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H U N T ’S

J U L Y ,


T he germination and growth o f mercantile library companies in the!
principal cities o f this country, furnish the philanthropist with hopes for the
perpetuity o f our government, which nothing else so reasonably could

Indeed, we are loth to limit the favorable influence which these

institutions must have upon the progress o f our young yet flourishing con­

In a work so closely allied in its spirit as is this to all that ren­

ders these companies beneficial and useful— one whose object and duty it
is to keep pace with their progress— it will seem like repetition here to dis­
course fully upon the subject.

T o one point, however, it is interesting to

glance, since the subject is more than ordinarily pleasing to those who are
anxious for the elevation o f the character o f merchants— a class o f men,
which, from the nature and newness o f the American government, for an
exceedingly long period must rank, through its numbers, influence, and
dominant concentration in cities, higher than any other.

W e allude to the

employment, at stated periods, o f the ablest logicians, scholars, and moral­
ists, through discourses upon the multifarious topics which the position o f
our mercantile citizens suggests.

Already has it been our pleasure, in

these pages, to record the names o f many o f these, while, occasionally, we
have been instrumental in diffusing from one end o f the country to the other,
the thoughts at first presented by their originators only to a limited circle.
O f the many lectures which have been delivered during the last season,
the subject o f no one has been more important than that which has been
treated by the H on . J ohn S ergeant , and which was pronounced before the
Mercantile Library Company o f Philadelphia, in that city,- on the first o f'
November last; subsequently, by request, before the Mercantile Library
VOL. ill.— no . i,


Mercantile Character.


Association o f N ew Y o r k ; and which we now publish.

The topics em­

braced in it will commend themselves to the intelligence of the community,
as surely as the favor o f the author in allowing us to give publicity to his
production is appreciated.

The suggestions to which a perusal o f the lec­

ture will give rise, also, may be used advantageously by those who are
seeking to form a character for usefulness and goodness, for it is impos­
sible for any one to read it without perceiving the importance o f thought
upon many themes which are therein but incidentally touched.

“ Inor­

dinate self-gratification,” for instance, is one o f the phrases which will be
met with.

W hat a text does it furnish !

a proud vessel is sucked and lost.
spring o f it.

It is the whirlpool in which many

A desire to be fashionable is the off­

The young merchant who is ambitious to be brav ejn house­

hold display and equipage— to ape his wealthier and elder neighbor— may
see his folly when it is too late to repent.

His seat in the country may

cause his bankruptcy, when that fashion, if unfollowed, might have emi­
nently contributed to his solvency.

On this point, however, we may in­

troduce the remarks o f a celebrated essayist: “ I would advise the merchant
who would live with real dignity, to make the city respectable, if he does
not find it so, by displaying his wealth in it.
noble fortune, will aggrandize any place.
your lot to be fixed.

W orthy conduct, with a

Adorn that place in which it is

W here, indeed, ought men to expend their opulence

more readily than where it was amassed, where their characters are well
known, and their virtues valued 1

Many evils result from this general

The influence o f good example is lost among the numerous

tribe o f clerks and journeymen who are the rising generation o f merchants,
but whose morals are early tainted with the foulest infection, by running
after those pleasures which their superintendent appears to pursue.


are led to despise that city and those manners which their master avoids.
W hen the rich and respectable leave it, who are to fill its magistracies and
its councils ?

The lower orders, destitute o f education and o f liberal views,

are thrust forward into office by nothing but their own pragmatical activity.
N o wonder a corporation has lost its influence and sullied its honors, when
those who stand forth as its leaders are the meanest o f its members.


opulent and most consequential have packed up their effects as soon as
they have acquired all they wanted, and have left the pillaged city to stand
or fall, as it may happen.

A time has been when merchants only retired

to their villas when they had accumulated their fortunes ; they now begin
with a villa, as if it were as necessary as a warehouse ; and end with
bankruptcy as naturally, as unreluctantly, and as unblushingly, as if it had
been the object o f their pursuit. Distress and difficulty excite meanness
and artifice ; fraud and injustice soon follow ; and the dignity o f the mer­
chant is soon sunk in the scandalous appellation o f a swindler.
o f the eminent trader involves many in the misfortune.

The fall

His wife and


Mercantile Character.

children are reduced from a life o f splendor and luxury to indigence and
obscurity; to a state which they bear less patiently, because they have
been accustomed to indulge their vanity and pride without control. V ice
and every species o f misery are increased by this imprudent conduct in
his own family, and poverty brought into the houses o f his inferior assist­
ants, or dependants, who have either intrusted him with their money or
labor unrepaid.”
This is a picture drawn from life— what it represents daily occurs, and
the whole o f it is occasioned by the merchant’s departure from his natural
and his most becoming character.

In order to resume that character, let

him consider what virtues his way o f life particularly requires.
find them to be industry, honesty, and frugality.

H e will

“ Dare to be what you

are,” is a rule which, i f observed, would secure to men that happiness o f
which the greater part never see any thing but the phantom,— the cloud in
the place o f the goddess !

The great source o f mercantile miscarriage is,

that the merchant usually begins in a mode o f life which should naturally
adorn a successful conclusion.

H e begins with a rural retreat, and with

expensive relaxations; with those pleasures which should, in the regular
course, be reserved as the reward o f his toils and the comfort o f his age.
He spends his active days in superfluous and unsatisfactory indulgence,
and dooms the winter o f life to want, to neglect, to a prison, or to an
W ith these remarks we introduce the lecture to which we have already
referred, having curtailed it only o f a few introductory observations intended
chiefly for those before whom it was pronounced.
“ Commercial character is a theme o f vast importance. The commer­
cial class, without attempting a more precise description, may be said to
include all those who stand between the producer and the consumer, and
in any way aid in the circulation and exchanges o f mankind. What a large
class it is ! How great a space it occu pies! W hat an influence it has
upon our social condition, and upon the moral tone o f the com m unity!
From the smallest establishment in the interior, where an assortment is
kept o f every kind o f wares, seemingly the most incongruous— foreign and
domestic, for health and for sickness, for the animal and for the intellec­
tual nature— food, raiment, books, medicine, and all other commodities
likely to be wanted at this the last stage o f distribution, and where, too,
com m erce is still in its elementary state, being carried on in part by bar­
ter ; from this little country bazaar, up to the storehouses o f the great ship,
ping merchant, and the offices o f the money operators, where the large
concerns o f trade are managed, through all the intermediate stages, what a
quantity there is o f machinery, and what an anxrunt. o f human agency, in­
cessantly at w o rk ! It pervades all society ; it is the overpowering em­
ployment ; it meets you every where— on the land and on the water. The
lofty spar and the white sail, soliciting the impulsive power o f the wind,
the slow-moving boat, the rapid steamer, with its column o f dark smoke
spangled with stars o f fire, the lumbering wagon and the flying car— these,


Mercantile Character.

and thousands besides, are the implements o f commerce, perpetually in
motion, and making the civilized world vocal with their mighty din. And
who, and what, are the human agents engaged in this pervading employ­
ment ? They are our countrymen, our fellow-citizens, our fathers, brothers,
sons— nay, our sisters and our daughters, t o o ; for females, whom Chris­
tian civilization every where exalts, find becoming and fit occupation in
many o f its multifarious departments. Merchants are spread over the
land. They stand especially on the margin o f the ocean, and reaching
out their hands to distant regions, form the chief connecting link with other
nations and p eople; so that, while by their weight, their numbers, and the
wealth they manage, they powerfully influence society at home, they in a
great measure stamp the impression o f its character abroad. A re they
just, faithful, true to their engagements, obedient to the principles o f sound
morality, prudent, industrious, in a word, wise in true wisdom, which
teaches to seek lawful ends by lawful and honorable means, and to spurn
all others, however tem pting; are they such, they give a good name to
their country and to their city, and impart the fragrance o f their wellearned reputation to all around them. The very air seems perfumed by
their virtue. Should they, unhappily, be the reverse o f all this— faithless,
heedless, rash, eager in the pursuit o f gain, and regardless o f the methods
o f reaching it, they dishonor and disgrace their neighborhood, and shed
upon it the odium o f their own misconduct. N or will such misconduct
fail to poison and corrupt the community they live in. Dishonesty and
trick in the commercial class must lead to dishonesty and trick in those
who deal with them. I f the seller employ stratagem and art to deceive
the buyer, the buyer will resort to stratagem and art in self-defence, until
at length the point o f honor will be who can most successfully deceive
and cheat his neighbor. And such will be found to be the state o f things
wherever a relaxed commercial morality is allowed to exist. Indeed, in
the best-regulated community, if there be any one branch o f dealing, in
which there is, or is supposed to be, dishonesty on the part o f the sellers,
you will soon discern that buyers begin to fortify their wits for an en­
counter o f cunning, not to say knavery, and so far suffer themselves to be
Exactly as this spirit extends himself, does the business
affected by it approach to gambling, and assume the features o f that ghastly
and consuming vice. W hen it prevails intensely and extensively, we call
it a m ania; and so it certainly is. W e may call it fo lly ; but remember
there is this difference between madness and idiocy, that while the mad­
man is an idiot, or worse, in choosing the end he labors for, he is a ser­
pent in devising the means for its attainment. Madness, too, has another
characteristic, which I believe belongs to it in all its forms, but certainly
never fails to be its associate in some degree when we bring it upon our­
selves by vicious indulgence o f any kind whatever,— it disorders and per­
verts the affections. The love o f kindred and near and dear connections,
is turned first to indifference and then to hate. Even the instinctive love
o f life yields to its destroying p ow er; and i f disease be not swift enough
in its sure approaches, the work is hastened by self-murder. For, in this
form o f what we call madness, there is not a total eclipse, as in that un­
happy condition into which we are liable to fall in the course o f Providence.
There is darkness ; but there is light, too, to make the darkness manifest—
an accusing and avenging light, which forces itself, in spite o f all resist­
ance, upon the aching vision, and compels it to behold the hideous ruin

Mercantile Character.


which vice has made. The habitual drunkard knows, and keenly feels,
his own degradation. T h e habitual gambler, in his heart, does homage to
the righteous judgment which pronounces him a leper, and makes him an
outcast. And so, too, (in a less degree let it be admitted— for we must
not omit even here to make a just discrimination,) he who falls into the
delirium o f any other intoxication, o f any inordinate excitement, by the
indulgence o f passion and appetite, will find his head overcharged with
consuming heat, while his heart is robbed o f its due warmth, and become
cold to the noble promptings o f justice, mercy, and charity. His faculties
are devoted to self, but with a sinister and treacherous wisdom. H e sur­
renders his peace o f mind, sacrifices his contentment and self-approbation,
is blind to the beauties, and deaf to the harmony o f this wonderful creation,
and even insensible to the tranquil comforts o f the appointed day o f rest—
restless, joyless, feverish, and as if an incubus were upon his breast, only
to be relieved by a rude shock, compelling his overladen nature to become
conscious o f life. And if he stumble in his headlong course, (as he pro­
bably will,) who pities his fall ? who cheers his attempts to rise ? “ W isdom
for a man’s self,” says Lord Bacon, “ is in many branches thereof a de­
praved thing. * * * But that which is specially to be noted is, that
those which, as Cicero says o f Pompey, sui amanies sine rivali, are many
times unfortunate. And, whereas they have all their time sacrificed to
themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the incon­
stancy o f fortune, whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have
But let us proceed more directly to the subject we have proposed to
consider— that is, Commercial Character. The first element in this char­
acter,— the most important, the indispensable one, is integrity,— stern,
steadfast, unvarying integrity,— a universal conscientiousness, which never
fails, and never falters, and never yields, but is actively and watchfully
predominant in the whole conduct— which asserts and maintains its empire
in every transaction o f life, and will not submit to any invasion o f its right­
ful authority. Admitted, some one will perhaps say; all this is true, and
beyond dispute ; but is not integrity essential to good character in every
individual, and if it be, why insist upon it especially in commercial char­
acter ? It is certainly quite clear, as the question seems to import, that
every man should be honest. N or is there any merit in being so, but a
deep and dark reproach in being otherwise. Shakspeare, who understood
our nature well, has said, that “ to be honest, as this world goes, is to be
one man among ten t h o u s a n d a n d it may be that a lantern in the day­
light is as necessary now to find an honest man as it was some thousands
o f years ago. Still we have higher authority than Shakspeare’s, and a
better light than that o f the philosopher’s lantern, for the deeply interesting
truth, that for our own happiness, and for the happiness o f others,— for our
well-being here, and our hopes hereafter,— for its influence upon the rela­
tions o f life, domestic and social,— moral worth is o f far greater price than
all the gifts o f intellect or fortune. It is the very salt o f human character,
without which talents and accomplishments become offensive and noxious
precisely in proportion to their strength and power. Th ey may blaze and
shine, but so does the eruption o f the volcano when it vomits fire and
destruction. T h ey may agitate and make us wonder, but not more than
the trembling o f the earthquake. T h eir track may be strikingly marked,
but so is the march o f the pestilence. It is when great talents and accom ­


Mercantile Character.

plishments are united with high moral worth, and then alone, that we have
an approach to the perfection o f human character, which is sure to be a
blessing to mankind. In this was the seeming mystery o f the character
o f Washington, which has embalmed his memory with peculiar odor. A
giant truly in his stature and proportions, yet he was not o f the race o f the
giants who have made war upon heaven and earth— who have caused an.
gels to weep, and filled the habitations o f man with tears and blood. He
was a hero, but not the vulgar miscalled hero, who goes about the world
wrapped in flames and fury, scattering firebrands and death. His image,
in its grandeur unequalled, rises above all others, because it stands upon
the firm pedestal o f moral worth. Another example might be invoked,
o f one whose grave is yet fresh, whose form we have all seen, in its very
autumn still retaining its beauty, but much more beautiful for the virtues
o f which it reminded us— the venerable man, I mean, who so long admin­
istered at the altar as the head o f the Episcopal church.* Between these
two pre-eminent individuals, whose paths through life seemed to be so
far apart, some might suppose there was no resemblance. And yet, if
closely examined, such a conclusion will be found to be erroneous. W ash­
ington was unsurpassed in every kind o f courage. This quality circum ­
stances made conspicuous and indispensable in the stations he occupied.
The venerable bishop, meek and humble as he was, it is no derogation
from the glory o f Washington to say, was in this point fully his equal.
N o fear could drive him from the way o f his duty. W hen the pestilence,
known by the name o f the yellow fever, suddenly, and with appalling ma­
lignity, visited our city, and the only escape from death appeared to be in
flight, he resolutely refused to quit his post, and went wherever he was
called, to administer the consolations o f religion to the sick and the dying.
And this not once, but as often as the fearful visitation was permitted by
Providence to be repeated. Even in extreme old age, when the weight o f
years, and the infirmities they bring with them, might well have been
deemed an excuse, he would not decline the invitation o f a poor sufferer in
one o f the cholera hospitals, who desired his aid in prayer. In both, this
great quality was so attempered and guided by yirtue, that it never became
aggressive or hurtful.
Both would, if necessary, have triumphantly
embraced the stake; but neither would have lighted the pile to destroy
If now the question be repeated, why insist especially upon integrity in
commercial character, seeing that it is essential to all good character, I
will endeavor to give the answer. And first, I would say that perhaps
above any other class they are exposed to temptation. And let no one
imagine that in saying this, we would degrade the occupation o f the mer­
chant. On the contrary, it is lawful and honorable in all its branches.
Commerce is the offspring, and at the same time the support o f civilization.
It is the nurse o f the arts o f Peace, and the handmaid o f Science. It is the
lamp, carrying light into benighted regions, and diffusing knowledge over
the whole face o f the earth. The ship which, in quest o f profitable traffic,
seeks out the abode o f barbarian ignorance, covered with the thick darkness
o f inhuman superstition, is like the first ray o f the morning upon creation.
Feeble it may be, and insufficient o f itself, but it is the earnest o f approach­
ing day, growing and growing, until at length the message o f piety is borne

Bishop White.

Mercantile Character.


by the winds, in the same ship, upon the unfurrowed bosom o f the ocean,
and the missionary o f the gospel comes to plant the tree o f life in the wil.
derness, humbly trusting to his almighty Master to give the increase! N o !
The great merchant, who is at the same time a good man, upright in his
dealings, and careful in his walk— who receives in a right spirit the bless­
ings vouchsafed to him— who, besides the fair books o f his business, has a
leger in his heart, where he scrupulously and thankfully makes himself
debtor for the obligations that result from success, and takes care to bal­
ance it by corresponding benefactions— who acts as a faithful steward o f
the talent confided to him— such a man is truly to be envied, and at the
same time honored and beloved. Great are his means, and greatly he em­
ploys them, for he employs them wisely. Nevertheless it is true that the
way o f the commercial class is beset with peculiar temptations, requiring a
stern and energetic and habitual integrity to resist them. I will not dwell
upon details, which for the most part present such gross and palpable crim ­
inality as to bring down immediate condemnation, and I hope and believe
are o f rare occurrence. The meaner vices, falsehood, concealment, de­
ception, adulteration o f commodities, these things, and the like, directly and
nakedly presented, are too base and disgusting to be tolerated. Cheating
and stealing are in the same moral category. The most subtle casuist can
make no distinction between them. A ny endeavor knowingly to take ad­
vantage o f others for our own benefit and at their expense, is at once mean
and dishonest. A sure test o f the iniquity o f all such practices is, that they
skulk from observation. If a man dare to do what he dare not tell, his
conscience must be seared, or it will plainly accuse him.
But the tempter has other and more insinuating approaches to our frailty,
which beguile us by delusion, many times to our own destruction, and often
to the great injury o f others. The virtue o f prosperity, it is said, is tem­
perance— the virtue o f adversity is fortitude; and certain it is that these
conditions, if not duly guarded, have the very opposite tendency. N ow to
these trials the commercial class are, above all others, exposed. They are
exposed, besides, to rapid transitions from one to the other, suffering, al­
most at the same moment, the double shock. F or prosperity, always inse­
cure, is often imaginary and unreal. H e who, to his own sanguine hope,
and to the eye o f others, is at the pinnacle o f fortune, may suddenly find
that the base is undermined, and, in the midst o f his dream o f security, be
tumbling to the earth, dragging down all who have been connected with
him, and who, in general, are numerous in proportion to his fancied eleva­
tion. W hat he is doomed then to suffer, and how his sufferings and
temptations are aggravated by self-reproach, if there be cause for it, will
be alluded to presently. In the mean time allow me to call your attention
to a remark, which may not at first view be obvious, but, nevertheless,
contains in it a most serious truth. Every merchant is a trustee, and his
conscience is at all times concerned in the faithful execution o f his trust.
H e is the depositary o f other men’s property, and he is the depositary o f
their confidence in relation to property, in both which respects he is in­
trusted, and exactly in proportion as his credit is great, and his dealings
large, is the magnitude o f this trust, and the extent o f the duty it exacts
from him. But it may be said, he is not in law styled a trustee. Very
true, undoubtedly. The law regards each transaction in its appropriate
character. If he make a purchase, he is a buyer— if he contract a debt, he
is a debtor, and the like. But still, whatever may be the title applied to


Mercantile Character.

particular transactions, the trust committed to him, and the character o f
trustee deduced from it, are not entirely disregarded, even by the law.
For, whatever he has in his hands is considered to be pledged for the ful­
filment o f his engagements, and while he is in debt, he cannot withdraw
any part o f it to make provision for himself or his family. I state this gen­
erally, without troubling you with distinctions which are familiar to law­
yers. This rule is not an artificial one, nor a mere positive provision
about a thing otherwise indifferent. It is deeply founded in morality ; and
the further it is carried, and the more vigorously it is applied, the better
support does it give to commercial morals. Again, the law declares false
appearances to be fraudulent, and in the case o f debtors condemns the acts
that are covered by them as void. If a man be in possession o f wealth, he
is reputed to be the owner o f it, and gets credit, that is, obtains confidence,
accordingly. H e will not be allowed, when disaster comes, to allege the
contrary. This would be to give a triumph to imposition. In these, and
some other cases, the law can give but imperfect redress. But does it fol­
low, because the remedial or vindictive power o f human laws, by reason
o f their imperfectness, can go no farther, that therefore the demands o f a
just morality are complied with? Upon the same principle, the offender
who can escape detection, is not an offender. In the eye o f sound morals,
all false appearances, to mislead and deceive others to their injury, are
criminal, and are degrading; and hence, when they are discovered to have
been hollow and unreal, we never hesitate to pronounce him an impostor
who has assumed them. But the fiduciary duty is to be tried in a just
judgment, by even a higher standard than we have thus been applying.
It is not fulfilled by abstaining from plain, intentional wrong. H e who takes
upon himself the trust o f other people’s interests and welfare, is bound to
diligence, to caution, to prudence, to watchfulness; and, above all, he is
bound to guard against the seductive influence o f an undue eagerness to
advance his own fortune, by means which may be destructive to others.
Here is the point o f his offence, here is the ground o f his responsibility,—
that he has not committed error in the honest effort for the benefit o f those
who have trusted him ;— no such thing : he has done it for himself, at their
risk— he to have the profit in case o f success, and they to bear the loss in
case o f failure. Inordinate buying, inordinate borrowing, inordinate trad­
ing, inordinate expenditure— in a word, inordinate self-gratification,— these
are the rocks he is admonished o f by a thousand disasters, and yet he pre­
sumptuously rushes upon them, and makes a wreck o f all that was confided
to him. It is a poor compensation to those he has ruined, that he has
ruined himself too. Against such a delusion temperance is the saving
virtue ; and here it is that temperance is integrity.
Adversity, too, has its temptations and trials ; and to this vicissitude all
are liable. The most upright man, however cautious and prudent, is sub­
ject to be assailed, and to be overwhelmed by misfortune. Happy may he
think himself, and thankful ought he to be, if upon a fair and honest retro,
spect, he can say it has been without his fault. His store may be emptied
o f his merchandise, his purse drained o f its treasure, his credit prostrated,
his dwelling stripped o f its accustomed comforts, the present be desolate
and dreary, the future almost without hope, yet there is still a gleam o f
sunshine in the darkness, if he have the approbation o f his own conscience.
In the midst o f the cold and death-like obstruction, when the heart
seems to be palsied, there is yet a spring o f life, which, though hid by

Mercantile Character.


the anguish o f the moment, will come forth in power to reanimate and
The catastrophe o f failure, however, seldom comes at once. The sha­
dows o f it are cast before. A s they deepen and thicken, they offer con ­
tinual temptation, hard to resist. In this protracted agony it is that men
commit the greatest errors-— errors which, with sometimes, perhaps, an
undue severity o f judgment, fasten a stain upon their character that no
time is sufficient to efface. This is wrong. Let us establish as high a
standard o f morality as we can, and conform our own conduct to it as
nearly as possible ; let us judge ourselves as strictly as we please; nay,
let us exert ourselves with all our strength, by precept and example, to
keep others in an upright course. But let us beware how we suffer charity
to be stifled by indignant feelings and harsh judgment against a fallen
brother. By the laws o f an all-wise Providence, this is hurtful to ourselves.
W e forfeit entirely our portion o f the double blessing which belongs to
mercy, if we neglect its active duties. How much more, when we practise
cruelty or persecution towards the afflicted ! Should indignation require a
vent, hurl it, if you will, against the successful knave, and face the hazard
o f a rebound. There is gallantry at least, if there be not discretion, in
such an assault. But if a brother has sunk under trials which we have
been permitted to escape, o.r have had strength given us to resist, we should
be thankful, not proud ; compassionate, not c ru e l; see only the signal o f
distress, and incline to its relief, rejoicing that we are enabled to give
In. the protracted agony, it has been said, the greatest errors are com ­
mitted. Can they be avoided ? Integrity demands that they should, and
it never demands what is impossible. The first thing a man has to do in
such circumstances is to take honest counsel with him self; to state the
case fairly, to examine it deliberately, and decide it ju stly; to go through
with it as a work he is bound in conscience to perform ; not slightingly, not
carelessly, not deceitfully, but thoroughly, as if he were upon, his oath to
make a true inventory and appraisement. He is to look at his books, not
to see the figures there set down, but whether the value is what they re­
present. Such a work is hard, very hard. Many a man closes his eyes,
because he knows what they would see if they were opened. He per­
ceives, but he voluntarily makes his perception indistinct, and persuades
himself, or tries to persuade himself, that the truth is obscure, when he
knows it is clear. Pie cannot plead ignorance. H e is therefore laying up
for himself a store o f self-reproach, for finally he will be compelled to con ­
fess that he sinned against knowledge. The next thing to be done, is to
take counsel with judicious friends. If it be hard for a man to look stead­
fastly at a painful and a humiliating truth, still harder for him is it frankly
to make it known to others. Y et it must be done if we would profit by the
advice o f friends. And lastly, it is the duty o f a man in these circum ­
stances, to counsel with his creditors, for it is their interest that is to be
dealt with. Safe counsellors they will be found, and generous ones too, if
they are honestly treated. This measure, however, is seldom resorted to,
and in these few cases is too long postponed. In the mean time, that is,
between the first warning o f coming calamity and its final consummation,
the ill-directed struggles o f the failing man plunge him deeper and deeper
into embarrassment and injustice. But we need not attempt to follow him.
Let us only, in conclusion on this head, add, that the duty o f integrity in

m .—





Mercantile Character.

such circumstances, may be comprehended in a few words— a fair disclo­
sure, a full surrender, and an equal distribution.
There is another reason why this point should be insisted upon, in ad­
dressing a commercial body in the city o f Philadelphia— the ancient com ­
mercial renown o f Philadelphia is to be maintained. The commercial
character o f this city has been hitherto distinguished for its solidity and
purity, as the city itself was for tranquillity and order. Grievous would it
be, by any fault o f ours, to lose the satisfaction and advantage we have
derived from our predecessors; to suffer the fair reputation they have
handed down to us, to be stained and disfigured by our neglect or miscon­
duct. But here I desire to avoid misunderstanding. I do not believe, and
therefore I do not admit, that there has been any falling off. I hope we
have as much ground for just pride as we ever had. The old weights and
measures are still in use. There is not, I am firmly persuaded, a merchant
o f any standing in Philadelphia— one o f our own people, I mean, brought
up among us, or fairly imbued with the spirit o f our commercial class, who
would not scorn to use any others, and would not be despised if he did.
A t the same time, we must acknowledge, that causes are now in operation
which require a sterner and more watchful integrity, if we would keep up
to the ancient standard. In the war against space, and time, and vis
inertia, science has gained successive triumphs, which have already gone
nigh to annihilate them, and is constantly advancing, with mighty steps, to
still greater achievements. The benefits o f easy and rapid communica­
tion are not to be disparaged, and especially in this extended country,
whose union it tends to preserve and perpetuate. But, along with its sig­
nal advantages, we cannot doubt that it has a powerful tendency to make
us more citizens o f the world, and less citizens o f our own particular com ­
munity, and thus to break down individuality o f character. In such ex­
changes one may be a gainer, perhaps,— for o f this there must be doubt—but another may be a loser. Whatever we have o f good in our ancient
character, is thus, in some measure, put at risk, and we must make the
greater exertion to save it. W e must also bear in mind how much we all
stand in need o f control and restraint. W e find them in our home, we find
them in the community we live in, and last not least, we find them in re­
flection and self-examination, which demand quiet, and occasional retire­
ment. W hat a salutary provision is that— if it were duly regarded and
observed— which an all-wise Providence has made for us in the institution
o f the Sabbath : a day o f rest and refreshment from the cares and concerns
o f the world ; for shutting out its feverish anxieties and cares ; for waking
from the disturbed dreams o f the week, and calming and purifying our
hearts. But with increased movement has come increased excitem ent; a
more absorbing and unintermitting and even morbid devotion, to objects
which, in a rational estimate, one is at a loss how to characterize. W hen
Europe, in the strong language o f a female writer, “ loosened from its
foundations, seemed to be precipitating itself upon Asia,” in the crusades,
there was folly in the enthusiasm o f the mighty host. But that folly was
somewhat dignified by the nature o f their purpose. Chivalry, too, was
foolish enough; but it professed to be engaged in the service o f humanity
and charity. Even the warrior Spaniards who marched to the conquest
o f M exico and Peru, deemed it necessary to grace their cause with some­
thing higher and nobler than the lust o f lucre. But now, when the mail
arrives from N ew Y ork, we do not inquire, as the Athenians did, “ is

Mercantile Character.


Philip sick? Is Philip dead?” — “ Have the banks suspended? W ill the
banks suspend !” Such are the questions put to eveiy newspaper, to every
passenger, and to every letter. For the next steam-packet from England
we have our question ready; indeed, it has been ready from the time o f
the last arrival, and the anxiety becomes more and more intense as the day
approaches. A t length she comes, like a comet, but not “ shaking war
and pestilence from her fiery mane.” One only question the steamer has
to answer, “ Is there any more money to borrow ?” There have been
periods in the history o f the world, when this spirit, wrought upon by cir­
cumstances, has produced disasters as memorable as the most signal con­
vulsions in the physical creation. Such were the South Sea scheme in
England, and the Mississippi scheme in France. These were o f sufficient
magnitude to become historical, because, like the famous pestilence called
the Black Death, their march was gigantic and desolating. On a smaller
scale, the bitter fruits o f the same spirit have been tasted in every epheme­
ral speculation, which, like the tulip mania in Holland, has beguiled with
seductive appearances only to betray and ruin. The earthquake and the
tornado pass away, and their melancholy work is completed. The earth
is quiet again upon her foundations; and the atmosphere is hushed into se­
renity and peace, by the same power which has commanded them to
exhibit His majesty in its terror. But who can measure the duration o f the
calamities o f a moral convulsion ? W h o can tell the extent o f the mischief
man can do himself and to others, by his feeble breath employed to inflate a
bubble ? Some fall down dead— killed by the excitement o f the ch a se;
others are crippled and enervated by the wounds and bruises they suffer,
and go halting and maimed all their lives long, with nerves shattered by in­
tense anxiety, and hearts sickened and sad from disappointment, bent down
with anguish, miserable objects to behold. Rightly understood, this is the
spirit o f gambling, a vice as absurd as it is wicked and destructive. What is
the gambler’s aim and desire? Disguise it as you will, soften it by all pos­
sible pretexts, you can only say o f him that he covets his neighbor’s goods.
It is the very opposite o f the right spirit o f trade. The end o f honorable
com m erce is to exchange equivalents for mutual advantage. In this way
it encourages industry, stimulates production, aids every class o f the com ­
munity, and promotes a wholesome circulation. But the aim o f gambling
is to get what belongs to others, without any equivalent at all. In propor­
tion, exactly as this appetite prevails, and is indulged, is the spirit o f gam.
bling abroad. Its victims are those who h ave; for those who have not,
cannot lose. Accordingly, the great gaming-houses in the capital o f Eng.
land— known by a name which at once expresses the depth o f their depravity, and the fearful agony that dwells within them— are well understood
to practise every art to bring young men o f fortune within their fell clutches.
And so o f the same spirit, in all its varieties, whatever may be the forms it
appears in, its seductive temptations are held out strongly to young men
who have succeeded to the accumulations o f the industry and frugality o f a
parent. That a spirit o f this kind has been walking among us, I need not
affirm. That it is our duty, by all the means we can command, to en­
deavor to repress it, no one will hesitate to say. Neither will I affirm that
this is a danger which peculiarly besets the commercial class. It extends
unhappily to all. But the commercial body has to bear an undue share o f
the odium, and therefore should be strongly fortified, so that its character
may be sufficient to repel the imputation, and keep its honor bright, and the


Mercantile Character.

name o f a Philadelphia merchant always present the image o f an honest
man. In such a body, if it retain its characteristic features, we shall have
something to rally upon in times o f dark confusion. The standard o f the
currency may be lost or m islaid; but the standard o f commercial integrity
will be maintained, and will finally serve to bring light and order from the
obscure chaos.
Much remains to be said— more than your patience, already severely
taxed, can be reasonably expected to bear. There is a large field as yet
untouched, relating to private trusts, strictly so called. There is a larger
one still, as to public trusts, such, I mean, as result from undertaking the
management o f masses o f other people’s property, so as to make a lawful
profit for the owners, in a lawful w a y ; as in the instances o f our moneyed
institutions. It might be shown how deeply the conscience is concerned in
both,— what vigilance is demanded, what earnest fidelity, what undeviating
truth, what self-denial and watchfulness over ourselves,— that we may not
suffer our own selfish interests to get the ascendency, and lead us to neg­
lect or betray the confidence reposed in us. It might be shown, too, what
extensive calamity is produced, involving in affliction and ruin the innocent
and the helpless, by the disregard o f these high obligations— by negligence,
by faithlessness, or by what in the language, o f the law is denominated
fraud. But these topics must be omitted, that we may reach a conclusion.
The root o f all evil, the besetting sin o f the present times, the reptile
passion which sits by the ear o f man, whispering its poisonous accents, is
the eager desire to become rapidly, or rather, suddenly rich. This passion
may grow to be so powerful as to shake o ff all restraints. The worshipper
o f wealth is then joined to his idol, whose service is mean and debasing, as
well as imminently hazardous : for how many o f those who devote them­
selves are successful? Exactly as the methods adopted partake o f the
nature o f gaming, and depart from the appointed way o f industry and fru­
gality— exactly as they aim, by any scheme or device whatever, to make
other people’s property our own, instead o f slowly and patiently accumu­
lating for ourselves by our labor,— as they invite us to live by our wits
instead o f our honest exertions,— are they sure to be disappointed. W hat
becomes o f the profits o f the gaming-table ? One man wins and another
loses. The one is im poverished: but is the other enriched ? The cards
and the dice, the table, the lights, the refreshments and attendance, the
idle and extravagant and dissolute and reckless habits acquired, consume
the whole. Put it in what shape you will, this is the end. T h ey pick
each other’s pockets, and at last all their pockets are empty. The stock
they begin with seems only to be transferred from one to the other, but it
is really annihilated. And such is the peculiar curse o f this absurd vice,
that it is a very rare thing for any one who has entered upon its career,
to withdraw from it, until, having nothing left, he is fairly driven out for
his poverty. These are plain and sober truths, and as far as they are
predicated o f the gaming table properly so called, they are generally, if not
universally, admitted. There was a time, not very distant, when some
very singular distinctions were made. Lotteries were sanctioned by pub­
lic authority, when the same public authority declared gaming to be crim ­
inal, and made it punishable by law, and even pronounced lotteries to be
common nuisances. There are places not remote from us, where this un­
accountable distinction is still maintained.
Y ou may see in the public
papers, the announcement o f a lottery in an adjoining state, for several

Mercantile Character.


very worthy purposes, including among the rest, the repair or completion
o f a church. Some very singular and destructive distinctions continue to
be made nearer home. Men who think they could defy the temptations
o f the gaming table, and resent as an insult any intimation to the contrary,
do nevertheless engage intensely in kindred pursuits, influenced by the
same Spirit, and equally profitless, hopeless, and ruinous. T h ey are more
mischievous and corrupting, because they are more extensive, and meet­
ing a readier allowance, more bold and open. Th ey are not so degrading,
at least until they have proved disastrous, and then, when consolation and
support are most needed, mankind show by their contemptuous disregard,
the abhorrence they feel for the pursuit. These things are all o f one
family ; they have the same parentage, and the same characteristic traits :
their source is one and the same. F or what is it? A passion for acquir­
ing without toil, for appropriating to ourselves what belongs to others, no
matter how. This is the test by which every one can try his conduct, and
decide safely, if he will only decide honestly. But o f all such schemes and
contrivances, I hold it to be quite certain, that even for their own purpose,
little to be respected as it is, they are doomed to be unprofitable. Some
may seem to win, and some in fact do lose, for the loss is real, though the
gain is n o t; but the expenses o f the game, the improvidence and reckless­
ness it generates, the tenacious infatuation with which it holds its victims
bound.— these conspire to bring one catastrophe to all. T h ey are turned
out in the end, with the pangs o f poverty and self-reproach upon them, and
then the fiend-spirit which has betrayed them to their ruin, goes along with
them, to mock and hiss at their calamity, and jeer them for their stupid
In pressing such an argument, we must not forget, that though well as
an auxiliary, it is manifestly wanting in dignity. Much higher considera­
tions demand our attention, than whether this eager and overbearing appe­
tite will find the gratification it so ardently seeks. Its aim is to become
rich. This is its whole aim— money, money, money. The Satirist says,
“ Virtue after m on ey ; but that after does not com e.11 The blessing upon
the acquisition o f wealth is in the acquiring by honest and persevering in­
dustry ; the blessing upon the acquisition, when achieved, is for the use
that is made o f it, and according to that use. A ll this, and much more,
is familiar to y o u ; let me not detain you by enlarging upon it. I appeal
only to human judgment, and ask you whether mankind themselves do not
accurately discriminate, by a sort o f instinct, between wealth and virtue.
Th ey honor the virtuous man— they honor the rich man’s riches. Should
he transfer them to another, (as he may do,) he transfers his honor along
with them. He will be fortunate if, like Lear, when he had parted with
his kingdom, he have one faithful follower to do him reverence. But his
virtues— these are inalienable. T h ey are part o f himself. I f you would
prove this instinctive judgment, go stand by the grave, not to moralize, but
simply to let your feelings take their natural course. W h ere are the riches
that belonged to its inhabitant ? T h ey remain upon earth. Perhaps you
may coldly inquire who has got them ; but that is a ll;— you know that
they have not gone. W here are his virtues? Th ey quitted the earth
when he left it. They have gone down with him into the grave. Th ey
accompany him whither he has gone. The blessings they have conferred
remain, but the virtues themselves have departed for ever; for they were
inseparable from him to whom they belonged. This, then, is the judgment

The Progress o f the Northwest.


o f the world itself. N o one can stand by a good man’s grave without emo­
tion, in which is mingled regret for his loss?
W e must ascend still higher, if we would know the full worth o f integ­
rity. W e must lay aside all other judgments, and each for himself con­
scientiously consult his own, first endeavoring earnestly to enlighten it.
What will it tell him ? Man is a portion o f eternity: not a fragment,
broken off, and thrown upon this earth, here to begin and end ; but an
abiding portion o f eternity. The links which bind him to it he cannot
break. They are his virtues or his vices. These, with right exertions,
he can control. H e cannot, by any efforts o f his own, excel in intellectual
power— he cannot acquire riches— he cannot achieve greatness ; therefore
he is not accountable for the want o f them. But he can be good or bad ;
and upon this capacity it is that his accountability rests, and according to
it is to be his destiny.

A rt . II.— T H E P R O G R E S S O F T H E N O R T H W E S T .
T he progress and present condition o f that wide agricultural territory
o f the west, stretching around the great lakes, and occupied by the United
States, is o f vital importance to our mercantile population. Colonized for
the most part by emigrants from the east, its people are linked with us by
ties o f blood, by a community o f interests as the citizens o f one common
country, by a common proprietorship in the soil, and by intimate and im­
portant commercial relations. It is well known that the greater portion
o f the merchandise o f the west has ever been and will continue to be sup­
plied from the eastern markets, so that the possession o f what is denom­
inated the western trade has already become an object o f competition with
our principal Atlantic cities; and, that the east in return is supplied by
the staple western agricultural products. Should the country arrive at that
period when these products are exported abroad, the eastern cities must
be the depots o f shipment for the produce o f the west to foreign markets,
as they now are and long will be the distributors into the interior, o f all
imported foreign goods. The arteries o f western com m erce will circulate
the life-blood 10 the heart o f our commercial metropolis. Every pulsation
o f that heart is felt to the remotest borders o f the west. W e design,
therefore, in this paper, to sketch the outline o f the general progress and
present condition o f that territory, so bound to us by these various bonds,
as the circumstances connected with its advance are not generally known,
and as it is destined in future time to exercise an important bearing upon
the commercial relations o f the country.
A general and growing interest has recently begun to develop itself,
respecting the early history, progress, and present condition o f the north;west. Before the advance o f colonization had laid open its vast resources,
states had been organized within its bounds, with a population composed
cif emigrants from the different sections o f the east, and speculation in lands
hjtad diffused abroad among the bulk o f the people a pecuniary motive to
investigate its actual position, we were accustomed to regard it as a wide
region o f interminable forests and boundless prairies, broken at frequent
points by swamps and lakes, exhibiting many bold and magnificent features

The Progress o f the Northwest.


o f natural scenery, and uninhabitable but in limited tracts, except by the
wild beasts and savage tribes which roved over its broad domain, without
any early organized political institutions, or even interesting historical as­
sociations. It is, indeed, a commentary upon the nevmess o f our country,
that we should have permitted the historic circumstances connected with
this important part o f the republic, to slumber so long ; and we rejoice that
a zealous, searching, and co-operative spirit in respect to these facts, has
at length been awakened. The dusty archives o f ancient and foreign
libraries have recently been ransacked, and a large body o f printed records,
both in our own and in a foreign language, incrusted with the mould o f
time, has been drawn from their shelves, rich in the materials o f western
history, and throwing new light upon the political and moral causes which
have borne upon its progress.
It is found that this territory, although a considerable portion is still a
forest slumbering in its primeval solitude, exhibits in the frame o f its early
institutions a distinctive form o f local character, an independent system o f
laws, a history distinguished for many picturesque and extraordinary events,
and a social structure, whicn is beautifully contrasted with that o f the E ng­
lish and Dutch colonies that occupied at the same time the eastern portion
o f the United States. W e o f the east have had indeed in our ancient re­
cords and traditions, occasional glimpses o f the old French and Indian wars,
o f descents made by the former nation, backed by western savages, upon
our feeble border colonies when they were colonies o f England, but what
was the particular character o f the assailants, the frame o f their policy,
their domestic institutions, and the special causes which moved their belli­
gerent operations have been, to most o f us, enveloped in dim twilight. W e
propose in this paper to sketch a condensed view o f the general resources
o f the region which was organized into the old Northwestern Territory
by the ordinance o f 1787, and now embraced in the states o f Illinois, In­
diana, Ohio, Michigan, and the Territory o f Wisconsin, to trace the politi­
cal causes which have acted upon its progress, and its advantages as a
habitation for man.
And in the first place, what is the physical aspect o f this territory? In
the natural resources o f the land, it spreads out, to say the least, as rich a
field for human enterprise as is developed by any tract o f country o f the
same extent on the face o f the globe. Ohio, with a very, large domain,
which is now in its greater part in a forward state o f cultivation, presents
in its dense forests a soil that is in almost its entire portion favorable to
agriculture, producing bountiful crops o f all those harvests that are found in
the same latitude at the east; showing in its granaries, stock husbandry,
and general improvement, an amount o f wealth that is extraordinary when
we consider that this wealth has been reaped from the soil in a period less
than a half a century. The new state o f Michigan, although far behind
Ohio in the amount o f its population and general improvement, unfolds in
the enterprise which has already been exerted upon its forests, prairies, and
lake-besprinkled oaklands, an energy no less remarkable. Indiana, with
equal agricultural advantages ; W isconsin, with its forest-crowned hills and
mineral wealth ; and Illinois, with its unmeasured prairies, extending their
rich mould towards the horizon like the s e a ;— stretch out a land capable
o f producing crops adequate to the support o f ten times the present popu­
lation o f the United States. The land thus favorable to the production o f
the various kinds o f grain, fruit, and vegetables, abounds in mineral re­


The Progress o f the Northwest.

sources. In its recesses are found coal, salt, sulphur, lead, zinc, coppery
iron, and other metals, in sufficient abundance for its own consumption and
even for exportation! when a sufficient amount o f enterprise shall have
been concentrated to work them with effect. Besides these agricultural
and mineral resources, that are always essential to the comfort o f a local
population, it possesses natural channels o f navigation, by which the sur­
plus o f its products may be exported abroad. A chain o f lakes, the largest
on the globe, stretches from the shores o f N ew Y ork, and waters its coast
for thousands o f miles. The Mississippi, which is much the longest, al­
though not the broadest river upon the earth, taking its rise in the remote
north, opens a highway to the ocean through the G ulf o f M exico, for the
distance o f about three thousand miles, and will be conjoined with the whole
line o f the lakes when the projected ship canal to connect the F ox River
o f Green Bay with the W isconsin, and that at the Sault de Sainte Marie
shall have been constructed ; thus affording a continuous line o f coast navi­
gation from N ew Orleans to Buffalo, or to the remotest shores o f Lake
Superior. Besides this line o f coast navigation, the territory is variegated
with inland lakes and streams, (the largest o f which is the Ohio,) that con ­
nect its remotest parts, and furnish communications with the principal
waters, channels for steamships, flatboats, rafts, or hydraulic power for the
propulsion o f machinery ; and, it is not the least remarkable feature o f this
territory, that within fifty years, under American auspices, it has increased
from a comparative solitude to a population o f nearly three millions, accord­
ing to the lowest estimate.
The progress o f the territory may be considered as marked by threedistinct epochs. The first commences with the explorations o f Robert de
la Salle, and reaches down to the year 1760, the whole period o f the French
domination ; the second begins with that year, when the English obtained
possession o f the country, and extends to the year 179.6, when the western
posts were surrendered to the United States; and the third reaches from
that time to the present, when the full action o f American enterprise has
been experienced upon the soil.
W e have said that the French history o f the northwest commences with
the first explorations o f Robert de la Salle, who “ led the w ay” to its first
permanent colonization by civilized man. L a Salle may be justly regarded
as The Columbus o f W estern Discovery. Constructing a vessel upon the
shore o f Lake Erie, when there was stretched around him a chain o f un­
known seas and forests, inhabited by Indians whose temper towards the
French had not then been clearly ascertained, with here and there, perhaps,
a jesuit missionary, who had erected his cross in the woods, we find him
on the 7th o f August, 1679, first ploughing the billows o f that lake in his
frail bark, The Griffin, for the image o f that animal was carved upon her
bow. This was the first vessel that had ever adventured upon the north­
western waters. Louis Hennepin, a Flemish Recollect, was his spiritual
adviser; and a small body o f Frenchmen constituted his crew. Th ey
sounded as they went, because no ship had ever crossed these lakes before.
Having succeeded in navigating this lake, they arrived on the tenth o f that
month near the cluster o f islands that is grouped at the mouth o f the D e­
troit river, where they anchored. “ These islands,” says Hennepin, who
was the journalist o f the expedition, “ make the finest prospect in the
world. T h e strait (o f Detroit) is finer than Niagara, being one league
broad, excepting that part which forms the lake that we have called Saint

The Progress o f the Northwest.


Clair. The country between the two lakes (Erie and Huron) is Very well
situated, and the soil very fertile. T h e banks o f the strait (Detroit) are
vast meadows, and the prospect is terminated with some hills covered with
vineyards, trees bearing good fruit, groves and forests, so well disposed,
that one would think nature alone could not have made without the help o f
art so charming a prospect. That country is stocked with stags, wild goats
and bears, which are good for food, and not fierce as in other countries.
Some think they are better than our pork. Turkey cocks and swans are
there very common, and our men brought several other beasts and birds
whose names are unknown to us, but they are extraordinary relishing.
The forests are chiefly made up o f walnut, chesnut, plum, and pear trees,
loaded with their own fruit and vines. There is also abundance o f timber
for building, so that those who shall be so happy as to inhabit this noble
country, cannot but remember with gratitude them who have led the way."*
W e have been induced to make a liberal quotation from Hennepin for the
purpose o f showing the spirit o f the first expedition to the northwest, and
the impressions entertained by these explorers o f the magnitude o f the en­
terprise. History has scarcely done justice to the merits o f the heroic La
Salle, although a monument to his memory has been erected at Washing­
ton, in the rotunda o f the Capitol, by the side o f those o f William Penn and
John Smith. The French history o f this region, embracing a large mass
o f facts, is deposited in the numerous journals which were from time to
time prepared by the jesuit missionaries and early French travellers
through this portion o f the west, while it was held and claimed by France,
and in the scattered colonial records and traditions which have strayed
down to our own day. Besides a considerable bulk o f anonymous matter
comprised in these journals, we have the more valuable accounts o f Father
Joseph Marquette, one o f the most disinterested and benevolent o f these
Catholic missionaries, and the first pioneer to the banks o f the Mississippi
from the Canadian territory, the more labored works o f the Baron L a
Hontan, Charlevoix, Joutel, Hennepin, Tonti, and many others, whose
statements, to us o f the present time, are o f the greatest value. Some o f
these journalists were gentlemen o f rank, the most o f them men o f educa­
tion, who traversed this region either as soldiers o f the French government
or in the service o f the church. A few o f these works were very much
labored ; and, in the form o f their publication, received all those appliances
which at that time were furnished by the press o f Paris, and all that encour­
agement which was granted by royal patronage and popular interest in
Franee respecting its newly acquired American territory. The work o f
the famous Baron La Hontan was issued in a pretty expensive style, and
illustrated by numerous engravings, depicting savage customs and historical
incidents, awkward and inaccurate enough, but still showing the impres­
sions which the fresh, and, to them, extraordinary scenes o f western life
and scenery, were calculated to produce. The works o f Charlevoix es­
pecially, both his Journal, (which consisted o f a series o f letters addressed to
the Ducliesse de Lesdiguiere,) and his “ History o f N ew France,” have al­
ways received a great degree o f the public favor. The last named work
was published under the special sanction o f the French crown, and in that
luxurious form which best befitted the voluptuous age o f Louis X IV . and
the court o f Versailles. W e doubt, indeed, whether any historical work,


* See Hennepin’ s account o f the first expedition o f La Salle.



T he Progress o f the Northwest.

ancient or modern, regarding this country, has ever been published in a
more costly manner than this same History o f New France, which contains
likewise his Journal.
It is comprised in three quarto volumes, whose
vignette, in its emblematic device, emblazons the glory o f “ La Grande
Nation, ” and is interspersed with numerous maps and expensive engravings,
which show the geography and the vegetable productions o f the country.*
Most o f the works to which we have alluded may be found in the library o f
our N ew Y ork Historical Society.
These travellers were not, nor could they be expected to be, in all cases
accurate, from their rapid passage through the western territory; but, in
their accounts o f their own experience, we derive much valuable informa­
tion o f its actual condition during the time when they wrote. Glimpses o f
wild beasts which they had never before seen, vegetable productions whose
names they did not know, fragments o f facts collected from the accounts of
the Indians, always exaggerated and seldom authentic, passed in rapid suc­
cession before their minds, while they journeyed onward in bewildered amaze­
ment through rivers, lakes, forests, and Indian cam ps; and their impressions,
thus colored and distorted, found their way into their books. But, taken
as a whole, their accounts are as accurate as could be expected, considering
the circumstances under which they w rote; and they furnish a valuable
mine whence the future historian o f this region may dig many a solid stone
and brilliant gem, to lay the foundations and adorn the columns o f his edi­
fice, as soon as the growing population, wealth, and taste o f the region shall
warrant the construction o f his work. If, for example, the zealous Mar­
quette depicts the “ wingless swans” as floating upon the Mississippi— when
Hennepin describes the “ wild goats” | upon the shores o f Lake Erie—
when the Baron L a Hontan discourses upon the “ L ong river,” and Char­
levoix alludes to the “ citrons” as growing upon the banks o f the Detroit,
we are disposed to attribute their inaccuracy less to intentional misrepre­
sentation. than to natural and obvious mistake. Accurate observation and
minute care are required, to establish with perfect correctness the facts
connected with any country, and he who should look to early records for his­
torical matter, will find much chaff to be winnowed from the genuine and
golden wheat.
In examining thb early French works connected with the west, we are
impressed with the bold contrast which they bear to the colonial accounts
o f N ew England at the same period. Although the greater part o f those
volumes are ecclesiastical, proceeding as they did from the ministers o f the
church, they yet glow with a romantic enthusiasm, the peculiar character­
istic o f the French people, and for which we look in vain among the sober
yet zealous colonial writers o f the.puritans. And it must be granted that the
fresh and luxuriant scenes o f this western scenery and association were
calculated to call forth a picturesque eloquence. Some o f these French
journalists were fresh from the paving stones o f Paris; and, transported
into the new wilderness, a broad expanse o f lakes and forests, whose re­
sources and boundaries were then unknown, they advanced with a zeal and
* Those o f our readers who wish to extend their researches into the early history of
the northwest, we would refer to La Hontan’s Voyages, Hennepin, the Journal o f Char,
levoix, Charlevoix’s Nouvelle France, the Journal o f Marquette, Joutel, and T o n ti;
and also to the Lettres Edijiantes, which contain much curious and valuable matter.
t H ow easy was it for Hennepin to mistake a herd o f young deer, bounding through
the woods, for a flock o f wild goats!

The Progress o f the Northwest.


ardor which would naturally arise in the minds o f men who deemed them­
selves discoverers. Here surfaces o f water were spread out, which to them
appeared like oceans. There was descried a glassy stream winding through
green woods, or murmuring by banks o f flowers. Here was stretched out
a tract o f forest, the growth o f centuries, almost impervious to the eye
from the rank undergrowth o f its vegetation, and expanding into what ap­
peared interminable distance. There a prairie covered with the long and
coarse grass o f these natural meadows, lay in the lap o f silence, the rang­
ing ground o f droves o f elks and buffaloes, and the cradle o f the rattlesnake
or the spotted fawn. Here tracts o f landscape swelling into bold undula­
tions, like the long swells o f the sea after a storm, disclosed portions o f
wilderness which seemed like the cultivated parks o f the old world, widened
into unmeasured extent, through the branches o f which gleamed a silver
lake that bore upon its bosom the sWan and flocks o f wild ducks o f various
plumage. Here an Indian wigwam showed its naked tenants, and there
the canoe o f a savage darted across the blue expanse o f the waters. It was
natural that the French travellers should select the more pleasing features
o f the country in their accounts to the parent government abroad.
The savages, new to them and uncouth in their habits and dress, fur­
nished a still wider field for moral speculation than the features o f the na­
tural scenery. “ The Lake E rie,” says L a Hontan, who was for some
time the commandant o f the fort o f Michilimackinac, and who travelled
through the lakes about the year 1688, “ is justly dignified with the illus­
trious name o f Conti, for assuredly it is the finest upon earth. Y ou may
judge o f the goodness o f the climate from the latitude o f the countries that
surround it. Its circumference extends to two hundred and thirty leagues,
but it affords every where a charming prospect, and its banks are decked
with oak trees, elms, chesnut trees, walnut trees, apple trees, plum trees, and
vines which bear their fine clusters up to the tops o f the trees, upon a sort o f
ground that lies as smooth as one’s hand. Such ornaments as these are
sufficient to give rise to the most agreeable idea o f a landscape in the
world.” * Charlevoix, who travelled through the same track on his way
to Detroit in 1720, about thirty-three years afterwards, follows in the same
strain. “ W ere we all to sail,” says he, “ as I then did, with a serene sky,
in a most charming climate, and on water as clear as that o f the purest
fountain— were we sure o f finding every where secure and agreeable places
to pass the night in, where we might enjoy the pleasure o f hunting at a
small expense, breathe at our ease the purest air, and enjoy the prospect o f
the finest country in the universe, we might possibly be tempted to travel
to the end o f our days. I recalled to mind the memory o f those ancient
patriarchs who had no fixed place o f abode, who lived in tents, who were
in a manner the masters o f all the countries they passed through, and who
enjoyed in peace and tranquillity all their productions, without the plague
inevitable in the possession o f a real and fixed estate. H ow many oaks
represented to me that o f M am re! H ow many fountains put me in mind
o f that o f Jacob ! Each day a new situation chosen at pleasure, a neat and
commodious house, built and furnished with all necessaries in less than a
quarter o f an hour, and floored with a pavement o f flowers, continually
springing up on a carpet o f the most beautiful green, on all sides simple
and natural, beauties unadulterated and inimitable by any art !” f
Such is
* See La Hontan’s Voyages.

t See Charlevoix’s Journal.


The Progress o f the Northwest.

an example o f some o f the most highly wrought accounts which from time
to time were forwarded to the French government by its early explorers
through the west.
W e come now to a consideration o f the condition o f the territory while
it was occupied by France. It is well known that the French, who first
gained its occupation and held possession until the year 1760, established
themselves around the chain o f fortifications first projected and partially
carried out by L a Salle, along the great lakes and the banks o f the Missis­
sippi. The design o f this chain o f fortifications was three fo ld ; to provide
military defences against the Indians, to extend the operations o f the fur
trade, to hem in the English colonies by a line o f forts extending from
Quebec to the delta o f the Mississippi, and to furnish safe depots or factories
for the collection o f the peltries collected at these posts, which formed the
prominent mercantile enterprise o f France in this country during the whole
period o f the French domination ; and from their establishment commences
the most interesting portion o f the history o f the territory. T o the question,
what was the condition o f the northwest territory when it was claimed and
occupied by France, we can furnish a ready answer. It was a vast ranging
ground for the numerous Indian tribes, who roamed over it in all the list­
less indolence o f their savage independence; o f the jesuit missionaries,
who, under the garb o f their religious orders, strove to gain the influence
o f the red men in behalf o f their government as well as their church, by
their conversion to the Catholic faith; the theatre o f the most important
military operations o f the French soldiers at the w e s t; and the grand mart
where the furs, which were deemed the most valuable products o f this re­
gion, were collected for shipment to France, under a commercial system
which was originally projected by the powerful mind o f the Cardinal de
The condition o f a country, although often in some measure modified by
the nature o f the climate and the soil, is more generally founded upon the
character o f the people and the constitution o f its laws. This is clearly
exhibited in the case o f the northwest, for while the domain was .rich in all
the natural advantages that could be furnished by the soil, it was entirely
barren o f all those moral and intellectual fruits springing from bold and
energetic character, directed by a free, enlightened, and wholesome system
o f jurisprudence.
The character o f the early French Canadian settlers
was o f that cast the least adapted to advance the solid growth o f any nation.
Originally imported to Canada from the peasantry o f the French provinces,
or taken from the transient and unsettled population o f the frontier towns
o f that empire, a class never distinguished for morals or intelligence, they
were introduced into this part o f the west by the members o f the old French
trading companies, in order to carry out the interests o f their royal and
chartered monopolies, in a traffic that was necessarily confined to the line
o f the lakes. W e find them scattered around the frontier posts o f the lake
waters, at Detroit, Michilimackinac, the Sault de Sainte Marie, Green Bay,
and other interior posts, extending to Lake Superior and the borders o f
the Mississippi. Th ey were a class o f men, mild, affable, contented so
long as they could obtain a cup o f “ hominee” or a haunch o f venison,
willing to embark in their canoes and sweep the whole extent o f the lake
waters, to traverse the uttermost depths o f the woods, to wear the dress o f
demi-savages, the capote, the blanket coat, the crimson sash, the leggins
o f deer skin, the embroidered moccasins, and the scalping knife, to lodge

The Progress o f the Northwest.


with the Indians in their wigwams, to take to themselves Indian wives or
concubines, to rear up a swarm o f half-breed children, to further the inter­
ests o f their employers, and to regard th eir.seigneurs with a reverence
which belonged to the most aristocratic period o f the French monarchy.
A small portion o f these French settlers devoted themselves to husbandry,
planted fruit trees which are now to be seen, and raised corn and wheat
within the picket fences that enclosed their narrow farms that stood for
protection under the shadow o f the French forts; but, they also wore the
deer-skin leggins, the red sash, the Indian turban, and the m occasin ; their
husbandry was marked by no thrift, and the rich soil was made to yield
scarcely sufficient to supply their necessary wants. They pursued just
such a course o f alternate indolence and exertion in the fur trade as might
have been expected from the elements o f which they were composed, demicivilized in their habitudes o f thought, surrounded as they were by savage
associations, incorporated in intercourse and in blood with the Indians, and
looking up with a blind reverence to the seigniorial system o f Canada,
which had been originally imported from France and handed down from
their fathers.
Besides the distinctive character o f the French population at the west,
which was opposed to national progress and strongly contrasted with the
vigor o f the N ew England colonies at the same time, the slow advance o f
the territory was founded in the policy o f the fur trade. The original popu­
lation o f N ew England were “ colonies o f conscience,” constituted o f men o f
sturdy, republican, and independent traits o f character— the French colonies o f the northwest were colonies o f gain and commerce. The forests
were regarded, not for their agricultural resources, but for the furs in which
they abounded, being the most valuable articles o f traffic in the French
markets. The immense chain o f inland navigation that was here spread
out was valued, not as a great highway o f permanent national trade, but
chiefly as a channel in which these furs might be for a time transported to
their places o f shipment. The early political, and in consequence, the
commercial power o f the country was vested in the men o f rank, the
seigneurs o f Canada and o f France, who were themselves the partners in
these several fur companies, and whose object it was to reap the greatest
temporary rewards from the prosecution o f the traffic. The whole domain
was, in fact, viewed, not with the eye o f patriots, desiring to establish for
themselves and for their posterity in all coming time, a free and permanent
empire upon the soil, but with the motives o f monopolists, regardless o f the
weal o f the people, striving to secure the greatest temporary profits from
the labors o f others, and thereby to aggrandize themselves. In consequence
o f this spirit no schools were founded. The French missionaries, who were
the agents o f the state as well as the church, being Roman Catholics, felt
no interest in the general diffusion o f popular intelligence ; and the natural
result o f all this was, that the physical force o f that ignorant population,
composed o f French Canadians, the fur traders, the peasantry, and the
wandering half-breeds, was confined within the channels o f this traffic, pre­
senting a form o f character similar to that o f a colony o f sailors. The
capital necessary to carry on the fur trade, which, in its system o f opera­
tion, was similar to the whale fishery, as it is now conducted in this coun­
try, was engrossed in the hands o f the more opulent merchants, who acted
as agents for the French governm ent; and the mass o f peltries which were
transported from time to time through the lakes along the channel o f the


The Progress o f the Northwest.

.Ottawas river, or across the portage o f Niagara Falls to Montreal and
Quebec, poured the bulk o f the profits into the hands o f the stockholders,
or what L a Hontan terms the “ farmers o f the beaver skins,11 and left just
enough in the hands o f the traders for a scanty support. A particular ac­
count o f the North American fur trade we reserve for a future paper.
In exact keeping with this spirit was the policy o f the old French laws.
The “ Coutume de P a ris," or the “ Customs o f Paris,” adopted by the French
for the government o f the west, was nothing less than a liberalized feudal
system ; and, as it was here administered, its necessary result was to
cripple the energies o f the French colonists by prescribing the size o f
their farms, and seems to have been expressly designed to check agricul­
ture by its system o f granting lands. Surely that government must have
valued these western lands at a higher price than the visions o f our western
speculators have ever imagined, to have been so coy in their distribution.
Grants, indeed, were sometimes, although seldom, made by the seigneur,
hut in what tracts, and under what conditions ? W e have before us the
first grant that was made at Detroit, by Antoine de la Motthe Cadillac, its
founder, to Francois Fafard De Lorme, in 1706 ; and, although it conveyed
but thirty-two acres, it is burdened with fines and encumbrances which a
feudal lord o f the dark ages would have scarcely bound upon his vassal.
W e would here mention some o f its principal conditions, premising that the
grant was made under a special commission from Louis X IV . to the
seigneur, who is termed in the record the “ Lord o f Bouaget, Mont Desert,
and commandant f o r the king at D etroit," investing him with the power to
make grants o f land in that seigniory to whomsoever he might think proper.
And in the first place the grantee was bound to pay to the seigneur, in his
“ castle and principal manor” on the 20th o f March o f each year, the sum
o f five livres quit-rent, and “ for other rights” w hereof he had divested him­
self, the sum o f ten livres in peltry, and when a current money should be
established, he was bound to pay that sum in money, forever. H e was also
obliged to clear and improve the ceded tract within three months from the
date o f the grant, on pain o f forfeiture. H e was bound to Diant or help to
plant a long maypole at the door o f the principal manor, on the 1st o f May
in each year, or to pay three livres in money or good peltry. He was
bound to grind his grain at the mill o f the seigneur, and to pay therefor.
H e was obliged to inform the seigneur o f the sale o f his property, and the
right was reserved to the seigneur to purchase it himself at the offered
price. The grantee had no power to cede, transfer, or sell it, but with the
consent o f the grantor; and, if this consent was obtained, he was himself
subjected to the personal charges and the fees for the right o f alienation.
F or the next ten years after the grant was made, no locksmith, blacksmith,
armorer, or brewer, was permitted to work at his trade upon the land
without the permission o f the grantor. A ll the timber required for the
construction o f fortifications, boats, or . other vessels, was reserved. The
goods imported by the grantee were not permitted to be sold upon the land
except by established residents o f the place, and the grantee was also pro­
hibited from the selling o f brandy to the Indians on pain o f confiscation
o f the spirit sold or the goods for which it was exchanged.* These were
some o f the conditions and fines imposed on a tract which, under our
* For the record o f this grant we would refer our readers to the American State
Papers, class viii. p. 191.

The Progress o f the Northwest.


wholesome system o f land policy, may be purchased for the price o f fifty
dollars, with the best title from the government, and that in fee simple.
The adminstration o f this crude system o f law, which from necessity
prevailed around the posts, although exercised with mildness, was indeed
nothing more than a military despotism. The commandants o f the posts
possessed a sort o f summary authority, over which in some cases the gov­
ernor-general o f Canada had an appellate jurisdiction.
By that policy, agriculture was checked, general intelligence was pre­
vented, and a people who might have strengthened the power o f France in
this country by the augmentation o f its physical resources, were sent abroad
in the thriftless and uncertain channels o f the fur trade, like so many
mariners, expending in a month the products o f their labor for a year. And
where are the monuments o f French enterprise upon the lakes, from the
time when L a Salle first crossed them to the year 1760, the period in
which the territory was conquered by England ? A few dying Indians
were converted and baptized by the jesuits; a few cargoes o f furs were
shipped from the borders o f the lakes to France. The energies o f the
people were turned into a current o f the fur trade, which added but little
to the wealth o f the s o il; the wilderness, with its rich agricultural resources,
and its arteries o f inland navigation, which were designed, under the action
o f free enterprise, to circulate solid wealth through the country, remained
a solitude. Indeed all the vestiges which have come down to us, to show that
French power once existed on the soil at all, are here and there the sunken
timbers o f a Catholic chapel, which once bore the cross, a few patches o f
cultivated land enclosed by pickets, and worn out by improvident husbandry,
a few orchards o f pear and apple trees, a few mouldering foundations, the
remains o f the old French fortifications on the shores o f the lakes and the
Mississippi, and a few straggling Frenchmen, still retaining the gown, the
sash, and the moccasin, most o f them having Indian blood in their veins,
and employed either as voyagers in the fur trade, travelling along the
shores o f the lakes in their French carts drawn by Canadian poneys, or
engaged in a quiet and unenterprising spirit o f husbandry, taking but little
interest in the American improvements which are fast pressing upon them,
mourning over the golden days o f seigniorial grandeur, and the departed
glory o f their liege lords.
Even after the territory passed into the hands o f the English, its condi­
tion was not much improved. From the time when the northwest was first
settled by the French, down to the year 1760, when Major Rogers, under
the direction o f General Amherst, advanced across Lake Erie and took
possession o f Detroit, the territory had presented but little o f stirring inte­
rest. Situated as it was at a great distance from the border wars which
raged on the line that divided the French and English, it remained in com ­
parative peace. Bands o f savages were occasionally despatched from the
lake shores by French agency against the English settlements ; a party o f
capricious savages sometimes made an attack upon the French posts, and
hostile parties o f the Iroquois showed themselves upon the borders o f the
lakes against their ancient enemies, the Algonquins; but these incursions
would not have been deemed o f sufficient importance to receive any perma­
nent record, had they not been the only belligerent operations that marked
the territory at this time. The colonies were mercantile colonies, and they
were embarked in the silent and peaceful operations o f the fur trade. But
when the English gained possession o f the western posts, the scene opened


The Progress o f ihe Northwest.

with more bustling preparations ; the French were conquered, and although
they remained in their old settlements, protected by the capitulation o f
Montreal, the English, their rivals, had established themselves upon the con­
quered territory. The red men, the friends o f the French, who had been
scattered in comparative repose through the forest, now perceived a new
power which they had been taught to hate, advancing upon their ancient
domain. When, therefore, the Ottawa chief Pontiac, the principal sachem
o f the northwestern tribes, first met Rogers on the shore o f Lake Erie ad­
vancing towards Detroit to tear down the standard o f Bellestre, he seems to
have determined to organize his tribes and come to the rescue o f his ancient
allies. Accordingly, the savage bands from the remotest points o f the wil­
derness upon the whole line o f the frontier— the Ottawas, the Wyandots,
or Flurons, the Pottawatamies, the Chippeways, the Miamies, the Shawanese,
the Winnebagoes, the Foxes, and parts o f other tribes— freshly painted them­
selves for battle, sharpened their rusty tomahawks, kindled their camp fires,
sung their war songs, danced their war dance, and flashed their scalping
knives in fierce defiance in the red light. The events that followed in 1763
are now matter o f history. Twelve forts, stretching along a thousand miles
o f the northwestern frontier, were attacked nearly at the same time ; the
old fortification o f Michilimackinac, upon the northern part o f the peninsula
o f Michigan, was burned to its foundations, after one o f the most ghastly
butcheries that disfigures the annals o f Indian warfare had been perpetrated.
Detroit was besieged for months by Pontiac in person, that deceptive, politic,
and far-seeing, but noble savage; and this post, together with that o f N ia­
gara and Pittsburgh, were the only ones which held out. The arrival o f
Col. Bouquet with an English force, prevented the fleur-de-lis from again
waving along the whole line o f the lake frontier.
W e have remarked that the physical condition o f the northwest was not
much improved by the transfer o f its dominion from France to England,
and the occupation o f the soil by the conquerors. The French were guaran­
tied the enjoyment o f their civil and religious rights, although English laws
were partially introduced; yet few lands were permitted to be granted to
the settlers. The Hudson’s Bay Company, now in existence, which was
chartered in 1668, and afterwards the Northwest Company, stretched their
despotic dominion over the wilderness upon that track that had before been
occupied by the French fur trade, and the furs which had before been
shipped to France, were forwarded to China or to England, the traffic itself
being pi’osecuted by the same general agents, and with the same system o f
machinery. Although Robert Rogers, the commandant o f the first English
detachment that had ever advanced to the western shore o f the lakes, pub­
lished a journal o f his expedition, Alexander Henry, an English trader,
who was present at the fall o f Michilimackinac, gave the public an
account o f the country in his journal, Jonathan Carver published his tour
through the lakes at a later period, and Sir Alexander Mackenzie wrote
his history o f the fur trade— we have little o f general interest, except
that which relates to the condition o f the wild tribes, their appearance,
habits, and traditions. Perhaps a little more land might have been cultiva­
ted ; but the general aspect o f the country remained in its primitive condi­
tion : the French soldiers were however removed, and those o f the English
were established in their place.
Afterwards, succeeded the American revolution, while the English still
held possession o f the northwest. During its whole progress the borders

The Progress o f the Northwest.


o f the lakes were made the recruiting point, where the red men were pro­
vided with tomahawks and scalping knives, and sent out against the Am eri­
can border settlements and way-farers. This was more particularly the
case at Detroit and the Island o f Mackinaw. The principal agent in behalf
o f the British government for that object, was Henry Hamilton, for a time
the commandant o f Detroit, who despatched these savage bands to attack
every straggling traveller whom they could find, men, women, or children,
to collect their scalps, and to return them to the scalp mart o f Detroit,
where they were paid in trinkets, whiskey, and g o ld ; and the practice con­
tinued until this scalp merchant was captured at Vincennes, by that sturdy
model o f courage and chivalry, George Rogers Clark, and sent in irons to
Virginia. O f the particular incidents o f this border war we are not anxious
to give a particular account. W e do not wish to paint, even if we had the
power, the burning log hut, the victims o f savage ferocity, the sufferings o f
women, and even infants at the breast, as, well as vigorous backwoodsmen,
shot down by Indian rifle-balls moulded by British hands, or to recount
the warfare o f Indians skulking through the forest with yells, which, like
the groans o f Ariel, were horrible enough to make the wolves h o w l!— a
scene which was laid in the northwest from the commencement o f the re­
volution, and continued down to the year 1795, peace having been declared
at last.
N ew Y ork, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut ceded the territory
which they claimed northwest o f the river Ohio to the United States, on
condition that this territory should remain forever a “ common fund” for
the benefit o f the Union; and in 1787, a frame o f government was established
for it in the famous “ ordinance o f 1787.” But the government had scarcely
been organized, when a colony from Boston, with the shrewd enterprise
characteristic o f the Yankees, hearing o f the rich lands in this quarter, ad­
vanced into the woods ; and we find them in 1788, raising their log houses
under the huge sycamores, upon the banks o f the Muskingum, and enacting
their laws, which were to be administered by Arthur St. Clair, the first
governor o f the northwestern territory, upon the trunks o f the trees. But
the English still held possession o f the military posts: the Indian, who seems
to have transferred his confidence from the French to the English, was
around them in the woods with his rifle, jealous o f their advance, and hating
them as deeply as he had before done their predecessors. Their situation
was any thing but comfortable, and they had good ground for anticipating
another storm : this storm soon broke out in 1790, in the second Indian
confederation. W e do not design here to enter into an account o f the bor­
der wars o f the northwest, after the territory was ceded to the United States,
although held in its greater part by the English. The Indians, fighting in
their own way, and on a ground peculiarly adapted to their mode o f war­
fare, always having a breastwork o f trees or fallen logs to prptect themselves,
and backed as they were by British agency, were for a time successful.
The period is pregnant with massacres, deeds o f daring and bold emprise,
which in Rom e would have made their actors heroes, originating the cam ­
paigns o f Harmar, St. Clair, and that o f General W ayne, who finally suc­
ceeded in dispersing the Indians and perfecting a treaty at Greenville, by
which peace was for a time established.
I f no other advantage were attained by that treaty, the western posts were
delivered up in 1796 ; a firm footing was gained for the advance o f coloni­
zation to whomsoever might wish to penetrate a wilderness that had been
vol. hi.— no.



The Progress o f the Northwest.


the scene o f such bloody strife, with most o f the savage actors still living,
and around them ; and where their midnight dreams were likely to be filled
with the visions o f painted Indians, brandishing their tomahawks and waving
their fresh scalps amid the screams o f women dying in the grasp o f savages,
and the light o f their burning homes. The progress o f population was ac­
cordingly slow. A sturdy hunter in buck-skin trowsers and fox-skin cap,
might be seen occasionally stealing along the margin o f the water courses,
in quest o f game or tracts o f choice land; but even he was not accustomed
.to venture out o f sight o f the smoke o f his log house, and the sound o f the
bark o f his neighbor’s dog. W hat motive indeed existed for men in com ­
fortable circumstances at the east, to leave the shores o f the salt water, and
to penetrate a forest then but little known, filled with wild beasts and savage
men, and to a place where the most formidable hardships were to be en­
dured? But they did go, notwithstanding all these difficulties, and as early
as 1802, the population o f Ohio had grown to an amount which warranted
its organization into a state. All o f Michigan consisted in a few o f the
French peasantry and English merchants, or American emigrants, who had
settled near the old French posts ; and a very sparse population had just be­
gun to turn up the rich mould in the states o f Indiana and Illinois.
But the natural hatred o f the Indians towards the Americans, who were
advancing upon their territory, soon manifested itself. Tecumthe and his
brother, the prophet, probably taking Pontiac for their model, again con­
federated the lake tribes as they had before been confederated by the Ottawa
chief against the English, to oppose the advancing power o f the United
States. The emigrants from the east, as the chances o f Indian troubles
seemed to have abated, had pushed their enterprises into the wilderness,
and had made considerable inroads into the Indian territory. Individual
traders had established themselves in their hunting grounds, and committed
acts o f outrage which are seldom countenanced excepting on the very verge
o f civilization : besides, the efforts o f the English were apparent in striving to
bring about the same result. A s early as 1807, indeed, we find an agent
o f the prophet calling a council upon the shores o f Lake Superior, and there
making a speech tending to arouse the tribes in that quarter, and inciting
them against the United States ; at the same time telling the savages that
the Americans were the children o f the evil spirit, sprung from “ the scum
o f the great water when it was troubled by the evil spirit, and the froth was
driven into the woods by a strong east wind.” * This Indian confederation,
which had been long ripening, had got fully to a head when the war o f 1812
broke out, and we pass rapidly by that period big with important events.
Detroit, Mackinaw, and Chicago were surrendered, French town was yielded
up, the American prisoners there taken were butchered, and it was only
when the victory o f Commodore Perry furnished a free navigation across
Lake Erie, and the advance o f General Harrison to the Thames effectually
overthrew the British and dispersed the Indian force, that the territory again
passed to the United States.
It was from this period that the first rapid growth o f the northwest com ­
menced. The broad acres which had been permitted, under the burden­
some system o f the old French and English policy, to lie in their original
solitude,, had been surveyed and brought into market under very advanta­
geous terms to the purchaser, the old system o f sale being partly on credit.
* See American State Papers, where this speech is contained at length.

The Progress o f the Northwest.


The more indigent and enterprising classes o f the east, hearing o f a country
where thousands o f acres o f the richest soil could be obtained on credit, and
at a cheap rate, began to pour into the west with the axe, the plough, and
the plane. The construction o f a road across the Alleghany mountains,
and the establishment o f the great Erie canal, furnished augmented means
and motives for immigration. The territory was considered the best “ poor
man’s country in the world
produce might be raised to a large amount
with but little labor, and while the comparatively small demand, and the
want o f the means o f transportation to the east, effectually cut o ff the pro.
ducer in the interior from the eastern market, the means o f subsistence were
ample, and he could, if he pleased, command almost any thing else but
money. But the west had its enemies. Accounts sometimes strayed to us
o f a certain Mr. “ Simpleton,” who made a tour to Ohio upon a fat horse,
and who met a returning immigrant with his famished wife and half-starved
children in a rickety cart drawn by a lean one, on whose bare skeleton the
carrion crows were feeding ; but all these accounts were deemed the off­
spring o f a few jealous or disappointed spirits, who had gone out to the west
expecting to find it an El Dorado, where corn grew spontaneously, and the
pigs swarmed ready roasted; and who, meeting little else but woods, Indians, and cross dogs, adopted that occasion to wreak their historical ven­
geance upon the country. A permanent peace was at all events secured for
the sturdy settler, who could now wander over the domain where he listed,
fell the oak with his axe, and build his log hut undisturbed by the light o f
the red man’s fire, or by visions o f bloody scalps which floated in the sight
o f his predecessors like the airy dagger o f Macbeth. Improvement advanced
as circumstances would seem to have required, and equal rights were pro­
tected by equal laws. By the successive steps to which we have briefly
alluded, the northwest has arrived at its present position, and to a consider­
ation o f that position we design to confine the remainder o f our remarks.*
W hat then is the actual condition o f the territory o f the northwest, and
what are the motives which it holds out to colonization ? In the first place
let us consider the character o f the soil. A great error has prevailed in
the public mind respecting this subject, and we would remark that it is not,
as the ancient geographer, and as even modern travellers frequently inform
us, a country low, wet, and filled with swamps in that degree which ren­
ders it an uncomfortable place o f residence. On the contrary, the north­
west, in general, comprises a dry and rolling country ; it is alternated by
hill and dale, with springs o f water which are tinctured somewhat with lime,
that constitutes an element o f the soil through which they run. Along the
borders o f the lakes is a low and swampy belt running back to a ridge
which appears to have once formed its banks, and that would seem to have
been left dry by the subsidence o f the waters ; but in advancing towards
the interior, the soil swells into beautiful undulations. The error which
we o f the east have formed o f the western land, is founded on the exagger­
ated and partial accounts o f travellers, who have gone to the west with
expectations framed on the luxurious scale o f comfort in which they have
been accustomed to measure things in the old states, and journeying rapidly
through only a part o f this region, and having been cast away in the deep
* It may be well here to mention, that by the provisions o f the ordinance o f 1787, Ohio
was admitted as a state into the Union in 1802, Indiana in 1816, Illinois in 1818, Michi­
gan in 1835, and the territory o f Wisconsin remains to be organized into a state.


The Progress o f the Northwest.

mud o f the Black Swamp, the shores o f the Detroit, or the banks o f the
Maumee, have come back with the dolorous cry that “ all is barren.” T h e
soil o f Illinois, it is well known, is in the greater part composed o f dry, un­
dulating prairie, interspersed occasionally with groves o f oaks, especially
upon the banks o f the streams, comprising tracts sometimes stretching into
forest; it is even so dry that it is frequently difficult to procure water at all.
The greater part o f the settled portion o f Michigan consists o f what are
called “ oak openings,” or groves o f tall straight oaks, springing from a soil
o f dry sand, or loam, beautifully variegated with small streams, prairies,
and lakes, and gently rising and falling into hillocks and dales. The soil
o f this state, with the exception o f that tract upon the northern part o f the
peninsula, and extending towards Lake Huron, and the broad belt upon the
shores o f the Detroit river, is nearly as dry as the forest land at the east,
and in its general configuration very much resembles the soil o f western
New Y ork. The territory o f Wisconsin is more hilly, and Indiana and
Ohio contain dry and rolling land, as is a great portion o f western Pennsyl­
W e admit that the soil o f the northwest is in general lower and more
level than that which prevails in the eastern states ; that the climate is more
hum id; that in the more level and heavily timbered tracts, the surface o f
the land forms a basin for the rains ; that the clay which constitutes a great
part o f its composition, prevents their suppuration; and that the rank luxuri­
ance o f the forest vegetation, will not permit the water to evaporate rapidly.
W e will grant that there are here and there standing marshes, which, in
summer, present a thick green scum, that seems fitted to feed only the genius o f pestilence ; that there are swamps and fens which will probably re­
main forever the home o f the water-snake, the turtle, and the frog ; nay,
we will not deny that marshes are spread out in the forest, and even cross
the travelled roads,
“ Like that Serbonian bog,
Betwixt Dalmatia and Mount Casius old,
W here armies whole have sunk.”

But this is not the general character o f the western land. The greater pro­
portion, as we have before remarked, exhibits a dry and undulating surface,
with but comparatively little waste soil, where a moderate degree o f agri­
cultural enterprise may cause broad harvests o f yellow corn and golden
wheat to wave and bend to the sickle. This we happen to know, for we
have wandered along the banks o f the Ohio in sunshine and storm, per­
formed a pedestrian excursion through a greater part o f the Black Swamp,
while our horses floundered in the mud, attached to our cart in the middle
o f the road, which cart lay shipwrecked like a vessel stranded at sea. W e ,
too, have lodged in the loft o f the “ loggery,” while the starlight gleamed
through its chinks, reposed at night in the shadow o f the forest by the light
o f a camp fire, and eaten salt pork, black bread, and venison, month after
month near the waters o f Lake Michigan.
Such, then, is the general condition o f the northwestern land, and we
pass rapidly to a consideration o f the general character o f the population
and the local habitudes o f the country. And, in the first place, we are led
to inquire, who are the men that have been induced to people the forests
and prairies o f the west, to undergo the deprivations and hardships which
necessarily belong to every new territory 1 A re they the opulent o f the

The Progress o f the Northwest.


older states, in comfortable circumstances at home ; the denizens o f the
pavement, the theatre, and the drawing room, where their embroidered
slippers rested upon Turkey carpets, and where their eye reposed in listless
indolence upon the rich sculpture and exquisite paintings that adorned
their own walls ? Such clearly could not be the fact. Individuals o f this
class may indeed be scattered through the wilderness, but they are few.
The great bulk o f the western population is constituted o f various, and in
some degree, incongruous elements, the representatives from almost every
trade, profession, and condition in life. The greater portion is comprised
o f recent emigrants, for the original pioneers o f the west are nearly lost in
the crowd o f new-comers. Substantial householders who have sold out
their domains at the east, have here made their clearings and erected their
comfortable mansions on the s o il; but the great mass o f the emigrants is
composed o f men o f limited means and large enterprise, who have adven­
tured into this country to improve their condition, amid its great resources
and expanding growth. The French population to whom we have alluded,
and who are principally confined to the shores o f the lakes, wearing the garb
o f their old French and Indian masters, engaged in tilling their worn-out farms,
or as traders in the employment o f the Hudson’s Bay and American fur
companies, are the only original white occupants o f the soil that now remain.
These, however, bear but a small proportion to the mass o f the population.
The poor man at the east, with a large family, laboring, for example,
upon the ungenerous soil o f N ew England, finding that there is a country
westward, where labor is dear and broad acres yielding an abundance o f
the necessaries o f life are cheap, is induced to migrate with his household
goods and all his effects, to this “ land o f promise,” where provision may
be made for his children. Houses must be built for the population. Th ey
require, as they advance, all the appliances which belong to a civilized form
o f society ; and, to supply this demand, the mechanics in the various trades
follow in his track, who are succeeded by the merchant, and he in his
turn is followed by the members o f the different professions, who find that
the avenues to wealth and distinction at the east are more crowded than
in the broad and growing region o f a new country. T o these are added,
settlers, Dutch, Irish, English, Swiss, and immigrants from almost every
part o f E u rop e; and they all settle upon the soil from the same general
motives. The discordant elements o f society thus become strangely min­
gled. Here may be found the ruddy-faced Yankee farmer, with his axe on
his shoulder, or the N ew Y ork merchant; there the volatile Canadian
Frenchman. Here the scholar, ripe from the eastern schools; there the
original backwoodsman, who may be classed among the early pioneers o f
the country. Here the English peasant, fresh from the markets o f London,,
mixed with pale-faced Virginians from the banks o f the Mississippi, whose
fathers, perhaps, followed Daniel Boone through the gap o f the Alleghany
Mountains ; the most o f them without large wealth, the most o f them in­
telligent, and all anxious to advance their fortunes. The various forms o f
character thus thrown in contact, while they prevent any general and
permanent moral traits, also exclude those settled prejudices always spring­
ing from the prescribed habitudes o f a long-established and local population;
and the necessary consequence o f this condition o f things is to cause the
general frame o f society to appear somewhat crude, rough, and in some
portions, even lawless.
It is easy to trace the experience o f an emigrant thrown as a settler into


The Progress o f the Northwest.

the backwoods o f the west. H e is here cast upon a soil broad and fertile
enough to be sure ; but it does not yield spontaneously, and labor is required
to cause it to produce. Necessity, in consequence, obliges him to look about
for a subsistence. H e can only purchase the remote and unsettled tracts
at the government price, for the most valuable lots, perchance, have been
taken up. If he purchases a tract o f timbered land, he finds no habitation
built, no road constructed ; and that solitude bringing no change, although
pleasing to the passing traveller, throws around him a melancholy and
sickening gloom. W ith his axe he commences clearing away the place
for his house, without the means and appliances that are common in an old
country. This is no little labor, for the old oaks, gnarled and knotted, bow
to civilization only by hardy and long-continued strokes. But perseverance
conquers all things, and the sturdy trees are felled, the logs are pried into
heaps, and set on fire. Some o f the best o f them are now taken, hewn on
the end with his axe, piled upon each other, with grooves at each corner,
to a sufficient height; a roof is composed o f rafters covered with rough
boards or branches o f the trees, the interstices o f the walls are partially
filled with plaster or clay, a broad chimney is erected, with the top com ­
posed o f plastered tiles ; a glass window is set in, or if that cannot be ob­
tained, a blanket is spread over the cavity, to shut out the cold and to let
in the light. By continued toil a clearing is thus made, the log house
erected, and the next year, perhaps, the rich crop o f wheat or corn is seen
growing upon the mellow soil between the stumps.
F or the first few
years, it is obvious, that the life o f the backwoodsman is a continued scene
o f deprivation and hardship, even if he should escape the bilious influence
o f the climate, which is incident to all new countries, and is not driven away
by the clouds o f musquetoes that blockade his path, and against which he
is obliged to protect himself by a fire kept burning every summer night be­
fore his door.
It must be admitted that these discomforts are not without their allevia
tion. If the settler has once cleared his farm, and placed it under a vigor­
ous cultivation, it produces in abundance. H e is impressed with a spirit
o f independence, always arising in the mind o f every freeholder, for he
looks down upon his own rich domain. W e venture to say that this is the
experience o f nine-tenths o f the agricultural emigrants to the forests o f the
west, when they first make their settlement. Those settlers who have se­
lected the prairies, which are destitute o f timber, have no clearing to per­
form, o f cou rse; but, under these circumstances, they are deprived o f the
trees, which are o f considerable value even in the w oods; and the “ oak open­
ings,” that are but sparsely covered with forest trees, require much labor
to prepare the soil for the seed. In our account o f the experience o f new
emigrants to the west, we allude more particularly to those who have settled
in the more retired and uncultivated parts ; for we are not unmindful o f
the fact, that the more travelled portions along the main roads, present
substantial and comfortable, if not elegant buildings, taverns, and thriving
villages, as well as many o f the luxuries o f an older country.
The traveller, therefore, who passes through the interior portions o f the
west, although he cannot fail to admire the grandeur and magnificence o f
the scenery, is constantly coming in contact with objects that are repulsive
to his pampered and luxurious taste. In traversing the country, clothed
with all the opulence o f luxuriant vegetation, where nature is unfolded upon
a scale o f extraordinary magnitude, he meets with unexpected inconve-

The Progress o f the Northwest.


niences and hardships. Even if he escapes a shipwreck in a swamp, he is
often allotted a lodging place at night in the loft o f a log h ouse; food is
frequently placed before him which he would scarcely deign to touch at the
east, and he is not seldom thrown into companionship with men who are
careless in observing the conventional forms o f an older society, and from
their customary habits o f deprivation and hardship, are not too dainty in
their taste. If he is disposed, to look upon the bright side o f the picture,
he is willing to behold a domain, broad in undeveloped wealth, landscapes
o f the lake, the forest, and the stream, where the lover o f nature may find
ample room for recreation, and the patriot may refresh his hopes in the
brightest visions o f national grandeur. H e sees a population without the
means o f luxury, but at the same time without prejudice, who have com e
to a land where the fertility o f the soil invites husbandry, and where the
intelligent ploughman, as he follows his harrow through the mellow land,
feels that he is a freeman!
The people o f the west are generous, though crude, unmindful from
habit o f the luxuries o f life, endowed with great boldness and originality
o f mind, from the circumstances under which they are placed. They are,
from the various elements o f which they are composed, in a state o f amalga­
mation, and from this amalgamation a new and valuable form o f American
character will spring up. If they do not, in all cases, appreciate the re­
finements o f polished life, this is in favor o f their contentment, for the new
condition o f the country does not at present warrant them. Luxury and
taste are, in general, the offspring o f refinement and o f ripened age ; and
he who should look back a few years in our oldest states, would find a
marked advance in these qualities, even here, within that time. The great
body o f the people o f the west are employed, not in trailing vines, but in
acquiring their support. A wheat field is more pleasing, to their taste than
a flower garden. A well-ploughed lot is more satisfactory to their eye
• than the most exquisite painting o f a Raphael or a Claude. They would
prefer seeing a gristmill working on their own stream, to the sight o f the
sculptured marble o f the Venus or the Apollo ! A widely-diffused, deeplystamped spirit o f equality and republicanism extends throughout the whole
social frame o f the northwest; and over all is thrown an openness and
candor, as well as a benevolence, which arises from their common inter­
ests as emigrants, co-workers engaged in the common cause o f carrying
forward the enterprises o f a new country, without sympathy from any
source but the mutual sympathy which exists between themselves.
W e well know that a feeling o f distrust has been thrown around the
western character, from the spirit o f speculation which, in 1835 and ’36,
seemed to absorb all other enterprise, and which may be considered, not
its silver or golden, but its paper a g e ! But that spirit was kept up and
acted on, as much by eastern as by western men. The whole territory
was regarded as a sort o f lottery-office, to which individuals from all quar­
ters might resort for the accumulation o f wealth, and invoke the favors o f
the capricious and blind goddess. Agriculture, and all those substantial
enterprises which contribute to the solid glory o f a people, were neglected.
The land swarmed with greedy speculators, who cut up the woods into
paper villages, and constructed in imagination a chain o f compact cities,
from the head o f the St. Clair to the rapids o f the Maumee. This was the
period when there was the most immigration to the territory, and the great-,
est influx o f temporary travellers. Thousands were defrauded. The log

Usury Laws.


houses swarmed with buyers and sellers, when there was scarcely food
enough in the country to maintain the vast accession to its population; and
many erroneous impressions were disseminated o f the general condition o f
the country, from the circumstances o f that extraordinary period. It is a
matter o f the highest congratulation, that the lax spirit which at that time
pervaded the portion o f the west upon the borders o f the lakes, has become
discountenanced, and that the energies o f the people have quietly sunk
down into the accustomed channels o f substantial industry.
In making these remarks respecting the progress and condition o f the
northwest, we have endeavored to distort no part o f the scene. W e see in
its vast territory resources o f unmeasured wealth. W e perceive in the grand
projects o f its moral and intellectual improvement; in its gigantic systems
o f public instruction; in its projected lines o f canals and railroads, designed
to connect its remotest parts ; in the sixty-one* steamships which navigate
the lakes, and the commerce which ploughs the waters o f the Ohio ; in the
thriving villages that dot its surface; in the amount o f agricultural and
mechanical growth already attained ; in the opulence o f its “ queen city”
and state; and in the character o f its sturdy and energetic population,
working out with unexampled enterprise the first stern law o f our human
condition in earning their bread by the sweat o f their brow— the framework
o f a mighty power. W e know that the people are intelligent, that there
are scattered through that section men who would be bright ornaments to
any nation, and who have contributed in no small degree to the advance­
ment o f the country. The northwest must necessarily, from its local cir­
cumstances, become in future time the great granary o f the republic, be­
cause it possesses the largest amount o f arable soil, capable o f producing
the most bountiful returns with the least la bor; and these products may,
under its projected means o f inter-communication, be brought rapidly into
a ready market. A s “ sculpture is to the block o f marble, is education to
the human s o u l a n d this remark will apply as well to states as to indi­
viduals. Under the guidance o f moral and intellectual education, the
territory will soon grow to ripeness. The only present drawback upon
its prosperity are the crude and elemental character o f its population, the
hardships necessary to be encountered in the forest, and the unhealthy na­
ture o f its climate. W hen these obstacles are surmounted, and the means
o f general comfort are pressed into its service, we doubt not that it will
become one o f the most eligible places o f settlement, and a most opulent
portion o f the republic, wielding, as it soon must, the balance o f power in
the country.

A rt . III.— U S U R Y L A W S .

E ven in this age o f free discussion, there seem to be some subjects o f
general interest to the mass o f community, respecting which many persons
entertain different, but honest opinions; but which, by many, are regarded
* See Merchants’ Magazine, No. X II.

Article— Lake Navigation,

Usury Laws.


as not debatable. Am ong others are certain laws affecting the rights, and
to a greater or less extent, interfering with the interests o f society, especially
the trading classes, to which the foregoing remark will particularly apply,—
laws which interfere with the natural right, possessed by all, o f acquiring
property, and o f making that property, when acquired, as valuable to them
as they may by any proper and honest m eans; laws which fix the value o f
money, or rather o f the use o f money, irrespective o f all those elements in
the calculation o f values, demand, supply, risk, and such other contingen­
cies as may apply to particular operations. These laws have come down
to us from past ages, and have existed, in different forms, from the time o f
Moses to the present day. It is the more a matter o f surprise, that so many
are now found, who look with exceeding distrust upon any proposal for their
abolition or modification, who are hardly willing to discuss the subject, when
it is considered how many o f the principles, laws, and customs o f past ages,
have been more or less modified to suit the condition o f society in later
Let us go back a few centuries, and see what changes have been wrought.
The great mass o f mankind have been gradually rising from a state o f vas­
salage. Their privileges have been from time to time increased; and as
they have become increased, it has been found necessary to throw o ff re.
strictions o f various kinds, with which they have been harassed and
cram ped; for which there might have been once a satisfactory reason, but
which reason, after the change society had undergone, had ceased to exist.
A s men acquired new privileges, as they came more into the possession o f
natural rights, they began more and more to consider the great business o f
life to be, the doing o f what was to be done in the best way, and to bring
customs and laws which affected them to the test o f immediate practical
expediency. The inquiry arose, what is the object o f these things ? what
end is to be attained by them ? and as a very able writer has recently re­
marked, “ it is no wonder that when these questions were once raised, they
should be re-echoed from a thousand different points, and the roused spirit
o f inquiry engendered a rapid spirit o f destruction.” Utility became the go­
verning principle in public and private matters. Many institutions and laws
were examined and found to be useless : the vitality o f them was gone ; the
forms remained, like masses o f rubbish, which were a mere encumbrance
to the ground ; nothing was to be done but to clear them away. Those na­
tions which made these changes most readily, adapting their institutions
and laws to their genius and habits, soon became distinguished above those
which adhered to the antiquated notions o f the past, and continued bound by
complicated, minute, and vexatious fetters.
Let us consider for a moment the change that has taken place in the
manner o f conducting the business and trade o f the world. It is not long,
comparatively speaking, since the policy o f Europe restricted commerce
within close monopolies ; but the spirit o f inquiry that was aroused, soon dis­
covered that monopolizing companies were productive o f very little good,
and o f incalculable evil. The mechanic arts in cities and towns were under
the control o f “ regulated companies,” who enriched themselves at the expense o f the mass o f society by means o f their monopolies. The mischiefs
o f this system were brought to light by the same spirit o f inquiry, and re­
form was loudly demanded. The doctrines o f free trade were, however, vio­
lently opposed. There were many who saw nothing but ruin in prospect,
if customs were changed which “ the experience o f all nations and ages had

in.— no. I.



Usury Laws.

found necessary.” * Despite, however, all the forebodings o f the timid, and
the interested arguments o f the monopolists, the advocates o f free trade
finally succeeded. Many o f the reasonings they employed have now become
axioms o f political science, upon which the commercial legislation o f the
greater part o f the civilized world is based. N o man can now be found to
stand up in defence o f the ancient system o f monopolies, so beneficial has
free trade been found to the welfare o f mankind.
But while freedom o f trade exists in respect to almost every thing else,
while individuals are now left to manage their affairs in relation to all other
matters under the dictates o f their own interest, and guidance o f their own
judgment, they are still hampered by antiquated restrictions in respect to
the procuring and disposing o f money. Provisions and wages, houses and
lands, produce and manufactures, wares and merchandise, are left to the
management o f individuals, to be bought and sold, at a price higher or lower,
according to the dictates o f their own interest, under the guidance o f their
own prudence, subject to be affected by a short demand, by an over supply,
by the greater or less risk o f payment, and according as the place and time
o f receiving payment is more or less convenient. But the trade in money is
restricted. Supposing the laws to be obeyed, and no man, whatever may
be its value to him, may give over a certain rate ; no man may lend at an
interest beyond that rate, however short may be the supply, or however ur­
gent the demand. H e may exchange the money for some other com m o­
dity, and sell that other commodity for any advance upon its cost which he
can obtain— it may be fifty or one hundred per c e n t.; but he may not lend
his money to another, to make the same operation, unless he is contented
with six or seven dollars on the hundred per annum ; although the borrower
might well afford to pay much more, and the lender ought to receive much
more upon every principle o f right and equity. It is not necessary to go
on with the catalogue o f absurdities which a slight examination o f this subject will develop to us.
There have not been wanting those persons who have contended, with
zeal and ability, that the trade in money should be as free and unrestricted
as the trade in any thing else— and have supported their positions by sound
and solid reasoning. Many persons have come to the conclusion that the
trade in money should be unrestricted ; the number o f these persons is in­
creasing ; repeated efforts have been made to accomplish the object, but
owing to the doubts o f some, the timidity o f others, and the still more un­
reasonable refusal o f others to discuss the subject at all, these efforts have
not been successful.
Some persons are always unwilling to change that which is clothed with
the sanction o f the generations that are past. Doubtless, we should only
change laws or customs that have long been approved of, after the most full
and mature deliberation ; and while slow to change laws that have long ex­
isted, yet, when they are found unsuited to the state o f society, with nothing
to recommend them but their antiquity, they should be unhesitatingly cast
aside, to make room for others, more adapted to the wants o f the commu­
nity which they affect. W hat is wanted in such a case, is full, fair, and
candid discussion. Liberal minded men will not hesitate to grant i t ; but,
* This is some o f the reasonings in a minority report to the Massachusetts House o f
Representatives, February 19,1840, which recommends the taking o f interest exceeding
six per cent, should be punished by fine and imprisonment!

