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Series One: The Boulton & Watt Archives and the Matthew Boulton Papers from Birmingham Central Library

Part 6: Muirhead II - Notebooks and Papers of James Watt and Family

Part 7: Matthew Boulton Correspondence (Subject Material and Individual Correspondents Including

            Garbett, Rennie, Southern and Wilkinson)

Part 8: Muirhead III and IV - Notebooks and Papers of James Watt and Family

Detailed Listing - Part 7

Box 308 : Samuel Garbett and Family, 1765-1785 (Box 1 of 3)
Items 1-176

1-10 : Letters and Papers concerning Francis Garbett, (d. Feb 1800), son of Samuel Garbett.

11-14 : Letters and Papers concerning Col. John Walsham Garbett (1771-1819), son of Francis Garbett.

15-172 : Letters and Papers concerning Samuel Garbett (1716-1803) who in 1750 entered into partnership with Dr Roebuck at Birmingham, where they established a laboratory for the assay and refining of gold and silver and a manufacture of oil of vitriol. The agreement was for a term of 40 years. The partners also established an oil of vitriol manufacture at Prestonpans. On September 26, 1766 the partnership was dissolved and a new agreement entered into, the business being carried on under the style of S. Garbett & Co., at Prestonpans and Birmingham and other trades in Birmingham as S. Garbett. He founded, together with Dr Roebuck and William Cadell, the Carron Company with its important iron works. Samuel Garbett was very active as Chairman of the Birmingham Commercial Committee and his influence and lobbying in favour of Birmingham manufacturers in London, especially in Parliament and with Government officials in the capital, led to frequent exchanges of correspondence with Matthew Boulton and Josiah Wedgwood.

173-176 : Press cuttings relating to Samuel Garbett and Knill Court (1928-1949).

Principal items of interest include :

20. : 1772 January 5. Carron – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “Dr Roebuck’s Colliery is going on very well, there will probably be a profit of £4,000 a year and that he will recover the great sum he has expended upon it : but he can neither live within his present allowance of £700 a year or forbear adventuring in new enterprises. I congratulate you upon your discovery at Packington. I am sure you have need of all your good sense to be upon your guard in that quarter of the world and particularly in case of Mrs Boulton’s death. I have often feared for your little folks that you have not been sufficiently decisive in the point and therefore never think of it but with a sensation you would wish from a hearty friend which I know you will accept as an apology for my saying anything about it. {See R.L. Edgeworth]. Nothing but real and well known landed property joined with ministerial connections can make a bank at Birmingham so lucrative as to be worth your or my notice as principals. In this connection it was extremely unlucky that Lord Dartmouth and Sir W. Bagot attacked me for endeavouring to prevent the country being grossly abused by Canal Companies : when men of that rank descent to personalities to countenance a man of Ash’s duplicity they will be tempted to put one’s character and conduct in an improper light : their having done so will retard the plan I formed and which you and I may unite, but it would not be agreeable to unite with Messrs. Raymond, Lowe, Vere and Fletcher who are not of sufficient eminence to connect with the great plan I hope we may establish. I had hopes of receiving from you some designs for bath stone fronts, we make more than 30 tons a month. The death of Mr Ebenezer Roebuck occasions Mr Thomas Roebuck, his brother, to resign the Department he held at his place.”

30. : 1776 January 27. Prestonpans – M.B., Birmingham. 2 pp. folio. With an autograph draft of Mr Boulton’s reply. States that the works at Prestonpans are going on well. A fire engine for the Carron Works is under consideration. Is at present unable to see distinctly the state of Mr Gascoigne’s affairs.

45. : 1780 February 6. Birmingham – M.B. Chacewater, near Truro, Cornwall. 2 pp. 4to. “I have been engaged on the affairs of my friend Turner : he made no Will since that of October 1776, a rough one and not witnessed. There is between 20 and £30,000 more than is sufficient to pay his debts and the bulk of his fortune he had left to his children. I am glad to see what you write about the copying scheme of Mr Watt’s. My affairs in Scotland are coming to a crisis, it is material to remove Mr Anderson as Trustee and to place Mr Dick in his room.”

46. : 1780 March 18. Prestonpans – M.B., [Soho]. 3 pp. folio. “Our affairs are now in train for being understood and settled so as to prevent law suits. I consider it important to meet the Carron Company, upon the terms they offer to reinstate me and my son as partners. Dr Roebuck has assigned his profits in partnership with me to Gascoigne and his associates.”

58. : 1782 April 26. Birmingham – M.B. [Soho]. 2 pp. 4to. “It will be necessary to call a meeting of creditors in June to determine (1) The choice of trustees under the sequestration. (2) The sale of the Prestonpans Works. (3) The sale of the Birmingham Works and to consider the allowing of money to remain in Mr Alston’s hands at interest for Mr Garbett’s support.”

68. : 1782 August 12. Birmingham – N. Nicholls [London]. 4 pp folio. Copy. “Mr. Dick refuses to act as Trustee under the Sequestration. Mr W Hog and Mr Baxter are appointed. Between 30 June 1775 and 31 December 1781 the Carron Company made a profit of £114,797-7-7 and had paid £21,607-10s. thereof as dividends to partners. They have adopted the principles I have for many years urged, to prevent insufficient metal being put into guns, but there is such a stigma upon the character of the company that I fear the Board of Ordnance will continue to refuse buying Cannon from Carron. The Works at Prestonpans were employed in making oil of vitriol, the consumption of which four years past has been prodigiously less than formerly, not only on account of the War, but other causes. We have on hand more than was made in the last 12 months, so it is an unfavourable time to sell the Works. Mr Boulton and Mr Baxter approved of selling the Works at Birmingham to Mr James Alston, at the price they were valued at in August 1772, (when there was a separation with Mr Farquharson who was then a partner with me).”

70. : 1782 October 22. London – M.B., Cosgarne, near Truro. 4 pp. 4to.

“… I congratulate you upon the hornblowers not giving you more delay. Mr Knipe called : he is a gentlemanlike man : I thought he had the appearance of a pretender to science and should not be surprised to find he was not in his right mind. Have you heard that Dr Price turns quicksilver into gold? Mr Alchorne in vain urged me to read Dr Price’s pamphlet. Mr Capper and Mr Watson called. The people at the Mint have behaved in a manner that gives them a claim to great civility from me and it is with regret that I shall make a Report which may injure them. The profits of Lord Cadogan have been enormous. I have discovered many material things which I cannot put on paper … As I see Lord Shelburne sometimes I must not say a word of politics if I knew anything that is not in the papers but I may say to you that its probable the Ports will be immediately opened for the importation of corn and that we have not yet lost America.”

74. : 1783 May 17. Birmingham – M.B. [London]. 1 p. 4to. ”Mrs Boulton was better last night. Although it is impossible you should overlook the great public objects that may be affected by the Anglesea Coal Bill, yet I entreat you to assert (1) that the Anglesea Copper Company has already very much undersold the Cornish Copper. (2) That they have it in their power to stop some of the mines in Cornwall. (3) That the Act of Parliament is not necessary to support the Anglesea Mines in a competition with the Cornish.”

94. : 1784 July 14. London – M.B., Truro, Cornwall. 4 pp. 4to. “The Sheffield Bill has been closed by the Committee and is to be reported on Monday. Mr Duncombe and the Sheffield Agent and their Parliamentary Solicitor had a long conversation with Sir John Wrottesley, Sir George Shuckburgh and I, on the subject, and they consented to move the House to recommit the Bill to add something I proposed. Yesterday there was a committee meeting of Mr Duncombe, Mr Wilberforce and many Yorkshire members and Sir George Shuckburgh, Sir Edward Littleton and Mr Hammet. At my motion they consented to extend the privilege of putting on a mark to any place within 100 miles of Sheffield. The word Birmingham could not be named without occasioning double fees. They also consented to allow the liberty of adding a figure to denote the proportion of silver to copper. I declared explicitly and frequently my disapprobation of the Bill without more effectual restraint to prevent deceptions and to protect a valuable trade.”

95. : 1784 July 19. London – M.B., Truro, Cornwall. 4 pp. 4to. “The Yorkshire gentleman spoke of the plated ware made at Birmingham as not worth notice and Lord Effingham and the Sheffield agent (Mr Airey) did in my presence represent what was done at Birmingham as insignificant : his Lordship said that “Sheffield Plate” was the common term : consequently it was material to produce Mr Hodges to the Committee. I am extremely dissatisfied with the Bill. I am angry at your susceptibility, when you suffer serious pain from Ravee and Sinkelaar’s frivolous Bill in Chancery : their swearing that you promised to give Bond cannot be of any consequence for your good sense renders the assertion laughable. Pray is the Chacewater Mine given up? I expected the Cornish people would have remonstrated against the duty on candles. The tax on coal was foolish. Your quandum friend Wilkinson and Reynolds Junior, solemnly averred, that 31 tons of coal are consumed in making rod iron which sells on the average for £16.10.0 per ton and that they and Lord Dudley use a million of bricks annually. The poor rates of Birmingham are from 20 to 30% on the real rents and the rates amount to £12,000 a year : there are 5,080 tenements in the town not rated to the poor, the necessitous occupiers already pay 3s. a year house tax and by the proposed tax upon bricks and tiles, the rents will be increased 10s. a year or 10 per cent. Lord Effingham and I are to eat a chop together; I want to engage him to pledge his honour that no tricks shall be practised upon us. [Sheffield Plate Act].”

96. : 1784 July 26. M.B., Cosgarne – S. Garbett. 3 pp. folio. “I am certain you have done all that could be done in the Sheffield business. Sir John Dalyrymple has written a pamphlet recommending his lands and our engines for the establishment of an iron works. Chacewater Mine will stop unless I and my friends carry it on. The tax on candles will affect Wheal Virgin Mine about £200 a year and other mines proportionally, but I could not stir the Cornish gentlemen, who would go barefoot to London to save paying us our dues, though we have saved their mines from ruin and they acknowledge that not one of the great mines would now be at work had it not been for our engines.” [Press copy].

97. : 1784 August 2. Birmingham – M.B., [Cornwall]. 3 pp. 4to. “I was in a very disagreeable situation by opposing the Sheffield Bill upon the Report after it had passed the Committee : I had not time to go to Mr Gilbert or any friend except Mr Hammett, I was desirous to avoid wrangling and desired to act always in conjunction for our common interests that we might not only obtain a law to support the trade but to prevail on administration to take the state of the hardware trade, nails and other heavy iron articles into consideration as national objects. Your stamp or mark must be your name in words at length BOULTON. Mr Pitt does not give up the idea of taxing coal. The tax on bricks and candles are severe upon this town, to say nothing of paper. But our debts must be paid. Poor Parson Pixell was well on Saturday, complained on Sunday morning, was lethargic, sent for Dr Withering who ordered his head to be scarified but he went to sleep on Sunday evening and never waked.”

102 : 1785 February 14. Birmingham – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. “Sir Robert Lawley writes that he and Sir G. Shuckburgh waited on Mr Rose and read to him the enquiry contained in your letter. He promised all possible attention to the subject of the emperor’s edict. If Mr Rose thinks the amount of trade between England and the Emperor’s Dominions is known by duties paid, he judges at random. At Leipzig Fair, Poles and Russians buy and order quantities of goods which pass through the Emperor’s Dominions. Ireland is preferable to England, on account of the duty on iron, for the manufacture of nails, hoops, anchors, chains &c. A nailer at Harborne, employing 30 men, women and children in making twopenny nails, says he makes 94 lbs per week from two bundles of iron and consumes 2 cwt. coal, costing 6d. per cwt. or 10s. per ton. Coal in Dublin is 14s. to 16s. a ton. To slit a ton of iron into rod takes 6 cwt. of coal, to make a ton of rods into nails 64 to 70 cwt. cost in England £1.15.0 and in Dublin 17s. 6d.”

104. : 1785 February 22. Birmingham – M.B. [London]. 2 pp. 4to. “I promised Mr Galton, Mr Russell and Mr Wedgwood I would write to you and Mr Watt to procure a meeting of as many of the principal traders now in London in consequence of the negotiations for a commercial intercourse with Ireland and to desire the Chairman to write to the principal manufacturing establishments requesting them to send deputies to London, at this important crisis relative to a Commercial Treaty, not only with Ireland but with other European States. I send you 20 copies of our [Birmingham] Committee’s Resolutions. At the quarterly meeting of Ironmongers at West Bromwich, Mr Thomas Gibbons in the Chair, it was agreed that if the duty on iron in Britain was 56s. per ton and in Ireland 10s. and coal in Ireland was 15s. per ton that nails could be made in Ireland, 7 to 9 per cent cheaper. If Ireland is allowed to export nails to the US America free of other duty and of the equalising duty settled in 1778, that masters and men would emigrate to Ireland.”

105. : 1785 February 25. Birmingham – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. “What commercial advantages is it probable might be obtained for British manufacturers in Germany or Russia if a free import was allowed for their linens? Would it have a tendency to obstruct the various means that we are using to plant our manufactures in Germany? Is it judicious to engage forever to afford “an Effectual Preference” to the manufactures of Ireland however advantageous it may be to open a free trade with any opulent state! Whether it is proper for us to oppose Mr Pitt further than to obtain time for investigation you will consider and decide. Mr Pitt was brought into a very dangerous situation with the Irish by former measures. To apply to the treasury about taxes on manufactures and treaties with foreign states cannot be done at present with effect without a general union of manufacturing establishments and the injudicious propositions to Ireland, if carried into a Treaty, seems an eternal bar against our making advantageous treaties with other states.”

