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- PiTTL RATCLTFFF.'S ADVENTURES,

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A RAMBLERS JOTTINGS. ---

OUR "CITY" ARTICLE. ----1--

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OUR "CITY" ARTICLE. -1-- THE half-yearly meetings of our railway companies, at which directors have to give an account of their stewardship, occasionally throw a little light upon the management of railway affairs, and the ad- ministrative capacity of those who are entrusted with it. We cannot, as a whole, compliment our railway magnates upon the services which they render to their respective compaiii s, although we believe them to be highly honourable men, and to be actuated by just and worthy motives. By their deeds, however, men must be judged—so, at least, says the proverb; and we see no reason why we should ignore that dictum, on the present occasion. We must be just as well as generous, otherwise I our remarks will have little weight or influence. There is one thing that must strike even the most ordinary of reflective minds—namely, the fact that railway property, taken generally, pays the least amount of interest of any investment we have. Capital invested in our old roads even paid a higher amount of interest than the capital does in the majority of our railways; and as to other investments, be they water or gas-works, banking, insurance, or trading associations-in short, in whatever form capital combines to produce a pro- fitable result, they all leave railway investments far behind. The question naturally arises, How is this ? And we need not go far for an answer-Bad management. The fact is the railway system is based upon a wrong principle. It is completely changed from what it was intended to be. Railway companies were originally supposed to be merely the proprie- tors of a line of railway made for the benefit of the public, the latter having rights over the rail- way. These companies have now become traders and carriers, and contract debts, and have dealings, in just the same way, although upon a much larger scale, as ordinary traders and carriers do. Yet they are not subject to the same law as traders are, with regard to their borrowing powers; for when railway companies are "hard up," they have only to go to Parliament, which has hitherto readily granted them new powers to raise capital, though it cannot restrain them from exceeding those powers. This has been the bane of railway companies, for the facility of raising money has led many of them into injudicious expenditure upon lines which ought not to exist, or, if they ought, should have been postponed till the com- panies had realised sufficient capital to construct them without having recourse to a system of borrowing, which is sure to bring about its own ruin. The ordinary trader, however desirous he may be to enlarge his premises, or to extend his business, if he be a judicious man, will wait till his accumulated profits enable him to carry out his views; he will not allow himself to be ham- mered with almost unlimited liabilities in the shape if acceptances or debentures until the very in- erest upon these securities swamps all the profit e may derive from the whole of his undertakings. The whole question, both of the borrowing by ilil way companies in excess of their Parliamentary pwers, by means of an over-issue of debentures, ad also of the payment of contractors by Lloyd's bnds (acknowledgments of indebtedness for work one) bearing a certain rate of interest, and pyable within a limited period, was inquired into b a committee of the Lords in the sessions of 163 and 1864. It would appear that debentures as not only placed in peril, but, as there is no piority amongst securities of that class, a deben- tue which was perfectly valid when issued, might, inthe event of an over-issue, and if the issuing coipany being subsequently compelled to wind up itiaffairs, not having the means to satisfy all its crditors, and not being liable to be made bakrupt, turn out to be so much waste paper. Beides which, the holder of a Lloyd's bond might, I if lis claim were not satisfied, recover judgment aginst a company, and seize the rolling stock, &c which a debenture holder could not do so long .1 as lis interest was paid-his debenture being only redemable at the end, perhaps, of two, three, or fou years, at which time he might find that the holers of Lloyd's bonds had swept off everything tanible before his turn came. The Select Cormittee (Lords') reported in each session, and, amog other things, recommended, as the best mens of counteracting the evil, that the several railway companies should be required to make annal retarns of their borrowing powers and liablities, and that there should be a compulsory pubic registration of debentures. This bill pased the Lords, and was withdrawn on its being propsed for a second reading in the Commons, on acount of the lateness of the session, and the thre,tened opposition of the railway interest. An Acbf this sort would obviously be the means of giviig greater security to creditors, and would eve. strengthen the credit of companies who wised to deal fairly. These remarks necessarily lead to inquiries whih have recently been instituted as to the finaeial position of the Great Eastern Railway. At; recent meeting of the shareholders, the chair- rnaj of that company, after being taxed by Cap- tairJervis, a brother director, acknowledged that the; had far exceeded their borrowing powers, butargued that in doing so they had benefited the hareholders; for that it oftentimes happened they^ould borrow in a cheap market when money was lentiful, and so he provided for a period when money would be dear. He thought that credit rather than blame was due to the d-ectors on that ground, for if they criti- cised larrowly the accounts of other railway compaies, they would find that the Great Eastern was no in this respect poaching upon a manor that wr, untrodden by others. Thes remarks of the chairman have necessarily led to n inquiry into the affairs of other rail way compares; for it appears to the general public, as it wre for the first time, that, although a compatr is ordered by Act of Parliament to go so Thr and no farther, yet the breach of this orer is not a punishable offence. Con- sequent^, directors can keep shareholders in the darlas to their proceedings, whilst-, instead of paying igitimate dividends, they are impoverish- j ing_ the company by increasing their «ari giving false dividend,•s. It Los been said 6S»t: there is no Act of Parliament that a e four could not be driven through; and it wmtM. appear that those Acts which have recently ",@1e. into operation, apparently giving protectioa Co the shareholders, are absolutely futile. This exposure will necessarily lead to iWthssr investigations; and before Parliament vtmxm meets, doubtless, inquiries will be made in&ot&e management of every railway in the kingdom, aMsi in all probability a. more stringent Act will he ir- troduced next session which will more effeciuas^jr protect the shareholders. The aspect of affairs in the Money-majfcefc is favourable, though stocks and shares conSttae languid. The more settled aspect of the weathelt, and the influx of gold to the Bank, together wit& favourable exchanges, have caused eteaeiy purchases for investments, and, if these continue, business will be restored to a comparatively healthy condition. Consols for money were liwt quoted 89 J to i, and for the account, 89J to i.

.Money Market.

The Corn Trade.

Cattle Market.

The Produce Market. * '