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´╗┐Title: Character
Author: Smiles, Samuel, 1812-1904
Language: English
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By Samuel Smiles


     "Unless above himself he can Erect himself, how poor a thing
     is man"--DANIEL.

     "Character is moral order seen through the medium, of an
     individual nature.... Men of character are the conscience of
     the society to which they belong."--EMERSON.

     "The prosperity of a country depends, not on the abundance
     of its revenues, nor on the strength of its fortifications,
     nor on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists
     in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its men of
     education, enlightenment, and character; here are to be
     found its true interest, its chief strength, its real
     power."--MARTIN LUTHER.

Character is one of the greatest motive powers in the world. In its
noblest embodiments, it exemplifies human nature in its highest forms,
for it exhibits man at his best.

Men of genuine excellence, in every station of life--men of industry,
of integrity, of high principle, of sterling honesty of purpose--command
the spontaneous homage of mankind. It is natural to believe in such men,
to have confidence in them, and to imitate them. All that is good in
the world is upheld by them, and without their presence in it the world
would not be worth living in.

Although genius always commands admiration, character most secures
respect. The former is more the product of brain-power, the latter of
heart-power; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life. Men
of genius stand to society in the relation of its intellect, as men
of character of its conscience; and while the former are admired, the
latter are followed.

Great men are always exceptional men; and greatness itself is but
comparative. Indeed, the range of most men in life is so limited, that
very few have the opportunity of being great. But each man can act his
part honestly and honourably, and to the best of his ability. He can use
his gifts, and not abuse them. He can strive to make the best of life.
He can be true, just, honest, and faithful, even in small things. In a
word, he can do his Duty in that sphere in which Providence has placed

Commonplace though it may appear, this doing of one's Duty embodies the
highest ideal of life and character. There may be nothing heroic about
it; but the common lot of men is not heroic. And though the abiding
sense of Duty upholds man in his highest attitudes, it also equally
sustains him in the transaction of the ordinary affairs of everyday
existence. Man's life is "centred in the sphere of common duties." The
most influential of all the virtues are those which are the most
in request for daily use. They wear the best, and last the longest.
Superfine virtues, which are above the standard of common men, may only
be sources of temptation and danger. Burke has truly said that "the
human system which rests for its basis on the heroic virtues is sure to
have a superstructure of weakness or of profligacy."

When Dr. Abbot, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, drew the character
of his deceased friend Thomas Sackville, [101] he did not dwell upon his
merits as a statesman, or his genius as a poet, but upon his virtues as
a man in relation to the ordinary duties of life. "How many rare things
were in him!" said he. "Who more loving unto his wife? Who more kind
unto his children?--Who more fast unto his friend?--Who more moderate
unto his enemy?--Who more true to his word?" Indeed, we can always
better understand and appreciate a man's real character by the manner in
which he conducts himself towards those who are the most nearly related
to him, and by his transaction of the seemingly commonplace details of
daily duty, than by his public exhibition of himself as an author, an
orator, or a statesman.

At the same time, while Duty, for the most part, applies to the conduct
of affairs in common life by the average of common men, it is also a
sustaining power to men of the very highest standard of character. They
may not have either money, or property, or learning, or power; and
yet they may be strong in heart and rich in spirit--honest, truthful,
dutiful. And whoever strives to do his duty faithfully is fulfilling
the purpose for which he was created, and building up in himself the
principles of a manly character. There are many persons of whom it
may be said that they have no other possession in the world but their
character, and yet they stand as firmly upon it as any crowned king.

Intellectual culture has no necessary relation to purity or excellence
of character. In the New Testament, appeals are constantly made to the
heart of man and to "the spirit we are of," whilst allusions to the
intellect are of very rare occurrence. "A handful of good life," says
George Herbert, "is worth a bushel of learning." Not that learning is
to be despised, but that it must be allied to goodness. Intellectual
capacity is sometimes found associated with the meanest moral character
with abject servility to those in high places, and arrogance to those of
low estate. A man may be accomplished in art, literature, and science,
and yet, in honesty, virtue, truthfulness, and the spirit of duty, be
entitled to take rank after many a poor and illiterate peasant.

"You insist," wrote Perthes to a friend, "on respect for learned men. I
say, Amen! But, at the same time, don't forget that largeness of mind,
depth of thought, appreciation of the lofty, experience of the world,
delicacy of manner, tact and energy in action, love of truth, honesty,
and amiability--that all these may be wanting in a man who may yet be
very learned." [102]

When some one, in Sir Walter Scott's hearing, made a remark as to the
value of literary talents and accomplishments, as if they were above all
things to be esteemed and honoured, he observed, "God help us! what a
poor world this would be if that were the true doctrine! I have read
books enough, and observed and conversed with enough of eminent and
splendidly-cultured minds, too, in my time; but I assure you, I have
heard higher sentiments from the lips of poor UNEDUCATED men and women,
when exerting the spirit of severe yet gentle heroism under difficulties
and afflictions, or speaking their simple thoughts as to circumstances
in the lot of friends and neighbours, than I ever yet met with out of
the Bible. We shall never learn to feel and respect our real calling
and destiny, unless we have taught ourselves to consider everything as
moonshine, compared with the education of the heart." [103]

Still less has wealth any necessary connection with elevation of
character. On the contrary, it is much more frequently the cause of its
corruption and degradation. Wealth and corruption, luxury and vice, have
very close affinities to each other. Wealth, in the hands of men of weak
purpose, of deficient self-control, or of ill-regulated passions,
is only a temptation and a snare--the source, it may be, of infinite
mischief to themselves, and often to others.

On the contrary, a condition of comparative poverty is compatible with
character in its highest form. A man may possess only his industry,
his frugality, his integrity, and yet stand high in the rank of true
manhood. The advice which Burns's father gave him was the best:

   "He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne'er a farthing,
   For without an honest manly heart no man was worth regarding."

One of the purest and noblest characters the writer ever knew was
a labouring man in a northern county, who brought up his family
respectably on an income never amounting to more than ten shillings
a week. Though possessed of only the rudiments of common education,
obtained at an ordinary parish school, he was a man full of wisdom
and thoughtfulness. His library consisted of the Bible, 'Flavel,' and
'Boston'--books which, excepting the first, probably few readers
have ever heard of. This good man might have sat for the portrait of
Wordsworth's well-known 'Wanderer.' When he had lived his modest life
of work and worship, and finally went to his rest, he left behind him
a reputation for practical wisdom, for genuine goodness, and for
helpfulness in every good work, which greater and richer men might have

When Luther died, he left behind him, as set forth in his will, "no
ready money, no treasure of coin of any description." He was so poor
at one part of his life, that he was under the necessity of earning his
bread by turning, gardening, and clockmaking. Yet, at the very time when
he was thus working with his hands, he was moulding the character of
his country; and he was morally stronger, and vastly more honoured and
followed, than all the princes of Germany.

Character is property. It is the noblest of possessions. It is an estate
in the general goodwill and respect of men; and they who invest in
it--though they may not become rich in this world's goods--will find
their reward in esteem and reputation fairly and honourably won. And it
is right that in life good qualities should tell--that industry, virtue,
and goodness should rank the highest--and that the really best men
should be foremost.

Simple honesty of purpose in a man goes a long way in life, if founded
on a just estimate of himself and a steady obedience to the rule he
knows and feels to be right. It holds a man straight, gives him strength
and sustenance, and forms a mainspring of vigorous action. "No man,"
once said Sir Benjamin Rudyard, "is bound to be rich or great,--no, nor
to be wise; but every man is bound to be honest." [104]

But the purpose, besides being honest, must be inspired by sound
principles, and pursued with undeviating adherence to truth, integrity,
and uprightness. Without principles, a man is like a ship without rudder
or compass, left to drift hither and thither with every wind that blows.
He is as one without law, or rule, or order, or government. "Moral
principles," says Hume, "are social and universal. They form, in a
manner, the PARTY of humankind against vice and disorder, its common

Epictetus once received a visit from a certain magnificent orator going
to Rome on a lawsuit, who wished to learn from the stoic something of
his philosophy. Epictetus received his visitor coolly, not believing in
his sincerity. "You will only criticise my style," said he; "not really
wishing to learn principles."--"Well, but," said the orator, "if I
attend to that sort of thing; I shall be a mere pauper, like you, with
no plate, nor equipage, nor land."--"I don't WANT such things," replied
Epictetus; "and besides, you are poorer than I am, after all. Patron or
no patron, what care I? You DO care. I am richer than you. I don't care
what Caesar thinks of me. I flatter no one. This is what I have, instead
of your gold and silver plate. You have silver vessels, but earthenware
reasons, principles, appetites. My mind to me a kingdom is, and it
furnishes me with abundant and happy occupation in lieu of your restless
idleness. All your possessions seem small to you; mine seem great to me.
Your desire is insatiate--mine is satisfied." [105]

Talent is by no means rare in the world; nor is even genius. But can the
talent be trusted?--can the genius? Not unless based on truthfulness--on
veracity. It is this quality more than any other that commands the
esteem and respect, and secures the confidence of others. Truthfulness
is at the foundation of all personal excellence. It exhibits itself in
conduct. It is rectitude--truth in action, and shines through every word
and deed. It means reliableness, and convinces other men that it can
be trusted. And a man is already of consequence in the world when it is
known that he can be relied on,--that when he says he knows a thing, he
does know it,--that when he says he will do a thing, he can do, and
does it. Thus reliableness becomes a passport to the general esteem and
confidence of mankind.

In the affairs of life or of business, it is not intellect that tells so
much as character,--not brains so much as heart,--not genius so much
as self-control, patience, and discipline, regulated by judgment. Hence
there is no better provision for the uses of either private or public
life, than a fair share of ordinary good sense guided by rectitude. Good
sense, disciplined by experience and inspired by goodness, issues in
practical wisdom. Indeed, goodness in a measure implies wisdom--the
highest wisdom--the union of the worldly with the spiritual. "The
correspondences of wisdom and goodness," says Sir Henry Taylor, "are
manifold; and that they will accompany each other is to be inferred, not
only because men's wisdom makes them good, but because their goodness
makes them wise." [106]

It is because of this controlling power of character in life that we
often see men exercise an amount of influence apparently out of all
proportion to their intellectual endowments. They appear to act by means
of some latent power, some reserved force, which acts secretly, by mere
presence. As Burke said of a powerful nobleman of the last century, "his
virtues were his means." The secret is, that the aims of such men are
felt to be pure and noble, and they act upon others with a constraining

Though the reputation of men of genuine character may be of slow
growth, their true qualities cannot be wholly concealed. They may be
misrepresented by some, and misunderstood by others; misfortune
and adversity may, for a time, overtake them but, with patience and
endurance, they will eventually inspire the respect and command the
confidence which they really deserve.

It has been said of Sheridan that, had he possessed reliableness of
character, he might have ruled the world; whereas, for want of it, his
splendid gifts were comparatively useless. He dazzled and amused, but
was without weight or influence in life or politics. Even the poor
pantomimist of Drury Lane felt himself his superior. Thus, when Delpini
one day pressed the manager for arrears of salary, Sheridan sharply
reproved him, telling him he had forgotten his station. "No, indeed,
Monsieur Sheridan, I have not," retorted Delpini; "I know the difference
between us perfectly well. In birth, parentage, and education, you are
superior to me; but in life, character, and behaviour, I am superior to

Unlike Sheridan, Burke, his countryman, was a great man of character. He
was thirty-five before he gained a seat in Parliament, yet he found time
to carve his name deep in the political history of England. He was a
man of great gifts, and of transcendent force of character. Yet he had a
weakness, which proved a serious defect--it was his want of temper; his
genius was sacrificed to his irritability. And without this apparently
minor gift of temper, the most splendid endowments may be comparatively
valueless to their possessor.

Character is formed by a variety of minute circumstances, more or less
under the regulation and control of the individual. Not a day passes
without its discipline, whether for good or for evil. There is no act,
however trivial, but has its train of consequences, as there is no
hair so small but casts its shadow. It was a wise saying of Mrs.
Schimmelpenninck's mother, never to give way to what is little; or
by that little, however you may despise it, you will be practically

Every action, every thought, every feeling, contributes to the
education of the temper, the habits, and understanding; and exercises
an inevitable influence upon all the acts of our future life. Thus
character is undergoing constant change, for better or for worse--either
being elevated on the one hand, or degraded on the other. "There is no
fault nor folly of my life," says Mr. Ruskin, "that does not rise up
against me, and take away my joy, and shorten my power of possession, of
sight, of understanding. And every past effort of my life, every gleam
of rightness or good in it, is with me now, to help me in my grasp of
this art and its vision." [107]

The mechanical law, that action and reaction are equal, holds true also
in morals. Good deeds act and react on the doers of them; and so do
evil. Not only so: they produce like effects, by the influence of
example, on those who are the subjects of them. But man is not the
creature, so much as he is the creator, of circumstances: [108] and, by
the exercise of his freewill, he can direct his actions so that they
shall be productive of good rather than evil. "Nothing can work me
damage but myself," said St. Bernard; "the harm that I sustain I carry
about with me; and I am never a real sufferer but by my own fault."

The best sort of character, however, cannot be formed without effort.
There needs the exercise of constant self-watchfulness, self-discipline,
and self-control. There may be much faltering, stumbling, and temporary
defeat; difficulties and temptations manifold to be battled with and
overcome; but if the spirit be strong and the heart be upright, no one
need despair of ultimate success. The very effort to advance--to arrive
at a higher standard of character than we have reached--is inspiring and
invigorating; and even though we may fall short of it, we cannot fail to
be improved by every, honest effort made in an upward direction.

And with the light of great examples to guide us--representatives of
humanity in its best forms--every one is not only justified, but bound
in duty, to aim at reaching the highest standard of character: not to
become the richest in means, but in spirit; not the greatest in worldly
position, but in true honour; not the most intellectual, but the most
virtuous; not the most powerful and influential, but the most truthful,
upright, and honest.

It was very characteristic of the late Prince Consort--a man himself of
the purest mind, who powerfully impressed and influenced others by the
sheer force of his own benevolent nature--when drawing up the conditions
of the annual prize to be given by Her Majesty at Wellington College,
to determine that it should be awarded, not to the cleverest boy, nor
to the most bookish boy, nor to the most precise, diligent, and prudent
boy,--but to the noblest boy, to the boy who should show the most
promise of becoming a large-hearted, high-motived man. [109]

Character exhibits itself in conduct, guided and inspired by principle,
integrity, and practical wisdom. In its highest form, it is the
individual will acting energetically under the influence of religion,
morality, and reason. It chooses its way considerately, and pursues
it steadfastly; esteeming duty above reputation, and the approval
of conscience more than the world's praise. While respecting the
personality of others, it preserves its own individuality and
independence; and has the courage to be morally honest, though it may be
unpopular, trusting tranquilly to time and experience for recognition.

Although the force of example will always exercise great influence upon
the formation of character, the self-originating and sustaining force of
one's own spirit must be the mainstay. This alone can hold up the life,
and give individual independence and energy. "Unless man can erect
himself above himself," said Daniel, a poet of the Elizabethan era, "how
poor a thing is man!" Without a certain degree of practical efficient
force--compounded of will, which is the root, and wisdom, which is the
stem of character--life will be indefinite and purposeless--like a body
of stagnant water, instead of a running stream doing useful work and
keeping the machinery of a district in motion.

When the elements of character are brought into action by determinate
will, and, influenced by high purpose, man enters upon and courageously
perseveres in the path of duty, at whatever cost of worldly interest,
he may be said to approach the summit of his being. He then exhibits
character in its most intrepid form, and embodies the highest idea of
manliness. The acts of such a man become repeated in the life and action
of others. His very words live and become actions. Thus every word of
Luther's rang through Germany like a trumpet. As Richter said of him,
"His words were half-battles." And thus Luther's life became transfused
into the life of his country, and still lives in the character of modern

On the other hand, energy, without integrity and a soul of goodness,
may only represent the embodied principle of evil. It is observed by
Novalis, in his 'Thoughts on Morals,' that the ideal of moral perfection
has no more dangerous rival to contend with than the ideal of the
highest strength and the most energetic life, the maximum of the
barbarian--which needs only a due admixture of pride, ambition, and
selfishness, to be a perfect ideal of the devil. Amongst men of
such stamp are found the greatest scourges and devastators of the
world--those elect scoundrels whom Providence, in its inscrutable
designs, permits to fulfil their mission of destruction upon earth. [1010]

Very different is the man of energetic character inspired by a noble
spirit, whose actions are governed by rectitude, and the law of whose
life is duty. He is just and upright,--in his business dealings, in his
public action, and in his family life--justice being as essential in the
government of a home as of a nation. He will be honest in all things--in
his words and in his work. He will be generous and merciful to his
opponents, as well as to those who are weaker than himself. It was truly
said of Sheridan--who, with all his improvidence, was generous, and
never gave pain--that,

     "His wit in the combat, as gentle as bright,
     Never carried a heart-stain away on its blade."

Such also was the character of Fox, who commanded the affection and
service of others by his uniform heartiness and sympathy. He was a man
who could always be most easily touched on the side of his honour.
Thus, the story is told of a tradesman calling upon him one day for the
payment of a promissory note which he presented. Fox was engaged at the
time in counting out gold. The tradesman asked to be paid from the money
before him. "No," said Fox, "I owe this money to Sheridan; it is a debt
of honour; if any accident happened to me, he would have nothing
to show." "Then," said the tradesman, "I change MY debt into one of
honour;" and he tore up the note. Fox was conquered by the act: he
thanked the man for his confidence, and paid him, saying, "Then Sheridan
must wait; yours is the debt of older standing."

The man of character is conscientious. He puts his conscience into his
work, into his words, into his every action. When Cromwell asked the
Parliament for soldiers in lieu of the decayed serving-men and tapsters
who filled the Commonwealth's army, he required that they should be men
"who made some conscience of what they did;" and such were the men of
which his celebrated regiment of "Ironsides" was composed.

The man of character is also reverential. The possession of this quality
marks the noblest, and highest type of manhood and womanhood: reverence
for things consecrated by the homage of generations--for high objects,
pure thoughts, and noble aims--for the great men of former times, and
the highminded workers amongst our contemporaries. Reverence is alike
indispensable to the happiness of individuals, of families, and of
nations. Without it there can be no trust, no faith, no confidence,
either in man or God--neither social peace nor social progress. For
reverence is but another word for religion, which binds men to each
other, and all to God.

"The man of noble spirit," says Sir Thomas Overbury, "converts all
occurrences into experience, between which experience and his reason
there is marriage, and the issue are his actions. He moves by affection,
not for affection; he loves glory, scorns shame, and governeth and
obeyeth with one countenance, for it comes from one consideration.
Knowing reason to be no idle gift of nature, he is the steersman of his
own destiny. Truth is his goddess, and he takes pains to get her, not
to look like her. Unto the society of men he is a sun, whose clearness
directs their steps in a regular motion. He is the wise man's friend,
the example of the indifferent, the medicine of the vicious. Thus time
goeth not from him, but with him, and he feels age more by the strength
of his soul than by the weakness of his body. Thus feels he no pain, but
esteems all such things as friends, that desire to file off his fetters,
and help him out of prison." [1011]

Energy of will--self-originating force--is the soul of every great
character. Where it is, there is life; where it is not, there is
faintness, helplessness, and despondency. "The strong man and the
waterfall," says the proverb, "channel their own path." The energetic
leader of noble spirit not only wins a way for himself, but carries
others with him. His every act has a personal significance, indicating
vigour, independence, and self-reliance, and unconsciously commands
respect, admiration, and homage. Such intrepidity of character
characterised Luther, Cromwell, Washington, Pitt, Wellington, and all
great leaders of men.

"I am convinced," said Mr. Gladstone, in describing the qualities of
the late Lord Palmerston in the House of Commons, shortly after his
death--"I am convinced that it was the force of will, a sense of duty,
and a determination not to give in, that enabled him to make himself
a model for all of us who yet remain and follow him, with feeble and
unequal steps, in the discharge of our duties; it was that force of will
that in point of fact did not so much struggle against the infirmities
of old age, but actually repelled them and kept them at a distance. And
one other quality there is, at least, that may be noticed without the
smallest risk of stirring in any breast a painful emotion. It is this,
that Lord Palmerston had a nature incapable of enduring anger or any
sentiment of wrath. This freedom from wrathful sentiment was not the
result of painful effort, but the spontaneous fruit of the mind. It was
a noble gift of his original nature--a gift which beyond all others it
was delightful to observe, delightful also to remember in connection
with him who has left us, and with whom we have no longer to do, except
in endeavouring to profit by his example wherever it can lead us in the
path of duty and of right, and of bestowing on him those tributes of
admiration and affection which he deserves at our hands."

The great leader attracts to himself men of kindred character, drawing
them towards him as the loadstone draws iron. Thus, Sir John Moore early
distinguished the three brothers Napier from the crowd of officers by
whom he was surrounded, and they, on their part, repaid him by their
passionate admiration. They were captivated by his courtesy, his
bravery, and his lofty disinterestedness; and he became the model
whom they resolved to imitate, and, if possible, to emulate. "Moore's
influence," says the biographer of Sir William Napier, "had a signal
effect in forming and maturing their characters; and it is no small
glory to have been the hero of those three men, while his early
discovery of their mental and moral qualities is a proof of Moore's own
penetration and judgment of character."

There is a contagiousness in every example of energetic conduct. The
brave man is an inspiration to the weak, and compels them, as it were,
to follow him. Thus Napier relates that at the combat of Vera, when
the Spanish centre was broken and in flight, a young officer, named
Havelock, sprang forward, and, waving his hat, called upon the Spaniards
within sight to follow him. Putting spurs to his horse, he leapt the
abbatis which protected the French front, and went headlong against
them. The Spaniards were electrified; in a moment they dashed after him,
cheering for "EL CHICO BLANCO!" [10the fair boy], and with one shock they
broke through the French and sent them flying downhill. [1012]

And so it is in ordinary life. The good and the great draw others
after them; they lighten and lift up all who are within reach of their
influence. They are as so many living centres of beneficent activity.
Let a man of energetic and upright character be appointed to a position
of trust and authority, and all who serve under him become, as it were,
conscious of an increase of power. When Chatham was appointed minister,
his personal influence was at once felt through all the ramifications
of office. Every sailor who served under Nelson, and knew he was in
command, shared the inspiration of the hero.

When Washington consented to act as commander-in-chief, it was felt as
if the strength of the American forces had been more than doubled. Many
years late; in 1798, when Washington, grown old, had withdrawn from
public life and was living in retirement at Mount Vernon, and when it
seemed probable that France would declare war against the United States,
President Adams wrote to him, saying, "We must have your name, if you
will permit us to use it; there will be more efficacy in it than in
many an army." Such was the esteem in which the great President's noble
character and eminent abilities were held by his countrymen! [1013]

An incident is related by the historian of the Peninsular War,
illustrative of the personal influence exercised by a great commander
over his followers. The British army lay at Sauroren, before which Soult
was advancing, prepared to attack, in force. Wellington was absent, and
his arrival was anxiously looked for. Suddenly a single horseman was
seen riding up the mountain alone. It was the Duke, about to join his
troops. One of Campbell's Portuguese battalions first descried him,
and raised a joyful cry; then the shrill clamour, caught up by the next
regiment, soon swelled as it ran along the line into that appalling
shout which the British soldier is wont to give upon the edge of
battle, and which no enemy ever heard unmoved. Suddenly he stopped at a
conspicuous point, for he desired both armies should know he was there,
and a double spy who was present pointed out Soult, who was so near that
his features could be distinguished. Attentively Wellington fixed his
eyes on that formidable man, and, as if speaking to himself, he said:
"Yonder is a great commander; but he is cautious, and will delay his
attack to ascertain the cause of those cheers; that will give time for
the Sixth Division to arrive, and I shall beat him"--which he did. [1014]

In some cases, personal character acts by a kind of talismanic
influence, as if certain men were the organs of a sort of supernatural
force. "If I but stamp on the ground in Italy," said Pompey, "an army
will appear." At the voice of Peter the Hermit, as described by the
historian, "Europe arose, and precipitated itself upon Asia." It was
said of the Caliph Omar that his walking-stick struck more terror into
those who saw it than another man's sword. The very names of some men
are like the sound of a trumpet. When the Douglas lay mortally wounded
on the field of Otterburn, he ordered his name to be shouted still
louder than before, saying there was a tradition in his family that a
dead Douglas should win a battle. His followers, inspired by the sound,
gathered fresh courage, rallied, and conquered; and thus, in the words
of the Scottish poet:--

"The Douglas dead, his name hath won the field." [1015]

There have been some men whose greatest conquests have been achieved
after they themselves were dead. "Never," says Michelet, "was Caesar
more alive, more powerful, more terrible, than when his old and worn-out
body, his withered corpse, lay pierced with blows; he appeared
then purified, redeemed,--that which he had been, despite his many
stains--the man of humanity." [1016] Never did the great character of
William of Orange, surnamed the Silent, exercise greater power over his
countrymen than after his assassination at Delft by the emissary of the
Jesuits. On the very day of his murder the Estates of Holland resolved
"to maintain the good cause, with God's help, to the uttermost, without
sparing gold or blood;" and they kept their word.

The same illustration applies to all history and morals. The career of
a great man remains an enduring monument of human energy. The man
dies and disappears; but his thoughts and acts survive, and leave
an indelible stamp upon his race. And thus the spirit of his life is
prolonged and perpetuated, moulding the thought and will, and thereby
contributing to form the character of the future. It is the men that
advance in the highest and best directions, who are the true beacons of
human progress. They are as lights set upon a hill, illumining the moral
atmosphere around them; and the light of their spirit continues to shine
upon all succeeding generations.

It is natural to admire and revere really great men. They hallow the
nation to which they belong, and lift up not only all who live in their
time, but those who live after them. Their great example becomes the
common heritage of their race; and their great deeds and great thoughts
are the most glorious of legacies to mankind. They connect the present
with the past, and help on the increasing purpose of the future; holding
aloft the standard of principle, maintaining the dignity of human
character, and filling the mind with traditions and instincts of all
that is most worthy and noble in life.

Character, embodied in thought and deed, is of the nature of
immortality. The solitary thought of a great thinker will dwell in the
minds of men for centuries until at length it works itself into their
daily life and practice. It lives on through the ages, speaking as a
voice from the dead, and influencing minds living thousands of years
apart. Thus, Moses and David and Solomon, Plato and Socrates and
Xenophon, Seneca and Cicero and Epictetus, still speak to us as from
their tombs. They still arrest the attention, and exercise an influence
upon character, though their thoughts be conveyed in languages unspoken
by them and in their time unknown. Theodore Parker has said that a
single man like Socrates was worth more to a country than many such
states as South Carolina; that if that state went out of the world
to-day, she would not have done so much for the world as Socrates. [1017]

Great workers and great thinkers are the true makers of history, which
is but continuous humanity influenced by men of character--by great
leaders, kings, priests, philosophers, statesmen, and patriots--the
true aristocracy of man. Indeed, Mr. Carlyle has broadly stated that
Universal History is, at bottom, but the history of Great Men. They
certainly mark and designate the epochs of national life. Their
influence is active, as well as reactive. Though their mind is, in a
measure; the product of their age, the public mind is also, to a
great extent, their creation. Their individual action identifies the
cause--the institution. They think great thoughts, cast them abroad,
and the thoughts make events. Thus the early Reformers initiated the
Reformation, and with it the liberation of modern thought. Emerson has
said that every institution is to be regarded as but the lengthened
shadow of some great man: as Islamism of Mahomet, Puritanism of Calvin,
Jesuitism of Loyola, Quakerism of Fox, Methodism of Wesley, Abolitionism
of Clarkson.

Great men stamp their mind upon their age and nation--as Luther did upon
modern Germany, and Knox upon Scotland. [1018] And if there be one man
more than another that stamped his mind on modern Italy, it was Dante.
During the long centuries of Italian degradation his burning words were
as a watchfire and a beacon to all true men. He was the herald of his
nation's liberty--braving persecution, exile, and death, for the love
of it. He was always the most national of the Italian poets, the most
loved, the most read. From the time of his death all educated Italians
had his best passages by heart; and the sentiments they enshrined
inspired their lives, and eventually influenced the history of their
nation. "The Italians," wrote Byron in 1821, "talk Dante, write Dante,
and think and dream Dante, at this moment, to an excess which would be
ridiculous, but that he deserves their admiration." [1019]

A succession of variously gifted men in different ages--extending from
Alfred to Albert--has in like manner contributed, by their life and
example, to shape the multiform character of England. Of these, probably
the most influential were the men of the Elizabethan and Cromwellian,
and the intermediate periods--amongst which we find the great names of
Shakspeare, Raleigh, Burleigh, Sidney, Bacon, Milton, Herbert, Hampden,
Pym, Eliot, Vane, Cromwell, and many more--some of them men of great
force, and others of great dignity and purity of character. The lives of
such men have become part of the public life of England, and their deeds
and thoughts are regarded as among the most cherished bequeathments from
the past.

So Washington left behind him, as one of the greatest treasures of his
country, the example of a stainless life--of a great, honest, pure, and
noble character--a model for his nation to form themselves by in all
time to come. And in the case of Washington, as in so many other great
leaders of men, his greatness did not so much consist in his intellect,
his skill, and his genius, as in his honour, his integrity, his
truthfulness, his high and controlling sense of duty--in a word, in his
genuine nobility of character.

Men such as these are the true lifeblood of the country to which they
belong. They elevate and uphold it, fortify and ennoble it, and shed
a glory over it by the example of life and character which they have
bequeathed. "The names and memories of great men," says an able writer,
"are the dowry of a nation. Widowhood, overthrow, desertion, even
slavery, cannot take away from her this sacred inheritance.... Whenever
national life begins to quicken.... the dead heroes rise in the memories
of men, and appear to the living to stand by in solemn spectatorship and
approval. No country can be lost which feels herself overlooked by such
glorious witnesses. They are the salt of the earth, in death as well as
in life. What they did once, their descendants have still and always
a right to do after them; and their example lives in their country, a
continual stimulant and encouragement for him who has the soul to adopt
it." [1020]

But it is not great men only that have to be taken into account in
estimating the qualities of a nation, but the character that pervades
the great body of the people. When Washington Irving visited Abbotsford,
Sir Walter Scott introduced him to many of his friends and favourites,
not only amongst the neighbouring farmers, but the labouring peasantry.
"I wish to show you," said Scott, "some of our really excellent plain
Scotch people. The character of a nation is not to be learnt from its
fine folks, its fine gentlemen and ladies; such you meet everywhere,
and they are everywhere the same." While statesmen, philosophers, and
divines represent the thinking power of society, the men who found
industries and carve out new careers, as well as the common body of
working-people, from whom the national strength and spirit are from
time to time recruited, must necessarily furnish the vital force and
constitute the real backbone of every nation.

Nations have their character to maintain as well as individuals;
and under constitutional governments--where all classes more or less
participate in the exercise of political power--the national character
will necessarily depend more upon the moral qualities of the many than
of the few. And the same qualities which determine the character of
individuals, also determine the character of nations. Unless they are
highminded, truthful, honest, virtuous, and courageous, they will be
held in light esteem by other nations, and be without weight in
the world. To have character, they must needs also be reverential,
disciplined, self-controlling, and devoted to duty. The nation that has
no higher god than pleasure, or even dollars or calico, must needs be in
a poor way. It were better to revert to Homer's gods than be devoted to
these; for the heathen deities at least imaged human virtues, and were
something to look up to.

As for institutions, however good in themselves, they will avail but
little in maintaining the standard of national character. It is the
individual men, and the spirit which actuates them, that determine the
moral standing and stability of nations. Government, in the long run, is
usually no better than the people governed. Where the mass is sound in
conscience, morals, and habit, the nation will be ruled honestly and
nobly. But where they are corrupt, self-seeking, and dishonest in heart,
bound neither by truth nor by law, the rule of rogues and wirepullers
becomes inevitable.

The only true barrier against the despotism of public opinion, whether
it be of the many or of the few, is enlightened individual freedom and
purity of personal character. Without these there can be no vigorous
manhood, no true liberty in a nation. Political rights, however broadly
framed, will not elevate a people individually depraved. Indeed, the
more complete a system of popular suffrage, and the more perfect its
protection, the more completely will the real character of a people
be reflected, as by a mirror, in their laws and government. Political
morality can never have any solid existence on a basis of individual
immorality. Even freedom, exercised by a debased people, would come
to be regarded as a nuisance, and liberty of the press but a vent for
licentiousness and moral abomination.

Nations, like individuals, derive support and strength from the feeling
that they belong to an illustrious race, that they are the heirs of
their greatness, and ought to be the perpetuators of their glory. It is
of momentous importance that a nation should have a great past [1021]
to look back upon. It steadies the life of the present, elevates and
upholds it, and lightens and lifts it up, by the memory of the great
deeds, the noble sufferings, and the valorous achievements of the men of
old. The life of nations, as of men, is a great treasury of experience,
which, wisely used, issues in social progress and improvement; or,
misused, issues in dreams, delusions, and failure. Like men, nations are
purified and strengthened by trials. Some of the most glorious chapters
in their history are those containing the record of the sufferings by
means of which their character has been developed. Love of liberty and
patriotic feeling may have done much, but trial and suffering nobly
borne more than all.

A great deal of what passes by the name of patriotism in these days
consists of the merest bigotry and narrow-mindedness; exhibiting itself
in national prejudice, national conceit, amid national hatred. It does
not show itself in deeds, but in boastings--in howlings, gesticulations,
and shrieking helplessly for help--in flying flags and singing
songs--and in perpetual grinding at the hurdy-gurdy of long-dead
grievances and long-remedied wrongs. To be infested by SUCH a patriotism
as this is, perhaps, amongst the greatest curses that can befall any

But as there is an ignoble, so is there a noble patriotism--the
patriotism that invigorates and elevates a country by noble work--that
does its duty truthfully and manfully--that lives an honest, sober, and
upright life, and strives to make the best use of the opportunities for
improvement that present themselves on every side; and at the same time
a patriotism that cherishes the memory and example of the great men of
old, who, by their sufferings in the cause of religion or of freedom,
have won for themselves a deathless glory, and for their nation those
privileges of free life and free institutions of which they are the
inheritors and possessors.

Nations are not to be judged by their size any more than individuals:

    "it is not growing like a tree
    In bulk, doth make Man better be."

For a nation to be great, it need not necessarily be big, though bigness
is often confounded with greatness. A nation may be very big in point of
territory and population and yet be devoid of true greatness. The people
of Israel were a small people, yet what a great life they developed,
and how powerful the influence they have exercised on the destinies of
mankind! Greece was not big: the entire population of Attica was less
than that of South Lancashire. Athens was less populous than New York;
and yet how great it was in art, in literature, in philosophy, and in
patriotism! [1022]

But it was the fatal weakness of Athens that its citizens had no true
family or home life, while its freemen were greatly outnumbered by its
slaves. Its public men were loose, if not corrupt, in morals. Its
women, even the most accomplished, were unchaste. Hence its fall became
inevitable, and was even more sudden than its rise.

In like manner the decline and fall of Rome was attributable to the
general corruption of its people, and to their engrossing love of
pleasure and idleness--work, in the later days of Rome, being regarded
only as fit for slaves. Its citizens ceased to pride themselves on the
virtues of character of their great forefathers; and the empire fell
because it did not deserve to live. And so the nations that are idle and
luxurious--that "will rather lose a pound of blood," as old Burton says,
"in a single combat, than a drop of sweat in any honest labour"--must
inevitably die out, and laborious energetic nations take their place.

When Louis XIV. asked Colbert how it was that, ruling so great and
populous a country as France, he had been unable to conquer so small a
country as Holland, the minister replied: "Because, Sire, the greatness
of a country does not depend upon the extent of its territory, but
on the character of its people. It is because of the industry, the
frugality, and the energy of the Dutch that your Majesty has found them
so difficult to overcome."

It is also related of Spinola and Richardet, the ambassadors sent by the
King of Spain to negotiate a treaty at the Hague in 1608, that one day
they saw some eight or ten persons land from a little boat, and, sitting
down upon the grass, proceed to make a meal of bread-and-cheese and
beer. "Who are those travellers?" asked the ambassadors of a peasant.
"These are worshipful masters, the deputies from the States," was his
reply. Spinola at once whispered to his companion, "We must make peace:
these are not men to be conquered."

In fine, stability of institutions must depend upon stability of
character. Any number of depraved units cannot form a great nation.
The people may seem to be highly civilised, and yet be ready to fall
to pieces at first touch of adversity. Without integrity of individual
character, they can have no real strength, cohesion, soundness. They may
be rich, polite, and artistic; and yet hovering on the brink of ruin.
If living for themselves only, and with no end but pleasure--each little
self his own little god--such a nation is doomed, and its decay is

Where national character ceases to be upheld, a nation may be regarded
as next to lost. Where it ceases to esteem and to practise the virtues
of truthfulness, honesty, integrity, and justice, it does not deserve
to live. And when the time arrives in any country when wealth has so
corrupted, or pleasure so depraved, or faction so infatuated the people,
that honour, order, obedience, virtue, and loyalty have seemingly become
things of the past; then, amidst the darkness, when honest men--if,
haply, there be such left--are groping about and feeling for each
other's hands, their only remaining hope will be in the restoration and
elevation of Individual Character; for by that alone can a nation be
saved; and if character be irrecoverably lost, then indeed there will be
nothing left worth saving.


        "So build we up the being that we are,
         Thus deeply drinking in the soul of things,
         We shall be wise perforce."  WORDSWORTH.

    "The millstreams that turn the clappers of the world
     arise in solitary places."--HELPS.

     "In the course of a conversation with Madame Campan,
     Napoleon Buonaparte remarked: 'The old systems of
     instruction seem to be worth nothing; what is yet wanting in
     order that the people should be properly educated?'
     'MOTHERS,' replied Madame Campan. The reply struck the
     Emperor. 'Yes!' said he 'here is a system of education in
     one word. Be it your care, then, to train up mothers who
     shall know how to educate their children.'"--AIME MARTIN.

        "Lord! with what care hast Thou begirt us round!
          Parents first season us.  Then schoolmasters
         Deliver us to laws.  They send us bound
          To rules of reason."--GEORGE HERBERT.

HOME is the first and most important school of character. It is there
that every human being receives his best moral training, or his worst;
for it is there that he imbibes those principles of conduct which endure
through manhood, and cease only with life.

It is a common saying that "Manners make the man;" and there is a
second, that "Mind makes the man;" but truer than either is a third,
that "Home makes the man." For the home-training includes not only
manners and mind, but character. It is mainly in the home that the
heart is opened, the habits are formed, the intellect is awakened, and
character moulded for good or for evil.

From that source, be it pure or impure, issue the principles and maxims
that govern society. Law itself is but the reflex of homes. The tiniest
bits of opinion sown in the minds of children in private life afterwards
issue forth to the world, and become its public opinion; for nations
are gathered out of nurseries, and they who hold the leading-strings
of children may even exercise a greater power than those who wield the
reins of government. [111]

It is in the order of nature that domestic life should be preparatory
to social, and that the mind and character should first be formed in the
home. There the individuals who afterwards form society are dealt with
in detail, and fashioned one by one. From the family they enter life,
and advance from boyhood to citizenship. Thus the home may be regarded
as the most influential school of civilisation. For, after all,
civilisation mainly resolves itself into a question of individual
training; and according as the respective members of society are well
or ill-trained in youth, so will the community which they constitute be
more or less humanised and civilised.

The training of any man, even the wisest, cannot fail to be powerfully
influenced by the moral surroundings of his early years. He comes into
the world helpless, and absolutely dependent upon those about him for
nurture and culture. From the very first breath that he draws, his
education begins. When a mother once asked a clergyman when she should
begin the education of her child, then four years old, he replied:
"Madam, if you have not begun already, you have lost those four
years. From the first smile that gleams upon an infant's cheek, your
opportunity begins."

But even in this case the education had already begun; for the child
learns by simple imitation, without effort, almost through the pores of
the skin. "A figtree looking on a figtree becometh fruitful," says
the Arabian proverb. And so it is with children; their first great
instructor is example.

However apparently trivial the influences which contribute to form the
character of the child, they endure through life. The child's character
is the nucleus of the man's; all after-education is but superposition;
the form of the crystal remains the same. Thus the saying of the poet
holds true in a large degree, "The child is father of the man;" or, as
Milton puts it, "The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day."
Those impulses to conduct which last the longest and are rooted the
deepest, always have their origin near our birth. It is then that
the germs of virtues or vices, of feelings or sentiments, are first
implanted which determine the character for life.

The child is, as it were, laid at the gate of a new world, and opens
his eyes upon things all of which are full of novelty and wonderment. At
first it is enough for him to gaze; but by-and-by he begins to see, to
observe, to compare, to learn, to store up impressions and ideas; and
under wise guidance the progress which he makes is really wonderful.
Lord Brougham has observed that between the ages of eighteen and thirty
months, a child learns more of the material world, of his own powers,
of the nature of other bodies, and even of his own mind and other minds,
than he acquires in all the rest of his life. The knowledge which a
child accumulates, and the ideas generated in his mind, during this
period, are so important, that if we could imagine them to be afterwards
obliterated, all the learning of a senior wrangler at Cambridge, or a
first-classman at Oxford, would be as nothing to it, and would literally
not enable its object to prolong his existence for a week.

It is in childhood that the mind is most open to impressions, and ready
to be kindled by the first spark that falls into it. Ideas are then
caught quickly and live lastingly. Thus Scott is said to have received,
his first bent towards ballad literature from his mother's and
grandmother's recitations in his hearing long before he himself
had learned to read. Childhood is like a mirror, which reflects in
after-life the images first presented to it. The first thing continues
for ever with the child. The first joy, the first sorrow, the
first success, the first failure, the first achievement, the first
misadventure, paint the foreground of his life.

All this while, too, the training of the character is in progress--of
the temper, the will, and the habits--on which so much of the happiness
of human beings in after-life depends. Although man is endowed with
a certain self-acting, self-helping power of contributing to his own
development, independent of surrounding circumstances, and of reacting
upon the life around him, the bias given to his moral character in early
life is of immense importance. Place even the highest-minded philosopher
in the midst of daily discomfort, immorality, and vileness, and he will
insensibly gravitate towards brutality. How much more susceptible is the
impressionable and helpless child amidst such surroundings! It is not
possible to rear a kindly nature, sensitive to evil, pure in mind and
heart, amidst coarseness, discomfort, and impurity.

Thus homes, which are the nurseries of children who grow up into men
and women, will be good or bad according to the power that governs them.
Where the spirit of love and duty pervades the home--where head and
heart bear rule wisely there--where the daily life is honest and
virtuous--where the government is sensible, kind, and loving, then
may we expect from such a home an issue of healthy, useful, and happy
beings, capable, as they gain the requisite strength, of following the
footsteps of their parents, of walking uprightly, governing themselves
wisely, and contributing to the welfare of those about them.

On the other hand, if surrounded by ignorance, coarseness, and
selfishness, they will unconsciously assume the same character, and
grow up to adult years rude, uncultivated, and all the more dangerous
to society if placed amidst the manifold temptations of what is called
civilised life. "Give your child to be educated by a slave," said an
ancient Greek, "and instead of one slave, you will then have two."

The child cannot help imitating what he sees. Everything is to him a
model--of manner, of gesture, of speech, of habit, of character. "For
the child," says Richter, "the most important era of life is that of
childhood, when he begins to colour and mould himself by companionship
with others. Every new educator effects less than his predecessor;
until at last, if we regard all life as an educational institution, a
circumnavigator of the world is less influenced by all the nations
he has seen than by his nurse." [112] Models are therefore of every
importance in moulding the nature of the child; and if we would have
fine characters, we must necessarily present before them fine models.
Now, the model most constantly before every child's eye is the Mother.

One good mother, said George Herbert, is worth a hundred schoolmasters.
In the home she is "loadstone to all hearts, and loadstar to all eyes."
Imitation of her is constant--imitation, which Bacon likens to "a globe
of precepts." But example is far more than precept. It is instruction
in action. It is teaching without words, often exemplifying more than
tongue can teach. In the face of bad example, the best of precepts are
of but little avail. The example is followed, not the precepts. Indeed,
precept at variance with practice is worse than useless, inasmuch as
it only serves to teach the most cowardly of vices--hypocrisy. Even
children are judges of consistency, and the lessons of the parent who
says one thing and does the opposite, are quickly seen through. The
teaching of the friar was not worth much, who preached the virtue of
honesty with a stolen goose in his sleeve.

By imitation of acts, the character becomes slowly and imperceptibly,
but at length decidedly formed. The several acts may seem in themselves
trivial; but so are the continuous acts of daily life. Like snowflakes,
they fall unperceived; each flake added to the pile produces no
sensible change, and yet the accumulation of snowflakes makes the
avalanche. So do repeated acts, one following another, at length become
consolidated in habit, determine the action of the human being for good
or for evil, and, in a word, form the character.

It is because the mother, far more than the father, influences the
action and conduct of the child, that her good example is of so much
greater importance in the home. It is easy to understand how this should
be so. The home is the woman's domain--her kingdom, where she exercises
entire control. Her power over the little subjects she rules there is
absolute. They look up to her for everything. She is the example and
model constantly before their eyes, whom they unconsciously observe and

Cowley, speaking of the influence of early example, and ideas early
implanted in the mind, compares them to letters cut in the bark of a
young tree, which grow and widen with age. The impressions then made,
howsoever slight they may seem, are never effaced. The ideas then
implanted in the mind are like seeds dropped into the ground, which
lie there and germinate for a time, afterwards springing up in acts and
thoughts and habits. Thus the mother lives again in her children.
They unconsciously mould themselves after her manner, her speech, her
conduct, and her method of life. Her habits become theirs; and her
character is visibly repeated in them.

This maternal love is the visible providence of our race. Its influence
is constant and universal. It begins with the education of the human
being at the out-start of life, and is prolonged by virtue of the
powerful influence which every good mother exercises over her children
through life. When launched into the world, each to take part in its
labours, anxieties, and trials, they still turn to their mother
for consolation, if not for counsel, in their time of trouble and
difficulty. The pure and good thoughts she has implanted in their minds
when children, continue to grow up into good acts, long after she is
dead; and when there is nothing but a memory of her left, her children
rise up and call her blessed.

It is not saying too much to aver that the happiness or misery, the
enlightenment or ignorance, the civilisation or barbarism of the world,
depends in a very high degree upon the exercise of woman's power within
her special kingdom of home. Indeed, Emerson says, broadly and truly,
that "a sufficient measure of civilisation is the influence of good
women." Posterity may be said to lie before us in the person of the
child in the mother's lap. What that child will eventually become,
mainly depends upon the training and example which he has received from
his first and most influential educator.

Woman, above all other educators, educates humanly. Man is the brain,
but woman is the heart of humanity; he its judgment, she its feeling;
he its strength, she its grace, ornament, and solace. Even the
understanding of the best woman seems to work mainly through her
affections. And thus, though man may direct the intellect, woman
cultivates the feelings, which mainly determine the character. While he
fills the memory, she occupies the heart. She makes us love what he can
only make us believe, and it is chiefly through her that we are enabled
to arrive at virtue.

The respective influences of the father and the mother on the training
and development of character, are remarkably illustrated in the life
of St. Augustine. While Augustine's father, a poor freeman of Thagaste,
proud of his son's abilities, endeavoured to furnish his mind with the
highest learning of the schools, and was extolled by his neighbours
for the sacrifices he made with that object "beyond the ability of his
means"--his mother Monica, on the other hand, sought to lead her
son's mind in the direction of the highest good, and with pious care
counselled him, entreated him, advised him to chastity, and, amidst much
anguish and tribulation, because of his wicked life, never ceased to
pray for him until her prayers were heard and answered. Thus her love
at last triumphed, and the patience and goodness of the mother were
rewarded, not only by the conversion of her gifted son, but also of her
husband. Later in life, and after her husband's death, Monica, drawn by
her affection, followed her son to Milan, to watch over him; and there
she died, when he was in his thirty-third year. But it was in the
earlier period of his life that her example and instruction made the
deepest impression upon his mind, and determined his future character.

There are many similar instances of early impressions made upon a
child's mind, springing up into good acts late in life, after an
intervening period of selfishness and vice. Parents may do all that they
can to develope an upright and virtuous character in their children, and
apparently in vain. It seems like bread cast upon the waters and lost.
And yet sometimes it happens that long after the parents have gone to
their Rest--it may be twenty years or more--the good precept, the good
example set before their sons and daughters in childhood, at length
springs up and bears fruit.

One of the most remarkable of such instances was that of the Reverend
John Newton of Olney, the friend of Cowper the poet. It was long
subsequent to the death of both his parents, and after leading a vicious
life as a youth and as a seaman, that he became suddenly awakened to
a sense of his depravity; and then it was that the lessons which his
mother had given him when a child sprang up vividly in his memory. Her
voice came to him as it were from the dead, and led him gently back to
virtue and goodness.

Another instance is that of John Randolph, the American statesman, who
once said: "I should have been an atheist if it had not been for one
recollection--and that was the memory of the time when my departed
mother used to take my little hand in hers, and cause me on my knees to
say, 'Our Father who art in heaven!'"

But such instance must, on the whole, be regarded as exceptional. As the
character is biassed in early life, so it generally remains, gradually
assuming its permanent form as manhood is reached. "Live as long as you
may," said Southey, "the first twenty years are the longest half of your
life," and they are by far the most pregnant in consequences. When the
worn-out slanderer and voluptuary, Dr. Wolcot, lay on his deathbed, one
of his friends asked if he could do anything to gratify him. "Yes," said
the dying man, eagerly, "give me back my youth." Give him but that, and
he would repent--he would reform. But it was all too late! His life had
become bound and enthralled by the chains of habit.' [113]

Gretry, the musical composer, thought so highly of the importance of
woman as an educator of character, that he described a good mother as
"Nature's CHEF-D'OEUVRE." And he was right: for good mothers, far more
than fathers, tend to the perpetual renovation of mankind, creating,
as they do, the moral atmosphere of the home, which is the nutriment of
man's moral being, as the physical atmosphere is of his corporeal frame.
By good temper, suavity, and kindness, directed by intelligence, woman
surrounds the indwellers with a pervading atmosphere of cheerfulness,
contentment, and peace, suitable for the growth of the purest as of the
manliest natures.

The poorest dwelling, presided over by a virtuous, thrifty, cheerful,
and cleanly woman, may thus be the abode of comfort, virtue, and
happiness; it may be the scene of every ennobling relation in family
life; it may be endeared to a man by many delightful associations;
furnishing a sanctuary for the heart, a refuge from the storms of life,
a sweet resting-place after labour, a consolation in misfortune, a pride
in prosperity, and a joy at all times.

The good home is thus the best of schools, not only in youth but in age.
There young and old best learn cheerfulness, patience, self-control,
and the spirit of service and of duty. Izaak Walton, speaking of George
Herbert's mother, says she governed her family with judicious care, not
rigidly nor sourly, "but with such a sweetness and compliance with the
recreations and pleasures of youth, as did incline them to spend much of
their time in her company, which was to her great content."

The home is the true school of courtesy, of which woman is always the
best practical instructor. "Without woman," says the Provencal proverb,
"men were but ill-licked cubs." Philanthropy radiates from the home as
from a centre. "To love the little platoon we belong to in society,"
said Burke, "is the germ of all public affections." The wisest and
the best have not been ashamed to own it to be their greatest joy and
happiness to sit "behind the heads of children" in the inviolable circle
of home. A life of purity and duty there is not the least effectual
preparative for a life of public work and duty; and the man who loves
his home will not the less fondly love and serve his country. But while
homes, which are the nurseries of character, may be the best of
schools, they may also be the worst. Between childhood and manhood how
incalculable is the mischief which ignorance in the home has the power
to cause! Between the drawing of the first breath and the last, how vast
is the moral suffering and disease occasioned by incompetent mothers and
nurses! Commit a child to the care of a worthless ignorant woman, and no
culture in after-life will remedy the evil you have done. Let the mother
be idle, vicious, and a slattern; let her home be pervaded by cavilling,
petulance, and discontent, and it will become a dwelling of misery--a
place to fly from, rather than to fly to; and the children whose
misfortune it is to be brought up there, will be morally dwarfed and
deformed--the cause of misery to themselves as well as to others.

Napoleon Buonaparte was accustomed to say that "the future good or
bad conduct of a child depended entirely on the mother." He himself
attributed his rise in life in a great measure to the training of his
will, his energy, and his self-control, by his mother at home. "Nobody
had any command over him," says one of his biographers, "except his
mother, who found means, by a mixture of tenderness, severity, and
justice, to make him love, respect, and obey her: from her he learnt the
virtue of obedience."

A curious illustration of the dependence of the character of children
on that of the mother incidentally occurs in one of Mr. Tufnell's school
reports. The truth, he observes, is so well established that it has even
been made subservient to mercantile calculation. "I was informed," he
says, "in a large factory, where many children were employed, that the
managers before they engaged a boy always inquired into the mother's
character, and if that was satisfactory they were tolerably certain that
her children would conduct themselves creditably. NO ATTENTION WAS PAID

It has also been observed that in cases where the father has turned out
badly--become a drunkard, and "gone to the dogs"--provided the mother is
prudent and sensible, the family will be kept together, and the children
probably make their way honourably in life; whereas in cases of
the opposite sort, where the mother turns out badly, no matter how
well-conducted the father may be, the instances of after-success in life
on the part of the children are comparatively rare.

The greater part of the influence exercised by women on the formation of
character necessarily remains unknown. They accomplish their best work
in the quiet seclusion of the home and the family, by sustained effort
and patient perseverance in the path of duty. Their greatest triumphs,
because private and domestic, are rarely recorded; and it is not often,
even in the biographies of distinguished men, that we hear of the share
which their mothers have had in the formation of their character, and
in giving them a bias towards goodness. Yet are they not on that
account without their reward. The influence they have exercised,
though unrecorded, lives after them, and goes on propagating itself in
consequences for ever.

We do not often hear of great women, as we do of great men. It is of
good women that we mostly hear; and it is probable that by determining
the character of men and women for good, they are doing even greater
work than if they were to paint great pictures, write great books, or
compose great operas. "It is quite true," said Joseph de Maistre, "that
women have produced no CHEFS-DOEUVRE. They have written no 'Iliad,' nor
'Jerusalem Delivered,' nor 'Hamlet,' nor 'Phaedre,' nor 'Paradise Lost,'
nor 'Tartuffe;' they have designed no Church of St. Peter's, composed
no 'Messiah,' carved no 'Apollo Belvidere,' painted no 'Last Judgment;'
they have invented neither algebra, nor telescopes, nor steam-engines;
but they have done something far greater and better than all this, for
it is at their knees that upright and virtuous men and women have been
trained--the most excellent productions in the world."

De Maistre, in his letters and writings, speaks of his own mother with
immense love and reverence. Her noble character made all other women
venerable in his eyes. He described her as his "sublime mother"--"an
angel to whom God had lent a body for a brief season." To her he
attributed the bent of his character, and all his bias towards good;
and when he had grown to mature years, while acting as ambassador at the
Court of St. Petersburg, he referred to her noble example and precepts
as the ruling influence in his life.

One of the most charming features in the character of Samuel Johnson,
notwithstanding his rough and shaggy exterior, was the tenderness
with which he invariably spoke of his mother [115]--a woman of strong
understanding, who firmly implanted in his mind, as he himself
acknowledges, his first impressions of religion. He was accustomed, even
in the time of his greatest difficulties, to contribute largely, out of
his slender means, to her comfort; and one of his last acts of filial
duty was to write 'Rasselas' for the purpose of paying her little debts
and defraying her funeral charges.

George Washington was only eleven years of age--the eldest of five
children--when his father died, leaving his mother a widow. She was a
woman of rare excellence--full of resources, a good woman of business,
an excellent manager, and possessed of much strength of character. She
had her children to educate and bring up, a large household to govern,
and extensive estates to manage, all of which she accomplished with
complete success. Her good sense, assiduity, tenderness, industry, and
vigilance, enabled her to overcome every obstacle; and as the richest
reward of her solicitude and toil, she had the happiness to see all her
children come forward with a fair promise into life, filling the spheres
allotted to them in a manner equally honourable to themselves, and to
the parent who had been the only guide of their, principles, conduct,
and habits. [116]

The biographer of Cromwell says little about the Protector's father, but
dwells upon the character of his mother, whom he describes as a woman of
rare vigour and decision of purpose: "A woman," he says, "possessed
of the glorious faculty of self-help when other assistance failed her;
ready for the demands of fortune in its extremest adverse turn; of
spirit and energy equal to her mildness and patience; who, with the
labour of her own hands, gave dowries to five daughters sufficient to
marry them into families as honourable but more wealthy than their
own; whose single pride was honesty, and whose passion was love; who
preserved in the gorgeous palace at Whitehall the simple tastes that
distinguished her in the old brewery at Huntingdon; and whose only care,
amidst all her splendour, was for the safety of her son in his dangerous
eminence." [117]

We have spoken of the mother of Napoleon Buonaparte as a woman of
great force of character. Not less so was the mother of the Duke of
Wellington, whom her son strikingly resembled in features, person, and
character; while his father was principally distinguished as a musical
composer and performer. [118] But, strange to say, Wellington's mother
mistook him for a dunce; and, for some reason or other, he was not such
a favourite as her other children, until his great deeds in after-life
constrained her to be proud of him.

The Napiers were blessed in both parents, but especially in their
mother, Lady Sarah Lennox, who early sought to inspire her sons' minds
with elevating thoughts, admiration of noble deeds, and a chivalrous
spirit, which became embodied in their lives, and continued to sustain
them, until death, in the path of duty and of honour.

Among statesmen, lawyers, and divines, we find marked mention made of
the mothers of Lord Chancellors Bacon, Erskine, and Brougham--all women
of great ability, and, in the case of the first, of great learning;
as well as of the mothers of Canning, Curran, and President Adams--of
Herbert, Paley, and Wesley. Lord Brougham speaks in terms almost
approaching reverence of his grandmother, the sister of Professor
Robertson, as having been mainly instrumental in instilling into his
mind a strong desire for information, and the first principles of that
persevering energy in the pursuit of every kind of knowledge which
formed his prominent characteristic throughout life.

Canning's mother was an Irishwoman of great natural ability, for whom
her gifted son entertained the greatest love and respect to the close of
his career. She was a woman of no ordinary intellectual power. "Indeed,"
says Canning's biographer, "were we not otherwise assured of the fact
from direct sources, it would be impossible to contemplate his profound
and touching devotion to her, without being led to conclude that the
object of such unchanging attachment must have been possessed of rare
and commanding qualities. She was esteemed by the circle in which she
lived, as a woman of great mental energy. Her conversation was animated
and vigorous, and marked by a distinct originality of manner and a
choice of topics fresh and striking, and out of the commonplace routine.
To persons who were but slightly acquainted with her, the energy of her
manner had even something of the air of eccentricity." [119]

Curran speaks with great affection of his mother, as a woman of strong
original understanding, to whose wise counsel, consistent piety, and
lessons of honourable ambition, which she diligently enforced on the
minds of her children, he himself principally attributed his success
in life. "The only inheritance," he used to say, "that I could boast of
from my poor father, was the very scanty one of an unattractive face
and person; like his own; and if the world has ever attributed to me
something more valuable than face or person, or than earthly wealth, it
was that another and a dearer parent gave her child a portion from the
treasure of her mind." [1110]

When ex-President Adams was present at the examination of a girls'
school at Boston, he was presented by the pupils with an address which
deeply affected him; and in acknowledging it, he took the opportunity
of referring to the lasting influence which womanly training and
association had exercised upon his own life and character. "As a child,"
he said, "I enjoyed perhaps the greatest of blessings that can be
bestowed on man--that of a mother, who was anxious and capable to form
the characters of her children rightly. From her I derived whatever
instruction [11religious especially, and moral] has pervaded a long
life--I will not say perfectly, or as it ought to be; but I will say,
because it is only justice to the memory of her I revere, that, in the
course of that life, whatever imperfection there has been, or deviation
from what she taught me, the fault is mine, and not hers."

The Wesleys were peculiarly linked to their parents by natural piety,
though the mother, rather than the father, influenced their minds and
developed their characters. The father was a man of strong will, but
occasionally harsh and tyrannical in his dealings with his family; [1111]
while the mother, with much strength of understanding and ardent love
of truth, was gentle, persuasive, affectionate, and simple. She was the
teacher and cheerful companion of her children, who gradually became
moulded by her example. It was through the bias given by her to her
sons' minds in religious matters that they acquired the tendency which,
even in early years, drew to them the name of Methodists. In a letter to
her son, Samuel Wesley, when a scholar at Westminster in 1709, she said:
"I would advise you as much as possible to throw your business into a
certain METHOD, by which means you will learn to improve every precious
moment, and find an unspeakable facility in the performance of your
respective duties." This "method" she went on to describe, exhorting
her son "in all things to act upon principle;" and the society which the
brothers John and Charles afterwards founded at Oxford is supposed to
have been in a great measure the result of her exhortations.

In the case of poets, literary men, and artists, the influence of the
mother's feeling and taste has doubtless had great effect in directing
the genius of their sons; and we find this especially illustrated in the
lives of Gray, Thomson, Scott, Southey, Bulwer, Schiller, and Goethe.
Gray inherited, almost complete, his kind and loving nature from his
mother, while his father was harsh and unamiable. Gray was, in fact,
a feminine man--shy, reserved, and wanting in energy,--but thoroughly
irreproachable in life and character. The poet's mother maintained the
family, after her unworthy husband had deserted her; and, at her death,
Gray placed on her grave, in Stoke Pogis, an epitaph describing her as
"the careful tender mother of many children, one of whom alone had the
misfortune to survive her." The poet himself was, at his own desire,
interred beside her worshipped grave.

Goethe, like Schiller, owed the bias of his mind and character to his
mother, who was a woman of extraordinary gifts. She was full of
joyous flowing mother-wit, and possessed in a high degree the art of
stimulating young and active minds, instructing them in the science
of life out of the treasures of her abundant experience. [1112] After a
lengthened interview with her, an enthusiastic traveller said, "Now do
I understand how Goethe has become the man he is." Goethe himself
affectionately cherished her memory. "She was worthy of life!" he
once said of her; and when he visited Frankfort, he sought out every
individual who had been kind to his mother, and thanked them all.

It was Ary Scheffer's mother--whose beautiful features the painter so
loved to reproduce in his pictures of Beatrice, St. Monica, and others
of his works--that encouraged his study of art, and by great self-denial
provided him with the means of pursuing it. While living at Dordrecht,
in Holland, she first sent him to Lille to study, and afterwards to
Paris; and her letters to him, while absent, were always full of sound
motherly advice, and affectionate womanly sympathy. "If you could but
see me," she wrote on one occasion, "kissing your picture, then, after
a while, taking it up again, and, with a tear in my eye, calling you 'my
beloved son,' you would comprehend what it costs me to use sometimes the
stern language of authority, and to occasion to you moments of pain. *
* * Work diligently--be, above all, modest and humble; and when you find
yourself excelling others, then compare what you have done with Nature
itself, or with the 'ideal' of your own mind, and you will be secured,
by the contrast which will be apparent, against the effects of pride and

Long years after, when Ary Scheffer was himself a grandfather, he
remembered with affection the advice of his mother, and repeated it to
his children. And thus the vital power of good example lives on from
generation to generation, keeping the world ever fresh and young.
Writing to his daughter, Madame Marjolin, in 1846, his departed mother's
advice recurred to him, and he said: "The word MUST--fix it well in
your memory, dear child; your grandmother seldom had it out of hers. The
truth is, that through our lives nothing brings any good fruit except
what is earned by either the work of the hands, or by the exertion of
one's self-denial. Sacrifices must, in short, be ever going on if we
would obtain any comfort or happiness. Now that I am no longer young, I
declare that few passages in my life afford me so much satisfaction
as those in which I made sacrifices, or denied myself enjoyments. 'Das
Entsagen' [11the forbidden] is the motto of the wise man. Self-denial is
the quality of which Jesus Christ set us the example." [1113]

The French historian Michelet makes the following touching reference to
his mother in the Preface to one of his most popular books, the subject
of much embittered controversy at the time at which it appeared:--

"Whilst writing all this, I have had in my mind a woman, whose
strong and serious mind would not have failed to support me in
these contentions. I lost her thirty years ago [11I was a child
then]--nevertheless, ever living in my memory, she follows me from age
to age.

"She suffered with me in my poverty, and was not allowed to share my
better fortune. When young, I made her sad, and now I cannot console
her. I know not even where her bones are: I was too poor then to buy
earth to bury her!"

"And yet I owe her much. I feel deeply that I am the son of woman.
Every instant, in my ideas and words [11not to mention my features and
gestures], I find again my mother in myself. It is my mother's blood
which gives me the sympathy I feel for bygone ages, and the tender
remembrance of all those who are now no more."

"What return then could I, who am myself advancing towards old age, make
her for the many things I owe her? One, for which she would have thanked
me--this protest in favour of women and mothers." [1114]

But while a mother may greatly influence the poetic or artistic mind
of her son for good, she may also influence it for evil. Thus the
characteristics of Lord Byron--the waywardness of his impulses, his
defiance of restraint, the bitterness of his hate, and the precipitancy
of his resentments--were traceable in no small degree to the adverse
influences exercised upon his mind from his birth by his capricious,
violent, and headstrong mother. She even taunted her son with his
personal deformity; and it was no unfrequent occurrence, in the violent
quarrels which occurred between them, for her to take up the poker or
tongs, and hurl them after him as he fled from her presence. [1115] It was
this unnatural treatment that gave a morbid turn to Byron's after-life;
and, careworn, unhappy, great, and yet weak as he was, he carried about
with him the mother's poison which he had sucked in his infancy. Hence
he exclaims, in his 'Childe Harold':--

      "Yet must I think less wildly:--I have thought
        Too long and darkly, till my brain became,
      In its own eddy boiling and o'erwrought,
        A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame:

In like manner, though in a different way, the character of Mrs. Foote,
the actor's mother, was curiously repeated in the life of her joyous,
jovial-hearted son. Though she had been heiress to a large fortune,
she soon spent it all, and was at length imprisoned for debt. In this
condition she wrote to Sam, who had been allowing her a hundred a year
out of the proceeds of his acting:-"Dear Sam, I am in prison for
debt; come and assist your loving mother, E. Foote." To which her son
characteristically replied--"Dear mother, so am I; which prevents
his duty being paid to his loving mother by her affectionate son, Sam

A foolish mother may also spoil a gifted son, by imbuing his mind with
unsound sentiments. Thus Lamartine's mother is said to have trained him
in altogether erroneous ideas of life, in the school of Rousseau and
Bernardin de St.-Pierre, by which his sentimentalism, sufficiently
strong by nature, was exaggerated instead of repressed: [1116] and he
became the victim of tears, affectation, and improvidence, all his life
long. It almost savours of the ridiculous to find Lamartine, in his
'Confidences,' representing himself as a "statue of Adolescence raised
as a model for young men." [1117] As he was his mother's spoilt child, so
he was the spoilt child of his country to the end, which was bitter
and sad. Sainte-Beuve says of him: "He was the continual object of the
richest gifts, which he had not the power of managing, scattering
and wasting them--all, excepting, the gift of words, which seemed
inexhaustible, and on which he continued to play to the end as on an
enchanted flute." [1118]

We have spoken of the mother of Washington as an excellent woman of
business; and to possess such a quality as capacity for business is not
only compatible with true womanliness, but is in a measure essential to
the comfort and wellbeing of every properly-governed family. Habits of
business do not relate to trade merely, but apply to all the practical
affairs of life--to everything that has to be arranged, to be organised,
to be provided for, to be done. And in all these respects the management
of a family, and of a household, is as much a matter of business as
the management of a shop or of a counting-house. It requires method,
accuracy, organization, industry, economy, discipline, tact, knowledge,
and capacity for adapting means to ends. All this is of the essence of
business; and hence business habits are as necessary to be cultivated
by women who would succeed in the affairs of home--in other words, who
would make home happy--as by men in the affairs of trade, of commerce,
or of manufacture.

The idea has, however, heretofore prevailed, that women have no concern
with such matters, and that business habits and qualifications relate to
men only. Take, for instance, the knowledge of figures. Mr. Bright has
said of boys, "Teach a boy arithmetic thoroughly, and he is a made man."
And why?--Because it teaches him method, accuracy, value, proportions,
relations. But how many girls are taught arithmetic well?--Very few
indeed. And what is the consequence?--When the girl becomes a wife,
if she knows nothing of figures, and is innocent of addition and
multiplication, she can keep no record of income and expenditure, and
there will probably be a succession of mistakes committed which may
be prolific in domestic contention. The woman, not being up to her
business--that is, the management of her domestic affairs in conformity
with the simple principles of arithmetic--will, through sheer ignorance,
be apt to commit extravagances, though unintentional, which may be most
injurious to her family peace and comfort.

