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UNKNOWN

(by oitr aimoiix. reporter). j A special meeting of members and subscribers of the above Cora Exchange was held at the rooms, Tattersall’s, Christchurch, at 2 o’clock on Saturday afternoon last, for the purpose of taking into consideration the advisableness of further carrying on the institution. There was a fair attendance. The chair was occupied by Mr. ilios. Brace, of Christchurch, who opened the proceedings by reading the notice convening the meeting. As Chairman of the Board of Directors, he thought it advisable to read to the meeting a statement which ho thought would throw light upon the present position of the Exchange. The- Chairman then read tho following “ Christchurch, Dec. 20,1879. “Gentlemen, —Yon have been called ■together in tonus of the notice which 1 have read to you. Before proceeding to the business of the meeting, it is my duty to submit to you the financial statement • With respect to the monetary position of the com exchange. The subscription list shows that 307 members have been enrolled during the current year. The state-. meat of the accounts stands thus ; Dr. £ »■ dTo Secretary’ B salary ... 150 0 0 „ Rent 150 0 0 ~ Expenses —stamps, printstationery, papers, ~ Rent to provide for, £SO ; sundry accounts do £5.,/ 55 0 0 39910 G Cr. By cash received on account of subscriptions ... ... 260 0 0 ~ Entry fees, &c. ... ... 128 0 0 ~ Balance to be provided ... 11 4 6 399 10 6 ‘ ‘ As these figures now appear there is a balance of Ell 4a 6d short of making full provision for all the liabilities in connection with the management of the Corn Exchange for the current year. To provide for this balance there are 40 subscribers in arrear, out of which, your Directors think there may be collected .sufficient funds to meet this obligation. Your Directors have had under consideration, several sites, which have been recommended for erecting a Corn Exchange upon, but no definite action has been taken in this.matter. Having placed before you the financial statement, it is my duty now ■ to call your attention to the more important point for your reflection, and that is ; How do you propose to conduct the Corn Exchange for the future ? It is, as you are well aware, universally admitted that the principles which regulate the business of the Com Exchange are of paramount importance in sustaining the position of such an institution. By this means the farmers would be enabled to obtain, not only reliable, but important information, with respect to the ruling of the local market rates, aswellasotherintelligencewith reference to the values outside iu distant parts. It is clear, on the one hand, that if those interested in agricultural and pastoral pursuits do not come to an understanding with regard to this vital matter, by making most strenuous and determined efforts to support the maintenance of such an establishment, by which great power and facilites are so directly afforded to them, tho fault is theirs; neither can they expect such a valuable, and I may say necessary adjunct as a Corn Exchange to be of any use unless unremifcted support, pecuniary and otherwise, Is bestowed. You are well aware that, at the termination of last year, the footing upon which the Cora Exchange was started by Messrs Henry Matson and r Company, was rearranged ; with a view of meeting the wishes of the large buyers of grain and produce, the object being to obtain their presence as purchasers. It was contended, by some.of the former subscribers, that the large local buyers had shunned the Corn Exchange, because, M was alleged, the interests of tho then institution were too much bound up with those of the influential and original promoters. You will, I think, all agree with me, in regard to the large attendance of the large local buyers that these expectations have not been realised. It is, therefore, for yon to consider, whether it would not be a prudent step for you to take in these circumstances, to place yourselves, as grain producers, in a more satisfactory and independent from" the past year’s experience that the Corn Exchange, as now constituted, could not be carried on with that success which we would wish, to see. Of course yon are all aware that a number of those who took a lively, interest in supporting the Com Exchange, became responsible to Messrs Henry Matson and Co., for the lease of these rooms : that arrangement will now be terminated on the 31st of this month. Some of the farmers interested have suggested that, if grain could be shipped to tho Home markets, through the Com Exchange, greater facilities could be afforded to the farmers generally than they tan now possess; and, at the same time, the accrued profits, instead of as at present supporting the Intermediate men in regard to business which wight more profitably be managed through the agency of the Cora Exchange, would directly go to the growers. .Such a course would insure to the farmer the highest market price for his grain ; and by this means the Corn Exchange, it is expected, would be self-supporting; and thus place the fanners in a more independent position, in tho event of the prices offered here being not considered satisfactory. I have asked several of the present members of your Com Exchange to kindly submit to ; you their views respecting the important suggestion I have- ventured to mention to you. It is clear, that unless a more spontaneous effort is made by you for the more general promotion of your interests, the great advantages expected to be derived by means of this Exchange, will not be forthcoming. There seems to bo a general feeling that the important class, the agriculturist, is solely dependent upon the local buyers for his market. Therefore, if you .are resolved to confine yourselves ,to the local buyers, as hitherto, I am afraid that the medium of the Corn Exchange will not suffice for your requirements, as tho attempt to induce the large local buyers to attend has tailed.” He vm sorry to say there were still awne forty members who had not paid t'ji/eM- subscription, and it was questionable whether they would or would not pay. p. 9 thought, however, that at least ten or

