Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

ters and seamen. In this department, we have made considerable use of the treatise of Lord Tenterden on the Law of Shipping,-a work that reflects very great credit on 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, CARNERS, Coins, Colonies, COMPANIES, Coxsuls, Convoy, Docks, FacTORS, Fairs and MarketS, LIGHT-HOUSES, MONEY, PARTNERSHIP, PilotAGE, PostOffice, Rail-Roads, Roads, TREAT'ES (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 Corss a Table of the assay, weight, und sterling value of the principal for ign 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, and resources of the colonies of this and other countries. In this article, and in the articles CAPE OF Good Hope, Halifax, QUEBEC, SYDNEY, and VAN DIEMEX's Lany, recent and authentic information is given, which those intending to emigrate will find worthy of their attention.

* The statements in the articles LIGAT-HOUSES and Pilotage have been rnostly furnished by the Trinity House, or derived from Parliamentary papers, and may be implicitly relied upon. In the article WeigHTS AND MEASURES 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 10) 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; a view of the revenue, population, &c. of our Indian dominions; and an estimate of the influence of the Company's monopoly. 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, LICENSES, SMUGGÜINS, WAREHOUSING, &c. which comprise most of the practical details as to the business of the Excise and Custəms, 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.—(See Preface to Second Edition.) 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 as to foreign duties under the articles Capiz, Dantzic, Havre, NAPLES, New York, TRIESTE, &c.

VIII. Among the articles of a miscellaneous description, may be specified AliExs, AP PRENTICE, AuctIONEER, BALANCE OF TRADE, BANKRUPTCY, CONTRABAND, Credit


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, Cadiz, Calcutta, Canton, CoperHAGEN, Dantzic, Havannah, Havre, Naples, New YORK, PALERMO, PETERSBURGH, R10 DE JANEIRO, SMYRNA, TRIESTE, 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 might be supposed 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 8l. 8s.! This extraordinary condensation has been effected without any sacrifice either 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.

Such is a rough outline of what the reader may expect to meet with in this 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, as to many of which it is exceedingly difficult

, if not quite impossible, to obtain accurate information, no one will be offended should be detect a few errors. At the same time we can honestly say that neither labour nor expense has been spared to render the work worthy of the public confidence and patronage. The author has been almost incessantly engaged upon it for upwards of three 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 subrnit 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,


for any

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 M. 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 and improved edition of the Dictionnaire was published at Geneva in 1750, in six folio volumes. But the best edition is that of Copenhagen, in five voluntes 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 subjects of natural history, on the bye laws and privileges of dillerent corporations, and a variety of subjects nowise connected with commercial pursuits. No one, however, need look into development of sound principles, or for enlarged views. It is valuable as a repertory of facts relating to commerce and manufactures at the commencement of last century, collected with laudable care and industry ; but the spirit which pervades it is that of a customs officer, and not that of a merchant or a philosopher. “Souvent dans ses réflexions, il tend pluíðt à égarer ses lecteurs qu'à les conduire, et des muximes nuisibles au progrès du cummerce et de l'industrie obtiennent presque toujours ses éloges et son approbation.

The preceding extract is from the Prospectus, in one volume octavo, published by the Abbé Morellet, in 1769, of a new Commercial Dictionary, to be completed in five or probably six volumes folio. This Prospectus is a work of sterling merit ; and from the acknowledged learning, talents, and capacity of its author for laborious exertion, there can be no doubt that, had the projected Dictionary been completed, it would have been infinitely superior to that of Savary. It appears (Prospectus, pp. 353–373.) that Morellet had been engaged for a number of years in preparations for this great work ; and that he had amassed a large collection of books and manuscripts relative to the commerce, navigation, colonies, arts, &c. of France and other countries. The enterprise was begun under the auspices of M. Trudaine, Intendant of Finance, and was patronised by Messrs. L'Averdy and Bertin, Comptrollers General. But whether it were owing to the gigantic nature of the undertaking, to the author having become too much engrossed with other pursuits, the want of sufficient encouragement, or some other cause, no part of the proposed Dictionary ever appeared. We are ignorant of the fate of the valuable collection of manuscripts made by the Abbé Morellet. His books were sold at Paris within these few years.

A Commercial Dictionary, in three volumes 4to, forming part of the Encyclopédie Méthodique, was published at Paris in 1783. It is very unequally executed, and contains numerous articles that might have been advantageously left out. The editors acknowledge in their Preface that they have, in most instances, been obliged to borrow from Savary. The best parts of the work are copied from the edition of the Traité Général de Commerce of Ricard, published at Amsterdam in 1781, in two volumes 4to.

