made in a form which appeals to his im- been possible a hundred years earlier ! agination, and in the particular sciences Geometry for them meant the application preliminary to the engineering profession of mathematical knowledge to all the ibis has been largely done by the aid branches of physical science. It was not of geometrical and graphical methods. for them the pure theory of lines and cirTwenty years ago these methods were cles and curves, but a process of calcu. scarcely discovered, or the few known lating and investigating the facts of were neglected or scouted. Today the nature. Thus the revival of geometry in most scientific government in Europe per. the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries mits the calculations and plans of the was on Egyptian rather than Greek lipes. largest engineering structures which are Newton, with astounding ingenuity, used submitted for its approval to be made by geometry as his main instrument for inpurely graphical processes. Here, then, vestigating the motions of the moon and we have an instance of theory placing at planets. The early occupants of the the disposal of practice one of the most Gresham chairs of both geometry and asefficient instruments of modern calculation tronomy were amongst the most distinand investigation, and this, indeed, is pe- guished scientific men of their time, culiarly the light in which, owing to early especially interested in the application of tradition and present needs, geometry mathematics to the problems of nature ought, I think, to be dealt with at Gresham and to the practical sides of life. Those College. I do not mean by this that the were the days when England was building sympathies of the City should be entirely up a greater empire for itself on the other with what we may term the Egyptian as side of the world, and if you were to ask contrasted with the Greek view of science, me what beyond their indomitable pluck but solely that the City has already entered carried our sailors and colonists over the upon the labor of reconciling theory and Atlantic and Pacific in their frail and di. practice, and that for a long time to minutive craft, I should reply, The labors come more efficient work might probably of the Gresham professors of geometry be done in this college by spreading and and astronomy. It was they who publisbed utilizing existing knowledge than by ex. the first tables and manuals for English tending the boundaries of pure theory. seamen, explained and improved the comThe Gresham lecturer will, I fully believe, pass, the sextant, and the construction of best supply existing needs, if he deals ships. Briggs, the first occupant of the rather with the applications of geometry chair of geometry, wrote a work entitled, to practical life, than if he discourses on “The North-west Passage to the South the more complex aspects of his subject. Sea through the Continent of Virginia,"

I have said that this seems to me con- and another entitled, “ Tables for the Imsonant with the early traditions of the provement of Navigation.” It was Briggs college. When Sir Thomas Gresham who was mainly instrumental in introduce founded this college, the old mediæval ing the use of logarithms, that most wonconceptions of education were dying, and derful feature of modern calculation, the modern science and modern thought were use of which is imperative on every seaman in their birth-throes. The Renascence and astronomer of to-day. His colleague with its revival of learning had resuscitated in the chair of astronomy, Gunter (1619the knowledge of the Greek geometry. 26) drew up a table of logarithmic sines But the minds of men were not content and tangents for the first time a table with pure theory; they were anxious to familiar now to every navigator and landunderstand the laws of the physical uni- surveyor. He was also the first discoverer verse - astrology was being replaced by of the slide-rule, now found in every archiastronomy, chemistry was deposing al- tect and engineer's office, while for long chemy. The old forms remained, but his sun-dials at Whitehall remained stand. they were filled with a new life. Sir ard tiine-keepers. Gellibrand, his sucThomas Gresham, indeed, when he cessor (1626–36) wrote a treatise on the founded his college established his seven variation of the magnetic needle, and an

rofessorships on the lines of an old med- “Epitome of Navigation” for seamen. iæval university, in which all knowledge No less active in this direction was Samwas forced into one of the seven divisions uel Foster, who held the astronomy chair - divinity, astronomy, geometry, music, from 1641 to 1652. He explained ibe use law, physic, and rhetoric. But what a of the quadrant for finding position at sea, different view the early science professors and wrote more than one work bringing those of astronomy and geometry

home the results of theory to the seven. took of their subjects to what would have I teenth-century seamen. Lawrence Rooke,

who successively held the chairs of as the land. But I can only now refer to one tronomy and geometry, published “Direc- fact from which in itself a true idea of the tions for Seamen going to the East or original activity of Gresham College might West Indies to keep a Journal.” To Sir be formed. Gresham College was the Christopher Wren, who was Gresham cradle of the Royal Society. It was within professor from 1657–60, there is no need its walls, and notably within the rooms io make any reference in the City. His of the professor of geometry, Lawrence practical applications of theory are well Rooke, that the makers of England's earknown; that he published books on navi- liest scientific reputation, men like Joho gation and the structure of ships, that he Wallis, Robert Boyle, and Lord Brouncker, tirst gave a theory of the pendulum, and together with the Gresham professors, improved the telescope, is perhaps less Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, and Sir generally remembered. In his days there William Petty, used to meet to discuss was a scientific enthusiasm at Gresham experiments, and it was at Greshain ColCollege which we can hardly realize any lege that they received their charter of where now. Wren, we hear, had special incorporation as the Royal Society in charge of the planet Saturn, and his col. 1662. league Rooke of Jupiter, and their obser- A French traveller, who visited England vations and lectures turned on the great in the year 1663, and whose diary has discoveries then being made with regard recently been established, gives us an acto these peerless chiefs of the solar sys- count of several visits to the Royal Socitem.

