The Bankruptcy of Robert Buchanan Snr.
The Scotsman (28 April, 1860 - p. 4)
(From the Edinburgh Gazette of Friday evening.)
ROBERT BUCHANAN, newspaper proprietor, printer, and publisher in Glasgow—Creditors meet in Crow Hotel, George Square, Glasgow, 8th May, at twelve o’clock.—James MacBride, 97 West George Street, Glasgow, agent.
The Glasgow Herald (23 May, 1860 - p.5)
Robert Buchanan, newspaper proprietor, printer, and publisher in Glasgow, to be examined within the Sheriff Court House (Mr. Sheriff Bell’s Chambers), Glasgow, 1st June, at twelve o’clock. Creditors to meet within the Crow Hotel, George Square, Glasgow, 13th June, at twelve o’clock.
The Glasgow Herald (2 June, 1860 - p.2)
GLASGOW BANKRUPTCY COURT.—YESTERDAY.
(Before Sheriff BELL.)
EXAMINATION OF ROBERT BUCHANAN, NEWSPAPER PROPRIETOR, GLASGOW.
Present—Mr. Alex. Wylie, accountant, trustee; Mr. James McBride, writer, law agent in the sequestration; Mr.John Kerr, writer, for Messrs. Collins & Son; Mr. George Smith, Mr. W. B. Faulds, and Mr. John Maxton, writers, for creditors.
The bankrupt, being interrogated by Mr. McBride, deponed—I commenced business in Glasgow in 1851 as proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel newspaper. I was then possessed of no capital; but I raised £600 upon a life insurance policy with the assistance of some friends in London. With £500 of this sum, and my own acceptances for £330, I purchased the copyright, plant, and book debts of the Sentinel from the then proprietors. I carried on the business until June, 1856, when I was under the necessity of laying a statement of my affairs before my creditors, as I was then in embarrassed circumstances. I attribute the position in which I was then placed to various losses which I sustained in connection with my business, and also to the fact of having, as executor of my father-in-law, been engaged as a litigant in a Chancery suit in England. The suit was ultimately compromised; but the expenses of the litigation I, as an individual, had to pay, which I did gradually as the demands came upon me. My liabilities at that time were about £4000, and the assets were valued at about £1200 or £1300. I succeeded in getting a settlement in November, four months after my sequestration, and after considerable difficulty with some of my creditors, on payment of a composition of 6s. per pound. At that time, so far as I can recollect, there was no valuation put upon the copyright of my newspapers. I was then proprietor of the Sentinel and Penny Post newspapers, which latter had been started shortly before then. My composition was payable by instalments at four, eight, and twelve months from the 15th of November, 1856; and, with a few trifling exceptions, I paid the whole composition within these periods. Over and above the amount of composition, I resuscitated debts to some of my creditors to the amount of about £951. The greater portion of this sum is still unpaid; I have only paid about £300 of it, and the balance still forms claims on my estate. I have made up a list specifying these creditors and the amount of their debts, which I now hand to the trustee. In December, 1857, I, along with Mr. Lloyd Jones, of Leeds, commenced the publication of a newspaper there, called the Leeds Express. The memorandum of the agreement with Mr. Jones I now hand to the trustee. I did not, in the first instance, advance any money to the stock of this partnership, but I supplied materials wherewith to print and publish the newspaper, and I now hand to the trustee a statement of the various materials I supplied during the whole time I was connected with the paper, and the value thereof. I do not know what part of the capital Mr. Jones advanced, but I am aware he did put in a sum of money, and that he got considerable sums from some parties in Leeds. The value of my advances in material and cash, as appearing from my business books, amounted to £854, 17s. 9d. I also paid various debts contracted by the concern, amounting in whole to £1578, which were not passed through my business books. I have made up a statement of these sums, which I now hand to the trustee. These sums were all paid out of my personal funds, with the exception of a sum of £950, which I got out of the concern at one time and another, including £685 which I got for the paper and plant when the copartnery was dissolved and the newspaper sold; so that, between what I have actually paid and the debts which still rank against my estate, the loss to me in this concern would amount to about £1709. My copartnery with Mr. Jones was dissolved in July, 1858, and I now correct what I have above stated, by mentioning that the newspaper was not sold by me until January, 1859. The reason why I did not enter the sums above referred to in my business books, was just to conceal from parties in my office in Glasgow the magnitude of the Leeds transaction, as my credit was good at the time, and it might have been thereby injured, and I might have been necessitated to stop payment. I had the conviction at the time that I would be able to meet the storm, and under that conviction I struggled on. As a reason for that opinion, I may say that I was in good credit with Messrs. Collins, paper-makers in Glasgow, and had a running account with them, and with Messrs. Cowan & Co., paper-makers, Edinburgh, which was equal to me to a capital of £2000. Both of these firms were aware that I had suffered losses in consequence of the Leeds affair, though not to the real extent. I was largely indebted to these firms, especially to Messrs. Collins, and they would have suffered severely by my stopping payment. I did not go into any formal inquiry regarding the state of my Glasgow business, because I was perfectly satisfied, from the income and expenditure, that it was yielding me considerable profit, and that, with time, I would be able to get out of my difficulties, that is, assuming that my credit was not interfered with. In December, 1858, I was under the necessity of asking the Messrs. Collins to renew part of one of my acceptances to them, then due, and on the 14th of that month I received from them a letter, which I now produce, intimating that they declined any longer to supply me with paper on any other terms than cash.
Mr. McBRIDE here stated that the trustee wished to make some further inquiry in regard to this point, and he thought it would be better to defer further interrogation in regard to it, until he had obtained such information as he wished.
Mr. FAULDS thought that as the examination had proceeded so far on this point, it should be gone on with.
This course was adopted.
