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brances that it may have." This decision appears
to us to be correct. The law provides that the
amount of the tax shall be based upon " the con-
sideration or value." In the case our correspond-
ent puts, the purchaser has paid $1,600 to the
owner of the equity of redemption, and he must
pay $8,400 more to insure retention of the land.
The real consideration or value is $1,000, and the
tax is to be levied upon that sum, at the rate of 30
cents for the first $500, and " for each additional
five hundred dollars or fractional part thereof in
excess of five hundred dollars, fifty cents."

Tax on Checks Drawn by a Bark Upon
Itself.

Several Philadelphia banks have been sending
out checks for dividends to stockholders here,
dated since July 1, without putting on revenue
stamps. These are cashiers 1 checks on their own
banks and marked for dividend. Do such checks
1 require stamps?

Reply.— The War-Revenue Act taxes all checks,
making no exception of those drawn by a bank
upon itself, and such checks, under the terms of
the law, are taxable. Under a former law taxing
checks in practically the same language as that
used in the statute now in force, it was held that
* checks drawn by a bank upon itself, for the pur-
pose of paying its own dividends, and the divi-
dends, coupons, or interest of other corporations,
aud issued, should be stamped."



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LEGAL DECISIONS.



681



The Tax on Foreign Bills of Exchange.

Since the new internal revenue law, to take
effect July 1 next, is not very explicit on this sub-
iect, will you kindly inform a subscriber what, if
any, stamps are necessary to be attached to bills
of exchange drawn against a balance we have in
England ?

Repiy.— A bill of exchange drawn in this
country on or after July 1, and payable in any
foreign country, if drawn singly or otherwise
than in a set of three or more, must pay, by
stamp, for a sum not exceeding $100, four cents,
and for each $100 or fractional part thereof in ex-
cess of $100, four cents. I f drawn in sets of two or
more, the rule is this : " For every bill of each set,
where the sum made payable shall not exceed
$100, or the equivalent thereof, in any foreign
currency in which such bill may be expressed,
according to the standard of value fixed by the
United States, two cents ; and for each $100 or
fractional part thereof in excess of $100, two
cents."



Taxation of Rent Receipts.

Tou have answered several inquiries regarding
the revenue tax on rent receipts, but thus far
have given no form which would be proper to
adopt, and htill not be taxable. Is the following
form taxable, and if so, in what respects should
it be corrected ?

New York, November 1st, 1888.

Received from Mr. Jones forty (40) dollars for
rent of flat in No. 1000 Broadway, for one month
ending December 1st, 1808.

Signed, .

If you will kindly advise as to the above the
same will be much appreciated by the writer, and
doubtless many of your other readers.

Reply.— A rent receipt is not taxable unless it
contains some of the terms of a contract of hiring,
so as to amount, if not to a formal lease or agree-
ment, at least to a ** memorandum, or contract
for the hire, use, or rent" of real estate. The
form proposed by our correspondent is free from
this objection, and a rent receipt in that form is
not taxable.



The Tax on Time Drafts.
Please let me know if it requires but two cents



on time drafts made on parties in the United
States, which carry no interest. The firm of
which I am a member makes a good many sales at
ten, fifteen, and thirty days, and we make drafts
on shipment at these dates; these drafts carry
no interest, and our construction of the law is
that they require only a two-cent stamp. The
president of one of our Norfolk banks is of the
opinion that there should be affixed to such drafts
a two-cent stamp for each $100 or fractional part
thereof.

Reply.— Time drafts (inland), bearing no in-
terest, are taxable under the new law at two
cents for each hundred dollars or fraction thereof.
This is the rate assessed upon inland bills of ex-
change, otherwise than at sight or on demand,
whether they draw interest or not. The question
of interest is of no importance in connection
with any paper named in that paragraph except
certificates of deposit.



The Tax on "Weighing Tickets."

A cotton buyer proposes to send in weighing
tickets with the amounts counted up, for pur-
chases from different persons during the day, to
be paid out of money to his credit, and at the
close of business each day to make his one check
for the aggregate amount. Is this legitimate or
an evasion of the law ?

