Chapter 35: Establishing a Permanent Business in Liverpool
After being in Preston over two years, I saw an opportunity in Liverpool. So I offered my place for Sale, and Mr Watson the Auctioneer in the Orchard bought my Place as it stood, Pans and all for, I think, fifty six Pounds, about the same as I came to Preston with. I hurried on to Liverpool, where I took part of Stockdales Works, where the Pans had been. It was a fearful Wreck of a Place to look at: but I got it fitted up in a few Days. In less than a Month I was at work in blowing up Scum from three Sugar houses, which were Leach's, Dickens' and King's which had lately started Sugar Refining. I started in May, and by Christmas all my Debts were nearly paid to my great relief, for which I hope I was thankful to God for bringing me out of the Maze of Entanglements I had been in. I remained in Blackstock St. fifteen months and then I got Notice to quit, to my great inconvenience. I found a Place in Black Diamond St. at Forty Pounds a Year. The Place had been a Stone Yard, a Pot Foundry, a Tar Distillery, and when I took it it was a Paint and Colour Depot. There was only one small erection of Wood, which I bought for eight Pounds. The rest of the Place was in quite a Dilapidated Condition. The Roofs were all gone: these I had to reslate and put in order to make it fit for Occupation. But I was glad to get the Place and to get to Work.
This was in 1853 or 4. Now I hoped to be settled for a While, and went on Improving to meet the Wants of my Business. I erected Sheds around the Place for drying Bags, of which I had a great Quantity by James Tate and Crosfield and Barrow Bags which, with ship Scrapings constituted my Chief Business. However, after a Year or two, I thought that, if I could raise a Vacuum Pan, and Boil a little Sugar and make good Syrup, I could do without Buying Dock Scrapings, which Business I did not like on Account of the Suspicion attached to that kind of Business. Pilfered Sugar might be offered as loose collected Sugar, and so not only bring me into trouble but disgrace also, which, above all things, I wished to avoid. There was a Coppersmith I knew, a German called Feuerstaub whom I thought could fix me up a little Pan. Kings were altering their Pans to put in a larger Worm, so they had the small one to sell, which I bought for 6 Shillings. This I got Feuerstaub to form for a five feet Pan, and order the castings from Mr Weber, St Ann St. Now we were busy about this Pan, myself being the Coppersmith's Mate. All this Kind of thing suited and pleased me; but, after a considerable Expense, I found it is not the way to get a Cheap and good Job done. But then it suits a Man that has no good Balance in the Bank; for in this kind of way your money goes out in driblets that we do not feel. But, after all, we must work after our Kind. But, after getting the Pan together, I found I wanted something else. I must have an Engine. This I bought in the Pumpfield, where a Boilermaker was selling up. It was a four Horse Engine, for which I paid £54. Then I wanted an Air Pump; but I had to get two small ones, for the Engine was too small to drive one of the Requisite Size.
Eventually we got the Pan and Pumps fixed; but still there was something wanted, for we had no heater to hold the sugar when it was boiled. I only mention this to show how Ignorant Persons get Nonplussed when they have no Plan. At last we got the Pan under Way and found a great advantage in the New Process, inasmuch as now we could make Sugar from what Material we had for the Market and also Syrup, owing to the fact that we were Boiling at a much lower Temperature than Open Pan Boiling. So, upon the whole our new Venture was satisfactory. I now began to make more Money; but, being Easy Going I parted with Money also easily. But I think I ought to let out the Secret of my being so Easy about money matters. When I was brought by Grace to the Knowledge of God's dear Son and the Forgiveness of Sins the Grace of God seemed so great that everything else vanished into thin Air, and I detected in myself a Covetous disposition. As my friend Gibson, who used to give me a Sunday Dinner intimated, I always saved Money when I had a chance of doing so but could not keep it. For one or the other would always Borrow it. I could not refuse Lending, having present in my mind the Word of the Lord "Give to him that asketh of thee, and of him that would Borrow of thee, turn not thou Away". This I understood to mean, Son or Daughter, "You have Glory and Heaven hereafter: don't be so mean as to dote upon Money or of anything in this World. It is unbecoming your Dignity as a Son of God".
The Case being so, I gave up all Ideas of Club or insurance. I by no means condemn any one that is of a Contrary Mind. I am only showing my state of Mind in those Days of my first Love. Yet I must bear my Testimony to the Peace of Mind and the happy and free life I enjoyed in those days. For, though it subjected me to many losses - for four Times I had my Place on Fire - yet the consideration that I held that everything that I had was immediately from God, and that, if he wished me to be poor I was content. But I could not maintain this Position always, for, in course of time, I was brought into another Position. For a Time came when I had to compromise with my Creditors, as will be shown hereafter. Then I had to take in to my Business two Partners who were not of my Mind. Then we had to Insure, which I considered took away a great Part of my Liberty, and which could not be reasoned against. For, though I was willing to risk my own Property, I had no right to risk other People's. I came to see that Insurance was an excellent thing for a Community like ours, where everybody is a Trader, and all hang on one another. But, nevertheless, my Friends, you need not blame a Man that has a positive Pleasure in living this free and happy life - in living in entire dependence on God. But it is not given to everyone to live this Life: for all have not this Faith. But let us be thankful to God for whatever measure he has given us. For some have no Faith at all, nor do not want any, the more's the Pity. For what a poor creature is Man without Faith in God in whom we live and have our Being. Without him we cannot live, and without him we cannot comfortably Die. When we consider the Ups and Downs of this Vain Life we live on this World, what a Mercy it is that God allows us to come to him at all times, no matter what our Trouble is, with the Assurance that he will help us.
