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minted, and who thus guaranteed and made himself responsible for its genuineness.* In the centre of the reverse was the official mark of the Director-general of the gold and silver coinages, and not unfrequently the names also of private individuals were imprinted on the same side to demonstrate that the coin had passed through their balances and not been “ found wanting.”
The gold itzebu, or, in the more vulgar tongue, the “itjib,” weighs about 60 English troy grains, and its degree of fine
It is simply an oblong piece of gold plate metal, with rectangular ends admirably adapted for cutting holes in pockets. It is of an inch in width, and ornamented by a coat of arms, characters exemplifying its weight and value, and other official marks of the director of coins. The itacune is an oval-ended plate of silver, three inches in length, 14 inches in width, weighing 1160 English troy grains, and possessing a degree of fineness equal to %%%. It is stamped with the Imperial arms, top and bottom, with declaration of current weight and value in the middle.
As has been stated, some of the consequences of the treaty were soon felt in a material sense. It was ascertained that one Mexican dollar was, approximately, equal in value to three itzebus. Foreign merchants were therefore entitled to demand three itzebus in exchange for a dollar, and as, by the provisions of the same treaty, permission was given for the free export of gold and silver, the gold coins could be obtained at the Mint price for the itzebus thus acquired, they were speedily bought up and exported. Is it surprising that the Japanese soon complained that they were being robbed under the actual conditions of the treaty which thus legalized fraud ? Sir Rutherford Alcock, who was a witness of these evils, strenuously endeavoured to remove, or at least to mitigate them. He advised that the Government of the Tycoon should remodel its own currency laws, and his suggestions were partially adopted. Had they been wholly acted upon, greater good would have resulted. Timidity and prejudice prevented this and half measures, as usual, ended in disaster, or at any rate in failure.
Further counsel has been recently invoked from the English Government, and while we write, vigorous attempts are being made to effect a complete re-arrangement of the Japanese currency It would be premature to adumbrate even the nature of the bases upon which the new system of currency will be placed, but it may be predicted with safety that decimilization will be one of them. At all events, it is undoubtedly true, that the experiences of the last few years have enlight
* An arrangement existing in this country in the days of the Saxon Heptarchy.
ened the minds of the ministers of the Tycoon in respect of the highly important matters of trade, currency, and coinage, and it is therefore more than probable that on these, as on other questions, ideas once reckoned as inadmissible, will be warmly entertained, if not willingly realized.
The currency system of Japan, during the isolation of that country for many centuries from the rest of the world, was constructed on principles and framed with views so entirely different from those adopted by other countries within the circle of general commerce, that it may well be regarded, like other institutions of that strange nation, as a puzzle. The Government was able to control the coinage as it pleased, and there were only two channels by which it was attainable—the Dutch and the Chinese establishments at Nagasaki. Now all this is changed, or in process of transformation, and American coins are in partial circulation throughout Japan.
It will not astonish us very much to learn that a new Imperial Mint, fitted with the best machinery and most complete apparatus which England can furnish, is ordered, or that such an establishment is actually in course of construction at Nagasaki. In this respect, at least, Japan will presently be placed on an equal footing with America and the states of Europe. Who shall predict the future history of the mysterious nation in question, or guess even at the final extent of the moral, intellectual, and physical development of its people ?
VOL. XII.-NO. I.
FUNGI OF THE PLAINS OF INDIA.
BY THE REV. M. J. BERKELEY, M.A., F.L.S. It is curious that so little comparatively has been done respecting the fungi of India. A large collection, indeed, was made in Sikkim and the neighbouring countries by Dr. Hooker, but with this exception, and a few from the Neilgherries, Paras Nath, the Northern Himalayas, and other scattered points, scarcely any have been recorded, and indeed, the mycology of few countries had been so little explored. It is, however, quite certain from what I have seen of collections made in Bombay by Dr. H. J. Carter and Capt. J. C. Hobson, and what I have received from my son, Capt. E. S. Berkeley, from the Madras Presidency, that there is a very rich barvest in store.
