Page images


heart.” How excellent, and even grand, is such conduct in comparison with the wicked, systematic adulteration that is carried on in the world of traffic !

A few years ago, a lady entered a shop in Boston, looked at some goods, and walked out without purchasing. “Why did not the lady who has just left the shop take those goods ?” said the merchant to his clerk.

Because, sir," he replied, “she wanted Middlesex cloths.” “And why did you not shew her the next pile, and call them Middlesex?” “Because, sir, I knew they were not Middlesex," was the answer. Young man, if you are so particular, and can't bend a little to circumstances, you will never do for me,” added the employer, angrily. The clerk's response is worthy of a record on the page of history :-“Very well, sir; if I must tell falsehoods in order to keep my place, I must lose it, though I know not where to go, or what to do.” He left the shop, and that God who vindicates right against wrong, led him forth to prosperity. He is now one of the first merchants in a western State, a man of unsullied character and extensive usefulness.

In the year 1840, a tea-service of rich plate was presented to a New York merchant, who failed in business eight years before, but who, on prospering afterwards, paid off his creditors, principal and interest. The inscription on the tea-service was as follows :

“Presented to Wilson G. Hunt, by John Haggerty, William Ardee, and Joseph Corlies, in behalf of themselves, and his other creditors; who, in the year 1832, accepted a compromise of their claims, and gave him a complete release from all legal liability; as a testimonial of their high respect for his just sense of the moral obligation of contracts, as evinced by the payment, in the year 1839, of the balance of their respective claims, principal and interest; an act reflecting honour on himself as a merchant, and proving him one of the noblest of the Creator's works—AN HONEST MAN."

Such a testinonial is more valuable than a monument of brass or marble.

May the reader strive to imitate the integrity of Lawrence, and others to whom we have pointed. Let your word be as obligatory as the strongest legal instrument. Endure anything rather than violate your promise. Even though very little may depend upon your adherence to truth, never allow yourself to swerve one iota from the strictest honesty.

You are always safe in adhering strictly to your bargain, even when you know there has been misunderstanding, if there are no means of rectifying it. It is related of a carpenter in the vicinity of Boston, that he once contracted to build a house for a sea captain. The captain was about starting upon a voyage, and drew up the contract himself with great care. He was very particular to insist that the builder should adhere to the specifications of the contract, and declared that, unless he did, he would not accept the house on his return. He left on his voyage. When he came back, his house was finished. He admired the exterior very much. He went into it, and was delighted with the ground storey. But when he started for the rooms above he found there were no stairs. A burst of dissatisfaction escaped his lips, but the builder presented the written contract, in which there was no provision for stairs in any part of the house, and said he had no choice but to adhere to the specifications, or the contract would have been void.

Remember that integrity will be a valuable possession, when all artifices have failed, and prosperity has departed. You may be poor as a pauper, and yet you will have friends. Sympathy stirs every bosom in behalf of the unfortunate but honest man. True hearts rally around him to cheer his hours of disappointment and sadness. But if you resort to doubtful measures to promote your personal welfare, and barter the truth for material wares, your sin will find you out; and your friends will be fewest when your misfortunes are most trying

“The integrity of the upright shall guide them ; but the perverseness of the transgressors shall destroy them.

“He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely; but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.”



The state of society in which we live is such, that some useful callings are considered menial and degrading. A multitude of adults look with proud contempt upon the labours of some useful classes. While they admit the necessity of such labours, they still regard them as ignoble. There are business men who would not think of lending a helping hand to the clerks who perform the drudgery about their shops; it would be too great a compromise of dignity. This false pride pervades society, and exhibits itself in a multitude of ways.

It is not strange, then, that young persons often catch this spirit. That the evil prevails among them cannot be doubted. How many boys have left the farm and country for a shop in the city, simply because they thought the latter pursuit was more honourable. No doubt many have chosen the path of knowledge, and entered the learned professions, for no higher reason than this. Young men exhibit this spirit when they set up business for themselves in a dashing way, living in a style far beyond their means, and keeping up appearances for the sake of impression. Two young men commenced business in New York, a few years since, upon a capital of £2000, and in eleven months expended £7000 on their families, and then failed for £80,000. This may be a peculiar case; but there is something akin to it pervading society. This class of young men would not think of soiling their hands at manual labour. They are too proud for that. It is beneath their dignity. Many of them recklessly involve themselves in debt, and finally commit some shocking crime to extricate themselves. Such was the case with young Caldwell, of Chicago, who exclaimed, when he was arrested for embezzling money: “ I have lived too fast! I have lived too fast!He was a young man of pleasing address, but proud. He had an almost quenchless desire to make display, and to gratify this passion perpetrated a gross fraud. He would not condescend to become a “hewer of wood, and drawer of water” on any account; but he could become a villain easily enough. The counsel for the prosecution said to the jury in his plea :

“Ah, gentlemen, the pivot on which all this sad dream turns is condensed into the single expression : 'I have lived too fast !' Pregnant words they should fall from this court-room like a tocsin, on the giddy whirl of young men below; the multitude that has watched, with varied emotions, but all with intense interest, the progress of this trial, should carry it forth and spread it in the saloons, and in all the popular resorts of youth: I have lived too fast! It is the most forcible, as it is the most graphic expression of the unhealthy life that characterises—I shall be allowed to say—a multitude of young men in this beautiful city. In no town in the world do the centres of allurement and temptation bear such a proportion to the population. Extravagance in dress, extravagance in living, dangerous extravagance everywhere, is apparent to the observer, nor need that observer wear puritanical glasses to see what I allude to."

Amos Lawrence never harboured such sentiments. His employers never found him ashamed of his business, or any part of it. Both in youth when poor, and in age when rich, he could do anything that was necessary to be done in his business. Some time after he set up business for himself, a lady visited his shop, and made some purchases. He requested his clerk to carry the package to her residence. He declined, on the ground that it was a compromise of dignity; whereupon Mr Lawrence took the bundle himself. Who does not admire this noble act! What a cunning rebuke to the haughty clerk! A lecture of an hour's

« EelmineJätka »