Imatges de pÓgina
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dealers, a shopkeeper may, after adding to the former the value of his stock on hand, make out an approximate statement of his debts and assets. Now, that which in this manner is done indirectly and imperfectly, it is the object of double entry to do with method and certainty. The shopkeeper makes out a list of debtors on one side and of creditors on the other, but he cannot make them balance, because his entries have been single; that is, they have had no counterpart. On making a purchase of cottons from Messrs. M.Connell of Manchester, or of woollens from Messrs. Gott of Leeds, he merely enters the amount to their credit, but he makes no one Dr. to them, because the goods are not sold; and to introduce an imaginary account would be too great a refinement for a plain practical man. But a person accustomed to double entry would, without any effort of thought, make “ Printed Calicoes ” Dr. to Messrs. M'Connell, and

Kerseymeres” Dr. to Messrs. Gott, for the respective amounts; after which, as the sales proceeded, he would make the buyers Drs. to these accounts for the amount of their purchases.

We thus perceive that the intricacy in the application of double entry was not with the personal so much as with the nominal accounts. Let us refer to the country where book-keeping was first studied, and take as an example the case of Doria, a merchant in Genoa, shipping, in a former age, silk, of the value of 2001., bought from Flori, in Piedmont, to Henderson and Co., silk manufacturers, in England, on the terms of charging, not an additional price, but a commission of 5 per cent, with interest untii reimbursed his advance. In entering the transaction, Doria's book-keeper would, as a matter of course, make Hendersons debtors to Flori 2001. for the cost of the silk; but he might not so readily find a creditor for the 101. commission, or the 71. interest eventually due on the advance. The custom in this primitive æra of book-keeping probably was, to introduce the firm of the house into their books, making Hendersons debtors to Doria for the 101. and 71. ; but as the practice of book-keeping improved, it was found preferable to avoid inserting, on any occasion, the firm of the house, and to substitute nominal accounts, such as, commission, interest, bills payable, bills receivable. These, attention and practice rendered in time familiar to the book-keeper, who learned to open his Journal at the beginning of a year by making the parties who owed balances to the house debtors, not to the firm by name, but to Stock; and those to whom the house was indebted, creditors by Stock. As the transactions of the year proceeded, he made those to whom money was paid debtors, not to the firm of the house, but to Cash; and those for whose account bills were accepted debtors to Bills payable ; so that book-keeping by double entry assumed its present form gradually and almost imperceptibly.

What are the advantages of this method compared to that of single entry? First, it supplies a test of accuracy, inasmuch as, the entries on the debtor side of the Ledger being equal to those on the creditor side, their respective totals ought, as a matter of course, to balance. After going through this proof, personal accounts, of whatever length, may be settled with contidence ; while in a general account, such as kersey meres or printed calicoes, the value sold and the value remaining on hand may be ascertained by merely balancing the account in the Ledger, without the repeated references to the sales book that would otherwise be required. Without double entry, a dealer could hardly estimate his property unless he took stock; but with it an extraction of the Ledger balances fulfils that object, and stock-taking, however proper as a test of the honesty of servants, becomes quite unnecessary as a means of calculation. In short, in regard to any person in trade, whether merchant, dealer, or manufacturer, double entry forms the connecting link of his accounts, and affords a ready solution of any inquiry as to the appropriation, increase, or diminution of his capital.

This advantage may fortunately be obtained without any great sacrifice of time or labour. Of the books of dealers, manufacturers, and retailers, nine parts in ten may continue to be kept by single entry; for the addition of a few pages of double entry in the form of a summary, at the end of the month or quarter, will be sufficient to exhibit the result of a great extent of transactions.

