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Author Topic: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849  (Read 46010 times)

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Offline KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #280 on: July 15, 2019, 06:24:40 PM »
Re the above post by M ...

The "Fig 4" info ... Is this new proof of a method ... or did we already know that some pieces were actually made as two parts joined together at the rim AND "the rims fixed together by metal edge or by other convenient means"?
KevinH

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #281 on: July 15, 2019, 08:02:57 PM »
I don't think we knew Kev. 
But it's very curious.  I'm sure I've read before of them being cut on the inside and the outside of the pieces (was it in the Art Union Journal this was said?). However I wondered if that was just the way it was phrased and I was misunderstanding it, because I couldn't see how that could be done. ( I might have mentioned this before)

But in this way, he could cut the inner layer on the outside of it , then silver the cut outside of that inner layer, silver the inside of the outer vase body, then place the inner layer inside, then cut the outside of the vase body.  Hence it being internally silvered but cut both inside and out.
But ... on the goblets? how can we tell if that is how it might have been done?  Are they GLUED together at the rim?  How would that have been hidden?

Yes we knew he'd done this on the probably (my thoughts) Bohemian vase in the V&A as it has a silver rim around the top and what appears to be a different coloured lining.  So I thought this was what he'd done.  But he shows it on a different kind of piece in the plates for the patent.



So this leads me back to my query here about the piece in the V&A:

'https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65670.msg380654.html#msg380654
This piece is interesting - again if you download it you can see it in very great and close up detail.  It is silvered but if you look at the downloaded picture the silvering inside the stem only goes up to a point inside as far as the bottom of the knop/merese. The merese is not silvered. I wonder how they silvered the inside of the bowl of the cup?
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O3080/varnish-patent-vase-james-powell-sons/

it seems to have been silvered in two parts?  The foot and most of the stem (the hollow bits of it?) and then the cup.  Was it glued together at the merese?

m
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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #282 on: July 15, 2019, 08:09:10 PM »
Also I keep forgetting to say something:

Those small goblet shaped footed salts - they remind me in shape of Bohemian Roemers with their trumpet stems.  Funny shape, very specific to Roemers as far as I know.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #283 on: July 15, 2019, 09:06:14 PM »
oh I see what you mean now Kev.
Umm, well, I think I do. 
Did you mean had we ever read anywhere that Thomson and Varnish had said
' that some pieces were actually made as two parts joined together at the rim AND "the rims fixed together by metal edge or by other convenient means"?'

I am not sure they did.  I am about to trawl through past posts to see if it was said on any of the other reports on the patents.



Edited to add:
Kev, in the court case Thomson says:
'...the first patent in 1848, was for silvering glass and other surfaces—I got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known'

So,he doesn't actually say the glass is blown double walled.  He says the patent was for introducing silver between two glasses (I presume that means between two layers of glass, but that could be two separate pieces of glass, or a double walled blown piece  I guess.) 



But in the meantime:

going back to this vase in the V& A
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O6482/vase-hale-thomson-f/


  I think from reading the description, that it implies this vase is made by the 'blown - double-walled - drop the interior cup bit down after blowing - silver the inside of the double walled single piece of glass item ' type method:

Quote on the  V&A link to this vase:
'Object Type
This trumpet-shaped vase is a purely decorative object, designed to impress. It seeks attention with its silvery surface, and the use of ogee-shaped arches suggests a slightly adventurous exotic taste on the part of its owner. The method of making double-walled silvered glass was complex and made more so by the introduction of coloured glass.

Materials & Making
The process of making double-walled silvered glass was patented by Edward Varnish and Frederick Hale Thompson in 1849. A number of glassworks, such as that of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London, made the blanks. A stemmed vase or goblet shape was formed, with the glass-blower stopping short of opening out the mouth. Instead, the top of the vase, still sealed as a bubble-shape, was reheated and 'dropped' inwards to form a double-walled interior. This plain, undecorated vase was then supplied to E. Varnish & Co., where it was filled between the walls from the foot end with a solution of silver nitrate and glucose (in the form of grape juice). The final stage was to seal the hole in the foot with a metal disc, in this example marked for Varnish's Patent.

Time
The silvered glass exhibited by E. Varnish & Co. fascinated commentators on the 1851 Great Exhibition. Varnish's salvers, vases, globes and goblets were bold in size and presentation, using non-tarnishing silver, ornamented with coloured casing, cutting and engraving. The process 'added a richness and beauty of colouring to that material of which few could deem it capable of receiving' (Illustrated London News
'


I think from looking at it that it's two pieces of glass.
I am also wondering why it has a metal piece in the middle (have we covered this information before - will look again), and why it has a silver rim around the foot?
Did they cut the base off, silver it and then add a full base circle of glass glued and covered with a silver rim?
The silver rim around the top is explained perhaps by adding a glass liner glueing it and covering it with a silver rim maybe?

