HUDDERSFIELD AND EAST AND WEST COASTS RAILWAY.
Last week a meeting of the proprietors was held at Huddersfield, to confirm a resolution previously proposed, to the effect that all further proceedings be suspended; Mr. Starkey in the chair.
The Report stated, that a scrutiny of the votes had been made, the result of which showed a small majority of votes in favour of the motion for suspending all further proceedings. Acting upon the spirit of such motion, and in deference to the opinions of the majority of their fellow-townsmen, as expressed at such meeting, the Directors determined (although there was no legal decision of the meeting to warrant them in so doing) to give effect thereto, by an immediate return to the shareholders of the deposits, less the expenses, relying upon the shareholders to confirm the same at a future meeting. Nearly all the debts of the Company had been paid; those of Mr. Jacomb, the Solicitor, Mr. Miller, Consulting Engineer, and Messrs. Webster, the Parliamentary Agents, had not been received; and while the account of Mr. Stead, Acting Engineer, had been referred to Mr. Miller, Mr. Jacomb's account was promised to be completed with all possible dispatch, and when delivered, to be submitted (if wished by the Board) to any two disinterested individuals. The Directors were apprehensive that the retention of 8s. per share would not cover the expenses, and to meet the deficiency application had been made to the 42 members of the Provisional Committee, who had not paid up their deposits requiring them to pay on or before Saturday last; only one gentleman had paid (C. Randall, Esq., of Manchester), and Mr. W. Ackroyd and Mr. Jeremiah Riley had both expressed their intention of paying their proportion of the expenses. The Report further stated that Mr. Jacomb had declared his intention of releasing the Directors from their personal pledge of paying him any deficiency, and would take upon himself the risk of obtaining payment thereof solely from the defaulting members of the Provisional Committee.
The Chairman explained that the present meeting would not have been called if the resolution passed at the last meeting had been legally carried. A strong feeling had been manifested that the project should be given up, and the Directors had carried out that feeling, relying upon the shareholders to protect them from any difficulties that might arise. He regretted that a combination of adverse circumstances had placed them in their present position, and he regretted it the more seeing that so large an amount of money had been expended in taking the project before Parliament. He concluded by moving that the Report be adopted, and that the meeting “ratifies and confirms the original motion proposed to the meeting of the 2nd instant, and the payment of £1 14s, per share out of the deposit monies to the shareholders, and the retention and application, so far as may be necessary, of the remaining 8s. per share towards the expenses of the undertaking.”
A discussion, in which Mr. J. Blundell, Mr. J. Shaw, Mr. Smith, Mr. Laycock, and Mr. Hodson took part, ensued. It referred to future proceedings. Mr. Blundell moved the appointment of a Sub-Committee to watch over the interests of the shareholders in Parliament, and to raise a subscription among the share holders to defray the expenses. Mr. Shaw said he would stick to the Company until the expenses were paid, and then he would retire. Mr. Clarke said that the word "suspend" had only been used for the purpose of breaking up the Company; if the directors wished to break up the Company, why not say so at once : The Chairman said he had done all he could to keep up the Company; and he had offered to take 500 shares, and he had no doubt others would have done the same, but it was all of no use. Mr. W. Smith alluded to the speech made by Mr. Shaw at the last meeting, than which he never heard one that told more against the scheme. The remarks after this became rather more personal, and although the meeting had dwindled down to about 30 individuals, great was the confusion of tongues.
The Chairman put Mr. Blundell's motion, when the votes were equal — five voting each way.
The discussion was then renewed with redoubled violence; the executive declaring most positively that they would retire the moment the debts were paid.
Mr. Clarke strongly maintained that the interests of the shareholders ought not to be thus sacrificed.
Mr. Laycock called it mere drivelling to attempt the appointment of a Committee.
Mr. Shaw said it was child's play.
Mr. Clarke intimated that the Directors had burked the concern.
And thus half an hour elapsed before the temper of the meeting cooled down sufficiently for the Chairman again to take the votes, when twelve hands were held up for the appointment of a sub-Committee, and none being named, the Chairman decided the business to be at an end.