to the care of a public institution. That they have done it also with ability and wisdom, is evinced by the prosperous condition of the charity. Much of this prosperity is doubtless owing to the unwearied assiduity of the successive Boards of Trustees. The monthly meetings of the Board, with the weekly visits of committees, since they have never degenerated into matters of form, not only serve the purpose of transacting the necessary business, but are a constant incitement to every one connected with the institution, to perform his duty with the like faithfulness.

The Massachusetts General Hospital embraces two departments, distinct from each other, but under the management of the same Board of Trustees, and supported by the same general fund; the Hospital for the sick and wounded, in Boston, and the McLean Asylum for the Insane, in Charlestown. From the Report of the Superintendent of the Hospital it appears, that the whole number of patients admitted during the year 1837 was 440; 213 of whom were free patients, and 25 more paid board but a part of the time. To those who are regarded as pay patients, the institution may justly be considered as performing, only in a somewhat lower degree, a work of charity, since, independently of all the outlay of capital, the weekly charge for board &c. to much the greater part, is much less than the weekly cost. The number discharged during the year was 453, 358 of whom are reported as well,” “

”“ much relieved,” or “relieved ”; only 32 died. The “ Analysis of patients,” exhibiting their several trades and employments, would furnish a topic for some general reflections, but we must refrain from offering them at present.

The Asylum for the Insane admitted, during the year, 120 patients; and 105 were discharged. Of these, 72 are reported as “recovered," and 13 as “much improved," and " improved.” It is worthy of observation, that the term cured,” which commonly appears conspicuously in similar reports, is not used in either of these. The medical officers in both institutions seem to have modestly abstained from claiming the favorable termination of so many cases as the fruit of their labors, though it cannot be doubted that it might be so claimed with as much justice as in most similar instances. We like these terms better, and are glad to see them introduced by so high authority. The young practitioner may be excused for ascribing to his first prescription the cure of the patient. But a little experience only is sufficient to teach him, that other agencies besides his own have much to do with the result; and he soon learns to regard it as much more consonant to his real share in the matter, to say that the man recovered, than that he was cured. VOL. XLVI. - NO. 99.


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The Report of Dr. Bell, physician and superintendent of the Asylum, is the first which he has had occasion to present, since his appointment to the office. “With respect to the general management, moral and medical," he modestly and pertinently remarks, he “has attempted few innovations or experiments. He has rather attempted to carry out and perfect, eclectically and combinedly, the respective plans of moral and medical treatment of the eminent individuals who have preceded him, not rejecting the aids offered in the experience of other institutions." The Report shows, in a brief detail, what these plans are, as at present administered, and gives a very satisfactory view of the means which the establishment affords for promoting the safety, comfort, and restoration of patients. We commend the Report to all who would see with what liberality, humanity, and sound judgment the Trustees have provided for this unfortunate class of sufferers, and what confident anticipations of success may be cherished from the care and management of the able and devoted physician.

8. — Reflections on the Present State of the Currency of the

United States. Boston. 1837. pp. 34.
Further Reflections on the Currency of the United States.

By C. F. ADAMS. Boston. 1837.

pp. 41.

The first of these pamphlets was published in February, 1837, and accordingly before the collapse of the currency; the latter, after the extra session of Congress. They are both able productions. The first deals with the causes of the pecuniary embarrassments of the country; the latter with the remedies. The causes of these troubles are traced to the excessive banking and the spirit of speculation. As to the latter cause, it is not a subject of regulation and control, any further than it can be indirectly checked by putting lenders on their guard. A man not under guardianship has a right, as far as the laws and institutions of the country are concerned, to ruin himself if he chooses. But it behooves the country to prevent any one from ruining others, as far as they can do this, by withholding facilities to his rashness or too sanguine enterprise. This office falls mostly upon the banks, through which a great part of the business of the country is conducted, as far as it rests upon personal credit, independently of property security by mortgage or otherwise. The check is to be given, not by any positive regulation, but by the interest of the stockholders of the banks to avoid losses and make the most of their capital. Their interest in one direction,

however, leads them to speculation and rashness by extending their circulation, and thus deriving a profit from its amount. But in another direction their interest leads them to check the tendencies to excessive credit ; since, if they loan to those who cannot pay them, they must be the sufferers. But the bank-directors cannot foresee the events of next year; they can only conjecture, like others, what is to happen; and, in the ordinary course of business in giving credits for sixty and ninety days, they cannot be supposed, and do not affect to go into very profound anticipations of the future. Both borrowers and lenders make their calculations upon the existing state of prices and trade. Accordingly, when some tremendously destructive power is accumulating in the dark, which may begin to develope itself and shake the whole system within those sixty or ninety days, both borrowers and lenders are at fault; and, before they are aware of it, every part of the system begins by little and little to be disordered, and if the cause is deep and lasting, it at length totters and crumbles. The borrower at Boston has his draft returned from New Orleans, because the acceptor at New Orleans has not received remittances from his debtor at Cincinnati, and so on, round the circle of credits. The borrower's paper must, therefore, be renewed at the bank; and so it continues from one period of credit to another, until the borrower, by immense sacrifices of property in a fallen market, works his way through the difficulty, or succumbs.

