2 When one is unable to meet his debts as they fall due he may make a fair statement of his condition out of court in order to pay his creditors, and effect a settlement with them on what may seem to them the best obtainable basis, and, after accomplishing such a settlement, receive a discharge from them relieving the insolvent party from any further obligation to his creditors. But, when unable to make a satisfactory settlement, he may take advantage of what is known as the National Bankruptcy law and go through " bankruptcy," by giving up all his property to be divided among his creditors, by which method he compels them to make a settlement, and after the accomplishing of which, he receives a legal discharge, freeing him from further liability on account of any unpaid portion of the debts, providing, of course, he does not defraud his creditors by the concealing of property, of which, if afterwards discovered, the law would usually allow the creditors to take possession.
2 The Italian word "banco," meaning a "bench," gives us our word "bank." The Lombardy Jews occupied benches in the market-place, for the exchange of money and bills. If one failed, the people broke his bench, hence "bankrupt."
3 "Under the present Federal law any person who owes debts, except a corporation, may be adjudged a bankrupt if he wishes to take advantage of the act. Such a proceeding is one of voluntary bankruptcy. Not every person, however, can be forced into bankruptcy by his creditors. A ' wage-earner ' cannot be, nor ' a person engaged chiefly in farming or the tillage of the soil.' Even in the case of a person not belonging to one of these excepted classes, he must owe debts to the amount of one thousand dollars or over; he must have committed an act of bankruptcy, and the aggregate