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pathy in abeyance. Men can say disagreeable things without the suggestions of this prompter. They enjoy the pleasure of selfassertion, the gratification of putting a friend in possession of their exact impressions. There is a relish for taking down for its own sake, a vein of hardness and cold-bloodedness, which belongs to some very respectable sort of people, impelling them to give a stone instead of bread — to utter flinty " I told you so's," cold moralities, inopportune counsels, and harsh reminders, when the confiding spirit has laid bare its needs, or its penitence, and asked for sympathy. Often the mere knowledge of doing the thing well is motive enough. It is an irresistible temptation to express one's self with point; and in fact, half of all the current good stories are of neatly turned disagreeable things — not sneer or satire, but some cold, shivering half-truth, for which nobody is the better. Not that dull men are debarred from the indulgence, but they are clumsy, and slip at every turn into mere insolence or blunder. This is their secret of heavy banter—which is nothing else than harping with stupid persistence on something unpleasant, with no other view than to make their object conscious of exposure, and for the moment smaller than themselves — in contrast with the well-mannered jest which, under whatever disguise of depreciation, puts its subject in better humor with himself than he was before.
In a woman, this practice is not so much an exercise of the intellect as of the heart, speaking under some souring, embittering influence. Some are habitually ungracious from the working of vulgar rivalries, or mere grim acidity of nature. These are simply, odious; but it is astonishing what things a "woman sweet as summer will say, under certain conditions of the affections, to those most important to her, and for whom she cares most; and how seemingly unconscious she is of the tendency of her words, led on by jealous self-assertion and fancied ill-usage. There is a process of comparison peculiar to this mood, and which can express itself only by disagreeable things—by a series of parallels and contrasts in all of which she comes out the ascendant and superior. Perhaps new friends, in all their garish attractions, are contrasted with herself, the old faithful original friend, great in solid worth and re
fined feeling, or in unshaken fidelity. Win t chilling doubts, what cruel disparagement, what ingenuity of misapprehension attend this temper! What reflections on the constancy of her friends, what pity and contempt for their taste, what pathetic regrets, what resignation to the inevitable fate of a virtue, a spirit, a perception, which there is not steadiness, or wit, or heart to value at their true price! The worst of this strain — the reason why this tone is so disagreeable—is that it hits a blot. It is of the essence of disagreeable things that in some sense or degree they are true. This is why they irritate. For instance, our constancy is never so weak to our own consciousness as when our friends suspect it. We never see their social drawbacks clearer than when we are charged with being influenced by them. New friends are never in higher favor than when old friends upbraid us with them.
The main nursery for the science of disagreeable things is the domestic hearth. Here we do not note those distinctions of sex which strike us in society. Men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters are apt to say very much the same class of disagreeable things to one another, unless good breeding or good temper interpose to prevent familiarity becoming contempt. It is wonderful what moral and refined writers assume to be family habits in this particular, from which we may suppose the practice to be more common than our state of civilization would lead us to hope. Certainly we all know or have known, families where the strong tyrannize over the weak, and, in cold blood and in apparent good-nature inflict perpetual minute wounds on the self-love of those about them. By this means—like th« Antiquary with his womankind — a caustic temper keeps itself civil towards the outer world. A man can sustain his politeness to ladies in general by always calling his sister an old woman, or by constantly reminding her of events she would willingly forget. A woman can be gracious to her acquaintance and over-indulgent to her children by making her husband the vent of her ill-humors, and, like Mrs. Glegg, installing herself the constituted check on his pleasures; while some people are agreeable to the whole world, except just those with whom they are connected by ties of blood, to whom they show a wholly different phase of character.
