« EdellinenJatka »
miums must be much augmented, or the companies will inevitably fail; and with their failure greatly embarrass commercial enterprise. Even now foreign companies are able successfully to compete with ours for their best risks; and this must necessarily induce many merchants to insure abroad, who would find it more convenient to insure in this country, if it were equally economical. The reason why these institutions are able to offer better terms than ours is to be found, it is believed, in the facilities which their regulations afford of encouraging competent and careful masters, and of disgracing and dismissing dishonest ones. Having thus a large proportion of what are technically known as good risks” on their books, they can afford to insure the best of ours at a lower rate than we, without materially increasing their per centage of losses, but greatly diminishing our proportion of profits.
Such a society, although started by the underwriters, can never become a success, unless supported by the active aid and good will of both shipowners and shipmasters. With these, its success is certain ; without them, its failure equally so. Its aims in the beginning would of course be more limited than they would naturally become when their importance and usefulness are more generally understood and appreciated. At first, it might confine itself to the issuing of certificates of service and competency to men of experience and ability. Records of disasters would of course be kept, and, when suspicious losses occurred to vessels commanded by persons holding its certificates, investigations would naturally be held. As these records accumulated, they might be tabulated and compared with the whole number of voyages,
centages obtained as a guide for insurance premiums. They might also be arranged in various ways, and the per centages of particular trades, of vessels of a certain class or grade, or vessels laden with different kinds of cargoes, obtained. The different kinds of disasters, the fires, the strandings, the collisions, &c., might all be classified. In a word, such a collection of statistics might be arranged in every conceivable manner, and in every way be of service. The experience of all the companies, which each individual institution might be unwilling to publish separately for the benefit of the rest, might, in the aggregate, be subjected to similar classification for the general benefit. In life insurance, such collections of statistics have been productive of the most valuable results; and the analogy between the two branches of insurance, the life and the marine, is sufficient to warrant the assertion, that if an equal number of facts about the proportion of loss to safety, in marine insurance, were collected, that at present exist about the proportion of deaths to the living, for the use of life insurers, the same exactness would soon be arrived at in the one business that now prevails in the other. A society of this kind, started in New-York, would probably be followed by similar organizations in the other seaports of the United States; and between these a daily meteorological record might be telegraphed, and warning thus given of coming storms. This experiment has been successfully tried in France and England, and has been recommended as a desirable thing to adopt in this country, by Professor Maury. The holders of certificates in different parts of the world, sailing over various seas and visiting different climates, would undoubtedly take pleasure in communicating to the society any interesting phenomena about storms, winds, currents or climates that came under their notice, and such communica
tions, in the mass, might be a very valuable addition to a merchant's or an underwriter's knowledge.
Reforms, however, to be undertaken successfully, must be undertaken cautiously, and it is only by slow degrees, and step by step, that important changes can prudently be made. In the beginning, such an organization as the one proposed would probably have to encounter many prejudices, and perhaps some positive hostility ; but it is believed that a thorough understanding of the nature of the evils which it proposes to remedy, and of the important benefits to the commercial world which will necessarily result from its establishment, will be sufficient to enlist for it the hearty sympathy of shipmasters, shipowners and underwriters.
Of shipmasters, because, by weeding their profession of its unworthy members, the tone of the service will be raised, and a better class of men will join its ranks—men who, by their faithfulness and intelligence, will at once increase our commercial supremacy, by adding cautiousness and honesty, to maritime adventure and enterprise; and who will play an important part in adding contributions to the science of the seas, from which so much has already resulted.
Of merchants, because they are at present burdened with high premiums, and would be seriously embarrassed by their further increase ; and because they, as a class, love their country too well to neglect any means that promises to prevent her present maritime supremacy from passing from her hands.
And of underwriters, because they are merely the agents of the merchants, and their interests are consequently identical; and because foreign competition, although at present not seriously felt, will inevitably become injurious to them, if the present necessary augmentation of their rates continues. And this must inevitably be the case if the fraudulent losses, which are the principal cause of this increase, are not prevented by the introduction of the proposed reforms.
