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enjoyed by the Scotch banks; it is the basis of that undoubting confidence which the public repose in their stability.
In short, it may justly be stated, that the surplus wealth of England has been invested in the national debt, and that of Scotland in their banks.
The safeguard of the Scotch system of banking has been the uniform practice adopted of retaining a large portion of the capital and deposits invested in Government securities, capable of being converted into money at all times and under all circumstances.
This requires a sacrifice, because the rate of interest is small, and, in times of difficulty, the sale involves a loss. The failure of the Western Bank of Scotland was mainly attributed to the total neglect of this necessary precaution. Notwithstanding the above favorable view of Scotch banking, there is a dark side of the picture; it is impossible to shut one's eyes the lamenta quences which have, within the last few years, resulted from the bad management of some of the banking institutions in Scotland.
7. Among the most disastrous, if we except the late failure of the Western Bank of Scotland, were the exchange banks, institutions peculiar to Scotland, the paternity of which she has no reason to be proud of. Five of these exchange banks were established in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh; the total amount of their paid up capital and deposits reached nearly £2,000,000.
They were formed for the purpose of lending money on the security of shares in joint-stock companies-decidedly one of the worst description of securities for a bank to lend money upon. A manager of one of these banks gives the following description of the one with which he was connected:
"The great majority of depositors were persons incapable of working-maiden ladies, widows, and orphans, people incapable of making the most of their money for themselves; nay, most of them, either from their sex or their ignorance of business, hardly capable of judging when their money is safe. It is a very great pleasure to me to know that the establishment of exchange companies has been of great service to this class of persons. Hundreds, with moderate means, have had their comforts
increased, by the increased interest they thus derive from the money, on the produce of which they are obliged to live, and I rejoice to believe that thousands will yet enjoy similar benefits."
This glowing description of the success of the exchange banks was doomed to undergo a complete reverse, for the whole of them failed. What amount of capital was returned "to the widows and orphans, and to those who were incapable of knowing when their money was safe," we are unable to tell, but the losses and consequent distress were very great.
It is the custom in Edinburgh to exchange the notes of each bank every Thursday and Saturday, on a plan very similar to that of the London clearing-house, with the exception that the amount of the various balances are settled by the paying or receiving Exchequer bills of £1000 each, and the fractions by bank notes.
The aristocracy both of England and Ireland consider it beneath their dignity to be personally connected with or interested in banks or banking. In Scotland, on the contrary, it is the very reverse; for a few years ago the following noblemen were at the head of the banks in Scotland: Lord Dalhousie, Governor of the Bank of Scotland; Duke of Buccleuch, Governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland; Earl of Roseberry, Governor of the bank called the British Linen Company; Earl of Lauderdale, Governor of the Commercial Bank of Scotland; Duke of Roxburgh, Governor of the National Bank of Scotland, &c.
The situations of the governor and deputy-governor of the chartered banks in Scotland may be said to be purely honorary, although the holders of such positions have an opportunity, if they think fit, to make themselves. acquainted with the management of the bank, and to attend all meetings of the directors.
OF THE RIGHTS OF MARRIED WOMEN AS CUSTOMERS
IF a woman having a banking account marries, her husband is, as a general rule, entitled to have the account transferred to his own name; though, if he fails to do so, the balance in the banker's hands will continue to belong to the woman as against the executors of her husband, if she survives him. (See p. 10.)
But this rule does not apply to moneys which are the separate property of the wife. The moneys will be her separate property if they are either themselves settled, or are the proceeds of other property which is settled, to her sole and separate use. This separate use may arise either under a settlement made on the occasion of the marriage or after it, between the parties to it or by the will or gift of a third party through whom the wife obtains it.
In addition to the above modes of creating separate property, which have always existed, it is provided by Section 1 of the "Married Women's Property Act, 1870" (which Act does not extend to Scotland), that the earnings of any married woman, gained by her after the passing of the Act (9th August, 1870), in any occupation in which she is engaged separately from her husband, and also any property required by her through her literary, artistic or scientific skill, and all investments of such property, shall be deemed to be settled to her separate use, independent of any husband, and her own receipts shall be a valid discharge for them.
By Section 3 it is enacted that any married woman or woman about to be married may apply to the authorities of the Bank of England or of the Bank of Ireland, by a form to be provided by them, that any stocks or funds to which she is entitled, not being less than £20, may
be transferred to her name or intended name as a married woman entitled to her separate use, and, when they are so transferred, she is entitled to receive the dividends as if she were an unmarried woman. But if the investment consists of her husband's moneys, invested without his consent, the Courts will restore the property to him.
By Section 4 it is enacted that any married woman or woman about to be married may apply in writing to the directors of any incorporated or joint stock company that any fully paid up shares or any debenture or debenture stock, or any stock of such company, to the holding of which no liability is attached, and to which the applicant is entitled, may be registered in her name or intended name as a married woman entitled to her separate use; and when they are so registered she is entitled to the dividends and profits as if she were an unmarried woman. But in case the property is really her husband's, it will be restored to him.
By Section 5 a similar provision is made with reference to property in any industrial and provident society.
By Section 7 it is provided that a woman married after the passing of the Act, and becoming entitled during her marriage to any property as next of kin of an intestate, or to any property not exceeding £200 under any deed or will, shall be entitled to it (unless otherwise previously settled) to her separate use.
By Sec. 8 it is provided that where any freehold, copyhold, or customary hold property shall descend upon any married woman married after the passing of the Act as heiress or co-heiress of any intestate, the rents and profits shall (unless otherwise previously settled) belong to her for her separate use.
By Sec. 10 a married woman may effect a policy of insurance on the life of her husband for her separate use, and if this is expressed on the face of the policy the benefit is to be her own.
Inasmuch as bankers have always been subject to an extra risk and responsibility in dealing with their female customers, it has been thought desirable to collect together here these new additional sources, so to speak, of separate estate. And, as it would be impossible here to make suggestions which should