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perous condition, and the future holds promises of improvement in all particulars.
THE amount of new business attained by this office during the past year is satisfactory, and when the fact that it was the first year of the quinquennium is taken. into consideration it is doubly so. In these days of competition and push for new business, it is somewhat of a wrench to the moral system for an office that has been progressing favourably in the hightoned and conservative lines that have been handed down for several generations, to unbend itself and enter into competition with more modern rivals upon modern methods. Lord Bacon, however, tells that "a froward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as an innovation," and no doubt some of the older offices are realizing this saying, for we find that their results are growing greater during the past few years, than those immediately previous. The Eagle during 1888 made an increase in the amount of new assurance it put into force over 1887, which again exceeded that of 1886, which in its turn was considerably in excess of that of 1885. There is a signifiance in this information that cannot be ignored, and it indicates plainly that this office is resuming its foremost position among its confreres, to which it is entitled both by its age, size of funds, and other important qualifications. We have from time to time pointed out that there is a great temptation in the way of offices, which have grown old and very wealthy, to take that otium cum dig., which is supposed to have been earned when the pulse begins to beat more feebly, and the blood flows slower through the circulating system.
The Eagle, however, has felt that in order to maintain its prestige, it must be up and doing, and its outlook now is one that seems to indicate a close competition with the more active members of the great roll of Insurance organizations. During the past year the results that have been obtained have been satisfactory. The amount of new business secured was £487,845, the premiums received thereon being £15,354. £179,400 of this, however, was reassured at premiums amounting to £4,328. Death claims were considerably less than in 1887, and were £271,173 in amount. The rate of interest rec ved on investments averaged £4 8s. per cent per annum,and the income fromthis source was£126,376 Expenses of management, exclusive of commission and medical fees, was but 5 per cent. of the total income, an exceedingly low rate. The funds at the end of the year amounted to £2,798,626. There is a ponderousness about such figures as these that, despite a slight increase during the year, carries its weight and with it conviction to the minds of the majority. We may look forward to seeing the Eagle before its next quinquennial valuation resume its towering place among the other companies in regard to activity and progression.
Eagle Insurance Company.
Expenses of Management
Dividends and Bonus to Shareholders
THE 26th annual meeting of this comLondon and Lan-pany was held on the 3rd inst., at its cashire Life offices, Cornhill, E.C., when the report Assurance Co. and accounts were presented to the proprietors. Colonel Kingscote, C.B., the chairman presiding, outlined the report in the usual roseate hue that is always imparted by directors when they annually meet the proprietors to give an account of their trust. "All the perfumes of Araby," however, "would not sweeten" the showing that this company makes. Out of a net premium income of £140,761, the sum of £38,722 was expended, exclusive of life assurance purposes, as embodied in the net premiums received (that is, the premium without the loading for expense). The following items are comprised in this total:
These amounts can be scattered through the disbursements side of the revenue account under any heading
that can be given them to palliate the extravagant showing, yet it cannot be hidden that they are outgo, warranted and unwarranted.
Because a number of shareholders have paid up the paltry sum of £10,000, is it a reason that they can "fool" away policy-holders' money at this rate?
The gallant chairman in his speech to the directors dwells upon what he calls "a very important point in the conduct of life companies, viz., the expenditure question," but the archsophist himself would scarcely be able to explain away satisfactorily this unnecessarily high expenditure.
Whenever one finds a company beating a retreat out of a territory once occupied, it means bad management No excuses can be accepted for errors of this kind; for before a step of expansion of territory is taken, especially if far afield, the land should be properly spied out. Retreat of this sort means defeat, and defeat means disaster. Yet we find the chairman saying "having taken steps to give up the Australasian business a saving from this source would be effected."
The London and Lancashire have always spent the policy-holders' money extravagantly. Directors and proprietors as a rule look upon the trust funds committed to their charge as their own money, at least one would think so, to see the expenditure often made of it. As a matter of fact, the petty sums that appear as paid-up capital, with their more petty accumulations, are all that in reality belong to proprietors, and all other funds belong to policy-holders. Policy-holders, as a rule, are such "Juggins'," to use a slangy and vulgar appellation that they cannot see this, to them, at least, important fact.
