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duced from regions still further east. « The lots of Fortune were discovered by Numerius Suffitius,' [a name of office, signifying a chief, or judge, like the Carthaginian Suffete, and the Hebrew Shophet] who, being repeatedly directed in dreams, to cut asunder a flint stone,' found the lots within it.
In the time of the emperors, this divination was in use, but,
* The weakest alone are mentioned as having recourse to it, and. amongst these, Domitian is said to have consulted it at the commencement of every year; and Heliogabulus, when he was forming his plot against the emperor Alexander Severus. The last, on his application to the lots of Præneste, was answered, we are told, in the following
Si qua fata aspera rumpas,
Tu Marcellus eris. This is a proof that at that time the lines of Virgil were used as an : swer of the oracle ; but the more ancient lots, which, however unemployed by the rational Romans, were religiously preserved in their sacred chest, may be known by some specimens yet remaining in cabinets, These are small wooden tablets, one inch wide and eight long : the letters inscribed on them are the ancient characters used by the Latins of the first ages, and evidently half Greek; these tablets are of oak, and contain only a few words, as for example :
De vero falsa ne fiant judice falso.' • Let not truth become falsehood by the interpretation of a false judge.'
Most of these sentences appear to have conveyed moral instruction. The sortes Virgilianæ, or lots of Virgil, are also to be seen in different collections: these are usually thin plates of brass.
After some previous ceremonies, a few of the lots were cast by a child on the sacred table or altar of Fortune, and what sense could be collected from their import regulated the conduct of the votary. We can easily believe that the priests divulged miraculous stories, and used various arts to keep up the devotion of pilgrims, as we are told by Pliny and other Roman authors.' pp. 189, 190.
Speaking of the present Palestrina, our author obscrves,
*The city lias a singular appearance; the streets are narrow, and almost wholly composed of ruins of ancient edifices, not easy of access, which however is somewhat facilitated by steps leading from one street to another. It is not therefore wonderful that, although many of the inhabitants of Palestrina are sufficiently opulent to have carriages, there are not more than two or three who choose to be at this useless expence. The town is never dirty, and the houses are mostly built on good principles of architecture.
'In a cellar, belonging to the seminary for the education of young ecclesiastics, is seen the table or rather altar where the lots were cast, and it is said to be ornamented with sculpture; but, when we saw it, so many casks of wine were heaped upon it, and around it, that only one corner was to be discerned : in the court and garden, belonging to the same building, are many vestiges of ancient walls, columns, and cornices. Here also is preserved the iron which supported the light suspended to the tower for the observation of mariners.
A recess, closed by iron grates, contains the celebrated antique pave, ment, of which Pliny speaks in the following terms:
The fine mosaic of small stones, placed by Sylla as a pavement in the temple of Fortune at Præneste, was the first thing of ihe kind seen in Italy.
There does not seem to he the smallest rooin to doubt of this being the genuine Mosaic he mentions: it is in excellent preservation, and appears to be about twenty feet by sixteen. It was found in the same cellar of the seminary, where is still the altar of Fortune, and may be considered as one of the most interesting relics of antiquity.
Towards the upper part of it are mountains, with negro savages lunting wild beasts; animals of different sorts, with their names in Greek written below them—such as rhinoceros, crocodile, and lynx. Lower down are seen houses of various forms, temples, vessels of different construction, particularly a galley of 32 oars, mạnned with armed blacks, and commanded by a white man; a tent with soldiers, a palm-tree, flowers, a collation in an arbour, an altar of Anubis ; in short, almost every circumstance in life. The scene apparently lies in Egypt. The figures are well drawn, the light and shadows happily disposed, and the colouring harmonious. The stones which compose this very curious pavement are remarkably small, which renders the effect peculiarly pleasing from the neatness of its appearance.' pp. 193-195.
This interesting antiquity has been published; and may be seen in Montfaucon. The inost exquisite morceau of this description is that of the famous pigeons ; a truly admirable performance !
