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number of observers scattered at favourable intervals over the world, with governmental resources at their command. They are almost driven into the work of collecting data, and must be tempted into observation, very many of them, unless they are more incurious than their neighbours. They are, besides, men who have been, every one of them, drilled in the practical operations of science, and must perforce understand the use of instruments, and have more or less dexterity in scientific manipulations.
It may be said that this valuable body of men has been, for a long course of years, occupying this vantageground, and that no great discoveries have crowned their efforts. Even this must be said, with the exception of the field of magnetism, in which they have produced unquestionable effect. But at all events, who shall say how much valuable information has been lost for want of just such a depository of results as we have in the Royal Artillery Institution? Who shall say how many a youth of promise, having set his foot in the right track, having hit out some true line of investigation, has been untimely brought to a standstill by the sense of individual insuffi ciency, and the want of extraneous aid? A man may stand a good deal of banter and indifference from immediate associates, when he knows that, beyond that circle, he shall find assist ance and appreciation; but few will have the resolution to persevere in a troublesome course, under circumstances of complete isolation. Now, seeing that the institution is calculated to afford, in an eminent degree, the support necessary to prevent the swamping of zeal, and the assistance requisite to the rendering of zeal effectual, we may expect to reap the benefit of whatever talent there may be in the regiment, and of whatever virtue in their favourable disposition of circumstances. This is no slight advantage, when we consider the number and the class of men in question. Among them we may take it for granted that talent of all kinds will be found, and occasionally genius of the highest order.
There is something in the very spirit of military organisation which is favourable to the purposes of scien
tific research on a large scale. Military men naturally become accustomed to act in combination; to be accurate in taking observations, and transmitting an account of them when taken; and to maintain regard to a common centre of operations. This predisposing influence of military habituations is so well recognised that, for some time past, most of the directors of our various colonial observatories have been chosen from among military men. It was by military observers that one of the most difficult operations of practical astronomy, in our time, was carried out-viz. the drawing of the famous North American boundary-line. This service was performed in a manner to elicit the especial praise of the Astronomer-Royal, who, moreover, for his part, has distinctly declared that these are the kind of persons that he desires to have as coadjutors, when combined operations are to be prosecuted.
On recent occasions, when it has become necessary to make choice of assistants for such purposes, the method has been followed of sending officers to the Astronomer-Royal, in order that with him they might go through a preliminary course of instruction. One result of the vitalising of the Royal Artillery Institution is expected to be, that the regiment may become a depôt whence at any time any requisite number of such assistants may be drawn at the moment. The idea (as enunciated by no less an authority than the pontifex maximus of modern astronomers) is, that, instead of sending to the AstronomerRoyal, the Master-General may forward a requisition to Woolwich, and at once get what he wants. The regiment would thus be in the position, not only of doing good service in the field, but of aiding the best interests of civilisation and social progress.
Such being the character of the men, such the proofs they have already given of adaptability, and such the expectations concerning them in high quarters, it would be a pity not to supply them with ample "verge and scope enough." In this respect the regiment and the country have good reason to be satisfied. The effort is yet in its early stage, and doubtless some things have not been done that
will be seen to anon. There is, we believe, at this moment, a lack of the larger and more costly astronomical instruments. This is inevitable. But in general respects the institution is well supplied. The laboratory depart ment is especially excellent, probably not short of first-rate. A museum does not grow up in a day; the knowledge of which fact must console all parties concerned, under present circumstances of empty shelves. Certainly no museum in the country is likely to be more abundantly enriched, since none other retains so large and widely-scattered a staff of collectors. It is expected to be particularly valuable in the departments of geology and mineralogy.
Besides this material museum, it is intended to maintain here another, and probably not less valuable collection-a museum of facts. It is hoped that no observations worth recording, made in any part of the world, by any member of the regiment, will henceforth be allowed to lapse into oblivion. All being here recorded, results may be compared, connections traced, and laws brought to light. How many valuable facts have been apprehended in vain, because let slip before the apprehending of certain other facts, on comparison wherewith their practical use has depended! Now, this is what never need happen again. To this association a man may forward his experimental knowledge, in full assurance that the most will be made of it. In all probability some one will be found to follow up the thread of investigation. At all events, it will not be lost, but be guarded in the archives of the institution till the moment arrives for aptly utilising it. The officer in any part of the world, however remote from present assistance, will be able to feel that he has a place of reference, where he will be sure to find sympathy and skill to help him to make the most of his knowledge. The institution is also made useful in respect of general education. Classes are organised for the study of languages, and for the fine arts; and series
of lectures are given, that are calcnlated to prove of the greatest utility. In short, it confers on Woolwich very much of the benefits of a university.
