of Europe to adapt themselves to the change, but when the spirit of improvement was once fully aroused, no subsequent increase in the volume of the precious metals, al hough much greater than before, was attended with like results. The impetus imparted to trade, to enterprises at home and abroad, by the silver of America, was such as to cause the demand for gold and silver to keep pace with the supply, and to increase with it, and there is little doubt that whatever
may be the produce of gold in the future, the spirit of the age is such, that the mass will be rapidly appropriated and the demand keep pace with the supply. Respectfully submitted:
JOS. S. WILSON,
Commissioner of the General Land Office. Hon. 0. H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior.
Paper accompanying the annual report for 1867 of the Commissioner of the
General Land Office.
REMARKS ON USEFUL MINERALS
At the close of the eighteenth century there were a few scattered mines of several of the userul metals in different parts of the country. Copper ores were worked in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—the copper deposits of Lake Superior having been known to the Jesuits. Lead had been mined on the upper Mississippi by Dubuque, a Frenchman, whose name, now borne by a flourishing northwestern city, the site of which, then within the ancient province of Louisiana, still marks the locality of his operations. A lead inine in Wythe county, south western Virginia, was successfully worked and is still productive. The only coal mines were on the James river, near Richmond, Virginia, their extent and value then but little appreciated.
Of iron, our production was so crippled by the preponderating imports from England that there was no knowledge of the immense extent and value of our own extensive deposits. A few small blast furnaces worked bog ores, and some bloomeries in New York and New Jersey made bar iron direct from the rich magnetic bres.
The growth of these great interests in the present century forms an interesting and instructive chapter in the history of social progress. With the advancing settlements of the country, there has been disclosed an endowment of mineral resources transcending those of all other parts of the world, so far as known. These represent a dynamic force and a commercial value which indicate a future expansion of all kinds of industrial movements to which nothing in the past furnishes any parallel. The methods of utilizing these stores of undeveloped wealth are becoming more effective and perfect with the advancement of science and the demands of manufacturing and commercial movements. Since 1830, the mineral resources of most of the States have been investigated by scientific boards of survey. These researches have been of immense value in defining the boundaries of the different geological areas, and thus in limiting and directing explorations for mineral deposits. There is, however, a wide margin of knowledge yet to be explored before the highest results of mining enterprise can be attained. A generous zeal for the cultivation of those important branches has been evoked, and institutions have been established in different parts of our country for their advancement and diffusion. The general government has been liberal in the landed endowment of these literary enterprises, which have also been liberally aided by the different States, and patronized by the energetic and far-seing business intelligence of the country. It is here proposed to present some details as to the production of several of the most useful minerals.
Iron.-During our dependency upon Great Britain, colonial enterprise was restricted to the production of pig iron. This was the result of that policy by which England aimed to make other countries mere producers of raw material
, the elaboration of which, in the higher processes of art, was to be reserved for her skilled industry. This relation, so far as American iron production was
concerned, was temporarily broken by the revolutionary war, which compelled our people to improvise the manufacture of malleable iron by rude methods ascertained by hasty original experiment. The cessation of the war practically restored the old system of manufacturing dependence. The experience, skill, and moneyed resources of British iron production were too powerful for a partially organized and imperfect industrial system, and we began to ship ores to England in exchange for manufactured iron. Finctuations of prices in Europe, and capricious periodical changes in our own tariffs on foreign imports, have alternately elevated and depressed our iron production. It has, however, advanced, on the whole, to a very healthy development and commanding position.
In 1810 this country produced 54,000 tons; in the commercial collapse of 1820 the aggregate declined to 20,000 tons; in 1830 it had arisen to 165,000 tons, and in 1840 to 315,000 tons; in 1842, under the operation of the declining duties of the "compromise tariff,” it had fallen to 230,000 tons; under the combined influence of enhanced protective duties and high prices in England, caused by the sudden expansion of railway construction, it had arisen, according to the estimate of Hon. R. J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury, to 765,000 tons; it rose to 800,000 tons in 1848, and fell to 650,000 tons in 1849, continuing to fall until 1852, when the entire product did not exceed 500,000 tons; in 1855 it had arisen to 1,000,000 tons, an aggregate which it nearly or quite maintained up to 1860. During our late difficulties the production of pig iron arose to 1,300,000 tons. Of manufactured iron in 1864 we produced 283,560 tons of railroad bars, with a capacity of increase to 700,000 tons per annum.
