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a modern Robinson Crusoe or Alexander Selkirk of Vibal Douat, a Bordeaux merchant, who inwould naturally feel rather chagrined at the sured his life in Paris for one hundred thousand course of events, on a possible return home after francs, and was shortly thereafter declared a rescue from enforced residence abroad as a cast- fraudulent bankrupt. Douat next disappeared away.
suddenly, and his wife lodged in Paris a certifiThe subject of “presumption of death” may, cate of the death and burial of her husband in in some cases, join issue with the criminal side England, and claimed the payment of his policy of character. A curious and somewhat myste- of insurance. That the case was one of fraud, rious case in point was tried in London. A man however, was clearly proved. Douat had actualhad insured his life against accident for a sum of ly ordered his own coffin, had registered his own two hundred and fifty pounds on the 6th of Sep- death, and had actually attended his own funeral tember, 1856. This person was single, and was -or rather that of the mass of lead which was aged twenty-six. A week after insuring his life found to be inclosed in the coffin. Douat was he took a return ticket to Brighton, leaving Lon- arrested, and, in due course, convicted of the don on Saturday, September 13, 1856, by an fraud. evening train. The succeeding Sunday and Mon- The subject of “survivorship," in its obvious day were spent in the company of his friends. and important relations determining succession He bathed in the sea on the morning of Monday to property, presents us with features no less re(the 15th), and in the evening intended to return markable than those involved in the preceding to London, announcing, however, to his friends, topic. Some dread calamity overwhelms, it may when he left at 7 P. M., his intention of again be, an entire family circle, and it may be left to bathing before his departure. He was traced to science to decide from the circumstances of the the sea-beach, but was not again seen alive. A case which member probably survived the others. suit of clothes was found on the steps of a bath- Such a case came before the Rolls Court in Loning-machine, the owner of the garments being don in 1854. Th circumstances of the suit in missing. The police could discover no clew to question are given by Dr. Taylor as follows: A the identity of the owner, save a purse contain- Mr. Underwood, aged forty-three, and his wife, ing part of a return ticket. Ultimately, the aged forty, being about to sail for Australia, and clothes were identified as those of the intending being each entitled to certain property, made bather, who was duly searched for and adver- their wills before their embarkation. By these tised for, but without success. Forty-five days wills each testator gave to the other, absolutely, after his disappearance, and on the 30th of Oc- the whole property he and she possessed respectober, a dead body, completely divested of cloth- tively. Each will also declared that“ if the one ing, was found on the beach at Walton-on-the- to whom the same was given should die in the Naze, in Essex, situated about one hundred and lifetime of the donor," the property should be sixty miles from Brighton. The evidence of divided among their three children on the latter medical men showed that the body had been in attaining their majority. It must be mentioned the water from six to seven weeks. The features that the family of the testators included three were unrecognizable, but a brother of the miss- children-two sons, aged fifteen and thirteen reing man maintained that, to the best of his be- spectively, and a daughter, aged eighteen. In lief, the body was that of the bather who had case all of the children died before reaching the disappeared from Brighton on the 15th of Sep- age of twenty-one years, the wills directed that tember. The brother accordingly entered an a mutual friend, a Mr. Wing, should receive the action against the insurance company, who had entire property. The parents and children emrefused payment of the policy on the ground of barked on board the ill-fated ship Dalhousie, want of identification; and the defense also which sailed from London on October 13, 1853, rested upon the assumption that the assured per- and which foundered off Beachy Head. Only son was alive, and that, in short, the report of one survivor, a seaman named Read, escaped ; his death was merely a ruse to obtain money his testimony showing that the ship foundered from the insurance-office. The alleged deceased, on the morning of October 19, 1853, lay on her it was proved, had been declared bankrupt in beam-ends for about twenty minutes, and finally 1855, and he had further effected in 1856 insur- disappeared in the deep. After the ship lay over, ances in different offices. His will ordered that the Underwoods, with the exception of the girl, the money due under the policies should be ap- escaped through the cabin-window and clung to plied to the discharge of his debts. In such a the side of the vessel, but while in this position case, the conflicting features of the evidence and a heavy sea swept them from their hold, and the uncertainty of identification resulted in the Read declared that they must have perished disagreement of the jury and in their consequent thereafter. Not a single trace of them was discharge. Clearer in all its details was the case found. But an important addendum to this information was contributed by Read, who said remarks upon this case are so apt and interesting that not only did the daughter appear on the that they may bear quotation by way of comdeck after her parents and brothers had been mentary on this singular case. This authority swept away, but also that he lashed her to a spar remarks : “The difficulty was created by the and cast her adrift as her sole hope of safety. legal rule which threw the onus of proof on the He stated also that he saw Miss Underwood claimant (Wing) under the two wills. The case alive in the sea lashed to the spar. Mr. Under- of the next of kin, who was not mentioned in the wood, it may be added, was described as a tall will, was that the husband and wife died at the man of powerful build, and his wife as of small same instant of time; but this was a physiologistature and of delicate constitution.
