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again, do the opinions of Malthus concerning the limit of the increment of subsistence seem to him to be the result of an excessive pessimism. He recognizes that emigration certainly is of influence in retarding overpopulation, that it does not, however, prevent it. He examines the objections brought by socialists against the Malthusian theories; he observes that some, for instance Marlo, recognize the full importance of the problem of population, while he regrets that others do not consider the question carefully. Schäffle treats it with too great carelessness; Lasalle and Turati do not discuss it all. Bebel speaks too superficially of the population and overpopulation of Germany; Zorli and Colajanni, of more moderate temper, flee before the conclusions that Malthus has drawn. Lebrecht institutes an acute inquiry into the views of all these writers, through which he reaches the following opinion: "To me it seems that Malthusianism ought to act as one of those functions which physiologists call vicarious; to which nations should have recourse under certain definite conditions, in certain economic and social events; that is to say, every country should always keep in mind the law of Malthus, applying it, however, only when it is found necessary to do so."
He gives attention then to the sociologists. Into their works and into their criticisms he makes careful inquiry. He studies Darwin's theories, and the celebrated theories of Spencer, who holds that the increase of population tends naturally to decrease as civilization advances; and he shows most excellently that facts contradict the statements, since, for example, in the United States where psychic tension and cerebral activity are very great, procreation is rapid and vigorous. Nor are the doctrines of other sociologists, Morelli, Schäffle, Lilienfeld overlooked. These searching criticisms prepare the way for Chapter III, which discusses the burning questions of Malthusianism in France. He rehearses the demographic conditions of the country, which result in an almost numerical stationariness; for while in Greece the annual increase in population is 19.8 per cent, in France it is but 3.8 per cent. He recognizes at the same time the flourishing economic condition of France, notwithstanding the frequent agricultural, industrial and financial crises through which the country has passed within the last twenty years. He believes that scarcity of population is not disadvantageous from a political point of view, for a small army of well-fed men conquers a large army made up of those that are hungry. Tracing then the causes of the limited procreation of France, Lebrecht observes that by some it is attributed to debility, by others to degeneration or to vice; he combats these various opinions, finding the cause in the neo-Malthusian practices which have been provoked by a desire for preserving a high economic position, or as
Dumont expresses it, by social capillarity; and he concludes that this restraint on procreation is essentially beneficent and worthy of encouragement. He studies neo-Malthusianism from a religious, hygienic and moral point of view, and he does not hesitate to recognize its injurious effects and its dangers; he holds that it is, however, the lesser of the evils and that it should be practiced, at least in its most harmless forms, in order to avoid an unrestrained excess of population, the source of great misery. But he considers that neo-Malthusianism should be practiced freely, not enjoined by the law, nor yet by the advice of the State. That the State should restrict itself to a purely economic function in facilitating exchanges and in the colonization of national lands.
Such are, in outline, the contents of this learned and interesting work. In many points I do not agree with the author. A strong opponent of neo-Malthusianism, I believe that overpopulation should be remedied by economic means, not by medical and physiological means. The criticism of my theories made by Lebrecht do not seem to me to be convincing. Yet the different doctrines advanced by us, in various grave questions, take nothing from the estimation in which I hold his book; it is to be judged as a notable contribution to the economic theories which are among the most difficult and the most debated.
[Translated by CORNELIA H. B. ROGERS.]
Abraham Lincoln. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. American Statesmen Series, 2 vols. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1893.
It is a striking tribute to Abraham Lincoln that interest in him does not lessen the farther we are removed from the scenes in which he was the central figure. Indeed, the wider the distance which separates us from this great character, the more wont we are to give him his true place in the catalogue as the "Supreme American of our History."
Among the many biographies issued, with Mr. Lincoln as a subject, this last will take immediate prominence. Mr. Morse, in his portrayal, has escaped the very natural veneration of the biographers Nicolay and Hay, and at the same time the extreme realism of Herndon.
There is great care manifested with regard to details and the careful arrangement of facts. No writer could have brought Mr. Lincoln's
childhood down to a lower plane of rude simplicity. Herndon seems to have had a predominant influence over the author in these chapters. The first gleam of improvement in Lincoln's environments comes after the marriage of Thomas Lincoln to the widow Sally Johnston. She induced her new husband to put windows and a floor in the cabin. She also strove to make her new husband's children "look a little more human."
It is to be questioned whether Mr. Morse has not kept the later life of Mr. Lincoln too much in the gloom because of the dark shadow cast round his youthful days. There is a peculiar dignity to be observed in the rudest of these pioneer homes which we often neglect to consider in the application of our present day scale of living. The process by which Mr. Lincoln grew into a rational stature was slow but unbroken. All things seemed to combine to form and transform him.
The volumes are deserving of much praise, especially those parts dealing with the time after Lincoln had become known to his own State. The careful description of the Lincoln-Douglass debates is notable; also the makeup of the Chicago Convention that nominated Lincoln for President. Mr. Morse aptly shows the political principles of Mr. Lincoln, in their superiority over the political trade-and-dicker ideas of the delegates by quoting the message sent David Davis: "Make no contracts that will bind me."
