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LEGISLATION RESPECTING THE LAWS OF DEBTOR AND CREDITOR.
All legislation is founded on an erroneous notion, which, until people clear their heads of it, will always infect and mar all legislation in respect to the laws of debtor and creditor. That erroneous notion is, that there is an innate disinclination in all men to pay their debts; whereas it is precisely the contrary principle that prevails. We never knew a man, except in a case here and there where the man was a rascal, and it is not on exceptions but on generalities that legislation ought to be founded—we say we never knew a man who was not only desirous but anxious to pay his debts. But the legislature has ever proceeded on the contrary supposition; so that all the laws relating to debtor and creditor have been made with a view to force the debtor to do that which he is willing enough to do if he could. Now if the legislature, instead of racking its invention to devise all sorts of pains, and penalties, and tortures, to wrench from the debtor what he has not got, had directed its attention to devise facilities for enabling the debtor to pay as far as he can, and not to break him down so utterly and irremediably as forever to deprive him of the power of paying his debts, all would be the gainers to an incalculable degree. For the creditor would have a chance of his money, which now he has not; the debtor would have a chance of retrieving his position, and of fulfilling his obligations, which every man in his heart longs to do, which now he has not; and society would not be put to the expense of all the apparatus of the law and of its huge prisons for confining unfortunate debtors; which ought to be regarded only as ingenious inventions for furthering the revengeful feelings of the vindictive creditor, and for preventing the debtor, most effectually, from ever paying him.
FRAUDS IN THE HARDWARE TRADE.
It pains us to hear occasionally of frauds in almost every department of trade; the more so, as the merchant, of all men, should be the soul of integrity and honor; and we have on our subscription list many such; men whom we would trust with all that we possess, however prized or valuable. A correspondent of the Journal of Commerce, in complaining of frauds in the hardware trade in New York, makes the following statements:
Many small articles of hardware which are sold by “tale,” or “weight,” are purposely put up short count, or short weight, so that the actual contents of the packages of such articles are sometimes not more than half, and often do not exceed three-fourths of what the labels represent them to be. Many others are sold by numbers, the sizes of which ought, of course, to be always uniform; but it has become a common practice, when ordering such articles, to direct the manufacturer to “mark up” one or two numbers; that is, No 1 to be marked 2 or 3, but, of course, to be charged at the regular price for No. 1 ; the merchant's object being, if possible, to cheat an unwary customer, by charging him as nearly the price of No. 2 or 3 as dread of detection will permit him to approach. These practices are rendered, in one respect, comparatively unimportant, by the certainty that they must soon defeat their own object, as but few persons can be found, in this country, sufficiently “verdant” to be “shaved” in this manner more than once or twice with impunity. The shallow artifice must be soon detected, and the next purchase will be made with greater circumspection, and a result more satisfactory to the purchaser. But such practices are more to be regretted on account of their tendency to subvert confidence between man and man, and thereby immeasurably to increase the toil and trouble of transacting business; as, where such suspicions are entertained, whether justly or not, the customer will naturally wish personally to inspect and examine every article before purchasing. Many other “tricks of the trade” are “too tedious to mention” on an occasion such as this; but there remains one monstrous evil which I must particularize, and that is, the too frequent practice of selling goods, generally of German manufacture, and of indifferent quality, under accurate imitations of the stamps and labels of the best English makers of similar articles—such as Joseph Rogers and Sons for pocket cutlery and scissors; Peter Stubs, William Greeves and Sons, Ibbotsons and Spear, for saws, files, and carpenter's tools; Richard Hemming and Son for needles and fishhooks; and whoever saw a German gun which has not “London” branded on its barrel !
BOSTON MERCANTILE LIBRARY LECTURES.
The directors of the Mercantile Library Association of Boston have commenced their arrangements for a course of lectures. The programme is nearly completed, and will soon be published. Mr. Eliot C. Cowdin, the late intelligent president, in retiring from the chair of the institution, which he so worthily filled, it would seem is as deeply interested in all that concerns its efficiency and prosperity as ever. He visited Washington a short time previous to the adjournment of the first session of the twenty-ninth Congress of the United States, and engaged several prominent statesmen to address the Library Association during the season; among others, General Lewis Cass, of Michigan, and Hon. Joseph R. Ingersoll, of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ingersoll is to give the opening address early in October; and the poem on that occasion will be delivered by Dr. Oliver W. Holmes, of Boston. We shall, probably, be able to lay before our readers the programme of the course in the November number of the Merchants' Magazine; and we hope to publish some of the ablest and most appropriate of the lectures.
