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Self Help by Samuel Smiles

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Francis Horner was accustomed to note in his diary and letters the
books by which he was most improved and influenced. Amongst these
were Condorcet's 'Eloge of Haller,' Sir Joshua Reynolds'
'Discourses,' the writings of Bacon, and 'Burnet's Account of Sir
Matthew Hale.' The perusal of the last-mentioned book--the
portrait of a prodigy of labour--Horner says, filled him with
enthusiasm. Of Condorcet's 'Eloge of Haller,' he said: "I never
rise from the account of such men without a sort of thrilling
palpitation about me, which I know not whether I should call
admiration, ambition, or despair." And speaking of the
'Discourses' of Sir Joshua Reynolds, he said: "Next to the
writings of Bacon, there is no book which has more powerfully
impelled me to self-culture. He is one of the first men of genius
who has condescended to inform the world of the steps by which
greatness is attained. The confidence with which he asserts the
omnipotence of human labour has the effect of familiarising his
reader with the idea that genius is an acquisition rather than a
gift; whilst with all there is blended so naturally and eloquently
the most elevated and passionate admiration of excellence, that
upon the whole there is no book of a more INFLAMMATORY effect." It
is remarkable that Reynolds himself attributed his first passionate
impulse towards the study of art, to reading Richardson's account
of a great painter; and Haydon was in like manner afterwards
inflamed to follow the same pursuit by reading of the career of
Reynolds. Thus the brave and aspiring life of one man lights a
flame in the minds of others of like faculties and impulse; and
where there is equally vigorous efforts like distinction and
success will almost surely follow. Thus the chain of example is
carried down through time in an endless succession of links,--
admiration exciting imitation, and perpetuating the true
aristocracy of genius.

One of the most valuable, and one of the most infectious examples
which can be set before the young, is that of cheerful working.
Cheerfulness gives elasticity to the spirit. Spectres fly before
it; difficulties cause no despair, for they are encountered with
hope, and the mind acquires that happy disposition to improve
opportunities which rarely fails of success. The fervent spirit is
always a healthy and happy spirit; working cheerfully itself, and
stimulating others to work. It confers a dignity on even the most
ordinary occupations. The most effective work, also, is usually
the full-hearted work--that which passes through the hands or the
head of him whose heart is glad. Hume was accustomed to say that
he would rather possess a cheerful disposition--inclined always to
look at the bright side of things--than with a gloomy mind to be
the master of an estate of ten thousand a year. Granville Sharp,
amidst his indefatigable labours on behalf of the slave, solaced
himself in the evenings by taking part in glees and instrumental
concerts at his brother's house, singing, or playing on the flute,
the clarionet or the oboe; and, at the Sunday evening oratorios,
when Handel was played, he beat the kettle-drums. He also
indulged, though sparingly, in caricature drawing. Fowell Buxton
also was an eminently cheerful man; taking special pleasure in
field sports, in riding about the country with his children, and in
mixing in all their domestic amusements.

In another sphere of action, Dr. Arnold was a noble and a cheerful
worker, throwing himself into the great business of his life, the
training and teaching of young men, with his whole heart and soul.
It is stated in his admirable biography, that "the most remarkable
thing in the Laleham circle was the wonderful healthiness of tone
which prevailed there. It was a place where a new comer at once
felt that a great and earnest work was going forward. Every pupil
was made to feel that there was a work for him to do; that his
happiness, as well as his duty, lay in doing that work well. Hence
an indescribable zest was communicated to a young man's feeling
about life; a strange joy came over him on discerning that he had
the means of being useful, and thus of being happy; and a deep
respect and ardent attachment sprang up towards him who had taught
him thus to value life and his own self, and his work and mission
in the world. All this was founded on the breadth and
comprehensiveness of Arnold's character, as well as its striking
truth and reality; on the unfeigned regard he had for work of all
kinds, and the sense he had of its value, both for the complex
aggregate of society and the growth and protection of the
individual. In all this there was no excitement; no predilection
for one class of work above another; no enthusiasm for any one-
sided object: but a humble, profound, and most religious
consciousness that work is the appointed calling of man on earth;
the end for which his various faculties were given; the element in
which his nature is ordained to develop itself, and in which his
progressive advance towards heaven is to lie." Among the many
valuable men trained for public life and usefulness by Arnold, was
the gallant Hodson, of Hodson's Horse, who, writing home from
India, many years after, thus spoke of his revered master: "The
influence he produced has been most lasting and striking in its
effects. It is felt even in India; I cannot say more than THAT."

The useful influence which a right-hearted man of energy and
industry may exercise amongst his neighbours and dependants, and
accomplish for his country, cannot, perhaps, be better illustrated
than by the career of Sir John Sinclair; characterized by the Abbe
Gregoire as "the most indefatigable man in Europe." He was
originally a country laird, born to a considerable estate situated
near John o' Groat's House, almost beyond the beat of civilization,
in a bare wild country fronting the stormy North Sea. His father
dying while he was a youth of sixteen, the management of the family
property thus early devolved upon him; and at eighteen he began a
course of vigorous improvement in the county of Caithness, which
eventually spread all over Scotland. Agriculture then was in a
most backward state; the fields were unenclosed, the lands
undrained; the small farmers of Caithness were so poor that they
could scarcely afford to keep a horse or shelty; the hard work was
chiefly done, and the burdens borne, by the women; and if a cottier
lost a horse it was not unusual for him to marry a wife as the
cheapest substitute. The country was without roads or bridges; and
drovers driving their cattle south had to swim the rivers along
with their beasts. The chief track leading into Caithness lay
along a high shelf on a mountain side, the road being some hundred
feet of clear perpendicular height above the sea which dashed
below. Sir John, though a mere youth, determined to make a new
road over the hill of Ben Cheilt, the old let-alone proprietors,
however, regarding his scheme with incredulity and derision. But
he himself laid out the road, assembled some twelve hundred workmen
early one summer's morning, set them simultaneously to work,
superintending their labours, and stimulating them by his presence
and example; and before night, what had been a dangerous sheep
track, six miles in length, hardly passable for led horses, was
made practicable for wheel-carriages as if by the power of magic.
It was an admirable example of energy and well-directed labour,
which could not fail to have a most salutary influence upon the
surrounding population. He then proceeded to make more roads, to
erect mills, to build bridges, and to enclose and cultivate the
waste lands. He introduced improved methods of culture, and
regular rotation of crops, distributing small premiums to encourage
industry; and he thus soon quickened the whole frame of society
within reach of his influence, and infused an entirely new spirit
into the cultivators of the soil. From being one of the most
inaccessible districts of the north--the very ultima Thule of
civilization--Caithness became a pattern county for its roads, its
agriculture, and its fisheries. In Sinclair's youth, the post was
carried by a runner only once a week, and the young baronet then
declared that he would never rest till a coach drove daily to
Thurso. The people of the neighbourhood could not believe in any
such thing, and it became a proverb in the county to say of an
utterly impossible scheme, "Ou, ay, that will come to pass when Sir
John sees the daily mail at Thurso!" But Sir John lived to see his
dream realized, and the daily mail established to Thurso.

The circle of his benevolent operation gradually widened.
Observing the serious deterioration which had taken place in the
quality of British wool,--one of the staple commodities of the
country,--he forthwith, though but a private and little-known
country gentleman, devoted himself to its improvement. By his
personal exertions he established the British Wool Society for the
purpose, and himself led the way to practical improvement by
importing 800 sheep from all countries, at his own expense. The
result was, the introduction into Scotland of the celebrated
Cheviot breed. Sheep farmers scouted the idea of south country
flocks being able to thrive in the far north. But Sir John
persevered; and in a few years there were not fewer than 300,000
Cheviots diffused over the four northern counties alone. The value
of all grazing land was thus enormously increased; and Scotch
estates, which before were comparatively worthless, began to yield
large rentals.