twelve would be honorable enough to pay, and if so, the balance would bj on the i-iyiit side. In regard to a site he would mention in respect to that part of his statement that there were several sites open for their consideration for the purpose of a Corn Exchange. Some of them were, however, in such out-of-the-way places that they were unsuitable for the requirements, and there were others that were in very eligible places, but the purchasing prices were not within the means of the institution unless tho farmers ami subscribers generally became more energetic and bound themselves together in a more determined manner. He for one, as well as others of the Directors did not deem it advisable to involve the Society in any such undertaking as that of purchasing a site for a Corn Exchange—(Hear, hear). There was one more thing he would like to refer to and that was tho matter of the guarantee. When the present Exchange was first established they were to a certain extent bound to tho promoters of it, and the Directors considered that they were in the position of having to guarantee the rent —L2O0—to Messrs Matson and Co., for the use of the rooms, furniture, etc. That guarantee they had decided to maintain, but found themselves' LI 1 short at the end of the year. If those subscribers who had not yet paid would only send in their guineas the Society would not only be able to meet the liability but would have a balance to the good. He said he was very much astonished that with 307 subscribe s who bad, as farmers, the sole benefit of the Exchange they should exhibit so much apathy in regard to their interests by not coming forward in a a more determined manner than what they had hitherto dune. If they would only support the Corn Exchange a little more it would eventually become firmly established, and in time, he thought it would be self sup porting. He would, however, leave tho matter in their hands, and hoped the members present would give their views upon it. (Applause.) Hon. Colonel Brett, said that he had always felt a deep interest in the Corn Exchange, and had endeavored to establish one many years ago under the most favorable auspices, that is to say—the Csovernmanfc had granted LSOO towards it, but after days and months of labor he was unable to raise a sufficient sum to supplement the grant. A site was offered them by Mr. Peacock, and biking that into consideration and the total failure, he thought they would agree with him that it would be both an insult and absurd, and insane to attempt to establish, a Com Exchange to be their own property. To build one on an unfavorable sjtp would be preposterous, particularly as they worn offered a Corn Exchange on reasonable terms. He thought the directors should have written a friendly letter to those gentlemen who had not paid their subscriptions ; and if they would only do so, he felt sure those who were in arrears would be honest and honorable enough to come forward with the subscriptions. If such did not come in he was quite prepared to assist in making up the deficiency, and, no doubt, others would do the same. Ho considered that it would be an utter disgrace if they did not put their shoulder to the wheel. The agricultural industry was the back-bone of the country, and in regard to those gentlemen who had not paid their subscriptions if it was found that they would not pay—why, let tho other members do it themselves. He would bo happy to give a sovreign or two towards it. He considered' that they had derived groat advantages from their Com Exchange, and had himself gained by coming to the institution for seed &c,, and which he had always got of the very best quality and on the most favorable terms. He had just arrived from Wellington, and had reason to believe that all the seeds which he had obtained from the Com Exchange had so far turned out well. He hoped they would continue to carry on the institution, and they would enter into an agreement with the proprietors of the place who would, doubtless, come forward to assist them in every possible way. He considered tho thanks of the meeting were duo to the Chairman and the Directors of tho Exchange for their exertions daring the past year, and would, therefore, move a vote of thanks to the Chairman and Directors of the Society. Carried by acclamation. Mr. Alexander Paterson, of Kirwee, begged to move—“ That the report of the Chairman be adopted. ” The resolution after being duly seconded was carried.