Method, which is the soul of business, is also of essential importance
in the home. Work can only be got through by method. Muddle flies
before it, and hugger-mugger becomes a thing unknown. Method demands
punctuality, another eminently business quality. The unpunctual woman,
like the unpunctual man, occasions dislike, because she consumes and
wastes time, and provokes the reflection that we are not of sufficient
importance to make her more prompt. To the business man, time is money;
but to the business woman, method is more--it is peace, comfort, and
domestic prosperity.

Prudence is another important business quality in women, as in men.
Prudence is practical wisdom, and comes of the cultivated judgment. It
has reference in all things to fitness, to propriety; judging wisely of
the right thing to be done, and the right way of doing it. It calculates
the means, order, time, and method of doing. Prudence learns from
experience, quickened by knowledge.

For these, amongst other reasons, habits of business are necessary to
be cultivated by all women, in order to their being efficient helpers in
the world's daily life and work. Furthermore, to direct the power of the
home aright, women, as the nurses, trainers, and educators of children,
need all the help and strength that mental culture can give them.

Mere instinctive love is not sufficient. Instinct, which preserves the
lower creatures, needs no training; but human intelligence, which is in
constant request in a family, needs to be educated. The physical health
of the rising generation is entrusted to woman by Providence; and it is
in the physical nature that the moral and mental nature lies enshrined.
It is only by acting in accordance with the natural laws, which before
she can follow woman must needs understand, that the blessings of health
of body, and health of mind and morals, can be secured at home.
Without a knowledge of such laws, the mother's love too often finds its
recompence only in a child's coffin. [1119]

It is a mere truism to say that the intellect with which woman as well
as man is endowed, has been given for use and exercise, and not "to fust
in her unused." Such endowments are never conferred without a purpose.
The Creator may be lavish in His gifts, but he is never wasteful.

Woman was not meant to be either an unthinking drudge, or the merely
pretty ornament of man's leisure. She exists for herself, as well as
for others; and the serious and responsible duties she is called upon to
perform in life, require the cultivated head as well as the sympathising
heart. Her highest mission is not to be fulfilled by the mastery of
fleeting accomplishments, on which so much useful time is now wasted;
for, though accomplishments may enhance the charms of youth and beauty,
of themselves sufficiently charming, they will be found of very little
use in the affairs of real life.

The highest praise which the ancient Romans could express of a noble
matron was that she sat at home and span--"DOMUM MANSIT, LANAM FECIT."
In our own time, it has been said that chemistry enough to keep the pot
boiling, and geography enough to know the different rooms in her house,
was science enough for any woman; whilst Byron, whose sympathies for
woman were of a very imperfect kind, professed that he would limit
her library to a Bible and a cookery-book. But this view of woman's
character and culture is as absurdly narrow and unintelligent, on the
one hand, as the opposite view, now so much in vogue, is extravagant and
unnatural on the other--that woman ought to be educated so as to be as
much as possible the equal of man; undistinguishable from him, except
in sex; equal to him in rights and votes; and his competitor in all that
makes life a fierce and selfish struggle for place and power and money.

Speaking generally, the training and discipline that are most suitable
for the one sex in early life, are also the most suitable for the other;
and the education and culture that fill the mind of the man will prove
equally wholesome for the woman. Indeed, all the arguments which have
yet been advanced in favour of the higher education of men, plead
equally strongly in favour of the higher education of women. In all the
departments of home, intelligence will add to woman's usefulness and
efficiency. It will give her thought and forethought, enable her to
anticipate and provide for the contingencies of life, suggest
improved methods of management, and give her strength in every way. In
disciplined mental power she will find a stronger and safer protection
against deception and imposture than in mere innocent and unsuspecting
ignorance; in moral and religious culture she will secure sources of
influence more powerful and enduring than in physical attractions; and
in due self-reliance and self-dependence she will discover the truest
sources of domestic comfort and happiness.

But while the mind and character of women ought to be cultivated with
a view to their own wellbeing, they ought not the less to be educated
liberally with a view to the happiness of others. Men themselves cannot
be sound in mind or morals if women be the reverse; and if, as we hold
to be the case, the moral condition of a people mainly depends upon the
education of the home, then the education of women is to be regarded as
a matter of national importance. Not only does the moral character but
the mental strength of man find their best safeguard and support in the
moral purity and mental cultivation of woman; but the more completely
the powers of both are developed, the more harmonious and well-ordered
will society be--the more safe and certain its elevation and

When about fifty years since, the first Napoleon said that the great
want of France was mothers, he meant, in other words, that the French
people needed the education of homes, provided over by good, virtuous,
intelligent women. Indeed, the first French Revolution presented one of
the most striking illustrations of the social mischiefs resulting from
a neglect of the purifying influence of women. When that great national
outbreak occurred, society was impenetrated with vice and profligacy.
Morals, religion, virtue, were swamped by sensualism. The character of
woman had become depraved. Conjugal fidelity was disregarded; maternity
was held in reproach; family and home were alike corrupted. Domestic
purity no longer bound society together. France was motherless; the
children broke loose; and the Revolution burst forth, "amidst the yells
and the fierce violence of women." [1120]

But the terrible lesson was disregarded, and again and again France
has grievously suffered from the want of that discipline, obedience,
self-control, and self-respect which can only be truly learnt at home.
It is said that the Third Napoleon attributed the recent powerlessness
of France, which left her helpless and bleeding at the feet of her
conquerors, to the frivolity and lack of principle of the people, as
well as to their love of pleasure--which, however, it must be confessed,
he himself did not a little to foster. It would thus seem that the
discipline which France still needs to learn, if she would be good and
great, is that indicated by the First Napoleon--home education by good

The influence of woman is the same everywhere. Her condition influences
the morals, manners, and character of the people in all countries.
Where she is debased, society is debased; where she is morally pure and
enlightened, society will be proportionately elevated.

Hence, to instruct woman is to instruct man; to elevate her character is
to raise his own; to enlarge her mental freedom is to extend and secure
that of the whole community. For Nations are but the outcomes of Homes,
and Peoples of Mothers.

But while it is certain that the character of a nation will be elevated
by the enlightenment and refinement of woman, it is much more than
doubtful whether any advantage is to be derived from her entering into
competition with man in the rough work of business and polities. Women
can no more do men's special work in the world than men can do women's.
And wherever woman has been withdrawn from her home and family to enter
upon other work, the result has been socially disastrous. Indeed, the
efforts of some of the best philanthropists have of late years been
devoted to withdrawing women from toiling alongside of men in coalpits,
factories, nailshops, and brickyards.

It is still not uncommon in the North for the husbands to be idle at
home, while the mothers and daughters are working in the factory; the
result being, in many cases, an entire subversion of family order, of
domestic discipline, and of home rule. [1121] And for many years past, in
Paris, that state of things has been reached which some women desire
to effect amongst ourselves. The women there mainly attend to
business--serving the BOUTIQUE, or presiding at the COMPTOIR--while
the men lounge about the Boulevards. But the result has only been
homelessness, degeneracy, and family and social decay.

Nor is there any reason to believe that the elevation and improvement
of women are to be secured by investing them with political power.
There are, however, in these days, many believers in the potentiality
of "votes," [1122] who anticipate some indefinite good from the
"enfranchisement" of women. It is not necessary here to enter upon the
discussion of this question. But it may be sufficient to state that
the power which women do not possess politically is far more than
compensated by that which they exercise in private life--by their
training in the home those who, whether as men or as women, do all the
manly as well as womanly work of the world. The Radical Bentham has said
that man, even if he would, cannot keep power from woman; for that
she already governs the world "with the whole power of a despot," [1123]
though the power that she mainly governs by is love. And to form the
character of the whole human race, is certainly a power far greater than
that which women could ever hope to exercise as voters for members of
Parliament, or even as lawmakers.

There is, however, one special department of woman's work demanding the
earnest attention of all true female reformers, though it is one
which has hitherto been unaccountably neglected. We mean the better
economizing and preparation of human food, the waste of which at
present, for want of the most ordinary culinary knowledge, is little
short of scandalous. If that man is to be regarded as a benefactor of
his species who makes two stalks of corn to grow where only one grew
before, not less is she to be regarded as a public benefactor who
economizes and turns to the best practical account the food-products
of human skill and labour. The improved use of even our existing supply
would be equivalent to an immediate extension of the cultivable acreage
of our country--not to speak of the increase in health, economy, and
domestic comfort. Were our female reformers only to turn their energies
in this direction with effect, they would earn the gratitude of
all households, and be esteemed as among the greatest of practical


    "Keep good company, and you shall be of the number."
                                 -- GEORGE HERBERT.

    "For mine own part,
    I Shall be glad to learn of noble men."--SHAKSPEARE

    "Examples preach to th' eye--Care then, mine says,
    Not how you end but how you spend your days."
                  HENRY MARTEN--'LAST THOUGHTS.'

     "Dis moi qui t'admire, et je dirai qui tu es."--SAINTE-BEUVE

     "He that means to be a good limner will be sure to draw
     after the most excellent copies and guide every stroke of
     his pencil by the better pattern that lays before him; so he
     that desires that the table of his life may be fair, will be
     careful to propose the best examples, and will never be
     content till he equals or excels them."--OWEN FELTHAM

The natural education of the Home is prolonged far into life--indeed, it
never entirely ceases. But the time arrives, in the progress of years,
when the Home ceases to exercise an exclusive influence on the formation
of character; and it is succeeded by the more artificial education of
the school and the companionship of friends and comrades, which continue
to mould the character by the powerful influence of example.

Men, young and old--but the young more than the old--cannot help
imitating those with whom they associate. It was a saying of George
Herbert's mother, intended for the guidance of her sons, "that as our
bodies take a nourishment suitable to the meat on which we feed, so
do our souls as insensibly take in virtue or vice by the example or
conversation of good or bad company."

Indeed, it is impossible that association with those about us should not
produce a powerful influence in the formation of character. For men are
by nature imitators, and all persons are more or less impressed by the
speech, the manners, the gait, the gestures, and the very habits of
thinking of their companions. "Is example nothing?" said Burke. "It is
everything. Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at
no other." Burke's grand motto, which he wrote for the tablet of
the Marquis of Rockingham, is worth repeating: it was,

Imitation is for the most part so unconscious that its effects are
almost unheeded, but its influence is not the less permanent on that
account. It is only when an impressive nature is placed in contact with
an impressionable one, that the alteration in the character becomes
recognisable. Yet even the weakest natures exercise some influence upon
those about them. The approximation of feeling, thought, and habit is
constant, and the action of example unceasing.

Emerson has observed that even old couples, or persons who have been
housemates for a course of years, grow gradually like each other; so
that, if they were to live long enough, we should scarcely be able to
know them apart. But if this be true of the old, how much more true
is it of the young, whose plastic natures are so much more soft and
impressionable, and ready to take the stamp of the life and conversation
of those about them!

"There has been," observed Sir Charles Bell in one of his letters, "a
good deal said about education, but they appear to me to put out of
sight EXAMPLE, which is all-in-all. My best education was the example
set me by my brothers. There was, in all the members of the family, a
reliance on self, a true independence, and by imitation I obtained it."

It is in the nature of things that the circumstances which contribute to
form the character, should exercise their principal influence during the
period of growth. As years advance, example and imitation become custom,
and gradually consolidate into habit, which is of so much potency that,
almost before we know it, we have in a measure yielded up to it our
personal freedom.

It is related of Plato, that on one occasion he reproved a boy for
playing at some foolish game. "Thou reprovest me," said the boy, "for
a very little thing." "But custom," replied Plato, "is not a little
thing." Bad custom, consolidated into habit, is such a tyrant that men
sometimes cling to vices even while they curse them. They have become
the slaves of habits whose power they are impotent to resist. Hence
Locke has said that to create and maintain that vigour of mind which is
able to contest the empire of habit, may be regarded as one of the chief
ends of moral discipline.

Though much of the education of character by example is spontaneous and
unconscious, the young need not necessarily be the passive followers
or imitators of those about them. Their own conduct, far more than
the conduct of their companions, tends to fix the purpose and form the
principles of their life. Each possesses in himself a power of will and
of free activity, which, if courageously exercised, will enable him to
make his own individual selection of friends and associates. It is only
through weakness of purpose that young people, as well as old, become
the slaves of their inclinations, or give themselves up to a servile
imitation of others.

It is a common saying that men are known by the company they keep. The
sober do not naturally associate with the drunken, the refined with
the coarse, the decent with the dissolute. To associate with depraved
persons argues a low taste and vicious tendencies, and to frequent their
society leads to inevitable degradation of character. "The conversation
of such persons," says Seneca, "is very injurious; for even if it does
no immediate harm, it leaves its seeds in the mind, and follows us when
we have gone from the speakers--a plague sure to spring up in future

If young men are wisely influenced and directed, and conscientiously
exert their own free energies, they will seek the society of those
better than themselves, and strive to imitate their example. In
companionship with the good, growing natures will always find their best
nourishment; while companionship with the bad will only be fruitful in
mischief. There are persons whom to know is to love, honour, and admire;
and others whom to know is to shun and despise,--"DONT LE SAVOIR
N'EST QUE BETERIE," as says Rabelais when speaking of the education of
Gargantua. Live with persons of elevated characters, and you will feel
lifted and lighted up in them: "Live with wolves," says the Spanish
proverb, "and you will learn to howl."

Intercourse with even commonplace, selfish persons, may prove most
injurious, by inducing a dry, dull reserved, and selfish condition of
mind, more or less inimical to true manliness and breadth of character.
The mind soon learns to run in small grooves, the heart grows narrow
and contracted, and the moral nature becomes weak, irresolute,
and accommodating, which is fatal to all generous ambition or real

On the other hand, association with persons wiser, better, and more
experienced than ourselves, is always more or less inspiring and
invigorating. They enhance our own knowledge of life. We correct our
estimates by theirs, and become partners in their wisdom. We enlarge our
field of observation through their eyes, profit by their experience,
and learn not only from what they have enjoyed, but--which is still more
instructive--from what they have suffered. If they are stronger
than ourselves, we become participators in their strength. Hence
companionship with the wise and energetic never fails to have a most
valuable influence on the formation of character--increasing our
resources, strengthening our resolves, elevating our aims, and enabling
us to exercise greater dexterity and ability in our own affairs, as well
as more effective helpfulness of others.

"I have often deeply regretted in myself," says Mrs. Schimmelpenninck,
"the great loss I have experienced from the solitude of my early habits.
We need no worse companion than our unregenerate selves, and, by living
alone, a person not only becomes wholly ignorant of the means of helping
his fellow-creatures, but is without the perception of those wants which
most need help. Association with others, when not on so large a scale as
to make hours of retirement impossible, may be considered as furnishing
to an individual a rich multiplied experience; and sympathy so drawn
forth, though, unlike charity, it begins abroad, never fails to bring
back rich treasures home. Association with others is useful also in
strengthening the character, and in enabling us, while we never lose
sight of our main object, to thread our way wisely and well." [122]

An entirely new direction may be given to the life of a young man by
a happy suggestion, a timely hint, or the kindly advice of an honest
friend. Thus the life of Henry Martyn the Indian missionary, seems to
have been singularly influenced by a friendship which he formed, when a
boy, at Truro Grammar School. Martyn himself was of feeble frame, and of
a delicate nervous temperament. Wanting in animal spirits, he took
but little pleasure in school sports; and being of a somewhat petulant
temper, the bigger boys took pleasure in provoking him, and some of
them in bullying him. One of the bigger boys, however, conceiving a
friendship for Martyn, took him under his protection, stood between him
and his persecutors, and not only fought his battles for him, but helped
him with his lessons. Though Martyn was rather a backward pupil, his
father was desirous that he should have the advantage of a college
education, and at the age of about fifteen he sent him to Oxford to try
for a Corpus scholarship, in which he failed. He remained for two years
more at the Truro Grammar School, and then went to Cambridge, where he
was entered at St. John's College. Who should he find already settled
there as a student but his old champion of the Truro Grammar School?
Their friendship was renewed; and the elder student from that time
forward acted as the Mentor, of the younger one. Martyn was fitful in
his studies, excitable and petulant, and occasionally subject to fits
of almost uncontrollable rage. His big friend, on the other hand, was a
steady, patient, hardworking fellow; and he never ceased to watch over,
to guide, and to advise for good his irritable fellow-student. He kept
Martyn out of the way of evil company, advised him to work hard, "not
for the praise of men, but for the glory of God;" and so successfully
assisted him in his studies, that at the following Christmas examination
he was the first of his year. Yet Martyn's kind friend and Mentor
never achieved any distinction himself; he passed away into obscurity,
leading, most probably, a useful though an unknown career; his greatest
wish in life having been to shape the character of his friend, to
inspire his soul with the love of truth, and to prepare him for the
noble work, on which he shortly after entered, of an Indian missionary.

A somewhat similar incident is said to have occurred in the college
career of Dr. Paley. When a student at Christ's College Cambridge, he
was distinguished for his shrewdness as well as his clumsiness, and
he was at the same time the favourite and the butt of his companions.
Though his natural abilities were great, he was thoughtless, idle, and
a spendthrift; and at the commencement of his third year he had
made comparatively little progress. After one of his usual
night-dissipations, a friend stood by his bedside on the following
morning. "Paley," said he, "I have not been able to sleep for thinking
about you. I have been thinking what a fool you are! I have the means of
dissipation, and can afford to be idle: YOU are poor, and cannot afford
it. I could do nothing, probably, even were I to try: YOU are capable of
doing anything. I have lain awake all night thinking about your folly,
and I have now come solemnly to warn you. Indeed, if you persist in
your indolence, and go on in this way, I must renounce your society

It is said that Paley was so powerfully affected by this admonition,
that from that moment he became an altered man. He formed an entirely
new plan of life, and diligently persevered in it. He became one of the
most industrious of students. One by one he distanced his competitors,
and at the end of the year he came out Senior Wrangler. What he
afterwards accomplished as an author and a divine is sufficiently well

No one recognised more fully the influence of personal example on the
young than did Dr. Arnold. It was the great lever with which he worked
in striving to elevate the character of his school. He made it his
principal object, first to put a right spirit into the leading boys,
by attracting their good and noble feelings; and then to make them
instrumental in propagating the same spirit among the rest, by the
influence of imitation, example, and admiration. He endeavoured to make
all feel that they were fellow-workers with himself, and sharers with
him in the moral responsibility for the good government of the place.
One of the first effects of this highminded system of management was,
that it inspired the boys with strength and self-respect. They felt that
they were trusted. There were, of course, MAUVAIS SUJETS at Rugby, as
there are at all schools; and these it was the master's duty to watch,
to prevent their bad example contaminating others. On one occasion
he said to an assistant-master: "Do you see those two boys walking
together? I never saw them together before. You should make an especial
point of observing the company they keep: nothing so tells the changes
in a boy's character."

Dr. Arnold's own example was an inspiration, as is that of every great
teacher. In his presence, young men learned to respect themselves; and
out of the root of self-respect there grew up the manly virtues. "His
very presence," says his biographer, "seemed to create a new spring
of health and vigour within them, and to give to life an interest and
elevation which remained with them long after they had left him; and
dwelt so habitually in their thoughts as a living image, that, when
death had taken him away, the bond appeared to be still unbroken, and
the sense of separation almost lost in the still deeper sense of a life
and a Union indestructible." [123] And thus it was that Dr. Arnold trained
a host of manly and noble characters, who spread the influence of his
example in all parts of the world.

So also was it said of Dugald Stewart, that he breathed the love of
virtue into whole generations of pupils. "To me," says the late Lord
Cockburn, "his lectures were like the opening of the heavens. I felt
that I had a soul. His noble views, unfolded in glorious sentences,
elevated me into a higher world... They changed my whole nature." [124]

Character tells in all conditions of life. The man of good character in
a workshop will give the tone to his fellows, and elevate their entire
aspirations. Thus Franklin, while a workman in London, is said to have
reformed the manners of an entire workshop. So the man of bad character
and debased energy will unconsciously lower and degrade his fellows.
Captain John Brown--the "marching-on Brown"--once said to Emerson,
that "for a settler in a new country, one good believing man is worth a
hundred, nay, worth a thousand men without character." His example is so
contagious, that all other men are directly and beneficially influenced
by him, and he insensibly elevates and lifts them up to his own standard
of energetic activity.

Communication with the good is invariably productive of good. The good
character is diffusive in his influence. "I was common clay till roses
were planted in me," says some aromatic earth in the Eastern fable.
Like begets like, and good makes good. "It is astonishing," says Canon
Moseley, "how much good goodness makes. Nothing that is good is alone,
nor anything bad; it makes others good or others bad--and that other,
and so on: like a stone thrown into a pond, which makes circles that
make other wider ones, and then others, till the last reaches the
shore.... Almost all the good that is in the world has, I suppose,
thus come down to us traditionally from remote times, and often unknown
centres of good." [125] So Mr. Ruskin says, "That which is born of evil
begets evil; and that which is born of valour and honour, teaches valour
and honour."

Hence it is that the life of every man is a daily inculcation of good
or bad example to others. The life of a good man is at the same time the
most eloquent lesson of virtue and the most severe reproof of vice. Dr.
Hooker described the life of a pious clergyman of his acquaintance as
"visible rhetoric," convincing even the most godless of the beauty of
goodness. And so the good George Herbert said, on entering upon the
duties of his parish: "Above all, I will be sure to live well, because
the virtuous life of a clergyman is the most powerful eloquence, to
persuade all who see it to reverence and love, and--at least to desire
to live like him. And this I will do," he added, "because I know we live
in an age that hath more need of good examples than precepts." It was a
fine saying of the same good priest, when reproached with doing an
act of kindness to a poor man, considered beneath the dignity of his
office,--that the thought of such actions "would prove music to him at
midnight." [126] Izaak Walton speaks of a letter written by George Herbert
to Bishop Andrewes, about a holy life, which the latter "put into his
bosom," and after showing it to his scholars, "did always return it to
the place where he first lodged it, and continued it so, near his heart,
till the last day of his life."

Great is the power of goodness to charm and to command. The man inspired
by it is the true king of men, drawing all hearts after him. When
General Nicholson lay wounded on his deathbed before Delhi, he dictated
this last message to his equally noble and gallant friend, Sir Herbert
Edwardes:--"Tell him," said he, "I should have been a better man if
I had continued to live with him, and our heavy public duties had not
prevented my seeing more of him privately. I was always the better for
a residence with him and his wife, however short. Give my love to them

There are men in whose presence we feel as if we breathed a spiritual
ozone, refreshing and invigorating, like inhaling mountain air, or
enjoying a bath of sunshine. The power of Sir Thomas More's gentle
nature was so great that it subdued the bad at the same time that it
inspired the good. Lord Brooke said of his deceased friend, Sir Philip
Sidney, that "his wit and understanding beat upon his heart, to make
himself and others, not in word or opinion, but in life and action, good
and great."

The very sight of a great and good man is often an inspiration to the
young, who cannot help admiring and loving the gentle, the brave, the
truthful, the magnanimous! Chateaubriand saw Washington only once,
but it inspired him for life. After describing the interview, he says:
"Washington sank into the tomb before any little celebrity had attached
to my name. I passed before him as the most unknown of beings. He was
in all his glory--I in the depth of my obscurity. My name probably dwelt
not a whole day in his memory. Happy, however, was I that his looks were
cast upon me. I have felt warmed for it all the rest of my life. There
is a virtue even in the looks of a great man."

When Niebuhr died, his friend, Frederick Perthes, said of him: "What a
contemporary! The terror of all bad and base men, the stay of all the
sterling and honest, the friend and helper of youth." Perthes said
on another occasion: "It does a wrestling man good to be constantly
surrounded by tried wrestlers; evil thoughts are put to flight when the
eye falls on the portrait of one in whose living presence one would have
blushed to own them." A Catholic money-lender, when about to cheat, was
wont to draw a veil over the picture of his favourite saint. So Hazlitt
has said of the portrait of a beautiful female, that it seemed as if an
unhandsome action would be impossible in its presence. "It does one good
to look upon his manly honest face," said a poor German woman, pointing
to a portrait of the great Reformer hung upon the wall of her humble

Even the portrait of a noble or a good man, hung up in a room, is
companionship after a sort. It gives us a closer personal interest in
him. Looking at the features, we feel as if we knew him better, and were
more nearly related to him. It is a link that connects us with a higher
and better nature than our own. And though we may be far from reaching
the standard of our hero, we are, to a certain extent, sustained and
fortified by his depicted presence constantly before us.

Fox was proud to acknowledge how much he owed to the example and
conversation of Burke. On one occasion he said of him, that "if he was
to put all the political information he had gained from books, all that
he had learned from science, or that the knowledge of the world and its
affairs taught him, into one scale, and the improvement he had derived
from Mr. Burke's conversation and instruction into the other, the latter
would preponderate."

Professor Tyndall speaks of Faraday's friendship as "energy and
inspiration." After spending an evening with him he wrote: "His work
excites admiration, but contact with him warms and elevates the heart.
Here, surely, is a strong man. I love strength, but let me not forget
the example of its union with modesty, tenderness, and sweetness, in the
character of Faraday."

Even the gentlest natures are powerful to influence the character of
others for good. Thus Wordsworth seems to have been especially impressed
by the character of his sister Dorothy, who exercised upon his mind
and heart a lasting influence. He describes her as the blessing of
his boyhood as well as of his manhood. Though two years younger than
himself, her tenderness and sweetness contributed greatly to mould his
nature, and open his mind to the influences of poetry:

        "She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,
         And humble cares, and delicate fears;
         A heart, the fountain of sweet tears,
                 And love and thought and joy."

Thus the gentlest natures are enabled, by the power of affection and
intelligence, to mould the characters of men destined to influence and
elevate their race through all time.

Sir William Napier attributed the early direction of his character,
first to the impress made upon it by his mother, when a boy; and
afterwards to the noble example of his commander, Sir John Moore, when a
man. Moore early detected the qualities of the young officer; and he
was one of those to whom the General addressed the encouragement, "Well
done, my majors!" at Corunna. Writing home to his mother, and describing
the little court by which Moore was surrounded, he wrote, "Where shall
we find such a king?" It was to his personal affection for his chief
that the world is mainly indebted to Sir William Napier for his great
book, 'The History of the Peninsular War.' But he was stimulated to
write the book by the advice of another friend, the late Lord Langdale,
while one day walking with him across the fields on which Belgravia is
now built. "It was Lord Langdale," he says, "who first kindled the fire
within me." And of Sir William Napier himself, his biographer truly
says, that "no thinking person could ever come in contact with him
without being strongly impressed with the genius of the man."

The career of the late Dr. Marshall Hall was a lifelong illustration of
the influence of character in forming character. Many eminent men still
living trace their success in life to his suggestions and assistance,
without which several valuable lines of study and investigation might
not have been entered on, at least at so early a period. He would say
to young men about him, "Take up a subject and pursue it well, and you
cannot fail to succeed." And often he would throw out a new idea to a
young friend, saying, "I make you a present of it; there is fortune in
it, if you pursue it with energy."

Energy of character has always a power to evoke energy in others. It
acts through sympathy, one of the most influential of human agencies.
The zealous energetic man unconsciously carries others along with him.
His example is contagious, and compels imitation. He exercises a sort of
electric power, which sends a thrill through every fibre--flows into the
nature of those about him, and makes them give out sparks of fire.

Dr. Arnold's biographer, speaking of the power of this kind exercised by
him over young men, says: "It was not so much an enthusiastic admiration
for true genius, or learning, or eloquence, which stirred within them;
it was a sympathetic thrill, caught from a spirit that was earnestly
at work in the world--whose work was healthy, sustained, and constantly
carried forward in the fear of God--a work that was founded on a deep
sense of its duty and its value." [127]

Such a power, exercised by men of genius, evokes courage, enthusiasm,
and devotion. It is this intense admiration for individuals--such as
one cannot conceive entertained for a multitude--which has in all times
produced heroes and martyrs. It is thus that the mastery of character
makes itself felt. It acts by inspiration, quickening and vivifying the
natures subject to its influence.

Great minds are rich in radiating force, not only exerting power, but
communicating and even creating it. Thus Dante raised and drew after him
a host of great spirits--Petrarch, Boccacio, Tasso, and many more. From
him Milton learnt to bear the stings of evil tongues and the contumely
of evil days; and long years after, Byron, thinking of Dante under the
pine-trees of Ravenna, was incited to attune his harp to loftier strains
than he had ever attempted before. Dante inspired the greatest painters
of Italy--Giotto, Orcagna, Michael Angelo, and Raphael. So Ariosto and
Titian mutually inspired one another, and lighted up each other's glory.

Great and good men draw others after them, exciting the spontaneous
admiration of mankind. This admiration of noble character elevates
the mind, and tends to redeem it from the bondage of self, one of the
greatest stumbling blocks to moral improvement. The recollection of men
who have signalised themselves by great thoughts or great deeds, seems
as if to create for the time a purer atmosphere around us: and we feel
as if our aims and purposes were unconsciously elevated.

"Tell me whom you admire," said Sainte-Beuve, "and I will tell you what
you are, at least as regards your talents, tastes, and character."
Do you admire mean men?--your own nature is mean. Do you admire rich
men?--you are of the earth, earthy. Do you admire men of title?--you
are a toad-eater, or a tuft-hunter. [128] Do you admire honest, brave, and
manly men?--you are yourself of an honest, brave, and manly spirit.

It is in the season of youth, while the character is forming, that the
impulse to admire is the greatest. As we advance in life, we crystallize
into habit; and "NIL ADMIRARI" too often becomes our motto. It is well
to encourage the admiration of great characters while the nature is
plastic and open to impressions; for if the good are not admired--as
young men will have their heroes of some sort--most probably the great
bad may be taken by them for models. Hence it always rejoiced Dr. Arnold
to hear his pupils expressing admiration of great deeds, or full of
enthusiasm for persons or even scenery. "I believe," said he, "that
'NIL ADMIRARI' is the devil's favourite text; and he could not choose
a better to introduce his pupils into the more esoteric parts of his
doctrine. And, therefore, I have always looked upon a man infected with
the disorder of anti-romance as one who has lost the finest part of his
nature, and his best protection against everything low and foolish." [129]

It was a fine trait in the character of Prince Albert that he was always
so ready to express generous admiration of the good deeds of others. "He
had the greatest delight," says the ablest delineator of his character,
"in anybody else saying a fine saying, or doing a great deed. He would
rejoice over it, and talk about it for days; and whether it was a thing
nobly said or done by a little child, or by a veteran statesman, it gave
him equal pleasure. He delighted in humanity doing well on any occasion
and in any manner." [1210]

"No quality," said Dr. Johnson, "will get a man more friends than a
sincere admiration of the qualities of others. It indicates generosity
of nature, frankness, cordiality, and cheerful recognition of merit." It
was to the sincere--it might almost be said the reverential--admiration
of Johnson by Boswell, that we owe one of the best biographies ever
written. One is disposed to think that there must have been some genuine
good qualities in Boswell to have been attracted by such a man as
Johnson, and to have kept faithful to his worship in spite of rebuffs
and snubbings innumerable. Macaulay speaks of Boswell as an altogether
contemptible person--as a coxcomb and a bore--weak, vain, pushing,
curious, garrulous; and without wit, humour, or eloquence. But Carlyle
is doubtless more just in his characterisation of the biographer, in
whom--vain and foolish though he was in many respects--he sees a man
penetrated by the old reverent feeling of discipleship, full of love
and admiration for true wisdom and excellence. Without such qualities,
Carlyle insists, the 'Life of Johnson' never could have been written.
"Boswell wrote a good book," he says, "because he had a heart and an eye
to discern wisdom, and an utterance to render it forth; because of
his free insight, his lively talent, and, above all, of his love and
childlike openmindedness."

Most young men of generous mind have their heroes, especially if they
be book-readers. Thus Allan Cunningham, when a mason's apprentice in
Nithsdale, walked all the way to Edinburgh for the sole purpose of
seeing Sir Walter Scott as he passed along the street. We unconsciously
admire the enthusiasm of the lad, and respect the impulse which impelled
him to make the journey. It is related of Sir Joshua Reynolds, that when
a boy of ten, he thrust his hand through intervening rows of people to
touch Pope, as if there were a sort of virtue in the contact. At a much
later period, the painter Haydon was proud to see and to touch Reynolds
when on a visit to his native place. Rogers the poet used to tell of his
ardent desire, when a boy, to see Dr. Johnson; but when his hand was on
the knocker of the house in Bolt Court, his courage failed him, and he
turned away. So the late Isaac Disraeli, when a youth, called at Bolt
Court for the same purpose; and though he HAD the courage to knock, to
his dismay he was informed by the servant that the great lexicographer
had breathed his last only a few hours before.

On the contrary, small and ungenerous minds cannot admire heartily. To
their own great misfortune, they cannot recognise, much less reverence,
great men and great things. The mean nature admires meanly. The toad's
highest idea of beauty is his toadess. The small snob's highest idea of
manhood is the great snob. The slave-dealer values a man according to
his muscles. When a Guinea trader was told by Sir Godfrey Kneller, in
the presence of Pope, that he saw before him two of the greatest men in
the world, he replied: "I don't know how great you may be, but I don't
like your looks. I have often bought a man much better than both of you
together, all bones and muscles, for ten guineas!"

Although Rochefoucauld, in one of his maxims, says that there is
something that is not altogether disagreeable to us in the misfortunes
of even our best friends, it is only the small and essentially mean
nature that finds pleasure in the disappointment, and annoyance at the
success of others. There are, unhappily, for themselves, persons so
constituted that they have not the heart to be generous. The most
disagreeable of all people are those who "sit in the seat of the
scorner." Persons of this sort often come to regard the success of
others, even in a good work, as a kind of personal offence. They cannot
bear to hear another praised, especially if he belong to their own art,
or calling, or profession. They will pardon a man's failures, but cannot
forgive his doing a thing better than they can do. And where they
have themselves failed, they are found to be the most merciless of
detractors. The sour critic thinks of his rival:

    "When Heaven with such parts has blest him,
    Have I not reason to detest him?"

The mean mind occupies itself with sneering, carping, and fault-finding;
and is ready to scoff at everything but impudent effrontery or
successful vice. The greatest consolation of such persons are the
defects of men of character. "If the wise erred not," says George
Herbert, "it would go hard with fools." Yet, though wise men may learn
of fools by avoiding their errors, fools rarely profit by the example
which, wise men set them. A German writer has said that it is a
miserable temper that cares only to discover the blemishes in the
character of great men or great periods. Let us rather judge them with
the charity of Bolingbroke, who, when reminded of one of the alleged
weaknesses of Marlborough, observed,--"He was so great a man that I
forgot he had that defect."

Admiration of great men, living or dead, naturally evokes imitation
of them in a greater or less degree. While a mere youth, the mind of
Themistocles was fired by the great deeds of his contemporaries, and he
longed to distinguish himself in the service of his country. When the
Battle of Marathon had been fought, he fell into a state of melancholy;
and when asked by his friends as to the cause, he replied "that the
trophies of Miltiades would not suffer him to sleep." A few years later,
we find him at the head of the Athenian army, defeating the Persian
fleet of Xerxes in the battles of Artemisium and Salamis,--his country
gratefully acknowledging that it had been saved through his wisdom and

It is related of Thucydides that, when a boy, he burst into tears on
hearing Herodotus read his History, and the impression made upon
his mind was such as to determine the bent of his own genius.
And Demosthenes was so fired on one occasion by the eloquence of
Callistratus, that the ambition was roused within him of becoming an
orator himself. Yet Demosthenes was physically weak, had a feeble voice,
indistinct articulation, and shortness of breath--defects which he was
only enabled to overcome by diligent study and invincible determination.
But, with all his practice, he never became a ready speaker; all his
orations, especially the most famous of them, exhibiting indications of
careful elaboration,--the art and industry of the orator being visible
in almost every sentence.

Similar illustrations of character imitating character, and moulding
itself by the style and manner and genius of great men, are to be found
pervading all history. Warriors, statesmen, orators, patriots, poets,
and artists--all have been, more or less unconsciously, nurtured by the
lives and actions of others living before them or presented for their

Great men have evoked the admiration of kings, popes, and emperors.
Francis de Medicis never spoke to Michael Angelo without uncovering,
and Julius III. made him sit by his side while a dozen cardinals were
standing. Charles V. made way for Titian; and one day, when the brush
dropped from the painter's hand, Charles stooped and picked it up,
saying, "You deserve to be served by an emperor." Leo X. threatened
with excommunication whoever should print and sell the poems of Ariosto
without the author's consent. The same pope attended the deathbed of
Raphael, as Francis I. did that of Leonardo da Vinci.

Though Haydn once archly observed that he was loved and esteemed by
everybody except professors of music, yet all the greatest musicians
were unusually ready to recognise each other's greatness. Haydn himself
seems to have been entirely free from petty jealousy. His admiration of
the famous Porpora was such, that he resolved to gain admission to his
house, and serve him as a valet. Having made the acquaintance of the
family with whom Porpora lived, he was allowed to officiate in that
capacity. Early each morning he took care to brush the veteran's coat,
polish his shoes, and put his rusty wig in order. At first Porpora
growled at the intruder, but his asperity soon softened, and eventually
melted into affection. He quickly discovered his valet's genius, and,
by his instructions, directed it into the line in which Haydn eventually
acquired so much distinction.

Haydn himself was enthusiastic in his admiration of Handel. "He is the
father of us all," he said on one occasion. Scarlatti followed Handel in
admiration all over Italy, and, when his name was mentioned, he crossed
himself in token of veneration. Mozart's recognition of the great
composer was not less hearty. "When he chooses," said he, "Handel
strikes like the thunderbolt." Beethoven hailed him as "The monarch of
the musical kingdom." When Beethoven was dying, one of his friends sent
him a present of Handel's works, in forty volumes. They were brought
into his chamber, and, gazing on them with reanimated eye, he exclaimed,
pointing at them with his finger, "There--there is the truth!"

Haydn not only recognised the genius of the great men who had passed
away, but of his young contemporaries, Mozart and Beethoven. Small men
may be envious of their fellows, but really great men seek out and love
each other. Of Mozart, Haydn wrote "I only wish I could impress on
every friend of music, and on great men in particular, the same depth
of musical sympathy, and profound appreciation of Mozart's inimitable
music, that I myself feel and enjoy; then nations would vie with each
other to possess such a jewel within their frontiers. Prague ought not
only to strive to retain this precious man, but also to remunerate him;
for without this the history of a great genius is sad indeed.... It
enrages me to think that the unparalleled Mozart is not yet engaged by
some imperial or royal court. Forgive my excitement; but I love the man
so dearly!"

Mozart was equally generous in his recognition of the merits of Haydn.
"Sir," said he to a critic, speaking of the latter, "if you and I were
both melted down together, we should not furnish materials for one
Haydn." And when Mozart first heard Beethoven, he observed: "Listen to
that young man; be assured that he will yet make a great name in the

Buffon set Newton above all other philosophers, and admired him so
highly that he had always his portrait before him while he sat at work.
So Schiller looked up to Shakspeare, whom he studied reverently and
zealously for years, until he became capable of comprehending nature at
first-hand, and then his admiration became even more ardent than before.

Pitt was Canning's master and hero, whom he followed and admired with
attachment and devotion. "To one man, while he lived," said Canning, "I
was devoted with all my heart and all my soul. Since the death of Mr.
Pitt I acknowledge no leader; my political allegiance lies buried in his
grave." [1211]

A French physiologist, M. Roux, was occupied one day in lecturing to his
pupils, when Sir Charles Bell, whose discoveries were even better known
and more highly appreciated abroad than at home, strolled into his
class-room. The professor, recognising his visitor, at once stopped his

The first acquaintance with a great work of art has usually proved an
important event in every young artist's life. When Correggio first gazed
on Raphael's 'Saint Cecilia,' he felt within himself an awakened power,
and exclaimed, "And I too am a painter" So Constable used to look back
on his first sight of Claude's picture of 'Hagar,' as forming an epoch
in his career. Sir George Beaumont's admiration of the same picture was
such that he always took it with him in his carriage when he travelled
from home.

The examples set by the great and good do not die; they continue to
live and speak to all the generations that succeed them. It was very
impressively observed by Mr. Disraeli, in the House of Commons, shortly
after the death of Mr. Cobden:--"There is this consolation remaining to
us, when we remember our unequalled and irreparable losses, that those
great men are not altogether lost to us--that their words will often be
quoted in this House--that their examples will often be referred to
and appealed to, and that even their expressions will form part of
our discussions and debates. There are now, I may say, some members of
Parliament who, though they may not be present, are still members of
this House--who are independent of dissolutions, of the caprices of
constituencies, and even of the course of time. I think that Mr. Cobden
was one of those men."

It is the great lesson of biography to teach what man can be and can do
at his best. It may thus give each man renewed strength and confidence.
The humblest, in sight of even the greatest, may admire, and hope, and
take courage. These great brothers of ours in blood and lineage, who
live a universal life, still speak to us from their graves, and beckon
us on in the paths which they have trod. Their example is still with us,
to guide, to influence, and to direct us. For nobility of character is
a perpetual bequest; living from age to age, and constantly tending to
reproduce its like.

"The sage," say the Chinese, "is the instructor of a hundred ages. When
the manners of Loo are heard of, the stupid become intelligent, and the
wavering determined." Thus the acted life of a good man continues to be
a gospel of freedom and emancipation to all who succeed him:

          "To live in hearts we leave behind,
          is not to die."

The golden words that good men have uttered, the examples they have set,
live through all time: they pass into the thoughts and hearts of their
successors, help them on the road of life, and often console them in the
hour of death. "And the most miserable or most painful of deaths," said
Henry Marten, the Commonwealth man, who died in prison, "is as nothing
compared with the memory of a well-spent life; and great alone is he
who has earned the glorious privilege of bequeathing such a lesson and
example to his successors!"


     "Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee."
     --l CHRONICLES xxii. 16.

        "Work as if thou hadst to live for aye;
        Worship as if thou wert to die to-day."--TUSCAN PROVERB.

          "C'est par le travail qu'on regne."--LOUIS XIV

       "Blest work! if ever thou wert curse of God,
        What must His blessing be!"--J. B. SELKIRK.

     "Let every man be OCCUPIED, and occupied in the highest
     employment of which his nature is capable, and die with the
     consciousness that he has done his best"--Sydney Smith.

WORK is one of the best educators of practical character. It evokes
and disciplines obedience, self-control, attention, application, and
perseverance; giving a man deftness and skill in his special calling,
and aptitude and dexterity in dealing with the affairs of ordinary life.

Work is the law of our being--the living principle that carries men and
nations onward. The greater number of men have to work with their hands,
as a matter of necessity, in order to live; but all must work in one way
or another, if they would enjoy life as it ought to be enjoyed.

Labour may be a burden and a chastisement, but it is also an honour and
a glory. Without it, nothing can be accomplished. All that is great in
man comes through work; and civilisation is its product. Were labour
abolished, the race of Adam were at once stricken by moral death.

It is idleness that is the curse of man--not labour. Idleness eats the
heart out of men as of nations, and consumes them as rust does iron.
When Alexander conquered the Persians, and had an opportunity of
observing their manners, he remarked that they did not seem conscious
that there could be anything more servile than a life of pleasure, or
more princely than a life of toil.

When the Emperor Severus lay on his deathbed at York, whither he
had been borne on a litter from the foot of the Grampians, his final
watchword to his soldiers was, "LABOREMUS" [we must work]; and nothing
but constant toil maintained the power and extended the authority of the
Roman generals.

In describing the earlier social condition of Italy, when the ordinary
occupations of rural life were considered compatible with the highest
civic dignity, Pliny speaks of the triumphant generals and their men,
returning contentedly to the plough. In those days the lands were tilled
by the hands even of generals, the soil exulting beneath a ploughshare
crowned with laurels, and guided by a husbandman graced with triumphs:
after slaves became extensively employed in all departments of industry
that labour came to be regarded as dishonourable and servile. And so
soon as indolence and luxury became the characteristics of the ruling
classes of Rome, the downfall of the empire, sooner or later, was

There is, perhaps, no tendency of our nature that has to be more
carefully guarded against than indolence. When Mr. Gurney asked an
intelligent foreigner who had travelled over the greater part of the
world, whether he had observed any one quality which, more than another,
could be regarded as a universal characteristic of our species, his
answer was, in broken English, "Me tink dat all men LOVE LAZY." It is
characteristic of the savage as of the despot. It is natural to men to
endeavour to enjoy the products of labour without its toils. Indeed,
so universal is this desire, that James Mill has argued that it was
to prevent its indulgence at the expense of society at large, that the
expedient of Government was originally invented. [132]

Indolence is equally degrading to individuals as to nations. Sloth never
made its mark in the world, and never will. Sloth never climbed a hill,
nor overcame a difficulty that it could avoid. Indolence always failed
in life, and always will. It is in the nature of things that it
should not succeed in anything. It is a burden, an incumbrance, and a
nuisance--always useless, complaining, melancholy, and miserable.

Burton, in his quaint and curious, book--the only one, Johnson says,
that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to
rise--describes the causes of Melancholy as hingeing mainly on Idleness.
"Idleness," he says, "is the bane of body and mind, the nurse of
naughtiness, the chief mother of all mischief, one of the seven deadly
sins, the devil's cushion, his pillow and chief reposal.... An idle dog
will be mangy; and how shall an idle person escape? Idleness of the
mind is much worse than that of the body: wit, without employment, is a
disease--the rust of the soul, a plague, a hell itself. As in a standing
pool, worms and filthy creepers increase, so do evil and corrupt
thoughts in an idle person; the soul is contaminated.... Thus much I
dare boldly say: he or she that is idle, be they of what condition they
will, never so rich, so well allied, fortunate, happy--let them have
all things in abundance and felicity that heart can wish and desire, all
contentment--so long as he, or she, or they, are idle, they shall never
be pleased, never well in body or mind, but weary still, sickly still,
vexed still, loathing still, weeping, sighing, grieving, suspecting,
offended with the world, with every object, wishing themselves gone or
dead, or else carried away with some foolish phantasie or other." [133]

Burton says a great deal more to the same effect; the burden and lesson
of his book being embodied in the pregnant sentence with which it winds
up:--"Only take this for a corollary and conclusion, as thou tenderest
thine own welfare in this, and all other melancholy, thy good health of
body and mind, observe this short precept, Give not way to solitariness
and idleness. BE NOT SOLITARY--BE NOT IDLE." [134]

The indolent, however, are not wholly indolent. Though the body may
shirk labour, the brain is not idle. If it do not grow corn, it will
grow thistles, which will be found springing up all along the idle
man's course in life. The ghosts of indolence rise up in the dark, ever
staring the recreant in the face, and tormenting him:

      "The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices,
       Make instrument to scourge us."

True happiness is never found in torpor of the faculties, [135] but in
their action and useful employment. It is indolence that exhausts, not
action, in which there is life, health, and pleasure. The spirits may
be exhausted and wearied by employment, but they are utterly wasted by
idleness. Hense a wise physician was accustomed to regard occupation as
one of his most valuable remedial measures. "Nothing is so injurious,"
said Dr. Marshall Hall, "as unoccupied time." An archbishop of Mayence
used to say that "the human heart is like a millstone: if you put wheat
under it, it grinds the wheat into flour; if you put no wheat, it grinds
on, but then 'tis itself it wears away."

Indolence is usually full of excuses; and the sluggard, though unwilling
to work, is often an active sophist. "There is a lion in the path;" or
"The hill is hard to climb;" or "There is no use trying--I have tried,
and failed, and cannot do it." To the sophistries of such an excuser,
Sir Samuel Romilly once wrote to a young man:--"My attack upon your
indolence, loss of time, &c., was most serious, and I really think that
it can be to nothing but your habitual want of exertion that can be
ascribed your using such curious arguments as you do in your defence.
Your theory is this: Every man does all the good that he can. If a
particular individual does no good, it is a proof that he is incapable
of doing it. That you don't write proves that you can't; and your want
of inclination demonstrates your want of talents. What an admirable
system!--and what beneficial effects would it be attended with, if it
were but universally received!"

It has been truly said, that to desire to possess, without being
burdened with the trouble of acquiring, is as much a sign of weakness,
as to recognise that everything worth having is only to be got by paying
its price, is the prime secret of practical strength. Even leisure
cannot be enjoyed unless it is won by effort. If it have not been earned
by work, the price has not been paid for it. [136]

There must be work before and work behind, with leisure to fall back
upon; but the leisure, without the work, can no more be enjoyed than a
surfeit. Life must needs be disgusting alike to the idle rich man as to
the idle poor man, who has no work to do, or, having work, will not do
it. The words found tattooed on the right arm of a sentimental beggar
of forty, undergoing his eighth imprisonment in the gaol of Bourges
in France, might be adopted as the motto of all idlers: "LE PASSE M'A
deceived me; the present torments me; the future terrifies me]

The duty of industry applies to all classes and conditions of society.
All have their work to do in the irrespective conditions of life--the
rich as well as the poor. [137] The gentleman by birth and education,
however richly he may be endowed with worldly possessions, cannot but
feel that he is in duty bound to contribute his quota of endeavour
towards the general wellbeing in which he shares. He cannot be satisfied
with being fed, clad, and maintained by the labour of others, without
making some suitable return to the society that upholds him. An honest
highminded man would revolt at the idea of sitting down to and enjoying
a feast, and then going away without paying his share of the reckoning.
To be idle and useless is neither an honour nor a privilege; and though
persons of small natures may be content merely to consume--FRUGES
CONSUMERE NATI--men of average endowment, of manly aspirations, and of
honest purpose, will feel such a condition to be incompatible with real
honour and true dignity.

"I don't believe," said Lord Stanley [13now Earl of Derby] at Glasgow,
"that an unemployed man, however amiable and otherwise respectable, ever
was, or ever can be, really happy. As work is our life, show me what you
can do, and I will show you what you are. I have spoken of love of one's
work as the best preventive of merely low and vicious tastes. I will
go further, and say that it is the best preservative against petty
anxieties, and the annoyances that arise out of indulged self-love. Men
have thought before now that they could take refuge from trouble and
vexation by sheltering themselves as it were in a world of their own.
The experiment has, often been tried, and always with one result. You
cannot escape from anxiety and labour--it is the destiny of humanity....
Those who shirk from facing trouble, find that trouble comes to them.
The indolent may contrive that he shall have less than his share of the
world's work to do, but Nature proportioning the instinct to the work,
contrives that the little shall be much and hard to him. The man who has
only himself to please finds, sooner or later, and probably sooner than
later, that he has got a very hard master; and the excessive weakness
which shrinks from responsibility has its own punishment too, for where
great interests are excluded little matters become great, and the
same wear and tear of mind that might have been at least usefully and
healthfully expended on the real business of life is often wasted
in petty and imaginary vexations, such as breed and multiply in the
unoccupied brain." [138]

Even on the lowest ground--that of personal enjoyment--constant useful
occupation is necessary. He who labours not, cannot enjoy the reward of
labour. "We sleep sound," said Sir Walter Scott, "and our waking
hours are happy, when they are employed; and a little sense of toil is
necessary to the enjoyment of leisure, even when earned by study and
sanctioned by the discharge of duty."

It is true, there are men who die of overwork; but many more die of
selfishness, indulgence, and idleness. Where men break down by overwork,
it is most commonly from want of duly ordering their lives, and neglect
of the ordinary conditions of physical health. Lord Stanley was probably
right when he said, in his address to the Glasgow students above
mentioned, that he doubted whether "hard work, steadily and regularly
carried on, ever yet hurt anybody."

Then, again, length of YEARS is no proper test of length of LIFE. A
man's life is to be measured by what he does in it, and what he feels in
it. The more useful work the man does, and the more he thinks and feels,
the more he really lives. The idle useless man, no matter to what extent
his life may be prolonged, merely vegetates.

The early teachers of Christianity ennobled the lot of toil by their
example. "He that will not work," said Saint Paul, "neither shall he
eat;" and he glorified himself in that he had laboured with his hands,
and had not been chargeable to any man. When St. Boniface landed in
Britain, he came with a gospel in one hand and a carpenter's rule in the
other; and from England he afterwards passed over into Germany, carrying
thither the art of building. Luther also, in the midst of a multitude of
other employments, worked diligently for a living, earning his bread by
gardening, building, turning, and even clockmaking. [139]

It was characteristic of Napoleon, when visiting a work of mechanical
excellence, to pay great respect to the inventor, and on taking his
leave, to salute him with a low bow. Once at St. Helena, when walking
with Mrs. Balcombe, some servants came along carrying a load. The
lady, in an angry tone, ordered them out of the way, on which Napoleon
interposed, saying, "Respect the burden, madam." Even the drudgery
of the humblest labourer contributes towards the general wellbeing of
society; and it was a wise saying of a Chinese Emperor, that "if there
was a man who did not work, or a woman that was idle, somebody must
suffer cold or hunger in the empire."

The habit of constant useful occupation is as essential for the
happiness and wellbeing of woman as of man. Without it, women are apt to
sink into a state of listless ENNUI and uselessness, accompanied by sick
headache and attacks of "nerves." Caroline Perthes carefully warned her
married daughter Louisa to beware of giving way to such listlessness. "I
myself," she said, "when the children are gone out for a half-holiday,
sometimes feel as stupid and dull as an owl by daylight; but one must
not yield to this, which happens more or less to all young wives. The
best relief is WORK, engaged in with interest and diligence. Work, then,
constantly and diligently, at something or other; for idleness is the
devil's snare for small and great, as your grandfather says, and he says
true." [1310]

Constant useful occupation is thus wholesome, not only for the body, but
for the mind. While the slothful man drags himself indolently through
life, and the better part of his nature sleeps a deep sleep, if not
morally and spiritually dead, the energetic man is a source of activity
and enjoyment to all who come within reach of his influence. Even any
ordinary drudgery is better than idleness. Fuller says of Sir Francis
Drake, who was early sent to sea, and kept close to his work by his
master, that such "pains and patience in his youth knit the joints of
his soul, and made them more solid and compact." Schiller used to say
that he considered it a great advantage to be employed in the discharge
of some daily mechanical duty--some regular routine of work, that
rendered steady application necessary.

Thousands can bear testimony to the truth of the saying of Greuze, the
French painter, that work--employment, useful occupation--is one of the
great secrets of happiness. Casaubon was once induced by the entreaties
of his friends to take a few days entire rest, but he returned to
his work with the remark, that it was easier to bear illness doing
something, than doing nothing.

When Charles Lamb was released for life from his daily drudgery of
desk-work at the India Office, he felt himself the happiest of men. "I
would not go back to my prison," he said to a friend, "ten years longer,
for ten thousand pounds." He also wrote in the same ecstatic mood to
Bernard Barton: "I have scarce steadiness of head to compose a letter,"
he said; "I am free! free as air! I will live another fifty years....
Would I could sell you some of my leisure! Positively the best thing
a man can do is--Nothing; and next to that, perhaps, Good Works." Two
years--two long and tedious years passed; and Charles Lamb's feelings
had undergone an entire change. He now discovered that official, even
humdrum work--"the appointed round, the daily task"--had been good for
him, though he knew it not. Time had formerly been his friend; it had
now become his enemy. To Bernard Barton he again wrote: "I assure you,
NO work is worse than overwork; the mind preys on itself--the most
unwholesome of food. I have ceased to care for almost anything.... Never
did the waters of heaven pour down upon a forlorner head. What I can
do, and overdo, is to walk. I am a sanguinary murderer of time. But the
oracle is silent."

No man could be more sensible of the practical importance of industry
than Sir Walter Scott, who was himself one of the most laborious and
indefatigable of men. Indeed, Lockhart says of him that, taking all ages
and countries together, the rare example of indefatigable energy, in
union with serene self-possession of mind and manner, such as Scott's,
must be sought for in the roll of great sovereigns or great captains,
rather than in that of literary genius. Scott himself was most anxious
to impress upon the minds of his own children the importance of industry
as a means of usefulness and happiness in the world. To his son Charles,
when at school, he wrote:--"I cannot too much impress upon your mind
that LABOUR is the condition which God has imposed on us in every
station of life; there is nothing worth having that can be had without
it, from the bread which the peasant wins with the sweat of his brow,
to the sports by which the rich man must get rid of his ENNUI.... As for
knowledge, it can no more be planted in the human mind without labour
than a field of wheat can be produced without the previous use of
the plough. There is, indeed, this great difference, that chance or
circumstances may so cause it that another shall reap what the farmer
sows; but no man can be deprived, whether by accident or misfortune, of
the fruits of his own studies; and the liberal and extended acquisitions
of knowledge which he makes are all for his own use. Labour, therefore,
my dear boy, and improve the time. In youth our steps are light, and our
minds are ductile, and knowledge is easily laid up; but if we neglect
our spring, our summers will be useless and contemptible, our harvest
will be chaff, and the winter of our old age unrespected and desolate."

Southey was as laborious a worker as Scott. Indeed, work might almost
be said to form part of his religion. He was only nineteen when he
wrote these words:--"Nineteen years! certainly a fourth part of my life;
perhaps how great a part! and yet I have been of no service to society.
The clown who scares crows for twopence a day is a more useful man; he
preserves the bread which I eat in idleness." And yet Southey had
not been idle as a boy--on the contrary, he had been a most diligent
student. He had not only read largely in English literature, but was
well acquainted, through translations, with Tasso, Ariosto, Homer, and
Ovid. He felt, however, as if his life had been purposeless, and he
determined to do something. He began, and from that time forward he
pursued an unremitting career of literary labour down to the close of
his life--"daily progressing in learning," to use his own words--"not so
learned as he is poor, not so poor as proud, not so proud as happy."

The maxims of men often reveal their character. [1312] That of Sir Walter
Scott was, "Never to be doing nothing." Robertson the historian, as
early as his fifteenth year, adopted the maxim of "VITA SINE LITERIS
MORS EST" [13Life without learning is death]. Voltaire's motto was,
"TOUJOURS AU TRAVAIL" [13Always at work]. The favourite maxim of Lacepede,
the naturalist, was, "VIVRE C'EST VEILLER" [13To live is to observe]:
it was also the maxim of Pliny. When Bossuet was at college, he was so
distinguished by his ardour in study, that his fellow students, playing
upon his name, designated him as "BOS-SUETUS ARATRO" [13The ox used to the
plough]. The name of VITA-LIS [13Life a struggle], which the Swedish poet
Sjoberg assumed, as Frederik von Hardenberg assumed that of NOVA-LIS,
described the aspirations and the labours of both these men of genius.

We have spoken of work as a discipline: it is also an educator of
character. Even work that produces no results, because it IS work,
is better than torpor,--inasmuch as it educates faculty, and is thus
preparatory to successful work. The habit of working teaches method.
It compels economy of time, and the disposition of it with judicious
forethought. And when the art of packing life with useful occupations is
once acquired by practice, every minute will be turned to account; and
leisure, when it comes, will be enjoyed with all the greater zest.

Coleridge has truly observed, that "if the idle are described as killing
time, the methodical man may be justly said to call it into life and
moral being, while he makes it the distinct object not only of the
consciousness, but of the conscience. He organizes the hours and gives
them a soul; and by that, the very essence of which is to fleet and to
have been, he communicates an imperishable and spiritual nature. Of
the good and faithful servant, whose energies thus directed are thus
methodized, it is less truly affirmed that he lives in time than that
time lives in him. His days and months and years, as the stops and
punctual marks in the record of duties performed, will survive the wreck
of worlds, and remain extant when time itself shall be no more." [1313]

It is because application to business teaches method most effectually,
that it is so useful as an educator of character. The highest working
qualities are best trained by active and sympathetic contact with others
in the affairs of daily life. It does not matter whether the business
relate to the management of a household or of a nation. Indeed, as we
have endeavoured to show in a preceding chapter, the able housewife must
necessarily be an efficient woman of business. She must regulate and
control the details of her home, keep her expenditure within her means,
arrange everything according to plan and system, and wisely manage and
govern those subject to her rule. Efficient domestic management implies
industry, application, method, moral discipline, forethought,
prudence, practical ability, insight into character, and power of
organization--all of which are required in the efficient management of
business of whatever sort.

Business qualities have, indeed, a very large field of action. They mean
aptitude for affairs, competency to deal successfully with the practical
work of life--whether the spur of action lie in domestic management,
in the conduct of a profession, in trade or commerce, in social
organization, or in political government. And the training which gives
efficiency in dealing with these various affairs is of all others the
most useful in practical life. [1314] Moreover, it is the best discipline
of character; for it involves the exercise of diligence, attention,
self-denial, judgment, tact, knowledge of and sympathy with others.

Such a discipline is far more productive of happiness as well as useful
efficiency in life, than any amount of literary culture or meditative
seclusion; for in the long run it will usually be found that practical
ability carries it over intellect, and temper and habits over talent. It
must, however, he added that this is a kind of culture that can only be
acquired by diligent observation and carefully improved experience. "To
be a good blacksmith," said General Trochu in a recent publication, "one
must have forged all his life: to be a good administrator one should
have passed his whole life in the study and practice of business."

It was characteristic of Sir Walter Scott to entertain the highest
respect for able men of business; and he professed that he did not
consider any amount of literary distinction as entitled to be spoken of
in the same breath with a mastery in the higher departments of practical
life--least of all with a first-rate captain.

The great commander leaves nothing to chance, but provides for every
contingency. He condescends to apparently trivial details. Thus, when
Wellington was at the head of his army in Spain, he directed the precise
manner in which the soldiers were to cook their provisions. When in
India, he specified the exact speed at which the bullocks were to be
driven; every detail in equipment was carefully arranged beforehand. And
thus not only was efficiency secured, but the devotion of his men, and
their boundless confidence in his command. [1315]

Like other great captains, Wellington had an almost boundless capacity
for work. He drew up the heads of a Dublin Police Bill [13being still the
Secretary for Ireland], when tossing off the mouth of the Mondego,
with Junot and the French army waiting for him on the shore. So Caesar,
another of the greatest commanders, is said to have written an essay
on Latin Rhetoric while crossing the Alps at the head of his army.
And Wallenstein when at the head of 60,000 men, and in the midst of
a campaign with the enemy before him, dictated from headquarters the
medical treatment of his poultry-yard.

Washington, also, was an indefatigable man of business. From his boyhood
he diligently trained himself in habits of application, of study, and of
methodical work. His manuscript school-books, which are still preserved,
show that, as early as the age of thirteen, he occupied himself
voluntarily in copying out such things as forms of receipts, notes of
hand, bills of exchange, bonds, indentures, leases, land-warrants, and
other dry documents, all written out with great care. And the habits
which he thus early acquired were, in a great measure, the foundation of
those admirable business qualities which he afterwards so successfully
brought to bear in the affairs of government.

The man or woman who achieves success in the management of any great
affair of business is entitled to honour,--it may be, to as much as the
artist who paints a picture, or the author who writes a book, or the
soldier who wins a battle. Their success may have been gained in the
face of as great difficulties, and after as great struggles; and where
they have won their battle, it is at least a peaceful one, and there is
no blood on their hands.

The idea has been entertained by some, that business habits are
incompatible with genius. In the Life of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, [1316]
it is observed of a Mr. Bicknell--a respectable but ordinary man, of
whom little is known but that he married Sabrina Sidney, the ELEVE of
Thomas Day, author of 'Sandford and Merton'--that "he had some of
the too usual faults of a man of genius: he detested the drudgery of
business." But there cannot be a greater mistake. The greatest geniuses
have, without exception, been the greatest workers, even to the extent
of drudgery. They have not only worked harder than ordinary men, but
brought to their work higher faculties and a more ardent spirit. Nothing
great and durable was ever improvised. It is only by noble patience and
noble labour that the masterpieces of genius have been achieved.

Power belongs only to the workers; the idlers are always powerless. It
is the laborious and painstaking men who are the rulers of the world.
There has not been a statesman of eminence but was a man of industry.
"It is by toil," said even Louis XIV., "that kings govern." When
Clarendon described Hampden, he spoke of him as "of an industry and
vigilance not to be tired out or wearied by the most laborious, and
of parts not to be imposed on by the most subtle and sharp, and of a
personal courage equal to his best parts." While in the midst of his
laborious though self-imposed duties, Hampden, on one occasion, wrote
to his mother: "My lyfe is nothing but toyle, and hath been for many
yeares, nowe to the Commonwealth, nowe to the Kinge.... Not so much
tyme left as to doe my dutye to my deare parents, nor to sende to them."
Indeed, all the statesmen of the Commonwealth were great toilers;
and Clarendon himself, whether in office or out of it, was a man of
indefatigable application and industry.

The same energetic vitality, as displayed in the power of working, has
distinguished all the eminent men in our own as well as in past
times. During the Anti-Corn Law movement, Cobden, writing to a friend,
described himself as "working like a horse, with not a moment to spare."
Lord Brougham was a remarkable instance of the indefatigably active and
laborious man; and it might be said of Lord Palmerston, that he worked
harder for success in his extreme old age than he had ever done in the
prime of his manhood--preserving his working faculty, his good-humour
and BONHOMMIE, unimpaired to the end. [1317] He himself was accustomed to
say, that being in office, and consequently full of work, was good for
his health. It rescued him from ENNUI. Helvetius even held, that it is
man's sense of ENNUI that is the chief cause of his superiority over the
brute,--that it is the necessity which he feels for escaping from its
intolerable suffering that forces him to employ himself actively, and is
hence the great stimulus to human progress.

Indeed, this living principle of constant work, of abundant occupation,
of practical contact with men in the affairs of life, has in all times
been the best ripener of the energetic vitality of strong natures.
Business habits, cultivated and disciplined, are found alike useful in
every pursuit--whether in politics, literature, science, or art. Thus, a
great deal of the best literary work has been done by men systematically
trained in business pursuits. The same industry, application, economy
of time and labour, which have rendered them useful in the one sphere of
employment, have been found equally available in the other.

Most of the early English writers were men of affairs, trained to
business; for no literary class as yet existed, excepting it might
be the priesthood. Chaucer, the father of English poetry, was first a
soldier, and afterwards a comptroller of petty customs. The office was
no sinecure either, for he had to write up all the records with his
own hand; and when he had done his "reckonings" at the custom-house, he
returned with delight to his favourite studies at home--poring over his
books until his eyes were "dazed" and dull.

The great writers in the reign of Elizabeth, during which there was such
a development of robust life in England, were not literary men according
to the modern acceptation of the word, but men of action trained in
business. Spenser acted as secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland;
Raleigh was, by turns, a courtier, soldier, sailor, and discoverer;
Sydney was a politician, diplomatist, and soldier; Bacon was a laborious
lawyer before he became Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor; Sir Thomas
Browne was a physician in country practice at Norwich; Hooker was the
hardworking pastor of a country parish; Shakspeare was the manager of a
theatre, in which he was himself but an indifferent actor, and he seems
to have been even more careful of his money investments than he was
of his intellectual offspring. Yet these, all men of active business
habits, are among the greatest writers of any age: the period of
Elizabeth and James I. standing out in the history of England as the era
of its greatest literary activity and splendour.

In the reign of Charles I., Cowley held various offices of trust and
confidence. He acted as private secretary to several of the royalist
leaders, and was afterwards engaged as private secretary to the Queen,
in ciphering and deciphering the correspondence which passed between her
and Charles I.; the work occupying all his days, and often his nights,
during several years. And while Cowley was thus employed in the royal
cause, Milton was employed by the Commonwealth, of which he was the
Latin secretary, and afterwards secretary to the Lord Protector. Yet, in
the earlier part of his life, Milton was occupied in the humble vocation
of a teacher. Dr. Johnson says, "that in his school, as in everything
else which he undertook, he laboured with great diligence, there is no
reason for doubting" It was after the Restoration, when his official
employment ceased, that Milton entered upon the principal literary work
of his life; but before he undertook the writing of his great epic,
he deemed it indispensable that to "industrious and select reading"
he should add "steady observation" and "insight into all seemly and
generous arts and affairs." [1318]

Locke held office in different reigns: first under Charles II. as
Secretary to the Board of Trade and afterwards under William III. as
Commissioner of Appeals and of Trade and Plantations. Many literary
men of eminence held office in Queen Anne's reign. Thus Addison
was Secretary of State; Steele, Commissioner of Stamps; Prior,
Under-Secretary of State, and afterwards Ambassador to France; Tickell,
Under-Secretary of State, and Secretary to the Lords Justices of
Ireland; Congreve, Secretary of Jamaica;, and Gay, Secretary of Legation
at Hanover.

Indeed, habits of business, instead of unfitting a cultivated mind for
scientific or literary pursuits, are often the best training for them.
Voltaire insisted with truth that the real spirit of business and
literature are the same; the perfection of each being the union of
energy and thoughtfulness, of cultivated intelligence and practical
wisdom, of the active and contemplative essence--a union commended by
Lord Bacon as the concentrated excellence of man's nature. It has been
said that even the man of genius can write nothing worth reading in
relation to human affairs, unless he has been in some way or other
connected with the serious everyday business of life.

Hence it has happened that many of the best books, extant have been
written by men of business, with whom literature was a pastime rather
than a profession. Gifford, the editor of the 'Quarterly,' who knew the
drudgery of writing for a living, once observed that "a single hour of
composition, won from the business of the day, is worth more than the
whole day's toil of him who works at the trade of literature: in the one
case, the spirit comes joyfully to refresh itself, like a hart to the
waterbrooks; in the other, it pursues its miserable way, panting and
jaded, with the dogs and hunger of necessity behind." [1319]

The first great men of letters in Italy were not mere men of letters;
they were men of business--merchants, statesmen, diplomatists, judges,
and soldiers. Villani, the author of the best History of Florence, was
a merchant; Dante, Petrarch, and Boccacio, were all engaged in more or
less important embassies; and Dante, before becoming a diplomatist, was
for some time occupied as a chemist and druggist. Galileo, Galvani,
and Farini were physicians, and Goldoni a lawyer. Ariosto's talent
for affairs was as great as his genius for poetry. At the death of his
father, he was called upon to manage the family estate for the benefit
of his younger brothers and sisters, which he did with ability and
integrity. His genius for business having been recognised, he was
employed by the Duke of Ferrara on important missions to Rome and
elsewhere. Having afterwards been appointed governor of a turbulent
mountain district, he succeeded, by firm and just governments in
reducing it to a condition of comparative good order and security. Even
the bandits of the country respected him. Being arrested one day in the
mountains by a body of outlaws, he mentioned his name, when they at once
offered to escort him in safety wherever he chose.

It has been the same in other countries. Vattel, the author of the
'Rights of Nations,' was a practical diplomatist, and a first-rate man
of business. Rabelais was a physician, and a successful practitioner;
Schiller was a surgeon; Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderon, Camoens,
Descartes, Maupertius, La Rochefoucauld, Lacepede, Lamark, were soldiers
in the early part of their respective lives.

In our own country, many men now known by their writings, earned their
living by their trade. Lillo spent the greater part of his life as a
working jeweller in the Poultry; occupying the intervals of his leisure
in the production of dramatic works, some of them of acknowledged power
and merit. Izaak Walton was a linendraper in Fleet Street, reading much
in his leisure hours, and storing his mind with facts for future use in
his capacity of biographer. De Foe was by turns horse-factor, brick and
tile maker, shopkeeper, author, and political agent.

Samuel Richardson successfully combined literature, with business;
writing his novels in his back-shop in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street,
and selling them over the counter in his front-shop. William Hutton, of
Birmingham, also successfully combined the occupations of bookselling
and authorship. He says, in his Autobiography, that a man may live half
a century and not be acquainted with his own character. He did not know
that he was an antiquary until the world informed him of it, from having
read his 'History of Birmingham,' and then, he said, he could see
it himself. Benjamin Franklin was alike eminent as a printer and
bookseller--an author, a philosopher and a statesman.

Coming down to our own time, we find Ebenezer Elliott successfully
carrying on the business of a bar-iron merchant in Sheffield, during
which time he wrote and published the greater number of his poems; and
his success in business was such as to enable him to retire into the
country and build a house of his own, in which he spent the remainder
of his days. Isaac Taylor, the author of the 'Natural History of
Enthusiasm,' was an engraver of patterns for Manchester calico-printers;
and other members of this gifted family were followers of the same
branch of art.

The principal early works of John Stuart Mill were written in the
intervals of official work, while he held the office of principal
examiner in the East India House,--in which Charles Lamb, Peacock the
author of 'Headlong Hall,' and Edwin Norris the philologist, were also
clerks. Macaulay wrote his 'Lays of Ancient Rome' in the War Office,
while holding the post of Secretary of War. It is well known that the
thoughtful writings of Mr. Helps are literally "Essays written in the
Intervals of Business." Many of our best living authors are men holding
important public offices--such as Sir Henry Taylor, Sir John Kaye,
Anthony Trollope, Tom Taylor, Matthew Arnold, and Samuel Warren.

Mr. Proctor the poet, better known as "Barry Cornwall," was a barrister
and commissioner in lunacy. Most probably he assumed the pseudonym for
the same reason that Dr. Paris published his 'Philosophy in Sport made
Science in Earnest' anonymously--because he apprehended that, if known,
it might compromise his professional position. For it is by no means an
uncommon prejudice, still prevalent amongst City men, that a person who
has written a book, and still more one who has written a poem, is
good for nothing in the way of business. Yet Sharon Turner, though an
excellent historian, was no worse a solicitor on that account; while the
brothers Horace and James Smith, authors of 'The Rejected Addresses,'
were men of such eminence in their profession, that they were selected
to fill the important and lucrative post of solicitors to the Admiralty,
and they filled it admirably.

It was while the late Mr. Broderip, the barrister, was acting as a
London police magistrate, that he was attracted to the study of natural
history, in which he occupied the greater part of his leisure. He wrote
the principal articles on the subject for the 'Penny Cyclopaedia,'
besides several separate works of great merit, more particularly
the 'Zoological Recreations,' and 'Leaves from the Notebook of a
Naturalist.' It is recorded of him that, though he devoted so much of
his time to the production of his works, as well as to the Zoological
Society and their admirable establishment in Regent's Park, of which
he was one of the founders, his studies never interfered with the real
business of his life, nor is it known that a single question was ever
raised upon his conduct or his decisions. And while Mr. Broderip devoted
himself to natural history, the late Lord Chief Baron Pollock devoted
his leisure to natural science, recreating himself in the practice
of photography and the study of mathematics, in both of which he was
thoroughly proficient.

Among literary bankers we find the names of Rogers, the poet; Roscoe, of
Liverpool, the biographer of Lorenzo de Medici; Ricardo, the author of
'Political Economy and Taxation; [1320] Grote, the author of the 'History
of Greece;' Sir John Lubbock, the scientific antiquarian; [1321] and
Samuel Bailey, of Sheffield, the author of 'Essays on the Formation and
Publication of Opinions,' besides various important works on ethics,
political economy, and philosophy.

Nor, on the other hand, have thoroughly-trained men of science and
learning proved themselves inefficient as first-rate men of business.
Culture of the best sort trains the habit of application and industry,
disciplines the mind, supplies it with resources, and gives it freedom
and vigour of action--all of which are equally requisite in the
successful conduct of business. Thus, in young men, education and
scholarship usually indicate steadiness of character, for they imply
continuous attention, diligence, and the ability and energy necessary to
master knowledge; and such persons will also usually be found possessed
of more than average promptitude, address, resource, and dexterity.

Montaigne has said of true philosophers, that "if they were great in
science, they were yet much greater in action;... and whenever they have
been put upon the proof, they have been seen to fly to so high a pitch,
as made it very well appear their souls were strangely elevated and
enriched with the knowledge of things." [1322]

At the same time, it must be acknowledged that too exclusive a devotion
to imaginative and philosophical literature, especially if prolonged in
life until the habits become formed, does to a great extent incapacitate
a man for the business of practical life. Speculative ability is one
thing, and practical ability another; and the man who, in his study, or
with his pen in hand, shows himself capable of forming large views of
life and policy, may, in the outer world, be found altogether unfitted
for carrying them into practical effect.

Speculative ability depends on vigorous thinking--practical ability on
vigorous acting; and the two qualities are usually found combined in
very unequal proportions. The speculative man is prone to indecision:
he sees all the sides of a question, and his action becomes suspended in
nicely weighing the pros and cons, which are often found pretty nearly
to balance each other; whereas the practical man overleaps logical
preliminaries, arrives at certain definite convictions, and proceeds
forthwith to carry his policy into action. [1323]

Yet there have been many great men of science who have proved efficient
men of business. We do not learn that Sir Isaac Newton made a worse
Master of the Mint because he was the greatest of philosophers. Nor were
there any complaints as to the efficiency of Sir John Herschel, who held
the same office. The brothers Humboldt were alike capable men in all
that they undertook--whether it was literature, philosophy, mining,
philology, diplomacy, or statesmanship.

Niebuhr, the historian, was distinguished for his energy and success as
a man of business. He proved so efficient as secretary and accountant
to the African consulate, to which he had been appointed by the Danish
Government, that he was afterwards selected as one of the commissioners
to manage the national finances; and he quitted that office to undertake
the joint directorship of a bank at Berlin. It was in the midst of
his business occupations that he found time to study Roman history, to
master the Arabic, Russian, and other Sclavonic languages, and to
build up the great reputation as an author by which he is now chiefly

Having regard to the views professed by the First Napoleon as to men
of science, it was to have been expected that he would endeavour to
strengthen his administration by calling them to his aid. Some of his
appointments proved failures, while others were completely successful.
Thus Laplace was made Minister of the Interior; but he had no sooner
been appointed than it was seen that a mistake had been made. Napoleon
afterwards said of him, that "Laplace looked at no question in its true
point of view. He was always searching after subtleties; all his ideas
were problems, and he carried the spirit of the infinitesimal calculus
into the management of business." But Laplace's habits had been formed
in the study, and he was too old to adapt them to the purposes of
practical life.

With Darn it was different. But Darn had the advantage of some practical
training in business, having served as an intendant of the army in
Switzerland under Massena, during which he also distinguished himself as
an author. When Napoleon proposed to appoint him a councillor of state
and intendant of the Imperial Household, Darn hesitated to accept the
office. "I have passed the greater part of my life," he said, "among
books, and have not had time to learn the functions of a courtier." "Of
courtiers," replied Napoleon, "I have plenty about me; they will never
fail. But I want a minister, at once enlightened, firm, and vigilant;
and it is for these qualities that I have selected you." Darn complied
with the Emperor's wishes, and eventually became his Prime Minister,
proving thoroughly efficient in that capacity, and remaining the same
modest, honourable, and disinterested man that he had ever been through

Men of trained working faculty so contract the habit of labour that
idleness becomes intolerable to them; and when driven by circumstances
from their own special line of occupation, they find refuge in other
pursuits. The diligent man is quick to find employment for his leisure;
and he is able to make leisure when the idle man finds none. "He hath no
leisure," says George Herbert, "who useth it not." "The most active or
busy man that hath been or can be," says Bacon, "hath, no question, many
vacant times of leisure, while he expecteth the tides and returns of
business, except he be either tedious and of no despatch, or lightly and
unworthily ambitious to meddle with things that may be better done by
others." Thus many great things have been done during such "vacant times
of leisure," by men to whom industry had become a second nature, and who
found it easier to work than to be idle.

Even hobbies are useful as educators of the working faculty. Hobbies
evoke industry of a certain kind, and at least provide agreeable
occupation. Not such hobbies as that of Domitian, who occupied
himself in catching flies. The hobbies of the King of Macedon who made
lanthorns, and of the King of France who made locks, were of a more
respectable order. Even a routine mechanical employment is felt to be
a relief by minds acting under high-pressure: it is an intermission of
labour--a rest--a relaxation, the pleasure consisting in the work itself
rather than in the result.

But the best of hobbies are intellectual ones. Thus men of active
mind retire from their daily business to find recreation in other
pursuits--some in science, some in art, and the greater number in
literature. Such recreations are among the best preservatives against
selfishness and vulgar worldliness. We believe it was Lord Brougham
who said, "Blessed is the man that hath a hobby!" and in the abundant
versatility of his nature, he himself had many, ranging from literature
to optics, from history and biography to social science. Lord Brougham
is even said to have written a novel; and the remarkable story of the
'Man in the Bell,' which appeared many years ago in 'Blackwood,' is
reputed to have been from his pen. Intellectual hobbies, however, must
not be ridden too hard--else, instead of recreating, refreshing, and
invigorating a man's nature, they may only have the effect of sending
him back to his business exhausted, enervated, and depressed.

Many laborious statesmen besides Lord Brougham have occupied their
leisure, or consoled themselves in retirement from office, by the
composition of works which have become part of the standard literature
of the world. Thus 'Caesar's Commentaries' still survive as a classic;
the perspicuous and forcible style in which they are written placing
him in the same rank with Xenophon, who also successfully combined the
pursuit of letters with the business of active life.

When the great Sully was disgraced as a minister, and driven into
retirement, he occupied his leisure in writing out his 'Memoirs,'
in anticipation of the judgment of posterity upon his career as a
statesman. Besides these, he also composed part of a romance after the
manner of the Scuderi school, the manuscript of which was found amongst
his papers at his death.

Turgot found a solace for the loss of office, from which he had been
driven by the intrigues of his enemies, in the study of physical
science. He also reverted to his early taste for classical literature.
During his long journeys, and at nights when tortured by the gout, he
amused himself by making Latin verses; though the only line of his
that has been preserved was that intended to designate the portrait of
Benjamin Franklin:

      "Eripuit caelo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis."

Among more recent French statesmen--with whom, however, literature
has been their profession as much as politics--may be mentioned
De Tocqueville, Thiers, Guizot, and Lamartine, while Napoleon III.
challenged a place in the Academy by his 'Life of Caesar.'

Literature has also been the chief solace of our greatest English
statesmen. When Pitt retired from office, like his great contemporary
Fox, he reverted with delight to the study of the Greek and Roman
classics. Indeed, Grenville considered Pitt the best Greek scholar he
had ever known. Canning and Wellesley, when in retirement, occupied
themselves in translating the odes and satires of Horace. Canning's
passion for literature entered into all his pursuits, and gave a colour
to his whole life. His biographer says of him, that after a dinner at
Pitt's, while the rest of the company were dispersed in conversation, he
and Pitt would be observed poring over some old Grecian in a corner of
the drawing-room. Fox also was a diligent student of the Greek authors,
and, like Pitt, read Lycophron. He was also the author of a History
of James II., though the book is only a fragment, and, it must be
confessed, is rather a disappointing work.

One of the most able and laborious of our recent statesmen--with whom
literature was a hobby as well as a pursuit--was the late Sir George
Cornewall Lewis. He was an excellent man of business--diligent, exact,
and painstaking. He filled by turns the offices of President of the
Poor Law Board--the machinery of which he created,--Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Home Secretary, and Secretary at War; and in each he
achieved the reputation of a thoroughly successful administrator. In the
intervals of his official labours, he occupied himself with inquiries
into a wide range of subjects--history, politics, philology,
anthropology, and antiquarianism. His works on 'The Astronomy of the
Ancients,' and 'Essays on the Formation of the Romanic Languages,' might
have been written by the profoundest of German SAVANS. He took especial
delight in pursuing the abstruser branches of learning, and found
in them his chief pleasure and recreation. Lord Palmerston sometimes
remonstrated with him, telling him he was "taking too much out of
himself" by laying aside official papers after office-hours in order to
study books; Palmerston himself declaring that he had no time to read
books--that the reading of manuscript was quite enough for him.

Doubtless Sir George Lewis rode his hobby too hard, and but for his
devotion to study, his useful life would probably have been prolonged.
Whether in or out of office, he read, wrote, and studied. He
relinquished the editorship of the 'Edinburgh Review' to become
Chancellor of the Exchequer; and when no longer occupied in preparing
budgets, he proceeded to copy out a mass of Greek manuscripts at the
British Museum. He took particular delight in pursuing any difficult
inquiry in classical antiquity. One of the odd subjects with which he
occupied himself was an examination into the truth of reported cases of
longevity, which, according to his custom, he doubted or disbelieved.
This subject was uppermost in his mind while pursuing his canvass of
Herefordshire in 1852. On applying to a voter one day for his support,
he was met by a decided refusal. "I am sorry," was the candidate's
reply, "that you can't give me your vote; but perhaps you can tell me
whether anybody in your parish has died at an extraordinary age!"

The contemporaries of Sir George Lewis also furnish many striking
instances of the consolations afforded by literature to statesmen
wearied with the toils of public life. Though the door of office may
be closed, that of literature stands always open, and men who are at
daggers-drawn in politics, join hands over the poetry of Homer and
Horace. The late Earl of Derby, on retiring from power, produced his
noble version of 'The Iliad,' which will probably continue to be read
when his speeches have been forgotten. Mr. Gladstone similarly occupied
his leisure in preparing for the press his 'Studies on Homer,' [1324] and
in editing a translation of 'Farini's Roman State;' while Mr. Disraeli
signalised his retirement from office by the production of his
'Lothair.' Among statesmen who have figured as novelists, besides Mr.
Disraeli, are Lord Russell, who has also contributed largely to history
and biography; the Marquis of Normandy, and the veteran novelist,
Lord Lytton, with whom, indeed, politics may be said to have been his
recreation, and literature the chief employment of his life.

To conclude: a fair measure of work is good for mind as well as body.
Man is an intelligence sustained and preserved by bodily organs, and
their active exercise is necessary to the enjoyment of health. It is
not work, but overwork, that is hurtful; and it is not hard work that is
injurious so much as monotonous work, fagging work, hopeless work. All
hopeful work is healthful; and to be usefully and hopefully employed is
one of the great secrets of happiness. Brain-work, in moderation, is
no more wearing than any other kind of work. Duly regulated, it is as
promotive of health as bodily exercise; and, where due attention is paid
to the physical system, it seems difficult to put more upon a man than
he can bear. Merely to eat and drink and sleep one's way idly through
life is vastly more injurious. The wear-and-tear of rust is even faster
than the tear-and-wear of work.

But overwork is always bad economy. It is, in fact, great waste,
especially if conjoined with worry. Indeed, worry kills far more than
work does. It frets, it excites, it consumes the body--as sand and grit,
which occasion excessive friction, wear out the wheels of a machine.
Overwork and worry have both to be guarded against. For over-brain-work
is strain-work; and it is exhausting and destructive according as it is
in excess of nature. And the brain-worker may exhaust and overbalance
his mind by excess, just as the athlete may overstrain his muscles and
break his back by attempting feats beyond the strength of his physical


        "It is not but the tempest that doth show
         The seaman's cunning; but the field that tries
         The captain's courage; and we come to know
         Best what men are, in their worst jeopardies."--DANIEL.

    "If thou canst plan a noble deed,
     And never flag till it succeed,
     Though in the strife thy heart should bleed,
     Whatever obstacles control,
     Thine hour will come--go on, true soul!
     Thou'lt win the prize, thou'lt reach the goal."--C. MACKAY.

     "The heroic example of other days is in great part the
     source of the courage of each generation; and men walk up
     composedly to the most perilous enterprises, beckoned
     onwards by the shades of the brave that were."--HELPS.

            "That which we are, we are,
      One equal temper of heroic hearts,
      Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
      To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."--TENNYSON.

THE world owes much to its men and women of courage. We do not mean
physical courage, in which man is at least equalled by the bulldog; nor
is the bulldog considered the wisest of his species.

The courage that displays itself in silent effort and endeavour--that
dares to endure all and suffer all for truth and duty--is more truly
heroic than the achievements of physical valour, which are rewarded by
honours and titles, or by laurels sometimes steeped in blood.

It is moral courage that characterises the highest order of manhood and
womanhood--the courage to seek and to speak the truth; the courage to
be just; the courage to be honest; the courage to resist temptation; the
courage to do one's duty. If men and women do not possess this virtue,
they have no security whatever for the preservation of any other.

Every step of progress in the history of our race has been made in the
face of opposition and difficulty, and been achieved and secured by men
of intrepidity and valour--by leaders in the van of thought--by great
discoverers, great patriots, and great workers in all walks of life.
There is scarcely a great truth or doctrine but has had to fight its
way to public recognition in the face of detraction, calumny, and
persecution. "Everywhere," says Heine, "that a great soul gives
utterance to its thoughts, there also is a Golgotha."

    "Many loved Truth and lavished life's best oil,
       Amid the dust of books to find her,
    Content at last, for guerdon of their toil,
       With the cast mantle she had left behind her.
    Many in sad faith sought for her,
    Many with crossed hands sighed for her,
    But these, our brothers, fought for her,
    At life's dear peril wrought for her,
    So loved her that they died for her,
    Tasting the raptured fleetness
    Of her divine completeness." [141]

Socrates was condemned to drink the hemlock at Athens in his
seventy-second year, because his lofty teaching ran counter to the
prejudices and party-spirit of his age. He was charged by his accusers
with corrupting the youth of Athens by inciting them to despise the
tutelary deities of the state. He had the moral courage to brave not
only the tyranny of the judges who condemned him, but of the mob who
could not understand him. He died discoursing of the doctrine of the
immortality of the soul; his last words to his judges being, "It is now
time that we depart--I to die, you to live; but which has the better
destiny is unknown to all, except to the God."

How many great men and thinkers have been persecuted in the name of
religion! Bruno was burnt alive at Rome, because of his exposure of the
fashionable but false philosophy of his time. When the judges of the
Inquisition condemned him, to die, Bruno said proudly: "You are more
afraid to pronounce my sentence than I am to receive it."

To him succeeded Galileo, whose character as a man of science is almost
eclipsed by that of the martyr. Denounced by the priests from the
pulpit, because of the views he taught as to the motion of the earth,
he was summoned to Rome, in his seventieth year, to answer for his
heterodoxy. And he was imprisoned in the Inquisition, if he was not
actually put to the torture there. He was pursued by persecution even
when dead, the Pope refusing a tomb for his body.

Roger Bacon, the Franciscan monk, was persecuted on account of his
studies in natural philosophy, and he was charged with, dealing in
magic, because of his investigations in chemistry. His writings were
condemned, and he was thrown into prison, where he lay for ten years,
during the lives of four successive Popes. It is even averred that he
died in prison.

Ockham, the early English speculative philosopher, was excommunicated
by the Pope, and died in exile at Munich, where he was protected by the
friendship of the then Emperor of Germany.

The Inquisition branded Vesalius as a heretic for revealing man to man,
as it had before branded Bruno and Galileo for revealing the heavens to
man. Vesalius had the boldness to study the structure of the human body
by actual dissection, a practice until then almost entirely forbidden.
He laid the foundations of a science, but he paid for it with his
life. Condemned by the Inquisition, his penalty was commuted, by the
intercession of the Spanish king, into a pilgrimage to the Holy Land;
and when on his way back, while still in the prime of life, he died
miserably at Zante, of fever and want--a martyr to his love of science.

When the 'Novum Organon' appeared, a hue-and-cry was raised against it,
because of its alleged tendency to produce "dangerous revolutions," to
"subvert governments," and to "overturn the authority of religion;"
[142] and one Dr. Henry Stubbe [14whose name would otherwise have been
forgotten] wrote a book against the new philosophy, denouncing the
whole tribe of experimentalists as "a Bacon-faced generation." Even
the establishment of the Royal Society was opposed, on the ground that
"experimental philosophy is subversive of the Christian faith."

While the followers of Copernicus were persecuted as infidels, Kepler
was branded with the stigma of heresy, "because," said he, "I take that
side which seems to me to be consonant with the Word of God." Even the
pure and simpleminded Newton, of whom Bishop Burnet said that he had the
WHITEST SOUL he ever knew--who was a very infant in the purity of his
mind--even Newton was accused of "dethroning the Deity" by his sublime
discovery of the law of gravitation; and a similar charge was made
against Franklin for explaining the nature of the thunderbolt.

Spinoza was excommunicated by the Jews, to whom he belonged, because of
his views of philosophy, which were supposed to be adverse to religion;
and his life was afterwards attempted by an assassin for the same
reason. Spinoza remained courageous and self-reliant to the last, dying
in obscurity and poverty.

The philosophy of Descartes was denounced as leading to irreligion; the
doctrines of Locke were said to produce materialism; and in our own
day, Dr. Buckland, Mr. Sedgwick, and other leading geologists, have been
accused of overturning revelation with regard to the constitution and
history of the earth. Indeed, there has scarcely been a discovery in
astronomy, in natural history, or in physical science, that has not been
attacked by the bigoted and narrow-minded as leading to infidelity.

Other great discoverers, though they may not have been charged with
irreligion, have had not less obloquy of a professional and public
nature to encounter. When Dr. Harvey published his theory of the
circulation of the blood, his practice fell off, [143] and the medical
profession stigmatised him as a fool. "The few good things I have been
able to do," said John Hunter, "have been accomplished with the greatest
difficulty, and encountered the greatest opposition." Sir Charles Bell,
while employed in his important investigations as to the nervous system,
which issued in one of the greatest of physiological discoveries, wrote
to a friend: "If I were not so poor, and had not so many vexations
to encounter, how happy would I be!" But he himself observed that his
practice sensibly fell off after the publication of each successive
stage of his discovery.

Thus, nearly every enlargement of the domain of knowledge, which has
made us better acquainted with the heavens, with the earth, and with
ourselves, has been established by the energy, the devotion, the
self-sacrifice, and the courage of the great spirits of past times, who,
however much they have been opposed or reviled by their contemporaries,
now rank amongst those whom the enlightened of the human race most
delight to honour.

Nor is the unjust intolerance displayed towards men of science in the
past, without its lesson for the present. It teaches us to be forbearant
towards those who differ from us, provided they observe patiently, think
honestly, and utter their convictions freely and truthfully. It was a
remark of Plato, that "the world is God's epistle to mankind;" and to
read and study that epistle, so as to elicit its true meaning, can
have no other effect on a well-ordered mind than to lead to a deeper
impression of His power, a clearer perception of His wisdom, and a more
grateful sense of His goodness.

While such has been the courage of the martyrs of science, not less
glorious has been the courage of the martyrs of faith. The passive
endurance of the man or woman who, for conscience sake, is found
ready to suffer and to endure in solitude, without so much as the
encouragement of even a single sympathising voice, is an exhibition of
courage of a far higher kind than that displayed in the roar of battle,
where even the weakest feels encouraged and inspired by the enthusiasm
of sympathy and the power of numbers. Time would fail to tell of the
deathless names of those who through faith in principles, and in the
face of difficulty, danger, and suffering, "have wrought righteousness
and waxed valiant" in the moral warfare of the world, and been content
to lay down their lives rather than prove false to their conscientious
convictions of the truth.

Men of this stamp, inspired by a high sense of duty, have in past times
exhibited character in its most heroic aspects, and continue to present
to us some of the noblest spectacles to be seen in history. Even women,
full of tenderness and gentleness, not less than men, have in this cause
been found capable of exhibiting the most unflinching courage. Such, for
instance, as that of Anne Askew, who, when racked until her bones were
dislocated, uttered no cry, moved no muscle, but looked her tormentors
calmly in the face, and refused either to confess or to recant; or such
as that of Latimer and Ridley, who, instead of bewailing their hard
fate and beating their breasts, went as cheerfully to their death as
a bridegroom to the altar--the one bidding the other to "be of good
comfort," for that "we shall this day light such a candle in England, by
God's grace, as shall never be put out;" or such, again, as that of Mary
Dyer, the Quakeress, hanged by the Puritans of New England for preaching
to the people, who ascended the scaffold with a willing step, and, after
calmly addressing those who stood about, resigned herself into the hands
of her persecutors, and died in peace and joy.

Not less courageous was the behaviour of the good Sir Thomas More, who
marched willingly to the scaffold, and died cheerfully there, rather
than prove false to his conscience. When More had made his final
decision to stand upon his principles, he felt as if he had won a
victory, and said to his son-in-law Roper: "Son Roper, I thank Our Lord,
the field is won!" The Duke of Norfolk told him of his danger, saying:
"By the mass, Master More, it is perilous striving with princes; the
anger of a prince brings death!". "Is that all, my lord?" said More;
"then the difference between you and me is this--that I shall die
to-day, and you to-morrow."

While it has been the lot of many great men, in times of difficulty and
danger, to be cheered and supported by their wives, More had no such
consolation. His helpmate did anything but console him during his
imprisonment in the Tower. [144] She could not conceive that there was any
sufficient reason for his continuing to lie there, when by merely doing
what the King required of him, he might at once enjoy his liberty,
together with his fine house at Chelsea, his library, his orchard, his
gallery, and the society of his wife and children. "I marvel," said she
to him one day, "that you, who have been alway hitherto taken for wise,
should now so play the fool as to lie here in this close filthy prison,
and be content to be shut up amongst mice and rats, when you might be
abroad at your liberty, if you would but do as the bishops have done?"
But More saw his duty from a different point of view: it was not a mere
matter of personal comfort with him; and the expostulations of his wife
were of no avail. He gently put her aside, saying cheerfully, "Is not
this house as nigh heaven as my own?"--to which she contemptuously
rejoined: "Tilly vally--tilly vally!"

More's daughter, Margaret Roper, on the contrary, encouraged her father
to stand firm in his principles, and dutifully consoled and cheered
him during his long confinement. Deprived of pen-and-ink, he wrote his
letters to her with a piece of coal, saying in one of them: "If I were
to declare in writing how much pleasure your daughterly loving letters
gave me, a PECK OF COALS would not suffice to make the pens." More was
a martyr to veracity: he would not swear a false oath; and he perished
because he was sincere. When his head had been struck off, it was placed
on London Bridge, in accordance with the barbarous practice of the
times. Margaret Roper had the courage to ask for the head to be taken
down and given to her, and, carrying her affection for her father beyond
the grave, she desired that it might be buried with her when she died;
and long after, when Margaret Roper's tomb was opened, the precious
relic was observed lying on the dust of what had been her bosom.

Martin Luther was not called upon to lay down his life for his faith;
but, from the day that he declared himself against the Pope, he daily
ran the risk of losing it. At the beginning of his great struggle, he
stood almost entirely alone. The odds against him were tremendous. "On
one side," said he himself, "are learning, genius, numbers, grandeur,
rank, power, sanctity, miracles; on the other Wycliffe, Lorenzo Valla,
Augustine, and Luther--a poor creature, a man of yesterday, standing
wellnigh alone with a few friends." Summoned by the Emperor to appear at
Worms; to answer the charge made against him of heresy, he determined to
answer in person. Those about him told him that he would lose his life
if he went, and they urged him to fly. "No," said he, "I will repair
thither, though I should find there thrice as many devils as there are
tiles upon the housetops!" Warned against the bitter enmity of a certain
Duke George, he said--"I will go there, though for nine whole days
running it rained Duke Georges."

Luther was as good as his word; and he set forth upon his perilous
journey. When he came in sight of the old bell-towers of Worms, he
stood up in his chariot and sang, "EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT."--the
'Marseillaise' of the Reformation--the words and music of which he is
said to have improvised only two days before. Shortly before the meeting
of the Diet, an old soldier, George Freundesberg, put his hand upon
Luther's shoulder, and said to him: "Good monk, good monk, take heed
what thou doest; thou art going into a harder fight than any of us have
ever yet been in." But Luther's only answer to the veteran was, that he
had "determined to stand upon the Bible and his conscience."

Luther's courageous defence before the Diet is on record, and forms one
of the most glorious pages in history. When finally urged by the Emperor
to retract, he said firmly: "Sire, unless I am convinced of my error by
the testimony of Scripture, or by manifest evidence, I cannot and will
not retract, for we must never act contrary to our conscience. Such is
my profession of faith, and you must expect none other from me. HIER
cannot do otherwise: God help me!]. He had to do his duty--to obey
the orders of a Power higher than that of kings; and he did it at all

Afterwards, when hard pressed by his enemies at Augsburg, Luther said
that "if he had five hundred heads, he would lose them all rather than
recant his article concerning faith." Like all courageous men, his
strength only seemed to grow in proportion to the difficulties he had to
encounter and overcome. "There is no man in Germany," said Hutten, "who
more utterly despises death than does Luther." And to his moral courage,
perhaps more than to that of any other single man, do we owe the
liberation of modern thought, and the vindication of the great rights of
the human understanding.

The honourable and brave man does not fear death compared with ignominy.
It is said of the Royalist Earl of Strafford that, as he walked to the
scaffold on Tower Hill, his step and manner were those of a general
marching at the head of an army to secure victory, rather than of a
condemned man to undergo sentence of death. So the Commonwealth's
man, Sir John Eliot, went alike bravely to his death on the same spot,
saying: "Ten thousand deaths rather than defile my conscience, the
chastity and purity of which I value beyond all this world." Eliot's
greatest tribulation was on account of his wife, whom he had to leave
behind. When he saw her looking down upon him from the Tower window, he
stood up in the cart, waved his hat, and cried: "To heaven, my love!--to
heaven!--and leave you in the storm!" As he went on his way, one in the
crowd called out, "That is the most glorious seat you ever sat on;" to
which he replied: "It is so, indeed!" and rejoiced exceedingly. [145]

Although success is the guerdon for which all men toil, they have
nevertheless often to labour on perseveringly, without any glimmer
of success in sight. They have to live, meanwhile, upon their
courage--sowing their seed, it may be, in the dark, in the hope that it
will yet take root and spring up in achieved result. The best of causes
have had to fight their way to triumph through a long succession of
failures, and many of the assailants have died in the breach before
the fortress has been won. The heroism they have displayed is to be
measured, not so much by their immediate success, as by the opposition
they have encountered, and the courage with which they have maintained
the struggle.

The patriot who fights an always-losing battle--the martyr who goes to
death amidst the triumphant shouts of his enemies--the discoverer, like
Columbus, whose heart remains undaunted through the bitter years of his
"long wandering woe"--are examples of the moral sublime which excite a
profounder interest in the hearts of men than even the most complete and
conspicuous success. By the side of such instances as these, how small
by comparison seem the greatest deeds of valour, inciting men to rush
upon death and die amidst the frenzied excitement of physical warfare!

But the greater part of the courage that is needed in the world is not
of a heroic kind. Courage may be displayed in everyday life as well
as in historic fields of action. There needs, for example, the common
courage to be honest--the courage to resist temptation--the courage
to speak the truth--the courage to be what we really are, and not to
pretend to be what we are not--the courage to live honestly within our
own means, and not dishonestly upon the means of others.

A great deal of the unhappiness, and much of the vice, of the world is
owing to weakness and indecision of purpose--in other words, to lack
of courage. Men may know what is right, and yet fail to exercise the
courage to do it; they may understand the duty they have to do, but
will not summon up the requisite resolution to perform it. The weak and
undisciplined man is at the mercy of every temptation; he cannot say
"No," but falls before it. And if his companionship be bad, he will be
all the easier led away by bad example into wrongdoing.

Nothing can be more certain than that the character can only be
sustained and strengthened by its own energetic action. The will,
which is the central force of character, must be trained to habits of
decision--otherwise it will neither be able to resist evil nor to
follow good. Decision gives the power of standing firmly, when to yield,
however slightly, might be only the first step in a downhill course to

Calling upon others for help in forming a decision is worse than
useless. A man must so train his habits as to rely upon his own powers
and depend upon his own courage in moments of emergency. Plutarch tells
of a King of Macedon who, in the midst of an action, withdrew into the
adjoining town under pretence of sacrificing to Hercules; whilst his
opponent Emilius, at the same time that he implored the Divine aid,
sought for victory sword in hand, and won the battle. And so it ever is
in the actions of daily life.

Many are the valiant purposes formed, that end merely in words; deeds
intended, that are never done; designs projected, that are never begun;
and all for want of a little courageous decision. Better far the silent
tongue but the eloquent deed. For in life and in business, despatch is
better than discourse; and the shortest answer of all is, DOING. "In
matters of great concern, and which must be done," says Tillotson,
"there is no surer argument of a weak mind than irresolution--to be
undetermined when the case is so plain and the necessity so urgent. To
be always intending to live a new life, but never to find time to set
about it,--this is as if a man should put off eating and drinking and
sleeping from one day to another, until he is starved and destroyed."

There needs also the exercise of no small degree of moral courage to
resist the corrupting influences of what is called "Society." Although
"Mrs. Grundy" may be a very vulgar and commonplace personage, her
influence is nevertheless prodigious. Most men, but especially women,
are the moral slaves of the class or caste to which they belong. There
is a sort of unconscious conspiracy existing amongst them against each
other's individuality. Each circle and section, each rank and class, has
its respective customs and observances, to which conformity is required
at the risk of being tabooed. Some are immured within a bastile of
fashion, others of custom, others of opinion; and few there are who have
the courage to think outside their sect, to act outside their party,
and to step out into the free air of individual thought and action.
We dress, and eat, and follow fashion, though it may be at the risk of
debt, ruin, and misery; living not so much according to our means, as
according to the superstitious observances of our class. Though we may
speak contemptuously of the Indians who flatten their heads, and of the
Chinese who cramp their toes, we have only to look at the deformities
of fashion amongst ourselves, to see that the reign of "Mrs. Grundy" is

But moral cowardice is exhibited quite as much in public as in private
life. Snobbism is not confined to the toadying of the rich, but is quite
as often displayed in the toadying of the poor. Formerly, sycophancy
showed itself in not daring to speak the truth to those in high places;
but in these days it rather shows itself in not daring to speak the
truth to those in low places. Now that "the masses" [146] exercise
political power, there is a growing tendency to fawn upon them, to
flatter them, and to speak nothing but smooth words to them. They are
credited with virtues which they themselves know they do not possess.
The public enunciation of wholesome because disagreeable truths is
avoided; and, to win their favour, sympathy is often pretended for
views, the carrying out of which in practice is known to be hopeless.

It is not the man of the noblest character--the highest-cultured and
best-conditioned man--whose favour is now sought, so much as that of the
lowest man, the least-cultured and worst-conditioned man, because his
vote is usually that of the majority. Even men of rank, wealth, and
education, are seen prostrating themselves before the ignorant, whose
votes are thus to be got. They are ready to be unprincipled and unjust
rather than unpopular. It is so much easier for some men to stoop, to
bow, and to flatter, than to be manly, resolute, and magnanimous; and to
yield to prejudices than run counter to them. It requires strength and
courage to swim against the stream, while any dead fish can float with

This servile pandering to popularity has been rapidly on the increase of
late years, and its tendency has been to lower and degrade the character
of public men. Consciences have become more elastic. There is now one
opinion for the chamber, and another for the platform. Prejudices
are pandered to in public, which in private are despised. Pretended
conversions--which invariably jump with party interests are more sudden;
and even hypocrisy now appears to be scarcely thought discreditable.

The same moral cowardice extends downwards as well as upwards. The
action and reaction are equal. Hypocrisy and timeserving above are
accompanied by hypocrisy and timeserving below. Where men of high
standing have not the courage of their opinions, what is to be expected
from men of low standing? They will only follow such examples as are set
before them. They too will skulk, and dodge, and prevaricate--be ready
to speak one way and act another--just like their betters. Give them
but a sealed box, or some hole-and-corner to hide their act in, and they
will then enjoy their "liberty!"

Popularity, as won in these days, is by no means a presumption in a
man's favour, but is quite as often a presumption against him. "No man,"
says the Russian proverb, "can rise to honour who is cursed with a stiff
backbone." But the backbone of the popularity-hunter is of gristle; and
he has no difficulty in stooping and bending himself in any direction to
catch the breath of popular applause.

Where popularity is won by fawning upon the people, by withholding the
truth from them, by writing and speaking down to the lowest tastes, and
still worse by appeals to class-hatred, [147] such a popularity must be
simply contemptible in the sight of all honest men. Jeremy Bentham,
speaking of a well-known public character, said: "His creed of politics
results less from love of the many than from hatred of the few; it is
too much under the influence of selfish and dissocial affection." To how
many men in our own day might not the same description apply?

Men of sterling character have the courage to speak the truth, even when
it is unpopular. It was said of Colonel Hutchinson by his wife, that he
never sought after popular applause, or prided himself on it: "He
more delighted to do well than to be praised, and never set vulgar
commendations at such a rate as to act contrary to his own conscience or
reason for the obtaining them; nor would he forbear a good action which
he was bound to, though all the world disliked it; for he ever looked
on things as they were in themselves, not through the dim spectacles of
vulgar estimation." [148]

"Popularity, in the lowest and most common sense," said Sir John
Pakington, on a recent occasion, [149] "is not worth the having. Do
your duty to the best of your power, win the approbation of your own
conscience, and popularity, in its best and highest sense, is sure to

When Richard Lovell Edgeworth, towards the close of his life, became
very popular in his neighbourhood, he said one day to his daughter:
"Maria, I am growing dreadfully popular; I shall be good for nothing
soon; a man cannot be good for anything who is very popular." Probably
he had in his mind at the time the Gospel curse of the popular man, "Woe
unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers
to the false prophets."

Intellectual intrepidity is one of the vital conditions of independence
and self-reliance of character. A man must have the courage to be
himself, and not the shadow or the echo of another. He must exercise
his own powers, think his own thoughts, and speak his own sentiments.
He must elaborate his own opinions, and form his own convictions. It has
been said that he who dare not form an opinion, must be a coward; he who
will not, must be an idler; he who cannot, must be a fool.

But it is precisely in this element of intrepidity that so many persons
of promise fall short, and disappoint the expectations of their friends.
They march up to the scene of action, but at every step their courage
oozes out. They want the requisite decision, courage, and perseverance.
They calculate the risks, and weigh the chances, until the opportunity
for effective effort has passed, it may be never to return.

Men are bound to speak the truth in the love of it. "I had rather
suffer," said John Pym, the Commonwealth man, "for speaking the truth,
than that the truth should suffer for want of my speaking." When a man's
convictions are honestly formed, after fair and full consideration, he
is justified in striving by all fair means to bring them into action.
There are certain states of society and conditions of affairs in which
a man is bound to speak out, and be antagonistic--when conformity is not
only a weakness, but a sin. Great evils are in some cases only to be met
by resistance; they cannot be wept down, but must be battled down.

The honest man is naturally antagonistic to fraud, the truthful man to
lying, the justice-loving man to oppression, the pureminded man to
vice and iniquity. They have to do battle with these conditions, and if
possible overcome them. Such men have in all ages represented the moral
force of the world. Inspired by benevolence and sustained by courage,
they have been the mainstays of all social renovation and progress. But
for their continuous antagonism to evil conditions, the world were for
the most part given over to the dominion of selfishness and vice.
All the great reformers and martyrs were antagonistic men--enemies to
falsehood and evildoing. The Apostles themselves were an organised
band of social antagonists, who contended with pride, selfishness,
superstition, and irreligion. And in our own time the lives of such
men as Clarkson and Granville Sharpe, Father Mathew and Richard Cobden,
inspired by singleness of purpose, have shown what highminded social
antagonism can effect.

It is the strong and courageous men who lead and guide and rule the
world. The weak and timid leave no trace behind them; whilst the life of
a single upright and energetic man is like a track of light. His example
is remembered and appealed to; and his thoughts, his spirit, and his
courage continue to be the inspiration of succeeding generations.

It is energy--the central element of which is will--that produces the
miracles of enthusiasm in all ages. Everywhere it is the mainspring of
what is called force of character, and the sustaining power of all great
action. In a righteous cause the determined man stands upon his courage
as upon a granite block; and, like David, he will go forth to meet
Goliath, strong in heart though an host be encamped against him.

Men often conquer difficulties because they feel they can. Their
confidence in themselves inspires the confidence of others. When Caesar
was at sea, and a storm began to rage, the captain of the ship which
carried him became unmanned by fear. "What art thou afraid of?" cried
the great captain; "thy vessel carries Caesar!" The courage of the brave
man is contagious, and carries others along with it. His stronger nature
awes weaker natures into silence, or inspires them with his own will and

The persistent man will not be baffled or repulsed by opposition.
Diogenes, desirous of becoming the disciple of Antisthenes, went and
offered himself to the cynic. He was refused. Diogenes still persisting,
the cynic raised his knotty staff, and threatened to strike him if he
did not depart. "Strike!" said Diogenes; "you will not find a stick
hard enough to conquer my perseverance." Antisthenes, overcome, had not
another word to say, but forthwith accepted him as his pupil.

Energy of temperament, with a moderate degree of wisdom, will carry a
man further than any amount of intellect without it. Energy makes the
man of practical ability. It gives him VIS, force, MOMENTUM. It is the
active motive power of character; and if combined with sagacity and
self-possession, will enable a man to employ his powers to the best
advantage in all the affairs of life.

Hence it is that, inspired by energy of purpose, men of comparatively
mediocre powers have often been enabled to accomplish such extraordinary
results. For the men who have most powerfully influenced the world have
not been so much men of genius as men of strong convictions and enduring
capacity for work, impelled by irresistible energy and invincible
determination: such men, for example, as were Mahomet, Luther, Knox,
Calvin, Loyola, and Wesley.

Courage, combined with energy and perseverance, will overcome
difficulties apparently insurmountable. It gives force and impulse to
effort, and does not permit it to retreat. Tyndall said of Faraday, that
"in his warm moments he formed a resolution, and in his cool ones
he made that resolution good." Perseverance, working in the right
direction, grows with time, and when steadily practised, even by the
most humble, will rarely fail of its reward. Trusting in the help of
others is of comparatively little use. When one of Michael Angelo's
principal patrons died, he said: "I begin to understand that the
promises of the world are for the most part vain phantoms, and that to
confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value, is the
best and safest course."

Courage is by no means incompatible with tenderness. On the contrary,
gentleness and tenderness have been found to characterise the men,
not less than the women, who have done the most courageous deeds. Sir
Charles Napier gave up sporting, because he could not bear to hurt dumb
creatures. The same gentleness and tenderness characterised his brother,
Sir William, the historian of the Peninsular War. [1410] Such also was the
character of Sir James Outram, pronounced by Sir Charles Napier to be
"the Bayard of India, SANS PEUR ET SANS REPROCHE"--one of the bravest
and yet gentlest of men; respectful and reverent to women, tender to
children, helpful of the weak, stern to the corrupt, but kindly as
summer to the honest and deserving. Moreover, he was himself as honest
as day, and as pure as virtue. Of him it might be said with truth, what
Fulke Greville said of Sidney: "He was a true model of worth--a man
fit for conquest, reformation, plantation, or what action soever is the
greatest and hardest among men; his chief ends withal being above all
things the good of his fellows, and the service of his sovereign and

When Edward the Black Prince won the Battle of Poictiers, in which he
took prisoner the French king and his son, he entertained them in the
evening at a banquet, when he insisted on waiting upon and serving them
at table. The gallant prince's knightly courtesy and demeanour won
the hearts of his captives as completely as his valour had won their
persons; for, notwithstanding his youth, Edward was a true knight, the
first and bravest of his time--a noble pattern and example of chivalry;
his two mottoes, 'Hochmuth' and 'Ich dien' [14high spirit and reverent
service] not inaptly expressing his prominent and pervading qualities.

It is the courageous man who can best afford to be generous; or rather,
it is his nature to be so. When Fairfax, at the Battle of Naseby, seized
the colours from an ensign whom he had struck down in the fight, he
handed them to a common soldier to take care of. The soldier, unable
to resist the temptation, boasted to his comrades that he had himself
seized the colours, and the boast was repeated to Fairfax. "Let him
retain the honour," said the commander; "I have enough beside."

So when Douglas, at the Battle of Bannockburn, saw Randolph, his rival,
outnumbered and apparently overpowered by the enemy, he prepared to
hasten to his assistance; but, seeing that Randolph was already driving
them back, he cried out, "Hold and halt! We are come too late to aid
them; let us not lessen the victory they have won by affecting to claim
a share in it."

Quite as chivalrous, though in a very different field of action, was the
conduct of Laplace to the young philosopher Biot, when the latter had
read to the French Academy his paper, "SUR LES EQUATIONS AUX DIFFERENCE
MELEES." The assembled SAVANS, at its close, felicitated the reader
of the paper on his originality. Monge was delighted at his success.
Laplace also praised him for the clearness of his demonstrations, and
invited Biot to accompany him home. Arrived there, Laplace took from a
closet in his study a paper, yellow with age, and handed it to the
young philosopher. To Biot's surprise, he found that it contained
the solutions, all worked out, for which he had just gained so much
applause. With rare magnanimity, Laplace withheld all knowledge of the
circumstance from Biot until the latter had initiated his reputation
before the Academy; moreover, he enjoined him to silence; and the
incident would have remained a secret had not Biot himself published it,
some fifty years afterwards.

An incident is related of a French artisan, exhibiting the same
characteristic of self-sacrifice in another form. In front of a lofty
house in course of erection at Paris was the usual scaffold, loaded with
men and materials. The scaffold, being too weak, suddenly broke down,
and the men upon it were precipitated to the ground--all except two, a
young man and a middle-aged one, who hung on to a narrow ledge, which
trembled under their weight, and was evidently on the point of giving
way. "Pierre," cried the elder of the two, "let go; I am the father of a
family." "C'EST JUSTE!" said Pierre; and, instantly letting go his hold,
he fell and was killed on the spot. The father of the family was saved.

The brave man is magnanimous as well as gentle. He does not take even an
enemy at a disadvantage, nor strike a man when he is down and unable
to defend himself. Even in the midst of deadly strife such instances
of generosity have not been uncommon. Thus, at the Battle of Dettingen,
during the heat of the action, a squadron of French cavalry charged an
English regiment; but when the young French officer who led them, and
was about to attack the English leader, observed that he had only
one arm, with which he held his bridle, the Frenchman saluted him
courteously with his sword, and passed on. [1411]

It is related of Charles V., that after the siege and capture of
Wittenburg by the Imperialist army, the monarch went to see the tomb
of Luther. While reading the inscription on it, one of the servile
courtiers who accompanied him proposed to open the grave, and give the
ashes of the "heretic" to the winds. The monarch's cheek flushed with
honest indignation: "I war not with the dead," said he; "let this place
be respected."

The portrait which the great heathen, Aristotle, drew of the Magnanimous
Man, in other words the True Gentleman, more than two thousand years
ago, is as faithful now as it was then. "The magnanimous man," he said,
"will behave with moderation under both good fortune and bad. He
will know how to be exalted and how to be abased. He will neither be
delighted with success nor grieved by failure. He will neither shun
danger nor seek it, for there are few things which he cares for. He is
reticent, and somewhat slow of speech, but speaks his mind openly and
boldly when occasion calls for it. He is apt to admire, for nothing
is great to him. He overlooks injuries. He is not given to talk about
himself or about others; for he does not care that he himself should
be praised, or that other people should be blamed. He does not cry out
about trifles, and craves help from none."

On the other hand, mean men admire meanly. They have neither modesty,
generosity, nor magnanimity. They are ready to take advantage of the
weakness or defencelessness of others, especially where they have
themselves succeeded, by unscrupulous methods, in climbing to positions
of authority. Snobs in high places are always much less tolerable than
snobs of low degree, because they have more frequent opportunities of
making their want of manliness felt. They assume greater airs, and are
pretentious in all that they do; and the higher their elevation, the
more conspicuous is the incongruity of their position. "The higher the
monkey climbs," says the proverb, "the more he shows his tail."

Much depends on the way in which a thing is done. An act which might
be taken as a kindness if done in a generous spirit, when done in a
grudging spirit, may be felt as stingy, if not harsh and even cruel.
When Ben Jonson lay sick and in poverty, the king sent him a paltry
message, accompanied by a gratuity. The sturdy plainspoken poet's reply
was: "I suppose he sends me this because I live in an alley; tell him
his soul lives in an alley."

From what we have said, it will be obvious that to be of an enduring and
courageous spirit, is of great importance in the formation of character.
It is a source not only of usefulness in life, but of happiness. On the
other hand, to be of a timid and, still more, of a cowardly nature is
one of the greatest misfortunes. A. wise man was accustomed to say that
one of the principal objects he aimed at in the education of his sons
and daughters was to train them in the habit of fearing nothing so much
as fear. And the habit of avoiding fear is, doubtless, capable of
being trained like any other habit, such as the habit of attention, of
diligence, of study, or of cheerfulness.

Much of the fear that exists is the offspring of imagination, which
creates the images of evils which MAY happen, but perhaps rarely do;
and thus many persons who are capable of summoning up courage to
grapple with and overcome real dangers, are paralysed or thrown
into consternation by those which are imaginary. Hence, unless the
imagination be held under strict discipline, we are prone to meet evils
more than halfway--to suffer them by forestalment, and to assume the
burdens which we ourselves create.

Education in courage is not usually included amongst the branches of
female training, and yet it is really of greater importance than either
music, French, or the use of the globes. Contrary to the view of Sir
Richard Steele, that women should be characterised by a "tender fear,"
and "an inferiority which makes her lovely," we would have women
educated in resolution and courage, as a means of rendering them more
helpful, more self-reliant, and vastly more useful and happy.

There is, indeed, nothing attractive in timidity, nothing loveable in
fear. All weakness, whether of mind or body, is equivalent to deformity,
and the reverse of interesting. Courage is graceful and dignified,
whilst fear, in any form, is mean and repulsive. Yet the utmost
tenderness and gentleness are consistent with courage. Ary Scheffer, the
artist, once wrote to his daughter:-"Dear daughter, strive to be of good
courage, to be gentle-hearted; these are the true qualities for woman.
'Troubles' everybody must expect. There is but one way of looking at
fate--whatever that be, whether blessings or afflictions--to behave with
dignity under both. We must not lose heart, or it will be the worse both
for ourselves and for those whom we love. To struggle, and again and
again to renew the conflict--THIS is life's inheritance." [1412]

In sickness and sorrow, none are braver and less complaining sufferers
than women. Their courage, where their hearts are concerned, is indeed

      "Oh! femmes c'est a tort qu'on vous nommes timides,
      A la voix de vos coeurs vous etes intrepides."

Experience has proved that women can be as enduring as men, under the
heaviest trials and calamities; but too little pains are taken to teach
them to endure petty terrors and frivolous vexations with fortitude.
Such little miseries, if petted and indulged, quickly run into sickly
sensibility, and become the bane of their life, keeping themselves and
those about them in a state of chronic discomfort.

The best corrective of this condition of mind is wholesome moral and
mental discipline. Mental strength is as necessary for the development
of woman's character as of man's. It gives her capacity to deal with
the affairs of life, and presence of mind, which enable her to act with
vigour and effect in moments of emergency. Character, in a woman, as in
a man, will always be found the best safeguard of virtue, the best nurse
of religion, the best corrective of Time. Personal beauty soon passes;
but beauty of mind and character increases in attractiveness the older
it grows.

Ben Jonson gives a striking portraiture of a noble woman in these

   "I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,
      Free from that solemn vice of greatness, pride;
    I meant each softed virtue there should meet,
      Fit in that softer bosom to abide.
    Only a learned and a manly soul,
      I purposed her, that should with even powers,
    The rock, the spindle, and the shears control
      Of destiny, and spin her own free hours."

The courage of woman is not the less true because it is for the most
part passive. It is not encouraged by the cheers of the world, for it is
mostly exhibited in the recesses of private life. Yet there are cases
of heroic patience and endurance on the part of women which occasionally
come to the light of day. One of the most celebrated instances in
history is that of Gertrude Von der Wart. Her husband, falsely accused
of being an accomplice in the murder of the Emperor Albert, was
condemned to the most frightful of all punishments--to be broken alive
on the wheel. With most profound conviction of her husband's innocence
the faithful woman stood by his side to the last, watching over
him during two days and nights, braving the empress's anger and the
inclemency of the weather, in the hope of contributing to soothe his
dying agonies. [1413]

But women have not only distinguished themselves for their passive
courage: impelled by affection, or the sense of duty, they have
occasionally become heroic. When the band of conspirators, who sought
the life of James II. of Scotland, burst into his lodgings at Perth, the
king called to the ladies, who were in the chamber outside his room, to
keep the door as well as they could, and give him time to escape. The
conspirators had previously destroyed the locks of the doors, so
that the keys could not be turned; and when they reached the ladies'
apartment, it was found that the bar also had been removed. But, on
hearing them approach, the brave Catherine Douglas, with the hereditary
courage of her family, boldly thrust her arm across the door instead of
the bar; and held it there until, her arm being broken, the conspirators
burst into the room with drawn swords and daggers, overthrowing the
ladies, who, though unarmed, still endeavoured to resist them.

The defence of Lathom House by Charlotte de la Tremouille, the worthy
descendant of William of Nassau and Admiral Coligny, was another
striking instance of heroic bravery on the part of a noble woman. When
summoned by the Parliamentary forces to surrender, she declared that
she had been entrusted by her husband with the defence of the house,
and that she could not give it up without her dear lord's orders, but
trusted in God for protection and deliverance. In her arrangements for
the defence, she is described as having "left nothing with her eye to
be excused afterwards by fortune or negligence, and added to her former
patience a most resolved fortitude." The brave lady held her house and
home good against the enemy for a whole year--during three months of
which the place was strictly besieged and bombarded--until at length the
siege was raised, after a most gallant defence, by the advance of the
Royalist army.

Nor can we forget the courage of Lady Franklin, who persevered to the
last, when the hopes of all others had died out, in prosecuting the
search after the Franklin Expedition. On the occasion of the Royal
Geographical Society determining to award the Founder's Medal to Lady
Franklin, Sir Roderick Murchison observed, that in the course of a long
friendship with her, he had abundant opportunities of observing and
testing the sterling qualities of a woman who had proved herself worthy
of the admiration of mankind. "Nothing daunted by failure after failure,
through twelve long years of hope deferred, she had persevered, with
a singleness of purpose and a sincere devotion which were truly
unparalleled. And now that her one last expedition of the FOX, under the
gallant M'Clintock, had realised the two great facts--that her husband
had traversed wide seas unknown to former navigators, and died in
discovering a north-west passage--then, surely, the adjudication of the
medal would be hailed by the nation as one of the many recompences to
which the widow of the illustrious Franklin was so eminently entitled."

But that devotion to duty which marks the heroic character has more
often been exhibited by women in deeds of charity and mercy. The greater
part of these are never known, for they are done in private, out of the
public sight, and for the mere love of doing good. Where fame has come
to them, because of the success which has attended their labours in a
more general sphere, it has come unsought and unexpected, and is often
felt as a burden. Who has not heard of Mrs. Fry and Miss Carpenter
as prison visitors and reformers; of Mrs. Chisholm and Miss Rye as
promoters of emigration; and of Miss Nightingale and Miss Garrett as
apostles of hospital nursing?

That these women should have emerged from the sphere of private and
domestic life to become leaders in philanthropy, indicates no small,
degree of moral courage on their part; for to women, above all others,
quiet and ease and retirement are most natural and welcome. Very few
women step beyond the boundaries of home in search of a larger field of
usefulness. But when they have desired one, they have had no difficulty
in finding it. The ways in which men and women can help their neighbours
are innumerable. It needs but the willing heart and ready hand. Most
of the philanthropic workers we have named, however, have scarcely been
influenced by choice. The duty lay in their way--it seemed to be the
nearest to them--and they set about doing it without desire for fame, or
any other reward but the approval of their own conscience.

Among prison-visitors, the name of Sarah Martin is much less known than
that of Mrs. Fry, although she preceded her in the work. How she was led
to undertake it, furnishes at the same time an illustration of womanly
trueheartedness and earnest womanly courage.

Sarah Martin was the daughter of poor parents, and was left an orphan
at an early age. She was brought up by her grandmother, at Caistor,
near Yarmouth, and earned her living by going out to families as
assistant-dressmaker, at a shilling a day. In 1819, a woman was tried
and sentenced to imprisonment in Yarmouth Gaol, for cruelly beating and
illusing her child, and her crime became the talk of the town. The young
dressmaker was much impressed by the report of the trial, and the desire
entered her mind of visiting the woman in gaol, and trying to reclaim
her. She had often before, on passing the walls of the borough gaol,
felt impelled to seek admission, with the object of visiting the
inmates, reading the Scriptures to them, and endeavouring to lead them
back to the society whose laws they had violated.

At length she could not resist her impulse to visit the mother. She
entered the gaol-porch, lifted the knocker, and asked the gaoler for
admission. For some reason or other she was refused; but she returned,
repeated her request, and this time she was admitted. The culprit mother
shortly stood before her. When Sarah Martin told the motive of her
visit, the criminal burst into tears, and thanked her. Those tears and
thanks shaped the whole course of Sarah Martin's after-life; and the
poor seamstress, while maintaining herself by her needle, continued to
spend her leisure hours in visiting the prisoners, and endeavouring to
alleviate their condition. She constituted herself their chaplain and
schoolmistress, for at that time they had neither; she read to them from
the Scriptures, and taught them to read and write. She gave up an entire
day in the week for this purpose, besides Sundays, as well as other
intervals of spare time, "feeling," she says, "that the blessing of God
was upon her." She taught the women to knit, to sew, and to cut out;
the sale of the articles enabling her to buy other materials, and to
continue the industrial education thus begun. She also taught the men
to make straw hats, men's and boys' caps, gray cotton shirts, and even
patchwork--anything to keep them out of idleness, and from preying on
their own thoughts. Out of the earnings of the prisoners in this way,
she formed a fund, which she applied to furnishing them with work on
their discharge; thus enabling them again to begin the world honestly,
and at the same time affording her, as she herself says, "the advantage
of observing their conduct."

By attending too exclusively to this prison-work, however, Sarah
Martin's dressmaking business fell off; and the question arose with
her, whether in order to recover her business she was to suspend her
prison-work. But her decision had already been made. "I had counted the
cost," she said, "and my mind, was made up. If, whilst imparting
truth to others, I became exposed to temporal want, the privations so
momentary to an individual would not admit of comparison with following
the Lord, in thus administering to others." She now devoted six or seven
hours every day to the prisoners, converting what would otherwise have
been a scene of dissolute idleness into a hive of orderly industry.
Newly-admitted prisoners were sometimes refractory, but her persistent
gentleness eventually won their respect and co-operation. Men old in
years and crime, pert London pickpockets, depraved boys and dissolute
sailors, profligate women, smugglers, poachers, and the promiscuous
horde of criminals which usually fill the gaol of a seaport and county
town, all submitted to the benign influence of this good woman; and
under her eyes they might be seen, for the first time in their lives,
striving to hold a pen, or to master the characters in a penny primer.
She entered into their confidences--watched, wept, prayed, and felt
for all by turns. She strengthened their good resolutions, cheered the
hopeless and despairing, and endeavoured to put all, and hold all, in
the right road of amendment.

For more than twenty years this good and truehearted woman pursued her
noble course, with little encouragement, and not much help; almost
her only means of subsistence consisting in an annual income of ten or
twelve pounds left by her grandmother, eked out by her little earnings
at dressmaking. During the last two years of her ministrations, the
borough magistrates of Yarmouth, knowing that her self-imposed labours
saved them the expense of a schoolmaster and chaplain [14which they had
become bound by law to appoint], made a proposal to her of an annual
salary of 12L. a year; but they did it in so indelicate a manner as
greatly to wound her sensitive feelings. She shrank from becoming the
salaried official of the corporation, and bartering for money those
serviced which had throughout been labours of love. But the Gaol
Committee coarsely informed her, "that if they permitted her to visit
the prison she must submit to their terms, or be excluded." For
two years, therefore, she received the salary of 12L. a year--the
acknowledgment of the Yarmouth corporation for her services as gaol
chaplain and schoolmistress! She was now, however, becoming old and
infirm, and the unhealthy atmosphere of the gaol did much towards
finally disabling her. While she lay on her deathbed, she resumed
the exercise of a talent she had occasionally practised before in her
moments of leisure--the composition of sacred poetry. As works of art,
they may not excite admiration; yet never were verses written truer in
spirit, or fuller of Christian love. But her own life was a nobler poem
than any she ever wrote--full of true courage, perseverance, charity,
and wisdom. It was indeed a commentary upon her own words:

      "The high desire that others may be blest
       Savours of heaven."


     "Honour and profit do not always lie in the same sack."--

     "The government of one's self is the only true freedom for
     the Individual."--FREDERICK PERTHES.

     "It is in length of patience, and endurance, and
     forbearance, that so much of what is good in mankind and
     womankind is shown."--ARTHUR HELPS.

                      "Temperance, proof
      Against all trials; industry severe
      And constant as the motion of the day;
      Stern self-denial round him spread, with shade
      That might be deemed forbidding, did not there
      All generous feelings flourish and rejoice;
      Forbearance, charity indeed and thought,
      And resolution competent to take
      Out of the bosom of simplicity
      All that her holy customs recommend."--WORDSWORTH.

Self-control is only courage under another form. It may almost be
regarded as the primary essence of character. It is in virtue of this
quality that Shakspeare defines man as a being "looking before and
after." It forms the chief distinction between man and the mere animal;
and, indeed, there can be no true manhood without it.

Self-control is at the root of all the virtues. Let a man give the reins
to his impulses and passions, and from that moment he yields up his
moral freedom. He is carried along the current of life, and becomes the
slave of his strongest desire for the time being.

To be morally free--to be more than an animal--man must be able to
resist instinctive impulse, and this can only be done by the exercise
of self-control. Thus it is this power which constitutes the real
distinction between a physical and a moral life, and that forms the
primary basis of individual character.

In the Bible praise is given, not to the strong man who "taketh a city,"
but to the stronger man who "ruleth his own spirit." This stronger
man is he who, by discipline, exercises a constant control over his
thoughts, his speech, and his acts. Nine-tenths of the vicious desires
that degrade society, and which, when indulged, swell into the crimes
that disgrace it, would shrink into insignificance before the advance of
valiant self-discipline, self-respect, and self-control. By the watchful
exercise of these virtues, purity of heart and mind become habitual, and
the character is built up in chastity, virtue, and temperance.

The best support of character will always be found in habit, which,
according as the will is directed rightly or wrongly, as the case may
be, will prove either a benignant ruler or a cruel despot. We may be its
willing subject on the one hand, or its servile slave on the other. It
may help us on the road to good, or it may hurry us on the road to ruin.

Habit is formed by careful training. And it is astonishing how much
can be accomplished by systematic discipline and drill. See how, for
instance, out of the most unpromising materials--such as roughs
picked up in the streets, or raw unkempt country lads taken from the
plough--steady discipline and drill will bring out the unsuspected
qualities of courage, endurance, and self-sacrifice; and how, in the
field of battle, or even on the more trying occasions of perils
by sea--such as the burning of the SARAH SANDS or the wreck of
the BIRKENHEAD--such men, carefully disciplined, will exhibit the
unmistakable characteristics of true bravery and heroism!

Nor is moral discipline and drill less influential in the formation of
character. Without it, there will be no proper system and order in the
regulation of the life. Upon it depends the cultivation of the sense of
self-respect, the education of the habit of obedience, the development
of the idea of duty. The most self-reliant, self-governing man is always
under discipline: and the more perfect the discipline, the higher will
be his moral condition. He has to drill his desires, and keep them in
subjection to the higher powers of his nature. They must obey the word
of command of the internal monitor, the conscience--otherwise they will
be but the mere slaves of their inclinations, the sport of feeling and

"In the supremacy of self-control," says Herbert Spencer, "consists
one of the perfections of the ideal man. Not to be impulsive--not to
be spurred hither and thither by each desire that in turn comes
uppermost--but to be self-restrained, self-balanced, governed by the
joint decision of the feelings in council assembled, before whom every
action shall have been fully debated and calmly determined--that it is
which education, moral education at least, strives to produce." [151]

The first seminary of moral discipline, and the best, as we have already
shown, is the home; next comes the school, and after that the world, the
great school of practical life. Each is preparatory to the other, and
what the man or woman becomes, depends for the most part upon what has
gone before. If they have enjoyed the advantage of neither the home nor
the school, but have been allowed to grow up untrained, untaught, and
undisciplined, then woe to themselves--woe to the society of which they
form part!

The best-regulated home is always that in which the discipline is the
most perfect, and yet where it is the least felt. Moral discipline acts
with the force of a law of nature. Those subject to it yield themselves
to it unconsciously; and though it shapes and forms the whole character,
until the life becomes crystallized in habit, the influence thus
exercised is for the most part unseen and almost unfelt.

The importance of strict domestic discipline is curiously illustrated
by a fact mentioned in Mrs. Schimmelpenninck's Memoirs, to the following
effect: that a lady who, with her husband, had inspected most of the
lunatic asylums of England and the Continent, found the most numerous
class of patients was almost always composed of those who had been
only children, and whose wills had therefore rarely been thwarted
or disciplined in early life; whilst those who were members of large
families, and who had been trained in self-discipline, were far less
frequent victims to the malady.

Although the moral character depends in a great degree on temperament
and on physical health, as well as on domestic and early training and
the example of companions, it is also in the power of each individual to
regulate, to restrain, and to discipline it by watchful and persevering
self-control. A competent teacher has said of the propensities and
habits, that they are as teachable as Latin and Greek, while they are
much more essential to happiness.

Dr. Johnson, though himself constitutionally prone to melancholy, and
afflicted by it as few have been from his earliest years, said that "a
man's being in a good or bad humour very much depends upon his will."
We may train ourselves in a habit of patience and contentment on the
one hand, or of grumbling and discontent on the other. We may accustom
ourselves to exaggerate small evils, and to underestimate great
blessings. We may even become the victim of petty miseries by giving way
to them. Thus, we may educate ourselves in a happy disposition, as well
as in a morbid one. Indeed, the habit of viewing things cheerfully, and
of thinking about life hopefully, may be made to grow up in us like any
other habit. [152] It was not an exaggerated estimate of Dr. Johnson to
say, that the habit of looking at the best side of any event is worth
far more than a thousand pounds a year.

The religious man's life is pervaded by rigid self-discipline and
self-restraint. He is to be sober and vigilant, to eschew evil and do
good, to walk in the spirit, to be obedient unto death, to withstand
in the evil day, and having done all, to stand; to wrestle against
spiritual wickedness, and against the rulers of the darkness of this
world; to be rooted and built up in faith, and not to be weary of
well-doing; for in due season he shall reap, if he faint not.