Now, if the currency is based partly or wholly upon credit, that is, upon the solvency of the debtors to the banks, as is the case in this country, (and always will be, and, as it seems to us, always ought to be, if experience is any guide upon the subject,) the dividends of the stockholders will be affected, if the shock is slight; if a little more severe, their capital is diminished; and lastly, in a tremendous shock, the currency is shaken. Where a bank is, in general, managed with a view to the interest of the stockholders, and with a reasonable prudence, and without suffering any great fraud or calamity out of the course of business, such as a fire, robbery, or embezzlement, the probability of its insolvency is so remote as hardly to be appreciable. In the explosions of some of the banks in Boston, only a very small fraction of the whole amount of the currency will finally be lost by bad bills. And when these losses happen, they arise from the fact, that banks have been managed in some instances through the influence of their debtors, and not for the benefit of their stockholders generally. The operation of this sinister influence on the administration of the banks, has no doubt had a powerful agency in aggravating the existing pecuniary derangements; and

this influence has been increased immensely by the public deposits, which opened a door to its tenfold activity. This cause of our present embarrassments, Mr. Adams does not lay stress upon, whereas we cannot but think it deserves a prominent place.

He dwells particularly upon the excessive issues of paper, which, in his last pamphlet, he calls rags, a rhetorical denomination of paper not practically at the moment redeemable in the precious metals, which has run through the newspapers and declamations, but which is not, we think, entitled to a place in a grave pamphlet ; for, though the paper is not exchangeable for dollars in specie, on presentment at the bank, still it does give a valid lien on the lands, houses, and goods of the bank and its debtors; a lien which will be available, though there should not be a dollar in specie in the country. This is a vital efficacy which does not belong to rags.

In connexion with this subject of excessive issues of paper, Mr. Adams lays down one proposition fortified by the authority of David Hume, who has been followed by sundry writers, and which is made the foundation of a broad theory by Adam Smith; viz. that the value (in exchangeable commodities) of the whole mass of currency will depend upon its proportion to the whole mass of property in the community, and accordingly that the value of a given quantity of currency, a specie dollar for instance, will be inversely in that proportion. This is precisely one of the propositions to build theories of and upon; but, as we apprehend, of very little weight in practical discussions. Like many other doctrines in theoretical political economy, it is specious, and has a remote, partial, qualified verity ; that is, it is true in one degree or two degrees, more or less, out of ten, so that if you undertake to apply it practically, the chance is five or ten to one, that you may have got it in one of its false degrees; or, in other words, applied it to a wrong case. This theorem leads Mr. Adams to attribute too great an effect to “expanding the circulation beyond the wants of the community." That credit has been too much expanded, almost immeasurably too much, there is no doubt ; and this everybody understands; and it is as well understood by everybody also, that the banks have gone hand in hand with the community in expanding credit. This has brought on embarrassments, that cost arduous, long, desperate struggling for disentanglement. But as to the mere fact of excess of either paper or metallic currency, independently of excessive facility and extension of credits, it is, as it appears to us, an evil not weighty or difficult of remedy. It seems to us, therefore, that Mr. Adams underrates and does great injustice to Mr. Webster's remark, that, before the explosion, and while prices still maintained themselves, and demand was rife, the great cause of embarrassment was the disturbance of exchanges. This was at the time the main disorder of the system, that had become actually developed. The seeds of other disorders were germinating, and must have shot forth, even though the exchanges had not been deranged. But what would have been the result had the previously existing complete system of exchanges been maintained throughout the storm, it is difficult to conjecture. That the force of the shock would have been broken, we can hardly doubt. But we agree with Mr. Adams, that a reverse must have happened, though the system of exchanges had been maintained. His speculations upon the causes operating towards a collapse are able and just, as far as they relate to the credit system. And in this excess, the banks, as we have said, went hand in hand with the rest of the community. And to his remarks on this subject we will add, that they probably went greater lengths with the rest of the community in swelling this tide of credit, than a central institution would have done ; for through such an institution, all parts of the country being in quick communication, earlier notice of the coming catastrophe would thus have been obtained. On this question, however, different opinions are entertained, and we will not go into a subject that may lead us towards the vortex of party discussions.

The second pamphlet, on the remedy to be resorted to, urges very strongly a return of the banks to specie payments, whatever pressure it may cost. This we understand to be the actual present policy of the banks.

As to the permanent guaranty against disorders of the currency, Mr. Adams considers the most effectual one to be, a resumption of the regulation of the currency by the national government, by means of a national bank.

These pamphlets are well worthy of the attention of those who take an interest in the vitally important subjects of which they treat.

9. The Lyrist ; consisting of a Selection of New Songs,

Duetts, and Trios from Recent Works of Various
Authors. Compiled by Lowell Mason and G. J.
Webb, Professors in the Boston Academy of Music.
Boston. Wilkins & Carter. 1838. 4to. pp. 148.

Music has been compared to a picture, or rather to a colored drawing, expressing by sounds, what the artist portrays by

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