cal impossibility; and had the proof of this been The suit before the Rolls Court turned on thrown upon the plaintiff (Underwood) the case the question which of the testators—husband or must have failed. The contention of the defendwife — survived the other?. The testimony of ant was, that the testator and testatrix could not Read established the fact that the daughter had have died at the same instant. This negative unquestionably survived her relatives. The Mas- proposition could not of course be proved by diter of the Rolls inclined to believe that death rect evidence; it simply became a medical inferwas simultaneous in the case of the parents and ence; but when the law declares that in the abbrothers, and the result of his decision was that sence of evidence the property shall go in the the property must pass to the next of kin of the same way as if the parties had expired at the daughter. Mr. Wing, the mutual friend who same instant-i. e., as if they had died intestate was entitled to succeed, had thus no claim, ow- —this is deciding such questions by a rule which ing to the simultaneous death of the testators, is as arbitrary in its operation as that of the Code and judgment was accordingly given for the Napoleon. In Underwood versus Wing,” conplaintiff Underwood as next of kin.
cludes Dr. Taylor, “this rule of law practically The case was taken on appeal to the Lord affirmed that an event took place which was physChancellor's court, and was finally carried to the iologically impossible, and upon that event the House of Lords. Medical evidence was now wills of husband and wife were set aside, and the sought to substantiate the appellant's case. All property was handed to one whose name was inthe children having died under the age of twenty- tentionally excluded from the wills of both.” one years, the case of the daughter's survival was An analogous case tried in November, 1856, not made a part of the pleadings. The question in the Rolls Court, presents the melancholy insubmitted for consideration to the medical ex- terest of having arisen out of the untoward fate perts related to the probabilities of the husband of Sir John Franklin's expedition to the polar having survived the wife, it might be even for a seas in 1845. The issue depended upon the devery brief period of time. As the stronger of the termination of the survivorship of a father (James two, the appellant contended Mr. Underwood Couch) or son (Edward Couch). It was not disshould be held to have survived his wife, in which puted that the father died at home, in January, case Mr. Wing would claim the property of de- 1850. Edward Couch went as mate of the Ereceased under the terms of the will. Even if the bus in August, 1845, and it had to be determined latter had survived her husband—the more un- whether Edward had predeceased his father, or likely alternative-Mr. Wing would in that event had survived him. Dr. Rae deposed that in 1854 also gain his case. Medical and physiological some Esquimaux informed him that in April or evidence went to show that, in face of the facts May, 1850, a party of white men were seen dragthat Mr. Underwood was known to be a good ging a boat across the ice, and that these men swimmer, and that he was a strong and power- killed birds which were never found in those fully built man, the probability was that he sur- regions before the month of May. Of course vived his wife. The difference in age, sex, and no evidence was at hand to show that Edward strength, said the experts, rendered it highly im- Couch was one of these survivors of 1850; but probable that death by drowning or asphyxia, the law in this case declared for the probability depending on cessation of the heart's action of the son's survival; this course being adopted among other things, would take place exactly at with a view to avoid further litigation. the same moment, and in this view the more A somewhat notorious case occurred in Lonrobust subject would therefore in all probability don, in 1870, which gave rise to the question of be the longest liver. The medical testimony was survivorship, complicated with the additional inthus clearly in favor of Wing. Upon technical terest of criminal procedure. A person named grounds the Lord Chancellor, in February, 1855, Huelin had made a bequest to his housekeeper, affirmed the judgment of the Master of the Rolls, with whom he lived at Brompton. In May, 1870, and the House of Lords confirmed these deci- both were murdered by a man named Millar, who sions, one of the judges dissenting. Dr. Taylor's was tried for the crime. The body of Huelin
was buried by way of concealment; that of the which, during a quarrel between husband and woman was packed by the prisoner in a box, wife, the latter in an ungovernable passion rushed which he requested a carrier to rope and cord. from the house across a lawn and flung herself During the performance of his task, the carrier into a pond. Her husband tried to rescue her, noticed that blood was oozing from the box, and but both were drowned. Evidence failed to elicit this circumstance excited suspicion, and led to any satisfactory details regarding the priority of the discovery of the crime. In 1871 a suit was death, and the suit which had been entered into raised to decide the disposal of Huelin's belong- was compromised accordingly. ings. If the housekeeper were proved to have Little need exists for expatiation on the curisurvived the master, then the bequest to her ous nature of such studies in the shady paths of would take effect; while, assuming the opposite life, or on the singular blending of fact and roview, the heirs of Huelin would claim the entire mance in certain phases of human existence. property. Here medical evidence assisted the But one idea may be fairly expressed by way of decision of the Vice-Chancellor's court, hy de- conclusion : namely, that science and law toclaring that the signs of death were more recent gether, while often achieving veritable triumphs in the case of the woman than in that of Huelin; in the patient pursuit and discovery of the truth, and circumstantial evidence lent its aid toward are yet unable to save humanity from one of its substantiating that of the experts. The court worst enemies—its contorted and debased self. decided in favor of the heirs of the unfortunate housekeeper. A case has also been related in
All the Year Round.
THE SUEZ CANAL HISTORY,
[We have from the Count de Lesseps a reply to all countries to take part in the work without any the article in our last number on the Suez Canal, government aid. M. de Lesseps, with his family which we subjoin. That article, as M. de Lesseps and friends, got together the first money necessuspects, was written by Judge Philip H. Morgan, sary to begin the preliminary studies. A rough lately member of the “ Tribunal de Première In- plan was drawn up by two of the Viceroy's enstance ” of Egypt, and recently appointed Minister gineers, Messrs. Mougel Bey and Linaut Bey. A from this country to Mexico.]
superior committee, composed of twelve famous
engineers selected from England, France, HolTo the Editor of Appletons' Journal.
land, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain, exSir: In your April number I find an article amined the rough plan, and sent a sub-committee entitled “The Suez Canal: a History," and signed to Egypt and published its final report. As the P. H. M., which initials I understand are those result of this publication, the Viceroy, Said Pasha, of Judge Philip H. Morgan, of the United States; renewed in January, 1856, his concession of 1854, and, deeply sensible of the falseness of the accusa- but, as the policy of Lord Palmerston threatened tions he has made against the Suez Canal Com- Egypt with serious complications on account of pany, of which I was and am president and man- the canal, the Viceroy thought it best to put off aging director, I feel it a duty to myself and to seeking subscriptions to form the company. He those so long associated with me to send you the then undertook to furnish himself a monthly following article in reply to his charges.