The Chairman wished to know whether any other gentleman would like to address the meeting, and Mr. Allan said he thought it would bo an advantage if certain districts, such as Templeton and Leeston would come forward and. subscribe their names for the ensuing year. It also occurred to him that it would be advisable to have the annual statement published, so as to show the amount of money received and expended. The expense of publication would not be great. The Chairman said it would be necessary to appoint a day for their annual meeting, whuffi would have to be held one day during the present month ; inasmuch as if it was decided not to carry ojj the institution, it would be nectary to give up possession of the rooms at the end of the njopth. He would suggest that auditors be appointed for the purpose of auditing the accounts for the past year. In reply to the Hon. Colonel Brett, the Chairman said the rooms were to be given upon the 3|.st December, which would come on a Wednesday- It would, therefore, be for them to fix a day for tho annual meeting. It was duly duly proposed and seconded —“ That the annual meeting take place at 2 o’clock on the 27th inst. ” —Carried. Mr. Charles Bourn, of Southbridge, thought it would be advisable to take the rooms now hold by the Exchange, for another year, and suggested that a committee h$ appointed to ascertain the terras. Ho would indeed he sorry to see the thing fall through. They all knew that fanners’ were rather dull and did not Jopk after their own interests sufficiently. For his own part he had reaped many advantages both directly and indirectly from the information he had received through the Exchange. Farmers had always been treated with courtesy and kindness, and received the most valuable information at the Exchange. With reference to what had fallen from a previous speaker in regard to the desirableness of appointing a special committee in various districts, he believed it wa# the intention to do so last year, but it had been neglected. In reply to Mr, Bowen, the Chair-

man, in reference to the rooms said, he did not expect any difficulty in respect to securing them on tue same terms. He knew nothing to tho contrary, and bought Messrs. Matson and Co. had not altered in the matter as he hail seen than a few weeks ago, and had asked them if the rooms were likely to be wanted again. Those gentlemen had intimated their willingness to let the rooms again on the same terms to be used for the present purposes. Mr. Win. Henderson expressed himself as being favorable to securing the rooms so that the Exchange might ho still carried on.

After a few facetious remarks from Sir Cracroft Wilson, K.C. B. the Hon. Colonel Brett said, ho would again like to say a few words in reference to a clause of the Report which he thought was an important one : He did not think it necessary, or that it would meet with the general wishes of the Society ; or that it would bo to their advantage, but on tho contrary, that it would be attended with very great difficulty if they sent Home their grain for sale as proposed. Who was to conduct it 'I (The Chairman —the Secretary). Yes, but were they, as small farmers in a position to take it ? Would Mr. Matson- fake it ? There were the hanks; they could do it. Ho hoped they would remove such an idea from tjjeir minds. Mr. C. Bourn did not see why the farmers could not ship tho grain through the Corn Exchange, and also get the necessary advances from tho Banks. The Society might do tfie business equal to any merchant in Christchurch, gnd he did not see anything to prevent their doing so. They could make better terms as well as divide the commission on the sales just the same as Other merchants did who shipped their produce. believed plenty of Banks would aid them, providing the Society were but properly established.

Colonel Brett did uot tipple Mr Bourn’s explanation a satisfactory one. The Banks would do the whole of the business or not at all, and the com merchants world do it all op not at all. The Chaerman believed he could put Colonel Brett right. For instance : the farmer would have to employ the merchants. It was nothing whatever to Messrs Matson 50 far as the Society went; for it could make equal tcrjps with a ship with the best merchant. Ho inferred from what had dropped from Colonel Brett, the farmers were beholden to the Banks and the merchants ; and could not do as they liked. No doubt there was a good deal of truth in what had fallen from Colonel Brett; but it did not apply to a,U of them. It only required the Society to bind itself together in order to become perfectly independent ; -but so long as they were losing 3d to 5d a bushel so long would it take them to get clear, Hon. Colonel Brett, in replying to the remarks of the Chairman defied the Society to get 8100 at the present time. How were they to raise L4OO or LSOO to pay some 50 men who would be wanting their wages ? Was the Society in a position to do that, and if so let them pay the paltry LJ.I, He was sorry to talk to a grain merchant like that. After further remarks from the Chairman and Colonel Brett, the former requested the meeting to appoint the auditors before going on with other matters.

