BROKER (so called, from a Teut. and Slay. root, brak or wrak, signifying refuse, blemish; as if the function had originally been to select good articles of merchandise and reject blemished ones: the German term is inakler, from Inctkel, blemish), an agent employed to make bargains and contracts between other persons, in meters of trade. commerce, and navigation, for a compensation commonly called brokerage. Where lie is employed to buy or sell goods, he is not intrusted with the custody or possession of them, and is not authorized to buy or sell them in his own name. In this lie differs from a factor, and be differs from an auctioneer in two particulars: a B. may buy as well as sell, but an auctioneer can only sell; a B. cannot sell personally at pub lic auction, for that is the appropriate function of an auctioneer, but he may sell at pri vate sales, which an auctioneer (as such) does not. A B. is strictly a middleman, or intermediate negotiator between the parties, and for some purposes, he is treated as the agent of both parties, but primarily he is deemed merely the agent of the party by whom lie is originally employed. There are several sorts of brokers, such as stock-brokers, share-brokers, ship-brokers (q.v. in Surr., Vol. X.), insurance-brokers, and bill
brokers (q.v.). Persons who appraise goods, sell or distrain furniture for rent, are also called brokers, although differing entirely in their occupations from the preced ing commercial agents. The business of a pawnbroker (q.v.) is also of a different nature.
Brokers, in London, must be admitted by the lord mayor and aldermen, paying on admission, and a like sum annually, under a penalty of £100; but they are no other wise subject to the control of the court of aldermen. A list is kept by the city of bro kers admitted, and of those who have been convicted of fraud or disqualified (:33 and 34 Vict. c. 60).
13y the larceny consolidation act, 24 and 2.5 Vict. c. 96, s. 76, it is enacted that any person, who, being a banker, merchant, B., attorney, or agent, and being intrusted for safe custody with the property of any other persons, shall in any manner convert or appropriate it to his own use, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be kept in penal servitude from five to seven years, or to suffer some other punishment, by imprisonment for not more titan two years, with hard labor or confinement. See FACTOR.