Coal Trade: Minutes of evidence, 27 February 1830

Pages 1443-1453

Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].

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In this section

Die Sabbati, 27 Februarii 1830.


The Lord President in the Chair.

Mr. James Duke is called in, and examined as follows:

What is your Occupation?

A Coal Factor.

Look at the Paper now shewn to you, and state to the Committee what it is. Is that an Acknowledgment which the Factor receives when he makes a first Payment to the Custom House on account of the Duty?

Yes; it is the Customs Warrant.

Is that Paper the Authority to permit the Coals to be unladen?

It is; and is accompanied with other Papers.

The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

Port of London.

Quarterly No. In the of Master, from Chalders of

Coals per Transire.

The Duty for Chalders of Coals, in the above Ship, being paid, you may permit that Quantity to be unladen.

Custom House, dated this Day of 182.
Controller Agent, £
To the Sworn Meters appointed to see the above-named Ship discharged.

N.B.- By the 9th and 10th of William 3. Chap. 13. Sect. 9. the Meter is directed to return to the Collector, as soon as the Ship shall be unladen, a true Certificate of the Quantity delivered, under Penalty of One hundred Pounds. And by a Minute of the Board of Customs, dated 30th May 1698, Duplicate of such Certificate is to be given to the Controller.

These are to certify, that there have been delivered out of the Ship, whereof is Master, Chalders and Bushels of Coals, and no more, on this present Voyage. Dated this Day of 182.

Sworn Meter.

Does not the Act of Parliament require the Duties to be paid before the Ship breaks Bulk?

It does.

Is this Paper the Post Entry Warrant on which the exact Amount of Duty payable is liquidated after the Quantity has been ascertained?

It is.


The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

Port of London.

The Tons, Men.
In the of Master from
Chalders of Coals. Day of 182. Agent.
The above Ship took on board Coals, as appears by Certificate dated the of 182. Chalders of Day

Is this Paper the Form of the Contract between the Factor and the Buyers prescribed by Section 29 of 47 Geo. 3.? (The same being shewn to the Witness.)

It is.

The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

London, 182.

We, whose Names are hereunto subscribed as Buyers, have this Day severally bought of James Duke, Factor for the Ship Master, the several

Parts or Proportions of the Cargo or Loading of Coals now on board the said Ship, which are annexed and opposite to our respective Signatures, (the whole Cargo or Loading being certified to be Chaldrons,) be the same more or less, at Pounds Shillings per Score, with Metage and Market Dues, to be severally taken and received by us respectively, from and out of the said Ship, at and after the Rate of Forty-two Chaldrons per Day, and to be paid for by us severally, according to our respective Proportions, on Delivery of the same; viz. One Third Value in Cash, One Third in a Note of Sixty Days, dated on the Market Day after the said Delivery, payable to the Order of James Duke, and the remaining One Third on the Fourth Market Day after the said Delivery. And we severally hold ourselves liable to any Loss or Demurrage in case of Detention in working out the Cargo, and to be severally and respectively liable for our several and respective Defaults in not taking out the Coals in the Manner and Turns as shall be specified and set forth in the Agreement to be made between us pursuant to the 60th Section of the Act of Parliament of the Second Session of the 47 Geo. 3, Chap 68, he or they whose Turn shall be last clearing the Ship, whether more or less than his or their Quantity.

N. B. - The Seller agrees to allow the Buyer or Buyers Two Pounds per Cent. on the One Third, if paid in Cash on the Ship's Delivery, and Two Pounds per Cent. on One Third, if paid on the Fourth Market Day after the Ship's Delivery, with One Shilling per Score as Scorage, and also the Note Stamp.


Witness, Buyer

Is this Paper a Variation of that Contract when the Cargo is sold to various Persons?

This is what we call the Turn Paper, by which the Buyers regulate the Turns they shall take in working the Cargo; and the Turns are settled by the Parties drawing Lots for them.

Is that Paper required by the 60th Section of 47 Geo. 3.?

It is.


The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

London, 1830.

We, the Buyers of the Cargo of the Ship Master, with

Coals, certified to be Chaldrons, do severally agree to work the said Cargo in the following Manner and Turns; he or they whose Turn shall happen to be the last taking the full Residue of the Cargo, be the same more or less than the Quantity certified.

Are there any other Papers required by the Act of 47 Geo. 3.?

There are some other Papers required at the Meter's Office. A Copy of the Fitter's Certificate, and the Certificate of The Lord Mayor's Dues being paid.

Does not the 29th Section of that Act require that all Contracts for Coals between the Buyers and Sellers should be entered, by the Factor or other Person having the Disposal of the said Coals, in a Book, and a true Copy thereof delivered to the Clerk of the Market within One Hour after the closing of the Market, to be entered in a Book to be kept for that Purpose, to which all Persons are to have access; and that Persons selling their own Coals, without the Intervention of Factors, shall furnish a Copy of the Contract to the Clerk of the Market to be entered as aforesaid; and that the true and full Price of such Sales shall be entered with the said Clerks; and are not Penalties of One hundred Pounds imposed on Persons infringing this Provision, or making or receiving any Abatement or Allowance out of the Price entered with the Clerk of the Market?

Just so.

Are you aware of the Utility of this Provision?

No; I think it is objectionable, as far as my Opinion goes.

In what respect?

It has lately come out in a Trial that those Contracts have not always been correct, and that the Public is therefore imposed upon The Case to which I allude was tried in the Court of King's Bench, when the Factor was called to prove that the Contract which he gave in was not correct; that he had agreed to sell the Coals on different Terms. I think the Price ought to be left to the Competition of Trade.

There is no Security whatever for the Correctness of this Contract?

None that I know of, except the Penalty.

Has that Penalty ever been levied?

Not that I know of.

Do you know of any Instance in which the Parties have referred to the Copies of the Contract held by the Clerks of the Market?

I do not know any Instance in which they have.

You do not know of any Use whatever of this Establishment for the keeping Copies of the Contract?

Not of the Contract. I do not consider the second Copy as of any Use, after the Factor has delivered in one.

You think the Contracts are wholly nugatory and unnecessary?

I think that the Turn Bill is all that is necessary, and that we should be allowed to sell Coals 'till Three o'Clock, when that Paper is required to be delivered to the Meter's Office.


There is always a Market List of Prices published?


Is that always true and correct?

It has been proved not to be so; but the Price is always taken from the Contract.

Is it not common to return the Price of Coals 1s. or sometimes more than 1s. in Price higher than they really are?

By no means common; but that has been done, I believe.

For what Purpose are those false Returns made?

Really I do not know; they may at Times assist the Sale of inferior Coals, by making the Public pay more than the actual Value of the Article.

The Publication of the Market List of Prices has not the Effect of protecting the Public from such Proceedings?

I think quite the reverse, and that the best Protection is the Respectability of the Coal Merchant and the Competition of Trade.

Can you explain to the Committee what the Ingrain means?

Yes; it is One Chaldron in every Twenty-one given to the Buyer without Payment.

Does not that Proceeding make the Price to the Buyer Five per Cent. less than the List states?

Exactly so; on that Account particularly I think the Publication of the List is objectionable.

In fact it is erroneous, as it does not state the true Prices?

It does not, as the Prices are always Five per Cent. less than the Sum received from the Buyer, in consequence of the Ingrain.

Is there any Penalty imposed upon any of the Parties for returning Prices in the List incorrectly?

There is.

Has that Penalty ever been levied?

Not to my Knowledge.

Can the Factors comply with the Act of Parliament without injuring their Employers?

It is very difficult to do so; it is almost impossible in a Market with 200 Ships, when we have so short a Period to do our Business in.

The Machinery of the Act is any thing but advantageous to the free Sale of Coals?

I think so; there are many Parts of the Act which encumber us very much.

It is so disadvantageous that it is never acted upon?

In many Parts it is.

Would it be a Benefit to the Public if you were to act strictly upon it?

No, I think not; it would give us a great deal more Trouble, without benefiting the Public.

You do not know for what Object the Act was framed?

No, I do not; it was so long ago, I was not in the Trade at the Time.


Has any Opinion been given on that Act by any high Legal Authority, to your Knowledge?

I understand that the present Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, when he was at the Bar, said it was a clumsy Piece of Joiner's Work, when it was referred to him upon some Points by a Deputation of the Factors.

Do you recollect the Case which was referred to him?

No, I do not; I was not one of the Deputation.

Is there not a Provision in the Act exempting the Buyers from working more than Forty-two Chaldrons in the Day, unless they choose it?


Is that of any Advantage to the Public?

It is considered an Advantage, inasmuch as the Ship then calculates on her regular Time of being discharged.

It obliges them to work Forty-two Chaldrons, and they may work as many more as they please?

Exactly so.

Cannot One Gang of Whippers work with Ease 105 Chaldrons a Day?

They can.

