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Document number: 5558
Date: 20 Feb 1858
Recipient: COTTRELL George Edward
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 14th March 2012

[draft]

Cottrell
Feb 20 /58

It is ^clearly ye ye intst of all prties yt ye Rlway wch y propos t make on ye hill & thence down t the Canal shd be contind by me over ye canal t join ye GWR if this can be accompld

I will consult an intellt surveyor as to its feasibily I hope in ye course of a few days ^with refce to yr last letter [illegible] Some of yr proposls I can agree to but others I must remit for yr further considn as bg unsatisfy in thr prest shape

I accept yr minm of 20,000 tons pr ann. and also yr conditn proposal yt y shd not be bound by any stipuln as to ye qy no of tons to be raisd durg ye 1st 6 mths wch apprs t me perfectly fair & indeed I shd have proposd that arrangt or smthg simr even if y had not –

Wth respct to ye royalty on ye ore, I do can not think it was yr intentn to propose for my [illegible deletion] to me terms less favorable ^ cæteris paribus than those acceptd by Mr Locke at Seend, as it is I belve genlly admitted that my ore is the finest quality of Wiltsh. ore that has bn found anywhere, and ranks next after ye Cumbld Hæmatite –

I was informed 2 or 3 days ago that the reason why Mr L. accepted a royalty of 1/ on his ore was that he did so in considn of a Sum of £5000 or £6000 I forget wch – wch was paid down to him in cash. Wch comes to ye same thg in point of fact as if an addl 6d royalty of 6d sixpence per ton had bn agreed to be paid to him on about 240,000 tons of ore.

But whatevr circstces may have induced Mr L. t stipulate for such a cash paymt I shall not do anythg of the kind, as I think it a [illegible deletion] founded on incorrect principles, it an unwise arrangt unless specl circumces exist. – but as ^it wd be in my opn be a fair equivt to Mr Lockes agreemt I if the royalty were to be fix’d at 1/6 for a certn no of years say perhaps for 10 years, or otherwise, until a certn no of tons have bn raised. I find that the calcn I made last Summer, abt wch I took some pains gave 1/8 as the fair royalty, supposing the best ore to constitute 1/3 of the whole –

not sent

I feel confidt yt if furnaces are ever built on ye bks of ye Canal y will be able to sell ye ore to thm for 6/ a ton wch will only cost you 3/ a ton includg royalty –

You speak of it as seem to thnk it probble that ye amt of ore raisd may be 40000 or 50000 tons per Ann

To what extent [illegible deletion] undertakg the works might grow in course of time, if successfl it is ^of course imposs to say, but we must [illegible deletion] rest ^not ^put too much reliance upon uncertnties & upon a revw of yr proposal it wd seem that it only secures ^to me abt £1000 pr Ann a sum wch

agst wch wch must be admitted t be unsatisf y wch y. must admit is not in accordce wth ye value of ye propy – and wch will be further considbly dimind by compensatn to tenants,

Howevr I ask nothg exaggerd & I thk ye follg arrangt might be adoptd wth fairness to both parties

As Since you expect ^in all probaby to raise 50,000 tons pr ann. in all probby I wd propose that the royalty upon the first 20000 tons raised in each year reckoning fm ye 1st Jany shd be fixd at 1/6 pr ton, and shd then fall to 1s pr ton, during ^all ye rest of that year.

In my former letter I said 1s/8d

(sent)

To speak ^now of or matters

I have bn mch occupd since my return home to Lacock with an affair of importce in wch I find I can render some assistce & wch to you as a lawyer must I am sure possess much interest ^I mean the claim of Earl Talbot to ye Earldom of Shrewsby – I have bn looking over no end of musty parchments, to discover if possible that members of the family were living in the 16th & 17th Centries & whether (which is the main point) they left male heirs. The great prima facie argumt agst Ld Talbots claim is that ye improby that out of 50 or more persons named not one shd hve left male heirs, and yet as far as appears, it really was the case If Ld Talbot estabs his claim he gets not only ye peerage but the Shrewsbury estates worth £35000 a year. – Strange that such moments conseqces shd arise fm ye contents of [illegible deletion] some old pedigrees & parchmts

I am going up to Town tomorrow wth [illegible deletion] abt this matter but shall return here in 2 or 3 days

Not sent

I am aware yt y. wd not embark in this speculn affair except wth ye reasonble expectn of its yieldg a considble profit, neither shd I. – The objt shd be fairly to apportion it

[line drawn across column of text]

As I expect, yt I shll be able / let my iron fds before many mths hve elapsd even if I shd not hve ye pleasre of perfectg any agreemt arrangt wth you

I took ye opporty while I was in Town to speak wth an engineer

[line drawn across column of text]

As you differ fm me in opinn I will ask you to do me the favor to cast your eye over ye follg calcns

[expanded version:]

Cottrell
February 20, 1858

It is clearly in the interest of all parties that the Railway which you propose to make on the hill and thence down to the Canal should be continued by me over the canal to join the Great Western Railway if this can be accomplished.

I will consult an intelligent surveyor as to its feasibility I hope in the course of a few days with reference to your last letter [illegible] Some of your proposals I can agree to but others I must remit for your further consideration as being unsatisfactory intheir present shape.

I accept your minimum of 20,000 tons per annum and also your conditional proposal that you should not be bound by any stipulation as to the quantity number of tons to be raised during the first six months which appears to me perfectly fair and indeed I should have proposd that arrangement or something similar even if you had not –

With respect to the royalty on the ore, I do (can) not think it was your intention to propose for my [illegible deletion] to me terms less favorable cæteris paribus <1> than those accepted by Mr Locke <2> at Seend, as it is I believe generally admitted that my ore is the finest quality of Wiltshire ore that has been found anywhere, and ranks next after the Cumberland Hæmatite –

I was informed two or three days ago that the reason why Mr Locke accepted a royalty of one shilling on his ore was that he did so in consideration of a Sum of £5,000 or £6,000 I forget which – which was paid down to him in cash. Which comes to the same thing in point of fact as if an additional sixpence royalty of sixpence sixpence per ton had been agreed to be paid to him on about 240,000 tons of ore.

But whatever circumstances may have induced Mr Locke to stipulate for such a cash payment I shall not do anything of the kind, as I think it a [illegible deletion] founded on incorrect principles, it an unwise arrangement unless special circumstances exist. – but as it would be in my opinion be a fair equivalent to Mr Locke’s agreement I if the royalty were to be fixed at one shilling six pence for a certain number of years say perhaps for ten years, or otherwise, until a certain number of tons have been raised. I find that the calculation I made last Summer, about which I took some pains gave one shilling eight pence as the fair royalty, supposing the best ore to constitute one-third of the whole –

not sent
I feel confident that if furnaces are ever built on the banks of the Canal you will be able to sell the ore to them for six shillings a ton which will only cost you three shillings a ton including royalty –

You speak of it as seem to think it probable that the amount of ore raisd may be 40,000 or 50,000 tons per Annum.

To what extent [illegible deletion] undertaking the works might grow in course of time, if successfull it is of course impossible to say, but we must [llegible deletion]trike>rest not put too much reliance upon uncertainties and upon a review of your proposal it would seem that it only secures to me about £1,000 per Annum a sum against which which must be admitted to be unsatisfactory which you must admit is not in accordance with the value of the property – and which will be further considerably diminished by compensation to tenants.

However I ask nothing exaggerated and I think the following arrangement might be adoptd with fairness to both parties. As Since you expect in all probability to raise 50,000 tons per annum in all probability I would propose that the royalty upon the first 20,000 tons raised in each year reckoning from the first January be fixed at one shilling six pence per ton, and should then fall to one shilling per ton, during all the rest of that year.

In my former letter I said one shilling eight pence

(sent)
To speak now of other matters. I have been much occupied since my return home to Lacock with an affair of importance in which I find I can render some assistance and which to you as a lawyer must I am sure possess much interest I mean the claim of Earl Talbot to the Earldom of Shrewsbury <3> – I have been looking over no end of musty parchments, to discover if possible that members of the family were living in the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries and whether (which is the main point) they left male heirs. The great prima facie argument against Lord Talbots claim is that the improbability that out of fifty or more persons named not one should have left male heirs, and yet as far as appears, it really was the case. If Lord Talbot establishes his claim he gets not only the peerage but the Shrewsbury estates worth £35,000 a year.– Strange that such momentous consequences should arise from the contents of [illegible deletion] some old pedigrees and parchments. I am going up to Town tomorrow with [llegible deletion about this matter but shall return here in two or three days.

Not sent

I am aware that you would not embark in this speculation (affair) except with the reasonable expectation of its yielding a considerable profit, neither should I. – The object should be fairly to apportion it

As I expect, that I shall be able to let my iron fields before many months have elapsd even if I should not have the pleasure of perfecting any agreement (arrangement) with you I took the opportunity while I was in Town to speak with an engineer

As you differ from me in opinion I will ask you to do me the favor to cast your eye over the following calculations –


Notes:

1. All things being equal.

2. A Landowner also speculating in the mining of Iron ore.

3. Henry John Chetwynd Talbot, 18th Earl Shrewsbury, 5th Baron Talbot (1803–1868), succeeded Bertram Arthur, the 17th Earl, after the latter’s death 10 August 1856. The succession was contested by James Robert Hope Scott and Lord Edmund Bernard Fitzalan Howard (by his guardian Hon. Albert Henry Petre) in the Court of Chancery in January and February of 1858, and Lord Talbot’s Petition of Appeal was brought before the Committee of Privileges in the House of Lords 12 March 1858, and resolved in the summer of that year. [See Journals of the House of Lords, v.90].

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