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´╗┐Title: Young Oliver: or the Thoughtless Boy - A Tale
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: (open book)]

     O write upon my mem'ry, Lord,
     The texts and doctrines of thy word;
     That I may break thy laws no more,
     But love thee better than before.

[Illustration: (decorative)]

_Thoughtless Boy_.


Oh, that men should put an enemy into
their mouths to steal away their brains!


[Illustration: (decorative)]

Printed by F. Houlston and Son.

Price Two-pence.

[Illustration: (decorative border)]


[Illustration: (decorative)]

Little Oliver was born of respectable parents, who lived in a pleasant
and fruitful part of the country. They had a small farm of their own,
and were very industrious in cultivating it. Little Oliver used to
drive the horses, while his father held the plough. Mrs. Oliver kept
the house neat and clean, and made excellent butter and cheese, which
were in great repute all the country round. Their daughter milked the
cows, and assisted her mother in cleaning the house, and in doing
any thing else that was wanted; for she was a dutiful girl, and so
good-tempered, that all their neighbours directed their children to
imitate the behaviour of Patty Oliver. But, notwithstanding all these
prosperous circumstances, misfortunes, to which all are liable, came
upon them, and they were reduced to poverty.

[Illustration: (ploughing)]

[Illustration: (milking cow)]

The fields of Old Oliver were frequently overrun with men and dogs
employed to hunt and shoot.

[Illustration: (dog chasing deer)]

The fences were broken down so often, it was impossible to keep them
up. The hunting horses of the 'Squire over-topped the best that could
be made. The corn was trod and eaten. Complaints were made in vain.
Every day brought some fresh oppression. At last, the 'Squire wanted
to buy it. What could the old people do? daily insulted, weary of
life, they took what he chose to give them. It was not above one half
the real value of the farm. Yet no other person would buy it, every
body knew the proud temper of the 'Squire, and his contempt of those
who were in lower circumstances than himself. No poor man ever found
comfort under his roof. The very dogs about his house were taught to
bite those whom poverty had clothed in mean garments. Old Oliver
was particularly his aversion. The ground about, to the distance of
ten miles, was all the 'Squire's, except that which belonged to Old
Oliver, and he wished eagerly to have that likewise. He considered it
disgraceful to have so mean looking a tenement on the border of his

[Illustration: (dog)]

Old Oliver with the sum of one hundred pounds began to open a shop,
at an adjoining town. He had not been bred to any business beside
farming, and with that he was disgusted. He resolved therefore to try
another that he imagined would render him more independant on such
persons as the 'Squire.

He began to sell sugar, butter, and such articles as poor people
wanted constantly to buy. Numbers flocked in as customers, and seeing
Old Oliver so good-natured a man they contracted debts which they
never paid. Thus was his stock reduced, and he had not sufficient
money to lay in more goods. He was not a judge of every article he
bought, so depended on the words of those of whom he had them, and was
cheated. He frequently was forced to sell such goods for less money
than he had given for them.

His daughter, the comfort of his life, was lured away from him by
a villain of fortune, who introduced her to the company of women
that had nothing to recommend them besides their fine and tawdry
apparel, and a short time after went abroad, forsook her, and left her
abandoned to the wide world. She never was heard of more.

[Illustration: (fancy ladies)]

His wife died of a disease brought on by grief.

[Illustration: (apprentice)]

He had no person now to speak to but Little Oliver. The old man sold
off all his goods, and paid his creditors each their share. One,
more tender-hearted than the rest, returned him five guineas. With
this money, he put young Oliver to school for awhile, and then bound
him apprentice to the trade of a joiner, and retired, for his few
remaining days, to the workhouse of his parish.

Young Oliver made a quick progress in the trade. In five years he
could work as well as any in the shop. In joiner's shops there are
many apprentices and journeymen. Some of them were of a thoughtless
disposition, and much inclined to frequent alehouses. Young Oliver
had little money; he could not indulge his inclination to go with
them, so often as they wanted to persuade him. His master allowed him
to work what is called over-hours, by which means he gained a little
pocket-money. Thus the time passed, till his term of servitude was at
an end.

He now wished for nothing so much as to become a master; but he wanted

[Illustration: (church)]

A merchant, hard by, had often seen the young man, for he had done
him some work in a very neat manner. He knew he was remarkably
industrious, and attended church regularly. Oliver heard he was a
worthy man, and did all the good he could, to any person who stood in
need and whom he thought deserving. Oliver mustered courage enough to
wait on him. He stated his case, mentioned his wishes to begin trade,
and asked for assistance. The merchant lent him one hundred pounds to
begin business.

