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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:17 pm 
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Full Title: The banks of New-York, their dealers, the clearing house, and the panic of 1857
Author: Robert Morris, 1810-1892
Published 1864
Publisher: D. Appleton & Co.
36.8 MB

IT is not possible to introduce into a single volume all that is curious or interesting about banks ; and scarcely less difficult to avoid some things that may appear trifling or impertinent.

The author has endeavored to give a picture of the banks of New York as they are ; to describe the duties of the officers and clerks, and their daily experience in transacting business with the dealers ; also to describe the conduct of dealers in their intercourse with banks. Some of the scenes presented may seem extravagant, and perhaps would be accepted as caricature, if not vouched for as literally true. The errors of the book are not, at least, in that direction. The real exaggerations of fact and manner, if rendered with the exactness of a daguerreotype, could hardly fail to excite a suspicion of designed caricature.

A considerable part of the author's purpose has been to give a general knowledge of the method of bank book-keeping. It would be impossible to do this thoroughly, without running into the dullest of details. Any person of intelligence and vivacity will supply the omissions or oversights under this head.

If the volume fails to show that there is nothing in the business of banking to entitle it to more respect than any honest mercantile employment, and that therefore, the banker and the dealer meet on equal terms, it is deficient in a very important respect. A dealer commits no greater mistake, than to begin treating with a bank as if it were a superior power ; and its officers do not need such a stimulus to their self-conceit.

The description of the Clearing House, and the sketch of the panic, have made the volume one third larger than was originally intended.

With respect to the panic, the author owes every thing to the invaluable records of the Clearing House, an institution which has brought about a new era in our city banking, and the full usefulness of which is hardly yet imagined even by a majority of those who share in its direction. In a few mouths, it has done more real service to the interests of trade in New York, than the Chamber of Commerce in the century of its existence ; though that has done as much as it could, without the organization of an effective financial bureau, such as the Clearing House must become, as an auxiliary to its labors.

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