Re-interrogated by Mr. Mc BRIDE—As I was unable to pay cash, I had various interviews with the Messrs. Collins, with the view of arranging to get a continued supply of paper from them. Mr. Joshua Collins ultimately proposed that I should give his firm a security over my plant in the Sentinel office for the amount of my debt to them, which then amounted to upwards of £1600. I had an inventory and valuation of the plant in my pocket at one of the interviews, amounting to upwards of £1200, and Mr. Joshua Collins and I agreed to strike off about £200 from that valuation, and his firm then granted me a bill for £1000, payable at six months, as the price of the plant. A receipt was then written at the bottom of the inventory, acknowledging the bill, and I signed it. I left the inventory and valuation, along with the bill, in the hands of the Messrs. Collins’ law agent, and I have never seen the bill since. I have never either got payment of or credit to the amount of that bill in my account up to the date of my sequestration.
By Mr. FAULDS—I never asked for payment, because I was reducing the debt from time to time.
By Mr. McBRIDE—I made another arrangement with the Messrs. Collins for the reduction of the debt owing to them, which has also been a source of considerable difficulty with me. That arrangement was, that I was to pay cash for my future supplies of paper, and also to pay one-fourth of the bills current as they became due. In this way it was calculated that the old debt would be extinguished in sixteen months. I continued to implement this agreement for about six months, and by that time I paid about £500 of the old debt, which was more than I was making out of the business, and I had to have recourse to other means to raise money for my support. I found it impossible to carry out the arrangement, and the Messrs. Collins agreed to accept a modified amount, which I paid as well as I could to the end of the year. I paid them various sums, and reduced the old debt as at 10th January, 1860, to £935, 7s., as will be seen from the account current, which I now exhibit, and which was rendered to me by the Messrs. Collins. The bills which represented my debt to the Messrs. Collins, at the time we made the first arrangement above spoken to, were all subsequently got up by me either by payments or renewals, and they are now in the hands of the trustee. Having paid so much money to account of the Messrs. Collins’ debt, I considered that the security over the plant granted to them was practically departed from, and I subsequently granted security in favour of another of my creditors over one of my printing machines, which was included in the inventory assigned to Messrs. Collins. That creditor was Mr. James McKimmie, my cashier and book-keeper, who was a creditor at the time I settled with my creditors to the amount of £340, which was for cash advanced to me. This debt was resuscitated to the extent of £238, and about November last I still owed him £150, or thereabouts, partly for the balance of the old debt, and partly for new advances. In November I got a further loan from Mr. McKimmie of about £100, for which and the old debt I offered him in security the copyright of the Penny Post newspaper, or a copartnery interest in it to the amount of his debt. He declined both of these proposals, and suggested a security over said printing machine. I did not mention to him that I had already given it in security to the Messrs. Collins, but I consulted with a private friend who knew pretty much about the law, and he assured me that the money not having been paid to me, and all the bills being arranged, Collins’ security was ineffective in law. I therefore agreed to give the security over the machine to Mr. McKimmie. The transaction with him was in the form of a sale of the machine, a receipt being granted for £250 as the price of it. That price was made up of the old debt of £150 and the sum then advanced. This advance was entered in my cash book by Mr. McKimmie himself. The £100 was not paid to me at the time I signed the receipt, but on the afternoon of the same day. At the time that I got the money, I granted to Mr. McKimmie four bills for the full amount of his debt (£250), including interest. These bills are still on the circle. I applied this £100 to the purposes of my business, as will be seen from my cash-book.
By Mr. FAULDS—The Messrs. Collins were at that time going on supplying me with paper under the arrangement of the previous December. I did not tell the Messrs. Collins that I had conveyed this machine to Mr. McKimmie, nor did I think it necessary to do so.
By Mr. McBRIDE—I have never given delivery of any part of the plant to Messrs. Collins, nor yet of the machine to Mr. McKimmie.
By Mr. FAULDS—When I entered into these transactions, I understood that the machines were to remain in my custody.
By Mr. McBRIDE—At the date of my sequestration, I was proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel, the Penny Post, and the Glasgow Times. These have been all going on for some years. For upwards of twelve months before my sequestration, I did not contribute regularly to the literary department of the paper, that being supplied by the sub-editor and other parties who were paid for their contributions. This was occasioned because my mind was taken up by financial matters, and planning to meet my pecuniary engagements. I, however, took a general supervision of that department, and suggested the topics to be written for the papers. The dwelling house in which I reside in Oakfield Terrace belongs nominally to me. This property was purchased in April, 1857, at the price of £750. The money to pay it were raised through the Glasgow Provident Investment Society, of which I am a member. I got nominally a loan from them of £750, but having to pay them a bonus of £67, 10s., besides interest and expenses, the real sum handed to me was only £674, 19s. 3d. I granted a bond in disposition of the subject to the said Investment Society, in security for £750, £690 of which is still owing. The furniture in my dwelling-house, with the exception of some few articles belonging to my mother-in-law, Mrs. Williams, was placed there at my expense. In August last I assigned my furniture to Messrs. Morrison, auctioneers in Glasgow, for an advance of £133. I granted a bill to Messrs. Morrison at that time for the whole of that amount, payable on 28th January, 1860. As I did not occupy the house at the time, being resident at the coast, I delivered to Messrs. Morrison the key. When about to return to reside in Glasgow, I called on Mr. James Morrison, who said that if I could give him security the effects would not be removed from the house, and he would give me the key. I found security, and got back the key. The whole of the furniture so assigned by me to Messrs. Morrison is still in the house. The furniture belonging to my mother-in-law was not included in Messrs. Morrison’s assignation. About the time the bill for £133 fell due I arranged with Messrs. Morrison that they would renew it, if the security should remain. Accordingly, when it did fall due, I granted two acceptances for £66, 16s. 10½d. each, for two and three months respectively, and got up the old bill; and I gave them an I O U for the amount of the discount on the new bills and their commission for renewing the transaction. That I O U is still unpaid. In March last one of the bills for £66, 16s. 10½d. became due, and in the beginning of April I paid it to Messrs. Morrison.
