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uncommon qualifications requisite in a task of this kind; it is much to be regretted that no farther continuation of it can be expected from the author, as he has now paid the last debt to nature.
The translator must again advert to the numerous difficulties which, as in the preceding parts, occurred to him while engaged on the additional volume. It was his anxious desire to avoid errors as far as possible; but he has not the vanity to suppose that his exertions have been always successful. He, however, trusts that the reader, should he find any cause for censure, will take into serious consideration the nature of the original, and the variety of the subjects on which it treats, before he proceeds to pass sentence.
THE THIRD EDITION.
IN regard to this edition, the translator thinks it necessary only to observe, that it is enlarged by a bibliography of the history of inventions, and several new articles, not before translated from the original. Some of the articles also have been arranged differently; in order that the volumes might be of equal size; and every care has been employed to render the whole as correct as possible.
THOSE who are acquainted with the Italian method of book-keeping must allow that it is an ingenious invention, of great utility to men in business, and that it has contributed to extend commerce and to facilitate its operations. It requires no less attention, care, and accuracy, than many works which are styled learned but it is undoubtedly true, that most mercantile people, without knowing the foundation of the rules on which they proceed, conduct their books in as mechanical a manner as many of the literati do their writings.
The name, Italian book-keeping, Doppia scrittura, with several words employed in this branch of science and still retained in all languages, make it probable that it was invented by the Italians;
and that other nations borrowed it, as well as various short methods of reckoning, from their mercantile houses, at the time when all the East-India trade passed through Italy.
De la Porte says,* "About the year 1495, "brother Luke, an Italian, published a treatise of "it in his own language. He is the oldest author "I have seen upon the subject." Anderson, in his Historical and chronological deduction of the origin of commerce,† gives the following ac
"In all probability, this art of doubleentry accounts had its rise, or at least its revival, among the mercantile cities of Italy: possibly "it might be first known at Venice, about the time "that numeral algebra was taught there; from the
principles of which science double-entry, or "what we call merchants accounts, seem to have "been deduced. It is said that Lucas de Burgo, "a friar, was the first European author who published his algebraic work at Venice, anno "1494."
This author, who was one of the greatest mathematicians of the fifteenth century, and who is supposed to be the first person who acquired a knowledge of algebra from the writings of the Arabians, was called Lucas Paciolus, e Burgo S. Sepulchri. He was a Franciscan, and so surnamed from a town
* La science des négocians et teneurs de livres, Paris, 1754. 8vo. P. 12.
+ Vol. i. p. 408.
in the duchy of Urbino, on the Florentine confines, called Burgo S. Sepulchro.*
Anderson tells us, that he had, in his possession, the oldest book published in England in which any account is given of the method of bookkeeping by double-entry. It was printed at London, in 1569, in folio. The author, whose name is
* In Scriptores ordinis Minorum, quibus accessit syllabus eorum qui, ex eodem ordine, pro fide Christi fortiter occubuerunt-Recensuit Fr. Lucas Waddingus, ejusdem instituti theologus, Romæ 1650. fol. a work reckoned by Beyer, Vogt, and others, among the very scarce books, is the following information, p. 238, respecting this author: "Lucas Paciolus e Burgo S. Sepulchri, prope fines Etruriæ, omnem pene rationem mathematica disciplinæ Italica lingua complexus est; conscripsit enim De divina proportione compendium; De arithmetica; De proportionibus et proportionalitatibus; opus egregium et eruditum, rudi tamen Minervâ, ad Guidobaldum Urbini ducem; De quinque corporibus regularibus; De majusculis alphabeti litteris pingendis; De corporum solidorum et vacuorum figuris, cum suis nomenclaturis. Excusa sunt Venetiis anno 1509. Transtulit Euclidem in linguam Italicam, et alia ejusdem scientiæ composuit opuscula." The same account is given in Bibliotheca Umbria, sive De scriptoribus Umbriæ, auctore Ludovico Jacobillo. Fulginia 1658. 4to. p. 180. The oldest works of this author, as mentioned in Origine e progressi della stampa, o sia dell' arte impressoria, e notizie dell' opere stampate dall' anno 1457 sino all' anno 1600. Bologna 1722. 4to.; to the dedication of which is subscribed Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi, are: Fr. Lucæ de Burgo S. Sepulchri Arithmetica et geometria, Italice; characteribus Goth. Ven. 1494. fol. Liber de algebra. Ven. 1494. This is the work quoted by Anderson. Those who are desirous of further information respecting Lucas de Burgo, may consult Heilbronneri Historia matheseos universæ. Lipsiæ 1742. 4to. p. 520. Histoire des mathematiques, par M. Montucla. Paris 1758. 4to. t. i. p. 441-476. Histoire des progrès de l'esprit humain dans les sciences exactes, par Saverien. Paris 1766. 8vo. p. 18 et 38.
+ Vol. i. p. 409.
James Peele, says, in his preface, that he had instructed many mercantile people in this art, which had been long practised in other countries, though in England it was then undoubtedly new. One may readily believe, that Mr. Anderson was not ignorant of the difference between the method of book-keeping by single, and that by double-entry; but he produces nothing to induce us to believe that Peele taught the latter, and not the former; for what he says of debit and credit is of no importance, as it may be applied also to the method by single-entry.
Of this Peele no mention is made in Ames' Typographical antiquities; but in that work* there is an account of a still older treatise of book-keeping, entitled, A briefe instruction and manner how to keepe bookes of accompts, after the order of debitor and creditor, and as well for proper accompts, partible, &c. by three bookes, named the memoriall, journall, and leager. Newly augmented and set forth by John Mellis schole maister. London 1588. 12mo. Mellis, in his preface, says that he is only the re-publisher of this treatise, which was before published at London in -1543 by a schoolmaster named Hugh Oldcastle. From the above title, and particularly from the three account books mentioned in it, I am inclined to believe that this work contained the true principles of book-keeping by double-entry.
* P. 410.