Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

was held by the Master of the Rolls, and also by the Lords Justices, that it did not invalidate the amalg.

On the 30th Oct., same year, the So. was regis under the Cos. Act, 1862, with a view to the final carrying out of the arrangement entered upon. On the 17th Nov. a meeting of the So. was called, at which resolutions were carried by the requisite majority to the following effect :

1. That the agreement made by the board of directors of the So. with the Prudential Assu. Co. be, and the same is hereby approved and adopted. 2. That the So, be wound up voluntarily. 3. That E. H. Galsworthy be, and is appointed Liq. of the So., and is authorized, directed, and empowered to carry out and bring into operation the agreement with the Prudential.

These resolutions being at a later meeting duly confirmed, the transfer was effected. Mr. Horatio Southall, a sol. at Birmingham, and the assignee of several life policies effected in the So., challenged these proceedings. On the 10 Nov., 1868, he filed a bill

in Chancery to the following effect:

The bill prayed for a declaration that the agreement of 10th Oct. was beyond the powers of the So. and the Co., and was invalid and void; for an injunction to restrain the defendants from carrying it into effect, and to restrain the directors of the So. from selling or trans. the assets contrary to the D. of Sett.; for an order directing the Co. to transfer the assets to the Liq. of the So.; for a declaration that the So. ought to be wound up, and its affairs dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the D. of Sett.; and for an order for the directors to repay the sums received by them for compensation under the agreement.

The Master of the Rolls dismissed this bill with costs in 1870; the Lords Justices confirmed that decision in 1871. We believe there is still an appeal to the House of Lords pending. [AMALGAMATION.] Mr. Charles James Thicke was Sec. of the Co. during the entire period of its existence.

BRITISH NATION FIRE INS. CO., founded in 1863, with an authorized cap. of £1,000,000. The Co. was worked in conjunction with the British Nation L. office. In 1864 its F. duty returns amounted to £773; in 1865, to £991. During that year its bus. and connexions were united with the European.

BRITISH NATION LIFE ASSU. Asso., founded in 1854 under the Joint-Stock Cos. Regis. Act, 1844, with an authorized cap. of £300,000, in shares of £1, "deposit Is. per share. "All shareholders-male or female entitled to vote personally or by proxy; with the right to be present at all authorized meetings of the Co." The Man. Director and Act. of the Co. was, in the first instance, Mr. Francis Norton Erith; while the "Consulting Act." was Mr. Edward Baylis. In a little while Mr. Erith disappeared, and Mr. Baylis became Man. Director and Act. Mr. Henry Lake did not appear on the scene until 1857. The first prosp. issued is so remarkable a document that, but for its extreme length, we should have been disposed to reproduce it entire. We must, under the circumstances, be content with a condensation, preserving all the main and most remarkable features. Here is an indication of the scope of the business :

Pol. absolute and indisputable. Assu. against paralysis, blindness, accident, and death, whichever may occur first; also during the periods of pregnancy and childbirth , and family provisions by way of endowment.

Through a benevolent distribution, and an enlightened application of its profits, advantages are offered in this Asso. on equal terms, to persons of every class and degree-to the living-that are not to be found in any other co. existing; and in the appropriation of one-tenth of its surplus gains to the all-important principle of protecting the pol. of the assured from lapsing, a feature is attached to the system of enduring excellence and incomparable value.

All the preceding is but the preliminary skirmishing-the main body of the scheme has now to be brought up:

