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A British Meat Cannery in Moldavia (1844–52)

  • Institutul de Studii Sud-Est Europene

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In June 1844, Stephen Goldner, a Jewish-born Hungarian entrepreneur residing in Britain, obtained approval from the Moldavian authorities to establish a cannery in Galatz. Involved for several years in preserving meats by means of an innovative technological process, Goldner attempted to benefit from the resources of the Romanian Principalities, particularly their rich agro-pastoral lands, where domesticated animals were extremely cheap. On the basis of documentary sources from British and Romanian archives, this paper details Goldner's activity in Moldavia during the seven-year period in which he administered the cannery from Galatz and supplied most of the Royal Navy's contracts. In 1851–52 Goldner was the subject of a public investigation in Britain. It was believed, as it still is now, that the low quality of his products had likely endangered Sir John Franklin's polar expedition.
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Slavonic and East European Review, 90, 4, 2012
A British Meat Cannery in Moldavia
B the mid nineteenth century, British public opinion was following with
great interest the fate of John Franklin’s arctic expedition, one of the most
daring exploration programmes initiated by the Admiralty. After previous
polar journeys and a period in which he served as governor of Tasmania,
Sir John Franklin was appointed in charge of a new mission, aiming to map
unexplored Canadian arctic coasts and find the mysterious Northwest
Passage, the link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the
frozen seas of the north. On board two modern steamers, HMS Erebus
and HMS Ter ro r, provided with state-of-the-art shipping equipment and
with provisions for a three year journey, the expedition led by Franklin left
England on  May . After a short stop in Greenland, the two ships,
with a total crew of  men, headed to Baffin Bay and further, beyond
Lancaster Strait. Concerns about the ill-fated end of Franklin’s polar
quest were expressed in , but the Admiralty decided to send search
and rescue expeditions only when, according to the initial schedule, the
supplies were exhausted. The first traces of the lost mission, a winter camp
and the tombs of three seamen who had died in the winter of –, were
found in , on Beechey Island, in Wellington Channel.
Constantin Ardeleanu is a Lecturer in the History Department of the Lower Danube
University of Galaţi, Romania.
This article was written as a result of research undertaken during a postdoctoral
fellowship granted by the Nicolae Iorga History Institute of the Romanian Academy
For Franklin’s lost mission, see H. D. Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, London,
; R. J. Cyriax, Sir John Franklin’s Last Arctic Expedition, London, ; N. Wright,
Quest for Franklin, London, ; L. H. Neatby, The Search for Franklin, Edmonton, AL,
; A. Cooke, ‘A Bibliographical Introduction to Sir John Franklin’s Expeditions and the
Franklin Search’, in P. D. Sutherland (ed.), The Franklin Era in Canadian Arctic History
1845–1859: Archaeological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, , pp. –; D. C. Woodman,
Unravelling the Franklin Mystery, Montreal, ; M. Beardsley, Deadly Winter: The Life of
Sir John Franklin, London, .
This was the context in which, with public attention focused on
Franklin’s story, the Admiralty had to face a new scandal, when it was
revealed that a large quantity of the preserved meats taken aboard HMS
Terror and HMS Erebus had been supplied by Stephen Goldner, who was
at the time being investigated for the problematic quality of his cans. In
January , referring to the putrid meats stored at the Royal Clarence
Victualling Establishment in Gosport, a Times journalist pinpointed the
burning issue:
The consequences of such frauds as this cannot be too seriously estimated.
Suppose, for instance, Franklin and his party to have been supplied with
such food as that condemned, and relying upon it as their mainstay in time
of need, the very means furnished for saving their lives may have bred a
pestilence or famine among them, and been their destruction.
The suspicion that the provisions delivered to British expeditionary corps
were not fit for human consumption determined the House of Commons
to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee of Enquiry on Preserved
Meats (Navy), which investigated about twenty witnesses, officials closely
involved in the supply of provisions to the Navy and experts in the canning
industry. The final report, presented on  May , represented a veritable
public prosecution of the manufacturer, who lost all credibility and went
out of business.
The connection made by anxious contemporaries between Franklin’s
tragic mission and Goldner’s provisions seemed fully supported by
the evidence given, in , by Captain Erasmus Ommanney of HMS
Assistance, who found the trails of the lost seamen on Beechey Island:
Three of their young men died the first year, from which we may infer they
were not enjoying perfect health. It is supposed that their preserved meats
were of an inferior quality.
In recent decades, this link has been revived by historians, anthropologists
and specialists in medical sciences, who still debate the causes that
‘The Preserved Meat of the Navy’, The Times,  January , p. .
See, for example, ‘The “Preserved” Meats at Portsmouth’, Daily News,  January ,
p. , and ‘The Poisonous “Preserved” Meats at Portsmouth’, Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 
January , p. : ‘It is now confidently asserted that a large portion of this fetid stuff was
put onboard the ships of Sir John Franklin.’
‘Curiosities of Arctic Travel’, Littell’s Living Age (Boston, MA), , , ,  June
, p. .
contributed to the demise of the arctic expedition. Medical investigations
of the explorers’ skeletal remains, which were well preserved in the polar
ice, agree that Franklin’s men faced a medical disaster clearly related to
the meat provisions they had eaten. Thus, several researchers consider that
lead poisoning, caused by the method of sealing the cans with a solder
of tin, influenced the disastrous end of the mission (lead intoxication
causes anorexia, fatigue and weakness from peripheral neuritis, intestinal
colic and psychological manifestations such as anxiety and paranoia),
whereas other scholars associate the worst consequences of consuming
contaminated meat cans with the appearance of botulism type E, which is
endemic in the Arctic.
Without insisting on such medical considerations, the interest for
Goldner’s products has remained great among researchers of Franklin’s
doomed mission. Starting with the members of the Select Committee of
Enquiry, allusions have often been made to the entrepreneur’s factory in
Galatz (Galaţi), especially as most products were supplied to the Admiralty
from the remote province of Moldavia. Far away from the inquisitive eyes
of Victualling inspectors, the cannery from the Danubian port could have
easily failed to comply with the quality requirements of the Navy. Although
‘the name of Moldavia has been so often intermixed with the canistered
provisions of Mr. Goldner and the fraud practiced on the Victualling
For different medical conclusions on John Franklin’s mission, see O. B. Beattie,
‘Elevated Bone Lead Levels in a Crewman from the Last Arctic Expedition of Sir John
Franklin’, in Sutherland (ed.), The Franklin Era, pp. –; Owen Beattie and John
Geiger, Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets of the Franklin Expedition, New York, ;
W. Kowal, P. M. Krahn, O. B. Beattie, ‘Lead Levels in Human Tissue from the Franklin
Forensic Project’, International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, , ,
pp. –; W. Kowal, O. B. Beattie, H. Baadsgaard, P. M. Krahn, ‘Source Identification
of Lead Found in Tissues from the Franklin Arctic Expedition of ’, Journal of
Archaeological Science, , , pp. –; Owen Beattie and John Geiger, Buried in
Ice: The Mystery of a Lost Arctic Expedition, New York, ; K. T. H. Farrer, ‘Lead and
the Last Franklin Expedition’, Journal of Archaeological Science, , , pp. –; A.
Keenleyside, X. Song, D. R. Chettle, C. E. Webber, ‘The Lead Content of Human Bones
from the  Franklin Expedition’, Journal of Archaeological Science, , , pp. –;
Anne Keenleyside, Margaret Bertulli, Henry C. Frickle, ‘The Final Days of the Franklin
Expedition: New Skeletal Evidence’, Arctic, , , , pp. –; Scott Cookman, Ice Blink:
The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin’s Lost Polar Expedition, New York, ; Richard
Bayliss, ‘Sir John Franklin’s Last Arctic Expedition: a Medical Disaster’, Journal of the
Royal Society of Medicine, , , , pp. –; B. Zane Horowitz, ‘Polar Poisons: Did
Botulism Doom the Franklin Expedition?’, Clinical Toxicoloxy, , , , pp. –;
William Battersby, ‘Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed
in Members of the Franklin Expedition’, Journal of the Hakluyt Society,  <http://www.> [accessed  March ] (pp. –).
Office of the Navy’, and ‘the preserved-meat manufactory which obtained
for Mr. Goldner so unenviable a notoriety’ was an establishment which
English travellers analysed with great interest when visiting Galatz,
information regarding it is extremely scarce in the vast historiography
related to Franklin’s lost mission or the history of food canning. Starting
from these premises, this article aims to present, on the basis of British
and Romanian sources, Goldner’s activity in Moldavia, from the origins of
his factory in  until , when it was taken over by two other British
investors, former associates of Goldner’s.
1. The agreement with the Moldavian authorities
Stephen Goldner came to Moldavia in May  with a British passport
granted in Hamburg. Samuel Gardner, British consul at Jassy (Iaşi), and
Robert Gilmore Colquhoun, British consul general for the Romanian
Principalities, based in Bucharest (Bucureşti), currently visiting the
Moldavian capital, introduced him to the reigning prince, Mihail Sturdza,
and to other high dignitaries. After preliminary discussions, the investor
applied to the Home Department for authorization to establish a cattle
slaughterhouse and a cannery in the Danubian port of Galatz, in southern
By a princely charter dated July , Goldner was granted the
privilege requested, considering the advantages which local farmers
derived from selling their animals and the profits for the Treasury. The
agreement contained the following conditions: no factory employing the
same technique could be established at Galatz for a period of ten years;
the government awarded him the use of the former quarantine of Galatz,
with its quays and buildings, the location being granted free of charge,
but with the obligation to return it in ‘a good state’ and without any
indemnity for subsequent ameliorations or additions; Goldner had to pay
to the Moldavian Treasury half a ducat per head of cattle slaughtered, but
all exported goods were exempt from custom dues and any other taxes,
the same privilege being granted for the import of tins necessary for his
Kew, The National Archives (hereafter, TNA), FO /, p. , Consul Samuel
Gardner to the Earl of Malmesbury, Jassy (Iaşi),  August .
Laurence Oliphant, The Russian Shores of the Black Sea in the Autumn of 1852
with a Voyage down the Volga and a Tour through the Country of the Don Cossacks,
th edn, Edinburgh and London, , pp. –. ‘Before entering Galatz, we visited
an establishment for preserved meat which formerly belonged to the well-known Mr.
