Page images
PDF
EPUB

the reverse the emblems or legend of the nation issuing it. It should be issued under uniform regulations, and at a common mintage charge.

All these requisites could be attained through an international mint, supervised by and managed under the directions of representatives of all the nations joining in the compact, sustained in some such way as is the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; its perfect neutrality being guaranteed by the common agreement. Or each nation at its own mints might coin the international coin under such regulations and restrictions as might be fixed by treaty. When this is done, no limitation on the amount of gold coinage need be fixed.

For a coinage from silver, further conditions and agreements would be necessary. A common ratio must be agreed upon, and under existing conditions a limitation on the amount of silver coinage by each nation, with definite agreements for redemption on demand by the country issuing it, either in gold or in other coin of the country demanding redemption, would be indispensable. It will thus be seen that the adoption of an international silver coin is confronted with more practical difficulties and perplexities than the adoption of a common gold coinage, but these are not necessarily insurmountable. An international conference, that brought to its work intelligence, patience, and a liberal spirit, ought to succeed in outlining a system which should embrace both gold and silver coinage under conditions and restrictions that would ensure safety.

An international coinage might consist of gold alone, but if made to embrace silver also, it would be more universal in its character. It would then commend itself to the approval and adoption of silver-using nations and widen the use of silver, and probably tend to a gradual enhancement of its value and, possibly, ultimately to the restoration of its parity with gold on an agreed ratio. If such a result should come as a consequence of concurrent action by the great nations of the world, as the outgrowth of their united wisdom and prudence, it would come with entire safety and with beneficial results.

It might be added that, while the international coin should be legal tender in every nation joining in the compact, its convenience and practical usefulness might probably be increased by providing for the issue by each nation of certificates of deposit of such international coin, to be received in all other nations under the same conditions as apply to the acceptance of the coin deposited. This is not an essential feature of a common system, but is an American idea engrafted on our domestic currency system that is worthy of due consideration in connection with an international system. Its adoption would tend to diminish greatly the necessity of shipment and transportation of coin, and to simplify national exchanges.

The practical difficulty in the way of an international agreement lies in the attachment of each nation to its own system, terms, and coins. Which shall yield to the other, or whether all shall yield to a new and symmetrical system, are questions which open up too broad a discussion for the limits of the present article, and which can only be decided by international conference and agreement. It may be said, however, in brief, that the unit adopted should be expressed in the singular number. The aggregate value of a number of existing units, as, for instance, five francs, may be adopted if necessary; but that valuo, if it is to be received as the unit of a new monetary system, should be designated by a name in the singular number, and not by one that shows it to be the multiple of another or sub-unit. The franc is too small, the sovereign too large for such unit. The dollar is of convenient size, and is known over most of the world. Make the dollar conform in value to five francs, or to one-fifth of & sovereign, if necessary, but let it be the unit of an international monetary system. The change of its value, if made, might occasion temporary inconvenience and necessitate cautionary legislation protective of vested interests; but the trouble would be insignificant compared with the vast benefits to be derived from a universal world's coinage. A currency that would change value at no national frontier, that would defy the exactions of brokers and money-changers, that would carry the badge of civilized life into every clime, exchangeable for the products of every tribe and nation, the measure of all labor and value, uniform, universal, and unchangeable, is a desideratum the attainment of which is worthy the most zealous efforts of the patriotic citizens of every nation.

CHARLES W. STONE.

THE TEACHER'S DUTY TO THE PUPIL.

BY HIS EMINENCE, CARDINAL GIBBONS.

The importance of the subject briefly treated in this article may be estimated by the host of teachers and scholars. The teachers of the United States are numbered by tens of thousands, while the pupils, ecclesiastical and secular, frequenting public and private schools, colleges and academies, reach several millions.

The progress that these scholars make in their studies, largely depends on the intelligence, diligence and capacity of the teachers.

