Imatges de pÓgina

paid no premium, he had sent no cer- pose stringent checks upon fraud; tificate-but he had been accepted; but it certainly is not its duty to lay and as his surgeon declared him to be down arbitrary rules for the conduct of in sound health up to his visit to Lon- any kind of business. We are, moredon, and as his friends vouched for over, humbly of opinion that the State his sobriety, the money was unhesi- is not always infallible; and we contatingly paid to his widow, whose sider it as more than probable that in chief support it was for herself and matters of this sort the wisdom of a five children."

board of directors, experienced and We should be rather dubious as to trained to business, is at all events the stability of an office which con- equal to what is called the wisdom of ducted business in such a manner. Parliament. That fraudulent comThe fact just seems to be that the panies like the Independent and West money was paid without any insurance Middlesex have sprung into mushhaving been effected, and paid, more- room-like existence, and occasioned over, on account of a man who had all serious damage to their dupes, is no the symptoms of incipient apoplexy sound argument for the establishment upon him when he presented himself of general boards of supervision. It at the office. The Irishman who is cannot be hoped that the country will the subject of the other legend, ap- ever be purged of scoundrels, whose peared at breakfast, gay, fresh, de- occupation, whether singly or in bonnair, not a hair the worse for his gangs, is to prey on the credulity of customary brace of tumblers, and, we the unwary; nor is it possible, by any doubt not, astonished the managing exertion of ingenuity, to prevent the director by the rapidity with which occurrence of occasional disastrous broiled salmon, kidneys, and chops fraud. In spite of every kind of disappeared before his bickering blade. warning, there are people so blind as In fact he gave decisive proof, by ocu- to rush on precipitately to their ruin. lar demonstration, of the unimpaired Whenever money becomes plentiful, powers of an originally beautiful appe- the market teems with bubble projects, tite. The Sheffield leaguer, on the which no legislative interference can contrary, was evidently shaky. Some- prevent. Sharpers angle for the co

. thing was muttered about the effects vetous with a golden bait, and to of a prize ; but it would require an many the lure is irresistible. But extraordinary degree of faith to accept even according to Mr Francis there such an excuse for delirium. It is not does not seem to be any reason for usual for the joints of hardware-men interference with existing companies. to quiver because a trumpery premium In the chapter which is more espehas been awarded them for a gross of cially devoted to the progress of the tolerable thimbles. No consideration system in Scotland, he says: “It is or entry-money was paid ; but down one advantage of all new life-comwent the uninsured one to Sheffield, panies that they assist in forwarding fell voraciously upon pork-pie, tripe, a principle; and there is another feaand other such condiments, and never ture in them. In most other specusaw the morning light again. It must lative societies, their failure produces be obvious to the meanest capacity very painful results. A railway sees that, of the two, the Irishman's was its capital spent, and is obliged to the preferable existence.

make farther calls upon its proprietors. Passing from the “legends," which, An unsuccessful canal company has as we have said, are singularly dull, only the certainty of having fed and we arrive at Mr Francis' own sugges

demoralised some thousands of staltions with regard to the management wart navigators in exchange for the of Assurance Companies. So far as ruin of its shareholders; while the we can gather, he is favourable to a failure of a mine is the melancholy certain degree of Government inter- close of many a bright hope. But it ference. Now, upon this point of is not so bad with a life assurance Government interference with com- company. The insured-except in mercial affairs, there is a very wide offices originated with a fraudulent difference of opinion. It may be the design, such as the West Middlesexdaty of the State in all cases to inter- have never yet been deceived by the failure of a policy. To take Scotland thought to the future, as all of us are as an instance, many of the companies too apt to do, opining that his business have not been able to maintain their is with the present, and that the ground; but in no one case has the po- future will take care of itself. A licy-holder risked his premium or lost more fatal doctrine than that cannot his assurance. The public has be imagined. The future never does never been scandalised with tales and take care of itself. It is moulded and traditions of wrong and ruin; nor has made entirely by our present actions. the improvident man been strength. And amongst all the means for proened in his improvidence by being moting the future happiness of existable to plead losses which others have ence, we are serious in saying that we sustained. The progress of the science know of none at all comparable to in Scotland has been calm aud equable. early insurance. Every year that a Throughout all her districts its agents man is insured, he is actually adding are spreading a knowledge of its be- to his capital, just as the tree impernefits. There are enough and to ceptibly grows during the hours when spare of companies; and while giving the planter is asleep. To delay inthe following list, it may be remarked, suring, whilst health is sound, and that all the offices which are noticed the means within his power, is not below as having transferred their only a cruel action if he has any exbusiness, were fairly and soundly ori- isting or prospective obligations to ginated. It is highly creditable to fulfil, but a very foolish one, inasmuch Scotland, that, directly they found as with each year the rates increase, they were not successful, their busi- and the ultimate participation is ness was at once handed over to other diminished. We have spoken, strongly companies.”

