Die Lunæ, 22 Februarii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
William Metcalfe Esquire is called in, and examined as
Are you a Coal Factor and Ship Owner?
Can you state generally to the Committee the Nature of a Coal
The Nature of our Business is to sell Coals by Commission when
we have them consigned to us by our various and respective Friends
from the North Country, and to obtain the best Price that we
possibly can for such Coals when consigned to us.
Those you sell only at the Coal Exchange?
Only at the Coal Exchange.
To whom are they sold; to Coal Merchants or Customers
To Persons acting as Coal Merchants.
They are sold on the Coal Exchange?
How often does the Coal Exchange meet?
Three Times a Week; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Is there any particular Act of Parliament regulating it?
I believe there is.
Do you know in what Year of the late King that Act passed?
I do not know; I have not paid much Attention to the Act of
Is it the Forty-seventh of the late King?
I believe it is.
By that Act the Market ought to begin at Twelve o'Clock and
end at Two?
Is that the Case?
Generally speaking it is; we sell our Coals between the Hours of
Twelve and Two o'Clock.
Do you know any Instance of Coals having been sold after Two
That is a Circumstance which may very likely happen.
There is a Penalty incurred?
Yes, there is.
The Question does not apply to your own individual Practice;
but is it not a common Practice to sell after Two o'Clock?
No, it certainly is not.
The Business, you say, is conducted by Factors?
Those Factors have Intelligence of the sailing of each Ship from
the North, have they not?
Generally; not always.
They are also informed by Post from the North when it is likely,
allowing for Wind and Weather, that Ships will arrive?
Generally speaking, we are informed; but that is not always the
With reference to the Sale at Two o'Clock, there is a Penalty of
100l. for any Cargo sold after that Hour, is there not?
Do you not know that it very often happens that the Market
begins at One or Two, and is not closed before Three or Four?
No; we are obliged to deliver our Contracts in at Three
Any Violation of that Act takes place between Two and Three?
Yes, of course it must, if it does take place.
By the 24th Section of that Act, the Books are to be shut at Two
o'Clock, are they not?
We are allowed to sell Coals up to Two o'Clock; the other Hour,
'till Three, is allowed us to arrange our Turn Papers, and deliver
in our Contracts to the Clerks of the Market.
Are there any Clerks to that Market?
Are they allowed Salaries?
I believe so, from the City of London. I have no doubt of it.
You do not know the Extent of their Salaries?
No; I have not the slightest Conception what they are.
Do you know a Mr. Richardson?
Yes; I think he is one of the Clerks; but his Name is so seldom
mentioned in comparison with the others, that I scarcely know his
Name. Mr. Butcher and Mr. Pearsall are more familiar Names
Is there not a Clerk in the Coal Exchange who has the Privilege
of sending out what are called Coal Letters, that is, the Lists of
Yes; Mr. Pearsall.
Is there any Charge for that?
I believe we make him a Present; but that is quite optional. I
think our House gives him Three Guineas a Year generally.
Do you know, generally speaking, the Profits derived by
Mr. Pearsall from sending out those printed Lists?
I have not the slightest Conception.
You do not know whether it amounts to 1,000l?
I should certainly say, speaking from my Opinion, nothing of the
Do you know whether the Purchase Money of the Coal
Exchange has been paid or not?
That I cannot answer.
Was there not an Act of Parliament enabling them to apply a
certain Portion of the Produce of the Tax on Coals for the Payment of the Purchase of the Coal Exchange?
I cannot speak to those Points at all; I know we pay a Penny a
Chaldron to the Clerks of the Market, but how that Penny is
applied or misapplied, I do not know.
The Charge is nominally for Market Dues, to defray the
Expence of paying for the Coal Exchange, is it not?
We pay it to the Clerks of the Market under the Head of
Market Dues; what becomes of the Money I cannot state.
You do not know whether the Purchase Money has been
redeemed, or not?
I cannot speak to that Point at all.
All the Ships Papers belonging to the Captains of the Ships
consigned to you are put into your Hands, are they not?
Yes; they are delivered to us by the Captain by any Conveyance
he thinks proper to adopt.
Who pays the Balances of Duty to the Custom House?
The Factors do all the Business at the Custom House through
the Means of their Clerks.
Do you remit the Produce of the Cargo to the Ship Owner or
the Freighter in the North?
That depends upon Circumstances, whether the Ship is freighted
or comes on the Ship Owner's Account. Sometimes we apply the
Balance to Credit, when the Parties in the North happen to owe us
Money, which is very frequently the Case.
The Money passes through your Hands?
Yes; we remit it, or apply it to the Credit of the different People,
according to their Desire.
You are acquainted with the Act of 47 Geo. 3, are you not?
I know by Practice those Parts of the Act which apply to myself,
but I never read the Act of Parliament very accurately; and if I
had I should possibly not have understood it.