I know Kev and I have discussed this before here and on Kev's follow up next post to that one and a further one from me then:
https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65670.msg367645.html#msg367645

However, I think it's important to find out more about this vase to see if it is found to be a 'glued/fixed rim' two layer piece.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #284 on: July 15, 2019, 09:44:38 PM »
Ah!! I have remembered something.

I think I have read in the Art Union Journal that they mentioned that Thomas Drayton had previously been using Bohemian glass and silvering the insides.  But that Thomson's stuff was NEW/BETTER because it was double walled glass.  Now, whether or not they said it was blown as double walled glass is a different thing.  Or whether they meant it was two pieces of glass fixed together who knows?   Oo perhaps they meant both things?  Just that the silver was between two layers so could not be damaged.

However that does still leave us with known double walled blown pieces that appear to have been made in one blow and do not perceptually appear to be two different layers of glass glued/fixed together somehow.  I would count the OP's goblet as one of those pieces.
I would count the V&A white cased vermicular gilded vase as one of the pieces that has somehow been fixed together in two layers.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #285 on: July 15, 2019, 10:36:32 PM »
An interesting piece of information found in the article by Diane Lytwyn on Silvered Glass  in The Glass and Pottery Collector April 2007:
pp7

http://www.antiquemercuryglass.com/files/English_Silvered_Mercury_Glass.pdf

'Prior to the English exhibition, and going without much
public notice, an article appeared in the August 31, 1850
issue of “Scientific American,” which references the glass
ware made according to the Thomson & Varnish patent,
although not attributed:

“A new method of manufacturing ornamental
glass has been lately discovered, which presents
the brilliant appearance of highly polished gold
and silver. This mode of “silvering” glass is a new
invention, which is now being carried on by a
company in London. The various articles are
blown of two different thicknesses of glass
throughout
, and the silver is deposited upon the
two interior surfaces of the double hollow glass
vessel.” “When the glass is cut, the brilliancy of
the silver is heightened, and, on the other hand,
when the glass is ground
, the effect of frosted
silver is produce
d” '

Do we know of any examples of the Varnish or Thomson plugged pieces that are ground rather than cut?
Could this one be considered 'ground' - perhaps they meant 'engraved'?
https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/eastbourne-auction-rooms/catalogue-id-srea10014/lot-a48b39b5-b1dd-435f-8dae-a45100a17f6d

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #286 on: July 15, 2019, 10:44:20 PM »
Interesting take on the supposed weight of the apparently English items v the Bohemian items:

This Varnish plugged vase for sale on ebay is 20cm tall and 7cm diameter (much bigger than my blue and white cased goblet) and yet weighs 425 gms. 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RARE-ANTIQUE-MERCURY-GLASS-VASE-SIGNED-E-VARNISH-1850-/173870358694

It weighs more than my later 19th century Bohemian silvered goblet, but it doesn't weigh more than my cased goblet c mid 19th goblet, which is smaller by a good margin although admittedly cased in white and blue.  However, this is a double walled piece and I think it is cased clear over blue over clear. 



It is my opinion that weight is comparative when looking at time frame of mid 19th Varnish and Thomson plugged pieces v later 19th century Bohemian (more mass produced?) pieces but I think that's about it.  I think it could indicate different makers but not English v Bohemian.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #287 on: July 15, 2019, 11:00:43 PM »
Revisiting another maker

Petitjean.  Patent for silvering glass given in 1855.

here is a sale with two Varnish glasses (the cut ones) and the one on the left having a P for Petitjean (Tony Petitjean)

https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-us/auction-catalogues/woolley-and-wallis/catalogue-id-srwo10045/lot-e0741317-2cf7-4107-972b-a43d008d5e21

Was Petitjean getting his double walled goblets from the same maker as Varnish? But not able to cut them?




letter here from Michael Faraday about silvering glass - he says in the letter of 1858 that RW Swinburnes and Co took up the Petitjean patent.  Petitjean is variously referred to as Pettitjean (sic) in Faraday's letter and elsewhere I have seen Petitjeux?

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=E4Yy5eU_7-QC&pg=PA378&lpg=PA378&dq=petitjean+silvered+glass&source=bl&ots=tb-KCDBRQf&sig=ACfU3U2Q9At7IR4uf9ZGOLsNqjJzEWsnvA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwji8937grjjAhXxoVwKHRk7AvYQ6AEwE3oECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=petitjean%20silvered%20glass&f=false

I have seen written somewhere that he was a French chemist, but elsewhere that he was working from Tottenham Court Road (can't find reference now - but if he was, then he too was London based)and was an 'Englishman'.

