Guaranteed 6% Dividend for Life. Any takers?

Any prudent investor would jump at the chance to receive a guaranteed 6% dividend for life.  So how does one get in on this action?

The fact of the matter is…YOU can’t…That is unless you are a shareholder of one of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks and the banks under their jurisdiction.

Not only do these banks receive a dividend each year excess profits are available for distribution, but back in 1922, they cleverly lobbied for a mechanism that allows them to pay themselves a dividend for years in which profits are not available by pulling “surplus” earnings to make up for the non-profitable years.

Can AT&T do this?  How about JP Morgan Chase?  Indeed they cannot.  Talk about one slick system; gotta love them Fed bankers, what?

Below is the language found in the Financial Accounting Manual for Federal Reserve Banks to this regard.

Appendix B. Dividends
B.1 Payment of Dividends from Surplus

A 1922 opinion from the Board of Governors’ Legal Counsel.

To: Federal Reserve Board
From: Mr. Walter S. Logan, General Counsel
Subject: Payment of dividends of Federal Reserve Banks out of surplus
Date: April 11, 1922

You have requested my opinion upon the question of whether a Federal reserve bank, which has accumulated a surplus fund out of earnings of past years, has authority to use a part of this fund to pay to its stockholding member banks the dividend for a subsequent year during which the current earnings of the federal reserve banks are insufficient to pay such dividend.

I am of the opinion that the question should be answered in the affirmative.

The material portions of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act read as follows:

“After all necessary expenses of a Federal reserve bank have been paid or provided for, the stockholders shall be entitled to receive an annual dividend of six per centum on the paid-in capital stock, which dividend shall be cumulative. After the aforesaid dividend claims have been fully met, the net earnings shall be paid to the United States as a franchise tax except that the whole of such net earnings, including those for the year ending December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and eighteen, shall be paid into a surplus fund until it shall amount to one hundred per centum or the subscribed capital stock of such bank, and that thereafter ten per centum of such net earnings shall be paid into the surplus.

“…Should a Federal reserve bank be dissolved or go into liquidation, any surplus remaining, after the payment of all debts, dividend requirements as hereinbefore provided, as the par value of the stock, shall be paid to and become the property of the United States and shall be similarly applied.”

This section provides that the earnings of the Federal reserve banks shall be used for the following purposes in the order named:

1. For the payment of or provision for expenses.

2. For the payment to stockholders (who are member banks exclusively) of cumulative dividends at the rate of six percent per annum on paid-in capital.

3. For creating and adding to a surplus fund until such fund equals 100 percent of subscribed capital.

4. The balance to be paid 90 percent to the United States as a franchise tax and 10 percent into surplus.

The question for determination is what are the rights of a Federal reserve bank with respect to the payment of dividends when the bank has already accumulated a surplus out of its past earnings but has failed during some subsequent year to earn a sufficient amount to pay the full dividends for that year.

No payment can be made into the surplus fund unless the earnings for the current year are sufficient to pay in full the dividends for that year and any dividends for past years that may remain unpaid. Thus Congress has directed that the payment of current and past dividends shall take precedence over the accumulation of a surplus fund. In the absence of any indication to the contrary, it would be natural to assume from this that Congress intended also that the payment of current and past dividends should take precedence over the maintenance of a surplus fund already accumulated.

It is to be noted that the provision in the second paragraph of Section 7, regarding the disposition of the surplus fund in the event of the dissolution or liquidation of a Federal reserve bank, makes it clear that the surplus fund of a Federal reserve bank will be available ultimately to pay the cumulative dividends in full.

It is clear also that the payment of dividends out of surplus can result in no loss of revenue to the United States, for no franchise tax can become due until the six percent cumulative dividends have been paid in full. If the surplus should not be used to pay dividends for a year in which the current earnings are insufficient for this purpose, the back dividends would have to be paid out of future earnings before the United States becomes entitled to any franchise tax. In fact, the failure to pay dividends out of surplus in excess of 100 percent of subscribed capital would result in loss of revenue to the United States; because if dividends for any year should remain unpaid, they would have to be paid in full out of the earnings of future years before any franchise tax becomes payable, whereas, if dividends should be paid out of the surplus and the surplus were not thereby reduced below 100 percent of subscribed capital, future payments into the surplus fund would amount to only 10 percent of future earnings over and above current dividend requirements, the other 90 percent being paid to the United States.

It may be argued that, without regard to the questions of the franchise tax, Congress intended that each Federal reserve bank should accumulate a surplus fund for the purpose of protecting such bank against possible future losses and that the fund should be available for no other purpose. It is to be noted in this connection, however, that under the present terms of Section 7 there is no limit to the size of the surplus fund that must be accumulated. All of the earnings, over and above dividend requirements are required to be paid into the surplus fund until such fund equals 100 percent of the subscribed capital (which is equivalent to 200 percent of paid-in capital since under the law only one-half of the subscribed capital is required to be paid in and the balance now remains subject to call), and after a surplus fund equal to 100 percent of subscribed capital has been accumulated, ten percent of all future net earnings over and above dividend requirements must be paid in to the surplus fund. It is hardly reasonable to assume that Congress intended to prevent a Federal reserve bank from paying its current dividends while its surplus fund is far in excess of the amount of its subscribed capital.

