« ForrigeFortsett »
meat became so putrid in the market, that the Mayor ordered it to be thrown into the Delaware. There was a great deal of sickness, particularly among children; sixteen were buried on the first Sabbath in July, and from ten to twelve daily for some time.
The winter of 1790 was uncommonly mild. It was so warm on the 2d of January, that boys went into the Delaware to bathe.
The winter of 1793 was very mild, and the subsequent part of the year was very sickly. The yellow fever prevailed to an awful degree during the months of September and October.
The winter of 1797 was intensely cold. The mercury frequently sunk from 10 to 13 degrees below 0. A gill of brandy was put into a saucer, and placed in an open lot north of the! city, on the 9th of January, and a ring of ice formed round the edge an inch broad. A gill of water placed near, froze solid in ten minutes.
The winter of 1799 was long and severe. On the 14th of March, there was a deep snow, and on the 6th of June, a severe frost.
The winter of 1800 was very cold, from the 6th of January to the 8th of March, snow two feet deep on a level.
On the 7th of January, 1800, there was a great snow storm in South Carolina and Georgia, and the weather was intensely cold all over the United States, as were the winters of 1808, '12, '18, '21, '27,'31, '32, '34 and '35, although some mild weather was experienced during each of the winters. The winter of 1503 was severe, The spring was cold and very backward.
In 1805, December 28 and 29, there was an awful storm, with the wind blowing a hurricane, by which several vessels were sunk at the wharves, and great damage done.
On the 5th of December, 1806, there was good sleighing and the winter was long and severe. Fires were continued in parlors until the 13th of June.
32. In Portland, (Maine,) 18 below. In Gardner, (Me.) to 33. In Saco, (Me.) to 28. In Bangor, to 34. At Brunswiek, (Me.) to 39 below 0. In Newmarket, (N. H.) the mercury stiffened in the bulb at 39 below 0.
While the weather was so cold at the North-East, in 1821, the mercury did not sink in Philadelphia and vicinity, lower than 10 below 0.
The winters from 1822 to 1831, were rather mild than otherwise, although there were some pinching days in each. The winters of 1831-2, and 1834-5, were intensely cold most of the time. The Delaware closed and opened twice in each winter, from the 1st of December to the 1st of March. Mercury 5 below 0 several times, and once 7 below.
January 1831. One of the deepest snows for thirty years. On the 14th of January, 1831, there was one of the deepest snows then recollected by our oldest citizens. The drifts on the north side of Market street, were so deep as to require the market-wagons to be dug out; mails and stages were prevented from arriving or departing for several days; and the milk carts were prevented in like manner from coming into the city.
In 1832, the mercury sunk to 18 degrees below zero in Boston, and several degrees lower in places further north.
Quicksilver will freeze and burst the bulb to the Thermometer, at 40 below 0. Therefore, in very cold climates, they use Thermometers which are filled with spirits of wine. Parry in his second voyage, to the North Pole, said his alcoholic Thermometers sunk to 58 below 0.
Vineyards in the West.
Mr. John Davis, who resides in Indiana, about ten miles from Louisville, and four from Utica, has made a most successful experiment in the cultivation of the grape. visited his vineyard in September last, when the fruit was just ripe for the press. It is seven acres in extent, but there The winter of 1809 was mild, until the first week in was but an acre and a half in bearing. The vines were February, when the cold balanced accounts with ten per planted in rows six feet apart, and three feet apart in the cent. interest. The Delaware closed with thick ice for rows. Posts, eight feet apart, are set along the rows, with several miles down. On the 27th of February, the mer- pegs driven in them fourteen inches apart. On these pegs, chants employed a great number of men to cut the ice from rods or laths are laid and tied; and to this cheap frame the Pine street to Gloucester Point. On the 14th of March, vines are trained to the height of six or seven feet. Every snow fell to the depth of eighteen inches. There were year the old wood is cut out, and but a few branches suffersevere frosts as late in the season as the 30th of May. On ed to grow from each root; and they receive little other culthe 23d of November, snow fell to the depth of twelve inch-ture, except an occasional ploughing, and lashing the vines es, and there was good sleighing to the end of the month. with bark to the frame-work. When we saw this vineyard, The Schuylkill river froze over on the 25th of November. the acre and a half in bearing presented, in each road, alFrom the first week in December to the 20th of January, most solid walls of fruit; and we learn from a communicathe weather was mild, after which the weather became very tion in the Advertiser that the produce was 1,170 gallons of cold. pure wine. No acre in Europe ever surpassed this. The fruit was very delicious, especially the Catawba. Mr. Davis has tried the Cape, the Isabella, and the Catawba, and he gives the latter greatly the preference. It is far the best in flavor; and, being a native grape, is perfectly adapted to the climate. The soil of Mr. Davis's vineyard is of ordinary fertility, and hilly. He uses no manure. The vineyard is now six years old. It bore a heavy crop at five years. He has promised us a full account of his mode of cultivation. Louisville Gazette.
