Coal Trade: Minutes of evidence, 06 March 1830

Pages 1466-1472

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, 6 Martii 1830.


The Lord President in the Chair.

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

You stated in the former Evidence, that you believed only Coal Ships paid the Trinity Lights and Dues in coming from the North; do you wish to correct that Answer?

Yes; I have since made Inquiry, and find that I was mistaken, and that all Ships coming up the River with Cargoes pay Trinity Dues.

Do you know whether there is any Land Metage if a Cargo of Coals is sent up the Regent's Canal?

There are several Wharfs in the Regent's Canal where there is no Land Metage whatever.

Where about are those Wharfs?

I believe on the whole Line of the Canal above Hackney. There is one very respectable House of the Name of Wood and Company; at their Wharf at Camden Town there is no Land Metage whatever, and I believe at several other Wharfs in the Regent's Canal Basin in the City Road and Regent's Park.

Are you sure that they have no Land Metage at their Wharf?

Yes; and when any Customers of that House are in want of Coals which happen not to be at the Camden Town Wharf, they prefer waiting 'till a Supply arrives, rather than have them sent from Northumberland Wharf in the Strand, which also belongs to Messrs. Wood and Co.

Can you speak to the State of the Market on the Two last Market Days?

I can.

In what State is the Market?

In a most depressed State.

Are Coals dearer or cheaper than they were at this Time last Year?

I think they are nearly about the same; but the Market is in very different Circumstances.

What is the Difference of Circumstances to which you refer?

There was a Variety of Freighting last Year, which occasioned an Idea that Coals would be lower.

The Coal Owners in the North at that Time freighted the Ships at their Charge?

Yes, they did.

At present they have not recourse to that System?

They have not.


The Loss, therefore, is now falling on the Ship Owner?

Yes, it is.

What is the Reason of the Alteration?

The Regulation. The Ships are not now making more than Five or Six Shillings Freight at the present Prices.

What is the Reason of that; is it a Diminution of Demand?

From the Quantity of Coals in the Market, and the low Prices.

What was the Price the last Market Day?

The highest Price of Stewart's Walls End was 32s. 9d.

Is not that 2s. lower than it was this Time last Year?

Yes, it is.

At what Period of the Three Months after Christmas is the Price the highest?

The Supply is generally the shortest in the Month of January, for the Club Ships are lying up.

At what Time do the Coal Merchants lay in their Stocks?

I do not think that they lay in great Stocks; they carry on their Sales principally by their Barges; they do not warehouse above a Thousand Chaldrons or so, and very few of them above Two or Three hundred Chaldrons.

Where on Parts of the Regent's Canal there is no Land Metage, have you ever known any Complaints from the Buyers of Coals for Want of their Coals being measured?

So far from that, I have already stated the Customers of Messrs. Wood and Co., when they are out of Coals at that Wharf, rather than have them from the other Wharf, wait 'till they can get Coals up the Regent's Canal.

Have you ever known a Deficiency of Supply in the Market?

Since 1825 I have never known any one Day on which the Supply was exhausted.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

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

What is your Occupation?

A Ship Master.

Are you the Master of a Ship in the Coal Trade between Newcastle and London?


On your Ship's Arrival in the Port of London, what is the first Step you take to get a Cargo sold and delivered?

We send the Papers by a Man.

From what Part of the River?

From Gravesend.

Do you then apply to get a Meter appointed to deliver the Cargo?

Not 'till the Ship is sold.

When the Ship is sold, do you make that Application?

When a Ship is sold, she comes in her regular Turn for the Meter.


To whom do you apply to get the Meter?

That is regulated at the Coal Exchange.

Do you pay the Meter?


How do you pay the Meter?

Three Shillings a Score; a Guinea for his Sample, and Three Shillings a Day for his Expences.

Is that the whole of your Payment, or do you ever pay any extra Fee?

No; we pay no extra Fee.

When the Meter is on board, do you give him Victuals and Drink during the Delivery of the Cargo, over and above the Payment you have stated?

Generally, as a Compliment.

Do you give him a good deal of Drink?

That depends upon how he takes it; some Meters take a good deal of Allowance, and some do not.

Are you obliged to give them as much as they require?

No; it is merely a Compliment to the Meter.

Do you give him any thing for Dispatch Money?

No; the Dispatch Money is to the Lighterman.

The Meter measures out the Cargo, does not he?


Does this measuring vary much with the same Sort of Coals at different Times?


Will you inform the Committee how you account for that Difference?

By what is generally termed a Heavy or a Light Meter.

Will you explain those Terms?

The measuring of Coals depends a great deal on the Caprice or Judgement of the Meter.

Are the Committee to understand that the making out this Account, and the Difference that exists, entirely depends upon the Caprice or Judgement of the Meter?


Have you ever known the Practice, (the Question not relating to yourself,) or ever heard of its having been done, to give the Meter any thing extra to induce him to make the Cargo out well?

