Berwick Register, Feb.10th, 1897
Sir Are you not a little astray in speaking of the dispatch of the steamship Nor as "the first venture of the Fruit Shipping Company," as you did in last weeks issue?
At the Farmers Convention held in Middleton recently Mr. Innes, in one of his speeches, declared that the Fruit Shipping Company nothing whatever to do with the steamer Nor. That the company did not charter the boat and was in no way responsible for her coming. Moreover he seemed anxious that this fact should be thoroughly understood by our fruit growers.
Mr. Innes statement, which must of course be true, naturally suggests several questions bearing upon the subject such as:
The fruit growers of the valley have every confidence in Mr. Innes and fully believe that if anybody can make a success of such an enterprise as the Fruit Shipping Company, he can. But he evidently needs to call his co-directors together and place some restraint upon some, at least, of them, until the company is organized and ready for business. Because it would seriously injure the company at this stage to have the opinion get abroad that the directors were already using their positions to back up private speculations for, perhaps, their own profit.
Can you throw any light upon this matter, Mr. Editor?
We regret that want of care on our part in speaking as we did of the "Nor" should mislead any reader as to the nature of the contract with that steamer or in regard to the parties to that contract.
Our intelligent readers, at least in Kings Co, are aware that the organization of the Fruit Shipping Company has not yet been completed and that consequently its directors as such could not charter a steamer or do business of any kind. The enterprise, however, being in the line of business to be prosecuted by the proposed company, and being under the management of some of its provisional directors, it was natural to speak of it in an offhand way as an act of the company.
In answer to the other questions we would say 1st and 2nd we do not know. The third question cannot be fully answered till the results of the venture are made known. As the effect of the action of the gentlemen referred to was to bring down the rates of freight on apples with a run, while ocean freights otherwise were advancing, it was, whether judicious or otherwise, beneficial to the interests of the fruit grower. Fourth; We don't think the opinion referred to did prevail as extensively as our correspondent supposes.
The insinuation that the individuals who chartered the Nor did so mainly for their own profit is suggestive. If there was such a profit on apple freight at 72cts per bbl, as to induce professional men to go into the shipping business, what must have been the profits of the business men at 90cts, the price charged until the Nor was chartered?