- Comments (0) Change font
If columns/tables do not appear straight, change font
Friday 22nd February 1833 Had a long conference with Mr Bainbridge on the objections urged by the Governor and Company to the new form of Mining Lease, and the Mining Regulations, and heard from him the several objections offered by other parties to these regulations, which operate prejudicially to the Hospital in creating suspicion and distrust. These objections were so often urged to me in the course of the day, and I heard so much as to the Mining Leases, that I shall take an early opportunity of submitting to the Board some observations and suggestions which have occurred to me on this subject. Accompanied Mr Hodgson to inspect the House and Ground of the Assay-Master, and informed him that I could not consent to take less than Thirty pounds a year, on the condition of his paying all expenses for painting, repairs etc., but that I should be very willing to let him the House alone if he would undertake to paint and repair it, and keep, and deliver it up in good condition, for three years from the 12th May next, at £18 a year net. Rent: and after some demurring he accepted these terms; and I then let the Ground to Mr Stephens at £13. A year rent. Messrs. Wilson and Crawhall of Rodderup Fell Mines again applied to me respecting the Mining Leases, of which they had two pairs charged at £20.8.0 each, a sum which they insisted upon they had no right to pay, as in the first place it had never been intimated to them that they would be called upon to do so, contrary to what had been the previous practice, and secondly because the amount of the charge is equal to a prohibition of parties seeking a Lease. I repeated the old story of the Commissioners regret at the circumstances, with a promise of reducing these expenses in future, and to arrive at a settlement of this unpleasant affair. I proposed to throw back five guineas upon each pair, if they would at once execute and pay me the remainder – they tried hard to divide the expense, but at length conceded the point, and I received £30.6.0, which I had before despaired of ever getting. The Rodderup Fell Company again pressed upon me to recommend to the Board the expedience of granting to them the reduction of Duty for the Rodderup Fell Mines for a definite period, or until such time as the produce of those mines shall have covered the losses sustained upon them. The ground upon which they rest this application is that these are some veins which cannot be worked to advantage without driving a very long, low, and expensive level; and the Company hesitate to embark the capital necessary for this purpose of – after the heavy losses they may thereby sustain, they are to be subjected to the higher rate of duty the moment there is a return of profit upon the years transactions – there does appear some justice in the plea, but the subject will require much consideration, lest a door be opened, or precedent established, by the which other parties may ground similar claims, and we are brought into the dilemma of being forced to concede indulgences upon a more questionable case, or charged with partiality in our dealings. I believe upon the insulated merits of this case, it would be an act of wise polity to grant the indulgence, and that it would be beneficial to the revenue to do so, but upon general principles the case is more questionable, and I would recommend the consideration of the subject to stand over until I have an opportunity of conferring personally with Mr Taylor upon it. Messrs Jonathan & Jacob Walton, Lessees of the Dowgang Mines, who have three Leases of Mines granted to them, were also among those who refused to bear the expenses, upon the ground that no intimation had been given to them until 1831 of the regulation of the Commissioners and that immediately on their receiving such notice, they wrote to the Receivers expressing their determination not to pay such expenses – a copy of this letter was shewn to me, to which no answer was received, and the Leases sent to them for signature six months afterwards. They exhibited to me an account shewing that in the last twenty years these Mines had worked at a loss, and expressed a determination to resist the demand. I endeavoured to arrange with them as I had done with the Rodderup Fell Company, but this was impossible, and it was long before they offered me £20 for the three pairs, and bending to necessity I acceded to accept £30, which after a trying and disagreeable struggle I obtained. The many complaints and deputations which I this day received, coupled with the depressing state of the Manor, made me give the most encouraging assurances that while the Lead trade continues in its present depressed state, the Hospital would never require the parties to execute Leases if the expense was more than five guineas, but the Lessees might have Leases on paying for them. It is obvious that above all other cases, a mining-lease is only binding on the Landlord – for the Lessee may cease to work, and forfeit his lease any day he pleases. There are four pair of Mining Leases prepared for Messrs. Jobling and Carrick of the Blagill Veins, done at their request, upon the express condition of the expense falling upon the Lessees, but on account of the heavy amount of charge they have refused to execute, and now of the two persons named in the Leases Mr Carrick is dead, and Mr Jobling has parted with his interest: but I considered this case so glaring that I told the Agent, the utmost sacrifice the Hospital could make would be five guineas on each pair of Leases, and that unless I was paid the remainder, the Commissioners would hold the Mines forfeited, and I should let them to other parties: nor could any consent for further trials be given to that company until these Leases were settled. A Meeting of the Company is convened for the 1st of March, and I directed Mr Dickenson to attend and require a settlement, and to inform the partners that I would readily see either of them at Haydon Bridge. I also saw Mr Cain of Crag Green Sun Vein who refused to execute, and when I told him I must insist upon a settlement, he required time to consult his partner at Newcastle. – I gave him a fortnight, and as this case has some of the hardship of the Dowgang Leases, I shall be disposed to take one half to adjust the matter. – Messrs. Jacob Walton and Robert Thomas Shaw again applied to me, and put a letter in my hands, praying for a reduction of duty upon the Brownley Hill Mines, and I told them that it would be my duty to submit their application to the Board, but that while I gave full credit to their exertions, skill, and industry which had enabled them to work at profit, I should be deceiving them if I held out the slightest encouragement to expect relief. – Upon general principles, I was bound to advise the Board against it. Had interviews with the several parties applying for leases for trials, granting those which seemed proper, and explaining the reasons of preference, to those whose applications were inadmissible in consequence.