I have heard of it.

Will you state by whom are the Coal Heavers or Whippers employed?

By an Undertaker, or else by the Captain of the Vessel.

By whom are they paid; of whom do they receive their Wages?

They receive them from the Undertaker.

The Coal Heavers and Whippers receive from the Undertaker?

Yes, they do, or else from the Captain of the Vessel, if the Captain stands his own Undertaker.

Are their Wages paid always in Money, or are they paid in Meat and Drink and Living?

Always in Money.

Can you tell what they receive?

Yes; Three Shillings per Score.


You say they are paid always in Money; but they live on board the Ship, do they not, during the Delivery of the Cargo?

At their own Expence; they bring their own Victuals with them.

Do you never give them any Allowance of Drink when they are on board?


Did you ever Experience any Delay in delivering your Cargo, from a Scarcity or Want of Whippers or Meters?

Not from a Want of Whippers; but from a Want of Meters we frequently have.

What is the Cost of delivering your Cargo, in Metage and Whipping?

Nearly £20 for a Vessel that makes out about Eleven Score. I can produce a Meter's Bill.

The Witness delivers in the same; which is read, and is as follows:

"London, March 3, 1830.

"Captain Geo. Chicken and Owners of Ship Darlington, To R. Darvill, Coal Undertaker.

£ s. d.
To Men delivering 208 Chalds. 1 Vat of Coals at 3s. per Score 15 11 10½
Undertaking, at 1d. per Chaldron 0 17 4
Use of a Set of Sholvels 0 3 0
£16 12

Received the above, for R. Darvill, Edw. Simpson."

Do you see any Objection to delivering those Coals with your own Crew?


Do you think you could deliver them, without the Whippers and the Meter, by your own Crew, with as much Dispatch?

Equally so.

Then all that Money would be saved?

Yes. The Meter is not included in that Bill I have given in.

How much have the Meters?

They have 3s. a Score.

How are the Meters paid?

They are paid on board by the Captain.

Have you ever delivered any Coals at any of the By-ports?


You have taken in Coals by your Crew at Sunderland and Newcastle?


Are your Coals taken in by the Sailors?

By Men employed to trim the Coals.

How would you propose to discharge your Cargo, supposing you had no Meters and Whippers?

We would discharge them by the Sailors.

That Delivery by the Sailors would cost less than by the Whippers in London?



At how much less do you calculate it?

It would be a Saving entirely of the Amount.

The Sailors would do it in the ordinary Work of the Ship, and save the Whippers entirely?

Yes, entirely; large Vessels have sufficient Hands to do that; small Vessels would have to obtain One or Two Hands to assist in it.

How many Days are you limited to, for the discharging a Cargo, according to the present Regulations?

We discharge Forty-two Chaldrons a Day.

If you wish to discharge your Cargo in less Time than the stipulated Number of Days, do you pay Extra to the Bargemen for Dispatch; and if so, how much?

We pay them Twenty Shillings a Day for every Day saved, according to the Limitation of the Time that is demanded, provided there is only One Chaldron, which would go into another Day.

What Coals do you chiefly bring to Market?

For the last Twelve Months we brought Carr and Co.'s Walls End Coals.

During the last Year, did you load at any one Colliery any particular Number of Voyages?

Fourteen Voyages at Carr and Company's Walls End Spout last Year.

Is that upon the Tyne or the Wear?

On the Tyne.

During those Voyages, can you state that the Coals were pretty nearly in the same State as to Size?


Can you, from your own Observation and Experience as a Master of a Ship, ascertain that you had the same Quantity on board each Voyage?


How can you ascertain that?

By the Draft of Water the Ship draws.

Having the same Quantity on board, which you say you can ascertain, will you state to the Committee the Variation of Delivery by Measurement in the Port of London?

This is a Statement of the Quantity made out during the last Year.

The Witness delivers in the same; which is read, and is as follows:

"Account of Coals delivered out of the Brig Darlington, Captain George Chicken.

Took on board at Shields - 99 to 100 Newcastle Chaldrons or 198 to 200 London Chaldrons.


1829. Chals. Vats.
January 19th made out 214 2
February 14th 216 0
March 222 0
April 218 0
May 215 0
- 210 0
June 220 0
July 216 3
August 215 1
September 225 0
October 212 3
- 214 0
November 213 1
December 210 3
February 217 1
March 208 1

How do you account for this most extraordinary Variation?

From the Judgment or Caprice of the Meter.

Does all that arise from the Caprice of the Man whom you are forced to employ?


Is it not impossible to know within a few Chaldrons by the Draft of Water?

No; it is not impossible, if we load at the same Spout.

Is the Quantity of Coal you put on board measured?

Yes, always measured.

Is the Account you give in, according to that Measure, or the Draft of Water?

According to the Measure.