By Mr. GEORGE SMITH—As my cash-book does not contain the whole of my cash transactions, I will endeavour to make up a statement of these transactions since the date of my composition settlement, and hand it to the trustee, or produce it at a future diet.
The examination was then adjourned till Friday next, at twelve o’clock.
The Leeds Mercury (9 June, 1860)
A NEWSPAPER SPECULATOR.—Yesterday week, in the Glasgow Bankruptcy Court, Robert Buchanan, newspaper proprietor, underwent an examination. He stated that he commenced business in Glasgow in 1851, as proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel. Beyond £600 raised upon a policy of life assurance he had no capital, and with £500 of this sum and £330 of his own acceptances, he purchased the copyright, plant, and debts of the paper. In 1856 he found himself in embarrassed circumstances, his liabilities amounting to £4,000, and his assets being only £1,200 or £1,000. He got a settlement in November, 1856, for 6s. in the pound. In December, 1857, along with Mr. Lloyd Jones, of Leeds, he started the Leeds Express, and in July, 1858, the copartnery thus formed was dissolved. The bankrupt estimated his losses in this concern to amount to £1,700. These transactions were not entered in the business books of the bankrupt, he stating that he was desirous of concealing the magnitude of the transaction to preserve his credit. The bankrupt proceeded to detail the arrangements he had made in December, 1858, with the Messrs. Collins, with the view of getting supplied with paper regularly. He stated that at the date of his sequestration he was proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel, Penny Post, and Glasgow Times. The examination was adjourned till yesterday, when it was understood that the bankrupt would be prepared with a statement of the transactions not contained in his cash book.
The Glasgow Herald (9 June, 1860 - p.4)
GLASGOW BANKRUPTCY COURT.—YESTERDAY.
(Before Sheriff BELL.)
ADJOURNED EXAMINATION OF ROBERT BUCHANAN, NEWSPAPER
The adjourned examination of Robert Buchanan, proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel, Glasgow Times, and Penny Post newspapers took place yesterday.
Present—Mr. Alex. Wylie, accountant, trustee; Mr. James McBride, writer, agent in the sequestration; Mr. George Smith, writer, Mr.John Kerr, writer, and Mr. W. B. Faulds, writer, for creditors; and various creditors.
The bankrupt, further interrogated by Mr. McBride, deponed—I have found it impossible to make up a detailed statement of my cash transactions since Nov., 1856, the date of my last settlement; but I now produce a statement, which I have made up to the best of my ability, of the transactions since the 1st July, 1859. The reason why I could not embrace in that statement the transactions during the whole period since my settlement is that my books do not contain a record of these transactions. The statement now produced contains only those cash transactions which were not passed through my business books, Since the 1st July last I have caused to be made up a weekly balance sheet of my newspaper transactions. That balance was entered into a book which I now produce. I observe that in that book there are weekly balances so far back as 1857, which are not correct, as the balances were not regularly made then. I observe that the profits for the week ending 21st Nov., 1857, are stated in the balance sheet for the week to be £50. During that week, however, there was a very large amount of job-printing done in the office. I think the expenditure in that balance sheet is understated; for instance, the literary expenses are understated to the amount of about £3 a week. The balance of profit on the 28th Nov., 1857, I observe to be only £20. During the last twelve months, however, when the balance sheets were more correctly kept, I see the average profits on newspapers to have been £16, 9s. 4d. per week; from which falls to be deducted a sum to cover the expenses of extra literary contributions and newspapers purchased amounting to about £2 a week. There are two insurance policies on my life—one with the Waterloo Assurance Company, London, effected for £500. This policy I assigned to the company in security of a loan of £500 which I received from them. In the summer of 1858 I paid the last instalment of that loan, and in July of that year I got up the policy. I again assigned that policy to Mr. Macklurkin in security to him for a loan of £100, which he advanced to me on 13th August following. I paid that sum to the City of Glasgow Bank along with other moneys, and it was on the same day drawn out and paid to Messrs. Collins & Son. No part of Mr. Maclurkin’s loan has been paid by me. My other life policy was for £600, effected with the English and Scotch Law Life Assurance Company in Nov., 1858. I assigned that policy to the said company in security of a loan of £300, but of that I only got £270 odds, being the loan less the premium and expenses. The sum so got by me I paid into the City of Glasgow Bank, and I now point out the entry in my bank pass-book. This money was all applied for business purposes. The policy is still in existence, and I have paid of the loan £100. The remaining £200 of that loan, I believe, were paid by the gentlemen who were securities for me to the company, and I presume they now hold the policy. About three weeks before the date of my sequestration, I got Messrs. Arnold & Co., ink manufacturers, London, to discount a bill for me for £92, 10s. I got the proceeds. The bill was sent on 31st March, and on the 4th April I received the money. That was not a business bill, but an accommodation granted me by Mr. Edward Henderson, newspaper agent, Glasgow. Out of the proceeds of that bill I paid £67, being the amount of a bill due to Messrs. Morrison, and the balance went to pay some small pressing claims. In March last I purchased from Mr. James Lindsay, wine merchant and grocer, Sauchiehall Street, about £22 worth of wines and spirits. With the exception of what I used in the house these still remain in my dwelling-house.
Interrogated—Did Mr. Burn call to make an inventory of the wine that remains?—Depones—Mr. Burn might have seen it if he liked; he had a glass of it.
Mr. WYLIE—Mr. Buchanan, I really must insist upon a more explicit answer.
The Bankrupt—I never refused to allow Mr. Burn to make an inventory.
Mr. WYLIE—Sir, do you mean to tell me a lie to my face?
The Bankrupt—I assure you I am not aware, of my own knowledge, that he was at my house for the wine.
Mr. WYLIE—Did I not tell you that he was going there?
Mr. WYLIE—He went there.
The Bankrupt—I was not aware of it till now.