Reply.— If weighing tickets come to a bank in
such form that they may properly be looked upon
as orders by the depositor for the payment of
money standing to his credit, and may safely be
paid as such, they would seem to be taxable under
that section of the law providing for the taxation
of checks and orders for the payment of money.
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has ruled
that " tickets received at a bank and paid the
same as checks are regarded as in effect orders
for the payment of money."



Repeal of the Previous Check-Stamp Act.

Will you kindly inform me if the law required
stamps on checks during the year 1882, also the
date on which this law was repealed ?

Reply.— There was a law during 1882 which re-
quired revenue stamps on checks. An Act of
March 8, 1*83. provided that " on and after the
first day of July. 1883, the stamp tax on bank
checks, drafts, orders, and vouchers " should cease
to exist.



Warehousemen.



Removal of Goods from Warehouse.

Some two years ago we imported merchandise
which we warehoused in one of several ware-
houses owned by a New York concern, with only
the usual arrangement as to charges, etc., nothing
having been said as to the length of time which
we were to leave the stuff. We are now given 60
days 1 notice to remove the goods, as the company
has decided to give up the warehouse. Are we
compelled to pay the cost of the removal of the
goods? When we place goods in store as re-
marked above, and pay receiving and storage
charges, would we be bound to pay removal
charges as outlined above, more particularly
when we are likely to place the goods in another
warehouse of the same company ?

Reply.— When the proprietor of a bonded



warehouse desires to discontinue his warehouse,
the goods stored therein must be removed at the
risk and expense of the proprietor; it is so pro-
vided by the statutes under which bonded ware-
houses are established and maintained. But the
rule is not the same with regard to an ordinary
warehouse. Here the contract alone governs,
and whenever the time has expired during which
the warehouseman has agreed to keep the goods
in store he may demand that they be removed by
the owner ; If the owner fails to remove them the
warehouseman may do so at the owner's risk and
expense. When, bs in our correspondent's case,
there is no agreement, express or implied, look-
ing to a definite term of storage, then the con-
tract is terminable at the will of either party.



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682



THE COMMERCIAL YEAR BOOK.



Id that » ase the warehouseman may at any time
elect to consider the agreement at an end, and
may demand that the owner of the goods shall
remove them at his own expense. The owner
then has a reasonable time in which to take bis
goods, and if they are still in the warehouse at
the expiration of such reasonable time, the ware-
houseman may remove them at th« expense of
the owner and store them elsewhere. That the
owner intends to place his goods in another store
belonging to the same warehouseman does not
affect the question.



Liability of a Warehouseman— Measure of

Damages.

A i ustomer of this office has stored with a cer-
tam warehouse and lighterage company some
merchandise. He instructs the warehouse and
lighterage company to transfer the merchandise
from one w arehouse to another, and in order to
do so it becomes necessary to transfer said mer-
chandise by lighter. A damage occurs by reason
of the merchandise falling overboard. Our cus-
tomer has no insurance, but looks to the ware-
house and lighterage company for reimburse-
ment on account or loss. The market value of
the merchandise at the time of the ace ident is 7H
cent 8 per pound. A day or two after, the market
value of the merchandise goes up to 9 cents per
pound. In the meantime no adjustment has been



made between the lighterage company and the
owner of the merchandise. It is supposed that
the insurance policies held by the lighterage com-
pany indemnify them only for the market value
of the merchandise on the day of the accident.
Our customer is willing to accept merchandise of
like quality in settlement of bis claim. Is be
under obligations to accept a settlement of his
claim on the basis of the market value of the mer-
chandise the day of the accident, or can he collect
from the lighterage company at the rate it would
cost him to replace the merchandise ?

Reply.— When a warehouseman becomes liable
for damage to goods arising merely from his
negligence, and not caused by any willful wrong-
doing on his part, the measuie of damages is the
market value of the goods at the time they were
damaged or lost, with interest from that time
to the date of payment. The theory of the law
is that it is the duty of the warehouseman to
repair the loss instantly. If he does not do so, he
may repair it at any subsequt nt time by paying
the amount which would have been required to
make good the loss at the time of the damage,
together with interest for the delay. A ware-
houseman is not an insurer of profits : and in the
case our correspondent puts, he cannot be held
for more than 7V$ cents per pound of merchandise
destroyed, with interest at 6 per cent, per annum.
from the date of loss.



