Our unfortunate position is attributable to heavy losses by bad debts extending over some time to losses on goods imported and exported from this market and the necessary heavy expenses of an establishment in this place. A large quantity of goods hence are up to last advices unsold in the hands of Messrs A. C. Stewart and Co and which stand to be debited to them as remittances at Invoice Cost and the result of which may favorably (or the contrary) affect our Estate. You may rest assured that we shall in every way facilitate the realisation and prompt distribution of our assets we are prepared to give up everything to those to whom we are indebted.
It would be undesirable that it should be wound up in the Insolvent Court as the cost involves generally 2/ p and it is tedious in operation. (We are, however, pre pared to take that course if required) the most simple in expensive and rapid process would be that it should be assigned over to 2 creditors for the benefit of the rest or that it be wound up by ourselves under inspection. As you will see our Creditors are almost all in England our transactions in this market being almost nil.
As it is just possible you might authorise one of ourselves to represent your interests and thus save expense we would ask you not to do so but will take the liberty of suggesting to you the name of Mr Edward Chalmers, Merchant, eldest son of Dr Chalmers of Liverpool as a gentleman of the highest honor and integrity and who could faithfully carry out any trust re posed in him pray do not consider this suggestion uncalled for or impertinent but accept it as intended and with the idea that you might be at a loss to know whom to nominate. Again assuring you of our deep sorrow that we should be obliged thus to address you and thanking you for the favors we have hitherto received from you.
This letter is of interest from the fact that it is sent direct to Storeys, at Lancaster. When the firm really got a foot into the European and South American markets in the years soon after 1860, they did so through a London firm of shippers. In January, 1942, Mr Will Thresher put down on paper some of his business recollections. Linked with what his father had told him, these go back to the 1860s when James Alexander held Storey’s London agency. Dealing with overseas connections he says:
The export trade was always of paramount importance. I believe Mr Alexander in the early days had a commission on the account of Jonas Simonsen and Co., Continental Shippers. But the business with this firm grew to such importance and became so specialised that they became Storey’s agents for the continent of Europe and South America.
Mr Warburg of this firm was a man of great capacity, and to his ability and driving power, Messrs Storeys doubtless owed much of the development and excellence of their manufacture at that period, especially in the production of Napkin Cloth. It was characteristic of him that when Storeys said they could not make Oilcloth as soft and flexible as the silk handkerchief to say, ‘That’s just what I want you to do,’ and to some extent he got it.