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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/180

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

a somewhat populous country conducting its exchanges almost exclusively by means of a monometallic, silver currency; no other form of money, with the exception of a small copper coinage, being practically used or recognized. The results were most instructive. Thus, if one proposed to trade, even to a retail extent, or go on a journey, a bag of coin had to be carried. If it were proposed to pay out a hundred dollars, the weight of the bag would be five and a half pounds; if two hundred dollars, eleven pounds; if five hundred, twenty-seven pounds. Where collections or payments were to be large, and the distance to be traversed considerable, regular organizations of armed men, and suitably equipped animals—known as "conductas"—were permanently maintained; and severe and bloody fights with bandits were of common occurrence. At the great cotton-mill at Querétaro, as already noted, the organization of a "conducta"—men, arms, and horses—for making collections, was as much an essential of the business as the looms and the spindles. "It was obviously impossible to carry even a moderate amount of such money with any concealment, or to carry it at all with any comfort; and the unavoidable exhibition of it, held in laps, chinking in trunks or boxes, standing in bags, and poured out in streams at the banks and commercial houses, was one of the features of life in Mexico," and undoubtedly constituted a standing temptation for robbery. Within a comparatively recent time, however, a national bank and banks of foreign incorporators have been established in Mexico, and authorized to issue notes, on what appears to be very inefficient security. The Mexican National Bank is understood to be authorized to issue $60,000,000 notes upon a capital of $20,000,000, which notes are legal tender from individuals to the Government, but not from the Government to individuals, or between individuals. The possibilities, if not probabilities, therefore, now are, that a flood of depreciated paper will ultimately drive silver out of circulation in Mexico.

 

WHAT MAY ANIMALS BE TAUGHT?
By M. J. DELBŒUF.

"THERE exists in animals," says Malebranche, "neither mind nor soul as we commonly understand the terms. They eat without pleasure, they cry out without pain, they grow without knowing it, they desire nothing, they know nothing, and, if they behave in a manner betokening intelligence, it is because God, who made them, has, to preserve them, formed their bodies in such a way that they avoid mechanically and without fear everything that is capable of destroying them." Malebranche was more categorical than Descartes on the subject of soul in beasts. The latter had doubts on the matter. He