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tually agree to insure each other, and provide a common fund (by giving these premium notes) to indemnify in case of loss. As all have contributed to this fund, they have a community of interest in it; and each member having his proportionate share of the losses, is entitled to his proportionate share of the profits, if any are realized.” Thus, the court adds, “ when the assets of the company are inadequate to the payment of the losses of all its members, the effect of permitting a sufferer to set off his loss in full against his premium notes, (which are his contribution to the means of the company,) is not only to confer a benefit without making compensation, but to take from the shares of his associate sufferers in the common fund—to which fund he and they are ratably entitled.”
Tolls on Rail-Roads. The People of the State of New-York vs. The New York Central Rail-Road. It will be remembered that this action was brought a year or more ago by the Attorney-General to recover about five millions of dollars for past tolls, and to establish the liability of the defendants to pay tolls for an indefinite period hereafter. The case was tried at the Orange County Circuit, and resulted in the dismissal of the complaint. An appeal was then taken by the Attorney-General to the general term of the Supreme Court, which was elaborately argued at Poughkeepsie by Attorney-General Myers, for the plaintiff, and Messrs. PAIGE & Tremain, for the defendants, and now the unanimous decision of the court on this appeal has just been pronounced, affirming the judgment of dismissal rendered at the circuit. This mode, therefore, of replenishing the State Treasury, has thus far proved unsuccessful. The case will, however, be taken to the Court of Appeals, but we cannot believe that any
different conclusion can be reached by our court of last resort.
The facts upon which this claim is based are very simple. The defendants are a corporation formed under the act of April, 1853. Previous to their organization under this act, they existed (as is well known as several separate companies, each under its own charter. Part of these companies, by their charters, were required to pay tolls on all property transported by them, and others were required to pay toll only during canal navigation, and others not at all. The act of 1853, under which they were all consolidated, made the defendants subject to all the liabilities of the several companies, and also subject to the liabilities imposed by the general rail-road act of 1850, one section of which act required all corporations formed under it, and whose roads were parallel to and within thirty miles of any State canal, to pay tolls on freight. On the 10th of July, 1851, however, an act was passed abolishing tolls on railroads after December 31st, 1851, and repealing all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with that act. This provision the defendants set up as their defence to this action. The plaintiffs, on the contrary, insist that the act of 1851 was unconstitutional and void, because these tolls formed "part of the revenues of the State canals," and that by the constitution the legislature is prohibited from selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of the canals, or their freight or their revenue. The point, therefore, at issue is, whether or not this act of the legislature abolishing tolls is unconstitutional. Or, in other words, the plaintiff must make out, before
his claim can be considered established, first, that these rail-road tolls are a part of the “revenues of the State canals,” and second, that the constitution forbids the impairing of these revenues.
The Supreme Court has held, as we have said above, that this act of 1851 is not unconstitutional, and that the defendants, therefore, are not liable to pay tolls. The question now will have to be passed upon by the Court of Appeals, and hence we shall not produce here the opinion of the Supreme Court. We have had the pleasure of reading a very able argument on this question, by the Hon. Charles P. KIRKLAND, of New-York, who was a member of the convention which framed the constitution, and, therefore, particularly able to judge of the intention of that body in inserting those clauses upon which the argument of the plaintiffs' counsel is based. It seems to us that he has demonstrated very clearly that there is no foundation whatever for this claim ; that the words of the constitution will not grammatically admit of any such construction ; that the language used was well understood by the constitutional convention and the then State officers, (this is clearly shown by the documents called for by and presented to the convention,) as meaning simply the canal tolls and water-rents, and that the sentiment of the convention forming the constitution was absolutely opposed to the policy of tolling rail-roads, and that it could not, therefore, have intended to have fastened such a system forever on the State. We trust there will be no unnecessary delay in presenting this case to the Court of Appeals for its decision.
CHAINS BY MACHINERY.
In New-York a company has been organized with a capital stock of $1,000,000, for the purpose of manufacturing chains of every description, with machinery, the invention of G. G. Dennis, Esq., who has spent thirteen years in perfecting it, and has now sold his invention to two companies for the sum of $300,000. The New-York company proposes to locate their works, which will be 400 feet in length by 80 in breadth, at Bristol, R. I.
The machinery will be driven by three steam-engines, the largest of 200 horse-power, and will be capable of working up 1,000 tons of bar iron per month into chains of every size and description, from the heaviest cable down to the smallest dog chain.