The man of business also must needs be subject to strict rule and
system. Business, like life, is managed by moral leverage; success in
both depending in no small degree upon that regulation of temper and
careful self-discipline, which give a wise man not only a command over
himself, but over others. Forbearance and self-control smooth the road
of life, and open many ways which would otherwise remain closed. And so
does self-respect: for as men respect themselves, so will they usually
respect the personality of others.

It is the same in politics as in business. Success in that sphere of
life is achieved less by talent than by temper, less by genius than by
character. If a man have not self-control, he will lack patience, be
wanting in tact, and have neither the power of governing himself nor of
managing others. When the quality most needed in a Prime Minister was
the subject of conversation in the presence of Mr. Pitt, one of the
speakers said it was "Eloquence;" another said it was "Knowledge;" and
a third said it was "Toil," "No," said Pitt, "it is Patience!" And
patience means self-control, a quality in which he himself was superb.
His friend George Rose has said of him that he never once saw Pitt out
of temper. [153] Yet, although patience is usually regarded as a "slow"
virtue, Pitt combined with it the most extraordinary readiness, vigour,
and rapidity of thought as well as action.

It is by patience and self-control that the truly heroic character is
perfected. These were among the most prominent characteristics of the
great Hampden, whose noble qualities were generously acknowledged even
by his political enemies. Thus Clarendon described him as a man of rare
temper and modesty, naturally cheerful and vivacious, and above all, of
a flowing courtesy. He was kind and intrepid, yet gentle, of unblameable
conversation, and his heart glowed with love to all men. He was not a
man of many words, but, being of unimpeachable character, every word
he uttered carried weight. "No man had ever a greater power over
himself.... He was very temperate in diet, and a supreme governor over
all his passions and affections; and he had thereby great power over
other men's." Sir Philip Warwick, another of his political opponents,
incidentally describes his great influence in a certain debate: "We had
catched at each other's locks, and sheathed our swords in each other's
bowels, had not the sagacity and great calmness of Mr. Hampden, by a
short speech, prevented it, and led us to defer our angry debate until
the next morning."

A strong temper is not necessarily a bad temper. But the stronger the
temper, the greater is the need of self-discipline and self-control.
Dr. Johnson says men grow better as they grow older, and improve with
experience; but this depends upon the width, and depth, and generousness
of their nature. It is not men's faults that ruin them so much as the
manner in which they conduct themselves after the faults have been
committed. The wise will profit by the suffering they cause, and eschew
them for the future; but there are those on whom experience exerts no
ripening influence, and who only grow narrower and bitterer and more
vicious with time.

What is called strong temper in a young man, often indicates a large
amount of unripe energy, which will expend itself in useful work if the
road be fairly opened to it. It is said of Stephen Gerard, a Frenchman,
who pursued a remarkably successful career in the United States, that
when he heard of a clerk with a strong temper, he would readily take him
into his employment, and set him to work in a room by himself; Gerard
being of opinion that such persons were the best workers, and that their
energy would expend itself in work if removed from the temptation to

Strong temper may only mean a strong and excitable will. Uncontrolled,
it displays itself in fitful outbreaks of passion; but controlled and
held in subjection--like steam pent-up within the organised mechanism
of a steam-engine, the use of which is regulated and controlled by
slide-valves and governors and levers--it may become a source of
energetic power and usefulness. Hence, some of the greatest characters
in history have been men of strong temper, but of equally strong
determination to hold their motive power under strict regulation and

The famous Earl of Strafford was of an extremely choleric and passionate
nature, and had great struggles with himself in his endeavours to
control his temper. Referring to the advice of one of his friends, old
Secretary Cooke, who was honest enough to tell him of his weakness,
and to caution him against indulging it, he wrote: "You gave me a good
lesson to be patient; and, indeed, my years and natural inclinations
give me heat more than enough, which, however, I trust more experience
shall cool, and a watch over myself in time altogether overcome; in the
meantime, in this at least it will set forth itself more pardonable,
because my earnestness shall ever be for the honour, justice, and profit
of my master; and it is not always anger, but the misapplying of it,
that is the vice so blameable, and of disadvantage to those that let
themselves loose there-unto." [154]

Cromwell, also, is described as having been of a wayward and violent
temper in his youth--cross, untractable, and masterless--with a vast
quantity of youthful energy, which exploded in a variety of youthful
mischiefs. He even obtained the reputation of a roysterer in his native
town, and seemed to be rapidly going to the bad, when religion, in one
of its most rigid forms, laid hold upon his strong nature, and subjected
it to the iron discipline of Calvinism. An entirely new direction was
thus given to his energy of temperament, which forced an outlet for
itself into public life, and eventually became the dominating influence
in England for a period of nearly twenty years.

The heroic princes of the House of Nassau were all distinguished for
the same qualities of self-control, self-denial, and determination of
purpose. William the Silent was so called, not because he was a taciturn
man--for he was an eloquent and powerful speaker where eloquence was
necessary--but because he was a man who could hold his tongue when it
was wisdom not to speak, and because he carefully kept his own counsel
when to have revealed it might have been dangerous to the liberties of
his country. He was so gentle and conciliatory in his manner that his
enemies even described him as timid and pusillanimous. Yet, when
the time for action came, his courage was heroic, his determination
unconquerable. "The rock in the ocean," says Mr. Motley, the historian
of the Netherlands, "tranquil amid raging billows, was the favourite
emblem by which his friends expressed their sense of his firmness."

Mr. Motley compares William the Silent to Washington, whom he in many
respects resembled. The American, like the Dutch patriot, stands out
in history as the very impersonation of dignity, bravery, purity, and
personal excellence. His command over his feelings, even in moments of
great difficulty and danger, was such as to convey the impression,
to those who did not know him intimately, that he was a man of inborn
calmness and almost impassiveness of disposition. Yet Washington was by
nature ardent and impetuous; his mildness, gentleness, politeness, and
consideration for others, were the result of rigid self-control and
unwearied self-discipline, which he diligently practised even from his
boyhood. His biographer says of him, that "his temperament was ardent,
his passions strong, and amidst the multiplied scenes of temptation
and excitement through which he passed, it was his constant effort, and
ultimate triumph, to check the one and subdue the other." And again:
"His passions were strong, and sometimes they broke out with
vehemence, but he had the power of checking them in an instant. Perhaps
self-control was the most remarkable trait of his character. It was in
part the effect of discipline; yet he seems by nature to have possessed
this power in a degree which has been denied to other men." [15*5]

The Duke of Wellington's natural temper, like that of Napoleon, was
irritable in the extreme; and it was only by watchful self-control that
he was enabled to restrain it. He studied calmness and coolness in the
midst of danger, like any Indian chief. At Waterloo, and elsewhere,
he gave his orders in the most critical moments, without the slightest
excitement, and in a tone of voice almost more than usually subdued. [156]

Wordsworth the poet was, in his childhood, "of a stiff, moody, and
violent temper," and "perverse and obstinate in defying chastisement."
When experience of life had disciplined his temper, he learnt to
exercise greater self-control; but, at the same time, the qualities
which distinguished him as a child were afterwards useful in enabling
him to defy the criticism of his enemies. Nothing was more marked
than Wordsworth's self-respect and self-determination, as well as his
self-consciousness of power, at all periods of his history.

Henry Martyn, the missionary, was another instance of a man in whom
strength of temper was only so much pent-up, unripe energy. As a boy he
was impatient, petulant, and perverse; but by constant wrestling against
his tendency to wrongheadedness, he gradually gained the requisite
strength, so as to entirely overcome it, and to acquire what he so
greatly coveted--the gift of patience.

A man may be feeble in organization, but, blessed with a happy
temperament, his soul may be great, active, noble, and sovereign.
Professor Tyndall has given us a fine picture of the character
of Faraday, and of his self-denying labours in the cause of
science--exhibiting him as a man of strong, original, and even fiery
nature, and yet of extreme tenderness and sensibility. "Underneath his
sweetness and gentleness," he says, "was the heat of a volcano. He was a
man of excitable and fiery nature; but, through high self-discipline,
he had converted the fire into a central glow and motive power of life,
instead of permitting it to waste itself in useless passion."

There was one fine feature in Faraday's character which is worthy of
notice--one closely akin to self-control: it was his self-denial.
By devoting himself to analytical chemistry, he might have speedily
realised a large fortune; but he nobly resisted the temptation, and
preferred to follow the path of pure science. "Taking the duration of
his life into account," says Mr. Tyndall, "this son of a blacksmith and
apprentice to a bookbinder had to decide between a fortune of L.150,000
on the one side, and his undowered science on the other. He chose the
latter, and died a poor man. But his was the glory of holding aloft
among the nations the scientific name of England for a period of forty
years." [157]

Take a like instance of the self-denial of a Frenchman. The historian
Anquetil was one of the small number of literary men in France who
refused to bow to the Napoleonic yoke. He sank into great poverty,
living on bread-and-milk, and limiting his expenditure to only three
sous a day. "I have still two sous a day left," said he, "for the
conqueror of Marengo and Austerlitz." "But if you fall sick," said
a friend to him, "you will need the help of a pension. Why not do as
others do? Pay court to the Emperor--you have need of him to live." "I
do not need him to die," was the historian's reply. But Anquetil did not
die of poverty; he lived to the age of ninety-four, saying to a friend,
on the eve of his death, "Come, see a man who dies still full of life!"

Sir James Outram exhibited the same characteristic of noble self-denial,
though in an altogether different sphere of life. Like the great King
Arthur, he was emphatically a man who "forbore his own advantage."
He was characterised throughout his whole career by his noble
unselfishness. Though he might personally disapprove of the policy he
was occasionally ordered to carry out, he never once faltered in the
path of duty. Thus he did not approve of the policy of invading Scinde;
yet his services throughout the campaign were acknowledged by General
Sir C. Napier to have been of the most brilliant character. But when the
war was over, and the rich spoils of Scinde lay at the conqueror's feet,
Outram said: "I disapprove of the policy of this war--I will accept no
share of the prize-money!"

Not less marked was his generous self-denial when despatched with a
strong force to aid Havelock in fighting his way to Lucknow. As superior
officer, he was entitled to take upon himself the chief command; but,
recognising what Havelock had already done, with rare disinterestedness,
he left to his junior officer the glory of completing the campaign,
offering to serve under him as a volunteer. "With such reputation," said
Lord Clyde, "as Major-General Outram has won for himself, he can afford
to share glory and honour with others. But that does not lessen the
value of the sacrifice he has made with such disinterested generosity."

If a man would get through life honourably and peaceably, he must
necessarily learn to practise self-denial in small things as well as
great. Men have to bear as well as forbear. The temper has to be held
in subjection to the judgment; and the little demons of ill-humour,
petulance, and sarcasm, kept resolutely at a distance. If once they find
an entrance to the mind, they are very apt to return, and to establish
for themselves a permanent occupation there.

It is necessary to one's personal happiness, to exercise control over
one's words as well as acts: for there are words that strike even harder
than blows; and men may "speak daggers," though they use none. "UN COUP
DE LANGUE," says the French proverb, "EST PIRE QU'UN COUP DE LANCE." The
stinging repartee that rises to the lips, and which, if uttered, might
cover an adversary with confusion, how difficult it sometimes is to
resist saying it! "Heaven keep us," says Miss Bremer in her 'Home,'
"from the destroying power of words! There are words which sever hearts
more than sharp swords do; there are words the point of which sting the
heart through the course of a whole life."

Thus character exhibits itself in self-control of speech as much as in
anything else. The wise and forbearant man will restrain his desire to
say a smart or severe thing at the expense of another's feelings; while
the fool blurts out what he thinks, and will sacrifice his friend rather
than his joke. "The mouth of a wise man," said Solomon, "is in his
heart; the heart of a fool is in his mouth."

There are, however, men who are no fools, that are headlong in their
language as in their acts, because of their want of forbearance and
self-restraining patience. The impulsive genius, gifted with quick
thought and incisive speech--perhaps carried away by the cheers of the
moment--lets fly a sarcastic sentence which may return upon him to his
own infinite damage. Even statesmen might be named, who have failed
through their inability to resist the temptation of saying clever and
spiteful things at their adversary's expense. "The turn of a sentence,"
says Bentham, "has decided the fate of many a friendship, and, for aught
that we know, the fate of many a kingdom." So, when one is tempted to
write a clever but harsh thing, though it may be difficult to restrain
it, it is always better to leave it in the inkstand. "A goose's quill,"
says the Spanish proverb, "often hurts more than a lion's claw."

Carlyle says, when speaking of Oliver Cromwell, "He that cannot withal
keep his mind to himself, cannot practise any considerable thing
whatsoever." It was said of William the Silent, by one of his greatest
enemies, that an arrogant or indiscreet word was never known to fall
from his lips. Like him, Washington was discretion itself in the use of
speech, never taking advantage of an opponent, or seeking a shortlived
triumph in a debate. And it is said that in the long run, the world
comes round to and supports the wise man who knows when and how to be

We have heard men of great experience say that they have often regretted
having spoken, but never once regretted holding their tongue. "Be
silent," says Pythagoras, "or say something better than silence." "Speak
fitly," says George Herbert, "or be silent wisely." St. Francis de
Sales, whom Leigh Hunt styled "the Gentleman Saint," has said: "It is
better to remain silent than to speak the truth ill-humouredly, and
so spoil an excellent dish by covering it with bad sauce." Another
Frenchman, Lacordaire, characteristically puts speech first, and silence
next. "After speech," he says, "silence is the greatest power in the
world." Yet a word spoken in season, how powerful it may be! As the old
Welsh proverb has it, "A golden tongue is in the mouth of the blessed."

It is related, as a remarkable instance of self-control on the part of
De Leon, a distinguished Spanish poet of the sixteenth century, who lay
for years in the dungeons of the Inquisition without light or society,
because of his having translated a part of the Scriptures into
his native tongue, that on being liberated and restored to his
professorship, an immense crowd attended his first lecture, expecting
some account of his long imprisonment; but Do Leon was too wise and too
gentle to indulge in recrimination. He merely resumed the lecture which,
five years before, had been so sadly interrupted, with the accustomed
formula "HERI DICEBAMUS," and went directly into his subject.

There are, of course, times and occasions when the expression of
indignation is not only justifiable but necessary. We are bound to be
indignant at falsehood, selfishness, and cruelty. A man of true feeling
fires up naturally at baseness or meanness of any sort, even in cases
where he may be under no obligation to speak out. "I would have nothing
to do," said Perthes, "with the man who cannot be moved to indignation.
There are more good people than bad in the world, and the bad get the
upper hand merely because they are bolder. We cannot help being pleased
with a man who uses his powers with decision; and we often take his side
for no other reason than because he does so use them. No doubt, I have
often repented speaking; but not less often have I repented keeping
silence." [158]

One who loves right cannot be indifferent to wrong, or wrongdoing. If he
feels warmly, he will speak warmly, out of the fulness of his heart. As
a noble lady [159] has written:

      "A noble heart doth teach a virtuous scorn--
      To scorn to owe a duty overlong,
      To scorn to be for benefits forborne,
      To scorn to lie, to scorn to do a wrong,
      To scorn to bear an injury in mind,
      To scorn a freeborn heart slave-like to bind."

We have, however, to be on our guard against impatient scorn. The best
people are apt to have their impatient side; and often, the very temper
which makes men earnest, makes them also intolerant. [1510] "Of all mental
gifts," says Miss Julia Wedgwood, "the rarest is intellectual patience;
and the last lesson of culture is to believe in difficulties which are
invisible to ourselves."

The best corrective of intolerance in disposition, is increase of wisdom
and enlarged experience of life. Cultivated good sense will usually save
men from the entanglements in which moral impatience is apt to involve
them; good sense consisting chiefly in that temper of mind which enables
its possessor to deal with the practical affairs of life with justice,
judgment, discretion, and charity. Hence men of culture and experience
are invariably, found the most forbearant and tolerant, as ignorant and
narrowminded persons are found the most unforgiving and intolerant. Men
of large and generous natures, in proportion to their practical wisdom,
are disposed to make allowance for the defects and disadvantages of
others--allowance for the controlling power of circumstances in the
formation of character, and the limited power of resistance of weak and
fallible natures to temptation and error. "I see no fault committed,"
said Goethe, "which I also might not have committed." So a wise and good
man exclaimed, when he saw a criminal drawn on his hurdle to Tyburn:
"There goes Jonathan Bradford--but for the grace of God!"

Life will always be, to a great extent, what we ourselves make it. The
cheerful man makes a cheerful world, the gloomy man a gloomy one. We
usually find but our own temperament reflected in the dispositions of
those about us. If we are ourselves querulous, we will find them so; if
we are unforgiving and uncharitable to them, they will be the same to
us. A person returning from an evening party not long ago, complained to
a policeman on his beat that an ill-looking fellow was following him: it
turned out to be only his own shadow! And such usually is human life to
each of us; it is, for the most part, but the reflection of ourselves.

If we would be at peace with others, and ensure their respect, we must
have regard for their personality. Every man has his peculiarities of
manner and character, as he has peculiarities of form and feature; and
we must have forbearance in dealing with them, as we expect them to
have forbearance in dealing with us. We may not be conscious of our own
peculiarities, yet they exist nevertheless. There is a village in South
America where gotos or goitres are so common that to be without one is
regarded as a deformity. One day a party of Englishmen passed through
the place, when quite a crowd collected to jeer them, shouting: "See,
see these people--they have got NO GOTOS!"

Many persons give themselves a great deal of fidget concerning what
other people think of them and their peculiarities. Some are too much
disposed to take the illnatured side, and, judging by themselves, infer
the worst. But it is very often the case that the uncharitableness of
others, where it really exists, is but the reflection of our own want of
charity and want of temper. It still oftener happens, that the worry we
subject ourselves to, has its source in our own imagination. And even
though those about us may think of us uncharitably, we shall not mend
matters by exasperating ourselves against them. We may thereby only
expose ourselves unnecessarily to their illnature or caprice. "The ill
that comes out of our mouth," says Herbert, "ofttimes falls into our

The great and good philosopher Faraday communicated the following piece
of admirable advice, full of practical wisdom, the result of a rich
experience of life, in a letter to his friend Professor Tyndall:-
"Let me, as an old man, who ought by this time to have profited by
experience, say that when I was younger I found I often misrepresented
the intentions of people, and that they did not mean what at the time I
supposed they meant; and further, that, as a general rule, it was better
to be a little dull of apprehension where phrases seemed to imply pique,
and quick in perception when, on the contrary, they seemed to imply
kindly feeling. The real truth never fails ultimately to appear;
and opposing parties, if wrong, are sooner convinced when replied to
forbearingly, than when overwhelmed. All I mean to say is, that it is
better to be blind to the results of partisanship, and quick to see
goodwill. One has more happiness in one's self in endeavouring to follow
the things that make for peace. You can hardly imagine how often I have
been heated in private when opposed, as I have thought unjustly and
superciliously, and yet I have striven, and succeeded, I hope, in
keeping down replies of the like kind. And I know I have never lost by
it." [1511]

While the painter Barry was at Rome, he involved himself, as was
his wont, in furious quarrels with the artists and dilettanti, about
picture-painting and picture-dealing, upon which his friend and
countryman, Edmund Burke--always the generous friend of struggling
merit--wrote to him kindly and sensibly: "Believe me, dear Barry,
that the arms with which the ill-dispositions of the world are to be
combated, and the qualities by which it is to be reconciled to us, and
we reconciled to it, are moderation, gentleness, a little indulgence
to others, and a great deal of distrust of ourselves; which are not
qualities of a mean spirit, as some may possibly think them, but virtues
of a great and noble kind, and such as dignify our nature as much
as they contribute to our repose and fortune; for nothing can be so
unworthy of a well-composed soul as to pass away life in bickerings and
litigations--in snarling and scuffling with every one about us. We must
be at peace with our species, if not for their sakes, at least very much
for our own." [1512]

No one knew the value of self-control better than the poet Burns, and
no one could teach it more eloquently to others; but when it came to
practice, Burns was as weak as the weakest. He could not deny himself
the pleasure of uttering a harsh and clever sarcasm at another's
expense. One of his biographers observes of him, that it was no
extravagant arithmetic to say that for every ten jokes he made himself
a hundred enemies. But this was not all. Poor Burns exercised no control
over his appetites, but freely gave them rein:

      "Thus thoughtless follies laid him low
             And stained his name."

Nor had he the self-denial to resist giving publicity to compositions
originally intended for the delight of the tap-room, but which continue
secretly to sow pollution broadcast in the minds of youth. Indeed,
notwithstanding the many exquisite poems of this writer, it is not
saying too much to aver that his immoral writings have done far more
harm than his purer writings have done good; and that it would be better
that all his writings should be destroyed and forgotten provided his
indecent songs could be destroyed with them.

The remark applies alike to Beranger, who has been styled "The Burns
of France." Beranger was of the same bright incisive genius; he had
the same love of pleasure, the same love of popularity; and while he
flattered French vanity to the top of its bent, he also painted the
vices most loved by his countrymen with the pen of a master. Beranger's
songs and Thiers' History probably did more than anything else to
reestablish the Napoleonic dynasty in France. But that was a small evil
compared with the moral mischief which many of Beranger's songs are
calculated to produce; for, circulating freely as they do in French
households, they exhibit pictures of nastiness and vice, which are
enough to pollute and destroy a nation.

One of Burns's finest poems, written, in his twenty-eighth year, is
entitled 'A Bard's Epitaph.' It is a description, by anticipation, of
his own life. Wordsworth has said of it: "Here is a sincere and solemn
avowal; a public declaration from his own will; a confession at once
devout, poetical and human; a history in the shape of a prophecy." It
concludes with these lines:--

      "Reader, attend--whether thy soul
       Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
       Or darkling grubs this earthly hole
                           In low pursuit;
       Know--prudent, cautious self-control,
                           Is Wisdom's root."

One of the vices before which Burns fell--and it may be said to be
a master-vice, because it is productive of so many other vices--was
drinking. Not that he was a drunkard, but because he yielded to the
temptations of drink, with its degrading associations, and thereby
lowered and depraved his whole nature. [1513] But poor Burns did not stand
alone; for, alas! of all vices, the unrestrained appetite for drink was
in his time, as it continues to be now, the most prevalent, popular,
degrading, and destructive.

Were it possible to conceive the existence of a tyrant who should compel
his people to give up to him one-third or more of their earnings,
and require them at the same time to consume a commodity that should
brutalise and degrade them, destroy the peace and comfort of their
families, and sow in themselves the seeds of disease and premature
death--what indignation meetings, what monster processions there
would be! 'What eloquent speeches and apostrophes to the spirit
of liberty!--what appeals against a despotism so monstrous and so
unnatural! And yet such a tyrant really exists amongst us--the tyrant
of unrestrained appetite, whom no force of arms, or voices, or votes can
resist, while men are willing to be his slaves.

The power of this tyrant can only be overcome by moral means--by
self-discipline, self-respect, and self-control. There is no other way
of withstanding the despotism of appetite in any of its forms. No
reform of institutions, no extended power of voting, no improved form
of government, no amount of scholastic instruction, can possibly elevate
the character of a people who voluntarily abandon themselves to sensual
indulgence. The pursuit of ignoble pleasure is the degradation of true
happiness; it saps the morals, destroys the energies, and degrades the
manliness and robustness of individuals as of nations.

The courage of self-control exhibits itself in many ways, but in
none more clearly than in honest living. Men without the virtue of
self-denial are not only subject to their own selfish desires, but they
are usually in bondage to others who are likeminded with themselves.
What others do, they do. They must live according to the artificial
standard of their class, spending like their neighbours, regardless of
the consequences, at the same time that all are, perhaps, aspiring after
a style of living higher than their means. Each carries the others
along with him, and they have not the moral courage to stop. They cannot
resist the temptation of living high, though it may be at the expense
of others; and they gradually become reckless of debt, until it enthrals
them. In all this there is great moral cowardice, pusillanimity, and
want of manly independence of character.

A rightminded man will shrink from seeming to be what he is not, or
pretending to be richer than he really is, or assuming a style of living
that his circumstances will not justify. He will have the courage to
live honestly within his own means, rather than dishonestly upon the
means of other people; for he who incurs debts in striving to maintain a
style of living beyond his income, is in spirit as dishonest as the man
who openly picks your pocket.

To many, this may seem an extreme view, but it will bear the strictest
test. Living at the cost of others is not only dishonesty, but it is
untruthfulness in deed, as lying is in word. The proverb of George
Herbert, that "debtors are liars," is justified by experience.
Shaftesbury somewhere says that a restlessness to have something which
we have not, and to be something which we are not, is the root of all
immorality. [1514] No reliance is to be placed on the saying--a very
dangerous one--of Mirabeau, that "LA PETITE MORALE ETAIT L'ENNEMIE DE LA
GRANDE." On the contrary, strict adherence to even the smallest details
of morality is the foundation of all manly and noble character.

The honourable man is frugal of his means, and pays his way honestly. He
does not seek to pass himself off as richer than he is, or, by running
into debt, open an account with ruin. As that man is not poor whose
means are small, but whose desires are uncontrolled, so that man is rich
whose means are more than sufficient for his wants. When Socrates saw a
great quantity of riches, jewels, and furniture of great value, carried
in pomp through Athens, he said, "Now do I see how many things I do NOT
desire." "I can forgive everything but selfishness," said Perthes. "Even
the narrowest circumstances admit of greatness with reference to 'mine
and thine'; and none but the very poorest need fill their daily life
with thoughts of money, if they have but prudence to arrange their
housekeeping within the limits of their income."

A man may be indifferent to money because of higher considerations, as
Faraday was, who sacrificed wealth to pursue science; but if he would
have the enjoyments that money can purchase, he must honestly earn it,
and not live upon the earnings of others, as those do who habitually
incur debts which they have no means of paying. When Maginn, always
drowned in debt, was asked what he paid for his wine, he replied that he
did not know, but he believed they "put something down in a book." [1515]

This "putting-down in a book" has proved the ruin of a great many
weakminded people, who cannot resist the temptation of taking things
upon credit which they have not the present means of paying for; and it
would probably prove of great social benefit if the law which enables
creditors to recover debts contracted under certain circumstances
were altogether abolished. But, in the competition for trade, every
encouragement is given to the incurring of debt, the creditor relying
upon the law to aid him in the last extremity. When Sydney Smith once
went into a new neighbourhood, it was given out in the local papers that
he was a man of high connections, and he was besought on all sides for
his "custom." But he speedily undeceived his new neighbours. "We are not
great people at all," he said: "we are only common honest people--people
that pay our debts."

Hazlitt, who was a thoroughly honest though rather thriftless man,
speaks of two classes of persons, not unlike each other--those who
cannot keep their own money in their hands, and those who cannot keep
their hands from other people's. The former are always in want of money,
for they throw it away on any object that first presents itself, as if
to get rid of it; the latter make away with what they have of their own,
and are perpetual borrowers from all who will lend to them; and their
genius for borrowing, in the long run, usually proves their ruin.

Sheridan was one of such eminent unfortunates. He was impulsive and
careless in his expenditure, borrowing money, and running into debt
with everybody who would trust him. When he stood for Westminster, his
unpopularity arose chiefly from his general indebtedness. "Numbers of
poor people," says Lord Palmerston in one of his letters, "crowded round
the hustings, demanding payment for the bills he owed them." In the
midst of all his difficulties, Sheridan was as lighthearted as ever, and
cracked many a good joke at his creditors' expense. Lord Palmerston was
actually present at the dinner given by him, at which the sheriff's in
possession were dressed up and officiated as waiters

Yet however loose Sheridan's morality may have been as regarded
his private creditors, he was honest so far as the public money was
concerned. Once, at dinner, at which Lord Byron happened to be present,
an observation happened to be made as to the sturdiness of the Whigs
in resisting office, and keeping to their principles--on which Sheridan
turned sharply and said: "Sir, it is easy for my Lord this, or Earl
that, or the Marquis of t'other, with thousands upon thousands a
year, some of it either presently derived or inherited in sinecure or
acquisitions from the public money, to boast of their patriotism, and
keep aloof from temptation; but they do not know from what temptation
those have kept aloof who had equal pride, at least equal talents, and
not unequal passions, and nevertheless knew not, in the course of their
lives, what it was to have a shilling of their own." And Lord Byron
adds, that, in saying this, Sheridan wept. [1516]

The tone of public morality in money-matters was very low in those days.
Political peculation was not thought discreditable; and heads of parties
did not hesitate to secure the adhesion of their followers by a free
use of the public money. They were generous, but at the expense of
others--like that great local magnate, who,

         "Out of his great bounty,
      Built a bridge at the expense of the county."

When Lord Cornwallis was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland,
he pressed upon Colonel Napier, the father of THE Napiers, the
comptrollership of army accounts. "I want," said his Lordship, "AN
HONEST MAN, and this is the only thing I have been able to wrest from
the harpies around me."

It is said that Lord Chatham was the first to set the example of
disdaining to govern by petty larceny; and his great son was alike
honest in his administration. While millions of money were passing
through Pitt's hands, he himself was never otherwise than poor; and he
died poor. Of all his rancorous libellers, not one ever ventured to call
in question his honesty.

In former times, the profits of office were sometimes enormous. When
Audley, the famous annuity-monger of the sixteenth century, was asked
the value of an office which he had purchased in the Court of Wards,
he replied:--"Some thousands to any one who wishes to get to heaven
immediately; twice as much to him who does not mind being in purgatory;
and nobody knows what to him who is not afraid of the devil."

Sir Walter Scott was a man who was honest to the core of his nature and
his strenuous and determined efforts to pay his debts, or rather the
debts of the firm with which he had become involved, has always appeared
to us one of the grandest things in biography. When his publisher and
printer broke down, ruin seemed to stare him in the face. There was
no want of sympathy for him in his great misfortune, and friends came
forward who offered to raise money enough to enable him to arrange with
his creditors. "No! "said he, proudly; "this right hand shall work it
all off!" "If we lose everything else," he wrote to a friend, "we will
at least keep our honour unblemished." [1517] While his health was already
becoming undermined by overwork, he went on "writing like a tiger," as
he himself expressed it, until no longer able to wield a pen; and
though he paid the penalty of his supreme efforts with his life, he
nevertheless saved his honour and his self-respect.

Everybody knows bow Scott threw off 'Woodstock,' the 'Life of
Napoleon' [15which he thought would be his death [1518]], articles for the
'Quarterly,' 'Chronicles of the Canongate,' 'Prose Miscellanies,' and
'Tales of a Grandfather'--all written in the midst of pain, sorrow,
and ruin. The proceeds of those various works went to his creditors.
"I could not have slept sound," he wrote, "as I now can, under the
comfortable impression of receiving the thanks of my creditors, and the
conscious feeling of discharging my duty as a man of honour and
honesty. I see before me a long, tedious, and dark path, but it leads
to stainless reputation. If I die in the harrows, as is very likely, I
shall die with honour. If I achieve my task, I shall have the thanks of
all concerned, and the approbation of my own conscience." [1519]

And then followed more articles, memoirs, and even sermons--'The Fair
Maid of Perth,' a completely revised edition of his novels, 'Anne of
Geierstein,' and more 'Tales of a Grandfather'--until he was suddenly
struck down by paralysis. But he had no sooner recovered sufficient
strength to be able to hold a pen, than we find him again at his desk
writing the 'Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft,' a volume of Scottish
History for 'Lardner's Cyclopaedia,' and a fourth series of 'Tales of a
Grandfather' in his French History. In vain his doctors told him to give
up work; he would not be dissuaded. "As for bidding me not work," he
said to Dr. Abercrombie, "Molly might just as well put the kettle on the
fire and say, 'Now, kettle, don't boil;'" to which he added, "If I were
to be idle I should go mad!"

By means of the profits realised by these tremendous efforts, Scott saw
his debts in course of rapid diminution, and he trusted that, after a
few more years' work, he would again be a free man. But it was not to
be. He went on turning out such works as his 'Count Robert of Paris'
with greatly impaired skill, until he was prostrated by another and
severer attack of palsy. He now felt that the plough was nearing the end
of the furrow; his physical strength was gone; he was "not quite himself
in all things," and yet his courage and perseverance never failed. "I
have suffered terribly," he wrote in his Diary, "though rather in
body than in mind, and I often wish I could lie down and sleep
without waking. But I WILL FIGHT IT OUT IF I CAN." He again recovered
sufficiently to be able to write 'Castle Dangerous,' though the cunning
of the workman's hand had departed. And then there was his last tour to
Italy in search of rest and health, during which, while at Naples, in
spite of all remonstrances, he gave several hours every morning to the
composition of a new novel, which, however, has not seen the light.

Scott returned to Abbotsford to die. "I have seen much," he said on his
return, "but nothing like my own house--give me one turn more." One of
the last things he uttered, in one of his lucid intervals, was worthy of
him. "I have been," he said, "perhaps the most voluminous author of my
day, and it IS a comfort to me to think that I have tried to unsettle
no man's faith, to corrupt no man's principles, and that I have written
nothing which on my deathbed I should wish blotted out." His last
injunction to his son-in-law was: "Lockhart, I may have but a minute to
speak to you. My dear, be virtuous--be religious--be a good man. Nothing
else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here."

The devoted conduct of Lockhart himself was worthy of his great
relative. The 'Life of Scott,' which he afterwards wrote, occupied him
several years, and was a remarkably successful work. Yet he himself
derived no pecuniary advantage from it; handing over the profits of the
whole undertaking to Sir Walter's creditors in payment of debts which
he was in no way responsible, but influenced entirely by a spirit of
honour, of regard for the memory of the illustrious dead.


     "I slept, and dreamt that life was Beauty; I woke, and found
     that life was Duty."

     "Duty! wondrous thought, that workest neither by fond
     insinuation, flattery, nor by any threat, but merely by
     holding up thy naked law in the soul, and so extorting for
     thyself always reverence, if not always obedience; before
     whom all appetites are dumb, however secretly they rebel"--

            "How happy is he born and taught,
              That serveth not another's will!
            Whose armour is his honest thought,
              And simple truth his utmost skill!

            "Whose passions not his masters are,
              Whose soul is still prepared for death;
            Unti'd unto the world by care
              Of public fame, or private breath.

          "This man is freed from servile bands,
            Of hope to rise, or fear to fall:
          Lord of himself, though not of land;
            And having nothing, yet hath all."--WOTTON.

          "His nay was nay without recall;
             His yea was yea, and powerful all;
          He gave his yea with careful heed,
            His thoughts and words were well agreed;
          His word, his bond and seal."

DUTY is a thing that is due, and must be paid by every man who would
avoid present discredit and eventual moral insolvency. It is an
obligation--a debt--which can only be discharged by voluntary effort and
resolute action in the affairs of life.

Duty embraces man's whole existence. It begins in the home, where there
is the duty which children owe to their parents on the one hand, and
the duty which parents owe to their children on the other. There are, in
like manner, the respective duties of husbands and wives, of masters
and servants; while outside the home there are the duties which men
and women owe to each other as friends and neighbours, as employers and
employed, as governors and governed.

"Render, therefore," says St. Paul, "to all their dues: tribute to whom
tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom
honour. Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth
another hath fulfilled the law,"

Thus duty rounds the whole of life, from our entrance into it until
our exit from it--duty to superiors, duty to inferiors, and duty to
equals--duty to man, and duty to God. Wherever there is power to use
or to direct, there is duty. For we are but as stewards, appointed to
employ the means entrusted to us for our own and for others' good.

The abiding sense of duty is the very crown of character. It is
the upholding law of man in his highest attitudes. Without it, the
individual totters and falls before the first puff of adversity or
temptation; whereas, inspired by it, the weakest becomes strong and full
of courage. "Duty," says Mrs. Jameson, "is the cement which binds
the whole moral edifice together; without which, all power, goodness,
intellect, truth, happiness, love itself, can have no permanence; but
all the fabric of existence crumbles away from under us, and leaves
us at last sitting in the midst of a ruin, astonished at our own

Duty is based upon a sense of justice--justice inspired by love, which
is the most perfect form of goodness. Duty is not a sentiment, but a
principle pervading the life: and it exhibits itself in conduct and in
acts, which are mainly determined by man's conscience and freewill.

The voice of conscience speaks in duty done; and without its regulating
and controlling influence, the brightest and greatest intellect may
be merely as a light that leads astray. Conscience sets a man upon his
feet, while his will holds him upright. Conscience is the moral governor
of the heart--the governor of right action, of right thought, of right
faith, of right life--and only through its dominating influence can the
noble and upright character be fully developed.

The conscience, however, may speak never so loudly, but without
energetic will it may speak in vain. The will is free to choose between
the right course and the wrong one, but the choice is nothing unless
followed by immediate and decisive action. If the sense of duty be
strong, and the course of action clear, the courageous will, upheld by
the conscience, enables a man to proceed on his course bravely, and to
accomplish his purposes in the face of all opposition and difficulty.
And should failure be the issue, there will remain at least this
satisfaction, that it has been in the cause of duty.

"Be and continue poor, young man," said Heinzelmann, "while others
around you grow rich by fraud and disloyalty; be without place or power
while others beg their way upwards; bear the pain of disappointed hopes,
while others gain the accomplishment of theirs by flattery; forego the
gracious pressure of the hand, for which others cringe and crawl. Wrap
yourself in your own virtue, and seek a friend and your daily bread. If
you have in your own cause grown gray with unbleached honour, bless God
and die!"

Men inspired by high principles are often required to sacrifice all that
they esteem and love rather than fail in their duty. The old English
idea of this sublime devotion to duty was expressed by the loyalist poet
to his sweetheart, on taking up arms for his sovereign:--

          "I could love thee, dear, so much,
          Loved I not honour more." [161]

And Sertorius has said: "The man who has any dignity of character,
should conquer with honour, and not use any base means even to save his
life." So St. Paul, inspired by duty and faith, declared himself as not
only "ready to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem."

When the Marquis of Pescara was entreated by the princes of Italy to
desert the Spanish cause, to which he was in honour bound, his noble
wife, Vittoria Colonna, reminded him of his duty. She wrote to him:
"Remember your honour, which raises you above fortune and above
kings; by that alone, and not by the splendour of titles, is glory
acquired--that glory which it will be your happiness and pride to
transmit unspotted to your posterity." Such was the dignified view which
she took of her husband's honour; and when he fell at Pavia, though
young and beautiful, and besought by many admirers, she betook herself
to solitude, that she might lament over her husband's loss and celebrate
his exploits. [162]

To live really, is to act energetically. Life is a battle to be fought
valiantly. Inspired by high and honourable resolve, a man must stand
to his post, and die there, if need be. Like the old Danish hero, his
determination should be, "to dare nobly, to will strongly, and never to
falter in the path of duty." The power of will, be it great or small,
which God has given us, is a Divine gift; and we ought neither to let it
perish for want of using on the one hand, nor profane it by employing
it for ignoble purposes on the other. Robertson, of Brighton, has
truly said, that man's real greatness consists not in seeking his own
pleasure, or fame, or advancement--"not that every one shall save his
own life, not that every man shall seek his own glory--but that every
man shall do his own duty."

What most stands in the way of the performance of duty, is irresolution,
weakness of purpose, and indecision. On the one side are conscience and
the knowledge of good and evil; on the other are indolence, selfishness,
love of pleasure, or passion. The weak and ill-disciplined will may
remain suspended for a time between these influences; but at length the
balance inclines one way or the other, according as the will is called
into action or otherwise. If it be allowed to remain passive, the lower
influence of selfishness or passion will prevail; and thus manhood
suffers abdication, individuality is renounced, character is degraded,
and the man permits himself to become the mere passive slave of his

Thus, the power of exercising the will promptly, in obedience to the
dictates of conscience, and thereby resisting the impulses of the lower
nature, is of essential importance in moral discipline, and absolutely
necessary for the development of character in its best forms. To acquire
the habit of well-doing, to resist evil propensities, to fight against
sensual desires, to overcome inborn selfishness, may require a long and
persevering discipline; but when once the practice of duty is learnt, it
becomes consolidated in habit, and thence-forward is comparatively easy.

The valiant good man is he who, by the resolute exercise of his
freewill, has so disciplined himself as to have acquired the habit of
virtue; as the bad man is he who, by allowing his freewill to remain
inactive, and giving the bridle to his desires and passions, has
acquired the habit of vice, by which he becomes, at last, bound as by
chains of iron.

A man can only achieve strength of purpose by the action of his own
freewill. If he is to stand erect, it must be by his own efforts; for he
cannot be kept propped up by the help of others. He is master of himself
and of his actions. He can avoid falsehood, and be truthful; he can
shun sensualism, and be continent; he can turn aside from doing a cruel
thing, and be benevolent and forgiving. All these lie within the sphere
of individual efforts, and come within the range of self-discipline. And
it depends upon men themselves whether in these respects they will be
free, pure, and good on the one hand; or enslaved, impure, and miserable
on the other.

Among the wise sayings of Epictetus we find the following: "We do not
choose our own parts in life, and have nothing to do with those parts:
our simple duty is confined to playing them well. The slave may be as
free as the consul; and freedom is the chief of blessings; it dwarfs all
others; beside it all others are insignificant; with it all others are
needless; without it no others are possible.... You must teach men that
happiness is not where, in their blindness and misery, they seek it. It
is not in strength, for Myro and Ofellius were not happy; not in wealth,
for Croesus was not happy; not in power, for the Consuls were not happy;
not in all these together, for Nero and Sardanapulus and Agamemnon
sighed and wept and tore their hair, and were the slaves of
circumstances and the dupes of semblances. It lies in yourselves; in
true freedom, in the absence or conquest of every ignoble fear; in
perfect self-government; and in a power of contentment and peace, and
the even flow of life amid poverty, exile, disease, and the very valley
of the shadow of death." [163]

The sense of duty is a sustaining power even to a courageous man.
It holds him upright, and makes him strong. It was a noble saying of
Pompey, when his friends tried to dissuade him from embarking for Rome
in a storm, telling him that he did so at the great peril of his life:
"It is necessary for me to go," he said; "it is not necessary for me to
live." What it was right that he should do, he would do, in the face of
danger and in defiance of storms.

As might be expected of the great Washington, the chief motive power in
his life was the spirit of duty. It was the regal and commanding element
in his character which gave it unity, compactness, and vigour. When
he clearly saw his duty before him, he did it at all hazards, and with
inflexible integrity. He did not do it for effect; nor did he think of
glory, or of fame and its rewards; but of the right thing to be done,
and the best way of doing it.

Yet Washington had a most modest opinion of himself; and when offered
the chief command of the American patriot army, he hesitated to accept
it until it was pressed upon him. When acknowledging in Congress the
honour which had been done him in selecting him to so important a trust,
on the execution of which the future of his country in a great measure
depended, Washington said: "I beg it may be remembered, lest some
unlucky event should happen unfavourable to my reputation, that I this
day declare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to
the command I am honoured with."

And in his letter to his wife, communicating to her his appointment as
Commander-in-Chief, he said: "I have used every endeavour in my power
to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the
family, but from a consciousness of its being a trust too great for my
capacity; and that I should enjoy more real happiness in one month with
you at home, than I have the most distant prospect of finding abroad, if
my stay were to be seven times seven years. But, as it has been a kind
of destiny that has thrown me upon this service, I shall hope that my
undertaking it is designed for some good purpose. It was utterly out
of my power to refuse the appointment, without exposing my character to
such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and given
pain to my friends. This, I am sure, could not, and ought not, to
be pleasing to you, and must have lessened me considerably in my own
esteem." [164]

Washington pursued his upright course through life, first as
Commander-in-Chief, and afterwards as President, never faltering in the
path of duty. He had no regard for popularity, but held to his purpose,
through good and through evil report, often at the risk of his power
and influence. Thus, on one occasion, when the ratification of a treaty,
arranged by Mr. Jay with Great Britain, was in question, Washington was
urged to reject it. But his honour, and the honour of his country, was
committed, and he refused to do so. A great outcry was raised against
the treaty, and for a time Washington was so unpopular that he is said
to have been actually stoned by the mob. But he, nevertheless, held it
to be his duty to ratify the treaty; and it was carried out, in despite
of petitions and remonstrances from all quarters. "While I feel," he
said, in answer to the remonstrants, "the most lively gratitude for
the many instances of approbation from my country, I can no otherwise
deserve it than by obeying the dictates of my conscience." Wellington's
watchword, like Washington's, was duty; and no man could be more loyal
to it than he was. [165] "There is little or nothing," he once said, "in
this life worth living for; but we can all of us go straight forward and
do our duty." None recognised more cheerfully than he did the duty of
obedience and willing service; for unless men can serve faithfully, they
will not rule others wisely. There is no motto that becomes the wise man
better than ICH DIEN, "I serve;" and "They also serve who only stand and

When the mortification of an officer, because of his being appointed
to a command inferior to what he considered to be his merits, was
communicated to the Duke, he said: "In the course of my military career,
I have gone from the command of a brigade to that of my regiment, and
from the command of an army to that of a brigade or a division, as I was
ordered, and without any feeling of mortification."

Whilst commanding the allied army in Portugal, the conduct of the native
population did not seem to Wellington to be either becoming or dutiful.
"We have enthusiasm in plenty," he said, "and plenty of cries of 'VIVA!'
We have illuminations, patriotic songs, and FETES everywhere. But what
we want is, that each in his own station should do his duty faithfully,
and pay implicit obedience to legal authority."

This abiding ideal of duty seemed to be the governing principle of
Wellington's character. It was always uppermost in his mind, and
directed all the public actions of his life. Nor did it fail to
communicate itself to those under him, who served him in the like
spirit. When he rode into one of his infantry squares at Waterloo, as
its diminished numbers closed up to receive a charge of French cavalry,
he said to the men, "Stand steady, lads; think of what they will say of
us in England;" to which the men replied, "Never fear, sir--we know our

Duty was also the dominant idea in Nelson's mind. The spirit in which
he served his country was expressed in the famous watchword, "England
expects every man to do his duty," signalled by him to the fleet before
going into action at Trafalgar, as well as in the last words that passed
his lips,--"I have done my duty; I praise God for it!"

And Nelson's companion and friend--the brave, sensible, homely-minded
Collingwood--he who, as his ship bore down into the great sea-fight,
said to his flag-captain, "Just about this time our wives are going to
church in England,"--Collingwood too was, like his commander, an ardent
devotee of duty. "Do your duty to the best of your ability," was the
maxim which he urged upon many young men starting on the voyage of life.
To a midshipman he once gave the following manly and sensible advice:-
"You may depend upon it, that it is more in your own power than in
anybody else's to promote both your comfort and advancement. A strict
and unwearied attention to your duty, and a complacent and respectful
behaviour, not only to your superiors but to everybody, will ensure you
their regard, and the reward will surely come; but if it should not,
I am convinced you have too much good sense to let disappointment sour
you. Guard carefully against letting discontent appear in you. It will
be sorrow to your friends, a triumph to your competitors, and cannot be
productive of any good. Conduct yourself so as to deserve the best that
can come to you, and the consciousness of your own proper behaviour will
keep you in spirits if it should not come. Let it be your ambition to
be foremost in all duty. Do not be a nice observer of turns, but ever
present yourself ready for everything, and, unless your officers are
very inattentive men, they will not allow others to impose more duty on
you than they should."

This devotion to duty is said to be peculiar to the English nation; and
it has certainly more or less characterised our greatest public men.
Probably no commander of any other nation ever went into action with
such a signal flying as Nelson at Trafalgar--not "Glory," or "Victory,"
or "Honour," or "Country"--but simply "Duty!" How few are the nations
willing to rally to such a battle-cry!

Shortly after the wreck of the BIRKENHEAD off the coast of Africa, in
which the officers and men went down firing a FEU-DE-JOIE after seeing
the women and children safely embarked in the boats,--Robertson of
Brighton, referring to the circumstance in one of his letters, said:
"Yes! Goodness, Duty, Sacrifice,--these are the qualities that England
honours. She gapes and wonders every now and then, like an awkward
peasant, at some other things--railway kings, electro-biology, and other
trumperies; but nothing stirs her grand old heart down to its central
deeps universally and long, except the Right. She puts on her shawl very
badly, and she is awkward enough in a concert-room, scarce knowing a
Swedish nightingale from a jackdaw; but--blessings large and long upon
her!--she knows how to teach her sons to sink like men amidst sharks
and billows, without parade, without display, as if Duty were the most
natural thing in the world; and she never mistakes long an actor for a
hero, or a hero for an actor." [166]

It is a grand thing, after all, this pervading spirit of Duty in a
nation; and so long as it survives, no one need despair of its future.
But when it has departed, or become deadened, and been supplanted by
thirst for pleasure, or selfish aggrandisement, or "glory"--then woe to
that nation, for its dissolution is near at hand!

If there be one point on which intelligent observers are agreed more
than another as to the cause of the late deplorable collapse of France
as a nation, it was the utter absence of this feeling of duty, as well
as of truthfulness, from the mind, not only of the men, but of the
leaders of the French people. The unprejudiced testimony of Baron
Stoffel, French military attache at Berlin, before the war, is
conclusive on this point. In his private report to the Emperor, found
at the Tuileries, which was written in August, 1869, about a year
before the outbreak of the war, Baron Stoffel pointed out that the
highly-educated and disciplined German people were pervaded by an ardent
sense of duty, and did not think it beneath them to reverence sincerely
what was noble and lofty; whereas, in all respects, France presented a
melancholy contrast. There the people, having sneered at everything,
had lost the faculty of respecting anything, and virtue, family life,
patriotism, honour, and religion, were represented to a frivolous
generation as only fitting subjects for ridicule. [167] Alas! how terribly
has France been punished for her sins against truth and duty!

Yet the time was, when France possessed many great men inspired by
duty; but they were all men of a comparatively remote past. The race
of Bayard, Duguesclin, Coligny, Duquesne, Turenne, Colbert, and Sully,
seems to have died out and left no lineage. There has been an occasional
great Frenchman of modern times who has raised the cry of Duty; but his
voice has been as that of one crying in the wilderness. De Tocqueville
was one of such; but, like all men of his stamp, he was proscribed,
imprisoned, and driven from public life. Writing on one occasion to his
friend Kergorlay, he said: "Like you, I become more and more alive to
the happiness which consists in the fulfilment of Duty. I believe there
is no other so deep and so real. There is only one great object in the
world which deserves our efforts, and that is the good of mankind." [168]

Although France has been the unquiet spirit among the nations of Europe
since the reign of Louis XIV., there have from time to time been honest
and faithful men who have lifted up their voices against the turbulent
warlike tendencies of the people, and not only preached, but endeavoured
to carry into practice, a gospel of peace. Of these, the Abbe de
St.-Pierre was one of the most courageous. He had even the boldness to
denounce the wars of Louis XIV., and to deny that monarch's right to
the epithet of 'Great,' for which he was punished by expulsion from
the Academy. The Abbe was as enthusiastic an agitator for a system of
international peace as any member of the modern Society of Friends. As
Joseph Sturge went to St. Petersburg to convert the Emperor of Russia to
his views, so the Abbe went to Utrecht to convert the Conference sitting
there, to his project for a Diet; to secure perpetual peace. Of course
he was regarded as an enthusiast, Cardinal Dubois characterising his
scheme as "the dream of an honest man." Yet the Abbe had found his dream
in the Gospel; and in what better way could he exemplify the spirit
of the Master he served than by endeavouring to abate the horrors
and abominations of war? The Conference was an assemblage of men
representing Christian States: and the Abbe merely called upon them to
put in practice the doctrines they professed to believe. It was of no
use: the potentates and their representatives turned to him a deaf ear.

The Abbe de St.-Pierre lived several hundred years too soon. But he
determined that his idea should not be lost, and in 1713 he published
his 'Project of Perpetual Peace.' He there proposed the formation of
a European Diet, or Senate, to be composed of representatives of all
nations, before which princes should be bound, before resorting to arms,
to state their grievances and require redress. Writing about eighty
years after the publication of this project, Volney asked: "What is
a people?--an individual of the society at large. What a war?--a duel
between two individual people. In what manner ought a society to act
when two of its members fight?--Interfere, and reconcile or repress
them. In the days of the Abbe de St.-Pierre, this was treated as a
dream; but, happily for the human race, it begins to be realised." Alas
for the prediction of Volney! The twenty-five years that followed the
date at which this passage was written, were distinguished by more
devastating and furious wars on the part of France than had ever been
known in the world before.

The Abbe was not, however, a mere dreamer. He was an active practical
philanthropist and anticipated many social improvements which have since
become generally adopted. He was the original founder of industrial
schools for poor children, where they not only received a good
education, but learned some useful trade, by which they might earn an
honest living when they grew up to manhood. He advocated the revision
and simplification of the whole code of laws--an idea afterwards carried
out by the First Napoleon. He wrote against duelling, against luxury,
against gambling, against monasticism, quoting the remark of Segrais,
that "the mania for a monastic life is the smallpox of the mind." He
spent his whole income in acts of charity--not in almsgiving, but in
helping poor children, and poor men and women, to help themselves. His
object always was to benefit permanently those whom he assisted. He
continued his love of truth and his freedom of speech to the last. At
the age of eighty he said: "If life is a lottery for happiness, my lot
has been one of the best." When on his deathbed, Voltaire asked him
how he felt, to which he answered, "As about to make a journey into the
country." And in this peaceful frame of mind he died. But so outspoken
had St.-Pierre been against corruption in high places, that Maupertius,
his Successor at the Academy, was not permitted to pronounce his ELOGE;
nor was it until thirty-two years after his death that this honour was
done to his memory by D'Alembert. The true and emphatic epitaph of the
good, truth-loving, truth-speaking Abbe was this--"HE LOVED MUCH!"

Duty is closely allied to truthfulness of character; and the dutiful man
is, above all things, truthful in his words as in his actions. He says
and he does the right thing, in the right way, and at the right time.

There is probably no saying of Lord Chesterfield that commends itself
more strongly to the approval of manly-minded men, than that it is truth
that makes the success of the gentleman. Clarendon, speaking of one of
the noblest and purest gentlemen of his age, says of Falkland, that he
"was so severe an adorer of truth that he could as easily have given
himself leave to steal as to dissemble."

It was one of the finest things that Mrs. Hutchinson could say of her
husband, that he was a thoroughly truthful and reliable man: "He never
professed the thing he intended not, nor promised what he believed out
of his power, nor failed in the performance of anything that was in his
power to fulfil."

Wellington was a severe admirer of truth. An illustration may be given.
When afflicted by deafness he consulted a celebrated aurist, who, after
trying all remedies in vain, determined, as a last resource, to inject
into the ear a strong solution of caustic. It caused the most intense
pain, but the patient bore it with his usual equanimity. The family
physician accidentally calling one day, found the Duke with flushed
cheeks and bloodshot eyes, and when he rose he staggered about like a
drunken man. The doctor asked to be permitted to look at his ear, and
then he found that a furious inflammation was going on, which, if not
immediately checked, must shortly reach the brain and kill him. Vigorous
remedies were at once applied, and the inflammation was checked. But the
hearing of that ear was completely destroyed. When the aurist heard of
the danger his patient had run, through the violence of the remedy
he had employed, he hastened to Apsley House to express his grief and
mortification; but the Duke merely said: "Do not say a word more about
it--you did all for the best." The aurist said it would be his ruin
when it became known that he had been the cause of so much suffering and
danger to his Grace. "But nobody need know anything about it: keep your
own counsel, and, depend upon it, I won't say a word to any one." "Then
your Grace will allow me to attend you as usual, which will show the
public that you have not withdrawn your confidence from me?" "No,"
replied the Duke, kindly but firmly; "I can't do that, for that would be
a lie." He would not act a falsehood any more than he would speak one.

Another illustration of duty and truthfulness, as exhibited in the
fulfilment of a promise, may be added from the life of Blucher. When he
was hastening with his army over bad roads to the help of Wellington, on
the 18th of June, 1815, he encouraged his troops by words and gestures.
"Forwards, children--forwards!" "It is impossible; it can't be done,"
was the answer. Again and again he urged them. "Children, we must get
on; you may say it can't be done, but it MUST be done! I have promised
my brother Wellington--PROMISED, do you hear? You wouldn't have me BREAK
MY WORD!" And it was done.

Truth is the very bond of society, without which it must cease to exist,
and dissolve into anarchy and chaos. A household cannot be governed by
lying; nor can a nation. Sir Thomas Browne once asked, "Do the devils
lie?" "No," was his answer; "for then even hell could not subsist." No
considerations can justify the sacrifice of truth, which ought to be
sovereign in all the relations of life.

Of all mean vices, perhaps lying is the meanest. It is in some cases
the offspring of perversity and vice, and in many others of sheer moral
cowardice. Yet many persons think so lightly of it that they will order
their servants to lie for them; nor can they feel surprised if, after
such ignoble instruction, they find their servants lying for themselves.

Sir Harry Wotton's description of an ambassador as "an honest man sent
to lie abroad for the benefit of his country," though meant as a satire,
brought him into disfavour with James I. when it became published; for
an adversary quoted it as a principle of the king's religion. That it
was not Wotton's real view of the duty of an honest man, is obvious from
the lines quoted at the head of this chapter, on 'The Character of a
Happy Life,' in which he eulogises the man

          "Whose armour is his honest thought,
           And simple truth his utmost skill."

But lying assumes many forms--such as diplomacy, expediency, and moral
reservation; and, under one guise or another, it is found more or less
pervading all classes of society. Sometimes it assumes the form of
equivocation or moral dodging--twisting and so stating the things said
as to convey a false impression--a kind of lying which a Frenchman once
described as "walking round about the truth."

There are even men of narrow minds and dishonest natures, who pride
themselves upon their jesuitical cleverness in equivocation, in their
serpent-wise shirking of the truth and getting out of moral back-doors,
in order to hide their real opinions and evade the consequences of
holding and openly professing them. Institutions or systems based upon
any such expedients must necessarily prove false and hollow. "Though
a lie be ever so well dressed," says George Herbert, "it is ever
overcome." Downright lying, though bolder and more vicious, is even less
contemptible than such kind of shuffling and equivocation.

Untruthfulness exhibits itself in many other forms: in reticency on the
one hand, or exaggeration on the other; in disguise or concealment; in
pretended concurrence in others opinions; in assuming an attitude of
conformity which is deceptive; in making promises, or allowing them
to be implied, which are never intended to be performed; or even in
refraining from speaking the truth when to do so is a duty. There are
also those who are all things to all men, who say one thing and do
another, like Bunyan's Mr. Facing-both-ways; only deceiving themselves
when they think they are deceiving others--and who, being essentially
insincere, fail to evoke confidence, and invariably in the end turn out
failures, if not impostors.

Others are untruthful in their pretentiousness, and in assuming merits
which they do not really possess. The truthful man is, on the contrary,
modest, and makes no parade of himself and his deeds. When Pitt was
in his last illness, the news reached England of the great deeds of
Wellington in India. "The more I hear of his exploits," said Pitt, "the
more I admire the modesty with which he receives the praises he merits
for them. He is the only man I ever knew that was not vain of what he
had done, and yet had so much reason to be so."

So it is said of Faraday by Professor Tyndall, that "pretence of all
kinds, whether in life or in philosophy, was hateful to him." Dr.
Marshall Hall was a man of like spirit--courageously truthful, dutiful,
and manly. One of his most intimate friends has said of him that,
wherever he met with untruthfulness or sinister motive, he would expose
it, saying--"I neither will, nor can, give my consent to a lie." The
question, "right or wrong," once decided in his own mind, the right
was followed, no matter what the sacrifice or the difficulty--neither
expediency nor inclination weighing one jot in the balance.

There was no virtue that Dr. Arnold laboured more sedulously to instil
into young men than the virtue of truthfulness, as being the manliest of
virtues, as indeed the very basis of all true manliness. He designated
truthfulness as "moral transparency," and he valued it more highly than
any other quality. When lying was detected, he treated it as a great
moral offence; but when a pupil made an assertion, he accepted it with
confidence. "If you say so, that is quite enough; OF COURSE I believe
your word." By thus trusting and believing them, he educated the young
in truthfulness; the boys at length coming to say to one another: "It's
a shame to tell Arnold a lie--he always believes one." [1610]

One of the most striking instances that could be given of the character
of the dutiful, truthful, laborious man, is presented in the life of
the late George Wilson, Professor of Technology in the University of
Edinburgh. [1611] Though we bring this illustration under the head of
Duty, it might equally have stood under that of Courage, Cheerfulness,
or Industry, for it is alike illustrative of these several qualities.

Wilson's life was, indeed, a marvel of cheerful laboriousness;
exhibiting the power of the soul to triumph over the body, and almost to
set it at defiance. It might be taken as an illustration of the saying
of the whaling-captain to Dr. Kane, as to the power of moral force over
physical: "Bless you, sir, the soul will any day lift the body out of
its boots!"

A fragile but bright and lively boy, he had scarcely entered manhood ere
his constitution began to exhibit signs of disease. As early, indeed,
as his seventeenth year, he began to complain of melancholy and
sleeplessness, supposed to be the effects of bile. "I don't think I
shall live long," he then said to a friend; "my mind will--must work
itself out, and the body will soon follow it." A strange confession for
a boy to make! But he gave his physical health no fair chance. His life
was all brain-work, study, and competition. When he took exercise it was
in sudden bursts, which did him more harm than good. Long walks in the
Highlands jaded and exhausted him; and he returned to his brain-work
unrested and unrefreshed.

It was during one of his forced walks of some twenty-four miles in
the neighbourhood of Stirling, that he injured one of his feet, and he
returned home seriously ill. The result was an abscess, disease of the
ankle-joint, and long agony, which ended in the amputation of the
right foot. But he never relaxed in his labours. He was now writing,
lecturing, and teaching chemistry. Rheumatism and acute inflammation of
the eye next attacked him; and were treated by cupping, blisetring, and
colchicum. Unable himself to write, he went on preparing his lectures,
which he dictated to his sister. Pain haunted him day and night,
and sleep was only forced by morphia. While in this state of general
prostration, symptoms of pulmonary disease began to show themselves. Yet
he continued to give the weekly lectures to which he stood committed
to the Edinburgh School of Arts. Not one was shirked, though their
delivery, before a large audience, was a most exhausting duty. "Well,
there's another nail put into my coffin," was the remark made on
throwing off his top-coat on returning home; and a sleepless night
almost invariably followed.

At twenty-seven, Wilson was lecturing ten, eleven, or more hours
weekly, usually with setons or open blister-wounds upon him--his "bosom
friends," he used to call them. He felt the shadow of death upon him;
and he worked as if his days were numbered. "Don't be surprised," he
wrote to a friend, "if any morning at breakfast you hear that I am
gone." But while he said so, he did not in the least degree indulge in
the feeling of sickly sentimentality. He worked on as cheerfully and
hopefully as if in the very fulness of his strength. "To none," said he,
"is life so sweet as to those who have lost all fear to die."

Sometimes he was compelled to desist from his labours by sheer debility,
occasioned by loss of blood from the lungs; but after a few weeks' rest
and change of air, he would return to his work, saying, "The water is
rising in the well again!" Though disease had fastened on his lungs, and
was spreading there, and though suffering from a distressing cough,
he went on lecturing as usual. To add to his troubles, when one day
endeavouring to recover himself from a stumble occasioned by his
lameness, he overstrained his arm, and broke the bone near the shoulder.
But he recovered from his successive accidents and illnesses in the most
extraordinary way. The reed bent, but did not break: the storm passed,
and it stood erect as before.

There was no worry, nor fever, nor fret about him; but instead,
cheerfulness, patience, and unfailing perseverance. His mind, amidst all
his sufferings, remained perfectly calm and serene. He went about his
daily work with an apparently charmed life, as if he had the strength
of many men in him. Yet all the while he knew he was dying, his chief
anxiety being to conceal his state from those about him at home, to
whom the knowledge of his actual condition would have been inexpressibly
distressing. "I am cheerful among strangers," he said, "and try to live
day by day as a dying man." [1612]

He went on teaching as before--lecturing to the Architectural Institute
and to the School of Arts. One day, after a lecture before the latter
institute, he lay down to rest, and was shortly awakened by the rupture
of a bloodvessel, which occasioned him the loss of a considerable
quantity of blood. He did not experience the despair and agony that
Keats did on a like occasion; [1613] though he equally knew that the
messenger of death had come, and was waiting for him. He appeared at
the family meals as usual, and next day he lectured twice, punctually
fulfilling his engagements; but the exertion of speaking was followed by
a second attack of haemorrhage. He now became seriously ill, and it
was doubted whether he would survive the night. But he did survive;
and during his convalescence he was appointed to an important public
office--that of Director of the Scottish Industrial Museum, which
involved a great amount of labour, as well as lecturing, in his capacity
of Professor of Technology, which he held in connection with the office.

From this time forward, his "dear museum," as he called it, absorbed
all his surplus energies. While busily occupied in collecting models
and specimens for the museum, he filled up his odds-and-ends of time
in lecturing to Ragged Schools, Ragged Kirks, and Medical Missionary
Societies. He gave himself no rest, either of mind or body; and "to die
working" was the fate he envied. His mind would not give in, but
his poor body was forced to yield, and a severe attack of
haemorrhage--bleeding from both lungs and stomach [1614]--compelled him
to relax in his labours. "For a month, or some forty days," he wrote--"a
dreadful Lent--the mind has blown geographically from 'Araby the blest,'
but thermometrically from Iceland the accursed. I have been made a
prisoner of war, hit by an icicle in the lungs, and have shivered and
burned alternately for a large portion of the last month, and spat blood
till I grew pale with coughing. Now I am better, and to-morrow I give
my concluding lecture [16on Technology], thankful that I have contrived,
notwithstanding all my troubles, to carry on without missing a lecture
to the last day of the Faculty of Arts, to which I belong." [1615]

How long was it to last? He himself began to wonder, for he had long
felt his life as if ebbing away. At length he became languid, weary, and
unfit for work; even the writing of a letter cost him a painful effort,
and. he felt "as if to lie down and sleep were the only things worth
doing." Yet shortly after, to help a Sunday-school, he wrote his 'Five
Gateways of Knowledge,' as a lecture, and afterwards expanded it into
a book. He also recovered strength sufficient to enable him to proceed
with his lectures to the institutions to which he belonged, besides on
various occasions undertaking to do other people's work. "I am looked
upon as good as mad," he wrote to his brother, "because, on a hasty
notice, I took a defaulting lecturer's place at the Philosophical
Institution, and discoursed on the Polarization of Light.... But I like
work: it is a family weakness."

Then followed chronic malaise--sleepless nights, days of pain, and
more spitting of blood. "My only painless moments," he says, "were when
lecturing." In this state of prostration and disease, the indefatigable
man undertook to write the 'Life of Edward Forbes'; and he did it, like
everything he undertook, with admirable ability. He proceeded with
his lectures as usual. To an association of teachers he delivered a
discourse on the educational value of industrial science. After he
had spoken to his audience for an hour, he left them to say whether
he should go on or not, and they cheered him on to another half-hour's
address. "It is curious," he wrote, "the feeling of having an audience,
like clay in your hands, to mould for a season as you please. It is a
terribly responsible power.... I do not mean for a moment to imply that
I am indifferent to the good opinion of others--far otherwise; but to
gain this is much less a concern with me than to deserve it. It was
not so once. I had no wish for unmerited praise, but I was too ready to
settle that I did merit it. Now, the word DUTY seems to me the biggest
word in the world, and is uppermost in all my serious doings."

This was written only about four months before his death. A little later
he wrote, "I spin my thread of life from week to week, rather than from
year to year." Constant attacks of bleeding from the lungs sapped his
little remaining strength, but did not altogether disable him from
lecturing. He was amused by one of his friends proposing to put him
under trustees for the purpose of looking after his health. But he
would not be restrained from working, so long as a vestige of strength

One day, in the autumn of 1859, he returned from his customary lecture
in the University of Edinburgh with a severe pain in his side. He was
scarcely able to crawl upstairs. Medical aid was sent for, and he was
pronounced to be suffering from pleurisy and inflammation of the lungs.
His enfeebled frame was ill able to resist so severe a disease, and he
sank peacefully to the rest he so longed for, after a few days' illness:

          "Wrong not the dead with tears!
          A glorious bright to-morrow
      Endeth a weary life of pain and sorrow."

The life of George Wilson--so admirably and affectionately related by
his sister--is probably one of the most marvellous records of pain and
longsuffering, and yet of persistent, noble, and useful work, that is
to be found in the whole history of literature. His entire career
was indeed but a prolonged illustration of the lines which he himself
addressed to his deceased friend, Dr. John Reid, a likeminded man, whose
memoir he wrote:--

         "Thou wert a daily lesson
            Of courage, hope, and faith;
          We wondered at thee living,
            We envy thee thy death.

          Thou wert so meek and reverent,
            So resolute of will,
          So bold to bear the uttermost,
            And yet so calm and still."


      "Temper is nine-tenths of Christianity."--BISHOP WILSON.

        "Heaven is a temper, not a place."--DR. CHALMERS.

        "And should my youth, as youth is apt I know,
                   Some harshness show;
        All vain asperities I day by day
                   Would wear away,
        Till the smooth temper of my age should be
        Like the high leaves upon the Holly Tree"--SOUTHEY.