Messrs. Walton, AHingtou, and Attwood, were proposed. Both the latter gentlemen, however, declined, and the former was absent. It was finally proposed by Mr, Henderson, seconded and carried—“ That Mr. Banks and Mr. Sawle be elected auditors for the year.” Mr. W, Bateman said as one of those referred to in. the report, lie had come prepared with a few written suggestions which he thought might be worthy of their consideration. He had written them out so that there might be no misapprehension or misinterpretation in regard to his meaning. With their permission he would read the paper he had prepared, which was as follows : “ The few remarks, which j wish to submit, for your consideration, I will endeavor to make, as briefly as possible. You are well aware that that successful establishment of Farmers’ Clubs and Corn Exchanges, tend to promote the general interest of agriculturists. But considering that capital invested in land, and that employed in tilling the soil ; does in countries holding the foremost position in the world, far exceed that employed in railways, mines, iron-works, canals, and gas-works put together, is it not strange that agriculturists, who represent such immense wealth, are, as a rule singularly apathetic, in regard to the promotion of their own interests. The supineness evinced on the part of farmer is so very marked, that it is not at all a difficult matter to illustrate it. For this purpose, I wilh with your permission, refer to the origin of tlje Corn Exchange hero, as well as its present and fptixre position. “ Yon are, I think, as well aware that the origin of the Canterbury Corn Exchange was due to private enterprise, and conducted under such auspices, for the first twelve months. At the expiration of that time there was a growing feeling that if the management of the Corn Exchange could not be altered, so as to adjust matters with a view of inducing what was categorically termed, “thelarge buyers,” to to join ftn4 meet the sellers at the Corn Exchange, for the purpose of transacting sales —success could hot follow. Was it not an admitted fact that by such a system time would bo saved, both to the buyers and sellers ; and that the foreigner would have greater facilities given him, to enable him to meet tl)e local buyer, on the same level. Was not tips your aim ? You may remember, perhaps, that ope of the vjows expressed by some of the subscribe'a was that if certain prejudices, supposed to bo held by tin; larger buyers, were not removed, they would not attend ; and, therefore, in order to remove this strongly rooted feeling, the constitution of the Corn Exchange was ru-;uodellud, and it was hoped by this means the institution would wax strong. “ The formation of the Corn Exchange, under such promises, was deemed to be a sapient point in its success, because great stress was laid upon the fact that the sellers were so dependent upon the buyers, and that if the latter wore net induced to attend, the Corn Exchange would be an utter failure. Some of the largo buyers did attend the meeting twelve months ago, after a considerable amount of solicitation, and how have you fared? I leave you to answer this problem. From the records of the books cataloguing the corn sales, I do not think you will find much evidence that the large buyers, who

you wore so desirous of meeting, have been your su-s ! 1 have now laconically placed ' •■foro you the origin and present position of your Corn Exchange. As you wall know, we have mat hereon this occasion for the pun.i-wo of either roue wing'the existence of l.iie Corn Exchange, or allowing it to subside. The latter course is me easily attained, but, if you are resolute upon carrying out the former, you will, in my opinion, have to make up your minds to be purely selfreliant, for nothing more or less will benefit you in respect to your joint interests. What 1 mean by being selfreliant is this, to take advantage of your leading position .as men who are connected with an interest which is second to none, so far as importance and wealth can measure it.

“ The middlemen, who you generally look upon as the large local buyers, are more dependent upon you for living, than you are on them, because, from the very potent fact, they live by you, and gain by purchasing from you. “ Considering you have the world’s markets open to you for your corn, and there are no intricate channels in your way to get at it, there seems to mo to be only one simple course open to yon, viz, to negotiate through the Exchange. Do not the middlemen, who traffic in your coin and produce, attend regularly to their l Chamber of Trade ’{’ And in the race of the world, if they did hot they would be out-distanced. In the face of this there seems to be only one safe path open to you, and that is, if you mean business, and are at all desirous of going straight at it, to constitute your Corn Exchange solely upon principles tending to advance your own interests. Have yon not equal means at your command to find markets for your corn and the produce as the middlemen have ? Besides, it may bo fairly contended in your favor that as a constituted ‘ Fanners’ Corn Exchange ’ you could get far greater advantages fqr handling your grain, and other produce, than you have now, as well as for shipping it to England—overt far greater than yon could as individuals. To carry out this position it will bo necessary for you as farmers to act collectively, and to take up and maintain that stand of independence which you tire entitled to. Having agents to act for you through your Corn Exchange you would be enabled to get the highest ruling price for your produce. You would thus obtain in the great consuming markets as good a value for your commodities as the men whq yog now think you are dependent upon, viz., those you categorically term as “ the large local buyers,” while your expenses for realising would be at a minimum. To gain this, a farmers’ corn exchange is the only instrument you can use, and which should be supported by the various farmers’ clubs in your province. As a body you would be placed upon a footing second to none in New Zealand, and in the end the buyers would gladly come to you, -with a view of transacting business. Then you would not only be your own controllers, but you would also maintain your ground against the local corn buyers. The great market you both supply is the regulator of values. Once you can place yourselves in this form, you will be masters of your interests, and not until then.

