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THE FIRST EDITION.
It has been the wish of the Author and Publishers of this Work, that it should be as extensively useful as possible. If they be not deceived in their expectations, it may be advantageously employed, as a sort of votle mecum, by merchants, traders, ship-owners, and ship-masters, in conducting the details of their respective businesses. It is hoped, however, that this object has been attained without omitting the consideration of any topic, incident to the subject, that seemed calculated to make the book generally serviceable, and to recommend it to the attention of all classes.
Had our object been merely to consider commerce as a science, or to investigate its principles, we should not have adopted the form of a Dictionary. But commerce is not a science only, but also an art of vast practical importance, in the prosecution of which a very large proportion of the population of every civilised country is actively engaged. Hence, to be generally useful, a work on commerce should combine practice, theory, and history. Different readers may resort to it for different purposes; and every one should be able to find in it clear and accurate irformation, whether his object be to make himself familiar with details, to acquire a knowledge of principles, or to learn the revolutions that have taken place in the various departments of trade.
The following short outline of what this Work contains may enable the reader to estimate the probability of its fulfilling the objects for which it has been intended :
1. It contains accounts of the various articles which form the subject matter of commercial transactions. To their English names are, for the most part, subjoined their synonymous appellations in French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, &c.; and sometimes, also, in Arabic, Ilindoo, Chinese, and other Eastern languages. We have endeavoured, by consulting the best authorities, to make the descriptions of commodities as accurate as possible ; and have pointed out the tests or marks by which their goodness may be ascertained. The places where they are produced are also specified; the quantities exported from such places ; and the different regulations, duties, &c. affecting their importation and exportation, have been carefully stated, and their influence examined. The prices of most articles have been given, sometimes for a lengthened period. Historical notices are inserted illustrative of the rise and progress of the trade in the most important articles; and it is hoped that the information embodied in these notices will be found to be as authentic as it is interesting.
II. The Work contains a general article on COMMERCE, explanatory of its nature, principles, and objects, and embracing an inquiry into the policy of restrictions intended to promote industry at home, or to advance the public interests by excluding or restraining foreign competition. Exclusive, bowever, of this general
article, we have separately examined the operation of the existing restrictions on the trade in particular articles, and with particular countries, in the accounts of those articles, and of the great sea-port towns belonging to the countries referred to. There must, of course, be more or less of sameness in the discussion of such points, the principle which runs through them being identical. But in a Dictionary this is of no consequence. The reader seldom consults more than one or two articles at a time; and it is of infinitely more importance to bring the whole subject at once before him, than to seek to avoid the appearance of repetition by referring from one article to another. In this work such references are made as seldom as possible.
III. The articles which more particularly refer to commercial navigation are AVERAGE, BILLS OF LADING, BOTTOMRY, CHARTERPARTY, Freight, INSURANCE (MARINE), MASTER, NAVIGATION LAW, OWNERS, REGISTRY, SALVAGE, SEAMEN, Ships, TONNAGE, WRECK, &c. These articles embrace a pretty full exposition of the law as to shipping : we have particularly endeavoured to exhibit the privileges enjoyed by British ships ; the conditions and formalities, the observance of which is necessary to the acquisition and preservation of such privileges, and to the transference of property in ships; the responsibilities incurred by the masters and owners in their capacity of public carriers ; and the reciprocal duties and obligations of owners, masters, and seamen. In this department, we have made considerable use of the treatise of Lord Tenterden on the Law of Shipping, - a work that does honour to the learning and talents of its noble author. The Registry Act and the Navigation Act are given with very little abridgment. To this head may also be referred the articles on the Cod, HERRING, PILCHARD, and WHALE fisheries.
IV. The principles and practice of commercial arithmetic and accounts are unfolded in the articles BOOK-KEEPING, Discount, EXCHANGE, INTEREST AND ANNUITIES, &c. The article BOOK-KEEPING has been furnished by one of the official assignees under the new Bankrupt Act. It exhibits a view of this important art as actually practised in the most extensive mercantile houses in town. The tables for calculating interest and annuities are believed to be more complete than any hitherto given in any work not treating professedly of such subjects.
V. A considerable class of articles may be regarded as descriptive of the various means and devices that have been fallen upon for extending and facilitating commerce and navigation. Of these, taking them in their order, the articles BANKS, BROKERS, Buoys, Canals, CARAVANS, CARRIERS, Coins, COLONIES, COMPANIES, Consuls, Convoy, Docks, FACTORS, FAIRS AND MARKETS, LIGHT-HOUSES, MONEY, PARTNERSHIP, PILOTAGE, Post-OFFICE, RAJL-ROADS, Roads, TREATIES (COMMERCIAL), WEIGHTS AND MEASURES, &c. are among the most important. In the article Banks, the reader will find, besides an exposition of the principles of banking, a pretty full account (derived principally from official sources) of the Bank of England, the private banks of London, and the English provincial banks; the Scotch and Irish banks; and the most celebrated foreign banks : to complete this department, an account of Savings Banks is subjoined, with a set of rules which may be taken as a model for such institutions.* There is added to the article Coins, a Table of the assay, weight, and sterling value of the principal foreign gold and silver coins, deduced from assays made at the London and Paris Mints, taken, by permission, from the last edition of Dr. Kelly's Cambist. The article Colonies is one of the most extensive in the work: it contains a sketch of the ancient and modern systems of colonisation; an examination of the principles of colonial policy; and a view of the extent, trade, population,
Some of the improvements made on this article are noticed in the Preface to the Second Edition.