Mr. WYLIE—You told me there was no wine in your house.
The Bankrupt—I never did so.
Mr. WYLIE—You did, Sir.
Re-interrogated by Mr. McBRIDE—I never told the trustee that there was no wine in my house. I never refused to allow Mr. Burn to take an inventory of that wine, and if he did not do so, it is not my fault. I gave instructions to Mrs. Buchanan to point it out to him. I did not hand over any part of the wine got by me from Mr. Lindsay to any person in payment of any account. I got it solely for my own use, and it was all sent to my dwelling-house. I think there will be about two-thirds of the wine still in the house, but the spirits are nearly all done. I have not got anything of the kind for a long time before. I am shown the inventory of my furniture, as made up by Mr. Burn, under the instructions of the trustee. That is a correct inventory of my whole household furniture and plenishing of every description. I never had any silver plate; it was too expensive a luxury for me. There were some plated goods shown to Mr. Burn, but they are not included in the inventory, because they belonged to Mrs. Williams, my mother-in-law. My business books do not show correctly the sums which I drew from my business for my own personal use, and I estimate my drawings for that purpose at about £300 a year. The state of my affairs handed by me to the trustee is a correct one, so far as I can ascertain; and I now produce—1st, an account showing the sums expended by me upon the Leeds Express newspaper, and the sums I received from that concern; 2d, a note of revived claims, subsequent to my settlement of 1856; 3d, a note of Edward Henderson’s bills, for which value has been given either in goods or cash; 4th, an account current with the Paisley and Renfrewshire Independent, which newspaper belonged to me; 5th, an account current for cash, with the Leeds Express; and 6th, a profit and loss account for the whole business since my settlement of 1856. These documents were all made up by me last night, with the assistance of a friend, and I also produce the business books of the Leeds Express company, which were sent to me yesterday. My liabilities are put down in my state of affairs at £4557, and my assets £2212.
By Mr. FAULDS—The security over the machine to Mr. McKimmie was effected in the same way as in the previous case to Messrs. Collins & Son, that is, by invoice and receipt. Being referred to you previous examination, where you state that you were advised by a friend that Collins’ security was ineffective in law, and that, therefore, you agreed to give the security to Mr. McKimmie over the same machine—interrogated—Do you still adhere to that as your reason for giving a second conveyance of the same machine? Depones—I wish to correct my previous answer, by stating now that I meant that the transaction with Collins was not effectual as a sale, but only as a security. Being referred to your statement in your former examination, that your debt to Collins was upwards of £1600, that the plant was only valued at £1200, and the security only £1000, you are now desired to explain why you granted a second conveyance in security over the same machine to Mr. McKimmie without the consent or knowledge of Messrs. Collins, or without telling Mr. McKimmie that the same was held in security by them? Depones—The reason is, that in the interim I had reduced Messrs. Collins’ account about £600, and was under agreement to reduce it a certain sum every month. I considered, as it was over the plant of a going business, gradually liquidating the debts for which the securities were granted, that prospectively there was good protection for both debts; besides, as I knew that double securities were common enough over real property, there could be no harm in the same thing as regards machinery. I did not consider it my duty to tell Mr. McKimmie that there was a previous security over the machine. I gave him a double security in bills. Interrogated—Did you not lead Mr. McKimmie to believe that you had the whole control over your plant? Depones—He could only judge from what he saw me do at the time, and there was no such question raised. Interrogated—Did you, since that time, propose to give the same machine in security to Mr. Love? Depones—Certainly not. Interrogated—Did you ever propose to give that machine in security to Mr. Love, and if so, when? Depones—I have no recollection of it. Interrogated—Do you swear that you did not, within the last five months, propose that to Mr. Love? I do; Mr. Love knew the transaction with Mr. McKimmie for nine months before that. I occasionally got accommodation bills signed by E. Henderson; and he is at this moment on bills for my accommodation to the extent of several hundred pounds. Arnold Co., of London, are creditors of mine for cash advanced to the extent of £92, 10s. That cash was advanced on a bill drawn by me on Henderson, and accepted by him. Interrogated—Did you, in asking that advance from Messrs. Arnold & Co., represent that that was a bill granted by Henderson to you for a trade debt? Depones—I do not recollect; I may have done so; and before it reached maturity it might, though at first an accommodation, have become a trade debt from the number of papers Mr. Henderson was taking from me. Being shown a letter addressed to Mr. Alexander, of the firm of Arnold & Co., dated 31st March, 1860, in which you ask for said advance, and being shown a passage therein, “Mr. Henderson and I have just settled an account of some months’ standing, and I have drawn upon him at three months for a balance he owes me.” Interrogated—Was that a true or an untrue statement? Depones—It was true to a certain extent. There was no formal settlement of any account between Mr. Henderson and me at that time, but it was gone over for the purpose of being settled in some way. I had not then rendered any account to Mr. Henderson, but my intention was to apply the proceeds of that bill to clearing liabilities of Henderson, and if that had been accomplished the £90 bill would have been passed to his credit. The passage in the letter was an error in fact, but not in intention. You also state in your letter to Mr. Alexander that Henderson was getting papers to the amount of £100 weekly; is that correct? Depones—It is. Interrogated—Were you aware, at the time you sent that letter, of the position in which Mr. Henderson was as a solvent or insolvent? Depones—I knew he was in difficulties, but I did not know the extent of them. Interrogated—Were you aware that at that time you yourself were in difficulties? Depones—Yes; to a certain extent. I have done business with Arnold & Co. for ink for a considerable time past, and the bill arose out of an ink transaction. Being desired to show a list of Henderson’s accommodation bills to you, depones—I have such a list, as I have a copy of Mr. Henderson’s bill book, which has marginal references to what are accommodation bills. I first commenced to get accommodation bills from Mr. Henderson about a year ago, and I began at that time to grant him accommodation bills. The accommodations were then to a small extent. He and I have had settlements of our trade transactions since that time. By next diet I will make up a statement of all the accommodation bills granted by Henderson to me since the date of our last trade settlement. The statements which were handed in by me to-day were prepared last night by Mr. Andrew Rutherglen, accountant, from documents supplied by me to him. These documents have been handed me to the trustee. All the papers and documents used by me are in the hands of the trustee, except a bundle of papers which I now hand in. Being asked to explain why you considered it necessary to employ Mr. Rutherglen, depones—I did not employ him; I met him in Waddell’s, Union Street, over a glass of toddy, and he said he would give me an hour or two in his office, and charge me nothing for it.