Usury Laws.


strange as it may seem, there are men who are not willing even to reason
upon this subject. A n instance occurred quite recently, in one o f our state
legislatures, where a proposition was brought forward for a slight modifica­
tion o f the usury laws. Before any discussion was had, a member rose,
and saying it was quite useless to waste time in discussing a question that
had been repeatedly settled, moved to postpone it indefinitely !
These persons do not indeed stand up in defence o f the ancient theory o f
restrictions and monopolies : that would never do. Th ey claim that money
stands on a different footing from every thing else ; and must therefore be
excepted from the operation o f the general rules which govern trade in
every thing else. Those who reason upon the subject at all, employ them­
selves in discovering specious arguments why it should be so. If, then, it
can be made to appear that money is like every thing else, a commodity
subject to be influenced by abundance or scarcity, or by any o f the influ­
ences to which other things are subject, the argument would seem to be
gained : let this be made to appear, and the principle laid down by Bentham could not be questioned— “ that no man o f ripe years and sound mind,
acting freely with his eyes open, ought to be hindered with a view to his
own advantage, from making such bargains, in the way o f obtaining money,
as he sees fit ; nor should any person be hindered from supplying him on
any terms he thinks proper to accede to.” This may doubtless be made
clear to the candid examiner o f this subject, and many reasons may be
given why, even if it were not altogether so, nevertheless, money should not
be subject to any restrictions upon its free employment to the best advantage
o f its possessor.
The ground taken by the opponents o f usury laws, is principally, as be­
fore stated, that money is a commodity, and, like every other commodity,
should be left to find its own level in relative value, as compared with other
things. This question, then, o f the character o f money, is first to be set­
tled and decided. It almost seems to be begging the question to prove that
money is a commodity, like wheat, iron, cotton, and other articles ; for as
money is but a material among many others, which aid to make up the
business o f the nation, there would seem to be prima facie evidence o f its
being what all its co-elements in trade confessedly are. It would seem to
be incumbent on those who take a different view o f its character, to prove
that it formed an exception to the general rule ; this would be the rule in
the discussion o f almost all disputed questions o f like character. The rea­
son it is not so in this case can only be, that it is a fragment o f ancient
policy, reasonable it may have been at some time, but now out o f date,
useless, and oppressive, which has become incorporated into our mental sys­
tem, and is not yet cleared away by the spirit o f reform. So interwoven
has the idea been into our education, that money is some mysterious, in­
comprehensible thing, to be tinkered and regulated, that we must reason our­
selves out o f an opinion which could hardly have been imbibed by the calm
exercise o f our reasoning faculties.
But w e need not stand for forms ; we wish to consider this question; we
wish to give reasons in support o f our opinions; we wish to answer objec­
tions ; we wish to elicit truth ; we wish to excite a rational spirit o f inquiry:
we trust we may be successful.
Money is a creation o f civilized society : it is not found among nations
that are barbarous and uncivilized. T h e savage, who is in a state o f na­
ture, exists almost like the animals o f the forest— each individual indepen­


Usury Laws.

dently, and without the necessity o f aid from another. I f he is in want o f
food, some animal which he may take, supplies it. I f he wants clothing,
the skin o f the same animal answers the purpose. I f he wants a house, the,
same skins, or the nearest twigs or turf, or all, are the material, and he him­
self is the artificer. H e exists alone; or, perhaps, it should be said, he
may exist alone. His wants he can supply without aid from his fellows.
H e requires only articles o f first necessity, such as will supply the cravings
o f nature: other commodities are, in a measure, useless, because they answer
no useful purpose to him. Gold and silver are o f little value; he can manu­
facture them into rings and plates, for ornament, but will readily part with
them for a small scrap o f iron,* which is o f greater use, in enabling him to
prepare better and more serviceable arms for war or the chase. O f course,
among such a people there is no trade— there is nothing to exchange— there
is no necessity for exchanges. But as society becomes civilized, and the
division o f labor takes place, exchanges commence, and become more and
more frequent, according to the degree o f civilization attained. A s society
reaches the highest stage o f civilization, and the division o f labor has be­
com e thoroughly established, men supply but a very small part o f their own
wants with the produce o f their own labor : from existing independently, as
in a savage state, men depend upon the labor o f each other. The superior
comfort in which men can live, in consequence o f the division o f labor,
whereby man is enabled, by the excellence he can attain by practice in any
one employment, to procure much more for his comfort than he could in an
independent existence, binds society together, and men become, as it were,
interlocked with each other. A s society comes into this state, money comes
into use, for the purpose o f enabling the members o f society to effect their
F or example : a hatter can use for himself but a very small part o f what
he produces ; after supplying himself with one or two hats in the course o f
a year, his productions must be exchanged with some other person who
needs his hats, and can supply him with other articles o f which he is in need.
The baker, we will suppose is one— but the hatter wants a great deal o f
bread in the course o f the year, while the baker wants but a very small
amount in hats. The baker can give his bread until he has received all
the hats he wants, and then trade between them must stop, unless some
new way o f exchanging can be devised. The baker employs workmen,
whom he pays for their labor ; they want the commodities o f the hatter, but
the hatter wants nothing o f them : they cou.d therefore receive o f the baker
in payment o f their wages, the commodities o f the hatter, to such an extent
as would supply their wants, but no further. Here the trade would stop
again ; but these workmen might want beer o f the brewer, who in his turn
would want hats o f the hatter— while the hatter might think he could do
without the beer, and would not have i t : here would be an opening for fur­
ther exchanges; but they would by this time become very cumbrous and
inconvenient, and moreover very difficult; and there would be no remedy
to the inconvenience but for the parties to the exchange to make use o f
some commodity which would be desirable by every body, and be received
by every body, and which could be given from one to another, in greater or
less quantities, according as circumstances might require.
* An illustration o f this will occur to every one who has read the history o f the disco­
very o f America. T he natives readily parted with masses o f gold for small quantities of
iron, and seemed to wonder that the gold seemed so valuable to the Spaniards.

Usury Laws.


There can be no doubt that such was the origin o f money, for different
nations in different times have made use o f different articles to effect their
exchanges, but all were intended to answer the same purpose. In the early
ages o f the world cattle were principally made use of. “ The armor o f
Diomede,” says Homer, “ cost only nine ox en ; but that o f Glaucus cost
a hundred oxen.” Cattle, however, must have been a very inconvenient
medium o f exchange, to say the least o f it. It must have been very difficult
to effect small exchanges, to buy any thing o f less value than a whole
horse, or sheep, or o x ; and the cattle could not be kept on hand without
care and expense. Am ong some people, grain was made use of. There
could not be the same objection to grain as to cattle, as it could be divided
into such quantities as might be convenient; but it would be difficult to
transport any quantity o f it from one place to another, and by keeping it
on hand too long, the holder would be liable to loss from its deterioration in
quality. Am ong other people, other articles have been made use of, as tobaccoin Virginia, or even milkpails in Massachusetts ;* but the use o f any o f these
articles was always attended with inconvenience: the various metals were
found to possess the various qualities requisite to make them suitable agents
in effecting exchanges. From their hardness they are not likely to perish.
They can be kept without expense. They are easily transported, they are di­
visible into minute parts, so as to be serviceable in large or small exchanges,
and they possess that quality o f universal usefulness requisite to any thing
to make it serviceable as a medium o f effecting exchange, which makes
every body desirous o f possessing it. Am ong the Spartans, iron was used ;
among the Romans, copper. The abundance o f these metals, however,
makes them o f less comparative value than others, and requires too great
a bulk o f them to represent any considerable value. F or this reason, na­
tions farther advanced in wealth and civilization have made use o f those
rarer, and consequently more valuable metals, silver and gold.
I f this explanation o f the origin o f money is a correct one, it follows that
money is merely a commodity selected to represent the value o f other com ­
modities, and is in no wise distinguished from them. It is, like them, sub­
ject to fluctuations o f supply and demand. It is used as a medium, for noother reason than that it possesses certain qualities which make it the
most convenient for the purpose. In fact, in their uncoined state, they are
so considered by every body, whether friends or opponents o f usury laws.
As bullion, gold and silver stand in the market precisely as do lead, cop­
per, and iron. W hoever takes the trouble to read the London price currents, will observe them to be quoted in the same way, with the same observations relative to supply, demand, & c. & c.
The question would then seem to be narrowed down to this— does the
coinage o f these metals by the government clothe them with any peculiar
attribute, and so divest them o f their character as commodities as to require
specific and arbitrary regulation o f their value 1
This question cannot be more satisfactorily and clearly answered than
by quoting from Adam Smith. H e gives us the reason why the metals are
coined into pieces o f specific weight and fineness. Let us hear what he
says :—
“ The use o f metals in the rude state was attended with two very con­
siderable inconveniences; first, with the trouble o f weighing them ; and,
* T he town o f Hingham, in Massachusetts colony, once paid its taxes in this article.


Usury Laws.

secondly, with the trouble o f assaying them. In the precious metals, where
a small difference in the quantity makes a great difference in value, even
the business o f weighing with proper exactness requires at least very ac­
curate weights and scales. The weighing o f gold, in particular, is an ope­
ration o f some nicety. In the coarser metals, indeed, where a small error
would be o f little consequence, less accuracy would, no doubt, be neces­
sary. Y et we should find it excessively troublesome if, every time a poor
man had occasion to sell a farthing’s worth o f goods, he was obliged to
weigh the farthing. The operation o f assaying is still more difficult, still
more tedious ; and unless a part o f the metal is fairly melted in the cruci­
ble with proper dissolvents, any conclusion that may be properly drawn
from it is extremely uncertain. Before the institution o f coined money,
however, unless they went through this tedious and difficult operation, people
were liable to the grossest frauds and imposition, and instead o f a pound
weight o f pure silver or pure copper, might receive, in exchange for their
goods, an adulterated composition o f the coarsest and cheapest materials,
which had, however, in their outward appearance, been made to resemble
those metals. To prevent such abuses, to facilitate exchanges, and thereby
encourage all sorts o f industry and commerce, it has been found necessary,
in all countries that have made any considerable advance towards improve,
ment, to affix a public stamp upon certain quantities o f such particular metals
as were, in those countries, made use o f to purchase goods. Hence the
origin o f coined money, and those public offices called mints, institutions
E X A C T L Y of the same nature as those o f the analyzers and stampmasters
o f woollen and linen cloth. A ll o f them are equally meant to ascertain, by
means o f a public stamp, the quantity and uniform goodness o f those differ­
ent commodities, when brought to market.” — Wealth o f Nations, book iv.
N ow it seems difficult to suppose that money had any different origin
than that which is here supposed. If this was its origin, by what process
o f reasoning can it be made to appear to possess a character differing from
that o f every other commodity ? The metals, in their rude state, are con ­
fessedly articles o f merchandise. W ith what new attribute are they clothed
by the coining ? The stamp o f government is merely a certificate, o f an
authority which all are bound to acknowledge, that the pieces are o f a cer­
tain weight and degree o f fineness, so that a quantity can be ascertained
by counting a number o f pieces, without the trouble o f weighing or assay­
ing. The coining itself was originally a rude device to certify the quality
o f the metal by means o f a mark upon the piece, like the marks we now
see upon cast-steel and some kinds o f iron ; but this would not remedy the
evil o f weighing. If the mark certifying the weight were put upon one end
o f the ingot, it could be made lighter by cutting off at the other ; conse­
quently, the mode o f cutting the metal into pieces o f uniform weight, and
covering the whole surface, on both sides and the edges, with the stamp,
came gradually into use, and coining came to its present state o f perfection.
Does it appear more reasonable to prescribe what shall be given for the
use o f one or more o f these pieces, than to prescribe what shall be given
for the use o f a barrel o f beef, after it has undergone government inspec­
tion and received the stamp o f the proper authority, certifying it to be o f a
certain kind and a certain weight, which certificate “ encourages trade,”
by enabling the buyer to purchase without examining any thing but the
The great object o f coining, therefore, appears to have been to save two

The Medium o f Exchange.


sorts o f trouble; one, the trouble o f weighing, the other, the greater one
o f assaying. It was intended to promote the public convenience, especially
in the smaller exchanges ; the acknowledged stamp upon the metal, being
respected by both parties, entirely did away with the machinery o f scales,
weights, and crucibles, in ordinary transactions. It is not probable,
that, at the time coining was introduced, such a thing as credit was
thought of, except in some peculiar cases. Men exchanged commodities,
and completed the exchange at the time. The loan o f metals, especially
for use in commercial transactions, was then a thing which rarely, if ever,
occurred. In this state o f society, we cannot understand the reasons which
induced lawgivers to prohibit the taking o f interest* altogether, as they
did. But whatever the reasons were, when commercial credit came into
existence, the laws were altered. The authorities were forced to do it
from the very necessity o f the case. But when the alteration was made,
having ancient customs firmly fixed in their minds, they only yielded so far
as they were absolutely compelled to yield, and allowed interest to be taken,
but restricted the rate to a certain per centage, probably in order that the
unforeseen evils that might arise from the innovation should not be very
monstrous. These rates were subject o f alteration from time to time, but
the principle o f restriction was adopted by almost all commercial nations,
as will be explained as we further examine the subject.

A r t . IV .— C A U SE S O F U N S T E A D IN E S S





W e propose now to inquire into the condition o f several nations as re­
gards those portions o f the currency which consist o f coin and circulating
notes, with a view to ascertain what is the proportion which they severally
bear to the amount o f production, and to the exchanges that are performed—
and will afterwards proceed to a similar examination o f the whole currency,
including coin, circulating notes, and deposits.
In some countries, money is received on deposit by banks or bankers,
subject to transfer by the depositor, provided he enters his order therefor
upon the books o f the bank. Such is the case at that o f Hamburgh. Others
perform transfers on receiving orders in the form o f checks, or drafts, a
much more simple operation. Such is the case with the bankers o f L on ­
don. Others not only permit their depositors to make transfers by means
o f checks, but grant also their own promises to deliver certain quantities o f
money, by the use o f which great facilities are afforded for the performance
o f all transactions in which money is used. Some o f these banks charge
commission, and the charge is usually in the inverse ratio o f the convenience
afforded. That o f Hamburgh charges five cents for each entry o f transfer,
* T he law o f Moses absolutely forbids the taking o f interest. Aristotle says, as money
cannot produce money, nothing ought to be taken for its use.


The Medium o f Exchange.

and about one half o f one per cent, for the re-delivery o f the money. Those
o f Great Britain charge about J- per cent., while none o f those o f the United
States make any charge whatever.
It is usual with writers on currency to devote considerable space to a
description o f the various banks that exist throughout the world, with a view
to determine the advantages o f those o f deposit over those o f issue, or vice
v ersa ; but we shall not trouble our readers in this way, believing that they
would deem it equally useful to go into an examination o f the advantages
o f the horse-path, the first wagon-road, the turnpike, and the railroad, with
a view to determine which would aflbrd the greatest facilities for the trans­
port o f merchandise. T o men accustomed to the conveniences resulting
from the use o f bank notes and checks, the proposition to dispense there­
with, and to substitute in the place o f the existing system the clumsy ma­
chinery o f Hamburgh, must appear as extraordinary as would be a propo­
sition to take up the rails o f the various roads, and to substitute therefor clay
or pounded stone.
It is not unfrequently assumed that the tendency to variation in the
amount o f the currency, and consequent unsteadiness o f prices, is the re­
sult o f the substitution o f drafts, checks, and circulating notes, for gold and
silver, and that if communities would agree to deprive themselves o f those
facilities to trade, a steady currency might be established. Experience,
however, teaches that with every increase in the facility o f intercourse and
exchange, there is a tendency to equality and steadiness o f value, which is
much more uniform throughout the world, and from year to year, now,
than they were fifty, one hundred, or five hundred years since. The price
o f grain in the fifteenth century fluctuated in a single year from four shillings
to four pounds, and the produce o f China, or India, a century since, would
sell in England at three or four times the cost, whereas at the present time
an advance o f 10, 15, or 20 percent, is deemed sufficient. If unsteadiness
in the currency be the consequence o f the increased facilities for trading, it
will be found that where the restrictions upon the use o f those facilities are
most numerous, the currency will be smallest, and there will be the least
tendency to expansion and contraction ; whereas i f steadiness he the natural
effect o f improved modes o f transacting business, it will be found that where
the people are mostf r e e to select f o r themselves their own medium o f exchange,
the currency will most nearly approach the amount actually needed f o r the
daily business o f life, and will consequently be least liable to expansion or
contraction, at the will o f either individuals or associations, and thus that the
cheapest currency must be the safest and most steady.
The annual product o f F rance is about fourteen hundred millions o f
dollars, or forty dollars per head o f the population. ' The quantity o f capi­
tal remaining in the form o f gold and silver coin or bullion, is stated at six
hundred millions o f dollars, equal to the product o f the nation for one hun­
dred and twenty-nine working days. N o paper was allowed to circulate
o f less amount than five hundred francs, equal to ninety-three dollars and
thirty-three cents— until, at the recent establishment o f the Bank o f Havre,
permission was granted to issue notes o f two hundred and fifty francs. The
circulation maintained by the single Bank o f France averages in amount
forty-five millions o f dollars, being equal to the product o f ten days.
The annual produce o f E ngland and W ales is estimated at two hundred and
sixty millions o f pounds, or eighty-one dollars per head, viz., twenty-seven
cents per day for three hundred working days. The quantity o f capital in the

The Medium of Exchange.


form o f gold and silver coin or bullion, is stated at about thirty millions o f
pounds, and is equal to the product o f the nation for thirty-five days. The
usual average amount o f circulating notes is about twenty-eight millions,
but as a considerable sum is constantly retained by the private and jointstock banks in notes o f the Bank o f England, the nett circulation in the hands
o f the public cannot exceed twenty-six millions, equal to the product o f ten
days. N o notes are permitted under five pounds, equal to twenty-four dol­
lars and three cents.
In S cotland, one pound notes are permitted to be circulated. The
whole system has always been more free and less expensive than that o f
England, and its steadiness has been proportioned to its freedom.
In the S outhern S tates, no notes are permitted under five dollars.
The specie required amounts to, probably, nine days’ production.
In P ennsylvania , no notes under five dollars are permitted, while in
N ew Y ork and N ew Jersey, notes o f one dollar are, and were at the date
o f our statement, permitted. The quantity o f specie used amounts to little
more than four days’ product.
W e do not undertake to show what is the proportion which the circu­
lating notes employed in the various parts o f the Union above referred to
bears to the product, because o f the difficulty o f determining with any ac­
curacy the amount thereof. That o f the local banks is readily ascertained,
but it is not easy to ascertain the distribution o f that furnished by the Bank
o f the United States in the different states, in all o f which, south o f New
England, it was considerable.
In every state o f N ew E ngland , notes o f one dollar are used, and coin
is required only for the payment o f fractions o f that sum. The product o f
these states may be taken at two hundred and fifty millions o f dollars. The
whole quantity o f coin upon which their system is based, is but about two
and a half millions o f dollars, being the product o f about three days’ labor.
The gross amount o f the circulation o f their 169 banks in 1830, was eight
millions nine hundred thousand dollars. Deducting the amount on hand in
the various banks, the actual quantity circulating with the public cannot
have exceeded eight millions, or about ten days’ product.
The one institution in France, issuing no note o f less amount than about
one hundred dollars, maintains a circulation as large in proportion to the
productive power o f the nation, as do all those o f England, issuing notes o f
twenty-four dollars— in all those o f N ew England, which furnish the me­
dium used in all exchanges down to a single dollar; and if we take into
consideration the number o f exchanges performed, we shall see that the cir­
culating notes o f France bear a vastly larger proportion thereto than exists
in N ew England.
W hen production is very small, as is the case in the former, the return
to both laborer and capital is so, and the chief part o f the product is con­
sumed by the little capitalist and the laborer, in the form in which it is
produced; but, when it is large, they exchange a large portion o f it. The
man who obtains, in return for a week’s labor, the equivalent o f two bush­
els o f wheat, will hardly have a gallon per week to exchange for clothing;
whereas he who obtains six bushels, may consume three bushels, and have
as much more to exchange for clothing or groceries, or for ploughs, horses,
and cattle, to increase his stock to aid in the further extension o f produc­
tion. W e have little doubt that the exchanges o f N ew England are six
times greater in proportion to the product than those o f France ; and if so,





The Medium o f Exchange.

the proportion which circulating notes o f all descriptions bear to the busi­
ness performed is only one sixth as great.
When, however, we regard the fact that no payment less in amount than
five hundred francs can be made with a note o f the Bank o f France, while
every payment exceeding five francs may' be made with notes o f the
banks o f N ew England, the disproportion becomes vastly greater. W ere
we to suppress in the latter all notes under one hundred dollars, the circu­
lation would be at once reduced to less than two millions o f dollars, or one
fortieth o f the annual product, and, perhaps, to a fiftieth or a sixtieth
thereof. The single Bank o f France is therefore enabled to maintain a
circulation at least twenty-four times greater in proportion to the business
for the performance o f which its notes are used, than is maintained o f pa­
per o f a similar description by all the banks o f N ew England.
It is commonly supposed that increase in the number o f banks must be
attended with an increase in the gross circulation ; whereas, it can readily
be shown that every increase in the facilities o f exchange, by the opening
o f new shops for the purpose o f trading in money, must be attended with
a diminution in the amount that can be maintained. The reader may
readily satisfy himself that no increase in the number o f banks will induce
him to carry about his person a larger number o f bank notes than he has
been accustomed to do. If, by any such increase, he is enabled more
readily to obtain the use o f money, he will withdraw only so much as is
necessary for his purposes^and at the next moment the person to whom it
is paid will r^i-Ufad it'.'to tKeV'b&jrjk for safe keeping. The circulation is, as
we have endeavored to show, almost a constant quantity, tending, however,
to reduction in quantity with every increase in the facilities o f trade.
W ere the reader distant fifty miles from a bank, he would, probably,
transact his business with it once in a month. W hen he went there, he
would find it necessary toqJfOvide himself with as much o f the medium o f
exchange as would render it unnecessary for him to visit it again for three
or four weeks to come. H e would have always in his house bank notes
to the amount o f one, two, three, or four hundred dollars, to the advantage
o f the bank, and to his own disadvantage. Another o f our readers is dis­
tant ten miles from a bank. H e transacts his business with it every week,
and is not required to keep on hand more money than is necessary for
that period. Another is distant a single mile. He visits it three times a
week, and requires no more notes than will serve his purposes for two
days. Others o f our readers have the money shop within a stone’s throw
o f them. T h ey transact their business with it every day at a little before
the hour o f closing, and deposit for safe keeping all the money they have
received, because, with the return o f business hours, they can withdraw
whatever amount is required. The nearer the trader is to the bank, the
smaller is the amount o f circulating notes that he will use ; and the more
distant, the larger must it be. A man in a country town, distant fifty miles
from a bank, will retain on hand bank notes a thousand times greater in
proportion to the amount o f his trade than a merchant in Philadelphia,
N ew Y ork, or Boston, who is surrounded by banks, and who scarcely finds
it necessary to use either notes or specie, except in payment o f his house­
hold expenses.
The Bank o f France enjoys a monopoly, and is thereby enabled to
maintain a large circulation— larger by far, in proportion to the uses for
which it is required, than can be maintained in either England or the

The Medium o f Exchange.


United States. It does this for the advantage o f the few, to the disadvan­
tage o f the many, who are obliged to pay interest on large sums that
would not be required under a different system. In New England, the
advantage o f the many is promoted by a system which diminishes to the
smallest possible sum the quantity o f the medium o f exchange used in the
performance o f exchanges.* W ere there in those states but a single bank,
it could, and would, maintain a circulation double the amount o f that now
existing, because individuals distant from it would be obliged to retain on
hand, to meet their demands, three, five, or ten times as much as is needed
when the money shop is close at hand.
The people o f several o f these countries, being deprived o f the right
o f selecting their own medium o f exchange, are compelled to use that which
is more costly, and are thus prevented from otherwise applying their capi.
tal in aid o f their labor. It will be obvious to the reader that every
increase in the amount o f capital required for effecting exchanges, must be
attended with a diminution in that which can be applied to production.
T h e amount o f coin employed by the several nations is, therefore, in the
inverse ratio o f their productive power.
F rance retains, in the form o f gold and silver, capital that
would require for its production the labor o f - - 129 days.
E ngland ,
T he S outhern S tates,
T he M iddle S tates, - - .... ..........................................
W hile N ew E ngland retains only that o f ...............................
Nothing is more common than the assumption that the United States
are remarkable for excess o f currency, yet in no country are the opera,
tions o f the community carried on with so small an amount thereof; and
in no part o f the United States is the quantity so small as in N ew Eng­
land, where every village has its money shop, and every neighborhood
provides its own medium o f exchange.
W e shall now proceed to inquire into the amount o f the currency o f the
several nations, and doubt not we shall be able to satisfy the reader that
unsteadiness and a large amount o f unproductive capital go together— that
the nearest approach to perfect steadiness is to be found where the people
are most free to exercise their own judgment, and where, consequently,
the medium o f exchange is that which is least costly— and that they will
be prepared to admit it as a law, universally true, that—
The more perfect the facility o f perform),ng exchanges, the smaller is the
quantity o f the medium o f exchange that can he kept in circulation— the
smaller must he the currency— and the more perfect must he its steadiness.
* In a recent English journal we have remarked, among some comments upon
American banks, that “ the small amount o f their circulation, when compared with
their capitals,” is deemed “ a suspicious circumstance.” The banks o f the United
States, as we shall have occasion to show, overtrade far less than those o f Europe.
Europeans, who undertake to notice their proceedings, are at a loss to understand
how they should ever be in difficulty with so small an amount o f liabilities; yet, if we
were to judge o f their proceedings by the remarks o f some o f our “ learned Thebans,”
we should suppose that in no country did they overtrade so much. W e hear a per­
petual outcry about the excessive use o f paper money, and the necessity for substituting
specie for bank notes, that wages may be reduced to the rate o f France, from men
who, from their stations and great pretensions, should be better informed.


Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.



V .— D IS C O V E R Y O F T H E N O R T H W E S T P A S SA G E .

In the year o f our Lord 1062, just four years before the battle o f Hast­
ings changed the laws, the language, and the destinies o f France and Eng­
land, and, with them, those o f the world, North Am erica was discovered
and colonized by the Norwegians, who appear to have coasted as far south
as the Bay o f Fundy certainly, and probably even to Massachusetts Bay.
W e make some allowance for the poetical fervor o f the people who gave
the name o f GVeera-land to a sterile waste o f ice, where brandy freezes by
the fireside, and nothing green but moss was ever seen. Still, when they
assert they found grapes in the country they call Wineland, as they left be­
hind them accurate descriptions o f the Esquimaux and other natives, such
as they are found at the present day, there is no reason to deny them the
honor o f being the original discoverers. The Norwegian colony, however,
was early l o s t i t s story existed but as a vague tradition, and no way de­
tracts from the glory o f Columbus and Cabot. From that time till the year
1818, nothing was learned o f that region likely materially to affect the in­
terests o f mankind.
In 1618, W illiam Baffin discovered and explored the inland sea that now
bears his name, though its very existence was long discredited, and the nar­
rative o f his voyage was treated as a fable till his veracity was duly attested
by Captain Ross. His name was even expunged from the maps. Rather
more than a century after, Behring’s Strait was passed, and the separation
o f the two continents in the west ascertained. Hearne reached the mouth
o f the Coppermine River in 1772, and McKenzie the mouth o f M cKenzie’s
River, twenty-one years later. These four points, then, were all that was
known o f the shore o f the Am erican Arctic O cea n ; and no benefit resulted
from that little, i f we except the settlement o f Hudson’s Bay, till the recent
explorations o f Ross, P a n y , Franklin, Beechy, and, though last, not least,
o f Dease and Simpson. Let the reader read what follows with the best
map he can procure before him. It will be necessary to a correct under­
standing o f the premises.
In 1818, Sir John Ross ascertained that the barrier o f ice which closes
Baffin’s Bay was penetrable, circumnavigated that great inland sea, and
opened a new ocean to the whale fishery, which has already been o f great
benefit to Great Britain. He also invented an instrument for sounding the
depths o f the ocean, and discovered a people o f fishermen who pursued their
avocation without boats, or the use or knowledge o f iron or other metals, in
a climate where the sun has scarce power to shine, and the very brutes
are yearly obliged to emigrate. These people knew no others, considered
themselves the only men on earth, knew scarcely a comfort, and yet they
were contented and happy. M ore than two thousand miles o f coast were
restored to our knowledge o f geograph y; and all this, one would suppose,
was enough to entitle the gallant officer to the gratitude o f the people he
represented; but it was not so. H e did not do all that it was possible to
have done, as subsequent experience has demonstrated. H e did not see
that there was an open passage into Lancaster’s Sound, or enter i t ; and
hence he suffered a temporary disgrace. It was alleged that his officers
were more clear-sighted than himself, and hence he lost the confidence o f

Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.


h is g o v e r n m e n t, w a s n o t e m p lo y e d a g a in , a n d su ffered a n o b lo q u y w h ich his
su bsequen t u n e x a m p le d e n e r g y , h ard ih o o d , and d a r in g , w e r e s c a r c e ly suffi­
cie n t to re m o v e .
T h e c o m p a ra tiv e s u c c e s s o f S ir E d w a r d P a r r y , his s u c ­
c e s s o r in c o m m a n d , o v e r s h a d o w e d h im lik e a c l o u d ; but, sw e e t a re the
u ses o f a d v e rsity — his w r o n g s im p e lle d h im to e x e rtio n s, w h ic h h a v e put
h im a b o v e th e r e a c h o f c a lu m n y .
H e thus m o d e s tly d e fe n d s h im s e lf a gain st
th e a sp e rsio n s ca s t u p on h i m :

“ H e,” (Captain Parry,) “ could not have believed that there was a passage
through Lancaster’s Sound, or he would have told me that he thought so ;
for it would be to suppose him capable o f gross misconduct, were I to ima­
gine that my second in command suppressed any opinion that could concern
the duty in which we were both engaged.” Captain Ross is decidedly right
in his position, and exempts himself from all blame that must not be shared
by every man under his command. W e are therefore to believe that no
part o f the vituperation o f the .English periodical press emanated from any
o f the officers o f the Isabella, directly or indirectly. The contrary opinion
is too disgraceful to them as subjects, officers, and men, to be entertained
for a moment. A t the worst, Captain R oss’s fault was but an error in
judgment, and worse can be alleged against even the immortal Cook.
Nevertheless, it does appear, notwithstanding his own rejection o f the
idea, his promotion, and the disavowal o f any intent to blame him, made by
the Admiralty, (after his subsequent triumphant success) that Captain Ross
did lose the confidence o f his governm ent; for he was not employed to
command the next arctic expedition. That trust was confided to Sir E d­
ward Parry, than whom no abler navigator could have been found, though
it was well known to the whole civilized world, that it was the object o f the
keenest desire to the unfortunate Ross. I f the reader will follow Sir E d­
ward Parry’s course on the map, he will see that he penetrated Lancaster’s
Sound to 113 deg. west longitude, and received the reward promised by
parliament for that achievement. H e was there stopped by the ice. The
results o f his expedition were the ascertainment o f the impracticability o f
any passage in that direction, o f the probable separation o f the great conti­
nent o f Greenland from the Am erican main, of the existence o f a vast tract
o f land towards, and probably to the North Pole, and o f Prince Regent’s
Inlet, through which it was hoped and believed that the long-sought passage
might be found, and which subsequent experience has demonstrated to be
the true Strait o f Anian. He established the fact o f human existence in
latitudes where it had been believed an impossibility; he made various
valuable observations on the northern lights, and guessed correctly the true
position o f the magnetic pole. Such improvements were made in the mode
o f wintering in high latitudes, as cannot fail to be o f vast importance to the
future preservation o f human life. This advantage alone, in our estimation,
amply repays the expenses o f all voyages o f discovery past and future.
Moreover, an abundance o f ornithological, piscatory, and animal life was
discovered in those regions, which may be o f great future advantage to
British commerce ; nay, must.
In 1820 -21, Franklin made his first unhappy, but sublime journey down
the Coppermine to the ocean, established the veracity o f Hearne, which was
before doubted, and traced the coast eastwardly to Point Turnagain. H e
also guessed the position o f the magnetic pole, and made valuable discover­
ies in every department o f natural science.
In P a r r y ’s s e c o n d v o y a g e , h e d is c o v e r e d M e lv ille P e n in su la , and the S trait


Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.

o f the Fury and Hecla, where he vainly sought the expected passage. In
his third expedition, he sailed down Prince Regent’s Inlet as far as latitude
72 deg. 30 min., in longitude 91 deg. west. Franklin, in two subsequent
expeditions, traced the line o f coast between the Coppermine and M cKen­
zie’s rivers and westward from the M cKenzie to Cape B a c k ; and Captain
Beechy, o f the B. R. N ., passed through Behring’s Strait to 156 deg. 21-Jsec. west longitude, leaving but 150 miles o f coast to be surveyed be-ween
Behring’s Strait and Point Turnagain. Let the reader refer again to the
map, and he will see that o f the whole northern coast o f Am erica, between
Cape Garry, in Prince Regent’s Inlet, and Icy Cape, but 650 miles remain­
ed to be explored; and o f these the line o f 150 was known and defined with
sufficient accuracy for all commercial and geographical purposes. T h e
land seen by Parry south o f Mellville Island, and called by him Banker’s
Land, that on the western side o f Regent’s Inlet, called by Captain Ross
Boothia Felix, that seen by Franklin, north o f Coronation Gulf, is supposed by
Captain Ross to be one vast peninsula or continent, and is assuredly either
such or a great group o f islands. W e com e now to R oss’s recent discov­
eries, by which he has satisfied himself that it is a-peninsula, and that there
is no passage from the waters o f Hudson’s or Baffin’s bays through R e ­
gent’s Inlet or any where else to the south o f latitude 74 deg. His nephew,
and second in command, however, is o f a different opinion. The late ex­
pedition o f Messrs. Dense and Simpson sets tire question at rest, and proves
Sir John Ross to have been wholly mistaken. W e shall presently abridge
i t ; but first, in justice to the brave and adventurous uncle and nephew, we
must give some account o f their unparallelled sufferings and exertions.
Captain Ross, judging very justly, that the arctic seas could best be navi­
gated by vessels o f shallow draught, and not dependent on the Wind, proposed
to the admiralty to attempt the northwest passage through Regent’s Inlet
by steam ; but his proffer was at once rejected. The unfortunate are not
readily trusted. Smarting under unmerited censure, he proposed the scheme
to Sheriff Felix Booth, in whose favor we can forgive Ross for naming his dis­
coveries after him, an offensive fashion o f man-worship which all the modern
explorers have followed, from Ross to Beechy. W h y should the Strait o f
Anian be rebaptized by the name o f a beast and a drunkard, “ 'the fourth o f
the fools and oppressors called George ?” I f they had called their discoveries
after themselves, there would have been some sense and justice in it. Mr.
Booth, however, deserves to be immortalized, if only for his generous munifi­
cence. A t first, he refused to aid Ross, because, as parliament had offered a
great reward for the projected discovery, it would look like speculation in him
to do so ; but as soon as that offer was rescinded by government, this princely
individual at once advanced his friend twenty thousand pounds, and became re­
sponsible for the whole o f the expense o f the expedition, and left him at liber­
ty to select his own officers and crew. H e set sail in the steamship V ictory,
with a company o f twenty-four persons, in May, 1829, fitted forth in the
most complete manner possible, with stores for a thousand days. The ma­
chinery, however, proved defective. T h e labor o f managing it was exces­
sive. It propelled the boat but three miles an hour at best, and it was o f
very little service at any time. The crew o f a tender to the V ictory
mutinied, and she was obliged to proceed alone. Seldom has a voyage
been commenced under more inauspicious circumstances. The Victory
lost her fore-top-mast in a gale, and one o f her engineers was dangerously
wounded by her engine. Nevertheless, no man’s heart failed h im ; and in

Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.


the first week o f August the ship entered Lancaster Sound. Thus far the
climate had proved as mild and auspicious as that o f Italy. On entering
Regent’s Inlet, the compass became useless, from the close vicinity o f the
magnetic pole. On the twelfth, the ship made the spot where the Fury
was wrecked in A. D. 1825. The tent poles erected on that occasion,
were still standing, but the wreck was gone. Though four years had elapsed,
the stores were in excellent preservation, and had escaped the curiosity o f
the bears, a circumstance to which the whole party owed their ultimate
temporal salvation. A good quantity o f the stores was taken on board
the V icto ry ; enough to complete her complement for two years and three
The gunpowder was destroyed, lest it should accidentally do
injury to the Esquimaux. The next day, the ship made Cape Garry, hither,
to the southern limit o f the navigation o f Regent’s Inlet.
On the fifteenth, the Victory was on the shore o f Boothia, thirty miles
south o f Cape Garry ; but what avails it to indite the ship’s itinerary ? The
strait was much clearer o f ice than could have been expected— whales
abounded, so did the usual arctic animals, and the signs o f the natives
were observed every where. In September, the ice formed, and the
weather became tempestuous. By the end o f this month, all hope o f fur­
ther progress was at an e n d ; the' insurmountable obstructions o f nature
forbade it, and preparations were made to winter in latitude 70 deg., longi­
tude 92 deg. 40 min., three hundred miles further than any preceding ex­
pedition had gone, and within two hundred and eighty miles o f Point Turnagain. The guns were taken out, the ship was unrigged, and frozen in for the
winter. A magazine was erected on shore, the engine was landed, and the
company began to amuse themselves by hunting polar bears, foxes, and seals ;
spirits were no longer used, divine service was regularly performed, & c.,
& c . ; a school was also opened. It is here justly observed that the tem­
perature o f these regions is not, like that o f Sweden and N orway, depen­
dent on the latitude. These are the facts- from which this inference was
draw n:
m ean



V ictory’s Position, 69° 69' 0 0 " 92° 01' 0 6 " Oct. 1829, was + 8° 421
1819, it — 6 501
74 47 20 110 48 07
Melville Island,
+ 9 511
66 11 27
83 11 00
1821, a
Winter Island,
1822, i t + 9 791
69 20 30
81 52 46
88 54 48
1824, a + 10 851
Port Bowen,
73 13 40
In the course o f January, 1830, the explorers made the acquaintance o f
a party o f Esquimaux, who had knowledge o f the whites, and who did not
differ materially from their congeners described by Captain Parry. W e
regret that our limits do not allow us to dwell upon this interesting people,
and indeed the length to which we have already drawn this paper, warns
us to cut it short. Suffice it to say, that the company o f the V ictoiy were
lost to the world for four years, that they discovered the true position o f the
magnetic pole to be in the supposed peninsula o f Boothia, in latitude 70
deg. 5 min. 17 sec. and longitude 96 deg. 46 min. 45 sec. The dip o f the
needle was here 89 deg. 59 min., within one minute o f vertical, and con­
sequently, within a mile o f the pole. The accuracy o f science and mathe­
matical instrument makers can go no ni'gher to perfection. The spot is
thus described: “ The land at this place is very low near the co a st; but
rises into ridges fifty or sixty feet high, a mile inland. W e wished that a
place so important had possessed more o f mark or note. It was scarcely


Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.

censuraDle to regret that there was not a mountain to indicate a spot to
which so much interest must ever be attached, and I could have pardoned
any one o f us who had been so romantic or absurd as to expect that the
magnetic pole was an object as conspicuous as the mountain o f Sindbad,
or a mountain o f iron, or a magnet as big as Mont Blanc. But Nature
had erected no monument to denote the spot she had chosen as the centre
o f one o f her great and dark pow ers.”
The widest part o f the peninsula o f Boothia is ascertained to be but fif­
teen miles wide, o f which ten are occupied by water, and a canal might
easily be cut through, were its possible navigation for about a month in the
year a desideratum. It was supposed by Captain Ross that the level o f the
sea on one side o f the isthmus o f Boothia was several feet higher than on
the other, and hence he inferred, though erroneously, that there was no
passage nigh this point. It is proper to observe here that the overland sur­
veys, and the assignment o f the pole, were made by Commander James
On May 29th, 1832, all hope o f saving the Victory being at an end, and
it being impossible to brave another winter in that region, the company
left the ship for Fury Beach, which they reached, after incredible hardship
and sufferings, on the 1st o f July. It was their only chance for life.
Here they found three o f the shattered boats o f the Fury, in which they
reached Leopold South Island in September following. Then, the ice bar­
ring all further progress, they returned to Fury Beach.
“ All our attempts to push through were vain ; at length, being forced
by want o f provisions and the approach o f a most severe winter, to return
to Fury Beach, where alone there remained wherewith to sustain life ;
there we arrived on October 7, after a most fatiguing and laborious march,
having been obliged to leave our boats at Batty Bay. Our habitation,
which consisted in a frame o f spars, 32 feet by 16, covered with canvass,
was during the month o f November enclosed, and the r oof covered with
snow from four to seven feet thick, which, being saturated with water when
the temperature was 15 deg. below zero, immediately took the consistency
o f ice, and thus we actually became the inhabitants o f an iceberg during
one o f the most severe winters hitherto recorded : our sufferings, aggravated
by want o f bedding, clothing, and animal food, need not be dwelt upon.
Mr. C. Thomas, the carpenter, was the only man who perished at this
bea ch ; but three others, besides one who had lost his foot, were reduced to
the last stage o f debility, and only thirteen o f our number were able to
carry provisions in seven journeys o f sixty-two miles each to Batty Bay.
W e left Fury Beach on July 8, carrying with us three sick men which were
unable to walk, and in six days we reached the boats, where the sick daily
recovered. Although the spring was mild, it was not until August 15 that
we had any cheering prospect: a gale from the westward having suddenly
opened a lane o f water along shore, in two days we reached our former
position, and from the mountain we had the satisfaction o f seeing clear
water almost directly across Prince Regent’s Inlet, which we crossed on
the 17th, and took shelter from a storm twelve miles to the eastward o f
Cape Y ork. N ext day, when the gale abated, we crossed Admiralty Inlet,
and were detained six days on the coast by a strong northeast wind. On
the 25th we crossed N avy Board Inlet, and on the following morning, to
our inexpressible joy, we descried a ship in the offing becalmed, which
proved to be the Isabella, o f Hull, the same ship which I commanded in

Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.


I S I S ; at n o o n w e r e a c h e d h e r , w h e n h e r e n te rp risin g c o m m a n d e r , w h o
h a d in v a in s e a r c h e d fo r us in P r in c e R e g e n t ’s In let, a fte r g iv in g u s th ree
c h e e r s , r e c e iv e d u s w ith e v e r y d e m o n stra tio n o f k in d n e ss a n d h osp ita lity
w h ic h h u m an ity co u ld d ic ta te .”

W e have only further to say o f Captain Ross, that his government were
so far liberal as to reimburse him and his noble friend, Felix Booth, the
expenses they had actually incurred, that he received the honor (?) o f
knighthood, and that all his officers were promoted. This was pretty
liberal for a government which appropriated thirty thousand pounds ■per
annum to provide the queen with a plaything; but what was knighthood or
title to such men as Booth and the Rosses? Their mortal bodies may
crumble to du st; but they can never die. There needs no statue to their
memory— they have reared their own— and will never be forgotten while
there is a tear in the eye o f British pity, or a throb in the breast o f the
British brave.
W e leave Captain Ross and his gallant company, with regret that our
limits will allow us to bear them company no longer. There is much o f
interest in the narrative o f their perils and sufferings, at which we cannot
even glance. W e must also try to pay a slight tribute o f justice to Messrs.
Dease and Simpson, and to the Hudson’s Bay Company. “ W here in the
annals o f discovery,” asks the London Athenseum, “ are to be found such
touching examples o f enterprise, fortitude, and perseverance, as are offered
to us in the narratives o f Hearne, Franklin, and Parry, not to say any
thing o f Captain R oss’s last voyage ?” The writer might have asked, in
addition, what combination o f individuals since the creation o f the world,
ever rendered so much service to science, to their country, and to mankind,
as the Hudson’s Bay Company ? W hat do we know o f two-thirds o f an
entire continent, that is not derived directly or indirectly from their exer­
tions, their patronage ? T h ey have now rendered almost the last possible
benefit o f the kind.
In J u n e last, th ese g e n tle m e n d e s c e n d e d th e C o p p e r m in e riv e r , in p u r­
s u a n ce o f G o v e r n o r S im p s o n ’s in stru ctio n s.
T h e y e x p lo r e d R ic h a r d s o n ’s
r iv e r , d is c o v e r e d in 1838, w h ic h d is c h a r g e s it s e lf in to th e se a in latitude
67 d e g . 53 m in . 57 s e c ., lo n g itu d e 115 d e g . 56 m in. H e r e , as e v e r y w h e r e
e ls e in A m e r ic a w h ic h the fo o t o f m a n h as e v e r y e t p r e sse d , w e r e fou n d
th e a ll-e n d u rin g E s q u im a u x .
In th e first w e e k o f th e fo llo w in g m on th , th e
ic e o p e n e d , th e y r e a c h e d C o r o n a tio n G u lf, th e ea ste rn lim it o f F r a n k lin ’s
d is c o v e r ie s , and fo u n d it fr e e fr o m ic e .
H e r e m a y p r o p e r ly b e sa id to b e ­
g in th e r e g io n n o w first m a d e k n o w n to the c iv iliz e d w o rld .

Cape Alexander is situated in latitude 68 deg. 56 sec., longitude 106
deg. 40 m in .; and thence to another remarkable point in latitude 68 deg.
33 min., longitude 98 deg. 10 sec., the coast is one great bay, indented by
many smaller bays, with long projecting peninsulas, like those on the
western shore o f Scotland, and studded, or rather choked, by islands innu­
merable. Thus it appears that the route o f the surveyors was intricate,
and their duties harassing, though not dangerous ; for the islands protected
them from the seaward ice, and the weather was clear. Their most serious
detention was at a jutting cape called W hite Bear Point, in latitude 68 deg.
7 sec., longitude 103 deg. 36 min. Vestiges o f the everlasting Esquimaux
appeared wherever the voyagers landed, and they appeared to exist in sin­
gle families or in very small parties. In June they travel inland to the
chase o f the caribou, and return to the islands for seals when the winter
VOL. i u . —





Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.

sets in. In no material respect do they seem to differ from their compa­
triots, as described by Ross, Franklin, and Parry.
A much larger river than the Coppermine falls into the sea in latitude
68 deg. 2 min., longitude 104 deg. 15 min., and is much frequented by
reindeer and musk oxen. This will probably be one day soon the location
o f a trading post.
“ Finding the coast tending northerly from the bottom o f the great bay,”
says the despatch o f the adventurers, “ we expected to be carried round
Cape Felix o f Captain James R o s s ; but on the 10th o f August, at the
point already given, we suddenly opened a strait running in to the south­
ward o f east, where the rapid rush o f the tide scarcely left a doubt o f the
existence o f an open sea leading to the mouth o f Back’s Great Fish River.
This strait is ten miles wide at either extremity, but contracts to three in
the centre. Even that narrow channel is much encroached on by high
shingle islands ; but there is deep water in the middle throughout.
“ The 12th o f August was signalized by the most terrific storm we ever
witnessed in these regions. N ext day it blew roughly from the westward,
but we ran southeast, passed Point Richardson and Point Ogle o f Sir George
Back, till the night and the gale drove us ashore beyond Point Pecheil.
The storm lasted till the 16th, when we directed our course to Montreal
Island. On its northern side our people found a deposit made by some o f
Sir George Back’s party. It contained two bags o f pemican and a quantity
o f cocoa and chocolate, besides a tin vasculum, and two or three other ar­
ticles, o f which we took possession, as memorials o f our having breakfasted
on the spot where the tent o f our gallant, though less successful, precursor
stood that very day five years before.
“ The duty we had, in 1836, undertaken, was thus fully accomplished ;
and the length and difficulty o f the route back to the Coppermine would
have justified our return. ..W e had all suffered from want o f fuel and de­
privation o f food, and prospects grew more cheerless as the cold weather
stole on ; but having already ascertained the separation o f Boothia from
the continent, on the western side o f Great Fish River, we determined not
to desist till we had settled its relation on the eastern side also. A fog
which came on dispersed towards evening, and unfolded a full view o f the
shores o f the estuary. Far to the south, Victoria Headland stood forth so
clearly defined, that we instantly recognised it by Sir George B ack’s
drawing. Cape Beaufort we seemed to touch, and with the telescope we
were able to discern a continuous line o f high land as far round as north­
east, about two points more northerly than Cape Hay, the extreme eastern
point seen by Sir George Back.
“ The traverse to the furthest visible land occupied six hours’ labor at the
oar, and the sun was rising on the 17th when we scaled the R ocky Cape, to
which our course had been directed. It stands in latitude 68 deg. 3 min.
56 sec. N ., longitude 94 deg. 35 min. W . The azimuth compass settled
exactly in the true meridian, and agreed with two others, placed on the
ground. From our proximity to the magnetic pole, the compass had lat­
terly been o f little use ; but this was o f the less consequence, as the astro­
nomical observations were very frequent. The dip o f the needle, which at
Thunder Cove (12th August) was 89 deg. 29 min. 35 sec., had here de­
creased to 89 deg. 16 min. 40 sec. N . This bold promontory, where we
lay wind bound till the 19th, was named Cape Britannia. On the rock that
sheltered our encampment from the sea, and is the most conspicuous object

Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.


o n this p a rt o f th e co a s t, w e e r e c t e d a c o n ic a l p ile o f p on d erou s ston es,
that, i f n ot p u lled d o w n b y th e n ativ e s, m a y d e fy th e r a g e o f a thousand
storm s.
In it w a s p la ce d a bottle, c o n ta in in g a sk e tch o f ou r p r o c e e d in g s ,
a n d p o sse ssio n w a s ta k en o f p u r d is c o v e r ie s in th e n a m e o f V ic t o r ia I.

“ On the 19th, the gale shifted, and after crossing a bay, due east, the
coast bent away northeast, which enabled us to effect a run o f forty miles.
Next day the wind resumed its former direction, and after pulling against
it all the morning and gaining only three miles, we were obliged to take
refuge in the mouth o f a small river.
“ F r o m a r id g e , abou t a le a g u e in la n d , w e ob ta in e d a v ie w o f so m e v e r y
rem ote blu e land in the n orth east, in all p r o b a b ility o n e o f th e sou th ern
p r o m o n to r ie s o f B o o th ia .
T w o co n s id e r a b le islands la y fa r in th e o ffin g ,
and oth ers, h igh and distant, s tre tch e d fr o m E . to E N B .
“ O u r v ie w o f the lo w m ain sh o re w a s c o n fin e d to five m ile s in an ea sterly
d ir e c tio n , a fte r w h ic h it a p p e a re d to turn o f f g r e a tly t o th e righ t.
c o u ld , th e re fo re , s c a r c e ly dou bt o u r h a v in g a rriv e d at that la r g e g u lf uni',
fo r m ly d e s c r ib e d b y the E sq u im a u x a s c o n ta in in g m a n y island s, a n d w ith
n u m ero u s in den tation s stre tch in g so u th w a rd till it a p p ro a ch e s w ith in forty
m iles o f R e p u ls e and W a g e r b a y s .
T h e e x p lo ra tio n o f su ch a gu lf, w h ich
w a s the o b je c t o f th e T e r r o r ’s ill-sta rre d v o y a g e , w o u ld n e c e s s a r ily d em a n d
th e w h o le tim e and e n e r g ie s o f a n o th e r e x p e d itio n , h a v in g a sta rtin g o r
re trea tin g p oin t m u ch n e a r e r to the s c e n e o f o p e r a tio n s than G re a t B e a r
L a k e ; and it w a s e v id e n t to us that a n y further p e r se v e r a n c e co u ld o n ly
le a d to th e loss o f the g re a t o b je c t a lr e a d y attained , to g e th e r w ith that o f
th e w h ole party.
W e m u st h e re b e a llo w e d t o e x p r e s s o u r a d m ira tion o f
S ir J o h n R o s s ’s e x tr a o r d in a r y e s c a p e fro m this n e ig h b o r h o o d , after the
p r o tra cte d e n d u r a n ce o f o u r ships, u n p a ra lleled in a r c t ic sto ry .
T h e m ou th
o f the strea m , w h ich b o u n d e d th e last c a r e e r o f o u r a d m ira b le little b oa ts,
and re c e iv e d th eir n a m e , lies in latitu de 68 d e g . 28 m in . 27 s e c . N ., lo n g i­
tu de 97 d eg . 3 m in. W . ; v ariation o f the c o m p a s s, 16 d e g . 20 m in. W . ”
W e h av e d o n e o u r b e st to m a k e th e d o in g s o f M essrs. D e a s e and S im p ­
s o n , and S ir J oh n R o s s , c o m p re h e n s ib le .
W e s o m e th in g d ou bt w h eth er
w e h av e s u c c e e d e d .
A s fa r as w e k n o w , th e re has as y e t b e e n n o m a p ,
g r e a t o r sm a ll, o f th e r e c e n t d is c o v e r ie s , pu blished e ith e r in th is c o u n tr y o r
in E n g la n d ; and w ith ou t su ch a fa c ility , it is a lm o st ou t o f th e qu estion to
fo llo w eith er o f th e e x p lo r in g parties.
E v e n w e r e the lin e o f c o a s t w ell
defin ed , the absurd p r a c tic e o f A m e r ic a n m ap m a k e rs o f ca lcu la tin g lo n g i­
tu d e -fr o m W a s h in g t o n , in stead o f fr o m G r e e n w ic h , is e x c e s s iv e ly h a r a ss­
in g to the re a d e r w h o attem pts to a c c o m p a n y an E n g lish tr a v e lle r o n an
A m e r ic a n ch a rt.
O n e qu estion a rise s fr o m th e w h o le su b je ct, Cui bono ? W h a t g o o d is
to result fr o m th e la v ish ex p e n d itu re o f w e a lth , th e u n rem itted ex e rtio n s o f
five ce n tu rie s, the lo s s o f life that has atten d ed the s e a rch a fte r the n orth ­
w est p a s s a g e ?
It h a s b e e n sa id w ith a p p a re n t truth, th at th e p a ssa g e n o w
dem on strated to ex ist, e x ists to n o a v a ila b le p u r p o s e ; that it n e v e r has
b e e n and n e v e r w ill b e p a sse d .
B u t th ese o b je c tio n s a r e rath er s p e cio u s
th an real.
T h e d is c o v e r y o f th e m a g n e t ic p o le a lon e, r e p a y s e v e r y s a c r i­
fic e m a d e in th e ca u se o f n o rth e rn d is c o v e r y fr o m th e date o f E r i c R a u d e
a n d h is N o r th m e n d o w n to the tim e o f R o s s , D e a s e , and S im p son .
A g a in ,
i f th e p a ssa g e c a n n e v e r b e e ffe c te d in o n e se a so n , o r b y o n e v e sse l, d o e s
it fo llo w that it ca n n o t b e e ffe cte d at all ?
T h e c o n tr a r y is d e m on stra ted .
W h a t has b e e n d o n e o n c e c a n b e d o n e a g a in .
E v e r y in ch o f th e c o a s t'


Discovery o f the Northwest Passage.

fr o m B e h r in g ’s S tra it to th e strait o f th e F u r y a n d H e c la h as b e e n n a v ig a te d b y E n g lis h m e n , e x c e p tin g a d ista n ce o f le ss th an on e h u n d red and
s e v e n ty -fiv e m iles ; a n d it is p r o v e d that a n y p a rt o f the d ista n ce c a n b e
tr a v e rs e d at a c e rta in s e a so n o f e v e r y y e a r .
It is c e rta in that th e b o tto m
o f R e g e n t ’s In le t m a y b e r e a c h e d in a n y o n e y e a r fr o m E n g la n d b y a g o o d
ste a m b o a t, a n d that th e v o y a g e is a tten d ed w ith n o g r e a te r d a n g e r than a n y
o th e r w h a lin g trip .
W h a t is to h in d e r the e sta b lish m en t o f a tr a d in g p o st
at th e isthm us o f B o o th ia , a n d a n o th e r at the m o u th o f the C o p p e r m in e ?
A third is a lr e a d y n e a r th e m ou th o f th e M c K e n z ie .
A fou rth m ig h t b e
esta b lish ed at K o tz e b u e ’s S o u n d , w h ic h is a p p r o a c h a b le fr o m th e P a c ific
ev ery y ear.
S u p p o sin g stea m boa ts to b e k e p t at e a c h o f th ese stations ;
w h o c a n c a lcu la te — w h o c a n g u e ss th e results ? W h a le s , seals, b ird s, a n d
fu r -c la d an im als a b o u n d in th e se a o f H e a r n e and M c K e n z ie .
T h e r e is
n o th in g to h in d e r th e pu rsuit o f th em th ere.
M e n h a v e w in te re d in S p itzb e r g e n — m e n h av e b e e n b o r n , liv e d , and d ie d , in th e m o s t n orth ern re g io n s
o f A m e r ic a y e t k n o w n o r e v e n g u e sse d at.
It is s o m e th in g to h a v e a d d e d a co n tin e n t n e a r ly a s la r g e as E u r o p e to
th e w o r ld , th o u g h it b e but c o ld a n d sterile.
It is s o m e th in g th at w e a r e
e n a b le d to a m e lio ra te the c o n d itio n o f th e n atives o f that co u n tr y , to c o m ­
m u n ica te to th e m a k n o w le d g e o f the arts o f life , a n d th e b le ssin g s a n d
p r o m is e s o f C h ristia n ity .
It is so m e th in g that, w ith ou t ta k in g a n in c h o f
g r o u n d fr o m th e p o o r trib e s w h o liv e n o rth o f L a k e W in n e p e g , w ith ou t
in ju rin g th em in th e sligh test d e g r e e , w e h a v e im p r o v e d th eir con d itio n
w h ile w e h a v e b en efited o u rse lv e s ; w e h a v e fu rn ish ed e m p lo y m e n t to
h u n d red s a n d h u n d red s o f th ou san ds.
W e h a v e d r a in e d th e h a lf o f a c o n ­
tin en t o f its w e a lth w ith o u t im p o v e rish in g it.
W e h a v e sei'v ed the c a u se
o f h um an ity .
T h e m ise r a b le E sq u im a u n o lo n g e r p erish es b y th e ru th less
h an d o f the a lm o st as d e g r a d e d D o g R ib , and th e d e g ra d e d D o g R ib h old s
his hut, h is w ife , h is life , at th e p le a su re o f th e c a p r ic io u s C o p p e r In d ia n
n o m ore.
T h e o n e is n o lo n g e r a b le , o r e v e n w illin g , to o p p re ss th e oth e r
as b e fo r e .
A l l parties h a v e risen in th e s c a le o f b e in g .
W it h th ese re a so n s fo r r e jo ic in g th e re m in g le s o n e d r o p o f b ittern ess—
n o , o f re g r e t rath er.
W e ca n n o t fe e l b itte rly to se e g o o d d o n e ev en b y an
e n e m y ; fa r less b y a fr ie n d ly and a k in d re d p e o p le.
W e m ay, h ow ever,
w ith ou t su b je ctin g o u r s e lf to th e im pu tation o f e n v y o r la c k o f ch a r ity , e x ­
p r e ss o u r s o r r o w that n o p a rt o f th is h arv e st o f tru e g lo r y w a s re a p e d b y
It is o u r c o n so la tio n that w e c a n fall b a c k u p o n th e h o n o r s o f L e w is
and C la r k e , o f D a n ie l B o o n e , a n d m a n y a h a r d y p io n e e r , w h o s e e n terp rise,
fortitu d e, a n d m a g n a n im ity w o u ld h av e d o n e h o n o r to P a r r y , o r F r a n k lin ,
o r R o s s , th o u g h th e y w e r e d isp la y e d o n a le ss c o n s p ic u o u s field o f a c tio n
than theirs.
W e h a v e b u t tw o faults to find— o n e w ith C a p ta in R o s s , a n d th e o th e r
w ith h is A m e r ic a n pu blish er.
T h e first is, th e r e w a s n o n e e d , in s p e a k in g
o f th e n o t-to o -h ig h ly -to -b e -p r a is e d lib e ra lity o f F e lix B o o th , o f a s n e e r at
B e n ja m in F r a n k lin , w h o a lso had a h e a r t as b ig a s a w h a le, o r a k r a k e n ,
o r as B o o th h im self.
S u ch a s a rca s m w a s u n w o rth y o f R o s s and o f B o o th .
T h e fault o f th e p u blish ers is, the ca re le s s n e s s o r stin g in ess w h ic h has sent
th e w o r k in to th e w o r ld w ith ou t a c h a r t, w h ic h m ig h t h av e b e e n g iv e n f o r
tw e n ty o r th irty d o lla rs, and the w a n t o f w h ic h ta k es a w a y h a lf its v a lu e.


Our Trade with the Imaum o f Muscat.

A r t . V I .— O U R






T he arrival at N ew Y o il^ f f tlje
d vessel, belonging to
iistory which requires
the Imaum o f Muscat, is an event j n . . _ ___
some notice at our hands, as it is the commencement o f a trade which will
prove lucrative to the young and enterprising Arabian ruler, as well as bene­
ficial to the United States. The province o f Oman or Ommon is situated
in the southeastern part o f Arabia. The coast extends along the sea o f
Arabia, from below Ralhat to the entrance o f the Persian Gulf. It is gov­
erned by an Imaum, or spiritual chief, who is brave, intelligent, and exer­
cises his power for the benefit o f his people. His residence is Muscat—
hence he is called the Imaum o f Muscat. This city, the capital o f the pro­
vince, was in 1507 taken by Albuquerque, and remained subject to the
Portuguese until 1648, when the latter were driven out by an insurrection
o f the natives. Muscat is in latitude 23 deg. 38 min. north; longitude, 58
deg. 41 min. east.
The harbor is large, deep, and well protected by high rocks on one side,
and the island o f Muscat on the other. Excellent pilots are constantly upon
the watch for vessels. The town is enclosed by a strong wall, only Arabs
and Banians being .allowed to enter. Strangers are accommodated in mat
huts without the gates. Mr. Buckingham ^tateSothe population to be only
10,000. By others it1'‘is put down as-high as’ 6ft,@00. ' ’ From all we can
gather, we are inclined*!© think it does not exceed 40,000. T o the south­
west, 100 miles, is Seher, the Old capital o f Eastern Arabia, but it is almost
deserted, trade and people having left it for Muscat.
The situation o f the city is important in a commercial point o f view, as it
is filled with the merchandise o f fnaia and Persia, while the tribes from
the interior o f Arabia bring in their various articles o f traffic to its excel­
lent market. The police is so well organized that goods frequently remain
open and unwatched in the streets ; nor is there ever a loss from such ex­
A ll the ports along the coast are tributary to the Imaum o f Muscat, who
has subjected Socotra, Brava, Zanzibar, Pemba, Monfia, and several other
points along the eastern coast o f Africa. H e also holds Kishma, and Ormuez, on the Persian Gulf, and a large portion o f the Persian coast around
Gombroon. H e has a navy nearly as large as that o f the United States,
chiefly fine English built teak ships, well armed and completely manned.
Once or twice a year he goes on board his flag ship— cruises among his va­
rious possessions, and receives the tribute due to him. His power upon the
Indian Ocean is acknowledged, and his friendship sought by nearly all the
sovereigns round him. Muscat was largely engaged in the opium trade
along the coast o f China, until the recent difficulties with the Celestial E m ­
pire ; and even now there are some vessels from that port still dealing in
the forbidden drug.
In 1835, a treaty o f commerce was concluded between the United States
and the Imaum o f M uscat; and the Sultanee is the first vessel which has
com e to our shores under that compact, as indeed she is the first Arabian
vessel ever seen in our waters.
It now becomes an object o f attention to know what we are to derive


Our Trade with the Imaum o f Muscat.

from this treaty, and we can only come at this point by examining the arti­
cles which will be hereafter brought to us in Arabian vessels. First is the
very superior Mocha coffee, for so is all the coffee called that comes from
Arabia. W e leave others to dispute the point whether coffee is native or
exotic in Arabia— it is enough for us to know that the soil o f that country
greatly favors its growth and quality. Though superior to coffee from
Surinam or St. Domingo, the whole produce o f Arabia is only about
1,500,000 pounds. The Imaum o f Muscat, however, receives a large quan­
tity o f coffee from Persia, hut little inferior to the Arabian, and this will
now be shipped to this country.
In the province o f Oman, wheat and barley are sown in December, and
reaped in March. The yield is not large, but the quality o f the barley is
yery fine. O f course, these will not be imported into this country.
Indigo is raised in the interior o f Arabia, which is almost equal to that o f
India., It is brought to Muscat by the caravan, and from thence will find
its way to us.
The acacia vera or acacia arabica, from which the gum-arabic is obtained,
is found throughout the whole country. This drug is in demand all over
the world, and is sure to find a market in every quarter.
T h e d a te tre e s a r e c o m m o n to A r a b ia , a n d a re a g r e a t s o u r c e o f profit
to th e m e r ch a n ts o f that co u n try .

Arabia was once celebrated for its precious metals, though at present
there is no appearance o f either ^old or silver throughout |ts,bounds. The
province o f Ontar?, jhbwAveij,’ yS$$e$ses {sevfer'al; veSy^pi'cMifctive lead and
copper mines, that axe woi,kf?cl'by the «Imaum o f Muscat,"‘and from which
he receives a very handsome <income* , L a rg e. gajtslities are annually ex­
ported from Muscat, and both' are in flerhargl at ftngfiy ports upon the India
O f the manufactures, there is a kipd'pf jetton which is coarse and o f bad
color, but it is afforded cheap, and is‘<i,n‘ general use in the country.
The hair o f the camel is used for various purposes. The finest pencils
and paint brushes are made from this article. So also a fine quality o f la­
dies1 shawls, which are quite fashionable with us.
The horses o f Arabia rank first o f that noble race o f animals. There
are two kinds— the patrician and the plebeian, or the Kadishi and Kokeili,
or Kohlani. The first is the draught-horse, and is sold at cheap rates ; but
the Koheili is o f unquestioned descent, the pedigree being frequently car­
ried back for 2,000 years, and is the pet and companion o f the Arabian. It
is a mistaken idea that the true Arabian horse is wild, furious, and ungov­
ernable. T h e purest breed is an animal docile, gentle, and faithful as a
dog. He is nursed, fed, and tutored with the greatest care, and becomes
.strongly attached to his master.. This species is common in Oman, and
though the prices are high, and it is difficult to bring them away from the
country, yet we trust that tire new treaty, and the late arrival under it, is
sufficient indication to lead us to expect that the real Arabian horse may
.soon be brought to, and bred in this country. There are agriculturists
and sportsmen in the Union who have sufficient wealth, and will soon
embrace the opportunity now offered to them to improve their breeds o f
The island o f Socotra, which has been already mentioned as belonging
to the Imaum o f Muscat, produces, the famous Socotrine aloes, and the same
article is raised throughout the southern part o f Arabia in great abundance.

Laws relative to Debtor and Creditor.


C o c o a -n u t, a lm o n d s, filb erts, fig s, o r a n g e s , le m o n s, a n d the m a n g o ste e n a re
brou g h t to M u sc a t fro m th e in te rio r.
B e s id e s th ese, A r a b ia fu rn ish es ba lsam , fra n k in ce n se , m y rrh , sen n a, and
tam arin d s, w h ic h h av e all b e c o m e stap les, a n d a r e so ld at g o o d profits.
T h e amyris gileadensis is su p p o se d to be n ativ e in A r a b ia , w h e n c e it w as
tran sfe rre d to M o u n t G ile a d .
F r a n k in c e n s e is p r o d u c e d fr o m the juniperus lycia.
It w a s u sed b y the
H e b r e w s in th eir s a c r ific e s , a n d it is g e n e r a lly su p p o se d that th e y ob ta in ed
th e b est quality fr o m A r a b ia .
T h e s a m e is u sed b y the R o m a n C a th olics
at th e p re se n t d a y , w h o p r o c u r e all th e y re q u ire fr o m th e sa m e p la ce .
T h e juniperus lycia g r o w s c h ie fly in th e p r o v in c e o f O m a n , and is th ere
ca lle d b y th e n atives liban o r oliban.
B e s id e s th e quantity ra ised in the p r o ­
v in c e , th e re is m u ch im p o rte d b y th e A r a b ia n s fr o m In d ia , (w h ic h is the
g u m o f th e boswellia serrata o f D r . R o x b u r g h ,) and b y th em e x p o r te d to
o th e r co u n trie s.
M y rr h is a g u m -re sin , e x u d e d b y th e amyris ka taf o t F o r sk a l.
It is u n d o u b te d ly to A r a b ia n p h y sicia n s that w e w e r e first in d eb ted fo r
th e v a lu able d r u g , the sen n a , w h ic h is th e fo lia g e o f th e cassia lanceolata o f
F o r s k a l.
T a m a r in d s a r e p r o d u c e d b y the tamarindus officinalis.
It is a beautiful
tr e e , and is n o w cu ltiv a te d in all o r n e a r ly all the w a r m clim a te s o f the w o rld .
Situated a s is th e p o r t o f M u scat, it is a g ra n d c e n tr e fo r the v a riou s p r o ­
d u cts o f A r a b ia , P e r sia , and In dia. T h r o u g h it w e shall r e c e iv e th e T h ib e t
a n d C a sh m e re sh a w ls, and th ou san ds o f o th e r a r tic le s o f valu e and im p o r ­
ta n ce in c o m m e r c e .
O n th e o th e r h an d , this n e w trad e w ill op en a m a rk et
fo r th e stap les o f th is c o u n tr y , s o that th e e x c h a n g e w ill b e p rofita ble to
both p a rties.

