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In 1854 the Co. made a deposit of $100,000 in the State of N. Y. and commenced to transact bus. there. Mr. Geo. M. Knevitt was the agent.
In 1860 the Co. was amal. with the Brit. Nation. In 1865 the last-named Co. amal. with the European. In 1871 the European passed into liq. We observe that there is now [June, 1872] before the Court of Chancery a petition for winding up the Brit. Commercial.
Mr. Ebenezer Ferine had been Man. -Director of the Co. for many years, and remained so up to the date of amalg.
BRITISH COMMERCIAL INS. [No. 2], founded at Plymouth in 1872, with a proposed cap. of £5,000,000, in 500,000 shares of £10, for the purpose of carrying on the bus. of accident, fire, and marine ins. The founder of the Co. is the Chevalier Harry Clench, who subs. for 3000 shares, giving him a stake of £30,000 in the enterprise. Two of the other promoters, Mr. W. E. Hicks, and Col. E. C. Warner, subs. for 1000 shares each. Mr. Clench to pay all expenses of formation of the Co., and to be entitled to £1 25. p.c. on nominal cap., or in all, £55,000. The directors are each to receive 100 fully paid-up shares as part of their first year's remuneration.
BRITISH AND CONTINENTAL GUARANTEE AND INDISPUTABLE LIFE POLICY CO., projected in 1852, but never got beyond prov. regis.
BRITISH EMPIRE LIFE ASSU. Co. [No. 1] founded in 1839, with an authorized cap. of 500,000, in 20,000 shares of £25. The head office was at Whitehall, with a branch in the City. The Board of Direction included many influential names; and the various office bearers were men of position. The full title of the Co. appears to have been : The Brit. Empire Assu. Co. for granting Assu., Loans, immediate and deferred Annu. for the purchase of Annu. and Rev. Interest, and Assu. of Pensions to officers in the service of Her Majesty and the Hon. East India Co. The orig. prosp. said:
Naval and military officers and others may assure with this office upon a general rate of prem., which shall cover risks of all climates and actual warfare-an advantage never before offered by any assu. office; and facilities will also be given to military men, who effect life assu. with this Co., for advancing their interests in the army.
The directors also, from possessing accurate data of the mort. of Europeans who have resided in India from 1760 to the present time, have had rates of prems. computed for the true risk of life at each of the presidencies, and which will be found more moderate than any yet offered to the public for the purpose of effecting life assu.
The Co. will grant pensions and annu. immediate, deferred, or survivorship; thus affording to civilians, officers of the army and navy, and the Hon. East India Co.'s service, an opportunity of securing a provision for themselves at a given period, or at their decease, to their widows, families, or relatives; which pensions will be found of the most liberal character, consistent with the perfect security of the Co.'s funds.
Half-credit pol. were issued to lives not exceeding 55. The period of credit extended to 7 years, int. at 5 p. c. being paid in advance. Lieut.-Col. Henry Dundas Campbell was Resident Director; Mr. Alexander Jamieson, LL. D., was Act.
About 1843 the Co. underwent some re-organization. Mr. Geo. Bicknell became Man. Director, and Mr. Sydney Crocker became Sec. Among the "advantages" then offered was the following, which we regard as an ingenious expedient for replenishing a failing exchequer :
Assurers, who may wish to release themselves from the trouble and anxiety of ann. payments, and from the danger by neglect of lapsing the pol., may deposit any principal sum with the Co. at an int. of £4 p.c., on condition that the int. be applied in the payment of the prem. for such sum as it will assu., according to the age of the party. Thus, a person, aged 26, wishing to assu. £1000, by depositing £500 will be entitled to the int. of £20, which sum, at £2 p.c. (the prem. at 26), will assu. the required amount. The deposits may be withdrawn at any time, on giving 6 months' notice, and the parties will be free, as in ordinary assu., to discontinue their pol. if they think proper.
