Literary Subtraction.—This is of essential service to editors, reviewers, and others, who, having nothing good of their own with which to amuse the public, steal the brains of others.

Rule.—Take from a work published at a guinea all its cream and quintessence, under pretence of praising it into immortality through the pages of your fourpenny review. "Castrant alios, ut libros suos per se graciles alieno adipe suffarciant."

Mercantile Subtraction.—It is well understood in this country, that no honest man can get a living, in consequence of the extraordinary competition among us. It is therefore considered legal and justifiable for the baker to "take toll" and make "dead men;" for the licensed victualler to make "two butts out of one;" for the wine-merchant to "doctor" his port; for the butcher to "hang on Jemmy;" for the printer to make "corrections;" for the tailor to "cabbage;" for the grocer to "sand his sugar and birch-broom his tea." The milkman "waters his milk" by act of parliament; and to show that all this is in the order of Providence, the rains of heaven wet the coals .
Rule for Ladies With Regard To Their Rivals.—Should any lady be so unfortunate as to fear a rival in the affections of some simple-hearted swain in the personal attractions of some youthful beauty whom he has never seen, it must be her method not to vilify her character or underrate her accomplishments,—no, this is but sorry skill. The more delicate and refined way of subtracting  from her merits will be to employ unbounded panegyric, so as to raise the expectations of the feared admirer, that the real shall fall infinitely short of the ideal. This is another mode of performing subtraction  by addition .

Subtraction of Character, Or De -Traction

The rules already given for performing this branch of arithmetic apply to money matters; but the perfection of the art consists, not in simply taking from another what you want yourself, but that which does not enrich you, but makes him poor indeed. This has been styled, by way of eminence, the devil's subtraction, being the general essence of the black art. It is called De traction.

Detraction may be performed in a variety of ways, as for example:—"Oh, I know him—his great grandfather was—but no matter, and his mother—no better than she should be, but I hate to speak evil of the dead. I have enough to do to mind my own business—and yet one cannot help knowing—but yet nobody knows what he is or how he gets his money. He makes a show certainly, but I like things to be paid for before they are sported. His wife, too—what was she, do you suppose? As I have heard, a cook in a tradesman's family.—Well, a cook is not so bad after all—I am sure it is better than a doctor. But I believe he was forced to marry her.—Poor woman, she suffered, I dare say—Well, it is well it is no worse—It was the only amends he could make her—It would have been a cruel thing for the poor innocent children to be born illegitimate.—But he is still very gay—These sort of men will be—but there will be an exposé some day. Things can't go on for ever—Well, I wish them no harm, poor creatures—But do you go to their party to-night?—I go only for the sake of seeing how madam cook conducts the entertainment."

National or Political Subtraction.—There is one part of the New Testament which all Christian rulers have religiously observed, namely, "Now, Cæsar issued a decree that all the world should be taxed." The art of taxation is, therefore, not only a religious obligation, but is the science of sciences and the most important part of National Arithmetic.

Taxation is necessary just as blood-letting is necessary in plethora. Over-feeding produces a determination of the blood to the head, and then radical rabidity breaks out into rebellion. Over-feeding requires bleeding. There is a tendency in every industrious nation to get on too fast. Taxation is the fly-wheel which softens and regulates the motion of the national machinery, the safety valve which prevents explosion, while that accumulation of taxation called the dead weight is a "clogger" to keep things down.

Whenever there is a "rising," it is a sure sign that taxation is too light; consequently taxation should be so accommodated to the habits, tastes, and feelings of the people, as to fit them at all points, like well-made harness. If they grow too enlightened we can double the window-tax; if they be disposed to kick, put on the breeching in the shape of an income-tax; if they go too much by the head, we can raise the price of malt, and, by way of a martingale, put a duty on spirits; if they jib, we can touch them on the raw with "the house duty;" if they step out too fast, tighten the "bearing rein" by 10 per cent. on the assessment; and should any attempt be made to bolt , we can secure them with a curb, by a tax on absentees.

The perfection of taxation is to make it as much as possible like an insensible perspiration; or to cause it to subtract , like the vampire when lulling the victim to sleep, by fanning him with the wings of patriotism and the hum-hum of a liberal oration, on the principle of

"Bleeding made easy."
'Forking up.'


Subtraction of Fractions

The principle is the same as in addition. Reduce the fractions, if they have different denominators, to a common denominator, and then take the difference of the numerators. In the case of mixed numbers, subtract the whole numbers and the fractions separately.