We find in 1881, this office spent nearly 26 per cent. of life premium income in commission and expenses of management alone, and since then it has varied but little in this percentage, though the premium income has steadily increased from £83,250 to £140,761. It is interesting to note that the death claims paid, with bonus additions, were £52,548, or very little more than £14,000 more than the outgo, as stated.
An interesting paper on "The Mortality General Items. Among Assured Lives Viewed in Relation to the Sums at Risk," was read by Mr. G. C. Stenhouse, F.F.A., of the Scottish Widow's Fund, at the sixth meeting of the current session of the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh, recently held. The number of lives dealt with was 39,303 over a period of fifty years' experience of the office named. The data, and its treatment, afforded considerable information and instruction; and the conclusion arrived at was that discontinuance was less among policy-holders for large amounts, the average duration of policies greater, and mortality more favourable than among those for the smaller sums.
Mr. John Alford Clark, recently manager of the London Amicable Assurance Society for Manchester, is at present serving a two months' term in gaol, with hard labour, for defrauding the society of the sum of £4, obtained under false pretences, and ostensibly for the purpose of forming the Royal Exchange, Manchester which purpose was never carried out by him.
Mr. George Will, jun., has been appointed superintendent of agencies for the National Provident Institution for Northumberland, Durham, and York.
Mr. George L. Caird has been appointed inspector of agents of the Dublin agency of the Sun Life Office. Heretofore, he has acted in the same capacity at Cardiff for the same company.
Mr. Wm. Roberts, for many years connected with the Provincial Life Company, is now its agencyinspector at Cardiff, having been transferred thence from Wrexham. His many friends and old colleagues presented him with handsome testimonials, consisting of a valuable writing desk and a magnificent tea and coffee service, on the occasion of the change. Amalgamation seems to be the order of the day. The Manchester and London Accident Insurance Company, Limited, it is announced, will shortly transfer its business and connections to the Standard Accident Insurance Company, Limited.
TH case of Lewis and Sons v. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue, which we report elsewhere in this number, is one of great importance to those interested in company formation. It will be seen that the point actually decided in that case was that the agreement for the sale of good will was not, in the circumstance of that case, chargeable with ad valorem stamp duty as a conveyance on sale in respect of the price paid for the goodwill. At first sight this question seems hardly so far reaching in its results as in fact it is. Under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1867, a contract for the issue of shares as fully paid up must be registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies. But the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies refused to register a contract containing such a clause unless in the opinion of the Solicitor of Inland Revenue it was sufficiently stamped. In Reg. v. Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, 21 Q. B. D. 131, an attempt was made to compel registration by obtaining a mandamus. But the Court held the proper course to take was to present the deed for adjudication under the provisions of section 18 of the Stamp Act, 1870. So much for the history of the transaction. With reference to the question involved, a few words may not be out of place. To render an instrument liable to ad valorem conveyance duty, it must be (1) a conveyance. (2) Of property. (3) On sale. As to conveyance, however, the words of the Stamp Act, section 70, give an enlarged meaning to the term, a meaning widely differing from the popular notion. It includes, inter alia, "every instrument whereby any property, upon the sale thereof, is equitably vested in the purchaser."
and Swain v. Ayres and Luck, 21, Q. B. D. 289, that the test is, would relief by way of specific performance be decreed. Now specific performance will not, in general, be decreed until the party seeking it has performed his part of the contract. We do not imply that in all cases in which specific performance would be decreed of the agreement at the date it was entered into, there the agreement is to be treated as transferring an equitable interest, but if some mere ministerial act, which he has the right to enforce, alone remains to be done by the vendor, then it appears to us that the property is equitably vested in the purchaser. This is put clearly by Jessel, M. R., in Walsh v. Lonsdale (ubi supra) He says, "That being so,it appears to me that being a lessee in equity, he cannot complain of the right of distress, merely because the actual parchment has not been signed and sealed."