Sensitiveness to disagreeable things implies self-mistrust. Only absolutely self-reliant people are impervious to them. We are dependent on others, more than we think, for even our own good opinion. We think best of ourselves when others share our favorable impressions, and no strength of constancy can prevent our estimate of our friends suffering some faint fluctuations according to the view which others take of them. All people have an idea of their own position towards the world—though "idea" is, perhaps, too definite a term — at any rate, a dim assumption of a certain standing of which they are scarcely aware till it is infringed, and which it is the part of the sayer of disagreeable things to infringe. We are each the centre of our own world, and thus have a place in our own eyes which no one can give us. Something of this half-delusion is indispensable to carry us through our parts creditably, and the laws of politeness,
on principle, support this degree of pretension. There is a tacit agreement iu society that every individual in it fills his propei
! place, and that he and his belongings are what they go for—that all our externals fulfil their professions. There is no hypocrisy
; in assuming this of every one we meet. It is simply not obtruding our private judgment where its expression would be an impertinence. The disagreeable thing jars on this nice adjustment. The speaker has the unjustifiable aim of lowering this fancied elevation, whether moral or social; and he dispels illusions, not as he supposes, in the interest of truth on any social or moral view, but really for selfish ends. He obeys an unamiable impulse to prove that he is knowing where we are ignorant, wise where we are foolish, strong where we are weak—that he sees into us and through us, and that it is, before all things, important that this should be declared and made evident.
A CI..VHSTOXIAN DISTINCTION.
To form opinions npon questions of policy, to announce them to the world, and to take or be a party to taking any of the steps necessary for giving them effect, arc matters which, though connected together, are in themselves distinct, and which may be separated by intervals of time longer or shorter, according'to the particular circumstances of the case. — Mr. Gladstone's Apology to Manchester.
Y.j-, "the South is a nation." This truth you
announce; And yet, though the inference perhaps may be
bitter, You are forced to admit that the statement was
"bounce"— The mere trick of an orator eager to glitter.
A barbarous war may persistently rage,
And hurry two nations to utter perdition, Whole counties may starve, yet our Gladstone,
Though he thinks it quite right, wont advise Recognition.
The plan, though ingenious, is certainly old— Tis one thing to act and another to chatter:
.£sop tells of the man who blew hot and blew
cold, And thereby extremely astonished a Satyr.
Let us hope that from henceforth delusions are
fled, And that all your admirers the absolute folly
see TUIUD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 963
Of thinking you now and then meant what yon
said, And that conscience, not interest, prompted
your policy. C.
—Press, 25 Oct.
The Revolutionary Debt.—Dear Traaicript, ever fresh, vigorous, and true: Hearing some doubt expressed of the correctness of the President's statement: that if our Revolutionary debt at 6 per cent, simple interest, had remained unpaid to this time, it would be less to each person now living than it was to each person then living, I have worked out the calculation as follows, taking eighty years as the time : —
80 years' interest nt 6 per cent., 480 580 Now t in r population has always increased three per cent. per annum; this comes to thirty-font and a fraction for each ten years. If you compare this with the census of each period, you will be struck with its wonderful regularity :—
If the calculation were Increased ten yean further, it would show the debt to be 640, and the people 1296—more than double. L.
From The Examiner, 25 Oct. THE GOLD DISCOVERIES.
The early predictions of this journal respecting the results of the modern gold discoveries have been fully verified during the last fourteen years, for it is fourteen years since we first discussed the subject. Observing that an influx of some fifty or sixty millions' worth of gold, poured suddenly, and within a period of three or four years into a narrow and unprepared market, had produced no sensible effect on prices, we came to the conclusion that no future addition in a necessarily wider market was likely to do so. Our view has been justified by at least ten years' experience.
But let us attempt now to compute the value of the new gold which from first to last has been poured into the market of the world. It can be but an approximation, for the nature of the subject forbids all hope of correctness. The mines of California continue at their highest produce. But those of Victoria have fallen off; the decline being, we conceive, fully made up by greater productiveness in those of New South Wales, and by the discovery of the gold fields of New Zealand and British Columbia. We may compute the annual produce of all the new mines at the moderate sum of £20,000,000 a-year, which, multiplied by fourteen years, will make the whole influx amount to £280,000,000. Meanwhile the supply from the old sources has not diminished; nor is there any good reason why it should, seeing that there has been no fall in the price of the article.
But this is not all of the precious metals that has been thrown into the world's market. The relative values of gold and silver are at present substantially the same that they were before the appearance of the new gold; that is, gold has sustained no depreciation, nor silver increase of value. It follows therefore that there must have taken place a production of new silver equal in value to that of the new gold; so that, in fact, within the brief period of fourteen years, the precious metals have been poured into the markets of the world to the extent of the prodigious sum of £560,000,000, over and above the old normal supply.
