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To make a will in one way or another is of course the duty of every person whose heir-at-law is not the proper inheritor of all he possesses ; and unless where there is some just cause for setting them aside, ex. pectations generated by the customs of the world are sufficient to estab. lish a moral right to inherit, and to impose a corresponding obligation to bequeath. For custom may be presumed, in the absence of any reasons to the contrary, to have grown out of some natural fitness; and, at all events, it will have brought about an amount of adaptation which is often sufficient, as regards individual cases, to make a fitness where there was none. Unless in exceptional instances, therefore, in which special circumstances are of an overruling force, the disappointment of expectations growing out of custom is not to be inflicted without some very strong and solid reasons for believing that the custom needs to be reformed.
If it be not well for the natural or customary heirs that they should be disappointed, neither is it good for those to whom an inheritance is diverted, that wealth should come upon them by surprise. Sudden and unexpected accessions of wealth seldom promote the happiness of those to whom they accrue, and they are for the most part morally injurious, especially when they accrue by undue deprivation of another.
In general, the rule of judgment should be to avoid lifting people out of one station into another; and to aim at making such moderate addi. tions to moderate fortunes in careful hands, as may not disturb the proportion of property to station ; or, still better, may rectify any disproportion, and enable those who are living with a difficult frugality to live with a free frugality.
This rule is not, I fear, very generally regarded; for mere rectitude, and the observance of measures and proportions, does not much lay hold of the minds of men. On the contrary, there is a general disposition to add to anything which affects the imagination by its magnitude; and there is also in some people a sort of gloating over great wealth, which infects them with a propensity to feed a bloated fortune. Jaques took note of this when he saw the deer that was weeping in "the needless stream :"
"Thou mak'st a testament As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more To that which had too much."
-SHAK. As You Like It, Act ii. scene 1. Thus it is that in the most solemn acts which men have to perform in the management of their money_in those, too, from which selfish ends seem most removed they will often appear to be as little sensible of moral motives and righteous responsibilities as in any other transac tions ; and even a testator jamjam moriturus will dictate his will with a sort of posthumous cupidity, and seem to desire that his worldliness should live after him,
LORD LYTTON ON THE MANAGEMENT OF MONEY.
Lord EDWARD Bulwer Litton has issued, in a little volume entitled Cartonia, a series of essays on Life, Literature, and Manners, originally published in successive numbers of Blackwood's Magazine in 1862, the results of wide observation and experience on topics of great practical interest to the young, from one of which, on the management of money, we give copious extracts :
VALUE OF MONEY IN CHARACTER AND POWER.
In the humbler grades of life, certainly character is money. The man who gives me his labor in return for the wages which the labor is worth, pledges to me something more than his labor-he pledges to me certain qualities of his moral being—such as honesty, sobriety, and diligence. If, in these respects, he maintain his character, he will have my money as long as I want his labor; and, when I want his labor no longer, his character is money's worth to him from somebody else. If, in addi. tion to the moral qualities I have named, he establish a character for other attributes which have their own price in the money market—if he exhibit a superior intelligence, skill, energy, zeal—his labor rises in value. Thus, in the humble:t class of life, character is money; and, aecording as the man earns or spends the money, money in turn becomes character.
As money is the most evident power in the world's uses, so the use that he makes of money is often all that the world knows about a man. Is our money gained justly and spent prudently? our character estab. lishes a claim on respect. Is it gained nobly and spent beneficently ? our character commands more than respect—it wins a place in that higher sphere of opinion which comprises admiration, gratitude, love. Is money, inherited without merit of ours, lavished recklessly away? our character disper-es itself with the spray of the golden shower,-it is not the money alone of which we are spendthrifts. Is money, meanly acquired, selfishly hoarded ? it is not the money alone of which we are misers; we are starving our own human hearts—depriving them of their natural aliment in the approval and affection of others. We invest the money which we fancy so safe out at compound interest, in the very worst possession a man can purchase, viz., an odious reputation. In fact, the more we look round, the more we shall come to acknowledge that there is no test of a man's character more generally adopted than the way in which his money is managed. Money is a terrible blab; she will betray the secrets of her owner whatever he do to gag her. His virtues will creep out in her whisper-his vices she will cry aloud at the top of her tongue.