Wills.



Execution and Attestation.

Please inform me what are the requirements for
a will in New York, and particularly as to the
requisite number of witnesses. Are the witnesses
required actually to witness the signature, or is
it sufficient that they be requested to sign as wit-
nesses by the testator? Are there any special
regulations as to married women ?

Keply.— The formalities required in the execu-
tibn and attestation of a will in this State are the
same in a case in which the testatrix is a married
woman as in any other case. They are as follows :
"1. It shall be subscribed by the testator at the
end of the will. 2. Such subscription shall be
made by the testator, in the presence of each of
the attesting witnesses, or shall be acknowledged
by him to nave been so made, to each of the
attesting witnesses. 3. The testator, at the time
of making such subscription, or at the time of
acknowledging the same, shall declare the instru-
ment so subscribed to be his last will and testa-
ment. 4. There shall be at least two attesting
witnesses, each of whom shall sign bis name as a
witness, at the end of the will, at the request of
the testator."



Mutual Will.

Can husband and wife own personal property,
say household furniture. Jointly, to. become the
absolute property oJ the survivor, and, if so,
how should the title be fixed ?

Reply.— If a husband and wife own property
which they wish the survivor to have, upon the
death of either, the simplest plan is for them to
Join in a mutual will devising the property recip-
rocally to each other. Then, when either of them
dies, the will may be proved as the will of that



person, and those portions by which the survivor
undertook to devise his interest will simply be-
come inoperative.



Will of a Married Woman.

A married woman dies, leaving personal prop-
erty and real ct-tate which, by will, she bequeathe
to a married daughter for her sole use and disposi-
tion, no other ton or daughter living, thereby
cutting off entirely her husband, who in great
part had accumulated such property ana had
placed it in bis wife's name. No estrangement
existed between hust and and wife, and the former
feels an injustice has been done him. The hus-
band has no suspicion of undue influence, and
desires to know if he can be legally cut off.

Reply.— Under the laws of this State a married
woman may, by will, cut off her husband from
all interest in the personal or real property left
by her. A provision in her will to this effect is
valid and will be upheld. Property accumulated
by a husband, and placed in his wife's name, be-
comes her property, Unless the husband can
prove that there was an understanding between
them by virtue of which she was to hold as
trustee for him and not as absolute owner.



Lapsing of Legacies.

I made a will several years ago, bequeathing to
my son a sum of money at my death, the balance
of my estate given to my wife. My son marries,
and the issue of that marriage is a daughter. My
son, one year after daughter is born, dies, and
two weeks later a son is born to his widow. Has
the grandson the same claim as the granddaugh-
ter, under ray will, share and share alike, and has
my son's widow any claim on said money be-
queathed to my son? I do not wish to make



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683



another will if I can help it, and want the sum
set apart in my will for my son <*ince deceased) to
go to his children, and none to go to bis widow.

Reply.— If our correspondent's will is not
chamted, the amount bequeathed by it to his son
will go in equal parts, upon the death of the tes-
tator, to such children of the son as may then be
alive. The general rule is that when a legatee or
devisee dies before the testator, the devise or
legacy lapses. But the statutes of this 8tate
make an exception to the rule, as follows:
" Whenever any estate, real or personal, shall be
devised or bequeathed to a child or other descend-
ant of the testator, and such legatee or devisee
shall die during the lifetime of the testator,
leaving a.child or other descendant who shall sur-
vive such testator, such devise or legacy shall not
lapse, but the property so devised or bequeathed
shall vtst in the surviving child or other descend-



ant of the legatee or devisee, as if such legatee
or devisee had survived the testator and had died
intestate/ 1 The surviving children, or dt-scend-
ant<*, in such a case, do not take through or by
way of representation of their deceased parent
or other intermediate ancestor, but they take as
new or substituted legatees or devisees, directly
from the testator. But even if they took in their
representative capacity, the son would share
equally with the daughter, in the present case.
This he would do under the statute which pro-
vides that ** descendants and next of kin of the
deceased, begotten before his death, but born
thereafter, shall take in the same manner as if
they had been born la the lifetime of the deceased,
and had survived him." The son and daughter of
the deceased son, in the case under consideration,
will take the property free of any claim on the
part of their father's widow or creditors.



