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imported, but produces larger crops, and of the quality that best suits the principal British manufactories. American seed produces fine flax, but the produce is not as large as from the Dutch seed. British seed is sometimes used instead of Dutch, but the risk of the crop misgiving is so much greater that those only who are ignorant of the consequences, or who are compelled from necessity, are chargeable with this act of illjudged parsimony. Crushing seed is principally imported from Russia, but considerable quantities are also brought from Italy and Egypt. Of the 758,128 bushels of linseed imported into Great Britain in 1831, 221,702 were brought from Russia, 172,099 from Prussia, 106,244 from the United States, 105,448 from Italy, 98,847 from Egypt, 53,738 from the Netherlands, &c.
Hemp is supposed to be a native of India, but long since naturalized and extensively cultivated in Italy and many countries in Europe, particularly Russia and Poland, where it forms an article of primary importance. It is stronger and coarser in the fiber than flax, but its uses, culture and management are pretty much the same. When grown for seed it is a very exhausting crop, but when pulled green it is considered a clearer of the ground. In England its cultivation is not deemed profitable, so that, notwithstanding the encouragement it has received from government and the excellent quality of English hemp, it is but little grown, except in some few districts of Suffolk and Lincolnshire. The quantity raised in Ireland is also inconsiderable.
From what precedes, the great expansion of the cotton product of the United States appears to have been after the year 1829. Prior to 1820, if not to a still later period, the flax product was deemed of more importance than cotton. Flax was manufactured by the families that produced the plant, in their own houses, and it furnished them with table-cloths, bed-linen, and under garments and outer clothing in summer. Prior to 1810, if not later, the raw cotton furnished the country merchants in the towns on the North River and back, was the East India, by way of England to New-York. It was very imperfectly cleaned of its seed, and packed in large bags without being pressed. The common retail price of this cotton was 28. 6d., or 315 cents per pound. It was used for bats for quilts and dresses, and spun into yarn for
mops. At that period a coarse muslin was also imported from the East Indies, and sold in the country towns above referred to, at the like price of 314 cents per yard. The same article might to-day command some 4 or 5 cents per yard for book covers or like
purposes. At that period there was but a single store for the sale of domestic cotton goods in the city of New-York, and, as far as known, but one manufacturer in the United States; this was a Mr. SLATER, of Rhode Island, who produced a superior fabric of this description of goods. They were sold by William F. Mott, who is still living, then doing business in Pearl-street, near Peck Slip. Public attention for the last few years has been again directed to the article of flax, and, from present indications, it would seem that it is again to occupy an important place in the productions of the country, and equal, if not exceed in value and importance, the cotton product of the United States. By the simple application of steam, at a pressure of some two hundred pounds to the square inch, the gummy or resinous matter is separated, and afterwards removed from the fiber of the plant, together with the woody substance, and a product as soft and delicate as cotton is the result, better adapted than it to a vast variety of uses for which cotton is now used. The invention is calculated to work a revolution in flax as great in magnitude, if not greater, than has been effected by the cotton gin in cotton, and eventually to clothe the world in linen, clean and white, for there is evidently no limit to the production of the plant in almost any part of the world. The prairie lands of the great West are more particularly adapted to it, and to these the public attention is particularly directed, where almost the entire labor can be performed by the use of machinery.
JOURNAL OF MERCANTILE LAW.
COMMISSION MERCHANTS—ConsignEE'S ADVANCES ON Bills OF
LADING-BILL OF SALE.
Bill of Lading.—The action of Dows & Cary vs. GREENE & MATHER, is one that has been in our New-York State courts for a long time. We first find it reported in 16 BARB., 72, and now it comes up again in a new form and will be found reported in the last volume of BARBOUR, (32 BARB., 490,) where some important questions are discussed and decided. The plaintiffs
, Dows & Cary, were, it seems, commission merchants in New-York, and claimed title to a quantity of corn (to recover which this action was brought) as bona fide purchasers or lien-holders thereof for value, from a person by the name of J. F. Mack, (an alleged purchaser of the corn from Niles & WHEELER, a forwarding firm at Buffalo,) the said plaintiffs, as consignees of the corn, having in good faith made advances upon the bill of lading given by said Niles & WHEELER to Mack. The defendants, GREENE & MATHER, also claimed this corn through parties who had obtained title from this same firm of Niles & WHEELER after they (Niles & WHEELER) had repudiated the sale to Mack, as unauthorized by them, and also as fraudulent. The following were the facts proved :
Facts.—Niles & WHEELER were forwarders, at Buffalo, as is stated above, and agents of the American Transportation Line of canal boats, which line was owned by them and Mr. M. CALEB, of New-York, a partner of theirs in the forwarding business. Niles & WHEELER also purchased and sent corn to market on their own account.
