Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/522

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which have subsequently been filled up. The greatest part of the gold comes from these sources. Dr. Süss estimates that, of all the gold which has been mined between the years 1848 and 1875, the working of the ore has yielded 12·02, while that of the former deposits furnished 87·98 per cent.

Since these deposits are exhausted, attention has for the past few years been directed to the working of the ore. As soon as gold-mines are exhausted, new ones must be found. While the mining of silver is sometimes continued in the same regions for centuries, that of gold is always of short duration, wherefore gold-mines are only to be found in the extreme limits of civilization. Herodotus remarked, when speaking of the quantity of gold-dust paid as a tribute to Darius by the inhabitants of India, that the greatest treasures always come from the most remote places of the earth. The old countries have entirely ceased to be productive, and search must be instituted in the yet unexplored regions in order to discover new fields.

Gold was in excess in ancient times, and mostly taken from the rivers in Asia. The fables of Pactolus, of the golden fleece of the Argonauts, of the gold from Ophir, the history of King Midas, etc., all point to an Eastern origin of this metal. According to Pliny, Cyrus returned with 34,000 Roman pounds of gold (about $10,000,000). The treasures exacted from Persia by Alexander the Great amounted to 351,000 talents, or $400,000,000. Gold also came from Arabia, and upon the Nile from the interior of Africa. Pliny calls Asturias the country in which the most gold is found. A tablet bearing the following inscription was found in Idanha Velha, Portugal: "Claudius Rufus returns his thanks to Jupiter for having permitted him to find one hundred and thirty pounds of gold."

These sources of wealth have ceased to flow, and the endeavor of several Englishmen to reopen them have been unsuccessful. Bohemia, Mähren, Silesia, and Tyrol, all have produced gold, and the receding of the glaciers has caused old mines to be uncovered, while upon the Italian side, at Monte Rosa, Yal Sesina, and Val Ansaca, goldmine's are still worked to-day, although with indifferent success. The only works of any note are those of Kremnitz, Hungary. It may, therefore, be safely asserted that Europe is completely exhausted in this respect.

After America was discovered, the Antilles, especially Hispaniola, and the western coast of Mexico, furnished incredible quantities of gold. That used by Alexander VI to gild Saint Mary Maggiore came from Hispaniola, as is seen by the following inscription: "Quod primo Catholici reges ex India receperant." But the production of these mines did not last long.

We find several peculiar statements, with regard to the mining of gold, in an old Dutch book, printed in Amsterdam in the year 1590. It says: "Gold comes from different countries, from the mountains in