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the world we ought to have no heart for mere amusements, and the cultivation of firmicking tastes. The first is the favourite view of the man of practical energy and vulgar ambition. The second satisfies those ■who are too dull and fussy for anything but their so-called philanthropy. The people who care about nothing very much except growing rich naturally look on anybody who sacrifices this object, in order to get some share in the best pleasures which the world offers, as a sentimental fool. The others consider him horribly wicked and selfish. There is an odious complacency in the trick to which the relentless drudge is amazingly partial, of replying to anybody ■who talks to him about pleasure, that his pleasure is of unceasing work. As if unceasing work, passing every solid day in the counting-house, reading and answering hundreds of letters every week, keeping the mind uninterruptedly bent on business details and prospects, were an exhaustive and unimprovable system of life, beyond which the force of nature could not go. Only more strange than this is the delusion that the claims of relaxation are satisfied by spending a month out of the twelve at the sea-side or on the Continent. To alternate a long spell of excessive labour with a comparatively short spell of excessive repose is about as rational as to maintain that a man who takes a bottle of neat brandy one day, and a quart of water the next, has been drinking brandy and water. If it be a sound doctrine that a line every day is the secret of success in art, it is not less true that an instalment of pleasure every day is at least one of the secrets of happiness.
From our school-days upwards we are taught, first by masters and discipline, and afterwards by the temper which we find prevailing in the world outside, that if anything is pleasant it is pretty sure to prove to be wrong. It is attempted to represent even cricket and football rather in their utilitarian aspects, as good for the body, just as grammar is good for the soul, than as means of pleasure and enjoyment. The notion that pleasure as pleasure is a desirable thing is repugnant to the heart of the commonplace pedagogue. The theological idea that mortals are sent here as to a place of sore chastisement and mortification has taken deep root. The more dull, difficult, and unintelligible a Latin grammar, the! more suitable it is for the use of boys. All the most obviously uninteresting books afe on that account the more creditable kind of reading. If a lad or a man be found poring | over Milner's Church History, he is well I
thought of, because it is dull and dismal' but if he were laughing over Pickwick or Tom Jones, nine people out of ten would declare him, in comparison with the disciple of Milner, to be wasting his time. That pleasure, amusement, mere recreation, thorough unbending, is a legitimate object of deliberate pursuit, is a truth pretty invariably disparaged, just because a man immoderately addicted to self-indulgence is a very bad sort of man. People do not seem to suspect that it is possible to be just as immoderately and evilly addicted to work as to indulgence, and that an equal amount, though of a different kind, of mischief may accrue to one's family from excess in one direction as in the other. The proposition that all pleasant things are right is untrue, but it is certainly not so radically untrue as the more popular proposition that most pleasant things are wrong. And the prevalence and popularity of the more untrue of these two absurdities has an especially mischievous effect. Its constant presence, exerting an influence of whose operation one is mostly unconscious, checks — and, if it be supported by other influences, such as a conviction that mirth is unscriptural, actually extinguishes — all blitheness and freedom of spirit. Why should not a jocund capacity for pleasure and enjoyment be as eagerly desired by parents and teachers as a capacity for remembering dates or names? It may be said that Nature settles the first, and that she only is responsible for it, whereas, though she may have to give one the faculty of memory in the first instance, it must be developed from without afterwards. As if Nature could be responsible for the cheerfulness and joyousness of a creature whom every care is habitually taken to depress. This is the department in which the moral part of education has always been weakest, though vigorous attempts are occasionally made to strengthen it That people should be trained and encouraged to be upright, self-controlling, industrious, and magnanimous, is never denied. But there is every bit as much reason why the faculty of being jolly, of finding an eager pleasure in all sorts of objects and pursuits, should be trained and encouraged. An hilarious elasticity of nature is surely one of the most invaluable qualities anybody can have. Yet somehow the man who goes through the world with sober solemn jowl is always thought to be showing a deeper sense of the worth of life, and to be making more of his talents, than the elastic man. May we not reasonably wonder why?