Plutarch, in a letter to his former pupil, the Emperor Trajan, says: I am sensible that you sought not the Empire. Your modesty, however, makes you still more worthy of the honors you had no ambition to solicit. Should your future government be in keeping with your former merit, I shall have reason to congratulate both your virtue and my own good fortune on this great event; but if otherwise, you have exposed yourself to danger and me to obloquy; for the faults of the scholar will be imputed to the master. Only continue to be what you Let your government commence in

your breast; and lay the foundations of it in the command of your passions. If you make virtue the rule of your conduct and the end of your actions, everything will proceed in harmony and order. I have explained to you the spirit of those laws and constitutions that were established by your predecessors, and you have nothing to do but to carry them into execution. If this should be the case, I shall have the glory of having formed an Emperor to virtue; but if otherwise, let this letter remain a testimony to succeeding ages, that you did not ruin the Roman empire under pretence of the counsels or the authority of Plutarch."

are.

From the words of Plutarch we may draw this important lesson, that the moral precepts of the teacher will exercise but little influence on the scholar, unless they are enforced by his own example. But if his life is in harmony with the instructions which he inculcates, they will make a deep and lasting impression on the heart of his pupil. For if the edifying demeanor of those whom we casually meet in the walks of life is a stimulus to virtue, how potential for good, and how enduring is the exemplary conduct of the professor who is the official guide of our susceptible youth !

Every one admits the truth of the Horatian axiom that persons are more deeply affected by what they see than by what they hear. If this maxim can be affirmed of all men, how much more forcible is its application to the impressionable scholar !

The pupil's character is almost unconsciously formed after the model of his instructor. The impression produced on the youthful mind, by the tutor's example, has been happily compared to letters cut in the bark of a young tree which deepen and broaden with time.

Of our excellent teachers, we can say in the words of John Sterling:

"Ever their phantoms rise before us,
Our loftier brothers, but one in blood;
By bed and table they lord it o'er us,
With looks of kindness and words of good.”

The institution, in which a man studies, is supposed to exert 80 dominant an influence in moulding his character, that his Alma Mater is as sure to be mentioned by his biographer as the parents from whom he sprang.

So close, indeed, and tender and far-reaching are the relations subsisting between the teacher and his pupils, that the master feels honored by the virtuous and distinguished career of his scholar, while he has a sense of personal humiliation should the pupil's record prove dishonorable and scandalous. Harvard or Yale, Princeton or Georgetown, is eager to claim as her son the statesman, the jurist, or the man of letters who chanced to have drunk at her fountain of knowledge. Oxford would have gladly erected within her walls a monument to her peerless son, Cardinal Newman, had she not been thwarted by unreasoning bigotry. In like manner, our ecclesiastical colleges and seminaries refer

with commendable complacency to their alumni who have distinguished themselves as priests or prelates in the paths of science and virtue. As Cato, in his old age, pointed with pride to the widespreading trees that his hands had planted in early manhood, so will the venerable teacher contemplate with admiration every fresh blossom or fruit that enriches the living tree reared and cultivated in his nursery of learning.

But while the preceptor enjoys the reflected honor that beams on his favored scholar, public sentiment makes him share, in some measure, though often unjustly, the odium attached to a pupil whose public life has been stained by unworthy conduct. The good name of Quintilian was marred by the vicious conduct of some of his scholars. The reputation of Seneca suffered on account of the crimes of Nero, his former pupil. The reproach seems, however, to be unmerited, for, as long as the young prince followed the instructions and counsels of his preceptor, he was loved by the Roman people; but when he fell into the hands of other masters, he became the shame of the human race. The exterior gravity and propriety of Seneca were a continual censure on his pupil's vices.

The professors of our colleges and seminaries should be profoundly impressed with the dignity and grave responsibility of their position. They are the constituted guardians of their pupils in loco parentis. It should be their constant aim that the lustre of the jewels confided to their keeping be not dimmed by neglect, but that they reflect more and more the brightness of the Sun of Justice. “ What is more noble,” says St. John Chrysostom, “than to form the minds of youth ? He who fashions the morals of children performs a task, in my judgment, more sublime than that of any painter or sculptor.” In contemplating the magnificent works of art exhibited in the churches of Rome, we extol the great masters who produced them, and we know not which to admire more, the paintings and statues which adorn St. Peter's Basilica, or the temple itself in which those masterpicces are enshrined. But the teacher, in moulding the character of the youths committed to his care, is engaged in a pursuit far more worthy of our admiration. He is creating living portraits destined to adorn, not only our earthly temples, but also the temple of God in heaven "not made by hands."

The professor who would aim at shaping the character of all

« PreviousContinue »