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Title: The Young Man's Guide
Author: Alcott, William A., 1789-1859
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Young Man's Guide" ***




Twelfth Edition.

Perkins and Marvin.

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1835,
By Perkins & Marvin,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of


When I commenced this work, my object was a mere compilation. There
were many excellent books for young men, already in circulation, but
none which I thought unexceptionable; and some of them contained
sentiments which I could not approve. I sat down, therefore, intending
to make selections from the choicest parts of them all, and prepare an
unexceptionable and practical manual; such an one as I should be
willing to see in the hands of any youth in the community.

In the progress of my task, however, I found much less that was wholly
in accordance with my own sentiments, than I had expected. The result
was that the project of _compiling_, was given up; and a work prepared,
which is chiefly _original_. There are, it is true, some quotations
from 'Burgh's Dignity of Human Nature,' 'Cobbett's Advice to Young
Men,' 'Chesterfield's Advice,' and Hawes' Lectures; but in general what
I have derived from other works is re-written, and much modified. On
this account it was thought unnecessary to refer to authorities in the
body of the work.

The object of this book is to _elevate_ and _reform_. That it may prove
useful and acceptable, as a means to these ends, is the hearty wish of


Boston, Dec. 9, 1833.


The great purpose of the Young Man's Guide, is the formation of such
character in our young men as shall render them the worthy and useful
and happy members of a great republic. To this end, the author enters
largely into the means of improving the _mind_, the _manners_ and the
_morals_;--as well as the proper management of _business_. Something
is also said on _amusements_, and _bad habits_. On the subject of
_marriage_ he has, however, been rather more full than elsewhere. The
importance of this institution to every young man, the means of
rendering it what the Creator intended, together with those incidental
evils which either accompany or follow--some of them in terrible
retribution--the vices which tend to oppose His benevolent purposes,
are faithfully presented, and claim the special attention of every
youthful reader.

                     *      *      *      *      *


The rapid sale of a large edition of this work, and the general tribute
of public praise which has been awarded to its merits, instead of
closing the eyes of the Publishers or the Author against existing
defects, have, on the contrary, only deepened their sense of obligation
to render the present edition as perfect as possible; and no pains have
been spared to accomplish this end. Several new sections have been
added to the work, and some of the former have been abridged or

                     *      *      *      *      *


An increasing demand for the Young Man's Guide, evinced by the sale of
more than five thousand copies of the work in a few months, have
induced the publishers to give a third edition, with some amendments
and additions by the author; who has also derived important suggestions
from gentlemen of high literary and moral standing, to whom the work
had been submitted for examination.



INTRODUCTION. Mistakes in regard to the disposition and management
of the young.                                                   19-26


Section I. Importance of having a high standard of action.--The
young should determine to rise. We may usually become what we
desire to be. An anecdote. Studying the lives of eminent and
useful men.                                                     27-30

Section II. Motives to action.--A regard to our own happiness. To
family and friends. To society. To country. To the will of God.
The love of God, the highest motive.                            31-38

Section III. Industry.--No person has a right to live without
labor. Determine to labor as long as you live. Mistaken method
of teaching industry. Labor in the open air. Manual labor
schools.                                                        38-43

Section IV. Economy.--False and true; Examples of the false. Time
is money. Sixty minutes shown to be an hour. Economical habits. 1.
Do every thing at the time. Anecdote. 2. Every thing should have
its place. Examples.                                            43-47

Section V. Indolence.--The indolent only half human. Characteristics
of an indolent man. His epitaph.                                47-49

Section VI. Early Rising and rest.--He who would rise early, must
_retire_ early. Morning air. Advantages of early rising. 1. Things
go better through the day. 2. Morning hours more _agreeable_.
3. Danger of the _second nap_. 4. Early risers long-lived. 5. One
hour's sleep before midnight worth two after. 6. Saving of _time_
and _money_. Estimates. Examples of early rising.               49-55

Section VII. Duty to Parents.--Reasons. 1. For the sake of our own
reputation. 2. From love to our parents. 3. Better to _suffer_ wrong,
than to _do_ wrong. 4. Nothing gained by going away. Franklin an
exception to the general rule. No sight more beautiful than a well
ordered and happy family. Obedience the great lesson of life.   56-59

Section VIII. Faithfulness.--Our duty to our employers. Common
error of the young. Examples. The Mahratta prince.              59-61

Section IX. On Forming Temperate Habits.--Drunkenness and gluttony.
Indulgence short of these Indulgences very _expensive_. Spending time
at meals. Water drinkers the best guests. Temperate habits tend to
health. Ecclesiasticus. Examples of rational living. Tea, coffee,
soups, and all warm drinks injurious. General rules.            62-70

Section X. Suppers.--Customs of our ancestors; and of the Jews.
Advantages gained by avoiding suppers. Eating-houses.           70-73

Section XI. Dress.--Its uses. Neither be first nor last in a
fashion. Fondness for dress. Women not often misled by dress.   73-75

Section XII. Bashfulness and Modesty.--We _may_ be both bashful
and impudent. Bashfulness injurious. Set up for just what we are,
and no more.                                                    76-78

Section XIII. Politeness and Good Breeding.--Not to be despised.
In what good breeding consists. How acquired. Ten plain rules.  78-82

Section XIV. Personal Habits.--Business of the day planned in
the morning. Dressing, shaving, &c. Shaving with cold water.
Anecdote.                                                       82-88

Section XV. Bathing and Cleanliness.--Connection of Cleanliness
with Moral Purity. Neglect of this subject.                     88-89

Section XVI. Little Things.--Not to be disregarded. Zimmerman.
The world _made up_ of little things.                           89-93

Section XVII. Anger, and the means of restraining it. Avoid the
first steps. An error in education. Opinion of Dr. Darwin. The
Quaker and the Merchant. Zimmerman's method of _overcoming_
anger. Unreasonableness of returning evil for evil.             93-99


Section I. Commencing Business.--Avoid debt. Do not begin too
early. Facts stated. Why young men do not take warning. Students
of Medicine and Divinity. Examples for imitation.             100-108

Section II. Importance of Integrity.--Thieves and robbers respect
it. What it is. Many kinds of dishonesty. 1. Concealing the market
price. 2. Misrepresenting it. 3. Selling unsound or defective goods,
and calling them sound and perfect. Quack medicines. 4. Concealing
defects. 5. Lowering the value of things we wish to buy. 6. Use of
false weights and measures. Other kinds of dishonesty.        108-115

Section III. Method.--Memorandum book; its uses. Rules for doing
much business in little time.                                 116-117

Section IV. Application to Business.--Every person ought to have
one principal object of pursuit, and steadily pursue it.
Perseverance of a shopkeeper. All _useful_ employments
respectable. Character of a _drone_.                          117-120

Section V. Proper Time and Season of doing Business.--When to deal
with the gloomy; the intemperate; those unhappy in domestic life;
men involved in public concerns.                              120-122

Section VI. Buying upon Trust.--Live within our income. _Calculate._
Buy nothing but what you need. Estimates and examples to show the
folly of credit. Not intended as lessons of stinginess.       122-127

Section VII. We should endeavor to do our business ourselves. Four
reasons. Trusting dependants. We can do many little things without
hindrance.                                                    127-130

Section VIII. Over Trading.--A species of _fraud_. Arises
from a desire to get rich rapidly. Wickedness of monopolies.  130-131

Section IX. Making contracts beforehand. Always make bargains
beforehand. Three reasons. If possible, reduce every thing to
writing.                                                      131-132

Section X. How to know with whom to deal.--Two rules. How to
detect a knave. All men by nature, avaricious. Avoid those who
boast of _good bargains_. Avoid sanguine promisers.           133-135

Section XI. How to take Men as they are.--How to regard a miser; a
passionate man; a slow man; the covetous; those ruled by their
wives; the boasting; the mild tempered; the bully. Six sorts of
people from whom you are not to expect much aid or sympathy in
life: the sordid, the lazy, the busy, the rich, those miserable
from poverty, and the silly.                                  136-140

Section XII. Of desiring the good opinion of others.--Those not
far from ruin who _don't care_.--The other extreme to be
avoided.                                                      140-141

Section XIII. Intermeddling with the affairs of others.--Matchmakers.
Taking sides in quarrels. Ishmaelites.                        142-143

Section XIV. On keeping Secrets.--Who may safely be trusted.
Anecdotes.                                                    143-145

Section XV. Fear of Poverty.--Little real poverty in this country.
Shame of being thought poor leads to worse evils than poverty
itself. Fear of poverty often a cause of suicide.             145-150

Section XVI. Speculation.--The habit early formed. It is a species
of gaming. Its sources.                                       150-152

Section XVII. Lawsuits.--Avoid the law. Litigiousness, a disease.
Consider what is gained by it. Examples of loss. Subdue the
passions which lead to it. Lawsuits unnecessary.              152-156

Section XVIII. Hard dealing.--Its unchristian nature. _Two
prices._ Habits of the Mohammedans.                           156-157


Section I. On Gaming.--Every gambler a robber. The _first_ player.
Gaming _produces_ nothing. Corrupts manners. Discourages industry.
Opinions of Locke and others. What tremendous evils it leads to.
France, England. Different sorts of gaming. 1. _Cards_, _dice_,
and _billiards_. 2. _Shooting matches._ These brutal practices
still sometimes tolerated. 3. _Horse racing_ and _cock fighting_.
A recent bull fight.                                          158-171

Section II. On Lotteries.--Lotteries the _worst_ species of
Gaming. They are a species of swindling. Estimates to show their
folly. Appeal to the reader.                                  171-176

Section III. The Theatre.--A school of vice. Injurious to health.
Diseases produced by it. Its danger to morals. Opinions and facts
from Griscom, Rousseau, Hawkins, Tillotson, Collier, Hale, Burgh,
and Plato. Anecdote. Antiquity of theatres. No safety but in
_total abstinence_.                                           176-183

Section IV. Use of Tobacco.--1. _Smoking._ Picture of its evils
in Germany. Tobacco consumed in the United States. When it was
introduced. None recommend it to their children. A most powerful
poison. Savages fond of it, in proportion to their degradation.
No poisonous plant, so much used, except the _betel_ of India.
How smoking can be abolished. 2. _Chewing._ Apologies for the
practice.  Tobacco _does not_ preserve teeth. 3. _Taking snuff._
Disgust and danger of this habit.                             183-191

Section V. Useful Recreations.--Recreations in the open air.
Playing ball; quoits; nine pins, &c. Skating. Dancing. Its uses
and dangers. Reading sometimes a recreation. Sports of the field
considered.                                                   191-194


Section I. Habits of Observation.--We should keep our 'eyes open.'
Anecdote from Dr. Dwight. Avoid pedantry. Anecdote of a
surgeon;--of the elder and younger Pliny.                     195-199

Section II. Rules for Conversation.--Rules of profiting from it.
Hear others. Do not interrupt them. Avoid those who use vulgar or
profane language. Speak late yourself. Avoid great earnestness.
Never be overbearing.                                         199-202

Section III. On Books and Study.--How to overcome a dislike to them.
Lyceums, Travels, Histories, Newspapers. A common mistake. Education
only the key to knowledge. Men have commenced students at 40.
Franklin always a learner. We can find _time_ for study. _Practical
Studies._ 1. _Geography._ How to study it. Its importance. 2.
_History._ How pursued. 3. _Arithmetic._ _Practical_ arithmeticians.
The mere use of the pen and pencil do not give a knowledge of this
branch. 4. _Chemistry_, and other Natural Sciences. Usefulness of
Chemistry. 5. _Grammar_ and _Composition_. One method of obtaining
a _practical_ knowledge of these branches. 6. _Letter writing_. 7.
_Voyages_, _travels_, and _biography_. 8. _Novels._ Not recommended,
especially to those who have little leisure. 9. _Newspapers._
Newspapers, though productive of much evil, on the whole useful.
Five rules to assist the reader in making a judicious selection.
Politics. History and constitution of our country studied. 10.
_Keeping a Journal._ Examples. Other ways of improving the mind.
Blank book, with pencil in our pockets. 11. _Preservation of Books
and Papers._ Books should be covered; kept clean; used with dry
hands. Turning down leaves. Using books for pillows, props to
windows, seats, &c.                                           202-229


Section I. Female Society, in general.--Both sexes should be
educated together. What we are to think of those who despise
female society. How it polishes and improves us.              230-234

Section II. Advice and Friendship of Mothers.                 234-235

Section III. Society of Sisters--Attentions due them. Their
benefit.                                                      236-237

Section IV. General Remarks and Advice.--Too great intimacy. Avoid
trifling. Beware of idolatry.                                 238-241

Section V. Lyceums and other Social Meetings.--Value of Lyceums,
and courses of lectures. How they might be improved. Their
cheapness.                                                    241-243

Section VI. Moral Instruction.--Sabbath Schools and Bible Classes.
Value of the latter.                                          243-244

Section VII. Of Female Society in reference to Marriage.--Every
youth should keep matrimony in view. Particular advice. The wish
to marry, prudently indulged, will have a great influence on our
character. Error of a pedagogue.                              244-250


Section I. Why Matrimony is a duty.--Importance of the subject.
Considered as a school. Early marriage. Objections. Seven great
evils from late marriages.                                    251-258

Section II. General Considerations.--Husbands and wives gradually
resemble each other. Considerations for those who embark in
matrimony.                                                    258-262

Section III. Female Qualifications for Matrimony.--1. _Moral
Excellence._ 2. _Common Sense._ 3. _Desire for improvement._
4. _Fondness for children._ Miserable condition of a husband
or wife, where this is wanting. 5. _Love of domestic concerns._
Evils of ignorance on this point. Fashionable education in
fault. 6. _Sobriety._ Definition of the term. An anecdote.
Love of mental and bodily excitement usually connected.
7. _Industry._ How to judge whether a person is industrious.
8. _Early rising._ A mark of industry. Late rising difficult
of cure. 9. _Frugality._ Its importance shown. 10. _Personal
Neatness._ Its comforts. 11. _A good temper._ Its importance
illustrated. 12. _Accomplishments._                           263-305


Section I. Inconstancy and Seduction.--Constancy. Its importance
illustrated by an example. Cruelty of sporting with the affections
of a female. Opinion of Burgh.                                306-313

Section II. Licentiousness.--Most common in cities. New Orleans.
Hint to legislators. A horrid picture. Not wholly imaginary. Avoid
the first erring step. Example of premature decrepitude. Anecdote
of C. S. Solitary vice. This vice compared with intemperance. A
set of wretches exposed. Apologies sometimes made. Nature of the
evils this error produces. The law of God. Medical testimony.
Entire celibacy, or purity, not unfavorable to health. Youth ought
to consider this, and study the human frame. Causes of the error
in question. 1. _False delicacy._ Our half Mohammedan education.
2. _Books_, _Pictures_, &c. Great extent of this evil. Opinion
of Dr. Dwight. 3. _Obscene and improper songs._ Anecdote of a
schoolmaster. 4. _Double entendres._ Parental errors. _Evening
Parties._                                                     314-337

Section III. Diseases of Licentiousness. Nine or ten of them
enumerated. The ninth described. Four examples of suffering. When
the young ought to tremble. Happiness of having never erred. What
books may be safely and usefully consulted. Extract from Rees'
Cyclopedia. Other forms of disease. Of excess. All degrees of vice
are excessive. Duties of Parents as guides to the young.
Obligations of Medical men. Concluding Remarks.               337-354


Section I. Choice of Friends. Importance of a few female friends.
Caution necessary in making a choice. Story of Lucius--his mistake.
Reflections. Character of friends. Select a small number only.

Section II. Rudeness of manners. Wearing hats in the house--its
tendency. Practical questions. Manners in families.

Section III. Self-praise. Egotism. We should say little about


The young are often accused of being thoughtless, rash, and unwilling
to be advised.

That the former of these charges is in a great measure just, is not
denied. Indeed, what else could be expected? They are _thoughtless_,
for they are yet almost strangers to the world, and its cares and
perplexities. They are forward, and sometimes _rash_; but this
generally arises from that buoyancy of spirits, which health and vigor
impart. True, it is to be corrected, let the cause be what it may; but
we shall correct with more caution, and probably with greater success,
when we understand its origin.

That youth are _unwilling to be advised_, as a general rule, appears
to me untrue. At least I have not found it so. When the feeling does
exist, I believe it often arises from parental mismanagement, or from
an unfortunate method of advising.

The infant seeks to grasp the burning lamp;--the parent endeavors
to dissuade him from it. At length he grasps it, and suffers the
consequences. Finally, however, if the parent manages him properly,
he learns to follow his advice, and obey his indications, in order
to avoid pain. Such, at least, is the natural result of _rational_
management. And the habit of seeking parental counsel, once formed, is
not easily eradicated. It is true that temptation and forgetfulness may
lead some of the young _occasionally_ to grasp the _lamp_, even after
they are told better; but the consequent suffering generally restores
them to their reason. It is only when the parent neglects or refuses to
give advice, and for a long time manifests little or no sympathy with
his child, that the habit of filial reliance and confidence is destroyed.
In fact there are very few children indeed, however improperly managed,
who do not in early life acquire a degree of this confiding, inquiring,
counsel-seeking disposition.

Most persons, as they grow old, forget that they have ever been young
themselves. This greatly disqualifies them for social enjoyment. It was
wisely said; 'He who would pass the latter part of his life with honor
and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be
old, and when he is old, remember that he has once been young.' But if
forgetfulness on this point disqualifies a person for _self_ enjoyment,
how much more for that which is social?

Still more does it disqualify us for giving advice. While a lad, I was
at play, one day, with my mates, when two gentlemen observing us, one
of them said to the other; 'Do you think you ever acted as foolishly as
those boys do?' 'Why yes; I suppose I did;' was the reply. 'Well,' said
the other, 'I never did;--I _know_ I never did.'

Both of these persons has the name of parent, but he who could not
believe he had ever acted like a child himself, is greatly destitute of
the proper parental spirit. He never--or scarcely ever--puts himself to
the slightest inconvenience to promote, directly, the happiness of the
young, even for half an hour.

He supposes every child ought to be grave, like himself. If he sees the
young engaged in any of those exercises which are really adapted to
their years, he regards it as an entire loss of time, besides being
foolish and unreasonable. He would have them at work, or at their
studies. Whereas there is scarcely any thing that should give a parent
more pleasure than to see his children, in their earliest years,
enjoying that flow of spirits, which leads them forth to active,
vigorous, blood-stirring sports.

Of all persons living, he who does not remember that he has once been
young, is the most completely disqualified for giving youthful counsel.
He obtrudes his advice occasionally, when the youth is already under
temptation, and borne along with the force of a vicious current; but
because he disregards it, he gives him up as heedless, perhaps as
obstinate. If advice is afterwards asked, his manners are cold and
repulsive. Or perhaps he frowns him away, telling him he never _follows_
his advice, and therefore it is useless to _give_ it. So common is it
to treat the young with a measure of this species of roughness, that I
cannot wonder the maxim has obtained that the young, generally, 'despise
counsel.' And yet, I am fully convinced, no maxim is farther from the

When we come to the very close of life, we cannot transfer, in a single
moment, that knowledge of the world and of human nature which an
experience of 70 years has afforded us. If, therefore, from any cause
whatever, we have not already dealt it out to those around us, it is
likely to be lost;--and lost for ever. Now is it not a pity that what
the young would regard as an invaluable treasure, could they come at it
in such a manner, and at such seasons, as would be _agreeable_ to them,
and that, too, which the old are naturally so fond of distributing,
should be buried with their bodies?

Let me counsel the young, then, to do every thing they can, consistently
with the rules of good breeding, to draw forth from the old the
treasures of which I have been speaking. Let them even make some
sacrifice of that buoyant feeling which, at their age, is so apt to
predominate. Let them conform, for the time, in some measure, to the
gravity of the aged, in order to gain their favor, and secure their
friendship and confidence. I do not ask them wholly to forsake society,
or their youthful pastimes for this purpose, or to become grave
_habitually_; for this would be requiring too much. But there are
moments when old people, however disgusted they may be with the young,
do so far unbend themselves as to enter into cheerful and instructive
conversation. I can truly say that when a boy, some of my happiest
hours were spent in the society of the aged--those too, who were not
always what they should have been. The old live in the past, as truly
as the young do in the future. Nothing more delights them than to
relate stories of 'olden time,' especially when themselves were the
_heroes_. But they will not relate them, unless there is somebody to
hear. Let the young avail themselves of this propensity, and make the
most of it. Some may have been heroes in war; some in travelling the
country; others in hunting, fishing, agriculture or the mechanic arts;
and it may be that here and there one will boast of his skill, and
relate stories of his success in that noblest of arts and
employments--the making of his fellow creatures wise, and good, and

In conversation with all these persons, you will doubtless hear much
that is uninteresting. But where will you find any thing pure or
perfect below the sun? The richest ores contain dross. At the same time
you cannot fail, unless the fault is your own, to learn many valuable
things from them all. From war stories, you will learn history; from
accounts of travels, geography, human character, manners and customs;
and from stories of the good or ill treatment which may have been
experienced, you will learn how to secure the one, and avoid the other.
From one person you will learn _one_ thing; from another something
else. Put these shreds together, and in time you will form quite a
number of pages in the great book of human nature. You may thus, in a
certain sense, live several lives in one.

One thing more is to be remembered. The more you _have_, the more you
are bound to _give_. Common sense, as well as the Scripture, says, 'It
is more blessed to give than to receive.' Remember that as you advance
in years you are bound to avoid falling into the very errors which,
'out of your own mouth' you have 'condemned' in those who have gone
before you; and to make yourselves as acceptable as you can to the
young, in order to secure their confidence, and impart to them, little
by little, those accumulated treasures of experience which you have
acquired in going through life, but which must otherwise, to a very
great extent, be buried with you in your graves.

But, my young friends, there is one method besides conversation, in
which you may come at the wisdom of the aged; and that is through the
medium of books. _Many_ old persons have _written_ well, and you cannot
do better than to avail yourselves of their instructions. This method
has even one advantage over conversation. In the perusal of a book, you
are not so often prejudiced or disgusted by the repulsive and perhaps
chilling manner of him who wrote it, as you might have been from his
conversation and company.

I cannot but indulge the hope that you will find some valuable
information and useful advice in _this_ little book. It has cost me
much labor to embody, in so small a compass, the results of my own
experience on such a variety of subjects, and to arrange my thoughts in
such a manner as seemed to me most likely to arrest and secure your
attention. The work, however, is not wholly the result of my own
experience, for I have derived many valuable thoughts from other

An introductory chapter or preface is usually rather dry, but if this
should prove sufficiently interesting to deserve your attention till
you have read it, and the table of contents, thoroughly, I have strong
hopes that you will read the rest of the book. And in accordance with
my own principles, I believe you will try to follow my advice; for I
take it for granted that none will purchase and read this work but such
as are willing to be advised. I repeat it, therefore--I go upon the
presumption that my advice will, in the main, be followed. Not at every
moment of your lives, it is true; for you will be exposed on all sides
to temptation, and, I fear, sometimes fall. But when you come to review
the chapter (for I hope I have written nothing but what is worth a
second reading) which contains directions on that particular subject
wherein you have failed, and find, too, how much you have suffered by
neglecting counsel, and rashly seizing the _lamp_, I am persuaded you
will not soon fall again in that particular direction.

In this view, I submit these pages to the youth of our American States.
If the work should not please them, I shall be so far from attributing
it to any fault or perversity of theirs, that I shall at once conclude
I have not taken a wise and proper method of presenting my



On the Formation of Character.

SECTION I. _Importance of aiming high, in the formation of character._

To those who have carefully examined the introduction and table of
contents, I am now prepared to give the following general direction;
_Fix upon a high standard of character._ To be _thought_ well of, is
not sufficient. The point you are to aim at, is, the greatest possible
degree of usefulness.

Some may think there is danger of setting _too high_ a standard of
action. I have heard teachers contend that a child will learn to write
much faster by having an _inferior copy_, than by imitating one which
is comparatively perfect; 'because,' say they, 'a pupil is liable to be
discouraged if you give him a _perfect_ copy; but if it is only a
little in advance of his own, he will take courage from the belief that
he shall soon be able to equal it.' I am fully convinced, however, that
this is not so. The _more_ perfect the copy you place before the child,
provided it be _written_, and not _engraved_, the better. For it must
always be _possible_ in the nature of things, for the child to imitate
it; and what is not absolutely impossible, every child may reasonably
be expected to aspire after, on the principle, that whatever man _has
done_, man _may_ do.

So in human conduct, generally; whatever is possible should be aimed
at. Did my limits permit, I might show that it is a part of the divine
economy to place before his rational creatures a perfect standard of
action, and to make it their duty to come up to it.

He who only aims at _little_, will _accomplish_ but little. _Expect_
great things, and _attempt_ great things. A neglect of this rule
produces more of the difference in the character, conduct, and success
of men, than is commonly supposed. Some start in life without any
leading object at all; some with a low one; and some aim high:--and
just in proportion to the elevation at which they aim, will be their
progress and success. It is an old proverb that he who aims at the sun,
will not reach it, to be sure, but his arrow will fly higher than if he
aims at an object on a level with himself. Exactly so is it, in the
formation of character, except in one point. To reach the sun with a
arrow is an impossibility, but a youth may aim high without attempting

Let me repeat the assurance that, as a general rule, _you may be
whatever you will resolve to be_. Determine that you will be useful in
the world, and you _shall_ be. Young men seem to me utterly unconscious
of what they are capable of being and doing. Their efforts are often
few and feeble, because they are not awake to a full conviction that
any thing great or distinguished is in their power.

But whence came en Alexander, a Cæsar, a Charles XII, or a Napoleon? Or
whence the better order of spirits,--a Paul, an Alfred, a Luther, a
Howard, a Penn, a Washington? Were not these men once like yourselves?
What but self exertion, aided by the blessing of Heaven, rendered these
men so conspicuous for usefulness? Rely upon it,--what these men once
_were_, you _may be_. Or at the least, you may make a nearer approach
to them, than you are ready to believe. Resolution is almost omnipotent.
Those little words, _try_, and _begin_, are sometimes great in their
results. 'I can't,' never accomplished any thing;--'I will try,' has
achieved wonders.

This position might be proved and illustrated by innumerable facts; but
one must suffice.

A young man who had wasted his patrimony by profligacy, whilst standing,
one day, on the brow of a precipice from which he had determined to
throw himself, formed the sudden resolution to regain what he had lost.
The purpose thus formed was kept; and though he began by shoveling a
load of coals into a cellar, for which he only received twelve and a
half cents, yet he proceeded from one step to another till he more than
recovered his lost possessions, and died worth sixty thousand pounds

You will derive much advantage from a careful perusal of the lives of
eminent individuals, especially of those who were _good_ as well as
great. You will derive comparatively little benefit from reading the
lives of those scourges of their race who have drenched the earth in
blood, except so far as it tends to show you what an immense blessing
they _might_ have been to the world, had they devoted to the work of
human improvement those mighty energies which were employed in human
destruction. Could the physical and intellectual energy of Napoleon,
the order and method of Alfred, the industry, frugality, and wisdom of
Franklin and Washington, and the excellence and untiring perseverance
of Paul, and Penn, and Howard, be united in each individual of the
rising generation, who can set limits to the good, which they might,
and inevitably would accomplish! Is it too much to hope that some
happier age will witness the reality? Is it not even probable that the
rising generation may afford many such examples?

SECTION II. _On Motives to action._

Not a few young men either have no fixed principles, no governing
motive at all, or they are influenced by those which are low and
unworthy. It is painful to say this, but it is too true. On such, I
would press the importance of the following considerations.

Among the motives to action which I would present, the first is a
regard to _your own happiness_. To this you are by no means indifferent
at present. Nay, the attainment of happiness is your primary object.
You seek it in every desire, word, and action. But you sometimes
mistake the road that leads to it, either for the want of a friendly
hand to guide you, or because you refuse to be guided. Or what is most
common, you grasp at a smaller good, which is near, and apparently
certain, and in so doing cut yourselves off from the enjoyment of a
good which is often infinitely greater, though more remote.

Let me urge, in the second place, a regard for the family to which you
belong. It is true you can never fully know, unless the bitterness of
ingratitude should teach you, the extent of the duty you owe to your
relatives; and especially to your parents. You _cannot_ know--at least
till you are parents yourselves,--how their hearts are bound up in
yours. But if you do not _in some measure_ know it, till this late
period, you are not fit to be parents.

In the third place, it is due to society, particularly to the
neighborhood or sphere in which you move, and to the _associations_ to
which you may belong, that you strive to attain a very great elevation
of character. Here, too, I am well aware that it is impossible, at your
age, to perceive fully, how much you have it in your power to
contribute, if you will, to the happiness of those around you; and here
again let me refer you to the advice and guidance of aged friends.

But, fourthly, it is due to the nation and age to which you belong,
that you fix upon a high standard of character. This work is intended
for American youth. _American!_ did I say? This word, alone, ought to
call forth all your energies, and if there be a slumbering faculty
within you, arouse it to action. Never, since the creation, were the
youth of any age or country so imperiously called upon to exert
themselves, as those whom I now address. Never before were there so
many important interests at stake. Never were such immense results
depending upon a generation of men, as upon that which is now
approaching the stage of action. These rising millions are destined,
according to all human probability, to form by far the greatest nation
that ever constituted an entire community of freemen, since the world
began. To form the character of these millions involves a greater
amount of responsibility, individual and collective, than any other
work to which humanity has ever been called. And the reasons are, it
seems to me, obvious.

Now it is for you, my young friends, to determine whether these weighty
responsibilities shall be fulfilled. It is for you to decide whether
this _greatest_ of free nations shall, at the same time, be the _best_.
And as every nation is made up of individuals, you are each, in
reality, called upon daily, to settle this question: 'Shall the United
States, possessing the most ample means of instruction within the reach
of nearly all her citizens, the happiest government, the healthiest of
climates, the greatest abundance of the best and most wholesome
nutriment, with every other possible means for developing all the
powers of human nature, be peopled with the most vigorous, powerful,
and happy race of human beings which the world has ever known?'

There is another motive to which I beg leave, for one moment, to direct
your attention. You are bound to fix on a high standard of action, from
the desire of obeying the will of God. _He_ it is who has cast your lot
in a country which--all things considered--is the happiest below the
sun. _He_ it is who has given you such a wonderful capacity for
happiness, and instituted the delightful relations of parent and child,
and brother and sister, and friend and neighbor. I might add, _He_ it
is, too, who has given you the name _American_,--a name which alone
furnishes a passport to many civilized lands, and like a good
countenance, or a becoming dress, prepossesses every body in your

But what young man is there, I may be asked, who is not influenced more
or less, by all the motives which have been enumerated? Who is there
that does not seek his own happiness? Who does not desire to please his
parents and other relatives, his friends and his neighbors? Who does
not wish to be distinguished for his attachment to country and to
liberty? Nay, who has not even some regard, in his conduct, to the will
of God?

I grant that many young men, probably the most of those into whose
hands this book will be likely to fall, are influenced, more or less,
by all these considerations. All pursue their own happiness, no doubt.
By far the majority of the young have, also, a general respect for the
good opinion of others, and the laws of the Creator.

Still, do not thousands and tens of thousands mistake, as I have
already intimated, in regard to what really promotes their own
happiness? Is there any certainty that the greatest happiness of a
_creature_ can be secured without consulting the will of the Creator?
And do not those young persons greatly err, who suppose that they can
secure a full amount, even of earthly blessings, without conforming,
with the utmost strictness, to those rules for conduct, which the Bible
and the Book of Nature, so plainly make known?

Too many young men expect happiness from wealth. This is their great
object of study and action, by night and by day. Not that they suppose
there is an inherent value in the wealth itself, but only that it will
secure the means of procuring the _happiness_ they so ardently desire.
But the farther they go, in the pursuit of wealth, for the sake of
happiness, especially if successful in their plans and business, the
more they forget their original purpose, and seek wealth for the _sake_
of wealth. To _get rich_, is their principal motive to action.

So it is in regard to the exclusive pursuit of sensual pleasure, or
civil distinction. The farther we go, the more we lose our original
character, and the more we become devoted to the objects of pursuit,
and incapable of being roused by other motives.

The laws of God, whether we find them in the constitution of the
universe around us, or go higher and seek them in the revealed word,
are founded on a thorough knowledge of human nature, and all its
tendencies. Do you study natural science--the laws which govern matter,
animate and inanimate? What is the lesson which it constantly
inculcates, but that it is man's highest interest not to violate or
attempt to violate the rules which Infinite Wisdom has adopted; and
that every violation of his laws brings punishment along with it? Do
you study the laws of God, as revealed in the Bible? And do not they,
too, aim to inculcate the necessity of constant and endless obedience
to his will, at the same time that their rejection is accompanied by
the severest penalties which heaven and earth can inflict? What, in
short, is the obvious design of the Creator, wherever and whenever any
traces of his character and purposes can be discovered? What, indeed,
but to show us that it is our most obvious duty and interest to love
and obey Him?

The young man whose highest motives are to seek his own happiness, and
please his friends and neighbors, and the world around him, does much.
This should never be denied. He merits much--not in the eye of God, for
of this I have nothing to say in this volume--but from his fellow men.
And although he may have never performed a single action from a desire
to obey God, and make his fellow men really _better_, as well as
happier, he may still have been exceedingly useful, compared with a
large proportion of mankind.

But suppose a young man possesses a character of this stamp--and such
there are. How is he ennobled, how is the dignity of his nature
advanced, how is he elevated from the rank of a mere companion of
creatures,--earthly creatures, too,--to that of a meet companion and
fit associate for the inhabitants of the celestial world, and the
Father of all; when to these traits, so excellent and amiable in
themselves, is joined the pure and exalted desire to pursue his studies
and his employments, his pleasures and his pastimes--in a word, every
thing--even the most trifling concern which is _worth_ doing, exactly
as God would wish to have it done; and make the _means_ of so doing,
his great and daily study?

This, then, brings us to the highest of human motives to action, the
love of God. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God supremely, and thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself, are the two great commands which bind the
human family together. When our love to God is evinced by pure love to
man, and it is our constant prayer, 'Lord what wilt thou have me to
_do_;' then we come under the influence of motives which are worthy of
creatures destined to immortality. When it is our meat and drink, from
a sacred regard to the Father of our spirits, and of all things in the
universe, material and immaterial, to make every thought, word and
action, do good--have a bearing upon the welfare of one or more, and
the more the better--of our race, then alone do we come up to the
dignity of our nature, and, by Divine aid, place ourselves in the
situation for which the God of nature and of grace designed us.

                     *      *      *      *      *

I have thus treated, at greater length than I had at first intended,
of the importance of having an _elevated aim_, and of the _motives
to action_. On the _means_ by which young men are to attain this
elevation, it is the purpose of this little work to dwell plainly and
fully. These _means_ might be classed in three great divisions; viz.
_physical_, _mental_, and _moral_. Whatever relates to the health,
belongs to the first division; whatever to the improvement of the mind,
the second; and the formation of good manners and virtuous habits,
constitutes the third. But although an arrangement of this sort might
have been more logical, it would probably have been less interesting to
the reader. The means of religious improvement, appropriately so
called, require a volume of themselves.

SECTION III. _Industry._

Nothing is more essential to usefulness and happiness in life, than
habits of industry. 'This we commanded you,' says St. Paul, 'that if
any would not work, neither should he eat.' Now this would be the sober
dictate of good sense, had the apostle never spoken. It is just as true
now as it was 2,000 years ago, that no person possessing a sound mind
in a healthy body, has a right to live in this world without labor. If
he claims an existence on any other condition, let him betake himself
to some other planet.

There are many kinds of labor. Some which are no less useful than
others, are almost exclusively mental. You may make your own selection
from a very wide range of employments, all, perhaps, equally important
to society. _But something you must do._ Even if you happen to inherit
an ample fortune, your health and happiness demand that you should
labor. To live in idleness, even if you have the means, is not only
injurious to yourself, but a species of fraud upon the community, and
the children,--if children you ever have,--who have a claim upon you
for what you can earn and do.

Let me prevail with you then, when I urge you to set out in life fully
determined to depend chiefly on yourself, for pecuniary support; and to
be in this respect, independent. In a country where the general rule is
that a person shall rise,--if he rise at all,--by his own merit, such a
resolution is indispensable. It is usually idle to be looking out for
support from some other quarter. Suppose you should obtain a place of
office or trust through the friendship, favor, or affection of others;
what then? Why, you hold your post at uncertainties. It may be taken
from you at almost any hour. But if you depend on yourself alone, in
this respect, your mountain stands strong, and cannot very easily be

He who lives upon any thing except his own labor, is incessantly
surrounded by rivals. He is in daily danger of being out-bidden; his
very bread depends upon caprice, and he lives in a state of never
ceasing fear. His is not, indeed, the dog's life, '_hunger_ and
idleness,' but it is worse; for it is 'idleness with _slavery_;' the
latter being just the price of the former.

Slaves, are often well _fed_ and decently _clothed_; but they dare not
_speak_. They dare not be suspected even to _think_ differently from
their master, despise his acts as much as they may;--let him be tyrant,
drunkard, fool, or all three at once, they must either be silent, or
lose his approbation. Though possessing a thousand times his knowledge,
they yield to his assumption of superior understanding; though knowing
it is they who, in fact, do all that he is paid for doing, it is
destruction to them to _seem as if they thought_ any portion of the
service belonged to themselves.

You smile, perhaps, and ask what all this tirade against slavery means.
But remember, there is slavery of several kinds. There is _mental_
slavery as well as bodily; and the former is not confined to any
particular division of the United States.

Begin, too, with a determination to labor through life. There are many
who suppose that when they have secured to themselves a competence,
they shall sit with folded arms, in an easy chair, the rest of their
days, and enjoy it. But they may be assured that this will never do.
The very fact of a person's having spent the early and middle part of
life in active usefulness, creates a necessity, to the body and mind,
of its continuance. By this is not meant that men should labor as
_hard_ in old age, even in proportion to their strength, as in early
life. Youth requires a great variety and amount of action, maturity not
so much, and age still less. Yet so much as age does, in fact, demand,
is more necessary than to those who are younger. Children are so
tenacious of life, that they do not _appear_ to _suffer immediately_,
if exercise is neglected; though a day of reckoning must finally come.

Hence we see the reason why those who retire from business towards the
close of life, so often become diseased, in body and mind; and instead
of enjoying life, or making those around them happy, become a source of
misery to themselves and others.

Most people have a general belief in the importance of industrious
habits; and yet not a few make strange work in endeavoring to form
them. Some attempt to do it by compulsion; others by flattery. Some
think it is to be accomplished by set lessons, in spite of example;
others by example alone.

A certain father who was deeply convinced of the importance of forming
his sons to habits of industry, used to employ them whole days in
removing and replacing heaps of stones. This was well intended, and
arose from regarding industry as a high accomplishment; but there is
some danger of defeating our own purpose in this way, and of producing
_disgust_. Besides this, labor enough can usually be obtained which is
obviously profitable.

All persons, without exception, ought to labor more or less, every day
in the open air. Of the truth of this opinion, the public are beginning
to be sensible; and hence we hear much said, lately, about manual labor
schools. Those who, from particular circumstances, cannot labor in the
open air, should substitute in its place some active mechanical
employment, together with suitable calisthenic or gymnastic exercises.

It is a great misfortune of the present day, that almost every one is,
by his own estimate, _raised above his real state of life_. Nearly
every person you meet with is aiming at a situation in which he shall
be exempted from the drudgery of laboring with his hands.

Now we cannot all become '_lords_' and '_gentlemen_,' if we would.
There must be a large part of us, after all, to make and mend clothes
and houses, and carry on trade and commerce, and, in spite of all that
we can do, the far greater part of us must actually _work_ at
something; otherwise we fall under the sentence; 'He who will not
_work_ shall not _eat_.' Yet, so strong is the propensity to be
_thought_ 'gentlemen;' so general is this desire amongst the youth of
this proud money making nation, that thousands upon thousands of them
are, at this moment, in a state which may end in starvation; not so
much because they are too _lazy_ to earn their bread, as because they
are too _proud_!

And what are the _consequences_? A lazy youth becomes a burden to those
parents, whom he ought to comfort, if not support. Always aspiring to
something higher than he can reach, his life is a life of
disappointment and shame. If marriage _befall_ him, it is a real
affliction, involving others as well as himself. His lot is a thousand
times worse than that of the common laborer. Nineteen times out of
twenty a premature death awaits him: and, alas! how numerous are the
cases in which that death is most miserable, not to say ignominious!

SECTION IV. _On Economy._

There is a false, as well as a true economy. I have seen an individual
who, with a view to economy, was in the habit of splitting his wafers.
Sometimes a thick wafer can be split into two, which will answer a very
good purpose; but at others, both parts fall to pieces. Let the success
be ever so complete, however, all who reflect for a moment on the value
of time, must see it to be a losing process.

I knew a laboring man who would hire a horse, and spend the greater
part of a day, in going six or eight miles and purchasing half a dozen
bushels of grain, at sixpence less a bushel than he must have given
near home. Thus to gain fifty cents, he subjected himself to an
expense, in time and money, of one hundred and fifty. These are very
common examples of defective economy; and of that 'withholding' which
the Scripture says 'tends to poverty.'

Economy in time is economy of money--for it needs not Franklin to tell
us that time is equivalent to money. Besides, I never knew a person who
was economical of the one, who was not equally so of the other. Economy
of time will, therefore, be an important branch of study.

But the study is rather difficult. For though every young man of common
sense knows that an hour is _sixty minutes_, very few seem to know that
sixty minutes make an hour. On this account many waste fragments of
time,--of one, two, three or five minutes each--without hesitation, and
apparently without regret;--never thinking that fifteen or twenty such
fragments are equal to a full hour. 'Take care of the pence, the pounds
will take care of themselves,' is not more true, than that hours will
take care of themselves, if you will only secure the minutes.[1]

In order to form economical habits, several important points must be
secured. You must have for every _purpose_ and _thing_ a _time_, and
_place_; and every thing must be done _at the time_, and all things put
_in their place_.

1. _Every thing must be done at the time._ Whether you attempt little
or much, let every hour have its employment, in business, study, social
conversation, or diversion; and unless it be on extraordinary
occasions, you must not suffer your plan to be broken. It is in this
way that many men who perform an incredible amount of business, have
abundant leisure. And it is for want of doing business systematically
that many who effect but little, never find much leisure. They spend
their lives in literally 'doing nothing.'

An eminent prime minister of Holland was asked how he could perform
such a vast amount of business, as it was known he did, and yet have so
much leisure. 'I do every thing at the time;' was the reply.

Some of you will say you have no room for any plan of your own; that
your whole time is at the will of your master, or employer. But this is
not so. There are few persons who are so entirely devoted to others as
not to have minutes, if not hours, every day, which they can call their
own. Now here it is that character is tried and proved. He alone who is
wise in small matters, will be wise in large ones. Whether your
unoccupied moments amount in a day to half an hour, or an hour, or two
hours, have something to do in each of them. If it be social
conversation, the moment your hour arrives, engage in it at once; if
study, engage at once in that. The very fact that you have but a very
few minutes at your command, will create an interest in your employment
during that time.

Perhaps no persons read to better purpose than those who have but very
little leisure. Some of the very best minds have been formed in this
manner. To repeat their names would be to mention a host of self
educated men, in this and in other countries. To show what can be done,
I will mention one fact which fell under my own observation. A young
man, about fifteen years of age, unaccustomed to study, and with a mind
wholly undisciplined, read Rollin's Ancient History through in about
three months, or a fourth of a year; and few persons were ever more
closely confined to a laborious employment than he was during the whole
time. Now to read four such works as Rollin in a year, is by no means a
matter to be despised.

2. _Every thing should have its place._ Going into a shop, the other
day, where a large number of persons were employed, I observed the
following motto, in large letters, pasted on the side of the room; 'Put
every thing in its proper place.' I found the owner of the shop to be a
man of order and economy.

An old gentleman of my acquaintance, who always had a place for every
thing, made it a rule, if any thing was out of its place, and none of
his children could find it, to blame the whole of them. This was an
unreasonable measure, but produced its intended effect. His whole
family follow his example; they have a place for every thing, and they
put every thing in its place.

Unless both the foregoing rules are observed, true economy does not and
cannot exist. But without economy, life is of little comparative value
to ourselves or others. This trait of character is _generally_ claimed,
but more _rarely_ possessed.

      [1] A teacher, who has been pleased to say much in behalf of this
      work, and to do much to extend its circulation, in a late letter,
      very modestly, but properly makes the following inquiry; 'Has not
      Dr. Franklin's precept, _time is money_, made many misers? Is it
      not used without sufficient qualification?'

      There is no good thing, nor any good advice, but what may be
      abused, if used or taken _without qualification_. There may be
      misers in regard to time, as well as money; and no one can become
      miserly in the one respect without soon becoming so in the other.
      He who cannot or rather will not give any portion of his time to
      promote the happiness of those around him, in the various ways of
      doing good, which perpetually offer, lest it should take from his
      means of earning property, is as much to be pitied as he who
      hoards all his dollars and cents. Still it is true that youth
      should husband well their time, and avoid wasting either that or
      their money.

SECTION V. _Indolence._

One of the greatest obstacles in the road to excellence, is indolence.
I have known young men who would reason finely on the value of time,
and the necessity of rising early and improving every moment of it.
Yet I have also known these same _aspiring_ young men to lie dozing,
an hour or two in the morning, after the wants of nature had been
reasonably, and more than reasonably gratified. You can no more rouse
them, with all their fine arguments, than you can a log. There they
lie, completely enchained by indolence.

I have known others continually complain of the shortness of time; that
they had no time for business, no time for study, &c. Yet they would
lavish hours in yawning at a public house, or hesitating whether they
had better go to the theatre or stay; or whether they had better get
up, or indulge in 'a little more slumber.' Such people wear the most
galling chains, and as long as they continue to wear them there is no
reasoning with them.

An indolent person is scarcely human; he is half quadruped, and of the
most stupid species too. He may have good intentions of discharging a
duty, while that duty is at a distance; but let it approach, let him
view the time of action as near, and down go his hands in languor. He
_wills_, perhaps; but he _un_wills in the next breath.

What is to be done with such a man, especially if he is a young one? He
is absolutely good for nothing. Business tires him; reading fatigues
him; the public service interferes with his pleasures, or restrains his
freedom. His life must be passed on a bed of down. If he is employed,
moments are as hours to him--if he is amused, hours are as moments. In
general, his whole time eludes him, he lets it glide unheeded, like
water under a bridge. Ask him what he has done with his morning,--he
cannot tell you; for he has lived without reflection, and almost
without knowing whether he has lived at all.

The indolent man sleeps as long as it is possible for him to sleep,
dresses slowly, amuses himself in conversation with the first person
that calls upon him, and loiters about till dinner. Or if he engages
in any employment, however important, he leaves it the moment an
opportunity of talking occurs. At length dinner is served up; and after
lounging at the table a long time, the evening will probably be spent
as unprofitably as the morning: and this it may be, is no unfair
specimen of his whole life. And is not such a wretch, for it is
improper to call him a man--good for nothing? What is he good for? How
can any rational being be willing to spend the precious gift of life in
a manner so worthless, and so much beneath the dignity of human nature?
When he is about stepping into the grave, how can he review the past
with any degree of satisfaction? What is his history, whether recorded
here or there,--in golden letters, or on the plainest slab--but, 'he
was born' and 'he died!'

SECTION VI. _Early Rising and Rest._

Dr. Rush mentions a patient of his who thought himself wonderfully
abstinent because he drank no spirituous or fermented liquors, _except
a bottle of wine or so_, after dinner!

