Ignaz Born.

Travels through the Bannat of Temeswar, Transylvania, and Hungary, in the year 1770. Described in a series of letter to Prof. Ferber, on the mines and mountains of these different countries online

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Online LibraryIgnaz BornTravels through the Bannat of Temeswar, Transylvania, and Hungary, in the year 1770. Described in a series of letter to Prof. Ferber, on the mines and mountains of these different countries → online text (page 1 of 22)
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Robert E. Gross

A Memorial to the Founder
of the


Business Administration Library

Kniverii/u c/ ^aMor-tua

Los Angeles








In the Year 1770.


A Series of LETTERS to PROF. FERBER, '



Of thefe different Countries,


Counfellor of the Royal Mines, in Bohemia.

To which is added,


TRANSLATED from the G E R M A N,

With fome explanatorj' Notes, and a Preface on the Mechanical Arts, the
Art of Mining, and its prefent State and future Improvement,


In nc-va fcrt animus mutatas dkcre format.




( iii ;


JLTAV ING mtrodticed Mr. Ferber's etc counts of
Italy ^ with fome gejwal views of thofe parts
of Mineralogy^ zvhich have of late been improved^
and may be further by a nearer examination of the
Volcanoes and their various produBions •, it is but
jufl that thefe accounts of the Hungarian and Bohe-
mian mines ßould be accompanied with fimilar views
en the art of mining \ the nature of the different
metallic mountains and of their various veins and

'This fcience has been the fcience of riches ever
ft nee the ufe of metals and of other fojfds have been
difcovered., and turned to account by mankind.
Though that difcovery be a very old one^ and the art
of mining and of fmelting be handed down to us by
a long feries of ages^ and by different nations^ fome
a cf



üf its fcientifical parts are^ hozvever^ brought to a
lefs certainty than we might have expcufed.
Was it^ that

Mammon, the leaft erected fpirit, that fell
From Heaven,

was lefs adored^ and his worßoip lefs folloiüed than
that of the fairer Mufes ? JVas it

That riches grow in Hell, that foil which beft
Deferves the precious bane ?

Indeed it was not ; for gold andßher^ and riches
have been in every age^ in every clime^ adored and
purfued by all the nations^ which had any claim to
ingenuity, with fuch a zealous eagernefs as would
have done credit to any divinity. It is the common
fate of the mofl ufeftd and practical arts, to have
been, in every age and in every nation, left in afiate
of infancy, and in the hands of working people, or
of impoßng quacks. Sovereigns have encouraged, and
the wife and learned, zvith prefumptuous attempts,
piirfued hazardous flights into the lofty regions of
fcholaßic divijiity a7td metaphyfcks, beyond the reach
of human abilities, and ai'med at fuch ohjcuis, which
in this world do not make us either wifer or hap-
pier, or richer or better. It is a very ßngular
phanomenon in the hiflory of mankind, that the arts
cf fortune-telling, of rhiming, of finging, fidling,
rcafoning, and fpeaking, ßjould have been reduced



fcientifical forms \ nay^ that they ßjoiild have been fo
highly improved^ before any friend of men and good-
fenfe thought of reducing the better arts of huf
bandry, of phyßc^ of navigation, and of mining into
the forms of fciences -, of fixing them for ever, and
cf eflablißing them upon the evident and confiant
principles of nature. But fiich is the perverfenefs
of human nature! Wants and accidents have co-
operated to invent ajid to introduce the iifeful arts
by the fidll and ingenuity of forne men, whom the
Savages in the infant flate of fociety have jußly
revered as their great eß benefaäors, andas fuch have
ranked and forgot them in the croud of their heroes a?id
divinities. Ceres and Triptolemus, Pomona, Mi-
jierva and Efculapius, for being the inventors, im-
provers, or introducers of hußandry, gardening,
weaving, and phyßc, have been by the favage Greeks
i:'ufcans, or Latins, confecratedto pofierity by the fame
fpirit of gratitude and veneration, which hasfanEfified
the Evangelifts, the Apoßles, and the Saints amongß
the Chrißians : but Poets, time, and human incon-
gruity, what have they made in after-times of their
glory, and of the arts and fciences which they tauo-ht ?
Let any one judge, who knows fomething of the hif-
tory of mankind, whether the well-deferved reputa-
tion of their names has ever ßone in its pur eß lußre,
and whether their popular and falutary arts and
fciefices have ever been pra^ifed in that public-
^ ^ fpirited

vi Preface.

fpirited lenevolent manner^ in which they had left of
delivered them to mankind. 'Their names and their
hifiory have been involved in clouds of darknefs and
. legends^ and their arts and fciences by their will,
the inheritance of all, have been engroffed by the
felfißo few. This happened in a very natural man-
ner. Whether it happened neceffarily^ 1 will not
determine -, obferving only, that making an exclufive
trade of fciences and of arts, has never anfwered,
and never will anfwer, the great and univerfal in-
ter eft of mankind.

