when a man pretends to be more skilful than he really is, induces one or more companions to share the expedition, and limits the number of guides. Then, if a single individual slips, all fastened by the same rope may be dragged to destruction. From my youth, I have invariably made all my dangerous expeditions alone, varying the number of guides according to the character of the excursion, sometimes taking two, sometimes three, but very frequently only one. If I have occasionally made an exception in later years, it was to accompany a friend to whom I might be useful, and on mountains I had already ascended.

It is an objectionable practice for more than four people to be fastened to the same rope ; usually, three is the best number, but it may be limited to two with advantage. The terrible ascent on the Matterhorn in 1865, where one and the same rope bound seven persons, must remain a warning throughout all time. Whoever is unable to supply the place of a guide by his own firmness of tread, should always have two of these people with him ; but a sure-footed person, who has known his guide for years, worked well with him, trusts him implicitly, and enjoys his entire confidence, often does better with this one man than with two.

The best Alpine traveller will probably never equal a first-class guide. The native will see the places where the mountain is still accessible, and those where danger threatens, sooner than the stranger; neither can the latter possess the tenacious endurance of a body accustomed to the rugged heights, and the peculiar firmness of tread created by the exercise of his profession, and the fact that the guide must be constantly prepared to render instant assistance if his employer slips. To make amends for these advantages, the traveller may possess a more extensive knowledge of mountain regions in general, together with a greater elasticity of an equally symmetrical body, a lighter tread, and more enthusiasm. The guide and traveller, if each is equally capable in his own way, will admirably complete each other, and accomplish more than two travellers alone, or two guides alone.

This closes the review of the obstacles the highest mountain ranges offer man, and the means required to conquer them. The motives that influence travellers remain untouched, for each must decide for himself whether the goal repays the trouble.

It is a very different matter to examine the causes which have led to a result so characteristic of our generation. The first impulse may be ascribed to scientific efforts ; but these influences would have remained limited to the narrow circle of experts and engineer-geographers, if other motives had not been added. When the lists of membership of the various Alpine clubs are scanned, it can scarcely be supposed that theories about the glaciers, geographical surveys and geological investigations would have secured the permanence of these societies. The cultivation of Alpine climbing has, of course, indirectly benefited science, because investigations were made easier, and even laymen contributed much useful information; but the cause of the spread of interest in the loftiest mountain regions must be sought elsewhere. What interests men outside of their professions, may be explained in the simplest way. Our modes of life seek to force upon us a one-sidedness which in itself is unnatural; they destroy the balance that should exist between our mental and physical powers. The English nation alone has understood how to preserve this equilibrium, and their games, insufficiently valued on the Continent, are in the most flourishing condition at the present time. The other civilized nations tend towards a one-sidedness that may be momentarily advantageous, but contains the germ of degeneration. Hence, Germany may consider herself fortunate that her military regulations, at least, oppose this dangerous current. The consciousness of a mode of life that seeks only the development of the intellect, even at the cost of health, must show the necessity for an antidote. The mountain peaks offer the most desirable opportunities to remedy this deficiency, for threatening danger demands exertion, and requires equal activity of body, soul and mind. Corresponding with this is the feeling of satisfaction that follows when the exploit is performed, and which we can know in no other way. In the antagonism between what the student's life grants and withholds, I see the principal motive for Alpine sport. With this is interwoven the various objects which may influence different men. Chief of these is the gratification of the æsthetic need of the enjoyment of nature which is peculiar to our century, and has caused remarkable changes of opinion. The mountain landscape, whose awful desolation repelled our ancestors, now attracts us by its solcmn beauty,-its august majesty. The scientific efforts alrear':

mentioned have their share, and so, also, do the influences of fashion, the love of imitation, and, above all, vanity. All these impulses produced the general desire for travel, and the development of our means of communication afforded the most potent assistance.

I believe many of the readers of this article are familiar with the Alps, and able to criticise the opinions here expressed. I have stated them because they forced themselves upon my attention as the abstraction of expeditions for whose characterization the passage of the Jungfrau was described.