Under Section 7 as originally enacted, the argument that the surplus fund of a Federal reserve bank was intended solely as a protection to the bank against possible future losses could have been made with greater force. Prior to the amendment of March 3, 1919, the provisions of Section 7, which correspond to those already quoted form the present Section, read as follows:

“After all necessary expenses of a Federal reserve bank have been paid or provided for, the stockholders shall be entitled to receive an annual dividend of six per centum on the paid-in capital stock, which dividend shall be cumulative. After the aforesaid dividend claims have been fully met, all the net earnings shall be paid to the United States as a franchise tax, except that one half of such net earnings shall be paid into a surplus fund until it shall amount to forty per centum of the paid-in capital stock of such bank.

“…Should a Federal reserve bank be dissolved or go into liquidation, any surplus remaining, after the payment of all debts, dividend requirements as hereinbefore provided, and the par value of the stock, shall be paid to and become the property of the United States and shall be similarly applied.”

Thus, the maximum surplus fund which could have been accumulated under the original section was 40 percent of the paid-in capital and it might well have been argued that the purpose of Congress in making provision for this limited surplus was solely to protect the bank against future losses. Even under the original section, however, the question was open to serious doubt, for a Federal reserve bank was required to apply its earnings to the same purposes and in the same order as under Section 7 as amended, and the payment of cumulative dividends therefore took precedence over the accumulation of a surplus fund. Furthermore the payment of dividends out of surplus fund would not have reduced the revenues of the United States. So the same arguments, except that which is based on the unlimited size of the surplus fund, could have been advanced in support of the right of a Federal reserve bank, under the terms of the original Section 7, to pay dividends out of surplus. In my judgment Congress in amending Section 7 so as to require the accumulation of a surplus fund of unlimited size must be considered to have recognized that under both the original section and the section as amended the surplus fund could be used for the payment of the cumulative dividends. Otherwise, it is only reasonable to assume that Congress would have required or permitted some part of the earnings, which must now go into the unlimited surplus, to be paid into a fund of “undivided profits” out of which the dividends could be paid currently in a year of small earnings.

This leads to the observation that under the terms of Section 7 a Federal reserve bank is not permitted to accumulate a fund of “undivided profits”. It is the usual custom of commercial banks to show among their liabilities an item of “undivided profits”, in addition to their liabilities on account of capital and surplus. From this fund of “undivided profits”, dividends are customarily paid and from it also transfers are made from time to time to increase the surplus fund. No banks, so far as I am aware, are prohibited from paying dividends out of this fund of “undivided profits” even though such dividends are in excess of the earnings for the current year. Consequently, by accumulating a fund of “undivided profits” from year to year a bank may make provision for the continuance, during years when earnings are small, of dividend payments without reducing its surplus fund. A Federal reserve bank cannot make provision for the continuance of dividends in this particular manner, because the law absolutely requires Federal reserve banks to dispose of earnings, over and above the amount paid as dividends, either by payment into the surplus fund or by payment of the franchise tax to the United States.

The continuity of dividends is fully as desirable in the case of Federal reserve banks as it is in the case of commercial banks, and Congress, having precluded the Federal reserve banks from making provision for such continuity by setting up “undivided profits”, may reasonably be assumed, in my opinion, to have contemplated that the surplus funds, which are required to be accumulated without limit as to size, would be available for the purpose of paying dividends as well as for the purpose of protecting the banks again possible future losses.

From the statement heretofore made that the dividends of commercial banks are customarily paid out of undivided profits, it is not to be inferred that the payment of dividends out of the surplus of commercial banks is prohibited. As I shall now attempt to show, the general rule is that banks may pay dividends out of surplus unless the terms of their charters, or the statutes to which they are subject, prohibit them from so doing.

In deciding the specific question now under consideration no great weight can be attached to the general rules of law as to the powers of corporations generally, or banks in particular, with respect to the payment of dividends; for Federal reserve banks are sui generis, and they are governed by the mandatory provisions of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act which take away from the directors all discretionary power as to the disposition of any part of current earnings. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that a consideration of these general rules of law will serve in some slight measure to confirm the conclusion that a Federal reserve bank may use its surplus fund for the payment of dividends for a year in which its current earnings are insufficient for that purpose.

It is a fundamental principle of the law of corporations, that unless otherwise provided by statute, charter or other limitation, the question of whether a corporation which has surplus profits on hand shall declare a dividend, and what part of such profits shall be distributed by means of such dividend, is a question for the determination of the directors in the exercise of their discretion, and the courts will not interfere with action taken by the directors in the exercise of such discretion unless they act fraudulently or in bad faith.

Gibbons v. Mahon,136 U.S., 549 ;
N.Y. Ry. Co. v. Nickals,119 U.S., 296 .

See also 14 Corpus Juris, p. 808-810 and cases there cited.