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #288 on: July 16, 2019, 05:43:52 AM »
With reference my reply number 279 (see quote below)


At the start of the description in that linked copy it says:
A.D. 1849  ....... No 12905
It appears to be the fully written out with drawings specification of the patent issued 19th December 1849 to Frederick Hale Thomson and Edward Varnish relating to the first patent described in this earlier post from Kev in reply #76 (see quote below)

https://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,65670.msg367579.html#msg367579


I don't think we knew Kev, that the specification was about 'fixing' glass to stick it together as it were.

Out of interest, that information has been digitized by Google and comes from the Bibliothek des Deutschen Museums Munchen.
 

Something new!!

Thomson and Varnish patent from June 1850 with drawings :) - drawings from 19 December 1849

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lwsCQtrhxFkC&pg=RA2-PA3&dq=hale+thomson+silvered&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjytqKg27bjAhU0QUEAHUl-DzQQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=hale%20thomson%20silvered&f=false

from:
English Patents of Inventions, Specifications: 1868 ..., Volumes 12901-12915




Kev's earlier reply #76 said:
More info on the patents ...

From books.google:
A General Index to the Repertory of Patent Inventions and other Discoveries and Improvements in Arts, Manufactures and Agriculture ...

The "1815 to 1845 Inclusive" edition of that book shows :
(but it includes later dates as well)

"Thomson F. H., of Berners street and Varnish E. of Kensington,
Improvements in the manufacture of inkstands , mustard pots, and other vessels
December 19, 1849"


and

"Thomson F. H. of Berners street and Mellish T. R. of Portland street,
Improvements in cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass
August 22, 1850"


Also, the 1852 edition of the book gives:

"Frederick Hall Thomson, of Berners street, of the County of Middlesex
and George Foord, of Wardour street, of the same County, chemist
For Improvements in Bending and Annealing Glass
September 25, 1851"


The entry above does actually give the name as "Hall", rather than "Hale".
F H Thomson does seem to have been a busy entrepreneur.

In both of those editions no additional information is given for Mr Varnish or Mr Mellish, and there is no information at all for W. Lund.

I will check more editions of the book later.




see also my further information on reply #116
Following on:-

Mr F. H. Thomsons' Patent 2

Thomson says re Patent 2 (in the court case of 1851):

' I am by profession a surgeon; I purchased a share in a patent for silvering glass; Mr. Varnish was my partner.'
and
'Mellish did not invent the plan of a double glass—I took out a patent for that very purpose; that was not the patent in which I had purchased an interest in the first instance'
and
'I never knew Mellish make any experiments in putting the silver between two glasses, he took my directions to make glass suitable for my patent which I had been at work at months before I knew there was such a man as Mellish in the world; I hired him for the purpose of going to Powell's glass-works, and making hollow glass for the purpose of the patent which I had been at work at for months'
and
'I got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known'

and
'Mr. Varnish was the active man, and looked after the mercantile part, but had nothing to do with the silvering, he knew nothing about it—I knew something about it; I was the only person who did, I patented it—I suggested after conversing with Mr. Varnish, that we should take out a second patent to protect the silver entirely, by hermetically sealing it from the atmosphere, introducing it between two coatings of glass; but I want to explain to the Court, if I were to take this inkstand, silver it, and then drop this little glass-holder into it, it would be an inkstand silvered between two coatings of glass, but that is totally distinct—preventing the air from getting to it is what I call hermetically sealing it'



I believe this is Patent 2 as discussed by Thomson in the source below given by Kev in reply 76 on this thread:
 '

"Thomson F. H., of Berners street and Varnish E. of Kensington,
Improvements in the manufacture of inkstands , mustard pots, and other vessels
December 19, 1849"







Sources:

Source for patent 2 - From books.google:-
A General Index to the Repertory of Patent Inventions and other Discoveries and Improvements in Arts, Manufactures and Agriculture ...
The "1815 to 1845 Inclusive" edition of that book
(but it includes later dates as well)



Source for Thomson's own words:-

a) 1851 trial
60. THOMAS ROBERT MELLISH and JAMES DOUGLAS feloniously forging and uttering a receipt for 4l. 10s.; with intent to defraud.

MESSRS. CLARKSON and BALLANTINE conducted the Prosecution.