ety's meetings at Gresham College : But perhaps the most brilliant of the “On May 23,” he writes, “I was at Gresham professors was Robert Hooke, the Academy of Gresham, where every who held the chair of geometry from 1665 Wednesday an assembly is held to make to 1703.

He also published " Directions a variety of experiments upon matters not for Seamen;" he delivered and afterwards yet fully understood, but which are de. published " Lectures for improving Navi- scribed according to each one's knowlgation and Astronomy.” But more than edge, while an account of them is written all he invented the watch, with the de. out by the secretary. The president, who clared object of measuring time at sea, is always a person of quality, is seated at where no pendulum clock could be of the top of a great square table, and the service. The first account of the con secretary at one side. The Academicians struction of the watch was given by the are seated on beaches running round the Gresham professor of geometry in his ball. The president is Lord Brouncker, lectures at the college on “Several new and the secretary is Mr. Oldenburg. The Kiods of Watches for the Pocket wherein president has a little wooden hammer in the Motion is regulated by Springs.” his hand, with which he strikes the table Hooke improved also the reflecting tele. to call to silence those who want to speak scope; he invented a marine barometer, when another is speaking; thus there is and several new kinds of lamps. He no confusion or clamor. wrote a treatise on the sails of windmills. " It was reported that salt of tartar put He laid the foundation of the modern sci- upon toads, vipers, or other venomous ence of elasticity, and made the earliest beasts caused tbem to die; some one said researches of scientific value on the that quicksilver had the same effect ; that strength of materials. After the great these animals could not live in Ireland, as fire of London, Hooke, like his former they could not bear the soil, and that excolleague Sir Christopher Wren, pre- periments had been made by putting them sented a model for the rebuilding of the on soil brought from England along with City. lodeed, it is no exaggeration to the animals; when they thought to escape, say that in the seventeenth century it was and approached the soil of the country, to the Gresham professors that practical they always had to turn back, and did this men seeking help from theoretical science until they died. Further, that a branch naturally turned.

of holly placed in a certain lake in Ireland, I might, had I the time at my disposal, in such wise that a part was in the earth, bring still further evidence to show that a part in the water, and a part in the air, the earliest of Sir Thomas Gresham's lec- after some time - a year or thereabouts turers were essentially occupied with the changed its nature; the part in air reapplications of science to practical life, mained indeed wood, but that in the water and that this tradition lasted so long as became petrified, and that in the earth the post of Gresham lecturer meant in metallic in character. . :::

In order to pro. itself one of the highest distinctions in cure in ponds fish of all sorts which are



difficult of transport, it is only necessary | the physical world which surrounds it, and to carry the eggs of the fish one requires, in doing this may modify indefinitely our and these will afterwards hatch out; this practical conduct or our command of the a lord from Ireland said he had put into forces of nature. practice. Further, it was noted that the Even geometry in its more abstruse germination of insects does not arise from speculations, when it transcends the space decay; for the intestines of an animal and in which we live and theorizes of another, other parts which easily corrupt having of which ours is as poorly representative been placed in a glass closed with cotton- as a landscape painted on flat canvas is wool, so that no fly or other animal could poorly representative of the wealth of enter, but only the air could penetrate, form and distance in the scene it depicts they had been preserved for six weeks even this abstruse geometry may some without maggot or other thing being ob- day react on practical life, by the modifiserved. .. Bodies weighed in the air cations it is capable of producing in the had been afterwards weighed in a very current ideas of space and force. I recog. deep pit, and had been found to weigh nize to the full this educational value in one-sixteenth less. That bodies which geometry, and in all forms of pure scisunk in water came up again when one ence; but I believe that there are other put more water into the vessel, which institutions — notably the great universiproved the compression of water by water. ties — which sufficiently emphasize

Sir Robert Moray told me that the side of learning. On the other hand, I president wished to give to the public a think that there is a gap which Gresham new science of the movement of bodies in College is well suited to fill, and I believe water, and so to improve the art of navi- that to fill it would not be out of accordgation; with this end in view he was ance with its early traditions. By this experimenting on the ease with which gap I understand the want of an instibodies of diverse.shapes inoved through tution which, while recognizing the eduwater. . . . That a method of learning the cational value of science, would mainly difference of weight of various liquids was devote itself to pointing out, in a popular to weigh in them a body attached by a fine manner, the bearing of the conclusions of thread of silver or other metal, and the modern science on practice and the applidifference of the weights of this body cations which can be made of them to orenabled one to estimate the weights of the dinary life. liquids.

