Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

We cannot close this article with We only wish Dr Kennedy had out congratulations to the lovers of avoided the bald uppoetical retinent. Latin scholarship on the publication But perhaps it was impossible to find of that elegant and tasteful volume, a substitute. the Sabrine Corolla. It has happily We cannot resist the temptation to been the means of calling forth from quote, by way of conclusion, a few privacy many of Dr Kennedy's effu- stanzas from a beautiful poem by Mr sions—a scholar, in competition with Marmaduke Lawson, formerly of Bowhom no cotemporary, we believe, roughbridge Hall, Yorkshire. The will presume to enter the lists of subject is certainly a grand oneclassical composition. We cannot, “Terris mutantem regna Cometem." within our limited space, attempt to But the following lines are not unwordo justice to the manifold beauties of thy of it:his style, and his extraordinary command utriusque linguæ; the following “O tu, capillis cincte flagrantibus, lines, however, may serve as a fair Quem vestit atrâ terror imagine, specimen of his brilliant qualities as Cæcosque moturum tumultus a translator :

Regna pavent utriusque mundi : “ Milton ! thou shouldst be living at this

Quo nunc per æthram flectis iter vagum

Albae feraci lucis in æquore ? hour;

Cur igne ferali refulges
England hath need of thee ; she is a fen

C aeruleæ novus hospes auræ ?
Of stagnant waters ; altar, sword, and pen, O si profunda Noctis in ultimos
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Tollar recessus, ut loca devia
Have forfeited their ancient English dower

Orasque discretas solutus
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men:

Obstu peam vacuosque tractus ; Oh! raise us up, return to us again,

Qua parte sacri fulguris impetus And give us manners, virtue, freedom, Per cæca rumpit murmura nubium. power.

Et nigra majestas procellæ Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart ;

De rutilo procul ardet axe ; Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like Tugue a sedili despicis arduo, the sea;

Cometa, cætus sidereos poli, Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free.

Lunseque contemplans labores So didst thou travel on life's common way

Per superas spatiaris auas. In cheerful godliness ; and yet thy heart

Te cautus horret navita marmoris The lowliest duties on herself did lay."

Demensus astris dorsa tumentia ;

Te pastor adspecto nivosis « Miltone, vellem nunc quoque viveres :

E speculis animum fatigat, Te nostra, te nunc postulat Anglia :

Ne celsiores flumina mereant Quæ, more cænosæ paludis,

Contracta ripas, ne sitiant greges, Stagnat iners. Sine castitate

Virumque letalem capillis Quid ara et ensis, pluma, focus, valent ?

Decutias rapidasque pestes. Quo fugit aulæ gloria ? Quo casa

Te semper anteit dura Necessitas Pax alma ? Quid priscæ quietis

Terras tuentem lumine lugubri, Angliaci retinent Penates ?

Plumâque devectum rubenti Gens prava nobis consulimus. Redi, et

Per nebulas pluviosque rores : Dilapsa prudens sæcla redintegra :

Terrorque cristis excubias agens Da clara libertas, pudici

Pernoctat. O Fax per liquidum æthera Da redeant sine labe mores,

Quæ volvis indefessa flammas, . Et vera virtus, firmaque viribus

Regibus exitiale lumen, Justis potestas. Mens tua lumine

Quid mirum, ubi astris supplicia imminent Fulgebat, ut sidus, remote :

Insculpta, si quis membra perhorruit Vox tua, ceu pelagi, sonabat :

Quicunque concepit sub imo
Stabas aperto purior æthere,

Corde nefas tacitamque fraudem ? "
Pejusque leto servitium timens,
Sincera majestas: Deique
Muneribus modicis fruentem

The remaining stanzas of the poem,
Tutum per omnes te tua sanctitas
Traduxit annos. Nec tamen immemor

for which we are unable to afford Quid cuique deberes, in horas

space, will be found at p. 274 of the Omnibus officiis vacabas."

Corolla.

THE INFLUENCE OF GOLD UPON THE COVXERCIAL AND SOCIAL

CONDITION OF THE WORLD.