In 1845 the bus. of the Co. was trans. to the Licensed Victuallers, afterwards Monarch. BRITISH EMPIRE MUTUAL FIRE ASSU. So., founded in 1848, on the Mutual principle; and was worked in connexion with the British Empire Mut. Life. The fire duty return progressed as follows: 1848, £624; 1850, £2095; 1855, £6272. Mr. W. S. Gover was Sec. In 1857 the bus. was trans. to the General. BRITISH EMPIRE MUT. LIFE ASSU. Co. [called for distinction, Brit. Empire No. 2], founded in 1847, on the purely Mutual principle, without any subs. cap.; but there was authority to raise by way of loan for the purposes of the Co. (if required) the sum of £20,000. No portion of such sum has been required. The objects of the Co. were (1) Life Ins. in all its branches, (2) Loans, (3) Fidelity guarantee. We believe this last branch of bus. has never been carried on by the Co. Being constituted on the purely mut. plan, the asso. should have been termed a so. and not a co. We shall speak of it as a so., except when we quote official documents.
By the Deed of Sett. dated 26 Jan., 1847, the participating pol.-holders for the time being were to constitute the So. Claims on the So. were to be paid 2 months after proof, with a proviso that "whenever a sudden increase of deaths shall happen from any cause, it shall be lawful for the Co. to defer, so long as circumstances may render it necessary or expedient, the payment of any proportion not exceeding in the whole 3 equal 4th parts of the whole sum which under any assu. made by the Co. may become payable upon any death." The sum deferred to bear interest at 3 p. c. p.a. Each pol. to contain a provision exempting the directors signing it from any personal liability. First
distribution of profits in 1852, and afterwards triennially. The Directors are not to make, accept, or indorse notes or bills. The Deed is carefully and considerately drawn.
We believe the So. owed its origin to the late Mr. Watson, who was for many years Chairman of the "Sunday School Union."
In Nov. 1851, an extraordinary general meeting was held, with a view of modifying several points in the constitution of the So. It was necessary, under the Joint-Stock Cos. Regis. Act., 7 & 8 Vict. c. 110, under which the So. was constituted, that the names and addresses of all the members, i.e. of all the parti. pol.-holders, should be regis. every halfyear, the cost of which was then about £ioo for each return, and would increase as the So. increased. Then the deed provided that 50 p.c. of the profits should be retained for a certain period to constitute a reserve fund. It was proposed to modify this by setting aside 10 p.c. of the profits for a time, and afterwards 5 p.c. This would enable the So. in due course to comply with the bonus regulations of the deed. The changes were resolved upon.
In 1852 the So. obtained a special Act of Parl., 15 & 16 Vict., c. liii.—An Act for the better regulation of the Brit. Embire Mut. Life Assu. Co., for enabling the said Co. to take and hold property; and for other purposes relating to the said Co. The Act provided that the So. should remain subject to the provisions of the Joint-Stock Cos. Regis. Act, except as to the returns to be made to Joint-Stock Cos. office. The Act also provides that a "regis. of members" shall be kept, "with an alphabetical index thereto, and in such book shall be fairly and distinctly entered from time to time the names of the several corporations, and the names and addresses of the several persons who are members of the Co." The same to be authenticated from time to time by the common seal. Every member and other interested person may search this register.
This So. has been regis. under the Cos. Act, 1862, in conformity with the 209th sec. of that measure, which does not require any co. completely regis. under the 7 & 8 Vict. c. 110, to deliver to the Regis. any copy of its deed. The 13th sec. of Life Assu. Cos. Act, 1870, provides that every co. which is not regis. under Cos. Act, 1862, shall cause its deed to be printed, and furnish a copy to any share or policy holder for a sum not exceeding 2s. 6d. By reason of this state of things, this Co. (in common with any other so placed) is not called upon to print and supply its deed. The So. does not take any technical advantage of this bungle in the Act of 1870, although it is fairly entitled to stand upon its exemptions.
During the "ins. controversy" in 1852-3, this Co. sustained some very unjust treatment, in having its necessarily heavy expenses of foundation heralded forth to the world as an almost certain sign of impending insolvency. The So. need not be ashamed to have the figures of that period reproduced. During the four years ending with 1850, the So. had received in prems. £33,348, and had paid in claims £1670, being 5 p.c. of the receipts; while its entire expenses amounted to 14,466-being 52 p.c. of its entire receipts; total expenditure 57 p.c. of prems. By means of this expenditure the So. had secured a well-selected bus. ; and its subsequent financial hist. has been increasingly satisfactory.
In 1854 a secession occurred in the ranks of the So. Mr. W. S. Gover, who had been its Sec. from the commencement to that date, retired to found another office; one of its directors also retired. But by this period the So. had become firmly estab.; and the change did not affect its success.