Goldener.’ Patrick O’Brien, Journal of a Residence in the Danubian Principalities, in the
Autumn and Winter of 1853, London, , p. .
TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to John Bidwell, Jassy,  October .
manufactory; the contractor was allowed to import cattle, when he could
not secure raw material from the Moldavian domestic market, without
paying the Poşlina (custom duty on imported cattle).
These extremely advantageous conditions nourished a serious
and lasting conf lict with the British vice consul at Galatz, Charles
Cunningham, who, after initially awarding consular protection to
Goldner’s establishment, completely altered his opinion. The institution
of consular jurisdiction, which foreign powers enjoyed in the Romanian
Principalities, autonomous states under Turkish suzerainty, was vital for
any entrepreneur trading in Wallachia and Moldavia. It provided, besides
fiscal privileges, that civil and criminal affairs involving protected citizens
were to be handled by consuls in accordance with the laws of their own
countries. Cunningham’s objection, which he explained in several reports,
was related to Goldner’s contract, which placed the cannery outside the
provisions of the Anglo-Turkish treaty of Balta Liman (): ‘If Goldner
made his own treaty with the local government, why did he come to the
vice consulate for his maintenance?’ The allusions to the commercial treaty
of  were somewhat self-interested, as Cunningham, together with the
whole diplomatic corps from the Principalities, had protested against its
application in Wallachia and Moldavia, where custom dues were lower
than elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, he scored some good
points in condemning Goldner’s monopoly and financial immunities,
thought to lead to disputes with other producers and merchants. Consular
protection was meant for foreign entrepreneurs abused by local authorities,
but Goldner was extremely privileged by the Moldavians. As the contractor
was not a British-born subject and was granted an agreement not in
conformity with the  treaty, Cunningham declined to offer any
protection to Goldner’s factory or assist local authorities in obtaining
payment of a tax which was not stipulated by the official tariff.
TNA, FO /, p. – (French copy of the agreement); Leonid Boicu, ‘Industria
în Moldova între anii  şi ’, in V. Popovici, C. C. Anghelescu, et al. (eds),
Dezvoltarea economiei Moldovei între anii 1848 şi 1864, Bucharest, , p. ; Emeric
Mihály, Sara Mihály, ‘Din istoria industriei alimentare din Galaţi în a doua jumătate a
secolului al XIX-lea’, Danubius, , , p. ; Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la
origini până la 1918, ed. Eugen Drăgoi, nd edn,  vols, Galaţi, , vol. , p. . A more
literary presentation can be found in Tudose Tatu, Istoria trudită a fabricilor uitate, Galaţi,
, pp. –.
 TNA, FO /, p. , Vice Consul Charles Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz, 
October .
Frederick Kellogg, The Road to Romanian Independence, West Lafayette, IN, , pp.
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  October ; ibid,
Goldner reacted in strong terms and alluded to the assistance received
from the British consuls at Jassy and Bucharest when he had concluded his
bargain with the Moldavian Government. Considering the vice consul’s
decision ridiculous, he demanded urgent satisfaction, so as not to be
forced to refer the question to Constantinople and London:
Mr. Cunningham has refused and given and given and refused the British
protection to the factory several times as if the whole of the British
protection and power were carried about in his pocket. I was unaware that
official business was usually transacted in this way.
From Jassy, consul Gardner defended the entrepreneur’s position,
maintaining that the  treaty was not applicable to the Principalities
and that, after all, the fiscal advantages were not so great; in fact, the consul
was rather inclined to blame his subordinate’s stubborn and difficult
character, which he often incriminated in his despatches throughout his
near quarter-century of consular service in Moldavia. Moreover, he had
good reasons to believe that the vice consul, himself an active merchant in
the Danubian port, was driven by mere commercial jealousy. The question
did not touch any international treaties, unless Cunningham regarded the
contract ‘as an injurious monopoly’ affecting his market ‘for the supply of
provisions & of tallow for commercial purposes’.
With further instructions from Constantinople and London to
grant consular protection and all necessary support to Goldner and his
operations, Cunningham had, reluctantly, to yield. But it was only the
first truce of a durable cold war between the two resentful investors. The
consular correspondence is full of mutual incriminations, so that the vice
consul’s statement in  — ‘from the time Mr. Goldner’s factory was
established here, some seven years ago, until about  months ago, I was
on terms of intimacy with Mr. Goldner’ — is rather exaggerated. The
p. , Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  October .
He also complained about the attitude of several local officials in a petition sent to
the Moldavian prince (in French). Ibid., p.  (no references to date and place).
 Ibid., pp. –, Galatz, Stephen Goldner to Gardner, Galatz,  October .
Cunningham was vice consul, then consul at Galatz between  and ; Gardner
was consul at Jassy between  and .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Gardner to Cunningham, Jassy,  October .
 Ibid., pp. –, Gardner to the Earl of Aberdeen, Jassy,  January .
 Report from the Select Committee on Preserved Meats (Navy), together with the
Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index, London, , p. , Cunningham to
Palmerston, Galatz,  July .
contractor complained to every possible authority about Cunningham’s
conduct, which caused him an ‘amount of damage’ described as ‘almost
incredible’ and ‘enormous’. The consul-merchant defended his position
by alluding to his obligation to protect abused British workers employed at
the factory, but it is clear that Goldner encountered ‘the most determined
ill-will on the part of Mr. Charles Cunningham, Her Majesty’s vice consul
at Galatz, who exercises the most despotic authority over him as a British
subject’. This last assertion, made by Samuel S. Ritchie, Goldner’s agent
and associate in London, is confirmed by many sources, including butcher
Thomas Thorp, who stated before the Parliamentary Select Committee
that ‘the vice consul at Galatz and Goldner were enemies’. This lasting
adversity is significant both for understanding the hostile environment in
which the entrepreneur worked in the Moldavian port and for doubting
the blame that Cunningham’s reports often laid on Goldner.
2. The manufacturing process and the resources of Moldavia
Extremely few details are known about Stephen Goldner and his
involvement in preserving meats. A Hungarian Jew ‘by birth, though not
by profession’, he arrived in London in October  and showed a
marked interest for the canning industry, then making continuous progress
throughout Western Europe ( patents relating to the preservation of
foodstuffs were recorded in England alone in the first fifty-five years of the
nineteenth century). In , Goldner bought the rights for an improved
method of sealing cooked meat into airtight canisters, based on the Fastier
system, recently patented in France. Two years later, he was granted a
British patent for the addition of calcium chloride or sodium nitrate to
raise the temperature of water baths. The technical process consisted of
the following phases: the meat was separated from the fat, put into vats,
scalded or boiled, and then put into canisters; ‘as much meat is put into
 Ibid., pp. –, Goldner to Thomas Tassell Grant, London,  February .
 Ibid., p. , Samuel S. Ritchie to James Meek, London,  October .
 Ibid., p. , Statement of Thomas Thorp, London,  January .
 Ibid., p. .
 Keith Thomas Henry Farrer, ‘Goldner’s Preserved Meats and the Last Franklin
Expedition’, Food Science and Technology Today, , March , , p. .
 Simon Gabriel Hanson, Argentine Meat and the British Market: Chapters in the
History of Argentine Meat Industry, Stanford, CA, , p. . The general context can
be found in Richard Perren, Taste, Trade and Technology: The Development of the
International Meat Industry since 1840, Aldershot, , part .
 Hanson, Argentine Meat and the British Market, p. .
 K. T. H. Farrer, To Feed a Nation: A History of Australian Food Science and Technology,
Collingwood, VIC, , p. .
each canister as it will hold, and the crevices are filled with soup out of
the vats in which the meat has been boiled.’ Afterwards, the lids, each
punctured with a small hole, were soldered on and the cans were processed
in a bath of calcium chloride solution heated by steam pipes up to a
temperature of –° F (–° C). After the appropriate heating time,
according to product and can size, the steam issuing from the pinhole was
quenched with a wet sponge and the hole sealed with a dab of solder. In the
last phase, the cans were removed from the bath and moved to a room at
° F (° C), where they were held for three weeks. Cans which blew were
discarded, the rest were ready for consumption.
During this period, Goldner established a factory in London and
submitted samples of canned meat and vegetables to the Admiralty;
as Victualling commissioners were satisfied with his products, the
entrepreneur received purchase orders from the Navy. Faced with increasing
competition, but also with larger demands from the Admiralty and the
private market, Goldner was interested to relocate part of his production to
Eastern Europe, where raw materials and labour were much cheaper than
in Britain. A native of Hungary, he was presumably acquainted with the
resources of the Romanian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. With
large surfaces of uncultivated lands or pastures, animal husbandry was
one of the most important economic activities in these agro-pastoral areas.
For most peasant families, cattle breeding was the main source of wealth.
Vital not only for land cultivation and transports, fulfilling their labour
obligations on nobiliary estates and for food and clothes, cattle also allowed
peasants to acquire the cash needed to pay all taxes due to the state. In fact,
the number of owned cattle was the basic criterion for imposing taxes on
the household, for distributing plots of arable land and grazing field or
for dividing the population into socio-fiscal categories. According to
the information provided by Jean Alexandre Vaillant, Moldavia had, in
the s, a population of about . million inhabitants and a livestock of
, cattle, , horses, ,, sheep, , goats and ,
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July
 Farrer, ‘Goldner’s Preserved Meats’, p. .
 Romania’s Economic History: from the Beginnings to World War II, ed. N. N.
Constantinescu, Bucharest, , pp. –. Several decades later, the Romanian
territory had the same excellent opportunities for cattle breeding, according to French
observations. See, for example, the report preserved at Archives Diplomatiques (Ministère
des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Direction des Archives), La Courneuve (Paris),
Correspondance consulaire et commerciale, 1793–1901, Galatz, f.  (–), pp. –
(‘L’élevage du bétail en Moldavie’, Galatz,  May ).
swine, whereas Wallachia numbered . million inhabitants, ,
cattle, , horses, ,, sheep, , goats and ,
swine. These quantitative data confirm the account given a decade earlier
by the French diplomat Charles de Bois le Comte, who referred to the
abundance of domestic animals in Moldavia, where the peasants owned,
on average, twice as many animals as in Wallachia and three times more
than in France.
