Self Help
by Samuel Smiles
Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries
from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman

Self Help; With Illustrations of Conduct and Perseverance


Samuel Smiles  


"The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the
individuals composing it." - J. S. Mill.

"We put too much faith in systems, and look too little to men." -
B. Disraeli.

"Heaven helps those who help themselves" is a well-tried maxim,
embodying in a small compass the results of vast human experience.
The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the
individual; and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the
true source of national vigour and strength. Help from without is
often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably
invigorates. Whatever is done FOR men or classes, to a certain
extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for
themselves; and where men are subjected to over-guidance and over-
government, the inevitable tendency is to render them comparatively

Even the best institutions can give a man no active help. Perhaps
the most they can do is, to leave him free to develop himself and
improve his individual condition. But in all times men have been
prone to believe that their happiness and well-being were to be
secured by means of institutions rather than by their own conduct.
Hence the value of legislation as an agent in human advancement has
usually been much over-estimated. To constitute the millionth part
of a Legislature, by voting for one or two men once in three or
five years, however conscientiously this duty may be performed, can
exercise but little active influence upon any man's life and
character. Moreover, it is every day becoming more clearly
understood, that the function of Government is negative and
restrictive, rather than positive and active; being resolvable
principally into protection - protection of life, liberty, and
property. Laws, wisely administered, will secure men in the
enjoyment of the fruits of their labour, whether of mind or body,
at a comparatively small personal sacrifice; but no laws, however
stringent, can make the idle industrious, the thriftless provident,
or the drunken sober. Such reforms can only be effected by means
of individual action, economy, and self-denial; by better habits,
rather than by greater rights.

The Government of a nation itself is usually found to be but the
reflex of the individuals composing it. The Government that is
ahead of the people will inevitably be dragged down to their level,
as the Government that is behind them will in the long run be
dragged up. In the order of nature, the collective character of a
nation will as surely find its befitting results in its law and
government, as water finds its own level. The noble people will be
nobly ruled, and the ignorant and corrupt ignobly. Indeed all
experience serves to prove that the worth and strength of a State
depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the
character of its men. For the nation is only an aggregate of
individual conditions, and civilization itself is but a question of
the personal improvement of the men, women, and children of whom
society is composed.

National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy, and
uprightness, as national decay is of individual idleness,
selfishness, and vice. What we are accustomed to decry as great
social evils, will, for the most part, be found to be but the
outgrowth of man's own perverted life; and though we may endeavour
to cut them down and extirpate them by means of Law, they will only
spring up again with fresh luxuriance in some other form, unless
the conditions of personal life and character are radically
improved. If this view be correct, then it follows that the
highest patriotism and philanthropy consist, not so much in
altering laws and modifying institutions, as in helping and
stimulating men to elevate and improve themselves by their own free
and independent individual action.

It may be of comparatively little consequence how a man is governed
from without, whilst everything depends upon how he governs himself
from within. The greatest slave is not he who is ruled by a
despot, great though that evil be, but he who is the thrall of his
own moral ignorance, selfishness, and vice. Nations who are thus
enslaved at heart cannot be freed by any mere changes of masters or
of institutions; and so long as the fatal delusion prevails, that
liberty solely depends upon and consists in government, so long
will such changes, no matter at what cost they may be effected,
have as little practical and lasting result as the shifting of the
figures in a phantasmagoria. The solid foundations of liberty must
rest upon individual character; which is also the only sure
guarantee for social security and national progress. John Stuart
Mill truly observes that "even despotism does not produce its worst
effects so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever
crushes individuality IS despotism, by whatever name it be called."

Old fallacies as to human progress are constantly turning up. Some
call for Caesars, others for Nationalities, and others for Acts of
Parliament. We are to wait for Caesars, and when they are found,
"happy the people who recognise and follow them." (1) This doctrine
shortly means, everything FOR the people, nothing BY them, - a
doctrine which, if taken as a guide, must, by destroying the free
conscience of a community, speedily prepare the way for any form of
despotism. Caesarism is human idolatry in its worst form - a
worship of mere power, as degrading in its effects as the worship
of mere wealth would be. A far healthier doctrine to inculcate
among the nations would be that of Self-Help; and so soon as it is
thoroughly understood and carried into action, Caesarism will be no
more. The two principles are directly antagonistic; and what
Victor Hugo said of the Pen and the Sword alike applies to them,
"Ceci tuera cela."  [This will kill that.]

The power of Nationalities and Acts of Parliament is also a
prevalent superstition. What William Dargan, one of Ireland's
truest patriots, said at the closing of the first Dublin Industrial
Exhibition, may well be quoted now. "To tell the truth," he said,
"I never heard the word independence mentioned that my own country
and my own fellow townsmen did not occur to my mind. I have heard
a great deal about the independence that we were to get from this,
that, and the other place, and of the great expectations we were to
have from persons from other countries coming amongst us. Whilst I
value as much as any man the great advantages that must result to
us from that intercourse, I have always been deeply impressed with
the feeling that our industrial independence is dependent upon
ourselves. I believe that with simple industry and careful
exactness in the utilization of our energies, we never had a fairer
chance nor a brighter prospect than the present. We have made a
step, but perseverance is the great agent of success; and if we but
go on zealously, I believe in my conscience that in a short period
we shall arrive at a position of equal comfort, of equal happiness,
and of equal independence, with that of any other people."

All nations have been made what they are by the thinking and the
working of many generations of men. Patient and persevering
labourers in all ranks and conditions of life, cultivators of the
soil and explorers of the mine, inventors and discoverers,
manufacturers, mechanics and artisans, poets, philosophers, and
politicians, all have contributed towards the grand result, one
generation building upon another's labours, and carrying them
forward to still higher stages. This constant succession of noble
workers - the artisans of civilisation - has served to create order
out of chaos in industry, science, and art; and the living race has
thus, in the course of nature, become the inheritor of the rich
estate provided by the skill and industry of our forefathers, which
is placed in our hands to cultivate, and to hand down, not only
unimpaired but improved, to our successors.

The spirit of self-help, as exhibited in the energetic action of
individuals, has in all times been a marked feature in the English
character, and furnishes the true measure of our power as a nation.
Rising above the heads of the mass, there were always to be found a
series of individuals distinguished beyond others, who commanded
the public homage. But our progress has also been owing to
multitudes of smaller and less known men. Though only the
generals' names may be remembered in the history of any great
campaign, it has been in a great measure through the individual
valour and heroism of the privates that victories have been won.
And life, too, is "a soldiers' battle," - men in the ranks having
in all times been amongst the greatest of workers. Many are the
lives of men unwritten, which have nevertheless as powerfully
influenced civilisation and progress as the more fortunate Great
whose names are recorded in biography. Even the humblest person,
who sets before his fellows an example of industry, sobriety, and
upright honesty of purpose in life, has a present as well as a
future influence upon the well-being of his country; for his life
and character pass unconsciously into the lives of others, and
propagate good example for all time to come.

Daily experience shows that it is energetic individualism which
produces the most powerful effects upon the life and action of
others, and really constitutes the best practical education.
Schools, academies, and colleges, give but the merest beginnings of
culture in comparison with it. Far more influential is the life-
education daily given in our homes, in the streets, behind
counters, in workshops, at the loom and the plough, in counting-
houses and manufactories, and in the busy haunts of men. This is
that finishing instruction as members of society, which Schiller
designated "the education of the human race," consisting in action,
conduct, self-culture, self-control, - all that tends to discipline
a man truly, and fit him for the proper performance of the duties
and business of life, - a kind of education not to be learnt from
books, or acquired by any amount of mere literary training. With
his usual weight of words Bacon observes, that "Studies teach not
their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them,
won by observation;" a remark that holds true of actual life, as
well as of the cultivation of the intellect itself. For all
experience serves to illustrate and enforce the lesson, that a man
perfects himself by work more than by reading, - that it is life
rather than literature, action rather than study, and character
rather than biography, which tend perpetually to renovate mankind.

Biographies of great, but especially of good men, are nevertheless
most instructive and useful, as helps, guides, and incentives to
others. Some of the best are almost equivalent to gospels -
teaching high living, high thinking, and energetic action for their
own and the world's good. The valuable examples which they furnish
of the power of self-help, of patient purpose, resolute working,
and steadfast integrity, issuing in the formation of truly noble
and manly character, exhibit in language not to be misunderstood,
what it is in the power of each to accomplish for himself; and
eloquently illustrate the efficacy of self-respect and self-
reliance in enabling men of even the humblest rank to work out for
themselves an honourable competency and a solid reputation.

Great men of science, literature, and art - apostles of great
thoughts and lords of the great heart - have belonged to no
exclusive class nor rank in life. They have come alike from
colleges, workshops, and farmhouses, - from the huts of poor men
and the mansions of the rich. Some of God's greatest apostles have
come from "the ranks."  The poorest have sometimes taken the
highest places; nor have difficulties apparently the most
insuperable proved obstacles in their way. Those very
difficulties, in many instances, would ever seem to have been their
best helpers, by evoking their powers of labour and endurance, and
stimulating into life faculties which might otherwise have lain
dormant. The instances of obstacles thus surmounted, and of
triumphs thus achieved, are indeed so numerous, as almost to
justify the proverb that "with Will one can do anything."  Take,
for instance, the remarkable fact, that from the barber's shop came
Jeremy Taylor, the most poetical of divines; Sir Richard Arkwright,
the inventor of the spinning-jenny and founder of the cotton
manufacture; Lord Tenterden, one of the most distinguished of Lord
Chief Justices; and Turner, the greatest among landscape painters.

No one knows to a certainty what Shakespeare was; but it is
unquestionable that he sprang from a humble rank. His father was a
butcher and grazier; and Shakespeare himself is supposed to have
been in early life a woolcomber; whilst others aver that he was an
usher in a school and afterwards a scrivener's clerk. He truly
seems to have been "not one, but all mankind's epitome."  For such
is the accuracy of his sea phrases that a naval writer alleges that
he must have been a sailor; whilst a clergyman infers, from
internal evidence in his writings, that he was probably a parson's
clerk; and a distinguished judge of horse-flesh insists that he
must have been a horse-dealer. Shakespeare was certainly an actor,
and in the course of his life "played many parts," gathering his
wonderful stores of knowledge from a wide field of experience and
observation. In any event, he must have been a close student and a
hard worker; and to this day his writings continue to exercise a
powerful influence on the formation of English character.

The common class of day labourers has given us Brindley the
engineer, Cook the navigator, and Burns the poet. Masons and
bricklayers can boast of Ben Jonson, who worked at the building of
Lincoln's Inn, with a trowel in his hand and a book in his pocket,
Edwards and Telford the engineers, Hugh Miller the geologist, and
Allan Cunningham the writer and sculptor; whilst among
distinguished carpenters we find the names of Inigo Jones the
architect, Harrison the chronometer-maker, John Hunter the
physiologist, Romney and Opie the painters, Professor Lee the
Orientalist, and John Gibson the sculptor.

From the weaver class have sprung Simson the mathematician, Bacon
the sculptor, the two Milners, Adam Walker, John Foster, Wilson the
ornithologist, Dr. Livingstone the missionary traveller, and
Tannahill the poet. Shoemakers have given us Sir Cloudesley Shovel
the great Admiral, Sturgeon the electrician, Samuel Drew the
essayist, Gifford the editor of the 'Quarterly Review,' Bloomfield
the poet, and William Carey the missionary; whilst Morrison,
another laborious missionary, was a maker of shoe-lasts. Within
the last few years, a profound naturalist has been discovered in
the person of a shoemaker at Banff, named Thomas Edwards, who,
while maintaining himself by his trade, has devoted his leisure to
the study of natural science in all its branches, his researches in
connexion with the smaller crustaceae having been rewarded by the
discovery of a new species, to which the name of "Praniza
Edwardsii" has been given by naturalists.

Nor have tailors been undistinguished. John Stow, the historian,
worked at the trade during some part of his life. Jackson, the
painter, made clothes until he reached manhood. The brave Sir John
Hawkswood, who so greatly distinguished himself at Poictiers, and
was knighted by Edward III. for his valour, was in early life
apprenticed to a London tailor. Admiral Hobson, who broke the boom
at Vigo in 1702, belonged to the same calling. He was working as a
tailor's apprentice near Bonchurch, in the Isle of Wight, when the
news flew through the village that a squadron of men-of-war was
sailing off the island. He sprang from the shopboard, and ran down
with his comrades to the beach, to gaze upon the glorious sight.
The boy was suddenly inflamed with the ambition to be a sailor; and
springing into a boat, he rowed off to the squadron, gained the
admiral's ship, and was accepted as a volunteer. Years after, he
returned to his native village full of honours, and dined off bacon
and eggs in the cottage where he had worked as an apprentice. But
the greatest tailor of all is unquestionably Andrew Johnson, the
present President of the United States - a man of extraordinary
force of character and vigour of intellect. In his great speech at
Washington, when describing himself as having begun his political
career as an alderman, and run through all the branches of the
legislature, a voice in the crowd cried, "From a tailor up."  It
was characteristic of Johnson to take the intended sarcasm in good
part, and even to turn it to account. "Some gentleman says I have
been a tailor. That does not disconcert me in the least; for when
I was a tailor I had the reputation of being a good one, and making
close fits; I was always punctual with my customers, and always did
good work."

Cardinal Wolsey, De Foe, Akenside, and Kirke White were the sons of
butchers; Bunyan was a tinker, and Joseph Lancaster a basket-maker.
Among the great names identified with the invention of the steam-
engine are those of Newcomen, Watt, and Stephenson; the first a
blacksmith, the second a maker of mathematical instruments, and the
third an engine-fireman. Huntingdon the preacher was originally a
coalheaver, and Bewick, the father of wood-engraving, a coalminer.
Dodsley was a footman, and Holcroft a groom. Baffin the navigator
began his seafaring career as a man before the mast, and Sir
Cloudesley Shovel as a cabin-boy. Herschel played the oboe in a
military band. Chantrey was a journeyman carver, Etty a journeyman
printer, and Sir Thomas Lawrence the son of a tavern-keeper.
Michael Faraday, the son of a blacksmith, was in early life
apprenticed to a bookbinder, and worked at that trade until he
reached his twenty-second year: he now occupies the very first
rank as a philosopher, excelling even his master, Sir Humphry Davy,
in the art of lucidly expounding the most difficult and abstruse
points in natural science.

Among those who have given the greatest impulse to the sublime
science of astronomy, we find Copernicus, the son of a Polish
baker; Kepler, the son of a German public-house keeper, and himself
the "garcon de cabaret;" d'Alembert, a foundling picked up one
winter's night on the steps of the church of St. Jean le Rond at
Paris, and brought up by the wife of a glazier; and Newton and
Laplace, the one the son of a small freeholder near Grantham, the
other the son of a poor peasant of Beaumont-en-Auge, near Honfleur.
Notwithstanding their comparatively adverse circumstances in early
life, these distinguished men achieved a solid and enduring
reputation by the exercise of their genius, which all the wealth in
the world could not have purchased. The very possession of wealth
might indeed have proved an obstacle greater even than the humble
means to which they were born. The father of Lagrange, the
astronomer and mathematician, held the office of Treasurer of War
at Turin; but having ruined himself by speculations, his family
were reduced to comparative poverty. To this circumstance Lagrange
was in after life accustomed partly to attribute his own fame and
happiness. "Had I been rich," said he, "I should probably not have
become a mathematician."

The sons of clergymen and ministers of religion generally, have
particularly distinguished themselves in our country's history.
Amongst them we find the names of Drake and Nelson, celebrated in
naval heroism; of Wollaston, Young, Playfair, and Bell, in science;
of Wren, Reynolds, Wilson, and Wilkie, in art; of Thurlow and
Campbell, in law; and of Addison, Thomson, Goldsmith, Coleridge,
and Tennyson, in literature. Lord Hardinge, Colonel Edwardes, and
Major Hodson, so honourably known in Indian warfare, were also the
sons of clergymen. Indeed, the empire of England in India was won
and held chiefly by men of the middle class - such as Clive, Warren
Hastings, and their successors - men for the most part bred in
factories and trained to habits of business.

Among the sons of attorneys we find Edmund Burke, Smeaton the
engineer, Scott and Wordsworth, and Lords Somers, Hardwick, and
Dunning. Sir William Blackstone was the posthumous son of a silk-
mercer. Lord Gifford's father was a grocer at Dover; Lord Denman's
a physician; judge Talfourd's a country brewer; and Lord Chief
Baron Pollock's a celebrated saddler at Charing Cross. Layard, the
discoverer of the monuments of Nineveh, was an articled clerk in a
London solicitor's office; and Sir William Armstrong, the inventor
of hydraulic machinery and of the Armstrong ordnance, was also
trained to the law and practised for some time as an attorney.
Milton was the son of a London scrivener, and Pope and Southey were
the sons of linendrapers. Professor Wilson was the son of a
Paisley manufacturer, and Lord Macaulay of an African merchant.
Keats was a druggist, and Sir Humphry Davy a country apothecary's
apprentice. Speaking of himself, Davy once said, "What I am I have
made myself: I say this without vanity, and in pure simplicity of
heart."  Richard Owen, the Newton of Natural History, began life as
a midshipman, and did not enter upon the line of scientific
research in which he has since become so distinguished, until
comparatively late in life. He laid the foundations of his great
knowledge while occupied in cataloguing the magnificent museum
accumulated by the industry of John Hunter, a work which occupied
him at the College of Surgeons during a period of about ten years.

Foreign not less than English biography abounds in illustrations of
men who have glorified the lot of poverty by their labours and
their genius. In Art we find Claude, the son of a pastrycook;
Geefs, of a baker; Leopold Robert, of a watchmaker; and Haydn, of a
wheelwright; whilst Daguerre was a scene-painter at the Opera. The
father of Gregory VII. was a carpenter; of Sextus V., a shepherd;
and of Adrian VI., a poor bargeman. When a boy, Adrian, unable to
pay for a light by which to study, was accustomed to prepare his
lessons by the light of the lamps in the streets and the church
porches, exhibiting a degree of patience and industry which were
the certain forerunners of his future distinction. Of like humble
origin were Hauy, the mineralogist, who was the son of a weaver of
Saint-Just; Hautefeuille, the mechanician, of a baker at Orleans;
Joseph Fourier, the mathematician, of a tailor at Auxerre; Durand,
the architect, of a Paris shoemaker; and Gesner, the naturalist, of
a skinner or worker in hides, at Zurich. This last began his
career under all the disadvantages attendant on poverty, sickness,
and domestic calamity; none of which, however, were sufficient to
damp his courage or hinder his progress. His life was indeed an
eminent illustration of the truth of the saying, that those who
have most to do and are willing to work, will find the most time.
Pierre Ramus was another man of like character. He was the son of
poor parents in Picardy, and when a boy was employed to tend sheep.
But not liking the occupation he ran away to Paris. After
encountering much misery, he succeeded in entering the College of
Navarre as a servant. The situation, however, opened for him the
road to learning, and he shortly became one of the most
distinguished men of his time.

The chemist Vauquelin was the son of a peasant of Saint-Andre-
d'Herbetot, in the Calvados. When a boy at school, though poorly
clad, he was full of bright intelligence; and the master, who
taught him to read and write, when praising him for his diligence,
used to say, "Go on, my boy; work, study, Colin, and one day you
will go as well dressed as the parish churchwarden!"  A country
apothecary who visited the school, admired the robust boy's arms,
and offered to take him into his laboratory to pound his drugs, to
which Vauquelin assented, in the hope of being able to continue his
lessons. But the apothecary would not permit him to spend any part
of his time in learning; and on ascertaining this, the youth
immediately determined to quit his service. He therefore left
Saint-Andre and took the road for Paris with his havresac on his
back. Arrived there, he searched for a place as apothecary's boy,
but could not find one. Worn out by fatigue and destitution,
Vauquelin fell ill, and in that state was taken to the hospital,
where he thought he should die. But better things were in store
for the poor boy. He recovered, and again proceeded in his search
of employment, which he at length found with an apothecary.
Shortly after, he became known to Fourcroy the eminent chemist, who
was so pleased with the youth that he made him his private
secretary; and many years after, on the death of that great
philosopher, Vauquelin succeeded him as Professor of Chemistry.
Finally, in 1829, the electors of the district of Calvados
appointed him their representative in the Chamber of Deputies, and
he re-entered in triumph the village which he had left so many
years before, so poor and so obscure.

England has no parallel instances to show, of promotions from the
ranks of the army to the highest military offices; which have been
so common in France since the first Revolution. "La carriere
ouverte aux talents" has there received many striking
illustrations, which would doubtless be matched among ourselves
were the road to promotion as open. Hoche, Humbert, and Pichegru,
began their respective careers as private soldiers. Hoche, while
in the King's army, was accustomed to embroider waistcoats to
enable him to earn money wherewith to purchase books on military
science. Humbert was a scapegrace when a youth; at sixteen he ran
away from home, and was by turns servant to a tradesman at Nancy, a
workman at Lyons, and a hawker of rabbit skins. In 1792, he
enlisted as a volunteer; and in a year he was general of brigade.
Kleber, Lefevre, Suchet, Victor, Lannes, Soult, Massena, St. Cyr,
D'Erlon, Murat, Augereau, Bessieres, and Ney, all rose from the
ranks. In some cases promotion was rapid, in others it was slow.
Saint Cyr, the son of a tanner of Toul, began life as an actor,
after which he enlisted in the Chasseurs, and was promoted to a
captaincy within a year. Victor, Duc de Belluno, enlisted in the
Artillery in 1781: during the events preceding the Revolution he
was discharged; but immediately on the outbreak of war he re-
enlisted, and in the course of a few months his intrepidity and
ability secured his promotion as Adjutant-Major and chief of
battalion. Murat, "le beau sabreur," was the son of a village
innkeeper in Perigord, where he looked after the horses. He first
enlisted in a regiment of Chasseurs, from which he was dismissed
for insubordination: but again enlisting, he shortly rose to the
rank of Colonel. Ney enlisted at eighteen in a hussar regiment,
and gradually advanced step by step: Kleber soon discovered his
merits, surnaming him "The Indefatigable," and promoted him to be
Adjutant-General when only twenty-five. On the other hand, Soult
(2) was six years from the date of his enlistment before he reached
the rank of sergeant. But Soult's advancement was rapid compared
with that of Massena, who served for fourteen years before he was
made sergeant; and though he afterwards rose successively, step by
step, to the grades of Colonel, General of Division, and Marshal,
he declared that the post of sergeant was the step which of all
others had cost him the most labour to win. Similar promotions
from the ranks, in the French army, have continued down to our own
day. Changarnier entered the King's bodyguard as a private in
1815. Marshal Bugeaud served four years in the ranks, after which
he was made an officer. Marshal Randon, the present French
Minister of War, began his military career as a drummer boy; and in
the portrait of him in the gallery at Versailles, his hand rests
upon a drum-head, the picture being thus painted at his own
request. Instances such as these inspire French soldiers with
enthusiasm for their service, as each private feels that he may
possibly carry the baton of a marshal in his knapsack.

The instances of men, in this and other countries, who, by dint of
persevering application and energy, have raised themselves from the
humblest ranks of industry to eminent positions of usefulness and
influence in society, are indeed so numerous that they have long
ceased to be regarded as exceptional. Looking at some of the more
remarkable, it might almost be said that early encounter with
difficulty and adverse circumstances was the necessary and
indispensable condition of success. The British House of Commons
has always contained a considerable number of such self-raised men
- fitting representatives of the industrial character of the
people; and it is to the credit of our Legislature that they have
been welcomed and honoured there. When the late Joseph Brotherton,
member for Salford, in the course of the discussion on the Ten
Hours Bill, detailed with true pathos the hardships and fatigues to
which he had been subjected when working as a factory boy in a
cotton mill, and described the resolution which he had then formed,
that if ever it was in his power he would endeavour to ameliorate
the condition of that class, Sir James Graham rose immediately
after him, and declared, amidst the cheers of the House, that he
did not before know that Mr. Brotherton's origin had been so
humble, but that it rendered him more proud than he had ever before
been of the House of Commons, to think that a person risen from
that condition should be able to sit side by side, on equal terms,
with the hereditary gentry of the land.

The late Mr. Fox, member for Oldham, was accustomed to introduce
his recollections of past times with the words, "when I was working
as a weaver boy at Norwich;" and there are other members of
parliament, still living, whose origin has been equally humble.
Mr. Lindsay, the well-known ship owner, until recently member for
Sunderland, once told the simple story of his life to the electors
of Weymouth, in answer to an attack made upon him by his political
opponents. He had been left an orphan at fourteen, and when he
left Glasgow for Liverpool to push his way in the world, not being
able to pay the usual fare, the captain of the steamer agreed to
take his labour in exchange, and the boy worked his passage by
trimming the coals in the coal hole. At Liverpool he remained for
seven weeks before he could obtain employment, during which time he
lived in sheds and fared hardly; until at last he found shelter on
board a West Indiaman. He entered as a boy, and before he was
nineteen, by steady good conduct he had risen to the command of a
ship. At twenty-three he retired from the sea, and settled on
shore, after which his progress was rapid "he had prospered," he
said, "by steady industry, by constant work, and by ever keeping in
view the great principle of doing to others as you would be done

The career of Mr. William Jackson, of Birkenhead, the present
member for North Derbyshire, bears considerable resemblance to that
of Mr. Lindsay. His father, a surgeon at Lancaster, died, leaving
a family of eleven children, of whom William Jackson was the
seventh son. The elder boys had been well educated while the
father lived, but at his death the younger members had to shift for
themselves. William, when under twelve years old, was taken from
school, and put to hard work at a ship's side from six in the
morning till nine at night. His master falling ill, the boy was
taken into the counting-house, where he had more leisure. This
gave him an opportunity of reading, and having obtained access to a
set of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica,' he read the volumes through
from A to Z, partly by day, but chiefly at night. He afterwards
put himself to a trade, was diligent, and succeeded in it. Now he
has ships sailing on almost every sea, and holds commercial
relations with nearly every country on the globe.

Among like men of the same class may be ranked the late Richard
Cobden, whose start in life was equally humble. The son of a small
farmer at Midhurst in Sussex, he was sent at an early age to London
and employed as a boy in a warehouse in the City. He was diligent,
well conducted, and eager for information. His master, a man of
the old school, warned him against too much reading; but the boy
went on in his own course, storing his mind with the wealth found
in books. He was promoted from one position of trust to another -
became a traveller for his house - secured a large connection, and
eventually started in business as a calico printer at Manchester.
Taking an interest in public questions, more especially in popular
education, his attention was gradually drawn to the subject of the
Corn Laws, to the repeal of which he may be said to have devoted
his fortune and his life. It may be mentioned as a curious fact
that the first speech he delivered in public was a total failure.
But he had great perseverance, application, and energy; and with
persistency and practice, he became at length one of the most
persuasive and effective of public speakers, extorting the
disinterested eulogy of even Sir Robert Peel himself. M. Drouyn de
Lhuys, the French Ambassador, has eloquently said of Mr. Cobden,
that he was "a living proof of what merit, perseverance, and labour
can accomplish; one of the most complete examples of those men who,
sprung from the humblest ranks of society, raise themselves to the
highest rank in public estimation by the effect of their own worth
and of their personal services; finally, one of the rarest examples
of the solid qualities inherent in the English character."

In all these cases, strenuous individual application was the price
paid for distinction; excellence of any sort being invariably
placed beyond the reach of indolence. It is the diligent hand and
head alone that maketh rich - in self-culture, growth in wisdom,
and in business. Even when men are born to wealth and high social
position, any solid reputation which they may individually achieve
can only be attained by energetic application; for though an
inheritance of acres may be bequeathed, an inheritance of knowledge
and wisdom cannot. The wealthy man may pay others for doing his
work for him, but it is impossible to get his thinking done for him
by another, or to purchase any kind of self-culture. Indeed, the
doctrine that excellence in any pursuit is only to be achieved by
laborious application, holds as true in the case of the man of
wealth as in that of Drew and Gifford, whose only school was a
cobbler's stall, or Hugh Miller, whose only college was a Cromarty
stone quarry.

Riches and ease, it is perfectly clear, are not necessary for man's
highest culture, else had not the world been so largely indebted in
all times to those who have sprung from the humbler ranks. An easy
and luxurious existence does not train men to effort or encounter
with difficulty; nor does it awaken that consciousness of power
which is so necessary for energetic and effective action in life.
Indeed, so far from poverty being a misfortune, it may, by vigorous
self-help, be converted even into a blessing; rousing a man to that
struggle with the world in which, though some may purchase ease by
degradation, the right-minded and true-hearted find strength,
confidence, and triumph. Bacon says, "Men seem neither to
understand their riches nor their strength: of the former they
believe greater things than they should; of the latter much less.
Self-reliance and self-denial will teach a man to drink out of his
own cistern, and eat his own sweet bread, and to learn and labour
truly to get his living, and carefully to expend the good things
committed to his trust."

Riches are so great a temptation to ease and self-indulgence, to
which men are by nature prone, that the glory is all the greater of
those who, born to ample fortunes, nevertheless take an active part
in the work of their generation - who "scorn delights and live
laborious days."  It is to the honour of the wealthier ranks in
this country that they are not idlers; for they do their fair share
of the work of the state, and usually take more than their fair
share of its dangers. It was a fine thing said of a subaltern
officer in the Peninsular campaigns, observed trudging alone
through mud and mire by the side of his regiment, "There goes
15,000L. a year!" and in our own day, the bleak slopes of
Sebastopol and the burning soil of India have borne witness to the
like noble self-denial and devotion on the part of our gentler
classes; many a gallant and noble fellow, of rank and estate,
having risked his life, or lost it, in one or other of those fields
of action, in the service of his country.

Nor have the wealthier classes been undistinguished in the more
peaceful pursuits of philosophy and science. Take, for instance,
the great names of Bacon, the father of modern philosophy, and of
Worcester, Boyle, Cavendish, Talbot, and Rosse, in science. The
last named may be regarded as the great mechanic of the peerage; a
man who, if he had not been born a peer, would probably have taken
the highest rank as an inventor. So thorough is his knowledge of
smith-work that he is said to have been pressed on one occasion to
accept the foremanship of a large workshop, by a manufacturer to
whom his rank was unknown. The great Rosse telescope, of his own
fabrication, is certainly the most extraordinary instrument of the
kind that has yet been constructed.

But it is principally in the departments of politics and literature
that we find the most energetic labourers amongst our higher
classes. Success in these lines of action, as in all others, can
only be achieved through industry, practice, and study; and the
great Minister, or parliamentary leader, must necessarily be
amongst the very hardest of workers. Such was Palmerston; and such
are Derby and Russell, Disraeli and Gladstone. These men have had
the benefit of no Ten Hours Bill, but have often, during the busy
season of Parliament, worked "double shift," almost day and night.
One of the most illustrious of such workers in modern times was
unquestionably the late Sir Robert Peel. He possessed in an
extraordinary degree the power of continuous intellectual labour,
nor did he spare himself. His career, indeed, presented a
remarkable example of how much a man of comparatively moderate
powers can accomplish by means of assiduous application and
indefatigable industry. During the forty years that he held a seat
in Parliament, his labours were prodigious. He was a most
conscientious man, and whatever he undertook to do, he did
thoroughly. All his speeches bear evidence of his careful study of
everything that had been spoken or written on the subject under
consideration. He was elaborate almost to excess; and spared no
pains to adapt himself to the various capacities of his audience.
Withal, he possessed much practical sagacity, great strength of
purpose, and power to direct the issues of action with steady hand
and eye. In one respect he surpassed most men: his principles
broadened and enlarged with time; and age, instead of contracting,
only served to mellow and ripen his nature. To the last he
continued open to the reception of new views, and, though many
thought him cautious to excess, he did not allow himself to fall
into that indiscriminating admiration of the past, which is the
palsy of many minds similarly educated, and renders the old age of
many nothing but a pity.

The indefatigable industry of Lord Brougham has become almost
proverbial. His public labours have extended over a period of
upwards of sixty years, during which he has ranged over many fields
- of law, literature, politics, and science, - and achieved
distinction in them all. How he contrived it, has been to many a
mystery. Once, when Sir Samuel Romilly was requested to undertake
some new work, he excused himself by saying that he had no time;
"but," he added, "go with it to that fellow Brougham, he seems to
have time for everything."  The secret of it was, that he never
left a minute unemployed; withal he possessed a constitution of
iron. When arrived at an age at which most men would have retired
from the world to enjoy their hard-earned leisure, perhaps to doze
away their time in an easy chair, Lord Brougham commenced and
prosecuted a series of elaborate investigations as to the laws of
Light, and he submitted the results to the most scientific
audiences that Paris and London could muster. About the same time,
he was passing through the press his admirable sketches of the 'Men
of Science and Literature of the Reign of George III.,' and taking
his full share of the law business and the political discussions in
the House of Lords. Sydney Smith once recommended him to confine
himself to only the transaction of so much business as three strong
men could get through. But such was Brougham's love of work - long
become a habit - that no amount of application seems to have been
too great for him; and such was his love of excellence, that it has
been said of him that if his station in life had been only that of
a shoe-black, he would never have rested satisfied until he had
become the best shoe-black in England.

Another hard-working man of the same class is Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
Few writers have done more, or achieved higher distinction in
various walks - as a novelist, poet, dramatist, historian,
essayist, orator, and politician. He has worked his way step by
step, disdainful of ease, and animated throughout by the ardent
desire to excel. On the score of mere industry, there are few
living English writers who have written so much, and none that have
produced so much of high quality. The industry of Bulwer is
entitled to all the greater praise that it has been entirely self-
imposed. To hunt, and shoot, and live at ease, - to frequent the
clubs and enjoy the opera, with the variety of London visiting and
sight-seeing during the "season," and then off to the country
mansion, with its well-stocked preserves, and its thousand
delightful out-door pleasures, - to travel abroad, to Paris,
Vienna, or Rome, - all this is excessively attractive to a lover of
pleasure and a man of fortune, and by no means calculated to make
him voluntarily undertake continuous labour of any kind. Yet these
pleasures, all within his reach, Bulwer must, as compared with men
born to similar estate, have denied himself in assuming the
position and pursuing the career of a literary man. Like Byron,
his first effort was poetical ('Weeds and Wild Flowers'), and a
failure. His second was a novel ('Falkland'), and it proved a
failure too. A man of weaker nerve would have dropped authorship;
but Bulwer had pluck and perseverance; and he worked on, determined
to succeed. He was incessantly industrious, read extensively, and
from failure went courageously onwards to success. 'Pelham'
followed 'Falkland' within a year, and the remainder of Bulwer's
literary life, now extending over a period of thirty years, has
been a succession of triumphs.

Mr. Disraeli affords a similar instance of the power of industry
and application in working out an eminent public career. His first
achievements were, like Bulwer's, in literature; and he reached
success only through a succession of failures. His 'Wondrous Tale
of Alroy' and 'Revolutionary Epic' were laughed at, and regarded as
indications of literary lunacy. But he worked on in other
directions, and his 'Coningsby,' 'Sybil,' and 'Tancred,' proved the
sterling stuff of which he was made. As an orator too, his first
appearance in the House of Commons was a failure. It was spoken of
as "more screaming than an Adelphi farce."  Though composed in a
grand and ambitious strain, every sentence was hailed with "loud
laughter."  'Hamlet' played as a comedy were nothing to it. But he
concluded with a sentence which embodied a prophecy. Writhing
under the laughter with which his studied eloquence had been
received, he exclaimed, "I have begun several times many things,
and have succeeded in them at last. I shall sit down now, but the
time will come when you will hear me."  The time did come; and how
Disraeli succeeded in at length commanding the attention of the
first assembly of gentlemen in the world, affords a striking
illustration of what energy and determination will do; for Disraeli
earned his position by dint of patient industry. He did not, as
many young men do, having once failed, retire dejected, to mope and
whine in a corner, but diligently set himself to work. He
carefully unlearnt his faults, studied the character of his
audience, practised sedulously the art of speech, and industriously
filled his mind with the elements of parliamentary knowledge. He
worked patiently for success; and it came, but slowly: then the
House laughed with him, instead of at him. The recollection of his
early failure was effaced, and by general consent he was at length
admitted to be one of the most finished and effective of
parliamentary speakers.

Although much may be accomplished by means of individual industry
and energy, as these and other instances set forth in the following
pages serve to illustrate, it must at the same time be acknowledged
that the help which we derive from others in the journey of life is
of very great importance. The poet Wordsworth has well said that
"these two things, contradictory though they may seem, must go
together - manly dependence and manly independence, manly reliance
and manly self-reliance."  From infancy to old age, all are more or
less indebted to others for nurture and culture; and the best and
strongest are usually found the readiest to acknowledge such help.
Take, for example, the career of the late Alexis de Tocqueville, a
man doubly well-born, for his father was a distinguished peer of
France, and his mother a grand-daughter of Malesherbes. Through
powerful family influence, he was appointed Judge Auditor at
Versailles when only twenty-one; but probably feeling that he had
not fairly won the position by merit, he determined to give it up
and owe his future advancement in life to himself alone. "A
foolish resolution," some will say; but De Tocqueville bravely
acted it out. He resigned his appointment, and made arrangements
to leave France for the purpose of travelling through the United
States, the results of which were published in his great book on
'Democracy in America.'  His friend and travelling companion,
Gustave de Beaumont, has described his indefatigable industry
during this journey. "His nature," he says, "was wholly averse to
idleness, and whether he was travelling or resting, his mind was
always at work. . . . With Alexis, the most agreeable conversation
was that which was the most useful. The worst day was the lost
day, or the day ill spent; the least loss of time annoyed him."
Tocqueville himself wrote to a friend - "There is no time of life
at which one can wholly cease from action, for effort without one's
self, and still more effort within, is equally necessary, if not
more so, when we grow old, as it is in youth. I compare man in
this world to a traveller journeying without ceasing towards a
colder and colder region; the higher he goes, the faster he ought
to walk. The great malady of the soul is cold. And in resisting
this formidable evil, one needs not only to be sustained by the
action of a mind employed, but also by contact with one's fellows
in the business of life." (3)

Notwithstanding de Tocqueville's decided views as to the necessity
of exercising individual energy and self-dependence, no one could
be more ready than he was to recognise the value of that help and
support for which all men are indebted to others in a greater or
less degree. Thus, he often acknowledged, with gratitude, his
obligations to his friends De Kergorlay and Stofells, - to the
former for intellectual assistance, and to the latter for moral
support and sympathy. To De Kergorlay he wrote - "Thine is the
only soul in which I have confidence, and whose influence exercises
a genuine effect upon my own. Many others have influence upon the
details of my actions, but no one has so much influence as thou on
the origination of fundamental ideas, and of those principles which
are the rule of conduct."  De Tocqueville was not less ready to
confess the great obligations which he owed to his wife, Marie, for
the preservation of that temper and frame of mind which enabled him
to prosecute his studies with success. He believed that a noble-
minded woman insensibly elevated the character of her husband,
while one of a grovelling nature as certainly tended to degrade it.

In fine, human character is moulded by a thousand subtle
influences; by example and precept; by life and literature; by
friends and neighbours; by the world we live in as well as by the
spirits of our forefathers, whose legacy of good words and deeds we
inherit. But great, unquestionably, though these influences are
acknowledged to be, it is nevertheless equally clear that men must
necessarily be the active agents of their own well-being and well-
doing; and that, however much the wise and the good may owe to
others, they themselves must in the very nature of things be their
own best helpers.


"Le travail et la Science sont desormais les maitres du monde." -
De Salvandy.

"Deduct all that men of the humbler classes have done for England
in the way of inventions only, and see where she would have been
but for them." - Arthur Helps.

One of the most strongly-marked features of the English people is
their spirit of industry, standing out prominent and distinct in
their past history, and as strikingly characteristic of them now as
at any former period. It is this spirit, displayed by the commons
of England, which has laid the foundations and built up the
industrial greatness of the empire. This vigorous growth of the
nation has been mainly the result of the free energy of
individuals, and it has been contingent upon the number of hands
and minds from time to time actively employed within it, whether as
cultivators of the soil, producers of articles of utility,
contrivers of tools and machines, writers of books, or creators of
works of art. And while this spirit of active industry has been
the vital principle of the nation, it has also been its saving and
remedial one, counteracting from time to time the effects of errors
in our laws and imperfections in our constitution.

The career of industry which the nation has pursued, has also
proved its best education. As steady application to work is the
healthiest training for every individual, so is it the best
discipline of a state. Honourable industry travels the same road
with duty; and Providence has closely linked both with happiness.
The gods, says the poet, have placed labour and toil on the way
leading to the Elysian fields. Certain it is that no bread eaten
by man is so sweet as that earned by his own labour, whether bodily
or mental. By labour the earth has been subdued, and man redeemed
from barbarism; nor has a single step in civilization been made
without it. Labour is not only a necessity and a duty, but a
blessing: only the idler feels it to be a curse. The duty of work
is written on the thews and muscles of the limbs, the mechanism of
the hand, the nerves and lobes of the brain - the sum of whose
healthy action is satisfaction and enjoyment. In the school of
labour is taught the best practical wisdom; nor is a life of manual
employment, as we shall hereafter find, incompatible with high
mental culture.

Hugh Miller, than whom none knew better the strength and the
weakness belonging to the lot of labour, stated the result of his
experience to be, that Work, even the hardest, is full of pleasure
and materials for self-improvement. He held honest labour to be
the best of teachers, and that the school of toil is the noblest of
schools - save only the Christian one, - that it is a school in
which the ability of being useful is imparted, the spirit of
independence learnt, and the habit of persevering effort acquired.
He was even of opinion that the training of the mechanic, - by the
exercise which it gives to his observant faculties, from his daily
dealing with things actual and practical, and the close experience
of life which he acquires, - better fits him for picking his way
along the journey of life, and is more favourable to his growth as
a Man, emphatically speaking, than the training afforded by any
other condition.

The array of great names which we have already cursorily cited, of
men springing from the ranks of the industrial classes, who have
achieved distinction in various walks of life - in science,
commerce, literature, and art - shows that at all events the
difficulties interposed by poverty and labour are not
insurmountable. As respects the great contrivances and inventions
which have conferred so much power and wealth upon the nation, it
is unquestionable that for the greater part of them we have been
indebted to men of the humblest rank. Deduct what they have done
in this particular line of action, and it will be found that very
little indeed remains for other men to have accomplished.

Inventors have set in motion some of the greatest industries of the
world. To them society owes many of its chief necessaries,
comforts, and luxuries; and by their genius and labour daily life
has been rendered in all respects more easy as well as enjoyable.
Our food, our clothing, the furniture of our homes, the glass which
admits the light to our dwellings at the same time that it excludes
the cold, the gas which illuminates our streets, our means of
locomotion by land and by sea, the tools by which our various
articles of necessity and luxury are fabricated, have been the
result of the labour and ingenuity of many men and many minds.
Mankind at large are all the happier for such inventions, and are
every day reaping the benefit of them in an increase of individual
well-being as well as of public enjoyment.

Though the invention of the working steam-engine - the king of
machines - belongs, comparatively speaking, to our own epoch, the
idea of it was born many centuries ago. Like other contrivances
and discoveries, it was effected step by step - one man
transmitting the result of his labours, at the time apparently
useless, to his successors, who took it up and carried it forward
another stage, - the prosecution of the inquiry extending over many
generations. Thus the idea promulgated by Hero of Alexandria was
never altogether lost; but, like the grain of wheat hid in the hand
of the Egyptian mummy, it sprouted and again grew vigorously when
brought into the full light of modern science. The steam-engine
was nothing, however, until it emerged from the state of theory,
and was taken in hand by practical mechanics; and what a noble
story of patient, laborious investigation, of difficulties
encountered and overcome by heroic industry, does not that
marvellous machine tell of! It is indeed, in itself, a monument of
the power of self-help in man. Grouped around it we find Savary,
the military engineer; Newcomen, the Dartmouth blacksmith; Cawley,
the glazier; Potter, the engine-boy; Smeaton, the civil engineer;
and, towering above all, the laborious, patient, never-tiring James
Watt, the mathematical-instrument maker.

Watt was one of the most industrious of men; and the story of his
life proves, what all experience confirms, that it is not the man
of the greatest natural vigour and capacity who achieves the
highest results, but he who employs his powers with the greatest
industry and the most carefully disciplined skill - the skill that
comes by labour, application, and experience. Many men in his time
knew far more than Watt, but none laboured so assiduously as he did
to turn all that he did know to useful practical purposes. He was,
above all things, most persevering in the pursuit of facts. He
cultivated carefully that habit of active attention on which all
the higher working qualities of the mind mainly depend. Indeed,
Mr. Edgeworth entertained the opinion, that the difference of
intellect in men depends more upon the early cultivation of this
HABIT OF ATTENTION, than upon any great disparity between the
powers of one individual and another.

Even when a boy, Watt found science in his toys. The quadrants
lying about his father's carpenter's shop led him to the study of
optics and astronomy; his ill health induced him to pry into the
secrets of physiology; and his solitary walks through the country
attracted him to the study of botany and history. While carrying
on the business of a mathematical-instrument maker, he received an
order to build an organ; and, though without an ear for music, he
undertook the study of harmonics, and successfully constructed the
instrument. And, in like manner, when the little model of
Newcomen's steam-engine, belonging to the University of Glasgow,
was placed in his hands to repair, he forthwith set himself to
learn all that was then known about heat, evaporation, and
condensation, - at the same time plodding his way in mechanics and
the science of construction, - the results of which he at length
embodied in his condensing steam-engine.

For ten years he went on contriving and inventing - with little
hope to cheer him, and with few friends to encourage him. He went
on, meanwhile, earning bread for his family by making and selling
quadrants, making and mending fiddles, flutes, and musical
instruments; measuring mason-work, surveying roads, superintending
the construction of canals, or doing anything that turned up, and
offered a prospect of honest gain. At length, Watt found a fit
partner in another eminent leader of industry - Matthew Boulton, of
Birmingham; a skilful, energetic, and far-seeing man, who
vigorously undertook the enterprise of introducing the condensing-
engine into general use as a working power; and the success of both
is now matter of history. (5)

Many skilful inventors have from time to time added new power to
the steam-engine; and, by numerous modifications, rendered it
capable of being applied to nearly all the purposes of manufacture
- driving machinery, impelling ships, grinding corn, printing
books, stamping money, hammering, planing, and turning iron; in
short, of performing every description of mechanical labour where
power is required. One of the most useful modifications in the
engine was that devised by Trevithick, and eventually perfected by
George Stephenson and his son, in the form of the railway
locomotive, by which social changes of immense importance have been
brought about, of even greater consequence, considered in their
results on human progress and civilization, than the condensing-
engine of Watt.

One of the first grand results of Watt's invention, - which placed
an almost unlimited power at the command of the producing classes,
- was the establishment of the cotton-manufacture. The person most
closely identified with the foundation of this great branch of
industry was unquestionably Sir Richard Arkwright, whose practical
energy and sagacity were perhaps even more remarkable than his
mechanical inventiveness. His originality as an inventor has
indeed been called in question, like that of Watt and Stephenson.
Arkwright probably stood in the same relation to the spinning-
machine that Watt did to the steam-engine and Stephenson to the
locomotive. He gathered together the scattered threads of
ingenuity which already existed, and wove them, after his own
design, into a new and original fabric. Though Lewis Paul, of
Birmingham, patented the invention of spinning by rollers thirty
years before Arkwright, the machines constructed by him were so
imperfect in their details, that they could not be profitably
worked, and the invention was practically a failure. Another
obscure mechanic, a reed-maker of Leigh, named Thomas Highs, is
also said to have invented the water-frame and spinning-jenny; but
they, too, proved unsuccessful.

When the demands of industry are found to press upon the resources
of inventors, the same idea is usually found floating about in many
minds; - such has been the case with the steam-engine, the safety-
lamp, the electric telegraph, and other inventions. Many ingenious
minds are found labouring in the throes of invention, until at
length the master mind, the strong practical man, steps forward,
and straightway delivers them of their idea, applies the principle
successfully, and the thing is done. Then there is a loud outcry
among all the smaller contrivers, who see themselves distanced in
the race; and hence men such as Watt, Stephenson, and Arkwright,
have usually to defend their reputation and their rights as
practical and successful inventors.

Richard Arkwright, like most of our great mechanicians, sprang from
the ranks. He was born in Preston in 1732. His parents were very
poor, and he was the youngest of thirteen children. He was never
at school: the only education he received he gave to himself; and
to the last he was only able to write with difficulty. When a boy,
he was apprenticed to a barber, and after learning the business, he
set up for himself in Bolton, where he occupied an underground
cellar, over which he put up the sign, "Come to the subterraneous
barber - he shaves for a penny."  The other barbers found their
customers leaving them, and reduced their prices to his standard,
when Arkwright, determined to push his trade, announced his
determination to give "A clean shave for a halfpenny."  After a few
years he quitted his cellar, and became an itinerant dealer in
hair. At that time wigs were worn, and wig-making formed an
important branch of the barbering business. Arkwright went about
buying hair for the wigs. He was accustomed to attend the hiring
fairs throughout Lancashire resorted to by young women, for the
purpose of securing their long tresses; and it is said that in
negotiations of this sort he was very successful. He also dealt in
a chemical hair dye, which he used adroitly, and thereby secured a
considerable trade. But he does not seem, notwithstanding his
pushing character, to have done more than earn a bare living.

The fashion of wig-wearing having undergone a change, distress fell
upon the wig-makers; and Arkwright, being of a mechanical turn, was
consequently induced to turn machine inventor or "conjurer," as the
pursuit was then popularly termed. Many attempts were made about
that time to invent a spinning-machine, and our barber determined
to launch his little bark on the sea of invention with the rest.
Like other self-taught men of the same bias, he had already been
devoting his spare time to the invention of a perpetual-motion
machine; and from that the transition to a spinning-machine was
easy. He followed his experiments so assiduously that he neglected
his business, lost the little money he had saved, and was reduced
to great poverty. His wife - for he had by this time married - was
impatient at what she conceived to be a wanton waste of time and
money, and in a moment of sudden wrath she seized upon and
destroyed his models, hoping thus to remove the cause of the family
privations. Arkwright was a stubborn and enthusiastic man, and he
was provoked beyond measure by this conduct of his wife, from whom
he immediately separated.

In travelling about the country, Arkwright had become acquainted
with a person named Kay, a clockmaker at Warrington, who assisted
him in constructing some of the parts of his perpetual-motion
machinery. It is supposed that he was informed by Kay of the
principle of spinning by rollers; but it is also said that the idea
was first suggested to him by accidentally observing a red-hot
piece of iron become elongated by passing between iron rollers.
However this may be, the idea at once took firm possession of his
mind, and he proceeded to devise the process by which it was to be
accomplished, Kay being able to tell him nothing on this point.
Arkwright now abandoned his business of hair collecting, and
devoted himself to the perfecting of his machine, a model of which,
constructed by Kay under his directions, he set up in the parlour
of the Free Grammar School at Preston. Being a burgess of the
town, he voted at the contested election at which General Burgoyne
was returned; but such was his poverty, and such the tattered state
of his dress, that a number of persons subscribed a sum sufficient
to have him put in a state fit to appear in the poll-room. The
exhibition of his machine in a town where so many workpeople lived
by the exercise of manual labour proved a dangerous experiment;
ominous growlings were heard outside the school-room from time to
time, and Arkwright, - remembering the fate of Kay, who was mobbed
and compelled to fly from Lancashire because of his invention of
the fly-shuttle, and of poor Hargreaves, whose spinning-jenny had
been pulled to pieces only a short time before by a Blackburn mob,
- wisely determined on packing up his model and removing to a less
dangerous locality. He went accordingly to Nottingham, where he
applied to some of the local bankers for pecuniary assistance; and
the Messrs. Wright consented to advance him a sum of money on
condition of sharing in the profits of the invention. The machine,
however, not being perfected so soon as they had anticipated, the
bankers recommended Arkwright to apply to Messrs. Strutt and Need,
the former of whom was the ingenious inventor and patentee of the
stocking-frame. Mr. Strutt at once appreciated the merits of the
invention, and a partnership was entered into with Arkwright, whose
road to fortune was now clear. The patent was secured in the name
of "Richard Arkwright, of Nottingham, clockmaker," and it is a
circumstance worthy of note, that it was taken out in 1769, the
same year in which Watt secured the patent for his steam-engine. A
cotton-mill was first erected at Nottingham, driven by horses; and
another was shortly after built, on a much larger scale, at
Cromford, in Derbyshire, turned by a water-wheel, from which
circumstance the spinning-machine came to be called the water-

Arkwright's labours, however, were, comparatively speaking, only
begun. He had still to perfect all the working details of his
machine. It was in his hands the subject of constant modification
and improvement, until eventually it was rendered practicable and
profitable in an eminent degree. But success was only secured by
long and patient labour: for some years, indeed, the speculation
was disheartening and unprofitable, swallowing up a very large
amount of capital without any result. When success began to appear
more certain, then the Lancashire manufacturers fell upon
Arkwright's patent to pull it in pieces, as the Cornish miners fell
upon Boulton and Watt to rob them of the profits of their steam-
engine. Arkwright was even denounced as the enemy of the working
people; and a mill which he built near Chorley was destroyed by a
mob in the presence of a strong force of police and military. The
Lancashire men refused to buy his materials, though they were
confessedly the best in the market. Then they refused to pay
patent-right for the use of his machines, and combined to crush him
in the courts of law. To the disgust of right-minded people,
Arkwright's patent was upset. After the trial, when passing the
hotel at which his opponents were staying, one of them said, loud
enough to be heard by him, "Well, we've done the old shaver at
last;" to which he coolly replied, "Never mind, I've a razor left
that will shave you all."  He established new mills in Lancashire,
Derbyshire, and at New Lanark, in Scotland. The mills at Cromford
also came into his hands at the expiry of his partnership with
Strutt, and the amount and the excellence of his products were
such, that in a short time he obtained so complete a control of the
trade, that the prices were fixed by him, and he governed the main
operations of the other cotton-spinners.

Arkwright was a man of great force of character, indomitable
courage, much worldly shrewdness, with a business faculty almost
amounting to genius. At one period his time was engrossed by
severe and continuous labour, occasioned by the organising and
conducting of his numerous manufactories, sometimes from four in
the morning till nine at night. At fifty years of age he set to
work to learn English grammar, and improve himself in writing and
orthography. After overcoming every obstacle, he had the
satisfaction of reaping the reward of his enterprise. Eighteen
years after he had constructed his first machine, he rose to such
estimation in Derbyshire that he was appointed High Sheriff of the
county, and shortly after George III. conferred upon him the honour
of knighthood. He died in 1792. Be it for good or for evil,
Arkwright was the founder in England of the modern factory system,
a branch of industry which has unquestionably proved a source of
immense wealth to individuals and to the nation.

All the other great branches of industry in Britain furnish like
examples of energetic men of business, the source of much benefit
to the neighbourhoods in which they have laboured, and of increased
power and wealth to the community at large. Amongst such might be
cited the Strutts of Belper; the Tennants of Glasgow; the Marshalls
and Gotts of Leeds; the Peels, Ashworths, Birleys, Fieldens,
Ashtons, Heywoods, and Ainsworths of South Lancashire, some of
whose descendants have since become distinguished in connection
with the political history of England. Such pre-eminently were the
Peels of South Lancashire.

The founder of the Peel family, about the middle of last century,
was a small yeoman, occupying the Hole House Farm, near Blackburn,
from which he afterwards removed to a house situated in Fish Lane
in that town. Robert Peel, as he advanced in life, saw a large
family of sons and daughters growing up about him; but the land
about Blackburn being somewhat barren, it did not appear to him
that agricultural pursuits offered a very encouraging prospect for
their industry. The place had, however, long been the seat of a
domestic manufacture - the fabric called "Blackburn greys,"
consisting of linen weft and cotton warp, being chiefly made in
that town and its neighbourhood. It was then customary - previous
to the introduction of the factory system - for industrious yeomen
with families to employ the time not occupied in the fields in
weaving at home; and Robert Peel accordingly began the domestic
trade of calico-making. He was honest, and made an honest article;
thrifty and hardworking, and his trade prospered. He was also
enterprising, and was one of the first to adopt the carding
cylinder, then recently invented.

But Robert Peel's attention was principally directed to the
PRINTING of calico - then a comparatively unknown art - and for
some time he carried on a series of experiments with the object of
printing by machinery. The experiments were secretly conducted in
his own house, the cloth being ironed for the purpose by one of the
women of the family. It was then customary, in such houses as the
Peels, to use pewter plates at dinner. Having sketched a figure or
pattern on one of the plates, the thought struck him that an
impression might be got from it in reverse, and printed on calico
with colour. In a cottage at the end of the farm-house lived a
woman who kept a calendering machine, and going into her cottage,
he put the plate with colour rubbed into the figured part and some
calico over it, through the machine, when it was found to leave a
satisfactory impression. Such is said to have been the origin of
roller printing on calico. Robert Peel shortly perfected his
process, and the first pattern he brought out was a parsley leaf;
hence he is spoken of in the neighbourhood of Blackburn to this day
as "Parsley Peel."  The process of calico printing by what is
called the mule machine - that is, by means of a wooden cylinder in
relief, with an engraved copper cylinder - was afterwards brought
to perfection by one of his sons, the head of the firm of Messrs.
Peel and Co., of Church. Stimulated by his success, Robert Peel
shortly gave up farming, and removing to Brookside, a village about
two miles from Blackburn, he devoted himself exclusively to the
printing business. There, with the aid of his sons, who were as
energetic as himself, he successfully carried on the trade for
several years; and as the young men grew up towards manhood, the
concern branched out into various firms of Peels, each of which
became a centre of industrial activity and a source of remunerative
employment to large numbers of people.

From what can now be learnt of the character of the original and
untitled Robert Peel, he must have been a remarkable man - shrewd,
sagacious, and far-seeing. But little is known of him excepting
from traditions and the sons of those who knew him are fast passing
away. His son, Sir Robert, thus modestly spoke of him:- "My father
may be truly said to have been the founder of our family; and he so
accurately appreciated the importance of commercial wealth in a
national point of view, that he was often heard to say that the
gains to individuals were small compared with the national gains
arising from trade."

