Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/298

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286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the New World." In 1850 sixteen millions sterling of specie annually did less for the wants of the world than ten millions had done in 1810, and much less than two millions had done nearly three centuries previously, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. "Whenever the supply of money becomes stationary in the civilized world, or in a progressive community, prices begin to fall, owing to the steady increase of population and monetary requirements. Thus,. . . during the silver age, although the annual production of the precious metals increased continuously throughout three hundred years—well nigh doubling in each successive century the monetary wants of the world increased quite as fast, and ere long began to outstrip the growth of the monetary supply." A careful analysis of the statistics of coinage and other uses, and of the supply of the precious metals, based upon the reports of the Director of the United States Mint, shows that "the current requirements for coinage of themselves exceed the total annual supply of the precious metals by four millions sterling, while the consumption in the arts amounts to nineteen millions—indicating a reduction, or at least an inadequate supply, of metallic money to the extent of twenty-three millions annually." The disastrous effects of a monetary dearth are extensive. It affects not only current trade, but real property, or fixed wealth of all kinds. The value of money is rising, and consequently the sale value of all other commodities is falling. Even the moneyed class lose also, owing to the low rate of interest and the lack of remunerative kinds of investment; but agriculture is most affected by a change in the value of the circulating medium, because such a change comes upon it with direct and unbroken force. Thus, the mischief works round the whole community, or indeed the civilized world. No human power can prevent the embarrassment arising from an inadequate production of the precious metals. "But, fortunately, the source of our present difficulties is no longer the mystery that it was, even to statesmen in former times. The fact that nowadays it can be traced to its fundamental causes constitutes the best hope amid our present difficulties."

 

Is Tea-drinking salutary?—The Dean of Bangor has charged tea-drinking with destroying the calmness of the nerves, making people uneasy and irritable, and acting as a dangerous revolutionary force. Some medical men, including American doctors and Dr. Richardson, agree with him; but Dr. Gordon Stables has pronounced tea "the drink of pleasure and health," and has expressed the opinion that it ought to be the national drink of England. The general current of public opinion and practice appears to be favorable to the latter view. In the British army, says the "Pall Mall Gazette," the use of tea is slowly but surely supplanting the use of grog. The soldiers who captured Tel-el-Kebir drank nothing but tea. It was served out to them three times a day, and they found it most pleasant and invigorating on the march. Its use among athletes and others who perform physical feats is becoming more general. The use of alcohol and tobacco is universally condemned in the various hand-books on training, but the use of tea is always recommended. To the charge that tea-drinking stimulates revolutionary tendencies may be answered that the greatest tea-drinking nation in Asia, the Chinese, is the most conservative, and that the Russians, the greatest tea-drinkers in Europe, are the most stolid of Western peoples. Of great men, Dr. Johnson described himself as "a hardened and shameless tea-drinker." Kant used to breakfast on a cup of tea and a pipe of tobacco, and to work on them for eight hours. De Quincey usually drank tea from eight o'clock at night till four o'clock in the morning. Buckle was a most fastidious tea-drinker. William Howitt regularly took tea and coffee, and found the greatest refreshment in both; and Mr. Gladstone is one of the greatest tea-drinkers of the century.

 

Variation in Earthquake-Vibrations.—Professor Milne, of Tokio, Japan, making a seismic survey of the ground near bis house, placed similarly constructed and tested seismographs at different places, but in similar positions. The result of observing many earthquakes was that all the instruments, the positions of which would be included within a triangle, the sides of which