Letter – Martin Morrison to Diana Beaumont – 31 Dec 1814

Document Type: Letter
Date: 31 Dec 1814
Correspondent: Martin Morrison
Recipient: Diana Beaumont
Archive Source: NRO 672 E 1E 6
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      N[ew]Castle 31 Decem[be]r 1814

Mrs Beaumont – Bretton


In two Covers I beg to transmit for Col Beaumonts signature, the memorial for the repeal of the export duty on Lead. You will observe that this is a different Memorial from that which I had the honor of sending you from London. – Mr Summer M.P. who I understand feels much interested in the subject, has drawn out this paper which appears to him more likely to strike the attention of Government. – at all events – as all the Facts are preserved in it that are stated in the paper of which you have the Copy, He may take the more pains to ensure its success. – Be pleased to return it signed by Col Beaumont in course of Post, that no delay may occur in obtaining the Signatures of all Partys concerned. – The American Peace combined with the success of this proposed measure, will I hope improve the price of Lead.

	I am etc		MM

To the Right Hon[ora]ble the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty’s Treasury

      The Memorial of the undersigned Proprietors and Workers of Lead Mines and thus engaged in the Trade of Lead in England and Wales 

      Sheweth That your Memorialists feeling themselves under the double pressure of a heavy & accumulated stock and a progressively diminished demand, in the year 1813 represented to His Majestys Ministers the State of the Trade in Lead in England & Wales, and prayed for a Repeal of the Duty on its Exportation, as the only measure by which it was in the power of his Majestys Government to afford relief to the difficulties of their situation, & were directed to send a Copy of their representation and make further application to our Lordships. That the prospects of peace were at that time daily improving, and your Memorialists were induced to hope that when its return should have thrown open the accustomed Channels of Commerce, the improvement in the demand and prices of the article of their particular Trade, would be such as to render the renewal of their application unnecessary. In this expectation they have been wholly disappointed, & your Memorialists have learnt with extreme regret that owing probably to the long continued interruption of supply from this Country, the industry of Nations on the Continent has been directed to Mining pursuits, & the quantities of Lead raised, and the lower prices of Labour at which it has been raised, has been such as to leave them little hope of being able to enter into competition with those Nations in the Markett of an article of which prior to the last War they enjoyed almost to a Monopoly the supply to the Continent of Europe. – The renewal of commercial intercourse which has been so beneficial to almost every other branch of Trade, has to the dealers in Lead been productive of present disappointment and of but little hope of amelioration of their future condition. Your Memorialists beg leave to state that prior to the year 1793 the Average Price of Lead was £18 p[er]Ton nor was that price considered much more than adequate to repay the risk & expenses of the adventurers. – At that period the Wages of the working Miners were s1/2d p[er]day the price of Horses & of their keep (which form so considerable a part of the expense of Mine establishments) & the prices of Iron, Leather, Tallow, Gunpowder, & the various Articles necessary to the conduct of the Miner’s Trade, were proportionally low - & with these advantages the English Mines feared no competition. – Need your Memorialists point out to your Lordships the change which a long expensive struggle and the increased taxation of which it has necessarily been productive, has wrought in their situation – The Working Miners Wages tho[ugh] in some degree reduced since the Peace, are now s2/6d p[er]day – the price of Horses has trebled since that period while that of their keep and of every article used in their Trade cannot be said to be less than doubled – such is their situation at home, while in the Foreign Market the War not having produced the same effects either on the prices of labour or their articles, they find the prices which the Consumers are willing to give, and at which they can be supplied with Continental produce, little exceeds that which they obtained in the same Markett twenty years ago, as will appear from the annexed return of the state of Foreign Marketts. 

      The aggravated distress experienced by your Memorialists from an accumulated stock, will be best seen by your Lordships by the Returns of the Stock of Lead at Newcastle, Stockton, & at Hull, at the former of which are 160,000 pigs, and at the two latter 70,000 and 40,000, or about 20,000 Tons, besides not less than an equal quantity lying at the Mines & Smelting Houses, & which will not be sent down to the Ports of Shipment till some prospect offers of its becoming saleable – While the diminished demand will best appear by an inspection of the Custom House Entries. Before the War the Continent took annually 20,000 Tons of Lead from this Country value £500,000 the first nine months of the present year exhibit an Export not exceeding 3,500 Tons from the Ports of London, Liverpool, Newcastle and Hull, a considerable portion of which has been exported for the supply of our own Settlements. 