Are you of Opinion that, as far as regards the Factors, there is a
possibility of complying with its Provisions?
I will state candidly that I have not read the Act of Parliament,
and if I had I could not understand it. There are so many Penalties, we cannot open our Mouth without a 100l. Penalty at our
Have you never read attentively the Act of Parliament which
regulates the Proceedings of the Trade?
No; for the very best Reason, that if I were to read it I could
not understand it. I know practically what Part of the Act relates
to myself, and I know what to avoid.
The Act is so confused you never refer to it?
I never read Ten Pages of the Act myself in my Life.
Do you consider the Provisions you have read to be operative
upon yourself, and that you have been guided by them, or that
other Coal Factors have been?
We endeavour to be so; but our Business is of that quick forced
Description it is impossible to follow that Act of Parliament closely;
but when the Act of Parliament allows us to sell Coals up to the
Moment of Two o'Clock, I would ask, how is it possible, if I have
Nine or Ten different Sorts of Coals to dispose of, that I can get the
Contract Book signed before Two o'Clock? We do it as well as
If you complied with all the Provisions of the Act, could you
carry on your Business?
Certainly not. In the Way in which that Act of Parliament is
framed, we do it as closely as we can. There is no knowing what
Necessity might drive us to.
Have you ever turned your Attention to the Practicability or the
Expediency of substituting Weight for Measure?
Yes; that has been mentioned to me.
Is it your Opinion, that the substituting Weight for Measure
would prove a better Criterion?
As to the exact Quantities delivered, I think it probably might.
Do you know any Instances within your own Experience of extreme Variations in making out under the present System of Weight
in the North and Measure in the South?
We never have the Coals by Weight from the North.
Do not you know that Coals are sold by Weight in the Port of
We are not practically acquainted with that. They are sent to
us by the Imperial Chaldron, and we, practically, have nothing to
do with the Weight. It never comes officially before us.
You know that such is the Fact, do not you?
I do not.
Have you any doubt that such is the Fact?
I was not aware that Coals were sold by Weight in the North.
Do you know any Variations in the making-out of the Ship's
Yes, very great.
State some Instances?
A Ship called the Two Sisters made out One Voyage 351 Imperial
Chaldrons, another Voyage 356, another Voyage 335, and another
What was the Difference of Chaldrons between the Amount
stated to you to have been put in in the North and that which it
proved to be on Delivery?
I have not those Materials; but the minimum and maximum
Quantity is Twenty-six Chaldrons in Four successive Voyages.
We generally expect the Ships in Winter Time to make out less;
but when this Ship made out the smaller Quantity I believe it was
in the Spring Voyage, when we expect them to make out the
largest Quantity. In Winter the Ship Owners do not load their
Ships so deeply as they do in the Summer.
That arose, you suppose, from the Difference of the Lading?
Yes. They are considered safer with a less Quantity in the
You have an Invoice sent you from Newcastle, have you not?
No; unless I happen to be the Owner of the Ship. The Ship
Owner always pays for his Coals by drawing upon us in favour of
the Coal Owner.
Is there no Statement delivered to you of the Number of Chaldrons put on board at Newcastle?
The Fitter's Certificate is the Document by which we sell the
Then, having that, does the Ship measure out a Quantity differing from that?
I think in general it exceeds the Quantity.
Can you tell by how much?
I should not like to answer that Question without referring
to the Documents; but to the best of my Recollection I should
say, generally, if a Ship has 200 Imperial Chaldrons on the
Fitter's Certificate, she runs from 205 to 208 or 209 Chaldrons.
That is nearly equal to Five per Cent?
Yes, nearly so.
If it is discovered that there is an Excess over the Certificate in
the Measurement of the Ship, are any Steps taken with reference
to that by the Customer?
None whatever; the Delivery has nothing to do with the Quantity
the Ship takes in.
The Duty is paid upon the Delivery upon the Excess?
Yes, upon the Excess or otherwise, as it may happen. I have
known a much greater Variation than I have stated, but I have not
the Papers with me.
Do you account to the Skipper or to the Ship Owner for the
Quantity as measured out in the Port of London, or for the Quantity
contained in the Certificate?
The Meter's Delivery Account is our whole and sole Guide.
We have nothing to do with the Quantity taken in in the
Any Advantage that is derived from the Excess goes to the Ship
Owner, and not to the Proprietor of the Coal Mine?
When a Ship is on Freight, the Freighter gets that Advantage,
and the Ship Owner participates, inasmuch as he gets paid Freight
according to that Excess.
If, as is generally the Case, the Proprietor sells to the Ship
Owner, he sells according to the Quantity fitted in the North, and
the Ship Owner receives according to the Quantity made out in the
So that whatever Difference there is is to the Advantage of the
Decidedly to the Advantage of the Ship Owner.
Is it not your Opinion that selling by Weight would put an end
to the Breakage which now takes place?
