mate, " to see a man at this time o' day,
and just gaun to close his last account,
hae the use o' his faculties -just say
away, James." " Ay, an' ten shil-
lings for beef." "What a pleasant
thing to see a man bein' sensible to the
last ! ony mair ? " "An' a crown for a
cow's hide." "Ay," quoth the wife,
" sensible yet weel, Jamfcs, what was't
ye was gaun to say?" "Nae mair,
said James, " but I am ow'n Jock Tarn-
son two pounds in lalance o' a cow
and Hoot, toot ! " quoth the wife,
" he's a ravin' now he's just demented
dinna mind ony mair that he says."
Happy End to a Debt.
In the fall of 1847, a young man
went to New York in quest of employ-
ment. After weeks of unsuccessful
search, he found himself without a
prospect of work, and considerably
in debt for board. In despair, he made
arrangements to dispose of his clothes
by auction, in order to defray his flebts,
when a letter was sent him containing
a twenty-dollar bill, and directing him
to apply for the situation of card strip-
per, to the overseer of one of the corpo-
rations. The letter requested him to
sign a note of hand for the amount
loaned, and to place it in a certain un-
occupied box in the post office, where it
would be called for by the lender. The
young man did as directed, and receiv-
ed the situation, the overseer stating
COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS ANECDOTES.
that it had been secured for him at the
earnest solicitation of a young lady.
Years passed away, and all attempt to
discover his creditor was unavailing.
The young man prospered in business,
and at length plighted his affections to
an amiable young lady with whom he
had been acquainted. On the day be-
fore their marriage he received a letter
requesting him to call at a certain place
and pay the note of twenty dollars,
with interest, which he had signed
some years before. Anxious to settle
an indebtedness which from the myste-
ry of the whole affair had occasioned
many hours of unhappiness, he hasten-
ed to the place indicated, and was
ushered by the domestic into the par-
lor, where, to his astonishment he dis-
covered in the person of his unknown
benefactor, the lady with whom, upon
the next day, he was to unite his earth-
ly fortune. It was her first business
transaction, and the partnership which
followed was the long and happy one,
only dissolved when the last debt of all
the debt of nature had to be paid.
OuvrardL's Profitable Imprisonment.
OUVKARD, the great French contrac-
tor-general, refusing to pay a debt to
one of his creditors, was compelled to
undergo imprisonment a punishment
which he preferred to endure, rather
than pay the demand. He led a life
of princely expenditure in his prison,
and, among other instances of extrava-
gance, it is told of him that for the
purpose of adding a neighboring room
to his quarters, he paid the debt of the
prisoner who occupied it. One day,
when M. de Villele, the Finance Minis-
ter, was dining with him, the minister
urged Ouvrard to settle matters with
his creditor, representing the scandal
which his conduct reflected on the
Government which had so long retained
him as contractor-general. " Parbleu,
Monseigneur," replied Ouvrard, "you
speak very much at your ease. I am
here for five years, for five millions of
money; I gain, therefore, by my im-
prisonment, one million a year ; and if
you know of any speculation at once
more lucrative and sure, I ani not obsti-
nately wedded to this, observe. In
that case, I will pay to-morrow ! "
Paying a Balance.
AT the death of Sir Joseph Banks,
there was left at the apartments of the
Royal Society, at Somerset House, an
instrument called a balance, constructed
by Ramsden, and belonging to Sir
Joseph. The secretaries, accordingly,
wrote to his widow, stating that there
was a balance remaining in their hands,
and requesting to know her wishes as
to its disposal. " Pay into Coutts's,"
was her ladyship's reply.
Swan, the Millionnaire, in Prison more
than Twenty Years for Debt.
JAMES SWAN, an American merchant
of vast wealth, was committed to the
prison of St. Pelagie, in Paris, on the
28th of July, 1808, for a sum of six
hundred and twenty-five thousand six
hundred and forty francs, and repassed
the gates, for the first time, on their
opening to the Revolution on the 29th
of July, 1830, twenty-two years after-
ward. Mr. Swan,, though possessed of
a fortune amounting to nearly four mil-
lion francs, denied the justness of the
claim beyond the sum of six or seven
thousand francs, and determined to
spend his life in prison rather than
obey a judicial sentence which he con-
sidered unjust. Having first caused it
to be intimated to his wife and chil-
dren that he would disinherit them to
the last farthing of his property if they
paid the debt, he furnished his prison
apartment in a style of princely mag-
nificence, and hired, in the Rue de la
Cele, opposite the gates of St. Pelagie,
a spacious dwelling, with coach house
and stables, for his friends, cooks, etc.
THEIR LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ASPECTS.
For the former class he kept two car-
riages, and they were commissioned to
appear before him and spend his money
in the Bois-de-Boulogne, public streets
and promenades, balls and theatres. A
curious original was this James Swan.
He strutted and attitudinized in his
prison like Chodruc-Duclos in his rags ;
it was his method of flinging defiance
in the face of society. Consistent in
his determination, he was prepared to
return to his prison, after the events of
the " three days," when, on the 31st of
July, he was seized with apoplexy at
his temporary lodging, and consigned
to the closer and longer imprisonment
of the grave.
Lucrative Deed of Trust.
SOME years ago, a St. Louis merchant,
well known and highly respected, fail-
ed in business, and after settling up his
affairs, gave to his principal creditor a
deed of trust on certain real estate, to
secure the payment of twelve thousand
dollars. At the time, the property was
barely valued at that, so the creditor
put the deed in his safe, and there, so
far as he was concerned, the matter
ended. The merchant, broken down,
disappointed, poor, but yet enterpris-
ing, went South, visited California,
Mexico, and South America, specu-
lated, and, as is not uncommon with
such men, made half a dozen fortunes,
and lost them again. In the course of
years he returned to the city, sick,
travel worn, needy, and disheartened.
By chance he soon met his old lawyer,
a gentleman of high professional and
personal standing. After the first
greeting, the lawyer remarked :
" I am glad to see you back, and, as
you seem to be in want of funds, the
sale will be just in time."
The merchant looked hard at his
friend, and finally said : " Sale ! what
sale ? I've got nothing to sell."
" Nonsense, my dear fellow, you are
richer than you imagine. Don't you
remember the deed of trust I drew up
for you some twelve years ago ? "
" I do, what of it ? "
" Well, at that time the property
would not have realized the sum, so
it was ' let lie ; ' but it is now in the
market, and I expect to close a contract
for its sale this week."
" You amaze me ; what price do you
expect to get ? "
" I've asked eighty-six thousand dol-
lars, and shall get it, too. Your debt
and interest will amount to twenty-one
thousand dollars, or thereabouts, so
you'll have sixty-five thousand to go
The sensations of the benefited par-
ty may almost be personally shared by
those who read this story of his good
Dunning- as a Profession.
A GENTLEMAN from New York, who
had been in Boston for the purpose of
collecting some moneys due him in
that city, was about returning, when
he found that one bill or account for a
hundred dollars had been overlooked.
His landlord, who knew the debtor,
thought it a doubtful case ; but added,
that if it was collectable at all, a tall,
raw-boned Yankee, then dunning a
lodger in another part of the hall,
would " worry it out " of the man.
Calling him up, therefore, he intro-
duced him to the creditor, who showed
him the account.
"Wall, Square," said he, '"taint
much use o' tryin', I guess. I know
that critter. You might as well try to
squeeze ile out of Bunker Hill monu-
ment, as to c'lect a debt out of 1dm.
But <m?/how, Square, what'll you give,
sposin' I do try ? "
" Well, sir, the bill is one hundred
dollars. I'll give you yes, I'll give
you half, if you'll collect it."
"'Greed," replied the collector,
" there's no harm in tryiri 1 , any way."
Some weeks after, the collector
COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS ANECDOTES.
chanced to be in Boston, and in walk-
ing up Tremont street, encountered
Ms enterprising friend.
" Look o'here," said he, " Square, I
had considerable luck with that bill o'
yourn. You see I stuck to him like a
dog to a rat, but for the first week or
so 'twant no use not a bit. If he was
home, he was 'short,' if he wasn't
home, I couldn't get no satisfaction.
By and by, says I, after goin' sixteen
times, I'll fix you! says I. So I sat
down on the doorstep, and sat all day
and part of the evening, and I begun
early next day ; but about ten o'clock
he ' gin in.' He paid me my half, and
I gin him up the note 1 "
Stratagem to Collect a Debt.
FOUR creditors started from Boston
in the same train of cars, for the pur-
pose of attaching the property of a cer-
tain debtor in Farmington, Me. He
owed each one separately, and they
each were suspicious of the object of
the other, but dare not say a word
about it. So they rode, acquaintances
all, talking upon everything except
that which they had most at heart.
