Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/509

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

more. These names, however, indicate similarities to over thirty other perfectly distinct families.

It seems clear, then, that these differences have reference not to any inherent tendency, but to the structure and organization, the habits and requirements, of the plant. Of course, it may be that the present form has reference not to existing, but to ancient, conditions, which renders the problem all the more difficult. Nor do I at all intend to maintain that every form of leaf is, or ever has been, necessarily that best adapted to the circumstances, but only that they are constantly tending to become so, just as water always tends to find its own level.

But, however this may be, if my main argument is correct, it opens out a very wide and interesting field of study, for every one of the almost infinite forms of leaves must have some cause and explanation.—Contemporary Review.



THE ever-recurring question as to the methods which should be adopted for supplying the country with currency promises soon again to demand attention, and to be beset with all its old-time perplexities. It is the riddle which is presented in turn to each civilized nation, and, although the penalty of default is severe, no satisfactory answer has as yet been found.

The national banking system, which has frequently been declared to be the best yet devised, can not be said to offer a solution, for, although it served its temporary purpose very well, it lacks, so far as its currency is concerned, the essential element of permanency, being based upon a public debt that, fortunately, is not a perpetuity. Recently grave concern has been felt and expressed over the prospective contraction, if not total withdrawal, of the national-bank circulation which is likely to result from the diminished supply of Government bonds. The prospect is generally deplored. Sundry bills were introduced into the late Congress, looking to a mitigation or postponement of the consequent evils, but no conclusive action was taken, nor is there much reason to expect that the subject will receive serious congressional consideration until it compels attention.

It is true that the advocates of a let-alone policy might justify their course by pointing out that the danger of a currency contraction does not appear so imminent as it did nine months ago. Owing to diminished revenue, there have been no recent bond calls, and the reduction of the debt is for the time arrested. But the prices of bonds have so enhanced as substantially to rob the business of issuing