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has to be encountered by the English banker. An American banker, for instance, will not meet with approaches precisely like the following; but he will meet them in some other shape, in which they will be equally troublesome :
“ It may, as you state, be a trial to your feelings to have to refuse an advance to a gentleman of excellent family and disposition, with whom, probably, the previous day you have dined, and with whom you are in the habit of constant and friendly intercourse. But this is on the hypothesis that a banker is entitled to have feelings, which, however, the best authorities distinctly deny. Business is business,' they will tell you; and there is no more occasion for the exercise of the feelings' in declining to lend a gentleman money without security, than in declining to make a bet, or go a voyage, or make a tour with him, or anything else that is simply inconvenient. It may be an amiable weakness to think and act otherwise ; but if a bad debt, or a series of them, is to be the price of this amiability, the sooner your disposition is soured the better. I would remark, further, that the gentleman who places you in the unamiable position of having to refuse his cheque, is himself the aggressor. And, as by that act he shows no respect for your feelings, it does not appear upon what ground you are called upon to show any unusual tenderness for his."
We find, incidentally, that the absence of usury laws in England, on commercial paper, results in a banking difficulty, which is never experienced by us, where the rates of discount being established by law, no man expects a deviation therefrom, except under some peculiar circumstances. In England an agreement about the rate seems to be the rule of business, rather than the exception ;-it seems also
to afford a criterion whereby a banker is enabled to form a judgınent of the solvency of his dealer-for instance :
“The rates of discount levied latterly upon Barnes' bills were exorbitant, as compared with the prevailing rates of the day. I infer from that, that upon this point he had become indifferent—a deadly symptom of incipient insolvency. When the customer becomes regardless of the interest on his account, let the banker look well to the principal. No man doing a business which renders him largely dependent upon procuring discounts, can well become indifferent to the rates of discount, until he has reached that point when the question with him is not one of discount and cominission, but of mercantile existence. When a man asks you, therefore, in ordinary times, to discount certain bills for him, and to charge what you like,' be sure he is tempting you by a higher premium than ordinary, to a more than ordinary risk. I believe I entertain as hearty a dislike to the whole tribe of screws' as I have heard you frequently and vigorously express; but better endure à half-hour's huxtering over the discount on a good bill, than a whole year's remorse over the lost principal of a bad one."
The word "currency" seems to be used in England with a different meaning from that which it signifies here, where it ordinarily means the circulating medium of the country, -the money that will pass without a discount. In Eng. land it means the period which a bill has to run before it becomes payable--thus :
“I allude to the currency of bills. Now, wbatever the state of the money-market may be, a banker will prefer a short-dated bill to one of longer currency-and for obvious reasons. In the first place, the risk is less. In the ordinary course of things, more firms will give way in six months
than in three. I say it with respect; but there is always a better chance of the first house in England standing for three months than for six. In the next place, the banker could, for every bill at six months' date, discount two at three months' date within a given period; and so make his resources doubly available to his customers. If you have a certain sum that you can prudently lay out in discounts, and you select for this purpose bills not exceeding three months' currency, it is obvious that, at the expiration of the three months, you have the same amount to invest again; whereas, if you were to lock it up in the discount of six month's bills, double the space of time would elapse before you were in a position to repeat the operation. The result for the year would be, supposing your capital avail able for discounts to be £50,000, and that you invested it in the shorter-dated bills, that you would turn this capital over four times within the year; whereas, by selecting the longer-dated securities, you would turn it over twice only. In the one case, your discounts to parties would amount to £200,000 per annum; in the other, to only half that sum.”
Accommodation drafts are one of the dangers of English banking, as they are of American banking, and with the further disadvantage in England, that they appear to be taken there without endorsers more frequently than they are by our inland bankers. The shrewdness with which a practiced banker will detect them, amid all the disguises with which their true character is sought to be concealed, is thus portrayed :
• It is true that the instrument has the appearance of a bill. It is formally dated from Mr. Bowdler's place of residence, drawn at three months' date, and humorously accepted by David Starkey, payable at his banker's in London,-David, however, being as innocent of keeping a banker' in London as the banker thus honored is of the
faintest knowledge of Mr. David Starkey. I admit, then, that it has the appearance of a bill of exchange-just as a bad shilling has a spurious resemblance to a good ove. But do not hope to palm off such a document in the money market as a bill representing an actual business transaction, be it ever so dexterously 'got up.' Let it be drawn, if you will, for an amount much less than the stamp will cover, (a rare case with this class of bills). Instead of an even sum in pounds, let it be drawn for a sum in pounds, shillings and pence, (a case equally rare,)-let even the value received be an express one, (flour, bullocks, or malt, for example,) in a word, draw it as you will, it is still Bowdler on Starkey—Pig upon Bacon'—to the comprehension of the meanest capacity in the bill market. If you doubt this, and ever have occasion to send a batch of bills to your bro ker for discount, just try the experiment of inserting here and there, in the remittance, (quite promiscuously of course) a few choice bills of the Bowdler species; and they will be picked out with a certainty and cunning amounting to intuition, and either sent you back direct, or civilly set aside to wait your further instructions. There is as little hope of their escaping the detection of a practiced eye, as there is of one of her Majesty's light sovereigns passing muster at her Majesty's receipt of customs.”
The book abounds with excellent rules and pungent max. ims, for the conduct of a banker under every emergency, and for a right estimate of every species of business, and every kind of banking security; and were we to undertake to quote all that is interesting and useful, we could not quote less than the whole book. We, however, are particularly pleased with an incidental remark to the young banker, that he should “beware of the notion that what he chiefly owes to himself is an earnest seeking after salary.
It may and will come as an effect of good conduct, but it should never be the cause of our good conduct." This may be deemed somewhat transcendental, but we are certain it abounds in wisdom. When God asked Solomon to choose what should be given him, he did not ask for riches or long life, but simply for wisdom, that he might rule wisely. The wisdom which he thus obtained brought with it, as a ne. cessary consequence, both riches and long life ; and we may find continually in every department of life, that selfishness is more likely to defeat than to gain its end; and that the surest means of prosperity is a faithful fulfillment of our duties, and with as little direct selfishness as possible. We agree, therefore, entirely with our author when he says :
“In fulfilling the duties you owe to your clients, on the one hand, with undeviating fairness, and to your directors on the other, with invincible rectitude, you best fulfill the few duties you owe to yourself."
We also like the following:
“ And sometimes next in importance to a duty itself is the manner of its fulfillment. You will not invariably be the messenger of glad tidings from your directors to your clients; but an unpleasant communication need not be embittered in its effects by harshness in the mode of its delivery. You have to intimate, perhaps, to Mr. Smith, that the trifling accommodation applied for by that gentleman, and transmitted to the directors for approval, cannot be granted. The fact very probably is, that Mr. Smith is not Trustworthy for the advance, but there is no absolute necessity that you should tell him so. Without impugning his credit to his teeth, the refusal will be galling enough to a man of sanguine disposition—and of this description I should say are all who apply for impossible advances."