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length, on the evil of such a spirit, would have been less effective. A multitude of youth are just like this foolish clerk. We have known one sixteen years of age refuse a situation in a large mercantile establishment, because he must begin as errand boy. He wanted to be a man without being a lad. He meant to walk before he could creep.
It is only a short time since we read the following instance :
“A young man, nicely brushed up, and very genteel, entered an office, and with a polite air addressed the gentleman there with,
"Sir, you want a young man here, I believe ?' "Yes,' was the reply.
" . Here are my recommendations,' said the young man, as he handed a paper, certifying that he was worthy of confidence, &c.
“ The gentleman read the paper, and looked up, remarking :
"We should be glad to do your friends the compliment of engaging you, and, therefore, you will please let me hear something in regard to your fitness.'
6. What shall I be expected to do ?' asked the young
“To aid in the office as opportunity may present, and to pay notes, and collect drafts, &c.,' was the
u " I don't think collecting drafts will agree with my feelings,' replied the young man.
“ Well, quietly responded the gentleman,' I would not advise you to do anything against your feelings. Good morning.""
As Amos Lawrence knew nothing of this feeling in
his own breast from his youth, he had a profound contempt for it in the young men whom he met. man with finger- rings and cane, gold watch and showy guard, all worn apparently for effect, had little prospect of securing a place in his shop. He was at once suspicious that the fop would make a poor business man. He probably formed his opinion from actual observation; for it is a fact, that the class of successful men mentioned in these pages were unassuming and humble in all their style of living. It is true of others. Few men, if
any, who have felt above their business, were ever prosperous. Some one has said :-“ The story of many an opulent merchant is, 'Having, when I began life, a little capital, I bought a few articles, and opened a little shop.'” Yes! and humbler still were the first essays of many a merchant prince and far-famed scholar, as we have already seen. Franklin wheeled his own paper when he commenced business in Philadelphia. Sir Humphrey Davy made his own apparatus when he entered upon his philosophical and chemical pursuits. Girard commanded one of his own ships, even after he was forty years of age. A New York millionaire, now living, earned his first shilling as hod-carrier in the city of Troy. An honoured Baptist clergyman, now in active service, supported himself in college by sawing wood for his fellow-students and others. None of these persons would have worked their way up to distinction if they had felt above any useful labour. A friend and acquaintence of Mr Lawrence gave
the author the following incident :
“ The fire-bells rang one day when Mr Lawrence was riding through Tremont Street in his carriage. He overtook a fire company,
tugging away to reach the conflagration with their engine, and, putting his head out, he said to the firemen :-'I would get out and assist you if I were able ; but if you will fasten your engine to my carriage, I can help you along in that way.'” This was characteristic of Mr Lawrence. His noble heart sympathised with ail who appeared specially to need assistance. willing to draw an engine, if he could do others good thereby. What a generous spirit! It is the soul of true dignity, and ought to cause the cheeks of every proud young man to blush with shame.
A young trader once bought a bag of coffee of Girard, who was always careful about giving credit. But, in this case, when he saw the new customer proceed to wheel the coffee home, he offered to trust him to any amount. This simple act, which revealed that he was not above his business, won the confidence of Girard. The buyer became one of his intimate friends, and finally amassed a fortune. This incident shews how far the quality in question will contribute to the good standing of boy or man in the community.
When the late Isaac T. Hopper was a lad, and left home to live in Philadelphia, his mother said to him : “My son, you are now going forth to make your own way in the world. Always remember that you are as good as any other person, but remember also that you are no better.” The latter portion of this maternal counsel is particularly good, and Isaac never forgot it. The poorest labourer found in him a valuable friend, even when wealth and philanthropic deeds had given him a wide reputation. He seemed always to rejoice in the thought that he had been a mechanic. His biographer
says :-"One day, while he was visiting a wealthy family in Dublin, a note was handed to him inviting him to dine the next day. When he read it aloud, his host remarked :— Those people are very respectable, but not of the first circles. They belong to our church, but not exactly to our set.
Their father was a mechanic.'
"Well, I am a mechanic myself,' said Isaac. 'Perhaps if thou hadst known that fact, thou wouldst not have invited me?'
Is it possible,' exclaimed his host, 'that a man of your information and appearance can be a mechanic ?'
66. I followed the business of a tailor for many years, rejoined his guest: ‘Look at my hands ! Dost thou not see marks of the shears ? Some of the mayors of Philadelphia have been tailors. When I lived there, I often walked the streets with the Chief Justice. It never occurred to me that it was any honour, and I don't think it ever occurred to him.'»
When Napoleon became a member of the military school in Paris, he found that the students were educated to be waited upon by servants, and not to wait upon themselves. He immediately addressed a remonstrance to the governor against this practice. In that document he argued that “a student of military affairs should learn to groom his own horse, clean his own armour, and accustom himself to the performance of such duties as would be required of him for service in the field.” Afterward he introduced this system into the military academy which he established at Fontainbleau. There is not the least doubt that Napoleon was correct in his ideas of the way to make good soldiers. The principle is equally applicable to every other calling. No one must be too proud to wait upon himself.
Peter the Great was desirous of becoming acquainted with the arts of civilised life, in order to benefit his own subjects. He travelled much for this purpose, and when in the city of Amsterdam, he visited the great East India dockyard, which was near by.
He became so deeply interested in the building of ships that he resolved to learn the art. Accordingly he put on the labourer's suit, and offered himself to the superintendent as a workman. His real name and rank were withheld, and no one in the dockyard knew, for some time, that Peter the Great was their fellow-labourer. At length, however, the secret was out; but he would not allow any honours to be tendered to him. For several months he continued to labour upon a ship, which he afterwards purchased, and called St Peter.
“ He took his place among the other workmen, and became, in all respects, one of them, even wearing the same dress, eating the same sort of food, and inhabiting equally humble lodgings."
Washington was highly distinguished for this trait of character, and it greatly endeared him to the American army.
While the army occupied their winter quarters at Morristown, and were somewhat straitened for provisions, Washington directed one of his hungry soldiers to go to his table and refresh himself ; but the soldier objected because he was on guard. The General immediately took his gun, and acted as sentinel, while the hungry soldier went to his table to eat. On another occasion, when several divisions of the army were en