This of course applies chiefly to mountainous districts. It is not to be expected that the plains of India should be equally prolific, but there are some fine undescribed species to be met with occasionally; and I have already published in the Introduction to Cryptogamic Botany, some curious forms from the Deccan. It is, moreover, pretty certain that one or two of our hothouse fungi, as Agaricus rolvaceus and Agaricus Cepæstipes, were originally imported from thence or some neighbouring country.
Many years ago, General Hardwicke had a number of drawings of fungi prepared for him at Dum-dum. Etchings of several of these were made on their transmission to Dr. J. E. Gray, but in the midst of numerous zoological engagements, the intention of publishing them was never carried out. They of course comprise a few cosmopolites, as Polyporus lucidus and Schizophyllum commune, and some widely distributed exotics, as Irpex flavus and Dædalea sanguinea; but they are especially interesting, as (together with two of the finest species of the Volvaria sub-genus of Agaricus, known in Europe, as Agaricus volvaceus and A. bombycinus) there are at least two new species of the same division, while amongst European forms such as Agaricus campanulatus and A. papilionaceus, we have others decidedly tropical or sub-tropical, to one or two of which I shall presently draw attention.
I have, however, been induced to look more especially to these fungi of the plains of India, in consequence of receiving some drawings of a few fine species from my son, who is now quartered at Masulipatam, most of which are undescribed, and of the one which has been noticed in several quarters from its singular habitat on the nests of white ants, and its peculiar
characters, Podaxon carcinomalis, no information has hitherto been received as to its condition when young, though adult specimens are not uncommon in collections. A very curious allied genus Xylopodium, occurs among General Hardwicke's collection, but without any details.
The species which I propose to describe are five in number, and they all worthy of record; the two latter being figured in the Dum-dum collection.
1. Agaricus (Lepiota) malleus ; pileus nearly globose or mallet-shaped when young, then expanded and hemispherical, 3-9 inches across, white and silky spotted with dark brown scales of various breadth, especially towards the disc; fleshy ; flesh white; stem 3-5 inches or more high, three quarters of an inch thick in the middle; attenuated upwards, bulbous below, stuffed with a delicate cottony substance, turning red when cut, externally brownish and nearly smooth; ring moderately broad, fixed near the top; gills pale yellowish, moderately broad, remote ; attenuated behind. Just above the gills, the flesh of the pileus is very dark, though elsewhere white, the dark part being continuous with the outer coat of the stem; the tip of the stem is slightly sunk into the substance of the pileus.
Allied with some other exotic species to A. clypeolarius, but on a scale as large as that of A. procerus, like which, in all probability, it is esculent. We have, however, no information on the subject, nor do we know whether the Indian varieties of Agaricus campestris, like those of Italy, are unwholesome.
2. Agaricus (Lepiota) alliciens, bright yellow; pileus one and a half inch across, at first campanulate, then slightly expanded with a broad extremely-obtuse umbo, clothed with small pilose red-brown scales; margin striate when dry; stem three and a half inches high, two lines thick in the centre, slightly thickened below and attenuated above, flexuous, nearly smooth; gills thin, tinged with green; spores lemonshaped.
On the roof of a house at Masulipatam. It differs obviously from A. cepæstipes in the brown persistent scales and lemonshaped spores.
3. Agaricus (Hebeloma) holophlebius; pileus at first campanulate, then expanded and sub-hemispherical with a broad obtuse umbo, above two inches across, pale umber, darker in the centre, deeply rivulose with little sinuous narrow depressions, fleshy ; Hesh white; stem three inches high, two lines thick in the centre, bulbous below, slightly attenuated above, pallid, white within, stufied; gills rounded in front, shortly adnate, pinkish at first, then pale brown; spores brown, elliptic-oblong.