we admit, against covetousness and We have not space to enter into inordinate boarding, for a miserly the discussion as to the relative merits spirit, whether it be exhibited in the of proprietary and mutual companies, young or the old, is in every way to nor have we received much enlighten- be condemned. But there are prudenment on the subject from the disqui- tial considerations which no ‘man is sitions of Mr Francis. That he has entitled to neglect, unless he wilfully been unhappy this time in the selec- courts disappointment for himself, or tion of a topic, every one who takes up is culpably indifferent to the welfare his book must admit; for, in reality, of others who should be dear to him. there was very little to be said, no There are, we firmly believe, no innew views to be propounded, and an stitutions in this country more strictly utter lack of illustrations to make it beneficial to the best interests of popular. We question whether any society, or more benevolent in their one will rise from the perusal of it motive, than these insurance comwith a clearer idea than he entertain- panies ; and however much it may ed before of the nature of the system, have startled the commercial notions and its admirable adaptation to the of Mr Francis to know that the oldest wants and requirements of society. and one of the very best in Scotland, No doubt it is difficult to appear en

“ The Widows' Fund and Equitable thusiastic on such a theme; but we Assurance Company," was consecratcould have pardoned him had he even ed at its opening by solemn prayer, waxed grandiloquent in his praise. we hope that not many will join with As, however, the subject deserves to him in the opinion that such an act be deeply studied, we accept this as a was unsuitable at the foundation of a contribution; and, in conclusion, we society, whose object it was, by human would add our most cordial testimony means, to banish care from the dying and recommendation in favour of Life pillow, and to provide for the widow Assurance.

and the orphan. That it and other To the young man, especially, the similar societies have already done so subject is of the deepest interest. Very is known to thousands ; and as they probably, in the hey-day of life and hitherto have been prosperous and enjoyment, he gives but a cursory prudent, so may they long remain.


The change in the social, national, life, emigrate from a single country, of and political relations of mankind a limited population, every summer, which is going forward at this time, for a course of years in succession, from the unparalleled influx of gold and no corresponding or proportional and efflux of labour from this country, exodus from other and rival states is is such that not one essay, but ten taking place, it requires no one to volames, would hardly be able to ex- rise from the dead to tell us that the haust the topic. We treated, in our effects, social, political, and industrial, last number, of one of the many effects must be immense. Germany sends of these all-important changes, in the forth its 100,000 emigrants yearly, out necessary effect it would have in of 40,000,000 of souls ; the whole of raising the comparative cost at which the rest of Europe taken together, not the same articles, whether agricultu- 40,000 out of 200,000,000 inhabitants. ral or commercial, could be raised in But Great Britain and Ireland, out of this country and on the continent of 27,000,000 inhabitants, pour out a Europe, and the results to the Man- flood annually of 350,000 emigrantschester school of politicians of the en- hardy adults, active emigrants—and tire adoption of all their policy, when the greater part of them speedily remit coupled by Providence with the dis- money to bring out more of their recovering of a few grains of gold dust lations and friends. Mr Everett has in a mill-race in California, and of an stated, in his correspondence with ingot of the same metal in the bed of Lord Malmesbury in December last, a river in Australia. It is thus-so that no less than 5,000,000 dollars, or far as it is permitted to human ken £1,250,000, has been remitted annuto see-that Providence often deals ally for the last three years from the with the designs of men. It allows United States, to bring out more emithem to go on undisturbed for a cer- grants from Ireland. It is hard to tain period; it permits the objects of see how an exodus on such a scale, selfish ambition, of grasping cupidity, and supported by such generous efto be to appearance entirely gained, forts, is to stop, until it has drained and then it suddenly lets in some new away the whole disposable labour and unforeseen element into the affairs amongst us, and raised the wages of of men which entirely alters the re- workmen to such a height as to counsults, and renders the magnitude of teract the attractions of the new hemithe edifice previously reared only the sphere. It may assist the imaginameasure of the height of the fall from tion in conceiving the effect of such a its summit. Moscow had been taken, drain upon the adult population of a the world apparently subdued, before country, to state that it has inflicted the winds of winter set in, and the yearly, for three years past, TWICE the fabric of conquest was at once de- loss in human life on the inhabitants of stroyed; and if Moscow had not this country which the Moscow cambeen reached, the desolating blast paign did on the military resources of would have been powerless.