Mr. THOS. SMITH, a creditor—You stated in your last examination that you thought you would be able to extricate yourself from your difficulties. How do you reconcile this with the fact of your getting champagne and wines from Mr. Lindsay a month before you came down?
The Bankrupt—It was very cheap champagne—2s. a bottle.
Mr. SMITH—How many dozen of ale did you get?
The Bankrupt—I don’t recollect.
Mr. SMITH—Did you get twelve dozen?
The Bankrupt—Well, it would be to extend over a long time.
Mr. McBRIDE—£22 covers the whole.
Mr. SMITH—Oh, no. Were you, Mr. Buchanan, in difficulties at that time?
The Bankrupt—I have been in difficulties for two years.
Mr. SMITH (in astonishment)—And you drank champagne?
The Bankrupt—Very few people drink less champagne than I do.
Mr. SMITH—You got a dozen pint bottles each of Marsala wine, Burgundy wine, and champagne, and half a dozen of Hollands.
The Bankrupt—They were all cheap.
Mr. SMITH—Is there not a bill for drink dishonoured to Mr. A. S. Anderson?
The Bankrupt—Yes, a small sum.
Mr. SMITH—What was the sum?
The Bankrupt—Fifteen pounds. It was principally for ale, and extended over a considerable period. Within two months of my sequestration, I paid fifteen guineas, due to Messrs. Dunlop for liquor, partly for myself, partly for another, for whom I had become responsible. It was an old account, about a year old.
At this stage the examination was adjourned till Wednesday the 20th inst., at 12 o’clock.
The Glasgow Herald (11 June, 1860 - p.5)
ROBERT BUCHANAN’S EXAMINATION.
To the Editor of the Glasgow Herald.
SIR,—I wish you to allow me to make, through your columns, a slight correction or two in your report of my examination on Friday last, given in Saturday’s publication. In answer to a question put to me by Mr. W. B. Faulds, I am reported to have said that Mr. Love knew of the security held over the machine nine months ago. The correction is, the substitution of the names of Messrs. Collins & Sons for that of Mr. McKimmie. Another mistake is, that Mr. Edward Henderson is alleged to have taken one hundred pounds worth of papers from me weekly—the report should have been monthly.
As these corrections are of some importance to me, I trust you will give this note publicity on Monday, and I beg to remain, your obedient servant,
Glasgow, 9th June, 1860.
The Glasgow Herald (21 June, 1860 - p.2)
“SIR PETER!” exclaims Charles Surface, when Lady Teazle is discovered behind the screen, “there’s nothing in the world so noble as a man of sentiment.” Joseph Surface, the man of many professions of high morality, which happened not to be genuine, is by no means a rare bird. The circumstances may not always have the same dramatic colouring as may be found in the “School for Scandal;” but it is not the less to be feared that a somewhat similar process of humbugging would be found too frequent, if we could always be able to search below the surface. While we listen to the high-flown language, the patriotic eloquence, and the philanthropic earnestness of many of those who thrust themselves forward as the advocates of so-called popular causes, and of the “downtrodden people”—if we could find some means of investigating the genuineness of their ardent professions, and inquiring whether their own conduct is consistent with the doctrines which they promulgate, we would doubtless meet with some contradictions and revelations of a very queer kind. Well might the Highland clergyman lift up his hands before his congregation and exclaim, with respect to the hypocrisy of the times, “Ah, brethren, we must not believe all that we hear and see!”
What, for example, are we to think of the thunders for Parliamentary Reform, with universal suffrage and the ballot, which Mr. Robert Buchanan, of the Glasgow Sentinel, was wont to raise, both on the platform and through the medium of his various newspapers, when we now find, from his examination before the Bankruptcy Court, that gross extravagance could take place at Oakfield Terrace as well as in the House of Commons? What will the working classes think of the champion of their various rights, who denounced the grinding measures of the upper classes, and advised the artisan to consider himself, while practically a slave, the very marrow of the State, when they discover that their leader himself has a good deal of the “bloated aristocrat” about him, and profits by the patronage of his toilworn readers to treat himself to Burgundy and Champagne? A very few weeks ago the Sentinel was longing for the time when all but those who wore aprons and toiled for their livelihood were to be swept away as useless incumbrances, although now it appears, from his own statement, that the editor and proprietor did very little work himself for at least the last twelve months, beyond suggesting topics to the literary department. certainly it must be borne in mind that the poor man was at this period almost entirely engrossed by the intricate problem, “How to make both ends meet!” but his friends and patrons will be apt to wonder how his mind came to be so much harassed by “pecuniary engagements,” when, according to a modest calculation, and taking the last twelve months as a fair sample, his business seems to have yielded him from £700 to £800 a year, and his affairs now exhibit a deficiency of £2345. Robert Buchanan commenced business in Glasgow in 1851; and, like many others who have lately appeared before our Bankruptcy Court, he had no capital. By a somewhat convenient process, however, he insured his life for £600, and contrived to get the money while he was yet alive. With £500 of this money, and bills to the amount of £330, he purchased the Sentinel newspaper, and began to proclaim the rights and wrongs of the lieges. By 1856, however, he found it impossible to get on any longer, and so, to use a phrase which his friends of the working classes will readily appreciate, he “laid down the barrow.” Mr. Buchanan’s liabilities at that time were about £4000, which his benevolent creditors permitted him to pay off at the rate of six shillings per pound, so that the Editor’s anxious mind was most happily and for ever relieved of a burden of some £2800. Oh! could the six-pounder whom a corrupt aristocracy even now keeps out of his rights, by any possible device persuade his landlord to accept 36s. for his year’s rent, he might be able to appreciate the satisfaction which the people’s champion doubtless felt at this most happy deliverance from the iron heel