Returned by Caithness to Parliament, in which he remained for
thirty years, rarely missing a division, his position gave him
farther opportunities of usefulness, which he did not neglect to
employ. Mr. Pitt, observing his persevering energy in all useful
public projects, sent for him to Downing Street, and voluntarily
proposed his assistance in any object he might have in view.
Another man might have thought of himself and his own promotion;
but Sir John characteristically replied, that he desired no favour
for himself, but intimated that the reward most gratifying to his
feelings would be Mr. Pitt's assistance in the establishment of a
National Board of Agriculture. Arthur Young laid a bet with the
baronet that his scheme would never be established, adding, "Your
Board of Agriculture will be in the moon!" But vigorously setting
to work, he roused public attention to the subject, enlisted a
majority of Parliament on his side, and eventually established the
Board, of which he was appointed President. The result of its
action need not be described, but the stimulus which it gave to
agriculture and stock-raising was shortly felt throughout the whole
United Kingdom, and tens of thousands of acres were redeemed from
barrenness by its operation. He was equally indefatigable in
encouraging the establishment of fisheries; and the successful
founding of these great branches of British industry at Thurso and
Wick was mainly due to his exertions. He urged for long years, and
at length succeeded in obtaining the enclosure of a harbour for the
latter place, which is perhaps the greatest and most prosperous
fishing town in the world.

Sir John threw his personal energy into every work in which he
engaged, rousing the inert, stimulating the idle, encouraging the
hopeful, and working with all. When a French invasion was
threatened, he offered to Mr. Pitt to raise a regiment on his own
estate, and he was as good as his word. He went down to the north,
and raised a battalion of 600 men, afterwards increased to 1000;
and it was admitted to be one of the finest volunteer regiments
ever raised, inspired throughout by his own noble and patriotic
spirit. While commanding officer of the camp at Aberdeen he held
the offices of a Director of the Bank of Scotland, Chairman of the
British Wool Society, Provost of Wick, Director of the British
Fishery Society, Commissioner for issuing Exchequer Bills, Member
of Parliament for Caithness, and President of the Board of
Agriculture. Amidst all this multifarious and self-imposed work,
he even found time to write books, enough of themselves to
establish a reputation. When Mr. Rush, the American Ambassador,
arrived in England, he relates that he inquired of Mr. Coke of
Holkham, what was the best work on Agriculture, and was referred to
Sir John Sinclair's; and when he further asked of Mr. Vansittart,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, what was the best work on British
Finance, he was again referred to a work by Sir John Sinclair, his
'History of the Public Revenue.' But the great monument of his
indefatigable industry, a work that would have appalled other men,
but only served to rouse and sustain his energy, was his
'Statistical Account of Scotland,' in twenty-one volumes, one of
the most valuable practical works ever published in any age or
country. Amid a host of other pursuits it occupied him nearly
eight years of hard labour, during which he received, and attended
to, upwards of 20,000 letters on the subject. It was a thoroughly
patriotic undertaking, from which he derived no personal advantage
whatever, beyond the honour of having completed it. The whole of
the profits were assigned by him to the Society for the Sons of the
Clergy in Scotland. The publication of the book led to great
public improvements; it was followed by the immediate abolition of
several oppressive feudal rights, to which it called attention; the
salaries of schoolmasters and clergymen in many parishes were
increased; and an increased stimulus was given to agriculture
throughout Scotland. Sir John then publicly offered to undertake
the much greater labour of collecting and publishing a similar
Statistical Account of England; but unhappily the then Archbishop
of Canterbury refused to sanction it, lest it should interfere with
the tithes of the clergy, and the idea was abandoned.

A remarkable illustration of his energetic promptitude was the
manner in which he once provided, on a great emergency, for the
relief of the manufacturing districts. In 1793 the stagnation
produced by the war led to an unusual number of bankruptcies, and
many of the first houses in Manchester and Glasgow were tottering,
not so much from want of property, but because the usual sources of
trade and credit were for the time closed up. A period of intense
distress amongst the labouring classes seemed imminent, when Sir
John urged, in Parliament, that Exchequer notes to the amount of
five millions should be issued immediately as a loan to such
merchants as could give security. This suggestion was adopted, and
his offer to carry out his plan, in conjunction with certain
members named by him, was also accepted. The vote was passed late
at night, and early next morning Sir John, anticipating the delays
of officialism and red tape, proceeded to bankers in the city, and
borrowed of them, on his own personal security, the sum of
70,000l., which he despatched the same evening to those merchants
who were in the most urgent need of assistance. Pitt meeting Sir
John in the House, expressed his great regret that the pressing
wants of Manchester and Glasgow could not be supplied so soon as
was desirable, adding, "The money cannot be raised for some days."
"It is already gone! it left London by to-night's mail!" was Sir
John's triumphant reply; and in afterwards relating the anecdote he
added, with a smile of pleasure, "Pitt was as much startled as if I
had stabbed him." To the last this great, good man worked on
usefully and cheerfully, setting a great example for his family and
for his country. In so laboriously seeking others' good, it might
be said that he found his own--not wealth, for his generosity
seriously impaired his private fortune, but happiness, and self-
satisfaction, and the peace that passes knowledge. A great
patriot, with magnificent powers of work, he nobly did his duty to
his country; yet he was not neglectful of his own household and
home. His sons and daughters grew up to honour and usefulness; and
it was one of the proudest things Sir John could say, when verging
on his eightieth year, that he had lived to see seven sons grown
up, not one of whom had incurred a debt he could not pay, or caused
him a sorrow that could have been avoided.


"For who can always act? but he,
To whom a thousand memories call,
Not being less but more than all
The gentleness he seemed to be,

But seemed the thing he was, and joined
Each office of the social hour
To noble manners, as the flower
And native growth of noble mind;

And thus he bore without abuse
The grand old name of Gentleman."--Tennyson.

"Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt."--Goethe.

"That which raises a country, that which strengthens a country, and
that which dignifies a country,--that which spreads her power,
creates her moral influence, and makes her respected and submitted
to, bends the hearts of millions, and bows down the pride of
nations to her--the instrument of obedience, the fountain of
supremacy, the true throne, crown, and sceptre of a nation;--this
aristocracy is not an aristocracy of blood, not an aristocracy of
fashion, not an aristocracy of talent only; it is an aristocracy of
Character. That is the true heraldry of man."--The Times.

The crown and glory of life is Character. It is the noblest
possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and an estate
in the general goodwill; dignifying every station, and exalting
every position in society. It exercises a greater power than
wealth, and secures all the honour without the jealousies of fame.
It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the
result of proved honour, rectitude, and consistency--qualities
which, perhaps more than any other, command the general confidence
and respect of mankind.

Character is human nature in its best form. It is moral order
embodied in the individual. Men of character are not only the
conscience of society, but in every well-governed State they are
its best motive power; for it is moral qualities in the main which
rule the world. Even in war, Napoleon said the moral is to the
physical as ten to one. The strength, the industry, and the
civilisation of nations--all depend upon individual character; and
the very foundations of civil security rest upon it. Laws and
institutions are but its outgrowth. In the just balance of nature,
individuals, nations, and races, will obtain just so much as they
deserve, and no more. And as effect finds its cause, so surely
does quality of character amongst a people produce its befitting

Though a man have comparatively little culture, slender abilities,
and but small wealth, yet, if his character be of sterling worth,
he will always command an influence, whether it be in the workshop,
the counting-house, the mart, or the senate. Canning wisely wrote
in 1801, "My road must be through Character to power; I will try no
other course; and I am sanguine enough to believe that this course,
though not perhaps the quickest, is the surest." You may admire
men of intellect; but something more is necessary before you will
trust them. Hence Lord John Russell once observed in a sentence
full of truth, "It is the nature of party in England to ask the
assistance of men of genius, but to follow the guidance of men of
character." This was strikingly illustrated in the career of the
late Francis Horner--a man of whom Sydney Smith said that the Ten
Commandments were stamped upon his countenance. "The valuable and
peculiar light," says Lord Cockburn, "in which his history is
calculated to inspire every right-minded youth, is this. He died
at the age of thirty-eight; possessed of greater public influence
than any other private man; and admired, beloved, trusted, and
deplored by all, except the heartless or the base. No greater
homage was ever paid in Parliament to any deceased member. Now let
every young man ask--how was this attained? By rank? He was the
son of an Edinburgh merchant. By wealth? Neither he, nor any of
his relations, ever had a superfluous sixpence. By office? He
held but one, and only for a few years, of no influence, and with
very little pay. By talents? His were not splendid, and he had no
genius. Cautious and slow, his only ambition was to be right. By
eloquence? He spoke in calm, good taste, without any of the
oratory that either terrifies or seduces. By any fascination of
manner? His was only correct and agreeable. By what, then, was
it? Merely by sense, industry, good principles, and a good heart--
qualities which no well-constituted mind need ever despair of
attaining. It was the force of his character that raised him; and
this character not impressed upon him by nature, but formed, out of
no peculiarly fine elements, by himself. There were many in the
House of Commons of far greater ability and eloquence. But no one
surpassed him in the combination of an adequate portion of these
with moral worth. Horner was born to show what moderate powers,
unaided by anything whatever except culture and goodness, may
achieve, even when these powers are displayed amidst the
competition and jealousy of public life."

