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104 Notes and Queries. [Jan.
whether or no the Hon. Major C. D. has been unjustly preferred
to Captain A. B. Commerce earwigs its representatives, and shows
itself in the results of the division : it was so in the present
instance. Secure in this power, its' organs of the press are mild
and argumentative. There is no occasion to fume or fret, for as
the commercial mind wills, so will the commercial measure be. It
is only when the trade of the country comes into opposition with
some other interest, as in the case of the corn laws, that we see the
excitement, the want of which our opponents call want of interest.
We have no doubt that, in the present question, there is nothing
left to overcome, except the inertia of the executive Government.
Should the proceedings of the Commission now appointed fail to
rouse Ministers to action, the division of next session will be more
effective. Members will not again be sent away by the dozen on
the faith of the declaration of a Government manager of debates,
that in all probability there will be no division.
NOTES AND QUEKIES.
The Question whether Profits are Capital or Interest. — Since the
recent decisions in the courts, it seems to be found necessary to make decla-
rations of bonus in somewhat guarded language. The resolutions of Com-
panies now run to the effect " that an increased dividend of : — per share
be added to the usual dividend of £ — 7- per share"; thus defining the cha-
racter of the addition. One would have thought that the mere fact of the
capital remaining the same after payment of a bonus must preclude the
notion that the one could be part of the other. If the capital were reduced
after such payment there would be some ground for the legal doubt.
Should not the Additions to a Policy, as well as the Sum Assured,
be charged with Extra Premium when Extra Risk is incurred? — It is
remarkable that this is done in very few Offices, even when the additions
are actually greater than the sum assured. There can be, of course, no
good reason for such a practice; the additions are made on the supposition
that the circumstances of the life involved will remain the same. If those
circumstances are altered, the Office should have compensation for the
additional risk incurred by the change, or it must be a loser to the extent
of the proper premium to meet it.
Comparative Value of Gold in different Countries. — Our readers have
no doubt often remarked in the daily papers statements oh this subject to
the following effect: —
1856.] Notes and Queries. 105
" The quotation of gold at Paris is about 4 per mille premium (according to the last
tariff) — which, at the English mint price of £3. 17s. \0\d. per ounce for standard gold,
gives an exchange of 25 - 27; and the exchange at Paris on London at short being 25*274,
it follows that gold is about the same price in Paris and London."
As the process by which this conclusion is arrived at is not very gene-
rally understood, and as the conclusion itself is somewhat inaccurately drawn,
we will endeavour to throw light upon the matter, especially as the way in
which it is usually treated by writers upon the subject is, for the most part,
very obscure and unintelligible to ordinary readers. When gold is said to
be dearer in one country than in another, it is evidently meant that more of
a certain commodity must be given for it in the one place than is required
for it in the other. In the instance before us, silver is the measure of value,
and hence we have to find what relation exists between the two metals in
the countries in question. Now in Paris one kilogram of fine gold (or
32*154 ounces) is valued, at par, at 3434*44 francs; or, at 4 per mille
premium, at 3448*18 francs; so that one ounce of fine gold at that pre-
mium costs 107*23 francs.
In this country the standard ounce of gold is valued at £3. 17s. 10^d.;
but as one twelfth of it is alloy, the ounce of fine gold is worth T x T th more,
making its real value in shillings and decimals of shillings 84*977. Mea-
sured in gold, then, 84*977 shillings must be equal in value to 107*23
francs; and hence one pound, or twenty shillings, is worth 25*25 francs
(not 25*27, as above stated). Now the answer to the question, whether
gold is dearer or cheaper in Paris than in London, must simply depend on
the quantity of pure silver in 25*25 francs being greater or less than that
in 20 shillings, and cannot in any way be connected with the rates of
exchange between the two countries. If the weight of pure silver in the
francs be the same as that in the shillings, it is clear that, measured in that
metal, gold is of the same value in each country, and that its comparative
dearness or cheapness at any time will in that case at once be seen by the
price at which it is quoted. As we have said, the conclusion arrived at in
the above statement is not accurately drawn. The investigation does not
determine the relative dearness or cheapness of gold, but rather what its
cost is when brought to London from Paris, as compared with its price in
the former place: the object being, apparently, to determine at given epochs
whether the importation of it be advantageous or otherwise.
Mr. Farren's Improved Methods of Life Contingency Calculation. —
There can be no doubt that the methods proposed by Mr. Farren are more
strictly adapted to the solution of questions connected with life contingencies
than any which have hitherto been devised; and unless some hindrance
arises on the score of the intractability of certain problems, or of the com-
plexity of the formulae, we may expect to see the present methods "more or
less superseded at no distant day. It is to be observed, however, that the
results obtained by the new processes will differ very immaterially from
those which the present ones afford— the former simply presenting more
refined means than those now used of determining the average quantity
amongst an infinite number of different ones. But although unimportant
in this respect, it must be admitted that the precision and elegance which
they appear calculated to introduce into actuarial investigations renders it
very desirable that progress should be made in their development. —
Ed. A. M.