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discount, therefore, is the interest which £240 would produce in 76 days, at 6 per cent. per annum ; and ($ 179) this we find to be £2 19 11.
When a bill arrives at maturity, the holder—that is, the person in whose possession it bappens to be at the time-applies to the acceptor, as a matter of course, for payment. In the event of his failing to obtain the amount, the holder at once takes the bill to a Notary Public,* by whom payment is again demanded on the same day, and who, if unsuccessful in his mission, protests the bill, by writing across the face of it-“Protested for non-payment." A written notification of the acceptor's default is next forwarded, without delay, to each of the indorsers, all of whom (the drawer included) are then bound_"jointly and severally"_to indemnify the holder. It is worthy of remark, however, that the indorsers would be released from all liability if the holder, in advising them of the nonacceptance of the bill, allowed any avoidable delay to occurif, for instance, he wrote by a certain post, when he could have written by the preceding post. The indorsers would also be · released from liability if the holder neglected to apply to the acceptor for payment on the very day on which the bill arrived at maturity. But such negligence on the holder's part would be no bar to subsequent proceedings against the acceptor.
When obliged to proceed against the indorsers for the recovery of the amount, (the acceptor having been found unable to pay,) the holder of a protested or dishonoured” bill naturally selects, in the first instance, the person whom he considers most solvent. Should the full amount be obtained from this indorser, all the earlier indorsers would then be bound to indemnify him ; but the later indorsers would be released from their liability.f
* The services of a Notary Public can be—and occasionally aredispensed with when the holder is himself prepared to prove that the bill was presented for payment at the proper time and place; but such proof is never required in the case of a bill which has passed through the hands of a Notary, whose noting is always accepted, in a court of law, as conclusive evidence on the point.
+ Such bills as we have hitherto been considering are called INLAND bills, in contradistinction to another class, known as FOREIGN bills. By a “foreign” bill is meant—a bill drawn in one country, and accepted in another; the drawer, for instance, residing in London, and the acceptor in Paris; or the drawer residing in New York, and the acceptor in Dublin. A foreign bill is always made payable to a third person-called the PAYEE-residing in the same country as the acceptor. Thus, when (in the language of mercantile people) Smyth of New York draws upon Taylor of Dublin, in favour of Robinson-also of Dublin, Smyth is the “ drawer;" Taylor, the “acceptor ;” and Robinson, the “payee.”
On account of the uncertainty and risk incidental to their transmis
Promissory Notes.-A written promise to pay money on a future day is sometimes in the form of a promissory note, which runs thus :
[Stamp.] £500 0 0
21st April, 1870. Three months after date, I promise to pay Mr. James Browne or order the sum of five hundred pounds sterling-for value received.
Jones (the debtor) would be called the maker of this promissory note, which would be quite as valuable to Browne as the bill of exchange referred to at page 201. In fact, the word “drawer” being omitted, and “maker substituted for ceptor,” all that has been said about a bill of exchange is equally applicable to a promissory note-the two documents differing only in form. Latterly, however, promissory notes have been falling into disuse.
Every bank-note is a promissory note-payable" on demand." In the case of a promissory note which is payable on demand, there are no days of grace.”
STOCKS AND SHARES. 186. Formerly, when more money was required for Imperial purposes than could, at the time, be raised in taxes, the necessary sum was borrowed, at a certain rate of interest, upon the security of the State. All the outstanding loans thus obtained, from time to time, constitute what is called the NATIONAL DEBT, which now exceeds £800,000,000.
Notwithstanding the largeness of this amount,-occasioned chiefly by the wars with France and America,—there was no National Debt, properly so called, until the reign of William III. Previously to that time, loans for short periods used
sion, foreign bills are usually drawn in sets of three each—the parts of a set being marked ist, 2nd, 3rd, respectively, and forwarded by different ships. The part which first reaches its destination then becomes the bill, and is payable a certain number of days “after sight”—that is, after presentation to, and acceptance by, the acceptor. (See EXCHANGE.]
occasionally to be raised by the Sovereign, upon the security of the Crown revenues--the earliest such loan on record being one raised by Richard I. to defray the expenses of his crusade to the Holy Land; but no debt of a NATIONAL character had been contracted until the year 1694, when Parliament bor. rowed the capital of the Bank of England, £1,200,000,* at 8 per cent., on the understanding that, so long as the interest continued to be regularly paid, the State should be bound to no particular time for repayment of the principal.
The National Debt had increased to in round numbers) £:52,000,000 at the Peace of Utrecht, in 1713; to £79,000,000 at the Peace of Aix La Chapelle, in 1743; to £133,000,000 at the Peace of Paris, in 1763; to £249,000,000 at the close of the American War, in 1783; and to £770,000,000 at the close of the great war which lasted from 1793 till 1815. Since 1815, the largest debt contracted—at any one time-was a sum of £20,000,000, borrowed in 1835-6, and paid to the plan. ters in the West Indies, as compensation for their losses consequent upon the abolition of slavery.
