« PredošláPokračovať »
animals reascend the trees, they each dered an excellent sudorifick, and carry a stone in their hands, and ge- likewise as anti-venereal. In the gallnerally another in their mouths; and, bladder of one or two of the Indian in such case, these are thrown at species, but particularly of the dorick their adversary with a correctness of and wanderu, a kind of gall-stone is aim that is truly astonishing. sometimes found. These, says Ta
The inhabitants of several coun- vernier, the natives have been known tries derive a means of subsistence to sell for as much as a hundred from the flesh of these animals. We crowns each. They will not, in geare assured by Condamine, that in 'neral, permit them to be exported Cayenne the monkeys are the kind out of their country as articles of of game that is more frequently pur. commerce, but chiefly preserve them sued than any other; and that the as an invaluable present to foreign amIndians of the country bordering on bassadours residing amongst them. the river of the Amazons are peculi. They are considered to possess all arly fond of their flesh. Their fat is the properties that have been attriesteemed a sovereign remedy for buted to the most precious of the stiffness in the joints. In the Portu- bezoar stones. guese settlements in South America, powdered monkey's bones are consi- Christ Church,
W. BING LEY.
BY W. WOOD, F.L.S. THOSE persons who are totally minerals, this substance is placed unacquainted with the operation of among the combustible bodies: nechymistry, will not readily believe vertheless, we have taken the liberty that the most precious stone in the to leave it at the head of the precious world, is nothing but modified char- stones, as a more natural, though coal; and that, far from being inde. less scientifick, situation than the structible, it may be entirely con- other. sumed by fire. Such, however, is Diamonds, when brought to Euthe fact; for the knowledge of which rope in their rough state, are said to we are particularly indebted to the be either in the shape of roundish decisive experiment of Mr. Tennant; pebbles with shining surfaces, or in though other chymists have not been octaëdral crystals; but they are not deficient in their operation on the entirely confined to this form, as they same subject. It was found, from vary in several respects, and somesome experiments which preceded times occur with twenty-four, and those of Mr. Tennant, that the dia- even forty-eight sides. mond, though it was capable of resist. These precious stones are princiing the effects of violent heat in a close pally found in the East Indies, in the vessel, might be consumed when ex- kingdoms of Golconda and Visapour posed to the joint action of heat and in the peninsula on this side the air. These experiments, however, Ganges, nearly eighteen degrees from if we except those by Lavoisier, only the line. They are likewise in the proved the inflammability of the dia- kingdoms of Pegu and of Siam, in mond. Mr. Tennant and, we ought Brasil, and in South America. One to add, Mr. Guyton, went further, circumstance is worthy of remark and not only proved its combustible respecting the situation of diamond nature, but likewise ascertained its mines. It is, that those of America component parts. According, there. are at the same distance in the southfore, to the present arrangement of ern hemisphere that the Asiatick
mines are in the northern. The According to this account of Tadiamonds of India are, in general, vernier's, the Indian lapidaries are larger, and of a finer water, than very expert in cutting the diamonds, those of Brasil, but by no means so and will frequently undertake to diabundant. As a proof of this, Patrin vide a stone, which, from its unfa. tells us, that when the mines of Bra. vourable appearance, the Europeans sil were first discovered, the Portu will not venture upon. guese were so successful in their Speaking of the government of the researches, that in 1730, the Rio mines, Tavernier says, they trade Janeiro fleet brought away eleven · very freely and honestly, the king hundred and forty-six ounces. This receiving two per cent. on all that are prodigious quantity, brought imme. bought, besides a certain duty from diately into the market, so reduced the merchants for leave to dig. When the price of diamonds, that, to pre- these traders have fixed upon a spot, vent their becoming too common, they begin their search, and employ the court of Portugal afterwards con- a number of miners, in proportion to fined the employment of diamond the hurry they may be in. hunting to a certain number of per- Sometimes, a hundred men are em
ployed at once; and when this is the The account which Tavernier has case, the merchant
four pagodas given us of the diamond mines of to the king for every day they work, Asia is very circumstantial, and de- and two when the number is not so serves our particular attention, as great. being written by a person who travel- When Tavernier visited these led so many years for the sole pure mines, the poor people never got pose of collecting diamonds. The above three pagodas* for the labour first mine he visited was at Raolcon- of a year, though they understand da, in the kingdom of Visapour; their business extremely well. These and the account he gives of this place trifling wages, and the distress they is nearly as follows:
suffer in consequence, make them “ Round about the place where hide a stone whenever they can find the diamonds are found, the ground an opportunity. This, it must be conis sandy and full of rocks, which fessed, is but seldom, as, besides contain veins from half a finger to a being strictly guarded, they work alfinger wide. These veins are full of most naked; and therefore, not having earth, or sand, which the miners pick any outward protection for their stolen out with instruments on purpose, and goods, they are sometimes induced carefully deposit in a tub, as it is to swallow them. When any of amongst this earth that the diamonds these people chance to meet with a are found.