Sir Robert Peel, the first baronet and the second manufacturer of
the name, inherited all his father's enterprise, ability, and
industry. His position, at starting in life, was little above that
of an ordinary working man; for his father, though laying the
foundations of future prosperity, was still struggling with the
difficulties arising from insufficient capital. When Robert was
only twenty years of age, he determined to begin the business of
cotton-printing, which he had by this time learnt from his father,
on his own account. His uncle, James Haworth, and William Yates of
Blackburn, joined him in his enterprise; the whole capital which
they could raise amongst them amounting to only about 500L., the
principal part of which was supplied by William Yates. The father
of the latter was a householder in Blackburn, where he was well
known and much respected; and having saved money by his business,
he was willing to advance sufficient to give his son a start in the
lucrative trade of cotton-printing, then in its infancy. Robert
Peel, though comparatively a mere youth, supplied the practical
knowledge of the business; but it was said of him, and proved true,
that he "carried an old head on young shoulders."  A ruined corn-
mill, with its adjoining fields, was purchased for a comparatively
small sum, near the then insignificant town of Bury, where the
works long after continued to be known as "The Ground;" and a few
wooden sheds having been run up, the firm commenced their cotton-
printing business in a very humble way in the year 1770, adding to
it that of cotton-spinning a few years later. The frugal style in
which the partners lived may be inferred from the following
incident in their early career. William Yates, being a married man
with a family, commenced housekeeping on a small scale, and, to
oblige Peel, who was single, he agreed to take him as a lodger.
The sum which the latter first paid for board and lodging was only
8S. a week; but Yates, considering this too little, insisted on the
weekly payment being increased a shilling, to which Peel at first
demurred, and a difference between the partners took place, which
was eventually compromised by the lodger paying an advance of
sixpence a week. William Yates's eldest child was a girl named
Ellen, and she very soon became an especial favourite with the
young lodger. On returning from his hard day's work at "The
Ground," he would take the little girl upon his knee, and say to
her, "Nelly, thou bonny little dear, wilt be my wife?" to which the
child would readily answer "Yes," as any child would do. "Then
I'll wait for thee, Nelly; I'll wed thee, and none else."  And
Robert Peel did wait. As the girl grew in beauty towards
womanhood, his determination to wait for her was strengthened; and
after the lapse of ten years - years of close application to
business and rapidly increasing prosperity - Robert Peel married
Ellen Yates when she had completed her seventeenth year; and the
pretty child, whom her mother's lodger and father's partner had
nursed upon his knee, became Mrs. Peel, and eventually Lady Peel,
the mother of the future Prime Minister of England. Lady Peel was
a noble and beautiful woman, fitted to grace any station in life.
She possessed rare powers of mind, and was, on every emergency, the
high-souled and faithful counsellor of her husband. For many years
after their marriage, she acted as his amanuensis, conducting the
principal part of his business correspondence, for Mr. Peel himself
was an indifferent and almost unintelligible writer. She died in
1803, only three years after the Baronetcy had been conferred upon
her husband. It is said that London fashionable life - so unlike
what she had been accustomed to at home - proved injurious to her
health; and old Mr. Yates afterwards used to say, "if Robert hadn't
made our Nelly a 'Lady,' she might ha' been living yet."

The career of Yates, Peel, & Co., was throughout one of great and
uninterrupted prosperity. Sir Robert Peel himself was the soul of
the firm; to great energy and application uniting much practical
sagacity, and first-rate mercantile abilities - qualities in which
many of the early cotton-spinners were exceedingly deficient. He
was a man of iron mind and frame, and toiled unceasingly. In
short, he was to cotton printing what Arkwright was to cotton-
spinning, and his success was equally great. The excellence of the
articles produced by the firm secured the command of the market,
and the character of the firm stood pre-eminent in Lancashire.
Besides greatly benefiting Bury, the partnership planted similar
extensive works in the neighbourhood, on the Irwell and the Roch;
and it was cited to their honour, that, while they sought to raise
to the highest perfection the quality of their manufactures, they
also endeavoured, in all ways, to promote the well-being and
comfort of their workpeople; for whom they contrived to provide
remunerative employment even in the least prosperous times.

Sir Robert Peel readily appreciated the value of all new processes
and inventions; in illustration of which we may allude to his
adoption of the process for producing what is called RESIST WORK in
calico printing. This is accomplished by the use of a paste, or
resist, on such parts of the cloth as were intended to remain
white. The person who discovered the paste was a traveller for a
London house, who sold it to Mr. Peel for an inconsiderable sum.
It required the experience of a year or two to perfect the system
and make it practically useful; but the beauty of its effect, and
the extreme precision of outline in the pattern produced, at once
placed the Bury establishment at the head of all the factories for
calico printing in the country. Other firms, conducted with like
spirit, were established by members of the same family at Burnley,
Foxhill bank, and Altham, in Lancashire; Salley Abbey, in
Yorkshire; and afterwards at Burton-on-Trent, in Staffordshire;
these various establishments, whilst they brought wealth to their
proprietors, setting an example to the whole cotton trade, and
training up many of the most successful printers and manufacturers
in Lancashire.

Among other distinguished founders of industry, the Rev. William
Lee, inventor of the Stocking Frame, and John Heathcoat, inventor
of the Bobbin-net Machine, are worthy of notice, as men of great
mechanical skill and perseverance, through whose labours a vast
amount of remunerative employment has been provided for the
labouring population of Nottingham and the adjacent districts. The
accounts which have been preserved of the circumstances connected
with the invention of the Stocking Frame are very confused, and in
many respects contradictory, though there is no doubt as to the
name of the inventor. This was William Lee, born at Woodborough, a
village some seven miles from Nottingham, about the year 1563.
According to some accounts, he was the heir to a small freehold,
while according to others he was a poor scholar, (6) and had to
struggle with poverty from his earliest years. He entered as a
sizar at Christ College, Cambridge, in May, 1579, and subsequently
removed to St. John's, taking his degree of B.A. in 1582-3. It is
believed that he commenced M.A. in 1586; but on this point there
appears to be some confusion in the records of the University. The
statement usually made that he was expelled for marrying contrary
to the statutes, is incorrect, as he was never a Fellow of the
University, and therefore could not be prejudiced by taking such a

At the time when Lee invented the Stocking Frame he was officiating
as curate of Calverton, near Nottingham; and it is alleged by some
writers that the invention had its origin in disappointed
affection. The curate is said to have fallen deeply in love with a
young lady of the village, who failed to reciprocate his
affections; and when he visited her, she was accustomed to pay much
more attention to the process of knitting stockings and instructing
her pupils in the art, than to the addresses of her admirer. This
slight is said to have created in his mind such an aversion to
knitting by hand, that he formed the determination to invent a
machine that should supersede it and render it a gainless
employment. For three years he devoted himself to the prosecution
of the invention, sacrificing everything to his new idea. At the
prospect of success opened before him, he abandoned his curacy, and
devoted himself to the art of stocking making by machinery. This
is the version of the story given by Henson (7) on the authority of
an old stocking-maker, who died in Collins's Hospital, Nottingham,
aged ninety-two, and was apprenticed in the town during the reign
of Queen Anne. It is also given by Deering and Blackner as the
traditional account in the neighbourhood, and it is in some measure
borne out by the arms of the London Company of Frame-Work Knitters,
which consists of a stocking frame without the wood-work, with a
clergyman on one side and a woman on the other as supporters. (8)

Whatever may have been the actual facts as to the origin of the
invention of the Stocking Loom, there can be no doubt as to the
extraordinary mechanical genius displayed by its inventor. That a
clergyman living in a remote village, whose life had for the most
part been spent with books, should contrive a machine of such
delicate and complicated movements, and at once advance the art of
knitting from the tedious process of linking threads in a chain of
loops by three skewers in the fingers of a woman, to the beautiful
and rapid process of weaving by the stocking frame, was indeed an
astonishing achievement, which may be pronounced almost unequalled
in the history of mechanical invention. Lee's merit was all the
greater, as the handicraft arts were then in their infancy, and
little attention had as yet been given to the contrivance of
machinery for the purposes of manufacture. He was under the
necessity of extemporising the parts of his machine as he best
could, and adopting various expedients to overcome difficulties as
they arose. His tools were imperfect, and his materials imperfect;
and he had no skilled workmen to assist him. According to
tradition, the first frame he made was a twelve gauge, without lead
sinkers, and it was almost wholly of wood; the needles being also
stuck in bits of wood. One of Lee's principal difficulties
consisted in the formation of the stitch, for want of needle eyes;
but this he eventually overcame by forming eyes to the needles with
a three-square file. (9)  At length, one difficulty after another
was successfully overcome, and after three years' labour the
machine was sufficiently complete to be fit for use. The quondam
curate, full of enthusiasm for his art, now began stocking weaving
in the village of Calverton, and he continued to work there for
several years, instructing his brother James and several of his
relations in the practice of the art.

Having brought his frame to a considerable degree of perfection,
and being desirous of securing the patronage of Queen Elizabeth,
whose partiality for knitted silk stockings was well known, Lee
proceeded to London to exhibit the loom before her Majesty. He
first showed it to several members of the court, among others to
Sir William (afterwards Lord) Hunsdon, whom he taught to work it
with success; and Lee was, through their instrumentality, at length
admitted to an interview with the Queen, and worked the machine in
her presence. Elizabeth, however, did not give him the
encouragement that he had expected; and she is said to have opposed
the invention on the ground that it was calculated to deprive a
large number of poor people of their employment of hand knitting.
Lee was no more successful in finding other patrons, and
considering himself and his invention treated with contempt, he
embraced the offer made to him by Sully, the sagacious minister of
Henry IV., to proceed to Rouen and instruct the operatives of that
town - then one of the most important manufacturing centres of
France - in the construction and use of the stocking-frame. Lee
accordingly transferred himself and his machines to France, in
1605, taking with him his brother and seven workmen. He met with a
cordial reception at Rouen, and was proceeding with the manufacture
of stockings on a large scale - having nine of his frames in full
work, - when unhappily ill fortune again overtook him. Henry IV.,
his protector, on whom he had relied for the rewards, honours, and
promised grant of privileges, which had induced Lee to settle in
France, was murdered by the fanatic Ravaillac; and the
encouragement and protection which had heretofore been extended to
him were at once withdrawn. To press his claims at court, Lee
proceeded to Paris; but being a protestant as well as a foreigner,
his representations were treated with neglect; and worn out with
vexation and grief, this distinguished inventor shortly after died
at Paris, in a state of extreme poverty and distress.

Lee's brother, with seven of the workmen, succeeded in escaping
from France with their frames, leaving two behind. On James Lee's
return to Nottinghamshire, he was joined by one Ashton, a miller of
Thoroton, who had been instructed in the art of frame-work knitting
by the inventor himself before he left England. These two, with
the workmen and their frames, began the stocking manufacture at
Thoroton, and carried it on with considerable success. The place
was favourably situated for the purpose, as the sheep pastured in
the neighbouring district of Sherwood yielded a kind of wool of the
longest staple. Ashton is said to have introduced the method of
making the frames with lead sinkers, which was a great improvement.
The number of looms employed in different parts of England
gradually increased; and the machine manufacture of stockings
eventually became an important branch of the national industry.

One of the most important modifications in the Stocking-Frame was
that which enabled it to be applied to the manufacture of lace on a
large scale. In 1777, two workmen, Frost and Holmes, were both
engaged in making point-net by means of the modifications they had
introduced in the stocking-frame; and in the course of about thirty
years, so rapid was the growth of this branch of production that
1500 point-net frames were at work, giving employment to upwards of
15,000 people. Owing, however, to the war, to change of fashion,
and to other circumstances, the Nottingham lace manufacture rapidly
fell off; and it continued in a decaying state until the invention
of the Bobbin-net Machine by John Heathcoat, late M.P. for
Tiverton, which had the effect of at once re-establishing the
manufacture on solid foundations.

John Heathcoat was the youngest son of a respectable small farmer
at Duffield, Derbyshire, where he was born in 1783. When at school
he made steady and rapid progress, but was early removed from it to
be apprenticed to a frame-smith near Loughborough. The boy soon
learnt to handle tools with dexterity, and he acquired a minute
knowledge of the parts of which the stocking-frame was composed, as
well as of the more intricate warp-machine. At his leisure he
studied how to introduce improvements in them, and his friend, Mr.
Bazley, M.P., states that as early as the age of sixteen, he
conceived the idea of inventing a machine by which lace might be
made similar to Buckingham or French lace, then all made by hand.
The first practical improvement he succeeded in introducing was in
the warp-frame, when, by means of an ingenious apparatus, he
succeeded in producing "mitts" of a lacy appearance, and it was
this success which determined him to pursue the study of mechanical
lace-making. The stocking-frame had already, in a modified form,
been applied to the manufacture of point-net lace, in which the
mesh was LOOPED as in a stocking, but the work was slight and
frail, and therefore unsatisfactory. Many ingenious Nottingham
mechanics had, during a long succession of years, been labouring at
the problem of inventing a machine by which the mesh of threads
should be TWISTED round each other on the formation of the net.
Some of these men died in poverty, some were driven insane, and all
alike failed in the object of their search. The old warp-machine
held its ground.

When a little over twenty-one years of age, Heathcoat went to
Nottingham, where he readily found employment, for which he soon
received the highest remuneration, as a setter-up of hosiery and
warp-frames, and was much respected for his talent for invention,
general intelligence, and the sound and sober principles that
governed his conduct. He also continued to pursue the subject on
which his mind had before been occupied, and laboured to compass
the contrivance of a twist traverse-net machine. He first studied
the art of making the Buckingham or pillow-lace by hand, with the
object of effecting the same motions by mechanical means. It was a
long and laborious task, requiring the exercise of great
perseverance and ingenuity. His master, Elliot, described him at
that time as inventive, patient, self-denying, and taciturn,
undaunted by failures and mistakes, full of resources and
expedients, and entertaining the most perfect confidence that his
application of mechanical principles would eventually be crowned
with success.

It is difficult to describe in words an invention so complicated as
the bobbin-net machine. It was, indeed, a mechanical pillow for
making lace, imitating in an ingenious manner the motions of the
lace-maker's fingers in intersecting or tying the meshes of the
lace upon her pillow. On analysing the component parts of a piece
of hand-made lace, Heathcoat was enabled to classify the threads
into longitudinal and diagonal. He began his experiments by fixing
common pack-threads lengthwise on a sort of frame for the warp, and
then passing the weft threads between them by common plyers,
delivering them to other plyers on the opposite side; then, after
giving them a sideways motion and twist, the threads were repassed
back between the next adjoining cords, the meshes being thus tied
in the same way as upon pillows by hand. He had then to contrive a
mechanism that should accomplish all these nice and delicate
movements, and to do this cost him no small amount of mental toil.
Long after he said, "The single difficulty of getting the diagonal
threads to twist in the allotted space was so great that if it had
now to be done, I should probably not attempt its accomplishment."
His next step was to provide thin metallic discs, to be used as
bobbins for conducting the threads backwards and forwards through
the warp. These discs, being arranged in carrier-frames placed on
each side of the warp, were moved by suitable machinery so as to
conduct the threads from side to side in forming the lace. He
eventually succeeded in working out his principle with
extraordinary skill and success; and, at the age of twenty-four, he
was enabled to secure his invention by a patent.

During this time his wife was kept in almost as great anxiety as
himself, for she well knew of his trials and difficulties while he
was striving to perfect his invention. Many years after they had
been successfully overcome, the conversation which took place one
eventful evening was vividly remembered. "Well," said the anxious
wife, "will it work?"  "No," was the sad answer; "I have had to
take it all to pieces again."  Though he could still speak
hopefully and cheerfully, his poor wife could restrain her feelings
no longer, but sat down and cried bitterly. She had, however, only
a few more weeks to wait, for success long laboured for and richly
deserved, came at last, and a proud and happy man was John
Heathcoat when he brought home the first narrow strip of bobbin-net
made by his machine, and placed it in the hands of his wife.

As in the case of nearly all inventions which have proved
productive, Heathcoat's rights as a patentee were disputed, and his
claims as an inventor called in question. On the supposed
invalidity of the patent, the lace-makers boldly adopted the
bobbin-net machine, and set the inventor at defiance. But other
patents were taken out for alleged improvements and adaptations;
and it was only when these new patentees fell out and went to law
with each other that Heathcoat's rights became established. One
lace-manufacturer having brought an action against another for an
alleged infringement of his patent, the jury brought in a verdict
for the defendant, in which the judge concurred, on the ground that
BOTH the machines in question were infringements of Heathcoat's
patent. It was on the occasion of this trial, "Boville v. Moore,"
that Sir John Copley (afterwards Lord Lyndhurst), who was retained
for the defence in the interest of Mr. Heathcoat, learnt to work
the bobbin-net machine in order that he might master the details of
the invention. On reading over his brief, he confessed that he did
not quite understand the merits of the case; but as it seemed to
him to be one of great importance, he offered to go down into the
country forthwith and study the machine until he understood it;
"and then," said he, "I will defend you to the best of my ability."
He accordingly put himself into that night's mail, and went down to
Nottingham to get up his case as perhaps counsel never got it up
before. Next morning the learned sergeant placed himself in a
lace-loom, and he did not leave it until he could deftly make a
piece of bobbin-net with his own hands, and thoroughly understood
the principle as well as the details of the machine. When the case
came on for trial, the learned sergeant was enabled to work the
model on the table with such case and skill, and to explain the
precise nature of the invention with such felicitous clearness, as
to astonish alike judge, jury, and spectators; and the thorough
conscientiousness and mastery with which he handled the case had no
doubt its influence upon the decision of the court.

After the trial was over, Mr. Heathcoat, on inquiry, found about
six hundred machines at work after his patent, and he proceeded to
levy royalty upon the owners of them, which amounted to a large
sum. But the profits realised by the manufacturers of lace were
very great, and the use of the machines rapidly extended; while the
price of the article was reduced from five pounds the square yard
to about five pence in the course of twenty-five years. During the
same period the average annual returns of the lace-trade have been
at least four millions sterling, and it gives remunerative
employment to about 150,000 workpeople.

To return to the personal history of Mr. Heathcoat. In 1809 we
find him established as a lace-manufacturer at Loughborough, in
Leicestershire. There he carried on a prosperous business for
several years, giving employment to a large number of operatives,
at wages varying from 5L. to 10L. a week. Notwithstanding the
great increase in the number of hands employed in lace-making
through the introduction of the new machines, it began to be
whispered about among the workpeople that they were superseding
labour, and an extensive conspiracy was formed for the purpose of
destroying them wherever found. As early as the year 1811 disputes
arose between the masters and men engaged in the stocking and lace
trades in the south-western parts of Nottinghamshire and the
adjacent parts of Derbyshire and Leicestershire, the result of
which was the assembly of a mob at Sutton, in Ashfield, who
proceeded in open day to break the stocking and lace-frames of the
manufacturers. Some of the ringleaders having been seized and
punished, the disaffected learnt caution; but the destruction of
the machines was nevertheless carried on secretly wherever a safe
opportunity presented itself. As the machines were of so delicate
a construction that a single blow of a hammer rendered them
useless, and as the manufacture was carried on for the most part in
detached buildings, often in private dwellings remote from towns,
the opportunities of destroying them were unusually easy. In the
neighbourhood of Nottingham, which was the focus of turbulence, the
machine-breakers organized themselves in regular bodies, and held
nocturnal meetings at which their plans were arranged. Probably
with the view of inspiring confidence, they gave out that they were
under the command of a leader named Ned Ludd, or General Ludd, and
hence their designation of Luddites. Under this organization
machine-breaking was carried on with great vigour during the winter
of 1811, occasioning great distress, and throwing large numbers of
workpeople out of employment. Meanwhile, the owners of the frames
proceeded to remove them from the villages and lone dwellings in
the country, and brought them into warehouses in the towns for
their better protection.

The Luddites seem to have been encouraged by the lenity of the
sentences pronounced on such of their confederates as had been
apprehended and tried; and, shortly after, the mania broke out
afresh, and rapidly extended over the northern and midland
manufacturing districts. The organization became more secret; an
oath was administered to the members binding them to obedience to
the orders issued by the heads of the confederacy; and the betrayal
of their designs was decreed to be death. All machines were doomed
by them to destruction, whether employed in the manufacture of
cloth, calico, or lace; and a reign of terror began which lasted
for years. In Yorkshire and Lancashire mills were boldly attacked
by armed rioters, and in many cases they were wrecked or burnt; so
that it became necessary to guard them by soldiers and yeomanry.
The masters themselves were doomed to death; many of them were
assaulted, and some were murdered. At length the law was
vigorously set in motion; numbers of the misguided Luddites were
apprehended; some were executed; and after several years' violent
commotion from this cause, the machine-breaking riots were at
length quelled.

Among the numerous manufacturers whose works were attacked by the
Luddites, was the inventor of the bobbin-net machine himself. One
bright sunny day, in the summer of 1816, a body of rioters entered
his factory at Loughborough with torches, and set fire to it,
destroying thirty-seven lace-machines, and above 10,000L. worth of
property. Ten of the men were apprehended for the felony, and
eight of them were executed. Mr. Heathcoat made a claim upon the
county for compensation, and it was resisted; but the Court of
Queen's Bench decided in his favour, and decreed that the county
must make good his loss of 10,000L. The magistrates sought to
couple with the payment of the damage the condition that Mr.
Heathcoat should expend the money in the county of Leicester; but
to this he would not assent, having already resolved on removing
his manufacture elsewhere. At Tiverton, in Devonshire, he found a
large building which had been formerly used as a woollen
manufactory; but the Tiverton cloth trade having fallen into decay,
the building remained unoccupied, and the town itself was generally
in a very poverty-stricken condition. Mr. Heathcoat bought the old
mill, renovated and enlarged it, and there recommenced the
manufacture of lace upon a larger scale than before; keeping in
full work as many as three hundred machines, and employing a large
number of artisans at good wages. Not only did he carry on the
manufacture of lace, but the various branches of business connected
with it - yarn-doubling, silk-spinning, net-making, and finishing.
He also established at Tiverton an iron-foundry and works for the
manufacture of agricultural implements, which proved of great
convenience to the district. It was a favourite idea of his that
steam power was capable of being applied to perform all the heavy
drudgery of life, and he laboured for a long time at the invention
of a steam-plough. In 1832 he so far completed his invention as to
be enabled to take out a patent for it; and Heathcoat's steam-
plough, though it has since been superseded by Fowler's, was
considered the best machine of the kind that had up to that time
been invented.

Mr. Heathcoat was a man of great natural gifts. He possessed a
sound understanding, quick perception, and a genius for business of
the highest order. With these he combined uprightness, honesty,
and integrity - qualities which are the true glory of human
character. Himself a diligent self-educator, he gave ready
encouragement to deserving youths in his employment, stimulating
their talents and fostering their energies. During his own busy
life, he contrived to save time to master French and Italian, of
which he acquired an accurate and grammatical knowledge. His mind
was largely stored with the results of a careful study of the best
literature, and there were few subjects on which he had not formed
for himself shrewd and accurate views. The two thousand workpeople
in his employment regarded him almost as a father, and he carefully
provided for their comfort and improvement. Prosperity did not
spoil him, as it does so many; nor close his heart against the
claims of the poor and struggling, who were always sure of his
sympathy and help. To provide for the education of the children of
his workpeople, he built schools for them at a cost of about 6000L.
He was also a man of singularly cheerful and buoyant disposition, a
favourite with men of all classes and most admired and beloved by
those who knew him best.

In 1831 the electors of Tiverton, of which town Mr. Heathcoat had
proved himself so genuine a benefactor, returned him to represent
them in Parliament, and he continued their member for nearly thirty
years. During a great part of that time he had Lord Palmerston for
his colleague, and the noble lord, on more than one public
occasion, expressed the high regard which he entertained for his
venerable friend. On retiring from the representation in 1859,
owing to advancing age and increasing infirmities, thirteen hundred
of his workmen presented him with a silver inkstand and gold pen,
in token of their esteem. He enjoyed his leisure for only two more
years, dying in January, 1861, at the age of seventy-seven, and
leaving behind him a character for probity, virtue, manliness, and
mechanical genius, of which his descendants may well be proud.

We next turn to a career of a very different kind, that of the
illustrious but unfortunate Jacquard, whose life also illustrates
in a remarkable manner the influence which ingenious men, even of
the humblest rank, may exercise upon the industry of a nation.
Jacquard was the son of a hard-working couple of Lyons, his father
being a weaver, and his mother a pattern reader. They were too
poor to give him any but the most meagre education. When he was of
age to learn a trade, his father placed him with a book-binder. An
old clerk, who made up the master's accounts, gave Jacquard some
lessons in mathematics. He very shortly began to display a
remarkable turn for mechanics, and some of his contrivances quite
astonished the old clerk, who advised Jacquard's father to put him
to some other trade, in which his peculiar abilities might have
better scope than in bookbinding. He was accordingly put
apprentice to a cutler; but was so badly treated by his master,
that he shortly afterwards left his employment, on which he was
placed with a type-founder.

His parents dying, Jacquard found himself in a measure compelled to
take to his father's two looms, and carry on the trade of a weaver.
He immediately proceeded to improve the looms, and became so
engrossed with his inventions that he forgot his work, and very
soon found himself at the end of his means. He then sold the looms
to pay his debts, at the same time that he took upon himself the
burden of supporting a wife. He became still poorer, and to
satisfy his creditors, he next sold his cottage. He tried to find
employment, but in vain, people believing him to be an idler,
occupied with mere dreams about his inventions. At length he
obtained employment with a line-maker of Bresse, whither he went,
his wife remaining at Lyons, earning a precarious living by making
straw bonnets.

We hear nothing further of Jacquard for some years, but in the
interval he seems to have prosecuted his improvement in the
drawloom for the better manufacture of figured fabrics; for, in
1790, he brought out his contrivance for selecting the warp
threads, which, when added to the loom, superseded the services of
a draw-boy. The adoption of this machine was slow but steady, and
in ten years after its introduction, 4000 of them were found at
work in Lyons. Jacquard's pursuits were rudely interrupted by the
Revolution, and, in 1792, we find him fighting in the ranks of the
Lyonnaise Volunteers against the Army of the Convention under the
command of Dubois Crance. The city was taken; Jacquard fled and
joined the Army of the Rhine, where he rose to the rank of
sergeant. He might have remained a soldier, but that, his only son
having been shot dead at his side, he deserted and returned to
Lyons to recover his wife. He found her in a garret still employed
at her old trade of straw-bonnet making. While living in
concealment with her, his mind reverted to the inventions over
which he had so long brooded in former years; but he had no means
wherewith to prosecute them. Jacquard found it necessary, however,
to emerge from his hiding-place and try to find some employment.
He succeeded in obtaining it with an intelligent manufacturer, and
while working by day he went on inventing by night. It had
occurred to him that great improvements might still be introduced
in looms for figured goods, and he incidentally mentioned the
subject one day to his master, regretting at the same time that his
limited means prevented him from carrying out his ideas. Happily
his master appreciated the value of the suggestions, and with
laudable generosity placed a sum of money at his disposal, that he
might prosecute the proposed improvements at his leisure.

In three months Jacquard had invented a loom to substitute
mechanical action for the irksome and toilsome labour of the
workman. The loom was exhibited at the Exposition of National
Industry at Paris in 1801, and obtained a bronze medal. Jacquard
was further honoured by a visit at Lyons from the Minister Carnot,
who desired to congratulate him in person on the success of his
invention. In the following year the Society of Arts in London
offered a prize for the invention of a machine for manufacturing
fishing-nets and boarding-netting for ships. Jacquard heard of
this, and while walking one day in the fields according to his
custom, he turned the subject over in his mind, and contrived the
plan of a machine for the purpose. His friend, the manufacturer,
again furnished him with the means of carrying out his idea, and in
three weeks Jacquard had completed his invention.

Jacquard's achievement having come to the knowledge of the Prefect
of the Department, he was summoned before that functionary, and, on
his explanation of the working of the machine, a report on the
subject was forwarded to the Emperor. The inventor was forthwith
summoned to Paris with his machine, and brought into the presence
of the Emperor, who received him with the consideration due to his
genius. The interview lasted two hours, during which Jacquard,
placed at his ease by the Emperor's affability, explained to him
the improvements which he proposed to make in the looms for weaving
figured goods. The result was, that he was provided with
apartments in the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, where he had
the use of the workshop during his stay, and was provided with a
suitable allowance for his maintenance.

Installed in the Conservatoire, Jacquard proceeded to complete the
details of his improved loom. He had the advantage of minutely
inspecting the various exquisite pieces of mechanism contained in
that great treasury of human ingenuity. Among the machines which
more particularly attracted his attention, and eventually set him
upon the track of his discovery, was a loom for weaving flowered
silk, made by Vaucanson the celebrated automaton-maker.

Vaucanson was a man of the highest order of constructive genius.
The inventive faculty was so strong in him that it may almost be
said to have amounted to a passion, and could not be restrained.
The saying that the poet is born, not made, applies with equal
force to the inventor, who, though indebted, like the other, to
culture and improved opportunities, nevertheless contrives and
constructs new combinations of machinery mainly to gratify his own
instinct. This was peculiarly the case with Vaucanson; for his
most elaborate works were not so much distinguished for their
utility as for the curious ingenuity which they displayed. While a
mere boy attending Sunday conversations with his mother, he amused
himself by watching, through the chinks of a partition wall, part
of the movements of a clock in the adjoining apartment. He
endeavoured to understand them, and by brooding over the subject,
after several months he discovered the principle of the escapement.

From that time the subject of mechanical invention took complete
possession of him. With some rude tools which he contrived, he
made a wooden clock that marked the hours with remarkable
exactness; while he made for a miniature chapel the figures of some
angels which waved their wings, and some priests that made several
ecclesiastical movements. With the view of executing some other
automata he had designed, he proceeded to study anatomy, music, and
mechanics, which occupied him for several years. The sight of the
Flute-player in the Gardens of the Tuileries inspired him with the
resolution to invent a similar figure that should PLAY; and after
several years' study and labour, though struggling with illness, he
succeeded in accomplishing his object. He next produced a
Flageolet-player, which was succeeded by a Duck - the most
ingenious of his contrivances, - which swam, dabbled, drank, and
quacked like a real duck. He next invented an asp, employed in the
tragedy of 'Cleopatre,' which hissed and darted at the bosom of the

Vaucanson, however, did not confine himself merely to the making of
automata. By reason of his ingenuity, Cardinal de Fleury appointed
him inspector of the silk manufactories of France; and he was no
sooner in office, than with his usual irrepressible instinct to
invent, he proceeded to introduce improvements in silk machinery.
One of these was his mill for thrown silk, which so excited the
anger of the Lyons operatives, who feared the loss of employment
through its means, that they pelted him with stones and had nearly
killed him. He nevertheless went on inventing, and next produced a
machine for weaving flowered silks, with a contrivance for giving a
dressing to the thread, so as to render that of each bobbin or
skein of an equal thickness.

When Vaucanson died in 1782, after a long illness, he bequeathed
his collection of machines to the Queen, who seems to have set but
small value on them, and they were shortly after dispersed. But
his machine for weaving flowered silks was happily preserved in the
Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, and there Jacquard found it
among the many curious and interesting articles in the collection.
It proved of the utmost value to him, for it immediately set him on
the track of the principal modification which he introduced in his
improved loom.

One of the chief features of Vaucanson's machine was a pierced
cylinder which, according to the holes it presented when revolved,
regulated the movement of certain needles, and caused the threads
of the warp to deviate in such a manner as to produce a given
design, though only of a simple character. Jacquard seized upon
the suggestion with avidity, and, with the genius of the true
inventor, at once proceeded to improve upon it. At the end of a
month his weaving-machine was completed. To the cylinder of
Vancanson, he added an endless piece of pasteboard pierced with a
number of holes, through which the threads of the warp were
presented to the weaver; while another piece of mechanism indicated
to the workman the colour of the shuttle which he ought to throw.
Thus the drawboy and the reader of designs were both at once
superseded. The first use Jacquard made of his new loom was to
weave with it several yards of rich stuff which he presented to the
Empress Josephine. Napoleon was highly gratified with the result
of the inventor's labours, and ordered a number of the looms to be
constructed by the best workmen, after Jacquard's model, and
presented to him; after which he returned to Lyons.

There he experienced the frequent fate of inventors. He was
regarded by his townsmen as an enemy, and treated by them as Kay,
Hargreaves, and Arkwright had been in Lancashire. The workmen
looked upon the new loom as fatal to their trade, and feared lest
it should at once take the bread from their mouths. A tumultuous
meeting was held on the Place des Terreaux, when it was determined
to destroy the machines. This was however prevented by the
military. But Jacquard was denounced and hanged in effigy. The
'Conseil des prud'hommes' in vain endeavoured to allay the
excitement, and they were themselves denounced. At length, carried
away by the popular impulse, the prud'hommes, most of whom had been
workmen and sympathized with the class, had one of Jacquard's looms
carried off and publicly broken in pieces. Riots followed, in one
of which Jacquard was dragged along the quay by an infuriated mob
intending to drown him, but he was rescued.

The great value of the Jacquard loom, however, could not be denied,
and its success was only a question of time. Jacquard was urged by
some English silk manufacturers to pass over into England and
settle there. But notwithstanding the harsh and cruel treatment he
had received at the hands of his townspeople, his patriotism was
too strong to permit him to accept their offer. The English
manufacturers, however, adopted his loom. Then it was, and only
then, that Lyons, threatened to be beaten out of the field, adopted
it with eagerness; and before long the Jacquard machine was
employed in nearly all kinds of weaving. The result proved that
the fears of the workpeople had been entirely unfounded. Instead
of diminishing employment, the Jacquard loom increased it at least
tenfold. The number of persons occupied in the manufacture of
figured goods in Lyons, was stated by M. Leon Faucher to have been
60,000 in 1833; and that number has since been considerably

As for Jacquard himself, the rest of his life passed peacefully,
excepting that the workpeople who dragged him along the quay to
drown him were shortly after found eager to bear him in triumph
along the same route in celebration of his birthday. But his
modesty would not permit him to take part in such a demonstration.
The Municipal Council of Lyons proposed to him that he should
devote himself to improving his machine for the benefit of the
local industry, to which Jacquard agreed in consideration of a
moderate pension, the amount of which was fixed by himself. After
perfecting his invention accordingly, he retired at sixty to end
his days at Oullins, his father's native place. It was there that
he received, in 1820, the decoration of the Legion of Honour; and
it was there that he died and was buried in 1834. A statue was
erected to his memory, but his relatives remained in poverty; and
twenty years after his death, his two nieces were under the
necessity of selling for a few hundred francs the gold medal
bestowed upon their uncle by Louis XVIII. "Such," says a French
writer, "was the gratitude of the manufacturing interests of Lyons
to the man to whom it owes so large a portion of its splendour."

It would be easy to extend the martyrology of inventors, and to
cite the names of other equally distinguished men who have, without
any corresponding advantage to themselves, contributed to the
industrial progress of the age, - for it has too often happened
that genius has planted the tree, of which patient dulness has
gathered the fruit; but we will confine ourselves for the present
to a brief account of an inventor of comparatively recent date, by
way of illustration of the difficulties and privations which it is
so frequently the lot of mechanical genius to surmount. We allude
to Joshua Heilmann, the inventor of the Combing Machine.

Heilmann was born in 1796 at Mulhouse, the principal seat of the
Alsace cotton manufacture. His father was engaged in that
business; and Joshua entered his office at fifteen. He remained
there for two years, employing his spare time in mechanical
drawing. He afterwards spent two years in his uncle's banking-
house in Paris, prosecuting the study of mathematics in the
evenings. Some of his relatives having established a small cotton-
spinning factory at Mulhouse, young Heilmann was placed with
Messrs. Tissot and Rey, at Paris, to learn the practice of that
firm. At the same time he became a student at the Conservatoire
des Arts et Metiers, where he attended the lectures, and studied
the machines in the museum. He also took practical lessons in
turning from a toymaker. After some time, thus diligently
occupied, he returned to Alsace, to superintend the construction of
the machinery for the new factory at Vieux-Thann, which was shortly
finished and set to work. The operations of the manufactory were,
however, seriously affected by a commercial crisis which occurred,
and it passed into other hands, on which Heilmann returned to his
family at Mulhouse.

He had in the mean time been occupying much of his leisure with
inventions, more particularly in connection with the weaving of
cotton and the preparation of the staple for spinning. One of his
earliest contrivances was an embroidering-machine, in which twenty
needles were employed, working simultaneously; and he succeeded in
accomplishing his object after about six months' labour. For this
invention, which he exhibited at the Exposition of 1834, he
received a gold medal, and was decorated with the Legion of Honour.
Other inventions quickly followed - an improved loom, a machine for
measuring and folding fabrics, an improvement of the "bobbin and
fly frames" of the English spinners, and a weft winding-machine,
with various improvements in the machinery for preparing, spinning,
and weaving silk and cotton. One of his most ingenious
contrivances was his loom for weaving simultaneously two pieces of
velvet or other piled fabric, united by the pile common to both,
with a knife and traversing apparatus for separating the two
fabrics when woven. But by far the most beautiful and ingenious of
his inventions was the combing-machine, the history of which we now
proceed shortly to describe.

Heilmann had for some years been diligently studying the
contrivance of a machine for combing long-stapled cotton, the
ordinary carding-machine being found ineffective in preparing the
raw material for spinning, especially the finer sorts of yarn,
besides causing considerable waste. To avoid these imperfections,
the cotton-spinners of Alsace offered a prize of 5000 francs for an
improved combing-machine, and Heilmann immediately proceeded to
compete for the reward. He was not stimulated by the desire of
gain, for he was comparatively rich, having acquired a considerable
fortune by his wife. It was a saying of his that "one will never
accomplish great things who is constantly asking himself, how much
gain will this bring me?"  What mainly impelled him was the
irrepressible instinct of the inventor, who no sooner has a
mechanical problem set before him than he feels impelled to
undertake its solution. The problem in this case was, however,
much more difficult than he had anticipated. The close study of
the subject occupied him for several years, and the expenses in
which he became involved in connection with it were so great, that
his wife's fortune was shortly swallowed up, and he was reduced to
poverty, without being able to bring his machine to perfection.
From that time he was under the necessity of relying mainly on the
help of his friends to enable him to prosecute the invention.

While still struggling with poverty and difficulties, Heilmann's
wife died, believing her husband ruined; and shortly after he
proceeded to England and settled for a time at Manchester, still
labouring at his machine. He had a model made for him by the
eminent machine-makers, Sharpe, Roberts, and Company; but still he
could not make it work satisfactorily, and he was at length brought
almost to the verge of despair. He returned to France to visit his
family, still pursuing his idea, which had obtained complete
possession of his mind. While sitting by his hearth one evening,
meditating upon the hard fate of inventors and the misfortunes in
which their families so often become involved, he found himself
almost unconsciously watching his daughters coming their long hair
and drawing it out at full length between their fingers. The
thought suddenly struck him that if he could successfully imitate
in a machine the process of combing out the longest hair and
forcing back the short by reversing the action of the comb, it
might serve to extricate him from his difficulty. It may be
remembered that this incident in the life of Heilmann has been made
the subject of a beautiful picture by Mr. Elmore, R.A., which was
exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1862.

Upon this idea he proceeded, introduced the apparently simple but
really most intricate process of machine-combing, and after great
labour he succeeded in perfecting the invention. The singular
beauty of the process can only be appreciated by those who have
witnessed the machine at work, when the similarity of its movements
to that of combing the hair, which suggested the invention, is at
once apparent. The machine has been described as "acting with
almost the delicacy of touch of the human fingers."  It combs the
lock of cotton AT BOTH ENDS, places the fibres exactly parallel
with each other, separates the long from the short, and unites the
long fibres in one sliver and the short ones in another. In fine,
the machine not only acts with the delicate accuracy of the human
fingers, but apparently with the delicate intelligence of the human

The chief commercial value of the invention consisted in its
rendering the commoner sorts of cotton available for fine spinning.
The manufacturers were thereby enabled to select the most suitable
fibres for high-priced fabrics, and to produce the finer sorts of
yarn in much larger quantities. It became possible by its means to
make thread so fine that a length of 334 miles might be spun from a
single pound weight of the prepared cotton, and, worked up into the
finer sorts of lace, the original shilling's worth of cotton-wool,
before it passed into the hands of the consumer, might thus be
increased to the value of between 300L. and 400L. sterling.

The beauty and utility of Heilmann's invention were at once
appreciated by the English cotton-spinners. Six Lancashire firms
united and purchased the patent for cotton-spinning for England for
the sum of 30,000L; the wool-spinners paid the same sum for the
privilege of applying the process to wool; and the Messrs.
Marshall, of Leeds, 20,000L. for the privilege of applying it to
flax. Thus wealth suddenly flowed in upon poor Heilmann at last.
But he did not live to enjoy it. Scarcely had his long labours
been crowned by success than he died, and his son, who had shared
in his privations, shortly followed him.

It is at the price of lives such as these that the wonders of
civilisation are achieved.


"Patience is the finest and worthiest part of fortitude, and the
rarest too . . . Patience lies at the root of all pleasures, as
well as of all powers. Hope herself ceases to be happiness when
Impatience companions her." - John Ruskin.

"Il y a vingt et cinq ans passez qu'il ne me fut monstre une coupe
de terre, tournee et esmaillee d'une telle beaute que . . .
deslors, sans avoir esgard que je n'avois nulle connoissance des
terres argileuses, je me mis a chercher les emaux, comme un homme
qui taste en tenebres." - Bernard Palissy.

It so happens that the history of Pottery furnishes some of the
most remarkable instances of patient perseverance to be found in
the whole range of biography. Of these we select three of the most
striking, as exhibited in the lives of Bernard Palissy, the
Frenchman; Johann Friedrich Bottgher, the German; and Josiah
Wedgwood, the Englishman.

Though the art of making common vessels of clay was known to most
of the ancient nations, that of manufacturing enamelled earthenware
was much less common. It was, however, practised by the ancient
Etruscans, specimens of whose ware are still to be found in
antiquarian collections. But it became a lost art, and was only
recovered at a comparatively recent date. The Etruscan ware was
very valuable in ancient times, a vase being worth its weight in
gold in the time of Augustus. The Moors seem to have preserved
amongst them a knowledge of the art, which they were found
practising in the island of Majorca when it was taken by the Pisans
in 1115. Among the spoil carried away were many plates of Moorish
earthenware, which, in token of triumph, were embedded in the walls
of several of the ancient churches of Pisa, where they are to be
seen to this day. About two centuries later the Italians began to
make an imitation enamelled ware, which they named Majolica, after
the Moorish place of manufacture.

The reviver or re-discoverer of the art of enamelling in Italy was
Luca della Robbia, a Florentine sculptor. Vasari describes him as
a man of indefatigable perseverance, working with his chisel all
day and practising drawing during the greater part of the night.
He pursued the latter art with so much assiduity, that when working
late, to prevent his feet from freezing with the cold, he was
accustomed to provide himself with a basket of shavings, in which
he placed them to keep himself warm and enable him to proceed with
his drawings. "Nor," says Vasari, "am I in the least astonished at
this, since no man ever becomes distinguished in any art whatsoever
who does not early begin to acquire the power of supporting heat,
cold, hunger, thirst, and other discomforts; whereas those persons
deceive themselves altogether who suppose that when taking their
ease and surrounded by all the enjoyments of the world they may
still attain to honourable distinction, - for it is not by
sleeping, but by waking, watching, and labouring continually, that
proficiency is attained and reputation acquired."

But Luca, notwithstanding all his application and industry, did not
succeed in earning enough money by sculpture to enable him to live
by the art, and the idea occurred to him that he might nevertheless
be able to pursue his modelling in some material more facile and
less dear than marble. Hence it was that he began to make his
models in clay, and to endeavour by experiment so to coat and bake
the clay as to render those models durable. After many trials he
at length discovered a method of covering the clay with a material,
which, when exposed to the intense heat of a furnace, became
converted into an almost imperishable enamel. He afterwards made
the further discovery of a method of imparting colour to the
enamel, thus greatly adding to its beauty.

The fame of Luca's work extended throughout Europe, and specimens
of his art became widely diffused. Many of them were sent into
France and Spain, where they were greatly prized. At that time
coarse brown jars and pipkins were almost the only articles of
earthenware produced in France; and this continued to be the case,
with comparatively small improvement, until the time of Palissy - a
man who toiled and fought against stupendous difficulties with a
heroism that sheds a glow almost of romance over the events of his
chequered life.

Bernard Palissy is supposed to have been born in the south of
France, in the diocese of Agen, about the year 1510. His father
was probably a worker in glass, to which trade Bernard was brought
up. His parents were poor people - too poor to give him the
benefit of any school education. "I had no other books," said he
afterwards, "than heaven and earth, which are open to all."  He
learnt, however, the art of glass-painting, to which he added that
of drawing, and afterwards reading and writing.

When about eighteen years old, the glass trade becoming decayed,
Palissy left his father's house, with his wallet on his back, and
went out into the world to search whether there was any place in it
for him. He first travelled towards Gascony, working at his trade
where he could find employment, and occasionally occupying part of
his time in land-measuring. Then he travelled northwards,
sojourning for various periods at different places in France,
Flanders, and Lower Germany.

Thus Palissy occupied about ten more years of his life, after which
he married, and ceased from his wanderings, settling down to
practise glass-painting and land-measuring at the small town of
Saintes, in the Lower Charente. There children were born to him;
and not only his responsibilities but his expenses increased,
while, do what he could, his earnings remained too small for his
needs. It was therefore necessary for him to bestir himself.
Probably he felt capable of better things than drudging in an
employment so precarious as glass-painting; and hence he was
induced to turn his attention to the kindred art of painting and
enamelling earthenware. Yet on this subject he was wholly
ignorant; for he had never seen earth baked before he began his
operations. He had therefore everything to learn by himself,
without any helper. But he was full of hope, eager to learn, of
unbounded perseverance and inexhaustible patience.

It was the sight of an elegant cup of Italian manufacture - most
probably one of Luca della Robbia's make - which first set Palissy
a-thinking about the new art. A circumstance so apparently
insignificant would have produced no effect upon an ordinary mind,
or even upon Palissy himself at an ordinary time; but occurring as
it did when he was meditating a change of calling, he at once
became inflamed with the desire of imitating it. The sight of this
cup disturbed his whole existence; and the determination to
discover the enamel with which it was glazed thenceforward
possessed him like a passion. Had he been a single man he might
have travelled into Italy in search of the secret; but he was bound
to his wife and his children, and could not leave them; so he
remained by their side groping in the dark in the hope of finding
out the process of making and enamelling earthenware.

At first he could merely guess the materials of which the enamel
was composed; and he proceeded to try all manner of experiments to
ascertain what they really were. He pounded all the substances
which he supposed were likely to produce it. Then he bought common
earthen pots, broke them into pieces, and, spreading his compounds
over them, subjected them to the heat of a furnace which he erected
for the purpose of baking them. His experiments failed; and the
results were broken pots and a waste of fuel, drugs, time, and
labour. Women do not readily sympathise with experiments whose
only tangible effect is to dissipate the means of buying clothes
and food for their children; and Palissy's wife, however dutiful in
other respects, could not be reconciled to the purchase of more
earthen pots, which seemed to her to be bought only to be broken.
Yet she must needs submit; for Palissy had become thoroughly
possessed by the determination to master the secret of the enamel,
and would not leave it alone.

For many successive months and years Palissy pursued his
experiments. The first furnace having proved a failure, he
proceeded to erect another out of doors. There he burnt more wood,
spoiled more drugs and pots, and lost more time, until poverty
stared him and his family in the face. "Thus," said he, "I fooled
away several years, with sorrow and sighs, because I could not at
all arrive at my intention."  In the intervals of his experiments
he occasionally worked at his former callings, painting on glass,
drawing portraits, and measuring land; but his earnings from these
sources were very small. At length he was no longer able to carry
on his experiments in his own furnace because of the heavy cost of
fuel; but he bought more potsherds, broke them up as before into
three or four hundred pieces, and, covering them with chemicals,
carried them to a tile-work a league and a half distant from
Saintes, there to be baked in an ordinary furnace. After the
operation he went to see the pieces taken out; and, to his dismay,
the whole of the experiments were failures. But though
disappointed, he was not yet defeated; for he determined on the
very spot to "begin afresh."

His business as a land-measurer called him away for a brief season
from the pursuit of his experiments. In conformity with an edict
of the State, it became necessary to survey the salt-marshes in the
neighbourhood of Saintes for the purpose of levying the land-tax.
Palissy was employed to make this survey, and prepare the requisite
map. The work occupied him some time, and he was doubtless well
paid for it; but no sooner was it completed than he proceeded, with
redoubled zeal, to follow up his old investigations "in the track
of the enamels."  He began by breaking three dozen new earthen
pots, the pieces of which he covered with different materials which
he had compounded, and then took them to a neighbouring glass-
furnace to be baked. The results gave him a glimmer of hope. The
greater heat of the glass-furnace had melted some of the compounds;
but though Palissy searched diligently for the white enamel he
could find none.

For two more years he went on experimenting without any
satisfactory result, until the proceeds of his survey of the salt-
marshes having become nearly spent, he was reduced to poverty
again. But he resolved to make a last great effort; and he began
by breaking more pots than ever. More than three hundred pieces of
pottery covered with his compounds were sent to the glass-furnace;
and thither he himself went to watch the results of the baking.
Four hours passed, during which he watched; and then the furnace
was opened. The material on ONE only of the three hundred pieces
of potsherd had melted, and it was taken out to cool. As it
hardened, it grew white-white and polished! The piece of potsherd
was covered with white enamel, described by Palissy as "singularly
beautiful!"  And beautiful it must no doubt have been in his eyes
after all his weary waiting. He ran home with it to his wife,
feeling himself, as he expressed it, quite a new creature. But the
prize was not yet won - far from it. The partial success of this
intended last effort merely had the effect of luring him on to a
succession of further experiments and failures.

In order that he might complete the invention, which he now
believed to be at hand, he resolved to build for himself a glass-
furnace near his dwelling, where he might carry on his operations
in secret. He proceeded to build the furnace with his own hands,
carrying the bricks from the brick-field upon his back. He was
bricklayer, labourer, and all. From seven to eight more months
passed. At last the furnace was built and ready for use. Palissy
had in the mean time fashioned a number of vessels of clay in
readiness for the laying on of the enamel. After being subjected
to a preliminary process of baking, they were covered with the
enamel compound, and again placed in the furnace for the grand
crucial experiment. Although his means were nearly exhausted,
Palissy had been for some time accumulating a great store of fuel
for the final effort; and he thought it was enough. At last the
fire was lit, and the operation proceeded. All day he sat by the
furnace, feeding it with fuel. He sat there watching and feeding
all through the long night. But the enamel did not melt. The sun
rose upon his labours. His wife brought him a portion of the
scanty morning meal, - for he would not stir from the furnace, into
which he continued from time to time to heave more fuel. The
second day passed, and still the enamel did not melt. The sun set,
and another night passed. The pale, haggard, unshorn, baffled yet
not beaten Palissy sat by his furnace eagerly looking for the
melting of the enamel. A third day and night passed - a fourth, a
fifth, and even a sixth, - yes, for six long days and nights did
the unconquerable Palissy watch and toil, fighting against hope;
and still the enamel would not melt.

It then occurred to him that there might be some defect in the
materials for the enamel - perhaps something wanting in the flux;
so he set to work to pound and compound fresh materials for a new
experiment. Thus two or three more weeks passed. But how to buy
more pots? - for those which he had made with his own hands for the
purposes of the first experiment were by long baking irretrievably
spoilt for the purposes of a second. His money was now all spent;
but he could borrow. His character was still good, though his wife
and the neighbours thought him foolishly wasting his means in
futile experiments. Nevertheless he succeeded. He borrowed
sufficient from a friend to enable him to buy more fuel and more
pots, and he was again ready for a further experiment. The pots
were covered with the new compound, placed in the furnace, and the
fire was again lit.

It was the last and most desperate experiment of the whole. The
fire blazed up; the heat became intense; but still the enamel did
not melt. The fuel began to run short! How to keep up the fire?
There were the garden palings: these would burn. They must be
sacrificed rather than that the great experiment should fail. The
garden palings were pulled up and cast into the furnace. They were
burnt in vain! The enamel had not yet melted. Ten minutes more
heat might do it. Fuel must be had at whatever cost. There
remained the household furniture and shelving. A crashing noise
was heard in the house; and amidst the screams of his wife and
children, who now feared Palissy's reason was giving way, the
tables were seized, broken up, and heaved into the furnace. The
enamel had not melted yet! There remained the shelving. Another
noise of the wrenching of timber was heard within the house; and
the shelves were torn down and hurled after the furniture into the
fire. Wife and children then rushed from the house, and went
frantically through the town, calling out that poor Palissy had
gone mad, and was breaking up his very furniture for firewood! (10)

For an entire month his shirt had not been off his back, and he was
utterly worn out - wasted with toil, anxiety, watching, and want of
food. He was in debt, and seemed on the verge of ruin. But he had
at length mastered the secret; for the last great burst of heat had
melted the enamel. The common brown household jars, when taken out
of the furnace after it had become cool, were found covered with a
white glaze! For this he could endure reproach, contumely, and
scorn, and wait patiently for the opportunity of putting his
discovery into practice as better days came round.

Palissy next hired a potter to make some earthen vessels after
designs which he furnished; while he himself proceeded to model
some medallions in clay for the purpose of enamelling them. But
how to maintain himself and his family until the wares were made
and ready for sale? Fortunately there remained one man in Saintes
who still believed in the integrity, if not in the judgment, of
Palissy - an inn-keeper, who agreed to feed and lodge him for six
months, while he went on with his manufacture. As for the working
potter whom he had hired, Palissy soon found that he could not pay
him the stipulated wages. Having already stripped his dwelling, he
could but strip himself; and he accordingly parted with some of his
clothes to the potter, in part payment of the wages which he owed

Palissy next erected an improved furnace, but he was so unfortunate
as to build part of the inside with flints. When it was heated,
these flints cracked and burst, and the spiculae were scattered
over the pieces of pottery, sticking to them. Though the enamel
came out right, the work was irretrievably spoilt, and thus six
more months' labour was lost. Persons were found willing to buy
the articles at a low price, notwithstanding the injury they had
sustained; but Palissy would not sell them, considering that to
have done so would be to "decry and abate his honour;" and so he
broke in pieces the entire batch. "Nevertheless," says he, "hope
continued to inspire me, and I held on manfully; sometimes, when
visitors called, I entertained them with pleasantry, while I was
really sad at heart. . . . Worst of all the sufferings I had to
endure, were the mockeries and persecutions of those of my own
household, who were so unreasonable as to expect me to execute work
without the means of doing so. For years my furnaces were without
any covering or protection, and while attending them I have been
for nights at the mercy of the wind and the rain, without help or
consolation, save it might be the wailing of cats on the one side
and the howling of dogs on the other. Sometimes the tempest would
beat so furiously against the furnaces that I was compelled to
leave them and seek shelter within doors. Drenched by rain, and in
no better plight than if I had been dragged through mire, I have
gone to lie down at midnight or at daybreak, stumbling into the
house without a light, and reeling from one side to another as if I
had been drunken, but really weary with watching and filled with
sorrow at the loss of my labour after such long toiling. But alas!
my home proved no refuge; for, drenched and besmeared as I was, I
found in my chamber a second persecution worse than the first,
which makes me even now marvel that I was not utterly consumed by
my many sorrows."

At this stage of his affairs, Palissy became melancholy and almost
hopeless, and seems to have all but broken down. He wandered
gloomily about the fields near Saintes, his clothes hanging in
tatters, and himself worn to a skeleton. In a curious passage in
his writings he describes how that the calves of his legs had
disappeared and were no longer able with the help of garters to
hold up his stockings, which fell about his heels when he walked.
(11)  The family continued to reproach him for his recklessness,
and his neighbours cried shame upon him for his obstinate folly.
So he returned for a time to his former calling; and after about a
year's diligent labour, during which he earned bread for his
household and somewhat recovered his character among his
neighbours, he again resumed his darling enterprise. But though he
had already spent about ten years in the search for the enamel, it
cost him nearly eight more years of experimental plodding before he
perfected his invention. He gradually learnt dexterity and
certainty of result by experience, gathering practical knowledge
out of many failures. Every mishap was a fresh lesson to him,
teaching him something new about the nature of enamels, the
qualities of argillaceous earths, the tempering of clays, and the
construction and management of furnaces.

At last, after about sixteen years' labour, Palissy took heart and
called himself Potter. These sixteen years had been his term of
apprenticeship to the art; during which he had wholly to teach
himself, beginning at the very beginning. He was now able to sell
his wares and thereby maintain his family in comfort. But he never
rested satisfied with what he had accomplished. He proceeded from
one step of improvement to another; always aiming at the greatest
perfection possible. He studied natural objects for patterns, and
with such success that the great Buffon spoke of him as "so great a
naturalist as Nature only can produce."  His ornamental pieces are
now regarded as rare gems in the cabinets of virtuosi, and sell at
almost fabulous prices. (12)  The ornaments on them are for the
most part accurate models from life, of wild animals, lizards, and
plants, found in the fields about Saintes, and tastefully combined
as ornaments into the texture of a plate or vase. When Palissy had
reached the height of his art he styled himself "Ouvrier de Terre
et Inventeur des Rustics Figulines."

We have not, however, come to an end of the sufferings of Palissy,
respecting which a few words remain to be said. Being a
Protestant, at a time when religious persecution waxed hot in the
south of France, and expressing his views without fear, he was
regarded as a dangerous heretic. His enemies having informed
against him, his house at Saintes was entered by the officers of
"justice," and his workshop was thrown open to the rabble, who
entered and smashed his pottery, while he himself was hurried off
by night and cast into a dungeon at Bordeaux, to wait his turn at
the stake or the scaffold. He was condemned to be burnt; but a
powerful noble, the Constable de Montmorency, interposed to save
his life - not because he had any special regard for Palissy or his
religion, but because no other artist could be found capable of
executing the enamelled pavement for his magnificent chateau then
in course of erection at Ecouen, about four leagues from Paris. By
his influence an edict was issued appointing Palissy Inventor of
Rustic Figulines to the King and to the Constable, which had the
effect of immediately removing him from the jurisdiction of
Bourdeaux. He was accordingly liberated, and returned to his home
at Saintes only to find it devastated and broken up. His workshop
was open to the sky, and his works lay in ruins. Shaking the dust
of Saintes from his feet he left the place never to return to it,
and removed to Paris to carry on the works ordered of him by the
Constable and the Queen Mother, being lodged in the Tuileries (13)
while so occupied.

Besides carrying on the manufacture of pottery, with the aid of his
two sons, Palissy, during the latter part of his life, wrote and
published several books on the potter's art, with a view to the
instruction of his countrymen, and in order that they might avoid
the many mistakes which he himself had made. He also wrote on
agriculture, on fortification, and natural history, on which latter
subject he even delivered lectures to a limited number of persons.
He waged war against astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and like
impostures. This stirred up against him many enemies, who pointed
the finger at him as a heretic, and he was again arrested for his
religion and imprisoned in the Bastille. He was now an old man of
seventy-eight, trembling on the verge of the grave, but his spirit
was as brave as ever. He was threatened with death unless he
recanted; but he was as obstinate in holding to his religion as he
had been in hunting out the secret of the enamel. The king, Henry
III., even went to see him in prison to induce him to abjure his
faith. "My good man," said the King, "you have now served my
mother and myself for forty-five years. We have put up with your
adhering to your religion amidst fires and massacres: now I am so
pressed by the Guise party as well as by my own people, that I am
constrained to leave you in the hands of your enemies, and to-
morrow you will be burnt unless you become converted."  "Sire,"
answered the unconquerable old man, "I am ready to give my life for
the glory of God. You have said many times that you have pity on
me; and now I have pity on you, who have pronounced the words I AM
CONSTRAINED! It is not spoken like a king, sire; it is what you,
and those who constrain you, the Guisards and all your people, can
never effect upon me, for I know how to die." (14)  Palissy did
indeed die shortly after, a martyr, though not at the stake. He
died in the Bastille, after enduring about a year's imprisonment, -
there peacefully terminating a life distinguished for heroic
labour, extraordinary endurance, inflexible rectitude, and the
exhibition of many rare and noble virtues. (15)

The life of John Frederick Bottgher, the inventor of hard
porcelain, presents a remarkable contrast to that of Palissy;
though it also contains many points of singular and almost romantic
interest. Bottgher was born at Schleiz, in the Voightland, in
1685, and at twelve years of age was placed apprentice with an
apothecary at Berlin. He seems to have been early fascinated by
chemistry, and occupied most of his leisure in making experiments.
These for the most part tended in one direction - the art of
converting common on metals into gold. At the end of several
years, Bottgher pretended to have discovered the universal solvent
of the alchemists, and professed that he had made gold by its
means. He exhibited its powers before his master, the apothecary
Zorn, and by some trick or other succeeded in making him and
several other witnesses believe that he had actually converted
copper into gold.

The news spread abroad that the apothecary's apprentice had
discovered the grand secret, and crowds collected about the shop to
get a sight of the wonderful young "gold-cook."  The king himself
expressed a wish to see and converse with him, and when Frederick
I. was presented with a piece of the gold pretended to have been
converted from copper, he was so dazzled with the prospect of
securing an infinite quantity of it - Prussia being then in great
straits for money - that he determined to secure Bottgher and
employ him to make gold for him within the strong fortress of
Spandau. But the young apothecary, suspecting the king's
intention, and probably fearing detection, at once resolved on
flight, and he succeeded in getting across the frontier into

A reward of a thousand thalers was offered for Bottgher's
apprehension, but in vain. He arrived at Wittenberg, and appealed
for protection to the Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus I.
(King of Poland), surnamed "the Strong."  Frederick was himself
very much in want of money at the time, and he was overjoyed at the
prospect of obtaining gold in any quantity by the aid of the young
alchemist. Bottgher was accordingly conveyed in secret to Dresden,
accompanied by a royal escort. He had scarcely left Wittenberg
when a battalion of Prussian grenadiers appeared before the gates
demanding the gold-maker's extradition. But it was too late:
Bottgher had already arrived in Dresden, where he was lodged in the
Golden House, and treated with every consideration, though strictly
watched and kept under guard.

The Elector, however, must needs leave him there for a time, having
to depart forthwith to Poland, then almost in a state of anarchy.
But, impatient for gold, he wrote Bottgher from Warsaw, urging him
to communicate the secret, so that he himself might practise the
art of commutation. The young "gold-cook," thus pressed, forwarded
to Frederick a small phial containing "a reddish fluid," which, it
was asserted, changed all metals, when in a molten state, into
gold. This important phial was taken in charge by the Prince Furst
von Furstenburg, who, accompanied by a regiment of Guards, hurried
with it to Warsaw. Arrived there, it was determined to make
immediate trial of the process. The King and the Prince locked
themselves up in a secret chamber of the palace, girt themselves
about with leather aprons, and like true "gold-cooks" set to work
melting copper in a crucible and afterwards applying to it the red
fluid of Bottgher. But the result was unsatisfactory; for
notwithstanding all that they could do, the copper obstinately
remained copper. On referring to the alchemist's instructions,
however, the King found that, to succeed with the process, it was
necessary that the fluid should be used "in great purity of heart;"
and as his Majesty was conscious of having spent the evening in
very bad company he attributed the failure of the experiment to
that cause. A second trial was followed by no better results, and
then the King became furious; for he had confessed and received
absolution before beginning the second experiment.

Frederick Augustus now resolved on forcing Bottgher to disclose the
golden secret, as the only means of relief from his urgent
pecuniary difficulties. The alchemist, hearing of the royal
intention, again determined to fly. He succeeded in escaping his
guard, and, after three days' travel, arrived at Ens in Austria,
where he thought himself safe. The agents of the Elector were,
however, at his heels; they had tracked him to the "Golden Stag,"
which they surrounded, and seizing him in his bed, notwithstanding
his resistance and appeals to the Austrian authorities for help,
they carried him by force to Dresden. From this time he was more
strictly watched than ever, and he was shortly after transferred to
the strong fortress of Koningstein. It was communicated to him
that the royal exchequer was completely empty, and that ten
regiments of Poles in arrears of pay were waiting for his gold.
The King himself visited him, and told him in a severe tone that if
he did not at once proceed to make gold, he would be hung! ("THU

Years passed, and still Bottgher made no gold; but he was not hung.
It was reserved for him to make a far more important discovery than
the conversion of copper into gold, namely, the conversion of clay
into porcelain. Some rare specimens of this ware had been brought
by the Portuguese from China, which were sold for more than their
weight in gold. Bottgher was first induced to turn his attention
to the subject by Walter von Tschirnhaus, a maker of optical
instruments, also an alchemist. Tschirnhaus was a man of education
and distinction, and was held in much esteem by Prince Furstenburg
as well as by the Elector. He very sensibly said to Bottgher,
still in fear of the gallows - "If you can't make gold, try and do
something else; make porcelain."

The alchemist acted on the hint, and began his experiments, working
night and day. He prosecuted his investigations for a long time
with great assiduity, but without success. At length some red
clay, brought to him for the purpose of making his crucibles, set
him on the right track. He found that this clay, when submitted to
a high temperature, became vitrified and retained its shape; and
that its texture resembled that of porcelain, excepting in colour
and opacity. He had in fact accidentally discovered red porcelain,
and he proceeded to manufacture it and sell it as porcelain.

Bottgher was, however, well aware that the white colour was an
essential property of true porcelain; and he therefore prosecuted
his experiments in the hope of discovering the secret. Several
years thus passed, but without success; until again accident stood
his friend, and helped him to a knowledge of the art of making
white porcelain. One day, in the year 1707, he found his perruque
unusually heavy, and asked of his valet the reason. The answer
was, that it was owing to the powder with which the wig was
dressed, which consisted of a kind of earth then much used for hair
powder. Bottgher's quick imagination immediately seized upon the
idea. This white earthy powder might possibly be the very earth of
which he was in search - at all events the opportunity must not be
let slip of ascertaining what it really was. He was rewarded for
his painstaking care and watchfulness; for he found, on experiment,
that the principal ingredient of the hair-powder consisted of
KAOLIN, the want of which had so long formed an insuperable
difficulty in the way of his inquiries.

The discovery, in Bottgher's intelligent hands, led to great
results, and proved of far greater importance than the discovery of
the philosopher's stone would have been. In October, 1707, he
presented his first piece of porcelain to the Elector, who was
greatly pleased with it; and it was resolved that Bottgher should
be furnished with the means necessary for perfecting his invention.
Having obtained a skilled workman from Delft, he began to TURN
porcelain with great success. He now entirely abandoned alchemy
for pottery, and inscribed over the door of his workshop this


Bottgher, however, was still under strict surveillance, for fear
lest he should communicate his secret to others or escape the
Elector's control. The new workshops and furnaces which were
erected for him, were guarded by troops night and day, and six
superior officers were made responsible for the personal security
of the potter.

Bottgher's further experiments with his new furnaces proving very
successful, and the porcelain which he manufactured being found to
fetch large prices, it was next determined to establish a Royal
Manufactory of porcelain. The manufacture of delft ware was known
to have greatly enriched Holland. Why should not the manufacture
of porcelain equally enrich the Elector? Accordingly, a decree
went forth, dated the 23rd of January, 1710, for the establishment
of "a large manufactory of porcelain" at the Albrechtsburg in
Meissen. In this decree, which was translated into Latin, French,
and Dutch, and distributed by the Ambassadors of the Elector at all
the European Courts, Frederick Augustus set forth that to promote
the welfare of Saxony, which had suffered much through the Swedish
invasion, he had "directed his attention to the subterranean
treasures (UNTERIRDISCHEN SCHATZE)" of the country, and having
employed some able persons in the investigation, they had succeeded
in manufacturing "a sort of red vessels (EINE ART ROTHER GEFASSE)
far superior to the Indian terra sigillata;" (17) as also "coloured
ware and plates (BUNTES GESCHIRR UND TAFELN) which may be cut,
ground, and polished, and are quite equal to Indian vessels," and
finally that "specimens of white porcelain (PROBEN VON WEISSEM
PORZELLAN)" had already been obtained, and it was hoped that this
quality, too, would soon be manufactured in considerable
quantities. The royal decree concluded by inviting "foreign
artists and handicraftmen" to come to Saxony and engage as
assistants in the new factory, at high wages, and under the
patronage of the King. This royal edict probably gives the best
account of the actual state of Bottgher's invention at the time.

It has been stated in German publications that Bottgher, for the
great services rendered by him to the Elector and to Saxony, was
made Manager of the Royal Porcelain Works, and further promoted to
the dignity of Baron. Doubtless he deserved these honours; but his
treatment was of an altogether different character, for it was
shabby, cruel, and inhuman. Two royal officials, named Matthieu
and Nehmitz, were put over his head as directors of the factory,
while he himself only held the position of foreman of potters, and
at the same time was detained the King's prisoner. During the
erection of the factory at Meissen, while his assistance was still
indispensable, he was conducted by soldiers to and from Dresden;
and even after the works were finished, he was locked up nightly in
his room. All this preyed upon his mind, and in repeated letters
to the King he sought to obtain mitigation of his fate. Some of
these letters are very touching. "I will devote my whole soul to
the art of making porcelain," he writes on one occasion, "I will do
more than any inventor ever did before; only give me liberty,

To these appeals, the King turned a deaf ear. He was ready to
spend money and grant favours; but liberty he would not give. He
regarded Bottgher as his slave. In this position, the persecuted
man kept on working for some time, till, at the end of a year or
two, he grew negligent. Disgusted with the world and with himself,
he took to drinking. Such is the force of example, that it no
sooner became known that Bottgher had betaken himself to this vice,
than the greater number of the workmen at the Meissen factory
became drunkards too. Quarrels and fightings without end were the
consequence, so that the troops were frequently called upon to
interfere and keep peace among the "Porzellanern," as they were
nicknamed. After a while, the whole of them, more than three
hundred, were shut up in the Albrechtsburg, and treated as
prisoners of state.

Bottgher at last fell seriously ill, and in May, 1713, his
dissolution was hourly expected. The King, alarmed at losing so
valuable a slave, now gave him permission to take carriage exercise
under a guard; and, having somewhat recovered, he was allowed
occasionally to go to Dresden. In a letter written by the King in
April, 1714, Bottgher was promised his full liberty; but the offer
came too late. Broken in body and mind, alternately working and
drinking, though with occasional gleams of nobler intention, and
suffering under constant ill-health, the result of his enforced
confinement, Bottgher lingered on for a few years more, until death
freed him from his sufferings on the 13th March, 1719, in the
thirty-fifth year of his age. He was buried AT NIGHT - as if he
had been a dog - in the Johannis Cemetery of Meissen. Such was the
treatment and such the unhappy end, of one of Saxony's greatest

The porcelain manufacture immediately opened up an important source
of public revenue, and it became so productive to the Elector of
Saxony, that his example was shortly after followed by most
European monarchs. Although soft porcelain had been made at St.
Cloud fourteen years before Bottgher's discovery, the superiority
of the hard porcelain soon became generally recognised. Its
manufacture was begun at Sevres in 1770, and it has since almost
entirely superseded the softer material. This is now one of the
most thriving branches of French industry, of which the high
quality of the articles produced is certainly indisputable.

The career of Josiah Wedgwood, the English potter, was less
chequered and more prosperous than that of either Palissy or
Bottgher, and his lot was cast in happier times. Down to the
middle of last century England was behind most other nations of the
first order in Europe in respect of skilled industry. Although
there were many potters in Staffordshire - and Wedgwood himself
belonged to a numerous clan of potters of the same name - their
productions were of the rudest kind, for the most part only plain
brown ware, with the patterns scratched in while the clay was wet.
The principal supply of the better articles of earthenware came
from Delft in Holland, and of drinking stone pots from Cologne.
Two foreign potters, the brothers Elers from Nuremberg, settled for
a time in Staffordshire, and introduced an improved manufacture,
but they shortly after removed to Chelsea, where they confined
themselves to the manufacture of ornamental pieces. No porcelain
capable of resisting a scratch with a hard point had yet been made
in England; and for a long time the "white ware" made in
Staffordshire was not white, but of a dirty cream colour. Such, in
a few words, was the condition of the pottery manufacture when
Josiah Wedgwood was born at Burslem in 1730. By the time that he
died, sixty-four years later, it had become completely changed. By
his energy, skill, and genius, he established the trade upon a new
and solid foundation; and, in the words of his epitaph, "converted
a rude and inconsiderable manufacture into an elegant art and an
important branch of national commerce."

Josiah Wedgwood was one of those indefatigable men who from time to
time spring from the ranks of the common people, and by their
energetic character not only practically educate the working
population in habits of industry, but by the example of diligence
and perseverance which they set before them, largely influence the
public activity in all directions, and contribute in a great degree
to form the national character. He was, like Arkwright, the
youngest of a family of thirteen children. His grandfather and
granduncle were both potters, as was also his father who died when
he was a mere boy, leaving him a patrimony of twenty pounds. He
had learned to read and write at the village school; but on the
death of his father he was taken from it and set to work as a
"thrower" in a small pottery carried on by his elder brother.
There he began life, his working life, to use his own words, "at
the lowest round of the ladder," when only eleven years old. He
was shortly after seized by an attack of virulent smallpox, from
the effects of which he suffered during the rest of his life, for
it was followed by a disease in the right knee, which recurred at
frequent intervals, and was only got rid of by the amputation of
the limb many years later. Mr. Gladstone, in his eloquent Eloge on
Wedgwood recently delivered at Burslem, well observed that the
disease from which he suffered was not improbably the occasion of
his subsequent excellence. "It prevented him from growing up to be
the active, vigorous English workman, possessed of all his limbs,
and knowing right well the use of them; but it put him upon
considering whether, as he could not be that, he might not be
something else, and something greater. It sent his mind inwards;
it drove him to meditate upon the laws and secrets of his art. The
result was, that he arrived at a perception and a grasp of them
which might, perhaps, have been envied, certainly have been owned,
by an Athenian potter." (18)

When he had completed his apprenticeship with his brother, Josiah
joined partnership with another workman, and carried on a small
business in making knife-hafts, boxes, and sundry articles for
domestic use. Another partnership followed, when he proceeded to
make melon table plates, green pickle leaves, candlesticks,
snuffboxes, and such like articles; but he made comparatively
little progress until he began business on his own account at
Burslem in the year 1759. There he diligently pursued his calling,
introducing new articles to the trade, and gradually extending his
business. What he chiefly aimed at was to manufacture cream-
coloured ware of a better quality than was then produced in
Staffordshire as regarded shape, colour, glaze, and durability. To
understand the subject thoroughly, he devoted his leisure to the
study of chemistry; and he made numerous experiments on fluxes,
glazes, and various sorts of clay. Being a close inquirer and
accurate observer, he noticed that a certain earth containing
silica, which was black before calcination, became white after
exposure to the heat of a furnace. This fact, observed and
pondered on, led to the idea of mixing silica with the red powder
of the potteries, and to the discovery that the mixture becomes
white when calcined. He had but to cover this material with a
vitrification of transparent glaze, to obtain one of the most
important products of fictile art - that which, under the name of
English earthenware, was to attain the greatest commercial value
and become of the most extensive utility.

Wedgwood was for some time much troubled by his furnaces, though
nothing like to the same extent that Palissy was; and he overcame
his difficulties in the same way - by repeated experiments and
unfaltering perseverance. His first attempts at making porcelain
for table use was a succession of disastrous failures, - the
labours of months being often destroyed in a day. It was only
after a long series of trials, in the course of which he lost time,
money, and labour, that he arrived at the proper sort of glaze to
be used; but he would not be denied, and at last he conquered
success through patience. The improvement of pottery became his
passion, and was never lost sight of for a moment. Even when he
had mastered his difficulties, and become a prosperous man -
manufacturing white stone ware and cream-coloured ware in large
quantities for home and foreign use - he went forward perfecting
his manufactures, until, his example extending in all directions,
the action of the entire district was stimulated, and a great
branch of British industry was eventually established on firm
foundations. He aimed throughout at the highest excellence,
declaring his determination "to give over manufacturing any
article, whatsoever it might be, rather than to degrade it."

Wedgwood was cordially helped by many persons of rank and
influence; for, working in the truest spirit, he readily commanded
the help and encouragement of other true workers. He made for
Queen Charlotte the first royal table-service of English
manufacture, of the kind afterwards called "Queen's-ware," and was
appointed Royal Potter; a title which he prized more than if he had
been made a baron. Valuable sets of porcelain were entrusted to
him for imitation, in which he succeeded to admiration. Sir
William Hamilton lent him specimens of ancient art from
Herculaneum, of which he produced accurate and beautiful copies.
The Duchess of Portland outbid him for the Barberini Vase when that
article was offered for sale. He bid as high as seventeen hundred
guineas for it: her grace secured it for eighteen hundred; but
when she learnt Wedgwood's object she at once generously lent him
the vase to copy. He produced fifty copies at a cost of about
2500L., and his expenses were not covered by their sale; but he
gained his object, which was to show that whatever had been done,
that English skill and energy could and would accomplish.

Wedgwood called to his aid the crucible of the chemist, the
knowledge of the antiquary, and the skill of the artist. He found
out Flaxman when a youth, and while he liberally nurtured his
genius drew from him a large number of beautiful designs for his
pottery and porcelain; converting them by his manufacture into
objects of taste and excellence, and thus making them instrumental
in the diffusion of classical art amongst the people. By careful
experiment and study he was even enabled to rediscover the art of
painting on porcelain or earthenware vases and similar articles -
an art practised by the ancient Etruscans, but which had been lost
since the time of Pliny. He distinguished himself by his own
contributions to science, and his name is still identified with the
Pyrometer which he invented. He was an indefatigable supporter of
all measures of public utility; and the construction of the Trent
and Mersey Canal, which completed the navigable communication
between the eastern and western sides of the island, was mainly due
to his public-spirited exertions, allied to the engineering skill
of Brindley. The road accommodation of the district being of an
execrable character, he planned and executed a turnpike-road
through the Potteries, ten miles in length. The reputation he
achieved was such that his works at Burslem, and subsequently those
at Etruria, which he founded and built, became a point of
attraction to distinguished visitors from all parts of Europe.

The result of Wedgwood's labours was, that the manufacture of
pottery, which he found in the very lowest condition, became one of
the staples of England; and instead of importing what we needed for
home use from abroad, we became large exporters to other countries,
supplying them with earthenware even in the face of enormous
prohibitory duties on articles of British produce. Wedgwood gave
evidence as to his manufactures before Parliament in 1785, only
some thirty years after he had begun his operations; from which it
appeared, that instead of providing only casual employment to a
small number of inefficient and badly remunerated workmen, about
20,000 persons then derived their bread directly from the
manufacture of earthenware, without taking into account the
increased numbers to which it gave employment in coal-mines, and in
the carrying trade by land and sea, and the stimulus which it gave
to employment in many ways in various parts of the country. Yet,
important as had been the advances made in his time, Mr. Wedgwood
was of opinion that the manufacture was but in its infancy, and
that the improvements which he had effected were of but small
amount compared with those to which the art was capable of
attaining, through the continued industry and growing intelligence
of the manufacturers, and the natural facilities and political
advantages enjoyed by Great Britain; an opinion which has been
fully borne out by the progress which has since been effected in
this important branch of industry. In 1852 not fewer than
84,000,000 pieces of pottery were exported from England to other
countries, besides what were made for home use. But it is not
merely the quantity and value of the produce that is entitled to
consideration, but the improvement of the condition of the
population by whom this great branch of industry is conducted.
When Wedgwood began his labours, the Staffordshire district was
only in a half-civilized state. The people were poor,
uncultivated, and few in number. When Wedgwood's manufacture was
firmly established, there was found ample employment at good wages
for three times the number of population; while their moral
advancement had kept pace with their material improvement.

Men such as these are fairly entitled to take rank as the
Industrial Heroes of the civilized world. Their patient self-
reliance amidst trials and difficulties, their courage and
perseverance in the pursuit of worthy objects, are not less heroic
of their kind than the bravery and devotion of the soldier and the
sailor, whose duty and pride it is heroically to defend what these
valiant leaders of industry have so heroically achieved.


"Rich are the diligent, who can command
Time, nature's stock! and could his hour-glass fall,
Would, as for seed of stars, stoop for the sand,
And, by incessant labour, gather all." - D'Avenant.
"Allez en avant, et la foi vous viendra!" - D'Alembert.

The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means,
and the exercise of ordinary qualities. The common life of every
day, with its cares, necessities, and duties, affords ample
opportunity for acquiring experience of the best kind; and its most
beaten paths provide the true worker with abundant scope for effort
and room for self-improvement. The road of human welfare lies
along the old highway of steadfast well-doing; and they who are the
most persistent, and work in the truest spirit, will usually be the
most successful.

Fortune has often been blamed for her blindness; but fortune is not
so blind as men are. Those who look into practical life will find
that fortune is usually on the side of the industrious, as the
winds and waves are on the side of the best navigators. In the
pursuit of even the highest branches of human inquiry, the commoner
qualities are found the most useful - such as common sense,
attention, application, and perseverance. Genius may not be
necessary, though even genius of the highest sort does not disdain
the use of these ordinary qualities. The very greatest men have
been among the least believers in the power of genius, and as
worldly wise and persevering as successful men of the commoner
sort. Some have even defined genius to be only common sense
intensified. A distinguished teacher and president of a college
spoke of it as the power of making efforts. John Foster held it to
be the power of lighting one's own fire. Buffon said of genius "it
is patience."

Newton's was unquestionably a mind of the very highest order, and
yet, when asked by what means he had worked out his extraordinary
discoveries, he modestly answered, "By always thinking unto them."
At another time he thus expressed his method of study: "I keep the
subject continually before me, and wait till the first dawnings
open slowly by little and little into a full and clear light."  It
was in Newton's case, as in every other, only by diligent
application and perseverance that his great reputation was
achieved. Even his recreation consisted in change of study, laying
down one subject to take up another. To Dr. Bentley he said: "If
I have done the public any service, it is due to nothing but
industry and patient thought."  So Kepler, another great
philosopher, speaking of his studies and his progress, said: "As
in Virgil, 'Fama mobilitate viget, vires acquirit eundo,' so it was
with me, that the diligent thought on these things was the occasion
of still further thinking; until at last I brooded with the whole
energy of my mind upon the subject."

The extraordinary results effected by dint of sheer industry and
perseverance, have led many distinguished men to doubt whether the
gift of genius be so exceptional an endowment as it is usually
supposed to be. Thus Voltaire held that it is only a very slight
line of separation that divides the man of genius from the man of
ordinary mould. Beccaria was even of opinion that all men might be
poets and orators, and Reynolds that they might be painters and
sculptors. If this were really so, that stolid Englishman might
not have been so very far wrong after all, who, on Canova's death,
inquired of his brother whether it was "his intention to carry on
the business!"  Locke, Helvetius, and Diderot believed that all men
have an equal aptitude for genius, and that what some are able to
effect, under the laws which regulate the operations of the
intellect, must also be within the reach of others who, under like
circumstances, apply themselves to like pursuits. But while
admitting to the fullest extent the wonderful achievements of
labour, and recognising the fact that men of the most distinguished
genius have invariably been found the most indefatigable workers,
it must nevertheless be sufficiently obvious that, without the
original endowment of heart and brain, no amount of labour, however
well applied, could have produced a Shakespeare, a Newton, a
Beethoven, or a Michael Angelo.

Dalton, the chemist, repudiated the notion of his being "a genius,"
attributing everything which he had accomplished to simple industry
and accumulation. John Hunter said of himself, "My mind is like a
beehive; but full as it is of buzz and apparent confusion, it is
yet full of order and regularity, and food collected with incessant
industry from the choicest stores of nature."  We have, indeed, but
to glance at the biographies of great men to find that the most
distinguished inventors, artists, thinkers, and workers of all
kinds, owe their success, in a great measure, to their
indefatigable industry and application. They were men who turned
all things to gold - even time itself. Disraeli the elder held
that the secret of success consisted in being master of your
subject, such mastery being attainable only through continuous
application and study. Hence it happens that the men who have most
moved the world, have not been so much men of genius, strictly so
called, as men of intense mediocre abilities, and untiring
perseverance; not so often the gifted, of naturally bright and
shining qualities, as those who have applied themselves diligently
to their work, in whatsoever line that might lie. "Alas!" said a
widow, speaking of her brilliant but careless son, "he has not the
gift of continuance."  Wanting in perseverance, such volatile
natures are outstripped in the race of life by the diligent and
even the dull. "Che va piano, va longano, e va lontano," says the
Italian proverb: Who goes slowly, goes long, and goes far.

Hence, a great point to be aimed at is to get the working quality
well trained. When that is done, the race will be found
comparatively easy. We must repeat and again repeat; facility will
come with labour. Not even the simplest art can be accomplished
without it; and what difficulties it is found capable of achieving!
It was by early discipline and repetition that the late Sir Robert
Peel cultivated those remarkable, though still mediocre powers,
which rendered him so illustrious an ornament of the British
Senate. When a boy at Drayton Manor, his father was accustomed to
set him up at table to practise speaking extempore; and he early
accustomed him to repeat as much of the Sunday's sermon as he could
remember. Little progress was made at first, but by steady
perseverance the habit of attention became powerful, and the sermon
was at length repeated almost verbatim. When afterwards replying
in succession to the arguments of his parliamentary opponents - an
art in which he was perhaps unrivalled - it was little surmised
that the extraordinary power of accurate remembrance which he
displayed on such occasions had been originally trained under the
discipline of his father in the parish church of Drayton.

It is indeed marvellous what continuous application will effect in
the commonest of things. It may seem a simple affair to play upon
a violin; yet what a long and laborious practice it requires!
Giardini said to a youth who asked him how long it would take to
learn it, "Twelve hours a day for twenty years together."
Industry, it is said, FAIT L'OURS DANSER. The poor figurante must
devote years of incessant toil to her profitless task before she
can shine in it. When Taglioni was preparing herself for her
evening exhibition, she would, after a severe two hours' lesson
from her father, fall down exhausted, and had to be undressed,
sponged, and resuscitated totally unconscious. The agility and
bounds of the evening were insured only at a price like this.

Progress, however, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great
results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to
advance in life as we walk, step by step. De Maistre says that "to
know HOW TO WAIT is the great secret of success."  We must sow
before we can reap, and often have to wait long, content meanwhile
to look patiently forward in hope; the fruit best worth waiting for
often ripening the slowest. But "time and patience," says the
Eastern proverb, "change the mulberry leaf to satin."

To wait patiently, however, men must work cheerfully. Cheerfulness
is an excellent working quality, imparting great elasticity to the
character. As a bishop has said, "Temper is nine-tenths of
Christianity;" so are cheerfulness and diligence nine-tenths of
practical wisdom. They are the life and soul of success, as well
as of happiness; perhaps the very highest pleasure in life
consisting in clear, brisk, conscious working; energy, confidence,
and every other good quality mainly depending upon it. Sydney
Smith, when labouring as a parish priest at Foston-le-Clay, in
Yorkshire, - though he did not feel himself to be in his proper
element, - went cheerfully to work in the firm determination to do
his best. "I am resolved," he said, "to like it, and reconcile
myself to it, which is more manly than to feign myself above it,
and to send up complaints by the post of being thrown away, and
being desolate, and such like trash."  So Dr. Hook, when leaving
Leeds for a new sphere of labour said, "Wherever I may be, I shall,
by God's blessing, do with my might what my hand findeth to do; and
if I do not find work, I shall make it."

Labourers for the public good especially, have to work long and
patiently, often uncheered by the prospect of immediate recompense
or result. The seeds they sow sometimes lie hidden under the
winter's snow, and before the spring comes the husbandman may have
gone to his rest. It is not every public worker who, like Rowland
Hill, sees his great idea bring forth fruit in his life-time. Adam
Smith sowed the seeds of a great social amelioration in that dingy
old University of Glasgow where he so long laboured, and laid the
foundations of his 'Wealth of Nations;' but seventy years passed
before his work bore substantial fruits, nor indeed are they all
gathered in yet.

Nothing can compensate for the loss of hope in a man: it entirely
changes the character. "How can I work - how can I be happy," said
a great but miserable thinker, "when I have lost all hope?"  One of
the most cheerful and courageous, because one of the most hopeful
of workers, was Carey, the missionary. When in India, it was no
uncommon thing for him to weary out three pundits, who officiated
as his clerks, in one day, he himself taking rest only in change of
employment. Carey, the son of a shoe-maker, was supported in his
labours by Ward, the son of a carpenter, and Marsham, the son of a
weaver. By their labours, a magnificent college was erected at
Serampore; sixteen flourishing stations were established; the Bible
was translated into sixteen languages, and the seeds were sown of a
beneficent moral revolution in British India. Carey was never
ashamed of the humbleness of his origin. On one occasion, when at
the Governor-General's table he over-heard an officer opposite him
asking another, loud enough to be heard, whether Carey had not once
been a shoemaker: "No, sir," exclaimed Carey immediately; "only a
cobbler."  An eminently characteristic anecdote has been told of
his perseverance as a boy. When climbing a tree one day, his foot
slipped, and he fell to the ground, breaking his leg by the fall.
He was confined to his bed for weeks, but when he recovered and was
able to walk without support, the very first thing he did was to go
and climb that tree. Carey had need of this sort of dauntless
courage for the great missionary work of his life, and nobly and
resolutely he did it.

It was a maxim of Dr. Young, the philosopher, that "Any man can do
what any other man has done;" and it is unquestionable that he
himself never recoiled from any trials to which he determined to
subject himself. It is related of him, that the first time he
mounted a horse, he was in company with the grandson of Mr. Barclay
of Ury, the well-known sportsman; when the horseman who preceded
them leapt a high fence. Young wished to imitate him, but fell off
his horse in the attempt. Without saying a word, he remounted,
made a second effort, and was again unsuccessful, but this time he
was not thrown further than on to the horse's neck, to which he
clung. At the third trial, he succeeded, and cleared the fence.

The story of Timour the Tartar learning a lesson of perseverance
under adversity from the spider is well known. Not less
interesting is the anecdote of Audubon, the American ornithologist,
as related by himself: "An accident," he says, "which happened to
two hundred of my original drawings, nearly put a stop to my
researches in ornithology. I shall relate it, merely to show how
far enthusiasm - for by no other name can I call my perseverance -
may enable the preserver of nature to surmount the most
disheartening difficulties. I left the village of Henderson, in
Kentucky, situated on the banks of the Ohio, where I resided for
several years, to proceed to Philadelphia on business. I looked to
my drawings before my departure, placed them carefully in a wooden
box, and gave them in charge of a relative, with injunctions to see
that no injury should happen to them. My absence was of several
months; and when I returned, after having enjoyed the pleasures of
home for a few days, I inquired after my box, and what I was
pleased to call my treasure. The box was produced and opened; but
reader, feel for me - a pair of Norway rats had taken possession of
the whole, and reared a young family among the gnawed bits of
paper, which, but a month previous, represented nearly a thousand
inhabitants of air! The burning beat which instantly rushed
through my brain was too great to be endured without affecting my
whole nervous system. I slept for several nights, and the days
passed like days of oblivion - until the animal powers being
recalled into action through the strength of my constitution, I
took up my gun, my notebook, and my pencils, and went forth to the
woods as gaily as if nothing had happened. I felt pleased that I
might now make better drawings than before; and, ere a period not
exceeding three years had elapsed, my portfolio was again filled."

The accidental destruction of Sir Isaac Newton's papers, by his
little dog 'Diamond' upsetting a lighted taper upon his desk, by
which the elaborate calculations of many years were in a moment
destroyed, is a well-known anecdote, and need not be repeated: it
is said that the loss caused the philosopher such profound grief
that it seriously injured his health, and impaired his
understanding. An accident of a somewhat similar kind happened to
the MS. of Mr. Carlyle's first volume of his 'French Revolution.'
He had lent the MS. to a literary neighbour to peruse. By some
mischance, it had been left lying on the parlour floor, and become
forgotten. Weeks ran on, and the historian sent for his work, the
printers being loud for "copy."  Inquiries were made, and it was
found that the maid-of-all-work, finding what she conceived to be a
bundle of waste paper on the floor, had used it to light the
kitchen and parlour fires with! Such was the answer returned to
Mr. Carlyle; and his feelings may be imagined. There was, however,
no help for him but to set resolutely to work to re-write the book;
and he turned to and did it. He had no draft, and was compelled to
rake up from his memory facts, ideas, and expressions, which had
been long since dismissed. The composition of the book in the
first instance had been a work of pleasure; the re-writing of it a
second time was one of pain and anguish almost beyond belief. That
he persevered and finished the volume under such circumstances,
affords an instance of determination of purpose which has seldom
been surpassed.

The lives of eminent inventors are eminently illustrative of the
same quality of perseverance. George Stephenson, when addressing
young men, was accustomed to sum up his best advice to them, in the
words, "Do as I have done - persevere."  He had worked at the
improvement of his locomotive for some fifteen years before
achieving his decisive victory at Rainhill; and Watt was engaged
for some thirty years upon the condensing-engine before he brought
it to perfection. But there are equally striking illustrations of
perseverance to be found in every other branch of science, art, and
industry. Perhaps one of the most interesting is that connected
with the disentombment of the Nineveh marbles, and the discovery of
the long-lost cuneiform or arrow-headed character in which the
inscriptions on them are written - a kind of writing which had been
lost to the world since the period of the Macedonian conquest of

An intelligent cadet of the East India Company, stationed at
Kermanshah, in Persia, had observed the curious cuneiform
inscriptions on the old monuments in the neighbourhood - so old
that all historical traces of them had been lost, - and amongst the
inscriptions which he copied was that on the celebrated rock of
Behistun - a perpendicular rock rising abruptly some 1700 feet from
the plain, the lower part bearing inscriptions for the space of
about 300 feet in three languages - Persian, Scythian, and
Assyrian. Comparison of the known with the unknown, of the
language which survived with the language that had been lost,
enabled this cadet to acquire some knowledge of the cuneiform
character, and even to form an alphabet. Mr. (afterwards Sir
Henry) Rawlinson sent his tracings home for examination. No
professors in colleges as yet knew anything of the cuneiform
character; but there was a ci-devant clerk of the East India House
- a modest unknown man of the name of Norris - who had made this
little-understood subject his study, to whom the tracings were
submitted; and so accurate was his knowledge, that, though he had
never seen the Behistun rock, he pronounced that the cadet had not
copied the puzzling inscription with proper exactness. Rawlinson,
who was still in the neighbourhood of the rock, compared his copy
with the original, and found that Norris was right; and by further
comparison and careful study the knowledge of the cuneiform writing
was thus greatly advanced.

But to make the learning of these two self-taught men of avail, a
third labourer was necessary in order to supply them with material
for the exercise of their skill. Such a labourer presented himself
in the person of Austen Layard, originally an articled clerk in the
office of a London solicitor. One would scarcely have expected to
find in these three men, a cadet, an India-House clerk, and a
lawyer's clerk, the discoverers of a forgotten language, and of the
buried history of Babylon; yet it was so. Layard was a youth of
only twenty-two, travelling in the East, when he was possessed with
a desire to penetrate the regions beyond the Euphrates.
Accompanied by a single companion, trusting to his arms for
protection, and, what was better, to his cheerfulness, politeness,
and chivalrous bearing, he passed safely amidst tribes at deadly
war with each other; and, after the lapse of many years, with
comparatively slender means at his command, but aided by
application and perseverance, resolute will and purpose, and almost
sublime patience, - borne up throughout by his passionate
enthusiasm for discovery and research, - he succeeded in laying
bare and digging up an amount of historical treasures, the like of
which has probably never before been collected by the industry of
any one man. Not less than two miles of bas-reliefs were thus
brought to light by Mr. Layard. The selection of these valuable
antiquities, now placed in the British Museum, was found so
curiously corroborative of the scriptural records of events which
occurred some three thousand years ago, that they burst upon the
world almost like a new revelation. And the story of the
disentombment of these remarkable works, as told by Mr. Layard
himself in his 'Monuments of Nineveh,' will always be regarded as
one of the most charming and unaffected records which we possess of
individual enterprise, industry, and energy.

The career of the Comte de Buffon presents another remarkable
illustration of the power of patient industry as well as of his own
saying, that "Genius is patience."  Notwithstanding the great
results achieved by him in natural history, Buffon, when a youth,
was regarded as of mediocre talents. His mind was slow in forming
itself, and slow in reproducing what it had acquired. He was also
constitutionally indolent; and being born to good estate, it might
be supposed that he would indulge his liking for ease and luxury.
Instead of which, he early formed the resolution of denying himself
pleasure, and devoting himself to study and self-culture.
Regarding time as a treasure that was limited, and finding that he
was losing many hours by lying a-bed in the mornings, he determined
to break himself of the habit. He struggled hard against it for
some time, but failed in being able to rise at the hour he had
fixed. He then called his servant, Joseph, to his help, and
promised him the reward of a crown every time that he succeeded in
getting him up before six. At first, when called, Buffon declined
to rise - pleaded that he was ill, or pretended anger at being
disturbed; and on the Count at length getting up, Joseph found that
he had earned nothing but reproaches for having permitted his
master to lie a-bed contrary to his express orders. At length the
valet determined to earn his crown; and again and again he forced
Buffon to rise, notwithstanding his entreaties, expostulations, and
threats of immediate discharge from his service. One morning
Buffon was unusually obstinate, and Joseph found it necessary to
resort to the extreme measure of dashing a basin of ice-cold water
under the bed-clothes, the effect of which was instantaneous. By
the persistent use of such means, Buffon at length conquered his
habit; and he was accustomed to say that he owed to Joseph three or
four volumes of his Natural History.

For forty years of his life, Buffon worked every morning at his
desk from nine till two, and again in the evening from five till
nine. His diligence was so continuous and so regular that it
became habitual. His biographer has said of him, "Work was his
necessity; his studies were the charm of his life; and towards the
last term of his glorious career he frequently said that he still
hoped to be able to consecrate to them a few more years."  He was a
most conscientious worker, always studying to give the reader his
best thoughts, expressed in the very best manner. He was never
wearied with touching and retouching his compositions, so that his
style may be pronounced almost perfect. He wrote the 'Epoques de
la Nature' not fewer than eleven times before he was satisfied with
it; although he had thought over the work about fifty years. He
was a thorough man of business, most orderly in everything; and he
was accustomed to say that genius without order lost three-fourths
of its power. His great success as a writer was the result mainly
of his painstaking labour and diligent application. "Buffon,"
observed Madame Necker, "strongly persuaded that genius is the
result of a profound attention directed to a particular subject,
said that he was thoroughly wearied out when composing his first
writings, but compelled himself to return to them and go over them
carefully again, even when he thought he had already brought them
to a certain degree of perfection; and that at length he found
pleasure instead of weariness in this long and elaborate
correction."  It ought also to be added that Buffon wrote and
published all his great works while afflicted by one of the most
painful diseases to which the human frame is subject.

Literary life affords abundant illustrations of the same power of
perseverance; and perhaps no career is more instructive, viewed in
this light, than that of Sir Walter Scott. His admirable working
qualities were trained in a lawyer's office, where he pursued for
many years a sort of drudgery scarcely above that of a copying
clerk. His daily dull routine made his evenings, which were his
own, all the more sweet; and he generally devoted them to reading
and study. He himself attributed to his prosaic office discipline
that habit of steady, sober diligence, in which mere literary men
are so often found wanting. As a copying clerk he was allowed 3D.
for every page containing a certain number of words; and he
sometimes, by extra work, was able to copy as many as 120 pages in
twenty-four hours, thus earning some 30S.; out of which he would
occasionally purchase an odd volume, otherwise beyond his means.

During his after-life Scott was wont to pride himself upon being a
man of business, and he averred, in contradiction to what he called
the cant of sonneteers, that there was no necessary connection
between genius and an aversion or contempt for the common duties of
life. On the contrary, he was of opinion that to spend some fair
portion of every day in any matter-of-fact occupation was good for
the higher faculties themselves in the upshot. While afterwards
acting as clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, he performed
his literary work chiefly before breakfast, attending the court
during the day, where he authenticated registered deeds and
writings of various kinds. On the whole, says Lockhart, "it forms
one of the most remarkable features in his history, that throughout
the most active period of his literary career, he must have devoted
a large proportion of his hours, during half at least of every
year, to the conscientious discharge of professional duties."  It
was a principle of action which he laid down for himself, that he
must earn his living by business, and not by literature. On one
occasion he said, "I determined that literature should be my staff,
not my crutch, and that the profits of my literary labour, however
convenient otherwise, should not, if I could help it, become
necessary to my ordinary expenses."

His punctuality was one of the most carefully cultivated of his
habits, otherwise it had not been possible for him to get through
so enormous an amount of literary labour. He made it a rule to
answer every letter received by him on the same day, except where
inquiry and deliberation were requisite. Nothing else could have
enabled him to keep abreast with the flood of communications that
poured in upon him and sometimes put his good nature to the
severest test. It was his practice to rise by five o'clock, and
light his own fire. He shaved and dressed with deliberation, and
was seated at his desk by six o'clock, with his papers arranged
before him in the most accurate order, his works of reference
marshalled round him on the floor, while at least one favourite dog
lay watching his eye, outside the line of books. Thus by the time
the family assembled for breakfast, between nine and ten, he had
done enough - to use his own words - to break the neck of the day's
work. But with all his diligent and indefatigable industry, and
his immense knowledge, the result of many years' patient labour,
Scott always spoke with the greatest diffidence of his own powers.
On one occasion he said, "Throughout every part of my career I have
felt pinched and hampered by my own ignorance."

Such is true wisdom and humility; for the more a man really knows,
the less conceited he will be. The student at Trinity College who
went up to his professor to take leave of him because he had
"finished his education," was wisely rebuked by the professor's
reply, "Indeed! I am only beginning mine."  The superficial person
who has obtained a smattering of many things, but knows nothing
well, may pride himself upon his gifts; but the sage humbly
confesses that "all he knows is, that he knows nothing," or like
Newton, that he has been only engaged in picking shells by the sea
shore, while the great ocean of truth lies all unexplored before

The lives of second-rate literary men furnish equally remarkable
illustrations of the power of perseverance. The late John Britton,
author of 'The Beauties of England and Wales,' and of many valuable
architectural works, was born in a miserable cot in Kingston,
Wiltshire. His father had been a baker and maltster, but was
ruined in trade and became insane while Britton was yet a child.
The boy received very little schooling, but a great deal of bad
example, which happily did not corrupt him. He was early in life
set to labour with an uncle, a tavern-keeper in Clerkenwell, under
whom he bottled, corked, and binned wine for more than five years.
His health failing him, his uncle turned him adrift in the world,
with only two guineas, the fruits of his five years' service, in
his pocket. During the next seven years of his life he endured
many vicissitudes and hardships. Yet he says, in his
autobiography, "in my poor and obscure lodgings, at eighteenpence a
week, I indulged in study, and often read in bed during the winter
evenings, because I could not afford a fire."  Travelling on foot
to Bath, he there obtained an engagement as a cellarman, but
shortly after we find him back in the metropolis again almost
penniless, shoeless, and shirtless. He succeeded, however, in
obtaining employment as a cellarman at the London Tavern, where it
was his duty to be in the cellar from seven in the morning until
eleven at night. His health broke down under this confinement in
the dark, added to the heavy work; and he then engaged himself, at
fifteen shillings a week, to an attorney, - for he had been
diligently cultivating the art of writing during the few spare
minutes that he could call his own. While in this employment, he
devoted his leisure principally to perambulating the bookstalls,
where he read books by snatches which he could not buy, and thus
picked up a good deal of odd knowledge. Then he shifted to another
office, at the advanced wages of twenty shillings a week, still
reading and studying. At twenty-eight he was able to write a book,
which he published under the title of 'The Enterprising Adventures
of Pizarro;' and from that time until his death, during a period of
about fifty-five years, Britton was occupied in laborious literary
occupation. The number of his published works is not fewer than
eighty-seven; the most important being 'The Cathedral Antiquities
of England,' in fourteen volumes, a truly magnificent work; itself
the best monument of John Britton's indefatigable industry.

London, the landscape gardener, was a man of somewhat similar
character, possessed of an extraordinary working power. The son of
a farmer near Edinburgh, he was early inured to work. His skill in
drawing plans and making sketches of scenery induced his father to
train him for a landscape gardener. During his apprenticeship he
sat up two whole nights every week to study; yet he worked harder
during the day than any labourer. In the course of his night
studies he learnt French, and before he was eighteen he translated
a life of Abelard for an Encyclopaedia. He was so eager to make
progress in life, that when only twenty, while working as a
gardener in England, he wrote down in his note-book, "I am now
twenty years of age, and perhaps a third part of my life has passed
away, and yet what have I done to benefit my fellow men?" an
unusual reflection for a youth of only twenty. From French he
proceeded to learn German, and rapidly mastered that language.
Having taken a large farm, for the purpose of introducing Scotch
improvements in the art of agriculture, he shortly succeeded in
realising a considerable income. The continent being thrown open
at the end of the war, he travelled abroad for the purpose of
inquiring into the system of gardening and agriculture in other
countries. He twice repeated his journeys, and the results were
published in his Encyclopaedias, which are among the most
remarkable works of their kind, - distinguished for the immense
mass of useful matter which they contain, collected by an amount of
industry and labour which has rarely been equalled.

The career of Samuel Drew is not less remarkable than any of those
which we have cited. His father was a hard-working labourer of the
parish of St. Austell, in Cornwall. Though poor, he contrived to
send his two sons to a penny-a-week school in the neighbourhood.
Jabez, the elder, took delight in learning, and made great progress
in his lessons; but Samuel, the younger, was a dunce, notoriously
given to mischief and playing truant. When about eight years old
he was put to manual labour, earning three-halfpence a day as a
buddle-boy at a tin mine. At ten he was apprenticed to a
shoemaker, and while in this employment he endured much hardship, -
living, as he used to say, "like a toad under a harrow."  He often
thought of running away and becoming a pirate, or something of the
sort, and he seems to have grown in recklessness as he grew in
years. In robbing orchards he was usually a leader; and, as he
grew older, he delighted to take part in any poaching or smuggling
adventure. When about seventeen, before his apprenticeship was
out, he ran away, intending to enter on board a man-of-war; but,
sleeping in a hay-field at night cooled him a little, and he
returned to his trade.

Drew next removed to the neighbourhood of Plymouth to work at his
shoemaking business, and while at Cawsand he won a prize for
cudgel-playing, in which he seems to have been an adept. While
living there, he had nearly lost his life in a smuggling exploit
which he had joined, partly induced by the love of adventure, and
partly by the love of gain, for his regular wages were not more
than eight shillings a-week. One night, notice was given
throughout Crafthole, that a smuggler was off the coast, ready to
land her cargo; on which the male population of the place - nearly
all smugglers - made for the shore. One party remained on the
rocks to make signals and dispose of the goods as they were landed;
and another manned the boats, Drew being of the latter party. The
night was intensely dark, and very little of the cargo had been
landed, when the wind rose, with a heavy sea. The men in the
boats, however, determined to persevere, and several trips were
made between the smuggler, now standing farther out to sea, and the
shore. One of the men in the boat in which Drew was, had his hat
blown off by the wind, and in attempting to recover it, the boat
was upset. Three of the men were immediately drowned; the others
clung to the boat for a time, but finding it drifting out to sea,
they took to swimming. They were two miles from land, and the
night was intensely dark. After being about three hours in the
water, Drew reached a rock near the shore, with one or two others,
where he remained benumbed with cold till morning, when he and his
companions were discovered and taken off, more dead than alive. A
keg of brandy from the cargo just landed was brought, the head
knocked in with a hatchet, and a bowlfull of the liquid presented
to the survivors; and, shortly after, Drew was able to walk two
miles through deep snow, to his lodgings.

This was a very unpromising beginning of a life; and yet this same
Drew, scapegrace, orchard-robber, shoemaker, cudgel-player, and
smuggler, outlived the recklessness of his youth and became
distinguished as a minister of the Gospel and a writer of good
books. Happily, before it was too late, the energy which
characterised him was turned into a more healthy direction, and
rendered him as eminent in usefulness as he had before been in
wickedness. His father again took him back to St. Austell, and
found employment for him as a journeyman shoemaker. Perhaps his
recent escape from death had tended to make the young man serious,
as we shortly find him attracted by the forcible preaching of Dr.
Adam Clarke, a minister of the Wesleyan Methodists. His brother
having died about the same time, the impression of seriousness was
deepened; and thenceforward he was an altered man. He began anew
the work of education, for he had almost forgotten how to read and
write; and even after several years' practice, a friend compared
his writing to the traces of a spider dipped in ink set to crawl
upon paper. Speaking of himself, about that time, Drew afterwards
said, "The more I read, the more I felt my own ignorance; and the
more I felt my ignorance, the more invincible became my energy to
surmount it. Every leisure moment was now employed in reading one
thing or another. Having to support myself by manual labour, my
time for reading was but little, and to overcome this disadvantage,
my usual method was to place a book before me while at meat, and at
every repast I read five or six pages."  The perusal of Locke's
'Essay on the Understanding' gave the first metaphysical turn to
his mind. "It awakened me from my stupor," said he, "and induced
me to form a resolution to abandon the grovelling views which I had
been accustomed to entertain."

Drew began business on his own account, with a capital of a few
shillings; but his character for steadiness was such that a
neighbouring miller offered him a loan, which was accepted, and,
success attending his industry, the debt was repaid at the end of a
year. He started with a determination to "owe no man anything,"
and he held to it in the midst of many privations. Often he went
to bed supperless, to avoid rising in debt. His ambition was to
achieve independence by industry and economy, and in this he
gradually succeeded. In the midst of incessant labour, he
sedulously strove to improve his mind, studying astronomy, history,
and metaphysics. He was induced to pursue the latter study chiefly
because it required fewer books to consult than either of the
others. "It appeared to be a thorny path," he said, "but I
determined, nevertheless, to enter, and accordingly began to tread

Added to his labours in shoemaking and metaphysics, Drew became a
local preacher and a class leader. He took an eager interest in
politics, and his shop became a favourite resort with the village
politicians. And when they did not come to him, he went to them to
talk over public affairs. This so encroached upon his time that he
found it necessary sometimes to work until midnight to make up for
the hours lost during the day. His political fervour become the
talk of the village. While busy one night hammering away at a
shoe-sole, a little boy, seeing a light in the shop, put his mouth
to the keyhole of the door, and called out in a shrill pipe,
"Shoemaker! shoe-maker! work by night and run about by day!"  A
friend, to whom Drew afterwards told the story, asked, "And did not
you run after the boy, and strap him?"  "No, no," was the reply;
"had a pistol been fired off at my ear, I could not have been more
dismayed or confounded. I dropped my work, and said to myself,
'True, true! but you shall never have that to say of me again.'  To
me that cry was as the voice of God, and it has been a word in
season throughout my life. I learnt from it not to leave till to-
morrow the work of to-day, or to idle when I ought to be working."

From that moment Drew dropped politics, and stuck to his work,
reading and studying in his spare hours: but he never allowed the
latter pursuit to interfere with his business, though it frequently
broke in upon his rest. He married, and thought of emigrating to
America; but he remained working on. His literary taste first took
the direction of poetical composition; and from some of the
fragments which have been preserved, it appears that his
speculations as to the immateriality and immortality of the soul
had their origin in these poetical musings. His study was the
kitchen, where his wife's bellows served him for a desk; and he
wrote amidst the cries and cradlings of his children. Paine's 'Age
of Reason' having appeared about this time and excited much
interest, he composed a pamphlet in refutation of its arguments,
which was published. He used afterwards to say that it was the
'Age of Reason' that made him an author. Various pamphlets from
his pen shortly appeared in rapid succession, and a few years
later, while still working at shoemaking, he wrote and published
his admirable 'Essay on the Immateriality and Immortality of the
Human Soul,' which he sold for twenty pounds, a great sum in his
estimation at the time. The book went through many editions, and
is still prized.

Drew was in no wise puffed up by his success, as many young authors
are, but, long after he had become celebrated as a writer, used to
be seen sweeping the street before his door, or helping his
apprentices to carry in the winter's coals. Nor could he, for some
time, bring himself to regard literature as a profession to live
by. His first care was, to secure an honest livelihood by his
business, and to put into the "lottery of literary success," as he
termed it, only the surplus of his time. At length, however, he
devoted himself wholly to literature, more particularly in
connection with the Wesleyan body; editing one of their magazines,
and superintending the publication of several of their
denominational works. He also wrote in the 'Eclectic Review,' and
compiled and published a valuable history of his native county,
Cornwall, with numerous other works. Towards the close of his
career, he said of himself, - "Raised from one of the lowest
stations in society, I have endeavoured through life to bring my
family into a state of respectability, by honest industry,
frugality, and a high regard for my moral character. Divine
providence has smiled on my exertions, and crowned my wishes with

The late Joseph Hume pursued a very different career, but worked in
an equally persevering spirit. He was a man of moderate parts, but
of great industry and unimpeachable honesty of purpose. The motto
of his life was "Perseverance," and well, he acted up to it. His
father dying while he was a mere child, his mother opened a small
shop in Montrose, and toiled hard to maintain her family and bring
them up respectably. Joseph she put apprentice to a surgeon, and
educated for the medical profession. Having got his diploma, he
made several voyages to India as ship's surgeon, (19) and
afterwards obtained a cadetship in the Company's service. None
worked harder, or lived more temperately, than he did, and,
securing the confidence of his superiors, who found him a capable
man in the performance of his duty, they gradually promoted him to
higher offices. In 1803 he was with the division of the army under
General Powell, in the Mahratta war; and the interpreter having
died, Hume, who had meanwhile studied and mastered the native
languages, was appointed in his stead. He was next made chief of
the medical staff. But as if this were not enough to occupy his
full working power, he undertook in addition the offices of
paymaster and post-master, and filled them satisfactorily. He also
contracted to supply the commissariat, which he did with advantage
to the army and profit to himself. After about ten years'
unremitting labour, he returned to England with a competency; and
one of his first acts was to make provision for the poorer members
of his family.

But Joseph Hume was not a man to enjoy the fruits of his industry
in idleness. Work and occupation had become necessary for his
comfort and happiness. To make himself fully acquainted with the
actual state of his own country, and the condition of the people,
he visited every town in the kingdom which then enjoyed any degree
of manufacturing celebrity. He afterwards travelled abroad for the
purpose of obtaining a knowledge of foreign states. Returned to
England, he entered Parliament in 1812, and continued a member of
that assembly, with a short interruption, for a period of about
thirty-four years. His first recorded speech was on the subject of
public education, and throughout his long and honourable career he
took an active and earnest interest in that and all other questions
calculated to elevate and improve the condition of the people -
criminal reform, savings-banks, free trade, economy and
retrenchment, extended representation, and such like measures, all
of which he indefatigably promoted. Whatever subject he undertook,
he worked at with all his might. He was not a good speaker, but
what he said was believed to proceed from the lips of an honest,
single-minded, accurate man. If ridicule, as Shaftesbury says, be
the test of truth, Joseph Hume stood the test well. No man was
more laughed at, but there he stood perpetually, and literally, "at
his post."  He was usually beaten on a division, but the influence
which he exercised was nevertheless felt, and many important
financial improvements were effected by him even with the vote
directly against him. The amount of hard work which he contrived
to get through was something extraordinary. He rose at six, wrote
letters and arranged his papers for parliament; then, after
breakfast, he received persons on business, sometimes as many as
twenty in a morning. The House rarely assembled without him, and
though the debate might be prolonged to two or three o'clock in the
morning, his name was seldom found absent from the division. In
short, to perform the work which he did, extending over so long a
period, in the face of so many Administrations, week after week,
year after year, - to be outvoted, beaten, laughed at, standing on
many occasions almost alone, - to persevere in the face of every
discouragement, preserving his temper unruffled, never relaxing in
his energy or his hope, and living to see the greater number of his
measures adopted with acclamation, must be regarded as one of the
most remarkable illustrations of the power of human perseverance
that biography can exhibit.


"Neither the naked hand, nor the understanding, left to itself, can
do much; the work is accomplished by instruments and helps, of
which the need is not less for the understanding than the hand." -

"Opportunity has hair in front, behind she is bald; if you seize
her by the forelock you may hold her, but, if suffered to escape,
not Jupiter himself can catch her again." - From the Latin.

Accident does very little towards the production of any great
result in life. Though sometimes what is called "a happy hit" may
be made by a bold venture, the common highway of steady industry
and application is the only safe road to travel. It is said of the
landscape painter Wilson, that when he had nearly finished a
picture in a tame, correct manner, he would step back from it, his
pencil fixed at the end of a long stick, and after gazing earnestly
on the work, he would suddenly walk up and by a few bold touches
give a brilliant finish to the painting. But it will not do for
every one who would produce an effect, to throw his brush at the
canvas in the hope of producing a picture. The capability of
putting in these last vital touches is acquired only by the labour
of a life; and the probability is, that the artist who has not
carefully trained himself beforehand, in attempting to produce a
brilliant effect at a dash, will only produce a blotch.

Sedulous attention and painstaking industry always mark the true
worker. The greatest men are not those who "despise the day of
small things," but those who improve them the most carefully.
Michael Angelo was one day explaining to a visitor at his studio,
what he had been doing at a statue since his previous visit. "I
have retouched this part - polished that - softened this feature -
brought out that muscle - given some expression to this lip, and
more energy to that limb."  "But these are trifles," remarked the
visitor. "It may be so," replied the sculptor, "but recollect that
trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."  So it was
said of Nicholas Poussin, the painter, that the rule of his conduct
was, that "whatever was worth doing at all was worth doing well;"
and when asked, late in life, by his friend Vigneul de Marville, by
what means he had gained so high a reputation among the painters of
Italy, Poussin emphatically answered, "Because I have neglected

Although there are discoveries which are said to have been made by
accident, if carefully inquired into, it will be found that there
has really been very little that was accidental about them. For
the most part, these so-called accidents have only been
opportunities, carefully improved by genius. The fall of the apple
at Newton's feet has often been quoted in proof of the accidental
character of some discoveries. But Newton's whole mind had already
been devoted for years to the laborious and patient investigation
of the subject of gravitation; and the circumstance of the apple
falling before his eyes was suddenly apprehended only as genius
could apprehend it, and served to flash upon him the brilliant
discovery then opening to his sight. In like manner, the
brilliantly-coloured soap-bubbles blown from a common tobacco pipe
- though "trifles light as air" in most eyes - suggested to Dr.
Young his beautiful theory of "interferences," and led to his
discovery relating to the diffraction of light. Although great men
are popularly supposed only to deal with great things, men such as
Newton and Young were ready to detect the significance of the most
familiar and simple facts; their greatness consisting mainly in
their wise interpretation of them.

The difference between men consists, in a great measure, in the
intelligence of their observation. The Russian proverb says of the
non-observant man, "He goes through the forest and sees no
firewood."  "The wise man's eyes are in his head," says Solomon,
"but the fool walketh in darkness."  "Sir," said Johnson, on one
occasion, to a fine gentleman just returned from Italy, "some men
will learn more in the Hampstead stage than others in the tour of
Europe."  It is the mind that sees as well as the eye. Where
unthinking gazers observe nothing, men of intelligent vision
penetrate into the very fibre of the phenomena presented to them,
attentively noting differences, making comparisons, and recognizing
their underlying idea. Many before Galileo had seen a suspended
weight swing before their eyes with a measured beat; but he was the
first to detect the value of the fact. One of the vergers in the
cathedral at Pisa, after replenishing with oil a lamp which hung
from the roof, left it swinging to and fro; and Galileo, then a
youth of only eighteen, noting it attentively, conceived the idea
of applying it to the measurement of time. Fifty years of study
and labour, however, elapsed, before he completed the invention of
his Pendulum, - the importance of which, in the measurement of time
and in astronomical calculations, can scarcely be overrated. In
like manner, Galileo, having casually heard that one Lippershey, a
Dutch spectacle-maker, had presented to Count Maurice of Nassau an
instrument by means of which distant objects appeared nearer to the
beholder, addressed himself to the cause of such a phenomenon,
which led to the invention of the telescope, and proved the
beginning of the modern science of astronomy. Discoveries such as
these could never have been made by a negligent observer, or by a
mere passive listener.

While Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown was occupied in
studying the construction of bridges, with the view of contriving
one of a cheap description to be thrown across the Tweed, near
which he lived, he was walking in his garden one dewy autumn
morning, when he saw a tiny spider's net suspended across his path.
The idea immediately occurred to him, that a bridge of iron ropes
or chains might be constructed in like manner, and the result was
the invention of his Suspension Bridge. So James Watt, when
consulted about the mode of carrying water by pipes under the
Clyde, along the unequal bed of the river, turned his attention one
day to the shell of a lobster presented at table; and from that
model he invented an iron tube, which, when laid down, was found
effectually to answer the purpose. Sir Isambert Brunel took his
first lessons in forming the Thames Tunnel from the tiny shipworm:
he saw how the little creature perforated the wood with its well-
armed head, first in one direction and then in another, till the
archway was complete, and then daubed over the roof and sides with
a kind of varnish; and by copying this work exactly on a large
scale, Brunel was at length enabled to construct his shield and
accomplish his great engineering work.

It is the intelligent eye of the careful observer which gives these
apparently trivial phenomena their value. So trifling a matter as
the sight of seaweed floating past his ship, enabled Columbus to
quell the mutiny which arose amongst his sailors at not discovering
land, and to assure them that the eagerly sought New World was not
far off. There is nothing so small that it should remain
forgotten; and no fact, however trivial, but may prove useful in
some way or other if carefully interpreted. Who could have
imagined that the famous "chalk cliffs of Albion" had been built up
by tiny insects - detected only by the help of the microscope - of
the same order of creatures that have gemmed the sea with islands
of coral! And who that contemplates such extraordinary results,
arising from infinitely minute operations, will venture to question
the power of little things?

It is the close observation of little things which is the secret of
success in business, in art, in science, and in every pursuit in
life. Human knowledge is but an accumulation of small facts, made
by successive generations of men, the little bits of knowledge and
experience carefully treasured up by them growing at length into a
mighty pyramid. Though many of these facts and observations seemed
in the first instance to have but slight significance, they are all
found to have their eventual uses, and to fit into their proper
places. Even many speculations seemingly remote, turn out to be
the basis of results the most obviously practical. In the case of
the conic sections discovered by Apollonius Pergaeus, twenty
centuries elapsed before they were made the basis of astronomy - a
science which enables the modern navigator to steer his way through
unknown seas and traces for him in the heavens an unerring path to
his appointed haven. And had not mathematicians toiled for so
long, and, to uninstructed observers, apparently so fruitlessly,
over the abstract relations of lines and surfaces, it is probable
that but few of our mechanical inventions would have seen the

When Franklin made his discovery of the identity of lightning and
electricity, it was sneered at, and people asked, "Of what use is
it?"  To which his reply was, "What is the use of a child? It may
become a man!"  When Galvani discovered that a frog's leg twitched
when placed in contact with different metals, it could scarcely
have been imagined that so apparently insignificant a fact could
have led to important results. Yet therein lay the germ of the
Electric Telegraph, which binds the intelligence of continents
together, and, probably before many years have elapsed, will "put a
girdle round the globe."  So too, little bits of stone and fossil,
dug out of the earth, intelligently interpreted, have issued in the
science of geology and the practical operations of mining, in which
large capitals are invested and vast numbers of persons profitably

The gigantic machinery employed in pumping our mines, working our
mills and manufactures, and driving our steam-ships and
locomotives, in like manner depends for its supply of power upon so
slight an agency as little drops of water expanded by heat, - that
familiar agency called steam, which we see issuing from that common
tea-kettle spout, but which, when put up within an ingeniously
contrived mechanism, displays a force equal to that of millions of
horses, and contains a power to rebuke the waves and set even the
hurricane at defiance. The same power at work within the bowels of
the earth has been the cause of those volcanoes and earthquakes
which have played so mighty a part in the history of the globe.

It is said that the Marquis of Worcester's attention was first
accidentally directed to the subject of steam power, by the tight
cover of a vessel containing hot water having been blown off before
his eyes, when confined a prisoner in the Tower. He published the
result of his observations in his 'Century of Inventions,' which
formed a sort of text-book for inquirers into the powers of steam
for a time, until Savary, Newcomen, and others, applying it to
practical purposes, brought the steam-engine to the state in which
Watt found it when called upon to repair a model of Newcomen's
engine, which belonged to the University of Glasgow. This
accidental circumstance was an opportunity for Watt, which he was
not slow to improve; and it was the labour of his life to bring the
steam-engine to perfection.

This art of seizing opportunities and turning even accidents to
account, bending them to some purpose is a great secret of success.
Dr. Johnson has defined genius to be "a mind of large general
powers accidentally determined in some particular direction."  Men
who are resolved to find a way for themselves, will always find
opportunities enough; and if they do not lie ready to their hand,
they will make them. It is not those who have enjoyed the
advantages of colleges, museums, and public galleries, that have
accomplished the most for science and art; nor have the greatest
mechanics and inventors been trained in mechanics' institutes.
Necessity, oftener than facility, has been the mother of invention;
and the most prolific school of all has been the school of
difficulty. Some of the very best workmen have had the most
indifferent tools to work with. But it is not tools that make the
workman, but the trained skill and perseverance of the man himself.
Indeed it is proverbial that the bad workman never yet had a good
tool. Some one asked Opie by what wonderful process he mixed his
colours. "I mix them with my brains, sir," was his reply. It is
the same with every workman who would excel. Ferguson made
marvellous things - such as his wooden clock, that accurately
measured the hours - by means of a common penknife, a tool in
everybody's hand; but then everybody is not a Ferguson. A pan of
water and two thermometers were the tools by which Dr. Black
discovered latent heat; and a prism, a lens, and a sheet of
pasteboard enabled Newton to unfold the composition of light and
the origin of colours. An eminent foreign SAVANT once called upon
Dr. Wollaston, and requested to be shown over his laboratories in
which science had been enriched by so many important discoveries,
when the doctor took him into a little study, and, pointing to an
old tea-tray on the table, containing a few watch-glasses, test
papers, a small balance, and a blowpipe, said, "There is all the
laboratory that I have!"

Stothard learnt the art of combining colours by closely studying
butterflies' wings: he would often say that no one knew what he
owed to these tiny insects. A burnt stick and a barn door served
Wilkie in lieu of pencil and canvas. Bewick first practised
drawing on the cottage walls of his native village, which he
covered with his sketches in chalk; and Benjamin West made his
first brushes out of the cat's tail. Ferguson laid himself down in
the fields at night in a blanket, and made a map of the heavenly
bodies by means of a thread with small beads on it stretched
between his eye and the stars. Franklin first robbed the
thundercloud of its lightning by means of a kite made with two
cross sticks and a silk handkerchief. Watt made his first model of
the condensing steam-engine out of an old anatomist's syringe, used
to inject the arteries previous to dissection. Gifford worked his
first problems in mathematics, when a cobbler's apprentice, upon
small scraps of leather, which he beat smooth for the purpose;
whilst Rittenhouse, the astronomer, first calculated eclipses on
his plough handle.

The most ordinary occasions will furnish a man with opportunities
or suggestions for improvement, if he be but prompt to take
advantage of them. Professor Lee was attracted to the study of
Hebrew by finding a Bible in that tongue in a synagogue, while
working as a common carpenter at the repairs of the benches. He
became possessed with a desire to read the book in the original,
and, buying a cheap second-hand copy of a Hebrew grammar, he set to
work and learnt the language for himself. As Edmund Stone said to
the Duke of Argyle, in answer to his grace's inquiry how he, a poor
gardener's boy, had contrived to be able to read Newton's Principia
in Latin, "One needs only to know the twenty-four letters of the
alphabet in order to learn everything else that one wishes."
Application and perseverance, and the diligent improvement of
opportunities, will do the rest.

Sir Walter Scott found opportunities for self-improvement in every
pursuit, and turned even accidents to account. Thus it was in the
discharge of his functions as a writer's apprentice that he first
visited the Highlands, and formed those friendships among the
surviving heroes of 1745 which served to lay the foundation of a
large class of his works. Later in life, when employed as
quartermaster of the Edinburgh Light Cavalry, he was accidentally
disabled by the kick of a horse, and confined for some time to his
house; but Scott was a sworn enemy to idleness, and he forthwith
set his mind to work. In three days he had composed the first
canto of 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' which he shortly after
finished, - his first great original work.

The attention of Dr. Priestley, the discoverer of so many gases,
was accidentally drawn to the subject of chemistry through his
living in the neighbourhood of a brewery. When visiting the place
one day, he noted the peculiar appearances attending the extinction
of lighted chips in the gas floating over the fermented liquor. He
was forty years old at the time, and knew nothing of chemistry. He
consulted books to ascertain the cause, but they told him little,
for as yet nothing was known on the subject. Then he began to
experiment, with some rude apparatus of his own contrivance. The
curious results of his first experiments led to others, which in
his hands shortly became the science of pneumatic chemistry. About
the same time, Scheele was obscurely working in the same direction
in a remote Swedish village; and he discovered several new gases,
with no more effective apparatus at his command than a few
apothecaries' phials and pigs' bladders.

Sir Humphry Davy, when an apothecary's apprentice, performed his
first experiments with instruments of the rudest description. He
extemporised the greater part of them himself, out of the motley
materials which chance threw in his way, - the pots and pans of the
kitchen, and the phials and vessels of his master's surgery. It
happened that a French ship was wrecked off the Land's End, and the
surgeon escaped, bearing with him his case of instruments, amongst
which was an old-fashioned glyster apparatus; this article he
presented to Davy, with whom he had become acquainted. The
apothecary's apprentice received it with great exultation, and
forthwith employed it as a part of a pneumatic apparatus which he
contrived, afterwards using it to perform the duties of an air-pump
in one of his experiments on the nature and sources of heat.

In like manner Professor Faraday, Sir Humphry Davy's scientific
successor, made his first experiments in electricity by means of an
old bottle, white he was still a working bookbinder. And it is a
curious fact that Faraday was first attracted to the study of
chemistry by hearing one of Sir Humphry Davy's lectures on the
subject at the Royal Institution. A gentleman, who was a member,
calling one day at the shop where Faraday was employed in binding
books, found him poring over the article "Electricity" in an
Encyclopaedia placed in his hands to bind. The gentleman, having
made inquiries, found that the young bookbinder was curious about
such subjects, and gave him an order of admission to the Royal
Institution, where he attended a course of four lectures delivered
by Sir Humphry. He took notes of them, which he showed to the
lecturer, who acknowledged their scientific accuracy, and was
surprised when informed of the humble position of the reporter.
Faraday then expressed his desire to devote himself to the
prosecution of chemical studies, from which Sir Humphry at first
endeavoured to dissuade him: but the young man persisting, he was
at length taken into the Royal Institution as an assistant; and
eventually the mantle of the brilliant apothecary's boy fell upon
the worthy shoulders of the equally brilliant bookbinder's

The words which Davy entered in his note-book, when about twenty
years of age, working in Dr. Beddoes' laboratory at Bristol, were
eminently characteristic of him: "I have neither riches, nor
power, nor birth to recommend me; yet if I live, I trust I shall
not be of less service to mankind and my friends, than if I had
been born with all these advantages."  Davy possessed the
capability, as Faraday does, of devoting the whole power of his
mind to the practical and experimental investigation of a subject
in all its bearings; and such a mind will rarely fail, by dint of
mere industry and patient thinking, in producing results of the
highest order. Coleridge said of Davy, "There is an energy and
elasticity in his mind, which enables him to seize on and analyze
all questions, pushing them to their legitimate consequences.
Every subject in Davy's mind has the principle of vitality. Living
thoughts spring up like turf under his feet."  Davy, on his part,
said of Coleridge, whose abilities he greatly admired, "With the
most exalted genius, enlarged views, sensitive heart, and
enlightened mind, he will be the victim of a want of order,
precision, and regularity."

The great Cuvier was a singularly accurate, careful, and
industrious observer. When a boy, he was attracted to the subject
of natural history by the sight of a volume of Buffon which
accidentally fell in his way. He at once proceeded to copy the
drawings, and to colour them after the descriptions given in the
text. While still at school, one of his teachers made him a
present of 'Linnaeus's System of Nature;' and for more than ten
years this constituted his library of natural history. At eighteen
he was offered the situation of tutor in a family residing near
Fecamp, in Normandy. Living close to the sea-shore, he was brought
face to face with the wonders of marine life. Strolling along the
sands one day, he observed a stranded cuttlefish. He was attracted
by the curious object, took it home to dissect, and thus began the
study of the molluscae, in the pursuit of which he achieved so
distinguished a reputation. He had no books to refer to, excepting
only the great book of Nature which lay open before him. The study
of the novel and interesting objects which it daily presented to
his eyes made a much deeper impression on his mind than any written
or engraved descriptions could possibly have done. Three years
thus passed, during which he compared the living species of marine
animals with the fossil remains found in the neighbourhood,
dissected the specimens of marine life that came under his notice,
and, by careful observation, prepared the way for a complete reform
in the classification of the animal kingdom. About this time
Cuvier became known to the learned Abbe Teissier, who wrote to
Jussieu and other friends in Paris on the subject of the young
naturalist's inquiries, in terms of such high commendation, that
Cuvier was requested to send some of his papers to the Society of
Natural History; and he was shortly after appointed assistant-
superintendent at the Jardin des Plantes. In the letter written by
Teissier to Jussieu, introducing the young naturalist to his
notice, he said, "You remember that it was I who gave Delambre to
the Academy in another branch of science: this also will be a
Delambre."  We need scarcely add that the prediction of Teissier
was more than fulfilled.

It is not accident, then, that helps a man in the world so much as
purpose and persistent industry. To the feeble, the sluggish and
purposeless, the happiest accidents avail nothing, - they pass them
by, seeing no meaning in them. But it is astonishing how much can
be accomplished if we are prompt to seize and improve the
opportunities for action and effort which are constantly presenting
themselves. Watt taught himself chemistry and mechanics while
working at his trade of a mathematical-instrument maker, at the
same time that he was learning German from a Swiss dyer.
Stephenson taught himself arithmetic and mensuration while working
as an engineman during the night shifts; and when he could snatch a
few moments in the intervals allowed for meals during the day, he
worked his sums with a bit of chalk upon the sides of the colliery
waggons. Dalton's industry was the habit of his life. He began
from his boyhood, for he taught a little village-school when he was
only about twelve years old, - keeping the school in winter, and
working upon his father's farm in summer. He would sometimes urge
himself and companions to study by the stimulus of a bet, though
bred a Quaker; and on one occasion, by his satisfactory solution of
a problem, he won as much as enabled him to buy a winter's store of
candles. He continued his meteorological observations until a day
or two before he died, - having made and recorded upwards of
200,000 in the course of his life.

With perseverance, the very odds and ends of time may be worked up
into results of the greatest value. An hour in every day withdrawn
from frivolous pursuits would, if profitably employed, enable a
person of ordinary capacity to go far towards mastering a science.
It would make an ignorant man a well-informed one in less than ten
years. Time should not be allowed to pass without yielding fruits,
in the form of something learnt worthy of being known, some good
principle cultivated, or some good habit strengthened. Dr. Mason
Good translated Lucretius while riding in his carriage in the
streets of London, going the round of his patients. Dr. Darwin
composed nearly all his works in the same way while driving about
in his "sulky" from house to house in the country, - writing down
his thoughts on little scraps of paper, which he carried about with
him for the purpose. Hale wrote his 'Contemplations' while
travelling on circuit. Dr. Burney learnt French and Italian while
travelling on horseback from one musical pupil to another in the
course of his profession. Kirke White learnt Greek while walking
to and from a lawyer's office; and we personally know a man of
eminent position who learnt Latin and French while going messages
as an errand-boy in the streets of Manchester.

Daguesseau, one of the great Chancellors of France, by carefully
working up his odd bits of time, wrote a bulky and able volume in
the successive intervals of waiting for dinner, and Madame de
Genlis composed several of her charming volumes while waiting for
the princess to whom she gave her daily lessons. Elihu Burritt
attributed his first success in self-improvement, not to genius,
which he disclaimed, but simply to the careful employment of those
invaluable fragments of time, called "odd moments."  While working
and earning his living as a blacksmith, he mastered some eighteen
ancient and modern languages, and twenty-two European dialects.

What a solemn and striking admonition to youth is that inscribed on
the dial at All Souls, Oxford - "Pereunt et imputantur" - the hours
perish, and are laid to our charge. Time is the only little
fragment of Eternity that belongs to man; and, like life, it can
never be recalled. "In the dissipation of worldly treasure," says
Jackson of Exeter, "the frugality of the future may balance the
extravagance of the past; but who can say, 'I will take from
minutes to-morrow to compensate for those I have lost to-day'?"
Melancthon noted down the time lost by him, that he might thereby
reanimate his industry, and not lose an hour. An Italian scholar
put over his door an inscription intimating that whosoever remained
there should join in his labours. "We are afraid," said some
visitors to Baxter, "that we break in upon your time."  "To be sure
you do," replied the disturbed and blunt divine. Time was the
estate out of which these great workers, and all other workers,
formed that rich treasury of thoughts and deeds which they have
left to their successors.

The mere drudgery undergone by some men in carrying on their
undertakings has been something extraordinary, but the drudgery
they regarded as the price of success. Addison amassed as much as
three folios of manuscript materials before he began his
'Spectator.'  Newton wrote his 'Chronology' fifteen times over
before he was satisfied with it; and Gibbon wrote out his 'Memoir'
nine times. Hale studied for many years at the rate of sixteen
hours a day, and when wearied with the study of the law, he would
recreate himself with philosophy and the study of the mathematics.
Hume wrote thirteen hours a day while preparing his 'History of
England.'  Montesquieu, speaking of one part of his writings, said
to a friend, "You will read it in a few hours; but I assure you it
has cost me so much labour that it has whitened my hair."

The practice of writing down thoughts and facts for the purpose of
holding them fast and preventing their escape into the dim region
of forgetfulness, has been much resorted to by thoughtful and
studious men. Lord Bacon left behind him many manuscripts entitled
"Sudden thoughts set down for use."  Erskine made great extracts
from Burke; and Eldon copied Coke upon Littleton twice over with
his own hand, so that the book became, as it were, part of his own
mind. The late Dr. Pye Smith, when apprenticed to his father as a
bookbinder, was accustomed to make copious memoranda of all the
books he read, with extracts and criticisms. This indomitable
industry in collecting materials distinguished him through life,
his biographer describing him as "always at work, always in
advance, always accumulating."  These note-books afterwards proved,
like Richter's "quarries," the great storehouse from which he drew
his illustrations.

The same practice characterized the eminent John Hunter, who
adopted it for the purpose of supplying the defects of memory; and
he was accustomed thus to illustrate the advantages which one
derives from putting one's thoughts in writing: "It resembles," he
said, "a tradesman taking stock, without which he never knows
either what he possesses or in what he is deficient."  John Hunter
- whose observation was so keen that Abernethy was accustomed to
speak of him as "the Argus-eyed" - furnished an illustrious example
of the power of patient industry. He received little or no
education till he was about twenty years of age, and it was with
difficulty that he acquired the arts of reading and writing. He
worked for some years as a common carpenter at Glasgow, after which
he joined his brother William, who had settled in London as a
lecturer and anatomical demonstrator. John entered his dissecting-
room as an assistant, but soon shot ahead of his brother, partly by
virtue of his great natural ability, but mainly by reason of his
patient application and indefatigable industry. He was one of the
first in this country to devote himself assiduously to the study of
comparative anatomy, and the objects he dissected and collected
took the eminent Professor Owen no less than ten years to arrange.
The collection contains some twenty thousand specimens, and is the
most precious treasure of the kind that has ever been accumulated
by the industry of one man. Hunter used to spend every morning
from sunrise until eight o'clock in his museum; and throughout the
day he carried on his extensive private practice, performed his
laborious duties as surgeon to St. George's Hospital and deputy
surgeon-general to the army; delivered lectures to students, and
superintended a school of practical anatomy at his own house;
finding leisure, amidst all, for elaborate experiments on the
animal economy, and the composition of various works of great
scientific importance. To find time for this gigantic amount of
work, he allowed himself only four hours of sleep at night, and an
hour after dinner. When once asked what method he had adopted to
insure success in his undertakings, he replied, "My rule is,
deliberately to consider, before I commence, whether the thing be
practicable. If it be not practicable, I do not attempt it. If it
be practicable, I can accomplish it if I give sufficient pains to
it; and having begun, I never stop till the thing is done. To this
rule I owe all my success."

Hunter occupied a great deal of his time in collecting definite
facts respecting matters which, before his day, were regarded as
exceedingly trivial. Thus it was supposed by many of his
contemporaries that he was only wasting his time and thought in
studying so carefully as he did the growth of a deer's horn. But
Hunter was impressed with the conviction that no accurate knowledge
of scientific facts is without its value. By the study referred
to, he learnt how arteries accommodate themselves to circumstances,
and enlarge as occasion requires; and the knowledge thus acquired
emboldened him, in a case of aneurism in a branch artery, to tie
the main trunk where no surgeon before him had dared to tie it, and
the life of his patient was saved. Like many original men, he
worked for a long time as it were underground, digging and laying
foundations. He was a solitary and self-reliant genius, holding on
his course without the solace of sympathy or approbation, - for but
few of his contemporaries perceived the ultimate object of his
pursuits. But like all true workers, he did not fail in securing
his best reward - that which depends less upon others than upon
one's self - the approval of conscience, which in a right-minded
man invariably follows the honest and energetic performance of

Ambrose Pare, the great French surgeon, was another illustrious
instance of close observation, patient application, and
indefatigable perseverance. He was the son of a barber at Laval,
in Maine, where he was born in 1509. His parents were too poor to
send him to school, but they placed him as foot-boy with the cure
of the village, hoping that under that learned man he might pick up
an education for himself. But the cure kept him so busily employed
in grooming his mule and in other menial offices that the boy found
no time for learning. While in his service, it happened that the
celebrated lithotomist, Cotot, came to Laval to operate on one of
the cure's ecclesiastical brethren. Pare was present at the
operation, and was so much interested by it that he is said to have
from that time formed the determination of devoting himself to the
art of surgery.

Leaving the cure's household service, Pare apprenticed himself to a
barber-surgeon named Vialot, under whom he learnt to let blood,
draw teeth, and perform the minor operations. After four years'
experience of this kind, he went to Paris to study at the school of
anatomy and surgery, meanwhile maintaining himself by his trade of
a barber. He afterwards succeeded in obtaining an appointment as
assistant at the Hotel Dieu, where his conduct was so exemplary,
and his progress so marked, that the chief surgeon, Goupil,
entrusted him with the charge of the patients whom he could not
himself attend to. After the usual course of instruction, Pare was
admitted a master barber-surgeon, and shortly after was appointed
to a charge with the French army under Montmorenci in Piedmont.
Pare was not a man to follow in the ordinary ruts of his
profession, but brought the resources of an ardent and original
mind to bear upon his daily work, diligently thinking out for
himself the RATIONALE of diseases and their befitting remedies.
Before his time the wounded suffered much more at the hands of
their surgeons than they did at those of their enemies. To stop
bleeding from gunshot wounds, the barbarous expedient was resorted
to of dressing them with boiling oil. Haemorrhage was also stopped
by searing the wounds with a red-hot iron; and when amputation was
necessary, it was performed with a red-hot knife. At first Pare
treated wounds according to the approved methods; but, fortunately,
on one occasion, running short of boiling oil, he substituted a
mild and emollient application. He was in great fear all night
lest he should have done wrong in adopting this treatment; but was
greatly relieved next morning on finding his patients comparatively
comfortable, while those whose wounds had been treated in the usual
way were writhing in torment. Such was the casual origin of one of
Pare's greatest improvements in the treatment of gun-shot wounds;
and he proceeded to adopt the emollient treatment in all future
cases. Another still more important improvement was his employment
of the ligature in tying arteries to stop haemorrhage, instead of
the actual cautery. Pare, however, met with the usual fate of
innovators and reformers. His practice was denounced by his
surgical brethren as dangerous, unprofessional, and empirical; and
the older surgeons banded themselves together to resist its
adoption. They reproached him for his want of education, more
especially for his ignorance of Latin and Greek; and they assailed
him with quotations from ancient writers, which he was unable
either to verify or refute. But the best answer to his assailants
was the success of his practice. The wounded soldiers called out
everywhere for Pare, and he was always at their service: he tended
them carefully and affectionately; and he usually took leave of
them with the words, "I have dressed you; may God cure you."

After three years' active service as army-surgeon, Pare returned to
Paris with such a reputation that he was at once appointed surgeon
in ordinary to the King. When Metz was besieged by the Spanish
army, under Charles V., the garrison suffered heavy loss, and the
number of wounded was very great. The surgeons were few and
incompetent, and probably slew more by their bad treatment than the
Spaniards did by the sword. The Duke of Guise, who commanded the
garrison, wrote to the King imploring him to send Pare to his help.
The courageous surgeon at once set out, and, after braving many
dangers (to use his own words, "d'estre pendu, estrangle ou mis en
pieces"), he succeeded in passing the enemy's lines, and entered
Metz in safety. The Duke, the generals, and the captains gave him
an affectionate welcome; while the soldiers, when they heard of his
arrival, cried, "We no longer fear dying of our wounds; our friend
is among us."  In the following year Pare was in like manner with
the besieged in the town of Hesdin, which shortly fell before the
Duke of Savoy, and he was taken prisoner. But having succeeded in
curing one of the enemy's chief officers of a serious wound, he was
discharged without ransom, and returned in safety to Paris.

The rest of his life was occupied in study, in self-improvement, in
piety, and in good deeds. Urged by some of the most learned among
his contemporaries, he placed on record the results of his surgical
experience, in twenty-eight books, which were published by him at
different times. His writings are valuable and remarkable chiefly
on account of the great number of facts and cases contained in
them, and the care with which he avoids giving any directions
resting merely upon theory unsupported by observation. Pare
continued, though a Protestant, to hold the office of surgeon in
ordinary to the King; and during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew he
owed his life to the personal friendship of Charles IX., whom he
had on one occasion saved from the dangerous effects of a wound
inflicted by a clumsy surgeon in performing the operation of
venesection. Brantome, in his 'Memoires,' thus speaks of the
King's rescue of Pare on the night of Saint Bartholomew - "He sent
to fetch him, and to remain during the night in his chamber and
wardrobe-room, commanding him not to stir, and saying that it was
not reasonable that a man who had preserved the lives of so many
people should himself be massacred."  Thus Pare escaped the horrors
of that fearful night, which he survived for many years, and was
permitted to die in peace, full of age and honours.

Harvey was as indefatigable a labourer as any we have named. He
spent not less than eight long years of investigation and research
before he published his views of the circulation of the blood. He
repeated and verified his experiments again and again, probably
anticipating the opposition he would have to encounter from the
profession on making known his discovery. The tract in which he at
length announced his views, was a most modest one, - but simple,
perspicuous, and conclusive. It was nevertheless received with
ridicule, as the utterance of a crack-brained impostor. For some
time, he did not make a single convert, and gained nothing but
contumely and abuse. He had called in question the revered
authority of the ancients; and it was even averred that his views
were calculated to subvert the authority of the Scriptures and
undermine the very foundations of morality and religion. His
little practice fell away, and he was left almost without a friend.
This lasted for some years, until the great truth, held fast by
Harvey amidst all his adversity, and which had dropped into many
thoughtful minds, gradually ripened by further observation, and
after a period of about twenty-five years, it became generally
recognised as an established scientific truth.

The difficulties encountered by Dr. Jenner in promulgating and
establishing his discovery of vaccination as a preventive of small-
pox, were even greater than those of Harvey. Many, before him, had
witnessed the cow-pox, and had heard of the report current among
the milkmaids in Gloucestershire, that whoever had taken that
disease was secure against small-pox. It was a trifling, vulgar
rumour, supposed to have no significance whatever; and no one had
thought it worthy of investigation, until it was accidentally
brought under the notice of Jenner. He was a youth, pursuing his
studies at Sodbury, when his attention was arrested by the casual
observation made by a country girl who came to his master's shop
for advice. The small-pox was mentioned, when the girl said, "I
can't take that disease, for I have had cow-pox."  The observation
immediately riveted Jenner's attention, and he forthwith set about
inquiring and making observations on the subject. His professional
friends, to whom he mentioned his views as to the prophylactic
virtues of cow-pox, laughed at him, and even threatened to expel
him from their society, if he persisted in harassing them with the
subject. In London he was so fortunate as to study under John
Hunter, to whom he communicated his views. The advice of the great
anatomist was thoroughly characteristic: "Don't think, but TRY; be
patient, be accurate."  Jenner's courage was supported by the
advice, which conveyed to him the true art of philosophical
investigation. He went back to the country to practise his
profession and make observations and experiments, which he
continued to pursue for a period of twenty years. His faith in his
discovery was so implicit that he vaccinated his own son on three
several occasions. At length he published his views in a quarto of
about seventy pages, in which he gave the details of twenty-three
cases of successful vaccination of individuals, to whom it was
found afterwards impossible to communicate the small-pox either by
contagion or inoculation. It was in 1798 that this treatise was
published; though he had been working out his ideas since the year
1775, when they had begun to assume a definite form.

How was the discovery received? First with indifference, then with
active hostility. Jenner proceeded to London to exhibit to the
profession the process of vaccination and its results; but not a
single medical man could be induced to make trial of it, and after
fruitlessly waiting for nearly three months, he returned to his
native village. He was even caricatured and abused for his attempt
to "bestialize" his species by the introduction into their systems
of diseased matter from the cow's udder. Vaccination was denounced
from the pulpit as "diabolical."  It was averred that vaccinated
children became "ox-faced," that abscesses broke out to "indicate
sprouting horns," and that the countenance was gradually
"transmuted into the visage of a cow, the voice into the bellowing
of bulls."  Vaccination, however, was a truth, and notwithstanding
the violence of the opposition, belief in it spread slowly. In one
village, where a gentleman tried to introduce the practice, the
first persons who permitted themselves to be vaccinated were
absolutely pelted and driven into their houses if they appeared out
of doors. Two ladies of title - Lady Ducie and the Countess of
Berkeley - to their honour be it remembered - had the courage to
vaccinate their children; and the prejudices of the day were at
once broken through. The medical profession gradually came round,
and there were several who even sought to rob Dr. Jenner of the
merit of the discovery, when its importance came to be recognised.
Jenner's cause at last triumphed, and he was publicly honoured and
rewarded. In his prosperity he was as modest as he had been in his
obscurity. He was invited to settle in London, and told that he
might command a practice of 10,000L. a year. But his answer was,
"No! In the morning of my days I have sought the sequestered and
lowly paths of life - the valley, and not the mountain, - and now,
in the evening of my days, it is not meet for me to hold myself up
as an object for fortune and for fame."  During Jenner's own life-
time the practice of vaccination became adopted all over the
civilized world; and when he died, his title as a Benefactor of his
kind was recognised far and wide. Cuvier has said, "If vaccine
were the only discovery of the epoch, it would serve to render it
illustrious for ever; yet it knocked twenty times in vain at the
doors of the Academies."

Not less patient, resolute, and persevering was Sir Charles Bell in
the prosecution of his discoveries relating to the nervous system.
Previous to his time, the most confused notions prevailed as to the
functions of the nerves, and this branch of study was little more
advanced than it had been in the times of Democritus and Anaxagoras
three thousand years before. Sir Charles Bell, in the valuable
series of papers the publication of which was commenced in 1821,
took an entirely original view of the subject, based upon a long
series of careful, accurate, and oft-repeated experiments.
Elaborately tracing the development of the nervous system up from
the lowest order of animated being, to man - the lord of the animal
kingdom, - he displayed it, to use his own words, "as plainly as if
it were written in our mother-tongue."  His discovery consisted in
the fact, that the spinal nerves are double in their function, and
arise by double roots from the spinal marrow, - volition being
conveyed by that part of the nerves springing from the one root,
and sensation by the other. The subject occupied the mind of Sir
Charles Bell for a period of forty years, when, in 1840, he laid
his last paper before the Royal Society. As in the cases of Harvey
and Jenner, when he had lived down the ridicule and opposition with
which his views were first received, and their truth came to be
recognised, numerous claims for priority in making the discovery
were set up at home and abroad. Like them, too, he lost practice
by the publication of his papers; and he left it on record that,
after every step in his discovery, he was obliged to work harder
than ever to preserve his reputation as a practitioner. The great
merits of Sir Charles Bell were, however, at length fully
recognised; and Cuvier himself, when on his death-bed, finding his
face distorted and drawn to one side, pointed out the symptom to
his attendants as a proof of the correctness of Sir Charles Bell's

An equally devoted pursuer of the same branch of science was the
late Dr. Marshall Hall, whose name posterity will rank with those
of Harvey, Hunter, Jenner, and Bell. During the whole course of
his long and useful life he was a most careful and minute observer;
and no fact, however apparently insignificant, escaped his
attention. His important discovery of the diastaltic nervous
system, by which his name will long be known amongst scientific
men, originated in an exceedingly simple circumstance. When
investigating the pneumonic circulation in the Triton, the
decapitated object lay upon the table; and on separating the tail
and accidentally pricking the external integument, he observed that
it moved with energy, and became contorted into various forms. He
had not touched a muscle or a muscular nerve; what then was the
nature of these movements? The same phenomena had probably been
often observed before, but Dr. Hall was the first to apply himself
perseveringly to the investigation of their causes; and he
exclaimed on the occasion, "I will never rest satisfied until I
have found all this out, and made it clear."  His attention to the
subject was almost incessant; and it is estimated that in the
course of his life he devoted not less than 25,000 hours to its
experimental and chemical investigation. He was at the same time
carrying on an extensive private practice, and officiating as
lecturer at St. Thomas's Hospital and other Medical Schools. It
will scarcely be credited that the paper in which he embodied his
discovery was rejected by the Royal Society, and was only accepted
after the lapse of seventeen years, when the truth of his views had
become acknowledged by scientific men both at home and abroad.

The life of Sir William Herschel affords another remarkable
illustration of the force of perseverance in another branch of
science. His father was a poor German musician, who brought up his
four sons to the same calling. William came over to England to
seek his fortune, and he joined the band of the Durham Militia, in
which he played the oboe. The regiment was lying at Doncaster,
where Dr. Miller first became acquainted with Herschel, having
heard him perform a solo on the violin in a surprising manner. The
Doctor entered into conversation with the youth, and was so pleased
with him, that he urged him to leave the militia and take up his
residence at his house for a time. Herschel did so, and while at
Doncaster was principally occupied in violin-playing at concerts,
availing himself of the advantages of Dr. Miller's library to study
at his leisure hours. A new organ having been built for the parish
church of Halifax, an organist was advertised for, on which
Herschel applied for the office, and was selected. Leading the
wandering life of an artist, he was next attracted to Bath, where
he played in the Pump-room band, and also officiated as organist in
the Octagon chapel. Some recent discoveries in astronomy having
arrested his mind, and awakened in him a powerful spirit of
curiosity, he sought and obtained from a friend the loan of a two-
foot Gregorian telescope. So fascinated was the poor musician by
the science, that he even thought of purchasing a telescope, but
the price asked by the London optician was so alarming, that he
determined to make one. Those who know what a reflecting telescope
is, and the skill which is required to prepare the concave metallic
speculum which forms the most important part of the apparatus, will
be able to form some idea of the difficulty of this undertaking.
Nevertheless, Herschel succeeded, after long and painful labour, in
completing a five-foot reflector, with which he had the
gratification of observing the ring and satellites of Saturn. Not
satisfied with his triumph, he proceeded to make other instruments
in succession, of seven, ten, and even twenty feet. In
constructing the seven-foot reflector, he finished no fewer than
two hundred specula before he produced one that would bear any
power that was applied to it, - a striking instance of the
persevering laboriousness of the man. While gauging the heavens
with his instruments, he continued patiently to earn his bread by
piping to the fashionable frequenters of the Pump-room. So eager
was he in his astronomical observations, that he would steal away
from the room during an interval of the performance, give a little
turn at his telescope, and contentedly return to his oboe. Thus
working away, Herschel discovered the Georgium Sidus, the orbit and
rate of motion of which he carefully calculated, and sent the
result to the Royal Society; when the humble oboe player found
himself at once elevated from obscurity to fame. He was shortly
after appointed Astronomer Royal, and by the kindness of George
III. was placed in a position of honourable competency for life.
He bore his honours with the same meekness and humility which had
distinguished him in the days of his obscurity. So gentle and
patient, and withal so distinguished and successful a follower of
science under difficulties, perhaps cannot be found in the entire
history of biography.

The career of William Smith, the father of English geology, though
perhaps less known, is not less interesting and instructive as an
example of patient and laborious effort, and the diligent
cultivation of opportunities. He was born in 1769, the son of a
yeoman farmer at Churchill, in Oxfordshire. His father dying when
he was but a child, he received a very sparing education at the
village school, and even that was to a considerable extent
interfered with by his wandering and somewhat idle habits as a boy.
His mother having married a second time, he was taken in charge by
an uncle, also a farmer, by whom he was brought up. Though the
uncle was by no means pleased with the boy's love of wandering
about, collecting "poundstones," "pundips," and other stony
curiosities which lay scattered about the adjoining land, he yet
enabled him to purchase a few of the necessary books wherewith to
instruct himself in the rudiments of geometry and surveying; for
the boy was already destined for the business of a land-surveyor.
One of his marked characteristics, even as a youth, was the
accuracy and keenness of his observation; and what he once clearly
saw he never forgot. He began to draw, attempted to colour, and
practised the arts of mensuration and surveying, all without
regular instruction; and by his efforts in self-culture, he shortly
became so proficient, that he was taken on as assistant to a local
surveyor of ability in the neighbourhood. In carrying on his
business he was constantly under the necessity of traversing
Oxfordshire and the adjoining counties. One of the first things he
seriously pondered over, was the position of the various soils and
strata that came under his notice on the lands which he surveyed or
travelled over; more especially the position of the red earth in
regard to the lias and superincumbent rocks. The surveys of
numerous collieries which he was called upon to make, gave him
further experience; and already, when only twenty-three years of
age, he contemplated making a model of the strata of the earth.

While engaged in levelling for a proposed canal in Gloucestershire,
the idea of a general law occurred to him relating to the strata of
that district. He conceived that the strata lying above the coal
were not laid horizontally, but inclined, and in one direction,
towards the east; resembling, on a large scale, "the ordinary
appearance of superposed slices of bread and butter."  The
correctness of this theory he shortly after confirmed by
observations of the strata in two parallel valleys, the "red
ground," "lias," and "freestone" or "oolite," being found to come
down in an eastern direction, and to sink below the level, yielding
place to the next in succession. He was shortly enabled to verify
the truth of his views on a larger scale, having been appointed to
examine personally into the management of canals in England and
Wales. During his journeys, which extended from Bath to Newcastle-
on-Tyne, returning by Shropshire and Wales, his keen eyes were
never idle for a moment. He rapidly noted the aspect and structure
of the country through which he passed with his companions,
treasuring up his observations for future use. His geologic vision
was so acute, that though the road along which he passed from York
to Newcastle in the post chaise was from five to fifteen miles
distant from the hills of chalk and oolite on the east, he was
satisfied as to their nature, by their contours and relative
position, and their ranges on the surface in relation to the lias
and "red ground" occasionally seen on the road.

The general results of his observation seem to have been these. He
noted that the rocky masses of country in the western parts of
England generally inclined to the east and south-east; that the red
sandstones and marls above the coal measures passed beneath the
lias, clay, and limestone, that these again passed beneath the
sands, yellow limestones and clays, forming the table-land of the
Cotswold Hills, while these in turn passed beneath the great chalk
deposits occupying the eastern parts of England. He further
observed, that each layer of clay, sand, and limestone held its own
peculiar classes of fossils; and pondering much on these things, he
at length came to the then unheard-of conclusion, that each
distinct deposit of marine animals, in these several strata,
indicated a distinct sea-bottom, and that each layer of clay, sand,
chalk, and stone, marked a distinct epoch of time in the history of
the earth.

This idea took firm possession of his mind, and he could talk and
think of nothing else. At canal boards, at sheep-shearings, at
county meetings, and at agricultural associations, 'Strata Smith,'
as he came to be called, was always running over with the subject
that possessed him. He had indeed made a great discovery, though
he was as yet a man utterly unknown in the scientific world. He
proceeded to project a map of the stratification of England; but
was for some time deterred from proceeding with it, being fully
occupied in carrying out the works of the Somersetshire coal canal,
which engaged him for a period of about six years. He continued,
nevertheless, to be unremitting in his observation of facts; and he
became so expert in apprehending the internal structure of a
district and detecting the lie of the strata from its external
configuration, that he was often consulted respecting the drainage
of extensive tracts of land, in which, guided by his geological
knowledge, he proved remarkably successful, and acquired an
extensive reputation.

One day, when looking over the cabinet collection of fossils
belonging to the Rev. Samuel Richardson, at Bath, Smith astonished
his friend by suddenly disarranging his classification, and re-
arranging the fossils in their stratigraphical order, saying -
"These came from the blue lias, these from the over-lying sand and
freestone, these from the fuller's earth, and these from the Bath
building stone."  A new light flashed upon Mr. Richardson's mind,
and he shortly became a convert to and believer in William Smith's
doctrine. The geologists of the day were not, however, so easily
convinced; and it was scarcely to be tolerated that an unknown
land-surveyor should pretend to teach them the science of geology.
But William Smith had an eye and mind to penetrate deep beneath the
skin of the earth; he saw its very fibre and skeleton, and, as it
were, divined its organization. His knowledge of the strata in the
neighbourhood of Bath was so accurate, that one evening, when
dining at the house of the Rev. Joseph Townsend, he dictated to Mr.
Richardson the different strata according to their order of
succession in descending order, twenty-three in number, commencing
with the chalk and descending in continuous series down to the
coal, below which the strata were not then sufficiently determined.
To this was added a list of the more remarkable fossils which had
been gathered in the several layers of rock. This was printed and
extensively circulated in 1801.

He next determined to trace out the strata through districts as
remote from Bath as his means would enable him to reach. For years
he journeyed to and fro, sometimes on foot, sometimes on horseback,
riding on the tops of stage coaches, often making up by night-
travelling the time he had lost by day, so as not to fail in his
ordinary business engagements. When he was professionally called
away to any distance from home - as, for instance, when travelling
from Bath to Holkham, in Norfolk, to direct the irrigation and
drainage of Mr. Coke's land in that county - he rode on horseback,
making frequent detours from the road to note the geological
features of the country which he traversed.

For several years he was thus engaged in his journeys to distant
quarters in England and Ireland, to the extent of upwards of ten
thousand miles yearly; and it was amidst this incessant and
laborious travelling, that he contrived to commit to paper his
fast-growing generalizations on what he rightly regarded as a new
science. No observation, howsoever trivial it might appear, was
neglected, and no opportunity of collecting fresh facts was
overlooked. Whenever he could, he possessed himself of records of
borings, natural and artificial sections, drew them to a constant
scale of eight yards to the inch, and coloured them up. Of his
keenness of observation take the following illustration. When
making one of his geological excursions about the country near
Woburn, as he was drawing near to the foot of the Dunstable chalk
hills, he observed to his companion, "If there be any broken ground
about the foot of these hills, we may find SHARK'S TEETH;" and they
had not proceeded far, before they picked up six from the white
bank of a new fence-ditch. As he afterwards said of himself, "The
habit of observation crept on me, gained a settlement in my mind,
became a constant associate of my life, and started up in activity
at the first thought of a journey; so that I generally went off
well prepared with maps, and sometimes with contemplations on its
objects, or on those on the road, reduced to writing before it
commenced. My mind was, therefore, like the canvas of a painter,
well prepared for the first and best impressions."

Notwithstanding his courageous and indefatigable industry, many
circumstances contributed to prevent the promised publication of
William Smith's 'Map of the Strata of England and Wales,' and it
was not until 1814 that he was enabled, by the assistance of some
friends, to give to the world the fruits of his twenty years'
incessant labour. To prosecute his inquiries, and collect the
extensive series of facts and observations requisite for his
purpose, he had to expend the whole of the profits of his
professional labours during that period; and he even sold off his
small property to provide the means of visiting remoter parts of
the island. Meanwhile he had entered on a quarrying speculation
near Bath, which proved unsuccessful, and he was under the
necessity of selling his geological collection (which was purchased
by the British Museum), his furniture and library, reserving only
his papers, maps, and sections, which were useless save to himself.
He bore his losses and misfortunes with exemplary fortitude; and
amidst all, he went on working with cheerful courage and untiring
patience. He died at Northampton, in August, 1839, while on his
way to attend the meeting of the British Association at Birmingham.

It is difficult to speak in terms of too high praise of the first
geological map of England, which we owe to the industry of this
courageous man of science. An accomplished writer says of it, "It
was a work so masterly in conception and so correct in general
outline, that in principle it served as a basis not only for the
production of later maps of the British Islands, but for geological
maps of all other parts of the world, wherever they have been
undertaken. In the apartments of the Geological Society Smith's
map may yet be seen - a great historical document, old and worn,
calling for renewal of its faded tints. Let any one conversant
with the subject compare it with later works on a similar scale,
and he will find that in all essential features it will not suffer
by the comparison - the intricate anatomy of the Silurian rocks of
Wales and the north of England by Murchison and Sedgwick being the
chief additions made to his great generalizations." (20)  The
genius of the Oxfordshire surveyor did not fail to be duly
recognised and honoured by men of science during his lifetime. In
1831 the Geological Society of London awarded to him the Wollaston
medal, "in consideration of his being a great original discoverer
in English geology, and especially for his being the first in this
country to discover and to teach the identification of strata, and
to determine their succession by means of their imbedded fossils."
William Smith, in his simple, earnest way, gained for himself a
name as lasting as the science he loved so well. To use the words
of the writer above quoted, "Till the manner as well as the fact of
the first appearance of successive forms of life shall be solved,
it is not easy to surmise how any discovery can be made in geology
equal in value to that which we owe to the genius of William

Hugh Miller was a man of like observant faculties, who studied
literature as well as science with zeal and success. The book in
which he has told the story of his life, ('My Schools and
Schoolmasters'), is extremely interesting, and calculated to be
eminently useful. It is the history of the formation of a truly
noble character in the humblest condition of life; and inculcates
most powerfully the lessons of self-help, self-respect, and self-
dependence. While Hugh was but a child, his father, who was a
sailor, was drowned at sea, and he was brought up by his widowed
mother. He had a school training after a sort, but his best
teachers were the boys with whom he played, the men amongst whom he
worked, the friends and relatives with whom he lived. He read much
and miscellaneously, and picked up odd sorts of knowledge from many
quarters, - from workmen, carpenters, fishermen and sailors, and
above all, from the old boulders strewed along the shores of the
Cromarty Frith. With a big hammer which had belonged to his great-
grandfather, an old buccaneer, the boy went about chipping the
stones, and accumulating specimens of mica, porphyry, garnet, and
such like. Sometimes he had a day in the woods, and there, too,
the boy's attention was excited by the peculiar geological
curiosities which came in his way. While searching among the rocks
on the beach, he was sometimes asked, in irony, by the farm
servants who came to load their carts with sea-weed, whether he
"was gettin' siller in the stanes," but was so unlucky as never to
be able to answer in the affirmative. When of a suitable age he
was apprenticed to the trade of his choice - that of a working
stonemason; and he began his labouring career in a quarry looking
out upon the Cromarty Frith. This quarry proved one of his best
schools. The remarkable geological formations which it displayed
awakened his curiosity. The bar of deep-red stone beneath, and the
bar of pale-red clay above, were noted by the young quarryman, who
even in such unpromising subjects found matter for observation and
reflection. Where other men saw nothing, he detected analogies,
differences, and peculiarities, which set him a-thinking. He
simply kept his eyes and his mind open; was sober, diligent, and
persevering; and this was the secret of his intellectual growth.

His curiosity was excited and kept alive by the curious organic
remains, principally of old and extinct species of fishes, ferns,
and ammonites, which were revealed along the coast by the washings
of the waves, or were exposed by the stroke of his mason's hammer.
He never lost sight of the subject; but went on accumulating
observations and comparing formations, until at length, many years
afterwards, when no longer a working mason, he gave to the world
his highly interesting work on the Old Red Sandstone, which at once
established his reputation as a scientific geologist. But this
work was the fruit of long years of patient observation and
research. As he modestly states in his autobiography, "the only
merit to which I lay claim in the case is that of patient research
- a merit in which whoever wills may rival or surpass me; and this
humble faculty of patience, when rightly developed, may lead to
more extraordinary developments of idea than even genius itself."

The late John Brown, the eminent English geologist, was, like
Miller, a stonemason in his early life, serving an apprenticeship
to the trade at Colchester, and afterwards working as a journeyman
mason at Norwich. He began business as a builder on his own
account at Colchester, where by frugality and industry he secured a
competency. It was while working at his trade that his attention
was first drawn to the study of fossils and shells; and he
proceeded to make a collection of them, which afterwards grew into
one of the finest in England. His researches along the coasts of
Essex, Kent, and Sussex brought to light some magnificent remains
of the elephant and rhinoceros, the most valuable of which were
presented by him to the British Museum. During the last few years
of his life he devoted considerable attention to the study of the
Foraminifera in chalk, respecting which he made several interesting
discoveries. His life was useful, happy, and honoured; and he died
at Stanway, in Essex, in November 1859, at the ripe age of eighty

Not long ago, Sir Roderick Murchison discovered at Thurso, in the
far north of Scotland, a profound geologist, in the person of a
baker there, named Robert Dick. When Sir Roderick called upon him
at the bakehouse in which he baked and earned his bread, Robert
Dick delineated to him, by means of flour upon the board, the
geographical features and geological phenomena of his native
county, pointing out the imperfections in the existing maps, which
he had ascertained by travelling over the country in his leisure
hours. On further inquiry, Sir Roderick ascertained that the
humble individual before him was not only a capital baker and
geologist, but a first-rate botanist. "I found," said the
President of the Geographical Society, "to my great humiliation
that the baker knew infinitely more of botanical science, ay, ten
times more, than I did; and that there were only some twenty or
thirty specimens of flowers which he had not collected. Some he
had obtained as presents, some he had purchased, but the greater
portion had been accumulated by his industry, in his native county
of Caithness; and the specimens were all arranged in the most
beautiful order, with their scientific names affixed."

Sir Roderick Murchison himself is an illustrious follower of these
and kindred branches of science. A writer in the 'Quarterly
Review' cites him as a "singular instance of a man who, having
passed the early part of his life as a soldier, never having had
the advantage, or disadvantage as the case might have been, of a
scientific training, instead of remaining a fox-hunting country
gentleman, has succeeded by his own native vigour and sagacity,
untiring industry and zeal, in making for himself a scientific
reputation that is as wide as it is likely to be lasting. He took
first of all an unexplored and difficult district at home, and, by
the labour of many years, examined its rock-formations, classed
them in natural groups, assigned to each its characteristic
assemblage of fossils, and was the first to decipher two great
chapters in the world's geological history, which must always
henceforth carry his name on their title-page. Not only so, but he
applied the knowledge thus acquired to the dissection of large
districts, both at home and abroad, so as to become the geological
discoverer of great countries which had formerly been 'terrae
incognitae.'"  But Sir Roderick Murchison is not merely a
geologist. His indefatigable labours in many branches of knowledge
have contributed to render him among the most accomplished and
complete of scientific men.


"If what shone afar so grand,
Turn to nothing in thy hand,
On again; the virtue lies
In  struggle, not the prize." - R. M. Milnes.

"Excelle, et tu vivras." - Joubert.

Excellence in art, as in everything else, can only be achieved by
dint of painstaking labour.

There is nothing less accidental than the painting of a fine
picture or the chiselling of a noble statue. Every skilled touch
of the artist's brush or chisel, though guided by genius, is the
product of unremitting study.

Sir Joshua Reynolds was such a believer in the force of industry,
that he held that artistic excellence, "however expressed by
genius, taste, or the gift of heaven, may be acquired."  Writing to
Barry he said, "Whoever is resolved to excel in painting, or indeed
any other art, must bring all his mind to bear upon that one object
from the moment that he rises till he goes to bed."  And on another
occasion he said, "Those who are resolved to excel must go to their
work, willing or unwilling, morning, noon, and night: they will
find it no play, but very hard labour."  But although diligent
application is no doubt absolutely necessary for the achievement of
the highest distinction in art, it is equally true that without the
inborn genius, no amount of mere industry, however well applied,
will make an artist. The gift comes by nature, but is perfected by
self-culture, which is of more avail than all the imparted
education of the schools.

Some of the greatest artists have had to force their way upward in
the face of poverty and manifold obstructions. Illustrious
instances will at once flash upon the reader's mind. Claude
Lorraine, the pastrycook; Tintoretto, the dyer; the two
Caravaggios, the one a colour-grinder, the other a mortar-carrier
at the Vatican; Salvator Rosa, the associate of bandits; Giotto,
the peasant boy; Zingaro, the gipsy; Cavedone, turned out of doors
to beg by his father; Canova, the stone-cutter; these, and many
other well-known artists, succeeded in achieving distinction by
severe study and labour, under circumstances the most adverse.

Nor have the most distinguished artists of our own country been
born in a position of life more than ordinarily favourable to the
culture of artistic genius. Gainsborough and Bacon were the sons
of cloth-workers; Barry was an Irish sailor boy, and Maclise a
banker's apprentice at Cork; Opie and Romney, like Inigo Jones,
were carpenters; West was the son of a small Quaker farmer in
Pennsylvania; Northcote was a watchmaker, Jackson a tailor, and
Etty a printer; Reynolds, Wilson, and Wilkie, were the sons of
clergymen; Lawrence was the son of a publican, and Turner of a
barber. Several of our painters, it is true, originally had some
connection with art, though in a very humble way, - such as
Flaxman, whose father sold plaster casts; Bird, who ornamented tea-
trays; Martin, who was a coach-painter; Wright and Gilpin, who were
ship-painters; Chantrey, who was a carver and gilder; and David
Cox, Stanfield, and Roberts, who were scene-painters.

It was not by luck or accident that these men achieved distinction,
but by sheer industry and hard work. Though some achieved wealth,
yet this was rarely, if ever, the ruling motive. Indeed, no mere
love of money could sustain the efforts of the artist in his early
career of self-denial and application. The pleasure of the pursuit
has always been its best reward; the wealth which followed but an
accident. Many noble-minded artists have preferred following the
bent of their genius, to chaffering with the public for terms.
Spagnoletto verified in his life the beautiful fiction of Xenophon,
and after he had acquired the means of luxury, preferred
withdrawing himself from their influence, and voluntarily returned
to poverty and labour. When Michael Angelo was asked his opinion
respecting a work which a painter had taken great pains to exhibit
for profit, he said, "I think that he will be a poor fellow so long
as he shows such an extreme eagerness to become rich."

Like Sir Joshua Reynolds, Michael Angelo was a great believer in
the force of labour; and he held that there was nothing which the
imagination conceived, that could not be embodied in marble, if the
hand were made vigorously to obey the mind. He was himself one of
the most indefatigable of workers; and he attributed his power of
studying for a greater number of hours than most of his
contemporaries, to his spare habits of living. A little bread and
wine was all he required for the chief part of the day when
employed at his work; and very frequently he rose in the middle of
the night to resume his labours. On these occasions, it was his
practice to fix the candle, by the light of which he chiselled, on
the summit of a paste-board cap which he wore. Sometimes he was
too wearied to undress, and he slept in his clothes, ready to
spring to his work so soon as refreshed by sleep. He had a
favourite device of an old man in a go-cart, with an hour-glass
upon it bearing the inscription, ANCORA IMPARO! Still I am

Titian, also, was an indefatigable worker. His celebrated "Pietro
Martire" was eight years in hand, and his "Last Supper" seven. In
his letter to Charles V. he said, "I send your Majesty the 'Last
Supper' after working at it almost daily for seven years - DOPO
patient labour and long training involved in the greatest works of
the artist. They seem easy and quickly accomplished, yet with how
great difficulty has this ease been acquired. "You charge me fifty
sequins," said the Venetian nobleman to the sculptor, "for a bust
that cost you only ten days' labour."  "You forget," said the
artist, "that I have been thirty years learning to make that bust
in ten days."  Once when Domenichino was blamed for his slowness in
finishing a picture which was bespoken, he made answer, "I am
continually painting it within myself."  It was eminently
characteristic of the industry of the late Sir Augustus Callcott,
that he made not fewer than forty separate sketches in the
composition of his famous picture of "Rochester."  This constant
repetition is one of the main conditions of success in art, as in
life itself.

No matter how generous nature has been in bestowing the gift of
genius, the pursuit of art is nevertheless a long and continuous
labour. Many artists have been precocious, but without diligence
their precocity would have come to nothing. The anecdote related
of West is well known. When only seven years old, struck with the
beauty of the sleeping infant of his eldest sister whilst watching
by its cradle, he ran to seek some paper and forthwith drew its
portrait in red and black ink. The little incident revealed the
artist in him, and it was found impossible to draw him from his
bent. West might have been a greater painter, had he not been
injured by too early success: his fame, though great, was not
purchased by study, trials, and difficulties, and it has not been

Richard Wilson, when a mere child, indulged himself with tracing
figures of men and animals on the walls of his father's house, with
a burnt stick. He first directed his attention to portrait
painting; but when in Italy, calling one day at the house of
Zucarelli, and growing weary with waiting, he began painting the
scene on which his friend's chamber window looked. When Zucarelli
arrived, he was so charmed with the picture, that he asked if
Wilson had not studied landscape, to which he replied that he had
not. "Then, I advise you," said the other, "to try; for you are
sure of great success."  Wilson adopted the advice, studied and
worked hard, and became our first great English landscape painter.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, when a boy, forgot his lessons, and took
pleasure only in drawing, for which his father was accustomed to
rebuke him. The boy was destined for the profession of physic, but
his strong instinct for art could not be repressed, and he became a
painter. Gainsborough went sketching, when a schoolboy, in the
woods of Sudbury; and at twelve he was a confirmed artist: he was
a keen observer and a hard worker, - no picturesque feature of any
scene he had once looked upon, escaping his diligent pencil.
William Blake, a hosier's son, employed himself in drawing designs
on the backs of his father's shop-bills, and making sketches on the
counter. Edward Bird, when a child only three or four years old,
would mount a chair and draw figures on the walls, which he called
French and English soldiers. A box of colours was purchased for
him, and his father, desirous of turning his love of art to
account, put him apprentice to a maker of tea-trays! Out of this
trade he gradually raised himself, by study and labour, to the rank
of a Royal Academician.

Hogarth, though a very dull boy at his lessons, took pleasure in
making drawings of the letters of the alphabet, and his school
exercises were more remarkable for the ornaments with which he
embellished them, than for the matter of the exercises themselves.
In the latter respect he was beaten by all the blockheads of the
school, but in his adornments he stood alone. His father put him
apprentice to a silversmith, where he learnt to draw, and also to
engrave spoons and forks with crests and ciphers. From silver-
chasing, he went on to teach himself engraving on copper,
principally griffins and monsters of heraldry, in the course of
which practice he became ambitious to delineate the varieties of
human character. The singular excellence which he reached in this
art, was mainly the result of careful observation and study. He
had the gift, which he sedulously cultivated, of committing to
memory the precise features of any remarkable face, and afterwards
reproducing them on paper; but if any singularly fantastic form or
OUTRE face came in his way, he would make a sketch of it on the
spot, upon his thumb-nail, and carry it home to expand at his
leisure. Everything fantastical and original had a powerful
attraction for him, and he wandered into many out-of-the-way places
for the purpose of meeting with character. By this careful storing
of his mind, he was afterwards enabled to crowd an immense amount
of thought and treasured observation into his works. Hence it is
that Hogarth's pictures are so truthful a memorial of the
character, the manners, and even the very thoughts of the times in
which he lived. True painting, he himself observed, can only be
learnt in one school, and that is kept by Nature. But he was not a
highly cultivated man, except in his own walk. His school
education had been of the slenderest kind, scarcely even perfecting
him in the art of spelling; his self-culture did the rest. For a
long time he was in very straitened circumstances, but nevertheless
worked on with a cheerful heart. Poor though he was, he contrived
to live within his small means, and he boasted, with becoming
pride, that he was "a punctual paymaster."  When he had conquered
all his difficulties and become a famous and thriving man, he loved
to dwell upon his early labours and privations, and to fight over
again the battle which ended so honourably to him as a man and so
gloriously as an artist. "I remember the time," said he on one
occasion, "when I have gone moping into the city with scarce a
shilling, but as soon as I have received ten guineas there for a
plate, I have returned home, put on my sword, and sallied out with
all the confidence of a man who had thousands in his pockets."

"Industry and perseverance" was the motto of the sculptor Banks,
which he acted on himself, and strongly recommended to others. His
well-known kindness induced many aspiring youths to call upon him
and ask for his advice and assistance; and it is related that one
day a boy called at his door to see him with this object, but the
servant, angry at the loud knock he had given, scolded him, and was
about sending him away, when Banks overhearing her, himself went
out. The little boy stood at the door with some drawings in his
hand. "What do you want with me?" asked the sculptor. "I want,
sir, if you please, to be admitted to draw at the Academy."  Banks
explained that he himself could not procure his admission, but he
asked to look at the boy's drawings. Examining them, he said,
"Time enough for the Academy, my little man! go home - mind your
schooling - try to make a better drawing of the Apollo - and in a
month come again and let me see it."  The boy went home - sketched
and worked with redoubled diligence - and, at the end of the month,
called again on the sculptor. The drawing was better; but again
Banks sent him back, with good advice, to work and study. In a
week the boy was again at his door, his drawing much improved; and
Banks bid him be of good cheer, for if spared he would distinguish
himself. The boy was Mulready; and the sculptor's augury was amply

The fame of Claude Lorraine is partly explained by his
indefatigable industry. Born at Champagne, in Lorraine, of poor
parents, he was first apprenticed to a pastrycook. His brother,
who was a wood-carver, afterwards took him into his shop to learn
that trade. Having there shown indications of artistic skill, a
travelling dealer persuaded the brother to allow Claude to
accompany him to Italy. He assented, and the young man reached
Rome, where he was shortly after engaged by Agostino Tassi, the
landscape painter, as his house-servant. In that capacity Claude
first learnt landscape painting, and in course of time he began to
produce pictures. We next find him making the tour of Italy,
France, and Germany, occasionally resting by the way to paint
landscapes, and thereby replenish his purse. On returning to Rome
he found an increasing demand for his works, and his reputation at
length became European. He was unwearied in the study of nature in
her various aspects. It was his practice to spend a great part of
his time in closely copying buildings, bits of ground, trees,
leaves, and such like, which he finished in detail, keeping the
drawings by him in store for the purpose of introducing them in his
studied landscapes. He also gave close attention to the sky,
watching it for whole days from morning till night, and noting the
various changes occasioned by the passing clouds and the increasing
and waning light. By this constant practice he acquired, although
it is said very slowly, such a mastery of hand and eye as
eventually secured for him the first rank among landscape painters.

Turner, who has been styled "the English Claude," pursued a career
of like laborious industry. He was destined by his father for his
own trade of a barber, which he carried on in London, until one day
the sketch which the boy had made of a coat of arms on a silver
salver having attracted the notice of a customer whom his father
was shaving, the latter was urged to allow his son to follow his
bias, and he was eventually permitted to follow art as a
profession. Like all young artists, Turner had many difficulties
to encounter, and they were all the greater that his circumstances
were so straitened. But he was always willing to work, and to take
pains with his work, no matter how humble it might be. He was glad
to hire himself out at half-a-crown a night to wash in skies in
Indian ink upon other people's drawings, getting his supper into
the bargain. Thus he earned money and acquired expertness. Then
he took to illustrating guide-books, almanacs, and any sort of
books that wanted cheap frontispieces. "What could I have done
better?" said he afterwards; "it was first-rate practice."  He did
everything carefully and conscientiously, never slurring over his
work because he was ill-remunerated for it. He aimed at learning
as well as living; always doing his best, and never leaving a
drawing without having made a step in advance upon his previous
work. A man who thus laboured was sure to do much; and his growth
in power and grasp of thought was, to use Ruskin's words, "as
steady as the increasing light of sunrise."  But Turner's genius
needs no panegyric; his best monument is the noble gallery of
pictures bequeathed by him to the nation, which will ever be the
most lasting memorial of his fame.

To reach Rome, the capital of the fine arts, is usually the highest
ambition of the art student. But the journey to Rome is costly,
and the student is often poor. With a will resolute to overcome
difficulties, Rome may however at last be reached. Thus Francois
Perrier, an early French painter, in his eager desire to visit the
Eternal City, consented to act as guide to a blind vagrant. After
long wanderings he reached the Vatican, studied and became famous.
Not less enthusiasm was displayed by Jacques Callot in his
determination to visit Rome. Though opposed by his father in his
wish to be an artist, the boy would not be baulked, but fled from
home to make his way to Italy. Having set out without means, he
was soon reduced to great straits; but falling in with a band of
gipsies, he joined their company, and wandered about with them from
one fair to another, sharing in their numerous adventures. During
this remarkable journey Callot picked up much of that extraordinary
knowledge of figure, feature, and character which he afterwards
reproduced, sometimes in such exaggerated forms, in his wonderful

When Callot at length reached Florence, a gentleman, pleased with
his ingenious ardour, placed him with an artist to study; but he
was not satisfied to stop short of Rome, and we find him shortly on
his way thither. At Rome he made the acquaintance of Porigi and
Thomassin, who, on seeing his crayon sketches, predicted for him a
brilliant career as an artist. But a friend of Callot's family
having accidentally encountered him, took steps to compel the
fugitive to return home. By this time he had acquired such a love
of wandering that he could not rest; so he ran away a second time,
and a second time he was brought back by his elder brother, who
caught him at Turin. At last the father, seeing resistance was in
vain, gave his reluctant consent to Callot's prosecuting his
studies at Rome. Thither he went accordingly; and this time he
remained, diligently studying design and engraving for several
years, under competent masters. On his way back to France, he was
encouraged by Cosmo II. to remain at Florence, where he studied and
worked for several years more. On the death of his patron he
returned to his family at Nancy, where, by the use of his burin and
needle, he shortly acquired both wealth and fame. When Nancy was
taken by siege during the civil wars, Callot was requested by
Richelieu to make a design and engraving of the event, but the
artist would not commemorate the disaster which had befallen his
native place, and he refused point-blank. Richelieu could not
shake his resolution, and threw him into prison. There Callot met
with some of his old friends the gipsies, who had relieved his
wants on his first journey to Rome. When Louis XIII. heard of his
imprisonment, he not only released him, but offered to grant him
any favour he might ask. Callot immediately requested that his old
companions, the gipsies, might be set free and permitted to beg in
Paris without molestation. This odd request was granted on
condition that Callot should engrave their portraits, and hence his
curious book of engravings entitled "The Beggars."  Louis is said
to have offered Callot a pension of 3000 livres provided he would
not leave Paris; but the artist was now too much of a Bohemian, and
prized his liberty too highly to permit him to accept it; and he
returned to Nancy, where he worked till his death. His industry
may be inferred from the number of his engravings and etchings, of
which he left not fewer than 1600. He was especially fond of
grotesque subjects, which he treated with great skill; his free
etchings, touched with the graver, being executed with especial
delicacy and wonderful minuteness.

Still more romantic and adventurous was the career of Benvenuto
Cellini, the marvellous gold worker, painter, sculptor, engraver,
engineer, and author. His life, as told by himself, is one of the
most extraordinary autobiographies ever written. Giovanni Cellini,
his father, was one of the Court musicians to Lorenzo de Medici at
Florence; and his highest ambition concerning his son Benvenuto was
that he should become an expert player on the flute. But Giovanni
having lost his appointment, found it necessary to send his son to
learn some trade, and he was apprenticed to a goldsmith. The boy
had already displayed a love of drawing and of art; and, applying
himself to his business, he soon became a dexterous workman.
Having got mixed up in a quarrel with some of the townspeople, he
was banished for six months, during which period he worked with a
goldsmith at Sienna, gaining further experience in jewellery and

His father still insisting on his becoming a flute-player,
Benvenuto continued to practise on the instrument, though he
detested it. His chief pleasure was in art, which he pursued with
enthusiasm. Returning to Florence, he carefully studied the
designs of Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo; and, still further
to improve himself in gold-working, he went on foot to Rome, where
he met with a variety of adventures. He returned to Florence with
the reputation of being a most expert worker in the precious
metals, and his skill was soon in great request. But being of an
irascible temper, he was constantly getting into scrapes, and was
frequently under the necessity of flying for his life. Thus he
fled from Florence in the disguise of a friar, again taking refuge
at Sienna, and afterwards at Rome.

During his second residence in Rome, Cellini met with extensive
patronage, and he was taken into the Pope's service in the double
capacity of goldsmith and musician. He was constantly studying and
improving himself by acquaintance with the works of the best
masters. He mounted jewels, finished enamels, engraved seals, and
designed and executed works in gold, silver, and bronze, in such a
style as to excel all other artists. Whenever he heard of a
goldsmith who was famous in any particular branch, he immediately
determined to surpass him. Thus it was that he rivalled the medals
of one, the enamels of another, and the jewellery of a third; in
fact, there was not a branch of his business that he did not feel
impelled to excel in.

Working in this spirit, it is not so wonderful that Cellini should
have been able to accomplish so much. He was a man of
indefatigable activity, and was constantly on the move. At one
time we find him at Florence, at another at Rome; then he is at
Mantua, at Rome, at Naples, and back to Florence again; then at
Venice, and in Paris, making all his long journeys on horseback.
He could not carry much luggage with him; so, wherever he went, he
usually began by making his own tools. He not only designed his
works, but executed them himself, - hammered and carved, and cast
and shaped them with his own hands. Indeed, his works have the
impress of genius so clearly stamped upon them, that they could
never have been designed by one person, and executed by another.
The humblest article - a buckle for a lady's girdle, a seal, a
locket, a brooch, a ring, or a button - became in his hands a
beautiful work of art.

Cellini was remarkable for his readiness and dexterity in
handicraft. One day a surgeon entered the shop of Raffaello del
Moro, the goldsmith, to perform an operation on his daughter's
hand. On looking at the surgeon's instruments, Cellini, who was
present, found them rude and clumsy, as they usually were in those
days, and he asked the surgeon to proceed no further with the
operation for a quarter of an hour. He then ran to his shop, and
taking a piece of the finest steel, wrought out of it a beautifully
finished knife, with which the operation was successfully

Among the statues executed by Cellini, the most important are the
silver figure of Jupiter, executed at Paris for Francis I., and the
Perseus, executed in bronze for the Grand Duke Cosmo of Florence.
He also executed statues in marble of Apollo, Hyacinthus,
Narcissus, and Neptune. The extraordinary incidents connected with
the casting of the Perseus were peculiarly illustrative of the
remarkable character of the man.

The Grand Duke having expressed a decided opinion that the model,
when shown to him in wax, could not possibly be cast in bronze,
Cellini was immediately stimulated by the predicted impossibility,
not only to attempt, but to do it. He first made the clay model,
baked it, and covered it with wax, which he shaped into the perfect
form of a statue. Then coating the wax with a sort of earth, he
baked the second covering, during which the wax dissolved and
escaped, leaving the space between the two layers for the reception
of the metal. To avoid disturbance, the latter process was
conducted in a pit dug immediately under the furnace, from which
the liquid metal was to be introduced by pipes and apertures into
the mould prepared for it.

Cellini had purchased and laid in several loads of pine-wood, in
anticipation of the process of casting, which now began. The
furnace was filled with pieces of brass and bronze, and the fire
was lit. The resinous pine-wood was soon in such a furious blaze,
that the shop took fire, and part of the roof was burnt; while at
the same time the wind blowing and the rain filling on the furnace,
kept down the heat, and prevented the metals from melting. For
hours Cellini struggled to keep up the heat, continually throwing
in more wood, until at length he became so exhausted and ill, that
he feared he should die before the statue could be cast. He was
forced to leave to his assistants the pouring in of the metal when
melted, and betook himself to his bed. While those about him were
condoling with him in his distress, a workman suddenly entered the
room, lamenting that "Poor Benvenuto's work was irretrievably
spoiled!"  On hearing this, Cellini immediately sprang from his bed
and rushed to the workshop, where he found the fire so much gone
down that the metal had again become hard.

Sending across to a neighbour for a load of young oak which had
been more than a year in drying, he soon had the fire blazing again
and the metal melting and glittering. The wind was, however, still
blowing with fury, and the rain falling heavily; so, to protect
himself, Cellini had some tables with pieces of tapestry and old
clothes brought to him, behind which he went on hurling the wood
into the furnace. A mass of pewter was thrown in upon the other
metal, and by stirring, sometimes with iron and sometimes with long
poles, the whole soon became completely melted. At this juncture,
when the trying moment was close at hand, a terrible noise as of a
thunderbolt was heard, and a glittering of fire flashed before
Cellini's eyes. The cover of the furnace had burst, and the metal
began to flow! Finding that it did not run with the proper
velocity, Cellini rushed into the kitchen, bore away every piece of
copper and pewter that it contained - some two hundred porringers,
dishes, and kettles of different kinds - and threw them into the
furnace. Then at length the metal flowed freely, and thus the
splendid statue of Perseus was cast.

The divine fury of genius in which Cellini rushed to his kitchen
and stripped it of its utensils for the purposes of his furnace,
will remind the reader of the like act of Pallissy in breaking up
his furniture for the purpose of baking his earthenware.
Excepting, however, in their enthusiasm, no two men could be less
alike in character. Cellini was an Ishmael against whom, according
to his own account, every man's hand was turned. But about his
extraordinary skill as a workman, and his genius as an artist,
there cannot be two opinions.

Much less turbulent was the career of Nicolas Poussin, a man as
pure and elevated in his ideas of art as he was in his daily life,
and distinguished alike for his vigour of intellect, his rectitude
of character, and his noble simplicity. He was born in a very
humble station, at Andeleys, near Rouen, where his father kept a
small school. The boy had the benefit of his parent's instruction,
such as it was, but of that he is said to have been somewhat
negligent, preferring to spend his time in covering his lesson-
books and his slate with drawings. A country painter, much pleased
with his sketches, besought his parents not to thwart him in his
tastes. The painter agreed to give Poussin lessons, and he soon
made such progress that his master had nothing more to teach him.
Becoming restless, and desirous of further improving himself,
Poussin, at the age of 18, set out for Paris, painting signboards
on his way for a maintenance.

At Paris a new world of art opened before him, exciting his wonder
and stimulating his emulation. He worked diligently in many
studios, drawing, copying, and painting pictures. After a time, he
resolved, if possible, to visit Rome, and set out on his journey;
but he only succeeded in getting as far as Florence, and again
returned to Paris. A second attempt which he made to reach Rome
was even less successful; for this time he only got as far as
Lyons. He was, nevertheless, careful to take advantage of all
opportunities for improvement which came in his way, and continued
as sedulous as before in studying and working.

Thus twelve years passed, years of obscurity and toil, of failures
and disappointments, and probably of privations. At length Poussin
succeeded in reaching Rome. There he diligently studied the old
masters, and especially the ancient statues, with whose perfection
he was greatly impressed. For some time he lived with the sculptor
Duquesnoi, as poor as himself, and assisted him in modelling
figures after the antique. With him he carefully measured some of
the most celebrated statues in Rome, more particularly the
'Antinous:' and it is supposed that this practice exercised
considerable influence on the formation of his future style. At
the same time he studied anatomy, practised drawing from the life,
and made a great store of sketches of postures and attitudes of
people whom he met, carefully reading at his leisure such standard
books on art as he could borrow from his friends.

During all this time he remained very poor, satisfied to be
continually improving himself. He was glad to sell his pictures
for whatever they would bring. One, of a prophet, he sold for
eight livres; and another, the 'Plague of the Philistines,' he sold
for 60 crowns - a picture afterwards bought by Cardinal de
Richelieu for a thousand. To add to his troubles, he was stricken
by a cruel malady, during the helplessness occasioned by which the
Chevalier del Posso assisted him with money. For this gentleman
Poussin afterwards painted the 'Rest in the Desert,' a fine
picture, which far more than repaid the advances made during his

The brave man went on toiling and learning through suffering.
Still aiming at higher things, he went to Florence and Venice,
enlarging the range of his studies. The fruits of his
conscientious labour at length appeared in the series of great
pictures which he now began to produce, - his 'Death of
Germanicus,' followed by 'Extreme Unction,' the 'Testament of
Eudamidas,' the 'Manna,' and the 'Abduction of the Sabines.'

The reputation of Poussin, however, grew but slowly. He was of a
retiring disposition and shunned society. People gave him credit
for being a thinker much more than a painter. When not actually
employed in painting, he took long solitary walks in the country,
meditating the designs of future pictures. One of his few friends
while at Rome was Claude Lorraine, with whom he spent many hours at
a time on the terrace of La Trinite-du-Mont, conversing about art
and antiquarianism. The monotony and the quiet of Rome were suited
to his taste, and, provided he could earn a moderate living by his
brush, he had no wish to leave it.

But his fame now extended beyond Rome, and repeated invitations
were sent him to return to Paris. He was offered the appointment
of principal painter to the King. At first he hesitated; quoted
the Italian proverb, CHI STA BENE NON SI MUOVE; said he had lived
fifteen years in Rome, married a wife there, and looked forward to
dying and being buried there. Urged again, he consented, and
returned to Paris. But his appearance there awakened much
professional jealousy, and he soon wished himself back in Rome
again. While in Paris he painted some of his greatest works - his
'Saint Xavier,' the 'Baptism,' and the 'Last Supper.'  He was kept
constantly at work. At first he did whatever he was asked to do,
such as designing frontispieces for the royal books, more
particularly a Bible and a Virgil, cartoons for the Louvre, and
designs for tapestry; but at length he expostulated:- "It is
impossible for me," he said to M. de Chanteloup, "to work at the
same time at frontispieces for books, at a Virgin, at a picture of
the Congregation of St. Louis, at the various designs for the
gallery, and, finally, at designs for the royal tapestry. I have
only one pair of hands and a feeble head, and can neither be helped
nor can my labours be lightened by another."

Annoyed by the enemies his success had provoked and whom he was
unable to conciliate, he determined, at the end of less than two
years' labour in Paris, to return to Rome. Again settled there in
his humble dwelling on Mont Pincio, he employed himself diligently
in the practice of his art during the remaining years of his life,
living in great simplicity and privacy. Though suffering much from
the disease which afflicted him, he solaced himself by study,
always striving after excellence. "In growing old," he said, "I
feel myself becoming more and more inflamed with the desire of
surpassing myself and reaching the highest degree of perfection."
Thus toiling, struggling, and suffering, Poussin spent his later
years. He had no children; his wife died before him; all his
friends were gone: so that in his old age he was left absolutely
alone in Rome, so full of tombs, and died there in 1665,
bequeathing to his relatives at Andeleys the savings of his life,
amounting to about 1000 crowns; and leaving behind him, as a legacy
to his race, the great works of his genius.

The career of Ary Scheffer furnishes one of the best examples in
modern times of a like high-minded devotion to art. Born at
Dordrecht, the son of a German artist, he early manifested an
aptitude for drawing and painting, which his parents encouraged.
His father dying while he was still young, his mother resolved,
though her means were but small, to remove the family to Paris, in
order that her son might obtain the best opportunities for
instruction. There young Scheffer was placed with Guerin the
painter. But his mother's means were too limited to permit him to
devote himself exclusively to study. She had sold the few jewels
she possessed, and refused herself every indulgence, in order to
forward the instruction of her other children. Under such
circumstances, it was natural that Ary should wish to help her; and
by the time he was eighteen years of age he began to paint small
pictures of simple subjects, which met with a ready sale at
moderate prices. He also practised portrait painting, at the same
time gathering experience and earning honest money. He gradually
improved in drawing, colouring, and composition. The 'Baptism'
marked a new epoch in his career, and from that point he went on
advancing, until his fame culminated in his pictures illustrative
of 'Faust,' his 'Francisca de Rimini,' 'Christ the Consoler,' the
'Holy Women,' 'St. Monica and St. Augustin,' and many other noble

"The amount of labour, thought, and attention," says Mrs. Grote,
"which Scheffer brought to the production of the 'Francisca,' must
have been enormous. In truth, his technical education having been
so imperfect, he was forced to climb the steep of art by drawing
upon his own resources, and thus, whilst his hand was at work, his
mind was engaged in meditation. He had to try various processes of
handling, and experiments in colouring; to paint and repaint, with
tedious and unremitting assiduity. But Nature had endowed him with
that which proved in some sort an equivalent for shortcomings of a
professional kind. His own elevation of character, and his
profound sensibility, aided him in acting upon the feelings of
others through the medium of the pencil." (21)

One of the artists whom Scheffer most admired was Flaxman; and he
once said to a friend, "If I have unconsciously borrowed from any
one in the design of the 'Francisca,' it must have been from
something I had seen among Flaxman's drawings."  John Flaxman was
the son of a humble seller of plaster casts in New Street, Covent
Garden. When a child, he was such an invalid that it was his
custom to sit behind his father's shop counter propped by pillows,
amusing himself with drawing and reading. A benevolent clergyman,
the Rev. Mr. Matthews, calling at the shop one day, saw the boy
trying to read a book, and on inquiring what it was, found it to be
a Cornelius Nepos, which his father had picked up for a few pence
at a bookstall. The gentleman, after some conversation with the
boy, said that was not the proper book for him to read, but that he
would bring him one. The next day he called with translations of
Homer and 'Don Quixote,' which the boy proceeded to read with great
avidity. His mind was soon filled with the heroism which breathed
through the pages of the former, and, with the stucco Ajaxes and
Achilleses about him, ranged along the shop shelves, the ambition
took possession of him, that he too would design and embody in
poetic forms those majestic heroes.

Like all youthful efforts, his first designs were crude. The proud
father one day showed some of them to Roubilliac the sculptor, who
turned from them with a contemptuous "pshaw!"  But the boy had the
right stuff in him; he had industry and patience; and he continued
to labour incessantly at his books and drawings. He then tried his
young powers in modelling figures in plaster of Paris, wax, and
clay. Some of these early works are still preserved, not because
of their merit, but because they are curious as the first healthy
efforts of patient genius. It was long before the boy could walk,
and he only learnt to do so by hobbling along upon crutches. At
length he became strong enough to walk without them.

The kind Mr. Matthews invited him to his house, where his wife
explained Homer and Milton to him. They helped him also in his
self-culture - giving him lessons in Greek and Latin, the study of
which he prosecuted at home. By dint of patience and perseverance,
his drawing improved so much that he obtained a commission from a
lady, to execute six original drawings in black chalk of subjects
in Homer. His first commission! What an event in the artist's
life! A surgeon's first fee, a lawyer's first retainer, a
legislator's first speech, a singer's first appearance behind the
foot-lights, an author's first book, are not any of them more full
of interest to the aspirant for fame than the artist's first
commission. The boy at once proceeded to execute the order, and he
was both well praised and well paid for his work.

At fifteen Flaxman entered a pupil at the Royal Academy.
Notwithstanding his retiring disposition, he soon became known
among the students, and great things were expected of him. Nor
were their expectations disappointed: in his fifteenth year he
gained the silver prize, and next year he became a candidate for
the gold one. Everybody prophesied that he would carry off the
medal, for there was none who surpassed him in ability and
industry. Yet he lost it, and the gold medal was adjudged to a
pupil who was not afterwards heard of. This failure on the part of
the youth was really of service to him; for defeats do not long
cast down the resolute-hearted, but only serve to call forth their
real powers. "Give me time," said he to his father, "and I will
yet produce works that the Academy will be proud to recognise."  He
redoubled his efforts, spared no pains, designed and modelled
incessantly, and made steady if not rapid progress. But meanwhile
poverty threatened his father's household; the plaster-cast trade
yielded a very bare living; and young Flaxman, with resolute self-
denial, curtailed his hours of study, and devoted himself to
helping his father in the humble details of his business. He laid
aside his Homer to take up the plaster-trowel. He was willing to
work in the humblest department of the trade so that his father's
family might be supported, and the wolf kept from the door. To
this drudgery of his art he served a long apprenticeship; but it
did him good. It familiarised him with steady work, and cultivated
in him the spirit of patience. The discipline may have been hard,
but it was wholesome.

Happily, young Flaxman's skill in design had reached the knowledge
of Josiah Wedgwood, who sought him out for the purpose of employing
him to design improved patterns of china and earthenware. It may
seem a humble department of art for such a genius as Flaxman to
work in; but it really was not so. An artist may be labouring
truly in his vocation while designing a common teapot or water-jug.
Articles in daily use amongst the people, which are before their
eyes at every meal, may be made the vehicles of education to all,
and minister to their highest culture. The most ambitious artist
way thus confer a greater practical benefit on his countrymen than
by executing an elaborate work which he may sell for thousands of
pounds to be placed in some wealthy man's gallery where it is
hidden away from public sight. Before Wedgwood's time the designs
which figured upon our china and stoneware were hideous both in
drawing and execution, and he determined to improve both. Flaxman
did his best to carry out the manufacturer's views. He supplied
him from time to time with models and designs of various pieces of
earthenware, the subjects of which were principally from ancient
verse and history. Many of them are still in existence, and some
are equal in beauty and simplicity to his after designs for marble.
The celebrated Etruscan vases, specimens of which were to be found
in public museums and in the cabinets of the curious, furnished him
with the best examples of form, and these he embellished with his
own elegant devices. Stuart's 'Athens,' then recently published,
furnished him with specimens of the purest-shaped Greek utensils;
of these he adopted the best, and worked them into new shapes of
elegance and beauty. Flaxman then saw that he was labouring in a
great work - no less than the promotion of popular education; and
he was proud, in after life, to allude to his early labours in this
walk, by which he was enabled at the same time to cultivate his
love of the beautiful, to diffuse a taste for art among the people,
and to replenish his own purse, while he promoted the prosperity of
his friend and benefactor.

At length, in the year 1782, when twenty-seven years of age, he
quitted his father's roof and rented a small house and studio in
Wardour Street, Soho; and what was more, he married - Ann Denman
was the name of his wife - and a cheerful, bright-souled, noble
woman she was. He believed that in marrying her he should be able
to work with an intenser spirit; for, like him, she had a taste for
poetry and art; and besides was an enthusiastic admirer of her
husband's genius. Yet when Sir Joshua Reynolds - himself a
bachelor - met Flaxman shortly after his marriage, he said to him,
"So, Flaxman, I am told you are married; if so, sir, I tell you you
are ruined for an artist."  Flaxman went straight home, sat down
beside his wife, took her hand in his, and said, "Ann, I am ruined
for an artist."  "How so, John? How has it happened? and who has
done it?"  "It happened," he replied, "in the church, and Ann
Denman has done it."  He then told her of Sir Joshua's remark -
whose opinion was well known, and had often been expressed, that if
students would excel they must bring the whole powers of their mind
to bear upon their art, from the moment they rose until they went
to bed; and also, that no man could be a GREAT artist unless he
studied the grand works of Raffaelle, Michael Angelo, and others,
at Rome and Florence. "And I," said Flaxman, drawing up his little
figure to its full height, "I would be a great artist."  "And a
great artist you shall be," said his wife, "and visit Rome too, if
that be really necessary to make you great."  "But how?" asked
Flaxman. "WORK AND ECONOMISE," rejoined the brave wife; "I will
never have it said that Ann Denman ruined John Flaxman for an
artist."  And so it was determined by the pair that the journey to
Rome was to be made when their means would admit. "I will go to
Rome," said Flaxman, "and show the President that wedlock is for a
man's good rather than his harm; and you, Ann, shall accompany me."

Patiently and happily the affectionate couple plodded on during
five years in their humble little home in Wardour Street, always
with the long journey to Rome before them. It was never lost sight
of for a moment, and not a penny was uselessly spent that could be
saved towards the necessary expenses. They said no word to any one
about their project; solicited no aid from the Academy; but trusted
only to their own patient labour and love to pursue and achieve
their object. During this time Flaxman exhibited very few works.
He could not afford marble to experiment in original designs; but
he obtained frequent commissions for monuments, by the profits of
which he maintained himself. He still worked for Wedgwood, who was
a prompt paymaster; and, on the whole, he was thriving, happy, and
hopeful. His local respectability was even such as to bring local
honours and local work upon him; for he was elected by the
ratepayers to collect the watch-rate for the Parish of St. Anne,
when he might be seen going about with an ink-bottle suspended from
his button-hole, collecting the money.

At length Flaxman and his wife having accumulated a sufficient
store of savings, set out for Rome. Arrived there, he applied
himself diligently to study, maintaining himself, like other poor
artists, by making copies from the antique. English visitors
sought his studio, and gave him commissions; and it was then that
he composed his beautiful designs illustrative of Homer, AEschylus,
and Dante. The price paid for them was moderate - only fifteen
shillings a-piece; but Flaxman worked for art as well as money; and
the beauty of the designs brought him other friends and patrons.
He executed Cupid and Aurora for the munificent Thomas Hope, and
the Fury of Athamas for the Earl of Bristol. He then prepared to
return to England, his taste improved and cultivated by careful
study; but before he left Italy, the Academies of Florence and
Carrara recognised his merit by electing him a member.

His fame had preceded him to London, where he soon found abundant
employment. While at Rome he had been commissioned to execute his
famous monument in memory of Lord Mansfield, and it was erected in
the north transept of Westminster Abbey shortly after his return.
It stands there in majestic grandeur, a monument to the genius of
Flaxman himself - calm, simple, and severe. No wonder that Banks,
the sculptor, then in the heyday of his fame, exclaimed when he saw
it, "This little man cuts us all out!"

When the members of the Royal Academy heard of Flaxman's return,
and especially when they had an opportunity of seeing and admiring
his portrait-statue of Mansfield, they were eager to have him
enrolled among their number. He allowed his name to be proposed in
the candidates' list of associates, and was immediately elected.
Shortly after, he appeared in an entirely new character. The
little boy who had begun his studies behind the plaster-cast-
seller's shop-counter in New Street, Covent Garden, was now a man
of high intellect and recognised supremacy in art, to instruct
students, in the character of Professor of Sculpture to the Royal
Academy! And no man better deserved to fill that distinguished
office; for none is so able to instruct others as he who, for
himself and by his own efforts, has learnt to grapple with and
overcome difficulties.

After a long, peaceful, and happy life, Flaxman found himself
growing old. The loss which he sustained by the death of his
affectionate wife Ann, was a severe shock to him; but he survived
her several years, during which he executed his celebrated "Shield
of Achilles," and his noble "Archangel Michael vanquishing Satan,"
- perhaps his two greatest works.

Chantrey was a more robust man; - somewhat rough, but hearty in his
demeanour; proud of his successful struggle with the difficulties
which beset him in early life; and, above all, proud of his
independence. He was born a poor man's child, at Norton, near
Sheffield. His father dying when he was a mere boy, his mother
married again. Young Chantrey used to drive an ass laden with
milk-cans across its back into the neighbouring town of Sheffield,
and there serve his mother's customers with milk. Such was the
humble beginning of his industrial career; and it was by his own
strength that he rose from that position, and achieved the highest
eminence as an artist. Not taking kindly to his step-father, the
boy was sent to trade, and was first placed with a grocer in
Sheffield. The business was very distasteful to him; but, passing
a carver's shop window one day, his eye was attracted by the
glittering articles it contained, and, charmed with the idea of
being a carver, he begged to be released from the grocery business
with that object. His friends consented, and he was bound
apprentice to the carver and gilder for seven years. His new
master, besides being a carver in wood, was also a dealer in prints
and plaster models; and Chantrey at once set about imitating both,
studying with great industry and energy. All his spare hours were
devoted to drawing, modelling, and self-improvement, and he often
carried his labours far into the night. Before his apprenticeship
was out - at the ace of twenty-one - he paid over to his master the
whole wealth which he was able to muster - a sum of 50L. - to
cancel his indentures, determined to devote himself to the career
of an artist. He then made the best of his way to London, and with
characteristic good sense, sought employment as an assistant
carver, studying painting and modelling at his bye-hours. Among
the jobs on which he was first employed as a journeyman carver, was
the decoration of the dining-room of Mr. Rogers, the poet - a room
in which he was in after years a welcome visitor; and he usually
took pleasure in pointing out his early handywork to the guests
whom he met at his friend's table.

Returning to Sheffield on a professional visit, he advertised
himself in the local papers as a painter of portraits in crayons
and miniatures, and also in oil. For his first crayon portrait he
was paid a guinea by a cutler; and for a portrait in oil, a
confectioner paid him as much as 5L. and a pair of top boots!
Chantrey was soon in London again to study at the Royal Academy;
and next time he returned to Sheffield he advertised himself as
ready to model plaster busts of his townsmen, as well as paint
portraits of them. He was even selected to design a monument to a
deceased vicar of the town, and executed it to the general
satisfaction. When in London he used a room over a stable as a
studio, and there he modelled his first original work for
exhibition. It was a gigantic head of Satan. Towards the close of
Chantrey's life, a friend passing through his studio was struck by
this model lying in a corner. "That head," said the sculptor, "was
the first thing that I did after I came to London. I worked at it
in a garret with a paper cap on my head; and as I could then afford
only one candle, I stuck that one in my cap that it might move
along with me, and give me light whichever way I turned."  Flaxman
saw and admired this head at the Academy Exhibition, and
recommended Chantrey for the execution of the busts of four
admirals, required for the Naval Asylum at Greenwich. This
commission led to others, and painting was given up. But for eight
years before, he had not earned 5L. by his modelling. His famous
head of Horne Tooke was such a success that, according to his own
account, it brought him commissions amounting to 12,000L.

Chantrey had now succeeded, but he had worked hard, and fairly
earned his good fortune. He was selected from amongst sixteen
competitors to execute the statue of George III. for the city of
London. A few years later, he produced the exquisite monument of
the Sleeping Children, now in Lichfield Cathedral, - a work of
great tenderness and beauty; and thenceforward his career was one
of increasing honour, fame, and prosperity. His patience,
industry, and steady perseverance were the means by which he
achieved his greatness. Nature endowed him with genius, and his
sound sense enabled him to employ the precious gift as a blessing.
He was prudent and shrewd, like the men amongst whom he was born;
the pocket-book which accompanied him on his Italian tour
containing mingled notes on art, records of daily expenses, and the
current prices of marble. His tastes were simple, and he made his
finest subjects great by the mere force of simplicity. His statue
of Watt, in Handsworth church, seems to us the very consummation of
art; yet it is perfectly artless and simple. His generosity to
brother artists in need was splendid, but quiet and unostentatious.
He left the principal part of his fortune to the Royal Academy for
the promotion of British art.

The same honest and persistent industry was throughout distinctive
of the career of David Wilkie. The son of a Scotch minister, he
gave early indications of an artistic turn; and though he was a
negligent and inapt scholar, he was a sedulous drawer of faces and
figures. A silent boy, he already displayed that quiet
concentrated energy of character which distinguished him through
life. He was always on the look-out for an opportunity to draw, -
and the walls of the manse, or the smooth sand by the river side,
were alike convenient for his purpose. Any sort of tool would
serve him; like Giotto, he found a pencil in a burnt stick, a
prepared canvas in any smooth stone, and the subject for a picture
in every ragged mendicant he met. When he visited a house, he
generally left his mark on the walls as an indication of his
presence, sometimes to the disgust of cleanly housewives. In
short, notwithstanding the aversion of his father, the minister, to
the "sinful" profession of painting, Wilkie's strong propensity was
not to be thwarted, and he became an artist, working his way
manfully up the steep of difficulty. Though rejected on his first
application as a candidate for admission to the Scottish Academy,
at Edinburgh, on account of the rudeness and inaccuracy of his
introductory specimens, he persevered in producing better, until he
was admitted. But his progress was slow. He applied himself
diligently to the drawing of the human figure, and held on with the
determination to succeed, as if with a resolute confidence in the
result. He displayed none of the eccentric humour and fitful
application of many youths who conceive themselves geniuses, but
kept up the routine of steady application to such an extent that he
himself was afterwards accustomed to attribute his success to his
dogged perseverance rather than to any higher innate power. "The
single element," he said, "in all the progressive movements of my
pencil was persevering industry."  At Edinburgh he gained a few
premiums, thought of turning his attention to portrait painting,
with a view to its higher and more certain remuneration, but
eventually went boldly into the line in which he earned his fame, -
and painted his Pitlessie Fair. What was bolder still, he
determined to proceed to London, on account of its presenting so
much wider a field for study and work; and the poor Scotch lad
arrived in town, and painted his Village Politicians while living
in a humble lodging on eighteen shillings a week.

Notwithstanding the success of this picture, and the commissions
which followed it, Wilkie long continued poor. The prices which
his works realized were not great, for he bestowed upon them so
much time and labour, that his earnings continued comparatively
small for many years. Every picture was carefully studied and
elaborated beforehand; nothing was struck off at a heat; many
occupied him for years - touching, retouching, and improving them
until they finally passed out of his hands. As with Reynolds, his
motto was "Work! work! work!" and, like him, he expressed great
dislike for talking artists. Talkers may sow, but the silent reap.
"Let us be DOING something," was his oblique mode of rebuking the
loquacious and admonishing the idle. He once related to his friend
Constable that when he studied at the Scottish Academy, Graham, the
master of it, was accustomed to say to the students, in the words
of Reynolds, "If you have genius, industry will improve it; if you
have none, industry will supply its place."  "So," said Wilkie, "I
was determined to be very industrious, for I knew I had no genius."
He also told Constable that when Linnell and Burnett, his fellow-
students in London, were talking about art, he always contrived to
get as close to them as he could to hear all they said, "for," said
he, "they know a great deal, and I know very little."  This was
said with perfect sincerity, for Wilkie was habitually modest. One
of the first things that he did with the sum of thirty pounds which
he obtained from Lord Mansfield for his Village Politicians, was to
buy a present - of bonnets, shawls, and dresses - for his mother
and sister at home, though but little able to afford it at the
time. Wilkie's early poverty had trained him in habits of strict
economy, which were, however, consistent with a noble liberality,
as appears from sundry passages in the Autobiography of Abraham
Raimbach the engraver.

William Etty was another notable instance of unflagging industry
and indomitable perseverance in art. His father was a ginger-bread
and spicemaker at York, and his mother - a woman of considerable
force and originality of character - was the daughter of a
ropemaker. The boy early displayed a love of drawing, covering
walls, floors, and tables with specimens of his skill; his first
crayon being a farthing's worth of chalk, and this giving place to
a piece of coal or a bit of charred stick. His mother, knowing
nothing of art, put the boy apprentice to a trade - that of a
printer. But in his leisure hours he went on with the practice of
drawing; and when his time was out he determined to follow his bent
- he would be a painter and nothing else. Fortunately his uncle
and elder brother were able and willing to help him on in his new
career, and they provided him with the means of entering as pupil
at the Royal Academy. We observe, from Leslie's Autobiography,
that Etty was looked upon by his fellow students as a worthy but
dull, plodding person, who would never distinguish himself. But he
had in him the divine faculty of work, and diligently plodded his
way upward to eminence in the highest walks of art.

Many artists have had to encounter privations which have tried
their courage and endurance to the utmost before they succeeded.
What number may have sunk under them we can never know. Martin
encountered difficulties in the course of his career such as
perhaps fall to the lot of few. More than once he found himself on
the verge of starvation while engaged on his first great picture.
It is related of him that on one occasion he found himself reduced
to his last shilling - a BRIGHT shilling - which he had kept
because of its very brightness, but at length he found it necessary
to exchange it for bread. He went to a baker's shop, bought a
loaf, and was taking it away, when the baker snatched it from him,
and tossed back the shilling to the starving painter. The bright
shilling had failed him in his hour of need - it was a bad one!
Returning to his lodgings, he rummaged his trunk for some remaining
crust to satisfy his hunger. Upheld throughout by the victorious
power of enthusiasm, he pursued his design with unsubdued energy.
He had the courage to work on and to wait; and when, a few days
after, he found an opportunity to exhibit his picture, he was from
that time famous. Like many other great artists, his life proves
that, in despite of outward circumstances, genius, aided by
industry, will be its own protector, and that fame, though she
comes late, will never ultimately refuse her favours to real merit

The most careful discipline and training after academic methods
will fail in making an artist, unless he himself take an active
part in the work. Like every highly cultivated man, he must be
mainly self-educated. When Pugin, who was brought up in his
father's office, had learnt all that he could learn of architecture
according to the usual formulas, he still found that he had learned
but little; and that he must begin at the beginning, and pass
through the discipline of labour. Young Pugin accordingly hired
himself out as a common carpenter at Covent Garden Theatre - first
working under the stage, then behind the flys, then upon the stage
itself. He thus acquired a familiarity with work, and cultivated
an architectural taste, to which the diversity of the mechanical
employment about a large operatic establishment is peculiarly
favourable. When the theatre closed for the season, he worked a
sailing-ship between London and some of the French ports, carrying
on at the same time a profitable trade. At every opportunity he
would land and make drawings of any old building, and especially of
any ecclesiastical structure which fell in his way. Afterwards he
would make special journeys to the Continent for the same purpose,
and returned home laden with drawings. Thus he plodded and
laboured on, making sure of the excellence and distinction which he
eventually achieved.

A similar illustration of plodding industry in the same walk is
presented in the career of George Kemp, the architect of the
beautiful Scott Monument at Edinburgh. He was the son of a poor
shepherd, who pursued his calling on the southern slope of the
Pentland Hills. Amidst that pastoral solitude the boy had no
opportunity of enjoying the contemplation of works of art. It
happened, however, that in his tenth year he was sent on a message
to Roslin, by the farmer for whom his father herded sheep, and the
sight of the beautiful castle and chapel there seems to have made a
vivid and enduring impression on his mind. Probably to enable him
to indulge his love of architectural construction, the boy besought
his father to let him be a joiner; and he was accordingly put
apprentice to a neighbouring village carpenter. Having served his
time, he went to Galashiels to seek work. As he was plodding along
the valley of the Tweed with his tools upon his back, a carriage
overtook him near Elibank Tower; and the coachman, doubtless at the
suggestion of his master, who was seated inside, having asked the
youth how far he had to walk, and learning that he was on his way
to Galashiels, invited him to mount the box beside him, and thus to
ride thither. It turned out that the kindly gentleman inside was
no other than Sir Walter Scott, then travelling on his official
duty as Sheriff of Selkirkshire. Whilst working at Galashiels,
Kemp had frequent opportunities of visiting Melrose, Dryburgh, and
Jedburgh Abbeys, which he studied carefully. Inspired by his love
of architecture, he worked his way as a carpenter over the greater
part of the north of England, never omitting an opportunity of
inspecting and making sketches of any fine Gothic building. On one
occasion, when working in Lancashire, he walked fifty miles to
York, spent a week in carefully examining the Minster, and returned
in like manner on foot. We next find him in Glasgow, where he
remained four years, studying the fine cathedral there during his
spare time. He returned to England again, this time working his
way further south; studying Canterbury, Winchester, Tintern, and
other well-known structures. In 1824 he formed the design of
travelling over Europe with the same object, supporting himself by
his trade. Reaching Boulogne, he proceeded by Abbeville and
Beauvais to Paris, spending a few weeks making drawings and studies
at each place. His skill as a mechanic, and especially his
knowledge of mill-work, readily secured him employment wherever he
went; and he usually chose the site of his employment in the
neighbourhood of some fine old Gothic structure, in studying which
he occupied his leisure. After a year's working, travel, and study
abroad, he returned to Scotland. He continued his studies, and
became a proficient in drawing and perspective: Melrose was his
favourite ruin; and he produced several elaborate drawings of the
building, one of which, exhibiting it in a "restored" state, was
afterwards engraved. He also obtained employment as a modeller of
architectural designs; and made drawings for a work begun by an
Edinburgh engraver, after the plan of Britton's 'Cathedral
Antiquities.'  This was a task congenial to his tastes, and he
laboured at it with an enthusiasm which ensured its rapid advance;
walking on foot for the purpose over half Scotland, and living as
an ordinary mechanic, whilst executing drawings which would have
done credit to the best masters in the art. The projector of the
work having died suddenly, the publication was however stopped, and
Kemp sought other employment. Few knew of the genius of this man -
for he was exceedingly taciturn and habitually modest - when the
Committee of the Scott Monument offered a prize for the best
design. The competitors were numerous - including some of the
greatest names in classical architecture; but the design
unanimously selected was that of George Kemp, who was working at
Kilwinning Abbey in Ayrshire, many miles off, when the letter
reached him intimating the decision of the committee. Poor Kemp!
Shortly after this event he met an untimely death, and did not live
to see the first result of his indefatigable industry and self-
culture embodied in stone, - one of the most beautiful and
appropriate memorials ever erected to literary genius.

John Gibson was another artist full of a genuine enthusiasm and
love for his art, which placed him high above those sordid
temptations which urge meaner natures to make time the measure of
profit. He was born at Gyffn, near Conway, in North Wales - the
son of a gardener. He early showed indications of his talent by
the carvings in wood which he made by means of a common pocket
knife; and his father, noting the direction of his talent, sent him
to Liverpool and bound him apprentice to a cabinet-maker and wood-
carver. He rapidly improved at his trade, and some of his carvings
were much admired. He was thus naturally led to sculpture, and
when eighteen years old he modelled a small figure of Time in wax,
which attracted considerable notice. The Messrs. Franceys,
sculptors, of Liverpool, having purchased the boy's indentures,
took him as their apprentice for six years, during which his genius
displayed itself in many original works. From thence he proceeded
to London, and afterwards to Rome; and his fame became European.

Robert Thorburn, the Royal Academician, like John Gibson, was born
of poor parents. His father was a shoe-maker at Dumfries. Besides
Robert there were two other sons; one of whom is a skilful carver
in wood. One day a lady called at the shoemaker's and found
Robert, then a mere boy, engaged in drawing upon a stool which
served him for a table. She examined his work, and observing his
abilities, interested herself in obtaining for him some employment
in drawing, and enlisted in his behalf the services of others who
could assist him in prosecuting the study of art. The boy was
diligent, pains-taking, staid, and silent, mixing little with his
companions, and forming but few intimacies. About the year 1830,
some gentlemen of the town provided him with the means of
proceeding to Edinburgh, where he was admitted a student at the
Scottish Academy. There he had the advantage of studying under
competent masters, and the progress which he made was rapid. From
Edinburgh he removed to London, where, we understand, he had the
advantage of being introduced to notice under the patronage of the
Duke of Buccleuch. We need scarcely say, however, that of whatever
use patronage may have been to Thorburn in giving him an
introduction to the best circles, patronage of no kind could have
made him the great artist that he unquestionably is, without native
genius and diligent application.

Noel Paton, the well-known painter, began his artistic career at
Dunfermline and Paisley, as a drawer of patterns for table-cloths
and muslin embroidered by hand; meanwhile working diligently at
higher subjects, including the drawing of the human figure. He
was, like Turner, ready to turn his hand to any kind of work, and
in 1840, when a mere youth, we find him engaged, among his other
labours, in illustrating the 'Renfrewshire Annual.'  He worked his
way step by step, slowly yet surely; but he remained unknown until
the exhibition of the prize cartoons painted for the houses of
Parliament, when his picture of the Spirit of Religion (for which
he obtained one of the first prizes) revealed him to the world as a
genuine artist; and the works which he has since exhibited - such
as the 'Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania,' 'Home,' and 'The
bluidy Tryste' - have shown a steady advance in artistic power and

Another striking exemplification of perseverance and industry in
the cultivation of art in humble life is presented in the career of
James Sharples, a working blacksmith at Blackburn. He was born at
Wakefield in Yorkshire, in 1825, one of a family of thirteen
children. His father was a working ironfounder, and removed to
Bury to follow his business. The boys received no school
education, but were all sent to work as soon as they were able; and
at about ten James was placed in a foundry, where he was employed
for about two years as smithy-boy. After that he was sent into the
engine-shop where his father worked as engine-smith. The boy's
employment was to heat and carry rivets for the boiler-makers.
Though his hours of labour were very long - often from six in the
morning until eight at night - his father contrived to give him
some little teaching after working hours; and it was thus that he
partially learned his letters. An incident occurred in the course
of his employment among the boiler-makers, which first awakened in
him the desire to learn drawing. He had occasionally been employed
by the foreman to hold the chalked line with which he made the
designs of boilers upon the floor of the workshop; and on such
occasions the foreman was accustomed to hold the line, and direct
the boy to make the necessary dimensions. James soon became so
expert at this as to be of considerable service to the foreman; and
at his leisure hours at home his great delight was to practise
drawing designs of boilers upon his mother's floor. On one
occasion, when a female relative was expected from Manchester to
pay the family a visit, and the house had been made as decent as
possible for her reception, the boy, on coming in from the foundry
in the evening, began his usual operations upon the floor. He had
proceeded some way with his design of a large boiler in chalk, when
his mother arrived with the visitor, and to her dismay found the
boy unwashed and the floor chalked all over. The relative,
however, professed to be pleased with the boy's industry, praised
his design, and recommended his mother to provide "the little
sweep," as she called him, with paper and pencils.

Encouraged by his elder brother, he began to practise figure and
landscape drawing, making copies of lithographs, but as yet without
any knowledge of the rules of perspective and the principles of
light and shade. He worked on, however, and gradually acquired
expertness in copying. At sixteen, he entered the Bury Mechanic's
Institution in order to attend the drawing class, taught by an
amateur who followed the trade of a barber. There he had a lesson
a week during three months. The teacher recommended him to obtain
from the library Burnet's 'Practical Treatise on Painting;' but as
he could not yet read with ease, he was under the necessity of
getting his mother, and sometimes his elder brother, to read
passages from the book for him while he sat by and listened.
Feeling hampered by his ignorance of the art of reading, and eager
to master the contents of Burnet's book, he ceased attending the
drawing class at the Institute after the first quarter, and devoted
himself to learning reading and writing at home. In this he soon
succeeded; and when he again entered the Institute and took out
'Burnet' a second time, he was not only able to read it, but to
make written extracts for further use. So ardently did he study
the volume, that he used to rise at four o'clock in the morning to
read it and copy out passages; after which he went to the foundry
at six, worked until six and sometimes eight in the evening; and
returned home to enter with fresh zest upon the study of Burnet,
which he continued often until a late hour. Parts of his nights
were also occupied in drawing and making copies of drawings. On
one of these - a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" - he
spent an entire night. He went to bed indeed, but his mind was so
engrossed with the subject that he could not sleep, and rose again
to resume his pencil.

He next proceeded to try his hand at painting in oil, for which
purpose he procured some canvas from a draper, stretched it on a
frame, coated it over with white lead, and began painting on it
with colours bought from a house-painter. But his work proved a
total failure; for the canvas was rough and knotty, and the paint
would not dry. In his extremity he applied to his old teacher, the
barber, from whom he first learnt that prepared canvas was to be
had, and that there were colours and varnishes made for the special
purpose of oil-painting. As soon therefore, as his means would
allow, he bought a small stock of the necessary articles and began
afresh, - his amateur master showing him how to paint; and the
pupil succeeded so well that he excelled the master's copy. His
first picture was a copy from an engraving called "Sheep-shearing,"
and was afterwards sold by him for half-a-crown. Aided by a
shilling Guide to Oil-painting, he went on working at his leisure
hours, and gradually acquired a better knowledge of his materials.
He made his own easel and palette, palette-knife, and paint-chest;
he bought his paint, brushes, and canvas, as he could raise the
money by working over-time. This was the slender fund which his
parents consented to allow him for the purpose; the burden of
supporting a very large family precluding them from doing more.
Often he would walk to Manchester and back in the evenings to buy
two or three shillings' worth of paint and canvas, returning almost
at midnight, after his eighteen miles' walk, sometimes wet through
and completely exhausted, but borne up throughout by his
inexhaustible hope and invincible determination. The further
progress of the self-taught artist is best narrated in his own
words, as communicated by him in a letter to the author:-

"The next pictures I painted," he says, "were a Landscape by
Moonlight, a Fruitpiece, and one or two others; after which I
conceived the idea of painting 'The Forge.'  I had for some time
thought about it, but had not attempted to embody the conception in
a drawing. I now, however, made a sketch of the subject upon
paper, and then proceeded to paint it on canvas. The picture
simply represents the interior of a large workshop such as I have
been accustomed to work in, although not of any particular shop.
It is, therefore, to this extent, an original conception. Having
made an outline of the subject, I found that, before I could
proceed with it successfully, a knowledge of anatomy was
indispensable to enable me accurately to delineate the muscles of
the figures. My brother Peter came to my assistance at this
juncture, and kindly purchased for me Flaxman's 'Anatomical
studies,' - a work altogether beyond my means at the time, for it
cost twenty-four shillings. This book I looked upon as a great
treasure, and I studied it laboriously, rising at three o'clock in
the morning to draw after it, and occasionally getting my brother
Peter to stand for me as a model at that untimely hour. Although I
gradually improved myself by this practice, it was some time before
I felt sufficient confidence to go on with my picture. I also felt
hampered by my want of knowledge of perspective, which I
endeavoured to remedy by carefully studying Brook Taylor's
'Principles;' and shortly after I resumed my painting. While
engaged in the study of perspective at home, I used to apply for
and obtain leave to work at the heavier kinds of smith work at the
foundry, and for this reason - the time required for heating the
heaviest iron work is so much longer than that required for heating
the lighter, that it enabled me to secure a number of spare minutes
in the course of the day, which I carefully employed in making
diagrams in perspective upon the sheet iron casing in front of the
hearth at which I worked."

Thus assiduously working and studying, James Sharples steadily
advanced in his knowledge of the principles of art, and acquired
greater facility in its practice. Some eighteen months after the
expiry of his apprenticeship he painted a portrait of his father,
which attracted considerable notice in the town; as also did the
picture of "The Forge," which he finished soon after. His success
in portrait-painting obtained for him a commission from the foreman
of the shop to paint a family group, and Sharples executed it so
well that the foreman not only paid him the agreed price of
eighteen pounds, but thirty shillings to boot. While engaged on
this group he ceased to work at the foundry, and he had thoughts of
giving up his trade altogether and devoting himself exclusively to
painting. He proceeded to paint several pictures, amongst others a
head of Christ, an original conception, life-size, and a view of
Bury; but not obtaining sufficient employment at portraits to
occupy his time, or give him the prospect of a steady income, he
had the good sense to resume his leather apron, and go on working
at his honest trade of a blacksmith; employing his leisure hours in
engraving his picture of "The Forge," since published. He was
induced to commence the engraving by the following circumstance. A
Manchester picture-dealer, to whom he showed the painting, let drop
the observation, that in the hands of a skilful engraver it would
make a very good print. Sharples immediately conceived the idea of
engraving it himself, though altogether ignorant of the art. The
difficulties which he encountered and successfully overcame in
carrying out his project are thus described by himself:-

"I had seen an advertisement of a Sheffield steel-plate maker,
giving a list of the prices at which he supplied plates of various
sizes, and, fixing upon one of suitable dimensions, I remitted the
amount, together with a small additional sum for which I requested
him to send me a few engraving tools. I could not specify the
articles wanted, for I did not then know anything about the process
of engraving. However, there duly arrived with the plate three or
four gravers and an etching needle; the latter I spoiled before I
knew its use. While working at the plate, the Amalgamated Society
of Engineers offered a premium for the best design for an
emblematical picture, for which I determined to compete, and I was
so fortunate as to win the prize. Shortly after this I removed to
Blackburn, where I obtained employment at Messrs. Yates',
engineers, as an engine-smith; and continued to employ my leisure
time in drawing, painting, and engraving, as before. With the
engraving I made but very slow progress, owing to the difficulties
I experienced from not possessing proper tools. I then determined
to try to make some that would suit my purpose, and after several
failures I succeeded in making many that I have used in the course
of my engraving. I was also greatly at a loss for want of a proper
magnifying glass, and part of the plate was executed with no other
assistance of this sort than what my father's spectacles afforded,
though I afterwards succeeded in obtaining a proper magnifier,
which was of the utmost use to me. An incident occurred while I
was engraving the plate, which had almost caused me to abandon it
altogether. It sometimes happened that I was obliged to lay it
aside for a considerable time, when other work pressed; and in
order to guard it against rust, I was accustomed to rub over the
graven parts with oil. But on examining the plate after one of
such intervals, I found that the oil had become a dark sticky
substance extremely difficult to get out. I tried to pick it out
with a needle, but found that it would almost take as much time as
to engrave the parts afresh. I was in great despair at this, but
at length hit upon the expedient of boiling it in water containing
soda, and afterwards rubbing the engraved parts with a tooth-brush;
and to my delight found the plan succeeded perfectly. My greatest
difficulties now over, patience and perseverance were all that were
needed to bring my labours to a successful issue. I had neither
advice nor assistance from any one in finishing the plate. If,
therefore, the work possess any merit, I can claim it as my own;
and if in its accomplishment I have contributed to show what can be
done by persevering industry and determination, it is all the
honour I wish to lay claim to."