In its early years the So. charged a reduced rate of prem. for the ins. of female lives. This practice has now been for some years discontinued. [FEMALE LIFE.] We shall speak further hereon under BRIT. EMPIRE MUT., MORT. EXPERIENCE of. The So. ins. "doubtful lives." [DISEASED LIVES.] It also grants BUILDING SO. INSURANCES. The So. is under sound and careful management, and continues to prosper. The report for the year 1871 discloses the following figures: New proposals accepted during the year 830, ins. £234,547; new prems. thereon, £7363. Total income of year, £103,792; claims (including bonuses), £52, 348. Total claims paid from commencement of So., 473,856. Total profits distributed, £242,156. The accumulated funds, £488,310. The following are the leading land-marks in the progress of the So. : £10,265. Acumulated fund
1849 1856 1863 1871
£51,389. £74,660. £103,792.
£6,199. £110,000. £274,681. £488,310.
The present Sec. is Mr. A. L. Saul; Act. and Accountant, Mr. Josiah Martin. Much of the success of the So. in the provinces is due to the indefatigable exertions of the Agency Superintendent, Mr. M. B. Sutton.
BRITISH EMPIRE MUT., MORT. EXPERIENCE OF.-In 1865 there was pub. A Contribution to the Medical Statistics of Life Assu., with Hints on the Selection of Lives, by John Mann, M.R.C. S., "Examining Surgeon in the Brit. Empire Mut. Life Assu. Co.' The author says:-"From the commencement of the B. E. Life Assu. Co., I have wished to gather the materials for such a report of its first 10 years, which is now accomplished." The author does not, however, present any connected report of the experience of the So. in such a form as can be presented to the reader at one view; but he analyzes the experience
of several other offices, and states the experience of his office, by way of confirmation or contrast. We shall have occasion to quote these disconnected passages from time to time. The So. has, at a more recent date caused its experience to be very carefully collated. We trust the results may be pub. for the general benefit of life ins. interests. BRITISH EQUITABLE Assu. Co., founded in 1854, with an authorized cap. of £100,000, in 1000 shares of £100, with power to increase to £500,000. The cap. now stands at £250,000, in shares of £100. The Co. was regis. under Joint-Stock Cos. Regis. Act, 1844. By the 17th sec. of the Co.'s Deed, the liability of shareholders ceases immediately on trans. or forfeiture of shares. The arrangement as to shareholders parti. in profits is a very equitable one; current int. on paid-up cap. is paid out of general funds, into which int. on investments is carried. The profits to the shareholders beyond is derived exclusively from pol. in the non-parti. branch. The general scheme of profits is regulated by the bye-laws of the Co. under the authority of the Deed. The bonus division takes place every third year; and by the above arrangement the parti. pol. secure all the advantages of a mut. office. Bonuses may be applied to making the pol. payable during lifetime of insured.
The Co. was founded by Mr. William Sutton Gover, the present Man. Director and Act., on the occasion of his secession from the Brit. Empire Mut. His appointment as Man. is contained in the 46th sec. of Deed. The Deed is dated 15th July, 1854. It contains no clauses requiring comment beyond those already noted.
The Co. ins. "declined," i.e. DISEASED LIVES; and it has an "advance department." It also issues non-forfeiture pol., on the "ten-prem. plan ;" and "settlement pol."
The progress of the Co. has been on the whole very satisfactory, and it is now firmly estab. Its new bus. in 1871-17th year of its existence-consisted of 1934 pol., ins. £320,319, and yielding in ann. prem. £9820; claims by 172 deaths, £28,487, including bonuses; total claims from commencement, under 1173 pol., £187,558; surrender values paid, 1871, £1777; total pol. in force, end of 1871, 17,009, ins. £2,930,210; ann. prem. thereon, 93,998; total accumulated fund, £273,073. Mr. John Wilkinson Farey is the much-respected Sub-Man. of the Co.