The cases, however, to which we have referred, though valuable for the indications they afford, do not go very far in considering the question at issue in Lewis and Sons v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue, for in each of those cases the legal position was determined according to the positions of the parties at the date of the inception of the litigation, whereas in the case of liability to stamp duty the question had, we conceive, to be considered according to the facts existing at the date of the instrument.
It will be seen that the contention was as to whether the contract was a conveyance. In equity, statements to this effect may be found, but are undoubtedly too wide in so stating the doctrine. If, and when it is so regarded, it is because equity looks on that as done which ought to be done. But, in the first place, that maxim only applies in favour of persons who are entitled (in cases depending on contract) to enforce the contract, and cannot be envoked by volunteers. In re Austis-Chetwynd v. Morgan, 31, Ch. D.. 596.
Then comes another question. Assuming the person claiming under the contract is not a volunteer, it would appear from Walsh v. Lonsdale, 21, Ch. D., 9; Levy v. Abercorris Slate and Slab Company, 21, Q. B. D. 260,
The next point is, the conveyance must be of property. Now, goodwill is of various kinds. In Lewis & Sons this point was not contested, and indeed that goodwill may be property within the meaning of the Stamp Act, as shown by the case of Potter v. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue, 18 Jur. 778, 14 L. J. R. Ex. 345.
The last point is, that it must be on sale. In cases of company formation, e.g., in the recent case of Rolls v. Glasier (see PUMP COURI for March 27th, 1889), it may be open to question whether, assuming there is a conveyance, and of property, it is on sale. In Rolls v. Glasier (ubi supra) the transaction purported to be a sale, but Kekewich, J., held that the so-called vendee was, in fact, the agent of the so-called vendor to float a company, and that the "vendor" was liable, as a promoter, for misrepresentations of the "vendee," by reason of his omission to correct them. Had the "vendee" been in truth a purchaser, the vendor could not have been liable for his acts, which he would have had no right to control. We mention this case to indicate our opinion that the real question in each case is not whether the transaction purports, as far as the terms used are concerned, to be a sale, but whether, on the facts and according to the legal liabilities of the parties to the contract, inter se, and against the public, the relationship created is that of vendor and purchaser.
FROM time to time, in these columns, we have referred to the great and pressing need of increased security being given to life insurance policy-holders by Governmental audit and inspection. In order that our readers may understand that we are not alone in our opinions, we publish hereunder extracts from other journals. Our desire is to build up life insurance, believing it to be a great national blessing to any country, and for that reason we wish to see it placed upon such a basis of security by the State, that there need not exist any apprehensions whatever of insecurity in any mind. This we feel can only be accomplished by Governmental Supervision. That such a system, similiar to that which has been in force in the United States is the burning need of the hour, is undeniable.
Statist, SEPTEMBER 25th, 1886.-Let any suffering policy holder or shareholder of an insolvent office look into matters, and he will find out the fact for himself, that the failure is primarily attributable to directors ignoring or neglecting to inform themselves on the condition of affairs, and being not infrequently entirely ignorant of the first principles of insurance
business.-OCTOBER 2nd, 1886.-Some twenty years ago the liquidation of the "Albert" and "European Life Offices disclosed reckless waste or misapplication of funds belonging to policyholders. The enquiry aroused such public feeling on the subject of protection by the State of policyholders' interests in future, that Parliament took up the matter and passed the Life Insurance Companies Acts, 1870-2. As to any real protection of the interests of policyholders afforded by these Acts, their framers could safely challenge every Legislature in the world to produce a more complete exemplar of "HOW NOT TO DO IT.' Notwithstanding the fact that the general condition of insurance affairs has not improved since 1874, the Board of Trade officials seem to have accepted the position the above clause gives them by acting simply as printers' devils. carrying the copy as furnished by the offices to the printer, and from thence to the House of Commons in Blue Book form. Here the farce of State supervision without control ends. There are, it is true, some twenty-seven so called insurance papers, but most of them depend upon insurance offices for their existence, and have not a public circulation of any magnitude. Therefore, however desirous they might be of exposing abuses, their efforts would be abortive in most instances, as far as policyholders are concerned. At the time of the Dean Paul and other bank frauds, Punch described certain accounts as having been kept by "Doubleshuffle entry." This term coined by Punch aptly describes the accounts and valuations contained in the numerous annual parliamentary Blue Books issued under the Life Insurance Companies Acts. As will appear from what has been said, a company by using one table of mortality instead of another may keep £900,000 in hand instead of £1,000,000; by taking a rate of interest higher only by 1 per cent, than may be prudent, the £900,000 would be reduced to £830,000, and taking a business of the ordinary type, it may be asserted with little chance of error that a small reserve of premium income in place of a larger one, may have a final effect so great as to bring the £830,000 down £600,000. It thus follows that of two companies under the same particulars of business, the one will be cautious and keep in hand a million to meet its engagements; the other, perhaps anxious to distribute large bonuses, will deem it sufficient to keep in hand a fund of £600,000, and will recklessly publish and divide the remaining £400,000 as profit. This illustration discloses a grand opening for "double shuffle accounts," and one which may be applied also to show how easy it would be for an office made insolvent through dissipating £400,000 in jobbery, robbery, and foolery, to pass the precious ordeal of "Life Insurance Companies Acts," 1870-1872, and still appear in the eyes of its policyholders and the public as sound and solvent.