It would be beside our purpose to enter upon any criticism of "The
Forge" as an engraving; its merits having been already fully
recognised by the art journals. The execution of the work occupied
Sharples's leisure evening hours during a period of five years; and
it was only when he took the plate to the printer that he for the
first time saw an engraved plate produced by any other man. To
this unvarnished picture of industry and genius, we add one other
trait, and it is a domestic one. "I have been married seven
years," says he, "and during that time my greatest pleasure, after
I have finished my daily labour at the foundry, has been to resume
my pencil or graver, frequently until a late hour of the evening,
my wife meanwhile sitting by my side and reading to me from some
interesting book," - a simple but beautiful testimony to the
thorough common sense as well as the genuine right-heartedness of
this most interesting and deserving workman.

The same industry and application which we have found to be
necessary in order to acquire excellence in painting and sculpture,
are equally required in the sister art of music - the one being the
poetry of form and colour, the other of the sounds of nature.
Handel was an indefatigable and constant worker; he was never cast
down by defeat, but his energy seemed to increase the more that
adversity struck him. When a prey to his mortifications as an
insolvent debtor, he did not give way for a moment, but in one year
produced his 'Saul,' 'Israel,' the music for Dryden's 'Ode,' his
'Twelve Grand Concertos,' and the opera of 'Jupiter in Argos,'
among the finest of his works. As his biographer says of him, "He
braved everything, and, by his unaided self, accomplished the work
of twelve men."

Haydn, speaking of his art, said, "It consists in taking up a
subject and pursuing it."  "Work," said Mozart, "is my chief
pleasure."  Beethoven's favourite maxim was, "The barriers are not
erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, 'Thus far
and no farther.'"  When Moscheles submitted his score of 'Fidelio'
for the pianoforte to Beethoven, the latter found written at the
bottom of the last page, "Finis, with God's help."  Beethoven
immediately wrote underneath, "O man! help thyself!"  This was the
motto of his artistic life. John Sebastian Bach said of himself,
"I was industrious; whoever is equally sedulous, will be equally
successful."  But there is no doubt that Bach was born with a
passion for music, which formed the mainspring of his industry, and
was the true secret of his success. When a mere youth, his elder
brother, wishing to turn his abilities in another direction,
destroyed a collection of studies which the young Sebastian, being
denied candles, had copied by moonlight; proving the strong natural
bent of the boy's genius. Of Meyerbeer, Bayle thus wrote from
Milan in 1820:- "He is a man of some talent, but no genius; he
lives solitary, working fifteen hours a day at music."  Years
passed, and Meyerbeer's hard work fully brought out his genius, as
displayed in his 'Roberto,' 'Huguenots,' 'Prophete,' and other
works, confessedly amongst the greatest operas which have been
produced in modern times.

Although musical composition is not an art in which Englishmen have
as yet greatly distinguished themselves, their energies having for
the most part taken other and more practical directions, we are not
without native illustrations of the power of perseverance in this
special pursuit. Arne was an upholsterer's son, intended by his
father for the legal profession; but his love of music was so
great, that he could not be withheld from pursuing it. While
engaged in an attorney's office, his means were very limited, but,
to gratify his tastes, he was accustomed to borrow a livery and go
into the gallery of the Opera, then appropriated to domestics.
Unknown to his father he made great progress with the violin, and
the first knowledge his father had of the circumstance was when
accidentally calling at the house of a neighbouring gentleman, to
his surprise and consternation he found his son playing the leading
instrument with a party of musicians. This incident decided the
fate of Arne. His father offered no further opposition to his
wishes; and the world thereby lost a lawyer, but gained a musician
of much taste and delicacy of feeling, who added many valuable
works to our stores of English music.

The career of the late William Jackson, author of 'The Deliverance
of Israel,' an oratorio which has been successfully performed in
the principal towns of his native county of York, furnishes an
interesting illustration of the triumph of perseverance over
difficulties in the pursuit of musical science. He was the son of
a miller at Masham, a little town situated in the valley of the
Yore, in the north-west corner of Yorkshire. Musical taste seems
to have been hereditary in the family, for his father played the
fife in the band of the Masham Volunteers, and was a singer in the
parish choir. His grandfather also was leading singer and ringer
at Masham Church; and one of the boy's earliest musical treats was
to be present at the bell pealing on Sunday mornings. During the
service, his wonder was still more excited by the organist's
performance on the barrel-organ, the doors of which were thrown
open behind to let the sound fully into the church, by which the
stops, pipes, barrels, staples, keyboard, and jacks, were fully
exposed, to the wonderment of the little boys sitting in the
gallery behind, and to none more than our young musician. At eight
years of age he began to play upon his father's old fife, which,
however, would not sound D; but his mother remedied the difficulty
by buying for him a one-keyed flute; and shortly after, a gentleman
of the neighbourhood presented him with a flute with four silver
keys. As the boy made no progress with his "book learning," being
fonder of cricket, fives, and boxing, than of his school lessons -
the village schoolmaster giving him up as "a bad job" - his parents
sent him off to a school at Pateley Bridge. While there he found
congenial society in a club of village choral singers at Brighouse
Gate, and with them he learnt the sol-fa-ing gamut on the old
English plan. He was thus well drilled in the reading of music, in
which he soon became a proficient. His progress astonished the
club, and he returned home full of musical ambition. He now learnt
to play upon his father's old piano, but with little melodious
result; and he became eager to possess a finger-organ, but had no
means of procuring one. About this time, a neighbouring parish
clerk had purchased, for an insignificant sum, a small disabled
barrel-organ, which had gone the circuit of the northern counties
with a show. The clerk tried to revive the tones of the
instrument, but failed; at last he bethought him that he would try
the skill of young Jackson, who had succeeded in making some
alterations and improvements in the hand-organ of the parish
church. He accordingly brought it to the lad's house in a donkey
cart, and in a short time the instrument was repaired, and played
over its old tunes again, greatly to the owner's satisfaction.

The thought now haunted the youth that he could make a barrel-
organ, and he determined to do so. His father and he set to work,
and though without practice in carpentering, yet, by dint of hard
labour and after many failures, they at last succeeded; and an
organ was constructed which played ten tunes very decently, and the
instrument was generally regarded as a marvel in the neighbourhood.
Young Jackson was now frequently sent for to repair old church
organs, and to put new music upon the barrels which he added to
them. All this he accomplished to the satisfaction of his
employers, after which he proceeded with the construction of a
four-stop finger-organ, adapting to it the keys of an old
harpsichord. This he learnt to play upon, - studying 'Callcott's
Thorough Bass' in the evening, and working at his trade of a miller
during the day; occasionally also tramping about the country as a
"cadger," with an ass and a cart. During summer he worked in the
fields, at turnip-time, hay-time, and harvest, but was never
without the solace of music in his leisure evening hours. He next
tried his hand at musical composition, and twelve of his anthems
were shown to the late Mr. Camidge, of York, as "the production of
a miller's lad of fourteen."  Mr. Camidge was pleased with them,
marked the objectionable passages, and returned them with the
encouraging remark, that they did the youth great credit, and that
he must "go on writing."

A village band having been set on foot at Masham, young Jackson
joined it, and was ultimately appointed leader. He played all the
instruments by turns, and thus acquired a considerable practical
knowledge of his art: he also composed numerous tunes for the
band. A new finger-organ having been presented to the parish
church, he was appointed the organist. He now gave up his
employment as a journeyman miller, and commenced tallow-chandling,
still employing his spare hours in the study of music. In 1839 he
published his first anthem - 'For joy let fertile valleys sing;'
and in the following year he gained the first prize from the
Huddersfield Glee Club, for his 'Sisters of the Lea.'  His other
anthem 'God be merciful to us,' and the 103rd Psalm, written for a
double chorus and orchestra, are well known. In the midst of these
minor works, Jackson proceeded with the composition of his
oratorio, - 'The Deliverance of Israel from Babylon.'  His practice
was, to jot down a sketch of the ideas as they presented themselves
to his mind, and to write them out in score in the evenings, after
he had left his work in the candle-shop. His oratorio was
published in parts, in the course of 1844-5, and he published the
last chorus on his twenty-ninth birthday. The work was exceedingly
well received, and has been frequently performed with much success
in the northern towns. Mr. Jackson eventually settled as a
professor of music at Bradford, where he contributed in no small
degree to the cultivation of the musical taste of that town and its
neighbourhood. Some years since he had the honour of leading his
fine company of Bradford choral singers before Her Majesty at
Buckingham Palace; on which occasion, as well as at the Crystal
Palace, some choral pieces of his composition, were performed with
great effect. (22)

Such is a brief outline of the career of a self-taught musician,
whose life affords but another illustration of the power of self-
help, and the force of courage and industry in enabling a man to
surmount and overcome early difficulties and obstructions of no
ordinary kind.


"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch,
To gain or lose it all." - Marquis of Montrose.

"He hath put down the mighty from their seats; and exalted them of
low degree." - St. Luke.

We have already referred to some illustrious Commoners raised from
humble to elevated positions by the power of application and
industry; and we might point to even the Peerage itself as
affording equally instructive examples. One reason why the Peerage
of England has succeeded so well in holding its own, arises from
the fact that, unlike the peerages of other countries, it has been
fed, from time to time, by the best industrial blood of the country
- the very "liver, heart, and brain of Britain."  Like the fabled
Antaeus, it has been invigorated and refreshed by touching its
mother earth, and mingling with that most ancient order of nobility
- the working order.

The blood of all men flows from equally remote sources; and though
some are unable to trace their line directly beyond their
grandfathers, all are nevertheless justified in placing at the head
of their pedigree the great progenitors of the race, as Lord
Chesterfield did when he wrote, "ADAM DE STANHOPE - EVE DE
STANHOPE."  No class is ever long stationary. The mighty fall, and
the humble are exalted. New families take the place of the old,
who disappear among the ranks of the common people. Burke's
'Vicissitudes of Families' strikingly exhibit this rise and fall of
families, and show that the misfortunes which overtake the rich and
noble are greater in proportion than those which overwhelm the
poor. This author points out that of the twenty-five barons
selected to enforce the observance of Magna Charta, there is not
now in the House of Peers a single male descendant. Civil wars and
rebellions ruined many of the old nobility and dispersed their
families. Yet their descendants in many cases survive, and are to
be found among the ranks of the people. Fuller wrote in his
'Worthies,' that "some who justly hold the surnames of Bohuns,
Mortimers, and Plantagenets, are hid in the heap of common men."
Thus Burke shows that two of the lineal descendants of the Earl of
Kent, sixth son of Edward I., were discovered in a butcher and a
toll-gatherer; that the great grandson of Margaret Plantagenet,
daughter of the Duke of Clarance, sank to the condition of a
cobbler at Newport, in Shropshire; and that among the lineal
descendants of the Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III., was the
late sexton of St George's, Hanover Square. It is understood that
the lineal descendant of Simon de Montfort, England's premier
baron, is a saddler in Tooley Street. One of the descendants of
the "Proud Percys," a claimant of the title of Duke of
Northumberland, was a Dublin trunk-maker; and not many years since
one of the claimants for the title of Earl of Perth presented
himself in the person of a labourer in a Northumberland coal-pit.
Hugh Miller, when working as a stone-mason near Edinburgh, was
served by a hodman, who was one of the numerous claimants for the
earldom of Crauford - all that was wanted to establish his claim
being a missing marriage certificate; and while the work was going
on, the cry resounded from the walls many times in the day, of -
"John, Yearl Crauford, bring us anither hod o'lime."  One of Oliver
Cromwell's great grandsons was a grocer on Snow Hill, and others of
his descendants died in great poverty. Many barons of proud names
and titles have perished, like the sloth, upon their family tree,
after eating up all the leaves; while others have been overtaken by
adversities which they have been unable to retrieve, and sunk at
last into poverty and obscurity. Such are the mutabilities of rank
and fortune.

The great bulk of our peerage is comparatively modern, so far as
the titles go; but it is not the less noble that it has been
recruited to so large an extent from the ranks of honourable
industry. In olden times, the wealth and commerce of London,
conducted as it was by energetic and enterprising men, was a
prolific source of peerages. Thus, the earldom of Cornwallis was
founded by Thomas Cornwallis, the Cheapside merchant; that of Essex
by William Capel, the draper; and that of Craven by William Craven,
the merchant tailor. The modern Earl of Warwick is not descended
from the "King-maker," but from William Greville, the woolstapler;
whilst the modern dukes of Northumberland find their head, not in
the Percies, but in Hugh Smithson, a respectable London apothecary.
The founders of the families of Dartmouth, Radnor, Ducie, and
Pomfret, were respectively a skinner, a silk manufacturer, a
merchant tailor, and a Calais merchant; whilst the founders of the
peerages of Tankerville, Dormer, and Coventry, were mercers. The
ancestors of Earl Romney, and Lord Dudley and Ward, were goldsmiths
and jewellers; and Lord Dacres was a banker in the reign of Charles
I., as Lord Overstone is in that of Queen Victoria. Edward
Osborne, the founder of the Dukedom of Leeds, was apprentice to
William Hewet, a rich clothworker on London Bridge, whose only
daughter he courageously rescued from drowning, by leaping into the
Thames after her, and eventually married. Among other peerages
founded by trade are those of Fitzwilliam, Leigh, Petre, Cowper,
Darnley, Hill, and Carrington. The founders of the houses of Foley
and Normanby were remarkable men in many respects, and, as
furnishing striking examples of energy of character, the story of
their lives is worthy of preservation.

The father of Richard Foley, the founder of the family, was a small
yeoman living in the neighbourhood of Stourbridge in the time of
Charles I. That place was then the centre of the iron manufacture
of the midland districts, and Richard was brought up to work at one
of the branches of the trade - that of nail-making. He was thus a
daily observer of the great labour and loss of time caused by the
clumsy process then adopted for dividing the rods of iron in the
manufacture of nails. It appeared that the Stourbridge nailers
were gradually losing their trade in consequence of the importation
of nails from Sweden, by which they were undersold in the market.
It became known that the Swedes were enabled to make their nails so
much cheaper, by the use of splitting mills and machinery, which
had completely superseded the laborious process of preparing the
rods for nail-making then practised in England.

Richard Foley, having ascertained this much, determined to make
himself master of the new process. He suddenly disappeared from
the neighbourhood of Stourbridge, and was not heard of for several
years. No one knew whither he had gone, not even his own family;
for he had not informed them of his intention, lest he should fail.
He had little or no money in his pocket, but contrived to get to
Hull, where he engaged himself on board a ship bound for a Swedish
port, and worked his passage there. The only article of property
which he possessed was his fiddle, and on landing in Sweden he
begged and fiddled his way to the Dannemora mines, near Upsala. He
was a capital musician, as well as a pleasant fellow, and soon
ingratiated himself with the iron-workers. He was received into
the works, to every part of which he had access; and he seized the
opportunity thus afforded him of storing his mind with
observations, and mastering, as he thought, the mechanism of iron
splitting. After a continued stay for this purpose, he suddenly
disappeared from amongst his kind friends the miners - no one knew

Returned to England, he communicated the results of his voyage to
Mr. Knight and another person at Stourbridge, who had sufficient
confidence in him to advance the requisite funds for the purpose of
erecting buildings and machinery for splitting iron by the new
process. But when set to work, to the great vexation and
disappointment of all, and especially of Richard Foley, it was
found that the machinery would not act - at all events it would not
split the bars of iron. Again Foley disappeared. It was thought
that shame and mortification at his failure had driven him away for
ever. Not so! Foley had determined to master this secret of iron-
splitting, and he would yet do it. He had again set out for
Sweden, accompanied by his fiddle as before, and found his way to
the iron works, where he was joyfully welcomed by the miners; and,
to make sure of their fiddler, they this time lodged him in the
very splitting-mill itself. There was such an apparent absence of
intelligence about the man, except in fiddle-playing, that the
miners entertained no suspicions as to the object of their
minstrel, whom they thus enabled to attain the very end and aim of
his life. He now carefully examined the works, and soon discovered
the cause of his failure. He made drawings or tracings of the
machinery as well as he could, though this was a branch of art
quite new to him; and after remaining at the place long enough to
enable him to verify his observations, and to impress the
mechanical arrangements clearly and vividly on his mind, he again
left the miners, reached a Swedish port, and took ship for England.
A man of such purpose could not but succeed. Arrived amongst his
surprised friends, he now completed his arrangements, and the
results were entirely successful. By his skill and his industry he
soon laid the foundations of a large fortune, at the same time that
he restored the business of an extensive district. He himself
continued, during his life, to carry on his trade, aiding and
encouraging all works of benevolence in his neighbourhood. He
founded and endowed a school at Stourbridge; and his son Thomas (a
great benefactor of Kidderminster), who was High Sheriff of
Worcestershire in the time of "The Rump," founded and endowed an
hospital, still in existence, for the free education of children at
Old Swinford. All the early Foleys were Puritans. Richard Baxter
seems to have been on familiar and intimate terms with various
members of the family, and makes frequent mention of them in his
'Life and Times.'  Thomas Foley, when appointed high sheriff of the
county, requested Baxter to preach the customary sermon before him;
and Baxter in his 'Life' speaks of him as "of so just and blameless
dealing, that all men he ever had to do with magnified his great
integrity and honesty, which were questioned by none."  The family
was ennobled in the reign of Charles the Second.

William Phipps, the founder of the Mulgrave or Normanby family, was
a man quite as remarkable in his way as Richard Foley. His father
was a gunsmith - a robust Englishman settled at Woolwich, in Maine,
then forming part of our English colonies in America. He was born
in 1651, one of a family of not fewer than twenty-six children (of
whom twenty-one were sons), whose only fortune lay in their stout
hearts and strong arms. William seems to have had a dash of the
Danish-sea blood in his veins, and did not take kindly to the quiet
life of a shepherd in which he spent his early years. By nature
bold and adventurous, he longed to become a sailor and roam through
the world. He sought to join some ship; but not being able to find
one, he apprenticed himself to a shipbuilder, with whom he
thoroughly learnt his trade, acquiring the arts of reading and
writing during his leisure hours. Having completed his
apprenticeship and removed to Boston, he wooed and married a widow
of some means, after which he set up a little shipbuilding yard of
his own, built a ship, and, putting to sea in her, he engaged in
the lumber trade, which he carried on in a plodding and laborious
way for the space of about ten years.

It happened that one day, whilst passing through the crooked
streets of old Boston, he overheard some sailors talking to each
other of a wreck which had just taken place off the Bahamas; that
of a Spanish ship, supposed to have much money on board. His
adventurous spirit was at once kindled, and getting together a
likely crew without loss of time, he set sail for the Bahamas. The
wreck being well in-shore, he easily found it, and succeeded in
recovering a great deal of its cargo, but very little money; and
the result was, that he barely defrayed his expenses. His success
had been such, however, as to stimulate his enterprising spirit;
and when he was told of another and far more richly laden vessel
which had been wrecked near Port de la Plata more than half a
century before, he forthwith formed the resolution of raising the
wreck, or at all events of fishing up the treasure.

Being too poor, however, to undertake such an enterprise without
powerful help, he set sail for England in the hope that he might
there obtain it. The fame of his success in raising the wreck off
the Bahamas had already preceded him. He applied direct to the
Government. By his urgent enthusiasm, he succeeded in overcoming
the usual inertia of official minds; and Charles II. eventually
placed at his disposal the "Rose Algier," a ship of eighteen guns
and ninety-five men, appointing him to the chief command.

Phipps then set sail to find the Spanish ship and fish up the
treasure. He reached the coast of Hispaniola in safety; but how to
find the sunken ship was the great difficulty. The fact of the
wreck was more than fifty years old; and Phipps had only the
traditionary rumours of the event to work upon. There was a wide
coast to explore, and an outspread ocean without any trace whatever
of the argosy which lay somewhere at its bottom. But the man was
stout in heart and full of hope. He set his seamen to work to drag
along the coast, and for weeks they went on fishing up sea-weed,
shingle, and bits of rock. No occupation could be more trying to
seamen, and they began to grumble one to another, and to whisper
that the man in command had brought them on a fool's errand.

At length the murmurers gained head, and the men broke into open
mutiny. A body of them rushed one day on to the quarter-deck, and
demanded that the voyage should be relinquished. Phipps, however,
was not a man to be intimidated; he seized the ringleaders, and
sent the others back to their duty. It became necessary to bring
the ship to anchor close to a small island for the purpose of
repairs; and, to lighten her, the chief part of the stores was
landed. Discontent still increasing amongst the crew, a new plot
was laid amongst the men on shore to seize the ship, throw Phipps
overboard, and start on a piratical cruize against the Spaniards in
the South Seas. But it was necessary to secure the services of the
chief ship carpenter, who was consequently made privy to the pilot.
This man proved faithful, and at once told the captain of his
danger. Summoning about him those whom he knew to be loyal, Phipps
had the ship's guns loaded which commanded the shore, and ordered
the bridge communicating with the vessel to be drawn up. When the
mutineers made their appearance, the captain hailed them, and told
the men he would fire upon them if they approached the stores
(still on land), - when they drew back; on which Phipps had the
stores reshipped under cover of his guns. The mutineers, fearful
of being left upon the barren island, threw down their arms and
implored to be permitted to return to their duty. The request was
granted, and suitable precautions were taken against future
mischief. Phipps, however, took the first opportunity of landing
the mutinous part of the crew, and engaging other men in their
places; but, by the time that he could again proceed actively with
his explorations, he found it absolutely necessary to proceed to
England for the purpose of repairing the ship. He had now,
however, gained more precise information as to the spot where the
Spanish treasure ship had sunk; and, though as yet baffled, he was
more confident than ever of the eventual success of his enterprise.

Returned to London, Phipps reported the result of his voyage to the
Admiralty, who professed to be pleased with his exertions; but he
had been unsuccessful, and they would not entrust him with another
king's ship. James II. was now on the throne, and the Government
was in trouble; so Phipps and his golden project appealed to them
in vain. He next tried to raise the requisite means by a public
subscription. At first he was laughed at; but his ceaseless
importunity at length prevailed, and after four years' dinning of
his project into the ears of the great and influential - during
which time he lived in poverty - he at length succeeded. A company
was formed in twenty shares, the Duke of Albermarle, son of General
Monk, taking the chief interest in it, and subscribing the
principal part of the necessary fund for the prosecution of the

Like Foley, Phipps proved more fortunate in his second voyage than
in his first. The ship arrived without accident at Port de la
Plata, in the neighbourhood of the reef of rocks supposed to have
been the scene of the wreck. His first object was to build a stout
boat capable of carrying eight or ten oars, in constructing which
Phipps used the adze himself. It is also said that he constructed
a machine for the purpose of exploring the bottom of the sea
similar to what is now known as the Diving Bell. Such a machine
was found referred to in books, but Phipps knew little of books,
and may be said to have re-invented the apparatus for his own use.
He also engaged Indian divers, whose feats of diving for pearls,
and in submarine operations, were very remarkable. The tender and
boat having been taken to the reef, the men were set to work, the
diving bell was sunk, and the various modes of dragging the bottom
of the sea were employed continuously for many weeks, but without
any prospect of success. Phipps, however, held on valiantly,
hoping almost against hope. At length, one day, a sailor, looking
over the boat's side down into the clear water, observed a curious
sea-plant growing in what appeared to be a crevice of the rock; and
he called upon an Indian diver to go down and fetch it for him. On
the red man coming up with the weed, he reported that a number of
ships guns were lying in the same place. The intelligence was at
first received with incredulity, but on further investigation it
proved to be correct. Search was made, and presently a diver came
up with a solid bar of silver in his arms. When Phipps was shown
it, he exclaimed, "Thanks be to God! we are all made men."  Diving
bell and divers now went to work with a will, and in a few days,
treasure was brought up to the value of about 300,000 pounds, with
which Phipps set sail for England. On his arrival, it was urged
upon the king that he should seize the ship and its cargo, under
the pretence that Phipps, when soliciting his Majesty's permission,
had not given accurate information respecting the business. But
the king replied, that he knew Phipps to be an honest man, and that
he and his friends should divide the whole treasure amongst them,
even though he had returned with double the value. Phipps's share
was about 20,000 pounds, and the king, to show his approval of his
energy and honesty in conducting the enterprise, conferred upon him
the honour of knighthood. He was also made High Sheriff of New
England; and during the time he held the office, he did valiant
service for the mother country and the colonists against the
French, by expeditions against Port Royal and Quebec. He also held
the post of Governor of Massachusetts, from which he returned to
England, and died in London in 1695.

Phipps throughout the latter part of his career, was not ashamed to
allude to the lowness of his origin, and it was matter of honest
pride to him that he had risen from the condition of common ship
carpenter to the honours of knighthood and the government of a
province. When perplexed with public business, he would often
declare that it would be easier for him to go back to his broad axe
again. He left behind him a character for probity, honesty,
patriotism, and courage, which is certainly not the least noble
inheritance of the house of Normanby.

William Petty, the founder of the house of Lansdowne, was a man of
like energy and public usefulness in his day. He was the son of a
clothier in humble circumstances, at Romsey, in Hampshire, where he
was born in 1623. In his boyhood he obtained a tolerable education
at the grammar school of his native town; after which he determined
to improve himself by study at the University of Caen, in Normandy.
Whilst there he contrived to support himself unassisted by his
father, carrying on a sort of small pedler's trade with "a little
stock of merchandise."  Returning to England, he had himself bound
apprentice to a sea captain, who "drubbed him with a rope's end"
for the badness of his sight. He left the navy in disgust, taking
to the study of medicine. When at Paris he engaged in dissection,
during which time he also drew diagrams for Hobbes, who was then
writing his treatise on Optics. He was reduced to such poverty
that he subsisted for two or three weeks entirely on walnuts. But
again he began to trade in a small way, turning an honest penny,
and he was enabled shortly to return to England with money in his
pocket. Being of an ingenious mechanical turn, we find him taking
out a patent for a letter-copying machine. He began to write upon
the arts and sciences, and practised chemistry and physic with such
success that his reputation shortly became considerable.
Associating with men of science, the project of forming a Society
for its prosecution was discussed, and the first meetings of the
infant Royal Society were held at his lodgings. At Oxford he acted
for a time as deputy to the anatomical professor there, who had a
great repugnance to dissection. In 1652 his industry was rewarded
by the appointment of physician to the army in Ireland, whither he
went; and whilst there he was the medical attendant of three
successive lords-lieutenant, Lambert, Fleetwood, and Henry
Cromwell. Large grants of forfeited land having been awarded to
the Puritan soldiery, Petty observed that the lands were very
inaccurately measured; and in the midst of his many avocations he
undertook to do the work himself. His appointments became so
numerous and lucrative that he was charged by the envious with
corruption, and removed from them all; but he was again taken into
favour at the Restoration.

Petty was a most indefatigable contriver, inventor, and organizer
of industry. One of his inventions was a double-bottomed ship, to
sail against wind and tide. He published treatises on dyeing, on
naval philosophy, on woollen cloth manufacture, on political
arithmetic, and many other subjects. He founded iron works, opened
lead mines, and commenced a pilchard fishery and a timber trade; in
the midst of which he found time to take part in the discussions of
the Royal Society, to which he largely contributed. He left an
ample fortune to his sons, the eldest of whom was created Baron
Shelburne. His will was a curious document, singularly
illustrative of his character; containing a detail of the principal
events of his life, and the gradual advancement of his fortune.
His sentiments on pauperism are characteristic: "As for legacies
for the poor," said he, "I am at a stand; as for beggars by trade
and election, I give them nothing; as for impotents by the hand of
God, the public ought to maintain them; as for those who have been
bred to no calling nor estate, they should be put upon their
kindred;" . . . "wherefore I am contented that I have assisted all
my poor relations, and put many into a way of getting their own
bread; have laboured in public works; and by inventions have sought
out real objects of charity; and I do hereby conjure all who
partake of my estate, from time to time, to do the same at their
peril. Nevertheless to answer custom, and to take the surer side,
I give 20L. to the most wanting of the parish wherein I die."  He
was interred in the fine old Norman church of Romsey - the town
wherein he was born a poor man's son - and on the south side of the
choir is still to be seen a plain slab, with the inscription, cut
by an illiterate workman, "Here Layes Sir William Petty."

Another family, ennobled by invention and trade in our own day, is
that of Strutt of Belper. Their patent of nobility was virtually
secured by Jedediah Strutt in 1758, when he invented his machine
for making ribbed stockings, and thereby laid the foundations of a
fortune which the subsequent bearers of the name have largely
increased and nobly employed. The father of Jedediah was a farmer
and malster, who did but little for the education of his children;
yet they all prospered. Jedediah was the second son, and when a
boy assisted his father in the work of the farm. At an early age
he exhibited a taste for mechanics, and introduced several
improvements in the rude agricultural implements of the period. On
the death of his uncle he succeeded to a farm at Blackwall, near
Normanton, long in the tenancy of the family, and shortly after he
married Miss Wollatt, the daughter of a Derby hosier. Having
learned from his wife's brother that various unsuccessful attempts
had been made to manufacture ribbed-stockings, he proceeded to
study the subject with a view to effect what others had failed in
accomplishing. He accordingly obtained a stocking-frame, and after
mastering its construction and mode of action, he proceeded to
introduce new combinations, by means of which he succeeded in
effecting a variation in the plain looped-work of the frame, and
was thereby enabled to turn out "ribbed" hosiery. Having secured a
patent for the improved machine, he removed to Derby, and there
entered largely on the manufacture of ribbed-stockings, in which he
was very successful. He afterwards joined Arkwright, of the merits
of whose invention he fully satisfied himself, and found the means
of securing his patent, as well as erecting a large cotton-mill at
Cranford, in Derbyshire. After the expiry of the partnership with
Arkwright, the Strutts erected extensive cotton-mills at Milford,
near Belper, which worthily gives its title to the present head of
the family. The sons of the founder were, like their father,
distinguished for their mechanical ability. Thus William Strutt,
the eldest, is said to have invented a self-acting mule, the
success of which was only prevented by the mechanical skill of that
day being unequal to its manufacture. Edward, the son of William,
was a man of eminent mechanical genius, having early discovered the
principle of suspension-wheels for carriages: he had a wheelbarrow
and two carts made on the principle, which were used on his farm
near Belper. It may be added that the Strutts have throughout been
distinguished for their noble employment of the wealth which their
industry and skill have brought them; that they have sought in all
ways to improve the moral and social condition of the work-people
in their employment; and that they have been liberal donors in
every good cause - of which the presentation, by Mr. Joseph Strutt,
of the beautiful park or Arboretum at Derby, as a gift to the
townspeople for ever, affords only one of many illustrations. The
concluding words of the short address which he delivered on
presenting this valuable gift are worthy of being quoted and
remembered:- "As the sun has shone brightly on me through life, it
would be ungrateful in me not to employ a portion of the fortune I
possess in promoting the welfare of those amongst whom I live, and
by whose industry I have been aided in its organisation."

No less industry and energy have been displayed by the many brave
men, both in present and past times, who have earned the peerage by
their valour on land and at sea. Not to mention the older feudal
lords, whose tenure depended upon military service, and who so
often led the van of the English armies in great national
encounters, we may point to Nelson, St. Vincent, and Lyons - to
Wellington, Hill, Hardinge, Clyde, and many more in recent times,
who have nobly earned their rank by their distinguished services.
But plodding industry has far oftener worked its way to the peerage
by the honourable pursuit of the legal profession, than by any
other. No fewer than seventy British peerages, including two
dukedoms, have been founded by successful lawyers. Mansfield and
Erskine were, it is true, of noble family; but the latter used to
thank God that out of his own family he did not know a lord. (23)
The others were, for the most part, the sons of attorneys, grocers,
clergymen, merchants, and hardworking members of the middle class.
Out of this profession have sprung the peerages of Howard and
Cavendish, the first peers of both families having been judges;
those of Aylesford, Ellenborough, Guildford, Shaftesbury,
Hardwicke, Cardigan, Clarendon, Camden, Ellesmere, Rosslyn; and
others nearer our own day, such as Tenterden, Eldon, Brougham,
Denman, Truro, Lyndhurst, St. Leonards, Cranworth, Campbell, and

Lord Lyndhurst's father was a portrait painter, and that of St.
Leonards a perfumer and hairdresser in Burlington Street. Young
Edward Sugden was originally an errand-boy in the office of the
late Mr. Groom, of Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square, a
certificated conveyancer; and it was there that the future Lord
Chancellor of Ireland obtained his first notions of law. The
origin of the late Lord Tenterden was perhaps the humblest of all,
nor was he ashamed of it; for he felt that the industry, study, and
application, by means of which he achieved his eminent position,
were entirely due to himself. It is related of him, that on one
occasion he took his son Charles to a little shed, then standing
opposite the western front of Canterbury Cathedral, and pointing it
out to him, said, "Charles, you see this little shop; I have
brought you here on purpose to show it you. In that shop your
grandfather used to shave for a penny: that is the proudest
reflection of my life."  When a boy, Lord Tenterden was a singer in
the Cathedral, and it is a curious circumstance that his
destination in life was changed by a disappointment. When he and
Mr. Justice Richards were going the Home Circuit together, they
went to service in the cathedral; and on Richards commending the
voice of a singing man in the choir, Lord Tenterden said, "Ah! that
is the only man I ever envied! When at school in this town, we
were candidates for a chorister's place, and he obtained it."

Not less remarkable was the rise to the same distinguished office
of Lord Chief Justice, of the rugged Kenyon and the robust
Ellenborough; nor was he a less notable man who recently held the
same office - the astute Lord Campbell, late Lord Chancellor of
England, son of a parish minister in Fifeshire. For many years he
worked hard as a reporter for the press, while diligently preparing
himself for the practice of his profession. It is said of him,
that at the beginning of his career, he was accustomed to walk from
county town to county town when on circuit, being as yet too poor
to afford the luxury of posting. But step by step he rose slowly
but surely to that eminence and distinction which ever follow a
career of industry honourably and energetically pursued, in the
legal, as in every other profession.

There have been other illustrious instances of Lords Chancellors
who have plodded up the steep of fame and honour with equal energy
and success. The career of the late Lord Eldon is perhaps one of
the most remarkable examples. He was the son of a Newcastle coal-
fitter; a mischievous rather than a studious boy; a great
scapegrace at school, and the subject of many terrible thrashings,
- for orchard-robbing was one of the favourite exploits of the
future Lord Chancellor. His father first thought of putting him
apprentice to a grocer, and afterwards had almost made up his mind
to bring him up to his own trade of a coal-fitter. But by this
time his eldest son William (afterwards Lord Stowell) who had
gained a scholarship at Oxford, wrote to his father, "Send Jack up
to me, I can do better for him."  John was sent up to Oxford
accordingly, where, by his brother's influence and his own
application, he succeeded in obtaining a fellowship. But when at
home during the vacation, he was so unfortunate - or rather so
fortunate, as the issue proved - as to fall in love; and running
across the Border with his eloped bride, he married, and as his
friends thought, ruined himself for life. He had neither house nor
home when he married, and had not yet earned a penny. He lost his
fellowship, and at the same time shut himself out from preferment
in the Church, for which he had been destined. He accordingly
turned his attention to the study of the law. To a friend he
wrote, "I have married rashly; but it is my determination to work
hard to provide for the woman I love."

John Scott came up to London, and took a small house in Cursitor
Lane, where he settled down to the study of the law. He worked
with great diligence and resolution; rising at four every morning
and studying till late at night, binding a wet towel round his head
to keep himself awake. Too poor to study under a special pleader,
he copied out three folio volumes from a manuscript collection of
precedents. Long after, when Lord Chancellor, passing down
Cursitor Lane one day, he said to his secretary, "Here was my first
perch: many a time do I recollect coming down this street with
sixpence in my hand to buy sprats for supper."  When at length
called to the bar, he waited long for employment. His first year's
earnings amounted to only nine shillings. For four years he
assiduously attended the London Courts and the Northern Circuit,
with little better success. Even in his native town, he seldom had
other than pauper cases to defend. The results were indeed so
discouraging, that he had almost determined to relinquish his
chance of London business, and settle down in some provincial town
as a country barrister. His brother William wrote home, "Business
is dull with poor Jack, very dull indeed!"  But as he had escaped
being a grocer, a coal-fitter, and a country parson so did he also
escape being a country lawyer.

An opportunity at length occurred which enabled John Scott to
exhibit the large legal knowledge which he had so laboriously
acquired. In a case in which he was engaged, he urged a legal
point against the wishes both of the attorney and client who
employed him. The Master of the Rolls decided against him, but on
an appeal to the House of Lords, Lord Thurlow reversed the decision
on the very point that Scott had urged. On leaving the House that
day, a solicitor tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Young man,
your bread and butter's cut for life."  And the prophecy proved a
true one. Lord Mansfield used to say that he knew no interval
between no business and 3000L. a-year, and Scott might have told
the same story; for so rapid was his progress, that in 1783, when
only thirty-two, he was appointed King's Counsel, was at the head
of the Northern Circuit, and sat in Parliament for the borough of
Weobley. It was in the dull but unflinching drudgery of the early
part of his career that he laid the foundation of his future
success. He won his spurs by perseverance, knowledge, and ability,
diligently cultivated. He was successively appointed to the
offices of solicitor and attorney-general, and rose steadily
upwards to the highest office that the Crown had to bestow - that
of Lord Chancellor of England, which he held for a quarter of a

Henry Bickersteth was the son of a surgeon at Kirkby Lonsdale, in
Westmoreland, and was himself educated to that profession. As a
student at Edinburgh, he distinguished himself by the steadiness
with which he worked, and the application which he devoted to the
science of medicine. Returned to Kirkby Lonsdale, he took an
active part in his father's practice; but he had no liking for the
profession, and grew discontented with the obscurity of a country
town. He went on, nevertheless, diligently improving himself, and
engaged on speculations in the higher branches of physiology. In
conformity with his own wish, his father consented to send him to
Cambridge, where it was his intention to take a medical degree with
the view of practising in the metropolis. Close application to his
studies, however, threw him out of health, and with a view to re-
establishing his strength he accepted the appointment of travelling
physician to Lord Oxford. While abroad he mastered Italian, and
acquired a great admiration for Italian literature, but no greater
liking for medicine than before. On the contrary, he determined to
abandon it; but returning to Cambridge, he took his degree; and
that he worked hard may be inferred from the fact that he was
senior wrangler of his year. Disappointed in his desire to enter
the army, he turned to the bar, and entered a student of the Inner
Temple. He worked as hard at law as he had done at medicine.
Writing to his father, he said, "Everybody says to me, 'You are
certain of success in the end - only persevere;' and though I don't
well understand how this is to happen, I try to believe it as much
as I can, and I shall not fail to do everything in my power."  At
twenty-eight he was called to the bar, and had every step in life
yet to make. His means were straitened, and he lived upon the
contributions of his friends. For years he studied and waited.
Still no business came. He stinted himself in recreation, in
clothes, and even in the necessaries of life; struggling on
indefatigably through all. Writing home, he "confessed that he
hardly knew how he should be able to struggle on till he had fair
time and opportunity to establish himself."  After three years'
waiting, still without success, he wrote to his friends that rather
than be a burden upon them longer, he was willing to give the
matter up and return to Cambridge, "where he was sure of support
and some profit."  The friends at home sent him another small
remittance, and he persevered. Business gradually came in.
Acquitting himself creditably in small matters, he was at length
entrusted with cases of greater importance. He was a man who never
missed an opportunity, nor allowed a legitimate chance of
improvement to escape him. His unflinching industry soon began to
tell upon his fortunes; a few more years and he was not only
enabled to do without assistance from home, but he was in a
position to pay back with interest the debts which he had incurred.
The clouds had dispersed, and the after career of Henry Bickersteth
was one of honour, of emolument, and of distinguished fame. He
ended his career as Master of the Rolls, sitting in the House of
Peers as Baron Langdale. His life affords only another
illustration of the power of patience, perseverance, and
conscientious working, in elevating the character of the
individual, and crowning his labours with the most complete

Such are a few of the distinguished men who have honourably worked
their way to the highest position, and won the richest rewards of
their profession, by the diligent exercise of qualities in many
respects of an ordinary character, but made potent by the force of
application and industry.


"A coeur vaillant rien d'impossible." - Jacques Coeur.

"Den Muthigen gehort die Welt." - German Proverb.

"In every work that he began . . . he did it with all his heart,
and prospered." - II. Chron. XXXI. 21.

There is a famous speech recorded of an old Norseman, thoroughly
characteristic of the Teuton. "I believe neither in idols nor
demons," said he, "I put my sole trust in my own strength of body
and soul."  The ancient crest of a pickaxe with the motto of
"Either I will find a way or make one," was an expression of the
same sturdy independence which to this day distinguishes the
descendants of the Northmen. Indeed nothing could be more
characteristic of the Scandinavian mythology, than that it had a
god with a hammer. A man's character is seen in small matters; and
from even so slight a test as the mode in which a man wields a
hammer, his energy may in some measure be inferred. Thus an
eminent Frenchman hit off in a single phrase the characteristic
quality of the inhabitants of a particular district, in which a
friend of his proposed to settle and buy land. "Beware," said he,
"of making a purchase there; I know the men of that department; the
pupils who come from it to our veterinary school at Paris DO NOR
STRIKE HARD UPON THE ANVIL; they want energy; and you will not get
a satisfactory return on any capital you may invest there."  A fine
and just appreciation of character, indicating the thoughtful
observer; and strikingly illustrative of the fact that it is the
energy of the individual men that gives strength to a State, and
confers a value even upon the very soil which they cultivate. As
the French proverb has it: "Tant vaut l'homme, tant vaut sa

The cultivation of this quality is of the greatest importance;
resolute determination in the pursuit of worthy objects being the
foundation of all true greatness of character. Energy enables a
man to force his way through irksome drudgery and dry details, and
carries him onward and upward in every station in life. It
accomplishes more than genius, with not one-half the disappointment
and peril. It is not eminent talent that is required to ensure
success in any pursuit, so much as purpose, - not merely the power
to achieve, but the will to labour energetically and perseveringly.
Hence energy of will may be defined to be the very central power of
character in a man - in a word, it is the Man himself.  It gives
impulse to his every action, and soul to every effort. True hope
is based on it, - and it is hope that gives the real perfume to
life. There is a fine heraldic motto on a broken helmet in Battle
Abbey, "L'espoir est ma force," which might be the motto of every
man's life. "Woe unto him that is fainthearted," says the son of
Sirach. There is, indeed, no blessing equal to the possession of a
stout heart. Even if a man fail in his efforts, it will be a
satisfaction to him to enjoy the consciousness of having done his
best. In humble life nothing can be more cheering and beautiful
than to see a man combating suffering by patience, triumphing in
his integrity, and who, when his feet are bleeding and his limbs
failing him, still walks upon his courage.

Mere wishes and desires but engender a sort of green sickness in
young minds, unless they are promptly embodied in act and deed. It
will not avail merely to wait as so many do, "until Blucher comes
up," but they must struggle on and persevere in the mean time, as
Wellington did. The good purpose once formed must be carried out
with alacrity and without swerving. In most conditions of life,
drudgery and toil are to be cheerfully endured as the best and most
wholesome discipline. "In life," said Ary Scheffer, "nothing bears
fruit except by labour of mind or body. To strive and still strive
- such is life; and in this respect mine is fulfilled; but I dare
to say, with just pride, that nothing has ever shaken my courage.
With a strong soul, and a noble aim, one can do what one wills,
morally speaking."

Hugh Miller said the only school in which he was properly taught
was "that world-wide school in which toil and hardship are the
severe but noble teachers."  He who allows his application to
falter, or shirks his work on frivolous pretexts, is on the sure
road to ultimate failure. Let any task be undertaken as a thing
not possible to be evaded, and it will soon come to be performed
with alacrity and cheerfulness. Charles IX. of Sweden was a firm
believer in the power of will, even in youth. Laying his hand on
the head of his youngest son when engaged on a difficult task, he
exclaimed, "He SHALL do it! he SHALL do it!"  The habit of
application becomes easy in time, like every other habit. Thus
persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much, if
they apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a
time. Fowell Buxton placed his confidence in ordinary means and
extraordinary application; realizing the scriptural injunction,
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might;" and
he attributed his own success in life to his practice of "being a
whole man to one thing at a time."

Nothing that is of real worth can be achieved without courageous
working. Man owes his growth chiefly to that active striving of
the will, that encounter with difficulty, which we call effort; and
it is astonishing to find how often results apparently
impracticable are thus made possible. An intense anticipation
itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often
but the precursors of the things which we are capable of
performing. On the contrary, the timid and hesitating find
everything impossible, chiefly because it seems so. It is related
of a young French officer, that he used to walk about his apartment
exclaiming, "I WILL be Marshal of France and a great general."  His
ardent desire was the presentiment of his success; for the young
officer did become a distinguished commander, and he died a Marshal
of France.

Mr. Walker, author of the 'Original,' had so great a faith in the
power of will, that he says on one occasion he DETERMINED to be
well, and he was so. This may answer once; but, though safer to
follow than many prescriptions, it will not always succeed. The
power of mind over body is no doubt great, but it may be strained
until the physical power breaks down altogether. It is related of
Muley Moluc, the Moorish leader, that, when lying ill, almost worn
out by an incurable disease, a battle took place between his troops
and the Portuguese; when, starting from his litter at the great
crisis of the fight, he rallied his army, led them to victory, and
instantly afterwards sank exhausted and expired.

It is will, - force of purpose, - that enables a man to do or be
whatever he sets his mind on being or doing. A holy man was
accustomed to say, "Whatever you wish, that you are: for such is
the force of our will, joined to the Divine, that whatever we wish
to be, seriously, and with a true intention, that we become. No
one ardently wishes to be submissive, patient, modest, or liberal,
who does not become what he wishes."  The story is told of a
working carpenter, who was observed one day planing a magistrate's
bench which he was repairing, with more than usual carefulness; and
when asked the reason, he replied, "Because I wish to make it easy
against the time when I come to sit upon it myself."  And
singularly enough, the man actually lived to sit upon that very
bench as a magistrate.

Whatever theoretical conclusions logicians may have formed as to
the freedom of the will, each individual feels that practically he
is free to choose between good and evil - that he is not as a mere
straw thrown upon the water to mark the direction of the current,
but that he has within him the power of a strong swimmer, and is
capable of striking out for himself, of buffeting with the waves,
and directing to a great extent his own independent course. There
is no absolute constraint upon our volitions, and we feel and know
that we are not bound, as by a spell, with reference to our
actions. It would paralyze all desire of excellence were we to
think otherwise. The entire business and conduct of life, with its
domestic rules, its social arrangements, and its public
institutions, proceed upon the practical conviction that the will
is free. Without this where would be responsibility? - and what
the advantage of teaching, advising, preaching, reproof, and
correction? What were the use of laws, were it not the universal
belief, as it is the universal fact, that men obey them or not,
very much as they individually determine? In every moment of our
life, conscience is proclaiming that our will is free. It is the
only thing that is wholly ours, and it rests solely with ourselves
individually, whether we give it the right or the wrong direction.
Our habits or our temptations are not our masters, but we of them.
Even in yielding, conscience tells us we might resist; and that
were we determined to master them, there would not be required for
that purpose a stronger resolution than we know ourselves to be
capable of exercising.

"You are now at the age," said Lamennais once, addressing a gay
youth, "at which a decision must be formed by you; a little later,
and you may have to groan within the tomb which you yourself have
dug, without the power of rolling away the stone. That which the
easiest becomes a habit in us is the will. Learn then to will
strongly and decisively; thus fix your floating life, and leave it
no longer to be carried hither and thither, like a withered leaf,
by every wind that blows."

Buxton held the conviction that a young man might be very much what
he pleased, provided he formed a strong resolution and held to it.
Writing to one of his sons, he said to him, "You are now at that
period of life, in which you must make a turn to the right or the
left. You must now give proofs of principle, determination, and
strength of mind; or you must sink into idleness, and acquire the
habits and character of a desultory, ineffective young man; and if
once you fall to that point, you will find it no easy matter to
rise again. I am sure that a young man may be very much what he
pleases. In my own case it was so. . . . Much of my happiness, and
all my prosperity in life, have resulted from the change I made at
your age. If you seriously resolve to be energetic and
industrious, depend upon it that you will for your whole life have
reason to rejoice that you were wise enough to form and to act upon
that determination."  As will, considered without regard to
direction, is simply constancy, firmness, perseverance, it will be
obvious that everything depends upon right direction and motives.
Directed towards the enjoyment of the senses, the strong will may
be a demon, and the intellect merely its debased slave; but
directed towards good, the strong will is a king, and the intellect
the minister of man's highest well-being.

"Where there is a will there is a way," is an old and true saying.
He who resolves upon doing a thing, by that very resolution often
scales the barriers to it, and secures its achievement. To think
we are able, is almost to be so - to determine upon attainment is
frequently attainment itself. Thus, earnest resolution has often
seemed to have about it almost a savour of omnipotence. The
strength of Suwarrow's character lay in his power of willing, and,
like most resolute persons, he preached it up as a system. "You
can only half will," he would say to people who failed. Like
Richelieu and Napoleon, he would have the word "impossible"
banished from the dictionary. "I don't know," "I can't," and
"impossible," were words which he detested above all others.
"Learn! Do! Try!" he would exclaim. His biographer has said of
him, that he furnished a remarkable illustration of what may be
effected by the energetic development and exercise of faculties,
the germs of which at least are in every human heart.

One of Napoleon's favourite maxims was, "The truest wisdom is a
resolute determination."  His life, beyond most others, vividly
showed what a powerful and unscrupulous will could accomplish. He
threw his whole force of body and mind direct upon his work.
Imbecile rulers and the nations they governed went down before him
in succession. He was told that the Alps stood in the way of his
armies - "There shall be no Alps," he said, and the road across the
Simplon was constructed, through a district formerly almost
inaccessible. "Impossible," said he, "is a word only to be found
in the dictionary of fools."  He was a man who toiled terribly;
sometimes employing and exhausting four secretaries at a time. He
spared no one, not even himself. His influence inspired other men,
and put a new life into them. "I made my generals out of mud," he
said. But all was of no avail; for Napoleon's intense selfishness
was his ruin, and the ruin of France, which he left a prey to
anarchy. His life taught the lesson that power, however
energetically wielded, without beneficence, is fatal to its
possessor and its subjects; and that knowledge, or knowingness,
without goodness, is but the incarnate principle of Evil.

Our own Wellington was a far greater man. Not less resolute, firm,
and persistent, but more self-denying, conscientious, and truly
patriotic. Napoleon's aim was "Glory;" Wellington's watchword,
like Nelson's, was "Duty."  The former word, it is said, does not
once occur in his despatches; the latter often, but never
accompanied by any high-sounding professions. The greatest
difficulties could neither embarrass nor intimidate Wellington; his
energy invariably rising in proportion to the obstacles to be
surmounted. The patience, the firmness, the resolution, with which
he bore through the maddening vexations and gigantic difficulties
of the Peninsular campaigns, is, perhaps, one of the sublimest
things to be found in history. In Spain, Wellington not only
exhibited the genius of the general, but the comprehensive wisdom
of the statesman. Though his natural temper was irritable in the
extreme, his high sense of duty enabled him to restrain it; and to
those about him his patience seemed absolutely inexhaustible. His
great character stands untarnished by ambition, by avarice, or any
low passion. Though a man of powerful individuality, he yet
displayed a great variety of endowment. The equal of Napoleon in
generalship, he was as prompt, vigorous, and daring as Clive; as
wise a statesman as Cromwell; and as pure and high-minded as
Washington. The great Wellington left behind him an enduring
reputation, founded on toilsome campaigns won by skilful
combination, by fortitude which nothing could exhaust, by sublime
daring, and perhaps by still sublimer patience.

Energy usually displays itself in promptitude and decision. When
Ledyard the traveller was asked by the African Association when he
would be ready to set out for Africa, he immediately answered, "To-
morrow morning."  Blucher's promptitude obtained for him the
cognomen of "Marshal Forwards" throughout the Prussian army. When
John Jervis, afterwards Earl St. Vincent, was asked when he would
be ready to join his ship, he replied, "Directly."  And when Sir
Colin Campbell, appointed to the command of the Indian army, was
asked when he could set out, his answer was, "To-morrow," - an
earnest of his subsequent success. For it is rapid decision, and a
similar promptitude in action, such as taking instant advantage of
an enemy's mistakes, that so often wins battles. "At Arcola," said
Napoleon, "I won the battle with twenty-five horsemen. I seized a
moment of lassitude, gave every man a trumpet, and gained the day
with this handful. Two armies are two bodies which meet and
endeavour to frighten each other: a moment of panic occurs, and
THAT MOMENT must be turned to advantage."  "Every moment lost,"
said he at another time, "gives an opportunity for misfortune;" and
he declared that he beat the Austrians because they never knew the
value of time: while they dawdled, he overthrew them.

India has, during the last century, been a great field for the
display of British energy. From Clive to Havelock and Clyde there
is a long and honourable roll of distinguished names in Indian
legislation and warfare, - such as Wellesley, Metcalfe, Outram,
Edwardes, and the Lawrences. Another great but sullied name is
that of Warren Hastings - a man of dauntless will and indefatigable
industry. His family was ancient and illustrious; but their
vicissitudes of fortune and ill-requited loyalty in the cause of
the Stuarts, brought them to poverty, and the family estate at
Daylesford, of which they had been lords of the manor for hundreds
of years, at length passed from their hands. The last Hastings of
Daylesford had, however, presented the parish living to his second
son; and it was in his house, many years later, that Warren
Hastings, his grandson, was born. The boy learnt his letters at
the village school, on the same bench with the children of the
peasantry. He played in the fields which his fathers had owned;
and what the loyal and brave Hastings of Daylesford HAD been, was
ever in the boy's thoughts. His young ambition was fired, and it
is said that one summer's day, when only seven years old, as he
laid him down on the bank of the stream which flowed through the
domain, he formed in his mind the resolution that he would yet
recover possession of the family lands. It was the romantic vision
of a boy; yet he lived to realize it. The dream became a passion,
rooted in his very life; and he pursued his determination through
youth up to manhood, with that calm but indomitable force of will
which was the most striking peculiarity of his character. The
orphan boy became one of the most powerful men of his time; he
retrieved the fortunes of his line; bought back the old estate, and
rebuilt the family mansion. "When, under a tropical sun," says
Macaulay, "he ruled fifty millions of Asiatics, his hopes, amidst
all the cares of war, finance, and legislation, still pointed to
Daylesford. And when his long public life, so singularly chequered
with good and evil, with glory and obloquy, had at length closed
for ever, it was to Daylesford that he retired to die."

Sir Charles Napier was another Indian leader of extraordinary
courage and determination. He once said of the difficulties with
which he was surrounded in one of his campaigns, "They only make my
feet go deeper into the ground."  His battle of Meeanee was one of
the most extraordinary feats in history. With 2000 men, of whom
only 400 were Europeans, he encountered an army of 35,000 hardy and
well-armed Beloochees. It was an act, apparently, of the most
daring temerity, but the general had faith in himself and in his
men. He charged the Belooch centre up a high bank which formed
their rampart in front, and for three mortal hours the battle
raged. Each man of that small force, inspired by the chief, became
for the time a hero. The Beloochees, though twenty to one, were
driven back, but with their faces to the foe. It is this sort of
pluck, tenacity, and determined perseverance which wins soldiers'
battles, and, indeed, every battle. It is the one neck nearer that
wins the race and shows the blood; it is the one march more that
wins the campaign; the five minutes' more persistent courage that
wins the fight. Though your force be less than another's, you
equal and outmaster your opponent if you continue it longer and
concentrate it more. The reply of the Spartan father, who said to
his son, when complaining that his sword was too short, "Add a step
to it," is applicable to everything in life.

Napier took the right method of inspiring his men with his own
heroic spirit. He worked as hard as any private in the ranks.
"The great art of commanding," he said, "is to take a fair share of
the work. The man who leads an army cannot succeed unless his
whole mind is thrown into his work. The more trouble, the more
labour must be given; the more danger, the more pluck must be
shown, till all is overpowered."  A young officer who accompanied
him in his campaign in the Cutchee Hills, once said, "When I see
that old man incessantly on his horse, how can I be idle who am
young and strong? I would go into a loaded cannon's mouth if he
ordered me."  This remark, when repeated to Napier, he said was
ample reward for his toils. The anecdote of his interview with the
Indian juggler strikingly illustrates his cool courage as well as
his remarkable simplicity and honesty of character. On one
occasion, after the Indian battles, a famous juggler visited the
camp and performed his feats before the General, his family, and
staff. Among other performances, this man cut in two with a stroke
of his sword a lime or lemon placed in the hand of his assistant.
Napier thought there was some collusion between the juggler and his
retainer. To divide by a sweep of the sword on a man's hand so
small an object without touching the flesh he believed to be
impossible, though a similar incident is related by Scott in his
romance of the 'Talisman.'  To determine the point, the General
offered his own hand for the experiment, and he stretched out his
right arm. The juggler looked attentively at the hand, and said he
would not make the trial. "I thought I would find you out!"
exclaimed Napier. "But stop," added the other, "let me see your
left hand."  The left hand was submitted, and the man then said
firmly, "If you will hold your arm steady I will perform the feat."
"But why the left hand and not the right?"  "Because the right hand
is hollow in the centre, and there is a risk of cutting off the
thumb; the left is high, and the danger will be less."  Napier was
startled. "I got frightened," he said; "I saw it was an actual
feat of delicate swordsmanship, and if I had not abused the man as
I did before my staff, and challenged him to the trial, I honestly
acknowledge I would have retired from the encounter. However, I
put the lime on my hand, and held out my arm steadily. The juggler
balanced himself, and, with a swift stroke cut the lime in two
pieces. I felt the edge of the sword on my hand as if a cold
thread had been drawn across it. So much (he added) for the brave
swordsmen of India, whom our fine fellows defeated at Meeanee."

