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The distribution of the "weekly bread" at the market-house is a circumstance of peculiar interest in the life of Kyrle. The donation of bread was furnished by a grant, renewed by successive lords of the manor, of certain tolls on all corn brought to market. The man of Ross acted as the lord's almoner. Tradition reports, in homely language, that "it would have done one's heart good to see how cheerful the old gentlemen looked, while engaged in the distribution." At length the toll, thus voluntarily transferred to the poor at the will of each succeeding lord, was claimed by the townsmen as their's of right. The question was referred to the Man of Ross by consent of both parties; and he, preferring truth and justice before popularity and self-gratification, determined, as the evidence compelled him to do, that the toll belonged to the lord. So are pride and covetousness found in communities as well as individuals. The remaining lines refer to various private acts of charity, for which a man of Kyrle's noble disposition would find frequent opportunities in whatever part of the world he might be placed. The town of Ross could tell of many who, before and since his time, and at this day, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, instruct the ignorant, and teach the infant's tongue to praise the name of Creator and Redeemer.
There is, however, one anecdote of Mr. Kyrle, which we are unwilling to omit, as it exhibits that noble confidence, which none but an honest man can feel or express towards his fellow-man. About a year after the death of the Man of Ross, a tradesman of the town came to the executor, and said privately to him, "Sir, I am come to pay you some money that I owed to the late Mr. Kyrle." The executor declared he could find no entry of it in the accounts. "Why, sir," said the tradesman, "that I am aware of. Mr. Kyrle said to me, when he lent me the money, that he did not think I should be able to repay it in his lifetime, and that it was likely you might want it before I could make it up; and so, said he, I wont have any memorandum of it, besides what I write and give you with it; and do you pay my kinsman when you can; and when you show him this paper, he will see that the money is right, and that he is not to take interest."
The Man of Ross died in 1754, at the advanced age of ninety, a bachelor. At the time of his decease, he owed nothing, and there was no money in his house. He was borne to the grave by his workmen and usual attendants, and amidst the whole popula tion of Ross.
Though he disliked large parties, his house was open to the reception of his friends, in the genuine spirit of old-fashioned English hospitality. "He loved a long evening; enjoyed a merry tale, and always appeared discomposed when t'was time to part." His dishes were generally plain; malt liquor and cider were the only beverages introduced; there was no roast beef except on Christmas-day. At his kitchen fire-place was a large block of wood, for poor people to sit on; and a piece of boiled beef and three pecks of flour, in bread, were given to the poor every Sunday. The Man of Ross was a daily attendant at the service of the parish church. When the chiming of the bells began, all business ceased with him; he washed his hands and proceeded to his pew. When the church was newly pewed, about twenty years after his death, the rector and parishioners resolved that Mr. Kyrle's seat should remain, as it does at this day, in its original condition and style. A handsome tablet, with a bust of the Man of Ross, has long since removed the stigma imputed in the concluding lines of Pope's eulogy of Kyrle.
The Man of Ross, then, it has been seen, was a private gentleman of small fortune, with a talent for architecture, and a taste for what is now termed the picturesque, which he employed in the improvement and adorning of his town and neighborhood. Simple in his manners, he lavished no money on gaudy show or equipage. Faithful to his God, and upright in his dealings with man; intelligent, active, and ingenious; he was confided in as a friend, as an umpire, as a receiver and disposer of the subscriptions of others, whether to be employed in works for the public good, or in re lieving the wants of indigence and age.
In his Notes from Life, Mr. Taylor devotes an Essay to the management of money, portions of which we here present, especially what relates to getting and spending
The philosophy which affects to teach us a contempt of money, does not run very deep; for, indeed, it ought to be still more clear to the philosopher than it is to ordinary men, that there are few things in the world of greater importance. And so manifold are the bearings of money upon the lives and characters of mankind, that an insight which should search out the life of a man in his pecuniary relations, would penetrate into almost every cranny of his nature. He who knows, like St. Paul, both how to spare and how to abound, has a great knowledge; for if we take account of all the virtues with which money is mixed up-honesty, justice, generosity, charity, frugality, forethought, self-sacrifice-and of their correlative vices, it is a knowledge which goes near to cover the length and breadth of humanity; and a right measure and manner in getting, saving, spending, giving, taking, lending, borrowing, and bequeathing, would almost argue a perfect man.