Nominal Accounts. Of these our limits permit us to notice only two; Profit and Loss, and Merchandise. The former contains on the creditor side all the entries of comunissions earned, and gains obtained on particular adventures; while the debtor side exhibits the losses incurred, whether by bad debts or by unsuccessful purchases. L'ery house keeping regular books must have a profit and loss account, but a merchandise account is altogether optional. Those who have such a head in their Ledger are accus. tomed to make it Dr. to the dealers or furnishers from whom they make purchases and to credit it in return by the correspondents or connections to whom they make sales. In many houses, however, there is no such intermediate account ; the parties to whom the goods are sent being made Drs. at once to the furnishers of the goods, as in the case of the shipment to Jainaica stated in our preceding pages.

A merchant, before estimating his profits, ought to charge interest on each head of

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investment. His clear profit cannot be ascertained without it; and the practice of charging it is a lesson to him to hold no property that does not afford, at least, interest on his advances,

Mercantile books and accounts must be kept in the money of the country in which the partners reside. A house in Rotterdam composed of English partners necessarily keep their accounts in Dutch money, although their transactions may be chiefly with England. Further, books, it is obvious, can be kept in only one kind of money; and when a merchant in England receives from a distant country, accounts which cannot at the time be entered in sterling for want of a fixed exchange, these accounts should be noted in a separate book, until, the exchange being ascertained, they can be entered in the Journal in sterling.

A book-keeper will do well to avoid all such puzzling distinctions as “J. Johnson, my account with him; ” and “ J. Johnson, his account proper; ” on the plain ground that every account in the Ledger ought to be the general account of the person whose name it bears.

Errors excepted. -- This expression is merely a proviso, that if any mistakes be discovered in the account in question, they shall be open to correction.

Accounts Current. --- An account current generally contains all the transactions of the house with one of its correspondents during a given time, generally 6 or 12 months. The following is an example:

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Days Inter





Messrs. JAMES ALLAN & Co. Jamaica, in Account Cursent with HENRY BARCLAY & Co. London.


to $1.

to 31

Dec. 1949.

#. d.

£ 8. d. June 30 To balance of last ac

Aug. 10 By proceeds of 20 tierces
867 10 0184 1,395

corlee, per Louisa, due
21 To your draft to J.Smith,

Sept. 10.

410 00112
due Aug. 13.
128 0 0 1 10 179

By your remittance on
July 9 To invoice of goods per

J. Austin, due Oct. 10. 350 00 82
Anelia, due Oct. 9. - 752 0 0 83 621 Sept. 15 By proxeeds of 17 hhds.
Oct. 10 To cash paid J. Harvey

sugar, per Hercules,
on your account
75 10 0 82 62

due Oct. 15.

238 00 77 To insurance on produce

Sept. 20 By cash received from shipped by you in the

'J. Johnson on your Au, Nokes, £1,100), at


260 0 0 102 2 guineas per ceut.

Dec. 31 Balance of interest car. £29 8

ried to Dr. Policy 3 10 0

Balance of account car32 18 0

ried to your Dr. in new Dec. 31 Postage and petty charges


621 8 7
during the half year. 1 15 0
To comunission, per

cent. on £703 puid,
Do. on £251) received
on your account

4 60
To balance of interest

this half year, 1,276
di vided by 73, is

17 9 7
£ 1,879 87

£ 1,879 % 7

Errors excepted. London, 31# of December, 1842.





We have here on the Dr. side all the payments made or responsibilities incurred for the correspondents in question, and on the Cr. side the different receipts on their

The interest for the half year, the commission on receipts and payments, the postage and petty charges, being then added, the account may be closed and the balance carried to next year. Copies of accounts current ought to be sent off as soon as possible after the day to which they are brought down; and with that view they ought to be written out from the Ledger before the close of the year or half year, particularly as the entries for interest and commission can be made only after they are written out. The whole ought then to be copied into the account current book.

