Sunday, 25 October 2009

Scottish Banking(part 10)

Many memories linger round the Ship Bank, which
is dear to Glasgow business men as the earliest finan-
cial prop of the commerce of the City. Naturally, most
of these stories centre upon Mr. Carrick, who was
conspicuous not only as the first bank manager in
Glasgow, but also from his peculiarities of character.
While he was eminently fitted for his post by reason
of his shrewdness and caution, yet he appears to have
been of a miserly disposition, and to have possessed
few, if any, lovable traits of character. But his pro-
minence as a banker in Glasgow justifies the inclusion
 of any available anecdotes regarding him.

One day when he was sitting in his private room
at the bank ,a gentleman (said to have been Thomas
Stewart of the Field), who was upon intimate terms
with him, called to transact some trifling bank busi-
ness. The matter being arranged, these gentlemen
sat down to a sober two-handed crack, which Mr.
Carrick enjoyed very much when he met an old
acquaintance. All of a sudden Mr. Carrick rose up and
proceeded to his iron safe, from which he extracted
a piece of paper, carefully folded up, which, having
spread out, he laid it before his visitor, saying,
" Here is a bill made payable at the bank; will you
be so good as to give me your opinion of it? "
The gentleman, having examined the bill, returned
 it to Mr. Carrick, saying, "I am greatly surprised, Mr
Carrick, at your having discounted that bill." " How
so?" said Mr. Carrick. " Because," said the gentle-
man, with an emphasis, " it is a forgery! ” At this
Mr. Carrick merely gave a gentle smile, calmly folded
up the bill, and on rising to restore it to his iron safe
simply remarked with a nod, " It is a very good bill.”
In fact, Mr. Carrick had a shrewd guess that the bill
was a forgery when he discounted it,but he also knew
that it was sure to be regularly paid when due: he,
however, was desirous of ascertaining from another
person if his suspicions were well-founded.

Upon one occasion Mr. Carrick was eyeing with
suspicious vision a bill presented to him for discount.
"You need not fear," said the palpitating customer.
" One of the parties keeps his carriage’ " Ay,"
rejoined the banker. “ I shall be glad if he keeps his feet."

A countryman having applied in December to Mr.
Carrick to discount a bill which had three months and
seventeen days to run,the banker, after carefully looking
 at both sides of it, as was his invariable custom,
said that " it was not usual to take bills of a longer
date than three months"; upon which the applicant,
scratching his head and looking slyly at Robert, said,
" That may be the usual way, sir, but ye ken the days
are unco short at this time o’ the year ! ” The bill was

The following anecdote of Mr. Carrick was told by
a gentleman (now deceased) who himself transacted
the business in question with Mr. Carrick. This
gentleman for many years, when money was
 scarce, had kept a large sum of cash in the Ship
Bank; and when money became so plentiful that
 'Mr. Carrick found difficulty in employing it to
 advantage, he sent a letter to this customer, saying
that the bank was going to pay him up his deposit

More to follow...............

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