Supposing Coals were sold by Weight instead of by Measure, are you not of Opinion that that Variation would entirely cease?

It would be more accurate, certainly.

In your Belief, it is in consequence of the continual Measurement and the Caprice of the Meter that this Variation arises?


Supposing you took into your Ship at Newcastle 100 Tons of any Description of Goods, do you know the Bearing in the Water that your Ship would have had?

Not exactly.

Within how much can you calculate?

Within a few Inches.

What additional Burthen put into the Vessel would make your Vessel sink into the Water an Inch?

One Chaldron would make her sink an Inch and a Quarter. Then it depends a great deal on the Bearing of the Vessel; some Vessels sink more, some less, according to the Way the Vessel is built.

From your Experience of your own Vessel, you are confident the Addition of One Chaldron would make her sink from an Inch to an Inch and a Quarter in the Water?


Do you then conceive that you can calculate the Quantity that you take on board from the sinking of your Vessel in the Water when she is loaded?


Do you mean to speak accurately, or within a small Fraction?

Within a small Fraction.

Have you tried this repeatedly?



So that you speak with Confidence upon the Subject?

Yes. We frequently have to try it. Sometimes we are obliged, in the Tyne, to load the Vessel to Half an Inch, as respects the Water.

In measuring out, according to the Return you have given in, have you calculated how much per Cent. your Vessel measured out more on its Arrival in London than it appeared to have taken in at Newcastle?

No, I have not calculated that. That is a brief Statement of what she took in at Newcastle last Year, and what she made out in London last Year.

In all Cases, she made out a great deal more in London than she appeared to have taken in at Newcastle?


Is the Newcastle Chaldron exactly Two London Chaldrons?

We calculate it as Two to One; they are not so formally measured at Newcastle as they are in London.

Supposing them to be weighed at Newcastle, instead of measured, there could then be no Difference between London and Newcastle?


The Duty, however, is now paid upon the Admeasurement as it makes out in London?

Yes, I believe it is.

Have you ever brought any Cargoes of small Coal to Market in your Vessel?


Can you give the Committee any Information as to the permitting small Coals to be more freely imported into London?

No, I am not competent to give that Information.

Have you ever been employed to carry Coals over Sea?


Where did you take them to?

Feacamp in France. I carried them twice.

In what Year?

In the Year 1828.

What Description of Coals was it?

Tyne Main small Coals.

Which had passed through a 3-8ths of an Inch Skreen, according to the Act of Parliament?

Yes, I believe according to the Act of Parliament.

Are you the Owner of the Ship as well as the Captain?


Had you any Share in that Adventure?

No; we only freighted.

Who freighted?

I was freighted at Newcastle by Brokers.

Were those Coals sent to a particular House at Feacamp?


So that it was a Cargo ordered?



For what Purpose was that small Coal desired at Feacamp?

For Manufacturing Purposes, I believe; Blacksmiths and so on.

You do not precisely know the Sort of Manufacture?


Did you ascertain at Feacamp the probable Demand for Coals there?

They have a Demand for Coals there, but the Freight will not remunerate Persons to take them there.

Do you suppose that if they were allowed to take larger Coals at a reduced Duty, then the Freight would pay?

I cannot say.

Have you ever carried any Cargoes of Coals to any other Port of Europe?


Those are the only Two you ever carried over Sea?


Did you understand at Feacamp that there would be an Increase of Demand for that Description of Coals, if there was less Obstacle to bringing them there?

It was expected, when I was at Feacamp, that the Duty would be taken off the Coals, and then we anticipated that we should be more fully employed.

The Cargo of Coal was protected from the Water?

Yes, entirely so.

The Wet does not come to it?

The Wet must not come to it; we are obliged to bale off the Wet for the Safety of the Vessel.

Does the baleing off prevent any Rain coming to it?

It prevents every Kind of Wet coming to it; there is none can come to it.

Have you ever been employed in the Coal Trade on any other Part of the Coast than between Newcastle and London?

On no other.

How many Years have you been in the Coal Trade?

Between Five and Six Years a Master of a Ship.

Did you ever know a higher or lower Sum paid to the Whippers than 3s. per Score?


Do they receive that Sum in hard Money, or have you ever understood that they are obliged to take Part of it out at the Undertaker's Alehouse?

No; I believe they are always paid in hard Money.

Are you a Ship Owner as well as a Ship Master?

My Father-in-Law is a Ship Owner.

Can you give the Committee any Information as to what is termed Ingrain?

For every Chaldron of Coals we give a Vat in; for every Score a Chaldron; that is termed Ingrain; that is an Advantage the Buyer has.

That is demanded as Matter of Right, is it?



The Ship Owner is subject to the Payment of this and all other Expences upon the whole Cargo?


You consider that a very serious Grievance to the Ship Owner, do you not?

We consider it so.

Does that Payment of the Chaldron Ingrain make any Alteration in the Pool Price?

