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To Mr. Conset Newcastle 14 May 1731 Sr., For answ[e]r to your Favour of the 8 inst[an]t, the Gentleman therein nam’d appears Indeed not a little littigiuous in insisting upon a Cocquet for his Linnen without Fee, that demanded is surely very reasonable, & your table of fees which I take must be at least equall to that of this port, will as surely justify such Demand, If he had entered that quantity in this Port, our patent officers would have insisted on 17d for the Cocquet, & the Searcher could have demanded 4d, tho never less than a shilling is given him. I mention not the Collectors bill money, for I suppose your Merchant is so strait laced, that he writes his own Entry, Your Searcher ought to have seizes the Cloth if he knew of its being Shipt, as he must do if the Mas[te]r made any Report, If it fall in yours way on its return, I could stop it till the Comm[issione]rs settled the dispute, who I dare say will order the fees to be paid, & the Officer gratified that stops it. I heartily thank you for your advise concerning the Lead Trade please at your leasure to signify whether your Export of that commodity for France since Xmas last, has not exceeded pretty much the Export thither between Xmas 1729 & May 1730, A line upon any alteration will be most thankfull, acknowledged by &c JR
A Cocquet was effectively an official receipt indicating that customs dues had been paid on shipments. Patent officers, searchers and collectors were customs officials. As an ex-customs officer himself, Richmond knew the procedures very well.