When they arrived at the depot at F.,
which was three miles from where the
debtor did his business, they found
nothing to " put 'em over the road,"
but a solitary cab, toward which they
all rushed. Three got in, and refused
admittance to the fourth, and the cab
started. The fourth ran after, and got
upon the outside with the driver. He
asked the driver if he wanted to sell
his horse. He replied that he did not
want to that he was not worth more
than fifty dollars, but he would not sell
him for that. He asked him if he
would take one hundred dollars for
him. " Yes," said Jehu. The ' fourth '
man quickly paid over the money, took
the reins, and backed the cab up to a
bank, slipped it from the harness, and
tipped it up so that the door could not
be readily opened, jumped upon the
horse's back and rode off 'lick-a-ty-
switch,' while the ' insiders ' were gaz-
ing out of the window, looking like
singed cats. He rode to a lawyer's, and
got a writ made and served, and his
debt secured, and got back to the ho-
tel just as the ' insiders ' came up puff-
ing and blowing. The cabman soon
bought back his horse for fifty dollars.
The ' sold ' men offered to pay that sum
if the fortunate one, who found proper-
ty sufficient to pay his debt, would not
' let on ' about the affair in Boston !
GILFERT was in the habit of borrow-
ing money from everybody, very little
of which was ever paid back ; but that
he always intended to return it at the
time promised, there is no doubt. He
was a visionary man, and he did not
make the best calculations in the
world. One day, meeting a friend in
the Bowery, the following conversation
took place :
"Ah," said Gilfert, "you are the
very man I wanted to see ; lend me
two hundred dollars."
" I would in a moment," replied his
friend, " but it is impossible. I have
a note to pay, and I don't know where
to get the money."
" A note," said Gilfert, " so have I.
Let me see your notice."
The gentleman produced it from his
" Well, how much are you short ? "
" About two hundred dollars," said
To his utter surprise Gilfert handed
him the money. " There," said he, " go
and pay your note. I'll let mine be
protested, as they can't be both taken
up. If your note laid over, it might
hurt your credit ; but with me it don't
matter, as I am used to that sort of
THEIR LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ASPECTS.
Nice Snare for a French Creditor.
A LAW formerly prevailed in France,
that if a debtor escaped, the keeper
became responsible for his debt. Of
course this arrangement rendered eva-
sion extremely difficult ; nevertheless,
to revenge some real or fancied injus-
tice, a singular trick was played by a
debtor, which greatly amused the Paris-
A certain Monsieur L., having con-
trived to escape, presented himself one
evening at the house of his astonished
creditor, with the salutation :
" You see, I am free. You may seize
me, certainly, and send me back to jail,
but I can never pay you ; whereas, if
you will give me money enough to es-
cape out of the country, you can claim
your debt of the keeper, who can."
The creditor, who does not seem to
have been very scrupulous, consented
to this arrangement, on the condition
that he himself saw Monsieur L. off by
the diligence, which having done, and
feeling himself safe, he on the follow-
ing morning knocked at the gate of
Clichy, and asked the keeper if he re-
" Certainly," said the functionary,
"you are the creditor of Monsieur
" Exactly," answered the creditor,
"and you are doubtless aware that
Monsieur L. has effected his escape,
and that you are now responsible to
me for the six thousand francs he owes
BiH instead of the face of dismay the
creditor expected, the officer began to
laugh, and assured him that Monsieur
L. was safe in his room, and should im-
mediately make his appearance, which
on being summoned, he did. The
prisoner thus had his joke and his few
hours of liberty, and the creditor his
disappointment which his dishonest
intentions upon the poor jailer well
Shopkeepers going to Law.
IT is stated as a remarkable fact, and
certainly not a very promising one, that
the shopkeepers in Paris, eighty thou-
sand in number, had in one year no
less than forty-six thousand lawsuits
before the Tribunal of Commerce alone,
to say nothing of any of the other tri-
bunals for the legal settlement of differ-
ences. Such a fact is altogether with'
out its parallel in any other city.
Singular Suit against Mr. Appleton,
TRUTH is surely stranger and more
romantic than fiction, as the following
will show. Samuel Appleton, one of
the most generous of Boston merchants,
was once sued, and only once, during
his long and vast career of business.
About the year 1820, a merchant tailor,
named Endicot, died, leaving a residue
of his estate to a Baptist society.
