Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/40

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



would be the need over such territory for the use of bullion or coin as money or the basis of paper representatives of value. And the monetary systems of the peoples among whom commerce has obtained the greatest development are gradually reaching such a basis. The paper representatives of value, which at first were direct representatives of coin, are tending more and more to become the representatives of value, as expressed by the result of effort, without the intervention of coin, and in the furtherance of this tendency banks perform an essential part. In the evolution of the social organism banks become the ganglia through which the action of the different parts of the organism is measured and made reciprocal.

And as the use of bank notes, checks, bills of exchange, government notes, and other paper representatives of value is most marked among the peoples through whose exertions commerce has attained its highest development, so also the members of a highly civilized community most concerned in commerce make greater use of these paper representatives of value than other members of such a community. In any large city the transactions of the principal manufacturers and merchants are chiefly conducted by means of checks, bills, and notes, while clerks, artisans, and laborers, who are principally paid in coin or the direct representatives of coin, secure needed commodities by the immediate exchange of coin or the direct representatives of coin for them. The development of representatives of value not based upon coin to the extent of rendering them generally acceptable for exchange among clerks, artisans, and laborers would still further decrease the dependence upon coin or bullion as money or the basis of money, leaving coin and bullion freer for use in effecting exchanges between peoples of different nationalities who are so separated by language, habits, or institutions that commercial intercourse between them must be upon a bullion basis.

One of the incidents of the recent deep-sea dredging expedition of the Prince of Monaco most fruitful in scientific results was the capture of a sperm whale. It occurring to the prince that the food collections in the animal's stomach might include specimens of creatures still unknown, the ship was held near the whale till it died. In its convulsions it threw up a mass of fragments of very curious cephalopods, which were beginning to float away and be scattered and lost to science, when the ship's screw was reversed to create a counter current, under the advantage of which specimens of two entirely new species, quite different from any hitherto known, were recovered. The body of one was covered with scales, and was more than ninety centimetres long. The other had a crown of tentacles armed with suckers bearing claws like those of the larger birds of prey.