    "Even Power itself hath not one-half the might of Gentleness"
                                                  --LEIGH HUNT.

It has been said that men succeed in life quite as much by their temper
as by their talents. However this may be, it is certain that their
happiness in life depends mainly upon their equanimity of disposition,
their patience and forbearance, and their kindness and thoughtfulness
for those about them. It is really true what Plato says, that in seeking
the good of others we find our own.

There are some natures so happily constituted that they can find good in
everything. There is no calamity so great but they can educe comfort or
consolation from it--no sky so black but they can discover a gleam of
sunshine issuing through it from some quarter or another; and if the sun
be not visible to their eyes, they at least comfort themselves with the
thought that it IS there, though veiled from them for some good and wise

Such happy natures are to be envied. They have a beam in the eye--a beam
of pleasure, gladness, religious cheerfulness, philosophy, call it what
you will. Sunshine is about their hearts, and their mind gilds with its
own hues all that it looks upon. When they have burdens to bear, they
bear them cheerfully--not repining, nor fretting, nor wasting their
energies in useless lamentation, but struggling onward manfully,
gathering up such flowers as lie along their path.

Let it not for a moment be supposed that men such as those we speak of
are weak and unreflective. The largest and most comprehensive natures
are generally also the most cheerful, the most loving, the most hopeful,
the most trustful. It is the wise man, of large vision, who is the
quickest to discern the moral sunshine gleaming through the darkest
cloud. In present evil he sees prospective good; in pain, he recognises
the effort of nature to restore health; in trials, he finds correction
and discipline; and in sorrow and suffering, he gathers courage,
knowledge, and the best practical wisdom.

When Jeremy Taylor had lost all--when his house had been plundered,
and his family driven out-of-doors, and all his worldly estate had been
sequestrated--he could still write thus: "I am fallen into the hands of
publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me; what now?
Let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, a loving wife,
and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me; and I can still
discourse, and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry
countenance and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience; they have
still left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the Gospel,
and my religion, and my hopes of heaven, and my charity to them, too;
and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate....
And he that hath so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in
love with sorrow and peevishness, who loves all these pleasures, and
chooses to sit down upon his little handful of thorns." [171]

Although cheerfulness of disposition is very much a matter of inborn
temperament, it is also capable of being trained and cultivated like any
other habit. We may make the best of life, or we may make the worst of
it; and it depends very much upon ourselves whether we extract joy or
misery from it. There are always two sides of life on which we can look,
according as we choose--the bright side or the gloomy. We can bring the
power of the will to bear in making the choice, and thus cultivate the
habit of being happy or the reverse. We can encourage the disposition
of looking at the brightest side of things, instead of the darkest. And
while we see the cloud, let us not shut our eyes to the silver lining.

The beam in the eye sheds brightness, beauty, and joy upon life in all
its phases. It shines upon coldness, and warms it; upon suffering, and
comforts it; upon ignorance, and enlightens it; upon sorrow, and cheers
it. The beam in the eye gives lustre to intellect, and brightens beauty
itself. Without it the sunshine of life is not felt, flowers bloom in
vain, the marvels of heaven and earth are not seen or acknowledged, and
creation is but a dreary, lifeless, soulless blank.

While cheerfulness of disposition is a great source of enjoyment in
life, it is also a great safeguard of character. A devotional writer
of the present day, in answer to the question, How are we to overcome
temptations? says: "Cheerfulness is the first thing, cheerfulness is the
second, and cheerfulness is the third." It furnishes the best soil for
the growth of goodness and virtue. It gives brightness of heart and
elasticity of spirit. It is the companion of charity, the nurse of
patience the mother of wisdom. It is also the best of moral and mental
tonics. "The best cordial of all," said Dr. Marshall Hall to one of his
patients, "is cheerfulness." And Solomon has said that "a merry heart
doeth good like a medicine." When Luther was once applied to for a
remedy against melancholy, his advice was: "Gaiety and courage--innocent
gaiety, and rational honourable courage--are the best medicine for young
men, and for old men, too; for all men against sad thoughts." [172] Next
to music, if not before it, Luther loved children and flowers. The great
gnarled man had a heart as tender as a woman's.

Cheerfulness is also an excellent wearing quality. It has been called
the bright weather of the heart. It gives harmony of soul, and is a
perpetual song without words. It is tantamount to repose. It enables
nature to recruit its strength; whereas worry and discontent debilitate
it, involving constant wear-and-tear. How is it that we see such men
as Lord Palmerston growing old in harness, working on vigorously to the
end? Mainly through equanimity of temper and habitual cheerfulness. They
have educated themselves in the habit of endurance, of not being easily
provoked, of bearing and forbearing, of hearing harsh and even unjust
things said of them without indulging in undue resentment, and avoiding
worreting, petty, and self-tormenting cares. An intimate friend of Lord
Palmerston, who observed him closely for twenty years, has said that he
never saw him angry, with perhaps one exception; and that was when the
ministry responsible for the calamity in Affghanistan, of which he was
one, were unjustly accused by their opponents of falsehood, perjury, and
wilful mutilation of public documents.

So far as can be learnt from biography, men of the greatest genius
have been for the most part cheerful, contented men--not eager for
reputation, money, or power--but relishing life, and keenly susceptible
of enjoyment, as we find reflected in their works. Such seem to have
been Homer, Horace, Virgil, Montaigne, Shakspeare, Cervantes. Healthy
serene cheerfulness is apparent in their great creations. Among the same
class of cheerful-minded men may also be mentioned Luther, More, Bacon,
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michael Angelo. Perhaps they were happy
because constantly occupied, and in the pleasantest of all work--that of
creating out of the fulness and richness of their great minds.

Milton, too, though a man of many trials and sufferings, must have been
a man of great cheerfulness and elasticity of nature. Though overtaken
by blindness, deserted by friends, and fallen upon evil days--"darkness
before and danger's voice behind"--yet did he not bate heart or hope,
but "still bore up and steered right onward."

Henry Fielding was a man borne down through life by debt, and
difficulty, and bodily suffering; and yet Lady Mary Wortley Montague
has said of him that, by virtue of his cheerful disposition, she was
persuaded he "had known more happy moments than any person on earth."

Dr. Johnson, through all his trials and sufferings and hard fights with
fortune, was a courageous and cheerful-natured man. He manfully made
the best of life, and tried to be glad in it. Once, when a clergyman was
complaining of the dulness of society in the country, saying "they only
talk of runts" [17young cows], Johnson felt flattered by the observation
of Mrs. Thrale's mother, who said, "Sir, Dr. Johnson would learn to
talk of runts"--meaning that he was a man who would make the most of his
situation, whatever it was.

Johnson was of opinion that a man grew better as he grew older, and that
his nature mellowed with age. This is certainly a much more cheerful
view of human nature than that of Lord Chesterfield, who saw life
through the eyes of a cynic, and held that "the heart never grows better
by age: it only grows harder." But both sayings may be true according
to the point from which life is viewed, and the temper by which a man is
governed; for while the good, profiting by experience, and disciplining
themselves by self-control, will grow better, the ill-conditioned,
uninfluenced by experience, will only grow worse.

Sir Walter Scott was a man full of the milk of human kindness. Everybody
loved him. He was never five minutes in a room ere the little pets of
the family, whether dumb or lisping, had found out his kindness for all
their generation. Scott related to Captain Basil Hall an incident of his
boyhood which showed the tenderness of his nature. One day, a dog coming
towards him, he took up a big stone, threw it, and hit the dog. The poor
creature had strength enough left to crawl up to him and lick his feet,
although he saw its leg was broken. The incident, he said, had given
him the bitterest remorse in his after-life; but he added, "An early
circumstance of that kind, properly reflected on, is calculated to have
the best effect on one's character throughout life."

"Give me an honest laugher," Scott would say; and he himself laughed the
heart's laugh. He had a kind word for everybody, and his kindness acted
all round him like a contagion, dispelling the reserve and awe which his
great name was calculated to inspire. "He'll come here," said the keeper
of the ruins of Melrose Abbey to Washington Irving--"he'll come here
some-times, wi' great folks in his company, and the first I'll know of
it is hearing his voice calling out, 'Johnny! Johnny Bower!' And when I
go out I'm sure to be greeted wi' a joke or a pleasant word. He'll stand
and crack and laugh wi' me, just like an auld wife; and to think that of

Dr. Arnold was a man of the same hearty cordiality of manner--full of
human sympathy. There was not a particle of affectation or pretence of
condescension about him. "I never knew such a humble man as the doctor,"
said the parish clerk at Laleham; "he comes and shakes us by the hand as
if he was one of us." "He used to come into my house," said an old woman
near Fox How, "and talk to me as if I were a lady."

Sydney Smith was another illustration of the power of cheerfulness. He
was ever ready to look on the bright side of things; the darkest cloud
had to him its silver lining. Whether working as country curate, or as
parish rector, he was always kind, laborious, patient, and exemplary;
exhibiting in every sphere of life the spirit of a Christian, the
kindness of a pastor, and the honour of a gentleman. In his leisure he
employed his pen on the side of justice, freedom, education, toleration,
emancipation; and his writings, though full of common-sense and bright
humour, are never vulgar; nor did he ever pander to popularity or
prejudice. His good spirits, thanks to his natural vivacity and stamina
of constitution, never forsook him; and in his old age, when borne down
by disease, he wrote to a friend: "I have gout, asthma, and seven other
maladies, but am otherwise very well." In one of the last letters he
wrote to Lady Carlisle, he said: "If you hear of sixteen or eighteen
pounds of flesh wanting an owner, they belong to me. I look as if a
curate had been taken out of me."

Great men of science have for the most part been patient, laborious,
cheerful-minded men. Such were Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and Laplace.
Euler the mathematician, one of the greatest of natural philosophers,
was a distinguished instance. Towards the close of his life he became
completely blind; but he went on writing as cheerfully as before,
supplying the want of sight by various ingenious mechanical devices,
and by the increased cultivation of his memory, which became exceedingly
tenacious. His chief pleasure was in the society of his grandchildren,
to whom he taught their little lessons in the intervals of his severer

In like manner, Professor Robison of Edinburgh, the first editor of the
'Encyclopaedia Britannica,' when disabled from work by a lingering
and painful disorder, found his chief pleasure in the society of his
grandchild. "I am infinitely delighted," he wrote to James Watt, "with
observing the growth of its little soul, and particularly with its
numberless instincts, which formerly passed unheeded. I thank the French
theorists for more forcibly directing my attention to the finger of God,
which I discern in every awkward movement and every wayward whim. They
are all guardians of his life and growth and power. I regret indeed that
I have not time to make infancy and the development of its powers my
sole study."

One of the sorest trials of a man's temper and patience was that which
befell Abauzit, the natural philosopher, while residing at Geneva;
resembling in many respects a similar calamity which occurred to Newton,
and which he bore with equal resignation. Amongst other things, Abauzit
devoted much study to the barometer and its variations, with the object
of deducing the general laws which regulated atmospheric pressure.
During twenty-seven years he made numerous observations daily, recording
them on sheets prepared for the purpose. One day, when a new servant was
installed in the house, she immediately proceeded to display her zeal
by "putting things to-rights." Abauzit's study, amongst other rooms, was
made tidy and set in order. When he entered it, he asked of the servant,
"What have you done with the paper that was round the barometer?" "Oh,
sir," was the reply, "it was so dirty that I burnt it, and put in its
place this paper, which you will see is quite new." Abauzit crossed his
arms, and after some moments of internal struggle, he said, in a tone
of calmness and resignation: "You have destroyed the results of
twenty-seven years labour; in future touch nothing whatever in this

The study of natural history more than that of any other branch of
science, seems to be accompanied by unusual cheerfulness and equanimity
of temper on the part of its votaries; the result of which is, that
the life of naturalists is on the whole more prolonged than that of
any other class of men of science. A member of the Linnaean Society has
informed us that of fourteen members who died in 1870, two were over
ninety, five were over eighty, and two were over seventy. The average
age of all the members who died in that year was seventy-five.

Adanson, the French botanist, was about seventy years old when the
Revolution broke out, and amidst the shock he lost everything--his
fortune, his places, and his gardens. But his patience, courage,
and resignation never forsook him. He became reduced to the greatest
straits, and even wanted food and clothing; yet his ardour of
investigation remained the same. Once, when the Institute invited him,
as being one of its oldest members, to assist at a SEANCE, his answer
was that he regretted he could not attend for want of shoes. "It was a
touching sight," says Cuvier, "to see the poor old man, bent over the
embers of a decaying fire, trying to trace characters with a feeble hand
on the little bit of paper which he held, forgetting all the pains of
life in some new idea in natural history, which came to him like
some beneficent fairy to cheer him in his loneliness." The Directory
eventually gave him a small pension, which Napoleon doubled; and at
length, easeful death came to his relief in his seventy-ninth year. A
clause in his will, as to the manner of his funeral, illustrates the
character of the man. He directed that a garland of flowers, provided by
fifty-eight families whom he had established in life, should be the
only decoration of his coffin--a slight but touching image of the more
durable monument which he had erected for himself in his works.

Such are only a few instances, of the cheerful-working-ness of great
men, which might, indeed, be multiplied to any extent. All large
healthy natures are cheerful as well as hopeful. Their example is also
contagious and diffusive, brightening and cheering all who come within
reach of their influence. It was said of Sir John Malcolm, when he
appeared in a saddened camp in India, that "it was like a gleam of
sunlight,.... no man left him without a smile on his face. He was 'boy
Malcolm' still. It was impossible to resist the fascination of his
genial presence." [173]

There was the same joyousness of nature about Edmund Burke. Once at a
dinner at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, when the conversation turned upon
the suitability of liquors for particular temperaments, Johnson said,
"Claret is for boys, port for men, and brandy for heroes." "Then," said
Burke, "let me have claret: I love to be a boy, and to have the careless
gaiety of boyish days." And so it is, that there are old young men, and
young old men--some who are as joyous and cheerful as boys in their
old age, and others who are as morose and cheerless as saddened old men
while still in their boyhood.

In the presence of some priggish youths, we have heard a cheerful old
man declare that, apparently, there would soon be nothing but "old boys"
left. Cheerfulness, being generous and genial, joyous and hearty, is
never the characteristic of prigs. Goethe used to exclaim of goody-goody
persons, "Oh! if they had but the heart to commit an absurdity!" This
was when he thought they wanted heartiness and nature. "Pretty dolls!"
was his expression when speaking of them, and turning away.

The true basis of cheerfulness is love, hope, and patience. Love evokes
love, and begets loving kindness. Love cherishes hopeful and generous
thoughts of others. It is charitable, gentle, and truthful. It is a
discerner of good. It turns to the brightest side of things, and its
face is ever directed towards happiness. It sees "the glory in the
grass, the sunshine on the flower." It encourages happy thoughts, and
lives in an atmosphere of cheerfulness. It costs nothing, and yet is
invaluable; for it blesses its possessor, and grows up in abundant
happiness in the bosoms of others. Even its sorrows are linked with
pleasures, and its very tears are sweet.

Bentham lays it down as a principle, that a man becomes rich in his own
stock of pleasures in proportion to the amount he distributes to others.
His kindness will evoke kindness, and his happiness be increased by his
own benevolence. "Kind words," he says, "cost no more than unkind ones.
Kind words produce kind actions, not only on the part of him to whom
they are addressed, but on the part of him by whom they are employed;
and this not incidentally only, but habitually, in virtue of the
principle of association.".... "It may indeed happen, that the effort
of beneficence may not benefit those for whom it was intended; but when
wisely directed, it MUST benefit the person from whom it emanates. Good
and friendly conduct may meet with an unworthy and ungrateful return;
but the absence of gratitude on the part of the receiver cannot destroy
the self-approbation which recompenses the giver, and we may scatter the
seeds of courtesy and kindliness around us at so little expense. Some of
them will inevitably fall on good ground, and grow up into benevolence
in the minds of others; and all of them will bear fruit of happiness
in the bosom whence they spring. Once blest are all the virtues always;
twice blest sometimes." [174]

The poet Rogers used to tell a story of a little girl, a great favourite
with every one who knew her. Some one said to her, "Why does everybody
love you so much?" She answered, "I think it is because I love everybody
so much." This little story is capable of a very wide application; for
our happiness as human beings, generally speaking, will be found to be
very much in proportion to the number of things we love, and the number
of things that love us. And the greatest worldly success, however
honestly achieved, will contribute comparatively little to happiness,
unless it be accompanied by a lively benevolence towards every human

Kindness is indeed a great power in the world. Leigh Hunt has truly said
that "Power itself hath not one half the might of gentleness." Men are
always best governed through their affections. There is a French proverb
which says that, "LES HOMMES SE PRENNENT PAR LA DOUCEUR," and a coarser
English one, to the effect that "More wasps are caught by honey than by
vinegar." "Every act of kindness," says Bentham, "is in fact an exercise
of power, and a stock of friendship laid up; and why should not power
exercise itself in the production of pleasure as of pain?"

Kindness does not consist in gifts, but in gentleness and generosity
of spirit. Men may give their money which comes from the purse, and
withhold their kindness which comes from the heart. The kindness that
displays itself in giving money, does not amount to much, and often
does quite as much harm as good; but the kindness of true sympathy, of
thoughtful help, is never without beneficent results.

The good temper that displays itself in kindness must not be confounded
with softness or silliness. In its best form, it is not a merely passive
but an active condition of being. It is not by any means indifferent,
but largely sympathetic. It does not characterise the lowest and most
gelatinous forms of human life, but those that are the most highly
organized. True kindness cherishes and actively promotes all reasonable
instrumentalities for doing practical good in its own time; and,
looking into futurity, sees the same spirit working on for the eventual
elevation and happiness of the race.

It is the kindly-dispositioned men who are the active men of the
world, while the selfish and the sceptical, who have no love but for
themselves, are its idlers. Buffon used to say, that he would give
nothing for a young man who did not begin life with an enthusiasm of
some sort. It showed that at least he had faith in something good,
lofty, and generous, even if unattainable.

Egotism, scepticism, and selfishness are always miserable companions
in life, and they are especially unnatural in youth. The egotist is
next-door to a fanatic. Constantly occupied with self, he has no thought
to spare for others. He refers to himself in all things, thinks of
himself, and studies himself, until his own little self becomes his own
little god.

Worst of all are the grumblers and growlers at fortune--who find that
"whatever is is wrong," and will do nothing to set matters right--who
declare all to be barren "from Dan even to Beersheba." These grumblers
are invariably found the least efficient helpers in the school of life.
As the worst workmen are usually the readiest to "strike," so the least
industrious members of society are the readiest to complain. The worst
wheel of all is the one that creaks.

There is such a thing as the cherishing of discontent until the feeling
becomes morbid. The jaundiced see everything about them yellow. The
ill-conditioned think all things awry, and the whole world out-of-joint.
All is vanity and vexation of spirit. The little girl in PUNCH, who
found her doll stuffed with bran, and forthwith declared everything to
be hollow and wanted to "go into a nunnery," had her counterpart in real
life. Many full-grown people are quite as morbidly unreasonable. There
are those who may be said to "enjoy bad health;" they regard it as a
sort of property. They can speak of "MY headache"--"MY backache," and
so forth, until in course of time it becomes their most cherished
possession. But perhaps it is the source to them of much coveted
sympathy, without which they might find themselves of comparatively
little importance in the world.

We have to be on our guard against small troubles, which, by
encouraging, we are apt to magnify into great ones. Indeed, the chief
source of worry in the world is not real but imaginary evil--small
vexations and trivial afflictions. In the presence of a great sorrow,
all petty troubles disappear; but we are too ready to take some
cherished misery to our bosom, and to pet it there. Very often it is the
child of our fancy; and, forgetful of the many means of happiness which
lie within our reach, we indulge this spoilt child of ours until
it masters us. We shut the door against cheerfulness, and surround
ourselves with gloom. The habit gives a colouring to our life. We grow
querulous, moody, and unsympathetic. Our conversation becomes full of
regrets. We are harsh in our judgment of others. We are unsociable, and
think everybody else is so. We make our breast a storehouse of pain,
which we inflict upon ourselves as well as upon others.

This disposition is encouraged by selfishness: indeed, it is for the
most part selfishness unmingled, without any admixture of sympathy
or consideration for the feelings of those about us. It is simply
wilfulness in the wrong direction. It is wilful, because it might be
avoided. Let the necessitarians argue as they may, freedom of will and
action is the possession of every man and woman. It is sometimes our
glory, and very often it is our shame: all depends upon the manner in
which it is used. We can choose to look at the bright side of things,
or at the dark. We can follow good and eschew evil thoughts. We can be
wrongheaded and wronghearted, or the reverse, as we ourselves determine.
The world will be to each one of us very much what we make it. The
cheerful are its real possessors, for the world belongs to those who
enjoy it.

It must, however, be admitted that there are cases beyond the reach of
the moralist. Once, when a miserable-looking dyspeptic called upon a
leading physician and laid his case before him, "Oh!" said the doctor,
"you only want a good hearty laugh: go and see Grimaldi." "Alas!" said
the miserable patient, "I am Grimaldi!" So, when Smollett, oppressed
by disease, travelled over Europe in the hope of finding health, he
saw everything through his own jaundiced eyes. "I'll tell it," said
Smellfungus, "to the world." "You had better tell it," said Sterne, "to
your physician." The restless, anxious, dissatisfied temper, that is
ever ready to run and meet care half-way, is fatal to all happiness and
peace of mind. How often do we see men and women set themselves about as
if with stiff bristles, so that one dare scarcely approach them without
fear of being pricked! For want of a little occasional command over
one's temper, an amount of misery is occasioned in society which is
positively frightful. Thus enjoyment is turned into bitterness, and
life becomes like a journey barefooted amongst thorns and briers and
prickles. "Though sometimes small evils," says Richard Sharp, "like
invisible insects, inflict great pain, and a single hair may stop a vast
machine, yet the chief secret of comfort lies in not suffering trifles
to vex us; and in prudently cultivating an undergrowth of small
pleasures, since very few great ones, alas! are let on long leases." [175]

St. Francis de Sales treats the same topic from the Christian's point
of view. "How carefully," he says, "we should cherish the little virtues
which spring up at the foot of the Cross!" When the saint was asked,
"What virtues do you mean?" he replied: "Humility, patience, meekness,
benignity, bearing one another's burden, condescension, softness
of heart, cheerfulness, cordiality, compassion, forgiving injuries,
simplicity, candour--all, in short of that sort of little virtues. They,
like unobtrusive violets, love the shade; like them are sustained by
dew; and though, like them, they make little show, they shed a sweet
odour on all around." [176]

And again he said: "If you would fall into any extreme, let it be on
the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists
rigour, and yields to softness. A mild word quenches anger, as water
quenches the rage of fire; and by benignity any soil may be rendered
fruitful. Truth, uttered with courtesy, is heaping coals of fire on the
head--or rather, throwing roses in the face. How can we resist a foe
whose weapons are pearls and diamonds?" [177]

Meeting evils by anticipation is not the way to overcome them. If we
perpetually carry our burdens about with us, they will soon bear us
down under their load. When evil comes, we must deal with it bravely and
hopefully. What Perthes wrote to a young man, who seemed to him inclined
to take trifles as well as sorrows too much to heart, was doubtless good
advice: "Go forward with hope and confidence. This is the advice given
thee by an old man, who has had a full share of the burden and heat of
life's day. We must ever stand upright, happen what may, and for this
end we must cheerfully resign ourselves to the varied influences of this
many-coloured life. You may call this levity, and you are partly right;
for flowers and colours are but trifles light as air, but such levity is
a constituent portion of our human nature, without which it would sink
under the weight of time. While on earth we must still play with earth,
and with that which blooms and fades upon its breast. The consciousness
of this mortal life being but the way to a higher goal, by no means
precludes our playing with it cheerfully; and, indeed, we must do so,
otherwise our energy in action will entirely fail." [178]

Cheerfulness also accompanies patience, which is one of the main
conditions of happiness and success in life. "He that will be served,"
says George Herbert, "must be patient." It was said of the cheerful and
patient King Alfred, that "good fortune accompanied him like a gift of
God." Marlborough's expectant calmness was great, and a principal secret
of his success as a general. "Patience will overcome all things," he
wrote to Godolphin, in 1702. In the midst of a great emergency, while
baffled and opposed by his allies, he said, "Having done all that is
possible, we should submit with patience."

Last and chiefest of blessings is Hope, the most common of possessions;
for, as Thales the philosopher said, "Even those who have nothing else
have hope." Hope is the great helper of the poor. It has even been
styled "the poor man's bread." It is also the sustainer and inspirer
of great deeds. It is recorded of Alexander the Great, that when he
succeeded to the throne of Macedon, he gave away amongst his friends
the greater part of the estates which his father had left him; and when
Perdiccas asked him what he reserved for himself, Alexander answered,
"The greatest possession of all,--Hope!"

The pleasures of memory, however great, are stale compared with those
of hope; for hope is the parent of all effort and endeavour; and "every
gift of noble origin is breathed upon by Hope's perpetual breath." It
may be said to be the moral engine that moves the world, and keeps it in
action; and at the end of all there stands before us what Robertson of
Ellon styled "The Great Hope." "If it were not for Hope," said Byron,
"where would the Future be?--in hell! It is useless to say where the
Present is, for most of us know; and as for the Past, WHAT predominates
in memory?--Hope baffled. ERGO, in all human affairs it is Hope, Hope,
Hope!" [179]


     "We must be gentle, now we are gentlemen."--SHAKSPEARE.

          "Manners are not idle, but the fruit
           Of noble nature and of loyal mind."--TENNYSON.

     "A beautiful behaviour is better than a beautiful form; it
     gives a higher pleasure than statues and pictures; it is the
     finest of the fine arts."--EMERSON.

     "Manners are often too much neglected; they are most
     important to men, no less than to women.... Life is too
     short to get over a bad manner; besides, manners are the
     shadows of virtues."--THE REV. SIDNEY SMITH.

Manner is one of the principal external graces of character. It is the
ornament of action, and often makes the commonest offices beautiful by
the way in which it performs them. It is a happy way of doing things,
adorning even the smallest details of life, and contributing to render
it, as a whole, agreeable and pleasant.

Manner is not so frivolous or unimportant as some may think it to be;
for it tends greatly to facilitate the business of life, as well as
to sweeten and soften social intercourse. "Virtue itself," says Bishop
Middleton, "offends, when coupled with a forbidding manner."

Manner has a good deal to do with the estimation in which men are held
by the world; and it has often more influence in the government of
others than qualities of much greater depth and substance. A manner at
once gracious and cordial is among the greatest aids to success, and
many there are who fail for want of it. [181] For a great deal depends
upon first impressions; and these are usually favourable or otherwise
according to a man's courteousness and civility.

While rudeness and gruffness bar doors and shut hearts, kindness and
propriety of behaviour, in which good manners consist, act as an "open
sesame" everywhere. Doors unbar before them, and they are a passport to
the hearts of everybody, young and old.

There is a common saying that "Manners make the man;" but this is not so
true as that "Man makes the manners." A man may be gruff, and even
rude, and yet be good at heart and of sterling character; yet he would
doubtless be a much more agreeable, and probably a much more useful man,
were he to exhibit that suavity of disposition and courtesy of manner
which always gives a finish to the true gentleman.

Mrs. Hutchinson, in the noble portraiture of her husband, to which
we have already had occasion to refer, thus describes his manly
courteousness and affability of disposition:--"I cannot say whether
he were more truly magnanimous or less proud; he never disdained the
meanest person, nor flattered the greatest; he had a loving and sweet
courtesy to the poorest, and would often employ many spare hours with
the commonest soldiers and poorest labourers; but still so ordering his
familiarity, that it never raised them to a contempt, but entertained
still at the same time a reverence and love of him." [182]

A man's manner, to a certain extent, indicates his character. It is
the external exponent of his inner nature. It indicates his taste, his
feelings, and his temper, as well as the society to which he has been
accustomed. There is a conventional manner, which is of comparatively
little importance; but the natural manner, the outcome of natural gifts,
improved by careful self-culture, signifies a great deal.

Grace of manner is inspired by sentiment, which is a source of no slight
enjoyment to a cultivated mind. Viewed in this light, sentiment is of
almost as much importance as talents and acquirements, while it is
even more influential in giving the direction to a man s tastes and
character. Sympathy is the golden key that unlocks the hearts of others.
It not only teaches politeness and courtesy, but gives insight and
unfolds wisdom, and may almost be regarded as the crowning grace of

Artificial rules of politeness are of very little use. What passes by
the name of "Etiquette" is often of the essence of unpoliteness and
untruthfulness. It consists in a great measure of posture-making, and
is easily seen through. Even at best, etiquette is but a substitute for
good manners, though it is often but their mere counterfeit.

Good manners consist, for the most part, in courteousness and kindness.
Politeness has been described as the art of showing, by external signs,
the internal regard we have for others. But one may be perfectly polite
to another without necessarily having a special regard for him. Good
manners are neither more nor less than beautiful behaviour. It has been
well said, that "a beautiful form is better than a beautiful face, and
a beautiful behaviour is better than a beautiful form; it gives a higher
pleasure than statues or pictures--it is the finest of the fine arts."

The truest politeness comes of sincerity. It must be the outcome of the
heart, or it will make no lasting impression; for no amount of polish
can dispense with truthfulness. The natural character must be allowed to
appear, freed of its angularities and asperities. Though politeness,
in its best form, should [18as St. Francis de Sales says] resemble
water--"best when clearest, most simple, and without taste,"--yet genius
in a man will always cover many defects of manner, and much will
be excused to the strong and the original. Without genuineness and
individuality, human life would lose much of its interest and variety,
as well as its manliness and robustness of character.

True courtesy is kind. It exhibits itself in the disposition to
contribute to the happiness of others, and in refraining from all that
may annoy them. It is grateful as well as kind, and readily acknowledges
kind actions. Curiously enough, Captain Speke found this quality of
character recognised even by the natives of Uganda on the shores of
Lake Nyanza, in the heart of Africa, where, he says. "Ingratitude, or
neglecting to thank a person for a benefit conferred, is punishable."

True politeness especially exhibits itself in regard for the personality
of others. A man will respect the individuality of another if he wishes
to be respected himself. He will have due regard for his views and
opinions, even though they differ from his own. The well-mannered man
pays a compliment to another, and sometimes even secures his respect,
by patiently listening to him. He is simply tolerant and forbearant, and
refrains from judging harshly; and harsh judgments of others will almost
invariably provoke harsh judgments of ourselves.

The unpolite impulsive man will, however, sometimes rather lose his
friend than his joke. He may surely be pronounced a very foolish person
who secures another's hatred at the price of a moment's gratification.
It was a saying of Brunel the engineer--himself one of the
kindest-natured of men--that "spite and ill-nature are among the most
expensive luxuries in life." Dr. Johnson once said: "Sir, a man has no
more right to SAY an uncivil thing than to ACT one--no more right to say
a rude thing to another than to knock him down."

A sensible polite person does not assume to be better or wiser or richer
than his neighbour. He does not boast of his rank, or his birth, or his
country; or look down upon others because they have not been born to
like privileges with himself. He does not brag of his achievements or
of his calling, or "talk shop" whenever he opens his mouth. On the
contrary, in all that he says or does, he will be modest, unpretentious,
unassuming; exhibiting his true character in performing rather than in
boasting, in doing rather than in talking.

Want of respect for the feelings of others usually originates in
selfishness, and issues in hardness and repulsiveness of manner. It may
not proceed from malignity so much as from want of sympathy and want of
delicacy--a want of that perception of, and attention to, those little
and apparently trifling things by which pleasure is given or
pain occasioned to others. Indeed, it may be said that in
self-sacrificingness, so to speak, in the ordinary intercourse of life,
mainly consists the difference between being well and ill bred.

Without some degree of self-restraint in society, a man may be found
almost insufferable. No one has pleasure in holding intercourse with
such a person, and he is a constant source of annoyance to those about
him. For want of self-restraint, many men are engaged all their lives
in fighting with difficulties of their own making, and rendering success
impossible by their own crossgrained ungentleness; whilst others, it
may be much less gifted, make their way and achieve success by simple
patience, equanimity, and self-control.

It has been said that men succeed in life quite as much by their temper
as by their talents. However this may be, it is certain that their
happiness depends mainly on their temperament, especially upon their
disposition to be cheerful; upon their complaisance, kindliness of
manner, and willingness to oblige others--details of conduct which are
like the small-change in the intercourse of life, and are always in

Men may show their disregard of others in various unpolite ways--as,
for instance, by neglect of propriety in dress, by the absence of
cleanliness, or by indulging in repulsive habits. The slovenly dirty
person, by rendering himself physically disagreeable, sets the tastes
and feelings of others at defiance, and is rude and uncivil only under
another form.

David Ancillon, a Huguenot preacher of singular attractiveness, who
studied and composed his sermons with the greatest care, was accustomed
to say "that it was showing too little esteem for the public to take
no pains in preparation, and that a man who should appear on a
ceremonial-day in his nightcap and dressing-gown, could not commit a
greater breach of civility."

The perfection of manner is ease--that it attracts no man's notice
as such, but is natural and unaffected. Artifice is incompatible with
courteous frankness of manner. Rochefoucauld has said that "nothing so
much prevents our being natural as the desire of appearing so." Thus we
come round again to sincerity and truthfulness, which find their outward
expression in graciousness, urbanity, kindliness, and consideration for
the feelings of others. The frank and cordial man sets those about him
at their ease. He warms and elevates them by his presence, and wins
all hearts. Thus manner, in its highest form, like character, becomes a
genuine motive power.

"The love and admiration," says Canon Kingsley, "which that truly brave
and loving man, Sir Sydney Smith, won from every one, rich and poor,
with whom he came in contact seems to have arisen from the one fact,
that without, perhaps, having any such conscious intention, he treated
rich and poor, his own servants and the noblemen his guests, alike, and
alike courteously, considerately, cheerfully, affectionately--so leaving
a blessing, and reaping a blessing, wherever he went."

Good manners are usually supposed to be the peculiar characteristic of
persons gently born and bred, and of persons moving in the higher rather
than in the lower spheres of society. And this is no doubt to a great
extent true, because of the more favourable surroundings of the former
in early life. But there is no reason why the poorest classes should not
practise good manners towards each other as well as the richest.

Men who toil with their hands, equally with those who do not, may
respect themselves and respect one another; and it is by their demeanour
to each other--in other words, by their manners--that self-respect as
well as mutual respect are indicated. There is scarcely a moment in
their lives, the enjoyment of which might not be enhanced by kindliness
of this sort--in the workshop, in the street, or at home. The civil
workman will exercise increased power amongst his class, and gradually
induce them to imitate him by his persistent steadiness, civility, and
kindness. Thus Benjamin Franklin, when a working-man, is said to have
reformed the habits of an entire workshop.

One may be polite and gentle with very little money in his purse.
Politeness goes far, yet costs nothing. It is the cheapest of all
commodities. It is the humblest of the fine arts, yet it is so useful
and so pleasure-giving, that it might almost be ranked amongst the

Every nation may learn something of others; and if there be one thing
more than another that the English working-class might afford to
copy with advantage from their Continental neighbours, it is their
politeness. The French and Germans, of even the humblest classes, are
gracious in manner, complaisant, cordial, and well-bred. The foreign
workman lifts his cap and respectfully salutes his fellow-workman in
passing. There is no sacrifice of manliness in this, but grace and
dignity. Even the lowest poverty of the foreign workpeople is not
misery, simply because it is cheerful. Though not receiving one-half the
income which our working-classes do, they do not sink into wretchedness
and drown their troubles in drink; but contrive to make the best of
life, and to enjoy it even amidst poverty.

Good taste is a true economist. It may be practised on small means,
and sweeten the lot of labour as well as of ease. It is all the more
enjoyed, indeed, when associated with industry and the performance of
duty. Even the lot of poverty is elevated by taste. It exhibits itself
in the economies of the household. It gives brightness and grace to the
humblest dwelling. It produces refinement, it engenders goodwill, and
creates an atmosphere of cheerfulness. Thus good taste, associated with
kindliness, sympathy, and intelligence, may elevate and adorn even the
lowliest lot.

The first and best school of manners, as of character, is always the
Home, where woman is the teacher. The manners of society at large are
but the reflex of the manners of our collective homes, neither better
nor worse. Yet, with all the disadvantages of ungenial homes, men may
practise self-culture of manner as of intellect, and learn by good
examples to cultivate a graceful and agreeable behaviour towards others.
Most men are like so many gems in the rough, which need polishing by
contact with other and better natures, to bring out their full beauty
and lustre. Some have but one side polished, sufficient only to show the
delicate graining of the interior; but to bring out the full qualities
of the gem needs the discipline of experience, and contact with the best
examples of character in the intercourse of daily life.

A good deal of the success of manner consists in tact, and it is because
women, on the whole, have greater tact than men, that they prove its
most influential teachers. They have more self-restraint than men,
and are naturally more gracious and polite. They possess an intuitive
quickness and readiness of action, have a keener insight into character,
and exhibit greater discrimination and address. In matters of social
detail, aptness and dexterity come to them like nature; and hence
well-mannered men usually receive their best culture by mixing in the
society of gentle and adroit women.

Tact is an intuitive art of manner, which carries one through a
difficulty better than either talent or knowledge. "Talent," says a
public writer, "is power: tact is skill. Talent is weight: tact is
momentum. Talent knows what to do: tact knows how to do it. Talent makes
a man respectable: tact makes him respected. Talent is wealth: tact is

The difference between a man of quick tact and of no tact whatever
was exemplified in an interview which once took place between Lord
Palmerston and Mr. Behnes, the sculptor. At the last sitting which Lord
Palmerston gave him, Behnes opened the conversation with--"Any news,
my Lord, from France? How do we stand with Louis Napoleon?" The Foreign
Secretary raised his eyebrows for an instant, and quietly replied,
"Really, Mr. Behnes, I don't know: I have not seen the newspapers!" Poor
Behnes, with many excellent qualities and much real talent, was one of
the many men who entirely missed their way in life through want of tact.

Such is the power of manner, combined with tact, that Wilkes, one of the
ugliest of men, used to say, that in winning the graces of a lady, there
was not more than three days' difference between him and the handsomest
man in England.

But this reference to Wilkes reminds us that too much importance must
not be attached to manner, for it does not afford any genuine test of
character. The well-mannered man may, like Wilkes, be merely acting a
part, and that for an immoral purpose. Manner, like other fine arts,
gives pleasure, and is exceedingly agreeable to look upon; but it may be
assumed as a disguise, as men "assume a virtue though they have it not."
It is but the exterior sign of good conduct, but may be no more than
skin-deep. The most highly-polished person may be thoroughly depraved
in heart; and his superfine manners may, after all, only consist in
pleasing gestures and in fine phrases.

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that some of the richest and
most generous natures have been wanting in the graces of courtesy and
politeness. As a rough rind sometimes covers the sweetest fruit, so a
rough exterior often conceals a kindly and hearty nature. The blunt man
may seem even rude in manner, and yet, at heart, be honest, kind, and

John Knox and Martin Luther were by no means distinguished for their
urbanity. They had work to do which needed strong and determined
rather than well-mannered men. Indeed, they were both thought to be
unnecessarily harsh and violent in their manner. "And who art thou,"
said Mary Queen of Scots to Knox, "that presumest to school the nobles
and sovereign of this realm?"--"Madam," replied Knox, "a subject born
within the same." It is said that his boldness, or roughness, more than
once made Queen Mary weep. When Regent Morton heard of this, he said,
"Well, 'tis better that women should weep than bearded men."

As Knox was retiring from the Queen's presence on one occasion, he
overheard one of the royal attendants say to another, "He is not
afraid!" Turning round upon them, he said: "And why should the pleasing
face of a gentleman frighten me? I have looked on the faces of angry
men, and yet have not been afraid beyond measure." When the Reformer,
worn-out by excess of labour and anxiety, was at length laid to his
rest, the Regent, looking down into the open grave, exclaimed, in words
which made a strong impression from their aptness and truth--"There lies
he who never feared the face of man!"

Luther also was thought by some to be a mere compound of violence and
ruggedness. But, as in the case of Knox, the times in which he lived
were rude and violent; and the work he had to do could scarcely have
been accomplished with gentleness and suavity. To rouse Europe from its
lethargy, he had to speak and to write with force, and even vehemence.
Yet Luther's vehemence was only in words. His apparently rude exterior
covered a warm heart. In private life he was gentle, loving, and
affectionate. He was simple and homely, even to commonness. Fond of all
common pleasures and enjoyments, he was anything but an austere man,
or a bigot; for he was hearty, genial, and even "jolly." Luther was the
common people's hero in his lifetime, and he remains so in Germany to
this day.

Samuel Johnson was rude and often gruff in manner. But he had been
brought up in a rough school. Poverty in early life had made him
acquainted with strange companions. He had wandered in the streets with
Savage for nights together, unable between them to raise money enough
to pay for a bed. When his indomitable courage and industry at length
secured for him a footing in society, he still bore upon him the scars
of his early sorrows and struggles. He was by nature strong and robust,
and his experience made him unaccommodating and self-asserting. When
he was once asked why he was not invited to dine out as Garrick was,
he answered, "Because great lords and ladies did not like to have their
mouths stopped;" and Johnson was a notorious mouth-stopper, though what
he said was always worth listening to.

Johnson's companions spoke of him as "Ursa Major;" but, as Goldsmith
generously said of him, "No man alive has a more tender heart; he has
nothing of the bear about him but his skin." The kindliness of Johnson's
nature was shown on one occasion by the manner in which he assisted a
supposed lady in crossing Fleet Street. He gave her his arm, and led her
across, not observing that she was in liquor at the time. But the spirit
of the act was not the less kind on that account. On the other hand,
the conduct of the bookseller on whom Johnson once called to solicit
employment, and who, regarding his athletic but uncouth person, told him
he had better "go buy a porter's knot and carry trunks," in howsoever
bland tones the advice might have been communicated, was simply brutal.

While captiousness of manner, and the habit of disputing and
contradicting everything said, is chilling and repulsive, the opposite
habit of assenting to, and sympathising with, every statement made, or
emotion expressed, is almost equally disagreeable. It is unmanly, and is
felt to be dishonest. "It may seem difficult," says Richard Sharp, "to
steer always between bluntness and plain-dealing, between giving
merited praise and lavishing indiscriminate flattery; but it is very
easy--good-humour, kindheartedness, and perfect simplicity, being all
that are requisite to do what is right in the right way." [183]

At the same time, many are unpolite--not because they mean to be so, but
because they are awkward, and perhaps know no better. Thus, when Gibbon
had published the second and third volumes of his 'Decline and Fall,'
the Duke of Cumberland met him one day, and accosted him with, "How do
you do, Mr. Gibbon? I see you are always AT IT in the old way--SCRIBBLE,
SCRIBBLE, SCRIBBLE!" The Duke probably intended to pay the author a
compliment, but did not know how better to do it, than in this blunt and
apparently rude way.

Again, many persons are thought to be stiff, reserved, and proud, when
they are only shy. Shyness is characteristic of most people of Teutonic
race. It has been styled "the English mania," but it pervades, to
a greater or less degree, all the Northern nations. The ordinary
Englishman, when he travels abroad, carries his shyness with him. He
is stiff, awkward, ungraceful, undemonstrative, and apparently
unsympathetic; and though he may assume a brusqueness of manner, the
shyness is there, and cannot be wholly concealed. The naturally graceful
and intensely social French cannot understand such a character; and the
Englishman is their standing joke--the subject of their most ludicrous
caricatures. George Sand attributes the rigidity of the natives of
Albion to a stock of FLUIDE BRITANNIQUE which they carry about with
them, that renders them impassive under all circumstances, and "as
impervious to the atmosphere of the regions they traverse as a mouse in
the centre of an exhausted receiver." [184]

The average Frenchman or Irishman excels the average Englishman, German,
or American in courtesy and ease of manner, simply because it is
his nature. They are more social and less self-dependent than men of
Teutonic origin, more demonstrative and less reticent; they are more
communicative, conversational, and freer in their intercourse with
each other in all respects; whilst men of German race are comparatively
stiff, reserved, shy, and awkward. At the same time, a people may
exhibit ease, gaiety, and sprightliness of character, and yet possess
no deeper qualities calculated to inspire respect. They may have every
grace of manner, and yet be heartless, frivolous, selfish. The character
may be on the surface only, and without any solid qualities for a

There can be no doubt as to which of the two sorts of people--the easy
and graceful, or the stiff and awkward--it is most agreeable to meet,
either in business, in society, or in the casual intercourse of life.
Which make the fastest friends, the truest men of their word, the most
conscientious performers of their duty, is an entirely different matter.

The dry GAUCHE Englishman--to use the French phrase, L'ANGLAIS
EMPETRE--is certainly a somewhat disagreeable person to meet at first.
He looks as if he had swallowed a poker. He is shy himself, and the
cause of shyness in others. He is stiff, not because he is proud, but
because he is shy; and he cannot shake it off, even if he would. Indeed,
we should not be surprised to find that even the clever writer who
describes the English Philistine in all his enormity of awkward manner
and absence of grace, were himself as shy as a bat.

When two shy men meet, they seem like a couple of icicles. They sidle
away and turn their backs on each other in a room, or when travelling
creep into the opposite corners of a railway-carriage. When shy
Englishmen are about to start on a journey by railway, they walk
along the train, to discover an empty compartment in which to bestow
themselves; and when once ensconced, they inwardly hate the next man who
comes in. So; on entering the dining-room of their club, each shy man
looks out for an unoccupied table, until sometimes--all the tables in
the room are occupied by single diners. All this apparent unsociableness
is merely shyness--the national characteristic of the Englishman.

"The disciples of Confucius," observes Mr. Arthur Helps, "say that
when in the presence of the prince, his manner displayed RESPECTFUL
UNEASINESS. There could hardly be given any two words which more fitly
describe the manner of most Englishmen when in society." Perhaps it
is due to this feeling that Sir Henry Taylor, in his 'Statesman,'
recommends that, in the management of interviews, the minister should
be as "near to the door" as possible; and, instead of bowing his visitor
out, that he should take refuge, at the end of an interview, in the
adjoining room. "Timid and embarrassed men," he says, "will sit as if
they were rooted to the spot, when they are conscious that they have
to traverse the length of a room in their retreat. In every case, an
interview will find a more easy and pleasing termination WHEN THE DOOR
IS AT HAND as the last words are spoken." [185]

The late Prince Albert, one of the gentlest and most amiable, was also
one of the most retiring of men. He struggled much against his sense
of shyness, but was never able either to conquer or conceal it. His
biographer, in explaining its causes, says: "It was the shyness of a
very delicate nature, that is not sure it will please, and is without
the confidence and the vanity which often go to form characters that are
outwardly more genial." [186]

But the Prince shared this defect with some of the greatest of
Englishmen. Sir Isaac Newton was probably the shyest man of his age. He
kept secret for a time some of his greatest discoveries, for fear of the
notoriety they might bring him. His discovery of the Binomial Theorem
and its most important applications, as well as his still greater
discovery of the Law of Gravitation, were not published for years after
they were made; and when he communicated to Collins his solution of the
theory of the moon's rotation round the earth, he forbade him to insert
his name in connection with it in the 'Philosophical Transactions,'
saying: "It would, perhaps, increase my acquaintance--the thing which I
chiefly study to decline."

From all that can be learnt of Shakspeare, it is to be inferred that he
was an exceedingly shy man. The manner in which his plays were sent
into the world--for it is not known that he edited or authorized
the publication of a single one of them--and the dates at which they
respectively appeared, are mere matters of conjecture. His appearance in
his own plays in second and even third-rate parts--his indifference to
reputation, and even his apparent aversion to be held in repute by his
contemporaries--his disappearance from London [18the seat and centre
of English histrionic art] so soon as he had realised a moderate
competency--and his retirement about the age of forty, for the remainder
of his days, to a life of obscurity in a small town in the midland
counties--all seem to unite in proving the shrinking nature of the man,
and his unconquerable shyness.

It is also probable that, besides being shy--and his shyness may, like
that of Byron, have been increased by his limp--Shakspeare did not
possess in any high degree the gift of hope. It is a remarkable
circumstance, that whilst the great dramatist has, in the course of
his writings, copiously illustrated all other gifts, affections, and
virtues, the passages are very rare in which Hope is mentioned, and then
it is usually in a desponding and despairing tone, as when he says:

      "The miserable hath no other medicine, But only Hope."

Many of his sonnets breathe the spirit of despair and hopelessness. [187]
He laments his lameness; [188] apologizes for his profession as an actor;
[189] expresses his "fear of trust" in himself, and his hopeless, perhaps
misplaced, affection; [1810] anticipates a "coffin'd doom;" and utters his
profoundly pathetic cry "for restful death."

It might naturally be supposed that Shakspeare's profession of an actor,
and his repeated appearances in public, would speedily overcome his
shyness, did such exist. But inborn shyness, when strong, is not so
easily conquered. [1811] Who could have believed that the late Charles
Mathews, who entertained crowded houses night after night, was naturally
one of the shyest of men? He would even make long circuits [18lame though
he was] along the byelanes of London to avoid recognition. His wife says
of him, that he looked "sheepish" and confused if recognised; and that
his eyes would fall, and his colour would mount, if he heard his name
even whispered in passing along the streets. [1812]

Nor would it at first sight have been supposed that Lord Byron was
affected with shyness, and yet he was a victim to it; his biographer
relating that, while on a visit to Mrs. Pigot, at Southwell, when he saw
strangers approaching, he would instantly jump out of the window, and
escape on to the lawn to avoid them.

But a still more recent and striking instance is that of the late
Archbishop Whately, who, in the early part of his life, was painfully
oppressed by the sense of shyness. When at Oxford, his white rough coat
and white hat obtained for him the soubriquet of "The White Bear;" and
his manners, according to his own account of himself, corresponded with
the appellation. He was directed, by way of remedy, to copy the example
of the best-mannered men he met in society; but the attempt to do this
only increased his shyness, and he failed. He found that he was all the
while thinking of himself, rather than of others; whereas thinking of
others, rather than of one's self, is of the true essence of politeness.

Finding that he was making no progress, Whately was driven to utter
despair; and then he said to himself: "Why should I endure this torture
all my life to no purpose? I would bear it still if there was any
success to be hoped for; but since there is not, I will die quietly,
without taking any more doses. I have tried my very utmost, and find
that I must be as awkward as a bear all my life, in spite of it. I will
endeavour to think as little about it as a bear, and make up my mind to
endure what can't be cured." From this time forth he struggled to shake
off all consciousness as to manner, and to disregard censure as much
as possible. In adopting this course, he says: "I succeeded beyond
my expectations; for I not only got rid of the personal suffering of
shyness, but also of most of those faults of manner which consciousness
produces; and acquired at once an easy and natural manner--careless,
indeed, in the extreme, from its originating in a stern defiance of
opinion, which I had convinced myself must be ever against me; rough
and awkward, for smoothness and grace are quite out of my way, and,
of course, tutorially pedantic; but unconscious, and therefore giving
expression to that goodwill towards men which I really feel; and these,
I believe, are the main points." [1813]

Washington, who was an Englishman in his lineage, was also one in his
shyness. He is described incidentally by Mr. Josiah Quincy, as "a
little stiff in his person, not a little formal in his manner, and not
particularly at ease in the presence of strangers. He had the air of
a country gentleman not accustomed to mix much in society, perfectly
polite, but not easy in his address and conversation, and not graceful
in his movements."

Although we are not accustomed to think of modern Americans as shy, the
most distinguished American author of our time was probably the shyest
of men. Nathaniel Hawthorne was shy to the extent of morbidity. We have
observed him, when a stranger entered the room where he was, turn his
back for the purpose of avoiding recognition. And yet, when the crust
of his shyness was broken, no man could be more cordial and genial than

We observe a remark in one of Hawthorne's lately-published 'Notebooks,'
[1814] that on one occasion he met Mr. Helps in society, and found him
"cold." And doubtless Mr. Helps thought the same of him. It was only the
case of two shy men meeting, each thinking the other stiff and reserved,
and parting before their mutual film of shyness had been removed by a
little friendly intercourse. Before pronouncing a hasty judgment in such
cases, it would be well to bear in mind the motto of Helvetius, which
Bentham says proved such a real treasure to him: "POUR AIMER LES HOMMES,

We have thus far spoken of shyness as a defect. But there is another way
of looking at it; for even shyness has its bright side, and contains
an element of good. Shy men and shy races are ungraceful and
undemonstrative, because, as regards society at large, they are
comparatively unsociable. They do not possess those elegances of manner,
acquired by free intercourse, which distinguish the social races,
because their tendency is to shun society rather than to seek it.
They are shy in the presence of strangers, and shy even in their own
families. They hide their affections under a robe of reserve, and when
they do give way to their feelings, it is only in some very hidden
inner-chamber. And yet the feelings ARE there, and not the less healthy
and genuine that they are not made the subject of exhibition to others.

It was not a little characteristic of the ancient Germans, that the more
social and demonstrative peoples by whom they were surrounded should
have characterised them as the NIEMEC, or Dumb men. And the same
designation might equally apply to the modern English, as compared, for
example, with their nimbler, more communicative and vocal, and in all
respects more social neighbours, the modern French and Irish.

But there is one characteristic which marks the English people, as it
did the races from which they have mainly sprung, and that is
their intense love of Home. Give the Englishman a home, and he is
comparatively indifferent to society. For the sake of a holding which he
can call his own, he will cross the seas, plant himself on the prairie
or amidst the primeval forest, and make for himself a home. The solitude
of the wilderness has no fears for him; the society of his wife and
family is sufficient, and he cares for no other. Hence it is that the
people of Germanic origin, from whom the English and Americans have
alike sprung, make the best of colonizers, and are now rapidly extending
themselves as emigrants and settlers in all parts of the habitable

The French have never made any progress as colonizers, mainly because
of their intense social instincts--the secret of their graces of
manner,--and because they can never forget that they are Frenchmen. [1815]
It seemed at one time within the limits of probability that the French
would occupy the greater part of the North American continent. From
Lower Canada their line of forts extended up the St. Lawrence, and from
Fond du Lac on Lake Superior, along the River St. Croix, all down the
Mississippi, to its mouth at New Orleans. But the great, self-reliant,
industrious "Niemec," from a fringe of settlements along the seacoast,
silently extended westward, settling and planting themselves everywhere
solidly upon the soil; and nearly all that now remains of the original
French occupation of America, is the French colony of Acadia, in Lower

And even there we find one of the most striking illustrations of
that intense sociability of the French which keeps them together, and
prevents their spreading over and planting themselves firmly in a new
country, as it is the instinct of the men of Teutonic race to do. While,
in Upper Canada, the colonists of English and Scotch descent penetrate
the forest and the wilderness, each settler living, it may be, miles
apart from his nearest neighbour, the Lower Canadians of French descent
continue clustered together in villages, usually consisting of a line of
houses on either side of the road, behind which extend their long
strips of farm-land, divided and subdivided to an extreme tenuity. They
willingly submit to all the inconveniences of this method of farming for
the sake of each other's society, rather than betake themselves to the
solitary backwoods, as English, Germans, and Americans so readily do.
Indeed, not only does the American backwoodsman become accustomed to
solitude, but he prefers it. And in the Western States, when settlers
come too near him, and the country seems to become "overcrowded," he
retreats before the advance of society, and, packing up his "things" in
a waggon, he sets out cheerfully, with his wife and family, to found for
himself a new home in the Far West.

Thus the Teuton, because of his very shyness, is the true colonizer.
English, Scotch, Germans, and Americans are alike ready to accept
solitude, provided they can but establish a home and maintain a family.
Thus their comparative indifference to society has tended to spread this
race over the earth, to till and to subdue it; while the intense social
instincts of the French, though issuing in much greater gracefulness of
manner, has stood in their way as colonizers; so that, in the countries
in which they have planted themselves--as in Algiers and elsewhere--they
have remained little more than garrisons. [1816]

There are other qualities besides these, which grow out of the
comparative unsociableness of the Englishman. His shyness throws him
back upon himself, and renders him self-reliant and self-dependent.
Society not being essential to his happiness, he takes refuge in
reading, in study, in invention; or he finds pleasure in industrial
work, and becomes the best of mechanics. He does not fear to entrust
himself to the solitude of the ocean, and he becomes a fisherman, a
sailor, a discoverer. Since the early Northmen scoured the northern
seas, discovered America, and sent their fleets along the shores of
Europe and up the Mediterranean, the seamanship of the men of Teutonic
race has always been in the ascendant.

The English are inartistic for the same reason that they are unsociable.
They may make good colonists, sailors, and mechanics; but they do not
make good singers, dancers, actors, artistes, or modistes. They neither
dress well, act well, speak well, nor write well. They want style--they
want elegance. What they have to do they do in a straightforward manner,
but without grace. This was strikingly exhibited at an International
Cattle Exhibition held at Paris a few years ago. At the close of the
Exhibition, the competitors came up with the prize animals to receive
the prizes. First came a gay and gallant Spaniard, a magnificent man,
beautifully dressed, who received a prize of the lowest class with an
air and attitude that would have become a grandee of the highest
order. Then came Frenchmen and Italians, full of grace, politeness, and
CHIC--themselves elegantly dressed, and their animals decorated to the
horns with flowers and coloured ribbons harmoniously blended. And
last of all came the exhibitor who was to receive the first prize--a
slouching man, plainly dressed, with a pair of farmer's gaiters on,
and without even a flower in his buttonhole. "Who is he?" asked
the spectators. "Why, he is the Englishman," was the reply. "The
Englishman!--that the representative of a great country!" was the
general exclamation. But it was the Englishman all over. He was sent
there, not to exhibit himself, but to show "the best beast," and he did
it, carrying away the first prize. Yet he would have been nothing the
worse for the flower in his buttonhole.

To remedy this admitted defect of grace and want of artistic taste
in the English people, a school has sprung up amongst us for the more
general diffusion of fine art. The Beautiful has now its teachers and
preachers, and by some it is almost regarded in the light of a religion.
"The Beautiful is the Good"--"The Beautiful is the True"--"The Beautiful
is the priest of the Benevolent," are among their texts. It is believed
that by the study of art the tastes of the people may be improved; that
by contemplating objects of beauty their nature will become purified;
and that by being thereby withdrawn from sensual enjoyments, their
character will be refined and elevated.

But though such culture is calculated to be elevating and purifying in
a certain degree, we must not expect too much from it. Grace is a
sweetener and embellisher of life, and as such is worthy of cultivation.
Music, painting, dancing, and the fine arts, are all sources of
pleasure; and though they may not be sensual, yet they are sensuous,
and often nothing more. The cultivation of a taste for beauty of form
or colour, of sound or attitude, has no necessary effect upon the
cultivation of the mind or the development of the character. The
contemplation of fine works of art will doubtless improve the taste, and
excite admiration; but a single noble action done in the sight of men
will more influence the mind, and stimulate the character to imitation,
than the sight of miles of statuary or acres of pictures. For it is
mind, soul, and heart--not taste or art--that make men great.

It is indeed doubtful whether the cultivation of art--which usually
ministers to luxury--has done so much for human progress as is generally
supposed. It is even possible that its too exclusive culture may
effeminate rather than strengthen the character, by laying it more open
to the temptations of the senses. "It is the nature of the imaginative
temperament cultivated by the arts," says Sir Henry Taylor, "to
undermine the courage, and, by abating strength of character, to render
men more easily subservient--SEQUACES, CEREOS, ET AD MANDATA DUCTILES."
[1817] The gift of the artist greatly differs from that of the thinker;
his highest idea is to mould his subject--whether it be of painting, or
music, or literature--into that perfect grace of form in which thought
[18it may not be of the deepest] finds its apotheosis and immortality.

Art has usually flourished most during the decadence of nations, when
it has been hired by wealth as the minister of luxury. Exquisite art
and degrading corruption were contemporary in Greece as well as in Rome.
Phidias and Iktinos had scarcely completed the Parthenon, when the glory
of Athens had departed; Phidias died in prison; and the Spartans set up
in the city the memorials of their own triumph and of Athenian defeat.
It was the same in ancient Rome, where art was at its greatest height
when the people were in their most degraded condition. Nero was an
artist, as well as Domitian, two of the greatest monsters of the Empire.
If the "Beautiful" had been the "Good," Commodus must have been one of
the best of men. But according to history he was one of the worst.

Again, the greatest period of modern Roman art was that in which Pope
Leo X. flourished, of whose reign it has been said, that "profligacy and
licentiousness prevailed amongst the people and clergy, as they had done
almost uncontrolled ever since the pontificate of Alexander VI." In like
manner, the period at which art reached its highest point in the Low
Countries was that which immediately succeeded the destruction of civil
and religious liberty, and the prostration of the national life
under the despotism of Spain. If art could elevate a nation, and
the contemplation of The Beautiful were calculated to make men The
Good--then Paris ought to contain a population of the wisest and best
of human beings. Rome also is a great city of art; and yet there,
the VIRTUS or valour of the ancient Romans has characteristically
degenerated into VERTU, or a taste for knicknacks; whilst, according to
recent accounts, the city itself is inexpressibly foul. [1818]

Art would sometimes even appear to have a close connection with dirt;
and it is said of Mr. Ruskin, that when searching for works of art in
Venice, his attendant in his explorations would sniff an ill-odour, and
when it was strong would say, "Now we are coming to something very
old and fine!"--meaning in art. [1819] A little common education in
cleanliness, where it is wanting, would probably be much more improving,
as well as wholesome, than any amount of education in fine art. Ruffles
are all very well, but it is folly to cultivate them to the neglect of
the shirt.

Whilst, therefore, grace of manner, politeness of behaviour, elegance
of demeanour, and all the arts that contribute to make life pleasant and
beautiful, are worthy of cultivation, it must not be at the expense
of the more solid and enduring qualities of honesty, sincerity, and
truthfulness. The fountain of beauty must be in the heart; more than
in the eye, and if art do not tend to produce beautiful life and noble
practice, it will be of comparatively little avail. Politeness of manner
is not worth much, unless accompanied by polite action. Grace may be but
skin-deep--very pleasant and attractive, and yet very heartless. Art is
a source of innocent enjoyment, and an important aid to higher culture;
but unless it leads to higher culture, it will probably be merely
sensuous. And when art is merely sensuous, it is enfeebling and
demoralizing rather than strengthening or elevating. Honest courage
is of greater worth than any amount of grace; purity is better than
elegance; and cleanliness of body, mind, and heart, than any amount of
fine art.

In fine, while the cultivation of the graces is not to be neglected,
it should ever be held in mind that there is something far higher and
nobler to be aimed at--greater than pleasure, greater than art, greater
than wealth, greater than power, greater than intellect, greater than
genius--and that is, purity and excellence of character. Without a solid
sterling basis of individual goodness, all the grace, elegance, and art
in the world would fail to save or to elevate a people.


                         "Books, we know,
      Are a substantial world, both pure and good,
      Round which, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
      Our pastime and our happiness can grow."--WORDSWORTH.

     "Not only in the common speech of men, but in all art too--
     which is or should be the concentrated and conserved essence
     of what men can speak and show--Biography is almost the one
     thing needful" --CARLYLE.

     "I read all biographies with intense interest. Even a man
     without a heart, like Cavendish, I think about, and read
     about, and dream about, and picture to myself in all
     possible ways, till he grows into a living being beside me,
     and I put my feet into his shoes, and become for the time
     Cavendish, and think as he thought, and do as he did."

          "My thoughts are with the dead; with them
            I live in long-past years;
          Their virtues love, their faults condemn;
            Partake their hopes and fears;
          And from their lessons seek and find
            Instruction with a humble mind."--SOUTHEY.

A man may usually be known by the books he reads, as well as by the
company he keeps; for there is a companionship of books as well as of
men; and one should always live in the best company, whether it be of
books or of men.

A good book may be among the best of friends. It is the same to-day
that it always was, and it will never change. It is the most patient and
cheerful of companions. It does not turn its back upon us in times of
adversity or distress. It always receives us with the same kindness;
amusing and instructing us in youth, and comforting and consoling us in

Men often discover their affinity to each other by the mutual love they
have for a book--just as two persons sometimes discover a friend by the
admiration which both entertain for a third. There is an old proverb,
"Love me, love my dog." But there is more wisdom in this: "Love me, love
my book." The book is a truer and higher bond of union. Men can think,
feel, and sympathise with each other through their favourite author.
They live in him together, and he in them.

"Books," said Hazlitt, "wind into the heart; the poet's verse slides
into the current of our blood. We read them when young, we remember them
when old. We read there of what has happened to others; we feel that it
has happened to ourselves. They are to be had everywhere cheap and good.
We breathe but the air of books. We owe everything to their authors, on
this side barbarism."

A good book is often the best urn of a life, enshrining the best
thoughts of which that life was capable; for the world of a man's life
is, for the most part, but the world of his thoughts. Thus the
best books are treasuries of good words and golden thoughts, which,
remembered and cherished, become our abiding companions and comforters.
"They are never alone," said Sir Philip Sidney, "that are accompanied by
noble thoughts." The good and true thought may in time of temptation be
as an angel of mercy purifying and guarding the soul. It also enshrines
the germs of action, for good words almost invariably inspire to good

Thus Sir Henry Lawrence prized above all other compositions Wordsworth's
'Character of the Happy Warrior,' which he endeavoured to embody in
his own life. It was ever before him as an exemplar. He thought of it
continually, and often quoted it to others. His biographer says: "He
tried to conform his own life and to assimilate his own character to it;
and he succeeded, as all men succeed who are truly in earnest." [191]

Books possess an essence of immortality. They are by far the most
lasting products of human effort. Temples crumble into ruin; pictures
and statues decay; but books survive. Time is of no account with great
thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through
their authors' minds ages ago. What was then said and thought still
speaks to us as vividly as ever from the printed page. The only effect
of time has been to sift and winnow out the bad products; for nothing in
literature can long survive but what is really good. [192]

Books introduce us into the best society; they bring us into the
presence of the greatest minds that have ever lived. We hear what
they said and did; we see them as if they were really alive; we are
participators in their thoughts; we sympathise with them, enjoy with
them, grieve with them; their experience becomes ours, and we feel as if
we were in a measure actors with them in the scenes which they describe.

The great and good do not die, even in this world. Embalmed in books
their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an
intellect to which one still listens. Hence we ever remain under the
influence of the great men of old:

         "The dead but sceptred sovrans, who still rule
          Our spirits from their urns."

The imperial intellects of the world are as much alive now as they were
ages ago. Homer still lives; and though his personal history is hidden
in the mists of antiquity, his poems are as fresh to-day as if they had
been newly written. Plato still teaches his transcendent philosophy;
Horace, Virgil, and Dante still sing as when they lived; Shakspeare is
not dead: his body was buried in 1616, but his mind is as much alive
in England now, and his thought as far-reaching, as in the time of the

The humblest and poorest may enter the society of these great spirits
without being thought intrusive. All who can read have got the ENTREE.
Would you laugh?--Cervantes or Rabelais will laugh with you. Do you
grieve?--there is Thomas a Kempis or Jeremy Taylor to grieve with
and console you. Always it is to books, and the spirits of great men
embalmed in them, that we turn, for entertainment, for instruction and
solace--in joy and in sorrow, as in prosperity and in adversity.

Man himself is, of all things in the world, the most interesting to
man. Whatever relates to human life--its experiences, its joys, its
sufferings, and its achievements--has usually attractions for him beyond
all else. Each man is more or less interested in all other men as his
fellow-creatures--as members of the great family of humankind; and the
larger a man's culture, the wider is the range of his sympathies in all
that affects the welfare of his race.

Men's interest in each other as individuals manifests itself in a
thousand ways--in the portraits which they paint, in the busts which
they carve, in the narratives which they relate of each other. "Man,"
says Emerson, "can paint, or make, or think, nothing but Man." Most of
all is this interest shown in the fascination which personal history
possesses for him. "Man s sociality of nature," says Carlyle, "evinces
itself, in spite of all that can be said, with abundance of evidence, by
this one fact, were there no other: the unspeakable delight he takes in

Great, indeed, is the human interest felt in biography! What are all
the novels that find such multitudes of readers, but so many fictitious
biographies? What are the dramas that people crowd to see, but so much
acted biography? Strange that the highest genius should be employed on
the fictitious biography, and so much commonplace ability on the real!

Yet the authentic picture of any human being's life and experience ought
to possess an interest greatly beyond that which is fictitious, inasmuch
as it has the charm of reality. Every person may learn something from
the recorded life of another; and even comparatively trivial deeds and
sayings may be invested with interest, as being the outcome of the lives
of such beings as we ourselves are.

The records of the lives of good men are especially useful. They
influence our hearts, inspire us with hope, and set before us great
examples. And when men have done their duty through life in a great
spirit, their influence will never wholly pass away. "The good life,"
says George Herbert, "is never out of season."