Among his papers was a note signed
by Samuel Appleton, and indorsed by
Ducoster & Marshall, for a few hundred
dollars. The committee of the society
called upon Mr. Appleton for payment.
The handwriting was so much like his,
that it was impossible to distinguish
one from the other ; but he refused to
pay it, declaring it to be, in spite of
the resemblance, a forgery. A suit was
brought on the note, which was, in
fact, outlawed but he would not,
however, allow any plea of this kind
to be made, but steadily denied the
As the indorsement was evidently
genuine, and no other person of the
same name was known, the whole mat-
ter was involved in mystery. This was
increased by the fact that he had had
dealings with the house of Ducoster &
Marshall, as appeared by his books,
though nothing was found in them
that confirmed this note. On the trial,
his brother was called as one of the
witnesses. He testified that he could
COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS ANECDOTES.
not distinguish the signature from Mr.
Appleton's handwriting ; but that, as
he himself had kept the books at the
time, and his brother's notes were al-
ways paid when due, and there was no
trace of such a note, it could not be
genuine. Notwithstanding this ad-
mitted resemblance of the handwriting,
and notwithstanding the charge of the
judge was regarded as rather against
the defendant, the jury found a verdict
in his favor. The verdict was founded
on the fact that the jury felt quite sure
that Mr. Appleton would not dispute
the payment of the note, except on the
certainty that he did not owe it.
Mr. Appleton, however, was not sat-
isfied to leave the matter here, if it were
possible to unravel the mystery. Some
years after, he was in Italy, and went to
Naples, where Mr. Degen then resided
the gentleman who was assignee of
Ducoster & Marshall, and had made
the indorsement in their behalf. His
first step on landing was, not to visit
any of the wonders of nature or art,
but to search out Mr. Degen, who, in
answer to his inquiries, stated that he
perfectly well recollected the circum-
stance of there being such a note, but
that the signer of the note was a ship-
master of the same name, who resided
in Portland, and who had. been dead
for some years. Besides his memory
of the event, he had at his country
house the books of the firm, and on ex-
amining them they were found to con-
firm entirely Mr. Appleton's convictions.
Longworth's Celebrated Fee.
MB. LONGWORTH, the celebrated Cin-
cinnati millionnaire, once received as a
legal fee from a fellow who was ac-
cused of horse stealing, and who had
nothing else to give, two second-hand
copper stills. The gentleman who had
them in possession refused, however, to
give them up, but proposed to Mr. L.
to give him a lot of thirty-three acres
on Western Eow in lieu of them, a pro-
posal which the latter, whose opinions
of the value of such property were
ahead of his time, gladly accepted.
This transaction alone, taking into view
the prodigious increase of real estate
in that city, would have formed the
basis of an immense fortune, the naked
ground being worth two millions of
dollars. This fact affords an example
of the facility with which comparative-
ly small amounts secured to Mr. Long-
worth the property which has since
become of such immense value.
Bankruptcy and Barbarism in Court.
A MIXTURE of romance and reality
was recently exhibited in the proceed-
ings of the Bankruptcy Court of Lon-
don in the case of Mr. Mark Boyd.
Amid dry details of certificates, as-
signees, dividends, and unsecured cred-
itors, there suddenly started up an ele-
ment at once romantic and ghastly.
A question was raised as to whether
the bankrupt's brother, Mr. Benjamin
Boyd, was alive or dead. This gentle-
man went on a yachting voyage to the
South Sea Islands, without being heard
of afterward. It was stated in reply,
that the fact of Mr. Boyd's death was
by no means proved ; for that a skull,
said to be his, and brought to London,
had been found to have sound and per-
fect teeth, whereas the unfortunate gen-
tleman ' wore ' artificial teeth, and there
were consequently still some grounds
for the belief that Mr. Benjamin Boyd
was not dead, but was a captive among
the natives. Could M. Sue hafe in-
vented anything more melodramatic
than this ? One brother haggarded by
misfortune, beset by ' men of tape and
quill ' in London, interrogated by ac-
countants, examined by commissioners ;
the other brother wandering, perhaps,
among antipodean savages, naked and
tattooed, or perhaps tomahawked, or
probably eaten ! And all this while
shrewd men of business bandy about
musty counting houses a grinning skull,
THEIR LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ASPECTS.
that merchants may speculate as to
whose flesh once covered the ghastly
Dealing- with a Bankrupt in Hamburg-
"Execution" on the Bourse.
