Letter – John Grey to James Graham – 23 Jan 1834

Document Type: Letter
Date: 23 Jan 1834
Correspondent: John Grey
Recipient: James Graham
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       Corbridge, nr Newcastle. Jan 23rd 1834


       I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st Instant, together with copies of one addressed by Mr Hodgson to you & your reply to it. 

       I cannot but express regret & surprise that Mr Hodgson should have again made my conduct subject of remark to you, or should have thought it necessary to obtrude upon your attention a matter which was strictly personal between us. And I regret it the more that it obliges me to encroach still further upon your time by an explanation of the affair.

       Previous to joining the meeting at Hexham for the purpose of electing the Surveyor & other officers for the Alston roads, I informed Mr. Ord that Mr Hodgson had stated to you that he & I were likely to give our support upon your recommendation, to a person most unfit for the situation.    Mr Ord naturally felt indignant at such an imputation, & said that notice must be taken of it, making at the same time some remarks upon Mr Hodgson’s general conduct, which however, were strictly private   He urged me to allow him to call me to the Chair and leave him at liberty, which however in the presence of so many, my <seniors>, I declined.  Mr Ord, being placed in the Chair, could not take the matter up, but urged the propriety of my doing so, and accordingly, when he as Chairman reminded the meeting that they were assembled to make elections very important to the trust, & doubted not that every Gentleman would be activated in the vote he should give, by a sole regard to its interest, apart from any other notice.  I stated that I fully concurred with him in that opinion, but that I knew with regret, that other motives had been imputed to my conduct in reference to this subject, & that being comparatively a stranger to the meeting & the representative of a most important interest, as connected with the trust & neighbourhoods, my anxiety to stand well with the Gentlemen with whom I was called to act, & with whom it was my wish on all occasions to act cordially & openly, induced me to take the liberty in their presence to vindicate my conduct  & to ask Mr Hodgson on which authority he had informed Sir J Graham that I intended to support the election of a person whom he represented as very ill qualified for the situation, & the worse qualified the more improper must my conduct be in supporting him.   That the course which would have suggested itself to my mind in such circumstances, would have been first, to ascertain the truth of the allegation which had been made to him, before communicating it to the person towards whom the greatest delicacy respecting any imputation against me should have been observed; for it could not be unknown to Mr Hodgson that not only the Receiver but the Commissioners themselves were accountable to the First Lord of the Admiralty for their conduct.    That while I should be found at all times most ready, frankly & freely to obtain any notices & account for my actions, I should never submit to any thing like private misrepresentation with impunity. 

       Mr Hodgson reply was, as he seems to admit, an unhappy one.  He stated that his anxiety to save time, induced him to apply to you at once. That he had been told by a person at Alston that he had heard me say that C Hodgson had applied to me for my interest, & that he had also applied to Sir Jas Graham.  That C Hodgson had himself stated that he hoped by this means to obtain the Hospital’s interest; and that he thinking that C Hodgson might have been politically useful to Sir J Graham & that he might be inclined to further his views in respect of the Surveyorship had written to warn Sir James of Hodgson’s <unfitness>. 

       To this I replied that the explanation, as I thought, made the case worse & not better. That Mr Hodgson had founded his representation to Sir J Graham upon the most suspicious of all authority, the hope expressed by C Hodgson that he should obtain the Hospital’s interest.   That his mode of saving time was rather a novel one, which was to write to Sir J Graham  at the farther end of the island, when a line to me, a few miles down the Tyne, would have allayed his fears & satisfied him that I had come under no engagement to support C Hodgson or any one else, having determined to give no promise, nor to make up my mind as to whom I should support until I should see every candidate & have an opportunity of judging of their several qualifications & testimonials.  And lastly, that the inference, which no one would admit, that Sir J Graham was capable of promoting any man from merely political connexion, & ever admitting that to be possible, that I should implicitly follow his ‘<interest>’ regardless of my own character & my duty to the trust, were imputations which I must be understood most indignantly to reject.

        I then apologised to the meeting for the intrusion & begged of every Gentleman present to ask himself the question whether in this instance, Mr Hodgson’s conduct had been characterised by that liberality & consideration which acting in a public capacity, any Gentleman had a right to expect from another, stating that with their verdict I should be fully satisfied.   Mr Ord also expressed in his quiet manner, ‘his astonishment, to say the least of it’, that his name should have been mentioned as a supporter of C Hodgson, with whom he had never had any kind of communication whatsoever on the subject. 

       From that time I have neither seen nor heard of Mr Hodgson, nor have I the slightest wish or intention to refer again to the subject, but I certainly never paid him the compliment of thinking that his representations would in any degree have the effect of lowering me in your estimation , or in that of any man of sense & discernment.

       Begging to apologise for giving you the trouble of so long a letter on so uninteresting & frivolous a subject & at the same time to offer my best thanks for your attention & kindness with respect to the promotion of Mr <Biddick>  

       I have the honor to remain Sir Your obliged & most faithful servant

John Grey

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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