Slike strani


of mercantile law, affecting so many transactions, courts would feel loth to depart froin authorities so generally recognized and acted upon, as the books I have quoted. To attemp to establish a new rule, even if a better one, would be to create uncertainty and hazard.

But, by fair analogy from the principle decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Bank of Washington vs. Triplett & Neal, (1 Peters' reports 25,) the question in relation to any particular bill, may be materially aff c'ell by local nsages.

In that case, a bill dated the 19:h of June, at four months after date, drawn on “ Peter A. Carnes, Esq., Washington city," waz sent for collection to the Bank of Washington. The bank caused the bill to be presented for payment on the 230 day of October, being the day after the third day of gace. It was dishonored and protested. The persons to whom the bill belonged brought suit against the bank, claiming that by failing to demand payment at the proper time, the bank had made the bill its own, and was responsible for the amount. It was shown in desense of the action, that the settled usage of all the banks in Washington, at that time, * was to demand payment on the day succeeding the third day of grace, or, in other words, to allow four days of grace, on notes and bills; and the court, (chief justice Marshall delivering the opinion,) decided that the rules of law in respect to days of grace were derived from, and dependent upon usage; and that the presentment for payment in the case in question, being conformable to the settled custom of the banks in Washington, had been properly made. Other similar decisions in the same court, and in other courts, might be cited.

To the same effect is the rule of law laid down by Julge Story. In his work on bills, sec. 155, he says that “the days of grace, if any, are to be allowed according to the law, or custom, of the place where the bill is to be accepted and paid.” See also scctions 177 and 334 of the same work, and his work on "Conflict of Laws," sections 316 and 361.

It is a matter of great importance that those whose business it is to deal in, or use bills of exchang?, should know certainly when they ought to be presented for payment. Unquestionably, (and so it was stated by Judge Marshall in the case cited from Peters' Reports,) by failing to demand payment at the proper time, the bank with which a bill is left for collection, would make the paper its own and become responsible for the amount. This would be the consequence, as well where payment is demanded too soon, as where the presentment for payment is made too late. The owners of bills are not less deeply concerned where they collect for themselves. If the demand and protest, or notice of dishonor, are not in proper tiine, the drawers and endorsers are discharged.

It is of much less consequence what the rule is, than that it should be cerlain, uniform and well known. If it is considered inconvenient that bills which purport to be payable “at sight,” should not be in fact payable till the third day after, the form of the bill can readily be changed. Let bills which are intended to be paid on presentation be diawn payable “ on demand," or without expressing any time of payment. In such case, it is certain, that days of grace cannot be clained. For the sake of unisormity, and that the rules in this respect may be well known to all parts of the country, it would be better, I would suggest, that special usages should be avoided in relation to such matters, and where they do exist should not be adhered to. Otherwise we will have different rules prevailing at different points, which will be difficult to learn and apply, and must produce more or less uncertainty and loss.

*This usage has since been changed, and now conforms lo the general rule. Seo Cookeodortier vs. Preston, 4 Howard's U. S. Roports, 311,

If it is thought that the general rule in relation to this subject is still unsettled and doubtful, or that there may be some uncertainty as to the proper course to be pursued in relation to any particular bill at sight either because the usage of the place on which it is drawn is uncertain or not well established, or for any other reason, the only way to avoid all risk will be to make two presentments and protests—one on the day when sight is given, and the other at the expiration of the grace, and send notice of each to the proper parties. In this way, the risk of discharging the drawers and endorsers will be avoided, but the charges of one of the protests will be lost.

A Cashier.


From the Philadelphia Public Ledger, July, 1848.

The anthracite coal of Pennsylvania exists in three separate and distinct beds or fields, bearing each to the other a striking similitude in geographical position, extent of area and geological character.

