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As for warning the officers of the latter as long they could have proceeded with their schemes of self-aggrandizement, we fear he might: as well have warned the wolf or the buzzard. Mr. White must not judge the motives of Mr. Wiuston by those of either Mr. Stevens or Mr. Walkley, except he wishes to give both the latter good reason to feel offended, and we entirely acquit him of any such intention.
But there is one other letter in the Courant of the above date from which we will extract a passage or two; we mean that of Mr. J. F. Burns, of the Phænix Mutual. No one understands the principles of Life Insurance better than Mr. Burns, and that he is capable of discus. sing them lucidly and well will be seen presently. After alluding in general terms to Winston's last contrivance, the Secretary of the Phænix Mutual proceeds :
"In a mutual company the entire members own it and every dollar of its assets as well as its surplus, and it must be apparent that no action should be taken by the managers of a mutual insurance company of a nature calculated to imperil the stability of the company, or to absorb its assets or surplus, without the consent fo at least a majority of the members, and so it comes to pass, that while the genera[ uninsured public may desire to become, on cheap terms, members of the company, and so partake of its advantages as to security, the policy-holders whose money has built it up may feel that wbatever be the merits or demerits of low rate plans of insurance, the surplus which is theirs should not be parcelled out for the benefit of the new comers. The course of the Mutual Life is one full of inconsistencies, and time would fail to even refer to them all ; but it may be well to glance at a couple of them. Just exactly two months before the announcement of the change of rates, in a circular issued to its policy-holders, it said: "The company will continue to guide its business in the future by the same principles and rules which a long experience has shown to be most conducive to the safety and best interests of its policyholders. It will issue policies of all approved descriptions and at its usual table rates. How long did it so continue ?
“If one point connected with insurance more than another has been kept prominent in the literature of the Mutual Life, it has been the claim that it has uniformly furnished insurance as low as safety would admit of. If we grant that it has, then why the necessity for a change at all? If a commodity is supplied to the public as low as it can safely be done, it cannot be cheaper ; but it is claimed that the new system will be cheaper than the old, and this leads to the subject of rates and
loading,' which means, briefly, that a certain amount is necessary to carry insurance on a single life because of the mortality at risk, and this amount is called the 'net rate,' and the "loading" is the amount added for expense, consisting of commission to agents, taxes, printing, salaries of officers, clerks, etc. ; and the claim of the Mutual Life is, that a loading' of ten per cent. to the net rate is sufficient for all expenses. Now, the older a company is and the larger its business, the less is, or should be, the ratio of its expenses. How has it been with the Mutual Life (this the largest of large companies) with reference to expenses? The total expenses during the last twenty-eight years shows an average of 16 1-5 to the total premium receipts; but it is a well-known fact that even the Mutual Life cannot procure new business on commissions less than 25 per cent., and the alarmed policy-holder knows that the difference between the ten per cent. calculated for and the actual amount paid must come out of the surplus fund of the company which he, in common with every other policy-holder, owns."
This, it will be admitted, is sound logic. Passing over only one paragraph, we make room for Mr. Barns's concluding remarks:
"The old and tried half credit plan of insurance will be the plan which will most successfully compete with the Mutual Life under the new arrangement, and the
• VOL. XXVI.—NO.LI.
Phænix Mutual Life has less to fear from the “low rate” crusade than any other company in Hartford. The old rates of the Mutual Life and the half note credit of the Phænix Mutual Life do not differ materially, and while the new members of the former will have to pay 78 per cent. of the old rates, a man can insure his life in the latter by paying the first year 50 per cent., with interest on the other 50 per cent. in the shape of note, so that he pays the first year 53 per cent. where the man insured in the Mutual Life pays 78, and in the Phænix Mutual the most which members have hitherto paid is 62 per cent. in cash, so that in point of fact the Phønix Mutual has offered in the past, and hopes to in the future, insurance cheaper than that now proposed by the Mutual Life. The question naturally arises here how the Phønix Mutal can supply insurance cheaper than the Mutual Life's proposed rates, do it safely and yet claim that the plan of the Mutual Life is unsafe! The reason is obvious. The notes given by members of the Phoenix Mutual Life form a guarantee fund, so to speak, and if not needed to be realized on can be returned in whole (as they had been hitherto) or in part, as the receipts of the company may dictate, and they can, in case of reverses by visitations of pestilence, or any other cause, be relied on to meet deficiencies. One principle in life insurance should not be lost sight of, and that is that if it be found that policies of insurance are issued at rates higher than is required for perfect safety, it is much easier, safer and pleasanter to return to the policy holder the surplus than to invent machinery to increase the premium if it should be found to be too low."
All the circumstances are now before our readers, and let them judge for themselves. Those so disposed may pass over the fact that for ten years past we, in every number of our journal, have been warning all interested in insurance against the peculiar "management" of the Mutual Lise. They may also accept the various cloaks worn by Mr. Winston, as righteous cloaks, and deny that he has brought any dis. grace on the Bible Society, or caused it to resemble the Tammany Ring in certain particulars. It is not necessary that any policy-holder should believe that the bully of the Bible Society is his protege and tool. There is ample testimony without all this. The policy. holders, themselves, have, at last, furnished abundance.
