CHAP. X. OF SUNDRIE MINERALS.
WITH how great benefits this Iland of ours hath béene indued from the beginning, I hope there is no godlie man but will readilie confesse, and yéeld vnto the Lord God his due honour for the same. For we are blessed euerie waie, & there is no temporall commoditie necessarie to be had or craued by anie nation at Gods hand, that he hath not in most aboundant maner bestowed vpon vs Englishmen, if we could sée to vse it, & be thankefull for the same. But alas (as I said in the chapter precedent) we loue to inrich them that care not for vs, but for our great commodities: and one trifling toie not woorth the cariage, cōming (as the prouerbe saith) in thrée ships from, beyond the sea is more woorth with vs, than a right good iewell, easie to be had at home. They haue also the cast to teach vs to neglect our owne things, for if they see that we begin to make anie account of our commodities (if it be so that they haue also the like in their owne countries) they will suddenlie abase the same to so low a price, that our gàine not being woorthie our trauell, and the same commoditie with lesse cost readie to be had at home from other countries (though but for a while) it causeth
vs to giue ouer our indeuours, and as it were by and by to forget the matter wherabout we went before, to obteine them at their hands. And this is the onelie cause wherefore our commodities are oft so little estéemed of. Some of them can saie without anie teacher, they will buie the case of a fox of an Englishman for a groat, and make him afterward giue twelue pence for the taile. Would to God we t once wax wiser, and each one indeuor that the common-wealth of England may flourish againe in hir old rate, and that our commodities may be fullie wrought at home (as cloth if you will for an example) and not caried out to be shorne and dressed abroad, while our clothworkers here doo starue and beg their bread, and for lacke of dailie practise vtterlie neglect to be skilfull in this science! But to my purpose.
We haue in England great plentie of quicke siluer, antimonie, sulphur, blacke lead, and orpiment red and yellow. We haue also the finest alume (wherein the diligence of one of the greatest fauourers of the common-wealth of England of a subiect hath béene of late
The lord Mountioy.
egregiouslie abused, and euen almost with barbarous inciuilitie) & of no lesse force against fire, if it were vsed in our parietings than that of Lipara, which onlie was in vse somtime amongst the Asians & Romans, & wherof Sylla had such triall that when he meant to haue burned a tower of wood erected by Archelaus the lieutenant of Mithridates, he could by no meanes set it on fire in a long time, bicause it was washed ouer with alume, as were also the gates of the temple of Jerusalem with like effect, and perceiued when Titus commanded fire to be put the same. Beside is we haue also the naturall cinnabarum or vermilion, the sulphurous glebe called bitumen in old time for morter, and yet burned in lamps where oile is scant and geason: the chrysocolla, coperis, and minerall stone, whereof petriolum is made, and that which is most strange the minerall pearle, which as they are for greatnesse and colour most excellent of all other, so are they digged out of the maine land, and in sundrie places far distant from the shore. Certes the westerne part of the land hath in times past greatlie abounded with these and manie other rare and excellent commodities, but now they are washed awaie by the violence of the sea, which hath deuoured the greatest part of Cornewall and Deuonshire on either side: and it dooth appéere yet by good record, that whereas now there is a great distance betweene e Syllan Iles and point of the lands end, there was of late yeares to speke of scarselie a brooke or draine of one fadam water betwéene them, if so much, as by those euidences appeereth, and are yet to be séene in the hands of the lord and chiefe owner of those Iles. But to procéed.
Of colemines we haue such plentie in the north and westerne parts of our Iland, as may suffice for all the realme of England: and so must they doo hereafter in deed, if wood be not better cherrished than it is at this present. And to saie the truth, notwithstanding that verie manie of them are caried into other countries of the maine, yet their greatest trade beginneth now to grow from the forge into the kitchin and hall, as may appéere alreadie in most cities and townes that lie about the coast, where they haue but litte other fewell except it be turffe and hassocke. I maruell not a little that there is no trade of these into Sussex and Southhampton shire, for want whereof the smiths doo worke their iron with charcoale. I thinke that far carriage be the onelie cause, which is but a slender excuse to inforce vs to carrie them vnto the maine from hence.
Beside our colemines we haue pits in like sort of white plaster, and of fat and white and other coloured marle, wherewith in manie places the inhabitors doo compest their soile, and which dooth benefit their land in ample maner for manie yeares to come. We haue saltpeter for our ordinance, and salt soda for our glasse, & thereto in one place a kind of earth (in Southerie as I weene hard by Codington, and sometime in the tenure of one Croxton of London) which is so fine to make moulds for goldsmiths and casters of mettall, that a load of it was woorth fiue shillings thirtie yeares agone: none such againe they saie in England. But whether there be or not, let vs not be vnthankefull to God for these and other his benefits bestowed vpon vs, whereby he sheweth himselfe a louing and mercifull father vnto
vs, which contrariewise returne vnto him in lieu of humilitie and obedience, nothing but wickednesse, auarice, meere contempt of his will, pride, excesse, atheisme, and no lesse than Iewish ingratitude.