Money is character-money also is power. I have power not in proportion to the money I spend on myself, but in proportion to the money I can, if I please, give away to another. We feel this as we advance in years. How helpless is an old man who has not a farthing to give or to leave! But be moderately amiable, grateful, and kind, and, though you have neither wife nor child, you will never want a wife's tenderness nor a child's obedience if you have something to leave or to give. This reads like satire: it is sober truth.
ART OF MANAGING MONEY.
But the management of money is an art? True; but that which we call an art means an improvement, and not a deterioration of a some. thing existent already in nature; and the artist can only succeed in improving bis art in proportion as he improves himself in the qualities which the art demands in the artist. Now, the management of money is, in much, the management of self. If heaven allotted to each man seven guardian angels, five of them, at least, would be found, night and day, hovering over his pockets.
On the first rule of the art of managing money, all preceptors must be agreed. It is told in three words—" Horror of debt."
Horror of Debt. Nurse, cherish, never cavil away the wholesome horror of DEBT. Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness. Man hazards the condition and loses the virtues of freeman, in proportion as he accustoms his thoughts to view, without anguish and shame, his lapse into the bondage of debtor. Debt is to man what the serpent is to the bird; its eye fascinates, its breath poisons, its coil crushes sinew and bone, its jaw is the pitiless grave. If you mock my illustration, if you sneer at the truth it embodies, give yourself no further trouble to learn how to manage your money. Con. sider yourself doomed; pass on your way with a jaunty step; the path is facile-paths to Avernus always are. But if, while I write, your heart, true to the instinct of manhood, responds to my words—if you say, “Agreed; that which you call the first rule for the management of money, I hold yet more imperative as the necessity to freedom and the life-spring of probity”—then advance on your way, assured that whereever it wind it must ascend. You see but the temple of Honor; close behind it is the temple of Fortune. You will pass through the one to the other.
No Endorsing. Give, but don't Lend. Now comes the next danger. You will not incur debt for yourself; but you have a friend. Pythias, your friend, your familiar—the man you like best and see most of—says to you, “Damon, be my securityyour name to this bill!” Heaven forbid that I should cry out to Damon, “ Pythias ineans to cheat thee-bewaru!” But I address to Damon this observation, “Pythias asks thee to guarantee that three, six, or twelve months hence he will pay to another man—say to Dionysius—so many pounds sterling." Here your first duty, as an honest man, is not to Pyth. ias, but to Dionysius. Suppose some accident happen—one of those accidents which, however impossible it may seem to your Pythias, constantly happen to the Pythiases of other Damons who draw bills on the bank of Futurity; suppose that the smut or the rain spoil the crops on which Pythias relies—or the cargoes he expects from Marseilles, Califor. nia, Utopia, go down to the bottomless seas—Dionysius
must come upon you! (an you pay to Dionysius what you pledge yourself to pay to him in spite of those accidents? He thinks those accidents not only possible, but probable, or he would not require your surety, nor charge twenty per cent. for his loan; and, therefore, since he clearly doubts Pythias, his real trust is in you. Do you merit the trust? Can you pay the money it Pythias cannot ? And, allowing that you can pay the money, are your other obligations in life such as to warrant that sacri. fice to friendship? If you cannot pay, or if you owe it to others more sacred than Pythias himself-owe it to your parents, your plighted bride, or wedded wife, or the children to whom what, before their b rth, was your fortune, has become the trust-money for their provision--not to hazard for Pythias that for which, if lost, not you alone, but others must suffer,--then, do not common duty and common honesty forbid you to say, “ I am surety to Pythias for that which it belongs not to Pythias but to (hance to fulfil ?” I am the last man to say, “Do not help your friend,” if you honorably can. If we have money, we manage it ill when we cannot help a friend at a pinch. But the plain fact is this, Pythias wants money. Can you give it, at whatever stint to yourself, in justice to others ? If you can, and you value Pythias more than the money, give the money, and there is an end of it; but if you cannot give the money, don't sign the bill. Do not become what, in rude truth, you do become-a knave and a liar-if you guarantee to do what you know that you cannot do should the guarantee be exacted. He is generous who gives; he who lends may be generous also; but only on one covdition, viz., that he can afford to give what he can afford to lend. Of the two, therefore, it is safer, friendlier, cheaper, in the long run, to give than to lend. Give, and you may keep your friend if you lose your money ; lend, and the chances are that you lose your friend if ever you get back your money.