I am not aware that there is any Breakage; we are not informed
of any Breakage taking place.
Do not you know that when the larger rounder Coals are
sent to Market, by breaking them they produce a larger Quantity?
Unquestionably; I am quite aware of that.
The Effect of this System of selling, or of levying the Duties, by
Measurement and not by Weight, is to encourage the Breakage of
those Coals into smaller Portions, is it not?
I should think that Practice is entirely abolished. It used to
be the Practice in former Years for the Captains, under the
Impression that their Cargoes would make out much better, to
break the large Coals; but I apprehend that Practice has been
How long do you imagine that Practice has been given up?
Before I was a Factor; but I cannot speak to Facts, because it
does not come under our Practice or our Knowledge at all. If any
Captains of Ships were imprudent enough to break the Coals, we
should not be acquainted with it; they would take especial Care to
hide it from our Knowledge.
You cannot answer any Questions upon that Subject from your
own Knowledge, but only from Hearsay?
Just so. The Captains would take care we should not know the
You know, that by breaking the rounder Coals, they produce a
Do you think it possible to do without a Meter or Middle-man
between the Buyer and the Seller?
If Coals were sold by Weight instead of the present Measurement, and the Duty were taken off, it is possible that the Middleman might be dispensed with; if The King's Duty were taken off,
or if the Government were satisfied.
Do you think that if the Duty was collected by Weight at the
Port of Shipment, there would be no Necessity for Meters in the
Port of London?
I can only state what my Feeling would be if I had a Cargo of
Coals delivering in the Pool. I should take care, if there was no
such Middle-man, to employ such People to deliver it as would see
that if a Person came for 100 Tons, they would not foolishly give
him 101 Tons.
For your own Security?
Yes; and as a Proof of that, many Ships that come and deliver
Coals are laid on the Birth to go to Hamburgh to take in a Cargo
worth from 50,000l. to 75,000l.; and the Moment that Cargo is
placed on board the Ship the Master signs Bills of Lading, and
makes the Owner responsible for the whole of the Cargo, however
valuable it may be; consequently, if I repose so much Confidence
in a Man as to allow him to sign such Bills of Lading, I can have
no Hesitation in trusting him to deliver 200 Tons of Coals, or
whatever the Quantity might prove to be.
Then you would do by that Mode without additional Charge to
Yes, decidedly and distinctly. How that would work in Practice
it is impossible for me to say at present, but I should have no Hesitation in submitting my Interests to the People I employed; and I
imagine a Buyer would take care that if he bought 100 Tons he did
not take 99 only.
Are you aware of any other Charges to which the Buyers are
subject in the Port of London, besides that of Meters; do you know
any thing of the Coal Whippers?
Yes, I do.
What is that System?
The System of delivering our Ships is this, that we are obliged by
some Act of the City, I believe it is confined to the City of London,
some Local Act, to pay these Men 3s. a Score for all the Coals
Are not those Coal Whippers placed under the Management of
a Set of Men called Undertakers?
More properly speaking, now Publicans.
Those Undertakers are appointed by Act of Parliament?
Yes, I believe they are.
Is there not a Provision in the Act of Parliament declaring that
Publicans shall not be Undertakers?
I believe there is a Provision that a Man shall not be both a
Publican and an Undertaker.
In point of fact, they are chiefly Publicans, are they not?
It was some Years ago discovered that Undertakers were so perfectly useless, though the Ship Owners had been used to pay them
1d. a Chaldron, that they are now nearly done away.
To whom do you apply for the Coal Whippers?
The Captain of the Ship works, as it is called, out of a Public
House. The Men are appointed by the Publican.
The Whippers are appointed by the Publican?
Yes, so I understand.
Under an Appointment of the City?
There I can speak only as to Report.
You can speak to the Wages of those Persons, probably?
They have 3s. for each Score of Coals.
How much is that for each Imperial Chaldron?
It is 6s. for the Forty Chaldrons, whether they work or are idle.
As soon as they are appointed to a Ship, they are allowed to make
Two Score a Day.
Do you pay them in advance?
We have nothing to do with the Payment of the Coal
Whippers; I do not know how the Captain arranges for their
How do you mean, whether they work or are idle?
When once they are appointed to a Ship, the Act of Parliament
says, that the Coal Merchant, after he has bought the Coals, shall
work at the Rate of Forty-two Chaldrons a Day. If he does not
work at that Rate, they come on him for what is called Balk Days,
that is, those Days on which they are unemployed; and that amounts
to 6s. per Man per Day.
Are you forced to pay them that?
Yes; that is One of the grievous Things we have to complain of.
If it was not for this Act of Parliament obliging you to do it,
could not the Coals be delivered by the Crews of the Ships?
I should think they might. Occasionally all the Ships in the
Out-ports are delivered by their Crews; they are the same Men
that sometimes go to an Out-port. I apprehend that what they do
at Brighton and Hastings they could do in London.