December 18, 1810-the Delaware closed for a few days, after which it continued open till the 29th of January, when it again closed, and continued so until the first of March. A great deal of snow fell in February, and there was a distressing time for fuel. Fruit in the summer and autumn of 1810, was very abundant. Peaches and apples
sold for twelve and a half cents a bushel.
The winters of 1811, '12, '13 and '14, were comparatively mild.
The winter of 1815 was very cold, and fuel scarce, Oak wood sold from twelve to fourteen dollars a cord.
The winter of 1816 was mild, but there was frost every month in the year.
The winter of 1817 was moderate, until the middle of January, when the Delaware closed, and so continued until
the 9th of March.
The winters of 1818, '19, and 20, were tolerably mild. The winter of 1821 was excessively cold. The mercury several times fell from 2 to 10 below 0. On the 24th of January, three cows froze to death near the city. Snow very deep.
Leaving a balance duc from the city, May 1,
Jan., 1821-the coldest winter for many years, the mercury sunk to 17 below 0 in Boston, and in Newburyport, to 18. In Salem, (Mass.) to 20. In Lowell, to 29. In To meet which, the city is in possession of assets which Greensfield, to 36. In Concord, to 37. In Portsmouth, are all considered good, amounting to $324,567 52, leaving (N. H.) to 19. In Dover, (N. H.) to 28. In Exeter, to a balance in favor of the city of $151,806 65." VOL. V.-48
Of the tonnage of the several districts of the United States, on the 30th of September, 1840.
Registered Enrolled and
district. Tons and 95ths.
Report on the Bankrupt Law.
To the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.
CHARLESTON, 24th November, 1841.
At an adjourned meeting of this Chamber, held this evening, the committee to whom had been referred the consider ation of the various provisions of the Bankrupt Law, passed at the last session of Congress, submitted the following report, with a memorial, which, on motion made and seconded, were adopted by the Chamber, and it was
Resolved, That the report and memorial be forwarded to one of the Senators in Congress from this State, and to the Representative in Congress of this District; and that the report be published in the daily papers.
It was also Resolved, That the report and memorial be printed in pamphlet form, and that copies thereof be forwarded to the different Chambers of Commerce throughout the United States.
S. CHADWICK, Vice President,
and President pro tem.
WILLIAM B. HERIOT, Secretary.
ed depression, the least propitious for enforcing the collec tion of debts or the sale of property, it is proposed under this law, to bring into immediate liquidation under the orders of the Court, the affairs of all the insolvent debtors of the country. It is impossible to ascertain what the aggregate value of the property may be, that will thus be brought at once upon the market; but when the great number of persons who have been involved in difficulty by the reverses of 1837 and 1839, is considered, we must assign an immense sum as the probable value of their effects. If left to the gradual liquidation, and wise and humane compromises of a people, naturally sagacious in discovering and availing themselves of the readiest means of escaping from difficulty--full of resources and of indomitable energy-may we not hope and believe that our present embarrassments will be got over with the least possible suffering to the debtors, and the least would result from the operation of the law, none can quespossible loss to their creditors. The immense sacrifices that tion; there is an accumulation of insolvency that would be brought to a head in a day; the property of the bankrupts would all be thrown upon the market at once, and many who are now solvent in view of the estimated value of property and debts, would be rendered bankrupts by the ruinous depreciation and loss that would ensue. For it is not the property of declared insolvents alone that will be brought upon the market; every judgment creditor, many of whom, under other circumstances, would have been wise and for
The following is the report adopted by the Chamber, with bearing creditors, will be forced to bring the property of his its accompanying memorial.
