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Self Help by Samuel Smiles

Part 5 out of 7

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tradesmen, took leave of his friends, arranged his affairs, had his
person neatly disposed of, and parted with life serenely and
peacefully in his 74th year. The property which he left did not
amount to two thousand pounds, and, as he had no relatives who
wanted it, he divided it amongst sundry orphans and poor persons
whom he had befriended during his lifetime. Such, in brief, was
the beautiful life of Jonas Hanway,--as honest, energetic, hard-
working, and true-hearted a man as ever lived.

The life of Granville Sharp is another striking example of the same
power of individual energy--a power which was afterwards transfused
into the noble band of workers in the cause of Slavery Abolition,
prominent among whom were Clarkson, Wilberforce, Buxton, and
Brougham. But, giants though these men were in this cause,
Granville Sharp was the first, and perhaps the greatest of them
all, in point of perseverance, energy, and intrepidity. He began
life as apprentice to a linen-draper on Tower Hill; but, leaving
that business after his apprenticeship was out, he next entered as
a clerk in the Ordnance Office; and it was while engaged in that
humble occupation that he carried on in his spare hours the work of
Negro Emancipation. He was always, even when an apprentice, ready
to undertake any amount of volunteer labour where a useful purpose
was to be served. Thus, while learning the linen-drapery business,
a fellow apprentice who lodged in the same house, and was a
Unitarian, led him into frequent discussions on religious subjects.
The Unitarian youth insisted that Granville's Trinitarian
misconception of certain passages of Scripture arose from his want
of acquaintance with the Greek tongue; on which he immediately set
to work in his evening hours, and shortly acquired an intimate
knowledge of Greek. A similar controversy with another fellow-
apprentice, a Jew, as to the interpretation of the prophecies, led
him in like manner to undertake and overcome the difficulties of

But the circumstance which gave the bias and direction to the main
labours of his life originated in his generosity and benevolence.
His brother William, a surgeon in Mincing Lane, gave gratuitous
advice to the poor, and amongst the numerous applicants for relief
at his surgery was a poor African named Jonathan Strong. It
appeared that the negro had been brutally treated by his master, a
Barbadoes lawyer then in London, and became lame, almost blind, and
unable to work; on which his owner, regarding him as of no further
value as a chattel, cruelly turned him adrift into the streets to
starve. This poor man, a mass of disease, supported himself by
begging for a time, until he found his way to William Sharp, who
gave him some medicine, and shortly after got him admitted to St.
Bartholomew's hospital, where he was cured. On coming out of the
hospital, the two brothers supported the negro in order to keep him
off the streets, but they had not the least suspicion at the time
that any one had a claim upon his person. They even succeeded in
obtaining a situation for Strong with an apothecary, in whose
service he remained for two years; and it was while he was
attending his mistress behind a hackney coach, that his former
owner, the Barbadoes lawyer, recognized him, and determined to
recover possession of the slave, again rendered valuable by the
restoration of his health. The lawyer employed two of the Lord
Mayor's officers to apprehend Strong, and he was lodged in the
Compter, until he could be shipped off to the West Indies. The
negro, bethinking him in his captivity of the kind services which
Granville Sharp had rendered him in his great distress some years
before, despatched a letter to him requesting his help. Sharp had
forgotten the name of Strong, but he sent a messenger to make
inquiries, who returned saying that the keepers denied having any
such person in their charge. His suspicions were roused, and he
went forthwith to the prison, and insisted upon seeing Jonathan
Strong. He was admitted, and recognized the poor negro, now in
custody as a recaptured slave. Mr. Sharp charged the master of the
prison at his own peril not to deliver up Strong to any person
whatever, until he had been carried before the Lord Mayor, to whom
Sharp immediately went, and obtained a summons against those
persons who had seized and imprisoned Strong without a warrant.
The parties appeared before the Lord Mayor accordingly, and it
appeared from the proceedings that Strong's former master had
already sold him to a new one, who produced the bill of sale and
claimed the negro as his property. As no charge of offence was
made against Strong, and as the Lord Mayor was incompetent to deal
with the legal question of Strong's liberty or otherwise, he
discharged him, and the slave followed his benefactor out of court,
no one daring to touch him. The man's owner immediately gave Sharp
notice of an action to recover possession of his negro slave, of
whom he declared he had been robbed.

About that time (1767), the personal liberty of the Englishman,
though cherished as a theory, was subject to grievous
infringements, and was almost daily violated. The impressment of
men for the sea service was constantly practised, and, besides the
press-gangs, there were regular bands of kidnappers employed in
London and all the large towns of the kingdom, to seize men for the
East India Company's service. And when the men were not wanted for
India, they were shipped off to the planters in the American
colonies. Negro slaves were openly advertised for sale in the
London and Liverpool newspapers. Rewards were offered for
recovering and securing fugitive slaves, and conveying them down to
certain specified ships in the river.

The position of the reputed slave in England was undefined and
doubtful. The judgments which had been given in the courts of law
were fluctuating and various, resting on no settled principle.
Although it was a popular belief that no slave could breathe in
England, there were legal men of eminence who expressed a directly
contrary opinion. The lawyers to whom Mr. Sharp resorted for
advice, in defending himself in the action raised against him in
the case of Jonathan Strong, generally concurred in this view, and
he was further told by Jonathan Strong's owner, that the eminent
Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, and all the leading counsel, were
decidedly of opinion that the slave, by coming into England, did
not become free, but might legally be compelled to return again to
the plantations. Such information would have caused despair in a
mind less courageous and earnest than that of Granville Sharp; but
it only served to stimulate his resolution to fight the battle of
the negroes' freedom, at least in England. "Forsaken," he said,
"by my professional defenders, I was compelled, through the want of
regular legal assistance, to make a hopeless attempt at self-
defence, though I was totally unacquainted either with the practice
of the law or the foundations of it, having never opened a law book
(except the Bible) in my life, until that time, when I most
reluctantly undertook to search the indexes of a law library, which
my bookseller had lately purchased."

The whole of his time during the day was occupied with the business
of the ordnance department, where he held the most laborious post
in the office; he was therefore under the necessity of conducting
his new studies late at night or early in the morning. He
confessed that he was himself becoming a sort of slave. Writing to
a clerical friend to excuse himself for delay in replying to a
letter, he said, "I profess myself entirely incapable of holding a
literary correspondence. What little time I have been able to save
from sleep at night, and early in the morning, has been necessarily
employed in the examination of some points of law, which admitted
of no delay, and yet required the most diligent researches and
examination in my study."

Mr. Sharp gave up every leisure moment that he could command during
the next two years, to the close study of the laws of England
affecting personal liberty,--wading through an immense mass of dry
and repulsive literature, and making extracts of all the most
important Acts of Parliament, decisions of the courts, and opinions
of eminent lawyers, as he went along. In this tedious and
protracted inquiry he had no instructor, nor assistant, nor
adviser. He could not find a single lawyer whose opinion was
favourable to his undertaking. The results of his inquiries were,
however, as gratifying to himself, as they were surprising to the
gentlemen of the law. "God be thanked," he wrote, "there is
nothing in any English law or statute--at least that I am able to
find out--that can justify the enslaving of others." He had
planted his foot firm, and now he doubted nothing. He drew up the
result of his studies in a summary form; it was a plain, clear, and
manly statement, entitled, 'On the Injustice of Tolerating Slavery
in England;' and numerous copies, made by himself, were circulated
by him amongst the most eminent lawyers of the time. Strong's
owner, finding the sort of man he had to deal with, invented
various pretexts for deferring the suit against Sharp, and at
length offered a compromise, which was rejected. Granville went on
circulating his manuscript tract among the lawyers, until at length
those employed against Jonathan Strong were deterred from
proceeding further, and the result was, that the plaintiff was
compelled to pay treble costs for not bringing forward his action.
The tract was then printed in 1769.

In the mean time other cases occurred of the kidnapping of negroes
in London, and their shipment to the West Indies for sale.
Wherever Sharp could lay hold of any such case, he at once took
proceedings to rescue the negro. Thus the wife of one Hylas, an
African, was seized, and despatched to Barbadoes; on which Sharp,
in the name of Hylas, instituted legal proceedings against the
aggressor, obtained a verdict with damages, and Hylas's wife was
brought back to England free.

Another forcible capture of a negro, attended with great cruelty,
having occurred in 1770, he immediately set himself on the track of
the aggressors. An African, named Lewis, was seized one dark night
by two watermen employed by the person who claimed the negro as his
property, dragged into the water, hoisted into a boat, where he was
gagged, and his limbs were tied; and then rowing down river, they
put him on board a ship bound for Jamaica, where he was to be sold
for a slave upon his arrival in the island. The cries of the poor
negro had, however, attracted the attention of some neighbours; one
of whom proceeded direct to Mr. Granville Sharp, now known as the
negro's friend, and informed him of the outrage. Sharp immediately
got a warrant to bring back Lewis, and he proceeded to Gravesend,
but on arrival there the ship had sailed for the Downs. A writ of
Habeas Corpus was obtained, sent down to Spithead, and before the
ship could leave the shores of England the writ was served. The
slave was found chained to the main-mast bathed in tears, casting
mournful looks on the land from which he was about to be torn. He
was immediately liberated, brought back to London, and a warrant
was issued against the author of the outrage. The promptitude of
head, heart, and hand, displayed by Mr. Sharp in this transaction
could scarcely have been surpassed, and yet he accused himself of
slowness. The case was tried before Lord Mansfield--whose opinion,
it will be remembered, had already been expressed as decidedly
opposed to that entertained by Granville Sharp. The judge,
however, avoided bringing the question to an issue, or offering any
opinion on the legal question as to the slave's personal liberty or
otherwise, but discharged the negro because the defendant could
bring no evidence that Lewis was even nominally his property.

The question of the personal liberty of the negro in England was
therefore still undecided; but in the mean time Mr. Sharp continued
steady in his benevolent course, and by his indefatigable exertions
and promptitude of action, many more were added to the list of the
rescued. At length the important case of James Somerset occurred;
a case which is said to have been selected, at the mutual desire of
Lord Mansfield and Mr. Sharp, in order to bring the great question
involved to a clear legal issue. Somerset had been brought to
England by his master, and left there. Afterwards his master
sought to apprehend him and send him off to Jamaica, for sale. Mr.
Sharp, as usual, at once took the negro's case in hand, and
employed counsel to defend him. Lord Mansfield intimated that the
case was of such general concern, that he should take the opinion
of all the judges upon it. Mr. Sharp now felt that he would have
to contend with all the force that could be brought against him,
but his resolution was in no wise shaken. Fortunately for him, in
this severe struggle, his exertions had already begun to tell:
increasing interest was taken in the question, and many eminent
legal gentlemen openly declared themselves to be upon his side.

The cause of personal liberty, now at stake, was fairly tried
before Lord Mansfield, assisted by the three justices,--and tried
on the broad principle of the essential and constitutional right of
every man in England to the liberty of his person, unless forfeited
by the law. It is unnecessary here to enter into any account of
this great trial; the arguments extended to a great length, the
cause being carried over to another term,--when it was adjourned
and re-adjourned,--but at length judgment was given by Lord
Mansfield, in whose powerful mind so gradual a change had been
worked by the arguments of counsel, based mainly on Granville
Sharp's tract, that he now declared the court to be so clearly of
one opinion, that there was no necessity for referring the case to
the twelve judges. He then declared that the claim of slavery
never can be supported; that the power claimed never was in use in
England, nor acknowledged by the law; therefore the man James
Somerset must be discharged. By securing this judgment Granville
Sharp effectually abolished the Slave Trade until then carried on
openly in the streets of Liverpool and London. But he also firmly
established the glorious axiom, that as soon as any slave sets his
foot on English ground, that moment he becomes free; and there can
be no doubt that this great decision of Lord Mansfield was mainly
owing to Mr. Sharp's firm, resolute, and intrepid prosecution of
the cause from the beginning to the end.