Even supposing that by some Accident the Crews who deliver
the Cargoes at Brighton or Hastings could not do it in London, if
the Captain was enabled to bargain for the Men under a free Trade,
could he not get them at a much cheaper Rate?
Yes, undoubtedly; very much cheaper.
Do you know, during the Time that this Operation is going on
by the Coal Whippers, what becomes of the Sailors?
They are generally idling about the Decks; they have very little
to do. They may be employed about the Rigging, and whatever
little Things may be necessary about the Ship, and getting the
Barges to and from the Ship.
During that Time, they receive Wages from the Captain?
They are paid by the Voyage. Probably each Man may receive
a Pound in London, and the Balance when he gets back to
Has not this Practice a Tendency to increase the Price of
Unquestionably. If our Captains could go on the Highway and
hire Men, and make a Bargain, and employ their own Seamen with
them, we could deliver Coals much cheaper.
Is there any Branch of the Coal Trade you are acquainted with
which is not fettered by some Regulation of the Act of Parliament
in the City of London?
I am afraid it is very much so, and in no Instance more than in
respect to the Delivery of the Ships. I have been complaining of
this for the last Fifteen Years, but I have not been able to get any
of my Correspondents to listen to me.
Are you not aware, that, without relation to the Government
Duties, if these vexatious Restrictions were done away, the Public
would be supplied much cheaper?
Yes. If I could get my Ship delivered for 12l. instead of 36l.
(which I am prepared to shew), she could go for 9s. Freight, where
I now receive 11s.
Are you prepared with a Statement shewing the Difference it
If I had understood the Questions which would be proposed, I
would have come better prepared on these Subjects.
Can you state what are the Items which make up the 36l. and
what are the Items which would make up the 12l.?
I can state respecting a Ship of my own, last Year, called the
Neva. She made only One Voyage in the Coal Trade, and
delivered 455 Chaldrons and 2 Vats. The Charges of her Delivery
on that Occasion, including the Meters and every thing else, was
41l. 14s. 6d. When she came from Quebec, the same Ship was
delivered for 14l.; and when she came from St. Petersburgh, she
was delivered for 13l. I should say, if I were asked the Question,
that the Delivery of the Coals was easy Work for the Men in Six
Days; and that the Delivery from Quebec, when the Men earned
14l., was very hard Work for Twelve Days.
When you mentioned the Men, whom did you mean; the Crew
of the Ship or the Persons employed?
The Persons employed; they are technically called Lumpers.
When Men deliver Ships laden with Timber from America, they
are called Lumpers; when they deliver Coals in the Pool, they
are called Whippers.
How did you make out the Charge of 41l.?
It is composed of an imperative Price. We are obliged to pay
3s. to each Man for each Score of Coals, and the Meter's Bill.
How many Men had you employed in this Ship on delivering
I cannot speak to that; I merely observed it in the Accounts
charged to me by my Captain, a Man who is Part Owner with me
in the Ship.
How much did you pay to each Man employed for each Chaldron
you took out of the Ship?
At the Rate of 3s. per Score for each Man.
What is a Score?
Are the Lumpers Persons employed by the City?
No; we hire them where we like, or else we could not get them
at that Price; it would cost us as much again.
Do those high Wages go into the Pockets of the Whippers, or
do they go chiefly to the Publicans?
They go into the Pockets of the Coal Whippers, as far as the
Captain of the Ship is concerned; but I cannot speak from my own
Knowledge. I cannot shut my Ears. I hear that those Men are
very much imposed upon.
Is it not notorious that the Result of those high Wages is to put
inordinate Profits into the Pockets of the Publicans, who supply
them with Gin and Spirits?
The Whippers, I am confident, do not get all the Money they earn.
I believe that the Excellence of those Whippers consist in the Quantity of Gin and Beer they can consume, and for which they are
Customers to the Publicans. I believe those Men have been obliged
to pay Douceurs to go on board a Ship. I heard that Fact this very
Morning before I came down.
To pay for the Privilege of working?
Yes; and their Excellence is estimated not by the Manual
Labour they can perform, but the Largeness of the Score against
Are any of them Soldiers?
I cannot say.
Can a Captain apply to whatever Publican he pleases, or is he
obliged to apply to any one in particular?
The Ships are generally fixed to particular Houses. One
Man wrote to me to say he would give me a Couple of Gallons
of Gin each Voyage if I would allow my Ships to work out of
his House. As I am not in the habit of drinking Gin, or of
taking Bribes, I took away the only Ship I had previously sent
Those Coal Whippers are regarded by the Publicans who appoint
them in proportion to the Quantity of Money they spend with
I believe so. I know nothing of the Circumstances but from
Hearsay. I have currently heard that Report.
Those Publicans have the Power of appointing those Persons
oftener or less frequently according to the Benefit they derive from
I believe so.