The author presents the political and military events connected with the later life of his great subject at length and with great clearness and fairness. Most commendable is the manner in which he shows Mr. Lincoln's striking individuality. The advice and criticisms of theorists, enthusiasts and extremists had but little effect on this 66 most advised man, often the worst advised man, in the annals of mankind."
The pages teem with illustrations of Lincoln's unselfishness, forgiveness, humanity, tolerance, lack of the display of personal triumphs and other marks of real greatness. President Lincoln's relations to his Cabinet may be cited as yet another of the striking interpretations in these volumes. There was always a readiness to listen to counsel, but instances are wanting in which the chosen line of action was materially varied. It was the inflexibility of strength and not that of obstinacy. Strictly interpreted, no other administration ever tended so much toward absolutism. But interpreting as does Mr. Morse, no man better understood the full significance of civil freedom than President Lincoln; no man ever did more to preserve and defend it.
J. A. JAMES.
The Future of Silver. By EDUARD SUESS, Professor of Geology at the University of Vienna. Translated by ROBERT STEIN, U. S. Geological Survey. Published by direction of the Committee on Finance, U. S. Senate. Pp. 101. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.
Fifteen years ago the author wrote his "Future of Gold," in which he predicted on geological grounds the rapid exhaustion of the accessible gold deposits in the earth's crust. The experience of fifteen years has not made him waver in his faith, though he has seen the fulfillment of his prophecies deferred by the discoveries of South Africa and by the extension of the alluvial gold fields of Siberia. Events, he holds, have demonstrated irrefutably the central truth of his position, the precarious nature of the gold supply. In its present quantity the gold production can only be kept up by the discovery of unworked fields. Old fields the world over show unmistakable signs of exhaustion. To the friends of a simple gold monetary standard he opposes all the facts of experience. The metal which they favor is yielded in constantly decreasing quantity, while the world demands a constantly increasing volume of money.
But what of silver? Does its production portend also a diminution, or as some would have us believe, an immeasurable increase? Great mines have ceased to produce. The Comstock Lode is little more than a memory. Broken Hill, in Queensland, continues its enormous production, but every year the ore grows poorer. On the other hand the mines of Mexico and South America, long as they have been known, have barely been more than tapped by the primitive methods hitherto in use. Such an outpouring of silver as occurred in the case of gold after the discoveries of California and Australia, seems in the highest degree improbable. But all the conditions under which the white metal is found confirm the belief that its production will continue to increase, though slowly and gradually.
We cannot pretend to follow the author in his geological excursion over the face of the earth, but may only note his conclusions. His pages contain an interesting picture of the various mining centres, both for gold and silver. But in this field any criticism of his methods belongs in other hands. The general reader must draw confidence from the scrupulous care with which authorities are quoted, and with far greater reason from the fact that the author's previous work stands practically unimpeached.
The work does not end with a statement of geological facts and prognostications, but draws conclusions from these for monetary science. His thought is clear and his statement incisive, but we are now treading upon familiar ground. His picture of monetary difficulties
in the leading nations is excellent, but need not detain us longer. Let us gather together some of the conclusions of this remarkable work. The gold output tends to diminish, the industrial demand increases and at present absorbs probably the entire current annual yield of the mines. With this the stock of gold in existence is usually largely overestimated. There results an insufficiency of gold, an inadequacy already felt in the gold countries, and which would be greatly intensified by a general adoption of the gold standard. The Pan-American idea is more than the dream of a fantastic politician. Were it realized with a common silver standard, America and Asia, with their teeming resources, would present a united front against Europe. Under conditions which are manifest to-day international bimetallism would be but a transition period enabling the gold countries gradually to adapt themselves to the use of silver currency. For, concludes the author, "the question is no longer whether silver will again become a full-value coinage metal over the whole earth, but what are the trials through which Europe is to reach that goal."
The conclusions are startling, but they merit attention. A careful reading of the book will certainly justify them, if the changed production of the precious metals foreseen by the author takes place before an efficient substitute for metallic money for the economic functions it now performs shall have been discovered. Who shall say that such a discovery may not take place? If we enter the realm of prophecy we cannot afford to neglect any of the possibilities.
In concluding this brief notice we should omit a pleasant duty if we failed to call attention to the uniform excellence with which the translator has acquitted himself of his task.
ROLAND P. FALKNER.
American Railroads as Investments. A Handbook for Investors in American Railroad Securities. By S. F. VAN OSS. Pp. xv., 824. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. London: Effingham Wilson & Co., 1893.
Compendium of Transportation Theories. Kensington Series, First Book. A compilation of Essays upon Transportation Subjects by Eminent Experts. Publication of series under direction of C. C. MCCAIN. Pp. 295. Washington, D. C.: Kensington Publishing Company, 1893.