That which has for its object the happiness of mankind, and the general welfare of society, is not less moral in its tendency than patriotic in its spirit. The contingencies incidental to a world of ceaseless activity, competition, and commerce, are suggestive of measures of the loftiest character, and of the noblest consecrations of mind. To protect the immediate interests of the living-by guarding against the effects of casualty, or the reverse of fortune-is to secure the prospective claims of representatives. It is indeed the only guarantee of permanent provision for families dependent upon the daily exertion of their fathers. If accident, and disease, or reverse, are not as individually certain as death, it should be remembered that all live in the very world and centre of vicissitudes, and that none, therefore, are exempted from the consequences of calamities, save such as provide against them. To disregard the possible wants of the living, is to nullify the object of life assu., excepting only where men live on the int. of accumulated or inherited possessions; but the masses live by the sweat of the brow-by "the dignity of labour;" and to the successors of such, the painful results of casualty are often as untimely and importunate as those arising from death itself. Life assu., as a system, is only valuable in proportion as it expands the power of collective beneficence, and protects the living with the certainty that guards, by the same agency, the interests of representatives. To attempt to restrain its capacities within the boundaries of the laws of mort., while its principle is obviously capable of extension to present wants, and the social order of the human race, is to beget a negligence of what is due to self, and to mankind, and to contract the process of civilization. "There is no placing a limit," says Prof. De Morgan, "to the extensions which its application might receive, if the public were fully aware of its principles, and of the safety with which they may be put into practice." This opinion has been practically substantiated within the last few years, by the introduction of a system of benevolent and self-benevolent life assu. No protective measure has ever been propounded which equals in safety, or rivals the certainty of life assu. Revealing in its operations a purpose to uproot "the charity which creates distress, but which is insufficient to relieve its evils," it commends itself to the judgment of every individual in whom a spirit of honest and honourable independence prevails.

Nothing is offered by this so. which is unattainable; nothing is proposed which is simply speculative, or merely visionary. By a more comprehensive and intelligent application of profits than

has hitherto prevailed-such application according with the laws of prob.-a distribution is proposed among the assured and shareholders of the accumulations and gains of the Asso., which cannot fail to humanize millions, and to obtain estimation among a very large number of persons. The application of wealth is not less elastic than is the increase of its accumulations at compound int.; and upon this truth is founded the practicability and excellence of the division of profits herein suggested. On the rational assumption that profits must and will, in the course of a few years, accrue to the bus. of the Brit. Nation, as they have arisen in the elder offices, the directors feel stimulated in their exertions to extend the blessings of the system, and to diffuse more generally the advantages in connexion with it. With the strong conviction that honourable enterprise ever commands success, and with a knowledge, resulting from experience in the practice of life assu., that there is abundant room for the growth of the principle upon which the fabric is founded-viz., that of assu. the average to the individual-the directors aim, by adequate rates, protective of the interests of successors, and by an enlightened division of profits, mitigative of the wants of the living, and promotive of social, moral, intellectual, and religious advancement, to give a breadth and reality of usefulness to the Brit. Nation, that shall draw to it a continual accession of prosperity; and that shall promote the elevation and sustain the happiness of mankind. After providing for contingent and prospective liabilities, to render the payment of every pol., on becoming a claim, alike prompt and indisputable, and to satisfy attendant costs of management, the intention is to distribute the whole amount of bonus in creation of funds certain and increasing, affecting the immediate and future, relative and self-interests, of every member and shareholder of the Co. This is a grand innovation upon the practice of the primitive offices, and it is an advance upon the reformatory method of distribution of surplus profits in modern cos. It is a complete reform, and perfectly consistent with the nicest calculations which can be made on the subject; it will do much to enhance the value of life assu., and to proclaim with increased power the unspeakable advantages of the system.

A great deal of the preceding reads like a prophetic burlesque of the real fate and incidents of the Co. But we have not by any means got through all the "tall talking" at present:

Poor, evanescent, and meagre is the division of accumulated profits in a life office, in which the living have no direct and personal interest, compared with a system that fortifies against reverses; encourages struggling honesty; sustains integral, the efforts of the past; seeks the moral, social, and intellectual progressiveness of all indentified with its operations; raises associated individuals beyond the pain of eleemosynary attentions at seasons of sickness, old age, and want; obliterates the degrading influences of charity, and makes every man the conservator of comforts to his family. These are among the intentions for fulfilment in the Brit. Nation-intentions so vast and beneficent, and in their results so grand and imposing-so truly national in character and consequence, that a reciprocal appreciation of them by the public is confidently relied on. Sacredly reserving what is necessary for the satisfaction and indisputable payment of every obligation, either present or future, the D. of Sett. provides that, out of every £100 profits, there shall be allotted and allocated a sum of £30,. creative of the following self-relief funds, essentially devoted to the interests of shareholders and assured, their widows and orphans, in case of need, thus:

