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I.— R U SS IA , A N D H E R C O M M E R C IA L S T R E N G T H .

P o p u l a t io n


t e r r it o r y

f a c t u r e s -----COMMERCIAL


Ru s s ia —



p h y s ic a l


resou rces— m a n u ­




In the spring o f 1698, there arrived at Amsterdam a pilgrim from the
farthest east, who had placed before him a shrine o f a less romantic,
though o f a more propitious character, than those which are usually the
objects o f the pilgrim’ s adoration. A s an apprentice in the great ship­
building manufactory o f the town he enrolled himself, and it was not
until he had meted his arm with those o f his better drilled competitors,
and mastered the trade he bad com e to learn, that his workman’s apron
slipped off, and he stood forth in the robes o f the Czar o f Muscovy. H e
might have thought, as he looked around him in his week-day labors, on
the huge timbers and the unshapen trunks which w ere dragged into the
workshop from the forests o f Denmark, o f a country that lay stretched
in vast and inhospitable masses, in a region to which the most enterprising
merchants o f Amsterdam had not pierced. H e might have laid out, also,
at the time when he was collecting the tools which were to build up an
arm o f the national defence, the plan on which the great empire that was
intrusted to his care, was to be hewn and moulded, till it was fitted to
take its place in the society o f nations. W ith an ambition more holy
than is common among his brother monarchs, he entered upon the task o f
shaping and knitting together the vast though unwieldy materials that
were brought before him ; and with a workmanship more rapid than that
by which European statesmen are generally distinguished, he suffered not
a moment to elapse in which a plank was not smoothed, or a nail driven.
The hulk had scarcely lain on the stocks long enough to rest her timbers
from the strain which they had undergone, before she was launched into
the ocean that was spread before her, in the majesty o f her complete at­
tire. Russia is now the strongest, as in a few years she will be the most
powerful, among European nations ; and while from the immensity o f her

v.— no. iv.



Russia, and her Commercial Strength,

frame and the diversity o f her climate, she presents capabilities for every
species o f exertion, she may expect, in the freshness o f her youth, to live
onward to a period which will place old age at the distance o f centuries.
A s Americans, we stand on a level with her on the platform o f nations;
from the same century our mutual existence is dated; and from the con­
tiguity o f our dominions, and the . connection o f our trade, we have been
joined in a union with her, which will continue to exist when its origin is
placed in antiquity. W e propose at present to collect from the accounts
o f travellers who have visited her shores, and from the reports o f her
own municipal authorities, the data which are laid open o f her past
growth, and her present condition. The work will be o f interest to the
theorist, and we may hope, o f use to the practical man.
W e shall consider at present,
I. The population and territory o f Russia.
II. T h e physical resources o f Russia.
III. The manufactures o f Russia.
IV . T h e commercial resources o f the Russian empire.
V . T h e commercial qualifications o f the Russian people.*
I. Russia, with regard to its population and territory.
The following table is made up from the computation -of 1829, which
is the latest that is, as a whole, on hand. There are returns, however,
o f single provinces, o f a much more recent date, which we will make use
o f under other heads.
Ratio of Ratio of
Area in Area in
Pop. to sq. pop. to sq.
German English
sq. miles. sq. miles. Population.
German. English.
I. Russia in Europe......................

The Baltic Provinces.. .
Great Russia...................
Little Russia....,.............
South Russia...................
West Russia...... ............
Duehy of Poland . . ......

II. Russia in Asia ........................

73,154 1,281,095 45,801,239


157,904 3,336,550 370
759,325 21,452,000 494
73,415 5,674,000 1,371
118,427 2,801,500 320
131,897 8,448,900 1,125
40,127 4,088,289 1,894

270,350 5,721,125


Duchy of Kasan..............
11,500 201,250
Duchy of Astrachan.......
13,800 231,500
Caucasian Territory.......
5,940 103,950
Siberia............................. 208,000 4,640,000
Circassia .........................
30,000 .525,000
Russian Isiatic Islands ..


3 5-6
3 2-5
1 3.10



2 6-10

III. Russia in Am erica..............



34 1-5


2 1-10
8 3-7
12 9-10

O f the whole empire, Russia in Europe, though in itself one h alf o f
Europe, forms one fifth; the duchy o f Poland, one hundred and seventy
* W e make use of the first opportunity of expressing our .obligations to a work,
from which is taken the greater part o f the statistics we shall give, as well as the order
in which they are thrown : “ Handhuch der Allgemeinen Staatskunde; lei Schubert—
Berlin, 1835, 4 Band." It has never yet, as far as we can learn, been translated,
though it deserves a place on the table of the merchant, as well as in the library of the
political economist.

Russia, ajid her Commercial Strength.


fifths; and Russia ip Asia, three fourths. T h e whole area is more than
twice that o f all Europe, (2 T7g- tirpes;) and is nearly one sixth o f the en­
tire compass o f the .earth. Its gross population is one fourth o f that o f
Europe, though p f the whole amount its Asiatic territories .contribute but
one sixth. Throughout Russia in Asia, with t}>e exception pf a few o f
the southwestern provinces, the ratio o f population is only one to five
miles square, a proportion too srpali tp be o f us(e either for defence or
available for cultivation.
II. The physical resources o f Russia.
1. Agriculture. From the great scarcity o f labor and the vast amount
o f unoccupied territory, it is calculated that in the most prosperous provin­
ces, the gross amount o f produce is but one half o f that o f which the soil
is naturally capable. Personal labor appendant to the soil has become,
therefore, an object .of investment more advantageous than the soil itself;
and a system o f slavery has thus grown up, o f a character like that o f the
old English villenage. The following statement is takep from “ Herrman’s
Beitrage zur Physick, fyc., des Russischen Staates.”

W hole area o f Russia in Europe . .
Land covered with wood and brush
Land uncovered
. . . . . . . .
Land under improvement
. . . . . .
Meadow land capable o f improvement


402,100,552= 1,125,881,546
156.000. 0 0 0 = 436,800,000
178.000. 0 0 0 = 505,400,000
6 1 ,5 0 0 ,0 0 0 = 172,200,000
6 ,0 0 0 ,0 0 0 =

The amount o f land under improvement is less, therefore, than one
sixth o f the entire territory.
A table for 1802 rates the gross amount o f grain consumed in that year
in the European territories, at about 400,000,000 Berlin bushels; which
leaves, on an average, including the usual consumption for beer, bread,
and the nourishment o f cattle, about ten Berlin bushels, or fourteen o f our
own, to each individual. Hemp and flax are the most profitable and the
most cultivated o f the natural productions; and they have risen within
the last twenty years to a value which has made them an important ingre­
dient in commerce. In the Krimm and in the southern districts o f Rus­
sia, the vine is cultivated with great success. The quantity o f wine
raised was estimated in 1825, at more than 500,000 wedras annually,
(about 1,600,000 o f our wine gallons.) In the Ukraine, in Podalia, and
on the Volga, tobacco fields have been lately planted to so great an ex­
tent, that the yearly crop amounted in 1834 to 300,000 puds, or 12,000,000
lbs. The hop is confined to Poland, W est Russia, and Little Russia.
Live stock. Her immense amount o f pasturage has given Russia
advantages for the raising o f live-stock unequalled in Europe. There is
a climate for every grain, and cattle for every climate. In the southeast,
the market is so full that single proprietors have been frequently known to
own herds to the amount o f 10,000 horses, 300 camels, 3,500 head o f
neat cattle, and 10,000 goats.
Reindeer at the north, and horses among
the Tartars, form not only the floating capital, but the medium o f ex­
change. T h e sheep is spread, under various modifications, over the
whole territory, and attempts have been in some degree successful to in­
troduce the merino breed. There are no general calculations o f the en­
tire stock that can be relied on, though from the fact that the amount o f
tallow, o f hides, o f bristles, and o f wool annually exported, amounted in

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


1831 to $15,000,000, w e can form an estimate o f the extent to which the
commodity from which they are derived is produced.
Mining. The principal mines are found in Siberia, in Ural, in
Altai, and in the Nertscherischen mountains. In the government o f
Perm , where four fifths o f the mineral ore is found, more than 180,000
men are employed, together with 200 iron works, more than 1,200 forges,
27 copper smelting houses, 200 ovens, and 12 smelting houses for silver
and lead. W e give a table o f the amount forged from 1704 to 1809 in­
clusive, together with one for the single year 1810.
1704 to 1809.
Puds Hus.


1810 alone.
Puds Rus.



1 ,2 5 0 =
2 0 2 ,6 5 7 = 8,106,280
5,838,95 7= 2 33,5 57,4 80
5 0 ,0 0 0 = 2,000,000
3 ,8 9 2 =

1>726$ 61,856 =
9,820,055 = 3 9 2 ,8 0 2 ,2 0 0
671,701,000 = 6 9 1 ,7 0 1 ,0 0 0
5,324,000 = 2 1 2 ,9 6 0 ,0 0 0
48,000 =

In the last thirty years the mines have been more actively worked, and
with much greater success. In 1821, there were gold mines discovered
in the government o f Tobolsk, near the Ural mountains, o f considerable
extent. In 1823, 7,792 men were employed in mining and refining
alone, and a little while after the number amounted to 15,000. The sand
by itself, without taking into consideration the lumps o f pure metal, yields
per cent o f refined gold. T h e produce from 1830 to 1834, is thus
g iv e n :
Russ. Puds.

1834 (from Jan. to June,)







5,680 (h alf year.)*

The average produce o f the five years is about 350 puds, or 14,000
pounds, which is worth, according to Schubert’s valuation, 5,145,000
Prussian dollars,^ or nearly the whole annual profit o f the Brazilian mines.
O f platina there were produced from June, 1824, to January, 1834,
about 678 puds, (27,120 pounds,) out o f which 476 puds (19,040 pounds)
pure metal were extracted, and from which 400 puds (16,000 pounds)
w ere thrown into bars, which brought in the market 8,186,620 silver
rub., (about 6,300,000 Prussian dollars.) The profits o f the three years
following were equal to an average o f 110 puds, or 4,400 pounds a year,
yielding an annual revenue o f 369,000 Prussian dollars.
The silver mines have remained almost stationary since 1810. The
yearly profit varies between 1,225 and 1,300 puds, and if w e take the
average o f 1,260 puds, (50,400 pounds,) the actual value may be placed
at about 1,234,000 Prussian dollars.
The amount o f copper produced between 1810 and 1830, averaged at
about 265,000 puds, (10,600,000 pounds.) A s the principal copper
mines are in the hands o f the crow n, it reaps whatever revenue they are
* Das Russische Reich,— Erster Band,—s. 220.
t The Prussian (convention) dollar is rated at 97 cts. 2 d.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

capable of, and in 1823, according to a report then published, received
250.000 puds or 10,000,000 pounds o f the pure metal, equal in value to
nearly 2,650,000 Prussian dollars.
In the mountains both o f European Russia and Poland, iron is very
abundant. From 1829 to 1835, the average produce was 9,000,000
puds or 360,000,000 pounds, o f an annual value o f 12,000,000 Prussian
dollars. A n official statement o f the trade in the ten years between 1824
and 1834, makes the yearly value o f the exports o f raw iron and copper
to be equal to 2,850,000 Prussian dollars.
The salt mines o f Russia and o f the duchy o f Poland form their great
natural staple. In 1810, in Russia proper alone, the amount produced
was equal to 26,538,000 puds, (1,061,520,000 pounds.) In 1835 it had
arisen to 30,000,000 puds, (1,200,000,000 pounds,) being worth about
16.600.000 Prussian dollars.
The following table, then, o f the mineral produce and its value, may be
thus made up.
Average produce from 1830 to 1835.

Gold . . . . . .
. . . . .
S i l v e r .........................
. (1823) .
I r o n .............................
Salt . . (1 8 35 )


1 ,2 6 0 =
2 5 0 ,0 0 0 =
9 ,0 0 0 ,0 0 0 = 300,000,000
30 ,000 ,0 0 0 = 1 ,2 0 0 ,0 0 0 ,0 0 0

Prussian dollars.


Total value, 37,998,000
III. The manufacturing resources o f Russia.
Russian industry has kept pace in its advancement with the govern­
ment, to whose support it so powerfully contributes. In the temporary
halts or the temporary retrogressions which were suffered by the body
politic during the reigns o f Paul and Alexander, the productive industry
o f the nation was proportionally checked and retarded. T o throw the
empire into the form o f a great universal manufactory, was the cardinal
design o f Peter the G rea t; and to link inseparably the working classes
with the government, to dispense with the interference o f an aristocracy
under any o f its phases, has been the policy o f himself and his succes­
sors. The master workman stood at the centre o f the machinery, and
directed without appeal and without opposition the most trifling workings
o f the wheels around him. Overseers and slaves were placed by him on
an equal level. H e was the chief engineer, and as the whole responsi­
bility rested on his shoulders, he felt it proper that he should wield the
whole authority. Such a station requires, it is true, the most consum­
mate experience, and the most unwavering decision. It has been the
good fortune o f the Russian monarchs, since Peter the Great, whatever
might be the degree in which they possessed the first qualification, to be
by no means deficient in the second. A history o f their commercial en­
terprises, is a history o f the commerce o f their country itself, so com ­
pletely have they secured within their hands the control o f the actual en­
ergies o f the realm. W e shall run over the measures which have been
successively taken by the government, for the support o f its manufactur­
ing resources, as the best account that can be given o f the progress o f the
manufactures themselves.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

Ivan I. and Ivan II., tinder whose reigns Russia dsserted her claims to
be considered as an independent nation, were the earliest among the czars
who directed their attention to the productive capacity o f their country.
W orkm en arid tiriists were called from Germany, from the Netherlands,
and from Italy, to inoculate, in the deserts o f Russia; the spirit o f industry
which had made their homes the armory as well as the orchards o f Eu­
rope. In Moscow, in Jaroslaw, in Pskow, in Smolensk, and in Kiew,
there were established manufactories for cloth, linen, and arms, and even
for heavy silks and gold lace. But through the civil war that was fo­
mented by the ambition o f the house o f Romanow, and by the incursions
o f the neighboring powers o f Sweden and Poland, the progress both o f
foreign trade and manufactures was stopped. Till the accession o f Peter
the Great, in the close o f the seventeenth century; the nation was em­
ployed exclusively in efforts to regain the station among the states o f the
north which it had lost by its domestic dissensions. Peter the Great, by
laying the foundation for the manufacturing resources o f the empire, took
the true step for its political elevation. , H e had witnessed, during the
pilgrimage which in his early life he had passed through, the prosperity
and vigor o f the commercial nations o f Europe, and the decay o f those
who had neglected either to foster their own productions, or to exchange
them with those o f others ; he had seen that the body politic, when its ar­
teries are choked, and its veins are opened, and its muscles are suffered to
become languid through inaction, loses its vigor and becomes the prey
o f inward corruption and outward attack. In the wisdom which so sig­
nificant a lesson had pressed on his mind, and with the decision which
was so intimately knit in his constitution, he determined to use the first
moment o f power in transplanting, in his own soil; the seed that had been
so fruitful in others. The foreign workmen who were brought by his in­
vitation within the state; were endowed at once with peculiar privileges
and immunities, were excepted from the jurisdiction o f the ordihar.y civil
and military tribunals, and were chartered as a company which was to be
placed under the immediate protection o f the senate.
In Tula; in
PotZosawodsk, and in Sestradeck, there were founded manufactories for
arms o f every description, from the heaviest cannon to the slightest
pistols and dirks. Powder-mills and saw-mills o f all orders were built in
the neighborhood o f the two principal cities. In 1720, there was erected
in M oscow the great imperial manufactories for woollen goods and linen ;
while at St. Petersburg!), and in its vicinity, immense factories were
founded for the preparation o f mirrors and other costly glass wares, car­
pets, cotton-goods, and sugar. By the death o f Peter the Great, twentyone great imperial manufactories, aiid a great number o f smaller dimem.
sions, had been founded at the entire cost o f the government.
The immediate successor o f Peter, in order to raise the revenues by
means o f customhouse impositions, turned the patronage o f the state rather
to the encouragement o f foreign than o f domestic industry. It was under
the reign o f Elizabeth that the policy o f her great predecessor was revived;
and at the time o f her death the number o f manufactories in the empire
amohnted to five hundred and two, o f which twenty-six, with twelve
hundred workmen, were for silken stuffs, seventy-six for cloth, eightyeight for linen, and thirty for cotton. Catherine II. employed herself still
more actively in the promotion o f internal trade, and added in a great de­
gree thereto by the foundation o f a number o f smaller institutions which

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


were exempted from the evils which were inherent to those on a more
exaggerated scale. During her reign o f thirty-four years, the actual
amount o f the factories was tripled. The same maxims were carried out
both under Paul and Alexander, so that in the year 1812, at the time o f
the French invasion, the sum total had increased to 2,332, in which were
employed 110,093* workmen, (64,041 free, 31,160 crown slaves, and
27,292 private slaves ;) and in 1820 it arose to 3,724 factories, the annual
value o f whose produce was estimated at about 37,000,000 Prussian
The following table o f the relative condition o f the various manufactures
is compiled from the report o f 1828.
1. Linen. The number o f linen manufactories o f the larger class was
equal to two hundred and ten, in which about 9,900,000 yards (21,500,000
Berlin ells) o f stuff are yearly produced. The site o f the principal man­
ufactories is in W est Russia, Little Russia, and M oscow.
2. Cloth. The manufacture o f wool, in its various modifications, has
been an object at alt times o f great concern. A s late as the reign o f
Catherine II. the whole army was clothed in English fabrics, and even
under the reign o f Alexander, the home productions were not sufficiently
advanced to be exclusively made use of, even under government direction.
The demand for coarse and ordinary cloth, also, for the purposes o f the
Chinese trade, was becoming pressing; and the consequence was that
from one hundred and eighty-one, which covered in 1820 the number o f
the cloth factories, they increased in 1820 to four hundred. 330,000
yards o f coarse cloth, and 266,000 yards o f fine cloth, cassimere, and
flannel were, between 1825 and 1828, annually brought to market. The
finer cloths, however, are by no means equal to the domestic demand ; and
ever since 1825, the yearly import o f foreign cloth has amounted to from
1,500,000 to 2,000,000 Prussian dollars.
3. Cotton. The cotton manufactories amounted in 1828 to five hun­
dred and twenty-one, which produced annually about 40,000,000 yards o f
all qualities. Besides the amount brought in from Georgia and the neigh­
boring provinces, raw cotton to the value o f 10,000,000 Prussian dollars
is annually imported, which is manufactured into goods which sell at about
30,000,000 Prussian dollars. Since 1830 it is estimated that on an aver­
age more than 1,500,000 Prussian dollars o f cotton goods already made
up have been yearly introduced,
4. Silk. The silk manufactories are contained principally in the three
chief cities. T h ey have risen between 1820 to 1828 from one hundred
and fifty-six to one hundred and ninety-eight in number, and consume o f
a yearly import o f the raw material o f the value o f 1,400,000 Prussian
dollars. The yearly worth o f their products from 1825 to 1830, averaged
at near 3,000,000 Prussian dollars.
5. Metal-ware. Through the great riches o f the Russian mines, the
metal-ware manufactories form one o f the distinguishing features o f the
productive industry o f the empire. In 1820 there w ere as many as two
hundred and fifty-eight factories, o f which fifty-one were for brass, and in
1828 there were two hundred and ninety-one factories, o f which one hun­
dred and eighty-two were for tools and steel ware. In the imperial fac­
* W . C. Friebe fiber Russlands Handel, Industrie und rohe Producte-Schuberts A1Igemeine Staatskunde, I. 224-7.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

tory at Tula, there are upwards o f 7,000 workmen employed, and the an­
nual production between 1825 and 1830 was equal to 70,000 muskets,
pistols, and sabres,
6. Glass and clay. One hundred and sixty-six manufactories were o c ­
cupied in 1828 in the preparation o f glass and crystal in their various
modifications, which afforded yearly upwards o f 15,000,000 bottles,
80,000 baskets o f table glass, together with glass ware o f the finer descrip­
tion in considerable quantities. The porcelain works amount to twentyone.*
7. Leather. T h e leather manufactories are the most ancient in the
Russian empire. Russian hides formed a subject o f trade as far back as
the middle ages, and the czars in the most uncivilized eras broke through
their usual principles in furthering the production o f a commodity on which
their military grandeur so much depended. In 1820 there were about
1,406 leather factories, which increased in 1828, with the inclusion o f
Poland, to 1,930, in which over 3,500,000 hides were each year dressed
and prepared. T h e export o f hides and leather in its different forms be­
tween 1828 and 1830, has averaged between 2,400,000 and 3,000,000
Prussian dollars.
8. Soap, Tallow, and W ax, from the great supply o f their component
materials, form a principal staple in the domestic trade. T w o hundred
potash manufactories yield yearly over 2,000,0001bs., o f which amount to
the worth o f 1,000,000 Prussian dollars are annually exported. In seven
hundred soap manufactories 80,000,000lbs., which are annually produced,
are not only sufficient to meet the great domestic demand, but yield about
$800,000 annually in exports. About 16,000,0001bs. o f tallow are yearly
consumed by three hundred candle manufactories, though there was still
remaining, between 1825 and 1830, enough o f the raw material to be
valued, when thrown into the foreign trade, at $13,000,000.
9. Sugar. In 1827 there Were thirty-nine sugar refineries in the em ­
pire, which produced 39,000,0001bs. sugar, and l,006,4401bs. syrup. The
importation in 1829 o f raw sugar was valued at about 11,890,000 Prus­
sian dollars,')' though in 1832 it was diminished one fifth. The prepa­
ration o f sugar from the beet root is carried on in the governments o f
Saratow and Orel.
10. Brandy. The principal brandy distilleries are in the hands o f the
crown, and reached in 1825 to twenty-five in number. The private dis­
tilleries are as many as 23,315, but from the great limitations which are
* The largest mirror in the world, as it is rated by Schubert, was built iu the Impeperial Glass Works. Its dimensions are 150 inches iu height, and from 90 to 96 in
t W e have rated, so far, the Prussian dollar, from which our calculations have been
reduced, at the convention valuation of 70 cents. Such appears to be the valuation as­
sumed by the tables from which we have quoted, although, as the coin is extremely
variable, it is difficult to hit upon a standard that will be uniformly intelligible. The
ruble is still more uncertain, as it ranges in exchange from 84 to 37 cents. The silver
ruble, however, was fixed by an ukase of 1829 at 360 copecks, and is stated by Mr.
McCulloch to average on exchange at 3s. 2fd.
The paper or bank ruble, which is
the standard of account, is fixed by an ukase of 1811 at 100 copecks, and we can re­
duce therefore its value in American coin, to 21cts. 5d. In the following pages, we will
make use, exclusively, of the valuation thus given.

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


laid on them by the imperial monopoly, their business is subject to consider­
able drawbacks. In 1801 there were produced 601,920,000 gall., o f which
one sixteenth from the crown, and fifteen sixteenths from private distilleries,
and which consumed one ninth o f the crop o f grain o f the season. There are
no data on hand by which we can estimate the produce o f succeeding years,
though from the fact that the taxes on its consumption doubled in the 24 years
ending at the close o f the reign o f Alexander without any alteration in their
comparative value, we can infer that its manufacture had greatly increased.
There were employed in 1827, without taking into account the number
engaged in the various manufactures above mentioned, upwards o f 702,652
workmen in the simpler branches o f trade. It is in these, indeed, that the
strength o f the Russian empire consists. Great factories, while from the
extended division o f labor which they afford, and from the vast quantity o f
power which they bring to bear on a given point, they are the best calcu­
lated for the immediate concerns o f trade, are by no means congenial to
the genius o f a government whose policy it is to crush the strength o f ita
subjects by dealing with them singly. T h e little grains, the slight parti­
cles o f sulphur, o f charcoal, and nitre, which would remain in the most
complete inactivity were they kept by themselves; when they are heaped
together require a spark o f incendiarism alone to ripen them to explosion.
The Russian serf might catch the contagious disease which has lifted the
crest and nerved the spirit o f the working men o f every other European
nation, were he to be placed in a crowd and be allowed to mingle his own
injuries with the common wrong, and to assume the common wrong for
his own. W o to the cumbrous pillars o f the giant empire, should he
seize them with his arms when his strength has been invigorated by com ­
munion ! The practised eye o f Peter the Great saw that the secret by
which the elements were to be chained was disunion; that if they should
unite and direct their efforts against the cave in which his ancestors had
chained them, they would shatter it in the blow, and that to preserve the
equilibrium entire, each ingredient force must be cut out from the system
in which it is imbedded, and be spread by itself in a strand in which it
would cease to be affected by the sympathy o f others. H e was to form
an empire which was to be a monster in the econom y o f nature ; and by
the dissection o f the old establishment, and by the piling together o f its
members in a posture in which the mutual action which naturally existed
between them would be lost, he accomplished the grand object o f his am­
bition. There were to be no interior arteries, no intimate reticulation o f
nerves, no complex commingling o f fibres, in the body politic. The riot act
was to forestall tumult, and not to intercept it. Those great civil societies
in which, in our country, society collects its wandering humors, were
eradicated from the system which the Russian emperor produced. I f it
was expedient that some great factory should be established for the prose­
cution o f a cardinal branch o f trade, or that an army o f laborers should be
collected to carry out a national enterprise, the workmen were marched
up as culprits to execution, and watched as prisoners at the dock. So
complicated a process brought upon the government expenses which it
would willingly have spared, and cares which aggravated to a point almost
unsupportable its official duties; but the process, however complicated,
was necessary to the scheme which it was to effectuate. Great as has
been the progress o f Russia in her domestic manufactures, it would have
been still greater had it not been for the drawback which it received from




iv .



Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

the fact that the workmen are under the guard o f the military, and the
military o f a secret police.
IV . The commercial resources o f the Russian empire.*
From the indefatigable exertions o f Peter the Great, the cotnmerce o f
Russia received not only its first impulse, but its entire direction. He
opened for the first time the harbors o f the Baltic and the Black Sea. In
his political dealings with the remotest nations, he kept constantly in view
the object to which his early education had been directed, and which, to
the last moment o f his life, was paramount in his thoughts.
had been the occupation o f his apprenticeship, and as long as he retained
the sceptre, shipbuilding, though on a much grander scale, was his
amusement and his study. Catherine II. enjoyed, during her restless
reign, the advantages which had been laid down by her great ancestor,
and as, in the prosecution o f her ambitious schemes, she found her trea­
sury and her armories filled by the taxes and the tithes o f the foreign
com m erce, she entered with fresh zeal on the prosecution o f an enterprise
so eongenial both to revenue and to comfort. W e can find the results o f
her summary diplomacy in the commercial treaty with Denmark in
1782, with Persia in 1784, with Austria in 1785, with Naples, Sicily, and
Portugal in 1787, with the Porte in 1792, and with England in 1793.
T h e Imperial-Assignation-Bank was chartered by her, with the purpose
o f extending the circulation, in 1768, and was assisted with the entire
credit o f the statej Even under the reign o f Paul, whose foreign policy
was so wavering and disastrous, the interests o f trade were prosecuted
with unabated vigor ; and in his administration were founded the discount
offices in 1797, the insurance offices in 1798, the Imperial-MortgageBank in 1797. In 1799, after a survey o f his dominions in North
Am erica, he was induced to take under his protection the Russia Am eri­
can Trading Company, with a capital o f 2,750,000 rub. pap., (about
$5 50 ,0 00 ,) in 5,500 shares.
Through the attention o f the Emperor Nicholas, an impulse still
stronger has been given to Russian trade. The Imperial-Discount-Bank,
(die Rcichsleilibank,) founded in 1803, produced a salutary influence on
the general exchange o f the country ; and in 1818, still greater assist­
ance was obtained by the enlargement o f the Bank o f Commerce, whose
notes were based on governmental credit, and were received throughout
the empire in payment o f treasury dues. Its circulation in 1823, was
over $ 3 9 ,4 8 7 ,0 0 0 f. A company for the herring fisheries o f the White
Sea, was chartered in 1825, which was endowed with privileges Well
calculated to secure the important object to which it was directed ; and,
* The tables which we present of Russian commerce, are taken originally from the
Annual Register of A . V. Richter, (1 Heft. 5. s. 443-62,) and from Schubert’s Statistik, vol. 1., p. 232, which profess to be based on the official reports of the Russian
t W e cite the amount of Russian banking-capital as an evidence of commercial en­
terprise, and not as a test of commercial prosperity. As paper-money, it may be re­
membered, however, is secured from depreciation in Russia by the assistance of the
credit of the state, it is more oppressive to the people in general, though less detrimental
to trade, than it would be in a country where it is liable to the depredations of bank­
ruptcy, the shocks of speculation, and the pilfering of embezzlement.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

in the same year, schools were founded in St. Petersburg!), Riga, Odessa,
Archangel, Kholmogory, and Irkutzk, both as nurseries for the merchant
service, and as seminaries for the more important trades. The conquest
o f Poland, fatal as it was both to the existence o f the conquered country,
and the reputation o f the conqueror, brought into the Russian custom­
houses, not only the entire com m erce o f the dependent state, but that
which, under her previous independence, she had carried on with others.
The Emperor Nicholas had followed out the course o f his predecessors,
by the commercial treaties with Persia and Turkey, in 1828 and 1829.
The internal trade has been stirred up to a fresh vigor, by the new water
communications which he has opened through the interior o f the state,
and the high-roads which have been stretched over it. The waves o f
those mighty rivers which fall downward on the continent, from the im­
mense trunk o f the Arctic, like roots which are struggling to carry back
to the frozen zone, from which they come, nourishment from the rich soil
into which they are extended,— the waves o f the great northern rivers,
and the icy fields o f the seas to which they belong, have been ruffled and
carved open by the rapid march o f steam-ships which have been sent
from the workshops o f the south, and in some cases from the factories o f
our own countryj to open in latitudes which before had been impenetrable
a trade which will lead them before long to participate in the civilization,
i f not the climate, o f more temperate degrees. O f the entire foreign
trade, St. Petersburg!) possesses one half, Riga one eighth, and Odessa
one twelfth. O f the exports, one tenth pass over the western boundaries
by land, more than three fifths through the Baltic ports, one fortieth over
the W hite Sea, an eighth over the Black Sea, an hundred and thirtieth over
the Caspian, one fourteenth over the Asiatic limits, and an eightieth to the
east, south, and west, by internal routes through M oscow.
The following table is made up from the official reports 1
Rub. paper.
Entire importation o f goods
from 1814to1824.; . .1,646,904,710 = $354,084,512
Making on a yearly average........... , a . .164,690,471
Entire importation of goods
from 1824to1834.........1,951,844,619 =
Making on a yearly average............................. ...195,184,461 =
Increase between the imports of the ten years from )
1814 to 1824, and the ten years from 1824 > . . . 304,939,909 —
to 1834,
Averagb yearly increase on the sam e................................. 30,493,990 &=

The imports in thirty years, between 1 8 0 1 -3 and 18 3 1 -3 , had doubled,
being on the average taken for 1 8 01 -3 about $20,000,000, and in the
average taken for 1 8 31 -3 about $41,500,000.
The exports o f goods between 1814 and 1834 are thus given :
Rub. pap.
For the ten years 1814 to 1824...a ............. .................. 2,181,894,424
Making on a yearly average......... .. a ....................218,189,442
For the ten years 1824 to 1834.......................................2,307,399,005
Making on a yearly average................................... 230,739,900
Increase between the exports of the ten years from )
1814 to 1824, and the ten years from 1824 ,> . . .125,504,581
to 1834-,.
Average yearly increase on the same.......a . . . . . . . . . . . ...... ..12,550,458







The ratio o f increase with exports from the commencement o f the pres­
ent century has been the same as with imports, since it has risen within


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

thirty years from about $20,000,000 to $42,000,000 on a yearly average.
T h e exports, however, have suffered far greater variations than the im­
ports, since the latter is regulated by the government standard, and the
former are affected by every vicissitude in the trade or the taste o f foreign
nations whose dealings are not shaped by so severe a rule. W e see that
in 1825 the exports had arrived at nearly $48,872,000 ; but by pursuing
the official tables still further, we will find they had retreated in 1827 to
$47,354,000, and in 1828 to as low as $40,000,000. Taking a sudden
rise, they arrived in 1829 to $44,000,000, and in 1830 to $54,800,000.
In the following year they fell back to $49,266,000, and mounted again
in 1832 to $52,500,000. The fluctuation o f the exports is therefore eight
times greater than that o f the imports, and extends from 1 to $4,700,000.
The increase in the value o f the exports between 1824 and 1834 is by no
means as great as that o f the imports within the same period ; which may
be ascribed in some measure to the circumstance that the grow ing de­
mands o f domestic industry require a greater supply o f foreign raw com ­
modities for manufacture than can be balanced by domestic production
alone. T h e relation between imports and exports with regard to the
channel through which they are carried, is the same ; since one eighth o f
the goods that form the subject o f the calculations we have been giving,
are brought in and out through land, while seven eighths com e by sea
W e proceed to consider the extent o f the trade in the precious metals,
which is separated in the official report from that o f the remaining articles
o f com m erce. The following statement completes the tables o f the entire
imports o f Russia from 1814 to 1834.
Importation o f Precious Metals.
Rub. pap.

F or the ten years from 1 814 to 1 8 2 4 . . . 3 2 1 ,9 6 9 ,9 8 8
Making on a yearly a v e r a g e ................... 32,196,998
F or the ten years from 1824 to 1834 . . . 322,136,144
Making on a yearly a v e r a g e ...................32,213,614

= $69,223,546

Exportation o f Precious Metals.
Rub. pap.

F or the ten years from 1814 to 1824 . . .
Making on a yearly a v e r a g e ..................
F or the ten years from 1824 to 1834 . . .
Making on a yearly a v e r a g e ...................




The excess, therefore, o f the imports o f gold and silver over the exports
is as follows :
Rub. pap.

F or the ten years from 1814 to 1824
F or the ten years from 1824 to 1834

.. .
.. .

260,987,759 =
262,829,443 =


I f we take into consideration the whole Russian trade, including the
precious metals in the sum total, we will find that the balance o f exports
over imports from 1 8 1 4 to 1824,
Rub. pap.
is equal to 534,089,714 = $114,829,289
Making on an average for each year . . 53,408,971 =
F rom 1824 to 1834 the balance was . . 355,554,386 =
Making on an average for each year . . 35,555,438 =x


Russia, and, her Commercial Strength.

The balance o f the exports over the imports o f marketable commodities
is becoming every year more nearly compensated by the balance o f the
imports over the exports o f gold and silver; though it is worthy o f consid­
eration that a large proportion o f the precious metals imported consist in
the tributes o f eastern nations. The Turks alone, between 1824 and
1834, paid on an average $5,000,000 a year to the Russian treasury.*
The foreign com m erce o f Russia for the single year 1834 is thus re­
duced from the statement given by Mr. McCulloch. (Com . D ie. II. 294.)
B y European Frontier.

B y Asiatic Frontier.


Hub. Pap.
Articles for cons’pt’n, 8,636,95] 1,857,949
“ for manufacture, 170,023,836 36,555,125
<e manufactured, 13,901,286 2,988,767
7,264,243 1,551,814
Gold and Silver,
8,192,488 1,760,377

Rub. Pap.

Rub, Pap.
249,264 9,796,317 2,106,208
857.904 174,014,186 37,413,050
1,807,667 22,309,023 4,796,440
846,837 11,203,020 2,408,649
97,590 8,646,393 1,858,974

Value per price curr’t, 208,018,786 44,724,0139
Value per declarat’n, 222,441,648 47,813,964
Average value,
215,230,217 46,274,497


3.559.261 225,968,839 48,583,310
3.859.261 240,391,701 51,684,216
3.859.261 233,180,270 50,133,758

B y European Frontier.

Articles for cons’pt’n,
“ for manufacture,
<c manufactured,
Gold and Silver,
Confiscated Goods,

B y Asiatic Frontier.