The committee to whom was referred the consideration of the Act of Congress, entitled "An Act to establish a uniform System of Bankruptcy throughout the United States," approved the 19th of August, 1841, beg leave to submit the following
Your committee have brought to the consideration of the subject, the most profound respect for those honorable feelings of sympathy for a large and unfortunate class of the community, by which the great mass of those who desire a Bankrupt Law, have doubtless been influenced. They believe it would be a great national blessing, if the immense number of insolvent debtors who fell victims to the financial and commercial reverses of the last four years, could be suddenly and simultaneously restored, as projected by the law, to their former condition of effective co-laborers in the great work of promoting, by commercial industry, the prosperity of our common country. But notwithstanding this strong claim to their favorable consideration, the full force of which they do not scruple to acknowledge, they have been irresistibly brought to the conclusion, that as a means to the accomplishment of this desirable end, the Bankrupt Bill is fraught with evils of a more dangerous character, and of far greater magnitude. If we were to discard all other considerations, and confine our views simply to the expediency of such a law at the present time, a review of the condition of the monetary concerns of the country, would be sufficient to condemn it. The tremendous revulsion that took place in the currency of Great Britain in 1836, and the reverses that followed in this country, both in the monetary and commercial classes, among corporations and individuals, have continued in successive shocks down to the present time; the currency of Great Britain has been reduced in the matter of coin and bank notes alone, full 40 millions of dollars; and in this country, we find by the report of the Treasury department, that the loans, circulation and deposits, of the banks, have diminished 162 millions of dollars. Cotton, our most available means, indeed we may say, almost the exclusive medium of paying our foreign debt, has been reduced in value nearly 50 per cent. ; property of every description has been depreciated in almost an equal ratio, and securities that were favorably supposed to be of the most solid character, and known from the experience of years to be of the most ready convertibility, have either lost their entire value, or become wholly inconvertible. In this state of unparallel
debtor to the Sheriff's hammer before the 1st of February next. For in the midst of such ruinous depreciation, who will know that his debtor is solvent? And if not solvent, what is a judgment worth under this law? Our most able lawyers are at variance on this point; and while some maintain that only dormant judgments, and judgments without execution against personal property, are annulled by the Act, others contend that all judgments are set aside, and every judgment creditor, not proving before the Court, excluded from even a pro rata share in the property upon which he was supposed to hold a lien. Your committee are persuaded that this is not the case, but that where a judgment upon real estate exists, or a judgment and execution upon personal property, that the legal lien is preserved under the Act; but it will be manifest to all, that the very uncertainty that prevails as to the operation of the law in this respect, must lead to a precipitate sale of all property now under judgment, where the creditor is not entirely satisfied, that his debtor is far beyond the contingency of bankruptcy. It is difficult to conceive a scene of more wide-spread ruin and dismay, than this view of the subject presents, and your committee feel persuaded that these considerations alone, are of themselves sufficient to justify an appeal to Congress to re-consider the Act.
This however is but a single aspect, of the subject, and relates solely to the expediency of the present application of the Act; but there are other reflections connected with the subject, of more lasting importance than the temporary evil of its present, instead of its future application.
