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consequently endangering their prospects, however good they may have been. Take the CHILLY GOLD MINING COMPANY as another instance. It started with a capital of half a million pounds, £425,000 of which was to be paid (£260,000 in cash, and £165,000 in shares) to the Gold Agency, which promoted it. It was stated that “During " the past ten years £300,000 have been expended in

acquiring and developing the property and demonstrating “ its value”; and there was embodied in the prospectus a table showing that about 52,000 oz. of gold, or £180,000 worth had been got out of the property, which we presume has to be deducted from the amount expended to arrive at the actual net outlay, leaving £120,000 as representing explorations, plant, &c. Now, although after ten years' working, the labour and risk ought to count for much when a mine is proved, it is idle, out of a capital of £500,000 to leave only £75,000 to provide fresh machinery, &c., to carry on such an extensive undertaking. And so it has turned out, as their capital seems to have been expended some time ago, and debentures raised to provide further funds. Then, as to their expectations. It was estimated that a net profit of £53,055, or equal to 10 per cent on the entire capital would be earned in the first year, and that, when the full number of stamps were erected (which, we suppose, the working capital of £75,000 was inter alia to purchase), 103,500 oz., or equal to a dividend of 50 per cent. would be produced. As during 1882 less than 17,000 oz. (about one-sixth of their anticipations) were obtained, it will be seen that in approaching the public the company took good care to be prepared with liberal estimates. No dividends have been paid up to date.

It is unnecessary to dwell at length on the numerous other mines bidding for public support in that country, only it may be incidentally mentioned that the New Callao, Limited (£75,000 capital), the West Callao, Limited (£150,000 capital), the Victoria Gold Company, Limited (£200,000 capital), and, quite recently, the New Cicapra and Mercedes Gold Mining Company, Limited (£250,000 capital), have all staked their existence on their proximity to the El Callao, whose richness is undoubted, and “has been paying monthly dividends of 60 per cent. or 720 per cent. per annum on the original shares.” If a tithe of the dividends these companies promise be obtained they will prove extremely profitable, but that happy outcome remains to be seen, and the immediate results approximately be guessed at when it is considered that

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the Nouveau Monde, a French Société Anonyme, started in the neighbourhood twenty years ago, has not yet rewarded its patient shareholders with any return on their capital.

The intention throughout these pages is that nothing here stated should act adversely on the holders of shares in any of the companies alluded to or that remain to be mentioned, but some are now beyond any such influences. The details here enumerated are already well known to those who are in the habit of following the progress of such undertakings. The list of ventures chosen by way of illustration is not in any way exhaustive, but they have been fixed on mainly as recent instances of industrious promoting, and while their histories are fresh in the minds of everybody. Unfortunately, the tendency is too soon to forget the lessons taught by the failures of such enterprises. A year or two elapses, the old schemes are forgotten, a new generation of investors has arisen, and the whole unfortunate series of calamities is perpetrated over again. Apart from those relating to Indian gold mines and electric light companies (which are of sufficient importance to be dealt with specially), the last prospectus to be referred to here is put on record because it seeks to show that, despite the legions of companies which are brought out every year, it is the opinion of some that the joint-stock system has not yet been properly appreciated, that the schemes promoted have been too few in number, and that the profits of starting them have gone into too few hands. They therefore ask the general public to participate in the tremendous profits attaching to legitimate promotion, which hitherto has been merely an ideal unattained, though not necessarily unattainable. From the insight it gives into what can be done by a public promoting syndicate and how profitable the project may become, a study of its main features will enable us to form some opinion of what is done by private promoters. There is to be a "quarterly division of profits," and " dividends may fairly be estimated "at from 50 to 100 per cent., increasing in proportion to the “ business accepted and carried out by the syndicate. If "the syndicate launches only ten companies during the

year, 50 per cent. will be obtainable on its capital of £25,000. A commendable feature of this syndicate is its candour, and if it regenerates even to an appreciable extent the present indiscriminate floating system, it deserves to succeed. It advertises thus :

Hitherto syn“dicates have been created amongst a select few, and are " of a very exclusive character, the fabulous profits, varying

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" from 200 per cent., to 500 per cent. being enjoyed by the “founders of them only. There is no possible reason why “ the public generally should not be admitted into them “and share some of the enormous gains." The address they issued ran thus : “Notwithstanding numerous failures " of joint-stock companies and the frequent cases of " fraudulent and gross mismanagement of them periodically "exposed in the law courts, the LIMITED LIABILITY ACTS

are now more than ever appreciated, and companies are daily formed in great number under them,” and after instancing that, in 1882, “no fewer than 1,476 companies, " with a total capital of over £216,500,000, have been "registered under the Companies Acts," it says, "and, as " by them the investor knows where his liabilities begin "and where they end, their number will constantly "increase." We cannot, however, agree with it when it laments that the legislature " has failed to provide for the "registration of an 'idea,' or company, for a nominal fee." We are of decided opinion that the facilities for registration of ideas and companies are already too numerous, and the rules too easily complied with; and it would be better if occasionally there were a few more hindrances thrown in the way of their registration. The following paragraphs, however, are not at all overstated, and we cannot do better than transfer them bodily to these pages :

