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gists; we have observed that the state to which they had allowed the Bank treasure to be reduced is a signal example of the danger of intrusting its custody to the good faith and good judgment of a single corporation.
But it is too easily assumed that they have incurred a real loss by the premium which they have paid to obtain their money; that, of course, depends on the mode in which they have used their money. A writer in the Daily News of the 6th of November explained this very clearly: “The notion,” he observed, “ that the drain of gold from England is likely to be arrested in consequence of the presumed inability or unwillingness of the Bank of France to continue the payment of heavy rates of 'premium' is further discouraged by one simple fact, instead of the Bank's present policy being prejudicial to the interests of the shareholders, there is ample evidence that its results are highly lucrative to them. Against the direct loss certainly incurred by the institution on its bullion purchases, must be set the profits derived from the increased amount of notes which these imports of bullion enable the Bank to keep afloat. The Bank makes a clear loss of the sums paid as 'premium ;' but as the metallic supplies thus fictitiously attracted cause an apparent increase in its resources, the ability of the directors to extend their discount business, or advances upon stock, leads to an amount of gain far in excess of the loss referred to. For proof of this remarkable fact, we need not look further than to the dividends lately declared by the Bank. Notwithstanding
. the 156,8001. which the administration threw away in the latter half of last year, the dividend paid by the Bank for the year 1855 amounted to 200f. per 1000f. share, or 20 per cent per annum; being the highest known during the last quarter of a century. The coupon of the first six months of 1856, notwithstanding the 112,7007. spent in buying gold, was 127f. per share ; being at the rate of 254f. for the year, or no less than 252 per cent per annum. We are in the habit of regard
as extraordinary the profits distributed amongst their proprietary by some of our London Joint-Stock banks; but the French National Bank, working with a comparatively limited capital, achieves results still more surprising. Compared with profits of this magnitude, how modest seems the eight or nine per cent dividend which is the utmost obtained for its proprietary by the highly-privileged yet heavily-shackled Bank of England ! Without entering upon further comparison, however, we will content ourselves with remarking that the Bank of France can scarcely be expected to hastily abandon a policy which, though condemned by the laws of legitimate banking, brings in so rich a harvest to the shareholders. If, as was the case in the first
six months of 1856, the throwing away of a sum equal to 25f. per share enables the directors to raise the half-yearly dividend to the unprecedented figure of 127f., it is obvious that they can well afford to continue paying a fictitious value for gold in the English and other foreign markets.” Even, however, supposing that the Bank had incurred a real loss by the payment of a premium on its gold-purchases, it might yet be contended that some such step was inevitable. The reserve was to be replenished by some means; and we are not aware that it has ever been shown that any other means would be cheaper or more effectual. It is true that the price of gold at Paris was not such as would show a profit on the import of gold from London; but if the Bank of France had bought in Paris instead of London, it appears probable that the price would have risen at Paris. The Bank, with the facts before it, chose to buy in the foreign market; and we do not see any evidence that their choice, though perhaps unusual, was mistaken. The real charge against the Bank is, of continuing too long, and extending too far, its accommodation to the enterprises of the day; of aiding in the enterprises mischievously fostered by the Crédit Mobilier, of allowing its treasure to become too small
, of yielding to the mania of the hour.
It is to be remembered, that the Bank of France does not, like the Bank of England, hold out to the public the guarantee of an extremely large capital. The capital on which the banking department of the Bank of England carries on business is fourteen millions and a half, and they have a reserve of three millions ; the liabilities are about sixteen millions. The capital of the Bank of France is about 3,600,0001., and it has a reserve of 480,0001. Its liabilities on the 9th of October were, as we have seen, 35,000,0001. ; a difference too enormous to need comment. Those who, like Mr. Macaulay, think highly of the establishment of a single bank to conduct a country's business, generally expect that bank to have very large means of its own ;-even that advantage the Bank of France, however, does not possess.
This slight account of the two principal banking establishments of France prior to the establishment of the Crédit Mobilier, is sufficient to show that the present Government of France was not the first to ally itself closely with their banking system; that, on the contrary, the two had long been connected together very intimately. There was no want of precedent in France for a government wishing to interfere in any thing; for its wishing to encourage industry rapidly ; for its founding a
; bank in order to stimulate it. This, however, though a palliation, is not an excuse. “A great government,” Mr. Burke has
a remark of this sort, “should not extend a great evil.” Even the Minister of Finance has now discovered that industry may be encouraged too much, that "prosperity” may be "in ex
The injurious effect has not, indeed, been confined to France. No single European country can now outstrip its resources without affecting all others. A great deal of capital is in its essence cosmopolitan; its place is determined almost solely by a comparison of the rate of interest at different places. It is of little importance, we suppose, to the family of Rothschild whether the large means at their control are employed at London or at Paris, at Naples or at Vienna. The Crédit Mobilier itself is an instance; it is ready to send its money to Russia, to Vienna, to Spain. A mercantile pressure—a Bourse crisisin one country, necessarily attracts money thither from all countries. Instead of the capitalist lending his money to an Englishman on consols, he lends it to a Frenchman on rentes; instead of lending on shares of the Midland Railway, he lends on shares of the Strasburg Railway. The case is similar with the most purely mercantile of securities—bills of exchange; if the rate of discount is higher at Paris than London, bills suitable for the Lombard-Street market find their way thither from Paris as easily as from Liverpool. This has been recently much felt. The scarcity of money that has marked the last few months, and has now, as we write, perhaps begun to pass away, was doubtless aggravated at London by the railway outlay of France and the Bourse crisis of Paris. How great an influence these causes had in proportion to others it is hardly possible to know. Our political economy can say that such and such causes were concurrently in operation, and that the effect has bcen so and so ; but to resolve the forces, to apportion the entire effect accurately between them, is beyond our philosophy. The recent expenditure on the war, the increase of our trade, the drain of silver to the East, have each contributed to our poverty; how much money each has abstracted one can hardly say. Besides these causes, arising from ourselves, we have suffered because a neighbouring country, outstripping the accumulation of her resources, stimulated by a great company, urged on by a system of banking intimately connected with a Government which itself is too nearly connected with Bourse speculation, has ventured recklessly, has undertaken too much, has attracted money from the capitalists of all countries.
