This 'letter from the past' is dated 22nd January, 1830, written by P.F. Tinne to his partner Samuel Sandbach Esq. Liverpool. Gore's directory of Liverpool, 1829 lists "Samuel Sandbach Esq, Mayor, Woodlands, Aigburth". Sandbach Tinne were West India merchants. The Liverpool Trade directory lists their address in 1830 as 12 Exchange Buildings, and a measure of the firm's success is shown by the continuous recording of their business in Liverpool up to 1970. They owned plantations in Demerary, where they grew sugar cane, cotton and coffee and produced rum and molasses. They also owned the ships which carried the cargoes back to Liverpool and Glasgow. The main partners prospered, and when Samuel Sandbach died in 1851 he left about £120,000. Philip Frederic Tinne, (who died in Holland in 1844), left about £40,000. Their finances received a boost from the bounty (about £100,000) which the firm received from the Government, in October 1835, for giving up their slaves on the plantations.

During the years I have been buying old letters for their postmarks at different auctions and dealers, I have bought eight others written to Sandbach Tinne by McInroy Parker of Glasgow. They all relate to shipping of cargoes particularly sugar, and coffee between 'Demerary' in British Guiana, to Liverpool and Glasgow. British Guiana is now an independent country - Guyana — and the only English speaking country in South America. During the period covered by the letters in my collection 1818-1835 , there was a slave revolt in 1823, and emancipation in 1833. This letter is the shortest, but the contents gave me more leads to follow than all the rest of the correspondence.

Postal Markings

The letter has only two postal markings: the '11' manuscript charge mark for a single letter over a distance of between 170-230 miles in force 1812 -1839, and a 'maltese cross' Charing Cross Branch Office unpaid datestamp JA 23 1830. This was the standard series struck in blue ink in use from October 1829 to November 1830. The Charing Cross Branch office of the General Post covered the West end of the city and Westminster.

The Letter

London 22nd January 1830

My Dear Sir,

I arrived here in good time on Tuesday eveng and may congratulate myself in having escaped the snow storms which have since rendered the Roads almost impassable. The next morng I called at the Liverpool office (which by the bye is still at number 2 Fludyer St1 and not Park St as Mr Parker was told at the W.I. Association).

Mr H.2 had read our paper but wishes to make himself completely master of the subject before he sees me, which will probably be some time next week - he is again out of Town — but is expected back on Monday to accompany a Liverpool Deputation to a meeting with ministers on some Customs House grievances. The precise object I don't know, but as Will Ingers C. Hand and Mr Rathbone3 are among the Deputies it must be one of general interest.

I have not called on any W.I. people yet — the filthy state of the Streets deterring me from going into the City — I stumbled this morning on Innes at the West End he tells me that his sugar cleaning apparatus has met everywhere with the most complete success, and I understand from him that Mr Gladstone4 — Jno. Moss have been contracted with him for the requisite machinery and the liberty to use it.

If Mr Gladstone has really done so, the matter deserves consideration, and we may take it for granted he has made the best possible bargain. — Innes offers to supply any Estate under your control or the House's on the same terms, and to inform me what these are the first time I come into the City — Rob. Gladstone might, if asked, tell you something about it and at all events, it would be well, perhaps, again to call Mr. Rasings attention to the subject and request him to report upon it.

I will write you again as soon as soon as I shall have seen Mr Huskisson to confirm some idea of the result of our application.

Believe me always My Dear Sir

Ever yrs truly.

P. F. Tinne

There is not the smallest prospect of any reduction in the sugar duty5 — in fact they can't afford it.

My address is a the Windham Club6 — St James's Square — letters to be post paid to the debit of my acct.

I could find no information found about Mr Innes sugar cleaning equipment — but Gore's Directory of Liverpool in 1829 lists him as a biscuit baker

The West Indies Association was formed in 1799 of West India merchants and planters resident in Liverpool, to look after the interests of the West India trade. A similar group existed in London. One aim was to ensure that the Customs & Excise duties were correctly imposed. Its originator was William Peatt Litt, a London West Indian merchant who had settled in Liverpool. Members paid a subscription, plus a small charge on produce imported from the West Indies. In 1829-30 the Chairman was Charles Shand, and Peter Wright was the Secretary. It existed until 1974. Mr Tinne was quite right, as there seems to be no record of a reduction in the sugar duty.

For me, the really appealing part of collecting postal history, is the individuality. There are seven separate holdings of letters and record books from Sandbach Tinne in Record Offices in England, but none of them are the same as mine.

Last modified 18 December 2002