Page images

Bankruptcy (1). "That the Associated Chambers of Commerce are of opinion that reform of administration rather than reform of the law is the pressing need of the moment, and that the best mode of carrying out that view is to give conditional support to the President of the Board of Trade in endeavouring to remedy the proved defects in the Bankruptcy Act of 1869."

Bankruptcy (2). That in view of the urgent necessity for a reform of the Bankruptcy Laws, this Association respectfully urges Her Majesty's Government to deal with the subject at the earliest moment in the present Session of Parliament.

" That the Association generally re-affirms its approval of the resolutions adopted at the Annual Meeting held in London on 2nd February, 1881.

" And that it be remitted to the Executive Council to watch the course of legislation on the subject, and to prepare and submit to Parliament such amendments to any Bill which may be introduced, as shall bring the same into conformity with the views expressed in these resolutions."

Partnership. “That this meeting learns with much satisfaction that the President has re-introduced the Bill* of this Association on the subject of Partnership, and this meeting desires to encourage him herein, and requests that he will use every means to have it passed into law during the present Session."

Purchase of Government Slock through the Post Office. “ That in the opinion of this Association it is desirable that interim receipts should be issued by the postal authorities, and given to investors on depositing money in the Post Office Savings Bank for investment in Government Stock, as a protection against fraud; and the Executive of the Association be requested to take such steps as they deem necessary to accomplish the desired reform,"

Companies Acts Amendments. “That the Joint Stock Companies Acts require amendment, by an enactment making it illegal for companies to defraud their ordinary creditors for the benefit of debenture holders, as they may now do by mortgaging their future property and book debts; and also by providing that all securities which, if given by private persons or firms, would require registration as bills of sale, shall, when given by joint stock companies, be void unless so registered.”

* This Bill was read a second time on the 23rd March, and referred to a Select Committee,

Demonetization of Silver “That in the opinion of this Association the demonetization of silver by Germany in 1873, and the consequent withdrawal of mintage facilities for silver by France, Italy, and other commercial States, has tended seriously to hinder and impede the progressive development of international trade. That any considerable further demonetization of silver by those countries would probably be attended by still more wide-spread and disastrous effects. That for these reasons this Association would express an earnest hope that Her Majesty's Government will send delegates to the International Monetary Conference, proposed to be held in April next, and that such delegates be authorised to enter freely and fully into the discussions of the Conference, and to make any recommendations to Her Majesty's Government, arising out of such discussions, which they may think proper.

* The Secretary of the Associated Chambers of Commerce has received from the Prime Minister a letter, which, after acknowledging the receipt of the above resolution goes on to say—“Mr. Gladstone desires to observe that the general views of Her Majesty's Government upon the whole subject were made known at the Conference held last year in Paris, beyond the possibility (as he hopes) of misapprehension, and it would, in his opinion, be premature to enter into more detail until Her Majesty's advisers are in possession of the definite proposals of the foreign governments more immediately interested in the solution of the question."


Mr. WILLIAM NEWMARCH, F.R.S. It is with great regret that the death of Mr. Newmarch is recorded. It has been known for some time past that he was suffering from the effects of a paralytic stroke, but it was hoped that he was recovering. The improvement, however, was only temporary, and he succumbed to a further attack on the 23rd instant, at the comparatively early age of 62. To those who remember the energy and power which he possessed, it will be no surprise to hear that the position he attained was due to his own exertions. Entering life as a clerk in the house of Messrs. Leatham, Tew and Co., of Wakefield, and subsequently joining the staff of the Agra Bank, he

became connected in 1852 with the Globe Insurance Company, which, in great measure, it is believed, as the result of his policy, was afterwards amalgamated with the Liverpool and London Insurance Company, and, finally, in 1862, he became manager in Messrs. Glyn and Company's Bank. But whatever may have been the services which he rendered in these positions, they are not those by which he will be generally remembered. The most important work with which his name was connected is the “History of Prices," published in 1856, in which he was associated with the late Mr. Tooke. This masterly work, which embraced periods of great change, influenced by such disturbing causes as the rise of the railway system and by the great gold discoveries, may now be looked upon as somewhat out of date. But it may be regarded as the foundation of all similar enquiries carried on since that date by many other minds, whilst it is an open secret that he himself annually brought down the information to the latest date, which now and again he summarized, in part at least, in such papers as his last at the Statistical Society in 1878, on “The Growth of the Foreign Trade of the United Kingdom"; and it is understood that he was also about, in the evening of his life, to continue and complete the old work. Mr. Newmarch was also connected with many societies. He was a corresponding member of the Institute of France. For many years he was honorary secretary of the Statistical Society, and subsequently its president for the usual term; and he was also for many years treasurer and a very active member of the Political Economy Club. His contributions, generally anonymous—though this was often thinly veiled-on subjects of a statistical and economical character, were voluminous and marked always by great clearness. A freetrader to the backbone, with a scarcely-concealed scorn for those who urged that our increasing exports were a sign of danger, he was an uncompromising opponent of the Bank Act of 1844, holding that the creation of the Issue Department protected bank notes at the expense of the banking department. Not only did he give evidence before a Special Committee in 1856 in this direction, but he vigorously upheld it on every opportunity. No reference, however, to his works or public acts can give that sense of the peculiar energy and robust strength of his character. He had an unusual command of language ; and those who at a meeting of any society, when the subject had become involved and entangled, saw Mr. Newmarch present, knew that the time would come when his incisive logic would sweep away all the surroundings, and leave the matter, from his point of view at least, clear in form and sharply defined. It may be that weaker members sometimes suffered, though there was always a generous recognition of good work or rising talent; but his treatment of a subject ever left the impression that eminently sound common sense had been stated, not perhaps with what would be called oratory, but with irresistible vigour, conspicuous ability, and a masterly power of clear exposition. Mr. Newmarch was never a Fellow of the Bankers’ Institute. It is, indeed, not improbable that, when it was formed, he was beginning, on the ground of ill-health, to withdraw from the very active life he had led; bui most of its men bers, at least those resident in London, will miss him greatly, and regret sincerely that death has removed one who possessed such intellectual strength, whose mind was so richly stored with knowledge, and who was eren yet so full of promise.