Are those Expences you mention occurring to your Ship the
Neva, exclusive of the Lighterage on the Coals being put on board
Yes; this is for the Delivery into the Lighters. The Coal Merchant has nothing to do with the Coals until they are put on board
the Lighters; we put them free on board.
Are you aware of any of the Expences after the Coals have been
put into the Lighter?
Each Man is obliged to deliver Two Score in the Day?
Yes, or to pay Demurrage. Here is the Form of a Turn Paper.
(Producing the same.)
It operates upon him as a Fine if he does not deliver Two
He is liable to pay the Men at the Rate of 3s. per Score, and to
pay us a Remuneration for our Vessel.
How many of those Whippers have you employed at a Time?
Four Men in the Hold, Four to whip up, One at the Basket,
and the Meter and his Man; making altogether Eleven Persons;
and in some Cases, where the Ships run very large, such a Ship as
the Neva, they have Five Men to whip; but the Instances of that
are very rare.
Those Eleven Men are to deliver in the Day Two Score?
Do they ever deliver more?
That is not a hard Day's Work?
Certainly not; Four Score is not considered a hard Day's
Work, nor Five. The Meters consider it what they call a good
Day if they can deliver Five Score; then the Men get 12s. or 15s.
What do you suppose you would get Five Score delivered for by
Much in the same Proportion as the same Men deliver Balks or
What would they get for a Day's Work, supposing they could
deliver Five Score?
If it were at Half the Price they would each get 7s. 6d. if they
delivered 100 Chaldrons.
Do you think you could get them to work at that Rate; at Half
It would be difficult perhaps to lower their Income all at once,
but I have no doubt they would in Time be got to do it.
How much do you think you could get it lower than that if you
were to employ your own People?
I am sure I cannot tell; but very likely at Half the Price, or
even less than Half. If a poor Man can earn 6s. a Day, as the
minimum Price, I dare say, sooner than not be employed, he would
be content to take 3s.
Would it be more expensive to discharge a Cargo of Coals than
of any thing else?
I should think not.
Does the Ship Master experience no Hardship from being
obliged to pay both Meters and Whippers when the State of the
Weather prevents the Discharge of the Cargo?
Has any Inconvenience occurred to yourself?
A great many hard Cases have come under my Knowledge
during the late Frost; but the Expence rested entirely with the
Buyers, and must eventually fall on the Public.
Do you recollect any particular Instances?
No; but I know there are a great many.
Are you obliged to pay those Men during the whole Time the
Ship is in the Pool, notwithstanding they cannot work?
The Magistrates have so decided, although the River was frozen
from Side to Side; they say that is the Act of Parliament. They
admit it to be a hard Case, but that they cannot deviate from it.
On one Occasion I called the Attention of Mr. Drummer, the Principal Clerk in the Sea Coal Meters Office, to the State of the
River; he said it was their System, and he could not deviate from
his System in any way, and that he could not help the State of
Have you a Copy of a Factor's Account for the Sale of a Cargo
No, I have not; I can state what the Charges are.
Is there a Charge for Meter's Office and Entry?
How much is that?
Four Shillings per Ship.
Trinity Dues and Cocket?
Trinity Dues amount to 1d. per Chaldron; but that comes under
the Denomination of Lights.
There are The Lord Mayor's Dues, are there not?
Yes; a Farthing per Newcastle Chaldron, which is double the
Imperial Chaldron, on the Certificate we receive from the North.
The 4s. per Ship you have referred to is on the Ship, whatever
What is the Factor's Commission?
One per Cent. for Commission and Guarantee; and small enough
How much per Imperial Chaldron is that?
When the Price of Coals is 36s. it is about 4d. a Chaldron, fluctuating as the Price may be more or less; but when it is 1s. a
Bushel, our Commission is 4d. a Chaldron.
What are the Trinity House Dues and Stamps?
The Receipt Stamps to the Buyers and Postages? These
Expences depend on the Number of Buyers we sell the Coals to.
What are the Trinity House Dues?
They are for the Lights; I cannot explain that.
Did you ever hear of their Existence in the River Thames any
There are no Lights above the Nore; that is the first Light.
Are they along the Coast?
There are various Lights along the Coast.
Is that a Charge for the Lights from Newcastle or Sunderland to
I should apprehend not, for there is a Charge at the other End
for those Lights. It appears in some very old Form of Account of
mine that it is 1d. per Newcastle Chaldron.
Is there not a Charge for Ingrain allowed to Buyers?
The Buyers have that Ingrain.
Which is not in your Account with the Ship Owner?
We remit the Account as we receive it from the Buyers; and
the Calculation is Twenty-one Chaldrons to the Score.
Does the Charge for Ingrain appear in your Account?
No, I think not. If I sell 105 Chaldrons of Coals to a Man,
the Price is made out for 100 Chaldrons. We calculate it by
printed Books. The Five Chaldrons is the Ingrain upon 100
You give Five Chaldrons to the Buyer of 100?