FIRSTLY-As to the getting of money. This involves dangers which do not belong to the mere possession of it. Blessed is the rich that is found without blemish, and hath not gone after gold," says the Son of Sirach; and again, "He that loveth gold shall not be justified, and he that followeth corruption shall have enough thereof." Yet industry must take an interest in its own fruits; and God has appointed that the mass of mankind shall be moved by this interest, and have their daily labor sweetened by it. And there may be a blessing even upon the going after gold, if it be not with an inordinate appetite,-if the gold be not loved for its own sake, and if the manner of it be without blemish. But the danger arises out of the tendency of the human mind to forget the end in the means, and the difficulty of going after gold for the love of the benefits which it may confer, without going after it also for the mere love of getting it and keeping it, which is "following corruption." It behooves him who is getting money, therefore, even more than him who has it by inheritance, to bear in mind what are the uses of money, and what are the proportions and proprieties to be observed in saving, giving, and spending; for rectitude in the management of money consists in the symmetry of these three.
Sudden and enormous gains almost always disturb the balance; for a man can scarcely change his scale suddenly, and yet hold his propor tions; and hence proceeds one of the many evils of highly speculative commerce, with its abrupt vicissitudes of fortune. The man who engages in it can scarcely have any fixed and regulated manner of dealing with his net income; he knows not how much he ought to save, how much he may permit himself to spend, how much he can afford to give; whilst, even if he could know, the extreme excitements of fear and hope to which he lies open, occupy his mind too much for him to give many
thoughts to such matters. And if what is called bold commercial enterprise be a thing to be rejoiced in as promoting the physical well-being of mankind, and thereby, perhaps, in the train of consequences, their moral interests, it is only through that Providence by which good is brought out of evil. And the actors in such enterprises, when, as is mostly the case, they are merely "going after gold," and not considering either the physical or moral results, are, in their own minds and hearts, “following corruption," and are likely to "have enough thereof."
A moderated and governed course in the getting of money is the more difficult because this is, of all pursuits, that in which a man meets with the greatest pressure of competition. So many are putting their hearts into this work, that he who keeps his out of it is not unlikely to fare ill in the strife. And for this reason it were well for a man, not perhaps altogether to abate his desire of gain (though this should be done if it be excessive), but more assiduously still to direct his desires beyond, and purify the desire of gain by associating with it the desire to accomplish some scheme of beneficent expenditure. And let no man imagine that the mere investment for reproduction, though economists may justly regard it as beneficial to mankind, will react upon his own heart for good. SECONDLY-AS to the saving of money. The saving, like the getting, should be intelligent of a purpose beyond; it should not be saving for saving's sake, but for the sake of some worthy object to be accomplished by the money saved. And especially we are to guard against that accumulative instinct or passion which is ready to take possession of all collectors.
THIRDLY-As to the spending of money
The art of living easily as
to money, is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means. Comfort and enjoyment are more dependent upon easiness in the detail of expenditure, than upon one degree's difference in the scale,
Guard against false associations of pleasure with expenditure, the notion that because pleasure can be purchased with money, therefore money cannot be spent without enjoyment. What a thing costs a man is no true measure of what it is worth to him; and yet, how often is his appreciation governed by no other standard, as if there were a pleasure in expenditure per se.
Let yourself feel a want before you provide against it. You are more assured that it is a real want; and it is worth while to feel it a little, in order to feel the relief from it.
When you are undecided as to which of two courses you would like best, choose the cheapest. This rule will not only save money, but save also a good deal of trifling indecision.
Too much leisure leads to expense; because when a man is in want of objects, it occurs to him that they are to be had for money; and he invents expenditures in order to pass the time.
A thoroughly conscientious mode of regulating expenditure implies much care and trouble in resisting imposition, detecting fraud, preventing waste, and doing what in you lies to guard the honesty of your stew. ards, servants, and tradesmen, by not leading them into temptation, but delivering them from evil.
Prodigality is indeed the vice of a weak nature, as avarice is of a strong one; it comes of a weak craving for those blandishments of the world which are easily to be had for money, and which, when obtained, are as much worse than worthless as a harlot's love is worse than none. FOURTHLY-As to giving and taking. All giving is not generous; and the gift of a spendthrift is seldom given in generosity; for prodigality is, equally with avarice, a selfish vice. Nor can there be a more spurious view of generosity than that which has been often taken by sentimental comedians and novelists, when they have represented it in combination with recklessness and waste. He who gives only what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice. Waste, on the contrary, comes always by selfindulgence; and the weakness and softness in which it begins will not prevent the hard-heartedness to which all selfishness tends at last. When you give, therefore, take to yourself no credit for generosity, unless you deny yourself something in order that you may give.
