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fication, of fraud. At that awful period, how many persons will be found to be cheats, who in this world sustained the character of fair dealers; and were regarded by all around them as honest men' 3. Another class of Frauds, is attendant upon Bargains. These, like the former classes, are very numerous; and are varied continually by the circumstances of the Bargain, and the ingenuity, negligence, and dishonesty, of the parties. ..An honest bargain is that, and that only, in which an Equivalent is given, and received; in which the value of the commodities in each case being supposed to be known, the fair, market price is mutually allowed. The market price is, in all ordinary circumstances, the equitable i. and, wherever it is known, will be cheerfully paid by an honest man. Where it cannot be known, such men will settle their contracts as equitably as they can: each designing faithfully to render an equivalent for what he receives. Every bargain, not formed on these principles, is unjust; and, if thus #." intentionally, is dishonest. But how different from these are the principles, upon which bargains are very extensively made in this country, and but too probably in others also: Among the innumerable frauds, practised in this vast field of human business, I shall specify the following. JMultitudes of persons, when forming bargains, misrepresent, or conceal, the state of the markets. . Most men profess to be willing to be governed in their dealings o the market price. But great numbers of these very men intend to buy for less, and sell for more. Hence they carefully conceal this price from those with whom they deal; and thus buy at diminished, and sell at enhanced, prices. This conduct is plain dishonesty; and would not deceive even the subject of it, were he not blinded by his own avarice. He . knows, that his neighbour would not buy, nor sell, on these terms, except from his ignorance; and that the advantage, which he gains, is gained only from his neighbour's misapprehension of the commodities in question. Can an honest man take this advantage 2. Would any man of reputation justify himself in taking it of a child? Why not of a child, as well as of a man 2 Because, it will be answered, the child knows not the worth of what he buys, or sells. Neither, in the case specified, does the man. Would he, who takes this advantage, be willing that his neighbour should take it of him 2 The answer to this question needs not be given. It is plain, then, that the conduct referred to is unjust and fraudulent. There are many other persons, who directly misrepresent the imarket price. These men feel satisfied, if they do not palpably lie ; if, for example, they report what this price has lately been; what they have heard somebody declare it to be; or what price has been given by an individual, who has sold at a high, or bought at a low price: both, very different from the general one. All

these are mere fetches, used by a dishonest mind to deceive itself, and to defraud others. Another palpable fraud of this class is the use of false weights and measures. These are often used, when they are known, and often when they are suspected, to be false; and more frequently still, when they are suffered to become defective through inattention. In this, the man is apt to feel himself excused, because he is not intentionally fraudulent; not remembering, that, whenever it is in his power, God has required him to do justly, and not merely not to design to do unjustly. He has given him no permission to sin through negligence. Weights and measures are often formed of such materials, as to ensure decay, and diminution. Whenever this is known to be the case, the proprietor is unpardonable, if he does not by frequent examinations prevent the injustice. The wrong he cannot but foresee ; and the remedy is always, and entirely, in his power. If we love justice as we ought, we shall take all those measures, which are necessary to accomplish it. He, who is resolved to do to others what he would that others should do to him, will never suffer it to remain undone for want of exertions, which demand so little self-denial. Whenever a man begins to do wrong through negligence, he will soon do it through design. Indifference to sin is the next step to the love of it. The only safety in this case, and all others of the like nature, is to resist the beginnings of evil. If our opposition to it be not begun here, it will never be begun. Every smaller transgression prepares the way for a greater. Every gross villain has become such by small beginnings. “No man,” says the Latin proverb, “becomes abandoned at once.” . He, who begins to backslide without compunction, will find his remaining course only downward; and will descend with continually increasing velocity to the bottom. Another prominent iniquity of this class is Selling commodities, which are unsound and defective, under direct professions, that they are sound and good. This is sometimes done with palpable lying; sometimes with indefinite and hypocritical insinuations. Agents, and men who buy to sell again, often assert their wares to be good, because those, of whom they received them, have †† them to be good. These declarations are often believed, because the agent professes, or at least appears, to believe them; while, in truth, he does not give them the least credit. One of the grossest impositions of this nature is practised ... the public in advertising, and selling, nostrums as safe and valuable medicines. These are ushered into newspapers with a long train of pompous declarations, almost always false, and always delusive. The silly purchaser buys, and uses, the medicine, chiefly, or only, because it is sold by a respectable man, and under the sanction of a splendid advertisement, to which that respectable

man lends his countenance. Were such men to decline this unfortunate and indefensible employment, the medicines would robably fall into absolute discredit; and health, and limbs, and ife, would in many instances be preserved from unnecessary destruction. Another specimen of similar fraud is practised in concealing the defects of what we sell. This is the general art, and villany, of that class of men, who are customarily styled Jockeys: a class, unhappily comprehending multitudes, who would receive the apellation with astonishment and disdain. The common subteruge of these men is this: “ that they give no false accounts concerning their commodities; that the purchaser has eyes of his own, and must judge for himself.” No defence can be inore lame and wretched; and scarcely any, more impudent. A great proportion of vendibles are subject to defects, which no purchaser can descry. Every purchaser is, therefore, obliged to depend on the seller for information concerning them. All this the seller perfectly knows; and, if he be an honest man, will certainly give the information to the purchaser; because in the same situation he would wish it to be given to himself. . At the same time, no purchaser would buy these articles, if he knew their defects, unless at a diminished price. The actual purchaser is, thereo in colloquial language, taken in ; and taken in by palpable villanv. Wor specimen of the same nature is furnished by the practice of depreciating the value of such commodities, as we wish to buy. “It is naught, it is naught,” saith the buyer; but, when he hath gone his way, he boasteth. Such was the conduct of men in the days of Solomon. We have ample proof, that human nature, now, is not in this respect altered for the better. The ignorant, the modest, and the necessitous; persons, who should be the last to suffer from fraud; are in this way often made its victims. A decisive tone, and confident airs, in men better dressed, and supposed to know better, than themselves, easily bear down persons so circumstanced, and persuade them to sell their commodities for less than they are plainly worth. The purchaser, in the mean time, as soon as they are out of hearing, boasts of his gainful bargain; and trumpets, without a blush, the value of the articles, which he had before decried. 4. Another class of frauds is connected with the Contraction, and Payment, of Debts. The first transgression of this nature, which I shall mention, is the contraction of debts, with clear conviction. that we possess no means of discharging them; and that we shall, in all probability, Possess no such means |...} at least, within any reasonable period of payment. Multitudes of persons covet enjoyments, in the possession of others, to such a degree, that they are willing to acquire them, if they can, without troubling themselves about pay

ing for them. Such persons are often professed cheats; and triumph in the success of their impositions. But there are others, who regard themselves as honest men; and would be not a little surprised, as well as wounded, at the suspicion of fraudulent designs in their conduct. Most, or all, of these men form some loose, indefinite design of paying their debts; but instead of providing the necessary means for this purpose, trust to some future casualty. They will tell the creditor, who charges them with dishonest conduct, that, although they did indeed know themselves to be destitute of property, and of any rational expectations of future property, when the debt was contracted, yet they hoped that in the course of events, they should, in some manner or other, become able to discharge it. In this case, they will add, they should have discharged it, both willingly and faithfully. What they thus allege is, probably, in many instances, true. The persons in question do not form a direct intention to defraud their creditors. Thus far their honesty goes. But here it stops. They form no design, director indirect, to take effectual measures to do their creditors justice. They do not conscientiously abstain from contracting debts, until they know, that they shall be able to cancel them by fair payment. On the contrary, they contract them, when they know themselves to be unable, and to be unpossessed of any fair probable means of being able at a future time. In all this they are, although often without suspecting it, grossly dishonest. Another sin, very nearly akin to this, is contracting debts, without perceiving any means of payment to be in our power. Those, who transgress in this manner, feel satisfied, if they do not know themselves to be unable to pay. Were they evangelically honest, they would take effectual care to see whether they were able, or not. Often, by overrating their property, their efforts, or the markets, they feel a loose conviction, that they shall possess this ower; but take no pains to render the fact certain, or even pro{. Such morality can result only from absolute insensibility of mind to the great duty of doing justly ; an entire ignorance of what it demands; and a total forgetfulness of exposure to the Divine indignation. We are i. we receive, before we become willing to receive, our neighbour's property, to know, that we have means, clearly probable, of paying him : otherwise, we wantonly subject him to the loss of it; and differ very little, as moral beings, from thieves and robbers. . If we are in doubt concerning either the probability, or the sufficiency, of these means; it is our duty to detail them fairly to the person, with whom we are dealing. If, in this case, he is disposed to entrust us with his o and we afterwards make faithful efforts to cancel the debt; I do not see, that we are chargeable with fraud, although we should fail. He who contracts a debt, without discerning that he has probable means of discharging it, differs in no material respect from a Swindler. He plunders his neighbour from indifference to

justice; the Swindler from contempt of it. . In the view of common sense, in the sight of God, the moral character of both is essentially the same.

Another transgression of the same general nature, is neglecting to pay our debts at the time. There are many persons, whose gemeras character, as honest men, is fair; who yet, in this respect, are extremely deserving of censure. They contract debts, which they engage to discharge within a given time. This time is, therefore, a part of the contract; a ground on which the bargain is made; a condition, on which the price was calculated. This obvious truth is understood by all men; and makes a part of the language of every bargain, in which credit is given. To the expectation, formed by the Creditor, of receiving his debt at the time specified, the Debtor has voluntarily given birth. It is an expectation, therefore, which he is bound to fulfil. If he does not take every lawful measure in his power, to enable himself to fulfil it; or if he does not fulfil it, when it is in his power; he is guilty of fraud; of depriving his neighbour, not perhaps of design, but by a guilty negligence, of a part of his property.

#. delay of payment beyond the appointed time, is, in almost all instances, injurious, and, in some, almost as injurious to the creditor, as an absolute refusal to pay would originally have been. The real value of a debt, where the security is sufficient, is, among men of business, estimated according to the time, when the payment is reasonably expected. Thus notes, bonds, and other o ligations for money, .. given by men, known to be punctual in the discharge of their debts, pass in the market for their nominal value; and are received in payments with no other discount, than that which arises from the distance of the period, when they become due. Those given by negligent men are, on the contrary, considered as depreciated, from the beginning; and that, exactly in proportion to the negligence of the signer. Of this sum, be it what it may, the negligent man defrauds his creditor.

The Law of God required, in accordance with the doctrine, which I am urging, that the sun should not be suffered to go down upon the hire of the labourer. The Spirit of punctuality, here enjoined, ought to be found in all men. The engagements, which we make, we are bound, as honest men, to fulfil. The expectations which we knowingly excite in the minds of those, with whom we deal, we are required to satisfy: and, when we fail, either voluntarily or negligently, we are inexcusable.

The i. iniquity of this species, which I shall mention, is the payment of debts with something of less value, than that which we

Ossesse

P It has been doubtless observed, that I have, all along throughout this discourse, chiefly passed over in silence those gross frauds, which are the direct objects of criminal prosecution. Such is my intention here. I i. pass by the gross iniquities of passing

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