187. A person to whom the State owes any portion of the National Debt is said to be the holder of GOVERNMENT STOCK, or to have money in “The Funds.” Such a person receives interest at the rate of 5, 31, 3, or 2 per cent.--according to the kind of stock he holds.
The fact that there are different kinds of stock, bearing interest at different rates, is quite intelligible when we remember that the National Debt was not all contracted at the same time, and that the State was obliged—as private borrowers are obligedto offer a higher rate of interest at one time than at another. Occasionally, too, -when the state of the money-market renders the scheme feasible, -a quantity of "old" is converted into
new” stock, and the rate of interest lowered; the holders of the old stock receiving due notice of the contemplated conversion, and the amount of his claim being paid, in cash, to anybody dissatisfied with the terms offered by Government.*
* The capital of the Bank has since increased very considerablyGovernment holding, at present, some £ 11,000,000 of it.
† Here is a parallel case: C lends D £1,000, at 5 per cent., on the understanding that the principal can be returned whenever D pleases. After some time, money becomes more plentiful, and is to be had at 4 per cent. D, therefore, naturally gives notice that, from a certain day, he will pay only 4 per cent.; and C is obliged either to accept the lower rate or to take up the principal—D, in the latter case, borrowing (if necessary) £1,000 from some body else, at 4 per cent., in order to pay C.
At present, every 20 shillings raised in taxes are spent in this way :
d. Expenses of Army, Navy, &c.,
7 9 Civil Services,
4 Interest of National Debt,
8 So that we shall be very near the truth in saying that two-fifths of the amount realized by taxation—i.e., £2 out of every £5– go in payment of the interest of the National Debt.
188. Stock can, at any time, be converted into ready-money—the holders being at liberty to transfer their claims to others, and there being always a number of persons anxious to purchase such claims.
The price of stock, like the price of any thing else, is a matter of supply and demand:” stock is dear when the buyers are numerous, compared to the sellers; and vice versa. The value of stock, however, is peculiarly sensitive to political and other influences, and is even affected by mere rumoursoften circulated by unscrupulous speculators. A general panic -occasioned by the prospect of war, or by any other circumstance tending to diminish public confidence in the stability of the State-would at once lower the price; inasmuch as an unusually large quantity of stock would then be offered for sale, whilst the number of buyers would be unusually small. Other circumstances being the same, stock is cheap when trade is flourishing ; and vice versa : because, as a rule, capitalists do not purchase stock—which yields a comparatively small percentage--so long as trade is sufficiently brisk to enable thein to employ their money more profitably.
189. Stock is said to be “at” PAR when its actual and its nominal value are equal in amount; “above" PAR, or at a premium, when its actual exceeds its nominal value; and “below" PAR, or at a discount, when its actual is less than its nominal value.
AT par ;
Thus, when £100 of it would realize, in cash,
(6 BELOW par, or at 6 discount.
190. The stock most familiar to the general public is that which bears interest at 3 per cent. Of this stock-which, at a rough estimate, may be said to constitute seven-eighths of the National Debt-there are three varieties: (a) CONSOLIDATED Three-perCents—better known by the contracted name CONSOLS;* (6) REDUCED Three-per-Cents; and (c) NEW Three-per-Cents.
The first two varieties date from the year 1751, when (a) all the 3-per-cent. stocks previously kept separate were consoli. dated" into one; and (6) when, also, the higher rates of interest, theretofore paid upon other portions of the National Debt, were 6. reduced to 3 per cent. (c) The stock known as New” Three-per-Cents is of recent creation-dating from the year 1854.
191. Stockholderst are paid their DIVIDENDS--that is, their respective shares of the interest of the National Debt-half-yearly; but the dividend-days are different for different kinds of stock. For Consols, the dividend-days are-5th of January and 5th of July; for both Reduced Threes and New Threes—5th of April and 10th of October. I
So that if his money were invested- one-half, say, in Consols, and one-half in either Reduced Threesş or New Threes, a stockholder would receive his dividend in quarterly instalments.
192. In Great Britain, the dividends are paid at the Bank of England; in Ireland, at the Bank of Ireland—those Banks acting in the matter as Government agents, and being, of course, remunerated for their services.
* This stock is equal in amount to about one-half of the National Debt.
† The average number of stockholders is estimated at a quarter of a million (250,000).
| The dividends fall due upon those days, but are not payable until three days after.
ş Dealings in this stock, which amounts to upwards of £115,000,000, may be said to be confined to England.