It is also held generally that dividends may lawfully be declared out of any surplus of corporate assets over corporate debts and capital stock, that is to say, anything remaining after provision for the corporation’s capital stock and liabilities is properly available for distribution to stockholders, although as seen above its actual disposition rests with the directors:

Bowers v. Post, 209 Fed. 660,
Hyams v. Old Dominion Copper Co. 82 N.J. Eq. 507
Equitable Life Assurance Co. v. Union Pacific Ry Co.,
212 N.Y. 360;
14 Corpus Juris, 803, and cases there cited.

Furthermore, it is immaterial what may be the amount of such surplus of corporate assets; whatever the surplus may amount to, it is available for dividend purposes. Hyams v. Old Dominion Copper Co. supra.

It has been held specifically that dividends may be paid from surplus accumulated out of the profits of previous years, although there have been no actual profits for the year in which the dividends are paid.

Beers v. Bridgeport Spring Co., 42 Conn. 17
Murray v. Beattie Mfg Co. 7, N.J. Eq. 322, 648
Williams v. Western Union Co., 93 N.Y. 182
Brouty v. Michigan etc. Ry Co., 4 T. & C. 230 (N.Y.)

The authorities cited above clearly confirm the right, which as heretofore stated is customarily exercised by banks, to pay dividends out of its funds of “undivided profits”, without regard to the amount of the earnings for the years in which the dividends are paid. The authorities are not controlling upon the right of banks to pay dividends out of their “surplus” funds, because the surplus fund of a bank is peculiar to this special type of corporation. Corporations other than banks and banking institutions are not as a general rule required to set aside any part of the their earnings into special “surplus” funds distinct from “undivided profits”, nor is it their practice to do so, and the surplus of a corporation other than a bank consists of the entire excess of assets over liabilities and capital stock. On the other hand it is universally true, so far as I am aware, that banks in this country are required by their charter or the statutes under which they operate to set aside a certain proportion of their current earnings into a fund designated surplus, until such fund amounts to a certain percentage of the bank’s capital, and in speaking of the surplus of a bank this specific fund is referred to, not including any undivided profits that may represent further excess of assets over liabilities and capital stock.

For this reason banks stand upon a somewhat different basis as regards surplus than do other corporations, but the general rule is nevertheless applicable to banks as well as to other corporations that unless controlled by statue, charter or otherwise, questions relating to the payment of dividends out of the excess of assets over liabilities and capital stock are left to the discretion of the directors. See in re Heaton, 89 Vt. 550, holding that in the absence of any prohibition by charter or otherwise a bank may declare a stock dividend payment out of surplus. See also Morse on Banks and Banking, 5th Ed. Sec. 66.

Unless, therefore, some prohibition is expressed in or implied from the charter of a bank or the statues to which it is subject, the bank may pay dividends out of surplus at the discretion of the directors. Applying this rule to the case now under consideration, I am of the opinion that there is nothing in Section 7 or any other part of the Federal Reserve Act which can reasonably be construed as a prohibition against the payment of dividends out of the surplus of a Federal reserve bank, but on the contrary that, for the reasons stated in the early part of this opinion, in order to give a reasonable and consistent purpose to the express provisions of the law, it is necessary to conclude that the law authorizes the payment of dividends out of surplus.

In considering the question of the right of a Federal reserve bank to pay dividends out of surplus, it is natural to look at the provisions of the National Bank Act, and to determine, if possible, what is the right of a national bank in this respect. The relevant provisions of the National Bank Act are contained in Sections 5199 and 5204 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. These sections provide as follows:

“Sec. 5199. The directors of any association may semiannually, declare a dividend of so much of the net profits of the association as they shall judge expedient; but each association shall before the declaration of a dividend, carry onetenth part of its net profits of the preceding half year to its surplus fund until the same shall amount to twenty per centum of its capital stock.”

“Sec. 5204. No association, of any member thereof, shall during the year it shall continue its banking operations, withdraw, or permit to be withdrawn, either in the form of dividends or otherwise, any portion of its capital. If losses have at any time been sustained by any such association, equal to or exceeding its undivided profits then on hand, no dividend shall be made; and no dividend shall ever be made by any association, while it continues its banking operations, to an amount greater than its net profits then on hand, deducting therefrom its losses and bad debts.”

There do not appear to have been any court cases construing these sections with reference to the right of national banks to pay dividends out of surplus, but the office of the Comptroller of the Currency has always construed them as prohibiting the payment of dividends from any surplus not in excess of 20 percent of capital, but as permitting the transfer of any surplus above 20 percent of capital to undivided profits and the payment of dividends out of the fund thus transferred. Thus, in spite of the express prohibition of Sections 5204 that “no dividend shall ever be made by any association, while it continues its banking operations, to an amount greater than its net profits then on hand, deducting therefrom its losses and bad debts”, the surplus fund of a national bank in excess of 20 percent of capital may be used for the purpose of paying dividends, provided only, that the bookkeeping operation is first preformed of making a transfer from surplus to undivided profits; and if it were not for this express prohibition it would seem that dividends could be paid directly out of surplus. There is no express prohibition against the payment of dividends by Federal reserve banks from any sources, and in so far as the Comptroller’s construction of Sections 5199 and 5204 of the Revised Statues has any bearing upon the question now under consideration, it tends to confirm the right of a Federal reserve bank to pay dividends out of surplus.

