HOWEVER different may be the opinion of those who have never really studied the laws which govern the operations of trade and commerce, we hold it to be a maxim, the truth of which may be clearly shown, that in reality the interests of buyers and sellers are identical. Certainly, any system based upon an opposite or different theory will ultimately demonstrate itself to be injurious both to producers and consumers, and likewise to that large and necessary intermediate class who effect exchanges between the other two. To a short-sighted, grasping mind it doubtless seems to be an advantage gained to sell to his unwary or helpless victim an inferior or worthless article at a price which should only be paid for the best; but such gains; in the long run, cost out of all proportion to their apparent profit; Buyers learn to protect themselves; society combines against the unprincipled trader; fairer-minded rivals absorb the legitimate business; and so the inexorable laws of cause and effect work out a proper remedy for the evil.

Now to apply this general statement to a special case. We consider it to be for the interest of the manufacturers and sellers of albumenised paper to furnish a good article to their customers, and also to show themselves willing to adopt reasonable precautions tending to give the article they sell a certain and stable character, instead of qualities exactly the reverse of this. In other words, if the manufacturers would be guided by an enlightened self-interest, they would see the propriety of carefully consulting the interests and necessities of their customers, and not persist in a course which tends directly to force the photographic public to adopt measures of self-protection. It is in vain for the manufacturers, as a class, to allege that hitherto they have done their best, or have displayed a willingness to do it. The facts are against them. Complaints about albumenised paper are general and loud and continuous, and we say advisedly, justly so. In our experiments on the toning bath (see leader, July 29th, page 265) we said--"By changing the sample of the paper we have been able to obtain fair results from nearly all the toning baths." But now we ask--Why this necessity of changing the paper? The reason is obvious. It was because of the extreme variations in its quality and character, and the impossibility, without a vexatious trial, of determining for any given sample what sort of a bath would suit; and, even when this was ascertained, being as much as ever at a loss with regard to the next sheet we laid our hands upon.

We once thought that experience would speedily suggest the proper method to follow in each case; and, of course, the ability gained by intelligent practice cannot be too highly estimated. But cases arise in which the most experienced are baffled; and, at any rate, time and materials are too often lost in vain efforts to obtain good results from essentially bad materials. The evil, too, is increasing, and is fast becoming too great to be any longer endured.

As we have already apprised our readers, the French Photographic Society, at Paris, is about to appoint a new commission to investigate this subject, and, if possible, propose a remedy. We certainly, think the field of inquiry sufficiently large and important to command the attention of our British societies also.

But while waiting for the reports which may be hereafter submitted with regard to this important subject, we beg leave to remind our, friends, the manufacturers of albumenised paper, of some suggestions which have been tinged upon their attention, but which they, seem to have forgotten.

One of these forgotten suggestions is the necessity of stamping upon each sheet of their paper the date of its preparation. It is a well-known fact that albumenised paper degenerates after it has passed a certain age, and then keeps on degenerating until it is good for nothing. Now, how does it happen that it is so difficult, if not impossible, to procure paper marked with its date? Are the makers --like certain ladies--afraid of losing a market?

Again: unless the operator knows the proportions of the constituents entering into the albumen preparation, it is evident that any sensitising bath be may prepare will be simply a matter of haphazard. It may answer very well, or it may not answer at all. It results from this that every sheet of albumenised paper, ought to have stamped on it the formula by which it has been prepared.

Some other things would still remain to be done; but the general adoption of these two suggestions--which ought not to--be, difficult. to carry into practice--would introduce a great degree. of certainty into a department of photographic labour now painfully vitiated by uncertainty and consequent failure.

But, as we have said, these suggestions have already been made, and made by those competent to judge of their importance; and yet they are not heeded--they are not acted upon. By a stretch of charity we suppose that the manufacturers have forgotten them, or they would not insult the common sense of their customers by advertising, as they constantly do, "our paper is of such a character as leaves nothing to be desired," when the plain fact is that their paper carries no record of its age, and keeps concealed the chemical details of its preparation.

We trust that the manufacturers of and dealers in albumenised paper will consider that this matter concerns their interests. Let them stamp their paper with these little items of information, and put their names to them as a guarantee of truthfulness, and we promise them that they will not complain for want of a profitable business

Response from JOHN A. SPENCER