1. 10 p.c. as a "Relief and Annu. Fund," temporary or permanent, to aid and assist qualified and assured shareholders, who may require help in the season of distress, sickness, old age, or necessity. 2. 10p.c. to be applied in two different ways: (1.) One moiety or half part of such 10 p.c. to provide HOMES for necessitous and deserving shareholders and assured, independent of rule or restraint, with every suitable domestic comfort, and to alleviate, as far as possible, the misfortunes they may have been uncontrollably visited with. (2.) One other moiety or next half part of such 10 p.c. to found and estab. an ASYLUM to protect deserving but unfortunate persons-assured or shareholders-in the event of accident or affliction, involving temporary or permanent distress and suffering, where every comfort would be administered, and where the advice of the medical officers of the Co. would at all times be available.

3. 10 p.c. as an immediate RELIEF FUND for granting pecuniary assistance to unfortunate but deserving shareholders and assured in cases of impending bankruptcy or insolvency-the claimant being required simply to make a private and confidential exposition of his or her affairs to a committee of investigation appointed by the directors-a course of procedure from which honesty would not shrink, to be saved from the disgrace of threatened ruin. This most admirable feature, originating in, and peculiar to, this inst., can scarcely be outvied for its practical utility and beneficent self-advantage. Such unspeakable privileges annexing to so wise an application of surplus profits speak for themselves. 4. A sum of £10 out of every £100 profits creative of a "SUSTENTATION POLICY FUND," to secure to survivors the beneficial interest of the assured in their pol., by preventing the lapsing of them through temporary embarrassment or other causes. The practical excellence of this feature cannot be overestimated.... By such an application of one-tenth of the profits of the British Nation, one of the strongest barricades to the universal adoption of life assu. is forced and carried amidst the acclamations of justice and intelligence. Many-too many-worthy parents have lived to experience the bitterness of holding a pol., which, after years of anxious solicitude, has lapsed through temporary inability to continue the payment of the prems. . . .

It seems like a piece of unnecessary bye-play to recount the qualifications necessary to gain participation in these purely imaginary funds: yet as these are set out with becoming gravity in the prosp. before us, we must briefly pass them in review.

As to the three first-named funds the qualifications were two-fold: (1) that a pol. should have been effected for the whole term of life, and that 5 consecutive years' prems. should have been paid thereon; (2) that shareholders should have paid all calls and deposits upon their shares. As to the 4th fund, the qualification was, that whole-life pol. should have been effected, and 5 consecutive years' prems. paid thereon; that a confidential submission of affairs be made, etc.; and that the several sums advanced be repaid free of int. on restoration of borrower's circumstances. Then there is this remarkable provision : Until this fund is adequate to the purpose contemplated of saving pol. from lapse, all sums paid as prems. will be treated as single payment prems., and corresponding amounts paid on the death of the assured; that is, supposing an assu. in 1000 to have been effected on a life aged 30, for the whole term of life, and having paid four years' prems., the assured, if then unequal to continue the ann. payments, would have an absolute reversion, at his decease, payable to his representatives, of £98 16s. 8d., being the collective amount of the sums paid to the So.

We must now proceed to recount the other FUNDS to be created out of profits:

5. A sum of £20 out of every £100 profits, promotive of Educational purposes, and for the protection of the orphans, thus:

(1.) 10 p.c. for the building and perpetual endowment of a "Classical, Mathematical, and Com

mercial School," admitting boarders, sons of qualified assured and shareholders, between the ages of 5 and 14. The education given will equal that furnished by any of the leading schools of the kingdom, and the whole course of study will be a preparation for the Universities. The aim is to raise, upon a sound plan of mental discipline, the qualifications of youth, that in after years shall fit them for the daily duties of life, and for introduction into official and important stations. The government will be entrusted to a head master, whose office will be the spiritual oversight and moral improvement of the pupils, with the direction of their studies. It is a rule absolute, and beyond the control of any future act. of incorp., that, while the education shall be strictly religious and scriptural, the principle of catholicity shall exclude the imposition of all particular forms. A portion of this 10 p.c. will be reserved for founding and annexing scholarships and for supplying apprenticeship fees, or other assistance, advancing the welfare of youth leaving school.