The trade in live animals and animal by-products was extremely
remunerative and attracted many speculators to the Lower Danubian
markets. If live animals were mainly sold on domestic markets or were
directed to the fairs from neighbouring Austria and Turkey, the Danubian
ports of Galatz and Braila (Brăila) were transacting a large variety of animal
by-products. Cattle hides, taken from animals slaughtered in autumn (for
the tallow), were usually salted, as the advanced season no longer allowed
for their being dried; dried hides were only available in small quantities,
and their quality was usually low, since they had been badly removed. But
the price:quality ratio made them easy to sell on the Balkan and Levantine
markets. Sheep, lamb and goat skins were also exported to neighbouring
countries, but they were usually sold in the Principalities, being used for
manufacturing peasants’ winter clothing. Wool was, besides grains and
fats, a basic Danubian export; there were three sorts of wool (differentiated
in terms of quality) exported throughout Europe, including Britain and
France. Nevertheless, the inside of animals (fats, meat, bones) was the
most precious and productive part. Danubian tallow was as reputed as the
similar product of southern Russia, and was in great demand in Turkey,
Austria and Britain. According to a contemporary source, cattle tallow was
manufactured by being run into vats, run off once or twice.
The first time gave the cerviş, yellow, which was used in the East instead
of butter. The second straining, white, was sold as tallow. In buying the fat
in the gross, one-third of cerviş and two-thirds of tallow were generally
obtained. The products were generally of high quality, comparable or
superior to that sold at Odessa.
 Jean Alexandre Vaillant, La Romanie ou Histoire, Langue, Littérature, Orographie,
Statistique des Peuples de la Langue D’Or, Ardialiens, Vallaques et Moldaves, résumés sous
le nom de Romans, vol. , Paris, , p. .
Constantinescu (ed.), Romania’s Economic History, pp. –.
 ‘Commercial resources of Wallachia and Moldavia’, in Portfolio: A Collection of State
Papers, and oth er Documents and Cor respondence , Historical, Dipl omatic, and Commerc ial,
vol. , London, , pp. –.
The cerviş was more expensive than the tallow proper, but the latter was
better sold on foreign markets. Goat and sheep tallow were also excellent
goods, whereas pork fat was used either in the household (for cooking or
for manufacturing soap and candles), or as a lubricant for equipment on
board ships. The meat, fresh or preserved (salted, smoked or canned) and
the bones found ready purchasers on both local and foreign markets, with
Constantinople as a traditional destination.
Direct British economic presence in the Romanian Principalities was
rather limited at the time of Goldner’s arrival in Moldavia. The economic
and political role of the Black Sea area had increased considerably since
the late eighteenth century, following Russia’s new territorial acquisitions
and the opening of the Straits to Western trade and shipping. With
Moldavia and Wallachia acquiring added value within the context of
the multifaceted Eastern Question, Francis Summerers was sent to
Bucharest in  to act as British consul for the Danubian Principalities.
Nevertheless, the changing odds of the Napoleonic wars put a quick end
to his mission (), and his replacement was nominated only in ,
when William Wilkinson accepted the office. But his term was as short.
After the abolition of the Levant Company, the Foreign Office decided to
make its presence at the Lower Danube official. In May , E. L. Blutte,
a former employee at the embassy in Constantinople, was charged with
the consulate in Bucharest. It was a period of strong Russian diplomatic
and military offensives against Turkey, which materialized in the Russo-
Turkish war of – and in six years of Russian military occupation
of Moldo-Wallachia (–). The peace of Adrianople (), which
confirmed Russia’s new status as protector of the principalities, also freed
their foreign commerce and contributed to turning the Danubian ports
of Galatz and Braila into significant exporters of grain towards the world
markets. The conclusion of the Russo-Ottoman Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi
( July ) increased even more the economic and political significance
Details in the brochure published by Vice Consul Charles Cunningham, Information
on the Trade of the Danube, Bucharest,  and ; Édouard A. Thouvenel, La Hongrie
et la Valachie: Souvenirs de voyage et notices historiques, Paris, , pp. – (‘Note sur
le commerce des deux principautés de Valachie et de Moldavie’), and Thibault Lefebvre,
Études diplomatiques et économiques sur la Valachie, Paris, , pp. –.
 Paul Cernovodeanu, ‘The Setting up of the English Consulate in the Romanian
Principalities () and Its Activity until ’, Revue Roumaine d’études internationales,
 (), , , pp. –; Paul Simionescu, Radu Valentin, ‘Documents inédits concernant
la création du consulat britannique à Bucarest ()’, Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, , ,
, p. .
of the area, determining the Foreign Office to completely reconsider
Britain’s Eastern policy. Thus, after Blutte’s sudden death (), R. G.
Colquhoun, the newly appointed consul general in Bucharest, was to enjoy
the support of a more numerous consular team, with a British consul
appointed in Moldavia and with vice consuls in the outlets of Braila and
Galatz, where large communities of Ionian merchants, British subjects,
were involved in trading Danubian grains. Nevertheless, direct economic
involvement remained scarce, especially when an enterprise made by
the Scottish merchants George Bell and Andrew Lockhart Anderson,
who established a commercial house in Galatz (), went bankrupt in
mysterious conditions. It is therefore no wonder that ventures such as
that proposed by Goldner received due consideration from the British
consuls in Bucharest and Jassy.
Goldner was certainly familiar with the prospects of trading Moldavian
and Wallachian animal products when he decided to open his establishment
in Galatz. As was the case in all local slaughterhouses, meat was extremely
cheap, ‘almost considered as refuse’, a by-product of tallow. No wonder
that ‘Goldner always boasted that the meat cost him nothing, the hide and
tallow paying the cost of the ox’. By combining the low cost of labour in
Moldavia with his fiscal advantages, he could achieve a cost of production
on canned meat that turned him into a favourite contractor of the Royal
Navy. On  December , bidding from his new economic position,
the entrepreneur secured an important contract to supply the quantities
demanded to the Deptford Victualling Yard within fifteen days of the
order being placed. The price of meat was  d per lb and the cans were
to contain twelve ounces of meat and four ounces of gravy or multiples
thereof. The contract ran for five years and the quantities ordered grew
For more details, see Radu R. Florescu, The Struggle against Russia in the Roumanian
Principalities, 1821–1854, Munich, ; Paul Cernovodeanu, Relaţiile comerciale româno-
engleze în contextul politicii orientale a Marii Britanii (1803–1878), Cluj-Napoca, ,
and Miroslav Šedivý, ‘From Hostility to Cooperation? Austria, Russia and the Danubian
Principalities –’, Slavonic and East European Review, , , , pp. –.
 Eric Ditmar Tappe, ‘Bell and Anderson: A Scottish Partnership in Wallachia’, Balkan
Studies, , , , p. ; P. Cernovodeanu, ‘Implicaţiile de ordin politic ale falimentului
casei de comerţ “Bell & Anderson”’, Studii şi materiale de istorie modernă, , , p. .
 Report from the Select Committee, pp. –, Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,
 July . According to the British consul in Moldavia, Goldner made ‘in Jassy large
purchases of cattle at the extraordinary low rates of three pounds sterling per pair of good
sized oxen’. TNA, FO /, pp. –, Gardner to Bidwell, Jassy,  September .
 Preserved meats (Navy), Return to an Order of the Honourable the House of Commons,
dated 5 February 1852: for Returns showing the Date and Terms of the Contracts; specifying
the Quantities fit for Use, as well as the Quantities either Condemned or returned into Store
continuously, especially as the Admiralty began in  to issue canned
meats as a general ration one day a week. It could be justly stated that
Goldner’s Moldavian contract greatly contributed to this end, and, as
agent Ritchie remarked, ‘by his perseverance and exertions, what was once
regarded as a luxury, and necessarily confined to the few, has now become
an article of food, attainable at a cost which brings it within the reach of
all ’.
The Parliamentary Select Committee paid much attention to these
financial details, the low cost of Goldner’s cans being among the only
reasons that could compensate for the great inconvenience of having the
products supplied from such a distant factory. Thomas Tassell Grant,
comptroller of the Victualling Office, stated that, undoubtedly, ‘the meat
contracted for by Goldner was cheaper than it could have been procured in
this country’. Entrepreneurs manufacturing in England sold their cans at
½ d per lb, whereas Goldner’s price was ¾ to ⅛ d per lb, also depending
on the period of the contract and the quantity delivered. According to
vice consul Cunningham, ‘the cost of good ox beef put up in canisters’ was
about ½ to  d per lb. The end price was made up of the cost of beef (raw
–  d, prepared – ½ d per lb), cost of canisters and putting up (¼ or ½ d),
freight to England (⅓ d), insurance  per cent, as the products were always
shipped in winter (½ d), porterage and petty expenses ( d). However, this
was a rather crude estimate, as the vice consul considered that the meat
and canisters cost less than these valuations by about ¼ d each. Goldner’s
privileged agreement and his excellent negotiating skills allowed him to
reduce all other expenses, turning the cannery in Galatz into a profitable
In the Moldavian port, the supplier received the site of the old
quarantine, an enclosure just outside the town of Galatz. In the description
of a German traveller, the entire area, located between two hills behind
a boundary of wooden palisades, extended along the Danube bank for
a length of about  feet. Patrick O’Brien, a British agent voyaging
as unfit for Use, from any of Her Majesty’s Stores or Ships, whether at Home or Abroad,
London, , p. .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
 Ibid., p.  (Question  to Grant,  March ).
 Ibid., p.  (Questions – to Grant,  March ) and p.  (Question  to
Alexander Milne,  March ).
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July . Ritchie also stated
that ‘the expense of freight, insurance, &c., to this country, does not exceed one penny per
pound of meat preserved’. Ibid., p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
 Cristina Feneşan, ‘Călătoria din  din Moldova a diplomatului prusian Karl Otto
in the Principalities in , mentioned that ‘the buildings are of wood,
situated within a large enclosure, in one part of which several hundred
pigs, with wild bristling manes, were penned up together’. Goldner began
setting up the cannery immediately after being granted the privilege, all
necessary equipment being ordered from Vienna. There are no accounts
of the machines employed, but most probably they were similar to
those used in his London factory (at  Houndsditch), which was rated
as ‘a technologically advanced cannery, using the latest equipment’.