of despotism in the shape of a number of anxious creditors. By November, 1857, Buchanan had paid them off, with some trifling exceptions, and was rid of that lot for ever. One would have thought that now he would have been the happiest of men. He had an excellent business, for it appears that for one week of that same November, 1857, his profits amounted to £50, and for the following week to £20.. This, however, apparently did not satisfy him, and he was not deterred from entering upon a delightful speculation in Leeds, where, in company with a Mr. Lloyd Jones, he started the Leeds Express, which, after a short career of some twelve months, was abandoned, Mr. Buchanan’s share of the loss being, according to his own statement, about £1700. With more prudence than candour, he did not enter the details of this unfortunate transaction in his business books, simply that he might thus conceal the truth that he had met with a loss so serious, and thereby to keep up his credit on something very like a fictitious basis. Of his books, however, we cannot say much. We cannot tell for what object he kept them at all, for they do not contain, according to his own confession, an account of all his transactions. This is the case even as regards his cash-book, and he honestly declares that he “found it impossible to make up a detailed statement of his cash transactions since November, 1856.” All that he can do is to make up a number of statements of various accounts, which he does by the assistance of Mr. Rutherglen, an accountant, whom he had casually met, “in Waddell’s, Union Street, over a glass of toddy.” Mr. Buchanan has not the excuse, for aught we know, of an inability to read and write, or such an amount of gross ignorance as rendered him unable to keep an intelligible record of his transactions; and certainly, considering the extent of his newspaper connection and the intricacy of his transactions, he should, if he could, have kept proper business books, as well for his own information and guidance as for the satisfaction of his creditors. We trust that it will soon become a peremptory matter that every man who comes before a Court of Bankruptcy will be bound to produce proper books and regular balance sheets before he obtains any protection whatever.
Mr. Buchanan, having meantime become a proprietor of heritable property, by purchasing a house for £750, and borrowing the whole of the price upon its own security, began to lose credit with Messrs. Collins, his paper-makers, in December, 1858, when he owed them £1600. To secure this debt he conveyed his printing plant to the Messrs. Collins, at a value of £1000, and he afterwards reduced the debt to £935, 7s. In November last he conveyed one of the machines of this same already-conveyed plant to his cashier, Mr. McKimmie, in security for loans amounting to £250. Neither the Messrs. Collins nor Mr. McKimmie were made aware that the same machine had been conveyed to them both. A “private friend, who knew pretty much about the law,” had told Buchanan that the transaction with Messrs. Collins was not effective in law, so in these circumstances he thought there was little harm in making the machine in question over to McKimmie by a process which he had already been taught to believe to be ineffective. Mr. Buchanan, finding his difficulties increasing, was obliged to consign his furniture in August last to Messrs. Morrison, auctioneers, for an advance of £133. Of this sum he paid the half in April last, and got the money to do so in a rather curious way. He despatched an accommodation bill, signed by Mr. Edward Henderson, newspaper agent, for £92, 10s. to Messrs. Arnold & Co., ink manufacturers, London, stating in his note that the bill was for “a balance he owes me,” and that Henderson and he had just been squaring up accounts. Mr. Buchanan, with reference to this statement, remarks, with considerable naivete, “It was true to a certain extent.” He knew that Henderson was at that time “in difficulties,” and he also was aware that he himself was in the same interesting circumstances “to a certain extent”—so much so, that he was fain to borrow money from a Mr. Abraham Harris, at a rate of interest amounting in one specified case to 60 per cent.— and yet he palms this bill upon the unsuspecting ink manufacturers and gets the money. Out of the proceeds he pays Messrs. Morrison £66, 16s. 10½d., and the rest, some £25, went to pay some “small pressing claims.”
Regarding his position, Buchanan says—“I have been in difficulties for two years;” and yet he seems to have had a jolly life of it. Two or three months ago he paid fifteen guineas for “liquor;” he is at present owing other fifteen pounds, “principally for ale,” and to crown all, he obtained, so lately as March last, a lot of champagne, Marsala wine, Burgundy wine, Hollands, &c., to the amount of £22. He was also a Captain of a company of Volunteer Rifles, and had the impudence, knowing that he was over head and ears in debt, to don the uniform of an officer and a gentleman, go up to London to the Queen’s Levee, and present his portly person to the notice of her most gracious Majesty. He now, however, makes his bow at a very different Court, and we daresay his creditors regret that he is not in uniform there also—the uniform being the celebrated “hatt or bonnett of zallow colour” which the “dyvours” were forced to put on and wear during a certain levee which they held in a prominent position “neir the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh.”
There is a good deal of matter suggestive of further comment in this man’s very queer and not very creditable confession. But he has taken that which is called the “statutory oath,” and we have done with him in the meantime. It will not be supposed that we have thought it worth while to notice him because he belongs to the newspaper trade. His revelations would be remarkable in any trade; and in so far as we have been in the habit of noticing bankruptcies of rather a piebald character, we have thought it incumbent upon us, as a matter of fair play, to bestow a little special consideration upon the case of this energetic advocate of the rights of the human race.
GLASGOW BANKRUPTCY COURT.—YESTERDAY.
(Before Mr. Sheriff BELL.)
RE-EXAMINATION OF ROBERT BUCHANAN, NEWSPAPER
PROPRIETOR, IN GLASGOW.
This bankrupt, the proprietor of the Glasgow Sentinel, Glasgow Times, Penny Post, and formerly of the Leeds Express newspapers, was again examined yesterday.