No; it makes no Alteration in the Charge for the Meter and Whippers.

Does not the Pool Price of Coals appear to be Five per Cent. higher by this than it really is; for instance, when Coals are 42s. per Chaldron in the Pool the Ship Owner receives only 40s., but the Price is still quoted at 42s., which enables the Coal Merchant to dispose of the Coals to the Consumer Five per Cent. higher than they ought to be?


Are you in the habit of ascertaining the Coal Market Prices each Market Day?


Does any Rise or Fall in those Prices operate to the Advantage or Disadvantage of the Ship Owner?

Greatly so. When Coals are low in London we cannot then obtain a Freight, for it would injure the Freighter generally to freight a Vessel. We are then obliged to deal on our own Account; the Owner of the Vessel buys the Coals, and is subject to the Fluctuation of the Market.

Do you know what is termed the Regulation of the Coal Owners in the North?


You never heard any thing relative to the Coal Owners Regulation in the North?


What was the Market Price of Stewart's Walls End last Market Day?

I cannot say. We all know the Price of our own Coal we have at Market, but not any others.

Do you mean to say that when you sell Coals from your Ship you make a Charge for a Chaldron more or for a Chaldron less than you deliver?

There is a Chaldron given in; for every Score we deliver Twenty-one, the Merchant paying for only Twenty.

He has an Advantage over the Coal Owner or the Shipper of the Coals of Five per Cent. upon the Purchase?


How is the Duty charged upon the Coal; is it without the Ingrain, or is the Ingrain charged with the Duty?

I cannot say that.

When you state the Difference there is between the Quantity of Coals you take in and the Quantity of Coals you deliver, is the Ingrain included?

The Ingrain is at this End.

Is the Ingrain reckoned in the Statement you have delivered in?



Do you mean to say that the Coals measure the Number stated in the Paper without the Ingrain?

Yes, without including the Ingrain; we have nothing to do with the Ingrain.

Do you mean to say, that, Ingrain and all, the Cargo referred to in your Paper delivered 214 Chaldrons?

Not including the Ingrain.

Is that the whole Quantity, including the Ingrain, contained in your Vessel?

We do not reckon the Ingrain; we have nothing to do with that. Every Twenty-one Chaldrons is called Twenty; if the Ingrain was calculated it would be so much more.

Then in fact your Vessel would measure out 224 Chaldrons instead of 214?


Do you receive Twenty-one for Twenty when you receive it on board?

No; we have nothing given in at the other End; but it is a Profit to the Buyer here.

To each of those Quantities there ought to be added Five per Cent. for Ingrain?

Yes, certainly; was there no Ingrain the Ship would make out so many Chaldrons more.

There is no Duty paid on the Ingrain in that Case?

I cannot speak to that. It is an Advantage to the Merchant, and a Disadvantage to the Ship Owner, and the Coal Owner if he freights them himself.

Does the Ship Owner receive Freight for that Chaldron Ingrain?

No, he does not.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Mr. William Horne is called in, and further examined as follows:

If an Alteration takes place in respect to the whipping and discharging the Cargoes of Coals in the Port of London, are there any other Improvements in that Trade that in your Opinion require the Interference of Parliament?

That of mixing the Coals; that is a very material Thing to us.

What Evil arises to the Public from that Practice of mixing the Coals?

We do not consider that there is any Evil; we frequently think that the Public are not so well satisfied by the Coals not being mixed. I have had Stewart's Walls End ordered by a Gentleman, and he complained that the Coals did not burn so well, for Want of a lighter Coal mixed with them.

In that Case you buy an inferior Coal, which you mix with the Stewart's Walls End?

We do not consider them an inferior Coal.

Are they not at an inferior Price?

Yes; but they fetch an inferior Price from there being a greater Quantity of small Coal with them, or some Reason of that kind.


They are Coals at an inferior Price?


When you mix a Chaldron of Stewart's Walls End with this other Coal at an inferior Price, is a corresponding Reduction of Price made to the Consumer?

No, certainly not, I should say.

Then supposing Stewart's Walls End to cost 33s. which is about the present Price, what priced Coal would you in such Case buy to mix with it?

I buy Coals at 31s. or 32s. to mix with them.

There would be a Difference of about a Shilling a Chaldron?

Yes; but I should wish to add to that, we get no Remuneration for small Coals which we are forced to take out of a Ship of Stewart's Walls End, and we conceive that is about an Equivalent.

In what Manner do you take the small Coal out of your Cargo of Stewart's Wall's End?

When we are measuring out Coals to Housekeepers, whenever they become at all small they are taken away, and put down the Screen or in the Warehouse.

That Operation takes place on your own Wharf?

Yes; and is constantly taking place.

What do you do with the small Coals?

We sell them at a very great Loss; we sell them at the Price small Coals fetch now on the Market that come free of Duty.