But in some counting-houses the account current book, instead of being copied from the Ledger and Journal, is posted, like the latter, from the bill book, the cash book, the invoice book, and the account of sales book. It is then considered a check on the Journal and Ledger; and from the comparative case with which it is posted, may be completed and made use of before the latter are fully brought up. This is certainly an advantage in houses where, from pressure on the book-keeper, the Journal and Ledger are in arrear, but such ought never to be the case for any length of time; while as to the former point — that of forming a check on the Journal and Ledger -- the fact is, that these books, from the mode in which they are kept, are much more likely to be correct than the account current book.

Printed Works on Book-keeping. - To the publications of old date by teachers have succeeded, in the present age, several treatises on book-keeping by accountants. Some of these are of very limited use, being directed more to recommend a favourite practice of the author in some particular branch of book-keeping, than to convey a comprehensive view of the system.

The only works on the subject entitled to that character are two: one by the late Benjamin Booth, published above thirty years ago ; the other by Mr. Jones, an accountant in London, printed in 1831. Booth was a man of ability, who had experience both as a merchant and a book-keeper, having passed one part of his life in London, the other in New York. The reader of his work finds a great deal of information in short compass, without being perplexed either by superfluous detail or by fanciful theory. *

The form of Mr. Booth's Journal and Ledger is similar to what we have given in the preceding pages, and to the practice of our merchants for more than a century: it was by much the best work on book-keeping, until Mr. Jones devised several improvements calculated to lessen the risk of error in both Journal and Ledger. One of these improvements is the use of two columns for figures in each page of the Journal, one for the Drs., the other for the Crs. : by inserting each sum twice, the book-keeper obtains the means of proving the Journal additions page by page. The posting from the Journal to the Ledger is also simplified and rendered less subject to error by the use of these columns. In regard to the great task of balancing the Ledger, Mr. Jones's plan is to do it quarter by quarter, making use of a separate book, called a balance book, in which are inserted the totals on each side of the Ledger accounts at the end of S months. By these means, the agreement of the general balance is made a matter of certainty after completing the additions. Other parts of Mr. Jones's book, viz. his for. mulæ for books on the single entry plan, and for the accounts of bankers, contain sugges. tions of evident utility. His volume consists of two parts: the printed part (120 pp.) containing the treatise, with directions; and the lithographed part (140 pp.) giving copious examples in two sets of books, one kept by single, the other by double entry. If, on a reimpression, the author were to divide the work, and to sell the single entry part separately from the double entry, the price of each might be moderate, and a great service would be rendered to the mercantile public.

BOOKS (Ger. Bücher; Du. Boeken ; Da. Büger ; Sw. Böcker; Fr. Litres : It. Libri; Sp. Libros ; Port. Livros; Rus. Knigi; Pol. Ksiaski, Ksiegi ; Lat. Libri), written or printed treatises on any branch of science, art, or literature, composed in the view of instructing, amusing, or persuading the reader.

Copyright is the right which the authors of books or treatises claim to the exclusive privilege of printing, publishing, and selling them.

Books are sometimes blank, as account books; but these enjoy no peculiar privileges, and do not come within the scope of our inquiries.

Books are divided into classes, according to the mode in which the sheets of the paper on which they are printed or written are folded : viz. folio, when the sheet is folded into two leaves ; quarto, when folded into four ; octavo, when folded into eight ; duodecimo, when the sheet is folded into twelve, &c. In making these classifications, no attention is paid to the size of the sheet.

I. Progress and present State of the Law as to the Copyright of Books. - It has been doubted whether, in antiquity, an author had any exclusive right to a work, or whether, having once published it, he could restrain others from copying it, and selling copies. We incline to think that he could. The public sale of copies of works is often referred to in the classics; and in such a way as warrants the inference that they were productive to the author, which could not have been the case had every one been permitted to copy them at pleasure. Terence, in one of his plays (Prol. in Eunuch. 1. 20.), says, Fabulam, quam nunc acturi sumus, postquam ædiles emerunt ; but why should the magistrates have bought it, had it been free to every one to copy it ? Martial, in one of his epigrams, says

Sunt quidam, qui me dicunt non esse poëtam :

Sed qui me vendit, bibliopola, putat. Mart. lib. xiv. Ep. 194. This evidently conveys the idea that he had assigned the right to sell his book to a single person who profited by it. Passages to the same effect may be found in Horace (De Arte Poetica, line 345.), Juvenal (Sat. 7. line 83.), &c.

