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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/728

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

rency.[1] There are few important effects that do not flow from mixed causes, and Mr. Schoenhof makes it plain that the fixing of prices for commodities is no exception. Besides the condition of the currency he names wages, profit rates, expense of distribution, taxation, science and invention interest, transportation, and monopolies as affecting prices. His views, as expressed in former writings, having been criticised severely, he has been led to examine for this volume the prices of the period anterior to the discovery of the American silver mines and to carry the comparison down to the present time. He is thereby confirmed in the opinion that the quantity of money in circulation has little influence on prices, but that its quality is more important. Further, "that price increase brought about by the issue of depreciated currency or other inflating causes has always acted detrimentally to the interests of the working classes." In the early chapters he gives statistics of the output of gold and silver from the mines of the world from 1492 to 1894, and the value ratios of gold to silver at various times, showing that the latter were not affected by the relative quantities of the two metals in existence. He maintains that silver has become cheapened because it has been left behind as a money metal by advancing civilization. The main part of the volume consists of a history of prices in England, France, and Germany from the middle ages to the present time, combined with which there is considerable history of European currency. Following this are four chapters in which the influence of what the author regards as the true price-making factors is set forth in some detail. Mr. Schoenhof is an expert in economic research, and his positions are all supported by statistics and historical facts.


GENERAL NOTICES.

We venture to say that no writer has made the Alps more attractive to thoughtful persons than Prof. Tyndall has. His evident enjoyment of the physical and mental exhilaration afforded by scaling the icy peaks, his full appreciation of the beauties of the mountains, of which his trained observation enabled him to see more than the mere tourist, and the simplicity and vividness of his style of writing combine to give the accounts of his climbs the fascination of tales of adventure. His Glaciers of the Alps[2] was first published in 1860, and for many years past has been out of print. It is divided into two parts: the first, chiefly narrative, describes his ascents and traverses of the mountains in 1856-'59, which included two ascents of Mont Blanc, two of Monte Rosa, one of the Finsteraarhorn, a winter expedition to the Mer de Glace, and many minor climbs; the second, chiefly scientific, contains his observations on the Alpine ice and his discussions of the glacial theories current when they were made. In the narrative part the human element is delightfully conspicuous. Profs. Huxley and Ramsay were his companions in some expeditions, and to the reader who knows both them and the author only as prominent English scientists it is supremely comic to read of Tyndall being buried in hay by his guide for a night's rest in the loft of a cheese-maker's cowhouse, or of Huxley lighting and holding wax matches one after another to furnish light for the others to get an early breakfast by. These experiences, too, are not without their spice of danger, and the author makes it plain that the rocks and ice are not to be trifled with.

The second part of the book is introduced by three chapters explaining the nature of light and heat, after which the phenomena of ice exhibited in glaciers are discussed at


  1. A History of Money and Prices. By J. Schoenhof. Pp. 352, 12mo. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Price, $1.50.
  2. The Glaciers of the Alps. By John Tyndall. Pp. 445, 12mo. London, New York, and Bombay: Longmans, Green & Co. Price, 10s. 6d,; $2.50.