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Rangoon, a most comfortless, overloaded vessel, where the We were covered with those minute but hungry and loathpoor subalterns had neither berths nor room in the steerage some leeches with which the marshes, and damp rank vege. to hang a hammock, but were glad to be permitted the in- tation in the vicinity of them, in the Burmese empire, are dalgence of a mattrass on the floor of the cuddy-preferring infested. that to the crowded steerage, whence close air and unwbole- We washed the mud from our limbs, but the water was some smells were ineffectual in espelling the revolting already impregnated with blood, and we knew that by tearing Fermin that infested it-cockroaches there actually swarmed, the sucking water-vampires from our flesh, dangerous ulcers issuing at night, and, as it would seem at concerted moments, would ensue. in volaminous squads from every crevice and cranny in the I counted fourteen on my legs and thighs, and a feeling ship's timbers ! Nor were we qnite free from their nocturnal of alarm as the blood poured down thrilled through my visits in our fastnesses in the large cabin. With what shud. veins. Fast as we could, we withdrew into the drier ground, dering sensations used we to hear the first mysterious and then had nothing to do but wait till the satiated reptiles but unmistakeable movement made by their out runners pre- dropt off one by one." Tombakor ! Tobacco !” exclaimed paratory to a sally! With what a shrinking of limbs, and the jemandar with a shout of joy, as he found that we were gathering together of garments did we huddle under our now in a field of that plant, already blackening to ripeness. sheets and palampores almost unto suffocation when from “We are safe!” he added, " this field is not far from the some one point of corner, we heard them commence their river, for I was conveyed down the banks for some miles, and unaccountable race! First, a few straggling cohorts ; pre- remember our halting near this field, and that hut-behold ! sently a strong phalans, extending in line; lastly, a whole They expected to find a canoe hid in the reeds, but could not force of millions, scampering over and across us the whole discover it; and now, sir, chew the leaves of the tobacco, breadth and length of the cabin. And then, suddenly as it and spit the juice upon the leeches !" began, the inroad ceased, and all was still, save here and The kindly jemandar commenced his operations by applythere a rustle, as of a slimy wing in contact with an ob- ing his first salivery sanative to one of the leeches on my stacle ; then how carefully we unwrapped ourselves, per- leg; nor were the effects dubious or delayed. The creature spiring at every pore from our swaddling bands, and laugh- almost instantly dropped off, and so with the others; but we ing too, even whilst we shuddered to discover that some of had some difficulty in quenching the flow of blood, nor our clatamy assailants remained fixtures in the threads of indeed did some of the wounds cease bleeding for many hours, our corerlids, or even struggled amidst our hair ! And then, and more than one severe sore succeeded to those bites. Rehow we slammed about with slipper or shoe, wherever we tracing our way for some distance, we took a fresh path thought there might be a chance of hitting a cockroach ! which the jemandar remembered to have passed ; and just as

Now, has any great naturalist ever expounded the nature the dawn of a misty morning began to break, we found our. of these horrid creatures, and the causes which excite those selves on the margin of the Irawaddy. sadden, brief, and mysterious outbreaks during certain The Mahomedan threw himself on his kness, and thanked watches of the night? But there were other and more Alla for our escape ; nor was the Christian without many grim insects,-nay, reptiles, on board of the Hastings than prayers of thanksgiving for the providential release from our innocent cockroaches, whose only cruelty was their fre- perhaps a cruel death-assuredly from captivity!, quent attempts to nibble our toe nails. Once we found a huge centipede in the lid of one of the lockers, on which at The volume proceeds in the way indicated by these the moment Tanfield was adjusting his pillow; nor did I extracts; a setting of useful knowledge in a light wonder that he screamed and fled even as a girl might do, frame-work, and we are glad to notice the kind for I felt very much inclined to do the same thing; and in spirit in which Major Campbell

, like all the literary rous—they must have been a species of tarantula, great Anglo Indians, refers to his connexion with the big-bellied, hairy, hideous monsters, of whom our native' Natives. servants stood in great panic, accounting them, perhaps with reason, quite capable of inflicting a venemous bite.