      Your Memorialists feel it unnecessary for them to dilate upon the importance of a due encouragement to the English Miner – on that point they are persuaded your Lordships can have but one impression. – The foregoing statement of their Case as it has been affected at Home by the late War and its expensive consequences, they trust has been sufficient to prove the necessity of every relief being afforded to them which it may be in the power of Government to give. – But the statement they have felt it their duty to subjoin of the present prices of Lead in the principal Marketts of Import on the Continent, & of what they will respectively yield (after deducting all Charges) to the English Miner cannot fail to convince your Lordships of the impossibility of your Memorialists being longer able to meet the Foreign Miner in the Marketts of the Continent, unless the Tax on the Export of Lead be repealed – a measure the policy of which will the better recommend itself when it is recollected that the Tax was imposed at a moment when Great Britain having a Monopoly of the supply of Lead to Europe, the Revenue it produced was levied upon the foreign Consumer while from the recent and successful competition in the Foreign Markettit must now operate as a prohibition of all Export, and compel so many of our Mines to be shut up as have heretofore produced the excess beyond our own consumption and furnished the Export of an article of the annual value of £500,000. –

      Your Memorialists cannot help adverting to the difference between their fellow subjects in Scotland and themselves. The prices which can now be obtained at Foreign Marketts for Lead can yield but a slight profit to the Miner of that Kingdom, who pays no duty, while to the English Miner it is a losing Trade. But experience shews the effect of this exemption to be rather to enable  the Scotch Miner to undersell the English abroad, & to lower the general price of Lead upon the Continent, than to be productive of a direct benefit to himself which to your Memorialists is an additional injury – And tho[ugh] they are aware that Scotland enjoys this priviledge under an Article of the Union, & cannot & ought not to be deprived of it, yet a distinction so partial and operating so prejudicially to the interests of your Memorialists, adds great weight to the grounds upon which they solicit the repeal of the Duty altogether. 

      And further your Memorialists are desirous of pressing this measure upon the consideration of your Lordships at a moment when it is known that the views of the French Government are directed with more than ordinary solicitude to this important branch of National Industry. Lead which at the present price of Labour costs full £20 p[er]Ton is charged on its entrance to that Kingdom with a Duty of £3 p[er]Ton, calculating the Freight & Expenses at £2 more, the addition of the English Export Duty makes an amount of near 45 p[er]Cent. on its value –  increase to the French consumer on the Sea Coast – and to that extent operate as a Bounty to the Industry & adventure of the French Miner, to the injury & ultimate ruin of the Capitals which your Memorialists have been induced to embark in this important branch of Trade.

Statement of the present prices of Lead at the principal Markets of Import on the Continent and of the price which they respectively yield to the Miner in this Country after the charges are deducted. Octr 30th 1814

Lead sold at Petersburg p[er]Ton            £27 10

  Freight & Insurance    £1 10

  Expenses of Sale        2  5                3 15

                                             23 15

Deducting the Duties in this Country          4

There remains to the Miner p[er]Ton of Lead £19 15

Lead sold at Hamburgh p[er]Ton              £22 15

  Freight & Insurance    £1  5

  Expenses at Hamburgh    1 15                3 

                                             19 15

Deducting the Duties in this Country          4

There remains to the Miner p[er]Ton of Lead £15 15

Lead at Amsterdam p[er]Ton                  £25 10

  Freight & Insurance    £1  5

  Expenses at Amsterdam   2                   3  5

                                             22  5

Deducting the Duties in this Country          4

There remains to the Miner p[er]Ton of Lead £18  5

Lead at Rouen p[er]Ton                      £28 16 8

  Freight & Insurance      £1 10

  French Duty on Import     3

  Expenses of Sale at Rouen 2                 6 10

                                             22  6 8

Deducting the Duties in this Country          4

There remains to the Miner p[er]Ton of Lead £18  6 8

Lead sold at Leghorn pTon                   £31  5

  Freight & Insurance    £3  6

  Expenses at Leghorn     3                   6  6

                                             24 19

Deducting the Duties in this Country          4

There remains to the Miner p[er]Ton of Lead £20 19

It must be observed that the Exchanges in Hamburgh Amsterdam, Paris and Leghorn are taken in these calculations at the present rates, which are 10 p[er]Cent above the par on those places but in any permanent view of the subject the exchange must be considered as at par, in which case the produce to the English Miner will be  diminished  to that extent. Lead at Hamburgh appears to sell at a price much below that of the other markets, which is owing probably to its vicinity to the Mines in the Hartz Mountains and a fair idea may therefore be formed of the price at which the German Miner can afford to deliver it.

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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