Present—Mr. Robert Wylie, accountant, trustee; Mr. Jas. McBride, writer, agent in the sequestration; Mr. Geo. Smith, writer, and Mr. Jas. Galbraith, writer, for creditors; and Mr. T. Smith, a creditor.
The bankrupt, re-examined by Mr. McBRIDE, deponed—I am shown a ledgerised account of my cash transactions with various individuals which were not entered in my books. The account under the head John Munro contains all the transactions I had with that individual, who is a tailor and clothier in Howard Street. The transactions noted in that account were all bills either for his accommodation or mine; the balance, however, is against me to the amount of about £95. I remember that there was an accommodation bill for £20 granted by Mr. Munro to me, due on the 8th March last. I got another accommodation bill from him on the 3d March, to enable me to retire the one which was due on the 8th. I did not, however, retire the £20 bill with the money. I had occasion to leave Glasgow on the 5th March and left instructions with Mr. McKimmie, my cashier, to provide for the bills falling due on the 8th. I left him cash to do so to within £40 of the amount required; and I also left a bill for the deficiency with Mr. William Love, which he promised to cash, and hand the proceeds to Mr. McKimmie. Being shown the cash-book kept by Mr. McKimmie, and asked to point out in that cash-book where there were funds to provide for the bills falling due on the 8th March, depones—I now do so, and state that with the additional £40, there was quite sufficient in Mr. McKimmie’s hands to meet all the demands which could be made upon him until I came back. On the 5th, while I was at the railway station, previous to my departure from Glasgow, Mr. Munro called upon me, and stated that he hoped I would take care to retire his bill. I mentioned to him that I had made arrangements with Mr. McKimmie to that effect. I do not recollect that Mr. Munro called upon me a second time to urge me to pay the bill. I did not use the proceeds of the bill of the 3d March to defray the expenses of my journey to London, as I had drawn money from the City of Glasgow Bank. The cash so drawn from the bank was part of the proceeds of the bill. My transactions with Mr. James Lindsay, as ledgerised, were solely accommodation transactions, partly for his benefit and partly for mine. Two of them were solely for my accommodation. The bills have been all retired, some of them since my bankruptcy, by Mr. Lindsay. Dr. James Hannah also granted me two accommodation bills in the end of last year, which are entered in the account now shown me. These are the whole transactions for my benefit which I have had with the doctor. I depone that I have not paid Dr. Hannah any money since my sequestration. I did not to my knowledge pay last week any sum of money to be handed to him, or to retire any of the bills for which he is an obligant. I paid a pound or two, however, to his wife on account of a member of my family who is in London. That payment had nothing to do with my business transactions. The amount was £5. The only bank account which I have kept for a long time back was with the City of Glasgow Bank. That account was all exhausted before my bankruptcy; and, although from the cash statements made up by me, and as shown in my books, there appears to be a balance in my favour, this must arise from an error in the statements, as there is really no sum at my credit in the bank. I have made no provision in any way to assist in the retiring of any of the accommodation bills which have been granted to me; and, to the best of my knowledge, I have given to the trustee every information as to my affairs. I have neither concealed anything nor kept back a single penny.
Examined by Mr. GEORGE SMITH—I stopped payment in the end of July, 1856. My liabilities then were £3794, 18s. 7d., and my assets, exclusive of the copyright, £1046. I paid a settlement of 6s. in the pound, which was 6d. per pound more than the estate showed. In addition to that I subsequently revived some of the debts to the extent of upwards of £900. Of that I paid about £300. I paid the composition to all the creditors on the £600, except two or three small accounts. I went into the Leeds business in December, 1857, and came out of it in the end of January, 1859. During that time I lost £1637. I knew it was a losing concern within two months of entering into it. The reason why I continued it was that in all new papers there is great expense at the outset; and I continued it in the hope of making it pay. Some friends in Leeds raised money on a cash credit, with the view of easing the concern. In the month of May the business was again in difficulties, when an effort was made to get a business manager into the concern, as the commercial department was not well attended to. A gentleman was found willing to become a partner in this way, but he withdrew, as he was not satisfied with the state of affairs. The reason why I carried on the concern afterwards on my own account was in the hope of making the business a marketable commodity, as at the time I took it over to myself the property was utterly unmarketable except as second-hand material, and I would have had the whole creditors down upon me at once, whereas time was a great object to me. It improved gradually, week by week, until it nearly paid itself; but I was nevertheless compelled to sell it, which I did for £650. From the time I took over the concern till I sold it I was losing money, to the extent, perhaps, of £200 or £300; but the principal loss was before that. I supplied all the plant for the Leeds paper, with a small exception, and the price of the plant is included in the statement. We charged everything at cost price except the materials going out of our own office, which formed an insignificant part of the whole account, and which we put a value upon. When I gave up the Leeds business, Messrs. Collins had withdrawn their credit, and this was one of the reasons why I was compelled to realise. I then found myself in difficulties, but I did not make any balance of my books, or make up any statement of my affairs. I was enabled to carry on in consequence of the arrangement with Collins & Son before referred to. I began to use accommodation bills in June, 1859. I got bills of that nature from Edward Henderson, who was a publisher and news-agent. I gave him accommodations in exchange several times. I got accommodation bills from Mr. Munro, clothier, to a limited extent. These accommodation bills amounted in all to a considerable sum, and at the time of my stoppage those which were on the circle amounted to about £400. I did business with the City of Glasgow Bank. I also discounted with private parties, and among others with Mr. Abraham Harris. I discounted four or five bills altogether with Harris, at different times. I paid a very heavy discount to him. I have paid him as much as £2 for £40 for a month. I began to deal with him at the latter end of 1859. I should have stopped then, or rather in January, 1859. Mr. McKimmie was my cashier all along but, as already stated, a great many of my cash transactions were done by myself, and did not go through him. I have made up a statement of these, which I have made up as correctly as I could from memory, but I do not say that it contains all the transactions. I kept no details of my personal or household expenditure. I merely guess it at £300 a year, but it may have been more. I got assistance from Mr. Scott, of Belfast, in Feb., 1860. It was £200. I gave him a bill for the amount, which was accepted by Edward Henderson. Mr. Scott knew that this was not a business bill, and that Henderson was merely a security. I told Scott generally I was in difficulties, but I did not tell him I was getting or giving accommodation bills to or from Henderson. I do not recollect whether I stated to Mr. Scott that the amount of my clear profits, after deducting expenses, was from £18 to £20 a week. About a fortnight afterwards I got £75 further from Scott, and about a month afterwards £40. For the £75 I have him an acceptance of Munro’s, and for the £40 an acceptance of Henderson’s. This last was drawn against Henderson’s trade account. If Henderson at that time had paid all the bills on the circle, he would have been a creditor of mine instead of a debtor. I did not tell Scott that I had got accommodation bills from Munro.
