Letter – Nicholas Walton to John Holmes – 5 Feb 1774

Document Type: Letter
Date: 5 Feb 1774
Correspondent: Nicholas Walton
Recipient: John Holmes
Archive Source: TNA ADM 66 96
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To Mr Holmes.                        				Farnacres 5 Febry 1774

Dear Sir

       Now we are together it comes in course of business to consider the contents of your two Letters of the 14th and 25th December.   We are sensible the change of times and trade are such, that the original basis upon which our dealings with you for Silver were to be regulated, is quite removed and altered; and therefore it becomes necessary to find out new grounds to found our dealings upon.  We have not the least doubt but that you give us credit for thinking you have all along gone to the very stretch of price that you could give us, so as to have a reasonable profit, and of late even beyond it; and that it has been equally our wish to give you the preference whenever we could do it consistent with our duty to Greenwich Hospital; and as there have been the fundamental sentiments which have all along activated both Parties, we are equaly desirous of continuing to proceed thereupon.

       Whenever therefore the prices at London are such as that you can take a Cake of Silver with profit to yourself, we shall do ourselves the pleasure to send it to you; but as Newcastle is also a considerable Markett for Silver, whenever it will sell for a price here beyond what you can take it at with profit; then it will be best to sell it there; and as this seems the way to do fully our duty to the Hospital, and likely the best to suit all sides, we will endeavour to propose a mode of execution.

       It seems from what you state that the price of Standard Silver at London is not a fixed thing, even of the same day; and therefore without fixed data all calculations made therefrom will be variable; we would therefore propose, if you think well of it, that as near as we can judge of it 14 days before a Cask of Silver is ready to take off, we will advise you thereof; and you to give us a return what it will suit you to take it at 28 days after the date of our Letter and as we can constantly know the price of Silver here, we shall by that means, on the arrival of the Silver at Newcastle, have the option of the two Marketts.  Your price being so regulation as to pay carriage and all charges upon the Silver as you have done: only as you will be put to a constant charge of Postage, and answering our Letters as a Correspondant deal or deal not, we shall be very glad to pay the whole Postage of our Letters, and make you what further recompence you please for your trouble in giving us intelligence and in fact we had rather get less of you for our Silver when you have it, than not have the option of the two Marketts.

       Indeed the method now proposed is putting you into some speculation respecting Silver; but we dont desire you to offer more than you think it will afford you a sufficient profit at the time of delivery according to the prospect of its rise or fall, and therefore as you will be as likely to get more than that as less, we look upon it, the risk upon the whole will not be material: and it does not seem, that we can take the risk of what it may rise or fall between the time of your advice and the delivery of the Silver, without having recourse to the price of Standard at the two times, and which, tho' fixed within limits sufficiently near, to regulate a mans own private bargains yet, as you have already lead us to observe does not seem sufficiently fixed to regulate prices between Man and Man. However if you chuse to avoid all risk, and can propose any fixed rule to be governed by we shall content ourselves to be informed of the price of Standard, and what you can give on the day you advise; and be paid in proportion to the rise and fall of the price of Standard on the day of delivery; but if done in this way you will be pleased to instruct us a little further concerning your mode of computation for in yours of the 14th December you say.


   By a single Assay at Goldsmiths Hall the Cake was 15 better 

   By a single Do       the Tower                    15 1/2 

   By a dble   Do     of a Private Assay Master      16 

You take Tower Assay (by which you say Silver is always sold) as an average of the whole; and indeed may very well be so considered as coinciding with Tower report by which they whole is guided: but we apprehend a true average should be made by setting down the double Assay twice which would be 15,625 better; this however by the way;  but what totaly sets us fast is that supposing it 15 1/2 Dwt better, you say there will be in a Pound of it 12 Oz 16 Dwt 7,350 Gr.  You did write us a Letter towards the beginning of our correspondance that might probably have unravelled this, but it is either mislaid, or by mixing subjects, is in Mr Smeatons Office at Austhorpe, we have turned it all ways we can but cannot make out how 15 ½ Dwt better should become in the lb 16dwt 7,350 Gr better.

       Inclosed you have a Paper showing the price of Silver at Newcastle and London for some time last by which you will see that the prices at Newcastle have in general exceeded those we have drawn upon you for, the last being set down at the price to draw upon you; for as you say in yours of the 25th that it cannot be disposed of for more than 5s7 1/2d after carriage and charges are deducted, you will have little left for profit.  It is true that though Silver here is a ready Money trade, yet upon the two Cakes specified to be sold Mr Langlands we gave him 6 Weeks credit; but as considering the time of the carriage of Silver to London and the dates at which we have drawn upon you after delivery, there will be little odds as to interest of Money.

       We expect a Cake of Bullion at this place in about a fortnight and shall be glad to hear from you at that time as to the price you can afford for it supposing it to be delivered at London upon the 5th of March.

       This day we have drawn upon you at Ten days Date for £206.16.10 being the amount of 781 1/2 P Ounce after deducting £11.6.6 for Mr Newtons Bill which we reced on your account.    

       We are Dear Sir Your most obed. Servts

       N W Junr   J S

Mr Langlands Prices     Mr Holmes  prices

             [s d]                 [s d]


                         17 July    5 9

X 1 August    5 9 1/2

Do            5 9

Sepr          5 8        16 Oct     5 8

Novr          5 8 1/2    20th Nov   5 8

Decr          5 8 1/2    25th Dec   5 7

X 3 Jan 1774  5 7 1/2

Those marked X are cakes sold by Messrs Walton & Smeaton to Mr Langlands  

Sir                                         		Farnacres 5th Frebry 1774

Ten days after date pay to the order of Mssrs Bell Cookson Carr Widdrington and Saint Two Hundred and Six Pounds Sixteen Shillings and Ten Pence.  Value received as advised by Sir your most hble Servts

       Walton & Smeaton 

To Mr John Holmes London

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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