- -OCTOBER 16th, 1886.-The Assistant Secretaries of the Board of Trade, in their too little known Special Report of 1874, disclosed some of the glaring anomalies of Life Office Valuation Returns, and pointed out how easy it was under the Life Assurance Companies Act, to cook returns on a large scale. We attack a system en bloc, and not any individual office. Taking the whole offices, and throwing out those recently put into liquidation, it may be said that 10 per cent. of them are delinquents under this third count. We will avoid giving clues for identification, otherwise we might "turn the cat amongst the pigeons." The Liquidator of a Company mostly gets a bigger pull out of it than its promoter. The third count in the Board of Trade indictment, and our remarks on the other two counts give point to the following quotations, which close the Special Report of 1874, viz. :-"It will readily be understood, then, how easy it is for the responsible officers of an assurance company to value up and to produce a flattering actual balance sheet, and it need hardly be pointed out that the public are readily misled by large present bonuses, and this practice is apparently sometimes adopted by young offices with a view of attracting business." As to life insurance business, we have, we think, conclusively shown that, despite Government intervention in 1870 to protect policyholders' interests, there is no practical limits at present to the license allowed to life offices to value their position at will. In practice, as it was prior to the scandalous disclosures of the Albert and European, so it remains now. "Every life office is a law unto itself." OCTOBER 23, 1886. During the agitation prior to the Life Assurance Companies Act of 1870 for State protection, insurance men argued that State interference with them, or with any private enterprise, would cripple or retard the progress of the business, and we have no doubt the almost absolute uselessness of the Acts is greatly owing to the opposition then given to remedial measures for protecting other interests than those of life offices. Insurance men may, perhaps, again use the same stale argument against interference with their private enterprise and its consequences, so we may point out the gigantic strides which life insurance has made in the United States since 1859, or during a period of supervision and absolute control of all insurance matters by the State in the interests of policyholders and shareholders. We express our belief that the enormous increase of life assurance in the United States has been fostered by the public confidence, inspired by the close supervision and control exercised by the State in the interests of policyholders and share
holders. The United States Insurance Department beyond ascertaining the “ net liability of every life office on its existing insurance contracts annually by one simple uniform table of mortality and rate of interest, efficiently and practically audits the assets, and sees that they are set down at their true value accounts. The system of supervision and control is admirable. In framing a serviceable and practical system of control by the State, the existing insurance laws of the United States and Canada would materially assist parliament and parliamentary draughtsmen. On a study of these, it would be found that in them they had no code theories to consider and discuss, but a most efficient system of control, which had stood the test of twenty-eight years practical working.—OCTOBER, 30, 1886.-A radically false method of system often attains high respectability by being time honoured in its adoption. The moment, however, anyone ventures to expose the danger arising from it, with the object of suggesting a truer and safer method, he has to submit, as in our case, to opposition and abuse for his interference from those who are interested in keeping from the public eye matters which the defective system in vogue is calculated to effectually cover up. Insurance journalists may continue their attacks upon the position we have taken up in the matter of "unearned premium liability," but if they cannot produce better material to support a fallen cause than the mere abuse which has appeared in some journals, then indeed its advocates will show themselves weaker than the cause itself. Some of the comments in the insurance journals seemed to have been framed like the counsel's brief marked "No case, abuse the plaintiff's solicitor." In the whole insurance world it has too long been the practice to sacrifice principle to expediency, hence the loss and scandal constantly recurring. The practical supervision and control of all insurance matters in the United States, as exhibited by official reports, bring up striking contrasts between American and British office accounts.-MARCH 9, 1889.-The main feature in the tables we, as usual, give of premium income and proportion thereto of expenses and commission is, that the ratio still shows an increase. Thus the companies expended 21.6 per cent. of premium income in the last year, as compared with 16.6 per cent. in 1877. Had the ratio in 1888 been the same as in 1877, the item of expenses and commission would have been about £2,905,000, in place of £3,789,000 actually spent.
