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An act was passed to provide for the erection of a new penitentiary upon improved and modern plans; to provide for the utilization of convict labor therein, and upon farming land, and in a coal mine or mines; to 'provide for the purchase of the property necessary for said purposes; and to prepare for the abolition of the convict lease system in Tennessee.
The cost of the farm is limited to $75,000, the cost of the coal lands to $80,000, the cost of the stockades to $35,000, and the total cost of all the expenditures contemplated by the act to $600,000.
The act provides for the classification of the prisoners in such manner as shall be most conducive to prison discipline, and the moral improvement and health of the inmates. Not more than one convict is to be confined in each cell. The main prison is to be provided with a chapel and one or more hospitals, and is to be of sufficient capacity to provide for 1,500 convicts. (Chapter 78.)
It is probable that the State will lose money in farming and in mining coal, but the popular demand for the abolition of the convict lease system could not be resisted.
When the large deficiencies which are sure to result from the proposed operation of the penitentiary begin to be seriously felt by the tax-payers of the State, history will repeat itself, and a return will be made to something like the present system of leasing the convicts.
Bonds of the State, bearing a rate of interest not to exceed four and one-half per cent. per annum, and payable not more than twenty years from date, are to be issued, sufficient in amount to redeem, at par, the five, five and a quarter, and six per cent. bonds of the State, now outstanding, or hereafter to be issued under Chapter 84 of the Acts of 1883; and also sufficient in amount ($600,000) to raise a fund for building the new penitentiary, and for purchasing the convict farm and coal lands. (Chapter 97.)
The State appropriated $7,500 to the Confederate Soldiers' Home for buildings, etc., and $7,500 for each of the years 1893 and 1894, for the support and maintenance of the Home. (Chapter 87.) $60,000, for each of said years, was appropriated for pensions for old soldiers. (Chapter 90.)
The long list of articles previously exempted from execution and attachment, was increased by exempting “one farm bell." (Chapter 45.)
It would seem that a farmer so poor as to need the protection of the exemption laws, would not be able to hire hands to work on his farm; and, therefore, that he would have no use for a farm bell. It is barely possible, however, that the law was intended for cases where the wife owns the farm, and she finds it impossible to wake her husband without using a farm bell. But even in that case it would seem that it would have been better to exempt “one dinner horn,” which the wife could take to bed with her, and use without having to get up on cold winter mornings. Some women there be who would not need even a horn, unless the husband were absolutely deaf-or dead.
The law in relation to the sale of property levied upon, was so amended as to fix twenty days' advertisement for sales of land, and ten days for sales of all other kinds of property, except fruits and vegetables, which may be sold upon twenty-four hours' advertisement, by written notice posted at three conspicuous places in the civil district. (Chapter 25.) Considering that fresh meats are now articles of daily commerce, it is strange that they were not included with fruits and vegetables. It is to be hoped that the law will be so amended as to include, with fruits and vegetables, all articles of a strictly perishable nature.
The act approved February 16, 1891, “to protect real estate owners whose lands are damaged by changing, repairing, improving, or working in or upon any highway or townway in any town or city,” was amended so as to require that all bene. fits accruing by reason of such improvements, acts, or works, shall be allowed to affect, reduce, and offset the damages provided for by said act. (Chapter 41.)
An act was passed requiring the clerks of all courts of record to index and cross-index each record of the minutes, and the execution docket, showing, in alphabetical order, in the direct index, the names of the plaintiffs, and against whom the suit is brought; and in the cross-index the names of the defendants, and by whom the suit is brought.
County registers are required to index and cross-index all records of deeds, mortgages, and other instruments, so as to show, in alphabetical order, in the direct index, the names of the grantors, and in the cross-index the names of the grantees, with the names of the persons by whom the conveyances are made. (Chapter 66.) The operation of this statute will greatly aid lawyers and abstract officers in searching for titles and liens.
Insurance companies are required to pay their policy-holders the full amount of loss sustained upon property (except cotton in bales), provided such loss does not exceed the amount of insurance expressed in the policy; and all stipulations in the policy to the contrary are declared to be null and void. (Chapter 107.)
