Canterbury Corn Exchange and Fanners’ Club.
(by our special reporter.) The annual meeting of members in connection with the above institution was h ild at the Exchange on Saturday afternjon last; About 20 persons were present. The Chairman, Mr. Thomas Bruce, opened the proceedings by requesting the Secretary to read the minutes of the special general meeting, held on the previous Saturday. They were accordingly read and confirmed. The Chairman then briefly adverted to ■ the object for which the present meeting had been convened—viz., the framing of rules-for the management of the Exchange during the year 1880. Another question for consideration would be the appointment of a Comvnitte *, Secretary, . and others, hi order that the business of the Exchange might be carried on. It would also be advisable, he thought, to appoint deputies in tho various districts, for the purpose of ascertaining the number of subscribers that were likely to bo obtained during the next or ten days. It would, in his oj. inion, bo well to leave the election of the directors till some future meeting. He would, however, leave tho matter in the hands of those who were then present. Hie meeting held on Saturday last had been called for a special purpose, and it was now for them to consider whether they approved of what had been done. The minutes of the meeting held on the 26th January, 1379, after having been read, were duly confirmed. The Chairman said the next business would be to receive the auditors’ report. Mr. Banks, one of the auditors, said there was not a report to bring forward, as they had, so far, only been able to make a partial audit, owing to the banks having been closed. There were one or tw;o little matters which had come before their notice, and which required a little attention before the next year. The matter was a very trifling one, but it ought not to occur again. The Secretary had, in his opinion, rather exceeded his duty in making an advance of LIOO out of the funds to a client. He felt sure, however, that he had done so with none but the best intentions, and solely for the advancement of the interests of the Corn Exchange. There were also two or three other small matters, which he thought should be remitted toa finance committee, if they would appoint one, with regard to the position of tho Secretary and tho Treasm er. The auditors would recommend that the Secretary’s salary be increased and that he give a guarantee of say L4OO. The secretary had explained the difficulty there was in reference to the signing of cheques, the Committee being sometime# out of the way. The auditors would me* t next week, get the books of the Association so as to enable them to bring forward a report to lay before the Committee. Brett called upon the Secretary for aii explanation, and who in reply stated that in regard to the LICK) advanced, the matter resolved itae’f into this—Mr. James Wilson, of Winchester, had consigned a quantity of grain, oats, and barley to him personally as the Secretary. The grain duly came up to the railway station,"but as goods could not be left there for a longer period than 24 bom's, lie had them sent to Meaat#, Matson and Go’s, store, and went on with the sale. Mr. Wilson subsequently wrote to him stating that he had taken the liberty of drawing on him for the money; and a# some of the goods had been disposed of he thought he ,was warranted in doing so. The draft came from the Bank in the ordinary manner, and as Mr. Bruce was out of the way it was not possible to get him to sign a cheque. He (the Secretary) after having seen the manager of the Union Bank, returned to the Exchange with the intention of getting one of the Directors to give a cheque for the LIOO, so as not to send the draft back. -He had asked Mr. Perryman. (Mr. Penyman : Yes.) Shortly afterwards the manager of the Bank came up, and said the draft would be paid, and it was done. They would observe that at the time the money was paid there was not only money but also a considerable quantity of things in the way of grain in the shape of security. He bad to go at once to tile Bank, for there was no time to ask permission, and what had been done had been in the ’ interests of the Exchange. (Hear, hear.) In reply to Col. Brett the Secretary said there were still one or two good accounts ; —subscriptions—to come in. The Exchange was not responsible. Tho Chairman, replying to Col. Brett, said the sale of grain was effected through the Exchange, which only made a slight . profit on the sales. Mr. Sawle, as one of the auditors, did not wish to throw any censure on the Secretary, but thought it would be a bad precedent to take the funds for the purpose. He thought it would be much better if the offices of Secretary And Treasurer were'combined, as there was sonie- .. times great difficulty experienced in regard to the payment of cheques. If the I ' Treasurer guaranteed the L4OO, that would j . cover all which was necessary in connection with the business of the Exchange. He was sorry to see remarks had been ! made, in reference to the Exchange, set- • ting class against class. With regard to " 1 - the u intermediate” men, he had always ■ understood that the object of the Exchange was to bring the buyer and seller together, so that they might know the current prices of grain. He had found as much as 3d. to 4d, between the buyers in Christchurch, and although he had received the greatest consideration from ' gentlemen, yet ho thought it was the duty of the farmers to see that too much was not got out of them. „ The Chairman said that as the meeting had.heard the report of the auditors, and the explanation of the Secretary, he would like to know whether such met with their approval. Colonel Brett thought that in justice to the Secretary, the meeting could not be 1 otherwise than satisfied with the explanation given. Sir.Cracroft Wilson thoroughly endorsed the remarks of Colonel Brett, and, after a few remarks from Mr Banks, said doubtless the incoming Committee would take tlie necessary steps as advised by the auditors. He thought a resolution ought to be passed absolving the Secretary from anything wrong. After some further conversation, the Chairman said the next question for conVisideration was the election of the Co:n'niittee. He did not see how one could ' be elected , as he had not a single sub■iriber yet. Could not the incoming