PRODUCTION OF PEA-NUTS IN NORTH CAROLINA.
By the following extract of a letter in the Providence Journal, from North Carolina, we learn the origin of the article known in commerce as “pea-nuts,” so common in all our grocery shops:—
“From a narrow strip of land, extending about forty miles northerly from Wilmington, and lying east of the old Newbern road, comes nearly the entire quantity of ground peas (Yankee pea-nuts,) grown in the United States for market. From that tract and immediate vicinity, eighty thousand bushels have been carried to Wilmington market in one year. The ground pea (pea-nut) grows beneath the surface of the ground, as its name imports. The plant has somewhat the appearance of the dwarf garden pea, though more bushy. It is cultivated in hills. The pea grows on tendrils which put out from the plant, and take root in the earth. The fruit is picked from the root by the hand, and the vines are a favorite for horses, mules, and cattle. From thirty to eighty bushels are produced on an acre. There are some planters who raise from one thousand to fifteen hundred bushels a year.”
PENNIES CONVERTED TO POUNDS.
At a late sale of coins in London, forming a part of the collection of curiosities owned by the late venerable Archdeacon Todd, the pennies were turned into pounds with a facility which would have gratified even a Yankee speculator. A Queen Anne's farthing, of the year 1713, sold for £1 19s. ; a pattern halfpenny, bronze, of ditto, 15s. ; a William and Mary pattern halfpenny, 19s. ; a George III. pattern for a penny, (tin) 10s; nine Charlemagne silver pennies, £2; a silver medallion, by Pistrucci, 1838, £29s.; and a George III. pattern for a crown, £2 4s.
CONSUMPTION OF COFFEE IN BELGIUM AND FRANCE.
It was stated recently, in the French Chamber of Deputies, that the Belgians, a population of four and a half millions, consume twenty-six millions pounds of coffee; while the thirty-five millions of French do not consume more than thirty millions of pounds. The French duty on one hundred pounds is more than the common original cost—the Belgian, not a tenth part. Were the French consumption proportional to the population, the gain would be material for the venders of French sugar, colonial and indigenous.
DUTY ON COPPER IN PRUSSIA.
The king of Prussia has issued a royal ordinance, allowing the importation of sheet copper and copper nails from foreign ports, free of duty, into the ports of Prussia, for the purpose of sheathing and fastening the steamers now building to run across the Atlantic, which are to touch at England, America, the West Indies, and the Brazils. They are to be large and splendid vessels.
1.—The Trees of America, Native and Foreign, Pictorially and Botanically Delineated, and Scientifically and Popularly Described; Being Considered Principally with Reference to their Geography and History. Soil and Situation, Propagation and Culture, Accidents and Diseases, Properties and Uses, Economy in the Arts, Introduction into Commerce, and their application in Useful and Ornamental Plantations. Illustrated by JNoumerous Engravings. By D. J. BRowNE, author of the “Sylva Americana.” Large 8vo., pp. 532. New York: Harper & Brothers.