BRITISH EXCHequer Life Assu. Co., founded in 1856, with an authorized cap. of £100,000, in 20,000 shares of £5. Mr. Wm. Waite was Man.-Director of the Co.; Mr. Alexander Colvin, Act. and Sec. The prosp. said:
Formerly the system [of L. ins.] was but little understood, and its advantages were principally confined to the more wealthy classes of society; the great bulk of the people were in utter ignorance of its vast capabilities, and until recently no extraordinary efforts were made to popularize and bring these advantages within the reach of the middle and industrial classes, who in fact stood most in need of assistance. It would appear almost incredible that so many thousands, and hundreds of thousands of persons, whose means will admit of their doing so, have omitted so important and sacred a duty. It is believed that up to the present time there are not more than 200,000 who have availed themselves of the advantages of life assu. for family purposes; this seems more remarkable and unaccountable, since the death of every 1000 husbands in the middle and lower ranks leaves behind them at least 4000 women and children in penury and distress, if not absolutely want.
The distinctive feature of the Co. was that whole-term insurers on the "withdrawal scale" [a table of prems. about 10 p.c. higher than ordinary life prems.] might at any time withdraw one-half of the prems. paid on the pol., paying 5 p.c. int. for the loan, and giving no security beyond an indorsement of the pol. After payment of 5 prems. a parti. pol.-holder was entitled to receive a free pol. for the entire prems. paid. In 1868 the bus. of the Co., which was very small, became united with the Brit., Foreing, and
BRITISH FIRE ASSU. OFFICE, founded towards the close of the last century, the date most commonly named being 1799; but we are disposed to attribute it to some three or four years earlier, for reasons which will presently appear.
On the occasion of the promoters of the Globe applying for a charter in 1799, this Co. petitioned against the same. From this petition we take the following clauses, which embody in the main the early hist. of the office :
That your petitioners several years ago estab. a So. or Co. called the British Fire Ins. Co., for ins. against fire within the U.K. of Gt. Brit. and Ireland, and all other parts and places within His Majesty's dominions, upon an ample capital, and made themselves also responsible for all payments which might become due under their policies, without any charter, or any reservation or limitation between themselves and those amongst the public who should insure with them.
That your petitioners humbly conceive, that if the said bill should pass into a law, it will be a great prejudice to the interest of your petitioners, by giving the said intended Co. various privileges and advantages over your petitioners, who have, after the most persevering labour and assiduity, at a very great expense, and with an ample capital, estab, an undertaking for carrying on the bus. of F. ins. within the U.K. of Gt. Brit. and Ireland, and elsewhere within His Majesty's dominions, by means of which, and other present existing offices, the merchants and manufacturers have been supplied with ins. to the full extent of their wants, and that at the lowest terms which can be afforded, with reasonable profit to themselves, and security to the public. And the proprietors of agricultural stock throughout the kingdom have been materially benefited both in the rates and modes of insuring that species of property; and your petitioners have paid large sums of money in consequence of such ins. That in every considerable town in the kingdom there are offices under the direction of your petitioners for making F. ins., and in several of which towns your petitioners have contributed very considerable sums for the estab. of fire engines, and other means of protecting the property of individuals.
In 1805 the Co stood 5th on the list of F. offices as to amount of duty collected, the amount being £18,744.
In 1814 the Co. obtained a special Act of Parl., 54 Geo. 3 c. 178-An Act to enable the Brit. F. Assu. Office to sue and be sued in the name of their Sec. There are no features in this Act calling for special remark.
In 1824 the F. duty return of the office was £17,606; from that period it steadily declined until 1838, when it began to revive. In 1840 it reached its highest, £18,488. In 1843 the bus. of the Co. was trans. to the Sun. Mr. John Helps was for many years Sec. BRITISH FIRE PREVENTION AND INS. Co., "for affording to the public increased protection against F. in connexion with F. ins. ;" and specially "for taking up the large F. bus. obtainable through agents of L. offices." The proposed cap. of the Co. was £500,000, in 100,000 share of £5. This was the first F. office projected under the Companies Act, 1862." In furtherance of the object set forth in the second head above quoted, there were on the board of the Co. a director from the Amicable, another from the Eagle, one from the Albert, and another from the Western. The Man. and
Sec. was Mr. J. E. B. Curtis.
The prosp. said :
The existing F. office system is defective in two respects. 1. It offers no assistance to the assured in protecting themselves against fire. 2. It does not assess risks with sufficient minuteness, and therefore in some cases charges unnecessarily high rates, while in others the rates are not sufficient to cover the risks incurred. The present Co. seeks to remedy these deficiencies. . .