Coal-fuelled steam machines, with the combustible imported mainly
from Turkey, made Goldner’s establishment one of the largest and most
productive industrial plants in Moldavia.
Investment costs were probably covered by a certain George Blogg,
diamond merchant in London, who also signed, as guarantor, the 
contract with the Admiralty. During his first two years in Galatz, Goldner
presented himself as Blogg’s agent, although his British partner was not
mentioned in his relations with local authorities. But Blogg undoubtedly
controlled the factory, as butcher Thorp stated that he was employed and
sent to Moldavia by Blogg, and a broker based in Galatz, John Murly, is
mentioned as managing the factory, for the account of George Blogg.
Cunningham even reported that in the autumn of , Murly, ‘who had
then possession of the factory, only allowed Goldner to preserve beef
after the vice consul’s intervention. Nevertheless, after Blogg died in
Jassy of typhus fever in August , Goldner became the sole master
Ludwig von Arnim’, Studii şi materiale de istorie modernă, , , p. ; ‘Karl Otto
Ludwig von Arnim’, translated by Cristina Feneşan, Călători străini despre ţările române
în secolul al XIX-lea, new series, vol.  (–), edited by Daniela Buşă, Bucharest, ,
p. .
 O’Brien, Journal, p. . The passage is also cited in the short appendix (‘Meat canning
in Rumania for the British Navy’) of Edgar Ditmar Tappe, ‘Rumania after the Union as
Seen by Two English Journalists’, Slavonic and East European Review, , December ,
, p. .
 Farrer, ‘Goldner’s Preserved Meats’, p. .
 Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. ; Mihály & Mihá ly, ‘Din istoria industriei ’, p. .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Gardner to Bidwell, Jassy,  October ; ibid., pp.
–, Goldner to Gardner, Galatz,  October .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Sir Stratford Canning, Galatz,  June ;
Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Gardner to Palmerston, Jassy,  August : ‘Mr.
Gouldner charged with the Factory for provisions at Galatz in which Mr. Blogg was I
believe principally interested has taken possession of the few papers and effects which
Mr. Blogg had with him.’ The answer from the Foreign Office at p. , Bidwell to Gardner,
London,  September .
of the cannery, although his financial situation was far from satisfactory.
According to the same inquisitive consul-merchant, Goldner came to
Galatz to carry on his undertaking in the spring of , ‘but he had no
money to make a beginning’, so that he drew bills for , in which
he raised money and commenced operations. Goldner probably had
financial shortages in England at the time, and the factory in Galatz could
have acted as the goose with golden eggs for the active investor.
The cannery was already functional in the autumn of , when the
first animals slaughtered were probably  cattle, bought in Wallachia
before Goldner concluded his agreement in Jassy. The contractor
advertised his business in local newspapers and purchased animals in
both provinces, but mainly in southern and central Moldavia; he thus
became known ‘all over the country’ among the large owners of herds
of oxen and cows. Contemporary documents do not provide clear data
regarding the factory’s production capacity, but it was definitely greater
than , cattle processed annually, the estimate given by the Moldavian
economist Nicolae Suţu. According to available statistical information,
, oxen were slaughtered in , , in  and , in , whereas
official documents mention , oxen in , , in  and , in
. Goldner himself, having to pay half a ducat per head of slaughtered
cattle, was interested to report a smaller number of sacrifices. In ,
when the authorities accused him of fraud, a Moldavian confirmed his
attempts to frustrate the Treasury, asserting that only the contractor
knew the exact amount of processed cattle. ‘Goldner wanted to employ
him as an accountant, with the condition that he should put down in the
register for slaughtered cattle only half of the actual number. Beyond
this mysterious figure, reliable statistics refer to the export of canned
meat from Galatz, which can be reckoned as being altogether prepared in
Goldner’s factory. The total quantity is almost impossible to calculate, but
available data confirm large deliveries for the Admiralty during the years
–, when the entirety of Goldner’s contracts were fulfilled at Galatz.
British information maintains that the contractor exported from Galatz
TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
 Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
Bibliografia analitică a periodicelor româneşti, vol. , –, part , edited by Ioan
Lupu, Nestor Camariano and Ovidiu Papadima, Bucharest, , p. .
 Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. ; Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. , , p. .
 Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. .
,, lbs of canned meat but, according to the general returns of
Danubian trade, quoted in Table  below, he exported at least double that
quantity (,, lbs). It should, nevertheless, be mentioned that he also
sold goods on the private market.
Table 1. Export of canned meat from Galatz
Year Quantity Value
(d per lb)
Tot al
Cases lbs
 , ,,
 ,, ,
 , , ,
 , , ,
 , ,, ,
 , ,,,
Total , ,,,
Source: Paul Cernovodeanu, Beatrice Marinescu, Irina Gavrilă, ‘Comerţul britanic prin
Galaţi şi Brăila între –’, Revista de Istorie, , , , p. . The quantities were
provided in cases for the years – and in lbs for –.
The cannery also processed pork, but we do not have details relating to
the export of the large variety of products Goldner advertised in his offer.
He mainly exported the usual produce of a slaughterhouse. Thus, in ,
ships loaded at his factory , cans of preserved meat, , preserved
tongues of cattle, , okes of tallow and , okes of bones. In the
following years, he sold large quantities of tallow, meat and hides to the
domestic market or exported them to Austria, Turkey or Western Europe.
The available statistics do not permit us to differentiate his part in the total
exports of tallow and other animal by-products from Galatz. Table  below
is only an indicator of the large trade in these goods in the Moldavian port.
 Preserved meats, p. .
 As mentioned in Cookman, Ice Blink, pp. –.
 Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
Table 2. Tallow exports from Galatz (184451)
Year Quantit y (cw t) Price
per unit Tot a l (£)
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
 ,  ,
Source: Cernovodeanu, Marinescu, Gavrilă, ‘Comerţul britanic’, p. , with data on the
year  from TNA, FO /, p.  (‘Note on the Exports from Galatz by Sea in ’);
also in ‘Commerce of the Danube’, Hunt’s Merchants Magazine and Commercial Review,
vol. , July–December , p. .
3. Goldner’s conflict with the Moldavian authorities
During his entire stay in Galatz, Goldner was in a quasi-permanent
conflict with local and central authorities in his attempt to secure better
conditions for his operations in Moldavia. In , the contractor was
accused of having illegally opened a tavern on the property received
from the government, where he was selling ‘all kinds of liquors and
food both to workers from the factory and to voyagers’ travelling to
and from Braila. At the same time, with the entire neighbouring area
serving as a tilery, Goldner had established two unauthorized tile kilns.
The owner of the estate protested against these initiatives and blamed
Goldner for the losses incurred by his cattle grazing on his fields prior
to their being slaughtered. Sued in a local court by boyars Mihalache
Străjescu and Nicolae Teodoru, who requested damages of  ducats,
Goldner hired Mihail Kogălniceanu, the gifted Moldavian statesman and
future Romanian prime minister, whom he employed as his lawyer and
councillor ‘in all causes [], before administrative and juridical courts’.
 Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. ; Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
In  Goldner also employed Kogălniceanu to deal with the legal problems related to
In December , a commission investigated the boyars’ complaint,
but Goldner refused to accept the documents presented to him. Thus, he
lost the case and was condemned to pay  ducats (three years’ damages),
an amount the boyars claimed through the British vice consulate. In
November  and December  the factory was served with two writs
of execution, ordering that the moneys be recovered through the seizure
and sale of goods. In February , at the request of the two plaintiffs, the
authorities attempted to execute the orders. Goldner refused to recognize
their legality, arguing that he had not been summoned by a court of law,
and requested that the British consulate put an end to all abuses against
his property. With the support of the consul in Jassy, and on the basis of
consular jurisdiction, the execution was lifted and the issue remained open
for further examination. In August , the local authorities renewed their
claims against Goldner, who blamed Cunningham’s complete indifference
in protecting his interests. Sources do not disclose the outcome of this
dispute, but it is likely that Goldner never paid the compensation set for the
claimants’ damages.
Much more serious was Goldner’s conflict with the Moldavian
Government for the observation of his  privilege. The problem emerged
from the very text of the document, which had two different versions. The
contractor maintained he had signed a document in French, whereas
officials in Jassy produced a contract in Moldavian, the papers being liable
to distinct interpretations. The dispute commenced from the provision
stating that Goldner had the right to import, without paying any custom
dues, the tins necessary for his factory. The contractor understood by this
that he had ‘complete immunity from all dues on importation of whatever
was necessary for his establishment’, whereas customs officers and the
government considered that he was only entitled to import, free of charge,
ready-made canisters. Defending his protégé’s view, consul Gardner
the attempts of a certain Krodop, a Prussian subject, who wanted to open in Galatz an
establishment for preparing, with a different method, salted meat.
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  June . The
entire correspondence on this dispute is gathered into a single file. Iaşi, Serviciul Judeţean
al Arhivelor Naţionale Iaşi (The National Archives, Iaşi County), Secretariatul de stat al
Moldovei (Moldavian Department of State, hereafter, SJANI-S), f. .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to the Moldavian Department of State, Jassy, 
December .
 Ibid., pp. –, Gardner to the Moldavian Department of State, Jassy,  May ;
ibid., pp. –, Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  May .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  August .
 In , Gardner asked, on behalf of Goldner, an exact copy of the agreement.
SJANI-S, f. , p. , Gardner to the Moldavian Department of State, Jassy,  July .
referred to an error in ‘stipulating for the free importation of manufactured
canisters instead of the material of which they were made’, although only a
little reflection was necessary for the government to understand that ‘Mr.
Goldner could not without immense expense ship from England empty
Accusing the Moldavians of violating the terms of his privilege, the
entrepreneur calculated, in , the balance of the duties ‘wrongly charged
by the local government’, by compelling him to pay taxes for all articles
necessary (tin plates, tin ingots, lead, muriat of lime, coals, etc.) for his
production, but also for making him pay export taxes on several animal
by-products (mainly tallow). From October , he refused to make any
payments for cattle slaughtered until all his financial claims were rightfully
observed. The problem was referred to the consulate in Jassy and to Prince
Sturdza personally, who, although regretting ‘that a contract so clearly
stipulated should lead to dispute’, agreed to submit the argument to a
commission that was to determine ‘the justice of Goldner’s pretentions’.