The plaintiffs claimed the corn under certain bills of lading executed at Buffalo, dated August 7, 1848, by NILES & WHEELER per E. H. WALKER, their clerk and agent, showing the shipment of the corn to account of J. F. Mack, care of plaintiff
, New-York. The form of the several instruments herein called bills of lading is given in the case, and one of them, that on which the plaintiffs rely to recover, is as follows : “No. 143, duplicate. Buffalo, August 7, 1848. Shipped, in good order, by Niles & WHEELER, agents, on board canal boat NEPTUNE, master, American Transportation Line, the following named articles, made
and consigned as in the margin, to be delivered as addressed without delay. Account J. F. Mack, care of Dows & Cary, N. Y., 2,385 bushels
Ohio freight to New-York, per bushel, 13 cents. Niles & WHEELER, per E. H. WALKER.” By a subsequent bill of lading the quantity was corrected and stated at 2,565 bushels of corn.
Mack resided at Rochester, and was a dealer in grain. James L. Bloss resided at Rochester, and had for several years been purchasing grain in his own name, but in fact as the agent for other persons and by their direction. He had, for five or six months previous to the transaction in question, been making such purchases as the agent of Mack, and had received the money promptly in each instance. In transactions of this kind he had asked for duplicate bills of lading, and the vendors had given the bills before the delivery of the property and before receiving payment. They had trusted to his honor and the integrity of the man at Rochester to send the money, and it had always come.
Niles & Wheeler had purchased a cargo of about 10,000 bushels of corn, which was on board the propeller Montezuma, lying near their warehouse at Buffalo.
On Monday, the 7th of August, 1848, Bloss called at the office of Niles & Wheeler, and proposed to purchase the corn, intending it for Mack, but did not mention the fact that he was acting as an agent. The negotiation was between Bloss and Niles; the price asked was fortyfour cents per bushel, and Bloss said he would take the corn if he could have a little time to get money from Rochester, and gave a reference for certainty of payment.
Niles said he wanted no reference, as they would only sell the corn for cash. Bloss thereupon left the office, but was immediately called back by the order of Niles, when the negotiation proceeded. Niles asked where Bloss wished to transport the corn, and on being answered to New-York, he said they could, perhaps, make arrangements if he (Niles) could transport the corn. It was finally agreed that half the money should be paid on Friday, and the remaining half on Saturday, and that Niles & WHEELER should transport the corn to New-York in their boats at 13 cents per bushel. Niles said he would not sell on credit to anybody ; that he would hold the corn on his boats until it was paid for, and such was the arrangement between them. Bloss said Niles would be indemnified by the property itself
, as he (Bloss) would not get possession of it until it was paid for. Bloss immediately telegraphed to MacK, advising him of the purchase of the corn, mentioning quantity and price, and on the evening of the same day Bloss received the bill of lading before referred to, executed in the name of Niles & WHEELER, by WALKER, their clerk. He had before made out some bills of lading, and evidence was given tending to show him autho. rity, and also that Niles was present when he male out the bills of Wailing. The defendants gave evidence tending to show that Walker had never signed such bill of lading before, but only bills where the goods whipped belonged to other persons and not to Niles & WHIKELEN. WALKER made a distinction between receipts for property and memoranda of whip ment, (such as he claimed there to be,) and regular hills of lading. The corn was shipped in the boats Cuna, Nertuxx, P. B. LANOYOND and A. Beardsley." "The loading was commenced, according to Blous, on the
same day, (Monday, 7th August,) and, as Bloss thinks, was completed as to two boats, (CUBA and NEPTUNE,) the same day.
Van INWEGAN, the tally clerk, says the loading of the NEPTUNE was commenced on Monday, and completed on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the CUBA started first, on the 9th, (Wednesday,) and the NEPTUNE on the 10th, (Thursday.)
The evidence left the time of lading in some doubt. On Monday, the day of purchase, Bloss got the tally of the cargo of the two boats, (CUBA and NEPTUNE,) and delivered them to the office of NILES & WHEELER, about six or seven o'clock in the evening, and received from WALKER, their clerk, bills of lading of the two boats.
Bloss sent the bills of lading to Mack the same day, informing him that the corn was to be paid for on Friday or Saturday. The plaintiffs had been at Rochester on the 5th or 6th of August, and had agreed with Mack to make advances to him on corn, to thirty-eight cents per bushel, on his furnishing shipping bills for the corn.
