« PreviousContinue »
“On a rule for a new trial, Lord Kenyon said — At the time of this trial, I thought there was a difference between bankers' checks and bills of exchange, and that the rule adopted with regard to the latter did not apply to the former ; but, on further consideration, I do not think that that distinction is well founded. But the defendant's position that bankers' checks are not considered by merchants as negotiable instruments, appears most extraordinary; for this very instrument on which the action is brought shows the contrary. It was made payable to Dobson or bearer, and instead of being given to Dobson, to whom it was payable in the first instance, it was immediately delivered to those under whom the plain. tiffs claim.
“* Let us consider the particular circumstances of this case, on which alone my opinion proceeds. The proposition on which the defendants rely is, not that the plaintiffs have not given a valuable consideration for the check; nor that the bankers on whom the check is drawn had not assets in their hands to pay it; nor that the plaintiffs, when they took it, conceived any doubt but that the defendants would pay it: but that they (the defendants) on the 15th November, 1796, sent this check into the world with its own death-wound about it, and that it was not negotiable at all, even when it was issued by them; and after they have perplexed the world with the confusion of dates occasioned by their own act, they have the audacity to say, in a court of justice, that because payment was not demanded by the plaintiffs nine months before it was even issued by themselves, payment of the bill cannot be enforced at all; but this is tov gross a fraud to be practiced on the plaintiffs, who are bona fide holders of the bill. The rule established in Brown vs. Davis, and in the other case there referred to, was framed to exclude fraud, and it professed to be founded on grounds of justice ; whereas here the demand is founded in justice, and all the difficulty is occasioned by the defendants themselves, who issued the bill with the objection, of which they now wish to take advantage, appearing on the face of it; but I am clearly of opinion, on principles of law as well as justice. that it is not competent for them to take this objection.' Boehm and others is. Sterling and others (7 Term Reports, 423 ; 2 Espinasse's Reports, 574, S. C.) To the
same effect as this are the cases of Serle vs. Norton, and Robinson vs. Hawksford, which are cited in the chapter relating to the rights and liabilities of the holder. In the very recent case of Serrell vs. Derbyshire and Staffordshire Railway Company (15 Law Times, 254), Maule, J., said — But as to the question of the check being overdue, it having been shown generally that it originated in fraud, I think it would be thrown upon the plaintiff to show at what time he took it.'
“ But when any loss has arisen by the delay—as for instance, if the banker has failed with effects of the drawer—then the latter will be discharged, unless the holder has used due diligence in presenting the check, which is generally allowed to be the day after the receipt of the check; but this point will be fully considered in the chapter relating to the holder of a check."
“ The check," says Chancellor Kent, “is the acknowledgment of a certain sum due. It is an absolute appropriation of so much money in the hands of his banker to the holder of the check, and there it ought to remain until called for, and unless the drawer actually suffers by the delay as by the immediate failure of his banker, he has no reason to complain of delay not unreasonably protracted. "*
As a check presupposes money already in the hands of the bank, or drawee, it is not only unnecessary to present for acceptance as distinct from payment, but if, in fact, there is no money of the drawer on deposit at the bank, he is not entitled to any notice of dishonor, or nonpayment. He can sustain no loss from not being informed by the payee of what he must know already, that he drew without having funds. Paying by check, without funds, where there is no previous
• 4 Kent, Com., p. 549, note,
Years. 1831. 1832. 1833. 1834. 1835. 1836 1837 1838. 1839. 1840. 1841. 1842. 1843 1844.
Fisheries, $1,889,472 2,558,538 2,402,469 2,071,493 2,174,524 2,660,058 2,711,452 3,175,576 1,917,968 3,198,370 2,846,851 2,823,610 2,112,548 3,350,501
Beef, Pork, &c.
Cotton piece goods. $4,677,886 1,229,574 2,532,517 2,085,994 2,858,681 2,255,734 2.831,473 3,758,755 2,975,033 8,549,607 3,122,546 2,970,690 3,223,550 2,898,780
$35,893,430 $41,756,300 $40,970,820 Average.
2,926,487 It appears by the above that the export of Fish for this period was very nearly equal to that of either beef and pork, and the other articles of produce mentioned, or of cotton piece goods. It was also nearly half that of wheat and flour, the average of which for the same time was $6,233,533. The export of other manufactures for this period averaged $5,314,297.
These Fish being all the product of New England, it may be of interest to compare them with the export of other articles from the same region. The export of domestic produce, so called, from New England in 1848, was as follows: Maine....
$1,937,006 New Hampshire.
601,064 Rhode Island. ...