In particular, it seems to me that the * The meeting concluded with the ex- lectures on geometry can be made espehibition of a number of experiments made cially serviceable in this direction, if ge. with an air-pump invented by Robertometry be interpreted in the wide sense Boyle.”

current in the seventeenth century, and Some of these experiments may sound which it retains to this day in France. strange to modern ears trained to a more The modern development of graphical and scientific view of natural phenomena; but geometrical methods has placed a powertheir general drift is in the right direction, ful instrument of calculation and investiand their bearing on the needs of every- gation in the hands of those who have day life sufficiently obvious to warrant us neither the time nor opportunity of learn. in asserting that it was in Gresham Col-ing to handle the abstruse tools of apalege and around its professors that in the lytical mathematics. Wherever quantity seventeenth century those interested in of any sort has to be measured and reathe practical and experimental sides of soned upon, there these geometrical methscience collected. I believe that the dig- ods find their applications. Their applinity and importance of the college in its cations are indeed so manifold that it is early days were largely due to its being difficult to enumerate them; to questions closely in touch with the wants of prac. of force and motion, to problems in the tical life. I have no wish to minimize the strength of materials, in the structure of educational value of purely theoretical sci- bridges and roof-trusses, of machinery in ence. I recognize how great a factor it motion, of cutting and embanking – they has been and is in the intellectual and have been long applied, and form the spiritual growth of the nation. Investiga. basis of much of modern engineering tions like those of Darwin and Maxwell, practice. But there are other fields which which appear at first sight to have no would constitute more suitable topics for practical applications, may profoundly a Gresham lecturer. The graphical repalter our whole view of human life, or of resentation of statistics at once suggests


itself. Mortality, trade, goods and per

From Chambers' Journal. sodal traffic, furnish statistics which if dealt with in a graphical manner very At the opening of the session of Parliaoften suggest conclusions which are of ment in November last year, in the course the greatest interest to those dealing with of the preliminary fencing that usually problems of insurance and commerce — distinguishes such an occasion, the House conclusions more readily deducible from of Lords heard both Lord Granville and the geometrical than from the numerical the prime minister, with grave and cau. representation of statistics. What may tious words, refer to "the events which be achieved in this direction is admirably have recently taken place in the city of illustrated by the graphical album of trade London." As a matter of course, little returos published annually by the French was elicited in the way of information government. The like geometrical meth, as to the nature of the events in quesods have in recent years been applied to tion; but the statement of Lord Salisthe principles of political economy, till the bury that the governor of the Bank of theory of prices has become almost a England had found it his duty to combranch of applied geometry.

municate with the government on the subBut it is not alone in these very special- ject, and that the city owed that gentleized subjects that we may reason geo: man an incalculable debt of gratitude, was metrically. The whole field of physical sufficient to indicate the gravity of the science is occupied with the investigation, situation. representation, and reasoning upon quan- It is not often that what is agitating tity, and therefore is essentially a field for Lombard Street and Capel Court rises to the application of geometrical methods, national importance in the view of statesbut the bearings of physical science on men; but the crisis of November last was practical life are too wide and too well entirely exceptional. Looking back to known to be enlarged upon now. I had the time of financial trouble within living intended originally to take to-night some memory - to 1878, when the City of Glassingle point in this field, and explain how gow Bank fell, and further back still to geometry might be used to elucidate it; that Black Friday in 1866 when the news but on second thoughts it seemed to me of Overend, Gurney, & Co.'s failure probable that the geometrical prelimina- spread panic far and wide - everybody ries would have absorbed all the time at acquainted with commercial affairs felt my disposal, and that accordingly I might that the possibilities of disaster this auwith more advantage lay general stress on tumn were more terrible still. No wonder the importance of the practical applica- a shock of dismay passed over men's tions of geometry. In doing this, I have minds when the word went round that one possibly bad the future of Gresham Col- of the greatest houses in the City was in lege more in view than my own candida- difficulties ! For generations its name ture for the lectureship in geometry. had been a synonym for financial stability