Napoleon, and which proved so fatal Great as must be the effects of this to him, wielding as he did the popuwonderful change upon human affairs, lation of the half of Europe. and all nations, its consequences to

It is a mere delusion to suppose, this country far outstrip those to all that because it has been at first occaothers. Not only our commercial sioned by the impossibility of our cultiwealth, vast undertakings, and un- vators finding a vent, at remunerating paralleled trade, render it certain that prices, in the foreign-grain-loaded marthis must ensue, but it is produced kets of England for their grain crops, also in a not less important degree that therefore this astonishing and unby the unexampled amount of the paralleled drain upon the labour marexodus of our population, which is ket is either likely to cease, or that it at the same time going forward. is a matter concerning agricultural When from 330,000 to 400,000 per- labourers and produce only. It is in sons, most of them in the prime of the most emphatic sense a catholic question ; it affects not one, but all relatives, his customs, and his recolclasses ; it threatens the price of lections. labour, not in the fields only, but in Beyond all question, it was the a still greater degree perhaps in the monetary policy of England, intended cities. It is true, it was at first to lower prices and raise the value occasioned by the loss of the home of money, which was the remote market produced by Free Trade; the but certain cause of the discovery sudden and portentous increase of of the gold regions of California, and, the emigration from the islands by setting men everywhere seeking the moment that great change had for that precious metal, of those of taken place, sufficiently demonstrates Australia also. Everybody knows this.* "But although the Free-Traders that it was the conquest of California have themselves, and themselves alone, by the Americans which brought its to thank for the commencement of this hidden treasures to light-the Spaniprodigious drain upon the labour ards had had them for three hundred market of the country, which had be- years under their feet, but their lazy come very great before the gold fields priest-ridden people never discovered were ever heard of, yet nothing can them. Within three months of the be clearer than that it continues to flow Anglo-Saxon getting his foot on the from its own impulse alone. Like a soil they were found out. But what imstone loosened from the summit of a pelled the Americans into the goldhill, and sent rolling down, a great laden regions? What caused them to exertion of strength was requisite to cross the vast barrier of the Rocky detach it from its fastenings in the Mountains, and carry an army of adoutset, but when once set fully in venturers to the shores of the Pacific ? motion, its own momentum impels it It was domestic insolvency-the finanonwards, and urges it with accelerated cial embarrassments which drove them speed as it approaches the bottom. into repudiation of their state debts ; Nothing short of the powerful capital, the thirst for foreign conquest and all persevering energy, and ceaseless ef- its gainful fruits, in a country where forts of the Free Traders to deprive no statesman has ever yet so much as the Celt of his market, and render hinted at a direct tax for any purpose, valueless the labour of his hands, the far less to pay old debts—the desire in only property he had in the world, a penniless legislature of getting poscould have loosened him from the session of the treasures of Mexico, and land of his fathers ; but when the finding the means of discharging its severance was once effected, he be- engagements from the sale of the concame the child of a new hemisphere. quered lands. Then what induced Like otherstrong passions, his affection this domestic insolvency, which called to the land of his birth, when once sur- into such active operation, necessity, mounted by a still stronger feelingthe mother of invention, and sent a turned into hatred, and he fled across cloud of hardy, needy adventurers the Atlantic, bearing in his bosom the across the Mexican wilds, to win inextinguishable animosity at the wealth for themselves and their counSaxon, which from the earliest times try at the sword's point ? It was the has characterised his race. He is now monetary policy of England, which attracted to the Transatlantic shore caused the credit of the world to deby the very feelings which, in former pend on the retention of gold in its days, chained him to his own-love coffers—a tbing utterly impossible in of kindred, family affection, gratitude a bad season, with a currency in for the boundless kindness which has Great Britain entirely dependent on given him the means of passage—the the keeping of the