Letter – Anthony Nicol to Martin Morrison – 10 Oct 1809

Document Type: Letter
Date: 10 Oct 1809
Correspondent: Anthony Nicol
Recipient: Martin Morrison
Archive Source: NRO 672 E 1E 6
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Martin Morrison Esq				Ncastle Octr 10th 1809


      I trust you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing the following observations to you respecting the unfortunate transaction in which we were engaged for Mr Elliott. From every circumstance attending it, I hope you are satisfied that we had not the slightest idea of his situation, and of course that we could never have an intention of involving Col Beaumont for the mere purpose of obtaining our trifling commission.  If you should have any doubts upon the subject, every letter that passed between Mr Elliott and us is ready for your inspection. 

      From the commission being so small and the same commission being allowed whether the Agent drew the Bills or not, we never imagined the Proprietors of Lead Mines would consider the Agent liable.  Indeed the only circumstance by which we seem in any degree to be involved, is more a matter of  accident than any thing else, for had Mr Elliott’s situation been known to us ten days sooner, we should not have been in the least implicated – we hope therefore from the well known liberality with which every thing is conducted at Col Beaumont’s office, that no advantage will be attempted to be taken of a circumstance, which if it have rendered us responsible at all, has done so without our knowledge & contrary to our intention, the smallness of the Commission alone being a decisive proof, that we could not properly consider ourselves as guaranteeing the debt.   Mr Elliott having been a partner in a house with which Col & Mrs Beaumont and their predecessors had done business for so many years and from their having obtained from that very house a Sum of Money, which the Executors of Dr Hall wished to withhold, upon the ground that Dr Hall was a principal but which Mr Elliott’s partner proved not to be the case, are concerned in all future transactions.  Col Beaumont looked to the principal only and not to the Agent – had it been openly declared by the Seller of Lead, that they considered the Agent’s liable as well as the principals, the Agents would then have had an opportunity of protecting themselves, which I believe they have done, since it has been said that you considered us liable. – I understand Lord Darlington sold some lead to Mr Elliott at Stockton and the Agent drew the Bills for it in the same way we did, but Lord Darlington exchanged them for Mr Elliott’s prom Notes, a proof that his Lordship did not consider the Agent liable.  

      I trust therefore upon considering all these circumstances, that (even if the strict letter of the law should turn out to be against us) the trifling sum which could be obtained from us, would never induce Col & Mrs Beaumont to ruin two families.  It is the only purchase of any consequence we ever made for Mr Elliott – we have therefore no longer commissions to restore, as many of the other Agents have by which means we might have been able to bear part of the loss.  The whole that could be obtained from our property were the most severe measures resorted to supposing the law to be against us, would not exceed £2000 and to take away that would actively deprive us of the means of carrying on our business, which I am sure Col & Mrs Beaumont would never think of, for a sum which compared with their immense fortune is not worth their acceptance. –For my own part I really have at this moment no more than would satisfy my private Creditors – I took the liberty of mentioning to you a misfortune, which at my outset in business involved me to a large amount and which I have hardly got clear of – Mrs Ludlow would be left completely helpless  - her only son to whom she might have looked for support, has not been able to attend to business for eighteen months and his present state of health is such that he is not expected to survive the winter – after having stated this much I hope I need not appeal in vain to the humanity of Col & Mrs Beaumont.  The benefit to them in the event of their succeeding in a suit against us would be trifling whilst to us the consequences would be ruin.  May I therefore beg of you to have the goodness to represent the extreme hardship of our situation to Col & Mrs Beaumont and to assure them that I am perfectly ready to prove the correctness of all my operations – Placing implicit reliance on their justice and liberality, I shall rest satisfied that they will do nothing, but what is honourable and suited to the high station they occupy

      I remain  Anthony Nichol

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467