THE following account of an occur-
rence which took place in Hamburg,
suggests the somewhat whimsical but
withal serious query, How would such
a course answer in any of our commer-
cial cities ? At noon (according to this
account), just as the Exchange, crowd-
ed with merchants, presented its busi-
est aspect, two drummers in the civic
uniform, came up and rolled their
drums for the space of ten minutes,
causing a great commotion both within
and out of the Bourse. While this was
going on, workmen were seen over the
principal gateway of the building, ele-
vating a black board, on which was
painted in white letters the name of a
merchant of the city who had lately
suspended payment and absconded with
all his assets. When the name had been
fairly set up, a bell called the ' shand
glocke,' or shame bell, only rung on
such occasions, was sounded for two
hours from a tower of the Bourse. This
penalty of disgrace, called the " execu-
tion of a fraudulent bankrupt," is or-
dained by a law which can be traced
to the fourteenth century, when the
Hanseatic league was at the height of
its greatness. At that period, however,
the bankrupt's patent of citizenship,
and his certificate as a merchant, were
also burnt by the hangman.
Bankrupts in Batavia.
IMMEDIATELY on a person becoming
bankrupt in Java, the name of the par-
ty is placarded about town and in the
Exchange, as if prima facie infamous.
The books are then examined by the
public officer for that purpose. If the
estate does not pay sixty per cent., and
the bankrupt can be proved to have
done business after he knew the fact,
he is put into prison as a criminal, for
a number of years, and declared
' aloost,' which signifies infamous, or
without character. After this, the
' aloost ' person is indeed excommuni-
cated. His word is not to be taken ;
he is not allowed to be a witness, even
on oath ; and if a man trusts him, he
does so on his own risk he has no le-
gal remedy against him. On the other
hand, if a man takes his books to the
public officer, and declares that he has
given up all he has, and it does not
appear that he has been doing business,
knowing he was a bankrupt, and after
a strict investigation there are no suspi-
cious circumstances, his creditors must
sign his papers.
Western Method of Collecting a Debt.
A ST. Louis merchant was on a col-
lecting tour through the western part
of Missouri. The boat on which he
embarked landed first at a small town,
and the merchant repaired to the house
of one of his debtors. On inquiring of
the good lady for her husband, she ex-
pressed her regret that he had just left
town, and would not, positively, be
back for a week. The merchant re-
gretted that very much, as he "had
some money " for her husband.
Lady : " You liave ? well really
let me see John, are you sure that
your father has gone ? go see perhaps
I'm mistaken run quick, and tell your
father, if you can find him, that a gen-
tleman is here who wishes to pay him
(The boy ran, full speed, for his
" I hope I am mistaken husband
was telling me this morning he expect-
ed some money from St. Louis. Money
is so scarce these days, and people are
so negligent in paying their debts:
Jane, bring the gentleman some water,
quick now stop, come here (in a
whisper, but audible to the merchant)
tell Sarah to bring some of those
COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS ANECDOTES.
largest and best apples, do you hear ?
now run, quick. When did you
leave St. Louis, sir ? "
" Last Monday was two "
(Running to the window) " There's
husband, as true as I'm born I really
was afraid he'd left."
(Husband enters, puffing and blow-
ing) " My dear G , I was so fear-
ful you had left."
(In an undertone) " I wish to heav-
en I had ! " (To the merchant) : " Ah,
Mr. , how are you ? "
"Very well pleasant day all well
hark ! the bell is ringing not much
time to talk I have a little business
(presents two or three bills) would be
very glad if you would settle them to-
"Ah! ah, yes, sir well, I don't
know Col. Wiston promised to be
here to-day, who owes me some bor-
rowed money hard times when will
you leave, probably ? "
(Bell rings again) "I must be off,
sir ; ' lift ' one of those notes, and I'll
wait for the rest; the bell is ringing,
and I must be off."
" Well, sir." (Aside to his wife)
" Why did you tell I was at home,
confound it ? "
The merchant receives five hundred
dollars, and bids the gentleman " good
morning," much pleased to pocket the
amount. The good wife quietly coun-
termanded her orders for * those lar-
gest and best apples," before he settled
with the husband.
Forgiving- a Debt and Giving: a Wife.
A SHOPKEEPER, who resided two or
three days' journey from Paris, pre-
served his good standing and credit for
many years. At last, by some persons
making undue purchases, and keeping
him too long out of his money, he was
obliged to proceed to Paris, to desire
two things of his creditors : one was