Under this Act have not the Meters a Right, if they are once attached to the Ship, to deliver the whole of her, and to be paid Detention Money, though the Detention may not be occasioned by any Act of the Master?

During the Frost lately the Magistrates decided so at the Thames Police Office; and though the Buyers could not get the Ship worked, they were compelled to pay Detention Money in several Cases.

On what Ground did the Magistrate give that Decision?

He said it was so laid down in the Act of Parliament, and that he could not help himself.

Have you ever considered the great Variations in making out under the present System of Measure?

Yes, I have; I have made some Extracts for the Information of your Lordships Committee upon that Subject.

Can you instance it in the Case of any particular Ships?

I can.

Have you referred to the Case of Four or Five particular Ships?

I have.

Have you referred to the Case of the Hamond, the Mervin, the Juno and the Jane?


Does that Paper now shewn to you contain the Result of your Observations?

It does.

The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows;


Date. Ship's Name. Sort of Coals. Certified Quantity at Newcastle. Delivered in London. Differen ce over the certified Quantity. Difference under the certified Quantity.
1828. Chaldrons. Chaldrons. Chaldrons. Chaldrons.
Jan. 10 Hamond Burraton W. E. 260 253¾ -
May 29 - - 260 266 6 -
July 26 - Riddell's W. E. 266 260¼ -
Aug.27 - Burraton W. E. 260 270½ 10½ -
Nov. 11 - Bewick's W. E. 260 275½ 15½ -
July 31 - Hilda W. E. 256 269¼ 13¼ -
Nov. 4 - Northd W. E. 260 252¾ -
Mar. 10 Mervin Riddell's W. E. 268 262 - 6
Aug. 25 - 266 274 8 -
Oct. 17 - Hilda W. E. 266 267½ -
Mar. 7 - Riddell's W. E. 266 254 - 12
July 18 - - 260 270½ 10½ -
Aug. 11 - Hilda W. E. 260 275¼ 15¼ -
Sept. 3 - Riddell's W. E. 260 259¼ - ¾
Feb. 3 Juno Hilda W. E. 288 279¾ -
May 18 - - 288 290½ -
Dec. 31 - Riddell's W. E. 288 277 - 11
May 7 Jane Heaton 276 298¾ 22¾ -
Aug. 31 - Riddell's W. E. 276 292 16 -
Sept. 25 - Hilda W. E. 276 294¾ 18¾ -
Nov. 25 290 278¼ 11¾
Nov. 3 Union Carr's W. E. 192 203 11 -
Dec. 3 - - 192 186½ -
Feb. 5 Cumberland Riddell's W. E. 264 253¾ - 10¼
- 14 Hero of the Nile Carr's W. E. 240 252¾ 12¾ -
-28 Voyager Walker W. E. 276 265¼ - 10¾
Mar. 4 Aire Carr's W. E. 240 250¾ 10¾ -
- 6 Phobe - 224 236¾ 12¾ -
- 14 Darlington - 208 222 14 -
April 9 Fortitude Hilda W. E. 320 357 37 -
- Amity Hebburn Small 176 189 13 -
-13 Hermione Newmarch and Heaton Small 232 279½ 47½ -
- 16 Matilda Willington Small 214 240½ 26½ -
-24 James Hilda W. E. 288 299 11 -
May 5 Norfolk Felling Main 416 441¾ 25¾ -
June 6 Beatrix Carr's W. E. 196 15¼ -
Aug. 11 (fn. 1) Sally Riddell's W. E. 200 213¾ 13¾ -
- Eliza Carr's W. E. 212 232¼ 20¼ -
Sept. 4 (fn. 1) Sally Willington 200 192 - 8
- 17 Gleadow Coxlodge 194 168¾ - 25¼
- 24 Lawrel East Percy 180 197½ 17½ -
Oct. 16 Edward Riddell's W. E. 256 271¾ 15¾ -
- 29 Sally Carr's W. E. 230 247½ 17½ -
Nov. 10 Clinker - 210 201¾ -
-11 Bywell Riddell's W. E. 256 274 18 -
- 30 Mary Anne Carr's W. E. 252 277 25 -
- Effort Hilda W. E. 396 413 17 -
Dec. 28 Cholmley Carr's W. E. 284 275½ -


Are you the Owner of a Ship called the Anna Maria?

I am one of the Owners.

Can you state to the Committee what it cost you to deliver a Cargo of Scotch Coals of 368 Tons?

The Anna Maria delivered 368 Chaldrons of Scotch Coals under an Expence of Delivery of 47l. 19s. 4d.

Did the same Vessel discharge her Cargo of 385 Tons of Sugar in the St. Catharine's Docks?

She did.

What was the Charge of Delivery there?

The actual Charge of Delivery was only 6£. 17s. 6d., the Dock Dues were 10l. 6s. 3d., which was the Total for the Expence of the Delivery of the Ship.

Will you state the Detail of the Two Accounts?

Two hundred and ten Chaldrons delivered on board the London and Edinburgh Steam Hulk at Blackwall at 4s. 7d. per Score, for Ten Men, 24l. 1s. 3d. She came into the Pool afterwards, and delivered 158 Chaldron at 3s. 6d. (we pay more for delivering below than in the Pool,) that is 13l. 16s. 8d. The Stage is 2s. 6d.; that is the Board over which the Coals are shot down the Ship's Side. Gin, 2s. 6d.; that is the Pully by which they raise the Coals from the Hold. The Stamp, 6d.; that is the Cask on which the Vat stands. Shovels, 4s.; Baskets, 8s.; and the Undertaker's Commission is 1£. 10s. 8d.; the Meter's Bill, 7l. 13s. 3d.; making together 47l. 19s. 4d. I will mention the same Ship's Delivery at other Places with Timber. She delivered a Cargo of 391 Loads of Timber at Limerick for 10£. 19s. I will state the comparative Deliveries of another Ship in London. The Sceptre, of 230 Tons Register, delivered in London a Cargo of Deals from Archangel for 7£. 10s.; she delivered a Cargo of Timber and Deals from Memel for 8£. 10s.; she delivered a Cargo of Deals from Memel for 8£.; and that Ship's Delivery with Coals is 25£. 8s. being more than the whole of the Delivery for those Three Voyages from the Baltic.

To what do you attribute the Difference of Expence in the Delivery of those Cargoes?

Entirely to the Act of Parliament. In the Case of the Anna Maria, which delivered at Blackwall, the Men would willingly have worked the Ship without an additional Charge for delivering out of the Pool, but I found I could not pay them at a reduced Rate without subjecting myself to a Penalty under the Act of Parliament.

If you were not obliged under the Act of Parliament to employ Meters and Whippers, could not you do it a great deal cheaper?

There is no doubt of that.

Do you see any Reason why you could not deliver a Cargo of Coals as cheap as a Cargo of Timber or a Cargo of Sugar?

I have no doubt that in Time the Men would willingly do it for nearly the same, if they were allowed; and that many of the Men do not get what the Act of Parliament allows them, but that Part of it goes to Undertakers and People who employ them.

Will you look at the Paper now shewn to you, and state whether it is a Factor's Account of the Disposal of Cargoes to several Buyers?

It is.


The same is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

Dr. Mr. William Williamson, and Owners of the Ship Mary, William Williamson, Master. Cr.

240 Chaldrons per Cocket. Entered 19th Feby; sold 19th and 22d Feby; cleared 27th Feby 1830. S. Mitchell, Meter.

£ s. d. £ s. d. By 246 Chaldrons of Carr and Co's Walls End Coals, at 32£. and 31£. 10s. per Score of 21 Chaldrons, with 8d. Metage and 1d. Market Dues per Chaldron.
To Entry Fees, Meters and Custom House Offices 0 5 0
Trinity Dues and Nore Lights, per Cocket 0 13 0 Chas. Vats. Price. £ s. d.
Additional Lights being cleared for 0 0 0 Feb. 19.
John Sharman and Co. 42 - 32 65 11 0
Lord Mayor's Dues, Groundage, and Entry Fee 0 4 6
Ralph Brown 31 2 - 49 3 0
Market Dues and Fee 1 2 0 William Burridge 21 - - 32 15 0
Tonnage Duty and Entry 1 16 6
Foy 0 2 6 Charles Marsden 31 2 - 49 3 0
4 3 6
Metage and Orphans Duty 14 7 0
King's Duty and Entry 74 17 0 T. W. and J. Horne 42 - - 65 11 0
Labourers Account
Discount, Scorage and Expences 7 11 0 Feb. 22.
Bill and Receipt Stamps for Buyers 1 2 6 William Tomlin 21 - 31/6 32 5 0
Thomas Turpin 21 - - 32 5 0
8 13 6
Commission and Guarantee 3 16 6 J. J. Kelly 36 - - 55 7 0
105 17 6 246 - - 382 0 0
Bill for Cargo 149 16 11
Cash to Captain Williamson 65 0 0
Balance 61 5 7
£ 382 0 0

23, Botolph Lane, London, 27th Feb. 1830. (Errors excepted.)