Mr. Dennis has three different machines, adapted to the manufacture of small, medium and heavy chains; the largest will weigh about six tons, and will require the aid of only one man to turn out the heaviest cable chain. He has also got up improved machinery for making rings and shackles. It is not probably generally known that the immense amount of chains used in this country are nearly all imported. The persevering efforts of Mr. DENNIS to perfect machinery by which an article so extensively consumed here may be manufactured in this country in successful competition with the cheap hand labor of Europe, entitles him to much credit as a mechanical engineer.
COMMERCIAL PROGRESS IN EASTERN ASIA.
BY PERRY McDonouga Collins, Commercial Agent of the United States for the Amoor River.
I. Russian SETTLEMENT OF THE AMoor. II. STATISTICS or PRESENT COMMERCE AND NAVIGA
TION OF THE AMoor. III. MODES OF CONDUCTING COMMERCE BETWEEN THE AMOOR AND THE
At about the epoch of the accession of the present Manchoo dynasty (1642) over China, the hardy Russian exiles, gold-diggers and fur-hunters, led on, probably, by some daring Cossack, who had emigrated, either with or without his own consent, to the head waters of the Amoor, began to extend their hunting and fishing excursions, mixed, perhaps, with a little freebooting, along the shores of the Amoor to the east. Most probably the whole course of the Amoor to the sea was well known to these hardy pioneers, and that some trade was even had with the Kamchadales.
The boldness and audacity of these Nerchinsk hunters soon brought them into conflict, upon the southern shore of the Amoor, with the constituted authorities of the Manchoos; for their appropriating propensities did not always allow them to distinguish, with the precaution of good neighbors, between the absolutely wild herds of deer and elk and the half-wild herds of cattle, horses and camels of their Manchoo neighbors. Serious conflicts soon took place, and complaints were made to the supreme authority of China against the marauding Runnians. The progress of these free hunters of the Nerchinsk was, however, ko rapid and no successful, that fortified camps or towns began to be established upon the north shore of the Amoor, several hundred miles in avance of imperial Russian title to the soil.
Escaped convicts, desperate and hardy adventurers, with the riff rafl of a convict, Cossack and mining population, joined heartily in the for. tunes of these new and distant settlements, where Rumian power and law for the punishment of crime had not yet reached,
The Russian government unguestionably sympathized with these enter prises on the high-road to the Pacific, and was willing enough to let them go on, watching its own opportunity to make them logitimate,
CAM-hi a Manchoo, coining to the throne of China about this time, saw plainly enough, that if the Rumjans were not promptly portrained but little of the saat territory of the Amor would reinnin w China, llo accordingly set on forest at expanditim to drive the human frn their comfortasse quaren at Altrain, which was the chovat point of Borusun strenih
Tbé Alar123, $:ding they were to have urime troubla, pushun a wody :-* * *by rzutind Chinese, true, numired us the Borevan actbortiva y Norte, the ex24.p., A Yerunku, tkm Voq***, Vi had met 's 34 20.30 h. the way w Aunty must ja
VOL XLT-39. IT,
sions, together with themselves, on condition of receiving aid to repel the expected Chinese troops—the Russian government granting a full and free pardon to all of her subjects found upon the Amoor who had taken a hasty leave of absence on their own authority.
The two governments were thus soon brought into armed conflict, but CAM-hi's soldiers were too numerous on the Amoor; Albasin capitulated, the Russians retired within their stipulated borders, and the Chinese power
ruled supreme on the whole line of the Amoor to the sea; and not long afterwards Chinese embassadors, escorted by a numerous and well-appointed army, with a train of artillery, presented themselves before the gates of Nerchinsk, and constrained Golovin, the Russian embassador, to conclude a treaty, by which Russia abandoned all claims to the Amoor country, or navigation upon its waters. Since that day, 27th August, 1689, up to about 1853–4, the commerce and military operations of Russia to the east, towards the shores and coasts of the Ohotsk, Kamschatka and her American possessions, have been conducted by an immense detour to the north, by way of Yakutsk to Ohotsk or Ayan, and thence distributed, the furs returning to Kyachta and St. Petersburg over the same road. Thus for near two centuries has Russia awaited patiently the development of her power and the right opportunity to seize upon
the Amoor and hold it. Up to the close of 1860 we have reliable information of the following steamers and steamships either navigating or preparing to navigate the Amoor and its approaches : AMERICA, MANCHOOR, JAPANESE, seagoing, built in the United States; two river steamers, LENA and Amoor, constructed in Philadelphia, iron, shipped and set up at the Amoor; one on private account, at Boston, and two at San Francisco. The Russian government built two at Shilka, over two thousand two hundred miles by the course of the Amoor and Shilka rivers from the sea, and steained them to the Straits of Tartary. The Russian government has also partly organized a force of ten small courier or mail steamers, which are to keep up postal and military communication along the whole course of the Amoor, Shilka and Ingodah rivers, and connect with the Chinese and Siberian system of overland communication at Irkoutsk.