Goethe has said that there is no man so commonplace that a wise man may
not learn something from him. Sir Walter Scott could not travel in a
coach without gleaning some information or discovering some new trait
of character in his companions. [193] Dr. Johnson once observed that
there was not a person in the streets but he should like to know his
biography--his experiences of life, his trials, his difficulties, his
successes, and his failures. How much more truly might this be said
of the men who have made their mark in the world's history, and have
created for us that great inheritance of civilization of which we are
the possessors! Whatever relates to such men--to their habits,
their manners, their modes of living, their personal history, their
conversation, their maxims, their virtues, or their greatness--is always
full of interest, of instruction, of encouragement, and of example.

The great lesson of Biography is to show what man can be and do at his
best. A noble life put fairly on record acts like an inspiration to
others. It exhibits what life is capable of being made. It refreshes
our spirit, encourages our hopes, gives us new strength and courage
and faith--faith in others as well as in ourselves. It stimulates our
aspirations, rouses us to action, and incites us to become co-partners
with them in their work. To live with such men in their biographies, and
to be inspired by their example, is to live with the best of men, and to
mix in the best of company.

At the head of all biographies stands the Great Biography, the Book
of Books. And what is the Bible, the most sacred and impressive of all
books--the educator of youth, the guide of manhood, and the consoler
of age--but a series of biographies of great heroes and patriarchs,
prophets, kings, and judges, culminating in the greatest biography of
all, the Life embodied in the New Testament? How much have the great
examples there set forth done for mankind! How many have drawn from
them their truest strength, their highest wisdom, their best nurture and
admonition! Truly does a great Roman Catholic writer describe the Bible
as a book whose words "live in the ear like a music that can never be
forgotten--like the sound of church bells which the convert hardly knows
how he can forego. Its felicities often seem to be almost things rather
than mere words. It is part of the national mind, and the anchor of
national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes into it, The potent
traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its verses. The power of
all the griefs and trials of man is hidden beneath its words. It is the
representative of his best moments, and all that has been about him of
soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent, and good, speaks to him for
ever out of his English Bible. It is his sacred thing, which doubt has
never dimmed and controversy never soiled. In the length and breadth of
the land there is not a Protestant with one spark of religiousness about
him whose spiritual biography is not in his Saxon Bible." [194]

It would, indeed, be difficult to overestimate the influence which the
lives of the great and good have exercised upon the elevation of human
character. "The best biography," says Isaac Disraeli, "is a reunion with
human existence in its most excellent state." Indeed, it is impossible
for one to read the lives of good men, much less inspired men,
without being unconsciously lighted and lifted up in them, and growing
insensibly nearer to what they thought and did. And even the lives of
humbler persons, of men of faithful and honest spirit, who have done
their duty in life well, are not without an elevating influence upon the
character of those who come after them.

History itself is best studied in biography. Indeed, history is
biography--collective humanity as influenced and governed by individual
men. "What is all history," says Emerson, "but the work of ideas, a
record of the incomparable energy which his infinite aspirations
infuse into man?" In its pages it is always persons we see more than
principles. Historical events are interesting to us mainly in connection
with the feelings, the sufferings, and interests of those by whom they
are accomplished. In history we are surrounded by men long dead, but
whose speech and whose deeds survive. We almost catch the sound of their
voices; and what they did constitutes the interest of history. We never
feel personally interested in masses of men; but we feel and sympathise
with the individual actors, whose biographies afford the finest and most
real touches in all great historical dramas.

Among the great writers of the past, probably the two that have been
most influential in forming the characters of great men of action and
great men of thought, have been Plutarch and Montaigne--the one by
presenting heroic models for imitation, the other by probing questions
of constant recurrence in which the human mind in all ages has taken the
deepest interest. And the works of both are for the most part cast in
a biographic form, their most striking illustrations consisting in the
exhibitions of character and experience which they contain.

Plutarch's 'Lives,' though written nearly eighteen hundred years ago,
like Homer's 'Iliad,' still holds its ground as the greatest work of
its kind. It was the favourite book of Montaigne; and to Englishmen it
possesses the special interest of having been Shakspeare's principal
authority in his great classical dramas. Montaigne pronounced Plutarch
to be "the greatest master in that kind of writing"--the biographic;
and he declared that he "could no sooner cast an eye upon him but he
purloined either a leg or a wing."

Alfieri was first drawn with passion to literature by reading Plutarch.
"I read," said he, "the lives of Timoleon, Caesar, Brutus, Pelopidas,
more than six times, with cries, with tears, and with such transports,
that I was almost furious.... Every time that I met with one of the
grand traits of these great men, I was seized with such vehement
agitation as to be unable to sit still." Plutarch was also a favourite
with persons of such various minds as Schiller and Benjamin Franklin,
Napoleon and Madame Roland. The latter was so fascinated by the book
that she carried it to church with her in the guise of a missal, and
read it surreptitiously during the service.

It has also been the nurture of heroic souls such as Henry IV. of
France, Turenne, and the Napiers. It was one of Sir William Napier's
favourite books when a boy. His mind was early imbued by it with
a passionate admiration for the great heroes of antiquity; and
its influence had, doubtless, much to do with the formation of his
character, as well as the direction of his career in life. It is related
of him, that in his last illness, when feeble and exhausted, his mind
wandered back to Plutarch's heroes; and he descanted for hours to his
son-in-law on the mighty deeds of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar.
Indeed, if it were possible to poll the great body of readers in all
ages whose minds have been influenced and directed by books, it is
probable that--excepting always the Bible--the immense majority of votes
would be cast in favour of Plutarch.

And how is it that Plutarch has succeeded in exciting an interest which
continues to attract and rivet the attention of readers of all ages and
classes to this day? In the first place, because the subject of his work
is great men, who occupied a prominent place in the world's history, and
because he had an eye to see and a pen to describe the more prominent
events and circumstances in their lives. And not only so, but he
possessed the power of portraying the individual character of his
heroes; for it is the principle of individuality which gives the charm
and interest to all biography. The most engaging side of great men is
not so much what they do as what they are, and does not depend upon
their power of intellect but on their personal attractiveness. Thus,
there are men whose lives are far more eloquent than their speeches, and
whose personal character is far greater than their deeds.

It is also to be observed, that while the best and most carefully-drawn
of Plutarch's portraits are of life-size, many of them are little more
than busts. They are well-proportioned but compact, and within such
reasonable compass that the best of them--such as the lives of Caesar
and Alexander--may be read in half an hour. Reduced to this measure,
they are, however, greatly more imposing than a lifeless Colossus, or
an exaggerated giant. They are not overlaid by disquisition and
description, but the characters naturally unfold themselves. Montaigne,
indeed, complained of Plutarch's brevity. "No doubt," he added, "but
his reputation is the better for it, though in the meantime we are the
worse. Plutarch would rather we should applaud his judgment than commend
his knowledge, and had rather leave us with an appetite to read more
than glutted with what we have already read. He knew very well that a
man may say too much even on the best subjects.... Such as have lean
and spare bodies stuff themselves out with clothes; so they who are
defective in matter, endeavour to make amends with words." [195]

Plutarch possessed the art of delineating the more delicate features
of mind and minute peculiarities of conduct, as well as the foibles
and defects of his heroes, all of which is necessary to faithful and
accurate portraiture. "To see him," says Montaigne, "pick out a light
action in a man's life, or a word, that does not seem to be of any
importance, is itself a whole discourse." He even condescends to
inform us of such homely particulars as that Alexander carried his head
affectedly on one side; that Alcibiades was a dandy, and had a lisp,
which became him, giving a grace and persuasive turn to his discourse;
that Cato had red hair and gray eyes, and was a usurer and a screw,
selling off his old slaves when they became unfit for hard work; that
Caesar was bald and fond of gay dress; and that Cicero [19like Lord
Brougham] had involuntary twitchings of his nose.

Such minute particulars may by some be thought beneath the dignity of
biography, but Plutarch thought them requisite for the due finish of
the complete portrait which he set himself to draw; and it is by
small details of character--personal traits, features, habits, and
characteristics--that we are enabled to see before us the men as they
really lived. Plutarch's great merit consists in his attention to these
little things, without giving them undue preponderance, or neglecting
those which are of greater moment. Sometimes he hits off an individual
trait by an anecdote, which throws more light upon the character
described than pages of rhetorical description would do. In some cases,
he gives us the favourite maxim of his hero; and the maxims of men often
reveal their hearts.

Then, as to foibles, the greatest of men are not visually symmetrical.
Each has his defect, his twist, his craze; and it is by his faults that
the great man reveals his common humanity. We may, at a distance, admire
him as a demigod; but as we come nearer to him, we find that he is but a
fallible man, and our brother. [196]

Nor are the illustrations of the defects of great men without their
uses; for, as Dr. Johnson observed, "If nothing but the bright side of
characters were shown, we should sit down in despondency, and think it
utterly impossible to imitate them in anything."

Plutarch, himself justifies his method of portraiture by averring that
his design was not to write histories, but lives. "The most glorious
exploits," he says, "do not always furnish us with the clearest
discoveries of virtue or of vice in men. Sometimes a matter of much less
moment, an expression or a jest, better informs us of their characters
and inclinations than battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands,
and the greatest arrays of armies or sieges of cities. Therefore, as
portrait-painters are more exact in their lines and features of the face
and the expression of the eyes, in which the character is seen, without
troubling themselves about the other parts of the body, so I must
be allowed to give my more particular attention to the signs and
indications of the souls of men; and while I endeavour by these means
to portray their lives, I leave important events and great battles to be
described by others."

Things apparently trifling may stand for much in biography as well as
history, and slight circumstances may influence great results. Pascal
has remarked, that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the whole face
of the world would probably have been changed. But for the amours of
Pepin the Fat, the Saracens might have overrun Europe; as it was his
illegitimate son, Charles Martel, who overthrew them at Tours, and
eventually drove them out of France.

That Sir Walter Scott should have sprained his foot in running round
the room when a child, may seem unworthy of notice in his biography; yet
'Ivanhoe,' 'Old Mortality,' and all the Waverley novels depended upon
it. When his son intimated a desire to enter the army, Scott wrote to
Southey, "I have no title to combat a choice which would have been my
own, had not my lameness prevented." So that, had not Scott been lame,
he might have fought all through the Peninsular War, and had his breast
covered with medals; but we should probably have had none of those works
of his which have made his name immortal, and shed so much glory upon
his country. Talleyrand also was kept out of the army, for which he had
been destined, by his lameness; but directing his attention to the study
of books, and eventually of men, he at length took rank amongst the
greatest diplomatists of his time.

Byron's clubfoot had probably not a little to do with determining his
destiny as a poet. Had not his mind been embittered and made morbid by
his deformity, he might never have written a line--he might have been
the noblest fop of his day. But his misshapen foot stimulated his mind,
roused his ardour, threw him upon his own resources--and we know with
what result.

So, too, of Scarron, to whose hunchback we probably owe his cynical
verse; and of Pope, whose satire was in a measure the outcome of his
deformity--for he was, as Johnson described him, "protuberant behind
and before." What Lord Bacon said of deformity is doubtless, to a great
extent, true. "Whoever," said he, "hath anything fixed in his person
that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to
rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons
are extremely bold."

As in portraiture, so in biography, there must be light and shade.
The portrait-painter does not pose his sitter so as to bring out his
deformities; nor does the biographer give undue prominence to the
defects of the character he portrays. Not many men are so outspoken as
Cromwell was when he sat to Cooper for his miniature: "Paint me as I
am," said he, "warts and all." Yet, if we would have a faithful likeness
of faces and characters, they must be painted as they are. "Biography,"
said Sir Walter Scott, "the most interesting of every species of
composition, loses all its interest with me when the shades and lights
of the principal characters are not accurately and faithfully detailed.
I can no more sympathise with a mere eulogist, than I can with a ranting
hero on the stage." [197]

Addison liked to know as much as possible about the person and character
of his authors, inasmuch as it increased the pleasure and satisfaction
which he derived from the perusal of their books. What was their
history, their experience, their temper and disposition? Did their lives
resemble their books? They thought nobly--did they act nobly? "Should we
not delight," says Sir Egerton Brydges, "to have the frank story of the
lives and feelings of Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, Campbell, Rogers,
Moore, and Wilson, related by themselves?--with whom they lived early;
how their bent took a decided course; their likes and dislikes; their
difficulties and obstacles; their tastes, their passions; the rocks they
were conscious of having split upon; their regrets, their complacencies,
and their self-justifications?" [198]

When Mason was reproached for publishing the private letters of Gray,
he answered, "Would you always have my friends appear in full-dress?"
Johnson was of opinion that to write a man's life truly, it is necessary
that the biographer should have personally known him. But this condition
has been wanting in some of the best writers of biographies extant. [199]
In the case of Lord Campbell, his personal intimacy with Lords Lyndhurst
and Brougham seems to have been a positive disadvantage, leading him
to dwarf the excellences and to magnify the blots in their characters.
Again, Johnson says: "If a man profess to write a life, he must write it
really as it was. A man's peculiarities, and even his vices, should be
mentioned, because they mark his character." But there is always
this difficulty,--that while minute details of conduct, favourable or
otherwise, can best be given from personal knowledge, they cannot always
be published, out of regard for the living; and when the time arrives
when they may at length be told, they are then no longer remembered.
Johnson himself expressed this reluctance to tell all he knew of
those poets who had been his contemporaries, saying that he felt as if
"walking upon ashes under which the fire was not extinguished."

For this reason, amongst others, we rarely obtain an unvarnished
picture of character from the near relatives of distinguished men; and,
interesting though all autobiography is, still less can we expect it
from the men themselves. In writing his own memoirs, a man will not tell
all that he knows about himself. Augustine was a rare exception, but
few there are who will, as he did in his 'Confessions,' lay bare their
innate viciousness, deceitfulness, and selfishness. There is a Highland
proverb which says, that if the best man's faults were written on his
forehead he would pull his bonnet over his brow. "There is no man," said
Voltaire, "who has not something hateful in him--no man who has not some
of the wild beast in him. But there are few who will honestly tell us
how they manage their wild beast." Rousseau pretended to unbosom himself
in his 'Confessions;' but it is manifest that he held back far more
than he revealed. Even Chamfort, one of the last men to fear what his
contemporaries might think or say of him, once observed:--"It seems to
me impossible, in the actual state of society, for any man to exhibit
his secret heart, the details of his character as known to himself, and,
above all, his weaknesses and his vices, to even his best friend."

An autobiography may be true so far as it goes; but in communicating
only part of the truth, it may convey an impression that is really
false. It may be a disguise--sometimes it is an apology--exhibiting
not so much what a man really was, as what he would have liked to be. A
portrait in profile may be correct, but who knows whether some scar on
the off-cheek, or some squint in the eye that is not seen, might not
have entirely altered the expression of the face if brought into sight?
Scott, Moore, Southey, all began autobiographies, but the task of
continuing them was doubtless felt to be too difficult as well as
delicate, and they were abandoned.

French literature is especially rich in a class of biographic memoirs,
of which we have few counterparts in English. We refer to their MEMOIRES
POUR SERVIR, such as those of Sully, De Comines, Lauzun, De Retz, De
Thou, Rochefoucalt, &c., in which we have recorded an immense mass of
minute and circumstantial information relative to many great personages
of history. They are full of anecdotes illustrative of life and
character, and of details which might be called frivolous, but that they
throw a flood of light on the social habits and general civilisation
of the periods to which they relate. The MEMOIRES of Saint-Simon are
something more: they are marvellous dissections of character, and
constitute the most extraordinary collection of anatomical biography
that has ever been brought together.

Saint-Simon might almost be regarded in the light of a posthumous
court-spy of Louis the Fourteenth. He was possessed by a passion for
reading character, and endeavouring to decipher motives and intentions
in the faces, expressions, conversation, and byplay of those about him.
"I examine all my personages closely," said he--"watch their mouth,
eyes, and ears constantly." And what he heard and saw he noted down with
extraordinary vividness and dash. Acute, keen, and observant, he pierced
the masks of the courtiers, and detected their secrets. The ardour with
which he prosecuted his favourite study of character seemed insatiable,
and even cruel. "The eager anatomist," says Sainte-Beuve, "was not more
ready to plunge the scalpel into the still-palpitating bosom in search
of the disease that had baffled him."

La Bruyere possessed the same gift of accurate and penetrating
observation of character. He watched and studied everybody about him.
He sought to read their secrets; and, retiring to his chamber, he
deliberately painted their portraits, returning to them from time to
time to correct some prominent feature--hanging over them as fondly as
an artist over some favourite study--adding trait to trait, and touch
to touch, until at length the picture was complete and the likeness

It may be said that much of the interest of biography, especially of the
more familiar sort, is of the nature of gossip; as that of the MEMOIRES
POUR SERVIR is of the nature of scandal, which is no doubt true. But
both gossip and scandal illustrate the strength of the interest which
men and women take in each other's personality; and which, exhibited in
the form of biography, is capable of communicating the highest pleasure,
and yielding the best instruction. Indeed biography, because it is
instinct of humanity, is the branch of literature which--whether in the
form of fiction, of anecdotal recollection, or of personal narrative--is
the one that invariably commends itself to by far the largest class of

There is no room for doubt that the surpassing interest which fiction,
whether in poetry or prose, possesses for most minds, arises mainly
from the biographic element which it contains. Homer's 'Iliad' owes its
marvellous popularity to the genius which its author displayed in the
portrayal of heroic character. Yet he does not so much describe his
personages in detail as make them develope themselves by their actions.
"There are in Homer," said Dr. Johnson, "such characters of heroes and
combination of qualities of heroes, that the united powers of mankind
ever since have not produced any but what are to be found there."

The genius of Shakspeare also was displayed in the powerful delineation
of character, and the dramatic evolution of human passions. His
personages seem to be real--living and breathing before us. So too with
Cervantes, whose Sancho Panza, though homely and vulgar, is intensely
human. The characters in Le Sage's 'Gil Blas,' in Goldsmith's 'Vicar of
Wakefield,' and in Scott's marvellous muster-roll, seem to us almost as
real as persons whom we have actually known; and De Foe's greatest works
are but so many biographies, painted in minute detail, with reality so
apparently stamped upon every page, that it is difficult to believe his
Robinson Crusoe and Colonel Jack to have been fictitious instead of real

Though the richest romance lies enclosed in actual human life, and
though biography, because it describes beings who have actually felt the
joys and sorrows, and experienced the difficulties and triumphs, of real
life, is capable of being made more attractive, than the most perfect
fictions ever woven, it is remarkable that so few men of genius have
been attracted to the composition of works of this kind. Great works of
fiction abound, but great biographies may be counted on the fingers. It
may be for the same reason that a great painter of portraits, the
late John Philip, R.A., explained his preference for subject-painting,
because, said he, "Portrait-painting does not pay." Biographic
portraiture involves laborious investigation and careful collection of
facts, judicious rejection and skilful condensation, as well as the
art of presenting the character portrayed in the most attractive and
lifelike form; whereas, in the work of fiction, the writer's imagination
is free to create and to portray character, without being trammelled by
references, or held down by the actual details of real life.

There is, indeed, no want among us of ponderous but lifeless memoirs,
many of them little better than inventories, put together with the
help of the scissors as much as of the pen. What Constable said of the
portraits of an inferior artist--"He takes all the bones and brains out
of his heads"--applies to a large class of portraiture, written as well
as painted. They have no more life in them than a piece of waxwork, or a
clothes-dummy at a tailor's door. What we want is a picture of a man as
he lived, and lo! we have an exhibition of the biographer himself. We
expect an embalmed heart, and we find only clothes.

There is doubtless as high art displayed in painting a portrait in
words, as there is in painting one in colours. To do either well
requires the seeing eye and the skilful pen or brush. A common artist
sees only the features of a face, and copies them; but the great artist
sees the living soul shining through the features, and places it on
the canvas. Johnson was once asked to assist the chaplain of a deceased
bishop in writing a memoir of his lordship; but when he proceeded to
inquire for information, the chaplain could scarcely tell him anything.
Hence Johnson was led to observe that "few people who have lived with a
man know what to remark about him."

In the case of Johnson's own life, it was the seeing eye of Boswell that
enabled him to note and treasure up those minute details of habit and
conversation in which so much of the interest of biography consists.
Boswell, because of his simple love and admiration of his hero,
succeeded where probably greater men would have failed. He descended to
apparently insignificant, but yet most characteristic, particulars. Thus
he apologizes for informing the reader that Johnson, when journeying,
"carried in his hand a large English oak-stick:" adding, "I remember Dr.
Adam Smith, in his rhetorical lectures at Glasgow, told us he was glad
to know that Milton wore latchets in his shoes instead of buckles."
Boswell lets us know how Johnson looked, what dress he wore, what was
his talk, what were his prejudices. He painted him with all his scars,
and a wonderful portrait it is--perhaps the most complete picture of a
great man ever limned in words.

But for the accident of the Scotch advocate's intimacy with Johnson, and
his devoted admiration of him, the latter would not probably have stood
nearly so high in literature as he now does. It is in the pages of
Boswell that Johnson really lives; and but for Boswell, he might have
remained little more than a name. Others there are who have bequeathed
great works to posterity, but of whose lives next to nothing is known.
What would we not give to have a Boswell's account of Shakspeare? We
positively know more of the personal history of Socrates, of Horace, of
Cicero, of Augustine, than we do of that of Shakspeare. We do not
know what was his religion, what were his politics, what were his
experiences, what were his relations to his contemporaries. The men
of his own time do not seem to have recognised his greatness; and Ben
Jonson, the court poet, whose blank-verse Shakspeare was content
to commit to memory and recite as an actor, stood higher in popular
estimation. We only know that he was a successful theatrical manager,
and that in the prime of life he retired to his native place, where he
died, and had the honours of a village funeral. The greater part of the
biography which has been constructed respecting him has been the result,
not of contemporary observation or of record, but of inference. The best
inner biography of the man is to be found in his sonnets.

Men do not always take an accurate measure of their contemporaries. The
statesman, the general, the monarch of to-day fills all eyes and ears,
though to the next generation he may be as if he had never been. "And
who is king to-day?" the painter Greuze would ask of his daughter,
during the throes of the first French Revolution, when men, great for
the time, were suddenly thrown to the surface, and as suddenly dropt out
of sight again, never to reappear. "And who is king to-day? After all,"
Greuze would add, "Citizen Homer and Citizen Raphael will outlive those
great citizens of ours, whose names I have never before heard of."
Yet of the personal history of Homer nothing is known, and of Raphael
comparatively little. Even Plutarch, who wrote the lives of others: so
well, has no biography, none of the eminent Roman writers who were
his contemporaries having so much as mentioned his name. And so of
Correggio, who delineated the features of others so well, there is not
known to exist an authentic portrait.

There have been men who greatly influenced the life of their time, whose
reputation has been much greater with posterity than it was with their
contemporaries. Of Wickliffe, the patriarch of the Reformation, our
knowledge is extremely small. He was but as a voice crying in the
wilderness. We do not really know who was the author of 'The Imitation
of Christ'--a book that has had an immense circulation, and exercised
a vast religious influence in all Christian countries. It is usually
attributed to Thomas a Kempis but there is reason to believe that he was
merely its translator, and the book that is really known to be his, [1910]
is in all respects so inferior, that it is difficult to believe that
'The Imitation' proceeded from the same pen. It is considered more
probable that the real author was John Gerson, Chancellor of the
University of Paris, a most learned and devout man, who died in 1429.

Some of the greatest men of genius have had the shortest biographies. Of
Plato, one of the great fathers of moral philosophy, we have no personal
account. If he had wife and children, we hear nothing of them. About the
life of Aristotle there is the greatest diversity of opinion. One says
he was a Jew; another, that he only got his information from a Jew: one
says he kept an apothecary's shop; another, that he was only the son of
a physician: one alleges that he was an atheist; another, that he was a
Trinitarian, and so forth. But we know almost as little with respect to
many men of comparatively modern times. Thus, how little do we know of
the lives of Spenser, author of 'The Faerie Queen,' and of Butler, the
author of 'Hudibras,' beyond the fact that they lived in comparative
obscurity, and died in extreme poverty! How little, comparatively, do
we know of the life of Jeremy Taylor, the golden preacher, of whom we
should like to have known so much!

The author of 'Philip Van Artevelde' has said that "the world knows
nothing of its greatest men." And doubtless oblivion has enwrapt in
its folds many great men who have done great deeds, and been forgotten.
Augustine speaks of Romanianus as the greatest genius that ever lived,
and yet we know nothing of him but his name; he is as much forgotten
as the builders of the Pyramids. Gordiani's epitaph was written in five
languages, yet it sufficed not to rescue him from oblivion.

Many, indeed, are the lives worthy of record that have remained
unwritten. Men who have written books have been the most fortunate in
this respect, because they possess an attraction for literary men which
those whose lives have been embodied in deeds do not possess. Thus there
have been lives written of Poets Laureate who were mere men of their
time, and of their time only. Dr. Johnson includes some of them in his
'Lives of the Poets,' such as Edmund Smith and others, whose poems
are now no longer known. The lives of some men of letters--such as
Goldsmith, Swift, Sterne, and Steele--have been written again and again,
whilst great men of action, men of science, and men of industry, are
left without a record. [1911]

We have said that a man may be known by the company he keeps in his
books. Let us mention a few of the favourites of the best-known men.
Plutarch's admirers have already been referred to. Montaigne also has
been the companion of most meditative men. Although Shakspeare must have
studied Plutarch carefully, inasmuch as he copied from him freely, even
to his very words, it is remarkable that Montaigne is the only book
which we certainly know to have been in the poet's library; one of
Shakspeare's existing autographs having been found in a copy of Florio's
translation of 'The Essays,' which also contains, on the flyleaf, the
autograph of Ben Jonson.

Milton's favourite books were Homer, Ovid, and Euripides. The latter
book was also the favourite of Charles James Fox, who regarded the study
of it as especially useful to a public speaker. On the other hand, Pitt
took especial delight in Milton--whom Fox did not appreciate--taking
pleasure in reciting, from 'Paradise Lost,' the grand speech of Belial
before the assembled powers of Pandemonium. Another of Pitt's favourite
books was Newton's 'Principia.' Again, the Earl of Chatham's favourite
book was 'Barrow's Sermons,' which he read so often as to be able to
repeat them from memory; while Burke's companions were Demosthenes,
Milton, Bolingbroke, and Young's 'Night Thoughts.'

Curran's favourite was Homer, which he read through once a year. Virgil
was another of his favourites; his biographer, Phillips, saying that
he once saw him reading the 'Aeneid' in the cabin of a Holyhead packet,
while every one about him was prostrate by seasickness.

Of the poets, Dante's favourite was Virgil; Corneille's was Lucan;
Schiller's was Shakspeare; Gray's was Spenser; whilst Coleridge admired
Collins and Bowles. Dante himself was a favourite with most great poets,
from Chaucer to Byron and Tennyson. Lord Brougham, Macaulay, and Carlyle
have alike admired and eulogized the great Italian. The former advised
the students at Glasgow that, next to Demosthenes, the study of Dante
was the best preparative for the eloquence of the pulpit or the bar.
Robert Hall sought relief in Dante from the racking pains of spinal
disease; and Sydney Smith took to the same poet for comfort and solace
in his old age. It was characteristic of Goethe that his favourite book
should have been Spinoza's 'Ethics,' in which he said he had found a
peace and consolation such as he had been able to find in no other work.

Barrow's favourite was St. Chrysostom; Bossuet's was Homer. Bunyan's
was the old legend of Sir Bevis of Southampton, which in all probability
gave him the first idea of his 'Pilgrim's Progress.' One of the
best prelates that ever sat on the English bench, Dr. John Sharp,
said--"Shakspeare and the Bible have made me Archbishop of York." The
two books which most impressed John Wesley when a young man, were 'The
Imitation of Christ' and Jeremy Taylor's 'Holy Living and Dying.' Yet
Wesley was accustomed to caution his young friends against overmuch
reading. "Beware you be not swallowed up in books," he would say to
them; "an ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge."

Wesley's own Life has been a great favourite with many thoughtful
readers. Coleridge says, in his preface to Southey's 'Life of Wesley,'
that it was more often in his hands than any other in his ragged
book-regiment. "To this work, and to the Life of Richard Baxter," he
says, "I was used to resort whenever sickness and languor made me feel
the want of an old friend of whose company I could never be tired. How
many and many an hour of self-oblivion do I owe to this Life of Wesley;
and how often have I argued with it, questioned, remonstrated, been
peevish, and asked pardon; then again listened, and cried, 'Right!
Excellent!' and in yet heavier hours entreated it, as it were, to
continue talking to me; for that I heard and listened, and was soothed,
though I could make no reply!" [1913]

Soumet had only a very few hooks in his library, but they were of the
best--Homer, Virgil, Dante, Camoens, Tasso, and Milton. De Quincey's
favourite few were Donne, Chillingworth, Jeremy Taylor, Milton, South,
Barrow, and Sir Thomas Browne. He described these writers as "a pleiad
or constellation of seven golden stars, such as in their class no
literature can match," and from whose works he would undertake "to build
up an entire body of philosophy."

Frederick the Great of Prussia manifested his strong French leanings
in his choice of books; his principal favourites being Bayle, Rousseau,
Voltaire, Rollin, Fleury, Malebranche, and one English author--Locke.
His especial favourite was Bayle's Dictionary, which was the first book
that laid hold of his mind; and he thought so highly of it, that he
himself made an abridgment and translation of it into German, which was
published. It was a saying of Frederick's, that "books make up no small
part of true happiness." In his old age he said, "My latest passion will
be for literature."

It seems odd that Marshal Blucher's favourite book should have been
Klopstock's 'Messiah,' and Napoleon Buonaparte's favourites, Ossian's
'Poems' and the 'Sorrows of Werther.' But Napoleon's range of reading
was very extensive. It included Homer, Virgil, Tasso; novels of all
countries; histories of all times; mathematics, legislation, and
theology. He detested what he called "the bombast and tinsel" of
Voltaire. The praises of Homer and Ossian he was never wearied
of sounding. "Read again," he said to an officer on board the
BELLEROPHO--"read again the poet of Achilles; devour Ossian. Those are
the poets who lift up the soul, and give to man a colossal greatness."

The Duke of Wellington was an extensive reader; his principal favourites
were Clarendon, Bishop Butler, Smith's 'Wealth of Nations,' Hume,
the Archduke Charles, Leslie, and the Bible. He was also particularly
interested by French and English memoirs--more especially the French
MEMOIRES POUR SERVIR of all kinds. When at Walmer, Mr. Gleig says, the
Bible, the Prayer Book, Taylor's 'Holy Living and Dying,' and Caesar's
'Commentaries,' lay within the Duke's reach; and, judging by the marks
of use on them, they must have been much read and often consulted.

While books are among the best companions of old age, they are often the
best inspirers of youth. The first book that makes a deep impression on
a young man's mind, often constitutes an epoch in his life. It may fire
the heart, stimulate the enthusiasm, and by directing his efforts into
unexpected channels, permanently influence his character. The new book,
in which we form an intimacy with a new friend, whose mind is wiser and
riper than our own, may thus form an important starting-point in the
history of a life. It may sometimes almost be regarded in the light of a
new birth.

From the day when James Edward Smith was presented with his first
botanical lesson-book, and Sir Joseph Banks fell in with Gerard's
'Herbal'--from the time when Alfieri first read Plutarch, and Schiller
made his first acquaintance with Shakspeare, and Gibbon devoured the
first volume of 'The Universal History'--each dated an inspiration so
exalted, that they felt as if their real lives had only then begun.

In the earlier part of his youth, La Fontaine was distinguished for
his idleness, but hearing an ode by Malherbe read, he is said to have
exclaimed, "I too am a poet," and his genius was awakened. Charles
Bossuet's mind was first fired to study by reading, at an early
age, Fontenelle's 'Eloges' of men of science. Another work of
Fontenelle's--'On the Plurality of Worlds'--influenced the mind of
Lalande in making choice of a profession. "It is with pleasure," says
Lalande himself in a preface to the book, which he afterwards edited,
"that I acknowledge my obligation to it for that devouring activity
which its perusal first excited in me at the age of sixteen, and which I
have since retained."

In like manner, Lacepede was directed to the study of natural history
by the perusal of Buffon's 'Histoire Naturelle,' which he found in his
father's library, and read over and over again until he almost knew it
by heart. Goethe was greatly influenced by the reading of Goldsmith's
'Vicar of Wakefield,' just at the critical moment of his mental
development; and he attributed to it much of his best education. The
reading of a prose 'Life of Gotz vou Berlichingen' afterwards stimulated
him to delineate his character in a poetic form. "The figure of a rude,
well-meaning self-helper," he said, "in a wild anarchic time, excited my
deepest sympathy."

Keats was an insatiable reader when a boy; but it was the perusal of the
'Faerie Queen,' at the age of seventeen, that first lit the fire of his
genius. The same poem is also said to have been the inspirer of Cowley,
who found a copy of it accidentally lying on the window of his mother's
apartment; and reading and admiring it, he became, as he relates,
irrecoverably a poet.

Coleridge speaks of the great influence which the poems of Bowles had in
forming his own mind. The works of a past age, says he, seem to a young
man to be things of another race; but the writings of a contemporary
"possess a reality for him, and inspire an actual friendship as of a
man for a man. His very admiration is the wind which fans and feeds his
hope. The poems themselves assume the properties of flesh and blood."

But men have not merely been stimulated to undertake special literary
pursuits by the perusal of particular books; they have been also
stimulated by them to enter upon particular lines of action in the
serious business of life. Thus Henry Martyn was powerfully influenced
to enter upon his heroic career as a missionary by perusing the Lives of
Henry Brainerd and Dr. Carey, who had opened up the furrows in which he
went forth to sow the seed.

Bentham has described the extraordinary influence which the perusal of
'Telemachus' exercised upon his mind in boyhood. "Another book," said
he, "and of far higher character [19than a collection of Fairy Tales, to
which he refers], was placed in my hands. It was 'Telemachus.' In my
own imagination, and at the age of six or seven, I identified my own
personality with that of the hero, who seemed to me a model of perfect
virtue; and in my walk of life, whatever it may come to be, why [19said
I to myself every now and then]--why should not I be a Telemachus?....
That romance may be regarded as THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF MY WHOLE
CHARACTER--the starting-post from whence my career of life commenced.
The first dawning in my mind of the 'Principles of Utility' may, I
think, be traced to it." [1916]

Cobbett's first favourite, because his only book, which he bought for
threepence, was Swift's 'Tale of a Tub,' the repeated perusal of
which had, doubtless, much to do with the formation of his pithy,
straightforward, and hard-hitting style of writing. The delight with
which Pope, when a schoolboy, read Ogilvy's 'Homer' was, most probably,
the origin of the English 'Iliad;' as the 'Percy Reliques' fired the
juvenile mind of Scott, and stimulated him to enter upon the collection
and composition of his 'Border Ballads.' Keightley's first reading of
'Paradise Lost,' when a boy, led to his afterwards undertaking his Life
of the poet. "The reading," he says, "of 'Paradise Lost' for the first
time forms, or should form, an era in the life of every one possessed of
taste and poetic feeling. To my mind, that time is ever present.... Ever
since, the poetry of Milton has formed my constant study--a source of
delight in prosperity, of strength and consolation in adversity."

Good books are thus among the best of companions; and, by elevating
the thoughts and aspirations, they act as preservatives against low
associations. "A natural turn for reading and intellectual pursuits,"
says Thomas Hood, "probably preserved me from the moral shipwreck so
apt to befal those who are deprived in early life of their parental
pilotage. My books kept me from the ring, the dogpit, the tavern, the
saloon. The closet associate of Pope and Addison, the mind accustomed to
the noble though silent discourse of Shakspeare and Milton, will hardly
seek or put up with low company and slaves."

It has been truly said, that the best books are those which most
resemble good actions. They are purifying, elevating, and sustaining;
they enlarge and liberalize the mind; they preserve it against vulgar
worldliness; they tend to produce highminded cheerfulness and equanimity
of character; they fashion, and shape, and humanize the mind. In the
Northern universities, the schools in which the ancient classics are
studied, are appropriately styled "The Humanity Classes." [1917]

Erasmus, the great scholar, was even of opinion that books were the
necessaries of life, and clothes the luxuries; and he frequently
postponed buying the latter until he had supplied himself with the
former. His greatest favourites were the works of Cicero, which he says
he always felt himself the better for reading. "I can never," he
says, "read the works of Cicero on 'Old Age,' or 'Friendship,' or his
'Tusculan Disputations,' without fervently pressing them to my lips,
without being penetrated with veneration for a mind little short of
inspired by God himself." It was the accidental perusal of Cicero's
'Hortensius' which first detached St. Augustine--until then a profligate
and abandoned sensualist--from his immoral life, and started him upon
the course of inquiry and study which led to his becoming the greatest
among the Fathers of the Early Church. Sir William Jones made it a
practice to read through, once a year, the writings of Cicero, "whose
life indeed," says his biographer, "was the great exemplar of his own."

When the good old Puritan Baxter came to enumerate the valuable and
delightful things of which death would deprive him, his mind reverted
to the pleasures he had derived from books and study. "When I die," he
said, "I must depart, not only from sensual delights, but from the more
manly pleasures of my studies, knowledge, and converse with many wise
and godly men, and from all my pleasure in reading, hearing, public and
private exercises of religion, and such like. I must leave my library,
and turn over those pleasant books no more. I must no more come among
the living, nor see the faces of my faithful friends, nor be seen of
man; houses, and cities, and fields, and countries, gardens, and walks,
will be as nothing to me. I shall no more hear of the affairs of the
world, of man, or wars, or other news; nor see what becomes of that
beloved interest of wisdom, piety, and peace, which I desire may

It is unnecessary to speak of the enormous moral influence which books
have exercised upon the general civilization of mankind, from the Bible
downwards. They contain the treasured knowledge of the human race. They
are the record of all labours, achievements, speculations, successes,
and failures, in science, philosophy, religion, and morals. They have
been the greatest motive powers in all times. "From the Gospel to
the Contrat Social," says De Bonald, "it is books that have made
revolutions." Indeed, a great book is often a greater thing than a great
battle. Even works of fiction have occasionally exercised immense power
on society. Thus Rabelais in France, and Cervantes in Spain, overturned
at the same time the dominion of monkery and chivalry, employing no
other weapons but ridicule, the natural contrast of human terror.
The people laughed, and felt reassured. So 'Telemachus' appeared, and
recalled men back to the harmonies of nature.

"Poets," says Hazlitt, "are a longer-lived race than heroes: they
breathe more of the air of immortality. They survive more entire in
their thoughts and acts. We have all that Virgil or Homer did, as much
as if we had lived at the same time with them. We can hold their works
in our hands, or lay them on our pillows, or put them to our lips.
Scarcely a trace of what the others did is left upon the earth, so as
to be visible to common eyes. The one, the dead authors, are living men,
still breathing and moving in their writings; the others, the conquerors
of the world, are but the ashes in an urn. The sympathy [19so to speak]
between thought and thought is more intimate and vital than that between
thought and action. Thought is linked to thought as flame kindles into
flame; the tribute of admiration to the MANES of departed heroism is
like burning incense in a marble monument. Words, ideas, feelings, with
the progress of time harden into substances: things, bodies, actions,
moulder away, or melt into a sound--into thin air.... Not only a man's
actions are effaced and vanish with him; his virtues and generous
qualities die with him also. His intellect only is immortal, and
bequeathed unimpaired to posterity. Words are the only things that last
for ever." [1918]


          "Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks,
          Shall win my love."--SHAKSPEARE.

     "In the husband Wisdom, In the wife Gentleness."--GEORGE

     "If God had designed woman as man's master, He would have
     taken her from his head; If as his slave, He would have
     taken her from his feet; but as He designed her for his
     companion and equal, He took her from his side."--SAINT

     "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above
     rubies.... Her husband is known in the gates, and he sitteth
     among the elders of the land.... Strength and honour are her
     clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth
     her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of
     kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her husband, and
     eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and
     call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."--

THE character of men, as of women, is powerfully influenced by their
companionship in all the stages of life. We have already spoken of the
influence of the mother in forming the character of her children. She
makes the moral atmosphere in which they live, and by which their minds
and souls are nourished, as their bodies are by the physical atmosphere
they breathe. And while woman is the natural cherisher of infancy and
the instructor of childhood, she is also the guide and counsellor
of youth, and the confidant and companion of manhood, in her various
relations of mother, sister, lover, and wife. In short, the influence of
woman more or less affects, for good or for evil, the entire destinies
of man.

The respective social functions and duties of men and women are clearly
defined by nature. God created man AND woman, each to do their proper
work, each to fill their proper sphere. Neither can occupy the position,
nor perform the functions, of the other. Their several vocations are
perfectly distinct. Woman exists on her own account, as man does on
his, at the same time that each has intimate relations with the
other. Humanity needs both for the purposes of the race, and in every
consideration of social progress both must necessarily be included.

Though companions and equals, yet, as regards the measure of their
powers, they are unequal. Man is stronger, more muscular, and of rougher
fibre; woman is more delicate, sensitive, and nervous. The one excels in
power of brain, the other in qualities of heart; and though the head may
rule, it is the heart that influences. Both are alike adapted for the
respective functions they have to perform in life; and to attempt to
impose woman's work upon man would be quite as absurd as to attempt to
impose man's work upon woman. Men are sometimes womanlike, and women are
sometimes manlike; but these are only exceptions which prove the rule.

Although man's qualities belong more to the head, and woman's more
to the heart--yet it is not less necessary that man's heart should be
cultivated as well as his head, and woman's head cultivated as well
as her heart. A heartless man is as much out-of-keeping in civilized
society as a stupid and unintelligent woman. The cultivation of all
parts of the moral and intellectual nature is requisite to form the man
or woman of healthy and well-balanced character. Without sympathy or
consideration for others, man were a poor, stunted, sordid, selfish
being; and without cultivated intelligence, the most beautiful woman
were little better than a well-dressed doll.

It used to be a favourite notion about woman, that her weakness and
dependency upon others constituted her principal claim to admiration.
"If we were to form an image of dignity in a man," said Sir Richard
Steele, "we should give him wisdom and valour, as being essential to the
character of manhood. In like manner, if you describe a right woman in
a laudable sense, she should have gentle softness, tender fear, and all
those parts of life which distinguish her from the other sex, with some
subordination to it, but an inferiority which makes her lovely." Thus,
her weakness was to be cultivated, rather than her strength; her
folly, rather than her wisdom. She was to be a weak, fearful, tearful,
characterless, inferior creature, with just sense enough to understand
the soft nothings addressed to her by the "superior" sex. She was to
be educated as an ornamental appanage of man, rather as an independent
intelligence--or as a wife, mother, companion, or friend.

Pope, in one of his 'Moral Essays,' asserts that "most women have no
characters at all;" and again he says:--

          "Ladies, like variegated tulips, show:
          'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe,
          Fine by defect and delicately weak."

This satire characteristically occurs in the poet's 'Epistle to Martha
Blount,' the housekeeper who so tyrannically ruled him; and in the same
verses he spitefully girds at Lady Mary Wortley Montague, at whose feet
he had thrown himself as a lover, and been contemptuously rejected.
But Pope was no judge of women, nor was he even a very wise or tolerant
judge of men.

It is still too much the practice to cultivate the weakness of woman
rather than her strength, and to render her attractive rather than
self-reliant. Her sensibilities are developed at the expense of her
health of body as well as of mind. She lives, moves, and has her being
in the sympathy of others. She dresses that she may attract, and is
burdened with accomplishments that she may be chosen. Weak, trembling,
and dependent, she incurs the risk of becoming a living embodiment of
the Italian proverb--"so good that she is good for nothing."

On the other hand, the education of young men too often errs on the
side of selfishness. While the boy is incited to trust mainly to his own
efforts in pushing his way in the world, the girl is encouraged to rely
almost entirely upon others. He is educated with too exclusive reference
to himself and she is educated with too exclusive reference to him. He
is taught to be self-reliant and self-dependent, while she is taught
to be distrustful of herself, dependent, and self-sacrificing in all
things. Thus, the intellect of the one is cultivated at the expense of
the affections, and the affections of the other at the expense of the

It is unquestionable that the highest qualities of woman are displayed
in her relationship to others, through the medium of her affections. She
is the nurse whom nature has given to all humankind. She takes charge
of the helpless, and nourishes and cherishes those we love. She is the
presiding genius of the fireside, where she creates an atmosphere
of serenity and contentment suitable for the nurture and growth
of character in its best forms. She is by her very constitution
compassionate, gentle, patient, and self-denying. Loving, hopeful,
trustful, her eye sheds brightness everywhere. It shines upon coldness
and warms it, upon suffering and relieves it, upon sorrow and cheers

                          "Her silver flow
          Of subtle-paced counsel in distress,
        Right to the heart and brain, though undescried,
          Winning its way with extreme gentleness
        Through all the outworks of suspicion's pride."

Woman has been styled "the angel of the unfortunate." She is ready to
help the weak, to raise the fallen, to comfort the suffering. It was
characteristic of woman, that she should have been the first to build
and endow an hospital. It has been said that wherever a human being
is in suffering, his sighs call a woman to his side. When Mungo Park,
lonely, friendless, and famished, after being driven forth from an
African village by the men, was preparing to spend the night under a
tree, exposed to the rain and the wild beasts which there abounded,
a poor negro woman, returning from the labours of the field, took
compassion upon him, conducted him into her hut, and there gave him
food, succour, and shelter. [201]

But while the most characteristic qualities of woman are displayed
through her sympathies and affections, it is also necessary for her own
happiness, as a self-dependent being, to develope and strengthen her
character, by due self-culture, self-reliance, and self-control. It is
not desirable, even were it possible, to close the beautiful avenues
of the heart. Self-reliance of the best kind does not involve any
limitation in the range of human sympathy. But the happiness of woman,
as of man, depends in a great measure upon her individual completeness
of character. And that self-dependence which springs from the due
cultivation of the intellectual powers, conjoined with a proper
discipline of the heart and conscience, will enable her to be more
useful in life as well as happy; to dispense blessings intelligently as
well as to enjoy them; and most of all those which spring from mutual
dependence and social sympathy.

To maintain a high standard of purity in society, the culture of both
sexes must be in harmony, and keep equal pace. A pure womanhood must be
accompanied by a pure manhood. The same moral law applies alike to both.
It would be loosening the foundations of virtue, to countenance the
notion that because of a difference in sex, man were at liberty to set
morality at defiance, and to do that with impunity, which, if done by
a woman, would stain her character for life. To maintain a pure and
virtuous condition of society, therefore, man as well as woman must be
pure and virtuous; both alike shunning all acts impinging on the heart,
character, and conscience--shunning them as poison, which, once imbibed,
can never be entirely thrown out again, but mentally embitters, to a
greater or less extent, the happiness of after-life.

And here we would venture to touch upon a delicate topic. Though it is
one of universal and engrossing human interest, the moralist avoids it,
the educator shuns it, and parents taboo it. It is almost considered
indelicate to refer to Love as between the sexes; and young persons are
left to gather their only notions of it from the impossible love-stories
that fill the shelves of circulating libraries. This strong and
absorbing feeling, this BESOIN D'AIMER--which nature has for wise
purposes made so strong in woman that it colours her whole life and
history, though it may form but an episode in the life of man--is
usually left to follow its own inclinations, and to grow up for the most
part unchecked, without any guidance or direction whatever.

Although nature spurns all formal rules and directions in affairs of
love, it might at all events be possible to implant in young minds such
views of Character as should enable them to discriminate between
the true and the false, and to accustom them to hold in esteem those
qualities of moral purity and integrity, without which life is but a
scene of folly and misery. It may not be possible to teach young people
to love wisely, but they may at least be guarded by parental advice
against the frivolous and despicable passions which so often usurp its
name. "Love," it has been said, "in the common acceptation of the term,
is folly; but love, in its purity, its loftiness, its unselfishness,
is not only a consequence, but a proof, of our moral excellence. The
sensibility to moral beauty, the forgetfulness of self in the admiration
engendered by it, all prove its claim to a high moral influence. It is
the triumph of the unselfish over the selfish part of our nature."

It is by means of this divine passion that the world is kept ever
fresh and young. It is the perpetual melody of humanity. It sheds an
effulgence upon youth, and throws a halo round age. It glorifies the
present by the light it casts backward, and it lightens the future by
the beams it casts forward. The love which is the outcome of esteem and
admiration, has an elevating and purifying effect on the character.
It tends to emancipate one from the slavery of self. It is altogether
unsordid; itself is its only price. It inspires gentleness, sympathy,
mutual faith, and confidence. True love also in a measure elevates the
intellect. "All love renders wise in a degree," says the poet Browning,
and the most gifted minds have been the sincerest lovers. Great
souls make all affections great; they elevate and consecrate all true
delights. The sentiment even brings to light qualities before lying
dormant and unsuspected. It elevates the aspirations, expands the soul,
and stimulates the mental powers. One of the finest compliments ever
paid to a woman was that of Steele, when he said of Lady Elizabeth
Hastings, "that to have loved her was a liberal education." Viewed in
this light, woman is an educator in the highest sense, because, above
all other educators, she educates humanly and lovingly.

It has been said that no man and no woman can be regarded as complete in
their experience of life, until they have been subdued into union with
the world through their affections. As woman is not woman until she
has known love, neither is man man. Both are requisite to each other's
completeness. Plato entertained the idea that lovers each sought a
likeness in the other, and that love was only the divorced half of
the original human being entering into union with its counterpart. But
philosophy would here seem to be at fault, for affection quite as often
springs from unlikeness as from likeness in its object.

The true union must needs be one of mind as well as of heart, and based
on mutual esteem as well as mutual affection. "No true and enduring
love," says Fichte, "can exist without esteem; every other draws regret
after it, and is unworthy of any noble human soul." One cannot really
love the bad, but always something that we esteem and respect as well as
admire. In short, true union must rest on qualities of character, which
rule in domestic as in public life.

But there is something far more than mere respect and esteem in the
union between man and wife. The feeling on which it rests is far deeper
and tenderer--such, indeed, as never exists between men or between
women. "In matters of affection," says Nathaniel Hawthorne, "there is
always an impassable gulf between man and man. They can never quite
grasp each other's hands, and therefore man never derives any intimate
help, any heart-sustenance, from his brother man, but from woman--his
mother, his sister, or his wife." [202]

Man enters a new world of joy, and sympathy, and human interest, through
the porch of love. He enters a new world in his home--the home of his
own making--altogether different from the home of his boyhood, where
each day brings with it a succession of new joys and experiences. He
enters also, it may be, a new world of trials and sorrows, in which
he often gathers his best culture and discipline. "Family life," says
Sainte-Beuve, "may be full of thorns and cares; but they are fruitful:
all others are dry thorns." And again: "If a man's home, at a certain
period of life, does not contain children, it will probably be found
filled with follies or with vices." [203]

A life exclusively occupied in affairs of business insensibly tends
to narrow and harden the character. It is mainly occupied with
self-watching for advantages, and guarding against sharp practice on
the part of others. Thus the character unconsciously tends to grow
suspicious and ungenerous. The best corrective of such influences is
always the domestic; by withdrawing the mind from thoughts that are
wholly gainful, by taking it out of its daily rut, and bringing it back
to the sanctuary of home for refreshment and rest:

          "That truest, rarest light of social joy,
          Which gleams upon the man of many cares."

"Business," says Sir Henry Taylor, "does but lay waste the approaches to
the heart, whilst marriage garrisons the fortress." And however the head
may be occupied, by labours of ambition or of business--if the heart
be not occupied by affection for others and sympathy with them--life,
though it may appear to the outer world to be a success, will probably
be no success at all, but a failure. [204]

A man's real character will always be more visible in his household than
anywhere else; and his practical wisdom will be better exhibited by the
manner in which he bears rule there, than even in the larger affairs of
business or public life. His whole mind may be in his business; but, if
he would be happy, his whole heart must be in his home. It is there
that his genuine qualities most surely display themselves--there that
he shows his truthfulness, his love, his sympathy, his consideration
for others, his uprightness, his manliness--in a word, his character. If
affection be not the governing principle in a household, domestic life
may be the most intolerable of despotisms. Without justice, also, there
can be neither love, confidence, nor respect, on which all true domestic
rule is founded.

Erasmus speaks of Sir Thomas More's home as "a school and exercise of
the Christian religion." "No wrangling, no angry word was heard in it;
no one was idle; every one did his duty with alacrity, and not without
a temperate cheerfulness." Sir Thomas won all hearts to obedience by his
gentleness. He was a man clothed in household goodness; and he ruled so
gently and wisely, that his home was pervaded by an atmosphere of love
and duty. He himself spoke of the hourly interchange of the smaller acts
of kindness with the several members of his family, as having a claim
upon his time as strong as those other public occupations of his life
which seemed to others so much more serious and important.

But the man whose affections are quickened by home-life, does not
confine his sympathies within that comparatively narrow sphere. His
love enlarges in the family, and through the family it expands into the
world. "Love," says Emerson, "is a fire that, kindling its first embers
in the narrow nook of a private bosom, caught from a wandering spark out
of another private heart, glows and enlarges until it warms and beams
upon multitudes of men and women, upon the universal heart of all, and
so lights up the whole world and nature with its generous flames."

It is by the regimen of domestic affection that the heart of man is best
composed and regulated. The home is the woman's kingdom, her state,
her world--where she governs by affection, by kindness, by the power of
gentleness. There is nothing which so settles the turbulence of a man's
nature as his union in life with a highminded woman. There he finds
rest, contentment, and happiness--rest of brain and peace of spirit.
He will also often find in her his best counsellor, for her instinctive
tact will usually lead him right when his own unaided reason might be
apt to go wrong. The true wife is a staff to lean upon in times of trial
and difficulty; and she is never wanting in sympathy and solace when
distress occurs or fortune frowns. In the time of youth, she is a
comfort and an ornament of man's life; and she remains a faithful
helpmate in maturer years, when life has ceased to be an anticipation,
and we live in its realities.

What a happy man must Edmund Burke have been, when he could say of his
home, "Every care vanishes the moment I enter under my own roof!" And
Luther, a man full of human affection, speaking of his wife, said, "I
would not exchange my poverty with her for all the riches of Croesus
without her." Of marriage he observed: "The utmost blessing that God can
confer on a man is the possession of a good and pious wife, with whom
he may live in peace and tranquillity--to whom he may confide his whole
possessions, even his life and welfare." And again he said, "To rise
betimes, and to marry young, are what no man ever repents of doing."

For a man to enjoy true repose and happiness in marriage, he must have
in his wife a soul-mate as well as a helpmate. But it is not requisite
that she should be merely a pale copy of himself. A man no more desires
in his wife a manly woman, than the woman desires in her husband a
feminine man. A woman's best qualities do not reside in her intellect,
but in her affections. She gives refreshment by her sympathies, rather
than by her knowledge. "The brain-women," says Oliver Wendell Holmes,
"never interest us like the heart-women." [205] Men are often so wearied
with themselves, that they are rather predisposed to admire qualities
and tastes in others different from their own. "If I were suddenly
asked," says Mr. Helps, "to give a proof of the goodness of God to us, I
think I should say that it is most manifest in the exquisite difference
He has made between the souls of men and women, so as to create the
possibility of the most comforting and charming companionship that the
mind of man can imagine." [206] But though no man may love a woman for her
understanding, it is not the less necessary for her to cultivate it on
that account. [207] There may be difference in character, but there must
be harmony of mind and sentiment--two intelligent souls as well as two
loving hearts:

          "Two heads in council, two beside the hearth,
          Two in the tangled business of the world,
          Two in the liberal offices of life."

There are few men who have written so wisely on the subject of marriage
as Sir Henry Taylor. What he says about the influence of a happy union
in its relation to successful statesmanship, applies to all conditions
of life. The true wife, he says, should possess such qualities as will
tend to make home as much as may be a place of repose. To this end, she
should have sense enough or worth enough to exempt her husband as much
as possible from the troubles of family management, and more especially
from all possibility of debt. "She should be pleasing to his eyes and
to his taste: the taste goes deep into the nature of all men--love is
hardly apart from it; and in a life of care and excitement, that home
which is not the seat of love cannot be a place of repose; rest for
the brain, and peace for the spirit, being only to be had through the
softening of the affections. He should look for a clear understanding,
cheerfulness, and alacrity of mind, rather than gaiety and brilliancy,
and for a gentle tenderness of disposition in preference to an
impassioned nature. Lively talents are too stimulating in a tired man's
house--passion is too disturbing....

                         "Her love should be
      A love that clings not, nor is exigent,
      Encumbers not the active purposes,
      Nor drains their source; but profers with free grace
      Pleasure at pleasure touched, at pleasure waived,
      A washing of the weary traveller's feet,
      A quenching of his thirst, a sweet repose,
      Alternate and preparative; in groves
      Where, loving much the flower that loves the shade,
      And loving much the shade that that flower loves,
      He yet is unbewildered, unenslaved,
      Thence starting light, and pleasantly let go
      When serious service calls." [208]

Some persons are disappointed in marriage, because they expect too
much from it; but many more, because they do not bring into the
co-partnership their fair share of cheerfulness, kindliness,
forbearance, and common sense. Their imagination has perhaps pictured
a condition never experienced on this side Heaven; and when real life
comes, with its troubles and cares, there is a sudden waking-up as from
a dream. Or they look for something approaching perfection in their
chosen companion, and discover by experience that the fairest of
characters have their weaknesses. Yet it is often the very imperfection
of human nature, rather than its perfection, that makes the strongest
claims on the forbearance and sympathy of others, and, in affectionate
and sensible natures, tends to produce the closest unions.

The golden rule of married life is, "Bear and forbear." Marriage, like
government, is a series of compromises. One must give and take, refrain
and restrain, endure and be patient. One may not be blind to another's
failings, but they may be borne with good-natured forbearance. Of all
qualities, good temper is the one that wears and works the best in
married life. Conjoined with self-control, it gives patience--the
patience to bear and forbear, to listen without retort, to refrain until
the angry flash has passed. How true it is in marriage, that "the soft
answer turneth away wrath!"

Burns the poet, in speaking of the qualities of a good wife, divided
them into ten parts. Four of these he gave to good temper, two to good
sense, one to wit, one to beauty--such as a sweet face, eloquent eyes,
a fine person, a graceful carriage; and the other two parts he divided
amongst the other qualities belonging to or attending on a wife--such
as fortune, connections, education [20that is, of a higher standard than
ordinary], family blood, &c.; but he said: "Divide those two degrees
as you please, only remember that all these minor proportions must
be expressed by fractions, for there is not any one of them that is
entitled to the dignity of an integer."

It has been said that girls are very good at making nets, but that it
would be better still if they would learn to make cages. Men are often
as easily caught as birds, but as difficult to keep. If the wife cannot
make her home bright and happy, so that it shall be the cleanest,
sweetest, cheerfulest place that her husband can find refuge in--a
retreat from the toils and troubles of the outer world--then God help
the poor man, for he is virtually homeless!

No wise person will marry for beauty mainly. It may exercise a powerful
attraction in the first place, but it is found to be of comparatively
little consequence afterwards. Not that beauty of person is to be
underestimated, for, other things being equal, handsomeness of form
and beauty of features are the outward manifestations of health. But to
marry a handsome figure without character, fine features unbeautified
by sentiment or good-nature, is the most deplorable of mistakes. As even
the finest landscape, seen daily, becomes monotonous, so does the most
beautiful face, unless a beautiful nature shines through it. The beauty
of to-day becomes commonplace to-morrow; whereas goodness, displayed
through the most ordinary features, is perennially lovely. Moreover,
this kind of beauty improves with age, and time ripens rather than
destroys it. After the first year, married people rarely think of
each other's features, and whether they be classically beautiful or
otherwise. But they never fail to be cognisant of each other's temper.
"When I see a man," says Addison, "with a sour rivelled face, I cannot
forbear pitying his wife; and when I meet with an open ingenuous
countenance, I think of the happiness of his friends, his family, and
his relations."

We have given the views of the poet Burns as to the qualities necessary
in a good wife. Let us add the advice given by Lord Burleigh to his son,
embodying the experience of a wise statesman and practised man of the
world. "When it shall please God," said he, "to bring thee to man's
estate, use great providence and circumspection in choosing thy wife;
for from thence will spring all thy future good or evil. And it is an
action of thy life, like unto a stratagem of war, wherein a man can err
but once.... Enquire diligently of her disposition, and how her parents
have been inclined in their youth. [209] Let her not be poor, how generous
[20well-born] soever; for a man can buy nothing in the market with
gentility. Nor choose a base and uncomely creature altogether for
wealth; for it will cause contempt in others, and loathing in thee.
Neither make choice of a dwarf, or a fool; for by the one thou shalt
beget a race of pigmies, while the other will be thy continual disgrace,
and it will yirke [20irk] thee to hear her talk. For thou shalt find it to
thy great grief, that there is nothing more fulsome [20disgusting] than a

A man's moral character is, necessarily, powerfully influenced by his
wife. A lower nature will drag him down, as a higher will lift him
up. The former will deaden his sympathies, dissipate his energies, and
distort his life; while the latter, by satisfying his affections, will
strengthen his moral nature, and by giving him repose, tend to energise
his intellect. Not only so, but a woman of high principles will
insensibly elevate the aims and purposes of her husband, as one of
low principles will unconsciously degrade them. De Tocqueville was
profoundly impressed by this truth. He entertained the opinion that man
could have no such mainstay in life as the companionship of a wife of
good temper and high principle. He says that in the course of his life,
he had seen even weak men display real public virtue, because they had
by their side a woman of noble character, who sustained them in their
career, and exercised a fortifying influence on their views of public
duty; whilst, on the contrary, he had still oftener seen men of great
and generous instincts transformed into vulgar self-seekers, by contact
with women of narrow natures, devoted to an imbecile love of pleasure,
and from whose minds the grand motive of Duty was altogether absent.

De Tocqueville himself had the good fortune to be blessed with an
admirable wife: [2010] and in his letters to his intimate friends, he
spoke most gratefully of the comfort and support he derived from her
sustaining courage, her equanimity of temper, and her nobility of
character. The more, indeed, that De Tocqueville saw of the world and of
practical life, the more convinced he became of the necessity of healthy
domestic conditions for a man's growth in virtue and goodness. [2011]
Especially did he regard marriage as of inestimable importance in regard
to a man's true happiness; and he was accustomed to speak of his own
as the wisest action of his life. "Many external circumstances of
happiness," he said, "have been granted to me. But more than all, I have
to thank Heaven for having bestowed on me true domestic happiness, the
first of human blessings. As I grow older, the portion of my life which
in my youth I used to look down upon, every day becomes more important
in my eyes, and would now easily console me for the loss of all the
rest." And again, writing to his bosom-friend, De Kergorlay, he said:
"Of all the blessings which God has given to me, the greatest of all in
my eyes is to have lighted on Marie. You cannot imagine what she is in
great trials. Usually so gentle, she then becomes strong and energetic.
She watches me without my knowing it; she softens, calms, and
strengthens me in difficulties which disturb ME, but leave her serene."
[2012] In another letter he says: "I cannot describe to you the happiness
yielded in the long run by the habitual society of a woman in whose soul
all that is good in your own is reflected naturally, and even improved.
When I say or do a thing which seems to me to be perfectly right, I read
immediately in Marie's countenance an expression of proud satisfaction
which elevates me. And so, when my conscience reproaches me, her face
instantly clouds over. Although I have great power over her mind, I see
with pleasure that she awes me; and so long as I love her as I do now,
I am sure that I shall never allow myself to be drawn into anything that
is wrong."

In the retired life which De Tocqueville led as a literary
man--political life being closed against him by the inflexible
independence of his character--his health failed, and he became ill,
irritable, and querulous. While proceeding with his last work, 'L'Ancien
Regime et la Revolution,' he wrote: "After sitting at my desk for five
or six hours, I can write no longer; the machine refuses to act. I am in
great want of rest, and of a long rest. If you add all the perplexities
that besiege an author towards the end of his work, you will be able to
imagine a very wretched life. I could not go on with my task if it
were not for the refreshing calm of Marie's companionship. It would be
impossible to find a disposition forming a happier contrast to my own.
In my perpetual irritability of body and mind, she is a providential
resource that never fails me." [2013]

M. Guizot was, in like manner, sustained and encouraged, amidst his many
vicissitudes and disappointments, by his noble wife. If he was treated
with harshness by his political enemies, his consolation was in the
tender affection which filled his home with sunshine. Though his public
life was bracing and stimulating, he felt, nevertheless, that it was
cold and calculating, and neither filled the soul nor elevated the
character. "Man longs for a happiness," he says in his 'Memoires,' "more
complete and more tender than that which all the labours and triumphs of
active exertion and public importance can bestow. What I know to-day,
at the end of my race, I have felt when it began, and during its
continuance. Even in the midst of great undertakings, domestic
affections form the basis of life; and the most brilliant career has
only superficial and incomplete enjoyments, if a stranger to the happy
ties of family and friendship."

The circumstances connected with M. Guizot's courtship and marriage are
curious and interesting. While a young man living by his pen in
Paris, writing books, reviews, and translations, he formed a casual
acquaintance with Mademoiselle Pauline de Meulan, a lady of great
ability, then editor of the PUBLICISTE. A severe domestic calamity
having befallen her, she fell ill, and was unable for a time to carry on
the heavy literary work connected with her journal. At this juncture a
letter without any signature reached her one day, offering a supply of
articles, which the writer hoped would be worthy of the reputation of
the PUBLICISTE. The articles duly arrived, were accepted, and
published. They dealt with a great variety of subjects--art, literature,
theatricals, and general criticism. When the editor at length recovered
from her illness, the writer of the articles disclosed himself: it was
M. Guizot. An intimacy sprang up between them, which ripened into mutual
affection, and before long Mademoiselle de Meulan became his wife.

From that time forward, she shared in all her husband's joys and
sorrows, as well as in many of his labours. Before they became united,
he asked her if she thought she should ever become dismayed at the
vicissitudes of his destiny, which he then saw looming before him. She
replied that he might assure himself that she would always passionately
enjoy his triumphs, but never heave a sigh over his defeats. When M.
Guizot became first minister of Louis Philippe, she wrote to a friend:
"I now see my husband much less than I desire, but still I see him....
If God spares us to each other, I shall always be, in the midst of every
trial and apprehension, the happiest of beings." Little more than six
months after these words were written, the devoted wife was laid in
her grave; and her sorrowing husband was left thenceforth to tread the
journey of life alone.

Burke was especially happy in his union with Miss Nugent, a beautiful,
affectionate, and highminded woman. The agitation and anxiety of his
public life was more than compensated by his domestic happiness, which
seems to have been complete. It was a saying of Burke, thoroughly
illustrative of his character, that "to love the little platoon
we belong to in society is the germ of all public affections." His
description of his wife, in her youth, is probably one of the finest
word-portraits in the language:--

"She is handsome; but it is a beauty not arising from features, from
complexion, or from shape. She has all three in a high degree, but it is
not by these she touches the heart; it is all that sweetness of temper,
benevolence, innocence, and sensibility, which a face can express, that
forms her beauty. She has a face that just raises your attention at
first sight; it grows on you every moment, and you wonder it did no more
than raise your attention at first.

"Her eyes have a mild light, but they awe when she pleases; they
command, like a good man out of office, not by authority, but by virtue.

"Her stature is not tall; she is not made to be the admiration of
everybody, but the happiness of one.

"She has all the firmness that does not exclude delicacy; she has all
the softness that does not imply weakness.

"Her voice is a soft low music--not formed to rule in public assemblies,
but to charm those who can distinguish a company from a crowd; it has

"To describe her body describes her mind--one is the transcript of
the other; her understanding is not shown in the variety of matters it
exerts itself on, but in the goodness of the choice she makes.

"She does not display it so much in saying or doing striking things, as
in avoiding such as she ought not to say or do.

"No person of so few years can know the world better; no person was ever
less corrupted by the knowledge of it.

"Her politeness flows rather from a natural disposition to oblige, than
from any rules on that subject, and therefore never fails to strike
those who understand good breeding and those who do not.

"She has a steady and firm mind, which takes no more from the solidity
of the female character than the solidity of marble does from its polish
and lustre. She has such virtues as make us value the truly great of
our own sex. She has all the winning graces that make us love even the
faults we see in the weak and beautiful, in hers."

Let us give, as a companion picture, the not less beautiful delineation
of a husband, that of Colonel Hutchinson, the Commonwealth man, by his
widow. Shortly before his death, he enjoined her "not to grieve at the
common rate of desolate women." And, faithful to his injunction, instead
of lamenting his loss, she indulged her noble sorrow in depicting her
husband as he had lived.

