Chapter 32: Setting Up My Own Sugarhouse
Now the time was drawing near when this part of my discipline was to close - that is the Odds and Ends of Warehouse Work. For now I got work at Mr Mollenhauer's Sugarhouse, where they boiled West India Molasses into Bastard Sugar. I stayed there some Weeks; but when Mr Mollenhauer sold Dale St Sugarhouse to a Mr Walker, I went with him to a Place which he had taken in Valor St. Vauxhall Road, where I stayed with him fifteen months until he Failed. I had with him one Pound a week - the greatest wages I ever had - for the fifteen months I was there. So I cleared off the Debt of my Boat and Odds and Ends of small Debts that I had contracted during the dreary time of Building and Sailing the Boat, and I had two Pounds ten shillings left over. So I made up my Mind to go to London and see my Mother, whom I had not seen for eleven Years.
I went up to London in April 1843 in a Third Class Carriage with Open Top. The Journey was Fifteen Hours, and we had Snow and Sleet on the Way up. When I landed at Camden Town, where my Sister lived I could scarce feel my Legs, they were so benumbed with Cold. My Sister kept a Mangle with which she made her living, which I turned for a while. Her Father in Law was at Pickfords the Railway Carriers, and he got me a job there at Night Work at Sixteen Shillings a Week. I did not like the Work, for we had to work into Sunday Morning to attend to the Delivery of Fish, which would take me up to Eleven O'Clock on Sunday Morning. I found this did not accord with my ideas, for after working all Night I found I had neither Spirit nor Relish to attend Worship at the Lord's House, which above all things seemed to me the only things worth living for. So I gave Notice to leave working there in a Fortnight. This gave me Money enough to return to Liverpool after stopping in London seven Weeks.
When I got back to Liverpool I went to my old Lodging at Mr Myers, Powell Square. I found work hard to get, so, after going into debt at my lodgings two Pounds ten shillings, I thought I would try my old Place, King and Vickers, asking for a Job. I saw a Man in the Yard and asked him if there was any Chance. "No"'he said, "for I have heard Jabez say (that is, the Master's Son) 'It is no use George coming here asking for Work; for we will give him none'"
"Why", says I, "What have I done?" "Well", says I, "If that is so, I must make work for myself!". Immediately a thought struck me: "Borrow ten Pounds!" The Lord moved me thereto, I having it strong on my Spirit that the Lord would be with me, making it to prosper. So the first person I asked to lend me ten Pounds was my old Master, Mr King. "Well", says he, "I will see what Master Vickers says about that!" So, when I called on him to hear the result, he said; "I have seen Mr Vickers, and he says 'We have many Bills to meet ourselves; therefore we cannot lend you the Money!" "Very well", says I, "if you cannot, someone else must." So I borrowed five pounds from Mr Salisbury, three pounds from Nicolas Allday, and two pounds from Mr Jones, the grocer, making up the ten pounds.
From the last place I was working, where we used to get Sugar Bags from a sugar house which we made into Treacle, I got the Idea that if I could get an old Pan and a Place to put it, I could gather Sugar Bags and Hogsheads and make Treacle for the Blacking makers. So I looked out for a Pan, and found one at Mr Logan's old Ironyard, which I bought for four pounds, giving 2/6 for Cartage to bring it home to a Place in the Old Pottery Yard, which I hired for four shillings a Week. I got a Bricklayer named Tom Hughes to set it up, got the Water laid on, got Tubs for washing the Bags, Bought Grate and Bars, Fireshovel and Odds and Ends sufficient to make a Start. I found when totting up that all the Items came to Fourteen pounds ten shillings and sixpence. I told Mr Myers my landlord how I stood. Says he, "If you will take me in with you, I will make up what you are deficient in." So we agreed together for him to come in with me as Partner, he paying for all Material, he taking and holding all that was made therefrom in the shape of treacle or Bags. I was to receive my Board and Lodging Free; that is, I was to live as I did before but without paying for anything, which came to about 9/6 per week. All that was made over and above that we were to divide Equally. We went on in this way for about three months; but there was no Profit to divide.
Mr Myers got tired of this, and so did I. So I proposed to Mr Myers that if he would be security for me with three others for fifteen Pounds, I would buy a Pony and Cart so that I could go round the Grocers' shops myself instead of buying them from the Women as we had hitherto done. To which he gladly assented: my Sureties were Mr Myers 1, Mr Soul the Basketmaker 2, Mr Ross the Grocer in Park Lane 3, Mr Jones, Grocer, Scotland Road 4. These four Borrowed the Money out of the Britannia Loan Office Great Crosshall St, which was one of the First, if not the first set up in Liverpool. The Terms were, five per cent deducted when taking out the Loan, leaving fourteen pounds&c. Both the Managers, Mr Geo. Golding and Mr John Lyons were Friends of mine. I bought a Pony and Cart with most of the money, having two or three pounds over wherewith I paid for what I bought of Bags or Hogsheads and brought home with my Pony and Cart. I found I had too little money to trade on; but I had a circle of Friends from whom I would borrow. This was my manner of Working. When I was short, and I was always short, I would go to the Lord and say: "Lord, I want so much Money. Incline the Heart of such a one to lend it me!" I don't know any that refused. I would stipulate, saying: "I will pay you back such a time", for I considered they were the Lord's Creditors. It would happen sometimes that the Money was not forthcoming: then I would go to another friend, and Borrow of him to pay the First. And so I went on always being up to the Mark; but my position was always being in Debt - like a man walking over a Marshy Place, overlaid with Planks, stepping on one Plank and then another. So my Position was Praying and Working, Working and Praying, with not the least idea in looking back; but forward with Cheerfulness and Confidence knowing that the Lord was at my Back, therefore I could not fail.
I had Forty week allowed to pay off my Loan; but I paid it off in twenty Weeks: so I felt perceptibly that I was gaining Ground and so had Courage to take on a Man to Assist me in the Business.