You may guess at Oliver's joy. He had the money in his pocket. It
never contained so much before. He thought he had already a work-shop
of his own and some journeymen. He began to reckon how many customers
came to order goods, and what money he should have at the end of the

In the midst of these emotions of joy, he met an old fellow-workman.
An alehouse was at hand. "Come," said Oliver, as they both entered it,
"I will, for once, have a little pleasure out of a purse of money I
have in my pocket. I will spend six-pence."

He did not well know whether to call for punch. It was his favourite
liquor. He thought it was too soon to give way to enjoyment. Reason
suggested to him, he should, first of all, try to pay back what the
good merchant had lent him. At present, thought he, it is not honest
for me to lay out a penny of the money, for any thing not necessary.
These notions impressed him so strongly, he was ready to return.

His companion now asked him what he stood moping there for. "Come, sit
down," said he. "What shall we have to drink?" Oliver was diverted
from thinking more, and called for six-pennyworth of punch. He
thought to himself, if I spend six-pence of the money I shall have
ninety-nine pounds, nineteen shillings, and six-pence left. Such a sum
is enough to set up trade, and a single hour's industry will make up
again such a small expence as the present.

It was thus, taking up the glass, he sought to quiet his inward
scruples; but alas, this conduct opened to him a door for ruin.

On the morrow he recollected what agreeable chat and good liquor he
had at the alehouse. It filled his mind; and he was not scrupulous
about spending one shilling more. The alehouse was near; he again
stepped in. He tried wine. He had never drank any before. He liked it
exceedingly, and determined to have a pint more.

On the days following he longed for more liquor, and constantly
visited his beloved alehouse. He began to drink each time more than
the preceding. You know, he began with six-pence, then he spent a
shilling; now, each time, he spends half-a-crown. He made indeed at
the first half-crown, a short reflection; but, afterwards, he consoled
himself with saying, "'Tis but two-and-six-pence I am spending. O, I
need not fear but I shall have enough left to carry on my trade."

So powerful is habit; so deluding is temptation to low indulgencies!
reason would now and then urge a contrary conduct; but company led
him on, and he was inexperienced in the world.

[Illustration: (in alehouse)]

Oliver's money at first was one hundred pounds. He had yet ninety
pounds left. He now determined to begin business. He made bargains,
which never were transacted but in his favourite alehouse. He must
needs have some liquor at every bargain, and some more when payment
was made. The people of whom he bought wood could not afford to spend
money and sell cheap; so were obliged to charge a good deal more to
Oliver than to other persons. Oliver thus lost his time, laid in his
goods too high, and attended very little to his shop.

Would Oliver have done well, he should have been sober and diligent as
formerly. The good employment of all his money depended on a careful
use of the smallest part. These thoughts did not at all strike him.

[Illustration: (boy beaten)]

You may perceive, my little friends, how by want of thought Oliver by
degrees became fond of liquor, low company, and a vagrant life. Check,
therefore, the most trifling inclination to the company of bad boys,
who deserve whipping till they grow better, and be careful to avoid
bad ways. You that have parents, listen to their advice and never
forget what they say to you. So will you be loved by good men, and
prosper in the world. Oliver had no parents; but had he listened to
reason and common sense he would have acted quite differently.

After he received the money from his best friend, the merchant, Oliver
never called any more at his house. He was ashamed to see him,
conscious he was acting wrong.

The merchant made enquiries frequently about Oliver; wondering much
he did not hear some account from his own lips. The merchant having
required no recompense for the use of his money, thought gratitude
would have induced Oliver to have now and then called to give some
account of his success in business. The merchant considered himself
Oliver's best friend, having proved himself so by lending him money
at a time when it was not likely any other person would have done the
like. Besides, as Oliver had been unfortunate in losing his parents,
who loved him more than any one, the merchant expected he would have
wanted some advice in many things of which youth are ignorant.

The merchant had much experience, and would have taken great pleasure
in pointing out what was best. He had received some hints of Oliver's
proceedings, but wished to think better of him than was represented.
He concluded, Oliver would by and by call at his house, and clear up
every evil report. He hoped, at present, Oliver was too busy in his
trade and could not spare time. The merchant's good disposition caused
him to judge too favourably of the vices of others. In this instance
he was sadly deceived; the case was different.

[Illustration: (keys)]

Oliver found no longer any joy in industry. He frequently locked up
his shop to go to the alehouse. He thought not of the evil days that
were to come.--Days that might have been pleasant to him. He thought
only of the money in his pocket, which was likely to last yet a long
time. He trusted to some good fortune, as he called it, for more.
From day to day his present stock was diminishing. What blindness,
what folly could lead him on thus madly!