Truth has also published, in pamphlet form, some heading of "How to make assurance double sure." very good articles upon insurance reform, under the The extracts from it which follow are to the point :
Unfortunately, directors of companies are only too often careless of their duties, and I venture to state that there is at present more than one British Life Office in which the actuary does entirely as he likes, and where a similar theft would be possible, for all the trouble the directors take to guard against it. Compared with these returns, the accounts filed by our companies with the Board of Trade are entirely inadequate. I do not by any means wish to imply that most of the large offices in this country have rotten assets, but I maintain that if all offices had to file full statements of their investments, there would be some very startling revelations. That the grossest frauds are possible in the case of a secretary of a life office, has been once again proved by the collapse of the
that bribery may also be within the range of possibility. The insurance press also would be very profitably employed in thus serving as a real guide to the assurer. But, then, I suppose these insurance journals and guides would not like to offend some of their patrons by exposing the very miserable results of their "with profit" policies, and the hollowness of their muchvaunted bonus system. I am also aware that the actuaries of certain offices, although these concerns show very badly on this test being applied, by a peculiar process of filtration of liabilities, are yet able to present decent-looking balance-sheets, actually disclosing a surplus where there is a deficiency. In how far the real value of the land advanced upon may in many cases still furnish the amount of the mortgage, or leave a suitable margin, it is not possible to determine, but there is no doubt that in this respect a good many balance-sheets do not represent the real position of the companies. In view of this danger, and of the possibility of the abstraction of securities such as occurred in the Life Office-a periodical examination and valuation of the securities by a Government authority appears indispensable. This examination should be supplemented by an independent annual valuation of the companies' position by an authority appointed by Government. This kind of state supervision is quite feasible, as is proved by its successful introduction in the United States; and my more recent inquiry fully confirms what I stated on this subject on a former occasion. In this respect I am glad to find myself in thorough agreement with my excellent contemporary, the Statist, which has recently devoted some attention to the question of the necessary amendment of the Life Assurance Act of 1870. It will, I am afraid, be very difficult to obtain any really thorough amendment of the act, and it would, therefore, be as well not to ask too much. I should, moreover, consider that the neces
sity of the case would be fully met if state supervision wer introduced on the lines laid down by me, and if, as an addi tional concession to the public, the investments of the life offic were set out in detail, as provided in the American system The mere comparison of life assurance and annuity funds with the sums assured with bonuses, as shown in Article xv., is not a reliable test in all cases, but it will enable the assurer to steer clear of very weak offices, which through actuarial legerdemain, presents decent-looking balance sheets, which are wholly fictitious. It is here where Government valuation would be of the greatest possible use. Unfortunately, information is not available in the case of all life assurance companies in such a form as to permit a really trustworthy comparison, and in any amendment of the Life Assurance Act the publication of such particulars should be made compulsory. The offices should, moreover, be requested to make up their accounts uniformly at the end of the year. That my task has not been accomplished without giving offence to some of the offices and to that part of the press which rejoices in their patronage, is natural enough. But I am used to tread on people's corns in my criticisms of institutions, and of the men connected with and responsible for them. It is impossible to probe a wound effectually without inflicting some pain, and there are a great many sore spots in life assurance which stand in need of the operator's instrument.