"They who dote on mortal excellences," she says, in her Introduction
to the 'Life,' "when, by the inevitable fate of all things frail, their
adored idols are taken from them, may let loose the winds of passion
to bring in a flood of sorrow, whose ebbing tides carry away the dear
memory of what they have lost; and when comfort is essayed to such
mourners, commonly all objects are removed out of their view which
may with their remembrance renew the grief; and in time these remedies
succeed, and oblivion's curtain is by degrees drawn over the dead face;
and things less lovely are liked, while they are not viewed together
with that which was most excellent. But I, that am under a command not
to grieve at the common rate of desolate women, [2014] while I am studying
which way to moderate my woe, and if it were possible to augment my
love, I can for the present find out none more just to your dear father,
nor consolatory to myself, than the preservation of his memory, which I
need not gild with such flattering commendations as hired preachers do
equally give to the truly and titularly honourable. A naked undressed
narrative, speaking the simple truth of him, will deck him with more
substantial glory, than all the panegyrics the best pens could ever
consecrate to the virtues of the best men."

The following is the wife's portrait of Colonel Hutchinson as a

"For conjugal affection to his wife, it was such in him as whosoever
would draw out a rule of honour, kindness, and religion, to be practised
in that estate, need no more but exactly draw out his example. Never
man had a greater passion for a woman, nor a more honourable esteem of
a wife: yet he was not uxorious, nor remitted he that just rule which
it was her honour to obey, but managed the reins of government with
such prudence and affection, that she who could not delight in such an
honourable and advantageable subjection, must have wanted a reasonable

"He governed by persuasion, which he never employed but to things
honourable and profitable to herself; he loved her soul and her honour
more than her outside, and yet he had ever for her person a constant
indulgence, exceeding the common temporary passion of the most uxorious
fools. If he esteemed her at a higher rate than she in herself could
have deserved, he was the author of that virtue he doated on, while
she only reflected his own glories upon him. All that she was, was HIM,
while he was here, and all that she is now, at best, is but his pale

"So liberal was he to her, and of so generous a temper, that he hated
the mention of severed purses, his estate being so much at her disposal
that he never would receive an account of anything she expended. So
constant was he in his love, that when she ceased to be young and lovely
he began to show most fondness. He loved her at such a kind and generous
rate as words cannot express. Yet even this, which was the highest love
he or any man could have, was bounded by a superior: he loved her in
the Lord as his fellow-creature, not his idol; but in such a manner as
showed that an affection, founded on the just rules of duty, far exceeds
every way all the irregular passions in the world. He loved God above
her, and all the other dear pledges of his heart, and for his glory
cheerfully resigned them." [2015]

Lady Rachel Russell is another of the women of history celebrated for
her devotion and faithfulness as a wife. She laboured and pleaded for
her husband's release so long as she could do so with honour; but when
she saw that all was in vain, she collected her courage, and strove by
her example to strengthen the resolution of her dear lord. And when his
last hour had nearly come, and his wife and children waited to receive
his parting embrace, she, brave to the end, that she might not add
to his distress, concealed the agony of her grief under a seeming
composure; and they parted, after a tender adieu, in silence. After she
had gone, Lord William said, "Now the bitterness of death is passed!"

We have spoken of the influence of a wife upon a man's character. There
are few men strong enough to resist the influence of a lower character
in a wife. If she do not sustain and elevate what is highest in his
nature, she will speedily reduce him to her own level. Thus a wife may
be the making or the unmaking of the best of men. An illustration of
this power is furnished in the life of Bunyan. The profligate tinker had
the good fortune to marry, in early life, a worthy young woman of good
parentage. "My mercy," he himself says, "was to light upon a wife whose
father and mother were accounted godly. This woman and I, though we came
together as poor as poor might be [20not having so much household stuff as
a dish or a spoon betwixt us both], yet she had for her part, 'The Plain
Man's Pathway to Heaven,' and 'The Practice of Piety,' which her father
had left her when he died." And by reading these and other good books;
helped by the kindly influence of his wife, Bunyan was gradually
reclaimed from his evil ways, and led gently into the paths of peace.

Richard Baxter, the Nonconformist divine, was far advanced in life
before he met the excellent woman who eventually became his wife. He was
too laboriously occupied in his vocation of minister to have any time to
spare for courtship; and his marriage was, as in the case of Calvin, as
much a matter of convenience as of love. Miss Charlton, the lady of his
choice, was the owner of property in her own right; but lest it should
be thought that Baxter married her for "covetousness," he requested,
first, that she should give over to her relatives the principal part of
her fortune, and that "he should have nothing that before her marriage
was hers;" secondly, that she should so arrange her affairs "as that
he might be entangled in no lawsuits;" and, thirdly, "that she should
expect none of the time that his ministerial work might require." These
several conditions the bride having complied with, the marriage took
place, and proved a happy one. "We lived," said Baxter, "in inviolated
love and mutual complacency, sensible of the benefit of mutual help,
nearly nineteen years." Yet the life of Baxter was one of great trials
and troubles, arising from the unsettled state of the times in which he
lived. He was hunted about from one part of the country to another,
and for several years he had no settled dwelling-place. "The women," he
gently remarks in his 'Life,' "have most of that sort of trouble, but my
wife easily bore it all." In the sixth year of his marriage Baxter was
brought before the magistrates at Brentford, for holding a conventicle
at Acton, and was sentenced by them to be imprisoned in Clerkenwell
Gaol. There he was joined by his wife, who affectionately nursed him
during his confinement. "She was never so cheerful a companion to me,"
he says, "as in prison, and was very much against me seeking to be
released." At length he was set at liberty by the judges of the Court
of Common Pleas, to whom he had appealed against the sentence of the
magistrates. At the death of Mrs. Baxter, after a very troubled yet
happy and cheerful life, her husband left a touching portrait of the
graces, virtues, and Christian character of this excellent woman--one of
the most charming things to be found in his works.

The noble Count Zinzendorf was united to an equally noble woman, who
bore him up through life by her great spirit, and sustained him in all
his labours by her unfailing courage. "Twenty-four years' experience has
shown me," he said, "that just the helpmate whom I have is the only one
that could suit my vocation. Who else could have so carried through my
family affairs?--who lived so spotlessly before the world? Who so wisely
aided me in my rejection of a dry morality?.... Who would, like she,
without a murmur, have seen her husband encounter such dangers by land
and sea?--who undertaken with him, and sustained, such astonishing
pilgrimages? Who, amid such difficulties, could have held up her head
and supported me?.... And finally, who, of all human beings, could so
well understand and interpret to others my inner and outer being as this
one, of such nobleness in her way of thinking, such great intellectual
capacity, and free from the theological perplexities that so often
enveloped me?"

One of the brave Dr. Livingstone's greatest trials during his travels in
South Africa was the death of his affectionate wife, who had shared
his dangers, and accompanied him in so many of his wanderings. In
communicating the intelligence of her decease at Shupanga, on the River
Zambesi, to his friend Sir Roderick Murchison, Dr. Livingstone said:
"I must confess that this heavy stroke quite takes the heart out of
me. Everything else that has happened only made me more determined to
overcome all difficulties; but after this sad stroke I feel crushed and
void of strength. Only three short months of her society, after four
years separation! I married her for love, and the longer I lived with
her I loved her the more. A good wife, and a good, brave, kindhearted
mother was she, deserving all the praises you bestowed upon her at our
parting dinner, for teaching her own and the native children, too, at
Kolobeng. I try to bow to the blow as from our Heavenly Father, who
orders all things for us.... I shall do my duty still, but it is with a
darkened horizon that I again set about it."

Sir Samuel Romilly left behind him, in his Autobiography, a touching
picture of his wife, to whom he attributed no small measure of the
success and happiness that accompanied him through life. "For the last
fifteen years," he said, "my happiness has been the constant study of
the most excellent of wives: a woman in whom a strong understanding, the
noblest and most elevated sentiments, and the most courageous virtue,
are united to the warmest affection, and to the utmost delicacy of mind
and heart; and all these intellectual perfections are graced by the most
splendid beauty that human eyes ever beheld." [2017] Romilly's affection
and admiration for this noble woman endured to the end; and when she
died, the shock proved greater than his sensitive nature could bear.
Sleep left his eyelids, his mind became unhinged, and three days after
her death the sad event occurred which brought his own valued life to a
close. [2018]

Sir Francis Burdett, to whom Romilly had been often politically opposed,
fell into such a state of profound melancholy on the death of his wife,
that he persistently refused nourishment of any kind, and died before
the removal of her remains from the house; and husband and wife were
laid side by side in the same grave.

It was grief for the loss of his wife that sent Sir Thomas Graham into
the army at the age of forty-three. Every one knows the picture of the
newly-wedded pair by Gainsborough--one of the most exquisite of that
painter's works. They lived happily together for eighteen years, and
then she died, leaving him inconsolable. To forget his sorrow--and,
as some thought, to get rid of the weariness of his life without
her--Graham joined Lord Hood as a volunteer, and distinguished himself
by the recklessness of his bravery at the siege of Toulon. He served all
through the Peninsular War, first under Sir John Moore, and afterwards
under Wellington; rising through the various grades of the service,
until he rose to be second in command. He was commonly known as the
"hero of Barossa," because of his famous victory at that place; and he
was eventually raised to the peerage as Lord Lynedoch, ending his days
peacefully at a very advanced age. But to the last he tenderly cherished
the memory of his dead wife, to the love of whom he may be said to have
owed all his glory. "Never," said Sheridan of him, when pronouncing his
eulogy in the House of Commons--"never was there seated a loftier spirit
in a braver heart."

And so have noble wives cherished the memory of their husbands. There
is a celebrated monument in Vienna, erected to the memory of one of the
best generals of the Austrian army, on which there is an inscription,
setting forth his great services during the Seven Years' War, concluding
Albert Morton died, his wife's grief was such that she shortly followed
him, and was laid by his side. Wotton's two lines on the event have been
celebrated as containing a volume in seventeen words:

          "He first deceased; she for a little tried
          To live without him, liked it not, and died."

So, when Washington's wife was informed that her dear lord had suffered
his last agony--had drawn his last breath, and departed--she said: "'Tis
well; all is now over. I shall soon follow him; I have no more trials to
pass through."

Not only have women been the best companions, friends, and consolers,
but they have in many cases been the most effective helpers of their
husbands in their special lines of work. Galvani was especially happy in
his wife. She was the daughter of Professor Galeazzi; and it is said to
have been through her quick observation of the circumstance of the leg
of a frog, placed near an electrical machine, becoming convulsed when
touched by a knife, that her husband was first led to investigate the
science which has since become identified with his name. Lavoisier's
wife also was a woman of real scientific ability, who not only shared
in her husband's pursuits, but even undertook the task of engraving the
plates that accompanied his 'Elements.'

The late Dr. Buckland had another true helper in his wife, who assisted
him with her pen, prepared and mended his fossils, and furnished many of
the drawings and illustrations of his published works. "Notwithstanding
her devotion to her husband's pursuits," says her son, Frank Buckland,
in the preface to one of his father's works, "she did not neglect the
education of her children, but occupied her mornings in superintending
their instruction in sound and useful knowledge. The sterling value of
her labours they now, in after-life, fully appreciate, and feel most
thankful that they were blessed with so good a mother." [2019]

A still more remarkable instance of helpfulness in a wife is presented
in the case of Huber, the Geneva naturalist. Huber was blind from his
seventeenth year, and yet he found means to study and master a branch
of natural history demanding the closest observation and the keenest
eyesight. It was through the eyes of his wife that his mind worked as if
they had been his own. She encouraged her husband's studies as a means
of alleviating his privation, which at length he came to forget; and his
life was as prolonged and happy as is usual with most naturalists. He
even went so far as to declare that he should be miserable were he to
regain his eyesight. "I should not know," he said, "to what extent
a person in my situation could be beloved; besides, to me my wife is
always young, fresh, and pretty, which is no light matter." Huber's
great work on 'Bees' is still regarded as a masterpiece, embodying a
vast amount of original observation on their habits and natural history.
Indeed, while reading his descriptions, one would suppose that they were
the work of a singularly keensighted man, rather than of one who had
been entirely blind for twenty-five years at the time at which he wrote

Not less touching was the devotion of Lady Hamilton to the service
of her husband, the late Sir William Hamilton, Professor of Logic and
Metaphysics in the University of Edinburgh. After he had been stricken
by paralysis through overwork at the age of fifty-six, she became hands,
eyes, mind, and everything to him. She identified herself with his work,
read and consulted books for him, copied out and corrected his lectures,
and relieved him of all business which she felt herself competent to
undertake. Indeed, her conduct as a wife was nothing short of heroic;
and it is probable that but for her devoted and more than wifely help,
and her rare practical ability, the greatest of her husband's works
would never have seen the light. He was by nature unmethodical and
disorderly, and she supplied him with method and orderliness. His
temperament was studious but indolent, while she was active and
energetic. She abounded in the qualities which he most lacked. He had
the genius, to which her vigorous nature gave the force and impulse.

When Sir William Hamilton was elected to his Professorship, after a
severe and even bitter contest, his opponents, professing to regard him
as a visionary, predicted that he could never teach a class of students,
and that his appointment would prove a total failure. He determined,
with the help of his wife, to justify the choice of his supporters,
and to prove that his enemies were false prophets. Having no stock of
lectures on hand, each lecture of the first course was written out day
by day, as it was to be delivered on the following morning. His wife sat
up with him night after night, to write out a fair copy of the lectures
from the rough sheets, which he drafted in the adjoining room. "On some
occasions," says his biographer, "the subject of the lectures would
prove less easily managed than on others; and then Sir William would be
found writing as late as nine o'clock in the morning, while his faithful
but wearied amanuensis had fallen asleep on a sofa." [2020]

Sometimes the finishing touches to the lecture were left to be given
just before the class-hour. Thus helped, Sir William completed his
course; his reputation as a lecturer was established; and he eventually
became recognised throughout Europe as one of the leading intellects of
his time. [2021]

The woman who soothes anxiety by her presence, who charms and allays
irritability by her sweetness of temper, is a consoler as well as a true
helper. Niebuhr always spoke of his wife as a fellow-worker with him
in this sense. Without the peace and consolation which be found in her
society, his nature would have fretted in comparative uselessness. "Her
sweetness of temper and her love," said he, "raise me above the earth,
and in a manner separate me from this life." But she was a helper in
another and more direct way. Niebuhr was accustomed to discuss with his
wife every historical discovery, every political event, every novelty in
literature; and it was mainly for her pleasure and approbation, in
the first instance, that he laboured while preparing himself for the
instruction of the world at large.

The wife of John Stuart Mill was another worthy helper of her husband,
though in a more abstruse department of study, as we learn from his
touching dedication of the treatise 'On Liberty':--"To the beloved and
deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and in part the author,
of all that is best in my writings--the friend and wife, whose exalted
sense of truth and right was my strongest incitement, and whose
approbation was my chief reward, I dedicate this volume." Not less
touching is the testimony borne by another great living writer to the
character of his wife, in the inscription upon the tombstone of Mrs.
Carlyle in Haddington Churchyard, where are inscribed these words:--"In
her bright existence, she had more sorrows than are common, but also
a soft amiability, a capacity of discernment, and a noble loyalty of
heart, which are rare. For forty years she was the true and loving
helpmate of her husband, and by act and word unweariedly forwarded him
as none else could, in all of worthy that he did or attempted."

The married life of Faraday was eminently happy. In his wife he found,
at the same time, a true helpmate and soul-mate. She supported, cheered,
and strengthened him on his way through life, giving him "the clear
contentment of a heart at ease." In his diary he speaks of his marriage
as "a source of honour and happiness far exceeding all the rest." After
twentyeight years' experience, he spoke of it as "an event which, more
than any other, had contributed to his earthly happiness and healthy
state of mind.... The union [20said he] has in nowise changed, except only
in the depth and strength of its character." And for six-and-forty years
did the union continue unbroken; the love of the old man remaining
as fresh, as earnest, as heart-whole, as in the days of his impetuous
youth. In this case, marriage was as--

"A golden chain let down from heaven, Whose links are bright and even;
That falls like sleep on lovers, and combines The soft and sweetest
minds In equal knots."

Besides being a helper, woman is emphatically a consoler. Her sympathy
is unfailing. She soothes, cheers, and comforts. Never was this more
true than in the case of the wife of Tom Hood, whose tender devotion
to him, during a life that was a prolonged illness, is one of the most
affecting things in biography. A woman of excellent good sense, she
appreciated her husband's genius, and, by encouragement and sympathy,
cheered and heartened him to renewed effort in many a weary struggle for
life. She created about him an atmosphere of hope and cheerfulness, and
nowhere did the sunshine of her love seem so bright as when lighting up
the couch of her invalid husband.

Nor was he unconscious of her worth. In one of his letters to her, when
absent from his side, Hood said: "I never was anything, Dearest, till
I knew you; and I have been a better, happier, and more prosperous man
ever since. Lay by that truth in lavender, Sweetest, and remind me of it
when I fail. I am writing warmly and fondly, but not without good
cause. First, your own affectionate letter, lately received; next, the
remembrance of our dear children, pledges--what darling ones!--of
our old familiar love; then, a delicious impulse to pour out the
overflowings of my heart into yours; and last, not least, the knowledge
that your dear eyes will read what my hand is now writing. Perhaps there
is an afterthought that, whatever may befall me, the wife of my bosom
will have the acknowledgment of her tenderness, worth, excellence--all
that is wifely or womanly, from my pen." In another letter, also written
to his wife during a brief absence, there is a natural touch, showing
his deep affection for her: "I went and retraced our walk in the park,
and sat down on the same seat, and felt happier and better."

But not only was Mrs. Hood a consoler, she was also a helper of her
husband in his special work. He had such confidence in her judgment,
that he read, and re-read, and corrected with her assistance all that
he wrote. Many of his pieces were first dedicated to her; and her ready
memory often supplied him with the necessary references and quotations.
Thus, in the roll of noble wives of men of genius, Mrs. Hood will always
be entitled to take a foremost place.

Not less effective as a literary helper was Lady Napier, the wife of Sir
William Napier, historian of the Peninsular War. She encouraged him to
undertake the work, and without her help he would have experienced great
difficulty in completing it. She translated and epitomized the immense
mass of original documents, many of them in cipher, on which it was in
a great measure founded. When the Duke of Wellington was told of the art
and industry she had displayed in deciphering King Joseph's portfolio,
and the immense mass of correspondence taken at Vittoria, he at first
would hardly believe it, adding--"I would have given 20,000L. to any
person who could have done this for me in the Peninsula." Sir William
Napier's handwriting being almost illegible, Lady Napier made out his
rough interlined manuscript, which he himself could scarcely read, and
wrote out a full fair copy for the printer; and all this vast labour she
undertook and accomplished, according to the testimony of her husband,
without having for a moment neglected the care and education of a large
family. When Sir William lay on his deathbed, Lady Napier was at the
same time dangerously ill; but she was wheeled into his room on a sofa,
and the two took their silent farewell of each other. The husband died
first; in a few weeks the wife followed him, and they sleep side by side
in the same grave.

Many other similar truehearted wives rise up in the memory, to recite
whose praises would more than fill up our remaining space--such as
Flaxman's wife, Ann Denham, who cheered and encouraged her husband
through life in the prosecution of his art, accompanying him to Rome,
sharing in his labours and anxieties, and finally in his triumphs, and
to whom Flaxman, in the fortieth year of their married life, dedicated
his beautiful designs illustrative of Faith, Hope, and Charity, in
token of his deep and undimmed affection;--such as Katherine Boutcher,
"dark-eyed Kate," the wife of William Blake, who believed her husband to
be the first genius on earth, worked off the impressions of his plates
and coloured them beautifully with her own hand, bore with him in all
his erratic ways, sympathised with him in his sorrows and joys for
forty-five years, and comforted him until his dying hour--his last
sketch, made in his seventy-first year, being a likeness of himself,
before making which, seeing his wife crying by his side, he said, "Stay,
Kate! just keep as you are; I will draw your portrait, for you have ever
been an angel to me;"--such again as Lady Franklin, the true and noble
woman, who never rested in her endeavours to penetrate the secret of the
Polar Sea and prosecute the search for her long-lost husband--undaunted
by failure, and persevering in her determination with a devotion and
singleness of purpose altogether unparalleled;--or such again as the
wife of Zimmermann, whose intense melancholy she strove in vain to
assuage, sympathizing with him, listening to him, and endeavouring to
understand him--and to whom, when on her deathbed, about to leave him
for ever, she addressed the touching words, "My poor Zimmermann! who
will now understand thee?"

Wives have actively helped their husbands in other ways. Before
Weinsberg surrendered to its besiegers, the women of the place asked
permission of the captors to remove their valuables. The permission was
granted, and shortly after, the women were seen issuing from the gates
carrying their husbands on their shoulders. Lord Nithsdale owed his
escape from prison to the address of his wife, who changed garments with
him, sending him forth in her stead, and herself remaining prisoner,--an
example which was successfully repeated by Madame de Lavalette.

But the most remarkable instance of the release of a husband through the
devotion of a wife, was that of the celebrated Grotius. He had lain for
nearly twenty months in the strong fortress of Loevestein, near Gorcum,
having been condemned by the government of the United Provinces to
perpetual imprisonment. His wife, having been allowed to share his cell,
greatly relieved his solitude. She was permitted to go into the town
twice a week, and bring her husband books, of which he required a large
number to enable him to prosecute his studies. At length a large chest
was required to hold them. This the sentries at first examined with
great strictness, but, finding that it only contained books [20amongst
others Arminian books] and linen, they at length gave up the search,
and it was allowed to pass out and in as a matter of course. This led
Grotius' wife to conceive the idea of releasing him; and she persuaded
him one day to deposit himself in the chest instead of the outgoing
books. When the two soldiers appointed to remove it took it up, they
felt it to be considerably heavier than usual, and one of them asked,
jestingly, "Have we got the Arminian himself here?" to which the
ready-witted wife replied, "Yes, perhaps some Arminian books." The chest
reached Gorcum in safety; the captive was released; and Grotius escaped
across the frontier into Brabant, and afterwards into France, where he
was rejoined by his wife.

Trial and suffering are the tests of married life. They bring out the
real character, and often tend to produce the closest union. They may
even be the spring of the purest happiness. Uninterrupted joy, like
uninterrupted success, is not good for either man or woman. When Heine's
wife died, he began to reflect upon the loss he had sustained. They had
both known poverty, and struggled through it hand-in-hand; and it was
his greatest sorrow that she was taken from him at the moment when
fortune was beginning to smile upon him, but too late for her to share
in his prosperity. "Alas I" said he, "amongst my griefs must I reckon
even her love--the strongest, truest, that ever inspired the heart
of woman--which made me the happiest of mortals, and yet was to me a
fountain of a thousand distresses, inquietudes, and cares? To entire
cheerfulness, perhaps, she never attained; but for what unspeakable
sweetness, what exalted, enrapturing joys, is not love indebted to
sorrow! Amidst growing anxieties, with the torture of anguish in my
heart, I have been made, even by the loss which caused me this anguish
and these anxieties, inexpressibly happy! When tears flowed over our
cheeks, did not a nameless, seldom-felt delight stream through my
breast, oppressed equally by joy and sorrow!"

There is a degree of sentiment in German love which seems strange to
English readers,--such as we find depicted in the lives of Novalis, Jung
Stilling, Fichte, Jean Paul, and others that might be named. The German
betrothal is a ceremony of almost equal importance to the marriage
itself; and in that state the sentiments are allowed free play, whilst
English lovers are restrained, shy, and as if ashamed of their feelings.
Take, for instance, the case of Herder, whom his future wife first saw
in the pulpit. "I heard," she says, "the voice of an angel, and soul's
words such as I had never heard before. In the afternoon I saw him,
and stammered out my thanks to him; from this time forth our souls were
one." They were betrothed long before their means would permit them to
marry; but at length they were united. "We were married," says Caroline,
the wife, "by the rose-light of a beautiful evening. We were one heart,
one soul." Herder was equally ecstatic in his language. "I have a
wife," he wrote to Jacobi, "that is the tree, the consolation, and the
happiness of my life. Even in flying transient thoughts [20which often
surprise us], we are one!"

Take, again, the case of Fichte, in whose history his courtship and
marriage form a beautiful episode. He was a poor German student, living
with a family at Zurich in the capacity of tutor, when he first made the
acquaintance of Johanna Maria Hahn, a niece of Klopstock. Her position
in life was higher than that of Fichte; nevertheless, she regarded him
with sincere admiration. When Fichte was about to leave Zurich, his
troth plighted to her, she, knowing him to be very poor, offered him
a gift of money before setting out. He was inexpressibly hurt by the
offer, and, at first, even doubted whether she could really love him;
but, on second thoughts, he wrote to her, expressing his deep thanks,
but, at the same time, the impossibility of his accepting such a gift
from her. He succeeded in reaching his destination, though entirely
destitute of means. After a long and hard struggle with the world,
extending over many years, Fichte was at length earning money enough to
enable him to marry. In one of his charming letters to his betrothed
he said:--"And so, dearest, I solemnly devote myself to thee, and thank
thee that thou hast thought me not unworthy to be thy companion on the
journey of life.... There is no land of happiness here below--I know it
now--but a land of toil, where every joy but strengthens us for greater
labour. Hand-in-hand we shall traverse it, and encourage and strengthen
each other, until our spirits--oh, may it be together!--shall rise to
the eternal fountain of all peace."

The married life of Fichte was very happy. His wife proved a true and
highminded helpmate. During the War of Liberation she was assiduous
in her attention to the wounded in the hospitals, where she caught a
malignant fever, which nearly carried her off. Fichte himself caught the
same disease, and was for a time completely prostrated; but he lived for
a few more years and died at the early age of fifty-two, consumed by his
own fire.

What a contrast does the courtship and married life of the blunt and
practical William Cobbett present to the aesthetical and sentimental
love of these highly refined Germans! Not less honest, not less true,
but, as some would think, comparatively coarse and vulgar. When he first
set eyes upon the girl that was afterwards to become his wife, she was
only thirteen years old, and he was twenty-one--a sergeant-major in a
foot regiment stationed at St. John's in New Brunswick. He was passing
the door of her father's house one day in winter, and saw the girl
out in the snow, scrubbing a washing-tub. He said at once to himself,
"That's the girl for me." He made her acquaintance, and resolved that
she should be his wife so soon as he could get discharged from the army.

On the eve of the girl's return to Woolwich with her father, who was a
sergeant-major in the artillery, Cobbett sent her a hundred and fifty
guineas which he had saved, in order that she might be able to live
without hard work until his return to England. The girl departed, taking
with her the money; and five years later Cobbett obtained his discharge.
On reaching London, he made haste to call upon the sergeant-major's
daughter. "I found," he says, "my little girl a servant-of-all-work
[20and hard work it was], at five pounds a year, in the house of a Captain
Brisac; and, without hardly saying a word about the matter, she put
into my hands the whole of my hundred and fifty guineas, unbroken."
Admiration of her conduct was now added to love of her person, and
Cobbett shortly after married the girl, who proved an excellent wife. He
was, indeed, never tired of speaking her praises, and it was his pride
to attribute to her all the comfort and much of the success of his

Though Cobbett was regarded by many in his lifetime as a coarse, hard,
practical man, full of prejudices, there was yet a strong undercurrent
of poetry in his nature; and, while he declaimed against sentiment,
there were few men more thoroughly imbued with sentiment of the best
kind. He had the tenderest regard for the character of woman. He
respected her purity and her virtue, and in his 'Advice to Young
Men,' he has painted the true womanly woman--the helpful, cheerful,
affectionate wife--with a vividness and brightness, and, at the same
time, a force of good sense, that has never been surpassed by any
English writer. Cobbett was anything but refined, in the conventional
sense of the word; but he was pure, temperate, self-denying,
industrious, vigorous, and energetic, in an eminent degree. Many of his
views were, no doubt, wrong, but they were his own, for he insisted on
thinking for himself in everything. Though few men took a firmer grasp
of the real than he did, perhaps still fewer were more swayed by the
ideal. In word-pictures of his own emotions, he is unsurpassed. Indeed,
Cobbett might almost be regarded as one of the greatest prose poets of
English real life.


      "I would the great would grow like thee.
        Who grewest not alone in power
        And knowledge, but by year and hour
      In reverence and in charity."--TENNYSON.

      "Not to be unhappy is unhappynesse,
      And misery not t'have known miserie;
      For the best way unto discretion is
      The way that leades us by adversitie;
      And men are better shew'd what is amisse,
      By th'expert finger of calamitie,
      Than they can be with all that fortune brings,
      Who never shewes them the true face of things."--DANIEL.

      "A lump of wo affliction is,
      Yet thence I borrow lumps of bliss;
      Though few can see a blessing in't,
      It is my furnace and my mint."

    "Crosses grow anchors, bear as thou shouldst so
    Thy cross, and that cross grows an anchor too."--DONNE.

        "Be the day weary, or be the day long,
        At length it ringeth to Evensong."--ANCIENT COUPLET.

Practical wisdom is only to be learnt in the school of experience.
Precepts and instructions are useful so far as they go, but, without the
discipline of real life, they remain of the nature of theory only. The
hard facts of existence have to be faced, to give that touch of truth to
character which can never be imparted by reading or tuition, but only by
contact with the broad instincts of common men and women.

To be worth anything, character must be capable of standing firm upon
its feet in the world of daily work, temptation, and trial; and able to
bear the wear-and-tear of actual life. Cloistered virtues do not count
for much. The life that rejoices in solitude may be only rejoicing in
selfishness. Seclusion may indicate contempt for others; though more
usually it means indolence, cowardice, or self-indulgence. To every
human being belongs his fair share of manful toil and human duty; and it
cannot be shirked without loss to the individual himself, as well as
to the community to which he belongs. It is only by mixing in the
daily life of the world, and taking part in its affairs, that practical
knowledge can be acquired, and wisdom learnt. It is there that we find
our chief sphere of duty, that we learn the discipline of work, and that
we educate ourselves in that patience, diligence, and endurance
which shape and consolidate the character. There we encounter the
difficulties, trials, and temptations which, according as we deal with
them, give a colour to our entire after-life; and there, too, we become
subject to the great discipline of suffering, from which we learn far
more than from the safe seclusion of the study or the cloister.

Contact with others is also requisite to enable a man to know himself.
It is only by mixing freely in the world that one can form a proper
estimate of his own capacity. Without such experience, one is apt to
become conceited, puffed-up, and arrogant; at all events, he will remain
ignorant of himself, though he may heretofore have enjoyed no other

Swift once said: "It is an uncontroverted truth, that no man ever made
an ill-figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who
mistook them." Many persons, however, are readier to take measure of the
capacity of others than of themselves. "Bring him to me," said a certain
Dr. Tronchin, of Geneva, speaking of Rousseau--"Bring him to me, that I
may see whether he has got anything in him!"--the probability being that
Rousseau, who knew himself better, was much more likely to take measure
of Tronchin than Tronchin was to take measure of him.

A due amount of self-knowledge is, therefore, necessary for those who
would BE anything or DO anything in the world. It is also one of the
first essentials to the formation of distinct personal convictions.
Frederic Perthes once said to a young friend: "You know only too well
what you CAN do; but till you have learned what you CANNOT do, you will
neither accomplish anything of moment, nor know inward peace."

Any one who would profit by experience will never be above asking for
help. He who thinks himself already too wise to learn of others, will
never succeed in doing anything either good or great. We have to keep
our minds and hearts open, and never be ashamed to learn, with the
assistance of those who are wiser and more experienced than ourselves.

The man made wise by experience endeavours to judge correctly of the
thugs which come under his observation, and form the subject of his
daily life. What we call common sense is, for the most part, but the
result of common experience wisely improved. Nor is great ability
necessary to acquire it, so much as patience, accuracy, and
watchfulness. Hazlitt thought the most sensible people to be met with
are intelligent men of business and of the world, who argue from what
they see and know, instead of spinning cobweb distinctions of what
things ought to be.

For the same reason, women often display more good sense than men,
having fewer pretensions, and judging of things naturally, by the
involuntary impression they make on the mind. Their intuitive powers are
quicker, their perceptions more acute, their sympathies more lively, and
their manners more adaptive to particular ends. Hence their greater tact
as displayed in the management of others, women of apparently slender
intellectual powers often contriving to control and regulate the
conduct of men of even the most impracticable nature. Pope paid a high
compliment to the tact and good sense of Mary, Queen of William III.,
when he described her as possessing, not a science, but [21what was worth
all else] prudence.

The whole of life may be regarded as a great school of experience, in
which men and women are the pupils. As in a school, many of the lessons
learnt there must needs be taken on trust. We may not understand them,
and may possibly think it hard that we have to learn them, especially
where the teachers are trials, sorrows, temptations, and difficulties;
and yet we must not only accept their lessons, but recognise them as
being divinely appointed.

To what extent have the pupils profited by their experience in the
school of life? What advantage have they taken of their opportunities
for learning? What have they gained in discipline of heart and
mind?--how much in growth of wisdom, courage, self-control? Have
they preserved their integrity amidst prosperity, and enjoyed life in
temperance and moderation? Or, has life been with them a mere feast of
selfishness, without care or thought for others? What have they learnt
from trial and adversity? Have they learnt patience, submission,
and trust in God?--or have they learnt nothing but impatience,
querulousness, and discontent?

The results of experience are, of course, only to be achieved by living;
and living is a question of time. The man of experience learns to rely
upon Time as his helper. "Time and I against any two," was a maxim
of Cardinal Mazarin. Time has been described as a beautifier and as a
consoler; but it is also a teacher. It is the food of experience, the
soil of wisdom. It may be the friend or the enemy of youth; and Time
will sit beside the old as a consoler or as a tormentor, according as it
has been used or misused, and the past life has been well or ill spent.

"Time," says George Herbert, "is the rider that breaks youth." To
the young, how bright the new world looks!--how full of novelty, of
enjoyment, of pleasure! But as years pass, we find the world to be a
place of sorrow as well as of joy. As we proceed through life, many dark
vistas open upon us--of toil, suffering, difficulty, perhaps misfortune
and failure. Happy they who can pass through and amidst such trials with
a firm mind and pure heart, encountering trials with cheerfulness, and
standing erect beneath even the heaviest burden!

A little youthful ardour is a great help in life, and is useful as an
energetic motive power. It is gradually cooled down by Time, no matter
how glowing it has been, while it is trained and subdued by experience.
But it is a healthy and hopeful indication of character,--to be
encouraged in a right direction, and not to be sneered down and
repressed. It is a sign of a vigorous unselfish nature, as egotism is
of a narrow and selfish one; and to begin life with egotism and
self-sufficiency is fatal to all breadth and vigour of character. Life,
in such a case, would be like a year in which there was no spring.
Without a generous seedtime, there will be an unflowering summer and an
unproductive harvest. And youth is the springtime of life, in which, if
there be not a fair share of enthusiasm, little will be attempted,
and still less done. It also considerably helps the working quality,
inspiring confidence and hope, and carrying one through the dry details
of business and duty with cheerfulness and joy.

"It is the due admixture of romance and reality," said Sir Henry
Lawrence, "that best carries a man through life... The quality of
romance or enthusiasm is to be valued as an energy imparted to the human
mind to prompt and sustain its noblest efforts." Sir Henry always urged
upon young men, not that they should repress enthusiasm, but sedulously
cultivate and direct the feeling, as one implanted for wise and noble
purposes. "When the two faculties of romance and reality," he said, "are
duly blended, reality pursues a straight rough path to a desirable and
practicable result; while romance beguiles the road by pointing out its
beauties--by bestowing a deep and practical conviction that, even in
this dark and material existence, there may be found a joy with which a
stranger intermeddleth not--a light that shineth more and more unto the
perfect day." [211]

It was characteristic of Joseph Lancaster, when a boy of only fourteen
years of age, after reading 'Clarkson on the Slave Trade,' to form the
resolution of leaving his home and going out to the West Indies to teach
the poor blacks to read the Bible. And he actually set out with a Bible
and 'Pilgrim's Progress' in his bundle, and only a few shillings in his
purse. He even succeeded in reaching the West Indies, doubtless very
much at a loss how to set about his proposed work; but in the meantime
his distressed parents, having discovered whither he had gone, had him
speedily brought back, yet with his enthusiasm unabated; and from that
time forward he unceasingly devoted himself to the truly philanthropic
work of educating the destitute poor. [212]

There needs all the force that enthusiasm can give to enable a man to
succeed in any great enterprise of life. Without it, the obstruction
and difficulty he has to encounter on every side might compel him to
succumb; but with courage and perseverance, inspired by enthusiasm,
a man feels strong enough to face any danger, to grapple with any
difficulty. What an enthusiasm was that of Columbus, who, believing in
the existence of a new world, braved the dangers of unknown seas; and
when those about him despaired and rose up against him, threatening to
cast him into the sea, still stood firm upon his hope and courage until
the great new world at length rose upon the horizon!

The brave man will not be baffled, but tries and tries again until
he succeeds. The tree does not fall at the first stroke, but only by
repeated strokes and after great labour. We may see the visible success
at which a man has arrived, but forget the toil and suffering and peril
through which it has been achieved. When a friend of Marshal Lefevre was
complimenting him on his possessions and good fortune, the Marshal said:
"You envy me, do you? Well, you shall have these things at a better
bargain than I had. Come into the court: I'll fire at you with a gun
twenty times at thirty paces, and if I don't kill you, all shall be your
own. What! you won't! Very well; recollect, then, that I have been shot
at more than a thousand times, and much nearer, before I arrived at the
state in which you now find me!"

The apprenticeship of difficulty is one which the greatest of men
have had to serve. It is usually the best stimulus and discipline of
character. It often evokes powers of action that, but for it, would
have remained dormant. As comets are sometimes revealed by eclipses,
so heroes are brought to light by sudden calamity. It seems as if, in
certain cases, genius, like iron struck by the flint, needed the sharp
and sudden blow of adversity to bring out the divine spark. There are
natures which blossom and ripen amidst trials, which would only wither
and decay in an atmosphere of ease and comfort.

Thus it is good for men to be roused into action and stiffened into
self-reliance by difficulty, rather than to slumber away their lives
in useless apathy and indolence. [213] It is the struggle that is the
condition of victory. If there were no difficulties, there would be
no need of efforts; if there were no temptations, there would be no
training in self-control, and but little merit in virtue; if there were
no trial and suffering, there would be no education in patience and
resignation. Thus difficulty, adversity, and suffering are not all evil,
but often the best source of strength, discipline, and virtue.

For the same reason, it is often of advantage for a man to be under the
necessity of having to struggle with poverty and conquer it. "He who has
battled," says Carlyle, "were it only with poverty and hard toil, will
be found stronger and more expert than he who could stay at home
from the battle, concealed among the provision waggons, or even rest
unwatchfully 'abiding by the stuff.'"

Scholars have found poverty tolerable compared with the privation of
intellectual food. Riches weigh much more heavily upon the mind. "I
cannot but choose say to Poverty," said Richter, "Be welcome! so that
thou come not too late in life." Poverty, Horace tells us, drove him
to poetry, and poetry introduced him to Varus and Virgil and Maecenas.
"Obstacles," says Michelet, "are great incentives. I lived for whole
years upon a Virgil, and found myself well off. An odd volume of Racine,
purchased by chance at a stall on the quay, created the poet of Toulon."

The Spaniards are even said to have meanly rejoiced the poverty of
Cervantes, but for which they supposed the production of his great works
might have been prevented. When the Archbishop of Toledo visited the
French ambassador at Madrid, the gentlemen in the suite of the latter
expressed their high admiration of the writings of the author of 'Don
Quixote,' and intimated their desire of becoming acquainted with one
who had given them so much pleasure. The answer they received was, that
Cervantes had borne arms in the service of his country, and was now
old and poor. "What!" exclaimed one of the Frenchmen, "is not Senor
Cervantes in good circumstances? Why is he not maintained, then, out
of the public treasury?" "Heaven forbid!" was the reply, "that his
necessities should be ever relieved, if it is those which make him
write; since it is his poverty that makes the world rich!" [214]

It is not prosperity so much as adversity, not wealth so much as
poverty, that stimulates the perseverance of strong and healthy natures,
rouses their energy and developes their character. Burke said of
himself: "I was not rocked, and swaddled, and dandled into a legislator.
'NITOR IN ADVERSUM' is the motto for a man like you." Some men only
require a great difficulty set in their way to exhibit the force of
their character and genius; and that difficulty once conquered becomes
one of the greatest incentives to their further progress.

It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much
oftener succeed through failure. By far the best experience of men
is made up of their remembered failures in dealing with others in
the affairs of life. Such failures, in sensible men, incite to better
self-management, and greater tact and self-control, as a means of
avoiding them in the future. Ask the diplomatist, and he will tell you
that he has learned his art through being baffled, defeated, thwarted,
and circumvented, far more than from having succeeded. Precept, study,
advice, and example could never have taught them so well as failure has
done. It has disciplined them experimentally, and taught them what to
do as well as what NOT to do--which is often still more important in

Many have to make up their minds to encounter failure again and again
before they succeed; but if they have pluck, the failure will only serve
to rouse their courage, and stimulate them to renewed efforts. Talma,
the greatest of actors, was hissed off the stage when he first appeared
on it. Lacordaire, one of the greatest preachers of modern times, only
acquired celebrity after repeated failures. Montalembert said of
his first public appearance in the Church of St. Roch: "He failed
completely, and on coming out every one said, 'Though he may be a man of
talent, he will never be a preacher.'" Again and again he tried until he
succeeded; and only two years after his DEBUT, Lacordaire was preaching
in Notre Dame to audiences such as few French orators have addressed
since the time of Bossuet and Massillon.

When Mr. Cobden first appeared as a speaker, at a public meeting in
Manchester, he completely broke down, and the chairman apologized for
his failure. Sir James Graham and Mr. Disraeli failed and were derided
at first, and only succeeded by dint of great labour and application.
At one time Sir James Graham had almost given up public speaking in
despair. He said to his friend Sir Francis Baring: "I have tried it
every way--extempore, from notes, and committing all to memory--and
I can't do it. I don't know why it is, but I am afraid I shall never
succeed." Yet, by dint of perseverance, Graham, like Disraeli, lived
to become one of the most effective and impressive of parliamentary

Failures in one direction have sometimes had the effect of forcing the
farseeing student to apply himself in another. Thus Prideaux's failure
as a candidate for the post of parish-clerk of Ugboro, in Devon, led to
his applying himself to learning, and to his eventual elevation to the
bishopric of Worcester. When Boileau, educated for the bar, pleaded his
first cause, he broke down amidst shouts of laughter. He next tried the
pulpit, and failed there too. And then he tried poetry, and succeeded.
Fontenelle and Voltaire both failed at the bar. So Cowper, through his
diffidence and shyness, broke down when pleading his first cause, though
he lived to revive the poetic art in England. Montesquieu and Bentham
both failed as lawyers, and forsook the bar for more congenial
pursuits--the latter leaving behind him a treasury of legislative
procedure for all time. Goldsmith failed in passing as a surgeon; but
he wrote the 'Deserted Village' and the 'Vicar of Wakefield;' whilst
Addison failed as a speaker, but succeeded in writing 'Sir Roger de
Coverley,' and his many famous papers in the 'Spectator.'

Even the privation of some important bodily sense, such as sight or
hearing, has not been sufficient to deter courageous men from zealously
pursuing the struggle of life. Milton, when struck by blindness, "still
bore up and steered right onward." His greatest works were produced
during that period of his life in which he suffered most--when he was
poor, sick, old, blind, slandered, and persecuted.

The lives of some of the greatest men have been a continuous struggle
with difficulty and apparent defeat. Dante produced his greatest work in
penury and exile. Banished from his native city by the local faction
to which he was opposed, his house was given up to plunder, and he was
sentenced in his absence to be burnt alive. When informed by a friend
that he might return to Florence, if he would consent to ask for pardon
and absolution, he replied: "No! This is not the way that shall lead me
back to my country. I will return with hasty steps if you, or any other,
can open to me a way that shall not derogate from the fame or the
honour of Dante; but if by no such way Florence can be entered, then to
Florence I shall never return." His enemies remaining implacable, Dante,
after a banishment of twenty years, died in exile. They even pursued
him after death, when his book, 'De Monarchia,' was publicly burnt at
Bologna by order of the Papal Legate.

Camoens also wrote his great poems mostly in banishment. Tired of
solitude at Santarem, he joined an expedition against the Moors, in
which he distinguished himself by his bravery. He lost an eye when
boarding an enemy's ship in a sea-fight. At Goa, in the East Indies, he
witnessed with indignation the cruelty practised by the Portuguese on
the natives, and expostulated with the governor against it. He was in
consequence banished from the settlement, and sent to China. In the
course of his subsequent adventures and misfortunes, Camoens suffered
shipwreck, escaping only with his life and the manuscript of his
'Lusiad.' Persecution and hardship seemed everywhere to pursue him.
At Macao he was thrown into prison. Escaping from it, he set sail
for Lisbon, where he arrived, after sixteen years' absence, poor and
friendless. His 'Lusiad,' which was shortly after published, brought
him much fame, but no money. But for his old Indian slave Antonio, who
begged for his master in the streets, Camoens must have perished. [215] As
it was, he died in a public almshouse, worn out by disease and hardship.
An inscription was placed over his grave:--"Here lies Luis de Camoens:
he excelled all the poets of his time: he lived poor and miserable; and
he died so, MDLXXIX." This record, disgraceful but truthful, has since
been removed; and a lying and pompous epitaph, in honour of the great
national poet of Portugal, has been substituted in its stead.

Even Michael Angelo was exposed, during the greater part of his life,
to the persecutions of the envious--vulgar nobles, vulgar priests, and
sordid men of every degree, who could neither sympathise with him, nor
comprehend his genius. When Paul IV. condemned some of his work in 'The
Last Judgment,' the artist observed that "The Pope would do better
to occupy himself with correcting the disorders and indecencies which
disgrace the world, than with any such hypercriticisms upon his art."

Tasso also was the victim of almost continual persecution and calumny.
After lying in a madhouse for seven years, he became a wanderer over
Italy; and when on his deathbed, he wrote: "I will not complain of
the malignity of fortune, because I do not choose to speak of the
ingratitude of men who have succeeded in dragging me to the tomb of a

But Time brings about strange revenges. The persecutors and the
persecuted often change places; it is the latter who are great--the
former who are infamous. Even the names of the persecutors would
probably long ago have been forgotten, but for their connection with the
history of the men whom they have persecuted. Thus, who would now have
known of Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, but for his imprisonment of Tasso? Or,
who would have heard of the existence of the Grand Duke of Wurtemburg of
some ninety years back, but for his petty persecution of Schiller?

Science also has had its martyrs, who have fought their way to light
through difficulty, persecution, and suffering. We need not refer again
to the cases of Bruno, Galileo, and others, [216] persecuted because
of the supposed heterodoxy of their views. But there have been other
unfortunates amongst men of science, whose genius has been unable to
save them from the fury of their enemies. Thus Bailly, the celebrated
French astronomer [21who had been mayor of Paris], and Lavoisier, the
great chemist, were both guillotined in the first French Revolution.
When the latter, after being sentenced to death by the Commune, asked
for a few days' respite, to enable him to ascertain the result of some
experiments he had made during his confinement, the tribunal refused
his appeal, and ordered him for immediate execution--one of the judges
saying, that "the Republic had no need of philosophers." In England
also, about the same time, Dr. Priestley, the father of modern
chemistry, had his house burnt over his head, and his library destroyed,
amidst shouts of "No philosophers!" and he fled from his native country
to lay his bones in a foreign land.

The work of some of the greatest discoverers has been done in the midst
of persecution, difficulty, and suffering. Columbus, who discovered
the New World and gave it as a heritage to the Old, was in his lifetime
persecuted, maligned, and plundered by those whom he had enriched. Mungo
Park's drowning agony in the African river he had discovered, but which
he was not to live to describe; Clapperton's perishing of fever on the
banks of the great lake, in the heart of the same continent, which
was afterwards to be rediscovered and described by other explorers;
Franklin's perishing in the snow--it might be after he had solved
the long-sought problem of the North-west Passage--are among the most
melancholy events in the history of enterprise and genius.

The case of Flinders the navigator, who suffered a six years'
imprisonment in the Isle of France, was one of peculiar hardship. In
1801, he set sail from England in the INVESTIGATOR, on a voyage of
discovery and survey, provided with a French pass, requiring all French
governors [21notwithstanding that England and France were at war] to give
him protection and succour in the sacred name of science. In the course
of his voyage he surveyed great part of Australia, Van Diemen's Land,
and the neighbouring islands. The INVESTIGATOR, being found leaky and
rotten, was condemned, and the navigator embarked as passenger in the
PORPOISE for England, to lay the results of his three years' labours
before the Admiralty. On the voyage home the PORPOISE was wrecked on a
reef in the South Seas, and Flinders, with part of the crew, in an open
boat, made for Port Jackson, which they safely reached, though distant
from the scene of the wreck not less than 750 miles. There he procured a
small schooner, the CUMBERLAND, no larger than a Gravesend sailing-boat,
and returned for the remainder of the crew, who had been left on the
reef. Having rescued them, he set sail for England, making for the Isle
of France, which the CUMBERLAND reached in a sinking condition, being
a wretched little craft badly found. To his surprise, he was made a
prisoner with all his crew, and thrown into prison, where he was treated
with brutal harshness, his French pass proving no protection to him.
What aggravated the horrors of Flinders' confinement was, that he knew
that Baudin, the French navigator, whom he had encountered while making
his survey of the Australian coasts, would reach Europe first, and claim
the merit of all the discoveries he had made. It turned out as he had
expected; and while Flinders was still imprisoned in the Isle of France,
the French Atlas of the new discoveries was published, all the points
named by Flinders and his precursors being named afresh. Flinders was at
length liberated, after six years' imprisonment, his health completely
broken; but he continued correcting his maps, and writing out his
descriptions to the last. He only lived long enough to correct his
final sheet for the press, and died on the very day that his work was

Courageous men have often turned enforced solitude to account in
executing works of great pith and moment. It is in solitude that the
passion for spiritual perfection best nurses itself. The soul communes
with itself in loneliness until its energy often becomes intense. But
whether a man profits by solitude or not will mainly depend upon his
own temperament, training, and character. While, in a large-natured man,
solitude will make the pure heart purer, in the small-natured man it
will only serve to make the hard heart still harder: for though solitude
may be the nurse of great spirits, it is the torment of small ones.

It was in prison that Boetius wrote his 'Consolations of Philosophy,'
and Grotius his 'Commentary on St. Matthew,' regarded as his masterwork
in Biblical Criticism. Buchanan composed his beautiful 'Paraphrases
on the Psalms' while imprisoned in the cell of a Portuguese monastery.
Campanella, the Italian patriot monk, suspected of treason, was immured
for twenty-seven years in a Neapolitan dungeon, during which, deprived
of the sun's light, he sought higher light, and there created his
'Civitas Solis,' which has been so often reprinted and reproduced in
translations in most European languages. During his thirteen years'
imprisonment in the Tower, Raleigh wrote his 'History of the World,' a
project of vast extent, of which he was only able to finish the first
five books. Luther occupied his prison hours in the Castle of Wartburg
in translating the Bible, and in writing the famous tracts and treatises
with which he inundated all Germany.

It was to the circumstance of John Bunyan having been cast into gaol
that we probably owe the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' He was thus driven in
upon himself; having no opportunity for action, his active mind
found vent in earnest thinking and meditation; and indeed, after
his enlargement, his life as an author virtually ceased. His 'Grace
Abounding' and the 'Holy War' were also written in prison. Bunyan lay
in Bedford Gaol, with a few intervals of precarious liberty, during not
less than twelve years; [217] and it was most probably to his prolonged
imprisonment that we owe what Macaulay has characterised as the finest
allegory in the world.

All the political parties of the times in which Bunyan lived, imprisoned
their opponents when they had the opportunity and the power. Bunyan's
prison experiences were principally in the time of Charles II. But in
the preceding reign of Charles I., as well as during the Commonwealth,
illustrious prisoners were very numerous. The prisoners of the former
included Sir John Eliot, Hampden, Selden, Prynne [218] [21a most voluminous
prison-writer], and many more. It was while under strict confinement
in the Tower, that Eliot composed his noble treatise, 'The Monarchy
of Man.' George Wither, the poet, was another prisoner of Charles the
First, and it was while confined in the Marshalsea that he wrote his
famous 'Satire to the King.' At the Restoration he was again imprisoned
in Newgate, from which he was transferred to the Tower, and he is
supposed by some to have died there.

The Commonwealth also had its prisoners. Sir William Davenant, because
of his loyalty, was for some time confined a prisoner in Cowes Castle,
where he wrote the greater part of his poem of 'Gondibert': and it
is said that his life was saved principally through the generous
intercession of Milton. He lived to repay the debt, and to save Milton's
life when "Charles enjoyed his own again." Lovelace, the poet and
cavalier, was also imprisoned by the Roundheads, and was only liberated
from the Gatehouse on giving an enormous bail. Though he suffered and
lost all for the Stuarts, he was forgotten by them at the Restoration,
and died in extreme poverty.

Besides Wither and Bunyan, Charles II. imprisoned Baxter, Harrington
[21the author of 'Oceana'], Penn, and many more. All these men solaced
their prison hours with writing. Baxter wrote some of the most
remarkable passages of his 'Life and Times' while lying in the King's
Bench Prison; and Penn wrote his 'No Cross no Crown' while imprisoned in
the Tower. In the reign of Queen Anne, Matthew Prior was in confinement
on a vamped-up charge of treason for two years, during which he wrote
his 'Alma, or Progress of the Soul.'

Since then, political prisoners of eminence in England have been
comparatively few in number. Among the most illustrious were De Foe,
who, besides standing three times in the pillory, spent much of his
time in prison, writing 'Robinson Crusoe' there, and many of his best
political pamphlets. There also he wrote his 'Hymn to the Pillory,' and
corrected for the press a collection of his voluminous writings. [219]
Smollett wrote his 'Sir Lancelot Greaves' in prison, while undergoing
confinement for libel. Of recent prison-writers in England, the best
known are James Montgomery, who wrote his first volume of poems while a
prisoner in York Castle; and Thomas Cooper, the Chartist, who wrote his
'Purgatory of Suicide' in Stafford Gaol.

Silvio Pellico was one of the latest and most illustrious of the prison
writers of Italy. He lay confined in Austrian gaols for ten years, eight
of which he passed in the Castle of Spielberg in Moravia. It was there
that he composed his charming 'Memoirs,' the only materials for which
were furnished by his fresh living habit of observation; and out of even
the transient visits of his gaoler's daughter, and the colourless events
of his monotonous daily life, he contrived to make for himself a little
world of thought and healthy human interest.

Kazinsky, the great reviver of Hungarian literature, spent seven years
of his life in the dungeons of Buda, Brunne, Kufstein, and Munkacs,
during which he wrote a 'Diary of his Imprisonment,' and amongst
other things translated Sterno's 'Sentimental Journey;' whilst Kossuth
beguiled his two years' imprisonment at Buda in studying English, so as
to be able to read Shakspeare in the original.

Men who, like these, suffer the penalty of law, and seem to fail, at
least for a time, do not really fail. Many, who have seemed to fail
utterly, have often exercised a more potent and enduring influence upon
their race, than those whose career has been a course of uninterupted
success. The character of a man does not depend on whether his efforts
are immediately followed by failure or by success. The martyr is not
a failure if the truth for which he suffered acquires a fresh lustre
through his sacrifice. [2110] The patriot who lays down his life for his
cause, may thereby hasten its triumph; and those who seem to throw their
lives away in the van of a great movement, often open a way for those
who follow them, and pass over their dead bodies to victory. The triumph
of a just cause may come late; but when it does come, it is due as much
to those who failed in their first efforts, as to those who succeeded in
their last.

The example of a great death may be an inspiration to others, as well as
the example of a good life. A great act does not perish with the life of
him who performs it, but lives and grows up into like acts in those who
survive the doer thereof and cherish his memory. Of some great men, it
might almost be said that they have not begun to live until they have

The names of the men who have suffered in the cause of religion, of
science, and of truth, are the men of all others whose memories are
held in the greatest esteem and reverence by mankind. They perished,
but their truth survived. They seemed to fail, and yet they eventually
succeeded. [2111] Prisons may have held them, but their thoughts were not
to be confined by prison-walls. They have burst through, and defied the
power of their persecutors. It was Lovelace, a prisoner, who wrote:

        "Stone walls do not a prison make,
            Nor iron bars a cage;
          Minds innocent and quiet take
            That for a hermitage."

It was a saying of Milton that, "who best can suffer best can do." The
work of many of the greatest men, inspired by duty, has been done amidst
suffering and trial and difficulty. They have struggled against the
tide, and reached the shore exhausted, only to grasp the sand and
expire. They have done their duty, and been content to die. But death
hath no power over such men; their hallowed memories still survive,
to soothe and purify and bless us. "Life," said Goethe, "to us all is
suffering. Who save God alone shall call us to our reckoning? Let not
reproaches fall on the departed. Not what they have failed in, nor
what they have suffered, but what they have done, ought to occupy the

Thus, it is not ease and facility that tries men, and brings out the
good that is in them, so much as trial and difficulty. Adversity is the
touchstone of character. As some herbs need to be crushed to give forth
their sweetest odour, so some natures need to be tried by suffering to
evoke the excellence that is in them. Hence trials often unmask
virtues, and bring to light hidden graces. Men apparently useless and
purposeless, when placed in positions of difficulty and responsibility,
have exhibited powers of character before unsuspected; and where we
before saw only pliancy and self-indulgence, we now see strength,
valour, and self-denial.

As there are no blessings which may not be perverted into evils, so
there are no trials which may not be converted into blessings. All
depends on the manner in which we profit by them or otherwise. Perfect
happiness is not to be looked for in this world. If it could be secured,
it would be found profitless. The hollowest of all gospels is the
gospel of ease and comfort. Difficulty, and even failure, are far
better teachers. Sir Humphry Davy said: "Even in private life, too much
prosperity either injures the moral man, and occasions conduct which
ends in suffering; or it is accompanied by the workings of envy,
calumny, and malevolence of others."

Failure improves tempers and strengthens the nature. Even sorrow is in
some mysterious way linked with joy and associated with tenderness. John
Bunyan once said how, "if it were lawful, he could even pray for greater
trouble, for the greater comfort's sake." When surprise was expressed at
the patience of a poor Arabian woman under heavy affliction, she said,
"When we look on God's face we do not feel His hand."

Suffering is doubtless as divinely appointed as joy, while it is much
more influential as a discipline of character. It chastens and sweetens
the nature, teaches patience and resignation, and promotes the deepest
as well as the most exalted thought. [2112]

                      "The best of men
      That e'er wore earth about Him was a sufferer;
      A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit
      The first true gentleman that ever breathed." [2113]

Suffering may be the appointed means by which the highest nature of man
is to be disciplined and developed. Assuming happiness to be the end of
being, sorrow may be the indispensable condition through which it is to
be reached. Hence St. Paul's noble paradox descriptive of the Christian
life,--"as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always
rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet
possessing all things."

Even pain is not all painful. On one side it is related to suffering,
and on the other to happiness. For pain is remedial as well as
sorrowful. Suffering is a misfortune as viewed from the one side, and a
discipline as viewed from the other. But for suffering, the best part of
many men's nature would sleep a deep sleep. Indeed, it might almost
be said that pain and sorrow were the indispensable conditions of some
men's success, and the necessary means to evoke the highest development
of their genius. Shelley has said of poets:

      "Most wretched men are cradled into poetry by wrong,
       They learn in suffering what they teach in song."

Does any one suppose that Burns would have sung as he did, had he
been rich, respectable, and "kept a gig;" or Byron, if he had been a
prosperous, happily-married Lord Privy Seal or Postmaster-General?

Sometimes a heartbreak rouses an impassive nature to life. "What does
he know," said a sage, "who has not suffered?" When Dumas asked Reboul,
"What made you a poet?" his answer was, "Suffering!" It was the death,
first of his wife, and then of his child, that drove him into solitude
for the indulgence of his grief, and eventually led him to seek and find
relief in verse. [2114] It was also to a domestic affliction that we owe
the beautiful writings of Mrs. Gaskell. "It was as a recreation, in the
highest sense of the word," says a recent writer, speaking from personal
knowledge, "as an escape from the great void of a life from which
a cherished presence had been taken, that she began that series of
exquisite creations which has served to multiply the number of our
acquaintances, and to enlarge even the circle of our friendships." [2115]

Much of the best and most useful work done by men and women has been
done amidst affliction--sometimes as a relief from it, sometimes from a
sense of duty overpowering personal sorrow. "If I had not been so great
an invalid," said Dr. Darwin to a friend, "I should not have done nearly
so much work as I have been able to accomplish." So Dr. Donne, speaking
of his illnesses, once said: "This advantage you and my other friends
have by my frequent fevers is, that I am so much the oftener at the
gates of Heaven; and by the solitude and close imprisonment they reduce
me to, I am so much the oftener at my prayers, in which you and my other
dear friends are not forgotten."

Schiller produced his greatest tragedies in the midst of physical
suffering almost amounting to torture. Handel was never greater than
when, warned by palsy of the approach of death, and struggling with
distress and suffering, he sat down to compose the great works which
have made his name immortal in music. Mozart composed his great operas,
and last of all his 'Requiem,' when oppressed by debt, and struggling
with a fatal disease. Beethoven produced his greatest works amidst
gloomy sorrow, when oppressed by almost total deafness. And poor
Schubert, after his short but brilliant life, laid it down at the early
age of thirty-two; his sole property at his death consisting of his
manuscripts, the clothes he wore, and sixty-three florins in money. Some
of Lamb's finest writings were produced amidst deep sorrow, and Hood's
apparent gaiety often sprang from a suffering heart. As he himself

      "There's not a string attuned to mirth,
       But has its chord in melancholy."

Again, in science, we have the noble instance of the suffering
Wollaston, even in the last stages of the mortal disease which afflicted
him, devoting his numbered hours to putting on record, by dictation, the
various discoveries and improvements he had made, so that any knowledge
he had acquired, calculated to benefit his fellow-creatures, might not
be lost.

Afflictions often prove but blessings in disguise. "Fear not the
darkness," said the Persian sage; it "conceals perhaps the springs of
the waters of life." Experience is often bitter, but wholesome; only
by its teaching can we learn to suffer and be strong. Character, in
its highest forms, is disciplined by trial, and "made perfect through
suffering." Even from the deepest sorrow, the patient and thoughtful
mind will gather richer wisdom than pleasure ever yielded.

"The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decayed, Lets in new light
through chinks that Time has made."

"Consider," said Jeremy Taylor, "that sad accidents, and a state of
afflictions, is a school of virtue. It reduces our spirits to soberness,
and our counsels to moderation; it corrects levity, and interrupts
the confidence of sinning.... God, who in mercy and wisdom governs the
world, would never have suffered so many sadnesses, and have sent them,
especially, to the most virtuous and the wisest men, but that He intends
they should be the seminary of comfort, the nursery of virtue, the
exercise of wisdom, the trial of patience, the venturing for a crown,
and the gate of glory." [2116]

And again:--"No man is more miserable than he that hath no adversity.
That man is not tried, whether he be good or bad; and God never crowns
those virtues which are only FACULTIES and DISPOSITIONS; but every act
of virtue is an ingredient unto reward." [2117]

Prosperity and success of themselves do not confer happiness; indeed,
it not unfrequently happens that the least successful in life have the
greatest share of true joy in it. No man could have been more
successful than Goethe--possessed of splendid health, honour, power, and
sufficiency of this world's goods--and yet he confessed that he had not,
in the course of his life, enjoyed five weeks of genuine pleasure.
So the Caliph Abdalrahman, in surveying his successful reign of fifty
years, found that he had enjoyed only fourteen days of pure and genuine
happiness. [2118] After this, might it not be said that the pursuit of
mere happiness is an illusion?

Life, all sunshine without shade, all happiness without sorrow, all
pleasure without pain, were not life at all--at least not human life.
Take the lot of the happiest--it is a tangled yarn. It is made up
of sorrows and joys; and the joys are all the sweeter because of the
sorrows; bereavements and blessings, one following another, making us
sad and blessed by turns. Even death itself makes life more loving; it
binds us more closely together while here. Dr. Thomas Browne has argued
that death is one of the necessary conditions of human happiness; and
he supports his argument with great force and eloquence. But when death
comes into a household, we do not philosophise--we only feel. The eyes
that are full of tears do not see; though in course of time they come to
see more clearly and brightly than those that have never known sorrow.

The wise person gradually learns not to expect too much from life.
While he strives for success by worthy methods, he will be prepared for
failures, he will keep his mind open to enjoyment, but submit patiently
to suffering. Wailings and complainings of life are never of any use;
only cheerful and continuous working in right paths are of real avail.

Nor will the wise man expect too much from those about him. If he would
live at peace with others, he will bear and forbear. And even the best
have often foibles of character which have to be endured, sympathised
with, and perhaps pitied. Who is perfect? Who does not suffer from
some thorn in the flesh? Who does not stand in need of toleration, of
forbearance, of forgiveness? What the poor imprisoned Queen Caroline
Matilda of Denmark wrote on her chapel-window ought to be the prayer of
all,--"Oh! keep me innocent! make others great."

Then, how much does the disposition of every human being depend upon
their innate constitution and their early surroundings; the comfort
or discomfort of the homes in which they have been brought up; their
inherited characteristics; and the examples, good or bad, to which they
have been exposed through life! Regard for such considerations should
teach charity and forbearance to all men.

At the same time, life will always be to a large extent what we
ourselves make it. Each mind makes its own little world. The cheerful
mind makes it pleasant, and the discontented mind makes it miserable.
"My mind to me a kingdom is," applies alike to the peasant as to the
monarch. The one may be in his heart a king, as the other may be a
slave. Life is for the most part but the mirror of our own individual
selves. Our mind gives to all situations, to all fortunes, high or low,
their real characters. To the good, the world is good; to the bad, it
is bad. If our views of life be elevated--if we regard it as a sphere of
useful effort, of high living and high thinking, of working for others'
good as well as our own--it will be joyful, hopeful, and blessed. If,
on the contrary, we regard it merely as affording opportunities for
self-seeking, pleasure, and aggrandisement, it will be full of toil,
anxiety, and disappointment.

There is much in life that, while in this state, we can never
comprehend. There is, indeed, a great deal of mystery in life--much that
we see "as in a glass darkly." But though we may not apprehend the full
meaning of the discipline of trial through which the best have to pass,
we must have faith in the completeness of the design of which our little
individual lives form a part.

We have each to do our duty in that sphere of life in which we have
been placed. Duty alone is true; there is no true action but in its
accomplishment. Duty is the end and aim of the highest life; the
truest pleasure of all is that derived from the consciousness of
its fulfilment. Of all others, it is the one that is most thoroughly
satisfying, and the least accompanied by regret and disappointment. In
the words of George Herbert, the consciousness of duty performed "gives
us music at midnight."

And when we have done our work on earth--of necessity, of labour, of
love, or of duty,--like the silkworm that spins its little cocoon and
dies, we too depart. But, short though our stay in life may be, it is
the appointed sphere in which each has to work out the great aim and
end of his being to the best of his power; and when that is done, the
accidents of the flesh will affect but little the immortality we shall
at last put on:

        "Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
                            Half that we have
                     Unto an honest faithful grave;
        Making our pillows either down or dust!"


[Footnote 101: Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, Lord High Treasurer under Elizabeth and
James I.]

[Footnote 102: 'Life of Perthes,' ii. 217.]

[Footnote 103: Lockhart's 'Life of Scott.']

[Footnote 104: Debate on the Petition of Right, A.D. 1628.]

[Footnote 105: The Rev. F. W. Farrer's 'Seekers after God,' p. 241.]

[Footnote 106: 'The Statesman,' p. 30.]

[Footnote 107: 'Queen of the Air,' p. 127]

[Footnote 108: "Instead of saying that man is the creature of Circumstance, it would
be nearer the mark to say that man is the architect of Circumstance. It
is Character which builds an existence out of Circumstance. Our strength
is measured by our plastic power. From the same materials one man builds
palaces, another hovels: one warehouses, another villas. Bricks
and mortar are mortar and bricks, until the architect can make them
something else. Thus it is that in the same family, in the same
circumstances, one man rears a stately edifice, while his brother,
vacillating and incompetent, lives for ever amid ruins: the block of
granite, which was an obstacle on the pathway of the weak, becomes a
stepping-stone on the pathway of the strong."--G. H. Lewes, LIFE OF

[Footnote 109: Introduction to 'The Principal Speeches and Addresses of H.R.H. the
Prince Consort' [101862], pp. 39-40.]

[Footnote 1010: Among the latest of these was Napoleon "the Great," a man of
abounding energy, but destitute of principle. He had the lowest opinion
of his fellowmen. "Men are hogs, who feed on gold," he once said: "Well,
I throw them gold, and lead them whithersoever I will." When the Abbe de
Pradt, Archbishop of Malines, was setting out on his embassy to Poland
in 1812, Napoleon's parting instruction to him was, "Tenez bonne table
et soignez les femmes,"--of which Benjamin Constant said that such an
observation, addressed to a feeble priest of sixty, shows Buonaparte's
profound contempt for the human race, without distinction of nation or

[Footnote 1011: Condensed from Sir Thomas Overbury's 'Characters' [101614].]

