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Mr. Mulcaster, Farnacres 1st Decemr 1775. We have now before us your several Memorandums and Letters home to yours of the 29th Ulto. which we have just received, and having added what remains not sufficiently answered, you have the whole as follows. You mention your Smelters having got very badly on with Greengill Ore; and mention that Washed or Unwashed they have not made better of it than 5 ¼ Bings to a Fodder; we have a return from Mr Hilton, from Stanhope Mill, that upon a Quantity of almost fourteen hundred Bings the produce of Lead is such as to have very little exceeded 4 ½ Bings p[er] Fodder it seems therefore as if our People had not been so fortunate as to fall into the best method of it: but as we are promised by Mr Hilton, a couple of Smelters from Stanhope Mill, for a few Weeks, to Langley Mill, we doubt not but the difference in the Working, will by this means be ascertained and that our Men will be profited thereby. You mention also, that according to the progress you have made for some Weeks past our Smelters will be as late the year coming as the finish was the last; and as we dont find that we are likely to fall short in Ore the next year, we think it will be proper when the Stanhope Men go away, to have a couple of new Men ready to put in. What you have done as to Assistants to the Slag Smelters we think very proper. If it has not been already agreed to, we now acquaint you that John Mulcaster may have leave to Plow his North Meadow Close, and go on with his Husbandry in the manner you have mentioned. In respect to Troughs for the Refinery, we desire you will bespeak a set of new ones of Mr. Labourne, to be of prime Stuff and no Sap on any Acct. or Shakes to be made ready for fixing and deposited under cover at the Mill and there to lie til they are wanted so that if any accident should happen to the present ones, they will be in readiness, otherwise we shall wish them not to be fixed til the dry Season the next Year. You have desired instructions about the Eastern Water Race: as near as Mr Smeaton can at present remember, his directions about it were, to begin to take up the Level from the Mill Ground where the Quarry is; to make a cast equal in depth and width to that for planting a Quick Hedge, and to throw all the Stuff up on the Downhill side where the Road crosses it and to conduit it for 20 yards in length, so that the Carriages may not be confined to a place, this Conduit to be 14 Inches in width and the Floor of it laid rather lower than the general bottom of the Race above and below. You must enlarge the Race upon the Sloping Bank on the outside of the Fence where the Water is taken off the Common, in proportion to the rest of it and make a good Stone head, that the Water of the Burn may be effectualy turned into the Race; not only as to the common run of it, but to convey a great quantity in time of Sudden Showers in the Summer. Mr Smeaton ultimately preferred this way, not only because the deep cutting and new passages would be avoided so that this would be done as easily; but because he observed some Springs would be brought from the Common by this last passage, below the Level of what was before proposed by this passage, which would not by the former. The above Mr Smeaton is obliged to tell you by memory, but if you would observe that when he mentions any thing in the Engineering way, which arises from a view of the Premises, his Ideas are the most perfect in their first delivery, and would therefore wish you to remember what he says upon the spot. Respecting the maintenance of the Dogs, we wish you to make the Cottagers an allowance that will be adequate to the Expence they are at, and what will please them. In regard to Ash Shafts for Shovels and Helves &c you must endeavour to supply yourself as well as you can: we have hitherto been too busy, but as soon as time will give leave, we shall assign some proper Wood for that purpose, but which will not be ready for service til next year. As one of the Experiments in which Charcoal was used turned out considerably better than any with Coal; we shall send you an account of the whole, when we get the result of the further proposed Experiments and shall be glad to hear from you. With respect to the Tryals for Coal we entirely agree with you in opinion, that for the present it is not right to oppose the People in what they are doing; but it will not be amiss to get what intelligence you can; and if you find it not difficult to get them and think them likely, to get as many as will Work off a Batch of Work in the Reducing Furnace with them: that is as to what is to be mixed with the Litharge; for as to what is used upon the Grate, we dont apprehend the quality of Coals, is any otherwise concerned than by producing more or less heat, or being more or less lasting. We think what you propose as to Bedding for the Smelters to be very proper; and you may proceed to procure them as soon as you have an opportunity: We do not look upon it of less consequence to have the animal part of the our Machinery kept in order, as that composed of inert Materials. We are etc N[icholas] W[alton] J[ohn] S[meaton] PS. If you can hear of a good Mastiff or Bull Dog and can purchase him for half a G[uine]a or a whole one we desire you will do so and after you get one, let Turpin, that frightful looking Beast, be hanged.
Stanhope Mill was run by the London Lead Company.