Explain what is the Charge for the Meter's Office?

There is 4s. paid to the Meter's Office.

What Duty is performed for the 4s. paid to the Meter's Office?

I do not know that there is any particular Duty; it is impossible for the City Officers to do their Business with less Trouble than the Factors give them, for the Papers are all taken into the Offices by the Factors Clerks.

Do you know of any Duties performed by them for that Fee?

No, not for that Fee; that is not for any particular Service.

Are there other Charges which the Ship pays the Meters?


Do you know of any particular Duty performed for this Fee?

No, not any.

That is quite a Sinecure?

Yes. I should, perhaps, observe, that I believe that we are not compelled to pay that Fee; that has always been my Opinion.

Is that claimed under the Act of Parliament?

I did dispute it on One Occasion, and Mr. Drummer said it was a very old Right, but he could not prove to me that it was established by Act of Parliament: but it is always claimed; they come to the Counting-house every Month for it.

What is the Night Office?

That is an Office the Factors themselves have established for the Convenience of the Ships arriving in the Night-time. The Custom House being shut, it is necessary to have an open Office, that the Ships may take their Turn. Their Papers are taken in and filed, so that no Ship may take her Turn irregularly.

Would that be unnecessary if the Metage were done away with?

If there were no Meters, they would all get their Turn of course, whenever they were sold.

It is for the Purpose of getting their Turn of Metage?

It is.

Does not the Meter live on board the Ship at the Ship's Expence?

I believe it is invariably the Practice, that, though he is allowed 3s. a Day for Provisions, he is also victualled by the Ship.

Have you any doubt of that?

I have no doubt about it.

Is he a Gentleman very easily accommodated in that Respect?

The Captains complain that some of them are more troublesome than others.

He drinks as well as eats?

I believe the Captains are very willing to accommodate them as well as they can, in hopes of the Ship making well out.

The Entertainment is given by the Captain?



Are they all Freemen of London?

Yes; all of them.

Are they Liverymen?

I believe they are principally Liverymen also, but I think they are only required to be Freemen.

Are they Voters?

If they are Liverymen.

Are they generally a Class of Persons fitted for their Situations?

I dare say they may be; there are some Exceptions to the general Rule; but some are respectable Men.

Are they generally decayed Tradesmen?

I believe they are.

The Appointment is in the Gift of The Lord Mayor and the Court of Aldermen?

It is, I think.

Do you know whether they have it by Rotation, or whether each Alderman has a certain Number to dispose of?

It is entirely by the Majority of Votes. I do not know whether it is in the Common Council too; but it is entirely by Favour, and there is very great canvassing when they are vacant.

It is a Situation generally much sought after?

It is.

Is it a permanent Situation?

It is, unless from Misconduct or any thing of that kind that they are suspended.

Have you known any Instance of Suspension?

Yes; there have been Instances where gross Neglect of Duty has been proved, and they have been suspended for a short Time.

To whom is Complaint made in case of Misconduct?

To the Court of Aldermen, I believe.

Does it often happen that Complaint is made to the Court of Aldermen against a Meter?

I do not know. There are several Instances where the Parties have expressed Dissatisfaction of the Measure of the Meter, but they are afraid to remeasure them, for the Act of Parliament says, unless there is a certain Deficiency, which is a certain Per-centage, the Parties remeasuring shall be liable for the Expences; therefore, though there may, in a Barge of Coals, be Half a Chaldron deficient, he would not be entitled to any Remedy, as the Act of Parliament allows for a certain Variation.

The Meters are divided into Two Classes, are they not; the Heavy and the Light Meters?

No; I do not know that there is any actual Division of them.


Are they not generally known by the Designation of Heavy and Light Meters?

The Trade speak of them in that Way; but I do not know the Truth of that.

What is the supposed Distinction?

That some of them give heavier Measure than others.

What is the Charge for Trinity Dues and Nore Lights?

It is paid to the Trinity House for some Lights upheld by the Trinity House.

Where are those Lights?

The Nore Light is Part of them, and the St. Nicholas Gatt Buoys is another; and the Trinity Duties, One Farthing per Ton, they do not state what that is for.

That is under special Provisions of the Act of Parliament, is it not?

I do not know.

In the Certificate before you there is a Charge for Buoys, and a Charge for Nore Lights, and a Charge for Trinity Dues; do you know what the Trinity Dues are?


You never heard that explained?


The Account is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

44. Trinity House, London, 1st November 1828.


This is to certify, that the Dues to this Corporation have been paid for the Ship Hamond, J. Kinghorn Master, 256 Tons, as a Collier from Newcastle to London.

For St. Nicholas Gatt Buoys One Eighth of a Penny per Ton. 11s
Trinity Duties One Farthing per Ton.
The Nore Light One Shilling on Vessels under 100 Tons, and
One Shilling additional on every 100 Tons completed.

J. Wm Coley, Collector.

Do all Ships coming up the River pay those Dues, whether laden with Coals or any thing else?

The Ships coming from the Southward would not pay those; those are Collier Lights.

Those Duties are not levied on any other Cargo than that of Coals?

I think not.

Have you ever paid them on any other Articles?

I have never had any Ships, except Colliers, come to me from the North; they do not pay them when coming from the Southward; then we pay the Ramsgate Lights, and other Lights.


There is no Charge upon Ships coming from the Southward in the same Terms?

No; I think those are particularly applicable to Colliers.

Supposing you have a Cargo of Timber coming from the Port of Sunderland to London, should you have the same Charge to pay to the Trinity House?

I do not know; that has not come within my Experience.

What Duties are performed for The Lord Mayor's Dues?

I do not know; it is a Part of the City Income; The Lord Mayor's Clerk gives a small Certificate, which states that the Ship has paid her Balliage and her Groundage; that is also delivered in with the Turn Papers to the Meter's Office, before the Meter is appointed to certify that the City Dues have been paid.

What is Foy?

That is a Charge of the Factor's own, for the Bill Stamp and the Expences of the Night Office, and the Shilling he gives the Ship's Boy for bringing up the Papers, which is the usual Practice of the Factors. I should observe, that this Balliage is not paid by any Freeman.

Do you mean to say, that any Freeman bringing in a Cargo of Coals is exempted from that Duty?

He is exempted from the Balliage, but not from the Groundage, which is Sixpence the Ship.

For what Purpose are the Market Dues levied?

For the Purpose of paying the original Purchase of the Market; it is so expressed in the Act of Parliament.

Do you know whether that Purchase Money has been redeemed or not?

I should think, from the length of Time and the great Revenue the City derive from it, that the Amount must have been more than received; how it has been appropriated I cannot say.

The Provision in the Act of Parliament was expressly for the Purpose of paying off the Sum raised for the Erection of the Coal Exchange?

I believe so.

Do you know how long ago it was that Act was passed?

It was in the Year 1807.

Do you know the original Cost of the Erection of the Coal Exchange?

I have heard it stated at 60,000l.

Are you prepared to state the Amount of Money repaid under the Head of Market Dues since that Period?

Yes; for Eleven Years I have got the total Quantity of Coals brought into the Port of London, which shews the Amount of Market Dues paid during that Period for each Year.

The Statement is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

IMPORATION of COALS, &c. into LONDON, from 1819 to 1829, both inclusive.


Year. Coals in Chaldrons. Cinders. Culm. Total Chaldrons. Market Dues. REMARKS.
£ s. d.
1819 1,179,544½ 1,085 9,459¼ 1,190,088¾ 4,958 14 22,997 Chaldrons of Coals short of the preceding Year.
1820 1,313,736¾ 1,199¼ 4,307¼ 1,319,245¼ 5,496 16 11¼ 134,192¼ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
1821 1,270,270¼ 647½ 6,947 1,277,864¾ 5,324 8 43,466½ Chaldrons of Coals short of the preceding Year.
1822 1,253,436¾ 201 6,989½ 1,260,627¼ 5,252 12 16,833½ Chaldrons of Coals short of the preceding Year.
1823 1,425,662¼ 885¼ 10,208¾ 1,436,756¼ 5,986 9 172,225½ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
1824 1,505,021½ 1,337¼ 17,893¼ 1,524,252 6,351 1 0 79,359¼ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
1825 1,410,120¾ 483¾ 12,419½ 1,423,024 5,929 5 4 94,900¾ Chaldrons of Coals short of the preceding Year.
1826 1,581,879¼ 553¼ 13,327 1,595,759½ 6,648 19 11½ 171,758½ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
1827 1,393,162¾ 569½ 7,370¼ 1,461,687 6,090 7 3 128,132 Chaldrons of Coals short of the preceding Year.
Small 60,584½
1828 1,492,233¼ 552¾ 11,645¼ 1,553,073¾ 6,471 2 87,128½ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
Small 48,642½
1829 1,537,603¾ 306¼ 3,449¾ 1,593,333 6,638 17 9 48,701¼ Chaldrons of Coals over the preceding Year.
Small 51,973¼



Has 1d. a Chaldron been paid on that Importation for the Purchase of the Coal Exchange?

It has.

There is another Charge for Metage and Orphans Duty?

Yes; that is 10d. for the Orphans Dues, and 4d. for the Metage.

That refers to the Expence of Meters, regarding which you have been already examined?

The 4d. Metage is paid to the City of London, of which the Meter receives 1d. and the rest is paid into the Chamber of the City.

Does that include the Wages you pay the Meter?

No; on a Ship of 210 Chaldrons, his Delivery Bill, at the Rate of 3s. 6d. a Score, would be 1l. 15s.; his Provisions would be 15s.; and, in lieu of Sample, a Guinea. Formerly they were allowed to take a Sample of Coals from each Ship; that was abolished by the Act of Parliament, and they were allowed a Guinea instead; making together £3 11s. 6d. which, in a Ship of 210 Chaldrons, is upwards of 4d. per Chaldron, and more than a Factor's Commission for the Sale and Guarantee of the Coals; in addition to which the Meter is paid 1d. per Chaldron by the City.

For the Payment of 4d. a Chaldron for Metage, what do the City do?

I do not know that the City do any thing, as we pay the Meter.

Are they at any Expence whatever, as you pay the Meter?

Not that I know of; they pay 1d. a Chaldron out of it, and put the 3d. into their own Funds.

How many Days is a Meter getting that which he gets from a Ship?

He can deliver this Ship of 210 Chaldrons with Ease in Three Days; he could do it in Two, I think.

Does he do so?

That depends entirely on Circumstances; if there are Ships lying for Meters, and he wants another Ship, he will clear her quickly.

Do you know what the Place of a Meter is considered to be worth per Annum?

It is not worth so much as it was before the Increase of Meters. I have heard it stated that it was worth from Three to Four hundred Pounds; but since the Increase of Meters they are not always so fully employed.

Is there such a Thing as Dispatch Money?

Yes; but that is generally paid to the Lightermen, I think.

Does the Meter come in for a Share of that Bribe?

I think not; that is paid to the Coal Merchant's Lightermen, for they have it in their Power sometimes to determine whether they will work one Ship or another, and if the Ship is out before her Time, the Captains allow them from Ten to Fifteen Shillings a Day.

That Money is given to induce them to load more than the Forty-two Chaldrons?


Yes; if they get the Ship cleared sooner than the Time allowed by Act of Parliament. A Ship of 210 Chaldrons being allowed Five Days, if she is cleared in Three Days the Captain pays Dispatch Money.

Does not it often happen that when a Ship is nearly out, and has not more than Five or Six Chaldrons over the Forty-two, the Bargemen will not clear them without receiving Dispatch Money?

That is very often the Case. I have known a Captain saddled with what is called Detention Money, entirely from their leaving Five or Six Chaldrons in the Ship.

If the Wind is fair a Captain will sooner pay that Bribe than be detained?


Are the Lightermen who take those Bribes Freemen of the City of London?

I believe they are.

Do they belong to a Company?

Yes; they generally belong to the Lightermen's Company, and are employed by the Coal Merchants.

You cannot employ any but Freemen of the Lightermen's Company to navigate in the Thames?

No, I believe not.

Do you know any thing of the Inconveniences which result from the present System of Coal-whipping?

Nothing; but that we pay considerably more than we should if it was left open to us to employ whom we pleased.

You do not know any thing of the Inconvenience sustained from the Publicans being concerned?

I have heard the Captains complain that where any one was troublesome, and put on shore, the Gang would not work unless he was put on board again; I do not know this of my own Knowledge.

Has the Captain of your own Ship stated this to you?

No; the Captains of Ships consigned to me as Factor.

You do not know any thing of the System which exists with regard to the Publicans?

No, I do not.

Do you know any Reason why Ingrain should be allowed?

None; it is sanctioned by Act of Parliament, but I do not know any Reason for it.

As you stated before, the Tendency of that is to give a false Price to the Public?

Decidedly so.

Do the Working Classes, and those who buy Coals in small Quantities, derive any Benefit from this Ingrain?

No, not under Two and a Half Chaldrons; I believe that is the Custom of the Trade, but I cannot speak to that, it not being in my Business.

Do you know how that originated?

I do not.


How long have you been in Business as a Coal Factor?

Eleven Years.

You have stated an Expence of 47l. for the Discharge of a Ship; are those Charges of 4d. to the City for Metage, and 4d. to the Meter for Metage, included in this?

No, only what is actually paid to the Meter; what we pay to the City is not included.

That 47l. 19s. 4d. refers entirely to the Delivery, exclusive of any Dues paid to the City or any Tax to the Government?

Yes; only the Meter and the Whippers.

Exclusive of what you pay to the City for the Metage on the Cargo?

Quite so.

And exclusive of Market Dues and every thing else?


And the Trinity Dues?

Yes; it is entirely for the Labour and Delivery of the Ship.

Are you aware of any Scarcity of Supply to the Market, since you have been in Business, except such as has been occasioned by the Severity of the Weather?

No; I have gone through that Point particularly. These are the Market Lists; I have gone through them, and I do not find there has been a Day in which all the Coals at Market have been sold since 1825.

Have you ever made a Calculation as to the average Surplus of Supply in the Market?

No, I have not; there has always been a very considerable Surplus.

Is there at this present Moment a greater Supply of Ships than there is a Demand for Coals?

There has been scarcely a possibility of selling the Coals for the last Ten Days.

Has that been so ever since the Commencement of this Year?

Not exactly ever since the Commencement of this Year, because we had a severe Frost; but since the Frost has broken up the Coals have fallen very much, and the Sales have been very heavy.

When the Navigation of the River was not impeded by Frost, there has been a much greater Supply than Demand?

Yes; notwithstanding the severe Frost, the Coals scarcely ever got above 40s. I scarcely ever knew the Market so heavy.

You have stated that you have heard of a Distinction among the Meters, of Heavy and Light Meters?

I believe the Trade speak of that, but not I myself.

The Trade make a Distinction between the Meters, calling some Heavy and some Light?

Yes; that accounts for the Variations in the Deliveries I have spoken of.


Their Qualities of Heavy or Light Meters depend on their Disposition to measure a greater or a less Quantity out of the Ships?

Exactly so.

You say that the Meter is entertained on board the Ship by the Captain?

He lives at the Ship's Expence.

That is Part of the Expence of the Ship while she is in the Port of London of course?

It is; and the Meter is also allowed 3s. a Day for his Provisions.

The Captain charges his Provisions to the Owner of the Ship?

Yes; that is Part of the Ship's Expence.

The Freight, in consequence, on board those Ships, must cover that Charge?

Of course.

It is for the Interest of the Captain or the Ship Owner that the Ship should measure out as large a Quantity as possible?

It is.

Therefore it is that this Meter is so well entertained on board the Ship, in order to induce him to measure out a greater Quantity?

They wish to be friendly with him.

Who is the Person who suffers in case he measures out a greater Quantity than the Cargo ought really to measure out?

In the first place the Coal Merchant, I should consider, and through him the Public, when Coals are sold by Pool Measure.

How do you imagine that to operate?

The Coal Merchant, having light Measure, of course gives light Measure to the Public.

What becomes of the Sailors of the Ship at the Time the Ship is unloading her Cargo?

They are not in any way employed connected with the Cargo; they may be employed on any other Duty in the Ship.

Do they receive their full Wages during the whole of the Time the Ship is unloading?

They do.

If they were employed in unloading the Ship, of course the Wages they receive for being idle so many Days would be saved to the Owner of the Ship?

Of course.

What is the Charge for Groundage?

I do not know exactly, unless it is for a Ship coming to anchor. There may be some old Custom of giving The Lord Mayor Sixpence for a Ship.

Were the Cargoes of Timber and Sugar delivered by the Crew?

No; the Cargo of Sugar was delivered by People in the Saint Catharine's Docks - the People employed by the Dock Company.


In those Cases of the Delivery at Limerick and other Places, were they delivered by the Crew?

No; the Captain agreed with Persons called Lumpers, to deliver the Ship.

So that the Sailors were not employed?

The Sailors are generally discharged if they are in a Port where they can be discharged.

If a Ship goes from Newcastle to any of the Out-ports, who clear the Ship?

The Seamen.

Why is No. 1. in the Turn Note the objectionable Part of the Cargo?

That applies more particularly to the Tyne than the Wear; the Ships are loaded by a Spout, consequently there is always a Residue of small Coals in completing the loading of the Cargo; and they therefore think that the most objectionable Part.

