pond is filled, and the sluices are raised, the torrent rushes out with
such force as to carry rocks away with it. Even now more work awaits
them on the plain: trenches are cut for the stream to flow through,
called 'Agogae;' these are floored in steps with ' Ulex,' a plant like
rosemary, but prickly, and fitted to retain the gold. The sides of
these trenches are protected by planks, and the canals are carried on
props over any chasms. So the rubbish, as it flows along, runs into the
sea, and the fragments of the mountain are dissolved; and in this way
Spain has extended her land far into the ocean by the earth washed
down. The rubbish, drawn up with immense toil by the former method
(sinking shafts), in order not to choke up the pits, is washed in this
latter manner. The gold obtained by this process (' Ar-rugia') does not
require smelting, but is found native. In this way lumps are found (as
also in the pits) above 10 pounds in weight, which some call ' Palaga,'
others ' Palacarna :' that which is small is called ' Balux.' The ulex
itself is dried, then burnt, and the ashes washed, with a turf of grass
laid under, so that the gold may deposit itself thereon.
In this manner, according to some writers, 20,000 pounds weight of gold
is annually obtained in Lusitania, Gallicia, and Asturia; Asturia
supplying the largest proportion. In no other part of the world has the
same productiveness lasted during so many centuries."
We have already mentioned that gold-mining in Italy is prohibited by
an old-established decree of the Senate, else no country would have
been more productive in this respect as well as in others. An ordinance
of the Censors is extant, prohibiting the contractors from keeping
above 5000 labourers employed in the gold-mines of Victumulas, in the
territory of Vercelli."
Mining was prohibited as injurious to agriculture (which the Senate endeavoured to promote in Italy by all the means in