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INCORPORATED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, JANUARY 24, 1849 ;
WITH FULL AUTHORITY (TO GRANT DIPLOMAS, AWARD DEGREES, CONFER
LAW IN OTHER STATES.”—Charter, Section 2.
LOCATED ON THE SOUTH-EAST CORNER OF WASHINGTON AVENUE AND .
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
JUN 30 1915.
JONATHAN JONES, MASTER OF ACCOUNTS,
President, and Acting Professor of the Theory and Practice of Book-Keeping,
Commercial Correspondence, etc., etc.
FERD. HENDERSON, PRACTICAL ACCOUNTANT,
Permanent Associate in the Book-Keeping Department.
Associates in the Book-Keeping Department-Evening Session, 1853–4.
CHARLES STEWART, PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS,
In special charge of Commercial Calculations, etc., etc.
S. D. HAYDEN, PROFESSOR OF PENMANSHIP,
In charge of the Writing Department.
JONATHAN JONES, MEMBER OF THE St. Louis BAR,
Lecturer on Commercial Law.
In the permanent establishment of an Institution, devoted exclusively to the instruction of gentlemen, in a select and limited number of the most important and useful branches of a General Education-confining its operations mainly to those branches, which experience has long since proved cannot be successfully taught in connection with the great variety of studies, requisite to a scientific and liberal Education—it has been the unalterable opinion of the Principal, that such an Academy would be of public utility, an efficient aid to the “ Common School System,” and an acceptable auxiliary to our deservedly popular 6 Literary Institutions,” in their most laudable efforts; while, at the same time, it would reach a certain class, and effect an important end, in a commercial community, which could not be accomplished in any other way.
The practicability of directing the education of a young gentleman with reference to that pursuit which nature or inclination may lead him to choose, and thus create a firm basis for an intelligent, rational and systematic disposition of his time, his talents, or his capital, is becoming more apparent to all; and hence the increasing demand for Mathematical and Law Institutes—Theological, Medical and Commercial Colleges; Institutions called into being by a necessity growing out of the very organization of society, and the diversified demands and reciprocal duties of a business community. For the correctness of this conclusion, apart from our own experience, we have the highest authority. In an address on this subject, of more than usual interest to young gentlemen, Judge Walker (an eminent member of the Cincinnati Bar) remarks:
66 The result to which I would conduct your minds is, that to the MERCHANT, KNOWLEDGE IS CAPITAL. If it be a general truth in human affairs, that knowledge is power, I hold it to be pre-eminently so in regard to mercantile pursuits. 'Without it, all the capital of a Girard or an Astor would not make a merchant; and with it, as the principal thing, capital soon follows as an incident. Accordingly, the first duty of every person destined for a merchant, is to prepare himself, by a suitable education, for an intelligent discharge of his diversified functions—just as much so, as of a lawyer, a physician, or a clergyman; and to this end, THERE IS JUST AS MUCH NEED OF COMMERCIAL SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES as of any other and these, I rejoice to say, we are beginning to have in all our coinmercial cities. We have, too, commercial dictionaries and magazines—a distinct commercial department for newspapers—chambers of commerce-boards of tradereading rooms-and best of all, library associations. All these things bear gratifying testimony to the increased interest taken in mercantile education, And why should it not be so? Why should not the mercantile profession stand side by side with the other so called liberal professions ? There is, in truth, no good reason, whether we look to its dignity, difficulty, or utility.
