SCOTTISH DRAPER LEARNS HIS ACCOUNTS

Three account books dated 1829-32 (‘Ledger’, ‘Journals’, ‘Waste Book’).

Blairlogie, Scotland, 1829.

Manuscript on paper, 3 vols, folio (41 x 26 cm), ff. [51], [2 blank]; [25], [1 blank]; [22], [2 blank]; very neatly written in black ink in a copperplate hand; a little wear to fore-edges of some leaves; very well preserved in thick paper wrappers; a few areas of loss to spines, some light staining to covers; inscriptions ‘Thomas Alexander Carse 1829’ and ‘Thomas Alexander Blair Logie'.

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A very attractive set of sample accounts compiled by the young Scottish draper Thomas Alexander of Blairlogie in Stirling, Scotland, in 1829, as part of his mercantile training. Thomas was born in 1812, the eldest son of a Blairlogie portioner (also called Thomas); he would therefore have been 17 years old when he composed these volumes. In the 1851 census he is recorded as a draper.

The content of the volumes is essentially copied from James Morrison’s highly successful work The elements of book keeping by single & double entry, first published in 1810 and issued in further editions for several years thereafter. Morrison was an accountant and Master of the Glasgow Mercantile Academy. The sample accounts in The elements were well suited to the young draper Thomas since they contain so many entries relating to trade in cloth: to calico, cambric, cotton wool and yarn, dimity, flannel, gingham, Holland, kersey, linen, muslin, quilting, sarsenet, shalloon, and velvet; as well as to associated products such as madder.

What is interesting is that Thomas adapted Morrison’s accounts to his own Scottish locale, heading his entries from ‘Stirling’, as well as from ‘London’, and making references to, for example, the Leven Bleachfield Co., Stirling Bank, the Bank of Scotland, Thistle Bank, Pringle & Son (of knitwear fame, founded in 1815), Sir W. Forbes & Co., Dundee Bank, the Stirling Sugar-house Co., and the Falkirk Bank. He also employs local place names, such as Doune, St Ninians, and Alloa.

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