Letter – Richard Fishwick to John Erasmus Blackett – 12 Oct 1789

Document Type: Letter
Date: 12 Oct 1789
Correspondent: Richard Fishwick
Recipient: John Erasmus Blackett
Archive Source: NRO ZBL 205
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Newcastle 12th Oct 1789


	Your Mr Straker called upon me on Tuesday last to acquaint me you were now come to a Determination to sell 36000 pieces of Lead to the London Houses in three equal Divisions provided they would give you £18 p Fodder. But if not you were resolved to send it  to London to sell upon Commission & that you had an Agent ready who was capacitated to give you the Security  of one of the first banking Houses in London.

	To this rather extraordinary Message I did not think myself fully qualifyed to give any other Answer at the Time other than that I would consult my Partners & inform you of our Sentiments thereupon.

	This I have now done and am in full Possession of their Thoughts & Determinations respecting your Offer, and Intentions in Case of their refusal, and I now communicate the same to you.

	In the first place they think the price too high & will not give it, first because thay are certain they cannot sell it for the Money as Lead will fall immediately from the present prices it is now selling at in London, so soon as the East India Contract is made, and secondly because they can be amply suppled at a much less price elsewhere.

	We are uniformly of the Opinion that you did not fully consider the Matter before you sent the Message the London Lead Merchants have certainly suffered the Loss last Year of several thousand pounds by Lead and 'tis no Matter what was the occasion of it, the Money certainly went out of their Pocketts and as certainly into the Pocketts of the Lead Proprietors and Sr Thos Blackett was greatly benefitted thereby now it seems a little unkind that when the Lead Trade is put upon an equitable footing and the Gentlemen concerned therein regaining a small part of their heavy Losses should be obstructed from that Quarter only who had been so materially benefitted at their Expence?

	You may think Sir that as the Opposition in the Trade which formerly existed contributed greatly to enhance the Price of Lead so now the Unanimity which has taken place is the only reason of the Decline and that there have been concerted plans for that purpose. This is the only Apology that can be thought of for your late rather threatening Application, but Sir I can assure if so your Supposition was not well founded: the great Quantities of Lead known to be stored in various parts of the Kingdom and the plentiful Supplies poured into the Markett of London from various parts render it totally impossible to keep up the Price if there was even so strong an Inclination to do so, and I can further Sir assure you upon the Honour of the House I am connected with that no Advantage whatever has been premeditated to be taken with regard to Sir Thomas's Lead.

	Before your Offer was know [sic] to the London Houses it was their Intention to have offered you £17 per Fodder for a Quantity which was a fair Markett Price, and though the Manner of your Offer  was a little unexpected yet I have Authority to say they will still be Purchasers at that Price of you if you incline to sell to them, & that you may be convinced it is an equitable Offer I quote you the prices of the very last Sales of Lead at Stockton, at Chester and at Bristol – the former is £18 per Fodder, the next 17£ and the last £16:10 per Ton.

	If you further think Sir that 10s per Fodder Profit upon what Lead they sell (taking into Consideration the great Risk they run and the very great Capital they employ) I can venture to say that they would be content with less even than that could it be insured to them, and in the present Case if you think it more for Sr Thomas's Interest to have this Lead sold in London on Commission I dare almost undertake to say that our House would undertake  the sale of the whole for the small Commission of 5s per Fodder – and from our own now very large Consumption of Lead – from the firm Establishment our House in London and from two of the Partners having been conversant in the Business above twenty Years, together with the known Responsibility of the House & their being able to give you almost any Security I hope they would be preferred to any other?

	After what I have thus mentioned should you still think proper to refuse this Offer of 17£ for Lead & to send it to Markett through quite a different Channel you cannot blame your Old Friends for the Consequences, for in that Case they must and will both from Necessity & Choice take Care of themselves and of their Old Connexions & Customers.

	I wish Sir to have your Answers so soon as you have considered the Contents of these Lines, and if you wish to have a conversation with me I will attend you at any time and place you may appoint.

	If my Opinion could have any Weight with you Sr you are perfectly welcome to it, and whether or not I will just hint that if the present price of £17 is not accepted of no more than £16 will ever be bid & that if it is sent to London I shall wonder if it is not sold there for less than 15£ in a very short Time

	I am for Co & Self Sr your most obt

		Rich Fishwick

[cover:] John E Blackett, Esq.

[annotated in JEB’s hand:] Richd Fishwick 12th Oct 1789

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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