« EelmineJätka »
call it an Operative Reading Room,--a plain large room, with equally plain furniture; but all scrupu. lously clean and neat. Let it be well lighted, and well warmed, and supplied with the leading newspapers. Do not permit the sale of beer, wine, or spirits; but substitute good tea and coffee, and bread and butter; and let the members have their pipes, and thus serenely and contentedly enjoy an evening hour. That is the picture of a club-house I would recommend. It may, as has been suggested to me, form part of the Bathing Establishment; and then two good objects would be promoted in one. It should be managed by a committee, who would be responsible for the maintenance of good couduct and obedience to the rules, and for the general regulation of its affairs. The expense would not be costly, or beyond the reach of those who frequent the publichouse. The chief benefits I expect you would derive, would be social relaxation occasionally from work, in a place respectable in its character. A little more attention would in time be given by many to their appearance there ; a little more washing, and a little more brushing, and general neatness would soon follow. There would be less beer drinking, and consequently less money expended in pleasures of low character. Better health would soon be enjoyed; more general and more correct information would be obtained; your
all social matters would be more expanded and less prejudiced. Your wives would be glad of your absence from home, during your short visit to the club, that they may put the children to bed, clean up the house, and make all things look comfortable and happy for your return.
These three plans are questions of some social im. portance. They relate to economy, to health, and to comfort. I recommend them to you with all confidence; because similar institutions, on a larger scale, are found productive of benefit and enjoyment to the more opulent classes of society. Do not suppose you cannot afford them: I will undertake to prove to any of you, that all the suggestions I have made this evening, are practicable, and within the compass and power of your means, if judiciously expended.
In conclusion :- I trust you will accept my assertion, that I shall rejoice in being the humble instruwwht of benefit to you. And if my recommendations - which I have only sketched the outline,-prove advantageous to only one family, I am sure neither you nor I will regret the time we have this evening passed here together. For my own part, I think some good result must always follow an honest commounication of ideas, when made to honest hearts like yours. You are here, more than in any part of England, the descendants of the genuine and brave Saxon, always famed for independence of character, and integrity of purpose. Your fair-haired children, with blue eyes and noble foreheads, prove your lineage. Your general intelligence is of a higher order than that of the working-classes in general. You have good heads and good hearts, and so much kindness for one another, that I feel certain all that is wanted to develope your capacity for improvement, and to bring you completely within the great social community, is a more general system, and a higher estimation, of cleanliness and neatness, gentleness, frugality, education, and self-respect. These qualities combined with your industry, honesty, good feeling, and strong sense, will soon raise you to comfort, prosperity, and happiness.
I must not detain you longer, and therefore with best wishes for your welfare, and with thanks for your patient attention, I bid you good night, and may God bless you all.
THOUGHTS ON LIFE.
R. W. EMERSON, ESQ.
[The following characteristic speech on life and manners, was
recently delivered by Ralph Waldo EMERson, in Toronto, under the auspices of the Ontario Literary Society.)
The Americans, let me say, believe in America. The earth is shaken by our engineers. We are feeling our youth and nerve and bone. We have the power of territory and of sea-coast, and know the use of these. We count our census, we read our growing valuations; we survey our map, which becomes old in a year or two; our eyes run approv, ingly along the lengthening lines of road and telegraph ; our navigators have gone nearest to the Pole; we have discovered the Antarctic continent; we interfere in Central and in South America, at Canton and Japan. We are the brag of the world, and we value ourselves on all these feats. It is the way of the world, it is the law of youth, and of unfolding strength. Men are made each with some triumphant superiority, which, through some adaptation of finger, or ear, or eye, or cyphering, or literary, or musical craft, enriches the community
Having, by these introductory observations, got into his subject, Mr. Emerson proceeded to instance some individual feats, by which particular men had obtained an admitted superiority. Giotto could draw a perfect circle with his hand. Olave, King of Norway, could run round his galley on the blades of the oars of the rowers, when the galley was in motion. Evelyn wrote from Rome that a little before his going there, Bernini, the Florentine sculptor, architect, painter, and poet, gave a public opera, wherein he painted the scenes, cut the statues, invented the engines, composed the masie, wrote the comedy, and built the theatre. On the Rhine, Dr. Polydori said to Byron, “After all I hear, what can you do that I cannot ?"'“Why, since you force me to say it," answered Byron, “I think there are three things I can do which you cannot. I can swim across that river, I can snuff out that candle with a pistol-shot at a distance of twenty paces, and I have written a poem of which 14,000 wpies were sold in one day.” There was no end w such feats. There were many men in this country, who had built each their town. There were inventors who could put their thoughts in iron, brass, stone, and wood, and meet any practical want. One made a reaping machine, another made revolvers, another a power press, another tamed horses, another played chess. These were arts to be thankful for, each being a new direction of human power, and we could not choose but respect them. Our civilisation was made up of a million contributions of feats of this kind.
The danger was then pointed out of looking to the power and the reward which the inventor enjoyed as the true measure of his success. Lord Brougham's maxim that the counsel's only duty was to get the prisoner clear, and the old French maxim, “nothing succeeds better than success," were quoted as illustrations of this low view, with which he feared the Americans were deeply tainted. They were great by Exclusion, by grasping, by egotism. Nature utilises all our foibles, 'utilises misers, fanatics, showmen, egotists, to accomplish her ends, but we must not think the better of the ble for that. The first rule for success, then, which he laid down, was that
we should drop the hurrah of brag, and omit the advertisement, and take Michael Angelo's course, to confide in one's self and be something of worth and and value. Each man had an aptitude born with him to do wisely some feat impossible to any other. We should do that, respecting the excellence of the work, and not its acceptableness. Men were cither secondary or primary, according as their opinions and actions were organic or not. Young men travelling where all others travelled, readers of the books which all others read, youths rushing into the counting rooms of successful merchants, politicians playing the old tricks, no man striking out a new career of his own, were all imitators, and we got only the same product weaker. But the man who worked out what was his own, that was the primary person. Mr. Emerson's next leading point was, that in the scale of powers, it is not talent but sensibility which is best; that talent confines, but the central life puts us in relation to all. We should feel this and not be daunted by things. It is the fulness of man that runs over into objects, and makes his Bible, and Shakspere, and Homer so great. There is something of poverty in our criticism. We assume there are a few great men, all the rest are little that there is one Homer, one Shakspere, one Newton, one Socrates; but the soul, in her happy hour, does not acknowledge these unsurpations. We should know how to praise Socrates, or Plato, or St. John, without impoverishing us. In happy hours we do not find Shakspero or Homer over great—no, but only to have been translators of the happy present, and every man and every woman are divine possibilities. It is a good reader that makes a good book.