They are sometimes large stone, they carry it to the masobliged to break the rock in order to ter of the work, who rewards them trace the veins for the sake of the accordingly. earth; and as soon as this is accom- Every day, after dinner, the master plished, and all the sand removed, it of the miners brings the diamonds to is carefully washed two or three times the lodgings of the merchants, in and the diamonds, if there be any, order to show them; and if the stones picked out. There are several dia- are large, or sufficiently numerous mond cutters at this mine, but none to amount to more than the sum of of them have above one mill, which two thousand crowns, he will leave is of steel. They never cut more them for some days, that the merthan one stone at a time upon each chants may have time to consider mill, and use oil and diamond powder their value, and agree about the to facilitate the operation, at the same price. This, it seems, they are time loading the stone with a heavy weight.”
* About 11, 5s, 6d.
obliged to do before the return of the without speaking a word; so that no owner, who will never bring the same by stander can possibly tell what they stones again, unless mixed with have been doing, The manner in others.
which this is accomplished has been It appears from Tavernier's ac. thus described by Tavernier : “ The count, that the diamond traffick is buyer and seller sit one before anocarried on by persons of all ages, and ther like two tailors ; and the seller, that even children are taught to bar- opening his girdle, takes the right ter for them. " It is very pleasant,” hand of the purchaser, and conveys says the traveller, " to see the young it, together with his own, beneath his children of the merchants and other girdle, where the bargain is secretly people of the country, from the age driven in the presence of many merof ten to fifteen or sixteen years, who chants, without the knowledge of any seat themselves on a tree that lies in
The parties never speak or à void place in the town. Every one make any signs with their mouths or of them has his diamond weights in eyes, but only converse with their a little bag hanging at one side; on hands; and this is managed in the the other his purse, with five or six following manner :-When the seller hundred pagodas in gold in it. There takes the purchaser by the whole they sit, expecting when any person hand, it signifies a thousand ; and as
i will come to sell them some dia. often as he squeezes it, it means so monds. If any person brings them many thousand pagodas or rupees, a stone, they put it into the hands according to the money in question. of the eldest boy amongst them, who If he takes but half, to the knuckle is, as it were, their chief, who looks of the middle finger, that is as much upon it, and after that gives it to him as to say fifty; the small end of the that is next him ; by which means finger to the first knuckle signifies it goes from hand to hand, till it re- When he grasps five fingers, turns to him again, none of the rest it signifies five hundred; but if one speaking a word. After that he de- finger, one hundred.” mands the price to buy it, if possible ; Seven days journey from Golconbut if he buy it too dear, it is upon da, towards the east, there is another his own account. In the evening the diamond mine, called Gani, or, in the children compute what they have laid Persian language, Coulour. This out; when they look upon their mine is said to have been discovered stones, and separate them according by a countryman, who, digging a to their water, their weight, and clear piece of ground to sow millet, found ness. Then they bring them to the a pointed stone that weighed above principal merchants, who have gene- twenty-five carats. This, being carrally great parcels to match ; and the ried to Golconda, immediately inprofit is divided among the children duced the inhabitants to search furequally, only the chief among them ther; and such was the success of has a fourth in the hundred more their industry, that not only many than the rest. Young as they are,
other stones of considerable size were they so well understand the price of found, but the wonderful diamond, stones, that if one of them has made weighing nine hundred carats, which any purchase, and is willing to lose Mirzimala afterwards presenied to one half in the hundred, the other Aureng-zeb. will give him his money."
When Tavernier first visited this The secrecy which the Indians ob. mine, there were about sixty thousand serve in their dealings with each o- persons at work, consisting of men, ther is singular enough; for they will women, and children ; the men being contrive to sell the same parcel of di- employed to dig, the women and amonds several times to each other children to carry the earth. When
the miners have fixed upon the place Soumelpour, a large town built en. where they intend to dig, they level tirely of earth, and covered with another, somewhat larger, in the same branches of cocoa trees. The river neighbourhood, and enclose it with a Goual runs within a mile of the town, wall about two feet high, only leaving in its way from the mountains toapertures from space to space, to wards the Ganges. All our fine diagive passage to the water. The place mond points or sparks, called natural being thus prepared, the people that sparks, are brought from this river, are to work meet all together, men, where they are collected as soon as women, and children, with the work- the great rains are over, which is master, his friends and relations But about the end of December. before any thing is done, a supersti- As soon in January as the water is tious ceremony is performed to ren- grown clear, eight or ten thousand der their labours propitious. The persons, of all ages and both sexes, only passive personage in this cere- come out of Soumelpour and the mony is a little household god which neighbouring villages. The most exthe master brings with him, and be- perienced among them search and fore which the people prostrate them- examine the sand of the river, going selves three times, while the brahman up from Soumelpour to the very says a certain prayer.