The bankrupt laws of other countries, are but a modification of the immense power possessed and exercised in more barbarous ages, by the creditor over the debtor; modified and systematized, it is admitted, in a wise and humane manner for the debtor, but still preserving throughout, the distinctive features of a system originating in, and intended to protect and preserve, the right of creditors, and enforce the obligation of contracts. The Bankrupt Laws of France place the creditor under arrest within three days after protest, and his store or counting-house, all his books, papers and effects, are placed under seal: these are all precautions intended for the security of the creditor; to obtain his discharge, it is necessary that at least three-fourths of his creditors, in number and interest, shall agree to it. If it is a case of simple bankruptcy, caused by neglect or imprudence, the bankrupt may be punished by imprisonment at the discretion of the Court, not exceeding two years; but if it is a case of fraudulent bankruptcy, the delinquent is put to hard labor for a term of years.
In England, the features of the Bankrupt Laws are equal
ly indicative of their origin. If the bankrupt does not show himself from time to time to be examined on oath, or if he embezzle or conceal property to the value of £10, or the papers relating thereto, he may be convicted of felony and' transported for life; four-fifths in number and value of his creditors must agree to his discharge; and if he has lost by gambling within twelve months, £200, or £20 in any one day, or lost £200 by stock-jobbing, he cannot get a discharge.
These characteristic features show conclusively the origin and design of the system; and it is a grave question, whether the framers of the Constitution, in view of this system, and sticklers as they were for the sacred obligation of contracts, could ever have intended, under the authority given to Congress to pass uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy, to clothe them with the power claimed in this Act-a power to abrogate pre-existing contracts; discharge, with or without consideration, debts due and payable before the Act; and cancel the judgments obtained before the law existed. A power so appalling, and levelled at a right so sacred, that the very instrument under which the power is claimed denied its possession to the States that framed it.
It is true that we are not a school of political doctors that are called upon to examine the constitutionality of laws passed by the general Congress, but surely it cannot be matter of indifference to this or any other body of citizens whether that sacred instrument of our liberties and charter of our rights is violated or not. If we consider the time and circumstances in which this system became a law, we shall find cause to doubt whether it was such a system as the framers of the Constitution intended for the country. They were not a Congress of bankrupts, or the representatives of bankrupts, providing a means for the debtor to escape from his contracts; they were wise, calm, and patriotic statesmen, who, in view of the bankrupt systems we have reviewed designed the adoption of a general and fixed system under which the obligation of contracts would be fully recognized and the rights of creditors protected-a system under which the property that rightfully belonged to the confiding creditor would be taken out of the hands of the unfortunate, imprudent, or dishonest debtor, and restored to its rightful owner-a system under which misfortune, it is true, would be relieved, but under which dishonesty would meet with its condign punishment. Now, however, much may be said in praise of the expediency of such a system, at the time the right was conferred upon Congress, and before any other had grown up out of the neglect of Congress to exercise the right thus conferred upon them, a great deal more may be said against it now that half a century has been allowed to pass without it. A complicated system has grown up in the meantime, composed in part of common law precedents, in part of United States Laws, and in part of the legislative enactments of the States. Protracted suits, adjourned from year to year through the devices of the law, and carried by appeal from court to court, attended with delay, disappointment, vexation, and expense to the honest and ill-used creditor, will result in a tardy judgment just in time to be swept into nothingness by the Bankrupt Law. This will be one among the many evils it will herald forth to the country; but we will no longer multiply evidences of its inexpediency. We express the conviction that the Act was passed under circumstances that go far to show that it is not the system that was intended by the framers of the Constitution; its adoption was preceded by two great commercial revulsions that involved hundreds of thousands in bankruptcy; merchants, bankers, brokers, stock-jobbers and land speculators -these, suffering the painful consequences of their reverses and impelled by the single motive of freeing themselves from their embarrassments, may rightfully be regarded as the real authors of the act. Let us try the truth of this conclusion by the provisions of the act itself, and ask ourselves whether it is wise and prudent to accept the legislation of men in
* We take no notice of the transitory existence of the Bankrupt Law of the year 1800. Every argument, howthat could be drawn from our short experience then, would go to condemn the act under consideration.
such desperate circumstances; a legislation not the offspring of wise and cautious deliberation, but of impetuous and anxious zeal; not intended to guard the rights of property, to vindicate the sacred obligations of contracts, and punish fraud; but to open a door of escape for the unfortunate from the consequences of past calamities, and too often of reckless and unprincipled speculations.