The recent terrible struggle in India has served to bring out,
perhaps more prominently than any previous event in our history,
the determined energy and self-reliance of the national character.
Although English officialism may often drift stupidly into gigantic
blunders, the men of the nation generally contrive to work their
way out of them with a heroism almost approaching the sublime. In
May, 1857, when the revolt burst upon India like a thunder-clap,
the British forces had been allowed to dwindle to their extreme
minimum, and were scattered over a wide extent of country, many of
them in remote cantonments. The Bengal regiments, one after
another, rose against their officers, broke away, and rushed to
Delhi. Province after province was lapped in mutiny and rebellion;
and the cry for help rose from east to west. Everywhere the
English stood at bay in small detachments, beleaguered and
surrounded, apparently incapable of resistance. Their discomfiture
seemed so complete, and the utter ruin of the British cause in
India so certain, that it might be said of them then, as it had
been said before, "These English never know when they are beaten."
According to rule, they ought then and there to have succumbed to
inevitable fate.

While the issue of the mutiny still appeared uncertain, Holkar, one
of the native princes, consulted his astrologer for information.
The reply was, "If all the Europeans save one are slain, that one
will remain to fight and reconquer."  In their very darkest moment
- even where, as at Lucknow, a mere handful of British soldiers,
civilians, and women, held out amidst a city and province in arms
against them - there was no word of despair, no thought of
surrender. Though cut off from all communication with their
friends for months, and not knowing whether India was lost or held,
they never ceased to have perfect faith in the courage and
devotedness of their countrymen. They knew that while a body of
men of English race held together in India, they would not be left
unheeded to perish. They never dreamt of any other issue but
retrieval of their misfortune and ultimate triumph; and if the
worst came to the worst, they could but fall at their post, and die
in the performance of their duty. Need we remind the reader of the
names of Havelock, Inglis, Neill, and Outram - men of truly heroic
mould - of each of whom it might with truth be said that he had the
heart of a chevalier, the soul of a believer, and the temperament
of a martyr. Montalembert has said of them that "they do honour to
the human race."  But throughout that terrible trial almost all
proved equally great - women, civilians and soldiers - from the
general down through all grades to the private and bugleman. The
men were not picked: they belonged to the same ordinary people
whom we daily meet at home - in the streets, in workshops, in the
fields, at clubs; yet when sudden disaster fell upon them, each and
all displayed a wealth of personal resources and energy, and became
as it were individually heroic. "Not one of them," says
Montalembert, "shrank or trembled - all, military and civilians,
young and old, generals and soldiers, resisted, fought, and
perished with a coolness and intrepidity which never faltered. It
is in this circumstance that shines out the immense value of public
education, which invites the Englishman from his youth to make use
of his strength and his liberty, to associate, resist, fear
nothing, to be astonished at nothing, and to save himself, by his
own sole exertions, from every sore strait in life."

It has been said that Delhi was taken and India saved by the
personal character of Sir John Lawrence. The very name of
"Lawrence" represented power in the North-West Provinces. His
standard of duty, zeal, and personal effort, was of the highest;
and every man who served under him seemed to be inspired by his
spirit. It was declared of him that his character alone was worth
an army. The same might be said of his brother Sir Henry, who
organised the Punjaub force that took so prominent a part in the
capture of Delhi. Both brothers inspired those who were about them
with perfect love and confidence. Both possessed that quality of
tenderness, which is one of the true elements of the heroic
character. Both lived amongst the people, and powerfully
influenced them for good. Above all as Col. Edwardes says, "they
drew models on young fellows' minds, which they went forth and
copied in their several administrations: they sketched a FAITH,
and begot a SCHOOL, which are both living things at this day."  Sir
John Lawrence had by his side such men as Montgomery, Nicholson,
Cotton, and Edwardes, as prompt, decisive, and high-souled as
himself. John Nicholson was one of the finest, manliest, and
noblest of men - "every inch a hakim," the natives said of him - "a
tower of strength," as he was characterised by Lord Dalhousie. In
whatever capacity he acted he was great, because he acted with his
whole strength and soul. A brotherhood of fakeers - borne away by
their enthusiastic admiration of the man - even began the worship
of Nikkil Seyn: he had some of them punished for their folly, but
they continued their worship nevertheless. Of his sustained energy
and persistency an illustration may be cited in his pursuit of the
55th Sepoy mutineers, when he was in the saddle for twenty
consecutive hours, and travelled more than seventy miles. When the
enemy set up their standard at Delhi, Lawrence and Montgomery,
relying on the support of the people of the Punjaub, and compelling
their admiration and confidence, strained every nerve to keep their
own province in perfect order, whilst they hurled every available
soldier, European and Sikh, against that city. Sir John wrote to
the commander-in-chief to "hang on to the rebels' noses before
Delhi," while the troops pressed on by forced marches under
Nicholson, "the tramp of whose war-horse might be heard miles off,"
as was afterwards said of him by a rough Sikh who wept over his

The siege and storming of Delhi was the most illustrious event
which occurred in the course of that gigantic struggle, although
the leaguer of Lucknow, during which the merest skeleton of a
British regiment - the 32nd - held out, under the heroic Inglis,
for six months against two hundred thousand armed enemies, has
perhaps excited more intense interest. At Delhi, too, the British
were really the besieged, though ostensibly the besiegers; they
were a mere handful of men "in the open" - not more than 3,700
bayonets, European and native - and they were assailed from day to
day by an army of rebels numbering at one time as many as 75,000
men, trained to European discipline by English officers, and
supplied with all but exhaustless munitions of war. The heroic
little band sat down before the city under the burning rays of a
tropical sun. Death, wounds, and fever failed to turn them from
their purpose. Thirty times they were attacked by overwhelming
numbers, and thirty times did they drive back the enemy behind
their defences. As Captain Hodson - himself one of the bravest
there - has said, "I venture to aver that no other nation in the
world would have remained here, or avoided defeat if they had
attempted to do so."  Never for an instant did these heroes falter
at their work; with sublime endurance they held on, fought on, and
never relaxed until, dashing through the "imminent deadly breach,"
the place was won, and the British flag was again unfurled on the
walls of Delhi. All were great - privates, officers, and generals.
Common soldiers who had been inured to a life of hardship, and
young officers who had been nursed in luxurious homes, alike proved
their manhood, and emerged from that terrible trial with equal
honour. The native strength and soundness of the English race, and
of manly English training and discipline, were never more
powerfully exhibited; and it was there emphatically proved that the
Men of England are, after all, its greatest products. A terrible
price was paid for this great chapter in our history, but if those
who survive, and those who come after, profit by the lesson and
example, it may not have been purchased at too great a cost.

But not less energy and courage have been displayed in India and
the East by men of various nations, in other lines of action more
peaceful and beneficent than that of war. And while the heroes of
the sword are remembered, the heroes of the gospel ought not to be
forgotten. From Xavier to Martyn and Williams, there has been a
succession of illustrious missionary labourers, working in a spirit
of sublime self-sacrifice, without any thought of worldly honour,
inspired solely by the hope of seeking out and rescuing the lost
and fallen of their race. Borne up by invincible courage and
never-failing patience, these men have endured privations, braved
dangers, walked through pestilence, and borne all toils, fatigues,
and sufferings, yet held on their way rejoicing, glorying even in
martyrdom itself. Of these one of the first and most illustrious
was Francis Xavier. Born of noble lineage, and with pleasure,
power, and honour within his reach, he proved by his life that
there are higher objects in the world than rank, and nobler
aspirations than the accumulation of wealth. He was a true
gentleman in manners and sentiment; brave, honourable, generous;
easily led, yet capable of leading; easily persuaded, yet himself
persuasive; a most patient, resolute and energetic man. At the age
of twenty-two he was earning his living as a public teacher of
philosophy at the University of Paris. There Xavier became the
intimate friend and associate of Loyola, and shortly afterwards he
conducted the pilgrimage of the first little band of proselytes to

When John III. of Portugal resolved to plant Christianity in the
Indian territories subject to his influence, Bobadilla was first
selected as his missionary; but being disabled by illness, it was
found necessary to make another selection, and Xavier was chosen.
Repairing his tattered cassock, and with no other baggage than his
breviary, he at once started for Lisbon and embarked for the East.
The ship in which he set sail for Goa had the Governor on board,
with a reinforcement of a thousand men for the garrison of the
place. Though a cabin was placed at his disposal, Xavier slept on
deck throughout the voyage with his head on a coil of ropes,
messing with the sailors. By ministering to their wants, inventing
innocent sports for their amusement, and attending them in their
sickness, he wholly won their hearts, and they regarded him with

Arrived at Goa, Xavier was shocked at the depravity of the people,
settlers as well as natives; for the former had imported the vices
without the restraints of civilization, and the latter had only
been too apt to imitate their bad example. Passing along the
streets of the city, sounding his handbell as he went, he implored
the people to send him their children to be instructed. He shortly
succeeded in collecting a large number of scholars, whom he
carefully taught day by day, at the same time visiting the sick,
the lepers, and the wretched of all classes, with the object of
assuaging their miseries, and bringing them to the Truth. No cry
of human suffering which reached him was disregarded. Hearing of
the degradation and misery of the pearl fishers of Manaar, he set
out to visit them, and his bell again rang out the invitation of
mercy. He baptized and he taught, but the latter he could only do
through interpreters. His most eloquent teaching was his
ministration to the wants and the sufferings of the wretched.

On he went, his hand-bell sounding along the coast of Comorin,
among the towns and villages, the temples and the bazaars,
summoning the natives to gather about him and be instructed. He
had translations made of the Catechism, the Apostles' Creed, the
Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and some of the devotional offices
of the Church. Committing these to memory in their own tongue he
recited them to the children, until they had them by heart; after
which he sent them forth to teach the words to their parents and
neighbours. At Cape Comorin, he appointed thirty teachers, who
under himself presided over thirty Christian Churches, though the
Churches were but humble, in most cases consisting only of a
cottage surmounted by a cross. Thence he passed to Travancore,
sounding his way from village to village, baptizing until his hands
dropped with weariness, and repeating his formulas until his voice
became almost inaudible. According to his own account, the success
of his mission surpassed his highest expectations. His pure,
earnest, and beautiful life, and the irresistible eloquence of his
deeds, made converts wherever he went; and by sheer force of
sympathy, those who saw him and listened to him insensibly caught a
portion of his ardour.

Burdened with the thought that "the harvest is great and the
labourers are few," Xavier next sailed to Malacca and Japan, where
he found himself amongst entirely new races speaking other tongues.
The most that he could do here was to weep and pray, to smooth the
pillow and watch by the sick-bed, sometimes soaking the sleeve of
his surplice in water, from which to squeeze out a few drops and
baptize the dying. Hoping all things, and fearing nothing, this
valiant soldier of the truth was borne onward throughout by faith
and energy. "Whatever form of death or torture," said he, "awaits
me, I am ready to suffer it ten thousand times for the salvation of
a single soul."  He battled with hunger, thirst, privations and
dangers of all kinds, still pursuing his mission of love, unresting
and unwearying. At length, after eleven years' labour, this great
good man, while striving to find a way into China, was stricken
with fever in the Island of Sanchian, and there received his crown
of glory. A hero of nobler mould, more pure, self-denying, and
courageous, has probably never trod this earth.

Other missionaries have followed Xavier in the same field of work,
such as Schwartz, Carey, and Marshman in India; Gutzlaff and
Morrison in China; Williams in the South Seas; Campbell, Moffatt
and Livingstone in Africa. John Williams, the martyr of Erromanga,
was originally apprenticed to a furnishing ironmonger. Though
considered a dull boy, he was handy at his trade, in which he
acquired so much skill that his master usually entrusted him with
any blacksmiths work that required the exercise of more than
ordinary care. He was also fond of bell-hanging and other
employments which took him away from the shop. A casual sermon
which he heard gave his mind a serious bias, and he became a
Sunday-school teacher. The cause of missions having been brought
under his notice at some of his society's meetings, he determined
to devote himself to this work. His services were accepted by the
London Missionary Society; and his master allowed him to leave the
ironmonger's shop before the expiry of his indentures. The islands
of the Pacific Ocean were the principal scene of his labours - more
particularly Huahine in Tahiti, Raiatea, and Rarotonga. Like the
Apostles he worked with his hands, - at blacksmith work, gardening,
shipbuilding; and he endeavoured to teach the islanders the art of
civilised life, at the same time that he instructed them in the
truths of religion. It was in the course of his indefatigable
labours that he was massacred by savages on the shore of Erromanga
- none worthier than he to wear the martyr's crown.

The career of Dr. Livingstone is one of the most interesting of
all. He has told the story of his life in that modest and
unassuming manner which is so characteristic of the man himself.
His ancestors were poor but honest Highlanders, and it is related
of one of them, renowned in his district for wisdom and prudence,
that when on his death-bed he called his children round him and
left them these words, the only legacy he had to bequeath - "In my
life-time," said he, "I have searched most carefully through all
the traditions I could find of our family, and I never could
discover that there was a dishonest man among our forefathers: if,
therefore, any of you or any of your children should take to
dishonest ways, it will not be because it runs in our blood; it
does not belong to you: I leave this precept with you - Be
honest."  At the age of ten Livingstone was sent to work in a
cotton factory near Glasgow as a "piecer."  With part of his first
week's wages he bought a Latin grammar, and began to learn that
language, pursuing the study for years at a night school. He would
sit up conning his lessons till twelve or later, when not sent to
bed by his mother, for he had to be up and at work in the factory
every morning by six. In this way he plodded through Virgil and
Horace, also reading extensively all books, excepting novels, that
came in his way, but more especially scientific works and books of
travels. He occupied his spare hours, which were but few, in the
pursuit of botany, scouring the neighbourhood to collect plants.
He even carried on his reading amidst the roar of the factory
machinery, so placing the book upon the spinning jenny which he
worked that he could catch sentence after sentence as he passed it.
In this way the persevering youth acquired much useful knowledge;
and as he grew older, the desire possessed him of becoming a
missionary to the heathen. With this object he set himself to
obtain a medical education, in order the better to be qualified for
the work. He accordingly economised his earnings, and saved as
much money as enabled him to support himself while attending the
Medical and Greek classes, as well as the Divinity Lectures, at
Glasgow, for several winters, working as a cotton spinner during
the remainder of each year. He thus supported himself, during his
college career, entirely by his own earnings as a factory workman,
never having received a farthing of help from any other source.
"Looking back now," he honestly says, "at that life of toil, I
cannot but feel thankful that it formed such a material part of my
early education; and, were it possible, I should like to begin life
over again in the same lowly style, and to pass through the same
hardy training."  At length he finished his medical curriculum,
wrote his Latin thesis, passed his examinations, and was admitted a
licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons. At first he
thought of going to China, but the war then waging with that
country prevented his following out the idea; and having offered
his services to the London Missionary Society, he was by them sent
out to Africa, which he reached in 1840. He had intended to
proceed to China by his own efforts; and he says the only pang he
had in going to Africa at the charge of the London Missionary
Society was, because "it was not quite agreeable to one accustomed
to work his own way to become, in a manner, dependent upon others."
Arrived in Africa he set to work with great zeal. He could not
brook the idea of merely entering upon the labours of others, but
cut out a large sphere of independent work, preparing himself for
it by undertaking manual labour in building and other handicraft
employment, in addition to teaching, which, he says, "made me
generally as much exhausted and unfit for study in the evenings as
ever I had been when a cotton-spinner."  Whilst labouring amongst
the Bechuanas, he dug canals, built houses, cultivated fields,
reared cattle, and taught the natives to work as well as worship.
When he first started with a party of them on foot upon a long
journey, he overheard their observations upon his appearance and
powers - "He is not strong," said they; "he is quite slim, and only
appears stout because he puts himself into those bags (trowsers):
he will soon knock up."  This caused the missionary's Highland
blood to rise, and made him despise the fatigue of keeping them all
at the top of their speed for days together, until he heard them
expressing proper opinions of his pedestrian powers. What he did
in Africa, and how he worked, may be learnt from his own
'Missionary Travels,' one of the most fascinating books of its kind
that has ever been given to the public. One of his last known acts
is thoroughly characteristic of the man. The 'Birkenhead' steam
launch, which he took out with him to Africa, having proved a
failure, he sent home orders for the construction of another vessel
at an estimated cost of 2000L. This sum he proposed to defray out
of the means which he had set aside for his children arising from
the profits of his books of travels. "The children must make it up
themselves," was in effect his expression in sending home the order
for the appropriation of the money.

The career of John Howard was throughout a striking illustration of
the same power of patient purpose. His sublime life proved that
even physical weakness could remove mountains in the pursuit of an
end recommended by duty. The idea of ameliorating the condition of
prisoners engrossed his whole thoughts and possessed him like a
passion; and no toil, nor danger, nor bodily suffering could turn
him from that great object of his life. Though a man of no genius
and but moderate talent, his heart was pure and his will was
strong. Even in his own time he achieved a remarkable degree of
success; and his influence did not die with him, for it has
continued powerfully to affect not only the legislation of England,
but of all civilised nations, down to the present hour.

Jonas Hanway was another of the many patient and persevering men
who have made England what it is - content simply to do with energy
the work they have been appointed to do, and go to their rest
thankfully when it is done -

"Leaving no memorial but a world
Made better by their lives."

He was born in 1712, at Portsmouth, where his father, a storekeeper
in the dockyard, being killed by an accident, he was left an orphan
at an early age. His mother removed with her children to London,
where she had them put to school, and struggled hard to bring them
up respectably. At seventeen Jonas was sent to Lisbon to be
apprenticed to a merchant, where his close attention to business,
his punctuality, and his strict honour and integrity, gained for
him the respect and esteem of all who knew him. Returning to
London in 1743, he accepted the offer of a partnership in an
English mercantile house at St. Petersburg engaged in the Caspian
trade, then in its infancy. Hanway went to Russia for the purpose
of extending the business; and shortly after his arrival at the
capital he set out for Persia, with a caravan of English bales of
cloth making twenty carriage loads. At Astracan he sailed for
Astrabad, on the south-eastern shore of the Caspian; but he had
scarcely landed his bales, when an insurrection broke out, his
goods were seized, and though he afterwards recovered the principal
part of them, the fruits of his enterprise were in a great measure
lost. A plot was set on foot to seize himself and his party; so he
took to sea and, after encountering great perils, reached Ghilan in
safety. His escape on this occasion gave him the first idea of the
words which he afterwards adopted as the motto of his life - "NEVER
DESPAIR."  He afterwards resided in St. Petersburg for five years,
carrying on a prosperous business. But a relative having left him
some property, and his own means being considerable, he left
Russia, and arrived in his native country in 1755. His object in
returning to England was, as he himself expressed it, "to consult
his own health (which was extremely delicate), and do as much good
to himself and others as he was able."  The rest of his life was
spent in deeds of active benevolence and usefulness to his fellow
men. He lived in a quiet style, in order that he might employ a
larger share of his income in works of benevolence. One of the
first public improvements to which he devoted himself was that of
the highways of the metropolis, in which he succeeded to a large
extent. The rumour of a French invasion being prevalent in 1755,
Mr. Hanway turned his attention to the best mode of keeping up the
supply of seamen. He summoned a meeting of merchants and
shipowners at the Royal Exchange, and there proposed to them to
form themselves into a society for fitting out landsmen volunteers
and boys, to serve on board the king's ships. The proposal was
received with enthusiasm: a society was formed, and officers were
appointed, Mr. Hanway directing its entire operations. The result
was the establishment in 1756 of The Marine Society, an institution
which has proved of much national advantage, and is to this day of
great and substantial utility. Within six years from its
formation, 5451 boys and 4787 landsmen volunteers had been trained
and fitted out by the society and added to the navy, and to this
day it is in active operation, about 600 poor boys, after a careful
education, being annually apprenticed as sailors, principally in
the merchant service.

Mr. Hanway devoted the other portions of his spare time to
improving or establishing important public institutions in the
metropolis. From an early period he took an active interest in the
Foundling Hospital, which had been started by Thomas Coram many
years before, but which, by encouraging parents to abandon their
children to the charge of a charity, was threatening to do more
harm than good. He determined to take steps to stem the evil,
entering upon the work in the face of the fashionable philanthropy
of the time; but by holding to his purpose he eventually succeeded
in bringing the charity back to its proper objects; and time and
experience have proved that he was right. The Magdalen Hospital
was also established in a great measure through Mr. Hanway's
exertions. But his most laborious and persevering efforts were in
behalf of the infant parish poor. The misery and neglect amidst
which the children of the parish poor then grew up, and the
mortality which prevailed amongst them, were frightful; but there
was no fashionable movement on foot to abate the suffering, as in
the case of the foundlings. So Jonas Hanway summoned his energies
to the task. Alone and unassisted he first ascertained by personal
inquiry the extent of the evil. He explored the dwellings of the
poorest classes in London, and visited the poorhouse sick wards, by
which he ascertained the management in detail of every workhouse in
and near the metropolis. He next made a journey into France and
through Holland, visiting the houses for the reception of the poor,
and noting whatever he thought might be adopted at home with
advantage. He was thus employed for five years; and on his return
to England he published the results of his observations. The
consequence was that many of the workhouses were reformed and
improved. In 1761 he obtained an Act obliging every London parish
to keep an annual register of all the infants received, discharged,
and dead; and he took care that the Act should work, for he himself
superintended its working with indefatigable watchfulness. He went
about from workhouse to workhouse in the morning, and from one
member of parliament to another in the afternoon, for day after
day, and for year after year, enduring every rebuff, answering
every objection, and accommodating himself to every humour. At
length, after a perseverance hardly to be equalled, and after
nearly ten years' labour, he obtained another Act, at his sole
expense (7 Geo. III. c. 39), directing that all parish infants
belonging to the parishes within the bills of mortality should not
be nursed in the workhouses, but be sent to nurse a certain number
of miles out of town, until they were six years old, under the care
of guardians to be elected triennially. The poor people called
this "the Act for keeping children alive;" and the registers for
the years which followed its passing, as compared with those which
preceded it, showed that thousands of lives had been preserved
through the judicious interference of this good and sensible man.

Wherever a philanthropic work was to be done in London, be sure
that Jonas Hanway's hand was in it. One of the first Acts for the
protection of chimney-sweepers' boys was obtained through his
influence. A destructive fire at Montreal, and another at
Bridgetown, Barbadoes, afforded him the opportunity for raising a
timely subscription for the relief of the sufferers. His name
appeared in every list, and his disinterestedness and sincerity
were universally recognized. But he was not suffered to waste his
little fortune entirely in the service of others. Five leading
citizens of London, headed by Mr. Hoare, the banker, without Mr.
Hanway's knowledge, waited on Lord Bute, then prime minister, in a
body, and in the names of their fellow-citizens requested that some
notice might be taken of this good man's disinterested services to
his country. The result was, his appointment shortly after, as one
of the commissioners for victualling the navy.

Towards the close of his life Mr. Hanway's health became very
feeble, and although he found it necessary to resign his office at
the Victualling Board, he could not be idle; but laboured at the
establishment of Sunday Schools, - a movement then in its infancy,
- or in relieving poor blacks, many of whom wandered destitute
about the streets of the metropolis, - or, in alleviating the
sufferings of some neglected and destitute class of society.
Notwithstanding his familiarity with misery in all its shapes, he
was one of the most cheerful of beings; and, but for his
cheerfulness he could never, with so delicate a frame, have got
through so vast an amount of self-imposed work. He dreaded nothing
so much as inactivity. Though fragile, he was bold and
indefatigable; and his moral courage was of the first order. It
may be regarded as a trivial matter to mention that he was the
first who ventured to walk the streets of London with an umbrella
over his head. But let any modern London merchant venture to walk
along Cornhill in a peaked Chinese hat, and he will find it takes
some degree of moral courage to persevere in it. After carrying an
umbrella for thirty years, Mr. Hanway saw the article at length
come into general use.

Hanway was a man of strict honour, truthfulness, and integrity; and
every word he said might be relied upon. He had so great a
respect, amounting almost to a reverence, for the character of the
honest merchant, that it was the only subject upon which he was
ever seduced into a eulogium. He strictly practised what he
professed, and both as a merchant, and afterwards as a commissioner
for victualling the navy, his conduct was without stain. He would
not accept the slightest favour of any sort from a contractor; and
when any present was sent to him whilst at the Victualling Office,
he would politely return it, with the intimation that "he had made
it a rule not to accept anything from any person engaged with the
office."  When he found his powers failing, he prepared for death
with as much cheerfulness as he would have prepared himself for a
journey into the country. He sent round and paid all his
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

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

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
be admitted to be by no means the practice of life. The golden
mean of Agur's perfect prayer is, perhaps, the best lot of all, did
we but know it: "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with
food convenient for me."  The late Joseph Brotherton, M.P., left a
fine motto to be recorded upon his monument in the Peel Park at
Manchester, - the declaration in his case being strictly true: "My
richness consisted not in the greatness of my possessions, but in
the smallness of my wants."  He rose from the humblest station,
that of a factory boy, to an eminent position of usefulness, by the
simple exercise of homely honesty, industry, punctuality, and self-
denial. Down to the close of his life, when not attending
Parliament, he did duty as minister in a small chapel in Manchester
to which he was attached; and in all things he made it appear, to
those who knew him in private life, that the glory he sought was
NOT "to be seen of men," or to excite their praise, but to earn the
consciousness of discharging the every-day duties of life, down to
the smallest and humblest of them, in an honest, upright, truthful,
and loving spirit.

"Respectability," in its best sense, is good. The respectable man
is one worthy of regard, literally worth turning to look at. But
the respectability that consists in merely keeping up appearances
is not worth looking at in any sense. Far better and more
respectable is the good poor man than the bad rich one - better the
humble silent man than the agreeable well-appointed rogue who keeps
his gig. A well balanced and well-stored mind, a life full of
useful purpose, whatever the position occupied in it may be, is of
far greater importance than average worldly respectability. The
highest object of life we take to be, to form a manly character,
and to work out the best development possible, of body and spirit -
of mind, conscience, heart, and soul. This is the end: all else
ought to be regarded but as the means. Accordingly, that is not
the most successful life in which a man gets the most pleasure, the
most money, the most power or place, honour or fame; but that in
which a man gets the most manhood, and performs the greatest amount
of useful work and of human duty. Money is power after its sort,
it is true; but intelligence, public spirit, and moral virtue, are
powers too, and far nobler ones. "Let others plead for pensions,"
wrote Lord Collingwood to a friend; "I can be rich without money,
by endeavouring to be superior to everything poor. I would have my
services to my country unstained by any interested motive; and old
Scott (27) and I can go on in our cabbage-garden without much
greater expense than formerly."  On another occasion he said, "I
have motives for my conduct which I would not give in exchange for
a hundred pensions."

The making of a fortune may no doubt enable some people to "enter
society," as it is called; but to be esteemed there, they must
possess qualities of mind, manners, or heart, else they are merely
rich people, nothing more. There are men "in society" now, as rich
as Croesus, who have no consideration extended towards them, and
elicit no respect. For why? They are but as money-bags: their
only power is in their till. The men of mark in society - the
guides and rulers of opinion - the really successful and useful men
- are not necessarily rich men; but men of sterling character, of
disciplined experience, and of moral excellence. Even the poor
man, like Thomas Wright, though he possess but little of this
world's goods, may, in the enjoyment of a cultivated nature, of
opportunities used and not abused, of a life spent to the best of
his means and ability, look down, without the slightest feeling of
envy, upon the person of mere worldly success, the man of money-
bags and acres.


"Every person has two educations, one which he receives from
others, and one, more important, which he gives to himself." -

"Is there one whom difficulties dishearten - who bends to the
storm? He will do little. Is there one who will conquer? That
kind of man never fails." - John Hunter.

"The wise and active conquer difficulties,
By daring to attempt them: sloth and folly
Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and danger,
And MAKE the impossibility they fear." - Rowe.

"The best part of every man's education," said Sir Walter Scott,
"is that which he gives to himself."  The late Sir Benjamin Brodie
delighted to remember this saying, and he used to congratulate
himself on the fact that professionally he was self-taught. But
this is necessarily the case with all men who have acquired
distinction in letters, science, or art. The education received at
school or college is but a beginning, and is valuable mainly
inasmuch as it trains the mind and habituates it to continuous
application and study. That which is put into us by others is
always far less ours than that which we acquire by our own diligent
and persevering effort. Knowledge conquered by labour becomes a
possession - a property entirely our own. A greater vividness and
permanency of impression is secured; and facts thus acquired become
registered in the mind in a way that mere imparted information can
never effect. This kind of self-culture also calls forth power and
cultivates strength. The solution of one problem helps the mastery
of another; and thus knowledge is carried into faculty. Our own
active effort is the essential thing; and no facilities, no books,
no teachers, no amount of lessons learnt by rote will enable us to
dispense with it.

The best teachers have been the readiest to recognize the
importance of self-culture, and of stimulating the student to
acquire knowledge by the active exercise of his own faculties.
They have relied more upon TRAINING than upon telling, and sought
to make their pupils themselves active parties to the work in which
they were engaged; thus making teaching something far higher than
the mere passive reception of the scraps and details of knowledge.
This was the spirit in which the great Dr. Arnold worked; he strove
to teach his pupils to rely upon themselves, and develop their
powers by their own active efforts, himself merely guiding,
directing, stimulating, and encouraging them. "I would far
rather," he said, "send a boy to Van Diemen's Land, where he must
work for his bread, than send him to Oxford to live in luxury,
without any desire in his mind to avail himself of his advantages."
"If there be one thing on earth," he observed on another occasion,
"which is truly admirable, it is to see God's wisdom blessing an
inferiority of natural powers, when they have been honestly, truly,
and zealously cultivated."  Speaking of a pupil of this character,
he said, "I would stand to that man hat in hand."  Once at Laleham,
when teaching a rather dull boy, Arnold spoke somewhat sharply to
him, on which the pupil looked up in his face and said, "Why do you
speak angrily, sir? INDEED, I am doing the best I can."  Years
afterwards, Arnold used to tell the story to his children, and
added, "I never felt so much in my life - that look and that speech
I have never forgotten."

From the numerous instances already cited of men of humble station
who have risen to distinction in science and literature, it will be
obvious that labour is by no means incompatible with the highest
intellectual culture. Work in moderation is healthy, as well as
agreeable to the human constitution. Work educates the body, as
study educates the mind; and that is the best state of society in
which there is some work for every man's leisure, and some leisure
for every man's work. Even the leisure classes are in a measure
compelled to work, sometimes as a relief from ENNUI, but in most
cases to gratify an instinct which they cannot resist. Some go
foxhunting in the English counties, others grouse-shooting on the
Scotch hills, while many wander away every summer to climb
mountains in Switzerland. Hence the boating, running, cricketing,
and athletic sports of the public schools, in which our young men
at the same time so healthfully cultivate their strength both of
mind and body. It is said that the Duke of Wellington, when once
looking on at the boys engaged in their sports in the play-ground
at Eton, where he had spent many of his own younger days, made the
remark, "It was there that the battle of Waterloo was won!"

Daniel Malthus urged his son when at college to be most diligent in
the cultivation of knowledge, but he also enjoined him to pursue
manly sports as the best means of keeping up the full working power
of his mind, as well as of enjoying the pleasures of intellect.
"Every kind of knowledge," said he, "every acquaintance with nature
and art, will amuse and strengthen your mind, and I am perfectly
pleased that cricket should do the same by your arms and legs; I
love to see you excel in exercises of the body, and I think myself
that the better half, and much the most agreeable part, of the
pleasures of the mind is best enjoyed while one is upon one's
legs."  But a still more important use of active employment is that
referred to by the great divine, Jeremy Taylor. "Avoid idleness,"
he says, "and fill up all the spaces of thy time with severe and
useful employment; for lust easily creeps in at those emptinesses
where the soul is unemployed and the body is at ease; for no easy,
healthful, idle person was ever chaste if he could be tempted; but
of all employments bodily labour is the most useful, and of the
greatest benefit for driving away the devil."

Practical success in life depends more upon physical health than is
generally imagined. Hodson, of Hodson's Horse, writing home to a
friend in England, said, "I believe, if I get on well in India, it
will be owing, physically speaking, to a sound digestion."  The
capacity for continuous working in any calling must necessarily
depend in a great measure upon this; and hence the necessity for
attending to health, even as a means of intellectual labour. It is
perhaps to the neglect of physical exercise that we find amongst
students so frequent a tendency towards discontent, unhappiness,
inaction, and reverie, - displaying itself in contempt for real
life and disgust at the beaten tracks of men, - a tendency which in
England has been called Byronism, and in Germany Wertherism. Dr.
Channing noted the same growth in America, which led him to make
the remark, that "too many of our young men grow up in a school of
despair."  The only remedy for this green-sickness in youth is
physical exercise - action, work, and bodily occupation.

The use of early labour in self-imposed mechanical employments may
be illustrated by the boyhood of Sir Isaac Newton. Though a
comparatively dull scholar, he was very assiduous in the use of his
saw, hammer, and hatchet - "knocking and hammering in his lodging
room" - making models of windmills, carriages, and machines of all
sorts; and as he grew older, he took delight in making little
tables and cupboards for his friends. Smeaton, Watt, and
Stephenson, were equally handy with tools when mere boys; and but
for such kind of self-culture in their youth, it is doubtful
whether they would have accomplished so much in their manhood.
Such was also the early training of the great inventors and
mechanics described in the preceding pages, whose contrivance and
intelligence were practically trained by the constant use of their
hands in early life. Even where men belonging to the manual labour
class have risen above it, and become more purely intellectual
labourers, they have found the advantages of their early training
in their later pursuits. Elihu Burritt says he found hard labour
NECESSARY to enable him to study with effect; and more than once he
gave up school-teaching and study, and, taking to his leather-apron
again, went back to his blacksmith's forge and anvil for his health
of body and mind's sake.

The training of young men in the use of tools would, at the same
time that it educated them in "common things," teach them the use
of their hands and arms, familiarize them with healthy work,
exercise their faculties upon things tangible and actual, give them
some practical acquaintance with mechanics, impart to them the
ability of being useful, and implant in them the habit of
persevering physical effort. This is an advantage which the
working classes, strictly so called, certainly possess over the
leisure classes, - that they are in early life under the necessity
of applying themselves laboriously to some mechanical pursuit or
other, - thus acquiring manual dexterity and the use of their
physical powers. The chief disadvantage attached to the calling of
the laborious classes is, not that they are employed in physical
work, but that they are too exclusively so employed, often to the
neglect of their moral and intellectual faculties. While the
youths of the leisure classes, having been taught to associate
labour with servility, have shunned it, and been allowed to grow up
practically ignorant, the poorer classes, confining themselves
within the circle of their laborious callings, have been allowed to
grow up in a large proportion of cases absolutely illiterate. It
seems possible, however, to avoid both these evils by combining
physical training or physical work with intellectual culture: and
there are various signs abroad which seem to mark the gradual
adoption of this healthier system of education.

The success of even professional men depends in no slight degree on
their physical health; and a public writer has gone so far as to
say that "the greatness of our great men is quite as much a bodily
affair as a mental one." (28)  A healthy breathing apparatus is as
indispensable to the successful lawyer or politician as a well-
cultured intellect. The thorough aeration of the blood by free
exposure to a large breathing surface in the lungs, is necessary to
maintain that full vital power on which the vigorous working of the
brain in so large a measure depends. The lawyer has to climb the
heights of his profession through close and heated courts, and the
political leader has to bear the fatigue and excitement of long and
anxious debates in a crowded House. Hence the lawyer in full
practice and the parliamentary leader in full work are called upon
to display powers of physical endurance and activity even more
extraordinary than those of the intellect, - such powers as have
been exhibited in so remarkable a degree by Brougham, Lyndhurst,
and Campbell; by Peel, Graham, and Palmerston - all full-chested

Though Sir Walter Scott, when at Edinburgh College, went by the
name of "The Greek Blockhead," he was, notwithstanding his
lameness, a remarkably healthy youth: he could spear a salmon with
the best fisher on the Tweed, and ride a wild horse with any hunter
in Yarrow. When devoting himself in after life to literary
pursuits, Sir Walter never lost his taste for field sports; but
while writing 'Waverley' in the morning, he would in the afternoon
course hares. Professor Wilson was a very athlete, as great at
throwing the hammer as in his flights of eloquence and poetry; and
Burns, when a youth, was remarkable chiefly for his leaping,
putting, and wrestling. Some of our greatest divines were
distinguished in their youth for their physical energies. Isaac
Barrow, when at the Charterhouse School, was notorious for his
pugilistic encounters, in which he got many a bloody nose; Andrew
Fuller, when working as a farmer's lad at Soham, was chiefly famous
for his skill in boxing; and Adam Clarke, when a boy, was only
remarkable for the strength displayed by him in "rolling large
stones about," - the secret, possibly, of some of the power which
he subsequently displayed in rolling forth large thoughts in his

While it is necessary, then, in the first place to secure this
solid foundation of physical health, it must also be observed that
the cultivation of the habit of mental application is quite
indispensable for the education of the student. The maxim that
"Labour conquers all things" holds especially true in the case of
the conquest of knowledge. The road into learning is alike free to
all who will give the labour and the study requisite to gather it;
nor are there any difficulties so great that the student of
resolute purpose may not surmount and overcome them. It was one of
the characteristic expressions of Chatterton, that God had sent his
creatures into the world with arms long enough to reach anything if
they chose to be at the trouble. In study, as in business, energy
is the great thing. There must be the "fervet opus": we must not
only strike the iron while it is hot, but strike it till it is made
hot. It is astonishing how much may be accomplished in self-
culture by the energetic and the persevering, who are careful to
avail themselves of opportunities, and use up the fragments of
spare time which the idle permit to run to waste. Thus Ferguson
learnt astronomy from the heavens, while wrapt in a sheep-skin on
the highland hills. Thus Stone learnt mathematics while working as
a journeyman gardener; thus Drew studied the highest philosophy in
the intervals of cobbling shoes; and thus Miller taught himself
geology while working as a day labourer in a quarry.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, as we have already observed, was so earnest a
believer in the force of industry that he held that all men might
achieve excellence if they would but exercise the power of
assiduous and patient working. He held that drudgery lay on the
road to genius, and that there was no limit to the proficiency of
an artist except the limit of his own painstaking. He would not
believe in what is called inspiration, but only in study and
labour. "Excellence," he said, "is never granted to man but as the
reward of labour."  "If you have great talents, industry will
improve them; if you have but moderate abilities, industry will
supply their deficiency. Nothing is denied to well-directed
labour; nothing is to be obtained without it."  Sir Fowell Buxton
was an equal believer in the power of study; and he entertained the
modest idea that he could do as well as other men if he devoted to
the pursuit double the time and labour that they did. He placed
his great confidence in ordinary means and extraordinary

"I have known several men in my life," says Dr. Ross, "who may be
recognized in days to come as men of genius, and they were all
plodders, hard-working, INTENT men. Genius is known by its works;
genius without works is a blind faith, a dumb oracle. But
meritorious works are the result of time and labour, and cannot be
accomplished by intention or by a wish. . . . Every great work is
the result of vast preparatory training. Facility comes by labour.
Nothing seems easy, not even walking, that was not difficult at
first. The orator whose eye flashes instantaneous fire, and whose
lips pour out a flood of noble thoughts, startling by their
unexpectedness, and elevating by their wisdom and truth, has
learned his secret by patient repetition, and after many bitter
disappointments." (29)

Thoroughness and accuracy are two principal points to be aimed at
in study. Francis Horner, in laying down rules for the cultivation
of his mind, placed great stress upon the habit of continuous
application to one subject for the sake of mastering it thoroughly;
he confined himself, with this object, to only a few books, and
resisted with the greatest firmness "every approach to a habit of
desultory reading."  The value of knowledge to any man consists not
in its quantity, but mainly in the good uses to which he can apply
it. Hence a little knowledge, of an exact and perfect character,
is always found more valuable for practical purposes than any
extent of superficial learning.

One of Ignatius Loyola's maxims was, "He who does well one work at
a time, does more than all."  By spreading our efforts over too
large a surface we inevitably weaken our force, hinder our
progress, and acquire a habit of fitfulness and ineffective
working. Lord St. Leonards once communicated to Sir Fowell Buxton
the mode in which he had conducted his studies, and thus explained
the secret of his success. "I resolved," said he, "when beginning
to read law, to make everything I acquired perfectly my own, and
never to go to a second thing till I had entirely accomplished the
first. Many of my competitors read as much in a day as I read in a
week; but, at the end of twelve months, my knowledge was as fresh
as the day it was acquired, while theirs had glided away from

It is not the quantity of study that one gets through, or the
amount of reading, that makes a wise man; but the appositeness of
the study to the purpose for which it is pursued; the concentration
of the mind for the time being on the subject under consideration;
and the habitual discipline by which the whole system of mental
application is regulated. Abernethy was even of opinion that there
was a point of saturation in his own mind, and that if he took into
it something more than it could hold, it only had the effect of
pushing something else out. Speaking of the study of medicine, he
said, "If a man has a clear idea of what he desires to do, he will
seldom fail in selecting the proper means of accomplishing it."

The most profitable study is that which is conducted with a
definite aim and object. By thoroughly mastering any given branch
of knowledge we render it more available for use at any moment.
Hence it is not enough merely to have books, or to know where to
read for information as we want it. Practical wisdom, for the
purposes of life, must be carried about with us, and be ready for
use at call. It is not sufficient that we have a fund laid up at
home, but not a farthing in the pocket: we must carry about with
us a store of the current coin of knowledge ready for exchange on
all occasions, else we are comparatively helpless when the
opportunity for using it occurs.

Decision and promptitude are as requisite in self-culture as in
business. The growth of these qualities may be encouraged by
accustoming young people to rely upon their own resources, leaving
them to enjoy as much freedom of action in early life as is
practicable. Too much guidance and restraint hinder the formation
of habits of self-help. They are like bladders tied under the arms
of one who has not taught himself to swim. Want of confidence is
perhaps a greater obstacle to improvement than is generally
imagined. It has been said that half the failures in life arise
from pulling in one's horse while he is leaping. Dr. Johnson was
accustomed to attribute his success to confidence in his own
powers. True modesty is quite compatible with a due estimate of
one's own merits, and does not demand the abnegation of all merit.
Though there are those who deceive themselves by putting a false
figure before their ciphers, the want of confidence, the want of
faith in one's self, and consequently the want of promptitude in
action, is a defect of character which is found to stand very much
in the way of individual progress; and the reason why so little is
done, is generally because so little is attempted.

There is usually no want of desire on the part of most persons to
arrive at the results of self-culture, but there is a great
aversion to pay the inevitable price for it, of hard work. Dr.
Johnson held that "impatience of study was the mental disease of
the present generation;" and the remark is still applicable. We
may not believe that there is a royal road to learning, but we seem
to believe very firmly in a "popular" one. In education, we invent
labour-saving processes, seek short cuts to science, learn French
and Latin "in twelve lessons," or "without a master."  We resemble
the lady of fashion, who engaged a master to teach her on condition
that he did not plague her with verbs and participles. We get our
smattering of science in the same way; we learn chemistry by
listening to a short course of lectures enlivened by experiments,
and when we have inhaled laughing gas, seen green water turned to
red, and phosphorus burnt in oxygen, we have got our smattering, of
which the most that can be said is, that though it may be better
than nothing, it is yet good for nothing. Thus we often imagine we
are being educated while we are only being amused.

The facility with which young people are thus induced to acquire
knowledge, without study and labour, is not education. It occupies
but does not enrich the mind. It imparts a stimulus for the time,
and produces a sort of intellectual keenness and cleverness; but,
without an implanted purpose and a higher object than mere
pleasure, it will bring with it no solid advantage. In such cases
knowledge produces but a passing impression; a sensation, but no
more; it is, in fact, the merest epicurism of intelligence -
sensuous, but certainly not intellectual. Thus the best qualities
of many minds, those which are evoked by vigorous effort and
independent action, sleep a deep sleep, and are often never called
to life, except by the rough awakening of sudden calamity or
suffering, which, in such cases, comes as a blessing, if it serves
to rouse up a courageous spirit that, but for it, would have slept

Accustomed to acquire information under the guise of amusement,
young people will soon reject that which is presented to them under
the aspect of study and labour. Learning their knowledge and
science in sport, they will be too apt to make sport of both; while
the habit of intellectual dissipation, thus engendered, cannot
fail, in course of time, to produce a thoroughly emasculating
effect both upon their mind and character. "Multifarious reading,"
said Robertson of Brighton, "weakens the mind like smoking, and is
an excuse for its lying dormant. It is the idlest of all
idlenesses, and leaves more of impotency than any other."

The evil is a growing one, and operates in various ways. Its least
mischief is shallowness; its greatest, the aversion to steady
labour which it induces, and the low and feeble tone of mind which
it encourages. If we would be really wise, we must diligently
apply ourselves, and confront the same continuous application which
our forefathers did; for labour is still, and ever will be, the
inevitable price set upon everything which is valuable. We must be
satisfied to work with a purpose, and wait the results with
patience. All progress, of the best kind, is slow; but to him who
works faithfully and zealously the reward will, doubtless, be
vouchsafed in good time. The spirit of industry, embodied in a
man's daily life, will gradually lead him to exercise his powers on
objects outside himself, of greater dignity and more extended
usefulness. And still we must labour on; for the work of self-
culture is never finished. "To be employed," said the poet Gray,
"is to be happy."  "It is better to wear out than rust out," said
Bishop Cumberland. "Have we not all eternity to rest in?"
exclaimed Arnauld. "Repos ailleurs" was the motto of Marnix de St.
Aldegonde, the energetic and ever-working friend of William the

It is the use we make of the powers entrusted to us, which
constitutes our only just claim to respect. He who employs his one
talent aright is as much to be honoured as he to whom ten talents
have been given. There is really no more personal merit attaching
to the possession of superior intellectual powers than there is in
the succession to a large estate. How are those powers used - how
is that estate employed? The mind may accumulate large stores of
knowledge without any useful purpose; but the knowledge must be
allied to goodness and wisdom, and embodied in upright character,
else it is naught. Pestalozzi even held intellectual training by
itself to be pernicious; insisting that the roots of all knowledge
must strike and feed in the soil of the rightly-governed will. The
acquisition of knowledge may, it is true, protect a man against the
meaner felonies of life; but not in any degree against its selfish
vices, unless fortified by sound principles and habits. Hence do
we find in daily life so many instances of men who are well-
informed in intellect, but utterly deformed in character; filled
with the learning of the schools, yet possessing little practical
wisdom, and offering examples for warning rather than imitation.
An often quoted expression at this day is that "Knowledge is
power;" but so also are fanaticism, despotism, and ambition.
Knowledge of itself, unless wisely directed, might merely make bad
men more dangerous, and the society in which it was regarded as the
highest good, little better than a pandemonium.

It is possible that at this day we may even exaggerate the
importance of literary culture. We are apt to imagine that because
we possess many libraries, institutes, and museums, we are making
great progress. But such facilities may as often be a hindrance as
a help to individual self-culture of the highest kind. The
possession of a library, or the free use of it, no more constitutes
learning, than the possession of wealth constitutes generosity.
Though we undoubtedly possess great facilities it is nevertheless
true, as of old, that wisdom and understanding can only become the
possession of individual men by travelling the old road of
observation, attention, perseverance, and industry. The possession
of the mere materials of knowledge is something very different from
wisdom and understanding, which are reached through a higher kind
of discipline than that of reading, - which is often but a mere
passive reception of other men's thoughts; there being little or no
active effort of mind in the transaction. Then how much of our
reading is but the indulgence of a sort of intellectual dram-
drinking, imparting a grateful excitement for the moment, without
the slightest effect in improving and enriching the mind or
building up the character. Thus many indulge themselves in the
conceit that they are cultivating their minds, when they are only
employed in the humbler occupation of killing time, of which
perhaps the best that can be said is that it keeps them from doing
worse things.

It is also to be borne in mind that the experience gathered from
books, though often valuable, is but of the nature of LEARNING;
whereas the experience gained from actual life is of the nature of
WISDOM; and a small store of the latter is worth vastly more than
any stock of the former. Lord Bolingbroke truly said that
"Whatever study tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us
better men and citizens, is at best but a specious and ingenious
sort of idleness, and the knowledge we acquire by it, only a
creditable kind of ignorance - nothing more."

Useful and instructive though good reading may be, it is yet only
one mode of cultivating the mind; and is much less influential than
practical experience and good example in the formation of
character. There were wise, valiant, and true-hearted men bred in
England, long before the existence of a reading public. Magna
Charta was secured by men who signed the deed with their marks.
Though altogether unskilled in the art of deciphering the literary
signs by which principles were denominated upon paper, they yet
understood and appreciated, and boldly contended for, the things
themselves. Thus the foundations of English liberty were laid by
men, who, though illiterate, were nevertheless of the very highest
stamp of character. And it must be admitted that the chief object
of culture is, not merely to fill the mind with other men's
thoughts, and to be the passive recipient of their impressions of
things, but to enlarge our individual intelligence, and render us
more useful and efficient workers in the sphere of life to which we
may be called. Many of our most energetic and useful workers have
been but sparing readers. Brindley and Stephenson did not learn to
read and write until they reached manhood, and yet they did great
works and lived manly lives; John Hunter could barely read or write
when he was twenty years old, though he could make tables and
chairs with any carpenter in the trade. "I never read," said the
great physiologist when lecturing before his class; "this" -
pointing to some part of the subject before him - "this is the work
that you must study if you wish to become eminent in your
profession."  When told that one of his contemporaries had charged
him with being ignorant of the dead languages, he said, "I would
undertake to teach him that on the dead body which he never knew in
any language, dead or living."

It is not then how much a man may know, that is of importance, but
the end and purpose for which he knows it. The object of knowledge
should be to mature wisdom and improve character, to render us
better, happier, and more useful; more benevolent, more energetic,
and more efficient in the pursuit of every high purpose in life.
"When people once fall into the habit of admiring and encouraging
ability as such, without reference to moral character - and
religious and political opinions are the concrete form of moral
character - they are on the highway to all sorts of degradation."
(30)  We must ourselves BE and DO, and not rest satisfied merely
with reading and meditating over what other men have been and done.
Our best light must be made life, and our best thought action. At
least we ought to be able to say, as Richter did, "I have made as
much out of myself as could be made of the stuff, and no man should
require more;" for it is every man's duty to discipline and guide
himself, with God's help, according to his responsibilities and the
faculties with which he has been endowed.

Self-discipline and self-control are the beginnings of practical
wisdom; and these must have their root in self-respect. Hope
springs from it - hope, which is the companion of power, and the
mother of success; for whoso hopes strongly has within him the gift
of miracles. The humblest may say, "To respect myself, to develop
myself - this is my true duty in life. An integral and responsible
part of the great system of society, I owe it to society and to its
Author not to degrade or destroy either my body, mind, or
instincts. On the contrary, I am bound to the best of my power to
give to those parts of my constitution the highest degree of
perfection possible. I am not only to suppress the evil, but to
evoke the good elements in my nature. And as I respect myself, so
am I equally bound to respect others, as they on their part are
bound to respect me."  Hence mutual respect, justice, and order, of
which law becomes the written record and guarantee.

Self-respect is the noblest garment with which a man may clothe
himself - the most elevating feeling with which the mind can be
inspired. One of Pythagoras's wisest maxims, in his 'Golden
Verses,' is that with which he enjoins the pupil to "reverence
himself."  Borne up by this high idea, he will not defile his body
by sensuality, nor his mind by servile thoughts. This sentiment,
carried into daily life, will be found at the root of all the
virtues - cleanliness, sobriety, chastity, morality, and religion.
"The pious and just honouring of ourselves," said Milton, may be
thought the radical moisture and fountain-head from whence every
laudable and worthy enterprise issues forth."  To think meanly of
one's self, is to sink in one's own estimation as well as in the
estimation of others. And as the thoughts are, so will the acts
be. Man cannot aspire if he look down; if he will rise, he must
look up. The very humblest may be sustained by the proper
indulgence of this feeling. Poverty itself may be lifted and
lighted up by self-respect; and it is truly a noble sight to see a
poor man hold himself upright amidst his temptations, and refuse to
demean himself by low actions.

One way in which self-culture may be degraded is by regarding it
too exclusively as a means of "getting on."  Viewed in this light,
it is unquestionable that education is one of the best investments
of time and labour. In any line of life, intelligence will enable
a man to adapt himself more readily to circumstances, suggest
improved methods of working, and render him more apt, skilled and
effective in all respects. He who works with his head as well as
his hands, will come to look at his business with a clearer eye;
and he will become conscious of increasing power - perhaps the most
cheering consciousness the human mind can cherish. The power of
self-help will gradually grow; and in proportion to a man's self-
respect, will he be armed against the temptation of low
indulgences. Society and its action will be regarded with quite a
new interest, his sympathies will widen and enlarge, and he will
thus be attracted to work for others as well as for himself.

Self-culture may not, however, end in eminence, as in the numerous
instances above cited. The great majority of men, in all times,
however enlightened, must necessarily be engaged in the ordinary
avocations of industry; and no degree of culture which can be
conferred upon the community at large will ever enable them - even
were it desirable, which it is not - to get rid of the daily work
of society, which must be done. But this, we think, may also be
accomplished. We can elevate the condition of labour by allying it
to noble thoughts, which confer a grace upon the lowliest as well
as the highest rank. For no matter how poor or humble a man may
be, the great thinker of this and other days may come in and sit
down with him, and be his companion for the time, though his
dwelling be the meanest hut. It is thus that the habit of well-
directed reading may become a source of the greatest pleasure and
self-improvement, and exercise a gentle coercion, with the most
beneficial results, over the whole tenour of a man's character and
conduct. And even though self-culture may not bring wealth, it
will at all events give one the companionship of elevated thoughts.
A nobleman once contemptuously asked of a sage, "What have you got
by all your philosophy?"  "At least I have got society in myself,"
was the wise man's reply.

But many are apt to feel despondent, and become discouraged in the
work of self-culture, because they do not "get on" in the world so
fast as they think they deserve to do. Having planted their acorn,
they expect to see it grow into an oak at once. They have perhaps
looked upon knowledge in the light of a marketable commodity, and
are consequently mortified because it does not sell as they
expected it would do. Mr. Tremenheere, in one of his 'Education
Reports' (for 1840-1), states that a schoolmaster in Norfolk,
finding his school rapidly falling off, made inquiry into the
cause, and ascertained that the reason given by the majority of the
parents for withdrawing their children was, that they had expected
"education was to make them better off than they were before," but
that having found it had "done them no good," they had taken their
children from school, and would give themselves no further trouble
about education!

The same low idea of self-culture is but too prevalent in other
classes, and is encouraged by the false views of life which are
always more or less current in society. But to regard self-culture
either as a means of getting past others in the world, or of
intellectual dissipation and amusement, rather than as a power to
elevate the character and expand the spiritual nature, is to place
it on a very low level. To use the words of Bacon, "Knowledge is
not a shop for profit or sale, but a rich storehouse for the glory
of the Creator and the relief of man's estate."  It is doubtless
most honourable for a man to labour to elevate himself, and to
better his condition in society, but this is not to be done at the
sacrifice of himself. To make the mind the mere drudge of the
body, is putting it to a very servile use; and to go about whining
and bemoaning our pitiful lot because we fail in achieving that
success in life which, after all, depends rather upon habits of
industry and attention to business details than upon knowledge, is
the mark of a small, and often of a sour mind. Such a temper
cannot better be reproved than in the words of Robert Southey, who
thus wrote to a friend who sought his counsel: "I would give you
advice if it could be of use; but there is no curing those who
choose to be diseased. A good man and a wise man may at times be
angry with the world, at times grieved for it; but be sure no man
was ever discontented with the world if he did his duty in it. If
a man of education, who has health, eyes, hands, and leisure, wants
an object, it is only because God Almighty has bestowed all those
blessings upon a man who does not deserve them."

Another way in which education may be prostituted is by employing
it as a mere means of intellectual dissipation and amusement. Many
are the ministers to this taste in our time. There is almost a
mania for frivolity and excitement, which exhibits itself in many
forms in our popular literature. To meet the public taste, our
books and periodicals must now be highly spiced, amusing, and
comic, not disdaining slang, and illustrative of breaches of all
laws, human and divine. Douglas Jerrold once observed of this
tendency, "I am convinced the world will get tired (at least I hope
so) of this eternal guffaw about all things. After all, life has
something serious in it. It cannot be all a comic history of
humanity. Some men would, I believe, write a Comic Sermon on the
Mount. Think of a Comic History of England, the drollery of
Alfred, the fun of Sir Thomas More, the farce of his daughter
begging the dead head and clasping it in her coffin on her bosom.
Surely the world will be sick of this blasphemy."  John Sterling,
in a like spirit, said:- "Periodicals and novels are to all in this
generation, but more especially to those whose minds are still
unformed and in the process of formation, a new and more effectual
substitute for the plagues of Egypt, vermin that corrupt the
wholesome waters and infest our chambers."

As a rest from toil and a relaxation from graver pursuits, the
perusal of a well-written story, by a writer of genius, is a high
intellectual pleasure; and it is a description of literature to
which all classes of readers, old and young, are attracted as by a
powerful instinct; nor would we have any of them debarred from its
enjoyment in a reasonable degree. But to make it the exclusive
literary diet, as some do, - to devour the garbage with which the
shelves of circulating libraries are filled, - and to occupy the
greater portion of the leisure hours in studying the preposterous
pictures of human life which so many of them present, is worse than
waste of time: it is positively pernicious. The habitual novel-
reader indulges in fictitious feelings so much, that there is great
risk of sound and healthy feeling becoming perverted or benumbed.
"I never go to hear a tragedy," said a gay man once to the
Archbishop of York, "it wears my heart out."  The literary pity
evoked by fiction leads to no corresponding action; the
susceptibilities which it excites involve neither inconvenience nor
self-sacrifice; so that the heart that is touched too often by the
fiction may at length become insensible to the reality. The steel
is gradually rubbed out of the character, and it insensibly loses
its vital spring. "Drawing fine pictures of virtue in one's mind,"
said Bishop Butler, "is so far from necessarily or certainly
conducive to form a HABIT of it in him who thus employs himself,
that it may even harden the mind in a contrary course, and render
it gradually more insensible."

