Hints to the Cornish Victorian Mine investor.


Here is an excellent article written in 1857 by  J.R. Leifchild offering his advise to those tempted to risk their money in the Cornish Mining industry.

If you have own copy of Webb and Geach,   put yourself in the mind of a remote investor, and after reading through this article attempt picking a mine worthy of your hard earned earned cash.

1. Use great caution when a mine is being represented as being capable of being commenced without machinery; or as being able to be wrought with an unusually small amount of capital.

2. Refrain from any mine proposed to be wrought by steam machinery with less capital than £5,000, unless you are fully satisfied by your own personal examination. No mine ought to be undertaken without the possible resource of a surplus capital. Nine out of ten mines which have been cramped for capital have failed.

3. Be cautious when the purser of the mine is a trader or shopkeeper. Mining capital is useful to extend private trade. Look at the Purser well, lest he look to himself too well; lend to him personally rather than inderirectly.

4. Resident shareholders sometimes take shares in a neighbouring project, if it will drain their own mine of water accumulated in it. Beware of projects got up by such gentlemen.

5. Avoid mines of which the traders in supplies have the agency, or in which their special friends are strong and numerous.

6. Avoid mines belonging wholly too non-resident shareholders, and which are left to the unchecked control of the Purser and Captain.

7. Look well to the registry and transfer of shares, if enstrusted to the Purser alone, by means of entries in the cost-book only.

8. Avoid mines of any metal except tin, the leases of which are incomplete, opr have been granted except by th sett and signature of the lord’s agent in the cost book.

9. The repute, skill, and character of the Purser and Capatain of the mine you invest in, are quite as important to you as your skill in your own buisness.

10. Reference to an agent of uncertain character sometimes leads to a depreciation in the concern you are thinking of, and a recommendation of the concern he is thinking of.

11. What exactly suits the views of a mine agent, may not exactly suit yours.

12. It is far easier to put tin into a mine, then to get tin out of a mine; and its is more likely that you will lose £100 then gain £10.

13. To detremine the number of shares you will take in a very promising mine, first consult your wife, then count your children, and lastly, calculate your household expenses.

14. It is just possible that the sample ores you see in London, or some other city, have come from any mine except the one projected or offered to your consideration. Some samples have been known to serve for several mines.

15. As to foreign concerns, beware of wonderful reports and astonishing specimens. Not log since, some rich masses of copper were exhibited in London, and a company projected. A keen agent being sent out to report, found no such wonderful masses of copper, and hinted that more specimens had been brought to the spot by the hand of man than the hand of nature,

16. Before you invest, do not look over a list of mines whose returns have been extraordinary; but reckon up the failures. Be sure to be particular about these, as they will most concern you.

17. When you have invested, make your mind to loose; and then any gains will be clear gains, and pleasant disappointments.

18. Send the author a ten-pound note for his advice-good in either way.

From Cornwall its mines and Miners, 1857, J.R. Leifchild.

History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District, 1863, By William Webb, Edward Geach and John Manley.


Copies are available in the Liskeard Area from the Bookshop, on the Parade.


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