With the close of the war, however, this enhanced production again declined. But underneath all these fluctuations it is gratifying to observe a permanent expansion of the iron interest of the country, based upon foundations which no changes in tariffs, and no combinations of foreign labor and capital, can shake..
The principal ores from which iron is manufactured in the United States are hematites, magnetic and specular ores, red oxides from the secondary rocks, and the carbona tes. More than three-fourths of American iron is from the first three, of which hematites are the favorites, constituting the most valuable of the deposits worked in the United States. The greatest range of this class of ores embraces the palæozoic formation of the valley between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge, from northern Alabama and Georgia, through Virginia, Tennessee, New Jersey, and New York, to Canada.
Magnetic ore contains a larger proportion of metal; in fact it is the richest of iron ores. It is largely used in manufacturing malleable iron by the ancient process, direct from the ore, in the open forge. Mixed with the hematite its accompanying silica compensates an important defect in that ore. The especial ravge of these ores is the great azoic belt encircling the Appalachian chain, spreading out in the various localities to a considerable width. In North Carolina are found extensive deposits of this ore in the mountains, the densely timbered slopes of which furnish abundaut materials for making charcoal for smelting. In Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania the scope of magnetic ores is limited. In New Jersey and New York they exist in massive deposits exceeding in availability those of any other iron region in the world, and requiring much less labor to extract them. They are accompanied by coal and limestone, superior in quality and inexhaustible in quantity. The brown hematites found in close proximity furnish an excellent admixture with these more refractory magnetics. The pig iron produced in this region in 1864 amounted to 318,500 tons. The most remarkable development of these ores is found in Sterling mountain, within thirty-two miles of New York city, equalling the Iron mountains of Missouri in extent and richness of deposit. The azoic belt of Lake Superior is the great iron region of the globe. Though yet undeveloped, it furnishes in the single county of Marquette, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, one-eighth of the iron produced in the United States. The iron trade of this region has advanced from an export of 1,445 tons in 1855, to 235,123 tons in
1864. The facilities for making charcoal there favor an extended production of fine malleable iron, while the inexhaustible supply of coal will supply fuel for the cheaper kinds of iron production. The red oxides of the secondary rocks are mostly the red fossiliferous and colitic ores of the lower silurian, cropping out in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and East Tennessee, and from Oneida county, New York, westward through Canada to Wisconsin. These oxides, with specular ores, form those great mineral masses, Iron mountain and Pilot Knob, in Missouri, which, by a singularly persistent error, are still designated as magnetic. Iron mountain, rising 228 feet above a base of 500 acres, presents a cone of 230,000,000 tons. It is thought that every foot beneath its base level will yield an average of 3,000,000 tons; at a depth of 180 feet the artesian auger is still penetrating solid iron ore. Pilot Knob, the base of which, 581 feet beneath the summit, is an area of 360 square miles, is known to be solid ore to a depth of 440 feet below the surface. The upper section of 141 feet perpendicular thickness contains 14,000,000 tons of ore. Shepherd's mountain, one mile west of Pilot Knob, is a mass of very pure magnetic and specular ore, rising to the height of 660 feet. Iron ore has been found in thirty-six counties in Missouri; mining of all kinds, however, is comparatively in its infancy in this region.
The only carbonates of practical importance in this country are the silicious and argillaceous' ores of the coal measures found near Lake Superior with hematites, the deficiency of which in silicious matter they supply in smelting together, and similar ores of purer character among the tertiary clays of the western shore of Chesapeake bay.
The census of 1860 presents an aggregate of 402 establishments making malleable iron, with a capital of $23,343,073, using raw material valued at $21,961,437, and paying $7,436,538 to 22,014 hands. The products of the year amounted to $36,537,259, affording a profit of $7,140,284, or 30 per cent. upon the capital. Of cast-iron manufactures there were 1,405 establishments; capital, $24,368,243; cost of raw material consumed, $15,524,619; cost of labor, $10,328,722; hands employed, 26,961 ; value of annual product, $36,537,259; profits, $10,683,918, or nearly 44 per cent. on the capital.
