« EelmineJätka »
sneeringly referred to his having been “a little drummern in his boyhood. “ And did I not drum well ?” was Mr Gray's response. He was not ashamed of beating a kettle-drum, so long as he did it well. A similar incident is related of a member of the British House of Commons, who, hy dint of perseverance, had raised himself from obscurity to that high position. One day an aristocratic member taunted him with his humble origin, saying : “I remember when you
father's boots." “Well, sir," was the grand reply, “ did I not black them well ?” He was a good boot-black, and he made a good member of the House of Commons.
We have several times spoken of Washington, but shall introduce him again as a distinguished illustration of this subject. Such a man as he becomes an example to the
young in more particulars than one. At the age of thirteen le began to discipline himself in business by copying bills of exchange, receipts, notes of hand, bills of sale, and other papers; and he did it with such neatness, exactness, and beauty, that these “ Forms of Writing," as he called them, were considered by all as remarkable specimens of thoroughness. When he left school at the age of sixteen, he had won such a reputation, that several merchants were anxious to secure his services.
After ward, when he was placed at the head of our government, the same thoroughness characterised all his doings. Mr Spark says: “ During the presidency it was likewise his custom to subject the treasury reports and accompanying documents to the process of tutelar condensation, with a vast expenditure of labour and patience; but it enabled him to grasp and retain
in their order, a series of isolated facts, and the results of a complicated mass of figures, which could never have been mastered so effectually by any other mode of approaching them.”
A writer says of his public services : “ His accounts while engaged in the service of his country, were so accurately kept, that, to this hour, they are an example held up before the nations. His habits of business enabled him, amid the tumults of the Revolution—its fierce contests, its sufferings, and disorders—to so methodise and record all the business incidents of each day, that the end of the war found him prepared to lay before Congress the exact statement of his expenditure. There was about him a pervading principle of order, not of a lifeless, sluggish cast, but lifelike and energetic; so that, while everything was well done, it was done in time and in earnest.”
His will has been considered one of the most thorough instruments of the kind ever penned. It is said that the most remarkable wills, prepared by learned lawyers, at great expense, are inferior to this as a complete business document. We urge the young
reader to reduce this excellent rule at once to practice. At home and abroad, on the farm and in the shop, in the store and at school, in any trade or profession, strive to excel. For this is a high and honourable aim, such as will secure valued friends on every hand, and call forth all the noble energies of the soul. It is the true way of developing a complete and earnest manhood, and of bringing forth the earliest and richest fruits.
THERE is danger that the practice of strict economy will end in penuriousness. It is always so unless economy is observed from a sense of duty. It is therefore necessary that both young and old should be guarded at this point. While it is a duty to be economical, it is eqaally a duty to be benevolent. We should practise economy in order that we may practise benevolence. The Christian rule is stated in that excellent maxim of Wesley : “ Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.”
Mr Lawrence appears to have observed this rule in every particular. What his plan of giving was in early life we are not informed: but it is eertain that he saw the importance of nurturing a kind and benevolent spirit in youth; for he once gave the following counsel to his
“Our people are liberally disposed, and contribute to most objects which present a fair claim to their aid. I think you will find great advantage in doing this part of your duty upon some system; thus, for instance, divide your expenses into ten parts, nine of which may be termed for what is considered necessary, and one part applied for the promotion of benevolent objects. This, I think, you will find the most agreeable part of your expenses. Neither yourself nor those who depend upon you will ever feel the poorer. I believe the rule might be profitably adopted by many who have small means; for they would save more by method than they would be required to pay."
No counsel could be more important than this to the young. The virtue of benevolence needs to be nurtured as really as any other. If youth and manhood are spent in saving every farthing, without listening and responding to the calls of charity, a penurious spirit will be nurtured, to characterise old age. A stingy youth is sure to make a stingy man. It is vain to expect a generation of benevolent men until we first have a generation of benevolent youth. The subject is one of the utmost importance; and we therefore urge the reader to heed the above excellent advice of Lawrence.
Besides, how beautiful is this virtue in the youthful character! If youth everywhere should now commence to give upon the plan suggested above, what a delightful scene it would be ! The other good qualities in their possession would shine forth with increased loveliness, and almost an entire change would be wrought in the spirit that pervades the hearts of the multitude. Would that the young might adopt the plan.
A few days later, Mr Lawrence wrote again to the same son, as follows:
“I hope you will one day have the delightful consciousness of using a portion of your means in a way to give you as much pleasure as I now experience. Your wants may be brought within a very moderate compass; and I hope you will never feel yourself at liberty to waste on yourself such means, as, by system and right principles, may be beneficially applied to the good of those around you. Providence has given us unerring principles to guide us in our duties of this sort. Our first duty is to those of our own household, then extending to kindred, friends, neighbours (and the term
'neighbour' may, in its broadest sense, take in the whole human family), citizens of our State, then of our country, then of other countries of the world.”
Here are two important considerations presented in regard to giving. The first we have alluded to, viz. : the duty of economising in order to have the means of giving to others—a scriptural, and therefore reasonable rule. The second is the "pleasure of benevolence.” No person was ever half so happy in hoarding wealth as Mr Lawrence was in bestowing his upon the needy. It was the greatest luxury of his life. While thousands of merchants around him were seeking wealth for the sake of being able to command the luxuries and extravagances of life, he sought them in order that he might bless his fellow-men. Noble spirit! It puts to blush the prevailing motives of men in the money-making world at the present day. No man, not even the niggardly hoarder of gain, can help admiring this view of the true use of riches. It differs so widely from the designs of men generally in striving to be rich, that it challenges the scrutiny of the world.
Mr Lawrence was right in teaching his son that there is great pleasure in giving from he proper motive. The idea which young persons usually have of wealth is, that it affords them the means to gratify all their desires for the good things of this world. They imagine that wealthy people are happy, because they can purchase what they please. It must be very fine, they think, to have such a l'ouse as you please, with as costly furniture, and as many servants as you like, as if these things constituted substantial happiness. How few stop to reflect upon riches as a means of extending