precious metalsprospect of a happy home in the Far which did the whole. West, surrounded by his family, his The cashier of the United States Bank, Mr Biddle, in his report on human legislation, “the greatest posthe causes which destroyed credit in sible happiness of the greatest possible America in the autumn of 1839 and number is visibly the principle of winter of 1840, ascribes it all to the the Divine administration. heavy rains which fell in Great Britain The great revolution in our social in August and September in the first and industrial prospects, which, withof these years. The vacillations in outintending it, the Free-Traders have the amount of the imports in America helped to bring about, whatever it may from this country from 1835 to 1850 prove to themselves, and the ultimate almost exceed belief, and afford the interest of realised capital and monied most striking proof of the prodigious influence, will undoubtedly, even in the effects of the monetary changes in first instance, be attended with great Great Britain upon credit and indus- and obvious advantages to society. try, not only in this country, but over No one can doubt this, for every one the whole civilised world. The army sees it going on around him. The geof insolvents which crossed the Rocky neral prosperity which now pervades Mountains and conquered California, all classes, and which the Free-Traders were, literally speaking, driven for- are fain to adopt, as the consequence ward by the monetary laws of Eng- of their principle having been carried land, which induced a general shock into effect, is, in reality, owing to the and contraction of credit over the very reverse ! —it is owing to their world the moment a bad season, by monetary system having been reversed draining away the precious metals by Providence. It is not the cheapfrom the British shores, occasioned ening system, it is the enhancing the putting on the screw by the Bank system which has done it all; and of England. America, as the youngest that enhancing system is not only no civilised and industrial country, and part of their policy, but it is the direct the most dependent on the credit, of opposite to it-it is the very thing which England was the heart and which Sir R. Peel strove all his life soul, felt the shock more than any to prevent. In the mean time, howother country. Five-sixths of the ever, it is attended with a very great mercantile wealth of the United States impulse to industry and extension of was swept away by the dreadful mo- credit to all classes ; and as it tends netary storms of 1839, 1810, and directly to raise the price of produce 1848. The date of the conquest of of all sorts, it ameliorates the condition California by the Americans, 1819, of all who live by the production and coming immediately after the terrible sale of such produce—that is, of by far monetary crisis of 1817-8 in Great the largest portion of mankind. In a Britain, sufficiently demonstrates the word, it has directly undone all in reconnection of the two things. And it lation to prices which Sir R. Peel did, is thus one of the most curious and and that has proved quite sufficient to instructive facts recorded in history, put the nation on its feet. It is that the monetary and Free-Trade amusing to hear the Free - Trader policy of England, intended to force boasting of the effects of the reversal down prices, and enrich the holders of his decision as affording evidence of realised capital by augmenting the of its soundness. value of money, and the manufacturers It is not a mere temporary adby beating down the wages of la- vantage which has arisen from this bour, and wbich for thirty years pro- general advance of prices over the duced these results to a most distress- world, and especially in the heart of ing degree, has ended by bringing to its commercial industry and enterlight the hidden treasures of nature, prise, Great Britain. It is a still and forcing the Celt, the man of la- greater gain that this advantage probour, from his native land, and occa- mises to be durable, at least in some sioning a vast enhancemeni of the re- degree. Without doubt there are muneration of industry, and diminu- many causes likely to produce mertion of the value of realised capital cantile embarrassment and distress and profits of stock. Of a truth, Pro- in this country, which not only have vidence has in its own time vindicated not been removed by the Californian its attribute as the poor man's friend; and Australian mines, but which may and whatever may be the case with in a certain degree be aggravated by

1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1817,


1848, 70,686

1849, 93,501

1850, 129,581

1851, 258,461


248,582 299,498 280,484 335,966 368,764

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