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effect a separation from all other substances, and form an amalgam. (4.) This amalgam is exposed to heat in a suitable furnace or oven; the gold separates as pure metal; while the mercury rises in vapour, which is afterwards condensed again by cold into a liquid for further use, with very little waste.
SUPPLY AND CONSUMPTION OF GOLD. Concerning the total quantity of gold in the world, there are many difficulties in the way of arriving at a just judgment. The annual addition to the existing stock of bullion or uncoined gold, which used to average about £5,000,000, took a sudden leap immediately after the Californian discoveries. The bullion-dealers of Europe received, from that year to 1857, quantities averaging about £20,000,000 every year. Still the wealth went on increasing. Mr Jacob some years ago calculated that there was gold coin in the whole world to the value of something like £380,000,000; but the great discoveries within the last twenty-two years must have largely increased this amount. England, in the last ten years, has coined 80,000,000 sovereigns; while France has exceeded this value, in the gold pieces of that country. According to the latest estimate, the annual produce of gold and silver mines now averages about £40,000,000, of which three-fourths is gold. The whole quantity now existing, and in use, is roughly guessed at £500,000,000.
We may readily suppose that none of this gold and silver is wilfully or wantonly wasted; yet it is found that the ordinary wear and tear amounts to something considerable in the course of a year. In one of the magazines, there was recently (1869) the following curious information on this subject : 'Gold coins wear away with singular regularity. Very few of them are hoarded; for nearly all classes are conversant with the fact that it is better to invest than to hoard, better to have money out at interest than idle in a box or an old stocking; and thus most gold coins go through about an equal amount of hard work. A sovereign of good sterling gold remains legally, current until it has lost three-quarters of a grain in weight, after which time it becomes “light,” in which state any one may refuse to take it [in legal payment of a debt]; and so proportionately of the half-sovereign. Now, it is found that a sovereign generally becomes “light” in about eighteen years, and a half-sovereign in ten years : the difference being due to the fact, that the surface of a half-sovereign is much more than half that of a sovereign, and is therefore exposed to proportionately harder usage. ... If a sovereign is set to work on the ist of January, it becomes lessened in value by the 31st of December to the extent of one-third of a farthing. A trifle certainly; but when we consider that nearly all the sovereigns are wearing away at the same rate during the same time, we shall see that the aggregate of trifles assumes a form very much like £30,000 a year. This is a remarkable instance of unintentional and unavoidable waste; the particles of gold disappear, no one knows whither.' Some further remarks illustrate one of the curiosities of trade : ‘A sovereign passed at the west end of London meets with better usage in such shops as jewellers' or milliners' than it does when rung with a strong arm on the counter of a potato salesman, where it would be rubbed by the sand. In commercial towns, the coin becomes light sooner than in other places; not only from its greater circulation, but in consequence of the rough usage it undergoes in being so often thrown into bankers' scales and drawers.'
It is hardly possible to form even a rough estimate of the quantity of gold used for purposes other than coinage. Many years ago, it was calculated that Birmingham used £50,000 worth of gold annually in making pencil-cases, eye-glasses, ear-rings, studs, buttons, and miscellaneous trinkets; but the quantity must now be very much larger, owing to the great increase of trade in that busy town, and especially to the introduction of electro-gilding. The quantity used by goldsmiths, jewellers, gilders, &c. all over the world, must of course be very large : it has been recently estimated at £15,000,000 annually-80 per cent. new metal, and 20 per cent. old.
Not the least curious among the facts connected with this subject is the very small amount of actual waste which occurs in gold and golden commodities. True (as was stated in a former paragraph), the wear and tear of our English sovereigns in the course of a year amounts to a value sufficient to attract the attention of financiers ; but this amount is very trifling compared with the whole quantity over which it is spread. Every grain of gold is more carefully shielded from destruction than a grain of any other substance with which we are familiar. Not only do we preserve coin, plate, gold and gilt jewellery, &c. as long as possible, but every scrap is melted and re-melted over and over again, to be converted into new forms. Even the dust and refuse in goldbeaters' and jewellers' workshops are eagerly bought, to obtain the minute particles of gold out of them by burning, washing, melting, and other processes. A working goldbeater can obtain a new waistcoat in exchange for his old one, for the sake of the minute bits of gold which cling to it. From these usages it results that very little gold is actually wasted, lost, dissipated for ever : nearly all of it takes a new and useful life again. Where the lost particles go to, no one can say; to a certain limited extent we eat gold, drink gold, walk upon gold, impregnate the cloth of our pockets and the wood of our desks and drawers with gold.
