with their university, is the knowledge that, their reputation once. achieved, they will be more conspicuous as heads of a school which inay possibly shed lustre over their own little academy, than when lost in the blaze of glory surrounding the Berlin professorate.

The decay of the system then in its old form is the necessary consequence of the extinction of the conditions under which it grew up. As the empire becomes more and more consolidated, the local spirit which once animated the smaller universities—and which is not altogether dissimilar to the rivalry existing, especially at Cam. bridge, between our own colleges-must die rapidly out, hastened to its end no doubt by that easiness of communication between separate and distant provinces the want of which had so much to do in former days with keeping men at home. The necessity for local universities is fast disappearing, and when that necessity is completely extinct, the universities must either vanish or continue to exist in a widely different form from the present. It may seem strange to English ears to hear the destruction of universities spoken of thus coolly, but such speculations receive ample justifi. cation from the historical fact of the total extinction of some fiveand-twenty such foundations-some of them among the oldest in Germany, and including the world-famed academy of Wittenberg -during the commotions of the beginning of this century. In 1789 there existed not less than five-and-forty universities ; in 1815 the number was reduced to something under twenty. It may be urged that Strassburg offers a proof of the vitality of the system. But the re-foundation in that place took place under peculiar circum. stances; the full effect of the attraction to Berlin had scarcely been felt nine years ago, and the establishment was accompanied with an amount of enthusiasm which rendered the success of the place, temporarily at least, a certainty. It was regarded as a kind of trophy of the assertion of rights against French occupation, and as stamping the German dominion on the recovered territory for

Recent foundations or re-foundations in Austro-Hun. gary, where local spirit is still very strong and communication not so easy, are a much surer proof of the vitality of the system, at least in that country. But in Germany it is a recognized fact that the universities no longer possess the monopoly of intellect they were once supposed to possess, and the tendency to create external centres will no doubt increase, as it has done in England.

A few words may be said in conclusion as to the general effect of the German system on society at large. One of the chief boasts of that system is the so-called Lernfreiheit which it allows--the absolute liberty, that is, granted to the student of choosing his university and the teachers whose lectures he will attend at it. Yet with all this, the average German student is lacking to e most remark. able degree in that self-reliance and independence which are some


how acquired by the junior members of our own universities, kept under tutelage as they are supposed to be. Never throughout his courso of study does the German lad obtain an opportunity of fairly measuring himself with his contemporaries. These remarks are not intended to exalt any exaggerated system of competitive examinations, but simply to indicate what the result of the utter want of them is. Take, for example, the career of a German stu. dent of law at the Gymnasium, raised from class to class as his work reaches a certain standard of efficiency, but with only a chance once a year of proving that efficiency. He is transferred to the university by a pass examination; may enjoy a scholarship of the kind already described, equally without competition; and at the end of four years, absolutely without intermediate examination, completes his course and becomes, by a series of pass examinations, a Referendar, and candidate for that government employment which is seldom long in coming. From beginning to end of his career he has hardly once had to think for bimself. It is the result of some such nursing as this which has reduced the business capabilities of Germans generally to so low an ebb. This they themselves freely acknowledge; indeed, it would be hard to deny it, in face of the proof of the recent usury laws of the extent to which the lower middle classes are capable of being victimized. Those laws, directed against the Jews, will probably meet with the usual success accorded to such measures; but the evil which they were devised to meet had become so glaring that the interference of government in some form or other was necessary, were it only to satisfy public opinion by a show of activity.

Of the effects produced in the ordinary intercourse of society by the peculiar one-sided culture of educated Germany, disseminated as it is through all classes, others have spoken, and this is not the place to speak. The object of these remarks has been to show the destructive change at present going on in a system which has long been held up to us as arrived at a perfection of development which rendered it a safe model for the educational organizations of all countries. A. T. S. GOODRICK, in Macmillan's Magazine

POSTAL NOTES, MONEY ORDERS, AND BANK CHECKS. THERE can be little doubt as to the need felt by the public for more convenient means of remitting small sums of money by post. The increase of correspondence between different parts of the country is constantly multiplying the number of small debts-debts which cannot be paid by passing coin from hand to hand. The practice is rapidly growing up of buying supplies of draperies, toas, books, and numberless other commodities from well-known

firms, situated in a few of the larger towns. Only a well-arranged system of parcel posts, as pointed out in a previous article in this Review (January, 1879, vol. xxxiv., p. 209), is needed to develop this mode of traffic immensely. But even with the present vexa. tious charges on small goods traffic, the number of parcels distributed must be very large, and each parcel, as a general rule, necessitates a postal payment. The facility of railway travelling, again, leads people to reside farther from their friends than in former days, and multitudes of domestic servants, workmen away froin home in search of work, commercial travellers and tourists, require either to receive or remit small sums of money.

The Postal Money Order System is older than is generally supposed, having existed in one form or other since 1792.