Who pays for those Five Chaldrons?
The Buyer receives Twenty-one and pays for Twenty Chaldrons.
Is the Ship Owner the Person who supplies that extra Chaldron,
or the Proprietor?
The Ship Owner, when the Coals are on his own Account.
Are there other Charges for Metage?
There is 10d. to the City for Orphans Dues, and 4d. for Metage,
which we pay to Mr. Drummer.
Is there any other Charge?
There is a Charge for the Labour of the Meter; I do not recollect
the exact Amount of that. I can state in round Numbers what
the Meter's Bill in the Neva came to; it was about 7l. for the
Meter and his Man. That was for the Labour.
There were Two separate Payments, the one to the City for the
Metage, and the other to the Meter for his Labour?
Yes; and 4d. a Chaldron we pay to Mr. Drummer, the Principal
Clerk in the Coal Meters Office; and I believe he pays it to the
Chamberlain of the City.
To refer back to the Act of 47 Geo. 3. is not the Meter allowed
3s. a Day in the room of eating and drinking?
Has he not his Eating and Drinking besides?
I dare say he very frequently has.
Does not the Cabin Boy call out, "Meter, the Dinner is on the
I have no doubt that is the Fact; I know the Captains do not
prevent their eating if they choose to eat.
The Provision of the Act is, that the Meter should not eat on
Yes, undoubtedly; and in lieu of that they have the 3s. a Day
for eating and drinking; I know they have the 3s.; whether they
eat and drink I cannot say; but the Conviction on my Mind is,
that they very frequently do.
Is not there an Act of Parliament by which the Coal Buyers
are not bound to find Craft for more than Forty-two Chaldrons
Yes; they are bound to find Craft for Forty-two Chaldrons a
They are not bound to find more?
I know that they very frequently do find more.
Could not they discharge a great deal more than Forty-two
They do, a great many more; and sometimes they cannot do the
Quantity they are required to do.
Do you know any thing of Dispatch Money?
I have heard of such Things.
What is the Purpose of that?
To induce the Coal Merchant or his Lighterman to get the Ship
out before her stipulated Time, which is at the Rate of Forty-two
Chaldrons a Day.
To whom is the Dispatch Money paid?
I believe to the Lightermen.
Did you ever know it happen that when a Ship is nearly out,
and has not more than Five or Six Chaldrons over Forty-two, the
Bargeman will not find Room over without receiving a Bribe?
I have certainly heard of such Things.
Supposing there to be a fair Wind, and the Captain ready to
sail, he is obliged to give him that?
It is a great Inducement to the Captain to give him that which
he asks, and I have no doubt in many Instances it is done.
Do you know any thing of the Land Metage?
Nothing at all, except that I believe there is a Man appointed to
Is it your Opinion that the Sea Coal Metage is properly and
fairly conducted; that the System is a good one, without any
Reference to the Propriety of selling by Measure instead of Weight;
even under the present System, are there not certain Abuses
The Ships make out very differently. As to the Abuses, I am
not prepared to speak to that.
You know nothing of the Abuses after the Coals have left the
You know of no Frauds previous to the Arrival of the Coals at
the Consumer's Cellar?
I know that only as any indifferent Person would know it.
Did it ever happen to you in your own Concerns to discover
No; I never paid Attention to the Point.
According to the Act of Parliament, it is necessary that every
Cargo should be entered in the Coal Market Office, is it not?
Who is the Agent of that Office?
The Clerks of the Market, Mr. Butcher, Mr. Richardson and
Mr. Pearsall; that is the Place where we enter the Copy of the
Do you believe that any of the Factors Clerks are Coal Undertakers?
I think I have heard of some of them acting in that Way; but
I cannot speak on that Point with any Precision.
If the Coal Undertakers are Factors Clerks, they have an Interest
in disposing of the Cargoes?
If they happen to be Undertakers, they are by Act of Parliament
allowed 1d. a Chaldron. I think I have heard of One Instance,
but whether he does so now I do not know.
You have stated that the Coals measured more on Delivery than
they did on taking in; how do you account for that Increase?
I have not the slightest Knowledge. Sometimes it amounts to
more, sometimes less.
You do not know how to account for it?
Only that all Cone Measures must necessarily be indefinite Measures. In my Opinion, one Meter makes the Cone higher than
The Factor sells to the Coal Merchant in London?
Yes; he sells to Coal Buyers.
Not to the Consumer?
No; unless the Consumer chooses to come on the Coal Market,
which he has the Means of doing.
The Coal Merchant then sells to the Consumer?
Yes; we are the Agents for the Gentlemen in the North Country.
The Coal Merchants represent the Public. We are the Middlemen between the Coal Owners and the Consumers.
