Letters – John Erasmus Blackett to Isaac Wilkinson – 21 Oct 1797

Document Type: Letters
Date: 21 Oct 1797
Correspondent: John Erasmus Blackett
Recipient: Isaac Wilkinson
Archive Source: NRO 672/E/1E/5
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Isaac Wilkinson Esqr Chesterfield                                               Newcastle  21st Octr 1797


Dr Sir	

      I understand that the Minister intends to propose a tax on Lead Ore at the Mine, or on the Lead smelted, at the Mill, & to put it under the Excise, either of which will be a heavy burthen on the trade, & discourage the working of many Mines; taxing the Ore at the Mines will be most unjust & oppressive, as it is frequently badly dressed & the waste is considerable;  Should the Lead be taxed at the Mill it will not only be a heavy load on the trade, but subject it to numberless inconveniences, delays, & loss by its being subject to the Excise laws, and finally destroy the Mining for Lead in this Country;  A Gentleman of my acquaintance, a very intelligent well informed man who has resided for some years in Spain, informs me that if the Spaniards were to open their Mines of Lead? they would undersell us in this Country, considerably, as their Mines are very rich, & worked at a small expence;  I have had letters from Scotland on this business & application is made to the Lead Compy.  I should be glad to have your sentiments on the matter; I have directed the Lead Agents at the Mines & Mills not to comply with the requisition of the Excise Officers untill the matter is further considered;  In case it should be found that the Minister is bent on laying a tax on Lead, it will then be advisable to use our endeavours that it may be in a mode least burthensome to the Proprietors, & the trade.

	Since I wrote to you I have sold about 18,000 Ps of Lead 1/3 Refin’d at £16 per For 6 Mn Credit & 1000 Ps Comon at £16 5 all which I can deliver in the course of a Month;  I could have sold 20,000 Ps more to the London Houses on the same terms; the Agent of the Lead Company informed me this morning that they have very lately sold to Lancaster & Co & Walkers & Co 10,000 Ps Refin’d Lead at £16 per For _ The Houses of Preston & Son & Locke & Co had no part of my last or former Sale.  There will not be above 8000 Ps at this Markett unsold 7000 of which is Mr Erringtons.  I congratulate you on the late glorious Victory gained by Admiral Duncan’s fleet over that of the Dutch & I hope that it may be a means of bringing about a Peace             I am etc   J.E.B

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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