The very appropriate title-page, which we have quoted entire, presents a clear and comprehensive view of this long-looked-for work. As long ago as 1838, the author memorialized Congress to adopt measures for procuring and preserving a supply of timber for naval purposes. That memorial was referred and printed; but as usual, when any really important matter is introduced, the subject rested with Congress. In 1843, Mr. Browne issued definite proposals for publishing the work before us, but owing “to various causes which have unavoidably retarded the publication, it could not with propriety be issued before the present time.” Mr. Browne is a most devoted, industrious, and painstaking naturalist, and the present volume is the result of extensive reading or consultation of the most judicious authors on the subject, both ancient and modern ; besides, the author extended his researches by travelling in various parts of North and South America, the West Indies, Europe, and Western Africa, where he enjoyed the advantage of not only verifying or correcting the observations which had been made by others on the trees of these countries, but examined them under various conditions in a state of nature. For the sake of aiding in generalizing on the shades and varieties of trees, Mr. Browne informs us, that he has adopted the Natural System, in accordance with the plan of Professor Don, in “Miller's Dictionary,” etc. It very happily combines the scientific and the popular, and while it will answer as a text-book for the student, it cannot fail of interesting the general reader. We have never read a work on any of the natural sciences, where amusement and instruction were so admirably united. Many interesting anecdotes connected with historical trees, particularly of the elm, are very properly blended with the more scientific portions of the work. The engravings are numerous, and are executed with considerable skill, “and have either been made directly from drawings after nature, or from accurate delineations already in existence, one figure representing the general appearance of each tree, and another of the leaf, flower, fruit, etc.” The publishers have faithfully performed their part, by producing a really handsome volume in every respect. We shall have occasion to refer to it in a future number of the Magazine. 2-4 Greek-English Lericon, Based on the German Work of Francis Passow. By George Lippell, M.A., Late Student of Christ Church, now Head Master of Westminster School, and Robert Scott, Prebendary of Exeter, some time Student of Christ Church, and late Fellow of Baliol College. With Corrections and Additions, and the Insertion, in Alphabetical Order, of the Proper Names
eccurring in the Principal Greek Authors. By HENRY DRIslzR, M.A., Adjunct Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages in Columbia College. New York: Harper & Brothers. As this great work is “all Greek” to us, we must adopt the method of a cotemporary, who says he knows “little of Latin and less of Greek,”—of the latter, that is, none at all,—and quote from the notice of an eminent scholar, a professor in one of the universities, as follows:“Messrs. Liddell and Scott took up Passow's great work where he left it, and completed it in the very spirit of his system by independent reading of their own; so great indeed are their additions, that the work is rather an entirely new one, than a modification of Passow. Professor Drisler has not only carefully revised the work, but has added largely to its value, especially by the insertion of all the proper names in their alphabetical order. It is impossible for us to notice all the merits of the English or American editors of the lexicon; suffice it to say, that the fruit of their labors is before us in a specimen of Greek lexicography so far superior to any that has yet appeared in the language that comparison would be ridiculous. Moreover, the getting up of the book is splendid; type, paper, and binding, are all of the finest. Our only marvel is, that 1,700 pages of a Greek lexicon, thus done up, can be offered for five dollars—a price which nothing could justify but the prospect—a sure one for the publishers—of an extraordinary and long-continued demand for the work. Already has it been adopted in the English schools, to the almost entire exclusion of all others; and now it is offered, greatly improved by Professor Drisler's learned labors, for the use and comfort of American students.”
3.-A Text-Book on Chemistry, for the Use of Schools and Colleges. By John William DRAPER, M. D., Professor of Chemistry in the University of New York, Member of the American Philosophical Society, &c. New York: Harper & Brothers. The present volume, intended for the use of colleges and schools, contains the outline of the course of lectures on Chemistry delivered by the author, every year, to the students of the University of New York. Its divisions and arrangements are the result of an experience of several years. It supplies the desideratum of a compendious book, which sets forth in plain language the great features of the science, without perplexing the beginner with too much detail. The three hundred engraved illustrations which have been introduced, will impart a clearer idea of the practical part of each lecture, and supply, in a measure, the place of a defective or incomplete apparatus. It appears to be an excellent text-book, in one of the most important studies that employ the mind of man.
4–Light in the Dwelling; or, A Harmony of the Four Gospels. ... With very short and simple Remarks, Adapted to Reading at Family Prayers, and Arranged in Three Hundred and Sirty-five Sections, for every Day of the Year. By the author of “Peep of Day,” “Line upon Line,” etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Philadelphia: Geo. S. Appleton.
A beautifully printed octavo volume of 550 pages, which the compiler says, “does not aspire to interest the learned, or attract the polite; but endeavors to fix the inattentive, to awaken the unreflecting, to enlighten the ignorant, and to benefit the simple minds which are to be found in ordinary households.” The illustrations are familiar, and the reflections brief, expressed in homely words, which sult such a production better than profound remarks or elegant diction. The religious views of the author will be readily inferred from the fact, that she has been a careful student of Scott's Commentary; a writer in high repute among that class of Christian sectaries denominated evangelical. It will be an acceptable “Light in the Dwellings” of all who embrace Christianity, as understood by the orthodox denominations. 5-The Jerusalem Delivered of Torquato Tasso. Translated into o Spenserian Perse, with a
Life of the Author. By J. H. WIFFEN. First American, from the last English edition, with six fine steel engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Philadelphia: Geo. S. Appleton.