But, if you do lend, let it be with the full conviction that the loan is a gift, and count it among the rarest favors of Providence if you be ever repaid. Lend to Pythias on the understanding,—“ This is a loan if you can ever repay me.
I shall, however, make this provision against the chance of a quarrel between us, that if you cannot repay me, it stands as a gift."
And whatever you lend, let it be your money and not your name. Money you may get again, and, if not, you may contrive to do without it; name, once lost, you cannot get again, and, if you can contrive to do without it, you had better never have been born.
Having settled these essential preliminaries—1st. Never to borrow where there is chance, however remote, that you may not be able to repay; 2dly, Never to lend what you are not prepared to give ; 3dly, Never to guarantee for another wliat you cannot fulfil if the other should fail-you start in life with this great advantage—whatever you have, be it little or much, is your own. Rich or poor, you start as a freeman, resolved to preserve, in your freedom, the noblest condition of your being as man.
Independence, not Wealth, the true Aim in getting Money. Now, fix your eyes steadily on some definite end in the future. Con sider well what you chiefly wish to be; then compute at the lowest that which you are by talent, and at the highest that which you can be by labor. Always under-estimate the resources of talent; always put as against you the chances of luck. Then set down on the other side, as against talent defective, against luck adverse, all that which can be placed to the credit of energy, patience, perseverance. These last are infinite. Whatever be placed against them is finite.
The finest epithet for genius is that which was applied to Newton's genius, 'patient.” He who has patience coupled with energy is sure, sooner or later, to obtain the results of genius; he who has genius without patience, and without energy (if, indeed, such genius be a thing possible), might as well have no genius at all. His works and aims, like the plants of nature before the deluge, have no roots.
The man who succeeds above his fellows is the one who, early in life, clearly discerns his object, and toward that object habitually directs his powers. Thus, indeed, even genius itself is but fine observation strengthened by fixity of purpose. Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly, grows unconsciously into genius.
Assuming that fortune be your object, let your first efforts be, not for wealth, but independence. Whatever be your talents, whatever your prospects, never be tempted to speculate away, on the chance of a palace that which you need as a provision against the workhouse.
Let your first care be, then, independence. Without pecuniary independence, you are not even intellectually free; with independence, even though it be gained through some occupation which you endure as a drudgery, still, out of the twenty-four hours, there will be always some hours for the occupation in which you delight.
Spend Less than you Earn. To attain independence, so apportion your expenditure as to spend less than you have or you earn. Make this rule imperative. I know of none better. Lay by something every year, if it be but a shilling. A shilling laid by, net and clear from a debt, is a receipt in full for all claims in the past, and you go on, with light foot and light heart, to the future. · How am I to save and lay by ?" saith the author, or any other man of wants more large than his means. The answer is obvious : "If you cannot increase your means, then you must diminish your wants." Every skilled laborer, of fair repute, can earn enough not to starve, and a surplus beyond that bare sufficiency.
A inan of £300 a year, living up to that income, truly complains of poverty ; but if he live at the rate of £250 a year, he is comparatively rich. "Ol.," says Gentility,“ but I must have this or that, which necessitates the yearly £50 you ask me to save; I must be genteel.” Why that must? That certain folks may esteem you? Believe me, they esteem you much more for a balance at your banker's, than for that silver tea-pot or that mannikio menial in sugar-lonf buttons. “But," says Pa