143. : 1785 June 9. Birmingham – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. With enclosure, 1785 May 31. George Simcox, Birmingham – S. Garbett, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I send you enclosed the letter to Mr Pitt, which you as our delegate, will deliver or not as you may think proper. I wrote Mr I.H. Browne that we everyday meet with unforeseen objections to the strange idea of an unalterable Treaty of Commerce as proposed between Great Britain and Ireland. Pray refer to the enclosed letter from Mr G. Simcox : if anything is done to distress Hawkers and Pedlars, it will be severely felt by shopkeepers and many manufacturers for they pervade every corner in the Kingdom. Surely some infernal spirit is gone forth to impel our Minister to strike at our manufacturers, root and branch. I send you another letter from Mr Gibbons of Wolverhampton, to whom the iron trade is under great obligations. I shall send you the Wolverhampton and West Bromwich Petition, on Saturday. We hear from Vienna that there is no probability of the Emperor’s dispensing with the Prohibition.”

163. : 1785 October 24. M.B., Chacewater – S. Garbett, London. “… Sir F. Bassett objects to the terms of the agreement with the Smelters. He thinks 14 years is too long and seven years is enough. Now suppose one or two of the Smelting companies resign, query if our Birmingham friends would raise £50,000 and stand in their shoes and purchase and building Smelting works. Williams has not bought the Cheadle Brass Works but has bought the Warrington company’s smelting works and I fear he will buy that company’s works at Holywell and make brass. It is in vain for our Birmingham friends to vex themselves.”

Box 309 Samuel Garbett, 1786-1797 (Box 2 of 3)
Items 1-199

Principal items of interest include :

7. : 1786 March 23. Birmingham – M.B. at Mr Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, Cannon Street, London. 4 pp. 4to. “I had a meeting yesterday with the subscribers to your plan for a copper works, there was a numerous attendance and it was hoped that Mr Morris would take measures for his information before he could give assurance of his being able to perform his “farther proposals”. I send you the following papers viz : Mr Robert Morris’s draft of the answers to the queries respecting the state of the Bury River and Mr Wilson’s original letter to you, also what has passed in my mind on the state of the bar iron trade and on the exportation of iron wares. We hold a Special Commercial Committee meeting tomorrow in order to form a list of such tools as we think the exportation of should be allowed. On Saturday sen’night we are to hold a General Meeting of the Committee to take into consideration the propriety of our petitioning Parliament to grant powers to prevent such obstructions as frequently impede the navigation of the River Severn. The saving of 7 to £800,000 a year in the conduct of the Revenue affords a favourable opportunity of relieving manufactures from injudicious taxes such as on soap, candles &c. and such as impede the exportation of manufactured silk, leather, glass, silver, printed linens &c. the improvement of the Articles I have named is impeded by excise men. I sent to Mr Scale for the piece of India coin, he proposed to employ Hancocks instead of Westwood.”

34. : 1786 August 31. Birmingham – M.B. Truro, Cornwall. 4 pp. 4to. “I am anxious to hear that the Cornish Metal Company have sent and have determined to keep considerable stocks of copper at Amsterdam and Hamburg with orders to sell at a certain price and that they have sent an intelligent person to every mine in Europe, that can affect the markets at Hamburg and Amsterdam, to learn at what price each can afford to deliver copper at those cities, of the qualities sent by the Cornish Metal Company. The shot copper from the English Copper Company is better than any that ever came to Turner’s Works [Birmingham] or to our new brass works, the Duke of Devonshire’s tile copper now selling here, is the best tile that ever came to this market. As the foreign sales consume so great a proportion of the whole copper that is and must be raised in Britain to support the present working mines, it is evidently prudent for such of them as cannot afford to sell copper as cheap as foreigners to provide for stopping with as little loss as possible. I find Mr Gascoigne not only wrote to Carron for 600 tons of the best metal for making Cannon, but also for 20,000 firebricks and 100 tons of fire clay and for such machinery and utensils as will enable Russia to make Cannon for all Europe. I have intelligence that many articles in hardware are establishing in Russia, particularly cabinet furniture in brass, viz : handles and escutcheons, buckles and bath metal rings, various articles in metal silvered, many common steel articles and different sorts of iron ware. [Beldon ?] an eminent plater is gone to Paris from Sheffield, there are many accounts of many suspicious circumstances relative to workmen preparing to go abroad. Mrs Watt has asked for the refusal of Glover’s house on Key Hill and Mrs Startin has also applied for it.”

38. : 1786 November 25. Birmingham – M.B. à Monsr. Delessert, rue Cogheron, Paris. 2 pp. 4to. “If Mr Necker is right the French goldsmiths and silversmiths have an advantage in buying bullion, over our goldsmiths and silversmiths of about 2 per cent in gold and 3 per cent in silver. Mr Alchorne’s account of the division of profits made at the mint between the King, the check officers, the contingencies and the coiners or director of the Mint, do not agree with Mr Necker’s : I do not believe either know exactly. There was I believe last year, an alteration made in the gold coin of France, when it was depreciated 4 per cent. I know of no alteration in the silver coin since 1771.”

51. : 1787 April 18. London – M.B. Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I have an appointment with Mr Pitt tomorrow morning and the Cornish gentlemen this morning. I am glad you have written for Droz. The House of Lords has determined that the partnership between Dr Roebuck and I was never dissolved by the Articles of Dissolution and consequently that the effects at Prestonpans are partnership effects.”

52. : 1787 April 19. London – M.B. Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “Mr Pitt is to see me on Saturday. Pray write me what progress Mr Eginton has made with the dyes. I am very anxious about the silver coin, I think it of more importance to the revenue and to us than copper.”

118. : 172 March 28. Birmingham – M.B. at Mr Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, Cannon Street, London. 1 p. 4to. “If you could prove that Hornblower has erected any engines since the date of his patent which have not proved better than Mr Smeaton’s or have not performed the effect he proposed to his employers, or what he expressed in his petition for a patent, it might be of use to state the particulars in order to show that he should be discouraged as an imposter.”

163. : 1796 March 15. Birmingham – Lord Hawkesbury. 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. With two printed copies of part of the Minutes of the Commercial Committee, February 1, 1785. “When the Commercial Treaty with France was under consideration, Mr Boulton and I were desired by our townsmen to represent to the Lords of Council, that the article of buttons employed more people than any other toy made at this place. I beg your Lordship to refer to the enclosed minutes made at the Public Meeting of Merchants, Factors and Buttonmakers. A Petition to the House of Commons has been presented in consequence of the Resolutions. The best if not the only mode that can prevent deception in this important article is to restrain anybody from selling buttons without the maker’s name (or some registered mark) upon them. All manufacturers of silver wares are obliged, not only to put an initial mark upon their wares, but must have the further testimony of an Assay Office when the bullion is worth 1s. 3¼d. But this mode is warmly opposed by merchants, as it would restrain the practice of reducing prices which is ultimately ruinous to quality. Quantities of many sorts have been made here not fit for service, so that a considerable part of the trade of the town is mere counterfeiting. Now the buttonmakers have brought this question before Parliament I flatter myself your Lordship and the other Lords of Council for Trade, will think it expedient to introduce a Clause into the Bill to the purport abovementioned.”

192. : 1797 November 27. Birmingham – M.B. at Mrs Matthews, No. 13 London Street, Fenchurch Street, London. 2 pp. folio. “I send copy of a paper as under I am not at liberty to say from whom I received it. If the proposed tax on iron takes place, it would not so materially affect the iron masters, meaning those who manufacture bar iron, sheet iron and rods, as the manufacturers who work it up into the various branches of this place and neighbourhood.”

193. : 1797 November 28. Birmingham – M.B. at Mrs Matthews, No. 13, London Street, Fenchurch Street, London. 3 pp. 4to. “I have written to Sir John Mordaunt that I see it is very probable such a tax will be laid on foreign iron as will be advantageous to English iron masters and prejudicial to manufacturers and exporters of iron wares and to all who consume or use considerable quantities of iron. In consequence of inconveniences which have lately attended the trade with America, the exports have been so much reduced that many workmen have not earned half their usual wages.”

194. : 1797 November 29. Birmingham – M.B. at Mrs Matthews, No. 13 London Street, Fenchurch Street, London. 1 p. 4to. “I have written to Sir John Mordaunt and Mr I H Browne that the taxes upon silver and watches severely affect manufacturers in silver and trinkets used with watches and very much distress some shops in this town. Watch chains, keys and seals may be thought trifles, though many hundred are employed in those articles in this town and neighbourhood.”

195. : 1797 December 1. Birmingham – M.B. at Mrs Matthews, No. 13 London Street, Fenchurch Street, London. 2 pp. 4to. “At a meeting at the manufacturers of Toys &c., at the Shakespeare Tavern, I found the long room crowded. An address to Mr Pitt was approved and a deputation of four manufacturers was appointed to wait on the Knights of the Shire, Mr Browne and Mr Legge, to solicit their intercession. Manufacturers in London and Coventry have applied to Mr Pitt. The Coventry business at our Assay Office is reduced about one half.”

Box 310 Samuel Garbett 1798-1806 (Box 3 of 3)
Items 1-96

Principal items of interest include :

1. : 1798. Memoranda respecting Carron Company. [Mr Boulton’s autograph]. 1 p. 4to.

2. : 1798 February 8. [Birmingham] – M.B., [Birmingham]. 1 p. 4to. “Respecting the tax upon iron, I consider the iron masters are not the proper persons to take the sole lead as they have done. The measure is certainly a desperate one and if the tax should be established, I have no doubt tumults will be the consequence.”

43. : 1800 December 19. [Birmingham] –M.B., [Birmingham]. 1 p. 8vo. Enclosing “A Statement of Carron Company’s Affairs.” 2 pp. folio. “I send you with this, a Statement of Carron Company’s affairs containing comparisons between the years 1790 when Mr Hog offered to that company shares of stock at £175 each, which were nominally £250 and now he offers them to the Company at 135 per cent on the £250. At the 30 June last, Carron’s undivided profits were £67,084 and undivided shares £10,000.”

67. : [? 1803] M.B., [Birmingham] – S. Garbett [Birmingham]. 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I sicken at the sight of Mr Nicholls letter from a consciousness that my feeble powers are not sufficient to enable me to grapple with my own numerous affairs which I understand and much more with your great, intricate and important affairs, which I do not understand. Pray allow me the liberty to write to Mr Nicholls and try if I cannot prevail upon him to accept of the Assigneeship in conjunction with such other gentlemen as may be most agreeable to him and you. If you were to die, what could I do in such an unwieldy concern as yours. I am unacquainted with the reasons why Gascoigne should not have his discharge when he actually pays the sum proposed. He is now out of your reach as well as the reach of his English creditors. I am persuaded that he has no motive for quitting Russia, where he has a greater income, lives in more splendour and has greater connections than he can ever have in this country. I have had three different parties of Russian nobility at my house within these 2 or 3 weeks, they all spoke of Gascoigne’s income and the riches and power he has acquired and continues to acquire : hence I conclude it would be folly in him to think if returning.”

Box 312 - Lt Logan Henders, 1776-1785 (First technical assistance engaged by Boulton and Watt). Items 1-85 William Henderson, 1781-1787 (brother of Lt. Logan Henderson). Items 86-90.
Principal items of interest include :

1. : 1776 February 3. No. 28 Duke Street, Liverpool – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “A few months ago, I discovered a method of producing a circular motion, by an application of steam, entirely different from anything attempted. I intend to dispose of the invention …”

2. 1776 February 18. Liverpool – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “I shall try to get a small tin model of my machine made here and I propose to wait on you on the 20th inst. I was sometime ago a planter in Dominica and finding the want of a power for turning a sugar mill where wind or water cannot be employed, I thought my scheme might answer : it is in every respect different from your rotative engine. I have often been in company with Mr Watt at Dr Charles Irvings.”

3. 1776 March 4. Church Street, Deptford – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “I have tried the degrees of heat of the Holt Spring at this place which vary very considerably : some months ago it was about 70º but it is now 59º to 60º - the people employed in the pottery here, where it is, say that it was milk warm all the time of the late frost. The well is 15ft deep, 6 of which are occupied by water. You offered to ask Mr Watt’s opinion of my idea of establishing a Saltpetre Works at Cork. I mentioned that I had sold a small sugar estate to a person here, he owes me 4000 guineas and I cannot get a shilling from him. I must look out for some employment : have been several years on half-pay and have no thoughts going again into the marine service. I was for some time Assistant Surveyor and Draughtsman to the Commissioner for Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands and am conversant in draining, levelling, making roads and in constructing mills and engines. Please ask Captain Edwards, now in Birmingham, what sort of character I had in the West Indies. I can be recommended by many gentlemen of note, [such] as Sir William Young, General Melvill, Dr. Solander and several merchants in London and Liverpool.”

4. : 1776 May 20. Deptford – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “An acquaintance of mine, who has a considerable iron manufactory, desires to have a steam engine to work two hammers of 6 cwt. each at 40 strokes per min. and four pair of bellows. This will require a power equal to five horses I have determined to settle in Liverpool as a Land Surveyor. I have received a letter from your friend Dr. Charles Irving dated Jamaica, 22 Jan …”

5. 1776 July 3. No. 41 Park Lane, Liverpool – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “I wrote to you about three weeks ago, requesting you would give me some idea of the expense of different sizes of engines for raising water to different heights. Since then I have had an application from a gentleman who wants a steam engine for a coal mine.”

