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Tutte le invenzioni le più benemerite del genere umano, e che hanno svillupato l'ingegno
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS.
“ Though immediately and primarily written for the merchants, this Commercial Dictionary will be of use to every man of business or of curiosity. There is no man who is not in some degree a merchant; who has not something to buy and something to sell, and who does not therefore want such instructions as may teach him the true value of possessions or commodities. The descriptions of the productions of the earth and water which this volume contains, may be equally pleasing and useful to the speculatist with any other Natural History. The descriptions of ports and cities may instruct the geographer as well as if they were found in books appropriated only to his own science; and the doctrines of funds, insurances, currency, monopolíes, exchanges, and duties, is so necessary to the politician, that without it he can be of no use either in
ncil or the senate, nor can speak or think justly either on war or ade “We, therefore, hope that we shall not repent the labour of compiling this work, nor flatter ourselves unreasonably, in predicting a favourable reception to a book which no condition of life can render useless, which may contribute to the advantage of all that make or receive laws, of all that buy or sell, of all that wish to keep or improve their possessions, of all that desire to be rich, and all that desire to be wise."
JOHNSON, Preface to Roll's Dict.
PREFACE TO THIS EDITION.
The last complete edition of this work, though published so lately as February, 1844, has already become all but obsolete. This has been occasioned by the extraordinary changes that have been made in the interval in our commercial policy and regulations. Of these the act of last session providing for the immediate modification and speedy abolition of the Corn Laws, is the most important. It was the crowning measure in the memorable administration of Sir Robert Peel; and went far to complete the great series of commercial reforms begun in 1842. The opening of the ports to the free importation of foreign cattle, sheep, and hogs, which had previously been wholly prohibited; the repeal of the Excise duty on glass, and of the Customs duties on about 500 different articles, including some of the greatest importance, and their reduction on many more; the vast improvement effected in our banking and monetary systems; and the measure respecting the Corn Laws, were all accomplished in the short space of four or five years; and, in as far as can at present be seen, not only with infinite advantage to the public, but without injury or even sensible inconvenience to any class! And it is obvious that such could not have been the case had not the determination to carry these measures been subordinate to the skill and ability with which they were prepared.
These, however, are not the only alterations that have taken place since February, 1844. New acts have been passed in that interval relating to navigation, the intercourse with the colonies, the importation and exportation of foreign and native produce, the hiring of seamen, the registry of shipping, &c., with the important act of last session in regard to the sugar duties. And in addition to the many fundamental changes that have taken place at home, a greatly improved Tariff has recently been enacted in the U. States; while minor changes have been effected in other parts of the commercial world.
The edition of this Dictionary now given to the public has been accommodated to this altered state of things. Wherever it was practicable we have introduced the new matter under its proper head; the circumstance of the work being stereotyped having generally enabled us to do this without resetting the types of the other portions. In most cases the space occupied by the articles that have been superseded afforded room for those by which they have been replaced; and where it happened that the new articles could not be confined within the former limits, the addition of extra pages, supplied the necessary accommodation. Hence, notwithstanding the great amount of matter inserted for the first time in this edition, the SUPPLEMENT added to it is of comparatively limited dimensions. The separate Supplement prepared for the use of the purchasers of the cditions of 1844 and 1846 is considerably larger, inasmuch as it contains the more important portions of the new information dispersed throughout the present work.
The extreme difficulty of procuring recent and authentic information in relation to the commerce and commercial regulations of foreign and remote countries ill, we venture to hope, be admitted as some excuse for the errors which, despite every effort to be accurate, may, no doubt, be discovered in this book. We shall reckon it a favour if those by whom they may be detected will have the goodness to point them out; and we shall be still more obliged if they will, at the same time, supply us with matter available for their correction. We beg farther to state that whatever information may be communicated to us by gentlemen versed in any of the matters treated of in this work, will be most gratefully received; and that it will be employed to render it, what we are most anxious it should be, a digest of late, readily accessible, and trustworthy information on all matters relating to the commerce and commercial navigation of this country and of the world.
The last edition of this work that underwent a complete revision was published in 1834. Since that epoch several considerable impressions have been exhausted; the more important changes in the commercial laws and regulations of this and other countries, and in the channels of commercial intercourse, that took place in the interval, having been specified in successive Supplements. These, however, notwithstanding the limited plan on which they were compiled, had become rather voluminous ; and the changes made in our commercial policy by the Tariff Act of 1842, and the late acts for regulating the corn and colonial trades, &c., were so very important, and affected so many articles and interests, that it would have been difficult to notice them and the other subjects that required to be brought under the reader's eye in a new Supplement, without extending it to something like the size of the original work, which would thus have been rendered clumsy, costly, and inconvenient. Under these circumstances, we had no choice, except to abandon the work altogether, or to undertake the laborious task of its reconstruction. Having determined upon the latter, we have endeavcured to make it a Digest and Repertory of the most useful and authentic information respecting the past and present state of the commerce of this and most other countries, including the means and devices resorted to for facilitating commercial operations, and the laws and regulations under which they have been carried on. The various details are brought down to the latest period; and such additional subjects and statements have been introduced as had been overlooked in the former editions, or have since come into existence or grown of importance. We have tried to effect these improvements without adding, very materially, to the size of the work, by subjecting it to an unsparing retrenchment, and rejecting whatever was superseded by late changes, or appeared to be unnecessary.
It must, however, be admitted of works of this description, that they are less susceptible than most others of being improved in successive editions. An error in a bygone statement may, of course, be detected and rectified; but few comparatively of those who refer to a Commercial Dictionary care for historical notices or theoretical discussions. The practical details belonging to the present moment are the prime objects of interest with most men of business ; and the same difficulties recur in attempting to give an account of commerce and commercial legislation in 1842 and 1843 that had to be encountered in describing their state in 1832 and 1833. The subject is not stationary but progressive, and variable in the extreme. The information, too, to which we have been compelled to resort, has been often very deficient; and when more abundant, it has not unfrequently been obscure, contradictory, and but little to be depended upon. And even though it had been of a less ques