Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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BROKERS, persons employed as middlemen to transact business or negotiate bargains between different merchants or individuals. They are sometimes licensed by public authority, and sometimes not.


—Brokers are divided into different classes; as bill or exchange brokers, stock-brokers, ship and insurance brokers, pawnbrokers, and brokers simply so called, or those who sell or appraise household furniture distrained for rent. Exclusive, too, of the classes now mentioned, the brokers who negotiate sales of produce between different merchants usually confine themselves to some one department or line of business; and by attending to it exclusively they acquire a more intimate knowledge of its various details, and of the credit of those engaged in it, than could be looked for on the part of a general merchant, and are consequently able, for the most part, to buy on cheaper and to sell on dearer terms than those less familiar with the business. It is to these circumstances—to a sense of the advantages to be derived from using their intervention in the transaction of business—that the extensive employment of brokers in London and all other large commercial cities is wholly to be ascribed.


—In France the brokers who deal in money, exchange, merchandise, insurance, and stock, are called agents de change, and their number at Paris is limited to 60. The company of agents de change is directed by a chamber of syndics chosen annually by the company. They are severally obliged to give bonds to the amount of 125,000 francs for the prevention of abuses. They are also obliged to keep books; are restricted to a charge of from ⅛ to ¼ per cent.; and are interdicted from carrying on, or having any interest in, any commercial or banking operations. In the United States brokers are not licensed nor do they give bonds.

J. R. M'C.

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