The earliest Commercial Dictionary published in England, was compiled by Malachy Postlethwayt, Esq., a diligent and indefatigable writer. The first part of the first edition appeared in 1751. The last edition, in two enormous folio volumes, was published in 1774. It is chargeable with the same defects as that of M. Savary, of which, indeed, it is for the most part a literal translation. The author has made no effort to condense or combine the statements under different articles, which are frequently not a little contradictory; at the same time that many of them are totally unconnected with commerce.

In 1761, Richard Rolt, Esq. published a Commercial Dictionary in one pretty large folio volume. The best part of this work is its Preface, which was contributed by Dr. Johnson. It is for the most part abridged from Postlethwayt; but it contains some useful original articles, mixed, however, with many alien to the subject.

In 1766, a Commercial Dictionary was published, in two rather thin folio volumes, by Thomas Mortimer, Esq., at that time Vice-Consul for the Netherlands. This is a more commodious and better arranged, but not a more valuable work than that of Postlethwayt. The plan of the author embraces, like that of his predecessors, too great a variety of objects; more than half the work being filled with geographical articles and articles describing the processes carried on in different departments of manufacturing industry ; there are also articles on very inany subjects, such as architecture, the natural history of the ocean, the landtax, the qualifications of surgeons, &c., the relation of which to commerce, navigation, or manufactures, it seems difficult to discover.

In 1810, a Commercial Dictionary was published, in one thick octavo volume, purporting

[ocr errors]

to be by Mr. Mortimer. We understand, however, that he had but little, if any thing, to do with its compilation. It is quite unworthy of the subject, and of the epoch when it appeared. It has all the faults of those by which it was preceded, with but few peculiar merits. Being not only a Dictionary of Commerce and Navigation, but of Manufactures, it contains accounts of the different arts: but to describe these in a satisfactory and really useful manner, would require several volumes, and the co-operation of many individuals : so that, while the accounts referred to are worth very little, they occupy so large a space that room has not been left for the proper discussion of those subjects from which alone the work derives whatever value it possesses. Thus, there is an article of twenty-two pages technically describing the various processes of the art of painting, while the general article on commerce is comprised in less than two pages. The articles on coin and money do not together occupy four pages, being considerably less than the space allotted to the articles on engraving and etching. There is not a word said as to the circumstances which determine the course of exchange; and the important subject of credit is disposed of in less than two lines! Perhaps, however, the greatest defect in the work is its total want of any thing like science. No attempt is ever made to explain the principles on which any operation depends. Every thing is treated as if it were empirical and arbitrary. Except in the legal articles, no authorities are quoted, so that very little dependence can be placed on the statements advanced.

In another Commercial Dictionary, republished within these few years, the general article on commerce consists of a discussion with respect to simple and compound demand, and simple and double competition : luckily the article does not fill quite a page; being considerably shorter than the description of the kaleidoscope.

Under these circumstances, we do think that there is room fora new Dictionary of Commerce and Commercial Navigation : and whatever may be thought of our work, it cannot be said that in bringing it into the field we are encroaching on ground already fully occupied.




The first impression of this Dictionary, consisting of 2,000 copies, was entirely sold off in less than nine months from the date of its publication. We feel very deeply indebted to the public for this unequivocal proof of its approbation; and we have endeavoured to evince our gratitude, by labouring to render the work less undeserving a continuance of the favour with which it has been honoured. In the prosecution of this object, we can truly affirm we have grudged neither labour nor expense. We have subjected every part of the work to a careful revision ; have endeavoured to eradicate the errors that had crept into it; to improve those parts that were incomplete or defective ; and to supply such articles as had been omitted. We dare not flatter ourselves with the idea that we have fully succeeded in these objects. The want of recent and accurate details as to several important subjects, has been an obstacle we have not, in all cases, been able to overcome; but those in any degree familiar with such investigations will not, perhaps, be disposed severely to censure our deficiencies in this respect.

The changes in the law bearing upon commercial transactions have been carefully specified. Copious abstracts of all the late Customs Acts are contained in the articles COLONIES ASD Colony TRADE, IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION, NAVIGATION Laws, REGISTRY, SMCGGLING, WAREHOUSING, &c.

The abolition of the East India Company's commercial monopoly, and the great and growing interest that has in consequence been excited amongst all classes as to the commercial capabilities and practices of India, China, and other Eastern countries, have made us bestow peculiar attention to this department. The articles BANGKOK, Batavia, BomBAY, BUSHIRE, BUSSORA, CALCUTTA, Canton, COLUMBO, East India COMPANY AND East Indies, Indigo, Macao, Madras, Manilla, Mocha, Muscat, NANGASACKI, Ran. GOON, SINGAPORE, Tatra, Tea, &c. contain, it is believed, a greater mass of recent and well-authenticated details as to the commerce of the vast countries stretching from the Arabic Gulf to the Chinese Sea, than is to be found in any other English publication.

