In no country is the business of life insurance on a sounder or more conservative basis than in the United States. There were some attempts made in the early years of the centnry to start life insurance companies, bnt life insurance was not popular in those days, it being regarded by many, as thequaint remark of a writer of the period puts it, as ' 'wicked to iusure their lives, or to travel in steamboats against wind and tide. " The three largest oompanies at present doing business began in 1841, 1843 and 1859. The remarkable development in the business b,egan after the civil war, and it bas growu with an unexampled progress. The great couErvative life insurance companies stood the shock of the financial convulsiona of 1873 and 1893 better than other financial institutions, and the words of the famous mathematician, De Morgan, still remain true, "There is nothing in the commercial world which approaches, even remotely, the security of a well established life office." The three large companiea receive annually in premiums and other income about 1100,000,000, their assets aggregate about $600,000,000, and they have outstanding insurance to the amount of about 12,400,000,000. The natural presumption arising from a study of the development of such an enterprise is that to have maintained its place in the. great field of competition it must have sutwerved a Duroose of areat benefit to society.