[ocr errors]

The influence exercised by the pos. Sidon; upon their vast commercial session of the precious metals over dealings in the richest products of the the social condition of the various earth; and upon the origin of those countries of the earth, in successive products of human skill and science ages, presents some phenomena, tbe in the Old World, which are still a causes and bearing of wbich are im- marvel and a mystery to modern portant enough to invite consideration times. To the sands of Pactolus with at the present moment; and in de their golden yield we might trace the voting a few pages to the subject, greatness, and subsequent abandonwe shall endeavour to confine our ment to luxury, which precipitated selves as much as possible to a re- the fall of the Grecian republics. We view of facts and their results, as might trace the vast works of Egypt recorded by history, and to avoid the and Ethiopia to the golden yield of discussion of monetary theories and their rivers and alluvial soils; and usages, except so far as they are we might even pierce beyond the necessarily connected with it by those view of history, and trace to similar intrinsic properties of gold and silver, causes the early greatness and civilias instruments of exchange their sation of the Chinese empire, and the portability, and generally accepted assured existence of wighty people3, value as commodities. It is impos- who have left only, in various parts of sible altogether to overlook these pro. Asia and in Central America, colossal perties, or the fact that these metals ruins of cities and sepulchres as mehave, by almost universal consent, mentoes of their prosperity and suband in every age of the world, been sequent decadence upon the earth. used as money-the representatives But we have no such statistical data, of value in commercial transactions. or they are too vague to afford the Their possession by any nation, or means of speculating upon with cerby individuals, has been, from the tainty or profit. All that we know Mosaic period downwards to the of many of these various peoples, by present day, regarded as the proof of whom civilisation and luxury were wealth, and used as a material power. carried to an extreme, unknown darFlocks and herds, grain and oil, were ing many ages to their successors, ever, as now, the most serviceable the more hardy races by whom their possession of a primitive people ; and countries were overrun-is, that they where the precious metals were not possessed the precious metals in abunindigenous to the soil, the excess of dance, and that those metals were these possessions over the supply re. used by them extensively as instruquired for consumption, provided the ments of commerce, as well as for means of purchasing them for adorn- personal adornment, and as the ments, and also of acquiring those material of articles of luxury. We luxuries which they were unable to must therefore confine our inquiry to produce for themselves. In the great a period subsequent to the commencecities, and amongst the eastern com- ment of what are generally termed munities of the Mosaic period, gold "the middle ages," when the mighty and silver, both indigenous and fabric of the Roman Empire bad acquired by barter, or as spoils of war, yielded to the assaults made upon its are recorded to have existed in great enfeebled population from every side, abundance.' Had we statistical in- and moral and social darkness, acformation to guide us, we might per companied by the decline of learning haps trace the influence of the gold of and science, had fallen upon Europe, Ophir, and of the countries of Assyria, whilst the blight of Mohammedanism upon the greatness of the Hebrew had overshadowed some of the most race, and upon the rise and decline of fertile portions of Asia. Babylon, of Nineveh, of Tyre and Before entering upon this inquiry, however, we must premise a few ob- although they abounded in the mateservations. In the first place, it can- rials from which those luxuries could not be contended that the mere pos- be fabricated. At the same time, the session of gold in the soil of a country luxuries in question found most prois a guarantee of its permanent growth fitable markets in countries which in wealth and solid prosperity. We furnished food and other necessaries know, from ordinary experience, that for the consumption of a toiling people. easily-got money is readily spent, and Amongst ruder nations, the course of often squandered. If the gold-digger trade was simple barter. A superfluin modern days rarely becomes a rich ity was exchanged for an article of man, we may safely assert the same necessity or enjoyment, and prices of gold countries. The pursuits of were merely conventional. The preregular industry are neglected, when cious metals were only held by the a few spadefals of earth, turned up by superior classes, and purchased ala sort of vagrant husbandry, will suf- most arbitrary quantities of whatever fice to enable the holder of the pick they required. But those metals-or and spade to indulge in injurious ex. at least that portion of them not abcess; and as our gold-diggers are sorbed for ornamental parposes seldom found to be exemplary charac. found their way at length into the ters, the same may doubtless be said hands of the dealers in money and the of those who have in other ages pre- trading classes generally of those ceded them in the same occupation. countries which were non-producers of The wealth amassed by the anti-me anything beyond the ordinary fruits dieval communities was not divided of agricultural industry, or manufacamongst the mining classes. These, turers of various fabrics of handicraft we have every warrant of historic and skill. evidence to