A r t . V I I .— L A W S





C R E D IT O R .


N E W H A M P S H IR E .
B y th e statutes o f N e w H a m p sh ire , th e p e r so n a l estate, lan d s, ten em en ts,
a n d h ered itam en ts, b e lo n g in g to a n y p e r so n , sta n d c h a r g e a b le w ith the
ju st debts o f su ch p e r s o n ; a n d m a y b e a tta ch e d o n m e s n e p r o c e s s , a n d
.taken in e x e c u tio n fo r the s a tisfa ctio n o f the sa m e .
R ig h ts in e q u ity to
r e d e e m re a l estate o r o th e r p r o p e r ty m o r tg a g e d , m a y a lso b e a tta ch ed fo r
the debts o f the m o r tg a g o r .
S o a lso th e fra n c h is e o f a c o r p o r a tio n .
W h e r e a d e b to r h as m o n e y , ch a ttels, o r cr e d its in th e h an d s o f a third
p e r so n , w h ic h ca n n o t b e r e a c h e d b y o r d in a iy p r o c e s s , th e c r e d ito r m a y sue
ou t a trustee w rit, a s it is c a lle d , w h ic h re q u ire s th e su p p osed tru stee to
d is c lo s e o n oa th , o r b e fo r e a ju r y , th e state o f h is a ffairs w ith th e d e b to r at
the tim e o f the s e r v ic e o f th e p r o c e s s .
If, o n e x a m in a tio n , it a p p e a r that h e
has p r o p e rty b e lo n g in g to th e d e b to r in his h an ds, o f w h a tev er d e scrip tio n ,
ex e cu tio n is issu ed fo r th e s a m e , a n d h e is c o m p e lle d to p a y o v e r .
I f he
is a d ju d g e d n ot c h a r g e a b le , n o t h a v in g a n y p ro p e rty o f th e d e b to r in his
c h a r g e , h e r e c o v e r s ju d g m e n t a g a in st th e c r e d ito r fo r co sts.


Laws relative to Debtor and Creditor.

P r o p e r t y o f a n a b sen t d e b to r m a y b e a tta ch e d , a n d in su ch c a s e n o tice
is se rv e d u p o n h is a tto rn e y , i f h e h a v e a n y , o r b y c a u s in g a c o p y o f the
w rit to b e d e liv e re d h im , o r b y a d v e rtise m e n t in s o m e p u b lic n e w sp a p e r, as
th e c o u r t m a y o rd e r.

T h e a rticle s e x e m p te d b y la w fr o m a tta ch m en t in N e w H a m p s h ire a re
th e a rm s, eq u ip m en ts, a n d u n ifo rm s o f o ffic e r s , m u sicia n s, and p riv a tes in
the m ilit ia ; th e w e a r in g a p p a re l n e c e s s a r y fo r th e im m ed ia te u se o f a fa m ­
ily ; h o u se h o ld fu rn itu re to th e v a lu e o f tw e n ty d o ll a r s ; tw o co m fo rta b le
b e d s, bed stead s, a n d b e d d in g n e c e s s a r y fo r the s a m e ; B ib le s a n d s c h o o l
b o o k s in a ctu a l fa m ily use ; o n e p e w in th e c h u r c h w h e r e the d e b to r u su ally
w o r s h ip s ; o n e c o w ; o n e to n o f h a y ; o n e h o g , and o n e p ig n o t o v e r six
m o n th s o l d ; s ix sh e e p , a n d th e fle e c e s o f th e sa m e sh eep w h ile in p o s s e s ­
sio n o f th e o w n e r ; a n d in c a s e the d e b to r b e a m e c h a n ic o r fa r m e r , to o ls
o f h is tr a d e o r o c c u p a tio n , to th e va lu e o f tw e n ty d ollars.

A n y p e r s o n h a v in g a c la im aga in st a n o th e r, fou n d ed o n a n y ju d g m en t,
d eb t, o r c o n tr a c t , m a y su e o u t a w rit o f a tta ch m en t, a n d at o n c e ta k e p o s ­
se ssio n o f a n y p e r so n a l esta te o f the d e b to r that h e c a n fin d , t o a n a m ou n t
su fficien t to s e cu r e h is c la im ; o r h e m a y a tta ch th e r e a l estate o f th e d e b t­
o r ; o r b oth , in c a s e e ith e r is d e e m e d in su fficien t to sa tisfy the ju d g m e n t.
A n d p r o p e r ty thus a tta ch e d is h e ld fr o m th e date o f the a tta ch m en t, to sa t­
is fy th e ju d g m e n t, w h ic h is a fte rw a rd s to b e d e te rm in e d b y th e c o u rt.
T h is is a h arsh featu re in th e la w , a n d s o m e tim e s le a d s to g r e a t in ju stice,
a s th e c r e d ito r w h o first a tta ch es m a y g e t h is w h o le c la im , w h ile a n o th e r
c r e d ito r , less vig ila n t, th o u g h p erh ap s h a v in g a b etter c la im , m a y lo s e h is
debt— th e p r o p e r ty b e in g h e ld u n d er th e a tta ch m en ts, to sa tisfy in fu ll th e
ju d g m e n ts a n d c o s ts that m a y b e re n d e re d , in th e o r d e r o f th eir p r iority .
T h e p r o c e s s is v e r y sim p le a n d e x p e d itio u s.
A b r ie f w r it o f a tta ch ­
m e n t m a y b e d r a w n up b y a n e x p e rt a tto rn e y in ten m in u tes, a n d i f th e
o ffic e r b e in w a itin g , th e en tire p e rso n a l estate o f a n y d eb tor in th e n e ig h ­
b o r h o o d m a y b e s e c u r e d fo r the c r e d ito r in an h o u r.
T h e o ffic e r h as o n ly
to m a k e k n o w n h is e rra n d , d e c la r e h is p o s s e s s io n , a n d th e lie n is cre a te d .
H e th e n p r o c e e d s at le isu re to m a k e ou t a n in v o ic e o f th e p r o p e r t y , w h ic h
h e e ith e r ta k es a n d retains p o sse ssio n o f, o r p e rm its th e d e b to r to re su m e
it, o n g iv in g sa tisfa cto ry r e c e ip to r s , s o m e frie n d o f th e d eb tor, w h o s e b o n d
th e o ffic e r is w illin g to ta k e , a g r e e in g that th e p r o p e r ty a tta ch ed shall b e
fo r th c o m in g w h e n e v e r d e m a n d e d , o r the v a lu e in m o n e y , a s estim a ted in
th e b ond .
P e r so n a l p r o p e r t y u n d e r a tta ch m e n t m a y , b y c o n s e n t o f th e d e b to r and
th e atta ch in g c r e d ito r s , b e so ld at a n y tim e b e fo r e ju d g m e n t ; th e p r o c e e d s
to re m a in in th e o f fic e r ’s h an d s, to b e a p p lie d o n su ch ju d g m e n t.
In c a s e s w h e r e a tta ch m en ts a r e m a d e o f liv e s to c k , g o o d s , w a r e s , o r
m e r ch a n d is e , o f a n y k in d , lia b le to p e r ish , w a s te , o r g r e a tly d e p r e c ia te in
v a lu e b y m o v in g o r k e e p in g , o r w h ic h c a n n o t b e k e p t w ith ou t g r e a t a n d
d isp ro p o rtio n a te e x p e n s e , a n d th e p a rties n o t c o n s e n tin g to a sa le, a p ­
p ra ise rs m a y b e a p p o in te d at th e re q u e st o f eith er p a rty , to a ffix a ca s h
v a lu e to su ch p r o p e r t y ; a fte r w h ich , i f th e d e b to r r e fu se to r e d e e m the

Laws relative to Debtor and Creditor.


same at the appraisal, or procure a sufficient receiptor, the officer may
proceed to sell the same at public auction, holding the proceeds in his
hands, to apply on the judgment recovered by the attaching creditor.
Attachments o f real estate are made by the officer’s leaving a certified
copy o f the writ, with his return, describing the property attached, en­
dorsed on the back thereof, at the office o f the town-clerk, who notes on
the same the hour at which it is filed, and the attachment then commences.
W here the creditor lives within the state, the suit must be brought in
the county where one o f the parties resides. W here the creditor lives
without the state, he may bring his action in either o f the counties.
A ll property attached must be levied upon within thirty days after the
rendition o f judgment in the suit, or the attachment is lost.
W here neither property is attached, nor an arrest o f the body o f the
debtor ordered, service is made by leaving a summons with the debtor.

This is very expeditious and simple. W here judgment is rendered for
the creditor, he obtains his writ o f execution, delivers it to the officer who
made the original attachment, and in four days the sale is completed.
In cases o f levies upon real estate, appraisers are chosen, one by the
creditor, another by the debtor, and a third by the officer, who set off, un­
der oath, at its value, so much o f the lands and tenements o f the debtor’s as
will satisfy the judgment and costs. The creditor is at the same time put
in possession o f the premises, and his title becomes perfect in the same, un­
less within a year the debtor redeem the same by payment o f the debt,
cash and interest on the same. Rights in equity to redeem real estate
mortgaged, or set o ff in execution, and franchise in corporations, are sold
as personal property; the debtor, however, in such case, having the right
to redeem within a year, which he has not in the case o f levy upon goods
and chattels.

Females are not liable to arrest for debt in N ew Ham pshire; and cer­
tain public officers, judges, sheriffs, & c., are also exempt from arrest. *But
every other person in that state, owing a debt amounting to thirteen dollars
and thirty-three cents, may be arrested thereon, at the pleasure o f the credi­
tor, and thrown into close jail, unless he can procure a friend to become
his bail. If he cannot procure bail, he may be detained in confinement
until judgment is rendered, which is rarely ever in a shorter period than
six months. The creditor, however, is required to give security to the
jailer for the payment o f prison charges against the debtor while so confined,
or the jailer may set him at liberty.
W h ere a debtor is imprisoned on mesne process, the execution recovered
against him must be levied upon his body within thirty days after judgment,
or he is freed from arrest for a year thereafter.

A n y person arrested or imprisoned on execution, may be discharged
from arrest or imprisonment, on giving bond to the creditor with two sufvol.

in.— no. i.



Laws relative to Debtor and Creditor.

ficie n t su reties, in d o u b le the a m ou n t o f th e su m fo r w h ic h the e x e cu tio n
i s s u e s ; w ith the co n d itio n that h e shall w ith in o n e y e a r fr o m the d a y o f
his a rre st, a p p ly to the p r o p e r a u th o rity and a ctu a lly tak e the p o o r d e b to r ’s
o a th , o r su rren d er h im s e lf up to the c r e d ito r .
I f h e ta k e the oa th , h e c a n
n e v e r a g a in b e a rre ste d o n the sa m e cla im , alth ou g h the ju d g m e n t rem ain s
g o o d aga in st the p r o p e r ty o f the d e b to r, sh ou ld h e e v e r th erea fter be p o s ­
se sse d o f a n y .
I f h e fail to ta k e the oath p r e sc r ib e d w ith in th e y e a r , and
s u rr e n d e r h im s e lf to the c r e d ito r , h e m a y b e c o m m itte d to c lo s e ja il, th ere
to rem ain fo r life, u n less th e d eb t b e paid.
A n d i f the d eb tor, h a v in g g iv e n
the bond a fo r e sa id , n e g le c t eith e r to tak e the oath , o r to su rren d er h im s e lf
to the c r e d ito r w ith in the y e a r s p e cifie d , the b o n d is then a d ju d g ed forfeit,
and the c r e d ito r m a y put it in suit, a n d r e c o v e r h is ju st debt w ith ten p e r
ce n t, in terest and c o s ts , fr o m th e tim e o f the a rrest.
T h e sureties on su ch
b o n d , i f th e y fail to p a y , m a y b e a rrested and im p ris o n e d o n e x e c u tio n r e ­
c o v e r e d o n th e b o n d , and a r e d en ied the p r iv ile g e o f th e p o o r d e b to r ’s oa th ,
o r o f e v e n e n te rin g in to b o n d s to su rre n d e r th e m selv es w ith in the y e a r ;
but g o at o n c e in to c lo s e c o n fin e m e n t, th e re to rem ain until th e d eb t is paid .
W h e n the o ffic e r has a p e r so n u n der arrest o n e x e cu tio n , and the c r e d i­
to r is n ot at hand to a p p ro v e , o r d e c lin e s to a c c e p t th e b o n d o ffe re d b y th e
d e b to r, he m a y h a v e it a p p ro v e d b y tw o ju s tic e s o f th e p e a c e and q u o r u m ;
and a n y tw o ju s tic e s o f the p e a c e a n d q u oru m m a y a c t as c o m m is s io n e r s
o f ja il d e liv e ry , e x a m in in g the p r iso n e r a rre ste d and c o n fin e d , o r u n d er
b o n d s , fo r debt, a n d m a y a d m in ister th e p o o r d e b to r ’s oath .
T h e d eb tor
m a y b e e x a m in e d b y the c r e d ito r o r h is a tto rn e y w h ile o n the stand, to u c h ­
in g a n y p r o p e r ty , rig h ts, or. in terests h e m a y b e su p p osed to possess.

d e b t o r ’s


T h e oath ad m in istered to p o o r d e b to rs in N e w H a m p s h ire , is as f o l­
lo w s , v i z : —
“ I, A . B ., d o s o le m n ly sw e a r b e fo r e A lm ig h t y G o d , ( o r a ffir m ,) that I
h a v e n o t a n y estate, re a l o r p e r so n a l, in p o s s e s s io n , r e v e rs io n , o r r e m a in ­
d e r, to the a m o u n t o f tw e n ty d o lla rs, e x c e p tin g g o o d s and ch attels b y la w
e x e m p te d fro m atta ch m en t and e x e cu tio n ; and that I h av e n ot, at a n y tim e,
d ir e c tly o r in d ir e c tly , so ld , le a se d , n o r o th e rw is e c o n v e y e d , n o r d isp o se d
o f To, n o r in tru sted, a n y p e rso n o r p e rso n s w ith all n o r a n y part o f th e
esta te, rea l o r p erson a l, w h e r e o f I h a v e b e e n th e la w fu l p o sse sso r o r o w n e r ,
w ith a n y in ten t o r d e sig n to s e c u r e the sa m e , o r to r e c e iv e o r to e x p e c t a n y
p r o fit o r a d v a n ta g e th e re fo r, n o r h av e ca u se d n o r su ffered a n y th in g e ls e
w h a te v e r to b e d o n e , w h e r e b y a n y o f m y c re d ito rs m a y b e d efra u d ed .
S o help m e G o d .
( O r , T h is I d o u n d er the pain s and pen alties o f p e r ­
ju r y . ) ” _
T h e ju s tic e s , h a v in g ad m in iste re d th e a b o v e oath to the d eb tor, m a k e a
ce r tific a te o f th e sa m e , and the p r iso n e r is d is ch a rg e d , on p a y m e n t o f p r ison
c h a r g e s , and c o s ts o f ja il d e liv e r y ; and is th erea fter e x e m p t fr o m a n y a r ­
rest o n the sa m e ju d g m e n t.

A l l m o r tg a g e s , w h e th e r o f re a l o r p e r so n a l p r o p e r ty , a r e r e q u ire d to b e
p la c e d o n the p u b lic r e c o r d s , fo r the in sp e ctio n o f th ose w h o a re in terested .
M o r tg a g e s o f p e r so n a l p r o p e r ty a r e r e c o r d e d in the o ffic e o f th e to w n -

Laws relative to Debtor and Creditor.


clerk s; and those o f real estate, in the offices o f the registers o f deeds for
the coun ty; no lien created by such mortgage being good against attach­
ment or execution until so placed upon the records.
By the laws o f New Hampshire, no assignment made for the benefit o f
creditors is valid, except on the following conditions s-—
1. The assignment must provide for an equal distribution o f all the
debtor’s effects equally among all his creditors, in proportion, according to
their respective claims.
2. The debtor, on executing the assignment, must make oath that he
has placed in the hands o f his assignees, for the benefit o f his creditors, all
his property o f every description, except such as is by law exempted from
attachment and execution.
The courts o f N ew Hampshire are, the Superior Court o f Judicature,
consisting o f a chief justice and three associates, who hold one term annually in each o f the eight counties o f the state, for the hearing and deter­
mining questions o f law, & c. This court is also vested with chancery
powers, under certain regulations, and for certain purposes, prescribed by
the statute.
The judges o f the Superior Court are ex officio judges o f the Court o f
Common Pleas. This court, before whom all actions for the recovery o f
debts and the enforcement o f contracts, and all jury trials are brought, con­
sists o f one o f the justices o f the Superior Court, who sits as chief justice o f
the Common Pleas, and o f two county judges, generally appointed from
among the yeomanry, and whose principal business is to attend to the or­
dinary business o f the county, its roads, expenses, & c. T w o terms are
held annually in each o f the counties, and debts are usually as speedily and
cheaply Collected in N ew Hampshire as in any state o f the Union. The
expenses o f obtaining a judgment on a suit for debt usually varies from
ten to fifteen dollars, exclusive o f attorney’s fees, where the case is argued
at length before a jury. And it will be seen by the preceding statement,
that in all cases where the debtor is in possession o f property, the law pro­
vides the most effectual means to reach it. The creditor who suspects his
debtor, may attach and take possession o f his property, without notice or
warning o f his intention, and hold it until he can obtain a judgment in
court, and a writ o f execution. I f he can find no property, or suspects
the debtor o f a design to conceal it, he may arrest and imprison him,
in default o f bail. If he have reason to suppose that any third person
has in possession any goods, chattels, rights, or credits o f the debtor,
he may summon such person to disclose and to surrender whatever may be
in his hands. W ith his writ o f execution, if he fail to find property,
he may arrest the body o f the debtor, and compel him to take the poor
debtor’s oath, or go into close confinement. N ot only so, but the creditor
has the power, in the first place, to apply all the goods and effects o f the
debtor towards the payment o f his demand, and then, if his execution
remain unsatisfied in full, he may arrest the body o f the debtor for the
balance, and imprison him, if he refuse to take the oath aforesaid. N or is
this all. The poor debtor only exempts his body from duress, by the oath
o f bankruptcy. The creditor still holds his judgment over him, or such part
o f it as remains unsatisfied ; and although he cannot again imprison him,
he may, at any time thereafter, pounce down upon the unfortunate debtor,
and take away his earnings.

Mercantile Law Reports.


A rt . V I I I .— M E R C A N T I L E L A W



A n action was recently brought in the Superior Court o f the State of
N ew York, Judge Jones presiding, by John H. Mason vs. the Jackson Ma­
rine Insurance Company, upon a policy o f insurance to recover the amount
o f a general average; and, also, for the difference o f freight paid by the
owner o f the goods between an intermediate port where the vessel stopped,
and her original port o f destination, and also for the personal expenses o f
the owner o f the goods in going to the intermediate port to get possession
o f the goods.
In September, 1838, the plaintiff shipped goods from this city for V icks­
burg, on board the ship Superior, and effected an insurance on them with
the defendants, the policy o f insurance containing a stipulation that the ves­
sel might be towed up the river Mississippi by a steamboat, or that the
goods might be transhipped at an intermediate port.
The vessel encountered a storm on the passage, which injured her so much
that it was found necessary for her to put into N ew Orleans, in order to
have her repaired before she could proceed on her voyage. The captain
made the usual protest, and the cargo was landed and put in store. While
the vessel was being repaired, the owner o f the goods went to New Orleans,
and agreed with the captain o f the vessel to pay him 16| cents per cubic
foot for the freight o f the goods to that place, instead o f 25 cents, which
was the freight he was to have been paid for carrying the goods to V icks­
burg. The captain having made this arrangement, delivered the goods to
the owner, who forwarded them to Vicksburg. The plaintiff now sought
to recover the difference between what it cost to transmit the goods to V icks­
burg, and what it would have cost i f the vessel in which the goods were
originally shipped had continued her voyage and brought them there. The
personal expenses o f the owner o f the goods going to N ew Orleans, to get
possession o f them, was also claimed. The plaintiff also claimed his share
o f the general average, resulting from the injuries the vessel received at sea,
which was paid at N ew Orleans, in compliance with the regulations o f that
port, and amounted to $500.
In the defence it was contended that when the captain arrived at New
Orleans, and found that his vessel could not proceed on her voyage, he was
bound to immediately forward the goods to their destination, in accordance
with the stipulation in the policy. And that independent o f that stipulation,
he was bound to forward them to Vicksburg, if on inquiry he found that it
would cost less to do so than to land and store them at N ew Orleans. It
was also contended that the average was exorbitant, particularly one item
o f 2^ per cent, commission for landing and re-shipping the cargo, which
charge it was alleged was illegal, and need not have been paid by the plain,
tiff. That his paying it was his own voluntary act, and that he ought not to
recover it.
T h e c o u r t c h a r g e d the j u r y :
T h e p o lic y o f in su ra n c e co n ta in e d a stip ulation fo r lib e r ty to h a v e the
v e s s e l to w e d up the r iv e r b y a stea m boa t, o r to tran sfer th e g o o d s , a n d fo r ­
w a r d th e m b y a n o th e r c o n v e y a n c e .
T h e o w n e r o f th e g o o d s stipulated for
th ese p r iv ile g e s b y w a y o f g r e a te r ca u tio n , but it w a s n o t o b lig a t o r y o n h im

Bills o f Exchange.


to perform them. The insurance was the act o f the owner o f the goods,
and not o f the master o f the vessel— and any obligation arising from that
document, rested not on the master, but the owner.
The first question was, whether the captain was justified in stopping at
N ew Orleans, or was he bound to proceed up with his vessel by her own
power, or by the aid o f the steamboat. This was a fact for the jury to pass
upon. The court listened with great attention to the testimony, and thought
there was a strong case on the part o f the captain. But if the jury thought
he was bound to proceed with the vessel either by her own aid or by the
help o f a steamboat, there was an end to the case, and the underwriter must
get a verdict, as he could only touch at N ew Orleans to land his passengers,
and had no right to stop there except as a port o f necessity, or from the
other causes which the policy contemplates, and which evidently have refer­
ence to the situation o f the river, and not to the vessel being injured at sea.
The policy in giving leave to tow up the ship, contemplated the river being
in such a state as that it would be imprudent for her to ascend the river at
all, or at least without the aid o f a steamboat. But the master did not stop
at N ew Orleans on that account, but, as he alleges, on account o f the condi­
tion o f the ship. And the question is, was he justified in stopping 1 T h e
next question is, had he a right to detain the goods until the ship was repair­
ed, or was he bound to send them on? There was no express contract be­
tween the master and the owner o f the goods that the master should
tranship them at the option o f the owner, and the master had a right to
earn his whole freight, instead o f getting another vessel to carry on the
goods, if his own vessel.could be repaired at a reasonable expense and
time. But if she could not, he was bound to send on the cargo. This was,
howaver, also a question o f fact for the jury.
W hen the owner or consignee made the arrangement with the captain to
pay him a pro rata freight and took away the goods, there was then an en­
tire separation o f the cargo from the ship, and the ship from the cargo, and
the master was no longer responsible for them, nor had he or the owner
any further claim for freight on the underwriters. W ith regard to the
owner or agent’s personal expenses in going to N ew Orleans, the underwri­
ters were not liable for it.
In relation to the claim on account o f the general average which the
plaintiff paid at N ew Orleans, the court could not now give any decided
opinion in relation to it, and the jury must, for the purposes o f this trial,
consider the adjustment o f the general average, which was made at N ew
Orleans, conclusive, unless there was a collusion between the parties ; that
if the plaintiff could not recover it from the underwriters, he was to be paid
it back to him by the ship owner. And o f that there was no evidence.
Verdict for the plaintiff, §5 0 0 79— being the proportion he paid o f the
general average.

In the Superior Court o f the State o f N ew Y ork, before Chief Justice
Jones, an action was recently brought to recover the amount o f two bills
o f exchange, sold by the plaintiff to the defendant, through a broker by the
name o f Shultz, who, our readers will remember, committed suicide some
time in May, 1839. It was proved that Shultz, the day before he killed
himself, had received a check for the bills from the defendant, which he


Mercantile Law Reports.

appropriated to his own use. The plaintiff, however, contended that it was
not customary to pay the broker, but the seller o f the bill; and if done, it
was done at the risk o f the defendant, and the plaintiffs were not bound by
it. In support o f this allegation, a number o f dealers in French exchange
were called upon, who testified that it was the custom to enclose the check
to the seller, and not to the broker, who has no authority to receive pay.
ments for bills sold through his agency. For the defence, it was contended
that Shultz was the agent o f the plaintiff, and was regularly paid by him
for negotiating the bills, and that it was as much the custom to pay the
broker as the seller o f the bills.
The court charged the jury. It must be shown that, either in point o f
fact, or in judgment o f law, the plaintiff was paid for the bills. That is,
was he personally paid, or was it paid to an agent expressly authorized to
receive it, or was the nature o f the transaction such as to justify the de­
fendant in paying it, and by doing so exonerate himself from any further
demand for it ?
If the check was paid for these bills, and the broker was authorized to
receive it, then there must be a verdict: for the defendant. Assuming the
payment was made to the broker for those bills, the question was then, was
the broker authorized to receive it ? H e could only be authorized on one
o f two grounds ; authority from the purchaser to the defendant, to pay the
broker, or general usage which authorized the purchaser to pay the broker.
A nd the usage, in order to be valid, must be reasonable, universal, o f long
standing, and notorious. If such a general usage exists, it is not the busi­
ness o f the purchaser to question the character o f the broker ; that was the
business o f the seller who intrusted him. If, however, as counsel alleges,
but o f which we have no evidence, the broker in this case was untrust­
worthy, and that the defendant knew it, it would be a strong circumstance
to show he was not justified in paying him. The question o f usage after
all resolves itself into a question o f authority. D o persons who give bills
or goods to a broker to sell, authorize him to get the money for them 1 In
some transactions it is necessary, from the circumstances o f the case, that
the broker must get the money. As, for instance, where you give a broker
a horse or a note to sell, and tell him to sell it for cash, he could not con­
form to his instructions without getting cash for it. But when the article
is to be sold for a check or on time, the same necessity does not exist.
I f the jury thought that the 'broker had an implied authority to receive
the money, or that it was the general course o f business, or that there was
a custom which justified it, or that he had actual authority,, then they would
find for the defendant, and if not, for the plaintiff.
Verdict for the defendant.
F or plaintiff, Mr. Cutting.
F or defendant, Messrs. Foot, Davies, and Prescott Hall.

The Supreme Court o f Missouri recently gave a decision on the subject
o f assignments for benefit o f creditors, which, as it establishes an important
point in relation to them, should be known to our mercantile community.
The cases before the court were George Brown vs. Knox, Boggs, &
Co., and Rogers & Shrewsbury vs. Eads & Buchanan; both involv­
ing the validity o f assignments. The main ground contested in the case

Customhouse Bonds.


was, whether a debtor, in making an assignment for the benefit o f his ereditors, has a right to stipulate that they shall receive the dividend which
the assignment will make in full satisfaction o f their claims, and that the
debtor shall be released on the payment o f that. The court, after full ar­
gument and review o f authorities, gave an extended decision, declaring that
“ a stipulation for a release o f a debtor contained in an assignment, makes
it null and void.”
This is the first time that this question has been decided in Missouri, and
the decision now given will have a considerable effect, not only on assign­
ments already made, but on the nature o f assignments hereafter made.
V ery few assignments have ever been made in that state which did not
contain the clause against which the Supreme C o u rt has now declared

In the United States Circuit Court, Judge Thompson presiding, an action
was brought by the United States vs. Charles A. Heckscher, to recover a
debt alleged to be due on a bond executed by defendant as one o f the
sureties o f John Doering, dated December 4th, 1830, in the penalty o f
$1605 20, conditioned that twenty casks domestic refined sugar, weighing
net 16,052 pounds, laden by said Doering on board the brig Calliope,, and
entered for exportation for the benefit o f drawback, should not be relanded
within the limits o f the United States, but should be duly exported to the
port o f Leghorn, or some other place out o f the limits o f the United States.
The condition of,this bond was n o w alleged to have been broken.
It appeared from the evidence for the United States, that Doering, who
was in 1830 a sugar refiner in this city, made five separate entries o f su­
gars to be exported for the benefit o f the drawback by the Calliope, and
that other like entries were made by other persons, the whole amounting
to 170,896 pounds ; the drawback on which, at five cents per pound, was
paid by the collector upon the production o f the regular certificates o f the
weighmasters and inspectors. W hen Messrs. D e Yough & Co., the con­
signees at Leghorn, opened the sugars described in Doering’s entries,
forty-five barrels o f them were found to be only partly filled, and twenty
other barrels, though full, were found to have been substituted for larger
casks, so that there was a deficiency o f 44,453 pounds o f sugar in that
part o f the cargo described in Doering’s entries.
For the defence, it was alleged that no part o f the sugar laden on board
the Calliope had ever been relanded within the meaning o f the bond. That
a fraud had been practised by the persons who made the entries and owned
the cargo, upon the officers o f the customs, by means o f which the returns
to the customhouse, from which the bonds were filled up, state a larger
quantity o f sugar to be on board than was actually put on board the vessel.
And that the defendant was merely a surety, and had no knowledge or par­
ticipation in the fraud. The manner in which it was effected, as appeared in
evidence, was thus :— After some o f the casks o f sugar had been weighed,
inspected, marked, and put on board the vessel, the shipper had them re­
landed on the dock, in the presence o f the weighmaster and inspector, and
the marks completely obliterated from the casks, and new marks put upon
them. Th ey were then weighed again in presence o f the customhouse
officers, and again put on board the vessel, thus showing upon tne returns


Mercantile Law Reports.

o f the customhouse officers a greater number o f casks, and a larger quan-.
tity o f sugar, than was actually put on board. And in order that the num­
ber o f casks put on board should correspond with the number o f casks in
the customhouse officers’ return, a number o f casks equal to those from
which the marks were obliterated, were put on board without the know­
ledge or inspection o f the customhouse officers; which casks contained
a far less quantity o f sugar than those from which the marks had been
From a memorandum on the bond, it appeared that it had been regu­
larly discharged by the customhouse in April, 1831, and it may there­
fore be contended that it had been regularly discharged in law— that no
action could be maintained on it. But it was shown by the cross-examination o f the subscribing witness to the bond, that this memorandum was
made by him, as a clerk in the customhouse, upon the production o f a
landing certificate signed by Messrs. De Yough & Co., o f Leghorn, with
the oath o f the master and mate o f the vessel, and the consular certificate,
which papers were produced in evidence. And it was shown, on the part
o f the United States, that this landing certificate was untrue, in point o f
T h e court charged the jury that the defendant, having admitted by the
recitals contained in his bond, that the twenty casks o f refined sugar refer­
red to in the bond and in the corresponding entry, had been had on board
the Calliope, and that the net weight o f the sugar contained therein was
16,052 pounds— he was stopped from denying these facts ; and that if the
jury believed from the evidence, that the casks, or any part o f them,
described in said entry, after having been weighed and laden on board the
vessel, have been taken and replaced on the dock, in the manner and for
the purpose described by the witnesses, such relanding, though before the
sailing o f the vessel, would be a relanding within the United States, within
the meaning o f the condition o f the bond, and o f the acts o f congress under
which it was taken.
The jury found a verdict for the United States for the amount o f the
F or the United States, the District Attorney, Mr. Butler.
F or defendant, James A . Hamilton.

In the Court o f Chancery, May 19, 1840, Samuel S. Parker vs. Cyrus
S. B row n in g : N . Dane Ellingwood, for complainant; R. J. Dillon, for
The chancellor decided in this case, that where a receiver has taken pos­
session o f the goods o f the defendant under the express direction o f the
court, or where the master has decided that the goods were in the posses­
sion and under the power and control o f the defendant, and has directed
him to deliver the possession thereof to the receiver, this court will assume
the exclusive jurisdiction over the subject, instead o f suffering its officer to
to be harassed in a suit at law for obeying its order. That where the au­
thority o f this court or the construction o f its order is not in question, but
the complaint is made against the misconduct o f its officer, acting under
color o f authority merely, this court may, in its discretion, either take to
itself the cognizance o f the complaint, and do justice between its officers

A ction o f T rover-


and the parties aggrieved, or it may permit them to bring a suit at law for
the alleged injury. That generally, in such cases, it seem s to be better to
permit the parties to proceed at law. That it is not necessary, in any
case, for the receiver to put himself in a situation where he is not entitled
to the full protection of this court; as he is under no obligation to attempt
to take property out of the possession of a third person, or even out of the
possession of the defendant himself, by force, and without an express order
of the court directing him to do so. That where the property is legally
and properly in the possession of the receiver, it is the duty of the court to
protect that possession, not only against acts of violence, but also against
suits at law ; so that a third person claiming the same, may be compelled
to come in and ask to be examined p r o interesse suo, if he wishes to test
the justice of such claim. But that where the property is in the possession
of a third person, under a claim of title, the court will not protect the re­
ceiver who attempts by violence to obtain possession, any further than the
law will protect him; his right to take possession of property of which he
has been appointed receiver being, unquestioned.

