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curiosity for the following reasons :—He was handsome, but poor
and proud. The clothes on his back and in his trunk were all that he was worth. His mother was a pious widow, in very humble circumstances, and was much neglected by her unfaithful son. suddenly taken sick, and a dangerous fever followed. He was soon glad to send for his neglected parent to administer to his wants. She came with a mother's love, and watched at his bedside by night and by day, with a mother's tenderness. Providence interposed, and the young man recovered. One day a shopmate called to see him, when he introduced his owr mother as his nurse! He was ashamed of her lowly appearance, because it disclosed his humble origin, and he took this cruel, heathenish way to mislead his associate. Place such an example of downright barbarity in contrast with the filial devotion of Lawrence, and it seems like the deed of some untutored Hindoo or South Sea Islander. Ashamed to confess his humble origin! The curse of God will follow him to his grave, unless his life is marked by a change. Every honourable sentiment of humanity condemns such want of affection, while it approves the opposite in the faithful Lawrence. Men despise the one and admire the other.
It is vain for youth to expect success so long as they disregard the wholesome counsels of the fireside, for this disposition is a nucleus around which many evil propensities and purposes cluster. The tendency of such disregard is to nurture a reckless spirit that will plunge into vice, and may finally ruin both body and soul.
A GOOD START.
YOUTH often cherish very erroneous views about the beginning of success. They imagine that much depends upon position and wealth at the commencement of one's
Perhaps many are discouraged from ever attempting to accomplish much, because their parents are without property and rank. If they had fathers of commanding influence, and abundant means to furnish them with a name and capital, they would have sufficient courage to go forward. For some reason they have formed the opinion that nearly all successful men, particularly merchants, started in life with wealthy parents to give them a reputation without earning it. This is what they call “ a good start” in the world.
Now, we wish to disabuse the minds of youth of this fatal error.
Actual statistics shew that what some thus consider “a good start,” often proves the very worst start in the world. The sons of rich and honoured men are not always prosperous. The fact that they are not obliged to win a good name for themselves, because of their father's reputation, renders them careless; and the security they feel in having a father's wealth to fall back
upon, in case of failure, tends to make them indolent and extravagant. On the other hand, those youths who have nothing to depend upon but their own exertions, have no motive to slothfulness and prodigality. They are compelled to plan and contrive for themselves, and to husband their own resources well, or fail. They must earn a good name before they obtain the confidence of men, and the effort to do this forms good habits for life. Therefore, if we had no facts upon the subject, we should infer that the prospect of eminent success to poor but energetic and virtuous young men is greater than that of the rich. But the life of Amos Lawrence affords a good lesson upon this point.
GOOD PRINCIPLES AND GOOD HABITS gave him a good start. These were all the capital he had at the beginning. True, his father was not considered a poor man, neither did he lack influence. But Amos did not depend upon anything his father could do for him. He seemed to feel that his own exertions only could accomplish the purpose of life. When he entered the shop at Groton, and during all the time he remained there, he devoted himself to the business of his employer with the same interest that he would if it had been his own. There was nothing about the boy that foretold the future merchant-prince, except the integrity, industry, energy, and perseverance with which he pursued his business. He never expected to be rich, nor had he any longing desires for great wealth. Perhaps a strong desire for riches would have exposed him to more temptations. He might have been led thereby to forsake some of his noble principles for the sake of money. “ The love of money is the root of all evil,” says the inspired penman. Many have sacrificed honesty, and all that is valuable in character, to gratify this reigning lust. Lawrence possessed this to a great degree, he would have been likely, even with his
business talents, to have departed sometimes from the high prin
Had young ciples of honour and justice. But he loved good principles more than he did money. His highest aim was to win a good name for honesty and fidelity, whether he became rich or not. His excellent habits and virtues did more for his future prosperity than the largest capital that could have been furnished him. In later life he always took this view of the matter. In a letter to his sister, he said: “It is thirty-one years this week since I commenced business on iny own account, and the prospects were as gloomy at that period, as at any time since; but I never had any doubt or misgiving as to my success, for I then had no more wants than my means would justify. The habits then formed, and since confirmed and strengthened by use, have been the foundation of my good name, good fortune, and present happy condition.” Thus, according to his own statement, he formed no new principles and habits in later life, but only strengthened those that were formed in early life; and these earned his character and his fortune.
If we turn now to the lives of other distinguished merchants, we shall find that nearly all of them rose to eminence from a lowly condition. There is a striking similarity in the history of great and good men in this regard. Good principles and habits were about all they possessed when they began to rise.
When the late Hon. Abbott Lawrence, brother of the subject of this volume, went to the city of Boston, at fifteen years of age, to reside, he carried his clothing in a bundle under his arm, and had but 12s. 6d. in his pocket. At the time of his death he nearly equalled his brother Amos in the amount of his charities; and he left also a fortune to his heirs.
We have already seen that the prince of English merchants, Samuel Budgett, was born and bred in humble circumstances, and from the time he received a halfpenny for the horse-shoe which he found in the road, he went on accumulating money, until he was worth his hundreds of thousands.
Samuel Appleton, who died a few years since in Boston, leaving more than a quarter million sterling, after having contributed largely to benevolent objects in his life, was the son of a farmer. His opportunities of acquiring education were very limited; and he left home without anything to rely upon but sterling virtues. From the time he went forth to seek his fortune” he began torise. Success crowned his persevering endeavours. His pastor said of him when he died :-"He was an honest man. Without subterfuge or disguise, incapable of anything indirect or underhanded, he knew of but one way of speaking, and that was, to say straight on —the truth. It was a principle interwoven with his moral life. He did not know what else to say. It might be difficult to utter it, but he really could not help it. And so out of the simplicity of his nature, his yea was yea, and his nay, nay.”
Gideon Lee was born some eighty years ago in Amherst, Massachusetts. His origin was very humble. Few lads ever knew more than he of penury. He said himself, referring to the matter in after life, that he often started off before light on a winter's morning to his work, without a shoe on his foot, and regarded it a great luxury to be able to warm his feet on the spot just before occupied by the animals he roused. But he everywhere commended himself by his good habits and