The entrepreneur consented to the appointment of a commission, whose
sentence ‘should be binding upon me for the past transactions so well
as for the future’, but in case of not getting the expected satisfaction,
he was ready ‘to remove everything and discontinue my operations’ in
Moldavia. Gardner, in his turn, supported the arbitrage, as ‘there appears
to have been an ambiguous clause in the contract passed with the local
government, which should have been rectified the moment that it was
perceived, to prevent any possible abuse’.
If the consul in Jassy supported Goldner’s claims, his subordinate in
Galatz was overtly critical and apparently extremely cautious lest he upset
the Moldavian officials. Cunningham was convinced that the Admiralty’s
supplier was only trying to buy time and use the money before paying it to
the Treasury. Pretending he had been forced ‘to pay unjustly and contrary
to his agreement about twelve hundred ducats’ and making it a pretext for
refusing to pay duties due to the amount of , ducats, he could derive
significant financial advantages, as ‘the use of such a sum for some months
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  January .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Cunningham, Jassy,  January ; ibid., p. ,
Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  October .
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  January ; ibid., pp. –,
Cunningham to Goldner, Galatz,  January ; ibid., p. , Goldner to Cunningham,
Galatz,  January .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  March .
is of immense advantage to Mr. Goldner’. This made Cunningham doubt
Goldner’s right to import all needed products and carry them from the free
port into his factory without paying due taxes. The ‘geographical’ problem
lay in the fact that the cannery was situated about a mile outside Galatz,
and the customer allowed him to take out of the free port, free of charge,
only ready-made tin canisters, which could not find any market in the
province. But Goldner wanted to be allowed to import ‘any quantity he
may desire of tin plates, tin lead, iron plates etc.’, without paying custom
duties, a fact which could allow him to smuggle these products and sell
them for domestic consumption, to the tax farmers’ prejudice. Thus, the
authorities wanted to be sure that he did not take more merchandise than
needed for the use of his manufactory, and so required Goldner to make
his canisters within the town enclosure. But the latter considered these
suspicions were unjust, and requested the authorities to secure that proper
guards accompanied the goods to his headquarters, and then ‘let the
factory be surrounded by custom house officers so that nothing goes out’.
Furthermore, Cunningham regarded Goldner’s financial claims as
excessive. Examining his incriminations against the custom house and
defending the government’s view (itself derived from his own opinions),
Cunningham made considerable deductions. Thus, of the total amount
which the contractor demanded (,. piastres), only the sum of
,. piastres could have been rightfully submitted to an examination,
the rest of ,. piastres being at once rejected. Nevertheless, a
serious difficulty obstructing the settlement of these claims was the
problem of deciding who owed him the money. The custom house, which
requested Goldner to pay taxes, was farmed for a period of five years at a
time, ‘and the present farmers only took possession at the beginning of
, therefore I do not see who is to repay anything that may have been
taken unjustly from Mr. Goldner previous to . It is true it may be said
that the government must answer for its officers, but also it may be denied
that Mr. Goldner has a right to remain quiet for four years and to bring
forward the accumulated grievances’. A further difficulty was derived
from the fact that the duties were farmed in different branches. Goldner
had to pay the duty on cattle killed to the Poşlina of cattle, but the duties
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  March ; ibid.,
pp. –, Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  January .
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  March .
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  June . The exchange rate
was about  piastres to the pound sterling and ½ to a ducat.
 Ibid., pp. –.
unjustly taken were claimed from the Poşlina on tallow and from the Vama
(custom on general goods), so that Goldner was ‘holding the money due to
one man against sums which he claims from others’.
The problems were not solved in the spring of  when, attempting to
put an end to these abuses, Goldner was ready to give up his privilege and
start paying the regular duty of  per cent on the value of exported products,
instead of the tax per head of slaughtered cattle. Cunningham deemed the
solution as more advantageous for the contractor, as fair valuations of
materials imported and of meat exported would have brought him, at the
regular tariff, an annual profit of between , and ,. In May
, Goldner announced that production at his cannery had been stopped
in March, considering his contract broken by the local authorities; at
the same time, he put his establishment under the protection of Charles
Hanson & Co, based in Constantinople. This brought Goldner the
cash he needed, after an extremely difficult period, and secured him the
support of the influential British ambassador in Constantinople, Stratford
Canning. Hanson sent his agent, a certain George Guarracini, to Moldavia,
where he analysed Goldner’s financial situation and attempted to smooth
his relations with the government. But, by the end of , Goldner
returned all advances received from Constantinople and continued to fight
alone for the proper observation of his rights.
The Moldavian authorities were determined to solve the litigation,
as Goldner’s attitude was ‘a serious inconvenience to the revenue.
The government requires its whole resources and revenues to meet its
expenditure and the particular branch to which Mr. Goldner’s payments
are affected being farmed, there are on the farmers’ account complaints
addressed to the government which must be satisfied by it’. Consul
Gardner managed to obtain a temporary suspension of the rigorous
measures taken against the entrepreneur, but the new Moldavian reigning
prince, Grigore Ghica, was convinced that it was high time ‘to proceed by
measures of coercion against Mr. Goldner from his habitually protracted
sentiment of these claims upon him and from his disputes and quarrels
with the authorities at Galatz on each payment demanded from him’.
 Ibid., p. .
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  April .
 SJANI-S, f. , p. , Gardner to the Moldavian Department of State, Jassy,  May
 Ibid., pp. –, Guarricini’s protest, Jassy,  November .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  January .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Cunningham, Jassy,  November .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  January .
Thus, Goldner was requested to pay the sum of , ducats for the ,
cattle slaughtered in the period  September to  October . At the
Treasury’s orders, the governor of Galatz resorted to the sequestration of
Goldner’s factory, on  November, and the confiscation of large quantities
of tallow and other merchandise, so as to balance the money which the
contractor owed to the government. Goldner considered that the inimical
vice consul was once more behind this manoeuvre and accused him of
‘being present to see the military force off to enter his factory’ and rubbing
his hands and enjoying the fact that ‘the local authorities were carrying
away immense quantities of property’. At Ambassador Canning’s request,
the British vice consul protested against the official conduct, but a second
execution was ordered and, according to Goldner, on  December ‘the
local government [...] again entered my establishment with military force
and with a great many carts to remove property without having given
any notice or without being entitled to receive anything but quite the
contrar y ’. The contractor was also prevented from exporting tallow,
all these measures being taken, according to Governor George Ghica, ‘in
consequence of further duties become due from Mr. Goldner and which he
refused to pay’. The conduct of the second execution is, however, rather
mysterious, for the Moldavian official informed the vice consulate that
‘it had orders from the Treasury to force the payment by seizing tallow,
hides and even beef’. But the central authorities were perfectly ignorant
of this new execution, when a stated quantity of about thirty hides of
tallow seemed to have been confiscated by the order of the governor.
Cunningham reported confidentially, but later retracted, that he suspected
this second execution to be ‘a matter of collusion between Goldner and
Ghyka’, as it strengthened the former’s claims and as the latter had a
pressing want of money and was not afraid of punishment, being cousin to
the reigning prince.
 Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  February .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December ; ibid.,
p. , Protest to the Percalabia of Galatz, Galatz,  December .
 Ibid., p. , Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  December .
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to the Percalabia of Galatz, Galatz,  December .
 Ibid., p. , The Percalabia of Galatz to Cunningham, Galatz,  December .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  January . ‘A certain
Vestiar Teodorachi who is father in law to Mr. George Ghyka is the farmer of the Poshlina
on cattle and he having pressing want of money sent a messenger to Mr. Ghyka who
proceeded at once to raise money on Mr. Goldner’s property.’
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  March ; the retraction in
ibid., p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  May .
These executions brought once more to the forefront the incessant
conflict between Goldner and the British vice consul. Cunningham was
upset by the independence showed by Goldner, who only alluded to the
consular agency when in great trouble. He was also of the opinion that
an overt conflict with the authorities was futile and even harmful, the
dispute having to be ‘referred to Constantinople as none here can judge the
Government’. But his superiors from Jassy, Constantinople and London
fully supported Goldner, and Cunningham was requested to grant the
entrepreneur the necessary protection, in conformity with his contract.
In his turn, Goldner accused the vice consul of jealousy and of trying to
undermine his business. In fact, he complained that everything went well,
strictly observed by both parties, and it was only after Cunningham had
denounced the contract that ‘the Moldavian Government began to levy
duties [] upon all articles which were exempt under that agreement’.
Even when he came to terms with the authorities, ‘Mr. Vice-consul
Cunningham, for some motive or another, did not cease to put as many
difficulties in my way as he possibly could; he not only deprived me of the
assistance I was entitled to from that office, but most arbitrarily proceeded
against my factory, so that I was again compelled to lay a complaint
against him before his Excellency Sir Stratford Canning’. If Cunningham
complained that Goldner had been ‘the most unpleasant part of my duty
during the last five years’, the entrepreneur retorted that ‘the greatest part
of my time has been taken up in these disputes, which ought to have been
devoted to the watching over the manufacture of the meat’.
In June , ‘in consequence of Mr. Goldner having adopted a style
of correspondence towards this vice consulate which I considered highly
disrespectful to the office’, and refusing to pay a fine imposed by consul
Gardner, Cunningham withdrew ‘British protection from you until I
receive instructions from my superiors’. In December, Goldner paid fifty
Spanish dollars, at the request of Ambassador Canning, who also blamed
Cunningham for delaying the establishment of the commission named by
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Bidwell, Galatz,  April .
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  March .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Goldner to Grant, London,  February
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  March .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Goldner to Grant, London,  February
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
the Moldavian Treasury to examine the entrepreneur’s claims. The vice
consul placed the responsibility on Gardner and Goldner (who was to agree
to the members of the commission), but the vice consul’s correspondence
clearly proves that he did not want to be part of these negotiations.
