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THE work which is here offered to the public is a collection of useful instructions for a young tradesman; which are the more necessary, as there never were so many bankruptcies or failures in trade as of late.
Had I not seen, in a few years' experience, many young tradesmen miscarry for want of the very cautions which are here given, I should have thought this work needless, and I am sure, had never gone about to write it; but as the contrary is manifest, I think the world wanted either this or something better.
I make no doubt but there is, generally, as much trade now, and as much gotten by trading as formerly. There must then be some reason why the tradesman cannot support himself and family as well as before. Nor need we be afraid to speak out; the case is but too obvious. The
expenses of a family are quite different now from what they have been ; tradesmen cannot live as tradesmen in the same class used to live; custom, and the manner
of all the tradesmen round them, they think, command a difference; and he that will not do as others do, is esteemed as nobody among them.
The following directions are calculated to enable the young tradesman to stem the attacks of those fatal customs, which otherwise will inevitably send him the
way of all the thoughtless tradesmen that have gone before him.
Here he will be effectually encouraged to set out well, and to avoid all those rocks which the gay race of tradesmen so frequently suffer shipwreck upon; and here he will have a true plan of his own prosperity drawn out for him; by which he may square his conduct in an unerring manner, and fear neither bad fortune nor bad friends.
Here he will learn the absolute necessity of trading within the bounds of his own stock, and the certain ruin of that modern custom of trading upon borrowed credit or borrowed money, with the dismal consequences of high discount, and taking up money at interest.
Here also he will find brief specimens for bookkeeping, and directions for keeping a pocket-ledger, in case of fire. And in order to make this work a complete directory for tradesmen of all denominations, I have thought it necessary to discourse, though as briefly as I could, of the several branches of our home trade, especially those which necessarily embark the inland tradesman in some parts of foreign business, and so make a merchant of the
shopkeeper, almost whether he will or no. For example :
Almost all the shopkeepers and inland traders in seaport towns, and even in the waterside part of London itself, are necessarily brought in to be owners of ships, and concerned at least in the vessel, if not in the voyage; some of their trades, perhaps, relate to or are employed in the building, fitting, or furnishing out ships; as at Shoreham, Ipswich, Yarmouth, Hull, Whitby, Newcastle, and the like; others are concerned in the cargoes, as in the herring-fishery at Yarmouth, and in the adjacent ports, the colliery at Newcastle, Sunderland, &c.
In this case the shopkeeper is unavoidably, sometimes, both a tradesman and a merchant adventurer at the same time; and some of his business runs into sea adventures ; as in the salt trade at North and South Shields, in the counties of Northumberland and Durham, and likewise at Lymington, and again in the coal trade from Whitehaven in Cumberland to Ireland, and the like.
These considerations urged me to direct due cautions to such tradesmen, and such as would be particular to them especially, not to launch out in adventures beyond the compass of their stocks, and withal to manage those things with due wariness.
I have also given a general description of the whole inland trade of England, that prodigy of a business, in which our tradesmen are ordinarily
taken up, and without a right notion of which they cannot be said to be complete tradesmen; and more particularly of that branch of inland business, the corn trade, with the coal trade, the fishing trade, and the coasting trade; also of the carriage of goods in England, whether by water or by land ; which is a wonderful article, and equal in itself to the whole commerce of some nations, and employs infinite numbers of ships, horses, and men.
The breeding, feeding, and fatting of cattle is likewise a vast extended business, which embarks in one interest the gentleman, the tradesman, and
In all these there are useful observations, proper for the tradesman in every branch of the inland trade.
There are many other useful things relating to the trade and tradesman of this nation, which will be seen in the work itself, to which we refer.
OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
Chap. VIII. Of the ordinary occasions of the ruin
of tradesmen. How requisite it is for the
his business : that his shop be filled with a
useful assortment of goods, and that he
have an invincible stock of patience to
bear with the impertinence of every kind
of customer. An humorous letter from a