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place upon irregular transactions out of
doors. Hence it is that the National Debt
Commissioners repudiate all liability to the

Against, however, the National Debt Office
itself there is a very serious charge. As we
have stated, it is bound to invest, in the public
securities, the monies paid over to them by
the Trustees and Treasurers of Savings' Banks.
It appears, from parliamentary returns, that
at different periods the Commissioners have
accumulated large sums of this money, and
dealt with it in different classes of securities;
although the necessities of Savings' Banks did
not require any such operations. The result
has been very unfortunate. The National
Debt Commissioners appear, by their accounts,
to have less stock by two millions of money,
than the capital paid to them ought to represent.
This glaring fact appears on the face of
the public accounts. No explanation has ever
been given; no reasons have ever been
assigned. The belief is, that the operations
by which the Savings' Banks fund so seriously
suffered, were necessitated by the financial
exigencies of government some years since.
They commenced in 1834 and continued down
to 1843, when they were discovered and
checked by public opinion. As, then, for this
amount the Government is responsible, the
nation will be, ultimately, obliged to pay it
up to the depositors.

But a calm review of these factsstartling
as some of them areshould not essentially
affect the stability of Savings' Banks, and
alarm is comparatively groundless. Firstly,
the defalcations of officers are generally made
good by their sureties, or by the local trustees;
and secondly, the deficiency of two millions is
not likely to be called for so suddenly as to
inconvenience the public purse.

It is now necessary to point out howto
glance at the opposite page of the account
the law guards against frauds attempted by
the public upon Savings' Banks. The only
way in which they could be so abused, would
be by attempts, on the part of the comparatively
wealthy, to obtain a higher rate of
interest, for investments, than they could get
elsewhere. But an average interest, £2. 17s. 6d.
per cent. with a maximum of £3. 0s. 10d., would
seem a sufficient bar to such deposits. But
in order to guard against such a possibility,
the law has enacted that no one person shall
be permitted to deposit more than £30 in any
one year, or more than £150 pounds in the
whole; and if his principal and interest
together ever amounts to £200, then the
payment of all further interest is stopped. These
restrictions are effectual in preserving Savings'
Banks to the sole object of savingsthe
savings of the poor.

As regards actual frauds and attempts at
fraud by the public, we have been obliged
with the experience of the St. Martin's Bank,
which very probably speaks for that of all the
Savings' Banks in England:—"Since this Bank
was instituted, in 1816," says our informant,
"there have been only five attempts at fraud,
by forgery of depositors' signatures, or otherwise.
In two of those five cases the forgery
was detected and no loss ensued. In the other
three cases the Bank sustained the loss, which
amounted in the whole to less than £50.
Attempts at personation seldom succeed,—nor
are these always fraudulent; absent depositors
are often consenting parties, in order to save
themselves the trouble of attending personally.
Such cases lead to dispute; but two such
cases which have occurred here are rather
curious. In 1847 a man married a female
depositor, and induced her to withdraw the
whole of her money (exceeding £100), of which
having possessed himself, he abandoned
her. Subsequently he deposited £90, part of
this money, in three different Savings' Banks,
our own among the number. The wife having
stated her case to us, we took advantage of
the law which prohibited him from depositing
in more than one Bank, and refused to
allow him to withdraw. The case was
referred; and the barrister appointed by act of
Parliament to settle such questions awarded
that, under the statute, the deposits were
forfeited to the Commissioners of the National
Debt. The Lords of the Treasury, upon the
wife's memorial, ordered the restitution of the
money to her, for her own separate use, free
from her husband's control; and this arrangement
we had the pleasure of carrying into
effect.—The other case was equally singular.
In 1848 the Painters' and Glaziers' Friendly
Society had an account with us. They sought
to eject one of the trustees of their fund from
the benefits of their Society, on the ground
that on the '10th of April' he had acted as
a Special Constable, contrary to the rule
prohibiting him from 'voluntarily entering Her
Majesty's service.' The trustee protested to
us, and we objected to pay the Society's
money without his signature to the order.
Thereupon 'the Painters and Glaziers' caused
the case to be referred, and the barrister
awarded that the funds should not be
transferred or withdrawn without the trustee's

From the same quarter we ascertained, in
reference to unclaimed money, a remarkable
circumstance. The amount of unclaimed
deposits in the St. Martin's Place Bank has of
late decreased instead of increased. In 1842 the
Bank held £10,800, which had been unclaimed
for seven years. In 1849, although its business
had so amazingly augmented, the amount
which had remained unclaimed for seven years
was £9898, or nearly £1000 less. This is
accounted for by the great pains taken to trace
and summon the depositors and their
representatives. It certainly is remarkable that
out of transactions to the extent of more
than eight and a half millions of money, only
£9900 should remain unclaimed.

From what we have stated on this subject
it will be seen that although Savings' Banks

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