From The Saturday Review. RAILWAY READING.
Amongst the incidental results of railway travelling, one appears to be a disproportionate development of the lower growths of literature. It is sometimes said that over-indulgence in railway travelling produces a tendency to disease. The incessant vibration has an injurious effect upon the spinal marrow or the brain. And there is certainly an apparent confirmation of this in the state of mind to which most travellers are reduced. In many cases a temporary idiocy sets in. We cannot otherwise explain the eagerness with which the long rows of green and red-coloured novels, with startling illustrations on the back, are brought up by the travelling public. Strange works, dignified by the name of Standard Novels, ornamented with representations of headless horsemen or of atrocious murders, crowd the shelves of the bookstalls, and persons without any obvious signs of imbecility may be seen pouring over their pages in the carriages when they might be deriving a more rational amusement from a study of the intricacies of Bradshaw'. The same material cut into shorter lengths is that of which such works as the Sunnyside Papers are composed; the difference between these small miniature stories and the green-backed novel being, that the novel is calculated to last from London to Liverpool, and the story only as far as Colney Hatch. The curious reflection which results may be stated in two ways; it is singular that people should have such a desire for some sort of quasi-intellectual occupation, or it'is singular that thev should be content with so remarkably small an instalment. The novel or novelette is a mere mental fig-leaf, supposed by a happy fiction to cover absolute vacuity of mind, although, but for the look of the thing, onaj would have thought it could make but liff tie difference. The practice of such reading reminds one of the boyish trick of smoking a piece of cane instead of tobacco; a man who has grown accustomed to cigars finds it rather difficult to sympathize with the enjoyment. It may be admitted that, if the choice lies between • not reading at all and reading this very innocuous matter, the reading may be rather the better practice of the two. It tends at any rate to spread a knowledge of spelling, and makes people familiar with books considered as a mechanical contrivance. If, therefore, the con
sumption of this literature, as we must call it for want of a better name, spread amongst an absolutely non-reading class, and displaced nothing of a more serious kind, its increase would, on the whole, be gratifying. The farmer who went to church with the view of sitting down and thinking about nothing would doubtless have been the better for listening to the sermon. We should watch the process of intellectual development as Mr. Darwin would watch a polar bear turning into a whale; it is very slow, but it is a progress. If, on the other hand, the consumption of this material is displacing any more legitimate branch of study, it is of course so much loss. And when we look at the enormous abundance of the purely frivolous varieties of literature, and the pains and expense incurred in their cultivation, we can hardly flatter ourselves that it is all destined for an entirely new class of consumers, or that it is all raised upon ground which would otherwise be barren. Some men who would be capable of producing better things must be tempted into a field where profit is to be gained in return for such a trifling expenditure of labour; and the mere habit of indulging in this inferior growth must disqualify men for judging fairly of the finer qualities of literature. Perhaps the most probable theory would be somewhere intermediate between these two opinions. There is a positive increase in the demand for more seriously valuable writing; but relatively, it does not extend in the same ratio as the appetite for a less desirable commodity. To determine this point would require a much fuller investigation than it is possible even to hint at in this place; but we should be glad to suggest to persons about to invest small sums of time, money, and attention in this tenth-rate stuff that a very slight additional effort would quality them for a superior enjoyment. It is common to meet people who are familiar with enough modern sensation novels to stock a libr iry. If they had been content to spend the same time and a very little more trouble in reading Scott, or even, not to make too great a demand upon them, in reading Mr. Dickens' best works, they would really have something to look back upon. It is a lamentable thing to think that many minds are filled with a sort of ephemeral lumber, which is scarcely better fittted to support intellectual health than the mud with which South American Indians are said to fill their stomachs is fitted to maintain the bodily functions.
No. 1151. Fourth Series, No. 12. 23 June, 1866.