These cockroaches have a very innocent cha- Life in its Lower, Intermediate, and Higher racter, biting the nails off one's feet, but we rather Forms. By PHILIP HENRY GOSSE, F.R.S. believe in having caught them at more serious London : James Nisbet and Co. 1 vol., illus. work, and we don't believe their innocence, only trated, pp. 363. they are the foes of worse foes to man; and in The greater part of the papers in this volume apreasonable numbers might be tolerated as neces-peared in “ Excelsior," a monthly publication of sary evils in certain situations. Cockroaches are great merit. The numerous illustrations probably even more tolerable than leeches. To fall into a have been added. The author of these papers bog or pond of leeches would be a very sure evinced a very intimate acquaintance with natural thod of getting altogether out of existence, and history, and a very happy mode of conveying it to that was Majors Campbell's misfortune :

others. His pages resemble those of the “ Epi.

sodes of Insect Life," a very beautiful work, THE LEECHES AND TOBACCO OF BURMAH, The forest was by no means thick, nor for several miles

which should not be forgotten in style. And this had we much difficulty in making our way through it; but is a great advantage to non-scieutific readers, who then it dwindled in size, brushwood took the place of trees, get tolerably learned on a subject before they and underfoot the ground grew moist at first, then damper know that they are students. But the style needs and damper, till at length, being in advance, I plunged head genius along with research and science ; and these foremost into a bog. Fortunately the jemandar was not so

are seldom combined in the same person, close upon me as to follow my example, but I felt myself

This sinking in a quagmire, and I was almost up to the waist author, somewhat after the style in which the late before the manful exertions and robust arms of Shaik Mr. Miller treated geology, has brought the diffeIsmael succeeded in rescuing me from a dreadful death. rent qualifications together; and it was right to

We were forced to repose ourselves on the brink of this publish his papers in this attractive and collected treacherous morass for some time, and then the painful form ? for they are too valuable to have been left panion in a less degree, apprised ús of new annoyance. in a' scattered condition. The book will lead

me

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the sea.

young readers into that love for natural history, | islands. It is a curious circumstance that these which is growing in society; and, while a highly islands have been partially depopulated by cholera intellectual volume, a leading object has never and famine. Their natural fertility has been been overlooked—in exhibiting "the manifesta. useless to the inhabitants, who neglect probably tions of Divine wisdom, in the natural history of the limited labour requisite to make even the animals,” from the lowest order of life to its tropics productive :higher sections.

Oar slip at last arrived at the Cape Verd islands, which however, we did not see till within a league of the shore, in

consequence of the hazy state of the atmosphere, and we Uncle Peregrine; or, Annals and Incidents of dropped our anchor at Pont Praya, it being desirable to

Romantic Adventure. London : James Nisbet procure some additional supplies of fresh provisions. As and Co., 1 vol., 12mo., pp., 316.

our ship was likely to remain for a day at least, we took UNCLE PEREGRINE professes to have been born the opportunity of going ashore. The immediate vicinity of

the harbour does not present much attraction to the visitor' on the banks of the calm western Leren, which

for the whole district appeared barren and desolate. We carries the surplus waters of Loch Lomond to the resolved, however, to make use of our time, by proceeding Clyde. His aunt wanted him to become a at once into the interior, which, we were informed, afforded chant, and his love of adventure inclined him to a striking contrast with the country near the harbour. ProSo the difference was compromised by curing horses for ourselves, and vehicles for the ladies, we

made our way at least ten miles into the country, passing the expectation of his aunt that the young sailor through valleys the beauty and fertility of which" exceeded would do a little trading.

