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Author: 



Insurance Company of 
North America 

Title: 

Episodes of history in the 
stories of the... 

Place: 

[Chicago] 

Date: 

1916 



MASTER NEGATIVE « 



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Insurance company of Nortii America. 

Episodes of history in the stories of the United States 
and the Insurance company of North America as bound 
up together in national achievement, 1792-1917, commem- 
orating the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of 
the formation of **the president and directors of the In- 
surance company of North America," December 10, 1792. 
[Chicago] Priv. print. [R. R. Donnelley & sons company] 
1916. 



96 p. 20J-. 



(Continued on next card) 



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Episodes of 



Insurance company of North America. 

history ... 1916. (Card 2) 

Contents. — The organization, 1792-1793. — Early developments, 1794- 
1799. — Expansion and permanence, 1800-1816. — Era of nation building, 
1817-1841.— The era of gold and wars, 1842-1866.— Recuperation and prog- 
ress, 1867-1891.— Into the twentieth century, 1892-1916.— Personality in 
achievement. — Stabilizer of nations: in.*iurance. 



l.Jhisurance company of North America. i^itle. 

Library of Congress HG9780.1 5A5 

Copy 2. 

Copyright A 445512 



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EPISODES OF 
HISTORY 



In the Stories 

of the United States 

and the Insurance Company 

of North America 

as Bound up Together 

in National 

Achieve??ient 



1792-1917 



SCHOOL 0? 

BUSINESS 



Commemorating the 

One Hundred and Twenty-fifth 

Anniversary of the formation of 

*'The President and Directors of 

The Insurance Company 

OF North America" 

December 10, 1792 



THE FOREIGN TRADE CLUB 



privately printed 

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COPYRIOHT, 1916 BY 

INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA 
Philadelphia, Pa. 



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R. R. DONNEIXEY & SONS COMPANY 
CHICAGO 



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FOREWORD 
The Insurance Company of North 

America is more than the oldest American joint stock 
insurance corporation. Its early history is closely inter- 
woven with the history of the government itself and 
reflects at every step the early struggles of the fathers of 
the Nation to make the great Republic we have to-day. 

The North America has therefore veritably 
grown up out of and with the country itself; its archives 
teem with entries and records concerning great historical 
names and transactions connected with places, property 
and events that occupied the thoughts and inspired the 
hopes of the makers of liberty and their successors, the 
makers of the country. 

It has been thought appropriate to record in 
episodes, swiftly told, the origin and development of both 
the Country and the Company, for the interest it might 
have to the army of loyal agents that represent The" 
North America everywhere, who may care to know its 
biography. 



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TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

The Organization, i 792-1 793 7 

Early Developments, i 794-1 799 13 

Expansion and Permanence, 1800-1816 ... 19 

Era of Nation Building, 1817-1841 .... 31 

The Era of Gold and Wars, i 842-1 866 ... 43 

Recuperation and Progress, i 867-1 891 ... 59 

Into the Twentieth Century, 1892-1916 . . . 71 

Personality in Achievement 79 

Stabilizer of Nations: Insurance .... 89 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

THE ORGANIZATION 

1792-1793 

The very first joint-stock fire insurance company of the 
United States was, as it is yet, the Insurance Company of 
North America. Its history began with the history of 
the American Government itself. Its birth is one among 
that small group of great events in the last decade of the 
Eighteenth Century that served to change the map of the 
world geographically, politically, socially, and in methods 
of organized efficiency. The new republic was to create 
the model of political freedom and this in turn was to 
create individual liberty. So the Insurance Company of 
North America was to be the model of that new form of 
protection against fire and marine hazards which was to 
revolutionize crude underwriting and provide the very 
cornerstone of modern commercial progress as the basis 
of business credit. 

The Insurance Company of North America had its 
birth in the very same room in Independence Hall, Phila- 
delphia, where the immortal Declaration of Independence 
had been signed for the struggling Colonies sixteen years 
before — 1776. It was in the year 1792, the same year 
that General George Washington, after having been a sort 
of military rebel president, was re-elected President of the 
free and triumphant states. 

Those indeed were stirring times. Washington had 
been first installed as President in 1789 and had gone 
through Philadelphia from Mount Vernon for the inau- 
guration in New York. On this trip (it then took two 
days to make the journey from Philadelphia to New York 
in the speediest coaches) he stopped at Trenton and there 
heard "The President's March," which was played for 

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EPISODES OF H I STORY 

the first time in public and is now so familiarly known as 
"Hail, Columbia!" 

When "the President and Directors of the Insurance 
Company of North America" was projected, it was doubt- 
less named so peculiarly by its first president, John Max- 
well Nesbitt, who had served on the organization com- 
mittee, as ten years previously he had assisted in the for- 
mation of "The President, Directors and Company of the 
Bank of North America." Because there is no other in- 
surance company of a similar name, those in the pro- 
fession speak of the Insurance Company of North America 
as "The" North America. 

Our forefathers were unusually far-sighted, but even 
in the later Colonial days did not seem to foresee the great 
security of incorporated indemnity with its ample capital, 
though the plan was popular in England at the time. 
Hence, when merchants sent a ship to sea laden with a 
valuable cargo, they sought private underwriters for their 
protection. That is, they went to individuals who might 
risk as much as £200 each on a "bottom," and, as there 
were probably fifty private underwriters in Philadelphia, 
the total indemnity — however valuable the cargo — only 
approximated $50,000. 

The canny William Penn early saw the weaknesses in 
private underwriting and when his friend, James Logan, 
urged upon him a cover "notwithstanding thy tender- 
ness about insurance," took his advice (1705) but later 
(at that time there were no stock companies) wrote: 
"J. Askew ensured £100 upon thy letter but the ensurer 
broke, and the twenty guineas lost. Ensurers fail much." 

In the good old Colonial days almost anyone could set 
himself up as a private underwriter, and, if lucky, he might 
make a success. There is an old but entirely human piece 
of folk-lore that went the rounds years ago about one of 
these underwriters who rather late in the "game" at- 
tempted to build his business by cutting rates — a practice 

18] 



"THE" NORTH AMERICA 



some modern underwriters have not failed to follow, and 
even, it might be said, have followed to fail. But this 
particular underwriter prospered, and as he waxed fatter 
his charges increased, until a customer remonstrated, re- 
minding him that when he first began taking his "risque" 
— risk was spelled in the French way then — his rates 
were only half or even less than his competitors. What- 
ever the exact text of the reply, no one will fail to grasp 
his meaning when he said, "Well, I've got something to lose 

now!" 

Even with such obvious advantages as accrued from 
$600,000 in capital guaranteeing the payment of losses, the 
"subscribers to the Insurance Company of North America" 
had a difficult time getting their charter through the 
Pennsylvania legislature, so persistent and potent was 
the opposition of the clique of private underwriters and 
their friends. After laboring for a year or so, how- 
ever, their petitions and special missions did prevail, but 
not until there had been some talk of removing the in- 
stitution to Delaware. 

The North America completed its organization De- 
cember 10, 1792, just after General George Washington 
had been re-elected President for a second term and while 
the capital of the nation was located at Philadelphia, by 
congressional agreement, for a term of ten years, to end in 
1800, when the City of Washington on the Potomac would 
be ready for its reception. 

It was at this time that the first census under the 
new constitution had just been taken to determine con- 
gressional representation and showed that there were only 
3,380,000 people, Indians excepted, living in the eleven 
states, Virginia having one fifth of the whole number and 
Pennsylvania about one ninth. The six largest cities of 
that day (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, 
Charleston and Salem), taken together, had but 131,000 
people — the largest less than 50,000. 

[91 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

The formation of the North America grew out of a 
. proposition to organize ''The Universal Tontine" in 
Philadelphia, after similar trials had met failure in Boston 
and New York the previous year (1791), and when the 
final gathering in Philadelphia (November 3, 1792) showed 
that it, too, would collapse, a committee was selected to 
devise and report means to "utilize the fund [about 
$84,000] already subscribed." Nine days later the com- 
mittee reported that the plan for a tontine, based on lon- 
gevity and very popular in France, be changed to a society 
to be called the ''Insurance Company of North America." 
Apparently they worked rapidly in those days for the plan 
was approved November 19, about 40,000 of the 60,000 
shares were reported subscribed by December i and the 
secretary, Ebenezer Hazard, a former postmaster-general 
under the Confederation of States, called a meeting of 
subscribers at the State House (Independence Hall), on 
December 10, to elect directors and complete the orgariza- 
tion. The new board convened the following day at the 
City Tavern — the popular assembly place of business 
men — and selected officers, also appointing committees 
to petition the legislature for a charter, to prepare a table 
of'lowest premium rates" as a guide to the "sitting com- 
mittee," and to provide a headquarters, while the secretary 
was instructed to prepare a marine policy form. 

Three days later (December 14) the board met in its 
own office at what was then 119 South Front Street and 
is now No. 213, and on the following day the first policies 
were issued. 

In 1789, as soon as General Washington was inaugu- 
rated. Congress proceeded to organize the new govern- 
ment and such was the difficult financial situation of the 
country that it called upon the brilliant financier, Alex- 
ander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, to suggest 
plans in further support of the public treasury. Hamilton 
strongly urged the "Bank of the United States" as a 

[10] 



"THE" NORTH AMERICA 



remedy and in the face of great opposition this was ap- 
proved and established in 1791. Policy No. 10, issued by 
"The President and Directors of the Insurance Company 
of North America," was in favor of this "Bank of the 
United States" and covered $20,000 on money in any 
"bottom" from Charleston, S. C, to Philadelphia (the 
bank's headquarters) or New York, at one per cent 
premium, the name of the company being written in pains- 
takingly by the secretary, who signed himself "Eben" 
Hazard, on a printed form then in common use by private 
underwriters. 

In 1792 the French Republic was established and this led 
to war between France and England the following year, 
so widely felt in the United States. We then had only a 
treaty of peace with Great Britain, but with France two 
treaties — one of alliance and one of amity and com- 
merce. By the terms of the treaty of alliance, the United 
States was obligated to guarantee to France her possessions 
in America, namely, the French West Indies. When 
President Washington heard that war had been declared 
between France and England, and fearing the United 
States would be called upon to send its fleet to protect the 
possessions of France, he issued a proclamation of neu- 
trality (1793). This proclamation incited the French to 
claim a violation of the commercial treaty and to commit 
depredations on American commerce, causing great losses 
to shipping and so also to the Insurance Company of 
North America. These losses soon ran into large sums of 
money and on August 27, 1793, upon the advice of Sec- 
retary of State Thomas Jefferson, the claims were thrown 
into the hands of the government for adjustment. In the 
settlement with France, however, the treaty provided 
that the United States should satisfy all these so-called 
" French Spoliation" claims with its own citizens. 

These, in brief, were the early beginnings of the In- 
surance Company of North America, the history of which 

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EPISODES 



OF HISTORY 



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is so indelibly interwoven with the commercial develop- 
ment of the United States and which is now (December 
lo, 1916) entering upon the 125th year of its honorable 
career as the first joint-stock insurance company of the 
United States. 

HISTORICAL MEMORANDA, 1792-1793 

Governmental.— National capital located in Philadelphia — George Wash- 
ington re-elected President for second term - Called Secretaries of Treasury 
State and War. Chief JusUce. Attorney-General and Vice-President into con' 
sultation resulting in present " Cabinet "- Total national debt about $75 000 - 
000 -Kentucky admitted as fourteenth state in 1792 -Ten amendments io 
Constitution made effective by states. 

Economic— Postal System now being extended from 75 offices existing in 
I790. postage being prepaid by cash deposits and no books, papers or mer- 
chandise accepted as mailable matter -The Bank of the United States at 
Philadelphia, capital $10,000,000. gave hearty tone to business, restoring con- 
fidence and credit- Canal, manufacturing and insurance companies projected - 
Steamboat invented by John Fitch advertised to ply on Delaware River but not 
well patromzed and was withdrawn - Cotton exported to Europe, about 
200,000 pounds — Slaves in United States numbered 700,000. 

War — Establishment of French Republic brought on war with England and 
involved the United States, which had declared neutrality - American shipping 
seized by both France and England, causing heavy losses. 

r«rntor,-fl/.- Area of United States entirely east of Mississippi River, com- 
prising fourteen states - Boston ship captain named Gray discovered Columbia 
River m Oregon and named it in honor of his ship - Population, excluding 
Indians, about 3,500.000 — Three fourths of country uninhabited. 

Political.— Opposition to policy of Federalists in power caused antis to or- 
ganize Republican Party in 1792. forerunner of present Democracy. 

/«j«ra«c«.— Insurance Company of North America formed in 1792 with 
»6oo,ooo capital, first in United States -John M. Nesbitt. first president, Eben- 
ezer Hazard, first secretary - Heavy marine losses sustained as a result of 
French seizures cause still unsettled French Spoliation claims. 



[12] 



EARLY DEVELOPMENTS 
1794-1799 

The six years following the period in which the In- 
surance Company of North America was organized and 
began business — the years that closed the Eighteenth 
Century and concluded practically the first decade in the 
history of the United States — were full of trials and trib- 
ulations, and the wonder is that the country was able to 
maintain itself with the divisions within and the complica- 
tions without. Equally is it a wonder that the North 
America survived, so interwoven were its fortunes with 
those of the government. 

President Washington's proclamation of neutrality 
in the war between France and England was resented by 
members of the newly organized Republican Party, 
who became the violent partisans of France. Everywhere 
the French tri-color emblem with the liberty cap (which 
latter, by the way, was designed by Lafayette, who fought 
in the Revolutionary War with the Patriots) , was hung up 
in the coflfee houses which were the clubs of the day. 
"Republicans" greeted each other in the prevailing French 
style as "Citizen" So-and-so. The Federalists were not 
necessarily English sympathizers but they supported the 
government. Under England's "Rule of 1756," which 
provided that no neutral in time of war should have a 
trade she did not possess in time of peace, that nation be- 
gan to seize American ships, and a statement made in the 
House of Lords at the time showed that in the short space 
of five months, ending March 28, 1794, over 600 American 
ships were captured or detained. 

While the Republican Party demanded war on Eng- 
land, President Washington was bent on peace and sent 

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EPISODES 



OF HISTORY 



John Jay to London to conclude our first commercial 
treaty with England. This so offended the French Direc- 
tory that they sent our minister out of France and them- 
selves again began depredations on American commerce. 
Some of these contentions have arisen anew during the 
European War of 1914 and are the cause of continued 
friction. 

AU these events very naturaUy had their direct effect 
on the marine losses of the North America. Although 
its original articles contemplated doing a fire as well as 
marine business, it was not until after its charter had been 
formally granted April 14, 1794, that consideration of 
fire insurance was taken up seriously and even then it was 
postponed until fall because of the ravages of yellow fever 
in Philadelphia, necessitating several removals of the home 
office to Germantown, a suburb. 

Fire insurance was then very little known and was con- 
sidered beneath the notice of private underwriters; but 
two co-operatives or mutuals had come into being — the 
second being organized because the first would not insure 
houses surrounded by shade trees, which it was claimed 
hindered fire extinguishment. 

In October, 1794, the directors of the North Amer- 
ica prepared " Proposals for Insurance," embracing what 
are now termed poHcy conditions, previously agreeing to 
insure "full values" of "goods in store," as against a 
proposition to limit acceptance to two-thirds value. On 
December 10 its first two fire policies were issued, the 
first being $8,000 on dry goods for three years at 30 cents 
per $100 per annum, the total premium $64, which 
made a term rate of two-and-two-thirds annuals. 

Despite the security offered by $600,000 of capital, 
the demand for fire insurance was not very brisk, for policy 
No. 7 was not issued until December 31, and in fact during 
the first fiscal year only seventy-three policies were issued, 
despite the fact that in January, 1795, the directors de- 

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NORTH AMERICA 



cided on a big stroke of advertising and had 5,000 pro- 
posals printed and "distributed to the houses of the in- 
habitants of Philadelphia." In March the directors ex- 
tended operations by voting to insure brick or stone houses 
within ten miles of the city, if located in Pennsylvania. 

About this time, too, the United States was getting a 
little hard money of its own, copper pieces making their 
appearance from the Philadelphia mint in 1793, silver in 
1 794 and gold in 1 795. In those days you could take your 
trinkets or bullion to the mint and have them turned into 

coins. 

During his second and last term. General Washington 
had not only foreign complications to contend with, but 
had to call out the militia to put down the "Whiskey 
Rebellion" at Pittsburgh, which with a population of about 
2,000 was the largest city west of the AUeghanies. There 
was no method of transportation over the mountains then 
except by wagon — even the gravity cars on tracks that 
long preceded the railways were to come many years later 
— and the only way the growers could get their corn to 
market was by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. 
The Spaniards in 1794 had the Mississippi closed and so 
the growers turned their corn into whiskey, easily trans- 
ported, and refused to pay the government tax, which 
President Washington finally collected at the point of 
muskets. A year later our first treaty with Spain opened 
the Mississippi. 

Much to the regret of the people at large, General 
Washington in his celebrated Farewell Address declined 
to accept the nomination for a third term and John Adams 
was chosen President in 1796, receiving 71 votes in the 
electoral college against 68 for Thomas Jefferson, who, 
under the law, became Vice-President. It was in this year 
that the North America determined "to afford the 
public an opportunity to make insurances on buildings 
anywhere in the United States," if the premiums offered 

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EPISODES 

"'^""'"'"rad riit L t boot In western Pennsylvania. 
N^ ;:Ly Nt vTrU Massachusetts, Delaware. Mary- 
Si vVnia and North a^-J S-th ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^_ 

1797, and within three days n ^ j^^^^ driven 

he learned that Minister C.C Pinckney j^^^^ 

out of France because the five "^^^^^j' ^^^ ^ i,„d. 
of the Republic objected to the Jay Treaty Ji S 

The President ^^^^y^::'^^^''::!:^^, message, 
session to resent '^"^ action and del ^^^^^^^^ , 

but later was Prevailed upon to t^ P ^ ^^^ 

commission composed of JoJ" Mar^ - ^^ ^^^.^ ^j^^ 
and Minister Pinckney. They were 
t ,1oX^ "hTrfilrFreLh directors and 

3 r ?hXted Stages .y^«^^^^ ^^ , ,. 

This demand for "'^ut* ™ o^ition in Con- 
...nationallover^theUnt^^^- 

?rs:::t;:s:r^a7d wai the ^^^[^^^^'^^ 

ington was again made Commander.n Ch^ ^^^ 

rank of Lieutenant-General A our ^^ ^^,_ 

been practically aWj^f "J^^^ ^^.u, .pi^t. built 
the people iiow «an.fe^t^d g P ^^ ^^^^.^^^ ^^ ^^^^^ 

;Stts;Selrprch W and liberty caps were 

success that France soon ^"«<i °' P^^^^^^ ^^^ ^„i„e pre- 
It was in this same year Cn9« that t 

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THE" NORTH A M E R I C A 



though on account of the French seizures the loss claims 
had mounted into immense figures. The company's 
directors were, of course, greatly agitated over the losses 
sustained through French depredations and many com- 
mittees were named to gather information, resulting m 
an agreement "not to insure to French ports unless with 
a warranty against capture and seizure by the French." 

In 1798 the North America'a^VP^^s were divided 
into first and second classes, th%^^r.^ the first being 
$6,000 at a minimum of "a half P^^gfJ^M^er annum" and 
on the second class, $4,000 at a*- minimum of "three- 
fourths per cent annually." Wooden buildings were 
written and "when two or more wooden buildings adjoin, 
a larger premium shaU be required than is demanded on a 
single wooden building." 

On February 27 of the same year, the board declined 
an offer of an agency at Charleston, S. C, "to take risks 
against fire" and on April 19 offered $1,000 reward for 
"discovering and prosecuting" the supposed incendiary 
of a Maiden Lane (New York) risk. 

As the company was chartered as a "general insurance 
company" it had the powers possessed by the British 
companies to write aU sorts of insurance, including life 
insurance. That branch was practically unknown in the 
early days of the United States and the North Amenca 
went into it rather experimentally in 1794. It was 
scarcely life insurance as understood now; it was more a 
hazardous accident business that was demanded and which 
it undertook to supply. The idea was short term insurance 
"against capture by Algerian pirates or Barbary Cor- 
sairs" and against death during captivity before ransom, 
and insurances on the lives of those going on hazardous 
• journeys. The premiums ran as high as eight and ten 
per cent for the term, but few policies were issued nor did 
any losses occur under them. This life insurance experi- 
ment was wholly discontinued in 1804. 

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President Adams did not get through his administra- 
tion without a rebellion (1798) in which he, too, was forced 
to follow Washington's lead and call out the militia to 
collect a direct tax on the people, the first in our history. 
Certain Pennsylvania farmers refused to make their re- 
turns and drove off the assessors who came to "measure 
the houses" and ''count the windows," which were then 
a means of determining values. Some of the leaders were 
arrested but were rescued by John Fries, who was finally 
taken by the militia, tried for treason and sentenced to be 
hanged, but was pardoned. 

HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. 1794-1799 

Governmental. — Diplomatic struggle with England and France over neu- 
trality — First treaty with Spain signed (179s) defining boundaries of Louisiana 
and Florida and opening the Mississippi to trade — Naval war with France over 
Jay's treaty with England began in 1798 and confined to the sea entirely — Fall 
of French Directory puts an end to war and convention of peace signed with 
Napoleon I, 1800. 

Economic. — The first carpet was woven — The first cotton factory opened 

— The first newspaper was printed in the territory northwest of the Ohio River 

— The first geography of the United States was published — Daily papers were 
first printed in Baltimore and Boston — Anthracite coal was discovered in 
Pennsylvania — Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin (engine) — Cotton ex- 
ports jumped to 6,000,000 pounds — Samuel Slater built the first mill for making 
cotton yams — Cotton sewing thread was first manufactured in the United 
States at Pawtucket, R. I. — The first turnpike road from Philadelphia to Lan- 
caster (62 miles long) was completed — Eli Terry began the manufacture o 
clocks as a business. 

Political. — Washington declines third term and issues farewell address — 
John Adams (Federalist) elected President; Thomas Jefferson (Republican) 
Vice-President — Federalists still in control with Republicans gaining ground — 
Tennessee admitted as a state — Eleventh amendment defining judicial powers 
adopted — Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 adopted declaring the 
Constitution a compact or contract, laying the basis of State's Rights — Alien 
and Sedition laws passed and challenged. 

Insurance. — Great losses to marine insurance through French, Spanish and 
English wars — Fire insurance enlarges, but on small scale — First attempts at 
fire classification by the North America — Success of company encourages stock 
competition — Charles Pet tit, second president, January 13, 1796, to January 9, 
1798, re-elected July 8, 1799; Joseph Ball, third president, from January 9, 1798 
to July 8, 1799. 

[18I 



EXPANSION AND PERMANENCE 

1800-1816 

The opening of the Nineteenth Century saw deep foun- 
dations being laid both for the new republic and the new 
Insurance Company of North America. But these foun- 
dations were laid in the midst of uncertainties, among 
which those who were with resolute courage building the 
republic and the company pursued their plans un- 
daunted. 

The present capital city of Washington was occupied 
as the seat of government for the first time in the summer 
of 1800. It had been for years unceasingly planned for 
by Samuel Blodget, Jr., one of the organizers and the first 
director of the Insurance Company of North America, 
who had served in the Revolutionary War on the staff of 
General Washington, and who was a successful East India 
merchant and one of the most active promoters of under- 
writing in Philadelphia. Selected ten years before as the 
seat of government. Congress had agreed to assume the 
war debts of the various states as a consideration for 
delimiting a federal district free from the local control 
and influence of any of the states. In the center of this 
territory — the District of Columbia — Mr. Blodget had 
dreamed of and planned a capital city that was to be the 
most beautiful in the world. The dream had its first 
step toward realization in iSoo. The original plans have 
been subject both to modification and enlargement as 
necessity and opportunity demanded, but all who visit 
the city of Washington and gaze upon the panorama of 
its splendid architecture, broad streets and beautiful 
parks may know that they are viewing the finest capital 
city in the world — a realization in its ultimate of a dream 

[19I 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 



that was often discussed and put forward in the directors' 
room of the Insurance Company of North America. 

Philadelphia had been the capital since the new govern- 
ment was organized, but during the last decade of the 
Eighteenth Century that city had suffered from recurring 
epidemics of yellow fever — called then "the Disorder" 
— brought by trading ships from the West Indies, and the 
capital was hastily removed to Washington to escape 
further danger. Fourteen years later the British cap- 
tured and burned Washington, destroying many invalu- 
able archives and souvenirs. Officers of the government 
sought refuge for a short time in Philadelphia, where the 
government business was carried on, but the great domes- 
tic and foreign policies of the United States were to take 
permanent form in the new capital. 

It was at Washington in 1 800-01 that the contest for 
the Presidency between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr 
shook the very foundations of national politics. These 
two candidates had received a tie vote in the electoral 
college and the election of a President was thus thrown 
into the lower house of Congress. Jefferson won by a 
narrow margin after a bitter controversy and Burr was 
elected Vice-President. So much feeling was aroused that 
the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted, 
regulating the action of the electoral college by the 
methods now in existence. ' 

Out of the intense rivalries of the Jefferson-Burr elec- 
tion grew the personal and political feud between Aaron 
Burr and Alexander Hamilton. In a duel outside of New 
York, Burr killed Hamilton in 1804. The results of this 
tragedy embittered politics for years. Burr was com- 
pelled by public opinion to resign the Vice-Presidency. 
Then ensued the episode called the "Burr Conspiracy," 
the true facts of which will always be disputed. Burr was 
accused of designs to form a separate nation or empire in 
the Southwest to indulge his ambition for power. He was 

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arrested, prosecuted under Jefferson in the celebrated 
trials at Frankfort, Kentucky, and Richmond, Virginia, 
and acquitted. Out of this the facts of the celebrated 
"Spanish Conspiracy" were brought to light, not involv- 
ing Burr, but General Wilkinson and many others, and 
causing great political scandal. 

It was at the inauguration of Jefferson in March, 1801, 
that the new President laid two foundations of democratic 
custom. He rode into town on horseback, hitched his 
horse to a tree and walked over to the capitol to take 
the oath without attendants or display. Washington and 
Adams had delivered their messages to Congress by per- 
sonally reading them before the two houses jointly as- 
sembled. Jefferson changed this by sending his written 
message to Congress to be read by the secretaries in 
separate session. This custom was followed by all the 
presidents until 1913, a hundred and eleven years later, 
when President Wilson returned to the practice of Wash- 
ington and Adams. 

The hasty removal of the government to Washington, 
caused by the epidemic of yellow fever, drove the officers 
of the Insurance Company of North America to German- 
town in 1798 and 1799, and it was not until 1804 that they 
were settled with permanency in the immediate vicinity 
of their present location. 

The yeast of national and commercial expansion began 
to stir at this time, with troubles in every direction We 
had a war with Tripoli and secured the freedom of our 
commerce in the Mediterranean without tribute to pirates; 
the disagreements with England brought on our declara- 
tion of war in 181 2 and we were soon fighting on the 
Canadian frontier, along the lakes, along the Atlantic 
Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. We could not take 
Canada, but we drove the enemy out of the East, where 
they burned Washington and attacked Baltimore, and 
after three years Jackson, in 1815, decisively defeated the 

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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

British under Pakenham at New Orleans, although a 
peace treaty had been signed at Ghent a month before, 
news of which reached here too late to stop hostilities. 

Development was rapid during all this turmoil. We 
purchased Louisiana from Napoleon in 1803, thus opening 
the Mississippi and its tributaries free to a splendid com- 
merce. We sent explorers into the West and discovered 
and set up our claims to the Oregon country that were 
finally to give us the Pacific Coast. The discovery of 
Pike's Peak was the sensation of the early quarter of the 
century and the migration of population to the West and 
Far West began in a steady stream. The population in- 
creased from three and a half millions in 1790 to seven 
millions in 18 10, and the area of the United States grew 
from eight hundred thousand square miles to two millions. 
Towns began to spring up, roads and bridges were built, 
manufactures began, agriculture flourished and commerce 
was enlarging by leaps and bounds. 

It is interesting to record that the Insurance Com- 
pany of North America, which was " following the flag 
and the Constitution" at every step in this expansion of 
national territory and its settlement, is without doubt 
the founder of what is now known as the American 
Agency System. While in 1798 the directors voted "that 
it is not expedient to have an agent at Charleston, au- 
thorized to take risks against fire," which is the first dis- 
covered reference to agency discussion, the directors in 
1807 considered a memorial from Alexander Henry on 
"extending insurance against fire to Lexington, Ky." 
and a committee, appointed to consider the whole sub- 
ject, reported favorably December 7 and further author- 
ized the president "to appoint suitable and trusted per- 
sons at such places as he shall think advisable to act as 
surveyors and agents of the company." The Lexington 
authority is the first record of a commissioned agent. 
Early agents received no commissions on premiums but 

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retained policy and survey fees. Later, 5 per cent on the 
premium was allowed and from this point the whole 
agency fabric was developed. 

From 1800 the North America extended its business 
along the Atlantic Coast, and in 1808 it was pursuing 
the course of empire westward, appointing agents in Ohio, 
Kentucky and Tennessee, following close in the footsteps 
of commerce. There were few towns then in what is now 
the great Middle West — Lexington, Frankfort and 
Louisville in Kentucky, Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Steu- 
benville in Ohio, Nashville in Tennessee, being the centers 
of population. They had only a few hundreds of in- 
habitants each, but, as centers of collection and distribu- 
tion for agricultural and manufacturing products over 
large areas, they were important points for the growing 
republic, and enormous values in property passed through 
them. And there the Insurance Company of North 
America through resident agents was keeping step to the 
music of national development. Some of those early 
agents remained for years in the company's service and 
at every important point where it set up its agency then, 
it has continued to have an agency down to this day. 

There were contracts of insurance written, however, in 
towns and cities where no agents resided. Fire insurance 
then was indeed a curiously primitive sort of business when 
viewed in the light of the present day. Every month the 
Philadelphia papers contained a printed list of insurance 
policies of the North America that would expire the 
following month and that was the only notice the policy- 
holders had to renew if they would be protected. They 
had to take a Philadelphia paper then or be lost as to the 
news of the world and their business interests. Only 
persons of well-known standing and responsibility could 
obtain insurance. There was no solicitation for business 
except as the officers of the company issued "proposals 
for insurance" and sent them to persons whose business 

[23] 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

they desired, or had them printed in newspapers for the 
information of those concerned. 

It is interesting to read the new "Proposals" of the 
Insurance Company of North America issued in 1806, 
when the scope of its fire underwriting was enlarged. It 
will be observed that four classes were now established: 
(i) brick or stone with slate or metal roof, (2) same with 
wooden roof, (3) partly wooden buildings with either 
roofs and (4) wooden buildings, with wooden roofs. 
Contents, whether merchandise, household furniture, 
apparel, etc., went with the buildings under the same rate, 
although the amounts were scheduled and limited. 

It is probable that very few fire insurance men of 
to-day have ever had the opportunity to read these "pro- 
posals," which cover the entire scope and conditions of the 
policy and represent the very "last word" in progressive 
fire underwriting announced by the North America in 
1806. As a curiosity they are here given in full: 

INSURANCE 

Against loss or damage by fire by the Insurance Co. of North 

America. 

The President and Directors of the Insurance Co. of North 
America, in the City of Philadelphia, being desirous to employ 
the capital of said company to purposes useful to the public as 
well as beneficial to the institution, have resolved to extend their 
insurances against loss or damage by fire, into diflferent parts of 
the United States; on buildings of ever>' description as well as on 
goods, wares and merchandize of all kinds. And upon such 
moderate and liberal terms, as it is presumed will induce many to 
avail themselves of the means thus offered, to protect themselves 
from the destructive injury so frequently occasioned by fire. 

Among the various claims which have been made against the 
company for losses by fire since its first establishment (now more 
than thirteen years) no instance of a legal controversy has oc- 
curred, between the company and the assured. — But on the 
contrary, all claims for losses of this nature have been adjusted 
and paid with the utmost promptitude; which circumstance, 
together with the ample capital the company possess gives them 
a fair claim to publick confidence. 



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Rates of annual premiums to be paid for assurances against 
fire. 

No. I. 

Hazards of the First Class, viz: 

Brick or stone building, covered with tile, slate or metal. 

Furniture or merchandize, not hazardous contained in such 

buildings. 

For sums not exceeding 10,000 dols. in one risk, from 25 to 30 
cents, per annum per 100 dols. 

No. II. 

Hazards of the Second Class, viz: 

Brick or stone buildings covered with boards or shingles. 

Furniture or merchandize, not hazardous contained in such 
buildings. 

For sums not exceeding 10,000 dols. in one risk, from 30 to 40 
cents per annum per 100 dols. 

No. III. 

Hazards of the Third Class, viz: 

Buildings the walls of which are partly constructed with 
bricks or stone, and partly with wood. 

Furniture or merchandize contained in such buildings. 

For sums not exceeding 10,000 dols. in one risk, from 40 to 50 
cents per annum per 100 dols. 

No. IV. 

Hazards of the Fourth Class, viz: 

Slight wooden buildings covered with boards or shingles. 
Furniture or merchandize contained in such buildings. 
For sums not exceeding 10,000 dols. in one risk from 75 to 100 
cents per annum per 100 dols. 

All buildings adjoining to or situated near to hazardous 
buildings, or in which hazardous goods are kept, or hazardous 
business carried on, will be charged at an extra premium: subject 
to such variations as the nature of the risk may require. 

The following articles are deemed extra hazardous, and also 
bufldings in which they, or any of them are contained, though in 
various degrees, to wit: Pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, wax, tallow, 
oil, ardent spirits, sulphur, hemp, flax, cotton, glass and china- 
ware, especially if unpacked, looking glasses, jewellery and all 
articles more than commonly liable to injury by wet, sudden re- 
moval, or theft, or on an alarm of fire. 

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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

Buildings in which the following occupations are carried on 
are also extra hazardous, to wit: Tallow-chandlers, brewers, hemp 
and flax dressers, painters, coopers, carpenters, cabinet-makers, 
coach or carriage makers, malthouses, bakers, ship-chandlers, 
boat builders, rope makers, sugar refiners, distillers, chymists, 
varnish or turpentine works, theatres, mills, and machinery gen- 
erally. 

Conditions op Insurance. 

I. Persons desirous to make insurance on buildings in places 
where the Company have no agent, must accompany their 
applications with a description of the property to be insured, to 
be made by a master carpenter, and signed by him as well as by 
the owner or applicant, and attested before a notary or magistrate, 
who will certify his knowledge of the parties and their credibility. 
The site and position of the building must be describe<l; the street 
or road on which it stands; its contiguity to water, and partic- 
ularly whether any or what fire companies are established, and 
engines provided in the place or neighbourhood. The materials 
of which it is built, how secured by battlements or party walls, 
what kind of access to the top of the ho-ise, and how the ashes 
are generally deposited. 

II. The dimensions of the building, the style in which it 
is finished, and how occupied, whether merely as a dwelling house, 
or for any other purpose, and for what purpose, also, an estimate 
of the value of the building, independent of the ground. 

III. The situation with respect to other buildings or back 
buildings, whether adjoining or not; comprehending at least one 
hundred feet each way. What kind of buildings are within that 
distance, how built, of what materials, how occupied, whether as 
private dwellings or otherwise. 

IV. No insurance will be effected on more than two contiguous 
buildings, if built of wood, or on property therein; nor on more 
than three contiguous buildings if built of brick or stone, or prop- 
erty therein — And there must be a space of at least fifty feet 
between such wooden buildings and any other property insured, 
and a space of thirty feet, between such brick or stone buildings 
and any other property insured. 

V. No insurance will be effected on any wooden buildings, or 
on any property therein, to an amount exceeding two- thirds the 
value thereof. 

VI. When insurance is wanted on goods, a general description 
of the building in which they are kept must be given, similar in all 
respects, as to danger from fire, with that required for insurance on 

[26] 



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the buildings themselves, with a description of the kind and 
nature of the goods, whether in packages or open. 

VII. If any person shall insure any building or goods, and 
shall cause the same to be described otherwise than as they really 
are, so as the same be charged at a lower rate of premium than 
would be demanded if the true situation thereof were made known, 
such insurance shall be void. 

VIII. No insurance is binding until the stipulated premium 
be paid, but it shall be deemed effectual from the time of such 
payment whether the policy be signed or not.— And insurances 
may be continued or renewed at the expiration of the term of the 
policy, without further expense than the payment of the premium 
of the renewed term; provided the circumstance of the risk re- 
main as when first insured, or it is not increased. 

IX. If any other insurance be made on the same property, 
notice thereof must be given to this office, and indorsed on the 
policy, otherwise the insurance will be void. And in case of such 
insurance each office shall bear a ratable proportion of any loss 
which may be sustained. 

X. Goods held in trust, or on consignment may be insured 
as such in a separate policy, but they are not to be considered as 
insured otherwise. Nor are bills of exchange, bonds and other 
securities, title deeds, money, bank and other notes, or mirrours, 
unless by special agreement. 

XI. This company will not be liable or accountable for 
any loss or damage occasioned by the invasion of an enemy, or by 
any military or usurped force, or by reason of any civil commotion, 
or occasioned by gunpowder, aqua fortis, or anything of the like 
kind kept in buildings, or among the property insured, unless by 
special agreement. 

XII. No insurance will be made on buildings for a shorter 
term than one year, nor for a longer term than seven years. 
Persons who insure for seven years shall be allowed one year's 
premium as a discount; and one-third of a year's premium on an 
insurance for three years. Insurance may, however, be effected 
on goods in packages, for any term not less than sixty days. 

XIII. Losses sustained by fire on property insured in this 
office, shall be paid in thirty days after due proof and liquidation 
thereof, without deduction; and it is to be understood that the 
Company make good losses on property insured by them if burnt 
by lightning, and also any damage which goods may sustain by 
wet, sudden removal or theft, when it happens by means or in 
consequence of a fire. 

XIV. Letters of inquiry (post paid) and orders for insurance 

[27I 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

accompanied by the means of paying the premium, will be prompt- 
ly attended to, if addressed to 

John Inskeep, President. 
Insurance office of North America, Philad'a. 

This curious document was printed on a ** broadside" 
bearing at the top an excellent wood engraving of a mid- 
night fire in a two-story house, with firemen and hand en- 
gines at work. Almost, as if by presentiment, the build- 
ing has much the appearance of and the scene is singularly 
alike to the old-time engraving prepared five years later 
of the burning of the theater at Richmond, Va., in which 
sixty persons lost their lives, the first sensational fire of 
that kind in the United States. 

Looking closely at the advances of fire insurance, it is 
curious to note how closely allied were the experiences, the 
interests and the ultimate fortunes of the United States 
and the Insurance Company of North America. The 
national government that had considered its foreign re- 
lations and problems of the greatest importance began 
now to find that the development of its own domain was 
infinitely greater. The North America, that had regarded 
fire insurance as a mere experiment aside from ocean 
marine insurance, began to find in inland marine and fire 
insurance opportunities for revenue and energy that were 
in the future to render the ocean marine business of the 
United States a small venture by comparison. 

Blight fell upon American ocean marine insurance 
first in 1798 when the naval war with France was in 
progress. The histories of the United States and of the 
Insurance Company of North America are bound together 
in every step of it. President Adams suspended all 
French consuls, and the North America backed him 
up by refusing to insure any ships or cargoes to French 
ports. Commodore Decatur in the ''Delaware" fought 
and captured the French privateer, "La Croyable," and 
then began a campaign that put all American ships in 

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jeopardy, increased losses enormously and of course 
stopped premiums by putting an end to marine insurance 
for the time being. The marine insurance rate of the 
Insurance Company of North America during the first 
ten years of its existence averaged twelve per cent! 
Its premiums aggregated during that time $6,037,457 
and its losses $5,500,887 or 91. 11 per cent of the premiums, 
leaving only 8.99 per cent to cover expenses. 

Opening of the second war with England in 181 2 
almost destroyed the marine business again, premiums 
falling to $1,364,637 in the decade from 1803 to 1813. 
There was very little marine business after that for thirty 
years, American shipping having been almost entirely with- 
drawn from the seas. The acquirement of Texas and 
California alone reopened the way to large writings after 
1845. 

During this period the insurance idea of which the 
North America was the pioneer began to grow in the east- 
ern states and other companies were formed in localities, 
mostly for home protection. Every considerable town be- 
gan to organize its fire insurance company in which the 
neighbors were expected to insure. There was no founda- 
tion of experience and many of these came to grief within 
a few years after they were established. But the be- 
ginnings were made then of the business of fire insurance in 
the United States on a general scale. 



, 



HISTORICAL MEMORANDA, 1800-1816 

Governmental. — National capital removed to Washington — Jefferson 
elected President (i8oo) and re-elected (1804) — Purchase of Louisiana from 
Napoleon, 1803-04 — Exploration of the Far West begun — Ohio admitted, 181 2 

— Territories of Mississippi, Indiana, Orleans, Michigan and Illinois created. 

Economic. — Manufacturing began, resulting from embargo on shipping — 
Charters were granted for iron works, paper mills, thread works, factories for 
cotton and woolen goods, oil cloth, boots and shoes and rope — Census of 1810 
showed value of manufactured products $173,000,000 and population 7,210,000 

— Government encouraged road building by beginning the national road from 
Cumberland, Md.,to Wheeling, W. Va.— First steamboat on Ohio and Missis- 

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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

sippi rivers, 1811 — Second money panic in 181 4 and suspension of payment by 
many banks in the East and West. 

War. — United States declared war on England in 181 2 because of inter- 
ference with our shipping growing out of neutrality policy in Anglo-French war — 
Battle of New Orleans fought January 8, 181 5, a month after peace had been 
arranged before news could reach the armies. 

Insurance. — Ebenezer Hazard retired from the secretaryship of the In- 
surance Company of North America, January 13, 1800, leaving that office vacant 
until February 26, 1806, when Robert S. Stephens was placed in the office — John 
M. Nesbitt, first president of the company, died January 22, 1802, and Charles 
Pettit, second president and re-elected after Joseph Ball had been in office for 
eighteen months, died September 3, 1803 — John Inskeep placed in the presi- 
dency October i, 1806 — Beginning of agency system — First agents n the 
West appointed, 1807-8 — Four classes in risks established 1806. 



[30I 



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THE ERA OF NATION BUILDING 

1817-1841 

The year 181 7 ushered in a remarkable quarter of a 
century in nation building. The like of it was never be- 
fore recorded in history and its achievements were never 
surpassed by any people. The impulse sprang up with 
the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the coming of a 
general peace in Europe. The diflFerences of sympathy 
that had divided the people of the United States, and the 
war policies of foreign governments that had destroyed our 
commerce on the seas, were alike at an end. Peace with 
England at once released the energies of Americans for 
the upbuilding of their own country. 

All this was emphasized by the election of James 
Monroe as President. When he went into office on March 
4, 1 81 7, there broke forth at once a great wave of enthusi- 
astic feeling in favor of home development. Monroe's 
election was the death-knell of the Federal Party, which 
never afterward put out a candidate or was signally active 
in public affairs. There was practically but one party now, 
which was known as the Republican, but finally became 
known as the Democratic Party, as it has ever since 
been called. Differences as to domestic policies brought 
other factions forward in time and the National Re- 
publicans, Antislavery and Whig parties were formed, 
not one of which could win success until 1840, when 
the Whigs nominated and triumphantly elected General 
William Henry Harrison ("Old Tippecanoe "), with John 
Tyler of Virginia, a former Democrat, for Vice-President. 
Harrison's death, a month after inauguration, left a 
Democratic President in office. 

What was known as the "Era of Good Feeling" began 

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in 1 817; when President Monroe was received with en- 
thusiasm everywhere and political animosities were laid 
aside. Thenceforth the questions that concerned politics 
were how to define accurately the new boundaries of the 
national domain, to consolidate, upbuild and protect it. 
We had much diplomatic controversy with England as to 
the Canadian line and the Oregon country; with Spain as 
to the Florida country; with Russia as to her claims on the 

Pacific Coast. 

Out of this the Monroe Doctrine finally emerged as 
the triumphant principle of the new republic regarding 
the two American continents. Since 1793 it had been 
the open policy of the United States to take no part in 
European wars nor meddle in European politics. The 
purpose was to avoid entanglements with foreign nations 
that might react upon our own desire to be left alone in 
peace and amity with the world. Meanwhile, Spain's 
colonies in South America were rebelling and forming 
themselves into independent republics; England was 
pressing against us in the North and Russia in California. 
The result was in 181 5 the formation of what was called 
the "Holy Alliance" of European countries to maintain 
the principle of monarchical government wherever it 
existed. In 1822 the United States answered this by 
acknowledging the independence of the new republics of 
Chile, Peru, Buenos Ayres (now Argentina), and Colom- 
bia. The Holy Alliance called a congress to take action, 
but Great Britain found it to her interests to hold aloof, 
and in 1823 suggested that we unite with her in a protest 
against European intervention in South America. 

To this President Monroe thought best to make a 
declaration that would be wholly independent of Great 
Britain's attitude. In his message to Congress, December, 
1823, he laid down three great guiding principles, which, 
with some variation and growth, have since been known as 
the "Monroe Doctrine," applying to Great Britain as 

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well as to all other countries. These three principles have 
been thus summarized: 

1. That the two American continents were no longer 
open to colonization. 

2. That the United States would not meddle in the 
political affairs of Europe. 

3. That European governments must not extend their 
system to any part of North or South America, nor op- 
press, nor in any other manner seek to control the destiny 
of any of the nations of this hemisphere. 

The declaration was effectual and from that day to 
this no monarchy and no European country has success- 
fully challenged it. 

Curiously enough, the American Minister at the Court 
of St. James was Richard Rush, afterward Attorney 
General of the United States, (the grandfather of the 
present president of the Insurance Company of North 
America) . It is history that he conveyed the suggestion 
of the Monroe Doctrine to President Monroe. 

So much for that great international policy which closed 
the two Americas to European politics. 

During this period of twenty-five years, the "third 
term" tradition for Presidents was erected into a custom 
equal to an unwritten law. Jefferson had declined a third 
election, following Washington's example, and advised 
against electing any President for a third term. Madison 
followed Jefferson's example. Monroe was re-elected in 
1820, receiving every vote in the electoral college but one. 
That one vote was cast for John Quincy Adams by an 
elector from New Hampshire, who announced that he 
did so because he desired to preserve for Washington the 
glory of being the only man ever to have received a unan- 
imous vote of electors for President. The election of 
1824 brought on the long-continued struggle between 
Jackson and Clay. There were no political parties, but 
personal factions, known as "Jackson men," "Clay" or 

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** Administration men " and " Antimasonic." These latter 
were against the Masonic Society as threatening the safety 
of the republic, which is amusing these days. Jefferson, 
Madison and Monroe having all declined third terms, it 
remained for John Quincy Adams to be the first one-term 
President, as he failed of re-election between the clashing 
forces of Jackson and Clay. Jackson was elected in 1828 
and re-elected in 1832. In 1836 he, too, refused to be 
a candidate for a third term, and so set his stamp of ap- 
proval on the custom against third-term candidates. 

In 1824, under the leadership of Henry Clay in Congress, 
the first protective tariff bill was enacted and at the same 
time Congressional appropriations were made for internal 
improvements, one feature of which has now come to be 
known in politics as the "Pork Bill." 

Following the tariff bill of 1824 another and stronger one 
was passed in 1828, which led to great protests in the sec- 
tions opposed to it, and Vice-President John C. Calhoun 
put himself at the head of a movement by popular assem- 
blages to declare a protective tariff unconstitutional, null 
and void, and advise state legislatures how to nullify it. 
President Jackson ordered his collectors to use force, if 
necessary, to collect the tariff duties. Vice-President 
Calhoun resigned, was at once elected Senator from South 
Carolina, and he and Daniel Webster had a great debate 
in the Senate. It looked as if civil war was imminent, 
but Henry Clay proposed a compromise by a gradual re- 
duction of the tariff and the storm subsided, leaving, how- 
ever, a residuum of feeling between the Eastern and North- 
ern states and the South. 

The first national political conventions to nominate 
Presidential candidates were held in 1831-32. The Anti- 
masons met in Baltimore and nominated William Wirt 
and Amos EUmaker; the National Republicans nom- 
inated Henry Clay; the Democrats met and nominated 
Martin Van Buren for Vice-President only. As it was 

l34l 



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"THE" NORTH AMERI C A 

universally accepted that Jackson would be re-elected 
President, the Democrats concluded it was wise to let him 
get the votes without arousing opposition by a formal 
nomination. In 1832 a national convention of young men 
of National Republican sympathies was held at Washing- 
ton. The Democrats called it "Clay's Infant School," 
and this body adopted and issued the first party platform 
in the United States. It endorsed protection and in- 
ternal improvements by the government and denounced 
Jackson. 

During the latter part of this period (in 1837 to be 
exact), the second and greatest financial panic occurred. 
Strange to say, it was caused by the national government 
being too rich and the people of the states generally too 
prosperous and rioting in speculation. Poverty came in a 
day because there was too much wealth on paper and 
none in the pocket. To those of this day accustomed to 
seemg Congress appropriate more than a billion dollars 
at every session, without excitement, the wealth of the 
government in 1836 will seem microscopic. In taking 
over the war debts of the states in 1790 ($75,000,000), and 
by accretions during the second war with England, the 
national debt, was in 1816, about $127,000,000. It was 
all paid off by 1835, and the tariff duties and sales of public 
lands had accumulated in the Treasury $41,500,000 
surplus. Congress puzzled over what to do with it and 
finally decided to keep five millions of it for a surplus and 
divide the remainder among the states according to Con- 
gressional representation. 

This division was to be paid out in four installments 
during 1837. Three payments were actually made, but 
the fourth, due October i, has never been paid. The 
withdrawal of the money from the banks that kept 
government money on deposit required loans to be called, 
with the result that credit was destroyed, factories closed, 
merchants failed, property could not be sold, state banks 

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suspended specie payment, or failed, bread riots occurred 
and the country was plunged into the most acute distress. 
The struggle over the United States Bank between the 
Jacksonians and the anti-Jacksonians was the political 
cause of the panic, the effects of which were felt for years 
in business and politics as well. 

During all the political excitement of this period the 
energies of the people found employment in the astonish- 
ing settlement and development of the West. Paralysis 
of ocean commerce on the Atlantic Coast turned the eyes 
of thousands to the cheap lands of the West, and the 
natural love of adventure and hope of fortune did the rest. 
The government owned the land, would sell it to all 
applicants alike on the installment plan, and no taxes 
could be levied on such lands for five years. This was 
the government's policy to relieve unemployment and 
settle the new territories. The rush began. 

Every roadway to the Mississippi Valley was thronged 
with caravans from the East, and towns and villages 
sprang up like mushrooms. It continued for years; and 
the stream grew larger instead of smaller, as "hard times" 
persisted in the East. In many localities there were 
extraordinary "booms." Lands purchased for one dollar 
an acre, upon which towns were settled, were sold within 
twenty years at from fifty dollars to seven thousand times 
that price. So great and enthusiastic was the migration 
that highroads and rivers were crowded. Many marched 
out on foot, with gun on shoulder, and "lived on the land" 
until they found the place that invited them to settle. 
One town in western Pennsylvania kept a record of 2001 
families that passed through its turnpike gate in one 
month, all going West. 

Everywhere quarter-sections of land were taken up, 
log houses constructed and clearing and farming begun. 
The result of the great movement of travel was an in- 
stant demand for better ways and methods of transporta- 

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tion, not only for the travelers themselves, but for the 
supplies they would need and the products of the farms 
they would have to send to markets. The eastern sea- 
board had roads, and steamboats were plying upon the 
principal rivers. Yet it took twelve and fifteen hours by 
the fastest stages to go from Philadelphia to New York 
and forty-eight^hours from New York to Boston. There 
were steamboats on the Mississippi and Ohio, but there 
were few roads and no connections between the East and 
West, except down the Ohio and around by sea to New 
Orleans. The steamboats were themselves primitive 
affairs. They consumed twenty-five days in going from 
New Orleans to St. Louis and Louisville. In one year 
more than twelve thousand wagons arrived at Pittsburgh 
from Philadelphia and Baltimore, bringing goods for the 
West, the freight charge on which was $1,500,000. 

Water was considered the most feasible method, so 
canals were projected. New York, in order to capture 
trade from Philadelphia, began the Albany and Erie Canal 
under the leadership of DeWitt Clinton. It was opened 
in 1825, and so great was the glory that he was invited 
West to dig the first sod for the Louisville and Portland 
Canal at Louisville, which was intended to enable boats to 
pass the falls of the Ohio without breaking cargo. The 
Erie Canal reduced freight rates from Albany to Buffalo 
from $1 20 a ton to $14. It seemed to promise a millennium 
for the West and changed the condition of half the whole 
country. 

The rivalry between New York and Philadelphia led 
to the project of a canal from the latter to Pittsburgh, but 
before it was completed the first railroad had been demon- 
strated and in 1832 the travel route between these two 
points was part canal and part rail. This was the begin- 
ning of what became the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It 
was not the railroad we know now, but consisted merely of 
wooden rails laid upon sleepers over which small cars were 

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drawn by horses. The name "railroad" grew from 
"railed roads." These railroads did not carry passengers. 
Travelers still made their journeys in wagons and stages 
or on horseback. 

Locomotives were built and used on railroads after 
1836, but they were so expensive that the state of Penn- 
sylvania built and owned them and charged for hauling the 

trains. 

Such were the primitive beginnings of the great steam- 
boat and railway eras of the country. But the use of 
machinery in both connections developed many me- 
chanical inventions for labor saving. Threshing ma- 
chines were invented, machinery for wood-working fol- 
lowed and manufactories for all tools and instruments that 
were needed began to spring up. All these had previously 
been imported. 

All these wonderful activities of a strong and restless 
people seeking homes and permanence of wealth would, in 
this day, open unbounded opportunities for the business of 
fire insurance. But that business was in its infancy in the 
first half of the last century. It is true that in the East 
local companies started up in many places, but mostly 
for insurance on dwellings and established business. It 
was the exception and not the rule then in most commu- 
nities to be insured against fire. Prior to 1830 the experi- 
ence of all insurance companies might be characterized 
as of alternate prosperity and depression. There would be 
periods of no losses and large profits and large losses and 
no profits. Fire insurance was regarded largely as a 
speculation, founded upon the traditions of dangerous 
adventure amid which marine insurance had been pur- 
sued by speculative underwriters in every maritime na- 
tion. When large profits were made they were promptly 
divided and the carrying out of contracts still running 
was secured only by the capital already contributed and 
by the honor and commercial ambitions of stockholders 

I38I 



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who were considered bound to live up to their under- 
takings or be ruined in public estimation. There were no 
attempts at maintaining adequate reserves or surplus. 
In these things the directors of the North America were 
acting as all other underwriters did. In 1824 they re- 
ceived payment of their subrogation claims for Spanish 
spoliations and immediately paid a cash dividend of 60 
per cent on the stock, the dividend amounting to $300,000. 
At the time the surplus did not exceed $20,000 to protect a 
capital of $500,000, with great liabilities outstanding. 

It is true that the action of the board of directors in 
taking this step was doubtless founded upon a lively 
expectation that the government of the United States 
would as a matter of justice appropriate money to pay 
the French spoliation claims. The amount of these 
claims as proved was $748,906.13, and the government 
of the United States had sought redress for them against 
France. After years of negotiation, however, our govern- 
ment found itself confronted by counter claims of France 
for infractions of a treaty entered into in 1778. In 1800 
the whole contention of our government was suddenly 
abandoned in a convention with Napoleon, under which 
the claims of private citizens of the United States were 
surrendered in exchange for the abandonment by France 
of claims for losses sustained by the failure to observe the 
treaty stipulations. 

Nevertheless, the United States government having 
had the benefit of the use of these private claims as an 
offset against claims against the government, an attempt 
was begun to have the government make the claims good 
by Congressional appropriation. All such attempts are 
invariably slow and attended with great expectations and 
great disappointments. 

The tremendous hazards of marine insurance and 
the fact that fire insurance was negligible in volume and 
purely experimental, effectually covered up the scientific 

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elements of average, adequate rate, reserves and sur- 
pluses. There were absolutely no statistics beyond the 
mere computations of the number of fires, which had been 
made in England a century before. England was no 
better off than America in respect to fire insurance and 
even there marine insurance was a gamble at Lloyds'. In 
the United States the small companies that began to be 
organized were mere side issues of merchants whose time 
was almost wholly occupied with other and more im- 
portant matters. Amounts were insured by a single 
company on a single risk that would appall the under- 
writer of to-day, and these lines were not reinsured. 

There was little headway made in fire insurance except 
by the companies with large capital that were trying to 
penetrate the future. Underwriters had yet to be " made " 
and changes in officials were frequent in the effort to dis- 
cover underwriters and from their ideas to develop pro- 
fessional employees. There gradually sprang up a body 
of men trained and devoted to underwriting, but this was 
a work requiring time and patience under many dis- 
couragements. In 1806 John Inskeep, who had been a 
hotel-keeper, a prosperous merchant in the China trade 
and mayor of Philadelphia, was elected president of the 
Insurance Company of North America and his energetic 
prosecution of its affairs, his enlargement of its field, were 
attended by such success that he remained in the presi- 
dency until 1 83 1 when at the age of 71 he resigned on 
account of increasing age. It was Mr. Inskeep who col- 
lected the Spanish spoliation claims and advised the 60 
per cent dividend in 1824. The board presented him with 
a service of silver plate valued at $500 in recognition of his 
able administration of its affairs. 

It is interesting to note amid the beginnings of fire 
insurance that the Insurance Company of North America, 
the pioneer and path-keeper of all the great internal nation 
building, wrote from 1793 to 1842 marine premiums ag- 

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gregating $8,267,581, while its fire premiums for the same 
period aggregated only $425,091. 

Marine insurance, with its long prestige and great 
chances of profit, seems to have had always a fascination 
for the early underwriters of every country with maritime 
interests. The Insurance Company of North America, 
with its office at the great port of entry at Philadelphia, 
was pushing for marine business, but it was experimenting 
with the fire business, singularly enough for the reason that 
it had few losses on fire insurance and the profits on the 
fire branch were relied upon to pay the expenses of the 
marine business. (In 1822 its fire premiums were 
$42,380.79, without a single dollar of loss claims!) And on 
this score it turned out to be a most profitable experiment, 
since from 18 13 to 1832 the losses on fire insurance were 
less than 15 per cent of the premiums, while the marine 
premiums had fallen off greatly as a result of wars and 
changed conditions and losses were very heavy. This 
experience caused the company to develop its fire in- 
surance with the interior growth of the country, through 
its western agents, with the result that from 1832 on- 
ward both the marine and fire premiums began to increase 
greatly. The effects of the panic of 1837 on the company's 
fire business are shown by the losses. In the ten years 
from 1813 to 1822 they had only been $1,569; from 1823 
to 1832 they were only $17,974; from 1833 to 1842 they 
were $78,948, or nearly 70 per cent of the premiums. 

The panic of 1837 played havoc with small insurance 
companies. They were involved with the banks and all 
commercial enterprises. Only the strong and large com* 
panies could stem the storm. The public demanded 
more certainty and security in and behind the contracts of 
insurance. Massachusetts passed in 1837 a law requiring 
companies to maintain a reserve that would insure the 
carrying out of their contracts. This was called the "re- 
insurance reserve fund" and is now the unearned premium 

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fund which all companies everywhere are required to 
maintain to protect their policy-holders against loss of 
premium on policies not yet expired. 

This Massachusetts act of 1837 thus marked the en- 
trance of the state upon the field of insurance regulation, 
which has developed into the elaborate state supervision 
of to-day. 

HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. 1817-1841 

Govtrnmental. — Disputed Canadian boundary questions growing out of the 
Ghent Treaty with Great Britain settled — Boundary questions with Spain 
settled and we paid $5 000,000 for Florida — The "Monroe Doctrine" given to 
the world {1823). 

Economic. — Development of transportation by canals, steamboats and 
railroads — Erie canal begun 1S17, opened 1825 — Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 
begun 1828 and completed 15 miles in 1830, horse cars — First locomotive 
built New York 1831, for the South Carolina Railroad, six miles long — In 1835 
there were twenty -two railroads in operation, two only west of the Alleghanies, 
not one of them 140 miles long — Threshing machines invented and used 1826 — 
Steel tool manufactories established 1825 — Hard-coal stoves made — Fair- 
banks' scales invented — Morse invented the telegraph instrument and code — 
Hunt made the first lock-stitch sewing machine — First reaping machine made — 
All about 1825-1835. 

Peace. — There was no war during the twenty-five years of this period. 

Territorial. — Eight states were admitted from 181 6 to 1837, Indiana, Mis- 
sissippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine (1820), Missouri, Arkansas (1836), Michigan 
1837). No more came in until 1845. 

Political. — Era of good feeling began — The Federal Party ceased to exist 
and was succeeded by the National Republicans and Anti-masonic parties — 
The long rivalry between Jackson and Clay developed to bitter feeling — ' Strug- 
gle over the National Bank was the beginning of the financial disturbances that 
produced the panic of 1837 — Nullification excitement over tariffs — Anti- 
slavery movement begins. 

Insurance. — Extension of local agency system of large companies and en 
of small local companies — Wliat is now the Fire Patrol system was projected 
1819 — First reinsurance in the United States recorded in 1819 when the Middle- 
town Fire of Connecticut retired — First western department established at 
Cincinnati 1825 — Massachusetts passed first reinsurance reserve law 1837 — 
First steps taken towards standard rating of risks between 1830-40, but very 
little headway made — Joseph Ball, third president Insurance Company of 
North America, died September 2, 1825 — John C. Smith, fifth presidents 
elected to office April 5, 1831 .on the retirement of John Inskeep, who had served 
since October i, 1S06. Mr. Inskeep died December 18, 1834 — Robert S. 
Stephens. secretar>' from February 28, 1806, to June 12, 1832, was succeeded as 
secretary on June 19 of that year by Arthur G. Coffin. 

I42] 



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THE ERA OF GOLD AND WARS 

1842-1866 

The condition of peace and the development of the 
national domain that had continued for twenty-five years 
was immediately succeeded by twenty-five years of great- 
est stress and turmoil, during which the United States 
fought a brief but fierce war with Mexico, narrowly escaped 
hostilities with Russia over the Oregon country, and after 
a long and bitter internal political conflict over the in- 
stitution of slavery, was plunged into the greatest civil 
war the world had ever seen up to that time. It employed 
the energies of the greatest armed forces ever brought 
together in battles and changed in many ways the science 
of war on land and sea. 

Curiously enough this period was ushered in by the 
election in 1840 of General William Henry Harrison ("Old 
Tippecanoe") as President, after a most exciting campaign, 
that has come down in popular story as "The Log Cabin 
and Hard Cider Campaign." Martin Van Buren was the 
candidate of the Democrats to succeed himself. The 
Whigs nominated Harrison, the ideal of a popular favorite. 
As governor of Indiana territory in 1813 he had beaten the 
Indians under Tecumseh at Tippecanoe Creek, and, as 
commander of the American forces in the War of 181 2, 
had made a victorious campaign on land and the lakes. 
It was Harrison who received the famous message from 
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry after the naval battle of 
Lake Erie, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." 

The effects of the disastrous panic of 1837 were still 
felt everywhere and the people, as usual, attributing all 
their woes to the party under which these began, rallied 
to Harrison. The log cabin and the coon-skin were made 

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the popular badge of his candidacy. All over the country 
such cabins were erected, having a coon-skin nailed to 
the door and a barrel of hard cider standing beside it. 
Nothing like the popular excitement had before been seen. 
In the West and East meetings were held at which fifty, 
eighty and one hundred thousand persons were present. 
Weeks were spent preparing for them and caravans bore 
partisans from long distances, bringing their own supplies 
for those willing to wait and listen to the popular orators 
who had assembled to intensify the enthusiasm. At one 
meeting of Whigs at Dayton, Ohio, the encampment of 
Harrison's followers covered ten acres of ground. The 
slogan was "Tippecanoe, and Tyler Too," John Tyler of 
Virginia being the nominee for Vice-President. 

Harrison was overwhelmingly victor in the Electoral 
college, where he received 234 votes to 60 for Van Buren, 
although he had a plurality of only 146,315 in a total 
popular vote of 2,410,000. Harrison was inaugurated 
March 4, 1841, but died April 4th without having ex- 
ercised any important function of office. By his death 
John Tyler became President, and as he had always been 
a Democrat, he fell out with the Harrison cabinet over 
legislation, and all the members resigned, except Daniel 
Webster, who remained as Secretary of State until he had 
arranged the Canadian boundary treaty with England in 
1842, when he, too, retired. 

It was under Tyler's administration that the United 
States was committed to the annexation of Texas, which 
brought on war with Mexico and resulted eventually in 
our acquirement also of a new area of more than 500,000 
square miles. 

Mexico had won its independence from Spain in 182 1. 
Texas was then one of the provinces of the colony of Mexico 
and so became one of its states. The great, rich plains of 
Texas had attracted the attention of Americans living in 
the southwestern territories, and as soon as Mexico became 

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an independent republic Moses Austin, a citizen of the 
United States, asked the Mexican government for a grant 
of land and permission to bring in settlers. It was after 
Moses Austin that the capital of Texas is named. He 
obtained the grant on condition of bringing in three 
hundred families to settle. Thus began a great movement 
of Americans to the Mexican state of Texas. By 1833 
Mexican rule had become so unsatisfactory to the Amer- 
ican colonists that they rebelled and by 1836 had set up 
the independent republic of Texas. It was during this 
war that the massacre at the Alamo was committed by 
Mexicans under Santa Ana, March 6, 1836. The Texan 
garrison, under Col. Travis, Col. Bowie and the celebrated 
David Crockett, was besieged, overpowered and killed 
to the last man. Gen. Sam Houston, another famous 
Texan, defeated the Mexicans finally at San Jacinto and 
Texan independence was acknowledged by the United 
States, England and France. 

That is the story of Texan independence. The story 
of annexation to the United States leads on to the war of 
the United States with Mexico, the acquisition of the en- 
tire Pacific Coast of the United States (except Alaska), 
the discovery of the gold fields of California and the crea- 
tion of the United States into the richest nation in the 
world. It involves politics and romance beyond the 
dream of fiction. 

John Tyler began it in 1844 as a political move, whether 
based on far-seeing statesmanship or passing expediency 
has been disputed. Texas applied for admission as soon 
as independence was achieved, but the growing struggle 
over the slavery question kept Congress from granting 
admission. Tyler thought he saw a way around this 
deadlock, negotiated a secret "treaty of annexation" with 
Texas and in April, 1844, surprised the Senate by offering 
it for ratification. Thus it became a political issue through 
Tyler, who was not acknowledged by either political party. 

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The Democrats took up the issue, made it their own and 
carried the country in 1844 for James K. Polk. Texas 
was admitted in 1845. 

This brought us to war with Mexico. For, in admit- 
ting Texas, we had her claims to protect. The Mexican 
boundary was delimited in 1819 at the forty-second 
parallel, the present northern line of California. Texas 
claimed for herself all the land to the source of the Rio 
Grande in what is now New Mexico and Colorado and 
thence north to the forty-second parallel. Mexico claimed 
that the Nueces River, and not the Rio Grande, was the 
western line of Texas. Neither side would retreat, and 
so in 1846 General Zachary Taylor was ordered to cross the 
Nueces with troops and occupy the land south to the Rio 
Grande. As soon as he crossed the river the Mexicans 
attacked. Taylor won the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca 
de la Palma, and later pushed on to Monterey, where he 
won again, and then marched south to meet an expedition 
under General Winfield Scott, that had been landed at Vera 
Cruz to push westward to the City of Mexico. Every- 
where the Americans were victorious: at Buena Vista, 
Cerro Gordo, Jalapa, Churubusco and Molino del Rey, 
and after the storming of Chapultepec they made a 
triumphal entry into the City of Mexico September 14, 
1846. 

The country was filled with delight. In the army were 
leaders and young subalterns whose names were after- 
ward to become widely known. General Taylor was to be 
elected President, as was Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, while 
General Scott, General Fremont, Lieutenant Simon 
Bolivar Buckner and W. S. Hancock were to be leaders 
but losers on Presidential tickets. 

The effect of the victory was to leave the United States 
in possession of northwestern Mexico up to the northern 
line of California. California had promptly revolted 
from Mexico in June, 1846, and declared herself in- 

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dependent as the Bear State Republic. Peace was 
arranged by paying Mexico $15,000,000 for the 522,568 
square miles thus added to our domain. 

General Zachary Taylor came out of the Mexican War 
a popular hero, was promptly nominated for President 
by the Whigs and elected, defeating Lewis Cass of Mich- 
igan and Martin Van Buren. This year (1848) the Free 
Soil Party was organized and took the field against the 
extension of slavery. It was not until 1854 that the 
present Republican Party was organized at Ripon, 
Wisconsin, and started its long career. President Taylor 
lived only a little more than a year after inauguration, 
dying of bilious fever July, 1850, but he lived to see the 
beginning of the extraordinary fruits of his victorious arms 
in Mexico. 

This was the discovery of gold in California. While 
Taylor and Scott had been attacking central Mexico, the 
few Americans that had migrated to California, then a 
Mexican state, revolted and General Fremont and Commo- 
dore Stockton gave them the protection of the army and 
navy while they organized an independent state, the 
"Bear Republic." Its flag bore the image of a grizzly 
bear. 

Then a year later gold was found ! It reads like a fairy 
tale. One day a man named Marshall was building a mill 
race on a small stream for a Swiss immigrant by the name 
of Sutter, who was constructing a grist mill. In the 
midst of his work Marshall saw something yellow shining 
in the mud. He picked up a few particles and wondered 
if it were not gold. He took some specimens and went to 
Sutter's Fort, the site of the present city of Sacramento, 
reported to Sutter and the two locked themselves in a room 
and tested the particles by every process they had. By 
every one they were demonstrated to be gold. They went 
back to the mill race to examine further. If they had 
been able to keep their secret and acquire all the land they 

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wanted, these two men would have been richer than the 
fabled Croesus, or any monarch of the world. But a 
Mormon day laborer employed on the work saw their 
excitement as they investigated the mud and sand, took 
occasion to look about for himself, and spread the news 
that virgin gold had been discovered at Sutter's Mill. 

The effect was indescribable. Everywhere as the 
news spread men closed their business houses and left 
their fields, sailors in the harbor of San Francisco deserted 
their ships, soldiers left their barracks — all flocking to the 
little American River to get their share in the new El 
Dorado. News traveled slowly in those days and the 
farther it went naturally the less belief there was in the 
astonishing story, which grew in marvels with every day's 
journey it took. Not until President Polk in 1849 laid 
the facts before Congress in his annual message was the 
East convinced. Then began that extraordinary rush of 
gold hunters to the West, that has since been likened to 
the Greek tradition of the "Search for the Golden Fleece. ' ' 
Those who went have since been known as the "Argonauts 
of Forty-Nine. ' ' No difficulty or danger could deter them. 
They went straight west across the trackless plains, or by 
sea to Panama and across the fever-poisoned jungle of the 
Isthmus, and then up the west coast, or around Cape 
Horn. Bold and daring young adventurers with no money 
to travel with were fitted out by less daring but better 
supplied friends at home, and thus, like chartered privateers, 
were sent out to bring home and divide the spoils of the 
new territory. 

No episode in the history of the United States is so 
filled with glamour, excitement, tragedy, and wonderful 
adventure as those succeeding few years in California, 
when the rude, daring and fearless army of the "Forty- 
Niners" hunted for gold, made their own laws and ex- 
ecuted them on the spot; when men grew rich in a day or 
were impoverished over night; when some with the genius 

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of trade grew richer through providing supplies and selling 
them at enormous profits than did those who took the 
actual gold out of the earth. In the next twenty years 
more than a billion dollars' worth of gold was to be taken 
out of California alone. 

This was only the beginning. Ten years later, in 
1858, gold was discovered near Pike's Peak in what was 
then the unorganized Indian country, but is now the state 
of Colorado. This was in the midst of a desert country, 
without trees or grass, known on the map of those days 
as the "Great American Desert." 

But not even this death-dealing desert could dis- 
courage those who were in search of gold. Denver was 
then, in 1858, a village of a few houses, where to-day it is a 
magnificent city of 300,000 population. Later gold was 
discovered in Utah and in what is now the state of Nevada, 
and from every direction the stream of gold-hunters 
flowed in on both slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from 
Mexico to the line of Canada. These mines had to be 
reached by invading the desert, but the invasion was made 
and another era of glamour opened, only less wonderful 
than that of California, and less wonderful only because 
it was the second act of the great drama of treasure-trove. 
Those who can recall the discovery of gold in Alaska twenty 
years ago, the stories of adventure and the wonderful 
development of that far-off strip of United States territory, 
can multiply them to appreciate the California episode. 

And what happened? Out of the individual tragedies, 
sufferings and toil of those "Argonauts of Forty-Nine" 
and their successors of 1858 and 1859 in the Great Amer- 
ican Desert, the flower of civilization sprang like a rose 
from wilds that had been occupied by savage Indians and 
wild beasts and avoided like a pestilence because of its 
lack of vegetation. The Great American Desert extended 
from longitude 98° to 107° and from latitude 33° in the 
south to 43** in the north. It covered much of what are 

[49] 









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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

now the fertile states of Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, 
Utah and the whole of Colorado and most of New Mexico. 
Irrigation and the ceaseless labor of men have made 
gardens where formerly were but sand and cactus. The 
Great American Desert has long ago disappeared from 
maps, along with the Llano Estacado or "Great Staked 
Plains" of western Texas. 

Then the people of the United States began to be called 
upon to pay for the gold, which is according to the old 
immutable law that those who dance shall pay the piper. 
The payment was to be made in the lives of thousands of 
the best manhood of all the sections lost in Civil War. It 
was not yet in sight, but an ominous cloud of irrepressible 
difference was on the horizon of politics and had been 
growing since the very formation of the government. 
This was an intense political jealousy over the limitation 
or extension of slavery. Slavery existed in all the thir- 
teen original states. Even white penal slaves had been 
held. When independence was achieved the five most 
northerly states began to abolish slavery, the eight 
southern ones, among which New York and New Jersey 
were numbered, retained it. These two gradually 
abolished it; and by common consent, but with great care, 
it was agreed that the Ohio River and the southern line 
of Pennsylvania should be the southern boundary of free 
states that might grow out of the new territories in the 
West. This was east of the Mississippi, which was as 
far west as was then owned by the United States. 

When, however, the national domain was extended to 
the Rocky Mountains and thence to the Pacific, jealousies 
arose as to the admission of new states in order to keep the 
balance of political power evenly adjusted between the 
"free" and "slave" states. No man among all the great 
statesmen produced by the South and North had possessed 
the genius to solve that political problem, which for forty 
years had awakened suspicion, distrust and hatred be- 

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tween states and individuals. The great bulk of im- 
migration from Europe was almost wholly to the northern 
states and these brought with them more opposition to 
slavery in any form. When the Golden West was dis- 
covered and the stream of migration was begun to the 
Pacific Coast, the struggle over whether California, with 
its fabulous wealth, should be admitted as a "free" or 
"slave" state was the slipping of the stone that brought 
down the national house in civil war. California was 
admitted "free" in 1850 and then the political struggle 
raged for ten years. It looked even then as if the country 
were to be divided into two republics, differing only as to 
slavery. Statesmen who had not the genius to solve the 
problem compromised it and thus postponed the con- 
flict. Henry Clay, " the Pacificator," " the Peace Maker," 
did this in 1850, but when he died two years later there 
was none to take his place. 

So it was that in i860 when Abraham Lincoln was 
elected President the "irrepressible conflict" so long de- 
layed began to take form. States began to secede from 
the Union under the doctrine of "state's rights" and when 
Lincoln was inaugurated (March 4, 1861) he found him- 
self facing civil war with the entire population in a state 
of ferment and uncertainty. The confusion of political 
and private opinion was complete. In all portions of the 
country the large body of voters wanted the Union con- 
tinued as it had begun, but suspicion rendered it im- 
possible to arrive at agreement, so that when the first gun 
was fired in 186 1 it resulted in a separation almost wholly 
along sectional lines. Every man stood with his state, 
and the state generally with its section. 

Then followed the long conflict during the height of 
which two million men were under arms on both sides. 
In many instances friends, brothers, fathers and sons 
found themselves on opposing sides in politics and in arms. 
Time has not yet suflSced to allow the story of that war to 

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EPISODES OF 



HISTORY 



be dispassionately told. Too many deep personal feel- 
ings have been involved, too much unwritten history is 
yet to be discovered. But, just as the Civil War was on 
the greatest scale recorded up to that time, so the results 
of it have been the most remarkable. Fifty years after 
its close the scars of it have disappeared from the mem- 
ories of those whose fathers fought it. North and South 
are firmly bound together in devotion to the reunited 
nation. One thing above all has grown out of it, satis- 
factory alike to all sections, all parties and every patriot — 
the feeling that it is one country and not two, with an 
endless frontier between them marking the limits of 
separated and jealous nations. The far-sighted statesmen 
of both sides feared such a result; they dreaded to see the 
North American republic divided along fortified frontiers, 
subject to the same political misunderstandings and 
dangers of war that have so often shaken Europe and 
plunged humanity into sorrow. 

The Civil War had cost the lives of about 700,000 men 
who fell in battle, died of wounds or perished of camp 
diseases. Of these it is estimated that about 140,000 
fell in battle, nearly 90,000 died of wounds and the re- 
mainder of disease. Up to 1879 the cost of the war to the 
government at Washington, in money, was $6,190,000,000. 
So much blood and treasure had never been poured out 
in four years of war before. The cost to the Confederate 
States has never been possible to estimate, except that by 
the emancipation of slaves they lost upwards of $2,000,- 
000,000 of property alone, without regarding the cost of 
maintaining their armies and the pouring out of all they 
had on the altar of their hopes. 

During the period of twenty-five years, between these 
episodes that stirred the nation to its depths, the tide of 
development, the creation of wealth, and the expansion of 
the country went on without interruption, but on a smaller 
scale. The population that was 17,000,000 in 1840 had 

[52] 



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increased to 31,000,000 in i860; and immigrants continued 
to pour into the land which was believed to be teeming 
with wealth. Seven new western states were created 
and admitted into the Union. Five new territories were 
established. 

In the cities gas and plumbing were introduced; 
streets were paved, instead of being left as mere dirt roads; 
public schools were opened and education made free. 
There was a great expansion in railroad building, express 
lines were opened, postage stamps were used, and ocean 
ships were beginning to be driven wholly by steam. The 
modern sewing machine, the power harvester, the tele- 
graph, India rubber, the perfection of the daguerreotype 
(forerunner of the photograph, which was in its turn the 
forerunner of the moving picture) and the Atlantic cable 
were all invented or perfected during this period. 

In 1846 the discovery of chloroform was made, which 
gave foundation to the miracles of surgery that have since 
been performed. 

During these years, so trying and tempestuous to the 
whole country, the Insurance Company of North America 
was keeping step with the nation. Its marine business 
had grown into large proportions again with the develop- 
ment of ocean commerce. Fascinating as marine under- 
writing was in the early days, it had its dangers. There 
were no conflagrations as in fire insurance, but there were 
the coming together of numerous losses during times of war, 
which was quite as bad. As, for instance, during the 
first ten years of the foreign wars when the company had 
out of six millions of premiums only 9 per cent left for 
expenses. So, during the twenty years from 1842 to 
1862, the marine premiums were $5,957,630, but the losses 
left only 15 per cent of that for expenses. 

Attempts to collect the French spoliation claims from 
the government were continued during this period. In 
the first session of the Congress meeting 1846, a bill passed 

(S3] 



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I 



EPISODES OF HISTORY 

both houses approving the claims and appropriating 
money to pay them. It was vetoed, however, by President 
Polk, who was then preparing for the Mexican War. In 
January, 1855, the same bill again passed both houses, but 
was vetoed by President Pierce. The Civil War, of 
course, served to postpone the whole matter indefinitely. 
There were numerous claimants besides the North Amer- 
ica. Other insurance companies and individual claimants 
were pressing. The two bills that were passed carried 
appropriations of $5,000,000 to indemnify those whose 
legal claims had been traded off by the government for 
national purposes. 

The introduction of steam as motive power for ships, 
which began so largely in 1839-40, was destined to take 
much of the uncertainty and hazard out of the sea. The 
records of the Insurance Company of North America, if 
gone through in detail, might furnish many a memorandum 
that would lead to romances of the sea, such as the case 
of the White Star liner "Naronic," that sailed from port 
and from that day to this has never been heard from, sup- 
posed to have "turned turtle" in some storm — the mys- 
tery of passengers, crew and cargo left impenetrable for- 
ever. Or the case of the brig "Marie Celeste," that was 
found after weeks of disappearance sailing aimlessly about 
in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. All sails were set, 
everything was in place, the remains of a half-consumed 
breakfast were on the table; but what had become of the 
crew has never been known. Every man had vanished 
as completely from human ken as if not one had ever 

existed. 

The largest number of marine losses are prosaic, how- 
ever, as are fire losses on land. Marine losses occur largely 
through fire, collision, sinking or being overcome by the 
elements, stranding, damage to cargo from leakage caused 
by carelessness, or by rats gnawing some sea connection 
and letting water into the hold. A small amount has been 

[54I 



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attributed to crime, such as attempts to cast away vessels 
for the insurance. But even this has largely disappeared 
with the days of wooden sailing ships. 

In fire insurance the Insurance Company of North 
America, which had collected only $175,965 in premiums 
in the twenty years ending 1842, collected $1,692,431 
during the twenty years ending 1862, and was closely con- 
nected through its local agents with the every-day business 
life and protection of the people in every part of the 
country that could be readily reached by mail or methods 
of travel. 

That was the period of direct connection between the 
local agency and the company, out of which sprang the 
practice and the traditions of loyalty that were so largely 
to influence the future of underwriting. Agents made no 
"daily reports" then. The business was reported in 
monthly statements and in some instances quarterly. 
The strong agency companies had but one agent in a 
vicinity and competition was beginning to be troublesome 
between agents and local companies. The professional 
aspects of the local agent began to develop, as the resident 
underwriter for his company. In a number of states 
local companies were organizing to control the local 
markets for insurance both in the fire and inland marine 
branches. The enormous business carried on canal and 
steamboats was inviting merchants and shippers into 
speculation without sufficient appreciation of the dangers 
involved in limited volume with large lines. The policies 
of the local companies were as uncertain of security as the 
currency of state banks at the time, and the value of that 
was measured by decreasing confidence as the bills passed 
farther from the point of issue. Competition between 
"home" and "outside" companies started the enactment 
of "retaliation" and limiting laws. 

All this naturally increased the volume of insurance, 
and multiplied the number of agents, increasing their 

[ssl 






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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

responsibility. The eastern companies, owing to their 
distance by mail and travel from their agencies in the 
Middle West and the growing necessity of closer super- 
vision and prompt payment of losses, had turned to the 
establishment of departments, covering all the distant 
states with a resident general agent in complete charge. 
One had been established as early as the '2o*s and had been 
successful in accumulating large premium receipts and 
establishing local influence. Cincinnati was the favorite 
point of location for these departments because of the 
vast Ohio and Mississippi river tonnage and the canal 
cargoes that originated there. In 1864, however, the 
Insurance Company of North America established its 
first western department at Erie, Pennsylvania. It was 
not until a year later that its New England department was 
established at Hartford. Thus began the creation of those 
ganglionic nerve centers of fire insurance, called variously 
"departments," "general agencies," "district agen- 
cies," all varying in the size of territory covered, to con- 
centrate and quicken the connections of the home offices 
of companies with the people of every section and state. 

Yet fire insurance was continuing to be largely primi- 
tive in its methods. Its development was through neces- 
sity and accident until after the Civil War, and it did not 
even then immediately take on a scientific form. The 
classification of risks had grown out of a question asked of 
an underwriter by one of his policy-holders, who casually in- 
quired if the company had made any money on paper mills. 
This led to an investigation into the lines of business and 
the experience of companies thus came to be kept by 
classes. Blanks for proofs of losses were not known 
until 1853. Policies were not numbered before 1864. 
Numerous companies were organized, admitted and failed 
in a few months. Rates were made by guesses and com- 
petition and only the shrewdest and most conservative 
underwriters could count on success. It was the good 

IS61 



"THE" NORTH AMERICA 

fortune of the North America to have such under- 
writers and pursue such a course, and that is why the first 
company of the United States still survives with all its 
prestige to be among the great companies of the world. 

With the development of the West and its great dis- 
tances beyond the AUeghanies and to the coast, the 
problems grew in importance. In the early days officers 
and directors of each company made trips and established 
agencies and instructed agents. Then arose a necessity 
for special representatives. So "special agents" came 
into being, their work at first being largely given to ad- 
justing and paying losses, and then they began to pay 
attention to agencies and rate making. 

There are many agents now living who saw the institu- 
tion of the special agent expand into an elaborate system 
of inspection and rate competition that provoked rate 
wars, finally bringing about field organizations to correct 
rating evils. From this arose the present systems of 
uniform schedule rating which is placing the business upon 
a scientific actuarial foundation with respect to equitable 
rates. From these field associations have grown also the 
present organizations for fire prevention and for the 
betterment of agency practice everywhere. 



I 



HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. 1842-1866 

Governmental. — Boundary questions with Russia and Great Britain settled 
and the present northern limit established — Independence of Texas acknowl- 
edged and Texas admitted 184s — War with Mexico and conquest of Pacific 
Coast completed 1847, and Mexico allowed indemnity of $15,000,000 — Gadsden 
Purchase of northwest Texas made 1853 — Civil War o[>eas with Battle of Bull 
Run or Manassas Junction — Peace declared April, 1865 — Lincoln assassinated 
April 14, 1865. 

Economic. — Great expansion of railroads — Steamships begin to multiply — 
Population nearly doubles, cities founded and enlarged — Discovery of gold in 
California opens continental avenues of wealth — Manufactures begin to en- 
large and inventions of value appear, the sewing machine, harvester, India rub- 
ber, photography, Atlantic cable, chloroform — Gas, plumbing, postage stamps, 
paved streets began to be introduced and used. 

War. — War with Mexico January, 1846, ends. with capture of City of Mexico 

[S7l 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

September 14, 1847 — Civfl War — Battle of Bull Run, Sunday, October 21, 
i86x — Fort Donelson February i6, 1862 — Shilob, April 6, 1862 — New Orleans 
April 24, 1862 — Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863 — Fall of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863 — 
Cbickamauga. September ig-3o, 1863 — Sherman's March to the Sea, May- 
December, 1864 — Wilderness campaign, summer of 1864 — Siege of Rich- 
mond 1864 to spring of 1865 — Peace of Appomattox April 9, 1865 — Both 
armies disbanded by May 31. 

Territorial. — Texas and over 500,000 square miles acquired from Mexico 
1847 — Ten states admitted, Florida, Texas (1845), Iowa (1846), Wisconsin 
(1848), California (1850), Minnesota (1858), Oregon (1850), Kansas (1861), West 
Virginia (1863), Nevada (1864). Four territories extablished. New Mexico, 
Utah, Washington and Nebraska. 

Political. — Whig and Free-Soil parties disappear and merge into the Re- 
publican Party in i860 — Long and bitter struggle over slavery and the con- 
ditions of new territories and states — "Popular Sovereignty" experimented 
with — Know-Notbing or Native American Party appears and disappears — 
Missouri Compromise repealed — Rise of Republican Party 1856-60, election of 
Lincoln — Seven states secede 1861. 

Insurance. — Great expansion of local agency system and establishment of 
general agencies or departments — Competition between local and outside com- 
panies — Death of John Corry Smith, sixth president Insurance Company of 
North America from 1831, June 22, 1845, aged 61. Succeeded by Arthur Gil- 
more Coffin, who had been secretary since 1832 — Henry D. Sherrerd, elected 
secretary July x, 1845, continued to June i, 1858. Matthias Maris, secretary 
November 3, 1858, to April 3, i860, when Charles Piatt succeeded him — West- 
em department established at Erie, 1864 — New England general agency estab- 
ished at Hartford, 1865. 



IS8] 



RECUPERATION AND PROGRESS 

1867-1891 

From the throes of a destructive war the United 
States leaped almost at one bound into the strongest period 
of construction and development in its history. The 
horrors of war changed into bitter political conflicts, but 
behind these the energies of the people, awakened by the 
war, were unloosed to the opportunities of the future and 
they moved forward to achieve their destiny. 

We shall not follow the political struggles of the period 
from 1867 to 1 89 1. The price of war was paid in pre- 
judices, suspicions, mistakes and experiments, the record 
of which belongs to political discussion, not to a story, like 
this, of national development. The assassination of 
Lincoln, April 14, 1865, — a catastrophe to the South as 
well as to the North — was followed by the adminis- 
tration of Andrew Johnson, under which the era of "Re- 
construction" in the South began and was to run its pain- 
ful course for twelve years. Johnson was impeached, 
tried by the Senate and acquitted by one vote. The 
"greenback issue" came up to confuse finances, but the 
resumption of specie payment, assured by the passage of 
preparatory laws, was reached only after the panic of 
1873. This panic grew out of unsettled currency and 
public debt conditions, in the midst of which the Grangers 
or farmers' organizations of the West and the western 
railroads quarreled over freights and local subscriptions to 
railroad enterprises. The sales of bonds suddenly ceased, 
in many instances those already sold were sought to be 
repudiated. All this reacted on banks, deposits began to 
be withdrawn, and in 1873, the storm burst with the failure 
of the great New York banking firm of Jay Cooke & Co. 

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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

The tide of panic swept to every town in the country 
where there was a bank. During that single year there 
were 5,000 failures in banks, factories, commercial firms 
and corporations, succeeded in 1874 by 5,800 more. 
Nothing like it had before been known and the whole 
country was in gloom. General Grant was President and 
was determined that this sacrifice of means should not be 
in vain, so he insisted on moving toward specie payments 
and declared that "the only way to resume was to re- 
sume." The laws passed in 1874-5 and later amended by 
the " remonetization of silver" at "sixteen to one" ac- 
complished the purpose, and on January i, 1879, under 
the terms of the law, the Treasury began to redeem all its 
currency in gold, on demand, which ever since it has done. 
There was to be no recurrence of the panic of 1873 until 
twenty years later, in 1893, when another almost as bad 
swept over the country. 

On July 2, 1881, James A. Garfield, twentieth President, 
was assassinated four months after inauguration, by a 
madman. He died after much suffering September 19. 
This second assassination of a President called attention 
to the fact that if the Vice-President should die or become 
unable to serve, there was no provision for the succession 
before election. Congress, therefore, at once passed the 
act necessary. 

The presidential succession is fixed by chapter 4 of 
the acts of the Forty-ninth Congress, first session. In 
case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of both 
the President and Vice-President, then the Secretary of 
State shall act as President until the disability of the 
President or Vice-President is removed or a President is 
elected. If there be no Secretary of State, then the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury shall act; and the remainder of the 
order of succession is as follows: The Secretary of War, 
Attorney-General, Postmaster-General, Secretary of the 
Navy, and Secretary of the Interior. The acting President 

I60I 



♦'THE" NORTH AMERICA 

must, upon taking ofiice, convene Congress, if not at the 
time in session, in extraordinary session, giving twenty 
days' notice. This act applies only to such Cabinet officers 
as shall have been confirmed by the Senate and are eligible 
under the Constitution to the Presidency. 

Despite the political and financial bitterness of the 
years from 1866 to 1880 the longings of the people for 
homes, comfort and prosperity were inspiring them to 
development. In the South the pressing problem was its 
own restoration; in the North eyes were turned to the West 
where the gold and silver mines and vast pasturages were 
beckoning all who wanted to be rich. A great tide of 
migration began westward and an endless stream of 
immigration from Europe set in. 

The population of the whole country, which was 31,- 
000,000 in i860, was 50,000,000 in 1880 and 63,000,000 
in 1890, an increase that made labor abundant and gave 
markets for every sort of production, so that the wonder- 
ful economic spectacle was presented of a great and growing 
nation becoming rich within itself by its own efforts; 
asking little of other nations except the manhood and 
womanhood that flocked here to grasp opportunities. 
The true valuation of the real and personal property of the 
United States which was $7,365,000,000 ($307 per capita) 
in 1850, had grown to $42,642,000,000 in 1880, or $850 per 
capita. It may be said in passing that even this vast sum 
was increased to $88,517,000,000 in 1900, or $1,200 per 
capita. No other large nation of the world was so rich. 

The problem of development in the South was delayed 
by two causes — one the unsettled political conditions due 
to "carpet-bag" government and the resistance of the 
Southern people to exploitation by military force and 
strangers; the second the condition of labor following the 
abolishment of slavery. Before i860 white immigrants 
from Europe would not go to the Southern States and 
compete with slave labor. After the war the same dis- 

[6x1 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

inclination to match against ex-slaves continued. So that 
the Southern States faced two acute problems, one to get 
control of their own internal political affairs, the other to 
fashion out of their former slaves a body of free labor and 
make it economically valuable. The prejudices growing 
out of the war made these problems all the more difficult 
to solve, but the election of 1876, which for a few months 
seemed to threaten war again (the Hayes-Tilden campaign 
and dead-lock) saw an end to carpet-bag government and 
then the New South, master of its own destinies, took 
hold of its own fortunes with a will. 

From the first settlement of the country, the slave 
states had been devoted to agriculture. There were prac- 
tically no manufactures. There were few cities. The 
largest of these were Baltimore, New Orleans, Charleston, 
Louisville and St. Louis, and they were merely distributing 
points with no manufactures of consequence. Sugar was 
made in Louisiana, but all the cotton and tobacco was 
shipped to the North or abroad — raw material, to be 
worked up and purchased back in manufactured forms. 
The South was until 1861 a royal purchaser of the manu- 
factures of the world, paid for in the values of its great 
staple crops. Under these conditions there grew up in 
that section a civilization of agrarian wealth, social culture 
and distinction of manners that produced some of the 
greatest statesmen, merchants, soldiers, lawyers and public 
leaders of the country. 

During the war, when every Southern port was block- 
aded, and no supplies were allowed to enter (1504 vessels 
trying to "run the blockade" were captured or destroyed), 
and when it became apparent that slavery must pass away, 
the Southern people were compelled to turn their attention 
to manufactures for their own necessities. What was 
produced was crude enough, but the possibilities of 
manufactures were made apparent. Now, as soon as the 
"reconstruction" pressure ceased in 1876-85, the South 

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sprang at once to both agricultural and industrial activity. 
Natural resources that had never before been considered 
were examined and developed. Some of the largest and 
richest deposits of iron ore in the world were discovered in 
Alabama, and in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North 
Carolina and Alabama vast fields of coal were opened. 
Alabama had the iron ore and coal so close together, with 
all the materials for iron making, that Birmingham was 
soon to become the arbiter of iron prices of the country 
and now has its influence on the world. Factories to 
produce cotton, tobacco and mechanical goods began 
slowly to appear, growing with increased rapidity every 
year. 

With these innovations agriculture continued to be the 
chief reliance. Where in i860, 4,670,000 bales of cotton 
were grown, 6,600,000 were grown in 1880 — from 12,000,- 
000 to 13,000,000 bales now. The United States is the 
largest producer of tobacco in the world and the Southern 
states produce four-fifths of all the tobacco grown in this 
country. The value of the Southern crop now is more 
than a hundred millions annually. There has been also 
a wonderful development of grain crops for home use in 
the South. Yet, with all this, great industrial centers of 
manufactures have sprung up at Birmingham, Chat- 
tanooga, Atlanta, Louisville, Memphis, Richmond, and 
in many smaller towns in Georgia, Alabama, North Caro- 
lina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Since 1885 
an industrial empire has been created in the South alone 
greater than existed in the whole nation, perhaps, in i860; 
and yet its agricultural production has wonderfully in- 
creased. 

Meanwhile the opening of the West between the 
Mississippi River and California was no less wonderful. 
During the Civil War, Congress had chartered the Union 
Pacific and the Central Pacific railroad companies to 
build jointly a line from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento 

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City in California and thus connect the East and West 
wings of the country, separated by the trackless prairies, 
alkali deserts and Rocky Mountains. It had been the 
policy of Congress since 1827 to make grants of public 
lands to railroads that would extend into unoccupied 
sections and thus attract population. It is estimated 
that between 1827 and i860 Congress gave away enough 
land in these grants to make seven states the size of 
Pennsylvania and only 6,000 acres less than the total area 
of the thirteen original states of the Union. 

The Union Pacific Railroad was opened in 1869. 
There was instantly repeated for the country along the 
way the miracle that the discovery of gold had performed 
for California and Colorado. By 1870 more than a 
million people had settled along the line of the Union 
Pacific. Gold, silver and copper were discovered in what 
are now the states of Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah 
and Montana. The building of the Northern Pacific 
began in 1870 with the completion of the more southern 
route and the great lumber, grazing and grain possibilities 
of the Northwest were uncovered. This was to create 
the great cities of Duluth, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Seattle, 
Spokane and Portland. 

The rush of people into the New West was astonishing. 
In what are the eleven states of Colorado, North Dakota, 
South Dakota, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, 
Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming, there was a 
population of only 405,000 counted in i860. Several of 
them had not a single white person. In 1890 they had a 
population of 5,429,000 by the census. This was more 
population than the United States possessed in 1800 after 
one hundred and fifty years of colonization. The New 
West had turned the larger trick in thirty years. In 1910 
those states had nearly 9,000,000 and have a present esti- 
mated population of 10,500,000. 

All the migrations of history pale before this human 

I64I 



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stream that peopled the West. At present more than one- 
third of the people of the United States live west of the 
Mississippi, which before i860 was practically unoccupied. 
It is a number larger than the whole population when the 
Civil War began — about 32,000,000. 

While these things were happening in the South and 
West, the progress in the older states east of the Mis- 
sissippi and on the eastern coast was equally astonishing. 
It seemed as if all the wonders of creation of material 
wealth, comfort, luxury and mechanical convenience in 
history were to be overwhelmed by the invention and in- 
troduction of new processes and the production of new 
means of communication and transportation and in labor- 
saving arts. 

There are many persons still living who saw no better 
lights than candles before they were grown men and 
women. Viewed from every standpoint of material prog- 
ress the times before i860 can fairly be described as 
"candle-light times." The first well for taking petroleum 
oil out of the earth was drilled in 1859 at Titusville, Penn- 
sylvania, by a man named Drake. He found oil, but it 
was produced in small quantity. Only two hundred 
barrels were obtained from all the wells in existence in i860. 
Its first value was in its illuminating qualities. Refining 
it for use in lamps called out the invention of what was 
called the "coal-oil" lamp, that was to be used in millions 
of homes where there was no gas and where candles no 
longer sufficed. So far as the comforts of home were con- 
cerned the "coal-oil" lamp probably made a greater im- 
pression of satisfaction than any invention of the century. 
From the 10,000 gallons of petroleum produced in i860 
there was a rapid increase to over 2,000,000,000 gallons in 
1880 (12,000,000,000 at present). From its restricted use 
in lamps for lighting purposes it was coming to be used 
as fuel for all sorts of purposes. 

During this period began also the great development of 

[65I 



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HISTORY 



electricity. The second Atlantic cable was laid in 1886, 
but the electric current was as yet used alone for teleg- 
raphy. Then Brush invented the arc light and the 
dynamo, and electric lighting and electric motors followed. 
Electricity began to be used for searchlights, photography, 
street and house lighting, telephoning, welding metals, 
electroplating, electric railways and innumerable other 
power purposes. Toward the close of the era came the 
perfected bicycle, the gas engine, the trolley cars, pas- 
senger elevators, enameling of kitchen and sanitary uten- 
sils, the phonograph, the moving picture machine, vesti- 
buled railway trains, the perfected typewriter, the cash 
register, and many other astonishing inventions or dis- 
coveries entering into the daily life of all the people. 

Curiously enough some of the most important of these 
inventions were looked upon in their first stages as mere 
toys or luxuries. It was reserved for the future to develop 
their enormous economic value and their influence in 
changing the methods of life of the entire country. But 
some of them were obviously so useful and universally 
desired that the need of large corporations to develop 
them was even then felt. Mechanical progress in rail- 
roading, telegraphing, and oil production and distribution 
quickly brought about combinations of small corporations 
into large ones. Hundreds of short railroads were com- 
bined into continuous trunk lines. There were forty 
telegraph companies that were combined into the Western 
Union, and hundreds of oil producers were merged into the 
Standard Oil Company. There was an unprecedented 
rush of speculation in mines, lands, stocks and bonds — 
in everything, in fact, to which the new inventions and 
discoveries seemed to lend increased values for the future. 
Vast sums were needed for the operations of the great 
corporations, or "trusts," as they began to be called, and 
for the countless small corporations that were coming 
into existence to exploit new inventions. 

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Instantly there sprang into existence the beginnings of 
the present system of banking exchanges, credits and 
clearances, by which the general business of the country is 
carried on with the use and transference of the very small- 
est percentage of actual money. 

Fire insurance expanded at once under the stimulation 
to support this universal system of credit, as indeed did 
all other forms of insurance. Coincidentally with fire 
insurance the present great life insurance companies were 
beginning to grow. A number of mutual life companies 
had been organized in the New England and Middle States 
from 1842 to i860, and while their progress was slow it was 
sound. This encouraged others in the West and East, 
and even during the Civil War several companies, now 
grown to great size, began business. The development 
of the best of these companies was surprising during the 
twenty-five years ending in 1893. The business generally 
increased many fold and thus these companies were pre- 
pared also to furnish through their policies the basis of 
protection and credit to individuals. 

During the decade of the Civil War the principal 
fire insurance companies operating through agencies and 
writing about ninety per cent of all the business, collected 
aggregate average annual net premiums of about thirty 
millions. During the decade of the '70's these annual 
premiums increased to about $54,000,000; to $83,000,000 
in the '8o's, and to $123,000,000 in the '90's. 

In 1893, after the close of the One Hundredth Year of 
the Insurance Company of North America, the net 
premiums received by 258 companies aggregated $135,- 
000,000, an average of $520,000 per company. In that 
year the premium receipts of the North America were 
$5,672,565, of which $3,743,954 was in the fire branch 
alone. This was nearly twice as much received for fire 
insurance premiums in one year as the company had re- 
ceived in the combined sixty-nine years from 1793 to 1S62. 

I67] 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

This strong and rapid growth of the company that had 
practically been born with the government itself can be 
traced not only to the resolute enterprise with which it 
had followed the expansion of the government and the 
development of the states and sections, but to the prompt- 
ness and integrity with which losses were paid and all 
obligations met. It had pushed into the West and new 
Southwest with their opening, but during the Civil War 
all business operations of Northern corporations with the 
Confederate States were forbidden by law on both sides. 
As soon as peace was declared, however, the North Amer- 
ica was again in the whole South reappointing agents and 
renewing business associations with former patrons and 
seeking new. At Atlanta a Southern department was 
established in 1875 and in the same year its agents on the 
Pacific Coast were brought into quicker connection with 
the company through the general agency established at 
San Francisco. These enlargements gave the company 
a local habitation and name in every section of the 
country. 

It was during this period that the firm security of 
the North America's policies was demonstrated upon a 
great scale, amid the stress and storm of fire insurance, as 
it had been in marine insurance during the stormy periods 
of war embargoes and destruction on the seas in the perilous 
times succeeding the Revolution. In 187 1 the Chicago 
conflagration with losses of $167,000,000 caused the 
failure of many insurance companies unable to meet their 
losses. The North America's losses in that fire were 
$624,000 which were promptly paid. In the very next 
year it was called on to pay $989,000 losses by the great 
Boston fire and every claim was again made good. 

While the Chicago and Boston fires were a staggering 
blow to the energies of the country, the result was a 
profound lesson to the economics of fire insurance. The 
failure of many small companies and the necessity for 

[68] 



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large companies to call upon their stockholders for new 
funds made apparent instantly and for aU time two prime 
requisites for safety: One, the accumulation of large 
net surpluses to absorb the shock of excessive losses; 
the other, the restriction of lines in cities and blocks so 
that the distribution of liability would limit the com- 
pany's losses in conflagrations and protect the policy- 
holder against the possible destruction of the security of 
his policy. So that, following these great losses, all 
underwriting energy was turned to preparing the bulwark 
of accumulated and carefully maintained net surplus 
funds to offset possible conflagration dangers of the future. 

The immediate effect of these conflagrations was to 
sweep away a number of companies, to increase very 
largely the dependence of property owners upon sound 
fire insurance and to impress upon bankers the importance 
of having all burnable property on which credit for loans 
was based, protected by insurance companies with ample 
resources, under sound management. The impulse given 
to the fire insurance business was so great that premiums 
increased largely after 1872. The North America's 
prestige was so firmly established that its fire premiums 
doubled in the next ten years, leaping from $8,000,000 to 
more than $15,000,000. 

At the close of business on December 31, 1892, the end 
of the first one hundred years of the company's existence, 
it had received premiums since organization amounting 
to $104,180,328. At the same time it possessed cash 
assets of $9,434,334, of which $3,000,000 was its own cap- 
ital and $1,601,276 was net surplus. The unearned pre- 
miums held were $3,073,284. It held $771,621 reclaim- 
able on perpetual policies outstanding. 

In that year its total income was $6,081,587, and its 
total expenditures $6,368,908, leaving a deficit of about 
$287,000 on the year due to heavy marine losses. But 
the century was rounded out with a record of great sub- 

[69] 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

stantial growth and the honorable prestige of paying its 
losses in good and bad years alike. 

HISTORICAL MEMORANDA, 1867-1891 

Governmental. — Monroe Doctrine invoked and Napoleon III notified to 
withdraw French troops from Mexico — "Reconstruction" of seceded states" 
begun i866 and ended 1877 — Impeachment of President Johnson 1867 — Re- 
funding of national debt begun (i86q) by providing that "5-20" bonds be paid 
"in coin" — "Alabama" claims arbitrated with Great Rritain 1872 — Oregon 
border dispute with England settled 1872 — Coinage of silver stopped in 1873 — 
Greenbacks made redeemable in specie 1875 — Silver "remonetized" 1878 and 
made legal tender, with a limit to the coinage. 

Economic. — Expansion of railroads continued — Union Pacific and Central 
Pacific completed and opened 1869 — Dynamite and barbed wire fences in- 
troduced — Cable and electric cars invented — Petroleum oil comes into use — 
Phonograph and telephone invented — Bicycles came into universal use. 

Territorial. — Thirty-four states in the Union 1861, reduced to twenty-four 
by ten seceding for the Civil War — Total number of states increased again by 
readmission of seceding states and creation of ten new states, West Virginia 
(1863), Nevada (1864), Nebraska (1867), Colorado (1876), North Dakota, South 
Dakota, Montana, Washington (1889), Idaho and Wyoming (1890), making 
forty-four states — Alaska purchased from Russia 1867, adding 590,000 square 
miles to national domain — Total territorial area 1867, 3,517,673 square miles. 

Political. — President Johnson impeached for "high crimes and misde- 
meanors" 1867; Senate finds him not guilty by majority of one vote — General 
U. S. Grant elected President 1868, re-elected 1872 — Congress erects "Electoral 
Commission" 1876 to decide contest for count of electoral votes for the Presi- 
dency — Rutherford B. Hayes declared elected over Samuel J. Tilden by 185 to 
184 — Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution 
adopted in order named in 1865, 1868 and 1870 — James A. Garfield elected 
President 18S0, assassinated July 2, 1881, and Vice-President Chester A. Arthur 
succeeded — Grover Cleveland elected President 1884 — Benjamin Harrison 
elected President 1888 — Cleveland elected President again 1892. 

Insurance. — Great growth of fire insurance — Great Chicago conflagration 
begins October 9. 1871, bums three days, losses $167,000,000 — Many fire 
insurance companies fail as a result — Great fire in Boston November 9, 1872. 
losses $70,000,000; more companies fail and a number had to call on stockholders 
for increased contribution — Questions of reserves and rates grow pressing — 
Schedule rating in fire insurance has its start on a scientific basis during thii 
period — Charles Piatt, who had been secretary, elected vice-president In- 
surance Company of North America, January 13, 1869, and continued in that 
office until January 14, 1878, when he was elected president to succeed .\rthur 
G. CoflSn. Mr. Coffin died July 29. 1881, age 90. Matthias Maris, who had been 
secretary prior to Mr. Piatt's imcumbency again took that oflice continuing for 
two years, when he was succeeded January 12, 1881 by Greville E. Fryer. T. 
Charlton Henry elected vice-president November a, 1880, died August 31, iSgo. 

[70I 



INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 

1892-1916 

In the first ten years of the twenty-five-year period 
extending from 1892 to the present day, the United States 
was to take its place conspicuously as one of the first of the 
world powers in all international questions. The first 
step was taken by President Cleveland in 1895 and the 
second by President McKinley in 1898. It must be 
satisfactory to every American, whatever his partisan 
politics may be, to reflect that in the great questions con- 
cerning national honor and responsibility, these executive 
leaders of both dominant parties represented the united 
body of public opinion that stood solidly behind them. 
There is no politics in national patriotism. 

The firm reiteration to France of the Monroe Doctrine 
as settled national policy had caused that government to 
withdraw in 1867 the foreign army that Napoleon III 
sent to Mexico to establish an empire under Maximilian. 
When the message was sent, there were 50,000 American 
troops assembled on the Rio Grande under General Philip 
Sheridan ready to enforce our demands. In 1895 a 
dispute of long standing between Great Britain and 
Venezuela, over the boundary between the latter country 
and British Guiana, came to an acute stage, during which 
Great Britain was apparently preparing to use force. 
President Cleveland suggested arbitration, which was de- 
clined by Great Britain. The United States replied by 
restating the Monroe Doctrine. Great Britain retorted 
that the Monroe Doctrine was "inapplicable to the state 
of things in which we live at the present day." Then it 
was that the President declared to Congress and to Great 
Britain that it would be the duty of the United States 

[71I 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

"to resist by every means in its power" the appropriation 
by Great Britain of any lands or the exercise of any juris- 
diction over any territory that a commission appointed 
by Congress should decide belonged to Venezuela, This 
meant war in the event Great Britain should persist. 
The announcement startled all Europe and for a short 
time there was great excitement here and in England. 
But it subsided when the British government expressed a 
willingness to arbitrate. The dispute was finally settled 
by friendly arbitration. 

The war with Spain for the liberation of Cuba began 
and was quickly ended in 1898, but the achievements of 
the American navy and the results of our army operations 
in Cuba and Porto Rico were so conclusive and brilliant 
that with the naval battles of Manila Bay and Santiago, 
and the capture of San Juan Hill in Cuba, the United 
States at once demonstrated the power of her arms and 
acquired possession of island territories so extensive and 
strategically so important as to give us political interests 
of the greatest consequence in Asia and vast responsibil- 
ities in the Caribbean Sea affecting all Europe. 

The war, which was precipitated by the blowing up of 
the United States battleship "Maine" in Havana harbor, 
during the night of February 15, 1898, was begun April 21, 
was half won by Dewey's destruction of the Spanish 
squadron in Manila Bay May i, and was completed by the 
storming of San Juan Hill July i and the total destruction 
of Cervera's fleet, off Santiago Bay on July 3. On 
July 14 the Spaniards in Cuba surrendered and peace was 
agreed upon August 12, after less than four months of 
action. 

We had as a result assured Cuba of her independence, 
acquired the Philippine Islands in the South Pacific, the 
Island of Guam, half-way from Manila to Hawaii, had 
annexed Hawaii in answer to the desire of its people, 
acquired Porto Rico and the small islands of Spain there- 

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abouts. This gave the United States new insular ter- 
ritory of about 125,000 square miles, a domain only 
slightly smaller than the combined states of New York, 
Pennsylvania and Ohio, or about half the extent of Texas. 

Two years after the war President McKinley was re- 
elected, and then came the shock of his assassination by 
an anarchist at Buffalo Sept. 6, 1901, when he was hold- 
ing a reception at the exposition. His death called the 
Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt, to the Presidency, 
and under his resolute leadership the Panama Canal Zone 
was in 1904 secured in perpetual lease to the United States 
for the building of the Panama Canal. The price paid 
was $10,000,000 and an annual rental of $250,000 payable 
to the Republic of Panama. 

The Panama Canal has cost about $350,000,000 and 
was opened to navigation in 1914, though there have been 
interruptions to its use by slides in the cut. The changes 
it is expected to make in the commerce of the world are 
momentous, although the breaking out of the European 
War in 19 14 has thus far operated to leave most of these 
expectations still problematical. Its enormous value to 
the United States, which nobody doubts, is a matter for 
future demonstration in peaceful competition among 

nations. 

The history of the United States since 1892, aside from 
these great expansional manifestations of governmental 
power and increasing wealth, is the story of yesterday, 
familiar to all. The political excitements and differences 
remain yet as legacies from the day before yesterday, 
which are reserved for discussion on the stump and in the 
halls of Congress. 

But no wonders of material achievement have ever 
equaled those compressed into these last twenty-five years. 
In the application of old discoveries to the field of me- 
chanics the advance has been as a series of miracles. 
Since 1892 the American "skyscraper" building, the 

[73 1 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

perfection of the phonograph, the present moving picture 
apparatus, the automobile, the aeroplane, the hydroplane, 
the perfection of wireless telegraphy, electric trolley rail- 
ways, and the wonders achieved in electrical production 
and lighting, power and heating, have revolutionized the 
world's habits of living and communication more than any 
previous period of a thousand years. The processes of 
business have been equally revolutionized by the perfec- 
tion of the typewriter, typesetting machines, telephones 
and passenger elevators. 

Most of the mechanical and process developments 
mentioned are so familiar to-day that it is difficult to realize 
the time when they were not. Yet the automobile that 
goes a hundred miles an hour was unknown then; the 
aeroplane is still much younger and yet in process of 
perfection, as are others of them which only await the 
touch of the wand of genius, which may fall at any moment, 
to carry them to infinitely greater common uses. 

During the period under review the North America added 
to its lines of fire and marine insurance those of protection 
to automobiles, parcels post shipments, tourist baggage 
and other subsidiary lines that touch various sides of the 
life of the nation. It has taken its due part in the heat 
and burden of the protection of all the national progress. 
In 1895 it joined in the establishment of the Philadelphia 
Underwriters and the issuance of joint policies under that 
name. The Philadelphia Underwriters is now well known 
and represented by its own agents all over the country. 
In 1 9 10 the Western department of the North America, 
which had been established at Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1864, 
was removed to Chicago, leaving the Western department 
of the Philadelphia Underwriters still located at Erie. 

In January, 1905, the Alliance Insurance Company of 
Philadelphia, projected in the fall of the previous year, 
began business under the supervision of the administra- 
tive forces of the Insurance Company of North America 

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NORTH AMERICA 



and is still so conducted. Within a year and a few months 
it was called upon to pay over a million dollars in losses in 
the great San Francisco conflagration which exhausted its 
capital and surplus, each of $500,000, and stockholders 
voluntarily contributed $733 J86 to pay all obligations 
and restore its funds. Since that time they have been 
further strengthened by an increase in capital. 

The San Francisco conflagration, which shocked the 
whole world, caused property losses of approximately 
$350,000,000. Fire insurance companies paid about 
$175,000,000. In this great disaster the Insurance Com- 
pany of North America was called upon to pay $3,260,000 
meeting its claims honorably and promptly. 

The conflagration losses of this period, paid by the 
North America in six of the largest conflagrations amounted 
to $4,433,890, an average of about $740,000 for each— 
the combined amount being nearly three-fold the com- 
bined losses paid in Chicago and Boston in the confla- 
grations of the '70's. 

While there is no equivalent for the conflagration loss 
in marine underwriting, it is interesting to note that since 
1888, the North America has paid sixty-one claims each 
of $50,000 or more, incurred upon single vessels. 

At the beginning of 1 916, the North America's record 
of business transacted from its organization, December 10, 
1792 showed total receipts from premiums amounting to 
$276,983,911. 

From the early beginnings that have been described, it 
now has total resources of over $22,000,000 and has these 
funds pledged for the safety of approximately one and a 
quarter billions of dollars. 

It has upward of ten thousand agents now as compared 
with the solitary agency in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1807 
when it gave birth to the American Agency System by 
that appointment. 

As the North America enters upon its one hundred and 

l7Sl 



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INFORMATION OBSCURED 



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EPISODES O F HISTORY 

twenty-fifth anniversary, it begins also a new administra- 
tive era, the present oflScers having but recently taken up 
the reins of management, pledging themselves to conserve 
and continue to strengthen the great interests entrusted 
to them — interests that so intimately embrace stock- 
holder, policyholder and agent alike. 

These officers, with the departmental heads and offices 
of the North America are: 

OFFICERS 
President — Benjamin Rush. 
Vice-President — - John O. Piatt. 
Second Vice-President — Sheldon Catlin. 
Secretary and Treasurer — T. Houard Wright. 
Assistant Secretaries — Galloway C. Morris, John Kremer. 

DEPARTMENTAL OFFICES 
Western, Chicago — C. R. Tuttle. 
New England, Hartford — Charies E. Parker. 
Southern, Atlanta — Dan B. Harris. 
Pacific, San Francisco — J. C. Johnston. 

Before closing this period in the history of the Insurance 
Company of North America reference again may be 
fittingly made to the spoliation claims of the Eighteenth 
Century growing out of the eariy wars in the history 
of the United States, which furnish so strong a bond be- 
tween the present and the past that every president and 
every board of directors of the North America has had to 
deal with them down to the present time. These claims, 
growing out of losses sustained on insured ships of com- 
merce, captured by the enemy, and not redressed by 
the government, now amount to $748,906.13. The total 
claims of a similar nature still pending after considerably 
more than a century has elapsed, amount to upward of 
five millions of dollars. They have been pressed before 
every Congress, the justice of the claims avowed and ap- 
proved time and again before many committees and by 

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separate branches of the Congress. Twice bills were 
passed appropriating funds to pay these legacies of 
Revolutionary Days but were vetoed because of qih^ 
pressing emergencies at the time. When they sh^ilpT>e 
eventually paid, this particular chapter of the Insurance 
Company of North America's bond with earlyi^i&epen- 
dence Days will be closed, but it will ever Ig^h in the 
heritage of the personality of those patriots \Ji^Mought the 
good fight and made possible the great ^jted States of 
to-day. A^ 

HISTORICAL MEMORAND^Mfe92-1916 

Governmental. — Venezuela boundary dispufts^^th England called for re- 
iteration of Monroe Doctrine in i8qs and resull«an arbitration — Secretary of Com- 
merce and Labor added to cabinet officerj^^^^j — Alaskan boundary dispute 
with England settled, 1903 — Sixteenth a^s^ndment to Constitution giving Con- 
gress power to tax incomes adopted 191 2 — Seventeenth amendment to Constitu- 
tion, providing for election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people 
passed, 1913. 

Ecottomic. — United States acquires Zone in Isthmus of Panama for construc- 
tion of canal, one of greatest commercial events of era — Government begins 
irrigation work in western deserts 1902 — Laws passed protecting people from 
impure foods, for railway rate regulation and protecting nation's forests and 
streams — Federal reserve bank system adopted to prevent panics such as 
occurred in 1893 when gold reserve was depleted for first time in country's history. 

War. — Cuban rebellion and destruction of United States Battleship Maine 
in Havana Harbor (1898) results in war with Spain — War for subjugation of 
Philippines 1899 — Troubles on Mexican border 1915-1916. 

Political. — ■ Grover Cleveland re-elected president 1892 — William McKinley 
elected president 1896, re-elected 1900, assassinated 1901, and Vice-President 
Theodore Roosevelt succeeded — Roosevelt elected President 1904 — W^illiam 
H. Taft elected President 1908 — Woodrow Wilson elected President 191 2; re- 
elected, 1916. 

Territorial. — Utah admitted 1896 — Hawaiian Islands, area of 6,449 
square miles, annexed. — Guam, 210 square miles, Porto Rico, 3.43S square miles, 
and Philippines, 115,026 square miles acquired for $20,000,000 in 1898 under 
peace treaty with Spain — Samoan Islands divided with Germany in 1899 by 
which United States acquired six islands with area of 27 square miles — Okla- 
homa admitted as state 1907 — New Mexico and Arizona admitted as states 
1912, making total number of states 48 — Total national area 1916, 3,026,789 
square miles. 

Insurance. — William A. Piatt, elected vice-president Insurance Company 
of North America 1890, died April i, 1895, George H. McFadden successor — 
Philadelphia Underwriters department established at Erie 1895 — Eugene L. 

[77I 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

Ellison elected vice-president January, 1897, succeeding George H. McFadden. 
retired — Benjamin Rush elected second vice-president January, 1898 — Gre- 
ville E. Fryer, secretary since January 12, 1881, died July 27, 1898, and was suc- 
ceeded by T. Houard Wright — Alliance of Philadelphia under management of 
North America officials began business January i, 1905 — Charles Tlatt, seventh 
president, elected January 18, 1878, died January 23, 1909, age 79 years — 
Eugene L. Ellison, eighth president, elected November 3, 1909, Benjamin Rush 
vice-president — John O. Piatt, elected second vice-president January. 1910 — 
Western Department headquarters at Erie, Pa., since 1864, removed to Chicago 
1910 — Duties of treasurer added to T. Houard Wright, also secretary, 1912 — 
Eugene L. Ellison, president since November 3, 1909, died February 8, 1916, aged 
71 years — Benjamin Rush, ninth president, elected March 7, 1016 John O. 
Piatt, vice-president, Sheldon Catlia, second vice-president. 



I78I 



PERSONALITY IN ACHIEVEMENT 

1792-1916 

There is a carved and paneled chamber in what is now 
called Independence Hall in Philadelphia in which the 
greatest political events of American history were born. 
From the walls of this chamber look down to-day the 
portraits of the men who created the United States of 
America. In the center of that chamber one may know 
that he stands on the very spot where the spark of political 
liberty was struck into flame that was to illuminate the 
whole world, that was to encourage revolution in France 
and that was ultimately to become the great beacon of the 
American republic. 

In this chamber the Continental Congress met; 
here the colonies were advised to become independent 
states, masters of their own home affairs; here the plan of 
a Confederation of States was first broached; here on 
July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was for- 
mally adopted and its immortal text solemnly signed by the 
consecrated rebels who were to become the Fathers of the 
Country; here Washington was called to lead the armies; 
here he was elected first President of the revolutionary 
government in 1787 and here re-elected in 1791 ; here "The 
President, Directors and Company of the Bank of North 
America" was given its charter under Robert Morris to 
finance the Revolution. And here, finally, on the tenth 
day of December, 1792, was formally organized "The 
President and Directors of the Insurance Company of 
North America." 

Men become historical through the things they do; 
history becomes interesting through the men that do 
things. In the history of the United States the men who 

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directed events from Independence Hall have their due 
places, but the private "lives, the fortunes and the sacred 
honor" which they then pledged to the creation of the 
new republic were to have activities and devotions not 
less honorable, though not as glorious, perhaps, as their 
public conduct. It is interesting as a light upon the 
biography of an old corporation to see how the personali- 
ties that entered upon the struggle for independence, and 
the atmosphere of self-reliance and resolution that en- 
veloped them, touched at all sides and entered into the 
creation and development of the Insurance Company of 
North America. 

When "the President, Directors and Company of the 
Bank of North America" was organized in 1781, its head 
and active spirit was Robert Morris, "the Financier of the 
Revolution," that indomitable and dauntless man of 
business who was the support of Washington and his armies 
in the field, and the business counselor and inspirer of the 
provisional organization on the floor of the Continental 
Congress. He it was who raised the money for the 
revolution, who organized the first financial system of the 
scattered states, who literally pledged his life, all his 
fortune and his sacred honor to the cause and who re- 
deemed in full all but his personal fortune. He guar- 
anteed when he retired, the liabilities of the United States 
Treasury incurred under his management and though he 
died poor in purse he was rich in honor and achievement. 

Closely associated with Robert Morris in his patriotic 
activities from 1774 forward was John Maxwell Nesbitt, 
who had subscribed personal funds and given invaluable 
personal activities to the support of Washington and the 
Army. He was in 1774 forty-six years old, of Irish birth, 
a widely known and successful merchant, who organized 
the Bank of Pennsylvania to support the state in its 
movement to achieve independence. He was one of 
those selected by Robert Morris to be a director of the new 

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Bank of North America, a,nd thenceforward they were 
intimately associated together in the long struggle. 

John M. Nesbitt, called upon in 1792 to become the 
president of the new insurance company brought to that 
organization the prestige and the traditions of "the Pres- 
ident, Directors and Company of the Bank of North 
America," and here we come upon the origin of the very 
unusual name of the new company chartered as "the 
President and Directors of the Insurance Company of 
North America. " 

Associated with Mr. Nesbitt in the new company were 
two prominent Philadelphia citizens who were more active 
in its promotion than he. These were Ebenezer Hazard 
and Samuel Blodget, Jr. Mr. Hazard was in 1792 forty- 
seven years old, of distinguished family, graduate of 
Princeton College. At seventeen he was a sailor aboard a 
privateer of war, afterwards entered business as a book- 
seller and became identified with literary activities. He 
was at thirty-seven the third Postmaster-General of the 
United States, succeeding Benjamin Franklin and Richard 
Bache, and was highly successful as an executive and 
administrative officer. Samuel Blodget, Jr., ten years 
younger than Mr. Hazard, had already a distinguished 
career. Of strong imagination, bold in conception and 
resolute in action, he had spent three years in the Con- 
tinental Army, part of the time on the staff of Washington, 
with whom he was intimate. Mr. Blodget had planned 
the present national capital city of Washington, to which 
he devoted much time. General Washington urged him 
to invest $100,000 in lands adjoining the city he had 
planned, but the profits of this were not to be realized 
until the third generation. 

Mr. Hazard was selected as first secretary of the new 
company he had so ably helped to promote, and Mr. 
Blodget, who was the leader of the idea, became by vote 
Director No. i of the Board. He died in 1814. 

[81] 



EPISODES OF HISTORY 



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Colonel Charles Pettit, one of the original organizers and 
second president of the company, had held ofl5ce in the 
colony of New Jersey, but entered the revolutionary 
struggle as assistant quartermaster-general under General 
Nathaniel Greene. He was a member of the Continental 
Congress, and rendered much public service to the state of 
Pennsylvania. His interests in the Insurance Company of 
North America have descended to the present time. One 
son was a director for thirty-two years, and a grandson, 
Thomas Charlton Henry, elected a director in 1864, was 
elected vice-president in 1880, dying in 1890. Colonel 
Pettit's portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart, painter of 
the celebrated portrait of Washington. 

Joseph Ball, second signer of the new company's 
original agreement, was manager of the Cox Iron Works at 
Batsto, New Jersey, where the shot and shell for the 
Continental Army were largely manufactured. He con- 
tributed liberally to the Revolution. He was a director 
of the Bank of the United States and was one of the 
original board of the Insurance Company of North 
America and acted as president pro tern during the 
incapacitation of Colonel Pettit. 

There were many others among the original subscribers 
to the stock of the company who performed active service 
in the war for independence, but these five leaders in the 
promotion of the Insurance Company of North America 
sprang from the very vital center of the patriotic move- 
ment which in 1783 had ended by articles of peace with 
England signed at Paris. There remained, however, many 
threatening conditions, due to the weakness of the new 
Republic and the political animosities and distrust that 
follow wars. The United States was deprived of many of 
the business connections, traditions and exchange facilities 
we had enjoyed with England. War might be renewed 
at any time — as ultimately it was — and so the public 
and private business life of the young nation had to be 

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created out of its own soil. Men who had been on the 
battle line, who had been behind its finances, who knew 
the necessities of private business, all united in the task of 
construction. 

The necessity of native insurance for the new native 
commerce with foreign countries was pressing. It was 
supplied for a time by individual underwriters until the 
joint stock company of the North America was formed. 
That company sprang directly out of the heart of the 
Revolution. 

By a coincidence felicitous in a sense, logical in its 
business import, the building recently acquired by the 
North America in Philadelphia for the extension of its 
home offices, was at one time owned by Benjamin Rush, 
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, 
whose great grandson is the present president of the com- 
pany; and the site of the principal building was once 
occupied by a residence in which Alexander Hamilton 
lived. Thus closely does the early atmosphere of its origin 
continue about the oldest American company. 

The first ofiice was in a brick building at No. 119 Front 
Street, which in 1880 was one of the few original structures 
remaining of early Philadelphia, and it was interesting 
enough then to attract the pencil of the celebrated etcher, 
Charles M. Pennell, who afterwards made the pictures of 
Whistler so famous by his skill in etched reproduction. 
The first president, John M. Nesbitt, lived across the street 
from the first office above the counting house of his firm 
of Conyngham, Nesbitt & Co., as was the custom of 
merchants of the day. During periods of yellow fever the 
office was removed to the famous Vaux house, itself an 
historic place in Philadelphia. Since organization the 
company has occupied seven office sites within the central 
business district of Philadelphia. The present home office 
site on Walnut Street was purchased in 1851 and has been 
enlarged by other purchases. Here in 1881 the company 

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HISTORY 



moved into the building expressly designed for its purpose 
and completed in that year. 

Among many interesting records and souvenirs of the 
early days is that of policy numbered 3391, issued to 
"Bushrod Washington, Esq.," nephew of George Washing- 
ton, reading: 

"Insurance of $4,000 on a brick barn 

situate at Mt. Vernon, in Fairfax 

County, in the State of Virginia." 
The archives of the company contain many things of 
interest to the student of insurance and surprising to the 
agency field of to-day. Those accustomed to the present 
rigorous detailed reports and to the supervision and 
co-operation of many hands from the solicitation of the 
risk to the possible payment of the loss, would be surprised 
at the ease and directness with which insurance was trans- 
acted as a personal and private contract between the 
insurer and the insured, with no interminable agreements 
beyond the insurance undertaken under custom as 
set forth in the generally announced "proposals" of the 
company. The rate was given, the property described 
and the transaction was complete when the premium was 
paid. Thirteen years after the company began business 
it was proud to announce that no litigation had ever come 
up from any policyholder and that every loss had been 
paid with "promptitude and exactness." From that date, 
1806, with the appointment by the North America of the 
first American local agent, when the company's business 
and all insurance began to expand to distant places under 
complex conditions, its archives show the growth of 
custom, formula, requirement and practice in the metic- 
ulous details that have developed underwriting at the 
home office and managerial offices and in the local agency 
to the scientific basis of a profession. 

There have been nine presidents of the North America 
since 1792. Of the personal history of the first three an 

[84] 



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account has been given briefly above in this chapter. John 
M. Nesbitt was first, elected December 11, 1792 at the 
first meeting at the " City Tavern." He retired January 13, 
1796, being then sixty-eight years of age and of frail health 
and died in 1802. Colonel Chas. Pettit, who succeeded 
him January 13, 1796, resigned January 8, 1798 being for 
a time incapacitated as the result of a serious accident 
encountered while driving. Joseph Ball was elected to 
succeed him, but on Colonel Pettit 's recovery resigned 
July 8, 1799 and Colonel Pettit was re-elected and served 
until September 3, 1806, when he died in office. 

John Inskeep, the fourth president, had been a captain 
of militia in the Revolutionary War, was Mayor of Phila- 
delphia and a successful merchant in the China trade when 
he was elected October i, 1806. His administration 
continued a few months short of twenty-five years, when 
on April 5, 1831, he resigned because of ill health and in- 
firmities. Under his bold and enterprising leadership were 
begun those advances and expansions into other states 
that inaugurated the American local agency system and 
carried the name of the company ultimately to every part 
of the land as the country was settled. He laid deeply the 
foundations of the North America in the field and his 
services were highly appreciated by the stockholders and 
the board. He was a native of New Jersey, born there 
January 1757 and died at his home in Philadelphia 
December 18, 1834 at the age of seventy-seven. He had 
been a director since 1802. 

John Corry Smith, fifth president, was chosen to suc- 
ceed Mr. Inskeep. Mr. Smith had been elected a director 
only a few months before, but was an active and successful 
merchant. Born in Philadelphia 1784 he died suddenly 
June 22, 1845, at the age of 61, after being fourteen years 
in the presidency. 

Arthur Oilman Cofiin succeeded as the sixth president 
July 1, 1845. He was a native of Massachusetts and had 

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been elected secretary of the Insurance Company of North 
America in 1832. Mr. Coffin was, therefore, underwriter 
as well as executive, and during his executive administra- 
tion of thirty-three years he met and faced the problems 
of modern underwriting with marked success and admi- 
rable tact. In his term the powers of boards of directors 
and details were gradually transferred to the expert execu- 
tive and administrative oflEicers. Under his direction the 
company made great strides both in business and in con- 
dition. When he took charge the North America had 
total assets of $426,507. When he relinquished his 
office in 1878, the company was in possession of total 
assets of $6,461,729. It was a great achievement, and 
although his health had begun to fail and he desired to 
escape the burdens of business, the company was loath to 
accept his resignation. He was prevailed upon to remain 
as a director and give his counsel and advice. Mr. 
Coffin resigned as president January 14, 1878 and died 
July 29, 1881 at the age of eighty-two. During his long 
life he had been active in all the great public and private 
civic movements in Philadelphia. 

Charles Piatt, who was elected as the seventh president 
to succeed Mr. Coffin January 14, 1878, brought to the 
office twenty-eight years of training in the affairs of the 
North America as the co-worker and first lieutenant of his 
predecessor. Born in February 1829, son of an eminent 
Philadelphia merchant in the China trade, he was an honor 
graduate of the University of Pennsylvania at eighteen. 
At once he sailed for China, where he remained some time 
studying the sources and methods of the Oriental trade. 
At twenty-one he returned as a partner in the house. Ten 
years later, in i860, he became secretary of the North 
America and was elected vice-president in 1869. Mr. 
Piatt had a thorough knowledge of marine as well as fire 
insurance and was president of the National Board of 
Marine Underwriters and of the Philadelphia Marine 

[861 



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Board for many years. His term of service as president 
of the North America was thirty-one years and as his 
tenure succeeded and continued the wise and strong policies 
pursued under Mr. Coffin, their two terms covered sixty- 
four years of uninterrupted growth, during which the 
company was called upon to pay without delay or strain 
$5,629,000 of conflagration losses, of which more than 
half was encountered in the single disaster at San Fran- 
cisco. Among modern scientific underwriters in the fire 
and marine branches none stood higher than Mr. Piatt, 
who was long a leader in the civic affairs of Philadelphia. 
He died in his eightieth year, January 23, 1909, a few days 
after his re-election for the thirty-first time as president 
and after forty-nine years of service to the company he 
had directed with great and signal ability. 

Eugene L. Ellison, eighth president, succeeded Mr. 
Piatt by election November 3, 1909. He had entered the 
company's agency service in 1871, was elected assistant 
secretary in 1884, second vice-president November, 1890 
and first vice-president January, 1897. He was a native of 
Delaware and his early business training was in the clear- 
ing house of Philadelphia banks. He then became a 
general agent of the old Enterprise Insurance Company 
and, when that company retired, began a service with the 
North America that was to continue forty-five years to his 
death. Mr. Ellison's administration was a continuation 
of the firm and strengthening policy of his predecessors. 
When he took the presidency the company had total 
assets of $13,344,638. After six years they had increased 
to $20,838,450 and its surplus was strengthened from 
$2,333,897 to $6,080,043. His term was comparatively 
short. He died of heart disease, without warning, while 
seated at his desk, February 8, 19 16, after less than seven 
years in the presidency, at the age of seventy-one. 

Benjamin Rush, ninth president, and the present in- 
cumbent, succeeded Mr. Ellison by election March 7, 1916. 

[87I 



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Taking leave here in this brief biography of a cor- 
poration so closely interwoven with the national life, it 
may be predicted with confidence that the leave-taking is 
temporary only. The Insurance Company of North 
America was never stronger or better equipped for large 
achievement and long life than at present. In 1885 a 
r6sum6 of its history with interesting photographs of its 
souvenirs and relics was printed in commemoration of its 
Ninetieth Anniversary. The present volume renews the 
summary of those ninety years and brings the story 
down to the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth year. 

Its history for the future is to be made by the pres- 
ent management and the great body of its local agents 
throughout the country. The story of the future will 
be written by others. The making of the material is 
the work of those now joined together to justify and 
perpetuate the work of those gone before. 



[881 



STABILIZER OF NATIONS: 
INSURANCE 

Behind the new world of amazing wealth and industrial 
power described in the preceding pages, there became 
necessary and was created an intricate system of credit 
and exchange. The strongest foundation of the credit 
and the best protection of the individual share of each 
person in that wealth is Insurance — the great Stabilizer 
of commerce, manufactures, banking and all material 
development. Responding to the demands of national 
power and national development of industry and wealth — 
often indeed, anticipating and for the moment sometimes 
exceeding them — Insurance in every branch has expanded 
in volume and adapted itself in special lines to cover every 
need of the people during these past twenty-five years. 
Every man engaged in the business of Insurance may well 
take pride in the part that the body of sound and progres- 
sive companies have taken in this wonderful organization 
and protection of the national resources. The record of 
Insurance has not been surpassed in proportion by any 
other factor in the national progress — not even by the 
National Government itself. 

The Insurance Company of North America bore its 
share in these achievements, as it has from the very birth 
of the nation. As a child of the Revolution it has had the 
courage of its parentage and has inherited of the estate of 
national success. Everywhere — sustaining ocean marine 
commerce and protecting the marvelously growing in- 
ternal wealth of the country — it has done its part of the 
work and received its share of the rewards, its army of 
local agents sharing with it all of labor and reward. 

During the twenty-five years, inclusive, from 1891 to 

[89 1 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

1915, the aggregate premium income of all the companies 
tabulated by the National Board of Fire Underwriters 
increased from $120,000,000 in 1891 to $349,000,000 in 
191 5. During the twenty-three years, inclusive from the 
close of its One Hundredth year, the Insurance Company 
of North America has received almost double the whole 
amount of premiums it collected during the preceding 
hundred years and when a full twenty-five years shall 
have elapsed, will more than double the record. The 
comparison follows : 

First hundred years, 1 792-1892 $104,180,328 

Twenty-three years, 1893-1915 172,803,529 

Total for 1 23 years $276,983,91 1 

The North America has proper pride in the fact that 
while it is an institution for profit it has rendered dis- 
interested Public Service to the country in good and bad 
times alike. In this it has stood with the body of sound 
companies that compose the institution of Fire Insurance 
in the United States. It has always been a leader from 
the moment, One Hundred and Eight years ago, it began 
to create the American local agency system by the appoint- 
ment of an agent at Lexington, Kentucky. The growth 
of the idea may be seen in the quarter of a million insur- 
ance agents to-day who have so well protected the business 
interests of every individual, village, city and state. This 
in Fire Insurance alone. 

In its marine department, a few years ago, it performed 
a service that carried money into the pockets of the 
people everywhere by a protection that was to all appear- 
ances intended for one class alone. 

The enormous shipments of live stock to European 
ports were formerly attended with great losses among the 
cattle, caused by lack of air space on shipboard, poor 
ventilation, neglect, and the ignorance of ships' crews. 
The insurance premium rose as high as seven per cent for 

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"THE" NORTH AMERICA 



the voyage, an exceedingly heavy drain on the values, and 
yet unprofitable also to the company writing the insur- 
ance. The Insurance Company of North America took 
the matter up direct with shippers and offered to provide 
regulations by which the deaths would be prevented and 
rates greatly reduced. The offer was accepted and regu- 
lations were prepared and put into operation, with the 
result that the rates fell from seven per cent to as low as 
one quarter of one per cent. It was not only more profit- 
able to the company at that rate, but it put six cents in 
every dollar involved back into the pockets of the cattle- 
raiser, saved to him from the ocean. When it is re- 
membered how many millions of money have been in- 
volved in live stock exports, the effect is like a realization 
of the well-known dream of some scientist to get gold from 
ocean water. In this alone the North America has saved 
the country more millions than the combined profits of 
all the insurance companies. 

A quick review will show the disinterested Public 
Service that Insurance has rendered the nation. Since 
the organization of the National Board of Fire Under- 
writers in 1866 (of which the Insurance Company of 
North America was and is an original member), Fire 
Insurance especially has developed rapidly upon lines 
of scientific accuracy and security. Accumulations of 
funds have been so managed that now the conflagration 
hazard, which must always remain a great danger to 
companies and public alike, is protected with every care 
possible. Widely disseminated systems of Schedule 
Rating have resulted in a nation-wide education of 
architects, builders, and property owners in the methods 
of safety in building. The property owner does now, in 
fact, largely make his own rates of insurance for his own 
risk, and by safe building reduces the hazard of his own 
risk, the risks of his neighbors, and so also the general 
conflagration risk, while at the same time he reduces his 

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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

own and other rates in proportion. This may fairly be 
termed disinterested Public Service because (as was the 
case of the North America in the live-stock marine in- 
cident), though the insurance companies profit by the 
reduced risk, they receive a much smaller premium rate, 
and individuals and communities are thus saved from 
fires and the consequential damages to business against 
which Insurance can never be applied to render full 
protection. 

Under the national inspection service of the National 
Board, the equipment and management of fire depart- 
ments have been greatly improved, the systems of water- 
supply for towns and cities have been largely perfected 
and extended, and the safety of communities in many 
instances assured where before there was constant danger 
of heavy losses. Modern salvage corps companies, sup- 
ported by insurance companies, protect uninsured and 
insured property alike from destruction. Through the 
organization of the Underwriters' Laboratories every in- 
vention and manufacture that enters into protection 
against the danger of fire is carefully tested and its 
efficiency for the purpose given an authoritative approval 
that entitles it to due value in credits for rates everywhere. 
By these very same methods of safeguarding property. 
Fire Insurance becomes at once one of the most powerful, 
skillful, and insistently employed forces for the pre- 
vention of accident and the needless sacrifice of life. Thus 
are the three great branches of Insurance intertwined. 

In every state and jurisdiction the companies, through 
their field forces, have established organizations to lead 
in popular education in fire prevention and fire protection. 
They have succeeded in having fire prevention rules taught 
in the public schools of many states. Thousands of local 
societies have been encouraged to take supervision of the 
condition of premises generally in order to prevent accumu- 
lations of trash in which fires too often originate or through 

[92] 



"THE" NORTH AMERICA 



the existence of which fires spread. "Fire Prevention 
Day" has been established in almost every state and city 
for the purpose of encouraging *' clean-ups." 

All these innumerable disinterested services, valuable 
to safety, to sanitation, and to the comfort and beauty of 
life, have been originated and pushed to practical efficiency 
by associated Insurance. In every one of these directions 
the Insurance Company of North America has borne 
always its full share of the labor and expense, thus con- 
tributing now as at the first to the building up of the coun- 
try in every practical way. 

During the twenty-five years now rapidly closing, 
Insurance passed through perils not less threatening than 
those the country had to face, and not less triumphantly 
overcame them. In sixteen years, six conflagrations 
alone destroyed $449,000,000 of property, of which 
$235,000,000 was insured — and every loss was paid. 
The destruction of San Francisco in April, 1906, by fire 
following an earthquake, shocked the world. The 
estimated property losses were so enormous that for the 
moment the assistance of the national government and 
of foreign countries was tendered to tide over the distresses 
of sufferers. Behind this stalked the possible destruction 
of credit and the ruin of a great city by any delay. Under 
a strict construction of the contract there were doubts 
as to the extent of liability of fire insurance companies for 
thousands of losses. Then happened what often occurs 
under stress of war, when conditions arc abnormal and no 
law is sufficient. The insurance companies abolished 
the doubt, rallied instantly to the rescue of the stricken 
city and paid their losses practically in full. To do this 
without affecting the stability of the insurance companies 
was a serious problem. It was heroically solved by the 
stockholders of many companies contributing nearly one 
hundred millions of new funds. 

Fire insurance companies alone paid more than 

[93] 



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EPISODES OF HISTORY 

$175,000,000 of losses in San Francisco; life insurance 
companies contributed more than $100,000,000 in cash 
loaned on policies and paid in death losses, besides $85,- 
000,000 loaned on real estate values, and casualty and 
miscellaneous insurance companies did their share with 
equal liberality. Immediately the rebuilding of the city 
began and business connections of its merchants were 
maintained. In nine years the new and finer city opened 
the gates of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition 
to the world, by solemn religious services acknowledging 
the gratitude of the city to the System of Insurance, which 
was described by ministers and laymen as a demonstration 
in business of the organized strength of the Brotherhood of 
Man. On the program of the Exposition, Insurance was 
provided for both in exhibitions and demonstrations as a 
great Social Economy, and near its close a World's In- 
surance Congress was held to discuss the nature of In- 
surance as a Universal Social Economy. 

The status of Insurance in the United States as the 
Insurance Company of North America rounds into its 
One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Year is worthy of the 
amazing wealth and power that has been described, and 
which it supports at the foundation. Like that wealth 
and power it has been gradually but resolutely developed 
with the nation itself from its speculative beginnings up 
to the scientific, sound and rapidly expanding institution 
for protection and indemnity of to-day, until it penetrates 
to the homes and daily needs of the people more univer- 
sally than in any other country of the world. The ac- 
cumulated assets of all the branches of insurance were 
tabulated in 191 6 as follows: 

Life insurance $5,667,570,992 

Fire insurance 759.287,359 

Casualty and Surety 64,630,461 

Grand total $6,491,488,812 

[94] 



"THE" NORTH AMERICA 



The great preponderance of assets held by the life 
insurance companies is because of the perpetual nature of 
their contracts, while in fire insurance and other branches 
the greater number of contracts are reissued every year. 

These vast accumulations are sustained and increased 
annually by the voluntary payment of premiums to 
cover current and future contingencies, in an aggregate 
sum next only in amount to the enormous receipts of the 
combined railway systems of the United States. The 
total insurance premiums of the United States for 1916 
have been estimated as follows: 

Life insurance $99i,ooo,cx>o 

Fire and marine insurance 634,000,000 

Casualty and miscellaneous 200,000,000 

Comsapention funds 150,000,000 

Grand total $1,975,000,000 

Adding to this annual income the existing assets of all 
forms of insurance, amounting in 1916 to $6,491,488,812, 
there were thus in that year actual resources of $8,466,- 
488,812 available and devoted entirely to the protection 
of the credit and the homes of the people of the United 
States. No such magnificent showing of voluntary thrift 
and provision against individual misfortune has ever been 
made by any other people. 

This is the American Institution of Insurance in 
which the Insurance Company of North America and 
its army of agents are alike proud to be a part. 
Those engaged in the business should seize every oppor- 
tunity to convey a knowledge of its extent and importance 
to the public. All insurance rests on exactly the same 
principle — the recognition of the law of average 
probabilities and its application to protect the individual 
against misfortune — and has been popularly set forth as 
follows: 

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Insurance collects from the many to pay the few who are 
unfortunate enough to meet the inevitable disasters that become 
average disasters by inexorable laws. It exacts from us, in the 
form known as "premium," a depositor advance payment which, 
when gathered with the deposits of the other ninety-nine thousand 
nine hundred and ninety-nine, furnish an average experience. 
Out of these collective deposits or premiums Insurance pays your 
loss and mine, sets aside a fund called a reserve to give us added 
security and meet the liabiUty assumed under its contract with 
us; pays the agent who induced us to protect our own interests; 
gives us suggestions and instructions to prevent accident and 
prolong life; has our risks inspected, one by one, and points out 
and has corrected defects that might produce loss; pays its 
taxes, some just and others unjust; pays its administrative ex- 
penses; allows itself a dividend on its capitalized investment, if 
there is anything left; and passes a balance to (or in years of 
excessive loss draws from) its accumulated funds that give security 
and stability to its contracts — assuring its payment of losses, 
when losses come, no matter how great the calamity. 

The whole system of Insurance is based upon the law of 
averages. So many buildings burn every year; so many accidents 
take place; so many people answer the final call. While the 
average experience determines the average rate it is still true that 
each individual participant in the Society of the Insured can, in a 
measure, raise or lower the average and so fix his own costs for 
indemnity. He can be careful and cleanly, live a life in sanitary 
surroundings and help to minimize losses, prevent accidents, pro- 
long life and so reduce Insurance costs. Insurance is naturally 
competitive; its costs to you and to me rise and fall in the very 
measure that the individual standard of each participant measures 
with the same standard set by the whole. 

It must be remembered that Insurance restores nothing that 
is lost. In principle it means only Indemnity for loss. Loss is 
utter destruction — waste. Prevent loss and you prevent that 
complete waste which drains the resources of the world. Prevent 
loss and you raise the standard of humanity; prevent loss and you 
reduce your Insurance cost. 



THE FORElGiN 'ii\^Dli CLUB 



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COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES 

This book is due on the date indicated below, or at the 
expiration of a definite period after the date of borrowing, as 
provided by the library rules or by special arrangement with 
the Librarian in chsurge. 



OATS BORROWED 



OATS DUE 



DATE BORROWED 



DATE DUE 



— D986 In? 

! i 

Insurance conpany or North Amer. 
. Episodes of history.... 



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BOUND 

AUG 1 9 1954 



END OF 
TITLE