Your Account of these Expences is that of delivering Coals from
We pay all the Expences in the first instance, and charge them,
and then give Credit on the other Side for the Money we receive
for the Coals.
The Account you have given is the Account of the Expence of
the Delivery from the Ship solely to the Coal Merchant?
Yes. The Coal Buyer has nothing to do with the Coals 'till we
put them into his Barges.
The Expences you have been mentioning are those you pay for
the Delivery to him?
Yes. These are the Expences before they come into the Hands
of the Coal Merchant.
Have you any thing to say to the Lighterage?
I know nothing about that. When the Coals are put into the
Lighter our Business is to endeavour to receive the Money for
Your Duty ceases when they are put into the Lighter?
Yes; we have then only to collect our Monies, if we can. After
that Time the Coal Merchant has the Coals, to the Expences of
which I cannot speak.
You have stated that, under the Act of Parliament, the Time for
selling at the Coal Exchange is from Twelve 'till Two?
In point of fact, at what Period of that Time are the Coals
I should say generally, at the present Moment, before Two
Is the Sale of Coals distributed over those Two Hours, or is it
confined within a shorter Time?
We are allowed to sell within that Time, but the Buyer puts off
his Purchase, and we put off selling, 'till we feel the Pulse of each
So that the Bargain is frequently made within the last Quarter of
What is the Object of confining the selling within those Hours at
the Coal Exchange?
To congregate the Persons together within those Hours, otherwise
it would be difficult to ascertain the Supply and Demand.
The Ship Owner pays in the North to the Coal Owner for the
Quantity of Coals marked on the Meter's Certificate?
Supposing, when that Ship comes to the Pool, that it measures
out a greater Quantity than is upon that Certificate, the Difference
between the Two Quantities will be gained by the Ship Owner?
You say, by breaking, the Coals would measure out further?
I should imagine so.
In that Case, is it not the Interest of the Ship Owner to break
the Coals during the Passage, to make them measure out more when
they come to London?
There is no Opportunity in the Passage; the Ship is loaded to
Supposing he could do it, is it not an evident Advantage to him?
The Coals would measure more, but the Ship would not get such
Dispatch; and the latter Interest supersedes the other.
So that, upon the whole, you do not think there would be any
Advantage to the Ship Owner, if he could break the Coals?
I do not think it is in Practice at all on the Passage; it is impossible.
You do not allude to what takes place in the Coal Merchant's
What the Coal Merchants do afterwards I know nothing about.
Supposing the Duty to be taken at Newcastle on the Weight
instead of the Measure, would not the Quantity sold at Newcastle
be always exactly equal to that sold in the Pool again?
It ought to be, if the Parties at both Ends do their Duty.
There could be no such Difference as now appears?
No, certainly not; unless the Coals were damped, and thus a
You can state no Objection to the paying the Duty or paying for
the Coals by Weight rather than by Measure?
I can see no very great Difficulty about it. If there are 200
Tons put on board the Ship at Sunderland, dry, and in perfect
Order, if the same Duty is performed here as was there, of course
those 200 Tons ought to come out here without the slightest Variation, if the Coals are constantly dry. I do not know how that
would work in practice, because perhaps a Merchant, or some of
those Persons who buy of our Coal Merchants, might, if the
Market went back, make a Pretence and say that the Coals were
damp, and he would not work them. It is impossible for me to say
how the Thing might and would be. If all Men were honest in the
Trade (which I suppose they are) there would be no Difficulty
about the Matter.
If a Man chooses to be dishonest, in the Way in which Coals are
now measured he may take Advantage?
In all Trades there are respectable Men, and highly so, and the
Supposing the Coals to be wetted on the Passage by Accident or
Design, would they weigh heavier when they came to the Port of
I should think so, inasmuch as a Pint of Water weighs a Pound.
Suppose a Coal Merchant were to find a Cargo of Coals he has
bought wetted, would he not refuse to take them under those Circumstances?
Yes; and I think he would be justified in so doing, if they were
Therefore it could not be for the Advantage of the Ship Owner
or his Captain to wet the Coals on their Passage?
No, I think not, if he knew his own Interest.
If the Time of the Market being opened was extended to Three
o'Clock, would not the same Thing happen as does now, that the
chief Business would be transacted towards the Close of the Time
appointed for Sale?
I should think the same Difficulties would occur if we had 'till
Twelve o'Clock at Night, for the Purchaser would put off his
buying, and the Factor would put off selling, 'till he had ascertained
what would be the probable Price.
Coals cannot be sold but at the Coal Market?
What is the Object of confining the Sale of Coals to that
There must be some Place to meet.
Why may not the Owner sell where he pleases?
The Supply and Demand must regulate the Price, and we should
never know the State of the Market. We could not carry it on
unless we were all to meet together, and at certain Hours.
Without preventing your meeting together, why should not a
Coal Buyer be allowed to go to a Person having them to sell at his
The Person doing so might give 5s. more or less than he would
in other Cases.
