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so that the certificate and the record show at all times the exact condition of the title. The expense of the first certificate of title, which is practically an insurance of the title by the state, is $15; and the cost of each subsequent transfer is $3. The law, it is claimed, would enable transfers to be made promptly, and so would stimulate real-estate business.
The essence of the objection taken by the court, is that the law confers judicial powers upon persons (the recorder of deeds, who, by the act, is made registrar of titles, and also his examiners) not qualified under the constitution to exercise such powers. Article 6 of Section 1 of the constitution provides that the judicial powers shall be vested in courts therein named.
Wright Irrigation Law Valid.-On November 16 the supreme court of the United States declared constitutional the California statute known as the Wright Ir rigation law. One effect of the decision is to affirm the validity of $16,000,000 of bonds issued under the act.
Two cases were before the court. One of them-Fall Brook Irri gation District et al. es. Maria King Bradley and husband-came up on appeal from the circuit court for the southern district of California, where the decision had been adverse to the constitutionality of the law. The other case-William Tregea vs. the Modesto Irrigation District-had been appealed from the state supreme court, where the validity of the law was upheld.
The decision of the state supreme court is now finally affirmed. Irrigation laws similar to the Wright law had been enacted in several other states, and the future of irrigation seems now brighter.
The Wright act provides for the creation of irrigation districts upon the application of a majority of the owners of lands susceptible of a uniform mode of irrigation from a common source. An election is held to determine whether a proposed irrigation district shall be organized, and at least two thirds of the votes cast must be in favor of the project in order to carry it through. Upon the completion of the organization of a district, its board of directors is authorized to construct the necessary irrigation works and to acquire land for the purpose of such construction, which is declared to be a public use.
The objection taken by the circuit court to this law, was based on its supposed conflict with the federal constitution in that it assumed to authorize the taking of private property in order to furnish water only to landowners of a district and not to the general public on equal terms. This was held to be not such a public purpose as would jus tify the exercise of the power of eminent domain. In rejecting this view and adopting that of the California supreme court, the federal supreme court holds that existence of millions of acres of arid lands in that state makes their irrigation a public use, while in a state where the conditions were different the legislation in question might not be valid.
Money in the Banks.- An investigation of the amount of money held by banks in the United States was recently made by Mr. Eckels, comptroller of the currency.
Inquiries were made of 12,962 banking houses and trust companies-practically all in the country, and replies were received from 5,723. The amount of cash in those reporting was as follows:
Of this total cash the 3,458 national banks reporting held $335,174.616, and the 2,265 state institutions $77,950,233. The amount of gold coin and gold certificates held by these national banks was $155,073,604, and by these state institutions $34,484,737. The total number of national banks (3,689) held on July 14, the date of the last official call, $361,658,485 cash, of which amount $161,853,560 was in gold coin and gold certificates.
The total cash and the part thereof of gold and gold certificates held by reporting banks in each geographical division, is as follows:
The total number of depositors in the national banks reporting on July 1 was 2,315,333, with individual deposits aggregating $1,586.087,193. On July 14 the total individual deposits of all the national banks was $1,668,413,508; estimated number of depositors, 2,435,625 The total number of depositors in reporting banks other than national was 3,614,630, with deposits aggregating $1,668,352,673.
In 1894 an investigation showed the number of bank depositors to be about 9,000,000. A conservative estimate, in view of the fact that the number of depositors in national banks shows an increase of about 500,000, would make the total number now between 10,000,000, and 11,000,000, with total deposits aggregating over $5,000,000,000.
The Bicycle Industry.-The year 1896 has outstripped its predecessors in the development of the manufacture and use of the bicycle. The demand for this means of locomotion and recreation has reached such proportions as would almost entitle it to be called a popular "craze." It has wrought a revolution in business, stimu
lating many industries and causing the downfall of others, and has diverted travel into new channels. The following statistics will be of interest:
It is estimated that at present there are 4,000,000 bicycle riders in the United States, while New York city alone possesses 200,000 riders. There are at least 250 reputable wheel manufacturers in the United States, besides a host of smaller concerns that cannot be strictly called manufacturers. Over $60,000,000 is invested in the plants, which give employment to more than 70,000 persons. It is estimated that the wheels turned out in the season of 1896 exceeded 1,000,000. A whole army of workmen are engaged in making bicycle sundries and in repairing. The wheel has brought prosperity to numberless country hotels and road houses which had become almost extinct since the decline of coaching. Telegraph messengers, postmen, lamplighters, building and street inspectors, "walking delegates," policemen, firemen, coast patrollers, express messengers, doctors, and others are all using the bicycle in their respective vocations.