I have known a man who was never rich, and was, indeed, in a fair way to be ruined, make a present of several hundred pounds, under what he probably conceived to be an impulse of generous friendship; but if that man had been called upon to get up an hour earlier in the morning to serve his friend, I do not believe that he would have done it. The fact was that he had no real value for money, no real care for consequences which were not to be immediate. In parting with some hundreds of pounds, he flattered his self-love with a show of self-sacrifice; in parting with an hour's folding of the hands to sleep, the self-sacrifice would have been real, and the show of it not very magnificent.
Again, do not take too much credit even for your self-denial, unless it be cheerfully and genially undergone. Do not dispense your bounties only because you know it to be your duty, and are afraid to leave it undone; for this is one of those duties which should be done more in the spirit of love than in that of fear. I have known persons who have lived frugally, and spent a large income almost entirely in acts of charity and bounty, and yet, with all this, they had not the open hand. When the act did not define itself as a charitable duty, the spirit of the Godbeloved giver was wanting, and they failed in all those little genial liberalities towards friends, relatives, and dependents, which tend to cultivate the sympathies and kindnesses of our nature quite as much as charity to the poor, or munificence in the contribution to public objects. The kindness from which a gift proceeds will appear in the choice as well as in the cost of it.
There is often as much generosity in accepting gifts as there can be in bestowing them-the generosity of a nature which stands too strong in its humility to fear humiliation, which knows its own independence and is glad to be grateful.
Upon a very different sense of generosity are some of the practices of the present time founded. It is not an uncommon thing amongst some persons, with peculiar notions of doing things delicately, for contribu tions to be conveyed to some decayed gentlewoman under various pretences which are meant to disguise, more or less transparently, the fact
that she receives money in charity. If a gentlewoman be in want, she should say so with openness, dignity, and truth, and accept in the manner that becomes a gentlewoman, in all lowliness, but without the slightest humiliation or shame, whatever money she has occasion for, and others are willing to bestow. The relations between her and them will in that case admit of respect on the one side, and gratitude on the other. But where false and juggling pretences are resorted to, no worthy or honest feeling can have place. Delicacy is a strong thing; and whether in giv. ing or taking, let us always maintain the maxim that what is most sound and true is most delicate.
Lastly, there is a rule in giving which is often overlooked by those whose generosity is not sufficiently thoughtful and severe. Generosity comes to be perverted from its uses when it ministers to selfishness in others; and it should be our care to give all needful support to our neighbor in his self-denial, rather than to bait a trap for his self-indulgence; in short, to give him pleasure only when it will do him good, not when sacrifices on our part are the correlatives of abuses on his; for he who pampers the selfishness of another, does that other a moral injury which cannot be compensated by any amount of gratification imparted to him.
"Give thou to no man, if thou wish him well,
FIFTHLY-As to lending and borrowing. Never lend money to a friend unless you are satisfied that he does wisely and well in borrowing it. Borrowing is one of the most ordinary ways in which weak men sacrifice the future to the present, and thence it is that the gratitude for a loan is so proverbially evanescent. Take to heart therefore, the admonition the ancient courtier:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loseth both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."
I have never known a debtor or a prodigal who was not, in his own estimation, an injured man; and I have generally found that those who had not suffered by them were disposed to side with them; for it is the weak who make an outcry, and it is by the outcry that the world is wont to judge. They who lend money to spendthrifts should be prepared, therefore, to suffer in their reputation as well as in their purse.
Let us learn from the Son of Sirach: "Many, when a thing was lent them, reckoned it to be found, and put them to trouble that helped them. Till he hath received, he will kiss a man's hand; and for his neighbor's money he will speak submissly; but when he should repay, he will prolong the time, and return words of grief, and complain of the time. If he prevail, he shall hardly receive the half, and he will count as if he had found it; if not, he hath deprived him of his money, and he hath gotten him an enemy without cause: he payeth him with cursing and railings, and for honor he will pay him with disgrace."
SIXTHLY-The subject of bequeathing; and some topics which might have fallen under this head have been anticipated in treating of motives for saving.