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discontinue his correspondence, and attributes
the scantiness of his own sheet to a scarcity
of material. The offer and the observation
are made in jest; but even a jest must have
some foundation to rest upon. On one occasion,
during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius,
there was a veritable paper famine in
Rome, and the senate, to meet the emergency,
appointed commissioners, who allowed every
one a certain ration of the article according
to his necessities. This sort of calamity
is not to be attributed solely to a want
of enterprise on the part of the Romans, but
to a scarcity of the papyrus itself, occasioned
by the cupidity of the Egyptian growers, who
reared the plant scantily on purpose to keep
up its price, thus, as Strabo observes,
"increasing their own profit to the detriment of
the common weal." In the days of Alexander's
successor, when the Ptolemies who
reigned over Egypt were founding the famous
Alexandrian library, they prohibited the
exportation of the papyrns altogether, hoping
thus to keep all the learning of the world to
themselves. Fortunately for mankind, a
King of Pergarnus loved books as well as the
rulers of Egypt, and he accordingly invented
a material, which has survived the use of
papyrus itself, and has been the chief means
of bringing down to us the treasures of
ancient literature,—namely, parchment.
Etymologists may, if they please, trace the English
word parchment through a series of changes
from the name of the kingdom in which its
origin is placed. However, the authority of
Varro is to be taken here, as in the other
case, with reservation,—for Herodotus, who
wrote long before the Ptolemies were thought
of, tells us that the lonians called books by
the name of diphtherre (or skins), adding as a
reason, that through the want of papyrus,
they used the skins of goats and sheep for the
purpose of writing. It would seem judicious
to agree with the writer of the article "Liber,"
in Dr. Smith's admirable Dictionary of
Antiquities, that parchment was rather improved
than invented by the King of Pergamus.
"Whatever was his share in the production of
such parchment as we have now, he was
certainly well entitled to his name of Eumenes,
or the Benevolent, as members of the legal
profession will be most ready to admit.

Lastly, let us mention the fact that paper was
taxed by the Roman emperors, and that it is
narrated as great glory of the Gothic King of
Italy, Theodoric, that he greatly lightened
the oppressive burden. There is nothing new
under the sun not even a tax on paper!


THE very few people who, in the vast and
absorbing excitement of the war, administrative
reform, and Lord Robert Grosvenor's
Sunday bill, can afford to look back seven
years, will remember a political event of
some importance in France, known as the
revolution of eighteen hundred and forty-
eight. They may also, by a great exertion
of memory, call to mind that, among the
numerous men of rank who were moved to
launch their barques (more or less frail), on
that stormy sea of politics, was M. F. V.
Raspail, hitherto known only to the scientific
world as an eminent chemist. M. Raspail's
experience of political seamanship was short,
violent, and disastrous. Unmindful of the
pilot's reiterated advice to go down, and that
it was no place for him, he persisted in
declaring his inability to sleep, and his
determination to come and pace the deck. He did
so; but though he may have carried out
the pilot's recommendations (as made metrical
in the popular ballad), as far as fearing
not and trusting in Providence went, his
little skiff, like some other craft of far heavier
tonnage, soon foundered, and he suffered a
lengthened imprisonment in the Donjon of
Vincennes and the Citadel of Doullens. He
has since been enabled to pursue his chemical
experiments in a larger and healthier laboratory;
and though still a republican of the
"loudest" red, is content to view the raging
of the waves, and the tossing of the ships,
and the agonies of those who go down to the
sea in them, from the shores of Brussels, and
through the medium of a newspaper telescope.

The republicanism of François Vincent
Raspail having nothing to do with doctors or with
the discount to which he seeks to bring them,
I claim leave to discourse upon him here as
the author of a remarkable book, called the
Manual Annuaire de la Santé, published in
France, at the close of every autumn, in the
company of the crowds of almanacs and
ephemerides in which the French neighbours
take delight, and which in many
parts of the provinces form the staple reading
of the population. This manual has
had, from its commencement in eighteen
hundred and forty-five, a prodigious circulation
in France. The author declares that
five hundred thousand copies were sold of
the first edition alone; in addition to which,
there have been numerous Belgian and
Genevese piracies, two Spanish translations,
one German, one Brazilian, and one Anglo-
American. The only translation in Great
Britain dates from about two years back, and
is a carefully edited pamphlet by Doctor G.
L. Strauss.

Three reasons prompt me to give an outline
of the contents of this medical and
pharmaceutical keepsake. In the first
instance, M. Raspail is the inventor of an
entirely new system of medicine; in the second,
I should like the book itself to be known,
because "while binding nature fast in fate,"
it "leaves free the human will;" that is,
while stating many admirable and incontrovertible
truths relative to our organisation,
our diseases and their causes, it allows the
reader perfect liberty to assume and set