A particular privilege granted generally to an incorporated body. It is necessary, for instance, for a street railway company to obtain a " franchise; " that is, a privilege to operate and do business, before constructing its road. A franchise may be perpetual; that is, granted for all time, but very frequently it is limited in its duration.
Great care should always be taken by a purchaser of a bond to be sure that the franchise covering the property bonded does not expire before the date of the maturity of the bond. In buying stock in a corporation, which, for all practical purposes, has no date of maturity, the length of the franchise should be taken into consideration, for if at its expiration it cannot be renewed, or renewal obtained only under arduous conditions imposed upon the corporation, it might not be desirable to be among its stockholders. The value of a terminable "franchise " is questionable. In these days of the agitation for "municipal ownership" this franchise-question is a very serious one, and time should be allowed to investigate thoroughly, and the future read with all the care possible.