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attention of mankind, or commercial gain was sought witi such general emulation. Nations which have hitherto cultivated no art but that of war, nor conceived any means of increasing riches but by plunder, are awakened to inore inoffensive industry. Those whom the possession of subterraneous treasures, have long disposed to accommodate themselves by foreign industry, are at last convinced that idleness never will be rich. The merchant is now invited to every port, manufactures are established in all cities, and princes who just can view the sea from some single corner of their dominions, are enlarging harbours, erecting mercantile companies, and preparing to traffic in the remotest countries.
Nor is the form of this work less popular than the subject. It has lately been the practice of the learned to range knowledge by the alphabet, and publish dictionaries of every kind of literature. This practice has perhaps been carried too far by the force of fashion. Sciences, in themselves systematical and coherent, are not very properly broken into such fortuitous distributions. A dictionary of arithmetic or geometry can serve only to confound ; but commerce, considered in its whole extent, seems to refuse any other method of arrangement, as it comprises innumerable particulars unconnected with each other, among which there is no reason why any should be first or last, better than is furnished by the letters that compose their names.
We cannot indeed boast ourselves the inventors of a scheme so commodious and comprehensive. The French, among innumerable projects for the promotion of traffic, have taken care lo supply their merchants with a Dictionnaire de Commerce, collected with great industry and exactness, but too large for common use, and adapted to their own trade. This book, as well as others, has been carefully consulted, that our merchants may not be ignorant of any thing known by their enemies or rivals.
Such, indeed, is the extent of our undertaking, that it was necessary to solicit every information, to consult the living and the dead. The great qualification of him that attempts a work thus general, is diligence of inquiry. No man has opportunity or ability to acquaint himself with all the subjects of a commercial dictionary, so as to describe from his own knowledge, or assert on his own experience. He must therefore often depend upon the veracity of others, as every man depends in common life, and have no other skill to boast than that of selecting judiciously, and arranging properly.
But to him who considers the extent of our subject, limited only by the bounds of nature and of art, the task of selection and method will appear sufficient to overburden industry and distract attention. Many branches of commerce are subdivided into smaller and smaller parts, till at last they become so minute as not easily to be noted by observation. Many interests are so woven among each other as not to be disentangled without long inquiry ; many arts are industriously kept secret, and many practices necessary to be known, are carried on in parts too remote for intelligence.
But the knowledge of trade is of so much importance to a maritime nation, that no labour can be thought
great by which information may be obtained; and therefore we hope the reader will not have reason to complain, that, of what he might justly expect to find, any thing is omitted.
To give a detail or analysis of our work is very difficult ; a volume intended to contain whatever is requisite to be known by every trader, necessarily becomes so miscellaneous and unconnected as not to be easily reduci. ble to heads ; yet, since we pretend in some measure to treat of traffic as a science, and to make that regular and systematical which has hitherto been to a great degree fortuitous and conjectural, and has often succeeded by chance rather than by conduct, it will be proper to show that a distribution of parts has been attempted, which, though rude and inadequate, will at least preserve some order, and enable the mind to take a methodical and successive view of this design.
In the dictionary which we here offer to the public, we propose to exhibit the materials, the places, and the means of traffic.
The materials or subjects of traffic are whatever is bought and sold, and include therefore every manufacture of art, and almost every production of nature.
In giving an account of the commodities of nature, whether those which are to be used in their original state, tas drugs and spices, or those which become useful when hey receive a new form from human art, as flax, cotton, and metals, we shall show the places of their production, the manner in which they grow, the art of cultivating or collecting them, their discriminations and varieties, by which the best sorts are known from the worse, and genuine from fictitious, the arts by which they are counterfeited, the casualties by which they are impaired, and the practices by which the damage is palliated or concealed. We shall likewise show their virtues and uses, and trace them through all the changes which they undergo.
The history of manufactures is likewise delivered. Of every artificial commodity the manner in which it is made is in some measure described, though it must be remembered, that manual operations are scarce to be conveyed by any words to him that has not seen them. Some general notions may however be afforded ; it is easy to comprehend, that plates of iron are formed by the pressure of rollers, and bars by the strokes of a hammer; that a cannon is cast, and that an anvil is forged. But as it is to most traders of more use to know, when their goods are well wrought, than by what means, care has been taken to name the places where every manufacture has been carried furthest, and the marks by which its excellency may be ascertained.
By the places of trade are understood all ports, cities, of towns, where staples are established, manufactures are wrought, or any commodities are bought and sold advantageously. This part of our work includes an enumeration of almost all the remarkable places in the world, with such an account of their situation, customs, and products, as the merchant would require, who being to begin a new trade in any foreign country, was yet ignorant of the commodities of the place, and the manners of the inhabitants,
dulge himself in all the lighter liberties of voice, as when he reads the common articles of a newspaper, or a cursory letter of intelligence or business. That the solemn style, such as that of a serious narrative, exacts an uni. form steadiness of speech, equal, clear, and calm. That for the pathetic, such as an animated oration, it is necessary the voice be regulated by the sense, varying and rising with the passions. These rules, which are the most general, admit a great number of subordinate observations, which must be particularly adapted to every scholary for it is observable, that though very few read well, yet every man errs in a different way. But let one remark never be omitted ; inculcate strongly to every scholar the danger of copying the voice of another; an attempt which, though it has been often repeated, is always unsuccessful.
The importance of writing letters with propriety justly claims to be considered 'with care, since, next to the power of pleasing with his presence, every man would wish to be able to give delight at a distance. This great art should be diligently taught, the rather, because of those letters which are most useful, and by which the general business of life is transacted, there are no examples easily to be found. It seems the general fault of those who undertake this part of education, that they propose, for the exercise of their scholars, occasions which rarely happen ; such as congratulations and condolences, and neglect those without which life cannot proceed. It is possible to pass many years without the necessity of writing panegyrics or epithalamiums ; but cvery man has frequent occasion to state a contract, or