The following additional extracts will suffice for the present :
Saturday Review, MARCH 23, 1889. What makes the comparative stationariness of business in the case of our own companies the more remarkable is that those companies are increasing very largely the cost of obtaining new business. In recent articles we have twice pointed out how serious is the increase in the rates borne by the expenses of management to the premium incomes, and we have urged upon the companies that it is incumbent upon them to keep down this ratio. At all events, it does not appear from the returns published, year after year, that the results obtained compensate for the greatly increased expenditure. We cannot too strongly, and too often, urge upon the companies the necessity for keeping down this constant and serious growth in the expenses. Insurance companies out of their premium incomes have to accumulate a fund sufficient to pay the policies which they contract to make good. They have also to give out of those incomes, bonuses, where such are payable. They have to distribute dividends where there are shareholders. And, lastly, they have to defray all the expenses of management, including commissions. Now, it is obvious that if the expenses of management go on growing at the rate at which they have increased during the past dozen years, it will be difficult for many companies to meet their liabilities. It is not to be forgotten that while the expenses are thus steadily rising, the yield upon investments is constantly falling... It seems to us that the companies are not altogether judiciously incurring these increased expenses. If they were, their business would increase more rapidly than it is increasing at present.
Financial Times, MARCH 28, 1889.-If an unblushing capacity and change of front all at once be the guage of merit, we at once deck with the laural crown the average English actuary and the average insurance journalist. Let an outside critic-qualified or unqualified-but venture to hint that the expenditure in any English office is ruinously high, or even extravagant, and out rush half-a-dozen actuarial champions to denounce him as an ass for not drawing a distinction between the expenditure incurred on old and on new business. When occasion suits, however, a somersault is at once thrown; and somersaults are being thrown all around now. And why? Because, analysed on this basis, the home offices, with perhaps half-a-dozen exceptions. cannot hold a candle to the go ahead institutions which have invaded us from the New World.-OCTOBER, 25, 1888.-Insurance managers, one and all, declare that the mortgages are worth the money advanced on them, plus a considerable margin; indeed they never lose an opportunity of asserting that the injudicious speculations amount to a mere bagatelle. Curiously enough, however, whenever mortgages are subject to the light of legal or other inquisition they are usually found, as in the instance of the unfortunate New Zealand Bank, to have entailed serious losses. The only answer to the paradox is the supposition that insurance men are divinely infallible and cannot err. The offices dread the establishment of a state department, more so the publicity of a public commission of inquiry; but reticence in regard to their investments, and the constant exhibition of incompetent audit, is rapidly drifting them to the verge of one or other of these troubles. 'The accumulated funds in life offices belong to the public, not to the companies or societies, and it is not to be supposed that policyholders in England will be content to know nothing about their property when the American and Colonial offices are compelled to publish far fuller returns.
Financial Critic, MARCH, 23, 1889.-We regret to have to say that if a proper reserve had been made for future expenses, the surplus of £228 would have disappeared, and a large deficit
shown. There is often an erroneous idea put by directors before their policyholders that amalgamations tend to reduces expenses.
