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Of the select committee on the petition of Thomas Bristow and Lydia his wife, and William R. Bristow.
Mr. Cargill, from the select committee, to whom was referred the petition of Thomas Bristow and Lydia his wife, and William R. Bristow, praying for the passage of a law vesting in them the right and interest of the state in and to a certain lot of land in the village of Brooklyn, county of Kings, and in and to a certain tract of land situate in the town of Western, and county of Oneida, of 150% acres,
That they have had the same under consideration, and in which said petitioners state, that William Vernon, late of the city of NewYork, deceased, was a naturalized citizen of the United States, and died seised of a certain lot of land, situate in the village of Brooklyn, on Long-Island, at the north-west corner of High and Adams-streets, being about sixty-eight feet eleven inches on the easterly and westerly sides, and about sixty-five feet and eleven inches on the northerly and southerly sides; and also of a certain tract of land situate in the town of Western and county of Oneida, formerly belonging to Robert Brown, known as lot No. 4, containing 150% acres, or there. abouts: That at the time of the decease of said William Vernon, he had no heirs who were capable of holding lands within this state, they being incapacitated by reason of alienage : That said William Vernon repeatedly expressed his wish that his property should, af. ter his wife's death, go to said Lydia Bristow, a sister of said Wm. Vernon : That said William Vernon, on the 20th April, 1812, made his will, giving all his estate, real and personal, to his wife, Eliza
beth Vernon, who was an alien : That the said Elizabeth Vernon continued in the possession of the premises until her death, her said husband having died about January 1817: That said Elizabeth Wernon, on the 19th May last, made a certain power of attorney, whereby she empowered Richard Pennell, of the city of New-York, physician, to sell said premises and pay the proceeds thereof to said William R. Bristow : That said Elizabeth Vernon died in June last, before said Richard Pennell had done any act under said power, and that he has declined acting under said power, by reason of the alienage of the said Elizabeth Vernon : That the said William R. Bristow is a naturalized citizen of the United States, and that said Thomas Bristow and Lydia Bristow, wife of said Thomas, have duly declared their intentions of becoming such citizens, which they did in September last, and closing said petition with a request that an act may be passed granting and releasing to the said Lydia Bristow, or to said William R. Bristow, all the right and interest which the people of this state may have acquired in said premises, by reason of the alienage of the heirs at law of said William Vernon, or of the said Elizabeth Vernon and her heirs.
The committee are fully satisfied as to the truth of the facts so set forth in said petition, and are of opinion that the prayer of the petitioners ought to be granted, and have therefore prepared a bill and directed their chairman to ask leave to introduce the same,
Of the Bank Commissioners.
TO THE HONOURABLE THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW-YORK.
The Bank Commissioners, pursuant to the requirement of the “Act to create a fund for the benefit of the creditors of certain monied corporations, and for other purposes,”
That during the past year, they have performed the duties imposed upon them by law, in relation to the visitation and examination of the affairs of the several banking institutions subject to such visitation, and have received from the officers of those institutions, every desirable facility in the execution of those duties.
The promptness and cheerfulness with which those facilities have been uniformly afforded, have been highly gratifying to us, as it is now to make the acknowledgment due for them.
Our practice at these examinations has been to take a general statement of the affairs of the bank, verified by the oath of its officers, and by a further particular examination of the books, papers, money, &c. to satisfy ourselves of the accuracy of such statements.
As the solvency of a bank employing its capital in loans and discounts, always depends upon the safety of its debts, these have been the subject of frequent and particular examination. And although it cannot be expected that we should know the standing of most of [A. No. 59.] 1
the persons with whose names we meet, yet few large amounts are found against individuals of whom we have not some knowledge or
Of the general character of the debts, we judge from their magnitude—from their character as business or accommodation paper— from the number and distribution of indorsers—from the time they have been standing or continued by renewals—from the business or other connection of the parties with the principal officers or managers of the bank—and from the relation between the bank and those having the management of its concerns, as affording more or less security for a vigilant and faithful administration.
These and other circumstances, which will appear upon examination, with the information of the officers upon oath, and with what limited knowledge or information we may happen to possess of the pecuniary situation of individuals increasing as it will be by these examinations and other means, we apprehend will enable us ordinarily to form an opinion of the general character of the debts of the institutions subject to our visitations, sufficiently accurate to protect the fund, as well as the public, against losses arising from that Source.
Banks in the country, having their capital actually paid in, it is believed, will very rarely have a sufficiency of paper which can be affected by a sudden commercial embarrassment or individual misfortune, to such an extent as to jeopardize their eventual solvency, although temporary embarrassment may often result from such causes.
But a series of such losses—consequent sacrifices to sustain credit —and a continuance of dividends to cover embarrassments and prevent a depreciation of their stocks in the market, are the more probable causes of failure. Against these, however, under the present law, we think there will be no great difficulty in guarding.
The prohibition against making dividends while the capital is impaired to any extent, is admirably calculated to prevent a lingering disease of this description, and personal examinations are perhaps the only mode of enforcing the prohibition. It is valuable also to the stockholders as affording them the assurance that while dividends are continued, their capital is entire, and that they are not receiving back their principal under the name of profits.