sliow, were miere serfs. After the downfall of the Byzantine It has been the same in more modern Empire, whilst the bulk of Eastern times. In the Hartz mines, in those Europe and the Asiatic provinces, of the Ural Mountains, and in Peru, which had been subjugated by the the labourers were slaves or criminals, Roman arms, were trampled upon by working for the benefit of the great the semi-barbaric hordes by which nobles and landowners, or for the they had been overran, the arts and states in which the golden deposits commerce might be said to have been were found. The parties chiefly benc- almost suspended. The large stores fited by their labours were, in the of the precious metals, which had first instance, such nobles and land. been employed in the fabrication of owners, or the governments of the articles of ornament and luxury, had countries containing the deposits of become the spoil of the conquering the precious metals, and ultimately races; but the portion used as money those traders and countries whose gradually disappeared, or was hoardcommercial enterprise enabled them ed, as an unsafe property for men to to supply them profitably with the own openly during a period of rapine luxuries for which they thirsted. The and violence, when the sword and the great commercial cities of old throve armed host of retainers were superior and became rich, by means, in the in might to established law and orfirst place, of the profit of exchanging der. We have no authentic data to their industry and their arts for the enable us to determine with any deproducts of the ruder description of gree of accuracy, or even to form a labour, employed in the collection of probable guess at, the amount of the gold and other valuable metals, gems, precious metals at that period exist&c. In the second place, they ac- ing in the world. And we have as quired from those products the means little information with respect to any of more readily negotiating the pur- new sources of their increase being chase of the raw materials-silks, made available. A traffic was, inwools, and dyes-used in the produc- deed, carried on, to a certain extent, tion of their valuable fabrics. An by the Italian and other cities; and ounce of gold, for example, served to wealth flowed in upon them, much of feed the "barbaric pomp" of poten- it in the form of gold, silver, and pretates and peoples, amongst whom the cious stones, as the improvidence of luxuries of life were little known, the feudal nobility placed them at the mercy of usurious traders and mercan- accumulation. We know that the tile adventurers, who speculated upon Saracens brought with them, in their such improvidence. But the precious journey westward, large stores of the metals, as money, fell into disuse, precious metals, in various forms; and openly at least, as unsafe to possess much of this gradually found its way or to transport. They were chiefly to Venice, Genoa, and other seats of absorbed by the Jewish race, by whom commerce and industry. The returna representative circulating medium ing hosts of the Crusaders, at a subwas adopted, to facilitate and econo- sequent period, distributed the golden mise their employment in the larger tribute over Europe ; consuming it, transactions of commerce and usance. at the same time, largely themselves, An extensive and subtlely-organised in the gratification of their newly acsystem of exchange existed amongst quired tastes for magnificence in attire this people ; which, however, only in and mode of living. The Moorish part protected them from spoliation people, in their invasion of Spain, and rapine. The growth of the mon- brought with them the golden yield of astic system was another absorbent of Africa, which they also employed althe metallic treasures of the world, most solely in wasteful splendour, imiwhich were lavished upon shrines, and tated by the superior classes of the upon the insignia designed to impart country a portion of whose territory splendour to the ceremonials and they bad overrun, and held for years forms of worship of a corrupted at the point of the sword. Yet in church. We are not, however, to as- Spain, as througbout the greater part sume, that because Europe was hoard- of Europe at this period, the precious ing, and largely consuming its stores metals were so completely absorbed of the precious metals, therefore the for the purposes of art and ornament, production or exhuming of those me and so little used as money, that we tals was absolutely at a stand-still. read, in the interesting pages of WashWe know that such was not the case; ington Irving, of a king of Granada that mining operations were going on being driven to resort to an issue of in other quarters of the globe, the representative paper - assignats, in produce of which reached Europe by fact, although he afterwards strictly indirect channels, and rewarded the redeemed them to enable him to evict enterprising traders of her commercial from his country its Moorish invaders. cities, filling their argosies with gold During this period, too, the inbabit. and precious gems, and laying the ants of Pern, and of other portions of foundations of colossal fortunes, whose the South American continent, as possessors and their descendants were well as of the Indies, must have been ultimately to outshine in splendour, actively engaged in laying up those and displace in power and territorial immense stores of the precious megreatness, the rude and uncultivated tals, gems, &c., the circulation of races which had for some centuries wbich was subscquently destined to lorded it over their fellows, by the exercise such an important influence mere might of stalwart arms, and the upon the commerce and the social devotion of their still