Rub. Pap.
Rub. Pap.
66,257,313 14,245,540 7,902,731
92.937.637 19,981,592 3,187,295
26,978,001 5,800,270 5,694,142
6,318,523 1,358,482 5,048,988
18.890,898 4,061,532

Value per price curr’t, 211,834,220 45,554,553 22,954,634
Excess of Imports
over Exports,
Value per declarat’ n, 242,464,884 52,129,950 22,954,634
Excess of Imports
over Exports,
Average value,
227,149,552 48,837,154 22,954,634
Excess of Imports
over Exports,



Rub. Pap.
74,160,044 15,844.637
96,124,932 20,665,909
32,672,143 7,024,510
19,976,099 4,384,850

4,815,414 234,788,854 50,369,967
8,820,015 1,866,303
4,815,414 265,419,518 56,945,364
25,027,817 5,380.991
4,815,414 250,140,186 53,652,568


The number o f vessels sailing from the thirty-six Russian harbors, at
various periods within the ten years from 1814 to 1824, is reported as
39,623, or on a yearly average, 3,962. In the ten years from 1824 to
1834, it arose to 45,577, or on a yearly average, 4,557 ; being an aver­
age increase o f 395 on the preceding ten years. The number o f vessels
visiting the thirty-six harbors between 1814 and 1824, is given as 40,321,
or in a yearly average, 4,032 ; while in the succeeding ten years it
amounted to 45,234, being on a yearly average 4,523, or 492 ships more
than in the average o f the preceding ten years. But the increase, distinct
as it is, is far greater in fact than it would appear by the report we have
given ; since the most o f the vessels taken into computation within the ten
years from 1824 to 1834, were bound on foreign voyages, with great ton­
nage, which is far from being the case (as to the tonnage at least) with
those o f the former period. In 1825, 4,263 vessels entered the Russian
harbors, while 4,228 passed o u t; in 1829, 4,488 entered, and 4,562
passed o u t; in 1830, 5,809 entered, (o f which 3,550 were laden with bal-

* Schubert’s Statistict, I. 235-6.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

last, and 2,089 with goods,) and 6,128 passed o u t; in 1831, 5,577 entered,
( o f which 3,550 were laden with ballast, and 2,287 with goods,) and 5,715
passed ou t; and in 1832, 5,720 vessels entered, (o f which 3,433 were
laden with ballast, and 2,287 with goods*,) and 5,721 passed out. W hile
on the one hand, two-fifths qn|y o f the vessels entering are laden with
goods, and the rest com e in ballasted for the purpose o f bringing away
Russian productions, o f the vessels that pass out, on the other hand, only
one twentieth are unfreighted, and the remainder are crowded with the
commodities which they com e to obtain. T o the friend o f a high tariff,
such a condition must seem Arcadian ; but it is worthy o f remark, as af­
fording a distinct objection to the reasoning by which a tariff is advocated,
that in the provinces in whose favor the balance o f trade is most strong,
who export most and import least, the people are the most starved and
the least clothed, and the country itself is most deprived o f the muscles o f
strength and the marrow o f comfort.
O f the vessels which we have taken info computation, one third are
English, one seventh Russian, one fourteenth Swedish, one fourteenth
from the Netherlands, one fifty-one part Russian, one fifteenth Danish,
one fifteenth Italian, one twentieth Austrian, one tvventieth from M ecklen­
burg and the Hans Towns, one twentieth Turkish, one fiftieth French, and
one hundredth from the United States. There are besides from 2,500 to
3,500 smaller craft in constant employment on the Black Sea, and the Sea
o f A zof, and from 700 to 850 on the Baltic.
W e proceed to examine the extent o f the trade which is carried on with
Russia by the principal commercial nations o f Europe, making use o f the
average o f the years 1827-32, for the basis o f qur calculations. England
draws o ff one half o f the Russian exports to the amount o f 115,000,000
rub. pap., ($2 4,72 5,00 0,) and makes up only one third o f the imports in
return, or about 65,000,000 rub. pap. ($1 4,00 0,00 0.) Turkey takes
yearly 21,000,000 rub. pap.,($ 4 ,5 0 0 ,0 0 0 ,) and returns 12,000,000 rub. pap.
($ 2 ,3 70 ,0 00 .)
Prussia’ receives annually 17,000,000 rub. pap.,
($3 ,6 55 ,0 00 ,) and returns about 7,000,000 rub. pap. ($ 1 ,3 5 5 ,0 0 0 .) D en­
mark takes yearly 16,600,000 rub. pap., ($ 3 ,3 30 ,0 00 ,) and returns about
4.000. 000 rub. pap. ($ 8 6 0 ,0 0 0 .)
Austria both imports and exports
13.000. 000 rub. pap. ($ 2 ,6 5 5 ,0 0 0 .) T h e Netherlands receive yearly
about 12,000,000 rub. pap., ($2 ,3 70 ,0 00 ,) and return 5,500,000 rub. pap.
($ 1 ,1 5 0 ,0 0 0 .) France receives yearly 2,000,000 rub. pap., ($ 4 3 0 ,0 0 0 ,)
and returns 12,000,000 rub. pap. ($ 3 ,3 7 0 ,0 0 0 .) The Hans Towns re­
ceive yearly 28,000,000 rub. pap., ($ 5 ,6 50 ,0 00 ,) and return 7,500,000
rub. pap. (1,61 2,50 0.) T h e Italian States receive yearly 10,000,000
rub. pap., ($2 ,1 50 ,0 00 ,) and return about 2,500,000 rub. pap. ($ 5 3 7 ,5 0 0 .)
The trade between the United States and Russia would seem, on tho
principle that wherever the amount o f a country’s imports exceeds its ex­
ports, the balance is against it, to be the most injurious to the latter state
o f any in which it is engaged. The American imports into the Russian
ports, on the average taken o f the five years 1 8 27 -32, exceed 20,000,000
rub. pap., ($4 ,3 0 0 ,0 0 0 ,) while the corresponding exports reach only to
8.000. 000 rub. pap. ($ 1 ,7 20 ,0 00 .) Both parties, however, appear to be
* W e use the word goods in its widest sense, as a translation of the German
“ Waaren.” It is taken to express all marketable commodities whatever, with the ex­
ception of the precious metals.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength,

contented with their position ; Russia, because she receiyes at the cheap­
est market rates raw commodifies indispensable to her manufactories,
and the United States, because they obtain in a less degree, though not at
less advantage, manufactures which a country less varied in its climate
and peculiar in its physical characteristics would be unable to afford
Russia has for some time taken up a large portion o f the carrying trade
between the European and the Asiatic commercial nations, and her im­
ports, in consequence, from her eastern neighbors, have arisen to an
amount which her individual consumption would be unable to explain.
Her exports into the Asiatic continent, in the average between 1814-34,
reached to about a fourteenth part o f her entire exportation, being equal
to 19,000,000 rub. pap, ($ 4 ,2 0 0 ,0 0 0 .) In 1829, they amounted to
22,500,000 rub. pap. ; they fell in the next year to 17,800,000 rub. pap.,
remained both for 18 31 -32 at about 18,500,000 rup.pap., and arose in 1833
to 17,949,185 rub. pap., ($3 ,8 49 ,0 75 ,) o f which 7,333,151 rub, pap. were
directed to China, 4,625,338 rub. pap. to the Kirghises, and 2,960,580
rub. pap. to Persia. The imports from Asia to the Russian empire
amounted in 1827 to 24,500,000 rub. pap., in 1828 to 26,200,000 rub.
pap., in 18 29 -30 to 25,000,000 each, in 1831 -82, with a little variation,
to 22,000,000, and in 1833 to 23,113,701 rub. pap., being on a yearly
average, 24,000,000 rub. pap,, or $5,100,000 o f the entire imports ; onethird (8,000,000 rub. pap.) consists o f articles o f consumption, espe­
cially tea ; about 9,000,000 rub. pap. for manufactures o f various kinds;
about 5,000,000 for raw stuffs, and nearly 1,000,000 for gold and silver.
O f the whole imports, one third com e from China, and about one-sixth
from the Kirghises.*
Notwithstanding the small amount o f the entire imports o f the empire,
when we consider its gigantic size, and its large population, there is no
nation o f which we can keep an accurate account, on which the taxes on
importations are so great. The ancient czars drew their feudal tributes
from the food and the clothing whieh their subjects imported from foreign
countries on account o f the poverty o f their own ; and so strong and so
* The following table exhibits the extent of the United States trade with Russia, be­
tween 1821 and 1838.


1821 $1,852,199 $628,894


1830 $1,621,899



It will be seen that there is considerable discrepancy between the statements thus
given, and those which we have already cited. The table in this note is taken from the
London Bankers’ Circular, given in Hazard’s Register, iii. 183. That in the text, being
deduced from the official report of the Russian government, may be thought most
worthy of credit.
* It is said by Mr. McCulloch, that the iron and furs of Siberia, and the teas of
China, occupy three years on their passage to St. Petershurgh.


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

minute are the meshes o f the net which the modern emperors have stretch­
ed across their harbors, that o f most o f the articles that slip through, the
fairest part o f the substance is taken. From the Dardanelles, the gulf o f
Finland, and the Volga, through whose huge channels a cubic mile o f
water has been said daily to pass— from the vast aqueducts which open
on the Caspian, the Black Sea, and the Baltic, to the slightest rivulet
which is swallowed in the sands o f Astrachan, or freezes on the rocks o f
Lapland— there is not a stream whose waters are not stilled, and whose
freight intercepted, by the flood-gates which are to stop short the truant
merchandise. One third o f the value o f the entire importation, and
nearly one. fifth o f importation and exportation together, are detained be­
fore the rest can pass through; while in the remaining nations o f Europe,
which can certainly not be called too lax in collecting so important a
branch o f their revenue, the average is only one to six, and with both im­
ports and exports, one to eleven. The taxes from duties, during the two
periods o f ten years which w e have already several times made use of,
are thus reported.
Rub. Pap.

In 1 8 1 4 -2 4 .....................................
In a yearly average
. .
In 18 2 4 -3 4
In a yearly average , . . .

396,126,285 about $85,497,258
39,612,628 “

Being an increase in the last ten years over the first o f 277,213,166 rub.
pap., ($ 5 9 ,8 3 1 ,8 2 8 ;) or in a yearly average, 27,721,316 rub. pap.,
($ 5 ,9 8 3 ,1 8 2 .)
It may easily be imagined that under a system o f duties so immense,
smuggling is both lucrative and general. Over a frontier so extended as
that o f the entire empire, there must be points which are unwatched;
while in the attempt to watch them, a sum o f money is expended which
requires a fresh revenue to support it. Between 1814 and 1824, there
w ere goods confiscated to the amount o f 3,353,665 rub p a p .; and in the
following ten years the amount rose to 6,243,668 rub. p a p .; or about
$1,348,299. “ W e must conclude therefrom,” says Schubert after review­
ing the facts we have cited, “ not that smuggling is diminished, on account
o f the greater success o f the guard that is held over it, but that on the
contrary it has vastly increased, and the increase o f the smuggled goods
that are confiscated may be taken as indication o f the rapid strides which
in twenty years it has made.” — Schubert’s Statistik, I., 242.
Raw Sugar, among the articles o f importation, stands the highest.
T h e quantity imported was valued in 1827 at 28,800,000 rub. p a p .; in
1828 at 33 ,000 ,0 00 ; in 1829 at 38 ,000 ,0 00 ; in 1830 at 33 ,000 ,0 00 ;
in 1831 at 24 ,600 ,0 00 ; and consequently, at a yearly average o f
32,000,000 rub. pap., ($ 6 ,8 8 0 ,0 0 0 ,) or about one sixth o f all the imports
together. Its consumption has been multiplied sixty times since the be­
ginning o f the present century.
Coffee, o f which a quantity is annually imported equal to about one
sixth o f that o f sugar, was at its highest pitch in 1825, at 6,769,147 rub.
pap., but fell on the average taken between 1827 and 1834, to 5,000,000
rub. pap. in value.
R aw Cotton, in its natural shape, or as yarn, whether raw or spun,
ranks next to sugar in the list, and stands as nearly one sixth o f the sum

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


o f the entire importations. T h e value o f the amount received between
1827 and 1832, averages at 31,000,000 rub. pap., and was at its highest
pitch in 1829, when it was imported to the value o f 38,500,000 rub, pap.
Since 1805, it has increased 5,000 per cent. A s the domestic manufac­
ture o f cotton has improved, the cotton goods imported have diminished
in quantity one half.
Coloring stuffs, o f which indigo constitutes a third, were imported be­
tween 1827 and 1832, at an average worth o f 20,000,000 rub. pap,, and
ranks at about one tenth o f the entire importation.
The average o f silk goods imported in the last 20 years, is rated at
9,000,000 rub. pap.
The importation o f woollen goads has considerably waned since 1820,
since for that year its value was equal to 22,300,000 rub. pap. ; and in
the average between 1827 and 1832 at about 7,500,000 rub. pap.
W ine has remained constant since 1825 at 11,000,000 rub. pap., o f
which all, with but slight exceptions, is French, and one fourth is cham­
The yearly importation o f Tea, may be taken between 1825 and 1835
at an average o f 5,600,000 rub , pap.
Tobacco, since 1825, is estimated at 2,750,000 rub. in yearly value,
and Lead at 1,500,000.
The principal articles o f exportation are raw commodities which in
Russia alone are produced to excellence. Flax and Hemp, in their manu­
factured shape, or in the shape o f seed, expressed oil, or made up into
coarse stuffs, sail-cloth, or ropes, constitute one third o f Russian exports,
and form in themselves goods which are indispensable to every com ­
mercial nation. The am ounf in which they are exported, when taken at
an average between 1825 and 1835, reaches 80,000,000 rub. pap.,
($ 1 7 ,2 0 0 ,0 0 0 ;) o f which hemp-seed and flax-seed are rated at 13,500,000
rub. pap., oil drawn from both the two commodities at 3,000,000 rub. pap.,
raw hemp at 23,000,000 rub, pap., raw flax at 26,000,000 rub. pap., cord­
age and tackling o f various kinds as manufactured at 3,000,000 rub. pap.,
and sail-cloth and coarse linen at 11,500,000 rub. pap.
Tallow stands next on the list o f exports, which was exported on the
yearly average between 1827 and 1832 to the amount o f 40,500,000 rub.
pap. ($8,738,100 ;) being one sixth o f the whole export trade.
Corn and Meal, to the value o f 37,500,000 rub. pap., ($8 ,0 80 ,4 50 ,) was
exported on the yearly average between 1825 and 1 8 3 2 ; ranking there­
fore but little behind tallow on the scale, But the corn trade varies ex­
ceedingly both with the home supply and the foreign demand, and as no
limit can be set to the fluctuations o f crops in a country whose climate is
so various as that o f Russia herself, the amount o f corn and meal in the
market has been generally found to be most abundant when it was least
wanted, and when the scarcity in other nations was greatest, to be the
least plenty.
The exportation o f Bristles has doubled since the commencement o f
the present century. It was rated on the average taken between 1827
and 1832, at about 4,300,000 rub. pap. in value. Hides and Leather within
the same period average at 7,000,000 rub. pap. yearly.
The harbors o f the Baltic, though a century ago they were known for
little more than their vast extent and their great capabilities, have become
since the founding o f St. Petersburgh the principal avenues to the Russian

VOL. v.— no. iv.



Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

empire. W e shall be obliged to limit our observations on their character,
as well as on that o f their more ancient though less flourishing rivals on
the Black Sea and .the Sea o f Asoph, to the consideration o f that o f the
capital itself, which has risen to a rank so permanent and so lofty, that it
will require a revolution to unseat it. M oscow is still the head o f the an­
cient empire. In her monstrous temples may be seen the monuments o f
the old dynasty o f Russia, and in the barbarous statues clad in armor that
clings to the frame as if it had been forged around it, remain the last me­
morials o f those mighty chieftains who shook Rom e under Augustus with
their blows, and overwhelmed Rom e under the Constantines. Like the
shell o f the chrysalis, shed when its inhabitant starts to a sphere o f ex­
istence more exalted, they were dropped on the spot where their gigantic
masters, after a sway o f centuries in those inhospitable regions which they
chose for their final abode, vanished at last from the earth. Between
Ivan the barbaric and Peter the Great, there was but a momentary transi­
tion ; and though it took the young czar years o f toil and abstinence to
remould the great empire that fell in his hands, his accession itself made
the turning point between barbarity and civilization in the east o f Europe.
T he tide has but commenced to roll hack. It was ages in arriving to its
ebb, and it may be as long before its course is completed. St. Petersburgh,
however, we may take as the capital o f the new empire ; and in its com ­
m ercial strength, as well as its courtly splendor,— in its natural as well as
its conventional advantages,— it is suitable to be the centre on which shall
revolve the system o f the vastest nation on earth.
St. Petersburgh, according to the estimate o f 1835, possesses forty-six
great importing and exporting houses, o f whom three act as bankers, one
hundred and forty-one commercial establishments o f the first scale, one
hundred and sixty-one o f the second, and nine hundred and eighty o f the
third. The number o f ships passing in and out o f the harbor o f Kronstadt
in the six years between 1820 and 1826, was 6,600, or 1,100 on a yearly
average, and with cargoes o f 130,000,000 rub. imports, and from 95
to 105,000,000 rub. exports. In the eight years from 1826 to 1833, the
yearly average o f ships entering and leaving reached 1,289, o f which
over one half were English, one fifteenth Prussian, one fifteenth Swedish
and Norwegian, one twentieth Hanseatic, one twentieth from the United
States, one twenty-fourth Russian, one twenty-fourth French, one twentyfourth Danish, one twenty-fourth belonging to Mecklenburg, Hanover,
and Oldenburg, one thirtieth from the Netherlands, with occasionally a
very few from Spain and Portugal. O f the entering ships, six sevenths are
usually fully laden, and one seventh in ballast ; o f the ships sailing out,
but very few are laden with ballast alone. The imports into St. Pe­
tersburgh in the eight years o f 1826-33, are averaged yearly at
150,000,000 rub. pap., or about $ 3 2 ,2 2 5 ,0 0 0 ; the exports during the
same period, at 111,500,000 rub. pap., or about $23,972,500.
It will be seen by an examination o f the statements which it has been
our object in the present paper to exhibit, that the commerce o f Russia
has advanced during the last fifty years, in strides which are unexampled
in the history o f Europe. The ten league boots in which our own country has
marched, have been rivalled by those which are worn by our great Eu­
ropean ally. Large tracts o f land the most fertile have in both instances
been rescued daily from the deserts which before had been the huntinggrounds o f savages, and mines have been opened and productions raised

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


which are more rich and more useful than those which, in earlier ages,
had formed the entire support o f the European commercial nations. F rom
the sleep o f barbarism, Russia has been in the last century collecting her­
self ; and though her strength is yet far from being perfect, and her facul­
ties are numb from the torpor in which they so long have lain, we can
estimate her future might by the grandeur o f her proportions, and the
variety o f her resources. W e hope that the period will soon arrive, when
she will cast off the swaddling bands with which the cupidity o f her rulers
have enclosed her. The ancient czars, and in some degree the modem
emperors, have looked upon their heritage too much in the light o f a vast
speculation, from which' they were to reap whatever could be reaped
while the sun shone ; and as in older times the most prodigal waste would
be committed, to the dispersion o f the heir in remainder, in order to secure
some slight temporary profit to the tenant in possession, so in our own
times, the most oppressive duties have been laid on foreign com m erce,
without regard to the blighting consequences which would ensue, for the
purpose o f pensioning a favorite or carrying on a war.
The business o f
trade has been lifted from the hands o f its legitimate guardians— from the
hands o f merchants who have spent the first half o f their life in severe
apprenticeship— and has been placed in the crowded fangs o f a govern­
ment whose duties are already too heavy for it to compass, but whose
avarice for authority increases in the degree that the capacity for its ex­
ercise diminishes. It is not the fault o f the Russian emperor, that his
subjects on the frontier are divided into two great, though disproportionate
classes ; and that while one tenth o f them are employed in the enforce­
ment o f revenue laws, the remaining nine tenths are employed in vio­
lating them. It is not his fault, we should say, were we to concede that
his commercial policy is ju st; for so extended is his heritage, and so scarce
its inhabitants, that it would require the marshalling o f a standing army o f
one half his entire population to prevent the entry o f a chest o f tea or a
barrel o f herring. W e might stop to consider, with so fruitful an illustra­
tion before us, the danger and the inefficiency o f that high pressure
system which places in the hands o f the civil administration the regula­
tion o f the affairs o f trade. Russia has been struggling, since she has
ranked among independent nations, to develop more strongly her gigan­
tic resources. H er laborers, servile and goaded as they are, have pro­
duced, year after year, crops o f their peculiar, though inestimable com ­
modities, sufficient to buy them in return the comforts which are necessary
to lift them from their degradation : but her government has stood by
and told them— you may till and tire, you may produce and sell, you may
export to the full limit o f your labor, but when the returning produce
comes to port, when the goods which you have labored to buy are brought
back to you in payment o f the goods which you have produced, they shall
be met with taxes so great, as to stop their further progress ; or, if not
actually to prevent their entrance into the empire, to prevent their sale to
those by whose exertions alone they are imported. Such a policy has
taken the reward from industry, and has, therefore, destroyed its neces­
sity. It has weakened the faculties o f production, in the proportion that
it has cut o ff the food by which they are nourished. But we may go
further, and maintain, that through the restrictive system, carried out in its
furthest ramifications— through the system o f governmental interference
into the domestic concerns o f society, both collectively and singly— an


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

engine o f despotism has been engendered, so complete, that till a revolu­
tion shall take place, which shall bring the separated classes again into
juxtaposition, and restore the general circulation o f the state, its resour­
ces must remain shackled, and its limbs incapable o f complete and heal­
thy exertion. W e conclude by the consideration of,
V . The commercial qualifications o f the Russian people.
By a decree o f the Empress Catherine, dated 24th April, 1785, and
confirmed and made perpetual on the 2d April, 1801, by the Emperor
Alexander, the entire mass o f the inhabitants o f the cities was set
apart from the nobility on the one side, and the peasantry on the other,
by an act o f incorporation which endowed it with peculiar privileges, and
placed it under peculiar restraints. Six distinct divisions were insti­
tuted, in which the inhabitants o f the empire, exclusive o f the nobility
and the peasantry, were thrown. W e place them in the order in which
they are laid down by Schubert. (A llg . Sta. i. 176.) The first class con ­
tains the citizens proper, or citizens who possess a house or a freehold in
land within the walls o f a city. T o the second belong the Gilden B u r­
gers, who are required to possess, distinct from their inherited estate or
their trading assets, a certain actual capital, liable to taxation. T o be
numbered in the first Gild or subdivision in which the second class is di­
vided, it is necessary to possess a capital o f 50,000 rub. pap. (about
$ 1 0 ,7 5 0 .) F or the second Gild, 20,000 rub. pap. ($4 ,3 00 ;) and for
the third Gild, 8,000 rub. pap. ($ 1 ,7 2 0 .) Foreigners who are not en­
rolled as permanent citizens o f the Russian empire, cannot be received
within the Gilden, except by a special act o f the members o f the senate o f
the Gild which he wishes to enter, and even then he is forced to pay as a
fee for admission, a sum equal to the capital necessary for the first Gild.
T o pass from a higher Gild to a lower, is only admissible in Decem ber,
though it is allowable to rise upwards in the scale at any period through­
out the year, provided that the applicant had certified to the sufficiency o f
his capital on the January preceding.
T o the third class belong the members o f the various domestic trades,
arranged in their corporate capacity. The masters and apprentices o f
each trade are required to enroll themselves in the book which contains
the names o f their fellow craftsm en; and in accordance with the spirit
which has been shown by the most o f the emperors for the encourage­
ment o f domestic industry, foreigners are admitted without any other re­
quisitions than those which insure their proficiency in their art.
The fourth class contains foreigners not included under the preceding
heads, who at the time, on account o f business, are making a sojourn in
the state.
In the fifth class are numbered the Namhaflen Burger, or citizens o f
consideration. It comprises the ordinary officers o f state, together with
artists and scholars who have passed successfully through their academical
probation, and have obtained the credentials o f their individual proficiency.
The sixth class is composed o f the Rasnotschinzu, or all such as remain
from the general mass after the preceding divisions are extracted. It
comprises, therefore, all who are not entered into the five preceding
classes, and who support themselves through day-labor, or employments
which are not therein specified. T h ey have the privilege, if privilege it
.m ay be called, o f returning to the state o f semi-slavery in which the pea­
santry are thrown, and o f overleaping thereby, barriers which are in other

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


respects insurmountable. But whatever changes they may undergo, or
whatever may be the vicissitudes o f condition their descendants may ex­
perience, they are allowed to dispose without shackle o f their property as
far as it is situated within the bounds o f a city, or to bequeath it at their
death to their children.
It must be remembered that the whole population o f Russia is ranked
into three cardinal divisions. The nobles are endowed with official pre­
rogatives more extensive than their brethren o f the older European mon­
archies, though at the same time their personal freedom is more lim ited;
the citizens or freeholders are divided into the classes whose, condition we
are at present discussing ; the slaves, or peasantry,— for under the diseased
system which we are considering the terms have become synonymous,—
constitute by far the greater part o f the population, and are reduced to a
state o f degradation which we think we may be safe in affirming, is un­
exampled in the records o f modern times for its extent and its complete­
It is by a reference to the condition o f the servile classes, that the pri­
vileges o f the citizens or freeholders can be best estimated. The slaves
are regarded very much in the light o f fixtures appendant to the land with
which they are sold, or at best, as chattels that may be separated from it
for a time for the convenience o f trade : the citizens are allowed the right
o f locomotion within a limited extent, and are enabled to hold and to con­
v ey property. They can found factories and build workshops without
special permission from their overseers; and from the usual restrictions
which are laid on the purchase o f slaves they are exempted. The mem­
bers o f the Gilden are singled out from their fellow Burgers, insomuch
that they are freed from the operations o f the arbitrary taxes which it is
the privilege o f the emperor to lay down, and they are subjected in their
stead to a fixed yearly tax o f one per cent on the property which they
have been assessed to possess. Th ey can enter into contracts with the
government itself, are chartered to supply the crown with provisions o f all
kinds, and are enabled to sell, with the exception o f brandy and salt, what­
ever commodities may be brought within the market.
On the members o f the first Gild, who are required from its constitution
to possess at least 30,000 rubs., favors the most peculiar and exclusive are
heaped. They are divided into two parts, o f which the members o f the
first are called the Merchants o f the first class, those o f the second, simply
Fellows o f the First Gild. The merchants o f the first class have the mo­
nopoly o f the trade, both with the interior and with foreign countries ; they
can drive a coach and four, which seems to be looked upon as a conven­
tional prerogative o f the most flattering o r d e r ; they can carry a sword ;
and the heads o f their families are entitled to appear in court. T h e fel­
lows o f the first Gild, on the other hand, are allowed to participate in the
business o f banking; can enter besides into the trade o f the city in which
they live, and can establish workshops, manufactories, and forges. T h ey
can possess ships as well as smaller craft, and have the privilege o f send­
ing their goods to the various cities and courts o f the empire. T h ey en­
joy, also, the honor o f driving in a calash with two horses, and o f being
exempt from capital punishment, except in case o f high treason.
The merchants o f the second Gild are allowed to carry on every branch
o f the interior trade, to possess boats limited to river navigation, and to
transport their goods by water and by land to cities and fairs under the


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

usual prescribed limitations. Th ey are precluded from entering into the
foreign trade, and their capacity o f striking bargains with strangers is
limited to domestic agricultural produce and raw stuffs. By an ukase o f
the 16th o f May, 1798, they were allowed to employ body slaves to work
in manufactories and mines, under condition, that the slaves themselves
should henceforth be considered as appendant to the works in which they
were introduced, unless the mineral or the raw material they were to
labor on should be exhausted.
The merchants o f the third Gild are privileged to enter into the retail
business both in city and in country, and to peddle in the wares with
which their trade is concerned at all places within the province in which
they dwell. T h ey can possess workshops and manufactories, can build
or buy boats o f the smallest description, can hold taverns or smaller estab­
lishments for public accommodation, and can enter into contracts with
the crown which do not exceed the sum o f 12,000 rub. Their official
dignity is measured by the fact that their equipage is limited to one horse.
W e do not feel it necessary to enter further into the labyrinth o f Rus­
sian mercantile subdivisions. There is net within net, and mesh within
mesh, and from the great importer who drives four Arabians to the pedler whose barrow is horseless, there is a grade into which every business
man is thrown, and a grade from which the most ambitious cannot eman­
cipate himself. In the solitary recesses o f his distant cell, the imperial
spider sits and weaves meshes still more fine and still more subtle ; and
the merchant who once finds himself caught within their rings, feels that
the sphere o f his future existence is limited hy the narrow ton e that is
thus described. Sectional pride, the most dishumanizing feeling that can
reign in the human breast, is fomented by the supreme authority as the
passion that is most conducive to his s a f e t y f o r he knows that when the
jealousy and the suspicion o f each o f the infinitesimal fractions into which
his subjects arc divided-, are directed against each other exclusively, he
may sit secure on a throne which is built on their collective degradation.
Trading, the ladder by which the Yankee boy climbs till he reaches the
regions o f wealth and power, has been stripped o f its ascending bars, and
presents to the young Russian apprentice the Spectacle o f a feat which is
almost Herculian. He may mount, but he must mount without the usual
assistance hv which mounting is made practicable; and though by some
fairy helps he should pluck, during his wanderings, Seed which may pro­
duce bean-stalks as gigantic as those by which the hero o f the nursery tale
arrived at the elvsium o f his hopes, he must content himself, when he
reaches it, to be looked Upon by its rightful inhabitants as an interloper.
By a report made at the middle o f the reign o f Catherine II., in 1782,
it appears that there were at the time 107,408 merchants and pedlers,
together with 293,793 members o f the class o f citizens or freeholders, who
could not be ranked with the two foregoing heads. Eleven years later,
(1793) there were 127,856 merchants, and 428,380 o f the remaining
orders o f citizens ; in 1810, the total amount had risen to 621,399, and in
1816, to 900,OO0. In 1829, the number o f the citizens amounted to
1,000,000 ; o f whom 36 were merchants o f the first Gild, 1,368 merchants
o f the second Gild, 24,629 o f the third Gild, and 47 foreign merchants.
W e can, therefore, by estimating 5 heads to each family, rate the entire
number o f the citizen orders at 4,500,000, or about one twelfth o f the
population o f the empire.

Russia, and her Commercial Strength.


It would be beyond our province to enter m ore largely into the condi­
tion o f the various ingredients o f Russian society. W e might say, how­
ever, that slavery has been incorporated in it, in a measure which is un­
equalled both for its comparative amount and for its actual strength. The
number o f body slaves amounts to 21,000,000, and it is said by Schubert
that the number o f slaves altogether constitutes six sevenths o f the popu­
lation o f the empire. They have been placed there by the actual interpo­
sition o f the supreme authority; they are received into the texture o f so­
ciety, by the continued exertions o f those by whom society is governed ;
and without, therefore, the justification which may be afforded from the
fact that exists with us, that they are the remnant o f a race who were
transplanted among us by the men o f distant generations, who brought
them here without our consent, and kept them among us till they became
necessary to the cultivation o f the soil. The Russian slaves spring from the
same family as the masters who rule them, and have been reduced to the
slavery in which they now stand by those who are making use, in order to
clinch it, o f whatever means their temporal authority may give. The
slave who tills, and the sovereign who lounges, are branches o f the same
stem ; and though emancipation could this moment be effected without the
danger o f a servile war, though none o f those violent antipathies o f blood
and color are raging which in other circumstances might be recognised,
emancipation is opposed with all the coldness which a heart o f stone can
give, and delayed by all the vigor which is wielded by an arm o f steel.
It was not, however, our purpose to show that unfortunate as may
be the social evils under which as a country we labor, they are by no
means so extended nor so flagrant as those which are at present in exist­
ence within the limits o f the European continent. Our object was to ex­
hibit in its strongest bearings the oppressions which are worked by a sys­
tem o f commercial restrictions, which, from the theory on which it is built,
is o f all examples the most perfect. One great axiom, if an absurdity can
be called an axiom, was set out with by the founder o f the Russian empire.
A country that exports more than it imports has the balance o f trade in its
favor ; and a country that has the balance o f trade in its favor is on the
high road to prosperity. A man who has a field full o f a drug o f which
he can himself consume a trifling quantity, is certainly right in getting rid
o f as much as he can with convenience ; but if he should persist in refus­
ing a proper exchange for his commodity, and should determine to give it
away scot free, he is impoverishing himself, instead o f adding to his riches.
It has been the aim o f the Russian government to force out o f the empire
as much as could possibly be so disposed of, and to prevent the entrance
o f any thing in return but specie and the precious metals. Valves were
stretched over the mouth o f each port, which open very readily when the
stream was outward, but when the tide ran up, close their lips with a
tenacity which nothing but a golden cargo can loosen. It is forgotten that
specie, though admirably calculated for a circulating medium, is intrinsi­
cally impotent as a source o f wealth, and that a nation, as well as a man,
may starve in the midst o f gold, if it is destitute o f ordinary nourishment.
A population so vast and so diversified, while it is capable o f raising in a
great degree the commodities which thrive in the climate over which it is
spread, or spring up in the soil which is allotted to it, finds that o f the
other articles which are necessary to the com fort o f life it can raise but
few, and those few but with great toil and with great expenditure. Its


Russia, and her Commercial Strength.

primary ooject is to supply itself with the articles o f which it is most in
want. Its secondary object is to rid itself o f those o f which it has no ne­
cessity. But by some strange misconception o f the character o f trade,
while in such cases a high tax is laid on the foreign commodities that are
thus required, the government makes use o f its entire official strength to
export, without getting any thing in return but gold and silver, not only
the most unnecessary, but often the most valuable, o f their domestic pro­
Such has been the policy o f Russia since her entry upon the catalogue
o f commercial nations. Certain commodities, peculiar in their best condi­
tion to her soil, and useful, though not indispensable to other nations, she
possesses in abundance, and she certainly cannot be accused o f a desire
to keep them to herself. On the contrary, she has shown a lively and
consistent determination to force hogs’ bristles, hides, ropes, manufactured
leather, and tallow, upon whomsoever could com e within her limits ; though
with the condition that specie, no matter how low it may be, should be
paid for them, instead o f articles o f which she is infinitely more in need,
no matter what may be their price; But the nations with whom she con­
tracts, having but a certain amount o f the precious metals, are obliged to
check their demands after a little while, and turn the proffered commodities
from their doors. On the basis o f exchange they were willing to meet,
but they refuse to drain their dominions o f an article which, though it is o f
no intrinsic value, they possess only to a limited extent, and have chosen
it for that very reason as a standard o f domestic circulation. The conse­
quence is, that the sale o f Russian productions is but a fraction o f what it
would be were the protective duties on foreign goods removed, while the
Russian people themselves are debarred from the enjoyment o f those im­
mense advantages which unrestrained com m erce could give them.
There is no doubt that Russia, in spite o f the pressure o f her tariff, has
been progressing rapidly in her course as a commercial nation. The in­
crease in the sale o f many o f her standard productions has increased ten­
fold in the last fifty years, and in very few cases alone has she retrograded.
But it must be remembered that she has sprung within that period from a
state o f semi-barbarity, and that half a century more backwards would
place her among the Goths and Vandals o f the north. H er strength was
great but ungainly ; it was as unlimited then as it is n o w ; and it is in the
method o f making use o f it alone that she has improved. W e cannot,
therefore, place her on a par with nations who were lead forth from the
nursery and drawn into the bustle o f life before their muscles were formed
or their growth completed. She took her place among nations with an
arm that was qualified to compete with those o f any around her ; she stepped
out from her cradle in the prime o f her savage strength ; and though, like
the Orson o f the woods, her motion was ungainly, and her might often
spent in vain, she found in the gentle teachings o f the spirit o f com m erce
that wooed her, a code that before long had chastened her exertions, and
placed the discordant forces which she brought to bear, in a resultant in
which they would be more potent.
Such was the cause o f the first rapid start that was taken by the Rus­
sian empire. H er sails were spread to court the breeze when the eastern
waters were first ruffled by its progress. For many a weary day her
mariners had lain listlessly in the idle sun, or had dissipated their strength
in rude pastimes. But at once, there started up by the helmsman’ s stand

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


a pilot who could guide the rudder over the boundless waste in which the
ship was thrown, and in a moment she was careering along the seas in
the fulness o f her complete equipment. It was not until her sails were
lowered and her rudder turned that her course was impeded, and the
progress checked which she was making to the highest station among
European nations.
W e believe the time will come when the shackles o f commercial restric­
tion will be removed, and when mankind will be left free to enjoy the pro­
visions which, under every clime, Providence has spread before them.
Wealth consists in an enjoyment o f the comforts o f life and a participation
in its luxuries, and we may look forward to an epoch when those narrow
barriers will be disregarded which had been laid in the way o f a commu­
nication among the nations o f the earth as free as that between the indi­
viduals o f a nation. In such an era, though from the entire equality o f
station, and the reciprocity o f obligation, it will be difficult for one state to
maintain an actual superiority over others, we can imagine that those great
regions in the northeast o f Europe and the north o f Asia, will be brought
to a degree o f usefulness that will raise them to their just importance in
the econom y to which they have so long been a drag. W e are beginning
as a people to learn that to pave the way for so great a consummation be­
comes our own duty as well as the duty o f our neighbors, and that by the
stand which as a free nation we are bound to take, we may give to those
whose constitution is more defective or whose opportunities are less com­
plete, courage to enter upon a course which will lead to the free diffusion
o f blessings which by general consent alone we will be able to realize.