But I believe that, quite apart from the and vast wealth. At home and abroad it present election, the college has a future had passed into a proverb. Their repute worthy of its earliest days, and that, not was the growth of a century of mercantile improbably, this future, if in another field, skill and uprightness displayed in the will still lie within the same broad lines very front ranks of commerce. The crash that the City has already laid down for of their fall, if it had been accomplished, itself in the matter of technical education, would literally have made the farthest the motto of which I take to be : Practice corners of the earth tremble. enlightened by theory, theory guided by But the peculiarity of the crisis of 1890 practical needs. Work on such lines as was that the worst was forestalled. The these, accompanied by the expansion due very magnitude of the threatened disaster to modern scientific requirements, would, inspired a determination that it must not I fully believe, restore the college to some happen, and, by happy chance, there were thing like its old position among the teach- men at the head of affairs equal to the ing bodies of London, and reverse the emergency. The governor of the Bank of judgment of that Cambridge historian of England, acting in concert with the chanmathematics wbo has recently remarked cellor of the exchequer, took strong measthat, “ with the beginning of the eighteenth ures, and prepared, if need should be, to century, an appointment at Gresham Col- follow them up effectually ; whilst the lege ceased to be a mark of scientific dis- chief bankers in London and the prov. tinction."

inces rallied round him, under the sense

of a common danger. This wise boldness greatest dealer in money - pamely, the had its due reward, for the “panic” stage Bank of England, and, at a time of pres. of the crisis was never reached. The sure, they depend on the supply that can plague was stayed, and the widespread be drawn from it. The provincial bankers ruin and misery that must otherwise have in England, as well as the Scotch and ensued was averted.

Irish banks, have their spare cash with This chapter of our most recent com- their agents in London, and the reserve mercial history is a tale with a most of these in turn is represented by their obvious moral. In fact, apart from the balances with the central institution. No magnitude of the interests involved, the doubt the banks in the metropolis and disaster was of the most ordinary type, throughout the country have a certain such as every day overtakes some specu- amount of gold in hand for ordinary daily lator hasting to be rich. The conditions, requirements; but to maintain this at a indeed, of a commercial crisis are always high level would interfere with profits. with us.

So far from being surprised The function is, therefore, practically when it arrives, we may well wonder why, thrust upon one institution of keeping the under the present constitution of our gold reserve for all; and it is plainly immoney market, it occurs so seldom. We possible that this can be done adequately have an immense system of credit resting by any such arrangement. It is often upon an utterly inadequate cash reserve. forgotten that the Bank of England owes This is manifest, whether we consider the a duty not to the public alone, but also to figures of our home and foreign trade, the its shareholders, who have a right to exliabilities of our banks, the annual income pect a fair return for their money. When of the nation, or the financial operations of the bank pays a ten per cent dividend, the which our Clearing House accounts give return to a shareholder who has bought evidence.

bank stock at recent prices is very little It is generally agreed that the deposits over three per cent. How, then, can it be in the banks of the United Kingdom can. demanded that the Bank of England shall not be less than £600,000,000, most of assume the entire burden of maintaining this sum repayable in gold on demand. a reserve for the benefit of all the banks The London Clearing House totals reach in the country, some of which equal or the incredible amount of £7,000,000,000 even excel it in the amount of their depos. annually. Now, if we confine our atten. its? We shall see, at all events, by a tion simply to the deposit liabilities of our glance at the bank account published banking institutions, the question arises, weekly, that the reserve is not equal to What provision is made for the liquidation such a preposterous requirement. Let us of them? The answer is, that there exists take a very favorable specimen of these in the United Kingdom only one consider. weekly accounts, that, namely, for the able cash reserve. The smaller dealers week ending Wednesday, the 3rd Decemin money all group themselves round the ber, 1890, which stood as follows :

Notes issued,

£40,213,030 | Government Debt, £11,015,100
Other Securities,

Gold Coin and Bullion, 23,763,030

Proprietors' Capital, £14,553,000 | Government Securities, £10,395,458
3,212,880 Other Securities,

Public Deposits,
3,314,215 Notes,

Other Deposits,
33,312,792 Gold and Silver Coin

7-Day and other Bills,

192,733 654,585,620

£ 54,585,620 It is probable that to some readers who It was an essential part of the arrangehave examined this weekly statement from ments made by Sir Robert Peel in the time to time, it has appeared somewhat Bank Act of 1844 that the accounts of the puzzling. For the sake of any such we two departments, the “ Issue and the offer a brief explanation of it, and hope to “ Banking,” should be kept distioct, as they show that there is nothing in it really stand above. The first item shows us that difficult to understand.

the total amount of Bank of England notes

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