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senting great social eminence, and including individuals who compute their sirogle property by millions.
I have withheld this sketch of our corporation till our branch, acting under an Act of the Legislature passed therefor last winter, has completed its organization for a renewed and independent career, lest a suspicion might be excited that the sketch was colored to suit that object; and I am sore tempted to withhold it permanently, lest the new organization, judged by the record of its progenitor, suffer in some future contrast. Modern improvements have, however, remedied many of the hazards to which country banking was exposed. We formerly depended on casual stage-coach passengers, osten strangers, for transmission among their luggage of all our cash remittances to Albany and New-York. When any accidents, and they were frequent, delayed-unduly mail announcements that our packages had arrived safely, we have suffered paroxysms of anxiety which our uniform exemption from actual loss failed to modify, and which time scarcely terminated before they were renewed by a repetition of the unavoidable hazard. From the sparseness, too, of population, our borrowers resided remote from the bank, often hundreds of miles, without our personal knowledge of their habits or pecuniary solvency, rendering depredation on us by forgery and false representations without any means of certain prevention.
The first of January is, however, near, and our entire capital of five hundred thousand dollars will, on that day, be returned its owners on demand, with the benediction of Shakspeare's Prince Henry :
– There is your crown;
neither institution having a deferred debt or one of doubtful security or unmanageable magnitude ; nor has either had any such debt for many years. Indeed, the total losses of both offices during the nearly forty years of our administration are almost literally nothing; including forgeries, over-drafts, frauds, or accidents of any kind. Our suc. cess I attribute much to our rigid adherence to banking in its utmost simplicity, relying little on our wits and much on our industry; soliciting no business as a favor, and conferring no loans as a gratuity; not over-straining our discounts so as to endanger a resort to expensive shists in the procurement of funds, and not seduced to receive hazardous paper by any prospect of unusual gains.
'he return of capital to the stockholders will relieve you from all further connection with banking, and my active duties therein will be transferred to one more vigorous than I am, and better organized and educated than I ever was for its cares and requirements. Mohammedan nations possess a tradition that Solomon was blessed with a treasurer named Asaph, whose established vigilance repressed all attempts at imposition. When Asaph died, the Hebrew sovereign kept the event secret, and, causing the body to be stealthily embalmed, replaced it in the treasury, where it seemingly presided as usual and with continued success. My future position will partake somewhat of this character, and what I lack of the reputation of Asaph, I shall endeavor to make up in active supervision.
We, several years ago, inspected a bank whose cashier told us he had been an honest man till he became a bank
He would have better expressed his case by saying, he had been honest till tempted to dishonesty ; banking no way leading to dishonesty, except as the fairness of the forbidden fruit led to its violation. He subsequently wrote
me that our detection had saved him from suicide. We retire with happier feelings. I find nothing to regret, though, were the same duties to be re-enacted, I should relax more than was my wont from the stern requirements of abstract justice with dealers whose notions of mercantile punctuality were, as farmers, and followers of other uncommercial avocations, necessarily imperfect. You are, perhaps, more fortunate than I, even in this particular; though I suspect we both have, in our formation, a spice of impatience which our positions fostered rather than repressed. Uniform, also, ourselves, in health and pecuniary prosperity, we could not, perhaps, always allow sufficiently for the short-comings of physical debility and pecuniary mischances. Yet what we meted to others, we measured to ourselves. The corporate capital we in no instance employed to reward our friends or annoy our enemies, or to gain property or popularity for ourselves; but giving to our offices our whole time, and the whole energies of our minds, bodies, and feelings, we accepted therefor a fixed salary, in amount very moderate in the sight of all men. Finally, shielded by the great example which I am about to quote, we may, I fondly believe, on the surrender of our trusts, say to our stockholders and to the world, with reference to the pecuniary interests we have so long managed, as the prophet Samuel said on the termination of his greater duties : “ Whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken ? Whom have 1 defrauded, or of whom have I received any bribe to blind my eyes therewith ?" And the response must be as in the case of the prophet:
“ Thou hast not defrauded us nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken aught from any man's hand.”
Ontario Branch Bank, Ulica, June 1, 1855.
REVIEW OF "THE INTERNAL MANAGEMENT OF A COUNTRY
BANK."* Much of the present work appeared in detached parts, for the last three years, in the London Bankers' Magazine. The author has now re-arranged the subject into a more methodical series, and has greatly enlarged the original text. The letters profess to be written to a young man of twenty-six years of age, who has been recently promoted from a clerkship to the management of a branch bank, in a country town. We do not recollect that the mentor has stated anywhere his own station or position, but we may infer, from his knowledge and advice, that he is supposed to be an old banker, and occupying the higher station of General Manager, which seems to be a term applied in England to an independent, or (as we should say in America,) a mother bank, in contradistinction to a manager of a branch bank, and who is hence styled a Branch Manager.
An acute English philosopher, Godwin, has said that Locke wrote on the Human Understanding, not by reason that he possessed more knowledge on the subject than other men, but that he possessed more knowledge by reason of his having written thereon. We may apply the same remark to the present treatise on banking, and whatever may have been the author's stock of banking knowledge when he commenced his letters, he has at least instructed himself into a degree of proficiency that must make his services uncommonly valuable in the important station he is said to occupy in a city which is secondary in England to only London. Except for this resulting benefit to a didactic author, we might well doubt how far literary
* The Internal Management of a Country Bank. A series of letters on the function, and duties of a Branch Manager. By Thomas Bullion. 18mo., pp. 203. London.
occupation can be compatible with the absorbing duties of an active banker; but thus viewed and limited, we find that the two occupations aid rather than obstruct each other.
The author seems to have been governed by two distinct objects : to instruct a young banker in the duties of his profession, and to instruct commercial men how to deal with banks, so as to obtain the proper banking aids, which alone can result advantageously to themselves and to banks. In both these undertakings the author has been eminently successful. His instructions are given in language so plain, and in a style so lucid, that a single ambiguity cannot easily be found in the whole book; while the arrangements are so natural that a distinct understanding of the subject cannot be avoided by the most casual and hasty reader. The author has clearly understood what he has sought to impart, (an attaioment not universal,) and to this, probably, more than to any great elaboration, we may impute the success which has been attained.
Till reading this work we were not apprised of the great difference that exists between the modes of country banking in England and in this country; and we are inclined to think that the book can impart to us a knowledge of these differences, to a very interesting extent; and thus yield, to the American reader, a useful purpose wholly unexpected to the author, and unappreciable by an English reader, to whom the usages referred to are already known. And though our modes of business are greatly different from much that is detailed in the book, yet the prudential motives inculcated, with reference to English transactions, are all applicable to our transactions; and the human nature which the English banker has described, will assail the American banker in some modes essentially the same as it