In like manner some call it early to retire at _ten or eleven o'clock_.
Others think _ten very late_. Dr. Good, an English writer on medicine,
in treating of the appropriate means of preventing the gout in those
who are predisposed to it, after giving directions in regard to diet,
drink, exercise, &c., recommends an early hour of retiring to rest. 'By
all means,' says he, 'you should go to bed by eleven.'

To half the population of New England such a direction would seem
strange; but by the inhabitants of cities and large towns, who already
begin to ape the customs and fashions of the old world, the caution is
well understood. People who are in the habit of making and attending
parties which commence at 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening, can hardly be
expected to rise with the sun.

We hear much said about the benefit of the morning air. Many wise men
have supposed the common opinion on this subject to be erroneous; and
that the mistake has arisen from the fact that being refreshed and
invigorated by rest, the change is _within_ instead of _without_; that
our physical frames and mental faculties are more healthy than they
were the previous evening, rather than that the surrounding atmosphere
has altered.

Whether the morning air is _more_ healthy or not, it is certainly
healthy enough. Besides, there are so many reasons for early rising
that if I can persuade the reader to go to bed early, I shall have
little fear of his lying late in the morning.

1st. He who rises early and plans his work, and early sets himself
about it, generally finds his business go well with him the whole day.
He has taken time by the foretop; and will be sure to go before, or
_drive_ his business; while his more tardy neighbor 'suffers his
business to drive him.' There is something striking in the feeling
produced by beginning a day's work thus seasonably. It gives an impulse
to a man's thoughts, speech, and actions, which usually lasts through
the day. This is not a mere whim, but sober fact; as can be attested by
thousands. The person who rises late, usually pleads (for mankind are
very ingenious in defence of what falls in with their own
inclinations,) that he does as much in the progress of the day, as
those who rise early. This may, in a few instances, be true; but in
general, facts show the reverse. The motions of the early riser will be
more lively and vigorous all day. He may, indeed, become dull late in
the evening, but he ought to be so.

Sir Matthew Hale said that after spending a Sunday well, the rest of
the week was usually prosperous. This is doubtless to be accounted
for--in part at least--on the above principle.

2. In the warm season, the morning is the most agreeable time for
labor. Many farmers and mechanics in the country perform a good half
day's work before the people of the city scarcely know that the sun

3. To lie snoring late in the morning, assimilates us to the most
beastly of animals. Burgh, an ingenious English writer, justly
observes; 'There is no time spent more stupidly than that which some
luxurious people pass in a morning between sleeping and waking, after
nature has been fully gratified. He who is awake may be doing
something: he who is asleep, is receiving the refreshment necessary to
fit him for action: but the hours spent in dozing and slumbering can
hardly be called existence.'

The late Dr. Smith, of Yale College, in his lectures, used to urge on
his hearers never to take '_the second nap_.' He said that if this rule
were steadily and universally followed by persons in health,--there
would be no dozing or oversleeping. If, for once, they should awake
from the first nap before nature was sufficiently restored, the next
night would restore the proper balance. In laying this down as a rule,
Dr. Smith would, of course, except those instances in which we are
awakened by accident.

4. It has been remarked by experienced physicians that they have
seldom, if ever, known a person of great age, who was not an early
riser. In enumerating the causes of longevity, Rush and Sinclair both
include early rising.

5. It is a trite but just maxim that one hour's sleep before midnight
is worth two afterward. Why it is so, would perhaps be difficult to
say. The power of habit is great, and as the majority of children are
trained to go to bed early, perhaps this will in part account for the
fact. So when the usual hour for meal arrives, a given amount of food
eaten at the time, is digested in a more healthy and regular manner
than if eaten one, or two, or three hours afterwards. Again, nature
certainly intended man should exercise during the day, and sleep in the
night. I do not say the _whole_ night; because in the winter and in
high northern latitudes, this would be devoting an unreasonable portion
of time to sleep. It would hardly do to sleep three or four months. But
in all countries, and in all climates, we should try to sleep half our
hours before midnight.

6. The person who, instead of going to bed at nine, sits up till
eleven, and then sleeps during two hours of daylight the following
morning, is grossly negligent of economy. For, suppose he makes this
his constant practice, during his whole _business_ life, say fifty
years. The extra oil or tallow which he would consume would not be
estimated at less than one cent an evening; which, in fifty years would
be $182.50. Not a very large sum to be sure; but, to every _young_ man,
worth saving; since, to a community of 1,000 young men, the amount
would be no less than $182,500. Then the loss in health and strength
would be far greater, though it is obvious that it cannot so easily be

7. Once more. If an hour's sleep before midnight is worth more than an
hour in the morning, then an hour in the morning is of course worth
less than an hour before midnight, and a person must sleep a greater
number of hours in the morning to obtain an equal amount of rest. A
person retiring at eleven and rising at eight, would probably get no
more rest, possibly less, than a person who should sleep from nine to
five;--a period one hour shorter. But if so, he actually loses an hour
of time a day. And you well know, if Franklin had not told you so, that
_time is money_.

Now, if we estimate the value of this time at ten cents an hour for one
person in four, of the population of the United States--and this is
probably a fair estimate--the loss to an individual in a year, or 313
working days, would be $31.30; and in 50 years $1,565. A sum sufficient
to buy a good farm in many parts of the country. The loss to a
population equal to that of the United States, would, in fifty years,
be no less than five thousand and eighty-six millions of dollars!

But this is not the whole loss. The time of the young and old is beyond
all price for the purposes of mental and moral improvement. Especially
is this true of the precious golden hours of the morning. Think, then,
of the immense waste in a year! At twelve hours a day, more than a
million of years of valuable time are wasted annually in the United

I have hitherto made my estimates on the supposition that we do not
sleep too much, in the aggregate, and that the only loss sustained
arises from the _manner of procuring it_. But suppose, once more, we
sleep an hour too much daily. This involves a waste just twice as great
as that which we have already estimated.

Do you startle at these estimates! It is proper that many of you
should. You have misspent time enough. Awake your 'drowsy souls,' and
shake off your stupid habits. Think of Napoleon breaking up the
boundaries of kingdoms, and dethroning kings, and to accomplish these
results, going through with an amount of mental and bodily labor that
few constitutions would be equal to, with only _four hours of sleep in
the twenty-four_. Think of Brougham too, who _works_ as many hours,
perhaps, as any man in England, and has as much influence, and yet
sleeps as few; i.e., only four. A hundred persons might be named, and
the list would include some of the greatest benefactors of their race,
who never think of sleeping more than _six_ hours a day. And yet many
of you are scarcely contented with eight!

Would you conquer as Bonaparte did--not states, provinces, and
empires,--but would you aspire to the high honor of conquering
yourselves, and of extending your conquests intellectually and morally,
you must take the necessary steps. The path is a plain one; requiring
nothing but a little moral courage. 'What man has done, man may do.' I
know you do not and ought not to aspire to conquer kingdoms, or to
become prime ministers; but you ought to aspire to get the victory over
yourselves:--a victory as much more noble than those of Napoleon, and
Cæsar, and Alexander, as intellectual and moral influence are superior
to mere brute force.

      [2] Dr. Franklin, in view of the latter fact, wrote a humorous
      Essay, at Paris, in which he labored hard to show the people of
      that luxurious and dissipated city, that the sun gives light as
      soon as it rises.

SECTION VII. _On Duty to Parents._

It was the opinion of a very eminent and observing man, that those who
are obedient to parents, are more healthy, long lived, and happy than
those who are disobedient. And he reasons very fairly on the subject.

Now I do not know whether the promise annexed to the fifth command,
(whatever might have been intended, as addressed to the Jews,) has any
special reference to happiness in this life. I only know that in
general, those who are obedient to parents are apt to be virtuous in
other respects; for the virtues as well as the vices usually go in
companies. But that virtue in general tends to long life and happiness,
nobody will entertain a doubt.

I am sorry, however, to find that the young, when they approach adult
years, are apt to regard authority as irksome. It should not be so. So
long as they remain under the parental roof, they ought to feel it a
pleasure to conform to the wishes of the parents in all the
arraignments of the family, if not absolutely unreasonable. And even in
the latter case, it is my own opinion--and one which has not been
hastily formed, either--that it would be better to submit, with
cheerfulness; and for three reasons.

1st. For the sake of your own reputation; which will always be
_endangered_ by disobedience, however unjust the parental claim may be.

2d. From a love of your parents, and a sense of what you owe them for
their kind care; together with a conviction that perfect rectitude is
not to be expected. You will find error, more or less, every where
around you--even in yourselves; why should you expect perfection in
your parents?

3d. Because it is better to _suffer_ wrong than to _do_ wrong. Perhaps
there is nothing which so improves human character, as suffering
wrongfully; although the world may be slow to admit the principle. More
than this; God himself has said a great deal about _obedience to

If real evils multiply so that a young man finds he cannot remain in
his father's house, without suffering not only in his feelings, but
permanently in his temper and disposition, I will not say that it is
never best to leave it. I do not believe, however, there is _often_ any
such necessity. Of those who leave their paternal home on this plea, I
believe nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand might profitably
remain, if they would; and that a very large number would find the
fault in themselves--in their own temper, disposition or mistaken
views--rather than in their parents.

And what is to be _gained_ by going away? Unfortunately this is a
question too seldom asked by restless, or headstrong youths; and when
asked and answered, it is usually found that their unhappy experience
proves the answer to have been incorrect. I have seldom known a youth
turn out well who left his parents or his guardian or master. On this
subject, Franklin, I know, is often triumphantly referred to; but for
one such instance as that, I hazard nothing in saying there are
hundreds of a contrary character. Within the circle of my own
observation, young men who leave in this manner, have wished themselves
back again a thousand times.

But be this as it may, so long as you remain in the family, if you are
70 years of age, by all means yield to authority implicitly, and if
possible, cheerfully. Avoid, at least, altercation and reproaches. If
things do not go well, fix your eye upon some great example of
suffering wrongfully, and endeavor to profit by it.

There is no sight more attractive than that of a well ordered family;
one in which every child, whether five years old or fifty, submits
cheerfully to those rules and regulations which parental authority has
thought fit to impose. It is, to use a strong expression, an image of
heaven. But, exactly in the same proportion, a family of the contrary
character resembles the regions below.

Nor is this all. It is an ancient maxim,--and however despised by some
of the moderns, none can be more true,--that he only is fit to command
who has first learned to obey. Obedience, is, in fact, the great lesson
of human life. We first learn to yield our will to the dictates of
parental love and wisdom. Through them we learn to yield submissively
to the great laws of the Creator, as established in the material world.
We learn to avoid, if possible, the flame, the hail, the severity of
the cold, the lightning, the tornado, and the earthquake; and we do not
choose to fall from a precipice, to have a heavy body fall on us, to
receive vitriol or arsenic into our stomachs, (at least in health) or
to remain a very long time, immersed in water, or buried in the earth.
We submit also to the government under which we live. All these are
lessons of obedience. But the Christian goes farther; and it is his
purpose to obey not only all these laws, but any additional ones he may
find imposed, whether they pertain to material or immaterial

In short, he who would put himself in the most easy position, in the
sphere allotted him by the Author of Nature, must learn _to
obey_,--often implicitly and unconditionally. At least he must know how
to obey: and the earlier this knowledge is acquired, and corresponding
habits established, the better and happier will he find his condition,
and the more quiet his conscience.

SECTION VIII. _Faithfulness._

Hardly any thing pleases me more in a young man, than faithfulness to
those for whom he is employed, whether parents, guardians, masters, or

There appears to be a strange misapprehension, in the minds of many, in
regard to this point. There are few who will not admit, in theory,
whatever may be their practice, that they ought to be faithful to their
parents. And by far the majority of the young doubtless perceive the
propriety of being faithful to their masters; so long at least, as they
are present. I will even go farther and admit that the number of young
men--sons, wards, apprentices, and servants--who would willingly be so
far unfaithful as to do any thing positively wrong because those who
are set over them happen to be absent, is by no means considerable.

But by faithfulness to our employers, I mean something more than the
mere doing of things because we are _obliged_ to do them, or because we
_must_. I wish to see young men feel an interest in the well being and
success of their employers; and take as good care of their concerns and
property, whether they are present or absent, as if they were their
own. The youth who would be more industrious, persevering, prudent,
economical, and attentive in business, if the profits were his own,
than he now is, does not in my opinion come up to the mark at which he
should aim.

The great apology for what I call unfaithfulness to employers, is,
'What shall I get by it?' that is, by being faithful. I have seen many
a young man who would labor at the employment regularly assigned him,
during a certain number of hours, or till a certain job was completed,
after which he seemed unwilling to lift a finger, except for his own
amusement, gratification, or emolument. A few minutes' labor might
repair a breach in a wall or corn crib, and save the owner many
dollars' worth of property, but it is passed by! By putting a few
deranged parcels of goods in their proper place, or writing down some
small item of account, which would save his employer much loss of time
or money, or both, a faithful clerk might often do a great service.
Would he not do it, if the loss was to be his own? Why not then do it
for his employer?

Those who neglect things, or perform them lazily or carelessly, because
they imagine they shall get nothing for it, would do well to read the
following story of a devoted and faithful domestic; which I suppose to
be a fact. It needs no comment.

A Mahratta Prince, in passing through a certain apartment, one day,
discovered one of his servants asleep with his master's slippers
clasped so tightly to his breast, that he was unable to disengage them.
Struck with the fact, and concluding at once, that a person who was so
jealously careful of a trifle, could not fail to be faithful when
entrusted with a thing of more importance, he appointed him a member of
his body-guards. The result proved that the prince was not mistaken.
Rising in office, step by step, the young man soon became the most
distinguished military commander in Mahratta; and his fame ultimately
spread through all India.

SECTION IX. _On Forming Temperate Habits._

'Be temperate in all things,' is an excellent rule, and of very high

_Drunkenness_ and _Gluttony_ are vices so degrading, that advice is, I
must confess, nearly lost on those who are capable of indulging in
them. If any youth, unhappily initiated in these odious and debasing
vices, should happen to see what I am now writing, I beg him to read
the command of God, to the Israelites, Deut. xxi. The father and mother
are to take the bad son 'and bring him to the elders of the city; and
they shall say to the elders, this our son will not obey our voice: he
is a _glutton_ and a _drunkard_. And all the men of the city shall
stone him with stones, that he die.' This will give him some idea of
the odiousness of his crime, at least in the sight of Heaven.

But indulgence _far short_ of gross drunkenness and gluttony is to be
deprecated; and the more so, because it is too often looked upon as
being no crime at all. Nay, there are many persons, who boast of a
refined taste in matters connected with eating and drinking, who are so
far from being ashamed of employing their thoughts on the subject, that
it is their boast that they do it.

Gregory, one of the Christian fathers, says: 'It is not the _quantity_
or the _quality_ of the meat, or drink, but the _love of it_, that is
condemned:' that is to say, the indulgence beyond the absolute demands
of nature; the hankering after it; the neglect of some duty or other
for the sake of the enjoyments of the table. I believe, however, there
_may_ be error, both in _quantity_ and _quality_.

This _love_ of what are called 'good eating and drinking,' if very
unamiable in grown persons, is perfectly hateful in a _youth_; and, if
he _indulge_ in the propensity, he is already half ruined. To warn you
against acts of fraud, robbery, and violence, is not here my design.
Neither am I speaking against acts which the jailor and the hangman
punish, nor against those moral offences which all men condemn, but
against indulgences, which, by men in general, are deemed not only
_harmless_, but _meritorious_; but which observation has taught me to
regard as destructive to human happiness; and against which all ought
to be cautioned, even in their boyish days.

Such indulgences are, in the first place, very _expensive_. The
materials are costly, and the preparation still more so. What a
monstrous thing, that, in order to satisfy the appetite of one person
there must be one or two others _at work constantly_.[3] More fuel,
culinary implements, kitchen room: what! all these merely to tickle the
palate of four or five people, and especially people who can hardly pay
their bills! And, then, the _loss of time_--the time spent in pleasing
the palate!

"A young man," says an English writer, "some years ago, offered himself
to me, as an _amanuensis_, for which he appeared to be perfectly
qualified. The terms were settled, and I requested him to sit down, and
begin; but looking out of the window, whence he could see the church
clock, he said, somewhat hastily, 'I _cannot_ stop _now_ sir, I must go
to _dinner_.' 'Oh!' said I, 'you _must_ go to dinner, must you! Let the
dinner, which you _must_ wait upon to-day, have your constant services,
then; for you and I shall never agree.'

"He had told me that he was in _great distress_ for want of employment;
and yet, when relief was there before his eyes, he could forego it for
the sake of getting at his eating and drinking three or four hours
sooner than was necessary."

This anecdote is good, so far as it shows the folly of an unwillingness
to deny ourselves in small matters, in any circumstances. And yet
punctuality, even at meals, is not to be despised.

_Water-drinkers_ are universally _laughed at_: but, it has always
seemed to me, that they are amongst the most welcome of guests, and
that, too, though the host be by no means of a niggardly turn. The
truth is, they give _no trouble_; they occasion _no anxiety_ to please
them; they are sure not to make their sittings _inconveniently long_;
and, above all, their example teaches _moderation_ to the rest of the

Your notorious 'lovers of good cheer' are, on the contrary, not to be
invited without _due reflection_. To entertain one of them is a serious
business; and as people are not apt voluntarily to undertake such
pieces of business, the well-known 'lovers of good eating and drinking'
are left, very generally, to enjoy it by themselves, and at their own

But, all other considerations aside, _health_, one of the most valuable
of earthly possessions, and without which all the rest are worth
nothing, bids us not only to refrain from _excess_ in eating and
drinking, but to stop short of what might be indulged in without any
_apparent_ impropriety.

The words of ECCLESIASTICUS ought to be often read by young people.
'Eat modestly that which is set before thee, and _devour_ not, lest
thou be _hated_. When thou sittest amongst many, reach not thine hand
out first of all. _How little is sufficient for a man well taught! A
wholesome sleep_ cometh of a temperate belly. Such a man _riseth up in
the morning_, and is _well at ease with himself_. Be not too hasty of
meats; for excess of meats bringeth sickness, and choleric disease
cometh of gluttony. By surfeit have many perished, and he that _dieteth
himself prolongeth his life_. Show not thy valiantness in wine; for
wine hath destroyed many.'

How true are these words! How well worthy of a constant place in our
memories! Yet, what pains have been taken to apologize for a life
contrary to these precepts! And, what punishment can be too great, what
mark of infamy sufficiently signal, for those pernicious villains of
talent, who have employed that talent in the composition of
_Bacchanalian songs_; that is to say, pieces of fine and captivating
writing in praise of one of the most odious and destructive vices in
the black catalogue of human depravity!

'Who,' says the eccentric, but laborious Cobbett, 'what man, ever
performed a greater quantity of labor than I have performed? Now, in a
great measure, I owe my capability to perform this labor to my
disregard of dainties. I ate, during one whole year, one mutton chop
every day. Being once in town, with one son (then a little boy) and a
clerk, while my family was in the country, I had, for several weeks,
nothing but legs of mutton. The first day, a leg of mutton boiled or
_roasted_; second, _cold_; third, _hashed_; then, leg of mutton
_boiled_; and so on.

'When I have been by myself, or nearly so, I have _always_ proceeded
thus: given directions for having _every day the same thing_, or
alternately as above, and every day exactly at the same hour, so as to
prevent the necessity of any _talk_ about the matter. I am certain
that, upon an average, I have not, during my life, spent more than
_thirty-five minutes a day at table_, including all the meals of the
day. I like, and I take care to have, good and clean victuals; but, if
wholesome and clean, that is enough. If I find it, by chance, _too
coarse_ for my appetite, I put the food aside, or let somebody do it;
and leave the appetite to gather keenness.'

                     *      *      *      *      *

Now I have no special desire to recommend _mutton chops_ to my readers,
nor to hold out the example of the individual whose language I have
quoted, as worthy of general imitation. There is one lesson to be
learned, however. Cobbett's never tiring industry is well known. And if
we can rely on his own statements in regard to his manner of eating, we
see another proof that what are called 'dainties,' and even many things
which are often supposed to be necessaries, are very far from being
indispensable to health or happiness.

I am even utterly _opposed_ to the rapid eating of which he speaks. In
New England especially, the danger is on the other side. 'Were it not
from respect to others, I never would wish for more than eight minutes
to eat my dinner in,' said a merchant to me one day. Now _I_ can
_swallow_ a meal at any time, in _five_ minutes; but this is not
_eating_. If it is, the teeth were made--as well as the saliva--almost
in vain. No! this _swallowing_ down a meal in five or even ten minutes,
so common among the active, enterprising, and industrious people of
this country, is neither healthy, nor decent, nor economical. And
instead of spending only _thirty-five minutes_ a day in eating; every
man, woman, and child ought, as a matter of duty, to spend about
_twice_ the time in that way. This would give the teeth and salivary
glands an opportunity to come up to the work which God in nature
assigned them. We may indeed cheat them for a time, but not with
impunity, for a day of reckoning will come; and some of our rapid
eaters will find their bill (in stomach or liver complaints, or gout or
rheumatism) rather large. They will probably lose more time in this
way, than they can possibly save by eating rapidly.

The idea of preventing conversation about what we eat is also idle,
though Dr. Franklin and many other wise men, thought otherwise. Some of
our students in _commons_ and elsewhere, suppose themselves highly
meritorious because they have adopted the plan of appointing one of
their number to read to the company, while the rest are eating. But
they are sadly mistaken. Nothing is gained by the practice. On the
contrary, much is lost by it. The bow cannot always remain bent,
without injury. Neither can the mind always be kept 'toned' to a high
pitch. _Mind_ and _body_ must and will have their relaxations.

I am not an advocate for _wasting time_ or for _eating more_ than is
necessary. Nay, I even believe, on the contrary, with most _medical_
men, that we generally eat about twice as much as nature requires. But
I do say, and with emphasis, that food must be _masticated_.

Before I dismiss the subject of temperance, let me beseech you to
resolve to free yourselves from slavery to _tea_ and _coffee_.
Experience has taught me, that they are _injurious to health_. Even my
habits of sobriety, moderate eating, and early rising, were not, until
I left off using them, sufficient to give me that complete health which
I have since had.

I do not undertake to prescribe for others exactly; but, I do say, that
to pour down regularly, every day, a quart or two of _warm liquid_,
whether under the name of tea, coffee, soup, grog, or any thing else,
is greatly injurious to health. However, at present, what I have to
represent to _you, is the great deduction which they make, from your
power of being useful_, and also from your _power to husband your
income_, whatever it may be, and from whatever source arising. These
things _cost_ something; and wo to him who forgets, or never knows,
till he pays it, how large a bill they make--in the course of a year.

How much to be desired is it, that mankind would return once more, to
the use of no other drink than that pure beverage which nature prepared
for the sole drink of man! So long as we are in health, we need no
other; nay, we have no right to any other. It is the testimony of all,
or almost all whose testimony is worth having, that water is the best
known drink. But if water is _better_ than all others, _all others
are_, of course, _worse than water_.

As to food and drink _generally_, let me say in conclusion, that
_simplicity_ is the grand point to aim at. Water, we have seen, is the
sole drink of man; but there is a great variety of food provided for
his sustenance. He is allowed to select from this immense variety,
those kinds, which the experience of mankind generally, combined and
compared with his own, show to be _most useful_. He can _live_ on
almost any thing. Still there is a _choice_ to be observed, and so far
as his circumstances permit, he is in duty bound to exercise that
choice. God has said by his servant Paul; 'Whether ye eat or drink, or
whatsoever ye do,' &c.

What we believe to be most useful to us, though at first disagreeable,
we may soon learn to prefer. Our habits, then, should be early formed.
We should always remember these two rules, however. 1st. The fewer
different articles of food used at any one meal, the better; however
excellent in their nature those may be which are left untasted. 2.
Never eat a moment longer than the food, if well masticated, actually
_revives_ and _refreshes_ you. The moment it makes you feel heavy or
dull, or palls upon the taste, _you have passed the line of safety_.

SECTION X. _On Suppers._

_Suppers_, properly so called, are confined, in a considerable degree,
to cities; and I was at first in doubt whether I should do as much good
by giving my voice against them, as I should of mischief by spreading
through the country the knowledge of a wretched practice. But farther
reflection has convinced me that I ought to offer my sentiments on this

By suppers, I mean a fourth meal, just before going to bed. Individuals
who have eaten quite as many times during the day as nature requires,
and who take their tea, and perhaps a little bread and butter, at six,
must go at nine or ten, they think, and eat another hearty meal. Some
make it the most luxurious repast of the day.

Now many of our plain country people do not know that such a practice
exists. They often eat too much, it is true, at _their_ third meal, but
their active habits and pure air enable them to digest it better than
their city brethren could. Besides, their third meal never comes so
late, by several hours, as the suppers of cities and towns.

Our English ancestors, 200 years ago, on both sides of the Atlantic,
dined at eleven, took tea early, and had no suppers. So it was with the
Jews of old, one of the healthiest nations that ever lived beyond the
Mediterranean. They knew nothing of our modern dinners at three or
four, and suppers at nine, ten, or eleven.

But not to 'take something late at night with the rest,' would at
present be regarded as 'vulgar,' and who could endure it? Here, I
confess, I tremble for some of my readers, whose lot it is to be cast
in the city, lest they should, in this single instance, hesitate to
'take advice.' But I will hope for better things.

If you would give your stomach a season of repose, as well as the rest
of your system; if you would sleep soundly, and either dream not at
all, or have your dreams pleasant ones; if you would rise in the
morning with your head clear, and free from pain, and your mouth clean
and sweet, instead of being parched, and foul; if you would unite your
voice--in spirit at least--with the voices of praise to the Creator,
which ascend every where unless it be from the dwellings of creatures
that should be men,--if, in one word, you would lengthen your lives
several years, and increase the enjoyment of the last thirty years 33
per cent. without diminishing that of the first forty, then I beg of
you to abstain from _suppers_!

I am acquainted with one individual, who partly from a conviction of
the injury to himself, and partly from a general detestation of the
practice, not only abstains from every thing of the kind, but from long
observation of its effects, goes to the other extreme, and seldom takes
even a _third_ meal. And I know of no evil which arises from it. On the
contrary, I believe that, for him, no course could be better. Be that
as it may, adult individuals should never eat more than three times a
day, nor should they ever partake of any food, solid or liquid, within
three or four hours of the period of retiring to rest.

But if eating ordinary suppers is pernicious, what shall we say of the
practice which some indulge who aspire to be pillars in church or
state, with others of pretensions less lofty, of going to certain
eating houses, at a very late hour, and spending a considerable portion
of the night--not in eating, merely, but in quaffing poisonous
draughts, and spreading noxious fumes, and uttering language and songs
which better become the inmates of Pandemonium, than those of the
counting-house, the college, or the chapel! If there be within the
limits of any of our cities or towns, scenes which answer to this
horrid picture, let 'it not be told in Gath, or published in the
streets of Askelon,' lest the fiends of the pit should rejoice;--lest
the demons of darkness should triumph.

      [3] I have occasionally seen four or five persons in constant
      employ, solely to supply the wants of a family of the same
      number, whose health, _collectively_, required an amount of
      physical labor adequate to their own wants.

SECTION XI. _On Dress._

The object of dress is fourfold: 1st. It is designed as a covering; 2d.
As a means of warmth; 3d. As a defence; 4th. To improve our appearance.

These purposes of dress should all be considered; and in the order here
presented. That dress, which best answers all these purposes combined,
both as respects the material and the _form_ or _fashion_, is
unquestionably the best and most appropriate. It is certainly true that
the impressions which a person's first appearance makes upon the minds
of those around him are deep and permanent, and the subject should
receive a measure of our attention, on this account. It is only a
slight tax which we pay for the benefits of living in civilized
society. When, however, we sacrifice every thing else to appearance, we
commit a very great error. We make that first in point of importance,
which ought to be fourth.

Let your dress be as cheap as may be without shabbiness, and endeavor
to be neither first nor last in a fashion. Think more about the
cleanliness, than the gloss or texture of your clothes. Be always as
clean as your occupation will permit; but never for one moment believe
that any human being, who has good sense, will love or respect you
_merely_ on account of a fine or costly coat.

Extravagance in the haunting of _play-houses_, in _horses_, in every
thing else, is to be avoided, but in young men, extravagance in _dress_
particularly. This sort of extravagance, this waste of money on the
decoration of the body, arises solely from vanity, and from vanity of
the most contemptible sort. It arises from the notion, that all the
people in the street, for instance, will be _looking at you_, as soon
as you walk out; and that they will, in a greater or less degree, think
the better of you on account of your fine dress.

Never was a notion more false. Many sensible people, that happen to see
you, will think nothing at all about you: those who are filled with the
same vain notion as you are, will perceive your attempt to impose on
them, and despise it. Rich people will wholly disregard you, and you
will be envied and hated by those who have the same vanity that you
have, without the means of gratifying it.

Dress should be suited, in some measure, to our condition. A surgeon or
physician need not dress exactly like a carpenter; but, there is no
reason why any body should dress in a very _expensive_ manner. It is a
great mistake to suppose, that they derive any _advantage_ from
exterior decoration.

For after all, men are estimated by other _men_ according to their
capacity and willingness to be in some way or other _useful_; and,
though, with the foolish and vain part of _women_, fine clothes
frequently do something, yet the greater part of the sex are much too
penetrating to draw their conclusions solely from the outside
appearance. They look deeper, and find other criterions whereby to
judge. Even if fine clothes should obtain you a wife, will they bring
you, in that wife, _frugality_, _good sense_, and that kind of
attachment which is likely to be lasting?

Natural beauty of person is quite another thing: this always has, it
always will and must have, some weight even with men, and great weight
with women. But, this does not need to be set off by expensive clothes.
Female eyes are, in such cases, discerning; they can discover beauty
though surrounded by rags: and, take this as a secret worth half a
fortune to you, that women, however vain they may be themselves,
_despise vanity in men_.

SECTION XII. _Bashfulness and Modesty._

Dr. Young says, 'The man that blushes is not quite a brute.' This is
undoubtedly true; yet nothing is more clear, as Addison has shown us,
than that a person may be both bashful and impudent.

I know the world commend the former quality, and condemn the latter;
but I deem them both evils. Perhaps the latter is the greater of the
two. The proper medium is true modesty. This is always commendable.

We are compelled to take the world, in a great measure, as it is. We
can hardly expect men to come and buy our wares, unless we advertise or
expose them for sale. So if we would commend ourselves to the notice of
our fellow men, we must set ourselves up,--not for something which we
are not;--but for what, upon a careful examination, we find reason to
think we are. Many a good and valuable man has gone through _this_
life, without being properly estimated; from the vain belief that true
merit could not always escape unnoticed. This belief, after all, is
little else but a species of fatalism.

By setting ourselves up, I do not mean puffing and pretending, or
putting on airs of haughtiness or arrogance; or any affectation
whatever. But there are those--and some of them are persons of good
sense, in many respects, who can scarcely answer properly, when
addressed, or look the person with whom they are conversing in the
face; and who often render themselves ridiculous _for fear they shall
be so_. I have seen a man of respectable talents, who, in conversation
never raised his eyes higher than the tassels of his friend's boots;
and another who could never converse without turning half or three
quarters round, so as to present his shoulder or the backside of his
head, instead of a plain, honest face.

I have known young men _injured_ by bashfulness. It is vain to say that
it should not be so. The world is not what it should be, in many
respects; _and I must insist_ that it is our duty, to take it as it is,
in order to make it better, or even in order to live in it with
comfort. He that _thinks_ he _shall_ not, most surely _will_ not,
please. A man of sense, and knowledge of the world, will assert his own
rights, and pursue his own purposes as steadily and uninterruptedly as
the most impudent man living; but then there is at the same time an air
of modesty in all he does; while an overbearing or impudent _manner_ of
doing the same things, would undoubtedly have given offence. Hence a
certain wise man has said; 'He who knows the world will not be too
bashful; and he who knows himself will never be impudent.'

Perpetual embarrassment in company or in conversation, is sometimes
even construed into meanness. Avoid,--if you can do it, without too
great a sacrifice--every appearance of deserving a charge so weighty.

SECTION XIII. _Politeness and Good-Breeding._

Awkwardness is scarcely more tolerable than bashfulness. It must
proceed from one of two things; either from not having kept good
company, or from not having derived any benefit from it. Many very
worthy people have certain odd tricks, and ill habits, that excite a
prejudice against them, which it is not easy to overcome. Hence the
importance of _good-breeding_.

Now there are not a few who despise all these _little things_ of life,
as they call them; and yet much of their lives is taken up with them,
small as they are. And since these self same little things cannot be
dispensed with, is it not better that they should be done in the
easiest, and at the same time the pleasantest manner possible?

There is no habit more difficult to attain, and few so necessary to
possess, as perfect good-breeding. It is equally inconsistent with a
stiff formality, an impertinent forwardness, and an awkward
bashfulness. True Christian education would seem to include it; and yet
unfortunately, Christians are not always polite.

Is it not surprising that we may sometimes observe, in mere men of the
world, that kind of carriage which should naturally be expected from an
individual thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Christianity, while his
very neighbors, who are professing Christians, appear, by their
conduct, to be destitute of such a spirit? Which, then, in practice (I
mean so far as this fact is concerned) are the best Christians? But I
know what will be the answer; and I know that these things ought not so
to be.

No good reason can be given why a Christian should not be as well-bred
as his neighbor. It is difficult to conceive how a person can follow
the rules given in the Sermon on the Mount, without being, and showing
himself to be, well-bred. I have even known men who were no friends to
the bible, to declare it as their unequivocal belief that he whose life
should conform to the principles of that sermon, could not avoid being
_truly polite_.

There are not a few who _confound_ good-breeding with affectation, just
as they confound a reasonable attention to dress with foppery. This
calling things by wrong names is very common, how much soever it may be

_Good-breeding_, or true politeness, is the art of showing men, by
external signs, the internal regard we have for them. It arises from
good sense, improved by good company. Good-breeding is never to be
learned, though it may be _improved_, by the study of books; and
therefore they who attempt it, appear stiff and pedantic. The really
well-bred, as they become so by use and observation, are not liable to
affectation. You see good-breeding in all they do, without seeing the
art of it. Like other habits, it is acquired by practice.

An engaging manner and genteel address may be out of our power,
although it is a misfortune that it should be so. But it is in the
power of every body to be kind, condescending, and affable. It is in
the power of every person who has any thing to say to a fellow being,
to say it with kind feelings, and with a sincere desire to please; and
this, whenever it is done, will atone for much awkwardness in the
manner of expression. Forced complaisance is foppery; and affected
easiness is ridiculous.

Good-breeding is, and ought to be, an amiable and persuasive thing; it
beautifies the actions and even the looks of men. But the _grimace_ of
good-breeding is not less _odious_.

In short, good-breeding is a forgetting of ourselves so far as to seek
what may be agreeable to others, but in so artless and delicate a
manner as will scarcely allow them to _perceive_ that we are so
employed; and the regarding of ourselves, not as the centre of motion
on which every thing else is to revolve, but only as one of the wheels
or parts, in a vast machine, embracing other wheels and parts of equal,
and perhaps more than equal importance. It is hence utterly opposed to
selfishness, vanity, or pride. Nor is it proportioned to the supposed
riches and rank of him whose favor and patronage you would gladly
cultivate; but extends to all. It knows how to contradict with respect;
and to please, without adulation.

The following are a few plain directions for attaining the character of
a well-bred man.

1. Never weary your company by talking too long, or too frequently.

2. Always look people in the face when you address them, and generally
when they are speaking to you.

3. Attend to a person who is addressing you. Inattention marks a
trifling mind, and is a most unpardonable piece of rudeness. It is even
an _affront_; for it is the same thing as saying that his remarks are
not _worth_ your attention.

4. Do not interrupt the person who is speaking by saying _yes_, or
_no_, or _hem_, at every sentence; it is the most useless thing that
can be. An occasional assent, either by word or action, may be well
enough; but even a nod of assent is sometimes repeated till it becomes

5. Remember that every person in a company likes to be the _hero_ of
that company. Never, therefore, engross the whole conversation to

6. Learn to sit or stand still, while another is speaking to you. You
will not of course be so rude as to dig in the earth with your feet, or
take your penknife from your pocket and pair your nails; but there are
a great many other little movements which are scarcely less clownish.

7. Never anticipate for another, or _help him out_, as it is called.
This is quite a rude affair, and should ever be avoided. Let him
conclude his story for himself. It is time enough for you to make
corrections or additions afterward, if you deem his account defective.
It is also a piece of impoliteness to interrupt another in his remarks.

8. Say as little of _yourself_ and _your friends_ as possible.

9. Make it a rule never to accuse, without due consideration, any body
or association of men.

10. Never try to appear more wise or learned than the rest of the
company. Not that you should _affect_ ignorance; but endeavor to remain
within your own proper sphere.

SECTION XIV. _Personal Habits._

I have elsewhere spoken of the importance of early rising. Let me
merely request you, in this place, to form a _habit_ of this kind, from
which no ordinary circumstances shall suffer you to depart. Your first
object after rising and devotion, should be to take a survey of the
business which lies before you during the day, making of course a
suitable allowance for exigencies. I have seldom known a man in
business thrive--and men of business we all ought to be, whatever may
be our occupation--who did not rise early in the morning, and plan his
work for the day. Some of those who have been most successful, made it
a point to have this done before daylight. Indeed, I was intimately
acquainted with one man who laid out the business of the day, attended
family worship, and breakfasted before sunrise; and this too, at all
seasons of the year.

Morning gowns and slippers are very useful things, it is said. But the
reasons given for their utility are equally in favor of _always_
wearing them. 'They are loose and comfortable.' Very well: Should not
our dress always be loose? 'They save _other clothes_.' Then why not
wear them all day long? The truth, after all, is, that they are
_fashionable_, and as we usually give the _true_ reason for a thing
_last_, this is probably the principal reason why they are so much in
use. I am pretty well convinced, however, that they are of little real
use to him who is determined to eat his bread 'in the sweat of his
face,' according to the Divine appointment.

Looking-glasses are useful in their place, but like many other
conveniences of life, by no means indispensable; and so much abused,
that a man of sense would almost be tempted, for the sake of example,
to lay them aside. Of all wasted time, none is more _foolishly_ wasted
than that which is employed in _unnecessary_ looking at one's own
pretty face.

This may seem a matter of small consequence; but nothing can be of
small importance to which we are obliged to attend _every day_. If we
dressed or shaved but once a year, or once a month, the case would be
altered; but this is a piece of work that must be done once every day;
and, as it may cost only about _five minutes_ of time, and may be, and
frequently is, made to cost _thirty_, or even _fifty minutes_; and, as
only fifteen minutes make about a fiftieth part of the hours of our
average daylight; this being the case, it is a matter of real

SIR JOHN SINCLAIR asked a friend whether he meant to have a son of his
(then a little boy) taught Latin? 'No,' said he, 'but I mean to do
something a great deal better for him.' 'What is that?' said Sir John.
'Why,' said the other, 'I mean to teach him _to shave with cold water,
and without a glass_.'

My readers may smile, but I can assure them that Sir John is not alone.
There are many others who have adopted this practice, and found it
highly beneficial. One individual, who had tried it for years, has the
following spirited remarks on the subject.

'Only think of the inconvenience attending the common practice! There
must be _hot water_; to have this there must be _a fire_, and, in some
cases, a fire for that purpose alone; to have these, there must be a
_servant_, or you must light a fire yourself. For the want of these,
the job is put off until a later hour: this causes a stripping and
another dressing bout: or, you go in a slovenly state all that day, and
the next day the thing must be done, or cleanliness must be abandoned
altogether. If you are on a journey, you must wait the pleasure of the
servants at the inn before you can dress and set out in the morning;
the pleasant time for travelling is gone before you can move from the
spot: instead of being at the end of your day's journey in good time,
you are benighted, and have to endure all the great inconveniences
attendant on tardy movements. And all this from the apparently
insignificant affair of shaving. How many a piece of important business
has failed from a short delay! And how many thousand of such delays
daily proceed from this unworthy cause!'

These remarks are especially important to those persons in
boarding-houses and elsewhere, for whom hot water, if they use it, must
be expressly prepared.

Let me urge you never to say I cannot go, or do such a thing, till I am
shaved or dressed. Take care always to BE _shaved and dressed_, and
then you will always be ready to act. But to this end the habit must be
formed in early life, and pertinaciously adhered to.

There are those who can truly say that to the habit of adhering to the
principles which have been laid down, they owe much of their success in
life; that however sober, discreet, and abstinent they might have been,
they never could have accomplished much without it. We should suppose
by reasoning beforehand, that the _army_ could not be very favorable to
steady habits of this or any other kind; yet the following is the
testimony of one who had made the trial.

'To the habit of early rising and husbanding my time well, more than to
any other thing, I owed my very extraordinary promotion in the army. I
was _always ready_. If I had to mount guard at _ten_, I was ready at
_nine_: never did any man, or any thing, wait one moment for me. Being,
at an age _under twenty years_, raised from corporal to sergeant major
_at once_, over the heads of thirty sergeants, I should naturally have
been an object of envy and hatred; but this habit of early rising
really subdued these passions.

'Before my promotion, a clerk was wanted to make out the morning report
of the regiment. I rendered the clerk unnecessary; and, long before any
other man was dressed for the parade, my work for the morning was all
done, and I myself was on the parade ground, walking, in fine weather,
for an hour perhaps.

'My custom was this: to get up, in summer, at daylight, and in winter
at four o'clock; shave, dress, even to the putting of my sword-belt
over my shoulder, and having my sword lying on the table before me,
ready to hang by my side. Then I ate a bit of cheese, or pork, and
bread. Then I prepared my report, which was filled up as fast as the
companies brought me in the materials. After this, I had an hour or two
to read, before the time came for any duty out of doors, unless when
the regiment, or part of it, went out to exercise in the morning. When
this was the case, and the matter was left to me, I always had it on
the ground in such time as that the bayonets glistened in the _rising
sun_; a sight which gave me delight, of which I often think, but which
I should in vain endeavor to describe.

'If the _officers_ were to go out, eight or ten o'clock was the hour.
Sweating men in the heat of the day, or breaking in upon the time for
cooking their dinner, puts all things out of order, and all men out of
humor. When I was commander, the men had a long day of leisure before
them: they could ramble into the town or into the woods; go to get
raspberries, to catch birds, to catch fish, or to pursue any other
recreation, and such of them as chose, and were qualified, to work at
their trades. So that here, arising solely from the early habits of one
very young man, were pleasant and happy days given to hundreds.'

For my own part, I confess that only a few years since, I should have
laughed heartily at some of these views, especially the cold water
system of shaving. But a friend whom I esteemed, and who shaved with
cold water, said so much in its favor that I ventured to make the
trial; and I can truly say that I would not return to my former slavery
to hot water, if I had a servant who had nothing else to do but furnish
it. I cannot indeed say with a recent writer (I think in the Journal of
Health) that cold water is a great deal _better_ than warm; but I can
and do say that it makes little if any difference with me which I use;
though on going out into the cold air immediately afterward, the skin
is more likely to chap after the use of warm water than cold. Besides I
think the use of warm water more likely to produce eruptions on the
skin.--Sometimes, though not generally, I shave, like Sir John
Sinclair, without a glass; but I would never be enslaved to one,
convenient as it is.

SECTION XV. _Bathing and Cleanliness._

Cleanliness of the body has, some how or other, such a connection with
mental and moral purity, (whether as cause or effect--or both--I will
not undertake now to determine) that I am unwilling to omit the present
opportunity of urging its importance. There are those who are so
attentive to this subject as to wash their whole bodies in water,
either cold or warm, every day of the year; and never to wear the same
clothes, during the day, that they have slept in the previous night.
Now this habit may by some be called whimsical; but I think it deserves
a _better name_. I consider this extreme, if it ought to be called an
extreme, as vastly more safe than the common extreme of _neglect_.

Is it not shameful--_would_ it not be, were human duty properly
understood--to pass months, and even years, without washing the whole
body once? There are thousands and tens of thousands of both sexes, who
are exceedingly nice, even to fastidiousness, about externals;--who,
like those mentioned in the gospel, keep clean the 'outside of the cup
and the platter,'--but alas! how is it within? Not a few of
us,--living, as we do, in a land where soap and water are abundant and
cheap--would blush, if the whole story were told.

This chapter, if extended so far as to embrace the whole subject of
cleanliness of person, dress, and apartments, and cold and warm
bathing, would alone fill a volume; a volume too, which, if well
prepared, would be of great value, especially to all young men. But my
present limits do not permit of any thing farther. In regard to _cold
bathing_, however, allow me to refer you to two articles in the third
volume of the Annals of Education, pages 315 and 344, which contain the
best directions I can give on this subject.

SECTION XVI. _On Little Things._

There are many things which, viewed without any reference to prevailing
habits, manners, and customs, appear utterly unworthy of attention; and
yet, after all, much of our happiness will be found to depend upon
them. We are to remember that we live--not alone, on the earth--but
among a _multitude_, each of whom claims, and is entitled to his own
estimate of things. Now it often happens that what _we_ deem a _little_
thing, another, who views the subject differently, will regard as a
matter of importance.

Among the items to which I refer, are many of the customary salutations
and civilities of life; and the modes of _dress_. Now it is perfectly
obvious that many common phrases which are used at meeting and
separating, during the ordinary interviews and concerns of life, as
well as in correspondence, are in themselves wholly unmeaning. But
viewed as an introduction to things of more importance, these little
words and phrases at the opening of a conversation, and as the language
of hourly and daily salutation, are certainly useful. They are
indications of good and friendly feeling; and without them we should
not, and could not, secure the confidence of some of those among whom
we are obliged to live. They would regard us as not only unsocial, but
selfish; and not only selfish, but proud or misanthropic.

On account of meeting with much that disgusts us, many are tempted to
avoid society generally. The frivolous conversation, and still more
frivolous conduct, which they meet with, they regard as a waste of
time, and perhaps even deem it a duty to resign themselves to solitude.
This, however, is a great mistake. Those who have been most useful to
mankind acted very differently. They mingled with the world, in hopes
to do something towards reforming it. The greatest of philosophers, as
well as of Christians;--even the FOUNDER of Christianity himself--sat
down, and not only sat down, but ate and drank in the society of those
with whose manners, and especially whose vices, he could have had no
possible sympathy.

Zimmerman, who has generally been regarded as an apostle of solitude,
taught that men ought not to 'reside in deserts, or sleep, like owls,
in the hollow trunks of trees.' 'I sincerely exhort my disciples,' says
he, 'not to absent themselves morosely from public places, nor to avoid
the social throng; which cannot fail to afford to judicious, rational,
and feeling minds, many subjects both of amusement and instruction. It
is true, that we cannot relish the pleasures and taste the advantages
of society, without being able to give a patient hearing to the tongue
of folly, to excuse error, and to bear with infirmity.'

In like manner, we are not to disregard wholly, our dress. It is true
that the shape of a hat, or the cut of a coat may not add to the
strength of the mind, or the soundness of the morals; but it is also
true that people form an opinion often from our exterior appearance;
and will continue to do so: and first impressions are very difficult to
be overcome. If we regard our own usefulness, therefore, we shall not
consider the fashion or character of our dress as a little thing in its
results. I have said elsewhere that we ought neither to be the first
nor the last in a fashion.

We should remember, also, that the _world_, in its various parts and
aspects, is made up of little things. So true is this, that I have
sometimes been very fond of the paradoxical remark, that 'little things
are great things;' that is, in their _results_. For who does not know
that throughout the physical world, the mightiest results are brought
about by the silent working of small causes? It is not the tornado, or
the deluge, or even the occasional storm of rain, that renews and
animates nature, so much as the gentle breeze, the soft refreshing
shower, and the still softer and gentler dews of heaven.