FIRE INSURANCE IN LONDON. Ar the annual meeting of the shareholders of the Royal Insurance Company, Liverpool, it was stated that a meeting of all the officers engaged in fire insurance in London had recently been held, consequent on the late great fire, at which it was agreed to advance the rate of premium on commercial insurance to a considerable extent. Subsequent reflection, however, had shown that a modification of the proposed rise would be sufficient; and Mr. Dove, the manager of the Royal Company, was of opinion that these modified rates would be found sufficient to meet all contingencies. He proceeded to say, that within the last seventeen years 580 new insurance offices, of all kinds, had been projected. Of these, 233 had ceased to exist in the same period, 11 had amalgamated with other companies, 134 had transferred their business, and 42 were winding up their affairs in chancery. Of the whole number, 95 fire offices had discontinued business. Within the last seventeen years 48 fire offices had been established. Of these, only 12 survive, 36 having discontinued business; and, in all, there are only 52 fire offices now doing business.
THE HIDES OF THE RIVER PLATA.
From “Japan, the Amoor and the Pacific. By HENRY ARTHUR TILLEY."
They were that day killing mares, more than five hundred of which pretty creatures were penned up in a corral. These corrals communicate one with another, a portcullis door being between each two. The last is in the shape of a pear, strongly boarded in, and surrounded by a platform. In the narrow end is a truck, which moves from it on iron rails, up and down a long shed. A strong bar of wood crosses the opening where the truck fits into the narrow end of the corral, and on this bar is a block through which the lasso runs, having one end fastened to the saddles of two Gauchos, while the noose remains in the hands of the Matador on the platform. When all is ready the Gauchos ride into the farther corral, drive the animals into the pear-shaped one, and the portcullis is dropped. The Matador whirls his lasso, sometimes over the heads of three or four mares at once, gives a signal to the mounted Gauchos, who spur their horses, and the mares are dragged on to the moving platform, with their heads against the bar. The Matador then strikes them on the head with a heavy iron hammer, the truck moves up the shed, and another mounted Gaucho, with a rope, drags them off the truck on either side of the tramroad, when
other men are ready to skin and cut them Oxen.—The same mode is adopted with oxen, only they are killed by the stab of a knife in the neck, which divides the spinal marrow. The first stab is generally sufficient; the animal ceases to feel instantaneously. The only suffering for the poor beasts is being kept long in the corrals without food and water, sometimes for two or three days. Barbarous as it seems to a European to see horses thus slaughtered for their skins, it is a painful necessity. The Gaucho will never ride on a mare, and if a stranger were to venture to do so he would be hooted and jeered by every urchin he met. The Gaucho is far from being like the Arab, who, it is known, rides only mares, and treats them a little more kindly than human beings. But the Gaucho will not only not ride mares, but treats the horses he does ride in a most barbarous manner; his spurs have points an inch in length, and on a journey these are applied to the blood-stained sides of the beast till he drops exhausted. What does that matter to the rider? He easily finds another; in fact, in the country they have hardly any value at all.
The rotting carcase or the skeleton of the horse by the wayside is a usual sight, even in the vicinity of the city of Buenos Ayres. Among the five hundred mares above-mentioned three were saved from the fate of the others by an English gentleman, who had lately brought with him from England three fine horses, and was about to try to improve the breed. For these three mares he only paid sixteen shillings each. The five hundred mares were killed and disposed of in about six hours.
Slaughtering.—In many establishments as many as eight hundred horses or oxen are slaughtered every day, and that nearly throughout the year. In winter only, when the animals are not fat, is there a little relaxation. In the long shed above-mentioned the work of dismembering the animals is going on, and the expertness with which it is performed may be judged of by the fact, that five minutes hardly elapse from the time the ox leaves the corral before it is already cut up and salted. The men employed in this work are Basques, and often children with faces like angels are among them deep in blood, and revelling in their disgusting work. When the hide, the principal object of value, is removed, the flesh is cut up in lumps off the carcase, and removed to other hands, which slice it and throw it in brine, from which it passes to still other hands, which pack it in stacks, with layers of salt between. The flesh is turned every day for a few days, until it is dried by the air, and in that state forms the carne secco, which is exported in vast quantities to Havana, the Brazils, Chili, Peru and the African coasts.
Salting.—The hides are salted in the same manner, the superfluous brine running from the meat to the reservoir which contains them. Most of the salt used is brought from Cadiz. The bones undergo a different treatment. Those containing marrow are subjected to the action of steam, and the fat thus procured is likewise largely exported to the same places as the meat, besides being much used as butter by the natives, who are excessively fond of it. The rest of the bones, entrails and all that contains fat are steamed in another vat for tallow. The tongues are salted and consumed at home. The sinews, horesehair, &c., are also utilized, but still there is an enormous waste, for everything is performed in a very rough manner, on account of the high price of labor. Formerly only the hides were taken, and the rest left to perish on the spot. The mares are killed for their hides and hair alone. The flesh is useless, and is either burnt or thrown away.