6. 1776 November 19. No. 42 Lothbury, London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “The engine [?] was at work yesterday before it was taken to pieces. The Piston was in good order, the principal defect seems to have been that the valves did not shut making some alterations to the condenser, the head of it burst and a new one is making : the crack in the nozzle is of no consequence. Mr Wilbie and Mr Sayer desire compliments to you. Mr Matthews has a correspondent at Redruth to whom I am going, he is to procure me some letters of introduction. I shall see Mr Ramsden tomorrow. I have seen Mr Forbes, coppersmith, his terms seem reasonable.”

7. : 1776 November 26. King’s Arms, Plymouth – M.B., Birmingham. 2 pp. folio. “I left London on Saturday morning. At Exeter I got into company with Mr Dick Phillips, son to the great Mr Phillips, a Quaker at Redruth, proprietor of the Wheal Virgin Copper Mine, one of the most sensible men in Cornwall and whose interest with that of John Nancarrow is the best in the country. Mr Dick introduced me to Mr Cookworthy. I saw Mr Jardine, Mr Matthews gave me an introduction to Mr [William] Smith, his correspondent at Redruth, who will be a useful acquaintance, he was formerly a miner and is now agent for the copper mines. Mr Phillips tells me they get their coals from Swansea at £2.2.0 for 64 bushels, engine coal is free of duty. The tin trade for three years past has been very poor but begins to revive, tin now sells at 45s. per cwt. I have now given the least hint that I ever saw an engine, or know anything of your inventions. When I have seen everything they do here, I shall let them know what may be done in your way. I have seen Mr Webb’s counter but it is not worth one farthing, I borrowed an excellent one off Ramsden, from whom I got two good thermometers, a tape box &c. Barlase’s Natural History of Cornwall I found a very scarce book and was obliged to take the antiquities along with it.”

10. : 1777 January 5. Exeter – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. folio. “It is possible that Polgooth, a very rich tin mine, where there are two engines may set to work again. I got £6.10 [? 6lb 10 oz.] of “China Composition” from Mr Cookworthy, it is half his stock and you could not purchase it for any money, he has sold his invention to Mr [?Richard Champion] of Bristol, who will not allow one ounce of it to go out of his manufactory. I was at Bovey Coal Mine where they have a water wheel to work 10 in. pumps 30 ft. deep. I shall be at Bristol on Wednesday and shall get some chemical glasses made for Dr Soper of St Columb and Mr Cookworthy. It is probable that Huel Virgin will be the first capital mine to want your assistance, their expense of coals is now £12,000 per annum and will soon increase. I have paved the way for a correspondence with Mr Bouge [John Budge], engineer, he seems to be in more general esteem than Mr Hornblower. A box and two casks of Cornish minerals are consigned to you, care of Mr Peter Capper at Redlands.”

13. : [? 1777] August 15. Soho – M.B., London. 2 pp. 4to. “According to your directions I send you all the plans of Richmond engine. A new [? Cap] and [? Crossbar] are ready to go to Bedworth with Joseph and Mr Perrins to fix the cistern. Joseph says the “savings” will amount to ¾ of the coals burnt by the old engine. No plan was ever made of Chelsea engine. The only sketch ever made of Shadwell was left with Mr Rothwell. Beelzebub [engine] goes very well and with the usual violence, if you buck its spirit it will be no better than one of your other engines, they are busy with the case for it. Mrs. Boulton says it is too hot for her to think of going to London at present. I have Mr Watt a letter to Mr Walter Grose, Captain of Huel Virgin Mine. We had a visit from Mr Gilbert, Mr Kier and Mr Edgeworth.”

14. : 1777 August 17. Soho – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. “Beelzebub was at work yesterday and made from 15 to 16 strokes per minute, its best rate of going seems to be with 1 in. of steam, it still burns more than it ought to do. Mr Webb has made some alteration on the scoggan, they have got hooks made for fixing the steam case. Mr [W.J.] Simcox wrote you a long letter yesterday containing his specification. He proposes to keep the cylinder hot, injecting into a box within it, he was attending to his drawing and improving very much until Mr Edgeworth came here, since that I think he had rather mounted his hobbyhorse. I enclose papers for Richmond, Chelsea and Shadwell on Mr Watt’s account of the new engine.”

20. : 1778 May 11. Richmond – M.B., No. 6 Green Lettuce Lane, Cannon Street, London. 1 p. folio. “Mr Playfair tells me that Lady Dumfries has employed a Mr Patterson to enquire into the merits of Chelsea Engine with a view of making a bargain with you. Mr [Gilbert] Meason and her ladyship will be very difficult to fix, it is still in your power to bring them to terms. I have a letter from Mr Dundas, a neighbour of Mr Colvill’s, who says the [Torryburn] engine continues to go charmingly, though Lord Cochrane has been trying to demonstrate that it is good for nothing. You were some time ago so kind as to make me an offer of your interest of getting me into Mr Jackson’s office at Birmingham if he should take a fancy to resign, I have now to request your interest, if not other ways engaged when that event may happen, in favour of a brother of mine, who is much better qualified for an office of that nature than I can pretend to be. Mr Watt knows him very well.”

24. : 1778 October 14. St Anthony’s – James Keir, Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I have sent your account to Mr Chapman but have not yet received an answer. His engine continues to go extremely well. Mr Watt writes to desire a trial may be made on some engine here to settle the consumption of coals, he tells that besides a 63 in. cylinder engine for poldice, he is on terms for one of the same size for huel prosper. I have a pressing letter from Mr Wright at Hull, his goods have arrived and he needs his engine soon. Some plated goods forwarded by Mr Walker have arrived. There are no less than 27 engines on the banks of the Tyne, besides many on the Weir, probably many new engines will be wanted, they are greatly pleased with the sample from Soho. Mr Chapman’s engine is now working by cataract at 2 strokes per minute. Sorry to hear that there are so many complaints of Richmond engine."

64. : 1781 November 5. Redruth – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “I have instructions from Mr Watt to hold myself in readiness to set out for Ireland via Soho. Polgooth Mine is likely to go to work soon.”
89. : 1782 January 24. William Henderson, St Austle [St Auste] M.B., Soho. 1 p. folio. “Mr George Fox has taken over Polgooth and 7 mines adjoining. The expense of engine repairing shaft etc. is estimated at £14,600.”

Box 322 – James Lawson, 1782-1817 (Engine erector employed by Boulton and Watt, also worked from time to time in the office at Soho, at the Soho Mint from 1791, engaged in further engine erecting from 1793, appointed to represent Boulton and Watt in Scotland between 1800 and 1805, in 1811 appointed as superintendent of machinery to the Royal Mint). Items 1-179. Archibald Lawson, 1808 (brother of James Lawson). Items 180-181.

Principal items of interest include :

1. : 1782 December 28. Wheal Virgin- M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 4 pp. 4to. Mentions the mines of Polgooth, Western, Wheal Maid, Eastern, Elvan, Poldice, Wheal Virgin, Ale and Cakes and Wheal Bussy. Has got Mr Boulton’s telescope from Mrs Blumstone of Truro, will pack and send it to Soho. He hopes Mr Boulton had a pleasant journey home.

6. : 1786 May 28. Chacewater – M.B., c/o William Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 1 p. 4to. “I was yesterday at Wheal Virgin and was told that a German gentleman was there about a month ago to see the mines or rather the engines, which led me to make some enquiries. I find he was at North Downs and saw Wheal Messa engine, he said he wanted an English servant and he got an engine man at poldice, whom he took with him to London, I cannot yet learn who he is but suspect he is Mr Eversman, who was here some time ago. I suspect roguery.”

9. : 1789 January 22. Endorsed “Lawson’s Journal”. 2 pp. 4to. An account of the work done at the Soho Mint. “I have been assisting Mr Droz, chiefly in getting the pieces [ready] for striking and have had much difficulty in pleasing him. None of the green gilt ones could be made good – he likes the bronzed ones best – herewith you will receive 24 pieces – two are of pure silver which could hardly be got ready in time [for the coach] this evening.”

10. : 1789 June 27. Soho – M.B., c/o William Matthews, No. 6 Green Lettuce Lane, Cannon Street, London. 3 pp. 4to. “The press is working well at 40 per minute, it would work faster if it would return in time. As the present press has no adjustment, the smallest difference in the height of the dies makes 2 or 3 strokes per min. difference. In the new press this will be easily regulated. We have struck about 24 cwt. this week and hope to increase this quantity next week. The principal improvement is in burnishing the blanks, for which Peter [Ewart] has the merit. They are put between two brushes with sand and water and come out well brushed both sides and edges. If this method had not answered, Peter thought of using a pair of circular brushes, like a mill. Of the new press, one of the Millwrights is dressing the pinions, Bush is working at the new layer-in and Webb is arranging and cleaning the press parts.”

54. : 1795 July 22. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “I have settled the business with Mr Wissett and have given a drawing of the boiler to Mr Smith. I have called several times on Mr Ramsden. We got on very well at Chelsea until the Millwrights struck, they are already paid better than any other class of workmen, having a guinea per week and per day for beer and they always make 7 days a week.”

76. : 1802 March 10. M.B., Soho – James Lawson [Glasgow]. 2 pp. folio. Press copy. “… the Petitions from Edinburgh and from Glasgow have been received by the Lords [of the Treasury]. I received a polite and friendly letter from Mr Feltes, Magistrate of Edinburgh. I am not waiting for orders but am already preparing new dyes, giving the King his new title with a new device for the reverse. I expect our friends Peter [Ewart] and Lee here in ten days. I should like to make an Engineer’s Carnival one week in the year at Soho, when all are here as it now happens, except Gregory. I expect Lee will set his new engine to work before he sets out and that it will be the new plus ultra. I flatter myself the time is not far distant when we shall keep an assortment of ready made engines for sale in the North, without wasting a day for their execution.”

161. : 1808 December 9. London – M.R. Boulton, Soho. 3 pp. 4to. Endorsed “Report of his and Mr Murdock’s progress in the erection of the new Mint and report upon the wells.”

162. : 1808 December 18. London – M.R. Boulton, Soho House. 3 pp. 4to. Endorsed “Further report upon the Mint proceedings. Enquiring as to the employment of the new directions Christmas week and of price for the erection.”

Box 325 – Mrs Charlotte Matthews, 1780-1796 (Box 1 of 3) (Wife of Mathew Boulton’s main London agent) Items 1-251.

Principal items of interest include :

47. : 1792 September 7. Croydon Lodge – M.B. at Mr Thomas Wilson’s, Truro, Cornwall. “I flatter myself I shall still have the pleasure of transacting your business and it may not be improper to state the case as it is. Your security to Mr Matthews extended it is true to his Executors, but when I understood to transact your business, I paid off your balance due to the Executors and of course the security became immediately of no effect, except against the Bond to Mr Wedgwood that Mr Matthews joined in. I therefore request you to favour me with your settlements, observing that I have the fullest confidence in you and it is only to provide against what I trust is far distant. Do ask Mr Watt whether it would not be proper for the Executors of Mr Matthews to write to Mr Wedgwood to request him to relinquish them as collateral security and take your Bond solely. I can do nothing with my opponents but Gregg has drawn up a case for Mansfield’s opinion and I am waiting the result when I shall write to Mr Watt.”

56. : 1792 November 19. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews. 2 pp. 4to and 1 Slip. Press copy. “As we have some engines erecting in the neighbourhood of Etruria and some Agreements there unsettled, I propose to make an excursion there about the end of this week and t the same time to solicit my friend the Marquis to use his good offices in the Privy Council to get me excused. I shall stay one night at Etruria and wish to know whether I should give Mr Wedgwood notice to take his money in July as I will do what is most agreeable to you. My intentions are to pay off, first of all, all debts that are on personal security. Those I have besides bill account with John Wilkinson and Miss Fothergill. I regard to the expense of erecting B & W engines, they are much dearer than common ones of equal size but are cheaper than common engines of equal power.”

102. : 1793 December 29. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews. 5 pp. 4to and 1 Slip. Press copy. “I see difficulties in accommodating Mr Hurd arising from my late contract with the E.I.Co. but which will be of short duration and beg your assistance in the sale of what you want to buy. I think you and I may turn an evil into a good. I am in want of copper, say 25 tons, to complete my order for the E.I.Co. There is 100 tons of such as I require, lying at Stockport. I have one third interest in it but Hurd will not let it be touched saying it belongs to Edwards and Edwards says it is Boulton and Hurds. I sent Tom Remmitt to Swansea and he has shipped 15 tons. The Mines Royal said they would send me copper if I delivered ore to make 10 or 15 tons of copper. He bought on the 5th inst £320-1401 (5 ton 0 cwt. 3 qrs) saying he would buy the remainder at the next ticketing and he writes now that expecting copper ore would rise he has bought a great deal more than he intended, in fact nearly 60 tons more than I ordered. I propose to you to go partners in the purchase. The whole sum to be advanced for ore, by draft at 7 or 8 months, is £3966-11-0, add interest for 4 months at 9%, £120-0-0 (time taken in smelting) smelting charge to Mines Royal £1143-16-0 (43/- per ton of 532 ton), total £5230-7-0 for 66 ton of copper. This about £79 or say £80 a ton for copper, delivered on board at Swansea or Neath, 3 months after the cash is paid and will cost 20 to 40/- to buy it in London. It will be in Tough Cake, fit for rolling or for Thwaits’ use. The sale to E.I.Co. is at £102 per ton. Tile copper is at £100 but Tough Cake is scarce. Bourdieu lately sold some tons at £95 to quit. I could not sell the whole 66 tons at £100, if I had it to the Macclesfield Co. for copper will be scarce until the India order is supplied. Now what I want you to do is to ask the person at Thwaits’s house, what price he will give for Tough Cake, the time allowed before delivery at Swansea or London. The price should be the highest you can get, say 95 is 7 less than the present, or if that will not do try 94 or 93, or even 90 but no lower. It appears to me that if we could contract for the sale of copper before the ores are purchased we might speculate very profitably and Boulton and Watt know the Cornish mines cannot afford ore cheaper than at present and that many mines will soon be given up. By the enclosed Statement you will see that after adding to the £4000 first cost, £120 for interest at 9% per an. And 31143-16-0 to the Mines Royal for smelting, the 66¼ tons Copper will cost £5253 which is £79 per ton, to which add carriage and freight to London £3 per ton, makes £82, if sold for £90 leaves a profit of £8 per ton. When you understand Christoe’s letter please return it.”