Let us look to the act itself for the truth of these animadversions. If an insolvent debtor chooses to avail himself of the benefit of the act to obtain a discharge from his creditors, he may do so, without reference to the amount of his debts, and upon his simple petition to the court; but if the creditor thinks it necessary to his security to declare his debtor a bankrupt, he cannot do so unless the sum due him amount to five hundred dollars, or others unite with him so that their joint claims shall amount to five hundred dollars; and unless his debtor owe other debts amounting in all to two thousand dollars; and then only in case he depart the State, and depart with intent to defraud his creditors; or conceal himself to avoid being arrested, or shall fraudulently cause himself to be arrested; or his goods, lands, &c. to be attached, distrained, sequestered, or taken in execution; or shall remove or conceal his goods, &c., or make a fraudulent conveyance, assignment, transfer, &c. And then after all the advantages, delays, and chances of the existing laws, and all the privileges here enumerated superadded to the others, he may demand a trial by jury besides to decide whether he has committed an act of bankruptcy or not! Thus far it is clear all the advantages of the act are on the side of the debtor. It is true that after this all preferences are void; al! transfers of property in view of bankruptcy, void; except to a bona fide creditor without notice of bankruptcy, and provided that these dealings be two months before bankruptcy. Now is this not a mockery? What prevents a debtor from making a preferred creditor under such ingenious arrangements, to suit his convenience; he must make his election two months before bankruptcy; the favored creditor must be a bona fide creditor, and must not be told by his debtor that he settles with him because he expects to fail. These are the terms of the law, and it must certainly be admitted that they are easily complied with. A proper attention to these requisites, and a surrender of the remainder of his estate, will entitle the bankrupt to a full discharge, not with the concurrence of three-fourths or four-fifths of his creditors, as we have seen is the case with other bankrupt laws, but with the assent of a fraction more than one-fourth; that is, unless three-fourths refuse to concur; no, not three-fourths of all the creditors, but three-fourths of those who have proven their debts. And even then the creditor may demand a trial by jury. Where are the rights of the creditor in all this? Where is his right to demand that his debtor be tried by a jury? The act says that the debtor's certificate shall be a full and complete discharge of all debts, contracts, and engagements, and a complete bar to all suits. And what punishment is provided in cases of fraud, for which hard labor or transportation for life have been deemed the appropriate rewards in other countries? These are the humane provisions of the act; in case of fraud, wilful concealment of property, or rights of property; preferences contrary to the act; omissions or refusals to comply with the orders of the court; not conforming to the act; admitting false or fictitious debts against the estate; not keeping proper sets of books; applying trust funds to the bankrupt's own use; in all these cases the bankrupt shall not get a discharge; this is the punishment.* Is this not a mockery of justice?
If there are still any lingering doubts that the advantages of the act are exclusively with the debtor, and the creditor placed by it in a worse position than he occupied before, the following considerations, we think, will dispel them alto
* It is true that the act provides that bankrupts falsifying themselves before the court shall be "deemed guilty of perjury and punishable therefor in the manner and to the extent provided by law for other cases;" but this can hardly be deemed a punishment provided by the act, even if it were probable that it would ever overtake the fraudulent bankrupt.
gether; that while all debtors, without regard to occupation, mechanics, farmers, &c. may take the benefit of the act if they choose, the mercantile classes* alone are liable to be made bankrupts against their will, and at the discretion of their creditors. Now the mercantile classes being the chief creditors at all times, their debtors may at any time take the benefit of the act as against the merchants, but the latter can never force them into the Bankrupt Court as long as they choose to hold out. Indeed, the rights of married women being carefully preserved under the act, the Bankrupt Court will be to many but a convenient method of relieving themselves from the embarrassment of debts incurred as is too often the case for the purpose of adding to the value of property held in trust for wives and children.
Banks, and other corporations, are in like manner exempted from the Act, and may, like the farmer, and others, throw the merchant into the Bankrupt Court, while their own affairs are in a state of insolvency; and that, too, after aiding perhaps to ruin the merchant by the depreciation of
an irredeemable currency.