So in human life, generally, they are the little things often, that
produce the mightier results. It is he who takes care of pence and
farthings, not he who neglects them, that thrives. It is he alone who
guards his lips against the first improper word,--trifling as it may
seem--that is secure against future profanity. He who indulges one
little draught of alcoholic drink, is in danger of ending a tippler; he
who gives loose to one impure thought, of ending the victim of lust and
sensuality. Nor is it one single gross, or as it were accidental act,
viewed as insulated from the rest--however injurious it may be--that
injures the body, or debases the mind, so much as the frequent
repetition of those smaller errors, whose habitual occurrence goes to
establish the predominating choice of the mind, or affection of the

Avoid then, the pernicious, the fatal error, that _little_ things are
of no consequence: little sums of money, little fragments of time,
little or trifling words, little or apparently unimportant actions. On
this subject I cannot help adopting--and feeling its force too,--the
language of a friend of temperance in regard to those who think
themselves perfectly secure from danger, and are believers in the
harmlessness of _little_ things. 'I tremble,' said he, 'for the man
that does not tremble for himself.'

SECTION XVII. _Of Anger, and the means of restraining it._

There is doubtless much difference of native temperament. One person is
easily excited, another, more slowly. But there is a greater difference
still, resulting from our habits.

If we find ourselves easily led into anger, we should be extremely
careful how we indulge the first steps that lead towards it. Those who
naturally possess a mild temper may, with considerable safety, do and
say many things which others cannot. Thus we often say of a person who
has met with a misfortune, 'It is good enough for him;' or of a
criminal who has just been condemned to suffer punishment, 'No matter;
he deserves it.' Or perhaps we go farther, and on finding him
acquitted, say, 'He ought to have been hanged, and even hanging was too
good for him.'

Now all these things, in the mouths of the irritable, lead the way to
an indulgence of anger, however unperceived may be the transition. It
is on this principle that the saying of St. John is so strikingly true;
'He that hateth his brother is a murderer;' that is, he that indulges
hatred has the seeds within him, not only of out-breaking anger, but of

It is on this account that I regret the common course taken with
children in relation to certain smaller tribes of the animal creation.
They are allowed not only to destroy them,--(which is doubtless often a
duty,) but to destroy them in _anger_; to indulge a permanent hatred
towards them; and to think this hatred creditable and scriptural. When
such feelings lead us to destroy even the most troublesome or
disgusting reptiles or insects _in anger_, we have so far prepared the
way for the indulgence of anger towards our fellow creatures, whenever
their conduct shall excite our displeasure.

We can hence see why he who has a violent temper should always speak in
a low voice, and study mildness and sweetness in his tones. For loud,
impassioned, and boisterous tones certainly excite impassioned
feelings. So do all the _actions_ which indicate anger. Thus Dr. Darwin
has said that any individual, by using the language and actions of an
angry person, towards an imaginary object of displeasure, and
accompanying them by threats, and blows, with a doubled or clinched
fist, may easily work himself into a rage. Of the justice of this
opinion I am fully convinced, from actual and repeated experiments.

If we find ourselves apt to be angry, we should endeavor to avoid the
road which leads to it. The first thing to be done, is to govern our
voice. On this point, the story of the Quaker and the merchant may not
be uninstructive.

A merchant in London had a dispute with a Quaker gentleman about the
settlement of an account. The merchant was determined to bring the
action _into court_,--a course of proceeding to which the Quaker was
wholly opposed;--he therefore used every argument in his power to
convince the merchant of his error; but all to no purpose.

Desirous of making a final effort, however, the Quaker called at the
house of the merchant, one morning, and inquired of the servant if his
master was at home. The merchant hearing the inquiry from the top of
the stairs, and knowing the voice, called out, loudly, 'Tell that
rascal I am not at home.' The Quaker, looking up towards him, said
calmly; 'Well, friend, may God put thee in a better mind.'

The merchant was struck with the meekness of the reply, and after
thinking more deliberately of the matter, became convinced that the
Quaker was right, and he in the wrong. He requested to see him, and
after acknowledging his error, said, 'I have one question to ask you.
How were you able to bear my abuse with so much patience?'

'Friend,' replied the Quaker, 'I will tell thee. I was naturally as hot
and violent as thou art. But I knew that to indulge my temper was
sinful, and also very foolish. I observed that men in a passion always
spoke very loud; and I thought if I could control my voice, I should
keep down my passions. I therefore made it a rule never to let it rise
above a certain key; and by a careful observance of this rule, I have,
with the blessing of God, entirely mastered my natural temper.'

When you are tempted by the conduct of those around you, to be angry,
endeavor to consider the matter for a few moments. If your temper be so
impetuous that you find this highly difficult, you may adopt some plan
or device for gaining time. Some recommend counting twenty or thirty,
deliberately. The following anecdote of the celebrated Zimmerman is
exactly in point, and may afford useful hints for instruction.

Owing in part to a diseased state of body, Zimmerman was sometimes
irritable. One day, a Russian princess and several other ladies entered
his apartment to inquire after his health; when, in a fit of petulance,
he rose, and requested them to leave the room. The prince entered some
time afterward, when Zimmerman had begun to repent of his rashness, and
after some intervening conversation, advised him, whenever he felt a
disposition to treat his friends so uncivilly again, to repeat,
_mentally_, the Lord's prayer. This advice was followed, and with
success. Not long afterward the same prince came to him for advice in
regard to the best manner of controlling the violence of those
transports of affection towards his young and amiable consort, in which
young and happy lovers are so apt to indulge. 'My dear friend,' said
Zimmerman, 'there is no expedient which can surpass your own. Whenever
you feel yourself overborne by passion, you have only to repeat the
Lord's prayer, and you will be able to reduce it to a steady and
permanent flame.'

By adopting Zimmerman's rule, we shall, as I have already observed,
gain time for reflection, than which nothing more is needed. For if the
cause of anger be a report, for example, of injury done to us by an
absent person, either in words or deeds, how do we know the report is
true? Or it may be only partly true; and how do we know, till we
consider the matter well, whether it is worth our anger at all? Or if
at all, perhaps it deserves but a little of it. It may be, too, that
the person who said or did the thing reported, did it by mistake, or is
already sorry for it. At all events, nothing can be gained by haste;
much _may_ be by delay.

If a passionate person give you ill language, you ought rather to pity
than be angry with him, for anger is a species of disease. And to
correct one evil, will you make another? If his being angry is an evil,
will it mend the matter to make _another_ evil, by indulging in passion
yourself? Will it cure his disease, to throw yourself into the same
distemper? But if not, then how foolish is it to indulge improper
feelings at all!

On the same principles, and for the same reasons, you should avoid
returning railing for railing; or reviling for reproach. It only
kindles the more heat. Besides, you will often find silence, or at
least very gentle words, as in the case of the Quaker just mentioned,
the best return for reproaches which could be devised. I say the best
'return;' but I would not be understood as justifying any species of
_revenge_. The kind of _return_ here spoken of is precisely that
treatment which will be most likely to cure the distemper in the other,
by making him see, and be sorry for, his passion.

If the views taken in this section be true, it is easy to see the
consummate folly of all violence, whether between individuals or
collective bodies, whether it be by _striking_, _duelling_, or _war_.
For if an individual or a nation has done wrong, will it annihilate
that wrong to counteract it by _another_ wrong? Is it not obvious that
it only makes two evils, where but one existed before? And can two
_wrongs_ ever make one _right_ action? Which is the most rational, when
the choice is in our power, to add to one existing evil, another of
similar or greater magnitude; or to keep quiet, and let the world have
but one cup of misery instead of two?

Besides, the language of Scripture is _every where_ full and decided on
this point. 'Recompense to no man evil for evil,' and 'wo to him by
whom the offence cometh,' though found but once or twice in just so
many words, are in fact, some of the more prominent doctrines of the
New Testament; and I very much doubt whether you can read many pages,
in succession, in any part of the bible, without finding this great
principle enforced. The daily example of the Saviour, and the apostles
and early Christians, is a full confirmation of it, in practice.


On the Management of Business.

SECTION I. _On commencing Business._

Young men are usually in haste to commence business for themselves.
This is an evil, and one which appears to me to be increasing. Let me
caution my readers to be on their guard against it.

The evils of running in debt will be adverted to elsewhere. I mention
the subject in this place, because the earlier you commence business,
the greater the necessity of resorting to credit. You may, indeed, in
some employments, begin on a very small scale; but this is attended
with serious disadvantages, especially at the present day, when you
must meet with so much competition. Perhaps a few may be furnished with
capital by their friends, or by inheritance. In the latter case they
may as well _use_ their money, if they receive it; but I have already
endeavored to show that it is generally for the interest of young men
to rely upon their own exertions. It is extremely difficult for a
person who has ever relied on others, to act with the same energy as
those who have been thrown upon their own resources.[4] To learn the
art of inheriting property or receiving large gifts, and of acting with
the same energy as if left wholly to our own resources, must be
reserved, I believe, for future and wiser generations of our race.

I repeat it, therefore, every person had better defer going into
business for himself, until he can stand entirely on his own footing.
Is it asked how he can have funds from his own resources, before he has
actually _commenced_ business for himself? Why the thing is perfectly
easy. He has only to labor a few years in the service of another. True
it is, he may receive but moderate wages during this time; but on the
other hand, he will be subjected to little or no risk.

Let 1,000 young men, at the age of 30 years, enter into business with a
given amount of capital, all acquired by their own hard earnings, and
let them pursue their business 30 years faithfully; that is, till they
are 60 years of age. Let 1,000 others commence at the age of 20, with
three times the amount of capital possessed by the former, but at the
same time either inherited, or loaned by their friends, and let them
pursue their calling till _they_ are 60 years of age; or for a period
of 40 years. We will suppose the natural talents, capacity for doing
business, and expenditures--in fact every thing,--the same, in both
cases. Now it requires no gift of prophecy to foretell, with certainty,
that at 60 years of age a far greater proportion of the 1,000, who
began at 30 and depended solely on their own exertions, will be men of
wealth, than of those who began at 20 with three times their capital.
The reason of these results is found in the very nature of things, as I
have shown both above, and in my remarks on industry.

But these views are borne out by facts. Go into any city in the United
States, and learn the history of the men who are engaged in active and
profitable business, and are thriving in the world, and my word for it,
you will find the far greater part began life with nothing, and have
had no resources whatever but their own head and hands. And in no city
is this fact more strikingly verified than in Boston. On the other
hand, if you make a list of those who fail in business from year to
year, and learn their history, you will find that a very large
proportion of them relied on inheritances, credit, or some kind of
foreign aid in early life;--and not a few begun very young.

There is no doctrine in this volume, which will be more unpopular with
its readers, than this. Not a few will, I fear, utterly disbelieve it.
They look at the exterior appearance of some young friend, a little
older than themselves, who has been _lifted_ into business and gone on
a year or two, and all appears fair and encouraging. They long to
imitate him. Point them to a dozen others who have gone only a little
farther, and have made shipwreck, and it weighs nothing or next to
nothing with them. They suspect mismanagement, (which doubtless
sometimes exists) and think _they_ shall act more wisely.

In almost every considerable shop in this country may be found young
men who have nearly served out their time as apprentices, or perhaps
have gone a little farther, even, and worked a year or two as
journeymen. They have been industrious and frugal, and have saved a few
hundred dollars. This, on the known principles of human nature, has
created a strong desire to make additions; and the desire has increased
in a greater ratio than the sum. They are good workmen, perhaps, or if
not, they generally think so; and those who have the least merit,
generally have the most confidence in themselves. But if there be one
who _has_ merit, there is usually in the neighborhood some hawk-eyed
money dealer, who knows that he cannot better invest his funds than in
the hands of active young men. This man will search him out, and offer
to set him up in business; and his friends, pleased to have him
noticed, give security for payment. Thus flattered, he commonly begins;
and after long patience and perseverance, he may, by chance, succeed.
But a much greater number are unsuccessful, and a few drown their cares
and perplexities in the poisoned bowl, or in debauchery;--perhaps
both--thus destroying their minds and souls; or, it may be, abruptly
putting an end to their own existence.

Young men are apt to reason thus with themselves. 'I am now arrived at
an age when others have commenced business and succeeded. It is true I
may not succeed; but I know of no reason why my prospects are not as
good as those of A, B, and C, to say the least. I am certainly as good
a workman, and know as well how to manage, and attend to my own
concerns, without intermeddling with those of others. It is true my
friends advise me to work as a journeyman a few years longer; but it is
a hard way of living. Besides, what shall I learn all this while, that
I do not already know? They say I shall be improving in the _practical_
part of my business, if not in the _theory_ of it. But shall I not
improve while I work for myself? Suppose I make blunders. Have not
others done the same? If I fall, I must get up again. Perhaps it will
teach me not to stumble again. The fact is, old people never think the
young know or can do any thing till they are forty years old. I am
determined to make an effort. A good opportunity offers, and such a one
may never again occur. I am confident I shall succeed.'

How often have I heard this train of reasoning pursued! But if it were
correct, how happens it that those facts exist which have just been
mentioned? More than this; why do almost all men assert gratuitously
after they have spent twenty years in their avocation, that although
they thought themselves wise when they began their profession, they
were exceedingly ignorant? Who ever met with a man that did not feel
this ignorance more sensibly after twenty years of experience, than
when he first commenced?

This self flattery and self confidence--this ambition to be men of
business and begin to figure in the world,--is not confined to any
particular occupation or profession of men, but is found in all. Nor is
it confined to those whose object in life is _pecuniary_ emolument. It
is perhaps equally common among those who seek their happiness in
ameliorating the condition of mankind by legislating for them, settling
their quarrels, soothing their passions, or curing the maladies of
their souls and bodies.

Perhaps the evil is not more glaring in any class of the community than
in the medical profession. There is a strong temptation to this, in the
facility with which licenses and diplomas may be obtained. Any young
man who has common sense, if he can read and write tolerably, may in
some of the States, become a knight of the lancet in three years, and
follow another employment a considerable part of the time besides. He
has only to devote some of his _extra_ hours to the study of anatomy,
surgery, and medicine, recite occasionally to a practitioner, as
ignorant, almost, as himself; hear one series of medical lectures; and
procure certificates that he has studied medicine 'three years,'
including the time of the lectures; and he will be licensed, almost of
course. Then he sallies forth to commit depredations on society at
discretion; and how many he kills is unknown. 'I take it for granted,
however,' said a President of a College, three years ago, who
understood this matter pretty well, 'that every half-educated young
physician, who succeeds at last in getting a _reputable_ share of
practice, must have rid the world, rather prematurely, of some dozen or
twenty individuals, at the least, in order to qualify himself for the

The evil is scarcely more tolerable, as regards young ministers, except
that the community in general have better means of knowing when they
are imposed upon by ignorance or quackery in this matter, than in most
other professions. The principal book for a student of theology is in
the hands of every individual, and he is taught to read and understand
it. The great evil which arises to students of divinity themselves from
entering their profession too early, is the loss of health. Neither the
minds nor the bodies of young men are equal to the responsibilities of
this, or indeed of any other profession or occupation, at 20, and
rarely at 25. Nothing is more evident than that young men, generally,
are losers in the end, both in a pecuniary point of view and in regard
to health, by commencing business before 30 years of age. But this I
have already attempted to show.

As regards candidates for the ministry, several eminent divines are
beginning to inculcate the opinion, with great earnestness, that to
enter fully upon the active duties of this laborious vocation before
the age I have mentioned, is injurious to themselves and to the cause
they wish to promote--the cause of God. And I hope their voices will be
raised louder and louder on this topic, till the note of remonstrance
reaches the most distant villages of our country.

It has often occurred to me that every modest young man, whatever may
be his destination, _might_ learn wisdom from consulting the history of
the YOUNG MAN OF NAZARETH as well as of the illustrious reformer who
prepared the way for him.[5] _Our_ young men, since newspapers have
become so common, are apt to think themselves thoroughly versed in law,
politics, divinity, &c.; and are not backward to exhibit their talents.
But who is abler at disputation than HE who at twelve years of age
proved a match for the learned doctors of law at Jerusalem? Did he,
whose mind was so mature at twelve, enter upon the duties of _his_
ministry (a task more arduous than has ever fallen to the lot of any
_human_ being) at 18 or 20 years of age? But why not, when he had so
much to do?--Or did he wait till he was in his 30th year?

The great question with every young man should not be, When can I get
such assistance as will enable me to commence business;--but, Am I well
_qualified_ to commence? Perfect in his profession, absolutely so, no
man ever will be; but a measure of perfection which is rarely if ever
attained under 30 years of age, is most certainly demanded. To learn
the simplest handicraft employment in some countries, a person must
serve an apprenticeship of at least _seven years_. Here, in America,
half that time is thought by many young men an intolerable burden, and
they long to throw it off. They wish for what they call a better order
of things. The consequences of this feeling, and a growing spirit of
insubordination, are every year becoming more and more deplorable.

      [4] This fact, so obvious to every student of human nature, has
      sometimes given rise to an opinion that orphans make their way
      best in the world. So far as the business of making money is
      concerned, I am not sure but it is so.

      [5] Even Timothy--_young_ Timothy as he has been often
      called--was probably in his 30th year when he was ordained.

SECTION II. _Importance of Integrity._

Every one will admit the importance of integrity in all his dealings,
for however dishonest he may be himself, he cannot avoid perceiving the
necessity of integrity in others. No society could exist were it not
for the measure of this virtue which remains. Without a degree of
_confidence_, in transacting business with each other, even the savage
life would be a thousand times more savage than it now is. Without it,
a gang of thieves or robbers could not long hold together.

But while all admit the sterling importance of strict integrity, how
few practise it! Let me prevail when I entreat the young not to hazard
either their reputation or peace of mind for the uncertain advantages
to be derived from unfair dealing. It is _madness_, especially in one
who is just beginning the world. It would be so, if by a single unfair
act he could get a fortune; leaving the loss of the soul out of the
question. For if a trader, for example, is once generally known to be
guilty of fraud, or even of taking exorbitant profits, there is an end
to his reputation. Bad as the world is, there is some respect paid to
integrity, and wo be to him who forgets it.

If a person habitually allows himself in a single act not sanctioned by
the great and golden rule of loving others as we do ourselves, he has
entered a road whose everlasting progress is downward. Fraudulent in
_one_ point, he will soon be so in another--and another; and so on to
the end of the chapter, if there be any end to it. At least no one who
has gone a step in the downward road, can assure himself that this will
not be the dreadful result.

An honest bargain is that only in which the fair market price or value
of a commodity is mutually allowed, so far as this is known. The market
price is usually, the equitable price of a thing. It will be the object
of every honest man to render, in all cases, an equivalent for what he
receives. Where the market price cannot be known, each of the parties
to an honest contract will endeavor to come as near it as possible;
keeping in mind the rule of doing to others as they would desire others
to do to them in similar circumstances. Every bargain not formed on
these principles is, in its results, unjust; and if intentional, is

There are a great many varieties of this species of fraud.

1. _Concealing the market price._ How many do this; and thus buy for
less, and sell for more than a fair valuation! Why so many practise
this kind of fraud, and insist at the same time that it is no fraud at
all, is absolutely inconceivable, except on the supposition that they
are blinded by avarice. For they perfectly know that their customers
would not deal with them at any other than market prices, except from
sheer ignorance; and that the advantage which they gain, is gained by
misapprehension of the real value of the commodities. But can an honest
man take this advantage? Would he take it of a child? Or if he did,
would not persons of common sense despise him for it?

But why not as well take advantage of a child as of a man? Because, it
may be answered, the child does not know the worth of what he buys or
sells; but the man does, or might. But in the case specified, it is
evident he _does not_ know it, if he did he would not make the bargain.
And for proof that such conduct is downright fraud, the person who
commits it, has only to ask himself whether he would be willing others
should take a similar advantage of _his_ ignorance. 'I do as I agree,'
is often the best excuse such men can make, when reasoned with on the
injustice of their conduct, without deciding the question, whether
their agreement is founded on a desire to do right.

2. Others _misrepresent the market price_. This is done in various
ways. They heard somebody say the price in market was so or so; or such
a one bought at such or such a price, or another sold at such a price:
all of which prices, purchases, and sales are _known positively_ to be
different from those which generally prevail. Many contrive to satisfy
their consciences in this way, who would by no means venture at once
upon plain and palpable lying.

3. The selling of goods or property which is _unsound and defective_,
under direct professions that it is sound and good, is another variety
of this species of fraud. It is sometimes done by direct lying, and
sometimes by indefinite and hypocritical insinuations. Agents, and
retailers often assert their wares to be good, because those of whom
they have received them _declare_ them to be such. These declarations
are often believed, because the seller appears or professes to believe
them; while in truth, he may not give them the least credit.

One of the grossest impositions of this kind--common as it is--is
practised upon the public in advertising and selling nostrums as safe
and valuable medicines. These are ushered into newspapers with a long
train of pompous declarations, almost always false, and _always_
delusive. The silly purchaser buys and uses the medicine chiefly or
solely because it is sold by a respectable man, under the sanction of
advertisements to which that respectable man lends his countenance.
Were good men to decline this wretched employment, the medicines would
probably soon fall into absolute discredit; and health and limbs and
life would, in many instances, be preserved from unnecessary

4. Another species of fraud consists in _concealing the defects_ of
what we sell. This is the general art and villany of that class of men,
commonly called _jockeys_; a class which, in reality, embraces some who
would startle at the thought of being such;--and whole multitudes who
would receive the appellation with disdain.

The common subterfuge of the jockey is, that he gives no false
accounts; that the purchaser has eyes of his own, and must judge of the
goods for himself. No defence can be more lame and wretched; and hardly
any more impudent.

No purchaser can possibly discover many of the defects in commodities;
he is therefore obliged to depend on the seller for information
concerning them. All this the seller well knows, and if an honest man,
will give the information. Now as no purchaser would buy the articles,
if he knew their defects, except at a reduced price, whenever the
seller does not give this information, and the purchaser is _taken in_,
it is by downright villany, whatever some may pretend to the contrary.
Nor will the common plea, that if they buy a bad article, they have a
right to sell it again as well as they can, ever justify the wretched
practice of selling defective goods, at the full value of those which
are more perfect.

5. A fraud, still meaner, is practised, when we endeavor to _lower the
value of such commodities as we wish to buy_. 'It is naught, it is
naught, says the buyer, but when he hath gone his way he boasteth,' is
as applicable to our times, as to those of Solomon. The ignorant, the
modest, and the necessitous--persons who should be the last to suffer
from fraud,--are, in this way, often made victims. A decisive tone and
confident airs, in men better dressed, and who are sometimes supposed
to know better than themselves, easily bear down persons so
circumstanced, and persuade them to sell their commodities for less
than they are really worth.

Young shopkeepers are often the dupes of this species of treatment.
Partly with a view to secure the future custom of the stranger, and
partly in consequence of his statements that he can buy a similar
article elsewhere at a much lower price, (when perhaps the quality of
the other is vastly inferior) they not unfrequently sell goods at a
positive sacrifice--and what do they gain by it? The pleasure of being
laughed at by the purchaser, as soon as he is out of sight, for
suffering themselves to be _beaten down_, as the phrase is; and of
having him boast of his bargain, and trumpet abroad, without a blush,
the value of the articles which he had just been decrying!

6. I mention the use of _false weights and measures_ last, not because
it is a less heinous fraud, but because I hope it is less frequently
practised than many others. But it is a lamentable truth that weights
and measures are _sometimes_ used when they are _known_ to be false;
and quite often when they are _suspected_ to be so. More frequently
still, they are used when they have been permitted to become defective
through inattention. They are often formed of perishable materials. To
meet this there are in most of our communities, officers appointed to
be sealers of weights and measures. When the latter are made of
substances known to be liable to decay or wear, the proprietor is
unpardonable if he does not have them frequently and thoroughly

I have only adverted to some of the more common kinds of fraud; such as
the young are daily, and often hourly exposed to, and against which it
is especially important, not only to their own reputation, but to their
success in business, that they should be on their guard. I will just
_enumerate_ a few others, for my limits preclude the possibility of any
thing more than a bare enumeration.

1. Suffering borrowed articles to be injured by our negligence. 2.
Detaining them in our possession longer than the lender had reason to
expect. 3. Employing them for purposes not contemplated by the lender.
4. The returning of an article of inferior value, although in
_appearance_ like that which was borrowed. 5. Passing suspected bank
bills, or depreciated counterfeit or clipped coin. Some persons are so
conscientious on this point, that they will sell a clipped piece for
_old metal_, rather than pass it. But such rigid honesty is rather
rare. 6. The use of pocket money, by the young, in a manner different
from that which was known to be contemplated by the parent, or master
who furnished it. 7. The employment of time in a different manner from
what was intended; the mutilating, by hacking, breaking, soiling, or in
any other manner wantonly injuring buildings, fences, and other
property, public or private;--and especially crops and fruit trees. 8.
Contracting debts, though ever so small, without the almost certain
prospect of being able to pay them. 9. Neglecting to pay them at the
time expected. 10. Paying in something of less value than we ought. 11.
Breaches of trust. 12. Breaking of promises. 13. Overtrading by means
of borrowed capital.

SECTION III. _Method in Business._

There is one class of men who are of inestimable value to society--and
the more so from their scarcity;--I mean _men of business_. It is true
you could hardly offer a greater insult to most persons than to say
they are not of this class; but you cannot have been very observing not
to have learned, that they who most deserve the charge will think
themselves the most insulted by it.

Nothing contributes more to despatch, as well as safety and success in
business, than method and regularity. Let a person set down in his
memorandum book, every morning, the several articles of business that
ought to be done during the day; and beginning with the first person he
is to call upon, or the first place he is to go to, finish that affair,
if possible, before he begins another; and so on with the rest.

A man of business, who observes this method, will hardly ever find
himself hurried or disconcerted by forgetfulness. And he who sets down
all his transactions in writing, and keeps his accounts, and the whole
state of his affairs, in a distinct and accurate order, so that at any
time, by looking into his books, he can see in what condition his
concerns are, and whether he is in a thriving or declining way;--such a
one, I say, deserves properly the character of a man of business; and
has a pretty fair prospect of success in his plans.[6] But such
exactness seldom suits the man of pleasure. He has other things in his

The way to transact a great deal of business in a little time, and to
do it well, is to observe three rules. 1. Speak to the point. 2. Use no
more words than are necessary, fully to express your meaning. 3. Study
beforehand, and set down in writing afterwards, a sketch of the

To enable a person to _speak_ to the point, he must have acquired, as
one essential pre-requisite, the art of _thinking_ to the point. To
effect these objects, or rather _this_ object, as they constitute in
reality but _one_, is the legitimate end of the study of grammar; of
the importance of which I am to speak elsewhere. This branch is almost
equally indispensable in following the other two rules; but here, a
thorough knowledge of numbers, as well as of language, will be demanded.

      [6] A gentleman of my acquaintance assures me that he always
      leaves his books, accounts, &c., in so complete a state, on going
      to bed, that if he should die during the night, every thing could
      be perfectly understood. This rule he adheres to, as a matter of
      duty; not only to his fellow men, but to God.

SECTION IV. _Application to Business._

There is one piece of prudence, above all others, absolutely necessary
to those who expect to raise themselves in the world by an employment
of any kind; I mean a constant, unwearied application to the main
pursuit. By means of persevering diligence, joined to frugality, we see
many people in the lowest and most laborious stations in life, raise
themselves to such circumstances as will allow them, in their old age,
that relief from _excessive_ anxiety and toil which are necessary to
make the decline of life easy and comfortable.

Burgh mentions a merchant, who, at first setting out, opened and shut
his shop every day for several weeks together, without selling goods to
the value of two cents; who by the force of application for a course of
years, rose, at last, to a handsome fortune. But I have known many who
had a variety of opportunities for settling themselves comfortably in
the world, yet, for want of steadiness to carry any scheme to
perfection, they sunk from one degree of wretchedness to another for
many years together, without the least hopes of ever getting above
distress and pinching want.

There is hardly an employment in life so trifling that it will not
afford a subsistence, if constantly and faithfully followed. Indeed, it
is by indefatigable diligence alone, that a fortune can be acquired in
any business whatever. An estate procured by what is commonly called a
lucky hit, is a rare instance; and he who expects to have his fortune
made in that way, is about as rational as he who should neglect all
probable means of earning, in hopes that he should some time or other
find a treasure.

There is no such thing as continuing in the same condition without an
income of some kind or other. If a man does not bestir himself, poverty
must, sooner or later, overtake him. If he continues to expend for the
necessary charges of life, and will not take the pains to gain
something to supply the place of what he deals out, his funds must at
length come to an end; and the misery of poverty fall upon him at an
age when he is less able to grapple with it.

No employment that is really useful to mankind deserves to be regarded
as mean. This has been a stumbling stone to many young men. Because
they could not pursue a course which they deemed sufficiently
respectable, they neglected business altogether until so late in life
that they were ashamed to make a beginning. A most fatal mistake. Pin
making is a minute affair, but will any one call the employment a mean
one? If _so_, it is one which the whole civilized world encourage, and
to which they are under lasting obligation daily. Any useful business
ought to be reputable, which is reputably followed.

The character of a drone is always, especially among the human species,
one of the most contemptible. In proportion to a person's activity for
his own good and that of his fellow creatures, he is to be regarded as
a more or less valuable member of society. If all the idle people in
the United States were to be buried in one year, the loss would be
trifling in comparison with the loss of only a _very few_ industrious
people. Each moment of time ought to be put to proper use, either in
business, in improving the mind, in the innocent and necessary
relaxations and entertainments of life, or in the care of the moral and
religious part of our nature. Each moment of time is, in the language
of theology, a monument of Divine mercy.

SECTION V. _Proper Time of Doing Business._

There are times and seasons for every lawful purpose of life, and a
very material part of prudence is to judge rightly, and make the best
of them. If you have to deal, for example, with a phlegmatic gloomy
man, take him, if you can, over his bottle. This advice may seem, at
first view, to give countenance to a species of fraud: but is it so?
These hypochondriacal people have their fits and starts, and if you do
not take them when they are in an agreeable state of mind, you are very
likely to find them quite as much below par, as the bottle raises them
above. But if you deal with them in this condition, they are no more
_themselves_ than in the former case. I therefore think the advice
correct. It is on the same principles, and in the same belief, that I
would advise you, when you deal with a covetous man, to propose your
business to him immediately after he has been receiving, rather than
expending money. So if you have to do with a drunkard, call on him in
the morning; for then, if ever, his head is clear.

Again; if you know a person to be unhappy in his family, meet him
abroad if possible, rather than at his own house. A statesman will not
be likely to give you a favorable reception immediately after being
disappointed in some of his schemes. Some people are always sour and
ill humored from the hour of rising till they have dined.

And as in persons, so in things, the _time_ is a matter of great
consequence; an eye to the rise and fall of goods; the favorable season
of importing and exporting;--these are some of the things which require
the attention of those who expect any considerable share of success.

It is not certain but some dishonest person, under shelter of the rule,
in this chapter, may gratify a wish to take unfair advantages of those
with whom he deals. But I hope otherwise; for I should be sorry to give
countenance, for one moment, to such conduct. My whole purpose (in this
place) is to give direction to the young for securing their own rights;
not for taking away the rights of others. The man who loves his
neighbor as himself, will not surely put a wrong construction on what I
have written. I would fain hope that there is no departure here or
elsewhere, in the book, from sound christian morality; for it is the
bible, on which I wish to see all moral rules based.

SECTION VI. _Buying upon Trust._

'Owe no man any thing,' is an apostolic injunction; and happy is he who
has it in his power to obey. In my own opinion, most young men possess
this power, did they perceive the importance of using it by
_commencing_ right. It is not so difficult a thing always to purchase
with ready money, as many people imagine. The great difficulty is to
moderate our desires and diminish our wants within bounds proportioned
to our income. We can expend much, or live on little; and this, too,
without descending to absolute penury. It is truly surprising to
observe how people in similar rank, condition, and circumstances,
contrive to _expend_ so very differently. I have known instances of
young men who would thrive on an income which would not more than half
support their neighbors in circumstances evidently similar.

Study therefore to live within your income. To this end you must
_calculate_. But here you will be obliged to learn much from personal
experience, dear as her school is, unless you are willing to learn from
that of others. If, for example, your income is $600 a year, and you
sit down at the commencement of the year and calculate on expending
$400, and saving the remainder, you will be very liable to fail in your
calculation. But if you call in the experience of wiser heads who have
travelled the road of life before you, they will tell you that after
you have made every reasonable allowance for necessary expenses during
the year, and believe yourself able to lay up $200, you will not, once
in ten times, be able to save more than _two thirds_ of that sum--and
this, too, without any sickness or casualty.

It is an important point _never to buy what you do not want_. Many
people buy an article merely because it is cheap, and they can have
credit. It is true they imagine they shall want it at some future time,
or can sell it again to advantage. But they would not buy at present,
if it cost them cash, from their pockets. The mischief is that when the
day of payment is distant, the cost seems more trifling than it really
is. Franklin's advice is in point; 'Buy what thou hast no need of, and
ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries;'--and such persons would do
well to remember it.

The difference between credit and ready money is very great.
Innumerable things are not bought at all with ready money, which would
be bought in case of trust; so much easier, is it, to _order_ a thing
than to _pay_ for it. A future day, a day of payment must come, to be
sure; but that is little thought of at the time. But if the money were
to be drawn out the moment the thing was received or offered, these
questions would arise; Can I not do without it? Is it indispensable?
And if I do not buy it, shall I suffer a loss or injury greater in
amount than the cost of the thing? If these questions were put, every
time we make a purchase, we should seldom hear of those suicides which
disgrace this country, and the old world still more.

I am aware that it will be said, and very truly, that the concerns of
merchants, the purchasing of great estates, and various other large
transactions, cannot be carried on in this manner; but these are rare
exceptions to the rule. And even in these cases, there might be much
less of bills and bonds, and all the sources of litigation, than there
now is. But in the every day business of life, in transactions with the
butcher, the baker, the tailor, the shoemaker, what excuse can there be
for pleading the example of the merchant, who carries on his work by
ships and exchanges?

A certain young man, on being requested to keep an account of all he
received and expended, answered that his business was not to keep
account books: that he was sure not to make a mistake as to his income;
and that as to his expenditure, the purse that held his money, would be
an infallible guide, for he never bought any thing that he did not
immediately pay for. I do not mean to recommend to young men not to
keep written accounts, for as the world is, I deem it indispensable.

Few, it is believed, will deny that they generally pay, for the same
article, a fourth part more, in the case of trust, than in that of
ready money. Suppose now, the baker, butcher, tailor, and shoemaker,
receive from you $400 a year. Now, if you multiply the $100 you lose,
by not paying ready money, by 20, you will find that at the end of
twenty years, you have a loss of $2,000, besides the accumulated

The fathers of the English _church_, forbade selling on trust at a
higher price than for ready money, which was the same thing in effect
as to _forbid trust_; and this was doubtless one of the great objects
those wise and pious men had in view; for they were fathers in
legislation and morals, as well as in religion. But we of the present
age, seem to have grown wiser than they, and not only make a difference
in the price, regulated by the difference in the mode of payment, but
no one is expected to do otherwise. We are not only allowed to charge
something for the _use_ of the money, but something additional for the
_risk_ of the loss which may frequently arise,--and most frequently
does arise--from the misfortunes of those to whom we thus assign our
goods on trust.

The man, therefore, who purchases on trust, not only pays for being
credited, but he also pays his share of what the tradesman loses by his
general practice of selling upon trust; and after all, he is not so
good a customer as the man who purchases cheaply with ready money. His
_name_, indeed, is in the tradesman's book, but with that name the
tradesman cannot buy a fresh supply of goods.

Infinite, almost, are the ways in which people lose by this sort of
dealing. Domestics sometimes go and order things not wanted at all; at
other times more than is wanted. All this would be obviated by
purchasing with ready money; for whether through the hands of the party
himself, or those of some other person, there would always be an actual
counting out of the money. Somebody would see the thing bought, and the
money paid. And as the master would give the steward or housekeeper a
purse of money at the time, _he_ would see the money too, would set a
proper value upon it, and would just desire to know upon what it had
been expended.

Every man, who purchases for ready money, will naturally make the
amount of the purchase as low as possible, in proportion to his means.
This care and frugality will make an addition to his means; and
therefore, at the end of his life, he will have a great deal more to
spend, and still be as rich as if he had been trusted all his days. In
addition to this, he will eat, and drink, and sleep _in peace_, and
avoid all the endless papers, and writings, and receipts, and bills,
and disputes, and lawsuits, inseparable from the credit system.

This is by no means intended as a lesson of _stinginess_, nor is it any
part of my purpose to inculcate the plan of _heaping up_ money. But
purchasing with ready money really gives you more money to purchase
with; you can afford to have a greater quantity and variety of
enjoyments. In the town, it will tend to hasten your pace along the
streets, for the temptation at the windows is answered in a moment by
clapping your hand upon your pocket; and the question; 'Do I really
want it?' is sure to recur immediately; because the touch of the money
will put the thought into your mind.

Now supposing you to have a fortune, even beyond your actual wants,
would not the money which you might save in this way, be very well
applied in acts of real benevolence? Can you walk or ride a mile, in
the city or country, or go to half a dozen houses; or in fact can you
open your eyes without seeing some human being, born in the same
country with yourself, and who, on that account alone, has some claim
upon your good wishes and your charity? Can you, if you would, avoid
seeing one person, if no more, to whom even a small portion of your
annual savings would convey gladness of heart? Your own feelings will
suggest the answer.

SECTION VII. _Of entrusting Business to others._

'If you wish to have your business done, go; if not, send.' This is an
old maxim; and one which is no less true than old. Every young man, on
setting out in the world, should make it a rule, never to trust any
thing _of consequence_ to another, which he can, without too much
difficulty, perform himself.

1. Because, let a person have my interest ever so much at heart, I am
sure I regard it _more_ myself.

2. Nothing is more difficult than to know, in all cases, the characters
of those we confide in. How can we expect to understand the characters
of others, when we scarcely know our own? Which of us can know,
positively, that he shall never be guilty of another vice or weakness,
or yield to another temptation, and thus forfeit public confidence?
Who, then, will needlessly trust another, when he can hardly be sure of

3. No substitute we can employ, can _understand_ our business as well
as ourselves.

4. We can change our measures according to changing circumstances;
which gives us those opportunities of doing things in the best way, of
which another will not feel justified in availing himself.

As for dependants of every kind, it should ever be remembered that
their master's interest sometimes possesses only the second place in
their hearts. Self-love, with such, will be the ruling principle of
action; and no fidelity whatever will prevent a person from bestowing a
good deal of thought upon his own concerns. But this must, of
necessity, break in more or less upon his diligence in consulting the
interest of his employers. How men of business can venture, as they
sometimes do, to trust concerns of great importance, for half of every
week in the year, (which is half the whole year) to dependants, and
thus expect others to take care of their business, when they will not
be at the trouble of minding it themselves, is to me inconceivable! Nor
does the detection, from time to time, of fraud in such persons, seem
at all to diminish this practice.

There is a maxim among business people, 'never to do that for
themselves which they can pay another for doing.' This, though true to
a certain extent, is liable to abuse. If every body, without
discrimination, could be _safely_ trusted, the maxim might be _more_
just; since nothing is more obvious than that laborers are often at
hand, whose time can be bought for a much less sum of money than you
would yourself earn in the meantime. I have often known people make or
mend little pieces of furniture, implements of their occupations, &c.
to save expense, when they could have earned, at their labor during the
same time, twice the sum necessary to pay a trusty and excellent
workman for doing it.

But, as I have already observed, persons are not always at hand, in
whom you can confide; so that the certainty of having a thing done
right, is worth much more than the loss of a little time. Besides, God
has never said _how much_ we must do in this world. We are indeed to do
all we can, and at the same time do it well; but _how much that is_, we
must judge. He is not necessarily the most useful man who does even the
greatest amount of good;--but he who does the most good, attended with
the least evil.

But we should remember that what _others_ do, is not done by
_ourselves_. Still, an individual may often do many little things
without any hindrance to his main object. For example, I would not
thank a person to make or mend my pen, or shave me; because I can write
as much, or perform as much business of any kind, in a week or
month--probably more--if I stop to mend my pens, shave myself daily,
make fires, saw and split wood, &c. as if I do not. And the same is
true of a thousand other things.

SECTION VIII. _Over Trading._

I have already classed this among the frauds into which business men
are in danger of falling; and I cannot but think its character will be
pretty well established by what follows.

Over trading is an error into which many industrious, and active young
men are apt to run, from a desire of getting rich more rapidly than
they are able to do with a smaller business. And yet profusion itself
is not more dangerous. Indeed, I question whether idleness brings more
people to ruin than over trading.

This subject is intimately connected with _credit_, for it is the
credit system that gives such facilities to over trading. But of the
evils of credit I have treated fully elsewhere I will only add, under
this head, a few remarks on one particular species of trading. I refer
to the conduct of many persons, with large capitals, who, for the sake
of adding to a heap already too large, monopolize the market,--or trade
for a profit which they know dealers of smaller fortunes cannot
possibly live by. If such men really think that raising themselves on
the ruin of others, in this manner, is justifiable, and that riches
obtained in this manner are fairly earned, they must certainly have
either neglected to inform themselves, or stifled the remonstrances of
conscience, and bid defiance to the laws of God.

SECTION IX. _Making Contracts beforehand._

In making bargains--with workmen, for example--always do it beforehand,
and never suffer the matter to be deferred by their saying they will
leave it to your discretion.

There are several reasons why this ought to be done. 1st. It prevents
any difficulty afterward; and does no harm, even when the intentions of
both parties are perfectly good. 2d. If you are dealing with a knave,
it prevents him from accomplishing any evil designs he may have upon
you. 3d. Young people are apt to be deceived by appearances, both from
a credulity common to their youth and inexperience, and because neither
the young nor the old have any certain method of knowing human
character by externals. The most open hearted are the most liable to be
imposed upon by the designing.

It will be well to have all your business--of course all contracts--as
far as may be practicable, in writing. And it would be well if men of
business would make it a constant rule, whenever and wherever it is
possible, to draw up a minute or memorial of every transaction,
subscribed by both, with a clause signifying that in case of any
difference, they would submit the matter to arbitration.

Nothing is more common than for a designing person to put off the
individual he wishes to take advantage of, by saying; _We shan't
disagree. I'll do what's right about it; I won't wrong you, &c._ And
then when accounts come to be settled, and the party who thinks himself
aggrieved, says that he made the bargain with the expectation of having
such and such advantages allowed him, _No_, says the sharper, _I never
told you any such thing_.

It is on this account that you cannot be too exact in making contracts;
nor is there indeed any safety in dealing with deceitful and avaricious
people, after you have taken all the precaution in your power.

SECTION X. _How to know with whom to deal._

There are two maxims in common life that seem to clash with each other,
most pointedly. The first is, 'Use every precaution with a stranger,
that you would wish you had done, should he turn out to be a villain;'
and secondly, 'Treat every man as an honest man, until he proves to be

Now there is good advice in both these maxims. By this I mean that they
may both be observed, to a certain extent, without interfering with
each other. You may be cautious about hastily becoming acquainted with
a stranger, and yet so far as you have any concern with him, treat him
like an honest man. No _reasonable_ person will complain if you do not
unbosom yourself to him at once. And if he is unreasonable, you will
not _wish_ for an intimate acquaintance with him.

My present purpose is to offer a few hints, with a view to assist you
in judging of the characters of those with whom it may be your lot to
deal. Remember, however, that like all things human, they are
imperfect. All I can say is that they are the best I can offer.

There is something in knavery that will hardly bear the inspection of a
piercing eye; and you may, more generally, observe in a sharper an
unsteady and confused look. If a person is persuaded of the uncommon
sagacity of one before whom he is to appear, he will hardly succeed in
mustering impudence and artifice enough to bear him through without
faltering. It will, therefore, be a good way to try one whom you have
reason to suspect of a design upon you, by fixing your eyes upon his,
and bringing up a supposition of your having to do with one whose
integrity you suspected; stating what you would do in such a case. If
the person you are talking with be really what you expect, he will
hardly be able to keep his countenance.

It will be a safe rule,--though doubtless there are exceptions to
it,--to take mankind to be more or less avaricious. Yet a great love of
money is a great enemy to honesty. The aged are, in this respect, more
dangerous than the young. It will be your wisdom ever to be cautious of
_aged_ avarice; and especially of those who, in an affected and forced
manner, bring in religion, and talk much of _duty_ on all occasions; of
all smooth and fawning people; of those who are very talkative, and
who, in dealing with you, endeavor to draw off your attention from the
point in hand by incoherent or random expressions.

I have already advised you how to proceed with those of whom you have
good reason to be suspicious. But by all means avoid entertaining
unnecessary suspicions of your fellow beings; for it will usually
render both you and them the more miserable. It is often owing to a
consciousness of a designing temper, in ourselves, that we are led to
suspect others.

If you hear a person boasting of having got a remarkably good bargain,
you may generally conclude him by no means too honest; for almost
always where one gains much in a bargain, the other loses. I know well
that cases occur where both parties are gainers, but not greatly so.
And when you hear a man triumph in gaining by another's loss, you may
easily judge of his character.

Let me warn you against the sanguine promisers. Of these there are two
sorts. The first are those who from a foolish custom of fawning upon
all those whom they meet with in company, have acquired a habit of
promising great favors which they have no idea of performing. The
second are a sort of warm hearted people, who while they lavish their
promises have some thoughts of performing them; but when the time
comes, and the sanguine fit is worn off, the trouble or expense appears
in another light; the promiser cools, and the expectant is

Be cautious of dealing with an avaricious and cruel man, for if it
should happen by an unlucky turn of trade that you should come into the
power of such a person, you have nothing to expect but the utmost rigor
of the law.

In negotiating, there are a number of circumstances to be considered;
the neglect of any of which may defeat your whole scheme. These will be
mentioned in the next section.

SECTION XI. _How to take Men as they are._

Such a knowledge of human character as will enable us to treat mankind
according to their dispositions, circumstances, and modes of thinking,
so as to secure their aid in all our _laudable_ purposes, is absolutely
indispensable. And while all men boast of their knowledge of human
nature, and would rather be thought ignorant of almost every thing else
than this, how obvious it is that there is nothing in regard to which
there exists so much ignorance!

A miser is by no means a proper person to apply to for a favor that
will _cost_ him any thing. But if he chance to be a man of principle,
he _may_ make an excellent partner in trade, or arbitrator in a dispute
about property; for he will have patience to investigate little things,
and to stand about trifles, which a generous man would scorn. Still, as
an honest man, and above all as a Christian, I doubt whether it would
be quite right thus to derive advantage from the vices of another. In
employing the miser, you give scope to his particular vice.

A passionate man will fly into a rage at the most trifling affront, but
he will generally forget it nearly as soon, and be glad to do any thing
in his power to make up with you. It is not therefore so dangerous to
disoblige _him_, as the gloomy, sullen mortal, who will wait seven
years for an opportunity to do you mischief.

A cool, slow man, who is somewhat advanced in age, is generally the
best person to advise with. For despatch of business, however, make use
of the young, the warm, and the sanguine. Some men are of no character
at all; but always take a tinge from the last company they were in.
Their advice, as well as their assistance, is usually good for nothing.

It is in vain to think of finding any thing very valuable in the mind
of a covetous man. Avarice is generally the vice of abject spirits. Men
who have a very great talent at making money, commonly have no other;
for the man who began with nothing, and has accumulated wealth, has
been too busy to think of improving his mind; or indeed, to think of
any thing else but property.