The object of the act was to nullify what was known as the “ eighty per cent. clause,” which required that the assured shall maintain insurance upon each item insured in the policy, of not less than eighty per cent. of the actual cash value thereof, and that, failing so to do, the insured shall be an insurer to the extent of such deficit, and, in that event, shall bear his proportion of any loss.
In would seem to be entirely proper to allow an insurance company to limit its liability to that proportion of the loss which the amount of its policy bears to eighty per cent. of the value of the property insured. The owner is left free to insure the remainder of the eighty per cent. in some other insurance company, or to carry his own insurance to that amount.
Legislation interfering with the right of free contract, gelerally injures those whom it is intended to benefit; and the Memphis merchants, with their usual sagacity, were shrewd enough to have “cotton in bales " exempted from the provis- : ions of the act.
The act to provide for the organization of corporations, approved March 23, 1875, was amended so as to authorize the organization of railroad terminal corporations. (Chapter 11, p. 15.) It was also amended so as to detive and prescribe the powers and duties of building and loan associations. (Chapter 12.)
All persons heretofore organized as a corporation under a charter granted by any of the Chancery Courts of the State, may have their charter amended so as to continue their corporate existence, and acquire all the powers, rights, and privileges, and become subject to all the penalties, limitations, and restrietions contained in the act approved March 23, 1875, and its amendments, such powers, rights, privileges, penalties, limi'stions, and restrictions to be in lieu of those coutained in the original charte. (Chapter 146.)
An act was passed to authorize each bank chartered by the State to issue circulating notes to an amount not exceeding ist unimpaired, paid-up capital stock. Before issuing such notes, the bank must deposit with the State Treasurer United States bonds, Tennessee State bonds, or bonds of any county in this State whose bonded indebtedness does not exceed five per cent. of its taxable value, and on whose bonds the interest has been regularly and promptly paid for the last five years.
The Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller are constituted a Commission of Currency, and they are authorized to have engraved and prepared for issuance such quantity of circulating, notes, in the similitude of bank-notes, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of the act; and said commissioners are directed to issue to a bank ninety per cent. of the market value of the bonds by it deposited.
The circulating notes are to be of denominations not greater
than $1,000 and not less than $1; but no bank can have in circulation, at any one time, notes in denomination under $5 to an amount exceeding one-fourth of its capital actually paid in.
If the bonds deposited by a bank should depreciate in value, the bank must make the depreciation good, so that the bonds deposited shall always remain equal to the amount of the deposit required by the act. The bonds are to be “ stamped or branded” with an indorsement, showing by what bank they have been deposited; and they cannot be withdrawn except by the consent of the commissioners iudorsed thereon, and countersigned by the Treasurer.
If a bank refuses or delays payment, in gold or silver, of any of such notes, the same may be protested. The protest is to be filed with the Comptroller; and if, after notice, the bank shall fail for ten days to redeem the notes in gold or silver, the commissioners are to give notice that all the circulating notes of such bank will be redeemed out of the trust-funds deposited with the Treasurer for that purpose. If a bank be in default in the payment of its notes for twenty days after notice, the commissioners are authorized to appoint a receiver, who is empowered to wind up the affairs of the bank.
The share-holders are made individually liable, to the extent of the face value of their shares, for the circulating notes, deposits, and all other liabilities and obligations of the bank. (Chapter 91.)
There is no express power given to the commissioners to sell the bonds deposited without a decree of some court, and if note-holders are to be subjected to the ordinary law's delay, the value of the scheme will be greatly lessened.
The act of February 12, 1852, authorized the banks to deposit bonds issued by the State, or bonds indorsed by the State, or bonds of the United States; and thereupon the banks were entitled to receive an equal amount of votes for circulation. The bonds were to be legally transferred to the Comptroller, who was required to enter into bond for the faithful performance of the trusts and duties imposed upon him, and the circulating notes were to be countersigned by him. It is to be hoped that the disastrous results which followed the banking scheme of 1852 will not follow the scheme of 1893.