Money, AUGUST, 3, 1887.- The unfair ratio of cost of life insurance in this country is strikingly shown by comparing the average death rate of the population at large, with the proportion of claims to insurances in force in the British offices. The deaths registered in the year 1885 were in the proportion of 190 to 1,000 persons living. From White's Insurance Register for 1887, the approximated amount of life insurance in force, with bonus additions, is given as £420,500,000, the claim and reversionary bonus was £12,250,460, this is equal to 29-13 to 1,000 in force. And this great discrepancy is coincident with an assumed maximum of care in the selection of lives. And yet the American life insurance experience clearly proves that selection, and the great care exercised in that selection, reduces the rate of mortality in comparison to the average mortality of the country. Do not these figures suggest the practical advantage that would accrue from a Government supervision of the life offices, such as prevails in each state of the union? We should then obtain exact and reliable information as to the amount at risk, actual death claims paid, the value of their liabilities upon a standard valuation, and should thus compel information very necessary in performing an opinion as to a company from offices that have too long withheld it. AUGUST 8th, 1888.-Betwixt rectitude and knavery stands a somewhat numerous class of officials who, anxious to disguise the insolvency or weakness of the offices they control, resort to the most barefaced and 'discreditable tricks-a fact amply proved in these columns. Policy-holders cannot be expected to fathom the intricacies of a valuation, and to see whether it is a mere pretence or genuine-only actuaries can tell what it means; accordingly, to safeguard posterity's future rights, which in several well-known instances are now seriously imperilled, legislation on the lines laid down below becomes a matter for urgent insistance. What security can policy-holders feel when Government officers tell them that where one office will reckon £10 a proper sum to lay by, another office will content itself with £6. Bnt the reductio ad absurdum of the existing go-as-you-please" system is brought home in connection with reassurance transactions. Two offices, let us suppose, divide a risk; the one, say equally strong with the Legal and General, will estimate its liability at £5; the other, a weak office that has reassured, eager to make a show, will put aside only £3 to cover its half. Can any fact, we ask, be more inconsistent with common logic or with policy-holders' just rights, or more strenuously call for State interference? To speak truly, the pation has had a perfect sickening of "flattering actuarial balance-sheets" of "valuing up," and insincere cries for noninterference, and will gladly welcome any legislation deterring dishonesty.
Stock Exchange, MARCH 23, 1889.-In both respects we think the offices would do well to have their assets carefully re-valued so that whatever loss may have arisen since the investments were made should be known and provided for.
Insurance, FEBRUARY, 1888.—When we get an insurance department that is worth anything, we shall be able to understand the value and protection such a thing is to insurers generally, and what is of any good to insurers must be also of good to the companies. Then we shall be able te learn points essential to know to form any practical idea of the real position of a company such as :-(1.) Valuation of assets, eliminating from the same all questionable securities and fictitious value. (2.) The exact amount of insurance risks held each year, the same to be separated from so-called bonus additions. (3.) The actual death claims paid also separated from bonus additions, whereby the correct mortality experience could be definitely known. (4.) Pending or contested claims. Many reading this will say we have all these now, and that the Board of Trade exercises all necessary supervision. If they will only refer to the returns of the offices to the Board of Trade, and know enough to analyse the fumble of figures therein, they will find that there is no possibility of ascertaining one of either of these four most essential points in judging the true position of a company, and I may tell them further that fully seven out of every ten offices would not like to publish them, it would alter the present roseate appearance of their balance sheets and statements too much.
This all shows the need of practical Government supervision, and it is our opinion if that were secured more business would be done by the solvent and trustworthy companies, and the nation derive a benefit from the same.
IT is intended to revive Claudian at the Princess's Theatre for a fortnight, commencing on Monday, the 29th of April. These will be positively the last performances in London, previous to Mr. Barrett's departure for America. Miss Grace Hawthorne will produce Mr. Byatt's play, True Heart, in May next, and will herself appear in the leading rôle.
UNDER THE PUMP.
The New Eve: a Study in Recent Evolution. By Mr. Randolph. (London: Spencer Blackett); 2 vols.