A boaster is always to be suspected. His is a natural infirmity, which
makes him forget what he is about, and run into a thousand
extravagances that have no connection with the truth. With those who
have a tolerable knowledge of the world, all his assertions,
professions of friendship, promises, and threatenings, go for nothing.
Trust him with a secret, and he will surely discover it, either through
vanity or levity.

A meek tempered man is not quite the proper person for you; his
_modesty_ will be easily _confounded_.--The talkative man will be apt
to forget himself, and blunder out something that will give you

A man's ruling passion is the key by which you may come at his
character, and pretty nearly guess how he will act in any given
circumstances, unless he is a wit or a fool; _they_ act chiefly from

There are likewise connections between the different _parts_ of men's
characters, which it will be useful for you to study. For example, if
you find a man to be hasty and passionate, you may generally take it
for granted he is open and artless, and so on. Like other general
rules, however, this admits of many exceptions.

A bully is usually a coward. When, therefore, you unluckily have to
deal with such a man, the best way is to make up to him boldly, and
answer him with firmness. If you show the least sign of submission, he
will take advantage of it to use you ill.

There are six sorts of people, at whose hands you need not expect much
kindness. The _sordid and narrow minded_, think of nobody but
themselves. The _lazy_ will not take the trouble to oblige you. The
_busy_ have not time to think of you. The overgrown _rich man_, is
above regarding any one, how much soever he may stand in need of
assistance. The _poor and unhappy_ often have not the ability. The good
natured _simpleton_, however willing, is _incapable_ of serving you.[7]

The _age_ of the person you are to deal with is also to be considered.
_Young_ people are easily drawn into any scheme, merely from its being
new, especially if it falls in with their love of pleasure; but they
are almost as easily discouraged from it by the next person they meet
with. They are not good counsellors, for they are apt to be precipitate
and thoughtless; but are very fit for action, where you prescribe them
a track from which they know they must not vary. Old age, on the
contrary, is slow but sure; very cautious; opposed to new schemes and
ways of life; inclining, generally, to covetousness; fitter to
_consult_ with you, than to _act_ for you; not so easily won by fair
speeches or long reasonings; tenacious of old opinions, customs, and
formalities; apt to be displeased with those, especially younger
people, who pretend to question their judgment; fond of deference, and
of being listened to. Young people, in their anger, mean less than they
say; old people more. You may make up for an injury with most young
men; the old are generally more slow in forgiving.

The fittest character to be concerned with in business, is, that in
which are united an inviolable integrity, founded upon rational
principles of virtue and religion, a cool but determined temper, a
friendly heart, a ready hand, long experience and extensive knowledge
of the world; with a solid reputation of many years' standing, and easy

      [7] These statements may seem to require a little qualification.
      There are _two sorts_ of _busy_ men. One sort are busy, as the
      result of _benevolent purpose_. These are often among the best of
      mankind; and though always _busy_ in carrying out their plans,
      they find time to perform a thousand little acts of goodness,
      notwithstanding.--It has, indeed, been sometimes said, that when
      a great public enterprise is about to be undertaken, which
      requires the aid of individual contributions, either of time or
      money, those who are most busy, and from whom we might naturally
      expect the least, often do the _most_. It is also said that men
      of business have the most leisure; and it sometimes seems to be
      true, where they methodize their plans properly. These maxims,
      however, apply with the most force to men devoted to a higher
      purpose than the worship of this world--men who live for God,
      and the good of his universe, generally.

      There are also two sorts of _rich_ men. Some men may have
      property in their hands to an immense amount, without possessing
      a worldly spirit. The _rich_ man referred to above, is of another
      sort. He is the man who '_gets all he can_, and _keeps_ all he
      can _get_.' This is probably the gospel definition of the term,
      a _rich man_, who, it is said, can no more enter a world of
      spiritual enjoyment than a camel or a cable can go through 'the
      eye of a needle.'

SECTION XII. _Of desiring the good opinion of others._

A young man is not far from ruin, when he can say, without blushing,
_I don't care what others think of me_. To be insensible to public
opinion, or to the estimation in which we are held by others, by no
means indicates a good and generous spirit.

But to have a due regard to public opinion is one thing, and to make
that opinion the principal rule of action, quite another. There is no
greater weakness than that of letting our happiness depend _too much_
upon the opinion of others. Other people lie under such disadvantages
for coming at our true characters, and are so often misled by prejudice
for or against us, that if our own conscience condemns us, their
approbation can give us little consolation. On the other hand, if we
are sure we acted from honest motives, and with a reference to proper
ends, it is of little consequence if the world should happen to find
fault. Mankind, for the most part, are so much governed by fancy, that
what will win their hearts to-day, will disgust them to-morrow; and he
who undertakes to please every body at all times, places, and
circumstances, will never be in want of employment.

A wise man, when he hears of reflections made upon him, will consider
whether they are _just_. If they are, he will correct the faults in
question, with as much cheerfulness as if they had been suggested by
his dearest friend.

I have sometimes thought that, in this view, enemies were the best of
friends. Those who are merely friends in name, are often unwilling to
tell us a great many things which it is of the highest importance that
we should know. But our enemies, from spite, envy, or some other cause,
mention them; and we ought on the whole to rejoice that they do, and to
make the most of their remarks.

SECTION XIII. _Intermeddling with the affairs of others._

There are some persons who never appear to be _happy_, if left to
themselves and their own reflections. All their enjoyment seems to come
from without; none from within. They are ever for having something to
do with the affairs of others. Not a single petty quarrel can take
place, in the neighborhood, but they suffer their feelings to be
enlisted, and allow themselves to "take sides" with one of the parties.
Those who possess such a disposition are among the most miserable of
their race.

An old writer says that 'Every one should mind his own business; for he
who is perpetually concerning himself about the good or ill fortune of
others, will never be at rest.' And he says truly.

It is not denied that some men are professionally bound to attend to
the concerns of others. But this is not the case supposed. The bulk of
mankind will be happier, and do more for others, by letting them alone;
at least by avoiding any of that sort of meddling which may be
construed into officiousness.

Some of the worst meddlers in human society are those who have been
denominated _match-makers_. A better name for them, however, would be
match-_breakers_, for if they do not actually break more matches than
they make, they usually cause a great deal of misery to those whom they
are instrumental in bringing prematurely together.

Many people who, in other respects, pass for excellent, do not hesitate
to take sides on almost all occasions, whether they know much about the
real merits of the case or not. Others judge, at once, of every one of
whom they hear any thing evil, and in the same premature manner.

All these and a thousand other kinds of 'meddling' do much evil. The
tendency is to keep men like Ishmael, with their hands against every
man, and every man's hands against theirs.

SECTION XIV. _On Keeping Secrets._

It is sometimes said that in a good state of society there would be no
necessity of _keeping_ secrets, for no individual would have any thing
to conceal. This _may_ be true; but if so, society is far--very
far--from being as perfect as it ought to be. At present we shall find
no intelligent circle, except it were the society of the glorified
above, which does not require occasional secrecy. But if there are
secrets to be kept, somebody must keep them.

Some persons can hardly conceal a secret, if they would. They will
promise readily enough; but the moment they gain possession of the
fact, its importance rises in their estimation, till it occupies so
much of their waking thoughts, that it will be almost certain, in some
form or other, to escape them.

Others are not very anxious to conceal things which are entrusted to
them. They may not wish to make mischief, exactly; but there is a sort
of recklessness about them, that renders them very unsafe confidants.

Others again, when they promise, mean to perform. But no sooner do they
possess the _treasure_ committed to their charge, than they begin to
grow forgetful of the _manner_ of coming by it. And before they are
aware, they reveal it.

There are not many then, whom it is safe to trust. These you will value
as they do diamonds, in proportion to their scarcity.

But there _are_ individuals who merit your highest confidence, if you
can but find them. Husbands, where a union is founded as it ought to
be, can usually trust their wives. This is one of the prominent
advantages of matrimony. It gives us an opportunity of unbosoming our
feelings and views and wishes not only with safety, but often with

But confidence may sometimes be reposed, in other circumstances. Too
much reserve makes us miserable. Perhaps it were better that we should
suffer a little, now and then, than that we should never trust.

As an instance of the extent to which mankind can sometimes be confided
in, and to show that celibacy, too, is not without this virtue, you
will allow me to relate, briefly, an anecdote.

A certain husband and wife had difficulties. They both sought advice of
a single gentleman, their family physician. For some time there was
hope of an amicable adjustment of all grievances; but at length every
effort proved vain, and an open quarrel ensued. But what was the
surprise of each party to learn by accident, some time afterward, that
both of them had sought counsel of the same individual, and yet he had
not betrayed the trust.

In a few instances, too, secrets have been confided to husbands,
without their communicating them to their wives; and the contrary. This
was done, however, by particular request. It is a requisition which,
for my own part, I should be very unwilling to make.

SECTION XV. _Fear of Poverty._

The ingenious but sometimes fanciful Dr. Darwin, reckons the fear of
poverty as a disease, and goes on to prescribe for it.

The truth is, there is not much _real_ poverty in this country. Our
very paupers are rich, for they usually have plenty of wholesome food,
and comfortable clothing, and what could a Croesus, with all _his_
riches, have more? Poverty exists much more in imagination than in
reality. The _shame of being thought poor_, is a great and fatal
weakness, to say the least. It depends, it is true, much upon the

So long as the phrase 'he is a good man,' means that the person spoken
of is rich, we need not wonder that every one wishes to be thought
richer than he is. When adulation is sure to follow wealth, and when
contempt would be sure to follow many if they were not wealthy; when
people are spoken of with deference, and even lauded to the skies
because their riches are very great; when this is the case, I say, we
need not wonder if men are ashamed to be thought poor. But this is one
of the greatest dangers which young people have to encounter in setting
out in life. It has brought thousands and hundreds of thousands to
pecuniary ruin.

One of the most amiable features of _good_ republican society is this;
that men seldom boast of their riches, or disguise their poverty, but
speak of both, as of any other matters that are proper for
conversation. No man shuns another because he is poor; no man is
preferred to another because he is rich. In hundreds and hundreds of
instances have men in this country, not worth a shilling, been chosen
by the people to take care of their rights and interests, in preference
to men who ride in their carriages.

The shame of being thought poor leads to everlasting efforts to
_disguise_ one's poverty. The carriage--the domestics--the wine--the
spirits--the decanters--the glass;--all the table apparatus, the
horses, the dresses, the dinners, and the parties, must be kept up; not
so much because he or she who keeps or gives them has any pleasure
arising therefrom, as because not to keep and give them, would give
rise to a suspicion of _a want of means_. And thus thousands upon
thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty, merely by
their great anxiety not to be thought poor. Look around you carefully,
and see if this is not so.

In how many instances have you seen amiable and industrious families
brought to ruin by nothing else but the fear they _should_ be? Resolve,
then, from the first, to set this false shame at defiance. When you
have done that, effectually, you have laid the corner-stone of mental

There are thousands of families at this very moment, struggling to keep
up appearances. They feel that it makes them miserable; but you can no
more induce them to change their course, than you can put a stop to the
miser's laying up gold.

Farmers accommodate themselves to their condition more easily than
merchants, mechanics, and professional men. They live at a greater
distance from their neighbors; they can change their style of living
without being perceived; they can put away the decanter, change the
china for something plain, and the world is none the wiser for it. But
the mechanic, the doctor, the attorney, and the trader cannot make the
change so quietly and unseen.

Stimulating drink, which is a sort of criterion of the scale of
living,--(or scale to the plan,)--a sort of key to the tune;--this is
the thing to banish first of all, because all the rest follow; and in a
short time, come down to their proper level.

Am I asked, what is a glass of wine? I answer, _it is every thing_. It
creates a demand for all the other unnecessary expenses; it is
injurious to health, and must be so. Every bottle of wine that is drank
contains a portion of _spirit_, to say nothing of other drugs still
more poisonous; and of all friends to the doctors, alcoholic drinks are
the greatest. It is nearly the same, however, with strong tea and
coffee. But what adds to the folly and wickedness of using these
drinks, the parties themselves do not always drink them by _choice_;
and hardly ever because they believe they are useful;--but from mere
ostentation, or the fear of being thought either _rigid_ or _stingy_.
At this very moment, thousands of families daily use some half a dozen
drinks, _besides the best_, because if they drank water only, they
might not be regarded as genteel; or might be suspected of poverty. And
thus they waste their property and their health.

Poverty frequently arises from the very virtues of the impoverished
parties. Not so frequently, I admit, as from vice, folly, and
indiscretion; but still very frequently. And as it is according to
scripture not to 'despise the poor, _because_ he is poor,' so we ought
not to honor the rich merely because he is rich. The true way is to
take a fair survey of the character of a man as exhibited in his
conduct; and to respect him, or otherwise, according to a due estimate
of that character.

Few countries exhibit more of those fatal terminations of life, called
suicides, than _this_. Many of these unnatural crimes arise from an
unreasonable estimate of the evils of poverty. Their victims, it is
true, may be called insane; but their insanity almost always arises
from the dread of poverty. Not, indeed, from the dread of the want of
means for sustaining life, or even _decent_ living; but from the dread
of being thought or known to be poor;--from the dread of what is called
falling in the scale of society.[8]

Viewed in its true light, what is there in poverty that can tempt a man
to take away his own life? He is the same man that he was before; he
has the same body and the same mind. Suppose he can foresee an
alteration in his _dress_ or his _diet_, should he kill himself on that
account? Are these all the things that a man wishes to live for?

I do not deny that we ought to take care of our means, use them
prudently and sparingly, and keep our expenses always within the limits
of our income, be that what it may. One of the effectual means of doing
this, is to purchase with ready money. On this point, I have already
remarked at length, and will only repeat here the injunction of St.
Paul; 'Owe no man any thing;' although the fashion of the whole world
should be against you.

Should you regard the advice of this section, the counsels of the next
will be of less consequence; for you will have removed one of the
strongest inducements to speculation, as well as to overtrading.

      [8] I should be sorry to be understood as affirming that a
      majority of suicidal acts are the result of intemperance;--by no
      means. My own opinion is, that if there be a single vice more
      fruitful of this horrid crime than any other, it is gross
      sensuality. The records of insane hospitals, even in this country
      will show, that this is not mere conjecture. As it happens,
      however, that the latter vice is usually accompanied by
      intemperance in eating and drinking, by gambling, &c., the blame
      is commonly thrown, not on the principal agent concerned in the
      crime, but on the accomplices.

SECTION XVI. _On Speculation._

Young men are apt to be fond of _speculation_. This propensity is very
early developed--first in the family--and afterwards at the school. By
_speculation_, I mean the purchasing of something which you do not want
for use, solely with a view to sell it again at a large profit; but on
the sale of which there is a hazard.

When purchases of this sort are made with the person's own cash, they
are not so unreasonable, but when they are made by one who is deeply
indebted to his fellow beings, or with money borrowed for the purpose,
it is not a whit better than gambling, let the practice be defended by
whom it may: and has been in every country, especially in this, a
fruitful source of poverty, misery, and suicide. Grant that this
species of gambling has arisen from the facility of obtaining the
fictitious means of making the purchase, still it is not the less
necessary that I beseech you not to practise it, and if engaged in it
already, to disentangle yourself as soon as you can. Your life, while
thus engaged, is that of a gamester--call it by what smoother name you
may. It is a life of constant anxiety, desire to overreach, and general
gloom; enlivened now and then, by a gleam of hope or of success. Even
that success is sure to lead to farther adventures; till at last, a
thousand to one, that your fate is that of 'the pitcher to the well.'

The great temptation to this, as well as to every other species of
gambling, is, the _success of the few_. As young men, who crowd to the
army in search of rank and renown, never look into the ditch that holds
their slaughtered companions, but have their eye constantly fixed on
the commander-in-chief; and as each of them belongs to the _same
profession_, and is sure to be conscious that he has equal merit, every
one dreams himself the suitable successor of him who is surrounded with
_aides-de-camp_, and who moves battalions and columns by his nod;--so
with the rising generation of 'speculators.' They see those whom they
suppose nature and good laws made to black shoes, or sweep chimneys or
streets, rolling in carriages, or sitting in palaces, surrounded by
servants or slaves; and they can see no earthly reason why they should
not all do the same. They forget the thousands, and tens of thousands,
who in making the attempt, have reduced themselves to beggary.

SECTION XVII. _On Lawsuits._

In every situation in life, avoid the law. Man's nature must be
changed, perhaps, before lawsuits will entirely cease; and yet it is in
the power of most men to avoid them, in a considerable degree.

One excellent rule is, to have as little as possible to do with those
who are _fond_ of litigation; and who, upon every slight occasion, talk
of an appeal to the law. This may be called a _disease_; and, like many
other diseases, it is contagious. Besides, these persons, from their
frequent litigations, contract a habit of using the technical terms of
the courts, in which they take a pride, and are therefore, as
companions, peculiarly disgusting to men of sense. To such beings a
lawsuit is a luxury, instead of being regarded as a source of anxiety,
and a real scourge. Such men are always of a quarrelsome disposition,
and avail themselves of every opportunity to indulge in that which is
mischievous to their neighbors.

In thousands of instances, men go to law for the indulgence of mere
anger. The Germans are _said_ to bring _spite-actions_ against one
another, and to harass their poorer neighbors from motives of pure
revenge. But I hope this is a mistake; for I am unwilling to think so
ill of that intelligent nation.

Before you decide to go to law, consider well the _cost_, for if you
win your suit and are poorer than you were before, what do you gain by
it? You only imbibe a little additional anger against your opponent;
you injure him, but at the same time, injure yourself more. Better to
put up with the loss of one dollar than of two; to which is to be
added, all the loss of time, all the trouble, and all the mortification
and anxiety attending a lawsuit. To set an attorney at work to worry
and torment another man, and alarm his family as well as himself, while
you are sitting quietly at home, is baseness. If a man owe you money
which he cannot pay, why add to his distress, without even the _chance_
of benefiting yourself? Thousands have injured themselves by resorting
to the law, while very few, indeed, ever bettered their condition by

Nearly a million of dollars was once expended in England, during the
progress of a single lawsuit. Those who brought the suit expended
$444,000 to carry it through; and the opposite party was acquitted, and
only sentenced to pay the cost of prosecution, amounting to $318,754.
Another was sustained in court fifty years, at an enormous expense. In
Meadville, in Pennsylvania, a petty law case occurred in which the
damages recovered were only ten dollars, while the costs of court were
one hundred. In one of the New England States, a lawsuit occurred,
which could not have cost the parties less than $1,000 each; and yet
after all this expense, they mutually agreed to take the matter out of
court, and suffer it to end where it was. Probably it was the wisest
course they could possibly have taken. It is also stated that a quarrel
occurred between two persons in Middlebury, Vermont, a few years since,
about _six eggs_, which was carried from one court to another, till it
cost the parties $4,000.

I am well acquainted with a gentleman who was once engaged in a
lawsuit, (than which none perhaps, was ever more just) where his claim
was one to two thousand dollars; but it fell into such a train that a
final decision could not have been expected in many months;--perhaps
not in years. The gentleman was unwilling to be detained and perplexed
with waiting for a trial, and he accordingly paid the whole amount of
costs to that time, amounting to $150, went about his business, and
believes, to this hour, that it was the wisest course he could have

A spirit of litigation often disturbs the peace of a whole
neighborhood, perpetually, for several generations; and the hostile
feeling thus engendered seems to be transmitted, like the color of the
eyes or the hair, from father to son. Indeed it not unfrequently
happens, that a lawsuit in a neighborhood, a society, or even a church,
awakens feelings of discord, which never terminate, but at the death of
the parties concerned.

How ought young men, then, to avoid, as they would a pestilence, this
fiend-like spirit! How ought they to labor to settle all
disputes--should disputes unfortunately arise,--without this tremendous
resort! On the strength of much observation,--_not experience_, for I
have been saved the pain of learning in that painful school, on this
subject,--I do not hesitate to recommend the settlement of such
difficulties by arbitration.

One thing however should be remembered. Would you dry up the river of
discord, you must first exhaust the fountains and rills which form it.
The moment you indulge one impassioned or angry feeling against your
fellow being, you have taken a step in the high road which leads to
litigation, war and murder. Thus it is, as I have already told you,
that 'He that hateth his brother is a murderer.'

I have heard a father--for he hath the name of parent, though he little
deserved it--gravely contend that there was no such thing as avoiding
quarrels and lawsuits. He thought there was one thing, however, which
might prevent them, which was to take the litigious individual and 'tar
and feather' him without ceremony. How often is it true that mankind
little know 'what manner of spirit they are of;' and to how many of us
will this striking reproof of the Saviour apply!

Multitudes of men have been in active business during a long life, and
yet avoided every thing in the shape of a lawsuit. 'What man has done,
man may do;' in this respect, at the least.

SECTION XVIII. _On Hard Dealing._

Few things are more common among business-doing men, than _hard
dealing_; yet few things reflect more dishonor on a Christian
community. It seems, in general, to be regarded as morally right,--in
defiance of all rules, whether _golden_ or not,--to get as 'good a
bargain' in trade, as possible; and this is defended as unavoidable, on
account of the _state of society_! But what _produced_ this state of
society? Was it not the spirit of avarice? What will change it for the
better? Nothing but the renunciation of this spirit, and a willingness
to sacrifice, in this respect, for the public welfare.

We are _pagans_ in this matter, in spite of our professions. It would
be profitable for us to take lessons on this subject from the
Mohammedans. They never have, it is said, but one price for an article;
and to ask the meanest shopkeeper to lower his price, is to _insult_
him. Would this were the only point, in which the Christian community
are destined yet to learn even from Mohammedans.

To ask one price and take another, or to offer one price and give
another, besides being a loss of time, is highly dishonorable to the
parties. It is, in fact, a species of lying; and it answers no one
advantageous purpose, either to the buyer or seller. I hope that every
young man will start in life with a resolution never to be _hard in his

'It is an evil which will correct itself;' say those who wish to avail
themselves of its present advantages a little longer. But when and
where did a general evil correct itself? When or where was an erroneous
practice permanently removed, except by a change of public sentiment?
And what has ever produced a change in the public sentiment but the
determination of individuals, or their combined action?

While on this topic, I will hazard the assertion--even at the risk of
its being thought misplaced--that great effects are yet to be produced
on public opinion, in this country, by associations of spirited and
intelligent young men. I am not now speaking of associations for
political purposes, though I am not sure that even these _might_ not be
usefully conducted; but of associations for mutual improvement, and for
the correction and elevation of the public morals. The "Boston Young
Men's Society," afford a specimen of what may be done in this way; and
numerous associations of the kind have sprung up and are springing up
in various parts of the country. Judiciously managed, they must
inevitably do great good;--though it should not be forgotten that they
_may_ also be productive of immense evil.


On Amusements and Indulgences.

SECTION I. _On Gaming._

Even Voltaire asserts that 'every gambler is, has been, or will be a
robber.' Few practices are more ancient, few more general, and few, if
any, more pernicious than gaming. An English writer has ingeniously
suggested that the Devil himself might have been the first player, and
that he contrived the plan of introducing games among men, to afford
them temporary amusement, and divert their attention from themselves.
'What numberless disciples,' he adds, 'of his sable majesty, might we
not count in our own metropolis!'

Whether his satanic majesty has any very direct agency in this matter
or not, one thing is certain;--gaming is opposed to the happiness of
mankind, and ought, in every civilized country, to be suppressed by
public opinion. By gaming, however, I here refer to those cases only in
which property is at stake, to be won or lost. The subject of
_diversions_ will be considered in another place.

Gaming is an evil, because, in the first place, it is a practice which
_produces_ nothing. He who makes two blades of grass grow where but one
grew before, has usually been admitted to be a public benefactor; for
he is a _producer_. So is he who combines or arranges these productions
in a useful manner,--I mean the mechanic, manufacturer, &c. He is
equally a public benefactor, too, who produces _mental_ or _moral_
wealth, as well as physical. In gaming, it is true, property is shifted
from one individual to another, and here and there one probably gains
more than he loses; but nothing is actually _made_, or _produced_. If
the whole human family were all skilful gamesters, and should play
constantly for a year, there would not be a dollar more in the world at
the end of the year, than there was at its commencement. On the
contrary, is it not obvious that there would be much _less_, besides
even an immense loss of time?[9]

But, secondly, gaming favors corruption of manners. It is difficult to
trace the progress of the gamester's mind, from the time he commences
his downward course, but we know too well the goal at which he is
destined to arrive. There may be exceptions, but not many; generally
speaking, every gamester, sooner or later travels the road to
perdition, and often adds to his own wo, by dragging others along with

Thirdly, it discourages industry. He who is accustomed to receive large
sums at once, which bear no sort of proportion to the labor by which
they are obtained, will gradually come to regard the moderate but
constant and certain rewards of industrious exertion as insipid. He is
also in danger of falling into the habit of paying an undue regard to
hazard or chance, and of becoming devoted to the doctrine of fatality.

As to the few who are skilful enough to gain more, on the whole, than
they lose, scarcely one of them pays any regard to prudence or economy
in his expenditures. What is thus lightly acquired, is lightly disposed
of. Or if, in one instance in a thousand, it happens otherwise, the
result is still unfavorable. It is but to make the miser still more a
miser, and the covetous only the more so. Man is so constituted as to
be unable to bear, with safety, a rapid accumulation of property. To
the truth of this, all history attests, whether ancient or modern,
sacred or profane.

The famous philosopher Locke, in his 'Thoughts on Education,' thus
observes: 'It is certain, gaming leaves no satisfaction behind it to
those who reflect when it is over; and it no way profits either body or
mind. As to their estates, if it strike so deep as to concern them, it
is a _trade_ then, and not a _recreation_, wherein few thrive; and at
best a thriving gamester has but a poor trade of it, who fills his
pockets at the price of his reputation.'

In regard to the _criminality_ of the practice, a late writer has the
following striking remarks.

'As to gaming, it is always _criminal_, either in itself or in its
tendency. The basis of it is covetousness; a desire to take from others
something for which you have neither given, nor intend to give an
equivalent. No gambler was ever yet a happy man, and few gamblers have
escaped being positively miserable. Remember, too, that to game for
_nothing_ is still _gaming_; and naturally leads to gaming for
_something_. It is sacrificing time, and that, too, for the worst of

'I have kept house for nearly forty years; I have reared a family; I
have entertained as many friends as most people; and I never had cards,
dice, a chess board, nor any implement of gaming under my roof. The
hours that young men spend in this way, are hours murdered; precious
hours that ought to be spent either in reading or in writing; or in
rest; preparatory to the duties of the dawn.

'Though I do not agree with those base flatterers who declare the army
to be _the best school for statesmen_, it is certainly a school in
which we learn, experimentally, many useful lessons; and in this school
I learned that men fond of gaming, are rarely, if ever, trust-worthy. I
have known many a decent man rejected in the way of promotion, only
because he was addicted to gaming. Men, in that state of life, cannot
_ruin_ themselves by gaming, for they possess no fortune, nor money;
but the taste for gaming is always regarded as an indication of a
radically bad disposition; and I can truly say that I never in my whole
life--and it has been a long and eventful one--knew a man fond of
gaming, who was not, in some way or other, unworthy of confidence. This
vice creeps on by very slow degrees, till, at last, it becomes an
ungovernable passion, swallowing up every good and kind feeling of the

For my own part I know not the _names_ of cards; and could never take
interest enough in card-playing to remember them. I have always
wondered how sober and intelligent people, who have consciences, and
believe the doctrine of accountability to God--how professing
Christians even, as is the case in some parts of this country, can sit
whole evenings at cards. Why, what notions have they of the value of
time? Can they conceive of Him, whose example we are bound to follow,
as engaged in this way? The thought should shock us! What a Herculean
task Christianity has yet to accomplish!

The excess of this vice has caused even the overthrow of empires. It
leads to conspiracies, and creates conspirators. Men overwhelmed with
debt, are always ready to obey the orders of any bold chieftain who may
attempt a decisive stroke, even against government itself. Catiline had
very soon under his command an army of scoundrels. 'Every man,' says
Sallust, 'who by his follies or losses at the gaming table had consumed
the inheritance of his fathers, and all who were sufferers by such
misery, were the friends of this perverse man.'

Perhaps this vice has nowhere been carried to greater excess than in
France. There it has its administration, its chief, its stockholders,
its officers, and its priests. It has its domestics, its pimps, its
spies, its informers, its assassins, its bullies, its aiders, its
abettors,--in fact, its scoundrels of every description; particularly
its hireling swindlers, who are paid for decoying the unwary into this
'hell upon earth,' so odious to morality, and so destructive to virtue
and Christianity.

In England, this vice has at all times been looked upon as one of
pernicious consequence to the commonwealth, and has, therefore, long
been prohibited. The money lost in this way, is even recoverable again
by law. Some of the laws on this subject were enacted as early as the
time of Queen Anne, and not a few of the penalties are very severe.
Every species of gambling is strictly forbidden in the British army,
and occasionally punished with great severity, by order of the
commander in chief. These facts show the state of public opinion in
that country, in regard to the evil tendency of this practice.

Men of immense wealth have, in some instances, entered gambling houses,
and in the short space of an hour have found themselves reduced to
absolute beggary. 'Such men often lose not only what their purses or
their bankers can supply, but houses, lands, equipage, jewels; in fine,
every thing of which they call themselves masters, even to their very
clothes; then perhaps a pistol terminates their mortal career.'

Fifteen hours a day are devoted by many infatuated persons in some
countries to this unhappy practice. In the middle of the day, while the
wife directs with prudence and economy the administration of her
husband's house, he abandons himself to become the prey of rapacious
midnight and _mid-day_ robbers. The result is, that he contracts debts,
is stripped of his property, and his wife and children are sent to the
alms-house, whilst he, perhaps, _perishes in a prison_.

My life has been chiefly spent in a situation where comparatively
little of this vice prevails. Yet, I have known one individual who
divided his time between hunting and gaming. About four days in the
week were regularly devoted to the latter practice. From breakfast to
dinner, from dinner to tea, from tea to nine o'clock, this was his
regular employment, and was pursued incessantly. The man was about
seventy years of age. He did not play for very large sums, it is true;
seldom more than five to twenty dollars; and it was his uniform
practice to retire precisely at nine o'clock, and without supper.

Generally, however, the night is more especially devoted to this
employment. I have occasionally been at public houses, or on board
vessels where a company was playing, and have known many hundreds of
dollars lost in a single night. In one instance, the most horrid
midnight oaths and blasphemy were indulged. Besides, there is an almost
direct connection between the gambling table and brothel; and the one
is seldom long unaccompanied by the other.

Scarcely less obvious and direct is the connection between this vice
and intemperance. If the drunkard is not always a gamester, the
gamester is almost without exception intemperate. There is for the most
part a union of the three--horrible as the alliance may be--I mean
gambling, intemperance, and debauchery.

There is even a species of intoxication attendant on gambling. _Rede_,
in speaking of one form of this vice which prevails in Europe, says;
'It is, in fact, a PROMPT MURDERER; irregular as all other games of
hazard--rapid as lightning in its movements--its strokes succeed each
other with an activity that redoubles the ardor of the player's blood,
and often deprives him of the advantage of reflection. In fact, a man
after half an hour's play, who for the whole night may not have taken
any thing stronger than water, has all the appearance of drunkenness.'
And who has not seen the flushed cheek and the red eye, produced simply
by the excitement of an ordinary gaming table?

It is an additional proof of the evil of gaming that every person
devoted to it, _feels_ it to be an evil. Why then does he not refrain?
Because he has sold himself a slave to the deadly habit, as effectually
as the drunkard to his cups.

Burgh, in his Dignity of Human Nature, sums up the evils of this
practice in a single paragraph:

'Gaming is an amusement wholly unworthy of rational beings, having
neither the pretence of exercising the body, of exerting ingenuity, or
of giving any natural pleasure, and owing its entertainment wholly to
an unnatural and vitiated taste;--the cause of infinite loss of time,
of enormous destruction of money, of irritating the passions, of
stirring up avarice, of innumerable sneaking tricks and frauds, of
encouraging idleness, of disgusting people against their proper
employments, and of sinking and debasing all that is truly great and
valuable in the mind.'

Let me warn you, then, my young readers,--nay, more, let me _urge_ you
never to enter this dreadful road. Shun it as you would the road to
destruction. Take not the first step,--the moment you do, all may be
lost. Say not that you can command yourselves, and can stop when you
approach the confines of danger. So thousands have thought as sincerely
as yourselves--and yet they fell. 'The probabilities that we shall fall
where so many have fallen,' says Dr. Dwight, 'are millions to one; and
the contrary opinion is only the dream of lunacy.'

When you are inclined to think yourselves safe, consider the multitudes
who once felt themselves equally so, have been corrupted, distressed,
and ruined by gaming, both for this world, and that which is to come.
Think how many families have been plunged by it in beggary, and
overwhelmed by it in vice. Think how many persons have become liars at
the gaming table; how many perjured; how many drunkards; how many
blasphemers; how many suicides. 'If Europe,' said Montesquieu, 'is to
be ruined, it will be ruined by gaming.' If the United States are to be
ruined, gaming in some of its forms will be a very efficient agent in
accomplishing the work.

Some of the most common games practised in this country, are cards,
dice, billiards, shooting matches, and last, though not _least_,
lotteries. Horse-racing and cockfighting are still in use in some parts
of the United States, though less so than formerly. In addition to the
general remarks already made, I now proceed to notice a few of the
particular forms of this vice.


The foregoing remarks will be applicable to each of these three modes
of gambling. But in regard to cards, there seems to be something
peculiarly enticing. It is on this account that youth are required to
be doubly cautious on this point. So bewitching were cards and dice
regarded in England, that penalties were laid on those who should be
found playing with them, as early as the reign of George II. Card
playing, however, still prevails in Europe, and to a considerable
extent in the United States. There is a very common impression abroad,
that the mere _playing_ at cards is in itself innocent: that the danger
consists in the tendency to excess; and against excess most people
imagine themselves sufficiently secure. But as 'the best throw at dice,
is to throw them away,' so the best move with cards would be, to commit
them to the flames.


This is a disgraceful practice, which was formerly in extensive use in
these States at particular seasons, especially on the day preceding the
annual Thanksgiving. I am sorry to say, that there are places where it
prevails, even now. Numbers who have nothing better to do, collect
together, near some tavern or grog-shop, for the sole purpose of trying
their skill at shooting fowls. Tied to a stake at a short distance, a
poor innocent and helpless fowl is set as a mark to furnish sport for
idle men and boys.

Could the creature be put out of its misery by the first discharge of
the musket, the evil would not appear so great. But this is seldom the
case. Several discharges are usually made, and between each, a running,
shouting and jumping of the company takes place, not unfrequently
mingled with oaths and curses.

The object of this infernal torture being at length despatched, and
suspended on the muzzle of the gun as a trophy of victory, a rush is
made to the bar or counter, and brandy and rum, accompanied by lewd
stories, and perhaps quarrelling and drunkenness, often close the

It rarely fails that a number of children are assembled on such
occasions, who listen with high glee to the conversation, whether in
the field or at the inn. If it be the grossest profaneness, or the
coarsest obscenity, they will sometimes pride themselves in imitating
it, thinking it to be manly; and in a like spirit will partake of the
glass, and thus commence the drunkard's career.--This practice is
conducted somewhat differently in different places, but not essentially

It is much to the credit of the citizens of many parts of New England
that their good sense will not, any longer, tolerate a practice so
brutal, and scarcely exceeded in this respect by the cockfights in
other parts of the country. As a substitute for this practice a circle
is drawn on a board or post, of a certain size, and he who can hit
within the circle, gains the fowl. This is still a species of _gaming_,
but is divested of much of the ferocity and brutality of the former.


It is only in particular sections of the United States that public
opinion tolerates these practices extensively. A horserace, in New
England, is a very rare occurrence. A cockfight, few among us have ever
witnessed. Wherever the cruel disposition to indulge in seeing animals
fight together is allowed, it is equally degrading to human nature with
that fondness which is manifested in other countries for witnessing a
bull fight. It is indeed the _same_ disposition, only existing in a
smaller degree in the former case than in the latter.

Montaigne thinks it a reflection upon human nature itself that few
people take delight in seeing beasts caress and play together, while
almost every one is pleased to see them lacerate and worry one another.

Should your lot be cast in a region where any of these inhuman
practices prevail, let it be your constant and firm endeavor, not
merely to keep aloof from them yourselves, but to prevail on all those
over whom God may have given you influence, to avoid them likewise. To
enable you to face the public opinion when a point of importance is at
stake, it will be useful to consult carefully the first chapter of this

I am sorry to have it in my power to state that in the year 1833 there
was a _bull fight_ four miles southward of Philadelphia. It was
attended by about 1500 persons; mostly of the very lowest classes from
the city. It was marked by many of the same evils which attend these
cruel sports in other countries, and by the same reckless disregard of
mercy towards the poor brutes who suffered in the conflict. It is to be
hoped, however, for the honor of human nature, that the good sense of
the community will not permit this detestable custom to prevail.

      [9] Every man who enjoys the privileges of civilized society,
      owes it to that society to earn as much as he can; or, in other
      words, improve every minute of his time. He who loses an hour,
      or a minute, is the price of that hour debtor to the community.
      Moreover, it is a debt which he can never repay.

SECTION II. _On Lotteries._

Lotteries are a species of gambling; differing from other kinds only in
being tolerated either by the law of the land, or by that of public
opinion. The proofs of this assertion are innumerable. Not only young
men, but even married women have, in some instances, become so addicted
to ticket buying, as to ruin themselves and their families.

From the fact that efforts have lately been made in several of the most
influential States in the Union to suppress them, it might seem
unnecessary, at first view, to mention this subject. But although the
letter of the law may oppose them, there is a portion of our citizens
who will continue to buy tickets clandestinely; and consequently
somebody will continue to sell them in the same manner. Penalties will
not suppress them at once. It will be many years before the evil can be
wholly eradicated. The flood does not cease at the moment when the
windows of heaven are closed, but continues, for some time, its
ravages. It is necessary, therefore, that the young should guard
themselves against the temptations which they hold out.

It may be said that important works, such as monuments, and churches,
have been completed by means of lotteries. I know it is so. But the
profits which arise from the sale of tickets are a tax upon the
community, and generally upon the poorer classes: or rather they are a
species of swindling. That good is sometimes done with these ill-gotten
gains, is admitted; but money procured in any other unlawful, immoral,
or criminal way, could be applied to build bridges, roads, churches,
&c. Would the advantages thus secured, however, justify an unlawful
means of securing them? Does the end sanctify the means?

It is said, too, that individuals, as well as associations, have been,
in a few instances, greatly aided by prizes in lotteries. Some
bankrupts have paid their debts, _like_ honest men, with them. This
they might do with stolen money. But cases of even this kind, are rare.
The far greater part of the money drawn in the form of prizes in
lotteries, only makes its possessor more avaricious, covetous, or
oppressive than before. Money obtained in this manner commonly ruins
mind, body, or estate; sometimes all three.

Lottery schemes have been issued in the single State of New York, in
twelve years, to the amount of $37,000,000. If other States have
engaged in the business, in the same proportion to their population,
the sum of all the schemes issued in the United States within that time
has been $240,000,000. A sum sufficient to maintain in comfort, if not
affluence, the entire population of some of the smaller States for more
than thirty years.

Now what has been gained by all this? It is indeed true, that the
discount on this sum, amounting to $36,000,000, has been expended in
paying a set of men for _one_ species of labor. If we suppose their
average salary to have been $500, no less than 6,000 clerks, managers,
&c., may have obtained by this means, a support during the last twelve
years. But what have the 6,000 men _produced_ all this while? Has not
their whole time been spent in receiving small sums (from five to fifty
dollars) from individuals, putting them together, as it were, in a
heap, and afterwards distributing a part of it in sums, with a few
exceptions, equally small?--Have they added one dollar, or even one
cent to the original stock? I have already admitted, that he who makes
two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, is a benefactor to
his country; but these men have not done so much as that.

A few draw prizes, it has been admitted. Some of that few make a good
use of them. But the vast majority are injured. They either become less
active and industrious, or more parsimonious and miserly; and not a few
become prodigals or bankrupts at once. In any of these events, they are
of course unfitted for the essential purposes of human existence. It is
not given to humanity to _bear_ a sudden acquisition of wealth. The
best of men are endangered by it. As in knowledge, so in the present
case, what is gained by hard digging is usually retained; and what is
gained easily usually goes quickly. There is this difference, however,
that the moral character is usually lost with the one, but not always
with the other.

These are a part of the evils connected with lotteries. To compute
their sum total would be impossible. The immense waste of money and
time (and time is money) by those persons who are in the habit of
buying tickets, to say nothing of the cigars smoked, the spirits, wine,
and ale drank, the suppers eaten, and the money lost at cards, while
lounging about lottery offices, although even this constitutes but a
_part_ of the waste, is absolutely incalculable. The suffering of
wives, and children, and parents, and brothers, and sisters, together
with that loss of health, and temper, and reputation, which is either
directly or indirectly connected, would swell the sum to an amount
sufficient to alarm every one, who intends to be an honest,
industrious, and respectable citizen.

It is yours, my young friends, to put a stop to this tremendous evil.
It is your duty, and it should be your pleasure, to give that _tone_ to
the public sentiment, without which, in governments like this, written
laws are powerless.

Do not say that the influence of _one person_ cannot effect much.
Remember that the power of example is almost omnipotent. In debating
whether you may not venture to buy one more ticket, remember that if
you do so, you adopt a course which, if taken by every other individual
in the United States (and who out of thirteen millions has not the same
_right_ as yourself?) would give abundant support to the whole lottery
system, with all its horrors. And could you in that case remain
guiltless? Can the fountains of such a sickly stream be pure? You would
not surely condemn the waters of a mighty river while you were one of a
company engaged in filling the springs and rills that unite to form it.
Remember that just in proportion as you contribute, by your example, to
discourage this species of gambling, just in the same proportion will
you contribute to stay the progress of a tremendous scourge, and to
enforce the execution of good and salutary laws.

With this pernicious practice, I have always been decidedly at war. I
believe the system to be wholly wrong, and that those who countenance
it, in any way whatever, are wholly inexcusable.

SECTION III. _On Theatres._

Much is said by the friends of theatres about what they _might_ be; and
not a few persons indulge the hope that the theatre may yet be made a
school of morality. But my business at present is with it _as it is_,
and as it has hitherto been. The reader will be more benefited by
existing _facts_ than sanguine anticipations, or visionary predictions.

A German medical writer calculates that one in 150 of those who
frequently attend theatres become diseased and die, from the impurity
of the atmosphere. The reason is, that respiration contaminates the
air; and where large assemblies are collected in close rooms, the air
is corrupted much more rapidly than many are aware. Lavoisier, the
French chemist, states, that in a theatre, from the commencement to the
end of the play, the oxygen or vital air is diminished in the
proportion of from 27 to 21, or nearly one fourth; and consequently is
in the same proportion less fit for respiration, than it was before.
This is probably the general truth; but the number of persons present,
and the amount of space, must determine, in a great measure, the
rapidity with which the air is corrupted. The pit is the most unhealthy
part of a play-house, because the carbonic acid which is formed by
respiration is heavier than atmospheric air, and accumulates near the

It is painful to look round on a gay audience of 1500 persons, and
consider that ten of this number will die in consequence of breathing
the bad air of the room so frequently, and so long. But I believe this
estimate is quite within bounds.

There are however other results to be dreaded. The practice of going
out of a heated, as well as an impure atmosphere late in the evening,
and often without sufficient clothing, exposes the individual to cold,
rheumatism, pleurisy, and fever. Many a young lady,--and, I fear, not a
few young gentlemen,--get the consumption by taking colds in this

Not only the health of the body, but the mind and morals, too, are
often injured. Dr. Griscom, of New York, in a report on the causes of
vice and crime in that city, made a few years since, says; 'Among the
causes of vicious excitement in our city, none appear to be so powerful
in their nature as theatrical amusements. The number of boys and young
men who have become determined thieves, in order to procure the means
of introduction to the theatres and circuses, would appal the feelings
of every virtuous mind, could the whole truth be laid open before them.

'In the case of the feebler sex, the result is still worse. A relish
for the amusements of the theatre, without the means of indulgence,
becomes too often a motive for listening to the first suggestion of the
seducer, and thus prepares the unfortunate captive of sensuality for
the haunts of infamy, and a total destitution of all that is valuable
in the mind and character of woman.'

The following fact is worthy of being considered by the friends and
patrons of theatres. During the progress of one of the most ferocious
revolutions which ever shocked the face of heaven, theatres, in Paris
alone, multiplied from six to twenty-five. Now one of two conclusions
follow from this: Either the spirit of the times produced the
institutions, or the institutions cherished the spirit of the times;
and this will certainly prove that they are either the parents of vice
or the offspring of it.

The philosopher Plato assures us, that 'plays raise the passions, and
prevent the use of them; and of course are dangerous to morality.'

'The seeing of _Comedies_,' says Aristotle, 'ought to be forbidden to
young people, till age and discipline have made them proof against

Tacitus says, 'The German women were guarded against danger, and
preserved their purity by having no play-houses among them.'

Even Ovid represents theatrical amusements as a grand source of
corruption, and he advised Augustus to suppress them.

The infidel philosopher Rousseau, declared himself to be of opinion,
that the theatre is, in all cases, a school of vice. Though he had
himself written for the stage, yet, when it was proposed to establish a
theatre in the city of Geneva, he wrote against the project with zeal
and great force, and expressed the opinion that every friend of pure
morals ought to oppose it.

Sir John Hawkins, in his life of Johnson, observes:--'Although it is
said of plays that they teach morality, and of the stage that it is the
mirror of human life, these assertions are mere declamation, and have
no foundation in truth or experience. On the contrary, a play-house,
and the regions about it, are the very hot-beds of vice.'

Archbishop Tillotson, after some pointed and forcible reasoning against
it, pronounces the play-house to be 'the devil's chapel,' 'a nursery of
licentiousness and vice,' and 'a recreation which ought not to be
allowed among a civilized, much less a Christian people.'

Bishop Collier solemnly declared, that he was persuaded that 'nothing
had done more to debauch the age in which he lived, than the stage
poets and the play-house.'

Sir Matthew Hale, having in early life experienced the pernicious
effects of attending the theatre, resolved, when he came to London,
never to see a play again, and to this resolution he adhered through

Burgh says; 'What does it avail that the piece itself be
unexceptionable, if it is to be interlarded with lewd songs or dances,
and tagged at the conclusion with a ludicrous and beastly farce? I
cannot therefore, in conscience, give youth any other advice than to
avoid such diversions as cannot be indulged without the utmost danger
of perverting their taste, and corrupting their morals.'

Dr. Johnson's testimony on this subject is nearly as pointed as that of
Archbishop Tillotson; and Lord Kaimes speaks with much emphasis of the
'poisonous influence,' of theatres.

Their evil tendency is seldom better illustrated than by the following
anecdote, from an individual in New York, on whose statements we may
place the fullest reliance.

'F. B. a young man of about twenty-two, called on the writer in the
fall of 1831 for employment. He was a journeyman printer; was recently
from Kentucky; and owing to his want of employment, as he said, was
entirely destitute, not only of the comforts, but the necessaries of
life. I immediately procured him a respectable boarding house, gave him
employment, and rendered his situation as comfortable as my limited
means would permit.

'He had not been with me long, before he expressed a desire to go to
the theatre. Some great actor was to perform on a certain night, and he
was very anxious to see him. I warned him of the consequences, and told
him, my own experience and observation had convinced me that it was a
very dangerous place for young men to visit. But my warning did no
good. He neglected his business, and went. I reproved him gently, but
retained him in my employment. He continued to go, notwithstanding all
my remonstrances to the contrary. At length my business suffered so
much from his neglecting to attend to it as he ought, that I was under
the necessity of discharging him in self-defence. He got temporary
employment in different offices of the city, where the same fault was
found with him. Immediately after, he accepted a situation of
bar-keeper in a porter house or tavern attached to the theatre. His
situation he did not hold long--from what cause, I know not.

'He again applied to me for work; but as his habits were not reformed,
I did not think it prudent to employ him, although I said or did
nothing to injure him in the estimation of others. Disappointed in
procuring employment in a business to which he had served a regular
apprenticeship, being pennyless, and seeing no bright prospect for the
future, he enlisted as a common soldier in the United States' service.

'He had not been in his new vocation long, before he was called upon,
with other troops, to defend our citizens from the attacks of the
Indians. But when the troops had nearly reached their place of
destination, that 'invisible scourge,' the cholera, made its appearance
among them. Desertion was the consequence, and among others who fled,
was the subject of this article.

'He returned to New York--made application at several different offices
for employment, without success. In a few days news came that he had
been detected in pilfering goods from the house of his landlord. A
warrant was immediately issued for him--he was seized, taken to the
police office--convicted, and sentenced to six months' hard labor in
the penitentiary. His name being published in the newspapers, in
connection with those of other convicts--was immediately recognised by
the officer under whom he had enlisted.--This officer proceeds to the
city--claims the prisoner--and it is at length agreed that he shall
return to the United States' service, where he shall, for the first six
months, be compelled to roll sand as a punishment for desertion, serve
out the five years for which he had enlisted, and then be given up to
the city authorities, to suffer for the crime of pilfering.

'It is thus that we see a young man, of good natural abilities,
scarcely twenty-three years of age, compelled to lose six of the most
valuable years of his life, besides ruining a fair reputation, and
bringing disgrace upon his parents and friends, from the apparently
harmless desire of seeing dramatic performances. Ought not this to be a
warning to others, who are travelling on, imperceptibly in the same
road to ruin?'

                     *      *      *      *      *

Theatres are of ancient date. One built of wood, in the time of Cicero
and Cæsar, would contain 80,000 persons. The first stone theatre in
Rome, was built by Pompey, and would contain 40,000. There are one or
two in Europe, at the present time, that will accommodate 4,000 or

In England, until 1660, public opinion did not permit _females_ to
perform in theatres, but the parts were performed by boys.

If theatres have a reforming tendency, this result might have been
expected in France, where they have so long been popular and
flourishing. In 1807, there were in France 166 theatres, and 3968
performers. In 1832 there were in Paris alone 17, which could
accommodate 21,000 persons. But we do not find that they reformed the
Parisians; and it is reasonable to expect they never will.

Let young men remember, that in this, as well as in many other things,
there is only one point of security, viz. total abstinence.

SECTION IV. _Use of Tobacco._


Smoking has every where, in Europe and America, become a tremendous
evil; and if we except Holland and Germany, nowhere more so than in
this country. Indeed we are already fast treading in the steps of those
countries, and the following vivid description of the miseries which
this filthy practice entails on the Germans will soon be quite
applicable to the people of the United States, unless we can induce the
rising generation to turn the current of public opinion against it.

'This plague, like the Egyptian plague of frogs, is felt every where,
and in every thing. It poisons the streets, the clubs, and the
coffee-houses;--furniture, clothes, equipage, persons, are redolent of
the abomination. It makes even the dulness of the newspapers doubly
narcotic: every eatable and drinkable, all that can be seen, felt,
heard or understood, is saturated with tobacco;--the very air we
breathe is but a conveyance for this poison into the lungs; and every
man, woman, and child, rapidly acquires the complexion of a boiled
chicken. From the hour of their waking, if nine-tenths of their
population can be said to awake at all, to the hour of their lying
down, the pipe is never out of their mouths. One mighty fumigation
reigns, and human nature is smoked dry by tens of thousands of square
miles. The German physiologists compute, that of 20 deaths, between
eighteen and thirty-five years, 10 originate in the waste of the
constitution by smoking.'

This is indeed a horrid picture; but when it is considered that the
best estimates which can be made concur in showing that tobacco, to the
amount of $16,000,000, is consumed in the United States annually, and
that by far the greater part of this is in smoking cigars, there is
certainly room for gloomy apprehensions. What though we do not use the
dirty pipe of the Dutch and Germans? If we only use the _tobacco_, the
mischief is effectually accomplished. Perhaps it were even better that
we should lay out a part of our money for pipes, than to spend the
whole for tobacco.

Smoking is indecent, filthy, and rude, and to many individuals highly
offensive. When first introduced into Europe, in the 16th century, its
use was prohibited under very severe penalties, which in some countries
amounted even to cutting off the nose. And how much better is the
practice of voluntarily burning up our noses, by making a chimney of
them? I am happy, however, in being able to state, that this
unpardonable practice is now abandoned in many of the fashionable
societies in Europe.

There is one remarkable fact to be observed in speaking on this
subject. No parent ever teaches his child the use of tobacco, or even
encourages it, except by his example. Thus the smoker virtually
condemns himself in the very 'thing which he alloweth.' It is not
precisely so in the case of spirits; for many parents directly
encourage the use of that.

Tobacco is one of the most powerful poisons in nature. Even the
physician, some of whose medicines are so active that a few grains, or
a few drops, will destroy life at once, finds tobacco too powerful for
his use; and in those cases where it is most clearly required, only
makes it a last resort. Its daily use, in any form, deranges, and
sometimes destroys the stomach and nerves, produces weakness, low
spirits, dyspepsy, vertigo, and many other complaints. These are its
more immediate effects.

Its remoter effects are scarcely less dreadful. It dries the mouth and
nostrils, and probably the brain; benumbs the senses of smell and
taste, impairs the hearing, and ultimately the eye-sight. Germany, a
_smoking_ nation, is at the same time, a _spectacled_ nation. More than
all this; it dries the blood; creates thirst and loss of appetite; and
in this and other ways, often lays the foundation of intemperance. In
fact, not a few persons are made drunkards by this very means. Dr. Rush
has a long chapter on this subject in one of his volumes, which is well
worth your attention. In addition to all this, it has often been
observed that in fevers and other diseases, medicines never operate
well in constitutions which have been accustomed to the use of tobacco.

Of the expense which the use of it involves, I have already spoken. Of
the $16,000,000 thus expended, $9,000,000 are supposed to be for
smoking Spanish cigars; $6,500,000 for smoking American tobacco, and
for chewing it; and $500,000 for snuff.

Although many people of real intelligence become addicted to this
practice, as is the case especially among the learned in Germany, yet
it cannot be denied that in general, those individuals and _nations_
whose mental powers are the weakest, are (in proportion to their means
of acquiring it) most enslaved to it. To be convinced of the truth of
this remark, we have only to open our eyes to facts as they exist
around us.

All ignorant and savage _nations_ indulge in extraordinary stimulants,
(and tobacco among the rest,) whenever they have the means of obtaining
them; and in proportion to their degradation. Thus it is with the
native tribes of North America; thus with the natives of Africa, Asia,
and New Holland; thus with the Cretins and Gypsies. Zimmerman says,
that the latter 'suspended their predatory excursions, and on an
appointed evening in every week, assemble to enjoy their guilty spoils
in the fumes of _strong waters_ and _tobacco_.' Here they are
represented as indulging in idle tales about the character and conduct
of those around them; a statement which can very easily be believed by
those who have watched the effects produced by the fumes of stimulating
beverages much more '_respectable_' than spirits or tobacco smoke.

The quantity which is used in civilized nations is almost incredibly
great. England alone imported, in 1829, 22,400,000 lbs. of
unmanufactured tobacco. There is no narcotic plant--not even the tea
plant--in such extensive use, unless it is the _betel_ of India and the
adjoining countries. _This_ is the leaf of a climbing plant resembling
ivy, but of the pepper tribe. The people of the east chew it so
incessantly, and in such quantities, that their lips become quite red,
and their teeth black--showing that it has affected their whole
systems. They carry it about them in boxes, and offer it to each other
in compliment, as the Europeans do snuff; and it is considered uncivil
and unkind to refuse to accept and chew it. This is done by the women
as well as by the men. Were we disposed, we might draw from this fact
many important lessons on our own favored stimulants.

In view of the great and growing evil of smoking, the practical
question arises; 'What shall be done?' The answer is--Render it
unfashionable and disreputable. Do you ask, '_How_ is this to be
accomplished?' Why, how has alcohol been rendered unpopular? Do you
still say, 'One person alone cannot effect much?' But so might any
person have said a few years ago, in regard to spirits. Individuals
must commence the work of reformation in the one case, as well as in
the other; and success will then be equally certain.


Many of the remarks already made apply with as much force to the use of
tobacco in every form, as to the mere habit of smoking. But I have a
few additional thoughts on chewing this plant.

There are never wanting excuses for any thing which we feel strongly
inclined to do. Thus a thousand little frivolous pleas are used for
chewing tobacco. One man of reputed good sense told me that his tobacco
probably cost him nothing, for if he did not use it, he 'should be apt
to spend as much worth of time in _picking and eating summer fruits_,
as would pay for it.' Now I do not like the practice of eating even
summer fruits between meals; but they are made to be eaten moderately,
no doubt; and if people will not eat them _with_ their food, it is
generally a less evil to eat them between meals, than not at all. But
the truth is, tobacco chewers never relish these things at any time.

The only plea for chewing this noxious plant, which is entitled to a
serious consideration is, that it tends to preserve the teeth. This is
the strong hold of tobacco chewers--not, generally, when they commence
the practice, but as soon as they find themselves slaves to it.

Now the truth appears to be this:

1. 'When a tooth is decayed in such a manner as to leave the nerve
exposed, there is no doubt that the powerful stimulus of tobacco must
greatly diminish its sensibility. But there are very many other
substances, less poisonous, whose occasional application would
accomplish the same result, and without deadening, at the same time,
the sensibilities of the whole system, as tobacco does.

2. The person who chews tobacco, generally puts a piece in his mouth
immediately after eating. This is immediately moved from place to
place, and not only performs, in some measure, the offices of a brush
and toothpick, but produces a sudden flow of saliva; and in consequence
of both of these causes combined, the teeth are effectually cleansed;
and cleanliness is undoubtedly one of the most effectual preventives of
decay in teeth yet known. Yet there are far better means of cleansing
the mouth and teeth after eating than by means of tobacco.

If there be any other known reasons why tobacco should preserve teeth,
I am ignorant of them. There are then no arguments of any weight for
using it; while there are a multitude of very strong reasons against
it. I might add them, in this place, but it appears to me unnecessary.


I have seen many individuals who would not, on any account whatever,
use spirits, or chew tobacco; but who would not hesitate to dry up
their nasal membranes, injure their speech, induce catarrhal
affections, and besmear their face, clothes, books, &c. with _snuff_.
This, however common, appears to me ridiculous. Almost all the serious
evils which result from smoking and chewing, follow the practice of
snuffing powdered tobacco into the nose. Even Chesterfield opposes it,
when after characterizing all use of tobacco or snuff, in any form, as
both vulgar and filthy, he adds: 'Besides, snuff-takers are generally
very dull and shallow people, and have recourse to it merely as a
fillip to the brain; by all means, therefore, avoid the filthy custom.'
This censure, though rather severe, is equally applicable to smoking
and chewing.

Naturalists say there is one species of maggot fly that mistakes the
odor of some kinds of snuff for that of putrid substances, and deposits
its eggs in it. In warm weather therefore, it must be dangerous to take
snuff which has been exposed to these insects; for the eggs sometimes
hatch in two hours, and the most tremendous consequences might follow.
And it is not impossible that some of the most painful diseases to
which the human race are liable, may have been occasionally produced by
this or a similar cause. The 'tic douloureux' is an example.

A very common disease in sheep is known to be produced by worms in
cavities which communicate with the nose. Only a little acquaintance
with the human structure would show that there are a number of cavities
in the bones of the face and head, some of which will hold half an
ounce each, which communicate with the nose, and into which substances
received into this organ occasionally fall, but cannot escape as easily
as they enter.

SECTION V. _Useful Recreations._

The young, I shall be told, must and will have their recreations; and
if they are to be denied every species of gaming, what shall they do?
'You would not, surely, have them spend their leisure hours in
gratifying the senses; in eating, drinking, and licentiousness.'

By no means. Recreations they must have; active recreation, too, in the
open air. Some of the most appropriate are playing ball, quoits,
ninepins, and other athletic exercises; but in no case for money, or
any similar consideration. _Skating_ is a good exercise in its proper
season, if followed with great caution. _Dancing_, for those who sit
much, such as pupils in school, tailors and shoemakers, would be an
appropriate exercise, if it were not perpetually abused. By assembling
in large crowds, continuing it late at evening, and then sallying out
in a perspiration, into the cold or damp night air, a thousand times
more mischief has been done, than all the benefit which it has afforded
would balance. It were greatly to be wished that this exercise might be
regulated by those rules which human experience has indicated, instead
of being subject to the whim and caprice of fashion. It is a great pity
an exercise so valuable to the sedentary, and especially those who
_sit_ much, of both sexes, should be so managed as to injure half the
world, and excite against it the prejudices of the other half.

I have said that the young must have recreations, and generally in the
open air. The reason why they should usually be conducted in the open
air, is, that their ordinary occupations too frequently confine them
within doors, and of course in an atmosphere more or less vitiated.
Farmers, gardeners, rope makers, and persons whose occupations are of
an active nature, do not need out-of-door sports at all. Their
recreations should be by the fire side. Not with cards or dice, nor in
the company of those whose company is not worth having. But the book,
the newspaper, conversation, or the lyceum, will be the appropriate
recreations for these classes, and will be found in the highest degree
satisfactory. For the evening, the lyceum is particularly adapted,
because laboring young men are often too much fatigued at night, to
think, closely; and the lyceum, or conversation, will be more
agreeable, and not less useful. But the family circle may of itself
constitute a lyceum, and the book or the newspaper may be made the
subject of discussion. I have known the heads of families in one
neighborhood greatly improved, and the whole neighborhood derive an
impulse, from the practice of meeting one evening in the week, to read
the news together, and converse on the more interesting intelligence of
the day.

Some strongly recommend 'the sports of the field,' and talk with
enthusiasm of 'hunting, coursing, fishing;' and of 'dogs and horses.'
But these are no recreations for me. True they are _healthy_ to the
body; but not to the morals. This I say confidently, although some of
my readers may smile, and call it an affectation of sensibility. Yet
with Cowper,

    'I would not enter on my list of friends
    The man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.'

If the leading objects of field sports were to procure sustenance, I
would not say a word. But the very term _sports_, implies something
different. And shall we sport with _life_--even that of the inferior
animals? That which we cannot give, shall we presumptuously dare to
take away, and as our only apology say, 'Am I not in sport?'

Besides, other amusements equally healthy, and if we are accustomed to
them, equally pleasant, and much more rational, can be substituted.
What they are, I have mentioned, at least in part. How a sensible man,
and especially a Christian, can hunt or fish, when he would not do it,
were it not for the pleasure he enjoys in the cruelty it
involves;--how, above all, a wise father can recommend it to his
children, or to others, I am utterly unable to conceive!


Improvement of the Mind.

SECTION I. _Habit of Observation._

'Your eyes open, your thoughts close, will go safe through the world,'
is a maxim which some have laid down; but it savors rather too much of
selfishness. 'You may learn from others all you can, but you are to
give them as little opportunity as possible for learning from you,'
seems to be the language, properly interpreted. Suppose every one took
the advice, and endeavored to keep his thoughts close, for fear he
should either be misunderstood, or thought wanting in wisdom; what
would become of the pleasures of conversation? Yet these make up a very
considerable item of the happiness of human life.

I have sometimes thought with Dr. Rush, that taciturnity, though often
regarded as a mark of wisdom, is rather the effect of a 'want of
ideas.' The doctor mentions the taciturnity of the American Indians as
a case in point. Even in civilized company, he believes that with one
or two exceptions, an indisposition to join in conversation 'in nine
cases out of ten, is a mark of stupidity,' and presently adds; 'Ideas,
whether acquired from books or by reflection, produce a _plethora_ in
the mind, which can only be relieved by depletion from the pen or

'Keep your eyes open,' however, is judicious advice. How many who have
the eyes of their body open, keep the eyes of the soul perpetually shut
up. 'Seeing, they see not.' Such persons, on arriving at the age of
three or four score, _may_ lay claim to superior wisdom on account of
superior age, but their claims ought not to be admitted. A person who
has the eyes both of his mind and body open, will derive more wisdom
from one year's experience, than those who neglect to observe for
themselves, from ten. Thus at thirty, with ten years acquaintance with
men, manners and things, a person _may_ be wiser than another at three
times thirty, with seven times ten years of what he calls experience.
Sound practical wisdom, cannot, it is true, be rapidly acquired any
where but in the school of experience, but the world abounds with men
who are old enough to be wise, and yet are very ignorant. Let it be
your fixed resolution not to belong to this class.

But in order to have the mental eyes open, the external eyes should be
active. We should, as a general rule, see what is going on around us.
There are indeed seasons, occurring in the school or the closet, when
abstraction is desirable; but speaking generally, we should 'keep our
eyes open.'

It is hence easy to see why some men who are accounted learned, are yet
in common life very great fools. Is it not because their eyes have been
shut to every thing but books, and schools, and colleges, and

The late Dr. Dwight was an eminent instance of keeping up an
acquaintance both with books, and the world in which he lived and
acted. In his walks, or wherever he happened to be, nothing could
escape his eye. 'Not a bird could fly up,' says one of his students,
'but he observed it.' And he endeavored to establish the same habit of
observation in others. Riding in a chaise, one day, with a student of
his, who was apt to be abstracted from surrounding things, he suddenly
exclaimed, almost indignant at his indifference, 'S---- keep your eyes
open!' The lesson was not lost. It made a deep impression on the mind
of the student. Though by no means distinguished in his class, he has
outstripped many, if not the most of them, in actual and practical
usefulness; and to this hour, he attributes much of his success to the
foregoing circumstance.

There is a pedantry in these things, however, which is not only
fulsome, but tends to defeat our very purpose. It is not quite
sufficient that we merely bestow a passing glance on objects, they must
strike deep. If they do not, they had better not have been seen at all;
since the habit of 'seeing not,' while we appear to 'see,' has been all
the while strengthening.

It cannot be denied that a person who shall take the advice I have
given, may, with a portion of his fellow men, gain less credit than if
he adopted a different course. There is a certain surgeon, in one of
the New England States, who has acquired much popularity by reading as
he travels along. Seldom or never, say his admirers, is he seen in his
carriage without a book in his hand, or at his side. But such
popularity is usually of a mushroom character. There may be pressing
occasions which render it the _duty_ of a surgeon to consult his books,
while in his carriage; but these occasions can never be of frequent
occurrence. It is far better that he should be reading lessons from the
great and open volume of nature.

Nor does it add, in any degree, to the just respect due to the wisdom
of either of the Plinys, that the elder 'never travelled without a book
and a portable writing desk by his side,' and that the younger read
upon all occasions, whether riding, walking, or sitting.' I cannot
doubt that, wise as they were in books and philosophy, they would have
secured a much greater fund of practical wisdom, had they left their
books and writing desks at home, and 'kept their eyes open' to
surrounding objects.

There is another thing mentioned of Pliny the elder, which is equally
objectionable. It is said that a person read to him during his meals. I
have given my views on this point in Chapter I.

SECTION II. _Rules for Conversation._

The bee has the art of extracting honey from every flower which
contains it, even from some which are not a little nauseous or
poisonous. It has also been said that the conversation of every
individual, whatever may be the condition of his mind or circumstances,
may be made a means of improvement. How happy would it be, then, if man
possessed the skill of the bee, and knew how to extract the good, and
reject the bad or useless!

Something on this subject is, indeed, known. There are rules, by the
observance of which we may derive much valuable information from the
conversation of those among whom we live, even though it should relate
to the most ordinary subjects and concerns. And not only so, we may
often devise means to _change_ the conversation, either directly, by
gradually introducing other topics of discourse, or indirectly, by
patient attempts to enlarge and improve and elevate the minds of our

Every individual has excellences; and almost every person, however
ignorant, has thought upon some one subject more than many,--perhaps
_most_--others. Some excel in the knowledge of husbandry, some in
gardening, some in mechanics, or manufactures, some in mathematics, and
so on. In all your conversation, then, it will be well to ascertain as
nearly as you can wherein the skill and excellence of an individual
lies, and put him upon his favorite subject. Nor is this difficult.
Every one _will_, of his own accord, fall to talking on his favorite
topic, if you will follow, and not attempt to _lead_ him.

Except in a few rare cases, every one wishes to be the hero of the
circle where he is conversing. If, therefore, you seek to improve in
the greatest possible degree, from the conversation of those among whom
you may be thrown, you will suffer a companion to take his own course,
and 'out of the abundance of his heart,' let his 'mouth speak.' By this
means you may easily collect the worth and excellence of every one you
meet with; and be able to put it together for your own use upon future

The common objections to the views here presented, are, that they
encourage dissimulation. But this does not appear to me to be the fact.
In suffering a person, for the space of a single conversation, to be
the hero of the circle, we do not of necessity concede his superiority
generally; we only help him to be useful to the company. It often
happens that you are thrown among persons whom you cannot benefit by
becoming the hero of the circle yourself, for they will not listen to
you; and perhaps will not understand your terms, if they do. If,
however, there appear to be others in the company whose object, like
your own, is improvement, you might expose yourself to the just charge
of being selfish, should you refuse to converse upon your own favorite
topics in your turn; and thus to let the good deed go round.

Never interrupt another, but hear him out. You will understand him the
better for it, and be able to give him the better answer. If you only
give him an opportunity, he may say something which you have not yet
heard, or explain what you did not fully understand, or even mention
something which you did not expect.

There are individuals with whom you may occasionally come in contact,
from whose conversation you will hardly derive much benefit at all.
Such are those who use wanton, or obscene, or profane language. For,
besides the almost utter hopelessness of deriving any benefit from such
persons, and the pain you must inevitably suffer in hearing them, you
put your own reputation at hazard. 'A man is known by the company he
keeps;' take care therefore how you frequent the company of the swearer
or the sensualist. Avoid, too, the known liar, for similar reasons.

If you speak in company, it is not only modest but wise to speak late;
for by this means, you will be able to render your conversation more
acceptable, and to weigh beforehand the importance of what you utter;
and you will be less likely to violate the good old rule, 'think twice
before you speak once.' Let your words be as few as will express the
sense which you wish to convey, especially when strangers or men of
much greater experience than yourself are present; and above all, be
careful that what you say be strictly _true_.

Do not suffer your feelings to betray you into too great earnestness,
or vehemence; and never be overbearing. Avoid triumphing over an
antagonist, even though you might reasonably do so. You gain nothing.
On the contrary, you often confirm him in his erroneous opinions. At
least, you prejudice him against yourself. Zimmerman insists that we
should suffer an antagonist to get the victory over us occasionally, in
order to raise his respect for himself. All _finesse_ of this kind,
however, as Christians, I think it better to avoid.

SECTION III. _On Books, and Study._

It may excite some surprise that books, and study, do not occupy a more
conspicuous place in this work. There are several reasons for this
circumstance. The first is, a wish to counteract the prevailing
tendency to make too much of books as a means of forming character. The
second is, because the choice of these depends more upon parents and
teachers than upon the individual himself; and if _they_ have neglected
to lay the foundation of a desire for mental improvement, there is less
probability that any advice I may give on this subject will be
serviceable, than on most others.

And yet, no young man, at any age, ought to despair of establishing
such habits of body and mind as he believes would contribute to his
usefulness. He hates the sight of a book perhaps; but what then? This
prejudice may, in a measure, be removed. Not at once, it is true, but
gradually. Not by compelling himself to read or study against his
inclination; for little will be accomplished when it goes 'against the
grain.' But there are means better and more effective than these; some
of which I will now proceed to point out.

Let him attach himself to some respectable lyceum or debating society.
Most young men are willing to attend a lyceum, occasionally; and thanks
to the spirit of the times and those who have zealously labored to
produce the present state of things, these institutions every where
abound. Let him now and then take part in a discussion, if it be, at
first, only to say a few words. The moment he can awaken an interest in
almost any subject whatever, that moment he will, of necessity, seek
for information in regard to it. He will seek it, not only in
conversation, but in newspapers. These, if well selected, will in their
turn refer him to books of travels. Gradually he will find histories,
if not written in too dry a manner, sources of delight. Thus he will
proceed, step by step, till he finds himself quite attached to reading
of various descriptions.

There is one caution to be observed here, which is, not to read too
long or too much at once. Whenever a book, or even a newspaper, begins
to be irksome, let it be laid aside for the time. In this way you will
return to it, at the next leisure moment, with increased pleasure.

A course not unlike that which I have been describing, faithfully and
perseveringly followed, would in nine cases in ten, be successful.
Indeed, I never yet knew of a single failure. One great point is, to be
thoroughly convinced of its importance. No young man can reasonably
expect success, unless he enters upon his work with his whole heart,
and pursues it with untiring assiduity.

Of the _necessity_ of improvement, very few young men seem to have
doubts. But there is a difficulty which many feel, which it will
require no little effort to remove, because it is one of long standing,
and wrought into all the arrangements of civilized society. I allude to
the prevailing impression that very little can be done to improve the
mind beyond a certain age, and the limit is often fixed at eighteen or
twenty years. We hear it, indeed, asserted, that nothing can be done
after thirty; but the general belief is that most men cannot do much
after twenty: or at least that it will cost much harder effort and

Now, I would be the last to encourage any young person in wasting, or
even undervaluing his early years; for youth is a golden period, and
every moment well spent will be to the future what good seed, well
planted in its season, is to the husbandman.

The truth is, that what we commonly call a course of education, is only
a course which prepares a young man to educate himself. It is giving
him the keys of knowledge. But who will sit down contentedly and cease
to make effort, the moment he obtains the keys to the most valuable of
treasures? It is strange, indeed, that we should so long have talked of
finishing an education, when we have only just prepared ourselves to
begin it.

If any young man at twenty, twenty-five, or thirty, finds himself
ignorant, whether the fault is his own or that of others, let him not
for one single moment regard his age as presenting a serious obstacle
to improvement. Should these remarks meet the eye of any such
individual, let me prevail with him, when I urge him to make an effort.
Not a momentary effort, either; let him _take time_ for his experiment.
Even Rome was not built in a day; and he who thinks to build up a well
regulated and highly enlightened mind in a few weeks, or even months,
has yet to learn the depths of his own ignorance.

It would be easy to cite a long list of men who commenced study late in
life, and yet finally became eminent; and this, too, with no
instructors but themselves and their books. Some have met with signal
success, who commenced after forty years of age. Indeed, no reason can
be shown, why the mind may not improve as long, at least, as the body.
But all experience goes to prove that with those whose habits are
judicious, the physical frame does not attain perfection, in every
respect, till thirty-five or forty.

It is indeed said that knowledge, if it could be acquired thus late in
life, would be easily forgotten. This is true, if it be that kind of
knowledge for which we have no immediate use. But if it be of a
practical character, it will not fail to be remembered. Franklin was
always learning, till death. And what he learned he seldom forgot,
because he had an immediate use for it. I have said, it is a great
point to be convinced of the importance of knowledge. I might add that
it is a point of still greater consequence to feel our own ignorance.
'To know ourselves diseased, (morally) is half our cure.' To know our
own ignorance is the first step to knowledge; and other things being
alike, our progress in knowledge will generally be in proportion to our
sense of the want of it.

The strongest plea which indolence is apt to put in, is, that we have
no _time_ for study. Many a young man has had some sense of his own
ignorance, and a corresponding thirst for knowledge, but alas! the idea
was entertained that he had no time to read--no time to study--no time
to think. And resting on this plea as satisfactory, he has gone down to
the grave the victim not only of indolence and ignorance, but perhaps
of vice;--vice, too, which he might have escaped with a little more
general intelligence.

No greater mistake exists than that which so often haunts the human
mind, that we cannot find _time_ for things; things, too, which we have
previously decided for ourselves that we ought to do. Alfred, king of
England, though he performed more business than almost any of his
subjects, found time for study. Franklin, in the midst of all his
labors, found time to dive into the depths of philosophy, and explore
an untrodden path of science. Frederick the Great, with an empire at
his direction, in the midst of war, and on the eve of battles, found
time to revel in all the charms of philosophy, and to feast himself on
the rich viands of intellect. Bonaparte, with Europe at his disposal,
with kings at his ante-chamber begging for vacant thrones, and at the
head of thousands of men whose destinies were suspended on his
arbitrary pleasure, had time to converse with books. Cæsar, when he had
curbed the spirits of the Roman people, and was thronged with visitors
from the remotest kingdoms, found time for intellectual cultivation.
The late Dr. Rush, and the still later Dr. Dwight, are eminent
instances of what may be done for the cultivation of the mind, in the
midst of the greatest pressure of other occupation.

On this point, it may be useful to mention the results of my own
observation. At no period of my life am I conscious of having made
greater progress than I have sometimes done while laboring in the
summer; and almost incessantly too. It is true, I read but little; yet
that little was well understood and thoroughly digested. Almost all the
knowledge I possess of ancient history was obtained in this way, in one
year. Of course, a particular knowledge could not be expected, under
such circumstances; but the general impressions and leading facts which
were imbibed, will be of very great value to me, as I trust, through
life. And I am acquainted with one or two similar instances.

It is true that mechanics and manufacturers, as well as men of most
other occupations, find fewer leisure hours than most farmers. The
latter class of people are certainly more favorably situated than any
other. But it is also true that even the former, almost without
exception, can command a small portion of their time every day, for the
purposes of mental improvement, if they are determined on it. Few
individuals can be found in the community, who have not as much leisure
as I had during the summer I have mentioned. The great point is to have
the necessary disposition to improve it; and a second point, of no
small importance, is to have at hand, proper means of instruction. Of
the latter I shall speak presently.

The reason why laboring men make such rapid progress in knowledge, in
proportion to the number of hours they devote to study, appears to me
obvious. The mental appetite is keen, and they devour with a relish.
What little they read and understand, is thought over, and perhaps
conversed upon, during the long interval; and becomes truly the
property of the reader. Whereas those who make study a business, never
possess a healthy appetite for knowledge; they are always cloyed,
nothing is well digested; and the result of their continued effort is
either a superficial or a distorted view of a great many things,
without a thorough or practical understanding of any.

I do not propose, in a work of this kind, to recommend to young men
what particular books on any subject they ought to study. First,
because it is a matter of less importance than many others, and I
cannot find room to treat of every thing.

He who has the determination to make progress, will do so, either with
or without books, though these are certainly useful. But an old piece
of newspaper, or a straggling leaf from some book, or an inscription on
a monument, or the monument itself--and works of nature as well as of
art, will be books to him. Secondly, because there is such an extensive
range for selection. But, thirdly, because it may often be left to the
reader's own taste and discretion. He will probably soon discover
whether he is deriving solid or permanent benefit from his studies, and
govern himself accordingly. Or if he have a friend at hand, who will be
likely to make a judicious selection, with a proper reference to his
actual progress and wants, he would do wrong not to avail himself of
that friend's opinion.

I will now mention a _few_ of the particular studies to which he who
would educate himself for usefulness should direct his attention.


As it is presumed that every one whom I address reads newspapers more
or less, I must be permitted to recommend that you read them with good
maps of every quarter of the world before you, and a geography and
correct gazetteer at hand. When a place is mentioned, observe its
situation on the map, read an account of it in the gazetteer, and a
more particular description in the geography. Or if you choose to go
through with the article, and get some general notions of the subject,
and afterwards go back and read it a second time, in the manner
proposed, to this I have no objection.

Let me insist, strongly, on the importance of this method of reading.
It may seem slow at first; but believe me, you will be richly repaid in
the end. Even in the lyceum, where the subject seems to demand it, and
the nature of the case will admit, it ought to be required of lecturers
and disputants, to explain every thing in passing, either by reference
to books themselves on the spot, or by maps, apparatus, diagrams, &c;
with which, it is plain, that every lyceum ought to be furnished. The
more intelligent would lose nothing, while the less so, would gain
much, by this practice. The expense of these things, at the present
time, is so trifling, that no person, or association of persons, whose
object is scientific improvement, should, by any means, dispense with

No science expands the mind of a young man more, at the same time that
it secures his cheerful attention, than geography--I mean if pursued in
the foregoing manner. Its use is so obvious that the most stupid cannot
fail to see it. Much is said, I know, of differences of taste on this,
as well as every other subject; but I can hardly believe that any young
person can be entirely without taste for geographical knowledge. It is
next to actual travels; and who does not delight in seeing new places
and new objects?


Next in order as regards both interest and importance, will be a
knowledge of history, with some attention at the same time to
chronology. Here, too, the starting point will be the same as in the
former case. Some circumstance or event mentioned at the lyceum, or in
the newspaper, will excite curiosity, and lead the way to inquiry. I
think it well, however, to have but one leading science in view at a
time; that is, if geography be the object, let history and almost every
thing else be laid aside for that time, in order to secure, and hold
fast the geographical information which is needed. After a few weeks or
months, should he wish to pursue history, let the student, for some
time confine himself chiefly, perhaps exclusively, to that branch.

The _natural_ order of commencing and pursuing this branch without an
instructor, and I think in schools also, is the following. For example,
you take up a book, or it may be a newspaper, since these are swarming
every where at the present time, and read that a person has just
deceased, who was at _Yorktown_, in Virginia, during the whole _siege_,
in the American _revolution_. I am supposing here that you have already
learned where Yorktown is; for geography, to some extent at least,
should precede history; but if not, I would let it pass for the moment,
since we cannot do every thing at once, and proceed to inquire about
the siege, and revolution. If you have any books whatever, on history,
within your reach, do not give up the pursuit till you have attained a
measure of success. Find out, _when_ the _siege_ in question
_happened_, by _whom_, and by _how many thousand troops_ it was carried
on; and _who_ and _how many_ the besieged were.

He who follows out this plan, will soon find his mind reaching beyond
the mere events alluded to in the newspaper, both forward and backward.
As in the example already mentioned, for I cannot think of a
better;--What were the consequences of this siege?--Did it help to
bring about peace, and how soon?--And did the two nations ever engage
in war afterward?--If so, how soon, and with what results? What became
of the French troops and of the good La Fayette? This would lead to the
study of French history for the last forty years. On the other hand,
Where had Washington and La Fayette and Cornwallis been employed,
previous to the siege of Yorktown? What battles had they fought, and
with what success? What led to the quarrel between Great Britain and
the United States? &c. Thus we should naturally go backward, step by
step, until we should get much of modern history clustered round this
single event of the siege of Yorktown. The same course should be
pursued in the case of any other event, either ancient or modern. If
newspapers are not thus read, they dissipate the mind, and probably do
about as much harm as good.

It is deemed disgraceful--and ought to be--for any young man at this
day to be ignorant of the geography and history of the country in which
he lives. And yet it is no uncommon occurrence. However it argues much
against the excellence of our systems of education, that almost every
child should be carried apparently through a wide range of science, and
over the whole material universe, and yet know nothing, or next to
nothing, practically, of his own country.


No young man is excusable who is destitute of a knowledge of
Arithmetic. It is probable, however, that no individual will read this
book, who has not some knowledge of the fundamental branches;
numeration, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But
with these, every person has the key to a thorough acquaintance with
the whole subject, so far as his situation in life requires. To avail
himself of these keys to mathematical knowledge, he must pursue a
course not unlike that which I have recommended in relation to
geography and history. He must seize on every circumstance which occurs
in his reading, where reckoning is required, and if possible, stop at
once and compute it. Or if not, let the place be marked, and at the
first leisure moment, let him turn to it, and make the estimates.

Suppose he reads of a shipwreck. The crew is said to consist of thirty
men besides the captain and mate, with three hundred and thirteen
passengers, and a company of sixty grenadiers. The captain and mate,
and ten of the crew escaped in the long boat. The rest were drowned,
except twelve of the grenadiers, who clung to a floating fragment of
the wreck till they were taken off by another vessel. Now is there a
single person in existence, who would read such an account, without
being anxious to know how many persons in the whole were lost? Yet nine
readers in ten would _not_ know; and why? Simply because they will not
stop to use what little addition and subtraction they possess.

I do not say that, in reading to a company, who did not expect it, a
young man would be required to stop and make the computation; but I do
say that in all ordinary cases, no person is excusable who omits it,
for it is a flagrant wrong to his own mind. Long practice, it is true,
will render it unnecessary for an individual to _pause_, in order to
estimate a sum like that abovementioned. Many, indeed most persons who
are familiar with figures, might compute these numbers while reading,
and without the slightest pause; but it certainly requires some
practice. And the most important use of arithmetical studies (except as
a discipline to the mind) is to enable us to reckon without slates and
pencils. He has but a miserable knowledge of arithmetic, who is no
arithmetician without a pen or pencil in his hand. These are but the
ladders upon which he should ascend to the science, and not the science


If I were to name one branch, as more important to a young man than any
other,--next to the merest elements of reading and writing--it would be
chemistry. Not a mere smattering of it, however; for this usually does
about as much harm as good. But a thorough knowledge of a few of the
simple elements of bodies, and some of their most interesting
combinations, such as are witnessed every day of our lives, but which,
for want of a little knowledge of chemistry, are never understood,
would do more to interest a young man in the business in which he may
be employed, than almost any thing I could name. For there is hardly a
single trade or occupation whatever, that does not embrace a greater or
less number of chemical processes. Chemistry is of very high importance
even to the gardener and the farmer.

There are several other branches which come under the general head of
NATURAL SCIENCE, which I recommend to your attention. Such are BOTANY,
or a knowledge of plants; NATURAL HISTORY, or a knowledge of animals;
and GEOLOGY, or a general knowledge of the rocks and stones of which
the earth on which we live is composed. I do not think these are
equally important with the knowledge of chemistry, but they are highly
interesting, and by no means without their value.


The foundation of a knowledge of Grammar is, in my view, Composition;
and composition, whether learned early or late, is best acquired by
_letter writing_. This habit, early commenced, and judiciously but
perseveringly followed, will in time, ensure the art not only of
composing well, but also grammatically. I know this position is
sometimes doubted, but the testimony is so strong, that the point seems
to me fully established.

It is related in Ramsay's Life of Washington, that many individuals,
who, before the war of the American Revolution, could scarcely write
their names, became, in the progress of that war, able to compose
letters which were not only intelligible and correct, but which would
have done credit to a profound grammarian. The reason of this
undoubtedly was, that they were thrown into situations where they were
obliged to write much and often, and in such a manner as to be clearly
understood. Perhaps the misinterpretation of a single doubtful word or
sentence might have been the ruin of an army, or even of the _cause_.
Thus they had a motive to write accurately; and long practice, with a
powerful motive before them, rendered them successful.

Nor is it necessary that motives so powerful should always exist, in
order to produce this result;--it is sufficient that there be a motive
to _write well_, and to _persevere_ in writing well. I have known
several pedlars and traders, whose business led to the same


But what I have seen most successful, is, the practice of common
_letter writing_, from friend to friend, on any topic which happened to
occur, either ordinary, or extraordinary; with the mutual understanding
and desire that each should criticise freely on the other's
composition. I have known more than one individual, who became a good
writer from this practice, with little aid from grammatical rules; and
without any direct instruction at all.

These remarks are not made to lessen the value which any young man may
have put upon the studies of grammar and composition, as pursued in our
schools; but rather to show that a course at school is not absolutely
indispensable; and to encourage those who are never likely to enjoy the
latter means, to make use of means not yet out of their reach, and
which have often been successful. But lest there should be an apparent
contradiction in some of my remarks, it will be necessary to say that I
think the practice of familiar letter writing from our earliest years,
even at school, should, in every instance, have a much more prominent
place than is usually assigned it; and the study of books on Grammar
and Composition one much _less_ prominent.


For mere READING, well selected _Voyages_ and _Travels_ are among the
best works for young men; particularly for those who find little taste
for reading, and wish to enkindle it; and whose geographical knowledge
is deficient.

Well written BIOGRAPHY is next in importance, and usually so in
interest; and so improving to the character is this species of
composition, that it really ought to be regarded as a separate branch
of education, as much as history or geography; and treated accordingly.
In the selection of both these species of writing the aid of an
intelligent, experienced and judicious friend would be of very great
service; and happy is he who has such a treasure at hand.


As to NOVELS it is difficult to say what advice ought to be given. At
first view they seem unnecessary, wholly so; and from this single
consideration. They interest and improve just in proportion as the
fiction they contain is made to resemble reality; and hence it might be
inferred, and naturally enough, too, that reality would in all cases be
preferable to that which imitates it. But to this it may be replied,
that we have few books of narrative and biography, which are written
with so much spirit as some works of fiction; and that until those
departments are better filled, fiction, properly selected, should be
admissible. But if fiction be allowable at all, it is only under the
guidance of age and experience;--and here there is even a more pressing
need of a friend than in the cases already mentioned.

On the whole, it is believed to be better for young men who have little
leisure for reading, and who wish to make the most they can of that
little, to abandon novels wholly. If they begin to read them, it is
difficult to tell to what an excess they may go; but if they never read
one in their whole lives, they will sustain no great loss. Would not
the careful study of a single chapter of Watts's Improvement of the
Mind, be of more real practical value than the perusal of all that the
best novel writers,--Walter Scott not excepted,--have ever written?


Among other means both of mental and moral improvement at the present
day, are periodical publications. The multiplicity and cheapness of
these sources of knowledge renders them accessible to all classes of
the community. And though their influence were to be as evil as the
frogs of Egypt we could not escape it.

Doubtless they produce much evil, though their tendency on the whole is
believed to be salutary. But wisdom is necessary, in order to derive
the greatest amount of benefit from them; and here, perhaps, more than
any where else, do the young need the counsels of experience. I am not
about to direct what particular newspapers and magazines they ought to
read; this is a point which their friends and relatives must assist
them in determining. My purpose is simply to point to a few principles
which should guide both the young and those who advise them, in making
the selection.

1. In the first place, do not seek for your guide a paper which is just
commencing its existence, unless you have reason to think the character
of its conductors is such as you approve.

2. Avoid, unless your particular occupation requires it, a _business_
paper. Otherwise your head will become so full of 'arrivals' and
'departures,' and 'prices current,' and 'news,' that you will hardly
find room for any thing else.

3. Do not take a paper which dwells on nothing but the details of human
depravity. It will indeed, for a time, call forth a sensibility to the
woes of mankind; but the final result will probably be a stupidity and
insensibility to human suffering which you would give much to remove.

4. Avoid those papers which, awed by the cry for _short_ and _light_
articles, have rendered their pages mere columns of insulated facts or
useless scraps, or what is still worse, of unnatural and sickening love

Lastly, do not take a paper which sneers at religion. It is quite
enough that many periodicals do, in effect, take a course which tends
to irreligion, by leaving this great subject wholly out of sight. But
when they openly sneer at and ridicule the most sacred things, leave
them at once. 'Evil communications corrupt' the best 'manners;' and
though the sentiment may not at once be received, I can assure my
youthful readers that there are no publications which have more direct
effect upon their lives, than these unpretending companions; and
perhaps the very reason is because we least suspect them. Against
receiving deep or permanent impressions from the Bible, the sermon, or
the _book_ of any kind, we are on our watch, but who thinks of having
his principles contaminated, or affected much in any way, merely by the
newspaper? Yet I am greatly mistaken, if these very monitors do not
have more influence, after all, in forming the minds, the manners, and
the morals (shall I add, the _religious character_, even?) of the
rising generation, than all the other means which I have mentioned, put

How important, in this view, it becomes, that your newspaper reading
should be well selected. Let me again repeat the request, that in
selecting those papers which sustain an appropriate character, you will
seek the advice of those whom you deem most able and judicious; and so
far as you think them disinterested, and worthy of your confidence,
endeavor to follow it.

_Politics._ As to the study of politics, in the usual sense of the
term, it certainly cannot be advisable. Nothing appears to me more
disgusting than to see young men rushing into the field of political
warfare, and taking sides as fiercely as if they laid claim to
infallibility, where their fathers and grandfathers modestly confess

At the same time, in a government like ours, where the highest offices
are in the gift of the people, and within the reach of every young man
of tolerable capacity, it would be disgraceful not to study the history
and constitution of our own country, and closely to watch all
legislative movements, at least in the councils of the nation. The time
is not far distant, it is hoped, when these will be made every day
subjects in our elementary schools; and when no youth will arrive at
manhood, as thousands, and, I was going to say, millions now do,
without understanding clearly a single article in the Constitution of
the United States, or even in that of the State in which he resides:
nor even how his native state is represented in Congress.

Again, most young men will probably, sooner or later, vote for rulers
in the town, state, and nation to which they belong. Should they vote
at random? Or what is little better, take their opinions upon trust? Or
shall they examine for themselves; and go to the polls with their eyes
open? At a day like the present, nothing appears to me more obvious
than that young men ought to understand what they are doing when they
concern themselves with public men or public measures.


I have already spoken of the importance of letter writing. The keeping
of a journal is scarcely less so, provided it be done in a proper
manner. I have seen journals, however, which, aside from the fact that
they improve the _handwriting_, and encourage _method_, could have been
of very little use. A young agriculturist kept a journal for many
years, of which the following is a specimen.


    July 2. Began our haying. Mowed in the forenoon, and raked in the
    afternoon. Weather good.

    3. Continued haying. Mowed. Got in one load. Cloudy.

    4. Independence. Went, in the afternoon, to ----.

    5. Stormy. Did nothing out of doors.

This method of keeping a journal was continued for many years; and only
discontinued, because it was found useless. A better and more useful
sort of journal for these four days, would have read something like the


    July 2. Our haying season commenced. How fond I am of this
    employment! How useful an article hay is, too, especially in this
    climate, during our long and cold winters! We have fine weather to
    begin with, and I hope it will continue.

    I think a very great improvement might be made in our rakes. Why
    need they be so heavy for light raking? We could take up the
    heavier ones when it became necessary.

    July 3. To-day I have worked rather too hard in order to get in
    some of our hay, for there is a prospect of rain. I am not quite
    sure, however, but I hurt myself more by drinking too much cold
    water than by over-working. Will try to do better to-morrow.

    4. Have heard a few cannon fired, and a spouting oration delivered,
    and seen a few toasts drank; and what does it all amount to? Is
    this way of keeping the day of independence really useful? I doubt
    it. Who knows but the value of the wine which has been drank,
    expended among the poor, would have done more towards _real_
    independence, than all this parade?

    5. Rainy. Would it not have been better had I staid at home
    yesterday, while the weather was fair, and gone on with haying?
    Several acres of father's grass want cutting very much. I am more
    and more sick of going to independence. If I live till another
    year, I hope I shall learn to 'make hay while the sun shines.'

I selected a common agricultural employment to illustrate my subject,
first, because I suppose a considerable proportion of my readers are
farmers, and secondly, because it is an employment which is generally
supposed to furnish little or nothing worth recording. The latter,
however, is a great mistake. Besides writing down the real incidents
that occur, many of which would be interesting, and some of them highly
important facts, the _thoughts_, which the circumstances and incidents
of an agricultural life are calculated to elicit, are innumerable. And
these should always be put down. They are to the mere detail of facts
and occurrences, what leaves and fruit are to the dry trunk and naked
limbs of a tree. The above specimen is very dry indeed, being intended
only as a hint. Pages, instead of a few lines, might sometimes be
written, when our leisure permitted, and thoughts flowed freely.

One useful method of improving the mind, and preparing ourselves for
usefulness, would be, to carry a small blank book and pencil in our
pockets, and when any interesting fact occurred, embrace the first
spare moment to put it down, say on the right hand page; and either
then, or at some future time, place on the left hand page, our own
reflections about it. Some of the most useful men in the world owe much
of their usefulness to a plan like this, promptly and perseveringly
followed. Quotations from books or papers might also be preserved in
the same manner.[10]

Perhaps it may be thought, at first, that this advice is not in keeping
with the caution formerly given, not to read as we travel about; but if
you reflect, you will find it otherwise. Reading as we travel, and at
meals, and the recording of facts and thoughts which occur, are things
as different as can well be conceived. The latter creates and
encourages a demand for close observation, the former discourages and
even suppresses it.


Let books be covered as soon as bought. Never use them without clean
hands. They show the dirt with extreme readiness, and it is not easily
removed. I have seen books in which might be traced the careless thumbs
and fingers of the last reader, for half a dozen or a dozen pages in

I have known a gentleman--quite a literary man, too--who, having been
careful of his books in his earlier years, and having recently found
them occasionally soiled, charged the fault on those who occasionally
visited his library. At last he discovered that the coal dust (for he
kept a coal fire) settled on his hands, and was rubbed off upon his
book leaves by the slight friction of his fingers upon the leaves in

Never wet your finger or thumb in order to turn over leaves. Many
respectable people are addicted to this habit, but it is a vulgar one.
Besides, it is entirely useless. The same remarks might be applied to
the habit of suffering the corners of the leaves to turn up, in 'dog's
ears.' Keep every leaf smooth, if you can. Never hold a book very near
the fire, nor leave it in the hot sun. It injures its cover materially,
and not a few books are in one or both of these ways entirely ruined.

It is a bad practice to spread out a book with the back upwards. It
loosens the leaves, and also exposes it in other respects. You will
rarely find a place to lay it down which is _entirely_ clean, and the
least dust on the leaves, is readily observed.

The plan of turning down a leaf to enable us to remember the place, I
never liked. It indulges the memory in laziness. For myself, if I take
much interest in a book, I can remember where I left off and turn at
once to the place without a mark. If a mark must be used at all,
however, a slip of paper, or a piece of tape or ribbon is the best.

When you have done using a book for the time, have a place for it, and
put it in its place. How much time and patience might be saved if this
rule were universally followed! Many find it the easiest thing in the
world to have a place for every book in their library, and to keep it
in its place. They can put their hands upon it in the dark, almost as
well as in the light.

Never allow yourselves to use books for any other purpose but reading.
I have seen people recline after dinner and at other times, with books
under their heads for a pillow. Others will use them to cover a
tumbler, bowl, or pitcher. Others again will raise the window, and set
them under the sash to support it; and next, perhaps, the book is wet
by a sudden shower of rain, or knocked out of the window, soiled or
otherwise injured, or lost. I have seen people use large books, such as
the family-bible, or encyclopedia, to raise a seat, especially for a
child at table.

      [10] Some persons always read with a pen or pencil in hand, and
      when a thought occurs, note it in a little book, kept for the


Social and Moral Improvement.

SECTION I. _Of Female Society, in general._

No young man is fully aware how much he is indebted to female influence
in forming his character. Happy for him if his mother and sisters were
his principal companions in infancy. I do not mean to exclude the
society of the father, of course; but the father's avocations usually
call him away from home, or at least from the immediate presence of his
children, for a very considerable proportion of his time.

It would be easy to show, without the possibility of mistake, that it
is those young men who are shut out either by accident or design, from
female society, that most despise it. And on this account, I cannot but
regret the supposed necessity which prevails of having separate schools
for the two sexes; unless it were _professional_ ones--I mean for the
study of law, medicine, &c. There is yet too much practical
Mohammedanism and Paganism in our manner of educating the young.

If we examine the character and conduct of woman as it now is, and as
history shows it to have been in other periods of the world, we shall
see that much of the good and evil which has fallen upon mankind has
been through her influence. We may see that man has often been
influenced _directly_ by the soft warning words, or the still more
powerful weapons--tears--of woman, to do that to which whole legions of
soldiers never could have driven him.

Now the same influence which is exerted by mothers and wives is also
exerted, in a smaller degree, by sisters; and indeed by the female sex
generally. When, therefore, I find a young man professing a disregard
for their society, or frequenting only the worst part of it, I always
expect to find in him a soul which would not hesitate long, in the day
of temptation, to stoop to vicious if not base actions. Who would
despise the fountain at which he is refreshed daily? Above all, who
would willingly contaminate it? But how much better than this is it to
show by our language, as well as deeds, that we hold this portion of
the world in disdain; and only meet with them, if we meet them at all,
to comply with custom, or for purposes still more unworthy; instead of
seeking their society as a means of elevating and ennobling the

When, therefore, a young man begins to affect the _wit_, and to utter
sarcasms against the female character, it may be set down as a mark,
either of a weak head, or a base heart; for it cannot be good sense or
gratitude, or justice, or honorable feeling of any kind. There are
indeed nations, it is said, where a boy, as soon as he puts off the
dress of a child, beats his mother, to show his manhood. These people
live in the interior of Africa, and there let them remain. Let us be
careful that we do not degrade the sex, in the same manner, by
disrespectful language, or actions, or _thoughts_. We should '_think_
no evil,' on this subject; for let it never be forgotten, that our own
happiness and elevation of character must ever be in exact proportion
to that of females. Degrade _them_, and we degrade ourselves; neglect
to raise their moral and intellectual condition as much as possible,
and you neglect the readiest and most certain means of promoting, in
the end, your own comfort and happiness.

If any of your elder associates defame the sex, you can hardly be
mistaken when you suspect them of having vitiated their taste for what
is excellent in human character by improper intimacies, or still more
abominable vices. The man who says he has never found a virtuous female
character, you may rely upon it, cannot himself be virtuous.

In civilized society much of our time must _necessarily_ be spent among
females. These associations will have influence upon us. Either they
are perpetually improving our character, or, on the other hand, by
increasing our disregard or disgust, debasing it. Is it not wisdom,
then, to make what we can of the advantages and opportunities which
their society affords us?

The very presence of a respectable female will often restrain those
from evil whose hearts are full of it. It is not easy to talk or to
look obscenely, or even to behave with rudeness and ill manners under
such restraint. Who has not seen the jarring and discordant tones of a
company of rude men and boys hushed at once by the sudden arrival of a
lady of dignified manners and appearance?

The frequent, the habitual society of one whom a youth respects, must
have a happy tendency to make him love honorable conduct; and restrain
his less honorable feelings. Frequent restraint tends to give the
actual mastery; therefore every approach towards this must be of great
value. There is a delicacy, too, in female society, which serves well
to check the boisterous, to tame the brutal, and to embolden the timid.
Whatever be the innate character of a youth, it may be polished, and
exalted, by their approbation. He must be unusually hardened that can
come from some shameful excess, or in a state of inebriety, into the
company of the ladies.

Sometimes a diffident youth has been taken under the _protection_, if
it may be so called, of a considerate and respectable woman. A woman of
proper dignity of manners and character, especially with a few years'
advantage, can do this without the least injury to herself, and without
stepping a hair's breadth beyond the bounds which should surround her
sex. Happy is the young man who enjoys a fostering care so important;
he may learn the value of the sex; learn to discriminate among them, to
esteem many of them, and prize their approbation; and in time, deserve
it. It is obvious that the favor of silly, flirting girls, (and there
are some such) is not what I am here recommending.

Where the character of such society is pure, where good sense,
cultivation, intellect, modesty, and superior age, distinguish the
parties, it is no small honor to a young man to enjoy it. Should he be
conscious that epithets of a different and of a contrary quality belong
to them, it is no honor to him to be their favorite. He must be _like_
them, in some degree, or they would not approve him.

SECTION II. _Advice and Friendship of Mothers._

When you seek female society for the sake of improvement, it is proper
you should begin where nature begun with you. You have already been
encouraged to respect your mother; I go a step farther; and say, Make
her your friend. Unless your own misconduct has already been very
great, she will not be so far estranged from you, as not to rejoice at
the opportunity of bestowing that attention to you which the warmest
wishes for your welfare would dictate. If your errors _have_, on the
contrary, created a wide distance between you, endeavor to restore the
connection as soon as possible. I do not undervalue a father's counsel
and guidance; yet however excellent his judgment may be, your mother's
opinion is not only a help to your own; but as a _woman's_, it has its
peculiar character, and may have its appropriate value. _Women_
sometimes see at a glance, what a _man_ must go round through a train
of argument to discover. Their _tact_ is delicate, and therefore
quicker in operation. Sometimes, it is true, their judgment will not
only be prompt, but premature. Your _own_ judgment must assist you
here. Do not, however, proudly despise your mother's;--but examine it.
It will generally well repay the trouble; and the habit of consulting
her will increase habits of consideration, and self command; and
promote propriety of conduct.

If a mother be a woman of sense, why should you not profit by her long
exercised intelligence? Nay, should she even be deficient in
cultivation, or in native talent, yet her experience is something, and
her love for you will, in part, make up for such deficiency. It cannot
be worthiness to despise, or wisdom to neglect your mother's opinion.

SECTION III. _Society of Sisters._

Have you a sister?--Have you several of them? Then you are favorably
situated; especially if one of them is older than yourself. She has
done playing with dolls, and you with bats and balls. She is more
womanly; her carriage becomes dignified. Do not oblige her, by your
boyish behavior, to keep you at a distance. Try to deserve the
character of her friend. She will sometimes look to you for little
services, which require strength and agility; let her look up to you
for judgment, steadiness, and counsel too. You may be mutually
beneficial. Your affection, and your intertwining interest in each
other's welfare, will hereby be much increased.

A sister usually present, is that sort of second conscience, which,
like the fairy ring, in an old story, pinches the wearer whenever he is
doing any thing amiss. Without occasioning so much awe as a mother, or
so much reserve as a stranger, her sex, her affection, and the
familiarity between you will form a compound of no small value in
itself, and of no small influence, if you duly regard it, upon your
growing character. Never for one moment suppose _that_ a good joke at
which a sister blushes, or turns pale, or even looks anxious. If you
should not at first perceive what there is in it which is amiss, it
will be well worth your while to examine all over again. Perhaps a
single glance of her eye will explain your inconsiderateness; and as
you value consistency and propriety of conduct, let it put you on your

There is a sort of attention due to the sex which is best attained by
practising at home. Your mother may sometimes require this attention,
your sisters still oftener. Do not require calling, or teasing, or even
persuading to go abroad with them when their safety, their comfort, or
their respectability require it. It is their due; and stupid or unkind
is he who does not esteem it so. In performing this service, you are
only paying a respect to yourself. Your sister could, indeed, come home
alone, but it would be a sad reflection on you were she obliged to do
so. Accustom yourself, then, to wait upon her; it will teach you to
wait upon others by and by; and in the meantime, it will give a
graceful polish to your character.

It will be well for you, if your sisters have young friends whose
acquaintance with them may bring you sometimes into their society. The
familiarity allowable with your sisters, though it may well prepare you
to show suitable attention to other ladies, yet has its disadvantages.
You need sometimes to have those present who may keep you still more
upon your guard; and render your manners and attention to them still
more respectful.

SECTION IV. _General Remarks and Advice._

Never seek, then, to avoid respectable female society. Total privation
has its dangers, as well as too great intimacy. One of the bad results
of such a privation, is, that you run the risk of becoming attached to
unworthy objects because they first fall in your way. Human nature is
ever in danger of perversion. Those passions which God has given you
for the wisest and noblest purposes may goad you onward, and, if they
do not prove the occasion of your destruction in one way, they may in
another. If you should be preserved in solitude, you will not be quite
safe abroad. Having but a very imperfect conception of the different
shades of character among the sex, you will be ready to suppose all are
excellent who appear fair and all good who appear gentle.

I have alluded to the dangers of too great intimacy. Nothing here
advanced is intended to make you a mere trifler, or to sink the dignity
of your own sex. Although you are to respect females because of their
sex, yet there are some who bestow upon them a species of attention
extremely injurious to themselves, and unpleasant and degrading to all
sensible ladies.

There is still another evil sometimes resulting from too great
intimacy. It is that you lead the other party to mistake your object.
This mistake is easily made. It is not necessary, to this end, that you
should make any professions of attachment, in word or deed. Looks, nay
even something less than this, though it may be difficult to define it,
may indicate that sort of preference for the society of a lady, that
has sometimes awakened an attachment in her which you never suspected
or intended. Or what is a far less evil, since it falls chiefly on
yourself, it may lead her and others to ridicule you for what they
suppose to be the result, on your part, of intention.

Let me caution you, then, if you would obey the golden rule of doing to
others as you would wish others should do to you, in the same
circumstances, and if you value, besides this, your own peace, to
beware of injuring those whom you highly esteem, by leading them by
words, looks, or actions, to that misapprehension of your meaning which
may be the means of planting thorns in their bosoms, if not in your

There is another error to which I wish to call your attention, in this
place, although it might more properly be placed under the head,
_Seduction_. I allude to the error of too great familiarity with
others, after your heart is already pledged to a particular favorite.
Here, more, if possible, than in the former case, do you need to set a
guard over all your ways, words, and actions; and to resolve, in the
strength, and with the aid of Divine grace, that you will never deviate
from that rule of conduct toward others,--which Divine Goodness has
given, as the grand text to the book of human duty.

The general idea presented in the foregoing sections, of what a woman
ought to be, is sufficient to guide you, with a little care in the
application. Such as are forward, soon become tedious. Their character
is what no man of taste will bear. Some are even anglers, aiming to
catch gudgeons by every look; placing themselves in attitudes to allure
the vagrant eye. Against such it is quite unnecessary that I should
warn you; they usually give you sufficient notice themselves. The
trifler can scarcely amuse you for an evening. The company of a lady
who has nothing to say but what is commonplace, whose inactive mind
never for once stumbles upon an idea of its own, must be dull, as a
matter of course. You can learn nothing from her, unless it be the
folly of a vacant mind. Come away, lest you catch the same disorder.

The artful and manoeuvring, on the contrary, will, at a glance,
penetrate your inmost mind, and become any thing which they perceive
will be agreeable to you.

Should your lot be cast where you can enjoy the society of a few
intelligent, agreeable, and respectable females, remember to prize the
acquisition. If you do not derive immense advantage from it, the fault
must be your own. If, in addition to the foregoing qualifications,
these female friends happen to have had a judicious and useful, rather
than a merely polite education, your advantages are doubly valuable.

The genial influence of such companions must unavoidably be on the side
of goodness and propriety. Loveliness of mind will impart that
agreeableness of person which recommends to the heart every sentiment,
gives weight to every argument, justifies every opinion, and soothes to
recollection and recovery those who, were they reproved by any other
voice, might have risen to resistance, or sunk into despair. The only
necessary caution in the case is, 'Beware of _idolatry_.' Keep yourself
clear from fascination, and call in the aid of your severest judgment
to keep your mind true to yourself, and to principle.

SECTION V. _Lyceums and other Social Meetings._

The course of my remarks has given occasion, in several instances, to
speak of the importance of lyceums as a means of mental and social
improvement. It will not be necessary therefore, in this place, to
dwell, at _length_, on their importance. My principal object will be to
call your attention to the subject in general, and urge it upon your
consideration. I hope no young person who reads these pages, will
neglect to avail himself of the advantages which a good lyceum affords;
or if there are none of that character within his reach, let him make
unremitting efforts till one exists.

Although these institutions are yet in their infancy, and could hardly
have been expected to accomplish more within the same period than they
have, it is hoped they will not hereafter confine their inquiries so
exclusively to matters of mere intellect, as has often been done. There
are other subjects nearer home, if I may so say, than these. How
strangely do mankind, generally, stretch their thoughts and inquiries
abroad to the concerns of other individuals, states and nations, and
forget themselves, and the objects and beings near by them, and their
mutual relations, connections, and dependencies!

Lyceums, when they shall have obtained a firmer footing among us, may
become a most valuable means of enlightening the mass of the community,
in regard to the structure and laws of the human body, and its relation
to surrounding objects; of discussing the philosophy of dress, and its
different materials for different seasons; of food, and drink, and
sleep and exercise; of dwellings and other buildings; of amusements and
employments;--in short, of the ten thousand _little things_, as many
call them, which go to make up human life, with its enjoyments or
miseries. These things have been surprisingly overlooked by most men,
for the sake of attending to others, whose bearing on human happiness,
if not often questionable, is at least more remote.

In some of our larger cities there are respectable courses of useful
lectures established during the months of winter, and sometimes
throughout the year. Added to this are reading-rooms, and various sorts
of libraries, which are accessible for a small sum, and sometimes for
almost nothing. There have been three valuable courses of Franklin
Lectures delivered in Boston, during the three last winters, of twenty
lectures each, for only fifty cents a course. In most large towns,
benevolent and spirited individuals might establish something of the
same kind, at least every winter.

SECTION VI. _Moral Instruction._

It was not my intention, at first, to say a single word, directly, on
the subject of religion, but I should leave this chapter very
incomplete indeed, as well as do violence to my own feelings, should I
say nothing at all of Bible classes, and other means of religious
instruction, with which the age, and especially this part of the
country abounds, not only on Sundays, but during the long evenings of
leisure which, for a part of the year, many young men enjoy.

Viewed merely as a means of improving the _mind_, and acquiring much
authentic historical information to be found nowhere else, the study of
the Bible is a most valuable exercise, and ought to be encouraged. To
adults who labor, a walk to church, and prompt attention to the Bible
lesson, is happily adapted to the health of the body, no less than to
intellectual improvement; and whatever objections might be urged
against subjecting infants and young children who attend other schools
during the week, to the present routine of Sabbath instruction, I am
quite sure that the class of young persons for whom I am writing, would
derive the most lasting benefit from studying the Bible.

I have made these remarks on the presumption that they were to derive
no _moral_ improvement from Bible instruction. However, I see not how
these schools can be long attended by ingenuous minds without inspiring
a _respect_, at the least, for that book which is superior to all other
books, and for that religion which it inculcates; which is above all
sect, and beyond all price.

SECTION VII. _Of Female Society in reference to Marriage._

It is now time to consider the subject of female society in reference
to matrimony. I shall find it necessary, however, to make a division of
my subject, reserving a more _complete_ view of female qualifications
for a succeeding chapter.

Whatever advice may be given to the contrary by friends or foes, it is
my opinion that you ought to keep matrimony steadily in view. For this
end, were it for no other, you ought to mingle much in society. Never
consider yourself complete without this other half of yourself. It is
too much the fashion among young men at the present day to make up
their minds to dispense with marriage;--an unnatural, and therefore an
unwise plan. Much of our character, and most of our comfort and
happiness depend upon it. Many have found this out too late; that is,
after age and fixed habits had partly disqualified them for this
important duty.

All that has been hitherto said of female influence bears upon this
point. According to the character of the person you select, in a
considerable degree, will be your own. Should a mere face fascinate you
to a _doll_, you will not need much mental energy to please her; and
the necessity of exertion on this account being small, your own self
will sink, or at least not rise, as it otherwise might do.

But were I personally acquainted with you, and should I perceive an
_honorable_ attachment taking possession of your heart, I should regard
it as a happy circumstance. Life then has an object. The only thing to
be observed is that it be managed with prudence, honor, and good sense.

The case of John Newton is precisely in point. In very early life this
man formed a strong attachment to a lady, under circumstances which did
not permit him to make it known; which was probably well for both
parties. It did not diminish _her_ happiness, so long as she remained
in ignorance on the subject; and in scenes of sorrow, suffering, and
temptation, the hope of one day obtaining her soothed him, and kept him
from performing many dishonorable actions. 'The bare possibility,' he
says, 'of seeing her again, was the only obvious means of restraining
me from the most horrid designs, against myself and others.'

The wish to marry, if _prudently_ indulged, will lead to honest and
persevering exertions to obtain a reasonable income--one which will be
satisfactory to the object of your hopes, as well as to her friends. He
who is determined on living a single life, very naturally contracts his
endeavors to his own narrow personal wants, or else squanders freely,
in the belief that he can always procure enough to support himself.
Indeed it cannot have escaped even the careless observer that in
proportion as an individual relinquishes the idea of matrimony, just in
the same proportion do his mind and feelings contract. On the contrary,
that hope which aims at a beloved partner--a family--a fireside,--will
lead its possessor to activity in all his conduct. It will elicit his
talents, and urge them to their full energy, and probably call in the
aid of economy; a quality so indispensable to every condition of life.
The single consideration, 'What would she think were she now to see
me?' called up by the obtrusion of a favorite image,--how often has it
stimulated a noble mind and heart to deeds which otherwise had never
been performed!

I repeat it, I am aware that this advice is liable to abuse. But what
shall be done? Images of some sort will haunt the mind more or
less--female influence in some shape or other will operate. Is it not
better to give the imagination a virtuous direction than to leave it to
range without control, and without _end_?

I repeat it, nothing is better calculated to preserve a young man from
the contamination of low pleasures and pursuits, than frequent
intercourse with the more refined and virtuous of the other sex.
Besides, without such society his manners can never acquire the true
polish of a gentleman,--general character, dignity, and
refinement;--nor his mind and heart the truest and noblest sentiments
of a man. Make it an object then, I again say, to spend some portion of
every week of your life in the company of intelligent and virtuous
ladies. At all events, flee solitude, and especially the exclusive
society of your own sex. The doctrines even of Zimmerman, the great
apostle of solitude, would put to shame many young men, who seldom or
never mix in female society.

If you should be so unfortunate as not to have among your acquaintance
any ladies whose society would, in these points of view, be profitable
to you, do not be in haste to mix with the ignorant and vulgar; but
wait patiently till your own industry and good conduct shall give you
admission to better circles; and in the meantime cultivate your mind by
reading and thinking, so that when you actually gain admission to good
society, you may know how to prize and enjoy it. Remember, too, that
you are not to be so selfish as to think nothing of contributing to the
happiness of others. It is blessed to _give_ as well as to _receive_.

When you are in the company of ladies, beware of silliness. It is true
that they will sooner forgive foolishness than ill manners, but you
will, of course, avoid both. I know one young gentleman of great
promise, who adopted the opinion that in order to qualify himself for
female society, he had only to become as foolish as possible, while in
their presence. That young man soon lost the favor of all whose
friendship might have operated as a restraint; but unwilling to
associate with the despicable, and unable to live in absolute solitude,
he chose the bottle for his companion; and made himself, and the few
friends he had, miserable.

Nothing, unless it be the coarsest flattery, will give more offence, in
the end, than to treat ladies as mere playthings or children. On the
other hand, do not become pedantic, and lecture them on difficult
subjects. They readily see through all this. Neither is it good manners
or policy to talk much of yourself. They can penetrate this also; and
they despise the vanity which produces it. In detecting deception, they
are often much quicker than we apprehend.

A young gentleman, in one of the New England States, who had assumed
the chair of the pedagogue, paid his addresses to the beautiful and
sensible daughter of a respectable farmer. One day, as she was present
in his school, he read to her a hymn, which he said was from his own
pen. Now it was obvious to this lady, and even to some of the pupils,
that the hymn was none other than that usually known by the name of the
'Harvest Hymn,' modified by the change of a few words only. How much
effect this circumstance might have had I cannot say with certainty;
but I know it disgusted _one_, at least, of the pupils; and I know,
too, that his addresses to the lady were soon afterwards discontinued.

A young man who would profit from the society of young ladies, or
indeed from any society, must preserve a modest and respectful spirit;
must seek to conciliate their good will by quiet and unostentatious
attentions, and discover more willingness to avail himself of their
stock of information, than to display his own knowledge or abilities.

He should observe, and learn to admire, that purity and ignorance of
evil, which is the characteristic of well-educated young ladies, and
which, while we are near them, raises us above those sordid and sensual
considerations which hold such sway over _men_, in their intercourse
with each other. He should treat them as spirits of a purer sphere, and
try to be as innocent, if not as ignorant of evil as they are;
remembering that there is no better way of raising himself in the scale
of intellectual and moral being. But to whatever degree of intimacy he
may arrive, he should never forget those little acts of courtesy and
kindness, as well as that respect, and self-denial, which lend a charm
to every kind of polite intercourse, and especially to that of which I
am now speaking.

Whenever an opportunity occurs, however, it is the duty of a young man
to introduce topics of conversation which are decidedly favorable to
mental and moral improvement. Should he happen to be attending to the
same study, or reading the same book with a female acquaintance, an
excellent opportunity will be afforded for putting this rule in



SECTION I. _Why Matrimony is a Duty._

Matrimony is a subject of high importance and interest. It is
_important_, because it was among the earliest institutions of the
great Creator; because it has always existed in some form or other, and
must continue to exist, or society cannot be sustained; and because in
proportion as the ends of the Creator are answered by its
establishment, just in the same proportion does the happiness of
society rise or fall. It points out the condition of society in this
respect as accurately as a thermometer shows the temperature of the
surrounding atmosphere. I might even go farther, and say, that in
proportion as the original and real ends of marriage are answered, do
the interests of religion also rise or sink.[11]

This institution is peculiarly interesting from the fact that it
involves so many items of human happiness. We often speak of the value
of _friendship_. What friendship like that which results from a happy
union of the sexes? We talk of _education_. What school so favorable to
improvement as the domestic circle may be rendered? Whether we consider
education in a physical, mental or moral point of view, all its plans
are imperfect without this. No man or woman is, as a general rule,
fully prepared for the humblest sphere of action on earth, without the
advantages which are peculiar to this institution. Nor has any man done
his whole duty to God, who has left this subject out of consideration.

It has sometimes been said, and with much truth, that 'no unmarried
person was ever thoroughly and completely educated.' It appears to me
that were we to consider the intellectual and physical departments of
education, merely, this would be true; but how much more so when we
take in morals? Parents,--teachers,--what are they? Their labors are
indeed of infinite value, in themselves considered; but it is only in a
state of matrimony, it is only when we are called to the discharge of
those multiplied duties which are involved in the endearing relations
of husband, wife, parent and guardian, that our characters are fully
tested and established. Late in life as these relations commence, the
circumstances which they involve are so peculiar that they modify the
character of the parties much more than has usually been considered.

I am fond, therefore, of contemplating the married state as a
school;--not merely for a short term, but for _life_;--not one whose
teachers are liable to be changed once or twice a year to the great
disadvantage of all who are concerned, but whose instructors are as
permanent as the school itself. It is true, that like other schools, it
may result in the formation of bad character; but in proportion to its
power to accomplish either good or bad results, will be its value, if
wisely improved.

It is not to be denied that this view of the subject is in favor of
_early_ marriage. And I can truly say, indeed, that every thing
considered, early marriage does appear to me highly desirable. And it
would require stronger arguments than any which I have yet seen
adduced, even by some of our political economists, to make me surrender
this opinion.

The only serious objection, of a popular kind, to early marriage,
arises from the difficulty of supporting a family. But the parties
themselves must be supported at all events, whether married or single.
'But the consequences'--And what are the consequences? An _earlier_
family, indeed; but not of necessity a larger. I believe that facts
will bear me out in stating that the sum total of the progeny of every
thousand families who commence at from twenty-five to thirty, is as
great as that of one thousand who begin at from twenty to twenty-five.
I have even seen pretty large families where the eldest was thirty-five
years younger than both the parents; and one or two instances of
numerous families where marriage did not take place till the age of
forty. Physiologists have long observed this singular fact, and it has
sometimes been explained by saying, if indeed it be an explanation,
that Nature, in these cases, unwilling to be cheated out of her rights,
endeavors to make up in energy and activity what has been lost in time.

The question, however, will recur, whether families, though equally
large, cannot be better maintained when marriage is deferred to a later
period. And it certainly is a question of immense importance; For
nothing is more painful than to see large families, whose parents,
whether young or more advanced, have not the means of educating them
properly. It is also not a little painful to find instances of poverty
so extreme that there is absolute suffering, for want of food and

But the question must be determined by facts. And it would be greatly
aiding the cause of humanity if extensive comparisons were made between
the pecuniary condition of those who marry early and those who defer
the subject to a later period. But from my own limited observation I am
fully of opinion that the result of the comparison would be greatly in
favor of early marriages. Should this prove to be true, the position
which I have assumed is, I think, established; for it appears to me
that no other argument for delay has any claim to our notice.

On the other hand, the following, among other evils, are the results of
deferring marriage.

1. The temper and habits of the parties become stiff and unyielding
when advanced in life, and they learn to adapt themselves to each other
with difficulty. In the view which I have taken above they become
miserable as teachers, and still more miserable as scholars.

2. Youth are thus exposed to the danger of forming habits of criminal
indulgence, as fatal to the health and the character, as they are
ruinous to the soul.

3. Or if they proceed not so far, they at least acquire the habit of
spending time in vain or pernicious amusements. All mankind must and
will seek for gratifications of some sort or other. And aside from
religious principle, there is no certain security against those
amusements and indulgences which are pernicious and destructive, but
early and virtuous attachments, and the pleasures afforded by domestic
life. He can never want for amusement or rational gratification who is
surrounded by a rising family for whom he has a genuine affection.

4. Long continued celibacy _contracts_ the mind, if it does not
enfeeble it. For one openhearted liberal old bachelor, you will find
ten who are parsimonious, avaricious, cold-hearted, and too often
destitute of those sympathies for their fellow beings which the married
life has a tendency to elicit and perpetuate.[12]

5. Franklin says that late marriages are attended with another
inconvenience, viz.; that the chance of living to see our children
educated, is greatly diminished.

6. But I go much farther than I have hitherto done, and insist that
other things being equal, the young married man has the advantage in a
_pecuniary_ point of view. This is a natural result from the fact that
he is compelled to acquire habits of industry, frugality, and economy;
and is under less temptation to waste his time in trifling or
pernicious amusements. But I may appeal to facts, even here. Look
around you in the world, and see if out of a given number of single
persons, say one thousand, of the age of thirty-five, there be not a
greater number in poverty, than of the same number who settled in life
at twenty.

Perhaps I ought barely to notice another objection to these views. It
is said that neither the mind nor the body come to full maturity so
early as we are apt to suppose. But is complete maturity of body or
mind indispensable? I am not advocating the practice of marrying in
childhood. It takes sometime for the affections toward an individual to
ripen and become settled. This is a matter involving too high
responsibilities to justify haste. The consequences, speaking
generally, are not confined to this life; they extend to eternity.

      [11] Some of the topics of this section have been anticipated, in
      part, in a previous chapter; but their importance entitles them
      to a farther consideration.

      [12] I know this principle is sometimes disputed. A late English
      writer, in a Treatise on Happiness, at page 251 of Vol. II,
      maintains the contrary. He quotes from Lord Bacon, that
      'Unmarried men are the best friends, best masters, and best
      servants,' and that 'The best _works_, and of greatest merit for
      the public, have proceeded from unmarried or childless men.' He
      also introduces Jeremy Taylor, as saying that 'Celibacy, like a
      fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in perpetual sweetness.'

      In commenting upon these remarks, this writer says, 'One half of
      the most eminent persons that have ever lived in the world of
      science and literature, have remained unmarried,' and 'in the
      connubial state, too frequently, the sympathies are connected
      within the family circle, while there is little generosity or
      philanthropy beyond.' And lastly, that 'Unmarried men possess
      many natural excellences, which if not engrossed by a family will
      be directed towards their fellow creatures.'

      Now it is admitted that many eminent men, especially in science
      and literature, have been bachelors; and that among them were
      Newton and Locke. But this only proves that while thousands and
      tens of thousands of their fellow beings spent their lives in
      insignificance, for want of a definite object to live for, these
      men, having an _object_ before them, _accomplished_ something.
      And if you could induce _one_ single man in a _thousand_, nay,
      one in ten thousand, to make a similar use of his exemption from
      the cares of a family, much might be expected from celibacy; or
      at least, the results of their labors might be a partial
      compensation to society for the evil tendency of their example.
      For marriage cannot be denied to be an institution of God, and
      indispensable to the existence of society. And who can say that
      he has purchased an indulgence to disobey a law which is in some
      respects paramount to every other, however great the price he may
      have paid?

      That marriage tends to concentrate our sympathies within the
      family circle, I do not believe. A proper investigation of the
      subject will, I am certain, prove this assumption unfounded.
      Facts do _not_ show unmarried men to be 'best friends, masters,
      servants' &c.; and I am sorry to find such a _theory_ maintained
      by any sensible writer. Some of the illustrious examples of
      celibacy which are usually brought, were by no means estimable
      for their social feelings or habits. What would become of
      mankind, if they were all to immure themselves in dungeons, or
      what is nearly the same thing to social life, among books and
      papers? Better, by far, to remain in ignorance of the material
      laws which govern the universe, than to become recluses in a
      world like this. Better even dispense with some of the lights
      which genius has struck out to enable us to read suns and stars,
      than to understand attraction in the material world, while we are
      insensible to all attractions of a moral and social kind. God has
      made us to _feel_, to _sympathize_, and to _love_,--as well as to

SECTION II. _General Considerations._

We are now to enter on a most important part of our subject. Hitherto
it had been my object to point out the proper course for you to pursue
in reference to yourself, your own improvement, and consequent
usefulness. In the remarks of the preceding chapter, and in those which
follow, you are regarded as seeking a _companion_; as anxious to assume
new relations, such as involve new duties and new responsibilities.

If you are successful, instead of educating yourself alone, you are to
be concerned in improving the mental, moral, and social condition of
two persons; and in the end, perhaps _others_. You are to be a
_teacher_; you cannot avoid this station if you would. But you are also
to be a _learner_. Dr. Rush says we naturally imitate the manners, and
gradually acquire the tempers of persons with whom we live, provided
they are objects of our affection and respect. 'This,' he adds, 'has
been observed in husbands and wives who have lived long and happily
together; and even in servants.' And nothing can be more true.

Not only your temper and that of your companion, but your whole
character, considered as physical, mental, and moral beings, will be
mutually improved or injured through life. You will be placed, as I
have already intimated, at a school of mutual instruction, which is to
continue without vacation or change of monitors,--perhaps half a
century;--during every one of the earliest years of which, your
character will be more really and more permanently modified than in the
same amount of time at any prior period of your education, unless it
were in the veriest infancy.

Surely then it is no light affair to make preparation for a school like
this. There is no period in the life of a young man so important; for
there is none on which his happiness and the happiness of others so
essentially depend.

Before I advert to the particular qualifications which it is necessary
for you to seek in so intimate a friend, I shall mention a few
considerations of a general nature.

Settle it, in the first place, that absolute perfection is not to be
found. There are not a few young men of a romantic turn of mind,
fostered and increased by reading the fictitious writings of the day,
who have pictured to themselves for companions in life unreal forms and
angelic characters, instead of beings who dwell in 'houses of clay,'
and are 'crushed before the moth.' Such 'exalted imaginations' must
sooner or later be brought down: happy will it be with those who are
chastened in due season.

In the second place, resolve never to be misled by any adventitious
circumstances. Wealth, beauty, rank, friends, &c, are all proper
considerations, but they are not of the _first_ importance. They are
merely secondary qualifications. Marriage must never be a matter of
bargain and sale; for

In the third place, no marriage engagement should ever be thought of
unless there is first a genuine and rational attachment. No cold
calculations of profit or loss, no hereditary estates or other
adventitious circumstances, though they were equivalent to a peerage,
or a realm, should ever, for one moment, even in thought, be
substituted for love. It is treason to Him who ordained this most
blessed institution.

But fourthly, though wealth, however valuable in itself, is by no means
a recommendation in the present case, yet the means of a comfortable
support are certainly to be regarded. It is painful to see a very young
couple, with a large family, and destitute of the means of support.

In the fifth place, a _suitable age_ is desirable.

When we consider the varying tastes, habits and feelings of the same
person at different periods of his life, is it not at once obvious
that, other things being equal, those persons are most likely to find
that happiness which is sought in matrimony, by associating with those
whose age does not differ greatly from their own? It is true, some of
the happiest human connexions that ever were formed were between
persons of widely differing ages; but is this the general rule? Would
not those who have found happiness under other circumstances, have been
_still happier_, had their ages been more nearly equal?

There is little doubt that a person advanced in life may lengthen his
days by a connection with a person much younger than himself. Whether
the life of the other party is not shortened, in an equal degree, at
the same time, and by the same means, remains to be determined; but
probably it is so.

Some men and women are as old, in reality, whatever their _years_ may
indicate, at twenty, as others at twenty-five. The matrimonial
connection then may be safely formed between parties whose ages differ
a few years; but I think that as a general rule, the ages of the
parties ought to be nearly equal.

Lastly, it was believed by a great observer of human nature, the late
Dr. Spurzheim, that no person was fit for the domestic relations who
had not undergone trials and sufferings. The gay reader may smile at
this opinion, but I can assure him that many wise men besides Spurzheim
have entertained it. Chateaubriand, among others, in his 'Genius of
Christianity,' advances the same opinion. Some, as we have seen, hold
that no person can be well educated without suffering. Such persons,
however, use the term education as meaning something more than a little
scientific instruction;--as a means of forming _character_. In this
point of view no sentiment can be more true. Even the Bible confirms
it, when it assures us, that the 'Captain of our Salvation was made
perfect through sufferings.'

SECTION III. _Female Qualifications for Marriage._


The highest as well as noblest trait in female character, is love to
God. When we consider what are the tendencies of Christianity to
elevate woman from the state of degradation to which she had, for ages,
been subjected--when we consider not only what it has done, but what it
is destined yet to do for her advancement,--it is impossible not to
shrink from the presence of an impious, and above all an unprincipled
atheistical female, as from an ungrateful and unnatural being.

Man is under eternal obligations to Christianity and its Divine Author,
undoubtedly; but woman seems to be more so.

That charge against females which in the minds of some half atheistical
men is magnified into a stigma on Christianity itself, namely that they
are more apt to become religious than men; and that we find by far the
greater part of professing Christians to be females, is in my own view
one of the highest praises of the sex. I rejoice that their hearts are
more susceptible than ours, and that they do not war so strongly
against that religion which their nature demands. I have met with but
one female, whom I knew to be an avowed atheist.

Indeed there are very few men to be found, who are skeptical
themselves, who do not prefer pious companions of the other sex. I will
not stop to adduce this as an evidence of the truth of our religion
itself, and of its adaptation to the wants of the human race, for
happily it does not need it. Christianity is based on the most abundant
evidence, of a character wholly unquestionable. But this I do and will
say, that to be consistent, young men of loose principles ought not to
rail at females for their piety, and then whenever they seek for a
constant friend, one whom they can love,--for they never really love
the abandoned--always prefer, other things being equal, the society of
the pious and the virtuous.


Next on the list of particular qualifications in a female, for
matrimonial life, I place COMMON SENSE. In the view of some, it ought
to precede moral excellence. A person, it is said, who is deficient in
common sense, is, in proportion to the imbecility, unfit for _social_
life, and yet the same person might possess a kind of negative
excellency, or perhaps even a species of piety. This view appears to
me, however, much more specious than sound.

By _common sense_, as used in this place, I mean the faculty by means
of which we see things _as they_ really are. It implies judgment and
discrimination, and a proper sense of propriety in regard to the common
concerns of life. It leads us to form judicious plans of action, and to
be governed by our circumstances in such a way as will be generally
approved. It is the exercise of reason, uninfluenced by passion or
prejudice. To man, it is nearly what instinct is to brutes. It is very
different from genius or talent, as they are commonly defined; but much
better than either. It never blazes forth with the splendor of noon,
but shines with a constant and useful light. To the housewife--but,
above all, to the mother,--it is indispensable.


Whatever other recommendations a lady may possess, she should have an
inextinguishable thirst for improvement. No sensible person can be
truly happy in the world, without this; much less qualified to make
others happy. But the genuine spirit of improvement, wherever it
exists, atones for the absence of many qualities which would otherwise
be indispensable: in this respect resembling that 'charity' which
covers 'a multitude of sins.' Without it, almost everything would be of
little consequence,--with it, every thing else is rendered doubly

One would think that every sensible person, of either sex, would aspire
at improvement, were it merely to avoid the shame of being stationary
like the brutes. Above all, it is most surprising that any lady should
be satisfied to pass a day or even an hour without mental and moral
progress. It is no discredit to the lower animals that--'their little
all flows in at once,' that 'in ages they no more can know, or covet or
enjoy,' for this is the legitimate result of the physical constitution
which God has given them. But it is far otherwise with the masters and
mistresses of creation; for

    'Were man to live coeval with the sun,
    The patriarch pupil _should_ be learning still,
    And dying, leave his lessons half unlearnt.'

There are,--I am sorry to say it--not a few of both sexes who never
appear to breathe out one hearty desire to rise, intellectually or
morally, with a view to the government of themselves or others. They
love themselves supremely--their friends subordinately--their
neighbors, perhaps not at all. But neither the love they bear to
themselves or others ever leads them to a single series of any sort of
action which has for its ultimate object the improvement of any thing
higher than the condition of the mere animal. Dress, personal
appearance, equipage, style of a dwelling or its furniture, with no
other view, however, than the promotion of mere physical enjoyment, is
the height of their desires for improvement!

Talk to them of elevating the intellect or improving the heart, and
they admit it is true; but they go their way and pursue their
accustomed round of folly again. The probability is, that though they
assent to your views, they do not understand you. It requires a stretch
of charity to which I am wholly unequal, to believe that beings who
ever conceived, for one short moment, of the height to which their
natures may be elevated, should sink back without a single struggle, to
a mere selfish, unsocial, animal life;--to lying in bed ten or twelve
hours daily, rising three or four hours later than the sun, spending
the morning in preparation at the glass, the remainder of the time till
dinner in unmeaning calls, the afternoon in yawning over a novel, and
the evening in the excitement of the tea table and the party, and the
ball room, to retire, perhaps at midnight, with the mind and body and
soul in a feverish state, to toss away the night in vapid or
distressing dreams.

How beings endowed with immortal souls can be contented to while away
precious hours in a manner so useless, and withal so displeasing to the
God who gave them their time for the improvement of themselves and
others, is to me absolutely inconceivable! Yet it is certainly done;
and that not merely by a few solitary individuals scattered up and down
the land; but in some of our most populous cities, by considerable

A philanthropic individual not long since undertook with the aid of
others, to establish a weekly or semi-weekly gazette in one of our
cities, for almost the sole purpose, as I have since learned, of
rousing the drones among her sex to benevolent action in some form or
other, in behalf of members of their families, their friends or their
neighbors. She hoped, at first, to save them from many hours of ennui
by the perusal of her columns; and that their _minds_ being opened to
instruction, and their _hearts_ made to vibrate in sympathy with the
cries of ignorance, poverty, or absolute distress, their _hands_ might
be roused to action. But alas, the articles in the paper were _too
long_, or _too dry_. They could not task their minds to go through with
an argument.

Should the young man who is seeking an 'help meet,' chance to fall in
with such _beings_ as these--and some we fear there are in almost every
part of our land,--let him shun them as he would the 'choke damp' of
the cavern.

Their society would extinguish, rather than fan the flame of every
generous or benevolent feeling that might be kindling in his bosom.
_With_ the fond, the ardent, the never failing desire to improve,
physically, intellectually, and morally, there are few females who may
not make tolerable companions for a man of sense;--_without_ it, though
a young lady were beautiful and otherwise lovely beyond comparison,
wealthy as the Indies, surrounded by thousands of the most worthy
friends, and even talented, let him beware! Better remain in celibacy a
thousand years (could life last so long) great as the evil may be, than
form a union with such an object. He should pity, and seek her
reformation, if not beyond the bounds of possibility; but love her he
should not! The penalty will be absolutely insupportable.

One point ought to be settled,--I think unalterably settled--before
matrimony. It ought indeed so be settled in early life, but it is
better late, perhaps, than never. Each of the parties should consider
themselves as sacredly pledged, in all cases, to yield to conviction. I
have no good opinion of the man who expects his wife to yield her
opinion to his, on every occasion, unless she is convinced. I say on
_every occasion_; for that she sometimes ought to do so, seems to be
both scriptural and rational. It would be very inconvenient to call in
a third person as an umpire upon every slight difference of opinion
between a young couple, besides being very humiliating. But if each
maintain, with pertinacity, their opinion, what can be done? It does
seem to me that every sensible woman, who feels any good degree of
confidence in her husband, will perceive the propriety of yielding her
opinion to his in such cases, where the matter is of such a nature that
it cannot be delayed.

But there are a thousand things occurring, in which there is no
necessity of forming an immediate opinion, or decision, except from
conviction. I should never like the idea of a woman's conforming to her
husband's views to please him, merely, without considering whether they
are correct or not. It seems to me a sort of treason against the God
who gave her a mind of her own, with an intention that she should use
it. But it would be higher treason still, in male, or female, not to
yield, when actually convinced.


Few traits of female character are more important than this. Yet there
is much reason to believe that, even in contemplating an engagement
that is expected to last for life, it is almost universally overlooked.
Without it, though a woman should possess every accomplishment of
person, mind, and manners, she would be poor indeed; and would probably
render those around her miserable. I speak now generally. There may be
exceptions to this, as to other general rules. A dislike of children,
even in men, is an unfavorable omen; in woman it is insupportable; for
it is grossly unnatural. To a susceptible, intelligent, virtuous mind,
I can scarcely conceive of a worse situation in this world or any
other, than to be chained for life to a person who hates children. You
can purchase, if you have the pecuniary means, almost every thing but
_maternal love_. This no gold can buy. Wo to the female who is doomed
to drag out a miserable existence with a husband who 'can't bear
children;' but thrice miserable is the doom of him who has a wife and a
family of children, but whose children have no _mother_! If there be
orphans any where in the wide world, they are these.[13]

The more I reflect on the four last mentioned traits of female
character, the more they rise in my estimation, eclipsing all others;
unless perhaps, a good temper.

It is said that after every precaution, the choice of a wife is like
buying a ticket in a lottery. If we were absolutely deaf and blind in
the selection, and were so from necessity, the maxim might be just. But
this is not so. We shut our eyes and stop our ears voluntarily, and
then complain of the imperfection of our means of forming a judgment.
In truth we impeach the goodness of Him who was the author of the

No young man is worthy of a wife who has not sense enough to determine,
even after a few interviews, what the bent of a lady's mind
is;--whether she listens with most pleasure to conversation which is
wholly unimproving, or whether she gladly turns from it, when an
opportunity offers, to subjects which are above the petty chit-chat or
common but fashionable scandal of the day; and above all, avoids
_retailing_ it. He knows, or _may_ know, without a 'seven years'
acquaintance, whether she spends a part of her leisure time in reading,
or whether the whole is spent in dressing, visiting, or conversing
about plays, actors, theatres, &c. And if she reads a part of the time,
the fault must be his own, if he does not know whether she relishes any
thing but the latest novel, or the most light--not to say
empty--periodical. Let it be remembered, then, by every young man that
the fault is his own, if he do not give himself time, before he forms
an engagement that is to last for life, to ascertain whether his
friendship is to be formed with a person who is desirous of
improvement, or with one who, living only for pleasure, is 'dead while
she liveth.'

You will say it is difficult to ascertain whether she is fond of
children or not. But I doubt it. Has she then no young brothers, or
sisters, or cousins? Are there no children in the neighborhood? For if
there are,--if there is but one, and she sees that individual but once
a week,--the fact may easily be ascertained. If she loves that child,
the child will love her; and its eye will brighten when it sees her, or
hears her name mentioned. Children seldom fail to keep debt and credit
in these matters, and they know how to balance the account, with great

These remarks are made, not in the belief that they will benefit those
who are already blinded by fancy or passion, but with the hope that
some more fortunate reader may reflect on the probable chances of
happiness or misery, and pause before he leaps into the vortex of
matrimonial discord. No home can ever be a happy one to any of its
inmates, where there is no maternal love, nor any desire for mental or
moral improvement. But where these exist, in any considerable degree,
and the original attachment was founded on correct principles, there is
always hope of brighter days, even though clouds at present obscure the
horizon. No woman who loves her husband, and desires to make continual
improvement, will long consent to render those around her unhappy.

