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THE COMMERCIAL INTERCOURSE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES, THE REVENUE LAWS OF
THE UNITED STATES, CURRENCY, PRECIOUS METALS, WEIGHTS AND MEASURES,
THE EXCHANGES ARBITRATIONS, THE CORRESPONDING NETT-PRICES OF THE
OF THE COMMERCE, NAVIGATION, PRODUCE AND MANUFACTURES
THE UNITED STATES.
W. F. REUSS.
EFFINGHAM WILSON, ROYAL EXCHANGE.
THE principal object of the present publication is to furnish to the practical merchant and trader a compendium of the details of one of the most interesting branches of the foreign commerce of Great Britain which, by its arrangement and conciseness, shall effect a very considerable saving of labour, research and time. To those who have made the American trade the study of their lives, the Author does not presume to say any thing new; but he can nevertheless not refrain from entertaining a hope that the novelty and usefulness of his plan will recommend itself to their approval, whilst he ventures to flatter himself that to those who have hitherto devoted their attention but partially to that promising trade, the following pages may contain some useful suggestions.
It is an acknowledged fact that works on mercantile subjects, extensive and varied as the catalogue already is, do not usually meet with very general encouragement from those to whom they are more especially addressed. The cause of this drawback on a more general diffusion of practical mercantile knowledge is founded not so much on the illiberal tendency towards monopoly, of all mercantile enterprise, as on the circumstance that such works are too frequently undertaken by men who, although of high literary attainments, fail to a greater or less degree in the more useful details, whilst practical men but rarely find the time or feel the disposition to write for general information.
The present work claims in this respect an exemption from the general
rule. The Author pretends to no greater merit than that of practical experience. He has resided many years in London and seen much of the various branches of the trade of this country. He has also had the benefit of a residence in the United States in the prosecution of mercantile pursuits, and from the ample materials thus afforded him, the following pages have been compiled. In truth, the Author devoted some leisure hours to the task of their composition for his private use merely, at some future period, and it is chiefly the great encouragement with which he has been honoured, which has emboldened him thus to obtrude himself for the first time on the notice of the Public.
In order to ensure to this publication that degree of confidence, which from its nature is so essential to its success, it may not be superfluous to add a few more explanatory observations.
With the exception of such parts as from their official character must necessarily consist of extracts, the work claims to be entirely an original composition. In the selection of the various statements for reference, the utmost care has been exercised, and although they might have been multiplied and varied to a considerable extent, it was deemed foreign to the object in view to encumber the work with too much local detail.
The Tariff has been a source of much embarrassment to the Author on account of its well known instability. To give the Tariff, such as it can alone be furnished at present, might be the means, and possibly at no very distant period, of rendering the book less serviceable. On the other hand, to omit it altogether would deprive the collection of one of its principal requisites. The Author has therefore been induced to furnish the new Tariff, which is to come into operation on the 3rd of March next, so arranged as to admit easily of corrections in the event of any subsequent legislative alterations, to which he has added some supplementary statements and comparative tables with a view to facilitate the politician in the investigation of the merits of the Tariff question. These details were already in print when the long existing differences between the southern States and the eastern and northern States on this important question at length assumed their present serious character, which,
threatening, as it does, the very existence of the Union, is watched with the deepest interest by the trading community of Europe. The purely agricultural southern States have formally declared their hostility to all Tariff-laws whatever, and the President in his message of the 4th December last recommends a further reduction of the existing duties. It remains to be seen to what extent this recommendation will be attended to and whether the southern States will be satisfied with merely a reduction. It would be idle to speculate at present on the probable issue of a contest in which all political parties in the United States take a lively share, and which is carried on under general and great excitement on both sides; nevertheless it may not perhaps be premature to state that it is the hope and belief of well informed men, that a reconciliation may be effected by acceding to a prospective and progressive reduction of the duties on some of the principal European manufactures.
The Author flatters himself that the utility of his tables of the equivalent values of the principal articles of American export and import, and of the calculations which accompany them, exhibiting the respective data on which their computation proceeds, will be generally admitted. They are in almost every instance founded on actual transactions and in the estimation of the charges, which usually vary a little in actual business, a middling course has been adopted as the safest; nor would it have been justifiable to assume the respective commissions at less than the established full rates. Whatever the further modifications of the Tariff may eventually prove to be, it may be asserted confidently that they cannot affect the accuracy either of any of the given tables of American exports, or of any of those relating to imports in which the duty has not been taken into the account, and by far the greater proportion belongs to this class. There remains consequently but a very limited number, which can possibly be affected by any change of duties, and should it prove of sufficient importance, a supplement to the present volume could, in case of need, obviate the inconvenience.
Before concluding, the Author feels the propriety of disclaiming for his Statements and Calculations complete infallibility, and the English not being his native language of hoping to meet with indulgence on account of any