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London Sat: 23d Novr. 1776 Dear Sr. This morning Mr. Darwin brought the deeds which I signed, & I readily agree to accommodate Mr. Swinburne with the thousand pounds you mention. I am very sorry for the behaviour of the Lessees of Walker Colliery, certainly those proceedings are to be laid to the charge of the Principal, as well as leaving coals in waggons which carry more coals than by the lease they ought to do, indeed the character of the magistrates is very much at stake in these matters, & the whole proceeding for time past ought to be inquired into without loss of time, I own I was at first and all along uneasy that that colliery had not been let into other hands than any of our own Body, I had my fears of want of watching, & that ought not to be deferrd a bit longer, not to wait for a C C [Newcastle Common Council meeting?]: if there is a suspicion in any respect but the mayor & c to examine & measure. Yesterday Mr. Fisin came to me with a letter of Recommendation from Mrs, Ord referring me also to Doctor Burney, I gave him such reception as I ought, but waved entering into even the least encouragement, he said he was given to understand that ten pounds a year would be added to the present salary of forty to the Organist; I intend to see Dr. Burney that justice may be done to Mr. Fisin’s character that it may be properly mention’d & laid before the Common Council; I observe Mr. Widdrington’s opinion of Mr. Howden. I can not but observe that I hear nothing from Mr. Gibson about the purchase of Mr. Clayton’s land, nor nothing from Mr. Heron about the purchase of a bit of land near Wallington Mill, pray let Mr. Bell inquire about these two particulars. There are two articles relating to the Corporation’s affairs which ought to be pushed on, the first is a case of opinion relating to removing the stones near the entrance of the River, Mr. <Vazey’s> affair, I am really bound to bring that matter to a crisis, let the opinion prove as it may, if it should be against the claim of the Corporation & shall be at all unwilling to share it so to the Corporation & proceed accordingly. The other is an additional supply of water from Mr. Anderson or Mr. Hodson or from both to the common pants, & I must recommend these articles to your good offices, that they may be pushed on. I will pass over Coal Cleugh and go to the Flat at Allanheads, I know a flat is very precarious, but be that as it may, all hands possible ought to be got into that spot, to get it above ground as fast as possible, & to leave any other work in order to work there, & I doubt not but Mr. Forster will open the ground out so as to get as many hands in as possible either in front, on flank or both, for I am near entering into my 70th year, & I should be glad to dig a grave there, big enough to bury my debts in; but that’s only a vain thought. It is uneasy to me to write for the finger next to my little finger is still much inflamed & sore. However I thought I ought to endeavour to mention these matters to you, I can not yet go downstairs; nor could I hold either gun or fishing rod. The report of news from America is good, you’ll see some in the papers, & perhaps in the Gazette. Yours Wr. Blackett My compliments to the Mayor Mr. Morley & all friends. I must desire a bill for three hundred pounds, payable a month or six weeks hence.
This and subsequent letters from Sir Walter to his agent John Erasmus Blackett (dated 27 Nov, 30 Nov, 6 Dec, 30 Dec) were probably among the last to be received by JEB, and so presumably handed over at some point by him or his executors to the Trevelyans at Wallington, where they are preserved in a scrapbook