Example 1 : Take 4 5 21  from 6 3 7.

6 3 7  - 4 5 21  = 6 - 4 + 3 7  - 5 21

 = 2 + 9 - 5 21

 = 2 + 4 21  = 2 4 21  Ans.

If the fractional part of the number to be subtracted be greater than the fractional part of the other number, we proceed as follows:

Example 2 : From 7 4 15  take 4 11 25.

7 4 15  - 4 11 25  = 7 - 4 + 4 15  - 11 25

 = 3 + 20 - 33 75

 = 2 + 75 + 20 - 33 75

 = 2 + 62 75  = 2 62 75  Ans.

Example 3 : Simplify 3 2 9  + 4 5 7  - 5 13 21  + 2 35  - 1 14 15. Given expression:

= 3 + 4 - 5 - 1 + 2 9  + 5 7  - 13 21  + 2 35  - 14 15

= 1 + 70 + 225 - 195 +18 - 294 315

= 1 + 313 - 489[1]315

= 628 - 489 315  = 139 315  Ans.

[1] Obtained by adding all the numerators with + before them, and then all those with - before them.


"I'll example you with thievery.
The sun's a thief, and with his great subtraction
Robs the vast sea. The moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears. The earth's a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen
From general excrement: each thing's a thief.
The laws you curb and whip in their rough power
Have uncheck'd theft. All that you meet are THIEVES."

Subtraction teaches to "take from" or to find the difference of two numbers; having taken too much in , and slept out ; to find the difference in sovereigns and shillings between that and sleeping at home according to the "conventional laws of virtuous propriety." (Vide  Miss Martineau.)

The figures are to be arranged in subtraction one under the other; that line expressing the highest number, being placed above the line expressing the smaller number. In this arrangement, the upper line is called the subtrahend , and the lower the subtractor ; the difference is called the remainder . Our readers, the million, are the subtrahend. The following are subtractors:—

  • Corn and sugar monopolists.
  • Tax-collector.
  • Easter dues, beadle and clerk.
  • Poor-rate.
  • Christmas-box and Christmas-piece.
  • Subscriptions for Chiggered Niggers.
  • Parson Smith and his orphans.
  • Poor relations.

The Rule of Subtraction is perhaps the most useful in either national, political, or commercial Arithmetic; "Take from " being the universal maxim of mankind from the day that Adam and Eve stole the forbidden fruit. In sacred history we find various exemplifications of the principle: Jacob made use of it when he obtained his brother's birthright and his blessing; David, when he took the wife of Uriah. Profane or classical history abounds with examples. It was the royal and sacerdotal rule, in all climes, countries, and times. Kings have grown thrifty by it, and conquerors invincible. "Take from " is, in short, the motto of the legislators; and rhetoric  the soldier's watchword , the prince's condescension , the courtezan's smile , the lawyer's brief , the priest's prayer , and the tradesman's craft . The use of this rule, is to enable us to "do one another," not "as we would be done," without the contravention of the majesty of the law.

'Take from'
"For why—because the good old rule
Suffices us—the simple plan,
That they should take  who have the power,
And they should keep —who can."

We have had some amusing ways of performing this rule in "by-gone ages." Among the most celebrated, were Indulgences  and Benevolences . They worked well for those who worked ill, and led to a multiplication of heresies.

Subtraction is perhaps one of the most fashionable of all the rules; and any one who sets himself down for a gentleman must expect to be beset by a swarm of hungry locusts, who make a rule to bleed him at every pore till he becomes poor. When Edward the First took the wealth of the Jews and their teeth at the same time, he showed a fatherly consideration for those who having nothing to eat wanted neither incisores, cuspidati, bicuspidæ, or molarii. But we are to be nipped, and squeezed, and tapped, and leeched, and drained to all eternity, and are still expected to—give.

To take in.—This rule not only teaches us to take from, but also to take in, which is to take from, with true tact and skill. England is the Land of Goshen in this particular, and Smithfield the focus of the art, whence the first rule for selling a horse is—

1. Take in your own father,
Or, if you would rather,
You may take in your mother,
Or humbug your brother;
And though you just kissed her,
Bamboozle your sister;
Or you may send
For your friend;
Or, still fond of pelf,
If you can't find an elf,
You may take in yourself.
Taken in and done for


'Who steals my Purse steals Trash.'

"who steals MY  purse steals trash."