The proprietor pointed out to me a plot of ground which he had formerly caused to be excavated to raise the ground of his premises, and the holes had been entirely filled up with mares' flesh. Most of the men employed keep huge and disgusting swine, which they fatten on the flesh and blood thus obtained without stint. Thousands of sea-gulls whiten the air and the ground, revelling on the disgusting remains. The small quantity of fat procured from the flesh and bones of the mares contains but little stearine or hard fat.
Refuse.—The refuse is strained from it by hanging it in long bags, through which a clear though dark-colored oil drips out. This is chiefly used for burning in lamps. The furnaces are fed entirely with flesh, bones and refuse, and the stench which is produced from the reeking blood, the ammoniacal fumes from the scorching bones and other substances, are quite enough to sicken the strongest stomach. The residue or bone-ash has lately become a valuable export to Europe, where it is used as manure. Soap and candles are also made in these factories, for home consumption.
Statistics. In the three Partidos of the province of Buenos Ayres alone, there were, according to the returns of 1858, 3,875,742 horses, 8,672,675 oxen and 1,385,280 sheep. In the year 1838 the number of horned cattle did not exceed four millions ; but since the pampas
south of the Salado has been cleared of Indians, and the country in general become more settled, the above enormous increase has taken place. The same with the sheep, the wool of which was formerly so coarse that
it was only fit for carpets; whereas, since the improvement of the breed by a cross with fine-woolled sheep, it is largely exported for finer manufactures. The exportation for 1858 consisted of 969,604 dry and 318,304 salted ox-hides, 68,874 dry and 120,757 salted horse-bides, wool to the amount of 37,423 fardos, tallow, 240,362 cwt., besides horns, oil, bones ånd hair. The number of ships in which these were exported was 404.
THE OIL-SEEDS OF COMMERCE.
I. LINSEED. II. RAPE SEED. III. Ground Nut. IV. COTTON-SEED OIL. V. DODDER SEEDS,
SUNFLOWER SEED, Cress SEED, Niger SEED, RAMTIL, Radisi SEED, SAFFLOWER SEED.
The consumption of oil in the United States has increased much more rapidly than the supply, and this, indeed, is true in all parts of the world. The oil wells, now being dug in many parts of our country, and producing such extraordinary results, may, for a time, relieve this want, and oils may remain at present prices, which are materially greater than those of twenty years ago.
We perceive, by the following article from the London Farmers' Magazine, that the subject of oils is attracting much attention in Europe:
Great as has been the extension of commerce and the progress of agricultural supplies, within the last few years, they are yet far from commensurate to the wants of Europe. It is, therefore, a wise provision that new discoveries arise, either out of the progress of science or the extension of foreign agriculture, to meet the increased demands. When the oils yielded by the whale fisheries declined, and, by their enhanced price, became expensive and inadequate to the wants of the consumer, increased attention was given to the production and manufacture of vegetable oils, and enormous quantities of oil-seeds, for crushing, from Europe and the East, and solid oils from Africa, were obtained. Even these, however, large as have been the imports of late, were insufficient to meet the progressive demand; and now additional supplies of rosin oil and mineral oils are coming forward, obtained either from coal or from asphalte and petroleum. The mineral oil springs in some of the States of America have turned out complete fortunes to the owners of the land, so cheap and abundant is the spontaneous supply from the wells sunk, and so easily is it purified. The vegetable oils, however, provide, and will long continue to do so, the bulk of the consumption.
The importation of the oil-seeds and oil-cake is a matter in which our readers necessarily take an interest, and therefore we may with propriety draw attention to the growing trade. Four years ago, when writing on this subject, we gave the statistics of the imports of seed and cake for a series of years ; but these, by comparison now, look exceedingly trivial. In 1855 our imports of linseed were but 757,000 qrs., and of
year the imports were 1,255,000 qrs. of linseed, and about 300,000 qrs. of rape seed. So with oil-cake: the foreign imports, which in 1855 were but 80,659 tons, rose in 1860 to upwards of 100,000 tons.