T he invention o f money, in its simplest, rudest form, is involved in con­
siderable obscurity. Personal property, as represented by any metallic
device, is ascribed to Cain, the son o f Adam, but on exceedingly doubt­
ful authority. Josephus has the credit o f this hypothesis, But Abraham,
who paid 400 shekels for a burying place for Sarah, his wife, is the oldest
authentic record o f a transaction in which a metal represented the value
o f property— And Abraham stood up from before the Lord and spake
unto the sons o f Heth, saying—-That he may give me the caVe o f Macphelah, which he hath, which is in the end o f his field, for as much money
as it is worth,” & c. “ And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
My lord, hearken unto m e : the land is worth 400 shekels o f silver.
And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron, and Abraham weighed to Ephron
the silver which he had named in the audience o f the sons o f Heth,— four
hundred shekels o f silver, current money with the merchant,”
Although this chapter o f Genesis is the oldest o f which there is any
knowledge extent, in which money is mentioned, we are irresistibly led
to acknowledge the fact, that Abraham as well as the Canaanites, the ori­
ginal inhabitants o f the country, with whom the bargain Was made, enter­
tained the same views that we do in relation to the value o f it. And it
also clearly appears that the business o f the merchant, the regular traffic
o f buying and selling, was as well understood in all its multiplied details,
VOL. v .— n o . iv.


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

as at the present d a y ; for it is positively declared that he “ weighed 400
shekels o f silver, current money with the m e r c h a n t It moreover presup­
poses its universal diffusion amongst the nations o f that early age as a
representative o f property,— even long before the birth o f the patriarch.
The same ancient process o f weighing money, characteristic o f the age o f
Abraham, is still customary in Asia, and even in all banking houses o f
reputation throughout the world. The ancient Greeks were o f the opinion
that money was invented by Hermodice, the wife o f Midas, king o f Phry­
gia, who is fabled to have had the power o f turning every thing into gold
which he might touch. On the other hand, the Latins ascribed the inven­
tion to Janus, one o f their imaginary kings.
W e are led to the conclusion, that the simple exchange o f one article
for another, for which an individual had a strong desire, was practised,
notwithstanding the reference which has been made to money. Homer,
who probably lived between the ninth and tenth century before our Saviour,
says that the golden armor o f Glaucus was valued at a 100 o x e n : and
another set, the property o f Diomedes, was worth only ten oxen.
The great inconvenience arising from that sort o f traffic, however, in
time, as men were multiplied, and their wants became more numerous,
must have been felt to be particularly burdensome and inconvenient:
there was no way in which a person could concentrate his property to a
transportable form,
It seems as though by a general consent the primitive inhabitants o f
Asia, when the rights o f individuals to property o f any kind were recog­
nised, willingly substituted something which would represent it. Conve­
nience rendered it necessary that the substitute should be portable, or the
object would have been wholly defeated.
A s gold and silver were the scarcest o f the metals accessible to man,
and the least liable to changes from those influences which, experience un­
questionably taught nomadic tribes, affected the more common sort, a
value appears to have been very early attached to them. This is inferred
from the circumstance that mention is made o f one of them, silver, as pre­
cious, and a representative o f property, long before gold.
Trade originally must have consisted in the simple exchange o f one ar­
ticle for another, for which one person either had need, or conceived that
he had ; but. when the accumulation o f certain goods gave advantages to
the owner over those who were destitute, various animate and inanimate
things were selected, from one period to another, to represent their value.
A bow, for example, was considered equal in value to ten arrows,— be­
cause ten arrows could be manufactured in the time required for construct­
ing one bow. Here, then, it seems to a considerable extent property was
really the worth o f one’s tim e: that is, if one arrow could be made in one
hour, then one arrow would be a compensation for the hire o f one’s time
for that period.
Cattle, in Italy, were once the circulating medium, as in the age o f
Homer, and collectively were termed pecunia— a word derived from pecus,
a herd. The term pecuniary, now in general use in monetary transactions,
and thus applied in ordinary affairs o f bargaining, was derived from the
same root.
On the authority o f Pliny, we are expressly informed that the first coin
known to the Romans, had on it the figure o f a cow . This simple fact
evidently shows a relationship to the historical account o f the former use

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


o f those animals, to which the picture bore a significant reference. The
object was to keep alive in the mind that it referred to something o f more
magnitude or certain worth, o f which the possessor had a distinct know­
The word money, universally understood by its power, was derived from
the Latin moneta, moneo, signifying to mark. Thus all coins, with a few
exceptions, in all countries, have ever borne some visible mark, either by
device or character, expressive o f their intrinsic value. Thus a piece o f
metal, o f whatever kind, bearing the image o f the Roman cow, was an
evidence that it was o f the value o f one such anim al; and another o f
double the weight or size, was equal in value to two or ten cows, as the
case might be.
Subsequently, in order to make great wealth less bulky and burden­
some, metals not readily accessible, and therefore necessarily scarce at
all times, were selected,— being multum in parvo— much in a little space,
— to stand in the place o f the real articles, which were the acknowledged
wealth o f any one person, or the public. Finally, it is by no means impro­
bable, even in theory, to suppose that a certain portion o f gold, one fourth
o f the dimensions o f that bearing a picture o f the Roman cow , for exam­
ple, because difficult to obtain from the earth, ultimately became the sym­
bol o f that useful domestic animal.
On a certain momentous occasion, says an early historian, when the
Romans were exceedingly pressed for money, Juno informed them that i f
they would practice justice, they should always be supplied. The goddess
was afterward called Juno Moneta, and her temple became the first regu­
lar national mint o f which there is any tradition. In the course years,
money was ascertained to be so useful that it was deified, and made
a goddess, under the name o f Dea Pecunia. She was represented as a
female holding a balance in one hand and a cornucopia in the other.
One was significant o f just weight, and the other o f plenty.
Savages and barbarians, wherever discovered, have ordinarily had some
circulating medium, the acknowledged representative o f property. T h e
Indians o f all North Am erica, when visited first by our European ances­
tors, had an article o f difficult fabrication, called wampum. So absolutely
necessary was it to have something to represent property, in the first set­
tlement o f N ew England, in the scarcity o f the precious metals, that long
after the organization o f the government o f Massachusetts wampum was a
legal tender.
The Sandwich Islanders had a whale’s tooth, a kind o f red ochre, and
hogs. A t the Marquesas Islands, a whale’s tooth, twenty-five or thirty
years ago, was the ne plus ultra o f wealth; and the native who by any
labor, artifice, or sacrifice, was so fortunate as to obtain one, constantly
wore it suspended by a cord from his neck, and thus became the enviable
Crcesus o f the whole region. The negroes o f the west coast o f Africa,
and probably through the interior o f that vast continent generally, have
cakes o f rock salt or cowries, a common muscle shell, stained red-,— thou­
sands o f bushels o f which have been carried there from this and other
countries, for the purchase o f ivory, geld dust, ostrich plumes, and slaves.
Iron bars were once in use by the ancient Lacedemonians for money,
having been first heated and then quenched in vinegar. The odor exhaled
from them was an evidence o f a lawful preparation for trade in exchange
for commodities ; and it was understood, moreover, that all bars thus p re­


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

pared should not be used for other or baser purposes. Besides, the no­
tion prevailed that the iron cooled in vinegar was made too brittle for
domestic use. This was a trick o f the state to prevent unlawful imitations.
Before the invasion o f Julius Csesar, the natives o f England had tin
plates, iron plates, and rings, which were money, and their only money.
On the authority o f Seneca, a curious account is given o f a period when
leather, appropriately stamped to give it a certain legal character, was the
only current money. At a comparatively recent date in the annals o f
Europe, Fredich the Second, who died in 1250, at the siege o f Milan, actually
paid his troops with leather money. N early the same circumstance o c ­
curred in England during the great wars o f the barons. In the course o f
1350, King John, o f F rance, for the ransom o f his royal person, promised
to pay Edward the Third o f England 3,000,000 o f gold crowns. In order
to fulfil the obligation, he was reduced to the mortifying necessity o f pay­
ing the expenses o f the palace in leather money, in the centre o f each
piece there being a little bright point o f silver. In that reign is found the
origin o f the travestied honor o f boyhood, called— conferring a leather
medal. The imposing ceremonies accompanying a presentation, gave full
force, diginity, and value to a leather jewel, which noblemen were probably
proud and gratified to receive at the hand o f majesty.
So late as 1574, there was an immense issue o f money in Holland
stamped on small sheets o f pasteboard. But further back in the vista o f
years, Numa Pompilius, the second king o f Rom e, who reigned 672 years
before the Christian era, made money out o f wood as well as leather; a
knowledge o f which might have influenced King John in the bold project
o f substituting the tanned hide o f an animal for gold and silver, well known
to his subjects to be exceedingly precious.
Both gold and silver appear to have been in extensive circulation in
Egypt, soon after their potency was understood in Asia. From thence
they were introduced into Carthage and G re e c e ; and finally, travelling
further and further in a westerly direction, the city o f Rom e discovered
the importance o f legalizing their circulation.
W eight having always been o f the first importance in early times, the
shape o f money appears to have been regarded with perfect indifference
for a series o f ages.
Although there is a manifest difference between money and coin, they
both convey to the mind, in our day, the same idea. The term coin, ori­
ginally, was considered a pure French word, signifying corner.
Coin is considered by some antiquarians to be a corruption, and has re­
ference to many varieties o f ancient coins, which were ordinarily square,
and consequently distinguished by their corners. Others derive the word
from cuneus, a wedge, since ingots o f bullion in former times were o f that
shape. Another class o f bibliomaniacs trace the word coin to the Greek
xoivof, common, since it is the common object o f necessity and avarice, the
whole world through.
The etymology, however, is o f little consequence, since most other use­
ful inventions belonging to the earliest condition o f the human family, are
lost in the accumulating lumber o f six thousand years.
W hen the bits and portions o f metal received as precious, were exten­
sively circulated, it is quite probable that each possessor shaped them to
suit his own conception, as practised to some extent at this time in remote
places in the East Indies:— the payer away cuts o ff parts with shears,

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


till he obtains, by exact weight, the stipulated amount. It was thus that
men travelled with the evidence o f their possessions in a sack. But great
inconvenience must have resulted from this often tedious process; and as
nations advanced in civilization and the econom ic arts, a certain mark or
impression on certain sized pieces were acknowledged to be the sign o f a
certain weight. This facilitated negotiations, and afterward led to further
improvements both in the shape, weight, and beauty o f the externa! devices.
By and by the profile o f the king, the date o f the coinage, and the re­
cord o f important events, gave still more completeness and character to
the circulating article o f exchange.
Although brass is a compound o f two metals, zinc and copper, both ex­
isting in abundance, the method o f compounding them might have been
kept a secret from the vulgar eye, so that it was no difficult undertaking
for an organized government to give it a fictitious value ; and accord­
ingly, till the reign o f Gyges, king o f Lydia, 720 years before our Saviour,
and 300 after Solomon, the principal wealth o f the renowned Delphic tem­
ple consisted o f brass tripods, and vessels .consecrated to the service o f
paganism. O f the scarcity o f gold and silver in the infancy o f some o f
the Grecian states, the following circumstance will bear testimony. One
hundred and fifty years after the death o f Solomon, the Lacedemonians
were obliged to have recourse to Croesus, to procure the gold o f which
they formed the statue o f A pollo, on Mount Thornax.
After that, H iero, king o f Syracuse, sought everywhere, and for a long
while too, to obtain gold for a statue o f Victory, and a tripod for the D el­
phic temple ; and at length procured it at Corinth, in the house o f one
Architetes, who had collected it in small quantities, by purchases. He
supplied the king with the exact weight required, and besides gave him a
handful, as a personal present, which Hiero repaid by sending him a ves­
sel laden with corn.
Athceneeus quotes a passage from Anaximenes, tutor o f Alexander the
Great, who wrote 350 years before our era, which states that a golden
necklace o f Eriphyle, given her by Polyneces, formerly the property o f
Venus, was chiefly celebrated because gold was so wonderfully scarce in
Greece. The same author asserts that Philip o f Macedon, in the early
part o f his prosperous reign, before he had procured gold from the Thra­
cian mines, on retiring for the night, was in the habit o f placing a certain
little golden cup under, his pillow for safety, so highly was it prized on
account o f the rarity o f that metal in his otherwise rich dominions.
The scarcity o f the precious metals in G reece from a very early point
o f history, down to the beginning o f Philip’s government, forms a striking
contrast with the representations given by historians o f their abundance in
Egypt and India in contemporary ages.
The Grecians were hardly known to the Hebrews, and this is a reason
why mention has not been made o f them in the Old Testament. The
knowledge acquired by the Jews o f other parts o f the world, was princi­
pally confined to Egypt, Arabia, and that part o f central Asia denominated
Chaldea or Assyria. Whilst they w ere themselves slowly advancing in
civilization, the classic Grecians were unknown, because they were bar­
barians, and feeble as a people.
In G reece, silver was the first coined m etal; but in Rom e, where it
was wholly unknown, copper and brass were the first used as money.
The first valuation in the eternal city, was by the libra gravis oeris— a


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

pound o f heavy brass. Silver and gold were regulated by weight, after
the army procured them by conquest. The old as well as the present
Roman pound consists o f 12 oz. o f 458 grains each to the ounce— being
just equal to the avoirdupois ounce.
Large sums o f money in the old Roman world were invariably reck­
oned by a large weight, called pondus— o r a hundred pounds o f brass.
The first regular operation o f coining money transmitted by history,
was in the reign o f Servius Tullus, 460 years before Christ. It was made
o f brass, and each piece weighed half an ounce. Shortly after, a larger
piece was coined, called sestertius, equal in value howeyer to only about
five cents. Y ellow brass possessed double the value o f the common, or
bronze-colored. Commencing with the reign o f Augustus, the sestertius
was wholly fabricated o f yellow brass.
A new issue o f money took place in the reigns o f Valerian and Gallienus, made o f copper, silver-washed, called denarii, equal in value to 10
asses,— being in our currency about 1 4 j cents only.
T w o hundred and sixty yejirs before the Saviour, in the year o f Rom e
485, silver was made use o f by government as currency, upon which
was a large cross or rude letter X , numerically meaning 10, because 10
asses were represented by it.
This kind o f coin was .continually changing in value through a succes­
sion o f emperors, till the original worth was entirely lost sight of. A ll
those o f the oldest date bear the figure o f a female in a helmet, on one
side, and the rude X in relief, on the other.
The next money, in point o f time, had the head o f Rom a on one side,
with the name o f the master o f the mint on the other, together with some
minor figures. The third order, still younger, bore the head o f the con­
sul :— hence the name o f consular, denarii. Gelsus, the physician, agrees
with Pliny in saying that 84 denarii were coined from a pound o f silver.
It is curious to remark, that one denarius, at the epoch o f their greatest
worth in Rom e and its dependencies, was amply sufficient to support a
man genteelly a whole day. Indeed, 1 4 i cents would sustain the dignity
o f a Roman senator, so far as the necessaries o f life were concerned,
twenty-four hours. This, contrasted with the artificial requirements and
luxury o f our day, is particularly striking. The actual cost o f a single
dinner at a respectable hotel, would have boarded a Roman gentleman,
when that power swayed an universal empire, more than seven days.
The next device amongst the Romans for representing property, in
which much was comprised in a small space, was the invention o f golden
money, two hundred and four years before the Saviour. It was called the
au ris:— denarius aureus, or golden denarius.
Many curious and singular facts might be collected upon the history o f
figures displayed on the coins o f different nations o f antiquity, but the in­
quiry properly belongs to the details o f the art o f die-sinking.
Notwithstanding the detestation o f the Jews to all pictures, reliefs, or
resemblances to living things, because they entertained a fear that they
might lead to idolatrous worship, they seem to have forgotten their own
policy when the. shekel exhibited the golden pot o f manna on one side and
the budding rod o f Aaron on the other.
The Dardans, a free people o f the ancient city o f Dardanum, situated
on the strait now called Dardanelles, figured two cocks on their money,
in the act o f fighting. Alexander pictured his famous horse Bucephalus

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


on h is; and it was continued by the numerous generals who divided the
ample dominions o f their master amongst themselves after his death.
Many o f the Athenian coins had on them the figure o f an owl— and some
an ox. There was a little attic wit upon this device, familiar to the G re­
cians— bos in lingua; for they used to say o f a lawyer who did not exert
himself to achieve a cause, as it was well known he had the power to do,
that he had an ox on his tongue.
In jEgina, the money exhibited on its face a tortoise,— signifying that
it should go slowly and deliberately from the pocket.
N o living individual’s features were stamped on money till after the
overthrow o f the Rom an commonwealth, when the emperor fixed his
miniature upon it. Since that prodigious innovation, the displacement o f
the gods and goddesses and arbitrary signs, the example has generally
been followed by princes and rulers in all countries, with the exception o f
the United States and Turkey. But the Turks are nqt to be classed with
civilized nations, while some o f their principal institutions are utterly at
variance with the scheme o f progressive civilization and Christianity.
Their money is simply inscribed with the name o f the living sultan, as
far as practicable, and the date o f the year when Mahomet went to para­
dise. Their utter detestation o f all kinds o f images and pictures, totally
forbids the introduction o f resemblances to animate or inanimate things,
at least under the sanction o f governm ent; nor would such specimens o f
art be willingly tolerated even in private.
A variety o f strange devices arc exhibited on European coins in each
successive age, infinitely curious, and interesting to those who delight in
studying the progress o f the arts from age to age. Our own money
neither bears the head o f the president o f the United States, nor any par­
ticular subordinate magistrate; but simply an ideal profile o f liberty.
Form erly, in England, there was a mint in nearly every county in the
realm. A s the principles o f government became better understood, the
privilege o f coining money was tacitly conceded, and wisely too in a
monarchy, to be a royal prerogative. It should always be the exclusive
right o f the supreme authority o f the land to regulate this essential, lifegiving stimulus o f national industry and individual enterprise, or it would
be so debased, without the incessant vigilance o f the law, that it would
becom e utterly valueless.
From all we can discover in the history o f the past, the multiplication
o f money has invariably belonged exclusively to the state. Till within
a comparatively short period o f two hundred and eighty years, the pro­
cess o f coining was extremely rude and unsatisfactory— being nothing
more than placing a flat piece o f gold or silver between two dies, engra­
ven with letters or devices, and striking the upper one with a hammer
sufficiently forcibly to make an impression in relief. This was rightly
enough called hammered money, being in harmony with the spirit and
letter o f contracts in those days, which expressly provided for payment in
hammered money; and meaning much the same as current money, with us.
So far as the beauty o f the pieces was concerned, it was invariably im­
perfect, arising from the difficulty o f placing the dies exactly over each
other, and striking a uniform blow. In a large portion o f the old Spanish
dollars, and particularly on the margins o f the pistareens, there is the ap­
pearance o f inequality in width as well as thickness— resulting from a
sliding, as it were, o f the dies.


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

The French are wholly entitled to the credit o f having invented the
coining press, first used in the palace o f H enry II., between 1550 and
H enry III., however, re-established the hammer dies, on account o f the
cheapness of manufacturing with the old tools. During the reign o f Queen
Elizabeth, the press was introduced into England, but in about ten years
abandoned on the same account as in France. In 1645, Louis X IV .
again patronised the new money-mill, and in 1623 it was again revived
in England, although alternately used with the hammer and dies till 1662,
when its utility was completely established over the old and antique pro­
Coining is now performed in the tower o f Lqndon, as at Philadelphia,
Charleston, and N ew Orleans, by steam power. Eight presses, attended
by as many small boys, will coin 19,000 pieces o f any denomination of
money in one h ou r; and the machine in the mean time registers itself the
exact number, so that it is literally impossible for a workman to deceive
the overseer.
English money obtained the following specific designations quite early
after the legal system o f coinage was established. The pound at first really
was a pound in weight, o f silver; after a while a number o f certain kinds o f
pieces collectively weighing a pound, being more convenient, were received
as equal to one solid m ass; but there neyer was a real piece o f money
stamped as a pound. The pound consequently refers to a certain amount
or aggregation o f small and convenient pieces o f gold or silver, existing in
the coffers o f the government, or promised on the face o f a note issued on
the authority o f parliament, as the case may be.
Cash, in commercial language, means ready money, supposed to be in
immediate possession, from the French word caisse, chest or coffer.
Guinea was so called because first made o f gold brought from that part
o f Africa, and formerly bore an elephant on one side. Angels, now ex­
tremely rare, are no longer wrought. Penny was once called penig by the
Saxons. Farthing means fo u r things, or parts o f a penny, & c. Copper
was coined in Elizabeth’s time, in small quantities, but not well received
by the public.
During the existence o f the Saxon heptarchy in England, money was
scarcer than it ever was before, from the invasion o f the Romans, or at
any period since.
W hen the Romans abandoned Britain and Gaul, over which their do­
minion had been supreme, they carried with them every thing that was
considered portable wealth, leaving nothing behind to which they attach­
ed much value. W hat is now Great Britian, especially, was left so de­
plorably poor, as it regarded gold and silver, that living money, so called
in law, became a legal tender. This consisted o f slaves and cattle, which
passed currently and without question, in the payment o f debts, and really
supplied the deficiency o f money. Here we see man suddenly reduced to
the necessity o f resorting to the primitive mode o f transacting business,
which has already been adverted to. W hen one person owed another a
certain sum, if he could not raise the coin, or only a moiety o f the stipu­
lated sum, the deficiency was made up in living money, which was under­
stood to be slaves, horses, cows, and sheep, at a rate established by law.
A ll kinds o f mulcts imposed by the state, the courts, or penances by the
church, were paid in dead or living money, as was most convenient; with

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


one exception, for the church always refused slaves in payment for penances.
This custom was so general in Scotland and W ales, that it is believed no
coinage took place in those countries in the Saxon ages.
The very little money, however, kept from the Romans, in the country,
was almost exclusively struck at Constantinople, and called Byzants. One
pound o f gold was coined into seventy-two o f those pieces. St. Dunstan,
who figures in English history, purchased o f king Edward the manor o f
Hendon, in Middlesex, not far from the year 960, for two hundred by­
zants ; being a little more than three pounds weight o f gold, which would
make the cost one hundred and fifty pounds sterling, not the present one
thousandth part o f its value.
Alfred the Great was one o f the richest princes o f the age in which he
lived, yet he bequeathed only five hundred pounds to each o f his sons, and
one hundred to the daughters. The Saxon pound weight o f silver was
5,400 grains, which, in the present English currency, would be fourteen
hundred pounds to the sons, and two hundred and eighty pounds to the
In the reign o f Ethelred, anno 997, the price o f a man slave was
£ 2 16s. 2d.; ah orse, £ 1 15s. 2d.; an ass, 14s.; an ox, 7s.; a cow, 6s2d.; a swine, 18s. 10d.; a sheep, 18s. 8d.; and a goat only 4 id .
Notwithstanding the low price o f what were generally considered ne­
cessary commodities, the nobles were corrupt, and as much addicted to
sports o f the field, as under the government o f Queen Victoria. A t that
period, the price o f a greyhound or a hawk was the same as that o f a man
slave; and the robbing a hawk’s nest was punished as severely by the'
law as the murder o f a human being.
Ethelred was compelled to pay tribute to the Danes, which so exhausted
England, as again to compel the country to submit to the monarchy o f Ca­
nute. In France, at the period we are contemplating, the scarcity was equally
embarrassing. Charles the Bold, at the close o f the ninth century, when
projecting a military expedition into Italy, could only raise, by all methods
in his power, some o f which were extremely unjust and oppressive, 10,000
marks, or £ 1 8 ,0 0 0 . B y the accounts preserved in the Cathedral o f
Strasburg, the wages paid the masons who labored on that magnificent
edifice, was only two pfennigs a day. The pfennig was a copper coin, o f
which one hundred and twenty were made o f a pound o f the metal. W hen
the great bridge o f Dresden was erected, in the thirteenth century, two
pfennigs a day was the sum each mechanic received.
L ow in value and character as was the coinage, it was counterfeited,
debased, and even clipped to a great degree, though the law visited the
criminal, when detected, with all its might and terribleness. The Jews,
whether always justly or not, were prodigious sufferers, for cruelties to­
wards that oppressed remnant o f Israel were considered meritorious by
all classes o f society. T w o hundred and eighty Jews were put to death
in London alone, for debasing and clipping money, in the single year o f
1279, besides many more in other parts o f the realm. That was an omin­
ous period, for at the time o f those executions, all the goldsmiths in the
kingdom were simultaneously seized and thrown into prison on mere sus­
picion that they were guilty o f the same crime.
Richard I. o f England, in 1192, on his return from the H oly Land, was
made prisoner by the Duke o f Austria. H e wrote a letter to his mother,
queen Elenor, and to the judges o f all England, beseeching them to raise
V OL. v .— n o . iv .


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

the price o f his ransom, which was fixed at 70,000 marks, or £1 40 ,0 00 .
N o application was made to the merchants for assistance, because they
were probably too poor. In 1194, when the king was released, the ran­
som was raised by melting the silver cups used in the holy eucharist;
and a tax o f one fourth o f the income o f all persons, including eccleciastics,
was laid; and then, it was only by the friendly assistance o f France, that
the monarch finally raised the whole sum.
The iron m oney o f Lycurgus, the South Sea Bubble, the tulip mania o f
Holland, and the issues o f paper from banking institutions incorporated with
certain privileges, are subjects o f profound interest, on account o f the in­
fluences they have exerted on the affairs o f mankind.
Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver, who flourished a little while after the
splendid and glorious reign o f Solomon, not far from nine hundred years
before the advent o f the Saviour, in order to regenerate the political char­
acter o f a country which he considered on the verge o f destruction— a na­
tion whose rank and fortunes had fallen below the standard o f supposed
excellence in war, and surely, therefore, sinking into comparative obscu­
rity, and whose redemption seemed to depend on a thorough reformation
o f manners— first equalized the landed property. In imbecile Sparta, a3
everywhere else, there were the poor and the rich ; but under the vigor­
ous system o f regeneration adopted by that most resolute and daring theo­
rist, each man had a lot o f ground given him, which was capable o f yield­
ing, one year with another, upon the average, seventy bushels o f grain ;
and twelve for every woman, besides a requisite quantity o f oil and wine.
H e then attempted to subdivide their moveable, personal property, in
order to take away all appearances o f inequality ; but he soon perceived
that such rashness could not be tamely endured, and Lycurgus therefore
contrived another less offensive, but not less arbitrary method, o f achiev­
ing by stratagem what he could not accomplish by more direct means.
First, he interdicted the circulation o f gold and silver, and ordered that
the only metallic representative o f property should be o f iron exclusively.
T o a great weight o f that he assigned but a very small value, so that to
lay up ten minse, ($ 1 4 2 37,) a room was necessary for its storage, and to
move it from one place to another, it was necessary to have a yoke o f
W hen the Spartans, however, became dissatisfied with their native ter­
ritories, as prescribed to them by their despotic legislator, and broke into
other countries in their wars, iron money was o f no service ; the gold o f
the Persians dazzled their eyes, till at length they became actually dis­
tinguished for covetousness, and renowned for a morbid appetite for that
which they had been positively forbidden to use.
During the long period o f the Peloponnesian war, the Spartans were
sometimes vanquished, but often the v ictors; yet they could never have
made any serious impression upon their rival foes, had not stupidity and
folly weakened their ranks.
From the moment the Spartans became money-loving, may be dated
the complete ruin o f their vigorously disposing constitution.
treasures found in Athens, the spoils o f Persia, the plunder o f unoffending
strangers, together with the fruits o f commercial industry, were transport­
ed by Lysander to the home o f the iron minae. H e was a commander o f
prodigious power and unbounded am bition; proud, haughty, avaricious,
and not at all scrupulous about the means by which he accomplished his

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


ends. Having gained over to his views a strong party in Sparta, he pre­
vailed so over them as to introduce riches into the state ; not, as was asserted, for the benefit o f individuals, but on account o f the pressing neces­
sities o f the government. But it soon found its way to the coffers o f
individuals, and consequently carried with it dissensions, luxury, and a
fixed aversion to the rigorous discipline o f their fathers. V ery speedily,
notwithstanding the supposed stability o f a fundamental law on which their
property was acknowledged to rest, people began to manifest an eagerness
to possess the new money, as an alleged means o f improving their con­
dition, and o f elevating themselves from that positive dependence which
Lycurgus, by his institution, had intended permanently to establish. A
common bond o f union was consequently destroyed by the introduction
o f a new species o f wealth, the exclusion o f which had raised Spartan
reputation, till the nation was regarded almost as invincible. Interests
were by and by divided, and each one contemplated in the growing de­
generacy objects altogether foreign to national glory. Such was the con­
summate skill o f Lysander, however, that he diverted all minds from the
enormous vices, profligacy, avarice, and dissimulation o f which he was
guilty. W ith the acquisition o f foreign money came effeminacy, physical
debility, laxity o f morals, and impiety. Neither purity o f thought nor
public virtue, could be restrained against the devouring influence o f
money in the once invincible Sparta. Such is the simple story o f an ex­
periment on a larger scale o f first abrogating the use o f money, where it
had once been the representative o f wealth and power, as the greatest ob­
stacle to national integrity and virtue.
Xenophon relates that Lysander sent from Athens many rich spoils,
beside 470 talents o f silver. Its safe arrival at once created disputes and
bickerings to which they had not been in that generation at all accus­
tomed. Some celebrated the praises o f the fortunate commander, and
publicly rejoiced in his good fortune ; but others, who knew the nature o f
wealth, and who also understood the value o f their constitution, enter­
tained an entirely different opinion : they looked upon the receipt o f this
enormous treasure as an open violation o f a law imposed upon the
state under peculiar solemnities. Th ey even had the fearlessness, not­
withstanding the increasing corruption o f manners, to express their ap­
prehensions in the ears o f the magistrates.
Events followed in quick succession that justified their apprehensionsDissensions, dissatisfaction with the administration o f affairs, and the indo­
lence and advancing poverty o f a once proud-spirited race, was percep­
tible to surrounding nations in the rapid decay o f all the former distin­
guishing characteristics o f Spartan heroes.
It is obvious that the experiment o f Lycurgus was diametrically opposed
to those innate feelings, which, under all circumstances, have had, and
always Will exercise a controlling influence on human character. The
love o f individual possession is inherent, and any attempt to deprive men
o f that to which they affix a specific Value, without their free concurrence,
engenders turmoil in small communities, and public calamity and even
desperation in a polished nation.
The practical operation o f the principle has been repeatedly exemplified
in Turkey, especially by the late Sultan Mahmoud the Second, who regu­
lated the value o f money almost weekly, a few years since, according tohis exigencies. I f a large sum, as frequently happened in direct taxa­


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

tion, became due to government, word was sent forth that the para was
worth but two thirds, perhaps, what it passed for two weeks before.
On the other hand, if the Sublime Porte was paying o ff large bodies o f
troops, or otherwise making extensive disbursements, then the value o f
the para was boldly announced to be worth more than when the same
identical money was paid by the subject to the public receivers.
The next remarkable experiment for substituting a worthless article for
that which had universally been esteemed precious, took place in Holland
in the last century, at the very period when the nation was extensively
known for its mercantile enterprise and thrift in trade wherever the
name o f Holland was known.
Strange as it may appear, instead o f employing some durable material,
or issuing a promissory note under the obligations o f a chartered institu­
tion, the calculating people o f that land o f dykes hit upon the root o f a
vegetable, a garden plant, which speedily, by general consent, became
the representative o f the wealth o f the country. It was nothing more
ponderous or rare than the bulbous root o f a tulip ; not the beautiful ex­
panded flower— no, nor the bud that contained an incipient flower, but the
mere root, which was bought and sold with extreme caution by the perit,
a weight considerably less than a grain.
Such was the eagerness and positive insanity o f all orders o f persons
possessing the means o f embarking in the newly developed highway to
fortune, that the epoch o f the tulip excitement has been properly called
the tulip mania o f Holland. The greatest trade in those roots was car­
ried on in Hserlem, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leyden, and Rotterdam, du­
ring the years 1634-5—6 -7 . A t the close o f 1637, the fiscal fever began
to subside, and men, otherwise shrewd and circumspect, were brought to
their senses and bankruptcy at the same moment.
A Dutchman by the name o f Munting wrote a large volume containing
a minute history o f that strange infatuation, in which those who may like
to make themselves acquainted with the process o f conducting the tulip
exchange can find the particulars.
Different varieties sold for different prices ; and such as were o f a cele­
brated character for some latent property, highly estimated by the stock­
brokers, bore enormous prices in the general market. One was called
the Admiral Leifken, another, the admiral Van der Eyk, a third, Semper
Augustus, & c. A root o f the variety denominated viceroy, brought 448
florins. W hen the mania was at its meridian, and the roots were exclu­
sively sold by weight, the sum o f 4,400 florins were once given for an
Admiral L eifken. A Semper Augustus is recorded to have been once
purchased at the alarming price o f $8,000.
It so happened in the operations o f trade between cities, at one period,
that barely two roots o f the peerless Semper Augustus were supposed to
exist in all Holland, which had the effect to so raise the price, that one o f
them, the enviable property o f a gentleman in Amsterdam, sold for 4,600
florins; the other was at Hserlem. Tw elve acres o f land in one instance
were given for a little fibre o f the choice Semper. Munting speaks o f a
person o f his acquaintance who made 60,000 florins in four months by
successful operations in tulip roots.
Such was the extravagance, and such the singular infatuation o f the
most intelligent classes, that the common affairs o f life were seriously
neglected in the swift pursuit o f fortune through this new channel.