[Footnote 1012: 'History of the Peninsular War,' v. 319.--Napier mentions another
striking illustration of the influence of personal qualities in young
Edward Freer, of the same regiment [10the 43rd], who, when he fell at the
age of nineteen, at the Battle of the Nivelle, had already seen more
combats and sieges than he could count years. "So slight in person, and
of such surpassing beauty, that the Spaniards often thought him a girl
disguised in man's clothing, he was yet so vigorous, so active, so
brave, that the most daring and experienced veterans watched his looks
on the field of battle, and, implicitly following where he led,
would, like children, obey his slightest sign in the most difficult

[Footnote 1013: When the dissolution of the Union at one time seemed imminent, and
Washington wished to retire into private life, Jefferson wrote to him,
urging his continuance in office. "The confidence of the whole Union,"
he said, "centres in you. Your being at the helm will be more than an
answer to every argument which can be used to alarm and lead the people
in any quarter into violence and secession.... There is sometimes an
eminence of character on which society has such peculiar claims as to
control the predilection of the individual for a particular walk of
happiness, and restrain him to that alone arising from the present and
future benedictions of mankind. This seems to be your condition, and
the law imposed on you by Providence in forming your character and
fashioning the events on which it was to operate; and it is to motives
like these, and not to personal anxieties of mine or others, who have
no right to call on you for sacrifices, that I appeal from your former
determination, and urge a revisal of it, on the ground of change in the
aspect of things."--Sparks' Life of Washington, i. 480.]

[Footnote 1014: Napier's 'History of the Peninsular War,' v. 226.]

[Footnote 1015: Sir W. Scott's 'History of Scotland,' vol. i. chap. xvi.]

[Footnote 1016: Michelet's 'History of Rome,' p. 374.]

[Footnote 1017: Erasmus so reverenced the character of Socrates that he said, when
he considered his life and doctrines, he was inclined to put him in the
calendar of saints, and to exclaim, "SANCTE SOCRATES, ORA PRO NOBIS."
(Holy Socrates, pray for us!)]

[Footnote 1018: "Honour to all the brave and true; everlasting honour to John Knox
one of the truest of the true! That, in the moment while he and his
cause, amid civil broils, in convulsion and confusion, were still but
struggling for life, he sent the schoolmaster forth to all corners, and
said, 'Let the people be taught:' this is but one, and, and indeed, an
inevitable and comparatively inconsiderable item in his great message to
men. This message, in its true compass, was, 'Let men know that they are
men created by God, responsible to God who work in any meanest moment
of time what will last through eternity...' This great message Knox did
deliver, with a man's voice and strength; and found a people to believe
him. Of such an achievement, were it to be made once only, the results
are immense. Thought, in such a country, may change its form, but
cannot go out; the country has attained MAJORITY thought, and a certain
manhood, ready for all work that man can do, endures there.... The
Scotch national character originated in many circumstances: first of
all, in the Saxon stuff there was to work on; but next, and beyond all
else except that, is the Presbyterian Gospel of John Knox."--(Carlyle's
MISCELLANIES, iv. 118.)]

[Footnote 1019: Moore's 'Life of Byron,' 8vo. ed. p.484.--Dante was a religious
as well as a political reformer. He was a reformer three hundred years
before the Reformation, advocating the separation of the spiritual from
the civil power, and declaring the temporal government of the Pope to
be a usurpation. The following memorable words were written over five
hundred and sixty years ago, while Dante was still a member of the Roman
Catholic Church:--"Every Divine law is found in one or other of the two
Testaments; but in neither can I find that the care of temporal matters
was given to the priesthood. On the contrary, I find that the first
priests were removed from them by law, and the later priests, by command
of Christ, to His disciples."--DE MONARCHIA, lib. iii. cap. xi.

Dante also, still clinging to 'the Church he wished to reform,' thus
anticipated the fundamental doctrine of the Reformation:-"Before the
Church are the Old and New Testament; after the Church are traditions.
It follows, then, that the authority of the Church depends, not on
traditions, but traditions on the Church."]

[Footnote 1020: 'Blackwood's Magazine,' June, 1863, art. 'Girolamo Savonarola.']

[Footnote 1021: One of the last passages in the Diary of Dr. Arnold, written the
year before his death, was as follows:--"It is the misfortune of France
that her 'past' cannot be loved or respected--her future and her present
cannot be wedded to it; yet how can the present yield fruit, or the
future have promise, except their roots be fixed in the past? The evil
is infinite, but the blame rests with those who made the past a dead
thing, out of which no healthful life could be produced."--LIFE, ii.
387-8, Ed. 1858.]

[Footnote 1022: A public orator lately spoke with contempt of the Battle of
Marathon, because only 192 perished on the side of the Athenians,
whereas by improved mechanism and destructive chemicals, some 50,000
men or more may now be destroyed within a few hours. Yet the Battle of
Marathon, and the heroism displayed in it, will probably continue to
be remembered when the gigantic butcheries of modern times have been

[Footnote 111: Civic virtues, unless they have their origin and consecration in
private and domestic virtues, are but the virtues of the theatre. He who
has not a loving heart for his child, cannot pretend to have any true
love for humanity.--Jules Simon's LE DEVOIR.]

[Footnote 112: 'Levana; or, The Doctrine of Education.']

[Footnote 113: Speaking of the force of habit, St. Augustine says in his
'Confessions' "My will the enemy held, and thence had made a chain for
me, and bound me. For of a froward will was a lust made; and a lust
served became custom; and custom not resisted became necessity. By which
links, as it were, joined together [11whence I called it a chain] a hard
bondage held me enthralled."]

[Footnote 114: Mr. Tufnell, in 'Reports of Inspectors of Parochial School Unions in
England and Wales,' 1850.]

[Footnote 115: See the letters [11January 13th, 16th, 18th, 20th, and 23rd, 1759],
written by Johnson to his mother when she was ninety, and he himself was
in his fiftieth year.--Crokers BOSWELL, 8vo. Ed. pp. 113, 114.]

[Footnote 116: Jared Sparks' 'Life of Washington.']

[Footnote 117: Forster's 'Eminent British Statesmen' [11Cabinet Cyclop.] vi. 8.]

[Footnote 118: The Earl of Mornington, composer of 'Here in cool grot,' &c.]

[Footnote 119: Robert Bell's 'Life of Canning,' p. 37.]

[Footnote 1110: 'Life of Curran,' by his son, p. 4.]

[Footnote 1111: The father of the Wesleys had even determined at one time to
abandon his wife because her conscience forbade her to assent to his
prayers for the then reigning monarch, and he was only saved from the
consequences of his rash resolve by the accidental death of William
III. He displayed the same overbearing disposition in dealing with his
children; forcing his daughter Mehetabel to marry, against her will, a
man whom she did not love, and who proved entirely unworthy of her.]

[Footnote 1112: Goethe himself says--"Vom Vater hab' ich die Statur, Des Lebens
ernstes Fuhren; Von Mutterchen die Frohnatur Und Lust zu fabuliren."]

[Footnote 1113: Mrs. Grote's 'Life of Ary Scheffer,' p. 154.]

[Footnote 1114: Michelet, 'On Priests, Women, and Families.']

[Footnote 1115: Mrs. Byron is said to have died in a fit of passion, brought on by
reading her upholsterer's bills.]

[Footnote 1116: Sainte-Beuve, 'Causeries du Lundi,' i. 23.]

[Footnote 1117: Ibid. i. 22.]

[Footnote 1118: Ibid. 1. 23.]

[Footnote 1119: That about one-third of all the children born in this country die
under five years of age, can only he attributable to ignorance of the
natural laws, ignorance of the human constitution, and ignorance of
the uses of pure air, pure water, and of the art of preparing and
administering wholesome food. There is no such mortality amongst the
lower animals.]

[Footnote 1120: Beaumarchais' 'Figaro,' which was received with such enthusiasm in
France shortly before the outbreak of the Revolution, may be regarded as
a typical play; it represented the average morality of the upper as well
as the lower classes with respect to the relations between the sexes.
"Label men how you please," says Herbert Spencer, "with titles of
'upper' and 'middle' and 'lower,' you cannot prevent them from being
units of the same society, acted upon by the same spirit of the age,
moulded after the same type of character. The mechanical law, that
action and reaction are equal, has its moral analogue. The deed of one
man to another tends ultimately to produce a like effect upon both, be
the deed good or bad. Do but put them in relationship, and no
division into castes, no differences of wealth, can prevent men from
assimilating.... The same influences which rapidly adapt the individual
to his society, ensure, though by a slower process, the general
uniformity of a national character.... And so long as the assimilating
influences productive of it continue at work, it is folly to suppose
any one grade of a community can be morally different from the rest. In
whichever rank you see corruption, be assured it equally pervades all
ranks--be assured it is the symptom of a bad social diathesis. Whilst
the virus of depravity exists in one part of the body-politic, no other
part can remain healthy."--SOCIAL STATICS, chap. xx. 7.]

[Footnote 1121: Some twenty-eight years since, the author wrote and published the
following passage, not without practical knowledge of the subject; and
notwithstanding the great amelioration in the lot of factory-workers,
effected mainly through the noble efforts of Lord Shaftesbury, the
description is still to a large extent true:--"The factory system,
however much it may have added to the wealth of the country, has had a
most deleterious effect on the domestic condition of the people. It has
invaded the sanctuary of home, and broken up family and social ties.
It has taken the wife from the husband, and the children from their
parents. Especially has its tendency been to lower the character of
woman. The performance of domestic duties is her proper office,--the
management of her household, the rearing of her family, the economizing
of the family means, the supplying of the family wants. But the factory
takes her from all these duties. Homes become no longer homes. Children
grow up uneducated and neglected. The finer affections become blunted.
Woman is no more the gentle wife, companion, and friend of man, but his
fellow-labourer and fellow-drudge. She is exposed to influences which
too often efface that modesty of thought and conduct which is one of the
best safeguards of virtue. Without judgment or sound principles to guide
them, factory-girls early acquire the feeling of independence. Ready to
throw off the constraint imposed on them by their parents, they leave
their homes, and speedily become initiated in the vices of their
associates. The atmosphere, physical as well as moral, in which they
live, stimulates their animal appetites; the influence of bad example
becomes contagious among them and mischief is propagated far and
wide."--THE UNION, January, 1843.]

[Footnote 1122: A French satirist, pointing to the repeated PLEBISCITES and
perpetual voting of late years, and to the growing want of faith
in anything but votes, said, in 1870, that we seemed to be rapidly
approaching the period when the only prayer of man and woman would be,
"Give us this day our daily vote!"]

[Footnote 1123: "Of primeval and necessary and absolute superiority, the relation
of the mother to the child is far more complete, though less seldom
quoted as an example, than that of father and son.... By Sir Robert
Filmer, the supposed necessary as well as absolute power of the father
over his children, was taken as the foundation and origin, and thence
justifying cause, of the power of the monarch in every political state.
With more propriety he might have stated the absolute dominion of a
woman as the only legitimate form of government."--DEONTOLOGY, ii. 181.]

[Footnote 121: 'Letters of Sir Charles Bell,' p. 10. [122: 'Autobiography of Mary
Anne Schimmelpenninck,' p. 179.]

[Footnote 123: Dean Stanley's 'Life of Dr. Arnold,' i. 151 [12Ed. 1858].]

[Footnote 124: Lord Cockburn's 'Memorials,' pp. 25-6.]

[Footnote 125: From a letter of Canon Moseley, read at a Memorial Meeting held
shortly after the death of the late Lord Herbert of Lea.]

[Footnote 126: Izaak Walton's 'Life of George Herbert.']

[Footnote 127: Stanley's 'Life and Letters of Dr. Arnold,' i. 33.]

[Footnote 128: Philip de Comines gives a curious illustration of the subservient,
though enforced, imitation of Philip, Duke of Burgundy, by his
courtiers. When that prince fell ill, and had his head shaved, he
ordered that all his nobles, five hundred in number, should in like
manner shave their heads; and one of them, Pierre de Hagenbach, to prove
his devotion, no sooner caught sight of an unshaven nobleman, than
he forthwith had him seized and carried off to the barber!--Philip de
Comines [12Bohn's Ed.], p. 243.]

[Footnote 129: 'Life,' i. 344.]

[Footnote 1210: Introduction to 'The Principal Speeches and Addresses of H.R.H. the
Prince Consort,' p. 33.]

[Footnote 1211: Speech at Liverpool, 1812.]

[Footnote 131:In the third chapter of his Natural History, Pliny relates in what
high honour agriculture was held in the earlier days of Rome; how the
divisions of land were measured by the quantity which could be ploughed
by a yoke of oxen in a certain time [13JUGERUM, in one day; ACTUS, at one
spell]; how the greatest recompence to a general or valiant citizen
was a JUGERUM; how the earliest surnames were derived from agriculture
(Pilumnus, from PILUM, the pestle for pounding corn; Piso, from PISO,
to grind coin; Fabius, from FABA, a bean; Lentulus, from LENS, a lentil;
Cicero, from CICER, a chickpea; Babulcus, from BOS, &c.); how the
highest compliment was to call a man a good agriculturist, or a good
husbandman (LOCUPLES, rich, LOCI PLENUS, PECUNIA, from PECUS, &c.);
how the pasturing of cattle secretly by night upon unripe crops was a
capital offence, punishable by hanging; how the rural tribes held the
foremost rank, while those of the city had discredit thrown upon them as
being an indolent race; and how "GLORIAM DENIQUE IPSAM, A FARRIS HONORE,
'ADOREAM' APPELLABANT;" ADOREA, or Glory, the reward of valour, being
derived from Ador, or spelt, a kind of grain.]

[Footnote 132: 'Essay on Government,' in 'Encyclopaedia Britannica.']

[Footnote 133: Burton's 'Anatomy of Melancholy,' Part i., Mem. 2, Sub. 6.]

[Footnote 134: Ibid. End of concluding chapter.]

[Footnote 135: It is characteristic of the Hindoos to regard entire inaction as
the most perfect state, and to describe the Supreme Being as "The

[Footnote 136: Lessing was so impressed with the conviction that stagnant
satisfaction was fatal to man, that he went so far as to say: "If the
All-powerful Being, holding in one hand Truth, and in the other
the search for Truth, said to me, 'Choose,' I would answer Him, 'O
All-powerful, keep for Thyself the Truth; but leave to me the search for
it, which is the better for me.'" On the other hand, Bossuet said: "Si
je concevais une nature purement intelligente, il me semble que je n'y
mettrais qu'entendre et aimer la verite, et que cela seul la rendrait

[Footnote 137: The late Sir John Patteson, when in his seventieth year, attended an
annual ploughing-match dinner at Feniton, Devon, at which he thought it
worth his while to combat the notion, still too prevalent, that because
a man does not work merely with his bones and muscles, he is therefore
not entitled to the appellation of a workingman. "In recollecting
similar meetings to the present," he said, "I remember my friend, John
Pyle, rather throwing it in my teeth that I had not worked for nothing;
but I told him, 'Mr. Pyle, you do not know what you are talking about.
We are all workers. The man who ploughs the field and who digs the hedge
is a worker; but there are other workers in other stations of life as
well. For myself, I can say that I have been a worker ever since I have
been a boy.'... Then I told him that the office of judge was by no means
a sinecure, for that a judge worked as hard as any man in the country.
He has to work at very difficult questions of law, which are brought
before him continually, giving him great anxiety; and sometimes the
lives of his fellow-creatures are placed in his hands, and are dependent
very much upon the manner in which he places the facts before the jury.
That is a matter of no little anxiety, I can assure you. Let any man
think as he will, there is no man who has been through the ordeal
for the length of time that I have, but must feel conscious of the
importance and gravity of the duty which is cast upon a judge."]

[Footnote 138: Lord Stanley's Address to the Students of Glasgow University, on his
installation as Lord Rector, 1869.]

[Footnote 139: Writing to an abbot at Nuremberg, who had sent him a store of
turning-tools, Luther said: "I have made considerable progress in
clockmaking, and I am very much delighted at it, for these drunken
Saxons need to be constantly reminded of what the real time is; not that
they themselves care much about it, for as long as their glasses are
kept filled, they trouble themselves very little as to whether clocks,
or clockmakers, or the time itself, go right."--Michelet's LUTHER [13Bogue
Ed.], p. 200.]

[Footnote 1310: "Life of Perthes," ii. 20.]

[Footnote 1311: Lockhart's 'Life of Scott' [138vo. Ed.], p. 442.]

[Footnote 1312: Southey expresses the opinion in 'The Doctor', that the character
of a person may be better known by the letters which other persons write
to him than by what he himself writes.]

[Footnote 1313: 'Dissertation on the Science of Method.']

[Footnote 1314: The following passage, from a recent article in the PALL MALL
GAZETTE, will commend itself to general aproval:--"There can be no
question nowadays, that application to work, absorption in affairs,
contact with men, and all the stress which business imposes on us,
gives a noble training to the intellect, and splendid opportunity for
discipline of character. It is an utterly low view of business which
regards it as only a means of getting a living. A man's business is his
part of the world's work, his share of the great activities which render
society possible. He may like it or dislike it, but it is work, and as
such requires application, self-denial, discipline. It is his drill, and
he cannot be thorough in his occupation without putting himself into it,
checking his fancies, restraining his impulses, and holding himself to
the perpetual round of small details--without, in fact, submitting to
his drill. But the perpetual call on a man's readiness, sell-control,
and vigour which business makes, the constant appeal to the intellect,
the stress upon the will, the necessity for rapid and responsible
exercise of judgment--all these things constitute a high culture, though
not the highest. It is a culture which strengthens and invigorates if it
does not refine, which gives force if not polish--the FORTITER IN RE, if
not the SUAVITER IN MODO. It makes strong men and ready men, and men of
vast capacity for affairs, though it does not necessarily make refined
men or gentlemen."]

[Footnote 1315: On the first publication of his 'Despatches,' one of his friends
said to him, on reading the records of his Indian campaigns: "It seems
to me, Duke, that your chief business in India was to procure rice and
bullocks." "And so it was," replied Wellington: "for if I had rice and
bullocks, I had men; and if I had men, I knew I could beat the enemy."]

[Footnote 1316: Maria Edgeworth, 'Memoirs of R. L. Edgeworth,' ii. 94.]

[Footnote 1317: A friend of Lord Palmerston has communicated to us the following
anecdote. Asking him one day when he considered a man to be in the prime
of life, his immediate reply was, "Seventy-nine!" "But," he added, with
a twinkle in his eye, "as I have just entered my eightieth year, perhaps
I am myself a little past it."]

[Footnote 1318: 'Reasons of Church Government,' Book II.]

[Footnote 1319: Coleridge's advice to his young friends was much to the same
effect. "With the exception of one extraordinary man," he says, "I have
never known an individual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy
or happy without a profession: i.e., some regular employment which does
not depend on the will of the moment, and which can be carried on so
far mechanically, that an average quantum only of health, spirits, and
intellectual exertion are requisite to its faithful discharge. Three
hours of leisure, unalloyed by any alien anxiety, and looked forward
to with delight as a change and recreation, will suffice to realise
in literature a larger product of what is truly genial, than weeks
of compulsion.... If facts are required to prove the possibility of
combining weighty performances in literature with full and independent
employment, the works of Cicero and Xenophon, among the ancients--of
Sir Thomas More, Bacon, Baxter, or [13to refer at once to later and
contemporary instances] Darwin and Roscoe, are at once decisive of the
question."--BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA, Chap. xi.]

[Footnote 1320: Mr. Ricardo published his celebrated 'Theory of Rent,' at the
urgent recommendation of James Mill [13like his son, a chief clerk in the
India House], author of the 'History of British India.' When the 'Theory
of Rent' was written, Ricardo was so dissatisfied with it that he wished
to burn it; but Mr. Mill urged him to publish it, and the book was a
great success.]

[Footnote 1321: The late Sir John Lubbock, his father, was also eminent as a
mathematician and astronomer.]

[Footnote 1322: Thales, once inveighing in discourse against the pains and care men
put themselves to, to become rich, was answered by one in the company
that he did like the fox, who found fault with what he could not obtain.
Thereupon Thales had a mind, for the jest's sake, to show them the
contrary; and having upon this occasion for once made a muster of all
his wits, wholly to employ them in the service of profit, he set a
traffic on foot, which in one year brought him in so great riches, that
the most experienced in that trade could hardly in their whole lives,
with all their industry, have raked so much together.
--Montaignes ESSAYS, Book I., chap. 24.]

[Footnote 1323: "The understanding," says Mr. Bailey, "that is accustomed to
pursue a regular and connected train of ideas, becomes in some measure
incapacitated for those quick and versatile movements which are learnt
in the commerce of the world, and are indispensable to those who act a
part in it. Deep thinking and practical talents require indeed habits of
mind so essentially dissimilar, that while a man is striving after the
one, he will be unavoidably in danger of losing the other." "Thence,"
he adds, "do we so often find men, who are 'giants in the closet,' prove
but 'children in the world.'"--'Essays on the Formation and Publication
of Opinions,' pp.251-3.]

[Footnote 1324: Mr. Gladstone is as great an enthusiast in literature as
Canning was. It is related of him that, while he was waiting in his
committee-room at Liverpool for the returns coming in on the day of the
South Lancashire polling, he occupied himself in proceeding with the
translation of a work which he was then preparing for the press.]

[Footnote 141: James Russell Lowell.]

[Footnote 142: Yet Bacon himself had written, "I would rather believe all the
faiths in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this
universal frame is without a mind."]

[Footnote 143: Aubrey, in his 'Natural History of Wiltshire,' alluding to Harvey,
says: "He told me himself that upon publishing that book he fell in his
practice extremely."]

[Footnote 144: Sir Thomas More's first wife, Jane Colt, was originally a young
country girl, whom he himself instructed in letters, and moulded to
his own tastes and manners. She died young, leaving a son and three
daughters, of whom the noble Margaret Roper most resembled More himself.
His second wife was Alice Middleton, a widow, some seven years older
than More, not beautiful--for he characterized her as "NEC BELLA,
NEC PUELLA"--but a shrewd worldly woman, not by any means disposed to
sacrifice comfort and good cheer for considerations such as those which
so powerfully influenced the mind of her husband.]

[Footnote 145: Before being beheaded, Eliot said, "Death is but a little word;
but ''tis a great work to die.'" In his 'Prison Thoughts' before his
execution, he wrote: "He that fears not to die, fears nothing.... There
is a time to live, and a time to die. A good death is far better and
more eligible than an ill life. A wise man lives but so long as his life
is worth more than his death. The longer life is not always the better."]

[Footnote 146: Mr. J. S. Mill, in his book 'On Liberty,' describes "the masses," as
"collective mediocrity." "The initiation of all wise or noble things,"
he says, "comes, and must come, from individuals--generally at first
from some one individual. The honour and glory of the average man is
that he is capable of following that imitation; that he can respond
internally to wise and noble things, and be led to them with his eyes
open.... In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere
refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely
because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a
reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that
people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and
where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity
in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius,
mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now
dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time."--Pp. 120-1.]

[Footnote 147: Mr. Arthur Helps, in one of his thoughtful books, published in 1845,
made some observations on this point, which are not less applicable now.
He there said: "it is a grievous thing to see literature made a vehicle
for encouraging the enmity of class to class. Yet this, unhappily, is
not unfrequent now. Some great man summed up the nature of French novels
by calling them the Literature of Despair; the kind of writing that I
deprecate may be called the Literature of Envy.... Such writers like
to throw their influence, as they might say, into the weaker scale. But
that is not the proper way of looking at the matter. I think, if they
saw the ungenerous nature of their proceedings, that alone would stop
them. They should recollect that literature may fawn upon the masses
as well as the aristocracy; and in these days the temptation is in the
former direction. But what is most grievous in this kind of writing is
the mischief it may do to the working-people themselves. If you have
their true welfare at heart, you will not only care for their being
fed and clothed, but you will be anxious not to encourage unreasonable
expectations in them--not to make them ungrateful or greedy-minded.
Above all, you will be solicitous to preserve some self-reliance in
them. You will be careful not to let them think that their condition can
be wholly changed without exertion of their own. You would not desire to
have it so changed. Once elevate your ideal of what you wish to happen
amongst the labouring population, and you will not easily admit anything
in your writings that may injure their moral or their mental character,
even if you thought it might hasten some physical benefit for them. That
is the way to make your genius most serviceable to mankind. Depend upon
it, honest and bold things require to be said to the lower as well as
the higher classes; and the former are in these times much less likely
to have, such things addressed to them."-Claims of Labour, pp. 253-4.]

[Footnote 148: 'Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson' [14Bohn's Ed.], p. 32.]

[Footnote 149: At a public meeting held at Worcester, in 1867, in recognition of
Sir J. Pakington's services as Chairman of Quarter Sessions for a period
of twenty-four years, the following remarks, made by Sir John on the
occasion, are just and valuable as they are modest:-"I am indebted for
whatever measure of success I have attained in my public life, to a
combination of moderate abilities, with honesty of intention, firmness
of purpose, and steadiness of conduct. If I were to offer advice to any
young man anxious to make himself useful in public life, I would sum up
the results of my experience in three short rules--rules so simple that
any man may understand them, and so easy that any man may act upon them.
My first rule would be--leave it to others to judge of what duties you
are capable, and for what position you are fitted; but never refuse to
give your services in whatever capacity it may be the opinion of others
who are competent to judge that you may benefit your neighbours or your
country. My second rule is--when you agree to undertake public duties,
concentrate every energy and faculty in your possession with the
determination to discharge those duties to the best of your ability.
Lastly, I would counsel you that, in deciding on the line which you will
take in public affairs, you should be guided in your decision by that
which, after mature deliberation, you believe to be right, and not
by that which, in the passing hour, may happen to be fashionable or

[Footnote 1410: The following illustration of one of his minute acts of kindness is
given in his biography:--"He was one day taking a long country walk near
Freshford, when he met a little girl, about five years old, sobbing over
a broken bowl; she had dropped and broken it in bringing it back from
the field to which she had taken her father's dinner in it, and she said
she would be beaten on her return home for having broken it; when, with
a sudden gleam of hope, she innocently looked up into his face, and
said, 'But yee can mend it, can't ee?'

"My father explained that he could not mend the bowl, but the trouble he
could, by the gift of a sixpence to buy another. However, on opening his
purse it was empty of silver, and he had to make amends by promising to
meet his little friend in the same spot at the same hour next day, and
to bring the sixpence with him, bidding her, meanwhile, tell her mother
she had seen a gentleman who would bring her the money for the bowl next
day. The child, entirely trusting him, went on her way comforted. On
his return home he found an invitation awaiting him to dine in Bath the
following evening, to meet some one whom he specially wished to see. He
hesitated for some little time, trying to calculate the possibility of
giving the meeting to his little friend of the broken bowl and of still
being in time for the dinner-party in Bath; but finding this could
not be, he wrote to decline accepting the invitation on the plea of 'a
pre-engagement,' saying to us, 'I cannot disappoint her, she trusted me
so implicitly.'"]

[Footnote 1411: Miss Florence Nightingale has related the following incident as
having occurred before Sebastopol:--"I remember a sergeant who, on
picket, the rest of the picket killed and himself battered about the
head, stumbled back to camp, and on his way picked up a wounded man
and brought him in on his shoulders to the lines, where he fell down
insensible. When, after many hours, he recovered his senses, I believe
after trepanning, his first words were to ask after his comrade, 'Is he
alive?' 'Comrade, indeed; yes, he's alive--it is the general.' At that
moment the general, though badly wounded, appeared at the bedside. 'Oh,
general, it's you, is it, I brought in? I'm so glad; I didn't know your
honour. But, ----, if I'd known it was you, I'd have saved you all the
same.' This is the true soldier's spirit."

In the same letter, Miss Nightingale says: "England, from her grand
mercantile and commercial successes, has been called sordid; God knows
she is not. The simple courage, the enduring patience, the good sense,
the strength to suffer in silence--what nation shows more of this in
war than is shown by her commonest soldier? I have seen men dying of
dysentery, but scorning to report themselves sick lest they should
thereby throw more labour on their comrades, go down to the trenches and
make the trenches their deathbed. There is nothing in history to compare
with it...."]

"Say what men will, there is something more truly Christian in the man
who gives his time, his strength, his life, if need be, for something
not himself--whether he call it his Queen, his country, or his
colours--than in all the asceticism, the fasts, the humiliations, and
confessions which have ever been made: and this spirit of giving one's
life, without calling it a sacrifice, is found nowhere so truly as in

[Footnote 1412: Mrs. Grote's 'Life of Ary Scheffer,' pp. 154-5.]

[Footnote 1413: The sufferings of this noble woman, together with those of her
unfortunate husband, were touchingly described in a letter afterwards
addressed by her to a female friend, which was published some years ago
at Haarlem, entitled, 'Gertrude von der Wart; or, Fidelity unto Death.'
Mrs. Hemans wrote a poem of great pathos and beauty, commemorating the
sad story in her 'Records of Woman.']

[Footnote 151: 'Social Statics,' p. 185.]

[Footnote 152: "In all cases," says Jeremy Bentham, "when the power of the will can
be exercised over the thoughts, let those thoughts be directed towards
happiness. Look out for the bright, for the brightest side of things,
and keep your face constantly turned to it.... A large part of existence
is necessarily passed in inaction. By day [15to take an instance from the
thousand in constant recurrence], when in attendance on others, and time
is lost by being kept waiting; by night when sleep is unwilling to
close the eyelids, the economy of happiness recommends the occupation of
pleasurable thought. In walking abroad, or in resting at home, the mind
cannot be vacant; its thoughts may be useful, useless, or pernicious to
happiness. Direct them aright; the habit of happy thought will spring up
like any other habit." DEONTOLOGY, ii. 105-6.]

[Footnote 153: The following extract from a letter of M. Boyd, Esq., is given by
Earl Stanhope in his 'Miscellanies':--"There was a circumstance told me
by the late Mr. Christmas, who for many years held an important official
situation in the Bank of England. He was, I believe, in early life a
clerk in the Treasury, or one of the government offices, and for some
time acted for Mr. Pitt as his confidential clerk, or temporary private
secretary. Christmas was one of the most obliging men I ever knew; and,
from the, position he occupied, was constantly exposed to interruptions,
yet I never saw his temper in the least ruffled. One day I found him
more than usually engaged, having a mass of accounts to prepare for one
of the law-courts--still the same equanimity, and I could not resist the
opportunity of asking the old gentleman the secret. 'Well, Mr. Boyd,
you shall know it. Mr. Pitt gave it to me:--NOT TO LOSE MY TEMPER,
labours here [15Bank of England] commence at nine and end at three; and,
acting on the advice of the illustrious statesman, I NEVER LOSE MY

[Footnote 154: 'Strafford Papers,' i. 87.]

[Footnote 155: Jared Sparks' 'Life of Washington,' pp. 7, 534.]

[Footnote 156: Brialmont's 'Life of Wellington.']

[Footnote 157: Professor Tyndall, on 'Faraday as a Discoverer,' p. 156.]

[Footnote 158: 'Life of Perthes,' ii. 216.]

[Footnote 159: Lady Elizabeth Carew.]

[Footnote 1510: Francis Horner, in one of his letters, says: "It is among the
very sincere and zealous friends of liberty that you will find the most
perfect specimens of wrongheadedness; men of a dissenting, provincial
cast of virtue--who [15according to one of Sharpe's favourite phrases]
WILL drive a wedge the broad end foremost--utter strangers to all
moderation in political business."--Francis Horner's LIFE AND
CORRESPONDENCE [151843], ii. 133.]

[Footnote 1511: Professor Tyndall on 'Faraday as a Discoverer,' pp. 40-1.]

[Footnote 1512: Yet Burke himself; though capable of giving Barry such excellent
advice, was by no means immaculate as regarded his own temper. When
he lay ill at Beaconsfield, Fox, from whom he had become separated by
political differences arising out of the French Revolution, went down
to see his old friend. But Burke would not grant him an interview;
he positively refused to see him. On his return to town, Fox told his
friend Coke the result of his journey; and when Coke lamented Burke's
obstinacy, Fox only replied, goodnaturedly: "Ah! never mind, Tom; I
always find every Irishman has got a piece of potato in his head."
Yet Fox, with his usual generosity, when he heard of Burke's impending
death, wrote a most kind and cordial letter to Mrs. Burke, expressive of
his grief and sympathy; and when Burke was no more, Fox was the first
to propose that he should be interred with public honours in Westminster
Abbey--which only Burke's own express wish, that he should be buried at
Beaconsfield, prevented being carried out.]

[Footnote 1513: When Curran, the Irish barrister, visited Burns's cabin in 1810, he
found it converted into a public house, and the landlord who showed it
was drunk. "There," said he, pointing to a corner on one side of the
fire, with a most MALAPROPOS laugh-"there is the very spot where Robert
Burns was born." "The genius and the fate of the man," says Curran,
"were already heavy on my heart; but the drunken laugh of the landlord
gave me such a view of the rock on which he had foundered, that I could
not stand it, but burst into tears."]

[Footnote 1514: The chaplain of Horsemongerlane Gaol, in his annual report to the
Surrey justices, thus states the result of his careful study of the
causes of dishonesty: "From my experience of predatory crime, founded
upon careful study of the character of a great variety of prisoners,
I conclude that habitual dishonesty is to be referred neither to
ignorance, nor to drunkenness, nor to poverty, nor to overcrowding in
towns, nor to temptation from surrounding wealth--nor, indeed, to any
one of the many indirect causes to which it is sometimes referred--but
THAN ORDINARY INDUSTRY." The italics are the author's.]

[Footnote 1515: S. C. Hall's 'Memories.']

[Footnote 1516: Moore's 'Life of Byron,' 8vo. Ed., p. 182.]

[Footnote 1517: Captain Basil Hall records the following conversation with
Scott:-"It occurs to me," I observed, "that people are apt to make too
much fuss about the loss of fortune, which is one of the smallest of the
great evils of life, and ought to be among the most tolerable."--"Do you
call it a small misfortune to be ruined in money-matters?" he asked.
"It is not so painful, at all events, as the loss of friends."--"I grant
that," he said. "As the loss of character?"--"True again." "As the loss
of health?"--"Ay, there you have me," he muttered to himself, in a
tone so melancholy that I wished I had not spoken. "What is the loss of
fortune to the loss of peace of mind?" I continued. "In short," said he,
playfully, "you will make it out that there is no harm in a man's being
plunged over-head-and-ears in a debt he cannot remove." "Much depends,
I think, on how it was incurred, and what efforts are made to redeem
it--at least, if the sufferer be a rightminded man." "I hope it does,"
he said, cheerfully and firmly.--FRAGMENTS OF VOYAGES AND TRAVELS, 3rd
series, pp. 308-9.]

[Footnote 1518: "These battles," he wrote in his Diary, "have been the death of
many a man, I think they will be mine."]

[Footnote 1519: Scott's Diary, December 17th, 1827.]

[Footnote 161: From Lovelace's lines to Lucusta [16Lucy Sacheverell], 'Going to the

[Footnote 162: Amongst other great men of genius, Ariosto and Michael Angelo
devoted to her their service and their muse.]

[Footnote 163: See the Rev. F. W. Farrar's admirable book, entitled 'Seekers after
God' [16Sunday Library]. The author there says: "Epictetus was not a
Christian. He has only once alluded to the Christians in his works, and
then it is under the opprobrious title of 'Galileans,' who practised a
kind of insensibility in painful circumstances, and an indifference to
worldly interests, which Epictetus unjustly sets down to 'mere habit.'
Unhappily, it was not granted to these heathen philosophers in any true
sense to know what Christianity was. They thought that it was an attempt
to imitate the results of philosophy, without having passed through the
necessary discipline. They viewed it with suspicion, they treated it
with injustice. And yet in Christianity, and in Christianity alone,
they would have found an ideal which would have surpassed their loftiest

[Footnote 164: Sparks' 'Life of Washington,' pp. 141-2.]

[Footnote 165: Wellington, like Washington, had to pay the penalty of his adherence
to the cause he thought right, in his loss of "popularity." He was
mobbed in the streets of London, and had his windows smashed by the mob,
while his wife lay dead in the house. Sir Walter Scott also was hooted
and pelted at Hawick by "the people," amidst cries of "Burke Sir

[Footnote 166: Robertson's 'Life and Letters,' ii. 157.]

[Footnote 167: We select the following passages from this remarkable report of
Baron Stoffel, as being of more than merely temporary interest:--Who
that has lived here [16Berlin] will deny that the Prussians are energetic,
patriotic, and teeming with youthful vigour; that they are not corrupted
by sensual pleasures, but are manly, have earnest convictions, do not
think it beneath them to reverence sincerely what is noble and lofty?
What a melancholy contrast does France offer in all this? Having sneered
at everything, she has lost the faculty of respecting anything.
Virtue, family life, patriotism, honour, religion, are represented to a
frivolous generation as fitting subjects of ridicule. The theatres have
become schools of shamelessness and obscenity. Drop by drop, poison is
instilled into the very core of an ignorant and enervated society, which
has neither the insight nor the energy left to amend its institutions,
nor--which would be the most necessary step to take--become better
informed or more moral. One after the other the fine qualities of the
nation are dying out. Where is the generosity, the loyalty, the charm of
our ESPRIT, and our former elevation of soul? If this goes on, the
time will come when this noble race of France will be known only by its
faults. And France has no idea that while she is sinking, more earnest
nations are stealing the march upon her, are distancing her on the
road to progress, and are preparing for her a secondary position in the

"I am afraid that these opinions will not be relished in France. However
correct, they differ too much from what is usually said and asserted at
home. I should wish some enlightened and unprejudiced Frenchmen to come
to Prussia and make this country their study. They would soon discover
that they were living in the midst of a strong, earnest, and intelligent
nation, entirely destitute, it is true, of noble and delicate feelings,
of all fascinating charms, but endowed with every solid virtue, and
alike distinguished for untiring industry, order, and economy, as well
as for patriotism, a strong sense of duty, and that consciousness of
personal dignity which in their case is so happily blended with respect
for authority and obedience to the law. They would see a country with
firm, sound, and moral institutions, whose upper classes are worthy of
their rank, and, by possessing the highest degree of culture,
devoting themselves to the service of the State, setting an example of
patriotism, and knowing how to preserve the influence legitimately their
own. They would find a State with an excellent administration where
everything is in its right place, and where the most admirable order
prevails in every branch of the social and political system. Prussia
may be well compared to a massive structure of lofty proportions and
astounding solidity, which, though it has nothing to delight the eye
or speak to the heart, cannot but impress us with its grand symmetry,
equally observable in its broad foundations as in its strong and
sheltering roof.

"And what is France? What is French society in these latter days? A
hurly-burly of disorderly elements, all mixed and jumbled together; a
country in which everybody claims the right to occupy the highest posts,
yet few remember that a man to be employed in a responsible position
ought to have a well-balanced mind, ought to be strictly moral, to
know something of the world, and possess certain intellectual powers; a
country in which the highest offices are frequently held by ignorant and
uneducated persons, who either boast some special talent, or whose
only claim is social position and some versatility and address. What a
baneful and degrading state of things! And how natural that, while it
lasts, France should be full of a people without a position, without a
calling, who do not know what to do with themselves, but are none the
less eager to envy and malign every one who does....

"The French do not possess in any very marked degree the qualities
required to render general conscription acceptable, or to turn it to
account. Conceited and egotistic as they are, the people would object
to an innovation whose invigorating force they are unable to comprehend,
and which cannot be carried out without virtues which they do not
possess--self-abnegation, conscientious recognition of duty, and a
willingness to sacrifice personal interests to the loftier demands
of the country. As the character of individuals is only improved by
experience, most nations require a chastisement before they set about
reorganising their political institutions. So Prussia wanted a Jena to
make her the strong and healthy country she is."]

[Footnote 168: Yet even in De Tocqueville's benevolent nature, there was a
pervading element of impatience. In the very letter in which the above
passage occurs, he says: "Some persons try to be of use to men while
they despise them, and others because they love them. In the services
rendered by the first, there is always something incomplete, rough, and
contemptuous, that inspires neither confidence nor gratitude. I should
like to belong to the second class, but often I cannot. I love mankind
in general, but I constantly meet with individuals whose baseness
revolts me. I struggle daily against a universal contempt for my fellow,
creatures."--MEMOIRS AND REMAINS OF DE TOCQUEVILLE, vol. i. p. 813.
[Footnote 16Letter to Kergorlay, Nov. 13th, 1833].]

[Footnote 169: Gleig's 'Life of Wellington,' pp. 314, 315.]

[Footnote 1610: 'Life of Arnold,' i. 94.]

[Footnote 1611: See the 'Memoir of George Wilson, M.D., F.R.S.E.' By his sister
[Footnote 16Edinburgh, 1860].]

[Footnote 1612: Such cases are not unusual. We personally knew a young lady, a
countrywoman of Professor Wilson, afflicted by cancer in the breast,
who concealed the disease from her parents lest it should occasion them
distress. An operation became necessary; and when the surgeons called
for the purpose of performing it, she herself answered the door,
received them with a cheerful countenance, led them upstairs to her
room, and submitted to the knife; and her parents knew nothing of the
operation until it was all over. But the disease had become too deeply
seated for recovery, and the noble self-denying girl died, cheerful and
uncomplaining to the end.

[Footnote 1613: "One night, about eleven o'clock, Keats returned home in a state
of strange physical excitement--it might have appeared, to those who did
not know him, one of fierce intoxication. He told his friend he had
been outside the stage-coach, had received a severe chill, was a little
fevered, but added, 'I don't feel it now.' He was easily persuaded to go
to bed, and as he leapt into the cold sheets, before his head was on
the pillow, he slightly coughed and said, 'That is blood from my mouth;
bring me the candle; let me see this blood' He gazed steadfastly for
some moments at the ruddy stain, and then, looking in his friend's face
with an expression of sudden calmness never to be forgotten, said,
'I know the colour of that blood--it is arterial blood. I cannot
be deceived in that colour; that drop is my death-warrant. I must
die!'"--Houghton's LIFE OF KEATS, Ed. 1867, p. 289.

In the case of George Wilson, the bleeding was in the first instance
from the stomach, though he afterwards suffered from lung haemorrhage
like Keats. Wilson afterwards, speaking of the Lives of Lamb and Keats,
which had just appeared, said he had been reading them with great
sadness. "There is," said he, "something in the noble brotherly love of
Charles to brighten, and hallow, and relieve that sadness; but Keats's
deathbed is the blackness of midnight, unmitigated by one ray of light!"]

[Footnote 1614: On the doctors, who attended him in his first attack, mistaking the
haemorrhage from the stomach for haemorrhage from the lungs, he wrote:
"It would have been but poor consolation to have had as an epitaph:--

      "Here lies George Wilson,
        Overtaken by Nemesis;
      He died not of Haemoptysis,
        But of Haematemesis."]

[Footnote 1615: 'Memoir,' p. 427.]

[Footnote 171: Jeremy Taylor's 'Holy Living.']

[Footnote 172: 'Michelet's 'Life of Luther,' pp. 411-12.]

[Footnote 173: Sir John Kaye's 'Lives of Indian Officers.']

[Footnote 174: 'Deontology,' pp. 130-1, 144.]

[Footnote 175: 'Letters and Essays,' p. 67.]

[Footnote 176: 'Beauties of St. Francis de Sales.']

[Footnote 177: Ibid.]

[Footnote 178: 'Life of Perthes,' ii. 449.]

[Footnote 179: Moore's 'Life of Byron,' 8vo. Ed., p. 483.]

[Footnote 181: Locke thought it of greater importance that an educator of youth
should be well-bred and well-tempered, than that he should be either a
thorough classicist or man of science. Writing to Lord Peterborough on
his son's education, Locke said: "Your Lordship would have your son's
tutor a thorough scholar, and I think it not much matter whether he be
any scholar or no: if he but understand Latin well, and have a general
scheme of the sciences, I think that enough. But I would have him

[Footnote 182: Mrs. Hutchinson's 'Memoir of the Life of Lieut.-Colonel Hutchinson,'
p. 32.]

[Footnote 183: 'Letters and Essays,' p. 59.]

[Footnote 184: 'Lettres d'un Voyageur.']

[Footnote 185: Sir Henry Taylor's 'Statesman,' p. 59.]

[Footnote 186: Introduction to the 'Principal Speeches and Addresses of His Royal
Highness the Prince Consort,' 1862.]

[Footnote 187:

    "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
       I all alone beween my outcast state,
    And troubled deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
       And look upon myself and curse my fate;
       Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
    Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
       With what I most enjoy, contented least;
    Yet in these thoughts, MYSELF ALMOST DESPISING,
       Haply I think on thee," &c.--SONNET XXIX.

    "So I, MADE LAME by sorrow's dearest spite," &c.--SONNET XXXVI]

[Footnote 188: "And strength, by LIMPING sway disabled," &c.--SONNET LXVI.

    "Speak of MY LAMENESS, and I straight will halt."--SONNET LXXXIX.]

[Footnote 189:

     "Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
     Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
       Made old offences of affections new," &c.--SONNET CX.

     "Oh, for my sake do you with fortune chide!
       The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
     That did not better for my life provide,
     Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
       And almost thence my nature is subdued,
     To what it works in like the dyer's hand," &c.--SONNET CXI.]

[Footnote 1810:

     "In our two loves there is but one respect,
         Though in our loves a separable spite,
     Which though it alter not loves sole effect;
        Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love's delight,
     I may not evermore acknowledge thee,

[Footnote 1811: It is related of Garrick, that when subpoenaed on Baretti's trial,
and required to give his evidence before the court--though he had been
accustomed for thirty years to act with the greatest self-possession in
the presence of thousands--he became so perplexed and confused, that he
was actually sent from the witness-box by the judge, as a man from whom
no evidence could be obtained.]

[Footnote 1812: Mrs. Mathews' 'Life and Correspondence of Charles Mathews,' [18Ed.
1860: p. 232.]

[Footnote 1813: Archbishop Whately's 'Commonplace Book.']

[Footnote 1814: Emerson is said to have had Nathaniel Hawthorne in his mind when
writing the following passage in his 'Society and Solitude:'--"The most
agreeable compliment you could pay him was, to imply that you had not
observed him in a house or a street where you had met him. Whilst
he suffered at being seen where he was, he consoled himself with the
delicious thought of the inconceivable number of places where he was
not. All he wished of his tailor was to provide that sober mean of
colour and cut which would never detain the eye for a moment.... He
had a remorse, running to despair, of his social GAUCHERIES, and walked
miles and miles to get the twitchings out of his face, and the starts
and shrugs out of his arms and shoulders. 'God may forgive sins,' he
said, 'but awkwardness has no forgiveness in heaven or earth.'"]

[Footnote 1815: In a series of clever articles in the REVUE DES DEUX MONDES,
entitled, 'Six mille Lieues a toute Vapeur,' giving a description of his
travels in North America, Maurice Sand keenly observed the comparatively
anti-social proclivities of the American compared with the Frenchman.
The one, he says, is inspired by the spirit of individuality, the other
by the spirit of society. In America he sees the individual absorbing
society; as in France he sees society absorbing the individual. "Ce
peuple Anglo-Saxon," he says, "qui trouvait devant lui la terre,
l'instrument de travail, sinon inepuisable, du mons inepuise, s'est mis
a l'exploiter sous l'inspiration de l'egoisme; et nous autres Francais,
nous n'avons rien su en faire, parceque NOUS NE POUVONS RIEN DANS
L'ISOLEMENT.... L'Americain supporte la solitude avec un stoicisme
admirable, mais effrayant; il ne l'aime pas, il ne songe qu'a la
detruire.... Le Francais est tout autre. Il aime son parent, son ami,
son compagnon, et jusqu'a son voisin d'omnibus ou de theatre, si sa
figure lui est sympathetique. Pourquoi? Parce qu'il le regarde et
cherche son ame, parce qu'il vit dans son semblable autant qu'en
lui-meme. Quand il est longtemps seul, il deperit, et quand il est
toujours seul, it meurt."]

All this is perfectly true, and it explains why the comparatively
unsociable Germans, English, and Americans, are spreading over the
earth, while the intensely sociable Frenchmen, unable to enjoy life
without each other's society, prefer to stay at home, and France fails
to extend itself beyond France.]

[Footnote 1816: The Irish have, in many respects, the same strong social instincts
as the French. In the United States they cluster naturally in the towns,
where they have their "Irish Quarters," as in England. They are even
more Irish there than at home, and can no more forget that they are
Irishmen than the French can that they are Frenchmen. "I deliberately
assert," says Mr. Maguire, in his recent work on 'The Irish in America,'
"that it is not within the power of language to describe adequately,
much less to exaggerate, the evils consequent on the unhappy tendency
of the Irish to congregate in the large towns of America." It is this
intense socialism of the Irish that keeps them in a comparatively
hand-to-mouth condition in all the States of the Union.]

[Footnote 1817: 'The Statesman,' p. 35.]

[Footnote 1818: Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his 'First Impressions of France and
Italy,' says his opinion of the uncleanly character of the modern Romans
is so unfavourable that he hardly knows how to express it "But the
fact is that through the Forum, and everywhere out of the commonest
foot-track and roadway, you must look well to your steps.... Perhaps
there is something in the minds of the people of these countries that
enables them to dissever small ugliness from great sublimity and beauty.
They spit upon the glorious pavement of St. Peter's, and wherever else
they like; they place paltry-looking wooden confessionals beneath its
sublime arches, and ornament them with cheap little coloured prints of
the Crucifixion; they hang tin hearts, and other tinsel and trumpery, at
the gorgeous shrines of the saints, in chapels that are encrusted with
gems, or marbles almost as precious; they put pasteboard statues of
saints beneath the dome of the Pantheon;--in short, they let the
sublime and the ridiculous come close together, and are not in the least
troubled by the proximity."]

[Footnote 1819: Edwin Chadwick's 'Address to the Economic Science and Statistic
Section,' British Association [18Meeting, 1862].]

[Footnote 191: 'Kaye's 'Lives of Indian Officers.']

[Footnote 192: Emerson, in his 'Society and Solitude,' says "In contemporaries, it
is not so easy to distinguish between notoriety and fame. Be sure, then,
to read no mean books. Shun the spawn of the press or the gossip of the
hour.... The three practical rules I have to offer are these:--1. Never
read a book that is not a year old; 2. Never read any but famed books;
3. Never read any but what you like." Lord Lytton's maxim is: "In
science, read by preference the newest books; in literature, the

[Footnote 193: A friend of Sir Walter Scott, who had the same habit, and prided
himself on his powers of conversation, one day tried to "draw out" a
fellow-passenger who sat beside him on the outside of a coach, but
with indifferent success. At length the conversationalist descended to
expostulation. "I have talked to you, my friend," said he, "on all the
ordinary subjects--literature, farming, merchandise, gaming, game-laws,
horse-races, suits at law, politics, and swindling, and blasphemy, and
philosophy: is there any one subject that you will favour me by opening
upon?" The wight writhed his countenance into a grin: "Sir," said he,
"can you say anything clever about BEND-LEATHER?" As might be expected,
the conversationalist was completely nonplussed.]

[Footnote 194: Coleridge, in his 'Lay Sermon,' points out, as a fact of history,
how large a part of our present knowledge and civilization is owing,
directly or indirectly, to the Bible; that the Bible has been the main
lever by which the moral and intellectual character of Europe has been
raised to its present comparative height; and he specifies the marked
and prominent difference of this book from the works which it is the
fashion to quote as guides and authorities in morals, politics, and
history. "In the Bible," he says, "every agent appears and acts as a
self-substituting individual: each has a life of its own, and yet all
are in life. The elements of necessity and freewill are reconciled in
the higher power of an omnipresent Providence, that predestinates the
whole in the moral freedom of the integral parts. Of this the Bible
never suffers us to lose sight. The root is never detached from
the ground, it is God everywhere; and all creatures conform to His
decrees--the righteous by performance of the law, the disobedient by the
sufferance of the penalty."]

[Footnote 195: Montaigne's Essay [19Book I. chap. xxv.]--'Of the Education of

[Footnote 196: "Tant il est vrai," says Voltaire, "que les hommes, qui sont
audessus des autres par les talents, s'en RAPPROCHENT PRESQUE TOUJOURS
PAR LES FAIBLESSES; car pourquoi les talents nous mettraient-ils
audessous de l'humanite."--VIE DE MOLIERE.]

[Footnote 197: 'Life,' 8vo Ed., p. 102.]

[Footnote 198: 'Autobiography of Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart.,' vol. i. p. 91.]

[Footnote 199: It was wanting in Plutarch, in Southey [19'Life of Nelson'], and in
Forster [19'Life of Goldsmith']; yet it must be acknowledged that personal
knowledge gives the principal charm to Tacitus's 'Agricola,' Roper's
'Life of More,' Johnson's 'Lives of Savage and Pope,' Boswell's
'Johnson,' Lockhart's 'Scott,' Carlyle's 'Sterling,' and Moore's

[Footnote 1910: The 'Dialogus Novitiorum de Contemptu Mundi.']

[Footnote 1911: The Life of Sir Charles Bell, one of our greatest physiologists,
was left to be written by Amedee Pichot, a Frenchman; and though Sir
Charles Bell's letters to his brother have since been published, his
Life still remains to be written. It may also be added that the best
Life of Goethe has been written by an Englishman, and the best Life of
Frederick the Great by a Scotchman.]

[Footnote 1912: It is not a little remarkable that the pious Schleiermacher should
have concurred in opinion with Goethe as to the merits of Spinoza,
though he was a man excommunicated by the Jews, to whom he belonged, and
denounced by the Christians as a man little better than an atheist. "The
Great Spirit of the world," says Schleiermacher, in his REDE UBER DIE
RELIGION, "penetrated the holy but repudiated Spinoza; the Infinite was
his beginning and his end; the universe his only and eternal love. He
was filled with religion and religious feeling: and therefore is it
that he stands alone unapproachable, the master in his art, but
elevated above the profane world, without adherents, and without even

Cousin also says of Spinoza:--"The author whom this pretended atheist
most resembles is the unknown author of 'The Imitation of Jesus

[Footnote 1913: Preface to Southeys 'Life of Wesley' [191864].]

[Footnote 1914: Napoleon also read Milton carefully, and it has been related of
him by Sir Colin Campbell, who resided with Napoleon at Elba, that
when speaking of the Battle of Austerlitz, he said that a particular
disposition of his artillery, which, in its results, had a decisive
effect in winning the battle, was suggested to his mind by the
recollection of four lines in Milton. The lines occur in the sixth book,
and are descriptive of Satan's artifice during the war with Heaven.

                "In hollow cube
       Training his devilish engin'ry, impal'd

"The indubitable fact," says Mr. Edwards, in his book 'On Libraries,'
"that these lines have a certain appositeness to an important manoeuvre
at Austerlitz, gives an independent interest to the story; but it is
highly imaginative to ascribe the victory to that manoeuvre. And for
the other preliminaries of the tale, it is unfortunate that Napoleon had
learned a good deal about war long before he had learned anything about

[Footnote 1915: 'Biographia Literaria,' chap. i.]

[Footnote 1916: Sir John Bowring's 'Memoirs of Bentham,' p. 10.]

[Footnote 1917: Notwithstanding recent censures of classical studies as a useless
waste of time, there can be no doubt that they give the highest
finish to intellectual culture. The ancient classics contain the most
consummate models of literary art; and the greatest writers have been
their most diligent students. Classical culture was the instrument with
which Erasmus and the Reformers purified Europe. It distinguished
the great patriots of the seventeenth century; and it has ever since
characterised our greatest statesmen. "I know not how it is," says an
English writer, "but their commerce with the ancients appears to me to
produce, in those who constantly practise it, a steadying and composing
effect upon their judgment, not of literary works only, but of men and
events in general. They are like persons who have had a weighty and
impressive experience; they are more truly than others under the empire
of facts, and more independent of the language current among those with
whom they live."]

[Footnote 1918: Hazlitt's TABLE TALK: 'On Thought and Action.']

[Footnote 201: Mungo Park declared that he was more affected by this incident than
by any other that befel him in the course of his travels. As he lay
down to sleep on the mat spread for him on the floor of the hut, his
benefactress called to the female part of the family to resume their
task of spinning cotton, in which they continued employed far into the
night. "They lightened their labour with songs," says the traveller,
"one of which was composed extempore, for I was myself the subject of
it; it was sung by one of the young women, the rest joining in a chorus.
The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, literally translated,
were these: 'The winds roared, and the rains fell. The poor white man,
faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring
him milk, no wife to grind his corn.' Chorus--'Let us pity the white
man, no mother has he!' Trifling as this recital may appear, to a person
in my situation the circumstance was affecting in the highest degree. I
was so oppressed by such unexpected kindness, that sleep fled before my

[Footnote 202: 'Transformation, or Monte Beni.']

[Footnote 203: 'Portraits Contemporains,' iii. 519.]

[Footnote 204: Mr. Arthur Helps, in one of his Essays, has wisely said: "You
observe a man becoming day by day richer, or advancing in station,
or increasing in professional reputation, and you set him down as a
successful man in life. But if his home is an ill-regulated one,
where no links of affection extend throughout the family--whose former
domestics [20and he has had more of them than he can well remember] look
back upon their sojourn with him as one unblessed by kind words or
deeds--I contend that that man has not been successful. Whatever good
fortune he may have in the world, it is to be remembered that he has
always left one important fortress untaken behind him. That man's life
does not surely read well whose benevolence has found no central home.
It may have sent forth rays in various directions, but there should have
been a warm focus of love--that home-nest which is formed round a good
mans heart."--CLAIMS OF LABOUR.]

[Footnote 205: "The red heart sends all its instincts up to the white brain, to be
analysed, chilled, blanched, and so become pure reason--which is just
exactly what we do NOT want of women as women. The current should run
the other way. The nice, calm, cold thought, which, in women, shapes
itself so rapidly that they hardly know it as thought, should always
travel to the lips VIA the heart. It does so in those women whom
all love and admire.... The brain-women never interest us like the
heart-women; white roses please less than red."--THE PROFESSOR AT THE
BREAKFAST TABLE, by Oliver Wendell Holmes.]

[Footnote 206: 'The War and General Culture,' 1871.]

[Footnote 207: "Depend upon it, men set more value on the cultivated minds than on
the accomplishments of women, which they are rarely able to appreciate.
It is a common error, but it is an error, that literature unfits women
for the everyday business of life. It is not so with men. You see
those of the most cultivated minds constantly devoting their time and
attention to the most homely objects. Literature gives women a real
and proper weight in society, but then they must use it with
discretion."--THE REV. SYDNEY SMITH.]

[Footnote 208: 'The Statesman,' pp. 73-75.]

[Footnote 209: Fuller, the Church historian, with his usual homely mother-wit,
speaking of the choice of a wife, said briefly, "Take the daughter of a
good mother."]

[Footnote 2010: She was an Englishwoman--a Miss Motley. It maybe mentioned that
amongst other distinguished Frenchmen who have married English wives,
were Sismondi, Alfred de Vigny, and Lamartine.]

[Footnote 2011: "Plus je roule dans ce monde, et plus je suis amene a penser qu'il
n'y a que le bonheur domestique qui signifie quelque chose."--OEUVRES ET

[Footnote 2012: De Tocqueville's 'Memoir and Remains,' vol. i. p. 408.]

[Footnote 2013: De Tocqueville's 'Memoir and Remains,' vol. ii. p. 48.]

[Footnote 2014: Colonel Hutchinson was an uncompromising republican, thoroughly
brave, highminded, and pious. At the Restoration, he was discharged from
Parliament, and from all offices of state for ever. He retired to his
estate at Owthorp, near Nottingham, but was shortly after arrested and
imprisoned in the Tower. From thence he was removed to Sandown Castle,
near Deal, where he lay for eleven months, and died on September
11th, 1664. The wife petitioned for leave to share his prison, but was
refused. When he felt himself dying, knowing the deep sorrow which
his death would occasion to his wife, he left this message, which was
conveyed to her: "Let her, as she is above other women, show herself on
this occasion a good Christian, and above the pitch of ordinary women."
Hence the wife's allusion to her husband's "command" in the above

[Footnote 2015: Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson to her children concerning their father:
'Memoirs of the Life of Col. Hutchinson' [20Bohn's Ed.], pp. 29-30.]

[Footnote 2016: On the Declaration of American Independence, the first John Adams,
afterwards President of the United States, bought a copy of the 'Life
and Letters of Lady Russell,' and presented it to his wife, "with an
express intent and desire" [20as stated by himself], "that she should
consider it a mirror in which to contemplate herself; for, at that time,
I thought it extremely probable, from the daring and dangerous career
I was determined to run, that she would one day find herself in the
situation of Lady Russell, her husband without a head:" Speaking of his
wife in connection with the fact, Mr. Adams added: "Like Lady Russell,
she never, by word or look, discouraged me from running all hazards for
the salvation of my country's liberties. She was willing to share
with me, and that her children should share with us both, in all the
dangerous consequences we had to hazard."]

[Footnote 2017: 'Memoirs of the Life of Sir Samuel Romily,' vol. i. p. 41.]

[Footnote 2018: It is a singular circumstance that in the parish church of St.
Bride, Fleet Street, there is a tablet on the wall with an inscription
to the memory of Isaac Romilly, F.R.S., who died in 1759, of a broken
heart, seven days after the decease of a beloved wife--CHAMBERS' BOOK OF
DAYS, vol. ii. p. 539.]

[Footnote 2019: Mr. Frank Buckland says "During the long period that Dr. Buckland
was engaged in writing the book which I now have the honour of editing,
my mother sat up night after night, for weeks and months consecutively,
writing to my father's dictation; and this often till the sun's rays,
shining through the shutters at early morn, warned the husband to cease
from thinking, and the wife to rest her weary hand. Not only with her
pen did she render material assistance, but her natural talent in
the use of her pencil enabled her to give accurate illustrations and
finished drawings, many of which are perpetuated in Dr. Buckland's
works. She was also particularly clever and neat in mending broken
fossils; and there are many specimens in the Oxford Museum, now
exhibiting their natural forms and beauty, which were restored by
her perseverance to shape from a mass of broken and almost comminuted

[Footnote 2020: Veitch's 'Memoirs of Sir William Hamilton.']

[Footnote 2021: The following extract from Mr. Veitch's biography will give one an
idea of the extraordinary labours of Lady Hamilton, to whose unfailing
devotion to the service of her husband the world of intellect has been
so much indebted: "The number of pages in her handwriting," says Mr.
Veitch,--"filled with abstruse metaphysical matter, original and quoted,
bristling with proportional and syllogistic formulae--that are still
preserved, is perfectly marvellous. Everything that was sent to the
press, and all the courses of lectures, were written by her, either to
dictation, or from a copy. This work she did in the truest spirit of
love and devotion. She had a power, moreover, of keeping her husband up
to what he had to do. She contended wisely against a sort of energetic
indolence which characterised him, and which, while he was always
labouring, made him apt to put aside the task actually before
him--sometimes diverted by subjects of inquiry suggested in the course
of study on the matter in hand, sometimes discouraged by the difficulty
of reducing to order the immense mass of materials he had accumulated
in connection with it. Then her resolution and cheerful disposition
sustained and refreshed him, and never more so than when, during the
last twelve years of his life, his bodily strength was broken, and his
spirit, though languid, yet ceased not from mental toil. The truth is,
that Sir William's marriage, his comparatively limited circumstances,
and the character of his wife, supplied to a nature that would have been
contented to spend its mighty energies in work that brought no reward
but in the doing of it, and that might never have been made publicly
known or available, the practical force and impulse which enabled him
to accomplish what he actually did in literature and philosophy. It was
this influence, without doubt, which saved him from utter absorption
in his world of rare, noble, and elevated, but ever-increasingly
unattainable ideas. But for it, the serene sea of abstract thought might
have held him becalmed for life; and in the absence of all utterance of
definite knowledge of his conclusions, the world might have been left to
an ignorant and mysterious wonder about the unprofitable scholar."]

[Footnote 211: 'Calcutta Review,' article on 'Romance and Reality of Indian Life.']

[Footnote 212: Joseph Lancaster was only twenty years of age when [21in 1798: he
opened his first school in a spare room in his father's house, which was
soon filled with the destitute children of the neighbourhood. The room
was shortly found too small for the numbers seeking admission, and one
place after another was hired, until at length Lancaster had a special
building erected, capable of accommodating a thousand pupils; outside of
which was placed the following notice:--"All that will, may send their
children here, and have them educated freely; and those that do not
wish to have education for nothing, may pay for it if they please." Thus
Joseph Lancaster was the precursor of our present system of National

[Footnote 213: A great musician once said of a promising but passionless
cantatrice--"She sings well, but she wants something, and in that
something everything. If I were single, I would court her; I would marry
her; I would maltreat her; I would break her heart; and in six months
she would be the greatest singer in Europe!"--BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.]

[Footnote 214: Prescot's 'Essays,' art. Cervantes.]

[Footnote 215: A cavalier, named Ruy de Camera, having called upon Camoens to
furnish a poetical version of the seven penitential psalms, the poet,
raising his head from his miserable pallet, and pointing to his faithful
slave, exclaimed: "Alas! when I was a poet, I was young, and happy, and
blest with the love of ladies; but now, I am a forlorn deserted wretch!
See--there stands my poor Antonio, vainly supplicating FOURPENCE to
purchase a little coals. I have not them to give him!" The cavalier,
Sousa quaintly relates, in his 'Life of Camoens,' closed his heart
and his purse, and quitted the room. Such were the grandees of
Portugal!--Lord Strangford's REMARKS ON THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF
CAMOENS, 1824.]

[Footnote 216: See chapter v. p. 125.]

[Footnote 217: A Quaker called on Bunyan one day with "a message from the Lord,"
saying he had been to half the gaols of England, and was glad at last
to have found him. To which Bunyan replied: "If the Lord sent thee, you
would not have needed to take so much trouble to find me out, for He
knew that I have been in Bedford Gaol these seven years past."]

[Footnote 218: Prynne, besides standing in the pillory and having his ears cut off,
was imprisoned by turns in the Tower, Mont Orgueil [21Jersey], Dunster
Castle, Taunton Castle, and Pendennis Castle. He after-wards pleaded
zealously for the Restoration, and was made Keeper of the Records
by Charles II. It has been computed that Prynne wrote, compiled, and
printed about eight quarto pages for every working-day of his life, from
his reaching man's estate to the day of his death. Though his books
were for the most part appropriated by the trunkmakers, they now command
almost fabulous prices, chiefly because of their rarity.]

[Footnote 219: He also projected his 'Review' in prison--the first periodical of
the kind, which pointed the way to the host of 'Tatlers,' 'Guardians,'
and 'Spectators,' which followed it. The 'Review' consisted of 102
numbers, forming nine quarto volumes, all of which were written by De
Foe himself, while engaged in other and various labours.]

[Footnote 2110: A passage in the Earl of Carlisles Lecture on Pope--'Heaven was
made for those who have failed in this world'--struck me very forcibly
several years ago when I read it in a newspaper, and became a rich vein
of thought, in which I often quarried, especially when the sentence
was interpreted by the Cross, which was failure apparently."--LIFE AND
LETTERS OF ROBERTSON [21of Brighton], ii. 94.]

[Footnote 2111:

      "Not all who seem to fail, have failed indeed;
      Not all who fail have therefore worked in vain:
      For all our acts to many issues lead;
      And out of earnest purpose, pure and plain,
      Enforced by honest toil of hand or brain,
      The Lord will fashion, in His own good time,
      [21Be this the labourer's proudly-humble creed,]
      Such ends as, to His wisdom, fitliest chime
      With His vast love's eternal harmonies.
      There is no failure for the good and wise:
      What though thy seed should fall by the wayside
      And the birds snatch it;--yet the birds are fed;
      Or they may bear it far across the tide,
      To give rich harvests after thou art dead."
                      POLITICS FOR THE PEOPLE, 1848.]

[Footnote 2112: "What is it," says Mr. Helps, "that promotes the most and the
deepest thought in the human race? It is not learning; it is not the
conduct of business; it is not even the impulse of the affections. It
is suffering; and that, perhaps, is the reason why there is so much
suffering in the world. The angel who went down to trouble the waters
and to make them healing, was not, perhaps, entrusted with so great
a boon as the angel who benevolently inflicted upon the sufferers the
disease from which they suffered."--BREVIA.]

[Footnote 2113: These lines were written by Deckar, in a spirit of boldness equal
to its piety. Hazlitt has or said of them, that they "ought to
embalm his memory to every one who has a sense either of religion, or
philosophy, or humanity, or true genius."]

[Footnote 2114: Reboul, originally a baker of Nismes, was the author of many
beautiful poems--amongst others, of the exquisite piece known in this
country by its English translation, entitled 'The Angel and the Child.']

[Footnote 2115: 'Cornhill Magazine,' vol. xvi. p. 322.]

[Footnote 2116: 'Holy Living and Dying,' ch. ii. sect. 6.]

[Footnote 2117: Ibid., ch. iii. sect. 6.]

[Footnote 2118: Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' vol. x. p. 40.]

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