National banks are not expressly prohibited from transferring surplus to undivided profits even when by so doing surplus is reduced to less than 20 percent of capital, or from declaring dividends out of the funds thus transferred; and it may be argued that the office of the Comptroller of the Currency in implying such prohibitions from the express provisions of the sections 5199 and 5204 of the Revised Statues has recognized that a surplus fund, which is required by statute to be accumulated, is for the exclusive purpose of paying possible losses and should not be used for the payment of dividends, and that this principle should be applied in construing Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act. In my opinion, however, this argument is not sound, because national banks and Federal reserve banks stand upon very different ground as to the payment of dividends and accumulation of surplus.

With respect to national banks, (1) there is no limit as to the size of the dividends that may be paid out of the earnings not carried to surplus, (2) at least 10 percent of all earnings, no matter how small, must be paid into surplus until a surplus equal to 20 percent of capital has been accumulated, and (3) after a surplus of 20 percent of capital has been accumulated no further payments into surplus are required. On the other hand, with respect to Federal reserve banks, (1) dividends are absolutely limited to six percent per annum, (2) no payments can be made into surplus until stockholders have been paid the full amount of the current cumulative six percent dividends, and (3) no matter how large a surplus may have been accumulated out of past earnings it is still mandatory upon the bank to continue making additions to such fund out of future earnings in excess of dividend requirements.

In order to give any effect to the provisions of Section 5199 of the Revised Statutes it is necessary to construe them as prohibiting a national bank from paying dividends out of its surplus fund not in excess of 20 percent of capital, because otherwise the bank could, as fast as it put funds into surplus, pay them out again as dividends, and thus never accumulate any surplus at all, no matter how large its earnings may be. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the office of the Comptroller of the Currency is correct in construing Sections 5199 and 5204 of the Revised Statues as prohibiting a national bank, either directly or indirectly, from paying dividends out of its 20 percent surplus fund, the accumulation of which, on the one hand, need be commenced as soon as the bank makes any earnings at all, and, on the other hand, must not be continued after the fund amounts to 20 percent of capital. It does not follow, however, that a similar prohibition is to be implied with respect to the surplus of a Federal reserve bank, the accumulation of which, on the one hand, cannot begin until all current and past cumulative six percent dividends have been paid, and on the other hand, must continue without limit as to the ultimate size out of earnings in excess of dividend requirements.

The conclusion might be reached that a Federal reserve bank may pay dividends out of a surplus in excess of 100 percent of subscribed capital, but may not pay dividends out of surplus not in excess of this amount. I am of the opinion, however, that this conclusion is not warranted under the terms of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act. There is no minimum surplus for a Federal reserve bank, as there is for a national bank. It is just as mandatory upon a Federal reserve bank, after it has accumulated a surplus of 100 percent of subscribed capital, to pay into surplus 10 percent of earnings over and above dividend requirements, as it is to pay into surplus 100 percent of such earnings prior to such accumulation. All of a Federal reserve bank’s surplus is required surplus, and while it might have been reasonable for Congress to make such a distinction between surplus above and below 100 percent of subscribed capital, I believe that no such distinction was made or would be justified under the terms of the existing law.

As heretofore indicated my conclusion is that a Federal reserve bank, which has accumulated a surplus fund, has legal authority, under the provisions of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act, to pay out of such fund to its stockholding member banks dividends for a year in which the current earnings of the Federal reserve bank are insufficient for this purpose.

Respectfully,

General Counsel
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
WASHINGTON, D.C.
April 27, 1922.

The Honorable,
The Secretary of the Treasury.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 11th instant relative to the right of a Federal Reserve Bank which has already accumulated a surplus fund to use such fund to pay its regular dividends at the rate of 6 (cents) per annum on paid-in capital stock when its current earnings are insufficient for that purpose. You transmit a copy of an opinion rendered by the General Counsel of the Federal Reserve Board and request to be advised whether the conclusion reached by the General Counsel is concurred in by this Department.

The Federal Reserve Banks are creatures of statute and the rights of such banks must be determined by the statutes creating and governing them. The statutory provisions pertinent to the inquiry are found in section 7 of the Federal Reserve act of December 23, 1913, c. 6, 38 Stat. 258, as amended by section 1 of the Act of March 3, 1919, c. 101, 40 Stat. 1314, which reads in part:

“After all necessary expenses of a Federal reserve bank have been paid or provided for, the stockholders shall be entitled to receive an annual dividend of six per centum on he paid-in capital stock, which dividend shall be cumulative. After the aforesaid dividend claims have been fully met, the net earnings shall be paid to the United States as a franchise tax, except that the whole of such net earnings, including those for the year ending December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and eighteen, shall be paid into a surplus fund until it shall amount to one hundred per centum of the subscribed capital stock of such bank, and that thereafter ten per centum of such net earnings shall be paid into the surplus.