In the Court of Common Pleas, an action was brought before Judge Ulshoeffer, by Margaret Terrell vs. T. N. Cosneau, to recover from the de­
fendant, an insurance broker in Wall-street, the value of certain articles,
furniture, &c., which bad been left in his charge, and illegally converted to
his own use. The defendant pleaded the general issue.
It appeared that the plaintiff, who originally came from Santa Cruz, in
the W est Indies, had opened a boarding-house in Pearl street, but was not
successful. In 1835 sbe left the city for Denmark, leaving in the posses­
sion o f the defendant, her nephew, several articles o f furniture, & c., valued
at $252. Upon her return here in the following April, she could not dis­
cover his residence, but understood he was in the Atlantic Insurance Office.
She subsequently met him accidentally, and inquired for her furniture.
He promised to write to her, and said he had secured them. This was all
the satisfaction she could obtain. It was stated the plaintiff was very poor.

Mr. Bergen, an insurance broker, deposed that the defendant had ad­
mitted that the goods had been left with him-, and that he had appropriated
them to his own use, being in difficulties, and that the plaintiff’s claim
against him would amount to $200 or $300.
Several witnesses were then produced on the part of the defendant, whose
testimony went to show that the plaintiff, some time previous to her depar­
ture to Denmark, had been sold out under a sheriff’s order, and that the
family were in the greatest distress, and supported for some time by the
defendant, he having taken a room and furnished it for them, allowing
them a certain sum per week. That the goods left by the plaintiff con­
sisted only of some old articles of furniture, which were put in a shed at
the back of the house ; that subsequently a fire broke out at the baker’s,
next door, which destroyed the shed, damaging a great portion of the fur­
niture, and destroying the rest. That they were not brought to the de­
fendant’s house by his permission; he was absent at the time, and his wife
objected to receiving them.
The judge, in charging the jury, said that this was an action of trover,
in which it was necessary for the plaintiff to prove her actual right in the
VOL III.— NO. i.


M erca n tile Law R eports.

property, and that the defendant had illegally converted them to his own
use. The contents o f the paper read to the court not being proved, the
plaintiff was bound to make out item by item. Judging from the evidence
adduced on the part o f the defendant, he understood the value o f the property left in his charge to be $193 ; deducting the $31 admitted to be due
from the plaintiff, the balance due to her would be $162. It had been
urged by the defence that by means o f many o f the articles being destroyed
by fire, he was entitled to be credited for them. If the jury were satisfied
that he had taken proper care o f them while under his charge, he was
clearly entitled by law to have credit for them. Conceding this, it was for
the jury to say if any and what balance was due to the plaintiff. The
proof rested entirely upon the defendant’s admission, and if they were
satisfied with the testimony, they had a right to bind him by that admis­
sion, and assess the amount from the facts placed before them.
The jury retired, and after a short time returned a verdict for the plain­
tiff, with $125 damages.

In the District Court for the city and county of Philadelphia, before Judge
Stroud and a special jury, R. & H. Weed & Co. vs. Hill, Fish, and Abbe.
This was an action o f replevin, to recover certain goods and merchan­
dise, enumerated in the W rit and Declaration, valued at $919 46. The
plaintiffs are merchants o f N ew Y ork, and the defendants common carriers
between the cities o f N ew Y ork and Philadelphia.
The facts o f the case, as detailed in the evidence, were briefly as fol­
lows : In the month o f September, 1835, Isaac Campbell, o f Alton, Illinois,
went to the city o f N ew Y ork, with the view o f purchasing goods. H e re­
presented to the plaintiffs that he was a member o f the firm o f Isaac Camp­
bell & Co., which firm, he said, consisted o f his father, his brother, and
himself— that the firm was free from debt— that his father was in affluent
circumstances, and the capital o f the firm was about $10,000.
Upon the faith o f these representations, the plaintiffs sold him the goods
in question. It was in proof that he bought goods o f many other persons in
N ew Y ork, by means o f similar representations. The goods sold by the
plaintiffs, as well as others, were packed up in cases and bales, marked
“ Isaac Campbell & Co., Alton, Illinois,” and delivered to the defendants,
for conveyance to Philadelphia, thence to be forwarded to Illinois.

On the arrival of the goods in Philadelphia, they were seized under pro­
cesses of foreign attachment, by pre-existing creditors of Isaac Campbell,
whose debts amounted to several thousand dollars. Campbell absconded
upon the laying of the attachments. It was afterwards ascertained that he
was largely in debt in Philadelphia—that he was wholly insolvent, and that
no such firm existed as Isaac Campbell & Co. Campbell afterwards fled to
This replevin was issued to take the goods out o f tjie hands o f the defend­
ants, who were mere stakeholders for the parties entitled, either the plain­
tiffs or the attaching creditors.
The plaintiffs’ counsel contended, 1st, That the plaintiffs had a right to
stop the goods in transitu, in their transit from N ew Y ork to Illinois, in
consequence o f the insolvency o f the pretended purchaser, Isaac Campbell.

2d. That the contract of sale was annulled and rescinded by the fraud

Im prisonm ent f o r D ebt.


and falsehood which were practised to obtain the goods, and that no proper­
ty passes where a purchase is brought about by misrepresentation.

His honor, Judge Stroud, charged thejury, thatif theybelieved the evidence,
they must find for the plaintiff—that the contract was vitiated by the fraud, and
no property could pass under such circumstances. Verdict for plaintiffs.
For plaintiffs. Job R. Tyson, Esq. For defendants, S. H. Perkins, Esq.

Judgment was pronounced on the 2d o f June, 1840, by Judge Buchanan,
o f the First Judicial District Court o f Louisiana, in a case where the securi­
ties on a bail bond, executed previous to the act o f 1840, abolishing im­
prisonment for debt, sought to be released from their obligation. The suit
was instituted in 1836, the defendant arrested, and set at liberty on giving
bail for his appearance. Judgment was rendered in favor o f plaintiff in the
District Court. A n appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, where the judg­
ment o f the court below was affirmed. In the mean time, however, the L e ­
gislature had abolished the writ o f capias ad satisfaciendum. The securi­
ties on the bail bond, confiding in the supposition that the new law cancelled their obligation, moved for a rule on the plaintiffs, to show cause why
the bond should not be annulled, on the ground that by virtue o f the act
abolishing imprisonment for debt, the securities were disabled from perform­
ing the condition o f their bond, and their responsibility had therefore ceased.
On these facts and pleading, the rule came up before the court for trial. In
the argument, the strongest ground urged for the application was, that the
late law abolishing imprisonment, has deprived the bail o f the means o f per­
forming the condition o f the bail bond, and has thereby discharged the bail.
The answer to the argument was, that the Legislature cannot interfere with
the rights o f the plaintiffs. Their rights spring from the bail bond. It
created an obligation between them and the bail, which must be construed
and decided by the laws in force when the contract was made.
The law has no retrospective operation. The point was raised in argu­
ment, that the bail writ was a remedy which the Legislature may abolish.
The answer to the objection was, that this is a right acquired under a remedy.
The bond was taken— the act was executed under the sanction and by the
authority o f law. A right was vested thereby which cannot be divested by
a subsequent law. What the plaintiffs claim, then, was not merely a remedy,
but a right springing from a contract. The bail bond is the property o f the
plaintiffs—property acquired under and in virtue o f a law, and beyond the
control o f the Legislature. After taking the matter under mature consider­
ation, the court stated its construction o f the act o f 1840 as applicable to this
case to be, that either the plaintiffs have a right to sue out a ca. sa. on the
return o f the fi. fa. “ no property found,” notwithstanding the repealing
provision in the first section o f the act, or that the return o f the “ nulla bo­
na” fixes the bail. The reason o f the construction is, the constitutional
provision forbidding the passage o f laws impairing the obligations o f contracts. The bail bond is a contract between the signers and the sheriff^
the rights o f which latter are vested in the plaintiff by an assignment. Theonly mode by which the bail in the present case can be exonerated, is by
surrendering the principal. Upon such surrender, the defendant could claim
his discharge in three months, by the operation o f the 4th section o f the act
o f 1840. It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the rule b&
discharged, with costs.


E v ils o f Com m erce.

The Annual Sermon, preached at New Haven, on the 19th o f June, 1839,
before the Board o f Missions o f the Protestant Episcopal Church, ly the
Rev. John S. Stone, D . D ., Rector o f St. Paul's Church, Boston.
M uch has been said at various times and on various occasions, on the
benefits which commerce has conferred on mankind. This is a fruitful
theme, on which the poet and the orator have delighted to dw ell; but the
evils o f commerce have been but rarely touched upon. T o the picture o f
commerce there are shades as well as lights— and they have lately been
presented to the public in strong relief by a master's hand.
The sermon before us is a production o f no ordinary power ; but is well
calculated to interest the reader, as well by the strength o f the language,
the purity o f the style, the cogency o f the reasoning, and the correctness
o f the views, as by the great importance o f the subject to which it princi­
pally relates, viz. : “ the bearings o f modern commerce on the progress o f
missions.” The text o f the discourse is very happily taken from Isaiah,
lx. 9. “ Surely the isles shall wait f o r me, and the ships o f Tarshish first,
to bring thy sons fro m f a r , their silver and their gold with them, unto the
name o f the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One o f Israel, because he hath
glorified thee."
In the outset o f his discourse, the author bears the following testimony
to the benefits which mankind derive from commerce :
“ Am ong all the means used in converting the human race to Christ,
commerce, no doubt, is to be one o f the most important. Three fifths o f the
earth’s surface are covered with waters : while the remaining fifths lie in
the shape o f two vast continents, and o f innumerable isles,— the abodes o f
men, and the depositories o f those treasures which God has given for the
use o f men. Between these, the great deep is a broad highway ; and com ­
merce, with her ships, the only system o f intercommunication. Without,
commerce, neither science nor art, neither civilization nor religion, could
spread beyond the boundaries o f the land o f their birth. All other agen­
cies, not purely spiritual, are, when left to themselves, local. Commerce
has the only created arm that can reach round the globe.”
H e enumerates many o f the blessings which modern commerce has con­
ferred on man— showing that it has been the occasion o f a great extension
o f the arts o f civilization, and o f the blessings o f true religion— that within
the last half century, her ships have wafted the true missionary o f the Cross
with the true gospel o f Christ, and with the elements-o f true Christian civili­
zation, to almost every part o f the earth. And in almost numberless ways,
through the channels which she has opened, almost numberless blessings
have been spread over the world. But, then, he says, all this has been
but an incident to the system, not its main object, nor yet its main result.
It has not grown out o f the spirit and tendency o f commerce, but has com e
to pass in spite o f that spirit and tendency. The blessings which com ­
merce has carried, were not in her heart. T h ey only followed unbidden in
her train. T h ey went, not by her, but with her, and often in spite o f her.
And that while, therefore, 'w e must not be unmindful o f the good o f
which she has been the occasion, this good must not be suffered to blind us
to her real character, and to her own proper works.

E v ils o f Com m erce.


He then goes oil to describe the evils of modern commerce— which he
does in a manner to arrest the attention of the philanthropist, and awaken
all his energies to provide a remedy. He shows that modern commerce,
owing to the discoveries of new and rich countries, which were well calcu­
lated to gratify “ the lust of power and lust of gold,” which had been cherished by the nations of Europe, became in her very first movements, and
has ever since continued, a colonizing spirit. Ships visited the new world,
not to communicate, in exchange for honestly acquired wealth, knowledge,
and civilization, peace and love, but to pour in colonies of foreigners; to
take possession of whole countries in the name of an arrogant and distant
usurper; and, under pretence of planting the cross, and of spreading a re­
ligion of which they knew nothing but the name, to grasp at the whole in­
calculable mass of the treasures of the richest portion of the earth. Mod­
ern commerce thus soon became a war-waging spirit. Having first by
deceit and treachery roused the simple natives of the western world to
resistance, it opened on them those baying mouths of death, its musketry
and its cannon, and drove wars of extermination through their beautiful
isles. And under the influences which reigned over its origin, modern
commerce speedily became a slave-making spirit; for in the womb of mod­
ern commerce, begotten by the lust of gold, was first conceived an idea,
which has since been the parent of the deepest wrongs and miseries which
this earth has ever suffered— the idea of filling the places made vacant by
the vanishing of one race, with slaves, captured and dragged thither from

Nor is this all: modern commerce early became, and has since contin­
ued, a corrupting spirit. It corrupted the bodies and minds of the once
beautiful and healthy, the comparatively pure and innocent aborigines of
every land which it visited, by the systematic introduction and supply of in­
toxicating liquors, and by the reckless dissemination of the dark vices and
deadly diseases of a misnamed civilization. In the former, it opened on
them the burning waters of a river of death ; and, in the latter, poured
through the veins of both their bodies and their souls, the creeping poisons
of a physical and a moral pestilence. Not content with this, it opened the
very prisons and poor-houses of the old world, and vomited forth upon the
new, colonies of the vile and the licentious, of the thieves and the assassins,
with which the dark and corrupt bosom of so called Christian Europe teem­
ed. Indeed, so far as the system of commercial aggrandizement is con­
cerned, but one spirit has actuated the whole, from its conception to its
present maturity ; and this spirit has been “ a fiery, rabid, quenchless lust
o f gold."

Dr. Stone then briefly alludes to the horrid scenes in history, which the
Spaniards enacted in Mexico, Peru, and Paraguay— the Portuguese and
Dutch in the broad Brazils, and in the rich isles and peninsulas of Eastern
India— and to the scenes amid which the commerce of humane, noble,
Christian Britain, introduced and carried forward its system of territorial
acquisition in Bengal and throughout all Hindostan, in New Holland and
through the myriad isles of the smiling Pacific, filling the most extensive
and populous regions with some of the bloodiest and most devastating curses
ever felt; and finally, to those scenes nearer home, amidst which the com­
bined and successive cruelties of the French, the English, and the inhabit­
ants of our own United States, “ have, for two hundred years, by treachery
and the sword, by disseminating intemperance and disease, been weakening,


E v ils o f Com m erce.

wasting, and blotting out the thousand tribes o f one o f the once finest
races o f men that God ever formed,— the aborigines o f our own North
A m erica !”
Modern commerce, says the reverend author, during the 350 years o f
her reign, has furnished for herself the materials o f a darker, bloodier his­
tory, than that which has been written o f the tyrants o f the earth during the
whole 4,000 years o f ante-christian barbarism. Referring to the efforts o f
British merchants to introduce and extend into all populous China, that
awful curse, the opium trade, he says :
“ I f missionaries, by the help o f coasting-vessels, attempt to introduce into
that vast empire the W ord o f life, men at home grow at once exceedingly
conscientious, and cry out against the effort, as an interference with the
religious institutions o f the land. But they make no scruple in illicitly in­
troducing there the drug o f death, and that, in the face o f the most solemnly
proclaimed prohibitions o f the emperor and his government. I do not sup­
pose they would feel any special pleasure in murdering, outright, the three
hundred millions o f China; yet, for the sake o f abstracting the immense
wealth o f the country, they would not hesitate to do what is worse, to besot
both their bodies and their souls with a poison, which, in its work o f human
destruction, has no compeer, save in that perhaps peerless agent o f Satan,
alcoh ol!”
The following picture is drawn by the hand o f a master, who, we have
too much reason to believe, has not borrowed from imagination, but has
based all his assertions on frightful reality :
“ W hen commerce, with her newly invented mariner’s compass in her
hand, went forth to the discovery o f a new world, peopled with before un­
known races o f men, simple and guileless, generous and trusting; what a
precious, what a glorious opportunity was presented for carrying to them
the blessings o f real civilization, o f useful knowledge and o f pure religion ;
and thus, for pouring the very soul o f a heaven-descended Christianity into
the minds, into the social state, and into the political and religious institu­
tions o f those who looked up to the newly arrived with feelings o f venera­
tion, as to beings o f a superior order ! H ow was this opportunity improved ?
By holding out, at first, a wooden cross, as the symbol o f an unexplained
gospel, and calling on the wondering multitudes to bow down and worship ;
and then, in their bowed-down posture, loading them with every form and
with every extreme o f intolerable wrong. Instead o f Christianizing, the
process exterminated. In the W est Indies, the whole native population be­
came speedily extinct, the ten millions o f that almost unearthly race, the
gentle Charibs, vanished like a morning mist before their oppressors. Th ey
bled in war ; they wasted away in the mines ; they toiled to death in the
sugar-mills ; they were torn in pieces by trained squadrons o f ferocious
d o g s ; and they pined and died in the dens and caves, whither they had
fled from the foot o f their civilized persecutors ; until, at length, their na­
tive lands held not in life a single remaining trace o f their once beautiful
forms. T h ey had disappeared from the earth ; and, as their spirits vanish­
ed, they went full o f execrations upon the very name o f that Christianity
which should have been the instrument o f both their temporal and their
eternal salvation.
“ In M exico and Peru, history records that the Spanish sword drank the
blood o ffo rty millions o f their sons. The whole Indian race in Newfound­
land is extinct. Entire tribes in South Africa, and in North Am erica, are

E v ils o f Com m erce.


no more. While, in numerous lands and islands, great races of aboriginal
and pagan men are wasting away to weakness and nothingness before the
relentless approach of a power bearing the ensign of life, but doing the
work of death!
“ And even where this power has not exterminated, it has wrought evils
o f a perhaps darker character. It has actually rendered the living savage
more savage, and the living heathen more heathen than ever. It has made,
not Christianity, for o f this little or nothing has been carried by the agents
o f this power— but the name o f Christianity, an offence and a loathing to
the whole pagan world. Through all the realms o f heathenism, it has made
that name synonymous with hypocrisy and deceit, cunning and fraud, oppression and cruelty, avarice and extortion, pollution and crime. In this
state o f things, let the true missionary o f the cross approach, and offer the
genuine religion o f the gospel as a light from heaven, and as the only
means o f purity and o f salvation to benighted m a n ; and with what answer
is he met ? 1 G o home and convert your own countrymen ; cleanse your
own seam en; regenerate the agents o f your death-dealing commerce, and
thus show that your religion is the boasted blessing which you represent.
Then com e to us and we will listen to your instructions, and examine the
claims o f the gospel which you bring.’ ”
Such is the effect o f these proceedings in modern missions, upon the
spread o f the gospel during the last 350 years ! But into this picture o f
darkness our author introduces a gleam o f light, and well remarks that,
“ much as modern commerce has done to make the savage more savage, and
the heathen more heathen, to make the name o f Christianity a loathing,
and that o f civilization synonymous with a curse,— all this may be undone,
and the aborigines and the pagan still reconciled to the gospel, i f govern­
ments, merchant companies, and trading men, will but learn justice, truth,
and m ercy in their dealings, and leave unobstructed Christianity to do her
own proper w ork.”
H e alludes to the dismal past as furnishing an ample store o f facts in
proof o f this position, and refers to the philanthropic conduct o f the Jesuits
in Paraguay, recorded in history, to the Christian proceedings o f R oger
W illiams and W illiam P enn , two o f “ the most perfect Christian states,
men that ever breathed,” who proved themselves the benefactors o f the
aborigines ; and to the more recent missionary efforts among the untutored
and once cannibal natives o f the South Sea Islands, which have almost
brought back the age o f miracles ; and says that “ unless commerce, with
her already begun trade in alcohol and disease, hatchets and murdering
knives, should again succeed in arresting the triumphs o f the gospel, and
in pouring darkness over .the light o f that new-born Christianity, it will be
to make those myriad isles smile as rejoicingly, under the full radiance o f
heavenly day, as they do amid the beams o f nature’s sun, and the bounties
o f nature’s G od.”

He goes on to say that Christian missions do not fail because the gospel
wants power to conquer, or because the missionary wants knowledge how
to act, or because the pagan wants susceptibility to heavenly truth. If those
who direct commerce, would leave Christianity unobstructed, to do her own
proper work, if they would place truth, justice, and mercy, at the basis of
their system, these missions would generally succeed. The success of
missions under all past discouragements, is a hundred fold more than
enough to justify all past expenditure, whether of money or of lives, and


M ercan tile L iteratu re.

amply sufficient to sustain and encourage us under any future labors and
sacrifices, which the work may require.
This article is already longer than we intended it should be ; we cannot,
however, refrain from extracting the following passage, relating to the
efforts which are making by philanthropic and Christian men in Great
Britain and the United States, to give to modern commerce a noble and a
more Christian character than it has yet sustained:
“ The worst evils which commerce in her unsanctified state has dissemi­
nated, are war, slavery, intemperance, and disease. Why, then, just as
this commerce has reached to something like its maturity, and accumulated a
power capable of moving the world, have we seen these two great Christian
nations stirred and wrought up, internally, with deep, steadily growing and re­
sistless efforts to disseminate the spirit and the principles of p ea ce ; to wipe
out the blot of slavery from the earth; to quench the fires of all-devouring
intemperance; and to wash clean from their pollutions those hitherto de­
spised and neglected circumnavigators of the world,— our seamen ? Had
God designed the conversion of commerce, He could not, so far as we can
perceive, have raised up a cluster of measures, more appropriate to His
purpose than those, to the working of which, I have now pointed. What,
then, must be our inference, when we see these measures really put in ac­
tion, at the very time, and in the very places, where they are most needed ;
when we see mighty instrumentalities, embodying the common sentiment
of the wise and good, pointed, like heaven’s artillery, against the thickest
host of the evils which modern commerce has bred, and pouring in upon
that host a power which is every year becoming more and more resistless?
What, but that God is actually doing his great work; that He is turning
this commerce to himself, and preparing to make her His handmaid, in
carrying the blessings of salvation to all mankind V'


A Course of Reading, drawn up by the H on . J ames K en t , late Chancellor o f the State
o f New York, for the use o f the Members o f the Mercantile Library Association.
N ew Y o r k : W iley & Putnam. 12mo. pp. 70. 1840.
Some o f the public prints have spoken o f this publication in terms o f censure, as
they have an unquestionable right to do, for the freedom o f speech is inalienable.
W hen, however, a writer finds that his own works have escaped the notice o f one of
the most distinguished jurists, accomplished scholars, and elegant speakers and writers
the country has ever produced, he would do well to turn his eyes inward, and repeat the
modest prayer o f Robert Burns, before he utters the war-whoop o f criticism—
“ O, would some power the giftie gie us,
T o see oursels as others see us !”
H e might reflect that the eyes o f great men are never microscopic, and that there is
such a thing as difference o f taste and opinion. A glow-worm would very naturally,
but very sillily, blame a Newton for not directing his telescope at his glimmering light
instead o f the starry heavens. W e have known a man who could not abide Shakspeare;— but what o f that ? His dislike only proved the depravity of his own taste.
W e cannot say that we like every work recommended thus publicly by the learned
chancellor; still, there is not a selection he has made that has not already received the
approbation o f some large class o f readers.


S tatistics o f In su rance.



Oct. 15 to July 15. July 1 5 /o Oct. 15.
From Atlantic ports to South side o f Cuba, one
port only,..................................................................
From Atlantic ports to North side o f Cuba, one
port, only,..................................................................
From Atlantic ports to Porto Rico, Havti, and
Windward Islands, one port on ly ,......................

1 1.2 to 3

2 1.2 to 5

1 1-2 to 3

2 1.2 to 5

] 1-4 to 2 1.2

2 1-4 to 5

Oct. 15 to July 15. July 15 to Oct. 15.
From South side o f Cuba, to Atlantic ports, one
port only,...................................................................
From North side o f Cuba, to Atlantic ports, one
port only,................................................... ..............
From Porto Rico, Ilayti, and Windward Islands,
to Atlantic ports, one port on ly ,..........................

1 1.2 to 3

2 1.2 to &

1 1.2 to 3

2 1.2 to 5

1 1-4 to 2 1-2

2 1-4 to 5

2 — I f any goods are shipped and insured as on deck, not less than double premium to
be charged, with condition not to be liable for damage by wet or exposure, nor
for partial loss under fifteen per ct.
7— For any other division or allowance o f average for partial loss on the whole interest
o f the assured under deck, than is provided for in our printed form o f policy,
an additional premium shall be charged o f not less than one quarter per cent,
except on the rates for such cases from Great Britain and Havre already provid­
ed for in this tariff; and except on risks North and East o f Florida coastwise, on
which not less than one eighth per cent, additional premium shall be charged.
$— T o add not less than one quarter per cent, for each port used more than one, at
either the beginning or the ending o f the voyage, for each time used; except
risks provided for in the 14th article.
9— In all cases o f over-insurance, ten per ct. o f the return premium is to be retained
by the insurers, not exceeding one half per ct. on the amount o f short property.
10— Premiums on vessels and freights not to be less than those on cargoes of general
merchandise for same voyages.
11— Specie and bullion, excepting to port or ports beyond the Cape of Good Hope or Cape
Horn, to be insured as the parties may agree : provided, that it shall never be at
a greater reduction than one third from the rates herein fixed for merchandise on
the same passage.
13— W hen several passages are included in the same policy, the rates for each passage
are to be added together.
14— I f insurance be made from foreign ports to port or ports o f discharge, or final port
o f discharge, in the United States, the coastwise premium to be added for each
port used, more than one, in the United States.
15— W ith regard to risks not provided for in this tariff, it is agreed that the parties are
to make contracts at discretion, but it is expected that the companies will require
rates equivalent to those named in this tariff on risks o f like value, acting in good
faith, and not taking one risk for a lower rate in consideration o f receiving the
tariff rates on another.
* T he tariff and conditions o f insurance for “ East Coast o f South America, United
States, and Europe,” “ United States, India, China, and the Pacific Ocean,” “ United
States and Europe,” and “ General Regulations,” will be published in the August num­
ber of this Magazine. The underwriters o f New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, have
had a meeting in New York, for the purpose o f equalizing the rates in the different cities,
and are co-operating in measures that are calculated to prove mutually advantageous to
the insurer and the insured.



S tatistics o f In su rance.


To a Port N. E. o f Cape Florida.
Sailing on or before 10th September,..............................................
to 20th inclusive,..............
1st October
I f to port in the G u lf o f M exico,....................................................

1 3-4 pr. ct.
2 1-2
3 3-4
1-4 pr. ct. to be added.


For any other division or allowance o f average for partial loss on the whole inte­
rest o f the assured under deck, than is provided for in our printed form o f policy,
an additional premium shall be charged o f not less than one quarter per cent,
except on the rates for such cases from Great Britain and Havre already provid­
ed for in this tariff; and except on risks North and East o f Florida coastwise, on
which not less than one eighth per cent, additional premium shall be charged.
8— T o add not less than one quarter per ct. for each port used more than one, at either
the beginning or the ending o f the voyage, for each time used ; except risks pro­
vided for in the 14th article, and, except for stopping at Elsineur.
9— In all cases o f over-insurance, ten per ct. o f the return premium is to retained by
the insurers, not exceeding one half per ct. on the amount o f short property.
10— Premiums on vessels and freights not to be less than those on cargoes o f general
merchandise for same voyages.
14— I f insurance be made from foreign ports to port or ports o f discharge, or final port
o f discharge, in the United States, the coastwise premium to be added for each
port used, more than one, in the United States.
W ith regard to risks not provided for in this tariff, it is agreed that the parties are
to make contracts at discretion, but it is expected that the companies will require
rates equivalent to those named in this tariff on risks o f like value, acting in good
faith, and not taking one risk for a lower rate in consideration o f receiving the
tariff rates on another.
16— Copenhagen is considered as in the Baltic.
17— Gottenburg is not considered as in the Baltic.


Jan. 1 to July 15. July 15 to Jan. 1.
From Cuba to Gottenburg, one port only,....................
St. Petersburg, or other port in the
Baltic, one port only,...................................................
From Cuba to a Continental port in the North Sea,
one port only,................................................................
From Cuba to London or Liverpool, one port only,


to 3


to 5

2 1-2 to 3 1-2


to 6

to 3
1 3-4 to 2 3.4

to 5
2 3-4 to 4


Jan. 1 to June 1. June 1 to Jan. 1.
From the Baltic to Cuba, one port only,....................
other European ports to Cuba, one port only,

2 1-2 to 3 1-2
to 3

3 1-2 to 5
to 4

1-2 pr. ct. to be added on risks sailing from ports in the Baltic, from October 1st to 15,
both inclusive.
1 pr. ct. to be added on risks sailing from ports in the Baltic, from October 16th to
31st, both inclusive.
1 1-2 pr. ct. to be added on risks sailing from ports in the Baltic, after October 31st.
if the vessel from Cuba touches at a port in the United States
for any purpose.


S tatistics o f In su rance.



For any other division or allowance o f average for partial loss on the whole inte­
rest o f the assured under deck, than is provided for in our printed form o f policy,
an additional premium shall be charged o f not less than one quarter per cent,
except on the rates for such cases from Great Britain and Havre already provided
for in this tariff; and except on risks North and East o f Florida coastwise, on
which not less than one eighth per cent, additional premium shall be charged.
8— T o add not less than one quarter per ct. for each port used more than one, at either
the beginning or the ending o f the voyage, for each time used ; except risks pro­
vided for in the 14th article, and, except Elsineur, and a port for advice in the
British Channel.
9— In all cases o f over-insurance, ten per ct. o f the return premium is to be retained
by the insurers, not exceeding one half per ct. on the amount o f short property.
10— Premiums on vessels and freights not to be less than those on cargoes o f general
merchandise for same voyages.
13— W hen several passages are included in the same policy, the rates for each passage
are to be added together.
14— I f insurance be made from foreign ports to port or ports o f discharge, or final port
o f discharge, in the United States, the coastwise premium to be added for each
port used, more than one, in the United States.
15— -With regard to risks not provided for in this tariff, it is agreed that the parties are
to make contracts at discretion, but it is expected that the companies will require
rates equivalent to those named in this tariff on risks o f like value, acting in good
faith, and not taking one risk for a lower rate in consideration of receiving the
tariff’ rates on another.
16— Copenhagen is considered as in the Baltic.
17— Gottenburg is not considered as in the Baltic.
V E S S E L S O N T IM E .

Risks on Time on Vessels o f Two Hundred Tons and Upwards.


75 to 60 dollars per ton.
6 per cent, per annum.
60 “ 50
6 1-2
50 “ 40
40 “ 30
8 1-2
A t a proportionate increase o f premium.
Under 30
T o add one-half per cent, for each passage traversing the hurricane latitudes, viz :
within the parallels o f 10° and 28° o f North latitude, and 58° and 86 ° o f W est longi­
tude, between the 15th o f July and 15th o f October.

Risks on Vessels o f smaller sizes usually employed in the W. I. Trade, and on Short
' I f engaged in more favorable employment, they may be placed under the rates o f Ves­
sels o f 200 tons and upwards, instead o f the following.]


75 to 60 dollars per ton.
6 1-2 to 8 1-2 per cent, per annum.
60 “ 50
8 1-2 “ 9 1-2
9 1-2 “ 10 1-2
“ 40
“ 30
10 1-2 “ 11 1.2
11 1-2 “ 12 1-2
“ 20
Under 20
12 1-2 and upwards “
T o add 2 per cent, if within the parallels o f 10° and 28° o f North latitude, and 58°
and 86° o f W est longitude, between 15th July and 15th October.
I f North o f latitude 50° North, and East o f longitude 2 ° East, between 1st October
and 1st M arch, 1 per cent additional premium to be paid.
In all cases o f over-insurance, ten per cent, o f the return premium is to be retained by
the insurers, not exceeding one half per cent, on the amount o f short property.
F or a continuance o f the risk beyond the year, half per cent, shall be charged in addi­
tion to the pro rata premium for the time used.
I f the policy be cancelled before the time expires, 10 per cent, o f the whole premium to
be paid in addition to the premium earned pro rata up to the time the policy is can­
celled, but in case o f the sale o f a vessel, the policy may by consent be transferred,


S tatistics o f In su ra n ce.
or the old policy may be surrendered without charging the 10 per cent., provided
the purchaser takes out a new policy at the same office on terms as favorable to
the insurers; but no policy shall be cancelled merely because the vessel is to be
employed in a business where the premium would be reduced below the annual rate
charged, without the charge o f 10 per cent, o f the whole premium over the pre­
mium earned pro rata; but nothing contained in this regulation shall prevent any
office from cancelling any risk such office may be desirous to get rid of, without
any charge o f premium, or extra premium.

1 Summer Risk.

to or from

Hurricane Season.

Winter Season.

Sailing from !ApH 1 to Aug. 1 Aug. 1 to Nov. 1 Nov. 1 to ApH 1.

Ports between Cape Ann and Casco
Bay inclusive,.................................
Ports eastward o f Casco Bay to Pe­
nobscot River inclusive,................
Ports eastward o f the Penobscot
River, in M aine,.............................
Ports in the British Province o f New
Ports in the British Province o f N o­
va Scotia, except Cape Breton
Ports in Cape Breton Island, or Sydney, Pictou, &.c ..............................
Ports in the St. Lawrence, and be­
yond— at discretion.

1-4 to 3-3

3-8 to 1-2

1-2 to 5-8

3-8 to 1-2

1-2 to 5.8

5-8 to 3-4

1-2 to 5-8

5-8 to 3-4


to 1 1-4

3-4 to 1
1 1-4 to 1 1-2

3-4 to * 1-4

1 1-4 to 1 1-2

1 1-2 to 2 1-2


1 1-4 to 2

to 1 1.4

1 1-2 to 2


to 3


Summer Risk.
F rom B oston .

Hurricane Season.

Winter Season.

Sailing from ApH 1 to July 15. JHy 15 to Nov. 1. Nov. 1 to A pH 1.

T o port in Nantucket, Vineyard
Sound, Rhode Island, and Conn.
From such port to Mass...........
T o City o f N . Y ork or port in State
o f N. York, on Sea Coast,............
From such port,.........................
T o Albany, or place on North River
above N ew Y ork C ity ,..................
From such port,.........................
T o port in Delaware Bay and River,
From such port,.........................
T o port in Chesapeake Bay and waters, ..................................................
From such port,........................

3.8 to 1-2
3-8 to 1-2

1-2 to
1-2 to


5-8 to 3-4
3-4 to 1

1-2 to 5-8
1-2 to 5-8

5-8 to
5-8 to


3-4 to 7-8
7-8 to 1





5-8 to 3-4
5.8 to 3-4

to 7-8
to 7-8
to 1
to 1

3-4 to 1
3-4 to 1


7-8 to 1
7-8 to 1
to 1
to '


to 1 1-2
to 1 1-2

Sailing from'ApH 1 to JHy 15. JHy 15 to Oct. 15. Oct. 15 to ApH 1.
T o port in North C arolina,..............
From such port,........................
T o port in S. Carolina and Georgia,
From such port,.........................
T o New Orleans or United States’
port in G ulf o f M exico,................
From such port,.........................