How this silent production of new silver has come about deserves explanation. In the principal producing countries, Mexico
and Peru, the yield is unlimited, and the quantity of metal annually supplied by the mines is well known to depend on the high or low price of the chief instrument of reduction, quicksilver. The old mines of this metal were confined to two narrow localities, and there they were monopolies under which the average price was about five shillings a pound. New and far more productive mines have been discovered in California; the working of these has brought the price of mercury down to one shilling and tenpence a pound, and hence the new silver to balance the new gold.
The enormous influx of the precious metals which has taken place has produced no depreciation of their own value, nor increased the price of the commodities they represent. There has been no increase in the cost of any commodity where the supply was equal to the demand. There has, for example, been no rise of price in any kind of corn or in any metal. There has been no rise in the prices of wool, hemp, flax, or jute. There has been none in sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa. There has been even a reduction in the price of some commodities, the result of new discoveries or more economical processes of manufacture, as in the example of quicksilver already mentioned, and of some descriptions of iron. Wherever a rise of price has taken place, the special grounds for it are transparent. There has been a great rise in the price of the potato, from a notorious disease in the plant; but that rise preceded by several years the gold discoveries. There has been a great rise in the price of wine and silk, from a disease in the vine and a murrain in the silkworm; but these rises did not take place until several years after the gold mines had been at their highest production. For twelve out of the fourteen years since the first gold discoveries, there had been no permanent rise in the price of cotton. A furious and most pernicious civil strife in the chief producing country, far worse than the oideon in the vine, or the murrain in the silk caterpillar, has cut off eight-tenths of the whole supply, and the normal price of past yean has been multiplied four and even five fold.
Since, then, there has been no depreciation of the precious metals or increase in the price of the commodities they represent, what has been the actual effect produced by the vast influx of them which has taken place within the last fourteen years? We have not a doubt but that in so far as they have been used as money—and that is their main employment—they have acted as stimulants to the production of new wealth, and been themselves absorbed in its representation. In a \Bord, the wealth of the whole world, or at least of all the civilized parts of it, has been increased by a sum equal to double the amount of the gold and silver which has been of late years poured into it.
* 'Evidences of the prosperity produced by the influx of the precious metals is readily found. It has, as might be expected, been most striking at the sources of discovery, California and Australia. There the wages of labor have been more than doubled, and the population more than trebled. Australia, with a population of 1,200,000, consumes at their English valuation £10,000,000 worth of British and colonial productions, besides much received from India, its islands, China and Western America. The history of the ,world affords no example of such prosperity ,within so short a time. Both there and in California flourishing and populous towns have arisen, whose very foundations were hardly laid before the gold discoveries.
With ourselves, our imports and our exports have both been doubled,—a result unknown at any previous period of our commercial history within so brief a time. Even the wages of labor have risen, without any rise in the cost of the necessaries of life. What is still more remarkable, the wages of labor have greatly risen in stagnant India, where they had been fixed and stationary for many a century—all the work of the many millions' worth of silver which Britain has poured into it for the last ten years.
, To the minor causes which have contributed to the consumption of the new gold and silver, we attach little importance, because they are only the same which have always been in operation, and now only greater because there is more gold and silver to consume. There is more of gold and silver used in the arts, but simply for no other reason than because there are more persons than before that can afford to purchase plate and jewelry. India has been called a sink of the precious metals, because it receives much and and exports none; the last conclusion is not,
however, correct, 'for India furnishes most of the countries bordering on it. India, no doubt, is a great importer, because it has neither gold nor silver of its own. To call it a sink on this account is not a whit better than to call it a sink of copper, tin, and zinc, none of which it produces itself, but which it imports largely, and does not re-export. China, which has both gold and silver of its own, and all the metals just referred to, imports and exports gold and silver at its convenience, like any European country.
Much of the silver of France, Germany, and other parts of Europe has been sent to India and China and replaced by gold, and this is supposed to have contributed to keep up the price of gold, and to account for the absence of depreciation in it. But the operation is a mere transfer of localities produced by the demands of trade, leaving the quantities of the two metals just what they were; for the wide world, and not France and Germany, is the market of the precious metals. In one quarter, and to our very great surprise, we find the gold of California (about £180,000,000) supposed to have been absorbed in replacing the paper money of the United States of America. But the paper money of America is far more abundant at this moment than it was before the gold discoveries, and gold, by the latest accounts, at a premium of twenty-nine per cent. and promising to be at a much higher one.