You mentioned that it was Ships loaded with Coals that came down the Eastern Coast from the North that paid the Trinity Dues?

I think so.

Are you sure there are no other Merchant Ships that pay those Dues?

I am not sure.

Those coming from the Southward pay no Dues of that Description?

No, I think not.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Mr. John Waters is called in, and examined as follows:

What is your Occupation?

I am Agent to a House in Newcastle.

Were you formerly Captain of a Ship in the Coal Trade?


For many Years?

About Eight Years and a Half in One Ship.

From what Port?

Principally from Newcastle; but the latter Part of my Time in the Brazil Trade.

Of course you are aware of the Mode of Delivery of Coals by Whippers, are you not?

Yes, perfectly.

Are they under the Controul of the Publicans in their Employment?

Unquestionably so.

Are those Whippers who have the largest Scores against their Names for Gin and Beer generally preferred for Employment by the Publicans?



Without reference to any other Qualification?

They generally look to see that the Men are capable of performing their Duty before they are put on board.

Of those who are capable of performing their Duty, those who drink the most Gin and Beer are most employed by the Publicans?


Is that a notorious Fact?

Yes, that is a notorious Fact. Only Three or Four Days ago a Man who worked a Ship told me she was Eight or Nine Days discharging, and his Score for Grog and Gin was 1£. 4s.

Have you ever been present when the Whipper and the Publican have been settling their Accounts?

No, I have not.

Do not you know that whenever a Whipper is not inclined to run up a large Score with the Publican, and that is ascertained on the Settling Day, the Publican does not give that Whipper future Employment?

I do not know it exactly, but I am almost confident that is the Fact. I have never seen their Settlement; but during the last Disturbance about the Whipping I was called out as Headborough, and this was spoken of among the Men.

Have you any doubt of it?

I have no doubt that it actually exists.

Have the Whippers themselves told you that?

Yes; that those Men who drank the most and had the most to receive are sure of Employment, and those who make a small Score -only Seven or Eight Shillings, and have large Families, must wait 'till they are looking for Men; they will not give them the Preference.

The Consequence of this is, that if a Coal Whipper takes Home the Produce of his Labour to his Family, and does not spend it in Gin and Drink, he is not so likely to get Employment from the Publican as if he had been tippling in the Public House?

Of course not.

The Whippers are therefore induced to drink immoderately for the sake of getting Employment?


Is there any Undertaker to whom the Captain of the Ship applies for the Employment of Whippers?

There are several Undertakers along shore, but there is only one that I know, of the Name of Edmund, close to Execution Dock.

Is it the Practice for the Captains to apply to those, or to the Publicans?

In some Cases, in old established Houses, the Captains do apply to the Undertakers, but it is generally settled with the Publicans; but I have been told there are Undertakers who get a Publican to pay for their Licence; they get Two Guineas a Year from the Publican, and they will send him blank Papers to fill up, all ready signed and headed; they live in that way.


To whom did you apply when you were Captain of a Ship?

The House I worked out of was, "Groom," of the "Ship Aground."

Was that a Public House?


Did you ever apply to an Undertaker?

No, I never did.

You never thought of that?

No; the Understanding was, that we stood our own Undertakers.

Have you ever been told there was an Act of Parliament expressly forbidding the Interference of Publicans?

At that Time I was not aware of it; I have been told of it since I have been out of the Trade.

Is it the general Custom of Captains of Ships to apply to Publicans or to Undertakers?

They universally almost apply to the Publicans.

Did a Publican ever offer you a Bribe to work out of his House?

No, never.

Have you heard of their doing so?


Did you ever hear of their giving a Guinea?

I have heard of their giving a Guinea, and sometimes Liquor, but I never saw that. There were Three or Four Masters in our Trade who said they never received any thing; there is one Way of doing it that they can perhaps cover it; they make a Reduction out of the Bill for Shovels, and so forth.

Did you ever hear of Clothes being offered?


Nor a Hat?

No, never.

Does the Publican provide the Coal Stage and the other Machinery?

He provides the Stamp, the Stage, the Side Boards, the Gunwale Boards, the Plank, the Gin, the Shovels and Baskets; and the Amount of these, which is usually charged, is, at a regular Charge, One Pound and Two-pence.

Does he charge for those?

Those appear in the Bill, signed by the Undertaker; they do not charge the Ship with them at some Houses.

The Publican provides them for nothing?


If he did not do that, the Captain would have to provide them?

Yes, or to pay his Penny a Chaldron to the Undertaker; and the Undertaker would charge them.

Those who employ Undertakers pay those Charges?

They pay the Undertaker for the Use of Baskets and so on.


Does the Captain of the Ship pay a Penny a Chaldron to the Undertaker?


He has no other Communication with him but in the Payment of that Penny; all the rest of the Communication takes place with the Publican?

When a Captain employs an Undertaker he has nothing to do with the Publican; and when he employs a Publican, he has only to get a regular Bill; getting it done, perhaps, for 2£. a Year.

Is the Captain of the Ship obliged to have a Certificate from the Undertaker?

No; only to shew his Owner that the Money is paid.

Supposing you work out from a Publican, who provides the Whippers?

The Publican does.

Do you then have any Communication with the Undertaker?

No, not in that Case.

Have any of the Coal Whippers ever told you that they have been required by the Publicans to pay for Liquor when they had not drank it?

No, I never heard that.

Did you ever hear of the Distinction of Inside Men and Constant Men?

No, I do not recollect those precise Terms; but it is something like Men running up a good Score; they may be termed Constant Men, perhaps.

If you were not obliged by Act of Parliament to have those Whippers, should you have any Difficulty in delivering your Cargo without them?

No, none; not at all.

There would be no Difficulty in obtaining free Labour?

No. The Charges paid for the Delivery of the Coals are very great as compared with other Labour. I have the Particulars of a Ship, a Vessel called the Egmont Castle of Newcastle, just arrived from Quebec, loaded with Timber; she had Three hundred and fifty Loads altogether, including the broken Stowage; she was taken to discharge in the Commercial Docks for 8l. 10s. This Ship with a Cargo of Coals, she being a Seventeen and a Half-score Ship, would amount to 26l. 5s.; then the Fitter's whole Pay would be 5l. 2s. 10½d.; and the Difference between the discharging of the Coals and the Timber is 22l. 18s.; and it ought to be borne in mind that a Timber Ship will take at least Three Days longer, and then they have no Allowance; if, from the Severity of the Weather, they could not get the whole of the Coals out, the Whipper would claim the Balk Days, and the Master must pay it; the Labour is more difficult, and yet there is that Difference of 22l. in the Discharge of the Ship.

Is it not necessary that the Ship should be above Blackwall before the Papers are sent to Market?

According to the Act of Parliament it is, I think.


Will there be any Difficulty in sending up the Papers immediately on the Arrival of the Vessel at Gravesend?

That is frequently done.

That is contrary to the Act?


If this Regulation was agreeable to Law, instead of being contrary to it, would not it enable the larger Ships to get to Market nearly at the same Time with the smaller Vessels?

There would be no Difficulty; one could get up just as well as another, except with this Difference, that a Ship in Neap Tides, drawing at the Rate of Fourteen Feet and a Half or Sixteen Feet Water, would not be able to get over the Shoal Places.

But the Cargo would be in the Market?


Under the present Law the larger Ship is prevented by the Tide coming up, and her Papers are not sent to Market so soon as those of the smaller Ship, which gets up sooner?

Yes; that is only under Circumstances when it is blowing very hard; unless it blows very hard they drop up a large Ship.

Are there not certain Persons on the look-out on the Arrival of Ships at Blackwall, to inform against them for any Breach of the Act?

Yes, there is one I know I have seen at the Coal Exchange.

Do you know a Person of the Name of Peter Potter?

I have heard he is dead.

Do you know whether he derived a large Emolument from laying Informations?

I believe so.

Did you pay this Informer any thing yourself?

Yes; I paid, I think, 7s. 6d. to prevent his informing.

Have you heard it stated by other Captains that they were in the habit of contributing?


At what Expence?

About a Guinea a Voyage.

Coal Buyers are bound to supply Craft only for Forty-two Chaldrons a Day?

According to the Coal Act.

Do not you think that Quantity much too little?

I should say that Three Scores ought to be a Day's Work.

It would not take above Four Hours to clear Forty-two Chaldrons, would it?

They would do it in less Time.

Would it be unfair if Sixty-two Chaldrons was the minimum Quantity?

That would be very fair.


How many Score have you ever known cleared, in case of an Emergency?

The most that ever I knew was on the 15th of September 1828; the Adamant of Sunderland delivered 205 Chaldrons of Small Coals in One Day.

Do you consider that the System of Metage occasions great Delay in the Delivery of Cargoes of Coals?

Undoubtedly it does.

