[ William Johnstone, General Merchant of Launceston, Van Diemen's Land [ Tasmania ].] Manuscript accounts of six Australian firms with him: William Bayles; Henry Burge; Westgarth, Ross & Co.; Lewis Cohen; Du Croz, Nichols & Co.; Moses Moss.

William Johnstone (c.1819-1874), General Merchant, Launceston, Van Diemen's Land [ Tasmania ]; William Bayles; Henry Burge; Westgarth, Ross & Co.; Lewis Cohen; Du Croz, Nichols & Co.; Moses Moss
Publication details: 
[ Launceston, Van Diemen's Land [ Tasmania ]; and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. ] Between 1853 and 1866.
SKU: 20150

See William Johnstone's obituary in the Illustrated Tasmanian News, May 1874. He was born in England and left Somerset for Van Diemen's Land in 1841. He set up in business the following year in Launceston, which had been founded in 1806, and is said to be the third oldest colonial settlement in Australia, after Sydney and Hobart..As the years proceeded he prospered spectacularly, and by the time of his death he was so highly esteemed, that 'many places of business had the front windows partially closed while the shipping in port and the Town Hall had the Union Jack hoisted at half mast'. The nine documents are in fair condition, on aged and worn paper with occasional closed tears. They comprise the meticulous and detailed accounts of six Australian and Tasmanian firms with Johnstone, mostly double-entry, with minor variations in layout reflecting the different approaches of the six firms. Most are substantial (Item Nine, for example, shows debits of £19482 11s 3d, and credits of £10482 11s 3d.), with three of the those involved (Bayles, du Croz and Westgarth) featuring in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Taken as a whole the accounts provide a substantial amount of information casting valuable light on Australian and Tasmanian economic and social history. Of interest are Items Five (Lewis Cohen) and Eight (Moses Moss), which show Johnstone's dealings with Jewish merchants. In the following description only a small sample of the items present in the various documents is listed, in order to provide an impression of the range. ONE to THREE: William Bayles & Co. of Melbourne. [See William Bayles (1820-1903) in ADB, which states 'In 1846 he arrived in Van Diemen's Land and was a shipping merchant in Launceston until 1852 when he established in Victoria the shipping firm of Bayles & Co., remaining part-owner and agent for the Launceston and Melbourne Steam Navigation Co.']. Three double-page, 'In Account Current', signed from Melbourne on the firm's behalf on 1 January 1856 ('Goods (Pork)', 'Empty Butter Tubs', 'Gold pr Capt Woods', Marsala wine, whiskey, 'R A McKenzie', 'Flour'); 1 January 1857 ('Postages', bran, oats, potatoes, barley, butter); 30 June 1857 (tea, oats, nutmegs, ale, wine). FOUR: Henry Burge & Co. of Melbourne. One double-page, 'in a/c'. Signed from Melbourne on the firm's behalf and dated 8 October 1859 ('Cash to retire Harley & Co's Bill', '½ loss on Flour ex “Black Swan” | [½ loss on Flour] ex “Royal Shepherd” | [½ loss on] Oats ex “Mercury”', 'Allowance on Wheat ex “Little Pet”'). FIVE: Lewis Cohen of Launceston. [Probably Lewis Cohen (1831-1903).] One single-page, 'in acct'. Signed from Launceston on the firm's behalf, 29 August 1859 (bills, 'Auction acct.', 'Goods on acct', and two entries of 'Errors in extension'). SIX and SEVEN: Du Croz, Nichols & Co. of Launceston. [Frederick Augustus du Croz (1821-1897; ADB) and Charles Nichols (1827-1878)), described by one modern source as 'an importer of general merchandise and an exporter of wool'.] One single-page account, headed 'Ducroz & Co', with entries from June 1861 to March 1864 (commissions), unsigned and undated; and one double-page, 'In Account Current', signed from Launceston on the firm's behalf , 31 March 1866 ('Bill discounted', 'Union Bank'). EIGHT: Moses Moss of Sydney. [Morris Moses Moss (1819-1883), Sydney merchant banker, described in his long obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1883, as 'a well-known figure in commercial circles', and a 'prominent and active member' of 'the Jewish community of Sydney'.] One double-page, 'in a/c', headed 'Interest to 20th. July 1859. Signed from Sydney on the firm's behalf, 20 July 1859 ('Goods pr Dart', 'Bank Dft', 'Nett proceeds Tea ex Buonaparte'). NINE: Westgarth, Ross & Co. of Melbourne. [William Westgarth (1815-1889; ADB).] One double-page, in “Flour” acct current'. Signed 'Will Johnstone' and dated from Launceston, 28 February 1853 ('25 Tons Fine Flour, bags incl:', insurance, commission, 'brokerage effecting Insurance', and single entries on the Sea Witch, Ariel, Mariposa, Rattler and Gem, all to Melbourne; the Seabelle, Helen and Peri to Geelong).