Do you know what Purpose they are applied to in general?

For making Coke in some Instances, and for making Gas, and Manufactories where the Size is of no Consequence to them.

Have you any Idea of what Proportion you take out of each Chaldron of Stewart's Walls End?

I have no Calculation of that sort.

Can you give any thing like a rough Notion?

I should say, on an Average, that out of a Ship of Stewart's Walls End I may get Ten Chaldrons of small; that is about Five per Cent. Deduction; Coals that the Public will not take. We find, generally, in the Coal Trade, that the Public will not take the Coals in the Condition in which they are sent from the North; they must still have small Coals taken out of them.

If the Public would take the Coal as you get it from on board the Ship, you could afford to sell it to them Five per Cent. cheaper?

I think we could.

When you speak of the Public, do you mean to say the Public in general, or only Persons in opulent Situations?

I mean the Public in general. Every Housekeeper, even a Tradesman, will not have his Coals sent in small. There is so much Competition in the Trade we cannot sell small Coals. The whole Complaint in our Trade is the Smallness of the Coals.

They will not take the Coal as it comes out of the Ships?

Not, on an Average; we should be afraid to send them so.

Besides that Five per Cent., of course, to remunerate you, you must charge the Duty that has been paid upon that Quantity of Coals you cannot dispose of?


Yes; we must consider the Expence of that small Coal, and charge it upon the large, which we can sell.

Can you state what you can sell the small for?

I can sell the small now for about 22s. The Price of the small is regulated by the Price of small Coals that come to Market; they sending them free of Duty. According to the Price at Market of those small Coals I can sell mine.

Have you ever considered what would be the Effect of selling Coals in the Port of London by Weight instead of by Measure?

I have.

What is your Opinion upon that Subject?

I think it might be done to great Advantage.

Explain to the Committee the Advantages which you think would arise from that Alteration?

In the first instance, it would remove the Uncertainty of what a Bushel of Coals is, which is now a great Annoyance in Surry, where my Wharf is; and the next Reason is, I think we shall have Coals of better Size - the Public generally will get them of better Size; it is now the Interest of every Coal Dealer and every Coal Merchant to break Coals to make Measure.

That arises from a Wish to make the Coals go further when they get into the Dealers Yards or Warehouses?

Exactly so; to make a greater Measure.

If Coals were to be sold by Weight instead of Measure, do you think there would then be any Occasion for the Land Meterage, or any Meterage?

I think not. I have never considered how far Ship Meters would be requisite; but I think the Land Meters would be perfectly unnecessary.

No Person would be necessary to interfere in the Bargain between the Coal Merchant and the Importer?

None at all. I should perhaps rather qualify that by saying, that I have not yet seen any good Plans by which the Public may protect themselves at the Tail of the Waggon. It is the Wish of the Coal Merchants that the Public should be able to protect themselves. We know that the Public can better protect themselves than any middle Body of Men are likely to protect them.

You add a Charge when you deliver a Chaldron of Coals; so much for Lighterage; do you not?

We add a Charge for Lighterage in sending Coals to our Consumers in large Quantities. Upon Coals sold in London the whole is included in One Charge.

Supposing a Person gave you an Order for Ten Chaldrons of Coals, do not you charge so much per Chaldron for Lighterage?

No; I should state the delivered Price, including Lighterage and other Charges.

Supposing you sell to a Customer to whom you make out a Bill; what do you charge for Lighterage?

From 1s. to 2s. a Chaldron, according to where they go to, and the Quantity sold.


That is in case of their being delivered on the River to the Person ordering them?


Supposing this Person lives at a Distance from the Water, what would you charge from the Pool to Hungerford Market, for instance; taking the Quantity at Twenty Chaldrons, to be paid for immediately?

I would do that for Eighteen-pence a Chaldron.

The same Price would refer to any thing between Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge?

Exactly so; not with respect to Quantity; if I were to lighter Two or Three hundred Chaldrons to a Manufacturer, where they would be got out immediately, I could afford to do it for a Shilling a Chaldron.

With respect to Cartage; in what Manner do you charge the Cartage upon Coals, supposing the Buyer to live at some Distance from the River?

We consider the Charge for Cartage as 6s. in London and its Environs.

Whatever the Distance may be?

To the Extent of an Average of Two or Three Miles.

A Person residing within Half a Mile of the River has no Advantage then in that respect over a Person who lives Three Miles from the River?

Certainly not, on a general Charge. Such a Man may come and make a Bargain, and say, that if I did not make a Deduction somebody else would, and I might be inclined to make a Deduction in that Case.

How many Chaldrons does One of your Coal Waggons hold?

Two Chaldrons and a Half; they will hold Three, but we generally send Two and a Half.

That is 15s. for each Trip?


How many Horses draw your Waggon?

Four Horses.

How many Men are there to attend upon them?

Two Men.

