On this Day 15th December 1839

Levant Mine Financier Dies in London

The Daubuz property offered for lease in the Royal Cornwall Gazette (Morrab Library)Lewis Charles Daubuz was a man of immense influence in Cornish affairs, particularly mining and smelting, for about 40 years until he retired and moved to London in 1836. Until his retirement his home had always been in Truro in a property he leased from the Enys family in Moresk in the Allen valley. In February 1839 the property was advertised for lease in the Royal Cornwall Gazette and the lease taken James Treseder who established his business as a nurseryman on the site. L.C. Daubuz has himself evidently been very keen on horticulture and frequently won prizes at the Royal Horticultural show, particularly for his fruit. The property, which appears to have had no name, must have been ideal for Treseder's purposes.

But gardening was very much a hobby for L.C., his main activities took place at his tin smelter at Carvedras on the River Kenwyn, just by the site of the current Truro railway station, and at the Daubuz offices in Princes Street, by the Coinage Hall. Truro may have been the centre of Lewis Charles Daubuz's web but his influence stretched across the county and he had significant interests in Penwith in both mining and smelting.

In 1820 he was one of the three men who restarted Levant Mine in St Just, the evidence suggesting that L.C was the money, John Batten was the key local connection and purser and Richard Boyns provided the mining expertise. Levant was a copper mine and this represents a departure for L.C. whose other interests were mostly in tin and specifically tin smelting. By 1826 he had significant interests in or control of five smelters: Old Blowing House and High Blowing House in St Austell; Truro Smelting Works and Carvedras in Truro; and Treloweth at Rose an Grous. With his retirement came an almost immediate diminishing of the Daubuz influence when the family's agreement with Harvey, Davy, Williams & Co. was terminated in 1837 and at a stroke Daubuz was relegated to third position in the smelters' hierarchy while Williams Harvey become top dog with Bolitho's snapping at their heels.

L.C. died in London, at his house in Leyton, on 15th December 1839 and in 1840 the son who had been groomed to succeed him, also named Lewis Charles and also resident in London, also died. While the old man was just that, an old man of 84, his son was only 39 years old and died after falling from a hackney carriage on his way home to Leyton from the City.

The Daubuz family were of French Huguenot descent and had arrived in England following the revocation of Edict of Nantes in 1685 by that haughty and bigoted tyrant, Louis Fourteenth, as the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 20th December 1839 so eloquently puts it in L.C.'s obituary. Lewis Charles was born in 1755 in Falmouth, the son of Theophilus and Magdalene Judith (nee Beryl). In 1794 he married Wilmot Arundel, daughter of William Arundel-Harris-Arundel of Kenegie and the pair had eight children over the next 14 years. Before the stellar career of Lewis Charles the family's dealings are obscure but evidently not unsuccessful since L.C. himself married well into Cornish gentry stock and his brother John Theophilus, although dying a bachelor, bequeathed a large amount of property to his sister and nephew and was clearly a successful man in his own right having presumably been set on the path to prosperity by his father. Among the interests of Theophilus Daubuz senior are rumours of a distilling business and a brief foray into privateering which was said to have disappointingly raised only £1000 in the single season of his investment (around £100,000 today so if he thought that a poor return we can assume he was 'doing OK' for himself).

L.C.'s obituary stresses that he was Connected extensively in business, from early life, with distant quarters of the Globe, he possessed the means of better information than most men...No details are given as to what this business was but he was already ploughing funds into tin smelting in 1792 when he acquired Carvedras and by 1813 he had been elected Mayor of Truro, an office he held for three successive terms. Like the Battens and Bolithos in Penzance Daubuz appears to have conducted business as a general merchant, though in his case more in Falmouth and Truro, and a number of connections exist between the families. In 1806 Daubuz had a share in Richard Oxnam's ship Susan, along with John Batten and William Carne. Daubuz, Batten and the Bolithos owned 75% of Ding Dong Mine between them in 1815 and as we've already seen, Daubuz and Batten were the money and organisation behind Levant. Like the Battens and Bolithos, L.C. Daubuz was also a smelter with banking interests, in his case The Truro Savings Bank.

A 28lb tin ingot from L.C. Daubuz. Marked L.C. Daubuz Truro on the left and carrying the Lamb and Flag insignia and Carvedras on the right (image courtesy of Wheal Jane Group) 

A 28lb tin ingot from L.C. Daubuz. Marked L.C. Daubuz Truro on the left and carrying the Lamb and Flag insignia and Carvedras on the right (image courtesy of Wheal Jane Group) 

From Levant's point of view the demise of L.C. Daubuz meant that the last of the three men who had reopened the mine was gone. Richard Boyns had died in 1830, John Batten in 1834 and now L.C. Daubuz in 1839, though his influence had already waned when he left for London in 1837. The 1830s had been a golden age for Levant but in the early 40s the mine was shifting from copper to tin and going through a challenging period. The business acumen and general experience of the founders seems to have been badly missed. So much so that by 1849 the Batten business had collapsed and John Batten 4th had to withdraw from the pursership, handing it over to William Daubuz fifth son of L.C. Daubuz who was the only son of the family still living in Cornwall apart from his older brother John Claude who was Rector of Creed. William withdrew from the pursership himself on 16th April 1850 to be replaced by Henry Borrow who presided over a period of declining management and fortunes until 1871. William Daubuz died in 1854 aged just 48 years.

 

Sources 

Royal Cornwall Gazette 20th December 1839 - Obituary

Royal Cornwall Gazette 22nd February 1839 - Moresk estate advertised for lease

Suzanne Treseder, A Passion for Plants: The Treseders of Truro, Alison Hodge

Susan Elizabeth Gay, Old Falmouth

There is reputed to be a portrait of L.C. Daubuz by John Opie, should it be located no effort will be spared in procuring an image to be posted here. In the mean time, L.C. was said in his lifetime to have a remarkable resemblance to the Duke of Wellington so if you want to know what he looked like just picture 'Nosey'. 

 

 

 

 




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