In the Course of my Life I have been in many Troubles, in none of which has God failed me. I may mention one in Particular, when I thought that all Hope of Deliverance was out of the Question, when I did not know where to turn, or from where I could look for Deliverance that a Word of God came to me with such power that I looked up with Amazement. "Call upon me in the Day of trouble and I will deliver thee and thou shalt Glorify me". I said "If that is so, O Lord, deliver me for thine own Name's Sake". Immediately my Trouble was no Trouble. The Dark Clouds that I thought were Impenetrable receded at his Word into Sunshine, Peace and Joy. I said "If this is thy Way, O Lord, let Troubles like a deluge come and Storms of Sorrow fall, may I but safely reach my Home, my God, my Heaven, my All". But, I must say this much: this cannot be attained unto but by immediate intercourse with God and the Lord by Faith in Jesus Christ the Righteous. For has he not said "Whatsoever ye shall ask the father in my Name he will give it You"? This is a great Mystery; but by this we are tied to God by an Indissoluble Band which death cannot dissolve: but we by it come to God and heaven. After this Vain and transitory Life is done with instead who will shew any good that this World will afford. For we all know that this world will pass away without the Scripture telling us!
Thus far I have gone in a Rambling way from my Narrative; but let us go on to the subject in Hand, and do better if we can for the Time to Come. As I said, I got my little Vacuum fixed and began to make Money, inasmuch as I found I had the command of eighteen hundred Pounds. This, being held in a hand so loose as mine misseled away in this way. One morning after Family Prayers, myself enjoying the exercise exceedingly, being absorbed in thought and feeling the Lord's Presence very near, a Knock came to the Door. Mr Athertone the Lawyer was announced, whom I had employed in a Case wherein my Brother was concerned. He said that he had come to ask a favour from me. He was in Trouble just then. "Could I oblige him with the loan of one hundred and fifty pounds?" Myself being still absorbed with the Morning Exercise said "Yes: if you will meet me at Thos's(?) shortly I will give it you." Soon after I had given my Word I thought I had done a Foolish thing; but I thought that as I had given my Word I could not go from it as a Christian. So I met him at the Bank and, as I was writing out the Cheque he said "You may as well make it two hundred and I will pay it in here in two or three days". So I gave him a cheque for two hundred pounds assuredly gathering for the time being it would be all right. But, instead of receiving my money I got a Notice of Mr Atherstone's Bankruptcy, of which I got 2/6 in the Pound. Then there was another man that I had promised to help from which I could not draw back, on account of the Promise I had made, although I perceived that the man was using(?) me. By him I lost about one hundred and fifty pounds, and to another about the same, and others I will not mention, always by being ensnared by words of my Lips, for I always thought that the Word of a Christian was as good as another man's Oath. I mention these things, although my cheeks burn at my Foolishness. Nevertheless it must be told: or else where is a true History?
Well, as I say, in this Way I managed to dribble away my Money, which would have sustained a Strain which would certainly come on any Man engaged in Business. But I also came under a New Obligation by buying a new Pan from Scotland which perhaps proved the greatest Bar to success that I had yet encountered. For it was badly constructed and, by Boiling over sent all our Profit, and much more, into the Canal. This put us into a queer Position for, being unaccustomed to Vacuum Pans, we did not Know where the loss came from. But my Son found it out at last, by putting a flag into the Neck of the Pan and finding it was besmeared with Sugar. So we were fearfully diminishing on the Cash Side, which made us Stare and Wonder how that was to be got over. But, as we say, "Time and Tide waits for nobody" so it was with us, for we were sharply brought up to Pay our Debts but could not. So we were brought to the Bankruptcy Court to give an Account of ourselves and Pay up. But we demurred and shuffled and did not know how we could.
But, by the Ingenuity of Lawyers a Way was made for us. They said; "Well then, what can you Pay?" That was also a posing Question: for we did not Know. "Can you Pay fifteen shillings in the Pound?" "No", I said, "hardly that!" "Well",they said, "can you pay ten?" "Well, I will see what can be done!" So, having conferred with Mr James Leitch, who kindly offered to Guarantee ten shillings in the Pound in three payments, I offered that to the Creditors and was Accepted and so was allowed to go on if I could. But it was not possible without taking in a Partner or Partners. So two men presented themselves, Mr Wm, Marsh and Mr T. Monk, who agreed each to put fifteen hundred pounds into the Business and Guarantee a good Overdraft at the Bank.
On this Agreement I started again, but, in the meantime, I was laid up in Bed for a Month. This certainly was the darkest time, or as dark as ever shadowed me in my Life, for apparently I was at deaths Door. Business and everything in confusion. Oh, how would it have gone with me if I had not a Good and Gracious God and a Lord Jesus Christ to go to in my trouble. A Familiar Christian Friend said to me "You are Ruined". I said "No, as long as Jesus Christ lives I cannot be ruined: for I have his Guarantee that as long as I live he will stick to me and I shall not Die in Debt. I have his Assurance for that! And so it was. For all that Month I had his Comfortable and Gracious Presence with me. Not a care or thought for the Future. So, when the time of the Sick Room was over, I had rather a lament that it was so.