      [13] It is worthy of remark, as a well established fact, that the
      Chinese have an _Isan-mon_ or _mother_, to their silkworms! Her
      duty is, not to attend to the eggs and the hatching, for nature
      has made provision for that; but to take possession of the
      chamber where the young are deposited; to see that it be free
      from 'noisome smells, and all noises;' to attend to its
      temperature, and to 'avoid making a smoke, or raising a dust.'
      She must not enter the room till she is perfectly clean in person
      and dress, and must be clothed in a very plain habit; and in
      order to be more sensible to the temperature of the place, her
      dress must contain no lining.

      Now although every mother of children does not have the care
      of silkworms, yet she has the care of beings who are in some
      respects equally susceptible. And I trust no person who knows the
      importance of temperature, ventilation, &c. especially to the
      tender infant, will be ashamed to derive an important lesson from
      the foregoing.


Without the knowledge and the love of domestic concerns, even the wife
of a peer, is but a poor affair. It was the fashion, in former times,
for ladies to understand a great deal about these things, and it would
be very hard to make me believe that it did not tend to promote the
interests and honor of their husbands.

The concerns of a great family never can be _well_ managed, if left
_wholly_ to hirelings; and there are many parts of these affairs in
which it would be unseemly for husbands to meddle. Surely, no lady can
be too high in rank to make it proper for her to be well acquainted
with the character and general demeanor of all the female servants. To
receive and give character is too much to be left to a servant, however
good, whose service has been ever so long, or acceptable.

Much of the ease and happiness of the great and rich must depend on the
character of those by whom they are assisted. They live under the same
roof with them; they are frequently the children of their tenants, or
poorer neighbors; the conduct of their whole lives must be influenced
by the examples and precepts which they here imbibe; and when ladies
consider how much more weight there must be in one word from them, than
in ten thousand words from a person who, call her what you like, is
still a _fellow servant_, it does appear strange that they should
forego the performance of this at once important and pleasing part of
their duty.

I am, however, addressing myself, in this work, to persons in the
middle ranks of life; and here a knowledge of domestic affairs is so
necessary in every wife, that the lover ought to have it continually in
his eye. Not only a knowledge of these affairs--not only to know how
things _ought to be done_, but how to _do them_; not only to know what
ingredients ought to be put into a pie or a pudding, but to be able _to
make_ the pie or the pudding.

Young people, when they come together, ought not, unless they have
fortunes, or are to do unusual business, to think about _servants_!
Servants for what! To help them eat, and drink, and sleep? When they
have children, there must be some _help_ in a farmer's or tradesman's
house, but until then, what call is there for a servant in a house, the
master of which has to _earn_ every mouthful that is consumed?

Eating and drinking come _three times every day_; they must come; and,
however little we may, in the days of our health and vigor, care about
choice food and about cookery, we very soon get _tired_ of heavy or
burnt bread, and of spoiled joints of meat. We bear them for once or
twice perhaps; but about the third time, we begin to lament; about the
fifth time, it must be an extraordinary affair that will keep us from
complaining; if the like continue for a month or two, we begin to
_repent_; and then adieu to all our anticipated delights. We discover,
when it is too late, that we have not got a helpmate, but a burden;
and, the fire of love being damped, the unfortunately educated
creature, whose parents are more to blame than she is, unless she
resolve to learn her duty, is doomed to lead a life very nearly
approaching to that of misery; for, however considerate the husband, he
never can esteem her as he would have done, had she been skilled in
domestic affairs.

The mere _manual_ performance of domestic labors is not, indeed,
absolutely necessary in the female head of the family of professional
men; but, even here, and also in the case of great merchants and of
gentlemen living on their fortunes, surely the head of the household
ought to be able to give directions as to the purchasing of meal,
salting meat, making bread, making preserves of all sorts; and ought to
see the things done.

The lady ought to take care that food be well cooked; that there be
always a sufficient supply; that there be good living without waste;
and that in her department, nothing shall be seen inconsistent with the
rank, station, and character of her husband. If he have a skilful and
industrious wife, he will, unless he be of a singularly foolish turn,
gladly leave all these things to her absolute dominion, controlled only
by the extent of the whole expenditure, of which he must be the best

But, in a farmer's or a tradesman's family, the manual performance is
absolutely necessary, whether there be domestics or not. No one knows
how to teach another so well as one who has done, and can do, the thing
himself. It was said of a famous French commander, that, in attacking
an enemy, he did not say to his men '_go_ on,' but '_come_ on;' and,
whoever has well observed the movements of domestics, must know what a
prodigious difference there is in the effect of the words, _go_ and

A very good rule would be, to have nothing to eat, in a farmer's or
mechanic's house, that the mistress did not know how to prepare and to
cook; no pudding, tart, pie or cake, that she did not know how to make.
Never fear the toil to her: exercise is good for health; and without
health there is no beauty. Besides, what is the labor in such a case?
And how many thousands of ladies, who idle away the day, would give
half their fortunes for that sound sleep which the stirring housewife
seldom fails to enjoy.

Yet, if a young farmer or mechanic _marry_ a girl, who has been brought
up only to '_play music_;' to _draw_, to _sing_, to waste paper, pen
and ink in writing long and half romantic letters, and to see shows,
and plays, and read novels;--if a young man do marry such an
unfortunate young creature, let him bear the consequences with temper.
Let him be _just_. Justice will teach him to treat her with great
indulgence; to endeavor to persuade her to learn her business as a
wife; to be patient with her; to reflect that he has taken her, being
apprized of her inability; to bear in mind, that he was, or seemed to
be, pleased with her showy and useless acquirements; and that, when the
gratification of his passion has been accomplished, he is unjust, and
cruel, and unmanly, if he turn round upon her, and accuse her of a want
of that knowledge, which he well knew, beforehand, she did not possess.

For my part, I do not know, nor can I form an idea of, a more
unfortunate being than a girl with a mere boarding school education,
and without a fortune to enable her to keep domestics, when married. Of
what _use_ are _her_ accomplishments? Of what use her music, her
drawing, and her romantic epistles? If she should chance to possess a
sweet disposition, and good nature, the first faint cry of her first
babe drives all the tunes and all the landscapes, and all the imaginary
beings out of her head for ever.

The farmer or the tradesman's wife has to _help earn_ a provision for
her children; or, at the least, to help to earn a store for sickness or
old age. She ought, therefore, to be qualified to begin, at once, to
assist her husband in his earnings. The way in which she can most
efficiently assist, is by taking care of his property; by expending his
money to the greatest advantage; by wasting nothing, but by making the
table sufficiently abundant with the least expense.

But how is she to do these things, unless she has been _brought up_ to
understand domestic affairs? How is she to do these things, if she has
been taught to think these matters beneath her study? How is the man to
expect her to do these things, if she has been so bred, as to make her
habitually look upon them as worthy the attention of none but low and
ignorant women?

_Ignorant_, indeed! Ignorance consists in a want of knowledge of those
things which your calling or state of life naturally supposes you to
understand. A ploughman is not an ignorant man because he does not know
how to read. If he knows how to plough, he is not to be called an
ignorant man; but a wife may be justly called an ignorant woman, if she
does not know how to provide a dinner for her husband. It is cold
comfort for a hungry man, to tell him how delightfully his wife plays
and sings. _Lovers_ may live on very aerial diet, but husbands stand in
need of something more solid; and young women may take my word for it,
that a constantly clean table, well cooked victuals, a house in order,
and a cheerful fire, will do more towards preserving a husband's heart,
than all the 'accomplishments' taught in all the 'establishments' in
the world without them.


Surely no reasonable young man will expect sobriety in a companion,
when he does not possess this qualification himself. But by _sobriety_,
I do not mean a habit which is opposed to _intoxication_, for if that
be hateful in a man, what must it be in a woman? Besides, it does seem
to me that no young man, with his eyes open, and his other senses
perfect, needs any caution on that point. Drunkenness, downright
drunkenness, is usually as incompatible with _purity_, as it is with

Much is sometimes said in favor of a little wine or other fermented
liquors, especially at dinner. No young lady, in health, needs any of
these stimulants. Wine, or ale, or cider, at dinner! I would as soon
take a companion from the _streets_, as one who must habitually have
her glass or two of wine at dinner. And this is not an opinion formed
prematurely or hastily.

But by the word SOBRIETY in a young woman, I mean a great deal more
than even a rigid abstinence from a love of drink, which I do not
believe to exist to any considerable degree, in this country, even in
the least refined parts of it. I mean a great deal _more_ than this; I
mean sobriety of conduct. The word _sober_ and its derivatives mean
_steadiness_, _seriousness_, _carefulness_, _scrupulous propriety of

Now this kind of sobriety is of great importance in the person with
whom we are to live constantly. Skipping, romping, rattling girls are
very amusing where all consequences are out of the question, and they
may, perhaps, ultimately become _sober_. But while you have no
certainty of this, there is a presumptive argument on the other side.
To be sure, when girls are mere children, they are expected to play and
romp _like_ children. But when they are arrived at an age which turns
their thoughts towards a situation for life; when they begin to think
of having the command of a house, however small or poor, it is time for
them to cast away, not the cheerfulness or the simplicity, but the
_levity_ of the child.

'If I could not have found a young woman,' says a certain writer, 'who
I was not sure possessed _all_ the qualities expressed by that word
_sobriety_, I should have remained a bachelor to the end of life.
Scores of gentlemen have, at different times, expressed to me their
surprise that I was "_always in spirits_; that nothing _pulled me
down_;" and the truth is, that throughout nearly forty years of
troubles, losses, and crosses, assailed all the while by numerous and
powerful enemies, and performing, at the same time, greater mental
labors than man ever before performed; all those labors requiring
mental exertion, and some of them mental exertion of the highest order,
I have never known a single hour of _real anxiety_; the troubles have
been no troubles to me; I have not known what _lowness of spirits_
meant; and have been more gay, and felt less care than any bachelor
that ever lived. "You are always in spirits!" To be sure, for why
should I not be so? Poverty, I have always set at defiance, and I
could, therefore, defy the temptations to riches; and as to _home_ and
_children_, I had taken care to provide myself with an inexhaustible
store of that "sobriety" which I so strongly recommend to others.

'This sobriety is a title to trustworthiness; and this, young man, is
the treasure that you ought to prize above all others. Miserable is the
husband who, when he crosses the threshold of his house, carries with
him doubts, and fears, and suspicions. I do not mean suspicions of the
_fidelity_ of his wife; but of her care, frugality, attention to his
interests, and to the health and morals of his children. Miserable is
the man who cannot leave all unlocked; and who is not _sure_, quite
_certain_, that all is as safe as if grasped in his own hand.

'He is the happy husband who can go away at a moment's warning, leaving
his house and family with as little anxiety as he quits an inn, no more
fearing to find, on his return, any thing wrong, than he would fear a
discontinuance of the rising and setting of the sun; and if, as in my
case, leaving books and papers all lying about at sixes and sevens,
finding them arranged in proper order, and the room, during the lucky
interval, freed from the effects of his and his ploughman's or
gardener's dirty shoes. Such a man has no _real cares--no troubles_;
and this is the sort of life I have led. I have had all the numerous
and indescribable delights of home and children, and at the same time,
all the bachelor's freedom from domestic cares.

'But in order to possess this precious _trustworthiness_, you must, if
you can, exercise your _reason_ in the choice of your partner. If she
be vain of her person, very fond of dress, fond of _flattery_ at all,
given to gadding about, fond of what are called _parties of pleasure_,
or _coquetish_, though in the least degree,--she will never be
trustworthy; she cannot change her nature; and if you marry her, you
will be unjust, if you expect trustworthiness at her hands. But on the
other hand, if you find in her that innate _sobriety_ of which I have
been speaking, there is required on your part, and that at once, too,
confidence and trust without any limit. Confidence in this case is
nothing, unless it be reciprocal. To have a trustworthy wife, you must
begin by showing her, even before marriage, that you have no
suspicions, fears, or doubts in regard to her. Many a man has been
discarded by a virtuous girl, merely on account of his querulous
conduct. All women despise jealous men, and if they marry them, their
motive is other than that of affection.'

There is a tendency, in our very natures, to become what we are taken
to be. Beware then of suspicion or jealousy, lest you produce the very
thing which you most dread. The evil results of suspicion and jealousy
whether in single or married, public or private life, may be seen by
the following fact.

A certain professional gentleman had the misfortune to possess a
suspicious temper. He had not a better friend on the earth than Mr. C.,
yet by some unaccountable whim or other, he began of a sudden to
suspect he was his enemy;--and what was at first at the farthest
possible remove from the truth, ultimately grew to be a reality. Had it
not have been for his jealousy, Mr. C. might have been to this hour one
of the doctor's warmest and most confidential friends, instead of being
removed--and in a great measure through _his_ influence--from a useful
field of labor.

'Let any man observe as I frequently have,' says the writer last
quoted, 'with delight, the excessive fondness of the laboring people
for their children. Let him observe with what care they dress them out
on Sundays with means deducted from their own scanty meals. Let him
observe the husband, who has toiled, like his horse, all the week,
nursing the babe, while the wife is preparing dinner. Let him observe
them both abstaining from a sufficiency, lest the children should feel
the pinchings of hunger. Let him observe, in short, the whole of their
demeanor, the real mutual affection evinced, not in words, but in
unequivocal deeds.

'Let him observe these things, and having then cast a look at the lives
of the great and wealthy, he will say, with me, that when a man is
choosing his partner for life, the dread of poverty ought to be cast to
the winds. A laborer's cottage in a cleanly condition; the husband or
wife having a babe in arms, looking at two or three older ones, playing
between the flower borders, going from the wicket to the door, is,
according to my taste, the most interesting object that eyes ever
beheld; and it is an object to be seen in no country on earth but

It happens, however, that the writer had not seen all the countries
upon earth, nor even all in the interior of United America. There are
as moving instances of native simplicity and substantial happiness here
as in any other country; and occasionally in even the higher classes.
The wife of a distinguished lawyer and senator in Congress, never left
the society of her own children, to go for once to see her friends
abroad, in _eleven years_! I am not defending the conduct of the
husband who would doom his wife to imprisonment in his own house, even
amid a happy group of children, for eleven years; but the example
shows, at least, that there are women fitted for domestic life in other
countries besides England.

Ardent young men may fear that great sobriety in a young woman argues a
want of that warmth which they naturally so much desire and approve.
But observation and experience attest to the contrary. They tell us
that levity is ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the companion of a
_want_ of ardent feeling. But the _licentious_ never _love_. Their
passion is chiefly animal. Even better women, if they possess light and
frivolous minds, have seldom any ardent passion.

I would not, however, recommend that you should be too severe in
judging, when the conduct does not go beyond mere _levity_, and is not
bordering on _loose_ conduct; for something certainly depends here on
constitution and animal spirits, and something on the manners of the

If any person imagine that the sobriety I have been recommending would
render young women moping or gloomy, he is much mistaken, for the
contrary is the fact. I have uniformly found--and I began to observe it
in my very childhood--that your jovial souls, men or women, except when
over the bottle, are of all human beings the most dull and insipid.
They can no more exist--they may _vegetate_--but they can no more
_live_ without some excitement, than a fish could live on the top of
the Alleghany. If it be not the excitement of the bottle, it must be
that of the tea or the coffee cup, or food converted into some
unwholesome form or other by condiments; or if it be none of these,
they must have some excitement of the intellect, for intemperance is
not confined to the use of condiments and poisons for the body; there
are condiments and poisons to mind and heart. In fact, they usually
accompany each other.

Show me a person who cannot live on plain and simple food and the only
drink the Creator ever made, and as a general rule you will show me a
person to whom the plain and the solid and the useful in domestic,
social, intellectual, and moral life are insipid if not disgusting.
'They are welcome to all that sort of labor,' said one of these
creatures--not rationals--this very day, to me, in relation to plain
domestic employments.--Show me a female, as many, alas! very many in
fashionable life are now trained, and you show me a person who has none
of the qualities that fit her to be a help meet for man in a life of
simplicity. She could recite well at the high school, no doubt; but the
moment she leaves school, she has nothing to do, and is taught to do
nothing. I have seen girls, of this description, and they may be seen
by others.

But what is such a female--one who can hardly help herself--good for,
at home or abroad; married, or single? The moment she has not some
feast, or party, or play, or novel, or--I know not what--something to
keep up a fever, the moment I say that she has not something of this
sort to anticipate or enjoy, that moment she is miserable. Wo to the
young man who becomes wedded for life to a creature of this
description. She may stay at home, for want of a better place, and she
may add one to the national census every ten years, but a companion, or
a mother, she cannot be.

I should dislike a moping melancholy creature as much as any man,
though were I tied to such a thing, I could live with her; but I never
could enjoy her society, nor but half of my own. He is but half a man
who is thus wedded, and will exclaim, in a literal sense, 'When shall I
be delivered from the body of this death?'

One hour, an _animal_ of this sort is moping, especially if nobody but
her husband is present; the next hour, if others happen to be present,
she has plenty of smiles; the next she is giggling or capering about;
and the next singing to the motion of a lazy needle, or perhaps weeping
over a novel. And this is called sentiment! _She_ is a woman of feeling
and good taste!


Let not the individual whose eye catches the word _industry_, at the
beginning of this division of my subject, condemn me as degrading
females to the condition of mere wheels in a machine for money-making;
for I mean no such thing. There is nothing more abhorrent to the soul
of a sensible man than female _avarice_. The 'spirit of a man' may
sustain him, while he sees avaricious and miserly individuals among his
own sex, though the sight is painful enough, even here; but a female
miser, 'who can bear?'

Still if woman is intended to be a 'help meet,' for the other sex, I
know of no reason why she should not be so in physical concerns, as
well as mental and moral. I know not by what rule it is that many
resolve to remain for ever in celibacy, unless they believe their
companion can 'support' them, without labor. I have sometimes even
doubted whether any person who makes these declarations can be sincere.
Yet when I hear people, of both sexes, speak of poverty as a greater
calamity than death, I am led to think that this dread of poverty does
really exist among both sexes. And there are reasons for believing that
some females, bred in fashionable life, look forward to matrimony as a
state, of such entire exemption from care and labor, and of such
uninterrupted ease, that they would prefer celibacy and even death to
those duties which scripture, and reason, and common sense, appear to
me to enjoin.

Such persons, whatever may be their other qualifications, I call upon
every young man to avoid, as he would a pestilence. If they are really
determined to live and act as mere drones in society, let them live
alone. Do not give them an opportunity to spread the infection of so
wretched a disease, if you can honestly help it.

The woman who does not actually prefer action to inaction--industry to
idleness--labor to ease--and who does not steadfastly resolve to labor
moderately as long as she lives, whatever may be her circumstances, is
unfit for life, social or domestic. It is not for me to say, in what
_form_ her labor shall be applied, except in rearing the young. But
labor she ought--all she is able--while life and health lasts, at
something or other; or she ought not to complain if she suffers the
_natural penalty_; and she ought to do it with cheerfulness.

I like much the quaint remark of a good old lady of ninety. She was
bred to labor, had labored through the whole of her long and eventful
life, and was still at her 'wheel.' 'Why,' said she, 'people ought to
strain _every nerve_ to get property, as a matter of Christian duty.'

I should choose to modify this old lady's remark, and say that, people
ought to do all they can _without straining_ their _muscles_ or
_nerves_; not to get property, but because it is at once, their duty
and their happiness.

The great object of life is to do good. The great object of society is
to increase the power to good. Both sexes should aim, in matrimony, at
a more extended sphere of usefulness. To increase an estate, merely, is
a low and unworthy aim, from which may God preserve the rising
generation. Still I must say, that I greatly prefer the avaricious
being--a monster though she might be--to the stupid soul who would not
lift a finger if she could help it, and who determines to fold her arms
whenever she has a convenient opportunity.

If a female be lazy, there will be lazy domestics, and, what is a great
deal worse, children will acquire this habit. Every thing, however
necessary to be done, will be put off to the last moment, and then it
will be done badly, and, in many cases, not at all. The dinner will be
too late; the journey or the visit will be tardy; inconveniences of all
sorts will be continually arising. There will always be a heavy arrear
of things unperformed; and this, even among the most wealthy, is a
great evil; for if they have no business imposed upon them by
necessity, they _make_ business for themselves. Life would be
intolerable without it; and therefore an indolent woman must always be
an evil, be her rank or station what it may.

But, _who is to tell_ whether a girl will make an industrious woman?
How is the pur-blind lover especially, to be able to ascertain whether
she, whose smiles and dimples and bewitching lips have half bereft him
of his senses; how is he to be able to judge, from any thing that he
can see, whether the beloved object will be industrious or lazy? Why,
it is very difficult; it is a matter that reason has very little to do
with. Still there are indications which enable a man, not wholly
deprived of the use of his reason, to form a pretty accurate judgment
in this matter.

It was a famous story some years ago, that a young man, who was
courting one of three sisters, happened to be on a visit to her, when
all the three were present, and when one said to the others, 'I
_wonder_ where _our_ needle is.' Upon which he withdrew, as soon as was
consistent with the rules of politeness, resolving to think no more of
a girl who possessed a needle only in partnership, and who, it
appeared, was not too well informed as to the place where even that
share was deposited.

This was, to be sure, a very flagrant instance of a want of industry;
for, if the third part of the use of a needle satisfied her, when
single, it was reasonable to anticipate that marriage would banish that
useful implement altogether. But such instances are seldom suffered to
come in contact with the eyes and ears of the lover. There are,
however, as I have already said, certain _rules_, which, if attended to
with care, will serve as pretty sure guides.

And, first, if you find the tongue lazy, you may be nearly certain that
the hands and feet are not very industrious. By laziness of the tongue
I do not mean silence; but, I mean, a _slow_ and _soft_ utterance; a
sort of _sighing_ out of the words, instead of _speaking_ them; a sort
of letting the sounds fall out, as if the party were sick at stomach.
The pronunciation of an industrious person is generally _quick_, and
_distinct_; the voice, if not strong, _firm_ at the least. Not
masculine, but as feminine as possible; not a _croak_ nor a _bawl_, but
a quick, distinct, and sound voice.

One writer insists that the motion of those little members of the body,
the teeth, are very much in harmony with the operations of the mind;
and a very observing gentleman assures me that he can judge pretty
accurately of the temper, and indeed of the general character of a
_child_, by his manner of eating. And I have no doubt of the fact.
Nothing is more obvious than that the temper of the child who is so
greedy as to swallow down his food habitually, without masticating it,
must be very different from that of him who habitually eats slowly.
Hunger, I know, will quicken the jaws in either case, but I am
supposing them on an equal footing in this respect.

Another mark of industry is, a _quick step_, and a somewhat _heavy
tread_, showing that the foot comes down with a _hearty good will_. If
the body lean a little forward, and the eyes keep steadily in the same
direction, while the feet are going, so much the better, for these
discover _earnestness_ to arrive at the intended point. I do not like,
and I _never_ liked, your _sauntering_, soft-stepping girls, who move
as if they were perfectly indifferent as to the result. And, as to the
_love_ part of the story, who ever expects ardent and lasting affection
from one of these sauntering girls, will, when too late, find his
mistake. The character is much the same throughout; and probably no man
ever yet saw a sauntering girl, who did not, when married, make an
indifferent wife, and a cold-hearted mother; cared very little for,
either by husband or children; and, of course, having no store of those
blessings which are the natural resources to apply to in sickness and
in old age.


_Early rising_ is another mark of industry; and though, in the higher
stations of life, it may be of no importance in a mere pecuniary point
of view, it is, even there, of importance in other respects; for it is
rather difficult to keep love alive towards a woman who never sees the
_dew_, never beholds the rising _sun_, and who constantly comes
directly from a reeking bed to the breakfast table, and there chews,
without appetite, the choicest morsels of human food. A man might,
perhaps, endure this for a month or two, without being disgusted; but
not much longer.

As to people in the middle rank of life, where a living and a provision
for children is to be sought by labor of some sort or other, late
rising in the wife is certain ruin; and rarely will you find an
early-rising wife, who had been a late-rising girl. If brought up to
late rising, she will like it; it will be her _habit_; she will, when
married, never want excuses for indulging in the habit. At first she
will be indulged without bounds; and to make a _change_ afterwards will
be difficult, for it will be deemed a _wrong_ done to her; she will
ascribe it to diminished affection. A quarrel must ensue, or, the
husband must submit to be ruined, or, at the very least, to see half
the fruit of his labor snored and lounged away.

And, is this being unreasonably harsh or severe upon woman? By no
means. It arises from an ardent desire to promote the happiness, and to
add to the natural, legitimate, and salutary influence of the female
sex. The tendency of this advice is to promote the preservation of
their health; to prolong the duration of their beauty; to cause them to
be loved to the last day of their lives; and to give them, during the
whole of those lives, that weight and consequence, and respect, of
which laziness would render them wholly unworthy.


This means the contrary of extravagance. It does not mean _stinginess_;
it does not mean _pinching_; but it means an abstaining from all
unnecessary expenditure, and all unnecessary use of goods of any and of
every sort. It is a quality of great importance, whether the rank in
life be high or low.

Some people are, indeed, so rich, they have such an over-abundance of
money and goods, that how to get rid of them would, to a spectator,
seem to be their only difficulty. How many individuals of fine estates,
have been ruined and degraded by the extravagance of their wives! More
frequently by their _own_ extravagance, perhaps; but, in numerous
instances, by that of those whose duty it is to assist in upholding
their stations by husbanding their fortunes.

If this be the case amongst the opulent, who have estates to draw upon,
what must be the consequences of a want of frugality in the middle and
lower ranks of life? Here it must be fatal, and especially among that
description of persons whose wives have, in many cases, the receiving
as well as the expending of money. In such a case, there wants nothing
but extravagance in the wife to make ruin as inevitable as the arrival
of old age.

To obtain security against this is very difficult; yet, if the lover be
not quite _blind_, he may easily discover a propensity towards
extravagance. The object of his addresses will, nine times out of ten,
never be the manager of a house; but she must have her _dress_, and
other little matters under her control. If she be costly in these; if,
in these, she step above her rank, or even to the top of it; if she
purchase all she is able to purchase, and prefer the showy to the
useful, the gay and the fragile to the less sightly and more durable,
he may be sure that the disposition will cling to her through life. If
he perceive in her a taste for costly food, costly furniture, costly
amusements: if he find her love of gratification to be bounded only by
her want of means; if he find her full of admiration of the trappings
of the rich, and of desire to be able to imitate them, he may be pretty
sure that she will not spare his purse, when once she gets her hand
into it; and, therefore, if he can bid adieu to her charms, the sooner
he does it, the better.

Some of the indications of extravagance in a lady are ear-rings,
broaches, bracelets, buckles, necklaces, diamonds, (real or mock,) and
nearly all the ornaments which women put upon their persons.

These things may be more proper in _palaces_, or in scenes resembling
palaces; but, when they make their appearance amongst people in the
middle rank of life, where, after all, they only serve to show that
poverty in the parties which they wish to disguise; when the mean,
tawdry things make their appearance in this rank of life, they are the
sure indications of a disposition that will always be straining at what
it can never attain.

To marry a girl of this disposition is really self-destruction. You
never can have either property or peace. Earn her a horse to ride, she
will want a gig: earn the gig, she will want a chariot: get her that,
she will long for a coach and four: and, from stage to stage, she will
torment you to the end of her or your days; for, still there will be
somebody with a finer equipage than you can give her; and, as long as
this is the case, you will never have rest. Reason would tell her, that
she could never be at the _top_; that she must stop at some point short
of that; and that, therefore, all expenses in the rivalship are so much
thrown away. But, reason and broaches and bracelets seldom go in
company. The girl who has not the sense to perceive that her person is
disfigured and not beautified by parcels of brass and tin, or even gold
and silver, as well to _regret_, if she dare not _oppose_ the tyranny
of absurd fashions, is not entitled to a full measure of the confidence
of any individual.


There never yet was, and there never will be sincere and ardent love,
of long duration, where personal neatness is wholly neglected. I do not
say that there are not those who would live peaceably and even
contentedly in these circumstances. But what I contend for is this:
that there never can exist, for any length of time, ardent _affection_,
in any man towards a woman who neglects neatness, either in her person,
or in her house affairs.

Men may be careless as to their own person; they may, from the nature
of their business, or from their want of time to adhere to neatness in
dress, be slovenly in their own dress and habits; but, they do not
relish this in their wives, who must still have _charms_; and charms
and neglect of the person seldom go together. I do not, of course,
approve of it even in men.

We may, indeed, lay it down as a rule of almost universal application,
that supposing all other things to be equal, he who is most guilty of
personal neglect; will be the most ignorant and the most vicious. _Why_
there should be, universally, a connection between slovenliness,
ignorance, and vice, is a question I have no room in this work to

I am well acquainted with one whole family who neglect their persons
from principle. The gentleman, who is a sort of new light in religious
concerns, will tell you that the true Christian _should_ 'slight the
hovel, as beneath his care.' But there is a want of intelligence, and
even common refinement in the family, that certainly does not and
_cannot_ add much to their own happiness, or recommend religion--aside
from the fact that it greatly annoys their neighbors. And though the
head of the family observes many external duties with Jewish
strictness, neither he nor any of its members are apt to bridle their
tongues, or remember that on _ordinary_ as well as _special_ occasions
they are bound to 'do all to the glory of God.' As to the connection of
mind with matter--I mean the dependence of mind and soul on body, they
are wholly ignorant.

It is not dress that the husband wants to be perpetual: it is not
finery; but _cleanliness_ in every thing. Women generally dress enough,
especially when they _go abroad_. This _occasional_ cleanliness is not
the thing that a husband wants: he wants it always; in-doors as well as
out; by night as well as by day; on the floor as well as on the table;
and, however he may complain about the trouble and the 'expense' of it,
he would complain more if it were neglected.

The indications of female neatness are, first, a clean _skin_. The
hands and face will usually be clean, to be sure, if there be soap and
water within reach; but if on observing other parts of the head besides
the face, you make discoveries indicating a different character, the
sooner you cease your visits the better. I hope, now, that no young
woman who may chance to see this book, will be offended at this, and
think me too severe on her sex. I am only telling that which all men
think; and, it is a decided advantage to them to be fully informed of
our thoughts on the subject. If any one, who reads this, shall find,
upon self-examination, that she is defective in this respect, let her
take the hint, and correct the defect.

In the _dress_, you can, amongst rich people, find little whereon to
form a judgment as to cleanliness, because they have not only the dress
prepared for them, but put upon them into the bargain. But, in the
middle ranks of life, the dress is a good criterion in two respects:
first, as to its _color_; for if the _white_ be a sort of _yellow_,
cleanly hands would have been at work to prevent that. A _white-yellow_
cravat, or shirt, on a man, speaks at once the character of his wife;
and, you may be assured, that she will not take with your dress pains
which she has never taken with her own.

Then, the manner of _putting on_ the dress, is no bad foundation for
judging. If this be careless, and slovenly, if it do not fit
properly,--no matter for its _mean quality_; mean as it may be, it may
be neatly and trimly put on--if it be slovenly put on, I say, take care
of yourself; for, you will soon find to your cost, that a sloven in one
thing, is a sloven in all things. The plainer people, judge greatly
from the state of the covering of the ankles; and, if that be not clean
and tight, they conclude that the rest is not as it ought to be. Look
at the shoes! If they be trodden on one side, loose on the foot, or run
down at the heel, it is a very bad _sign_; and as to going _slipshod_,
though at coming down in the morning, and even before daylight, make up
your mind to a rope, rather than live with a slipshod woman.

How much do women lose by inattention to these matters! Men, in
general, say nothing about it to their wives, but they _think_ about
it; they envy their more lucky neighbors, and in numerous cases,
consequences the most serious arise from this apparently trifling
cause. Beauty is valuable; it is one of the _ties_, and a _strong_ one
too; but it cannot last to old age; whereas the charm of cleanliness
never ends but with life itself. It has been said that the sweetest
flowers, when they really become putrid, are the most offensive. So the
most beautiful woman, if found with an uncleansed skin, is, in my
estimation, the most disagreeable.


This is a very difficult thing to ascertain beforehand. Smiles are
cheap; they are easily put on for the occasion; and, besides, the
frowns are, according to the lover's whim, interpreted into the
contrary. By 'good temper,' I do not mean an easy temper, a serenity
which nothing disturbs; for that is a mark of laziness. Sullenness, if
you be not too blind to perceive it, is a temper to be avoided by all
means. A sullen man is bad enough; what, then, must be a sullen woman,
and that woman a _wife_; a constant inmate, a companion day and night!
Only think of the delight of setting at the same table, and occupying
the same chamber, for a week, without exchanging a word all the while!
Very bad to be scolding for such a length of time; but this is far
better than 'the _sulks_.'

But if you have your eyes, and look sharp, you will discover symptoms
of this, if it unhappily exist. She will, at some time or other, show
it towards some one or other of the family; or, perhaps, towards
yourself; and you may be quite sure that, in this respect, marriage
will not mend her. Sullenness arises from capricious displeasure not
founded in reason. The party takes offence unjustifiably; is unable to
frame a complaint, and therefore expresses displeasure by silence. The
remedy for it is, to suffer it to take its _full swing_, but it is
better not to have the disease in your house; and to be _married to
it_, is little short of madness.

_Querulousness_ is a great fault. No man, and, especially, no _woman_,
likes to hear a continual plaintiveness. That she complain, and roundly
complain, of your want of punctuality, of your coolness, of your
neglect, of your liking the company of others: these are all very well,
more especially as they are frequently but too just. But an everlasting
complaining, without rhyme or reason, is a bad sign. It shows want of
patience, and, indeed, want of sense.

But the contrary of this, a cold _indifference_, is still worse. 'When
will you come again? You can never find time to come here. You like any
company better than mine.' These, when groundless, are very teasing,
and demonstrate a disposition too full of anxiousness; but, from a girl
who always receives you with the same civil smile, lets you, at your
own good pleasure, depart with the same; and who, when you take her by
the hand, holds her cold fingers as straight as sticks, I should say,
in mercy, preserve _me_!

_Pertinacity_ is a very bad thing in anybody, and especially in a young
woman; and it is sure to increase in force with the age of the party.
To have the last word, is a poor triumph; but with some people it is a
species of disease of the mind. In a wife it must be extremely
troublesome; and, if you find an ounce of it in the maid, it will
become a pound in the wife. A fierce _disputer_ is a most disagreeable
companion; and where young women thrust their _say_ into conversations
carried on by older persons, give their opinions in a positive manner,
and court a contest of the tongue, those must be very bold men who will
encounter them as wives.

Still, of all the faults as to _temper_, your melancholy ladies have
the worst, unless you have the same mental disease yourself. Many wives
are, at times, _misery-makers_; but these carry it on as a regular
trade. They are always unhappy about something, either past, present,
or to come. Both arms full of children is a pretty efficient remedy in
most cases; but, if these ingredients be wanting, a little want, a
little _real_ trouble, a little _genuine affliction_, often will effect
a cure.


By accomplishments, I mean those things, which are usually comprehended
in what is termed a useful and polite education. Now it is not unlikely
that the fact of my adverting to this subject so late, may lead to the
opinion that I do not set a proper estimate on this female

But it is not so. Probably few set too high an estimate upon it. Its
_absolute_ importance has, I am confident, been seldom overrated. It is
true I do not like a _bookish_ woman better than a bookish man;
especially a great devourer of that most contemptible species of books
with whose burden the press daily groans: I mean _novels_. But mental
cultivation, and even what is called _polite_ learning, along with the
foregoing qualifications, are a most valuable acquisition, and make
every female, as well as all her associates, doubly happy. It is only
when books, and music, and a taste for the fine arts are substituted
for other and more important things, that they should be allowed to
change love or respect to disgust.

It sometimes happens, I know, that two persons are, in this respect,
pretty equally yoked. But what of that? It only makes each party
twofold more the child of misfortune than before. I have known a couple
of intelligent persons who would sit with their 'feet in the ashes,' as
it were, all day, to read some new and bewitching book, forgetting
every want of the body; perhaps even forgetting that they _had_ bodies.
Were they therefore happy, or likely to be so?

Drawing, music, embroidery, (and I might mention half a dozen other
things of the same class) where they do not exclude the more useful and
solid matters, may justly be regarded as appropriate branches of female
education; and in some circumstances and conditions of life,
indispensable. Music,--vocal and instrumental--and drawing, to a
certain extent, seem to me desirable in all. As for dancing, I do not
feel quite competent to decide. As the world is, however, I am almost
disposed to reject it altogether. At any rate, if a young lady is
accomplished in every other respect, you need not seriously regret that
she has not attended to dancing, especially as it is conducted in most
of our schools.


Criminal Behavior.

SECTION I. _Inconstancy and Seduction._

In nineteen cases out of twenty, of illicit conduct, there is perhaps,
no seduction at all; the passion, the absence of virtue, and the crime,
being all mutual. But there are cases of a very different description.
Where a young man goes coolly and deliberately to work, first to gain
and rivet the affections of a young lady, then to take advantage of
those affections to accomplish that which he knows must be her ruin,
and plunge her into misery for life;--when a young man does this, I say
he must be either a selfish and unfeeling brute, unworthy of the name
of man, or he must have a heart little inferior, in point of obduracy,
to that of the murderer. Let young women, however, be aware; let them
be _well_ aware, that few, indeed, are the cases in which this apology
can possibly avail them. Their character is not solely theirs, but
belongs, in part, to their family and kindred. They may, in the case
contemplated, be objects of compassion with the world; but what
contrition, what repentance, what remorse, what that even the tenderest
benevolence can suggest, is to heal the wounded hearts of humbled,
disgraced, but still affectionate parents, brethren, and sisters?

In the progress of an intimate acquaintance, should it be discovered
that there are certain traits of character in one of the parties, which
both are fully convinced will be a source of unhappiness, through life,
there _may_ be no special impropriety in separating. And yet even then
I would say, avoid haste. Better consider for an hour than repent for a
year, or for life. But let it be remembered, that before measures of
this kind are even hinted at, there must be a full conviction of their
necessity, and the mutual and hearty concurrence of both parties. Any
steps of this kind, the reasons for which are not fully understood on
both sides, and mutually satisfactory, as well as easily explicable to
those friends who have a right to inquire on the subject, are
criminal;--nay more; they are brutal.

I have alluded to _indirect_ promises of marriage, because I conceive
that the frequent opinion among young men that nothing is binding but a
direct promise, in so many words, is not only erroneous, but highly
dishonorable to those who hold it. The strongest pledges are frequently
given without the interchange of words. Actions speak louder than
words; and there is an attachment sometimes formed, and a confidence
reposed, which would be, in effect, weakened by formalities. The man
who would break a silent engagement, merely because it is a silent one,
especially when he has taken a course of conduct which he knew would be
likely to result in such engagement, and which perhaps he even
designed, is deserving of the public contempt. He is even a monster
unfit to live in decent society.

But there are such monsters on the earth's surface. There are
individuals to be found, who boast of their inhuman depredations on
those whom it ought to be their highest happiness to protect and aid,
rather than injure. They can witness, almost without emotion, the
heavings of a bosom rent with pangs which themselves have inflicted.
They can behold their unoffending victim, as unmoved as one who views a
philosophical experiment;--not expiring, it is true, but despoiled of
what is vastly dearer to her than life--her reputation. They can
witness all this, I say, without emotion, and without a single
compunction of conscience. And yet they go on, sometimes with apparent
prosperity and inward peace. At any rate, they _live_. No lightning
blasts them; no volcano pours over them its floods of lava; no
earthquake engulfs them. They are permitted to fill up the measure of
their wickedness. Perhaps they riot in ease, and become bloated with
luxury. But let this description of beings--men I am almost afraid to
call them--remember that punishment, though long deferred, cannot be
always evaded. A day of retribution must and will arrive. For though
they may not be visited by what a portion of the community call special
'judgments,' yet their punishment is not the less certain. The wretch
who can commit the crime to which I have referred, against a fellow
being, and sport with those promises, which, whether direct or
indirect, are of all things earthly among the most sacred, will not,
unless he repents, rest here. He will go on from step to step in
wickedness. He will harden himself against every sensibility to the
woes of others, till he becomes a fiend accursed, and whether on this
side of the grave, or the other, cannot but be completely miserable. A
single sin may not always break in upon habits of virtue so as to ruin
an individual at once; but the vices go in gangs, or companies. One
admitted and indulged, and the whole gang soon follow. And misery must
follow sin, at a distance more or less near, as inevitably as a stone
falls to the ground, or the needle points to the pole.

Some young men reason thus with themselves. If doubts about the future
have already risen--if my affections already begin to waver at
times--what is not to be expected after marriage? And is it not better
to separate, even without a mutual concurrence, than to make others,
perhaps many others, unhappy for life?

In reply, I would observe, in the first place, that though this is the
usual reason which is assigned in such cases, it is not generally the
true one. The fact is, the imagination is suffered to wander where it
ought not; and the affections are not guarded and restrained, and
confined to their proper object. And if there be a diminution of
attachment, it is not owing to any change in others, but in ourselves.
If our affection has become less ardent, let us look within, for the
cause. Shall others suffer for our own fault?

But, secondly, we may do much to control the affections, even after
they have begun to wander. We still seek the happiness of the object of
our choice, more, perhaps, than that of any other individual. Then let
us make it our constant study to promote it. It is a law of our
natures, as irrevocable as that of the attraction of gravitation, that
doing good to others produces love to them. And for myself I do not
believe the affections of a young man _can_ diminish towards one whose
happiness he is constantly studying to promote by every means in his
power, admitting there is no obvious change in her character. So that
no young person of principle ought ever to anticipate any such result.

Nor has a man any right to _sport_ with the affections of a young
woman, in any way whatever. Vanity is generally the tempter in this
case; a desire to be regarded as being admired by the women; a very
despicable species of vanity, but frequently greatly mischievous,
notwithstanding. You do not, indeed, actually, in so many words,
promise to marry; but the general tenor of your language and deportment
has that meaning; you know that your meaning is so understood; and if
you have not such meaning; if you be fixed by some previous engagement
with, or greater liking for another; if you know you are here sowing
the seeds of disappointment; and if you persevere, in spite of the
admonitions of conscience, you are guilty of deliberate deception,
injustice and cruelty. You make to God an ungrateful return for those
endowments which have enabled you to achieve this inglorious and
unmanly triumph; and if, as is frequently the case, you _glory_ in such
triumph, you may have person, riches, talents to excite envy; but every
just and humane man will abhor your heart.

The most direct injury against the spiritual nature of a fellow being
is, by leading him into vice. I have heard one young man, who was
entrusted six days in the week to form the immortal minds and hearts of
a score or two of his fellow beings, deliberately boast of the number
of the other sex he had misled. What can be more base? And must not a
terrible retribution await such Heaven daring miscreants? Whether they
accomplish their purposes by solicitation, by imposing on the judgment,
or by powerful compulsion, the wrong is the same, or at least of the
same nature; and nothing but timely and hearty repentance can save a
wretch of this description from punishment, either here or hereafter.

'Some tempers,' says Burgh, (for nothing can be more in point than his
own words) 'are so impotently ductile, that they can refuse nothing to
repeated solicitation. Whoever takes the advantage of such persons is
guilty of the lowest baseness. Yet nothing is more common than for the
debauched part of our sex to show their heroism by a poor triumph, over
weak, easy, thoughtless woman!--Nothing is more frequent than to hear
them boast of the ruin of that virtue, of which they ought to have been
the defenders. "Poor fool! she loved me, and therefore could refuse me
nothing."--Base coward! Dost thou boast of thy conquest over one, who,
by thy own confession, was disabled for resistance,--disabled by her
affection for thy worthless self! Does affection deserve such a return
Is superior understanding, or rather deeper craft, to be used against
thoughtless simplicity, and its shameful success to be boasted of? Dost
thou pride thyself that thou hast had art enough to decoy the harmless
lamb to thy hand, that thou mightest shed its blood?'

And yet there are such monsters as Burgh alludes to. There are just
such beings scattered up and down even the fairest portions of the
world we live in, to mar its beauty. We may hope, for the honor of
human nature, they are few. He who can bring himself to believe their
number to be as great as one in a thousand, may well be disposed to

    'And hang his head, to own himself a man.'

I have sometimes wished these beings--_men_ they are not--would
_reflect_, if it were but for one short moment. They will not deny the
excellency of the golden rule, of doing to others as they wish others
to do by themselves. I say they will not deny it, in theory; why then
should they despise it in practice?

Let them _think_ a moment. Let them imagine themselves in the place of
the injured party. Could this point be gained; could they be induced to
reflect long enough to see the enormity of their guilt as it really is,
or as the Father in heaven may be supposed to see it, there might be
hope in their case. Or if they find it difficult to view themselves as
the injured, let them suppose, rather, a sister or a daughter. What
seducer is so lost to all natural affection as not to have his whole
soul revolt at the bare thought of having a beloved daughter experience
the treatment which he has inflicted? Yet the being whom he has ruined
had brothers or parents; and those brothers had a sister; and those
parents a daughter!

SECTION II. _Licentiousness._

I wish it were in my power to finish my remarks in this place, without
feeling that I had made an important omission. But such is the tendency
of human nature, especially in the case of the young and ardent, to
turn the most valuable blessings conferred on man into curses,--and
poison, at their very sources, the purest streams of human
felicity,--that it will be necessary to advert briefly but plainly to
some of the most frequent forms of youthful irregularity.

Large cities and thinly settled places are the _extremes_ of social
life. Here, of course, vice will be found in its worst forms. It is
more difficult to say which extreme is worst, among _an equal number of
individuals_; but probably the city; for in the country, vice is
oftener solitary, and less frequently social; while in the city it is
not only _social_ but also _solitary_.

A well informed gentleman from New Orleans, of whose own virtue by the
way, I have not the _highest_ confidence, expressed, lately the
strongest apprehension that the whole race of young men in our cities,
of the present generation, will be ruined. Others have assured me that
in the more northern cities, the prospect is little, if any, more

It is to be regretted that legislators have not found out the means of
abolishing those haunts in cities which might be appropriately termed
schools of licentiousness, and thus diminishing an aggregate of
temptation already sufficiently large. But the vices, like their
votaries, go in companies. Until, therefore, the various haunts of
intemperance in eating and drinking, and of gambling and stage-playing,
can be broken up, it may be considered vain to hope for the
disappearance of those sties of pollution which are their almost
inevitable results. We might as well think of drying up the channel of
a mighty river, while the fountains which feed it continue to flow as

There is now in Pennsylvania,--it seems unnecessary to name the
place--a man thirty-five years old, with all the infirmities of 'three
score and ten.' Yet his premature old age, his bending and tottering
form, wrinkled face, and hoary head, might be traced to solitary and
social _licentiousness_.

This man is not alone. There are thousands in every city who are going
the same road; some with slow and cautious steps, others with a fearful
rapidity. Thousands of youth on whom high expectations have been
placed, are already on the highway that will probably lead down to
disease and premature death.

Could the multitude of once active, sprightly, and promising young men,
whose souls detested open vice, and who, without dreaming of danger,
only found their way occasionally to a lottery office, and still more
rarely to the theatre or the gambling house, until led on step by step
they ventured down those avenues which lead to the chambers of death,
from which few ever return, and none uninjured;--could the multitudes
of such beings, which in the United States alone, (though admitted to
be the paradise of the world,) have gone down to infamy through
licentiousness, be presented to our view, at once, how would it strike
us with horror! Their very numbers would astonish us, but how much more
their appearance! I am supposing them to appear as they went to the
graves, in their bloated and disfigured faces, their emaciated and
tottering frames, bending at thirty years of age under the appearance
of three or four score; diseased externally and internally; and
positively disgusting,--not only to the eye, but to some of the other

One such monster is enough to fill the soul of those who are but
moderately virtuous with horror; what then would be the effect of
beholding thousands? In view of such a scene, is there a young man in
the world, who would not form the strongest resolution not to enter
upon a road which ends in wo so remediless?