This very clever and entirely remarkable novel possesses the perhaps admirable quality, in one sense, of presenting to the reading public the study of a women utterly selfish, as heartless as sensuality can permit one of her sex to be, fickle as the wind, shifting as the sand, drifting in all danger to a lie, unequally bad even in the prolific gallery of modern heroism of fiction, expressly limned to prove that nothing in all creation is one
half as bad as a bad woman. The author is obviously a satirist of the most cynical type. Premising his work with a letter to "The School-girl of the Period," as he is informed that she is " nowadays the sole arbiter of the fortunes of the novel," and dubbing his story "a study in recent evolution," Mr. Randolph proceeds to paint in vivid colours the portrait of a woman who, if she is really the outcome of modern society, must also be considered one of its most pestilent productions. The married flirt is no new thing to lawyers. In the annals of the Divorce Court she occupies a conspicuous if not honourable place. But it is doubtful whether even the united experiences of Hannen and Butt would not be ransacked in vain to find a parallel to the despicable yet irresistible heroine of this romance. Mrs. Vernon is lovely as a dream, a selfish Sybarite, who maddens her lover and betrays her husband more for vanity than passion. She is without one spark of pity, one ray of honesty, in her composition. She sins not from culpable yet natural sensuality, but from what Artemus Ward would have called "sheer cussedness." She wrecks the life of a lover who would save her from herself, then laughs at him; and she has only contempt for the long-suffering husband who, out of a chivalrous sense of duty and an inalienable tenderness, is wilfully blind to her faults until her vileness culminates in flight with a lover of the most contemptible type. If the story has a moral for men-and it certainly needs one to justify its existence, for many passages in it are as realistic as Zola-it is that men of honour should steer clear even of a platonic friendship with a woman as beautiful and as vain as the heroine, and that even an attempt to save such from themselves is profitless Quixotism, fraught only with peril to the man who understakes it. In the life story of Mrs. Vernon we find an almost tragic depth of depravity depicted as existent in the nature of The New Eve. We have a woman with a devoted husband and attractive children flinging herself into the arms of a lover one moment, leaving him with inexplicable contempt the next, and finally abandoning her home-ties for a libertine of the most vulgar type. This is the sort of love story which Mr. Randolph dedicates with cruel cynicism to the school girl of the period. A foil to the callous vicious ness of Mrs. Vernon, and a pleasant study of a charming type of woman, is given in Lady Wynne, whose society is as delightful and bracing as that of the heroine is dangerous; and there are plenty of clever touches of humour and some graphic word-pictures of scenery to relieve the intensely painful study of The New Eve. Indeed, the novel is full of clever things, and shows both grace and power, but there can be no question that the reason why it will assuredly be widely read is that it gives a ruthless analysis of the character of an utterly heartless, vain, and selfish woman, spurred to desperate deeds by spasms of sensuality as overmastering as they are evanescent. Colonel Ferrers, the victim of The New Eve, is an admirably drawn type of a class of men more numerous than is supposed, whose vice is an exaggerated sensuousness rather than sensuality, and whose passion is curiously blended with a scrupulous
regard for the moral well-being of its object-an odd, and in this diffident world, a perilous attempt to blend moral oil and vinegar. The author of The New Eve is nothing if not realistic and analytic, and as he has chosen illicit passion for his theme and a reckless woman for his examplar, the outcome, needless to say, is not the sort of book which is wholesome papulum for every class of mind, but it is undeniably clever, and may undoubtedly be read not only with interest but advantage by men, though it certainly should be tabu to the class of reader to whom the author has addressed his ironical dedication.
THESE investments are now being Yankee Brewery lavished upon us in a most barefaced Companies. way, and the prospectuses of the Washington and Bartholomay Breweries are perfect cautions. How any wise or judicious speculator can have the intrepidity to touch them passes our comprehension, and even the American journals themselves chaff us about our gullibility. No wonder. If these things were so good, or likely to be so profitable, is there any need for these promoters to come here for capital? Reading through the Bartholomay prospectus, we find the late partners in the company require out of the capital of £1,500,000, no less a sum than £970,000 as purchase for their properties. So that with the amount wanted by the proprietors, promoters, and advertising expenses, the working capital will be of the most nominal character. The Washington is on exactly the same basis. The vendor takes £141,000 in cash and shares out of a capital of £161,000, thus leaving a nominal working capital of £10,000. We write nominal intentionally, because by the time the thousand and one expenses in connection with floatation are met, this sum will be materially reduced. We advise our readers to leave Yankee breweries alone; they are not a good purchase.
SINCE our last, almost every word we wrote respecting British Rails has been realised. The enormously high price to which these securities bad been rushed was, we contended, fatal, and however much interested individuals might conspire with each other, the chances offered for a "bear" account was too good to be missed by the astute speculators who practically control the railway market inside the house. The Berlin stock markets are flat in sympathy with our iron; but, somewhat strange to state, prices on the Paris Bourse are firm. The exhibition opens at the beginning of May, and of course it will not do for it to open on a flat market. Business here is very restricted in face of the Easter holidays, and the present account may be regarded as practically closed. A new departure will probably be taken after the holidays for the next account.