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PREFACE

TO

ROLT'S DICTIONAR Y *.

No ex

O expectation is more fallacious than that which authors form of the reception wh their labours will find among mankind. Scarcely any man publishes a book, whatever it be, without believing that he has caught the moment when the publick attention is vacant to his call, and the world is difpofed in a particular manner to learn the art which he undertakes to teach.

The writers of this volume are not fo far exempt from epidemical prejudices, but that they likewife please themselves with imagining, that they have referved their labours to a propitious conjuncture, and that this is the proper time for the publication of a Dictionary of Commerce.

The predictions of an author are very far from infallibility; but in juftification of fome degree of confidence it may be properly obferved, that there was never from the earlieft ages a time in which trade fo much engaged the attention of mankind, or commercial gain was fought with fuch general emulation. Nations which have hitherto cultivated no art but that of war, nor conceived any means of encreafing riches but by plunder, are awakened to

• A new Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, compiled from the Information of the most eminent Merchants, and from the Works of the belt Writers on commercial Subjects in all L.2guages, by Mr. Reit. Folio, 1757.

more

more inoffenfive industry. Thofe whom the poffeffion of fubterraneous treasures have long difpofed to accommodate themselves by foreign industry, are at laft convinced that idlenefs never will be rich. The merchant is now invited to every port, manufactures are established in all cities, and princes who just can view the fea from fome fingle corner of their dominions, are enlarging harbours, erecting mercantile companies, and preparing to traffick in

the remoteft countries.

Nor is the form of this work lefs popular than the fubject. It has lately been the practice of the learned to range knowledge by the alphabet, and publifh dictionaries of every kind of literature. This practice has perhaps been carried too far by the force of fashion. Sciences, in themselves fyftematical and coherent, are not very properly broken into fuch fortuitous diftributions. A dictionary of arithmetick or geometry can ferve only to confound: but commerce, confidered in its whole extent, seems to refufe any other method of arrangement, as it comprifes innumerable particulars unconnected with each other, among which there is no reason why any should be first or laft, better than is furnished by the letters that compofe their names.

We cannot indeed boaft ourselves the inventors of a scheme fo commodious and comprehensive. The French, among innumerable projects for the promotion of traffick, have taken care to fupply their merchants with a Dictionaire de Commerce, collected with great industry and exactnefs, but too large for common ufe, and adapted to their own E e 4 trade.

trade. This book, as well as others, has been carefully confulted, that our merchants may not be ignorant of any thing known by their enemies or rivals.

Such indeed is the extent of our undertaking, that it was neceffary to folicit every information, to onfult the living and the dead. The great qualification of him that attempts a work thus general is diligence of enquiry. No man has opportunity or ability to acquaint himself with all the subjects of a commercial dictionary, fo as to defcribe from his own knowledge, or affert on his own experience. He must therefore often depend upon the veracity of others, as every man depends in common life, and have no other kill to boast than that of feleding judiciously, and arranging properly,

But to him who confiders the extent of our fubjest, limited only by the bounds of nature and of art, the task of felection and method will appear fufficient to overburden industry and distract attention. Many branches of commerce are fubdivided into finaller and fmaller parts, till at last they become fo minute as not eafily to be noted by obfervation. Many interefts are fo woven among each other as not to be difentangled without long enquiry; many arts are induftriously kept fecret, and many practices neceffary to be known, are carried on in parts too remote for intelligence,

But the knowledge of trade is of so much importance to a maritime nation, that no labour can be thought great by which information may be obtained; and therefore we hope the reader will not

have reason to complain, that, of what he might justly expect to find, any thing is omitted.

To give a detail or analysis of our work is very difficult; a volume intended to contain whatever is requifite to be known by every trader, neceffarily becomes fo mifcellaneous and unconnected as not to be easily reducible to heads; yet, fince we pretend in fome measure to treat of traffick as a fcience, and to make that regular and fyftematical which has hitherto been to a great degree fortuitous and conjectural, and has often fucceeded by chance rather than by conduct, it will be proper to fhew that a diftribution of parts has been attempted, which, though rude and inadequate, will at leaft preserve fome order, and enable the mind to take a methodical and fucceffive view of this defign.

In the dictionary which we here offer to the publick, we propofe to exhibit the materials, the places, and the means of traffick.

The materials or fubjects of traffick are whatever is bought and fold, and include therefore every manufacture of art, and almost every production of

nature.

In giving an account of the commodities of nature, whether those which are to be used in their original state, as drugs and fpices, or thofe which become useful when they receive a new form from human art, as flax, cotton, and metals, we fhall fhew the places of their production, the manner in which they grow, the art of cultivating or collecting them, their difcriminations and varieties, by which the best forts are known from the worfe, and genuine from fictitious, the arts by which they are

counter

counterfeited, the cafualties by which they are impaired, and the practices by which the damage is palliated or concealed. We fhall likewife fhew their virtues and uses, and trace them through all the changes which they undergo.

The hiftory of manufactures is likewi e delivered. Of every artificial commodity the manner in which it is made is in fome measure defcribed, though it must be remembered, that manual operations are fcarce to be conveyed by any words to him that has not feen them. Some general notions may however be afforded; it is eafy to comprehend, that plates of iron are formed by the preffure of rollers, and bars by the ftrokes of a hammer; that a cannon is cast, and that an anvil is forged. But as it is to moft traders of more ufe to know when their goods are well wrought, than by what means, care has been taken to name the places where every manufacture has been carried furtheft, and the marks by which its excellency may be afcertained.

By the places of trade are understood all ports, cities, or towns, where ftaples are established, manufactures are wrought, or any commodities are bought and fold advantageously. This part of our work includes an enumeration of almost all the remarkable places in the world, with fuch an account of their fituation, customs, and products, as the merchant would require, who being to begin a new trade in any foreign country, was yet ignorant of the commodities of the place, and the manners of the inhabitants.

But the chief attention of the merchant, and confequently of the author who writes for merchants,

ought

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