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


Merchants possessed a vast or limited capital, in proportion to the mag­
nitude or insignificance o f their tulip roots. Daughters were portioned
with a few ounces magnificently, and noblemen o f the highest considera­
tion and family importance vested their possessions in a perishable vege­
table that could be carried in a teacup. W hen the bubble burst, and the
roots suddenly fell in public estimation, abject poverty stared the nation in
the face.
It is related that an English sea captain had occasion to call at the resi­
dence o f a distinguished capitalist at an early hour o f the morning, ac­
companied by one o f his sailors in the capacity o f a servant, who told Jack
that he might walk in minheer’s beautiful garden till he was ready to re­
turn. After admiring the regularity o f the walks, the extreme beauty o f
the shrubbery, and the flowers that bordered the neatly swept paths, he
noticed a slender stem o f a plant which he took to be an on ion ; without
hesitation, he pulled it up and devoured it, but discovered that he had
mistaken its character on chewing it. D irectly after, the man o f the
house came into the garden to gratify the English stranger with a sight o f
the basis o f his acknowledged wealth. On discovering the fact o f the
destruction o f his tulip, he exclaimed in an agony o f mind, “ I am ruined !
I am ruined ! ! ’ In fine, the tulip-root mania was a high-handed species
o f stock gambling, almost without a precedent in the annals o f the world.
The Mississippi Scheme for embodying the wealth o f the globe in a few
favored hands, as it were, and the South Sea Bubble, although equally in­
teresting in their effects on the condition o f trade, and the morals o f the
people involved in the speculation, will not compare, in point o f historical
effect, with the tulip mania o f industrious, plodding Holland, from 1634 to
Thus, w e discover that from the remotest ages, men have placed not
only a high, but a specific value on gold and silver, as the signs o f per­
sonal possessions, and the consent o f the nations o f the earth is still in
favor o f maintaining the original device o f representing wealth in the same
manner ; and the spirit o f all legislation has had reference to securing
and perpetuating in them an intrinsic value. W hen a daring innovation
has been made to subvert the established order o f things in this respect,
there has invariably been a secret design o f taking from the people, under
the sanction o f law, an acknowledged good, for the express purpose o f
giving them in exchange something better. But on analyzing the motive
by the sure test o f historical truth, it is apparent that deception, knavery,
and a morbid craving for that which is ostensibly despised, is invariably
interwoven with these attempted revolutions.
A t last, in the progress o f national events, when the heavy money be­
gan to be considered inconvenient and burdensome in extensive mercan­
tile activity and intercourse with distant provinces or countries, only to be
approached by crossing sections o f an ocean, the genius o f invention was
called upon to propose a plan attended with less risk to the owner.
Iron was too plenty to be precious— roots were perishable— and cop­
per, tin, and brass, belonged to the arts everywhere ; under such circum ­
stances, the ingenuity o f the Venetians enabled them to establish a depot
for the safe keeping o f legalized coin in great quantities. T h e actual
owners o f this deposit issued a paper note, on which they stipulated to
pay as many ounces, pounds, pennyweights, or florins, as the case might
be, to the person to whom it belonged, whenever he might choose to pre­


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

sent it. This was the beginning o f a paper currency, and the origin o f
the banking system o f our times. The bills thus constructed would be
conveyed with ease and safety under circumstances in which the travel­
ler could not carry a large sum o f gold or silver. The promptitude with
which specie was paid whenever demanded on the lace o f the note, at
once established their credit, and, consequently, changed the whole finan­
cial machinery o f the world. B y this grand discovery, an immediate im­
petus was given to com m erce before unknown ; a new energy was mani­
fested wherever the beneficial effects o f the novel mode o f conveying
money was mentioned. In short, almost an entire revolution in the phys­
ical and moral world has been brought about by this simple, yet effective
Before the regular construction o f safe banking houses, such as are com ­
monly seen in cities, the utmost stretch o f mechanical ingenuity was call­
ed in requisition, to protect the treasures collected together by rulers and
T o show what perplexities attended the preservation o f money against
the cunning and adroitness o f thieves, in the first stages o f society, the
following account is principally collected from the biography o f an
Egyptian prince, Rhampsinitus, by the father o f history, Herodotus. His
description o f a treasury house is, perhaps, the oldest on record. W hen
the fact is remembered that it was written by a man born in the 73d
Olympiad, or 2,325 years ago, nothing is lost in interest, even were it
wholly untrue, inasmuch as it illustrates the powers o f the human mind
in the region o f fiction, at a period that now seems like the infancy o f
mankind. The story is substantially as follows :— “ The same instructors further told me, (alluding to the priests with
whom he discoursed,) that Proteus was succeeded by Rhampsinitus: he
built the west entrance o f the temple o f Vulcan. In the same situation he
also erected two statues, twenty-five cubits in height.”
This prince possessed such an abundance o f wealth, that, far from sur­
passing, none o f his successors ever equalled him in affluence. For the
security o f his riches, he constructed a stone edifice, connected with hi9
palace by a wall. The man whom he employed, with a dishonest view,
so artfully disposed o f one o f the stones, that two, or even one person
might easily remove it from its appropriate place.
In this building, when completed, the king deposited vast treasures.
Some time after, when the artist found his end approaching, he called
his two sons before him, and informed them in what manner, and with
what intention, he had placed a moveable stone, that gave entrance into
the central depository o f the treasury house. And now, being confident
that approaching death would deprive him o f profiting, as originally in­
tended, by a personal entrance, he therefore confided to them the choice
secret, with a view to their future emolument, should their circumstances
ever compel them to make use o f this knowledge. A strange state o f the
public morals, to be sure, when a dying father encourages his children to
become thieves and robbers !
H e then minutely explained the particular situation o f the pivoted stone;
gave minutely its dimensions, by the observance o f which, they might at
any instant become masters o f his majesty’ s treasure.
On the death o f the father, though, perhaps, under no impulse o f neces­
sity, the sons were prompted by an insatiable curiosity to try their luck— >

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


to ascertain if all they had heard, it would seem, was actually true. Un­
der the cover o f a dark night, they visited the building, discovered the
moveable stone, made an entrance, and returned home with a surprising
sum o f money.
It is worthy o f remark that in this narrative we are positively assured
o f the existence o f u coinage in Egypt, according to the priests, many
centuries before the precious metals assumed any such forms at Rom e.
A s soon as the king entered the apartment the next morning, one o f his
regular habits, he noticed with astonishment that the vessels that con ­
tained money the day before were materially altered in appearance; and
what surprised him beyond measure, was the fact that the seals on the
door, renewed frequently, were unbroken, and all the customary entrances
remained perfectly secured.
He could not direct his suspicions against any one o f the royal house­
hold attendants, and as for gaining admission in any other way, it was con­
ceived impossible. Entrances however were several times repeated, and
the king witnessed the gradual diminution o f the money and jewels, with­
out being able to account for the mystery o f their abstraction.
Finally, in order to effect a discovery o f the thief, cunningly devised
traps were placed near the holding vessels. The robbers came as before.
One o f them moved cautiously along, as usual, on former visits, in advance
o f the other, where he was secured by the traps in a twinkling o f an eye.
After deliberating upon his condition, and being satisfied o f the impossi­
bility o f extricating himself, or being liberated by the brother, he saw in­
stinctively, that the only way o f preserving one life, was to sacrifice the
other. With a strange presence o f mind, he begged to be killed instantly,
and charged the trembling brother not to be content with depriving him
o f life, but as his body could not be disengaged from the apparatus, to flee
v/ith the head, as the last and only means o f preventing his own detection,
and consequently, the death and destruction o f the entire family.
Unnatural as it may appear, he decapitated the captured prisoner, and
made an immediate exit with the head, leaving the body in the trap, closed
up the opening, and returned home.
At daylight Rhamsinitus again walked in to inspect the urns— when lo !
the first object that greeted bis amazed eyes, was the headless body o f a
man, standing upright in the faithful machine, not the least alteration
being perceived in any partition, or the strongly bolted doors. This con­
founded him more than any thing else. In this perplexity, he commanded
the dead body to be suspended upon the outside, towards the high way,
strictly enjoining it upon a number o f trusty guards to seize and bring into
his presence any one who discovered symptoms o f compassion, or sorrow
at the horrible exhibition.
The mother o f the young man, on being made acquainted with the fatal
result o f the night’s adventure, became exceedingly exasperated at the sur­
viving son, and declared that unless he forthwith procured the body from
its ignominious exposure, she would go herself to the king and disclose all
the circumstances o f the robbery.
Driven almost to madness with such a prospect o f accumulating danger,
the survivor endeavored to alter the distracted mother’s determination by
appeals to her maternal affection, but without the least ray o f success.
T o save his own life, therefore, he resorted to a singular expedient.
Having procured some asses, they were laden with wine put up in the


Coinage o f the Precious Metals.

ancient method, in sacks made o f the skins o f animals. T h e animals
were driven near the spot were the soldiers were stationed. A s soon as
he had approached near enough to be noticed, a peg adroitly fixed in the
mouth o f a sack was started, and the wine consequently began to flow
pretty freely from the orifice. H e commenced beating himself and cry ­
ing out vehemently with pretended distress, at the loss. The soldiers
perceiving the accident, ran with vessels to save what they could o f the
delicious beverage, which they considered a clear gain to themselves.
A t first, with apparent anger, he reproached them for their unprinci­
pled conduct, but gradually listened to their endeavors to console him for
the misfortune. The asses were then leisurely led out o f the road, appa­
rently to secure the leak. A brisk conversation, mutually agreeable, fol­
lowed. H e affected to be delighted with the drollery o f one o f the guards,
to whom he gave a generous draught o f wine, and with his companions he
sat down to drink,— insisting that the generous ass driver should bear
them company.
A s previously anticipated, the wine produced its specific effects, and
the whole o f them became exceedingly drunk and fell into a profound
slumber. Under the advantage o f nightfall, the robber adroitly took down
the body, placed it in one o f the sacks, and before leaving the scene o f the
exploit, in derision, shaved the right cheek o f the quiet guards, and re­
turned home in safety with the object o f his research.
The mother was reconciled to fate, and so far as she was concerned, no
further mention is made o f her in the narrative o f Herodotus. N ot so,
however, with the king ; when he was told what had happened, how the
body had been clandestinely removed in the presence o f a select band o f
vigilant guards, he was both enraged and marvel-struck at a recital o f the
incident; but in no way relinquished the idea o f detecting the bold villain
who had put his royal power at defiance. H e renewedly set his ingenuity
at work to detect him, and next adopted the following stratagem. The
king commanded that a beautiful daughter, a princess on whom he doated
with paternal solicitude, should seat herself in a magnificent apartment,
alone, and a proclamation was made that whoever related the most extra­
ordinary adventure in which he had been personally engaged, should be­
com e the son-in-law o f the king. Each candidate was permitted to enter
alone. A part o f the story, o f an incredible character, is here omitted.
She had been previously instructed, in case any clue to the robbery o f the
treasury was discoverable, or the theft o f the headless body, to seize the
person, and giye an alarm. T h e injunction was faithfully obeyed. The
daring rogue who had already baffled Rhamsinitus more than once, could
not forbear another attempt for the mere gratification o f a mischievous
propensity o f his nature. T o begin, he cut o ff an arm from the body o f
the murdered brother, at the shoulder, concealed it under a cloak, care­
lessly worn, and in turn gained admission to the princess.
W h en asked the question that was propounded to each new-com er,
what he had done that was remarkable ? he replied, “ that the most wicked
thing that he had ever done, was cutting o ff the head o f a brother, who
was caught in a snare in the king’s treasury. The most artful thing, was
making the guards drunk, and by that means effecting the removal o f the
dead body from the treasury w all.”
On hearing this, the princess at once
seized him, but cangh hold o f the supernumerary arm, made fast to the

Coinage o f the Precious Metals.


Both were slipped off, and the rogue made his escape from her pre.
sence. W hen the attendants came in, l o ! there was a cloak and one
arm o f a man, which when the king saw, he was, if possible, more puz­
zled than ever. Confounded by these repeated displays o f an ingenious,
though unknown rascal, information was extensively circulated, that if the
bold offender would come fearlessly into his majesty’s presence, he would
not only grant a free, unconditional pardon, but would liberally reward
him besides.
Trusting to the royal word, the thief made his appearance. Rhamsinitus was delighted with, him, believing his transcendent skill in the art o f
deception beyond parallel. The king conceived the Egyptians superior
in subtlety to all the world, but this man far excelled all his countrymen.
Paper currency or paper money, is a department o f political econom y
developed in modern times to its fullest extent. Its advantages and dis­
advantages are variously estimated by the community, and consequently
there are ardent friends and bitter opposers to this excellent, though greatly
abused project for facilitating extensive mercantile, as well as the minor
operations o f trade in our own and other countries.
Arguments, almost irresistible in themselves, might be adduced, to
show the advantages resulting from an issue o f paper money, to every in­
dividual o f a nation, when the contract between the bank and the people
has been rigidly maintained.
On the other hand, testimony apparently no less cogent, based upon the
actual experience o f immense, losses, when the flood-gates o f loosely
guarded banking corporations are widely opened, is arranged to prove
that nothing short o f a strictly metallic currency can safely be tolerated in
any government, whether elective or hereditarily despotic. In a word, in
the United States, there are two great parties in a state o f activity, so
thoroughly divided on this important question, that the issue is necessarily
involved in the obscurity o f the future.
A n y want o f good faith in a bank to redeem its notes at sight, at once
begets alarm, and evils o f an exciting character are suddenly produced.
An agitation arising from, that cause, cannot be readily allayed ; yet it is
neither philosophical, politic, nor right to condemn a principle because
errors have been discovered in the application o f it to human society,— any
more than it would redound to the sense o f justice in a state to execute every
inhabitant o f a particular district, because one o f them had been found
guilty o f a great crime.
The revolutionary struggle was wholly sustained by the issue o f conti­
nental paper money— without which, that greatest and most masterly
achievement o f civil liberty, it is believed, could not have been completed.
Fortunately, its rapid depreciation did not take place till the war had res­
cued the country from foreign control, or fear o f further molestation. It
was then apparent that congress had not the ability to redeem the bills,
and it is even now doubted whether the originators and principal dramatis
person® in that most wonderful o f all national emancipations, seriously
entertained the expectation o f doing so in future days o f prosperity.
By the practical operation o f the device, the country was saved, but
thousands o f brave estimable patriots and their families, who bore the
burden o f service and deprivation, were utterly ruined.
W ith that fatal crisis— fatal to the popularity o f paper money, at least
with one party— commenced that systematic hostility and prejudice which

VOL. v.— no. iv.


The Philosophy o f Storms.


has so pointedly shown itself on various occasions ever since. Still, how.
ever, accurate financiers discover in the modern banking system, with all
its glaring defects, the source o f widely extended prosperity. Without its
facilities, the merchant would soon find himself circumscribed to narrow
limits ; and with an exclusively hard money currency, in the present char­
acter o f trade, grow poor while his coffers were filled with the precious
Our object being to give an historical account o f the coinage o f money,
simply, and not to dilate upon the policy or im policy o f measures which
have raised a formidable partisan feeling between the honest and patriotic
over the Union, we here leave the subject, for the commencement o f
another chapter, whenever events shall furnish new materials.

A r t . III.— T H E P H IL O S O P H Y O F S T O R M S *

N o class o f men, we believe, is more deeply interested in the subject o f
storms than that which makes up the chief part o f our readers. The
same winds which waft to the storehouse o f the merchant the treasures o f
distant climes, often, in their angrier moods, put a sudden termination to
his brightest prospects, and in a single hour o f tempest dissipate the earn­
ings o f many years. The mercantile community will not, therefore, deem
it out o f place if we call their attention to the very novel and original
views o f our countryman, Mr. Espy, who has just published a volume con­
taining a full exposition o f his theory o f storms, together with a large
amount o f facts which he has collected in the course o f his researches on
winds, rain, hail, barometric fluctuations, & c.
W e have looked over its
pages with an interest and gratification which we seldom feel in the perusal o f a work on scientific subjects, and are constrained to say that what
little o f prejudice had been excited against the author, by the manner in
which his name became so generally known to the public, speedily van­
ished before the strong facts and logical deductions which he has brought
together, in support o f his very simple and beautiful explanation o f the
phenomena o f nature in the production and development o f storms.
Franklin was, we believe, the first to discover that our great northeast
storms “ travel against the wind.”
A violent rain having set in at Phila­
delphia from the northeast, he naturally enough supposed that the storm
came from that direction, and was greatly surprised, on consulting the pa­
pers from N ew Y ork and Boston, to find that it commenced raining at
N ew Y ork several hours after the storm set in at Philadelphia, and that
the time o f its reaching Boston was still later. The same anomaly was
also observed by Dr. M itchell: but it remained for Mr. Redfield, o f New
Y ork, to establish, by the most satisfactory proofs, the route pursued by
these storms. In his papers on this subject he has fully demonstrated that
they often originate in the Windward Islands o f the W est Indies, where
they are mostly small and round, and progress in a curve towards the
* The Philosophy of Storms, by James P. Espy, A. M., Member of the American
Philosophical Society, and Corresponding Member of the National Institute, Washing­
ton. Boston : Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1841. 8v. pp. 552.

The Philosophy o f Storms.


northwest, enlarging as they advance, and at latitude 30 inclining more
to the north. Beyond this they curve to the northeast, and as far as he
has been able to trace them, they pursue a direction more or less towards
the east.
Mr. Redfield has also attempted to show that in all our great storms,
the wind gyrates in the form o f a whirlwind ; and in this he has been fol­
lowed on the other side o f the Atlantic by Col. Reid, who has published a
volume full o f interesting details on the subject, in which he attempts to
develop the law o f storms by means o f facts with a view to practical use
in navigation. But neither o f these gentlemen, so far as we know, have
succeeded in tracing this supposed gyration to its cause, or pointed out the
dependence between clouds, winds, hail, and the other phenomena o f
storms. Mr. Espy has taken a step beyond them, and confidently believes
that he has discovered the key which is to unlock all the mysteries o f me­
teorology, and disclose the hidden causes which produce clouds, water
spouts, tornadoes, land spouts, variable winds, and barometric fluctuations.
That result o f D r. Dalton’ s experiments on the* aqueous vapor in the
atmosphere, by which its amount in any given space may be determined
by means o f a glass o f water and a thermometer, may be said to constitute
the basis o f Mr. E spy’s theory, and therefore requires a passing notice.
If the reader will take a tumbler o f water o f the same temperature as the
air, and drop into it a small piece o f ice, he will find, as the water cools,
that dew will settle on the outside o f the tumbler. The temperature at
which this dew begins to form is called the dew point: and Dalton found,
in the course o f his experiments, that when it began to form at 32° fah.,
the amount o f vapor suspended in the air was
o f the weight o f the
atmosphere— that when the dew point was at 52° the air contained twice
as much vapor as it did at 32° or
o f the weight o f the atmosphere,
and that when the dew point was at 73° the air contained four times as
much vapor as at 32° or
o f the weight o f the atmosphere.
The dew on the tumbler is condensed from the air by the cold com m u­
nicated from the tumbler, and it may also be condensed by the same de­
gree o f cold produced in a different way. It is found that air is cooled by
expansion produced by diminished pressure, and hence, when the receiver
o f an air pump is rapidly exhausted, and the air within expands sufficiently
to cool it down to the dew point, moisture will make its appearance on the
sides o f the receiver, and an artificial cloud will appear. Mr. Espy sup­
poses that it is precisely in the same way that clouds are formed in the
laboratory o f nature.
If a dozen feather beds were piled together one above another, the
lower ones would be pressed closer than the upper, because they would
not only have to sustain their own weight, but also the weight o f all those
above them. F or the same reason the atmosphere which lies next to
the surface o f the earth, is subjected to much greater pressure than that
which is piled up above, and this pressure must gradually decrease as you
ascend. It follows then that if a current o f air should pass upwards from
the surface o f the earth, it would be subjected to a constantly decreasing
pressure, and would consequently expand: as it expanded it would grow
cold, and when it reached the temperature o f the dew point, it would begin
to condense its vapor into sensible moisture, and thus form a cloud. This
process, Mr. Espy contends, takes place constantly in the operations o f
nature. Certain portions o f the air becoming more heated or more highly


The Philosophy o f Storms.

charged with aqueous vapor* than others, are thus made specifically
lighter, and consequently rise, and when the dew point is high, these up.
moving currents do not find their equilibrium until they are sufficiently
expanded by the diminished pressure to which they are subjected to re­
duce their temperature to the point o f forming dew. when a cloud will be­
gin to appear.
The reduction o f temperature which would thus be produced by the ex­
pansion o f ascending air, Mr. Espy finds by experiment to be about one
degree for every one hundred yards o f a scen t; and hence, if an upmoving current o f air is ever produced in the operations o f nature, it is
easy to calculate how high it must rise before it begins to condense its
vapor into visible cloud. For example : if, in a summer’ s day, the ther­
mometer stands at 80°, and the dew point is 70°, then air must be cooled
10° before it will begin to condense its vapor into cloud. Consequently,
i f it cools one degree for every one hundred yards that it rises, then when
it attains an elevation o f ten hundred yards, it will be cooled down to the
point o f forming dew, when its vapor will begin to condense, and the base
o f a forming cloud become immediately visible. The bases o f all forming
clouds in the same neighborhood should therefore be nearly on the same level.
Again : it is known to every chemist that vapor cannot be converted
into water, without releasing a large quantity o f caloric, known in tech­
nical language as the caloric o f elasticity, and thus producing a consider­
able amount o f sensible heat. If ice is exposed to heat, caloric combines
with it and forms water ; if water is exposed to heat, caloric combines
with it and forms steam or vapor; and when vapor is converted back to
water, this caloric (heat) must necessarily be released; and, according to
Mr. Espy, its agency in producing wind, rain, hail, barometric fluctua­
tions, and all the sublime and astonishing phenomena which attend our
most violent storms, has hitherto been altogether overlooked. He finds,
by calculating according to well known chemical laws, that the caloric o f
elasticity released during the condensation o f
vapor while a cloud is forming, will expand the
air in the cloud about eight thousand cubic feet
for every cubic foot o f water formed by the pro­
cess o f condensation.
The expansion o f the air in a cloud during the
formation o f water, is also proved by an instru­
ment which Mr. Espy uses, called aN ephelescope,
or cloud examiner. It consists o f a glass vessel
[b .] communicating with a bent tube [c .] con ­
taining mercury, and having a forcing pump [a.]
attached to it, by means o f which any desirable
quantity o f air may be pressed into the receiver
or glass vessel [b .] W hen the instrument is
charged, the pressure on the inner leg o f the
mercury forces it up in the outer, and by care­
fully measuring the difference between the two,
a given amount o f pressure can be produced.
W hen the air within (which is heated by the
pressure) acquires the temperature o f the air

* Vapor is five eighths the specific gravity of air.

The Philosophy o f Storms.


without, the stop-cock is turned and the air permitted to escape until the
mercury in both legs o f the bent tube is on a level, when the stop is
again closed. N ow as the stop is closed at the moment the greatest cold
is produced by expansion, the mercury in the outer leg will begin to as­
cend, and that in the inner leg to descend, and the difference o f level at
which they settle will indicate the reduction o f temperature produced by a
given expansion. But what the general reader is chiefly concerned to
know in this experiment, is the fact that when moist air is used, and a
cloud is formed in the receiver, the mercury in the outer leg o f the bent tube
is forced up higher than when dry air is used and no moisture is condensed,
showing that the caloric o f elasticity causes the air to occupy much more
space when it is set f r e e than when it is united to water in the fo rm o f vapor*
If this is true, and it seems to be placed beyond a doubt, then the air
within a cloud is both lighter and warmer than that by which it is sur­
rounded. That it is warmer is proved by actual observation as well as by
Mr; E spy’s experiments. Sausseur tells us that when he was enveloped
in a cloud on the side o f a mountain, his thermometer rose higher than in
the sun ; and both Durant and G ay-Lussac note the same fact while pass­
ing through clouds in a balloon. T h e uniform depression o f the barome­
ter under large clouds and during all our great storms, would seem also
to confirm Mr. E spy’s other position, and place beyond a doubt the fact
that the air in the cloud is warmer, and therefore lighter than the sur­
rounding atmosphere.
If, then, a cloud can be formed by a current o f air moving upwards, and
the cloud thus formed is lighter than the circumambient air, it necessarily
follows that the equilibrium o f the atmosphere must be more or less dis­
turbed by every formation o f this character. F or if a lofty cloud by the
evolution o f its latent caloric, makes the air within it warmer and lighter,
then will the air around it rush from all sides towards its base, and up­
wards into its ce n tre ; and as the wind in its upward course com es under
less pressure, it will becom e gradually colder until it reaches the tempera­
ture o f the dew point, when it will begin to condense its vapor, thus feeding
the cloud with fresh materials for its expansion and perpetuity, and com ­
municating to it, as it were, a self-sustaining power by which it moves on
perhaps for days together, as we often behold in the operations o f nature,
enlarging as it advances, causing high winds wherever it passes, and fer­
tilizing the earth with its refreshing showers.
“ W h en a cloud begins to form from an ascending column o f air, it will
be seen to swell out at the top, assuming successively the appearances o f
1, 2, 3, generally called cu m u li: or, if the upmoving current should be
driven out o f its perpendicular motion by an upper current o f air, the
clouds which might then form would be ragged and irregular, called bro­
ken cumuli, as 4. These will always be higher than the base o f cumuli,
but much lower than cirrus. W hile the cloud continues to form and
swell up above, its base will remain on the same level, for the air below
the base has to rise to the same height before it becomes cold enough, by
diminished pressure, to begin to condense its vapor into water ; this will
cause the base to be flat, even after the cloud has acquired great perpen­
dicular height, and assumed the form o f a sugar loaf. Other clouds, also,
* When dry air is used in the experiment, the temperature, according to Mr. Espy, is
reduced about twice as much as when moist air is used.


The Philosophy o f Storms.

for many miles around, formed by other ascending columns, will assume'
similar appearances, and will moreover have their bases all on the same
or nearly the same horizontal level ; and the height o f these bases from
the surface o f the earth will be greatest about two o ’clock, when the dew
point and temperature o f the air are the greatest distance apart.”



“ W hen upmoving currents are formed by superior heat, clouds will
more frequently begin to form in the morning, increase in number as the
heat increases, and cease altogether in the evening, when the surface o f
the earth becomes cold by radiation. The commencement o f upmoving
columns in the morning, will be attended with an increase o f wind, and
its force will increase with the increasing colum ns; both keeping pace
with the increasing temperature. This increase o f wind Is produced
partly by the rush o f air on all sides at the surface o f the earth towards
the centre o f the ascending columns, producing fitful breezes ; and partly
by the depression o f air all round the ascending columns, bringing down
with it the motion which it has above, which is known to be greater than
that which the air has in contact with the asperities o f the earth’s surface.
The rapid disturbance o f equilibrium, which is produced by one ascending
column, will tend to form others in its neighborhood; for, the air being
retarded on the windward side, will form other ascending columns, and"
these will form other annuli, and so the process will be continued.”
But, it may be asked, if the air in a cloud is lighter than that whichsurrounds it, and in consequence possesses a self-sustaining principle,
why all forming clouds do not increase till they produce rain 1 W e shall
answer this question by another quotation from Mr. Espy’s book. In his
introduction, on page 16, he says : “ Neither can clouds form o f any very
great size, when there are cross currents o f air sufficiently strong to break
in two an ascending current, for the ascensional power o f the upmoving cur-rent will thus be weakened and destroyed. Immediately after a great rain,
too, when the upper air has yet in it a large quantity o f caloric, which it re­
ceived from the condensation o f the vapor, the upmoving columns which
may then occur, on reaching this upper stratum, will not continue their
motion in it far, from the want o f b u oy an cy ; therefore, they will not pro­
duce rain, nor clouds o f any kind, but broken cumuli. Besides, as the

The Philosophy o f Storms.


air at some distance above the surface o f the earth, and helow the base o f
the cloud, is sometimes very dry, and as much o f this air goes iu below
the base o f the cloud and up with the ascending column, large portions o f
the air in the cloud may thus not be saturated with vapor, and, o f course,
rain in this case will not be produced. These are some o f the means
contrived by nature to prevent upmoving columns from increasing until
rain would follow. Without some such contrivances, it is probable that
every upmoving column which should begin to form cloud when the dew
point is favorable, would produce rain, for as soon as cloud forms, the
upmoving power is rapidly increased by the evolution o f the caloric o f
The cloud which produces water-spouts, land-spouts, and tornadoes, dif­
fers somewhat from other clouds, and can be formed only when the dew
point is very high, the atmosphere devoid o f cross currents, and the air in
the neighborhood comparatively quiet, or rather, moving in the direction
o f the main current above. W hen these circumstances concur, and a
cloud begins to form by an ascending column, there is nothing to prevent
its rapid generation, and it shoots upward to a vast height, while it occupies
only a small space in a lateral direction. The effects which follow the
generation o f such a cloud, must necessarily be more or less violent, be­
cause the whole force o f the cloud is spent on a very small space. E x ­
tending upwards to a great height, and being lighter than the surrounding
atmosphere, it takes o ff from the air below much o f its accustomed pres­
sure, and the wind consequently presses in towards its base from all sides,
and rushes up into the cloud itself with fearful velocity, carrying with it
all light substances, uprooting trees, bursting o ff the roofs o f houses, barns,
and other buildings, and sometimes lifting into the air heavy timber, ani­
mals, and in one instance which we recollect, a cart loaded with potatoes.
As the cloud is small in circumference, and is moved forward with
considerable velocity by the main current in the higher region o f the at­
mosphere, its progress brings it suddenly over the place which is to- be the
scene o f its devastation ; the accustomed pressure o f the atmosphere is
removed almost instantaneously; the barometer falls sometimes as low as
two inches in the course o f a few minutes, and the effect is analogous to
that o f an explosion. H . T ooley, who communicated to the secretary o f
the Albany Institute an account o f the Natchez tornado, which took place
on the 7th o f May, 1840, has called particular attention to this last men­
tioned circumstance, and cited the following strong cases.
“ 1. The garret o f a brick house occupied by Thomas Armat, Esq., as
an office, was closely shut up, both ends bursted outward, and such was
the force o f the explosive power, that some o f the bricks o f the windward'
end were thrown upon a terrace nearly on a level with the end, and at a
distance o f not less than twenty feet in the face o f the storm.
“ 2. A brick house on the north side o f Main street, belonging to John
Fletcher, had the leeward gable end thrown out, the windward end re­
maining uninjured.
“ 3. The windward gable end o f a large house adjoining the Commer­
cial Bank, bursted outward against the face o f the storm ; the leeward end
was uninjured.
“ 4. The gable ends o f a large three story brick house on Franklin
street, owned by Rowan and Cartwright, were thrown outward with great


The Philosophy o f Storms.

“ 5. T h e front ends (leeward to the storm) o f two brick stores owned
by Eli Montgomery, were thrown outward with great force, the windward
ends being uninjured.
“ 6. Another large brick house, near the last just mentioned, owned by
W att, Burke & C o., had the leeward side nearly demolished.
“ 7. Another brick house adjoining the last mentioned, had the wind­
ward gable end thrown outward.
“ 8. The Theatre, a large brick building, had the entire roof
blown o ff and thrown some ten feet forward, and the walls demol­
“ 9. The leeward walls o f two front rooms o f the Trem ont House on
W all street, were thrown outward with great force, without destroying or
moving the furniture therein, and where the storm could have no access.
“ 10. The roof o f the fire-proof brick office o f the Probate Court, ex­
ploded to windward, that side, it is presumed, being the weakest.
“ 11. The gable ends o f a large brick store on Main and Pearl streets,
were thrown outward with great force.
“ 12. T h e southern side, and the northern and western gable ends o f
the brick Insurance buildings on Pearl and Market streets, were thrown
outward with such force as to nearly demolish the building.
“ 13. The roof o f D r. Merrill’s house on State street was saved by the
explosive power bursting open a large trap door in the roof, thereby
making an outlet for the expanded air.
“ 14. The leeward wall o f a new wooden house owned by Rhasa
Parker, on Washington street, was thrown outward by the explosive
power, the windward side end remaining unbroken excepting the glass o f
the windows.”
Professor Johnson in his description o f the N ew Brunswick tornado,
which occurred on the 19th o f June, 1835, has called attention to the same
curious fact. He sa y s: “ In a few cases, in which the ridge o f a building
lay in a northerly and southerly position, the eastern slope o f roof was ob­
served to be removed, or at least stripped o f its shingles, while the western
slope remained entire. Many buildings were likewise observed with holes
in their roofs, whether shingled or tiled, but otherwise not much damaged,
unless by the demolition o f windows. These appearances clearly demon­
strated the strong upward tendency o f the forces by which they were pro­
duced, while the half unroofed houses, already mentioned, prove that the
resultant o f all the forces in action at the moment was not in a perpendicu­
lar to the horizon, but inclined to the east. Such a force would apply to
the western slope o f the roof some counteracting tendency, or relieve it
from some portion o f the upward pressure. Had there been no other facts
to show the powerful rushing o f currents upward, the above would, it is
conceived, have been sufficient to settle the question, but taken in connec­
tion with the circumstance that roofs so removed, were carried to a great
height, and their fragments distributed over a large extent along the sub­
sequent path o f the storm, that beds and other furniture were taken out o f
the upper stories o f unroofed houses, that persons were lifted from their
feet or dashed upward against w alls; and that in one instance, a lad o f
eight or nine years old, was carried upward and onward with the wind, a
distance o f several hundred yards ; and particularly that he afterward
descended in safety, being prevented from a violent fall by the upward
forces, within the range o f which he still continued. In connection with

The Philosophy o f Storms.


these and similar facts, it seems impossible to doubt that the greatest vio­
lence o f action was in an upward and easterly direction.”
If these surprising results, which have been long the subject o f observa­
tion, are so easily accounted for onthe principles laid down by Mr. Espy, so,
also, are all the other phenomena o f these wonderful storms. W e often
hear o f sticks, grass, sand, & c ., frozen in the hail which falls from one o f
these clouds, and the curious fact has given rise to much speculation.
The solution is now, however, perfectly simple. The current o f ascend­
ing air which dashes with such fearful velocity upward into the cloud,
and carries with it these lighter substances from below, also carries up the
water which has been condensed from the saturated air, and throwing all
out together at the side o f the cloud in the region o f congelation, they are
frozen together in the form o f hail, and descend by their own gravity to
the earth. Large sheets o f water may also be thrown out and frozen in
the same way, which, breaking in their fall, will account for the great hail
stones and “ pieces o f ice” spoken o f by Howard, which fell at Salisbury,
and for the “ pieces o f ic e ” o f almost every form which fell during the
passage o f the Orkney spout in 1818.
Again : it is not uncommon for rain and hail to fall from one o f these
clouds in two distinct veins. Mrs. Tillinghast o f Providence, during the
passage o f the tornado o f 1838, saw two showers descending from the
cloud, both o f which sloped inward towards the spout which hung from the
centre o f the cloud below ; and M. Pouillet has given an account o f a hail
storm which travelled from the Pyrenees to .the Baltic, in 1788, leaving
two veins o f hail about fifteen miles apart, in which space there was a
great rain. The eastern vein was about seven miles in width ; the west­
ern about twelve, and on the outside o f both was also a strip o f rain. T his
storm progressed at the rate o f about fifty miles per h our; the bail fell in
no one place for more than eight minutes : the largest o f them weighed
eight ounces. W e copy the chart o f this storm below, as it appeared in
the memoirs o f the French Acadamy. A . A . A . are veins o f ra in ; B. B.
are veins o f hail.— (F or Chart, see next page.)
Mr. Espy, in his remarks on these singular phenomena, sa y s:— “ If I had
made this storm myself, it would be said that I had made it to illustrate my
theory. For it is manifest that the outspreading o f the air above, will, in
many cases, carry with it the hailstones ; and those which are least the
farthest, and these smaller hailstones on the outside o f the bands, will
melt before they reach the earth, while the larger hailstones, falling more
swiftly, and having more ice to melt, may reach the earth in the form o f
hail. Thus the two veins o f hail, and the rain on the outside o f them, are
manifestly accounted fo r ; it is not quite so plain why it should only rain
in the middle. Nevertheless, if we consider that the vortex moved with a
velocity o f fifty miles an hour from the southwest to the northeast, we will
readily perceive that, as it would require perhaps twenty or thirty minutes
for the drops o f rain to be carried up to their greatest elevation, and to fall
down to the earth, during which time the upmoving column would move
forward twenty or twenty-five miles, neither hail nor rain could appear in
front o f the vortex, and as it could not fall in the middle o f the spout, be­
ing prevented by the force o f the ascending air, whatever fell between the
two bands o f hail must have descended in the hinder part o f the ascending
column, where it would not be likely to descend, on account o f its upper
part leaning forward.”
V OL. v . — NO. IV .


The Philosophy o f Storms.