FREDERICK HALE THOMSON . I am by profession a surgeon; I purchased a share in a patent for silvering glass; Mr. Varnish was my partner.

b) This is also from the November 1851 trial and is Thomson speaking whilst being cross-examined by Mr Montagus Chambers:

'Cross-examined by MR. MONTAGUS CHAMBERS. Q. You say you are a surgeon? A. Yes; I have been in considerable practice—I was very much engaged in professional business until I embarked in this silvering of glass—I then gave up my practice to a considerable extent, but was still engaged in it at 48, Berners-street, Oxford-street, closely adjacent to the premises—I made an agreement to carry out the patent with a man named Thomas Drayton, about Oct. 1848—I had commenced working the patent, and had silvered a great many things before I was introduced to Mr. Mellish —the cause of ray introduction to him was not some ink-bottles or inkstands being sent to me by Mr. Lund, of Fleet-street, it was my speaking to Mr. Powell, the owner of Whitefriars glass-works, telling him I wanted a man to carry out the silvering—that must have been in the summer of 1849—I recollect Mellish bringing some inkstands from Mr. Lund to be silvered; that was previous to my entering into a written agreement with him, but he had been with me a good deal in my silvering-room—I learned afterwards that a person had suggested the idea of silvering inkstands, and that Mr. Lund had an interest in the patent—I

did not learn from Mellish that Mr. Lund had made him a present of his interest—I have not silvered any ink-bottles myself of that construction; my first experiments with Mr. Lund's inkstands were perfectly successful, as far as the silvering went; they were perfectly silvered, but the ink being poured in upon it, took off the silver—Mellish did not invent the plan of a double glass—I took out a patent for that very purpose; that was not the patent in which I had purchased an interest in the first instanceI never knew Mellish make any experiments in putting the silver between two glasses, he took my directions to make glass suitable for my patent which I had been at work at months before I knew there was such a man as Mellish in the world; I hired him for the purpose of going to Powell's glass-works, and making hollow glass for the purpose of the patent which I had been at work at for months] - the first patent in 1848, was for silvering glass and other surfaces—I got the second patent for introducing silver between two glasses, in Dec. 1849, two months after Mellish had worked for me—previous to getting out that patent, I had tried the experiment, and had shown it; it was perfectly well known—Mellish was engaged in making those experiments before I took out the patent'...
...'Mr. Varnish was the active man, and looked after the mercantile part, but had nothing to do with the silvering, he knew nothing about it—I knew something about it; I was the only person who did, I patented it—I suggested after conversing with Mr. Varnish, that we should take out a second patent to protect the silver entirely, by hermetically sealing it from the atmosphere, introducing it between two coatings of glass; but I want to explain to the Court, if I were to take this inkstand, silver it, and then drop this little glass-holder into it, it would be an inkstand silvered between two coatings of glass, but that is totally distinct—preventing the air from getting to it is what I call hermetically sealing it'

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Re: E.Varnish mercury glass with embossed seal, circa 1849
« Reply #289 on: July 16, 2019, 07:01:29 AM »
With reference Patent 3 in my reply #117 (see quote below) on this thread:
Here is the specification for that Patent
A.D. 1850 ..... 13,229

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SfidE4iX16AC&pg=RA5-PA1&dq=frederick+hale+thomson&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjtn_CK7rjjAhUtSBUIHZvZB3UQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=frederick%20hale%20thomson&f=false

Of particular interest is what they describe as the 4th part of their invention.  It's all about fixing two pieces of glass together (not necessarily about goblets and vases, more I think about picture or mirror frames for example from reading it.  However I guess they could use it however they saw fit once it had been described)





Following on:-

Mr F. H. Thomsons' Patent 3

Thomson says re Patent 3:

a) 'I took out a third patent in the conclusion of 1850, in my name, and that of Mellish—it was for improvements in staining and cutting glass for the purpose of silvering cutting it in a peculiar manner—I did not make articles under that patent—I am not aware that any were in the Exhibition. I exhibited some articles of double hollow work of every description—Mr. Deane has got the list of articles exhibited from our firm—Mellish had no joint-interest in any manufacture connected with the silvering of glass, that I am aware of; it was never carried out—I saw the patent that I and Mellish took out; the agent who took it out for us was Mr. Cartmell—I believe I and Mellish saw him previous to taking it out; we asked him his opinion; it was in the autumn of 1850—I cannot swear which of us described the patent to Mr. Cartmell, it was taken out conjointly—it was described as a patent for cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass—I cannot speak to the very words—I believe I understood the invention thoroughly when I went to Mr. Cartmell—I thought I did at the time—I had gone through the matter myself—I do not know that anybody told me what it was—I swear Mellish did not tell me the whole process, he might have suggested some portion of it, and I believe he did; he suggested some portion of the cutting, as a practical man—he had not been engaged in the silvering of glass for eighteen months; he had nothing to do with the scientific part

b) 'Aug. 1850, Mellish and I became joint patentees of an invention for improvements in cutting, staining, and silvering glass—it was understood if I look the patent out and paid for it, that he merely as my workman should assign it for a consideration—I asked him to fulfil the engagement he had made, and he declined to resign his interests in the patent—
I may perhaps state that the patent was never completed, for the machinery to carry it out bad never been made'.