Amusement in moderation is wholesome, and to be commended; but
amusement in excess vitiates the whole nature, and is a thing to be
carefully guarded against. The maxim is often quoted of "All work
and no play makes Jack a dull boy;" but all play and no work makes
him something greatly worse. Nothing can be more hurtful to a
youth than to have his soul sodden with pleasure. The best
qualities of his mind are impaired; common enjoyments become
tasteless; his appetite for the higher kind of pleasures is
vitiated; and when he comes to face the work and the duties of
life, the result is usually aversion and disgust. "Fast" men waste
and exhaust the powers of life, and dry up the sources of true
happiness. Having forestalled their spring, they can produce no
healthy growth of either character or intellect. A child without
simplicity, a maiden without innocence, a boy without truthfulness,
are not more piteous sights than the man who has wasted and thrown
away his youth in self-indulgence. Mirabeau said of himself, "My
early years have already in a great measure disinherited the
succeeding ones, and dissipated a great part of my vital powers."
As the wrong done to another to-day returns upon ourselves to-
morrow, so the sins of our youth rise up in our age to scourge us.
When Lord Bacon says that "strength of nature in youth passeth over
many excesses which are owing a man until he is old," he exposes a
physical as well as a moral fact which cannot be too well weighed
in the conduct of life. "I assure you," wrote Giusti the Italian
to a friend, "I pay a heavy price for existence. It is true that
our lives are not at our own disposal. Nature pretends to give
them gratis at the beginning, and then sends in her account."  The
worst of youthful indiscretions is, not that they destroy health,
so much as that they sully manhood. The dissipated youth becomes a
tainted man; and often he cannot be pure, even if he would. If
cure there be, it is only to be found in inoculating the mind with
a fervent spirit of duty, and in energetic application to useful

One of the most gifted of Frenchmen, in point of great intellectual
endowments, was Benjamin Constant; but, BLASE at twenty, his life
was only a prolonged wail, instead of a harvest of the great deeds
which he was capable of accomplishing with ordinary diligence and
self-control. He resolved upon doing so many things, which he
never did, that people came to speak of him as Constant the
Inconstant. He was a fluent and brilliant writer, and cherished
the ambition of writing works, "which the world would not willingly
let die."  But whilst Constant affected the highest thinking,
unhappily he practised the lowest living; nor did the
transcendentalism of his books atone for the meanness of his life.
He frequented the gaming-tables while engaged in preparing his work
upon religion, and carried on a disreputable intrigue while writing
his 'Adolphe.'  With all his powers of intellect, he was powerless,
because he had no faith in virtue. "Bah!" said he, "what are
honour and dignity? The longer I live, the more clearly I see
there is nothing in them."  It was the howl of a miserable man. He
described himself as but "ashes and dust."  "I pass," said he,
"like a shadow over the earth, accompanied by misery and ENNUI."
He wished for Voltaire's energy, which he would rather have
possessed than his genius. But he had no strength of purpose -
nothing but wishes: his life, prematurely exhausted, had become
but a heap of broken links. He spoke of himself as a person with
one foot in the air. He admitted that he had no principles, and no
moral consistency. Hence, with his splendid talents, he contrived
to do nothing; and, after living many years miserable, he died worn
out and wretched.

The career of Augustin Thierry, the author of the 'History of the
Norman Conquest,' affords an admirable contrast to that of
Constant. His entire life presented a striking example of
perseverance, diligence, self culture, and untiring devotion to
knowledge. In the pursuit he lost his eyesight, lost his health,
but never lost his love of truth. When so feeble that he was
carried from room to room, like a helpless infant, in the arms of a
nurse, his brave spirit never failed him; and blind and helpless
though he was, he concluded his literary career in the following
noble words:- "If, as I think, the interest of science is counted
in the number of great national interests, I have given my country
all that the soldier, mutilated on the field of battle, gives her.
Whatever may be the fate of my labours, this example, I hope, will
not be lost. I would wish it to serve to combat the species of
moral weakness which is THE DISEASE of our present generation; to
bring back into the straight road of life some of those enervated
souls that complain of wanting faith, that know not what to do, and
seek everywhere, without finding it, an object of worship and
admiration. Why say, with so much bitterness, that in the world,
constituted as it is, there is no air for all lungs - no employment
for all minds? Is not calm and serious study there? and is not
that a refuge, a hope, a field within the reach of all of us? With
it, evil days are passed over without their weight being felt.
Every one can make his own destiny - every one employ his life
nobly. This is what I have done, and would do again if I had to
recommence my career; I would choose that which has brought me
where I am. Blind, and suffering without hope, and almost without
intermission, I may give this testimony, which from me will not
appear suspicious. There is something in the world better than
sensual enjoyments, better than fortune, better than health itself
- it is devotion to knowledge."

Coleridge, in many respects, resembled Constant. He possessed
equally brilliant powers, but was similarly infirm of purpose.
With all his great intellectual gifts, he wanted the gift of
industry, and was averse to continuous labour. He wanted also the
sense of independence, and thought it no degradation to leave his
wife and children to be maintained by the brain-work of the noble
Southey, while he himself retired to Highgate Grove to discourse
transcendentalism to his disciples, looking down contemptuously
upon the honest work going forward beneath him amidst the din and
smoke of London. With remunerative employment at his command he
stooped to accept the charity of friends; and, notwithstanding his
lofty ideas of philosophy, he condescended to humiliations from
which many a day-labourer would have shrunk. How different in
spirit was Southey! labouring not merely at work of his own choice,
and at taskwork often tedious and distasteful, but also
unremittingly and with the utmost eagerness seeking and storing
knowledge purely for the love of it. Every day, every hour had its
allotted employment: engagements to publishers requiring punctual
fulfilment; the current expenses of a large household duty to
provide: for Southey had no crop growing while his pen was idle.
"My ways," he used to say, "are as broad as the king's high-road,
and my means lie in an inkstand."

Robert Nicoll wrote to a friend, after reading the 'Recollections
of Coleridge,' "What a mighty intellect was lost in that man for
want of a little energy - a little determination!"  Nicoll himself
was a true and brave spirit, who died young, but not before he had
encountered and overcome great difficulties in life. At his
outset, while carrying on a small business as a bookseller, he
found himself weighed down with a debt of only twenty pounds, which
he said he felt "weighing like a millstone round his neck," and
that, "if he had it paid he never would borrow again from mortal
man."  Writing to his mother at the time he said, "Fear not for me,
dear mother, for I feel myself daily growing firmer and more
hopeful in spirit. The more I think and reflect - and thinking,
not reading, is now my occupation - I feel that, whether I be
growing richer or not, I am growing a wiser man, which is far
better. Pain, poverty, and all the other wild beasts of life which
so affrighten others, I am so bold as to think I could look in the
face without shrinking, without losing respect for myself, faith in
man's high destinies, or trust in God. There is a point which it
costs much mental toil and struggling to gain, but which, when once
gained, a man can look down from, as a traveller from a lofty
mountain, on storms raging below, while he is walking in sunshine.
That I have yet gained this point in life I will not say, but I
feel myself daily nearer to it."

It is not ease, but effort - not facility, but difficulty, that
makes men. There is, perhaps, no station in life, in which
difficulties have not to be encountered and overcome before any
decided measure of success can be achieved. Those difficulties
are, however, our best instructors, as our mistakes often form our
best experience. Charles James Fox was accustomed to say that he
hoped more from a man who failed, and yet went on in spite of his
failure, than from the buoyant career of the successful. "It is
all very well," said he, "to tell me that a young man has
distinguished himself by a brilliant first speech. He may go on,
or he may be satisfied with his first triumph; but show me a young
man who has NOT succeeded at first, and nevertheless has gone on,
and I will back that young man to do better than most of those who
have succeeded at the first trial."

We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often
discover what WILL do, by finding out what will not do; and
probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery. It
was the failure in the attempt to make a sucking-pump act, when the
working bucket was more than thirty-three feet above the surface of
the water to be raised, that led observant men to study the law of
atmospheric pressure, and opened a new field of research to the
genius of Galileo, Torrecelli, and Boyle. John Hunter used to
remark that the art of surgery would not advance until professional
men had the courage to publish their failures as well as their
successes. Watt the engineer said, of all things most wanted in
mechanical engineering was a history of failures: "We want," he
said, "a book of blots."  When Sir Humphry Davy was once shown a
dexterously manipulated experiment, he said - "I thank God I was
not made a dexterous manipulator, for the most important of my
discoveries have been suggested to me by failures."  Another
distinguished investigator in physical science has left it on
record that, whenever in the course of his researches he
encountered an apparently insuperable obstacle, he generally found
himself on the brink of some discovery. The very greatest things -
great thoughts, discoveries, inventions - have usually been
nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow, and at length
established with difficulty.

Beethoven said of Rossini, that he had in him the stuff to have
made a good musician if he had only, when a boy, been well flogged;
but that he had been spoilt by the facility with which he produced.
Men who feel their strength within them need not fear to encounter
adverse opinions; they have far greater reason to fear undue praise
and too friendly criticism. When Mendelssohn was about to enter
the orchestra at Birmingham, on the first performance of his
'Elijah,' he said laughingly to one of his friends and critics,
"Stick your claws into me! Don't tell me what you like, but what
you don't like!"

It has been said, and truly, that it is the defeat that tries the
general more than the victory. Washington lost more battles than
he gained; but he succeeded in the end. The Romans, in their most
victorious campaigns, almost invariably began with defeats. Moreau
used to be compared by his companions to a drum, which nobody hears
of except it be beaten. Wellington's military genius was perfected
by encounter with difficulties of apparently the most overwhelming
character, but which only served to nerve his resolution, and bring
out more prominently his great qualities as a man and a general.
So the skilful mariner obtains his best experience amidst storms
and tempests, which train him to self-reliance, courage, and the
highest discipline; and we probably own to rough seas and wintry
nights the best training of our race of British seamen, who are,
certainly, not surpassed by any in the world.

Necessity may be a hard schoolmistress, but she is generally found
the best. Though the ordeal of adversity is one from which we
naturally shrink, yet, when it comes, we must bravely and manfully
encounter it. Burns says truly,

"Though losses and crosses
Be lessons right severe,
There's wit there, you'll get there,
You'll find no other where."

"Sweet indeed are the uses of adversity."  They reveal to us our
powers, and call forth our energies. If there be real worth in the
character, like sweet herbs, it will give forth its finest
fragrance when pressed. "Crosses," says the old proverb, "are the
ladders that lead to heaven."  "What is even poverty itself," asks
Richter, "that a man should murmur under it? It is but as the pain
of piercing a maiden's ear, and you hang precious jewels in the
wound."  In the experience of life it is found that the wholesome
discipline of adversity in strong natures usually carries with it a
self-preserving influence. Many are found capable of bravely
bearing up under privations, and cheerfully encountering
obstructions, who are afterwards found unable to withstand the more
dangerous influences of prosperity. It is only a weak man whom the
wind deprives of his cloak: a man of average strength is more in
danger of losing it when assailed by the beams of a too genial sun.
Thus it often needs a higher discipline and a stronger character to
bear up under good fortune than under adverse. Some generous
natures kindle and warm with prosperity, but there are many on whom
wealth has no such influence. Base hearts it only hardens, making
those who were mean and servile, mean and proud. But while
prosperity is apt to harden the heart to pride, adversity in a man
of resolution will serve to ripen it into fortitude. To use the
words of Burke, "Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by
the supreme ordinance of a parental guardian and instructor, who
knows us better than we know ourselves, as He loves us better too.
He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our
skill: our antagonist is thus our helper."  Without the necessity
of encountering difficulty, life might be easier, but men would be
worth less. For trials, wisely improved, train the character, and
teach self-help; thus hardship itself may often prove the
wholesomest discipline for us, though we recognise it not. When
the gallant young Hodson, unjustly removed from his Indian command,
felt himself sore pressed down by unmerited calumny and reproach,
he yet preserved the courage to say to a friend, "I strive to look
the worst boldly in the face, as I would an enemy in the field, and
to do my appointed work resolutely and to the best of my ability,
satisfied that there is a reason for all; and that even irksome
duties well done bring their own reward, and that, if not, still
they ARE duties."

The battle of life is, in most cases, fought up-hill; and to win it
without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honour. If there
were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were
nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.
Difficulties may intimidate the weak, but they act only as a
wholesome stimulus to men of resolution and valour. All experience
of life indeed serves to prove that the impediments thrown in the
way of human advancement may for the most part be overcome by
steady good conduct, honest zeal, activity, perseverance, and above
all by a determined resolution to surmount difficulties, and stand
up manfully against misfortune.

The school of Difficulty is the best school of moral discipline,
for nations as for individuals. Indeed, the history of difficulty
would be but a history of all the great and good things that have
yet been accomplished by men. It is hard to say how much northern
nations owe to their encounter with a comparatively rude and
changeable climate and an originally sterile soil, which is one of
the necessities of their condition, - involving a perennial
struggle with difficulties such as the natives of sunnier climes
know nothing of. And thus it may be, that though our finest
products are exotic, the skill and industry which have been
necessary to rear them, have issued in the production of a native
growth of men not surpassed on the globe.

Wherever there is difficulty, the individual man must come out for
better for worse. Encounter with it will train his strength, and
discipline his skill; heartening him for future effort, as the
racer, by being trained to run against the hill, at length courses
with facility. The road to success may be steep to climb, and it
puts to the proof the energies of him who would reach the summit.
But by experience a man soon learns that obstacles are to be
overcome by grappling with them, - that the nettle feels as soft as
silk when it is boldly grasped, - and that the most effective help
towards realizing the object proposed is the moral conviction that
we can and will accomplish it. Thus difficulties often fall away
of themselves before the determination to overcome them.

Much will be done if we do but try. Nobody knows what he can do
till he has tried; and few try their best till they have been
forced to do it. "IF I could do such and such a thing," sighs the
desponding youth. But nothing will be done if he only wishes. The
desire must ripen into purpose and effort; and one energetic
attempt is worth a thousand aspirations. It is these thorny "ifs"
- the mutterings of impotence and despair - which so often hedge
round the field of possibility, and prevent anything being done or
even attempted. "A difficulty," said Lord Lyndhurst, "is a thing
to be overcome;" grapple with it at once; facility will come with
practice, and strength and fortitude with repeated effort. Thus
the mind and character may be trained to an almost perfect
discipline, and enabled to act with a grace, spirit, and liberty,
almost incomprehensible to those who have not passed through a
similar experience.

Everything that we learn is the mastery of a difficulty; and the
mastery of one helps to the mastery of others. Things which may at
first sight appear comparatively valueless in education - such as
the study of the dead languages, and the relations of lines and
surfaces which we call mathematics - are really of the greatest
practical value, not so much because of the information which they
yield, as because of the development which they compel. The
mastery of these studies evokes effort, and cultivates powers of
application, which otherwise might have lain dormant, Thus one
thing leads to another, and so the work goes on through life -
encounter with difficulty ending only when life and culture end.
But indulging in the feeling of discouragement never helped any one
over a difficulty, and never will. D'Alembert's advice to the
student who complained to him about his want of success in
mastering the first elements of mathematics was the right one - "Go
on, sir, and faith and strength will come to you."

The danseuse who turns a pirouette, the violinist who plays a
sonata, have acquired their dexterity by patient repetition and
after many failures. Carissimi, when praised for the ease and
grace of his melodies, exclaimed, "Ah! you little know with what
difficulty this ease has been acquired."  Sir Joshua Reynolds, when
once asked how long it had taken him to paint a certain picture,
replied, "All my life."  Henry Clay, the American orator, when
giving advice to young men, thus described to them the secret of
his success in the cultivation of his art: "I owe my success in
life," said he, "chiefly to one circumstance - that at the age of
twenty-seven I commenced, and continued for years, the process of
daily reading and speaking upon the contents of some historical or
scientific book. These off-hand efforts were made, sometimes in a
cornfield, at others in the forest, and not unfrequently in some
distant barn, with the horse and the ox for my auditors. It is to
this early practice of the art of all arts that I am indebted for
the primary and leading impulses that stimulated me onward and have
shaped and moulded my whole subsequent destiny."

Curran, the Irish orator, when a youth, had a strong defect in his
articulation, and at school he was known as "stuttering Jack
Curran."  While he was engaged in the study of the law, and still
struggling to overcome his defect, he was stung into eloquence by
the sarcasms of a member of a debating club, who characterised him
as "Orator Mum;" for, like Cowper, when he stood up to speak on a
previous occasion, Curran had not been able to utter a word. The
taunt stung him and he replied in a triumphant speech. This
accidental discovery in himself of the gift of eloquence encouraged
him to proceed in his studies with renewed energy. He corrected
his enunciation by reading aloud, emphatically and distinctly, the
best passages in literature, for several hours every day, studying
his features before a mirror, and adopting a method of
gesticulation suited to his rather awkward and ungraceful figure.
He also proposed cases to himself, which he argued with as much
care as if he had been addressing a jury. Curran began business
with the qualification which Lord Eldon stated to be the first
requisite for distinction, that is, "to be not worth a shilling."
While working his way laboriously at the bar, still oppressed by
the diffidence which had overcome him in his debating club, he was
on one occasion provoked by the Judge (Robinson) into making a very
severe retort. In the case under discussion, Curran observed "that
he had never met the law as laid down by his lordship in any book
in his library."  "That may be, sir," said the judge, in a
contemptuous tone, "but I suspect that YOUR library is very small."
His lordship was notoriously a furious political partisan, the
author of several anonymous pamphlets characterised by unusual
violence and dogmatism. Curran, roused by the allusion to his
straitened circumstances, replied thus; "It is very true, my lord,
that I am poor, and the circumstance has certainly curtailed my
library; my books are not numerous, but they are select, and I hope
they have been perused with proper dispositions. I have prepared
myself for this high profession by the study of a few good works,
rather than by the composition of a great many bad ones. I am not
ashamed of my poverty; but I should be ashamed of my wealth, could
I have stooped to acquire it by servility and corruption. If I
rise not to rank, I shall at least be honest; and should I ever
cease to be so, many an example shows me that an ill-gained
elevation, by making me the more conspicuous, would only make me
the more universally and the more notoriously contemptible."

The extremest poverty has been no obstacle in the way of men
devoted to the duty of self-culture. Professor Alexander Murray,
the linguist, learnt to write by scribbling his letters on an old
wool-card with the end of a burnt heather stem. The only book
which his father, who was a poor shepherd, possessed, was a penny
Shorter Catechism; but that, being thought too valuable for common
use, was carefully preserved in a cupboard for the Sunday
catechisings. Professor Moor, when a young man, being too poor to
purchase Newton's 'Principia,' borrowed the book, and copied the
whole of it with his own hand. Many poor students, while labouring
daily for their living, have only been able to snatch an atom of
knowledge here and there at intervals, as birds do their food in
winter time when the fields are covered with snow. They have
struggled on, and faith and hope have come to them. A well-known
author and publisher, William Chambers, of Edinburgh, speaking
before an assemblage of young men in that city, thus briefly
described to them his humble beginnings, for their encouragement:
"I stand before you," he said, "a self-educated man. My education
was that which is supplied at the humble parish schools of
Scotland; and it was only when I went to Edinburgh, a poor boy,
that I devoted my evenings, after the labours of the day, to the
cultivation of that intellect which the Almighty has given me.
From seven or eight in the morning till nine or ten at night was I
at my business as a bookseller's apprentice, and it was only during
hours after these, stolen from sleep, that I could devote myself to
study. I did not read novels: my attention was devoted to
physical science, and other useful matters. I also taught myself
French. I look back to those times with great pleasure, and am
almost sorry I have not to go through the same experience again;
for I reaped more pleasure when I had not a sixpence in my pocket,
studying in a garret in Edinburgh, then I now find when sitting
amidst all the elegancies and comforts of a parlour."

William Cobbett's account of how he learnt English Grammar is full
of interest and instruction for all students labouring under
difficulties. "I learned grammar," said he, "when I was a private
soldier on the pay of sixpence a day. The edge of my berth, or
that of my guard-bed, was my seat to study in; my knapsack was my
book-case; a bit of board lying on my lap was my writing-table; and
the task did not demand anything like a year of my life. I had no
money to purchase candle or oil; in winter time it was rarely that
I could get any evening light but that of the fire, and only my
turn even of that. And if I, under such circumstances, and without
parent or friend to advise or encourage me, accomplished this
undertaking, what excuse can there be for any youth, however poor,
however pressed with business, or however circumstanced as to room
or other conveniences? To buy a pen or a sheet of paper I was
compelled to forego some portion of food, though in a state of
half-starvation: I had no moment of time that I could call my own;
and I had to read and to write amidst the talking, laughing,
singing, whistling, and brawling of at least half a score of the
most thoughtless of men, and that, too, in the hours of their
freedom from all control. Think not lightly of the farthing that I
had to give, now and then, for ink, pen, or paper! That farthing
was, alas! a great sum to me! I was as tall as I am now; I had
great health and great exercise. The whole of the money, not
expended for us at market, was two-pence a week for each man. I
remember, and well I may! that on one occasion I, after all
necessary expenses, had, on a Friday, made shifts to have a
halfpenny in reserve, which I had destined for the purchase of a
redherring in the morning; but, when I pulled off my clothes at
night, so hungry then as to be hardly able to endure life, I found
that I had lost my halfpenny! I buried my head under the miserable
sheet and rug, and cried like a child! And again I say, if, I,
under circumstances like these, could encounter and overcome this
task, is there, can there be, in the whole world, a youth to find
an excuse for the non-performance?"

We have been informed of an equally striking instance of
perseverance and application in learning on the part of a French
political exile in London. His original occupation was that of a
stonemason, at which he found employment for some time; but work
becoming slack, he lost his place, and poverty stared him in the
face. In his dilemma he called upon a fellow exile profitably
engaged in teaching French, and consulted him what he ought to do
to earn a living. The answer was, "Become a professor!"  "A
professor?" answered the mason - "I, who am only a workman,
speaking but a patois! Surely you are jesting?"  "On the contrary,
I am quite serious," said the other, "and again I advise you -
become a professor; place yourself under me, and I will undertake
to teach you how to teach others."  "No, no!" replied the mason,
"it is impossible; I am too old to learn; I am too little of a
scholar; I cannot be a professor."  He went away, and again he
tried to obtain employment at his trade. From London he went into
the provinces, and travelled several hundred miles in vain; he
could not find a master. Returning to London, he went direct to
his former adviser, and said, "I have tried everywhere for work,
and failed; I will now try to be a professor!"  He immediately
placed himself under instruction; and being a man of close
application, of quick apprehension, and vigorous intelligence, he
speedily mastered the elements of grammar, the rules of
construction and composition, and (what he had still in a great
measure to learn) the correct pronunciation of classical French.
When his friend and instructor thought him sufficiently competent
to undertake the teaching of others, an appointment, advertised as
vacant, was applied for and obtained; and behold our artisan at
length become professor! It so happened, that the seminary to
which he was appointed was situated in a suburb of London where he
had formerly worked as a stonemason; and every morning the first
thing which met his eyes on looking out of his dressing-room window
was a stack of cottage chimneys which he had himself built! He
feared for a time lest he should be recognised in the village as
the quondam workman, and thus bring discredit on his seminary,
which was of high standing. But he need have been under no such
apprehension, as he proved a most efficient teacher, and his pupils
were on more than one occasion publicly complimented for their
knowledge of French. Meanwhile, he secured the respect and
friendship of all who knew him - fellow-professors as well as
pupils; and when the story of his struggles, his difficulties, and
his past history, became known to them, they admired him more than

Sir Samuel Romilly was not less indefatigable as a self-cultivator.
The son of a jeweller, descended from a French refugee, he received
little education in his early years, but overcame all his
disadvantages by unwearied application, and by efforts constantly
directed towards the same end. "I determined," he says, in his
autobiography, "when I was between fifteen and sixteen years of
age, to apply myself seriously to learning Latin, of which I, at
that time, knew little more than some of the most familiar rules of
grammar. In the course of three or four years, during which I thus
applied myself, I had read almost every prose writer of the age of
pure Latinity, except those who have treated merely of technical
subjects, such as Varro, Columella, and Celsus. I had gone three
times through the whole of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus. I had
studied the most celebrated orations of Cicero, and translated a
great deal of Homer. Terence, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Juvenal, I
had read over and over again."  He also studied geography, natural
history, and natural philosophy, and obtained a considerable
acquaintance with general knowledge. At sixteen he was articled to
a clerk in Chancery; worked hard; was admitted to the bar; and his
industry and perseverance ensured success. He became Solicitor-
General under the Fox administration in 1806, and steadily worked
his way to the highest celebrity in his profession. Yet he was
always haunted by a painful and almost oppressive sense of his own
disqualifications, and never ceased labouring to remedy them. His
autobiography is a lesson of instructive facts, worth volumes of
sentiment, and well deserves a careful perusal.

Sir Walter Scott was accustomed to cite the case of his young
friend John Leyden as one of the most remarkable illustrations of
the power of perseverance which he had ever known. The son of a
shepherd in one of the wildest valleys of Roxburghshire, he was
almost entirely self educated. Like many Scotch shepherds' sons -
like Hogg, who taught himself to write by copying the letters of a
printed book as he lay watching his flock on the hill-side - like
Cairns, who from tending sheep on the Lammermoors, raised himself
by dint of application and industry to the professor's chair which
he now so worthily holds - like Murray, Ferguson, and many more,
Leyden was early inspired by a thirst for knowledge. When a poor
barefooted boy, he walked six or eight miles across the moors daily
to learn reading at the little village schoolhouse of Kirkton; and
this was all the education he received; the rest he acquired for
himself. He found his way to Edinburgh to attend the college
there, setting the extremest penury at defiance. He was first
discovered as a frequenter of a small bookseller's shop kept by
Archibald Constable, afterwards so well known as a publisher. He
would pass hour after hour perched on a ladder in mid-air, with
some great folio in his hand, forgetful of the scanty meal of bread
and water which awaited him at his miserable lodging. Access to
books and lectures comprised all within the bounds of his wishes.
Thus he toiled and battled at the gates of science until his
unconquerable perseverance carried everything before it. Before he
had attained his nineteenth year he had astonished all the
professors in Edinburgh by his profound knowledge of Greek and
Latin, and the general mass of information he had acquired. Having
turned his views to India, he sought employment in the civil
service, but failed. He was however informed that a surgeon's
assistant's commission was open to him. But he was no surgeon, and
knew no more of the profession than a child. He could however
learn. Then he was told that he must be ready to pass in six
months! Nothing daunted, he set to work, to acquire in six months
what usually required three years. At the end of six months he
took his degree with honour. Scott and a few friends helped to fit
him out; and he sailed for India, after publishing his beautiful
poem 'The Scenes of Infancy.'  In India he promised to become one
of the greatest of oriental scholars, but was unhappily cut off by
fever caught by exposure, and died at an early age.

The life of the late Dr. Lee, Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge,
furnishes one of the most remarkable instances in modern times of
the power of patient perseverance and resolute purpose in working
out an honourable career in literature. He received his education
at a charity school at Lognor, near Shrewsbury, but so little
distinguished himself there, that his master pronounced him one of
the dullest boys that ever passed through his hands. He was put
apprentice to a carpenter, and worked at that trade until he
arrived at manhood. To occupy his leisure hours he took to
reading; and, some of the books containing Latin quotations, he
became desirous of ascertaining what they meant. He bought a Latin
grammar, and proceeded to learn Latin. As Stone, the Duke of
Argyle's gardener, said, long before, "Does one need to know
anything more than the twenty-four letters in order to learn
everything else that one wishes?"  Lee rose early and sat up late,
and he succeeded in mastering the Latin before his apprenticeship
was out. Whilst working one day in some place of worship, a copy
of a Greek Testament fell in his way, and he was immediately filled
with the desire to learn that language. He accordingly sold some
of his Latin books, and purchased a Greek Grammar and Lexicon.
Taking pleasure in learning, he soon mastered the language. Then
he sold his Greek books, and bought Hebrew ones, and learnt that
language, unassisted by any instructor, without any hope of fame or
reward, but simply following the bent of his genius. He next
proceeded to learn the Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan dialects.
But his studies began to tell upon his health, and brought on
disease in his eyes through his long night watchings with his
books. Having laid them aside for a time and recovered his health,
he went on with his daily work. His character as a tradesman being
excellent, his business improved, and his means enabled him to
marry, which he did when twenty-eight years old. He determined now
to devote himself to the maintenance of his family, and to renounce
the luxury of literature; accordingly he sold all his books. He
might have continued a working carpenter all his life, had not the
chest of tools upon which he depended for subsistence been
destroyed by fire, and destitution stared him in the face. He was
too poor to buy new tools, so he bethought him of teaching children
their letters, - a profession requiring the least possible capital.
But though he had mastered many languages, he was so defective in
the common branches of knowledge, that at first he could not teach
them. Resolute of purpose, however, he assiduously set to work,
and taught himself arithmetic and writing to such a degree as to be
able to impart the knowledge of these branches to little children.
His unaffected, simple, and beautiful character gradually attracted
friends, and the acquirements of the "learned carpenter" became
bruited abroad. Dr. Scott, a neighbouring clergyman, obtained for
him the appointment of master of a charity school in Shrewsbury,
and introduced him to a distinguished Oriental scholar. These
friends supplied him with books, and Lee successively mastered
Arabic, Persic, and Hindostanee. He continued to pursue his
studies while on duty as a private in the local militia of the
county; gradually acquiring greater proficiency in languages. At
length his kind patron, Dr. Scott, enabled Lee to enter Queen's
College, Cambridge; and after a course of study, in which he
distinguished himself by his mathematical acquirements, a vacancy
occurring in the professorship of Arabic and Hebrew, he was
worthily elected to fill the honourable office. Besides ably
performing his duties as a professor, he voluntarily gave much of
his time to the instruction of missionaries going forth to preach
the Gospel to eastern tribes in their own tongue. He also made
translations of the Bible into several Asiatic dialects; and having
mastered the New Zealand language, he arranged a grammar and
vocabulary for two New Zealand chiefs who were then in England,
which books are now in daily use in the New Zealand schools. Such,
in brief, is the remarkable history of Dr. Samuel Lee; and it is
but the counterpart of numerous similarly instructive examples of
the power of perseverance in self-culture, as displayed in the
lives of many of the most distinguished of our literary and
scientific men.

There are many other illustrious names which might be cited to
prove the truth of the common saying that "it is never too late to
learn."  Even at advanced years men can do much, if they will
determine on making a beginning. Sir Henry Spelman did not begin
the study of science until he was between fifty and sixty years of
age. Franklin was fifty before he fully entered upon the study of
Natural Philosophy. Dryden and Scott were not known as authors
until each was in his fortieth year. Boccaccio was thirty-five
when he commenced his literary career, and Alfieri was forty-six
when he began the study of Greek. Dr. Arnold learnt German at an
advanced age, for the purpose of reading Niebuhr in the original;
and in like manner James Watt, when about forty, while working at
his trade of an instrument maker in Glasgow, learnt French, German,
and Italian, to enable himself to peruse the valuable works on
mechanical philosophy which existed in those languages. Thomas
Scott was fifty-six before he began to learn Hebrew. Robert Hall
was once found lying upon the floor, racked by pain, learning
Italian in his old age, to enable him to judge of the parallel
drawn by Macaulay between Milton and Dante. Handel was forty-eight
before he published any of his great works. Indeed hundreds of
instances might be given of men who struck out an entirely new
path, and successfully entered on new studies, at a comparatively
advanced time of life. None but the frivolous or the indolent will
say, "I am too old to learn." (31)

And here we would repeat what we have said before, that it is not
men of genius who move the world and take the lead in it, so much
as men of steadfastness, purpose, and indefatigable industry.
Notwithstanding the many undeniable instances of the precocity of
men of genius, it is nevertheless true that early cleverness gives
no indication of the height to which the grown man will reach.
Precocity is sometimes a symptom of disease rather than of
intellectual vigour. What becomes of all the "remarkably clever
children?"  Where are the duxes and prize boys? Trace them through
life, and it will frequently be found that the dull boys, who were
beaten at school, have shot ahead of them. The clever boys are
rewarded, but the prizes which they gain by their greater quickness
and facility do not always prove of use to them. What ought rather
to be rewarded is the endeavour, the struggle, and the obedience;
for it is the youth who does his best, though endowed with an
inferiority of natural powers, that ought above all others to be

An interesting chapter might be written on the subject of
illustrious dunces - dull boys, but brilliant men. We have room,
however, for only a few instances. Pietro di Cortona, the painter,
was thought so stupid that he was nicknamed "Ass's Head" when a
boy; and Tomaso Guidi was generally known as "Heavy Tom" (Massaccio
Tomasaccio), though by diligence he afterwards raised himself to
the highest eminence. Newton, when at school, stood at the bottom
of the lowest form but one. The boy above Newton having kicked
him, the dunce showed his pluck by challenging him to a fight, and
beat him. Then he set to work with a will, and determined also to
vanquish his antagonist as a scholar, which he did, rising to the
top of his class. Many of our greatest divines have been anything
but precocious. Isaac Barrow, when a boy at the Charterhouse
School, was notorious chiefly for his strong temper, pugnacious
habits, and proverbial idleness as a scholar; and he caused such
grief to his parents that his father used to say that, if it
pleased God to take from him any of his children, he hoped it might
be Isaac, the least promising of them all. Adam Clarke, when a
boy, was proclaimed by his father to be "a grievous dunce;" though
he could roll large stones about. Dean Swift was "plucked" at
Dublin University, and only obtained his recommendation to Oxford
"speciali gratia."  The well-known Dr. Chalmers and Dr. Cook (32)
were boys together at the parish school of St. Andrew's; and they
were found so stupid and mischievous, that the master, irritated
beyond measure, dismissed them both as incorrigible dunces.

The brilliant Sheridan showed so little capacity as a boy, that he
was presented to a tutor by his mother with the complimentary
accompaniment that he was an incorrigible dunce. Walter Scott was
all but a dunce when a boy, always much readier for a "bicker,"
than apt at his lessons. At the Edinburgh University, Professor
Dalzell pronounced upon him the sentence that "Dunce he was, and
dunce he would remain."  Chatterton was returned on his mother's
hands as "a fool, of whom nothing could be made."  Burns was a dull
boy, good only at athletic exercises. Goldsmith spoke of himself,
as a plant that flowered late. Alfieri left college no wiser than
he entered it, and did not begin the studies by which he
distinguished himself, until he had run half over Europe. Robert
Clive was a dunce, if not a reprobate, when a youth; but always
full of energy, even in badness. His family, glad to get rid of
him, shipped him off to Madras; and he lived to lay the foundations
of the British power in India. Napoleon and Wellington were both
dull boys, not distinguishing themselves in any way at school. (33)
Of the former the Duchess d'Abrantes says, "he had good health, but
was in other respects like other boys."

Ulysses Grant, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, was
called "Useless Grant" by his mother - he was so dull and unhandy
when a boy; and Stonewall Jackson, Lee's greatest lieutenant, was,
in his youth, chiefly noted for his slowness. While a pupil at
West Point Military Academy he was, however, equally remarkable for
his indefatigable application and perseverance. When a task was
set him, he never left it until he had mastered it; nor did he ever
feign to possess knowledge which he had not entirely acquired.
"Again and again," wrote one who knew him, "when called upon to
answer questions in the recitation of the day, he would reply, 'I
have not yet looked at it; I have been engaged in mastering the
recitation of yesterday or the day before.'  The result was that he
graduated seventeenth in a class of seventy. There was probably in
the whole class not a boy to whom Jackson at the outset was not
inferior in knowledge and attainments; but at the end of the race
he had only sixteen before him, and had outstripped no fewer than
fifty-three. It used to be said of him by his contemporaries, that
if the course had been for ten years instead of four, Jackson would
have graduated at the head of his class." (34)

John Howard, the philanthropist, was another illustrious dunce,
learning next to nothing during the seven years that he was at
school. Stephenson, as a youth, was distinguished chiefly for his
skill at putting and wrestling, and attention to his work. The
brilliant Sir Humphry Davy was no cleverer than other boys: his
teacher, Dr. Cardew, once said of him, "While he was with me I
could not discern the faculties by which he was so much
distinguished."  Indeed, Davy himself in after life considered it
fortunate that he had been left to "enjoy so much idleness" at
school. Watt was a dull scholar, notwithstanding the stories told
about his precocity; but he was, what was better, patient and
perseverant, and it was by such qualities, and by his carefully
cultivated inventiveness, that he was enabled to perfect his steam-

What Dr. Arnold said of boys is equally true of men - that the
difference between one boy and another consists not so much in
talent as in energy. Given perseverance and energy soon becomes
habitual. Provided the dunce has persistency and application he
will inevitably head the cleverer fellow without those qualities.
Slow but sure wins the race. It is perseverance that explains how
the position of boys at school is so often reversed in real life;
and it is curious to note how some who were then so clever have
since become so commonplace; whilst others, dull boys, of whom
nothing was expected, slow in their faculties but sure in their
pace, have assumed the position of leaders of men. The author of
this book, when a boy, stood in the same class with one of the
greatest of dunces. One teacher after another had tried his skill
upon him and failed. Corporal punishment, the fool's cap, coaxing,
and earnest entreaty, proved alike fruitless. Sometimes the
experiment was tried of putting him at the top of his class, and it
was curious to note the rapidity with which he gravitated to the
inevitable bottom. The youth was given up by his teachers as an
incorrigible dunce - one of them pronouncing him to be a
"stupendous booby."  Yet, slow though he was, this dunce had a sort
of dull energy of purpose in him, which grew with his muscles and
his manhood; and, strange to say, when he at length came to take
part in the practical business of life, he was found heading most
of his school companions, and eventually left the greater number of
them far behind. The last time the author heard of him, he was
chief magistrate of his native town.

The tortoise in the right road will beat a racer in the wrong. It
matters not though a youth be slow, if he be but diligent.
Quickness of parts may even prove a defect, inasmuch as the boy who
learns readily will often forget as readily; and also because he
finds no need of cultivating that quality of application and
perseverance which the slower youth is compelled to exercise, and
which proves so valuable an element in the formation of every
character. Davy said "What I am I have made myself;" and the same
holds true universally.

To conclude: the best culture is not obtained from teachers when
at school or college, so much as by our own diligent self-education
when we have become men. Hence parents need not be in too great
haste to see their children's talents forced into bloom. Let them
watch and wait patiently, letting good example and quiet training
do their work, and leave the rest to Providence. Let them see to
it that the youth is provided, by free exercise of his bodily
powers, with a full stock of physical health; set him fairly on the
road of self-culture; carefully train his habits of application and
perseverance; and as he grows older, if the right stuff be in him,
he will be enabled vigorously and effectively to cultivate himself.


"Ever their phantoms rise before us,
Our loftier brothers, but one in blood;
By bed and table they lord it o'er us,
With looks of beauty and words of good." - John Sterling.

"Children may be strangled, but Deeds never; they have an
indestructible life, both in and out of our consciousness." -
George Eliot.

"There is no action of man in this life, which is not the beginning
of so long a chain of consequences, as that no human providence is
high enough to give us a prospect to the end." - Thomas of

Example is one of the most potent of instructors, though it teaches
without a tongue. It is the practical school of mankind, working
by action, which is always more forcible than words. Precept may
point to us the way, but it is silent continuous example, conveyed
to us by habits, and living with us in fact, that carries us along.
Good advice has its weight: but without the accompaniment of a
good example it is of comparatively small influence; and it will be
found that the common saying of "Do as I say, not as I do," is
usually reversed in the actual experience of life.

All persons are more or less apt to learn through the eye rather
than the ear; and, whatever is seen in fact, makes a far deeper
impression than anything that is merely read or heard. This is
especially the case in early youth, when the eye is the chief inlet
of knowledge. Whatever children see they unconsciously imitate.
They insensibly come to resemble those who are about them - as
insects take the colour of the leaves they feed on. Hence the vast
importance of domestic training. For whatever may be the
efficiency of schools, the examples set in our Homes must always be
of vastly greater influence in forming the characters of our future
men and women. The Home is the crystal of society - the nucleus of
national character; and from that source, be it pure or tainted,
issue the habits, principles and maxims, which govern public as
well as private life. The nation comes from the nursery. Public
opinion itself is for the most part the outgrowth of the home; and
the best philanthropy comes from the fireside. "To love the little
platoon we belong to in society," says Burke, "is the germ of all
public affections."  From this little central spot, the human
sympathies may extend in an ever widening circle, until the world
is embraced; for, though true philanthropy, like charity, begins at
home, assuredly it does not end there.

Example in conduct, therefore, even in apparently trivial matters,
is of no light moment, inasmuch as it is constantly becoming
inwoven with the lives of others, and contributing to form their
natures for better or for worse. The characters of parents are
thus constantly repeated in their children; and the acts of
affection, discipline, industry, and self-control, which they daily
exemplify, live and act when all else which may have been learned
through the ear has long been forgotten. Hence a wise man was
accustomed to speak of his children as his "future state."  Even
the mute action and unconscious look of a parent may give a stamp
to the character which is never effaced; and who can tell how much
evil act has been stayed by the thought of some good parent, whose
memory their children may not sully by the commission of an
unworthy deed, or the indulgence of an impure thought? The veriest
trifles thus become of importance in influencing the characters of
men. "A kiss from my mother," said West, "made me a painter."  It
is on the direction of such seeming trifles when children that the
future happiness and success of men mainly depend. Fowell Buxton,
when occupying an eminent and influential station in life, wrote to
his mother, "I constantly feel, especially in action and exertion
for others, the effects of principles early implanted by you in my
mind."  Buxton was also accustomed to remember with gratitude the
obligations which he owed to an illiterate man, a gamekeeper, named
Abraham Plastow, with whom he played, and rode, and sported - a man
who could neither read nor write, but was full of natural good
sense and mother-wit. "What made him particularly valuable," says
Buxton, "were his principles of integrity and honour. He never
said or did a thing in the absence of my mother of which she would
have disapproved. He always held up the highest standard of
integrity, and filled our youthful minds with sentiments as pure
and as generous as could be found in the writings of Seneca or
Cicero. Such was my first instructor, and, I must add, my best."

Lord Langdale, looking back upon the admirable example set him by
his mother, declared, "If the whole world were put into one scale,
and my mother into the other, the world would kick the beam."  Mrs.
Schimmel Penninck, in her old age, was accustomed to call to mind
the personal influence exercised by her mother upon the society
amidst which she moved. When she entered a room it had the effect
of immediately raising the tone of the conversation, and as if
purifying the moral atmosphere - all seeming to breathe more
freely, and stand more erectly. "In her presence," says the
daughter, "I became for the time transformed into another person."
So much does she moral health depend upon the moral atmosphere that
is breathed, and so great is the influence daily exercised by
parents over their children by living a life before their eyes,
that perhaps the best system of parental instruction might be
summed up in these two words: "Improve thyself."

There is something solemn and awful in the thought that there is
not an act done or a word uttered by a human being but carries with
it a train of consequences, the end of which we may never trace.
Not one but, to a certain extent, gives a colour to our life, and
insensibly influences the lives of those about us. The good deed
or word will live, even though we may not see it fructify, but so
will the bad; and no person is so insignificant as to be sure that
his example will not do good on the one hand, or evil on the other.
The spirits of men do not die: they still live and walk abroad
among us. It was a fine and a true thought uttered by Mr. Disraeli
in the House of Commons on the death of Richard Cobden, that "he
was one of those men who, though not present, were still members of
that House, who were independent of dissolutions, of the caprices
of constituencies, and even of the course of time."

There is, indeed, an essence of immortality in the life of man,
even in this world. No individual in the universe stands alone; he
is a component part of a system of mutual dependencies; and by his
several acts he either increases or diminishes the sum of human
good now and for ever. As the present is rooted in the past, and
the lives and examples of our forefathers still to a great extent
influence us, so are we by our daily acts contributing to form the
condition and character of the future. Man is a fruit formed and
ripened by the culture of all the foregoing centuries; and the
living generation continues the magnetic current of action and
example destined to bind the remotest past with the most distant
future. No man's acts die utterly; and though his body may resolve
into dust and air, his good or his bad deeds will still be bringing
forth fruit after their kind, and influencing future generations
for all time to come. It is in this momentous and solemn fact that
the great peril and responsibility of human existence lies.

Mr. Babbage has so powerfully expressed this idea in a noble
passage in one of his writings that we here venture to quote his
words: "Every atom," he says, "impressed with good or ill, retains
at once the motions which philosophers and sages have imparted to
it, mixed and combined in ten thousand ways with all that is
worthless and base; the air itself is one vast library, on whose
pages are written FOR EVER all that man has ever said or whispered.
There, in their immutable but unerring characters, mixed with the
earliest as well as the latest sighs of mortality, stand for ever
recorded vows unredeemed, promises unfulfilled; perpetuating, in
the united movements of each particle, the testimony of man's
changeful will. But, if the air we breathe is the never-failing
historian of the sentiments we have uttered, earth, air, and ocean,
are, in like manner, the eternal witnesses of the acts we have
done; the same principle of the equality of action and reaction
applies to them. No motion impressed by natural causes, or by
human agency, is ever obliterated. . . . If the Almighty stamped on
the brow of the first murderer the indelible and visible mark of
his guilt, He has also established laws by which every succeeding
criminal is not less irrevocably chained to the testimony of his
crime; for every atom of his mortal frame, through whatever changes
its severed particles may migrate, will still retain adhering to
it, through every combination, some movement derived from that very
muscular effort by which the crime itself was perpetrated."

Thus, every act we do or word we utter, as well as every act we
witness or word we hear, carries with it an influence which extends
over, and gives a colour, not only to the whole of our future life,
but makes itself felt upon the whole frame of society. We may not,
and indeed cannot, possibly, trace the influence working itself
into action in its various ramifications amongst our children, our
friends, or associates; yet there it is assuredly, working on for
ever. And herein lies the great significance of setting forth a
good example, - a silent teaching which even the poorest and least
significant person can practise in his daily life. There is no one
so humble, but that he owes to others this simple but priceless
instruction. Even the meanest condition may thus be made useful;
for the light set in a low place shines as faithfully as that set
upon a hill. Everywhere, and under almost all circumstances,
however externally adverse - in moorland shielings, in cottage
hamlets, in the close alleys of great towns - the true man may
grow. He who tills a space of earth scarce bigger than is needed
for his grave, may work as faithfully, and to as good purpose, as
the heir to thousands. The commonest workshop may thus be a school
of industry, science, and good morals, on the one hand; or of
idleness, folly, and depravity, on the other. It all depends on
the individual men, and the use they make of the opportunities for
good which offer themselves.

A life well spent, a character uprightly sustained, is no slight
legacy to leave to one's children, and to the world; for it is the
most eloquent lesson of virtue and the severest reproof of vice,
while it continues an enduring source of the best kind of riches.
Well for those who can say, as Pope did, in rejoinder to the
sarcasm of Lord Hervey, "I think it enough that my parents, such as
they were, never cost me a blush, and that their son, such as he
is, never cost them a tear."

It is not enough to tell others what they are to do, but to exhibit
the actual example of doing. What Mrs. Chisholm described to Mrs.
Stowe as the secret of her success, applies to all life. "I
found," she said, "that if we want anything DONE, we must go to
work and DO,  it is of no use merely to talk - none whatever."  It
is poor eloquence that only shows how a person can talk. Had Mrs.
Chisholm rested satisfied with lecturing, her project, she was
persuaded, would never have got beyond the region of talk; but when
people saw what she was doing and had actually accomplished, they
fell in with her views and came forward to help her. Hence the
most beneficent worker is not he who says the most eloquent things,
or even who thinks the most loftily, but he who does the most
eloquent acts.

True-hearted persons, even in the humblest station in life, who are
energetic doers, may thus give an impulse to good works out of all
proportion, apparently, to their actual station in society. Thomas
Wright might have talked about the reclamation of criminals, and
John Pounds about the necessity for Ragged Schools, and yet done
nothing; instead of which they simply set to work without any other
idea in their minds than that of doing, not talking. And how the
example of even the poorest man may tell upon society, hear what
Dr. Guthrie, the apostle of the Ragged School movement, says of the
influence which the example of John Pounds, the humble Portsmouth
cobbler, exercised upon his own working career:-

"The interest I have been led to take in this cause is an example
of how, in Providence, a man's destiny - his course of life, like
that of a river - may be determined and affected by very trivial
circumstances. It is rather curious - at least it is interesting
to me to remember - that it was by a picture I was first led to
take an interest in ragged schools - by a picture in an old,
obscure, decaying burgh that stands on the shores of the Frith of
Forth, the birthplace of Thomas Chalmers. I went to see this place
many years ago; and, going into an inn for refreshment, I found the
room covered with pictures of shepherdesses with their crooks, and
sailors in holiday attire, not particularly interesting. But above
the chimney-piece there was a large print, more respectable than
its neighbours, which represented a cobbler's room. The cobbler
was there himself, spectacles on nose, an old shoe between his
knees - the massive forehead and firm mouth indicating great
determination of character, and, beneath his bushy eyebrows,
benevolence gleamed out on a number of poor ragged boys and girls
who stood at their lessons round the busy cobbler. My curiosity
was awakened; and in the inscription I read how this man, John
Pounds, a cobbler in Portsmouth, taking pity on the multitude of
poor ragged children left by ministers and magistrates, and ladies
and gentlemen, to go to ruin on the streets - how, like a good
shepherd, he gathered in these wretched outcasts - how he had
trained them to God and to the world - and how, while earning his
daily bread by the sweat of his brow, he had rescued from misery
and saved to society not less than five hundred of these children.
I felt ashamed of myself. I felt reproved for the little I had
done. My feelings were touched. I was astonished at this man's
achievements; and I well remember, in the enthusiasm of the moment,
saying to my companion (and I have seen in my cooler and calmer
moments no reason for unsaying the saying) - 'That man is an honour
to humanity, and deserves the tallest monument ever raised within
the shores of Britain.'  I took up that man's history, and I found
it animated by the spirit of Him who 'had compassion on the
multitude.'  John Pounds was a clever man besides; and, like Paul,
if he could not win a poor boy any other way, he won him by art.
He would be seen chasing a ragged boy along the quays, and
compelling him to come to school, not by the power of a policeman,
but by the power of a hot potato. He knew the love an Irishman had
for a potato; and John Pounds might be seen running holding under
the boy's nose a potato, like an Irishman, very hot, and with a
coat as ragged as himself. When the day comes when honour will be
done to whom honour is due, I can fancy the crowd of those whose
fame poets have sung, and to whose memory monuments have been
raised, dividing like the wave, and, passing the great, and the
noble, and the mighty of the land, this poor, obscure old man
stepping forward and receiving the especial notice of Him who said
'Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these, ye did it also
to Me.'"

The education of character is very much a question of models; we
mould ourselves so unconsciously after the characters, manners,
habits, and opinions of those who are about us. Good rules may do
much, but good models far more; for in the latter we have
instruction in action - wisdom at work. Good admonition and bad
example only build with one hand to pull down with the other.
Hence the vast importance of exercising great care in the selection
of companions, especially in youth. There is a magnetic affinity
in young persons which insensibly tends to assimilate them to each
other's likeness. Mr. Edgeworth was so strongly convinced that
from sympathy they involuntarily imitated or caught the tone of the
company they frequented, that he held it to be of the most
essential importance that they should be taught to select the very
best models. "No company, or good company," was his motto. Lord
Collingwood, writing to a young friend, said, "Hold it as a maxim
that you had better be alone than in mean company. Let your
companions be such as yourself, or superior; for the worth of a man
will always be ruled by that of his company."  It was a remark of
the famous Dr. Sydenham that everybody some time or other would be
the better or the worse for having but spoken to a good or a bad
man. As Sir Peter Lely made it a rule never to look at a bad
picture if he could help it, believing that whenever he did so his
pencil caught a taint from it, so, whoever chooses to gaze often
upon a debased specimen of humanity and to frequent his society,
cannot help gradually assimilating himself to that sort of model.

It is therefore advisable for young men to seek the fellowship of
the good, and always to aim at a higher standard than themselves.
Francis Horner, speaking of the advantages to himself of direct
personal intercourse with high-minded, intelligent men, said, "I
cannot hesitate to decide that I have derived more intellectual
improvement from them than from all the books I have turned over."
Lord Shelburne (afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne), when a young man,
paid a visit to the venerable Malesherbes, and was so much
impressed by it, that he said, - "I have travelled much, but I have
never been so influenced by personal contact with any man; and if I
ever accomplish any good in the course of my life, I am certain
that the recollection of M. de Malesherbes will animate my soul."
So Fowell Buxton was always ready to acknowledge the powerful
influence exercised upon the formation of his character in early
life by the example of the Gurney family: "It has given a colour
to my life," he used to say. Speaking of his success at the Dublin
University, he confessed, "I can ascribe it to nothing but my
Earlham visits."  It was from the Gurneys he "caught the infection"
of self-improvement.

Contact with the good never fails to impart good, and we carry away
with us some of the blessing, as travellers' garments retain the
odour of the flowers and shrubs through which they have passed.
Those who knew the late John Sterling intimately, have spoken of
the beneficial influence which he exercised on all with whom he
came into personal contact. Many owed to him their first awakening
to a higher being; from him they learnt what they were, and what
they ought to be. Mr. Trench says of him:- "It was impossible to
come in contact with his noble nature without feeling one's self in
some measure ENNOBLED and LIFTED UP, as I ever felt when I left
him, into a higher region of objects and aims than that in which
one is tempted habitually to dwell."  It is thus that the noble
character always acts; we become insensibly elevated by him, and
cannot help feeling as he does and acquiring the habit of looking
at things in the same light. Such is the magical action and
reaction of minds upon each other.

Artists, also, feel themselves elevated by contact with artists
greater than themselves. Thus Haydn's genius was first fired by
Handel. Hearing him play, Haydn's ardour for musical composition
was at once excited, and but for this circumstance, he himself
believed that he would never have written the 'Creation.'  Speaking
of Handel, he said, "When he chooses, he strikes like the
thunderbolt;" and at another time, "There is not a note of him but
draws blood."  Scarlatti was another of Handel's ardent admirers,
following him all over Italy; afterwards, when speaking of the
great master, he would cross himself in token of admiration. True
artists never fail generously to recognise each other's greatness.
Thus Beethoven's admiration for Cherubini was regal: and he
ardently hailed the genius of Schubert: "Truly," said he, "in
Schubert dwells a divine fire."  When Northcote was a mere youth he
had such an admiration for Reynolds that, when the great painter
was once attending a public meeting down in Devonshire, the boy
pushed through the crowd, and got so near Reynolds as to touch the
skirt of his coat, "which I did," says Northcote, "with great
satisfaction to my mind," - a true touch of youthful enthusiasm in
its admiration of genius.

The example of the brave is an inspiration to the timid, their
presence thrilling through every fibre. Hence the miracles of
valour so often performed by ordinary men under the leadership of
the heroic. The very recollection of the deeds of the valiant
stirs men's blood like the sound of a trumpet. Ziska bequeathed
his skin to be used as a drum to inspire the valour of the
Bohemians. When Scanderbeg, prince of Epirus, was dead, the Turks
wished to possess his bones, that each might wear a piece next his
heart, hoping thus to secure some portion of the courage he had
displayed while living, and which they had so often experienced in
battle. When the gallant Douglas, bearing the heart of Bruce to
the Holy Land, saw one of his knights surrounded and sorely pressed
by the Saracens, he took from his neck the silver case containing
the hero's bequest, and throwing it amidst the thickest press of
his foes, cried, "Pass first in fight, as thou wert wont to do, and
Douglas will follow thee, or die;" and so saying, he rushed forward
to the place where it fell, and was there slain.

The chief use of biography consists in the noble models of
character in which it abounds. Our great forefathers still live
among us in the records of their lives, as well as in the acts they
have done, which live also; still sit by us at table, and hold us
by the hand; furnishing examples for our benefit, which we may
still study, admire and imitate. Indeed, whoever has left behind
him the record of a noble life, has bequeathed to posterity an
enduring source of good, for it serves as a model for others to
form themselves by in all time to come; still breathing fresh life
into men, helping them to reproduce his life anew, and to
illustrate his character in other forms. Hence a book containing
the life of a true man is full of precious seed. It is a still
living voice; it is an intellect. To use Milton's words, "it is
the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured
up on purpose to a life beyond life."  Such a book never ceases to
exercise an elevating and ennobling influence. But, above all,
there is the Book containing the very highest Example set before us
to shape our lives by in this world - the most suitable for all the
necessities of our mind and heart - an example which we can only
follow afar off and feel after,

"Like plants or vines which never saw the sun,
But dream of him and guess where he may be,
And do their best to climb and get to him."

Again, no young man can rise from the perusal of such lives as
those of Buxton and Arnold, without feeling his mind and heart made
better, and his best resolves invigorated. Such biographies
increase a man's self-reliance by demonstrating what men can be,
and what they can do; fortifying his hopes and elevating his aims
in life. Sometimes a young man discovers himself in a biography,
as Correggio felt within him the risings of genius on contemplating
the works of Michael Angelo: "And I too, am a painter," he
exclaimed. Sir Samuel Romilly, in his autobiography, confessed
himself to have been powerfully influenced by the life of the great
and noble-minded French Chancellor Daguesseau:- "The works of
Thomas," says he, "had fallen into my hands, and I had read with
admiration his 'Eloge of Daguesseau;' and the career of honour
which he represented that illustrious magistrate to have run,
excited to a great degree my ardour and ambition, and opened to my
imagination new paths of glory."

Franklin was accustomed to attribute his usefulness and eminence to
his having early read Cotton Mather's 'Essays to do Good' - a book
which grew out of Mather's own life. And see how good example
draws other men after it, and propagates itself through future
generations in all lands. For Samuel Drew avers that he framed his
own life, and especially his business habits, after the model left
on record by Benjamin Franklin. Thus it is impossible to say where
a good example may not reach, or where it will end, if indeed it
have an end. Hence the advantage, in literature as in life, of
keeping the best society, reading the best books, and wisely
admiring and imitating the best things we find in them. "In
literature," said Lord Dudley, "I am fond of confining myself to
the best company, which consists chiefly of my old acquaintance,
with whom I am desirous of becoming more intimate; and I suspect
that nine times out of ten it is more profitable, if not more
agreeable, to read an old book over again, than to read a new one
for the first time."

Sometimes a book containing a noble exemplar of life, taken up at
random, merely with the object of reading it as a pastime, has been
known to call forth energies whose existence had not before been
suspected. Alfieri was first drawn with passion to literature by
reading 'Plutarch's Lives.'  Loyola, when a soldier serving at the
siege of Pampeluna, and laid up by a dangerous wound in his leg,
asked for a book to divert his thoughts: the 'Lives of the Saints'
was brought to him, and its perusal so inflamed his mind, that he
determined thenceforth to devote himself to the founding of a
religious order. Luther, in like manner, was inspired to undertake
the great labours of his life by a perusal of the 'Life and
Writings of John Huss.'  Dr. Wolff was stimulated to enter upon his
missionary career by reading the 'Life of Francis Xavier;' and the
book fired his youthful bosom with a passion the most sincere and
ardent to devote himself to the enterprise of his life. William
Carey, also, got the first idea of entering upon his sublime
labours as a missionary from a perusal of the Voyages of Captain

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 bor