At the same time we do not pretend to think that those wishing to avail themselves of life insurance, to make provision for their surviving families, need be deterred from doing so by the perform ances of Winston and his satellites. All they require now, as in the past, is to exercise some discrimination, We have often tried to show how real worth in insurance can be distinguished from its mimic semblance, and it will be found, by all who examine them, that our tests still hold good. In the meantime we expect to see Mr. Winston appear very soon in the new rôle of a reformer. Already he has some strong claims to be considered a worthy disciple of even so illustrious a philanthropist and patriot as Reformer Green; for our insurance Mokanna is very much misrepresented if, he too, is not considerably guided in his payments to widows and orphans by the new principle in political economy, no puff no pay, except forced pay, and the greater the puff the greater the pay!
NATIONAL QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Art. 1.-1. Examen critique de la Histoire de la Géographie
du nouveau Continent. HUMBOLDT. Paris. 2. Ancient America in Notes on American Archæology. By
Jno. D. BALDWIN. New York. 3. Historical and Geographical Notes on the Earliest Dis
coveries in America, 1453-1530. By HENRY STEVENS,
G. M. B., M. A., etc. 1869. 4. Quatre Lettres sur le Mexique. Par M. Brasseur de Bour: BOURG. Paris. 1868.
“RECENTLY vast stores of material of American history have been brought to light. Old books and maps have turned up. Bibliography has become an exact science. Documents are scrutinized anew as they never were before. New historical books have been written, old ones revived, annotated, edited, and reproduced, to such an extent that half an American historian's labor, before he begins his narrative, consists in clearing away the rubbish of his predecessors, and in reconciling conflicting authorities."*
These remarks are applicable to the history of the old world as well as the new; but, in either case, the labors of the modern historian have as yet far from exhausted the existing known materials, and he may look forward to more labor with those which are likely to be added. The craving for true and exact history remains unsatisfied. History, of one kind or other, we have in abundance, and it is pouring forth from the press daily ; but when we find writers disputing over events which have occurred in their own time, we may be excused from placing implicit reliance on their statements respecting those events which occurred ages ago.
* Stevens' Notes, p. 8. VOL. XXVI.-NO. LII.
Nevertheless, considerable light has been thrown upon the early history of this continent by the researches of modern investigators. Conspicuous among the latter is the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, who has extracted from the ancient Mexican records an elaborate narrative of the rise and extension of the primitive communities and kingdoms of Central America—an outline of which was given in the National Quarterly some time back. * It is to be hoped that some equally learned and indefatigable investigator will do the same with the ancient Peruvian records, as M. de Bourbourg has done with the Mexican. And the remote history of the socalled Indian tribes of this continent is a field of inquiry as yet only partially investigated. It is true that the United States Government, many years ago, employed Dr. Henry R. Schoolcraft to make researches in this direction, but the result has certainly been inadequate, considering the time and labor which that gentleman devoted to the subject, although his reports fill six bulky folio volumes.
The explorations of European navigators prior to Columbus are another very interesting field of research as yet unexhausted ; but of late years some of the most eminent scientists have devoted considerable attention to it, and some very curious charts of the Atlantic coasts of this continent have been brought to general notice, fac-similes of which are given in Mr. Stevens' work. These specimens of medieval art are
* Successive Conquests and Races of Ancient Mexico. National Quarterly Review, No. XXXVI, March, 1869.
also interesting as showing the condition of geographical knowledge, generally, in those days. It has hitherto been too much the fashion to begin with Columbus in treating of the history of America, as though there had been no navigators before him. But it may be doubted whether he would have done what he did had it not been for the previous attempts and failures of others. At all events, it is beginning to be now generally recognized, that the discovery of this continent dates back to a very remote period-far beyond even that of the Northmen, who came over here from Iceland at the beginning of the eleventh century. Even from distant China, in ancient times, came rumors of the existence of a great country beyond the Pacific, and these must have reached Europe in the course of the centuries during which trafic was open between Seres* or Sinæ, the Ilindoos, the Arabs, and the Romans. It is known that the ancient Chinese recognized the American continent under the name of Fou Sang, a fact which has not been followed up, as regards Chinese intercourse therewith, as it might have been.t I closer examination of the Chinese records and literature might produce other allusions to this continent, and perhaps some intimations of communication with it. And if this be the case with China, à fortiori it is likely to be so with the records and literature of Japan, on account of the greater proximity of the latter country to our western shores, and also because it is possible for a ship to sail thence to any part of the American coast, east or west, without losing sight of land-a fact which we do not remember to have seen dwelt upon. If it be objected that there are six thousand miles of ocean between San Francisco and Yokohama, and that the ancient Japanese were not sufficiently skilful mariners to venture far to sea, out of sight of any landmark, we reply that they might cross over by taking the circuitous route of their own coasts to the Kurile Islands, and,
* Pliny speaks of the Seres and their silks. Lib. xxxiv. c. 14, and vi. c. 17.
+ But see De Guignes in the Mémoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions. Vol. xxviii. p. 503, and De Paravey's L'Amerique sous le nom de Pays de Fou Sang. Paris, 1844.