It would have been singular, indeed, had it been otherwise. Of all the species of property a man can possess, the fruits of his mental labours seem to be most peculiarly his own. And though it may, we think, be shown, that many serious inconveniences would result from giving the same absolute and interminable property over ideas that is given over material objects, these inconveniences could hardly have been perceived in antiquity.

It will also be observed, that in antiquity a copyright was of much less value than in modern times. Books could then only be multiplied by copying them with the pen; and if any one chose privately to copy a work, or to buy it of another, it must have been very difficult to hinder him: but when printing had been introduced, the greater cheapness of books not only extended the demand for them in far greater proportion, and consequently rendered copyrights more valuable, but it also afforded the means of pre

The title of the book is " A Complete System of Book-keeping, hy Benjamin Booth.” London, 1799, thin 4to. Printed for Grosvenor and Chater, and for the late J. Johnson, St. Paul's Churchyard.

Mr. Jones's book is entitled “ The Science of Book-keeping excmplified.” 4to. London, 1831. 41. 4s,

renting their piracy. Printing is not a device by which a few copies of a book can be obtained at a cheap rate. It is productive of cheapness only when it is employed upon a large scale, or when a considerable impression is to be thrown off. And hence, after its invention, piracy could hardly be committed in secret : the pirated book bad to be brought to market; the fraud was thus sure to be detected, and the offending party might be prosecuted and punished.

For a considerable time after the invention of printing, no questions seem to have occurred with respect to copyrights. This was occasioned by the early adoption of the licensing system. Governments soon perceived the vast importance of the powerful engine that bad been brought into the field; and they endeavoured to avail themselves of its energies by interdicting the publication of all works not previously licensed by authority. During the continuation of this system, piracy was effectually prevented. The licensing act (13 & 14 Chas. 2. c. 2.) and the previous acts and proclamations to the same effect, prohibited the printing of any book without consent of the owner, as well as without a licence. In 1694, the licensing act finally expired, and the press then became really free. Instead, however, of the summary methods for obtaining redress for any invasion of their property enjoyed by them under the licensing acts, authors were now left to defend their rights at common law ; and as no author or bookseller could procure any redress for a piracy at common law, except in so far as he could prore damage, property in books was virtually annihilated; it being in most cases impossible to prove the sale of one printed copy out of a hundred. Under these circumstances, applications were made to parliament for an act to protect literary property, by granting some speedy and effectual method of preventing the sale of spurious copies. In consequence, the statute 8 Anne, c. 19. was passed, securing to authors and their assignees the exclusive right of printing their books for 14 years certain, from the day of pub. lication, with a contingent 14 years, provided the author were alive at the expiration of the first term. Persons printing books protected by this act, without the consent of the authors or their assignees, were to forfeit the pirated copies, and ld. for every sheet of the same. Such books as were not entered at Stationers' Hall were excluded from the benefit of this act.

It had been customary, for some time previous to this period, for the libraries of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, &c. to get a copy of most books entered at Stationers' Hall; and the act of Anne made it imperative that single copies of all works entitled to its protection should be delivered to the following libraries : viz. the Royal Library, now transferred to the British Museum; the Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge ; the Libraries of the four Scotch Universities; the Library of Sion College, London, and that of the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh; - in all, nine copies.