This completes the account of what is done for the officers; but a good deal more might be said of the advantages enjoyed by the men. The regimental schools, though primarily intended for the children, are open to the men, who are at liberty to avail themselves of the instruction therein afforded. This they do in large numbers; and the consequence is, that a superior intellectual tone is manifestly prevalent among them. We live in days when national schools are excellent, but probably no one of them is better than that of the Woolwich garrison. It may be asserted that no men of the like social grade are better educated than the gunners. As for the non-commissioned officers, they really are a very superior class of persons, as is proved by the character of the situations which they occupy pretty generally on retiring from the regiment.
There is an especial school in the Royal Repository for the non-commissioned officers. The education afforded to them, besides subjects purely technical, comprises the rudiments of mathematics, and military and geometrical drawing. The numbers are limited, the general average being about seventeen; and for this reason the selection is made with regard to good conduct, and token of ability. The men have pride in the distinction, and are zealous in application; and altogether the school works well. In point of practice, it has been found very advantageous to give the men an intelligent insight into the applications of mechanical science to their own technical requirements. There is also an admirable and well-regulated non-commissioned officers' library.
It will of course take some few years before the effect of later improvements can be made manifest; meanwhile they are working for good, and tending to the elevating of the entire body.
THE INFLUENCE OF GOLD UPON THE COMMERCIAL AND SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE WORLD.
WE intimated, in Part I. of this inquiry, our intention of endeavouring to ascertain the rate of increase in the stocks of the precious metals subsequently to the first discovery of Mexico and Peru, and the effect produced upon the growth of Russia, and upon the general commerce of the world, by the discovery and increased yield of the mines of Siberia and the Ural mountains. Before proceeding, however, to this difficult portion of our subject, it would be most desirable if we could arrive at something approaching to a correct estimate of the stocks existing at the period in question; and, in the attempt to do this, we are met by most conflicting statements, the general characteristic of which is their gross exaggeration. The bulk of them, in fact, appear to be mere guesses; the authors of which have left entirely out of view the quantities consumed by application to the arts, and the ordinary wear and tear resulting from use as coined money. Well-informed writers doubt whether the quantity of gold and silver in the world at the period of the first discovery of America, was as great as it had been at the breaking up of the Western Empire; and not without reason, if the law of prices laid down by Mr Tooke, and political economists generally, be correct. The command of the precious metals, as the money of commerce, over commodities had been little diminished; and although a larger amount of the existing stock had been called into circulation to meet the wants of the trading communities, the fact of the limited quantity employed as plate and for ornamental purposes, in the houses of the nobility and gentry, is sufficient to account for the increase of gold and silver coin in use, without supposing that any new sources of supply had been opened out. We cannot, how
ever, carry our researches as to this question, especially as regards the quantity of the precious metals employed for domestic and ornamental purposes, beyond the civilised communities of Europe. But the stocks cannot have been large upon the value of which the comparatively small amounts, furnished to the world on the first discovery of Mexico and Peru, exercised so striking an influence as that which we have already shown to have resulted. We discard therefore, as utterly untenable, the extravagant estimates of Montesquieu and others, who set down the amount of the precious metals in every form, existing before the year 1500, at three thousand five hundred millions; and of the coined gold and silver at nine hundred millions; and prefer the more reliable and reasonable authority of Mr Jacob and more recent writers.
Mr Jacob supposes, and gives us tolerably satisfactory reasons for the conclusions at which he arrives, that the amount of coined money_existing at the death of the Roman Emperor Augustus, in the year 14, was about £358,000,000. From this he deducts 10 per cent annually for wear, which would bring down the amount to £87,033,099 in the year 482, the period of the breaking up of the Western Empire. No credit is given here for any accession to the stock from mining operations. The quantity derived from new sources was, however, very limited. After the irruption of the Saracens into Europe, mining was for a considerable period interrupted-the wear and tear, meanwhile, going on at a rapid rate. Keeping, however, to the previous estimate of 10 per cent per annum, Mr Jacob (vol. ii. p. 237) gives us the quantity existing in 518 at £78,229,700, which in 806 had been reduced to £33,674,256. About this period mining operations
* Blackwood's Magazine, November, p. 588.
were resumed in Macedonia, in Hungary, and in the Bohemian dominions of Austria. The deposits in the Hartz mountains were opened, and rich deposits were found in Saxony. The search for the precious metals in France was stimulated by the Emperor Charlemagne, with some degree of success; and mines were also opened in Lorraine. The mines formerly existing in Spain are also said to have been reopened, and worked with considerable success by the Moors during their domination over a portion of that country, and up to their final expulsion, which was nearly contemporary with the discovery of the Western World. The northern nations of Europe-the Danes and Norwegians-possessed, about the period of the middle ages, considerable stores of the precious metals, which they used principally for domestic purposes, for ornamenting their arms, ships of war, &c. It is probable that the wear and tear of gold and silver during the period from 800 to the discovery of America was not so considerable
as it had previously been, so small an amount comparatively being in active circulation, owing to the unsettled state of society. Still it was nearly, if not quite, sufficient to absorb the annual yield from mining operations. Taking the whole facts into consideration, Mr Jacob adopts the hypothetical assumption that, "at the period when the mines of Hungary and Germany were opened, or, as regards the former, recommenced their workings, the whole quantity of coined money amounted to not more than about thirty-three or thirty-four millions sterling;" and estimates that, up to the discovery of America, that amount had merely been sustainedthe yield of the mines of Europe, and importations from Asia and Africa, barely sufficing to cover the ordinary consumption and waste.
