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A WARM EXCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS., Issue 7929, 10 June 1889
A WARM EXCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS.
At the annual meeting (of which the customary notice was not given to this journal) of the Mutual Agency Company on Saturday there were some exceedingly warm passages between the chairman (Sir Robert Wilson) and Mr A. C. Begg, an exdirector. The latter freely criticised the report that was submitted, and denied that the law costs mentioned therein had been mainly caused by the action of creditors, of whom he was one, in requiring payment. Ho had wailed for a fortnight to see what arrangement could be made, but there was no other course open to him. The Chairman: You never asked for your money, but advertised the property without asking for it.—(Loud applause.)
Mr Bf.go : Mr Chairman; that is not comet.—(“lt is.’’) I am not accustomed to have my word questioned. The Chairman : You will find yourself questioned a good deal further before we have done. Mr Begg : I would ask Mr Matheson if 1 did not write and demand payment, Mr Matheson: There is no doubt that Mr Begg did write and demand payment. The Chairman ; You all know Mr Begg’a object in coming hero. It is to throw all the mud that ho can at the company. He is now a director of a new company in opposition to this, and ho has already done this company all the harm ho possibly could. Ho and bis company, however, wish to do us still more harm. I want to warn you against him,—(Applouee.) He says he has paid his calls—he has paid a great deal, Mr Begg : I am sorry The Chairman : I am sorry to have to interrupt you, but you are going out of order.
Mr Begg ; Well, Mr Chairman, I have never paid much attention to what you say. The Chairman ; Nor I to what you say. Mr Begg : I will not retort, excepting just to say that my word is as good as yours any day, and that I know it will be taken iu quarters where yours will not be.—(Cries of “ Oh, oh.”) That is my opinion, and I should not have expressed it if Mr Wilson had not gone out of his way to attack me. If Mr Wilson will take my shares I will give them to him. On my shares in this company I am liable to calls to the extent of L2OO, and I don’t want to lose that.
The Chairman : Mr Begg has paid L 73 into the company, and has drawn as director’s fees out of it L2G9 19s. —> (Applause.) Mr Begc ; That may possibly be the case, but 1 think any money that I drew as director's fees I gave very good value to the company for.—(A Voice : “ Never.”) The Chairman: You are a very good accountant, Mr Begg, but you make a mesa of every company you are connected with. Mr Begg : It is not very easy to make a speech while being so constantly interrupted. The Chairman ; We don’t want your speech ; we know your object in coming here.
Mr BEGG : I think, perhaps the simplest way is just to leave it where it is. Mr Wilson has said sufficient to show the public and the shareholders that he does not want light thrown on the subject, and consequently that be is not prepared to have any light thrown upon it. The Ch airman said they did not want any light from Mr Begg. The late directors had not resigned because they thought more of the fees than the success of the company. They bad now started another concern in opposition, and they were trying as much as they could to blacken this company. He was surprised to sec Mr Begg there. If he had not the chock of a donkey he would not have come there after the way he had treated the shareholders ; he had done all he could to ruin this company. Mr Begg : That is not true.
The Chairman : It is hard, I know, to touch Mr Begg -he is very thick-skinned ; but I think he will get touched up to-day—-perhaps more than he expects. (At a later stage of the proceedings :) Perhaps you would like to know the amount paid in directors’ fees since the formation of the company, I believe it to bo L 1,250; and the high salaries paid at first—viz., Mr Driver, LBOO a year. But against this Mr Driver has paid L 750 in calls, so that his salary has gone in calls, and he has given ns all his business, which amounts to a good deal. If it bad not been for the liberal way our bankers came forward and assisted ns to pay off Mr Begg and others, there is no doubt but the company would have had to go into liquidation, and the loss would have been very serious. Although Mr Begg looks very serious—and I believe he is a very religious man—he has done everything in his power to ruin you. Mr Begg: That’s false, Mr Chairman; it’s distinctly false. Mr Wilson ; If I had done to this company what Mr Begg has done I would be ashamed to come here to-day.—(Laughter.) Mr Begg : It’s like all your other statements—false.
Mr J. M’Kexzie, M.H.R., thought it very bad grace of Mr Begg to come there and make so much noise as he had done.
Mr Begg : Mr Begg is a shareholder, and as such is entitled to speak. Mr M’Kknzie : I know you arc a shareholder, my dear sir. If Mr Begg found the company going so much to the wall he should have told the shareholders long before ho did, and ho is not acting right in coming hero and trying to pick holes in this balance-sheet brought down by a chairman and a directory who have only had three months' control, especially seeing the losses were made during the time he was one of the directors. Mr Begg: No.
Mr M'Kenzie: Well, the balance-sheet speaks for itself. Mr A. Bartleman : I’m afraid you didn’t have much hand in that report of yours, the way you are talking. Mr M’Kenzie ; Well, I forget all about the report, Mr Bartleman : I thought you did. Mr M’Kenzie : It was bad grace of Mr Begg to como here as ho did and make such a statement.
Mr Begg ; Well, reply to it—it has never been replied to.
Mr H. Rose said that during the time Mr Begg had lived in Dunedin he had been always looked on as an honest, straightforward man, but he (Mr Rose) could not see what other object Mr Begg_ had in coming down with such a resolution as ho had proposed, and which he knew could not be carried, than throwing mud at the Mutual Agency Company.—(Loud applause.) Mr Begg objected to the statement. He said he desired to save himseli from loss. Mr Rose : In the interest of somebody else. Who that is—whether the company that wanted to buy this company and receive a bonus some time ago—l will leave Mr Begg and others to judge. Mr Begg : I don’t look for fair play, but I am a shareholder, and Mr Rose has no right to talk like that, I want to get rid of my shares.
Tho Chairman : Really, I begin to sympathise with Mr Bigg.—(Laughter.) Mr Rosk said it was evident they were not in favor of Mr Begg. Nearly everyone in the room saw through him.—(Laughter.) I can afford to laugh at those small impertinences.
A WARM EXCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS., Issue 7929, 10 June 1889
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