The first or southern field, being the nearest to tide water, is divided into four mining districts—the Lehigh, the Schuylkill, the Swatara, and the Susquehanna, and are so-called from the rivers, whose head waters either take their rise in or pass through this field. These rivers, most unfortunately for Pennsylvania, furnish no natural navigation as an outlet for the vast treasures within, but merely the means of constructing and locating canals and railroads. These canals and railroads have been constructed with a boldness of design and magnificence of enterprise that will compare with any works of the kind in this or the old world, and yet only a few years will elapse before they will prove totally inadequate to vent the productions of this inexhaustible and boundless region of wealth. This field is sixty-five miles in length and averaging about four miles in width, and enclosed or bounded by a continuous mountain, (which separates it by about ten miles from the second coal field,) forming a trough or longitudinal basin. This boundary is called Broad Mountain on the north, and Sharp Mountain on the south, which latter is penetrated by most of the streams referred to, and which afford the inlets for the necessary canals and railroads. Upon this field or basin, once so rugged and barren, a vast amount of money has been expended, and towns and villages have sprung up in all directions. It will be interesting to consider the expenditure upon each of these mining districts, and the improvements designed to facilitate the transportation of coal from each, and thus endeavor to ascertain what district would seem to enjoy the most advantages for a great and growing trade. Ist. The Lehigh Region. The Lehigh Navigation and Railroad,

$5,824,820 75 Expended on the mines,

1,805,520 00 Hazleton,

1.0,000 00 Beaver Meadow,

360,000 00 Buck Mountain and the Summit,

180,500 00 On the mines,

300,000 00

Morris Canal,
Delaware Division,

8,590,340 75
4,000,000 00
2,000,000 00

$14,590,340 75 The nearest mines to tide water of this region, are those owned by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, and it was exclusively to develope those mines, that their magnificent improvements were constructed. "The Lehigh River, however, unlike the Schuylkill and Swatara, does not penetrate the coal field, and hence the coal mines could only be reached by ascending and descending, through inclined planes and railways, Sharp Mountain at its greatest elevation. From the basin, when thus reached, the coal is transported by stationary power, a distance of nine miles to the navigation, at Mauch Chunk. There is nothing in our country that surpasses the enterprise here exhibited, to overcome the obstacles presented by the surface of the country, between these mines and the river Lehigh, and nothing would have justified the outlay, but coal mines. This navigation was completed in 1820, and 3657 tons delivereil that year in Philadelphia. 1820, Total Tons,


146,522 27 years.

643,972 The capacity of this navigation has been considered fully equal to the transport of a million and one half of tons of coal, and therefore the region has enjoyed up to this time all the advantages of transport that could be desired; but how long will that continue to be the case? This trade has been increasing at a ratio of twenty per cent. per annum, and has now nearly exhausted the capacity of its outlets, the Delawáre Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, and the Morris Canal.

From an estimate before me, it would seem that the Delaware Division has not the capacity to vent more than about one million of tons. The Canal Commissioners' Report shows that there were sent eastwardly from Easton, last season, 787,181 tons; to which, if we add the annual quantity of this year and next, we shall have upwards of a million of tons, the entire capacity of the work.

The Morris Canal can never be relied upon further than to supply the local trade through which it passes, as this is a growing trade.

2d. The Schuylkill District.—This is the centre of the basin, and is very extensive, embracing more than one-half of the entire field—the

mines at Tamaqua, (which adjoin the Lehigh mines,) Tuscarora, Port Carbon, Pottsville, Minersvill, aad Tremont. To develope this portion of the basin, the following expenditures have been made: The Schuylkill Navigation,

$9,000,000 The Reading Railrond,

12.000,000 Lillle Schuylkill Raulroad,

500,000 Mine lillind Schuylkill Ilaven,

550.000 Danville and Pottsville Railroad,

650.000 Mont Carbon Railroad,

155,00 Mount Carbon and Port Carbon Railroad,

20.000 Schylkiil Valley Railroad,

300,000 Railiouds by Individuals,


$ 3,635,000

3. The Swatara District. This commands a rich and most valuable portion of the coal field, and is mined through the channels of the Union Canal Company and Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal—ihe former work, which is the outlet, is so imperfect that no great increase of trade can be expected in that quarter, as it only admits boats of a draught of thirty tons, which are, however, employed to the extent of the local den and. There has been very little expended in this region, and the trade in 1847 was only 51,000 tons.

