Many a prayer uplifted
O’er desk, and din, and roar;
Many an humble knee is bent
When the rushed day is o’er;
Far within, where God may be,
All exists His Throne to raise;
Every triumph of our power
Becomes a form of Praise!
God of nations, hear
And keep us just and true;
Lay Thy hand on all our lives,
And bless the work we do:
Then from every coast and clime
Land and sea shall tribute bring;
Gold and traffic, world-domain
We offer to our King!_
ANNA ROBERTSON BROWN LINDSAY
We are all traders. Each of us is endowed with some faculty, ware, or possession which he is constantly exchanging for other things. We trade time, talent, service, goods, acres, produce, counsel, experience, ideals. The world is in reality a Bourse of Exchange. Each of us brings some day his special product to the common mart.
There are traders and traders—the just and the unjust—the man of honor and the rogue. We set values on thoughts and on transactions, on merchandise and on philanthropies, on ideas and on accounts; and there is a constant distribution of the affairs, as well as of the worldly goods of men.
But in a restricted sense, we think of trade as the exchange of produce which is material and mobile,—which may be touched, handled, weighed, transported, bought, and sold. The substance of the earth is constantly taking new shape before our eyes, being rearranged in kaleidoscopic combinations, and transported from port to port, from town to town, from sea to sea. One can look nowhere without seeing this ceaseless activity progressing. Everywhere there is a whir of wheels, a plash of waves, a din of assembly, as the new combinations take place.
There was a day when trade was a thing of here-and-there; a thing of sailing ships and caravans, of merchants of Bagdad, Cairo, Venice, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Tyre, and Damascus. Ivory, gold, gems, precious stuffs, teak and cedar wood, Lebanon pine, apes, peacocks, sandal-wood, camel’s hair, goat’s hair, frankincense, pearl, dyes, myrrh, cassia, cinnamon, Balm of Gilead, calamus, spikenard, corn, ebony, figs, fir, olives, olive-wood, wheat, amber, copper, lead, tin, and precious stones were the chief articles of exchange. A very little sufficed the poor; the rich were housed in palaces and panoplied in gems.
As time went on, the processional of traders became a processional led out, in turn, by the merchants of one city after another. It is a picturesque study, that of the trade-routes of the Middle Ages! There was the Mediterranean seaboard, and there were the Baltic towns and the Hanse towns; the Portuguese mariners and traders; the Venetian merchant princes. There was the Spanish colonial trade; the Dutch trade of the East Indies; the trade of Amsterdam and London. There were the Elizabethan sea-rovers. Then came the British trade in the East Indies, and the gradual growth of the trade of France, Germany, England, and the United States. This is a story of human wants reaching out as civilization advanced, and of the extending of the earth-exchange. Everywhere there has been a correspondence between national prosperity and increasing trade.