Letter – John Grey to James Graham – 28 Jan 1834

Document Type: Letter
Date: 28 Jan 1834
Correspondent: John Grey
Recipient: James Graham
  • Transcription
  • Notes
  • Comments (0)
  • Change font
    If columns/tables do not appear straight, change font
Private.                                                 				Corbridge Jan 28th 1834?


      I have received from an acquaintance at Hull a newspaper which I take the liberty to send to you, that you may be aware of the vulgar attack that Mr Hutt has made upon the management of the Hospitals property , & of that which he threatens to make upon yourself in particular on the subject of the Merchant Seamen’s sixpences.  Among other mistatements or falsehoods contained in his speech, he comments upon my appointment & salary, which according to his assertion, is 1200£ a year - whereas he might have known, & ought to have done so before stating it as a fact, by reference to the printed release to Mr Currie’s enquiry, dated the 8th May 1833, that the salary of the new  Receiver is £800, with an allowance of £200 more for travelling charges etc.   I don’t know whether that 200£ a year was calculated to cover house rent & horses’ keep, which are currently allowed to agents upon large estates, but if it was, then a wrong division has been made & the salary should have been stated at £700 & the other allowances at 300 - for unfortunately for me, no residency can be found, & if the projected house should be built, the percentage upon the outlay of £2000 will cause me to pay £100 for house rent alone.  And looking at the extent & various kinds of property, farms, mills, collieries & lead mines spread over a district from the mouth of the Tweed to the source of the Tyne on the borders of Westmorland beyond Alston, nearly 120 miles apart, subject continually to my personal inspection, I find it impossible to keep such horses as are necessary, besides coach travelling & living from home, under £200 more. The amount of personal labor as well as travelling expenses is immensely increased beyond what was usual or even contemplated by either party on my assuming the office, in consequence of adopting a mode of private letting by valuation instead of that by tender in many cases. In the latter the Receiver had only to send an advertisement to the newspaper & the tender went to the Board.  In the former he must visit every farm & every field in each to calculate its value & fix the most suitable covenants spending much time at a distance from home.  This of course I most readily undertook  because I  believe & hope that if judiciously & consistently acted upon, it will tend greatly to improve the condition of the property as well as the character of the tenantry.   It is true that the Commissioners proposed as kindly as delicately, that I should employ a Surveyor to value for me in case of my not wishing to undertake it myself.  But I must have spent my time & opportunities to little purpose did I not know the value of land, in this county at least, as well as any man whom I could have engaged at a charge of three guineas a day & eventually a bill of some hundred pounds in going over all the estates, which must come to be let in a year or two.  I was most happy to save such an outlay to the Hospital, if the Commissioners could confide in my judgement, & would have incurred any addition of labor & expenses rather than have seemed to take a subordinate part & forfeit the character for knowledge in such matters, for which I think the tenants are inclined to give me credit. At the same time, I must confess, that if I could have anticipated the great labor & anxiety arising from the management of such extended & complicated concerns, the difficulty of obtaining a house & the absence of all comfort in that which I now occupy, the separation for so long a time from my family, together with the vile attacks of lying Tory journals from which one might believe that I have nothing to do but sit and [underlined: ‘receive’] the rents as if they dropped softly down from the clouds , whereas I am often at work sixteen hours out of the four & twenty, I should never have undertaken the task.  As it is, I feel a deep interest & responsibility in the success of the new system of management & shall spare no effort that I am capable of to make it productive of benefit to the institution.

      Under all these circumstances, I think Mr Hutt’s assertion might be met by another, that instead of £1200 my salary, after deducting the allowances of house etc, common to agents, does not exceed £700 and that whereas in the old system there were seven bailiffs at salaries from £110 to £50 each, I am only allowed one, at a salary of £150 and 50 more for travelling charges & horse keep, (which by the way, considering the kind of horse he must keep, & the quantity of riding he has, is 50 too little.) Then as to the former Receivers, one was actually superannuated by age & infirmity, & the other declined the situation with a reduced salary & increased labor. And as to their retired allowances which he inveighs against, that certainly was not the work of the present ministry.

      I find that Mr Ord is in town. Should you meet him, he will be able to inform you, whether the remarks I made, at the meeting at Hexham were so improper as Mr Hodgson seems to think, & whether they deserve to be styled ‘an attack upon him’ or a necessary vindication of my own character, to the bench from Alston where he aspires to lead, & who formed their objection of my conduct from his representations.

      Begging to apologise for troubling you with so long a letter, I have the honor to be, with the greatest regard, 

      Sir Your most faithful & obedient Servant

      John Grey 
William Hutt, (1801-82) was elected as a Liberal MP for Hull in December 1832, and then for Gateshead for 30 years from 1841. He was knighted in 1865.

Leave a comment

We welcome further information or corrections on topics and incidents mentioned in individual letters. It might take a while before your comments are checked for adding to public view within the website. We cannot undertake further research in response to questions.

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


General Discussion
Suggested correction or addition


  Return to search results or refine/create new search
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