It is unnecessary further to follow the career of Granville Sharp.
He continued to labour indefatigably in all good works. He was
instrumental in founding the colony of Sierra Leone as an asylum
for rescued negroes. He laboured to ameliorate the condition of
the native Indians in the American colonies. He agitated the
enlargement and extension of the political rights of the English
people; and he endeavoured to effect the abolition of the
impressment of seamen. Granville held that the British seamen, as
well as the African negro, was entitled to the protection of the
law; and that the fact of his choosing a seafaring life did not in
any way cancel his rights and privileges as an Englishman--first
amongst which he ranked personal freedom. Mr. Sharp also laboured,
but ineffectually, to restore amity between England and her
colonies in America; and when the fratricidal war of the American
Revolution was entered on, his sense of integrity was so scrupulous
that, resolving not in any way to be concerned in so unnatural a
business, he resigned his situation at the Ordnance Office.

To the last he held to the great object of his life--the abolition
of slavery. To carry on this work, and organize the efforts of the
growing friends of the cause, the Society for the Abolition of
Slavery was founded, and new men, inspired by Sharp's example and
zeal, sprang forward to help him. His energy became theirs, and
the self-sacrificing zeal in which he had so long laboured single-
handed, became at length transfused into the nation itself. His
mantle fell upon Clarkson, upon Wilberforce, upon Brougham, and
upon Buxton, who laboured as he had done, with like energy and
stedfastness of purpose, until at length slavery was abolished
throughout the British dominions. But though the names last
mentioned may be more frequently identified with the triumph of
this great cause, the chief merit unquestionably belongs to
Granville Sharp. He was encouraged by none of the world's huzzas
when he entered upon his work. He stood alone, opposed to the
opinion of the ablest lawyers and the most rooted prejudices of the
times; and alone he fought out, by his single exertions, and at his
individual expense, the most memorable battle for the constitution
of this country and the liberties of British subjects, of which
modern times afford a record. What followed was mainly the
consequence of his indefatigable constancy. He lighted the torch
which kindled other minds, and it was handed on until the
illumination became complete.

Before the death of Granville Sharp, Clarkson had already turned
his attention to the question of Negro Slavery. He had even
selected it for the subject of a college Essay; and his mind became
so possessed by it that he could not shake it off. The spot is
pointed out near Wade's Mill, in Hertfordshire, where, alighting
from his horse one day, he sat down disconsolate on the turf by the
road side, and after long thinking, determined to devote himself
wholly to the work. He translated his Essay from Latin into
English, added fresh illustrations, and published it. Then fellow
labourers gathered round him. The Society for Abolishing the Slave
Trade, unknown to him, had already been formed, and when he heard
of it he joined it. He sacrificed all his prospects in life to
prosecute this cause. Wilberforce was selected to lead in
parliament; but upon Clarkson chiefly devolved the labour of
collecting and arranging the immense mass of evidence offered in
support of the abolition. A remarkable instance of Clarkson's
sleuth-hound sort of perseverance may be mentioned. The abettors
of slavery, in the course of their defence of the system,
maintained that only such negroes as were captured in battle were
sold as slaves, and if not so sold, then they were reserved for a
still more frightful doom in their own country. Clarkson knew of
the slave-hunts conducted by the slave-traders, but had no
witnesses to prove it. Where was one to be found? Accidentally, a
gentleman whom he met on one of his journeys informed him of a
young sailor, in whose company he had been about a year before, who
had been actually engaged in one of such slave-hunting expeditions.
The gentleman did not know his name, and could but indefinitely
describe his person. He did not know where he was, further than
that he belonged to a ship of war in ordinary, but at what port he
could not tell. With this mere glimmering of information, Clarkson
determined to produce this man as a witness. He visited personally
all the seaport towns where ships in ordinary lay; boarded and
examined every ship without success, until he came to the very LAST
port, and found the young man, his prize, in the very LAST ship
that remained to be visited. The young man proved to be one of his
most valuable and effective witnesses.

During several years Clarkson conducted a correspondence with
upwards of four hundred persons, travelling more than thirty-five
thousand miles during the same time in search of evidence. He was
at length disabled and exhausted by illness, brought on by his
continuous exertions; but he was not borne from the field until his
zeal had fully awakened the public mind, and excited the ardent
sympathies of all good men on behalf of the slave.

After years of protracted struggle, the slave trade was abolished.
But still another great achievement remained to be accomplished--
the abolition of slavery itself throughout the British dominions.
And here again determined energy won the day. Of the leaders in
the cause, none was more distinguished than Fowell Buxton, who took
the position formerly occupied by Wilberforce in the House of
Commons. Buxton was a dull, heavy boy, distinguished for his
strong self-will, which first exhibited itself in violent,
domineering, and headstrong obstinacy. His father died when he was
a child; but fortunately he had a wise mother, who trained his will
with great care, constraining him to obey, but encouraging the
habit of deciding and acting for himself in matters which might
safely be left to him. His mother believed that a strong will,
directed upon worthy objects, was a valuable manly quality if
properly guided, and she acted accordingly. When others about her
commented on the boy's self-will, she would merely say, "Never
mind--he is self-willed now--you will see it will turn out well in
the end." Fowell learnt very little at school, and was regarded as
a dunce and an idler. He got other boys to do his exercises for
him, while he romped and scrambled about. He returned home at
fifteen, a great, growing, awkward lad, fond only of boating,
shooting, riding, and field sports,--spending his time principally
with the gamekeeper, a man possessed of a good heart,--an
intelligent observer of life and nature, though he could neither
read nor write. Buxton had excellent raw material in him, but he
wanted culture, training, and development. At this juncture of his
life, when his habits were being formed for good or evil, he was
happily thrown into the society of the Gurney family, distinguished
for their fine social qualities not less than for their
intellectual culture and public-spirited philanthropy. This
intercourse with the Gurneys, he used afterwards to say, gave the
colouring to his life. They encouraged his efforts at self-
culture; and when he went to the University of Dublin and gained
high honours there, the animating passion in his mind, he said,
"was to carry back to them the prizes which they prompted and
enabled me to win." He married one of the daughters of the family,
and started in life, commencing as a clerk to his uncles Hanbury,
the London brewers. His power of will, which made him so difficult
to deal with as a boy, now formed the backbone of his character,
and made him most indefatigable and energetic in whatever he
undertook. He threw his whole strength and bulk right down upon
his work; and the great giant--"Elephant Buxton" they called him,
for he stood some six feet four in height--became one of the most
vigorous and practical of men. "I could brew," he said, "one
hour,--do mathematics the next,--and shoot the next,--and each with
my whole soul." There was invincible energy and determination in
whatever he did. Admitted a partner, he became the active manager
of the concern; and the vast business which he conducted felt his
influence through every fibre, and prospered far beyond its
previous success. Nor did he allow his mind to lie fallow, for he
gave his evenings diligently to self-culture, studying and
digesting Blackstone, Montesquieu, and solid commentaries on
English law. His maxims in reading were, "never to begin a book
without finishing it;" "never to consider a book finished until it
is mastered;" and "to study everything with the whole mind."

When only thirty-two, Buxton entered parliament, and at once
assumed that position of influence there, of which every honest,
earnest, well-informed man is secure, who enters that assembly of
the first gentlemen in the world. The principal question to which
he devoted himself was the complete emancipation of the slaves in
the British colonies. He himself used to attribute the interest
which he early felt in this question to the influence of Priscilla
Gurney, one of the Earlham family,--a woman of a fine intellect and
warm heart, abounding in illustrious virtues. When on her
deathbed, in 1821, she repeatedly sent for Buxton, and urged him
"to make the cause of the slaves the great object of his life."
Her last act was to attempt to reiterate the solemn charge, and she
expired in the ineffectual effort. Buxton never forgot her
counsel; he named one of his daughters after her; and on the day on
which she was married from his house, on the 1st of August, 1834,--
the day of Negro emancipation--after his Priscilla had been
manumitted from her filial service, and left her father's home in
the company of her husband, Buxton sat down and thus wrote to a
friend: "The bride is just gone; everything has passed off to

Buxton was no genius--not a great intellectual leader nor
discoverer, but mainly an earnest, straightforward, resolute,
energetic man. Indeed, his whole character is most forcibly
expressed in his own words, which every young man might well stamp
upon his soul: "The longer I live," said he, "the more I am
certain that the great difference between men, between the feeble
and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is ENERGY--
INVINCIBLE DETERMINATION--a purpose once fixed, and then death or
victory! That quality will do anything that can be done in this
world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will
make a two-legged creature a Man without it."


"Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before
kings."--Proverbs of Solomon.

"That man is but of the lower part of the world that is not brought
up to business and affairs."--Owen Feltham

Hazlitt, in one of his clever essays, represents the man of
business as a mean sort of person put in a go-cart, yoked to a
trade or profession; alleging that all he has to do is, not to go
out of the beaten track, but merely to let his affairs take their
own course. "The great requisite," he says, "for the prosperous
management of ordinary business is the want of imagination, or of
any ideas but those of custom and interest on the narrowest scale."
{24} But nothing could be more one-sided, and in effect untrue,
than such a definition. Of course, there are narrow-minded men of
business, as there are narrow-minded scientific men, literary men,
and legislators; but there are also business men of large and
comprehensive minds, capable of action on the very largest scale.
As Burke said in his speech on the India Bill, he knew statesmen
who were pedlers, and merchants who acted in the spirit of

If we take into account the qualities necessary for the successful
conduct of any important undertaking,--that it requires special
aptitude, promptitude of action on emergencies, capacity for
organizing the labours often of large numbers of men, great tact
and knowledge of human nature, constant self-culture, and growing
experience in the practical affairs of life,--it must, we think, be
obvious that the school of business is by no means so narrow as
some writers would have us believe. Mr. Helps had gone much nearer
the truth when he said that consummate men of business are as rare
almost as great poets,--rarer, perhaps, than veritable saints and
martyrs. Indeed, of no other pursuit can it so emphatically be
said, as of this, that "Business makes men."

It has, however, been a favourite fallacy with dunces in all times,
that men of genius are unfitted for business, as well as that
business occupations unfit men for the pursuits of genius. The
unhappy youth who committed suicide a few years since because he
had been "born to be a man and condemned to be a grocer," proved by
the act that his soul was not equal even to the dignity of grocery.
For it is not the calling that degrades the man, but the man that
degrades the calling. All work that brings honest gain is
honourable, whether it be of hand or mind. The fingers may be
soiled, yet the heart remain pure; for it is not material so much
as moral dirt that defiles--greed far more than grime, and vice
than verdigris.

The greatest have not disdained to labour honestly and usefully for
a living, though at the same time aiming after higher things.
Thales, the first of the seven sages, Solon, the second founder of
Athens, and Hyperates, the mathematician, were all traders. Plato,
called the Divine by reason of the excellence of his wisdom,
defrayed his travelling expenses in Egypt by the profits derived
from the oil which he sold during his journey. Spinoza maintained
himself by polishing glasses while he pursued his philosophical
investigations. Linnaeus, the great botanist, prosecuted his
studies while hammering leather and making shoes. Shakespeare was
a successful manager of a theatre--perhaps priding himself more
upon his practical qualities in that capacity than on his writing
of plays and poetry. Pope was of opinion that Shakespeare's
principal object in cultivating literature was to secure an honest
independence. Indeed he seems to have been altogether indifferent
to literary reputation. It is not known that he superintended the
publication of a single play, or even sanctioned the printing of
one; and the chronology of his writings is still a mystery. It is
certain, however, that he prospered in his business, and realized
sufficient to enable him to retire upon a competency to his native
town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Chaucer was in early life a soldier, and afterwards an effective
Commissioner of Customs, and Inspector of Woods and Crown Lands.
Spencer was Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, was afterwards
Sheriff of Cork, and is said to have been shrewd and attentive in
matters of business. Milton, originally a schoolmaster, was
elevated to the post of Secretary to the Council of State during
the Commonwealth; and the extant Order-book of the Council, as well
as many of Milton's letters which are preserved, give abundant
evidence of his activity and usefulness in that office. Sir Isaac
Newton proved himself an efficient Master of the Mint; the new
coinage of 1694 having been carried on under his immediate personal
superintendence. Cowper prided himself upon his business
punctuality, though he confessed that he "never knew a poet, except
himself, who was punctual in anything." But against this we may
set the lives of Wordsworth and Scott--the former a distributor of
stamps, the latter a clerk to the Court of Session,--both of whom,
though great poets, were eminently punctual and practical men of
business. David Ricardo, amidst the occupations of his daily
business as a London stock-jobber, in conducting which he acquired
an ample fortune, was able to concentrate his mind upon his
favourite subject--on which he was enabled to throw great light--
the principles of political economy; for he united in himself the
sagacious commercial man and the profound philosopher. Baily, the
eminent astronomer, was another stockbroker; and Allen, the
chemist, was a silk manufacturer.

We have abundant illustrations, in our own day, of the fact that
the highest intellectual power is not incompatible with the active
and efficient performance of routine duties. Grote, the great
historian of Greece, was a London banker. And it is not long since
John Stuart Mill, one of our greatest living thinkers, retired from
the Examiner's department of the East India Company, carrying with
him the admiration and esteem of his fellow officers, not on
account of his high views of philosophy, but because of the high
standard of efficiency which he had established in his office, and
the thoroughly satisfactory manner in which he had conducted the
business of his department.

The path of success in business is usually the path of common
sense. Patient labour and application are as necessary here as in
the acquisition of knowledge or the pursuit of science. The old
Greeks said, "to become an able man in any profession, three things
are necessary--nature, study, and practice." In business,
practice, wisely and diligently improved, is the great secret of
success. Some may make what are called "lucky hits," but like
money earned by gambling, such "hits" may only serve to lure one to
ruin. Bacon was accustomed to say that it was in business as in
ways--the nearest way was commonly the foulest, and that if a man
would go the fairest way he must go somewhat about. The journey
may occupy a longer time, but the pleasure of the labour involved
by it, and the enjoyment of the results produced, will be more
genuine and unalloyed. To have a daily appointed task of even
common drudgery to do makes the rest of life feel all the sweeter.

The fable of the labours of Hercules is the type of all human doing
and success. Every youth should be made to feel that his happiness
and well-doing in life must necessarily rely mainly on himself and
the exercise of his own energies, rather than upon the help and
patronage of others. The late Lord Melbourne embodied a piece of
useful advice in a letter which he wrote to Lord John Russell, in
reply to an application for a provision for one of Moore the poet's
sons: "My dear John," he said, "I return you Moore's letter. I
shall be ready to do what you like about it when we have the means.
I think whatever is done should be done for Moore himself. This is
more distinct, direct, and intelligible. Making a small provision
for young men is hardly justifiable; and it is of all things the
most prejudicial to themselves. They think what they have much
larger than it really is; and they make no exertion. The young
should never hear any language but this: 'You have your own way to
make, and it depends upon your own exertions whether you starve or
not.' Believe me, &c., MELBOURNE."

Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, always produces
its due effects. It carries a man onward, brings out his
individual character, and stimulates the action of others. All may
not rise equally, yet each, on the whole, very much according to
his deserts. "Though all cannot live on the piazza," as the Tuscan
proverb has it, "every one may feel the sun."

On the whole, it is not good that human nature should have the road
of life made too easy. Better to be under the necessity of working
hard and faring meanly, than to have everything done ready to our
hand and a pillow of down to repose upon. Indeed, to start in life
with comparatively small means seems so necessary as a stimulus to
work, that it may almost be set down as one of the conditions
essential to success in life. Hence, an eminent judge, when asked
what contributed most to success at the bar, replied, "Some succeed
by great talent, some by high connexions, some by miracle, but the
majority by commencing without a shilling."

We have heard of an architect of considerable accomplishments,--a
man who had improved himself by long study, and travel in the
classical lands of the East,--who came home to commence the
practice of his profession. He determined to begin anywhere,
provided he could be employed; and he accordingly undertook a
business connected with dilapidations,--one of the lowest and least
remunerative departments of the architect's calling. But he had
the good sense not to be above his trade, and he had the resolution
to work his way upward, so that he only got a fair start. One hot
day in July a friend found him sitting astride of a house roof
occupied with his dilapidation business. Drawing his hand across
his perspiring countenance, he exclaimed, "Here's a pretty business
for a man who has been all over Greece!" However, he did his work,
such as it was, thoroughly and well; he persevered until he
advanced by degrees to more remunerative branches of employment,
and eventually he rose to the highest walks of his profession.

The necessity of labour may, indeed, be regarded as the main root
and spring of all that we call progress in individuals, and
civilization in nations; and it is doubtful whether any heavier
curse could be imposed on man than the complete gratification of
all his wishes without effort on his part, leaving nothing for his
hopes, desires or struggles. The feeling that life is destitute of
any motive or necessity for action, must be of all others the most
distressing and insupportable to a rational being. The Marquis de
Spinola asking Sir Horace Vere what his brother died of, Sir Horace
replied, "He died, Sir, of having nothing to do." "Alas!" said
Spinola, "that is enough to kill any general of us all."

Those who fail in life are however very apt to assume a tone of
injured innocence, and conclude too hastily that everybody
excepting themselves has had a hand in their personal misfortunes.
An eminent writer lately published a book, in which he described
his numerous failures in business, naively admitting, at the same
time, that he was ignorant of the multiplication table; and he came
to the conclusion that the real cause of his ill-success in life
was the money-worshipping spirit of the age. Lamartine also did
not hesitate to profess his contempt for arithmetic; but, had it
been less, probably we should not have witnessed the unseemly
spectacle of the admirers of that distinguished personage engaged
in collecting subscriptions for his support in his old age.

Again, some consider themselves born to ill luck, and make up their
minds that the world invariably goes against them without any fault
on their own part. We have heard of a person of this sort, who
went so far as to declare his belief that if he had been a hatter
people would have been born without heads! There is however a
Russian proverb which says that Misfortune is next door to
Stupidity; and it will often be found that men who are constantly
lamenting their luck, are in some way or other reaping the
consequences of their own neglect, mismanagement, improvidence, or
want of application. Dr. Johnson, who came up to London with a
single guinea in his pocket, and who once accurately described
himself in his signature to a letter addressed to a noble lord, as
Impransus, or Dinnerless, has honestly said, "All the complaints
which are made of the world are unjust; I never knew a man of merit
neglected; it was generally by his own fault that he failed of

Washington Irying, the American author, held like views. "As for
the talk," said he, "about modest merit being neglected, it is too
often a cant, by which indolent and irresolute men seek to lay
their want of success at the door of the public. Modest merit is,
however, too apt to be inactive, or negligent, or uninstructed
merit. Well matured and well disciplined talent is always sure of
a market, provided it exerts itself; but it must not cower at home
and expect to be sought for. There is a good deal of cant too
about the success of forward and impudent men, while men of
retiring worth are passed over with neglect. But it usually
happens that those forward men have that valuable quality of
promptness and activity without which worth is a mere inoperative
property. A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping

Attention, application, accuracy, method, punctuality, and
despatch, are the principal qualities required for the efficient
conduct of business of any sort. These, at first sight, may appear
to be small matters; and yet they are of essential importance to
human happiness, well-being, and usefulness. They are little
things, it is true; but human life is made up of comparative
trifles. It is the repetition of little acts which constitute not
only the sum of human character, but which determine the character
of nations. And where men or nations have broken down, it will
almost invariably be found that neglect of little things was the
rock on which they split. Every human being has duties to be
performed, and, therefore, has need of cultivating the capacity for
doing them; whether the sphere of action be the management of a
household, the conduct of a trade or profession, or the government
of a nation.

The examples we have already given of great workers in various
branches of industry, art, and science, render it unnecessary
further to enforce the importance of persevering application in any
department of life. It is the result of every-day experience that
steady attention to matters of detail lies at the root of human
progress; and that diligence, above all, is the mother of good
luck. Accuracy is also of much importance, and an invariable mark
of good training in a man. Accuracy in observation, accuracy in
speech, accuracy in the transaction of affairs. What is done in
business must be well done; for it is better to accomplish
perfectly a small amount of work, than to half-do ten times as
much. A wise man used to say, "Stay a little, that we may make an
end the sooner."

Too little attention, however, is paid to this highly important
quality of accuracy. As a man eminent in practical science lately
observed to us, "It is astonishing how few people I have met with
in the course of my experience, who can DEFINE A FACT accurately."
Yet in business affairs, it is the manner in which even small
matters are transacted, that often decides men for or against you.
With virtue, capacity, and good conduct in other respects, the
person who is habitually inaccurate cannot be trusted; his work has
to be gone over again; and he thus causes an infinity of annoyance,
vexation, and trouble.

It was one of the characteristic qualities of Charles James Fox,
that he was thoroughly pains-taking in all that he did. When
appointed Secretary of State, being piqued at some observation as
to his bad writing, he actually took a writing-master, and wrote
copies like a schoolboy until he had sufficiently improved himself.
Though a corpulent man, he was wonderfully active at picking up cut
tennis balls, and when asked how he contrived to do so, he
playfully replied, "Because I am a very pains-taking man." The
same accuracy in trifling matters was displayed by him in things of
greater importance; and he acquired his reputation, like the
painter, by "neglecting nothing."

Method is essential, and enables a larger amount of work to be got
through with satisfaction. "Method," said the Reverend Richard
Cecil, "is like packing things in a box; a good packer will get in
half as much again as a bad one." Cecil's despatch of business was
extraordinary, his maxim being, "The shortest way to do many things
is to do only one thing at once;" and he never left a thing undone
with a view of recurring to it at a period of more leisure. When
business pressed, he rather chose to encroach on his hours of meals
and rest than omit any part of his work. De Witt's maxim was like
Cecil's: "One thing at a time." "If," said he, "I have any
necessary despatches to make, I think of nothing else till they are
finished; if any domestic affairs require my attention, I give
myself wholly up to them till they are set in order."

A French minister, who was alike remarkable for his despatch of
business and his constant attendance at places of amusement, being
asked how he contrived to combine both objects, replied, "Simply by
never postponing till to-morrow what should be done to-day." Lord
Brougham has said that a certain English statesman reversed the
process, and that his maxim was, never to transact to-day what
could be postponed till to-morrow. Unhappily, such is the practice
of many besides that minister, already almost forgotten; the
practice is that of the indolent and the unsuccessful. Such men,
too, are apt to rely upon agents, who are not always to be relied
upon. Important affairs must be attended to in person. "If you
want your business done," says the proverb, "go and do it; if you
don't want it done, send some one else."

An indolent country gentleman had a freehold estate producing about
five hundred a-year. Becoming involved in debt, he sold half the
estate, and let the remainder to an industrious farmer for twenty
years. About the end of the term the farmer called to pay his
rent, and asked the owner whether he would sell the farm. "Will
YOU buy it?" asked the owner, surprised. "Yes, if we can agree
about the price." "That is exceedingly strange," observed the
gentleman; "pray, tell me how it happens that, while I could not
live upon twice as much land for which I paid no rent, you are
regularly paying me two hundred a-year for your farm, and are able,
in a few years, to purchase it." "The reason is plain," was the
reply; "you sat still and said GO, I got up and said COME; you laid
in bed and enjoyed your estate, I rose in the morning and minded my

Sir Walter Scott, writing to a youth who had obtained a situation
and asked for his advice, gave him in reply this sound counsel:
"Beware of stumbling over a propensity which easily besets you from
not having your time fully employed--I mean what the women call
DAWDLING. Your motto must be, Hoc age. Do instantly whatever is
to be done, and take the hours of recreation after business, never
before it. When a regiment is under march, the rear is often
thrown into confusion because the front do not move steadily and
without interruption. It is the same with business. If that which
is first in hand is not instantly, steadily, and regularly
despatched, other things accumulate behind, till affairs begin to
press all at once, and no human brain can stand the confusion."

Promptitude in action may be stimulated by a due consideration of
the value of time. An Italian philosopher was accustomed to call
time his estate: an estate which produces nothing of value without
cultivation, but, duly improved, never fails to recompense the
labours of the diligent worker. Allowed to lie waste, the product
will be only noxious weeds and vicious growths of all kinds. One
of the minor uses of steady employment is, that it keeps one out of
mischief, for truly an idle brain is the devil's workshop, and a
lazy man the devil's bolster. To be occupied is to be possessed as
by a tenant, whereas to be idle is to be empty; and when the doors
of the imagination are opened, temptation finds a ready access, and
evil thoughts come trooping in. It is observed at sea, that men
are never so much disposed to grumble and mutiny as when least
employed. Hence an old captain, when there was nothing else to do,
would issue the order to "scour the anchor!"

Men of business are accustomed to quote the maxim that Time is
money; but it is more; the proper improvement of it is self-
culture, self-improvement, and growth of character. An hour wasted
daily on trifles or in indolence, would, if devoted to self-
improvement, make an ignorant man wise in a few years, and employed
in good works, would make his life fruitful, and death a harvest of
worthy deeds. Fifteen minutes a day devoted to self-improvement,
will be felt at the end of the year. Good thoughts and carefully
gathered experience take up no room, and may be carried about as
our companions everywhere, without cost or incumbrance. An
economical use of time is the true mode of securing leisure: it
enables us to get through business and carry it forward, instead of
being driven by it. On the other hand, the miscalculation of time
involves us in perpetual hurry, confusion, and difficulties; and
life becomes a mere shuffle of expedients, usually followed by
disaster. Nelson once said, "I owe all my success in life to
having been always a quarter of an hour before my time."

Some take no thought of the value of money until they have come to
an end of it, and many do the same with their time. The hours are
allowed to flow by unemployed, and then, when life is fast waning,
they bethink themselves of the duty of making a wiser use of it.
But the habit of listlessness and idleness may already have become
confirmed, and they are unable to break the bonds with which they
have permitted themselves to become bound. Lost wealth may be
replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by
temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone for ever.

A proper consideration of the value of time, will also inspire
habits of punctuality. "Punctuality," said Louis XIV., "is the
politeness of kings." It is also the duty of gentlemen, and the
necessity of men of business. Nothing begets confidence in a man
sooner than the practice of this virtue, and nothing shakes
confidence sooner than the want of it. He who holds to his
appointment and does not keep you waiting for him, shows that he
has regard for your time as well as for his own. Thus punctuality
is one of the modes by which we testify our personal respect for
those whom we are called upon to meet in the business of life. It
is also conscientiousness in a measure; for an appointment is a
contract, express or implied, and he who does not keep it breaks
faith, as well as dishonestly uses other people's time, and thus
inevitably loses character. We naturally come to the conclusion
that the person who is careless about time will be careless about
business, and that he is not the one to be trusted with the
transaction of matters of importance. When Washington's secretary
excused himself for the lateness of his attendance and laid the
blame upon his watch, his master quietly said, "Then you must get
another watch, or I another secretary."

The person who is negligent of time and its employment is usually
found to be a general disturber of others' peace and serenity. It
was wittily said by Lord Chesterfield of the old Duke of Newcastle-
-"His Grace loses an hour in the morning, and is looking for it all
the rest of the day." Everybody with whom the unpunctual man has
to do is thrown from time to time into a state of fever: he is
systematically late; regular only in his irregularity. He conducts
his dawdling as if upon system; arrives at his appointment after
time; gets to the railway station after the train has started;
posts his letter when the box has closed. Thus business is thrown
into confusion, and everybody concerned is put out of temper. It
will generally be found that the men who are thus habitually behind
time are as habitually behind success; and the world generally
casts them aside to swell the ranks of the grumblers and the
railers against fortune.

In addition to the ordinary working qualities the business man of
the highest class requires quick perception and firmness in the
execution of his plans. Tact is also important; and though this is
partly the gift of nature, it is yet capable of being cultivated
and developed by observation and experience. Men of this quality
are quick to see the right mode of action, and if they have
decision of purpose, are prompt to carry out their undertakings to
a successful issue. These qualities are especially valuable, and
indeed indispensable, in those who direct the action of other men
on a large scale, as for instance, in the case of the commander of
an army in the field. It is not merely necessary that the general
should be great as a warrior but also as a man of business. He
must possess great tact, much knowledge of character, and ability
to organize the movements of a large mass of men, whom he has to
feed, clothe, and furnish with whatever may be necessary in order
that they may keep the field and win battles. In these respects
Napoleon and Wellington were both first-rate men of business.

Though Napoleon had an immense love for details, he had also a
vivid power of imagination, which enabled him to look along
extended lines of action, and deal with those details on a large
scale, with judgment and rapidity. He possessed such knowledge of
character as enabled him to select, almost unerringly, the best
agents for the execution of his designs. But he trusted as little
as possible to agents in matters of great moment, on which
important results depended. This feature in his character is
illustrated in a remarkable degree by the 'Napoleon
Correspondence,' now in course of publication, and particularly by
the contents of the 15th volume, {25} which include the letters,
orders, and despatches, written by the Emperor at Finkenstein, a
little chateau on the frontier of Poland in the year 1807, shortly
after the victory of Eylau.

The French army was then lying encamped along the river Passarge
with the Russians before them, the Austrians on their right flank,
and the conquered Prussians in their rear. A long line of
communications had to be maintained with France, through a hostile
country; but so carefully, and with such foresight was this
provided for, that it is said Napoleon never missed a post. The
movements of armies, the bringing up of reinforcements from remote
points in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, the opening of canals
and the levelling of roads to enable the produce of Poland and
Prussia to be readily transported to his encampments, had his
unceasing attention, down to the minutest details. We find him
directing where horses were to be obtained, making arrangements for
an adequate supply of saddles, ordering shoes for the soldiers, and
specifying the number of rations of bread, biscuit, and spirits,
that were to be brought to camp, or stored in magazines for the use
of the troops. At the same time we find him writing to Paris
giving directions for the reorganization of the French College,
devising a scheme of public education, dictating bulletins and
articles for the 'Moniteur,' revising the details of the budgets,
giving instructions to architects as to alterations to be made at
the Tuileries and the Church of the Madelaine, throwing an
occasional sarcasm at Madame de Stael and the Parisian journals,
interfering to put down a squabble at the Grand Opera, carrying on
a correspondence with the Sultan of Turkey and the Schah of Persia,
so that while his body was at Finkenstein, his mind seemed to be
working at a hundred different places in Paris, in Europe, and
throughout the world.

We find him in one letter asking Ney if he has duly received the
muskets which have been sent him; in another he gives directions to
Prince Jerome as to the shirts, greatcoats, clothes, shoes, shakos,
and arms, to be served out to the Wurtemburg regiments; again he
presses Cambaceres to forward to the army a double stock of corn--
"The IFS and the BUTS," said he, "are at present out of season, and
above all it must be done with speed." Then he informs Daru that
the army want shirts, and that they don't come to hand. To Massena
he writes, "Let me know if your biscuit and bread arrangements are
yet completed." To the Grand due de Berg, he gives directions as
to the accoutrements of the cuirassiers--"They complain that the
men want sabres; send an officer to obtain them at Posen. It is
also said they want helmets; order that they be made at Ebling. . .
. It is not by sleeping that one can accomplish anything." Thus no
point of detail was neglected, and the energies of all were
stimulated into action with extraordinary power. Though many of
the Emperor's days were occupied by inspections of his troops,--in
the course of which he sometimes rode from thirty to forty leagues
a day,--and by reviews, receptions, and affairs of state, leaving
but little time for business matters, he neglected nothing on that
account; but devoted the greater part of his nights, when
necessary, to examining budgets, dictating dispatches, and
attending to the thousand matters of detail in the organization and
working of the Imperial Government; the machinery of which was for
the most part concentrated in his own head.

Like Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington was a first-rate man of
business; and it is not perhaps saying too much to aver that it was
in no small degree because of his possession of a business faculty
amounting to genius, that the Duke never lost a battle.

While a subaltern, he became dissatisfied with the slowness of his
promotion, and having passed from the infantry to the cavalry
twice, and back again, without advancement, he applied to Lord
Camden, then Viceroy of Ireland, for employment in the Revenue or
Treasury Board. Had he succeeded, no doubt he would have made a
first-rate head of a department, as he would have made a first-rate
merchant or manufacturer. But his application failed, and he
remained with the army to become the greatest of British generals.

The Duke began his active military career under the Duke of York
and General Walmoden, in Flanders and Holland, where he learnt,
amidst misfortunes and defeats, how bad business arrangements and
bad generalship serve to ruin the morale of an army. Ten years
after entering the army we find him a colonel in India, reported by
his superiors as an officer of indefatigable energy and
application. He entered into the minutest details of the service,
and sought to raise the discipline of his men to the highest
standard. "The regiment of Colonel Wellesley," wrote General
Harris in 1799, "is a model regiment; on the score of soldierly
bearing, discipline, instruction, and orderly behaviour it is above
all praise." Thus qualifying himself for posts of greater
confidence, he was shortly after nominated governor of the capital
of Mysore. In the war with the Mahrattas he was first called upon
to try his hand at generalship; and at thirty-four he won the
memorable battle of Assaye, with an army composed of 1500 British
and 5000 sepoys, over 20,000 Mahratta infantry and 30,000 cavalry.
But so brilliant a victory did not in the least disturb his
equanimity, or affect the perfect honesty of his character.

Shortly after this event the opportunity occurred for exhibiting
his admirable practical qualities as an administrator. Placed in
command of an important district immediately after the capture of
Seringapatam, his first object was to establish rigid order and
discipline among his own men. Flushed with victory, the troops
were found riotous and disorderly. "Send me the provost marshal,"
said he, "and put him under my orders: till some of the marauders
are hung, it is impossible to expect order or safety." This rigid
severity of Wellington in the field, though it was the dread,
proved the salvation of his troops in many campaigns. His next
step was to re-establish the markets and re-open the sources of
supply. General Harris wrote to the Governor-general, strongly
commending Colonel Wellesley for the perfect discipline he had
established, and for his "judicious and masterly arrangements in
respect to supplies, which opened an abundant free market, and
inspired confidence into dealers of every description." The same
close attention to, and mastery of details, characterized him
throughout his Indian career; and it is remarkable that one of his
ablest despatches to Lord Clive, full of practical information as
to the conduct of the campaign, was written whilst the column he
commanded was crossing the Toombuddra, in the face of the vastly
superior army of Dhoondiah, posted on the opposite bank, and while
a thousand matters of the deepest interest were pressing upon the
commander's mind. But it was one of his most remarkable
characteristics, thus to be able to withdraw himself temporarily
from the business immediately in hand, and to bend his full powers
upon the consideration of matters totally distinct; even the most
difficult circumstances on such occasions failing to embarrass or
intimidate him.

Returned to England with a reputation for generalship, Sir Arthur
Wellesley met with immediate employment. In 1808 a corps of 10,000
men destined to liberate Portugal was placed under his charge. He
landed, fought, and won two battles, and signed the Convention of
Cintra. After the death of Sir John Moore he was entrusted with
the command of a new expedition to Portugal. But Wellington was
fearfully overmatched throughout his Peninsular campaigns. From
1809 to 1813 he never had more than 30,000 British troops under his
command, at a time when there stood opposed to him in the Peninsula
some 350,000 French, mostly veterans, led by some of Napoleon's
ablest generals. How was he to contend against such immense forces
with any fair prospect of success? His clear discernment and
strong common sense soon taught him that he must adopt a different
policy from that of the Spanish generals, who were invariably
beaten and dispersed whenever they ventured to offer battle in the
open plains. He perceived he had yet to create the army that was
to contend against the French with any reasonable chance of
success. Accordingly, after the battle of Talavera in 1809, when
he found himself encompassed on all sides by superior forces of
French, he retired into Portugal, there to carry out the settled
policy on which he had by this time determined. It was, to
organise a Portuguese army under British officers, and teach them
to act in combination with his own troops, in the mean time
avoiding the peril of a defeat by declining all engagements. He
would thus, he conceived, destroy the morale of the French, who
could not exist without victories; and when his army was ripe for
action, and the enemy demoralized, he would then fall upon them
with all his might.

The extraordinary qualities displayed by Lord Wellington throughout
these immortal campaigns, can only be appreciated after a perusal
of his despatches, which contain the unvarnished tale of the
manifold ways and means by which he laid the foundations of his
success. Never was man more tried by difficulty and opposition,
arising not less from the imbecility, falsehoods and intrigues of
the British Government of the day, than from the selfishness,
cowardice, and vanity of the people he went to save. It may,
indeed, be said of him, that he sustained the war in Spain by his
individual firmness and self-reliance, which never failed him even
in the midst of his great discouragements. He had not only to
fight Napoleon's veterans, but also to hold in check the Spanish
juntas and the Portuguese regency. He had the utmost difficulty in
obtaining provisions and clothing for his troops; and it will
scarcely be credited that, while engaged with the enemy in the
battle of Talavera, the Spaniards, who ran away, fell upon the
baggage of the British army, and the ruffians actually plundered
it! These and other vexations the Duke bore with a sublime
patience and self-control, and held on his course, in the face of
ingratitude, treachery, and opposition, with indomitable firmness.
He neglected nothing, and attended to every important detail of
business himself. When he found that food for his troops was not
to be obtained from England, and that he must rely upon his own
resources for feeding them, he forthwith commenced business as a
corn merchant on a large scale, in copartnery with the British
Minister at Lisbon. Commissariat bills were created, with which
grain was bought in the ports of the Mediterranean and in South
America. When he had thus filled his magazines, the overplus was
sold to the Portuguese, who were greatly in want of provisions. He
left nothing whatever to chance, but provided for every
contingency. He gave his attention to the minutest details of the
service; and was accustomed to concentrate his whole energies, from
time to time, on such apparently ignominious matters as soldiers'
shoes, camp-kettles, biscuits and horse fodder. His magnificent
business qualities were everywhere felt, and there can be no doubt
that, by the care with which he provided for every contingency, and
the personal attention which he gave to every detail, he laid the
foundations of his great success. {26} By such means he
transformed an army of raw levies into the best soldiers in Europe,
with whom he declared it to be possible to go anywhere and do

We have already referred to his remarkable power of abstracting
himself from the work, no matter how engrossing, immediately in
hand, and concentrating his energies upon the details of some
entirely different business. Thus Napier relates that it was while
he was preparing to fight the battle of Salamanca that he had to
expose to the Ministers at home the futility of relying upon a
loan; it was on the heights of San Christoval, on the field of
battle itself, that he demonstrated the absurdity of attempting to
establish a Portuguese bank; it was in the trenches of Burgos that
he dissected Funchal's scheme of finance, and exposed the folly of
attempting the sale of church property; and on each occasion, he
showed himself as well acquainted with these subjects as with the
minutest detail in the mechanism of armies.

Another feature in his character, showing the upright man of
business, was his thorough honesty. Whilst Soult ransacked and
carried away with him from Spain numerous pictures of great value,
Wellington did not appropriate to himself a single farthing's worth
of property. Everywhere he paid his way, even when in the enemy's
country. When he had crossed the French frontier, followed by
40,000 Spaniards, who sought to "make fortunes" by pillage and
plunder, he first rebuked their officers, and then, finding his
efforts to restrain them unavailing, he sent them back into their
own country. It is a remarkable fact, that, even in France the
peasantry fled from their own countrymen, and carried their
valuables within the protection of the British lines! At the very
same time, Wellington was writing home to the British Ministry, "We
are overwhelmed with debts, and I can scarcely stir out of my house
on account of public creditors waiting to demand payment of what is
due to them." Jules Maurel, in his estimate of the Duke's
character, says, "Nothing can be grander or more nobly original
than this admission. This old soldier, after thirty years'
service, this iron man and victorious general, established in an
enemy's country at the head of an immense army, is afraid of his
creditors! This is a kind of fear that has seldom troubled the
mind of conquerors and invaders; and I doubt if the annals of war
could present anything comparable to this sublime simplicity." But
the Duke himself, had the matter been put to him, would most
probably have disclaimed any intention of acting even grandly or
nobly in the matter; merely regarding the punctual payment of his
debts as the best and most honourable mode of conducting his

The truth of the good old maxim, that "Honesty is the best policy,"
is upheld by the daily experience of life; uprightness and
integrity being found as successful in business as in everything
else. As Hugh Miller's worthy uncle used to advise him, "In all
your dealings give your neighbour the cast of the bank--'good
measure, heaped up, and running over,'--and you will not lose by it
in the end." A well-known brewer of beer attributed his success to
the liberality with which he used his malt. Going up to the vat
and tasting it, he would say, "Still rather poor, my lads; give it
another cast of the malt." The brewer put his character into his
beer, and it proved generous accordingly, obtaining a reputation in
England, India, and the colonies, which laid the foundation of a
large fortune. Integrity of word and deed ought to be the very
cornerstone of all business transactions. To the tradesman, the
merchant, and manufacturer, it should be what honour is to the
soldier, and charity to the Christian. In the humblest calling
there will always be found scope for the exercise of this
uprightness of character. Hugh Miller speaks of the mason with
whom he served his apprenticeship, as one who "PUT HIS CONSCIENCE
INTO EVERY STONE THAT HE LAID." So the true mechanic will pride
himself upon the thoroughness and solidity of his work, and the
high-minded contractor upon the honesty of performance of his
contract in every particular. The upright manufacturer will find
not only honour and reputation, but substantial success, in the
genuineness of the article which he produces, and the merchant in
the honesty of what he sells, and that it really is what it seems
to be. Baron Dupin, speaking of the general probity of Englishmen,
which he held to be a principal cause of their success, observed,
"We may succeed for a time by fraud, by surprise, by violence; but
we can succeed permanently only by means directly opposite. It is
not alone the courage, the intelligence, the activity, of the
merchant and manufacturer which maintain the superiority of their
productions and the character of their country; it is far more
their wisdom, their economy, and, above all, their probity. If
ever in the British Islands the useful citizen should lose these
virtues, we may be sure that, for England, as for every other
country, the vessels of a degenerate commerce, repulsed from every
shore, would speedily disappear from those seas whose surface they
now cover with the treasures of the universe, bartered for the
treasures of the industry of the three kingdoms."

It must be admitted, that Trade tries character perhaps more
severely than any other pursuit in life. It puts to the severest
tests honesty, self-denial, justice, and truthfulness; and men of
business who pass through such trials unstained are perhaps worthy
of as great honour as soldiers who prove their courage amidst the
fire and perils of battle. And, to the credit of the multitudes of
men engaged in the various departments of trade, we think it must
be admitted that on the whole they pass through their trials nobly.
If we reflect but for a moment on the vast amount of wealth daily
entrusted even to subordinate persons, who themselves probably earn
but a bare competency--the loose cash which is constantly passing
through the hands of shopmen, agents, brokers, and clerks in
banking houses,--and note how comparatively few are the breaches of
trust which occur amidst all this temptation, it will probably be
admitted that this steady daily honesty of conduct is most
honourable to human nature, if it do not even tempt us to be proud
of it. The same trust and confidence reposed by men of business in
each other, as implied by the system of Credit, which is mainly
based upon the principle of honour, would be surprising if it were
not so much a matter of ordinary practice in business transactions.
Dr. Chalmers has well said, that the implicit trust with which
merchants are accustomed to confide in distant agents, separated
from them perhaps by half the globe--often consigning vast wealth
to persons, recommended only by their character, whom perhaps they
have never seen--is probably the finest act of homage which men can
render to one another.

Although common honesty is still happily in the ascendant amongst
common people, and the general business community of England is
still sound at heart, putting their honest character into their
respective callings,--there are unhappily, as there have been in
all times, but too many instances of flagrant dishonesty and fraud,
exhibited by the unscrupulous, the over-speculative, and the
intensely selfish in their haste to be rich. There are tradesmen
who adulterate, contractors who "scamp," manufacturers who give us
shoddy instead of wool, "dressing" instead of cotton, cast-iron
tools instead of steel, needles without eyes, razors made only "to
sell," and swindled fabrics in many shapes. But these we must hold
to be the exceptional cases, of low-minded and grasping men, who,
though they may gain wealth which they probably cannot enjoy, will
never gain an honest character, nor secure that without which
wealth is nothing--a heart at peace. "The rogue cozened not me,
but his own conscience," said Bishop Latimer of a cutler who made
him pay twopence for a knife not worth a penny. Money, earned by
screwing, cheating, and overreaching, may for a time dazzle the
eyes of the unthinking; but the bubbles blown by unscrupulous
rogues, when full-blown, usually glitter only to burst. The
Sadleirs, Dean Pauls, and Redpaths, for the most part, come to a
sad end even in this world; and though the successful swindles of
others may not be "found out," and the gains of their roguery may
remain with them, it will be as a curse and not as a blessing.

It is possible that the scrupulously honest man may not grow rich
so fast as the unscrupulous and dishonest one; but the success will
be of a truer kind, earned without fraud or injustice. And even
though a man should for a time be unsuccessful, still he must be
honest: better lose all and save character. For character is
itself a fortune; and if the high-principled man will but hold on
his way courageously, success will surely come,--nor will the
highest reward of all be withheld from him. Wordsworth well
describes the "Happy Warrior," as he

"Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honour, or for worldly state;
Whom they must follow, on whose head must fall,
Like showers of manna, if they come at all."