It appears therefore that by the use of an effective means for extinguishing fires, available within the first 5 minutes, and not causing damage in use, a proportion of the present losses, equal at least 661 p.c., and prob. approaching 80 p.c., might be saved, at the cost only of the means required to produce
The scheme of the Co. was to introduce the use of Phillips' Patent Fire Annihilator by its pol.-holders, as the best known means of protection. The prosp. said hereon:
It has been ascertained by a careful calculation that the instruments can be supplied in cases where the sum assu. is not very small, at a cost much within the margin of saving shown by the estimate given above, and arrangements have been made by which the right to use them with all improvements is secured to the Co, on advantageous terms. They will, therefore, form the means principally relied on at present for affording increased protection against fire. The Co. will not however be restricted to their use; other improved means will be applied for preventing and extinguishing fires whenever the directors are satisfied that the application can be made advantageously.
The Co. did not however intend to rely entirely upon the use of fire annihilators. The prosp. says:
In connexion with fire prevention it is proposed to introduce a more careful classification of risks; superseding the system of arbitrary distinctions as to what is to be assessed as dangerous or hazardous, by scientific discrimination, carried even to individual cases-with this object a large amount of statistical and other information on the subject of fires has been collected, collated, and tabled, giving the actual risk in each trade.
It was asserted that an accurate knowledge of risks, and an equitable assessment of rates, would protect the interests of the office, and at the same time do justice to the insured. The prosp. continues:
Subject to the improved classification of risks, it is not proposed at present to depart from the usual rates charged for ins. against fire; but the proposed plan will offer increased advantages to the insured and the shareholders. The insured will benefit: 1. By obtaining, without any increase of cost, a simple but effectual protection against fire. 2. By the reduced cost of ins. consequent on the reduced risk, and made available to the insured by bonuses or other equitable arrangements made with a due regard to the interest of the shareholders. The shareholders will benefit by the increased profits to be realized by the diminution of loss.
A direct interest in the profits will be given to the agents, in order to stimulate their exertions in promoting and extending the bus.
The scheme was most elaborate in its details, and it received high commendations from the press; but its promoters appeared to lack that practical knowledge which alone can secure bus.; and the enterprise collapsed.
BRITISH, FOREIGN, AND COLONIAL ASSU. Asso., founded in 1857, with an authorized cap. of £100.000, in 20,000 shares of £5. This Co. was founded by Mr. T. H. Baylis immediately after his return from Australia. It embodied a scheme called "Life Assu. Classes," which was in fact a "lottery." But we must fall back upon the prosp.:
Important! The difficulties of life assu. removed, and its benefits rendered accessible to all. tinctive advantages of the assu. classes. In effecting life assu. through the classes of this Asso., the following important advantages are presented to assurers: 1. No medical examination, or references to private friends, as to health, habits, or personal hist. are required. 2. Only one small prem. contribution is necessary. This is instead of a heavy ann. prem., as usual in ordinary life assu. 3. Some of the pol. are fully paid up; their holders having nothing more to pay. These pol. are convertible securities, and available immediately, either for the purposes of sale or borrowing. 4. Males or females, or both, whose ages range between 6 and 65 years, are eligible as members. 5. Each class consists of 50 members. Persons may enter any class, by paying the prem. contribution indicated by the tables. As soon as a class is formed, notice is given to the members of the time and place appointed for the election, and every member is invited to attend, or to send some one to represent him or her. 6. Members incur no liability whatever.
This is the brief outline of the scheme, as first presented by the prosp. Many of the points are afterwards amplified, and they appear to need it. Here is a portion of the 'explanation":
From the beginning of this century, down to the present time, great attention and much labour have been bestowed by scientific men upon the calculations which relate to the bus. of life assu., and nearly all that could be desired in this direction has been accomplished. Little or nothing however has yet been done or attempted to improve its practice or to simplify its application to the wants of the community.
The old system of medical examination, with its long and offensive catechism, has been strictly adhered to and preserved, as though it had been perfect from the first, and susceptible of no further improvement.