The volume contains everything we could have imagined. After a most delighthis adventures by sea and land, with wild beasts ful day we returned to Port Praya, and once more prepared and wilder waves, in Africa and America, on the

to embark. Amazon and the St. Lawrence, with panthers and Sometimes one thinks that Uncle Peregrine sharks--the latter, or the sea monsters, being the uses the privilege of a traveller, as when he tells ugliest customers. The volume is of a class that

us of tame tigers kept like watch dogs on the are favourites with young persons, to whom its banks of the Amazon ; but the tigers of South embellishments will form additional attractions. America are not those of Bengal. The production Uncle Peregrine is an observant seanian, who has | of India rubber may interest some of our young formed acquaintance with the land wherever he readers :wandered, with its history, its population, and

I obtained an interesting account of the mode in which productions. Then he is a good man if also a

the India rubber is prepared, and which is produced in great good sailor, and maintaius a running commentary quantities on most of the great cluster of islands in the of improvement on his adventures, as he recites estuary of the Amazon, for we landed on our way to Marajo them. Tahiti afforded “one of the loveliest

on an island where there was an establishment for the pure

pose. The labourers were busily occupied in gathering the prospects in the world”—Bahia with its numerous

substance, and I had an opportunity of examining the whole spires and turrets, and many palm trees, supplied a

process, which I will describe to you. scene that was exceedingly charming. The Gala- It appears that the season for the labour is from July to pagos islands are more out of the way places than January, for the river is then low, and at other times the either of those mentioned :

water is so high as to overflow all the low lands, where the

'India rubber tree grows, so that the process cannot then be Before leaving the Galapagos islands, we landed on se- carried on. The tree is tall and straight, with a smooth veral of them in succession. One of our objects was to bark, and sometimes grows to the diameter of eighteen procare water. This, however, is not possible on every one inches and even more. In order to collect the juice a longi. of them. The rain runs rapidly off the surface and the soil tudinal gash is made in the tree with a hatchet or tomahawk, becomes dry. In one of the larger islands, however, we and a wedge of wood being inserted, to keep the incision procured a good supply of the pare element, and were en- open, a small cup of clay is stuck to the tree just below it. gaged a whole day in filling our casks and rolling them to These incisions are made all round the tree, and the little the beach. We were all delighted with the extreme tame. caps form a circle round the trunk. In these caps the juice, ness of such birds as we saw. There were several varieties of the colour of milk, continues to run four or five hours, of them; and some were so devoid of fear as to remain and each cup is found to contain from three to five table seated on the branches of the trees within reach of our spoonsful. hands. This circumstance proved how little they had been The great island of Marajo, and almost all the other subjected to the cruelty of man, which, in the course of islands scattered around it, are infested by ounces and other generations seems to confer on the feathered tribes an almost

specimens of the feline race. In the former, vast numbers new instinct, and lead them to keep at a distance from their of cattle are destroyed by these ravenous beasts every year, destroyers. As for myself, I took care not to abuse the and many fall victims to the alligators, which are of im. confidence of the feathered strangers even by 'depriving any mense size, and abonnd in every creek and inlet. of them of their liberty. I regret to say, however, that

The alligators are not disposed of easily, although several of my companions were much less scrupulous; and their visitors paid the penalty of their rashness with their an industrious persecution would thin their num. lives. We weighed anchor soon afterwards and proceeded bers—for when young they are weak enough ; but upon our voyage; but I could not help feeling much regret

ounces and other beasts of prey on laud are that I had seen so little of the Galapagos islands, which I

expensive luxuries, where large droves of cattle felt sure would amply repay a careful and minute examina. tion into their various animal and vegetable productions,

are kept, and only exist from the defective energy The Galapagos islands derive their name from of those who support them out of their flocks. the tortoises abounding in them.

Uncle Peregrine tells a very instructive series of passed some pleasant hours at the Cape de Verd experiences, and they will be popular,

The voyager

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

MARCH, 1857.

THE BANK CHARTER AND THE CURRENCY LAWS.

