Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/323

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to say, the backwardness in the articles of convenience, or the ignorance of our ancestors, was such, that even in the reign of Edward I. coals were considered in London as a nuisance, and on a petition of the inhabitants of the metropolis in 1307, a proclamation was issued by the king, forbidding the burning of coals to the trades which were supported by their use. This absurd prohibition continued in force for above half a century, when good sense at last triumphed; it was permitted to bring the article to London under the small duty of six-pence per ton for every ship that came from Newcastle. Increasing very rapidly from this time, the coal trade became an important object of attention to government, which issued, in 1421, several regulations respecting the length of the keels, in order to ascertain the quantity of coals shipped at the port, and the duty to be paid there. Improving with the gradual extension of commerce, Newcastle is now the first place in the world for the coal-trade; its exports are calculated at 589,600, and its home consumption at 100,000, Newcastle chaldrons. This immense produce is supplied from collieries in the neighbourhood of the place; the principal of which, their names, and depths, are as follow: