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Art. 1.-TIB MERCHANTS, AND THE MERCHANTS' FUND*
THE MERCHANT IS THE FRIEND OF MAN."--Gibbon.
I. MERCHANTS—WHO AND WHENCE ARE THEY ?
1. They are an historic class. Their existence as a body can be traced to the earliest annals of the world. As far back as the days of Abraham, nearly 2,000 years before Christ, we find the Patriarch buying the field of Machpelah, and paying Ephron for it “ 400 shekels of silver, current money with the merchant;" showing, not only the existence of merchants a a class, but also that they had standard weights and coins, and regulated the currency of the times.
A little after this record, Moses writes of “Midianitish merchantmen," who " came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.” Job speaks of "merchants” in his day; and towards the splendor of King Solomon, merchants largely contributed. The vast quantities of gold, and ivory, and spices, and precious woods, and linens, and wool, and other articles, which he accumulated, were obtained not only by traffic with foreign traders, but also through those denominated “ the king's merchants," who were the factors
"We have been sarnished with a copy of the address delivered before the “ Merchants' Fund” Association of Philadelphia, on the occasion of their second anniversary, January 24, 1856. This article embraces, as will be seen, u comprebensive sketch of the merchants as an bistoric class, to gelber with a brief sketch of the history and character of mercantile benevolence. For an account of the “ Merchants' Fund” of Philadelphia our readers are referred to the department of “ Mercadtile Miscellanies," page 131, in the present number of the Merchants' Magazine. - Ed.