The second volume of this exceedingly painstaking and meritorious biography sheds much light upon the events preceding, and those transpiring during, the civil war. As another writer has remarked, “there is something very pitiable, something almost tragic, in the figure of James Buchanan during the last months of his administration.” He found himself wavering between two factions, between Right and Wrong. So long as he wavered, the South stood by him; when he ceased to be a wary politician and manifested a decision of character such as the times demanded, the South turned against him as one man. His biographer proves conclusively that the weak and time-serving President was opposed to secession; but as positively proves without intending to do so, that he favored it by his singular unfitness and indifference in emergencies. When secession threatened, Mr. Buchanan took the ground that he would not precipitate war by applying force to prevent a State from seceding, but that he would defend the flag and property of the United States. With this policy in his heart, he permitted public property to be seized, without striking a blow; he discovered treason in his cabinet, and coolly allowed the traitors to consummate their work and to depart. The fact was, that he was a very weak man, and his biographer is the best authority for the statement. The work is important; it will always, as it richly merits, be consulted by students, and may be read with interest and profit by all.
(To be continued.)
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ASSESSMENT LIFE INSURANCE.
BY SHEPPARD ROMANS.
Life insurance, by whatever system, plan or method, has, for its fundamental basis, the laws governing the rates of mortality at the different ages. These fundamental laws have been developed and made clear by a vast amount of statistical data obtained from observations among persons insured in life insurance companies among annuitants, among inhabitants of various towns and cities, and among the whole population in certain countries, notably in England and in Belgium. One uniform, unvarying, certain law has been thus established, which is that the rate of mortality, or in other words the cost of insurance, increases as a man grows older. From this law there is no escape. We must accept the inevitable. Hence any system of insurance which is not in accordance with this first principle, this unalterable law of nature, is unsound, and any company, whether charging level premiums or natural premiums, which does not recognize and conform to this fundamental law of nature, is doomed to disaster and wreck, sooner or later.