5 1 _______

ft!//\Bnrssels. \



o Rouen

J ire k u il w

These lofty clouds, whether formed over land or water, when the
dew point is very near to the temperature o f the air, appear to let down
from their bases a tongue o f vapor in the form o f an inverted cone, which
has been called a spout. Mr. Espy, in his explanation o f this phenome­
non, say's :— “ If, however, the air is very hot below, with a high dew point,
and no cross currents o f air above to a great height, then, when an upmoving current is once formed, it will go on and increase in violence as
it acquires perpendicular elevation, especially after the cloud begins to
form. A t first the base o f the cloud will be fla t; but after the cloud be­
comes o f great perpendicular diameter, and the barometer begins to fall
considerably, as it will do from the specific levity o f the air in the cloud,
then the air will not have to rise so far as it did at the moment when the
cloud began to form, before it reaches high enough to form cloud from the

The Philosophy 'of Storms.


cold o f diminished pressure. T h e cloud will now be convex below, and
its parts will be seen spreading outwards in all directions, especially on
that side towards which the upper current is moving, assuming something
o f the shape o f a mushroom. In the mean time, the action o f the in-mov­
ing current below, and upmoving current in the middle, will become very
violent, and if the barometer falls two inches under the centre o f the cloud,
the air, on coming in under the cloud, will cool by diminished pressure
about ten degrees, and the base o f the cloud will reach the earth, if the
dew point was only eight degrees below the temperature o f the air at the
time the cloud began to form. The shape o f the lower part o f the cloud
will now be that o f an inverted cone with its apex on the ground, 'and when
a little more prolonged and fully developed, it will be what is called a tor­
nado if it is on land, and a water-spout if at sea.”
Mr. Espy observes that there is a tendency in one o f these clouds to
form another, and the second has a tendency to form a third, and so on,
till a number are in operation at the same time. The cause o f this he
very happily explains, but our limits will not allow us to follow him.
Lieut. Ogden gives an account o f seven o f these spouts seen at one time,
in the edge o f the G ulf Stream, in May, 1820, which we copy, together
with the annexed cut.

H e s a y s :— “ The atmosphere was filled with low, ashy-colored
clouds, some o f which were darker underneath than others, and from
these the water-spouts were generally formed, each one from a sepa­
rate cloud. In some instances, they were perfectly formed before we ob­
served them, but, in others, we could see a small portion o f the cloud, at
first extend downward, in the shape o f an inverted cone, and then con­
tinue to descend, not very rapidly, until it reached the water. In other
instances, however, we observed that this conical appearance o f a portion


The Philosophy o f Storms.

o f the cloud did not always result in the perfect formation o f a water,
spout. Several times we saw the cone project, continue for a short time
stationary, then rise again slowly, and disappear in the clouds. This
would, in some cases, occur two or three times to the same cloud ; but,
eventually, a larger and darker cloud would descend, and result in form­
ing the visible spout, as above mentioned.”
It will be seen at a glance, that the principle on which Mr. Espy ex­
plains the phenomena o f nature in the production and development o f
storuft, requires the convergence o f the winds towards a common centre
or line at the base o f the cloud. In this he differs materially from Mr.
Redfield, who has been at great pains to show that all storms are whirl­
winds, and that the air moves around from right to left, or contrary to the
hands o f a watch. On this point there is still much controversy, but we
have no room to enter on the merits o f the discussion in this article, and
shall content ourselves with exhibiting some o f the facts on which Mr.
Espy relies to establish this, one o f the main pillars o f his theory.
A s the violent action which attends tornadoes is generally confined to
very narrow limits, these storms seem to furnish the best means for testing
the truth o f these different theories. It is, we think, clear that if the wind
moves around a common axis in the form o f a whirl, that the trees which
are thrown down on the borders o f the storm should lie parallel to its path,
while those which fall in the centre should be left in a transverse position,
or at least be thrown outwards and forwards on one side, and outwards
and backwards on the other. N ow it would seem from a great variety
o f testimony that the trees in these violent storms are not prostrated in
the above named direction.
President Bache, o f Girard College, after having carefully taken the
direction in which the trees fell in the N ew Brunswick tornado with a
mariners’ compass, sa y s:— I think it entirely made out, that there was a
rush o f air in all directions at the surface o f the ground towards the mov­
ing m eteor; this rush o f air carrying objects with it. The effects all in­
dicate a moving column o f rarefied air, without any whirling motion at or
near the surface o f the earth.”
Professor Loom is,* o f the W estern Reserve College, after drawing a
map o f the trees and buildings which fell in a hurricane that passed over
Stowe in Ohio, comes to a similar conclusion. “ It will,” he says, “ then
appear from an inspection o f the diagram, that in the midst o f some dis­
order there was a degree o f uniformity. Thus upon either border o f the
track the trees all incline towards some point in the centre o f the track.
There is not an example o f a tree being turned outwards from the track,
nor even one which lies in a direction parallel to it.”
H e afterward
adds,— “ W e have now established, by a fair deduction, that there was a
powerful current o f air from the opposite sides o f the track towards some
point in the centre o f the track, and that here there was also a powerful
current upward.”
Professor O lm sted,f o f Y ale College, in his account o f the N ew Haven
tornado, which occurred on the 31st o f July, 1839, says:— “ The first
great fact that strikes us, is, that all the trees and other objects that mark
the direction o f the wind which prostrated them, are, with a very few ex­
* Professor Loomis is not an advocate of Mr. Espy’s theory,
t Professor Olmsted is not a believer in Mr. Espy’s theory.

The Philosophy o f Storms.


ceptions, turned inwards on both sides towards the centre o f the tra ck ;
while near the centre, the direction o f the prostrate bodies is coincident
with that o f the storm.”
Professor Forshay in his account o f the Natchez tornado is equally in
point. He declares that “ the nearer the axis o f the tornado, the nearer
were their bearings parallel with that axis, and the more remote, the
nearer perpendicular, while those that point to the direction from which
the storm came, or cross a line perpendicular to the axis, lie beneath those
that point in the forward direction o f the same.”
W e may mention also, that the storm which occurred in France, o f which
we have given a chart in the former part o f this article, could not possibly
have been o f the whirlwind character. Had the wind moved in a whirl,
the hail which fell during its progress, must have been scattered over the
whole area o f the storm, and not been deposited in two veins for many
miles as we have seen. If the whirlwind theory is correct, therefore, this
storm at least must have been a wonderful exception to the general law.
But Mr. Espy does not rely alone on the direction o f fallen trees in
tornadoes to prove the centripetal course o f the wind in storms. By means
o f observers in different sections, he has been enabled to surround some
o f our great northern storms, and has satisfied himself that the same law
uniformly prevails. W e can only make a few selections from the great
number which we find recorded in the volume before us.
The following diagram represents a destructive storm which swept along
our southern coast in the middle o f August, 1837. The facts respecting
it were collected by Col. Reid, but Mr. Espy finds that they maintain his
own views, although recorded by an advocate o f the whirlwind theory.
The map represents the position o f the storm as it was at noon, on the
18th o f August, and the arrows are intended to show the direction o f the
wind at that time.
1. W ind at Wilmington, on P. M.,
o f 18th.
2. Oglethorp on 18th.
3. W est Indian, all 18th, from 2,
A . M.
4. Rawlins all 18th, from 2, A . M.
5. Ida, all day o f 18th.
6. Penelope on P. M ., o f 18th.
7. Y o lo f till 8, P. M ., o f 18th.
8. W estchester on 18th.
9. Duke o f Manchester till P. M.,
o f 18th.
10. Delaware on 17th, and pro­
bably on 18th, changing
round to westward on 20th.
11. Cicero on 18th.
Mr. Espy observes: “ I have culled out o f this storm, that portion o f
time in which I find the greatest number o f simultaneous observations, and
I have exhibited on the annexed wood-cut the localities o f all the ships
within the boundaries o f the storm, whose latitudes and longitudes could
be ascertained with any degree o f certainty, with arrows, exhibiting the


The Philosophy o f Storms.

course o f the wind. The time is noon o f the 18th o f August, 1837. At
this time, the Duke o f Manchester was only a few miles N . E . o f the
centre o f this storm ; for some time in the afternoon, the centre o f the storm
passed nearly over her, when the wind changed pretty suddenly S. W .
A t this time, and for some seven or eight hours both before and after, all
those ships which were laboring in the most violent part o f the storm, had
the wind blowing towards a central space o f no great magnitude. This
settles the question o f a violent centripetal motion o f the wind in this
storm, in conformity with the five previously examined, and also with the
twelve investigated by the Joint Committee o f the Am erican Philosophical
Society and Franklin Institute, and with not less than fourteen larid-spouts
which have already been examined, in all o f which the trees were thrown
with their tops inwards— and when any are thrown across each other,
those which are underneath, are uniformly found to be thrown inwards
and backwards, and those on the top, to be thrown inwards and forwards,
just as they should be, if the wind blows inwards. W hereas, if the wind
is centrifugal, many o f the trees should have the tops thrown outwards on
both sides o f the path.”
The following chart represents the course o f the wind in the storm
which occurred in Great Britain on the 17th o f August, 1840.
0. W orkington, changed at
10, A . M ., from S. S. E . to
N . N . W .— 1. Plymouth, W .
on 17th, S. W . on 16th.— 2.
Pill-Bristol, S. W ., A . M —
3. London, southwardly, on
17th.— 4. Lynn, heavy S. till
noon, then S. W ., more mod­
erate.— 5. Hull, S. S. W .,
strong.— 6. Leeds, S. E . or
S. S. E ., strong from 8, A .
M . , to 1, P. M ., clouds at this
time moving from S. W .— 7.
Sheffield, S. S. E . all day,
next day, E . Strong on 17th.
— 8. Hyde, near Manchester,
S. W ., in the m orning; west
in P. M. ; strong gale all day.
— 9. Liverpool, S'. W ., A . M.,
N . W esterly, P. M., strong.—
10. Belfast, N . by W . strong
gale.— 11. Point o f A yre
Light, N . W . gale.— 12.
Corsewell Light, N . N . W ., storm.— 13. Dublin, W . N . W .— 14. Largs,
heavy from N . N . W . from 7, A . M. till 8, P. M.— 15. Kyntire Light,
N . W . gale.— 16. Pladda Light, N . W . breeze.— 17. G reenock, N . W .
and N .— 18. Lismore Light, N . W . gale.— 19. Dumferline, N . and N .
E . till 2, P. M. increasing to a gale.— 20. Edinburgh, N . N . E . strong.
— 21. Berwick, S. by E . to S. E ., strong.— 22. Aberdeen, E . all day,
strong.— 23. Middle line o f the storm on morning o f 17th.
T o the mariner it is o f immense importance to discover the true law o f
storms. A s his life and property will often depend upon the theory which

The Philosophy o f Storms.


he has adopted, and which governs him in the control o f his vessel when
the element on which he sails is in dread commotion. I f the course which
storms pursue may be known, and it be true that the wind drives in on all
sides towards a common centre, the seaman has an unerring guide for his
conduct, which, if generally known, must greatly tend to the preservation
o f property and life. W e have been informed by an Am erican, who was
present at Mr. E spy’s lectures in Liverpool, that a gentleman o f high stand­
ing, in his admiration o f the very beautiful theory which the lecturer had
been expounding, took occasion to observe, that i f the masters o f vessels
which sailed from Liverpool on the memorable 6th o f Jan., 1839, had
known what Mr. Espy had clearly taught them that night, not one o f them
would have been lost, for they would not have put to sea in the face o f
such formidable indications o f a storm. This observation will serve to
show the importance o f the subject to all who traverse the ocean.
It is known, that Mr. Espy himself has the greatest faith in the theory
which he has put forth, and on several occasions has predicted the ap­
proach o f a storm, and published his predictions in the papers before the
storm appeared. I f the doctrines which he teaches are true, this becomes
a very simple matter. The barometer which falls in the centre o f the
storm, rises all around its borders and particularly before it, because as
the cloud swells out at its sides, it presses together the surrounding atmos­
phere and thus increases its weight. The rise o f the barometer then will
indicate the presence o f a storm in some region at no great distance, and
if the wind at the same time sets in towards the point from which storms
are known to come, it will scarcely be possible to mistake the result.
W e are gratified to see that Mr. Espy’s views have attracted much at­
tention among the scientific men o f the old world. The French Academ y
have given his theory the fullest sanction, and we cannot resist the temp­
tation to place their report upon our pages.
Report o f the Academy o f Sciences, (Paris,) on the labors o f J. P. E sp y , concerning
Tornadoes), tf-c.
Committee, Messrs. Arago, Pouillet, Babinet reporter.

“ Messrs. Arago, Pouillet, and myself, have been appointed by the Academy to make
a report to it upon the observations and theory of Mr. Espy, which have for their object
the aerial meteors known by the names of storms, water-spouts and tornadoes, which
cause so much destruction on land and sea in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico. These
storms are produced in the same manner in every part of the globe, when a few given
circumstances concur in one place.
“ The labors of Mr. Espy have already considerably occupied the attention of the
learned world, and may be considered under three different points of view. First, the
facts which he has recognised and substantiated, and the proofs which support them;
second, the physical theory, by which he explains them, and the conclusions which he
deduces from that theory; third, the observations which are yet to be made according to
this theory, based upon facts, and the practical rules which the mariner, the farmer, and
the meteorologist will obtain from it; the two former for their own benefit, the latter for
science, which is useful to all.
“ The facts which result from the numerous documents which Mr. Espy has placed
in the hands of the committee, are the following: the motion of the air in the meteor
under consideration, called tornado or water-spout, if it is violent, and of small extent;
a storm, if it covers many degrees of the earth’s surface ; the motion of the air, we say,
is always convergent, either towards a single centre, when the tornado has a circular
form and limited extent, or towards a diametrical line, when the tornado or storm is of
a lengthened form, and extends over many hundred leagues.
“ If the tornado is very small, in which case the violence of the motion of the air is
greater, a cloud is frequently seen in the centre, whose point descends more and more
until it touches the earth or sea. Water-spouts are small tornadoes, and the force of


The Philosophy o f Storms.

these meteors in the south and east of the United States is such, that trees are carried
up in the air, and the heaviest objects are overturned, displaced, and transported. Fi­
nally, we have only to call to mind the well known storms of the Antilles, which change
even the form of the ground over which they pass. W e will adopt the technical word
tornado to designate the .meteor in ques ion, whatever may be its extent or violence.
China and the neighboring seas, Central Africa, and the southwest part of the Indian
Ocean, are, like the West Indies, the theatre of meteors of the same nature, and not
less disastrous.
“ In observing at the same moment the force and direction of the wind, which is
shown by the overturned trees, the displaced movable objects, in a word, by the traces
impressed upon the soil, Mr. Espy proves that in the same instant the motion of all parts
of the air which is reached by the tornado is tending towards a central space, point, or
line, so that if the wind on one side of the meteor blows towards the east, it blows with
the same violence towards the west on the other side of the tornado, and frequently at
a very short distance from the first place, whilst in the centre an ascending current is
formed of astonishing rapidity, which, after having risen to a prodigious height, spreads
out on every side to a certain limit, which we shall soon determine by the observations
of the barometer. This ascending current loses its transparency at a certain height, and
becomes a true cloud of the kind called cumulus, the base of which is horizontal,
and whose height is determined by the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere.
The central cloud of the tornado is constantly reproduced, in proportion as it is carried
off' by the rapid current of the centre; and, according to Mr. Espy, when rain or hail
proceeds from this meteor, which is generally the case, it is the cold, caused by the ex­
pansion of the air carried into the higher regions of the atmosphere, which condenses
the water. Electricity, when it appears in the tornado, is not, according to Mr. Espy,
essential to the phenomenon.
“ The existence of an ascending current of extreme violence once placed beyond
doubt by the phenomena of the rising of the air, and its motion towards a centre
or towards the great diameter of the oblong space occupied by the tornado, being well
established by facts, Mr. Espy examines the progressive movement of the whole meteor,
which is very slow, compared with the velocity of the wind in the mass of air which
becomes at each instant a part of the tornado. Mr. Espy shows that near the latitude
o f Philadelphia, where cirrus clouds, very elevated as is known, move towards the east,
the centre of the tornado moves almost always towards the east, as well as in Europe,
where the west wind is predominant; whilst, in the inter-tropical regions, (Barbadoes,
Jamaica, the north of the Indian Ocean,) the meteor moves towards the west or north­
west, following the course of the trade winds. These assertions are also verified with
regard to China and the Indian Ocean, According to the maps of Berghous. The ba­
rometer, in the centre of the meteor, is sometimes nearly 2.25 of an inch (sixty milli­
metres) lower than towards its border, and its limit is marked on all its outline by a
closed curve, along which the barometer is found to be at its “ normale” height, whilst,
on the other side of this line, further from the centre, the barometer is observed to rise,
which rise in small tornadoes is .08 of an inch, (two millimetres,) but which may be
forty or forty-eight hundredths of an inch, (ten or twelve millimetres,) in very extended
storms. If the centre of the tornado moves, (which may take place in any direction,
when compared with the diametrical line,) and the effects produced by the motion are
examined, it is always found that if the meteor has followed in its motion the line of its
greatest diameter, the tree which fell the first, indicates a point anterior in the path of
the meteor, and the tree which fell last, a posterior point. Thus it is constantly found
that the trees which were overthrown with their tops turned towards positions anterior
to the centre of the tornado, are covered by trees falling in the direction of the centre at
a posterior period. In short, in this same case, the branches of the trees not overthrown,
growing on the side farthest from the opposite side of the line which the centre of the
meteor takes, have followed the wind, and are twisted around the trunk of the trees.
“ The circumstances favorable to the sudden production of a tornado, large or small,
are, according to Mr. Espy, a warm and humid atmosphere, covering a country suffi­
ciently level and extended, still enough to allow that part of the air which is accidental­
ly the least dense, to rise to a great perpendicular height above the middle of the heated
space which is charged with transparent vapor; moreover, in the higher regions, a cold
and dry air, whose situation and especially whose density contrasts with that of the as.
cending current which dilates, cools, loses its transparency by the precipitation of its
dampness, keeping notwithstanding a specific gravity less than that of the air which sur­
rounds it, and by its expansion presenting the form of a mushroom or the head of a pine

The Philosophy o f Storms.


with or without the prolongation or appendage towards the base, which appendage,
cloudy and opaque, shows a space where the expansion and the cold are at their maxi­
mum, and where, consequently, the precipitation of vapor commences almost immedi­
ately above the ground or the surface of the sea.
“ Such are then the principal points which Mr. Espy has obtained from numerous ob­
servations. The motion of the air towards the centre of the meteor, the depression of
the barometer in the centre, the central ascending current, the formation of cloud at a
certain height, and its circular expansion after this cloud has attained a prodigious height,
an expansion accompanied with rain and hail, and finally, the motion of the whole me­
teor, en masse; these, I say, are the points which the extensive labors of Mr. Espy, his
own observations, and the documents which he has collected, and which he intends pub­
lishing immediately in a special work, have placed beyond doubt, and which seem even
to have triumphed over every objection, and to have rallied all opinions to his own.
4<Let us now see the theory upon which he bases his observations, or rather which is
based upon these facts well observed, well proven, and always reproduced in nature
with similar circumstances.
“ Mr. Espy thinks that if a very extended stratum of warm and humid air at rest,
covers the surface of a region of land or sea, and that by any cause whatever, for exam­
ple a less local density, an ascending current is formed in this mass of humid air, the as­
cending force, instead of diminishing in consequence of the elevation of the rising col­
umn, will increase with the height of the column, exactly as though a current of hydro­
gen was rising through the common air, which current would be pushed towards the top
of the atmosphere, with a force and velocity in proportion to its height. This column
of heated air may also be compared to that in chimneys and stove-pipes, of which the
draught is in proportion to the height of the pipe containing the warm air. What then
is the cause which renders the warm and humid ascending current, lighter in each of its
parts than the air which is found at the same height with these different portions of the
ascending column ?
“ This cause, according to the sufficiently exact calculations [tres suffisament exact]
of Mr. Espy, is the constantly higher temperature which the ascending column retains,
and which proceeds from the heat furnished by the partial condensation of the vapor
mixed with the air, making this ascending column a true column of heated air, that is
to say, of a lighter gas; for the weight of the water which passes into the liquid state, is
far from compensating the excess of levity which proceeds from the more elevated tem­
perature which the air preserves. (This weight only equals one fifth of the diminution
of the weight in ordinary circumstances.)
“ Thus, the higher the column is, the greater is the ascending force, and the rushing
in of the surrounding air on all sides will be produced with more energy. To under­
stand this effect better, let us consider a mass of warm and dry air rising in the midst
of a colder atmosphere. In proportion as this air rises, it will expand, because of the
less pressure which it will experience, and consequently become colder; it will arrive then
quickly at an equilibrium both of temperature and pressure with a layer more or less
elevated, w’hich it will soon reach, and in which it will remain; but if this only cause
of cold, expansion, is overbalanced by a cause of heat, for example the heat furnished
by the vapor which is condensing, this air will remain constantly warmer than would have
been necessary to attain the same temperature and pressure as the surrounding air. It
will then be constantly lighter, and the higher the column, the greater the ascending
“ The calculations of Mr. Espy show, without the slightest doubt, that the column of
damp air regaining in temperature, by the condensing of the vapor, a part of the heat
lost by expansion; this column always remains warmer than the air which is at the same
height with each of its parts. Finally, Mr. Espy furnishes the exact data which are still
wanting to science, by the experiments made upon the temperature which the air pre­
serves by the effect of condensation of the vapor in a closed vessel which he calls a “ nephelescope,” and in which he compares the thermometrical fall produced in the air by a
diminution of superincumbent pressure, to what takes place in nature, whether operating
on dry, or employing damp, air. Notwithstanding the influence of the sides of the ves­
sel, every time a light cloud is formed in the apparatus, the temperature undergoes a
much less reduction than that which takes place when the point of precipitation of vapor
has not been attained, or when the experiment is tried on dry air.
“ The theory of Mr. Espy also accounts very well for the formation of a true cloud
analogous to the cumulus with horizontal base, from the moment when the warm and
•damp air has acquired such an expansion, that the cold produced by it will cause a preVOL. V.----NO. IV.


The Philosophy o f Storms.

cipitation of water, and the base of the central cloud of the tornado, if it is horizontal,
as is the case in the great meteors of this nature, should be lowered in proportion as the
moist air which is carried up is more fully charged with vapor; this base, like that of the
cumulus, being of necessity found at the point where the temperature of the ascending
current becomes that of the dew point, which itself depends evidently upon the degree
of dampness of the air. This theory further explains how, in the small tornadoes,
whose violence is remarkable, an expansion takes place in the centre of the meteor, at
a very small height, sufficient to condense vapor by the cold, and consequently to pro­
duce this kind of appendage which particularly distinguishes small tornadoes, or com­
mon water-spouts. Let us add that the calculations of Mr. Espy, upon the density of
the warm column, its comparative levity, the ascending force of the current, the central
depression which is the consequence of it, the rapidity with which the surrounding air
rushes towards the place where the pressure is diminished, finally, all the conclusions
drawn from the physical data of the phenomena, have been proved and ascertained with
sufficient exactness to leave no doubt as to this portion of Mr. Espy’s theory.
“ One word remains to be said relative to the progressive movement of the meteor.
This movement may depend upon an ordinary wind, which, imparting a common mo­
tion to the whole atmosphere, would not disturb the ascension of the column of moist
air. But as these phenomena are produced suddenly in the midst of a great calm, Mr.
Espy thinks that, in accordance with observed facts, the motion of the meteor should be
attributed to the winds, w'hich predominate in the upper part of the atmosphere, and that
in modern latitudes, this motion should thus take place towards the east, whilst in the
equatorial regions this motion should be directed towards the west, as the current of the
trade winds. In a word, the slight surcharge which is owing to the spreading out of the
air around the top of the meteor, accounts for the trifling elevation of the barometer,
which the invasion of the tornado in every place presents, and can even, according to
Mr. Espy, serve as a prognostic of it.* Another result is, that beyond the limits of the
meteor, a feeble wind ought to be observed, as is the case, whose direction is opposite
to that of the air which is violently rushing towards the centre of the tornado.
“ The consequences which Mr. Espy deduces from this theory are, that in many lo­
calities, in Jamaica for example, the sea breezes cause a motion of the air perfectly
analogous to that which constitutes a tornado, and that the results of it are the same,
namely, rain and tempest at stated hours, on. each day of summer. The same circum­
stances produce the same effects in other well-known localities, volcanic eruptions, great
conflagrations of forests, with the favorable circumstances of tranquillity, heat, and
moisture, ought also to produce ascending currents and rain. In the midst of all the
theoretical deductions of Mr. Espy, it should be remarked, that a descending current of
air never can communicate cold, for this current would become warm by compression in
proportion as it should descend, and the meteorological temperature of many places
sheltered from the ascending winds, is considerably augmented by this cause. The
tempests of sand in many parts of Africa and Asia, although possessing much less vio­
lence, owing to the dryness of the heated air, accord perfectly with the theory of Mr.
Espy, both as to quantity and the nature of their effects.
“ Lastly, let us observe, that if, in tornadoes, the air is absorbed by the lower portion
o f the column, and not by the higher parts, it is, that the difference between the pressure
of the heated column, and that of the surrounding air, is much more marked, as it is
considered lower down, in the column of less density and equal elasticity, so that, in the
case of an equilibrium, at the lowest point this difference w'ould be precisely the total
difference of the whole heated column to the whole column of air of the same height
situated around the first. The observations and experiments which have been suggested
to Mr. Espy by the study of the phenomena of tornadoes, and the theory he has given
o f them, merit the most serious attention. It is very evident that science would be much
benefited by the establishment of a system of simultaneous observations of the barome­
ter, thermometer, hygrometer, and especially of the anemometer, if at least they could
be procured capable of giving with sufficient accuracy the intensity of the wind at the
same time w’ith its direction and the time of each variation of force. The influence
which electricity exerts in this phenomenon, remains yet to be determined. Mr. Espy
thinks that artificial causes— for example, great fires kindled in favorable circumstances
of heat, of tranquillity, and humidity— can cause, an ascending column of much less vio­
lence, the useful results of which would be on the one hand rain, and on the other the
* The reader will recollect that in the “ Report,” tornado is used to signify both large
and small storms.

The Philosophy o f Storms.


happy prevention of disastrous storms. It will be necessary to see in Mr. Espy’s work
itself, the further beneficial results to navigation from the views furnished by his theory.
“ The different manners in which philosophers, by means of apparatus whose princi­
ple of action is the centrifugal force, have imitated water-spouts or small tornadoes, do
not appear to us reconcilable with Mr. Espy’s theory, which, based upon facts, equally
refutes the idea of a whirling motion of the air in the tornado.*
“ Here we should compare the theory of Mr. Espy with other theories, anterior or
contemporaneous. The labors of Franklin, and of Messrs. Redfield, Reid, and Peltier,
would furnish as many excellent observations and parts, or the whole of the phenomena,
very well studied. But the extensive discussion which we should have to establish be­
fore deciding in favor of Mr. Espy, would lead us too far. Mr. Espy himself, as to the
electrical part of the phenomenon, which, however, he regards as only accessory and
secondary, acknowledges that his theory is less advanced and less complete than it is
with regard to the phenomena of the motion and precipitation of the water, which are,
according to him, the base of the production of the meteor.
“ Finally, it is proved by the investigations of Mr. Espy, that it will be impossible
hereafter to adduce in the mean [normale] state of the atmosphere, a descending current
of air as a cause of cold, or an ascending current of dry air, a cause of heat. The ap­
plications of this theory present themselves in “ climatology,” but this principle especial­
ly discards the idea of explanation of the tornado by the centrifugal force, which would
then cause the upper air to descend in the centre of the tornado, which air becoming
heated by the augmented pressure, could not allow its own vapor to be precipitated, nor
precipitate that of the air with which it came in contact.

“ In conclusion, Mr. Espy’s communication contains a great number of well-observed
and well-described facts. His theory, in the present state of science, alone accounts for
the phenomena, and, when completed, as Mr. Espy intends, by the study of the action
of electricity when it intervenes, will leave nothing to be desired. In a word, for phys­
ical geography, agriculture, navigatiop, and meteorology, it gives us new explanations,
indications useful for ulterior researches, and redresses many accredited errors.
“ The committee expresses then the wish that Mr. Espy should be placed by the gov­
ernment of the United States in a position to continue his important investigations, and
to complete his theory, already so remarkable, by means of all the observations and all
experiments which the deductions even of Ins theory may suggest to him, in a vast
country, where enlightened men are not wanting to science, and which is besides, as it
were, the home of these fearful meteors.
“ The work of Mr. Espy causes us to feel the necessity of undertaking a retrospective
examination of the numerous documents already collected in Europe, to arrange them
and draw from them deductions which they can furnish, and more especially at the
present period, when the diluvial rains, which have ravaged the southeast of France,
have directed attention to all the possible causes of a similar phenomena. Consequent­
ly, the committee proposes to the academy to give its approbation to the labors of Mr.
Espy, and to solicit him to continue his researches, and especially to try to ascertain the
influence which electricity exerts in these great phenomena, of which a complete theory
will be one o f the most precious acquisitions of modern science.
“ The conclusions of this report are adopted.”

W e have great satisfaction in adding, that Mr. E spy’s book is in the
very best style o f the Boston publications. It is illustrated with numerous
engravings; the typography is clean and n e a t; the paper fine ; and, in
short, it is every way worthy o f the high standing o f the publishers who
have undertaken to bring it before the public. W e commend it with con­
fidence to all the lovers o f science, satisfied that they will derive both
pleasure and profit from the perusal.
* Philosophical Magazine, for June, 1841. Sir David Brewster says, “ the theory of the
rotary character of storms was first suggested by Col. Capper, but we must claim for Mr.
Redfield the greater honor of having fully investigated the subject, and apparently estab­
lished the theory upon an impregnable basis.”


Sketches o f distinguished Merchants.

A r t . IV .— s k e t c h e s o f

d is t in g u is h e d

m erch an ts



Lives of good men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time;
Footsteps, that perhaps another.
Sailing o’er life’s troubled main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.—L o n g f e l l o w .
M r . M a y belonged to a generation which has now almost wholly passed
away. A few yet linger, but they will soon be all gone. H e may be re­
garded as a type and specimen, not indeed o f what was most brilliant and
distinguished, but o f what was most solid and worthy, stanch, honest,
upright, and true in that generation. H e was a native o f B oston ; his life
was passed in the open sight o f his fellow-citizens, and the testimony
which we render is only the repetition o f the com m on voice.
His integrity has never been questioned. It passed safely through the
trial o f adversity and failure in business— a trial which has proved too
severe for the strength o f many— and was as confidently relied upon after
that change as before it. Perfect proof o f this is given by the fact that he
was called on to fill several offices, which, though not conspicuous, in­
volved important trusts, and supposed implicit confidence, and which were
held till repeated intimations o f increasing age warned him to resign them.
His ideas and feelings respecting riches, though not perhaps peculiar,
were certainly not common. H e regarded the gift o f property to one’s
children a questionable good. H e has often said, that he knew many
promising youth who were stinted in their intellectual and moral growth
by the expectation o f an inheritance that would relieve them from the ne­
cessity o f labor. Every man, he would add, should stand upon his own
feet, rely upon his own resources, know how to take care o f himself, sup­
ply his own wants ; and that parent does his child no good, who takes
from him the inducement, nay, the necessity to do so.j"
H e thought it well and proper to engage in the pursuit o f property in
som e honest and honorable occupation, as one o f the means o f unfolding
* In the Merchant’s Magazine for July, 1841, we published a brief obituary of the
late Joseph May, Esq., a merchant of Boston. W e had previously requested the Rev.
F. W . P. Greenwood, D. D., to prepare a sketch of his life and character, which through
the inadvertence of our agent, was not received until quite recently. Several paragraphs
of the present sketch, are from the sermon preached by Mr. Greenwood at Kings Chapel,
Sunday, March the 7th, 1841, on the death of Mr. May; and the remainder in manu­
script, was furnished by a member of the family of the deceased.— Ed. Mag.
t In a communication received from the Rev. S. J. May, is an anecdote which de­
serves preservation, as illustrative of the sentiments of his father.
“ When I brought to him my last College bill receipted, he folded it with an emphatic
pressure of his hand, saying as he did i t : ‘ My son, I am rejoiced that you have gotten
through ; and that I have been able to afford you the advantages yon have enjoyed. If
you have been faithful, you must now he possessed of an education that will enable you
to go anywhere ; 6tand up among your fellow-men ; and by serving them in one de­
partment of usefulness or another, make yourself worthy of a comfortable livelihood, if
no more. If you have not improved your advantages, or should be hereafter slothful, I
thank God that I have not property to leave you, that will hold you up in a place among
men, where you will not deserve to stand.’ ”

Sketches o f distinguished M erchants,


the faculties, and forming and establishing the character. But he consid­
ered it most unworthy o f a rational and moral being, to seek after riches '
as the chief good. He utterly despised avarice.
When about thirty-eight years o f age, he was stopped in the midst o f a
very profitable business, in which he had already acquired a considerable
fortune, by the result o f an ill-advised speculation. H e foresaw that he
must fail, and at once gave up all his property, “ even to the ring on his
finger, for the benefit o f his creditors.”
The sufferings which this dis­
aster caused revealed to him that he had become more eager for property,
and had allowed himself to regard its possession more highly, than was
creditable to his understanding or good for -his heart. After some days
o f deep depression, he formed the resolution, never to he a rich m an; but
to withstand all temptations to engage again in the pursuit o f wealth. H e
adhered to this determination. H e resolutely refused several very advan­
tageous offers o f partnership in lucrative concerns, and sought rather the
situation he held, for more than forty years, in an insurance office, where
he would receive a competence only for his family.
When in the midst o f his family he seemed to have no anxieties about
business, and was able to give his whole mind to the study o f his favorite
authors, the old English Classics, the best historians, and Paley and Priest­
ley, o f whom he was a great admirer.
He almost always read one or two hours in the morning, and as much
in the evening. By the devotion o f only this time to books, he was able
in the course o f his life to peruse many volumes o f substantial value, o f
the contents o f which his sound understanding and retentive memory ena­
bled him to make readily a pertinent use.
In active benevolence and works o f charity, he seems to have been in­
defatigable and unsurpassed. H e was not able to bestow large donations
on public institutions, but he was a valuable friend, promoter, and director
o f some o f the most important o f them.* His private charities are not to
be numbered. Without much trouble he might be traced through every
quarter o f the city by the foot-prints o f his benefactions. Pensioners cam e
to the door o f his house as they do in some countries to the gate o f a con ­
vent. The worthy poor found in him a friend, and the unworthy he en­
deavored to reform. His aid to those in distress and need was in many
cases not merely temporary and limited to single applications, but as ex ­
tensive and permanent as the life and future course o f its object. A family
o f fatherless and motherless and destitute children, bound to him by no tie
but that of human brotherhood, found a father in him, and owe to himr
under heaven, the respectability and comfort o f their earthly condition.
It would appear as if he had expressly listened to the exhortation o f the
son o f Sirach, and had received the fulfilment o f his promise : “ Be as a
father unto the fatherless, and as a husband unto their m other; so shalt
thou be as the son o f the Most High, and he shall love thee more than thy
mother doth.” j"
* He was particularly interested in the establishment of the Asylum for the Insane,
and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He felt sure that these were charities worthy
of all he could do to promote them, and he labored for them heartily and effectually.
t “ He never,” observes his son, “ seemed to feel displeased when asked to relieve
the necessities of his fellow-beings, and therefore never hastily dismissed their claims,
but carefully considered them, that he might give substantial and permanent aid.
“ I cannot remember the time, when he was not planning for the benefit of several


Sketches o f distinguished Merchants.