Miscellaneous.



Duties on Goods Accidentally Destroyed.

If a fire should take place in a bonded ware-
house, and the goods therein be totally or partly
destroyed, have the custom-house authorities the
right 10 ask for any duty on said goods?

Reply. -If imported goods are damaged or de-
stroyed by fire or other like casualty while In the
custody of the Government, the Secretary of the
Treasury is authorized to rebate or refund the
duties, and he always does so. The provision is
contained in section 2084 U. S. Revised Statutes,
which is as follows : " The Secretary of the Treas-
ury is hereby authorized, upon production of
satisfactory proof to him of the actual injury or
destruction, in whole or in part, of any merchan-
dise, by accidental fire, or other casualty, while
the same remained in the custody of the officers
of the customs in any public or private ware-
house under bond, or in the appraisers' stores
undergoing appraisal, in pursuance of law or reg-
ulations of the Treasury Department, or while
in transportation under bond from the port of
entry to any other port in the United States, or
while in the custody of the officers of the cus-
toms and not in bond, or while within the limits
of any port of entry, and before the same have
been landed under the supervision of the officers
of the customs, to abate or refund, as the case
may be, out of any moneys in the Treasury not
otherwise appropriated, the amount of impost
duties paid or accruing thereupon ; and likewise
to cancel any warehouse bond or bonds, or enter
satisfaction thereon in whole or in part, as the
case may be."



Letters Addressed to Consignees.

Please let me know whether it is necessary to
put any stamps on consignees' letters by a steamer
which has no mail contract ?

Reply.— Letters relating wholly to the cargo of
a vessel, or to any part of it, addressed to the
consignees and carried by the vessel carrying the
cargo, may lawfully be carried and delivered with-
out passing through the Post-office and with-
out having stamps affixed to them. If the vessel



Is engaged in the domestic trade, the matter
covered by section 8085 U. S. Revised Statutes,
while section 4016 grants like permission to those
engaged in the foreign trade.



Exchange— Cost or Shipping Gold.

1. What is the usual range of fluctuations of
New York exchange in London ?

2. What rate of exchange usually obtains in
London on points elsewhere in Englaud ?

8. What is the cost of shipping gold between
New York and European ports?

Reply.— 1. During the year 1807 New York ex-
change on London ranged from 4.86*£ to 4.81H for
60-day bills, and from 4.88J4 to 4.84 for sight, and
London exchange on New York fluctuates in uni-
son with New York exchange on London.

2 The usual rate of exchange between London
and other places in England is from one-sixteenth
to one-eighth of 1 per cent, in favor of London.

3. The cost of shipping gold from New York to
London is about 2.7 cents per pound sterling,
made up of the following items:

Cents.

Freight 60

Insurance 80

Cooperage and cartage 05

London interest, days, 2 per cent .25

New York interest, day*, 6 per cent 75

Total expense, per £ 1.05

Bar gold at 78s. makes the premium 75

Total cost 2.70



Who Pays an Arbitrator's Fees?

In a case of arbitration, who pays the arbitra-
tors in atw>nce of any previous arrangement as
to payment for such service V

Reply.- In a case of arbitration, when there
has been no arrangement as to the payment of
the fees of the arbitrators, the«e fees, together
with the other costs of the proceeding, are to be
paid as the arbitrators themselves may direct.
Authority to arbitrate a dispute includes, as a
necessary incident, authority to assess the costs



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684



THE COMMERCIAL YEAR BOOK.



of the proceedings against either party, and this
authority need not be expressly conferred upon
the arbitrators. The soundness of this doctrine
is disputed in some States, but the courts of New
York have always enforced it. For a compara-
tively recent decision by our highest court, see
119 N. Y., 475.



Neutrality of the Suez Canal.

I enclose an extract from an editorial appear-
ing in a Norfolk paper relative to the Suez Canal.
Will you bo good enough to advise me whither or
not the statement therein contain* d te correct.
If the statement be correct, please st&te wnere
the convention of 1888 was held, what Towers were
represented therein, and what was the general
decision as to the subject.