4. The Susquehanna District embraces the western terminus of the southern coal field, branching out into two divisions, towards the Susquehanna—the southern or Stoney Creek coal region, and the Lyken's valley. No mining operations of any importance have yet been undertaken at either of these. The Lyken’s Valley Company are now making preparations to work their mines and to complete their railway to the Wiconisco canal, which communicates with the State improvement, or to the Susquehanna at Duncan's Island. It will be a long time before the facilities and means of transportation in this region will enable either of those districts to send much coal to market, and the highest hope that they can reasonably entertain for years to come is to supply the demand upon the banks of the Susquehanna.

It will be readily perceived from the results which we have given, that the Schuylkill District is unrivalled in its advantages, and that it continues to furnish more than one-half of the entire product. This arises from many causes :

Ist. Because it is nearest to tide water.

2. Because all the mines, with one exception, are conducted by individual enterprise, and not by incorporated mining companies.

3d. Because the varieties of coal in this region are much greater than that of any other—relating chiefly to the ease of ignition—some being hard and emitting intense heat; others softer, and burning more easily and depositing different ashes, and possessing qualities peculiar to theinselves. “These varieties, after all,” as Prof. Silliman says, “are merely shades of difference in the members of the same family; and they are fortunate differences, as they afford a more perfect adaptation to the various purposes of the arts and domestic economy.”

41h. Because neither of the works engaged in the transport of the coal have any thing to do with the mining operations.

These important advantages were soon perceived, and attracted a vast population; the field was open to the enterprise and capital of all, and hence persons of wealth and standing were quickly awakened to the advantages presented, and laborers and mechanics from all nations and all quarters ihronged to it, and found ready and constant employment.Towns and villages were soon erected, and edifices and machine shops were built that would compare with any in the state, and thus establisher this t ale upon a solid and permanent basis. It being, therefore, open to the trade of all—its land-iis mines—its houses—its agriculture, ii must ever continue to maintain its supremacy in the ccal tiade, for competition is the life of business, and without it no trade will be healthy or keep up the spirit of improvement. There is no monopoly. The coal operator often owns the land, and prosecutes the business with his own hands, while others lease the mines, and thus the highest competition is produced.

It is only of late that great facilities of transport have been enjoyed by this region, for the Schuylkill Canal was at first a very inserior work. The visionary men (so called at the time) who originated it, hoped that 30,000 tons of coal per annum might pass over their line to market, and yet they lived see it transport in 1811, 581,000 tons of coal and 116,000 tons of other miscellaneous trade—700,000 tons in all. What a glorious reward for their enlightened enterprise! But the capacity of this canal has been increased nine times that of the improvement, when originally opened to the trade. But all this would not satisfy the demands of the public and the increasing consumption of an article of first necessity, and hence human ingenuity was called upon to devise some other mode of transport, better fitted for the purposes. This has been furnished in that magnificent and unrivalled work for heavy transport, the Reading railroad. It was a bold and original conception to construct a work with grades, either level or descending, in the direction of the loaded trains, and with no more abrupt descent than nineteen feet to the mile, and this for a distance of ninety-five miles. Where is the like improvement to be found?

It has been entirely successful, and proved the very agent which we desired, and is destined yearly to exhibit better and more perfect results. Its saving of time, convenience of dispatch, and as an avenue at all seasons of the year, cannot be too highly appreciated. Besides, it is an im

proving machine, and its capacity for trade almost endless. But let us . look at the result upon this road since it has been opened to the trade in coal alone.

Amount Transported,



826,37 11

1,239,143 "

1,356,008 ( But why is it that after it has thus realized more than the most sanguine expectations of its friends predicted, both as to the amount of its tonnage and economical transportation, its stock should continue below par? Has it not been demonstrated to a certainly, that with the present

[ocr errors]


49 296 tons.


« PrejšnjaNaprej »