İn its present form, lowever, the system dates only from the year 1859, and extensions and improvements are frequently announced. In safety and eventual certainty of acquittance, money orders leave little to be desired. The payer has only to walk to the nearest money order office; wait five or ten minutes while other custom. ers are being served ; fill up a small application form ; decido, after mature deliberation with the postmaster, and reference to a privatě official list, upon the money order office most convenient to the payee; then wait until the order is duly filled up, counter. foiled, stamped, etc.; and finally hand over his money, and his work is done, with the exception of inclosing the order in the properly-addressed letter. The payee, too, may be sure of getting liis money, if all goes well. He need only walk to the money. order office named, sign the order, give the name of the remitter, and then the postmaster, if satisfied that all is right, and if fur nished with the indispensable advice note from the remitting office, will presently hand over the cash. But sometimes the advice note has not arrived, and the applicant must call again; not uncommonly the payer, with the kindest intentions, has made the order payable at a distant office, imagining, for instance, that Hampstead Road Post Office must be very convenient to a resident of Hampstead. The payee must then make a tour in search of the required office-unless, indeed, he or his friend happens to liave a banking account, when all goes smoothly in a moment, and the banker instantly relieves him of further labor in obtain. ing the seven shillings and sixpence or other small sum which the Postinaster-General holds for his benefit. But seriously speaking, time is too valuable to allow us to deal with many money orders. Business men must long ago have demanded a complete reform of the system, were it not that the bankers came to the rescue of the Department by agreeing to collect the orders, and the post-office perple soon discovered that the banker was the safest and easiest medium of collection.

Within the last six or seven years, however, an interesting attempt has been made to replace money orders by bankers’ checks, ; There used to be a tradition that it was illegal to draw a check for less than twenty shillings, and many people still have an uneasy feeling about drawing a check on Lombard Street for half a guinea. But the Check Bank established by the late Mr. James Hertz has helped to change all this. Not only do people now draw very small checks in their own check-books, but, if they happen not to possess that luxury, they walk into a neighboring stationer's or draper's shop, and ask for a Check Bank check, which is siniply filled up and handed over in exchange for the money without more ado. This check may be posted to almost any part of the habitable world, and will be worth its inscribed value, for wbich most bankers, hotel-keepers, and other business people will cash it, irrespective of advice notes and localities. About six years ago, when preparing my book on “Money'? for the International Scientific Series, I inquired minutely into the working of Mr. Hertz's scheme, which seemed to form the down. ward completion of the banking system, and after six years of subsequent experience, I see no reason to alter the opinions I then expressed about the new kind of bank. The Check Bank has met with but one real check, and that is the penny-stamp duty, in respect of which the bank must already have earned a largo revenue for the government, while the money-order system has occasionally been losing revenue.

The post-office authorities, not unnaturally moved by this stato of things, have now produced a scheme for the issue of postal notes, which, if successful, are po doubt intended to supersede money orders and Check Bank checks as well. The bill now in Parliament for establishing this scheme bears the names of the present Postmaster-General, Professor Fawcett, and of Lord Frederick Cavendish. The rather startling draft regulations which accompany the bill purport to be the orders of the Right Hon. orable Henry Fawcett. But it must surely be understood that this eminent economist is not responsible for the details of the scheme, except in & purely official capacity. The bill, though altered in details, is not now put forward for the first time; and it is due either to the late Postmaster-General, Lord John Man. ners, or else to that vague entitý,“ The Department." But whatever be its origin, this bill is an interesting document, and its clauses imperatively demand consideration.

The idea of the system is to issue orders for fixed integral sums, rising by steps from one shilling as a minimum to half-a-crown, five shillings, seven shillings and sixpence, ten shillings, twelve shillings and sixpence, seventeen shillings and sixpence, to a maximum of one pound. A person wanting to remit, say ninoteen shillings, must therefore apply for the next lower note, namely, seventeen shillings and sixpence, together with a shilling note, and then add six penny stamps, and inclose the whole to the payee. These notes will be issued, apparently, with a blank space for the name of the payee, and another for the name of the office where they are to be paid. In this condition the order may be handed about like a piece of paper money, and will have, so far as I can understand the bill and regulations, absolute currency. Like a coin, it will be primâ facie the property of its holder, and its bonâ fide owner will be upaffected by the previous history of the note. Any holder, however, may fill up one or both blanks, and it then becomes payable only to a particular person and (or) at the particular office named. It would appear, however, that if the payee thus named in the order signs the receipt at the back, the note again becomes practically payable to bearer, like an indorsed check to order. Clause 8 of the regulations provides that if the note bears a signature purporting to be the signature of the payee, “it shall not be necessary to prove that the receipt was signed by or under the authority of the payee. There are elabo. rate provisions for the crossing of these post-office checks, both generally and specially, and it would seem that even though the name of a distant money-order office be inserted in the blank, a banker may, under clause 10, safely cash a note. The regulations point distinctly to a desire of the department to withdraw their notes from circulation, as much as possible, through the banking system of the kingdom.

The currency of these notes is somewhat restricted by clause 11 of the regulations, which provides that when more than three montlıs old, notes will only be paid after deduction of a new com. mission equal to the original poundage, and a like further com. mission for every subsequent period of three months, or part of such period. Payment may, under the next clause, be refused in case a note bears signs of tampering or fraud. Then follows the important provision--that “ A postmaster may refuse or delay the payment of a postal order, but shall immediately report such delay or refusal, with his reasons for it, to the Postmaster-General.' As, liowever, this report seems to be intended for the private satisfaction of the department, and there is no clause requiring the postmaster, or the Postmaster-General, to give reasons to the holder of the note, this regulation makes the notes convertible into coin at the will and convenience of the department. There is no act of bankruptcy nor breach of engagement in refusing pay. ment. The local postmaster has simply to give as his reason for suspending payment, that he has no funds, and the department will doubtless regard his reason as a very good one.

Perhaps the most extraordinary clause of the regulations is No.

« ForrigeFortsett »