The act of Anne did not put to rest the questions as to copyright. The authors contended that it did not affect their natural ownership; and that they or their assignees were entitled to proceed at common law against those who pirated their works after the period mentioned in the statute had expired. The publishers of spurious editions resisted these pretensions, and contended that there was either no right of property at common law in the productions of the mind; or that, supposing such right to have existed, it was superseded by the statute of Anne. There was some difference of opinion in the courts as to these points ; but Lord Mansfield, Mr. Justice Blackstone, and the most eminent Judges, were favourable to the claims of the authors. However, it was finally decided, upon an appeal to the House of Lords in 1774, that an action could not be maintained for pirating a copyright after the term specified in the statute.

-(Godson on the Law of Patents and Copyrights, p. 205.)

The act of Queen Anne referred only to Great Britain ; but in 1801, its provisions were extended to Ireland ; the penalty, exclusive of forfeiture, on printing or importing books without consent of the proprietor, was also increased from id. to 3d. a sheet. In return for this concession, two additional copies of all works entered at Stationers' Hall were to be delivered; one to Trinity College, Dublin, and one to the King's Inns, Dublin.

Every one must be satisfied that 14 years' exclusive possession is far too short a period to indemnify the author of a work, the composition of which has required any considerable amount of labour and research ; though 28 years is perhaps, all things considered, not a very improper period. But the grand defect of the statute of Anne consisted in its making the right to the exclusive possession for 28 years contingent on the fact of a person having lived a day more or less than 14 years after the publication of his work. This was making the enjoyment of an important right dependent on a mere accidental circumstance over which man has no control. Could any thing be more oppressive and unjust than to hinder an author from bequeathing that property to his widow and children, that would have belonged to himself had he been alive? Nothing, indeed, as it appears to us, can be more obvious than the justice of extending all copyrights to the same period, whether the authors be dead or not.

But though the extreme hardship, not to say injustice, of the act of Queen Anne had been repeatedly pointed out, its provisions were continued down to 1814, when the copyright act, 54 Geo. 3. c. 156., was passed. This act extended the duration of all copyrights, whether the authors were dead or alive, to 28 years certain ; with the further provision, that if the author should be alive at the end of that period, he should enjoy the copyright during the residue of his life.

But though the act of 1814 conferred a most important advantage on authors and publishers, it did not satisfy their pretensions, and repeated attempts were subsequently made to have copyrights declared perpetual, or, at all events, to have their term considerably extended. In consequence, after a great deal of discussion, the existing copyright act, 5 & 6 Vict. cap. 45., was passed in 1842. This statute extends the duration of all copyrights, whether the authors be dead or alive, to forty-two years certain; providing, further, that if the author be alive at the expiration of this period of 42 years from the publication of his work, he shall enjoy the copyright to his death, and that his heirs or assignees shall enjoy it for 7 years after that event. We subjoin an abstract of this statute.

Clause 1. repeals former acts, viz. 8 Anne, c. 19., 41 G. 3. 107., and 54 G. 3. c. 156. Clause 2. relers to the interpretation of this act. Endurance of Term of Copyright in any Book hereafler to be published. - The copyright in every book which shall hereafter be published in the lifetime of its author' shall endure for the natural life of such au: hor, and for the further term of 7 years, from the time of his death, and shall be the property of such author and his assignees: provided always, that if the said term of 7 years shall expire before the end of 42 years from the tirst publication of such book, the copyright shall in that case endure for such period of 42 years, and that the copyright in every book which shall be published after the death of its author shall endure for the term of 42 years from the first publication thereof, and shall be the property of the proprietor of the author's manuscript from which such book shall be first published, and his assiglio.--$3.

In Cases of subsisting Copyright ihe Term to be extended. – The copyright which at the time of passing this act shall subsist in any published book (except as herein-after mentioned) shall be extended and endure for the full term provided by this act in cases of books thereafter published, and shall be the property of the person who at the time of passing of this act shall be the proprietor of such copyright: provided, that in all cases in which such copyright shall belong in whole or in part to a publisher or ocher person who shall have acquired it for other consideration than that of natural love and affection, such copyright shall not be extended by this act, but shall endure for the term which shall subsist therein at the time of passing this act, and no longer, unless the author of such book, if he be living, o- the personal representative of such author, if he be dead, and the proprietor of such copyright shall, before the expiration of such term, consent and agree to accept the benefits of this act in respect of such book, in the form given in the schedule annexed to the act to be entered in the book of registry herein-after directed to be kept, in which case such copyright shall endure for the full term of the books to be published after the passing of this act, and shall be the property of such person or persons as in such minute shall be expressed. - $ 4.