members elect their oWn committee ? A public meeting could be called if' necessary. A Board of Directors and a Secretary would also have to be appointed. Mr. Banks, referring to the constitution of the Association, deemed it advisable to alter it. His impression was that if the buyers were excluded from the Committee it would be a wrong step ; and instead of endeavouring to set class against class it should be the object of the Society to bring them together. In his opinion the Committee, instead of being exclusively for the sellers, ought to consist of one-third buyers to two-thirds of the farmers, which would be a fair representation, and would inspire more confidence on the part of the buyers in the working of the institution. He felt certain that the farmers would benefit by such a measure, and that more subscribers would come in. The benefits would be mutual, and the matter required a little consideration before the next meeting as, he thought, there was—as the thing now stood, a one sided feeling which ought not to be. In reference to the constitution of the Committee, the Chairman believed that it had been proposed by Mr. Stead and seconded by Mr. Wood, that it should consist of farmers only. He saw no objection to buyers being admitted. Mr. Banks believed that there had been a proposition made to the effect that the Committee should consist of pne-third buyers and two-thirds sellers, but which ’ did not meet with the approval of the subscribers. He could not quite understand Mr. Stead’s feeling that the farmers should have it all to themselves, and thought there should be no unfair representations. It had also been proposed that there should be three buyers out of twenty-rne in Committee, and rather than have no voice at all in it he would be rather out than in.
Mr. W. Bateman remembered perfectly well that the point had rested entirely with the subscribers, and said it was due to the buyers that the matter had not terminated as it had done. For his own part he would not exclude any subscriber, as they should be privileged to elect whom they pleased. The Chairman had spoken to several gentlemen in reference to the question—among them Mr. Wood, who distinctly said that the Committee should be conducted by the farmers only. He had tried to get him on the Committee but could not.
Colonel Brett could not see the advisability of postponing the election of the Committee till another meeting. It had been understood by the members that the Exchange would still go ou, and, in regard to the subscription list, he thought that when the Secretary requested a member to pay his annual subscription that it would be at once received on a notice from such member of his intention to withdraw fponi the Association. He was under the impression that they were all subscribers, as hitiierto, with their names still on the list, and considered that they were capable of proceeding with the election of Committee and Chairman, and should not defer it to another day, fife would, therefore, move—“ That this meeting elect the Committee for the ensuing year, 4
Mr. Bourn seconded the resolution. Mr. Henderson proposed as an amendment_“ That this meeting adjourns for a week or a fortnight to enable those present to obtain »s many subscribers as possible, and report on such, and that they should be at liberty to elect a Committee of management for the ensuing year, and to elect their Chairman. The amendment, duly seconded by Sir Cracroft Wilson, was with the resolution put to the meeting and carried —10 being in favor of the amendment and 5 for the resolution.
The Chairman suggested that each member should endeavor to obtain in his respective district as many members as possible. It would be a great help. The Secretary explained that in regard to the accounts he could get a balancesheet ready for next meeting. The funds in the Bank belonged to those who sold through the Exchange, and it only remained for him to wake out the account sales and thorn together with the balance at the Bank laid before tho next meeting. Some further conversation then ensued a# to the advisableness of raising the subscription, as the Secretary’s salary wa# to be increased. The Chairman thought the Secretary ehejjJd be called upon to none other than hi# particular business, and that he ought to be paid accordingly. The general opinion was that it would b g inadvisable to increase the annual subscription, and it would be possible to give the increaoo without it. Colonel Brett intimated his willingness to write to those who bad failed to pay their subscription. After a few remarks from Mr. Btnks respecting the Committee being a mixed one, Sir Gvmoft Wilson moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and the meeting adjourned till 2 o’clock that d»J fortnight.
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