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are soon to take part, if not as legisla- me, Alumni, the country will thank the tors, at least as freemen, in the govern- University more for the loyalty her inment of our common land. May the fluences shall foster, than for all the dignity and duty and exceeding privi- knowledge her schools may impart. lege of an American citizen be im- Learning is the costly ornament of pressed upon their minds by all the states, but patriotism is the life of a influences that rule this place! Trust nation.
SAINTLY Voice fell on my ear,
Out of the dewy atmosphere: -
Again The Voice fell on my ear,
Then there was Silence in my ear,
They fell and died upon my ear,
“Here ? Thou art here, Love!” _“I Am Here."
NE of the subjects which for some recourse to the treatises of Babbage,
time has commanded the public Park, Duer, Ellis, Angell, Bunyon, attention is that of Life Assurance: the Blayney, and other writers on insurmeans by which a man may, through ance. a moderate annual expenditure, make In the early history of insurance, obprovision for his family when death jection was continually made that it was shall have deprived them of his protec- of the nature of a wager, and consetion.
quently not only unlawful, but contra The number of companies organized bonos mores; yet the courts of law in for this purpose, their annual increase, England from the first drew a distincthe assiduity with which their agents tion between a wager and a contract press their respective claims, the books, founded on the principle of indemnity, pamphlets, and circulars which are dis- which principle runs through and unseminated, and the large space occu- derlies the whole subject of insurance. pied by their announcements in the is- Lord Mansfield denominated insurance sues of the press, all unite in creating “a contract upon speculation,” and it a spirit of inquiry on this interesting has universally been considered as a subject. We propose in this article to contract of indemnity against loss or submit a few statements, the collection damage arising from some uncertain of which has been greatly furthered by and future events.
Insurance may be defined generally insurance to ships only was extended to as "a contract by which one of the par- goods and houses ; and insurance as a ties binds himself to the other to pay contract of indemnity was subsequently him a sum of money, or otherwise in- extended to human life. demnify him, in the case of the happen- It is a singular fact that the subing of a fortuitous event provided for in ject of effecting insurance on lives was a general or special manner in the con- largely and excitingly discussed on the tract, in consideration of the sum of continent of Europe before it had atmoney which the latter party pays or tracted the slightest attention in Engbinds himself to pay"; or, in the words land ; yet at this day it prevails throughof an eminent English judge, “It is a out Great Britain, while upon the Concontract to protect men against uncer- tinent it is comparatively unknown; its tain events which in any wise may be operations there being chiefly confined a disadvantage to them."
to France, the Netherlands, Germany, The contract securing this indemnity and Denmark. is called a policy, from the Italian po- In Holland, as early as 1681, Van lizza d' assicurazione, or di sicurtà, Hadden and De Witt produced elabowhich signifies a memorandum in writ- rate works upon the subject, while no ing, or bill of security. The sum paid publication appeared in England until for the indemnity is called a premium, twenty years after. These writers were 'or price; the party taking upon himself followed by Struyck, in 1740, and by the risk being termed the underwriter, Kirseboon, in 1743; while Parcieux, fabecause his name is written at the bot- ther and son, St. Cyran, and Duvillard, tom of the policy, while the person pro- in France, with Euler, Suchmilch, and tected by the instrument is called the Wargentin, in Germany, were with great assured. Says one, “The premium paid ability pressing the subject upon the noby the latter and the peril assumed by tice of their countrymen. But these efthe former are two correlatives insep- forts led to no practical results, and it arable from each other, and the union was reserved for England at a later day constitutes the essence of the contract." to illustrate the principles of life as
Some writers, Mr. Babbage among surance, and enable the public to enjoy others, use the words “assurance" and extensively its privileges. "insurance” as having distinct mean- Policies of life assurance were isings; but with all underwriters at this sued in England before any companies day they are considered synonymous. were organized to prosecute the busiInsurance in the first instance was
Like marine policies, they were exclusively maritime, and great efforts subscribed by one or more individuals; have been made to prove its antiquity. and the first case we find is that of a Some have endeavored, by appeals to ship captain, in 1641, whose life had Livy, Suetonius, Ulpian, and Cicero, been insured by two persons who had to show that insurance was in use in become his bail. The policy was subancient Rome, and that it was invent- scribed by individual underwriters, and ed at Rhodes a thousand years before an able author observes that the case the Christian era; while others claim singularly illustrates the connection that it existed at Tyre, Carthage, Cor- which obably once existed between inth, Athens, and Alexandria.
life and maritime insurance, and shows There is little doubt, however, that it how naturally the latter may have sprung was first practised by the Lombards, and from the former. was introduced into England by a Lom- No business, with the exception, perbard colony, which in the thirteenth cen- haps, of the express system and of tury settled in London, and controlled photography, has grown in the United entirely the foreign trade of the king- States so rapidly as that of life assurdom. After the great fire in London, in ance. There is scarcely a State that 1666, the protection hitherto afforded by has not one or more companies organ
ized for the prosecution of this business. panies is, that they are required to pay There are six chartered under the laws the entire sum assured on the happenof Massachusetts, and twenty-six of ing of a single event, making the loss those organized in other States are a total one; but in fire and marine polidoing business in this Commonwealth. cies there is a distinction made between These companies had in force, Novem- total and partial loss. ber 1, 1865, 211,537 policies, assuring A clause is usually inserted declarthe sum of $ 563,396,862.30. In 1830 ing the policy void in case the assured the New York Life and Trust Company should fall in a duel, die by the hands of was the only life assurance company justice, or by his own hand, or while enin New York. At the close of the year gaged in the violation of any public law. 1865 there were eighteen companies An interesting case in point is reportchartered under the laws of that State. ed in the English books. On the 25th They had 101,780 policies in force, of November, 1824, Henry Fauntleroy, a assuring the sum of $ 289,846,316.50, celebrated banker in London, was exewhile their gross combined assets reach cuted for forgery. The Amicable Sothe sum of $ 32,296,832.03.
ciety of London, the first company esAn insurance upon life is defined as tablished in England, had written a pol“a contract by which the underwriter, icy on his life, upon which all the prefor a certain sum proportioned to the miums had been paid. The rules of the age, health, profession, and other cir- company declared that in such cases the cumstances of the person whose life policy was vitiated, but the clause was is the object of insurance, engages that not inserted in the instrument. The that person shall not die within the company resisted payment, but a detime limited in the policy; or if he do, cision was given sustaining the validity that he will pay a sum of money to of the contract, which was, however, rehim in whose favor the policy was versed, on an appeal being made to the granted."
House of Lords. A person desiring to effect an insur- This clause, declaring a policy void ance on his life usually procures from in case the assured commits suicide, the office in which he proposes to in- has given rise to much litigation. sure a blank form, containing a series Some companies use the word “suiof interrogatories, all of which must cide,” while others insert the words be answered in writing by the applicant. “shall die by his own hand”; but the To these answers must be appended courts of law in various adjudications the certificate of his usual medical at- have considered the expressions as tendant as to his present and general amounting to the same thing. The state of health, with a like certificate word “suicide" is not to be found in from an intimate personal friend. The any English author anterior to the reign party is then subjected to an examina- of Charles II. Lexicographers trace it tion by the medical examiner of the ' to the Latin word suicidum, though company, and, if the application is in that word does not appear in the older all respects satisfactory, a policy is is- Latin dictionaries. It is really derived sued.
from two Latin words, se and cædere, On the death of the party assured, - to slay one's self. The great comand due proof being made thereof, the mentator on English law, Sir William company must pay the full sum insured. Blackstone, defines suicide to be “the The time fixed for this payment varies act of designedly destroying one's own with different companies. Some agree life. To constitute suicide, the person to pay at thirty, some at sixty, and must be of years of discretion and of some at ninety days after the proofs of sound mind." death have been received and duly ap- In a case submitted to the Supreme proved.
Court of the State of New York, ChiefThe peculiarity of life assurance com- Justice Nelson settled the whole question. A life company resisted payment should, in the frenzy of delirium, put of the amount specified in their policy, an end to his existence, every principle on the ground that the assured had of equity demands that the faithful paycommitted suicide by drowning him- ments of years should not be lost to his self in the Hudson River. To this it family. was replied, that, when he so drowned Another important principle, which himself, he was of unsound mind, and has involved much discussion, is, that wholly unconscious of the act.
“the party insuring upon a life must Judge Nelson, after stating the ques- have an interest in the life insured.” tion to be whether the act of self-de- Great latitude has been given in the struction by a man in a fit of insanity construction of the law as to this point; can be deemed a death by his own the declaration of a real, subsisting inhand within the meaning of the policy, terest being all that is required by the decided that it could not be so consid- underwriters. In fact, the offices are ered. That the terms “commit suicide,” constantly taking insurances where the and “die by his own hand,” as used in- interest is upon a contingency which discriminately by different companies, may very shortly be determined, and express the same idea, and are so under- if the parties choose to continue the polstood by writers in this branch of law. icy, bona fide, after the interest ceases, That self-destruction by a man bereft they never meet with any difficulty in of reason can with no more propriety recovering So also offices frequently be ascribed to the act of his own hand, grant policies upon interests so slender than to the deadly instrument that may that, although it may be difficult to deny have been used for the purpose. That some kind of interest, it is such as a the drowning was no more the act of court of law would scarcely ecognize. the assured, in the sense of the law, This practice of paying upon policies than if he had been impelled by irresist without raising the question of interible physical power; and that the com- est is so general, that it has even been pany could be no more exempt from allowed in courts of law. payment, than if his death had been oc
The great advantages derived from casioned by any uncontrollable means. life assurance are proved by its rapid That suicide involved the deliberate progress, both in Great Britain and the termination of one's existence while in United States, after its principles had the full possession of the mental facul- once been fully explained. As already ties. That self-slaughter by an insane stated, the first society for the general man or a lunatic was not suicide within assurance of life was the Amicable, the meaning of the law.
founded in 1706; but, most unreasonThis opinion of Judge Nelson was ably, its rates of premium were made subsequently affirmed by the Court of uniform for all ages assured; nor was Appeals.
any fixed amount guaranteed in case of The whole current of legal decisions, death. Hence very little was done ; and the suggestions thrown out by learned it was not until 1780 that the business judges, and the growing opinion that of life assurance may be said to have no sane man would be guilty of self- fairly begun. Since then, companies slaughter, have induced several new have been formed from time to time, so companies to exclude this proviso from that at present there are in Great Brittheir policies, while many older ones ain some two hundred in active operahave revised their policies and eliminat- tion, and the amount assured upon life cd the obnoxious clause. It is not that is estimated at more than £ 200,000,000. any man contemplates the commission In America, the first life-assurance of suicide ; but every one feels that company open to all was the Pennsylif there should be laid upon him that vania, established in 1812. And though most fearful of all afflictions, insanity, many others, devoted in whole or in or if, when suffering from disease, he part to this object, were formed in the