Has the great increase in the supply of gold within the last few years materially lessened its exchangeable value, and so raised the prices of other commodities? Opinions have greatly differed on this point; but in the latest edition of M‘Culloch’s Dictionary of Commerce (1869), the question is answered in the negative. Gold and silver are taken together, as 'precious metals ;' and the matter is presented in the following light : The yearly addition to the gold and silver in the world is roughly estimated at £40,000,000. Of this, it per cent will be wanted to replace wear and tear, loss, &c. amounting to £7,500,000. The currency in the whole world being set down at £500,000,000, about 2 per cent on this is needed for the increase of coined money to meet the demands of increasing commerce : this will absorb £10,000,000. Then, it is supposed that £15,000,000 worth of gold and silver is used in new plate, goldsmiths' work, &c. ; and as one-fifth of this is obtained by melting up old gold and silver articles, there remains a demand for £12,000,000 of new metal annually. These three sums make up a total of £29,500,000, which, subtracted from £40,000,000, leaves a residue of £10,500,000. It is believed that this residue will be brought down still lower by the increase in gold and silver luxuries (beyond the present annual rate), which society in the aggregate will be able to afford. So that it comes to this : there will not be a surplus of such amount as materially to affect prices. “The present supply of the precious metals is not more than adequate to meet the average existing demand ; there is therefore no ground for anticipating a fall in their value, unless the supply should be increased, or the demand diminished. After twenty-one years of Californian and eighteen of Australian supply of gold, there is nothing like a general rise in prices. There is in truth nothing whatever, in comparing the prices of to-day with those of twenty years ago, to entitle any one to affirm that the value of gold and silver has undergone any appreciable change in the interval. Moreover, in all speculations in regard to the probable future supply of gold, it should be carefully borne in mind, that any considerable fall in its value would unavoidably check its production, and consequently tend to lessen or prevent its further fall. It is plain, for example, that a decline of ten per cent. in the value of gold, would, cæteris paribus, occasion the abandonment of all those mines, diggings, washings, &c., which already only yield a nett profit of that amount.'
THE MAID OF NEID PATH.
the banks of the lovely river which gives the district
a short walk and in sight of Peebles, one of the most picturesquely situated towns in Scotland. The situation of the castle is a very fine one. The eminence on which it stands projects into the centre of the vale, here remarkably narrow, and around the southern base of the knoll winds the clear and sparkling Tweed. Immediately below, on the east, the vale opens widely up, but again becomes contracted about three miles farther down. A kind of amphitheatre is thus formed, bounded by hills, and having the town of Peebles in the centre, with Neidpath, like a gray-haired warder, overlooking all from its ground of vantage. Nor is the castle itself unworthy of such a position or such an office, partially ruinous though it now be. It is an old baronial tower, of square form and great bulk, with walls of remarkable height and thickness. The front of the castle looks down the vale, and is approached by an avenue, terminating in a courtyard, the gateway of which still bears a deer's head couped, and bunch of strawberries, the cognizance of the Frasers, once lords of the fortlet castle, and probably its
founders. On the top of the castle, in front, is a terrace, passing between two corner turrets or bartizans, and affording a splendid view of the adjacent country.
After being the property of the noble families of Fraser and Yester, the demesne and castle were purchased, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, by William, Duke of Queensberry, for his second son the Earl of March, and during his occupation an event occurred which forms one of the traditionary tales of the district.
Among the many noblemen and gentlemen of note who sought the hand of the lovely Lady Mary, daughter of the Earl of March, there was not one on whom she could be persuaded to look with favour. Her parents beheld this indifference with surprise, for among the suitors were several young men who were graced with handsome persons, high birth, and splendid fortune. This mysterious unconcern was, however, presently accounted for by the jealous watchfulness of the Countess of March, whose pride had taken alarm at certain indications of regard shewn by her daughter for the young laird of Tushielaw. When taxed with this dereliction of duty, the blushes of Lady Mary, and the perturbation into which she was thrown by the mention of her lover's name, confirmed her mother in her supposition. If, however, any doubt remained, it was speedily dissipated by an application of Tushielaw for the consent of the parents to a union with their daughter, while he urged their mutual affection as an apology for his seeming presumption. Young Scott of Tushielaw, though of an old and honourable family, was neither rich nor titled, and of course, in the opinion of the Earl and Countess of March, no fitting mate for their daughter. Lady Mary was therefore summoned into the presence of her incensed parents, and severely reprimanded for her undutiful conduct in having bestowed her affections without their leave. She was also informed of their unalterable determination to refuse their consent to her marriage, and forbidden ever to think again of her devoted lover. In those days it was more customary for high-born young women to sacrifice their feelings and attachments to the will of their parents, and the aggrandisement of their family, than it now is; and this command, which the unfortunate girl felt she could not obey, was yet received with meek submission, while she gave a reluctant promise that she would never marry without their consent. So far, she was able to control her own wishes, but from that moment she ceased to appear like one who has any interest in life or its affairs.
The earl and countess, elated with the victory which they imagined they had gained over the affections of their daughter, next rejected in haughty terms the proposal of Tushielaw; while they gave a death-blow to his hopes, by informing him that Lady Mary was now brought to a proper sense of her duty, and would never consent to be his. The attachment of this high-spirited young man was,