“…Should a Federal reserve bank be dissolved or go into liquidation, any surplus remaining, after the payment of all debts, dividend requirements as hereinbefore provided, and the par value of the stock, shall be paid to and became the property of the United States and shall be similarly applied.”

In constructing this statute the purpose is to ascertain the legislative intent. From the language used in the above quoted section, it seems reasonably clear the Congress intended that the dividend of 6 cents per annum on the paid-in capital stock should be considered a charge on the gross earnings of the bank, the same as necessary expenses and the dividend requirements shall any amount be considered “net earnings” to be carried, to the surplus fund.

It is also evident that the Congress, in providing that the net earnings after payment of expenses and dividends, shall be carried, to the surplus fund until such surplus fund “shall amount to one hundred per centum of the subscribed capital stock,” intended to provide an adequate surplus fund for the protection of the bank and its stockholders, in order that fixed charges might be paid therefrom, should losses or other exigencies diminish the earnings in any year. In doing this the Congress put into the statute a provision dictated by good business management and followed the practice generally obtaining in well managed banking and other corporations.

While the statute makes no guaranty of the payment of dividends at the rate of 6 on the paid-in capital stock, yet the surplus fund built up from the net earnings, after payment of necessary expenses and dividend requirements in prosperous years, stands as a virtual guaranty to stockholders against failure of dividends in lean years, thereby enhancing confidence in the bank’s financial stability.

That the surplus fund is liable for unearned dividends is further shown by the last-quoted paragraph of section 7, which provides that upon liquidation of the bank the surplus fund, after payment of all debts and dividend requirements and the par value of the took, shall be paid to and become the property of the United States. This provision indicates that the dividend requirements are not only a charge upon the gross earnings, but that where the gross earnings are not sufficient to meet the necessary expenses, debts and dividend requirements, such expenses, debts, and dividend requirements become a charge upon the surplus fund and must be paid out of that fund before any amount can be paid to and become the property of the United States.

I, therefore, concur in the conclusion reached by the General Counsel of the Federal Reserve Board, that –

“A Federal reserve bank, which has accumulated a surplus fund, has legal authority, under the provisions of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act, to pay out of such fund, to its stockholding member banks dividends for a year in which the current earnings of the Federal reserve bank are insufficient for this purpose.”

Respectfully,

(Sgd) H.M. Daugherty
Attorney General

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From the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13

Crane, Francis by William Prideaux Courtney

CRANE, Sir FRANCIS (d. [...] Read more →

The Human Seasons

John Keats

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year; There are four seasons in the mind of man: He has his lusty spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span; He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring’s honied cud of youthful thoughts he loves To ruminate, and by such [...] Read more →

Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

“Ours is an educational association organized for the benefit of the banking fraternity of the country and within our membership may be found on an equal basis both employees and employers; [...] Read more →

How Long is Your Yacht?

Dominion, Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club,Winner of Seawanhaka Cup, 1898.

The Tail Wags the Dog.

The following is a characteristic sample of those broad and liberal views on yachting which are the pride of the Boston Herald. Speaking of the coming races for the Seawanhaka international challenge cup, it says:

[...] Read more →

Chantry Chapels

William Wyggeston’s chantry house, built around 1511, in Leicester: The building housed two priests, who served at a chantry chapel in the nearby St Mary de Castro church. It was sold as a private dwelling after the dissolution of the chantries.

A Privately Built Chapel

Chantry, chapel, generally within [...] Read more →

Cocktails and Canapés

From The How and When, An Authoritative reference reference guide to the origin, use and classification of the world’s choicest vintages and spirits by Hyman Gale and Gerald F. Marco. The Marco name is of a Chicago family that were involved in all aspects of the liquor business and ran Marco’s Bar [...] Read more →

The First Greek Book by John Williams White

Click here to read The First Greek Book by John Williams White

The First Greek Book - 15.7MB

IN MEMORIAM

JOHN WILLIAMS WHITE

The death, on May 9, of John Williams White, professor of Greek in Harvard University, touches a large number of classical [...] Read more →

Sea and River Fishing

An angler with a costly pole Surmounted with a silver reel, Carven in quaint poetic scroll- Jointed and tipped with finest steel— With yellow flies, Whose scarlet eyes And jasper wings are fair to see, Hies to the stream Whose bubbles beam Down murmuring eddies wild and free. And casts the line with sportsman’s [...] Read more →

The Hoochie Coochie Hex

From Dr. Marvel’s 1929 book entitled Hoodoo for the Common Man, we find his infamous Hoochie Coochie Hex.

What follows is a verbatim transcription of the text:

The Hoochie Coochie Hex should not be used in conjunction with any other Hexes. This can lead to [...] Read more →

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

The greatest cause of failure in vinegar making is carelessness on the part of the operator. Intelligent separation should be made of the process into its various steps from the beginning to end.