Reply.— It is true, as the clipping enclosed by
our correspondent states, that " in 1888 a conven-
tion of the Powers controlling the Suez Canal
decided that ships of belligerents should be
allowed to pass through the waterway in time of
war." The convention containing this stipula-
tion was signed at Constantinople on October 29,
1888, by representatives of Great Britain, Austria-
Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, the Nether-
lands, Russia, Spain, and Turkey. Article 1 of
the convention is in these words: "The Suez
Maritime Canal shall always be free and open, in
time of war as in time of peace, to every vessel
of commerce or of war, without distinction of
flag/' Other articles stipulate that this free use
of the canal shall not be interfered with, and that
the canal shall not be subject to blockade ; that
no act of hostility shall be committed in the canal,
its ports of access, or within a radius of three
marine miles of those ports; that war vessels of
belligerents shall not take in stores in the canal
or its ports of access, except such as may be
strictly necessary; that their transit through the
canal must be effected with the least possible
delay ; that their stay at Port Said or in the road-
stead of Suez shall not exceed 24 hours, except in
case of distress, and in such case it shall not ex-
ceed the necessities of the case; that an interval
of 24 hours must always elapse between the sail-
ing of a belligerent ship from the port of access
and the departure of a ship belonging to the
hostile power; that the Towers shall not keep
war vessels in the waters Of the canal (including
Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes), but may
station Vessels of war in the ports of access, the
number of which shall not exceed two for each
Power, and the right not to be exercised by bel-
ligerents.



When an Illiterate is Bound by His Sig-
nature.

Please inform me what has been the ruling or
weight of opinion on the following question, if
possible citing authorities. To what extent is a
depositor of a bank, wbo sigus bis name to the
register assenting to the tv-laws, etc., a? d to any
changes therein that the bank may see fit to
make, bound by this assent, in the event that he
was unable to read or write?

REPLY.-The weight of authority in this coun-
try is to the effect that an illiterate person who
signs a contract without asking to have it read
or explained to him is bound by it if no fraud or
imposition was practiced upon him. Men who
can read sometimes sign documents which they
have not read. They are bound by such signa-
tures, because they could have read the docu-
ments if they had chosen to do so. An illiterate
man stands practically upon the same footing
before the law. He is not compelled to sign an
instrument which be does not understand, and
be may demand that it be read to bim before he
signs it. If it is read to him Incorrectly, he is not
bound by his signature; but if he signs without
asking to have it read at all, be cannot escape
unless he can show that the purport of the docu-
ment was misrepresented to him. See 108 Pa, St.,
594 ; 190 Mass., 259; 62 N. Y., 56, and cases cited in
those decisions.

Exclusion op Imports.

Has the President of the United States the right
to prevent the importation into this country of
German wines or woolens in order to retaliate
against Germany for Its late decree ?

Reply.— The President has such power as our
correspondent describes. It is conferred upon
him by section 6 of the Act of August 80, 1800,
which is as follows : ** Section 5. That whenever
the President shall be satisfied that unjust dis-
criminations are made by or under the authority
of any foreign State against the importation to
or sale in such foreign State of any product of the
United States, be may direct that such products
of such forefgn State so discriminating against
any product of the United States as he may deem
proper shall be excluded from importation to the
United States; and in such case he shall make
proclamation of bis direction in the premises, and
, therein name the time when such direction
I against importation shall take effect, and after
such date the importation of the articles named
' in such proclamation shall be unlawful. The
! President may at any time revoke, modify, ter-
minate, or renew any such direction as, in his
1 opinion, the public interest may require.*'



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INDEX



Information concerning: individual subjects should also be sought under general
classes, and vice versa.



Abyssinia :

— coinage. 876

— emperor, 522
Afghanistan : ameer, 622

Africa, 86-92. See also separate countries of Con-
tinent

— commerce with principal countries, 129, 180

— copper, 492

— debts, public, 148

— imports and exports, total, and per capita, 584

— — with principal countries,



Online LibraryWilliam Usborne MooreThe Commercial year book → online text (page 118 of 125)