“ In the world’s race the circumstances I have pictured to you will be forced upou you sooner or later. The farmers in one of the other colonies are now agitating among themselves for the very plan which I have suggested for your benefit, and they have already proved this, that they can get their business done as a body more advantageously than they can as isolated individuals. They are now propounding a scheme by which they can ship their corn home to England through undoubted and free agents on the most favorable terms, and so it will be for you to do, if you aim at obtaining the most that is to be had for the result of your labor. Until some such principle is properly enunciated here the farmers cannot obtain a stand of independence, and to which you cannot look forward whilst carrying on a perpetual struggle, as you now are, against natural and artificial barriers to your progress. The remedy is in your own hands.” With the permission of the Chairman die would like to make a few remarks relative to the .establishment of Corn Exchanges. It had been contended thMii iff order to render them successful hare, they must be carried out on the same principles as at Home. He considered that the position of the Exchange here was quite different to those in Great Britain. /here the farmers and millers met at certain centres, and through the Exchanges did their business. The pup? chasers in those cases went direct to the millers, and consequently there were no middlemen necessary. But this country was not only a milling but also an exporting uno. The cases were entirely different. Mr. Horace Groely, tjie great political economiser of America, had truly characterised the middlemen as “ waste gates,” and shocld in all cases, wherever possible, bo avoided. If the farmers used the Corn Exchange as suggested in the Chairman’s report, the profit?, instead of going to the middlemen, would come to them, and it was possible for them to do thac for themselves. The merchants had still an opportunity of doing business at the Exchange,

Colonel Brett objected very much to some of Mr. Bateman’s remarks. Farming in tliis county was not yet firmly established or properly carried out. There was not a map ip the room that was not compelled to sell his produce to aid the Banks or the merchants. It wis not in the pro r ducers hands to do as they would like. It would be all very well if they had money in their pockets ; but who had money those hard times f Had the rupholder ? Why many of thou? were that poor that tliey lived from hand to mouth, and were lilely to live from hand to mouth for years tc come. Let them “ call a" spade a spade,” and look at the thing as it is. It was all very well for the Chairman to toll tiem he was going to lend them money, but just go and ask him for the loan of L 5 (Laughter.) His (the speaker's)heart was with them, and if those 40 fellows—who ought to bo ashamed of themselves—did not pay up let the meeting send its compliments to them, when no doubt they would got a pound or two during the month.

The speaker hero retired. The Chairman said that Colonel Brett had only just come from the Assembly, and was, therefore, to be excused, for they had been fighting about money there. He would be glad for any other gentleman to give his views on the important subject at issue. It was the last time of asking, and

they had to close the promises on the 31st inst., or make some fresh arrangements. After a few remarks from Mr. Bourn respecting the retaking of the rooms, the Chairman said he hoped the meeting would consider the ad visa file ness of doing so, so as to enable them to carry on. Mr. Banks proposed, and Mr. Bourn seconded—“ That the Corn Exchange shall be carried on for another year under the same auspices as last year, subject to a revision of the bye-laws. ”

After a few remarks from Mr. James Gammack, Springs ton, relative to the financial position of the Corn Exchange, the Chairman, referring in complimentary terms to the Secretary, said it spoke volumes in favor of the Exchange, that their only indebtedness was the Lll 4s. 6d.

Mr. Matson said, that with regard to the rental, he was perfectly willing to let the Society have the rooms again on the old terms. The value of the rooms was a trifle in excess of what they were receiving from the Association ; but his firm considered themselves amply paid by the present rental, as the rooms gave them facilities for meeting, together with other advantages which accrued to them as farmers, from the use of the Exchange. They, therefore, took all those things into consideration, and considered they were amply repaid without risk. But looking at the matter in a broader light : rather than see the Exchange conm to grief he would be willing to give the rooms for nothing. (Applause).

The Chairman would have liked fulsome one to have come forward for the purpose of showing the benefits they may have derived from the Exchange during the past year, so that such might go forth to the world-

Sir Cracroft Wilson said lie had derived great benefit in a small way by the Exchange, but he did not deal largely in grain. He had, however, opportunities afforded him-of buying unlimited supplies through the Exchange. Mr. Bourne thoroughly endorsed Sir Oracroft Wilson’s remarks. He (Mr. Bourn) had done business with the Exchange, and had been often supplied w ith information- The rooms were very convenient, and of great benefit to ihe farming community when visiting town in many ways.

Mr. Leadleysaid he had offered some 880 bushels of oats to the merchants for sale, but could not get more than 2s Bd. He had the oats brought *0 the Exchange, and Mr Bruce showed them to gentlemen, and the result was that he got 2s lOd a bushel for them, thus making over L 6 by the transaction. After a little further discussion Mr. Banks' resolution for carrying on the Exchange was put to the meeting and carried. The usual vote of thanks was accorded to the Chairman, and the meeting adjourned.

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Bibliographic details

UNKNOWN, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 38, 23 December 1879

Word Count
5,022

UNKNOWN Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 38, 23 December 1879

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