The experiments used to demonstrate the applicability of the bicycle for war purposes have been entirely successful, so that this opens up a new field of usefulness.
A recent invention to facilitate field operations is the typewriter bicycle. This consists of a typewriter mounted on a serviceable wheel, which can follow the movements of an army through an ordinary stretch of country. The operator can take commands and general orders in shorthand and strike off several duplicates on the typewriter, being held erect by portable props. It has been tried in England and worked very satisfactorily.
Bicycles propelled by electricity or one of the petroleum products have been made, but are not in use to any extent. In France a pneumatic tricycle hearse has been built. A velocipede ambulance is in use in the Berlin hospitals. It obviates many of the disadvantages arising from the use of horses. The transportation of patients is accomplished with more ease and comfort. It runs on five wheels, of which the four near ones support the body of the ambulance, the front one serving as a guiding wheel. The vehicle is propelled by two persons.
Land-Grabbing by the Powers. It is within the period since 1884 that the colonizing powers of Europe have made their most rapid acquisitions of territory; and Germany, France, and Italy have far outstripped Great Britain in the race. The following table shows the total areas of each of the colonizing powers in 1896 as compared with what they were in 1884, also the actual increase in each case in square miles, and the proportionate increase:
EUROPEAN COLONIAL EXPANSION.
Railway Mileage and Travel. The following table shows the railway mileage and number of passengers annually, in the principal countries of Europe:
The electric railway mileage of the United States at the end of 1896 is estimated at 13,000, the equipment embracing not less than 30,000 motor cars. About 1,900 miles of track and 5,000 motor cars were built during the year, representing an added investment in this industry of about $35,000,000. Two years ago the mileage was estimated as 9,000; number of cars, 23,000; and investment represented, $400,000,000.
Consumption of Beer.-In the following table are shown the number of barrels of malt liquor consumed in leading American cities during 1896, and the increase and decrease as compared with 1895:
Cincinnati, O., and New Orleans, La., alone show a decrease, which is explained as due to a growing preference in those localities for light American wines, especially California claret.
Floods.-From December 1 to December 4 the towns along the valley of the Chippewa river in northwestern Wisconsin, especially Chippewa Falls, were threatened with destruction by flood. Heavy rains, followed by a sudden freeze, had gorged the river with ice, temporarily damming it and causing the waters above the points of obstruction to rise in some cases to a height of nearly thirty feet above their normal level, and threatening devastation throughout the length of the valley in case further rains or a sudden thaw should cause one or more of the gorges to be carried away. Miles of country were deluged, and thousands of head of stock perished. The greatest apparent danger was at Chippewa Falls, where the streets of the town were inundated up to the second stories of the buildings, and traffic was paralyzed, many people for a time abandoning their dwellings and places of business. It is estimated that the property loss at this point alone amounted to $1,000,000. Portions of Eau Claire and other centres of population were also inundated, causing much inconvenience and loss. However, by December 4 the water at the most dangerous point had forced a passage beneath the ice-gorge and had begun to recede.
A two-days' storm swept over northwestern Washington and part of British Columbia, November 15-17. The damage to railroad property alone in Washington is estimated at $500,000, the Great Northern road being the worst sufferer. Private property suffered to about the same extent. The Northern Pacific and Canadian Pacific railways also incurred serious losses.
November 25-27 Minnesota and the Dakotas were ravaged by a blizzard which caused some loss of life and great loss of live stock.
During the first half of December heavy rains, following the previous fall floods, caused floods in southwestern Washington, involving much loss of farm property and several fatalities.
Fires.-Spencer College, Antlers, I. T., was destroyed by fire, October 4. Four students were killed and five injured.
On the night of October 12 the business portion of Great Barrington, Mass., was almost totally destroyed by fire. Loss, variously estimated from $300,000 upwards.
On October 26, fire destroyed two large grain elevators.