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seen, drawn, and made plans and descriptions
of all the sacred Moslem mysteries of
El-Medinah without detection.


THERE is a legend that Queen Boadicea
obtained gold in Essex. Cunobeline, Prince
of the Trinobantes, coined at Camelo-dunum
gold obtained from a mine in Essex. Can
this be Shakespeare's Cymbeline, the father
of Imogen? There are traces that nuggeting
took place from time to time; but as the
Norman kings claimed all gold and silver
found as royal property, people either kept
their own counsel or abstained from any
ardent search. But the various edicts passed
show that the existence of gold and silver,
both pure and combined with other metals,
was known and believed in; or else, why
issue edicts? In the reign of Edward the
First, and for a hundred years after, there
was a wonderful interest spread abroad about
gold and silver mining; but, towards the
period of Richard the Second, alchemy was
very rife, and the search after the philosopher's
stone, and the transmutation of
metals, caused the search after gold and
silver mines to abate. It is curious to trace
how different pursuits act and react upon
each other. Many of the alchemists did really
produce both gold and silver, as the result
of these labours; and this happened from
their working with metals with which gold
and silver were combined, although in a
shape that was not discernible in their
natural state. The old alchemists worked
much with lead and tin, metals that often
contain precious ore. The production of
gold and silver by alchemy was a fact recognised
both by the Church and the legislature.
The Church anathematised the practice first,
and the legislature afterwards made it penal,
as a branch of felony. Moses Stringer says,
that in the reign of Richard the Second,
"after Raymond Lully and Sir George Ripley
had so largely multiplied gold, the Lord and
Commons, conceiving some danger that the
Regency, having such immense treasures at
command, would be above asking the aid of
the subject, and become too arbitrary and
tyrannical, made an act against multiplying
gold and silver and made it death to attempt
it, or to use such tools, instruments, vessels,
or furnaces, as were then used in such

This affords a curious glimpse into the
credulity of our ancestors, and the jealousy of the
English people about money matters. Henry
the Sixth countenanced alchemy, in spite of
the edict of his grandfather; but it was not
always a dead letter, for a man named Eden
was found guilty, on his own confession, of
"practising to make the philosopher's stone,"
and was, without doubt, executed accordingly.
The Regent Duke of Bedford took
the opportunity of the minority of Henry the
Sixth to grant himself the monopoly of all
the gold and silver mines in England for
twelve years: a proof they were considered
something worth having. The mining
department was regularly organised in the
reign of Henry the Sixth: Robert Burton
was appointed Controller of Mines of Gold,
silver, copper, aurichalch, and lead, and of
mines containing any gold or silver.

The curious may find a half-burnt and
otherwise mutilated MS. in the Cottonian
Library in the British Museum, a summary
of writs and records relating to gold mines,
which was drawn up in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth. The discovery of America for a
time withdrew attention from the gold mines
in England; but the reign of Elizabeth was
remarkable for its schemes, speculations,
adventures, and joint-stock companies. In
the seventh year of her reign she granted
patents to Cornelius Deody, Daniel Rochester,
and other foreigners, and Thomas Thurland,
to seek for gold, silver, quicksilver, and ores
containing them, in eight picked counties in
England and Wales, and in the pale of
Ireland. Another scheme of hers was
surreptitiously to work the gold mines belonging
to the King of Scotland, which were more
fertile than any in England. In the reign of
Henry the Seventh of England, and in those of
James the Third and Fourth of Scotland, the
mines of Lanarkmoor yielded above three
hundred thousand pounds sterling. Still gold-
mining has never been any great source of
national wealth in England; they have always
been royal perquisites and monopolies; but
many curious characters and incidental traits
of the social life and civilisation of that period
may be gathered, and whatever has occupied
the attention and energy of the public is a
matter of interest.

The search after gold has been a prophetic
instinct in all ages; but the hidden treasure
was an open secret which "men's eyes were
held that they should not see" until within
the last few years. There are curious gleanings
of biography amongst these mining
adventurers. Bushel was secretary to Lord
Bacon (who had a great taste for mining), and
the scene of Bushel's labours was in
Monmouthshire, where the mines yielded as much
as two thousand pounds sterling a month
profit. Bushel was a great royalist; and, in
the beginning of the parliamentary wars, he
supplied Charles the First with lead for shot,
and with silver that was coined in Wales;
also he clothed a great body of troops,
advanced a considerable loan, and defended
Lundy Island, of which he was the governor.
Cromwell treated him well; but his mining
speculations languished, and, in the reign of
Charles the Second, he was in prison for
debt, which was the usual way in which
royal gratitude envinced itself in that reign.
He was at length released, and attempted