Taking the Distance of a Mile and a Half from the River, how long does it take them to drive a Waggon, to unload the Coals, and to return to the Wharf?

In the Winter Time, according to the present Regulations, a Waggon can do between Three and Four Turns, very little more than Three Turns, in a Day; in the Summer Time they may do more.

Can they do Four Turns upon the Average?

No, I do not think they ever can do Four Turns; about Three and a Half. The present System of Land Coal Metage in Surry very much hinders us.

Explain in what Way?


By not being suffered to load those Waggons after Six o'Clock in the Evening, or before Six in the Morning. In consequence of the Public requiring their Coals generally early in the Morning, we are forced to leave off Work in the Middle of the Day, for the sake of loading them to go out at Six o'Clock the next Morning; and we frequently lose Half a Day, if we have Orders for Delivery early the next Morning. It is suffered in the City, but not suffered in Surry.

How much do you pay the Men who go with the Waggons by the Week?

We pay them partly by the Week and partly for the Labour they do.

How much a Day can those Men earn?

I should think from Seven to Eight Shillings a Day.

Do you mean that you pay them Seven or Eight Shillings a Day?

It depends entirely on the Labour they do; but I should think it would average that.

Is that independent of the Charge for shooting?

That is the shooting.

You charge that to the Consumer?


The only Expence of the actual Conveyance of the Coals are the Horses and Waggons?

Yes; and those small Wages the Men receive as Carmen.

What Wages do they receive as Carmen?

Nine Shillings a Week each.

Can you prepare a Calculation of the Expence of Cartage of Coals?

I can. I conceive it amounts to from 5s. to 5s. 6d. and 6s. in Money, according to my Calculation.

The Witness is directed to prepare the Calculation referred to.

Mr. Horne.-I beg to correct one Part of my former Evidence. I stated that a Lighterman must be free of the City. I have inquired, and found that I was mistaken in that, and that there is no Necessity for his being free of the City, but that he must be free of the Watermen's Company.

Do you, as a Coal Merchant, ever employ Factors to sell your Coals?


Do you know any Instance of Coal Merchants being also Freighters of Ships?

I was never myself, but I believe it is done.

If a Coal Merchant was also Freighter of a Ship, might he not go into the Market and purchase his own Coals, being sold by a Factor to whom the Freight was recommended?

He certainly might.

Did you never know or hear that by those means Coals are advanced in Price at the Coal Exchange?

I do not believe it; I do not think it is done to a sufficient Extent to influence a Public Market of that kind.

Have you known that such Practices have existed?

No; I do not know that such a Practice has existed, as a Man buying his own Coals at a higher Price than they ought to be sold at.

Would the Public be liable to be imposed upon, in consequence of purchasing Coals, if Coals were sold by Weight?


I think not to any great Extent. I have tried Experiments, where I have wetted the Coals so much that the Water has been running out of the Corners of the Sacks, and I find I cannot increase them more than from Four to Six per Cent., though so wet that the Public would not receive them.

Are you aware whether there is any Land Metage on the Regent's Canal?

I know there is not.

Do the Public that are supplied from the Regent's Canal complain in consequence of there being no Land Metage there?

I have not heard of any Complaint.

The present State of the Coal Market is very depressed, is it not?

It has been for the last Week very flat, very low.

To what do you attribute that?

I have had some Difficulty to account for it, but I have been rather inclined to think it has been in consequence of your Lordships Inquiry, that there is a Feeling with the Public that something would be done to lower the Price; I cannot say that that is the Case; but I have been deceived very much; I did not conceive Coals would be so cheap as they are.

Is it the Practice with the Coal Merchants in London to have considerable Stocks on hand?

No, not in the least. I like in the Winter to have Three or Four hundred Chaldrons, but that is no Stock at all, as the Consumption of Coals is to the Amount of Five or Six thousand a Day -a Million and a Half a Year. The Coals are not all consumed in London; they go Twenty or Thirty Miles round. We consider it no Source of Profit to keep Coals: I once kept Coals Seven Years in a Warehouse before I had a favourable Opportunity to send them out.

Is Five or Six thousand Chaldrons a Day the Average throughout the Year?

I think it will appear so; it is a Million and a Half a Year; that is the Amount of the Coals which come into the Port of London.

How far into the Country do you send Sea-borne Coal?

As far as Windsor that Way; and they go as far as Reading, and into Hertfordshire.

Have you ever visited Dublin or Cork, where Coals are sold by Weight, so as to observe the Practice?

No; if the Legislature thought it right to allow of the Practice, I should go and see how it is done.

Do you think it is the general Impression of the Trade, that they should be sold by Weight instead of by Measure?

I can hardly say; there is a Difference of Opinion. I know many who are very much averse to it; but the Men who have thought most of it, I think, are in favour of it. I wish that some Check could be contrived at the Tail of the Waggon; that is the great Difficulty now.