Considering the contractor’s position as ‘exceptional’, Cunningham
excused himself by saying that ‘the consulate of Jassy can alone in Mr.
Goldner’s affairs be of any use to stay proceedings or to protect Mr.
Goldner’s interests against the proceedings of the Moldavian Government.
The vice consulate in Galatz is powerless in such cases’. But, in a dispatch
dated  December , he accepted that the real difference was ‘that Mr.
Goldner had taken up a line of conduct toward the Vice Consulate which
must have ended either in intimidating the Vice Consulate or in forcing the
Vice Consulate to some act of coercion or severity against him’.
The executions and subsequent scandals made both parties eager to
solve the litigation. On  January , Goldner sent to the British vice
consulate an estimate of his new claims from the Moldavian Government,
after deducting duties on cattle slaughtered. He requested , ducats
(about ,), derived from ‘expenses for building and erecting necessary
stoves & for carrying on manufactory’ — , ducats, ‘expenses and
damage sustained by the difference in price of tallow, the same having
been detained at the frontier until the agent was authorized to pay the duty
under protest’ — , ducats, ‘expenses at the factory from the first of
March till date ( May) at  piastres per week being obliged to continue
those expenses, without being able to continue manufacturing till the
differences between myself and the local government are settled’ — ,
ducats, ‘my damages for being prevented carrying on my manufacturing
and the amount of profit I would have realised I estimate at , ducats’.
On the other side, there were requests for illegal impositions totalling
,. piastres (, ducats), of which ,. piastres (, ducats)
was owed for duties, with ,. piastres (, ducats) remaining
for himself. Convinced that a Moldavian commission could not solve his
claims, Goldner was determined to forward them to a committee named by
the British, Turkish and Russian governments, the latter two states in their
capacity of suzerain and protector powers of the Danubian Principalities.
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December , with numerous
enclosures on this topic.
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  January ; ibid.,
pp. –, Goldner to Cunningham and financial enclosure, Galatz,  January .
The Moldavian commission gathered in February , the
representatives of the British side being the French consul in Jassy, Favre
and the head of the Prussian consulate, van Loos, whereas the government
delegated Petre Mavrogheni, prefect of police and former civil governor of
Galatz, and Major Kogălniceanu (Goldner’s former attorney). The meetings
took place at Mavrogheni’s residence, in the presence of the Moldavian
chief treasurer. The discussions were complicated, with the government
trying to establish that Goldner ‘imported and exported much on account
of others and that the number of oxen killed by him in preceding years
is much greater than he admits’. Nevertheless, quickly enough, the
commission reached a conclusion, and by a private arrangement signed
on  February , Goldner was to receive a sum ‘of between four and
five thousand ducats, from the government, in satisfaction of every claim
and the most positive instructions will be issued to the custom house
authorities to admit the free importation of all the material necessary for
the establishment and the free exportation of all the products’. However,
the story did not end here and, as the decisions of the Commission upset
many people, in May  a new arbitration commission was formed,
whose results (if any) are not clarified by available sources.
It was an important financial success for Goldner, who consented to
receive only a portion of the money he was ‘unjustly conveyed to pay for
several years’. But it was most of all a confirmation of his interpretation
of the Moldavian privilege, which smoothed ‘the matter for future
operations’. And he had plenty of work to do, as he was engaged to
supply even larger quantities of canned meat to the Admiralty. Although
complaints about the quality of his cans, found to contain ‘an improper
substance’, precipitated the end of Goldner’s  contract with the Navy,
he was given, in May , a new contract for , lbs of boiled beef
of best quality in whole pieces. On  January , Goldner entered into
a similar agreement for another , lbs of best quality beef, both
 TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  February .
 Ibid., p. . One such instance may be that narrated by Cunningham, when
Goldner helped Guarricini forward to Constantinople ninety hides of tallow, ‘free of
export duty, as being the produce of his factory’. TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to
Canning, Galatz,  August .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Gardner to Canning, Jassy,  February ; TNA, FO
/, pp. –, Gardner to Palmerston, Jassy,  March  (Goldner received about
 Boicu, ‘Industria în Moldova’, p. .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Goldner to Grant, London,  February
engagements having stricter provisions, with a bond of ,–,
each against their fulfilment. Thus, shortly before the outburst of the
canned meat scandal, Stephen Goldner had won an important battle in the
conflict with the Moldavian Government and secured his position as main
contractor to the Admiralty, with the factory in Galatz supplying all his
orders in the years –.
4. Goldner’s character and his activities in Moldavia
The Parliamentary Select Committee, on the basis of Cunningham’s
reports and of several other statements, alluded to Goldner’s bad relations
with his employees as a possible source for the presence of unacceptable
materials (bones, offal, etc.) in his cans. But it is hard to believe that he
was deliberately processing these forbidden substances, as the contracts
included severe financial provisions against the guarantors for the failure
of his cans, within a five-year limit, because of low weight, the presence of
bone, offal, intestines, vegetables, etc., or too much or too poor gravy, or
any meat putrid or unfit for consumption due to the collapse or bursting
of the containers or any cause whatsoever.
An analysis of contemporary sources proves that Goldner experienced
several misunderstandings with his employees, far more serious than the
causes which Ritchie mentioned after his visit to Galatz, in the autumn
of . These problems apparently ‘resulted partly from a malicious
conspiracy against Mr. Goldner, and partly from wanton neglect on the
part of those to whom he had of necessity been compelled to entrust his
interests’. It is difficult to state the exact number of workers Goldner
employed at his factory. Initially, there were about  employees in the
cannery working in the meat processing phases (butchers, preservers),
in manufacturing the cans proper (tinmen) and in the management of the
business (accountants, agents). Ritchie complained that
the labouring population of the place is composed of men of the lowest
possible grade, being a mixture of Moldavians, Gipsies, Jews, and Greeks;
men who, owing to the long and abject slavery in which they have been
held up to a very recent period, are naturally cunning, deceitful, and
vicious, possessed of no principle or feeling whatever. It is the labour of
 Preserved meats, p. .
 Farrer, ‘Goldner’s Preserved Meats’, p. .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
 Mihály & Mihály, ‘Din istoria industriei’, p. .
these men that Mr. Goldner is compelled to employ, and it is only by the
exercise of the utmost vigilance and watchfulness over them that the work
can be carried on.
In need of qualified workers, Goldner brought to the Danube several
English employees, possibly from his factory in Houndsditch. Thomas
Thorp stated that, at the beginning, there were four British preservers,
whereas in  there were ‘only two Englishmen employed in Mr. Goldner’s
factory; one of them his clerk, and the other a foreman of the tinmen,
who is since dead’. But few of them managed to stay long in Galatz, the
main problem being related to the low wages Goldner paid. Thorp, who
worked as preserver for about five years, complained of these bad salaries,
which Goldner only paid after vocal protests. In fact, this was one of the
main seeds of conflict between the entrepreneur and the vice consul in
Galatz. The British labourers alluded to Cunningham’s help, and thence
long and complicated disputes. Thorp, for instance, stated that Goldner
treated him very badly, and only paid his wages after he appealed to the
vice consul. Cunningham remarked that Goldner was always in dispute
with his workmen, ‘not only English, but of all other nations’, whereas
Ritchie blamed the English workers themselves, who, ‘soon discovering
their superiority over those around them, become too independent to be
managed at all’. Goldner, in his turn, lamented the agent’s attitude, as
‘in consequence of the conduct of that functionary towards me, I have
very little control over my workmen, and am scarcely master of my own
establishment; in fact, I have been obliged to send back to this country all
my English workmen’.
The disputes should also be related to the calendar of Goldner’s
cannery, whose activity was usually confined to the second half of the year.
The animals which represented the chief raw material for his factory were
processed between August and December, when the produce had to be
shipped before the Danube was completely frozen. Sources do not mention
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
According to Thorp, most of the employees were Russian Jews. Ibid., p. , Statement of
Thomas Thorp, London,  January .
Ibid., p. .
 Ibid., Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  September .
Ibid., pp. –, Statement of Thorp, London,  January .
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July .
Ibid., p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
 Ibid., p. , Goldner to Grant, London,  February .
how the engagements of qualified labourers looked, but it is clear that they
were not very happy with the financial and working conditions. During
the  season, Goldner had no qualified preserver in his factory, and the
technical process was conducted by his nephew, ‘a lad of about  years of
age, who had no experience in preserving’. Cunningham’s conclusion in
a report sent to the Foreign Office in  is wholly plausible: ‘If the meat
preserved last year has turned out in worse condition than former years,
the absence of a proper preserver may account for it.’
The employer’s relations with his workers represent a veritable
tragicomedy. As mentioned by Thorp, ‘from Goldner’s paying them so
badly, the workmen were very ill off, especially in winter, and always,
exceedingly dissatisfied’. Adding to the entrepreneur’s character, highly
temperamental and irascible, the recourse to violence was common.
Cunningham’s statement is illustrative: although the ‘English workmen
never beat Goldner, neither did Goldner beat the English workmen’,
the proprietor ‘was in the habit of beating his German workmen, and
his German workmen, to my knowledge, beat Goldner four times’. In
another case, ‘one of the tinmen got about Goldner in such a way as to
provoke Goldner to strike him and that so soon as Goldner had struck one,
all the tinmen left their work and came into Galatz to complain’.
If improper substances had been found in the canisters, it was the
workers who were most likely to blame for the breach of contract.
They removed the good meat from the tins either because of ‘bad and
revengeful feelings’, or so as to have it for themselves, as compensation
for their low wages. As already mentioned, the provisions of the contracts
were severe, and it was not in Goldner’s interest to fill his canisters with
prohibited substances. Thorp saw large quantities of bad meat thrown
into the Danube, and Cunningham reported, after conversing with
one of Goldner’s employees, that ‘upwards of  carcases of meat were
thrown into the river last season in a state of putrefaction’. So it was
more probable that improper materials were put into the canisters by his
Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  August .
 Ibid.
Ibid., p. , Statement of Thorp, London,  January .
Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July .
 Ibid., pp. –, Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  September .
Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July ; ibid., p. , Cunningham
to Palmerston, Galatz,  September .
 Ibid., Statement of Thorp, London,  January .
Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  September .
discontented workers, in the context, suggested by Ritchie, of the neglect
demonstrated by Goldner’s manager, ‘who has proved himself utterly
unworthy of the trust reposed in him, although at the time Mr. Goldner
placed the fullest confidence in his integrity and judgment’.
As for the contractor’s relation with his employees, other incidents
testify to Goldner’s violent behaviour. He was fined by the consulate
because, in , he had beaten a Moldavian soldier. Goldner defended
himself by saying that ‘the injured man at the time was not on duty and
was not known to be a soldier but was only to replace the one who was
really on duty’ and the incident occurred in ‘very peculiar circumstances’,
which greatly irritated him. Nevertheless, he refused to come to an
understanding with the soldier and his superior officers and only paid
the fine after Stratford Canning’s ultimatum to do so. The same obstinate
character is visible in his relations with the Moldavian officials, as ‘Mr.
Goldner by means of his work people has several times driven away the
people of the police’. He even told the governor of Galatz that if they wanted
to sequester his debts, they would better be correspondingly prepared: ‘if
he only sent twenty or thirty dorobance [police soldiers] he would arm his
people and drive them away, but if he came with one hundred soldiers he
would abandon his factory.’ The execution was therefore carried out by a
company of regular soldiers, fully armed and equipped.
Concerned to lower the price of his goods and to secure his contracts
with the Admiralty, Goldner forced further reductions throughout the
production chain. The first phase was the acquisition of cattle, bought
all over Moldavia, but also in the neighbouring principality of Wallachia.
Thus, he travelled extensively, sometimes distances of  to  miles, to
Upper Moldavia and Wallachia, in order to conclude the most advantageous
contracts for his factory. The cost of oxen represented a key element in the
final price of his cans, so that it was extremely important to secure good
quality animals and have them delivered at the most convenient time.
‘The cost of a bullock was just one-fourth of that of an English or Scotch
heifer of equal size and quality’, but Goldner always employed the best
stratagems to get even lower prices. In , for example, he signed a pre-
contract with prince Dimitrie Cantacuzino, who was to sell him  oxen.
The dealer’s obligation was to bring the cattle to the purchaser’s cannery,
 Ibid., p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Goldner, Galatz,  May ; ibid., p. ,
Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  May ; ibid., p. , Cunningham to Goldner,
Galatz,  February ; ibid., Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  March .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  December .
Report from the Select Committee, p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
but Goldner, apparently because the cattle had not been delivered on time,
only received forty oxen in his courtyard, so as to cover the  ducats
he had paid in advance. As for the rest, he would only take the cattle
‘provided a very considerable abatement was made on the price agreed
on’. The seller complained to the authorities that he had been cheated
and had incurred great losses from bringing the animals such a long
distance; eventually, the police master and twelve soldiers set free the oxen
‘confiscated’ by Goldner, after he had publicly stated that the cattle would
leave his factory only by the use of force. It should be added here that
good timing was essential for his business. The grass-fed oxen were ready
for processing in August, when Goldner usually started working. ‘All the
oxen are generally slaughtered before the end of September, and then the
slaughtering of the cows commences, and continues until the beginning
of November.’ If in the months of late summer to early autumn he faced
the problem of high temperatures, which did not allow much time for
keeping the meat between slaughtering the animal and its preservation, in
the months of November and December the cattle were fed on hay, which
added considerably to the costs. At the same time, an early winter could
prevent his shipping the goods, and thus imperil his contracts.
Goldner also enforced his agreement regarding permission to import
cattle, free of duty, only when he could not secure all the necessary raw
materials from the Moldavian market. As Galatz was located on the
border between Moldavia and Wallachia, it was profitable to buy cattle
in Wallachia. In , for example, he brought to Galatz  Wallachian
cattle, but in August  the Moldavian authorities refused to receive the
imported animals, as Goldner could not prove he had not found cattle on
the domestic market, and as an epidemic was raging in Wallachia. But he
was always insistent and, with the support of the consul in Jassy, usually
succeeded in getting the exemptions.
It has also been stated that one of the problems with the cans was related
to the establishment being essentially a tallow factory, with tallow as his
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  June , with
numerous enclosures on this affair; TNA, FO /, p. , Gardner to Canning, Jassy, 
July .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Goldner to Cunningham, Galatz,  June ; ibid., p. ,
report on the execution, Galatz,  June ; ibid., pp. –, The Percalabia of Galatz to
Cunningham, Galatz,  June .
 Report from the Select Committee, p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz, 
August .
 SJANI-S, f. , p. , Goldner’s petition, Galatz,  August ; ibid., p. ,
Gardner to the Moldavian Department of State, Jassy,  September .
primary product. Cunningham reported, on the basis of his ‘knowledge
and observation’, that Goldner ‘made the production of tallow the first
and chief object and that of meat quite secondary’, and that ‘meat was
sacrificed to the tallow’. This was no secret: Goldner could secure low
prices for his cans precisely by covering the cost of the animals through
trading their tallow and hides. There do not seem to have been any
significant problems with the quality of the meat itself, but rather with
‘improper substances’ or material ‘not according to contract’ (bones, offal,
intestines). The report published in January  proves that the cans
condemned at the Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport contained mostly ‘such
substances as pieces of heart, roots of tongues, pieces of palates, pieces of
tongues, coagulated blood, pieces of liver, ligaments of the throat, pieces of
intestines’ and were putrefying. But when analysing the rejection rate of
Goldner’s cans, T. T. Grant estimated the proportion condemned at  per
cent of the . million lbs delivered to the Admiralty. The comptroller of
the Victualling emphasized that less than . per cent contained ‘improper
substances’; the remainder was good meat which was putrefying. Thus, the
problem was related to the technical process employed and the quality of
the canisters, especially as most deficiencies were recorded with the large
cans (ten lbs and upwards), many of them failing through mechanical
damage due to careless handling or stowage on board ships. These were
also the main causes Ritchie identified at Goldner’s factory: ‘The cases
where the meat has been found bad from defective preserving’ and ‘where
this result has arisen from defective canisters.’ But, to conclude, there
was no fundamental incompatibility in getting, from healthy cattle, both
good quality tallow and excellent meat.
Sources do not mention cases of a faulty technical process which, if
carried out fairly and properly, was excellent. But some problems might
have been derived from another phase in which Goldner could get
significant reductions of the end price of his goods: delivering the canisters
to England. When shipping a cargo of beef in the autumn of , the
contractor freighted a large brig built at Galatz, paying  per cent less than
Report from the Select Committee, p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  July
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  August .
‘Putrid “Preserved” Meat’, The Lancet: A Journal of British and Foreign Medicine,
Physiology, Surgery, Chemistry, Criticism, Literature and News, ,  January , p. .
 T. K. Derry, T. I. Williams, A Short History of Technology from the Earliest Times to
A.D. 1900, New York, , p. .
Report from the Select Committee, p. , Ritchie to Meek, London,  October .
for a British vessel, and having ‘an advantage of  besides advantages
in paying advances at a high premium’. He also convinced the ship-owner
to cover the extra insurance which he might have to pay over and above
what an Austrian or British vessel would have cost. Then, in London,
‘without saying he had shipped in an inferior vessel’ and alluding to the
very high premium he had paid, ‘from anxiety to send forward supplies’,
he persuaded the Admiralty to grant him subsidies. ‘Thus Mr. Goldner
getting  from the master of the vessel and  from the Admiralty only
pays  insurance.’ Since the ship had problems leaving the Danube, it
probably took longer to reach England. Sometimes, due to the late season,
the frozen Danube incurred further delays and additional physical effects
on the canisters, which could be ‘very much indented and bruised. Their
transport was problematic, as well as their stowing in casks, which proved
to be completely wrong: ‘one canister is knocked against another’, and ‘a
great deal of injury does arise to the canisters from the manner in which
they are treated after they leave the contractor’s hands’.
5. The official investigation and fate of Goldner’s factory
In April , the Admiralty asked the Foreign Office ‘to instruct Her
Majesty’s consul, or other government agent at the above-named place,
to inspect and report on the mode of cure, and preparation of these
preserved meats’. The measure was dictated by ‘the serious complaints
which have been made from the seamen of the fleet, of the inferiority of
the meat; and the canisters, in many instances, containing the offal and
parts of the intestines of the animals’. Thus, on  May , the Under
Secretary of State Henry Unwin Addington instructed Cunningham ‘to act
as government inspector for behalf of the admiralty on preserved meats
to be prepared by Mr. Goldner’. But the vice consul did not have the
opportunity to inspect his enemy’s factory, where cattle processing only
commenced later in the year, and the contract was interrupted in June .
Nevertheless, the authorities were anxious ‘to obtain any information with
reference to the system pursued by Mr. Goldner in preserving provisions
for the naval service’.
TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Canning, Galatz,  April .
Report from the Select Committee, p. xiv.
Ibid., p. , J. Parker to H. U. Addington, London,  April .
 TNA, FO /, p. , Addington to Cunningham, London,  May ; ibid., p. ,
Cunningham to Palmerston, Galatz,  June .
Report from the Select Committee, p. , W. A. B. Hamilton to Addington, London,
 June .
Goldner tried to defend his position and alluded to all his problems,
but the unrest was too great at home. Public pressure was mounting and,
following the inspection of his products, on  February  the House
of Commons appointed fifteen people to serve as the Select Committee
on Preserved Meats (Navy). Their investigation meant interviewing about
twenty witnesses, officials closely involved in the supply of provisions to
the Navy and others actively engaged in canning, but Stephen Goldner
did not appear before the Committee. The official report, presented on 
May and published thereafter had significant consequences for the manner
in which the Admiralty concluded its contracts for preserved meats and
determined the setting up of its own canning factory, in Deptford in
Goldner was completely compromised and his involvement in the
canning industry is not mentioned thereafter. In fact, sources are not clear
as to his fate after his public incrimination. As for his factory in Galatz, it
was placed, in January , when the contractor left the Danubian port,
in the charge of the vice consulate. It was later sequestered by an Austrian,
Marrasi, and the execution lifted when two former associates, Alfred
Powell and Samuel Ritchie, came to Galatz and probably covered Goldner’s
debts. Gardner, the British consul in Jassy, asked the Foreign Office for
further instructions, as he was uncertain how Goldner and Ritchie were
to be regarded. By the summer of , the two new contractors ‘were
anxious to have the privilege renewed by which they alone should have
the right of preserving meat in air proof canisters, but more particularly
they were anxious to obtain a renewal of the lease of the ground where
the factory has hitherto stood’. Their terms were accepted and, learning
from Goldner’s problems, they employed a qualified labour force of British
preservers. By , twenty English butchers were working at Galatz. The
factory remained in use for about two more decades, until , when the
machines were sold by public auction.