In a manner nearly similar, the author treats the history of Albana, Antium, Lavinia, Frascati, Gabia, Nettuno, Tivoli, and the other principal towns, or remarkable objects, within the district properly termed the Campagna.
From the specimens which we have given of the contents of this volume, the reader will have formed his own opinion on its merits. The world is indebted for it, we believe, to Miss Knight, the author of Marcus Flaminius, and will consider it as another honourable proof of her abilities and assiduity. She affects no display of classical literature; yet references to the Roman poets migiit easily have been made by consulting various modern works, especially the Roman Conversations. The Latin scholar cannot but regret this deficiency; the practised antiquary also will discover a want of accuracy in description; the history of the middle ages will be thought slight; the style will be deemed occasionally incorrect. Yet, notwithstanding these defects, the work will be perused with pleasure, unless the reader be unreasonably fastidious, and to those, who have bestowed on these subjects only a cursory notice, it may communicate desirable information.
The plates, in number twenty, are touched with spirit, and add much to the interest of the work; they should have been heightened by a wash of aqua tinta, instead of the crude ycllow stain of Avignon berry which is now thrown over them,
A map of the country is prefixed, by way of froutispiece, The work is dedicated to the Queen.
Art. JII. An Essay on the Principle of commercial Erchanges, and more
particularly of the Exchange between Great Britain and Ireland : with an Inquiry into the practical Eitecis of the Bank-Restriction. By John Leslie Foster Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. Svo. pp. 209. Price 5s. Hatch
ard. 1834. THE accurate details, and generally correct, though some
what abstruse, calculations and reasonings, contained in this essay, deserve the attention of the financier and of the merchant. The author developes, with sugacity, the causes which have tended to raise the Irish exchange, and he explains their cffects with precision. It is to the restriction of the issues of specie by the bank, occasioning ihe calamitous situation of the paper currency, now almost the only circulating inediuin in Ireland, wat lie traces the alarming state of the exchange. The abuse of a measure, which, at the momentous crisis in which it was adopted in this country, and with the salutary management under which it has been continued, was productive of incalculable benefit to the mercantile interests and general prosperity of the metropolitan kingdom, has, in our sister-island, by the improvidence of the bank-directors in Dublin, or by their eagerness of gain, caused that bigh exchange, which has claimed for parliamentary inquiry, and has been the subject of much laborious investigation and ingenious discussion.
Previously to the bank-restriction, it appears that the exchange between London and Dublin, was in favour of Ireland ; but since the adoption of that measure, it has taken an opposite course, and has gradually increased in the contrary directiou. In September 1303, it even attained the height of twenty per cent, that is 11 per cent against Ireland, the par of exchange between the two countries being, as is well known, 8 per cent. : in January 1804 it was at 161 per cent.; and at this time we believe it is about 121 per cent.
The variation in the exchanges between different countries, when not influenced by extraordinary circumstances, obviously arises from the fluctuations in the balances of debt between them, always governed by the expense of obtaining and remitting specie; and the commerce of bills of exchange, like that of all other commodities, is regulated by the respective demands and supplies, by the sums offered for negotiation, and by those required for remittances. The balance of debt between Great Britain and Ireland, it is demonstrated in the tract before us, is in favour of the latter, and ought therefore to have a commenVOL. II.