and resources of the colonies of this and other countries. In this article, and in the articles Cape of Good Hope, COLUMBO, IIalifax, QUEBEC, Sydney, and VAN DIEMEN's LAND, recent and authentic information is given, which those intending to emigrate will find worth their attention. The map of the British possessions in North America is on a pretty large scale, and is second to none, of those countries, hitherto published in an accessible form. The article Colonies is also illustrated by a map of Central America and the West Indies. An engraved plan is given, along with the article Docks, of the river Thames and the docks from Blackwall to the Tower; and the latest regulations issued by the ditferent Dock Companies here and in other towns, as to the docking of ships, and the charges on that account, and on account of the loading, unloading, warehousing, &c. of goods, are given verbatim. The statements in the articles Light-HOUSES and PILOTAGE have been mostly furnished by the Trinity House, or derived from papers printed by order of the Admiralty, and may be implicitly relied upon. In the article WeighTS AND MBAsures the reader will find tables of the equivalents of wine, ale, and Winchester measures, in Imperial measure.
VI. Besides a general article on the constitution, advantages, and disadvantages of Companies, accounts are given of the principal associations existing in Great Britain for the purpose of conducting commercial undertakings, or undertakings subordinate to and connected with commerce. Among others (exclusive of the Banking and Dock Companies already referred to) may be mentioned the East India Company, the GAS COMPANIES, the INSURANCE COMPANIES, the MINING COMPANIES, the WATER COMPANIES, &c. The article on the East India Company is of considerable length; it contains a pretty complete sketch of the rise, progress, and present state of the British trade with India ; an estimate of the influence of the Company's monopoly ; and a view of the revenue, population, &c. of our Indian dominions. We have endeavoured, in treating of insurance, to supply what we think a desideratum, by giving a distinct and plain statement of its principles, and a brief notice of its history; with an account of the rules and practices followed by individuals and companies in transacting the more important departments of the business ; and of the terms on which houses, lives, &c. are commonly insured. The part of the article which peculiarly respects marine insurance has been contributed by a practical gentleman of much knowledge and experience in that branch.
VII. In addition to the notices of the Excise and Customs regulations affecting particular commodities given under their names, the reader will find articles under the heads of Customs, Excise, IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION, LICENCES, SMUGGLING, WAREHOUSING, &c. which comprise most part of the practical details belonging to the business of the Excise and Customs, particularly the latter. The most important Customs Acts are given with very little abridgment, and being printed in small letter, they occupy comparatively little space. The article TARIFF contains an account of the various duties, drawbacks, and bounties, on the importation and exportation of all sorts of commodities into and from this country. - We once intended to give the tariffs of some of the principal Continental states; but, from the frequency of the changes made in them, they would very soon have become obsolete, and would have tended rather to mislead than to instruct. But the reader will notwithstanding find a good deal of information respecting foreign duties under the articles Cadiz, HAVRE, NAPLES, New YORK, TRIESTE, &c.
VIII. Among the articles of a miscellaneous description, may be specified ALIENS, APPRENTICE, AUCTIONEER, BALANCE OF TradE, BANKRUPTCY, CONTRABAND, Credit, HANSEATIC LEAGUE, IMPORTS AND EXPORTS, IN
PRESSMENT, IONIAN ISLANDS, MARITIME Law, PASSENGERS, PATENTS, PawnBROKING, PIRACY, POPULATION, PRECIOUS METALS, PRICES, PRIVATEERS, Prussian OR GERMAN COMMERCIAL Union, PUBLICANS, QUARANTINE, REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE, SLAVES AND SLAVE TRADE, TALLY TRADE, TRUCK SYSTEM, &c. *
IX. Accounts are given, under their proper heads, of the principal emporiums with which this country has any immediate intercourse; of the commodities usually exported from and imported into them; of their monies, weights, and measures; and of such of their institutions, customs, and regulations, with respect to commerce and navigation, as seemed to deserve notice. There are occasionally subjoined to these accounts of the great sea-ports, pretty full statements of the trade of the countries in which they are situated, as in the instances of ALEXANDRIA, AMSTERDAM, BORDEAUX, BUENOS AYRES, Cadiz, CALCUTTA, Canton, COPENHAGEN, DANTZIC, Galacz, GALVESTON, IlavanNAH, HAVRE, Lima, MONTEVIDEO, NAPLES, NEW YORK, ODESSA, PALERMO, PETERSBURG, R10 DE JANETRO, SMYRNA, STOCKHOLM, TRIESTE, VALPARAISO, VERA CRUZ, &c.* To have attempted to do this systematically would have increased the size of the Work beyond all reasonable limits, and embarrassed it with details nowise interesting to the English reader. The plan we have adopted has enabled us to treat of such matters as miglit be supposed to be of importance in England, and to reject the rest. We believe, however, that, notwithstanding this selection, those who compare this work with others, will find that it contains a much larger mass of authentic information respecting the trade and navigation of foreign countries than is to be found in any other English publication.