But if progress has been so great and manifest in matters of calculation relating to assu., some efforts may reasonably now be used to promote the wide adoption of its benefits, by simplifying its practice. It is, therefore, now proposed, with this object directly in view, to apply the principles of assu. without having recourse to medical examination, and the numerous questions now required to be answered before an assu. can be effected. Doubtless some who are terrified at any attempt at innovation, will take alarm at this step. There will ever be persons who resist, as it were, instinctively all attempts at change. Those, however, who are capable of larger views, will perceive, that vast numbers, hitherto excluded, will now be brought within the reach of the benefits offered by life assu., while at the same time the stability of the office will in no way be endangered. Beyond all question, the present system is not only objectionable, but it is repugnant to the feelings, and repels many who would otherwise avail themselves of the advantages of life assu. It shocks the nervous, terrifies those who after an ordeal are rejected altogether, and perhaps accelerates some latent disorder with which they may be affected. A remedy is now proposed, both comprehensive, and in perfect accordance with sound and safe principles, and which possesses the great advantage of rendering all attempts at fraud by concealment or misrepresentation impracticable and impossible.
The only conditions imposed regarding health were, that persons of "notoriously bad health, or of notoriously bad habits," would not be admitted as members. Satisfactory proof of age was also required before any pol. would be delivered. The prosp., returning to the subject of health, and selection, says:
Under the existing system of life assu. it is absolutely necessary that offices should exercise the greatest caution in the selection of lives. An indiscriminate acceptance of every case would imperil the stability of these estab., and invite the infirm and sickly to seek a participation in the benefits they afford, at rates adjusted to suit those of average health and strength only. ... Here, no discernment, no examination of individual cases is required; the whole affair is left simply to the operation of the law of average: the very element which it is necessary should have full and perfect play in life assu. transactions. The effect of selection under the present system, though indispensable, stunts the growth of life assu. by excluding from its benefits, except at exorbitant rates, those very persons who really stand most in need of its assistance. . . .
We now reach the tables, of which we must try to give a brief and intelligible description. They extended over classes A. to H. The contributions of the members of each class varied according to their several ages, and were so contrived that the aggregate of the contribution or prem. paid should purchase several paid-up pol. in each class. For instance, in class A. there would be drawn among the 50 contributors, I pol. for £25, and 5 for £5, each fully paid as to prems. The amount of the pol. being payable on the death of its holder. In class D. there were I fully-paid pol. for £500, and 5 for £100 each. The classes E. to H. inclusive embraced some paid-up pol. for whole term of life; and some short-term pol.-making the matter more complicated. We may, therefore, content ourselves with an example of the working of class D. The class having its full complement of 50, the drawing takes place. If the 6 fortunate persons should be aged, say 15, 25, 35, 40, 50, and 60, the contribution and benefits would come out as follows:
Age 15 having paid £8 3 4 gains a paid-up pol. for £500.
The other 44 persons in the class obtained nothing; but were told by the prosp. that they might join another class, and try their luck again! A writer in the Post Mag., under date 13th April, 1858, and under signature "Aleph," pointed out that the prems. proposed to be charged were very ample for the benefits offered.
From the first there was a doubt whether this scheme did not infringe upon the laws against lotteries. Mr. J. H. Lloyd gave a somewhat guarded opinion that it did not; but we believe the law officers of the Crown took a different view. At all events the scheme of the classes was abandoned early in 1858; and an entirely new phase was presented. It was upon the abandonment of this lottery project that the ins. world was startled out of its slumbers by the announcement of the well-intentioned scheme of CONSOLS INS. From a project, which, of all ins. projects ever propounded, was the most speculative, viz. the Ins. Classes," the Brit., Foreign, and Colonial at once dashed into a project, regarding which it was asserted there could be no speculation—for all was fixed and certain. We do not propose to discuss the merits of the Consols Ins. plan here. That will be dealt with fully under its alphabetical head. We have only now to record the fate of the present Co. after it had made this important change in its system of bus., and a very few words will suffice for the purpose. Before the end of the same year (1858), the Co. was involved in the meshes of the Court of Chancery-arising out of an attempted fusion of the interests of the Era Ins. Asso. with that of this Co. The petition was indeed dismissed; but the Brit., Foreign, and Colonial received its death-blow. In 1859 its bus. became united with, or merged into the Consols Ins. Asso.
In 1858 the Co. had taken over the bus. of the Brit. Exchequer, which was very small. The Co. had an accident ins. branch. The Man. Director of the Co. was T. H. Baylis ; the Sec, was Edward Moseley. [CONSOLS IN. Co.]