What Reason is there for obliging the Persons to buy and sell to
meet at one Place?
I think the Business could not be carried on unless we had
The Question does not respect the stipulated Hours at the Coal
Exchange, but why any Individual should be prevented going to
your Counting-house at any Time of the Day, and buying a Cargo
I do not know why it should not be; but I should say, as a
practical Man, the Business could not be carried on if that were the
You pay, on every Bargain, a Fee to the Clerk of the Market?
We pay him 1d. a Chaldron.
Then if a Person came and made his Bargain with you at your
private House, he would save that Penny a Chaldron?
Certainly, if the Act of Parliament did not oblige us to pay that
Then what corresponding Advantage is there to the Public which
should induce the Payment of that?
I know of no Advantage to the Public; it is a Charge on the
Why are the Public obliged to pay that Penny in consequence
of being forced to go and deal at the Coal Exchange?
It is under the Act of Parliament; I cannot say why it is so.
Do you know to what the Penny is applied?
It is paid to the Chamberlain's Office.
Who have the Appointment of the Clerks?
The Common Council.
Do you recollect the passing of this Act of the 47th of The
That was passed before I came on the Coal Exchange.
Do you know that that Act was drawn up by a Committee of
Gentlemen appointed by the City?
I cannot say. The Market was established as it is before I was
a Coal Factor.
The Market is opened only Three Days a Week?
From Twelve to Three?
For the Purpose of carrying on the Business of that Market there
are Three Clerks appointed?
Do you know the Salaries of those Clerks?
Not at all.
Have they any Fees besides their Salaries?
Yes; we pay them either 1s. or 1s. 6d. per Ship, be the Ship
larger or smaller.
Does that appear in the Charge to the Ship Owner?
It is a Charge to the Ship Owner or Freighter.
Besides this Salary, and 1s. per Ship you give them, they have
also the Privilege of sending out the Letters called the Coal Market
That is a Privilege they have lately taken upon themselves.
Do you know how many Letters they send out?
I have not the slightest Idea.
Should you not be surprised if you were told that they sent out
It is very likely.
Do you know what you pay them for those Letters?
No; I think we pay them Three Guineas - not for that Letter,
but for a Document that Mr. Pearsall has lately introduced. It is
quite a new Thing.
That is in addition to the Fees of which you have spoken?
What other Persons pay this Three Guineas?
I do not know.
Do all the Coal Factors pay it?
I think it very likely, but I never asked them the Question.
Could not the Duties performed by those Three Clerks at this
Salary, with those Perquisites, be performed by One Single
No, I think not, because they have to copy every Contract that
passes through the Office; the Act of Parliament requires it to be
Can you point out any Use in having this Copy of the Contract
None whatever; I do not know the Use of it.
What Contract is it?
A Contract, a Copy of which I hold in my Hand. They keep
Books, and every one of those Contracts are copied by the Clerks
of the Market.
Is not the Use of it an Excuse to levy the Penny a Chaldron?
I do not know. They receive 1d. a Chaldron from us, and that
is one of the Duties they perform.
Is it any Check on the Quantities delivered?
Not at all.
Could not you give the Clerk a second or third printed Copy of
Yes; and it would be very little Trouble to us; we do give
him one of those already, and we could give him more if he
He enters this in a Book?
Yes; that is by Order of the Act of Parliament, or the local
Authorities of the City.
To what Use is this Copy of the Contract applied?
I know of none. The Books are put into Shelves, and they
occupy a large Space. After it is done, I know of no Use.
Did you ever hear of any Person looking into them?
Perhaps on some litigated Point?
Very probably. I never have had Occasion during my Twentythree Years Practice to refer to them.
Can you conceive any Subject, except that of a Lawsuit, that
could call on a Person to look into them?
If a Man was not satisfied as to the Price on the Return, he
might do so.
Could your Business be carried on without any such Entry?
It is of no Use to your Business?
Not at all.
Do those Clerks employ any Persons under them again?
Are those Clerks Freemen of the City of London?
Necessarily so, or they could not be Candidates for the Office.
I am speaking from the best of my Knowledge.
Under the Act, all those Officers appointed must be Freemen of
the City of London?
To the best of my Knowledge.
You must sell on the Coal Exchange?
Yes; we cannot sell Coals off the Coal Exchange, under a
Penalty of £100.
Do you know whether the Meters are Freemen also of the City?
I believe so.
Do you know of any other Trade carried on in the Port of
London on which there are so many vexatious Restrictions?
I should think there are very few, if any. Our Locality is such
that we do not know of them, but I do not think there is any one
You are a Ship Owner as well as a Coal Factor?
You know that the Restrictions on the Coal Trade are infinitely
greater than those on the Timber Trade?
Yes, they are; the Extent is in the Proportion I have stated
in my Evidence,
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Saturday next,