The mnft ufeful arts areprecifely thofe which ft and
in an immediate connexion with the moft generaly
moft natural, and moft indifpenfable wants of man-
kind. Their objeB is food, drefs, and felf-prefer-
vation. They muft of courfe have been invented or
pra£lifed by every family or fociety of men -, and be-
ing on this account coeval with the firft origin of
mankind, their invention falls into the remoteft an-
tiquity of the primitive world, when a few natural
wants of a few individuals, or of a few fcattered
families, could be fatisfied by co?nmon ingenuity, in
making ufe of the moft obvious gifts and effetJs of
nature, fiich as every climate afforded. In that
primitive ftate, we fee the arts of the Pecherais in
Terra del Fuego, and of many little wandering tribes
of ?nen in almoft every part of the world ; and even
the arts of civilized nations would be lowered again,




and turned down nearly to the fame fiat e^ if by fomet
fudden revolution they ßould happen to he at once de-
prived of the advantages of their climates^ and
expofed to the hardßjips and luants of other climates.
Conrmodore Byron left and preserved on the coaft of
Chili ^ and the Ruffian failors for many years left^
and by their ingenuity and per fever ance preferved,
on the coafi of Spitsbergen^ will make good the affer-
tion \ and prove moreover^ that wants and climate^
going handln hand^ are the natural and firfi teachers
of men^ who for their vigour^ ingenuity^ ayid per-
feSiibility^ mufi be alloived to be lords of the

'The felf4nvented arts of different nations^ (and
and why ßjould not a fimilarity of wants or caufes
have produced a fimilarity of arts and remedies ?)
mufi for thefe reafons have been very ßmple^ rude^
and local in the begimiing ; that is, they mufi^ under
different climates^ have appeared under different
modifications . The canoes of fome Indians^ made of
hollowed trees^ fpeak a climate which produces plenty
of timber \ the canoes of the Greenlanders, made of
feal-ßins, and thofe of the Eafier-Iflanders in the
South-Sea., being poorly made up, and f own together,
of little bits of wood, fpeak a difmal vjant of wood.
The form of the Chine fe buildings and columns, is
plainly that of the original tent of favages, wander-
ing in warm climates, which produced light and
a 3 fiendev


ßender hamhoo-trees. 'The form cf the Egyptian
zvonders of architetlure feem plainly to tell, that the
ßrfl inhabitants of that fcorched climate, had cool
rock- caverns to refort to for fhelter-, and that, when
their increafing numbers attempted to imitate nature
by art, they had little or no wood, but -plenty of large
rock majfes. The old Indcos. being nearly under
the fame climate, feem to have built their moß an-
cient Pagodas upon the fame principles. The Greeks
and Romans allow, that the Prototype of their moß
magnificent marble palaces was the original hut, made
of timber, and even yet ufed in the milder climates
of Afia. The drefs of the Turks, Perßans, Poles,
and Hungarians, is of a different cut, but trimmed
with fur, becaufe they are offsprings of different
nations in the northern parts of Afia, where dr effing
in fur is the advice and claim of the climate. The
fame original locality or nationality may be traced in
the manipulations a,nd technical words of the various
arts of huffandry, hunting, fifmng, fighting, and
curing difeafes -, and as by fo doing the origin of na-
tions may be fill more afcertained, and the invention
of fome arts pur fued to their fir ft beginning, it will
likewife help us to feel, that many foreign arts have
beeil to our ccft introduced amongft us, infpite of the
climate ; and what here I am chiefly to infifl upon,
that the arts in the beginning muft have been very
ßmpie and very rude.




V/ants in that infant fiate of fociety of hun-
ters and ßßjertnen, ix/cre preßntly and heft removed hv
fhe ßmpleft application of thofe natural effects or pro-
duHions^ which men experienced and faw before them.
The caiifes of things^ their inveftigation^ metho-
dißng their accidental inventions^ and ßxing them
for aftertimes^ 'were then ahfolutely out of the qiief-
tion i and fo they were even when the encreafing
numbers and wants of thefe mifettled wanderers
made the improvement of their original arts^ or the
inirodu^iion of new ones from abroad^ the ?noft ac-
ceptable gift s^ which friends of mankind could beftow
upon them. The Greeks were indeed but a very raw
and ignorant people^ when their gods and heroes
may he fiippofed to have inftriiUed them. So were
the Britons and Germans^ when their conquerors,
the Romans^ and the ßirft Chriftian mißfionaries or
apoftles^ acquainted them with the arts of making ,
their life more comfortable. Each family held them
' as a treafure^ and handed them to their defcendants
in ci mere traditional manner. It is no wonder^
therefore., that old tradition and hiftory fpeak of
Princeffes ßilful in the arts of the loom., cf Sove-
reigns dr effing their dinner s.^ guiding the plozv^ and
tending their herds. Her Highneßs Priucefs Nan-
ßcaa went to the river waßjing and fcowering her
linen •, nay^ even Reverend Abbots and Holy Priefls
are^ celebrated in the firft ages oß Chriftianity amcngfl
a 4 tbs