The message to the Parliament from the Sove- exposed to floods in spring, and frosts in autumn, reign delivered on the fourth of last month, and short crops at all seasons. recommends the renewal of the charter of the Several writers upon monetary science have Bank of England, and therewith all our currency confounded the circulating medium with something laws. The appointment of a committee of the valuable in itself. The circulating medium may House of Commons to consider the operation of have a real or a representative value. The circuthese laws since that date is a cover for the minis lation of this country is mixed. Part of it is terial mistake. It is decent to have a committee real; part of it is representative. A penny be--who may endorse iniquity in any walk; and longs to the former class. Bank notes and bills the committee on currency for the present session chiefly form the latter. is, doubtless, made safe. The currency laws are We are accustomed to consider the notes of very profitable to those who gain, and also very bankers payable on demand as the only circulating tedions to those who lose, by them. The former medium, except metals; but this is an erroneous are a small minority, who thoroughly understand view. Mercantile bills circulate frequently before their business ; and the latter are the nation, with they are discounted by a person who prefers to the aforesaid exceptions, who feel generally that the l hold them until maturity. Exchequer bills circu. matter is in a mirage or a mist, and cannot be late freely from hand to hand; and the Governeasily extracted. A multitude acknowledge that ment have supplied one kind of circulation in something must be wrong with the currency; but | postage stamps, which are thus applied to purposes they cannot discover the error. All our laws on for which they were not devised. the subject are opposed to free trade. That is at Bank notes are the chief circulating medium of least plain ; but we are told that the topic is beyond a representative character, and the Legislature the common laws of commerce. Currency is the professes by the currency laws to secure their con. exception, to free trade, the rule. The result of vertibility. This was Sir Robert Peel's avowed the exception is a variation in price unequalled in object in the acts of 1844 and 1845. These acts, any other article. During the last twelve years like many other Legislstive achievements of that money has been worth 21, and it has been worth statesman, were framed without regard to any 7} per cent., and some people say 92 per cent, In principle. Thus the joint stock banks of Scot. many cases, with low security, much more has land with a large paid-up capital, and the private been paid ; but the difference was placed upon the bankers of England, who might or might not have risk of not recovering the loan, rather than its had any capital whatever, and some of whom were value. No other article has changed its value to not at that time solvent, were put on the same the same extent. Corn, cotton, and iron are footing, and allowed thereafter to issue the average exposed to great changes of price, but pig iron has of their circulation, for twelvemonths previous to not been quoted at 40s. and also at 120s. during the act, without any fortification of bullion. The the period; cotton has not been 6d. and Is. 6d. in note circulation of the English private bankers twelve years; or wheat 35s. and 105s. per quarter; was thus founded perhaps on nothing. The circuand yet iron was exposed to the terrible excite- | lation of the Irish joint stock banks was founded ment of the railway crisis ; corn to the famine and upon a paid-up capital often smaller than its the war years; and cotton has been, is, and ever amount. The note circulation of Scotland was will be, until new fields of supply be opened, confined to one-fourth of the paid up capital upon

130

THE CONVERTIBILITY OF CIRCULATION.

eleven years

which it was founded. The Bank of England is | land it was unnecessary, since bank notes had always allowed to issue fourteen millions upon the basis been paid. In England notes had been issued by of the Government debt. The English circulation private persons without any security, as they may by joint stock banks is confined to the counties be issued still, according to recent examples, from without the metropolitan circle, and has no refer- an adequate paid up capital, and against that evil the ence to the capital of the issuers. These classes Legislature were entitled to make provision. The form the authorised circulation. The surplus in bullionists taunt their opponents with supporting each case is supported by bullion to its amount. the “light shilling,” but the sarcasm, like their Therefore it follows that the authorised circulation laws, is light. They only provide for the sufficimay be inconvertible, while the unauthorised alone ency of threepence in the shilling, giving them is clearly convertible.

the advantage of an average, since for many

of The incidental clauses in the currency laws their shillings they make no provision, while they respecting the formation of banking companies in leave ninepence in the average of cases at the and out of England present similar contradictions ; mercy of the shilling manufacturers. We propose but as our business is with the currency, and our security for the whole. space limited like itself, we only remark concern- They contrived these Acts to obtain monetary ing them that the single bank formed upon the new stability, yet it has been the most unstable article principle of taking care of banking by statute, for of commerce since their institution, and banking

after the passing of the Act, in has exhibited more disgraceful errors under the new London, is the only joint stock bank that has laws than it ever did before them. failed there. It would thus appear that the means Security to bank customers by currency laws is adopted to secure the solvency of the joint stock impracticable. The Scotch bank circulation is, banks are compatible with insolvency, and, indeed, for example, not equal to one-tenth of the Scotch that the only institution formed upon them has deposits, and what security have the depositors ? become insolvent.