Franklin, also, attributed his success as a public man, not to his
talents or his powers of speaking--for these were but moderate--but
to his known integrity of character. Hence it was, he says, "that
I had so much weight with my fellow citizens. I was but a bad
speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of
words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my
point." Character creates confidence in men in high station as
well as in humble life. It was said of the first Emperor Alexander
of Russia, that his personal character was equivalent to a
constitution. During the wars of the Fronde, Montaigne was the
only man amongst the French gentry who kept his castle gates
unbarred; and it was said of him, that his personal character was a
better protection for him than a regiment of horse would have been.

That character is power, is true in a much higher sense than that
knowledge is power. Mind without heart, intelligence without
conduct, cleverness without goodness, are powers in their way, but
they may be powers only for mischief. We may be instructed or
amused by them; but it is sometimes as difficult to admire them as
it would be to admire the dexterity of a pickpocket or the
horsemanship of a highwayman.

Truthfulness, integrity, and goodness--qualities that hang not on
any man's breath--form the essence of manly character, or, as one
of our old writers has it, "that inbred loyalty unto Virtue which
can serve her without a livery." He who possesses these qualities,
united with strength of purpose, carries with him a power which is
irresistible. He is strong to do good, strong to resist evil, and
strong to bear up under difficulty and misfortune. When Stephen of
Colonna fell into the hands of his base assailants, and they asked
him in derision, "Where is now your fortress?" "Here," was his
bold reply, placing his hand upon his heart. It is in misfortune
that the character of the upright man shines forth with the
greatest lustre; and when all else fails, he takes stand upon his
integrity and his courage.

The rules of conduct followed by Lord Erskine--a man of sterling
independence of principle and scrupulous adherence to truth--are
worthy of being engraven on every young man's heart. "It was a
first command and counsel of my earliest youth," he said, "always
to do what my conscience told me to be a duty, and to leave the
consequence to God. I shall carry with me the memory, and I trust
the practice, of this parental lesson to the grave. I have
hitherto followed it, and I have no reason to complain that my
obedience to it has been a temporal sacrifice. I have found it, on
the contrary, the road to prosperity and wealth, and I shall point
out the same path to my children for their pursuit."

Every man is bound to aim at the possession of a good character as
one of the highest objects of life. The very effort to secure it
by worthy means will furnish him with a motive for exertion; and
his idea of manhood, in proportion as it is elevated, will steady
and animate his motive. It is well to have a high standard of
life, even though we may not be able altogether to realize it.
"The youth," says Mr. Disraeli, "who does not look up will look
down; and the spirit that does not soar is destined perhaps to
grovel." George Herbert wisely writes,

"Pitch thy behaviour low, thy projects high,
So shall thou humble and magnanimous be.
Sink not in spirit; who aimeth at the sky
Shoots higher much than he that means a tree."

He who has a high standard of living and thinking will certainly do
better than he who has none at all. "Pluck at a gown of gold,"
says the Scotch proverb, "and you may get a sleeve o't." Whoever
tries for the highest results cannot fail to reach a point far in
advance of that from which he started; and though the end attained
may fall short of that proposed, still, the very effort to rise, of
itself cannot fail to prove permanently beneficial.

There are many counterfeits of character, but the genuine article
is difficult to be mistaken. Some, knowing its money value, would
assume its disguise for the purpose of imposing upon the unwary.
Colonel Charteris said to a man distinguished for his honesty, "I
would give a thousand pounds for your good name." "Why?" "Because
I could make ten thousand by it," was the knave's reply.

Integrity in word and deed is the backbone of character; and loyal
adherence to veracity its most prominent characteristic. One of
the finest testimonies to the character of the late Sir Robert Peel
was that borne by the Duke of Wellington in the House of Lords, a
few days after the great statesman's death. "Your lordships," he
said, "must all feel the high and honourable character of the late
Sir Robert Peel. I was long connected with him in public life. We
were both in the councils of our Sovereign together, and I had long
the honour to enjoy his private friendship. In all the course of
my acquaintance with him I never knew a man in whose truth and
justice I had greater confidence, or in whom I saw a more
invariable desire to promote the public service. In the whole
course of my communication with him, I never knew an instance in
which he did not show the strongest attachment to truth; and I
never saw in the whole course of my life the smallest reason for
suspecting that he stated anything which he did not firmly believe
to be the fact." And this high-minded truthfulness of the
statesman was no doubt the secret of no small part of his influence
and power.

There is a truthfulness in action as well as in words, which is
essential to uprightness of character. A man must really be what
he seems or purposes to be. When an American gentleman wrote to
Granville Sharp, that from respect for his great virtues he had
named one of his sons after him, Sharp replied: "I must request
you to teach him a favourite maxim of the family whose name you
TO APPEAR. This maxim, as my father informed me, was carefully and
humbly practised by HIS father, whose sincerity, as a plain and
honest man, thereby became the principal feature of his character,
both in public and private life." Every man who respects himself,
and values the respect of others, will carry out the maxim in act--
doing honestly what he proposes to do--putting the highest
character into his work, scamping nothing, but priding himself upon
his integrity and conscientiousness. Once Cromwell said to
Bernard,--a clever but somewhat unscrupulous lawyer, "I understand
that you have lately been vastly wary in your conduct; do not be
too confident of this; subtlety may deceive you, integrity never
will." Men whose acts are at direct variance with their words,
command no respect, and what they say has but little weight; even
truths, when uttered by them, seem to come blasted from their lips.

The true character acts rightly, whether in secret or in the sight
of men. That boy was well trained who, when asked why he did not
pocket some pears, for nobody was there to see, replied, "Yes,
there was: I was there to see myself; and I don't intend ever to
see myself do a dishonest thing."--This is a simple but not
inappropriate illustration of principle, or conscience, dominating
in the character, and exercising a noble protectorate over it; not
merely a passive influence, but an active power regulating the
life. Such a principle goes on moulding the character hourly and
daily, growing with a force that operates every moment. Without
this dominating influence, character has no protection, but is
constantly liable to fall away before temptation; and every such
temptation succumbed to, every act of meanness or dishonesty,
however slight, causes self-degradation. It matters not whether
the act be successful or not, discovered or concealed; the culprit
is no longer the same, but another person; and he is pursued by a
secret uneasiness, by self-reproach, or the workings of what we
call conscience, which is the inevitable doom of the guilty.

And here it may be observed how greatly the character may be
strengthened and supported by the cultivation of good habits. Man,
it has been said, is a bundle of habits; and habit is second
nature. Metastasio entertained so strong an opinion as to the
power of repetition in act and thought, that he said, "All is habit
in mankind, even virtue itself." Butler, in his 'Analogy,'
impresses the importance of careful self-discipline and firm
resistance to temptation, as tending to make virtue habitual, so
that at length it may become more easy to be good than to give way
to sin. "As habits belonging to the body," he says, "are produced
by external acts, so habits of the mind are produced by the
execution of inward practical purposes, i.e., carrying them into
act, or acting upon them--the principles of obedience, veracity,
justice, and charity." And again, Lord Brougham says, when
enforcing the immense importance of training and example in youth,
"I trust everything under God to habit, on which, in all ages, the
lawgiver, as well as the schoolmaster, has mainly placed his
reliance; habit, which makes everything easy, and casts the
difficulties upon the deviation from a wonted course." Thus, make
sobriety a habit, and intemperance will be hateful; make prudence a
habit, and reckless profligacy will become revolting to every
principle of conduct which regulates the life of the individual.
Hence the necessity for the greatest care and watchfulness against
the inroad of any evil habit; for the character is always weakest
at that point at which it has once given way; and it is long before
a principle restored can become so firm as one that has never been
moved. It is a fine remark of a Russian writer, that "Habits are a
necklace of pearls: untie the knot, and the whole unthreads."

Wherever formed, habit acts involuntarily, and without effort; and,
it is only when you oppose it, that you find how powerful it has
become. What is done once and again, soon gives facility and
proneness. The habit at first may seem to have no more strength
than a spider's web; but, once formed, it binds as with a chain of
iron. The small events of life, taken singly, may seem exceedingly
unimportant, like snow that falls silently, flake by flake; yet
accumulated, these snow-flakes form the avalanche.

Self-respect, self-help, application, industry, integrity--all are
of the nature of habits, not beliefs. Principles, in fact, are but
the names which we assign to habits; for the principles are words,
but the habits are the things themselves: benefactors or tyrants,
according as they are good or evil. It thus happens that as we
grow older, a portion of our free activity and individuality
becomes suspended in habit; our actions become of the nature of
fate; and we are bound by the chains which we have woven around

It is indeed scarcely possible to over-estimate the importance of
training the young to virtuous habits. In them they are the
easiest formed, and when formed they last for life; like letters
cut on the bark of a tree they grow and widen with age. "Train up
a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not
depart from it." The beginning holds within it the end; the first
start on the road of life determines the direction and the
destination of the journey; ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute.
"Remember," said Lord Collingwood to a young man whom he loved,
"before you are five-and-twenty you must establish a character that
will serve you all your life." As habit strengthens with age, and
character becomes formed, any turning into a new path becomes more
and more difficult. Hence, it is often harder to unlearn than to
learn; and for this reason the Grecian flute-player was justified
who charged double fees to those pupils who had been taught by an
inferior master. To uproot an old habit is sometimes a more
painful thing, and vastly more difficult, than to wrench out a
tooth. Try and reform a habitually indolent, or improvident, or
drunken person, and in a large majority of cases you will fail.
For the habit in each case has wound itself in and through the life
until it has become an integral part of it, and cannot be uprooted.
Hence, as Mr. Lynch observes, "the wisest habit of all is the habit
of care in the formation of good habits."

Even happiness itself may become habitual. There is a habit of
looking at the bright side of things, and also of looking at the
dark side. Dr. Johnson has said that the habit of looking at the
best side of a thing is worth more to a man than a thousand pounds
a year. And we possess the power, to a great extent, of so
exercising the will as to direct the thoughts upon objects
calculated to yield happiness and improvement rather than their
opposites. In this way the habit of happy thought may be made to
spring up like any other habit. And to bring up men or women with
a genial nature of this sort, a good temper, and a happy frame of
mind, is perhaps of even more importance, in many cases, than to
perfect them in much knowledge and many accomplishments.

As daylight can be seen through very small holes, so little things
will illustrate a person's character. Indeed character consists in
little acts, well and honourably performed; daily life being the
quarry from which we build it up, and rough-hew the habits which
form it. One of the most marked tests of character is the manner
in which we conduct ourselves towards others. A graceful behaviour
towards superiors, inferiors, and equals, is a constant source of
pleasure. It pleases others because it indicates respect for their
personality; but it gives tenfold more pleasure to ourselves.
Every man may to a large extent be a self-educator in good
behaviour, as in everything else; he can be civil and kind, if he
will, though he have not a penny in his purse. Gentleness in
society is like the silent influence of light, which gives colour
to all nature; it is far more powerful than loudness or force, and
far more fruitful. It pushes its way quietly and persistently,
like the tiniest daffodil in spring, which raises the clod and
thrusts it aside by the simple persistency of growing.

Even a kind look will give pleasure and confer happiness. In one
of Robertson of Brighton's letters, he tells of a lady who related
to him "the delight, the tears of gratitude, which she had
witnessed in a poor girl to whom, in passing, I gave a kind look on
going out of church on Sunday. What a lesson! How cheaply
happiness can be given! What opportunities we miss of doing an
angel's work! I remember doing it, full of sad feelings, passing
on, and thinking no more about it; and it gave an hour's sunshine
to a human life, and lightened the load of life to a human heart
for a time!" {35}

Morals and manners, which give colour to life, are of much greater
importance than laws, which are but their manifestations. The law
touches us here and there, but manners are about us everywhere,
pervading society like the air we breathe. Good manners, as we
call them, are neither more nor less than good behaviour;
consisting of courtesy and kindness; benevolence being the
preponderating element in all kinds of mutually beneficial and
pleasant intercourse amongst human beings. "Civility," said Lady
Montague, "costs nothing and buys everything." The cheapest of all
things is kindness, its exercise requiring the least possible
trouble and self-sacrifice. "Win hearts," said Burleigh to Queen
Elizabeth, "and you have all men's hearts and purses." If we would
only let nature act kindly, free from affectation and artifice, the
results on social good humour and happiness would be incalculable.
The little courtesies which form the small change of life, may
separately appear of little intrinsic value, but they acquire their
importance from repetition and accumulation. They are like the
spare minutes, or the groat a day, which proverbially produce such
momentous results in the course of a twelvemonth, or in a lifetime.

Manners are the ornament of action; and there is a way of speaking
a kind word, or of doing a kind thing, which greatly enhances their
value. What seems to be done with a grudge, or as an act of
condescension, is scarcely accepted as a favour. Yet there are men
who pride themselves upon their gruffness; and though they may
possess virtue and capacity, their manner is often such as to
render them almost insupportable. It is difficult to like a man
who, though he may not pull your nose, habitually wounds your self-
respect, and takes a pride in saying disagreeable things to you.
There are others who are dreadfully condescending, and cannot avoid
seizing upon every small opportunity of making their greatness
felt. When Abernethy was canvassing for the office of surgeon to
St. Bartholomew Hospital, he called upon such a person--a rich
grocer, one of the governors. The great man behind the counter
seeing the great surgeon enter, immediately assumed the grand air
towards the supposed suppliant for his vote. "I presume, Sir, you
want my vote and interest at this momentous epoch of your life?"
Abernethy, who hated humbugs, and felt nettled at the tone,
replied: "No, I don't: I want a pennyworth of figs; come, look
sharp and wrap them up; I want to be off!"

The cultivation of manner--though in excess it is foppish and
foolish--is highly necessary in a person who has occasion to
negociate with others in matters of business. Affability and good
breeding may even be regarded as essential to the success of a man
in any eminent station and enlarged sphere of life; for the want of
it has not unfrequently been found in a great measure to neutralise
the results of much industry, integrity, and honesty of character.
There are, no doubt, a few strong tolerant minds which can bear
with defects and angularities of manner, and look only to the more
genuine qualities; but the world at large is not so forbearant, and
cannot help forming its judgments and likings mainly according to
outward conduct.

Another mode of displaying true politeness is consideration for the
opinions of others. It has been said of dogmatism, that it is only
puppyism come to its full growth; and certainly the worst form this
quality can assume, is that of opinionativeness and arrogance. Let
men agree to differ, and, when they do differ, bear and forbear.
Principles and opinions may be maintained with perfect suavity,
without coming to blows or uttering hard words; and there are
circumstances in which words are blows, and inflict wounds far less
easy to heal. As bearing upon this point, we quote an instructive
little parable spoken some time since by an itinerant preacher of
the Evangelical Alliance on the borders of Wales:- "As I was going
to the hills," said he, "early one misty morning, I saw something
moving on a mountain side, so strange looking that I took it for a
monster. When I came nearer to it I found it was a man. When I
came up to him I found he was my brother."

The inbred politeness which springs from right-heartedness and
kindly feelings, is of no exclusive rank or station. The mechanic
who works at the bench may possess it, as well as the clergyman or
the peer. It is by no means a necessary condition of labour that
it should, in any respect, be either rough or coarse. The
politeness and refinement which distinguish all classes of the
people in many continental countries show that those qualities
might become ours too--as doubtless they will become with increased
culture and more general social intercourse--without sacrificing
any of our more genuine qualities as men. From the highest to the
lowest, the richest to the poorest, to no rank or condition in life
has nature denied her highest boon--the great heart. There never
yet existed a gentleman but was lord of a great heart. And this
may exhibit itself under the hodden grey of the peasant as well as
under the laced coat of the noble. Robert Burns was once taken to
task by a young Edinburgh blood, with whom he was walking, for
recognising an honest farmer in the open street. "Why you
fantastic gomeral," exclaimed Burns, "it was not the great coat,
the scone bonnet, and the saunders-boot hose that I spoke to, but
THE MAN that was in them; and the man, sir, for true worth, would
weigh down you and me, and ten more such, any day." There may be a
homeliness in externals, which may seem vulgar to those who cannot
discern the heart beneath; but, to the right-minded, character will
always have its clear insignia.

William and Charles Grant were the sons of a farmer in Inverness-
shire, whom a sudden flood stripped of everything, even to the very
soil which he tilled. The farmer and his sons, with the world
before them where to choose, made their way southward in search of
employment until they arrived in the neighbourhood of Bury in
Lancashire. From the crown of the hill near Walmesley they
surveyed the wide extent of country which lay before them, the
river Irwell making its circuitous course through the valley. They
were utter strangers in the neighbourhood, and knew not which way
to turn. To decide their course they put up a stick, and agreed to
pursue the direction in which it fell. Thus their decision was
made, and they journeyed on accordingly until they reached the
village of Ramsbotham, not far distant. They found employment in a
print-work, in which William served his apprenticeship; and they
commanded themselves to their employers by their diligence,
sobriety, and strict integrity. They plodded on, rising from one
station to another, until at length the two men themselves became
employers, and after many long years of industry, enterprise, and
benevolence, they became rich, honoured, and respected by all who
knew them. Their cotton-mills and print-works gave employment to a
large population. Their well-directed diligence made the valley
teem with activity, joy, health, and opulence. Out of their
abundant wealth they gave liberally to all worthy objects, erecting
churches, founding schools, and in all ways promoting the well-
being of the class of working-men from which they had sprung. They
afterwards erected, on the top of the hill above Walmesley, a lofty
tower in commemoration of the early event in their history which
had determined the place of their settlement. The brothers Grant
became widely celebrated for their benevolence and their various
goodness, and it is said that Mr. Dickens had them in his mind's
eye when delineating the character of the brothers Cheeryble. One
amongst many anecdotes of a similar kind may be cited to show that
the character was by no means exaggerated. A Manchester
warehouseman published an exceedingly scurrilous pamphlet against
the firm of Grant Brothers, holding up the elder partner to
ridicule as "Billy Button." William was informed by some one of
the nature of the pamphlet, and his observation was that the man
would live to repent of it. "Oh!" said the libeller, when informed
of the remark, "he thinks that some time or other I shall be in his
debt; but I will take good care of that." It happens, however,
that men in business do not always foresee who shall be their
creditor, and it so turned out that the Grants' libeller became a
bankrupt, and could not complete his certificate and begin business
again without obtaining their signature. It seemed to him a
hopeless case to call upon that firm for any favour, but the
pressing claims of his family forced him to make the application.
He appeared before the man whom he had ridiculed as "Billy Button"
accordingly. He told his tale and produced his certificate. "You
wrote a pamphlet against us once?" said Mr. Grant. The supplicant
expected to see his document thrown into the fire; instead of which
Grant signed the name of the firm, and thus completed the necessary
certificate. "We make it a rule," said he, handing it back, "never
to refuse signing the certificate of an honest tradesman, and we
have never heard that you were anything else." The tears started
into the man's eyes. "Ah," continued Mr. Grant, "you see my saying
was true, that you would live to repent writing that pamphlet. I
did not mean it as a threat--I only meant that some day you would
know us better, and repent having tried to injure us." "I do, I
do, indeed, repent it." "Well, well, you know us now. But how do
you get on--what are you going to do?" The poor man stated that he
had friends who would assist him when his certificate was obtained.
"But how are you off in the mean time?" The answer was, that,
having given up every farthing to his creditors, he had been
compelled to stint his family in even the common necessaries of
life, that he might be enabled to pay for his certificate. "My
good fellow, this will never do; your wife and family must not
suffer in this way; be kind enough to take this ten-pound note to
your wife from me: there, there, now--don't cry, it will be all
well with you yet; keep up your spirits, set to work like a man,
and you will raise your head among the best of us yet." The
overpowered man endeavoured with choking utterance to express his
gratitude, but in vain; and putting his hand to his face, he went
out of the room sobbing like a child.

The True Gentleman is one whose nature has been fashioned after the
highest models. It is a grand old name, that of Gentleman, and has
been recognized as a rank and power in all stages of society. "The
Gentleman is always the Gentleman," said the old French General to
his regiment of Scottish gentry at Rousillon, "and invariably
proves himself such in need and in danger." To possess this
character is a dignity of itself, commanding the instinctive homage
of every generous mind, and those who will not bow to titular rank,
will yet do homage to the gentleman. His qualities depend not upon
fashion or manners, but upon moral worth--not on personal
possessions, but on personal qualities. The Psalmist briefly
describes him as one "that walketh uprightly, and worketh
righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart."

The gentleman is eminently distinguished for his self-respect. He
values his character,--not so much of it only as can be seen of
others, but as he sees it himself; having regard for the approval
of his inward monitor. And, as he respects himself, so, by the
same law, does he respect others. Humanity is sacred in his eyes:
and thence proceed politeness and forbearance, kindness and
charity. It is related of Lord Edward Fitzgerald that, while
travelling in Canada, in company with the Indians, he was shocked
by the sight of a poor squaw trudging along laden with her
husband's trappings, while the chief himself walked on
unencumbered. Lord Edward at once relieved the squaw of her pack
by placing it upon his own shoulders,--a beautiful instance of what
the French call politesse de coeur--the inbred politeness of the
true gentleman.

The true gentleman has a keen sense of honour,--scrupulously
avoiding mean actions. His standard of probity in word and action
is high. He does not shuffle or prevaricate, dodge or skulk; but
is honest, upright, and straightforward. His law is rectitude--
action in right lines. When he says YES, it is a law: and he
dares to say the valiant NO at the fitting season. The gentleman
will not be bribed; only the low-minded and unprincipled will sell
themselves to those who are interested in buying them. When the
upright Jonas Hanway officiated as commissioner in the victualling
department, he declined to receive a present of any kind from a
contractor; refusing thus to be biassed in the performance of his
public duty. A fine trait of the same kind is to be noted in the
life of the Duke of Wellington. Shortly after the battle of
Assaye, one morning the Prime Minister of the Court of Hyderabad
waited upon him for the purpose of privately ascertaining what
territory and what advantages had been reserved for his master in
the treaty of peace between the Mahratta princes and the Nizam. To
obtain this information the minister offered the general a very
large sum--considerably above 100,000l. Looking at him quietly for
a few seconds, Sir Arthur said, "It appears, then, that you are
capable of keeping a secret?" "Yes, certainly," replied the
minister. "THEN SO AM I," said the English general, smiling, and
bowed the minister out. It was to Wellington's great honour, that
though uniformly successful in India, and with the power of earning
in such modes as this enormous wealth, he did not add a farthing to
his fortune, and returned to England a comparatively poor man.

A similar sensitiveness and high-mindedness characterised his noble
relative, the Marquis of Wellesley, who, on one occasion,
positively refused a present of 100,000l. proposed to be given him
by the Directors of the East India Company on the conquest of
Mysore. "It is not necessary," said he, "for me to allude to the
independence of my character, and the proper dignity attaching to
my office; other reasons besides these important considerations
lead me to decline this testimony, which is not suitable to me. I
THINK OF NOTHING BUT OUR ARMY. I should be much distressed to
curtail the share of those brave soldiers." And the Marquis's
resolution to refuse the present remained unalterable.

Sir Charles Napier exhibited the same noble self-denial in the
course of his Indian career. He rejected all the costly gifts
which barbaric princes were ready to lay at his feet, and said with
truth, "Certainly I could have got 30,000l. since my coming to
Scinde, but my hands do not want washing yet. Our dear father's
sword which I wore in both battles (Meanee and Hyderabad) is

Riches and rank have no necessary connexion with genuine
gentlemanly qualities. The poor man may be a true gentleman,--in
spirit and in daily life. He may be honest, truthful, upright,
polite, temperate, courageous, self-respecting, and self-helping,--
that is, be a true gentleman. The poor man with a rich spirit is
in all ways superior to the rich man with a poor spirit. To borrow
St. Paul's words, the former is as "having nothing, yet possessing
all things," while the other, though possessing all things, has
nothing. The first hopes everything, and fears nothing; the last
hopes nothing, and fears everything. Only the poor in spirit are
really poor. He who has lost all, but retains his courage,
cheerfulness, hope, virtue, and self-respect, is still rich. For
such a man, the world is, as it were, held in trust; his spirit
dominating over its grosser cares, he can still walk erect, a true

Occasionally, the brave and gentle character may be found under the
humblest garb. Here is an old illustration, but a fine one. Once
on a time, when the Adige suddenly overflowed its banks, the bridge
of Verona was carried away, with the exception of the centre arch,
on which stood a house, whose inhabitants supplicated help from the
windows, while the foundations were visibly giving way. "I will
give a hundred French louis," said the Count Spolverini, who stood
by, "to any person who will venture to deliver these unfortunate
people." A young peasant came forth from the crowd, seized a boat,
and pushed into the stream. He gained the pier, received the whole
family into the boat, and made for the shore, where he landed them
in safety. "Here is your money, my brave young fellow," said the
count. "No," was the answer of the young man, "I do not sell my
life; give the money to this poor family, who have need of it."
Here spoke the true spirit of the gentleman, though he was but in
the garb of a peasant.

Not less touching was the heroic conduct of a party of Deal boatmen
in rescuing the crew of a collier-brig in the Downs but a short
time ago. {36} A sudden storm which set in from the north-east
drove several ships from their anchors, and it being low water, one
of them struck the ground at a considerable distance from the
shore, when the sea made a clean breach over her. There was not a
vestige of hope for the vessel, such was the fury of the wind and
the violence of the waves. There was nothing to tempt the boatmen
on shore to risk their lives in saving either ship or crew, for not
a farthing of salvage was to be looked for. But the daring
intrepidity of the Deal boatmen was not wanting at this critical
moment. No sooner had the brig grounded than Simon Pritchard, one
of the many persons assembled along the beach, threw off his coat
and called out, "Who will come with me and try to save that crew?"
Instantly twenty men sprang forward, with "I will," "and I." But
seven only were wanted; and running down a galley punt into the
surf, they leaped in and dashed through the breakers, amidst the
cheers of those on shore. How the boat lived in such a sea seemed
a miracle; but in a few minutes, impelled by the strong arms of
these gallant men, she flew on and reached the stranded ship,
"catching her on the top of a wave"; and in less than a quarter of
an hour from the time the boat left the shore, the six men who
composed the crew of the collier were landed safe on Walmer Beach.
A nobler instance of indomitable courage and disinterested heroism
on the part of the Deal boatmen--brave though they are always known
to be--perhaps cannot be cited; and we have pleasure in here
placing it on record.

Mr. Turnbull, in his work on 'Austria,' relates an anecdote of the
late Emperor Francis, in illustration of the manner in which the
Government of that country has been indebted, for its hold upon the
people, to the personal qualities of its princes. "At the time
when the cholera was raging at Vienna, the emperor, with an aide-
de-camp, was strolling about the streets of the city and suburbs,
when a corpse was dragged past on a litter unaccompanied by a
single mourner. The unusual circumstance attracted his attention,
and he learnt, on inquiry, that the deceased was a poor person who
had died of cholera, and that the relatives had not ventured on
what was then considered the very dangerous office of attending the
body to the grave. 'Then,' said Francis, 'we will supply their
place, for none of my poor people should go to the grave without
that last mark of respect;' and he followed the body to the distant
place of interment, and, bare-headed, stood to see every rite and
observance respectfully performed."

Fine though this illustration may be of the qualities of the
gentleman, we can match it by another equally good, of two English
navvies in Paris, as related in a morning paper a few years ago.
"One day a hearse was observed ascending the steep Rue de Clichy on
its way to Montmartre, bearing a coffin of poplar wood with its
cold corpse. Not a soul followed--not even the living dog of the
dead man, if he had one. The day was rainy and dismal; passers by
lifted the hat as is usual when a funeral passes, and that was all.
At length it passed two English navvies, who found themselves in
Paris on their way from Spain. A right feeling spoke from beneath
their serge jackets. 'Poor wretch!' said the one to the other, 'no
one follows him; let us two follow!' And the two took off their
hats, and walked bare-headed after the corpse of a stranger to the
cemetery of Montmartre."

Above all, the gentleman is truthful. He feels that truth is the
"summit of being," and the soul of rectitude in human affairs.
Lord Chesterfield declared that Truth made the success of a
gentleman. The Duke of Wellington, writing to Kellerman, on the
subject of prisoners on parole, when opposed to that general in the
peninsula, told him that if there was one thing on which an English
officer prided himself more than another, excepting his courage, it
was his truthfulness. "When English officers," said he, "have
given their parole of honour not to escape, be sure they will not
break it. Believe me--trust to their word; the word of an English
officer is a surer guarantee than the vigilance of sentinels."

True courage and gentleness go hand in hand. The brave man is
generous and forbearant, never unforgiving and cruel. It was
finely said of Sir John Franklin by his friend Parry, that "he was
a man who never turned his back upon a danger, yet of that
tenderness that he would not brush away a mosquito." A fine trait
of character--truly gentle, and worthy of the spirit of Bayard--was
displayed by a French officer in the cavalry combat of El Bodon in
Spain. He had raised his sword to strike Sir Felton Harvey, but
perceiving his antagonist had only one arm, he instantly stopped,
brought down his sword before Sir Felton in the usual salute, and
rode past. To this may be added a noble and gentle deed of Ney
during the same Peninsular War. Charles Napier was taken prisoner
at Corunna, desperately wounded; and his friends at home did not
know whether he was alive or dead. A special messenger was sent
out from England with a frigate to ascertain his fate. Baron
Clouet received the flag, and informed Ney of the arrival. "Let
the prisoner see his friends," said Ney, "and tell them he is well,
and well treated." Clouet lingered, and Ney asked, smiling, "what
more he wanted"? "He has an old mother, a widow, and blind." "Has
he? then let him go himself and tell her he is alive." As the
exchange of prisoners between the countries was not then allowed,
Ney knew that he risked the displeasure of the Emperor by setting
the young officer at liberty; but Napoleon approved the generous

Notwithstanding the wail which we occasionally hear for the
chivalry that is gone, our own age has witnessed deeds of bravery
and gentleness--of heroic self-denial and manly tenderness--which
are unsurpassed in history. The events of the last few years have
shown that our countrymen are as yet an undegenerate race. On the
bleak plateau of Sebastopol, in the dripping perilous trenches of
that twelvemonth's leaguer, men of all classes proved themselves
worthy of the noble inheritance of character which their
forefathers have bequeathed to them. But it was in the hour of the
great trial in India that the qualities of our countrymen shone
forth the brightest. The march of Neill on Cawnpore, of Havelock
on Lucknow--officers and men alike urged on by the hope of rescuing
the women and the children--are events which the whole history of
chivalry cannot equal. Outram's conduct to Havelock, in resigning
to him, though his inferior officer, the honour of leading the
attack on Lucknow, was a trait worthy of Sydney, and alone
justifies the title which has been awarded to him of, "the Bayard
of India." The death of Henry Lawrence--that brave and gentle
spirit--his last words before dying, "Let there be no fuss about
me; let me be buried WITH THE MEN,"--the anxious solicitude of Sir
Colin Campbell to rescue the beleaguered of Lucknow, and to conduct
his long train of women and children by night from thence to
Cawnpore, which he reached amidst the all but overpowering assault
of the enemy,--the care with which he led them across the perilous
bridge, never ceasing his charge over them until he had seen the
precious convoy safe on the road to Allahabad, and then burst upon
the Gwalior contingent like a thunder-clap;--such things make us
feel proud of our countrymen and inspire the conviction that the
best and purest glow of chivalry is not dead, but vigorously lives
among us yet.