A s a friend and neighbor, his kind attentions and services were unre­
mitting ;— and how much o f the happiness o f our daily being is dependent
on such attentions and services ! H e knew many persons, and suffered
himself to forget none. I f he had kept a list o f them he could not have
been more punctual in his remembrances ; and he did keep a list o f them
in his friendly heart. But though he comprehended many in his generous
regards, his strongest affections were still at home, reserved for the few
who were nearest, and not dissipated or rendered shallow by the diffusion
o f his general charity. The stream o f his benevolence was wide, but its
central channel was deep.
His love o f nature was ever fresh and warm. H e watched the seasons
as they rolled, and found in each much to excite his admiration and love
o f the great Creator and sovereign Disposer o f all. The flowers, the
birds, the sunshine, and the storm were objects o f his continual notice,
and o f frequent remarks in his diary. His habit o f walking early in the
morning, often before sunrise, which he persisted in regularly until about
two years since, secured to him a season o f daily communion with the
beauties o f creation and its Author.
His love o f children was ardent— and he inspired them with love for
himself. It was his wish ever to have some children in his family. Their
joyous laugh was music to his ear. After the death o f his first born, he
felt so lonely that he adopted a boy to supply the vacant place. And
even within a few weeks o f his decease, the son o f a widow was brought
by him to a home in his house.
On the services o f the church and the ordinances o f religion as admin­
istered at K ing’s Chapel, he was a constant attendant. And this was be­
cause he viewed them in their proper light as the outward supports o f
order and virtue, and the good helps o f piety, and not because he esteemed
them as religion in themselves, or substitutes o f religion : for if there ever
was a man whose piety was practical, whose religion was life-religion,
who could not understand or enter into any views o f religion which were
not practical, it was he.
He had borne many sorrows in the course o f his protracted pilgrimage,
and religion had supported him under them all. His belief in the sure
mercies of' God and promises o f the Saviour was as firm and deeply rooted
as the mountains. His faith in a future and better life was as sight. He
saw its glories with his eyes, and the more distinctly as he drew nearer
to them. Many expressions o f his, simply and strongly declaratory o f this
sight-like faith, dwell, and will always dwell, on the memories o f his rela­
tives and most intimate friends.
His frame was so robust, his manner o f living so regular, his mind so
calm, his whole appearance so promising o f endurance, that, aged as he
was, even in his eighty-first year, I had thought he would yet continue for
a season with us, and come up for many Sabbaths to our solemn assem­
poor or afflicted persons. The last few years of his life were peculiarly blessed by visits
from numerous persons, or the children of persons whom he had befriended.”
“ There was a time when, as he afterward thought, he was not discriminating enough
in his charities. The reading of Malthus on Population, and the discussions which arose
upon the publication of that work, modified considerably his views of true benevolence.
Prevention of poverty seemed to him both more merciful and practicable than the relief
of it : and he was therefore continually suggesting to those who were on the verge of
poverty, principles of economy and kinds of labor, by which they were enabled to pat
themselves into a comfortable estate.”

Sketches o f distinguished Merchants.


blies. But it was not so to be. T ill the Sunday before his death, he ap­
peared as usual in his accustomed seat. F or a few days afterward, gentle
intimations o f death were given— hardly alarming to his friends, and not
at all so to him, though he perfectly comprehended their meaning. T here
was some aberration o f mind, but no suffering o f the body,— and then, to
use the words o f an old writer on the decease o f a venerable prelate,
“ then he sweetly fell asleep in Christ, and so we softly draw the curtains
about him.”
A prominent place should be given, in a sketch o f Mr. M ay’s character,
to his love o f order, his methodical habits, his high estimate o f the import­
ance o f punctuality. These were conspicuous traits, and they enabled him
to accomplish a great deal o f business, to attend to a variety o f matters,
which would have distracted a man without such habits, giving him, at the
same time, a real though unobtrusive power o f usefulness to his fellow-men.
President Q uincy has said in his history o f Harvard College, that “ there
is no class o f men to whom history is under so many obligations as to
those who submit to the labor o f keeping diaries.”
Mr. May performed a
great deal o f this sort o f labor, because it enabled him to be so continually
useful to all about him. His pocket and memorandum books were filled
with items, that w ere often o f great convenience, and sometimes o f inesti­
mable value to others. T o this he was prompted by his spirit o f practical
benevolence, and was enabled to perform with comparatively little trouble
by his habits o f regularity and method.
His habits o f order and strict method saved him a vast deal o f anxious
thought about his daily business cares and duties ; he always knew exactly
the state o f his concerns. It required no effort o f careful recollection to
keep in mind any thing he ought to remember, for he could recur at once
to his accounts and memoranda and find all as he left i t ; so exact was his
method, that he could return to his office in utter darkness, find any key
in use there, put his hand upon any book or bundle o f papers he might
wish to examine.
It may be well to mention another o f his principles, which he deemed
no more than a part o f strict honesty. “ Live within your income, what­
ever that may be,” he would often say ; “ and then you will wrong no one,
and will be always independent.”
“ Should your income cease altogether,
or be too narrow for your wants, make known your necessitous situation,
and incur no debt but the debt o f gratitude.”
“ It is dishonest to borrow
unless you foresee that you shall have the ability to repay the loan ; and
you should never obtain credit for any article, even a necessary o f life, if
you know not when or how you shall get the means to pay for it. In this
case beg, rather than borrow .”
Knowing as he did the trials and temptations o f a merchant’ s life, he
took a lively interest in young men who were just entering upon it. There
are not a few who gratefully acknowledge, that to him they are indebted
for habits and maxims that have been o f essential service to them. Early
rising, order, punctuality, living within one’s income, the useful occupa­
tion o f leisure time, he inculcated earnestly upon all. “ Few men,” he
would say, “ are so busy, none should be, as to have no time which they
might devote to their moral culture, and the acquisition o f useful knowledge.
Life was not given to be all used up in the pursuit o f what we must leave
behind us when we die.”
H e used the world without abusing it. H e saw much that was beauti­


Mercantile Law Department,

ful and good here, and he indulged the feelings they naturally awakened.
T h ey were to his grateful heart intimations o f the character o f the heav­
enly Father, which should not be overlooked. H e was sure that the
Being who made all these things to gratify and delight us, is full o f love ;
w e have nothing to fear from him. If we are ever unhappy, miserable, it
must be that we make ourselves so, by not following the course he has
marked out for us, by not choosing to become what he has invited, and
would enable us to becom e.
Death had no terrors for him ; he often conversed about it as a solemn
“ event in the being o f every man
but his thoughts did not linger in the
dark valley. He seemed to realize with Abraham Tucker that the body
is but the garment o f the soul, with which it really has little more neces­
sary connection than with the house we may dwell in, the clothes we may
wear, the tools we may use. H e who gave us this body is able to give us
another, and we should be willing to leave ourselves in his hands.





Bankruptcy authorized—Exceptions— Initiatory proceedings on application for—
Cases in which creditors may demand bankruptcy— Jury trial granted thereon.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House o f Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled, That there be, and hereby is, established
throughout the United States, a uniform system o f bankruptcy, as follows r
All persons whatsoever, residing in any State, District or Territory o f the
United States, owing debts, which shall not have been created in consequence
o f a defalcation as a public officer; or as executor, administrator, guardian or
trustee, or while acting in any other fiduciary capacity, who shall, by petition,,
setting forth to the best o f his knowledge and belief, a list o f his or their
creditors, their respective places o f residence, and the amount due to each, to­
gether with an accurate inventory o f his or their property, rights, and credits,
o f every name, kind, and description, and the location and situation o f each
and every parcel and portion thereof, verified by oath, or, if conscientiously
scrupulous o f taking an oath, by solemn affirmation, apply to the proper court,
as hereinafter mentioned, for the benefit o f this act, and therein declare them­
selves to be unable to meet their debts and engagements, shall be deemed
bankrupts within the purview o f this act, and may be so declared accordingly
by a decree o f such court. All persons, being merchants, or using the trade
o f merchandise, all retailers o f merchandise, and all bankers, factors, brokers,
underwriters, or marine insurers, owing debts to the amount o f not less than
two thousand dollars, shall be liable to become bankrupts within the true in­
tent and meaning o f this act, and may, upon the petition o f one or more of
their creditors, to whom they owe debts amounting in the whole to not less
than five hundred dollars, to the appropriate court, be so declared accord­
ingly, in the following cases, to w it : whenever such person, being a mer­
chant, or actually using the trade o f merchandise, or being a retailer o f merchan­
dise, or being a banker, factor, broker, underwriter, or marine insurer, shall
depart from the State, District, or Territory, o f which he is an inhabitant, with
intent to defraud his creditors; or shall conceal himself to avoid being arrest­
ed, or shall willingly or fraudulently procure himself to be arrested, or his
goods and chattels, lands, or tenements, to be attached, distrained, sequester-

Mercantile Law Department.


ed, or taken in execution ; or shall rem ove his goods, chattels, and effects, or
conceal them to prevent their being levied upon, or taken in execution, or by
other process ; or make any fraudulent conveyance, assignment, sale, gift, or
Other transfer o f his lands, tenements, goods, or chattels, credits, or evidences
o f d e b t: Provided, however, That any person so declared a bankrupt, at the in­
stance o f a creditor, may, at his election, by petition to such court within ten
days after its decree, be entitled to a trial by jury before such court, to ascer­
tain the fact o f such bankruptcy ; or if such person shall reside at a great dis­
tance from the place o f holding such court, the said judge, in his discretion,
may direct such trial by jury to be had in the county o f such person’ s resi­
dence, in such manner, and under such directions, as the said court may pre­
scribe and give : and all such decrees passed by such court, and not so re­
examined, shall be deem ed final and conclusive as to the subject-matter

Future preferences void— Discharge in such case forbid— Limit and proviso— Cases
of preferences since 1st January last, provided for— Married women and minors’
rights preserved.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all. future payments, securities, con­
veyances, or transfers o f property, or agreements made or given by any bank­
rupt, in contemplation o f bankruptcy, and for the purpose o f giving any cred­
itor, endorser, surety, or other person, any preference or priority over the
general creditors o f such bankrupts; and ail other payments, securities, con­
veyances, or transfers o f property, or agreements made or given by such
bankrupt in contemplation of bankruptcy, to any person or persons whatever,
not being a bona fide creditor or purchaser, for a valuable consideration,
without notice, shall be deemed utterly void, and a fraud upon this a c t; and
the assignee under the bankruptcy shall be entitled to claim, sue for, recover,
and receive the same as part o f the assets o f the bankruptcy ; and the person
making such unlawful preferences and payments shall receive no discharge
under the provisions o f this a c t : Provided, That all dealings and transactions
by and with any bankrupt, bona fide made and entered into more than two
months before the petition filed against him, or by him, shall not be invali­
dated or affected by this a c t: Provided, That the other party to any such
dealings or transactions had no notice o f a prior act o f bankruptcy, or o f the
intention o f the bankrupt to take the benefit o f this act. And in case it shall
be made to appear to the court, in the course o f the proceedings in bank­
ruptcy, that the bankrupt, his application being voluntary, has, subsequent to
the first day of January last, or at any other time, in contemplation of the pas­
sage o f a bankrupt law, by assignments or otherwise, given or secured any
preference to one creditor over another, he shall not receive a discharge unless
the same be assented to by a majority in interest o f those o f his creditors who
have not been so preferred : And provided, also, That nothing in this act con­
tained shall be construed to annul, destroy, or impair any lawful rights o f
married women, or minors, or any liens, mortgages, or other securities on
property, real op personal, which may be valid by the laws o f the States
respectively, and which are not inconsistent with the provisions o f the second
and fifth sections o f this act.
Decree of bankruptcy divests the bankrupt and invests his assignee with his whole
property— Certain articles excepted.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all the property, and rights o f property,
of every name and nature, and whether real, personal, or mixed, o f every
bankrupt, except as is hereinafter provided, who shall, by a decree o f the
proper court, be declared to be a bankrupt within this act, shall, by mere ope­
ration of law, ipso facto, from the time o f such decree, be deemed to be di­
vested out of such bankrupt, without any other act, assignment, or other con­
veyance whatsoever; and the same shall be vested, by force o f the same
decree, in such assignee as from time to time shall be appointed by the proper
VOL. v . — n o . iv .


Mercantile Law Department.

court for this purpose; which power o f appointment and removal such court
may exercise at its discretion, toties quoties; and the assignee so appointed
shall be vested with all the rights, titles, powers, and authorities, to sell,
manage, and dispose of the same, and to sue for and defend the same, subject
to the orders and directions o f such court, as fully, to all intents and purposes,
as if the same were vested in, or might be exercised by, such bankrupt before
or at the time o f his bankruptcy declared as aforesaid; and all suits in law or
in equity, then pending, in which such bankrupt is a party, may be prosecuted
and defended by such assignee to its final conclusion, in the same way, and
with the same effect, as they might have been by such bankrupt; and no suit
commenced by or against any assignee shall be abated by his death or removal
from office, but the same may be prosecuted or defended by his successor in
the same office : Provided, however, That there shall be excepted from the
operation o f the provisions o f this section the necessary household and kitchen
furniture, and such other articles and necessaries o f such bankrupt as the said
assignee shall designate and set apart, having reference in the amount to the
family, condition, and circumstances of the bankrupt, but. altogether not to ex­
ceed in value, in any case, the sum o f three hundred dollars ; and, also, the
wearing apparel o f such bankrupt, and that o f his wife and children ; and the
determination o f the assignee in the matter shall, on exception taken, be sub­
ject to the final decision o f said court.
Discharge may be granted by court, except creditors dissent— Final notice to cred­
itors required—Right to discharge forfeited by fraud, Ape.— Limitation of dis­
charge— Case of perjury— Effect o f discharge— Incase creditors dissent, or court
refuse to discharge— Jury trial granted, or appeal to circuit court.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That every bankrupt, who shall bona fide
surrender all his property, and rights o f property, with the exception before
mentioned, for the benefit o f his creditors, and shall fully comply with and
obey all the orders and directions which may from time to time be passed by
the proper court, and shall otherwise conform to all the other requisitions o f
this act, shall (unless a majority in number and value o f his creditors, who
have proved their debts, shall file their written dissent thereto) be entitled to a
full discharge from all his debts, to be decreed and allowed by the court which
has declared him a bankrupt, and a certificate thereof granted to him by such
court accordingly, upon his petition filed for such purpose ; such discharge and
certificate not, however, to be granted until after ninety days from the decree
o f bankruptcy, nor until after seventy days’ notice in some public newspaper,
designated by such court, to all creditors who have proved their debts, and
other persons in interest, to appear at a particular time and place, to show
cause why such discharge and certificate shall not be granted; at which time
and place any such creditors, or other persons in interest, may appear and
contest the right o f the bankrupt thereto : Provided, That in all cases where
the residence o f the creditor is known, a service on him personally, or by let­
ter addressed to him at his known usual place o f residence, shall be prescribed
by the court as in their discretion shall seem proper, having regard to the dis­
tance at which the creditor resides from such court. And if any such bank­
rupt shall be guilty o f any fraud or wilful concealment o f his property or rights
o f property, or shall have preferred any o f his creditors contrary to the pro­
visions o f this act, or shall wilfully omit or refuse to comply with any orders
or directions o f such court, or to conform to any other requisites o f this act, or
shall, in the proceedings under this act, admit a false or fictitious debt against
his estate, he shall not be entitled to any such discharge or certificate; nor
shall any person, being a merchant, banker, factor, broker, underwriter, or
marine insurer, be entitled to any such discharge or certificate, who shall be­
come bankrupt, and who shall not have kept proper books o f account, after
the passing of this a ct; nor any person who, after the passing o f this act, shall
apply trust funds to his own use : Provided, That no discharge o f any bank­
rupt under this act shall release or discharge any person who may be liable for

Mercantile Law Department.


the same debt as a partner, joint contractor, endorsers surety, or otherwise, for
or with the bankrupt. And such bankrupt shall at all times be subject to ex­
amination, orally, or upon written interrogatories, in and before such court, or
any commission appointed by the court therefor, on oath, or, if conscientiously
scrupulous o f taking an oath, upon his solemn affirmation, in all matters rela­
ting to such bankruptcy, and his acts and doings, and his property and rights
o f property, which, in the judgment o f such court, are necessary and proper
for the purposes o f justice ; and if in any such examination, he shall wilfully
and corruptly answer, or swear, or affirm, falsely, he shall be deemed guilty
o f perjury, and shall be punishable therefor, in like manner as the crime of
perjury is now punishable by the laws o f the United States; and such dis­
charge and certificate, when duly granted, shall, in all courts o f justice, be
deemed a full and complete discharge o f all debts, contracts, and other engage­
ments o f such bankrupt, which are proveable under this act, and shall be and
may be pleaded as a full and complete bar to all Suits brought in any court of
judicature whatever, and the same shall be conclusive evidence o f itself in
favor of such bankrupt, unless the same shall be impeached for some fraud or
wilful concealment by him o f his property, or rights o f property, as aforesaid,
contrary to the provisions o f this act, on prior reasonable notice specifying in
writing such fraud or concealment; and if, in any case o f bankruptcy, a ma­
jority, in number and value, of the creditors, who shall have proved their
debtsat the time o f hearing o f the petition of the bankrupt for a discharge as here­
inbefore provided, shall at such hearing file their written dissent to the allow­
ance o f a discharge and certificate to such bankrupt, or if, upon such hearing, a
discharge shall not be decreed to him, the bankrupt may demand a trial by jury
upon a proper issue to be directed by the court, at such time and place, and in
such manner, as the court may order; or he may appeal from that decision, at
any time within ten days thereafter, to the circuit court next to be held for the
same district, by simply entering in the district court, or with the clerk thereof,
upon record, his prayer for an appeal. The appeal shall be tried at the first
term o f the circuit court after it be taken, unless, for sufficient reason, a con­
tinuance be granted ; and it may be heard and determined by said court sum­
marily, or by a jury, at the option o f the bankrupt; and the creditors may ap­
pear and object against a decree o f discharge and the allowance o f the certifi­
cate, as hereinbefore provided. And if, upon a full hearing o f the parties, it
shall appear to the satisfaction o f the court, or the jury shall find that the bank­
rupt has made a full disclosure and surrender o f all his estate, as by this act re­
quired, and has in all things conformed to the directions thereof, the court shall
make a decree o f discharge, and grant a certificate, as provided in this act.
Bankrupt's property— Distribution directed— Contingent debts provided for—>Right
of action waived—-Case o f mutual debt— Power to disallow claims— Proof of debt
to corporations— Appointment of commissioners.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That all creditors coming in and proving
their debts under such bankruptcy, in the manner hereinafter prescribed, the
same being bona fide debts, shall be entitled to share in the bankrupt’s property
and effects, pro rata, without any priority or preference whatsoever, except
only for debts due by such bankrupt to the United States, and for all debts due
by him to persons who, by the laws o f the United States, have a preference, in
consequence of having paid moneys as his sureties, which shall be first paid
out of the assets; and any person who shall have performed any labor as an
operative in the service o f any bankrupt shall be entitled to receive the full
amount of the wages due to him for such labor, not exceeding twenty-five dol­
lars : Provided, That such labor shall have been performed within six months
next before the bankruptcy o f his employer ; and all creditors whose debts are
not due and payable until a future day, all annuitants, holders o f bottomry and
respondentia bonds, holders o f policies o f insurances, sureties, endorsers, bail,
or other persons, having uncertain or contingent demands against such bank­


Mercantile Late Department.

rupt, shall be permitted to come in and prove such debts or claims under this
act, and shall have a right, when their debts and claims become absolute, to
have the same allowed them ; and such annuitants and holders o f debts pay­
able in future may have the present value thereof ascertained, under the direc­
tion o f such court, and allowed them accordingly, as debts in presenti; and no
creditor or other person, coming in and proving his debt or other claim, shall
be allowed to maintain any suit at law or in equity therefor, but shall be deem­
ed thereby to have waived all right o f action and suit against such bankrupt;
and all proceedings already commenced, and all unsatisfied judgments already
obtained thereon, shall be deemed to be surrendered thereby ; and in all cases
where there are mutual debts or mutual credits between the parties, the bal­
ance only shall be deemed the true debt or claim between them, and the resi­
due shall be deemed adjusted by the set-off; all such proof o f debts shall be
made before the court decreeing the bankruptcy, or before some commissioner
appointed by the court for that purpose ; but such court shall have full power
to set aside and disallow any debt, upon proof that such debt is founded in
fraud, imposition, illegality, or mistake; and corporations to whom any debts
are due, may make proof thereof by their president, cashier, treasurer, or other
officer, who may be specially appointed for that purpose; and in appointing
commissioners to receive proof of debts, and perform other duties, under the
provisions of this act, the said court shall appoint such persons as have their
residence in the county in which the bankrupt lives.
Jurisdiction of the United States district court over all cases of bankruptcy— Rules
of proceeding— Fees.

Sec. 6. And be it farther enacted, That the district court in every district
shall have jurisdiction in all matters and proceedings in bankruptcy arising
under this act, and any other act which may hereafter be passed on the subject
of bankruptcy ; the said jurisdiction to be exercised summarily, in the nature
o f summary proceedings in equity ; and for this purpose the said district court
shall be deemed always open. And the district judge may adjourn any point
or question arising in any case in bankruptcy into the circuit court for the dis­
trict, in his discretion, to be there heard and determined; and for this purpose
the circuit court o f such district shall also be deemed always open. And thejurisdiction hereby conferred on the district court shall extend to all cases and'
controversies in bankruptcy arising between the bankrupt and any creditor or
creditors who shall claim any debt or demand under the bankruptcy ; to all
cases and controversies between such creditor or creditors and the assignee
o f the estate, whether in office or removed ; to all cases and controversies be­
tween such assignee and the bankrupt, and to all acts, matters, and things to
be done under and in virtue o f the bankruptcy, until the final distribution and
settlement o f the estate o f the bankrupt, and the close o f the proceedings in
bankruptcy. And the said courts shall have full authority and jurisdiction to
compel obedience to all orders and decrees passed by them in bankruptcy, by
process o f contempt and other remedial process, to the same extent the circuit
courts may now do in any suit pending therein in equity. And it shall be the
duty o f the district court in each district, from time to time, to prescribe suit­
able rules and regulations, and forms of proceedings, in all matters o f bank­
ruptcy ; which rules, regulations, and forms, shall be subject to be altered,
added to, revised, or annulled, by the circuit court o f the same district, and
other rules and regulations, and forms substituted therefor; and, in all such
rules, regulations, and forms, it shall be the duty of the said courts to make
them as simple and brief as practicable, to the end to avoid all unnecessary ex­
penses, and to facilitate the use thereof by the public at large. And the said
courts shall, from time to time, prescribe a tariff or table o f fees and charges to
be taxed by the officers o f the court or other persons, for services under this
act, or any other on the subject o f bankruptcy ; which fees shall be as low as
practicable, with reference to the nature and character o f such services.

Mercantile Law Department.


Proceedings must be in the district where the bankrupt resides— Notice to creditors
to shou) cause— Evidence under oath— Proof of debt— Trial awarded in case of
dispute— Case of perjury punishable.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That all petitions by any bankrupt for the
benefit o f this act, and all petitions by a creditor against any bankrupt under
this act, and all proceedings in the case to the close thereof, shall be had in the
district court within and for the district in which the person supposed to be a
bankrupt shall reside, or have his place o f business at the time when such pe­
tition is filed, except where otherwise provided in this act. And upon every
such petition, notice thereof shall be published in one or more public newspa­
pers printed in such district, to be designated by such court at least twenty
days before the hearing thereof; and all persons interested may appear at the
time and place where the hearing is thus to be had, and show cause, if any
they have, why the prayer of the said petitioner should not be granted ; all
evidence by witnesses to be used in all hearings before such court shall be un­
der oath or solemn affirmation, when the party is conscientiously scrupulous
o f taking an oath, and may be oral or by deposition, taken before such court,
or before any commissioner appointed by such court, or before any disinterested
State judge o f the State in which the deposition is taken ; and all proof o f debts
or other claims, by creditors entitled to prove the same by this act, shall be un­
der oath or solemn affirmation as aforesaid, before such court or commissioner
appointed thereby, or before some disinterested State judge o f the State where
the creditors live, in such form as may be prescribed by the rules and regula­
tions hereinbefore authorized to be made and established by the courts having
jurisdiction in bankruptcy. But all such proofs o f debts and other claims shall
be open to contestation in the proper court having jurisdiction over the pro­
ceedings in the particular case in bankruptcy ; and as well the assignee as the
creditor shall have a right to a trial by jury, upon an issue to be directed by
such court, to ascertain the validity and amount o f such debts or other claim s;
and the result therein, unless a new trial shall be granted, if in favor of the
claims, shall be evidence o f the validity and amount o f such debts or other
claims. And if any person or persons shall falsely and corruptly answer, swear,
or affirm, in any hearing or on trial of any matter, or in any proceeding in such
court in bankruptcy, or before any commissioner, he and they shall be deemed
guilty of perjury, and punishable therefor in the manner and to the extent pro­
vided by law for other cases.
Jurisdiction of the circuit court in cases against the assignee of a bankrupt— Limi­
tation against such suit.
Sec. 8. Andbeit further enacted, That the circuit court within and for the district
where the decree o f bankruptcy is passed, shall have concurrent jurisdiction
with the district court of the same district o f all suits at law and in equity which
may and shall be brought by any assignee of the bankrupt against any person
or persons claiming an adverse interest, or by such person against such as­
signee, touching any property or rights of property o f said bankrupt transferable
to, or vested in, such assignee ; and no suit at law or in equity shall, in any
case, be maintainable by or against such assignee, or by or against any person
claiming an adverse interest touching the property and rights o f property afore­
said, in any court whatsoever, unless the same shall be brought within two
years after the declaration and decree o f bankruptcy, or after the cause o f suit
shall first have accrued.
Sales of property— Disposition of proceeds— Bonds required of assignee.
Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That all sales, transfers, and other convey­
ances, o f the assignee o f the bankrupt’s property and rights o f property, shall
oe made at such times and in such manner as shall be ordered and appointed
by the court in bankruptcy; and all assets received by the assignee in money
shall, within sixty days afterward, be paid into the court, subject to its order
respecting its future safe-keeping and disposition; and the court may require
o f such assignee a bond, with at least two sureties, in such sum as it may deem


Mercantile Law Department.

proper, conditioned for the due and faithful discharge o f all his duties, and his
compliance with the orders and directions of the court; which bond shall be
taken in the name of the United States, and shall! if there be any breach there­
of, be sued and sueable, under the order o f such court, for the benefit o f the
creditors and other persons in interest.
Prompt proceedings directed— Dividends of assets at least every six months— Notice
thereof required— Suits at laic not to postpone dividends— Proceedings to be
closed in two years— Claims not proved in time.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That in order to ensure a speedy settle"
ment and close of the proceedings in each case in bankruptcy, it shall be the
duty o f the court to order and direct a collection of the assets, and a reduction
o f the same to money, and a distribution thereof at as early periods as practi­
cable, consistently with a due regard to the interests of the creditors: and a
dividend and distribution o f such assets as shall be collected and reduced to
money, or so much thereof as can be safely so disposed of, consistently with
the rights and interests o f third persons having adverse claims thereto, shall
be made among the creditors who have proved their debts, as often as once in
six months from the time o f the decree declaring the bankruptcy; notice of
such dividends and distribution to be given in some newspaper or newspapers
in the District, designated by the court, ten days at least before the order there­
for is passed; and the pendency o f any suit at law or in equity, by or against
such third persons, shall not postpone such division and distribution, except
so far as the assets may be necessary to satisfy the same ; and all the proceed­
ings in bankruptcy in each case shall, if practicable, be finally adjusted, settled,
and brought to a close, by the court, within two years after the decree declar­
ing the bankruptcy. And where any creditor shall not have proved his debt
until a dividend or distribution shall have been made and declared, he shall be
entitled to be paid the same amount, pro rata, out o f the remaining dividends
or distributions thereafter made, as the other creditors have already received,
before the latter shall be entitled to any portion thereof.
Assignee may, by order o f court, redeem mortgaged or hypothecated properly— Com­
pound doubtful claims, dj-c.
S ec. 11. And be it further enacted, That the assignee shall have full authority,
by and under the order and direction o f the proper court in bankruptcy, to re­
deem and discharge any mortgage or other pledge, or deposite, or lien upon
any property, real or personal, whether payable in presenti or at a future day,
and to tender a due performance o f the conditions thereof. And such assignee
shall also have authority, by and under the order and direction o f the proper
court in bankruptcy, to compound any debts, or other claims, or securities due
or belonging to the estate of the bankrupt; but no such order or direction shall
be made until notice of the application is given in some public newspaper in
the district, to be designated by the court, ten days at least before the hearing,
so that all creditors and other persons in interest may appear and show cause, if
any they have, at the hearing, why the order or direction should not be passed.
A person once discharged, excepted from the benefit of another discharge— Unless, <fc.
Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That if any person, who shall have been dis­
charged under this act, shall afterward become bankrupt, he shall not again
be entitled to a discharge under this act, unless his estate shall produce (after
all charges) sufficient to pay every creditor seventy-five per cent, on the
amount of the debt which shall have been allowed to each creditorProceedings to be recorded— Office copy—-Fees.
S ec. 13. And be it further enacted, That the proceedings in all cases in bank­
ruptcy shall be deemed matters o f record; but the same shall not be required
to be recorded at large, but shall be carefully filed, kept, and numbered, in the
office o f the court, and a docket only, or short memorandum thereof, with the
numbers, kept, in a book by the clerk of the court; and the clerk of the court,
for affixing his name and the seal o f the court to any form, or certifying a copy
thereof, when required thereto, shall be entitled to receive, as compensation,

Mercantile Law Department.


the sum o f twenty-five cents and no more. And no officer o f the court, or
commissioner, shall be allowed by the court more than one dollar for taking
the proof o f any debt or other claim o f any creditor or other person against the
estate o f the bankrupt; but he may be allowed in addition, his actual travel
expenses for that purpose.
Regulations in relation to partnerships.
S ec. 14. And be it further enacted, That where two or more persons, who are
partners in trade, become insolvent, an order may be made in the manner pro­
vided in this act, either on the petition o f such partners, or any one o f them,
or on the petition o f any creditor o f the partners; upon which order all the
joint stock and property o f the company, and also all the separate estate of
each o f the partners, shall be taken, excepting such parts thereof as are herein
excepted; and all the creditors o f the company, and the separate creditors of
each partner, shall be allowed to prove their respective debts; and the as­
signees shall also keep separate accounts o f the joint stock or property o f the
company, and o f the separate estate o f each member thereof; and after de­
ducting out of the whole amount received by such assignees, the w hole,of the
expenses and disbursements paid by them, the nett proceeds o f the joint stock
shall be appropriated to pay the creditors of the company, and the nett pro­
ceeds o f the separate estate o f each partner shall be appropriated to pay his
separate creditors: and if there shall be any balance o f the separate estate of
any partner, after the payment of his separate debts, such balance shall be
added to the joint stock, for the payment o f the joint creditors; and if there
shall be any balance of the joint stock, after payment of the joint debts, such
balance shall be divided and appropriated to and among the separate estates
o f the several partners, according to their respective rights and interests therein,
and as it would have been if the partnership had been dissolved without any
bankruptcy ; and the sum so appropriated to the separate estate o f each part­
ner shall be applied to the payment of his separate debts; and the certificate
o f discharge shall be granted or refused to each partner, as the same would or
ought to be if the proceedings had been against him alone under this a ct; and in
all other respects the proceedings against partners shall be conducted in the like
manner as if they had been commenced and prosecuted against one person alone.
Decree of bankruptcy and copy of order of appointments of assignees to be recited
in all deeds fo r land sold by ass ignees— Such deeds confirmed.
S ec. 15. And be it further enacted, That a copy o f any decree o f bankruptcy,
and the appointment o f assignees, as directed by the third section o f this act,
shall be recited in every deed o f lands belonging to the bankrupt, sold and con­
veyed by any assignees under and by virtue o f this a c t; and that such recital,
together with a certified copy o f such order shall be full and complete evidence
both o f the bankruptcy and assignment therein recited, and supersede the ne­
cessity o f any other proof o f such bankruptcy and assignment to validate the
said deed; and all deeds containing such recital, and supported by such proof
shall be as effectual to pass the title o f the bankrupt, o f in, and to the lands
therein mentioned and described to the purchaser, as fully, to all intents and
purposes, as if made by such bankrupt himself, immediately before such order.
District of Columbia and territory cases.
S ec. 16. And be it farther enacted, That all jurisdiction, power, and authority,
conferred upon and vested in the district court o f the United States by this act,
in cases in bankruptcy, are hereby conferred upon and vested in the circuit
court o f the United States for the District o f Columbia, and in and upon the
supreme or superior courts o f any o f the Territories o f the United States, in
cases in bankruptcy, where the bankrupt resides in the said District o f Colum­
bia, or in either o f the said Territories.
This act to take effect 1st February, 1842.
S ec. 17. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and
after the first day of February next.
Approved, August 19th, 1841.

The Boole Trade.





1. — America; Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive. By J. S. B uckingham. E sq.
2 vols. 8vo. pp. 514, 516. N ew Y ork: Harper & Brothers. 1841.
The opinion pretty generally expressed by the public and the press in rela­
tion to these Travels, is, we think, correct— that, setting aside the author’s
egotism, prolixity, and occasional mistakes, he has made a very readable book,
containing much interesting and useful matter, collected from a great variety
o f sources, and evincing, so far as English prejudice will allow, an honest de­
sire to be just and impartial. The fact that all foreigners look upon us, our
country, and our institutions, through the medium o f principles and opinions
formed under a system o f things but little in harmony with our own, should
moderate our indignation and surprise at the seeming unfairness o f many o f
their representations, while this very circumstance may enable them to see our
real defects in a truer light than they can appear to ourselves. This remark we
would apply to Mr. Buckingham’s book, in which, if there be some things
which startle us by their erroneousness or absurdity, there are others which
we may turn to no small advantage, in discovering and correcting actual faults
o f character. Besides an excellent portrait, the work is embellished with a
number o f engravings.
2. — Facts in Mesmerism, with Reasons for a dispassionate Inquiry into it. By
the Rev. C hauncy H are T ownsend , A. M., late of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
1 vol. 12mo. pp. 388. New York : Harper & Brothers. 1841.
This is a startling book, and whether the reader be a believer in animal
magnetism or not, he will find in it much to excite his wonder, and puzzle his
reason. As for ourselves, we have never had much faith in the marvellous
stories told in relation to this subject, being inclined rather to look upon it as
a mixture o f jugglery and delusion; but w e must confess that the Rev. author
relates things hard to be accounted for or understood. There is a great ap­
pearance o f fairness throughout the work, and the character of the author
would seem to forbid our discrediting his facts. Our readers must buy the
book and judge for themselves. It contains, as Bulwer observes, “ experiments
as marvellous as any of the theories of the astrologer.”

3. — The Dahlia, or Memorial of Affection, for 1842. Edited by a Lady. 18ma
pp. 180. New York: James P. Giffing. 1841.
This is really one o f the prettiest annuals designed for the approaching
Christmas and New Year gifts we have seen. The engravings are well done,
and good taste and judgment are evinced in the selection of the subjects. The
tales, sketches, and poems, are from well known and favorite authors, both in
this country and England, pure in sentiment, and chaste and beautiful in style.
Though designed for young persons, it contains much that will gratify and
improve the more matured mind o f the adult.

4. — The Peasant and the Prince. By H arriet M artineau . New Y o rk : D.
Appleton & Co. 18mo. pp. 174. 1841.
5. — The Poplar Grove; or Little Harry and his Uncle Benjamin: a tale for
youth. By E sther C opley , author o f “ Early Friendships,” &c. D. Appleton & Co. 18mo. pp. 178. 1841.
These excellent books are the last published o f Appleton’s series o f “ Tales
for the People and their children.” The intellectual character o f the series,
thus far, is much above the ordinary standard, and their moral tendency un­
6. — The Siege of Derry, or Sufferings of the Protestants: a tale o f the Revolution.
By C harlotte E lizabeth . N ew Y ork : John S. Taylor &. Co. 12mo. pp.

292. 1841.

Commercial Regulations.




I n Russia, an imperial manifest, dated 1st of July, 1839, re-established the silver
standard of currency in that country as the lawful medium for the valuation of property,
fixing the 1st of January, 1840, as the time from which the new system should be fully
and generally adopted throughout the empire, in lieu of the old bank note or paper
roubles; the latter were, by the same decree, to remain in circulation as a mere auxili­
ary medium of payment, at an invariable rate of 3£ roubles bank notes for 1 rouble
silver. The amount o f these old bank notes not having in latter times been increased,
and proving rather insufficient for supplying the wants of the country of a convenient
paper medium of circulation, new additional bank notes representing silver, (probably
intended to supersede the old ones by degrees,) were created by establishing a silverdeposit office at the Commercial Bank of St. Petersburgh, under the superintendence
and management of a mixed board of directors, composed of government bank officers
and respectable first-class merchants, which is empowered to receive voluntary deposits
of specie, and to issue in lieu thereof silver-deposit-cash-notes, payable to bearer on de­
mand, the deposits received having to be held by the board untouched, at the constant
disposal of the notes so issued. This deposit-cash began its operations in January, 1840,
and has since been very busy receiving deposits as well as exchanging notes for specie.
These important decrees, by which the Russian monetary and bank note system has
probably been raised to an insuperable degree of perfection, having produced an entire
change in commerce, relative to matters of account, and the future calculation of goods
by the silver standard, at courses of exchange in foreign money, now quoted for the
silver rouble, have— along with the conversion of all duties, rates, and expenses of mer­
chandise into silver— given rise to the publication in London, of the “ Russia Trader’s
Assistant,” from which we derive for publication in our magazine the following practical
information, concerning Russian moneys, weights and measures, the course o f exchange,
hills o f exchange, $ c. The most implicit confidence may be placed in the information,
as the work comes out under the sanction of the British Factory at St. Petersburgh, and
is approved by the leading merchants of that city.