ART. VIII.-STRAUSS AND GERMAN HELLENISM.
Leben und Schriften des Dichters und Philologen Nicolemus Frisch
lin. Ein Beitrag zur Deutschen Culturgeschichte in der zweiten Hälfte des sechszehnten Jahrhunderts. Von David Friderich Strauss: Mit dem Bildnisse Frischlins.—(Life and Writings of the Poet and Philologist Nicodemus Frischlin. A Contribution to the History of German Culture in the second half of the Sixteenth Century. By David Frederic Strauss.) Frankfurt
am Main ; Literarische Anstalt, 1855. Christian Friderich Daniel Schubart's Leben in seinen Briefen.
Gesammelt, bearbeitet und herausgegeben von David Friderich Strauss.-(The Life of Christian Frederic Daniel Schubart, as delineated in his "Letters. Collected, worked-up, and edited by
D. F. Strauss.) 2 vols. Duncker, Berlin, 1849. Christian Mürklin. Ein Lebens- und Charakterbild aus der Gegen
wart. Von D. F. Strauss.-(Christian Märklin. A Picture of Life and Character from the present Day. By D. F. Strauss.)
Mannheim, Bassermann, 1851. Der Romantiker auf dem Throne der Cäsaren, oder Julian der
Abtrünnige. Ein Vortrag von D. F. Strauss.—(The Romancer on the Throne of the Cesars, or Julian the Apostate. A Lecture
by D. F. Strauss.) Mannheim, 1817. SINCE elaborating the mythical hypothesis in his celebrated Life of Jesus, Dr. Strauss has abandoned the proper region of philosophical and theological inquiry for more literary studies, bent, apparently, on illustrating and testing his “world-theory" by asking how it will meet the wants and measure the achievements of non-mythic actual men. There are few modern writers in Germany whose literary ability is so great. Calm, acute, and thoughtful, with a cultivated scholar-like taste, a quick insight into individual peculiarities, and great tact in presenting the strongest practical side of a speculative view, he makes up for a slight chilliness of manner by the general good sense and anxious justice pervading these biographies, and by the clear, cold, intellectual perspective that underlies his delineations. You always feel that he is applying an inward criticism of his own to the lives he is recounting; and though occasionally you wonder whether your author be himself a man, or only a reflective Muse candid enough to adopt the Hegelian philosophy of history, there is an interest in the sincerity of the thought, the steadiness of the hand that holds the ideal scales, and the perfect simplicity
of the style, which carries us on even through his last and least interesting work.
These writings are all pervaded by the philosophy of the writer. Indeed, we may feel pretty sure that the figures he so carefully sketches have been chosen more in order to bring out the background of thought on which he outlines them than for their own intrinsic worth. The three biographic sketches are sketches of men who, like himself, have been diverted from theology; and even the clever lecture on Julian regards the emperor almost entirely as a retrograde heathen Divine. One-and perhaps the most interesting of these memoirs, as far as concerns Strauss's own share in the authorship-is almost autobiographic, for it is a memoir of a school and college friend of his own, who had passed with him through all the stages of declining orthodoxy, and finally died a firm disciple of that semi-classical “Humanismus” (or Humanity-worship) in which the left school of Hegelianism has issued, and which it is now Dr. Strauss's object in life to preach. Of this little memoir, though not the earliest, we will speak first, because it affords that insight into Dr. Strauss's own history and convictions, and into the affinities of the extreme school of scepticism in Germany, which gives the true point of view for his other works.
Strauss's memoirs of Christian Märklin bears somewhat the same testimony to the German thinker's system of thought which Carlyle's Life of Sterling was intended to bear to the less complete and defined scepticism of our great essayist. It is a kind of protest against intolerant practical estimates of sceptics. It says, “ Here is a man's life lived under the shadow of this unbelief, - can you show me any thing truer or nobler that has been nourished on your positive theology?" And Strauss certainly proves, in his own case, much more successfully, we think, than Carlyle, that his friend did share to the uttermost the desolatiny scepticism of his own mind. Nor is the picture of Märklin, though not coloured with that remarkable genius which makes Carlyle's work a permanent literary possession, at all less noble and fascinating than that of the radiant-minded, elastic Sterling. But while it was Sterling's gift (being “rich," as Carlyle calls him, “in cheerful fancies, in grave logic, in all kinds of bright activity,” “ beautifullest sheetlightning, not to be condensed into thunderbolts") to flash genial light on the stormy and despondent irony of his friend, it was apparently Märklin's part to supply to the lighter Schwabian temperaments of his circle something of the tenacity of purpose and maturity of judgment which is best calculated permanently to bind a group first drawn together by common adherence