There are other considerations of a more enlarged character, to which your committee have not yet alluded. During the recent embarrassed condition of the finances of this
country, growing out of the financial troubles to which we have alluded, immense amounts became involved in suspended debts under contracts entered into at a period when a bankrupt law was not in existence, nor even in contemplation in the United States. What justice is there in now passing new laws to regulate the settlement of these contracts? It is well known that in our rising and prosperous country, with our active, thrifty, and enterprising population, credit is not accorded to the possession of property alone. The industrious, the prudent, and the enterprising obtain credit, and incur debts, upon the avowed basis of the sure profits of industry alone without capital. To these the law opens a wide door of escape, and offers a tempting bribe to a treacherous and dishonorable refusal to fulfil the implied contract, to earn by their industry, and restore the borrowed capital. Many cases have occurred in which contracts of this character have been violated by debtors in the most flagrant manner; instances will readily occur to every man in trade, of those hopelessly involved in debt, making extensive purchases of goods, and after appropriating their new purchases to the payment of old debts to favored creditors, declaring themselves to be bankrupt. To such delinquents as these, regardless of the moral turpitude involved, the law offers a complete absolution. Their assets may not amount to one dollar on a hundred dollars; they may have made the most unjust preferences but two months before the act of bankruptcy; the fiat of the court discharges them from all unsatisfied contracts, and thereby loosens the bonds of mu
tual confidence and of commercial credit. There is thus no
protection against undue preferences; no discouragement to reckless or unprincipled speculation; but on the contrary, a ready and honorable means of escaping from their consequences. There is no protection scarcely for the creditor, except in cases of actual fraud; these will hardly ever be imputed, and where they are alleged to have existed, it will be impossible in most cases to prove them, as retailers and others are exonerated by the act from keeping regular sets of books. It would seem therefore almost an inevitable consequence of the operation of the act, to drive out of business all that numerous class of industrious, thrifty, and enterprising dealers, who with little or no capital, are busily and usefully engaged in advancing the prosperity of the country, by diffusing over its vast surface the necessaries and comforts of civilized life. The capitalist will no longer be safe in giving credit to any but those possessed of property or other capital; and the prosperity of the country must languish under a system that seems so well calculated to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.
Your committee, influenced by these considerations, are fully persuaded that the act under consideration is inexpe
* Merchants, or using the trade of merchandise, retailers of merchandise, bankers, factors, underwriters and marine insurers.
dient, unequal in its operation, subversive of the morals of the people, and that it will prove in its effects injurious to the best interests of the country.
They recommended that the following Memorial to Congress be adopted by the Chamber.
G. A. TRENHOLM, Chairman.
of Charleston, South Carolina, to the Senate and House of
interested in the commercial prosperity and reputation of
the importance of which dictates this appeal, they earnestly
The lead mine discovered near this place, is not as some
suppose, one of the humbugs of the day. Several miners
Brick Making in St. Louis.
The New Era says, the number of bricks made in St. Louis in 1841, are estimated at 30,000,000, and that about two millions more will be made at the close of the season.— The lowest price at which sales have been made is $5 per 1000, and early in the season they brought $7 to $8, and $8 50 is assumed as a fair price of these in the wall. It is estimated in that paper, that there has been peid this season for brick in the wall $1,275,000.
The Erie Canal.
The Canal closed earlier this year than usual, as will be seen from the following memoranda.
In 1824 it closed December 4th; 1825, Dec. 5th; 1826, Dec. 18th; 1827, Dec. 18th; 1828, Dec. 20th; 1829, Dec. 17th; 1839, Dec. 17th; 1831, Dec. 1st; 1832, Dec. 21st; 1833, Dec. 12th; 1834, Dec. 12th; 1835, Nov. 30th: 1836, Nov. 26th; 1837, Dec. 9th; 1838, Nov. 25th; 1839, Dec, 16th; 1840, about Dec. 1st; 1841, Nov. 28th,