117. : 1794 July 15. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private) 2 pp. 4to. “Mr Jeffery’s has taken up ye Bill for £280-6-0. The Chief Justice dined with me on Sunday, he was very shy of mentioning your business. I ventured to say how much Mr Watt and you were injured by the Cornish people who would not pay you a Sou until the question pending should be decided in your favour, that in all probability you would have as many lawsuits in Cornwall as engines, but I hoped in the end would get the better [of them]; he told me he understood your own Counsel advised your not instituting the suit, at which I expressed much surprise and told him I had never heard that was the case and that I believed it was impossible for you to avoid it, for you had been quiet so long, that your invaders increased rapidly upon you.”

142. : 1794 December 3. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private) 3 pp. 4to. “I shall dine at the Bishop of Bangor’s on Saturday and the Lord Chief Justice may be there, would you have me say anything about the Cornish scoundrels or feel his pulse any way? Write me how I shall behave myself. I wish success to the Pneumatic Institute [of Dr Beddoes] …”

163. : 1795 March 23. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews [London] 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I have received a letter, written with his own hand, from the Salamander [J. Wilkinson] in a more civilised style than any we have received before from his agent, but I attribute his civility to his finding me desirous of paying him off and consequently finding me out of his power rather than to real good will, for he says he shall be obliged to ally himself with those we call our enemies. I consider the whole of his late conduct a preface to his cheating us out of all the premiums of the 20 engines he has erected on our principles, flattering himself he will be able to accomplish this under the sanction of the Lord Chief Justice’s sentence. Messrs. Gardner Manser Howard, proprietors of the King and Queen Foundry at Rotherhithe, who have long owed us £680, but whom in consequence of their prayers and supplications we have indulged with usual credit and have from time to time assisted and advised in their business, now prompted by their gratitude or by the devil refuse to pay us a farthing as they say our patent will be set aside in the Court of Common Pleas, we have today written to Mr Weston to proceed against them in the most speedy and effectual manner.”

175. : 1795 June 19. London – M.B. [Soho] (Private). 3 pp. 4to. “I was happy to hear of your arrival at Dunstable last night. I have been to look at a house the corner of London Street in Fenchurch Street, there is no warehouse but one of the parlours would answer and the other parlour I should occupy myself and one of the bedrooms Mr Mosley would occupy and one of the Garrett’s and the kitchen for nanny, the rest I would resign to B & W. My Lord Chief dined with us yesterday at the Bishop of Bangor’s but nothing was mentioned about your affairs except that he enquired why Patty did not come to pay her debt of honour. I dine with him at Mortlake on Tuesday if possible.”

180. : 1795 June 25. London – Boulton and Watt, Soho, Birmingham. (Private) 3 pp. 4to. “I have agreed to purchase the house at £850 …”

Box 326 – Mrs Charlotte Matthews, 1797-1799 (Box 2 of 3)

Items 1-202.

Principal items of interest include :

13. : 1797 March 24. London – M.B. [Soho] 2 pp. 4to. “You will see by the newspapers the failure of Messrs. Harley, Cameron & Co., every such failure is momentus to the mercantile world. I hear Boyd, Benfield & Co. are to take the loan. What a happy thing it will be if the Governor of the Bank is right in his statement that 7 million is to be repaid to the bank. I will write to Holbrook agreeable to your desire and shall suffer his notes to be dishonoured if he does not provide for them. I have not yet had any answer from Wissett. I made use of your name yesterday to procure myself and some more of your friends places at Drury Lane Theatre of Mr Fosbrook, presuming upon Lord Liverpool’s smile that you would not be angry …”

15. : 1797 March 30. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I have agreed for 300 tons of copper and must come to town to settle with the Treasury about the payment. I have drawn for none at present, except the £3030 worth bought by Holbrook towards which I sent £1000 you gave me when in town. The greater part is to be paid for in bills at three months and before they become due I shall deliver copper coin as fast as wanted for payment. However, some I fear will be wanted before I shall be ready to coin it. I have this day received from the Privy Council the drawing of Britannia sitting on a rock in the sea, on which in small letters to be June 1st, June 23rd and February 14th the days on which the three Great Naval Victories were obtained …”

68. : 1797 November 20. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews. 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I think as you do respecting Zack [Walker Junior], but not without my fears respecting his citizenship [Paris] journey. I wish to know what steps he has taken and when is probable he will depart. I attended a meeting of the manufacturers of Birmingham to take into consideration the ruinous effects of a tax which Mr Pitt proposes to lay on cast iron. A letter was received by Mr Villers from the Committee at Lloyds intimation that a subscription in favour of Widows and Orphans of those fallen in Duncan’s Victory would be acceptable. It was therefore proposed that the gentlemen fiddlers of Birmingham should give a concert, I was of the opinion that the sum raised would be small unless they could get some capital singers but the expense was objected to. I then mentioned that the three Miss Abrahams [? Abrams] Mr Knivett and Mr Champness were on a visit to Lord Dudley, but those ladies had wholly declined singing in public, however I undertook to write to them and to Lord Dudley. I received an answer according to my wishes, this has led us to apply to the Linley’s at Lord Aylesford’s which is also successful and other singers and performers have followed their example and the concert is fixed for Friday. I am one of the Masters of the Ceremony and we lent our elegant room at the theatre in which we shall give a splendid Ball after the concert, we hope to raise £300 clear. We have also a magnificent feast on Friday, such would not have dishonoured Alexander with a grand band. Therefore don’t you, Mrs Vere or Patty be frightened at thoughts of an invasion for if the French come the Birmingham Volunteers will greet them with Balls, for I am one of them and shall visit you in my regimentals in two days after the Ball.”

78. : 1798 January 15. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews. 4 pp. 4to. Press copy. A.L. “My bargain with Government has no relation to anything copper and coining and that under the idea that Government was to circulate the coin and consequently to run all risk, I therefore shall write again to Mr Long. Suppose you call on Mr White and assure him that after my agreement was signed I was requested by Mr Long to assist them in the circulation as a matter of favour and convenience to Government and I understood it without stipulating for any reward or allowance for risk, as I have no profit on that part of the business I ought to have no loss. I therefore hope Mr Long will issue an extent for the recovery of the money from Price. I am shocked at Holbrook’s conduct, who I perceive has been increasing his debt instead of diminishing it. I must avoid quarrelling with him at this time as I want copper. I have been vexed and pestered by Mr Hurd, I believe I shall at length settle with him by giving him all the profit and “dirt” arising from out of our partnership, which is exactly the plan that Mr John Wilkinson and Mr Watt adopted in settling with him. Chippindall’s account is another bad affair, but it is entirely imputable to the nervous gentility of his wife. His accounts are distinct, orderly and regular, he is almost free from debts except to Soho, what will become of him if we withdraw our business I do not know, as I never discovered anything of the rogue in his disposition or conduct I am unwilling to finally desert him. I have summoned a meeting of all the Sohoites, viz. (1) M.B. & Plate Co., (2) B & Scale, (3) B & W., (4) B & Smith, (5) James Watt & Co. and (6) M.B. and have proposed to continue him as agent only, to remit him monthly such a sum as will pay the expenses of housekeeping for himself, wife and children, with one maid, one clerk and one porter, say £4 per week and if to this is added, the rent, taxes, wages and doctor will require as much more, say £400 per an., Commission on Soho sales will amount to £400 per an. In very bad times, or £600 in such times as we had 3 or 4 years ago. As a man loses heart when he sees no distant prospect of being out of debt, I think we should not put him in a worse position than he would be if made a bankrupt and surrendered all he possesses, viz. his lease and household goods, less than half what he owes to Soho. I propose that all his Soho creditors should accept 10s. in the pound and take the assignment of his lease and goods for the remainder."

163. : 1799 August 7. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews. 4 pp. 4to. Press copy. “Before you set out for Soho I presume it will be necessary to settle with Down [bank] about a renewal and I think that cannot be attempted until I have received the King’s warrant to coin. Pray have you received the money for the 3 legs [Manx] if not I must take other measures with his Grace [Atholl]. You may lodge some of the Cornish long dated bills with Down. On Monday his Excellency the Comte de Woronzoff &c. arrived at Soho with his daughter and son, also Mlle Jardine, the Rev. Mr Smirnove, his valet and two domestics. The whole party including my two misses and myself went to the Theatre and saw Kemble play Hamlet. On Tuesday they saw the Mint, rolling and cutting out &c. the Hydraulic Press &c. and then dressed for an elegant dinner (I was well provided with dishes and a man cook for the week) ending with music. On Wednesday they saw various manufactories at Birmingham returning to dress and dine. The Count bespoke a play in which Tom King played Lord Ogleby and after Blue Beard with all the scenery well got up. I had settled secretly with McCready a plan. We all entered the box exactly at 7, when a very full band with the Military Band struck up God Save the King, for the Count is passionately fond of his Majesty. At the end of the play 40 singers and the full band played Britons strike home and sang the enclosed lines and when we came to the names of Suwarrow and Paul, the Count was distractedly delighted and turned to shake hands with me saying he was sure this was my doing. The audience encored and joined in the chorus and were delighted with the Count and his flaming star. After the play the Count handed to his coroneted coach Miss De Luc and McCready walked before, Sheridan like, with two candles. On Thursday we saw the remainder of the Birmingham Lions. On Friday morning I proposed a ride to Soho Foundry and at 10 o’clock, the Count with his ladies and mine assembled at the Winson Green Wharf where I had previously planned and arranged a secret expedition, having provided 2 complete “Sealing” Barges with covered cabins with 6 sash windows in each, one I sent forward out of sight with 2 trumpets, 2 French hors, 2 clarinets, 2 German flutes, 2 bassoons, 2 hautboys and a large double drum. As soon as the Count was seated in his cabin, he cried “Hark, I hear music”. The windows were opened and the swell increased as we drew near. We sailed into the foundry, walked round and re-embarked with the bank playing before us. In about 2 hours we arrived at the brades and saw one of our engines forging steel, a tilting forge, grinding plates of steel and sad irons, grinding and boring gun barrels and grinding spectacled glasses. We adjourned to Mr Hunt’s house, were we found a large table set out with joints of cold roast lamb, neat’s tongues, pigeon pies and a variety of pastry and fruit. The band played in the house whilst we dined and after dinner had loyal songs about Paul and Suwarrow. We re-entered the boats and by the assistance of the music we increased the apparent population of the county immensely. After stopping to see coal mines, iron furnaces, fire engines and sundry works, we at length entered the regions of darkness [? Dudley] which I dispelled with 100 torches. Immense caverns opened as we proceeded the bands of music playing all the time, raising echoes in the saloons of Erebus. We dined at Soho at 9 and sang till 1 o’clock.”

192. : 1799 December 12. M.B., Soho – Mrs Matthews [London] 2 pp. folio. Press copy. A.L. (not complete). “My enemies are cunning special pleaders and have chosen comptroller of the class [Mr Morrison]. The day after I brought him to Soho, I without the least reserve, showed my mint, rolling mill, cutting out mill, furnaces and milling and treated him as a man of honour, but in a day or two I found him making sketches of my cools, pimping and spying into things that did not come within his province, he was particularly anxious to know how many tons of coin had been struck before the date of my warrant, he is always on the watch to do me a mischief. But I will not consent to his examining my inventions or stealing my improvements. Mr Weston says the principal newspapers are working against the coinage.”
199. : 1799 December 24. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private). 2 pp. 4to. “I have this day got an order from Mr Long for 14 casks of halfpence and 12 casks of farthings to be sent to the Agent of Transports at Deptford to ship to New South Wales. I replied that I would pay the earliest attention to his order in my power and that I had now on my books 400 orders without the hope of supplying one of them until the weather breaks, the navigation being now stopped, that only 60 casks has been received and were delivered to the public. I told Mr Lack how ill Mr Morrison was behaving and mentioned the requisition he had made of having an account rendered on each day’s coinage and particularly distinguishing what was coined before the 18th November and what since, he replied Mr Morrison had better keep quiet and that he had before tried to inform himself on that subject but was immediately silenced.”

Box 327 – Mrs Charlotte Matthews, 1800-1801 (Box 3 of 3) Items 1-124.

Principal items of interest include :

60. : 1801 February 3. M. Boulton, Soho – Mrs Matthews. 1 p. 4to. Press copy. “The Northern politics wound me deeper than I at first imagined. By the enclosed you will see that I am called upon by Mr Long for payment of the balance due to the Treasury, (£3005-3-4). I wish you would learn from him whether I may expect from Government any participation in the property they have taken from the Danes, Swedes and Russians, or whether he can give me any advice that may lead to a mitigation of the unmerited calamities brought upon me by the late rupture with the Northern powers.”

65. : 1801 February 10. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private). 2 pp. 4to. “Mr Pitt has resigned. I hope Mr Addington has not come in as a stopgap over this emancipation blunder. Mr Collins leaves this evening …”

67. : 1801 February 13. Berkeley Square – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private). 2 pp. 4to. “I observe your wish that the money should be paid into the Exchequer. Your son’s exertions in Cornwall entitle him to a very handsome remuneration, but the idea you suggest of giving up all to your children retaining only an annuity for yourself and retiring to a cottage would make them both miserable."