the Northern European nations^ for having heen
ßilful and laborious plowmen^ gardeners^ vintners,
hußandmen^ carpe?iters, joiners^ painters.^ and

This traditional fcience of the arts was a natural
confequence of the fcattered, paßoral^ and rural life,
and it was attended with circumflances which proved
no advantage to them. Being confined to ftngle
families^ and their wants alone ^ their pra^ice would
but accidentally improve them^ and thefe improve-
ments %vere liable to be forgotten. Moreover^ their
drudgery muß of courfe be left to the fiaves^ who for
many ages, even in the politer nations, were em-
ployed to carry on the manual arts. "Deprived of
liberty and property, they were the more inclined to
drudge on in ä dull, flubborn, habitual tnanner,
without any mind for improvement.

'That neverthelefs, the manual and mechanical arts
emongfl the Phenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, Car-
thas^inians, and Romans, have been brought to a
remarkable degree of perfeäion, was owing, not
indeed to their f,av es, but to the fuperior good fenfe
cnda5iivity of their mafiers ; to circumfiances which
produced a nearer connection of mankind in general-,
to wide extended navigation, commerce, and con-
oiiefis ', and finally, to a mercantile fpirit and a cul-
ture of fcience, which have ever been the refults
and diftinguifhing bleßngs of human fociety, cr




government brought to the highefi deg?'ee of

Some of thefe reajons have at laß: refcued the ma-
mial and mechanical arts in Europe from the handi
of bungling ßav es, and brought them into the hands
of free people -, but that happy revolution has in meß
parts of Europe ferved the arts only by halves. It
has' been a great advantage to them •, but having mads
more or lefs excluftve trades of them^ they have been^
and fome of them are fill kept as jobs and fecrets^
by ßort - ßghted and narrow-minded mercantile

This plainly appears by the ill-digeßed ßatutes and
cußoms of many profeßons and trades, which, if
pcffible, would be independent patent companies, at
the expence of the whole ; the very names of the art
and my fiery of apothecaries, of clothworkers, of
barbers, of cordwainers, and ether trades, as ex-
preffed in the charters of their corporations at Lon-
don, are ßr iking inßances to what lengths that tin-
patriotick felfßonefs has been carried informer times \
and even, if the word myiiery in thefe charters ßjould
be conßdered only as an equivocal^ othographical
blunder, inflead of meftier, or metier, there are
thoufands of proofs that this old fpirit of felfißmefs
is yet alive, ever willing to take advantage of the
knowledge of others, and never willing to promote
it. Let tis add the abfurd i.ontempt in which the



proud Barons and the f elf -conceited fcholars have
held formerly^ and even yet hold, the greater part of
the pretended fervile and low mechanical arts, and^
nioe cannot 'wonder, that the progrefs and improve-
ment has been fo ßow, and that many of them are
flill in a ft ate of infancy.

It is only in the wifeft and moft enlightened ages,
that we find foyne philo foph er s and wife men,ftepping
down from the giddy heights of their exalted ftation
of learning, into which the barbarous ignorance of
the vulgar and their own conceit had placed them, in
order to fix, to re5iify, and to improve the arts.
Such ages produced amongft the Greeks and RomanSy
what Euclides, Hippocrates, Galen, Vitruvius, Co-
lumella, Cato, Pliny, Hheophrafttis, and foine others,
have left us on the arts ; and it is in the true fpirit
of thofe glorious times, that after fo many loft ages
of fcholaftical dullnefs and mercantile felfifhnefs, the
Royal Academy at Paris, Mr. Chambers, Dr. Lewis,
the Authors of the French Encyclopedy, and many
friends of mankind in fev er al parts of Europe, have
undertaken of lute to fix the various arts of mankind
for aft er -times, and to eftablißo them upon the prin-
ciples of nature and mathematicks, better known at
prefent than they ever were before. But various is
their pre fent ft ate in different parts of Europe.

