Hood Family and Coal Mining

Clerk v Ross and Others


30. 'Answers for George Ross and Others oversman of the Niddry Coal and others' ( 24 July 1773 )

[most of it restates previous evidence]

Page 28.

"The Petitioners likewise quote a subsequent part of this witness deposition where he makes mention of a meeting betwixt Mr John Clerk and those of the persons called as defenders in this process who were working at Niddry and depones that they agreed to enter to the petitioners Coalieries upon the petitioners paying their debts and giving each of them a deduction of £5 but this bargain is in the respondents humble apprehension is altogether inconsistent with the idea of their having acknowledged themselves to be bound to General Lockharts coalieries and from the oath of Robert Handside who was present at one of these meetings with Mr Clerk it appears that instead of acknowledging, they all denied their being bound to General Lockhart. This witness depones that he was at one time present in the house of George Ross oversman at Niddry with the pursuer Mr John Clerk, Mr Calderwood, Captain Vint and several of the coaliers working at Niddry coal at which time Capt Vint interrogate these coalliers one bye one if they were not General Lockharts coaliers. That on Capt Vint going to put the question to George Ross oversman at Niddry Coal he the deponent desired Capt Vint to pass by him which he did and the reason the deponent for desiring Capt Vint not to put the question to George Ross was that he understood that George Ross would have given an impertinent answer which might have angered Mr John Clerk then present, that amongst all the coaliers there none of them acknowledged themselves to be the coaliers of General Lockhart accept an old man of the name of George Ross who acknowledged he had wrought many years before at the coalworks of Dryden, but the whole other coaliers to whom the question was put by Capt Vint positively denied that ever they had any thing to do with Dryden Coalworks as it had not been working since they were coaliers, Besides Watson only mentions four of the respondents in particular viz- William Reid, Thomas Hoods, William Ross younger And William Pentland and with regard to the two last it appears from a subsequent part of his oath that instead of making the same agreement with Reid and Hoods, Mr Clerk and they differed upon terms and in consequence of that difference neither William Ross nor William Pentland ever went to Mr Clerks works and although William (sic) and Thomas Hoods did work for a short time with Mr Clerk in consequence of an Interlocutor pronounced by the Sheriff in a process brought against them upon the medium of the agreement mentioned in Watsons oath, yet so soon as they understood that Mr Clerk considered them as bound colliers of General Lockhart they left their work and never again returned so that with respect to the present question they are in the same situation with the other respondents".



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