$11,770,074 The export of articles of domestic produce from New England, appears thus to exceed that of the product of the Fisheries by about four times the amount of the latter. But it will be remembered, that of what is here called domestic produce, an exceedingly small part is the real growth of New England; nearly the entire bulk is composed of the products of the Western States, which are brought thither only for shipment, and from which no farther benefit is derived to the Eastern States, than merely what may be called a transit duty, consisting of the tolls received for carriage on the railroads, and for freightage to the ships in which it is exported. The case would not be at all different, if the whole quantity were supposed to be bought in New England, as it then represents still a different industry from that producing such articles. Nor would this view affect the relative condition of the interests presented in the foregoing table, as the value thus concentrated on Western produce (if we admit it paid for in New England products) is the result of the combined occupations of the whole region, the Fisheries
among the rest. In the view we have thus given, it will be seen that the export of the Fisheries is in reality of far more value to New England than would be indicated by the relative amounts of the figures. In any view, indeed, the value of the Fish export must far exceed that of the export of domestic produce, for, allowing the largest admissible quantity of the export in question to be purchased in New England, it is yet the case,
that by far the greater portion of this latter amount is paid for, not in articles produced by New England, but in those brought in from abroad by the same ships in which this produce is carried out. It is therefore, in reality, a trade between the Western producer and the foreigner, in which the peo ple of New England are concerned only as carriers, in virtue of their position and facilities for intermediating between the parties.
Art. IV.-COMMERCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS OF THE UNITED STATES.
TRADE AND COMMERCE OF BALTIMORE IN 1850-51.
It is well known that the commercial journals, or Price Currents, of several of our leading cities are in the habit of publishing annually carefully prepared statements, or reviews, of the Trade and Commerce of the year.
The New Orleans and the Cincinnati Price Currents, for instance, make
their statements in each year to the 30th June, adopting the fiscal year of the Treasury Department at Washington, in the publication of the Register's annual statement of the “ Commerce and Navigation of the United States ;" while the Baltimore Price Current, the Boston Shipping List, and the Missouri (St. Louis) Republican have adopted the calendar year, commencing on the first of January and ending on the 31st of December. The statements of the New Orleans and Cincinnati journals, alluded to above, were transferred to the pages of the previous volume of this Magazine ; and we now copy the clear and comprehensive statement and review of the business of Baltimore from the reliable commercial journal of Messrs. Porter & TOBIN; with the view, as we have before intimated, of pursuing the same course from year to year.
Those journals are, to some extent, local in their character and limited in their circulation. The Merchants' Magazine, on the other hand, is national, more convenient for preservation, and mainly designed as a book of record and reference. Besides, these statements furnish an admirable compend of the progress of commercial enterprise in the different cities of the Union, which necessarily render them valuable contributions to our commercial and industrial history,
The plan which we adopted in this respect, we have reason to know, has been approved by intelligent merchants throughout the country, and as it is well calculated to give completeness, and impart that nationality of character to our Journal, which it has been our study from the start to maintain, we can see no sufficient reason for abandoning the course we have thus far pursued.
We present our second annual statement of the Commerce of Baltimore, embracing a review of the business of the year 1851, and a variety of carefully prepared statistics that cannot be otherwise than interesting and valuable as fur. pishing a correct idea of the commercial importance of our city in comparison with previous years. As a general thing, business has not been very profitable the past year. Whilst the harvests have with scarce an exception proved abundant, the stringency which has prevailed in the money market during the last four or five months has had the effect of restraining trading operations in a great measure, and of marking the year with another “crisis,” and failures in some of the larger cities have not been uncommon. In the face of these things, however, Baltimore has been comparatively successful, and is now perhaps in better condition to enter upon the new year than most of her contemporaries. The crisis has affected her but little, and although at times our merchants have been disposed to look about them with some degree of dismay, whilst empty rumor was spreading its hurtful influences far and wide throughout the country, they soon learned that there was in reality no reason to fear serious revulsions, and continued on, though somewhat cautiously, in their usual way, till the worst of the storm passed by, having experienced only a very small share of the damage-and now, though money is still rather difficult to obtain, their characteristic prudence has placed them nearly out of the reach of danger. Two months more, it is to be hoped, will bring about a general clearing up of the commercial horizon.
A happy augury of the future extent of our Southern trade is presented in the astonishing increase in business with that quarter within the year. This increase is in part attributable to the fact that planters, finding the high price obtained for cotton the last two years likely to continue, neglected the growing of corn and raising of hogs, and turned their attention to that article; and were therefore chiefly dependent upon markets northward for their grain and provisions. It is also owing somewhat to a sectional preference. To render every facility and encouragement to this growing trade, our merchants have already put afloat the first of a line of propeller steamers to Charleston, named the Palmetlo, and the second of the line is about being contracted for. Ere another twelvemonth shall have rolled by, we hope to see the same ineans of communication established with Savannah and other Southern ports trading with us.
In little more than a year hence, we have the promise that our connection by railroad with the Ohio River will be completed. There is much cause for congratulation that an event, long looked forward to with so much hope and solicitude by the people of Baltimore, is so near at hand. Upon the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad are founded our chief anticipations as to the future of our cityist success, now so well established in the belief of every one acquainted with railroad enterprises in the ted States, will secure the perfection of our Western trade, and the advancement of Baltimore to greater wealth and influence than she has hitherto ever enjoyed.
