The Saint Louis directory for the years 1854-5 :

tions culled 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 f^m our own expe-
rience, we have tuc highest authority. In an address
on this subject, of more than usu;l interest to young
gentlemen, .iiulgo Walker (an eminent member of the
’Cincinnati Bar) remarks:

“The result to which I would conduct your minds is,
that tO the Merchant, Knowledge is Capital. If it
bo a general truth in human affairs, that knowledge is
pjwer, I hold it\to be pre-eminently so in regard to mer-
cantile pursuits. Without it, all the capital of a Gi-
rard or an Astor, would not make a merchant; and
with it, as the princip il thing, capital soonfo.lows as an
incident. Accordingly, the Jirst 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. aa of a lawyer, a
physician, or a clergyman; and to this end, there is
Just as much nebd of commercial schools and col-
leges as of any other—and these, I rej >ice to say, we
are beginning to have in a our commercial cities. We
have, too, commercial diotiopaiiaa and magazines—a
distinct commercial department fur new.-p-p.rs—cham-
bers of commerce—boards of trade—reading rooms—
and best of all, library associations. All these things
bear gratifying testimony to the increased interest taken
in mercantile education. And why shouid 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 dig-
nity, difficulty, or utility.

* * * * * * * *

“It has been said by close observers, that, in this
country, nine merchants out of 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 con-
fined to one country only, and sometimes embracing the
whole commercial world, in which bankruptcies become
the order of the day. Those who seemed roiling in
wealth are suddenly reduced to beggary—the breaking
of one house drags down another, though p-Jrhfipj
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, be-
cause that which he took as money has become worthkss
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 f nee of the deep is gradually deposed
—business finds or makes for itself new channels as be-
fore—capital increases—credit expands—there seems no
end to the swelling prosperity. Every body can in-
crease his _ expenses, because his books show that his
profits are increased. The last revulsion is forgotten in
the halcyon times—the warnings of expjrience are un-
heard in tho general rush of business—f irtunes are
made in a day—nothing 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 bauki up.cv
—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 andascend regularly to
the top. They must go up by a few rapid leaps. Instead
of beginning in a smafl way. and enlarging their busi-
ness gradually—themselves growing up with it—they
dash at once into a largo business, before they are fitted
for it. I speak not now wi;h re peet to capial; for. if
they bad c\er so much, this is not the way to begin, but
I the way to clo^e a commercial career. The great want is capacity to manage a large business at the outset, wh.ih
never can le acquired by a mevo apprenticeship. L
must be tho work of actual experience at the Le.id of
business, and not in any subo dinaie po-iiion. Tute two
jout’g ineii of equal means in every ie-peot, mental and
o he wi.e. Let one begin moderately, arid extei.d his
operations gr; dually, say for twenty years. Let ih
o her legin wiih a busine.-s as large as that to which
hat of ihe first has grown in this space of lime. An
at ihe end, who is likely to be in the best portion ! 1
hink all experience will answer, the former. In fact
the p.obabiliiL’s are, a hundred to one, that tie lattei
wi 1 be a broken merchant r-efore h;:if the period h.c
1. psed ; while the former, feeing his way at ever)
-iep—i ever venturi :g 1 eyond his depth—growing in
capacity with the growth of business—and thus nlwayi
quul 10 what he undertakes, will in all probability, by
that time, have become an established merchant, in the
best ten^e of that phrase.”