As an example of the high-minded mercantile man trained in upright
habits of business, and distinguished for justice, truthfulness,
and honesty of dealing in all things, the career of the well-known
David Barclay, grandson of Robert Barclay, of Ury, the author of
the celebrated 'Apology for the Quakers,' may be briefly referred
to. For many years he was the head of an extensive house in
Cheapside, chiefly engaged in the American trade; but like
Granville Sharp, he entertained so strong an opinion against the
war with our American colonies, that he determined to retire
altogether from the trade. Whilst a merchant, he was as much
distinguished for his talents, knowledge, integrity, and power, as
he afterwards was for his patriotism and munificent philanthropy.
He was a mirror of truthfulness and honesty; and, as became the
good Christian and true gentleman, his word was always held to be
as good as his bond. His position, and his high character, induced
the Ministers of the day on many occasions to seek his advice; and,
when examined before the House of Commons on the subject of the
American dispute, his views were so clearly expressed, and his
advice was so strongly justified by the reasons stated by him, that
Lord North publicly acknowledged that he had derived more
information from David Barclay than from all others east of Temple
Bar. On retiring from business, it was not to rest in luxurious
ease, but to enter upon new labours of usefulness for others. With
ample means, he felt that he still owed to society the duty of a
good example. He founded a house of industry near his residence at
Walthamstow, which he supported at a heavy outlay for several
years, until at length he succeeded in rendering it a source of
comfort as well as independence to the well-disposed families of
the poor in that neighbourhood. When an estate in Jamaica fell to
him, he determined, though at a cost of some 10,000l., at once to
give liberty to the whole of the slaves on the property. He sent
out an agent, who hired a ship, and he had the little slave
community transported to one of the free American states, where
they settled down and prospered. Mr. Barclay had been assured that
the negroes were too ignorant and too barbarous for freedom, and it
was thus that he determined practically to demonstrate the fallacy
of the assertion. In dealing with his accumulated savings, he made
himself the executor of his own will, and instead of leaving a
large fortune to be divided among his relatives at his death, he
extended to them his munificent aid during his life, watched and
aided them in their respective careers, and thus not only laid the
foundation, but lived to see the maturity, of some of the largest
and most prosperous business concerns in the metropolis. We
believe that to this day some of our most eminent merchants--such
as the Gurneys, Hanburys, and Buxtons--are proud to acknowledge
with gratitude the obligations they owe to David Barclay for the
means of their first introduction to life, and for the benefits of
his counsel and countenance in the early stages of their career.
Such a man stands as a mark of the mercantile honesty and integrity
of his country, and is a model and example for men of business in
all time to come.


"Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train attendant,
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent."--Burns.

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend;
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."--Shakepeare.

Never treat money affairs with levity--Money is character.--Sir E.
L. Bulwer Lytton.

How a man uses money--makes it, saves it, and spends it--is perhaps
one of the best tests of practical wisdom. Although money ought by
no means to be regarded as a chief end of man's life, neither is it
a trifling matter, to be held in philosophic contempt, representing
as it does to so large an extent, the means of physical comfort and
social well-being. Indeed, some of the finest qualities of human
nature are intimately related to the right use of money; such as
generosity, honesty, justice, and self-sacrifice; as well as the
practical virtues of economy and providence. On the other hand,
there are their counterparts of avarice, fraud, injustice, and
selfishness, as displayed by the inordinate lovers of gain; and the
vices of thriftlessness, extravagance, and improvidence, on the
part of those who misuse and abuse the means entrusted to them.
"So that," as is wisely observed by Henry Taylor in his thoughtful
'Notes from Life,' "a right measure and manner in getting, saving,
spending, giving, taking, lending, borrowing, and bequeathing,
would almost argue a perfect man."

Comfort in worldly circumstances is a con ion which every man is
justified in striving to attain by all worthy means. It secures
that physical satisfaction, which is necessary for the culture of
the better part of his nature; and enables him to provide for those
of his own household, without which, says the Apostle, a man is
"worse than an infidel." Nor ought the duty to be any the less
indifferent to us, that the respect which our fellow-men entertain
for us in no slight degree depends upon the manner in which we
exercise the opportunities which present themselves for our
honourable advancement in life. The very effort required to be
made to succeed in life with this object, is of itself an
education; stimulating a man's sense of self-respect, bringing out
his practical qualities, and disciplining him in the exercise of
patience, perseverance, and such like virtues. The provident and
careful man must necessarily be a thoughtful man, for he lives not
merely for the present, but with provident forecast makes
arrangements for the future. He must also be a temperate man, and
exercise the virtue of self-denial, than which nothing is so much
calculated to give strength to the character. John Sterling says
truly, that "the worst education which teaches self denial, is
better than the best which teaches everything else, and not that."
The Romans rightly employed the same word (virtus) to designate
courage, which is in a physical sense what the other is in a moral;
the highest virtue of all being victory over ourselves.

Hence the lesson of self-denial--the sacrificing of a present
gratification for a future good--is one of the last that is learnt.
Those classes which work the hardest might naturally be expected to
value the most the money which they earn. Yet the readiness with
which so many are accustomed to eat up and drink up their earnings
as they go, renders them to a great extent helpless and dependent
upon the frugal. There are large numbers of persons among us who,
though enjoying sufficient means of comfort and independence, are
often found to be barely a day's march ahead of actual want when a
time of pressure occurs; and hence a great cause of social
helplessness and suffering. On one occasion a deputation waited on
Lord John Russell, respecting the taxation levied on the working
classes of the country, when the noble lord took the opportunity of
remarking, "You may rely upon it that the Government of this
country durst not tax the working classes to anything like the
extent to which they tax themselves in their expenditure upon
intoxicating drinks alone!" Of all great public questions, there
is perhaps none more important than this,--no great work of reform
calling more loudly for labourers. But it must be admitted that
"self-denial and self-help" would make a poor rallying cry for the
hustings; and it is to be feared that the patriotism of this day
has but little regard for such common things as individual economy
and providence, although it is by the practice of such virtues only
that the genuine independence of the industrial classes is to be
secured. "Prudence, frugality, and good management," said Samuel
Drew, the philosophical shoemaker, "are excellent artists for
mending bad times: they occupy but little room in any dwelling,
but would furnish a more effectual remedy for the evils of life
than any Reform Bill that ever passed the Houses of Parliament."
Socrates said, "Let him that would move the world move first
himself. " Or as the old rhyme runs -

"If every one would see
To his own reformation,
How very easily
You might reform a nation."

It is, however, generally felt to be a far easier thing to reform
the Church and the State than to reform the least of our own bad
habits; and in such matters it is usually found more agreeable to
our tastes, as it certainly is the common practice, to begin with
our neighbours rather than with ourselves.

Any class of men that lives from hand to mouth will ever be an
inferior class. They will necessarily remain impotent and
helpless, hanging on to the skirts of society, the sport of times
and seasons. Having no respect for themselves, they will fail in
securing the respect of others. In commercial crises, such men
must inevitably go to the wall. Wanting that husbanded power which
a store of savings, no matter how small, invariably gives them,
they will be at every man's mercy, and, if possessed of right
feelings, they cannot but regard with fear and trembling the future
possible fate of their wives and children. "The world," once said
Mr. Cobden to the working men of Huddersfield, "has always been
divided into two classes,--those who have saved, and those who have
spent--the thrifty and the extravagant. The building of all the
houses, the mills, the bridges, and the ships, and the
accomplishment of all other great works which have rendered man
civilized and happy, has been done by the savers, the thrifty; and
those who have wasted their resources have always been their
slaves. It has been the law of nature and of Providence that this
should be so; and I were an impostor if I promised any class that
they would advance themselves if they were improvident,
thoughtless, and idle."

Equally sound was the advice given by Mr. Bright to an assembly of
working men at Rochdale, in 1847, when, after expressing his belief
that, "so far as honesty was concerned, it was to be found in
pretty equal amount among all classes," he used the following
words:- "There is only one way that is safe for any man, or any
number of men, by which they can maintain their present position if
it be a good one, or raise themselves above it if it be a bad one,-
-that is, by the practice of the virtues of industry, frugality,
temperance, and honesty. There is no royal road by which men can
raise themselves from a position which they feel to be
uncomfortable and unsatisfactory, as regards their mental or
physical condition, except by the practice of those virtues by
which they find numbers amongst them are continually advancing and
bettering themselves."

There is no reason why the condition of the average workman should
not be a useful, honourable, respectable, and happy one. The whole
body of the working classes might, (with few exceptions) be as
frugal, virtuous, well-informed, and well-conditioned as many
individuals of the same class have already made themselves. What
some men are, all without difficulty might be. Employ the same
means, and the same results will follow. That there should be a
class of men who live by their daily labour in every state is the
ordinance of God, and doubtless is a wise and righteous one; but
that this class should be otherwise than frugal, contented,
intelligent, and happy, is not the design of Providence, but
springs solely from the weakness, self-indulgence, and perverseness
of man himself. The healthy spirit of self-help created amongst
working people would more than any other measure serve to raise
them as a class, and this, not by pulling down others, but by
levelling them up to a higher and still advancing standard of
religion, intelligence, and virtue. "All moral philosophy," says
Montaigne, "is as applicable to a common and private life as to the
most splendid. Every man carries the entire form of the human
condition within him."

When a man casts his glance forward, he will find that the three
chief temporal contingencies for which he has to provide are want
of employment, sickness, and death. The two first he may escape,
but the last is inevitable. It is, however, the duty of the
prudent man so to live, and so to arrange, that the pressure of
suffering, in event of either contingency occurring, shall be
mitigated to as great an extent as possible, not only to himself,
but also to those who are dependent upon him for their comfort and
subsistence. Viewed in this light the honest earning and the
frugal use of money are of the greatest importance. Rightly
earned, it is the representative of patient industry and untiring
effort, of temptation resisted, and hope rewarded; and rightly
used, it affords indications of prudence, forethought and self-
denial--the true basis of manly character. Though money represents
a crowd of objects without any real worth or utility, it also
represents many things of great value; not only food, clothing, and
household satisfaction, but personal self-respect and independence.
Thus a store of savings is to the working man as a barricade
against want; it secures him a footing, and enables him to wait, it
may be in cheerfulness and hope, until better days come round. The
very endeavour to gain a firmer position in the world has a certain
dignity in it, and tends to make a man stronger and better. At all
events it gives him greater freedom of action, and enables him to
husband his strength for future effort.

But the man who is always hovering on the verge of want is in a
state not far removed from that of slavery. He is in no sense his
own master, but is in constant peril of falling under the bondage
of others, and accepting the terms which they dictate to him. He
cannot help being, in a measure, servile, for he dares not look the
world boldly in the face; and in adverse times he must look either
to alms or the poor's rates. If work fails him altogether, he has
not the means of moving to another field of employment; he is fixed
to his parish like a limpet to its rock, and can neither migrate
nor emigrate.

To secure independence, the practice of simple economy is all that
is necessary. Economy requires neither superior courage nor
eminent virtue; it is satisfied with ordinary energy, and the
capacity of average minds. Economy, at bottom, is but the spirit
of order applied in the administration of domestic affairs: it
means management, regularity, prudence, and the avoidance of waste.
The spirit of economy was expressed by our Divine Master in the
words 'Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing may be
lost.' His omnipotence did not disdain the small things of life;
and even while revealing His infinite power to the multitude, he
taught the pregnant lesson of carefulness of which all stand so
much in need.

Economy also means the power of resisting present gratification for
the purpose of securing a future good, and in this light it
represents the ascendancy of reason over the animal instincts. It
is altogether different from penuriousness: for it is economy that
can always best afford to be generous. It does not make money an
idol, but regards it as a useful agent. As Dean Swift observes,
"we must carry money in the head, not in the heart." Economy may
be styled the daughter of Prudence, the sister of Temperance, and
the mother of Liberty. It is evidently conservative--conservative
of character, of domestic happiness, and social well-being. It is,
in short, the exhibition of self-help in one of its best forms.

Francis Horner's father gave him this advice on entering life:-
"Whilst I wish you to be comfortable in every respect, I cannot too
strongly inculcate economy. It is a necessary virtue to all; and
however the shallow part of mankind may despise it, it certainly
leads to independence, which is a grand object to every man of a
high spirit." Burns' lines, quoted at the head of this chapter,
contain the right idea; but unhappily his strain of song was higher
than his practice; his ideal better than his habit. When laid on
his death-bed he wrote to a friend, "Alas! Clarke, I begin to feel
the worst. Burns' poor widow, and half a dozen of his dear little
ones helpless orphans;--there I am weak as a woman's tear. Enough
of this;--'tis half my disease."

Every man ought so to contrive as to live within his means. This
practice is of the very essence of honesty. For if a man do not
manage honestly to live within his own means, he must necessarily
be living dishonestly upon the means of somebody else. Those who
are careless about personal expenditure, and consider merely their
own gratification, without regard for the comfort of others,
generally find out the real uses of money when it is too late.
Though by nature generous, these thriftless persons are often
driven in the end to do very shabby things. They waste their money
as they do their time; draw bills upon the future; anticipate their
earnings; and are thus under the necessity of dragging after them a
load of debts and obligations which seriously affect their action
as free and independent men.

It was a maxim of Lord Bacon, that when it was necessary to
economize, it was better to look after petty savings than to
descend to petty gettings. The loose cash which many persons throw
away uselessly, and worse, would often form a basis of fortune and
independence for life. These wasters are their own worst enemies,
though generally found amongst the ranks of those who rail at the
injustice of "the world." But if a man will not be his own friend,
how can he expect that others will? Orderly men of moderate means
have always something left in their pockets to help others; whereas
your prodigal and careless fellows who spend all never find an
opportunity for helping anybody. It is poor economy, however, to
be a scrub. Narrowmindedness in living and in dealing is generally
short-sighted, and leads to failure. The penny soul, it is said,
never came to twopence. Generosity and liberality, like honesty,
prove the best policy after all. Though Jenkinson, in the 'Vicar
of Wakefield,' cheated his kind-hearted neighbour Flamborough in
one way or another every year, "Flamborough," said he, "has been
regularly growing in riches, while I have come to poverty and a
gaol." And practical life abounds in cases of brilliant results
from a course of generous and honest policy.

The proverb says that "an empty bag cannot stand upright;" neither
can a man who is in debt. It is also difficult for a man who is in
debt to be truthful; hence it is said that lying rides on debt's
back. The debtor has to frame excuses to his creditor for
postponing payment of the money he owes him; and probably also to
contrive falsehoods. It is easy enough for a man who will exercise
a healthy resolution, to avoid incurring the first obligation; but
the facility with which that has been incurred often becomes a
temptation to a second; and very soon the unfortunate borrower
becomes so entangled that no late exertion of industry can set him
free. The first step in debt is like the first step in falsehood;
almost involving the necessity of proceeding in the same course,
debt following debt, as lie follows lie. Haydon, the painter,
dated his decline from the day on which he first borrowed money.
He realized the truth of the proverb, "Who goes a-borrowing, goes
a-sorrowing." The significant entry in his diary is: "Here began
debt and obligation, out of which I have never been and never shall
be extricated as long as I live." His Autobiography shows but too
painfully how embarrassment in money matters produces poignant
distress of mind, utter incapacity for work, and constantly
recurring humiliations. The written advice which he gave to a
youth when entering the navy was as follows: "Never purchase any
enjoyment if it cannot be procured without borrowing of others.
Never borrow money: it is degrading. I do not say never lend, but
never lend if by lending you render yourself unable to pay what you
owe; but under any circumstances never borrow." Fichte, the poor
student, refused to accept even presents from his still poorer

Dr. Johnson held that early debt is ruin. His words on the subject
are weighty, and worthy of being held in remembrance. "Do not,"
said he, "accustom yourself to consider debt only as an
inconvenience; you will find it a calamity. Poverty takes away so
many means of doing good, and produces so much inability to resist
evil, both natural and moral, that it is by all virtuous means to
be avoided. . . . Let it be your first care, then, not to be in any
man's debt. Resolve not to be poor; whatever you have spend less.
Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys
liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable and others
extremely difficult. Frugality is not only the basis of quiet, but
of beneficence. No man can help others that wants help himself; we
must have enough before we have to spare."

It is the bounden duty of every man to look his affairs in the
face, and to keep an account of his incomings and outgoings in
money matters. The exercise of a little simple arithmetic in this
way will be found of great value. Prudence requires that we shall
pitch our scale of living a degree below our means, rather than up
to them; but this can only be done by carrying out faithfully a
plan of living by which both ends may be made to meet. John Locke
strongly advised this course: "Nothing," said he, "is likelier to
keep a man within compass than having constantly before his eyes
the state of his affairs in a regular course of account." The Duke
of Wellington kept an accurate detailed account of all the moneys
received and expended by him. "I make a point," said he to Mr.
Gleig, "of paying my own bills, and I advise every one to do the
same; formerly I used to trust a confidential servant to pay them,
but I was cured of that folly by receiving one morning, to my great
surprise, duns of a year or two's standing. The fellow had
speculated with my money, and left my bills unpaid." Talking of
debt his remark was, "It makes a slave of a man. I have often
known what it was to be in want of money, but I never got into
debt." Washington was as particular as Wellington was, in matters
of business detail; and it is a remarkable fact, that he did not
disdain to scrutinize the smallest outgoings of his household--
determined as he was to live honestly within his means--even while
holding the high office of President of the American Union.

Admiral Jervis, Earl St. Vincent, has told the story of his early
struggles, and, amongst other things, of his determination to keep
out of debt. "My father had a very large family," said he, "with
limited means. He gave me twenty pounds at starting, and that was
all he ever gave me. After I had been a considerable time at the
station [at sea], I drew for twenty more, but the bill came back
protested. I was mortified at this rebuke, and made a promise,
which I have ever kept, that I would never draw another bill
without a certainty of its being paid. I immediately changed my
mode of living, quitted my mess, lived alone, and took up the
ship's allowance, which I found quite sufficient; washed and mended
my own clothes; made a pair of trousers out of the ticking of my
bed; and having by these means saved as much money as would redeem
my honour, I took up my bill, and from that time to this I have
taken care to keep within my means." Jervis for six years endured
pinching privation, but preserved his integrity, studied his
profession with success, and gradually and steadily rose by merit
and bravery to the highest rank.

Mr. Hume hit the mark when he once stated in the House of Commons--
though his words were followed by "laughter"--that the tone of
living in England is altogether too high. Middle-class people are
too apt to live up to their incomes, if not beyond them: affecting
a degree of "style" which is most unhealthy in its effects upon
society at large. There is an ambition to bring up boys as
gentlemen, or rather "genteel" men; though the result frequently
is, only to make them gents. They acquire a taste for dress,
style, luxuries, and amusements, which can never form any solid
foundation for manly or gentlemanly character; and the result is,
that we have a vast number of gingerbread young gentry thrown upon
the world, who remind one of the abandoned hulls sometimes picked
up at sea, with only a monkey on board.

There is a dreadful ambition abroad for being "genteel." We keep
up appearances, too often at the expense of honesty; and, though we
may not be rich, yet we must seem to be so. We must be
"respectable," though only in the meanest sense--in mere vulgar
outward show. We have not the courage to go patiently onward in
the condition of life in which it has pleased God to call us; but
must needs live in some fashionable state to which we ridiculously
please to call ourselves, and all to gratify the vanity of that
unsubstantial genteel world of which we form a part. There is a
constant struggle and pressure for front seats in the social
amphitheatre; in the midst of which all noble self-denying resolve
is trodden down, and many fine natures are inevitably crushed to
death. What waste, what misery, what bankruptcy, come from all
this ambition to dazzle others with the glare of apparent worldly
success, we need not describe. The mischievous results show
themselves in a thousand ways--in the rank frauds committed by men
who dare to be dishonest, but do not dare to seem poor; and in the
desperate dashes at fortune, in which the pity is not so much for
those who fail, as for the hundreds of innocent families who are so
often involved in their ruin.

The late Sir Charles Napier, in taking leave of his command in
India, did a bold and honest thing in publishing his strong
protest, embodied in his last General Order to the officers of the
Indian army, against the "fast" life led by so many young officers
in that service, involving them in ignominious obligations. Sir
Charles strongly urged, in that famous document--what had almost
been lost sight of that "honesty is inseparable from the character
of a thorough-bred gentleman;" and that "to drink unpaid-for
champagne and unpaid-for beer, and to ride unpaid-for horses, is to
be a cheat, and not a gentleman." Men who lived beyond their means
and were summoned, often by their own servants, before Courts of
Requests for debts contracted in extravagant living, might be
officers by virtue of their commissions, but they were not
gentlemen. The habit of being constantly in debt, the Commander-
in-chief held, made men grow callous to the proper feelings of a
gentleman. It was not enough that an officer should be able to
fight: that any bull-dog could do. But did he hold his word
inviolate?--did he pay his debts? These were among the points of
honour which, he insisted, illuminated the true gentleman's and
soldier's career. As Bayard was of old, so would Sir Charles
Napier have all British officers to be. He knew them to be
"without fear," but he would also have them "without reproach."
There are, however, many gallant young fellows, both in India and
at home, capable of mounting a breach on an emergency amidst
belching fire, and of performing the most desperate deeds of
valour, who nevertheless cannot or will not exercise the moral
courage necessary to enable them to resist a petty temptation
presented to their senses. They cannot utter their valiant "No,"
or "I can't afford it," to the invitations of pleasure and self-
enjoyment; and they are found ready to brave death rather than the
ridicule of their companions.

The young man, as he passes through life, advances through a long
line of tempters ranged on either side of him; and the inevitable
effect of yielding, is degradation in a greater or a less degree.
Contact with them tends insensibly to draw away from him some
portion of the divine electric element with which his nature is
charged; and his only mode of resisting them is to utter and to act
out his "no" manfully and resolutely. He must decide at once, not
waiting to deliberate and balance reasons; for the youth, like "the
woman who deliberates, is lost." Many deliberate, without
deciding; but "not to resolve, IS to resolve." A perfect knowledge
of man is in the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." But
temptation will come to try the young man's strength; and once
yielded to, the power to resist grows weaker and weaker. Yield
once, and a portion of virtue has gone. Resist manfully, and the
first decision will give strength for life; repeated, it will
become a habit. It is in the outworks of the habits formed in
early life that the real strength of the defence must lie; for it
has been wisely ordained, that the machinery of moral existence
should be carried on principally through the medium of the habits,
so as to save the wear and tear of the great principles within. It
is good habits, which insinuate themselves into the thousand
inconsiderable acts of life, that really constitute by far the
greater part of man's moral conduct.

