Our Sugar Companies.
To the Editor.
Silt,-For several months past you have apparently taken pleasure in publishing statements of a disparaging nature regarding the two companies who are making a bona fide effort to demonstrate the suitability of the Northern Territory for the profitable production of sugar. That the remarks I refer to have been uncalled for and in bad taste does not admit of a doubt, and I am the more surprised at their appearing in your journal since I have vivid recollections of the time when you were a strong and able advocate for the encouragement of local indus- tries. Hitherto I have taken no notice of your strictures, and I am induced to address you now only because you have gone considerably out of your way to cast a slur on a body of gentlemen than whom no one in Australia is more anxious for the progress of the Territory, or possesses the will and the means to develop the resources in a greater degree. I have before me a paragraph in your issue of 23rd De- cember, prefacing an extract from the Singapore Daily Times of November 30th, purporting to be a report of speeches by Delissa and others, but evidently written by Delissa himself, and I can only account for so much space being devoted to the twaddle by the supposition that the editor was short of " copy ;" and with reference to the '. report" I would remark that it is an unusual proceeding with business men on concluding a business transaction to go into the highways
and byways to buttonhole passers-by and "shout" champagne at a public house, or to " gush " over the prospects of the English Land Company. Your paragraph is as follows :-" All who have travelled know this, but there are not a few in South Australia who have not gone beyond their small front garden and their littered back areas who will profess to know a great deal more than this about a subject of which they are entirely ignorant. We are led to make these remarks because we consider that Mr. Delissa was
somewhat unjustly censured by his Adelaide directors, whom one and all we. consider know just as much about the production of, sugar as we do about making a pair of boots or the successful leadership of a Salvation Army Corps." For your information I will mention the names of the gentlemen against whom these remarks are levelled. Mr.
G. Scarfe (Chairman of the Board) is the chief partner in G. P.. Harris Scarfe and Co., one of the largest firms in Australia ; Mr. L. Scammell, the chief partner in the old established firm of F. H. Faulding and Co. ; Mr. F. E. Bucknall, M.P., a very wealthy land owner ; Mr. W. B. Rounsevell, M.P., the chief partner in the firm of W. B. Rounsevell and Co. ; and Mr. W. H. Bean, M.P., the managing director of Bean Brothers, limited. All highly esteemed for their sterling business qualities, and their integrity, wealth and influence; and, moreover, they are pecuniarly interested in the Territory to a very large extent. These are not the men to treat anyone unjustly. It was high time Delissa left ; if he had been allowed to remain much longer he would have wrecked one of the best companies ever estab- lished in Australia. He was so anxious to get away and evade the inevitable consequences of the fiasco he had made of his maiden attempt at management, that he did not even wait until I arrived at the plantation, but came to me at Palmerston and tendered
his resignation ; and then he deserted the employ at the most important season of the year, when, if he had had any practical knowledge of the culti- vation or manufacture of sugar, his services would have been especially valuable to his employers. The direc- tors are men of business, and are not supposed to be planters or sugar makers, therefore your remarks are meaningless. But when they engaged as manager a man who represented himself as a "sugar cultivator and manufacturer of great experience
they were fairly entitled to expect he should possess at least some of the qualifications pertaining to the position. I notice also your Adelaide telegrams have been made to do duty for the " cause." You stated that the Sugar Planter had warmly defended Delissa against the charges of mismanagement made hy the directors. It occurred to mc that this item was probably a manufactured "local," and somehow got mixed up with the subscription telegrams, because, as a matter of fact, the Sugar Planter does not contain a word about Delissa, nor have the directors made any charges against him. They simply let him go, being glad to get rid of him at any price. I don't know if your readers appreciate the constant praising of a discharged servant, coupled with derogatory re- marks regarding his late employers. If so, it is a matter of taste.-I am, sir, &c,
G. T. Bean,
Springvale, December 30th, 1882.
[Referring to the above letter of Mr.- Bean's, he says : "I have vivid recollections of the time when you were a strong and able advocate for the encouragement of local industries." I
am so now ; but as of old I cannot allow freetraders to dip their hands into my pocket or the pockets of the people of the Territory. The share- holders and directors named by you have had 70,000 acres of land given to them on conditions which as yet they have not fulfilled. Next week I will
refer again to Mr. Bean's letter. " Bean and Delissa," and " Bean and his Directors" have never been under con- sideration. The main point is-What are you doing with our lands ? Can you render a good account of your stewardship? That's the point for the people here to consider.-Ed.]