71. : 1801 February 10. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private). 3 pp. 4to. “Mr Lack assures me you will certainly not lose your property in Russia and Denmark, but there may be some little deduction. Everything he said led us to draw the inference that there were or would be soon, negotiations for peace. He said that the Catholic emancipation is only the ostensible reason for Mr Pitt’s resignation. Mr Harris, from Deptford Yard has been and says you desired them to furnish you with a Bill for the 3300 sheets of copper delivered there but this they cannot do without an order from the Navy Board. There is a rumour that Bonaparte at Luneville declared his wish to treat for a general peace …”

86. : 1801 April 14. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham (Private). 2 pp. 4to. “I rejoice that you are going to Cheltenham. The reports today have been various, that Lord Nelson shifted his flag three times, that we have lost several small ships but we have battered Copenhagen and destroyed their fleet, matters will soon be settled and more particularly if it is true the Emperor of Russia is deposed.”

92. : 1801 May 1. London – M.B., Cheltenham. 1 p. 4to. “I rejoice at your determination to prolong your stay at Cheltenham. We are all in high spirits at the news from Egypt, surely we must have peace soon.”

Box 328 – William Matthews, Matthews & Barton, 1770-1792. (Matthew Boulton’s London banker and agent). Items 1-169.

1-30. : Letters and papers concerning William Matthews, 1770-1778.

31-35. : Letters and papers concerning Matthews and Barton, 1777-1779.

36-169. : Letters and papers concerning William Matthews, 1779-1792. (William Matthews d.1792).

Principal items of interest include :

25. : 1777 February 21. London – Boulton and Fothergill, Snow Hill Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I have seen Mrs Montague, who says she has not received the Plate you charge her with, also she says Mr Harris [Earl of Malmesbury] who is appointed Ambassador to Russia is to dine with her and she wishes to have the Plate to show to him and to recommend him to you. She wishes to see you and will recommend a lady for the education of Miss Boulton which in her opinion is a better mode than a public boarding school …”

27. : 1777 December 4. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “…As the house of Sir Charles Raymond & Co. will dissolve at Christmas, Sir Charles having fixed with Mr Thomas Harley and three or four others and Mr [Richard] Lowe though not fixed has partners in contemplation and I think is desirous of having Mr Vere to join them; now should Mr Vere not fix as above, he has hinted a wish for M.B. getting Messrs. D.D. & I. [?Duncombe, Davis & Ingram]. Do you think it possible? Otherwise I think he may form a house of his own by Lady Day or Midsummer. Mr Cust has recommended a Mr Willis to me, a Cornishman who wants a very large engine and proposes to call on you in 8 days time. Pray tell me if you and Mr Watt will be at Soho then and can show him the large engines you have erected.”

30. : 1778 October 8. Margate – M.B., Redruth, Cornwall. 2 pp. 4to. “Mr Braithwaite, who has a considerable place in the post office and who has lately been in Cornwall where he conversed with a Mr Fox, a considerable merchant at Falmouth, whose business has greatly fallen off in consequence of the American troubles but is a monied man and concerned in many of the mines and therefore can judge of the superiority of your engines: he told Mr Braithwaite that if they could do half of what Mr Watt and you set forth you would soon get 60 or £80,000 in Cornwall. I told Mr Braithwaite that on account of the extent of your other connections and the long credit you are obliged to give, I presumed you might wish to raise a loan on some of the engines. I mentioned Mr Praed as a likely man to be applied to, but Mr Braithwaite thinks either Mr Fox or Mr Bell who is agent for the post office, more likely being men of general knowledge in commerce.”

35. : 1778 November 23. London – M.B., Redruth, Cornwall. 2 pp. 4to. Annexing a copy of Clement Smith, Richmond – Matthews & Barton, November 22, 1178, [Payment of £300 to B & W, on account of the fire engine]. 1 p. 4to. “…We hope you have written to Mr Wiss and as the Cornish people have formed great ideas of the superiority of your engines to all others, we think you might raise some money in that county, for Mr Matthews dined at Goldsmiths Hall last Friday, where Mr Boldero (who is Prime Warden) informed him their house had received a letter from Mr Wilson, their agent, informing them the mine was “forked” and that your engine did wonders and you would soon have an income of £10,000 per annum, in that county, this he also told to Mr Vere and Mr Matthews told it to Mr Floyer: we therefore hope when you come to London something may be done to ease us of the advance we are under for you, having no certainty of any relief from New York or news of the embargo there being taken off …”

36. : 1779 February 24. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “Mr Vere tells me your house has drawn on them £19,000 - £12,000 of which is uncovered save the Assignments of the engines – which alarms Mr V not that he is afraid but Messrs. L.V.W. should they find out would lay all the blame on him. He therefore begs you will reduce it to the sum stipulated viz. £10,000: if therefore you would consummate your Agreement with Mr Wiss it would be an effectual step towards it and must lose no time in doing, also for facilitating my dissolution of partnership with Mr B[arton] which every day spurs me on to accomplish …”

90. : 1784 April 27. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “The Millers are determined to suppress the use of your engines for grinding corn by adopting Smeaton’s hint of its being injurious to mill owners &c. and they also expect to put a stop to the building [Albion Mill] urging that the smoke from the engines will be injurious to the health of the inhabitants of this city. It is necessary to be prepared at all points and I have fixed a meeting at the Buffalo for that purpose. I have been revolving in my mind the mode to be adopted in quitting L.V. & W. genteelly: it will be better for you to write to them to the effect that you regret you are under the necessity of relieving yourself of the obligation to Mr Watt: that if they still require the closing of the account and by not taking your own security in the mode proposed, you trust they will not take it amiss if you should pay off the account by Michaelmas.”

92. : 1784 August 25. M. Boulton, Cosgarne – William Matthews, London. 3 pp. folio. Press copy. “The adventurers of North Downs have agreed to erect four of our engines, which will increase our income from £1,500 to £2,000 a year. I have taken Chasewater Mine out of the hands of our enemies and formed a company to carry it on. The company worked two contiguous mines viz. Scorier and Chasewater. Scorier produced the riches that refunded the great sum they squandered, but it is now exhausted, thought it was rich in bunches, it did not yield the great quantities of poor ore Chasewater yields. Chasewater has produced £13,000 profit in the last four years and is a gaining mine. The new adventurers are to pay us £1,000 a year for the two engines. I cannot say that it is as rich as Poldice is likely to be. The costs of Polgooth Mine are high from the necessity of building many new Stamping Mills etc. A block of tin may be ordered at 10 guineas and 400 blocks were coined last quarter and probably 600 next quarter. I expect this week to make a handsome remittance to Soho. We should soon be easy in money matters if we could go on here without interruption but people presume on the Horners lowering our dues. It is absolutely necessary that we should try our strength in a Court of Law with these Hornblowers. Mr Watt says you recommend Mr Pott as an attorney. As to Council we cannot do better than Mr Scott but we must have one or two more. I think Palmer understands the engine. Mr Watt is determined to remove the account from Messrs. L.V. & Co. Have you heard how Mr Goodwin’s mill engine answers?”

101. : 1785 September 13. London – M.B., Truro, Cornwall. 3 pp. 4to. “The Albion Mill will require a heavy advance and I hope we shall get professionally monied men to be concerned in it, as Mr Wyatt tells me Mr Gurney of Norwich was concerned in a mill left to him by his father and also with a person who would like to take a share: that he was worth £3,000: probably Mr Gurney would take a share: Mr Call and others of a like class, viz. men of money, must be sought after, I send enclosed a Power of Attorney to receive the money for the reels …”

109. : 1787 November 30. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “… Mr Wilkinson who has just left me, is gone to meet Mr Thomas Williams and Mr Call, who I understand have each agreed to advance £10,000 on copper lodges as a security: Mr Wilkinson sets out on Thursday for Bristol to meet Mr Wilson there to clear up some remarks on the ways and means of raising money, made use of by Mr Vivian in an account laid before them. I think it is fortunate for the proprietors of the C.M.Co., that Mr Wilkinson is exploring the situation. Mr Wyatt says more money is required there. I have transferred £4,000 to Mr Watt of the balance due B & W on 30th September last and doubt not you will approve: when the account will admit of transferring the remainder viz. £2,017-3-5 due to him at the settlement when I was at Soho, I shall do it …”

154. : 1791 April 6. M.B., Soho – W. Matthews [London]. 3 pp. 4to. Press copy. “… I cannot come to town until after Saturday. I learnt indirectly that MR Pitt and Lord Granville and their party are determined never to admit Lord H[awkesbury] into the Cabinet and to refuse any plans formed by him. This accounts for the delay of the coinage. I wrote yesterday to Mr Pitt upon a subject that would oblige him and not upon my own business.”

155. : 1791 August 28. M.B., Soho – W. Matthews [London]. 1 p. 4to. 1 Slip. Press copy. “Mr Wissett writes that at my request the E.I. Company have ordered a payment to you of £6,000. By the enclosed printed paper you may judge whether the Albion Mill merited the fate it has met with from the hands of an ignorant prejudiced mob, who have disgraced our country by destroying what was an honour to it and what has saved to the Metropolis in 4 years, nearly a million sterling.”

Box 332 – John Rennie and George Rennie, 1784-1828. Items 1-197.

1-110 – Letters and Papers concerning John Rennie, 1784-1817. (Civil Engineer).
111-135 – Letters and Papers concerning John Rennie and George Rennie, 1818-1821.
136-157 – Letters and Papers concerning George Rennie, 1820-1823.
158-197 – Letters and Papers concerning George Rennie and John Rennie Jnr., 1823-1828.

Principal items of interest include:

1. : 1784 June 19. Edinburgh – Messrs. Boulton & Watt, Engineers, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. Describes Newcomen and other types of steam engine – their advantages etc. and also notes Rennie’s career plans.

3. : 1784 August 3. Edinburgh – James Watt, Engineer, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. Details intention of visiting Birmingham and describes business at Torryburn in Scotland.

4. : 1784 November 25. London – James Watt, Engineer, Birmingham. 3 pp. folio. Describes construction of engines, refers to Albion Mill, references to plans, drawings, correspondence with S. Wyatt, notes on boiler plates etc., with sketches.

7. : 1785 September 5. London – M.B., Chacewater, Truro, Cornwall. 3 pp. 4to. He writes that Albion Mill is near completion and also includes details of Arkwright’s mills.

8. : 1785 September 13. London – M.B., Chacewater, Truro, Cornwall. 3 pp. 4to. Describes Stonard and Curtis’s engine, gives details of experiment, fuel consumption, velocity etc. Mentions purchase of a coach for Boulton and a number of requests for engines.

37. : 1791 September 26. M.B., Soho, John Rennie [London] 1 p. 4to. Press copy. “Our people break up for a week’s holiday on Thursday next, when I must new cog my great cog wheel belonging to the Rolling Mill and am in great want of a Millwright to assist as I have only James, I must therefore beg the favour of you to lend a man for 9 days and send him down per coach, or if you could part with a good hand I should be glad of one as James means to return to Scotland when this job is done. Pray tell me what is the matter at the King & Queen Foundry, why does the mill stand? Do they want to sell it? If you should hear of any good workmen send them to me. I want such men as Ramsden wants and employs and also a good Millwright for a constancy.”

40. : 1792 January 4. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. Endorsed “Wanting more employment as a Millwright.” “… I assure you it is not my intention to leave mills for canals, but I detest idleness and it is solely to fill up my time that I have embarked in canals. I still intend to carry on the mill trade. I have lately embarked myself pretty deeply into the mustard, oil and hair powder manufactory with this purpose. I am obliged to you for your mention of the iron mill and gladly accept. Our work at Goodwin Dyers will convince you that we can execute work without I. Lithegore’s assistance and need not delay the work on account of his absence. I have to meet the Rochdale gentlemen at Colne in Lancashire and the Lancaster Committee at Lancaster, but if it is necessary I will come to London or Birmingham to confer with you on the subject. I hope to finish the Lancaster Survey in March.”

58. : 1800 September 23. Hungerford – [M.B., Soho, Birmingham]. 1 p. 4to. Writes to say that Mr Homer, Auditor to the Grand Junction Canal Company, informs him that the railroad at Blisworth will be finished in about a month’s time.

Box 337 – John Scale (partner with Matthew Boulton in the Soho Manufactory from the dissolution of the partnership with John Fothergill in 1781).

Boulton & Scale (company started in 1782 to make buttons and buckles, continued till 1796).

Matthew Boulton & Button Company (carried on the button business as successors to Boulton & Scale to 1809).

Scale Family. Items 1-171.

1-122 – Letters and Papers concerning John Scale, affairs at Soho and the button business, 1765-1792.

123-157 – Letters and Papers concerning Scale family, including John Scale, George Scale and John Scale Junior, 1793-1802.

158-171 – Documents relating to Matthew Boulton & Button Company, 1795-1810.

Principal items of interest include :

6. : 1772 February 6. John Scale, Soho – M.B., London. 3 pp. 4to. “Yesterday I finished the inventory which amounts to nearly £7,000 more than it did this time two years ago, so I hope the fruits of your labour may be better than was expected. Though there is an immense quantity of vases &c. from Bentley to gild for the sale, I think we are much more forward than we were at this time last year. We shall send a good many sets of Soho shells on Monday. We only received the candlesticks and branches for Lord Kerry, back from Chester [Assay Office] yesterday: Duval has them in hand and will lose no time: the Tripod and branches are also well in hand. We have button orders without end and many chain orders. I will send a calculation of the wing figured vase by next box.”

