Page images


Packages. Value.


Packages. Value. Cochineal.....

1,700 Fruit....


725 Sugar, wine, & drugs,


1,080 400 for Georgia. 1,107 22,140 Drugs


630 Olives...

348 Fruit..


400 Hardware 698 13,960 Indigo.


500 Spices. 334 33,400 Chairs.


18 Iron.... 13,677 13,677 Hides

19,324 Tin 208 6,240 Wax...

244 4,880 Coal 2,011 3,016 Dyewood


488 Military stores. 503 5,030 Boxwood..

6,100 678 647 1,094 | Abba ...


2,100 Tea ..

56 Sundries.

2,940 29,400 Stationery 135 1,350 Indian corn.

16,000 1,600 Cordage, hemp. 3,850 3,850 Wheat ...

93,000 18,600 Wool .. 350 1,050 Barley ..

17,000 1,700 Cotton.. 46 230 Wood for building..

700 Felt....


600 Russian canvass.

2,250 Total value...

£1,656,165 Caps ...... 16 400


YEAR 1845.

No. Tonnage. Imports. Exports. Russian vessels....


252 $34,012 $24,585 Austrian

28 8,219 8,219 1,071,780 British

10 3,184 1,321,505 469,165 Greek

6 1,085 506,250 15,990 Turkish

108 20,600 4,125,145 749,852 Constantinople, April 5, 1849.




The Legislature of the State of New York closed its session on the 11th of April, 1849, having passed more than four hundred laws, both public and private. Among those of commercial interest is the act incorporating William H. Aspinwall, John L. Stevens, and others, into a company for constructing a railway across the Isthmus of Panama. Active operations have already been commenced for carrying out the objects of this company, a large corps of engineers being now engaged in making the necessary surveys. From a communication to the Journal of Commerce, it appears that such progress has been made in the surveys as to show beyond a doubt, not only that the construction of a railroad across the Isthmus is entirely practicable, but that the grades will be comparatively easy. By the discovery of a summit level thirty feet lower than had ever been ascertained before, it is found that, on the whole route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the highest grade need not exceed fifty feet to the mile, and may be reduced to forty, while the greater part of the distance will be under twenty. Contrast this with some of the grades on the Boston and Albany Road, which rise to eighty

1 C

three feet per mile, and it will be seen how completely the bugbears of travelers and tourists have disappeared before the light of science and persevering research. The prospects which are thus opened to the proprietors of the Panama Grant, are truly magnificent. For not only are the terms of that grant exceedingly liberal, but the cost of constructing and operating the road will be much less than was anticipated, while its capacity and efficiency will be greatly increased. Although the road may not be built as soon or on so extensive a scale as it would have been had Congress entered into the arrangement for employing the company to carry the mail and transport the troops, there can be no doubt that the energetic merchants engaged in the enterprise will accomplish sooner or later this long cherished object..

Two acts of incorporation were passed for steamship lines, the one for Messrs. Collins & Co.'s line to Liverpool, the other for Messrs. Fox & Co.'s line to Havre, for both of which the vessels are now on the stocks.

The bill to provide for the incorporation of insurance companies, provides that

any number of persons not less than thirteen may associate and form an incorporated company for insurance on vessels, freights, goods, and specie, bank notes, bills of exchange, and other evidences of debt, bottomry and respondentia interests, also on dwellings, stores, household furniture, merchandise and other property, against loss or damage by fire, and the risks of inland navigation and transportation, or on the health and lives of individuals, or to a grant or purchase of annuities.

No such company to organize in the county of New York or King's county with less than $150,000, nor in any other county with less than $50,000. Mutual insurance companies cannot commence business in New York or Kings, until agreements have been entered into with at least one hundred applicants, the premiums on which, if marine, shall amount to $300,000; or if fire or inland navigation, to $200,000; and notes have been received in advance of the premiums on such risks, payable at the end of a written twelve months from the date thereof. In other counties of the State the premiums must amount to $100,000. No company shall expose itself to any loss on any one fire or inland navigations risks or hazard, to an amount exceeding ten per cent on its capital. No life or health insurance company, on the national insurance plan, shall commence business, until a cash capital of $100,000 shall have been paid in and actually invested in stocks of cities of the State of New York, of the State or of the United States, or in bonds and mortgages on cultivated farms, worth double the amount for which the mortgage is given. The trustees and corporators of any company organized under this act, and those entitled to a participation of the profits, shall be jointly and severally liable until the whole amount of the capital raised by the company shall have been paid in, and a certificate thereof recorded, as hereinbefore provided. Notes taken in advance of premiums under this act are not to be considered debts of the company in determining whether a company is insolvent, but are to be regarded as assets of the company.