Goldner’s commercial venture in Moldavia is certainly decisive
in understanding the character of ‘the culprit’ in the tragic fate of
John Franklin’s lost mission. ‘An evil man’, practising ‘a shadowy, yet
 Perren, Taste, Trade and Technology, p. .
 TNA, FO /, pp. –, Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  August .
 Ibid., pp. –, Gardner to Malmesbury, Jassy,  August . Gardner had many
rather rhetorical questions: ‘In what light am I to regard him [Goldner]? As a defaulter
under the imputation of fraud? And in what light am I to regard Mr. Ritchie?’.
 Ibid., p. , Cunningham to Gardner, Galatz,  December .
 Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi, , p. .
well-calculated, art of deceit’, the contractor was portrayed by both
contemporaries and modern historians as the usual suspect of premeditated
crime, in his pursuit of ‘profit without conscience or qualm, with no regard
for life’. A detailed scrutiny of available sources depicts him as an
extremely clever and ingenious businessman, capable of innovation not
only in the technological process of his business, but also in its economic
dimension. An ‘active shrewd man’, as Gardner described him, Goldner had
an irascible character which greatly affected his personal and professional
relations. He was constantly bargaining, disagreeing, arguing, quarrelling
and fighting, while his opponents covered the entire social spectrum, from
the prince and the local authorities to his own employees. His investment
in Moldavia is the story of a stubborn man, clinging to his rights, real or
imagined, irrespective of the consequences. Goldner was not so much the
victim of his opponents as of his temperament, which consumed his time
and energy in disputes often collateral to his business.
It is unclear how his factory in Hounsditch fared during the seven years
in which he administered the cannery in Galatz. The fact that he spent most
of his time in the Danubian Principalities may suggest that it was his chief
commercial preoccupation, perhaps the solution to his financial problems
in England, or the way to making a fortune in this Eastern agro-pastoral El
Dorado. Goldner showed ‘labour, talent, and industry’, but he also showed
an incapacity to develop a long-term advantageous business enterprise in
Moldavia by estranging all those persons or institutions which might have
helped him. From his personal and professional relations with his workers
to his inability to maintain the service of qualified labourers, from his
struggle to get a monopoly of the local market to his continuous disputes
with the State Treasury, Goldner proved himself parsimonious and greedy.
In a province where Turkish baksheesh was well rooted, the contractor
did not always choose the easiest resolutions. His conflict with the British
vice consul in Galatz virtually deprived him of the advantage of consular
jurisdiction and earned him an enemy who proved as stubborn and
resentful as himself. Thus, Goldner had to deal with additional problems
and useless conflicts, which impaired his situation in Moldavia. Once his
reputation was compromised in Britain, he immediately lost all protection
in Moldavia, and also from the few people who were still supporting him.
But Goldner does not appear a criminal ready to put lives in danger
for the sake of a profit, although sources depict him as a rapacious
 Cookman, Ice Blink, pp. –.
capitalist, interested in acquiring unfair benefits from his business.
From this perspective, he was one of the pioneers of Western capitalism
in the Romanian Principalities; sensing the huge possibilities of bringing
advanced technology to these peripheral European areas, endowed with
rich and cheap agro-pastoral resources, Goldner was a veritable economic
founder, who nourished similar initiatives in Wallachia and Moldavia.
Goldner’s factory in Galatz proved economically viable and managed to
stay up and running for a further two decades. In the meat preserving
industry, Goldner proved to be an explorer as innovative as Franklin had
been in mapping the arctic regions.
 Bruce C. Paton, Adventuring with Boldness: The Triumph of the Explorer, Golden,
CO, , p. .
The Late Middle Ages was followed by the Renaissance. Around CE 1300, centuries of European social and economic growth ground to a halt. The Great Famine of 1315–1317 and the Black Death, reduced the population by as much as half. Despite these crises, and possibly because of them, the 14th century was a time of great advancements in the arts and sciences, leading to the Italian Renaissance. The developments occurring in the arts and humanities were mirrored by a dynamic period of progress in the sciences. Some have seen this flurry of activity as a “scientific revolution”, heralding the beginning of the modern age.
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In 1845 the Franklin expedition left London with 2 ships and 134 men on board in an attempt to find the route through the Northwest Passage. The ships were built with state-of-the-art technology for their day, but provisioned with supplies from the lowest bidder. After taking on fresh provisions in the Whalefish Islands, off the coast of Greenland, the entire crew was never heard from again. Graves found on remote Beechey Island indicate that three able-bodied seamen died during the first winter. A note written on a ship's log, later found in a cairn, indicate that the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, died during the second winter entrapped on the ice, by which time 24 men had also perished. The remaining crew failed in their attempt to walk out of the Arctic by an overland route. In 1981 Owen Beattie, from the University of Alberta, exhumed the remains of the sailors from the three graves on Beechey Island. Elevated lead levels were found in all three sailors. While lead poisoning has been a leading theory of the cause of the crew's deaths, blamed on the crudely tinned provisions the ships carried with them from England, chronic lead exposure may only have weakened the crew, not necessarily killed them. One of three exhumed sailors also had in his intestine the spores of an unspecified Clostridium species. The theory put forth by this article is that Botulism, type E, which is endemic in the Arctic, may have been responsible for their deaths.
The British diplomat and writer Laurence Oliphant (1829–88) was the author of travel diaries and novels, including the very successful Piccadilly (1870). A keen traveller, he worked as a correspondent for The Times during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1) and served as Secretary to British Diplomat Lord Elgin in Canada, China and Japan. This book is a narrative of the journey Oliphant made to Russia as a young man, with his friend Oswald Smith. Its publication in 1853 coincided with the beginning of the Crimean War, turning the book into an immediate success. From the splendour of mid-nineteenth-century St Petersburg, to the annexation of the Crimea, and the international consequences of Russian foreign policy for Europe, this illustrated book is also full of witty anecdotes and captivating descriptions. Very influential in its time, it remains an important resource for cultural and political historians.
To Feed a Nation takes the reader on a journey over the centuries, describing the slow and arduous development of Australian food technology and science from before European settlement to the latter half of the twentieth century. The first part of the book gives a fascinating glimpse into Aboriginal food and culture, outlines the primitive state of European food technology at the time of the First Fleet, and shows how the colonists tried to transfer to Australia the village technologies they knew in England. The second part describes how, for most of the nineteenth century, technology preceded science – the processing and storage of food relied on methods which, by trial and error, had been shown to work – and food science was slow to emerge. The final part of the book highlights the twentieth century watershed — how a growing understanding of the nature of food, the principles of nutrition, and the role of micro-organisms, was able to propel food technology to where it is today. The publication of To Feed a Nation has been sponsored by the Food Technology Association of Victoria.
The lead content of bones that were surface scattered about a purported campsite of the 1845 Franklin expedition was measured using a fluorescence excitation technique based on a109Cd radioisotope source. The lead concentrations are considerably greater than values observed in modern populations and the ratio of the lead content in the calcaneus to that in the tibia is greater than that observed in subjects currently exposed occupationally. The pattern of distribution of lead between bones indicates excessive intake of lead during the period of the expedition. Predictions of blood lead levels based on the measured bone lead concentrations, suggest that the current upper limit for occupational exposure recommended to prevent neurological changes was exceeded.
Elemental analyses of bone samples from members of the 1845 Franklin Arctic Expedition revealed the presence of high levels of lead. Initial studies using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) on one bone indicated a level of 125 μg/g and prompted a more detailed analysis of lead levels by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry in hair, tissues, and bone from various anatomical regions.Results of lead analysis in 27 bone samples from sailors who succumbed on King William Island in 1848 ranged from 87–223 μg/g. Lead levels in bones taken from Inuit (Eskimo) of the same time period with the same geographical area ranged from 1–14 μg/g suggesting that environmental lead levels were not a contributing factor in the high bone lead levels in the British sailors. This is also confirmed by bone lead in two caribou samples found with one of the British sailors which had a lead level of 2 μg/g. Lead levels in bone of a modern population range from 18–50 μg/g.The presentation will include detailed statistics on lead results of 58 individual bone samples. Explanations for the elevated lead levels in sailors has been attributed to the use of food preserved in crudely soldered tin cans. Examination of tin can residues found at Beechey Island substantiated the possibility of gross lead contamination of food consumed during the course of the three year expedition.The implications of the above data on the ultimate fate of the Franklin Expedition will be discussed.
Claims that poisoning by lead—specifically lead from the solder of the cans of food carried—was a major factor in the loss of the last Franklin expedition have been examined. It is suggested that the high incidence of environmental lead in 19th-century Britain, the known behaviour of lead on ingestion by adults, the electrolytic protection by tin and iron of lead in food cans (which is confirmed by published analyses of very old cans of food), simple calculations from the published lists of provisions carried by the expedition, and alternative interpretations of the lead isotope data, lead to a number of questions which must be answered before the hypothesis is acceptable. In the meantime, it is concluded that the contribution of canned foods to body loads of lead or to any incipient ill health in Franklin's crews was trivial.
Atomic absorption analysis of recently discovered human remains from a 19 century British Arctic expedition indicates lead levels consistent with lead intoxication. Levels up to 30 times higher than those found in modern exposed individuals indicate that the effects of lead may have contributed to the loss of the entire expedition. Lead isotope ratio analysis by mass spectrometry demonstrates that the lead found in the human tissues originated from soldered food cans supplied to the expedition.
Goldner's Preserved Meats and the Last Franklin Expedition
  • Keith Thomas Henry Farrer
Keith Thomas Henry Farrer, 'Goldner's Preserved Meats and the Last Franklin Expedition', Food Science and Technology Today, 15, March 2001, 1, p. 20.