[ocr errors]

In compiling these and other articles, we derived much valuable assistance from John
Crawfurd, Esq.

The article Banking is mostly new. Besides embodying the late act prolonging the charter of the Bank of England, and the more important details given in the Report of the Select Committee on the Renewal of the Bank Charter, this article contains some novel and important information not elsewhere to be met with. No account of the issues of the Bank of England has hitherto been published, that extends farther back than 1777. But this deficiency is now, for the first time, supplied; the Directors having obligingly furnished us with an account of the issues of the Bank on the 28th of February and the 31st of August of each year, from 1698, within four years of its establishment, down to the present time. We have also procured a statement, from authority, of the mode of transacting business in the Bank of Scotland ; and have been able to supply several additional particulars, both with respect to British and to foreign banks.

We have made many additions to, and alterations in, the numerous articles descriptive of the various commodities that form the materials of commerce, and the historical notices by which some of them are accompanied. We hope they will be found more accurate and complete than formerly.

The Gazetteer department, or that embracing accounts of the principal foreign emporiums with which this country maintains a direct intercourse, was, perhaps, the most defective in the old edition. If it be no longer in this predicament, the improvement has been principally owing to official co-operation. The sort of information we desired as to the great seaport towns could not be derived from-books, nor from any sources accessible to the public; and it was necessary, therefore, to set about exploring others. In this view we drew up a series of queries, embracing an investigation of imports and exports, commercial and shipping regulations, port charges, duties, &c., that might be transmitted to any port in any part of the world. There would, however, in many instances, have been much ditriculty in getting them answered with the requisite care and attention by private individuals; and the scheme would have had but a very partial success, had it not been for the friendly and effectual interference of Mr. Poulett' Thomson. Alive to the importance of having the queries properly answered, he voluntarily undertook to use his influence with Lord Palmerston to get them transmitted to the Consuls. This the Noble Lord most readily did ; and answers have been received from the greater number of these functionaries. There is, of course, a considerable inequality amongst them; but they almost all embody a great deal of valuable information, and some of them are drawn up with a degree of skill and sagacity, and display an extent of research and a capacity of observation, that reflect the highest credit on their authors.

The information thus obtained, added to what we received through other, but not less authentic channels, supplied us with the means of describing twice the number of foreign sea-ports noticed in our former edition ; and of enlarging, amending, and correcting the accounts of such as were noticed. Besides much fuller details than have ever been previously published of the nature and extent of the trade of many of these places, the reader will, in most instances, find a minute account of the regulations to be observed respecting the entry and clearing of ships and goods, with statements of the different public charges laid on shipping, the rates of commission and brokerage, the duties on the principal goods imported and exported, the prices of provisions, the regulations as to quarantine, the practice as to credit, banking, &c., with a variety of other particulars. We have also described the ports; and have specified their depth of water, the course to be steered by vessels on entering, with the rules as to pilotage, and the fees on accounts of pilots, light-houses, &c. As it is very difficult to convey a sufficiently distinct idea of a sea-port by any description, we have given plans, taken from the latest and best authorities, of about a dozen of the principal foreign ports. Whether we have succeeded, is more than we can venture to say ; but we hope we have said enough to satisfy the reader, that we have spared no pains to furnish him with authentic information on this important department.

The Tariff, or Table of Duties on Imports, &c., in this edition, is highly important and valuable. It is divided into three columns: the first containing an account of the existing duties payable on the importation of foreign products for home use, as the same were fixed by the act of last year, 3 & 4 Will. IV. cap. 56. The next column exhibits the duties payable on the same articles in 1819, as fixed by the Act 59 Geo. III. cap. 52. ; and the third and last column exhibits the duties as they were fixed in 1787 by Mr. Pitt's Consolidation Act, the 27 Geo. III. cap. 13. The duties are rated throughout in Imperial weights and measures; and allowances have been made for differences in the mode of charging, &c. The reader has, therefore, before him, and may compare together, the present customs' duties with the duties as they stood at the end of the late war, and at its commencement. No similar Table is to be met with in any other work. We are indebted for it to J. D. Hume, Esq., of the Board of Trade, at whose suggestion, and under whose direction, it has been prepared. Its compilation was a work of great labour and difficulty; and could not

« AnteriorContinuar »