sum of 30,000 francs, in order to have conOn November 30, 1854, M. de Lesseps was trol of the enterprise until he should judge it empowered to form an Egyptian and Universal advisable to apply for capital. M. de Lesseps, Company, by virtue of the concession which was on his part, agreed to give him back the congiven him to open a ship-canal between the cession without any indemnity if political events Mediterranean and the Red Seas. At the same should prevent him from carrying it out. The time the Viceroy, Saïd Pasha, decreed the build- preliminary work was continued until the end of ing of the railroad between Cairo and Suez in 1858. The time was then considered favorable order to please the English, who were clamorous to ask for a subscription of 200,000,000 francs, for it. The railroad had to be built at the ex- the sum fixed by the superior international compense of Egypt, while the Suez Canal was to be mittee, but the Viceroy requested M. de Lesseps constructed without any subvention, at the ex- not to have all the stock taken by France alone, pense of the company, which was to call upon but to reserve a part for other countries, holding
himself ready to retain that portion for distribu- the President informed them that any employee tion later, as it might be, in order that it should of the company who should strike an Arab not be said that the canal company was only should be dismissed, whatever might be his sercomposed of French capital. This first sum vices or his rank. As for the imagined mortality amounted to 120,000,000 francs, represented by of the workmen, the reports of the doctors, pub240,000 shares of five hundred francs each; and lished at the annual meetings of the company at the part reserved for the Viceroy was 80,000,000 Paris, have proved that the figures of mortality francs, represented by 160,000 shares. The com- were less than in the healthiest garrisons of pany was thus regularly formed. The first care France, and that it was less among the natives of the Council of Administration was to decide of the country than among the Europeans. upon reimbursing the sums expended in the Everything, therefore, was going on smoothly, study of the preliminary works, about 3,000,000 when Lord Palmerston sent to Egypt Sir Henry francs, which was at once done, to the profit of Bulwer, her Majesty's ambassador at Constantithe Viceroy and the founders of the company. nople, who obtained from the Viceroy the prom
At the time of the first steps taken by Eng- ise to take away from the company the Egyptian lish diplomacy against the canal, one of Lord contingent of workmen, the canal of fresh water, Palmerston's arguments was that France would built at the expense of the above-mentioned send Zouaves disguised as canal workmen in company, and the sixty thousand hectares of land order later to attempt to take possession of granted along this canal. The object was to Egypt. It was then that the Viceroy, in har- ruin the company, and to prevent it from going mony with M. de Lesseps, decreed that four on with the work. The game was first to violate fifths of the workmen on the canal should be our contracts, without in any way indemnifying Egyptians. As a corollary to this agreement he the company. The President and the members bound himself, after having disbanded twenty of the Council of Administration of the company thousand men from his army, which then num- very naturally resisted such pretensions, and even bered sixty thousand, to send every month the had condemned by the tribunals an Egyptian workmen necessary for the undertaking to the Minister who had come to Paris to sustain the number of twenty thousand men. The decree idea of robbing the company by means of the as to the employment of fellahs, which appeared press. in the first volume of the documents of the his- In the face of our resistance, and to put an tory of the Suez Canal (published by the house end to a painful struggle, the Viceroy spontaneof Didier, 55 Quai des Augustins, Paris), is con- ously wrote to the Emperor Napoleon III. to ask sidered a model of justice, humanity, and wise him to be the arbiter in the differences existing foresight. It has now been published a long between the Egyptian Government and the Suez while, and has closed the mouth of English at- Canal Company. The Emperor accepted the tacks, which were founded upon supposed forced position, and the Council of Administration was labor. I challenge Judge Morgan to prove what also invited to accept it. he has falsely written in relation to the mortality The Emperor delegated the examination of of the fellahs, the bad treatment of which they the questions presented to him to a Committee were victims, and a barbarous system of forcing of Inquiry, chosen from the Council of State, the the children to work. What he has said is a Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies, under the pure invention. Among the many Americans presidency of M. Thouvenel, former ambassador who visited the Suez Canal during its construc- at Constantinople, and former Minister of Foreign tion, one can easily inquire of the former agent Affairs. This committee, after an exhaustive and Consul-General of the United States of Amer- study and a minute examination, declared that ica, Mr. Edwin de Leon, and also of Dr. Wash- indemnities were due the company in compensaington M. Ryer, now a resident of San Fran- tion for the new conditions imposed upon it, and cisco.
which it refused to accept. It made it underAt the death of Said Pasha, his successor stood that it preferred the execution of the origiIsmail declared, on entering office, before the nal contract, and the continuation of the work as representatives of the foreign nations, that he already begun, to any kind of indemnity, but that, had no other wish than to carry out faithfully at the same time, it would respect the decision of the agreements of his predecessor toward the the Emperor. The committee, in its report, proSuez Canal Company, and consequently work- posed to indemnify the company in the following men continued to be sent to the ground, receiv- manner : ing in accordance with the above-mentioned decree a daily pay greater than that given to work- 1. For the cession of the fresh. men on private estates in Egypt, their ration of water canal ; this figure was estimated bread, vegetables, water, etc. A circular from from the exact expenses of the com
pany, as made out by M. Voisin Bey,
enterprise, were mistaken in their calculations in Director-General of the works...... 10,000,000 frs. estimating at 200,000,000 francs the cost of the 2. The ceding back 60,000 hectares
canal. They were, on the contrary, exactly right, arable land bordering the fresh-water
and this estimate would not have been exceeded canal......
were it not for the delays and the difficulties oc3. Loss occasioned by removing
casioned for several years by the policy of Lord the workmen.......