No dividend shall ever be made by any company incorporated under this act when its capital stock is impaired, or when the making of such dividend would have the effect of impairing its capital stock; and any dividend so made shall subject the stockholders receiving the same to a joint and several liability to the creditors of said company to the extent of the dividend so made.

The seventh section is of more interest to those engaged in the business of insurance out of New York.

[ocr errors]

Sec. 7. It shall not be lawful for any company organized under this act, to transact business unless possessed of capital or securities as herein before mentioned; nor for any agent or agents of insurance companies incorporated by other States, directly or indirectly to take risks, or transact any business of insurance in this State, without procuring a certificate of authority from the Con ller of this State, and such agent or agents, having procured a statement under the oath of the president or secretary of the company for which he or they may act, which statement shall show the amount of the capital of such company, the manner in which the same is invested, and shall also state the fact whether its capital is impaired, and if so, how much ; such statement shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the county where such agent resides, and shall be published in at least one newspaper

, if a newspaper be therein published, at least six successive weeks after the filing of such statement as aforesaid ; the first statement shall be filed in the month of January next, and such statement shall be procured annually, and filed and published in each and every succeeding month of January thereafter, as long as such agency continues, and no company incorporated by other States shall transact business in this State, unless possessed of the amount of actual capital required of companies formed under the provisions of this act, and no agency of any life insurance company formed under the laws of other States shall transact its business in this State, unless it shall first prove to the satisfaction of the Controller, of which fact he shall give a certificate to be filed in the office of the Clerk of the county where such agency is established, that it possesses such an amount of actual capital as is required of companies transacting the business of life insurance under the laws of this State. Nor shall it be lawful for any agent or agents, hereafter to be appointed, of any company incorporated by any foreign government, other than the States of this Union, for the purpose of insurance, to transact the business of insurance in this State, without procuring a certificate of authority from the Controller; such agent or agents having previously furnished evidence to the satisfaction of the Controller of the State, that such company has invested in the stocks of this State, or the United States, an amount equal to the amount of capital or security required by this act, and such stocks are held in trust by citizens of this State for the benefit and security of such as may effect insurance with him or them. And the agent or agents furnishing satisfactory evidence as aforesaid, shall be entitled to a certificate thereof from the Controller aforesaid. The statements and evidences of investments required by this section shall be renewed from year to year, in the month of January in each year, and the Controller, on being satisfied that the capital securities and investments remain secure as at first, shall furnish a renewal of certificates as aforesaid ; and the agent or agents obtaining such certificate shall file the same, together with a copy of the statements on which it was obtained or renewed, in the office of the Clerk of the county in which such agency shall be established, and shall cause the same to be published in at least one newspaper published in such county. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall subject the party violating to a penalty of five hundred dollars for each violation, which shall be sued for and recovered in the name of the people, by the District Attorney of the county in which the agent or company so violating shall be situated, and the said penalty when recovered shall be paid into the treasury of said county, provided that all companies incorporated by any government other than the States of this Union, which may have appointed such agent or agents before the first day of March, 1848, may hereafter appoint a new agent or agents in the case of the death, resignation, or removal of an agent or agents previously appointed. The term agent or agents used in this section shall include an acknowledged agent or surveyor, or any other person or persons who shall in any manner aid in transacting the insurance business of an insurance company not incorporated by the laws of this State.

The act further to amend the acts in relation to insurance on property in New York, made' by individuals and associations unauthorized by law. It imposes a tax of two per cent, and at that rate, upon the amount of all pre

miums which during the year or part of a year ending on the next preceding first day of September, shall have been received by any person who shall act in the city and county of New York, as agent for or on behalf of any individual or association of individuals not incorporated by the laws of New York, to effect insurances against losses or injury by fire in the city of New York, said tax to be paid to the fire department of New York. Before any such agent enters on his duties, he must give a bond in the penalty of $1,000, conditioned to render an annual account, under oath, of all such premiums, and

pay the duties. For every insurance effected without filing this bond he shall forfeit $1,000. The act is made applicable to other cities and villages of the State, except that the penalty of the bond is $500 instead of $1,000, and the penalty for insurance without filing the bond is $200 instead of $1,000.

By the 427th section of the code of procedure, as amended at this session, it is provided that an action against a corporation, created by, or under the laws of any other State, government, or country, may be brought in the Supreme Court, the Superior Court of the city of New York, or the Court of Common Pleas for the city and county of New York, in the following cases :-By a resident of New York for any cause of action; by a plaintiff not a resident of New York, when the cause of action shall have arisen, or the subject of the action shall be situated within New York.