23. : 1776 April 21. John Scale, Soho – M.B., No. 2 Bush Lane, London. 3 pp. 4to. “Mr Watt says the new valves to the engines are the greatest improvement ever made in the valve way, the mercury stood at 28 and the strokes 14 per min. Mr Eginton thinks that John Harrison (brother of Joseph) may be useful in getting a plated silversmith or two from Abdy’s [London], for it is now a good trade and we are overstocked with orders, but he says from real silversmiths the Lord deliver us, for the salts that Talbot has ordered (like Lord Craven’s) which are sold fro 3/6 per oz. Fashion including glasses, cannot be made for the money.”

29. : 1778 February 8. John Scale, Soho - M.B. at Mr Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 6 pp. 4to. “From Hall’s account you appear to be behind hand in engines, for you have only Taylor, Cartwright, Deploe and Low who can mount or fit nozzles or condensers: to put up half the engines you mention, all of them will be returned in erecting them and you would not have at home one capable of making a nozzle or condenser. Taylor and Cartwright are now at Bloomfield, Lowe is I think at Salmons and only Deploe is at home. It seems to me you require 12 men for making nozzles, condensers and erecting engines, as there are 10 engines to be set to work this spring. Mr Hall thinks there is no difficulty in getting the forging done and says that Mr Watt ordered William Murdock to make all the patterns for nozzles in consequence of which Carless has had little to do all this week, for want of drawings …”.

54. : 1781 December 15. John Scale, Soho – [M.B., London]. 4 pp. 4to. “We have had many unforeseen accidents on experiments with cast iron buttons &c. I send you a card of buttons cast from Aston Furnace Iron and one sort of Bradley Foundry Iron, which resembles the Aston Iron being of a close fine grain, either will do very well, but have made but few trials to soften it so as to make it file, drill and screw. As the difference in expense between it and wrought iron or steel is so very great, I do not doubt it is paying for a patent, as it will be applicable to so many purposes, buttons, buckles, sword hilts, common chains, spurs for plating upon and ditto stirrup irons, bridle and harness buckles, knobs, fire irons, nutcracks, cork screws, plyers, cloak pins, bed hooks, knife handles and if it can be made soft enough, horse shoes &c. Richard Dearman has got a patent [in 1776] for garden [plantation] hoes, but since the American wars he has dropped the trade. They have made at Walsall a long while, cast iron buckles and chapes. Mr Kimmel would leave it to you to take out a patent either in your or his name …”

115. : 1790 September 11. Boulton & Scale, Soho – Z. Walker, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. Enclosing a bill for £100 for the credit of their bill account.

123. : 1793 July 1. George Scale, Soho – M.B. at Mrs C Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 3 pp. 4to. “… We have been very brisk in steel buttons for about 9 days, the men working a quarter-day over, in white metal buttons they have worked full days. I enclose you a copy of the valuation of our ground, which Mr Alston thinks reasonable considering the very high price asked for Mr Eginton’s, Toney’s &c. We have not given any answer to Mr Bishton wishing to have your opinion on it …”

130. : 1795 May 25. George Scale, Soho – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. “… We hear that the London tailors are at last going to set their faces against covered buttons and intend bringing metal buttons into fashion. There are large orders to Birmingham manufacturers for buttons and other articles intended for France …”

149. : 1801 June 15. John Scale, Aberdare, near Cardiff – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “When we began to erect our works here it was with the intention of confining ourselves for some time to our blast furnace, with a machine capable of blowing two. About 12 months ago Messrs. Thompson Firman & Homfrey of London offered us a loan to build a second furnace and we accepted their offer …”

150. : 1801 June 23. M.B., Soho, Messrs. John and George Scale. 1 p. 4to. Press copy. “I think you are right in reducing your rent by building two furnaces instead of one, provided you are strong enough to support the loan.”

153. : 1801 November 21. John Scale, Aberdare, near Cardiff – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “I have sent you by today’s coach from Brecon via Gloucester, 2½ couple of woodcocks. Our furnaces are going very well. We have not yet made more than 85 tons in a week but hope to reach 100 tons. The quality in general is excellent.”

Box 343 – John Southern, Thomas Southern and Family, 1776-1824. Items 1-81.

1-28 : Letters and Papers concerning John Southern, 1782-1797 (d. 1815, originally engaged as a draughtsman by Boulton & Watt, appointed manager of the Soho Foundry in 1800 with a share in the profits, made a partner in 1810).

29. : Not used.

30-72 : Letters and Papers concerning John Southern, 1797-1815.

73-74 : Letters and Papers concerning Mrs Southern, 1824.

75-80 : Letters and Papers concerning Thomas Southern (father of John Southern), 1776-1790.

81 : Letter from Mrs Southern to M R Boulton, 1816.

Principal items of interest include :

1. : 1782 July 30. Document endorsed “J. Southern, July 1782. Minutes of conversation and interview with Mr Arkwright upon the subject of employing B & W’s engines.” 2 pp. folio. John Southern told Mr Arkwright that he had seen his fire engine at Wirksworth and was sorry he had not employed the patent engine. Mr Arkwright said he would show J.S. a model of construction far exceeding Mr Boulton’s Pickard’s. J.S. told him that Mr Boulton would be at Matlock today and would be glad to see Mr Arkwright. Mr Arkwright said he had been led to understand that Mr B’s engine was complex and subject to disorder. J.S. said this must have come from Tompson, he replied it did. J.S. said Tompson had given out publicly that Mr Arkwright had received from him a great part of his mechanism and had patented it. Mr Arkwright laughed at the ignorance of Tompson and agreed he knew nothing.

2. : 1788 February 26. Birmingham – M.B. at William Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 1 p. 4to. “Mr Watt desires you to ask Mr Wilkinson if he will undertake the boiler for the Neapolitan engine, 12ft 6in long and 5ft 6in wide with a tube. For the ease of conveyance it will be required in two pieces.”

3. : 1789 July 6. Birmingham – M.B. at William Matthews, No. 6, Green Lettuce Lane, Cannon Street, London. 3 pp. 4to. “I understand that you know the new fly is not yet tried. Everything about that Press is ready except Busch’s machine and the 6 and 7 sided socket and trough which we intend to have re-cast after making the pattern more correct to the top of the screw. Yesterday we put on the 5 curves and Lawson will probably inform you how they act. With a view to working faster than 40 per min. We have turned the fly arms from 4¼ to 3¼ diameter at the ends and middle, but stronger at the root. According to a rough calculation we shall be enabled to make 52 or 53 blows per min. now in the same time that 43 or 44 were formerly made in. I suppose if 53 blows per min. be made the fly arm will not rest sensibly in wooden jaws or catch and consequently that will be the quickest that can be worked with that fly – 43 or 44 being the number made with the old fly and then the arm did not rest in the jaws – 53 blows is the number that will require 25 strokes of the engine and consequently the least number to be desired of the present wheel-work. When you come you will find us striking 50 per min. at least, with the old press. Another press will be ready in about a week.”

10. : 1792 January 30. Soho – M.B., London. 3 pp. 4to. “The last week has been chiefly taken up in repairing accidents – chains breaking, air pump arms ditto, pulleys heating and flying to pieces, in short almost every trifling though hindering accident that might have been expected with an entirely new machine. The presses seem to go better and better every time they work. The blows are from 45 to 50 per min. Iron rollers have been substituted for wooden ones in the wooden arm. We are proposing to do without chains, by using rods and bell cranks. The recoil air pumps are applied and are good both in preventing or lessening the general destruction by ugly blows against the great damper and likewise in saving power.”

13. : 1792 October 16. Soho – M.B. [London]. 3 pp. 4to. “The hurry in which the pattern of the cylinder has been made occasions it not to be so neat as could be wished. Mr Watt has desired me to send a drawing of the cylinder for Mr Ramsden, that he may see what is wanted. Likewise you will receive a sketch of such a boiler as we have given orders for here and two will do no harm as one may be for your engine and the other for Bull’s. We have begun the parts of the model of the former. I mean nothing impertinent in saying that I think models are good to exhibit difference of construction to a common jury, but I doubt if such a jury would not consider such a difference as a difference in principle. A jury of engineers would be desirable. Vigour and despatch in the prosecution, not only of Bull, but of all the Bulls who are infringing your rights all over the country, is of the highest importance.”

1797 June 5. Soho – M.B., c/o Mrs Matthews, 13 London Street, Fenchurch Street, London. 3 pp. 4to. “I send you an estimate for a 30 horse engine. As to the mint, the cranks are all fixed and the great air pumps in their places. The recoil pumps are all ready for fixing with their cranks and frames. Mr Busch intends to set one press today, when we shall be enabled to see what force will be required to bring up the pieces. Not one of the new layers is completed, but 3 or 4 are pretty forward. Mr Busch thinks all the presses will be ready to work by the end of this week. If you could make interest with that wonder of a man Mr Ramsden, to make you a 12 in rule, I think you will have gone to the first source both for accuracy and opportunity of procuring accurate measures, which I conceive to lie with Mr R. both from his extensive acquaintance and his genius in prompting him to avail himself of any occasion that may have occurred.”

35. : April 23. Soho – M.B., 13 London Street, London. 2 pp. 4to. “This morning we have made a second trial of the new method of working the presses which has proved more successful than the first. We worked at about 42 blows per min. I think the load was a little under 6lb per sq. in. length of stroke was 14in. in the Barostat and the air valve was shut sooner than 2/3 of the stroke, but yet the air was not fully expanded owing to a leak in the Barostat Piston. The cutting-out curves and wheel do very well.”
48. : 1799 May 1. Soho – M.B., 13 London Street, London. 2 pp. 4to. “… All the 8 presses have been at work together today for a considerable time: 6 on pennies, 1 on halfpennies and 1 on farthings, the farthings at 72 per min: the halfpence at upwards of 60. The engine at 19 strokes per min. worked all these together and we had spare blast.”

Box 358 – Sir Zaccheus Walker, 1765-1789 (Box 1 of 2)

(Senior Boulton & Watt employee – “Principal Clerk”).
Items 1-189.

Principal items of interest include:

9. : 1773 February 20. Birmingham – M.B. [London] 2 pp. 4to. “I have procured from Mr. Tildesley a list of all the people that take [out] plate licences in Birmingham, with the value of their licence. Enclosed with Mr Tildesley’s list you have another on which I have noted the trade or employment of many of the people and have affixed the number of workmen they employ, according to my own idea for time did not permit of a personal application and presume I have rated them too low.”

23. : 1778 May 13. Birmingham – M.B., to the care of Messrs. Matthews & Barton, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 3 pp. 4to. “Mr Hall found the man who took the Chacewater material to Stourport, who is confident that they were there put on board a Bristol Trow fourteen days ago and that they must either be delivered to Mr James or in the warehouse of Glover & Co or of Beale & Co. at Bristol Quay. Mr Hall will go to Bradley to see that the dudgeons and plummer blocks for Byker and Wheal Union engines are forwarded: the rest of the Byker materials from Soho will be sent by Canal to Hull today. Two sets of drills and chisels and the Richmond boiler have been sent to London.”

27. : 1778 December 6. Birmingham – James Keir Esq. “at Soho”. 1 p. folio. “I doubt whether the orders for Mr Gilbert’s engine will be ready in time. Mr Watt lays much stress on sending for William Murdock to set the pattern for poldice : Mr Boulton was anxious to continue Murdock at Bedworth until his return from Cornwall, therefore suggest that Joseph Harrison should continue there.”

30. : 1779 October 14. Birmingham – M.B. [c/o] Charles Vere Esq., Astley, Coventry. [Completed in the autograph and initialled by J. Fothergill and directed “to the care of Mr Soden at the King’s Head Inn]. 3 pp. folio. “Mr John Wilkinson desires to see you at Burslem on some matters of consequence: he will do nothing for Weston until he has the cash. I hope I shall prevent any complaints from Birchin Lane [Vere & Williams] during your stay at Astley. Mr Rehe has hopes of getting 1000 machines [silk reels] finished by the middle of next month.”

61. : 1781 December 24. Birmingham – M.B. of Soho, c/o William Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 3 pp. folio. “Herewith I send you the two sets of drawings of rotative motions &c., done by Mr Playfair and Mr Wilson, also the originals. Mr Playfair may be found at No. 2 Portland Road, Great Portland Street, Cavendish Square. Mr Wilson intends setting out for London tomorrow and is desired to call on you in case you should want him in consequence of Mr Playfair’s absence. You will see from the copy enclosed that Mrs Swellengrebel’s agent agrees to the proposition you made to Mr Manwaring. Mr Henderson reached Soho yesterday, after a five hour chase in the Channel by a privateer: he thinks you may reap a considerable harvest of engines in Ireland. I am well aware that both winds and tides seem yet strong against you. Mr Joseph Rabone called, saying he was desired to make enquiry whether you had sold your engine rights in France. I told him you had disposed of the privilege of erecting two engines in Paris, but nothing further. Is not Perier playing some cursed trick?”

Box 359 – Sir Zaccheus Walker, 1790-1806 (Box 2 of 2).

(Senior Boulton & Watt employee – “Principal Clerk”).
Items 1-198.

Principal items of interest include:

23. : 1792 March 16. Birmingham – M.B., c/o W. Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 2 pp. 4to. “… Agreeable to your intimation I went to Mr Pearson to learn the particulars of the transfer of engine property laying in Mr Matthew’s hands (to the separate accounts of yourself and Mr Watt), but found that Mr Pearson did not know of any settlement, only that Mr Watt took a memorandum of the state of Mr Matthew’s account, as well as that of his own and yours.”