If the new gold and silver were to undergo depreciation from excess of quantity, that result ought to have happened long ago, while the supply was at the highest point and the market for it at the narrowest. Now that the supply is stationary and the market greatly expanded, we must come to the sure conclusion that there is no chance at all of depreciation. Fixed incomes, then, will suffer nothing; debtors will not be afforded an op, portunity of paying their debts in sovereigns intrinsically worth only ten shillings, nor will the nation be able to pay off half its debt by defrauding its creditors of half their incomes. Allowing the handsome sum of £60,000,000 for plate and jewelry, the world, according i to our view, is by a thousand millions sterj ling richer than it was fourteen short years ! ago,—consequently more powerful, and, let I us hope, not lest virtuous and happy.
From The Saturday Review. THE SOURCES OF FRENCH LITERATURE.* For the last two or three years the press of Paris has been wonderfully prolific, and in the numbers of its offspring has far surpassed the publishing activity of every other European capital. This exuberant fertility is, no doubt, favorable to the production of much which, if not absolutely worthless, is merely ephemeral. There are, however, very numerous exceptions to the average mediocrity. Many real students have of late produced, either in the form of essay or criticism, very valuable contributions to contemporary literature. Among the better class of literary men there seems to prevail a remarkable disposition to follow out literary or historical researches in a careful and conscientious manner. It may be true that the Second Empire has not yet been made illustrious by the appearance of any single work that will take its place among the great classics of France; but there can be no question that literature, generally speaking, is in as favorable a condition as it was during the reign of Louis Philippe. And it may well be that the imperial system, which excludes all free discussion from the arena of politics, has induced many active-minded men to devote to literary studies the energies which might otherwise have been given to politics. At the present moment the questions which most interest France and Europe are forbidden ground to all except the slavish advocates of Napoleonism. No French thinker can venture to speak his miud on the Roman question, or even on the Mexican expedition ; but there is ample liberty to prosecute philosophical inquiries into the state of opinion in the age of Charlemagne, or the administration of France in the reign of Henri IV. Fortunately, the history of France and its language is an inexhaustible mine, and we have every reason to be grateful to those who explore it with so much zeal and patience. Each new investigation may add something to our knowledge of bygone times, and is made more valuable when followed out with the rules of scientific examination and the light of modern history. Of late years a vast deal has been done for French history. Many important manuscripts have been printed and
* Origines Litterairet de la France. Par Louis Moluml. Didier et Compagnio. Paris: 1862.
carefully edited at the expense of the Government, and the modern school of French historians has deservedly earned a very high reputation. Much, however, will always remain to be done where the materials are so rich and the subject so vast. Notwithstanding the labors of Guizot and Thierry, there is ample room for new-comers, who only labor under the disadvantage of having to follow leaders whose achievements it may prove difficult to equal.
The aim of M. Moland's essay is rather an ambitious one, and its title seems to promise more than is performed ; it is, however, a very useful contribution to the history of early French literature, and is obviously the result of long and careful study of a very difficult subject. He proposes to trace the development of three branches of French literature, starting from the period when the debased Latin passed into the French of the tenth and eleventh centuries. He successively examines the early romances and legends in prose, the origin of the drama, and the language and character of the early French preaching. These three forms of intellectual development, apparently so distinct, all sprang from the same origin. They were all the offspring of the Church, and in different ways they all attempted to give expression to a religious and devotional sentiment. Romance, in the first instance, was intimately connected with, or rather formed a portion of, the religious legend. It soon became distinct from it, but long retained the traces of its origin. Similarly, the drama was, in its infancy, purely sacerdotal. It remained so for a considerable time. Gradually it included profane as well as sacred subjects, but it was not till the MxH-vnUj century that it wholly lost its primitive character. The use of the French language by ecclesiastics in the churches was doubtless simultaneous with its employment in legend and romance, as it was the only mode by which they could make themselves intelligible to the people; but the vulgar tongue found little favor with the clergy, and there are in consequence but few examples remaining of sermons in the early French. Sermons were probably composed in Latin, and translated into the vernacular dialect; but if they were preserved, it was usually in the Latin language. This appears from the sermons of St. Bernard, of