Interrogated—Did you show a statement to your banker, showing that the net clear profits from your papers were from £18 to £25 a week? Depones—I think I did show a month’s statement, but I did not represent to him that that was an average. This statement would show that the week’s net profits for that month were from £18 to £25. It would be a copy taken from the book before referred to, which, as before explained, is not correct. I add that, if I had stopped four months sooner, my bankers would have been creditors for about £300 more than they are. A short time before I stopped I showed to Collins & Son, and other creditors, a rough statement of my affairs. It made out that I was several hundred pounds behind, not £200; but there were no advances made on the faith of that statement. When I went to London on the 5th March, I took £15 with me, and I brought £5 back. Between the 5th and 7th March I got the following money, which is not entered in my cash-book—£38, the proceeds of a bill of Henderson’s; and £20, the proceeds of Munro’s bill before referred to. Of this I lodged £37 in the City of Glasgow Bank, and took the rest to London. I went to London in March to get the original lease of my premises I was in, which I supposed was in the hands of a friend there. The factor for the new proprietor was disputing the lease. I did not find the gentleman I went to see, he being on the Continent. I took occasion when I was there to attend the Volunteer levee. I also did business in London by collecting a number of accounts. The bill transaction with Arnold & Co., London, arose in this way:—Mr. Alexander, of Arnold & Co., was down here in the latter end of March last, and called upon me, with the view of doing business in the usual way, as an ink maker. He took me out to have some conversation, and as there is great competition in the ink trade, he was anxious to extend his business. He knew that I had had losses, and he stated to me—“Mr. Buchanan, if you will give us one half of your ink trade (which is considerable), we will be very happy to discount any reasonable amount of paper (meaning bills) for you in London.” I said I would see, and on the 31st March I sent him up a bill, accepted by Edward Henderson. I received the proceeds on the 6th April. I did not tell him it was an accommodation bill. I led him to believe it was a trade bill.
Re-examined by Mr. McBRIDE—The book debts connected with the business in Leeds are entered in a book kept by Mr. James Henderson, my manager, which has been placed in the hands of the trustee.
Examined by Mr. GALBRAITH—Being shown the original state of claims made up in the year 1855, when the bankrupt obtained a private settlement, and being desired to explain the claim of Mrs. Williams, for £268, 17s. 9d., deponed—No such claim is made or entered in the state of affairs which I have now made, but if it should yet be ranked, I will give the trustee all the information in my power.
The statutory oath was then administered.
The Glasgow Herald (1 August, 1860)
THE SENTINEL, &C., NEWSPAPERS.—The copyright of the Glasgow Sentinel, the Glasgow Times, and the Penny Post newspapers, together with the printing plant and job printing business belonging to the sequestrated estate of Robert Buchanan, newspaper proprietor, printer and publisher in Glasgow, was exposed to sale, in the Crow Hotel, yesterday afternoon, at the upset price of £1400. There were about twenty gentlemen present, but no offer was made. The sale was therefore adjourned. Mr. Burn, the auctioneer, however, intimated that it was possible some private arrangement might be effected, and he could not hold out the prospect of the property being again exposed at a reduced upset price.
The Bradford Observer (6 September, 1860 - p.3)
HOW TALES ARE GOT UP.—On Tuesday in last week a petition was presented to the Sheriff of Glasgow by George Stiff, proprietor of the London Journal, craving interdict against Alexander Wylie, accountant in Glasgow, trustee on the sequestrated estate of Robert Buchanan, publisher in Glasgow, and James McKimmie, publisher there, to prevent them from printing and publishing the tale aftermentioned in the Glasgow Times, on the ground, as the petitioner narrates, that he is registered proprietor of the copyright of a tale or novel called “Mysteries of the Castle,” which tale was published in London, in serial parts, in the course of the present year; that the petitioner caused part of the said tale to be reprinted in the London Journal, under the title of “Laura Etheridge,” which is being continued in that journal; that the defender, Wylie, has acquired right to a newspaper printed in Glasgow, called the Glasgow Times, and, notwithstanding the petitioner’s proprietorship of the said tale, he and the defender McKimmie (publisher), have wilfully pirated the copyright of the tale by printing and publishing part of it, under the title of the “Baroness; or Fortune’s Freaks,” in the Glasgow Times, without the petitioner’s consent, and have intimated their intention to continue printing further portions of it, all in violation of the petitioner’s copyright. The Sheriff having heard parties on Wednesday, granted interim interdict against the defenders, but without prejudice to the pleas of parties on the merits.
The Glasgow Herald (10 October, 1860)
GLASGOW SENTINEL, TIMES, AND PENNY POST.—The copyright and plant of these newspapers, under the bankrupt estate of Robert Buchanan, were for the second time exposed for sale, by public auction, by Messrs. P. Burn & Co., auctioneers, yesterday, in the Crow Hotel, at the upset price of £1250. Several gentlemen interested in the profession were present, but no offer was given, and the sale was therefore adjourned.
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