Clause 5. gives the judicial committee of the privy council power to license the republication of such book as the proprietor refuses to republish after death of the author.

Clauses 6. and 7. specify the terms within which copies of books published after the passing of this act, and of subsequent editions, shall be delivered at the British Museum.

Clause 8. directs that (besides the copy for the British Museum) a copy of every book be delivered within a month after demand to the officer of the Stationers' Company for the following libraries : viz. the Bodleian at Oxford, the Public Library at Cambridge, the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, and that of Trinity College, Dublin.

Clauses. 9. and 10. authorise publishers to deliver copies to the libraries, instead of at the Stationers' Company, and impose penalties for default in delivering copies for the use of the said libraries.

Book of Registry to be kept at Slationers' Hall. - a book of registry, wherein may be registered the proprietorship in the copyright of books, and assignments thereof, and in dramatic and musical pieces, whether in manuscript or otherwise, and licences affecting such copyright shall be kept at the hall of the Stationers' Company, and shall be open to the inspection of any person, on payment of one shilling for every entry searched for or inspected in the said book; and the officer in charge of such book shall, whenever required, give a copy of an entry in such book, certified under his hand, and impressed with the stamp provideti by said company for tnat purpose, to any person requiring the same, on payment of the sum of five shillings; and such copies so certified and iinpressed shall be received in evidence in all courts, and in all summary proceedings, and shall be prima facie proof of the proprietorship or assignment of copyright or licence as therein expressed, and in the case of dramatic or musical pioces shall be prima facie proof of the right of representation or performance. - $ 11.

Clause 12. enacts that making a false entry in the book of registry shall be a misdemeanour.
Clause 13. enacts that entries of copyright may be made in the book of registry.

Clause 14. enacts that persons aggrieved by any entry in the book of registry may apply to a court of Jaw in term, or judge in vacation, who may order such entry to be varied or expunged.

Remedy for the Piracy of Buoks by Action on the Case. - If any person shall, in any part of the British dominions, after the passing of this act, print or cause to be printed, for sale or exportation, any boni in which there shall be a subsisting copyright, without the consent in writing of the proprietor, or shili import for sale or hire any such book unlawfully printed from parts beyond the sea, or, knowing such book to have been so unlawfully printed or imported, shall sell, publish, or expose to sale or hire, or shall have in his possession, for sale or hire, any such book without consent as atoresaid, such ohleder shall be liable to a special action on the case at ibe suit of the proprietor of such copyright, to be brought in any court of record in that part of the British dominions in which the offence shall be comunaitted: provided always, that in Scotland such offender shall be liable to an action in the court of session in Scotland, to be brought and prosecuted in the same manner as any other action of damages to the like amount may be brought and prosecuted there. - $ 15.

Clause 16. enacts that in actions for piracy the defendant shall give notice of the objections to the plaintiff's title on which he means to rely.

Clause 17. enacts that no person, except the proprietor, &c. shall import into the British dominions for sale or hire, any book first composed, &c. within the United Kingdom, wherein there shall be opsright, and reprinted elsewhere, under penalty of forfeiture thereof, and also of 104. and double the value. Books may be seized by officers of customs or excise.

Clause 18. relates to and defines the copyright in encyclopædias, periodicals, and works published in a series, reviews, or magazines.

Clause 19. enacts that proprietors of encyclopædias, periodicals, and works published in series, may enter at once at Stationers' Hall, and thereon have the benefit of the registration of the whole.

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