Conviction at last came. Came like a clap of thunder. Alas! it came
too late. His creditors wanted money; he had none left. He could
ask no more of the merchant, he knew he would not lend him any. The
merchant perceived he had done Oliver an injury. Elated with having
so much money, he acted as if it would never have diminished. The
merchant had not considered the MIND of Oliver.

[Illustration: (butterfly)]

Oliver's mind was weak and trifling; and might be compared to a
butterfly, always roving about, but never gaining any thing by it.
As he mixed only with low company, his ideas were grovelling; and,
though an excellent workman, his genius, was of an ordinary kind. He
was not formed for the execution of any thing great or noble. He had,
indeed, natural good sense sufficient, but he did not hearken to what
it dictated; bad habits had suppressed every generous principle of the

Overcome with shame and grief, he sought to stifle reflection by hard
drinking. The frightful moment came. His few effects were sold and
divided among his creditors. Thus did ruin fall on him. He was now
disgusted with industry. He would not work. He was himself an object
of horror. Life became a burden. A scene of poverty opened before him.

[Illustration: (pirate ship)]

He fled from his country; followed by goadings of conscience, and
despair. He joined a gang of smugglers, formidable for the ravages
they spread through every country on the coast. God did not permit
their violence to continue for a long time unpunished. Their ship was
taken, the whole gang were seized, and Oliver, with the rest, was
committed to prison. He was put into a solitary cell, loaded with
fetters, deprived nearly of light, and allowed only bread and water
to subsist upon. His bed was composed of straw. In this miserable
situation he remained two months. He was then tried, found guilty
of many crimes, and condemned to be shot to death. I will spare you
the pain you would feel on hearing the account of his exit. Let this
suffice, he ended his short term of wickedness by much repentance and
a disgraceful death.

[Illustration: (man shooting rifle)]

Alas! had Oliver listened at first to reason, his case would not have
been thus. Had the dictates of conscience been regarded, all would
have been well. His situation would have been easy; his pleasures
temperate, as become a sensible being. He would have enjoyed
repute and honour, and the repose of opulent old age; have lived
respectably, and died happily.

Surely, my young friends, you shudder at such lamentable folly. I
hope as _you_ grow up you will avoid bad company, and the love of
more liquor than nature requires. Always attend to what your friends
advise. So may God prosper your pursuits. Be good, and you will sooner
or later be happy. If not in this life, in that beyond the grave.

Be always careful of your money; laying it out on something that may
be useful. Money is intended for some good purpose. You may sometime
want it extremely. Never buy any thing, without asking your friends
what is most proper for your age and capacity. Never spend it without

Days, months, and years pass on. At times, look back, and examine if
a good use has been made of them, and if we may not do something
better in future. The design of this life is to prepare our minds
and dispositions to enter upon a state of existence perfectly happy;
where no care or misery is known, but where all people, who have been
virtuous here, enjoy complete felicity. In that future state, those
who have done evil actions in this world, feel misery that cannot be
described; and better would it have been for them, had they never
possessed rational faculties, but have been brute beasts, without
understanding, yea, never to have existed.

[Illustration: (boar)]

If vice at any time appears to us in an engaging dress, it is
occasioned by overlooking the deformities it endeavours to hide. The
disposition of a wolf is not changed, though he put on the clothing
of a sheep. If vice ensnares for a moment, think of the story of Young
Oliver, and be wise ere it is too late.

[Illustration: (decorative)]

[Illustration: (decorative border)]


[Illustration: (decorative)]

The two sons of a certain gentleman repaired, one afternoon, to the
garden, for an airing. The gardener, seeing them approach a bee-hive,
begged they would keep at a greater distance, lest the enraged insects
should sting them.

[Illustration: (bee hive)]

"I have never yet been stung!" said Harry, daringly; and walked on,
regardless of the caution which he had received. Before the gardener
could turn round, master Harry was saluted by a most excruciating
impression on his cheek. Thus, by _doleful experience_, he became

Constantine, on the contrary, following the gardener's advice,
owed his wisdom to timely _instruction_.--Now, Children, which of
these two young gentlemen had the greatest claim to superiority of
understanding? Not one of you will hesitate to give Constantine that
preference to which he is so justly entitled!

[Illustration: A Tinker. (front inside cover)]

[Illustration: A Jew. (back inside cover)]

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Minor punctuation errors were silently corrected.

Illustrations were moved to avoid breaking up paragraphs of text.

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