Do you know what you pay the Coal Owner for a Chaldron of the best Walls End Coals in the North now?

No; I do not know any Transaction of Coals until they come to the Market.

You buy them in the Port of London?

Just so.


What did you pay, in the Port of London, the last Day you bought?

Thirty-two Shillings and Nine-pence.

What do you charge before you put them in the Cellar of a Consumer in London?

Twelve Shillings upon that.

You charge for the best Walls End Coals, how much?

Forty five Shillings, I should call it now.

So that, between the Pool and the Consumer's Cellar, there is a direct Charge of the 12s.?


Does the first Price include the Whippers?

Yes; the Ship Owner pays that.

The 32s. 9d. is the Price on board the Lighter?


The Coal Merchant does not sell from his Stock in Warehouse, but from that which he purchases from Time to Time?

Mostly he does so; he does sometimes from his Warehouse, if he thinks that they are Coals that will better suit; but the general Practice is to work out of the Barges at once.

There is a great Traffic in mixing the Coal among the London Coal Merchants, is there not?

I think Coals are very much mixed, for the Benefit of the Consumer.

You deliver a Ticket when you sell, describing the Species of Coals?


Is that Ticket always a correct Statement?

Invariably; so many Sacks of one Sort, and so many Sacks of another Sort.

Are they mixed in the Sacks?

No; there are so many Sacks in the Waggon of one Sort, and so many of another. They are mixed in the shooting.

Does the Coal Merchant purchase them mixed?

No; he purchases them out of the Ship, and then he purchases different Sorts from different Ships.

Where does he mix them?

He mixes them by loading out of Two Barges at the same Time into One Waggon.

How do you separate the small Coal from the large Coal of the Stewart's Walls End?

While we are filling those Sacks out of the Barge, some Part of the Bulk will come small, the Coal Porters then put them into a Sack, and carry them up into a Warehouse.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Mr. Thomas Feetham is called in, and examined as follows:

In what Situation are you?

I am a Coal Merchant in Partnership with my Brother.

You carry on your Business in Westminster, do you not?



Have you ever seen a Report to the Common Council upon the Subject of the Land Meterage, and the Whipping of the Coals from the Ships?

It was handed to me this Morning by Mr. Horne. I had never seen it before that.

Are you of Opinion that the Land Metage, as at present conducted, is of any Service between the Consumer and the Coal Merchant?

I do not think that it is; I think that there is much Difficulty in defining the correct Form of the Cone of the Bushel, and a great Difference of Opinion exists respecting that.

There is the same Difficulty with respect to the Metage when the Coal is taken out of the Ship, is there not?


Have you ever turned your Attention to the Idea of selling Coal by Weight instead of by Measure?

I have.

Do you see any Objection to that Measure?

I do not see any Objection to selling by Weight.

Do you see any Advantage likely to arise from it?

I think it would be a great Satisfaction for the Trade to know that if they sell by Weight there can be no Dispute with regard to the Correctness of it.

Is it possible that by wetting the Coal the Consumer should be in any way defrauded?

It will make a Difference, certainly; there will be a Difference in the Weight by wetting Coals, but the Difference will be greater in small Coals than in large Coals.

Is it possible to wet the Coals so that the Customer shall not perceive they have been wetted, and yet that any thing like a considerable Addition should be made to the Weight of the Coals?

In the Way that the Coal Business is done, it would be almost impossible to prevent the Coals getting wet, for they are loaded in open Barges, and if the Weather is wet the Coals will be wet, but the Wet will run out of the Coals; and I think the Consumer would, if he saw that the Coals had been improperly wetted, easily perceive that.

Are you aware that there is no Land Metage for Coals delivered on the Regent's Canal?

Yes, I am aware of that.

Have you ever heard any Complaint there, in consequence of there being no Land Metage?

I have not heard any Complaints.

Have you ever heard of any body living near the Line of the Regent's Canal going to buy, in preference, where they had an Opportunity of having their Coals measured?

I have heard People observe that they could buy their Coals cheaper in the Line of the Regent's Canal than they can buy them at Westminster, and have them sent from Westminster by Land to their Houses.


Were you upon the Coal Exchange the last Market Day?

No, I was not.

Were you there the one before that?

No; I have not been for some Time. My Brother generally attends the Coal Exchange.

Are you aware of the present State of the Coal Market?

Yes, I am; the present State of the Coal Market is rather heavy.

Are not Coals as low as they were at this Time last Year?

I think they are lower.

To what do you attribute the depressed State of the Coal Market at this Moment?

I cannot very well attribute it to any thing, unless it is the Inquiry that is going on. The Impression is, with the Public, that Coals are likely to be cheaper; and I think People are taking in small Quantities in consequence.

During the severe Frost which there has been this Year was there any great Rise in the Price of Coals in the Pool?

Not a very great Rise; I think the Price did not exceed Two Guineas in the Pool, during the Frost.