Even the common soldiers proved themselves gentlemen under their
trials. At Agra, where so many poor fellows had been scorched and
wounded in their encounter with the enemy, they were brought into
the fort, and tenderly nursed by the ladies; and the rough, gallant
fellows proved gentle as any children. During the weeks that the
ladies watched over their charge, never a word was said by any
soldier that could shock the ear of the gentlest. And when all was
over--when the mortally-wounded had died, and the sick and maimed
who survived were able to demonstrate their gratitude--they invited
their nurses and the chief people of Agra to an entertainment in
the beautiful gardens of the Taj, where, amidst flowers and music,
the rough veterans, all scarred and mutilated as they were, stood
up to thank their gentle countrywomen who had clothed and fed them,
and ministered to their wants during their time of sore distress.
In the hospitals at Scutari, too, many wounded and sick blessed the
kind English ladies who nursed them; and nothing can be finer than
the thought of the poor sufferers, unable to rest through pain,
blessing the shadow of Florence Nightingale as it fell upon their
pillow in the night watches.

The wreck of the Birkenhead off the coast of Africa on the 27th of
February, 1852, affords another memorable illustration of the
chivalrous spirit of common men acting in this nineteenth century,
of which any age might be proud. The vessel was steaming along the
African coast with 472 men and 166 women and children on board.
The men belonged to several regiments then serving at the Cape, and
consisted principally of recruits who had been only a short time in
the service. At two o'clock in the morning, while all were asleep
below, the ship struck with violence upon a hidden rock which
penetrated her bottom; and it was at once felt that she must go
down. The roll of the drums called the soldiers to arms on the
upper deck, and the men mustered as if on parade. The word was
passed to SAVE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN; and the helpless creatures
were brought from below, mostly undressed, and handed silently into
the boats. When they had all left the ship's side, the commander
of the vessel thoughtlessly called out, "All those that can swim,
jump overboard and make for the boats." But Captain Wright, of the
91st Highlanders, said, "No! if you do that, THE BOATS WITH THE
WOMEN MUST BE SWAMPED;" and the brave men stood motionless. There
was no boat remaining, and no hope of safety; but not a heart
quailed; no one flinched from his duty in that trying moment.
"There was not a murmur nor a cry amongst them," said Captain
Wright, a survivor, "until the vessel made her final plunge." Down
went the ship, and down went the heroic band, firing a feu de joie
as they sank beneath the waves. Glory and honour to the gentle and
the brave! The examples of such men never die, but, like their
memories, are immortal.

There are many tests by which a gentleman may be known; but there
is one that never fails--How does he EXERCISE POWER over those
subordinate to him? How does he conduct himself towards women and
children? How does the officer treat his men, the employer his
servants, the master his pupils, and man in every station those who
are weaker than himself? The discretion, forbearance, and
kindliness, with which power in such cases is used, may indeed be
regarded as the crucial test of gentlemanly character. When La
Motte was one day passing through a crowd, he accidentally trod
upon the foot of a young fellow, who forthwith struck him on the
face: "Ah, sire," said La Motte, "you will surely be sorry for
what you have done, when you know that I AM BLIND." He who bullies
those who are not in a position to resist may be a snob, but cannot
be a gentleman. He who tyrannizes over the weak and helpless may
be a coward, but no true man. The tyrant, it has been said, is but
a slave turned inside out. Strength, and the consciousness of
strength, in a right-hearted man, imparts a nobleness to his
character; but he will be most careful how he uses it; for

"It is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant."

Gentleness is indeed the best test of gentlemanliness. A
consideration for the feelings of others, for his inferiors and
dependants as well as his equals, and respect for their self-
respect, will pervade the true gentleman's whole conduct. He will
rather himself suffer a small injury, than by an uncharitable
construction of another's behaviour, incur the risk of committing a
great wrong. He will be forbearant of the weaknesses, the
failings, and the errors, of those whose advantages in life have
not been equal to his own. He will be merciful even to his beast.
He will not boast of his wealth, or his strength, or his gifts. He
will not be puffed up by success, or unduly depressed by failure.
He will not obtrude his views on others, but speak his mind freely
when occasion calls for it. He will not confer favours with a
patronizing air. Sir Walter Scott once said of Lord Lothian, "He
is a man from whom one may receive a favour, and that's saying a
great deal in these days."

Lord Chatham has said that the gentleman is characterised by his
sacrifice of self and preference of others to himself in the little
daily occurrences of life. In illustration of this ruling spirit
of considerateness in a noble character, we may cite the anecdote
of the gallant Sir Ralph Abercromby, of whom it is related, that
when mortally wounded in the battle of Aboukir, he was carried in a
litter on board the 'Foudroyant;' and, to ease his pain, a
soldier's blanket was placed under his head, from which he
experienced considerable relief. He asked what it was. "It's only
a soldier's blanket," was the reply. "WHOSE blanket is it?" said
he, half lifting himself up. "Only one of the men's." "I wish to
know the name of the man whose blanket this is." "It is Duncan
Roy's, of the 42nd, Sir Ralph." "Then see that Duncan Roy gets his
blanket this very night." {37} Even to ease his dying agony the
general would not deprive the private soldier of his blanket for
one night. The incident is as good in its way as that of the dying
Sydney handing his cup of water to the private soldier on the field
of Zutphen.

The quaint old Fuller sums up in a few words the character of the
true gentleman and man of action in describing that of the great
admiral, Sir Francis Drake: "Chaste in his life, just in his
dealings, true of his word; merciful to those that were under him,
and hating nothing so much as idlenesse; in matters especially of
moment, he was never wont to rely on other men's care, how trusty
or skilful soever they might seem to be, but, always contemning
danger, and refusing no toyl, he was wont himself to be one
(whoever was a second) at every turn, where courage, skill, or
industry, was to be employed."


{1} Napoleon III., 'Life of Caesar.'

{2} Soult received but little education in his youth, and learnt
next to no geography until he became foreign minister of France,
when the study of this branch of knowledge is said to have given
him the greatest pleasure.--'OEuvres, &c., d'Alexis de Tocqueville.
Par G. de Beaumont.' Paris, 1861. I. 52

{3} 'OEuvres et Correspondance inedite d'Alexis de Tocqueville.
Par Gustave de Beaumont.' I. 398.

{4} "I have seen," said he, "a hundred times in the course of my
life, a weak man exhibit genuine public virtue, because supported
by a wife who sustained hint in his course, not so much by advising
him to such and such acts, as by exercising a strengthening
influence over the manner in which duty or even ambition was to be
regarded. Much oftener, however, it must be confessed, have I seen
private and domestic life gradually transform a man to whom nature
had given generosity, disinterestedness, and even some capacity for
greatness, into an ambitious, mean-spirited, vulgar, and selfish
creature who, in matters relating to his country, ended by
considering them only in so far as they rendered his own particular
condition more comfortable and easy."--'OEuvres de Tocqueville.'
II. 349.

{5} Since the original publication of this book, the author has in
another work, 'The Lives of Boulton and Watt,' endeavoured to
portray in greater detail the character and achievements of these
two remarkable men.

{6} The following entry, which occurs in the account of monies
disbursed by the burgesses of Sheffield in 1573 [?] is supposed by
some to refer to the inventor of the stocking frame:- "Item gyven
to Willm-Lee, a poore scholler in Sheafield, towards the settyng
him to the Universitie of Chambrydge, and buying him bookes and
other furnyture [which money was afterwards returned] xiii iiii
[13s. 4d.]."--Hunter, 'History of Hallamshire,' 141.

{7} 'History of the Framework Knitters.'