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“Unfortunately, promoters, as a rule, are not regarded in a very “ favourable light. Their inordinate charges for “promoting' (or, as “ it is now fashionably called, 'founding ') companies were in former

years, so oppressive and out of all proportion to the services "rendered, that many promising ventures never got beyond the purely

preliminary stages ere they were attacked by the professional

liquidator and wound up ; and from rapacity, recklessness, and “ want of bona fides in their operations, the reputation of those engaged “ in 'promoting' has become tarnished. They have created a halo of “ doubt around themselves, and are approached with fear and distrust.

The truth is, 'promotion money,' or charges for promoting companies, has, for the reasons stated above, frightened investors away ;

and, while vast sums lie hoarded up unproductively, thousands of “ schemes which would prove of immense public benefit, if brought

out, remain in embryo ; but if an open, straightforward statement appeared in a modern prospectus to the effect that £ 5,000 has to be paid for promotion and preliminary charges, no one would invest. On the other hand, if a wily promoter put forward a going concern,' or a 'mine in full work, to be taken over' or converted into a

limited company, and it is worth, say, £20,000 all told, the promoter “ would immediately tack on £5,000, and sell to the company for

£25,000, and so obtain, in a secret way, that which, in former years, he obtained openly enough, still calling a spade, a spade.''

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As the directors of that syndicate seem to appreciate so fully the bad side of the floating of joint-stock companies, it is hoped that they will be successful in assisting what this book, in some small measure, desires to effect, -a reform of the most glaring evils of the present system, and perpetuate none of them.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE INDIAN GOLD-MINING CRAZE.

“All that glitters is not gold.”

ERHAPS the cleverest examples,-if the word clever is

not misapplied to such questionable transactions, of fleecing the British public at the instance of promoters, are to be found in the history of the so-called Gold-Mining Craze in India. So much has been heard of these projects during the past few years that readers may be excused for leaving unread the pages treating of a subject, the details of which have no doubt for a long time been "stinking in the nostrils” of many. Still, however unprofitable to students of the best side of human nature, the painful process must here be gone through of telling in a few words the leading features attending the introduction of these cunningly devised methods of creating investments.

It may be premised that the fields of their operations were two in number,—the MYSORE District and the WYNAAD district, and that altogether about nine mines have been promoted in the former and twenty-five in the latter. The products of their labours have been arranged in tabular form with the intention of showing, first, the capital sunk in these associations, and, next, the approximate amount of the sums which have found their way into the purses of the astute gentlemen who have nursed them and watched by their cradles.

MYSORE DISTRICT.

Name of Company.

Nominal Capital.

.Amount Paid for

Property in Cash and Shares.

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£. 85,000 90,000 45,000 55,000 75,000 60,000 75,000 50,000 75,000

...

£,. Madras Gold ...

135,000 Colar

150,000 Great Southern Mysore

62,000 Mysore

135,000 Mysore Reefs...

120,000 Nine Reefs

100,000 North Ooregum

120,000 Nundydroog ...

77,000 Ooregum

125,000

WYNAAD DISTRICT. Alpha

24,000 Carta Para

50,000 Central Wynaad

100,000 Cherambadi

50,000 Cootacovil

100,000 Devala Moyar

200,000 Devalah Central

120,000 Devalah Provident

75,000 Dingley Dell ...

100,000 Indian of Glasgow

50,000

...

half profits.

62,000 32,000 60,000 132,000 70,000 30,000 70,000

10,000 & part profits.

275,000

:::

400,000

...

...

Indian Consolidated ...
Indian Glenrock (including South

Indian)
Indian Kingston
Indian Mammoth
Indian Phænix
Indian Trevelyan
Nilgiri ...
Rhodes Reef
South-East Wynaad.
South Wynaad
Tambracherry
Wala Wynaad
Wentworth
Wynaad District
Wynaad Perseverance
Prandi River (if floated ?)
Simon's Reef

240,000
130,000
150,000
150,000
150,000
120,000
190,000
100,000
100,000
160,000

75,000
120,000
100,000
80,000

108,000 91,500 70,000 86,000 100,000

85,000 130,000 56,000 65,000 120,000 35,000 80,000 40,000 50,000

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Total absorbed in payments for properties £2,562,500
Highest aggregate of Stock Exchange Quotations
(estimated).

£7,000,000
Present aggregate of Stock Exchange Quotations
(estimated)

£220,000

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