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mium in exchange, on account of the facilities which they offer for remittance by letter.

Of the paper issues of Russia we are neither able nor willing to say much. The paper rouble is a coinage of the crown, issued without responsibility to any extent which the circulation is likely to absorb. Indeed, that this measure has been exceeded is well known, and a recent ukase ordains a new coinage of notes professedly convertible, but in which the old notes are to be redeemed at a vast reduction of value. Russia thus hopes, after thirty years of peace, to effect without ignominy that which, attempted during war and under the pressure of awful and nobly endured calamities, covered Austria with so much obloquy.

This short survey of the condition of the currency on the continent may be useful, to show the degree of competition which other countries are prepared to offer when we adopt correct principles of trade. The circumstances abroad could not be more favourable for the attempt:-how they may be at home, it is too soon to decide.

Amongst the strangely confused notions which prevail respecting currency, one almost induces a smile when gravely proffered. The idea that the currency of a country belongs to the king, and that no medium of exchange can be tolerated except with the royal sanction, is to load royalty with no fair responsibility. Mr. Loyd quotes the opinion given in evidence by Mr. Ward:

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Individually, as a Director of the Bank, I do not presume to alter the King's currency, but I endeavour always to bring the paper as nearly as possible to what the currency would be if no Bank existed, and the currency were all gold."

To this Mr. Loyd subjoins :

"Who then, we may ask, has presumed to alter the king's currency during the last year, when we find by the accounts before us that had it been all gold,' the decrease would have been £5,800,000; whilst being a paper circulation and a Bank existing, the decrease has been only £600,000."-Page 36.

Mr. M'Culloch is equally amusing on this point:

"So long as any individual, or set of individuals, may usurp the royal prerogative and issue paper without let or hinderance, so long will it be issued in excess, in periods when prices are rising and confidence high;

and be suddenly and improperly withdrawn when prices are falling and confidence shaken.'-Notes to Adam Smith.

To say that a bank will assuredly issue in excess if permitted, is to assert that the small number of fraudulent traders, who take paper of any kind without giving an equivalent for it, can support the credit of a bank in opposition to the majority of fair traders, who are careful both as to what they take and what they give. A bank-note issued without sufficient guarantee, is of no more use than a promissory note which represents no transfer of goods or of credit. Banks cannot issue excessively without ultimate loss, and the fact that abundance of money temporarily affects prices affords a security that no one can coin with impunity. To represent goods in possession by paper at their fair value is not coining, any more than transferring them by an order on a wharfinger, instead of through the agency of a horse and cart, is a fraudulent delivery. But every man who wishes to retain this privilege, so necessary to the trader, dares never even once to abuse it, nor deal with those who have the courage to do so. Therefore when sound views of trade prevail, paper money seems to offer no more temptation to a banker than the right of coining does to a sovereign. A banker who abuses his trust resembles a government which issues base metal for gold or silver.

Some, who think with us regarding the general utility of banks, may still hesitate as to the expediency of continuing the privileges hitherto granted to the Bank of England as a national institution. Suggestions have been made from many quarters deserving of attention, to the effect that the crown might issue small exchequer-bills or other debentures, which would answer the purpose of a paper currency. This is the plan, as we have seen, adopted in Russia and in Prussia: it was followed during the war by Austria and France; but it everywhere led to difficulties in time of trouble; for ministers, who as private individuals would never abuse a pecuniary trust, are apt to prove lax in this respect when they are acting for the nation. Patriotism veils the immorality of public issues in payment of public services, even where there is no fund to be represented by them. It is against this abuse of confidence that a national bank, through or by which advances are made to

government, affords some guarantee to the public. The Bank of England discounts the bills on the Exchequer* in the same manner as it takes the paper of private persons; and when these bills do not exceed the current revenue, they form as fair a transaction as those of any merchant. This affords abundant security against an abuse of power, and it is one that can only be given by an institution which is independent of government. To such independent banks both Austria and France have now resorted. We have seen that the trust reposed in the Bank of England has not hitherto been abused. That, in commercial dealings, the Directors have occasionally exposed themselves to censure is an evil which the study of the principles of currency must speedily remove. We perceive an additional guarantee for the nation, that no petty considerations will lead the Bank out of its true and useful course, in the very magnitude of the field which awaits its activity.

ARTICLE II.

The History of Ancient America, anterior to the time of Columbus, proving the identity of the Aborigines with the Tyrians and Israelites, and the Introduction of Christianity into the Western Hemisphere by the Apostle St. Thomas. By GEORGE JONES, M.R.S.I., F.S.V. Longman and Brown, London; Harper and Brothers, New York. 1843.

IF all the embellishments the art of printing can bestow, with the addition of an elaborate title-page and a solemnly inflated style, could insure the success of a work and confer reputation on its author, Mr. George Jones would henceforth become the literary lion of the day, and his History of An

* The recent advances made by English capitalists to the State governments of North America were on a similar credit. The sums were given on the assurance that the prospects of these States were such as to warrant the loans. No one could have expected that these States would proclaim their prospects too bad to be trusted even by themselves.

VOL. XVII. N°. XXXIII.

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cient America' would display its hot-pressed charms upon every library table. Unfortunately the merits of a book are not in precise proportion to its outward garniture; and though we doubt whether even the author would recognize the "child of his brain," were it unrolled from the gorgeous coverings in which it has been sedulously swathed, we own that we would rather have seen it in puris naturalibus.

Few questions have given rise to more discussion or more ingenious theorizing than the original history of America. It is one of those moot points which have always been, and probably will ever continue to be, of an uncertainty only stimulating to the appetite of the speculative; while the inquirer, though he fail to solve them, may chance to alight upon detached and valuable portions of truth, as the hammer of the geologist may sometimes strike out a gem, though he lose the course of the stratum he is investigating. To determine this disputed paternity, many incredible and absurd hypotheses have been from time to time propounded. Some authorsLord Kaimes among them-have not scrupled to report that the Mosaic account of the creation of our first parents was only intended to inform us of the origin of the inhabitants of the Eastern world, and that the American nations sprung from a different Adam and perhaps a less erring Eve! Others, with less imagination, or more piety, have contented themselves with hazarding the conjecture, that the destruction of the tower of Babel, when, according to holy writ, "the Lord scattered them (the builders) abroad upon the face of all the earth," was the time when the vast plains and forests of the Western world first received man as their inhabitant. A third party, still more absurd, have conceived (from a passage in Plato) that, in former times, an island of enormous dimensions, named Atlantis, stretched from the north-western coast of Africa across the Atlantic Ocean, and that over this continental tract both man and beast migrated westwards. In one night however a mighty storm and wind overwhelmed this island, at a time when only a few animals had succeeded in making good their passage.

These theories, and many others even more wild which might be collected from different writers, are not without

their warning use; they give a humiliating proof of the puerilities into which even vigorous minds may be betrayed, when once they abandon inductive reasoning for the seducing fields of speculative fancy. Thus the early geologists conceived that the petrified shells and vessels found buried in the secondary strata were produced by what they called a "plastic force " in nature, and accounted for the vast beds of shells on the top of the Alps by remembering the shell-ornamented bonnets of the pilgrims passing from Rome!

To return however to our subject. The discoveries made by the Russians in the northern parts of the world, under the auspices of Peter the Great, confirmed the opinion of those who, not disposed to account by supernatural agency for what might be effected by natural causes, had early suggested the possibility of America having been peopled from the contiguous northern shores of Europe on the one side and Asia on the other. They insisted upon the similarity in features, manners and mode of life of the denizens of these frigid zones; and, arguing upon the analogous migrations of the European and Asiatic nomads, they accounted for the existence of the Southern Americans by the continual pressure of a rapidly increasing population from the north.

But even when the discoveries of Russia apparently corroborated this hypothesis, the tide of discussion was not checked, but merely diverted into fresh and numerous channels. Almost every nation of the Old World set up its claim in turn to the honour of having given birth to the new hemisphere: the Jews, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, the Greeks, Scythians, Chinese, and many others, have all found zealous advocates for their respective claims.

Josephus Acosta, a Spanish Jesuit, who wrote about the year 1560, is opposed to the opinion, which he says was prevalent in his time, that the Americans were of Jewish origin. He treats this suggestion, which he believes to have been founded on a passage of the book of Esdras, with utter scepticism and even some degree of contempt. He "cannot well "see how that Euphrates in Esdras should be a more conve"nient passage to goe to the New World than the enchanted "and fabulous Atlantike island of Plato." He confesses, how

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