Robert Alexander hired John Beaumont in 1770 to mine the coal on Alexander's property in Blackhouse and Boghall in Ayrshire. Under the contract, Beaumont was to deliver coal from Alexander's property to the harbor of Ayr. Beaumont brought the coal to the harbor, but he claimed that there were no people who could receive on Alexander's behalf. Beaumont applied to William Alexander, the brother of Robert, for instructions. According to Beaumont, William directed him to offer the coal to the Newton Company or a third party, or to "bing" the coals "on the hill." The parties disagreed over the expenses incurred for coal binged on the hill. Alexander also accused Beaumont of failing to separate the bings of great coal from the bings of pan wood. Alexander believed that some coal caught fire because of Beaumont's alleged failure to separate great coal from pan wood.

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