I believe this is Patent 3, as discussed by Thomson in the sources below, info given by Kev in reply 76 on this thread:

 "Thomson F. H. of Berners street and Mellish T. R. of Portland street,
Improvements in cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass
August 22, 1850"




Note: -
1) I don't quite understand the language used, but I think from reading that Mr Mellish was asked by Mr Thomson (and appears to have initially agreed to do so)  to resign or relinquish his part in this patent .  It appears from reading the cases that Mr Mellish in the end refused to relinquish his part in this patent.

2) It appears from Mr Thomson's wording that this patent was never put into action.









Sources:

Source for patent 3 - From books.google:-
A General Index to the Repertory of Patent Inventions and other Discoveries and Improvements in Arts, Manufactures and Agriculture ...
The "1815 to 1845 Inclusive" edition of that book
(but it includes later dates as well)



Source for Thomson's own words:-
a) This is from the November 1851 trial and is Thomson speaking :

'I took out a third patent in the conclusion of 1850, in my name, and that of Mellish—it was for improvements in staining and cutting glass for the purpose of silvering cutting it in a peculiar manner—I did not make articles under that patent—I am not aware that any were in the Exhibition. I exhibited some articles of double hollow work of every description—Mr. Deane has got the list of articles exhibited from our firm—Mellish had no joint-interest in any manufacture connected with the silvering of glass, that I am aware of; it was never carried out—I saw the patent that I and Mellish took out; the agent who took it out for us was Mr. Cartmell—I believe I and Mellish saw him previous to taking it out; we asked him his opinion; it was in the autumn of 1850—I cannot swear which of us described the patent to Mr. Cartmell, it was taken out conjointly—it was described as a patent for cutting, staining, silvering, and fixing articles of glass—I cannot speak to the very words—I believe I understood the invention thoroughly when I went to Mr. Cartmell—I thought I did at the time—I had gone through the matter myself—I do not know that anybody told me what it was—I swear Mellish did not tell me the whole process, he might have suggested some portion of it, and I believe he did; he suggested some portion of the cutting, as a practical man—he had not been engaged in the silvering of glass for eighteen months; he had nothing to do with the scientific part—I did not direct Mr. Cookney to draw up a paper and present it for the signature of Mellish; the matter was talked over by Mellish, myself, and Mr. Cookney, but I am not aware that I gave any special instructions on the subject'

b) Court Case 3 10th May 1852 Reference Number: t18520510-502
Thomson being cross-examined by Mr Serjeant Shee

'MR. SERJEANT SHEE. Q. Was this shop taken for Mellish by your firm, or did he take it himself. A. I really cannot answer that question—Mr. Varnish had more to do with it than I had—I really do not know whether Mellish took it, or Mr. Varnish—it was done by my afterwards consenting to it—I went there sometimes—there was a regular stock book kept—I cannot of my own knowledge say whether when be left, the stock was checked by that book—Mr. Varnish and Mr. Dean can tell—in Aug. 1850, Mellish and I became joint patentees of an invention for improvements in cutting, staining, and silvering glass—it was understood if I look the patent out and paid for it, that he merely as my workman should assign it for a consideration—I asked him to fulfil the engagement he had made, and he declined to resign his interests in the patent—I may perhaps state that the patent was never completed, for the machinery to carry it out bad never been made—I believe I asked him to sign a paper, which had been prepared by Mr. Cookney, and be refused to do so—I was displeased at his refusal to do that which he had agreed to do—I did not express my displeasure strongly—I said very little about it—there was no coolness between us on that account at all—there was no coolness at all until within a very short period of his leaving the service—I do not recollect a coolness—some two or three months previous to his leaving me, I had spoken to him of the necessity of having a person who could take the higher grade of work, and that I should be obliged to associate such a person in the work, and that raised a great coolness—that was the only disagreement we had—my impression is that he left, in consequence of my telling him that I intended to associate a person with him who would supersede him—he told me he should go—I cannot say whether he said be wished to leave on the next Monday—he said, he should go immediately—he gave a week's warning—he was a weekly servant'

 

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