The act to enforce the responsibility of stockholders in certain banking corporations and associations, and to provide for the prompt payment of demands against such corporations and associations, provides for individual responsibility of stockholders equally and rateably for the amount of any debt or liability, with interest, to the extent of their respective shares of stock in any such corporations or associations, and makes most careful and efficient provisions for bringing such corporations before the courts for inquiry into their solvency, appointment of receivers, &c. It is one of the most important laws of the session.

Another bill provides that the stocks which banking associations, or individual bankers, now or hereafter to be organized under the provisions of the act “To authorize the business of banking,” passed April 18, 1838, and the amendments thereto, shall hereafter deposit with the Controller, shall be New York State stocks, in all cases to be or to be made to be equal to stock producing six per cent per annum, or at least one-half the amount so deposited shall be in the stocks of the State of New York, as before mentioned, and not exceeding one-half in stocks of the United States, in all cases to be or to be made to be equal to a stock producing an interest of six per cent per annum; and it shall not be lawful for the Controller to take such stocks at a rate above their par value, or above their current market value.

The questions relative to railroads were by far the most exciting topics of the session, but we propose to make them the subject of a separate article.

A proposition for the removal of the quarantine hospitals from their present position on Staten Island to Sandy Hook, was brought forward at an early day. Much difference of opinion prevailed among the navigators, merchants, and pilots who testified, as to whether Sandy Hook bay would prove a safe anchorage ground at all seasons, without the erection of a costly breakwater, at the risk of great injury to the harbor, and consequently to the commerce of New York. A compromise was finally made, by which, if, after examination by the commissioners of the land office, Sandy Hook shall be ad udyrd a proper and convenient site for said hospital, negotiations are to

be entered into with the government of the United States and the State of New Jersey, for a cession of so much land as shall be necessary. If a cession is obtained, hospitals for infectious and contagious diseases are then to be erected thereon, for which $50,000 is appropriated. To these hospitals all patients sick with contagious and infectious diseases are to be transferred from the incoming ships. The effect of this arrangement, if carried out, will ultimately be in reality to transfer the whole quarantine; though the health officer has it in his power to station vessels wherever he thinks proper. If the plan for hospitals at Sandy Hook should not succeed, the State will be able to return to the old or marine hospitals, for want of any better place. As the bill was originally framed, the marine hospital property was to be sold, and Sandy Hook bay was made the quarantine ground for all vessels coming into the port. The passage of the bill was the result of a conviction that a removal of the

quarantine from its present populous neighborhood, would have to take place sooner or later, although the present objections against the Staten Island quarantine might be in a great measure obviated by judicious regulations for separating those who were sick of diseases not contagious, from those afflicted with yellow fever, cholera, small pox, and ship fever, for which purpose the hospitals of the commissioners of emigration on Ward's Island, in the East River, furnish every facility. But the number of emigrants is increasing every year, as is also the population on Staten Island, which has become almost a part of the city, by reason of the constant intercourse through the ferries, all which seem to indicate that a removal of the whole establishment must be made at some future time; and the erection of a hospital on Sandy Hook now, will test the suitableness of that place for a permanent quarantine, and always be useful at a time when any malignant complaint is spreading. If it should prove to be necessary to erect any artificial works in order to make a good harbor at Sandy Hook, there would be serious objections to this ; and it may be necessary at certain seasons to use the old marine hospital for the same purpose.

In this connection came up another very important and embarrassing question. Heretofore the hospitals, under the control of the health officer and commissioners of emigration, have been supported by a tax upon passengers arriving in the port of New York. In the case of Smith vs. Turner, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the statute of New York, under wbich this tax was imposed, was unconstitutional, as being an interference with our regulations of commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States. This decision placed the commissioners of emigration in a very critical position, with thousands of sick emigrants in their charge, and no means of collecting funds for their support. The Legislature referred it to the Controller and Attorney General to report“ what measures ought to be adopted to protect the people of New York from the introduction among them of disease and pauperism from foreign countries, and from public burdens consequent upon such introductions." The following extract from their report shows the view they took of the decision of the court:"A tax upon the passengers, while on ship-board, is declared unconstitutional; but, when on shore, he ceases to be a passenger, and it is otherwise. So long as the passenger cannot be taxed, the master of the vessel cannot, it is believed, be taxed on account of him ; first, because it would be doing that indirectly, which is forbidden to be done directly ; second, because the master of the vessel is himself at the time engaged in commerce, and cannot be interfered with while so engaged, without interfering with the regulations of

« PreviousContinue »