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History of the Bank of Nova Scotia 1832-1900
Legislation


THE amount of legislation relating to the Bank of Nova Scotia has been considerable. The first change in the Charter was made in April, 1833, when the Bank’s notes were made redeemable in Treasury notes. In 1837 (7th William IV, Cap. LXXIII), it was enacted that the Directors of the Bank might also be stockholders in other banking establishments. In 1841 the currency of this Act was extended one year to make it concurrent with the Charter. In 1842, ’43, ’44, the Charter was extended for one year; the reason for such action was that the General Assembly in those years renewed all Acts of this nature for one year only so as to compel the Council to annually convene it. In 1845 the Charter was renewed for two, and in 1847 for ten years. We quote the latter as it also made some material changes in the Charter :

An Act to continue and alter the Act to Incorporate the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Act in Amendment thereof.

10th Vic. Cap. LVII., passed 17th March, 1847.

I. Be it enacted, etc., etc., That the Act passed in the second reign of His late Majesty King William IV, entitled, an Act to incorporate sundry persons by the name of the President, Directors and Company of the Bank of Nova Scotia, except as altered or amended by the Act hereinafter mentioned, or by this Act; and also the Act passed in the seventh year of the reign of His said late Majesty, entitled, an Act to amend the Act to incorporate sundry persons by the name of the President, Directors and Company of the Bank of Nova Scotia, shall be continued, and the said Acts and every matter, clause and thing therein contained, except as before excepted, are hereby continued for ten years, and thence to the end of the then next Session of the General Assembly.

II. The Cashier of the said Bank of Nova Scotia shall twice in every year, that is to say, in the 31st day of January and 31st day of July, make a return of the state of such Bank as it existed at the closing of the books on those days respectively, and he shall transmit the same, as soon as may be, not exceeding fifteen days thereafter, to the Provincial Secretary, for the purpose of being laid before the Legislature at its next session—which returns respectively shall specify the amount then due from the Bank, designating in distinct columns the several particulars included therein, and shall also specify the resources of the Bank, designating in distinct columns the several particulars included therein, and the said particulars shall be in substance as follows:

State of the Bank of Nova Scotia on the 31st day of A.D.

which returns shall be signed by the Cashier of such Bank, who shall make oath before some Justice of the Peace to the truth of every such return according to his best knowledge and belief, and one of the Directors'of such Bank shall certify and make oath that the books of the Bank indicate the state of the facts so returned by the Cashier, and that he has full confidence in the truth of said return, and no further or other returns shall hereafter be required from the said Bank.

III. In every suit at law or in equity hereafter instituted against the said Bank, service of process upon the President or Cashier of the same, for the time being, or at the office of the said Bank, shall to all intents and purposes be sufficient to compel the said Bank to appear and plead to such suit.

IV. Any number of stockholders not less than twenty, who together shall be proprietors of two hundred and fifty shares in the said Bank, shall have power at any time, by themselves or their proxies, to call a general meeting of the stockholders for purposes relating to the said Bank, giving at least six weeks notice thereof, in at least two of the public newspapers in the City of Halifax, and specifying in such notice the time and place of such meeting, with the objects thereof.

V. If the total amount of all the notes of the said Bank, issued and in circulation, shall at any one time exceed the amount fixed and determined by the Act of Incorporation of the said Bank, the said Act of Incorporation shall cease and determine from the time when such excessive issue shall have accrued.

VI. Nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to alter, abridge, or in any matter affect the provisions of the Act passed in the fourth year of the reign of His late Majesty King William IV, entitled an Act concerning certain notes purporting to be Bank notes, for restraining the circulation thereof, and for other purposes ; but all the provisions of such Act shall remain and continue applicable to the said Bank of Nova Scotia in the same manner as heretofore.

VII. This Act shall continue and be in force for ten years and thence to the end of the then next Session of the General Assembly.

In 1851 (14th Vic. Cap. XXIX) the number of Directors was reduced from thirteen to nine (five to constitute a Board), and their remuneration was authorized. In 1855 (18th Vic. Cap. LXXI), any stockholder holding ten shares was made eligible as a Director. In 1856 (19th Vic. Cap. XCV), the Act of Incorporation, together with the four amendments above noted, was extended for fifteen years, and the proviso in the 31st Section of the Charter prohibiting the issue of notes under twenty six shillings was repealed. This Act also authorized the increase of the capital stock to ,£400,000. All the Nova Scotia laws relating to the Bank of Nova Scotia have been described in the foregoing paragraphs. When all the Canadian banks were brought under the control of the Federal Parliament in 1871, and a general banking law was substituted for individual charters, the Bank of Nova Scotia was permitted to reduce its capital and shares by thirteen per cent., the necessity for which being already stated. It was found that the Bank had been named “The Bank of Nova Scotia” in the Act of 1871 in error, and to legalize this, as well as to make a desirable change, an Act was passed on the 26th May, 1874, declaring that “The corporate name“ and designation of The President, Directors and Company of the Bank of Nova Scotia shall be ‘The Bank of Nova Scotia,’ and all provisions in the said ‘Act relating to Banks and Banking,’ referring to the said Bank shall be construed as if the original corporate name and designation of The President, Directors and Company of the Bank of Nova Scotia had been The Bank of Nova Scotia.’ A second section empowered the Shareholders to divide the stock into Shares of one hundred dollars each; but was not acted upon. An Act to provide for the amalgamation of the Bank of Nova Scotia with the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island (46th Vic. Cap. XLVIII) was passed on 25th May, 1883.

An Act passed July 10th, 1899, enabling Banks to issue notes in any British Colony other than Canada was the outcome of a priyate Act which this Bank sought to procure with a view to issuing notes in Jamaica. These notes are in multiples of one pound Sterling and redeemable in Jamaica.


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