"The Art of War is in thefe laft two hundred
years reduced in France, and efpccially in Germany,




upon fo evident and fc'ientifical theories^ afcertained
by pra^ice^ that thefe powerful empires muß be the
moft happy of all^ if tremendous ar?nies^ now and then
methodically butchered^ and the ambition of Sove-
reigns, flattered by conqueft, did enfiire them the
blejfings of peace, or any other Uejfing at all. There
has been in thofe countries too much occafion for the
improvement of this neceffary and terrible art.

The Nautical Art in all its branches, on the con-
trary, is brought in England to the highefl degree of
perfeElion, becaufe it is the kingdom of the feas-, fo
are hußandry and numbers of mechanical arts and
manufaBories, becaufe it enjoys the advantages of a
plentiful foil, and of freedom in a higher degree than
any other. Sed

Tu regere Imperio populos Britanne memento,
(HaeTibi erunt artes) pacique imponere morem,
Parcere fubjedis & debellare fuperbos.

But the Art of Mining, and its many fub ordinate
branches, are in Germany, and its dependent countries^
for various reafons, fo highly improved, that for
thefe laß ages Germany has been jußly coyifidered as
the moß ancient and befl fchool for miners. Though
Tacitus, in his romantic account of Germany, told
the Romans, that the Gods, either by a providential
care, or by their diflike of the nation, feemed to have
left the Germans unprovided with mines and metals,




or rather to have kept them till then unacquainted
with their ufe and fcience ; things have, however^
fince wondroußy changed, both in refpe5l to the
mines, and in refpe^i of their fcience. 'The great efl
and richefl chains and tracts of metallic mountains^
•which jtiflly may he ranked with thofe in Peru and in
Hungary, have been difcovered there in a very re-
mote antiquity, 'when the other kingdoms of Europe
had fcarce any idea of that kind of inland riches -,
and there have been ever ftnce, and there are more
mines and mountains yet a5lually working in Germany
(done^ than perhaps in all the other parts of Europe
put together. Some mines on the Rhine and Da-
nube, in Lorrain, Alface^ Brifgow, Suevia, and
the ancient Noricum, feem to have been worked al-
ready in the decline of the ancient Roman empire.
Many in the interior parts are reported to have been
opened under the race of Charlemain. The mines in
the Rammeißerg near Gofslar, and fome cf the ad-
jacent ones in the Harz-mountains, belonging to the
Eleäorate of Hanover and the Duchy of Brunf-
wick, are fairly proved to have been difcovered and
worked to advantage as early as the middle of the tenth
century (between A. C. 950. and 1000.^ And the
difcovery of thofe in Haßa, Mifnia, Silefta, Mo-
ravia, Franconia, Tyrol, Steyermark, Carinthia,
and Carniola, cannot he fuppofed to have been much
poßerior in time to that of the former.



^0 judge hy the technical language of the German
miners, waßjers, affayers, and melters, they do not
feem to have learnt, or had their different arts
from the Romans, or other foreign nations. It is
downright German. It proves at leafl 'what I
have ßortly hinted before, thatthefe arts are of very
old ftanding in Germany ; and as it is very com-
pleat in every refpe^f, and almoft the fame in the mofi
dißant provinces of Germany, it proves, that for
a long feries of ages thefe various arts have never
been difcontinued, and on that account they may be
confidered as national. Being by their very objeEl
and remarkable fuccefs naturally recommended to de-
fpotic Sovereigns, they have been very early fa-
voured and taken notice of by the many legißators of
Germany -, and it mufi be owned, that the metallic
general and particular lazvs of Germany, having
been foon refined, have greatly contributed to keep
thefe mining arts alive, by keeping the above mining
countries in uninterrupted fuccefsful employment.
And happy has it proved f er Germany, as the inland
parts of that extenßve and pcpulous country, without
the working of thefe numerous mines, mufi have lofi
thoufands of unemployed hands, andflandworfe in the
balance of trade than it hitherto is found to do. The
mathematicks, mechanicks,hydraulicks, and the princi-
pies of chemißry, have been pretty early applied in Ger-
many, to the traditional and empirical art of mining, as




every one may judge by the valuable writings of
Georg. Agricola, (born 14^4 ^555) ^^^^ excel-
lent author of immenfe and pra5iical erudition^ who
for thefe laß 250 years has fiood unparalleled and
foremoft amongß the claffical authors on mining \ and
as during thefe left 300 years, Germany has pro-
dnced a Copei-nlcus, Purbach, Kepler, Sturmins,
Leibnitz, Wolf, Kaeftner, Meyer, Segner, Euler,
Lambert; Albertus Magnus, (born 1193 — 12^0)
Paracelfus Theophraftus, C

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Online LibraryIgnaz BornTravels through the Bannat of Temeswar, Transylvania, and Hungary, in the year 1770. Described in a series of letter to Prof. Ferber, on the mines and mountains of these different countries → online text (page 1 of 22)