The Depreciation of Silver as it affects India. A Paper read by Mr.

J. M. MACLEAN at the Society of Arts.* In this able and thoughtful paper Mr. J. M. Maclean has undertaken the task of tracing out the actual results—su far as Indian commerce and industry are concerned—of the great change that has occurred in the relative value of silver as compared with gold." Referring to the complaints which the Government of India uttered so loudly, and not without reason, Mr. Maclean has littie difficulty in showing that these arose from the difficulties peculiar to a Government having to meet an increased payment abroad, over and above its calculations, whilst it possessed very limited means of raising it by taxation. Its position was undoubtedly a hard one. But when Sir Louis Mallet, at Paris, appeared to speak on behalf of the Indian people, and in such terms that he seemed to give the stamp of authority to Mr. Cernuschi's words, when he said: "Indian commerce suffers as well as the Indian Government, and we must not, therefore, be astonished at the cries of distress which come from India,”—Mr. Maclean sets himself to see if this view is justified, and comes to the conclusion not only " that India is by no means in such a condition as to demand our pity,” but, quoting the official statistics of the imports and exports since 1874, and various official opinions from those who call for bi-metallism to cure the evil, he proves that its trade has increased in a manner, for which there is probably no precedent, and is in a most sound position. All this he traces to the depreciation of silver, the influence of which in improving the trade of India, he believes it would be diffi. cult to over-estimate. As has long been believed to be the case, this is attributed to the fact that the purchasing power of the rupee in Iudia has not fallen off. In the paper read before the Institute this month *by Sir Richard Temple, this question is considered by one who has had the best means of forming an opinion, but it may he well to quote Mr. Maclean's statement that “all authorities are at one on the point, that only the international value of the rupee has been affected, and that its value, as measured by the quantity of the common food of the people, which it will exchange for in India, remains as high as it was ten years ago.". The article of export, which has shown the greatest advance is wheat; an article of export to which Mr. Crawford called attention soveral years ago, as one which had then risen to importance, and would probably expand greatly; and, in a terse letter quoted by Mr. Maclean, Mr. Mowat, the late Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, at Bombay, shows how this increased export has been rendered possible. He says “But for the low sterling value which the rupee has touched. I doubt if we should bave seen the great development in the export trade, which has lately taken place. Take wheat, for instance. At the present rate of exchange, about 1s. 8d., I can pay the Indian producer Rs. 30. per candy for No. 1 white wheat, alter making allowance for freight, conīmission, and other charges ; but if I had to sell my bill at 1s. 10d., I could not afford to pay him niore than Rs. 271. The ditlerence might in many cases stop business. The same holds good with cotton, linseed, and other articles which are exported from India.” Bearing testimony to the wonderful revival of trade and activity which has taken place in India in the last few years, which, he says, is analogous to that which took place in Europe after the gold discoveries of California and Australia, Mr. Maclean endeavours to prove that the maintenance of the purchasing power of the rupee is due chiefly to the power of the country to absorb coin consequent upon this increased trade, resting, in the first place, upon the opening up of railways, and now stimulated by the depreciation of silver in Europe and elsewhere. It seems curious that no mention is made of the fixed land rent as a factor in maintaining the purchasing power of silver in India. This at least is one item in which the rupee will go as far now as it did on the first settlement of the rent. Mr. Maclean is an earnest bi-metal. list, and the latter part of his paper is devoted to this question. This need not be entered upon here. He has given, however, a proof of his faith in it, since, as is seen in the first part of his paper, and with evident knowledge of India, he cuts away as false much on which bi-metallists were wont at one time to lean upon, when he proves, what all sound thinkers have seen, that the depreciation of silver, at least, after the first period of violent fluctuation, however grave a disaster for the Government of India, was no disaster for its people.

* Journal of the Society of Arts for February, 1882, pp. 371-382

. This


in the next number of the Journal.

« PreviousContinue »