(2.) 10 p.c. for the building and perpetual endowment of an "ABSOLUTE ORPHAN ASYLUM," designed to receive and educate, from their birth, the fatherless infants of qualified assurers and shareholders, without distinction of sex, place, or religious denomination, till the boys are 14 and the girls 15 years of age respectively. The children would be boarded, clothed, nursed, and educated. By a fundamental law, denominational catechisms are for ever prohibited introduction, nor will any particular religious forms be imposed upon any child. Children are eligible for admission who have lost both parents-or the father only-or where the father is permanently disqualified [?] by physical or other affliction. At 5 years old the boys are to be drafted into the school. The system of female education will be, in every respect, in unison with the spirit of progressiveness and enlightenment. The domestic regulations will be under a well-qualified person of matronly habits and religious character. A portion of this £10 p.c. will be reserved to afford girls, on leaving school, some adequate provision to advance their comfort and respectability. The school and orphan funds of the Brit. Nation exhibit a noble and independent variation from the excellence of their prototypes, and will essentially aid in the great work of civilization.

Children of policy- and share-holders were to be qualified to participate in the benefits of either of these foundations whose parents should have effected "whole-life pol., and have paid five consecutive years' prems. thereon-or being holders of shares, shall have paid all calls and deposits upon each share." We proceed :

6. A sum of £10 out of every £100 profits to be applied to the building and perpetual endowment of an inst. in Lond. to be named "THE BRITISH NATION LIFE ASSU. CLUB.' Dedicated expressly to and for the appropriate use of members of the So., assured and shareholders, resident in or visiting the metropolis, a social influence will be imparted to this inst.-that, whether commercially regarded, or relatively considered, will connect advantages with life assu., which will give to it a power, precedency, and impetus in behalf of whatsoever is just and good, national and important. It is next to impossible to limit the breadth of consequence resulting from an asso. thus formed upon the principle of mut. cooperation. The object in this instance is to estab. a nucleus that shall be productive of constant new life blood, from whence shall flow a continual stream of intelligence, combining moral progress and intellectual enjoyment, with the requirements of social comforts. [And so on through the whole of a very long paragraph.]

The qualification of membership to the British Nation Assu. Club was the effecting of a whole-life pol. and paying one prem. If renewals not paid, benefit of club to cease. As to shareholders, same as before.

7. A sum of £10 out of every £100 profits to be appropriated and applied in the following ways: (1.) For advancing loans on approved security-personal or otherwise-at a minimum rate of 1 p.c. p.a. int., proportioned to the amount assured, such advances to be made for a term of years, to qualified shareholders and assured of honourable and estab. character, free of charge, whereby considerable benefit might accrue to persons interested in the redemption of mortgaged property. (2.) For guaranteeing qualified assurers and assured-either them or their children-of unimpeachable integrity of conduct-in situations of trust, without charging int, or other expenses, saving actual payments, thus rendering meritorious individuals eligible for trusts and engagements that otherwise might be unattainable.

Qualifications necessary to participate in those advantages were the same as under the first three heads. Then there follows a piece of biting satire, in this form, and all in italics :

The directors call particular attention to the circumstance that if, in the course of time, these several funds should prove more than adequate to meet the orig claims upon them, the D. D. of Sett. provides for their application and division (at the recommendation of the board, sanctioned by the assured and shareholders) in any other mode, and to any other benefit, whether in reduction of prem. or otherwise, which may suggest itself as advantageous to the general interest of all connected with the So.

The scheme of distribution proceeds:

8. A sum of £10 out of every £100 profits applicable to the ultimate conversion of the Brit. Nation into a "Mut. Life Assu. Asso.," thus vesting-by the purchase of its shares at the market price of the day-all its affairs in the assured.

