Page images
PDF
EPUB

What is the value of 132, (182) yards of. cloth at 3s. 3d.

per yard ?

New Method.

132
33

Present Method.

182 yards

3

12) 907

396

546 396

3d. = of ls.= 45 6 4136

20 ) 591 6 or 4 doz.&l marks, 3s. and 6d. or 4 bancos, 1 mark, 8s. & 6d.

£29 11 6 The hour might also be divided into twelve “beats" (or primes, a beat or prime being five of the present minutes), and the beat into twelve minutes (each equal to nearly one-half of the present minute), the minute into twelve thirds, &c.

The transfer of an old number into its corresponding new expression (when it is not a high number, say not exceeding three figures), may be accomplished in an instant by dividing by twelve, decimally, and throwing out the remainders, which form the new number. Thus-What is the duodecimal expression of 907? "Answer 637 ; thus,

For high numbers of four figures and aboye, reference

may be made to a series of tables, which 12) 75 7 could be prepared, exhibiting all numbers in the

two notations from unity to (1,000,000), and

sold for a few pence. To transfer a number in the new notation into the old potation, divide by ten duodecimally, and throw out the remainders, which make the old number. Fractions of a unit may be called “ parts, answering to the present “decimals.” To translate decimals into duodecimals, or parts, add one-fifth, cut off the first figure to the left, and continue the operation with the remainder until one figure remains : (3•14159265), the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter 3:1848094.

I would enforce the advantages of this scheme of notation by the consideration that as the shadow naturally follows the substance, so should the writing of money, or the keeping of accounts, conform itself to the money, the weight, or measure, in use, in general. It would be less trouble for the few who deal in figures to learn a new

63

method of keeping accounts, and a new multiplication table, than for the whole nation to change its money, and all its weights and measures. An account in á ledger is, to the money which it represents, just what the inoney itself is to the property, houses, land, commodities, which it represents. It is just what written words are to spoken, and spoken words to ideas, and ideas to the affections that give them life. It is just what Nature itself is to poetry, or a man to his photograph. Tliere is no complaint agaitist the penny, the shilling, the pound weight, the inch, foot and yard measures, the twice twelve hours of the day, and the twelve months of the year. . These have done nu wrong, and caused no confusion. The trouble has arisen solely from the manner in which we combine these to make higher denominations, or divide thein to make lower ones, and employ entirely different weights for a pound of tea, a pound of gold, and a pound of medicine.

Every one can aid this reform by giving precedence to the dozen over ten 'in all his counting. The practice of bótki the 'ten and 'the twelve 'scales by schoolboys, thiis emulating the custom of our Universities, where arithineTie is 'Practised in variotts 'scales, would be a great benefit to their teasoning and calculating powers. In thinking of what is possible in art and science, we should ever bear in mind the truism--the Future is greater than the Past.

The French system of money, weights, and measures, called the “metrical system,” in which every, coin, weight, and meaşure, is one-tenth of the next above it, is certainly superior to the English diversified system ; but when we consider that to adopt it in this country we must change every coin, weight, and measure that is now in use, the question we should ask is, whether in passing from the good old” system now extant in England, we should adopt the better one of France, or ask France to adopt the Vest from us?

On the occasion of the second reading of the “Weights and Measures Bill” in the House of Commons, 1st July, 1863, when a majority of 35 votes was given in favour of the bill, in a thin house of 185 members, the “ Times” of 2nd July, in a leading article says :

“The very first step,” in the proposed arithmetical revolution, “is the adoption of a new unit as the base of all other measures of length, surface, solidity, and weight. The unit, without which it would be penal for a shopkeeper to sell the smallest quantity of tape, bread, sugar, or oil, is thirty-nine inches and thirty-seven thousand and seventy-nine hundred thousandth parts of an inch of the Imperial standard measure, and its name, we need not say, is to be ‘Metre.' We will not here insist on the principle involved in adopting a basis selected on so recondite a principle as the cal. culation of the length of a quadrant of the earth's meridian Why that should govern all transactions in comestibles and potables, in clothing, and every other affair of buying and selling, it is impossible to say. But we let that pass. Let one yard be as good as another. We speak on behalf of the already overworked and not very quick wits of our countrymen. We tremble to think of the softening of the brain, the confusion of ideas, the mistakes, the losses, this will occasion. How is Lord Dundreary ever to make it out? His is a much larger family than is generally sapposed."

Letters from correspondents, practical men, and not deficient in arithmetical science, followed in abundance, all contending against ten as the repeating number of a system of money, weights, and measures. See the “Times" for July 4th, 9ih (a long and powerful letter occupying three columns), 20th, 23rd, 24th, and 1st August. The last writer, “A Schoolmaster,” says:

“Had we single marks for 10 and 11, our language and our notation would be complete in the duodecimal scale; and when the great body of the people are educated and taught arithmetic intelligently, and not by empiric rules and formulæ, the transition to that scale will most certainly come. In the meantime, to force the decimal scale on a nation which, by the light of nature, bas pronounced so unmistakably against it (not one unit in the popular measures of space, time, weight, or value being divided, or bound up decimally), would be nothing short of insanity."

The “Saturday Review" of 16th May, 1857, also contains an able essay on the superior merits of a duodecimal scale of money, &c.

London : FRED. PITMAN, 20, Paternoster Row, E.C.

Printed by J. WARD, Dewsbury.

[blocks in formation]

PART II.
With Illustrations.

ole

SHAKSPERE, Erom the Original in the possession of the Duke of Somerset, and

painted from life by JANSEN.

The Heritage of Genius. LIKE PARENTS PRODUCE LIKE OFFSPRING all the world

over, throughout the entire material creation ; on the earth, in the air, and in the ocean. The natural laws of succession are universal and unbending. Though subject to modification, they admit of no exceptions; indicatin: the levers whereby the physical and moral world of humanity may be raised to a higher phase of existence than ever yet known in the general condition of the people. Heritage and training lie at the foundation of all future evolutions of man's highest development. If the teachings arising out of this inflexible rule and uniform sequence in heritage were studied, man might discover a secret which, like the Rosetta Stone, would give two langnages, having one significance, explaining the hieroglyphics of a third, and solving thereby the history of the past, while indicating a glorious pathway and brilliant future in the progress of civilisation. No law is so well illustrated in the faith and the habits of men. Many aspire to be reformers, make commendable experiments in schooling, and yet gaols have to be continued and enlarged. We shall have to antedate the schoolmaster, begin at generation, and learn how Fate can comport with freedom and individual liberty. Nature is a kind parent, but an inflexible teacher. Organisation governs the individual, yet leaves him free to modify external influences The tusk of the elephant, the bill of the bird, and the brain of man, determine the sphere of each. Parentage is the boundary line of dullness, as of genius. In the first germ

of existence lies the secret of the mystery ; growth is but the aggregation of cell-life; yet the resulting difference is very great--the solution lies in the quality or condition of the molecules.

The naturalist, the botanist, and the physiologist, are fatalists in their faith in the law of heritage. The farmer knows that the seed he scatters in the ground will be followed by the like in species and quality. The moss that grows on the mouldering castle walls, and the acorn falling in the forest, are alike subject to this sequence in kind. The fern is ever the monarch of the moors, and the oak king of the forest. It is true no tillage can succeed alike with bad

« EelmineJätka »