Correspondence — Treasurer Spinner, &c . . 770
1. Mary Tudor, and Brandon, Duke of Suffolk . Edinburgh Review, 771
2. The Youth of Cardinal Mazarin ...." 779
3. Crossing Rubicons Saturday Review, 791
4. What Englishmen best like to be . . . . Spectator, 793
5. Louis David Bentley'i SfisceUany, 795
6. Lost Willie Chambers'i Journal, 801
7. Homicidal Heroine . .... Saturday Review, 815
8. The Prince of Wales . .... Spectator, 817
9. Bombardment of Valparaiso
10. The European Crisis
11. Industrial Partnership .
12. England and the War .
13. The Congress
Saturday Review, 826
Poetrt. — The Cave of Trophonius, 814.—Bait for the Iron Horse, 831.
Sbobt Articles. — Speeches by an Old Smoker, 831. — Two Hundred Pounds, 832.
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"Have you seen Gen. Spinner's letter, which I endorse herein! It seems that the system which you are endeavoring to overthrow is so successful that not only are the notes of all the National Banks good, but those of the broken banks are better than those of the solvent banks. Surely this result has never been accomplished before!"
We don't know if this correspondent agrees with us on the main question, but gladly reprint Treasurer Spinner's letter as showing in a clear light what we have endeavored to maintain; that is, that the credit of the National BankNotes is not in any part derived from the Banks; and consequently, that the eighteen millions a year paid to them, out of our taxes is so much thrown away. Indeed, it is worse than that; for it goes to aid them in stimulating speculation.
We had the whole experience of the Bank of England before us, and had succeeded in the introduction of a currency (Greenbacks) to the extent of four hundred millions of dollars (being really a loan without interest to the United States), when we went to work to build up a system of pet banks forty times as bad as those of President Jackson's disastrous experiment, and this in order to supersede this popular, invaluable, and costless currency by another which costs us already much more than the whole expenses of Government under John Quincy Adams. So absurd a course is certain to affect the national credit; for it does not matter how rich we are if we waste our money thus extravagantly.
Treasury Of The United States,
Dear Sir, —Your letter of the 10th instant has just now been received. You ask to what extent is the government liable for the redemption of the notes of the national banks? I answer, to the full nominal face value of every note issued by the Comptroller of the Currency to a bank, and by the bank put into circulation.
You ask, should the bank-deposits with the United-States Treasurer to secure the circulating notes, with the banks depositing them, be
inadequate to the redemption of the notes of the bank, by reason of the securities deposited, is the Government bound to redeem the notes at par t
The forty-seventh section of the National .Currency Act not only gives the right to forfeit all the securities held for any deficiency; but the Government has a first and paramount lien upon all the assets of a defaulting bank. I therefore answer this question affirmatively.
You ask again, 'Could the absolute failing of a national bank impair the value of the circulating notes of the bank making such failure' I answer, no. On the contrary, the notes of a national bank that has failed are rather better than those of a bank in good standing if away from the business marts or commercial centres of the country, for the reason that the Treasurer of the United States becomes the cashier of such defaulting bank, and will, through his assistants and other Government officers, redeem such circulation.
You ask, farther, are the notes of the UnitedStates Treasury, beyond the fact of their being legal tenders, a greater security to the holders than the currency of the national banks? The United-States legal-tender notes afford n% greater security to the holder than the notes or national banks. The only real difference between the two is, that, while the latter are only a legal tender from and to the Government, the former are such legal tender from and to all parties, whether municipalities, corporations, or individuals. Very respectfully yours,
F. E. Spinner, Treasurer.
Even if we were not the Editor of the Living Age, we should not like to be the Prince of Wales. The articles on him, and on what Englishmen would like best to be, may be read together. Cobbett said he would undertake to find a respectable person willing to perform all the duties of King of England for forty pounds a year. Perhaps he might have done so: but the Prince is dissatisfied though he gets so much more!
Industrial Partnership is especially adapted to this country. The Tribune office is so carried on, and, no doubt, many other establishments.