34. : 1792 May 5. Birmingham – M.B., c/o Mrs C. Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 2 pp. 4to. “… The executors of the late Mr Matthews have sent a transcript of your bill account. I am glad to learn by Mr Southern that Mr Hornblower has withdrawn his petition.”

46. : 1792 September 25. Birmingham – M.B., c/o Thomas Wilson, Truro, Cornwall. 7 pp. 4to. “I called upon William Russell Esq. and his brother at their warehouse relative to Zac’s engaging in their American employ. They would pay his passage to America and all expenses of travelling except at a place deemed a place of residence, of which they had three principal ones, viz. Boston, New York and Philadelphia. They thought £30 or guineas sufficient to defray his board and lodging, and would engage for 5 years … On enquiry of Mr Tate in London, formerly an apprentice of the late Mr William Matthews and who has lately been in America, he thought a young man could not support himself decently in the character of agent for a reputable house for less than 100 guineas (or 6 dollars per week). Mr George Russell said they would fix board and lodging at £30, but anything found necessary above that sum they would pay. As to salary, they gave me time to consult you and then Zac. is to deliver his proposals in writing. I understand that £60 is the general salary of their Birmingham warehouse clerks and that they expect to pay Zac. £70 for the first year, increasing by £10 annually. Probably their Birmingham clerks accept presents from manufacturers and thereby gain an extra £10, or in other words save £10 in salary to their masters: but this is a vile practice for both parties.”

75. : 1794 May 14 and 15. Birmingham – M.B., c/o Mrs C. Matthews, Green Lettuce Lane, London. 3 pp. 4to. “In consequence of what you directed me to write to Mr Andrew Buchanan of New York and the character of him that Mr James Watt Junior received from Manchester, all the hardwares he desired you to send are put in hand, except the nails, on which you intend to have 10% exclusive of the commission you charge. Nails cannot be procured on such terms as will allow of 10% or 12 months credit. I have applied to Mr Wright, nailfactor, Bromsgrove to Messrs. E. Bennett & Son, Dudley, whose prices are as high as Messrs. Green & Price in Birmingham. Enclosed is a letter and rules for the establishment of a society of Birmingham merchants trading to the continent.”

Box 360

Zaccheus Walker, Junior, 1789-1828
Items 1-232

Miss Ann E Walker, 1809-1814
(daughter of Z. Walker, Snr.)
Items 233-236

Mrs H Walker (wife of Z Walker Snr.) and S. Walker, 1809-1810
Items 237-238

Principal items of interest include:

16. : 1793 October 11. New York – M. R. Boulton, Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. folio. “Scandalous efforts have been made by Genet the Minister of the French Republic to provoke the States to take up arms. The commerce of their country has suffered much from British privateers on the W. India station, but the grievance is borne with more patience than I could have expected. We are about to experience an Indian war, if the mediation of some Quakers, with whom they have requested to have a talk, as the descendants of their old friend Penn, produce no effect. I hear nothing from your father respecting an American coinage and from various political changes am led to suppose it is an idea he has given up."

18. :1796 July 18. Hamburg – M.B. 3 pp. 4to. “I sail for Le Havre tomorrow. My errand to France will be probably not successful, money being a principal object. Mr William Russell since his arrival in America, shows no disposition either to pry into my views or to interfere with my correspondence. There are extensive plans for steam engines, particularly for supplying New York with water and for an “Albion Mill” in Philadelphia. I have met with Joshua Lingard of Manchester, a young gentleman who by the services he rendered me in America, has my fullest confidence. He promises to take Birmingham on his way home from Hull to confer with my father and to give him a sound idea of how far I may form American connections and of my situation with the Russells. Mr Russell at parting, hinted that before my return he hoped to plan out some concerns, in which he, his son and I might be employed to advantage in Philadelphia. But I know his unsteadiness and want of perseverance, his confirmed habits and prejudice with respect to profits and that I should be the slave of the other two: for the son would be of no use not having yet quitted his hold of his sister’s apron-strings.”

56. : 1803 June 23. St. Petersburg – [M.B., Soho]. 4 pp. folio. “After leaving Elsinore we reached Cronstadt the 15 June O.S. From the immense number of British ships we met in the Gulf of Finland we scarcely expected to see a single vessel in the mole, but on the contrary found it filled with our merchant men and the roads with a large fleet of unwieldy Russian ships of war. I never saw a spectacle better adapted to give an adequate idea of the extent and importance of our foreign commerce than this voyage presented. At Cronstadt I delivered Count Woronzow’s letter to Admiral Hanikoff. My letters to the English merchants, Thornton’s, Raikes, Bayleys, procured me a cordial reception particularly those to old Timothy Raikes and the one to Thorntons and Bayleys. I am also glad of the introductory letter from Lord Hawkesbury to our Minister, Sir John expressing himself much pleased in being authorised to distinguish me from the crowd of speculative adventurers, with which this and every other country swarms and puts Mr Garbett’s old acquaintance [C. Gascoigne] as the head of his black list. In delivering Count Woronzow’s letters I began with the Minister of Finances and Director of the Money Department, Count Wassilieff, with whom I went to the Forsters to go over the premises, inspect the drawings and state what might be wanted. I met there the President of the College of Mines who is General Commandant of Artillery, the President of the Mint Department and a number of other titled gentlemen …”

The buildings for the Mint go on as fast as can be expected. James Duncan has perfectly cleaned all the machinery. They are now finishing the frames for the coining press floor – Harley has nearly finished gearing the engine beams and is preparing cases for the cylinders. James Walker has finished gearing the rolling mill wheels.”

Box 362 – Ambrose Weston, 1792-1799 (Box 1 of 2)

(Solicitor acting for Boulton and Watt in the patent dispute of the 1790s)
Items 1-111

Principal items of interest include:

3. : 1792 November 27. M.B., Soho, Birmingham – A. Weston. 3 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I wrote a hasty line to you yesterday covering a printed puff of the hornblowers. B and W have never yet published anything in answer to H in newspapers, but as Wilson has broken the ice I think it better for him to continue the battle and it may not be amiss for him to publish something like the paper I send herewith. There is in every battle a favourable moment to place an important blow and now time to give hornblower a blow, for at present Tin Croft is his best engine, but as he has others in hand of a larger size, he may correct his errors in them or copy our engines more closely. Tin Croft exists and will furnish us with good matter if he should come again to Parliament.”

32. : 1796 October 16. M.B., Soho, Birmingham – Ambrose Weston [Fenchurch Street]. 3 pp. 4to. Press copy. “I perceive by your letter to B & W that the dye is cast and war is decided. Whether it is better to sacrifice a part of our premiums, which in all probability may never come into our pockets, than to grasp at all and lose all: I am persuaded the game is more imprudent than playing Hazard, gold against silver, for I think it possible I may lose much more than all, by the consequences of defeat. My case is very different from Mr Watt’s. His barns are full, whereas my harvest is scattered over a great part of Europe and America, as well as England and is daily diminished by a wicked war, which prevents me receiving remittances. After sending to more than 100 of my debtors at home last week I did not collect a single shilling. I am staggered when I think of what may be the extent of the mischief, by the loss of our trial. Bad as Cornwall is yet we continue to receive £3,000 a year and many considerable sums are yet to be received from the pirates, all of which will be lost if the trial is lost, besides the annual premiums from every quarter of England, Coalbrook Dale pay us about £600 a year and only waits for an excuse to lip future payments, but they, as well as other founders, are preparing to oppose us in erecting engines and have formed a connection with Glazebrook and intend to support him in establishing his pretended improvement. Your Batemans and Sharratts with 20 others are watching for our defeat and even our old friend John [? Wilkinson] has latent designs upon us. £12,000 would not pay the positive loss we should sustain the day we lose the trial: but the consequent losses of credit and by the multiplicity o f lawsuits we should be plunged into, these I say are incalcuble. Suppose we sacrifice a little to Maberly and the suit is dropped, our other enemies are not likely to suddenly revive it: if they do, we shall in the interim receive more money than will pay the suit, for over and above our annual premiums, we shall receive the remainder of Thackeray’s and such like compositions for piracy. Moreover, we have between 20 and 30 engines ordered which may be countermanded. A delay of one year is a point of great importance to us and the fury of our enemies both from law and engine making will abate in proportion as the term of our patent diminishes.”

33. : 1796 October 17. A. Weston, London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 1 p. 4to. “It would be extremely awkward now to go to Maberly and say we are ready to accede to the terms we rejected last week. I consider the communication you have made to me as being entirely your private opinion and therefore not to be acted upon without orders from your firm. It will be expedient that you should come to a clear explanation with Mr Watt and give me my final sailing orders.”

52. : 1799 January 25. A. Weston, Fenchurch Street – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “The judgement of the King’s Bench has been given unanimously in your favour. Let all Soho rejoice! Let the Parish of Handsworth be glad! Lord Kenyon gave his unqualified opinion in favour of the Patent; so did Judge Ashurst, Grose and Laurence …”

Box 363 – Ambrose Weston, 1800-1808 (Box 2 of 2)
Items 1-179

Principal items of interest include:

1. : 1800 January 11. A. Weston, Fenchurch Street – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “I have been expecting sometime to hear from you or Mr Simcox, respecting the copper campaign, I am afraid Lord Hawkesbury will think his suggestions are neglected. I am convinced your Mint enemies will be defeated in all their operations against you. There is one weak place in your coinage, it is too heavy. Instead of 36 halfpence in the 1lb., there should be 40 or 42 and then you would not be at Williams’ mercy. The public would be pleased for their complaint is your money is too bulky and cumbersome. I know the Lords would say by putting less copper in the money the counterfeiter would be encouraged, but I do not think this argument is valid. Mrs Matthews has shown me your letter respecting the price of bread in London compared with that at Birmingham. But you are in error, our bread which costs 15d. is not household bread but the finest wheaten bread of the assize. There is no fixed price. Therefore your household bread at 11d. compared with ours at 12½d. It would be better to lay this matter before the Lord Mayor, who is paying particular attention to this subject than to put it in the newspapers.”

68. : 1803 August 21. Ambrose Weston, Camberwell Green – M.B. [Soho, Birmingham]. 4 pp. 4to. “I observe from the newspapers that you are about to assist Messrs. Boydell & Nicol, in testifying their gratitude to the subscribers to their magnificent edition of Shakespeare by executing medals to commemorate the publication and subscription. I hope you will not allow the committee at Lloyds to take the management of your patriotic funds, out of your hands. I have diverted myself with making verses, a sample of which I am sending to you [see Eldon, Lord], an account of some temporary allusions they contain to the state of our public affairs and also because these verses are designed as a compliment to an old friend of yours and mine, no less a man than my Lord Chancellor. I want your sage advice as to printing this little essay. I begin to entertain hopes that we are safe from invasion, if we can contrive to make Ireland secure. I hear Mr Robinson Boulton is raising a corps of cavalry. It is true that the coal-fitters of Newcastle have applied to Government for a new commission of copper coin from your mint?”

71. : 1803 September 8. M.B., Soho – A. Weston [London]. 7 pp. 4to. Press copy. “My daughter is going to be married, my son is going to the field of battle and my country to be trodden upon by envious, savage, faithless ghouls. Your poem brings the idea of the Consul more to my mind than the Chancellor. I shall not be a candidate for the prizes offered by the committee at Lloyds, but I have no objection to undertake the execution of any medal they may want. The dye for Boydell’s medal was engraved at Soho from a print of the bas-relief at the front of the Shakespeare Gallery. I have been induced to engrave a medal of my own dear self, upon the reverse and edge of which, I have recorded the history and effects of my Mint, otherwise it will be claimed by the French so soon they can steal it from St. Petersburg or Soho and will publish it in their books as their own with as much freedom as they have given the steam engine to Monsr. Perier. I have been visited in the course of last year by five different mechanical spies for the purpose of stealing my Mint and although I have shown it to most of them, I have reason to believe they are not much the wiser and consequently without this knowledge they will never be able to recoin all the money of France in Bonaparte’s lifetime, not even with their thirteen Mints … I only know from the newspapers that the Newcastle coal-fitters have petitioned for an additional coinage of Soho halfpence and pence, but I know they are greatly wanted in every town in England and Scotland. But Mr Addington does not understand the subject and his mind is poisoned by solicitors and sagacious men in office. I will thank you to sketch out a petition for the Mayor of Blank to the Rt. Hon. The Lords of H.M. Treasury, stating the inconveniences arising to the public for want of good copper money. Mr Woodward has been applied to for a precedent for this purpose. I coined 80 million pieces between April 1802 and April 1803. This is a greater number of pieces than all the Princes in Europe coined in the same space of time.”

Box 367

John Wilkinson, 1766-1798

(Ironmaster at Bersham, Broseley and Bradley).
Items 1-66(c)

Thomas Jones Wilkinson, 1837-1839
Items 67-83

William Wilkinson, 1787-1807

Ironmaster in partnership with John Wilkinson at Bersham with whom he fell out in 1794; William was a close friend of M. R. Boulton and James Watt, Jnr.)
Items 84-103

Principal items of interest include :

1. : 1766 December 5. Broseley – Mr Florry, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “… As I have not [yet] the pleasure of being acquainted with Mr Boulton, my writing to him on the business you have been so kind as to recommend me in, would not, in my opinion, have the weight as your application on my behalf, for any castings he may have occasion for. I should have a particular pleasure in doing business for a gentleman of such distinguished merit …”.

2. : 1776 May 1. Broseley – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “What gold coin offers me in course, shall some how be sent to you until some concerted plan that may suit us better be fixed upon. If I had been appointed an exchanger, it would have thrown me in a more public way to have rendered it worth notice to you to have sent a person over here weekly. What little I may do in exchange for light gold, I expect paper will suit as well as heavy guineas. On receipt of your first letter from London, I wrote to Bersham to send the articles for Stratford [the engine fitter] immediately to London by the first ship from Chester; such parts as we waited instructions for, may now be had readier in town, as I mentioned in a letter to Mr Watt, to whom I wrote again respecting some defects in our engine, the cylinder and working barrels for Bedworth are ready, the pipes are casting. Nothing shall wait, if I have the needful instructions in time. If I were a tailor, I should be inclined to remark that it was more difficult to get the measure taken than to make the suit of clothes.”

3. : 1777 October 21. Broseley – J. Watt, Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “An order for a French cylinder 4ft. 4 in. diam., 11ft. long went this post for Bersham. Under the present situation I conceive no hopes of seeing you to concert the double engine mentioned in my last. What must be done? If I proceed without you I shall blunder and to wait longer I cannot …”

9. : 1784 April 23. M. Boulton, Soho, Birmingham – John Wilkinson. 1 p. 4to. Letter book M.B. 1780-1786. “I hope you have been informed that an Irish spy is going among the iron foundries in order to seduce workmen and to qualify himself to cast engine work &c. in Ireland. His name is Pounding and he has an iron furnace at Enniscorty and a foundry at Dublin.”

13. : 1785 October [?]. M. Boulton [Cornwall] – John Wilkinson. 4 pp. 4to. Letter book M.B. 1780-1786. “… We have now undertaken to make an engine for wheal maid to work an 18 box to the depth of 160 fathoms or 110 fathoms below adit. This is to do the work of 3 engines and thereby make a great saving. Mr Daniel of Truro desires me to acquaint you that the Adventurers of wheal virgin will have a good engine of our construction to dispose of about midsummer; this may serve your purpose. Tomorrow a new committee will be chosen for the miners and Metal Co. …”

15. : 1785 November 21. M. Boulton, Chacewater – John Wilkinson [Castlehead]. 3 pp. folio. Letter book M.B. 1780-1786. “A general meting was held at Truro on Thursday last when all the Cornish members of the town committees were present. As it was an important day, big with the fate of our new institution, I set out for London and arrived at Truro on Tuesday and stayed until all was finished. You may remember that unless owners of 7/8 of the value of the ore subscribed to the original resolutions, the matter was void. Sir F[rancis] B[asset] has power over a more than 1/8 and therefore refused to sign unless alterations were made. I exclaimed against any alterations without the consent of those absent. The miners or adventurers have now discovered that the power ultimately rests with them and not with the smelting companies …”

24. : 1787 October 22. Bradley Iron Works – Messrs. Boulton & Watt at Mr Matthews, No. 6 Green Lettuce Lane, London. 3 pp. folio. “… It has been a great misfortune that the conductors of the Cornish Metal Company have not in their deliberations taken Anglesea more into consideration, than they seem to have done and that a meeting of the kind now impending should be held without Mr Williams.”

48. : 1792 November 21. M.B., Soho – J. Wilkinson. 2 pp. 4to. Press copy. “… Boulton and Watt wish you would come and settle all accounts between you and them, including the engines you have erected for yourself and them. Boulton and Watt are the better for their Cornish journey and their friends see clearer, as well as hornblower …”

49. : 1795 December 8. Brymbo – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “The sale of Bersham and the things attendant upon it, which put that place once more into the hands of its old possessors, has taken up much of my thoughts. There is no an end to all connection between Mr WW [William Wilkinson] and me.”

61. : 1796 July [12]. [M.B. ? autograph of J. Watt], Soho – J. Wilkinson, Brymbo. 3 pp. 4to. Endorsed “Sketch to John Wilkinson, July 1796.” “I shall be happy to receive you and to talk over the Minera affair and all our other affairs. If you cannot come, I think that if you were to have a meeting with our sons, all outstanding accounts might be easily terminated. They have lately returned from the North, where they have concluded all our disputes with the different infringes of our patent …”

62. : 1796 July 18. Brymbo – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I will come to Soho, to have some conversation with you and settle the Maesfynnon Affair …”

Box 368 – Thomas Williams, 1781-1797

(of the Paris Mine Company who had works in Anglesea and Swansea)
Items 1-90

Principal items of interest include:

1. : 1781 May 15. Carey Street, London – M. Boulton, Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “When I had the pleasure of seeing you at Holywell in February and afterwards at Wolverhampton, you hinted at an inclination of your new brass company. I propose passing through Birmingham next Saturday and should be glad of a few minutes conversation with you or some of the principal gentlemen in the copper and brass trade there. My friend Lord Boston and his family are to be in Birmingham and propose viewing your great works and other manufactories.”

2. : 1782 September 24. Paris Lodge, Anglesey – [M. Boulton]. 4 pp. 4to. “I have long since given up the idea I once entertained of a conference between the Cornish miners and the Paris Mine Company. Perhaps it was too much in us to expect that such a respectable and at the same time opulent body, as the gentlemen of Cornwall are, should hold us of sufficient importance to merit so much of their attention. Or perhaps it may be difficult to find men willing and able to undertake a business of such difficulty as your scheme and mine may appear to be. You deserve a great deal of the country and I sincerely hope you will not find it ungrateful. We have at this time a good many thousand tons of ore upon bank, more than we shall want for our own smelting houses, though we regularly melt down 260 and 270 tons every week. We have some time since laid in our year’s stock of ores at our Swansea works. But a number of vessels lately offering their services to carry more there, we are determined to send as much as we can this side of Christmas, I fancy we may send there by the middle of December 5 or 6000 tons at least. By stating the matter thus fully to you, I mean this as my last offer of a conference with the gentlemen of Cornwall for the end of some regulation to keep up the fair value of their property and ours. Some people are possessed with a notion that our mine will soon be exhausted. I only wish those to come and look at it.”

12. : 1787 December 21. Llanidan, Anglesey – M. Boulton, Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “The public papers are full of a new coinage. I told you that Mr Pitt assured me nothing would be concluded upon before my return to town. I mean as to the supply of copper to which only my application went. What unaccountable beings our Cornish friends are! They have no sooner made truce with us than they fall to battle royal with themselves …”

Box 369 – Thomas Wilson and Family, 1773-1820
Items 1-251

1-238. : Letters and Papers concerning Thomas Wilson, 1773-1812 (engine erector used by many of the Cornish mines, agent for Boulton and Watt in Cornwall, he received 2½% of premiums on their engines).

239-248. : Letters and Papers concerning Thomas Wilson Junior 1810-1816.

249-251. : Letters and Papers concerning William Wilson, 1820 (son of Thomas Wilson).

Principal items of interest include:

6. : 1781 May 30. Chacewater – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “I have received your two favours of the 22nd and 24th inst. I wrote to Mr Watt that Mr Wilkinson has consented to take the old brass of the Wheal Virgin Adventurers at 6d. per lb. and consequently he is at liberty to order the new working pieces off him and also that his presence with some workmen is necessary to put the engines together. I am afraid there will be difficulty in getting vessels to bring the goods. In consequence of your wish to borrow £1,000 or £2,000 I applied to Mr Jackson, the only likely person I know of and he tells me he believes they can, provided Sir Francis Bassett does not make the large purchase he contemplates. I wrote to Mr Hurd that we could supply them with any quantity of copper and have written Mr Papps as to say on what terms. Mr Williams I am afraid will supply them cheaper than either we or any other company can: the quantity of ores they raise in Anglesea is frightful to us poor Cornish folk, but he forgot to tell you two things, viz. that they burn 15,000 ton [or ore] to make 5 ton saleable and that in 3 years they will have completely finished unless a new discovery [of ore] is made. Our coal at Swansea costs 32/6 per 2/6 Winchester Bushels or 4d. per ton.
I append a statement of your account :
United Mines : £258-18-7
Tresavean : £9-14-8
Poldice : £47-13-6
Wheal Chance : £347-5-10
Wheal Treasury : £43-3-10
Pool Mine : £106-18-0
Ting Tang, including this month will be £100: Chacewater is 2 months in advance or thereabouts and I am in advance about £130. Hallamanin paid to May 1st, Dolcoath the same, Pool Coat is paid to April 1st.”
41. 1786 : October 29. Chacewater – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “I have settled with Mr Reid &c. I am extremely obliged to you for your offer of assistance and it hurts me to be troublesome to such friends as you and Mr Watt. At present, I am about £600 in advance, but the profits of Chacewater for this month will exceed that amount considerably. I am sorry you are leaving the kingdom, when the Metal Co. needs the support of all who are interested. I apprehend a general meeting must soon be called and something done to establish its credit. Capt. Gundy is leaving North Downs at the end of the month. The accounts from Wales show the returning charges will not exceed £1-11-0 per ton, but there appears to be a deficiency of 2½ tons in the produce. Mr Hicks writes that the freight from Swansea to different parts of France is from 14 to 18s. per ton, with ½ port charges. Rouen is the most expensive, a vessel of 120 tons, £20 post charge, the other ports are more reasonable, as the rivers are not so long or dangerous. The above charges are for all ports between Calais and the Isle of Ashant, into the Bay of Biscay the freights are in proportion to the distance …”

188. : 1796 October 6. M.B., Soho, Birmingham – T. Wilson. 1 p. 4to. Press copy. “Having just received orders for a considerable quantity of copper coin, I must beg of you to order by the first post that all the 23 ton of copper belonging to Boulton and Watt, now lying at Swansea be sent off by the most expeditious means to me at Birmingham, or say Stourport, in the form of Thick Tough Cake, I request that your advice and assistance in purchasing 100 or 150 tons more at £102 and to order a quantity of Thick Cake to be prepared for the E.I.Co. Furthermore if any of B & W’s ores can be smelted and delivered here in December or January, I wish you to smelt them.”

Box 375 – Wyatt Family, c1760-1820
Items 1-262

1-1a. : Benjamin Wyatt, Senior (1709-1772). (Farmer, timber merchant, architect and builder). Correspondence and Papers, 1765-1769.

2-15. : Benjamin Wyatt, Junior (1745-1818). Correspondence and Papers, 1769-1805.

16. : Not used.

17-29. : Charles Wyatt, son of John Wyatt, inventor. Correspondence and Papers, 1770-1789.

30-31. : Mrs. C. Wyatt. Correspondence and Papers, 1782-1784.

32. : C.B. Wyatt (son of James Wyatt). Letter, 1812.

33-38. : Edward Wyatt (1757-1833). (Carver and Gilder, Oxford Street, London). Correspondence and Papers, 1799-1800.

39-55. : James Wyatt (1746-1813). (Architect, 36 Newman Street, London. He built St. Paul’s Chapel, Birmingham). Correspondence and Papers, 1771-1797.

56-58. : Mrs James Wyatt (widow of the above) née Rachel Lunro. Correspondence and Papers, 1814 and Press cutting, 1922.

59-116. : John Wyatt. (Agent in London to Messrs. Boulton and Fothergill. Cousin of James Wyatt, the architect, address at Salisbury Square, London). Correspondence and Papers, 1773-1783.

117-210. : Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807). (Brother of James Wyatt. Architect of Trinity House, Tower Hill, London; assisted his brothers, George and James, at the Albion Mill. Lots of letters concern the Albion Mill enterprise. Also involved with the plans for Heathfield House). Correspondence and Papers, 1765-1806.

Principal items of interest include :

141. : 1786 May 15. Albion Mill – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “Today at 2 o’clock the engine started with 6 pairs of stones, both the sack tackles and three dressing mills with one machine. The coals are measured and we shall weigh off the meal for 24 hours of which we shall give you an account. Mr Grant suggests that the dock gates should keep in the water about 10 or 7 ft high and the suction pipe laid in it about 2 ft from the bottom of the dock. We have made an order that the admission ticket must be signed by two proprietors …”

142. : 1786 May 22. London – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 3 pp. 4to. “… Mr Murdock left us on Thursday. Once I was so pleased with what he did that I gave him £10. The engine is capable of doing half as much more work as was originally intended. In working the mill 12 hours we ground 12 bushels of wheat …”

151. : 1787 February 10. Albion Mill – M.B., Soho, Birmingham. 2 pp. 4to. “I sent you a few days ago the sketches for your house. The committee are anxious to have the second engine completed. Pray inform Mr Watt that the boiler is finished …”

211-213. : Mrs A. Wyatt (wife of Samuel Wyatt). Correspondence and Papers, 1794-1795.

214-216b. : John Wyatt (1700-1766). (Inventor, introduced improvements in weighing, spinning, lathes and button making tools). Correspondence and Papers, 1760 and two press cuttings, 1929 and 1966.

217. : John Wyatt (Surgeon, Long Acre, London, brother of James, Samuel and George Wyatt). One document, 1769.

218. : John Wyatt (Publisher of the Repertory of Arts, son of John Wyatt, the inventor). One letter, 1798.

219. : Not used.

220-222. : Thomas Wyatt. Correspondence and Papers, 1781-1800.

223-223a. : Thomas Wyatt (1807-1880). (Born in Ireland, brother of Sir Matthew D. Wyatt). Two documents, 1820 and n.d.

224-257. : William Wyatt. Correspondence and Papers, 1763-1786.

258-259. : Charles Wyatt (Son of William Watt. Engineer Lieutenant at Fort William, Bengal). Two letters, 1781.

260. : R. H. Wyatt. One letter, 1813.

261. : Edgar William Wyatt. Obituary notice from “The Times”, December 26, 1931.

262. : Miscellaneous document.




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