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LETTERS OF BUSINESS,
FORMS OF BILLS, INVOICES, ACCOUNT-SALES,
ADVICE TO YOUNG TRADESMEN AND SHOPKEEPERS, EQUATION
OF PAYMENTS, COMMERCIAL TERMS, &c.
BY B. F. FOSTER,
Illustrated, Prize Essay on Penmanship, etc.
PUBLISHED BY PERKINS & MARVIN.
PHILADELPHIA : HENRY PERKINS.
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1837,
BY PERKINS & MARVIN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
It is certainly a remarkable anomaly that in a country so eminently commercial as this, the initiatory studies of young men who are destined for the active pursuits of trade and commerce should hitherto have been so much neglected.
Our schools and academies afford abundant opportunities for an appropriate course of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences; but to the incipient merchant they proffer but little assistance of the kind required.
“ Hence, when a young man has completed his general education, and enters for the first time upon the practical duties of the counting-house, every thing about him is painfully new. books and papers with the nature and object of which he is totally unacquainted, and he is sur
rounded by companions who, for the most part, are unwilling to instruct him in their use, few of them indeed being capable of doing so with perspicuity; and thus instead of preliminarily understanding the principles of all he does, he gets into the way of performing the duties assigned him by dint of repetition only.
« Nor does the most extensive classical or mathematical education assist him a jot more than the simple elements of arithmetic, in the acquisition of commercial knowledge. He may have Greek so familiarly at his wits' ends, that an improvement of Pope's translation of Homer would not be a difficult task for his powers—the cultivation of a naturally refined taste in pure and elegant English composition may have reached a point entitling him to a co-equal rank with Addison, and Blairhe may have waded through the books of Euclid to the gold prize of his class, and possess a kuowledge of trigonometry and logarithms qualifying him to measure the globe in cubic inches, yet, not one of these will teach him how to cast the interest of an Account-current, the formation of an Invoice, or the arrangement and phraseology of a Commercial Letter.
“Such knowledge, in fact, is only to be acquired by practice; the road to which, how
ever, may be much shortened by well-directed instruction and observation. My object in giving a few hints to the young merchant (the result of long experience) is to direct his attention towards the best method of rapidly obtaining a clear insight into the rudiments of business; and if, by so doing, I can remove a few of the many existing bars to elementary commercial knowledge, I shall consider that this little book has not been written in vain."
Nothing, it is conceived, can more effectually conduce to initiate the youthful mind into the forms and modes of business, and to familiarize it with the objects to which its future energies are to be directed, than a collection of genuine commercial letters, of recent dates. The utility of such a collection has long been acknowledged by merchants and men of business, and its want felt, as well by students themselves, as by those instructors whose object it is to prepare their pupils for the responsible duties of the counting-house.
The writer's principal design in this compilation has been to supply a deficiency in that department of our useful literature bearing upon the wants and interests of the mercantile.