The business was to be done on the part of the plaintiffs by JAMES CHAPPELL, their general agent at Rochester. Mack was to furnish the shipping bills to CHAPPELL, who was to endorse Mack's drafts on the plaintiffs for the amount of advances, which the plaintiffs were to accept and pay. Advances to Mack in the same way had been made before. On Tuesday, the 8th of August, Mack presented to CHAPPELL the two bills of lading, (Cuba and NEPTUNE,) and drew two bills on the plaintiffs, one for $1,000, for thirty days, and one for $800, at twenty-five days, both payable to the order of CHAPPELL, and both endorsed by him, on receiving the bills of lading, and the drafts were delivered to Mack. Mack passed and negotiated the drafts to the Rochester City Bank, and received the money therefor. On the same day CHAPPELL enclosed the shipping bills to the plaintiffs in New-York. The two drafts were presented for acceptance by the American Exchange Bank, and accepted by the plaintiffs on the 10th of August, (Thursday,) and were paid at maturity. On Friday, the 11th of August, Bloss sought Niles, and told him that he had sent shipping bills of the corn to Rochester to Mack, for whom he had bought the corn; that he had not received the money, and did not know what the matter was ; that he had never been disappointed in receiving money, but had previously received it promptly in every instance.
Niles said this was the first he had heard of Mack or of shipping bills, and he should sell the corn. Bloss asked him to wait till he could telegraph Mack and get an answer, and Bloss did telegraph him several times, without getting any answer. He then proposed that Niles or his clerk should go with him to Rochester, saying he would pay the expenses, and get the
money or give up the corn. Niles said that VAN INWEGAN (his clerk) might go, and he went that day with Bloss to Rochester, where Bloss found that Mack had failed and left town on Thursday. On that day, the 10th of August, Mack made a general assignment of all his property to John Brown, preferring him to the amount of about $10,000, and distributing the residue of his property equally among the rest of his creditors, among whom Niles & WHEELER were named as creditors, for corn sold, to the amount of about $4,400. On Saturday Van Inwegan telegraphed Niles that the corn was not paid for, and Mack had run away.
NILES then sold the corn to
P. DURFEE & Co. at Buffalo. DURFEE & Co. consigned the corn and delivered the bills of lading to Arthur H. Root. Root transferred them to Joseph H. GREEN, Jr., the latter to GREEN & Mather, and they to L. W. BRAINARD ; and under these parties the defendants claimed to hold the property, and, on demand made, refused to deliver it to the plaintiff's.
On Saturday afternoon Niles went to Rochester; went up the canal on Sunday, and met three of the four boats, and gave them new bills of lading, on account of P. DURFEE & Co., care of Arthur H. Root, Albany. The Cuba had passed Rochester before he got there. He sent a bill after her to be signed, which seems to have been done. The boats had all left Buffalo with bills of lading to M. M. CALEB & Co., New-York. On Friday, the 11th of August, when Niles was informed of the bills of lading to the plaintiffs, he telegraphed them as follows:
“ Ten thousand and ninety bushels of corn, shipped by us on boats CUBA, NEPTUNE, A. Beardsley, P. B. LANGFORD, acc't J. F. Mack, to Dows & Cary, is not paid for. We notify you to consider and hold the same to our account, till further notice.
“Niles & WHEELER." There was a mistake in the amount of the corn as stated in the first bills, and this was corrected on Wednesday. When the NEPTUNE arrived at Albany the plaintiffs demanded the corn of the defendants, and offered to pay the freight, the defendants then having possession thereof; but they refused to deliver it, and denied the plaintiffs' right to the corn.
The plaintiffs proved by Bloss, in addition, that the bills of lading were made out by Walker, he having been referred to by some apparently responsible man in the office as the proper man for that purpose ; and that, as he thinks, Niles was present in the office when he made out the bills of lading; and that subsequently, when the fact was again talked over, Niles made no objection on the ground of want of authority. The bills of lading were in the hands of Bloss, at Buffalo, on the 9th of August. Cary, one of the plaintiffs, saw them there, and having looked at them, handed them back to Bloss, who then mailed them to Mack, at Rochester, who delivered them to CHAPPELL’s clerk, receiving from him therefor two drafts of Mack on the plaintiffs, payable to the order of and endorsed by Chappell, one for $1,000 and one for $800, which Mack procured to be discounted at the Rochester Bank. The bills of lading were immediately sent by CHAPPELL's clerk to New-York, where they were accepted by the plaintiffs on the 10th of August, and subsequently paid by them at maturity, some twenty-five or thirty days thereafter.
Decision.-The opinion of the court is of considerable length, but we do not deem it necessary to reproduce it here. The following, however, were the points decided :
I. That the plaintiffs' title, if otherwise valid, (being prior to the defendants' in point of time,) must prevail. The question, therefore, is as to the plaintiff's' title.
II. That the bill of lading given Bloss was good in matter of form. III. That it was properly executed, and that it went into the possession