But it should be remembered that these thousands were once the
friends--the children, the brothers,--yes, sometimes the _nearer_
relatives of _other_ thousands. They had parents, sisters, brothers;
sometimes (would it were not true) wives and infants. Suppose the young
man whom temptation solicits, were not only to behold the wretched
thousands already mentioned, but the many more thousands of dear
relatives mourning their loss;--not by death, for that were
tolerable--but by an everlasting destruction from the presence of all
purity or excellence. Would he not shrink back from the door which he
was about to enter, ashamed and aghast, and resolve in the strength of
his Creator, never more to indulge a thought of a crime so disastrous
in its consequences?

And let every one remember that the army of ruined immortals which have
been here presented to the imagination, is by no means a mere fancy
sketch. There is a day to come which will disclose a scene of which I
have given but a faint picture. For though the thousands who have thus
destroyed their own bodies and souls, with their agonized friends and
relatives, are scattered among several millions of their fellow
citizens, and, for a time, not a few of them elude the public gaze, yet
their existence is much a reality, as if they were assembled in one

'All this,' it may be said, 'I have often heard, and it may be true.
But it does not apply to me. I am in no danger. You speak of a path, I
have never entered; or if I have ever done so, I have no idea of
returning to it, habitually. I know my own strength; how far to go, and
when and where to stop.'

But is there one of all the miserable, in the future world, who did not
once think the same? Is there one among the thousands who have thus
ruined themselves and those who had been as dear to them as themselves,
that did not once feel a proud consciousness that he 'knew his own
strength?' Yet now where is he?

Beware, then. Take not the first step. Nay, indulge not for an instant,
the _thought_ of a first step. Here you are safe. Every where else is
danger. Take one step, and the next is more easy; the temptation harder
to resist.

Do you call this preaching? Be it so then. I feel, and deeply too, that
your immortal minds, those gems which were created to sparkle and shine
in the firmament of heaven, are in danger of having their lustre for
ever tarnished, and their brightness everlastingly hid beneath a
thicker darkness than that which once covered the land of Egypt.

C. S. was educated by New England parents, in one of the most
flourishing of New England villages. He was all that anxious friends
could hope or desire; all that a happy community could love and esteem.
As he rose to manhood he evinced a full share of 'Yankee' activity and
enterprise. Some of the youth in the neighborhood were traders to the
southern States, and C. concluded to try his fortune among the rest.

He was furnished with two excellent horses and a wagon, and every thing
necessary to ensure success. His theatre of action was the low country
of Virginia and North Carolina, and his head-quarters, N----, whither
he used to return after an excursion of a month or six week, to spend a
few days in that dissipated village.

Young C. gradually yielded to the temptations which the place afforded.
First, he engaged in occasional 'drinking bouts,' next in gaming;
lastly, he frequented a house of ill fame. This was about the year

At the end of the year 1820, I saw him, but--now changed! The eye that
once beamed with health, and vigor, and cheerfulness, was now dimmed
and flattened. The countenance which once shone with love and good-will
to man, was pale and suspicious, or occasionally suffused with
stagnant, and sickly, and crimson streams. The teeth, which were once
as white as ivory, were now blackened by the use of poisonous medicine,
given to counteract a still more poisonous and loathsome disease. The
frame, which had once been as erect as the stately cedar of Lebanon,
was, at the early age of thirty, beginning to bend as with years. The
voice, which once spoke forth the sentiments of a soul of comparative
purity, now not unfrequently gave vent to the licentious song, the
impure jest, and the most shocking oaths, and heaven-daring impiety and
blasphemy. The hands which were once like the spirit within, were now
not unfrequently joined in the dance, with the vilest of the vile!

I looked, too, at his external circumstances Once he had friends whom
he loved to see, and from whom he was glad to hear. Now it was a matter
of indifference both to him and them whether they ever saw each other.
The hopes of parents, and especially of 'her that bare him' were laid
in the dust; and to the neighborhood of which he had once been the
pride and the ornament, he was fast becoming as if he had never been.

He had travelled first with two horses, next with one; afterward on
foot with a choice assortment of jewelry and other pedlar's wares; now
his assortment was reduced to a mere handful. He could purchase to the
value of a few dollars, take a short excursion, earn a small sum, and
return--not to a respectable house, as once,--but to the lowest of
resorts, to expend it.

Here, in 1821, I last saw him; a fair candidate for the worst
contagious diseases which occasionally infest that region, and a pretty
sure victim to the first severe attack. Or if he should even escape
these, with the certainty before him of a very short existence, at

This is substantially the history of many a young man whose soul was
once as spotless as that of C. S. Would that young men knew their
strength, and their dignity; and would put forth but half the energy
that God has given them. Then they would never approach the confines of
those regions of dissipation, for when they have once entered them, the
soul and the body are often ruined forever.

There are in every city hundreds of young men--I regret to say it,--who
should heed this warning voice. _Now_ they are happily situated,
beloved, respected. They are engaged in useful and respectable
avocations, and looking forward to brighter and better scenes. Let them
beware lest there should be causes in operation, calculated to sap the
foundations of the castle which fancy's eye has builded, (and which
might even be realized); and lest their morning sun, which is now going
forth in splendor, be not shrouded in darkness ere it has yet attained
its meridian height.

Every city affords places and means of amusement, at once rational,
satisfying, and improving. Such are collections of curiosities, natural
and artificial, lectures on science, debating clubs, lyceums, &c. Then
the libraries which abound, afford a source of never ending amusement
and instruction. Let these suffice. At least, 'touch not, handle not'
that which an accumulated and often sorrowful experience has shown to
be accursed.

Neither resort to _solitary_ vice. If this practice should not injure
your system immediately, it will in the end. I am sorry to be obliged
to advert to this subject; but I know there is occasion. Youth,
especially those who lead a confined life, seek occasional excitement.
Such sometimes resort to this lowest,--I may say most destructive of
practices. Such is the constitution of things, as the Author of Nature
has established it, that if every other vicious act were to escape its
merited punishment in this world, the one in question could not.
Whatever its votaries may think, it never fails, in a single instance,
to injure them, personally; and consequently their posterity, should
any succeed them.

It is not indeed true that the foregoing vices do of themselves,
produce all this mischief _directly_; but as Dr. Paley has well said,
_criminal intercourse_ 'corrupts and _depraves the mind_ more than any
single vice whatsoever.' It gradually benumbs the conscience, and leads
on, step by step, to those blacker vices at which the youth would once
have shuddered.

But debasing as this vice is, it is scarcely more so than solitary
gratification. The former is not always at hand; is attended, it may
be, with expense; and with more or less danger of exposure. But the
latter is practicable whenever temptation or rather imagination
solicits, and appears to the morbid eye of sense, to be attended with
no hazard. Alas! what a sad mistake is made here! It is a fact well
established by medical men, that every error on this point is
injurious; and that the constitution is often more surely or more
effectually impaired by causes which do not appear to injure it in the
least, than by occasional and heavier shocks, which rouse it to a
reaction. The one case may be compared to daily _tippling_, the other
to those _periodical_ drunken frolics, which, having an interval of
weeks or months between them, give the system time to recover, in part,
(but _in part only_) from the violence it had sustained.

I wish to put the younger portion of my readers upon their guard
against a set of wretches who take pains to initiate youth, while yet
almost children, into the practice of the vice to which I have here
adverted. Domestics--where the young are too familiar with them--_have_
been known to be thus ungrateful to their employers. There are,
however, people of several classes, who do not hesitate to mislead, in
this manner.

But the misfortune is, that this book will not be apt to fall into the
hands of those to whom _these_ remarks apply, till the ruinous habit is
already formed. And then it is that counsel sometimes comes too late.
Should these pages meet the eye of any who have been misled, let them
remember that they have begun a career which multitudes repent
bitterly; and from which few are apt to return. But there have been
instances of reform; therefore none ought to despair. 'What man has
done, man may do.'

They should first set before their minds the nature of the practice,
and the evils to which it exposes. But here comes the difficulty. What
_are_ its legitimate evils? They know indeed that the written laws of
God condemn it; but the punishment which those laws threaten, appears
to be remote and uncertain. Or if not, they are apt to regard it as the
punishment of _excess_, merely. _They_, prudent souls, would not, for
the world, plunge into excess. Besides, '_they_ injure none but
_themselves_,' they tell us.

Would it were true that they injured none but _themselves_! Would there
were no generations yet unborn to suffer by inheriting feeble
constitutions, or actual disease, from their progenitors!

Suppose, however, they really injured nobody but themselves. Have they
a right to do even this? They will not maintain, for one moment, that
they have a right to take away their own life. By what right, then, do
they allow themselves to shorten it, or diminish its happiness while it

Here the question recurs again: _Does_ solitary gratification actually
shorten life, or diminish its happiness?

The very fact that the laws of God forbid it, is an affirmative answer
to this question. For nothing is more obvious than that all other vices
which that law condemns, stand in the way of our present happiness, as
well as the happiness of futurity. Is this alone an exception to the
general rule?

But I need not make my appeal to this kind of authority. You rely on
human testimony. You believe a thousand things which yourselves never
saw or heard. _Why_ do you believe them, _except_ upon testimony--I
mean given either verbally, or, what is the same thing, in books?

Now if the accumulated testimony of medical writers from the days of
Galen, and Celsus, and Hippocrates, to the present hour, could have any
weight with you, it would settle the point at once. I have collected,
briefly, the results of medical testimony on this subject, in the next
chapter; but if you will take my statements for the present, I will
assure you that I _have before me_ documents enough to fill half a
volume like this, from those who have studied deeply these subjects,
whose united language is, that the practice in question, indulged in
_any degree_, is destructive to body and mind; and that although, in
vigorous young men, no striking evil may for some time appear, yet the
punishment can no more be _evaded_, except by early death, than the
motion of the earth can be hindered. And all this, too, without taking
into consideration the terrors of a judgment to come.

But why, then, some may ask, are animal propensities given us, if they
are not to be indulged? The appropriate reply is, they _are_ to be
indulged; but it is only in accordance with the laws of God; never
otherwise. And the wisdom of these laws, did they not rest on other and
better proof, is amply confirmed by that great body of medical
experience already mentioned. God has delegated to man, a sort of
_subcreative_ power to perpetuate his own race. Such a wonderful work
required a wonderful apparatus. And such is furnished. The texture of
the organs for this purpose is of the most tender and delicate kind,
scarcely equalled by that of the eye, and quite as readily injured; and
this fact ought to be known, and considered. But instead of leaving to
human choice or caprice the execution of the power thus delegated, the
great Creator has made it a matter of _duty_; and has connected with
the lawful discharge of that duty, as with all others, _enjoyment_. But
when this enjoyment is sought in any way, not in accordance with the
laws prescribed by reason and revelation, we diminish (whatever giddy
youth may suppose,) the sum total of our own happiness. Now this is not
the cold speculation of age, or monkish austerity. It is sober matter
of fact.

It is said that young men are sometimes in circumstances which forbid
their conforming to these laws, were they disposed to do so.

Not so often however, as is commonly supposed. Marriage is not such a
mountain of difficulty as many imagine. This I have already attempted
to show. One circumstance to be considered, in connection with this
subject, is, that in any society, the more there is of criminal
indulgence, whether secret or social, the more strongly are excuses for
neglecting matrimony urged. Every step which a young man takes in
forbidden paths, affords him a plea in behalf of the next. The farther
he goes, the less the probability of his returning to the ways of
purity, or entering those of domestic felicity.

People in such places as London and Paris, marry much later in life,
upon the average, than in country places. And is not the cause obvious?
And is not the same cause beginning to produce similar effects in our
own American cities?

But suppose celibacy in some cases, to _be_ unavoidable, can a life of
continence, in the fullest sense of the term, be favorable to _health_?
This question is answered by those to whose writings I have already
referred, in the affirmative. But it is also answered by facts, though
from the nature of the case these facts are not always easy of access.
We have good reason to believe that Sir Isaac Newton and Dr.
Fothergill, never for once in their lives deviated from the strict laws
of rectitude on this point. And we have no evidence that they were
sufferers for their rigid course of virtue. The former certainly
enjoyed a measure of health and reached an age, to which few, in any
circumstances, attain; and the latter led an active and useful life to
nearly three-score and ten. There are living examples of the same
purity of character, but they cannot, of course, be mentioned in this

Several erroneous views in regard to the animal economy which have led
to the very general opinion that a life of celibacy--strictly so, I
mean--cannot be a life of health, might here be exposed, did either the
limits or the nature of the work permit. It is not that a state of
celibacy--entirely so, I always mean--is positively _injurious_; but
that a state of matrimony is more _useful_; and, as a general rule,
attended with _more happiness_.

It is most ardently to be hoped, that the day is not far distant when
every young man will study the laws and functions of the human frame
for himself. This would do more towards promoting individual purity and
public happiness, than all the reasoning in the world can accomplish
without it. Men, old or young, must see for themselves how 'fearfully'
as well as 'wonderfully' they are made, before they can have a thorough
and abiding conviction of the nature of _disobedience_, or of the
penalties that attend, as well as follow it. And in proportion, as the
subject is studied and understood, may we not hope celibacy will become
less frequent, and marriage--honorable, and, if you please, _early_
marriage--be more highly estimated?

This work is not addressed to parents; but should it be read by any who
have sons, at an age, and in circumstances, which expose them to
temptation, and in a way which will be very apt to secure their fall,
let them beware.[14]

Still, the matter must be finally decided by the young themselves.
They, in short, must determine the question whether they will rise in
the scale of being, through every period of their existence, or sink
lower and lower in the depths of degradation and wo. They must be,
after all, the arbiters of their own fate. No influences, human or
divine, will ever _force_ them to happiness.

The remainder of this section will be devoted to remarks on the causes
which operate to form licentious feelings and habits in the young. My
limits, however, will permit me to do little more than mention them.
And if some of them might be addressed with more force to parents than
to young men, let it be remembered that the young _may be_ parents, and
if they cannot recall the past, and correct the errors in their own
education, they can, at least, hope to prevent the same errors in the
education of others.

      [14] Parents who _inform_ their children on this subject,
      generally begin too late. Familiar conversational explanation,
      begun as soon as there is reason to apprehend danger, and
      judiciously pursued, is perhaps the most successful method of
      preventing evil.


Too much of real delicacy can never be inculcated; but in our early
management, we seem to implant the _false_, instead of the true. The
language we use, in answering the curious questions of children, often
leads to erroneous associations of ideas; and it is much better to be
silent. By the falsehoods which we think it necessary to tell, we often
excite still greater curiosity, instead of satisfying that which
already exists. I will not undertake to decide what ought to be done;
but _silence_, I am certain, would be far better than falsehood.

There is another error, which is laid deeper still, because it begins
earlier. I refer to the half Mohammedan practice of separating the two
sexes at school. This practice, I am aware has strong advocates; but it
seems to me they cannot have watched closely the early operations of
their own minds, and observed how curiosity was awakened, and wanton
imaginations fostered by distance, and apparent and needless reserve.


This unnatural reserve, and the still more unnatural falsehoods already
mentioned, prepare the youthful mind for the reception of any thing
which has the semblance of information on the points to which curiosity
is directed. And now comes the danger. The world abounds in impure
publications, which almost all children, (boys especially,) at sometime
or other, contrive to get hold of, in spite of parental vigilance. If
these books contained truth, and nothing but truth, their clandestine
circulation would do less mischief. But they generally impart very
little information which is really valuable; on the contrary they
contain much falsehood; especially when they profess to instruct on
certain important subjects. Let me repeat it then, they cannot be
relied on; and in the language of another book, on another subject; 'He
that trusteth' to them, 'is a fool.'

The same remarks might be extended, and with even more justice, to
licentious paintings and engravings, which circulate in various ways.
And I am sorry to include in this charge not a few which are publicly
exhibited for sale, in the windows of our shops. You may sometimes find
obscene pictures under cover of a watch-case or snuff box. In short,
there would often seem to be a general combination of human and
infernal efforts to render the juvenile thoughts and affections impure;
and not a few parents themselves enter into the horrible league.

On this subject Dr. Dwight remarks; 'The numbers of the poet, the
delightful melody of song, the fascination of the chisel, and the spell
of the pencil, have been all volunteered in the service of Satan for
the moral destruction of unhappy man. To finish this work of malignity
the stage has lent all its splendid apparatus of mischief; the shop has
been converted into a show-box of temptations; and its owner into a
pander of iniquity.' And in another place; 'Genius, in every age, and
in every country, has, to a great extent, prostituted its elevated
powers for the deplorable purpose of seducing thoughtless minds to
_this sin_.' Are these remarks too sweeping? In my own opinion, not at
all. Let him, who doubts, take a careful survey of the whole of this
dangerous ground.


The prostitution of the melody of song, mentioned by Dr. Dwight,
reminds me of another serious evil. Many persons, and even not a few
intelligent parents, seem to think that a loose or immoral song cannot
much injure their children, especially if they express their
disapprobation of it afterwards. As if the language of the tongue could
give the lie to the language of the heart, already written, and often
deeply, in the eye and countenance. For it is notorious that a
considerable proportion of parents tolerate songs containing very
improper sentiments, and hear them with obvious interest, how much
soever they may wish their children to have a better and purer taste.
The common 'love songs' are little better than those already mentioned.

It is painful to think what errors on this subject are sometimes
tolerated even by decent society. I knew a schoolmaster who did not
hesitate to join occasional parties, (embracing, among others,
professedly Christian parents,) for the purpose of spending his long
winter evenings, in hearing songs from a very immoral individual, not a
few of which were adapted to the most corrupt taste, and unfit to be
heard in good society. Yet the community in which he taught was deemed
a religious community; and the teacher himself prayed in his school,
morning and evening! Others I have known to conduct even worse, though
perhaps not quite so openly.

I mention these things, not to reproach teachers,--for I think their
moral character, in this country, generally, far better than their
intellectual,--but as a specimen of perversion in the public sentiment;
and also as a hint to all who have the care of the young. Pupils at
school, cannot fail to make correct inferences from such facts as the


By this is meant seemingly _decent speeches, with double meanings_. I
mention these because they prevail, in some parts of the country, to a
most alarming degree; and because parents seem to regard them as
perfectly harmless. Shall I say--to show the extent of the evil--that
they are sometimes heard from both parents? Now no serious observer of
human life and conduct can doubt that by every species of impure
language, whether in the form of hints, innuendoes, double entendres,
or plainer speech, impure thoughts are awakened, a licentious
imagination inflamed, and licentious purposes formed, which would
otherwise never have existed. Of all such things an inspired writer has
long ago said--and the language is still applicable;--'Let them not be
so much as named among you.'

I have been in families where these loose insinuations, and coarse
innuendoes were so common, that the presence of respectable company
scarcely operated as a restraint upon the unbridled tongues, even of
the parents! Many of these things had been repeated so often, and under
such circumstances that the children, at a very early age, perfectly
understood their meaning and import. Yet had these very same children
asked for direct information, at this time, on the subjects which had
been rendered familiar to them thus incidentally, the parents would
have startled; and would undoubtedly have repeated to them part of a
string of falsehoods, with which they had been in the habit of
attempting to 'cover up' these matters; though with the effect, in the
end, of rendering the children only so much the more curious and

But this is not all. The filling of the juvenile mind, long before
nature brings the body to maturity, with impure imaginations, not only
preoccupies the ground which is greatly needed for something else, and
fills it with shoots of a noxious growth, but actually induces, if I
may so say, a _precocious maturity_. What I mean, is, that there arises
a morbid or diseased state of action of the vessels of the sexual
system, which paves the way for premature physical developement, and
greatly increases the danger of youthful irregularity.

      [15] Pronounced _entaunders_.


One prolific source of licentious feeling and action may be found, I
think, in evening parties, especially when protracted to a late hour.
It has always appeared to me that the injury to health which either
directly or indirectly grows out of evening parties, was a sufficient
objection to their recurrence, especially when the assembly is crowded,
the room greatly heated, or when music and dancing are the
accompaniments. Not a few young ladies, who after perspiring freely at
the latter exercise, go out into the damp night air, in a thin dress,
contract consumption; and both sexes are very much exposed, in this
way, to colds, rheumatisms, and fevers.

But the great danger, after all, is to reputation and morals. Think of
a group of one hundred young ladies and gentlemen assembling at
evening, and under cover of the darkness, joining in conclave, and
heating themselves with exercise and refreshments of an exciting
nature, such as coffee, tea, wine, &c, and in some parts of our country
with diluted distilled spirit; and 'keeping up the steam,' as it is
sometimes called, till twelve or one o'clock, and frequently during the
greater part of the night. For what kind and degree of _vice_, do not
such scenes prepare those who are concerned in them?

Nothing which is here said is intended to be levelled against dancing,
in itself considered; but only against such a use, or rather _abuse_ of
it as is made to inflame and feed impure imaginations and bad passions.
On the subject of dancing as an amusement, I have already spoken in
another part of the work.

I have often wondered why the strange opinion has come to prevail,
especially among the industrious yeomanry of the interior of our
country, that it is economical to turn night into day, in this manner.
Because they cannot very well spare their sons or apprentices in the
daytime, as they suppose, they suffer them to go abroad in the evening,
and perhaps to be out all night, when it may justly be questioned
whether the loss of energy which they sustain does not result in a loss
of effort during one or two subsequent days, at least equal to the
waste of a whole afternoon. I am fully convinced, on my own part, that
he who should give up to his son or hired laborer an afternoon, would
actually lose a less amount of labor, taking the week together, than he
who should only give up for this purpose the hours which nature
intended should be spent in sleep.

But--I repeat it--the moral evil outweighs all other considerations. It
needs not an experience of thirty years, nor even of twenty, to
convince even a careless observer that no small number of our youth of
both sexes, have, through the influence of late evening parties, gone
down to the chambers of drunkenness and debauchery; and, with the young
man mentioned by Solomon, descended through them to those of death and

It may be worth while for those sober minded and, otherwise, judicious
Christians, who are in the habit of attending fashionable parties at
late hours, and taking their 'refreshments,' to consider whether they
may not be a means of keeping up, by their example, those more vulgar
assemblies, with all their grossness, which I have been describing. Is
it not obvious that what the _wine_, and the fruit, and the oysters,
are to the more refined and Christian circles, wine and fermented
liquors may be to the more blunt sensibilities of body and mind, in
youthful circles of another description? But if so, where rests the
guilt? Or shall we bless the fountains, while we curse the stream they

SECTION III. _Diseases of Licentiousness_.

The importance of this and the foregoing section will be differently
estimated by different individuals. They were not inserted, however,
without consideration, nor without the approbation of persons who enjoy
a large measure of public confidence. The young ought at least to know,
briefly, to what a formidable host of maladies secret vice is exposed.

1. _Insanity._ The records of hospitals show that insanity, from
solitary indulgence, is common. Tissot, Esquirol, Eberle, and others,
give ample testimony on this point. The latter, from a careful
examination of the facts, assures us that in Paris the proportion of
insane persons whose diseases may be traced to the source in question,
is _one_ in from _fifty-one_ to _fifty-eight_, in the _lower classes_.
In the higher classes it is _one_ in _twenty-three_. In the insane
Hospital of Massachusetts--I have it from authority which I cannot
question,--the proportion is at least one in three or four. At present
there are about twenty cases of the kind alluded to.

2. _Chorea Sancti Viti_; or _St. Vitus's dance_. This strange disease,
in which the muscles of the body are not always at the command of the
patient, and in which the head, the arms, the legs, and indeed every
part which is made for muscular motion often jerks about in a very
singular manner, is sometimes produced in the same way. Insanity and
this disease are occasionally combined. I have known one young man in
this terrible condition, and have read authentic accounts of others.

3. _Epilepsy._ Epileptic or _falling sickness fits_, as they are
sometimes denominated, are another very common scourge of secret vice.
How much they are to be dreaded almost every one can judge; for there
are few who have not seen those who are afflicted with them. They
usually weaken the mind, and sometimes entirely destroy it. I knew one
epileptic individual who used to dread them more than death; and would
gladly have preferred the latter.

4. _Idiotism._ Epilepsy, as I have already intimated, often runs on to
idiotism; but sometimes the miserable young man becomes an idiot,
without the intervention of any other obvious disease.

5. _Paralysis_ or _Palsy_, is no uncommon punishment of this
transgression. There are, however, several forms of this disease.
Sometimes, a slight numbness of a single toe or finger is the first
symptom of its approach; but at others a whole hand, arm, or leg is
affected. In the present case, the first attacks are not very violent,
as if to give the offender opportunity to return to the path of
rectitude. Few, however, take the hint and return, till the chains of
their slavery are riveted, and their health destroyed by this or some
other form of disease. I have seen dissipated young men who complained
of the numbness of a finger or two and the corresponding portion of the
hand and wrist, who probably did not themselves suspect the cause; but
I never knew the disorder permanently removed, except by a removal of
the cause which produced it.

6. _Apoplexy._ This has occasionally happened; though more rarely.

7. _Blindness_, in some of its forms, especially of that form usually
called _gutta serena_, should also be added to our dark catalogue.
Indeed a weakness of sight is among the first symptoms that supervene
on these occasions.

8. _Hypochondria._ This is as much a disease by itself as the small
pox, though many regard it otherwise. The mind is diseased, and the
individual has many imaginary sufferings, it is true; but the
imagination would not be thus unnaturally awake, if there were no
accompanying disturbance in the bodily functions. Hypochondria, in its
more aggravated forms, is a very common result of secret vice.

9. _Phthisis_, or consumption, is still more frequently produced by the
cause we are considering, than any other disease I have mentioned. And
we know well the history of this disease; that, though slow in its
progress, the event is certain. In this climate, it is one of the most
destructive scourges of our race. If the ordinary diseases slay their
thousands, consumption slays its tens of thousands. Its approach is
gradual, and often unsuspected; and the decline to the grave sometimes
unattended by any considerable suffering. Is it not madness to expose
ourselves to its attacks for the shortlived gratifications of a moment?

There is indeed a peculiar form of this disease which, in the case in
question, is more commonly produced than any other. It is called, in
the language of physicians, _tabes dorsalis_, or _dorsal_ consumption;
because it is supposed to arise from the _dorsal_ portion of the spinal
marrow. This disease sometimes, it is true, attacks young married
people, especially where they go _beyond_ the bounds which the Author
of nature intended; and it is occasionally produced by other causes
entirely different; causes, too, which it would be difficult, if not
impossible to prevent. Generally, however, it is produced by _solitary

The most striking symptom of this disease is described as being a
'sensation of ants, crawling from the head down along the spine;' but
this sensation is not always felt, for sometimes in its stead there is,
rather, a very great weakness of the small part of the back, attended
with pain. This is accompanied with emaciation, and occasionally,
though not always, with an irregular appetite. Indeed, persons affected
with this disease generally have a good appetite. There is usually
little fever, or at most only a slight heat and thirst towards evening,
with occasional flushings of the face; and still more rarely, profuse
perspirations in the latter part of the night. But the latter symptom
belongs more properly to common consumption. The sight, as I have
already mentioned, grows dim; they have pains in the head and sometimes
ringing in the ears, and a loss of memory. Finally, the legs become
weak, the kidneys and stomach suffer, and many other difficulties arise
which I cannot mention in this work, followed often by an acute fever;
and unless the abominable practice which produced all the mischief is
abandoned, death follows. But when many of the symptoms which I have
mentioned, are really fastened upon an individual, he has sustained an
injury which can never be wholly repaired. All he can hope is to
prolong his days, and lengthen out his life--often a distressing one. A
few well authenticated examples of persons who debased themselves by
secret vice, will, I hope, satisfy those who doubt the evils of this

One young man thus expressed his sufferings to his physician. 'My very
great debility renders the performance of every motion difficult. That
of my legs is often so great, that I can scarcely stand erect; and I
fear to leave my chamber. Digestion is so imperfect that the food
passes unchanged, three or four hours after it has been taken into the
stomach. I am oppressed with phlegm, the presence of which causes pain;
and the expectoration, exhaustion. This is a brief history of my
miseries. Each day brings with it an increase of all my woes. Nor do I
believe that any human creature ever suffered more. Without a special
interposition of Divine Providence, I cannot support so painful an

Another thus writes; 'Were I not restrained by _sentiments_ of
_religion_,[16] I should ere this have put an end to my existence;
which is the more insupportable as it is caused by myself.'

'I cannot walk two hundred paces,' says another 'without resting
myself; my feebleness is extreme; I have constant pains in every part
of the body, but particularly in the shoulders and chest. My appetite
is good, but this is a misfortune, since what I eat causes pains in my
stomach, and is vomited up. If I read a page or two, my eyes are filled
with tears and become painful:--I often sigh involuntarily.'

A fourth says; 'I rest badly at night, and am much troubled with
dreams. The lower part of my back is weak, my eyes are often painful,
and my eyelids swelled and red. I have an almost constant cold; and an
oppression at the stomach. In short, I had rather be laid in the silent
tomb, and encounter that dreadful uncertainty, _hereafter_, than remain
in my present unhappy and degraded situation.'

The reader should remember that the persons whose miseries are here
described, were generally sufferers from _hypochondria_. They had not
advanced to the still more horrid stages of palsy, apoplexy, epilepsy,
idiotism, St. Vitus's dance, blindness, or insanity. But they had gone
so far, that another step in the same path, might have rendered a
return impossible.

The reader will spare me the pain of presenting, in detail, any more of
these horrid cases. I write for YOUNG MEN, the strength--the bone,
muscle, sinew, and nerve--of our beloved country. I write for those
who,--though some of them may have erred--are glad to be advised, and
if they deem the advice good, are anxious to follow it. I write, too,
in vain, if it be not for young men who will resolve on reformation,
when they believe that their present and future happiness is at stake.
And, lastly, I have not read correctly the pages in the book of human
nature if I do not write for those who can, with God's help, keep every
good resolution.

There are a few publications to which those who are awake to the
importance of this subject, might safely be directed. One or two will
be mentioned presently. It is true that their authors have, in some
instances, given us the details of such cases of disease as occur but
rarely. Still, what has happened, in this respect, may happen again.
And as no moderate drinker of fermented or spirituous liquors can ever
know, with certainty, that if he continues his habit, he may not
finally arrive at confirmed drunkenness, and the worst diseases which
attend it, so no person who departs but once from rectitude in the
matter before us, has any assurance that he shall not sooner or later
suffer all the evils which they so faithfully describe.

When a young man, who is pursuing an unhappy course of solitary vice,
threatened as we have seen by the severest penalties earth or heaven
can impose,--begins to perceive a loss or irregularity of his appetite;
acute pains in his stomach, especially during digestion, and constant
vomitings;--when to this is added a weakness of the lungs, often
attended by a dry cough, hoarse weak voice, and hurried or difficult
breathing after using considerable exertion, with a general relaxation
of the nervous system;--when these appearances, or symptoms, as
physicians call them, take place--let him _beware_! for punishment of a
severer kind cannot be distant.

I hope I shall have no reader to whom these remarks apply; but should
it be otherwise, happy will it be for him if he takes the alarm, and
walks not another step in the downward road to certain and terrible
retribution. Happiest, however, is he who has never erred from the
first; and who reads these pages as he reads of those awful scenes in
nature,--the devastations of the lightning, the deluge, the tornado,
the earthquake, and the volcano; as things to be lamented, and their
horrors if possible mitigated or averted, but with which he has little
personal concern.

Sympathizing, however, with his fellow beings--for though _fallen_,
they still belong to the same family--should any reader who sees this
work, wish to examine the subject still more intimately, I recommend to
him a Lecture to Young Men, lately published in Providence. I would
also refer him, to Rees' Cyclopedia, art. _Physical Education_.

The article last referred to is so excellent, that I have decided on
introducing, in this place, the closing paragraph. The writer had been
treating the subject, much in the manner I have done, only at greater
length, and had enumerated the diseases to which it leads, at the same
time insisting on the importance of informing the young, in a proper
manner, of their danger, wherever the urgency of the case required it.
After quoting numerous passages of Scripture, which, in speaking of
impurity, evidently include this practice, and denouncing it in severe
terms, he closes with the following striking remarks.

'There can be no doubt that God has forbidden it by the usual course of
providence. Its moral effects, in destroying the purity of the mind, in
swallowing up its best affections, and perverting its sensibilities
into this depraved channel, are among its most injurious consequences;
and are what render it so peculiarly difficult to eradicate the evil.
In proportion as the habit strengthens the difficulty of breaking it,
of course, increases; and while the tendency of the feelings to this
point increases, the vigor of the mind to effect the conquest of the
habit gradually lessens.

'We would tell him (the misguided young man) that whatever might be
said in newspapers respecting the power of medicine in such cases,
nothing could be done without absolute self-control; and that no
medicine whatever could retrieve the mischiefs which the want of it had
caused: and that the longer the practice was continued, the greater
would be the bodily and mental evils it would inevitably occasion.

'We would then advise him to avoid all situations in which he found his
propensities excited; and especially, as far as possible, all in which
they had been gratified; to check the thoughts and images which excited
them; to shun those associates, or at least that conversation, and
those books, which have the same effect; to avoid all stimulating food
and liquor; to sleep cool on a hard bed; to rise early, and at once;
and to go to bed when likely to fall asleep at once; to let his mind be
constantly occupied, though not exerted to excess; and to let his
bodily powers be actively employed, every day, to a degree which will
make a hard bed the place of sound repose.

'Above all, we would urge him to impress his mind (at times when the
mere thought of it would not do him harm) with a feeling of horror at
the practice; to dwell upon its sinfulness and most injurious effects;
and to cultivate, by every possible means, an habitual sense of the
constant presence of a holy and heart-searching God, and a lively
conviction of the awful effects of his displeasure.'

I should be sorry to leave an impression on any mind that other forms
of licentiousness are innocent, or that they entail no evils on the
constitution. I have endeavored to strike most forcibly, it is true, at
solitary vice; but it was for this plain reason, that few of the young
seem to regard it as any crime at all. Some even consider it
indispensable to health. This belief I have endeavored to shake; with
how much success, eternity only can determine.

Of the guilt of those forms of irregularity, in which _more_ than one
individual and sex are _necessarily_ concerned, many of the young are
already apprized. At least they are generally acquainted with the more
prominent evils which result from what they call excess. Still if
followed in what they deem moderation, and with certain precautions
which could be named, not a few are ready to believe, at least in the
moment of temptation, that there is no great harm in following their

Now in regard to what constitutes excess, every one who is not moved by
Christian principle, will of necessity, have his own standard, just as
it is in regard to solitary vice, or the use of ardent spirits. And
herein consists a part of the guilt. And it is not till this conviction
of our constant tendency to establish an incorrect standard for
ourselves, and to go, in the end, to the greatest lengths and depths
and heights of guilt, can be well established in our minds, that we
shall ever be induced to avoid the first steps in that road which may
end in destruction; and to take as the only place of safety, the high
ground of total abstinence.

But although the young are not wholly destitute of a sense of the evils
of what they call excess, and of the shame of what is well known to be
its frequent and formidable results,--so far as themselves are
concerned,--yet they seem wholly ignorant of any considerable danger
short of this. For so far are they from admitting that the force of
conscience is weakened by every repeated known and wilful
transgression, many think, (as I have already stated) promiscuous
intercourse, where no matrimonial rights are invaded, if it be so
managed as to exempt the parties immediately concerned from all
immediate suffering both moral and physical, can scarcely be called a
transgression, at all.

I wish it were practicable to extend these remarks far enough to show,
as plain as noon-day light can make it, that every criminal act of this
kind--I mean every instance of irregularity--not only produces evil to
society generally, in the present generation, but also inflicts evil on
those that follow. For to say nothing of those horrid cases where the
infants of licentious parents not only inherit vicious dispositions,
but ruined bodies--even to a degree, that in some instances excludes a
possibility of the child's surviving many days;--there are other forms
of disease often entailed on the young which as certainly consign the
sufferer to an early grave, though the passage thither may be more
tedious and lingering.

How must it wring the heart of a feeling young parent to see his first
born child, which for any thing he knows, might have been possessed of
a sound and vigorous body, like other children, enter the world with
incipient scrofula, diseased joints or bones, and eruptive diseases, in
some of their worst forms? Must not the sight sink him to the very
dust? And would he not give worlds--had he worlds to give--to reverse
those irreversible but inscrutable decrees of Heaven, which visit the
sins of parents upon their descendants--'unto the third and fourth

But how easy is it, by timely reflection, and fixed moral principle, to
prevent much of that disease which 'worlds' cannot wholly cure, when it
is once inflicted!

I hazard nothing in saying, then--and I might appeal to the whole
medical profession to sustain me in my assertion--that no person whose
system ever suffers, once, from those forms of disease which approach
nearest to the character of special judgments of Heaven on sin or
shame, can be sure of ever wholly recovering from their effects on his
own person; and what is still worse, can ever be sure of being the
parent of a child whose constitution shall be wholly untainted with
disease, of one kind or another.

This matter is not often understood by the community generally;
especially by the young. I might tell them of the diseased eyesight;
the ulcerated--perhaps deformed--nose and ears, and neck; the
discoloration, decay, and loss of teeth; the destruction of the palate,
and the fearful inroads of disease on many other soft parts of the
body; besides the softening and ulceration and decay and eventual
destruction of the bones; and to crown all, the awfully offensive
breath and perspiration; and I might entreat them to abstain, in the
fear of God, from those abuses of the constitution which not
unfrequently bring down upon them such severe forms of punishment.

A thorough knowledge of the human system and the laws to which all
organized bodies are subjected, would, in this respect, do much in
behalf of mankind; for such would be the change of public sentiment,
that the sensual could not hold up their heads so boldly, as they now
do, in the face of it. Happy for mankind when the vicious shall be
obliged, universally, to pass in review before this enlightened

Young men ought to study physiology. It is indeed to be regretted that
there are so few books on this subject adapted to popular use. But in
addition to those recommended at page 346, there are portions of
several works which may be read with advantage by the young. Such are
some of the more intelligible parts of Richerand's Physiology, as at
page 38 of the edition with Dr. Chapman's notes; and of the 'Outlines
of Physiology,' and the 'Anatomical Class Book,' two works recently
issued in Boston. It must, however, be confessed, that none of these
works are sufficiently divested of technicalities, to be well adapted,
as a whole, to the general reader. Physiology is one of those fountains
at which it is somewhat dangerous to 'taste,' unless we 'drink deep;'
on account of the tendency of superficial knowledge to empiricism.
Still, I am fully of the opinion that even superficial knowledge, on
this long neglected topic, is less dangerous both to the individual and
to the community, than entire ignorance.

And after all, the best guides would be PARENTS. When will Heaven
confer such favors upon us? When will parents become parents indeed?
When will one father or mother in a hundred, exercise the true parental
prerogative, and point out to those whom God has given them, as
circumstances may from time to time demand, the most dangerous rocks
and whirlpools to which, in the voyage of life, they are exposed? When
will every thing else be done for the young rather than that which
ought never to be left undone?

Say not, young reader, that I am wandering. You may be a father. God
grant that if you are, you may also act the parent. Let me beg you to
resolve, and if necessary re-resolve. And not only resolve, but act. If
you are ready to pronounce me enthusiastic on this subject, let me beg
you to suspend your judgment till the responsibilities and the duties
and the anxieties of a parent thicken round you.

It is painful to see--every where--the most unquestionable evidence
that this department of education is unheeded. Do you ask how the
evidence is obtained? I answer by asking you how the physician can
discover,--as undoubtedly he can,--the progress of the drinker of
spirituous liquors, by his eye, his features, his breath, nay his very
perspiration. And do you think that the sons or daughters of
sensuality, in any of its forms, and at any of its stages, can escape
his observation?

But of what use is his knowledge, if he may not communicate it? What
person would endure disclosures of this kind respecting himself or his
nearest, perhaps his dearest and most valued friends? No! the
physician's lips must be sealed, and his tongue dumb; and the young
must go down to their graves, rather than permit him to make any effort
to save them, lest offence should be given!

The subject is, however, gaining a hold on the community, for which
none of us can be too thankful. I am acquainted with more than one
parent, who is a parent indeed; for there is no more reserve on these
subjects, than any other. The sons do not hesitate to ask parental
counsel and seek parental aid, in every known path of temptation.
Heaven grant that such instances may be speedily multiplied. A greater
work of reform can scarcely be desired or anticipated.

But I must draw to a close. Oh that the young 'wise,' and that they
would 'consider!' 'There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but
the end thereof is death.'

There is, then, but one course for the young. Let them do that which
they know to be right, and avoid not only that which they are sure is
wrong, but that also of which they have _doubts_. Let them do this,
moreover, in the fear and love of God. In the language of a great
statesman of the United States to his nephew, a little before his
death, let me exhort you, to 'Give up property, _give up every
thing--give up even life itself, rather than presume to do an immoral
act_.' Let me remind you too, of the declaration of that Wisdom which

      [16] What inadequate ideas are sometimes entertained by young
      professors of religion, and even by those more advanced, in
      regard to the purity of character which _is_ indispensable
      to the enjoyment of a world of bliss--a world whose very source,
      sum, end and essence, are _Infinite_ Purity itself!

      Since the first edition of this work was published, I have
      received several letters of thanks for having ventured upon
      this long neglected, but important subject. Teachers, especially,
      have acknowledged their obligations, both in person and by
      correspondence. One teacher, in particular, a man of considerable
      experience, writes as follows:--

      'The last chapter of the book, is by no means, in my view, the
      least important. I regret to say that many _religious_ young
      men, through ignorance, are attached to the last mentioned vice.
      I could wish that what you have written could be carefully read
      by every _young_ man, at least, in our land. Alas, dear sir,
      how little do mortals know, when they do not understand their
      physical structure!'


SECTION I. _Choice of Friends._

The importance, to a young man, of a few worthy female friends, has
been mentioned in Chapter V. But to him who aspires at the highest
possible degree of improvement or usefulness, a select number of
confidential friends of his own sex is scarcely less valuable.

Great caution is however necessary in making the selection. "A man is
known by the company he keeps," has long since passed into a proverb;
so well does it accord with universal experience. And yet many a young
man neglects or despises this maxim, till his reputation is absolutely
and irretrievably lost.

Lucius was a remarkable instance of this kind. Extremely diffident, he
was introduced to a neighborhood where every individual but one was an
entire stranger to him; and this person was one whose character was
despised. But what is life without associates? Few are wholly destitute
of sympathy, even brute animals. Lucius began to be found in the
company of the young man I have mentioned; and this too in spite of the
faithful and earnest remonstrances of his friends, who foresaw the
consequences. But, like too many inexperienced young men, conscious of
his own purity of intention, he thought there could surely be no harm
in occasional walks and conversations with even a bad man; and who
knows, he sometimes used to say, but I may do him good? At any rate, as
he was the only person with whom he could hold free conversation on
"things that were past," he determined occasionally to associate with

But as it is with many a young lady who has set out with the belief
that a reformed rake makes the best husband, so it was with Lucius; he
found that the work of reforming the vicious was no easy task. Instead
of making the smallest approaches to success, he perceived at last,
when it was too late, that his familiarity with young Frederick had not
only greatly lowered him in the estimation of the people with whom he
now resided, but even in the estimation of Frederick himself; who was
encouraged to pursue his vicious course, by the consideration that it
did not exclude him from the society of those who were universally
beloved and respected.

This anecdote shows how cautious we ought to be in the choice of
friends. Had Lucius been a minister or reformer by profession, he could
have gone among the vicious to reclaim them, with less danger. The
Saviour of mankind ate and drank with "publicans and sinners;" but HE
was well _known_ as going among them to save them, though even he did
not wholly escape obloquy.

Few are aware, how much they are the creatures of imitation; and how
readily they catch the manners, habits of expression, and even modes of
thinking, of those whose company they keep. Let the young remember,
then, that it is not from the remarks of others, alone, that they are
likely to suffer; but that they are _really_ lowered in the scale of
excellence, every time they come in unguarded contact with the vicious.

It is of the highest importance to seek for companions those who are
not only _intelligent_ and _virtuous_, in the common acceptation of the
term, but, if it were possible, those who are a little above them,
especially in _moral excellence_.

Nor is this so difficult a task as many suppose. There are in every
community, a few who would make valuable companions. Not that they are
perfect,--for perfection, in the more absolute sense of the term,
belongs not to humanity; but their characters are such, that they would
greatly improve yours. And remember, that it is by no means
indispensable that your circle of intimate friends be very large. Nay,
it is not even desirable, in a world like this. You may have many
acquaintances, but I should advise you to have but few near friends. If
you have one, who is what he should be, you are comparatively happy.

SECTION II. _Rudeness of Manners._

By rudeness I do not mean mere coarseness or rusticity, for that were
more pardonable; but a want of civility. In this sense of the term, I
am prepared to censure one practice, which in the section on
_Politeness_, was overlooked. I refer to the practice so common with
young men in some circumstances and places, of wearing their hats or
caps in the house;--a practice which, whenever and wherever it occurs,
is decidedly reprehensible.

Most of us have probably seen state legislatures in session with their
hats on. This does not look well for the representatives of the most
civil communities in the known world; and though I do not pretend that
in this respect they fairly represent their constituents, yet I do
maintain that the toleration of such a practice implies a dereliction
of the public sentiment.

That the practice of uncovering the head, whenever we are in the house,
tends to promote health, though true, I do not at this time affirm. It
is sufficient for my present purpose, if I succeed in showing that the
contrary practice tends to vice and immorality.

Who has not seen the rudeness of a company of men, assembled perhaps in
a bar-room--with their hats on; and also witnessed the more decent
behavior of another similar group, assembled in similar circumstances,
without perceiving at once a connection between the hats and the
rudeness of the one company, as well as between the more orderly
behavior and the uncovered heads of the other?

To come to individuals. Attend a party or concert--no matter about the
name;--I mean some place where it is pardonable, or rather _deemed_
pardonable, to wear the hat. Who behave in the most gentle, christian
manner,--the few who wear their hats or those who take them off? In a
family or school, which are the children that are most civil and well
behaved? Is it not those who are most scrupulous, always, to appear
within the house with their heads uncovered? Nay, in going out of
schools, churches, &c., who are they that put on their hats first, as
if it was a work of self-denial to hold them in their hands, or even
suffer them to remain in their place till the blessing is pronounced,
or till the proper time has arrived for using them?

Once more. In passing through New England or any other part of the
United States, entering into the houses of the people, and seeing them
just as they are, who has not been struck with the fact that where
there is the most of wearing hats and caps in the house, there is
generally the most of ill manners, not to say of vicious habits and

Few are sufficiently aware of the influence of what they often affect
to despise as little things. But I have said enough on this point in
its proper place. The great difficulty is in carrying the principles
there inculcated into the various conditions of life, and properly
applying them.

SECTION III. _Self-praise._

Some persons are such egotists that rather than not be conspicuous,
they will even speak _ill_ of themselves. This may seem like a
contradiction; but it is nevertheless a truth.

Such conduct is explicable in two ways. Self condemnation may be merely
an attempt to extort praise from the bystanders, by leading them to
deny our statements, or defend our conduct. Or, it may be an attempt to
set ourselves off as abounding in self knowledge; a kind of knowledge
which is universally admitted to be difficult of attainment. I have
heard people condemn their past conduct in no measured terms, who would
not have borne a tithe of the same severity of remark from others.
Perhaps it is not too much to affirm that persons of this description
are often among the vainest, if not the proudest of the community.

In general, it is the best way to say as little about ourselves, our
friends, our books, and our circumstances as possible. It is soon
enough to speak of ourselves when we are compelled to do it in our own

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