9. The remaining 10 out of every £100 profits to belong to the shareholders, so long as the proprietary continues, as a reasonable and just return for the safety and certainty afforded to the Co. in the outset, by the advance and subs. of cap. Shareholders to parti. in a div. of not less than 5p.c. p.a. upon the orig. sum paid-such int. increasing year by year, as the funds and bus. of the So. shall increase-and likewise to int. after the uniform rate of 5 p.c. p.a. upon the first amount of profits and successive accumulations, applicable as a "Redemption Capital Fund," for the ultimate conversion of the corp. into a "Mut. L. Assu. Asso." The holder of 100 shares and upwards to 200 to be entitled to one vote; and to an add. vote for every add. 100 shares so held.

Having got through these details, we must be prepared for a considerable expansion of the heart and feelings of their self-deluded author and contriver. Here we have it :

Such are the noble, rational, beneficent, and practical features of the Brit. Nation L. Assu. Asso.; and the directors are solemnly and religiously persuaded that with a due share of success in its operations, the creation of funds out of the surplus profits, and their application to useful and patriotic purposes, cannot but sensibly strengthen the bonds of society, and promote the highest aims of civilization. Inspiriting self-protective measures, and conducing to that dignity which mitigates reverse and poverty, by guarding against their evils, charity is uprooted in the exercise of more gracious means, and the well-regulated exhibition of a national pride, that glories in the reputation of honest independence. It should ever be remembered that what has been contributed to in the

days of a former prosperity, cannot bequeath its blessings, in any period of adversity, guised in the character of an alms-giving; but is clothed in the prudence and foresight of qualities endowed by Providence, and is sanctified in a gratitude too strong to declare itself. It is a right and a privilege to claim assistance in the hour of want or distress, from a fund which common sense and common honesty to self and society has helped to raise. Discarding the aids to spontaneous generosity, it kindles a sentiment higher in tone and more dignified in aspect, than the mere gratitude of the recipient of favours solicited and conferred. By the simple process of devoting the profits of the bus. of life assu. to useful and benevolent ends, an important species of commerce, and an important principle of Christianity, are blended into one great action of universal power. Such privileges have not merely a personal influence, but they constitute reversions of no ordinary value to generations yet unborn. Then, as if by way of apology for the very extravagance of the preceding notions, the document proceeds:

There is nothing impossible in the application of the foregoing funds; and there is nothing impossible in the creation of these funds, if energy and influence combine to accomplish so great a work of usefulness-and in a co-operative spirit, to disseminate the methods of appropriation of surplus profits. The astounding accumulations of profits which have been realized by offices, amounting to hundreds of thousands, and to millions sterling-the fact that 300,000 life pol. are not yet in existence, whilst the pop. of England alone is reckoned by millions-establish beyond controversy the truth that life assu. can be made the medium of conferring the greatest happiness upon the greatest number, and that the field for the successful achievements of new inst., keeping pace with the times, is of ample and sufficient range to admit of honourable competition. Different in constitution, and in the application of their resources, there is no analogy between such inst. and others more generally known as benefit sos. This great undertaking is entered upon with every anticipation of success...

By the D. of Sett. the liability of every shareholder is restricted to the amount of shares held. In the allocation of shares, no reserve will be made, and no partiality will be exercised. Due caution will be taken in distributing them, so as, through judicious appropriation, to secure a tangible and substantial support at the commencement, which shall estab. the Asso. upon the firmest possible foundation. No deposit of less than £5 will, in the first instance, entitle shareholders to any benefits beyond such as attach commercially to the shares.

As life assu. investments are now universally held to be the best that can be made, because the least liable of any to fluctuation, the privileges offered to shareholders in the Brit. Nation are immeasurable and inestimable; and are alike continuous and imperishable to the assured.

...

We have very much curtailed the latter portion of the prosp. There is a final flourish which must not be omitted:

The public is now in a position to form its own estimate of a scheme which is unrivalled in the breadth of its principles, and the magnitude of its proportions; and guided by large and practical experience, the directors are content to wait the issue of a verdict upon an undertaking which has had the maturest deliberation, and which has not been pressed into existence without that anxious and deep consideration ever attendant upon enduring enterprises based upon integrity, and pregnant with every righteousness of purpose; being fully impressed, by reason of the expansiveness of its constitution, that at no distant day numbers will rejoice in the prosperity and success, and the achievement of the aims, and hopes, of the founders of the Brit. Nation Life Assu. Asso.