PRESSING THE JUICE

The apples should be clean and ripe. If not clean, undesirable fermentations [...] Read more →

Fly Casting Instructions

It is a pity that the traditions and literature in praise of fly fishing have unconsciously hampered instead of expanded this graceful, effective sport. Many a sportsman has been anxious to share its joys, but appalled by the rapture of expression in describing its countless thrills and niceties he has been literally [...] Read more →

The First Christian Man Cremated in America

Laurens’ portrait as painted during his time spent imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was kept for over a year after being captured at sea while serving as the United States minister to the Netherlands during the Revolutionary War.

The first Christian white man to be cremated in America was [...] Read more →

Origin of the Apothecary

ORIGIN OF THE APOTHECARY.

The origin of the apothecary in England dates much further back than one would suppose from what your correspondent, “A Barrister-at-Law,” says about it. It is true he speaks only of apothecaries as a distinct branch of the medical profession, but long before Henry VIII’s time [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

?

This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor [...] Read more →

The American Museum in Britain – From Florida to Bath

Hernando de Soto (c1496-1542) Spanish explorer and his men torturing natives of Florida in his determination to find gold. Hand-coloured engraving. John Judkyn Memorial Collection, Freshford Manor, Bath

The print above depicts Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his band of conquistadors torturing Florida natives in order to extract information on where [...] Read more →

Cup of Tea? To be or not to be

Twinings London – photo by Elisa.rolle

Is the tea in your cup genuine?

The fact is, had one been living in the early 19th Century, one might occasionally encounter a counterfeit cup of tea. Food adulterations to include added poisonings and suspect substitutions were a common problem in Europe at [...] Read more →

On Bernini’s Bust of a Stewart King

As reported in the The Colac Herald on Friday July 17, 1903 Pg. 8 under Art Appreciation as a reprint from the Westminster Gazette

ART APPRECIATION IN THE COMMONS.

The appreciation of art as well as of history which is entertained by the average member of the [...] Read more →

Painting Plaster Work and the History of Terra Cotta

The 1896 Victorian terracotta Bell Edison Telephone Building – 17 & 19 Newhall Street, Birmingham, England. A grade I listed building designed by Frederick Martin of the firm Martin & Chamberlain. Now offices for firms of architects. Photographed 10 May 2006 by Oosoom

[Reprint from Victoria and Albert Museum included below on [...] Read more →

Ought King Leopold to be Hanged?

King Leopold Butcher of the Congo

For the somewhat startling suggestion in the heading of this interview, the missionary interviewed is in no way responsible. The credit of it, or, if you like, the discredit, belongs entirely to the editor of the Review, who, without dogmatism, wishes to pose the question as [...] Read more →

Blunderbuss Mai Tai Recipe

Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger

If you’re looking for that most refreshing of summertime beverages for sipping out on the back patio or perhaps as a last drink before walking the plank, let me recommend my Blunderbuss Mai Tai. I picked up the basics to this recipe over thirty years ago when holed up [...] Read more →

Beef Jerky

BEEF JERKY

Preparation.

Slice 5 pounds lean beef (flank steak or similar cut) into strips 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, 1 to 2 inches wide, and 4 to 12 inches long. Cut with grain of meat; remove the fat. Lay out in a single layer on a smooth clean surface (use [...] Read more →

Proper Wines to Serve with Food

Foie gras with Sauternes, Photo by Laurent Espitallier

As an Appetizer

Pale dry Sherry, with or without bitters, chilled or not. Plain or mixed Vermouth, with or without bitters. A dry cocktail.

With Oysters, Clams or Caviar

A dry flinty wine such as Chablis, Moselle, Champagne. Home Top of [...] Read more →

Country Cabbage and Pea Soup

Add the following ingredients to a four or six quart crock pot, salt & pepper to taste keeping in mind that salt pork is just that, cover with water and cook on high till it boils, then cut back to low for four or five hours. A slow cooker works well, I [...] Read more →

A Summer Memory

 

Here, where these low lush meadows lie, We wandered in the summer weather, When earth and air and arching sky, Blazed grandly, goldenly together.

And oft, in that same summertime, We sought and roamed these self-same meadows, When evening brought the curfew chime, And peopled field and fold with shadows.

I mind me [...] Read more →

JP Morgan’s Digital Currency Patent Application

J.P. Morgan Patent #8,452,703

Method and system for processing internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network.

Abstract

Embodiments of the invention include a method and system for conducting financial transactions over a payment network. The method may include associating a payment address of an account [...] Read more →

Some Notes on American Ship Worms

July 9, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 25

Some Notes on American Ship-Worms.

[Read before the American Fishes Congress at Tampa.]