During the last thirty years, the science of mountain-climbing, and, in connection therewith, the knowledge of the physiognomy of the highest mountain regions, have developed in a manner which is one of the characteristic traits of the age, and the reader will not disdain to acquaint himself with these results, even if disinclined to follow the rough path“ beyond the snow line.” Nay, he will gladly turn his attention thither, for, since Schiller wrote “ Tell,” and bequeathed it to the German nation, no German boy ever grew to manhood without feeling a longing to see the peaks covered with everlasting ice.



W H EN the Members of Congress assembled for the first time,

poverty was written on more than one face as well as on the door of the public treasury. Even Washington, during the earlier days of his administration, was obliged to borrow money and pay heavy interest to maintain himself and his household: To supply the immediate wants of the Government, Hamilton negotiated several loans with the Bank of New York, and addressed a letter to the American bankers in Holland, asking for a provisional loan of three million florins. There was no law authorizing these loans, and they were speedily discharged; but the need of money was so great, that no one ever questioned the propriety of Hamilton's conduct in making them. In one of his earliest communications to the House, he declared that “obvious considerations dictate the propriety, in future cases, of making previous provision by law for such loans as the public exigencies may call for, defining their extent, and giving special authority to make them.” Thus, he clearly recognized the impropriety of his action's furnishing a precedent either for himself or for subsequent Secretaries to borrow money without the authority of Congress.

The most pressing business of Congress, therefore, was to provide a revenue for the maintenance of the Government. Madison introduced a resolution for the establishment of an impost similar to the one discussed in the Congress of the Confederation in 1783. The bill imposed specific duties on a few enumerated articles of general consumption, and an ad valorem duty of five per cent. on others. A tonnage duty also was added, which gave a preference to American over foreign vessels, and discriminated in favor of those nations with which the United States “ were in treaty."

Hamilton was opposed to framing any permanent bill, because Congress did not know enough about the subject to legislate wisely. He proposed, therefore, that a general ad valorem duty should be charged on all importations. Madison thought otherwise. He believed that Congress could safely go further toward a definitive solution of the question. There were others who urged the adoption of such a tariff as would encourage and protect home manufactures, The Members from Pennsylvania pressed this view with

considerable zeal; and they offered a resolution enumerating the articles, the manufacture of which they proposed the Government should “ encourage and protect." Madison contended that it was the duty of Congress to protect national as well as local interests; and that the States, having surrendered the power of protection, had a right to expect it from the general Government. Various discriminatory duties were proposed, some avowedly prohibitory. During the discussion of the measure, petitions were presented from various quarters in favor of a revenue system, the chief object of which should be to foster “domestic industry.”

The discrimination proposed by Madison in the tonnage duty caused an exciting debate. Some Members contended for a discrimination in favor of France, in requital for the debt of gratitude which America owed to her, and which ought not to be forgotten. There were those, however, who saw that the present situation required the maintenance of a perfect neutrality on the part of the American Government toward other nations. “ Nations in treaty” could not supply all the shipping needed; hence, that of Great Britain would be required to transport our produce. Such a discrimination, therefore, would operate as a bounty to foreigners and as a tax on ourselves, and would be regarded as retaliatory. Great as was the debt of gratitude owing to France, the discrimination proposed was too heavy a charge to be borne by the American people in return for past favors.

Congress finally decided that, “whereas, it was necessary for the support of Government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures, that duties be laid on goods, wares and merchandise imported,” to levy specific as well as ad valorem duties, allowing drawbacks on goods exported within a year, and a discount of ten per cent. on goods imported in vessels which were owned entirely in the United States. To the ships of all foreign nations engaged in American commerce, an equal advantage was given. The measure was to continue in force until the end of the session of Congress held after the first day of June, 1796. Hamilton contended for the raising of “ permanent funds” as the only basis for the adequate support of public credit.

This act was speedily followed by another which regulated the duties charged on all ships or vessels entering the ports of the

« VorigeDoorgaan »