Never were more pains bestowed upon any document than upon this prosp.; never did an asso., ushered into existence with such a formidable array, terminate in a more complete fiasco. We must, however, take events in their chronological sequence.

As we have already intimated, in a short time after the pub. of the above-recited prosp., Mr. Francis Norton Erith retired from the chief position in the Co., and Mr. Edward Baylis came to the front. We have before us a circular-" Particulars relating to shares and shareholders," bearing date 8 March, 1856, issued from the offices of the Co., 35, Cranbourne Street, Leicester Square, and signed, "Edward Baylis, Man. Director and Act.," from which we take the following additional details :

This Asso. having already a numerous and responsible proprietary, and an actually subscribed-for cap. of £135,000, is placed not only in a position of absolute stability, but renders an investment in it, as a shareholder, in every way secure and desirable. The following details are worthy of consideration: Ist. As to shares. The first deposit is 1s. p. share. The remaining 19s. of the £1 share will be made up to the shareholders by the add. of surplus profits, periodically declared. It is not expected that any further sum than the orig. 1s. p. share will ever be called for or required. 2. As to shareholders. Over and above the immediate and prospective pecuniary advantages derived by a shareholder, male or female, of this Asso., he or she possesses rights and privileges which are precious and inalienable, descending even to the fourth and fifth generations. Original proprietorship in this office is a security against want. A shareholder, or his widow, or his orphans, would, if unfortunately requiring it—even years after his shares may have been sold, and his connexion with the Asso. entirely ceased-be entitled not only to 5 p.c. p.a. upon the amount paid upon his shares, but also, equally with assurers, to a participation in the advantages of all the funds of the Asso. And until the name of a shareholder could be expunged from the D. of Sett. [not a very easy process, as some of the shareholders are just (1872) about to find] or the deed of trans. constituting him or her a proprietor, these invaluable privileges could neither be disputed, withheld, nor diminished. Again, if a parent subs. for shares in his or her own name, conjointly with the name of his or her child (a minor, male or female), the above-described advantages of proprietorship would descend to grandchildren, or to widows or orphans of grandchildren. In like manner, if a grandparent subs. for shares in his or her own name, conjointly with the name of a grandchild, the same benefits would descend to greatgrandchildren, or to the widows, or orphans of great-grandchildren.

We have not by any means exhausted the points of this circular. There is a most ingenious hypothetical view of the result of three divisions of surplus. The first, at the end of 10 years, of £100,000; the second, at the end of 15 years, of £200,000; and the third, at the close of 20 years from the commencement of operations, of £300,000! These are carried out in their due proportions to the several imaginary funds; and everybody concerned becomes rich to a degree only rivalled in the regions of fairyland. We chronicle these things as we find them. A thrill of pain passes through us as we imagine what may a few months hence be the fate of any one who unfortunately placed faith in such statements—aye, and of his children or grandchildren!

There was a later prosp. issued by Mr. E. Baylis, in which the visions of the early prosp. are reiterated in a condensed form; and an intimation given of "new sources of bus. of this Asso.," viz. :

By undertaking the management of property of deceased persons, or which has been placed under deed in settlement, by its Executorship and Trust Department, at a small fixed charge, in addition to expenses necessarily and actually incurred. Proper forms of bequests will be furnished, gratuitously, and arrangements made, if wished, for the legal business of trust being done by the parties' own solicitor. By undertaking the management and payment of annu, or allowances, purchased from this office, on behalf of relatives, friends, or dependents, whether payable weekly, monthly, quarterly, or at any other interval: thus enabling parties to make certain provision for deserving individuals, whom they may wish to befriend, and which they might not otherwise have the means or opportunity of doing.

A library, lecture, class, and news-rooms, each and all free, and open to every member, whether assurer or shareholder, lady or gentleman. The library opens daily until 10 o'clock in the evening, except on Saturdays, when it closes at 5.