There are no Delays occasioned by the Lightermen?

Delays are occasioned sometimes by Persons perhaps embracing an Opportunity of purchasing more than they have really Room for, and they have Difficulty in getting Craft.

If you want more than Forty-two Chaldrons cleared in a Day, are you not obliged to fee the Lightermen?

We sometimes say, "If you will clear us in Three or Four Days, we will give you 30s.;" but I have not had the Command of a Coal Ship since 1819.

Is it not in the Power of a Lighterman to run a Ship into particular Situations?

Yes, for Balk Days.

All that occasions Delay in the Delivery of the Cargo?


Have you any Experience of the Variation in making out from the Fitter's Certificate?

No. I have remarked generally that Ships make out Three, Four, Five, and Six and Seven, and sometimes Eight Chaldrons above what is called Double.

Does not that depend upon your having what is called a Heavy or a Light Meter?


You say that during the last few Years you have been engaged in the Brazil Trade?


Where did your Ship discharge her Cargoes?

In the London Dock.

What Men were employed to discharge those Cargoes?

The greatest Part of my Ship's Company were Apprentices; my Mate was an Apprentice, and I used to discharge my own Cargo by my own Apprentices, with a few Men at the Rate of Three Shillings and Sixpence a Day.

Were you obliged to take those particular Men, or might you have got some Whippers?

I might have gone out of the Dock Gates and hired Men at 3d. or 4d. an Hour, but having a Cargo of Coffee, the Men are apt to pilfer. I believe we are allowed to go and get any Men we choose; there are 100 Persons standing now outside the Dock with an Inscription on the Board, "No Persons will be hired unless they stand inside the Rails."


A sort of Market?


During the Time the Ship is in the Docks do you continue the pay to the Seamen who have been the Voyage?

That is optional. When I had Apprentices I had Six or Seven; of course we were obliged to keep them whether the Ship was earning Money or not; but if a Ship going into the Dock has only a Boy or Two Apprentices, the Captain discharges the whole of the Crew on arriving in the Dock; the next Morning after they get in the Captain pays them their Wages and discharges them.

A Ship laden with Coal, on the contrary, pays its Seamen during the whole Time of the Detention in the Port of London?

Yes; unless they make an Agreement at so much for the Run; it is generally so much for the Voyage; 3£. in Summer-time, and 4£. in the Winter.

Why is that the Custom in the Coal Trade?

I cannot say; unless it is that they should have no Detention for Men.

Are the Men generally Persons that belong to the North?

Yes, they are; a Class of Men different at Times; they have a great deal of idle Time, and at other Times a great deal of Peril and Danger to encounter, and they suffer a great deal of Cold.

They are generally People from the North, and are hired for the Voyage?

Yes; according to the Articles.

Do you know any thing of the Rate of Freight from Newcastle or Sunderland to London?

No, I am not acquainted with that.

You knew nothing about that at the Time you were in the Trade?


You do not happen to know whether the Freight for any other Article than Coals is equal to that paid for Coals?

I should apprehend the Goods Freight is far preferable to the Coal Freight; that is Matter of Opinion.

Do you mean to say that if a Ship were hired at Newcastle to carry Goods to London, that a heavier Freight would be paid for it than if hired for the Conveyance of Coals?

If there was a Ship at Newcastle that could be got into the Goods Trade, she would pay a better Freight than if she carried Coals.

Suppose a Person wanted to send up Goods from Newcastle, would he pay as much Freight as if he sent up Coals in her?

I think there would be more paid.

You think that the Conveyance of Goods would cost more than of Coals?




The Goods Cargoes are usually made up of a great Number of different Shippers until they are nearly full, therefore they are uncertain as to their Time of Detention, and they get what they call a fair Freight; there are, perhaps, as many as 120 Shippers.

The Increase of Freight arises from their not making so many Voyages in the course of the Year?

They do not make so many Voyages as the Colliers. Immediately on the Colliers going down, their Ballast is hove out, and the Coals taken in. I have gone in one Tide and out the next; but it appears to me the Goods Trade pays best to the Ship.

Did you ever discharge your Vessel at any of the Out-ports?

Once at Cowes.

How was the Cargo discharged in that Case; by whom?

It was in 1814. I sold a Cargo to a Gentleman at Cowes; he found the Men, and when we settled I paid him.

Did your Seamen assist in discharging?

Yes, in part; in filling the Baskets down in the Hold.

Do you know whether it is the Practice in the Trade among those Vessels which go to the Out-ports, that the Seamen should deliver the Cargo?


How long were you unloading your Cargo?

I think Three or Four Days.

How long would you have been if she had been unladen in London?

Five Days; it would have been a Five Days Work.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Mr. George Richmond is called in, and examined as follows:

What is your Occupation?

I command my own Ship.

You are a Ship Owner?

I am.

Are you employed in the Coal Trade between Newcastle and the Port of London?

Not often, but I have been within the last Six Months.

Have you any Statement with you, shewing the Expence of delivering a Cargo of Coals in the Pool?

I have.

Will you produce it?

This is a Statement, (producing it;) and there are also some Receipts.

What was the total Expence of delivering a Cargo of Coals?

£40, including the Meters.

Did you deliver a Cargo of Timber from the same Ship?

I delivered a Cargo of Deals in November.


What were the Expences of that Delivery?

£12 5s. At Bristol, September 12th, the Expence was 12£. 12s. on a Cargo from Quebec.

To what is owing the Difference of that Charge?

The very high Wages which the Coal Whippers have.

Should you have any Difficulty, if you were not obliged by Act of Parliament, in discharging your Cargo without those Whippers; by your own Crew, or hiring Men?

If it were left open to Competition, I have no doubt I could get the Ship discharged much cheaper; perhaps at One Third less.

Is there any Reason why you should not deliver a Cargo of Coals as cheaply as a Cargo of Timber?

I think not, except from Custom.

Do you know the Sum that is paid to the Meter for what is called the Sample?

Yes; the Sample is 1£. 1s.

How much per Day do you pay him for Provisions?

Three Shillings per Diem.

Do you pay him 3s. 6d. per Score?


Do you give him Provisions besides?


Have you never had any Charge made to you for Dinner to the Meter?

Not since the Act of Parliament, certainly.

If you were to have any such Charge in the Account of your Ship's Captain you would not pay it?


If any such Expence is incurred by the Captain, it is on his own Account?

Yes. At the same Time I would state, that I have no doubt the Meters do sometimes share in the Ship's Provisions.

Do you mean in dining there, or taking away any of the Provisions?

In dining there.

Have you ever had to pay what is called Dispatch Money to the Lightermen?

I have done it.

They are not obliged by Law to deliver more than Forty-two Chaldrons a Day?


If you want any more delivered, you are obliged to pay him a Bribe?

Yes; it only amounts to so much a Day, according to the Agreement with the Lighterman. It is the Privilege the Coal Merchants grant to their Lightermen, as I have understood.


Do you know the Act of 47 Geo. 3?

I am not aware what it refers to exactly; it is a Trade I have not much attended to, but I know a little of its Ramifications.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Benjamin Whinnell Scott Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:

Are you Chief Clerk to the Chamberlain of London?

Yes, I am.

Who is the Chamberlain of London?

Mr. Richard Clark.

Does he perform the Duties of that Office himself?

Such of the Duties as it has been the Custom of the Chamberlain generally to perform, namely, the Duties which devolve upon him- settling Disputes between Apprentices and Freemen, and the Admissions of Freemen.

Is he not very much advanced in Years?

Yes; he is above Ninety Years of Age.

Does he personally attend to the Duties of his Office?

He does. It has always been the Practice of the Office, that the Duties devolving upon him as Treasurer to the Corporation should be performed by Substitute, by a Person acting for him.

Do not the City of London claim a Metage of 4d. a Chaldron on Coals?

They do.

Can you tell the Committee under what Act of Parliament they claim it?

It is by Prescription confirmed by Charter; but I believe not by Act of Parliament.

Do you know in what Charter it is?

The Charters of the 1st and 3d of James the First particularly refer to the Payment of that Duty.

Has there been any Report given in to the Committee of the Common Council in July 1828 upon this Subject?

Yes, there has.

Have you a Copy of that with you?

I have; it is One of Three Reports that have been made in the course of the last few Years.

The Witness delivers in the same. (fn. 1)

How long have the Corporation enjoyed this Privilege of levying 4d. a Chaldron?

As far as we have any Trace of the Accounts or Records of the Corporation.


Have you any Statement with you of the Profits derived from that by the Corporation?

I have an Account of the Profits of the last Three Years. The Money received by the Corporation in respect of that Metage, in the Year 1827, was 20,388£. 10s.; in 1828, 20,811£. 2s. 11d.; and in 1829, 21,520£. 17s.; subject to Expences amounting, in the Year 1827, to 2,989£. 8s. 11d.; in the Year 1828, to 2,331£. 14s. 3d.; and in the Year 1829, to 2,889£. 2s. 11d.

