The, Adelaide and Port Darwin*
The Adelaide papers, contain- the . report of" the wihding-»p of the Adelaide andj Porti Bar win Sugar Company, a anale which, when all? thing» are considered, will be little regretted by their friend* in the Terri- tory. Some tew years ago, when the Belissa ville Co, received their con- cession of 10,000 acres, a number ofr influential and pattiotic gentlemen in« Adelaide succeeded in get ting-a small; slice of the Territory on similar terms,, namely, for the cultivation of sugar - the} were to receive the free grant of " the landi A- certain sum per acre was- to be spent on each selection y but to avoid the inconvenience which»
it would have caused the country by» having some eight or ten different, plantations started* at one time, the Government allowed the whole of" the blocks amounting to 60,000 acres of land to be amalgamated, and the whole work of this enormous company or syndicate was concentrated at '< The Palms." « The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Seammel, said, that1' having expended' £6000, they had al- right te go to the Government and ask
them for the Je» simple of 5009' acres - in another more desirable, situation."'" Certainly Mr. Seammel, nothing is
done in the colonies without assurance,, and you are fairly supplied' with that commodity. It is somewhat coo?,, after getting hold of 60,000 acres of land, which they had not sense enough., to get examined before selecting, and after frittering away the fearful sum.
of £5000 on the 60,000 acres, or equal to one shilling and eight pence per acre, to quietly suggest asking» the Government for 5000 acres of, good land to make up for their loss,
which was. occasioned by nothing more or less than grasping land specu- lation. A visit to " The Palms " will, we are sure, not convince anyone that five thousand.pounds has been legiti- mately spent in sugar cultivation, andr even if the amount had been spent,, the whole business wa» a private speculation, and those connected thoroughly deserve to lose the small amount of money they risked. We are glad to see that some of the shareholders had sufficient modesty, or sense to prevent them carrying out Mr. Scammel's suggestion ; not that we imagine for one moment, that the Government would have entertained such a proposal, but there would have been some trouble if the request had been passed.
In the midst of this tale of specula- tion and loss there is one little item which is amusing. In answer to Mr. Simms, the Chairman said that Mr«. Bean went home to assist in giving1 information with respect to the de- scription and the value of the pre-, perty. The power for the sale of the property was delegated: to Mr. A., Elder, and Mr. Bean merely went
home to give such information as he could to those who were desirous of ascertaining the description and quality of the land as far as he could understand Mr. Bean, had done nothing. There had been no sale made, nor was he aware that any negotiations had taken place. Mr. Bean was to be away six months. He was to be three months in London, and three months was allowed to him
for his journey. A sum of £320 was voted to him as his remuneration, and that was to include all his expenses. Mr. Bean had remained in London over his time, and he had taken the liberty of drawing on the Chairman of the Company for the further sum of £200. Not being able to negotiate the draft with the Banks at home he went to the agents, of Messrs. Faulding and Co. and got them to draw and negotiate a draft for him. This draft was drawn on Messrs. Faulding and Co., and the two drafts came out simultaneously. One was presented to the Chairman of the Company and refused, the other was presented to Messrs. Faulding and Co. and they were in the unfortunate position that they could not refuse to accept it. Legally he did not think that Messrs. Faulding and Co. had any claim on the Company, but he put it to them whether they would allow a share- holder and a director to be put to such a loss. The proceedings in London had all fallen through, and he thought it a good job they had fallen through. If they had sold the pro- perty they might have been open to the charge of foisting on the public a property which was valueless. So satisfied were the Company that the property was a good one that a condi- tion of sale was that they should re- tain an interest in the concern to the
extent of one-half. As soon as they found that the land was valueless they wired to Mr. A. Elder, instructing him to withdraw tht property from sale. The Observer makes this state- ment the subject of either a deliciously innocent compliment or a deeply de- vised satire in the following words "It is most satisfactory for their own reputation, and the good name of the colony, that as soon as they were con- vinced of the valuelessness of their estate for the purposes for which it had been selected they withdrew it from sale in the English market." After a deliberate statement that the project of selling the property in Lon- don or forming a Company had fallen through, the Observer absolutely lands the Company for their magnanimous action in withdrawing the property from the English market.
We cannot regret the collapse of such a Company, and we trust the lesson taught by the result of the large concessions to syndicates of speculators will show our Government that it is the genuine farmer who deserves support and not the gambling capitalist.