mountain whence it springs. Those This being ended, he marks the who are used to this business know forehead of every one with a kind of by the sand whether any diamonds glue, made of saffron and gum, and are likely to be found or not; and is careful that the spot is large enough judge it a favourable sign when they to hold seven or eight grains of rice, find a number of those stones which which he sticks upon it. Their bo. we call thunder stones at the bottom dies are then washed with the water of the river. When they have reawhich every one brings in his pot ; son to believe that the produce will after which they arrange themselves pay them for their labour, they proin order to partake of the repast ceed to take up the sand, first making which the workmaster has prepared a dam round the place with stones, for them. This is merely a plate of earth, and fascines, and then lading rice to each person, with the addition out the water. After this is done, of a quarter of a pound of butter they dig about two feet deep; and melted in a small copper pot with the sand thus procured is carried into some sugar:
a place walled round on the bank After the feast is finished, every of the river, where it is washed and person proceeds to his business; the sifted in the same manner as at Coumen digging the earth in the place lour. first discovered, and the women and Magellan tells us, that the greatest children carrying it off into the other, diamond ever known in the world is or walled, enclosure.
one belonging to the king of Portufind water they cease to dig; and the gal, which was found in Brasil, and water thus found washes the earth is still uncut. This gentleman was two or three times; after which it is informed, from good authority, that let out at an aperture reserved for it was once of a large size, but that that purpose. . When the earth has a piece was cleaved or broken by the been washed again, and well dried, ignorant countryman who chanced to they sift it in a kind of open sieve; find the gem, and tried its hardness which operation is repeated before by a stroke of a large hammer upon they begin to look for diamonds. an anvil. This prodigious diamond
Another mine which Tavernier weighs 1,680 carats ;* and although speaks of as famous for its diamonds, is the bed of the river Goual, near * A carat weighs four grains.
it is uncut, Romé de l'Isle says, it is called the Pitt, or Regent, weighs valued at 224 millions sterling. nearly 137 carats, and has been valu
This appears to be an incredible ed at 208,333 guineas, although it did sum, and probably the valuation is not cost above half that sum. This erroneous : but even supposing that beautiful gem was found in the diato be the case, and that we employ mond mines at the foot of the Gaut the usual methods laid down for com- mountains, about twenty miles from puting the worth of these jewels, the Golconda. Another diamond belongsum will be immense ; as, in this ing to the same monarch, called the way, it will amount to at least 5,644,800 Sancy, was reckoned a very fine stone, pounds sterling!
though it weighs only 55 carats. It The diamond which is next in va- cost 25,000 guineas, but is said to be lue adorns the sceptre of the empe- worth a much larger sum. We rour of Russia, and is placed under must not omit to mention the diathe eagle at the top of it. This stone mond of the emperour of Germany, weighs 779 carats, and is worth, at which weighs 139 carats, and is valeast, 4,854,720 pounds sterling, al- lued at 109,520 guineas. It is of a though it hardly cost 135,417 gui- light citron colour. neas. A singular history is attached It is well known that the diamond to this diamond. It was formerly one is the hardest of all precious stones, of the eyes of a Malabarian idol, and only to be cut by the assistance named Scheringham. A French gre- of its own powder. We are informnadier, who had deserted from the ed, that to bring it to the degree of Indian service, contrived to become perfection which so much augments one of the priests of that idol, and, its price, they begin by rubbing sevewatching his opportunity, stole its ral against each other while rough,
, eye, and ran away to the English at after having previously glued them Trinchinapeuly, from whence he car- to the ends of two wooden blocks, ried it to Madras. A ship captain thick enough to be held in the hand. bought it for twenty thousand rupees; The powder which is rubbed off the afterwards a Jew gave seventeen or stones in this operation is caught in eighteen thousand pounds for it; at a little box provided for that purpose, last, a Greek merchant, named Gre- and afterwards used to grind and pogory Suffras, offered it to sale at Am- lish the stones. From the extreme sterdam, in the year 1766, where it hardness of these stones it has been was bought by prince Orloff for his alleged, that rubbing them against sovereign, the empress of Russia. each other is the only way to reduce The figure and size of this diamond them to an impalpable powder ; but is preserved in the British Museum. this is not strictly the case, as the
The diamond of the Great Mogul jewellers are in the habit of pounding weighs 279 carats, and is said to be small pieces in steel mortars fitted worth 380,000 guineas. This dia- with a pestle exactly the size of the mond has a small flaw underneath interiour, so that none of the diamond Dear the bottom. Before this stone
can escape. A few blows with the was cut, Tavernier tells us it weigh- hammer upon the head of the pestle ed 900 carats; consequently its loss completely powder the stone. in cutting must be considerable.
Diamonds are more or less valuable Another diamond, in the posses- according to what is called their wasion of the king of Portugal, which ter. Those of the first water are in weighs 215 carats, is extremely fine, the greatest degree of purity and per. and worth at least 369,8001.
fection, while those of less brilliancy The famous diamond which be- are said to be of the second or third longed to the late king of France, water; and thus they proceed till the