The capital of the banks, and the responsibilities Touching the circulating medium, the Legisla- of the shareholders, are considered adequate secuture said in 1844 and 1845 that the average of rity by them ; and they are ample for the small notes circulated for the preceding twelvemonths circulation, if they are good, as they are sufficient, might be continued; but that all further currency for the large deposits. The Legislature cannot required by the nation should be metallic, or separate with accuracy between the circulation and convertible immediately into gold coin.

the deposits of a banking company, if they wish The convertibility of the paper currency was to secure the convertitility of the former, because the avowed object of these laws, but they present that could only be endangered during a panic, no means of securing that purpose. The average when the depositors might come in to the extent circulation of the Bank of England may be of a fourth, probably of a third, and stop erers. twenty-oue millions. Two-thirds of that amount thing, Absolute convertibility is therefore a ficmay be altogether inconvertible. The bank is tion. Necessary convertibility is the affair of the alone required to provide for the remaining third. bankers, and "let every man mind his own busiThe country circulation of England does not often ness." reach the authorised amount,

and the law makes We do not know a banking company in the enno provision for its convertibility. The circula- pire that could discharge all their liabilities if retion of Ireland is generally under the same limit, quested at once to pay cash. We do not know and its convertibility is therefore by law equally a Life Assurance Company that could pay its unprovided for. The circulation of Scotland is policies, if they were all to fall in to-morrow. thirty per cent. over the authorised quantity, and The bankers and the life assurers know their liabi. the convertibility of the surplus is alone secured. lity to sudden calls ; but they also know that all The result is in England, that a law to provide the their liabilities will not be called suddenly. They convertibility of bank notes secures its object only are acquainted with the average demands, and the to the extent of twenty-seven per cent. of their excess over them is never very large. average quantity, a proportion nearly preserved The Legislature, therefore, uphold a fiction in over the three kingdoms. That is to say, Peel, the currency laws—a myth that, unlike mythology through Parliament, said that he had rendered the in general, has no foundation. The Acts of 1844 convertibility of bank notes secure, when by a jug- and 1845 were devised to retain gold in the coungling Act he had attained the convertibility of try. They take the most clumsy and costly means one-fourth of them; or he made 5s. in the pound to that end. It has been said that the pressure stand for full payment, and, for that indecent on the circulation in 1847 caused a depression of dividend, he caused all the misery to many, and two hundred and fifty millions in property and sethe profits to a few, wrought out by these Acts. curities. Thousands of persons were impoverished,

Convertibility, or the capacity of paying off and hundreds were enriched. their notes in gold, being the cardinal virtue in At this moment London suffers in many parts banking for which Sir Robert Peel Secandus pro- the anguish of want. Twenty-five thousand per: posed to provide, we are entitled to consider sons, in the building trades alone, are idle, accord

. whether the purpose was necessary, and in Scot- ing to statements made publicly, and not refuted.