While we wish to preserve and protect most of the products of our waters, these creatures we would gladly obliterate from the realm of living things. For [...] Read more →

The Cremation of Sam McGee

Robert W. Service (b.1874, d.1958)

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night [...] Read more →

Carpenters’ Furniture

IT requires a far search to gather up examples of furniture really representative in this kind, and thus to gain a point of view for a prospect into the more ideal where furniture no longer is bought to look expensively useless in a boudoir, but serves everyday and commonplace need, such as [...] Read more →

Something about Caius College, Cambridge

Gate of Honour, Caius Court, Gonville & Caius

Gonville & Caius College, known as Caius and pronounced keys was founded in 1348 by Edmund Gonville, the Rector of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk. The first name was thus Goville Hall and it was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [...] Read more →

How to Make Money – Insurance

Life insurance certificate issued by the Yorkshire Fire & Life Insurance Company to Samuel Holt, Liverpool, England, 1851. On display at the British Museum in London. Donated by the ifs School of Finance. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)

From How to Make Money; and How to Keep it, Or, Capital and Labor [...] Read more →

Art Fraud

A la Russie, aux ânes et aux autres – by Chagall – 1911

Marc Chagall is one of the most forged artists on the planet. Mark Rothko fakes also abound. According to available news reports, the art market is littered with forgeries of their work. Some are even thought to be [...] Read more →

Tuna Record

TROF. C. F. HOLDFER AND HIS 183LBS. TUNA, WITH BOATMAN JIM GARDNER.

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 11

The Tuna Record.

Avalon. Santa Catalina Island. Southern California, June 16.—Editor Forest and Stream: Several years ago the writer in articles on the “Game Fishes of the Pacific Slope,” in [...] Read more →

Travels by Narrowboat

Oh Glorious England, verdant fields and wandering canals…

In this wonderful series of videos, the CountryHouseGent takes the viewer along as he chugs up and down the many canals crisscrossing England in his classic Narrowboat. There is nothing like a free man charting his own destiny.

Life Among the Thugee

The existence of large bodies of men having no other means of subsistence than those afforded by plunder, is, in all countries, too common to excite surprise; and, unhappily, organized bands of assassins are not peculiar to India! The associations of murderers known by the name of Thugs present, however, [...] Read more →

Mocking Bird Food

Mocking Bird Food.

Hemp seed……….2 pounds Rape seed………. .1 pound Crackers………….1 pound Rice…………….1/4 pound Corn meal………1/4 pound Lard oil…………1/4 pound

 

Home Top of Pg. Read more →

The English Tradition of Woodworking

THE sense of a consecutive tradition has so completely faded out of English art that it has become difficult to realise the meaning of tradition, or the possibility of its ever again reviving; and this state of things is not improved by the fact that it is due to uncertainty of purpose, [...] Read more →

Pickled Eels

Vintage woodcut illustration of a Eel

 

This dish is a favorite in Northern Europe, from the British Isles to Sweden.

Clean and skin the eels and cut them into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. Wash and drain the pieces, then dredge in fine salt and allow to stand from 30 [...] Read more →

The Kalmar War

Wojna Kalmarska – 1611

The Kalmar War

From The Historian’s History of the World (In 25 Volumes) by Henry Smith William L.L.D. – Vol. XVI.(Scandinavia) Pg. 308-310

The northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, as already noticed, had been peopled from the remotest times by nomadic tribes called Finns or Cwenas by [...] Read more →

Fruits of the Empire: Licorice Root and Juice

Liquorice, the roots of Glycirrhiza Glabra, a perennial plant, a native of the south of Europe, but cultivated to some extent in England, particularly at Mitcham, in Surrey.

Its root, which is its only valuable part, is long, fibrous, of a yellow colour, and when fresh, very juicy. [...] Read more →

Clairvoyance – Methods of Development

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX – METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable power of clairvoyance, his first question usually is, “How can [...] Read more →

Salmon Caviar

Salmon and Sturgeon Caviar – Photo by Thor

Salmon caviar was originated about 1910 by a fisherman in the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and the preparation is a modification of the sturgeon caviar method (Cobb 1919). Salomon caviar has found a good market in the U.S.S.R. and other European countries where it [...] Read more →

Traditional JuJutsu Health, Strength and Combat Tricks

Jujitsu training 1920 in Japanese agricultural school.

CHAPTER V

THE VALUE OF EVEN TEMPER IN ATHLETICS—SOME OF THE FEATS THAT REQUIRE GOOD NATURE

In the writer’s opinion it becomes necessary to make at this point some suggestions relative to a very important part of the training in jiu-jitsu. [...] Read more →

Palermo Wine

Take to every quart of water one pound of Malaga raisins, rub and cut the raisins small, and put them to the water, and let them stand ten days, stirring once or twice a day. You may boil the water an hour before you put it to the raisins, and let it [...] Read more →

Books of Use to the International Art Collector

Hebborn Piranesi

Before meeting with an untimely death at the hand of an unknown assassin in Rome on January 11th, 1996, master forger Eric Hebborn put down on paper a wealth of knowledge about the art of forgery. In a book published posthumously in 1997, titled The Art Forger’s Handbook, Hebborn suggests [...] Read more →

A History of Fowling – Ravens and Jays

From A History of Fowling, Being an Account of the Many Curios Devices by Which Wild Birds are, or Have Been, Captured in Different Parts of the World by Rev. H.A. MacPherson, M.A.