In what Part of the City Account does this appear; under what Head?

The gross Receipts received by the Corporation under the Head of Markets and Tolls, and the Expences in a subsequent Part of the Account, under the Head of Expences of the Court of Common Council.

There appears in the City Accounts in each Year an Item of Produce of so many Coal Meters Places; has that any Reference to the City Metage?

That is the Metage.

Why does it appear under that Head of Sale of Places?

In consequence of the Duty being discharged by Fifteen Coal Meters in Trust, who are appointed by the Corporation of London, for the Superintendence of that particular Duty.

Do they sell the Place to each Meter annually?

They do not; formerly the Places were sold; but for the last Twenty or Two and three and twenty Years the Corporation have received the Profits directly into the Chamber.

Why do they continue to insert it under the Head of a Sale which does not exist?

It has been continued, perhaps improperly, from the former Entries which existed in that Account.

When did the former Practice cease?

About Twenty-two Years since.

For Twenty-two Years they have been inserting that which had ceased to exist?

To a certain Extent it is correct, because the Metage arises under the Administration of the Fifteen Coal Meters; and they are still Meters in Trust.

For Twenty-two Years the Corporation have never sold any Place?

They have not.

That which comes under the Head of the Produce of Coal Meters Places is the Duty levied of 4d. a Chaldron on Coals?

It is, after the Deduction of 1d. per Chaldron paid to the Deputy Meters.

Will you give in the Produce of the Coal Meters Places as it appears in the City Accounts, for each Year, commencing in the Year 1813?

That Account can be furnished.


That consists of Coal Meters Places, and of Metage Duty on Coals received on the Canal at the Boundary in Grove Park?


In 1827 the gross Amount received was 20,369£. 15s. 8d.?

It was.

What was received for the Year 1828?

On Coals coming into the Port of London, 20,801£. 14s. 11d.; and on Coals brought by Canal, 9£. 8s.

In 1829?

On Coals brought into the Port of London, 21,500£. 6s. 8d.; and on Coals brought by the Grand Junction Canal, 20£. 10s. 4d.

What is the Expenditure of the Corporation of London; what Expence are they at?

The Expenditure incurred in reference to the Duty performed, the Metage of Coals, for the Year 1829, was 2,889£. 2s. 11d.

So that the City cleared 18,000£. in that Year?

Yes, they did.

What do those Coal Meters do?

The Principal Meters, namely, the Fifteen appointed by the Court of Common Council, superintend the whole of the Measurage of Coal performed by the Deputy Meters, who are about 150 in Number.

They never attend themselves personally?

Very frequently; they meet monthly to transact the Business of the Board, to hear Complaints from Time to Time, and they sometimes attend on the River in Committees, for the Purpose of ascertaining that the Deputy Meters discharge their Duty properly; and at various Times of the Day, to ascertain whether they are in the strict Discharge of their Duty.

What Salaries do they enjoy?

Not any.

Do they perform all those Duties for nothing?

Yes; they have no Emolument, direct or indirect, I believe.

They have the Appointment of the Deputies, have they not?

No; their Deputies are appointed by the Committee of Common Council; the Committee of Control over the Corn and Coal Meters.

Are there any Men appointed besides the Deputies?

There are Clerks to the Board.

Under the Appointment of those Coal Meters?

The Coal Meters appoint them.

What are the Inducements to those Gentlemen to undertake this Office, if they receive no Emolument, and have a great deal of Trouble?

I can scarcely answer that, except an Inducement, as connected with the Corporation of which they are Members, in discharging an important and what they consider an useful Office.

For the Good of the Corporation?

And the Public.


A Feeling of Public Spirit?

I consider that the Public are benefited by their Services.

Are those Gentlemen Members of the Corporation?

Yes, invariably.

Are they Liverymen?

It is not essential they should be Liverymen.

Can you deliver a List of the Principal Coal Meters?

I am not prepared with the List, but it shall be made out.

Are they Members of the Committee who appoint the Deputies?

Not in any Case; they are wholly distinct from the Committee.

Are any of them Aldermen of the City of London?

No; they are Members of the Common Council only.

The Difference between the Charges and the Receipts is all applied to City Purposes?

To the general Purposes of the Corporation.

Through whose Hands do the Receipts come?

Through the Hands of the Chamberlain, under the general Superintendence of the Corporation.

Do the Coal Meters receive the Money?

No; the Metage is paid to Mr. Drummer, the Principal Clerk to the Coal Meters in trust, and by him paid into the Chamber.

The Coal Meters have nothing to do with the Collection of the Tax?

Not any thing.

Besides this 4d. per Chaldron which the Ship pays, there is also a Remuneration given to the Labouring Meters, is there not; the City do not pay the Labouring Meters out of that 4d. a Chaldron?

They do not; the Deputy Meter receives from the Four-pence One Penny as Meter; and the Three-pence, the Money alluded to, is brought to the Credit of the Corporation, as the remaining Sum, deducting the Expences.

What are the Details of the Charges of 2,000£. a Year, which you say are to be deducted?

They arise from the Salaries to the Clerks of the Market and the Clerks and Officers of the Board, and the furnishing and Repair of Vats, which is a very heavy Expence, and other Expences of that kind connected with the Discharge of the Duties of the Board.

None of the labouring Expences of the Metage are defrayed by the Corporation?

No, not any.

You have said that out of 20,000£. a Year the Clerks of the Market are paid?

No; the Clerk of the Board of the Corporation is distinct from the Clerk of the Coal Market.

Have the goodness to give in the Details of that Charge of 2,800£. a Year?

I have the Detail in rough.


You pay 600£. a Year Salary to Mr. William Drummer?

Yes, as Clerk of the Board.

Is that exclusive of what he receives as Clerk of the Coal Exchange?

He receives nothing as Clerk of the Coal Exchange; he is unconnected with that Establishment; he receives 100£. a Year as Collector of the Orphans Dues on Coals.

Was there not a Mr. Drummer connected with the Coal Exchange?

No, never, to my Knowledge.

Has Mr. Drummer no Fees on any Papers put into the Coal Exchange?

I believe not, as connected with the Coal Exchange; his Office is at the Coal Market, but I believe it to be quite distinct from any of the Business of the Coal Exchange.

Mr. Freeman has a Salary of 250£. a Year; what is he?

He is the Second Clerk.

Mr. Vale 250£. a Year?

He is Third Clerk.

There is a Charge, during the Illness of Mr. Vale, of 20£?

That was casual.

Mr. Hobbs, the Messenger, 100£.; Mr. William Drummer, Committee Expences 300£.; what does that refer to?

The Sum allowed by the Corporation to defray the Expences of the Committee on their several Views going down the River to ascertain that the Men were doing their Duty; on such Occasions they generally dine afterwards, and that is the Expence.

The Committee generally dine on going down, and those Expences are charged to the Corporation?

Yes; not exceeding 300£. a Year.

That Sum is chiefly for Entertainments, probably?

I presume so.

Are there any other Expences that you are aware of?

No; excepting occasionally Boat-hire and those Things; I believe the 300£. covers every Expence of that kind.

There is a Charge of 85£. 5s. 11d. for Printing; what do they print?

The Certificates, Duplicates of which are delivered to the Government for the Collection of the Government Duty.

Rent of Offices, 191£. 9s.; Vats and Repairs, 739£. 2s. 6d.; are those the Repairs of the Vats in which the Coals are measured?


There is another Charge for Certificates, 183£. 14s. 11d.; why is that distinct from the Charge for Printing, which you conceive included that?

I am hardly aware of the Charge for Printing; but there is a great deal of Printing necessary in the general Execution of the Duty of the Board.


Mr. Drummer's Disbursements, 169£. 10s. 3d.; to what does that allude?

Various Disbursements connected with the Office.

The Account is delivered in and read, and is as follows:

AMOUNT of DISBURSMENT and EXPENCES paid, in the Year 1829, per Order of and on Account of the Board of Coal Meters, in Trust for the City.

Salary to Mr. W. Drummer, Principal Clerk £600 0 0
John Freeman, First Assistant Clerk 250 0 0
William Vale, Second Ditto 250 0 0
William Russell, during the Illness of Mr. Vale 20 0 0
William Hobbs, Messenger 100 0 0
William Drummer, Committee Expences 300 0 0
Printing, &c. &c. 85 5 11
Rent of Offices 191 9 0
Vats and Repairs 739 2 6
Certificates 183 14 11
Mr. Drummer's Disbursements 169 10 3
£2,889 2 7

The Report for 1828 recommends the Abolition of the Sixpenny Land Meters, and a Halfpenny on the Market Dues, does it not?

It does.

What are those Market Dues referred to?

A Penny a Chaldron granted by the Act of the 47th of the late King, for establishing a Coal Market.