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The journals of the builders ascribe this con- value enhanced, and the bullion re-attracted to our traction of trade to the high rate of interest. Lon banks either by an advance in our interest, or by don bankers divide 20 per cent., and, therefore, the depreciation of goods, so as to render payment London builders cannot continue their speculations. by them more profitable than by specie. This is a fair They are conducted generally to the extent of two- and honest representation of the purposes sought thirds, or even three-fourths, on borrowed money ; by the promoters of these acts from their own but interest has reached a point that sweeps away statements; and no more complicated scheme of profits; and the builders suspend operations. The personal aggrandisement was ever carried through tradesmen become idle, intemperate perhaps, a Parliament. wicked even, in a few cases--thanks to the prin- We drop at present the idea of lowering the ciples of the people, rather than the wisdom of price of goods, which means reducing the wages the Legislature, in only a few. The workman falls paid for making them, in order to increase into debt, pawns his clothes, sells even his house exportation, although the machinery provided is hold furniture, takes his children from school, the most powerful crusher of labour in the market withdraws from chapel or church, resigns the —and confine the following paragraphs chiefly to decent liome that be occupied, and sinks down the monetary department of the subject. among the “ unexcavated heathen," in many in- A grazier had once a flock of two thousand stances. Who is to blame? Why is the interest sheer, which fed in a hill country, and they were of

money unreasonable? A few speculators food, in return, to four foxes. The grazier wished want to invest in Sam Laing's line (see Punch) to kill the foxes, and he planted traps over his between despotism and tyranny-we should have grazings. He was morally certain that, if ever a said Rome and Trieste. Well, let them invest. fox were caught in one of the traps, it must be They may have been warned that their money will crippled, it probably would be killed. Unfortube lost, but fools must take their way, and the nately the sheep could not read on the the placards leading speculators are not foolish. They will Traps are set in the grass ;” and even if they sell out at a convenient period. But they can't had been accustomed to Roman letters, they would invest without drawing two or three millions of still have been obliged, for the sake of the grass, gold from the country. They cannot draw these to run the risk of the traps. The consequence three millions of gold out of the country without was that the sheep were frequently captured, and reducing the domestic circulation by that amount. the foxes found them very convenient eating in They cannot reduce that circulation without in the traps. Therefore they prospered and throve creasing the rate of interest.

upon the precautions adopted for their destruction. Another set of speculators are offered a pre- Still, in the muddled parliament of the farmer's mium for gold by the Bank of France, who pay brain, theory prevailed—and it was a very undenidirect to escape from difficulty. They want to make able theory that if the foxes stepped on his springs French hay while the fiery sun of French trial they would be neutralised. They did not, however, sbines. They can only accomplish that object by step there. The chances were five hundred to exporting gold. Each exportation contracts our one against sheep, and in favour of foxes, until the currency, enlarges our interest, and therefore re- former decreased and the latter increased so far duces our trade according to Act of Parliament- that at last, after the farmer had nearly ruined eren those currency acts which the Commons at the himself, he occasionally secured a fox; and that is suggestion of the Government have named a com- the policy and state of the British empire on the mittee to recommend.

monetary question. The bullionists say that contraction of the A tax of 2% per cent, upon the exportation of currency, and an increased rate of interest, are bullion would not be evaded to a large extent, benecessary to bring back the gold. Would it be cause the exporters look for insurers, and both Fiser not to let it away, rather than, by these parties for their own benefit would register their circuitous processes, to seek its restoration ? The transactions. That tax would be levied virtually law encourages its exportation, and then raises upon foreign investments, which the people of interest to secure its re-importation. The amount Britain should not promote. It is not a tax which exported may not exceed two, three, or four we recommend as consistent with fair principles of millions within a given period, yet, in order to trade, but the bullionists say that bullion is exbring them back, the interest upon all external ceptional. Be it so; only let these gentlemen and internal transactions, over one hundred times make exceptions of themselves at their own exthese sums, is raised by two to three per cent. The pense. They want the bullion to be in the country. profits of foreign investments can never repay the If its existence in the bank vaults be so necessary, losses on the general trade of the country caused as they say, to the preservation of private and by the charges in the rate of interest. We do not public credit, the population should guard jealously occupy space with quotations to prove, what is the precious deposit. We have only the opinion undeniable, that the late Sir Robert Peel and of these gentlemen to its value. We take that others contrived the present laws in order that, opinion for its worth. We act upon and apply when bullion flowed out of the country, the circu- it by not letting the bullion go, instead of making lating medium at home might be contracted, its a crisis in bringing it back. It is easier to keep

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