Chambers of Commerce,
bodies of merchants and traders associated for the purpose of promoting the interests of their own members, of the city to which the society belongs, and of the community. Of the means by which these objects are to be accomplished the following may be mentioned as the most prominent: (1) by representing and urging on the Legislature the views of their members in mercantile affairs; (2) by aiding in the preparation of legislative measures having reference to trade; (3) by collecting statistics bearing upon the staple trade of the city; (4) in some places by acting as a sort of court of arbitration in mercantile questions; (5) by attaining by combination advantages in trade which might be beyond the reach of individual enterprise.
The first institution of the kind in the United States, the New York Chamber of Commerce, was organized in 1768 and incorporated by royal charter from King George III. in 1770. There are similar bodies in every city and town of consequence in the United States.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.