From The E llnburgh Beview. ministrative genius of Wolsey, and the as- . cendency which England rapidly acquired, upon the accession of Henry VIII., in the affairs of Europe.
Nothing, indeed, can be more graphic, and we may almost say dramatic, than the impression which the reader receives from works like that of Mr. Brewer, which give more or less in extenso the very words and writings of the leading personages. And when it is remembered that amongst these are included Henry VIII., Louis XII., Maximilian and his daughter Margaret of Savoy, Francis I., Ferdinand of Arragon, Leo X., Wolsey, Tunstal Fox, Sir T. More, besides the statesmen who exercised a leading influence in the councils of the respective Sovereigns, it is hardly too much to say with the editor of these papers that they present a mass of materials, not only for the reign of Henry VIII., but of Europe generally, to which, in interest and completeness, no parallel can be found in this or any other country.
Mr. Brewer has, in our opinion, met with unmerited reproach for incorporating in his work resumes of the despatches of Giustiniani first published by Mr. Rawdon Brown; but he informs us that the plan of his work did not confine him to a bare catalogue of the Public Records preserved in the State Paper Office, and in these volumes he has included all other original documents which could be found to illustrate his history of the period. By so doing he has given a continuous character to much which would otherwise have been fragmentary. For the same reason, though scarcely to"the same degree, we think he has done well to include portions of the correspondence of Erasmus, affording an insight into the studious life of that age, which was not then to the same extent as in modern times separated by a broad line of distinction from the more active life of the councilchamber or camp. It is agreeable to turn at times from the intricacies of political combinations, and from the wearisome correspondence of political agents, to the letters of literary men, and to find the silver thread of study and contemplation running through the tangled web of public affairs.
We can hear Erasmus as he talks of the progress of his New Testament, and learn the early impressions produced by the publication of More's 'Utopia;' and if at the same time we are reminded not only of the wit, but also of some of the more questionable characteristics of the 'Epistolae obscurorum Virorum,' the picture of the times is rendered more interesting and complete.
Brewer's Calendar of State Papers. Published under the direction of the Right Hon. the Master of the Rolls. London: 1862-4.
It is difficult to understand how future historical writers will be able to deal with the superabundant supply of materials now forthcoming, not only from the researches of private individuals, but from the publication by various Governments of an immense amount of evidence and correspondence heretofore jealously concealed in their respective archives. Our own series of Calendars of the State Papers, published under the authority of the Master of the Rolls, has now reached to no less than twenty-six portly volumes, extending from the year 1509 to 1665, and we must say that a more useful and important literary work has never been accomplished at the public expense. Every document contained in the voluminous records of the realm is here at least described. The more interesting are deci-1 phered . and quoted; and although these records must obviously be regarded as the materials of history rather than as history itself, the authenticity of contemporary evidence and the lifelike personal character they give to the study of a departed age, have peculiar charms for the reader. We have already on a former occasion shown to what an extent these papers illustrate the singular history of the first marriage of Queen Katharine of Arragon; and we now propose to borrow from the Calendar of Mr. Brewer some account of another Princess whose matrimonial adventures were equally strange, though far less tragical than those of the divorced Queen of Henry VIII.
Mr. Brewer's Calendar embraces the correspondence of the early years of the reign of Henry VHL, from 1509 to 1518, and it will be remembered that Mr. Froude, though he has prefaced his work by a general introduction of considerable interest in itself, takes as his point of departure the end of Wolsey's career. Mr. Brewer serves as a guide to a correspondence which gives a very full picture of the important events which preceded that period; we gather our own conceptions of the characters who figured on the stage; and we discover to what an extent England was taking a part- in European affairs before the date selected by Mr. Froude as his starting-point. The introductory essay on the earlier portion of the reign of Henry VJil., prefixed to this volume, is a masterly production, which exhibits at a glance the person and the court of the youthful English monarch, the ad-'