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TESTIMONIALS. If the Index of contents now published were not sufficient evidence of what the Tork has been and is, we might remark that it has been highly commended to us, einung others, by the Hon. Henry Clay, Hon. J. C. Calhoun, Hon. J. Q. Adams, Tiun. Levi Woodbury, Hon. E. Burke, Patent office, Hon. Abbot Lawrence, Hon. Juel R. Poinsett, the most important chambers of Commerce, etc., etc. A host of Putters might be easily published, and notices from Journals of highest character; As the Union and Nalional Intelligencer, Courier and Enquirer, Charleston Courier, Ijercury, Palriot, and News, New York Courier and Enquirer; all the New Orleans apers and others throughout the country-Skinner's Farmers' Library, Hunt's Storharts' Magazine, Simmond's London Colonial Revici, etc., etc.
Improvements for the Fourth Volume. At the opening of a FOURTH VOLUME, it is well to state that there are many great and important improvements now in course of preparation, which must add greatly to the interest and value of the Review, some of which this sumber will evidence.
1. Regular monthly Summaries of American Commerce will be prepared by one of the ablest writers upon such subjects in the Union.
2. A similar European Correspondence is secured, and publications will be made. 3. No pains has been spared to obtain the pens of the ablest American writers for the work.
4. A series of papers will be published beginning with the present number, and extending through one or two years, from the pen of the editor and other collaborators upon
III. STATISTICS AND RESOURCES OF THE Great West, A regular series will also be published upon Silk, Wool, Hemp, and similar subjects of agriculture and manufactures. The first of the series appearing in our November or December Number upon Silk, being an elaborate and valuable paper, full even to details, from an able and practical pen, aided by all the statistics of the Patent office, and illustrated with numerous wood-cuts.' This Treatise will be invaluable.
5. A Department of American MERCANTILE BIOGRAPHY will be embraced, of teading characters taken from the Merchant Classes in every section of the Union, embellished with STEEL ENGRAVINGS, a feature to be first introduced by us in this country. These, in addition to the engravings we have already published, and icood-culs, greatly increase the expense of publication. Maps, etc., will, if possible, be introduced.
6. The typographical execution of the work, paper, binding, etc., will be of the most superior order, not excelled by that of any other publication. 7. The work will be enlarged, and will contain
Monthly, from 112 to 128 Pages, in Close Type, and annually be embraced within
TWO HANDSOME VOLUMES OF SIX HUNDRED PAGES BACH, This is an increase of size equal to one-third over previous numbers and volumes.
8. The work will be stereotyped, and issued regularly on the first of each month, and furnished to subscribers without delay, and in the most secure manner; greai improvements having taken place in the arrangement of our office.
The subscription price will be unchanged, but the greatest promptness in pay ments will be required from subscribers. We beg each of them to make use of this paper in acting as our friendly agent to increase the circulation. We would be glad to present our work with met charge, for one year, to any one who would procure three perma nent subscribers ud forward us the money in advance.
We have kept our promises in the past, as the Commercial Review will evince, and shan keep them in future.
We will be pardoned for extracting from the mass of notices in our possession two or three which happen at this instant to be at hand. It is better, however, that the work should speak for itself.
From Hunt's Merchants' Magazine. 6 De Bow's COMMERCIAL REVIEW for May contains much valuable matter of a Commercial and Miscellaneous character. It has reached its seventeenth Number, which is, in our opinion, the best of the series. Success to our name-sake.
"The No. for June and July opens with an elaborate and highly interesting paper, on the Romance of Louisiana History,'from the pen of the Hon. Charles Gayarre, Secretary of that State. There are also articles of value to the agricultural interests of the South, on the introduction of new products, as the vine, the cork, camphor, fax, etc.; and the cotton-worm, in its history, character, visitations, etc., forms the subject of another article. Dr. Hort, of New Orleans, has furnished a scientific analysis of Texas sagar soils. But the paper which has interested us the most, is that entitled “COMMERCE AND AGRICULTURE SUBJECTS OP UNIVERSITY INSTRUCTION,' from the pen of the accomplished editor of the Review, in which he submits the plan of a Professorship of Public Economy, Commeree, and Statistics for our Colleges and Universities. The plan has our hearty approval, and will, we trust, ere tong be adopted by some of our higher institutions. The article on "CHARLESTON AND ITS RESOURCES,' we shall endeavor to find room for in a future number of this Magazine."
From the New Orleans Commercial Times. " De Bow's COMMERCIAL REVIEW.—This able exponent of the position, exigencies, prospects, &c., of the trade and commerce, the agriculture and manufactures of the South and West, comes to us in its present issue in a double form, containing the June and July numbers under one cover. There are fifteen original articles, each of which has its particular merit. They treat of subjects embracing almost every interest connected with the development of Southern and Western prosperity, and we may add, indeed, in reference to the first article, of Southern and Western refinement. Article No. 5 is eminently deserving notice, as the matter brought forward in it is of a character that imperatively addresses itself to our most prominent interest. Shall not Commerce have a chair in the newly established University of Louisiana-Commerce, the all-in-all of our wealth? We concur with the editor, that without a Professorship of Statistics'-a science embracing such a variety of subjects, all united under the head of Indusiry, in its various applications, remote and near-the University will be comparatively a lifeless, inert mass, while 'STATISTICS' will strip it of its monkish dullness and passiveness, and invest it by its practical quality, with that vitality which shall be, and is, characteristic of our age and nation. The whole publi. cation, in its several departments, evinces talent and extraordinary industry.”
From the Concordia Intelligencer, of Louisiana. “ The great industry and ability with which this periodical has addressed itself to the wants and practical interests of the people of the South and West, have secured for ita high and established reputation, and many powerful and zealous friends among the most enlightened and productive classes in this and contiguous States. Already have many articles appeared in it which have been deemed of inestimable benefit to those engaged in Sugar and Cotton culture. Of some of these articles, it has been said by citizens of Louisiana, distinguished alike by their private excellence and public zeal, that each of them was worth the subscription price of twenty years to the work. Their value is not imaginary or prospective, but immediate and real, and comes home to the daily pursuits of the planter and merchant and all interested in increasing the wealth of the South-west.
“ The Review improves with every succeeding number. It has been greatly beautified in typographical execution and otherwise lately, and is now one of the most handsome monthly periodicals in the world, as well as decidedly the most practical, laborious and useful publication of the kind with which we are acquainted."
A splendid steel engraving of Stephen Girard accompanies the September No.--the first of a series of " Eminent Merchants.'
H. LONG & BROTHER,
32 Ann Street, New York.
INSURANCE is a contract of indemnity: it is the assumption, by an individual, or by a company of individuals, of those risks, which are inevitably incident to all human things, or of a certain portion of them only. The basis of the contract is the premium, or reward, to which the guarantor conceives himself entitled ; varying, of course, indefinitely with the nature and character of the adventure. The insurer assumes the risk-the insured or assured is indemnified against it. The various incidents of insurance, together with the general and local laws, applicable to it, will form the subject of our present article.
The idea of insurance carries us far back into nature. greater or less extent, in the workings of society, or of government, even the rudest men are everywhere responsible for each other, and participate, whether they will or not, in the consequences of actions and events induced by their agency; their negligence, their culpability, their guilt, or it may be, even their misfortune. The victims of events which occur without our agency, we learn to speculate upon them; and in the doctrine of chances, reduced to science, ultimately to hit upon the device of reaping gain, where we only appear to be braving loss. Games of hazard, of whatever nature they may be-and, indeed, where shall we cease to enumerate them ?belong to an age very early in the history of man. The weighing and balancing of possibilities and probabilities, and even of deducing a rule of action out of exceptions, are not the necessary effect of high mental endowment, and philosophical research. The process is carried on in the first dawnings of reason; and Black Hawk will know as much, practically, about it as Lord Bacon. It matters not when that which merchants and lawyers technically call insurance had its origin; the thing itself, in effect, and to an extent, must be considered very nearly coeval with the institution of society.
What would commerce, indeed, be now, without this great contract of indemnity against the perils of the deep? Regardless alike of polar snows, and equatorial suns, the mariner, with his precious merchandise, braves the tempests of old Ocean, and, in those fearful
conflicts of frail man with all-powerful Nature—when Heaven and Earth seem in conspiracy to involve in ruin the creatures of rash ad. venture, and “ instant death,” in ghastly images, upon every wave seems looming up-the timid, or, if one pleases it, even the bold merchant, is thrown no longer into the “ ague" of which Salerino, in the play speaks, with the wind cooling his broth,” or with the reflection,
" What harm a wind too great might do at sea.” It is a beautiful idea, that in this matter of insurance, somehow or other, it comes to pass, the more particularly, now that mutual systems are so much in vogue-of which systems, at another time, we shall have much to say—it is a beautiful idea, that, in every adventure, the whole community become co-partners, and win, or lose, by the chances which come up. The great New York merchant, Astor, cannot pass a ship load of cotton safely over the ocean, without adding a few mites, at the same time, to the treasury of the poor old widow, that has invested her every farthing in the company which guaranties his adventure.
Ouer expresses it, borrowing from the French jurists, we shall safely say, too, and heartily, Marine Insurance may be justly deemed one of the noblest creations of human genius. From a lofty height, it surveys and protects the commerce of the world. It scans the heavens and consults the seasons. It interrogates the ocean, regardless of its terrors, or caprices, defines its perils, and circumscribes its storms. It extends its care to every part of the habitable globe; studies the usages of every nation; explores every coast and every harbor. To the science of politics it directs a sleepless attention ; it enters the councils of monarchs; watches the deliberations of states men; weighs their motives, and penetrates their designs. Founding on these frail materials its skilful calculations, secure of the result, it then addresses the hesitating merchant: Dismiss your anxiety and fears; there are misfortunes that humanity may deplore, but cannot prevent, or alleviate. Such are not the disasters you dread to encounter. Trust in me, and they shall not reach you. Summon all your resources; put forth all your skill; and, with unfaltering courage, pursue your adventure. Succeed—your riches are enlarged; fail—they shall not be diminished. My wealth shall supply your loss. Rely on me, and, for your sake, at my bidding, the arm of your enemies shall be paralyzed, and the dangers of the ocean cease to exist. The merchant listens, obeys, and is rewarded.*
It has been thought remarkable that nations so accomplished as many of the ancients unquestionably were, and so admirably perfect in their legal systems, should yet, notwithstanding their commercial enterprise and maritime adventures, have left no satisfactory evidences behind of their having been at all acquainted with the princi. ples of insurance. With contracts of bottomry, or loans made upon the ship, of a peculiar nature, at a high premium, and payable only in the event of her reaching port, they were, indeed, acquainted, as there is abundant evidence in the pages of Justinian. These transactions were in great favor with the Roman nobles ; who, too proud and scornful themselves to engage personally in trade, were yet
. Duer on Insurance (1845), p. 55.
pleased enough in this way to invest their funds, on high usance with ihe merchants. This contract is the only one approximating to insurance which antiquity furnishes.
The fact can scarcely be credited by many, that in the extensive and perilous adventures of those days, the whole risk was thrown upon the shoulder of a single adventurer. They think the idea of insurance too simple and natural to admit of this ; for as the statute of Elizabeth expresses it, “ by means of policies of insurance, it cometh to pass, upon the loss or perishing of any ship, there followeth not the undoing of any man; but the loss lighteth rather easily upon many, than heavily upon few, and rather upon them that adventure not, than upon those that do adventure ; whereby all merchants, especially of the younger sort, are allowed to venture more willingly and more freely.” The reasoning is worthy of consideration, though not of any great weight. In the absence of positive testimony, it may be admitted; but then, how many other things are there, beside insurance, which are simple, natural, and, by this time, seeming absolutely necessary; and yet, the world passed through age after age, and age after age, even down to our own day, without dreaming of them. Insurance, as a system, we rather regard upon the whole, and in view of all the evidences, as a modern invention. That particular compacts, assimilating themselves to it, occurred in every age, is plausible. This is about all that can be said ; though the subject is important enough, and interesting enough, to deserve a detailed investigation.
The admirable treatise of Mr. Park, on Marine Insurance, written in 1796, concludes a discussion on the antiquity of the subject, with the remark: There are several reasons, applicable to all the ancient maritime powers, which seem to prove to demonstration, that insurances were not in use. We have seen that insurances are only introduced where commerce is widely extended. The commerce of the ancients, compared with modern times, could not have been very considerable; as it was chiefly confined to the Mediterranean, Ægean, and Euxine seas, to which they were compelled from necessity, more than from inclination. When we consider, in addition to the bad construction of their ships, that the ancients were utterly ignorant of that unerring guide, the mariner's compass—the honor of which was reserved for more modern times their commerce could not have been very great. These observations are introduced to show, that under such disadvantages and obstacles, it was impossible that insurances could be at all known to the ancient world."*
Mr. Marshall, another standard authority, and of later date, arrives at results very similar. “If the ancients," says he “were unacquainted with the contract, it was because their maritime commerce never attained the degree of greatness which rendered its protection necessary. History affords us no information from which we can form any conjecture, whether it was in use among the Phænicians, the Carthaginians, or the Greek Republics. As to the Romans, though the contract of bottomry, which is a species of insurance, was well understood among them, there is no mention of insurance in the Roman law; nor is there to be found in any book of tha.
* Park op Insurance, p. 17.