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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Mr Lawrie. to Robert Dobson. Edinburgh, 8th July, 1892

Mr Lawrie. to Robert Dobson. Edinburgh,

I have delayed writing you in reply to your long letter of 16th April, till I could get the "Colonial" Directors to consider my project, and their meeting could not be held till one of their number. Mr Erskine Scott, had returned from Australia. We met last Monday, and after a long discussion I think I may say we are now pretty nearly of one way of thinking.

The Directors are, in the first place anxious, if they have to break off from Mr Bartleman and his associates, to do so with as little friction as possible. It is quite likely that not much indication of this step has been given to them, and that they have not been stirred up enough to show more energy in realising the Company's assets, and they will say they have not had a fair chance if we are now going to take lower prices; but I myself am persuaded that they are not the right men to do the business, and even at the expense of a little feeling the work must be withdrawn from them.

The Directors are not blind to the awkward position in which they would be placed were you to fail in liquidating the Company, but I have impressed upon them that if you are entrusted with the work, you are not the man to fail, but will carry the business to as satisfactory and speedy a termination as is possible for any one to do.

In the matter of the annual expenses the "Colonial" Board. I think, maintain that they can make no further reduction. Now, if the Board here could say to them that they can liquidate more cheaply, as well as more expeditiously, through you, they would have a satisfactory ground for the somewhat sudden change. Can you help them to do this? Would you take say £300 a year and page 22 expenses, and trust the Directors, who are just men, but who cannot afford with the money of an impoverished company to make generous offers, to fix the commission to be ultimately paid you according to results? If so, and you could wire "yes," I believe instructions would be sent you forthwith,

I send you copy of the last Report. I don't think any material difference has been made in the position of the Company since. You see we are working, what with interest, taxes, and other charges, at a loss of some £5000 per annum. This is simply ruinous.

If you wire "yes," do so through the Northern, and Fleming will understand it to be for me; but whether you wire or not I I shall await your answer with interest and impatience.