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Mitchell, Stanley (1833–1898)

from Cumberland Argus (Parramatta, Sydney)

To the Editor

Sir, — Some statements in your paper of January 29 concerning the private affairs of Mrs. P. B. Walker and the Parramatta Steamers Co., call for a correction from me. My closest friend and relative, the Rev. Stanley Mitchell, wrote me on the 26th November that, as it was his wish to die and be buried with his own people in his native land, he was leaving England for Sydney with Mrs. Mitchell in the China, leaving London at the end of December. A brief cablegram from his widow announces his death between Brindisi and Port Said. His remains will be taken, prior to interment, to the Church of St. Mary's, at Waverley, which he was instrumental in building, and where he ministered for over 25 years to a congregation by whom he was universally loved. Being a man of a delicate constitution he resigned his incumbency of St. Mary's some years ago and resided in England, and wintered in the Alps, at St. Moritz, in Switzerland, and making occasional visits to his native land. Though he had retired from the active service of the Church of England, he was always ready, as far as his health would allow, to relieve overworked or invalid clergymen wherever he happened to be; and he was always especially glad to assist his friend, the Rev. P. R. S. Bailey, at his beautiful Church of All Saints', Hunter's Hill, to which Church he presented its Communion Service. As a sincere and deeply sympathetic and generous Christian gentleman and broad-minded priest of the Anglo-Catholic Church, he was beloved by the poor and by whomsoever he was known, and his memory will ever remain dear to all to whom he ministered. None will feel his death more than the venerable Dean of Sydney, to whom he was related by marriage, and at whose hands he received his early training when a schoolboy at Stroud, Port Stephens, with the Hon. R. H. D. White, Mr. Charles Cowper and other well known public men. It was owing to the early influences of the late Venerable Archdeacon Cowper and of the Dean of Sydney, but more particularly of his mother — who died when he was yet a boy — that he relinquished his position in one of our leading financial institutions and his prospects of great success in a worldly sense, to devote himself to the service of the Church, while he was yet but a poor man. His good father left him a large fortune, a certain proportion of which he was to have settled upon his two sisters, but he read his father's will and instructions with great liberality, and he constituted his brothers-in-law, Mr. Edmond Stanley Ebsworth and Mr. P. B. Walker, managers and joint sharers with him, for their wives, of the bulk of his father's estate. It is quite untrue as stated in your article that Mrs. P. B. Walker's £50000 — (or whatever it was) — was largely sunk in the Parramatta steamers. She requested her brother to hand to her husband whatever was to go to her and Mr. Mitchell did so, and that money was lost before he took over the Parramatta steamers, but not one shilling was lost by Mr. P. B. Walker or his wife, my cousin — with whom, together with the rest of the family (except Mr. P. B. Walker) remain on terms of friendship — either in connection with the Parramatta steamers or myself.

Little good can come of raking up much of the past, but in justice to myself and my family and the Parramatta Steamers Co., let this little be known, that in 1888, at Mr. Walker's pressing request, and through his urgency, I sold to a friend of his in England for £57,500, to be paid in cash on delivery, that portion of my business here, which consisted of the Parramatta River steamers and tramway. That gentleman re-sold the business to the Sydney and Parramatta Wharves, Steamers and Tramway Co. (Ltd.) — a company registered in London, with Lord Bateman as chairman and several noble statesmen as directors — for £125,000, and the company was floated for £135,000, Major P. B. Walker's name appearing on the prospectus as 'Resident Colonial Director.' As I could not get my money here, I had to go to England to see about it, and I then found that the 'London Financial News' — of which the late Mr. Charles Lette, formerly of Sydney, was the editor — had denounced the excessive loading of the Company, and that the Directors, on making searching enquiry and considering that Mr. Walker's principal and others were making an unduly large profit by the re-sale, refused to complete with them, but, as my solicitors informed me, were willing to pay me my purchase money and something more, which the purchaser from me in London stopped by threat of legal proceedings.

At Mr. Walker's and his principal's written request and with my consent, given by cable, my attorneys in Sydney transferred to Mr. P. B. Walker my steamers, tramway business and whole plant, and at settlement with Messrs. Allen and Allen, my solicitors, Mr. Walker deducted from the £57,500 — which by subsequent arrangement was increased and should have been £59,500 — the liberal commission of £5000 for himself for the sale. He subsequently mortgaged the whole business and plant for £50,000, which he borrowed to enable him to pay me.

Ruin and insolvency were brought upon two of my sons, who were induced to undertake obligations when they were only acting as his manager and secretary of the P.R. steamers, and within a year or so Mr. Walker called a meeting of his creditors and ultimately sequestrated his estate. For myself received less than two-thirds of the value of the property I sold through Mr. Walker's agency, as valued by five of the most competent and reliable valuators in Sydney, thereby not only sacrificing a valuable business I had built up after nearly a quarter of a century of hard work — and which was yielding me a clear profit of over £8000 a year, as certified to by the late Mr. George Durham, accountant, of Sydney, and Messrs. Dauf and Fleck, accountants, of Melbourne, who examined into the accounts and business for Mr. Walker and his principal — but I also lost in reputation through secret and unfounded allegations made by Mr. Walker's friends, which, until they have now appeared in your paper, I have not had any opportunity publicly to deny. Yours, etc.,

C. E. Jeanerret.
'Wybalena,' Hunter's Hill, 2/2/'98.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Stanley Mitchell

Citation details

'Mitchell, Stanley (1833–1898)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mitchell-stanley-29181/text36317, accessed 24 August 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Birth

14 October 1833
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Death

10 January 1898
at sea

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence
Education
Occupation