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REEVES v. BOOT., Issue 8023, 27 September 1889
REEVES v. BOOT.
TO THE EDITOR, Sir,—From the condensed report of this case which appeared in your paper the barest outline of the evidence could be gathered. Tho facts, as stated by Mr Carew in his judgment, are, on the whole, fairly correct, with a few exceptions, and, with your permission, I will supply them. When Mr Boot came to me and placed the business of forming a company to take up and work his mine in my hands, I knew nothing of any arrangement between him and Mr Ford, of that I heard subsequently ; indeed up to then I was under the impression that they were joint proprietors of the claim. After I received the reports on the mine from Mr Boot, that same evening I secured the co-operation of gentlemen who formed one-half of the board of directors of the " Sandhills Company " as afterwards floated by Mr Holmes. When Mr Boot requested me to undertake the business he handed me a circular which he had printed, and asked if I would allow my name to be printed on it as broker. I said I had no objection, but that as I would require to draw up a proper prospectus, after reading the reports on the property, I did not think these circulars would do much good. He then asked me if he should withdraw them, and I told him he could if he wished, but that I did not see they would do any harm. That evening Mr Ford, Mr Boot's agent, came to my house and asked me to meet Mr Boot and him to interview a miner who had been working on the claim for some years, as Ford said, so that I could speak with confidence as to the value of the claim. I went accordingly, and was introduced to Mr Gamel, tho miner, as the gentleman who was going to float Mr Boot's Sandhill claim, this introduction being assented to by Mr Boot. This interview lasted over two hours.
Now as to the suggestion I made to Mr Boot about the 1,000 bonus shares, and which he alleges was his reason for withdrawing the business from me. How inconsistent this is as a defence, seeing that according to Mr Holmes's evidence he actually gave him no less than 4,000 promoters' shares to undertake the business of floating the company, I may state that whilst the matter was in my hands I thought out a prospectus, by which bonus shares were to be given, not promoters', and as the former are fair and legal whilst it is questionable if the latter are so, I think Mr Boot would have fared better had he not acted in the erratic manner he did.
Now with regard to the judgment, I wish to speak with all due respect to the Bench, still I cannot but express my surprise thereat. If Mr Carew found there was agency established, or a cause of action at all (and he says there was), how he could have given judgment for such a paltry sum is puzzling. I can only attribute it to his unacquaintance with business transactions and his refusal to hear expert evidence as to the amount I should have earned on the business but for the whimsicality of the defendant. Mr Holmes stated that the brokerage paid was 6d per share, which, on the 12,000 shares issued to the public, would amount to L3OO ; and seeing that Mr Boot acted so inconsistently in withdrawing the business from me, I had Mr Davie, as a witness of great and varied experience in such transactions, to prove that the claim I set up of fifty guineas was a reasonable one under the circumstances. But Mr Carew, in his wisdom, would not hear Mr Davie's evidence.—l am, etc., C. S. Reeves. Dunedin, September 26.
REEVES v. BOOT., Issue 8023, 27 September 1889
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