« It has been said by close observers, that, in this country, nine merchants out of every ten, fail in the course of their lives. I know not whether this be strictly true. It is enough for my purpose to know, that failures are far more frequent among merchants than among any other class of business men; and that every few years there occurs a general crisis, or revulsion, sometimes confined to one country only, and sometimes embracing the whole commercial world, in which bankruptcies become the order of the day. Those who seemed rolling in wealth are suddenly reduced to beggary—the breaking of one house drags down another, though perhaps oceans intervene. He, who could borrow his millions yesterday, cannot get credit for a coat to-day. Banks break because their debtors are broken; even the day-laborer has not the wherewithal to pay for his food, because that which he took as money has become worthless on his hands ; in a word, the vast fabric of commerce is overthrown, and all is chaos and confusion. Anon, a new race of merchants appear. The darkness which brooded over the face of the deep is gradually dispersed-business finds or makes for itself new channels as before-capital increases credit expands—there seems no end to the swelling prosperity. Every body can increase his expenses, because his books show that his profits are increased. The last revulsion is forgotten in the halcyon times—the warnings of experience are unheard in the general rush of business—fortunes are made in a daynothing is required but courage and luck. Surely these are glorious times ! Yes—but wait till to-morrow. The bubble has burst. There is another crisis-another revulsion-another deluge of bankruptcy-and so on, almost periodically.
"Let us explore some of the causes of this great evil of instability :
“One of the most prominent causes, especially in this on-rushing country of ours, is a prevailing eagerness for rapid gains. Our young merchants have not patience to begin at the bottom of the ladder and ascend regularly to the top. They must go up by a few rapid leaps. Instead of beginning in a small way, and enlarging their business gradually—themselves growing up with it—they dash at once into a large business, before they are fitted for it. I speak not now with respect to capital; for, if they had ever so much, this is not the way to begin, but the way to close a commercial career. The great want is capacity to manage a large business at the outset, which never can be acquired by a mere apprenticeship. It must be thé work of actual experience at the head of business, and not in any subordinate position. Take two young men of equal means in every respect, mental and otherwise. Let one begin moderately, and extend his operations gradually, say for twenty years. Let the other begin with a business as large as that to which that of the first has grown in this space of time. And at the end, who is likely to be in the best position ? I think all experience will answer, the former. In fact, the probabilities are, a hundred to one, that the latter will be a broken merchant before half the period has elapsed; while the former, feeling his way.at every step-never venturing beyond his depth-growing in capacity with the growth of business—and thus always equal to what he undertakes, will, in all probability, by that time, have become an established merchant, in the best sense of that phrase.”
TO THE MERCANTILE COMMUNITY.
An Outline of the Plan of Instruction in the Art of Double-Entry Book
Keeping, Commercial Law, Commercial Calculations, and Penmanship.
There has been, in the mercantile community, a universal prejudice of long standing, touching the art of Double-Entry Book-Keeping, as ordinarily taught in the “ Literary and Scientific Institutions” of our day, which the incompetency of many who have attempted to teach Book-keeping theoretically, as well as the defects peculiar to their systems, have naturally enough created. This prejudice is both well founded and just; but if those institutions have mistaken Double-Entry Book-Keeping (A PRACTICAL ART) for an abstruse, complex and difficult science, and delivered long printed lectures upon its “ Speculative Theory,” or required the student to memorize arbitrary rules, and finally failed in the end to accomplish their object, does it hence follow that we are to have no improvement in the art of teaching? or, are systems founded upon entirely different principles principles diametrically opposed to those in their bearing and practical application subject to the same fate, and that, too, without a fair trial? This conclusion is disingenuous, illogical and unjust. It is obvious to every intelligent practical accountant that Book-keeping has a theory as well as a practice to be acquired, and to that young gentleman aspiring to the highest rank as a scientific and practical accountant, much will depend upon the demonstrator of those principles which are to govern him in the performance of his duties. The utility of Double-Entry Book-keeping, in the management of accounts, is no longer questioned. Its perfect adaptation (with proper forms) to mercantile, steamboat, manufacturing, and joint stock operations, has been so fully tested, that but few business men now consider their capital safe, where the books of the company are not kept by double-entry.
The only question is, How are young gentlemen, inexperienced in the management of accounts, by double-entry—though familiarized with the general routine of business—writing legible hands, and competent to perform the ordinary calculations of accountants, to be qualified as practical book-keepers for the performance of their duties in the counting-house ? Or, in other words, where is a supply of practical accountants, equal to the demand, to be obtained ? To this we unhesitatingly reply, They can only be taught, trained and qualified by practical accountants, who understand the entire routine of the counting-house, its duties and requirements. Hence, no