Hugh Miller has told how, by an act of youthful decision, he saved
himself from one of the strong temptations so peculiar to a life of
toil. When employed as a mason, it was usual for his fellow-
workmen to have an occasional treat of drink, and one day two
glasses of whisky fell to his share, which he swallowed. When he
reached home, he found, on opening his favourite book--'Bacon's
Essays'--that the letters danced before his eyes, and that he could
no longer master the sense. "The condition," he says, "into which
I had brought myself was, I felt, one of degradation. I had sunk,
by my own act, for the time, to a lower level of intelligence than
that on which it was my privilege to be placed; and though the
state could have been no very favourable one for forming a
resolution, I in that hour determined that I should never again
sacrifice my capacity of intellectual enjoyment to a drinking
usage; and, with God's help, I was enabled to hold by the
determination." It is such decisions as this that often form the
turning-points in a man's life, and furnish the foundation of his
future character. And this rock, on which Hugh Miller might have
been wrecked, if he had not at the right moment put forth his moral
strength to strike away from it, is one that youth and manhood
alike need to be constantly on their guard against. It is about
one of the worst and most deadly, as well as extravagant,
temptations which lie in the way of youth. Sir Walter Scott used
to say that "of all vices drinking is the most incompatible with
greatness." Not only so, but it is incompatible with economy,
decency, health, and honest living. When a youth cannot restrain,
he must abstain. Dr. Johnson's case is the case of many. He said,
referring to his own habits, "Sir, I can abstain; but I can't be

But to wrestle vigorously and successfully with any vicious habit,
we must not merely be satisfied with contending on the low ground
of worldly prudence, though that is of use, but take stand upon a
higher moral elevation. Mechanical aids, such as pledges, may be
of service to some, but the great thing is to set up a high
standard of thinking and acting, and endeavour to strengthen and
purify the principles as well as to reform the habits. For this
purpose a youth must study himself, watch his steps, and compare
his thoughts and acts with his rule. The more knowledge of himself
he gains, the more humble will he be, and perhaps the less
confident in his own strength. But the discipline will be always
found most valuable which is acquired by resisting small present
gratifications to secure a prospective greater and higher one. It
is the noblest work in self-education--for

"Real glory
Springs from the silent conquest of ourselves,
And without that the conqueror is nought
But the first slave."

Many popular books have been written for the purpose of
communicating to the public the grand secret of making money. But
there is no secret whatever about it, as the proverbs of every
nation abundantly testify. "Take care of the pennies and the
pounds will take care of themselves." "Diligence is the mother of
good luck." "No pains no gains." "No sweat no sweet." "Work and
thou shalt have." "The world is his who has patience and
industry." "Better go to bed supperless than rise in debt." Such
are specimens of the proverbial philosophy, embodying the hoarded
experience of many generations, as to the best means of thriving in
the world. They were current in people's mouths long before books
were invented; and like other popular proverbs they were the first
codes of popular morals. Moreover they have stood the test of
time, and the experience of every day still bears witness to their
accuracy, force, and soundness. The proverbs of Solomon are full
of wisdom as to the force of industry, and the use and abuse of
money:- "He that is slothful in work is brother to him that is a
great waster." "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways,
and be wise." Poverty, says the preacher, shall come upon the
idler, "as one that travelleth, and want as an armed man;" but of
the industrious and upright, "the hand of the diligent maketh
rich." "The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and
drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." "Seest thou a man
diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings." But above
all, "It is better to get wisdom than gold; for wisdom is better
than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be
compared to it."

Simple industry and thrift will go far towards making any person of
ordinary working faculty comparatively independent in his means.
Even a working man may be so, provided he will carefully husband
his resources, and watch the little outlets of useless expenditure.
A penny is a very small matter, yet the comfort of thousands of
families depends upon the proper spending and saving of pennies.
If a man allows the little pennies, the results of his hard work,
to slip out of his fingers--some to the beershop, some this way and
some that--he will find that his life is little raised above one of
mere animal drudgery. On the other hand, if he take care of the
pennies--putting some weekly into a benefit society or an insurance
fund, others into a savings' bank, and confiding the rest to his
wife to be carefully laid out, with a view to the comfortable
maintenance and education of his family--he will soon find that
this attention to small matters will abundantly repay him, in
increasing means, growing comfort at home, and a mind comparatively
free from fears as to the future. And if a working man have high
ambition and possess richness in spirit,--a kind of wealth which
far transcends all mere worldly possessions--he may not only help
himself, but be a profitable helper of others in his path through
life. That this is no impossible thing even for a common labourer
in a workshop, may be illustrated by the remarkable career of
Thomas Wright of Manchester, who not only attempted but succeeded
in the reclamation of many criminals while working for weekly wages
in a foundry.

Accident first directed Thomas Wright's attention to the difficulty
encountered by liberated convicts in returning to habits of honest
industry. His mind was shortly possessed by the subject; and to
remedy the evil became the purpose of his life. Though he worked
from six in the morning till six at night, still there were leisure
minutes that he could call his own--more especially his Sundays--
and these he employed in the service of convicted criminals; a
class then far more neglected than they are now. But a few minutes
a day, well employed, can effect a great deal; and it will scarcely
be credited, that in ten years this working man, by steadfastly
holding to his purpose, succeeded in rescuing not fewer than three
hundred felons from continuance in a life of villany! He came to
be regarded as the moral physician of the Manchester Old Bailey;
and where the Chaplain and all others failed, Thomas Wright often
succeeded. Children he thus restored reformed to their parents;
sons and daughters otherwise lost, to their homes; and many a
returned convict did he contrive to settle down to honest and
industrious pursuits. The task was by no means easy. It required
money, time, energy, prudence, and above all, character, and the
confidence which character invariably inspires. The most
remarkable circumstance was that Wright relieved many of these poor
outcasts out of the comparatively small wages earned by him at
foundry work. He did all this on an income which did not average,
during his working career, 100l. per annum; and yet, while he was
able to bestow substantial aid on criminals, to whom he owed no
more than the service of kindness which every human being owes to
another, he also maintained his family in comfort, and was, by
frugality and carefulness, enabled to lay by a store of savings
against his approaching old age. Every week he apportioned his
income with deliberate care; so much for the indispensable
necessaries of food and clothing, so much for the landlord, so much
for the schoolmaster, so much for the poor and needy; and the lines
of distribution were resolutely observed. By such means did this
humble workman pursue his great work, with the results we have so
briefly described. Indeed, his career affords one of the most
remarkable and striking illustrations of the force of purpose in a
man, of the might of small means carefully and sedulously applied,
and, above all, of the power which an energetic and upright
character invariably exercises upon the lives and conduct of

There is no discredit, but honour, in every right walk of industry,
whether it be in tilling the ground, making tools, weaving fabrics,
or selling the products behind a counter. A youth may handle a
yard-stick, or measure a piece of ribbon; and there will be no
discredit in doing so, unless he allows his mind to have no higher
range than the stick and ribbon; to be as short as the one, and as
narrow as the other. "Let not those blush who HAVE," said Fuller,
"but those who HAVE NOT a lawful calling." And Bishop Hall said,
"Sweet is the destiny of all trades, whether of the brow or of the
mind." Men who have raised themselves from a humble calling, need
not be ashamed, but rather ought to be proud of the difficulties
they have surmounted. An American President, when asked what was
his coat-of-arms, remembering that he had been a hewer of wood in
his youth, replied, "A pair of shirt sleeves." A French doctor
once taunted Flechier, Bishop of Nismes, who had been a tallow-
chandler in his youth, with the meanness of his origin, to which
Flechier replied, "If you had been born in the same condition that
I was, you would still have been but a maker of candles."

Nothing is more common than energy in money-making, quite
independent of any higher object than its accumulation. A man who
devotes himself to this pursuit, body and soul, can scarcely fail
to become rich. Very little brains will do; spend less than you
earn; add guinea to guinea; scrape and save; and the pile of gold
will gradually rise. Osterwald, the Parisian banker, began life a
poor man. He was accustomed every evening to drink a pint of beer
for supper at a tavern which he visited, during which he collected
and pocketed all the corks that he could lay his hands on. In
eight years he had collected as many corks as sold for eight louis
d'ors. With that sum he laid the foundations of his fortune--
gained mostly by stock-jobbing; leaving at his death some three
millions of francs. John Foster has cited a striking illustration
of what this kind of determination will do in money-making. A
young man who ran through his patrimony, spending it in profligacy,
was at length reduced to utter want and despair. He rushed out of
his house intending to put an end to his life, and stopped on
arriving at an eminence overlooking what were once his estates. He
sat down, ruminated for a time, and rose with the determination
that he would recover them. He returned to the streets, saw a load
of coals which had been shot out of a cart on to the pavement
before a house, offered to carry them in, and was employed. He
thus earned a few pence, requested some meat and drink as a
gratuity, which was given him, and the pennies were laid by.
Pursuing this menial labour, he earned and saved more pennies;
accumulated sufficient to enable him to purchase some cattle, the
value of which he understood, and these he sold to advantage. He
proceeded by degrees to undertake larger transactions, until at
length he became rich. The result was, that he more than recovered
his possessions, and died an inveterate miser. When he was buried,
mere earth went to earth. With a nobler spirit, the same
determination might have enabled such a man to be a benefactor to
others as well as to himself. But the life and its end in this
case were alike sordid.

To provide for others and for our own comfort and independence in
old age, is honourable, and greatly to be commended; but to hoard
for mere wealth's sake is the characteristic of the narrow-souled
and the miserly. It is against the growth of this habit of
inordinate saving that the wise man needs most carefully to guard
himself: else, what in youth was simple economy, may in old age
grow into avarice, and what was a duty in the one case, may become
a vice in the other. It is the LOVE of money--not money itself--
which is "the root of evil,"--a love which narrows and contracts
the soul, and closes it against generous life and action. Hence,
Sir Walter Scott makes one of his characters declare that "the
penny siller slew more souls than the naked sword slew bodies." It
is one of the defects of business too exclusively followed, that it
insensibly tends to a mechanism of character. The business man
gets into a rut, and often does not look beyond it. If he lives
for himself only, he becomes apt to regard other human beings only
in so far as they minister to his ends. Take a leaf from such
men's ledger and you have their life.

Worldly success, measured by the accumulation of money, is no doubt
a very dazzling thing; and all men are naturally more or less the
admirers of worldly success. But though men of persevering, sharp,
dexterous, and unscrupulous habits, ever on the watch to push
opportunities, may and do "get on" in the world, yet it is quite
possible that they may not possess the slightest elevation of
character, nor a particle of real goodness. He who recognizes no
higher logic than that of the shilling, may become a very rich man,
and yet remain all the while an exceedingly poor creature. For
riches are no proof whatever of moral worth; and their glitter
often serves only to draw attention to the worthlessness of their
possessor, as the light of the glowworm reveals the grub.

The manner in which many allow themselves to be sacrificed to their
love of wealth reminds one of the cupidity of the monkey--that
caricature of our species. In Algiers, the Kabyle peasant attaches
a gourd, well fixed, to a tree, and places within it some rice.
The gourd has an opening merely sufficient to admit the monkey's
paw. The creature comes to the tree by night, inserts his paw, and
grasps his booty. He tries to draw it back, but it is clenched,
and he has not the wisdom to unclench it. So there he stands till
morning, when he is caught, looking as foolish as may be, though
with the prize in his grasp. The moral of this little story is
capable of a very extensive application in life.

The power of money is on the whole over-estimated. The greatest
things which have been done for the world have not been
accomplished by rich men, nor by subscription lists, but by men
generally of small pecuniary means. Christianity was propagated
over half the world by men of the poorest class; and the greatest
thinkers, discoverers, inventors, and artists, have been men of
moderate wealth, many of them little raised above the condition of
manual labourers in point of worldly circumstances. And it will
always be so. Riches are oftener an impediment than a stimulus to
action; and in many cases they are quite as much a misfortune as a
blessing. The youth who inherits wealth is apt to have life made
too easy for him, and he soon grows sated with it, because he has
nothing left to desire. Having no special object to struggle for,
he finds time hang heavy on his hands; he remains morally and
spiritually asleep; and his position in society is often no higher
than that of a polypus over which the tide floats.

"His only labour is to kill the time,
And labour dire it is, and weary woe."

Yet the rich man, inspired by a right spirit, will spurn idleness
as unmanly; and if he bethink himself of the responsibilities which
attach to the possession of wealth and property he will feel even a
higher call to work than men of humbler lot. This, however, must

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