Upon former Occasions of severe Frost, has the Price of Coals risen very considerably in the Pool?

I think it has risen more than it has done the last Winter.

Was there any Time during the late Frost when the discharging of the Ships was prevented by the State of the River?

There was for some Days; and we were unfortunate enough to lose a Barge of Coals in the Ice.

Was the Price of Coals to the Consumer very considerably raised during those few Days?

We were obliged to raise the Price of Coals to the Consumer, from the great Difficulty and Expence incurred in getting the Coals out of the Ships.

To what Extent did that Increase of Price go upon that Occasion?

It went as high as Sixty-eight Shillings a Chaldron.

What would have been the natural Price?

About 54s.

The Rise was 14s.?


Was it at any Time during the late Frost higher than that?

Some People might sell rather higher than that, but our Price was about Sixty-eight.

How are the Coals delivered at the Regent's Canal; by Weight or by Measure?

The Inland Coals are delivered by Weight, but the Sea-borne Coals by Measure.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.


Benjamin Whinnell Scott Esquire is called in, and delivers in the following Papers, in pursuance of the Direction of the Committee:

The same are read as follows:

A Statement of the Produce of the Coal Metage (entered in the City's Accounts as the Produce of the Coal Meters Places) from the Year 1813 to 1829, both inclusive.
YEARS. Amout paid to the Chamber, after deducting the Allowance to the Deputy Coal Meters. Salaries to Clerks, Expence of providing and repairing Vats, Printing and other Disbursements. Net Produce.
£ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
1813 13,139 12 1,604 19 0 11,534 13
1814 16,001 1 11 1,615 5 10 14,385 16 1
1815 15,840 18 2 1650 9 2 14,190 9 0
1816 17,373 19 1,772 2 10 15,601 16 11¾
1817 16,280 18 11¾ 1,637 11 0 14,643 7 11¾
1818 16,948 4 5 1,588 12 8 15,359 11 9
1819 16,746 2 10¼ 1,979 11 4 14,766 11
1820 18,398 7 1,648 19 3 16,749 8
1821 20,724 14 2,168 6 4 18,556 7 11½
1822 17,787 0 1 1,957 2 9 15,829 17 4
1823 19,922 18 11 2,078 5 6 17,844 13 5
1824 21,536 16 10 2,448 14 6 19,088 2 4
1825 20,399 12 2,059 4 10 18,340 7 11¾
1826 21,330 4 9 2,684 17 11½ 18,645 6
1827 20,388 10 0 2,989 8 11 17,399 1 1
1828 20,811 2 11 2,331 14 3 18,479 8 8
1829 21,520 17 0 2,888 2 7 18,632 14 5

"Chamberlain's Office, Guildhall, 1st March 1830."

An Account of the Purchase Money of the Coal Exchange paid under the Authority of the Act of 43 Geo. 3. C. 134., and of the Money levied for the Repayment.
Debt created.
£ s. d.
Dec. 1804 and Jan. 1805. The Consideration for the Purchase of the Freehold and other Interest of the late Coal Exchange, for the Purpose of making it a Free Market, was 64 Shares, or 256 Bonds of £100 each, bearing an Interest of £5 per Cent. per Annum 25,600 0 0
1805 and 1806 By the Sale of 134 of the said Bonds. to provide for the Charge of obtaining the Acts of the 43 Geo. 3. c. 134. and 47 Geo. 3. c. 68., conveyancing, and other contingent Expences incurred in carrying the same into Execution 13,400 0 0
Total Debt £ 39,000 0 0


"In the Year 1810 the Produce of the Duty granted by the beforementioned Act of the 43 Geo. 3. became more than sufficient for the Payment of the Interest on the Sums borrowed and the Expences of the Market, and the Surplus from that Period has been applied from Time to Time, as it accrued, in the Liquidation of the above Debt of £39,000 which was wholly discharged, and the Interest thereon ceased, on the 12th Day of September last.

"No precise Return can be made of the Monies levied for the Repayment of the Purchase Money of the Coal Market, but the Total Amount of Interest which has been paid on the said Debt until its Discharge is £34,774 5s. 5d."

"Chamberlain's Office, Guildhall, 1st March 1830."

"A LIST of the PRINCIPAL COAL METERS in Trust for the City of LONDON.

Gilpin Gorst Equire.

Robert Fisher Esquire.

Mr. William Shearman.

Thomas Farrance Esquire.

Mr. Eugenius Fenning.

Mr. Thomas Lister Forrest.

Mr. William Row junior.

Mr. Robert Westwood.

Mr. Walter Anderson Peacock.

Samuel Roberts Esquire.

Mr. John Cowan.

Mr. Leonard Willshere.

Mr. William Richardson.

Mr. Benjamin Stubbing.

Thomas Price Esquire."

"Chamberlain's Office, Guildhall, 1st March 1830."

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

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