1. The Silver Standard—2. Silver Coins—3. Gold Coins—4. Copper Coins—5. Old Bank Notes—6. New
Bank Notes—7. Platina Coins—8. Fixed Value of Foreign Gold Coins in Circulation—9. Fixed Value
o f Foreign Silver Coins in Circulation.

1. The imperial manifest of 1st July, 1839, enacts:— That all property shall be valued,
the prices o f merchandise shall be fixed, and books and accounts shall be kept in the
coined S ilver R ouble of 100 C opecks, as the standard of lawful money.
2. The coined silver rouble contains 4 zolotniks 21 parts Russian weight of pure sil­
ver, with 61^£ parts alloy. The other Silver coins by the same standard are pieces of
150, 75, 50, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, and 5 copecks each. Besides this, the following lawful
moneys circulate as legal tenders of payment, viz :—
3. The coined gold rouble, containing 27 parts pure gold, in coined pieces of 10, 5,
3, and 1 rouble each; and 100 roubles of gold are enacted to be equal to 103 roubles of
4. The coined copper money in pieces of 10, 5, 2, 1, and £ copecks each, of which
350 copecks are enacted to be reckoned equal to one silver rouble.
5. The old bank notes or paper roubles, called “ Imperial Bank Assignments,” repre­
senting the copper coin, in notes of 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, and 5 roubles each; and 3$
such roubles are enacted to be invariably equal to one silver rouble.
VOL. V .— N O . I V .


Commercial Regulations.


6 . The new bank notes, representing silver roubles, to be from the 1st January, 1840,
issued by a special deposit bank against cash paid in as deposit, payable to bearer on
demand without interest; and the deposits made are to be kept untouched, at the con­
stant disposal of the notes issued.

7. The coined platina money in pieces of 12, 6 , and 3 roubles each, equivalent to the
same number of silver roubles. A platina piece of 3 roubles contains 2 zolotniks 41 parts
o f pure platina metal.
8 . The following foreign gold coins may be taken in payment at the undermentioned .
prices, fixed by government, viz :—
Standard Weight.
z. p.
z. p.
fine at 9 Ro. 84 Co.
40 francs pieces....... 3 2 not less than 3 1 assay
...1 49 .......... .......... 1 48 ... .. do. .. ... 4 “ 92 tl
Sardinian 20 lires pieces ... ..1 49 ......... ..........1 48 ...
. . . 4 “ 92 “
10 dollars pieces... ..3 12 ........ ........ 3 11 ... .. do. ... ...1 0
“ 231 tt
. . . 5 “ H i ti
“ ... ..1 54 ........ ..........1 53 ...
..3 10 .......... .......... 3
9 ... .. do. ... ...1 0 “ 17f tt
Hanoverian 10
... 5 “
81 tt
“ ... ..1 53 .......... .......... 1
9 ... .. do. ... ...1 0 “ 17} it
“ ... ..3 10 .......... .......... 3
“ ... ..1 53 .......... ..........1 52 ...
... 5 “
81 tt
Spanish doubloons.................... ...6 32 ........ ........ 6 31 ..." •• M l - ...19 “ 924 tt
Austrian sovereigns d’or........... ...2 58 ........ .......... 2 57 ... .. Ml - ... 8 “ 69} “

9. The following foreign silver coins may likewise be taken in payment at the under­
mentioned rates, fixed by government, viz :—
z. p.
Dutch dollars................................standard weight, 6 54 assay |-f £ fine at 1 Ro. 33£ Co.
French 5 francs pieces..........
.. i “ 24
5 81
Prussian dollars..................
5 21
Saxon and Bavarian dollars..
6 53 ........... 97.9
-----8 3 o
“ 41!
Swedish specie dollars..........
6 82 ........... 9 6 3 ••• .. i
8 3
Danish specie dollars............
6 72
.. i “ 38}
Brabant dollars.......................
i “ 39
6 83 ........... 9 6
•••• ..
Austrian dollars.....................
6 55 ......... 19 96
.. i “ 28}
Spanish piastres,................. ..
6 29 ......Mi .. i “ 33
4 8.
Pieces of 20 Creutzers..........
1 48
N. B.— An assay of f f means: that in 96 zolotniks, or 1 pound of bullion, there
8 6 zol. of pure gold or silver; the rest being base metal or alloy of no value.

10. The Standard o f Weight compared with British Weights.

The standard of weight is the Russian pound of 32 loths, or 96 zolotniks (gold
grains;) a zolotnik being subdivided into 96 parts. 1000 Russian pounds are equal to
1095,9 pounds British imperial troy, and 903 pounds imperial avoirdupois weight. Mer­
chandise is also sold by the berkowetz of 400 lb., equal to 361,2 lb. imperial a. d. p .; or
by the pood of 40 lb., equal to 36,12 lb. imperial a. d. p .; 10 poods making 1 berkowetz.
1 ton of 2240 lb. imperial a. d. p. should weigh 62 poods
£ lb. Russian.
1 cwt. of 1 1 2 ....................................................... 3 ............ 4
1 quar. of 2 8 ....................................................... .— ...........31
And this is the proportion assumed by the customhouses in Russia, for declaring the
equivalency of British weight in bills of entiy of goods imported.

Commercial Regulations.



11. The Standard of Long Measure compared with British, and the Deal Measure—12. The Standard
o f Liquid Measure, compared with British—13. The Standard o f Dry or Corn Measure, compared with

11. The standard of long measure is the arshine of 16 vershoks; 3 arshines making
1 fathom or sajene. 1000 Russian arshines are equal to 778 British yards, or 1000 yards
equal to 1286 arshines, vyhich is the proportion assumed by the Russian customhouses.
Deals and battens are measured by the British foot; 72 feet running measure of deal,
3 inches thick, and 11 inches wide, making one standard dozen, and 10 dozens 1 stand­
ard hundred.
12. The standard of liquid measure is the Russian vedro of 4 chetveriks, at 8 krushkas
each; a botchka or cask contains 13£ ankers, or 40 vedros, or 160 chetveriks, or 320
krushkas. 1000 Russian vedros are equal to 2710 imperial gallons, or 1000 imperial
gallons to 369 vedros, which is the proportion assumed at the customhouses.
13. The standard of dry or corn measure is the chetverik; 8 chetveriks making 1
chetvert, by which grain is sold. 1000 chetveriks being of the same solid contents as
720 bushels, 1000 chetverts should measure out 720 imperial quarters, which is the pro­
portion assumed at the customhouses; but linseed and wheat are seldom found to yield
more than 700, at the most 710 quarters from the ship’s side; while oats generally ren­
der .710 quarters, or thereabouts.

14. Foundation of the Current Exchange—15. Foundation o f the intrinsic par—1G. Shows how the in
trinsic par is to be found—17. Value o f Russian Coin sent to London—18. Value of British Gold sent
to St. Petersburg!)—19. Value of British Silver in Russia—20. Calculation o f Silver in Bars, imported
from Hamburg into St. Petersburg!)—21. Account of Nett Proceeds of Hamburg Silver, realized at St
Petersburg!)—22. Influence of the Balance of Trade on the Exchange, with quotations—23. Table o f
the Value o f £1 to £100,000 in Russian Silver, and of S. Ro. 1 to 100,000 in British Pence, at progres­
sive Courses of Exchange—24. Use of the Table in Calculations—25. Table o f Equivalents o f the Old
Bank Notes and New Silver Prices.

14. The course of exchange in Russia, for bills drawn there against ready cash, pay,
able in London at three months after date, is, by private contract between the drawers
and remitters, fixed and quoted at so many pence sterling, (gold,) for one rouble silver;
and founded on the par of exchange between both countries. It fluctuates periodically
above or under that par, according to the circumstances, that alternately influence the
bill market; the demand for bills preponderating at one, and the demand for money at
another time, thus producing a current exchange, or market price of the silver rouble in
British sterling pence, on which the cost of goods bought in Russia, and the nett proceeds
of goods sold there, are dependant.
15. In order to ascertain whether the current exchange be advantageous or disad­
vantageous to the British merchant, in either of the above-mentioned cases, it is in the
first place necessary to know the intrinsic par, or metallic equivalency of the standard
currencies of both countries; and then to take into account the loss or saving of time,
occasioned by the usance; together with the saving of risk and expenses that would be
incurred by the transmission of bullion, or of sums of coined money of the one country,
for converting it into the coined lawful money of the other, where the payment has to
be made.
16. The standard of currency in Great Britain being the pound sterling of gold,
coined as a sovereign ; and that in Russia, the coined rouble of silver ; the intrinsic par
between both is found by the following proportions, viz :— a troy pound of mint gold,
containing 4 6 | f sovereigns of y^- fine gold, is equal to 80 zol. 28f parts, Russian
weight of contents of fine gold ; 27 zol. fine, give, one rouble gold in Russia, and 100
roubles gold are there, by law, equal to 103 roubles silver; the problem of calculation
accordingly stands thus:—

Commercial Regulations.



roubles silver
1 rouble gold
7708} parts fine gold
1 sovereign



rouble silver, how many pence 7
roubles gold.
parts fine gold.
4 6 f f sovereigns.
pence sterling.


=Intrinsic par 38e94 pence.
17. If silver roubles in Russia were exchanged there for gold, and the gold were sent
over to London for conversion into British sovereigns, for payment to the British mer­
chant, this operation would involve the loss of at least one month’s interest, with the ex­
penses of commission, premium of insurance, freight, charges, and allowance for coin­
age : assuming these charges to amount together to 2 per cent or £f d. per rouble ; and
deducting so much from the intrinsic value, found to be 38g\d. in gold, the remaining
nett proceeds of a silver rouble would only be 37§d., as available payment in London,
one month after date of its investment in gold at St. Petersburgh; and 37|d. would thus
appear to be an equivalent exchange, if, instead of the investment in foreign gold to be
sent over, the silver rouble were laid out at St. Petersburgh in a remittance per draft on
London, payable there at one month’s date. But, as it is customary at St. Petersburgh to
make such remittances in bills payable at three months’ date, the calculation of an equivalent exchange for such usance requires an addition of interest for the extra two months
of later payment by bill, which, at the rate of 5 per cent per annum, makes f per cent,
or ^ d . Per rouble, and establishes the equivalent of a silver rouble to be 37 y^d. in
bills, payable in London at three months’ date, as the standard par of exchange at St.
18. If, on the other hand, British gold were sent over from London to St. Petersburgh,
to be there converted into Russian gold coins, and these gold coins exchanged for or
valued by silver roubles, in payment to the Russian merchant, for produce shipped by
him, the operation would involve the loss of one month’s interest with charges as above,
assumed at 2$ or fy d . per rouble in addition to its intrinsic equivalency of 38g9yd. of
gold, requiring thus 38f-|d. to be sent over to cover the payment of one silver rouble at
St. Petersburgh; instead of its being drawn for there, against ready cash, payable in
London 3 months after date; and this benefit of usance being additionally forgone by
sending gold, its equivalent in interest, being
per cent or ^yd. per rouble, has further
to be added in calculation, to the cost already found at 38|f d .; bringing the equivalent
of the silver rouble to 39f|d. per bills, payable in London three months after date, as
the standard par of exchange at St. Petersburgh. From this it further follows, that it is
not profitable to import British gold at St. Petersburgh, unless the current exchange there
rule above 39|fd. at three months’ date, the loss by interest and charges being merely
counterbalanced by that rate.
19. It has further to be observed, that no intrinsic par can properly be established be­
tween the Russian and British silver coins, the troy pound of 12 ounces mint silver be­
ing coined into 66 shillings, or 5s. 6 d. per ounce, while in the London market the price
of standard or mint silver varies between 4s. 9d. and 5s. only, and is seldom worth even
the latter rate, which accordingly is the utmost that the British merchant could esteem
Russian silver to be worth to him. But between British mint silver and Russian silver
coin, a conditional par may be established by the following proportions, namely— a troy
pound of mint silver, assumed at a market price of 5s. per standard ounce, stands in 60
shillings sterling, and contains 11 oz. 2 dwt. pure silver, equal to 7778£ parts Russian
weight, of which 405 parts go to 1 silver rouble, producing 19j silver roubles. The
equivalent of one silver rouhle would accordingly be 37£d. sterling, and the loss of in­
terest wi&a expenses of importing it into Russia being assumed at l£d., the cost at St.

Commercial Regulations.


Petersburgh, to be covered by remittances in bills at three months’ date, would be 39d.
sterling per silver rouble.
Considerable quantities of silver in bars being imported into St. Petersburgh from
Hamburg, by way of Lubeck, per steamers, we think it right to give the following cal­
culation of such an operation, (founded on a real transaction,) supposing it to have taken
place for London account:—
5 casks silver bullion held 14 bars, which weighed in Hamburg 1709 marks, 1 loth, and
were assayed there as containing 1689 marks, 6 loths, 11 grains fine, and which,
bought at Bco. m. 27 12, stood in.......................................................... Bco. m. 46881 4
This prime cost, reckoned at 13m. 5*. per £ . makes....... .£3521 2s. 6 d» stlg.
(]689 mx 6 i„ 11 g. being equal to 12,695f troy ounces pure silver, the
ounce came to 5s. 6£d.stlg.)

Insurance on Bco. m. 47730, at \ per cent................................... Bco. m. 119 6
Commission on ditto
at £ per cent....................................
59 11
Brokerage on ditto
at | per cent.....................................
59 11
Stamp and policy..........................................................................
22 8
261 4
Casks and expenses................................... . .................................... Bco. m. 28
Commission f per cent....................................................................
Expenses to and at Lubeck.............................................................
Brokerage of drafts on London 1 per mille....................................



387 8

Cost at Hamburg.......................................... Bco. m. 47530 0
2d August, drawn for on London at one month date, (due 5th Sept.) at
an exchange of 13m. 5s. per £ . in.„............................................................ .£3570
Against which the remittance of the nett proceeds from St. Petersburgh,
procured there the 25th August, O. S., at three months’ date, fell due in
London on the 9th December ; the 95 days interest incurred at 5 per
cent per annum, make.....................
Freight and charges at St. Petersburgh, as under, sil. ro. 217 84c. at 40d.



9 3
6 2

Total cost............................... £3653 2 0
The prime cost at Hamburg being only £3521 2s. 6 d., the expenses incurred accord­
ingly amounted to £131 19s. 6 d., or 3| per ct., inclusive of I f per ct. for commissions.
These 14 bars silver weighed at St. Petersburgh 976 lb. 12 z. fine, per assay o f
the Hamburg bank, and were found to be equal to 961 lb. 84z. 77p. fine, per assay at
the Russian mint, to be paid for in ready coin, at the fixed rate of 22f silver roubles per
lb., making silver ro. 21882 84co. received, which at the exchange of 40d. per rouble,
amounted to...................................................................................................... £3647 2 10
The charges deducted at St. Petersburgh were:—
Freight from Lubeck per steamer, Bco. m. 129 1 at 38§s... 58 38
Landing, entry, and delivering at the mint........................... 43 0
Commission on sil. ro. 21882 84c. at f per cent.................. 109 41
Postages..................................................................................... 7 5
Sil. Ro. 217 84at40d.




Nett proceeds........................£3610 16 &
Remitted for 25th August, O. S., in bills at 3 months’ date, to cover the Hamburg draft
of £3570 6 s. 7d., making, with interest in London, £3616 15s. lOd. Accordingly an
exchange of no less than 40
per silver rouble was required.
The annual balance of trade between Great Britain and Russia, being considerably
in favor of the latter country, the Russian exchange on London generally rules above the
par of 39|f d., particularly during the height of the shipping season; and is only reduced
to that par, or brought under it, when a high course has attracted a considerable im­


Commercial Regulations.

portation of foreign gold and silver, counterbalancing the excess of the exportation o f
produce. During the winter season, between December and May, it sometimes happens
that Russia has more to remit for to Great Britain and the continent, than to draw in ;
and when that is the case, the exchange is found to rule under the par of 39-ffd.; but
such decline seldom exceeds 2 per cent, while the advance above par in autumn, has in
some years been found to reach 5 to 8 per cent; particularly when there is a demand
for Russian corn. This summer (1839) we received pretty considerable supplies of fo­
reign gold and silver; and, since the re-establishment of the silver standard of currency,
the course of exchange has not varied much. The quotations at St. Petersburgh on
London were— on the 11th July, O. S., 3 9 f£ d .; the 11th August, 40 to 39|d.; the 12th
September, 39y9g- to £d.; the 13th October, 39j-^d.; the 10th November, 38f to ^d.;
the 17th November, 38^d.; and the 1st December, 38£ to 38§d. per silver rouble.
23. Table, showing the value of £1 to <£100,000 sterling, in silver copecks; and o f
Rouble 1 to 100,000 silver, in pence British sterling, at progressive courses o f ex­
change, fo r simplifying the arithmetical operation o f conversion :—
Value of
Ro. 1 to
Value o f £1 to
Ro. 100,000
Exchange. £100,000 in
silver in
silver copecks.
pence ster­

38 *
3 8 jf



Value o f
Ro. 1 to
£1 to
£100,000 in Ro. 100,000

Value o f

silver copecks.


4 11#



silver in
pence ster­


Commercial Regulations.


With reference to the foregoing table, the value of any given sum may, at any
given exchange, be easily calculated by the rule of decimal fractions. If, for instance,
the given course be 39f$d. per silver rouble, look for it in the table, and you will find


s. d.
0 3 3§
1 13 0 {
16 10 8 f
165 7 3$
1,653 12 11
16,536 9 2

S. R. Co.
Ro. S.
qq 6 8 7 5 (
1 makes
1 makes
‘,J 10 0 0 0
qqfi 8 7 5 0
10 ..
60.47TV .
1 0 0 ...........
604.72 nr-- .........
1000 ........... ,
1000 .. ... 6,047.24tV ..........
39,687 r5o°o
10000 .. ....60,472.44to .......... 10000 ........... . 396,875/0
100000 .. ...604,724.41
. .......... 10 0000 ........... .3,968,750

Further: Wanted the amount of £525, at 39fd. ? Solution : Multiply by 60,377,358 ;
divide by 100,000, and you get S. Ro. 3169 81$ cop. Wanted the amount of S. Ro.
2325, at 39}^d. ? Solution: multiply by 3981,250, divide by 100,000, and you get
92564$d., or X385 13s. 8 $d. Expert calculators well know, that in decimals, both the
multiplicator and divisor may be shortened, by striking off from each such an equal num­
ber of figures from the right side, as will reduce the decimal fraction to hundredth, in­
stead of the hundredth thousandth parts of copecks or pence, implied by the table, thereby
shortening the operation. For instance: if the above multiplicators be only assumed,
60377$ or 3981$, then the corresponding divisor is only 100, producing the same results,
within a scarcely perceptible difference in the last fraction of a copeck or penny.
Although it is enacted, that the prices of merchandise are to be fixed in silver
roubles, yet, the old bank note roubles remaining in circulation, as an auxiliary tender
of payment, at the invariable rate of 3$ Ro. for 1 S> R o .; it may frequently occur, that
prices be quoted in bank notes, without mentioning their silver equivalents, at which
accounts have to be made out. In order to facilitate the checking of the latter, we
think it right to give the following
Table of Equivalents o f the Old Bank Notes and New Silver Prices.
E Q U IV A L E N T .

E Q U IV A L E N T .

E Q U IV A L E N T .

E Q U IV A L E N T .


E Q U IV A L E N T .

B .N . Silver. B. N. Silver. 1 B .N . Silver. B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver. , B. N. Silver.


S -1
^ 2

3 4







3 14







2 4




3 4


3 4





3 4

4 4

4 4
5 4





6 4
6 4
7 4
7 4

9 4


















2 3$




2 7$

Commercial Regulations*


T able of E quivalents of Old B ank N otes and N ew S ilver P rices.— Continued,




E Q U IV A L E N T .


B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver. B. N. Silver.






47 ?








96. Description of Legal Bills in Russia—27. Responsibility by Bills—28. When and how Bills are to be
presented for Acceptance—29. Drawers bound to give security in case o f Non-acceptance Abroad—
30. The Maturity o f Bills at Sight and Usances; Exchange o f Payment—31. Days of Grace—32. Pro­
test for Non-payment—33. Bills protested, when to be recovered—34. The Action to be brought
against the Debtor—35. Pain of Imprisonment in Default of Payment—36. Penalties levied on Protested
Bills—37. List of Stamp Duties on Inland and Foreign Bills—38. Translated Form of a sole Inland
Bill—39. Attestation of Signature and Indorsement—40. Rate o f Discount on Inland Bills; Legal and
Bank Interest.

26. The Russian law distinguishes :— 1st, sole inland bills, as obligations of payment,
issued by a debtor to the order of a creditor, and in which the former is, in one person,
drawer, drawee, and acceptor; acknowledging to have received full value from the
creditor in cash or goods; and 2 d, drafts in first, second, third, &c., bills, issued by a
drawer on a drawee, to the order of a taker or remitter; from whom the value is re­
ceived, in cash, or in goods, or in account, at one place, on condition of payment at
another. Both kinds of bills must be drawn on proper stamps; but drafts on foreign
countries pay only half of the stamp duty imposed on sole inland bills.
27. Merchants only are allowed to bind themselves by, to draw, and accept bills. A
bill may be granted also to the order of a person who is not a merchant; and such per­
son may be the owner and holder of the bill, till maturity, for receiving payment; but
cannot transfer or indorse it otherwise than “ without recourse.” A mercantile holder
may indorse a bill fully, or merely in blank, as he thinks fit. All mercantile indorsers
of a bill are responsible “ in sols’dum,” the same as the drawer and acceptor; unless
the indorsement bear “ without recourse.” An indorser of a bill, having become so as-

Commercial Regulations.


agent o f the indorsee, in procuring the bill by order and for account of the latter, is not
responsible for the drawer or preceding indorser, to such indorsee, except if he have
engaged to guarantee; but he is answerable to other indorsees, succeeding the one for
whom he had bought the bill.
28. A bill received for acceptance must be presented by the holder within 24 hours
after receipt, say at latest on the following day, Sundays and holidays excepted. Bills
drawn at sight must be presented for payment within 12 months, or forfeit the bill right.
A drawee must grant or refuse acceptance within 24 hourq after presentation. Bills
drawn abroad on merchants in Russia, when presented for acceptance, must be accom­
panied by a copy on an adequate Russian stamp, upon which the drawer has to write
his acceptance.
29. A remitter, receiving advice from his correspondent of the non-acceptance of a
remittance made hy him, is entitled to demand security from the drawer or preceding
indorser, until the acceptance is granted.
30. A bill drawn 44 at sight,” is payable within 24 hours after acceptance, (if no days
of grace be craved.) A bill drawn simply “ at usance,” is due in 15 days from presen­
tation and acceptance, (if no days of grace be craved.) Bills drawn on Russia in foreign
money are payable in Russiaq currency, either at the exchange mentioned in or on the
bill; or if none be mentioned, at the current course quoted upon ’change on the last bill
day preceding maturity.
31. Bills drawn payable 44 at sight,” are allowed three, anc( those made payable at
usances after sight or date, or simply a t 44 a usance,” enjoy ten days of grace, including
Sundays and holidays ; except if the last day be such a one : in that case 4 and 11 days
respectively are granted, counting the same from the first day qfter maturity.
32. Protest for non-payment must be made on the last day of grace, before sunset,
against the acceptor and indorsers. After the acceptor, the la§t indorser is in turn first
applied to for payment; if he refuse it also, the claim is then made on the next indorser,
and so on to the first, mentioning all of them in the protest. But bills which remained
without acceptance till maturity, have to be protested on the last day of maturity, with,
out benefit of days o f grace. In sole inland bills the signature of the drawer is also the
acceptance, and the protest for non-payment to be levied on the last day of grace.
33. All the partners of a firm are 44 in sols’dund’ answerable for an acceptance granted
by any one o f them, which has the signature of the firm. The payment of a bill pro­
tested for non-payment must be qlaimed and enforced by proceedings at law, within two
years after protest; if this be not done, the benefit of coercion by bill right is forfeited,
and it becomes a simple claim by promissory note. Bills not drawn on, or not presented
for acceptance with a copy, on regular stamps, cannqt be protested, and besides becoming
simple promissory notes, the drawer is liable to a fine for having evaded the stamp duty.
34. An action to be brought against the drawer, acceptor, or indorser of a bill under
protest for non-payment, has to be filed in the Police Court, who demand immediate
payment of the b ill; and if not forthwith discharged, proceed directly in seizing and
realizing a sufficiency of the debtor’s property, if such can be found ; the debtor having
in the mean while to find bail, in default whereof he is taken into custody.
35. If no property belonging to the debtor be discoverable, or if what is found prove
insufficient for discharging his debt, the bail found by him is done away with, and he is
sentenced to suffer pain of imprisonment; the duration of which for a sum exceeding
300 silver roubles, is two years. After the expiration of that term, his personal liberty
is restored to him; but he remains answerable for the debt with such property as he
may subsequently acquire or inherit. In all cases of non-payment, a debtor is besides
V OL. V .7 —NO.




Commercial Regulations.

liable to be declared insolvent, by an action to be brought against him in the Commer­
cial Court, or the Magistracy; where he is called to account, and subjected to the for­
malities and penalties provided by the insolvency laws. These laws we shall give in a
future number of this magazine.
36. The amount of sole inland bills, recovered through the Police Court alone, is due
with the addition of 2 per cent for loss of interest, and 2 per cent more, as simple penalty
for irregular payment. But if the Commercial Court have also to interfere with pro­
ceedings or a sentence, then the addition is double, say 4 per cent for interest, and 4
per cent more for penalty. The amount of returned drafts on or from foreign parts, when
recovered under protest, is claimed by an account of principal of value paid; with the
addition of legal interest, expenses and difference of exchange, incurred by re-draft, as
customary among merchants.
37. The stamp duty on sole inland bills is levied by the following scale of sums, re­
quired to be drawn; which stamps may severally be used for double the amount at the
same duty, for drafts on foreign parts, viz
S.R o.
S .R o.
S.R o.
For a sum of 1 to 150 the duty is fV For a sum of 3001 to 4500 the duty is 9.
4501 to 6000 ........ ........ 12 .
151 to 300 .......
1 i.
6001 to 7500 ........ ........ 15.
301 to 900 .......


901 to 1500 ....... ........ 3
“ 1501 to 2000 ....... ........ 4 }
“ 2001 to 3000 ....... ........ 6



7501 to 9000 ........ ........ 18.
9001 to 10000 ........ ........ 2 1 .
10001 to 12000 ........ ........ 24.

For a sum of S. R. 12001 to 13000 the duty is S. R. 27, and for a sum of S. Ro. 13001
to 15000 the duty is S. Ro. 30. The stamps for seconds and thirds of any sum, cost
Ro. S. each.
38. Translation of a sole inland bill:—
St. Petersburgh, the 1st August, 1839.
Bill for 2000 Silver Roubles.
At the expiration of six months from this first day of August, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and thirty-nine, I am bound to pay at St. Petersburgh, by this my bill of
exchange, to the St. Petersburgh merchant, (or foreign guest,) of the first guild, Henry
Dawson, or to his order, two thousand roubles silver, which sum I have received from
him in full in goods, (or, in money.) Michael Peter’s son Dmitrieff, Kaluga merchant
o f the second guild.
39. It is in the option of the taker of such a bill, to let the drawer’s signature be at­
tested thereon by a notary public, or not. In transfer the indorsement may be made
cither in full or in blank; the latter mode is most customary in discount business; but
it is of course optional with the taker of a bill by indorsement from a second or third
holder, to require the former, as an additional security; each indorsee named having to
sign next as an indorser in turn.
40. The rate of discount in Russia for inland bills, transferred with one or more re­
sponsible indorsements, varies between 6 £ and 9 per cent per annum, but when a bill is
taken without recourse on the indorser, an additional allowance is made according to
the character and standing of the drawer. The simple legal interest for private loans is
6 per cent per annum. The loan and commercial banks of government, receiving volun­
tary private deposits of money to be invested in bank obligations, bearing interest, and
made payable on demand per indorsement, allow only 4 per cent per annum interest,
after the expiration of six months; with compound interest after a year, the principal
and interest being payable, together, as accumulated. Immense amounts of floating
capital are constantly invested in these bank obligations, which supply the place of
bankers, every merchant having to keep his own cash in Russia. These obligations
circulate in the whole empire.

Commercial Tables.




F R E N C H C O IN S .
Table, showing the weights o f the existing coins o f France, with their diameters,
etc., etc., etc.
LA W .





40 franc p ie c e s ,............
20 “

















■ sl



5 franc p ie c e s ,............
2 “



1 f. 75 c.
1 f. 50 c .
1 f. 25 c .





10 centime pieces, . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .


10 centime pieces,







p iJ



~ § s


*** Coins formed o f the same metal, and o f the same value, are rigor­
ously o f the same diameter and thickness; and when the value o f one
pile is known, the contents o f any other number o f piles o f the same
height may readily be determined, as they contain the same number o f

Hence, from this exactness, the French measures o f length may

be ascertained with a tolerable degree o f accuracy by means o f coins.
For example, a metre is equal to a pile o f—
32 pieces o f 40 francs, and 8 pieces o f 20 francs.
11 pieces o f 40 francs, and 34 pieces o f 20 francs.
19 pieces o f 5 francs, and 11 pieces o f 2 francs.
20 pieces o f 2 francs, and 20 pieces o f 1 franc.
20 pieces o f 5 centimes, and 20 pieces o f 1 franc.
7 pieces o f 10 centimes, and 29 pieces o f 5 centimes.















0 .5 5 1 170
1 .1 0 3 180
1 1.654| 190
1 2 .2 0 5 200
4 .4 1 1 210
6 .6 1 6 220
8 .8 2 2 230
5 1 1 .0 2 7 240
6 1 3 .2 3 3 250
7 1 5 .4 3 8 1 2 6 0
8 1 7 .6 4 4 270
9 1 9.8 49 ! 280
10 2 2 .0 5 5 290
20 4 4 .1 2 0 ! 300
30 6 6 .1 6 4 ! 310
40 8 8 .2 1 9 )3 2 0
50 1 1 0 .2 7 4 330
60 1 3 2 .3 2 9 340
70 1 5 4 .3 8 4 350
80 1 7 6 .4 3 8 ! 360
90 1 9 8 .4 9 3 370
1001220.548i 380
1 1 0 2 4 2 .6 0 3 ' 390
1 2 0 2 6 4 .6 5 8 400
1301286.7121 410
140 3 0 8 .7 6 7 420
1501330.822 430
1601352.877 440



3 7 4 .9 3 2
3 9 6 .9 8 6
4 4 1 .0 9 6 !
!4 8 5 .2 0 6
5 5 1 .3 7 0
5 7 3 .4 2 5
6 1 7 .5 3 4
6 3 9 .5 8 9
6 6 1 .6 4 4
7 0 5 .7 5 4 !
7 2 7 .8 0 8
7 4 9 .8 6 3 !
7 7 1 .9 1 8
7 9 3 .9 7 3
8 1 6 .0 2 8 '
8 6 0 .1 3 7
8 8 2 .1 9 2 !
!9 2 6 .392
9 4 8 .3 5 6
9 7 0 .4 1 1











e© e©
a g
f? 3



! /»
| §




9 9 2 .4 6 6 730 1 6 1 0 .0 0 0
0 .9 8 5
1 .9 6 9
101 4 .5 2 1 740 1 6 3 2 .0 5 5
1 0 3 6 .5 7 6 750 1 6 5 4 .1 1 0 '
2 .9 5 4
1 0 5 8 .6 3 9 760 1 6 7 6 .1 6 5
3 .9 3 8
1 0 8 0 .6 8 5 770 1 6 9 8 .2 2 0 !
4 .9 2 3
1 1 0 2 .7 4 0 780 1 7 2 0 .2 7 4
5 .9 0 8
1 1 2 4 .7 9 5 790 1 7 4 2 .3 2 9
6 .8 9 2
1 1 4 6 .8 5 0 800 1 76 4 .3 8 1
7 .8 7 7
1 1 6 8 .9 0 4 8 1 0 )1 7 8 6 .4 3 9
8 .8 6 1
1 19 0 .9 5 9 820! 1 80 8 .4 9 4 .
9 .8 4 6
1 2 1 3 .0 1 4 830 1 8 3 0 .5 4 8 '
20 1 9 .6 9 2
30 2 9 .5 3 8
1 2 3 5 .0 6 9 8 4 0 1 8 5 2 .6 0 3
1 2 5 7 .1 2 4 850 1 8 7 4 .6 5 8
40 3 9 .3 8 4
1 2 7 9 .1 7 8 860 1 8 9 6 .7 1 3
50 4 9 .2 2 9
60 5 9 .0 7 5
1 3 0 1 .2 3 3 870 1 9 1 8 .7 6 8
1 3 2 3 .2 8 8 880 1 9 4 0 .8 2 2
70 6 8 .9 2 1
1 3 4 5 .3 1 3 890 1 9 6 2 .8 7 7
80 7 8 .7 6 7
1 3 6 7 .3 9 8 900 1 9 8 4 .9 3 2
90 8 8 .6 1 3
1 3 8 9 .4 5 2 910 2 0 0 6 .9 8 7
100 9 8 .4 5 9
1 4 1 1 .5 0 7 920 2 0 2 9 .0 4 2 200 1 9 6 .9 1 8
1 4 3 3 .5 6 2 930 2 0 5 1 .0 9 6 3 0 0 (2 9 5 .3 7 7
400 3 9 3 .8 3 6
1 4 5 5 .6 1 7 940 2 0 7 3 .1 5 1
1 4 7 7 .6 7 2 950 2 0 9 5 .2 0 6 500 4 9 2 .2 9 5
1 4 9 9 .7 2 6 9 6 0 2 1 1 7 .2 6 1
600 5 9 0 .7 5 4
1 5 2 1 .7 8 1 970 2 1 3 9 .3 1 6
700 6 8 9 .2 1 2
1 5 4 3 .8 3 6 9 8 0 )2 1 6 1 .3 7 0 801 ,7 8 7 .6 7 1
1 56 5 .8 9 1 9 9 0 !2 1 8 3 .4 2 5 900 8 8 6 .1 3 0
1 5 8 7 .9 4 6 1 00 0 )2 20 5 .4 8 0 1 0 0 0 )9 84 .5 8 9


52 e©
§ §
!< |


itj (>>


0 .1 1 3 170
0 .2 2 7 180
0 .3 4 0 190
i 0 .4 5 3 200
2 0 .9 0 7 210
3 1 .360 220
4 1 .8 1 4 230
5 2 .2 6 7 240
6 2 .7 2 1 250
7 3 .1 7 4 260
8 3 .6 2 8 270
9 4 .0 8 1 280
10 4 .5 3 4 290
20 9 .0 6 9 300
30 1 3 .6 0 3 310
40 1 8 .1 3 8 320
50 2 2 .6 7 2 330
60 2 7 .2 0 7 310
70 3 1 .7 4 1 350
! 80 3 6 .2 7 6 360
90 40.81C 370
100 4 5 .3 4 5 380
110 4 9.8 7 9 ) 390
120 5 4 .4 1 4 400
130 5 8 .9 4 8 410
140 6 3 .4 8 3 420
1 50(68.017 430
160 7 2 .5 5 2 ! 440










7 7 .0 8 6
8 1 .6 2 1
8 6 .1 5 5
9 0 .6 9 0
9 5 .2 2 4
9 9 .7 5 9
1 0 4 .2 9 3
1 0 8 .8 2 8
1 1 3 .3 6 2
1 1 7 .8 9 6
1 2 2 .4 3 1
1 2 6 .9 6 5
1 3 1 .5 0 0
1 3 6 .0 3 4
1 4 0 .5 6 9
1 4 5 .1 0 3
1 4 9 .6 3 8
1 5 4 .1 7 2
1 5 8 .7 0 7
1 6 3 .2 4 1
1 6 7 .7 7 6
1 7 2 .3 1 0
1 7 6 .8 4 5
1 8 1 .3 7 9
1 8 5 .9 1 4
1 9 0 .4 4 8
1 9 4 .9 8 3
1 9 9 .5 1 7








tS j

s: ‘

K ilo g r a m 's .