THE RAVEN (Corvus corax) is generally accredited with a large endowment of mother wit. Its warning [...] Read more →

Here’s Many a Year to You

” Here’s many a year to you ! Sportsmen who’ve ridden life straight. Here’s all good cheer to you ! Luck to you early and late.

Here’s to the best of you ! You with the blood and the nerve. Here’s to the rest of you ! What of a weak moment’s swerve ? [...] Read more →

King James Bible – Knights Templar Edition

Full Cover, rear, spine, and front

Published by Piranesi Press in collaboration with Country House Essays, this beautiful paperback version of the King James Bible is now available for $79.95 at Barnes and Noble.com

This is a limited Edition of 500 copies Worldwide. Click here to view other classic books [...] Read more →

Mudlark Regulations in the U.K.

Mudlarks of London

Mudlarking along the Thames River foreshore is controlled by the Port of London Authority.

According to the Port of London website, two type of permits are issued for those wishing to conduct metal detecting, digging, or searching activities.

Standard – allows digging to a depth of 7.5 [...] Read more →

Chinese 9 Course Dinner

The following recipes form the most popular items in a nine-course dinner program:

BIRD’S NEST SOUP

Soak one pound bird’s nest in cold water overnight. Drain the cold water and cook in boiling water. Drain again. Do this twice. Clean the bird’s nest. Be sure [...] Read more →

Method of Restoration for Ancient Bronzes and other Alloys

Cannone nel castello di Haut-Koenigsbourg, photo by Gita Colmar

Without any preliminary cleaning the bronze object to be treated is hung as cathode into the 2 per cent. caustic soda solution and a low amperage direct current is applied. The object is suspended with soft copper wires and is completely immersed into [...] Read more →

Proper Book Handling and Cleaning

Book Conservators, Mitchell Building, State Library of New South Wales, 29.10.1943, Pix Magazine

The following is taken verbatim from a document that appeared several years ago in the Maine State Archives. It seems to have been removed from their website. I happened to have made a physical copy of it at the [...] Read more →

Of the Room and Furniture

Crewe Hall Dining Room

 

THE transient tenure that most of us have in our dwellings, and the absorbing nature of the struggle that most of us have to make to win the necessary provisions of life, prevent our encouraging the manufacture of well-wrought furniture.

We mean to outgrow [...] Read more →

A Creative Approach to Saving Ye Olde Cassette Tapes

Quite possibly, the most agonizing decision being made by Baby Boomers across the nation these days is what to do with all that vintage Hi-fi equipment and boxes full of classic rock and roll cassettes and 8-Tracks.

I faced this dilemma head-on this past summer as I definitely wanted in [...] Read more →

Shooting in Wet Weather

 

Reprint from The Sportsman’s Cabinet and Town and Country Magazine, Vol I. Dec. 1832, Pg. 94-95

To the Editor of the Cabinet.

SIR,

Possessing that anxious feeling so common among shooters on the near approach of the 12th of August, I honestly confess I was not able [...] Read more →

Of Decorated Furniture

DECORATED or “sumptuous” furniture is not merely furniture that is expensive to buy, but that which has been elaborated with much thought, knowledge, and skill. Such furniture cannot be cheap, certainly, but the real cost of it is sometimes borne by the artist who produces rather than by the man who may [...] Read more →

Why Beauty Matters – Sir Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton – Why Beauty Matters (2009) from Mirza Akdeniz on Vimeo.

Click here for another site on which to view this video.

Sadly, Sir Roger Scruton passed away a few days ago—January 12th, 2020. Heaven has gained a great philosopher.

Home Top of [...] Read more →

The Fowling Piece – Part I

THE FOWLING PIECE, from the Shooter’s Guide by B. Thomas – 1811.

I AM perfectly aware that a large volume might be written on this subject; but, as my intention is to give only such information and instruction as is necessary for the sportsman, I shall forbear introducing any extraneous [...] Read more →

Slaughter in Bombay

From Allen’s Indian Mail, December 3rd, 1851

BOMBAY. MUSULMAN FANATICISM.

On the evening of November 15th, the little village of Mahim was the scene of a murder, perhaps the most determined which has ever stained the annals of Bombay. Three men were massacred in cold blood, in a house used [...] Read more →

Clairvoyance and Occult Powers

Vishnu as the Cosmic Man (Vishvarupa) Opaque watercolour on paper – Jaipur, Rajasthan c. 1800-50

 

CLAIRVOYANCE AND OCCULT POWERS

By Swami Panchadasi

Copyright, 1916

By Advanced Thought Pub. Co. Chicago, Il

INTRODUCTION.

In preparing this series of lessons for students of [...] Read more →

Peach Brandy

PEACH BRANDY

2 gallons + 3 quarts boiled water 3 qts. peaches, extremely ripe 3 lemons, cut into sections 2 sm. pkgs. yeast 10 lbs. sugar 4 lbs. dark raisins

Place peaches, lemons and sugar in crock. Dissolve yeast in water (must NOT be to hot). Stir thoroughly. Stir daily for 7 days. Keep [...] Read more →