With the completion of our Western railroad, the necessity of direct communication with Europe by steam will become more than ever apparent. A bill for a line of steamers from Baltimore to Liverpool is again before Congress, and we sincerely trust that our representatives may succeed finally in securing the patronage of Government in our efforts to supply a want long felt in our trade with Europe. Whilst other cities are having steamers running to every port with which their intercourse is in any way important, it seems strange that Baltimore, enjoying such a large trade with the Old World, should be so deficient in this respect.
We are happy to announce that arrangements are now being made between the Dauphin & Susquehanna Coal Company and R. M. Magraw, Esq., President of the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad Company, for the introduction of a large proportion of the products of the mines of that Company into our market. The quality of the different kinds of the article obtained at these mines is represented as very superior; and there is every prospect of a large demand. We understand that an experimental trip will shortly be made, with a view to ascertain the capacity, cost, &c., of this article over the road, delivered in our city. The extension of the Baltimore & Susquehanna Railroad from Harrisburg to Sanbury, under the provisions of the charter obtained at the last session of the Pennsylvania Legislature, is looked forward to with lively interest by the mercantile community. Independent of the great object of its construction, viz., a direct communication with the Lakes, its line will open up to us a region of country teeming with the mineral productions of that wealthy State; and it embraces even now on its proposed route no less than four laieral railroads, lead. ing directly to a like number of coal mines, of which that of the Dauphin & SusIn fact, the same rules apply to all subsequent holders as to the first holder with regard to diligence in presenting checks for payment. Thus, a second indorsee or transferee should present a check on the next secular day after receiving it if he would avoid the peril of failure of the bank. And so each subsequent holder has the same time after receiving it, as against the party from whom he received it. But of course a number of transfers during a succession of days will not enlarge the time as against the drawer or prior holders, the rule being that each holder stands in a like position to his immediate predecessor as the first holder to the drawer. The difference in this respect between checks and bills is obvious. The time of presenting a bill is fixed, and cannot be changed by any number of indorsements or transfers. Nor is the time of presentment enlarged by placing a check in the hands of a banker to collect. On this point Mr. Shaw gives an interesting decision from 3 Scott's Reports, 555, Alexander vs. Burchfield,
“ The Court said — The facts proved at the trial were: the check was given by the defendant to the plaintiffs on the afternoon of Tuesday, the 10th March ; that on Wednesday the plaintiffs paid it in to their bankers, Messrs. Whitmore and Co., who presented it for payment on the morning of Thursday, the 12th, to the defendant's bankers, on whom it was drawn; that if the check had been presented on the Wednesday during banking hours it would have been paid; but that the defendant's bankers stopped payment early on Thursday morning, before the check was presented. It was admitted on the argument, that if a check, drawn upon a banker living in the same place, is presented on the day following that on which it is received, it is presented within a reasonable time; but it was contended on the part of the plaintiffs, that if the holder of such check wishes to procure payment of it through his bankers, he is at liberty to keep it during the day on which he receives it, to pay it in to his bankers on the day after he receives it
, and the bankers again may present it to the party on whom it is drawn on the day following—that is, in effect, that in such case the holder of the check has one day more for presenting the check than if he had presented it himself, Evidence was given at the trial, that it was the invariable usage for bankers in the city not to present checks paid in by their customers until the day following that on which they are received ; but no evidence was given of any usage that when the cus tomer had received the check himself on the day before he paid it in to his bankers, and a loss ensued from the insolvency of the parties on whom the check was drawn, which insolvency took place subsequently to the time at which the holder would have been bound to present it himself, such loss was borne by the drawer of the check. No case was cited, and no authority was brought before us to support the position that the drawer was bound to bear such loss. The case that came nearest to it was that of Rickford vs. Ridge (2 Campbell, 537). In that case, the holder of a check had discounted it with a banker in the country, who sent it up to his London correspondents on the day following, who presented it the day after they received it; and in the meantime the party on whom it was drawn had become insolvent. But in that case the defendant, by discounting his check in the country, must be taken to have assented to that being done which was the usual and necessary course to procure payment of the check. All the other cases cited establish only that, in the case of a bill of exchange, there is one day more allowed for giving notice of dishonor of a bill when it is presented through a banker, than if presented by the party himself; but no case establishes that any additional time for presenting the bill for payment is allowed under these circumstances.
“ • In the absence of evidence of a course of dealing for the drawer to pay a check under circumstances like those of the present case, from which, if it existed, a contract to pay might be inferred; and in the absence of authority to show that, by law, he is bound to pay, we cannot feel ourselves justified in laying it down as a rule of law, that the holder of a check is entitled to one day more for presenting it by passing it through his banker. Nor can we see that such rule is