surate influence on the exchange ; but the operation of this infuence, which it is calculated ought to be equivalent to two per cent. is absorbed by the operation of other causes,
which turn the scale, and weigh it heavily down on the opposite side. Two per cent. should therefore be added to the calculation of the rate of disadvantage which appears against Ireland, and which instead of 114 per cent. in September 1803, may thus be reckoned as 13;, and in other instances proportionally. This extent of disadvantage is very naturally attributed to he excessive depreciation of the paper currency of Ireland, immediately arising from the incautious conduct of the bank of Ireland in their immoderate issues of paper. That the paper currency of Ireland is depreciated to the extent requisite to cause this unfavourable exchange, is ably shewn from the existence in Ireland of all the principal symptoms of the depreciation of paper through excess, namely;
first, a high and permanent excess of the market price above the mint price of bullion; secondly, an open discount of paper as compared with coin ; thirdly, an exchange unfavourable to the country when computed in bank notes, yet possibly favourable when computed in specie ; unfavourable to those parts of the country where the circulating medium is paper; yet possibly favourable, or at least, much less unfavourable to other parts whose circulating medium is specie ; fourthly, an exchange between the different parts of the same country, whose circulating media are different ; fifthly, the intire disappearance of all the smaller coin, which had been in circulation along with specie *, but which cannot continue in circulation along with any other circulating medium of less value; and lastly, and above all, we should be led to expect, that these different tests of depreciation nearly agreed with each other, that is, that the discount upon the paper, and the unfavourable rates of foreign exchanges, and the rates of the exchanges between the different parts of the same country, and the excess of the market above the mint price of bullion, should all be equal, or nearly so, to each other : these are all the tests of depreciation that can be expected, and they are all exhibited in Ireland, on no trifiing scale, not at a rate of one or two per cent. but of eight or ten; not in a moment of difficulty, or arising on a sudden, but constant and permaient, and prevailing alike in peace and in war
The bank restriction naturally forced a considerable quantity of gold out of the country, and a proportional increase in the issue of paper to supply the consequent deficiency of specie was requisite and prudent; but we find that the bank of Ireland have, since the restriction, augmented their issues of paper to nearly five times the amount of their notes previously to that measure taking place. In January 1804, the amount of Irish bank notes in circulation appears to have been £2,986,999; de
* Properly speaking, gold. Rev.
ducting from this sum, £621,917, which was the amount in circulation in January 1797, previously to the restriction, and which may be taken as the fair average of the commercial wants of Ireland, there would remain £9,365,082, of which, supposing all but one million to go to replace the specie exported, that inillion is an addition to the circulating medium of Ireland, which must thereby be proportionately depreciated; and, if we consider, in addition to this, that the increase of the issues of paper bý private bankers throughout Ireland, in consequence of the scarcity of specie, and of the disappearance of the smaller coin, was made on the most enormous scale, or rather on no scale but the cupidity and temerity of these privileged coiners, we shall rather be led to wonder that the exchange is not yet more unfavourable to Ireland than it is, and has been.
The monstrous abuse of the circulation of private paper in Ireland, is forcibly exemplified in the fourth chapter. 'In the country it was deemed more eligible to substitute paper
shila lings than to continue to receive the base metal : it accordingly disappeared, and promissary notes for all sums, so low as sixpence, took place. Banking on a small scale soon became not only one of the most lucrative, but one of the most common trades. When once it was discovered that coining was no longer illegal, provided it was executed on paper, many, as may naturally be supposed, applied themselves to so profitable a business. The towns and villages of Ireland swarmed with bankers, issuing their promissary notes for crowns, half-crowns, chillings, and sixpences, promising to pay the same in bank of Ireland notes whenever a sufficient sum should be tendered. Let us now suppose a village supplied by ten bankers, and containing one thousand'inhabitants; each of these may possess nineteen shillings of each of the ten bankers ; and yet, though £95,000 may be thus sent into circulation in that single village, it will not be possible to call on any one banker for payment. This is certainly an extreme case, but it is put merely to illustrate this principle—that where a district is supplied with silver notes by many bankers, they are secure of being able to issue a much greater quantity than they can be called upon to pay.'
It would appear that according to the system pursued in Ireland, the number of banks issuing notes, is, in each place, inversely as the extent of its commerce.
"London is supplied by one, Dublin by four ; but less than twelve, it seems, are insufficient for Skibbereen ; and twenty-three are required to satisfy the demands of Youghal, a town in which it may well be doubted whether there are twenty-three persons who follow any other trade. So extensive indeed seems the demand for labourers in this department, that female bankers appear to be not uncommon.
Şuch seem to be the consequences of the bank-restriction on the circulating medium of Ireland ; having driven successively gold and silver, and at length even plated brass, out of circulation, as all too expensive for its purposes, it has substituted in their place a paper excessive in its amount, and doubtful in its