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directed in the statute. The time is not to be more than three nor less than two months from the first publication of the notice.

28. At this meeting or an adjourned meeting, all accounts and demands, for and against the estate of the insolvent, are to be adjusted as far as they can be ascertained, and the amount of moneys in the trustees' bands declared. 29. The trustees are to have a commission of five

per cent. on all sums which come into their hands.

32. The trustees are to pay all debis due by the insolvent to the United States, and all debts due by him to persons who, by the laws of the United States, have a preference in consequence of having paid money as sureties of the insolvent.

33. The residue of the money is to be distributed ratably among the creditors of the insolvent who were such at the time of the assignment and have proved their claims.

34. In making such distribution the trustees shall first pay all debts that may be owing by the insolvent as guardian, executor, administrator, or trustee.

36. Where mutual credit has been given by the insolvent and any other person, or mutual debts have subsisted between him and any other person, the trustees may set off such credits or debts, and pay the proportion or receive the balance due. But a set-off is not allowed of any claim which would not have been entitled to a dividend.

37. No set-off is allowed of any claim which may be purchased by, or transferred to, the person claiming its allowance, which could not have been set off by him in a suit brought by the trustees,

38. If at the time any dividend is made, a suit is pending against the trustees, in which a demand against the insolvent may be established, the trustees may retain in their hands the proportion which would belong to it, if established, and the necessary costs and expenses of the suit.

39. All penalties recovered by the trustees become a part of the insolvent's estate.

40. If all the insolvent's estate is not distributed by the first dividend, they shall make another dividend within a year of all the moneys then in their hands, and shall continue to make dividends from year to year, as long as any thing remains to be distributed.

41. A creditor neglecting to deliver an account of his demand before the first, second, cr any subsequent dividend, and who shall deliver it, before the second or other subsequent dividend, shall receive the sum he would have been entitled to on any former dividend, before any distribution is made to other creditors.

42. Any dividend remaining unclaimed for a year, is to be distributed by the trustees, on any subsequent dividend, among the other creditors.

43. Any surplus remaining in the hands of the trustees, after paying all the debts, is to be paid to the debtor or his legal representatives.

44. The insolvent is entitled to receive five per cent. on the net produce of his estate, if it pays seventy per cent. to the creditors; but this allowance is not to exceed $500.

45. Within ten days after making any dividend, the trustees are required to render on oath, and file with the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which they reside, or with a clerk of the Supreme Court, an account in writing of all their proceedings; stating, 1. Their disbursements, commissions, and the dividends made by them. 2. The names and residences of those creditors to whom dividends were made, and the names of those actually receiving them: 3. The money and property remaining in their hands, and the value and situation of the property.

The trustees may at any time be compelled by a rule of court, to render such an account, on the application of the insolvent or of any creditor.

46. The trustees are subject to the order of the Supreme Court, and of the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which they were appointed, upon the application of the insolvent or any creditor, in relation to the execution of their trust; and may be removed by the Supreme Court for cause shown.

48. Whenever a trustee is removed or dies, or becomes incapacitated to perform his duties, the officer who appointed him, or in case of his absence, death, or removal, any other officer authorized to appoint trustees in the county where the trustee resided, may, after giving notice and an opportunity to the creditors to propose proper persons, appoint another in his place.

49 to 62. These sections direct the course of proceedings in case a trustee wishes to renounce, and the mode of appointing a new one in his place.

IV. The fourth article of the same title provides for credit

ors compelling their debtors imprisoned on execution, to assign their property.

Sec. 1. Any creditor to the amount of $25 of any person who has been imprisoned more than sixty days in execution in a civil action, may apply by petition to any proper officer to compel an assignment of his estate.

2. The petition must state the object and nature of the application, and an apprehension of the creditor that the debtor's estate will be wasted or embezzled.

3. The officer is to appoint a time and place for the meeting of the creditors, to ascertain if they will unite in a petition for the assignment.

4. Notice of the time and place of meeting is to be published in the newspapers.

5. And a copy of the order must be served on the debtor.

6, 7, 8. If on the hearing any of the creditors unite in the petition, the debtor is to be examined on oath, as to his creditors, the amount due them, and their places of residence.

9. If he refuses to be examined, or does not answer fully, he is to be committed to close confinement, without being entitled to the liberties of the jail.

10. On this commitment other evidence on the same subjects is admissible.

11. If two thirds of the creditors unite in the petition, an assignment by the debtor is ordered.

This article contains provisions similar to those in article third for the account, inventory, &c. the right of a jury trial by the creditor, and the examination of the debtor. If the debtor complies fairly with the provisions of this article, he obtains a complete discharge of the same sort as that provided for in the third article.

18. If the debtor refuses to comply with the provisions of this article, the officer makes an assignment of all the debtor's property to assignees nominated by the petitioning creditors.

19. This assignment operates on all the debtor's property from the first day of the publication of the notice to his creditors, in the same manner as if it had been voluntary.

20. Every imprisoned debtor refusing or neglecting to render an account and inventory, and to execute an assignment, is precluded from any discharge from his imprisonment, except on a petition by himself and so many of his creditors who were

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VOL. IV.NO. VII.

such at the date of the order for publication of notice, as are required to unite in a petition to compel an assignment.

The assignees appointed under this article have similar powers and duties to those appointed under article third.

V. Article fifth provides that any insolvent debtor may make an assignment of all his property for the benefit of his creditors, and thus by following the prescribed form, obtain a discharge, which shall exempt his person from imprisonment, although his property will still continue liable. The proceedings, in order to obtain this discharge, are similar to those in the preceding articles, and the creditors have an opportunity to oppose the granting of it.

Vi. Article sixth provides for voluntary assignments by a debtor imprisoned in execution in civil causes. The assignment in this article is only for the benefit of such creditors as have charged the debtor in execution, and the effect of it is to discharge his person, but not his property, from such creditors. The benefit of this act is not extended to persons imprisoned for costs only, and if the sum for which the debtor is confined exceeds $500, he cannot petition for his discharge until he has been imprisoned three months.

The insolvent system, which is established in New York, though as a whole liable to many exceptions, has yet many features which deserve approbation. It provides for the ratable distribution of the insolvent's property among his creditors, and for his total discharge, as far as it is possible for a state law to do so. In this respect we cannot but approve of the policy of this law. For, as we have remarked on a former occasion, the right which may be reserved to the creditor of resorting to newly acquired property of his insolvent debtor, is rarely of any value to the creditor, while, on the other hand, it is in a great majority of cases ruinous to the debtor, for it deprives him of the strongest motive to personal exertion, which arises from the hope of acquiring property and independence, it depresses and breaks down his mind by the everlasting consciousness of a weight of debt which he can never remove, and it prevents his friends from rendering him assistance to re-establish himself in business, a proceeding which is rendered impossible by his embarrassments.

The grand defect of these laws is, that they do not afford any direct and efficacious means of depriving a debtor of the management of his property, as soon as he becomes openly insolvent. It seems to us, that in all cases, in which a debtor becomes openly insolvent, any creditor to a certain amount, should have the power, by applying to the proper authorities, of depriving the debtor of the administration of his property, and commencing proceedings to vest it in assignees for the benefit of all his creditors. And the debtor should likewise, on discovering his insolvency, have the same power of taking the preparatory steps for vesting his property in assignees for the benefit of all his creditors, and, if his conduct is fair, derive the same advantage from his assignment, as if his application was accompanied by a petition of his creditors. By the New York laws, in order to entitle the debtor to a complete discharge, two thirds of his creditors must join in his application. It is not just that an honest debtor should be placed so far at the mercy of the caprice or ill will, as he may be, of one or two unreasonable creditors.

Some of the provisions of these laws are deserving a little further attention.

The provision in the last section of the 7th article, that a petitioning creditor purchasing a demand against the insolvent for less than its nominal amount, shall only be deemed a creditor for the sum actually paid, though it no doubt was considered one of great equity, seems to us unreasonable and impolitic. The object aimed at, probably, was to prevent persons from speculating in claims against insolvent debtors, and perhaps also debtors from buying up claims against themselves, and no doubt will produce these effects in some degree. But we do not consider these effects desirable, but quite the contrary.

It may be remarked that this provision can only apply to a single class of debts, namely, those which arise from the debtor's being a party to a negotiable note or bill; for with regard to all other debts the assignee, under the common law, can never be the petitioning creditor. As it respects the debtor himself there seems to be no reason that the amount of the claims against him should be lessened, because it is transferred from the hands of one party to another. For why should not the holder of a bill or note have the power of selling it, or even of giving it away, if he pleases? The debtor is not injured by its being sold at less than its full amount. Besides, the price for which a bill or note to which an insolvent is a party, will sell, will be regulated by the amount of dividend

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