BUT the Mountains of China are still more valuable, for the Mines of different Metals which they contain, They are full, as the Natives affirm, of Silver and Gold. Yet they have been hitherto neglected out of Policy, because the Repose of the Publick would be disturb'd by too much Riches, which would make the People proud, and negligent of Agriculture.
Notwithstanding this Maxim, there have teen Silver Mines always kept open in the Province of Yun nan ; and as for their Gold, they And it in the Sand of the Brooks and Rivers that descend from the Mountains in the western Parts of the Provinces of se Tchuen and Yun nan. This latter province is the more rich of the two. The People call Lolo, of whom we shall speak hereafter, must needs have great Quantity of Gold in their Mountains, this appears from their Custom of putting a great Number of Gold Leaves into the Coffins of Persons of Merit and Distinction.
As their Gold is not coin'd, it is sold as a Merchandise ; but the Demand for it is not considerable, because it is used by none but the Gilder, except for some small Toys. No Person but the Emperor has any Quantity of Utensils made of this Metal,
The Mines of Coal are very numerous, perhaps no Kingdom of the World contains more. They make use of this Fuel on all Occasions, which i, of infinite Advantage in so cold a Country, and which Wood for Firing is very scarce.
It is also probable that there is great Plenty of Tin and Iron Mines, aid such like Metals, because the Price of them is so low. One Mine in particular was observe'd by the Missionaries to yield hundreds of Quintals in a few Days. The Copper Mines much are in the Provinces of Yun nan and Kaei tchcou, have for many Years furnish'd a sufficient Quantity of Copper for the small Coin of the whole Empire. But the most singular, is the [ Pe, Tong ] White Copper ; it is naturally of a white Colour, and still more so inwardly than outwardly. Several Experiments have been made at Pe-king, to try if it owes its Whiteness to any Mixture, by which it was found that it did not ; on the contrary , all Mixtures, except Silver, diminish its Beauty. When polish'd, it is exactly like Silver ; but what detracts from its Value, is, its being more brittle than other Copper.