Carlyle one, Carlisle nil

U 8.337-8: James Carlisle made that. Six and a half percent dividend. Made a big deal on Coates's shares. Ca'canny. Cunning old Scotch hunks.

There seems to be some uncertainty over the spelling of James Carlyle’s name. Don Gifford (Ulysses Annotated) writes:

8.337: James Carlisle – In Thom’s 1904 spelled as both ‘Carlisle’ and ‘Carlyle’; the manager and a director of the Irish Times.

By way of a minor corrective note: the family spelt their surname ‘Carlyle’. That is the form James used when signing his census papers in 1901, and that is the form used consistently by the Irish Times.

James Carlyle: life

James Carlyle was born on 12 April 1839, in Dumfries, Scotland. According to his obituary in the Irish Times:

At the age of 18 he entered commercial life in Glasgow, and after spending four years there he removed in 1861 to Manchester, where for several years he was engaged in the cotton trade.

Irish Times (1907) 5 January, p. 11

But the turning-point in his life came in 1869:

In that year the late Major Knox, founder and proprietor of the Irish Times, invited Mr. Carlyle to come to Dublin as the Commercial Manager of the paper.

In 1873 he was made Editorial Manager, and subsequently Managing Director, with a seat on the Board when the Irish Times became a public company. He was regarded as principally responsible for the success enjoyed by the Times under his management, as Joyce implies. His obituary in the Irish Times confirms this:

Mr. Carlyle had been associated with the fortunes of the Irish Times for nearly forty years; he had seen its rise from a comparatively obscure position to that which it holds to-day, and had himself been in no small degree responsible for its progress.

Carlyle had plenty of other irons in the fire:

Mr. Carlyle was an active Mason and a warm supporter of Masonic charities. He was a Prince Mason, a Past Master, and sometime Treasurer, of Lodge 4, and a Governor of the Masonic Female Orphan School. He was also a Life Governor of the Royal Hospital for Incurables, and a member of the Council of the Irish Art Union in connection with the Royal Hibernian Academy. He was for many years a member of the Institute of Journalists, having joined the Irish Association District at its formation.

He married twice, first to Margaret M‘Arthur, daughter of Mr. James M‘Arthur, of Glasgow, by whom he had at least nine children; and secondly (late in life) to Florence, daughter of Mr. James Walker Callaghan, formerly of the Irish Civil Service. He died on 28 December 1906, of pneumonia, after a short illness. A memorial window was erected to him by his widow in the south aisle of St Stephen’s Church in Dublin.

Irish Times’s dividend – 1903

Gifford comments on the sentence ‘Six and a half percent dividend’:

8.337: Six and a half per cent dividend – The Irish Times, Ltd., was a ‘public corporation’; its annual dividend in 1903 was six and a half percent.

This would appear to be partially correct, in that 6½ per cent was paid as the dividend on 1903 profits of the Second Preference shares in the Irish Times, Ltd. However, 5½ per cent was paid on the First Preference shares, and 7 per cent on the Ordinary shares.1

J. and P. Coats

Don Gifford finds relevant information on the company:

James and Peter Coats, a thread-manufacturing firm based in Paisley, Scotland, merged in 1896 with its foremost rival, Clark & Co. The monopoly thus created resulted in spectacular growth for the company and a corresponding rise in the value of its stocks.

In fact the merger involved four companies, of which Clark & Co. of Paisley was only one:

J. & P. Coats, Limited. Meetings of Shareholders in Glasgow [... ] The Chairman then said – This is a meeting called for the purpose of passing special resolutions, which are necessary to enable the board to give effect to the arrangements which have been entered into for the amalgamation with our company of the businesses of our friends, Messrs Clark & Co. of Paisley; Messrs Jonas Brook & Brothers of Huddersfield; and Messrs James Chadwick & Brother of Bolton.

Glasgow Herald (1896) 3 July

But there is no doubting the success of Coats’s. The Irish Times’s dividend of 6½ per cent seems paltry in comparison with the remarkable 20 per cent which Coats’s were able to post from year to year:

The thirteenth annual ordinary general meeting of J. and P. Coats, Limited, was held yesterday in the Merchants’ Hall, Glasgow. Mr. Archibald Coats, Chairman of Directors, presided. The Chairman said [...] The results of the past year have been most satisfactory. They enable us to pay a dividend of 20 p.c. on the Ordinary shares, [etc.][...] One financial paper goes so far as to say that there is in the Coats’ dividend a regularity which is beginning to be rather monotonous [...] A distribution of 20 per cent. May become monotonous – (a laugh) – but you will agree with me in thinking that it is not likely to cause serious distress.’

Irish Times (1903) 12 November, p. 9

John Simpson

Search by keyword (within this site): Journalism Real name Scotland Freemasonry Civil Service


1 Irish Times (1904) 26 November, p. 15.