In the space appropriated in this Magazine to the “Book Trade,” anything like a critical notice of this celebrated work, would be almost, if not quite as much out of place, as a critique of Shakspeare's plays, or a commentary on the Bible. The present translation, which has passed through several English editions, and been the subject of elaborate criticism, has finally obtained the approval of literary men, and acquired the distinction of a “British classic.” Fifty-eight closely printed pages are taken up with a memoir of the poet's interesting life, which, together with the poem, occupies a compact English-looking volume of 624 pages. The typographical execution, like everything that comes from the publishers, is excellent. 6.—The History of Cirilization, from_the Fall of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution. By F. Guizot, the Prime Minister of France, author of the “History of the English Revolution of 1640.” Translated by William HAzlıTT. Vol. II. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Philadelphia: Geo. 8. Appleton. The first portion of these lectures, comprising the General History of Civilization in Europe, has already appeared, and was noticed in the Merchants' Magazine. That portion, forming a volume of corresponding size, was devoted to England; the present treats of the History of Civilization in France. Of these lectures, a late number of the Edinburgh Review says: “There is a consistency, a coherence, a comprehensiveness, and what the Germans would term many-sidedness, in the manner of M. Guizot's fulfilment of his task, that manifests him one to whom the whole subject is familiar; that exhibits a full possession of the facts that have any important bearing upon his conclusions.” The present volume is beautifully printed, and adds another to the capital series of works, known as “Appleton's Literary Miscellany.” 7.-Laneton Parsonage : a_Tale. By the author of “Amy Herbert.” “Gertrude,” etc. Edited by the Rev. W. Sewell, B. D., Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. New York: D. Appleton & Co. The author of this story is understood to be a daughter of the divine whose name appears in the title-page as the editor. It is designed to convey moral and religious truths in the generally attractive form of a domestic narrative. We have not found time to read it, but we presume it is equal to the former productions of the gifted writer, which have been so successful in securing a large class of readers. 8.—Statement of Reasons for Embracing the Doctrines and Disclosures of Emanuel Swedenborg. By GeoRGE Bush. New York: John Allen. This pamphlet contains n formal and detailed exposition of the grounds on which the author was induced, after long, diligent, and serious investigation, to profess an unhesitating adoption of the system of religious doctrine and spiritual disclosures propounded to the world by Emanuel Swedenborg. This is Professor Bush's own statement, and no one who reads the pamphlet before us, or who has any knowledge of the character of the man, can for a moment entertain a doubt of the entire sincerity and perfect honesty of his statements or convictions. There is certainly much in the writings of Swedenborg to elicit the attention of intellectual, spiritual-minded persons; and his “theory of another life,” furnishes abundant food, in phrenological parlance, for the largest development of “ideality” and “wonder.” 9.-American Tableaux, No. 1. Sketches of Aboriginal Life. By P. V. VIDE. New York: Buckland & Sumner. We have not sound time to peruse this closely-printed volume, but we know the power and capacity of the author well enough to know that it would repay the reader for the time occupied in its perusal. He does not claim for it the respect and confidence shown te authentic history, nor anticipate the favor usually accorded to high-wrought romance, as it is neither the one nor the other. His object is rather to shade and color the naked sketches of history, and restore them to their natural setting and accompaniments, than to alter or distort them. Reader, purchase the book—it will aid a worthy and a talented American, who modestly casts a veil over his real identity.
10–Hochelaga; or, England in the New World. Edited by Ellor WARBUR'ron, Esq., author of the “Crescent and the Cross.” 2 vols. Wiley & Putnam's Library of Choice Reading.