Copper.—The great copper mining districts of the world are found mostly in two distinct geological positions : First, the older crystalline rocks, and in the metamorphic palæozoic. Second, in the strata between the coal measures and the lias formations. The mines of Cornwall, Australia, and Lake Superior belong to the former, and those of Mansfeldt, in Prussia, and Ural, in Russia, to the latter.
Copper in this country occurs in a native state, and in a variety of combinations with other substances. The workable ores are chiefly copper pyrites, vitreous copper, variegated copper, red oxide, green carbonate, or malachite, and chrysocoll... The first named, though containing the smallest per cent. of metal, has yielded a greater net product than all the other ores together. Vitreous copper, a sulphuret known as glance copper, is not often found in large quantity. Variegated or purple copper, and the red oxide, are also limited in supply. Malachite is a highly ornamental greenstone found in copper mines, resembling chrysocolla in appearance.
T'he first mines worked in the United States produced very rich ores, mostly vitreous and variegated copper, with occasional masses of malachite. These were mostly along the line of junction between the red sandstone and the gneiss and granite rocks in Connecticut and New Jersey. These have been abandoned on account of the exhaustion of their deposits.
Mr. J.D. Whitney* classes the copper districts of the United States as follows:
1. Lake Superior copper region, yielding native copper in true veins, in trappean rocks and associated conglomerates and sandstones of the lower silurian age. These are now extensively worked.
*Author of "Metallic Wealth of the United States."
2. Copper deposits of the Mississippi valley, yielding ores, chiefly pyritous, in the lower silurian rocks. These are not now worked to any extent.
3. Cupriferous deposits of the Atlantic States, embracing copper-bearing veins of the metamorphic palæozoic age in the Appalachian chain; deposits in the new red sandstone, occurring in Connecticut and New Jersey, and now abandoned ; and veins traversing the new red sandstone and the older metamorphic r cks in Chester and Montgomery counties, Pennsylvania, and extensively worked.
Of these the Lake Superior mines are immeasurably the richest. Previous to the opening of Saint Mary's canal, no exact records were kept of the copper shipped from this region. Up to the close of 1854, the aggregate production is estimated at 7,642 tons of pure copper. The subsequent annual shipments, up to 1860, are as follows: 1855....
4,544 tons. 1856..
5, 357 1857.
6, 094 1858.
5, 896 1859..
8,543 The substitution of bituminous coal for wood has greatly cheapened the process of smelting, while freights have declined at least twenty-five per cent., thus materially lessening the cost of bringing the metal into market.
Copper mining is prosecuted in different localities represented under the third head of Whitney's classification as above. From Virginia the copper ores sent eastward over the Virginia and Tennessee railroad increased from 1,931,403 pounds in 1855 to 3,679,673 pounds in 1860. Considerable quantities are also produced in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Tennessee.
Copper manufactures, in 1860, were represented by 90 establishments, in all branches above the extraction of ore from the mine, employing a capital of $4,752,550. The cost of the raw material used was $7,631,598, and the cost of labor, paid to 1,639 hands, was $655,256. The profit was $1,245,536, or 27 per cent. on the capital.
Lead.-Mr. Whitney arranges our lead-bearing veins and deposits into two grand divisions: 1. Those of the Atlantic States; and 2. Those of the Mississippi valley.
In ihe first grand division the mines lowest in the geologic series are found in the azoic formation in St. Lawrence county, New York, in the vicinity of Rossie. The veins are transverse, cutting the gneiss rock in nearly vertical lines. The ore is galena, generally free from zinc and iron, but intercalated with calcareous spar. In the belt of metamorphic palæozoic rocks flauking the Appalachian chain on the east and cropping out in numerous localities, especially in New England, are considerable deposits of galena more or less argentiferous and always associated with blende, copper and iron pyrites. The veins are usually parallel to the dip of formations and of the segregated class, though often of large development, forming powerful and well-marked lodes. They have failed to be profitable on account of being mixed with too great a proportion of other substances, the manipulation of which requires greater expenditure of capital and skill than has yet been secured. In the unaltered 'lower silurian rocks of New York are some apparently irregular deposits not very extensive, recently worked to a limited degree.
The lead regions of the Mississippi valley are divided into two districts : 1. Upper Mississippi; 2. Missouri.
In the former the deposits consist of non-argentiferous galena, in irregular and gash veins, in the lower silurian limestone. These are found principally in