We have already said that in 1857 Mr. Henry Lake came upon the scene. In Dec. of that year an extraordinary general meeting of the proprietary was held, and the "Asso. was remodelled." The 'peculiar appropriation of profits" and the "philanthropic funds" were removed from the Deed of Sett.; "and the Asso. is now to be placed on a solid commercial basis, and conducted on purely commercial principles." Mr. Edward Baylis, "the founder of the inst., had retired from the direction.' It was stated that there were 800 "active" agents appointed; and "active" operations were to be commenced. The first step in the new management was the taking over, in 1857, of the bus. of the General Accident Co., which had been founded in 1855. Up to 31 Dec., 1857, the Co. had issued 260 life pol., ins. £62,578, and yielding in ann. prems. £2381. But of these there were in force at that date 168 pol., ins. £38,365; ann. prems. £1388. The accident bus. was very small. In 1858 a bill was filed against the Co. by a Mr. Burt, an ex-Director, for the purpose of setting aside the purchase of Mr. Baylis' and Mr. Birmingham's shares by the Co., [they each held 20,000 shares !] and also to make those gentlemen and the other directors personally responsible for £5500, being a loan contracted by them on behalf of the Asso. The bill was dismissed with costs. This decision was confirmed on appeal.

It was in 1859 that the Co. entered upon a career of reckless amalg., which in the end produced such disastrous results. The first co. taken over was the British Provident, which had itself taken over the businesses of several other offices. By means of this union the income of the B. Nation was said to be at the rate of £20,000, and the new bus. at the rate of £10,000 p.a. In this same year the Co. disposed of its Accident bus. to the Accidental Death Co. (No. 2).

In 1860 the Co. took over the bus. of the British Commercial, of which we have already given the hist. It was announced that by this junction the income of the B.N. would amount to £70,000 p.a., and the new prems. to £12,000. In the same year the Co. took over the bus. of the English Widows Fund, which had itself absorbed the connexions of several other offices. In this year also the Plate-Glass bus. of the Co. was trans. to the Plate-Glass Insurance Co.

In 1861 the Co. took over the businesses of the English and Irish Church and University L., and of the Lond. and Provincial Provident L. Spacious offices were taken in Regent St.; and the most flattering accounts of the prosperity of the Co. were circulated. In 1862 the Co. took over the bus, of the Waterloo L. On the closing of the financial year of operations, 31 March, 1862, the following figures were presented: new pol. during the year 2356, ins. £483,743; yielding in new prems. £16,364. Ann. income from pol. in force £136,965. Accumulated funds (irrespective of subs. cap.) £257,861. In the Post-Mag., 9 May, 1863, there appeared the following:

The Brit. Nation Life Assu. Asso. has just completed its valuation, and a rev. bonus, averaging 30 p.c. of the amount of prems. paid, has been declared on pol. entitled to participate.

The pol. issued during the financial year ending 31 March, 1863, were 2585, ins. £620,400, and yielding in new prems. £21,697; ann. income £159,821 ; claims by death 229, for £69,262. During the year the Co. took over the bus. of the Lond. Equitable, and of the Wellington.

The bus. of the Co. for the financial year ending 31 March, 1864, was 3559 pol., ins. £944,520, and yielding in new prems. £31,143. The ann. income was stated to be £161,465; and the sum ins. to amount to upwards of £5,000,000. The general meeting was most enthusiastic.

In 1865 the bus. of the Co. was united with that of the European-the latter Co. now dating the cause of its final downfall to that event. [EUROPEAN.]

We hear no more of the Brit, Nation until the year 1871, when, in consequence of the failure of the European, many of the contracts of the former Co. would fall back upon it. In this state of matters the shareholders of the Brit. Nation were called together, and the Co. was placed under voluntary liq.-the liquidators being Mr. Geo. Whiffin and Mr. Arthur Cooper, gentlemen thoroughly qualified for their duties. Various attempts have been made on behalf of the liquidators of the European to have the above-named gentlemen removed, and themselves appointed. The British Nation Co. asserts that it is solvent and the shareholders resist all interference by the European. The case came

« AnteriorContinuar »