The author of this work, who is now understood to be an officer in the British armay, and a brother of Mr. Warburton, the editor, sailed for America in July, 1844, returning in the early part of the present year. During the intervening period, he visited Canada and various parts of the United States, and the two volumes before us are the results of his travel and observations. As a tory, he of course has no faith in the democratic institutions of our country, and he makes no effort to conceal his opinions on this head; nevertheless, he finds much to commend, and less to condemn, than, from his education and prejudices, we should have supposed. While he expresses his astonishment at the general prosperity of the American people, their industry and skill, the vast resources of their country, and their advance in the useful arts of life, he thinks, although we possess many virtues, they are not those generally which attract. “Their well-directed reason,” he says, “may be far better than mere generous impulse; but it does not touch the heart. Whatever esteem the traveller may entertain, he will scarcely bear away with him much warmth of feeling towards them as a people.” But his “nationality does not betray him into any ungenerous remarks upon the American people.” On the whole, we consider it the most candid and liberal exposition of our country that has yet appeared, and written in vastly better taste, and with far greater ability. We agree with the editor, that whatever else it may be, “it is work, and contains no hastily-written, crude impressions, but the deeply-tested convictions of an inquiring mind." 11.-Papers on Literature and Art. By S. Makaanet Full ER, author of “A Summer on the Lakes,”
“Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” etc., etc. New York: Wiley & Putnam's Library of American Books.
We have, in this collection of periodical contributions, the deepest convictions of an honest, earnestminded woman, impelled in the utterance of her views by a standard of excellence, that the ordinary mind scarcely knows how to appreciate. It is well known that a portion of these papers appeared from time to time in the “Tribune,” where they attracted the notice of a select, but increasing class of readers; who, however widely many of them may differ from the writer in her religious and social tendencies, acknowledge the Inoral power, and intellectual elevation of the mind, that exhibited such “an intense hatred of cant, and such an eager reverence for truth.” It is refreshing to take up a book that has an individuality about it—that represents the free soul of its author. Such a one is this; and we only regret that many of the best papers, on vital subjects, were “omitted,” as the newspapers say, “for want of room.” The selection contains some of the author's earliest, and some of her latest expressions, that “those who have been interested in my mind,” we quote from Miss Fuller's preface, “will take some pleasure in reading the youngest and crudest of these pieces, and readily disown for me what I would myself disown.” 12-The Heroines of Shakspeare, with Letter-Press Illustrations. By Mrs. JAMrson; embracing an
entire reprint of her Work, Characteristics of Women. From the last London edition. New York: Wiley & Putnam.
The matchless delineations of female character, by the master-mind of Shakspeare, seem to have been fully appreciated by Mrs. Jameson; who, darting her far-glancing look from earth to heaven for some exquisite comparison, “To what," she asks, “shall we compare them?—To the silvery summer clouds which, even while we gaze on them, shift their hues and forms, dissolving into air, and light and rainbow showers ?" etc.-for so his genial spirit touches into life and beauty whatever it shines upon. European artists of the highest reputation have produced characteristic portraits of the great Shakspeare heroines, to show thein “not mere poetical abstractions, nor, as they have been termed, mere abstractions of the affections;”
But common clay, ta'en from the common earth,
Eight monthly parts, in imperial octavo, each embracing three highly finished engravings, will complete the work. The two numbers before us embrace portraits of “Portia,” “Beatrice,” “Miranda,” “Juliet,” “Ophelia,” and “Imogine;" which are the most perfect specimens of the art that we have seen. When completed, it will form as appropriate and exquisite a gift-book as was ever offered to the fair “maidens and mothers” of America. 13.-Gammer Gurton's Pleasant Stories of the Princess Rosetta, Robin Goodfellow, and Patient Grissel; with Gammer Gurton's Garland, and Ballads of the Babes in the Wood, the Beggar's Daughter,
and Fair Rosamond. Newly revised and annended. By AMBRosk MERTox, Gent., F. S. A. New York: Wiley & Putnam.
The moral of these ancient stories and ballads is not so apparent as many of more modern date; unless, perhaps, it be found in the fact that it contains histories which, in by-gone days, delighted the children of England's master-spirits. “Their design,” we quote from the preface, “is to cultivate the heart to enrich the fancy, to stir up kindly feelings, to encourage a taste for the beautiful, and to accomplish this by taking advantage of the youthful longing for amusement.” The engraved illustrations are beautiful, and the unique dress of the volume will render it altogether very attractive to the young.