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4 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

To The Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.  

Sir,-In your article of to-day on the case of Wyld v. Calvert, which was argued before the Court of West- minster, in April last, you have made some allusions to the alleged gold discoveries in England, which may possibly have been based on the information I con- sidered it my duty to communicate to you respecting the failure of the Cwmheisian mines of North Wales, of which such high anticipations had been formed. You will therefore oblige me by inserting the follow- ing statement, which contains all the particulars I am at present possessed of. In my letter commenting on the article in Chambers' Journal, on the gold discoveries in England, which appeared in your issue of May 25th, I mentioned that Mr. Calvert had been introduced to Mr. Berdan and his agents by the Directors of the Cwmheisian Mining Company (Sir C. Kirkpatrick, Bart., Mr. T. A. Readwin, F.G.S., and Mr. Dickinson Brunton, C.E.) as one of the parties appointed by them to superintend the experiments in their ores with his machines, and that he (Mr. Calvert) was present on the occasion in which the Bank authorities and a number of scientific gentlemen witnessed the trials. The results of these and subsequent experi- ments were so favourable, giving proceeds varying from 1 oz. 1 dwt. 15 grs. to 5 oz. 5 dwt. 17 grs. of gold to the ton, that the Directors were induced to commence working their mines on a large scale. At first the operations seem to have yielded an average of about an ounce of gold to the ton, but they suddenly ceased to yield even the slightest trace ; and Dr. Henry, an eminent assayer, who was sent down to ascertain the cause, was unable to detect any gold in the ore. We may rest assured that the whole affair will be thoroughly sifted, and if the ores have been, what is here technically called "peppered," the de-    

linquent will be brought to justice, for large sums of money must have changed hands in consequence of the alleged discoveries. There can be no doubt but that Mr. Berdan must have made a large sum by the sale of his machines, but it is scarcely probable that he would countenance measures which would sooner or later entail the loss of a high scientific reputation, and all for the sake of a mere temporary addition to the wealth he had already accumulated from other


But whatever may be the result of this investigation, the question of " gold in England " will not be finally settled ; for, the Britannia Company, which had been reducing the Poltimore " gossan " to extract gold, for some months previous to the arrival of Berdan's machine, are highly satisfied with the working of their set of basins, and, according to my last advices, had called together the shareholders to witness their suc- cess. The material reduced by this Company is a metallic oxide, the chief component of which is iron. It is identical in appearance, and, I believe.in charac- ter, with the " cinnabar" of the Indian Peninsula, and the orod, or red oxide, with which the natives of the

Arnheim Peninsula and Carpentaria paint their bodies.   For my own part, I would gladly learn that these mines also had proved unproductive, for I have been

put to great inconvenience owing to the machines des- tined for the colonies having been given up to the clamorous importunities of mining proprie- tors who expected to make sudden fortunes. Nor had I the consolation of expecting that any ultimate good could result, for even were the anticipa- tions of the sanguine to be more than fulfilled, a country whose chief resources depend on well-organised industrial labour can scarcely be improved by the ex- citement of gold mining.


Sydney, July 22nd, 1854.

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