The Amoor Company (Russian) have had constructed in Europe one steamer, sea-going, and five river steamers. The Russian American Company has two sea-going steamers which visit the Amoor where the headquarters of the company for the Pacific is now located.
From the fact that Nicolivsky, the port of the Amoor, is a military post, and not a commercial port, under custom-house regulations, no exact return of merchandise entered can be given. The papers, manifest and bills of lading of vessels are handed over to the captain of the port, and by him retained until they sail. There being no custom-house, or duties, the value of cargoes stated cannot be relied upon, because it is the policy of merchants frequenting the Amoor to conceal as much as possible from rivals the nature and extent of cargoes taken there for sale,
In 1856, first year of foreign intercourse, only two foreign ships entered the Amoor—both American. In 1857 seven merchant ships arrived in the Amoor, with cargoes amounting to 500,000 silver roubles. In 1858 four ships entered with 805 tons freight for government, and merchandise amounting to 174,650 silver roubles, including 72,444 roubles in
value of Russian production. In 1859 thirteen foreign merchant ships arrived at the Amoor. The total traffic from foreign countries and from the upper Amoor, amounted to 1,090,714 silver roubles; at Nicolawsky, from the upper Amoor, 140,114 silver roubles, while the total import and export amounted to 1,230,829 silver roubles.
The port of Nicolivsky has 2,183 male and 369 female inhabitants. There were forty-nine government houses and two hundred private residences, besides twenty-seven government houses uninhabited. There were twelve stores, of which five were American, making in all two hundred and eighty-eight houses.
Among the inhabitants were 1,518 military, of all grades, with their wives and attachés.
In 1859 there were seven foreign merchants, five of whom were Americans.
In 1860 the amount of merchandise received was greater than the previous year, though the sales, owing to temporary causes, had not been so profitable. One American house had withdrawn, but three others had been added. One of the Amoor Company's steamers had ascended the Amoor, but to what point it is not stated.
The number of vessels entered is not stated, but supposed to be ten to fifteen.
Again, in regard to the commerce to the Amoor in American bottoms, we can get no returns of clearances from American ports, because, with but two or three exceptions, vessels intended for the Amoor have cleared for “ports in the Pacific,” consequently, the true returns are not to be had.
In the figures given above we have only a partial statement of the actual value of commerce at the Amoor. The great probability is that the transactions of the government in the purchase of machinery, naval stores and provisions, nor the commerce of the Russian-American Company, are included. During 1856 and 1857 fully 700 barges and rafts descended the Amoor from the Trans-Baikal province of Caston Siberia, freighted with munitions, provisions, merchandise and live-stock. The most of them for government account, but the Russian-American Company and private parties had some share in the expedition.
The Amoor is formed by the junction of the Schilka and Argoon, in 121° 40' E. L., and 53° 30' N. L., and, after a very tortuous course of two thousand miles, falls into the Straits of Tartary, in about 140° E. L., 53° N: L. The Amoor is navigable for steamers its whole length.
The winter is severe, but not much more so than Moscow, or in equal degrees of latitude on the Volga. The natural floral and cultivated productions of the country indicate a good grain, fruit and grass country, being also well adapted to the rearing of flocks and herds. The province of Trans-Baikal
, (Eastern Siberia,) which lies in part upon the head-waters of the Amoor, viz., the Schilka and Argoon, contains a population of 340,000, and is the chief source in Eastern Siberia from whence the Russian government procures its silver; the mines are rich and extensive. These mines are, however, worked only by the
government, but it is reported that they are soon to be opened to the public.
The Amoor is free from ice, and navigable from May to November.. which will compare favorably with the navigable season at St. Petersburg.