ruder adherents condition of other countries, and espeand vassals. The mercantile commu. cially of those of Europe. nities of Italy and Germarry had each Thus far in the history of mankind, their own monetary systems, by meagre as are the details handed means of which the exchange of valu down to us, it is tolerably clear that able commodities was transacted with the possession of the precious metals, but little aid from the precious metals whether of indigenous yield or acas money; but we cannot doubt that quired by barter, had never materially supplies of those metals were still raised the condition of the masses of flowing into Europe, for otherwise the population, except in those countheir wasteful expenditure during this tries where they were either circulated period, when housings of gold and as money, in quantities of recognised profuse ornaments of their armour value, or converted into coin for the and attire were the distinguishing purpose of facilitating internal commarks of nobility and knighthood, merce and rewarding industry. We must shortly have exbausted the pre- find that this was done as early as existing stocks, however large their the time of Abrabam; and we bave a right to conclude that it materially who might almost be said to absorb tended to increase the greatness of the trade of Europe-enriched by their the Hebrew race. The practice was trade with foreign countries, became imitated, perhaps borrowed, from possessors of powerful fleets, capable Eastern nations by Alexander of of protecting their mercantile venMacedon, after he had overrun Per- tures, and assumed an important sia ; and by the Romans, when they power in the affairs of Europe. The bad extended their conquests into Lombard, and other cities in the inthe Asiatic provinces. It had pre- terior of the Continent, were enabled viously existed in Egypt, in Hindo- to 'subsidise the turbulent monarchs stan, in Abyssinia, and in some por- and people in their vicinity, and thus tions of Africa, gold and silver by protected their manufactures, and inweight baving formed a circulating sured the safety of their monetary medium, both for internal and exter- transactions. They became thus the nal transactions, and thus aiding in principal issuers of money, and, by the formation of a middle or trading the aid of their domestic and interclass in those countries. Where these national systems of exchange, were metals, however, were devoted merely enabled to advance on loan to the to useful or ornamental purposes, and various turbulent nations of Europe, absorbed by the territorial classes as and to wring from them usurious prothe outward insignia of wealth and fits upon such transactions. Of splendour, or wben, as in the early course, whilst pursuing such a busiportion of the medieval period in ness, they became mixed up with the Europe, the disturbed state of society various factions, whose contentions at rendered their possession unsafe in that time agitated Europe. The strife the hands of the middle classes, between the Guelph and Ghibelline and their general circulation, as a families arrayed one commercial remedium of exchange, impracticable, public against another, and vast sums the effect upon society was much the of money were dissipated upon very same as that of a restricted currency precarious security, which became the has been found to be in modern times. property of the dealers in the precious The middle classes retrograded in metals, who were chiefly, as they condition, whilst the higher classes, have been in all periods before and unless they were wasteful, advanced since, belonging to the Jewish race. in riches; and commerce and the arts In the mean time various countries flourished only in those cities and France in particular — were prosmall republics, the population of viding a domestic circulation, by which had provided themselves with means of a debasement of those monetary systems, based indeed upon metals of which it was professed to the possession of the precious metals, be formed; and this practice was not but limiting the use of those metals confined to the governments of those to the balancing of transactions, both countries, but was carried on by ininternational and internal, and thus, dividual nobles and owners of the to a considerable extent, protecting soil. Hallam says of France, for exthem from becoming the spoil of the ample, (edition 1818, vol. i. p. 161), marauding nobles and their retainers, « Silver and gold were not very scarce who sought to gratify their luxurious in the first ages of the French monarchy; desires by the appropriation of the but they passed more by weight than by industry of others. In the negotiation tale. A lax and ignorant government, of these exchanges, we have already which had not learned the lucrative mysstated that the Jewish people were teries of a royal mint (!), was not particufor a considerable period the princi- larly solicitous to give its subjects the pal agents. They wrung, in fact, security of a known stamp in their exfrom time to time, from that nobility, changes. In some cities of France, money and even from powerful monarchs,

appears to have been coined by private by their usurious dealings, the spoil

authority before the time of Charlemagne;

at least one of his capitularies forbids which these had acquired by force from the classes engaged in the peace

the circulation of any that had not been

stamped in the royal mint. His succesful pursuits of industry, and from each

sors indulged some of their vassals with other. In time, however, the Vene- the privilege of coining money for the tian, Genoese, and other republics— use of their own territories, but not with

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »