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Source: Bell's Weekly Messenger, No.1779, Sunday, May 2, 1830.

Failure of Messrs. Palmer and Co., of Calcutta

Advices received from Calcutta state the failure, on the 1st of January, of the old and eminent house of Palmer and Co. of that city. On that day the partners held a private meeting of their friends, when the deficit on their books appearing very large, and the concerns of great intricacy and importance, they thought it their duty to declare their insolvency, and to take the benefit of the recent bankrupt law in India. On the 4th of January, a notice was accordingly given and published in the Gazette, and the 6th was appointed for a meeting of creditors, for the purpose of appointing assignees. The house had also notified its ability to produce assets equal to one half the amount of its debts, as soon as assignees were named to receive them. The shock of this failure was very severe in Calcutta, but a hope is expressed in the letters that its effects would not extend further, and it was understood that the superintendence of the winding up of the affairs of Messrs. Palmer and Co. would he confined to two gentleman of the highest respectability, connected with one of the most eminent mercantile houses in Calcutta. The firm of Palmer and Co. has been established more then half a century, and is said in great measure to have owed its fall to the extreme liberality with which it has ever made advances to the members of the two services (civil and military) in India.

The Bengal Hurkaru of the 8th of January, contains an account of the first meeting of the creditors of Messrs. Palmer and Co. Sir Charles Metcalfe was called to the chair. The Hon. Mr. Elliott then addressed the meeting in explanation of the course he and Sir Charles Metcalfe had adopted, as attornies for Messrs. Cockerell and Co., of London, who were creditors of Messrs. Palmer and Co. to the amount of about 400,000l. It had become an object as it was stated, with Messrs. Cockerell and Co. to reduce that debt to 250,000l., or obtain security for such amount as would reduce it to 200,0001., the credit to which Messrs. Palmer and Co. had been limited. To effect this power of attorney had been sent out to Sir Charles Metcalfe and to Mr. Elliott, in consequence of which an interview had taken place, and subsequently a correspondence with Mr. Palmer on the subject. Mr. Elliott stated the substance of some of the letters, from which it appeared that Messrs. Cockerell and Co. had been in the habit of making consignments of goods to Messrs. Palmer & Co., and not being satisfied with the manner in which returns were made, desired to associate with them a Mr. Spier, as joint agent or consignee. This was refused by the house, who further complained of the letter written to Mr. Spier as calculated to do them harm, as well by manifesting distrust as by the instructions themselves. It was allowed that Messrs. Cockerell and Co. were justified in reducing their credit to 200,0001., but as they had menaced Messrs. Palmer and Co. by dishonouring their drafts, which had been heavy, they could not in justice to their creditors make over any property until they knew the issue. They had intermediately offered as security indigo factories valued at 10 lacs, and a claim on Mr. Brownrigg, one of the partners of Messrs. Cockerell and Co., valued at five lacs of rupees. Various other matters were brought under discussion, but without any result. The first meeting of the creditors took place on the 2d of January, when, as had been already stated, the necessity for suspending payments became apparent. Mr. Prinsep, one of the partners of the firm of Palmer and Co., stated that assistance to the extent of from twenty-six to thirty lacs of rupees was requisite to enable the house to go on, which some of the gentlemen present, after consulting, declared that they could not advance. Mr. Elliott appealed to the meeting to say whether there was any thing in his proceedings which could be said to have led to the failure of the house, an it appeared to be the sense of the meeting that be and Sir C. Metcalfe had acted in a fair and considerate manner. After all attempts to save the house of Palmer and Co. had proved unavailing, the 6th was fixed for the general meeting. The following merchants were ultimately fixed on as the assignees:—Sir C. T. Metcalfe, Hon. J. E. Elliott, John Smith, James Young, James Calder, James Beatson, Robert Brown, Colonel Galloway, Edward Molong, Theodore Dickens, Captain G. Young, Dwarkanath Tagore, Aushootos Day.
In the first list of assignees formed and presented in the usual manner to the Insolvent Court, the name of Mr. Palmer himself was placed at the head; but the Chief Justice remarked, that there was a legal objection to his becoming one of the assignees, which was in fact making an assignment from himself to himself. His lordship observed, however, that the compliment thus paid him by the creditors was a most flattering one.