M il l ie r s .



450 2 0 4 .0 5 2 730 3 3 1 .0 1 7
1 .0 1 6
460 2 0 8 .5 8 6 740 3 3 5 .5 5 2
2 .0 3 1
470 2 1 3 .1 2 1 750 3 4 0 .0 8 6 1
3 .0 4 7
480 2 1 7 .6 5 5 760 3 4 4 .6 2 0 !
4 .0 6 3
490 2 2 2 .1 9 0 770 3 4 9 .1 5 5 ;
5 .0 7 8
500 2 2 6 .7 2 4 780 3 5 3 .6 8 9
6 .0 9 4
510 2 3 1 .2 5 8 790 3 5 8 .2 2 4
7 .1 1 0
520 2 3 5 .7 9 3 8001362.758
8 .1 2 5
530 2 4 0 .3 2 7 810 3 6 7 .2 9 3
9 .1 4 1
540 2 4 4 .8 6 2 8 2 0 )3 7 1 .8 2 7 1 10
1 0 .1 5 6
550 2 4 9 .3 9 6 830 3 7 6 .3 6 2
2 0 .3 1 3
560 2 5 3 .9 3 1 8 4 0 3 8 0 .8 9 6 1 30
3 0 .4 6 9
570 2 5 8 .4 6 5 850 3 8 5 .4 3 1
0 .6 2 6
580 2 6 3 .0 0 0 8 6 o !3 8 9 .965
5 0 .7 8 2
590 2 6 7 .5 3 4 870 3 9 4 .5 0 0 1 60
6 0 .9 3 9
600 2 7 2 .0 6 9 8 8 0 3 9 9 .0 3 4
7 1 .0 9 5
610 2 7 6 .6 0 3 8 90 (4 0 3 .5 6 9
8 1 .2 5 2
620 2 8 1 .1 3 8 900 4 0 8 .1 0 3 !
9 1 .4 0 8
630 2 8 5 .6 7 2 910 4 1 2 .6 3 8
100 1 0 1 .5 6 5
640 2 9 0 .2 0 7 9 2 0 4 1 7 .1 7 2 ' 200 2 0 3 .1 3 0
650 2 9 4 .7 4 1 930 4 2 1 .7 0 7
300! 3 0 4 .6 9 5
660 2 9 9 .2 7 6 940 4 2 6 .2 4 1
400j 4 0 6 .2 6 0
670 3 0 3 .8 1 0 9 5 0 4 3 0 .7 7 6 ' 500 5 0 7 .8 2 5
6 8 0 :3 0 8 .3 4 5 9 6 0 4 3 5 .3 1 0
600 6 0 9 .3 8 9
690 (3 1 2 .87 9 9 7 0 '4 3 9 .8 4 5 700 7 1 0 .9 5 4
700 '3 1 7 .4 1 4 9 80 (4 4 4.37 9 600 8 1 2 .5 1 9
710 3 2 1 .9 4 8 990 4 4 8 .9 1 4 900 9 1 4 .0 8 4
7 2 0 (3 2 6 .4 8 3 1 0 0 0 4 5 3 .4 4 8 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 .6 4 9

§.<§ >

> c


> *"3


13 509


15.438 760 24.444
15.760 770 24.766
16.082 780; 25.087
16.403 790125.409
4 128.653
16.725 800 25.731
17.047 810 26.052
6 192.979
7 225.143
17.368 820 26.374
17.690 830 26.695
8 257.306
18.011 840 27.017
9 289.469
18.333 850 27.339
10 321.632
18.655 860 27.660
20 643.265
18.976 870 27.982
30 964.897
19.298 880 28.304
40 1286.530
19.620 890! 28.625
50 1608.162
19.941 900 28.947
60 1929.794
20.263 910 29.269
70 2251.427
20.584 920! 29.590
80 2573.059
20.906 930 29.912
90 2894.692
21.228 940 30.233
100 3216.324
21.549 950 30.555 200 6432.648
21.871 960! 30.877
300 9648.972
22.193 970 31.198 400 12865.296]
22.514 980 31.520
500 16081.620
22.836 990 31.842
600 19297.944
23.158 1000 32.163
700 22514.268
800 25730.592
900 28946.916
1000 32163.240



2 0.130

i 0.031 200
2 0.062 210
3 0.093 220

4 0.124
5 0.155
6 0.187
6 0.389
7 0.218
7 0.453
8 0.518
8 0.249
9 0.583
9 0.280
10 0.311
10 0.648
20 1.295
20 0.622
30 0.933
30 1.943
40 1.244
40 2.591
50 1.555
50 3.239
60 1.865
60 3.886
70 4.534
70 2.176
80 2.487
80 5.182
90 5.829
90 2.798
100 6.477 100 3.109
200 12.954 1)0 3.420
300 19.431 120 3.731
400 25.908 130 4.042
500! 32.385 140 4.353
600 38.862 150 4.664
700 45.339 160 4.975
800: 51.816 ' 170 5.286
900 58.293 180 5.596
lOOOl 64.770 190 5.907







ca S























1 1
5 I

<0 J
2 o

14.924 760
15.235 770
15.546 780
15.857 790
16.167 800
16.478 810
16.789 820
17.100 830
17.411 840
17.722 850
18.033 860
18.344 865
18.655 866
18.966 867
19.277 870
19.588 880
19.898 890
20.209 900
20.520 910
20.831 920
21.142 930
21.453 940
21.764 950
22.075 960
22.386 970
22.697 980
23.008 990
23.318 1000


27 .049


4 0.129 230
5 0.161 240
6 0.193 250
7 0.225 260
8 0.257 270
9 0.289 280
10 0.322 290
20 0.643 300
30 0.965 310
40 1.287 320
50 1.608 330
60 1.930 340
70 2.251 350
80 2.573 360
90 2.895 370
100 3.216 330
110 3.538 390
120 3.860 400
130 4.181 410
140 4.503 420
150 4.824 430
160 5.146 440
170 5.468 450
180 5.789 460
190 6.111 470





i 0.032 200
2 0.064 210
3 0.096 220




\ o m h s.




Computed fo r the Merchants' Magazine, agreeably to the Regulations o f the United
States Mint.



Nautical Intelligence.




Rottenest Island, six miles in length, E. by N. and W . by S., with an extreme breadth
'of two miles and a half, has an irregular hummocky surface, not much wooded, and may
now be distinguished from Garden Island and the contiguous main land by a white obe­
lisk, fifteen feet in height, with a pole in the middle, of the same length, which has re­
cently been erected on its highest part, near the centre of the island. This sea mark
being elevated about 157 feet above the level of the sea, may be seen from a ship’s deck
in clear weather, at the distance of seven or eight leagues, and will shortly give place to
a lighthouse of greater elevation. Its position, according to observations in H. M. S.
Beagle, is lat. 32 deg. 0 min. 14 sec. south, long. 115 deg. 29 min. € sec. east from
T o round the island on its north side, a ship should not approach nearer than one mile,
in order to avoid the Horseshoe Rock, which lies three quarters of a mile off shore, at the
distance of two miles north 39 deg. east from the island’s west extremity, and Roes Reef,
situated three quarters of a mile north 16 deg. west from a small rock with a cask beacon
upon it, about half a cable’s length from the island’s northeast point. The beacon is
upon Duck Rock, and the projection near it is Bathurst Point. A ship will be clear to
the northward Of Horseshoe Rock while Duck Rock beacon is kept open of the north
point of Rottenest $ and Roes Reef may be cleared on the north by keeping the west end
o f Rottenest (Cape Vlaming,) open of the north point, until Duck Rock bears south; a
course may then be shaped about E. by S., for a remarkable white sand patch on the
main, which will be distinctly visible three miles and a half north from the entrance to
Swan River ; and when some rocky islets near the southeast side of Rottenest are seen
to the SSW., opening round the east end of another small rock with a cask beacon upon
it, one mile and a quarter SE. i E. from Dutch Ro 6k, a SE. by E. course will conduct
into Gage’s Roads.
Kingston Spit, in front of Thompson’s Bay, extends two miles east from Duck Rock,
and a long mile NE. by E. from tile beacon last mentioned, which has recently been
placed upon Fisherman’s Rock, a small mass o f white rocks about two cables’ length
northeast from the sandy east point of Rottenest Island, distinguished by the name of
Point Philip. T o clear Kingston Spit on the north, keep Duck Rock a little shut into
the south of a bare, pointed hill, near the northern shore of Rottenest; or should the bare
hill not be distinguished, keep the north extreme of Rottenest to the southward of W . £
S .; and to clear Kingston Spit on the south, keep the south extreme of Rottenest (Point
Parker,) open of the next projection to the northeast of it (SW . by W .) Thompson’s
Bay is a fit resort for boats only, being full of shoal rocky patches and sand banks, to the
distance of a mile from the shore, the remainder of Kingston Spit being occupied by foul,
uneven ground, with depths varying between five and two fathoms; near its north and
east edges are seven fathoms, deepening to nine and ten in half a mile. Between Point
Philip and the next projection, a long half mile to the SSW . (Bickley Point,) there is
good shelter in Beagle’s AnchoragO from all the usual northwest and southwest gales of
winter, the best berth being in four fathoms water, sandy ground, nearly half a mile south
from Fisherman’s Rock, and a quarter of a mile northeast from two small rocks called
the Twins; the south point of Rottenest being also in a line with Bickley Point. In
this situation a vessel should moor, on account of the limited space.
On the southeast side of Rottenest there is a good channel, two miles and a half wide,

Nautical Intelligence.


called the southern passage into Gage’s Roads, the only obstruction in it being a patch
o f three fathoms, sand and weeds, called Middle Bank, in line between Point Philip and
the Champion Rocks, at one mile and three quarters from the former, and one mile and
a quarter from the latter. After a gale, the northwest swell round the east end of Rottenest, crossing the ocean roll from the southwest, breaks heavily at this spot, and indi­
cates its position; it may, however, be avoided by borrowing towards the rocky islets
near Rottenest, which have no dangers fronting them beyond a cable’s length; and the
bank is cleared to the eastward when the beacon on Duck Rock opens round to the
northeastward o f that on Fisherman’s Rock. These two beacons in a line lead also
about a cable’s length to the northeast of the Champion Rock, which has only nine feet
water upon it, with four and five fathoms all around. This danger, which lies on the
southeast side of the southern passage, is at the northwest extremity of a collection of
rocks and foul ground that extends two miles and a half N N W . £ W . from the Strag­
glers towards the east end of Rottenest, without any channel among them which can yet
be pronounced safe. In working up for the southern passage with a northerly wind, the
Champion Rock and dangers in its vicinity may be avoided by keeping the high lump
o f rock called the Mewstone, open to the southwest of the largest and highest of the
Stragglers, until the southwest end of Rottenest shuts in round its south point, bearing
about W . £ N. This last mark will carry a ship clear between Champion Rock and
Middle Bank; but should the Mewstone and Stragglers not be satisfactorily distin­
guished, the beacon on Fisherman’s Rock should not be brought to bear more to the
westward than north 30 deg. west by compass, until the southwest point is shut in by
the south point of Rottenest, as before shown.
Henry Evans, o f New Bedford, has invented a machine for the manufacture of ship
cordage, which promises to be a discovery of great value to nautical men, and cannot
fail o f displacing the clumsy contrivances hitherto in use. The machine is of simple
construction, and designed to be o f such size that ten of them may be operated in a room
25 feet by 40, capable o f producing six thousand fathoms of rope per hour. Mr. Evans
has spent much time upon the subject, and has more than once abandoned the idea of
success, but he has at length triumphed. Machines, invented by Mr. E., for spinning
and tarring the yarn, are already in use at the Plymouth Cordage Manufactory. The
present invention makes the apparatus complete, and, as before remarked, it cannot be
other than of great utility and value.
The following authentic communication has been received at the New York Custom­
house, and being regarded as interesting to American navigation in the Mediterranean,
publicity is given to it by Edward Curtis, the Collector of Customs for the Port of New
Y o rk :—
H. B. M. steam vessel Lizard,
T angier B ay , May 12, 1841. J
S ir— I beg to acquaint you, for the information of the masters of vessels trading from
the eastward to Tangier, that there is a rock, not marked in any chart, situated near
Cape Boussa, one mile off shore, on which her majesty’s brig Jasseur struck. Its bear­
ings are the town of Tangier, half open off Cape Malabata, and Cape Boussa SE. ^ E
The least water is 16 feet, at high water, deepening quickly to 5, 7, and 10 fathoms all
around it, leaving a good passage in-shore of the rock. A vessel coming from the east­
ward will be clear of all danger by keeping the town of Tangier quite open off Cape
Lieut, commanding.


Nautical Intelligence.

A late English paper contains an extract from the Dundee Courier, in which it is
stated that a Mr. Wall, of Dundee, has invented a process for t' e protection of copperbottomed vessels from corrosion and decay. The great advantage of the discovery of
Mr. Wall consists in this, that he covers the copper with a thin coating of a poisonous
composition, which, while it completely resists corrosion, by its poisonous qualities also
prevents all destruction to the vessel by marine insects. This composition may be ap­
plied to iron, zinc, or any other cheap metal, which', when coated over with it, preserves
ships as well as copper does. The prepared zinc is about one half, and the iron about
one third the expense of copper. Certificates in evidence of these facts have been ob­
tained from the officers of Sheerness dockyard, and from Professor Daniell, and other
distinguished chemists ; and it is furthermore stated that Mr. Wall’s composition has
been found in practice a complete safeguard to vessels for a period of not less than three
years, while sailing in those latitudes where the marine insects are known to be most
destructive. Mr. Wall’s composition is now also extensively used as a coating for iron
bolts and nails, being found completely to prevent their corrosion.

This dangerous shoal lies in latitude 37 deg. 9 min. 5 sec. norths and longitude 12 deg.
43 min. 15 sec. east of Greenwich, which was obtained by a series of angles from known
fixed statibns on the coast of Sicily and Pantelleria, the atmosphere not being favorable
for astronomical observations, although those obtained differed very triflingly from above.
The summit or shoal part of the rock is of an oblong form; it lies northwest and south­
east, it is forty fathoms in length, consisting of hard dark-colored pointed rocks with sea
weed, the edge (which was clearly perceptible) is jagged, pointed, and steep. The
least depth of water fotind on it was ten feet, but no doubt much less may be found with
a calm sea. The average depth at the distance of eighty fathers from its centre twenty-five
fathoms cinders, and one quarter of a mile, sixty-five fathoms fine black sand. Fine scol­
lops and other shellfish, with young coral, was dredged up. This shoal is extremely dan­
gerous, from the great depth of water around it, and from the various and strong currents
that prevail in its neighborhood, as well as the difficulty of seeing it, for it is visible only
at a very short distance. Southwest Peak Pantelleria, south 54 deg. west; Peak Campo
Bello, north 5 deg. 50 sec. west; town o f ’Sciacca, north 40 deg. east; Cape Rosello,
north 78 deg. 50 sec. east, from bearings found independent of the compass, variation.
17 deg. 0 min. west. The current set over the lock to east and north, one mile and
three-quarters per hour.

There are many unexplored parts in Bass Straits, and the approaches to King’s Island
are among them. The following danger has not yet appeared in the charts, and mariners
must carefully attend to the account given of it by the Port Philip harbor-master:—
“ Capt. Lewis, the harbor-master, on his late expedition to Kings Island, in Bass
Straits, in aid of the shipwrecked passengers and crew of the Isabella, discovered a very
dangerous rock, nearly level with the sea at low water, and the tide breaking over it at
times at high water. The rock is situated in lat. 40 deg. 9 min. south, seven or eight
miles off the western side of King’s Island. In-shore, three cables’ length, Captain
Lewis found thirteen fathoms’ -water; next cast, no soundings.” —Port Philip


Commercial Statistics.





W e have compiled from a variety of authentic sources, as parliamentary documents,
etc., the following statistics of British manufactures, exhibiting the progress of this branch
of the productive industry of the United Kingdom. The value of the exports, it will be
seen, is carried out in dollars and cents, at the rate of § 4 44 the £ , for the convenience
o f the American reader.
C otton G oods.— The total declared value o f cotton manufactured goods, exported
from British ports, was in 1790..... ....£1,662,369 or $7,380,918 36 1 1837... ...£13,650,583 or $60,608,588 52
1834..... .... 15,347,050 ... 68,140,902 00
1838... ..... 16,700,468 ... 74,150,077 92
1835..... .... 16,421,715 ... 72,912,414 60
1839... ..... 17,692,183 ... 78,553,292 52
1836..... . . . 18,511,692 ... 82,191,912 48 | 1840... ..... 17,567,310 ... 77,998,856 40
L inen G oods.— The declared value of linen manufactured goods exported from the
United Kingdom in the years commencing 5th January, was in—
1834. .......£2,443,344 or $10,848,447 36
1838.... ...£2,919,719 or $12,963,552 36
1839.... ..... 3,414,967 ... 15,162,453 48
1835. ......... 2,992,142 ... 13,285,110 48
1836. ........ 3,326,323 ... 14,768,874 12
1840.... ..... 3,306,088 ... 14,679,030 72
1837. ......... 2,326,323 ... 13,328,874 12 1841...
S ilk G oods.— The declared value o f manufactured silk goods exported from England
in the years commencing January 5, was in
1820. ............£371,775 or $1,650,681 00
1837... ......... £503,673 or $2,236,308 12
749,476 44
1838.... . ........ . 775,031 . . 3,498,857 64
1826. .............. 168,801 .
1834. .............. 637,197 . , 2,829,154 68 1839.... ........... 868,118 . . 3,854,443 92
1840.... ......... . 792,648 . . 3,519,357 12
1835. .............. 973,785 . . 4,323,605 40
1836. ..............917,821 . . 4,075,125 24
A considerable part of these silk goods, it is a remarkable fact, have even been
exported to France, the most formidable rival of Great Britain in this branch of manu­
factures. The exports o f silk goods to France were— in 1832, £57,187; in 1833,
£76,525; 1834, £60,346 ; 1835, £45,612; 1836, £48,160; 1837, £43,144; 1838,
£56,698; 1839, £44,628.
W oollen G oods.— Declared value o f British manufactured woollen goods, exported
from the United Kingdom in the. years commencing Jan. 5th :—■
1815.... ....£9,381,426 or $41,653,531 44
1836.... ....£7,639,353 or $33,918,727 32
1818.... ...... 8,140,767 ... 36,145,005 48
1837.... ..... 4,665,977 ... 20,716,937 8 8
1822.... ...... 6,488,167 ... 28,807,461 48
1838.... ..... 5,792,156 ... 25,717,172 64
1830.... ..... 4,728,666 ... 20,995,277 04 1839.... ...... 6,271,645 .... 27,846,103 80
1834.... ...... 5,736,870 ... 25,471,702 80
1840.... ...... 5,327,853 ... 23,655,667 32
1835.... ...... 6,840,510 ... 30,371,864 40
Exports o f cotton to the continent of Europe, from Great Britain, from the 1st of Janu­
ary, 1841, to 1st of August, 1841, (eight months:)—
American,.............................. -.20,427 bales. I British India,.......... ...... . .........23,715 bales.
Brazilian,................................ 1,760 do. | Other kinds,............................ . 2,200 do.
The imports of India cotton into England, from the 1st of January to 1st of August,
1841, amounted to 98,836 bales; and during the same period in 1840 amounted to
93,186 bales ; showing an increase, in favor of 1841, of 5650 bales.
The imports of cotton from the British West Indies into England from 1st January to
1st of August, 1841, was 5096 bales; same period in 1840, only 2821; increase from
1840, of 2275 bales.
V O L. V .— NO. IV .



Commercial Statistics.

A n Account o f the A verage P rice o f W heat in Great Britain , in the year 1840, together
with the total number o f quarters o f fo reig n and colonial wheat and wheat flour im­
ported in the same y e a r ; distinguishing foreig n from colonial, and the quantities
entered fo r home consumption; also the average price o f wheat at D antzic , Odessa ,
and Rotterdam , fo r the same year , as fa r as they can be ascertained: from the re­
port o f M r . I rving, inspector-general o f imports and exports , customhouse , London ,
June 5, 1841.

Average price of wheat in Great Britain, 6 Gs. 4 d.
Total number o f quarters of wheat and wheat flour imported, 2,433,202 qrs.
Total number of quarters of foreign wheat and wheat flour imported, 2,284,482 qrs.
Total number o f quarters of colonial wheat and wheat flour imported, 148,720 qrs.
Total number o f quarters of wheat and wheat flour imported, and entered for home
consumption, 2,401,366 qrs.
Average price of wheat at Dantzic, 39s. 6 d.
Average price of wheat at Odessa, 24s. 9d.
Average price o f wheat at Rotterdam, 49s. lid .
A n A ccount , showing the total quantities o f wheat and wheat f o u r imported from
foreig n countries and from British colonies , and upon which duty has been paid
since the passing o f the A ct 9 th George IV., c. 60, (July 15, 1828,) to January 5th ,
1841, sh o ein g also the total quantity o f foreign and colonial wheat and flour re­
spectively , which has been subjected to each separate rate o f d u ty : from the same.
F O R E IG N .

JJuty paid thereon.




0 10
0 13
0 16
0 18
1 0
1 1
1 2
1 3
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1 8
1 9
1 10
1 11
1 12


1 14
1 15





D u ty paid thereon.



0 per quarter, 3,907,981 1,276,731
2,788,277 835,406
1,994,102 518,897
783,280 238,592
548,348 466,432
298,677 213,707


1 17
1 18
1 19












2 10




s. d.

1 16








Admitted at an ad valorem duty, being damaged,..............i ......
Admitted duty free,
being damaged,.......
Admitted duty free,
or seed,...................










Total,....... 11,322,085 3,768,335

W heat. W heat Flour.

When the rate of duty on wheat was Os. 6 d. per quarter, 129,858
5s. Od.






Commercial Statistics.

The following table exhibits the immense amount of trade which is annually carried
on between this country and Great Britain; also clearly exhibiting the fact that we take
from Great Britain, in manufactures, on an average of years, the whole value of the
produce exported to that country:—


Value (in dollars) o f I mports into
Value (in dollars) o f E xports from
Great Britain and Ireland from the Great Britain and Ireland to the
United States.
United States.




The question having been fairly submitted to the people of Great Britain, in their ulti-'
mate constitutional capacity, at the polls, whether they would adopt something more like
reciprocity, and nearer akin to free trade, or would adhere to the system which has so
long and is still operating so disadvantageous^ to us, and they*, by electing a decided
majority of the tory party to parliament upoii the express ground that, if elected, they
would continue that policy, it now becomes the duty of every American citizen to ac.
quaint himself with the scope of those said corn laws, and discern how it is that they
affect our trade.
To facilitate this object, we subjoin a tabular statement of the duty payable, per bar.
rel, on American flour, under the corn laws of Great Britain, carefully prepared by an
American merchant, resident in Liverpool.
By act 9, of George IV., ch. 60, the duty on foreign wheat is as follows, viz:—when
the average price of wheat is at and above—
P er




D uty per

Is Od.






D uty p er bhl. on

0s. 7 7-32d.
7 1-4
4 0 1.8
6 5
8 2 21.32
10 0 5-16
11 2 3-4
12 5 3-16
13 0 13-32
13 7 5.8
14 2 27-32
14 10 1.6
15 5 9-32
16 0
16 7 23.32
17 2 15-16

P er


D uty per

D uty per bbl. on

29s. -d .
30 8
31 _
32 8
33 _
34 8
35 _
36 8
37 _
38 8
39 —
40 8
41 _
42 8
43 _

17 10 5-32d.
18 5 3-8
19 0 19-32
19 7 26-32
3 1-32
20 10 1-4
21 5 15-32
22 0 22.32
22 7 29.32
23 3 1-8
23 10 11-32
24 5 9-16
25 0 25.32
25 8
26 7 7.32

On barley and Indian corn, if the average price is 31s. and under 34s. the duty is
12 s. id. per imperial quarter, and for-every Is. per quarter it advances, the duty is de.
creased Is. 6 d. until it reaches 41s. per qr., at which price and upwards, no more than Is.


Commercial Statistics.

per qr. is levied; and the duty increases in like manner Is. 6 d. per qr. as the price de­
clines Is. or part of Is. under 33s. per quarter.
On oats, if the average price is 25s. and under 26s. per qr. the duty is 9s. 3d. per qr.;
decreasing Is. 6d. per qr. as the average price advances Is. until it reaches 31s., when
at that price or more, the duty is only Is. per qr.; and in like manner it is increased
Is. 6 d. per qr. for every Is. or part of Is. perqr. the average recedes below 24s. per qr.
For the convenience of those who do not readily understand quarters and sterling
money, I. H. Hedley has prepared the following tables exhibiting the rates of duty per
bushel in federal money, together with the duty on flour per barrel in federal money, so
arranged that they correspond with the preceding table, and will be at once understood.
Thus, when wheat is at and over—
P e r bushel.



0 2 c 6m.
99 8
97 0
94 2







D uty per
On flour p er bbl.
02 c 8m.










P er bushel.

13c 0 m. $ i
35 2
88 8
42 4
81 3
22 0
47 9
75 7
88 6
14 5
29 3
42 2
55 6
68 6
81 1


D u ty per










On flour
per barrel.

80c. 5in. $3
85 i
86 0
90 6
91 6
94 9
97 1
02 7
07 3
08 2
12 8
13 8
18 4
19 3

95c 9m.
08 8







Mr. Hedley observes—“ From the inspection o f the preceding tables, it will be seen
that the duty on flour is fifty per cent higher than on grain ; consequently, shippers
generally send wheat in bulk to England, unless the price is very high, when the duty
is so small as to make the freightage more than to counterbalance the extra duties. At
best, however, it is but a hazardous business, and often attended with ruinous loss to
American exporters. The extra duty on flour is no doubt intended as a sort of protective
tariff to English flour manufacturers, and is abundantly characteristic of English tact and
statesmanship. I have no wish to make comments n ow ; the time is coming when this
subject will be canvassed in all its parts, and an administration elected that will put forth
all its powet to procure either a total repeal of these unjust laws, or such a modification
of them as will justify American merchants in seeking the ports of Great Britain as an
available market for our increasing surplus of breadstuff’s.” — Niles' National Register.
According to Mr. Stikeman’s comparative statement of the number of British ships,
with tonnage, etc., which entered inwards and cleared outwards from and to places
"within the limits of the East India Company’s charter, for the quarter ending 30th June,
1841, it appears that the total number of ships entered inwards was 402, with 158,388
tonnage, and 8,249 men, showing, as compared with the same quarter of 1840, an in­
crease of 83 ships, 35,139 tonnage, and 1,602 men. Of this total amount, 278 ships,
111,423 tonnage, and 6,056 men entered at London ; 90 ships, 35,172 tonnage, and 1,583
men entered at Liverpool; 9 ships, 3,208 tonnage, and 166 men entered at Clyde,
Leith, and other British ports.

Commercial Statistics.


The arrivals were as follows:— 135 ships from Calcutta; 5 from Madras; 35 from
Bombay; 14 from China; 9 from Ceylon; 28 from Singapore and Penang, (British set­
tlements;) 12 from Philippine islands; 17 from Java and Sumatra; 75 from the island
of Mauritius; 32 from New South W ales; 1 from Madagascar; 27 from Cape of Good
Hope; and 11 from other ports.
The clearances outwards comprised a total of 480 ships, 194,798 tonnage, and 9,983
men, which, as compared with the same period of 1840, gives an increase of 75 ships,
40,147 tonnage, and 1,480 men.
Samuel Hazard, Esq., of the United States Commercial and Statistical Register, in
reply to an inquiry of a member of congress relative to the comparative prices of coffee
for a series of years prior to, and since, the act of 1833, abolishing the duties, has pre­
pared the following table, taking the annual reports of the Secretary of the Treasury as
the basis of his calculations. “ W e know of no other mode of arriving at the facts, al­
though we are aware, from the circumstance of the different qualities of coffee being all
blended together, the average thus obtained will not, probably, correspond with the ac­
tual price of any particular quality taken separately. But, for the general purpose of the
present inquiry, this mode of arriving at the desired information may be a sufficiently
close approximation to the truth. The value and prices of the imports being obtained
from the invoices, must show correctly the cost at the place of purchase. The value of
the exports is, we presume, a general average of the prices throughout the year, as ob­
tained at the Treasury Department— and, we learn, from the customhouse—is the value
of the article at the 4 short price,’ that is, with the drawback taken off. By adding
therefore 5 cents to the prices of exports from 1821 to 1833, the average price per
pound based on the valuation by the secretary may be ascertained.

Statement, showing the imports, exports , and value o f coffee into and from the United
States, with the quantity left fo r consumption or exportation , fo r each year from
1821 to 1839, ending September 30, and the average price.








Average L eft fo r Con­
Value o f
P rice o f
P rice o f sumption or
tion or E x ­
Exports. Exportation.
21 1-10
21 5-10
19 1-10
13 1-10
11 6-10
11 5-10
8 9-10

9 5-10
8 2.1 0

7 7-10



9 8-10
8 6-10
9 1-10



22 1-4
22 3-4
20 4-10

13 1.4
12 1-2
10 3-4

9 1-3
9 1-2



9 4.10
10 3-14
10 6-10


* Viz :— Previous to the 4th March, 33,326,120 lbs., valued at $3,570,248; after 4th
March, 66,628,900 lbs., at $ 6 997,051; making the total import for 1833 as per table.


Commercial Statistics.

The importations from 1836 to 1832, both inclusive, were..................lbs. 418,667,681
Do. from 1834 to 1840.......................................................................................... 655,116,660
Being an increase of............................................................................................. 236,448,979
in the seven years succeeding 1833 over those prior to that year.
The exportations from 1826 to 1832 were.................................................... 141,836,657
Do. 1834 to 1840,................................................................................................. 96,283,071
Being a decrease o f.............................................................................................. 45,553,586
in the seven years succeeding 1833, as compared with the seven preceding it.
The consumption from 1826 to 1832 was......................................................276,831,024
Do. 1834 to 1840,..................................................................................................558,883,589
Being an increase of............................................................................................. 282,002,565
in the consumption of the last seven years over the former.
The average price of the importations from 1826 to 1832 was 9 3-10 cents per lb .;
and from 1834 to 1840 was 9 7-10, being a difference of 4-10 of a cent per lb. against
the latter seven years.
The average price of exportations from 1826 to 1832 was 10 5-10 cents; and from
1834 to 1840 was 11 5-10, being 1 cent per lb. against the latter seven years.
It would appear from these statements, that since 1833 the amount of coffee imported
has increased 56 47-100 per cent, while that exported has diminished 32 12-100 per
cent. That the amount consumed has increased 101 40-100 per cent. That the cost
o f the article in the places of growth has advanced, as has also the price in the United
The great increase o f consumption therefore would seem to have been induced by
some other cause, than the removal of the duties— probably the increase of population—
and perhaps the facilities of transportation enabling it to reach the consumer in the inte.
rior at a diminished expense, while the demand has sustained the price in the market.
The increase of population between 1830 and 1840 has been about 39 2-10 per cent.
The amount consumed from 1826 to 1832 would furnish to each individual in the
United States, according to the census of 1830, 3 7-10 lb. per annum; and the quantity
consumed from 1834 to 1840, according to the population of 1840, would allow to each
individual 4 7-10 lbs., being an increase in the latter period of 1 lb. to each, per annum.
This is independently, in both cases, of the consumption of 1833, which year has been
excluded from all the preceding calculations.
Owing to the high prices of tea, it is probable that the consumption of coffee will be
further extended during the present year-”
The Nantucket Inquirer publishes monthly a compendium of all the vessels engaged
in this pursuit. From the list it appears that the whole number of vessels employed is
588, of which 192 sail are from New Bedford; Nantucket, 8 4 ; Fairhaven, 42; New
London, 38; Sagharbor, 3 1; Warren, 2 1 ; Edgartown, 12 ; Salem, 12 ; Newport, 11;
Stonington, 10. The others are scattered along the coast from Portland, Me., to Wil­
mington, Del., the latter place having 3, and the others from 1 to 10. Most o f these
vessels are ships, and many of them are o f the largest class. Taking $20,000 as the
average cost of each ship and outfits, the capital invested amounts to $11,700,000. The
importation of oil into the United States during the month of August, 1841, was— of
sperm oil, 11,630 barrels, or 366,345 gallons; of whale oil, 16,250 barrels, or 511,815
gallons— (in ten ships and two barks.) Of this amount 9,980 barrels of sperm oil and
6,700 whale oil were imported into New Bedford.

Statistics o f Population.





A Table, showing the population o f each county in the state o f Illinois, taken at the
census o f 1840 ; also, the number o f square miles in the several counties in that
state; from official documents, compiled by J. A. T o w n s e n d , Esq., o f Alton, Illinois.






Clay........ . . ...................

De Kalb,......................





St. Clair,.......................

W ill,...!......................









W H IT E S .

Under—- Males.
5 years, 48,004..
10 “
15 “
20 “
30 “


40 years,
50 “
60 “
70 “
80 “


Females. Under— Males. Females.
90 y’rs.
232.. ...
...12,508 100 “
... 6,525 110 “
. 2 871
... 848 T otal, 254,904


Statistics o f Population, etc.

Free,.......................Males, 1,843....................Females, 1,655
142.................. .
T otal, ................




1,227 I Navigation of the ocean,....................
Agriculture,..........................................97,781 |
M riversand lakes,... 285
Commerce,........................................... 2,523 I Learned professions,.......................... 1,931
Manufactures and trades,................... 12,488 |

D U M B , E TC .

Deaf and Dumb,........... 146 | Blind,............................ 80 | Insane, and Idiots,....... 200

Common Schools,...............................
1 ,2 0 0 ....
A t public charge,.................
Number of white persons over 20, who cannot read and write,...... 28,780
It is with great pleasure that we record on the pages of this magazine the establish­
ment of a merchants’ temperance society in the “ commercial emporium.” W e ardently
hope the example may be followed in every city of the Union, believing as we do, that
temperance is one of the corner-stones of commercial success.
The first meeting of the society took place at Clinton Hall, that monument of mer­
cantile liberality, on Wednesday evening, 1st September. At this meeting the following
constitution was unanimously adopted :—

1. This society shall be called “ The Merchants’ Temperance Society of the City of
New York.”
2. The objects o f this society shall be to promote the cause of temperance, by entirely
abstaining from the traffic and use, as a beverage, of all intoxicating liquors; and, by
persuasion, as well as by example, to influence the great community of merchants in the
United States, and in foreign countries, to adopt the same principle.
3. Any merchant of the city of New York, subscribing the following declaration, may
become a member of this society :—
“ Declaration.— I approve of the objects of the Merchants’ Temperance Society of the
City of New York, as set forth in the second article of the constitution of said society,
and pledge my efforts and personal example to the promotion of those objects.”
4. The officers of this society shall be a president, five vice presidents, a correspond­
ing and a recording secretary, and a treasurer; who, together with ten managers, shall
constitute a board, whose duty it shall be to conduct the operations of the society.
5. The officers and board of management shall hereafter be elected at the annual
meeting of the society, which shall be held in the month of December, each year.
W e have been compelled to crowd out a large number of notices of new works, in
consequence of the great length of the three first articles in the present number. Our
friends of the “ book trade” shall be attended to in our next, at the expense of an addi­
tional sheet, if necessary.
In order to furnish our readers with an authentic copy of this important document,
for reference, we applied to Mr. Webster, the Secretary of State, for a revised copy, and
w'e have great pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy and promptness of that gentleman
in complying with our request.