The reader may be inclined, perhaps, to think that it must be impossible to embrace the discussion of so many subjects in a single octavo volume, without treating a large proportion in a very brief and unsatisfactory manner. But, in point of fact, this single octavo contains about as much letter-press as is contained in two ordinary folio volumes, and more than is contained in Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, in four large volumes quarto, published at 81.8s.! This extraordinary condensation has been effected without any sacrifice of beauty or distinctness. Could we suppose that the substance of the book is at all equal to its form, there would be little room for doubt as to its success.
Aware that, in a work of this nature, accuracy in matters of fact is of primary importance, we have rarely made any statement without mentioning our authority. Except, too, in the case of books in every one's hands, or Dictionaries, the page or chapter of the works referred to is generally specified ; experience having taught us that the convenient practice of stringing together a list of authorities at the end of an article is much oftener a cloak for ignorance than an evidence of research.
Our object being to describe articles in the state in which they are offered for sale, we have not entered, except when it was necessary to give precision or clearness to their description, into any details as to the processes followed in their manufacture.
Besides the maps already noticed, the work contains a map of the world, on Mercator's projection, and a map of Central and Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. These maps are on a larger scale than those usually given with works of this sort; and have been carefully corrected, and compared with the best authorities.
Such is a rough outline of what the reader may expect to meet with in this
Several of these articles have been inserted for the first time in this (thr third complete) edition of the work; but we thought it most convenient to enumerate them with the others.
Dictionary. We do not, however, flatter ourselves with the notion that he will consider that all that has been attempted has been properly executed. In a work embracing such an extreme range and diversity of subjects, respecting many of which it is exceedingly difficult, if not quite impossible, to obtain accurate information, no one will be offended should he detect a few errors. At the same time we can affirm that neither labour nor expense has been spared to entitle the Work to the public confidence and patronage. The author has been almost incessantly engaged upon it for upwards of five years; and he may be said to have spent the previous part of his life in preparing for the undertaking. He has derived valuable assistance from some distinguished official gentlemen, and from many eminent merchants; and has endeavoured, wherever it was practicable, to build his conclusions upon official documents. But in very many instances he has been obliged to adopt less authentic data ; and he does not suppose that he has had sagacity enough always to resort to the best authorities, or that, amidst conflicting and contradictory statements, he has uniformly selected those most worthy of being relied upon, or that the inferences he has drawn are always such as the real circumstances of the case would warrant. But he has done his best not to be wanting in these respects. Not being engaged in any sort of business, nor being under any description of obligation to any political party, there was nothing to induce us, in any instance, to conceal or pervert the truth. We have, therefore, censured freely and openly whatever we considered wrong; but the grounds of our opinion are uniformly assigned; so that the reader may always judge for himself as to its correctness. Our sole object has been to produce a work that should be generally useful, particularly to merchants and traders, and which should be creditable to ourselves. Whether we have succeeded, the award of the public will show; and to it we submit our labours, not with “ frigid indifference," but with an anxious hope that it may be found we have not misemployed our time, and engaged in an undertaking too vast for our limited means.
The following notices of some of the most celebrated Commercial Dictionaries may not, perhaps, be unacceptable. At all events. they will show that there is at least room for the present attempt.
The Grand Dictionnaire de Commerce, begun and principally executed by M. Savary, Inspector of Customs at Paris, and completed by his brother, the Abbé Savary, Canon of St. Maur, was published at Paris in 1723, in two volumes folio: a supplemental volume being added in 1730. This was the first work of the kind that appeared in modern Europe ; and has furnished the principal part of the materials for most of those by which it has been followed. The undertaking was liberally patronised by the French government, who justly considered that a Commercial Dictionary, if well executed, would be of national importance. Hence a considerable, and, indeed, the most valuable, portion of Savary's work is compiled from Memoirs sent him, by order of government, by the inspectors of manufactures in France, and by the French consuls in foreign countries. An enlarged edition of the Dictionnaire was published at Geneva in 1750, in six folio volumes. But the best edition is that of Copenhagen, in five volumes folio; the first of which appeared in 1759, and the last in 1765.
More than the half of this work consists of matter altogether foreign to its proper object. It is, in fact, a sort of Dictionary of Manufactures as well as of Commerce; descriptions being given, which are, necessarily perhaps, in most instances exceedingly incomplete, and which the want of plates often renders unintelligible, of the methods followed in the manufacture of the commodities described. It is also filled with lengthened articles on natural history, the