{8} There are, however, other and different accounts. One is to
the effect that Lee set about studying the contrivance of the
stocking-loom for the purpose of lessening the labour of a young
country-girl to whom he was attached, whose occupation was
knitting; another, that being married and poor, his wife was under
the necessity of contributing to their joint support by knitting;
and that Lee, while watching the motion of his wife's fingers,
conceived the idea of imitating their movements by a machine. The
latter story seems to have been invented by Aaron Hill, Esq., in
his 'Account of the Rise and Progress of the Beech Oil
manufacture,' London, 1715; but his statement is altogether
unreliable. Thus he makes Lee to have been a Fellow of a college
at Oxford, from which he was expelled for marrying an innkeeper's
daughter; whilst Lee neither studied at Oxford, nor married there,
nor was a Fellow of any college; and he concludes by alleging that
the result of his invention was to "make Lee and his family happy;"
whereas the invention brought him only a heritage of misery, and he
died abroad destitute.

{9} Blackner, 'History of Nottingham.' The author adds, "We have
information, handed down in direct succession from father to son,
that it was not till late in the seventeenth century that one man
could manage the working of a frame. The man who was considered
the workman employed a labourer, who stood behind the frame to work
the slur and pressing motions; but the application of traddles and
of the feet eventually rendered the labour unnecessary."

{10} Palissy's own words are:- "Le bois m'ayant failli, je fus
contraint brusler les estapes (etaies) qui soustenoyent les tailles
de mon jardin, lesquelles estant bruslees, je fus constraint
brusler les tables et plancher de la maison, afin de faire fondre
la seconde composition. J'estois en une telle angoisse que je ne
scaurois dire: car j'estois tout tari et deseche a cause du labeur
et de la chaleur du fourneau; il y avoit plus d'un mois que ma
chemise n'avoit seiche sur moy, encores pour me consoler on se
moquoit de moy, et mesme ceux qui me devoient secourir alloient
crier par la ville que je faisois brusler le plancher: et par tel
moyen l'on me faisoit perdre mon credit et m'estimoit-on estre fol.
Les autres disoient que je cherchois a faire la fausse monnoye, qui
estoit un mal qui me faisoit seicher sur les pieds; et m'en allois
par les rues tout baisse comme un homme honteux: . . . personne ne
me secouroit: Mais au contraire ils se mocquoyent de moy, en
disant: Il luy appartient bien de mourir de faim, par ce qu'il
delaisse son mestier. Toutes ces nouvelles venoyent a mes
aureilles quand je passois par la rue." 'OEuvres Completes de
Palissy. Paris, 1844;' De l'Art de Terre, p. 315.

{11} "Toutes ces fautes m'ont cause un tel lasseur et tristesse
d'esprit, qu'auparavant que j'aye rendu mes emaux fusible a un
mesme degre de feu, j'ay cuide entrer jusques a la porte du
sepulchre: aussi en me travaillant a tels affaires je me suis
trouve l'espace de plus se dix ans si fort escoule en ma personne,
qu'il n'y avoit aucune forme ny apparence de bosse aux bras ny aux
jambes: ains estoyent mes dites jambes toutes d'une venue: de
sorte que les liens de quoy j'attachois mes bas de chausses
estoyent, soudain que je cheminois, sur les talons avec le residu
de mes chausses."--'OEuvres, 319-20.

{12} At the sale of Mr. Bernal's articles of vertu in London a few
years since, one of Palissy's small dishes, 12 inches in diameter,
with a lizard in the centre, sold for 162l.

{13} Within the last few months, Mr. Charles Read, a gentleman
curious in matters of Protestant antiquarianism in France, has
discovered one of the ovens in which Palissy baked his chefs-
d'oeuvre. Several moulds of faces, plants, animals, &c., were dug
up in a good state of preservation, bearing his well-known stamp.
It is situated under the gallery of the Louvre, in the Place du

{14} D'Aubigne, 'Histoire Universelle.' The historian adds,
"Voyez l'impudence de ce bilistre! vous diriez qu'il auroit lu ce
vers de Seneque: 'On ne peut contraindre celui qui sait mourir:
Qui mori scit, cogi nescit.'"

{15} The subject of Palissy's life and labours has been ably and
elaborately treated by Professor Morley in his well-known work. In
the above brief narrative we have for the most part followed
Palissy's own account of his experiments as given in his 'Art de

{16} "Almighty God, the great Creator,
Has changed a goldmaker to a potter."

{17} The whole of the Chinese and Japanese porcelain was formerly
known as Indian porcelain--probably because it was first brought by
the Portuguese from India to Europe, after the discovery of the
Cape of Good Hope by Vasco da Gama.

{18} 'Wedgwood: an Address delivered at Burslem, Oct. 26th,
1863.' By the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P.

{19} It was characteristic of Mr. Hume, that, during his
professional voyages between England and India, he should
diligently apply his spare time to the study of navigation and
seamanship; and many years after, it proved of use to him in a
remarkable manner. In 1825, when on his passage from London to
Leith by a sailing smack, the vessel had scarcely cleared the mouth
of the Thames when a sudden storm came on, she was driven out of
her course, and, in the darkness of the night, she struck on the
Goodwin Sands. The captain, losing his presence of mind, seemed
incapable of giving coherent orders, and it is probable that the
vessel would have become a total wreck, had not one of the
passengers suddenly taken the command and directed the working of
the ship, himself taking the helm while the danger lasted. The
vessel was saved, and the stranger was Mr. Hume.

{20} 'Saturday Review,' July 3rd, 1858.

{21} Mrs. Grote's 'Memoir of the Life of Ary Scheffer,' p. 67.

{22} While the sheets of this revised edition are passing through
the press, the announcement appears in the local papers of the
death of Mr. Jackson at the age of fifty. His last work, completed
shortly before his death, was a cantata, entitled 'The Praise of
Music.' The above particulars of his early life were communicated
by himself to the author several years since, while he was still
carrying on his business of a tallow-chandler at Masham.

{23} Mansfield owed nothing to his noble relations, who were poor
and uninfluential. His success was the legitimate and logical
result of the means which he sedulously employed to secure it.
When a boy he rode up from Scotland to London on a pony--taking two
months to make the journey. After a course of school and college,
he entered upon the profession of the law, and he closed a career
of patient and ceaseless labour as Lord Chief Justice of England--
the functions of which he is universally admitted to have performed
with unsurpassed ability, justice, and honour.

{24} On 'Thought and Action.'

{25} 'Correspondance de Napoleon Ier.,' publiee par ordre de
l'Empereur Napoleon III, Paris, 1864.

{26} The recently published correspondence of Napoleon with his
brother Joseph, and the Memoirs of the Duke of Ragusa, abundantly
confirm this view. The Duke overthrew Napoleon's generals by the
superiority of his routine. He used to say that, if he knew
anything at all, he knew how to feed an army.

{27} His old gardener. Collingwood's favourite amusement was
gardening. Shortly after the battle of Trafalgar a brother admiral
called upon him, and, after searching for his lordship all over the
garden, he at last discovered him, with old Scott, in the bottom of
a deep trench which they were busily employed in digging.

{28} Article in the 'Times.'

{29} 'Self-Development: an Address to Students,' by George Ross,
M.D., pp. 1-20, reprinted from the 'Medical Circular.' This
address, to which we acknowledge our obligations, contains many
admirable thoughts on self-culture, is thoroughly healthy in its
tone, and well deserves republication in an enlarged form.

{30} 'Saturday Review.'

{31} See the admirable and well-known book, 'The Pursuit of
Knowledge under Difficulties.'

{32} Late Professor of Moral Philosophy at St. Andrew's.

{33} A writer in the 'Edinburgh Review' (July, 1859) observes that
"the Duke's talents seem never to have developed themselves until
some active and practical field for their display was placed
immediately before him. He was long described by his Spartan
mother, who thought him a dunce, as only 'food for powder.' He
gained no sort of distinction, either at Eton or at the French
Military College of Angers." It is not improbable that a
competitive examination, at this day, might have excluded him from
the army.

{34} Correspondent of 'The Times,' 11th June, 1863.

{35} Robertson's 'Life and Letters,' i. 258.

{36} On the 11th January, 1866.

{37} Brown's 'Horae Subsecivae.'

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