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TWELFTH ANNUAL REPORT.
GENTLEMEN OF THE BOARD, —
We welcome you to these spacious and handsome Another
year has elapsed, and it becomes our duty to give you a rapid account of our action upon the principal questions presented for consideration since we last met you. The political condition of the country, the state of the currency, the fluctuations in the price of merchandise, and the hopes, anxieties, and fears, which mark A TRANSITION PERIOD IN THE HISTORY OF A PEOPLE, have combined to disturb the operations of this Board to a very marked extent. Indeed, the finished business is even less than in the year 1864. But we have to remark that the office-work, - of which there is no record, — and the information afforded to public men on subjects with which merchants are supposed to be thoroughly conversant, have afforded ample employment to those who here act and speak in your name.
The first meeting of the Government of this Board was special and painful. EDWARD EVERETT laid down mortality on the 14th day of January; and on the 17th we came together to give utterance to our own feelings, and, in your behalf, to place on the Records words commemorative of the event. The PRESIDENT, on taking the chair, spoke of the solemnity of the occasion, and of the life and character of the departed scholar and statesman; and was followed by EDWARD S. TOBEY, who, in concluding his remarks, offered these Resolutions :
Resolved, That this Board would reverently acknowledge the hand of divine Providence in the sudden departure from this life of our deeply lamented fellow-citizen, EDWARD EVERETT, whose varied public services and high attainments have been so pre-eminent as to make his character the common property of the American people.
Resolved, That, in common with our fellow-countrymen, we share in the general sorrow that now oppresses the heart of this nation for the irreparable loss of one whose life has adorned the brightest page of its history, and whose death has deprived the country of the wise counsels and influence of one of her noblest sons.
Resolved, That while this Board cannot be unmindful of the eminent services rendered by Mr. EVERETT as the representative of his country at the Court of St. James, in his participation in the adjustment of international questions of great importance to the commercial interests of the United States, we regard it as a special privilege, not less than a solemn and sacred duty, on this sad occasion, to express our appreciation of his patriotism, his exalted and comprehensive statesmanship, and his moral worth, which, with his unsurpassed eloquence, have added lustre to the American name and character throughout the world, and will enshrine his memory in the hearts of a grateful nation.
Resolved, That we offer to his afflicted relatives and friends our sympathy in their bereavement, which has deprived them of the society of one whose affectionate intercourse and genial friendship they have been so long permitted to enjoy.
After JAMES M. BEEBE, ROBERT B. FORBES, and JOSEPH M. WIGHTMAN, had spoken to the Resolutions, they were adopted unanimously.
The SECRETARY OF THE BOARD offered the following, which was also unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That, in token of our respect for the memory of EDWARD EVERETT, the rooms of this Board be draped in the emblems of mourning for thirty days; and that we recommend a similar demonstration be made in the rooms of the Merchants’ Exchange.
A copy of the proceedings, beautifully written by Mr.
BOSTON BOARD OF TR:ADE.
George E. Foster, was transmitted to the family of Mr. Everett by the Secretary.
In January, after the bill reported to the House of Representatives had passed that body, delegates* from this Board went to Washington to intercede with the Senate, both for postponement and amendment. In the memorial presented on the occasion, it is stated, that neither we nor the merchants of the North generally, object to a National Bankrupt Act, wisely framed and carefully guarded; but that the bill in question, if enacted then,— as was believed, — would cause great loss and hardship to many Northern men, unless made operative only in the loyal States, or unless inapplicable (without further legislation) in the insurgent States after their return to the Union. Again, the hope is suggested in the memorial that the Senate would refuse to pass the bill, at any time, without an amendment requiring the debtor to pay fifty per centum of the claim proved against him; or, in lieu of such a pro
1 vision, that he should not obtain a discharge without the consent of a majority of his creditors, both in number and amount, as provided, substantially, in the Insolvent Laws of Massachusetts.
These views were submitted to the New-York Chamber of Commerce for concurrence. That Chamber, however, unanimously adopted the Report of their “ Arbitration Committee," who dissented from us, and said, that,
Upon full consideration, your Committee have come to the conclusion, that the bill in question is adapted to protect the interests of credi
* William Claflin, Ezra Farnsworth, Hamilton A. Hill.
tors in cases of bankruptcy, whether voluntary or compulsory, more thoroughly and effectively than similar laws ever enacted in this country or elsewhere.”
We merely add, that there was a strong opposition to the bill in New York among merchants; that, besides, some of the principal counsellors of that city drew up a memorial to the Senate, asking for essential modifications ; and that another memorial was sent by the Philadelphia Board of Trade, agreeing with us in the expediency of postponement.
DUTY ON EXPORTS.
STAMPS ON RAILROAD RECEIPTS.
In January, we received the following Resolutions, passed at a special meeting, on the twelfth day of that month :
Resolved, That the Board of Trade of the city of Troy coincides with the views of the Board of Trade of Philadelphia, in the expediency of an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, allowing a duty to be laid on exports.*
Resolved, That this Board concurs with the Board of Trade of Boston, on the necessity of such regulations as will designate the proper parties who should furnish the necessary stamps required on receipts for freight or other property.
Resolved, That this Board will make an effort to carry out the views contained in the above resolutions, and that the Secretary be directed to send copies of these proceedings to the Boards of Trade of Philadelphia and Boston, and the other Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce throughout the country, and also to our Representative in Congress, the Hon. John A. Griswold, and request his hearty co-operation in the same.
* We had non-concurred with our friends in Philadelphia, in these words : –
“A question of so great moment, and commended to our attention by an organization so well entitled to our respect, could not but be carefully considered, both in Committee and by the Government of this Board. After full and repeated discussions, in which the reasons for and against the proposed change were deliberately weighed, we came to the conclusion that any action on the subject on our part is inexpedient.” -- Eleventh Annual Report, p. 38.
Four of the matters before us in February deserve mention in this Report. And, first:
INTERNATIONAL GENERAL AVERAGE.
Referring to our previous action, as contained in our Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Annual Reports, we have to remark here, that, as far as the “National Association for the Promotion of Social Science” is concerned, nothing further is expected; since the proceedings at York, England, in 1864, show, that, on the adoption of the “Rules” published in our last Annual Report, that body and the “ International General Average Commit
were dissolved. Our own Committee have made their final Report, as far as we can now see; and it remains for us, approving of these “Rules” as we do, to recommend their insertion in bills of lading and in charter parties. The views of our Committee seem conclusive, and we insert them entire. After a brief opening, they say, —
That it is a well-known fact, of which ship-owners, importers, and underwriters are constantly reminded by the adjustment of losses abroad, that the insurance laws and customs of different countries are widely at variance in many very important particulars; and while the system of General Average is one which, to prevent confusion and injustice, pre-eminently requires that the same principles should be acknowledged amongst maritime nations, yet so far is this from being the case, that some very important rules of action vary, even in the same country. Uncertainty in law is always an evil, and in regard to General Average the evil is peculiarly felt. The ship may be insured in one country, the freight insured in another, her cargo owned and insured in several; and the port of destination, where the average is to be made up, may be in a country which has different rules from all, or nearly all, of the others. What is considered Particular Average on ship in one port is held to be General Average in another; so that the owner of an outward-bound ship may find himself unable to recover for loss or expenditure, either from his underwriters at home,