We have, then, the following results with respect to the important question of the stock of the coined metals up to the period when they began to be so rapidly augmented from Mexico and Peru :
An addition of 50 per cent had thus been made to the stock of the precious metals in these fifty-three years, beyond what was required to balance the ordinary consumption; and we have already seen the effect which this seventeen millions produced upon prices, affording a very strong corroboration of the correctness of Mr Jacob's estimate of the pre-existing stock.
It has been a very common supposition that very large quantities of the precious metals were found by the original conquerors of Mexico in the hands of the sovereign and nobles of that country; but inquiry shows us that the amount has been exaggerated. Undoubtedly it might be regarded as considerable in those days,
as an addition to the small stock of gold and silver in circulation in the old countries. The subsequent coercion of the inhabitants by their Spanish masters to labour in the old, or to open out new mines, very considerably increased the previous yield; but we have shown that, up to the period of the conquest of Peru, it amounted only to the inconsiderable sum of £52,000 per annum, and, in fact, for some time scarcely remunerated the Spanish government for the cost of retaining the country. It did not become so remunerative until its government was in the hands of the successors of Columbus, who extended their explorations further into the interior and along the coasts, exercising a much harder sway than that
which the easy temper and moderation of the original discoverer prompted. Vasco Nunez, the first European who had gazed upon the Pacific from American soil, is said to have drawn largely from the Caciques in the Isthmus of Darien, in exchange for beads, looking-glasses, and trinkets. Doubtless the possession of a few similar accumulations rewarded the scrutiny of his compatriots. Generally speaking, however, in Mexico the Spaniards found only the gold and silver-bearing soil, the wealth of which they had to exhume by the coerced labour of its population. The mining carried on had been hitherto of the very rudest kind, involving the minimum amount of labour. In fact, it may be most properly termed washing, the precious metals being found on the surface, amongst the sand and detritus of the rivers. There were evidences, indeed, of more regular operations in a few localities; but the commercial transactions of the new country being very limited, and gold and silver being chiefly required for domestic and ornamental purposes, labour had only been devoted very sparingly to their acquisition, and in a most desultory manner.
Mr Jacob informs us, however, that "in the space of thirty or forty years from the subjugation of Mexico, mines were at work at Tasco, at Lultepeque, and Pachuca, which, if they yielded little treasure when compared with the more modern products of Valenciana and other rich districts, yet brought into activity sufficient to show what great application might effect, and enough, combined with a similar process in Peru, to produce a great influence on the transactions of the ancient continent as soon as it had reached the ports of Europe."
Somewhat different was the state of things which was found existing in Peru on its conquest by Pizarro. The inhabitants of that country had, for a considerable period previously, cultivated mining as a pursuit, in a somewhat rude and unscientific manner certainly, but with a fair amount of success, of which, however, the Incas received the principal benefit. Mr Jacob states that
"The smelting was performed in small portable furnaces, or cylindrical tubes of clay, very broad, and pierced with a great number of holes. In these the Indians placed layers of silver ore, galena, which entered the holes, quickened the and charcoal, and the current of air, fire and gave it a great degree of intensity. These furnaces were moved from one elevation to another, according to the degree of low or high wind. When it was found that the wind was too strong, and consumed too much of the fuel, they were removed to a lower situation. By these means the natives obtained argentiferous masses, which were smelted again in their own cottages. This was performed by a number of persons, ten or twelve at a time, blowing a fire through copper tubes from one to two yards in length, pierced with a small hole at the extremity towards the fire, which thus acted in the same manner as the modern blow-pipe. By such processes as these, though a very large portion of the silver must have remained in the scoria without combining with the galena, yet such a quantity could be obtained as would satisfy the demands of the fiscal officess of the Inca.
attributed the quantity of metallic trea"To this method of working may be
sure which Pizarro was enabled to extort
from the Inca Atahuallpa as his ransoin, which, according to Garcilasso de la Vega, is stated at the enormous sum of eight hundred thousand pounds, or, according to Gomara, at the more probable amount of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The plunder of Cuzco was also very large; and although the amount of it, as given by Henera, a writer long posdoes not appear, may be exaggerated terior to the event, and whose authority at four hundred thousand pounds, yet there is evidence sufficient to prove that the treasure found in that city was more than could have been collected if it had all arisen from the washings, and if the Indians had not worked some of the mines."
Pausing here, and looking back from this important point in history, we have clearly shown the extent of the increased power to carry out the ambitious and grasping designs of her monarchs which her new colonies had thrown into the possession of Spain. In little more than half a century, an amount equal to half the stock of the coined metals previously existing in the world passed through her hands,
* Vol. ii. pp. 50-51..