Palmerston. 4. Loss of time to the company by
The sums honestly acquired by the company changing the kind of labor-minimum
beyond the 200,000,000 francs are as follows, estimate...
and equal the capital it acquired from these sacTotal indemnity....
84,000,000 frs. rifices : Later on the Viceroy, wishing to acquire the
SUPPLEMENTARY CAPITAL. property of Ouady, bought it of the company at 1. Indemnity from the decision public auction, from the succession of the late of Napoleon III......
84,000,000 frs. Viceroy, Abbas Pasha, and was very well satis- 2. Sale of Ouady...
10,000,000 fied at the moderate terms of the company, who
3. Bonds placed by the company accepted the price of 10,000,000 francs for a piece in France to make up for the loss of land of ten thousand hectares that he had cul- and delays caused by politics, which tivated, and which was already partly let out on
could not be entirely estimated in
the arbitration...... rent at a yearly sum of 850,000 francs.
100,000,000“ Such is the exact recital of the financial rela- quire the freehold of Port Said, the
4. The Viceroy, wishing to actions of the company to the Egyptian Govern- large buildings and property of the ment. Now, when Judge Morgan pretends that company at Cairo and Damietta, as the Suez Canal Company has ruined Egypt, it well as all the buildings along the can be said, in reply, that it is the canal that has canal from Port Said to Suez, the given to Egypt the credit it never had before, and telegraphs and the posts on the line, that later it made a bad use of this credit. It is and the small canals for irrigation, enough to compare the state of Egypt in 1854 for which the company paid a rent with its present condition.
of five per cent., offered for it all... 30,000,000 It is another error to suppose that formerly
200,000,000 Egypt had the carrying trade of the Indies and
424,000,000 frs. China, which entirely was done by the Cape of Good Hope until the opening of the canal, as the The difference between this sum and that of railroad only went from Alexandria to Cairo. As 457,000,000 which represents the actual cost of regards this railroad, when opened through to the canal with the interest paid to stockholders, Suez a few years before the completion of the comes from the interest on the money belonging canal, its business has since that time increased to the company and invested by it during the tenfold, and to-day it is considered as one of the execution of the work. best assets of the Egyptian creditors.
It must also be noted that the 30,000,000 What has burdened the finances of Egypt is, francs above mentioned (4) did not come out I repeat, the abuse of the credit given by the of the Egyptian Treasury, the Viceroy having canal. This abuse was not occasioned to pay given to the public for this sum the coupons cut the expenses of the canal, which, on the contrary, off his bonds up to the year 1895. have brought into the Egyptian Treasury, first, If the Egyptian finances have been burdened, the interest at five per cent. on its stock, from the if a liquidation has recently become necessary formation of the company in 1858 down to the which would satisfy the creditors, the cause of present time; second, the fifteen per cent. stipu- this deficit will be found in the large sums sent lated in the act of concession from the net prof- to Constantinople, besides the annual tribute, its of the company, which fifteen per cent. was during the war between Turkey and Russia ; in pledged by the Viceroy to the Credit Foncier of the sad war between Egypt and Abyssinia ; in France, and was paid into that company for the the multiplication of railroads and telegraphs account of the Egyptian Government, in a lump and irrigating canals all through Egypt as far as sum of 1,631,000 francs; and this fifteen per cent. Soudan; in the fortunate but expensive submiswas demanded of the Egyptian Government by sion of the people bordering the Nile as far as the different groups of creditors, but with it was paid equator, and their freedom from slavery; in the the syndicate, called that of the hundred and five establishment of large sugar-factories in Upper millions.
Egypt, which have cost more than 100,000,000 Judge Morgan pretends that the great Eu- francs, but which will later be remunerative ; ropean engineers, the authors of the Suez Canal in a great number of palaces and public edi