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various colourings; we shall bring them out at 15s.' That was the first time witness ever had a patron for piracy; the piracies generally before that were of the most mean, contemptible, shabby description. People were ashamed to be seen in the street who had been guilty of piracy in London, except in very low trades indeed. This was the first instance in which their property had been assailed by any one of any consequence; ; it perfectly paralyzed their trade altogether. Witness was enabled to trace his goods, and found the copies were produced at Glasgow. Other houses followed the example of Messrs. Morrison, to such an extent as to paralyze the witness's trade; one set of designs being frequently copied by three or four houses; and this tended to work a most astonishing change as regarded the pirates themselves.”
This is only one example of what is becoming too general in all branches of commerce and manufactures. A man does not scruple supplanting his rival and com-' petitor by whatever means, and at whatever sacrifice of honour and good faith. Brookman and Langdon, the celebrated pencil makers, showed their machines to a manufacturer in another branch of trade. This man forthwith set up a pencil manufactory, with similar machinery. The return of the corn averages for the last week in July, 1842, was rejected by government, as having been studiously falsified in the principal market, for the sake of adding some profits to the corn-factors. Recent discovery has been made of extensive frauds upon the Custom House, practised habitually, and for a long time, by certain large houses, especially in the silk
trade. Good faith is no longer to be looked to as a sufficient security either between merchant and merchant, or between manufacturer and customer; but we must look for the protection of law, and to legal obligations and securities. The use of bills of exchange was formerly for foreign commerce; but now bills and promissory notes are used for assurances between persons living in the same town, and in adjoining streets. This is a state of things which we cannot go back from. When a disease of this kind has once got possession of us, there is no recovery from it; it must necessarily grow worse.
One successful act of dishonesty is sure to lead to others, and to meet with a crowd of imitators; like a successful speculation. The example first given shows how one great name is sufficient to give countenance and a warrant to the most evil
practices, and to spread them like a pestilence. eases are catching, but health you know is not contagious.”
The condition of the retail tradesmen is even worse than that of the merchants and manufacturers. Competition is so increased, and profits are so much lowered, that there is no facility of supporting a family by regular trade, and of providing for them by the moderate savings of twenty years of business. While profits are continually becoming lower, and more and more insufficient, the expectation of amassing a fortune in a short time is constantly increasing. There exists at once a growing impatience to make large fortunes rapidly, and a growing insufficiency of profits to make it easy for tradesmen
to make any fortune at all, or even to maintain themselves.
The consequence is, that tradesmen struggle to live, and endeavour to thrive by ruining one another. It is not a proper competition, and endeavour to excel one another by the perfection of their articles; but it is a plot to attract custom, and to monopolise a whole trade, to the ruin of others engaged in the same line,-not by quality, but by cheapness, and by lowering prices below what can be remunerating with only a fair share of custom, -and by every species of attraction, through outward appearance and advertisement, and other
, means of establishing, not a character, but a fashion.
We are all acquainted with this system in some of the more public transactions of business; as the stagecoaches and steam-boats. We know that they carry passengers for a time at unremunerating prices, in order to try which shall first be ruined; and so to obtain a monopoly of the custom and traffic. This system enters equally into other branches of trade, according to the opportunity. Tradesmen sell at prices which never could support them, and by which no one could live, if each shopkeeper in the trade were to have his proper share of custom. That is, they live by ruining one another. Some firms have made a practice of watching for the tenders of more respectable firms, and then offering for every work, at five per cent. under their lowest price. Some persons who had pursued this system, have been lately gazetted as bankrupts, in the Russian trade. A shoemaker, in Tottenham Court Road, established a large custom by underselling all the other shoemakers in the neighbourhood. He confessed that he could not live upon such small profits as he made, except by the immense number of shoes which he sold;- and other shops in the neighbourhood were ruined by him.
Honest and affluent persons ought not to deal with such shops; or to pay prices for articles which must be unremunerating to the trade in general. “ If,” says Sir Roger de Coverley, “a man offers me an article for . less than it is worth, I kick him down stairs for a thief; for I know that either he must be cheating me, or he must have come improperly by it.”
Advertisement is one chief means by which a custom is obtained which will enable a shopkeeper to thrive by such monopolizing prices :--the monopoly of cheapness ; which is worse and more dishonest, and more injurious to trade, than the monopoly of a charter or a patent, or a protecting duty, or the favour of government.
There is no profit made upon silver forks and spoons, by an ordinary silversmith. The silver is 5s. ld. an ounce, the making is 6d., the duty is ls. 6d. The price of the silver forks and spoons is 7s. 2d. per ounce. The ostensible profit therefore is ld. per ounce. In dessert spoons and forks, the making is 11d. per ounce; the price is 7s. 8d. The profit is 2d. This lowness of profit is produced by advertisements of cheap prices; which attract a monopoly custom, and remunerate the advertisers, through the losses of other tradesmen. But other silversmiths, who maintain a custom by character and connection, not by advertisement, and by the terms upon which they stand with
their regular customers, cannot send in their bill and require payment on delivery, lest they should give offence; and so this small amount of profit is soon swallowed
in the interest of the first cost of the silver, and of the duty which has been paid in advance, between the time of the first purchase of the metal and the ultimate payment.
Nothing is left towards the payment of rent, or of the skill and superintendence and risk of the master, which ought to maintain his family, and so the whole of his business is an expense and a loss, so far as regards those articles of manufacture.
The small expected profit on the vast and beautiful conservatory in the Horticultural Gardens, was entirely swallowed up by the occurrence of a few wet days during its erection ; which interrupted the workmen, and made their labour more expensive.
This extreme lowness of profits exists in other articles ; especially those which are of the simplest and most necessary kind : as sugar, tea, bread, and other plain articles of food.
Trade cannot go on upon this system. Yet we can hardly go back from it. It is evident that these things are becoming worse. The very system itself arises from the difficulties of trade and the diminution of profits; and the remedies which people apply, each in their own case, only increase the evil, and bring down profits lower; till, in the end, more losses than profit will be made, and trade will cease to be profitable. Yet people will be all the more obliged to go on trading. The ad