« AnteriorContinua »
other comforts of life, become, the one happy, and the other miserable This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation 'men can be placed, they may find conveniences and inconveniences : in whatever company, they may find persons and con-' versation more or less pleasing: at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed : in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather: under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws: in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties : in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above mentioned fix their attention ; those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the welldressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c., and enjoy all with cheerfulness." Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contrarieties. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, sour the pleasures of society; offend personally many people, and make themselves every where
disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the
to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may, nevertheless, be cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad effect on their felicity; I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes. For, as many are offended by, and nobody loves, this sort of people, no one shows them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that ; and this frequently puts them out of humor, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step or speak a word to favor their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious .f these people will not change this bad habit, ana condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselves or others about the contrarieties, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is always disagreeable, and
sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of the weather; and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that purpose, made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome; the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this twolegged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, faultfinding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave of looking at the ugly leg.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN.
Written Anno 1748.
TO MY FRIEND, A. B
As you have desired it of me, I write the following
hints, which have been of service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you.
REMEMBER that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day, though he spends but six pence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.
Remember that credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest, or so much as I can make of it during that time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit, and makes good use of it.
Remember that money is of a prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and three pence; and so on till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.
Remember that six pounds a year is but a groat a day. For this little sum (which may be daily wasted either in time or expense, unperceived), a man of credit may, on his own security, have the constant possession and use of a hundred pounds. So much in stock, briskly turned by an industrious man, produces great advantage.
Remember this saying, “The good paymaster is lord of another man's purse.” He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the time he promises, may at any time, and on any occasion, raise all the money his friends can spare. This is sometimes of great use. After industry and frugality, nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in the world, than punctuality and justice in all his dealings : therefore never keep borrowed money an hour beyond the time you promised, lest a disappointment shut up your friend's
purse The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard-table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be