3-4 to
3-4 to

1 1.2
1 1.2

1 3-4 to 2
1 1-2 to 1 3-4




1 1-2
1 1-2

2 1-2 to 3
2 1-4 to 3

1 1-4 to 1 3-4
1 1.4 to 2 1-2
to 1 1-2
to 1 1-2
1 3-4 to 2
1 1-2 to 2

On Cotton and Metals to or from the G ulf o f M exico 1-4 per cent, may be deducted.
ports N . o f Florida 1-8

Statistics o f C oinage.


2 — I f any goods are shipped and insured as on deck, not less than double premium to
be charged, with condition not to be liable for damage by wet or exposure, nor
for partial loss under fifteen per ct.
7— For any other division or allowance o f average for partial loss on the whole interest
o f the assured under deck, than is provided for in our printed form o f policy, an
additional premium shall be charged o f not less than one quarter per cent, except
on the rates for such cases from Great Britain and Havre already provided for in
this tariff; and except on risks North and East o f Florida coastwise, on which
not less than one eighth per cent, additional premium shall be charged.
8— -T o add not less than one quarter per ct. for each port used more than one, at either
the beginning or the ending o f the voyage for each time used.
9— In all cases o f over-insurance, ten per ct. o f the return premium is to be retained
by the insurers, not exceeding one half per ct. on the amount o f short property.
10— Premiums on vessels and freights not to be less than those on cargoes o f general
merchandise for same voyages.
11— Specie and bullion, excepting to port or ports beyond the Cape o f Good Hope or
Cape Horn, to be insured as the parties may agree: provided, that it shall never
be at a greater reduction than one third from the rates herein fixed for merchan­
dise on the same passage.
13— W hen several passages are included in the same policy, the rates for each passage
are to be added together.
15— W ith regard to risks not provided for in this tariff, it is agreed that the parties are
to make contracts at discretion, but it is expected that the companies will require
rates equivalent to those named in this tariff on risks o f like value, actingin good
faith, and not taking one risk for a lower rate in consideration o f receiving the
tariff rates on another.

A n account o f the gold, silver, and copper coinage, at the M int in London, from 1816
to 1836, showing the number o f pieces, and the value o f each denomination o f coin
struck during that time.

No. o f pieces.



s. d.
32,240 5 0
51,073,021 18 i i
4/146,454 0 9


462,476 7 1
3,858,920 6 1
4,595,184 0 0
1,270,014 17 8
71,646 6 0
693 0 0
600 12 0
749 2 0

G o ld .

Double sovereigns,...............................................
H alf sovereigns,...................................................
S ilv e r .

H alf crow ns,........................................................
T hreepences,........................................................
T w open ces,...........................................................
P en ce ,....................................................................
C opper .

P ence,.....................................................................
H a lfpen ce,............................................................



0 0
0 0
4 0

Total gold coinage,...........................................
Total silver coinage,........................................
Total copper coinage,......................................

s. d.
55,151,716 4 14
10,260,284 11 10
180,107 4 0

Total coinage in 21 years,..............................

65,592,107 19 114

* N one coined since 1822.


S laiistics o f Coinage.


G O L D C O IN S .





7 1-2
2 8-10




3 3-10




7 7-10


01 1-2



"Gre at B rita in .

F rance .
N etherlan ds .
G erman S ta te s .

Double Fr. d’or, X Thaler piece o f Prussia, Denmark,
Saxony, Brunswick, Westphalia, and Brunswick Han­
over, (except Geo. I II. and Geo. IV .) Parts in proX Thaler piece o f Br. Hanover, reigns o f Geo. III. and
Geo. IV ..................................... ............................................
S pain


S panish A


12 1-2




12 1-2




8 1-2










08 1-2'

m erica .

Doubloon— Peruvian and Chilian, (before 1833,) Carolus,

Peruvian and Chilian, (since 1833,) Bolivia and New

Note— A ll doubloons are irregular, but will average near­
ly as above stated.
P ortugal .

The real Joe varies from 8 dwts. 21 grs. to 9 dwts. 7 grs.
Its value o f course varies, but it is about the same,weight
for weight, with old coins o f the United States.
The false Joe, frequent in commerce, varies from 5 dwts.
17 grs. to 8 dwts. Fineness about 21 1-4 carats, but
not much to be relied upon. A t that rate they would
be worth about 91 cts. per dwt.


B etchtler ’ s (N orth C arolina ) C oins.

$ 5 piepes, called 20 carats fine, worth about....................
British Crown, same as French, nearly.
G erman S tates — Rix Dollar,....................................................
Spanish Dollar, with or without pillars,..................................

11 1.2

8 1-2
3 18
3 14


Quarter Dollar, considerably worn, worth about...
Sixteenth do.
M exican Dollar, average o f all the mints, somewhat worn,




7 3-4











M exican Dollar, average o f all the mints, unworn, and o f

Note .— T he best dollars are o f the mints o f M exico, DuThose o f Zicatecas (Zs*) and Guanacuato (Go*) are tole­
rable, say...............................................................................
Those o f Guadalaxera (G a-) are inferior and very irregular.


S tatistics o f Coinage.




8 1-4





Columbian Dollars, if they weigh about 15 dwts. 11 grs.,
T he coinage o f 1835, and since, weight 17 dwts. 9 grs.,
and the value o f the uncertain, may be rated at.........
Chilian Dollar about the same as Peruvian.
do. or piece o f 960 Reas, worth a b o u t................





Note.— W hen small silver coins are asked for upon a de­
posit o f any kinds o f silver coin, except French, Brit­
ish, or German, a charge is necessarily made equal to
about 50 cents on each hundred dollars.

T he following facts are taken from a report o f the Secretary o f the Treasury to the
Senate, relative to the import and export o f coin and bullion, and the coinage o f the
United States m ints:
Amount o f American coin and bullion exported from the 20th September, 1828, to
1839, $8,230,676.
Amount o f coin and bullion imported into the United States from the 30th Septem.
ber, 1821, to 1839, $168,841,504.
Amount exported during the same period, $121,222,821.
T he coinage at the Philadelphia mint, since its establishment in the year 1793 to the
year 1839, inclusive, was—
Gold coin,........................................ $25,913,602 50 cents.
Silver coin ,...................................... 53,077,328 90 “
T he coinage in the years 1838 and 1839, at the branch mint in N ew Orleans was,
gold, $23,490 ; silver, $280,403. A t the Charlotte branch mint, during the same pe­
riod, $246,932 50 cents were coined in g o ld ; and at the Dahloncga branch mint.
The amount o f gold from North Carolina coined at the Philadelphia mint, up to 1838,
was $2,648,500.
T he mines in the gold region o f North Carolina are estimated to have yielded, since
their discovery, $10,000,000; and their annual product at this time about $400,000.
Mr. Bechtler’s private manufactory o f coin in the above region, produced from Janu­
ary, 1831, to February, 1840, o f coin $2,241,840 50 cents, and 1,729,998 dwts. of
fluxed gold.
P R E C IO U S M E T A L S .
T he “ Mining Journal” (England) gives the following table o f the production o f gold
and silver for forty years, v iz : from 1790 to 1830:

M exico,............
Buenos Ayres,
C h ili,................

. 17,888,422
. 16,461,080
. 12,314,390

O l iv e r .


$75,270,461 $757,007,156
A total o f eight hundred and thirty-two millions tw o hundred and seventy-seven
thousand six hundred and seventeen dollars.


B ank Statistics.

A Governor o f the Bank o f England must own at least £ 4 ,000 o f stock, a Deputy
Governor £3,000, and a Director £2,000. Every elector must have at least £5 00 in
his own name, and can only give one vote. W e give below the names o f the present
Directors, their firm, and business :
Sir Jno. Rae Reid, G ov....R eid, Irving & C o..................General merchant.
J. H. Pelbv, Dep. G ov...... Own nam e,...............................Merchants.
John Bowden,......................Portuguese merchant now out o f business.
William C otton,................. Sir J. Huddart & C o .............. Rope and canvass manufac’s.
Tim othy A . Curtis,........... Garry & Curtis,.......................Russian merchants.
Bonabry Dobree,.................Samuel Dobree &. C o ............ Merchants.
Thomas Hankey, Jun....... J. Hankey & C o.....................W est India merchants.
John Oliver Hanson,.........Hanson Brothers,.....................Merchants.
J. Gellebrand Hubbard,__ J. Hubbard & C o.................... Russia merchants.
Rowland Mitchel,...............W . R. Mitchel & C o .............. Merchants.
Sheffield N eave,................. R. &. T . N eave,.......................
George W arde N orm an,...M erchant out o f business.
J. Horsley Palm er,.............Palmers, Makellop &. C o....... East India merchants..
James Patteson,................. J. & J. Patteson,.................... Silk merchants.
Henry J. Prescott,............. R. Prescott & C o .....................Merchants.
Charles Pole,....................... P. & C. Van Notten & C o ...
T . C. Smith,........................Magniaes, Smith & C o..........East India merchants,
T . M. W egu elin,............... Thomson, Bonar & C o .......... Merchants.
Robert B arclay,................. Barclay Brother,......................
Edw. H. Chapman,........... J. Chapman & C o .................. Ship and insurance brokers.
A . Z . Gower,....................... A . A. Gower N ephews,..........Merchants.
J. R. Heath,........................Heath, Furse & C o................ Continental merchants.
K. D. H odgson,................. Finlay, Hodgson & C o.......... Merchants.
H . St. John M ildmay........Baring, Brothers & C o......... General merchants.
Christopher Pearce,............Fletcher, Alexander & C o...E ast India merchants.
W m . T hom pson,............... Thompson & Forman,........... Iron merchants.
T he Bank o f England was instituted in 1694, being incorporated by charter, July 27,
in that year. It is the most important institution o f the kind that exists in any part o f
the world, and the history o f banking furnishes no example that can at all be compared
with it, for the range and multiplicity o f its transactions, and for the vast influence
which it possesses over public and national affairs.
This extensive pile covers an irregular area o f about eight acres. T he exterior
extent in front, or on the south side, measures 365 fe e t ; on the west side, 440 fe e t; on
the north side, 410 fe e t; and on the east side, 245 feet. Within this space are nine
open courts, a spacious rotunda, numerous public offices, court and committee rooms, an
armory, & c., engraving and printing offices, a library, and many convenient apartments
for principal officers and servants.

T he principal suite of rooms occupies the ground-

floor, and the chief offices being furnished with lantern lights and domes, have no apart­
ments over them ; the basement story consists o f a greater number o f rooms than there
are above ground. T he site o f a portion o f the edifice being a marshy soil in the course
o f the ancient stream o f Walbrook, it was found necessary to strengthen the founda­
tions by means o f piles and counter arches.
A n act o f parliament was passed in 1694, incorporating certain subscribers, underthe
title o f “ The Governor and Company o f the Bank of England,” in consideration of a
loan o f £1,200,000, granted to government, for which the subscribers received almost
8 per cent.

So eager were the pubic to share some o f the advantages o f this concern,

that the subscription for the whole sum o f £1,200,000, was completed in the course

B an k Statistics.


o f ten days. T he charter directed that the management o f the bank should be vested
in a governor, deputy-governor, and twenty-four directors; thirteen, or more, to consti­
tute a court, o f which the governor or deputy-governor must be one. T hey were to
have a perpetual succession, a comm on seal, and the other usual powers of corporations,
as making by-laws, & c., but were not allowed to borrow money under their common
seal without the authority o f parliament. T hey were not to trade, nor suffer any person
in trust for them to trade in any goods or merchandise; but they might deal in bills o f
exchange, in bullion, and foreign gold and silver coin, & c. T hey might also lend money
on pawns or pledges, and sell those which should not be redeemed within three months
after the time agreed. But this has since been little acted upon. N o dividend was to
be made but by consent o f a general court, and that only out o f the interest, profit, and
produce arising by such dealing as the act o f parliament allows. These important privi­
leges have been often renewed to the great advantage o f the mercantile interests. T he
erection o f this celebrated bank, according to the declaration o f one o f its first directors,
not only relieved the ministry from their frequent processions into the city for borrowing
money on the best public securities, at an interest o f ten or twelve per cent, per annum,
but likewise gave life and currency to double or triple the value o f its capital in other
branches o f public credit.
T he report o f the commission on the project o f law for extending the charter o f the
Bank o f France has been published at Paris. It states that the bank has no wish what­
ever to free itself from its dependence on the government, which was established by the
law o f April 22, 1806, and according to which it is managed by a governor and tw o
sub-governors appointed by the king, and fifteen directors and three auditors nominated
by the shareholders.

Prior to this law, the administrators o f the bank were nominated

by the shareholders alone, and the present system was introduced by government on
the plea that the former one had given rise to abuses. B y the law of 1806, the capital
amounted to 90,000,000f., and was represented by 90,000 shares o f l,000f. each. Part
o f the profits have been employed from 1808 to 1817 in buying in 22,100 shares, which
have been since cancelled. Hence the present capital is 67,900,000f., represented by
This capital the commission consider sufficient, but at the same time are opposed to
the principle o f the shareholders varying the capital at pleasure. T he capital they con­
sider as the pledge which the bank should always offer to contracting parties, and that
to these the amount should always be exactly known. T he capital and reserved fund,
according to the report, are represented by the banking house, by 2,952,335f. in five per
cent, rentes, by 59,046,700f. o f nominal capital, and by 17,737,525f. 85c. in specie.
T he large quantity o f capital and reserved fund vested in rentes did not escape the at­
tention o f the commission, who reflected that the very same circumstances which might
force the bank to an inconvenient taking up o f its notes, might also lead to a disadvan­
tageous sale o f the rentes. T hey considered, however, that such a crisis could not come
all o f a sudden, but that the bank might foresee it and take precautionary measures, and
thought it would be hard to compel the bank to keep in its coffers 77,000,000f. o f specie,
(the sum to which the capital and reserve together ought to amount,) which would thus
be withdrawn from circulation, and on which the bank would receive no interest.
T he majority o f the commission were opposed to the issue o f notes under 500f. (.£20,)
considering that these would find their way into the hands o f the less opulent part o f
the community, who would be the most susceptible o f alarm, as to tlie security o f their
limited but hard earned property, and w ho would be likely to rush to the bank for pay­
ment in the event o f a panic.

Hence the bank would be forced to keep in its coffers a


S tatistics o f N avigation.


greater quantity o f specie to meet these small notes, which would usurp the place and
cause the exportation o f much metallic currency. W ith respect to the period to which
the charter should be renewed, the commission propose 1867, with a power to terminate
or modify it at the end o f 1855, by a law previous to that period.


A Table showing the dates at which Lake Erie and the Erie Canal were navigable at
Buffalo, for the last ten years.
B y this it will be perceived that the aggregate gain in favor o f the latter is less than
fifty days. On the average this would not enable shippers to receive their goods from
the seaboard before a boat was ready to convey the same to the west.

1836........ .

April 15
“ 16
“ 18
“ 22
“ 16
“ 15
“ 25
“ 20
“ 12
“ 20
“ 20

M ay
M ay
M ay


April 11

Lake gain.

Canal gain.




T he Thames between London Bridge and Chelsea is now provided with projecting
floating piers, extending in many places, as at Hungerford Market, far into the river,
and although undoubtedly a great obstruction to the navigation, are very convenient
to passengers who proceed short distances in the numerous small steamboats which
have entirely superseded the trim-built wherry o f the industrious waterman. There
are no fewer than twenty-five steamboat piers between London Bridge and Chelsea,
and the traffic is so great, especially in fine weather, that others are about to be formed,
including one on the city side o f Blackfriars Bridge, the Surrey side being already pro­
vided with one. T he only pier, however, below the wharf at London Bridge is one at
Lower Shadwell, which has been recently formed, and opened for the embarkation and
landing o f passengers. T he river Thames has now becom e the most important public
highway in this kingdom, and perhaps in Europe. T he number o f passengers always
afloat is enormous, and it sometimes happens that there are 10,000 persons going up
and down the river at one time in steam vessels, including those proceeding to and
from the continent. T he language o f an old statute (6 H enry V III., c. 7,) declared
that it was “ a laudable custom and usage within this realme o f England, tyme out o f
mynde, to use the river o f Thames in boats and barges.” T he river was then almost
exclusively the medium o f communication between the royal palaces o f W indsor,
Westminster, and Greenwich, as well as the means o f access to and from the splendid
mansions o f the nobility which then graced its northern shore. Steam on the Thames
has almost superseded all other modes o f conveyance. T he watermen, 14,000 o f whom
served in the navy during the late war, are deprived o f their occupation, and are the
only body who have not benefited by steam. Capital to the amount o f five millions is em­
ployed in steam navigation, and 150 steam vessels are constantly engaged on the river.


S tatistics o f M an u factu res.

T his city, the A merican Manchester, is remarkable for the extent o f its water power,
its rapid growth, and the height to which it has raised the American character, by the

perfection o f its manufactures.
Lowell has risen to eminence by the remarkable energy and skill o f a few individuals;
among whom P a tr ic k T . J ackson , Esq., o f Boston, and the late K ir k B oott , Esq., were
It lies on the south side o f Merrimack river, below Pawtucket Falls, and at the union
o f Concord river with the Merrimack.
In 1815, the site where the city stands was a wilderness, with the exception o f a few
lonely dwellings. In 1824, Lowell, then a part o f Chelmsford, was incorporated as a
town. In 1835, it became a city. Lowell is situated 25 miles N. from Boston, 14
N N E . from Concord, 37 N E . from W orcester, and 38 S S E . from Concord, N. H .
Population, 1830, 6,474; 1837, 18,010.
B y the census o f 1840, just completed, it appears that the whole population o f Lowell
is 20,981; o f which 7,341 are males, and 13,640 females.
females under 10 years o f age is just equal— 1865 o f each.

T he number o f males and
There are only 262 people

in the city over 60 years o f age, and only 542 over 50 years. T he number between
20 and 30 is 7711, o f whom 5568 are fem ales; between 10 and 20,4833, o f whom 3464
are fem ales; between 30 and 40, 2733, o f whom 1605 are fem ales; between 40 and 50,
1170, o f whom 650 are females.
T he hydraulic power o f this place is produced by a canal, o f a mile and a half in
length, 60 feet in width, and 8 feet in depth, extending from the head o f Pawtucket
Falls to Concord river. This canal has locks at its outlet into Concord river; it also
serves for the passage o f boats up and down the Merrimack. From this canal, the
water is conveyed by lateral canals to various places where it is wanted for use, and
then discharged, either into the Merrimack or Concord.
T h e canal is owned by “ T he Proprietors o f the L ocks and Canals on Merrimack
river.” This company was incorporated in 1792, and have a capital o f $600,000.
T hey dispose o f lands and mill privileges, and ow n the machine shop, and carry on the
manufacture o f machinery. T he first cotton mill at this place was erected in 1822.
T he whole fall o f the M errimack at this place is 30 feet, and the quantity o f water
never falls short o f 2,000 cubic feet per second, and is very rarely so low as that. This
quantity o f water is estimated to carry 286,000 spindles, with all the preparatory m a­
chinery. There is therefore an unimproved water power at this place sufficient to
carry eleven mills o f the usual size, making the whole number o f mills thirty-nine,
when all the water is improved.
T he goods manufactured in these mills consist o f sheetings, shirtings, drillings, cali­
coes, broadcloths, cassimeres, carpets, rugs, negro c lo th ; machinery for mills, and for
engines and cars for railroads. T h e quality o f these goods is generally superior to
those imported. T he annual amount o f goods manufactured by these mills is about

$ 8 , 000, 000.
T h e mills are built o f brick, and are about 157 feet in length, 45 in breadth, and from
4 to 7 stories in height.
W ith regard to the future prosperity o f this interesting city, nothing need be said to
those who know that it was founded, and is principally sustained, by the most eminent
capitalists o f Boston, a city renowned for its enterprise, wealth, and public Bpirit.




C orp ora tion s.

Capital Stock.
Number o f Mills.















1225 tons
wrought and
cast iron per



M ID D L E S E X .

Cotton and
and Dye
Carpet Mill 2, House.
in 1 building.
5000 Cotton,
164 Cotton, 32
74 Carpet.
2500 Carpet, 6300 Cassi150 Rugs, merc—1500





Pounds of Cotton
wrought in do.





Yards dyed and
printed do.,



600,000 lbs.
Wool per
annum, and

Cars, & En­ Prints and
& Carpets,
Prints, and Sheetings
gines, for
Sheetings. Drillings,
Rugs, and
No. Shirtings,
Railroads. No.
No. it.
Negro Cloth. Cassimere.
200 chaldrons
14 to No. 40.
smith’s coal.
Tons Anthracite
200 tons hard
Coal per annum,.
Cords of Wood per
Olive 4000, Olive 11,000
Gallons of Oil do.,
Kind of goods

Diameter o f Water
Length of do. for
Commenced operaHow warmed,











Hot Air

Steam and
Hot Air.

Steam and
Hot Air.

Hot Air

Hot Air



17 and 12







T ota l.










32, exclusive
of Print
Works, &c.































No. it.


No. 14.
Sheetings &
Shirtings, Sheetings & Shirtings,
No. 40.
Shirtings. Prints
No. 14.
No. 14 to j 0.
No. 50650
















Steam and
Hot Air





Steam and
Hot Air.



46 and 21
Furnace and Steam


Statistics o f Manufactures.



Bales of Cotton
used in do..

H A M IL T O N .

2 Shops,
and Print 3, and Print
Smithy, and 5, Works.
a Furnace.


Females Employed,
Yards made per

M E R R IM A C K .



Statistics o f M an u factu res .


Yards o f Cloth made per annum,.......... : ................................................................. 58,263,400
Pounds o f Cotton consumed,......................................................................................19,255,600
Assuming half to be Upland, and half N ew Orleans and Alabama, the consumption in bales, averaging 361 pounds each, is.............................................
A pound o f Cotton averaging 3 2-10th yards.
One hundred pounds o f Cotton will produce eighty-nine pounds o f cloth.
A s regards the health o f persons employed, great numbers have been interrogated,
and the result shows, that six o f the Females out o f ten enjoy better health than before
being employed in the m ills; o f Males, one half derive the same advantage.
A s regards their moral condition and character, they are not inferior to any portion
o f the community.
Average wages o f Females, clear o f board,.................................................$ 2 00 per week
Males, clear o f board,.....................................................80 cents per day
Medium produce o f a Loom on N o. 14 Y arn,.................................. 44 to 55 yards per day
No. 30 Y arn,............................................ 30 44
44 44
Average per spindle, 1 1.10th yards per day.
Persons employed by the Companies are paid at the close o f each month.
Average amount o f wages paid per month,.............................................................. $160,000
A very considerable portion o f the wages are deposited in the Savings Bank.
Consumption o f Starch per annum,.................................................................600,000 pounds
Flour for Starch in Mills, Print W orks, and Bleachery, £ ^ qqq barrels
per annum,........................................................................ S ’
Charcoal, per a n n u m ,....,...................................................500,000 bushels
T o the above named principal establishments may be added, the Lowell W ater
Proofing, connected with the Middlesex Manufacturing C om pany; the extensive Pow­
der Mills o f O. M. Whipple, E sq .; the Lowell Bleachery, with a capital o f $50,000 ;
Flannel M ill; Blanket M ill; Batting M ill; Paper M ill; Card and W hip F a c to r y ;
Planing M achine; Reed Machine ; Flour, Grist, and Saw Mills ;— together employing
above 300 hands, and a capital o f $300,000.
T he Locks and Canals M achine Shop, included among the 32 Mills, can furnish
machinery complete for a Mill o f 5000 Spindles in four m onths; and lumber and mate­
rials are always at command, with which to build or rebuild a Mill in that time, if re­
quired. W hen building Mills, the Locks and Canals employ directly and indirectly
from ten to twelve hundred hands.
T w o or three years ago, the Government Inspectors o f Factories published returns
o f the number o f mills in the United Kingdom, and o f the hands employed in them dur­
ing the year 1835. Similar returns for the year 1838, laid before Parliament in the past
session, have been recently printed. These two volumes afford the means o f contrast­
ing the condition o f their manufactures in 1835 and 1838 :—
O f cotton factories there were—
In 1835................................. 1,262, employing 220,134 hands.
In 1838.................................1,815, employing 259,301 hands.
O f woollen factories there were—
In 1835.................................1,313, employing 71,274 hands.
In 1838.................................1,738, employing 86,446 hands.
O f flax factories there were—
In 1835........
347, employing 33,283 hands.
In 1838................................ 392, employing 43,487 hands.
O f silk factories there were—
In 1835................................ 238, employing 30,682 hands.
In 1838................................. 268, employing 34,318 hands.
It thus appears that, during the three years referred to, nearly one thousand new
factories have been opened, and more than sixty-eight thousand new hands engaged.
A s will be seen from the following table, more than one half o f the new hands have
been absorbed by the cotton manufacture :—

W oollen......................................................15,172
F lax............................................................ 10,204

Silk..................................................... 3,636

Total increase..



M easurem ent o f Tonnage.



following notice o f a highly important regulation o f trade, removing the restraint

under which foreign ships laid, to import into the East India Company’s ports only ar­
ticles the product o f their respective countries, has been received from the United States
Consul at Singapore:
S ingapore , Feb. 1, 1840.
B y a government regulation, dated in Calcutta, 2d December, 1839, the former re­

gulation limiting foreign ships to import into the British ports o f India, only articles ol
the growth or produce o f their respective countries, has been rescinded, and “ foreign
ships belonging to any state or countries in Europe or America, so long as such states
or countries remain in amity with H . M ., may freely enter the British seaports and har­
bors in the E . I., whether they come directly from their own country or any other place*
and shall be there hospitably received, and shall have liberty to trade there in imports
and exports, conformably to the regulations established or to be established in such sea­
ports ; provided, that it shall not be lawful for said ships to receive goods on board at one
British port o f India, to be conveyed to another British port e f India on freight or other­
wise ; but nevertheless, the original inward cargoes o f such ships m ay be discharged at
different British ports for their foreign destination.”
J. B A L IS T IE R , U. S; C onsul.


A lert,........................... ....Capt, Nones,................................ Eastport, Me.
M orris,.............................Capt. W a ld en ,............................. Portland, Me.
M ad ison ,..........................Capt. Currier, ..............................Portsmouth, N . H .
Hamilton, ........................Capt. Sturgis, ............................. Boston.
Vigilant,............................Capt. C o n n o r,...... ...................... Newport, R. I,
W olcott,................
Capt. M ather,..............................New Haven, Conn.
Jackson, — ..................... Capt. B ic k e r,.............................. N ew York.
M c L a n e ,.......................... Capt. Hunter,...............................W ilmington, DeL,
Van Buren,.......................Capt. Prince, ..............................Baltimore.
T a n e y ,.............................. Capt. W eb ster,........................... Norfolk.
D e x te r,............................. Capt. D a y ,.................. ................Charleston, S. C .
C raw ford,.........................Capt. Rudolph,........................... Savannah.
Jefferson,..........................Capt. F o ste r,.................. ...........Mobile.
W ood bu ry,.......................Capt. J o n e s,................................ N ew Orleans
E rie,........... ...........
Capt. Dobbins, ............ ..............Erie, Pa.

T he following is given in a parliamentary paper, just published in England, as the re­
vised rule o f the admiralty commission on this su bject:
Divide the length o f the upper deck, from the after part o f the stem to the fore part
o f the stern post, into six equal parts.

Depths.— A t each o f those points o f division, measure in feet and decimal parts o f a
foot the depths from the under side o f the upper deck to the ceiling of the limber strake.
In the case o f a break in the upper deck, the depths are to be measured from a line
stretching in continuation o f the deck.

Breadths.— Divide each o f these depths into five equal parts, and measure the inside
breadths at the following points: videlicit, at one-fifth and at four-fifths from the upper
deck at the foremost and aftermost depths; at two-fifths and at four-fifths from the up­


M erca n tile L ibra ry A ssociation s.

per deck at the midship depth, and at one-fifth from the upper deck, at each o f the two
remaining depths.
Length .— A t half the midship depth, measure the length o f the vessel from the after
part o f the stem to the fore part o f the stern post. Then add twice the midship depth
to the depths at the foremost and aftermost points o f division, for the sum o f the depths ;
and for the sum o f the breadths add together the upper and lower breadths at the fore­
most and midship divisions, the upper and twice the lower breadths at the aftermost di­
vision, and the single breadth measured at each o f the two remaining divisions.
Then multiply the sum o f the depths by the sum o f the breadths, and this product by
the length, and divide the final product o f 3500, which will give the number o f tons for

W ith pleasure we insert the following correspondence which has passed between M r,
Vermilye and Mr. Zabriskie, and others, on the occasion o f the former leaving this city,
and the consequent dissolution o f his connection with the Mercantile Library Associa­
tion of New York. Mr. Vermilye has been for many years a member o f this institu­
tion, and has discharged the responsible trusts committed to him with satisfaction to all
interested. His loss will be fe lt ; but we trust that he will be successful in the forma­
tion of a kindred association among the young clerks o f the city to which he has re­
N ew Y

ork ,

14th M ay, 1840.

J acob D . V e r m ilye , E sq .,

Dear Sir— Y our departure from this city, and the consequent dissolution o f your con­
nection with the Mercantile Library Association, affords an opportunity for those with'
whom you have been more intimately connected in said institution, to express to you­
then regret at the loss o f one o f its most valued members.
For a series o f years, we have been witnesses o f your devotion to its interests; and;
in the prosecution o f our mutual endeavors to extend its usefulness, have always found/
a helping hand in one whom, with reluctance, we are compelled to part with.
A ccept, dear sir, our united and sincere wishes, that wherever your lot in life may be
cast, the smiles o f a benign Providence m ay attend y o u ; that prosperity, so richly de­
served, may never desert you'; and that success may attend all your efforts.
W e are, dear sir,
with much respect,
yours truly,
A lbert G. Z abriskie ,
N . W illiamson ,
E dmund C offin ,
J no. H . R ed field ,
E . L udlow , Jr.
J no . S. W inthrop , Jr.
C h arles R olfe ,

E. R. T

J. P. C ummings

H . P. M a r sh all .

remain ,

[Copy o f Reply.],
N e w a r k , N . J., June 16th, 1840.
A . G. Z abriskie , E sq ., and others,
Gentlemen— I have received your kind and flattering communication o f the 14th
M ay last, which should have been answered ere this, but for the pressure o f business
attendant on m y removal from the city o f New York.
I f any thing could add to the regret which I feel on leaving my native city, it would
be in parting with so many kind and much esteemed friends.
Our situation and circumstances in life, are not at our own disposal; but, wherever
in the course o f providence our lot may be cast, it becomes us with faithfulness and
assiduity to fulfil the duties incumbent upon us.


O ur Second Y ear.

T he institution o f which you are members, will continue to have my warmest wishes
for its prosperity.
W ith you, gentlemen, I have had personal and pleasing associations, the remembrance
o f which will be ever grateful to m y heart. W ishing you individually, and the mem­
bers o f the Mercantile Library Association generally, all the happiness which an hon­
orable career in life can afford,
I remain, gentlemen,
yours truly,
J acob D. V e r m ilye .
The Board o f Directors o f the Mercantile Library Association o f N ew Y ork, would
gratefully acknowledge the receipt o f the following donations:

O f Dojiations to the Cabinet.— A collection o f Land and Fresh W ater Shells from
Michigan, several Minerals, and Skull o f Bear, (Ursus Americanus,) from Rev. Charles
Fox. Minerals and Fossils, from Abraham D. Sands, Esq. Minerals, from J. Albert
Lintner, Esq. O f Ostrich’s Eggs, and Fishes, from C. Colden Hoffman, Esq. O f an
Arab Spear, or Javelin, from P. S. Parker, Esq., United States Consul at Bombay,
through Henry P. Marshall, Esq.

O f Donations in Books— from J. Cassidy ; John H a ll; George C. B arker; John C.
S pencer; and G. C. Verplanck.
W e are gratified to learn that this young and interesting association is in a flourish­
ing condition. It was formed in November, 1839. T he number present at the adop­
tion o f the constitution, was twenty-seven; at the end o f the first month, as the fruits
o f its exertions, they had raised upwards o f eleven hundred dollars, in subscription and
donations. T he association has now been in active operation nearly six months, and
the number o f volumes now in the library, is twelve hundred and sixty. W ith the ex­
ception o f some hundred volumes added by the purchasing committee, this number was
raised among the members o f the association.
T he reading room, which is a most excellent feature o f the association, is supplied
with twenty-six o f the principal domestic and foreign periodicals o f the day. T he
members at present are one hundred and forty honorary, and about eighty active. This
number increases slowly, but surely.
W e enter the second year o f our existence with this number, with the pleasing as­
surance, if the liberal encouragement we have received m ay be considered evidence,
that we have not altogether failed to discharge the duties we have undertaken. There
are many difficulties connected with the establishment o f a new periodical, which are
now happily nearly overcom e; and we hope to make improvements in the Merchants’
Magazine, which shall render it doubly worthy o f the favor which has hitherto attend­
ed its progress. I f industry and increased exertion can effect any thing, we think we
m ay venture to promise, that our subscribers shall have no reason to regret having
placed their names on our list. T he assistance o f many o f the ablest pens in the coun­
try has been promised us, and assuredly neither pains nor expense will be spared.
Standing aloof from politics and parties, and with the interests o f the business part
o f the community for our sole object, we doubt not to deserve the countenance o f all.
A s differences o f opinion must arise, we are not so wedded to our own as to refuse to
others the respect that is their due, and our pages will be open to the discussion o f any
topic within the scope o f the design o f this magazine.

W e conclude with a grateful

acknowledgment o f past favors, and a hope for their continuance.