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---<>---BRYN MAWR. I






THE MORALITY OF TRADE Mr. Black, M.P., delivered an interesting address on Monday, at Glasgow, en trading morality. His audience were the members and supporters of the Local Trade Protection Society, who held a public meeting that day. Mr. Black commenced by adverting to the calling of merchants as having ever exerted a greater amount of influence for good or evil than any o1 her class in the community, and to the blessings of knowledge, chilisa- tion, liberty, and religion, as following in the train of commerce. The true merchant, he said, was but the true man illustrating a particular condition. in life. The morality which governed a 1 other relations should equally prevail in mercantile life, and neither oppor- tunity nor ooiicy, nor the most temp ing prospects of gain, should allow the merchant to deviate from the strict line of honesty and the same honourable dealing should guide him, wh-. ther in the sale of a yard of calico or of an East Indiaman. The true merchant will Lot try suddenly to get rich 1 y borrowing money and en- gaging in hazard us gambling s ec-ulations. Suppose a man should attempt to borrow £1,000, in order to bet at a horse-race, would any prudent man furnish him with the means, or would any upright man give him money for such a purpose ? Gamble:s can borrow money only from gamblers or from fools. And if bor- rowing money to specula e (n the chance of a lise in any commodity be not gambling, by what name shall we call it? The principle is just the samt, whether we stake the money on the swiftness of a horse, or on the failure of a crop, or on a rise in the funds. Supoose a man should borrow money fur the putpo.-e of buying a vast quantity of suttar, and awaiting an expected rise in its price, and should, without consulting his creditors, bet the whole sum on a deer- ase in the next su<?ar cr p, would not the len lers be justified m charging him wi;h a violation of Lith in this reckles- misuse of their mcmey ? There would be scarcely a shade of differ nee between the morality of the two transactio s. The only diffe- rence betwe.n the commercial gambler end the horse jockey gambler is this—the one cheats rogues like him- self, the other cheats honest men and it is this unmanly impatience that will not wait for the rc-werd of honest industry, this reckless hazarding of borrowed money, which strews all the paths of commercial life with the bleaching bones of bankruptcy, and robs the unsuspect- ing poor man of his small but well-earned substance. Well directed energy and enterprLe are the life of com- mercial progress but if there is one 'esson taught more plainly than another by the great failures of late, it is that safety lies in sticking to a legitimate business. No man—-merchant, trader, and banker—has any moral right to be so energetic and enterprising as to take from his legitimate business the capital which it requires to meet any emergency. The public-spirited merchant will be ready to assist in the promotion of undertakings which are likely to be generally beneficial to the eommu- nity, but even here he must be limited by pr :dence. When a crowd of creditors stand vainly waiting for their dlles it is little comfort for them to be told Well, one thing must be remembered, and that is that the money has been widely spread to aid important enterprises." The old maxim, Be just before you are generous," comes up at such times with great fjree, and the cre.ii- tor naturally asks, What right as this house to be ent' rprising with my money, apart from its legitimate business r" Apologies are sometimes made for firms which have failed by recurring to the important experi- ments they have aided and the unnumbered fields of en- terprise where they have freely scattered thefr money. e are told that individual losses sustained bv those failures will be as nothing compared with the benefits conferred on the community by their libe- rality in contributing to every public work. Xcw a man's relations to a creditor are vastly different, from what they are to what is called the public and it is no excuse fur any house in their time of failure that, if they have wronged individuals, it has been in serving the public. Sound personal religi n is the surest on which mercantile character can bi founded. The man whose conduct is regulated by the precopts of Christianity has already adopted the soundest principles of mercantile policy; he is taught to be dili- gent in business, and to avoid those snares which would involve him in excess, extravagance, self-indulgence, and ultimate ruin. The religion of the Bible will im- press him with an abiding sense of his responsibility to his Creator, and his duty to his fellow men in all his mercantile transactions. Nothing, however, c;iii be more disgusting than to hear a tradesman making loud professions of religion in order to secure an advantage in the way of business, or under the cloak of superior sanctity to shirk his duty and to overreach his leC; 11- hours. It is humiliating to hear the mercantile conduct of sucn men contrasted with the honourable dealings of men who make r.o trofession of religion, but are°only remarkaule f r their profanity and rough out-and-out aonesty. If you wi-h to test the quality of a man's religion do not f.low mm to ehurcji, where lie must. put on the garment of pious observance, but visit him at his shop or counting-he use, and mark the spirit by which he is influenced in his dealings with his fellow- man. If he regard merely his own interests, and, in securing his own, invades tlie rights of his neighbour, it would be small uncharitableness to pronounce that man no true'follower of iiim who said, "As ye would that no true'follower of Him who said, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Pro- fessors of religion sometimes seem to think their religion to pure a thing to be brought down into the of trade but a III an 's religion is not worthy of the name if it be not aole to stand the ordeal of his busi- ness life, if it do not accompany him in his daily avoca- tions, and lead him to sacrifice his lust of gain whenever it would prompt him to do what would inj ie his f-l-ow- man. Mr. Black proceeded to advert to the desirable- ness of shorteni: g the terms of (r, t bot h, in the wholesale and retcii trade inasmuch as lougtheiud credits increased lisks, and had a tendency to show a greater apparent gain than was actually realised. Pefy ex- penses and had debts were too often le t out of view, and an extravagant opinion of the rofits of trade was (Iften entertained, cot culy by the public, but by many traders themselves. It was of the utmost importance, therefore, to keep accurate books, and -annually to balance them. Men have sometimes gone on for ytars with a v gue ide- tbat they wt-re making mon»y, when in fact thev were 011 the tiigt; road to bankruptcy. As a commissioner of income-tax, he had been surprised to find so many trades- men who cou'd not give an account cf their income, b -e.e.'uSe they did not keep books arid made no annual balance. Perhaps tiny thereby thought they would evade payment »t the tax to toe full amount cturire- able, but in some cises lie eh<ui:d not be surprised if they outwitted themselves, and, at all events, the com- missioners did not accept their apo! gy, and threatened if they did not keep regularly balanced books to t"k,. upon themselves the risk of charging them 'o hi^h. Mr. Black tin n re-fern d to those traders whom he might call the highwaymen of commerce, who kulowed a reckless, unprincipled determination to become ricb by fair means, if convenient, or by foui, if necessary. He concluded by saying that it was one of the chj.-cts of the society to guard the homst and prudent tradesman against the risks to which he was exposed by the mis- management of the uninstructed and the thoughtless, as well against the reckless and the vicious, and he had reason to believe that the mercantile public had greatly benefited by its agency.

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