Was it not for the Purpose of repaying the Purchase Money of the Coal Exchange?

Yes; and which Purchase Money has been repaid.

How long has it been repaid?

It was in the last Year that the Remainder of the Debt was paid off.

Have you discontinued that Levy of One Halfpenny per Chaldron since the Objects for which it was granted have been accomplished?

No; it was understood by the Corporation that a Desire was expressed by the Coal Merchants and Factors that, with the Permission of Parliament, the Penny should be continued for the Enlargement of the present Coal Market, which is found very insufficient for the Purposes for which it was established.

Has that Sum so raised since the Accomplishment of the Object been laid aside as a Fund in case Parliament should agree to the Enlargement?

No material Accumulation has arisen, in consequence of the Debt having been discharged only in the last Year.

At what Period last Year?

It was in the course of the last Year; I think the latter End of last Year.


Have you an Account of the Purchase Money of the Coal Exchange, and the Sums of Money levied for the Repayment?

I have not that Account, but it shall be furnished.

The only Recommendations in that Report are those to which Allusion has been made, the Abolition of the Sixpenny Land Metage and a Halfpenny Market Dues, up to that Period of 1828; were those the only Abuses noticed by the Corporation of the City of London as existing in the Coal Trade?

They were the only Recommendations which the Committee felt it right to make at that Time as being connected with the Corporation of London; there may be other Abuses unconnected with them, which they have not thought it right of course to express any Opinion upon.

Did they ever think it necessary to examine into the State of the Metage?

They have from Time to Time been well acquainted with that.

Have they discovered any Abuses in that?

Much less than could be expected in so extensive a Concern as the Measurement of Coals in the Port of London; it has rarely happened that more than Three or Four Complaints in a Year have been made to the Board of defective Measurement or other Circumstances.

They have the Appointment of all the Meters, have they not?

The Corporation have the Appointment.

They are all Freemen of the City of London, are they not?

They are.

Are they Liverymen?

They need not be Liverymen.

They must be Freemen?

Yes, they must.

Did the Committee ever make any Examination into the Lighterage of Coals?

They have not made any material Examination into that, from the Corporation not being at all concerned with that Part of the Trade.

They do not derive any Profits from it?

They do not.

Have they any Authority over the Lighterage?

Not any.

Is there not a Lighterman's Company?

There is; but perfectly distinct from the Corporation of London.

Is it possible for any Bargeman to unload a Barge of Coals unless he is a Member of the Lighterman's Company?

I really do not know that Fact.

You have given in a Paper containing the Sum of 2,889£. 2s. 7d. as the annual Expence attending the Committee of superintending Coal Meters; is that pretty nearly the Average?

As nearly as possible.

What was the Expence of that Committee in the Year 1827?

2,989£. 8s. 11d.


Are you aware of the Quantity of Coals on which that Duty was levied in that Year, 1827?

No, I am not; but it would be probably about 1,500,000 Chaldrons.

How much would that amount to at 4d. a Chaldron?


Deducting 3,000£. from 25,000£. there would remain 22,000£.?

There would.

How happens it in the City Account the Produce of those Coal Meters Accounts is stated only in that Year at 20,869£.?

Because the Penny which is payable to the Meter is previously deducted, and the Sum which is left, brought to the Credit of the City's Cash, is the remaining 3d.

You say the Coal Factors wish this Penny a Chaldron to be continued, to extend the Coal Exchange?

So I understand.

How has that Wish been conveyed to the Corporation of London?

I am not aware that it has been officially conveyed; but it has been understood for some Time past that it has been the Wish of the Trade that the Penny should be continued for that Purpose.

There has been no official Application?


In the Report to the Common Council of the 8th July 1828, Notice is taken of improper Proceedings with respect to the Agency and Intervention of the Coal Undertakers, as to Employment of Coalheavers or Whippers?


Has any thing been done upon that by the Committee of the Corporation?

Various Representations have been made to the Corporation of the Inutility, to a certain Extent, of the Coal Undertakers, and the Evil produced by their Intervention; but they have no Power to remedy this Evil, inasmuch as it is by the Act of Parliament of 47 Geo. 3. that the Coal Undertakers are appointed. They are appointed by the Recommendation of Two Magistrates: and the Corporation of London have not had the Power of remedying the Evils complained of.

The Witness delivers in a Report on this Subject, dated 24th January 1822. (fn. 1)

Has there never been an Idea of applying to Parliament to amend that Act of Parliament?

I think not 'till recently; it has long been felt to be a Grievance.

The Charter to which you have alluded is the Charter of James the First?

It is the Third Charter of King James the First more particularly.


Is that the Charter which "grants to the Citizens of London the measuring and weighing of Coals from Yenland to Staines Bridge, comprehending the whole Port of London; allowing them 8d. per Ton for such Service; and forbidding the unloading of Coal Vessels until Notice be given to The Mayor"?


Are the Provisions of that Charter acted upon at the present Moment?

Yes, they are.

To its fullest Extent?

I believe to its fullest Extent.

It appears that the First Charter alludes to the Privilege that The Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of London have of exercising the Office of Measurer, and of "measuring of all Coals and Grain of whatsoever kind, and also of all kind of Salt, and all kind of Apples, Pears, Plums and other Fruit whatsoever, and also all kind of Roots eatable, of what kind soever, and all Onions, and of all other Merchandizes, Wares and Things whatsoever measurable, and the measuring of every of them, in or unto the Port of London;" do they still exercise those Privileges in regard to other Articles mentioned?

The whole of them.

Is it under this Charter they claim the Appointment of the Coal Meters?

Is is under that Charter, connected with the immemorial Custom.

Has it been recognized in any Act of Parliament?

It was recognized in the Act of 5 & 6 William and Mary.

You have alluded to the Act of 47 Geo. 3; is it not a Matter of general Notoriety that the Provisions of that Act are generally evaded?

I believe it is in many Instances.

Have any Representations ever been made to the Corporation on this Subject?

Yes, there have; and the Corporation have taken pains, and have had Evidence upon those Points; and they have Reason to suppose that many of the Provisions of that Act are very generally evaded.

Have you ever examined the Act yourself?

I have, partially.

Do you think it possible that the Provisions of that Act could be carried into effect with Benefit to the Public?

I am not sufficiently acquainted with the Coal Trade to answer that Question.

But that Representation has been made to the Corporation?

It has, certainly.

When were those Representations first made?

I am not aware when they were first made; they were made more than once, but more particularly in the Investigation which took place in the Year 1828.

Have any Steps been taken in consequence by the Corporation; have they referred to their Law Advisers?

Not otherwise than by Report to the Court of Common Council, and Communications subsequently made to the Lords of the Treasury.


This refers only to the Two Points stated in the Report, namely, the Land Meterage and the Market Dues; are you aware of any other Subjects which have been brought before the Notice of His Majesty's Government?

I am not aware that any other Points have been.

No other Parts of the Act of the 47th of the late King have been brought under the Notice of Government, except those to which Reference has been made?

I am not aware that there have been.

None connected with the Coal Whippers?

Nothing beyond a Statement of the Charges in the Port of London in regard to the Coal Whippers.

Has any Attempt ever been made to enforce any Penalties under that Act, in respect of the Coal Undertakers?

I really do not know; there have been several Reports made to the Court of Common Council within the last few Years on the Subject of the Coal Trade; they are those to which I before referred, and which I have already delivered in, and beg to add a further Report of the 31st March 1829.

The Witness delivers in the last-mentioned Report. (fn. 2)

By the 48th Section of that Act it appears that the Court of Aldermen have the Power from Time to Time to increase the Sums payable to the Coal Undertakers, and also the Wages payable to the Ship Coal Meters, Meters Men and Coalheavers respectively, and from Time to Time to reduce the same, when it shall appear equitable so to do; does it come within your Knowledge that the Court of Aldermen have so reduced any of those Charges?

I think the Coal Meters Charges were reduced some Time since from 3s. 6d. per Twenty Chaldrons to 3s.

Do you know the Date of that Reduction?

I do not.

Has there been any Reduction in the Wages of Meters?

I think not.

Are you aware of any Suggestion having been made to the Corporation to make certain Reductions on those Charges?

I believe that Suggestions have been made.

At present the Charge is 3s.?


Are you aware that a Suggestion has been made to reduce it still lower?

Only a general Suggestion of Factors and Persons connected with the Trade, who consider that if the Office of Coal Undertaker was abolished, and his Intervention put an end to, the Labour could be performed satisfactorily to the Coal Whippers at a reduced Charge, as compared to that now paid.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Monday next, Twelve o'Clock.


  • 1. See Appendix A. to this Day's Evidence, p. 61.
  • 2. See Appendix B. to this Day's Evidence, p. 65.
  • 3. See Appendix C. to this Day's Evidence, p. 71.